Lockdown Favourites – Weeks 17-19

Hello again. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well. Many of the restrictions are being eased at the moment, which is good, but a few are also being reimposed as and where necessary. So please keep taking all the necessary precautions that we’ve all come to know so well, including the new requirements for wearing face coverings (which are perfectly safe and there are valid exemptions, including for some disabled people). And do be aware that the self-isolation period has been extended to 10 days in England if you have symptoms or test positive for the virus. We mustn’t let our guard down now.

I have started going out a bit more regularly again, in this lovely hot weather we’ve been having, particularly for some nice walks around my local area. I’ve also been to my local supermarket to get a few things for the first time in 12 weeks, and had no problems there. I was in and out very quickly, with a mask on of course, and it felt very safe. And that was just during normal shopping hours on a Saturday, not the priority slot for disabled and elderly customers (which I’m very glad they’re still doing). So things have really settled down there, and all the hard working retail staff deserve a lot of credit, among the myriad of amazing people who have kept vital services operating in recent months.

But perhaps most importantly, I’ve finally got my hair cut! Even if it doesn’t look much from the photos, I can tell you it feels so much better, it’s much more manageable now. And everything was done safely – we now have to book appointments with our hairdresser instead of just walking in (and it doesn’t have to be far in advance, we got a slot within a few days), plus they’ve got hand sanitiser for customers, the staff are wearing visors and there’s a stringent cleaning routine.

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I do intend to venture back into the city as well, now that we’re allowed to use the Tube again. The last time I travelled on the network was March 14, nearly 5 months ago. But I have been keeping an eye on the situation. And because TFL have a very strict cleaning regime with no reported problems, there’s lots of travel advice on their website, the passenger numbers are still relatively low, others I follow on social media have recently been getting back on the Tube and other trains and feel safe doing so, and I’ve acquired face masks and bottles of hand sanitiser, I do feel it would be safe to travel at quiet times to see what it’s like. So if things continue to be alright, that’s what I intend to do during August. Hopefully that’ll enable me to start meeting up with friends again too. And, incidentally, talking of meeting special people, congratulations to Captain Sir Tom Moore on receiving his knighthood recently!

But of course, I’m still keeping myself happily occupied at home as well, so I’ve got various bits and pieces I can mention from the past few weeks in this latest post and video, none of which are sponsored or gifted to appear here as usual. So I hope you enjoy!

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Lockdown Favourites – Week 8

Welcome to my latest lockdown roundup. If I wasn’t numbering the weeks in the titles of these posts, I would probably lose track of where we’re up to! But whatever week it feels like to you, I hope you’re all continuing to do well and getting any support you need.

It’s been another relatively normal week for me really, as I haven’t had to go out anywhere, we had our groceries successfully delivered again, and work has been fairly busy. I also worked to clear out a bit more junk in the back garden and the shed this weekend, which has given me some fresh air and exercise, as it’s one of those jobs that we’ve been very gradually doing bit by bit. Once that’s all done, then we’ll have a go at tidying up the garden itself during the summer, while the weather hopefully stays nice. Plus I’ve also been keeping myself occupied with blogging, and enjoying other entertainment that I’m about to mention. So I’m making productive use of my time.

So as there isn’t anything major of note to mention in my introduction, let’s just get straight on with this week’s post and video. The usual disclaimers apply, in that no sponsorship or gifting is involved and all opinions are my own, and I hope you enjoy!

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Lockdown Favourites – Week 3

Happy Easter! I hope you’re all staying safe and well as best you can, and that you’ve had a nice break over this long weekend, with plenty of chocolate goodies or whatever you like to indulge on. I think we’ve earned a few treats at the moment. Or if you’re a key worker – including employees and volunteers in the health service, social care, retail sectors and local authorities, among many others – then thank you! You deserve even more special treats than the rest of us!

Following on from my post last week, here’s my next roundup of the ways I’ve been staying occupied and entertained over the past 7 days, including a video as usual. So I hope you enjoy looking through it. And don’t forget that I also have a huge list of Lockdown Resources that I’m updating regularly, including information, support and entertainment links, that you can check out as well.

