My name is Sally and I have loads of friends.
And only some of them are imaginary.
When I was younger my imaginary friend was called Steve, and he lived in the woods near my primary school.
Now I’m a bit less young my imaginary friends mostly live in my phone.
Instagram Stories is a funny thing.
Watching someone’s stories gives you such a weirdly intimate look at their life. You’re not seeing that carefully framed YouTube video or the edited photo caption or blog post. Often, it’s just someone hanging out in their car, or their lounge, chatting to the camera.
I’m grown-up enough to know that all social media is artifice, to some extent. But watching someone’s stories over a period of weeks or months. Is it just me who starts to feel like people are my friends?
Now I am logically aware that:
a) most of the people in my phone probably don’t even realise I’m watching
b) most of them also have no idea who I am, and
c) we are categorically NOT friends
But it feels sort of like we are.
Anyway, today I thought I’d introduce you to my imaginary Instagram Story friends. These are accounts I love to follow for one reason or another, and I think you might enjoy, too (if you fancy following me, I’m here).
It would be A-MA-ZING if you can share your favourite Stories channels in the comments. Because if a 40-something woman with a full-time job and no free time needs anything? It’s more pretend Internet friends.
Elfa in London
But mostly, I like her Stories because she has fun with clothes, and with life. Elfa doesn’t take herself too seriously, and often seems a bit overwhelmed by grown-up life. I can relate to a person like that.
The Only Girl in the House
Jess is really funny. She’s optimistic and funny and (seems) really friendly.
She has five boys but she still pulls off this slouchy cool thing ALL THE TIME. Also, her kitchen and lounge are OH MY GOODNESS beautiful and I love gawping at her interiors. If Jess didn’t post stories you’d probably find my face pressed up against her kitchen window, hoping the police haven’t been called.
This Mama Life
Sarah reminds me of how hectic life is with toddlers. And I only had one to contend with. Not gonna lie, there’s part of me that watches Sarah’s stories and is profoundly grateful for my teen.
I also love seeing how other women cope with jobs and kids and household jobs and still managing to leave the house and have fun sometimes. It’s not easy. For Sarah, it’s especially hard. Her husband is a serving member of the Royal Navy, and leaves home for months at a time. It’s interesting to get an insight into the life of a military family.
It’s always sad to me in this country that we don’t thank military families for their service more. Because we should. And Sarah’s account is a great reminder of that.
The Whole Cook
Honestly, I don’t follow a lot of food bloggers’ stories but Christina at The Whole Cook is always cooking something that almost looks like something I could make. On Stories, you’ll often see step-by-steps or little stories about recipes that just make you want to make them.
It was this blogger who persuaded me to buy coconut aminos and agave. Oh, and her accent just makes me feel happy inside.
I’m not sure why I love Deepa’s Instagram Stories so much. I’m not vegan. I don’t have a baby.
But she’s just SO flippin’ enthused by life that it lifts my spirits just watching her. Deepa is all about gentle and mindful parenting, which I aspire to. On a good day. There’s food and travel and some really moving content about baby loss.
I’ve known Suzanne as a blogger for almost as long as I’ve blogged. But Suzanne is one of my favourite Instagram Stories to follow.
In recent months I’ve been going through a series of podcasts about gratitude, and I love that Suzanne has started a hashtag community on Insta where people share things they’re grateful for. Plus it’s always great to see a 40-something Mum talking about the things I tend to talk about. But in a prettier house and with (way) better clothes.
I’ve followed Nat on social media for about ten years, but on Instagram Stories I think I must see her content most days.
Nat lives in London and often goes to cool places. This makes me feel vicariously cool and outgoing. Nat also posts thought-provoking content about feminism and relationships and representation. All mixed up with quotes and snippets from her podcasts about relationships, which offer little things to think about during the day. Go follow her!
Emily and More
Emily is one of my favourite Instagram Stories to follow. Because I love to see another 40-something Mum chatting about raising teens and managing busy schedules and books and TV box sets and occasionally getting angry about stupid stuff on the Internet.
Emily’s like having a cuppa with a mate, and a good rant, except without leaving the house. Or speaking to anyone.
Tanya gives GREAT Instagram Stories. She chats and thinks and rants and sometimes goes to France for 45 minutes, or pops off to Iceland. She is a fan of well-crafted gingerbread and packets of chocolates.
There are also occasional glam-looking mini breaks and lots of eating out with lush food, which I enjoy watching. One day, Sally, one day…
Mum in the Madhouse
Jen is a real-life friend and one of my very favourite people so I’m not sure she should be on this list of pretend friends. But if you’re looking for people to follow on Stories, she should definitely be included. Lots of opinions, lots of crafty and food ideas and commentary on parenting teens.
There you have it.
I do follow LOADS of great women on Instagram. But these are the ten women who I basically feel like I’m friends with.
Although I should reiterate – to avoid any potential prosecution for stalking – I do know that we’re mostly not friends and if you did happen to see my outside any of their houses it would be completely coincidental.
Go forth and follow. Go make your own imaginary friends on social media! And let me know who I missed in the comments.