Last year, I wrote a personal article for Galentines Day, bigging up all of the amazing women in my life.
As we embark upon our journey through adulthood, we’re all very aware of the busyness that suppresses us all, and it can be easy to forget to remind our girls just how much they mean to us. We lose friends as we grow, which is a normal part of maturing and developing into our own person. We also gain friends along the way; similarly likeminded counterparts that we choose to enhance our lives. Friendships come in all different shapes, sizes and dimensions. Some friends we see every day at work, some every week, and some once a year. They’re all equally as vital in making up the beautiful canvas that is our precious network of support.
It’s imperative that we all make a conscious effort to nurture such friendships. This needn’t be displayed by constant meet-ups; this can be via the aid of a simple text, the tagging of a funny meme, or the odd social media comment that we will make our girl’s confidence soar.
As women, we are very much aware of the importance of compliments, and the simple impact that they can have on our self-confidence and wellbeing.
As girls, we are united by PMT, unjustifiable mood swings, monthly acne breakouts, carb cravings and our frequent disdain when it comes to the opposite sex. No-one gets us in the same way that other girls do. Lads fail to understand that sometimes, we don’t want a practical solution to a problem – we just want to moan! Girls indulge the moans and rants of other girls, feeding the rage with their own inputs, until both parties are feeling cleansed of their problems from within.
Other girls are our eagle-eyed cheerleaders in life.
Let’s be honest, lads never notice the important things, like a new fringe, a new pair of jeans, or the fact you’ve done your make-up slightly different. Christ, I reckon I could shave all of my hair off and scellotape it to my chin to create a beard, and my husband still wouldn’t notice for days.
On the other hand, as women, we can be sooo quick to judge, compare and scrutinise, whether it be ourselves or somebody else. Imagine if we channelled all of the time and energy that we spend creating self-doubt, anxiety and incorrect judgments into actually bigging ourselves and other women up?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could admire another girl without inevitably putting ourselves down in the process?
Imagine if instead of scrolling past another girl’s photo, bitterly wishing we had her figure, we sent that girl a boosting comment, before moving on and being happy with our own figure, hair, skin, car?
Unfortunately, we have all succumbed to a culture whereby we are constantly expected to compare ourselves to girls on the street, girls on Instagram, and girls on the likes of Love Island. The intended message of modern-day society has been lost in translation: we can still admire all of these girls and their desirable qualities, but at the same time, we are perfectly entitled to shout our own achievements and attributes from the rooftops. It doesn’t make us vain and it doesn’t make us conceited.
Let’s build each other up. Let’s not shy away from giving out a compliment because we’re too embarrassed due to us not knowing or not being on regular speaking terms with the girl in question. Let’s reconcile in our gender alone and assist in creating an army of strong, confident women. Let’s be proud of ourselves, all the while bigging up the girls around us.
So here is: the new edition of my round-up of some of the amazing girls I’m proud to have in my life. Again, I have tried to be as diverse as possible in the fact that some of these girls are my best friends, whereas some I haven’t seen or spoken to for years. You are all amazing, and your success and hard work doesn’t go unnoticed to the outside world.
A girl I met quite by chance: LAUREN
Picture the scene: its 2012, and the only place to be on a Saturday night in Manchester is The Ritz (don’t judge – the Ritz was the bombbbb back in the day). Another Missy Elliot ‘classic’ had come to an end, so me and my girls headed to the toilets for a make-up top up.
... Twenty minutes later, I emerged with a new bestie!
It’s that age old theory of girls making new friends in the toilets on nights out - Lauren and I are proof of this!
Lauren and I bonded over our equally whacky personalities, and compared notes on our boyfriends! (Lauren is now engaged to the same boyfriend, and they have a little baby, too!)
Although we have only met the once, Lauren and I have always kept in touch, and I’ve loved watching her blossom into the amazing lady she is today. Over the past eight years, we’ve seen each other undertake some of life’s biggest challenges and changes, from engagements and marriages, to babies!
