The Friends That Made Me Me – Katielase

I have been thinking a lot about family, lately.  Everyone in my life has markedly different relationships with their own, and without fail, that relationship shapes who they are.  Katie, aka Katielase, has a remarkable relationship with her family.  And she knows it.  This is her tribute. 

I expect her parents to receive a number of adoption requests from the AOW community.  As well as that failsafe crumble recipe.  Over to you, Katie:   

I have been thinking for a while about a FTMMM post, and about who I would choose. I don’t have one single best friend who I have known my entire life who has shaped the person I am,  I have some amazing friends, who have taught me huge amounts and helped me develop into the woman I am. They’re awesome, but there is another group of people who I consider to be amongst my greatest friends, who I socialise with regularly and who have shaped me very definitely into the person I am. They are my crazy, lovely, loud, loony and wonderful family.


I am lucky, I have an incredibly close family. I live less than 20 minutes away from my childhood home (13 minutes if the lights are all green and you’re prepared to be ruthless about letting people pull out from suburban roads, which I totally am). I’m back ‘home’ at least once every week, for dinner or a cup of tea, for chats and laughs and watching Poirot. For games nights and quizzes, theatre trips and picnics. My husband and I go on holiday with my family every year. It sounds weird to say they are my friends, but for me, they truly are. I choose to spend time with them because they are some of my favourite people in the world. And boy, have they ever shaped me as a person.

First and final photographs by Andrew Dobell.  No-one can remember what is going on here, but I’m certain we are being silly. I prefer this picture to the posed photo that followed, it’s more ‘us’.

My Mum

It’s obvious to say that your parents made you, you, of course they did. My Mum and Dad raised me, they gave me my values and they sent me off into the world with such a huge amount of love, support and belief that I couldn’t possibly have failed. But this is about my Mum as a person, Sarah, and what she’s taught me as a friend and as a woman.  My Mum is one of my best friends and she is, simply, the strongest woman I will ever know. If she’s reading this, she’s thinking “but I don’t feel strong”, which is in fact, the entire point. She teaches me every day how to be strong; that the strongest, bravest people aren’t the ones who think they can cope, but the ones that carry on, even when they’re in pain, or they feel like they’re crumbling inside. They’re the ones who never give up. Mum also taught me many other invaluable life lessons, including how to make perfect pastry, how to ‘knock up’ a crumble in moments, and how to empathise. All equally important, clearly.

Me and my Mummy on my hen weekend


My Dad

Like my Mum, my Dad obviously raised me and gave me my values. In addition though, I am more confident because of my Dad, because of the way he sees me, because of his unfailing, unflinching belief in me all the time. It is best illustrated by his role as my Running Buddy, Dad is the Pollyanna of long distance running, he is so relentlessly positive. When I’m barely breathing, almost crying, red-faced and sweaty and overcome with the knowledge that I just cannot do this, I haven’t got anything left… he has faith that I won’t give up. And because he believes that I will keep going, I find that I can, it gives me strength. I ran 13.1 miles recently, and the last 5 miles were run almost exclusively on stubborn persistent belief. And that carries over to all areas of my life, I know I am stronger than I think I am, and my Dad will always be there, making sure I remember. As well as this, my Dad has given me my geekiness, an innate sense of daftness, my lifelong obsession with the Oxford comma, and a deep love of waves crashing onto rocks.

Dad and I at mile 6 of the Windsor Half Marathon. I’m still smiling at this stage; later photos may be more illustrative of my Dad’s ability to keep me going through blind faith, but I’m just not letting my ‘jogging aubergine’ look loose on the internet.

My brother

I don’t remember a time before Nicky was born, I was 21 months old so as far as I can recall he has always been there; a totally constant presence in my life. I’ve learnt so much from my brother, he probably doesn’t realise how much he has shaped the person I am, or how brilliant I think he is. This is partly because if I told him, I’d never hear the end of it. Nonetheless, and I brace myself for years of him going on about this, it is true. I am better at taking risks because I grew up with him, he was fearless. He’d throw himself off 20 ft high rocks into the sea, and I’d jump in after him, screaming the whole way down, because he was my little brother and I might have been terrified but I was also very stubborn and rather competitive and I mentioned how he’d never let me forget stuff, right? Through mimicking his fearlessness, I learnt that taking a risk can be so very worth it. I’m better at letting go and being brave because of him. And I’m much better educated about history, socialism, liberal politics, Family Guy and lash banter because of him.

My sister

My very first clear memory is of holding baby Emma, aged 6, when she was born. It was magical, she changed my life. She’s an awesome woman, my sister; 20 years old, wiser than many women twice her age, ridiculously talented, and completely batshit loopy about Harry Potter. As an older sister, you don’t expect to learn from your baby sibling, you’re supposed to show them the way, and know what you’re doing and stuff. I always wanted to be better so that tiny perfect girl could look up to me. And then she went and taught me about being a woman, about how everyone feels scared inside sometimes, which I never truly appreciated until I saw how lacking in confidence someone as incredible as Emma could be. I would be seriously lucky if someone as amazing as her looked up to me.  She showed me  how to apply make-up so you don’t look like a clown, how to look stylish (still working on that), she’s the main reason I had the Best Hen Weekend Ever, the best person ever to randomly sing Westlife in a public place with, and the best person to call when you’re crying in a public place, too.

