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Blind Girl Hacks: Top 10 Uses For Vaseline

Blind Girl Hacks; 10 Fab Uses of Vaseline.

There are some things in life which I believe every girl needs,; yes you’ve guessed it Vaseline! Not only is it cheap but vaseline is multi-purpose! here are just a few ideas that I’ve found Vaseline to be fantastic for! And as a blind girl, it’s a double positive!

Primer

This may not be an original thought for those of you who are into beauty and make up, but as an emergency Vaseline can be used as a primer! It gives your face the smooth and glossy look, while also moisturising your skin!

Fix Eyeliner

Whether you’r a pro at putting on eyeliner, or you are just starting out with experimenting Vaseline is a handy way of removing excess eyeliner. Simply uses a cotton bud with a small amount on the end and rub the thickest part of the eyeliner.It will remove it, without messing up the rest of your make up!

Teeth

Sounds a bit strange right? But applying a little amount on your top 6 teeth before applying lipstick will make sure that not only will your lips not stick to your teeth, but if you do have a lipstick stain it can be quickly removed!

 




Lipstick

Applying a thin layer of Vaseline on your lips a minute or so before applying lipstick will give your lipstick extra hold and extra shine.

Lipstick II

Not a big fan of lipstick, or just forgotten it?
Use a cotton bud or lipstick brush and add about a pea-sized amount of Vaseline to the tip.
Using your finger add some eyeshadow to the brush/bud, and gently mix the two. You can now apply your new lipstick shade to your lips.

Highlight/Shine

Add Vaseline to your brow line, cheekbone and cupids bow to give that highlighted/shimmer effect.

Makeup Remover

If your make up isn’t budging with soap and warm water, apply Vaseline to the area and gently wipe with a cotton pad. Be careful around your eye area!
Applying Vaseline to your eyelashes helps give a glossier shine as well as helps the lashes to grow!

Nails

Applying nail polish can be a pain, especially with limited or no vision. Make sure to put a healthy amount around each nail before painting them, it stops the nail polish from staining the finger, and makes the excess easy to remove with a cotton pad.

NailsII

Gently massaging Vaseline into your nails is a great way of keeping your cuticles soft and healthy! If you’re lucky enough to not get varnish on your fingers, use the excess to rub into your cuticles, instead of removing it!
Make sure your nails are dry first! 🙂

Perfume

Applying Vaseline on your sweet spots beforehand, such as wrists, inner elbow and collarbone, keeps the fragrance lasting longer throughout the day.
Don’t rub your perfume, dab it!

I really hope these tips were useful, they certainly make my life easier 🙂

Much love,
Sassy x




Honest Grapes Wine Festival In SOHO

Wine tasting at the Honest Grapes wine festival.

Last week Gary and I were invited to attend the Honest Grapes wine festival in SOHO.Gary and I are only really just getting into wine tasting and discovering different brands that we like.
My Dad is a wine buff and has taught me lots over the years, often asking me to “try this and see what you think” most of the time I wasn’t interested, but as I got older my taste buds began to change, with Champagne becoming a firm family favourite; especially around Christmas and New Year!

Needless to say I was rather excited to attend the wine festival .Gary enjoys being my guide for certain blogging events, especially if it includes food and alcohol!
I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend this event without sighted assistance, so it was good to get Gary on board and make it into a fun date day:)

After getting delayed with thanks to broken signals on the railway, having to walk half way around St Pancras just to get to the underground, and then having to ask for assistance and walking the 100+ steps up the escalator we finally arrived in SOHO.
Thankfully it was only a 5 minute walk from the tube station, and handy Google Maps got us there with no issues.

As we entered the building we were greeted by a lovely Chinese lady who informed us that the lift would only be able to take us up, so we would have to walk back down the stairs upon exiting.
Ida and I are becoming well versed in stairs, so I wasn’t particularly bothered about this.

Arriving upstairs we walked into a large, open, bright and white room.
The kind gentleman checked us in and even got a tray for Ida to have a drink from.
We asked if it was OK to bench Ida while we went around, just so she didn’t get under anyones’ feet, and he was more than accommodating, even offering to look after her on his table.

