I've long been an advocate of blogs. I think I first started reading blogs about 10 years ago and since then the landscape of the blogosphere has changed completely. No one could have predicted how it has exploded - blogs are now a viable form of alternative media and there's one on (pretty much) every topic.
These are blogs that you need to be reading. Not because they have the prettiest pictures or the best recommendations for Mexican food in NW1 but because these are stories not often told, voices not often heard. They will make you a better person and expand your worldview (or at least, they did for me). This is my favourite thing about blogging, and I couldn't keep it to myself...
Jack's blog has charted her journey as a single mother on benefits in a world which very much disapproves of that. Ultimately, this is a food blog; she shares nutritious, delicious recipes which cost pennies - an essential when on such a budget. But, it's not just that. She's also told the story of poverty - of going hungry, of having to keep the heating and lights off in the house due to a missed benefits payment, of selling everything you possess to stay alive. Reading her bio, I found out that Jack is only 25. That's amazing to me, as I'm turning 24 in less than a month and don't feel half as wise or as brave as Jack. Nowadays, she is a journalist, author and a charity campaigner. Most recently she has petitioned for a debate about food banks in the House of Commons (which sadly turned into a horrible farce). Definitely a must-read.
Fiending for Hope
Britni is probably the person responsible for my feminism. Or, at the very least, helped to shape it. I was reading her blog when I was a baby feminist, just trying to find out what I thought about the world. I have had a soft spot for her ever since.
In the time that I have known her (digitally speaking), she has gone from Florida party girl to sober Bostonian with a baby on the way (or thereabouts). Her blog talks frankly about feminism, sexual assault, street harassment (she also works on the Boston Hollaback! team), drug addiction and pregnancy. She is totally open and honest, and despite the perhaps depressing topics, it is refreshing to read.
This blog is truly heartbreaking but it's a story that needs to be told. One More Mum tells the story of her family as they try to navigate her daughter's anorexia. This is certainly not your average mummy blog, that's for sure. It's honest, raw and shows a side of eating disorders that doesn't often see the light. It's heart-wrenching to read - I have cried for them more than once and wished that there was more that I could do than send good thoughts - but reading this blog has really opened my eyes and certainly puts my own problems, small as they are, into sharp relief. This isn't a flashy blog with fancy photos, mouth-watering recipes or top beauty buys but it is one that should make its way into your feed reader.
I have been a long time advocate of Kate's work, so you may have heard me recommend her blog before. The main focus of the blog is body image and Kate explores her own issues with her body with a truly open heart. Although the topic of the blog is not always a happy one, there is something joyful about this blog and it's made me stop and think on more than one occasion about how I'm perceiving myself and others. As well as body image, she talks about work, ambition, love, friendship and motherhood. She also happens to be one of the best writers on the Internet, in my humble opinion. I can tell which blogs I really like by the ones which linger in my Feedly unread; I save Kate's blog posts until I can give them my full attention rather than flicking through them on my lunch break or on the bus to work. They are thoughtful and wonderful - I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
I am addicted to the Captain Awkward blog. It may be the only blog (apart from Yes and Yes) that I could never stop reading. It's an advice blog which truly gives the best advice. I have learnt so much from this blog, even though my own problems do not align exactly with the letter writers.
There is so much great advice held within its (virtual) walls about setting boundaries, self-care, communication and compassion which have given me life skills which I did not possess before. If everyone read this blog, I truly believe that the world would be a better place. This is the stuff they should be teaching in schools.
Although it may sound it, this is not a staid blog either - it's witty, warm and has a wonderful community surrounding it that means you can stray into the comments section without fearing for your life (a rare find in the Internet world these days).
For real, this blog will change your life. Trust me.