October 2019 Favourites

Right then, time for another monthly update. There isn’t a huge amount to mention for October compared to some months, but there are still some bits and pieces I want to share with you, focusing on disability, health, technology and entertainment. So I’m sorry if this seems a bit shorter than usual and doesn’t contain much about London. But rest assured my November Favourites is going to be much more extensive, as things are getting back to normal and there’s a lot happening right now.

So for me this post and video is a nice way of easing myself back into things. And as always I’m not sponsored or endorsed by anybody mentioned here, these are all my own opinions. So I hope you enjoy!

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Sight Village 2019

Last week I had a great time at the Sight Village South East event in Kensington Town Hall. It’s an annual exhibition showcasing the latest technology, products and services for blind and visually impaired people, and is one of a few Sight Village events held around the UK by Queen Alexandra College every year.

I’ve attended previously in 2016 & 2017, so having missed last year’s event it felt like a good idea to go back this time. But this occasion was slightly different, because although I did have a little look around, I actually spent most of the day working on one of the stands. So it was very interesting to be on the other side of the desk, as it were, talking to curious visitors rather than being one of them myself. So I just thought I’d give you a quick rundown of the day and who the exhibitors were.

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September 2019 Favourites

Those of you who have been following along recently will know that I had some issues in August that stopped me going out much. I was still able to do a July & August Favourites post, but the August part of that wasn’t very substantial.

September has continued to be rather mixed, as I’m still having an issue with my feet, so I didn’t get out too often. I think it might be hives of some sort, but the antihistamines are keeping them right down, so they’re not getting worse and are tolerable. It means I’m able to get around more easily, and also go out and about if I don’t overdo it. I’ve got a dermatologist appointment on 2nd November (which was thankfully moved forward from the original date of the 30th), so hopefully we can start sorting it out then.

And for those wondering about my Personal Independence Payments claim, no decision has come through yet. But I had 3 text messages to say they had the report from my face-to-face assessment, and then 2 letters in the post to say they have all the information they need to make a decision. So I just have to wait and see now.

Despite all of that, however, I’ve still ended up with a fair number of things to write about for September. I did manage to go out over the course of a weekend, when my foot was behaving, plus I’ve got some exciting videos and articles to share that I’ve been involved with, and there are some TV shows and music releases I want to mention. And as usual, no products in this post are gifted or sponsored, and all opinions are my own. So I apologise that there won’t be much in the way of London-specific stuff this month, but I still hope you enjoy this post and video as always.

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What Is Normal? (Documentary)

I still find it very humbling and flattering that so many people have taken an interest in my adventures over the past few years, whether it be reading my blog, watching my videos, or seeing me speak at events. I’m very grateful to everyone for the support and encouragement, and I wouldn’t be doing this if nobody cared, so thank you.

I never imagined that I’d have a documentary made about me though. Yet that’s exactly what happened for the first time a few months ago. It was an exciting experience and I’m delighted with how it turned out.

I’ve held it back until now for various reasons. Firstly, whilst I have permission to post it regardless, I wanted to give a bit of space for its creators and sponsors, including a major charity, to publish it first if they so wished. But I also had a few things distracting me over the summer too, as regular followers will know, which has further delayed it.

But now’s a good time to release it, as it ties in nicely with the recent publication of my Aniridia Network Conference talk – Growing In Confidence With Aniridia – which  was filmed shortly after the documentary was completed. Soon after that I was also in a second documentary – See Differently by Yiwen Feng – which featured myself and others. You can find out more about my speech and that other film in my June Favourites. I was certainly getting my 15 minutes of fame around that time!

In this post, therefore, I want to share my first ever documentary with you, and give a behind-the-scenes insight into how it all came together. I hope you enjoy it, and please do share the film around on social media.

So without any further ado, I present my documentary debut – What Is Normal?

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July & August 2019 Favourites

Right then, I’m back. If you’ve seen my previous post, you’ll know why this instalment of my Favourites series is later than usual, because August wasn’t a particularly good month. It only had a few positive things I can mention, so I’ve decided to combine them with my long overdue July update.

There’s quite a bit to mention as usual, including a musical, a movie, a comedy show, museums, walks, events, my new computer and TV shows. So let’s crack straight on with it, bearing in mind the normal disclaimer that I’m not sponsored by any of the people and companies mentioned below. I hope you enjoy my latest post and video recap of what I enjoyed earlier this summer!

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Only Fools And Horses The Musical

Only Fools And Horses surely needs no introduction, certainly for anyone in the UK at least. It is still regularly voted as Britain’s greatest sitcom (which I heartily agree with), it is still constantly repeated on TV, and it still holds the record for the UK’s most watched programme (not counting coverage of special news and sports events, or figures for soap operas that include mid-week repeats, of which there are only a few instances anyway).

It seems hard to believe that 24.35 million people in the UK, over a third of the entire population, were all sat in front of their TVs at the same time on 29 December 1996, to witness Del Boy and Rodney becoming millionaires. And who knows how many others have seen that episode on TV, video, DVD or online since then? It shows just how much affection there is for the characters that such a huge audience wanted to see them finally succeed, and that so many of the fans got upset when they lost their fortune 5 years later. Although it’s logical that Del wouldn’t be a wise investor, the fans still felt bad for him.

And that’s why this year’s launch of Only Fools And Horses The Musical at Theatre Royal Haymarket has proven incredibly popular, and has hopefully helped to introduce some new younger fans to the series. The musical has already had to be extended until next year, given the positive reviews and the high demand for tickets.

So as a big fan of the series myself, I was certainly keen to go. And my wonderful girlfriend Claire knew this without having to ask, so she very kindly booked tickets for us to see the audio-described performance in July, as an early birthday present for me. Which of course means this post isn’t sponsored or endorsed by anybody connected with the TV show or the theatre production. So I wanted to tell you what I thought of the musical, and also take the opportunity to pay tribute to my favourite sitcom.

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June 2019 Favourites

We’ve reached the halfway point in the year, and summer is finally blessing us with decent weather. And I’ve had a very busy month!

Firstly, there have been some disability related developments, most of them positive. In particular, I’ve spoken at a conference, been a guest on a podcast, and I was filmed for another documentary. So my visual impairment led to a few great opportunities in quick succession, I’m happy to say.

On the downside, I’ve finally received the call-up letter to switch from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payments (PIP). This basically means I have to fill out a huge form about how my disability affects me, and then have a face-to-face assessment with a health professional, so the government can decide if I’m entitled to benefit payments. It sounds relatively simple when worded like that, but most disabled people will tell you it’s anything but. So that’s going to be on my mind a lot over the next couple of months at least, and I’m not looking forward to the process. But I’ll let you know how it goes at a later date. I’m not going to bore you with a rant about it in this post!

Thankfully, apart from that, I’ve been able to enjoy the month in many other ways. I went on a lovely weekend break with my girlfriend, I’ve been out in London for more exhibitions and walks, my girlfriend and I enjoyed a new film at the cinema, and I’ve enjoyed new TV shows and music releases at home. So there’s plenty to get through. As always, I’m not sponsored by anyone mentioned here, I’m just sharing these things because I enjoyed them. And I hope you enjoy this month’s post and video!

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