Growing Up Online

Posted in Writing.

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This is me aged 23, in October 2009. It’s from one of my early blog posts, back in the days I was working as a copywriter in a digital agency, living in a dingy flat and spending my limited funds in charity shops.

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This is me aged 28, in March 2014. I run my own business, I’m married, I live in a house not a flat and can now drink red wine without wincing. 

I’ve been writing this blog for almost 5 years, throughout my early twenties. Those years mark a period of huge change for most people – you’re done with university, you have your first ‘real’ job, might meet your life partner, suffer through break-ups and redundancies and struggle to pay 100% council tax for the first time. When I started A Little Bird Told Me I was in a job I found very difficult, commuting long distances for not very much money, feeling generally under-valued and a bit lost. The blog was a way to channel my thoughts and escape from the insecurities that come with being 23 and only having one foot on the bottom rung of a very high career ladder.

In the early days, the focus of this blog was on thriftiness – I loved charity shops and car boot sales, Primark tea dresses and cheap shoes. I wore something different in every single post and although I was shopping cheaply, I was spending a hell of a lot of money on things that didn’t last three wears. I had all the time in the world to browse the high street and shopping was a solace from an unfulfilling job. Despite having this online persona as a ‘thrifty’ blogger, I was very reckless with my money and every month would end with tears as I willed payday around.

In 2012 I left my agency job to go freelance, and have since built a successful business. Priorities changed. Free time became limited. Bank balances became healthier. These things, combined with becoming a happier, more confident person, changed me. Getting married changed me. Growing older changed me. Meeting new people changed me.

When you document your life online, people feel like they know you. As bloggers, we share so much of ourselves and develop friendships with those who read our blogs. But although our online personas are preserved forever in our archives, the people we are in real life can often be starkly different to those we started out as. I was 15 when I started writing about my life on Open Diary and the person I am now is worlds away from who I was then, or who I was at 23 when I started this blog. Which is how it should be – life is about growing and changing, learning from experiences and using them to move forward.

I don’t write about second hand shopping any more. It’s no longer relevant, just like The Spice Girls and bootcut jeans are no longer relevant. I’m not the person I was at 23, and thank God for that. That period of my life is captured forever through words and pictures, but that time has gone. I’m different now – still me, but older. A bit wiser. Definitely healthier. And much, much happier.

Have you grown up online?


Lauren H

This was such a thought-provoking post! I’m only 21 and i’m so intrigued to see where the next 5 years will take me xx


I love this. I started blogging (with some older blogs that I’ve since deleted) a while ago and now I actually feel like all this time I’ve spent sending words out into cyber space is paying off. I’m at a great university, working as a marketing assistant, and starting to get my “grown up” life in order. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be when I’m not 22 though! Thanks for sharing this great post!

Lily Lipstick

I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years too, sometimes I’m surprised that I’m still doing it as I thought it would be a short-lived phase. I have definitely changed a lot since I started my blog (and have thankfully learned a little about how to edit photos and how to “blog better”) and the image that I had for myself of “adult life” isn’t quite what I thought it would be but I’m still enjoying blogging snippets of it. I do cringe looking back at older posts but it’s nice to preserve that time in my life in a way that I wouldn’t be able to look back on if I didn’t blog in the first place. x

Fern Lyons

I love this post! I’m about to graduate and scared of getting stuck in a job I dont want… its fab to know perseverance pays off xx

Maria Fallon

I have loved seeing people grow up online (jeesh that sounds creepy!) as it has made me realise that things are OK if they don’t quite stick to the plan I had in my head. I have been blogging for nearly 5 years and so much has changed since then but I am so glad that I have it all documented to look back over (however cringey it may be!) I really love your blog Jen and I can;t wait to see where you go next with it!

Maria xxx


And I’ve loved following your little journey. You are an amazing person and I’m glad you have found happiness and contentment in life. You will always remain one of my favourite bloggers xx


Omg I had an Open Diary too! From the ages of 16-20 and even then I’d changed and realised a few things. Although I don’t document so much personal stuff, I can definitely see that I’ve grown up. I blogged 5 years ago about leggings, quaint jewellery and uni woes and now everything is a lot more polished and well thought out. I’m still not much of a ‘grown up’ but slowly working things out, whilst becoming a lot more confident and chilled out about certain things that used to bother me. I definitely wasted a lot of money on things I only wore a few times. I don’t know if I’ll ever really like wine though, I feel like such a fraud! Give me a mojito any day!

City Girl's Fashion Box

I’ve nearly been blogging for five years and whilst I’ve changed for the better (not so fickle) reading through older blog posts, I’m glad to find that the way I write never takes it’s self too seriously – thank god. x

Panty Buns

I’ve followed and enjoyed reading your blog for three or four years now, through more difficult times when I marveled at how well you dealt with it, to your more entrepreneurial and successful present. Throughout it all you worked hard and brilliantly. Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s cheering that you are wiser healthier and happier. Enjoy. 28 is a nice age.

Helen Le Caplain

Great to hear you’ve found your happy place work-wise, relationship-wise and money-wise.

I still do thrifty posts but not on a daily (or even lately on a weekly *gulp* basis) but in the short time I’ve been blogging I’ve seen changes in myself too.

So glad despite all the changes you’re still writing – you’re on my go-to list!


I think we started our blogs around the same time; I seem to recall a bunch of the forum posters all did. I sometimes look back and wish I was brave enough to delete the early days, the posts when I was scared, childish, coming to terms with my illness and learning to ride that wave of emotions. I feel now as though I have changed, although I share a lot less on my blog now than I used to. I suppose it’s function has changed, or maybe I have changed, or perhaps a combination of the two.

Emma x

I started blogging around 5 or 6 years ago now, since then i met my (now) husband and had 2 children and given up work to stay home with them. I’m now on my second blog as my first just isn’t relevent to my life anymore, I still love to blog though 🙂


It’s both terrifying and wonderful the digital trail we leave. It’s great to be able to look back on how our personalities have developed but also scary that our previous selves could impact on our future. What worries me is the digital heritage some parents will leave for there children to live with


morag | mo adore

I’m 23 right now but have had an online presence since I was 14. Not many of my accounts from back then still exist (as the platform itself died out and I just decided I was better off removing my account) but the few that still do exist make me cringe! I also started my current blog over three years ago when I began one of the biggest overhauls of my life so far and change from then can be surprising!

Morag x

Sophie Zen

Aw, I love to read a happy story and see how people’s lives have turned out. Where will I be in 5 years time, I now wonder?

Sophie X

Avenue 57

Love this blog post! I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years although haven’t looked for a while (don’t know why) but can you PLEASE tell me the secret to your amazing hair at the moment!

Matthew Pike

it would be pretty weird if we didn’t change, progress evolve, which ever word we choose to use. and for the better too, things don’t change the same so why would our work? you sound very happy, here’s to a progressive future.

Buckets & Spades


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