2017 Review – My First Year In London

This Christmas marked my first anniversary of moving to London, and 2017 has been an amazing year. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a resident for a year already. But what an incredible year it’s been! Although I was already used to getting around the city from my previous visits, it was still a leap into the unknown in many respects to actually live here. I had no idea how well it would work out, how safe or comfortable I would feel, how accessible events and attractions would be, and how easy it would be to make friends.

But it’s been more than worth the effort, and I’m extremely happy with how well it’s gone, given all the friends I’ve made, places I’ve explored, new things I’ve tried, and the opportunities I’ve taken up. A year ago I never imagined that I would be doing many of the things that have transpired in the months since.

I’m also pleased that my blog, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages have had a steady increase in followers over the year. Sure, I don’t have big numbers compared to the bigger bloggers out there, but relative to where I was a year ago, it’s been a substantial leap.

And my goals for this haven’t been about the numbers anyway. Making connections, sharing my experiences and spreading a bit of awareness was always my aim, and I’ve been achieving that. It’s resulted in numerous opportunities and new experiences, including guest posts, a public speech (with another planned for next year), participating in a research study (which is continuing next year), being interviewed by a journalist, and more. My efforts have been paying off more than I could ever have imagined, and I’m loving it.

But above all, 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 & 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 and 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!

Continue reading “2017 Review – My First Year In London”

Building My New Social Network With A Visual Impairment

I’ve shared overviews of this story as guest posts on Scope’s community forum and the Nystagmus Network’s newsletter. Many thanks to them both for featuring me! And if you’ve found me via one of those articles or a social media promotion, hello and welcome! 🙂

On September 30th, I gave a talk at the Nystagmus Network’s Open Day about how I had been building a new social network for myself in London. It was my first time giving a public speech about myself, but it went really well. I spoke for about 15 minutes, then we had a group discussion for the next 15 minutes. It got a very positive response, and I got chatting to many people as a result of it, so I was very happy with it. And I’ve written blog posts about how I prepared for it and my experience at the Open Day.

So this post is a written version of that speech, and I’ve posted a video version that I filmed on the same evening. Both are longer than the actual speech I gave at the Open Day, as without constraints on time or length I’ve been able to explain things in a bit more detail. So the actual speech was a slightly more concise version of this, although 15 minutes was still quite a bit of time to fill!

Obviously my situation is unique to me, and everyone’s circumstances will be different in their own way. I’m just giving examples of the things I’ve done. The overall aim is to show that it’s important and worthwhile to try things that interest you and grasp opportunities when they arise, as you never know what will result from them. You may have to push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit, and I know that can be easier said than done. It was a challenge for me, and it still can be sometimes. But the more you try things, the more confident you’ll get, and you’ll soon start to reap the rewards of your efforts. Otherwise, you’ll always be asking yourself ‘what if’, which is never helpful.

So I hope you enjoy reading this. Thank you to Sue Ricketts and the Nystagmus Network for asking me to share my story at the Open Day, and to all those who responded to it so well.

Continue reading “Building My New Social Network With A Visual Impairment”

A Spell Of Good Fortune

Today, June 17th, marks my 6-month anniversary as a Londoner already. Half a year living in this great city has flown by, and it only continues to get more interesting and exciting as time goes on, so I haven’t regretted it one little bit. Things here have been keeping me happily occupied for a variety of reasons, which is why I haven’t been writing here frequently. But I wanted to catch-up on some of the things I’ve been doing, and that’s going to need a few posts to get through.

So here I want to talk about a couple of the gaming nights I’ve been on most recently, essentially as a follow-up to the Name Of The Game post I wrote back in April.

Continue reading “A Spell Of Good Fortune”

The Name Of The Game

One of the things I’ve particularly enjoyed getting into since moving to London are a variety of social gaming and quizzing events. They’ve proven to be a great way to meet new people, have a good laugh and get your brain working. They’ve all been easy and relatively simple games – I haven’t got into any complicated strategy games or things like that. Just events where you can relax and have a good laugh.

So I’ve been enjoying games with a few different groups, and have had quite a selection during this past week alone. So I thought I’d highlight some of the things I’ve been playing lately.

Continue reading “The Name Of The Game”