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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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My Visual Impairment Aids & Gadgets

I use various things to assist me in my day-to-day life as a visually impaired person, just to make things easier or more accessible. It means I can be independent and do many things that normal people do. So in other words, I’m still leading a normal life, it’s just that I do some things a bit differently to people with regular sight.

Naturally my iPhone is a huge help these days, but I’ll talk about the features and apps I use there in a separate post. In the meantime, you can see a list of my apps here, with an older video about them that I’ll update when I do a new post.

So in this post and video I’m going to tell you about various other aids and gadgets that I use, and a few used by my mother as well, as she’s blind. I’m not affiliated with or sponsored by any companies mentioned here, and these are all my own opinions.

So I hope you find this post interesting. And let me know if there are any particular aids or gadgets that you use a lot, or if there’s anything you recommend I should check out.

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Naidex 2018

On the 25th and 26th of April I went to the Naidex show for the first time, which was held in the Birmingham NEC. It’s Europe’s biggest event dedicated to disability and independent living, and is full of companies showcasing the latest technology, products and services they have to offer, along with seminars and panel discussions, a mobility test track, a sporting arena for people to try out different activities, a moving and handling lab offering training for healthcare professionals, and more. And it’s completely free to attend, which makes it very worthwhile going to check it all out.

I’d never heard of the event before, so I was very intrigued to see what it was all about. I became aware of it because I was one of various bloggers contacted by Cláudia from the Prysm Group marketing team. As well as telling me about the event, she asked if I wanted to be an ambassador for it – which basically involved me giving them a plug on my social media channels, and they would promote my blog in return. I was happy to do that, given my interest in the event, so that’s what we did. Hence you will have seen me mentioning them every so often over the past month, and they did indeed share the link to my blog on Facebook and Twitter a couple of times as well. I didn’t receive any payments or gifts for it, we were literally just exchanging posts to promote each other.

And the event itself was great, I really enjoyed exploring it over both days. I’ve already written about my travel and hotel stay in another post, so now I want to give you a comprehensive review of the event itself, and tell you about the various companies, products and services that I became aware of. As a result, this is quite a long post, but it is divided into headings if it’s helpful. So I hope you enjoy reading about it!

Note: Footage from the event can be seen in my April Favourites video. I also discussed my Naidex visit with Fern Lulham on AMI Audio‘s Kelly & Company show on 24 May 2018.

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Travelling to Birmingham for Naidex

Recently I went to the Naidex event in Birmingham – Europe’s largest show dedicated to disability and independent living – which you may have seen me mentioning on social media recently. I explain more in my full review of the show in my next post. But here I thought I’d tell you about my travel to Birmingham and review my hotel stay, to get that out of the way.

And to be clear, I paid for everything out of my own money, I didn’t have any special arrangements with Naidex or anyone involved with it. I helped to promote them a bit on social media, in return for them promoting my blog, but that was as far as our connection went. So I hope you enjoy this post, before I get on to my epic show review!

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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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Planning My Journeys In London

I’ve been posting a lot about what I’ve been doing in London, but I haven’t talked much about how I actually get around such a big city. I did discuss it in a post I did last year when I visited London with a friend, and briefly when I visited Sight Village in 2016, before I actually lived here. But now I’ve been a resident here for a while, and as new followers have asked about it recently, now’s a good opportunity to revisit the topic in more detail. So I’m going to split this over a couple of posts, starting with how I plan my journeys before I actually do them. Then in my next post I’ll talk about what it’s like travelling around.

I’ve also made a video to go with these posts, which you may like to check out as well.

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Warriors & Wizards, Drones & Dinners, Crafts & Chocolate

This past week has been a very busy one, as I’ve been to an audio described exhibition, an audio described theatre show, a football field for a Youtube project, a new social group, a craft show and a chocolate show. So Iin this post I want to summarise it all and bring my activities up to date.

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