2019 is already flying by isn’t it? I hope you’ve all had a lovely start to the year. January for me was pretty busy, particularly at work, which pushed me behind on my blogging a little bit. But I’ve got plenty of things I want to post about.
So today it’s time for my first monthly favourites post of the year. They seemed to work out well during 2018, as they’re a nice way to summarise things, and I notice they’ve inspired one or two other bloggers to do monthly updates. So I’m going to carry on with them, and I hope you enjoy this latest post and video summarising my activities.
As usual, nothing in this post is sponsored or endorsed by any of the companies mentioned unless otherwise specified, and all opinions are my own.
Well, what a way to start a new month, with snow all over the place! Winter has seemed very reluctant to let Spring take over, but hopefully things will warm up in the coming weeks now.
And the cold weather didn’t stopped February from being an eventful month. Following on from my January 2018 Favourites, it’s now time to look through what I’ve been enjoying in February. And even though it’s the shortest month, I seem to have packed quite a bit in! So I hope you enjoy this post and video for February.
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! 🙂
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.
Harry Potter has been cropping up with some regularity in my London itinerary over recent months. Back in October I saw The Cursed Child at the theatre, complete with a touch tour on stage and audio description during the show, which was amazing, And shortly after that I did the Tour For Muggles, which was a very enjoyable walking tour around filming locations in London. And later this month i’ll be going to the British Library’s History Of Magic exhibition.
But last weekend I did something which trumps all of that in the Harry Potter stakes, by visiting the Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making Of Harry Potter. So in this extensive post I’m going to tell you all about my experience, including some of my thoughts from an accessibility perspective, and the merchandise I picked up.
Happy New Year everybody! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and that 2018 is a joyful and prosperous year for you. 🙂
This Christmas marked my first anniversary of moving to London. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already. And 2017 has been an amazing year! 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.
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.
And I’ve had a lovely Christmas to finish it off in style, so I wanted to bring you up to date with how it went and the various things I enjoyed. This is quite an epic post as a result, and I’ve also filmed a video that mentions some of the stuff here along with my general reflections on 2017 as a whole. So I hope you enjoy!
This week I finally went to my first concert since moving to London. I’ve been to a few musicals this year, but not an actual concert. And this was in arguably the most iconic concert venue in London – The Royal Albert Hall. I went there with the family in my youth for a Christmas concert, though I don’t remember it now of course. So going to a Christmas concert there this year felt like the first time really. And it was all for a good cause too.
The Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum is one of the most well-known and exciting museums in the city, because of the huge variety of fascinating historical objects it holds in its many galleries. So it was one of the places I was really looking forward to visiting when I moved to London.
I first visited the museum, and had a little tour of a few exhibits, back in April with the social group Thinking Bob. But last Sunday I returned to look at a room in one of their big exhibitions in detail.
I had chosen to explore the Europe 1600-1815 exhibition, partly because it’s easy to find next to the main entrance, and also because it had some accessibility features I wanted to try out. And this was a particularly good opportunity to visit, because I had agreed to be monitored for a research project.
A wonderful lady called Rafie Cecilia is conducting a very interesting PhD study into accessibility at museums for blind and partially sighted people, and I was only too happy to help her out, as visiting museums is one of the things I really enjoy doing. So I met her at the V&A and, after an initial chat to confirm my consent for the study, she attached some non-intrusive and comfortable equipment to me, before sending me off to explore while she watched discreetly nearby.
Hey there, welcome back for another big update on what I’ve been getting up to. As usual it’s been a very busy month, as I’ve enjoyed an audio described exhibition and theatre show, a couple of fun tours, events involving lots of chocolate, my first ever afternoon tea, a guest appearance in a special Youtube project on a football field, a craft show in a beautiful setting, a classic scary movie at the cinema, and more. So I hope you find this compilation interesting as usual!
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.
Hi there, welcome to my next update! My birthday month has been marked by a number of special outings, including my first meeting with one of my favourite Youtubers, my first audio description experiences at a theatre and a cinema, my first visits to a few places outside London, a park outing with a visually impaired social group, a music pub quiz, some talking statues, and a couple of other walks too. So yet again there’s a lot to cover here, with lots of photos and video footage accompanying it, and I hope you enjoy!
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