So why is my blog called the Bramley Road Girl?
My blog is about me, just an ordinary girl, about friendship, family and life. For this post I’ll take you back to where it began. Excuse me whilst I indulge in a trip down memory lane!
It all began at University. I started a degree in Dance Performance at Middlesex Uni in 1997 and after moving every semester of my first year, I finally settled in a flat on Bramley Road, North London, Zone 5, the end of the Piccadilly Line. I moved in with a group of friends that were on my course and right next door was another flat full of dancers. Our flats were above a row of shops and a lively greek restaurant, Sirtaki, which every Saturday night had the conga spill out on to the street. Do you remember Stavros Flatley? It was his restaurant and where his famous Britain’s Got Talent act originated!
There are 9 Bramley Road Girls; Sophie, Laura, Claire, Lucy, Rachel, Hayley, Justine, Keeley and me! We’ve now been friends for 18 years which is scary and aging! We have shared some fabulous times, sad times and a lot of drunken nights together. There are so many stories and these girls make up who I am, they are a huge part of my past and I know we’ll all still be dancing together, as much as our hips will allow when we’re grannies!
A good friendship stands the test of time. It allows the freedom for each person to change, grow and be accepted for who they are. It works through the highs and the lows, the good times and the bad and rewards you with the laugh until your tummy hurts, you think you’re going to wet yourself and can’t see through the tears, hilarious, precious moments. Good friends are as important as family and that’s what the Bramley Girls have become.
Sophie is the only one of us still dancing! For a living! Through most of our 20’s Sophie has been traveling the world and working in a variety of countries and furthering her training. Amongst a group of outgoing girls, Sophie is the most laid back, calm, confident and reassuring character to be around, which is why she is such an amazing dance and yoga teacher. But I love her mischievous side, infectious laugh and insatiable desire for peanut butter on anything! In 2004 Lucy, Hayley, Laura and I went out to Crete to see Sophie where she was performing. We had the best holiday, sun bathed all day and partied all night. One night we raided the costume wardrobe, it was the closest I ever got to being a show girl!
A bit about Sophie…
Favourite thing about your job? I love to enrich life through dance and yoga and to see people progress and grow. Also the thrill of the theatre, the buzz and joy of being in the moment!
Favourite Bramley Road Girls memories? Living in the flats above the shops, Polaroid pictures on the door, summer balls, crazy choreography, the lasting friendships made, freedom of expression that such close friendship brings!
Laura and I lived together after uni, she moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) and I, in our 3 bed flat in Surrey Quays. Then when we moved to Angel, she came with us. Living in central London we had all the bedrooms filled and had a few different lodgers along the way, including one we secretly called ‘Egg head’! Laura was at home the day we came back from Brighton and she was the first person we told that we’d got engaged. Slightly freaked out by the magnitude of the proposal, Laura reacted by screaming and face diving in to a pillow in shock! Now its her turn and this September at a château in the south of France, Miss ‘Turn Around Turner’ will Marry the fabulous Ken and we all can’t wait to celebrate with them. After the closure of my bridal boutique, Laura is my very last bride that I have styled ready for the aisle and I’m delighted that I’ve been able to help her find her dream wedding dress and be a part of her special day.
A bit about Laura…
Lives: North London
Job: Senior Manager, Marketing, Promotion & Publicity at Fox
Favourite thing about your job? Getting to travel and work on some amazing TV shows
Favourite Bramley Road Girls memory? Most recently my hen do, it was amazing. All the girls were together drinking, dancing and being stupid, which is what I remember most from the Uni girls. We may have hard times, but boy do we know how to have fun!
Lucy and I used to sit back to back at work, literally, chairs touching, in a tiny sales office at a gym. Motivated by our monthly bonus, we would discuss which ‘target shoes’ we would purchase from Kate Kanzier on Leather Lane, EC1. Some of my most fond memories are of working at the gym with our little gym family and the hilarious nights out and ‘members party’s!’ Since we both moved out of London, we have been on holidays together with our Mr’s and since having children we try to get together with our families as often as we can for weekends with our mini ones. Lucy and her husband Nik got married in 2011 and have just celebrated the arrival of their second little girl, making them a family of four with Edie and Nellie.
A bit about Lucy…
Job: Head of Creative Programmes at a leading dance organisation
Favourite thing about your job? I enjoy the creativity involved in my job and seeing the joy dance can bring to people’s lives. There is also a huge social aspect which suits my personality.
Favourite Bramley Road Girls memory? Making midnight angels in the sand and skinny dips in the ‘OOcean’, is one of my all time fave memories!
