Friday, 6 January 2012

Diamonds AREN'T a girl's best friend

Girls are.

Today I read Grazia magazine for the first time in ages. For the last few months I’ve been ploughing through the Song of Ice and Fire series on my daily commutes, and so there hasn’t been much time for magazines. But my god I missed them. Those books are deeeeeeeeeeeeeepressing. I’m on book four of seven (though the third book is split in to two parts, so really I’ve read five!) and my word, they need to lighten up and stop killing, maiming and raping and just chill the hell out. I have book-completion OCD so I’m going to have to finish the series before HBO over sexualises them and slaps them all over Sky Atlantic but I’m allowing myself a little break whilst I wait for the paperback version of book five. It has to be a pretty special book for me to carry a hardback, THAT big around.

Anyway, back to Grazia. I was reading a story about a girl who, in reference to Angelina’s confession that she had no female friends, also admitted that she had no friends.

This news did not shock me.  

To start, of COURSE Angelina has no girlie friends. Every female on the planet is scared that she’ll lure their HABs in to her sex-nest with vials of blood and keep them there forever, so most sane women steer well clear (well done Vanessa!). Secondly, she’s doesn’t strike me as the “pop round for a cuppa and a gossip” kinda gal. I mean, she has like twenty kids or something, as if she has time, she’s ripped (clearly not enough Jaffa Cake dunking*) and probably spends 22 hours a day in the gym/avoiding food and she lives in houses all over the world, depending on what she’s filming. Of course she doesn’t do Victoria Beckham/Eva Longoria-style girlie nights in!

But, back to the journalist. Where the Angelina story didn’t even make me blink, the journalist’s story saddened me. She, at her own admission, sounded so lonely. Granted, she said her husband was her best mate, as he well should be in my humble opinion. As is mine, God love him. But as I sat there on the train home, I thought about how much time I spend alone, due to Mr G’s work. How many events, parties, big occasions I have to go to on my own due to his anti-social shift patterns. If I didn’t have my friends (and also my, and his, family) I would be a very lonely girl. There’s always someone around for a girlie night in, a girlie night out or to take his place at a big event. That is why I’m unlikely to ever move far from my current hometown – I don’t cope well with solitude and loneliness, and especially not without my best girls. 

Hens. The memories. I heart.
 Because of my own reliance on my girlfriends, I spent most of my twenties being suspicious of girls that didn't have close female friends. As I embark upon my thirties I feel sorry for them. I speak about my friends on here a lot. And that’s because I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I know I'm not alone in having this tight circle of girlfriends - books and articles are written about sisterhood, songs sung about girl power and sticking with your girls, TV programmes and films are made about groups of girls and how they live their lives with each other. Girls and their friendships will always be a much-covered subject, and part of my everyday life. Part of my every waking moment. This is not a unique scenario, but to me, my friends are the best ever, and so I shall tell you about them, in fact, about us below.

There’s the group of eight girls from school that I would call my Besties, and within that group, close partnerships have formed and ever-evolving sub-groups are created depending on our current life scenarios – motherhood, travelling, city life. We've come a long way together, we’re as close as family, sometimes bickering like family as well. But try and break us from the outside and we’re like dogs (no b!tch comments please), loyal to the very, very end, no matter what has gone before. We regroup and come back fighting - for each other. We may have become friends before we even hit our teens, when our lives were all very similar, but now, amongst us there are marrieds, co-habitees and sexy singletons, career girls, stay at home mums, working mums, homebodies and perpetual travellers. Those that are a bit more grown up and settled and those that are slightly less so, but I think I can speak for us all when I say that we wouldn’t be without each other, and we certainly wouldn’t be who we are, where we are or with the people that we are, without each other. We boost each other, nuture each other, look after each other and support each other.*

Old School
There’s also another little group of three of us, also my Besties. We were thrown together by a number of chance meetings, and on reflection we can’t believe it took us so long to meet, with all the chances and crossed-path opportunities there were. We are, again, a super-close little group, at similar stages in our lives and we are never very far from one another, physically or mentally. I joke about us being Disney Princesses or the Powder Puff Girls from Nickelodeon – a blond, a redhead and a brunette (me), it’s like we were born to be a set. People are wrong when they say Three’s a Crowd. I agree with Andy Warhol. Three’s a party! Add in both their rather lovely sisters (I’m so lucky I get two lots of two-for-one) and that’s a full blown rave! Everyone who meets them at my parties comments on how I should hire them out as a comedy double act. Well I shan’t they’re mine. All mine!

Disney Princesses through the ages - and dressing up box!

Then there’s a little group of ladies I like to call my Luvvies or the Tea Bags. Some of the Luvvies are are closer to my mother’s age than mine (one, even, is older than my mum), but I formed some strong friendship bonds with them during my nine-year stint working together at a tea shop (hence the name the Tea Bags!) and quite frankly I have so much fun giggling, gossiping and gobbling cake and cocktails with these ladies over the years that I also couldn’t imagine living my life without them. They are wise, offer a different perspective on things to my friends that are closer to my age, and never fail to cheer me up. 

