Rare Disease Day Photo Challenge

Update (March 1st) I won the challenge, much to my surprise! Thank you so much to Rare Disease UK! It was great fun being involved, because I loved the theme of the campaign, and I really enjoyed seeing other people’s photos. So very well done to all involved. We can all be proud of our efforts to raise awareness during the month! 🙂

Happy Rare Disease Day! 🙂

Today is a wonderful international opportunity to raise awareness of rare diseases, conditions, disabilities, etc, to educate people and highlight the need for greater funding and research. Here in the UK, it’s led by Rare Disease UK. But there are events taking place worldwide, so there will be related organisations in many countries.

1 in 17 people have a rare disease, meaning it’s a lot more common than you might think. So even if you don’t have one yourself, chances are you know somebody who does. And if you do have a rare condition, you’re certainly not alone.

There are over 6,000 rare diseases, affecting over 300 million people worldwide (including 30 million in Europe). That’s a huge number! So this is a day for all of us unusual rarities to get together, along with anyone and everyone who supports us and the cause in any way.

This year, the theme is “Show your rare, show you care”, and everyone can get involved, regardless of whether or they you have a rare disease. So that includes patients, families, carers, medical professionals, policy makers and members of the public.

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Winter at the Young Vic

If you live in the UK like me, you’ll be well aware that we’re getting another blast of winter from the weather gods right now, including some snow. Which is lovely to look at if you don’t have to go travelling in it – yay to being a homeworker! – but on the whole I think we’re all looking forward to spring and some warmer weather more than ever.

But as we’re still in the winter season at the moment, it felt like a very appropriate time to go and see a play called Winter by Jon Fosse, which was on at the Young Vic theatre from the 14th-24th February. Granted, it’s got nothing to do with the weather, but the title and timing is appropriate. And it is quite an unusual play compared to the ones I’ve attended so far. So I wanted to tell you a bit about my experience.

Before I do, there are a couple of important points to note for transparency:

  1. I was among a few visually impaired bloggers very kindly offered complimentary tickets by the theatre to see the show, as they were extending their accessibility services for this production and wanted our feedback. However, all ramblings and opinions here are my own, the theatre have had no input into this post.
  2. This is a spoiler-free review. Although the play’s run at the Young Vic has finished, it will appear in other venues, just it has done in the past. So there’s a chance other people interested in the show will find this post, and I don’t want to ruin anything!

Now that’s sorted, let me tell you how things went last Friday. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

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Scam Emails – TSB

Scam emails seem to arrive like buses sometimes, as the saying goes. I don’t get any for a while, and then 3 come along at once. And that happened earlier this month when I received a hat-trick of emails claiming to be from the TSB bank. 2 of them were identical, but one was different. And I’ve not had emails claiming to be from TSB before. But then scammers will try a variety of banks and financial institutions to see who they can catch, so getting scam emails for different banks isn’t surprising.

So it’s time for another instalment in my scam emails series. As usual, this is going to be rather repetitive in the signs to look out for, if you’ve seen the previous posts. But the more I can hammer this stuff home to make people aware, the better, as I do get comments from people who are grateful for the info I’m providing, and people do keep stumbling on the posts from web searches. So let’s get on to it.

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Museum of London

To escape from the freezing weather at the weekend, I spent a couple of afternoons looking around the Museum of London, which I haven’t yet been to since moving here. I think I may have been there once as a kid, but I don’t recall it in any detail. It’s a really interesting place though, covering the entire history of London through a huge variety of exhibits. So I was really looking forward to exploring it, as I’ve always loved the city since I was a child visiting relatives here, and I’m now very happy to be actually living here.

My first visit on Saturday afternoon had a dual purpose, as I was helping a lovely lady called Rafie Cecilia from University College London with her PhD study into assistive technology for visually impaired people at museums. This basically involved me wearing a camera on my chest to record what I was looking at, while Rafie followed me around and took notes on what I was doing, and then she recorded an interview with me afterwards about my experience. She’s very friendly and professional, and it’s wonderful that she’s looking into this kind of thing, so I enjoyed the experience. This is our second of 3 meetings in fact, having first got together at the Victoria & Albert Museum in December, and I’m looking forward to meeting her again at the Wallace Collection soon. And I know she’ll be reading this, so hello! 🙂

I had only intended to visit for one day this weekend, but as I didn’t get to see the entire first floor on Saturday, I decided to go back and finish it off on Sunday. That only took another hour though, which was quicker than I thought it would be. So I ended up going downstairs and looking through all of that floor as well. Sure, I didn’t read or view everything along the way, as I couldn’t see it all clearly enough, for reasons I’ll get to later in this post. But I did get to see a lot of lovely things, and took hundreds of photos along the way, so I got a lot out of it overall.

So in this post I want to tell you about my visit, and show you just a handful of the many photos I took (there are many more on my Instagram and Facebook pages). Hope you enjoy!

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January 2018 Favourites

After a very eventful and successful 2017, I’ve been looking forward to seeing what 2018 would bring. And this year I want to try and get into the habit of doing monthly favourites posts, so you can get a good overview of what I’ve been enjoying, both out and about and at home. That way I can cover little things that I wouldn’t otherwise mention, as well as the bigger stuff that I’ve written longer posts on, which I’ll link to here.

So this is the first post, for January. This month I’ve been mostly doing things indoors given the cold weather outside. So I’ve been going out to various museums, and have also been to the theatre, while at home I’ve been watching a couple of the DVD sets I bought last year, to catch up on those. And I’m also making an effort to start listening to more audiobooks this year, as I only did one in 2017, which was bad of me (although, to be fair, book-reading wasn’t top of my to-do list having just moved to a huge city!).

So I’ve been keeping myself entertained in various ways, and I hope you enjoy this post and video recap of the month!

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The Impact Of Cancer

It’s hard to believe, with all the advances in healthcare, science and technology, that cancer still exists today. Sure, we have made great strides in treating it and finding out more about it, which has helped to save and extend many lives, and for which we must be extremely grateful. But there are still far too many fatalities – just one is too many – and there is still so much more work to be done.

Of course, there is no single magic bullet that will cure it, especially as there are many different types of cancer that have to be treated in different ways. But the more research we can do, the more effective weapons we can develop and have in our arsenal to keep it at bay. No matter how stubborn and resilient it tries to be, we can tame it and beat it, and ultimately we will. It may take a great deal of time, money and effort, but it’s well worth it, because it will save and improve millions of lives.

Cancer has an impact on pretty much everybody at some point in their lives – even if you never get it yourself, chances are you’ll know someone who does. I’ve lost a good friend to the condition, and that’s what I want to tell you about here.

I made a post and a video about this a couple of years ago, for Stand Up To Cancer. But now I’ve improved as a blogger and Youtuber somewhat, I’ve decided to scrap those and extensively re-edit the text for a blog post that I can share in support of any cancer campaign, not just one specific one. And I’ve chosen today to do it, having become aware that the 4th of February is World Cancer Day. So I hope you find the post interesting. I know it’s not a nice or comfortable or entertaining subject to read about, but it is a very important one.

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