An award-winning businesswoman who turned her life around after being left homeless when she fled from a violent partner has written her own self-help book offering advice and hope to other struggling mums.

Mum-of-two Kylie Carter, 32, of Chelmsford was just 18 when she became trapped in an abusive relationship.

But she found the courage to leave and launched a new, positive chapter in her life – combining teaching hair and beauty with working as an empowerment coach, helping women to succeed in business after having children.

Now happily married to Greg, 42, who helps with her business and with whom she has a son, she said: “I’m very grateful for the life I have now.

“It’s a world away from what it was like for me in my previous relationship. My life has completely turned around.”

Kylie met her abusive ex-partner, who she does not want to name for safety reasons, at a night out in a pub in 2007 and the pair hit it off.

“He was very nice at first, there were no warning signs at all,” she said.

“He did lie about his age. He said he was 25, but actually he was 30.

“He didn’t tell me the truth until I was already living with him, but explained it away by saying he didn’t think I’d have been interested in him otherwise.”

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Just 18 when they met, before long his behaviour towards her became aggressive and controlling.

“He moved me away from Essex to Yorkshire and after that, I was isolated,” she said.

“But, it really started to turn violent once my little girl was born.”

Giving birth to her daughter in 2008, Kylie says she could not even feed her baby without suffering abuse from her partner.

She said: “He’d sit next to me while I gave my daughter her breakfast and he’d punch me.

“He hated not having my full attention, it was very controlling.”

She added: “The violence was just a daily routine for me. We would get up every morning and the same things would happen over and over again. There was never any remorse for it at all.”

As the violence spiralled, Kylie began to fear for her life and, concerned that the abuse could one day turn on her daughter, she made the brave decision to leave.

“I maintain my daughter saved my life, because I honestly think he would have killed me if we’d stayed together,” she said.

Packing her bags in July 2009, Kylie sought help from the council to escape.

She said: “At first, we were homeless and to start with I slept on people’s sofas, but then a house became available and the council was happy to put a deposit up for me, so we were really lucky.”

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Despite being free from the violence, Kylie says it was still not easy to rebuild her life.

“The first thing I did was move back to Essex to be with my family and friends,” she said. “Being all those miles away from them made it more difficult.

“But I remember when I first came back, I was numb to everything. It took me a long time to feel like myself again.”

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In 2011, Kylie met Greg through a mutual friend and, after two years of friendship, they fell in love.

She said: “We were friends for two years before we got together because, at the time, I wouldn’t allow myself to get into a relationship. I was terrified of letting go again, just in case, I got hurt.

“I was so worn down at that point that I was trying to build myself up from scratch. But being with Greg was nothing like my previous relationship.

“I remember once we were sat laughing about something and he just naturally lifted his hand while laughing, but I flinched.”

She added: “He got really, really upset about that. It was like he could see first-hand how my ex was still affecting me.”

Settling into her new, healthy relationship, Kylie and Greg tied the knot in 2016 and had their son.

In the same year, her luck improved again, when she started teaching mums how to plait their daughters’ hair.

“I never thought anything would come of it,” Kylie said. “It was just a bit of pocket money, but the business started to take off.”

In fact, her beauty business was such a success that she won the Mobile Hairdresser of the Year Award in the 2018 English Hair and Beauty Awards.

Since then, she has turned her hand to writing – penning her own self-help book for other mums.

She said: “The book is for mums who are either in business or who are thinking about getting into business, but have lost a little bit of their self-identity and confidence.

“I find that you lose that little bit of yourself when you become a mum and my book aims to give advice to other women, taken from my own experiences.”

One very special and important influence behind the book is Kylie’s own mum, who passed away when she was only 10.

She said: “My mum was the strongest lady anyone could ever meet.

“She had a very severe form of multiple sclerosis. When she married my dad, she was starting to use her wheelchair, but she was determined that she was going to walk down the aisle.

“Doctors told her she couldn’t do it, but she trained for months and proved them wrong.”

She added: “One particular memory I have of her is from when I was eight and we were lying in bed. She was fretting about something she had to do the next day, I don’t remember what it was, but I reminded her about the wedding story.

“She was so happy that she cried.”

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Kylie’s mum, Jennifer Carter, passed away aged 37 in 1999, due to her condition, but inspired by her strength, she now hopes other women will find support from her book.

“Life has changed so much for me and I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of my family,” she said.

“I’ve written the book that I would have liked to read when I was battling with my own self-confidence and identity.

“I hope it will help to lift up and inspire other mums to succeed too.”

Kylie’s book, Finding Yourself: The Confident Mum's Guide to Business, will be published on June 24, to coincide with what would have been her mum’s birthday.