The Luvvies
 Along the way I’ve acquired other girlfriends too in various walks of life, particularly at work. I’m not going to name names, but you know who you are. Someone wise once said to me “you don’t go to work to make friends, you go to work to get your head down and get on with it”. She’s normally right, but not always. I would say I’ve made some lovely girlfriends in the workplace. We spend more time in the office than we do at home, and it’s not always nice, so having wonderful colleagues to help and support you through it, makes all the difference - that's how they become true friends. Friends from home will be equally supportive but having someone who knows, who understands the exact circumstances and the context of your issue makes a big difference. So you can’t help but bond more closely with the people sharing it with you. I wouldn’t change those dark days for anything – out of those dark days came wonderful friendships. No matter where in the world my colleagues and ex-colleagues are, you are with me every day that I sit at my computer (not just in my inbox!) helping me through daily working life.  

My two-for-ones

Add to the above, that each of my girlfriends comes complete with her own little family that has welcomed me in, whether it’s their siblings, children, partners, or their own extended friendship groups, they have in turn become friends of mine too. The fact that we’re tied together, means we’re tied to each other’s families too. And I love it. I grew up with these girls, and continue to grow with them, and so their families are as much a part of my life as they are, as my family is to them.

the boys.

I’m not going to mention the boys. I love ‘em, but this is about my girls. However, I will thank the boys (most of whom I’ve been mates with longer than I’ve been with  Mr G), as, along with the boys come the WAGs, and, though we may not have known each other for yonks, like my own girlfriends, within this little group I have not only a wonderful support network for when the boys just send us over the edge, but again made some lovely friends for life. It’s not unusual to find other WAGs that I can bond with – our boys are besties, so it makes sense that they’re with girls that get along independently. I’m not going to lie, things haven’t always run smoothly, but every day that we grow as a group, we grow as friends. 

The WAGs on tour - but two beautiful faces are missing :-(

Some special ladies that are technically family and even god-family, well, you're also friends. Special kinds of friends. The rest, I've acquired them along the way, they can always walk away... you and I come as a package and you're stuck with me forever, thanks to blood and vows to a higher power! I've never had sisters, but i've had friends that are as close as sisters. Now I have a little collection of "sisters" (and you Jo - I count you in there too!) that I love like friends!

Three of the four "god-sisters" :-)
Other friends I've made along the way at university, primary school, dance school, through family, on holidays, even as a result of my wedding - they are all important to me too, but probably hard to classify in to groups and I'd be here all night typing about them, but you get the picture!


family also count as friends :-)

But this isn’t just about times of support and help (that would be a bit selfish - and besides, I like to think that I give my support and assistance back in equal measures), but about times of celebrations. The birthdays, the hen dos, the weddings, the baby showers, the mad rush to the hospital when babies arrive, when we christen those babies and celebrate their birthdays… those wonderful special occasions wouldn’t have been anywhere near as magical without my girls to share them with.

As I learn to do things (mortgages, careers, marriage, maybe children) my girlfriends are doing them with me and are helping me along. As I encounter problems they're encountering them with me. They're a ready-made support network.
There's always someone who can help, both emotionally and practically. Within my group of closest girlfriends there are designers, artists, architects, singers, lawyers, hairdressers, accountants, stylists. No matter what my issue, question, problem there's always someone to assist.
I feel sorry for the girl in Grazia because my world wouldn’t be a world without my friends. They are the glue that holds my life together.
I’ve said it before but I’ll repeat it from my earlier post:

"Thank you to my friends, just for being amazing. You water me when I need to grow, you applaud me when I succeed, you hold me when I need to cry and you bandage me when I need to heal. Hallmark isn't wrong when it says that Friends are the family you choose for yourself"
(Me, 1st September 2011)

Will we always be friends? I think so, and I damn well hope so. Some of us have come and gone, and eventually returned, some of us have stayed firmly put, but in the end we always end up together. Maybe our geographical proximity will mean that we can’t walk away from each other? I'm sure I'll keep making new friends as well, as I start a family, change jobs, travel the world. Either way, no matter where in the world we are, nor what reason we are there, home is where my family and my friends reside. And I know my girls feel the same way. And if I'm honest I think we always will.
Home is where the heart is, and my friends and family live there too!

Journo from Grazia – if you’re ever in my ‘hood, swing by and we’ll go out for a drink.


* and we all said as much in a special book I made for Kim's 30th birthday:
N.B. If your face is missing - don't take offence, I just couldn't find appropriate photos. But you're here in my head, and my heart, where it matters... 


  1. Beautiful post my lovely and I read that article and thought how sad it would be to not have lots of friends!! I am proud to be part of the Party and to have given you one of your two for ones!!!!

    Your a fab friend my little Powder puff girl! xx

  2. Such a lovely post VH :) xxx (obviously loved the cocktail date shot!) xxx

  3. I'm loving the love! Big love to you both! :-) xoxo