A girl who always supports me: GEORGINA
We may not see each other all the time, but the thing I admire the most about Georgina is her fierce loyalty. She is always the first person to congratulate my achievements, and has attended some of the most prominent events in my life, from my book launch to my wedding. From afar, she constantly has my back and cheers me on from the sidelines.
A girl I genuinely couldn’t live without: MOLLY
I’ll never forget the first meeting between Molly and I. There she was, sitting with MY ladz in the refec in all her blonde, booty glory.
“Who is that?” I snarled at one of my boys as we walked over to the booth.
“That’s Molly. She’s in our sport class. I think you’ll like her.”
I looked this girl up and down. I wasn’t prepared to like her at all.
We sat in awkward silence for a good 15 minutes, before a girl wearing garish leggins sauntered past.
At the exact same moment, Molly and I rolled our eyes in disgust.
“I can’t stand her!” Molly proclaimed.
“OMGSAME!!!!” I answered in extreme excitement. “I can’t stand her either.”
Within 5 minutes, a firm, lifelong friendship had formed between us, cemented over our dislike of well, most people, really.
Fast forward nine years, and Molly and I have shared a lot of sacred secrets, tears, laughter, house parties, nights out, and even boys at one particularly low point...!
Above all else, she has always been there for me. She is the one I go to for everything, from a shoulder to cry, to an exchange of gossip. I would trust Molly with my life.
I really do believe that this girl reads my mind. Honestly, I can be sat at home, seething about something trivial, and she’ll text me out of the blue, seething about pretty much the same thing. We literally have some sort of weird connection, whereby we have been eternally bounded by similar irritants.
A girl who gives the best advice: KARINA
Whether it’s how to beat to anorexia, or simply how the hell to put flimsy knee-high socks on without ripping them, Karina beholds that age-old wisdom that every girl needs in their life (I mean, this is possibly accountable to her age, but we still love her – ageist jokes have only enhanced our friendship over the years!).
Karina was the first person I told about my eating disorder, and I couldn’t have begun my road to recovery without her spurring me on.
With a side-splitting wit and sarcastic humour that perfectly combine her ferocious allegiance, Karina is a friend I know I can always rely on to tell me how it is. She’ll call me out if I’m wrong, and defend me to the ground if I’m right, and I really admire that about her.
A girl who can me feel good about myself no matter what: DANIELLE
I said it last year, and I’ll say it again: this girl is literal sunshine!
Having an off day? Talk to Danielle.
Relationship breakdown? Talk to Danielle.
Lost your job? Talk to Danielle.
The world ending in five minutes? Talk to Danielle.
Seriously, Danielle is the most upbeat, positive person I have ever been lucky enough to meet. When you have a friend like her, nothing ever seems that bad. She has a rare outlook on life that means she approaches every situation with positivity and zest, which is incredibly infectious.
A girl who made me believe in friendship love at first sight: GEORGINA
When I applied to be a rep, I was pretty much a hermit. My college partying days far behind me, I was in the clutches of an eating disorder, and to put it bluntly, I just wanted to be left alone. I wasn’t like any of the other reps, who wanted to go out and get smashed every night; I was quite content sitting on my balcony, listening to music and writing my diary.
When I found out that I was sharing a room with another girl during the training week in Costa Del Sol for my second season, I was utterly horrified. I envisioned a rowdy, binge drinking nightmare disturbing my peace for seven whole days.
... When I opened the door to Georgina half an hour after check-in, I knew she was ‘the one’ in terms of perfect room-mates!
Brandishing a reading book under her arm, she said, in an accent I recognised as local to my own, “Are you Cara?”
The week of hell that we shared together in Costa Del Sol only brought us closer, and we still shudder over them grim details, often ending up in raptures of laughter.
Our bi-annual catch-ups in the Peak District over copious amounts of tea and cake mean the world to me. I feel so fortunate to have met Georgina, who is one of the most kind-hearted and thoughtful friends I have.
A girl I’ve grown with: PEGS
When me and Peg started working together at Ted Baker, we were naive little 18/19 year olds, bonding over our love of the song No Scrubs. Constantly making poor judgements and decisions (particularly involving so-called ‘scrubs,’ as it just so happens!), we spent the majority of our days counselling each other and wondering what on earth we were doing with our lives.
