November 2018 Favourites

The nights have drawn in and there’s much more of a nip in the air, so at this time of year it can be very tempting to stay indoors where it’s warm and dry and cosy. But not me. The wintry weather hasn’t stopped me getting out and about as much as ever, so November was pretty busy.

I think it was especially nice to relax having got my charity abseil out of the way. Finally getting the blog post and video up for that at the start of November was a nice way to wrap it all up. Donations are still possible and very welcome though, and thank you to the Nystagmus Network for giving me another shoutout as well!

So here’s my latest monthly recap for November, including visits to theatre shows, comedy clubs and museums, and other bits and pieces. There’s also an accompanying video as per usual. I hope you enjoy!

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July 2018 Favourites

Time for another monthly favourites post and video, looking back at July. Things were very busy and successful on the blog and social media this month, I enjoyed some fun social events, museum visits and other entertainment, and I even got a bit sporty for once, all while enjoying the sweltering heatwave. So it was a pretty good month, and I hope you enjoy my review of it.

And if you do enjoy reading about the things I get up to, I would love it if you would consider sponsoring my charity abseil in September. That would mean a lot to me. A massive thank you to my amazing sponsors so far! I’ll keep updating that shoutouts page as donations come in, including links for fellow bloggers, so do chip in if you want a mention. You’ll also get mentions in my videos as well, as a couple of people have done in this case. Quite a few people have donated since I filmed the video last week!

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The Wallace Collection

Last weekend I took my first ever visit to The Wallace Collection, which is a museum full of paintings, sculptures and furniture collected by multiple generations of the same family. When I was younger I had no idea this was just behind Oxford Street, and a lot of shoppers in that area have probably been blissfully unaware of its existence. Of course, even if I had known back then, I wouldn’t have been interested, as I was never into art as a child, and didn’t pay it much attention for a while as I got older.

However, since moving to London, I’ve been able to start exploring and developing an appreciation for artworks and visiting galleries, particularly thanks to guided tours and other interactive and accessible methods of exploring such spaces. As very much an art novice, I am enjoying learning about it and seeing some of the delights on offer. It’s like a fascinating new world, more so than I’d initially expected perhaps. So that was one reason I was looking forward to this visit.

This was also the third and final outing I was doing as part of a PhD study into museum accessibility for the visually impaired, being worked on by Rafie Cecilia. Our previous visits were at the Victoria & Albert Museum last year, and the Museum of London in February. I also met her again during the ultrahaptics testing at the V&A earlier this month, but that was for a different study. It’s always a pleasure meeting her, and it’s wonderful that she’s putting so much time and effort into this work, to support people like myself who find it harder to explore museums compared to normally sighted people. And now she and her colleague Maryam Bandukda have set up the Disability Innovation Research Society, bringing together researchers to discuss disability innovation and accessible technology, which is great. So I was glad to be meeting Rafie again.

And talking of accessibility, that sounded really good in this museum as well, with the website stating that they had an audio guide for the visually impaired, plus Rafie had recommended a special app I could use to find out more about the artworks. So that was another big reason for me to go. I’d heard very good things about the Wallace Collection, and getting information about the various exhibits sounded like it would be pretty easy. So now I want to tell you how it all went.

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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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Tate Modern Audio Tours

On Saturday I decided to visit the Tate Modern, as I had stumbled upon the fact that they now have a mobile app giving audio tours around the place, as well as other features that tell you more about the art on display, the activities on offer and where to eat and go shopping.

The last time I visited the Tate Modern was as a kid with my family, which I don’t remember clearly now of course (but I did record a bit of video footage at the time). So it’s been on my list of places to explore since I moved to the city, and this was a good opportunity.

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Harry Potter – A History Of Magic

As well as the Harry Potter Studio Tour I explored earlier this month, I was also lucky enough to go to the British Library last Monday, for their exhibition on Harry Potter – A History Of Magic. This has proven to be extremely popular, because all of the tickets are now sold out online for the rest of the run (though it may be possible to get a ticket on the day you go to the library if you’re lucky). So I feel very fortunate to have had a chance to see it. Big thanks to Emily from Fashioneyesta for inviting me to explore it with her. We had a lovely afternoon, so that’s what I want to tell you about here.

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Harry Potter Studio Tour Haul

Following on from my review of the Harry Potter Studio Tour, in this post and video I want to show you the merchandise I bought in relation to it.

Up until now, I only owned the audiobooks, the Ultimate Edition Blu-rays (which replaced earlier DVD version of the films I had), and downloads of the film soundtracks. So this is the first time I’ve really got into buying Harry Potter themed stuff apart from that – with one slight exception that I’ll mention later, but basically I’ve never bought any other merchandise before.

There’s so much to buy in relation to the tour, so I did end up spending quite a bit. But it’s worth it to get some unique and special souvenirs. Some of the items I bought at the attraction on the day, and some I bought later from their online store, because there was no way I could carry everything I wanted home from the tour, and there were a few things I couldn’t find in the gift shop there anyway. So I hope you enjoy seeing all the things that I bought.

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