The internet has brought a lot of good things my way since I bought my first computer 13 years ago. Pinterest, a career, many dates, an online shopping habit. I have a lot to thank Tim Berners-Lee (and ASOS) for.
But what I’m most thankful for – the thing that has brought me the most happiness and inspiration – are the friendships I’ve made, the people I would never have met had the internet never been invented. I know there are plenty of people who don’t quite understand what a tight community this one of bloggers and Twitter users is but it really is something quite remarkable.
In the old days, when my blogging was limited to LiveJournal, Greymatter and some clunky blog I’d coded myself, I was a little bit ashamed of these relationships. Back then it really wasn’t the done thing to make friends online, I know my mum thought that my internet pals were actually 60 year old men in string vests called Keith and Rod talking to me from Dagenham. Happily for me the early-days internet people were actually lovelies like Mia, Kris, Charlotte, Ellie, Ruth (you will forever have a tape avatar in my head) and Helen, people I still count as friends today – some in real life even. Take that, Rod and Keith.
Fast forward to the arrival of Twitter and even more friends made in 140 characters or less. I’m sure she won’t mind me saying it but I met one of my close friends Bryony this way (she’s not a hugger but I got her to hug me. That counts as close friend, OK B?), along with so many other brilliant women (alright, and a couple of boys… HI JAMES!). If you’re looking for strong, intelligent, interesting people to follow on Twitter I’d definitely recommend these lovely people… Neva, Charlotte, Steph, another Charlotte, Lizzi, Maria, Emma. And me too, of course.
As motivating as I find it to read about Kim Kardashian’s day-to-day shopping escapades with baby Compass (sorry, baby North West) in the Daily Mail it’s these lesser-known women who inspire me every single day. Not just in work but in my parenting, my cooking, my fitness (Emma has lost twelve stone and is training for a marathon, the woman is incredible) in the way I live my life and try to be the best person I can be. Ladies (and gents), you are all awesome. And if you’re not on Twitter I would recommend you get on there pretty quick so you don’t spend one more moment missing our conversations. We use ‘LOL’ minimally, I promise.
I feel a little bit like I’m waffling here, let’s get to the point, shall we? Yes, let’s.
One inspiring woman I met on Twitter but don’t chat to nearly enough is Hattie Garlick. Ex-Times Journalist and mum to Johnny and Frida, Hattie has spent the last 12 months parenting without spending any money and recording her experience in her blog Free Our Kids. It’s an adventure I’ve avidly followed though I have to admit I haven’t tried to replicate – I’m not sure if it’s out of laziness or business but the last year has been a whirlwind and budgeting on things I buy the children hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind.
But watching this video that Hattie made with LV following their Cost of a Child report 2014 I felt totally inspired. According to LV’s research the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has exceeded £225,000, a huge amount of money and apparently single parents spend a massive 54% of their pay on their kids – thanks for that Elfie and Hux! Thriftiness is something I want to try much harder at in the coming months: we live fairly comfortably but some months my budget is tight and I know I spend money when I could be saving. This is money I could be putting towards bills, holidays or days out and saving as much as it as possible should be a priority. Take a look at what Hattie has to say:
I was lucky enough to share a room with Hattie a couple of years ago at a Mother’s Meeting weekend away and can confirm she’s as inspiring in real life as on film (and a total lady too, we shared a bed and she didn’t even try to spoon me). Plus she has amazingly shiny hair.