And then the fun began…

The first table we visited was Exton Park, an English Brewery. situated in Hampshire where the grapes are Grown in a very chalky environment which adds a distinct flavour to the wines.

We tried the Exton Park Brute first, this was a white sparkling wine.

We both thought it tasted very nice but as with most brutes’ it was Dry

You can purchase a bottle for £27.90

The next wine we tried was the Exton Park Pino MeunierRose. This was a sparkling Rose Wine with a fruity burst of flavour.. Out of the 2 this was our favourite.

You can purchase a bottle for £39.00

The second table we visited was the Chene Bleu- Vineyards, this is situated in the la verriere region of France.

The first wine we tasted was the Chene Bleu Rosé 2016. – This was a Rose wine with a silky smooth finish.

You can purchase a bottle for £20.90

The second wine we tried was the Chene Blue w 2010. This was a Red Wine,, I found it too full bodied for my personal taste. I’m not a fan of red wine as a rule and the taste made it a bit sour and sharp for me.

The third table we visited was the Clemens Busch- German Wine maker

We tried the Clemens Busch Vom Grauen 2015. This was a dry sharp red wine.

You can purchase a case of 6 for £122

The second wine we tried was the Clemens Busch vom roten Scgiefer This was a fantastic red wine, which I felt was not too full bodied for my taste. I felt that the wine completed itself nicely, by this I mean the flavour didn’t linger on the tongue or leave it dry. You can purchase a case of 6 for £122.40

Clemens Busch Marienburg GG The third wine we tried on this table was the Falkenlay 2012. This was a smooth sharp white wine that didn’t stick to the pallet..

The fourth wine we tried was the Greatest hits.

Grace Bridge Pino Noir 2013. This was a light fruity red wine, and affordable at £18.40 a bottle.

Luke Lambert Australian wine maker standing in front of a big barrel of Wine

The next table we visited was the Team Picks table.

Brownstone Winery.

We first tried the Chardonnay 2015. – This was a light yet Crisp white wine.

You can purchase a bottle for £13.80

The second wine we tried was the Chateau Trebiac Rouge 2012-. This was an earthy flavour but was a light red colour.

You can purchase a bottle for £13.40

The next table we visited was the Spanish Tapas table.

We tried a selection of cheeses including; goats cheese, very creamy but not over powering.

A semi mature cheddar which was crumbley.

A mature cheddar which was strong and smokey, with a bit of crumble.

A blue cheese which was potent and creamy, not to my taste but Gary thoroughly enjoyed it.

We also tried some cooked ham cut straight from the hoof, this was sort of slimy in texture but tasted nice.

I also managed to taste the ham wrapped in breadstick, this was very tasty, it gave the ham a good crunch.

Our final tasting was the semi mature cheese with a sweet jelly, this was completely ccomplimentary to the cheese, and apparently very popular in Spain.

The next table we visited was Fine Wine.

The first wine Gary tasted was the Mastrojanni Brunello Montalcino 2012 This was a Medium bodied red which stayed on your tongue for a while, not to Gary’s taste.

You can purchase a bottle for £53.59

The last wine that Gary tasted was the mirafiore barolo lazzarito 2008 This was the last red wine Gary tasted, he thought it was very full bodied and clung to the pallet;not to his tastes

You can purchase a bottle for £66.50

The first wine I tasted was the Cal del Bosco Annamaria Clementi 2007 This was a white sparkling wine that was slightly dry, but refreshing.

You can purchase a bottle for £89.70

The second wine I tasted was the Frerejean Freres Blanc de Blancs This was a crisp white wine, it was tasty but not my favourite.

You can purchase a bottle for £61.40

The final table we visited was the Australia and New Zealand Wines

We met the co- founder of Honest Grapes,; Nathan, who had just come back from a 5 month trip to Australia and New Zealand meeting young people growing their own wines. He was very friendly and clearly very passionate about his job and the company.

Taras Ochota a wine maker Nathan met on his travels to Australia and New Zealand

The first wine we tried was the Jamsheed Ma Petite Francine Cabernet Franc 2016. – This was a very light and fruity Red Wine, both Gary and I enjoyed it.

