I’ve never been particularly fond of shopping. I dislike the time it takes, having to go from shop to shop to find the right thing. I dislike crowds. I dislike the way department stores fill the ground floor with perfume disks and the whole place stinks until I can barely breathe. I dislike queues.

When I was looking for maternity clothes and was shocked by the lack of choice and the exorbitant prices, I “found” eBay. I’d bought the odd item there before, but now I finally realised how great it was. Not only was the range of clothes much more varied – everything was really cheap too. So cheap that I could buy them unseen and untried: even if one out of five had turned out to be not as expected, it would have been a great deal. In the end, only one top was not as good as it had seemed on the screen.

Then I had the same epiphany about web shops in general – the range of things I can find is far far wider than anything the shops can offer, especially when it comes to less common things. Everyone buys jeans and socks and plates and pots, so there is reasonable choice in most shops. But maternity bras? Baby carriers? Digital camera accessories? If you’re lucky you’ll find one or two kinds in a shop, while the internet has dozens or hundreds, new as well as used.

On the Internet there are no queues and no crowds. There is also no need to make an instant decision (or waste hours going home and coming back later). If it’s a piece of clothing I am buying, I can try it on in the peace and quiet of my home, and send back the ones that don’t fit.

I’ve done more web shopping in the last 10 months than during the entire rest of my life. I am totally in love with the concept – it’s saved me hours and hours of frustration. Yay for the Internet!