2017 Review – My First Year In London

As I mentioned in a recent blog post, this Christmas marked my first anniversary of moving to London, and 2017 has been an amazing year.

I said it in that post, but it’s worth saying again – thank you so much to everyone I’ve met and interacted with during the year, whether it be in person or online. By reading, liking and sharing my content, leaving comments, asking questions, sending me private messages and emails, giving me opportunities for guest posts and public talks, and even meeting up in person, you’ve helped to make this year a very special one for me. Especially Fashioneyesta, Aniridia Network UK, Nystagmus Network, East London Vision, South East London Vision, Thinking Bob, VocalEyesRNIB, Scope, Life Of A Blind Girl, My Blurred World, Luke Sam Sowden and All The Stations, but also everyone else that I’ve had any kind of contact with during the year.

Everyone has been very positive and supportive, and your involvement has enabled me to start this new chapter in my life with confidence and comfort, and fun and friendship. And for that I’ll always be very grateful. 2017 will forever be one of the most significant and happy of my life, nothing will take that away. I hope everyone else has had a good 2017 too, and I hope 2018 is a very prosperous and Happy New Year for you!

So I wanted to do an overview post, running through the things I’ve been up to in the busiest year of my life to date. It’ll give you a good sense of how things developed, and will allow you to check out any blog posts or videos you may have missed if you only found me relatively recently. You can also check out a comprehensive list of places I’ve visited on my Out & About Adventure page at any time. I also recommend you look back through my Youtube videos, especially my London videos and disability videos as there’s no way I can list everything here. And there are loads of Instagram photos you can enjoy as well. So I hope you enjoy my little journey down a very busy memory lane!

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Travelling Around London

In my previous post I wrote about how I plan unfamiliar journeys to make it easier for me – using apps like Citymapper and Google Maps to plan routes, and Street View to virtually walk the routes them. So now I want to take about my actual experience of travelling around in London.

I know that some people find it much harder to travel around London due to more severe visual impairments, other mobility issues, anxiety and confidence issues, and so on. And that’s all perfectly understandable. So this won’t be reflective of everyone’s experiences. It’s just my own account of how I’ve personally settled into it and how I got about things. Your experiences may differ significantly depending on your situation.

It’s also worth noting Transport For London’s Accessibility page as well, as that has lots of info on it that people might find useful if they’re travelling in the city.

So with that out of the way, let’s get on to how I find travelling around London. I’ve also made a video to go with both this and my previous post, so you might like to watch that as well.

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Treats, Terror, Tea & Theatre

Time for another catch-up on what I’ve been doing lately, and with this past week including Halloween, it was only fitting that I did a couple more things to celebrate the occasion, following on from the Ghost Bus Tour I did the previous week But I’ve also been to a couple of other things too that aren’t related to it. All in all, I’ve been entertained at a museum, the cinema and the theatre, and tried another dining experience that’s new to me. So I’ve had a nice bit of variety, and I hope you enjoy reading about it.

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Fashioneyesta & The Five Murders

Although the Open House VocalEyes tours I did last weekend were great fun, the highlight of the weekend came on Sunday evening, when I got to meet the exquisite Emily Davison from Fashioneyesta for the second time. If you missed it, our first meeting was at Knole Park on the August Bank Holiday Monday (which Emily vlogged as well).

This time, the plan was to have something to eat and then go on a Jack The Ripper walking tour. And we had a lovely time.

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Open House Tours

Last weekend was the Open House London weekend, where hundreds of buildings across the capital opened their doors for free for the public to look around and take part in talks and tours. These include many places that you might never have heard of or never considered visiting before. Some of the places also do tours during the rest of the year, but you may have to pay for them, whereas on this weekend they’re free. And some places may rarely grant public access at all, so this may be the only opportunity you get to look around. So it’s a great initiative that’s been running for 25 years now, and the volunteers who help to make it happen deserve thanks and praise for their work.

As part of this event, the team at VocalEyes arranged special audio described tours of 4 different buildings for visually impaired people. I went on 3 of them (I didn’t do the 4th as I had something else planned). It was my first time going to an Open House weekend, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for it next year. So here’s my summary of the tours I went on.

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Guildford, Matisse & Guernsey

September is proving to be the busiest month of the year so far, and in a good way. So I’m having to do a few posts in quick succession to catch up with various bits and pieces. I’ve already posted about the music and drama day I did a couple of weeks ago, and now I want to tell you a bit about my visits to Guildford and The Royal Academy Of Arts, and my holiday to Guernsey.

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Meeting Fashioneyesta

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that one of my favourite Youtubers is Fashioneyesta, aka Emily Davison. And this Monday I actually got to meet her and spend the day with her, much to my delight. She’s now posted a wonderful vlog of the day on her FashioneyestaExtra channel, so I wanted to blog about it from my own perspective as well.

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