Carlie doesn’t know I’ve written this post about her and will no doubt be a bit embarrassed as she always is when I force her to take pics like the one above (sorry chick I know you like the quiet life hahaha), but I HAD to pay tribute to my best friend on her birthday because she means so much to me, and everyone who knows her. I bought her a pressie too by the way, this post isn’t her gift!!!
Seriously though, not only did I want to shine a light on my beautiful babe but I also wanted to celebrate our friendship to help reassure the women who regularly email me about faux friendships and soul-sucking connections, to SHOUT loud and proud that pure, unconditional, sisterly friendship exists, and it exists in abundance when you move away from negativity and focus on who matters.
Real, honest friends without an agenda anchor one another and frankly, make life worth living. I couldn’t be without my girlfriends.
I couldn’t be without this one you see here.
…I’ve know Carlie since we were both 11, meeting at an overwhelmingly strict all-girls school in Leeds (where we mostly got up to no-good to be fair both in and out of class, smoking together behind the local shops and sneaking out to nightclubs aged 14 #sorrymum). We also arranged the wildest of parties in the farmer’s fields behind our houses, which often saw hundreds of teens partying before the police inevitably popped by!
We lost touch when we went off to different unis (me to London, her to Newcastle) but became close again in our 20s when we bumped into one other in West Hampstead (weirdly the day after I’d randomly dreamt about her), soon discovering we were neighbours as Carlie had moved in opposite!
What followed was a hell of a lot of London fun, marriage, a move to Manchester (her), a move to Bristol then Leeds and now Windsor (me), 5 kids between us both, a crazy night in Mahiki Kensington one night at Christmas and phone calls nearly every day. Tears, laughter, a shared love of Kit Kat Chunkys and a bond that’s truly unbreakable. We can chat about absolutely anything and everything (and do), and Carlie is the first person I call when I have news, good or bad, to break.
Carlie is more than a best mate though, she’s the sister I never had. Smart, beautiful, selfless, loyal and loving, I feel so flipping ‘pinch myself lucky’ to have this gorgeous girl in my life, this one to call my own.
It’s thanks to her, and my husband, Peter, that I survived last year. That I was able to show up day after day for my family and business when I felt deeply broken inside. With a close relative severely unwell, a book to write, a blog business and family to look after, and a bout of depression in between I never found the courage to write about, Carlie was there for me without fail, buoying me up and keeping me going. Her love and support never wavered-she even came to hold my hand on the hardest day of my life, when we buried my beloved auntie Zak, a woman, my second-mum, who was alive and well just 4 months prior to a shock rare cancer diagnosis. Carlie held me up that day, literally and metaphorically and continues to when times get tough. She too knows she can always count on me as well, that I always have her back.
Everyone needs a Carlie in their life yet not everyone is lucky enough to find one. I know that and cherish what we have. Carlie is the most humble person you’ll ever meet and always laughs off compliments but I hope by writing this in black and white, she’ll take it in and see what we all see.
…This post is just a tiny reflection on who Carlie is, I’d need to write a whole flipping book on her to give you the full picture… Wise, fair and a rock to so many, thank you for being you, ‘Carlotta’, and for everything you do for everyone, we love you today on your birthday and every single day x