2019 was a bit of a rollercoaster year for me, but it worked out well overall. I was very busy and active for the first half, then there was a dip during the summer with various things that came up all at once, before the final few months that gave me a chance to recharge and get back to normal, while also throwing in one or two surprises.
So as is traditional, I thought I’d quickly go back over the year, to recap on the many things that happened. Click on the headings for each month to see the Favourites post in each case, while there are links to more detailed review posts throughout the text as well. I hope you enjoy looking back at it all with me.
I seem to have gone from one extreme to another lately. After a relatively relaxed October, November has been really busy, and in a good way. I appeared on TV and radio to raise awareness of digital accessibility, promoted audio description at a trade exhibition, learnt a great deal about Ancient Greece, explored London’s illuminated bridges, highlighted more scam emails, bought some new Blu-rays and music, and enjoyed various things on TV.
So there’s plenty to cover this month, and I hope you enjoy this post and video summary of it all. As always, I haven’t received any gifts or payments by anyone mentioned in this post, and all opinions are my own.
The internet is an amazing resource, enabling people to instantly access products, services, information, communication, entertainment, etc, anywhere and at any time. And it’s especially useful and important for disabled people, for whom such a direct connection with the world around them plays a vital role.
However, there are still many websites, social media feeds and apps, and other technologies such as self-service checkouts and kiosks, that are partly or wholly unusable by disabled people, due to poor accessibility. This means they cannot access information and purchase products from many retailers and service providers, as they are unjustly hindered or prevented from doing so. As a result, they either don’t buy anything at all, or find accessible competitors instead. Which means many businesses are missing out on the benefits of a huge market worth £274 billion a year!
The same logic also applies when disabled people are prevented from gaining physical access to buildings, facilities, transport, etc, which is a vitally important and huge issue in itself. But for this post I’m focusing on the digital side.
Disability charity Scope have therefore released the findings of their survey on inclusive design, which illustrates the impact of poor digital access. This is to help them publicise The Big Hack, a comprehensive online resource advising businesses on best practice for digital accessibility and inclusion. And to help with the promotion, Scope invited me to take part in some media coverage, which included my first ever TV appearance! Check out my little bits of stardom here:
Newspaper – The Independent, 2 December– I was given a mention in this article. Registration is required, but doing so allows you to read 1 free article per month, or you can pay a small subscription to read more.
So in this long post, which I’ve divided into sections to break it up a bit, I want to:
For clarity, I have not been paid or gifted for my interviews or this post. This is just a topic I feel strongly about, so I was happy to take part in the media coverage, and all opinions here are my own. I also encourage you to research the subject of accessibility further, including the resources on The Big Hack, as there is no way I can cover everything, and no single person is a complete authority on the subject. I’m just talking about things from my own personal perspective, so I hope my thoughts and experiences are useful.
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!
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!
A summary of this post was featured in Scope’s blog for Anti-Bullying Week.
Today I wanted to look back at how my confidence has developed over the years, after a difficult start. At home it’s never been a problem – my parents are both visually impaired, so they and my relatives have always been understanding and supportive from the outset. But away from the family, it hasn’t always been as easy. I’ve also made a video about my school days which relates closely to this post.
Recently a friend and I went to see the new Star Wars film (The Force Awakens). The Star Wars films involve a lot of travelling across the galaxies, but we had a difficult journey ourselves trying to get to see it.