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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Liverpool – My Magical Mystery Tour

Even though I will never tire of all that my home city of London has to offer, I’m also keen to travel and explore other places as well. Yet I’ve never fancied going on holidays by myself. Some people love doing that, and I’m well aware that there are companies that enable visually impaired people to do so. But I much prefer to go away with people I know. It’s much more sociable and fun as well as helpful.

And now I have someone very special to go on adventures with – my girlfriend Claire. The prospect of expanding my geographical horizons and sharing new experiences with her is a lot more exciting and makes things much easier.

So earlier this month, we had our first trip away, to the city of Liverpool. Claire has been there before, but I hadn’t, so I was very much looking forward to it, as it clearly has a lot to see and do. We could only scratch the surface for 2 days of course. but we certainly packed plenty in and really enjoyed it.

So I thought I’d give you an overview of what we saw there. Rest assured this post isn’t sponsored or endorsed by any companies mentioned here. We simply decided to go there ourselves and we paid our own way for everything. I hope you enjoy reading about it!

Update (September 2019): I’ve also been featured in an article by Age UK Mobility, with a few comments about my visit to Royal Albert Dock. Check it out here – What is the most accessible attraction in the UK?. Welcome to my blog if you’ve arrived here from that page!

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March 2019 Favourites

It’s safe to say that March was my busiest month since moving to London, with lots of exciting opportunities, events and activities that came along all at once. So I’ve got a lot to tell you about, including disability exhibitions and events, a few guest posts, theatre shows, museum visits, and other entertainment I’ve enjoyed.

On a few occasions I was gifted or had my blog promoted as thanks for my participation, which I’ve indicated where appropriate. That has of course been very flattering and I’m very grateful. But be assured that all opinions are my own throughout, and nobody has had any input into my content.

So I’m going to crack straight on with my recap of the month, and as always there’s a video to go with it. I hope you enjoy!

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Naidex 2019

Naidex is Europe’s largest event showcasing the latest technology, products and services for disabled people, helping them to live, work and travel with greater independence and comfort. The event is now in its 45th year and it’s absolutely massive, occupying a large hall in the NEC Birmingham for 2 days.

I first went to the show last year, having never heard of it before, and enjoyed having a good look around over both days. I took in as much as I could, even things that weren’t particularly relevant to me, to get a good sense of what was there. So this year, now that I knew what to expect, I was able to prepare more, and only went for 1 day. I knew that would be enough time to see everything that was of most relevance and interest to me, and I think it was a wise move. Other people may find going for both days very beneficial though, it just depends how much you want to look at.

Also for the second year running, I was proud to be an ambassador for the show. That simply means we plug each other on social media, so I give them shoutouts and they promote my blog in return. Beyond that, I’ve not been gifted in any way to promote or mention the show, I paid all of my own expenses to attend, and I’m not obliged to give any kind of review. Likewise, I’m not sponsored by or affiliated with any companies mentioned in this post. I just want to go through what I saw and picked up information about, and all opinions are my own as always.

So let’s get on with it, and I hope you enjoy my rundown of Naidex 2019!

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TFL Access All Areas 2019

I feel very comfortable using the public transport in London, and generally have no problems getting around on it. I always plan my journeys as best I can, and feel confident travelling around the city by myself, because I find the public transport in London to be very accessible.

There is a Transport for London Accessibility Page giving lots of information to help you access public transport in the city. It’s well worth looking through everything there, even if you think you’re very familiar with the transport system, because you may well discover something you didn’t know about. There’s a recent article about accessibility that TfL have published as well.

But there is still lots of room for improvement, so TfL are constantly making efforts to improve accessibility, within the limits of funding and other resources available to them. And with that in mind, they held their Access All Areas event at ExCel London in March, to highlight the current accessibility options and services that are available, and to share future developments. It’s a great opportunity to hear from decision makers and engineers, and get to know a variety of organisations.

So I decided to go along and check it out, because it sounded very interesting. Plus it was free to attend, and just a short bus ride from my house. So in this post I want to show you some of the things I discovered there. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

Note: I am not sponsored by TfL or any of the other organisations mentioned here, and have received no incentives to mention them. I just want to tell you about what I saw at the event, and make you aware of things you might find useful. So all opinions are my own.

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2018 Review

My second year in London has flown by, and what an incredible year it’s been, full of even bigger surprises and adventures than the first. Raising £920 from my charity abseil for nystagmus research and giving a speech to primary school children about growing up with sight loss were 2 of my biggest and most surprising achievements this year without a doubt, but there’s been so much more going on as well.

I really do feel like I’ve settled in properly now. I’ll always want to experiment with new things and meet new people, that’s one of the many great things that living in such a wonderful city enables you to do. But the foundations I laid by doing that in 2017 definitely enabled me to have more confidence in 2018, so I had a much better idea of the things I enjoyed doing most, I was less shy around people, and I made more friends on an individual level beyond just going to social groups.

My blogging has also gone well this year. It’s only ever been a hobby on the side – I’m not after fame or money or PR opportunities or anything like that – so I’ve never been worried about the numbers. But it is nice to check the figures at the end of the year, and I’m delighted that my subscriber counts have gone up so well:

  • Blog = 132 followers (more than doubled from 60 last year).
  • Youtube = 400 subscribers (doubled from 200).
  • Twitter = 570 followers (nearly doubled from 300).
  • Instagram = 300 followers (more than trebled from 90).
  • Facebook = 63 followers (my page was still very new back in 2017, so I didn’t note the figure back then).

They may not be huge numbers compared to some, but they’re great for me, and my efforts have already been far more rewarding than I ever could have anticipated. I’ve continued to get many amazing opportunities and lots of wonderful feedback, been invited to do various guests posts, and have made wonderful friends in person as well as online, all as a direct result of my posts and videos. So I’m getting far more success and satisfaction from this than I’d ever expected or could have hoped for, and if things continue to go so well then I’ll be very happy!

So thank you ever so much to everyone who has followed and supported my adventures, whether you’ve joined over the past year or have been with me since I started this blog nearly 3 years ago. It’s greatly appreciated that you find my posts interesting, entertaining and inspiring, and I hope you’ll continue to follow me in 2019.

But before we get into the new year, here’s a look back at what I’ve been up to in 2018. I’ve published Favourites posts and videos for every month, which you can get to by clicking the monthly headings below. And you can also see more in-depth posts, photos and videos about particular things linked throughout the text in bold (but there will be even more links in the Favourites posts themselves of course).

So I hope you enjoy this recap of the year, and thank you again for being a part of it and sharing it with me. And a very Happy New Year too! I hope that 2019 is a great one for you! 🙂

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October 2018 Favourites

We’re deep into autumn now, with Christmas edging ever closer. And now that we’re well into the penultimate month of the year, it’s time for a look back at October to see what I got up to.

The major event, of course, was my charity abseil for nystagmus research, and you can find out all about it in my epic blog post and video. There are lots of photos and video highlights from the day, especially from the headcam I was wearing during my descent. So do go and check all of that out. Huge thanks to everyone who sponsored me, and you can still donate until 23 March 2019.

But there were still other bits and pieces going on during October as well. So I’m going to tell you about them here, and there’s also a video to go with this post as usual. I hope you enjoy my latest recap!

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