... Seven years later, and we have just attended each other’s weddings!
I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much as I did at Peg’s wedding, attributable to the fact that it really brought home the beautiful growth of our friendship.
I mean, Pegs (being the goddess Persian Princess that she is!) would look an 11/10 in a bin liner splattered with week old spag bowl, but she absolutely GLOWED on her wedding day. I have never seen Pegs as happy as she looks with her husband, and it left old Cazza B feeling quite emosh, to be honest.
Pegs and I have grown even closer over the last few years. We have pulled each other through stressful situations and various challenges of adulthood, and been there for all of the celebrations in-between.
I can’t wait to see more of Pegs and her lovely husband this year, in their beautiful home, with their divine fur baby, Charlie.
A girl with great style: BRYONY & LAUREN
I once famously said that Bryony was cool ‘for her age.’ However, I would just like to reinstate that Bryony is cool, whatever her age! Bryony looks incredible on every photo she posts. With her trademark platinum hair and amazing make-up, Bryony always looks fantastic. SO much so, in fact, that (as she knows), I actually based a character from one of my books on her!
During the time Bryony was my boss at Ted Baker, she quoted that ‘Deansgate was her catwalk.’ I’ve always remembered and loved this expression, and it perfectly sums up Bryony’s quirky, wicked style!
Lauren has equally fabulous style, and looks absolutely stunning every single time she uploads photos. Lauren can pull off outfits that would make me genuinely look like a squashed tangerine. She has a great figure and is one of those girls who suits literally everything!
A girl I admire: AMY
Amy is ambitious, driven and sophisticated. She knows exactly what she wants, and strives to accomplish her dreams with an admirable quiet confidence.
Amy is highly successful in what she does, with intelligence to match, but is notably modest. She is her own person, and sets her own rules. A girl who oozes assurance and isn’t afraid to work hard to better herself is inspirational.
Amy is also one of those girls who will shout the successes of her friends from up high.
A girl who has come into my life over the last 12 months and added value: SHAL
My actual twinny (the Ugly Sisters, aren’t we...), my fellow ghetto queen – there’s nobody I would rather twerk with! I love that I now have a ‘gangster buddy’ at work who I can turn around and proclaim ‘TUNE!!’ to every time Usher or Biggie come on the radio!
A girl who is my best friend: SHELLEY
My best friend of 15 years, Shelley possesses infinite kindness, loyalty and generosity. She defines the term ‘girl’s girl,’ and makes having her girl’s back a priority.
She is empathetic, all the while offering invaluable advice in a manner that can instantly makes one feel better no matter what the disposition. Somehow, she always knows the right thing to say to make me feel better.
She’s one of those friends who’s up for anything, henceforth meaning that every day together is filled with fun. We have enjoyed spontaneous day trips around the country, ballroom danced, hitched piggybacks from random Irish men (Shelley!), ended up in Fifth Avenue, and eaten enough afternoon tea to give us diabetes.
Not only is she such a great friend, but she is also jaw-droppingly intelligent and beautiful.
She graduated with a degree in mathematics, and then decided to go back and do her Masters, too! Oh, and that’s in-between going to Costa Rica on her own to look after baby turtles!
She beholds a low-key self-assurance without even realising just how incredible she really is. I could sing her praises alllll day, and I truly hope that one day she realises the extent of her true worth.
Shelley is gold dust as a human being. I feel so blessed to be able to call her my best friend.
A girl who has beauty that shines from within: JEN, KATIE & MELISSA –
I couldn’t pick one! All three of these girls are incessantly kind, with natural beauty to match.
Although I haven’t seen any of them for years, I know that they have never changed in their warmth. All three are the type to randomly leave nice comments on your social media accounts, despite the fact that you may not have spoken to them for years.
I can quite confidently say that these girls do not have a bad bone in them.
They’re all gorgeous, but their personalities make them glow even more so.
Cara Jasmine Bradley ©