Claire is like a chameleon, constantly changing the way she looks, but only ever to suit herself. She is a strong, independent, creative, passionate woman. She grabs every life experience and uses it to push herself forward in to something new and meaningful. Her ambition knows no end. Sadly not long after we left uni, Claire’s boyfriend Aaron committed suicide. From this tragic loss, Claire has gone on to become an ambassador for CALM a charity aimed at helping young men mentally, so that they can get the help and support they need. Claire has also been through a healing process herself and now as a presenter and author shares her own story and focuses on helping and inspiring others.
A bit about Claire …
Lives: South London
Favourite thing about your job?: I love inspiring others and making them feel fabulous
Favourite Bramley Road Girls memory?: Our famous photo line ups at all our events is what I think of, so many good times!
Rachel was known during our uni days as Swifty long neck, which I think had something to do with her amazing dinosaur walk. She was the first Bramley Road girl to leave London and the Uni way of life! Rachel like a number of us, went into the fitness industry and is an extremely busy, very much in demand, mega fit personal trainer. Rachel married Ian in 2008 and they now have an adorable little girl called Lana. A new tradition formed once I moved up to the Cotswolds. As Rachel lives closest to me, whenever we head back in to London for a Bramley Road Girls get together, we plan a road trip. This includes ice spice buns, a marathon gossip and generally me suffering a terrible hangover on the journey home!
A bit about Rachel…
Favourite thing about your job?: That I get to help people achieve goals they never thought they would and that it keeps me fit too!
Favourite memory of Bramley Road Girls?: Too many to choose from… but the drunken Christmas parties at Sirtakis always make me smile!
I have so many memories of hilarious nights out with Hayley. During our mid twenties, Lucy, Laura, Hayley and I worked in central London, went to the gym together and then went out for what was meant to be a little drink, but would end up being a random big night out with epic tales and serious hangovers. Hayley loves to travel and has been to some gorgeous destinations around the world and returns each time with an enviable tan! Every year since 2003, Hayley takes part in ‘Race for life’ in memory of her beautiful Mum, Diane, who sadly passed away after battling with cancer. In Hayley’s own words, “I just feel like I should do it at least once a year, in memory of my Mum and for everyone else, in memory of those gone, those that are still fighting and those that have won.”
A bit about Hayley…
Lives: Hornsey, London
Job: Business Support Manager
Favourite thing about your job?: The variety of tasks in my job
Favourite Bramley Road Girls memory?: Our girls holiday to Malia where we all dressed up in Sophies costumes and after going to a 24 hour bar, layed out on sun loungers until Lucy woke up!
Justine, is fondly known as Rusty amongst us girls, for a reason I can’t even remember!! We lived together on Bramley road a few flats along and when I moved across to live with my dancing friends, I bought Rusty along too. She was the only one not on our dance course and was actually studying Education and IT, but that didn’t stop her from coming along to one of our dance classes when we had a substitute teacher in! Rusty has sadly been through some difficult times. In 2011 her precious baby girl Scarlett was born sleeping, it was a shocking, heart breaking time. But happier times have been shared with the arrival of her rainbow baby girl Beatrix. Rusty is strong, courageous, thoughtful, loving and hilarious. As the non-dancer of the group, she has choreographed a spectacular routine to Kings of Leon ‘Sex on fire’, with a spontaneous performance guaranteed if the song comes on and an infamous back bend!
A bit about Justine…
Favourite thing about your job?: Helping parents on one of the most important and exciting journeys of their lives.
Favourite Bramley Road Girls memory?: First time we all sang Tiffanys’ ‘Think we’re alone now’ at Keeleys house and made up our Bramley Road Girl dance routine, before a late night trip to Safeway in our pj’s!
Keeley and I are so similar, it’s like having a twin! Our birthdays are one day apart, our husbands have the same name, we both have sons and that’s just the obvious stuff. We have always liked the same things, done the same things and most recently bought the same jacket and bag, the similarities still surprise us! We used to do everything together and then Keeley went traveling and ended up living abroad for a number of years and our lives spiralled off in different directions. After living in Spain and learning the lingo, she moved back to London and low in behold met and fell in love with a Spanish hottie! Keeley was one of my brides and I helped her choose her dress and accessories for her fabulous wedding in Granada in 2012. Now married and a mum of the gorgeous little Lucas, Keeley teaches Pilates in Kingston where she has set up home. Keeley loves Moto GP with a passion and has abs of steel!
A bit about Keeley…
Lives: Kingston Upon Thames
Favourite destination you’ve visited? Its impossible to name one, as my favourite pass time is holidays and travel. I would like to return to India to explore more and in terms of best holidays, it would have to be my honeymoon. I would absolutely love to return to Kenya for another safari.
Favourite Bramley Road Girls memory?: Impossible to say, as so many memories… probabaly crawling home (literally) from a summer ball with all the girls!
A gorgeous group of girls….. and here are the line ups and group shots, so many fabulous memories!