Me and my gorgeous girl on the EPIC hen weekend she organised for me. Stylish, indeed.

My husband

Finally, the newest addition. One of the things I am most grateful for in my life is how well my husband gets on with my family. It makes me happy every day. I could list a million things he’s taught me, but I’ll go with these things… 1) sometimes it is not necessary to worry about every little thing, 2) real love can be full of silliness and laughter and conversational nonsense and it doesn’t make it any less real, 3) loving someone doesn’t mean being perfect for them, and 4) you are NEVER too old for Lego.

Married. Silly. Awesome.

Categories: Friend That Made Me Me
28 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Rach M
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Utterly awesome, Katielase. As are you. Loved this x

  2. Vivienne
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Awesome indeed. And it’s true – you really are never too old for Lego

    Happy Monday everyone xxx

  3. Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Oh I loved this post :) Family is the best :) With all its quirks and weird rituals and inner jokes.
    Also, it seems our families are similar: I have a younger brogher (1 year and a half younger), to me he’s always been there, and a younger sister (6 years difference) who’s also the one who knows about makeup, style, and general life wisdom (as opposed to me, who generally learns everything the hard way because no matter the warnings I get if I want to do something I will go and do it).

  4. Elsie
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I imagine the last photo to just be another normal Sunday evening at home for Katie and her husband. You know, engrossed in a good book, chilling out together, big comfy sofa. Wearing a wedding dress…
    Beautiful piece of writing Katie x x x

    • Gareth
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Trust me, she would if she could…

    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      He’s right, Elsie. I would so totally do this!

      K x

  5. Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Beautiful piece of writing Katie. It made me well up on the train! I’m pretty sure your family are reading this and bursting with love for you xxx

  6. Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Lovely article, Katie :) and it’s true – you are truly blessed to have such a wonderful family. I can only hope my girls growing up feeling the same way about theirs :) x

  7. Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Lovely lovely lovely!

    You have such an amazing way with words. If I wasn’t rather fond of my own crazy family, I would be inviting myself to join yours immediately! What a great start to Monday xxx

  8. Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Everything about this is wonderful Katie!

    Lots of love to you and your family xx

  9. Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Wonderful way to start the week Katie. And I will never tire of those photos!

  10. Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Love, love, love this FTMMM! Can I be your adopted sister please? PLEASE? I always wanted to have a sister and this is why!
    You write so beautifully, as usual! xx

  11. Mahj
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Fab post KL, you family sounds ace! Also, how do you “knock up a crumble”?


    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      It’s the ability to make apple crumble really quickly in the case of a dessert emergency. We take dessert seriously in my family :-p

      K x

  12. Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Ah wonderful post! :) x

  13. Yanthé
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    All the tears. This is flipping beautiful Katie. Add me to the list of prospective adoptive siblings please!

  14. Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    This post has made me a bit emotional. I feel exactly the same about my mum as you do about yours. I would call her my best friend and I wouldn’t be without her. About 2 years ago my parents moved 150 miles away and it broke my heart not to see them every week but if anything it’s made our relationship stronger as its such a treat to see them.
    Great post. Xx

  15. Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    You make me cry.
    Now please build a wedding-and-other-fancy-dresses-wearing library. xx

    • Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      That is my new career, a bookshop in which it is de rigeur to wear your wedding dress.

      K x

  16. Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Love you. Love this!

  17. Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I love this post and am now feeling more than a little emotional. Lovely.

  18. Amanda M
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    OH! This is so lovely. I read it with envy as I do not have a family like this but would SO LOVE TO. It still made me feel all warm and fuzzy though.

    Nice demo of the Oxford Comma too.

  19. Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all so much for the lovely comments, you’re all wonderful. I know how very lucky I am to have such an amazing family around me, batshit loopy as they all are.

    K x

  20. Posted February 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I have SERIOUS family envy Katie, you have such a cocoon of lovely people around you it’s no wonder you turned out as smart and switched-on as you have. Husbands who play with Lego seem to be a bit of a feature on AOW… it’s all mine ever asks for at Christmas! Gorgeous post, and I’d like to go running with your dad please.


2 Trackbacks

  • By An anniversary of sorts on March 5, 2013 at 7:03 am

    [...] me me‘ series. We had posts about buildings, animals, tv shows, organisations and of course, real life people. It seems that the AOW readership does not discriminate when talking about what made [...]

  • By Saving Our Bookshops on March 14, 2013 at 7:01 am

    [...] recently met Katielase in the British Library gift shop.  In one hour, we exchanged perhaps eight words with each other.  [...]

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