Nathan explained that most people who declare they don’t like red wines, do in fact like these, because of their fruity flavours, he was definitely right.

You can purchase a bottle for £19.80

The final wine we tasted was the mirafiore barolo lazzarito Another very light and fruity red wine, it was not full bodied at all, and we both found it very easy and tasty to drink.
You can purchase a bottle for £66.50

Timo Mayer another wine maker Nathan met while on his trip to Australia and New Zealand

Gary and I had a lovely day learning, tasting and meeting so many passionate people who knew so much about their craft. It was so interesting meeting the people that grew the wine, finding out their back stories as well as gaining more knowledge about how the wines were produced.

The only down side to the day was the public not understanding that Ida was a working dog and needed to be left alone. Too many people went over to her and gave her fuss that she became very excited and wouldn’t settle, so we ended up taking her around the last few tables with us.
She settled down instantly, but I do wish people would not interfere with her.

Before we headed out we headed back to the exton park table and tried the rose and brute one more time. The rose was definitely a hit for both of us, and it is wine we will be purchasing in the future.

Thanks to honest Grapes for inviting us, we had a fab day! 🙂

Accessibility 3/5

Getting to SOHO as a disabled person was a challenge, many of the train stations lacked lifts and had too many stairs or just escalators. The venue the event was hosted at unfortunately had a broken lift which only went up, meaning you would have to come down many stairs on your return.
As a wheelchair user this event would not have been accessible to me.
All of these things are totally out of Honest Grapes control.

Hospitality 5/5
The people that worked there on the day were absolutely fantastic, showed real passion and enthusiasm for the job, and were also extremely accommodating with my blindness.

Are you a wine lover? Would you attend a festival like this?

*We were given tickets for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Adventures At Butlin’s Bognor Regis Part 2

Butlin’s Bognor Regis Part 2

Day 2.

Breakfast is served between 08:30 and 10:00, we met everyone down at the food court at 08:45, apparently our group had been there from the second it had opened and was already on a second/ third helping!
There is a large selection for breakfast including: typical English breakfast, Yoghurt, porridge, cereal, fruit and toast with a selection of jams and marmalades.
I opted for cereal and a cooked breakfast, with lots of tea and fruit juice… Well why not? I was on my holibobs!

Gary and I both feeling rather tired decided to have a chilled morning and go back to the chalet, we may or may not have had a little snooze… Nope nothing at all to do with the late night and alcohol we had consumed the night before!

The Beach.

As the sun was so utterly beautiful we decided to head down to the beach, not even a 5 minute walk from our door to the beach front!
It was so much fun watching Ida attempting to run on pebbles, and not understanding why she kept skidding everywhere!
She was intrigued and nervous in her new environment: growling at the seaweed and jumping back in surprise…

In typical Ida fashion, 5 minutes later she was trying to eat it, and the many pebbles under her feet!!

A stony beach with the sea in the background

Gary managed to coax her down to the sand and shore; after running away the first few times as the waves came in, she then found her footing and bobbed her little paws in and out of the surf.

After a good few hours on the beach we were a little toasty so treated ourselves to a slushy before meandering back to the chalet.

Ida a Black labrador standing on a stony beach with the sea in the background

Dinner.

With dinner being so early at Butlin’s 16:30 to 18:00, our friends were already heading down for their evening meal.

So we decided to join them.
For every evening meal there is a choice of fish, carvery and whatever is on the menu for that particular evening.
I had sausage casserole, new potatoes, mash, veg and chicken pie. Oh and yummy chocolate cake!

According to our brochures the entertainment for the night was The Rat Pack, starting at 21:45, however after speaking with our friends who had been to see the Whitney Houston act, she started at 21:15.
So Gary and I decided to head back to the chalet to chill and get ready for the evening.

Entertainment.

We left our chalet at 21:00 and went in search for our friends.
The Rat Pack were already playing when we arrived, and we searched in earnest for our friends for a good 15 minutes before getting a hold of them and asking where they were.
Turns out they were back by the entrance … we had managed to walk right past them!

We were sat far enough away from the stage and speakers that if we talked loud enough we could hear each other, , perfect for a bunch of blindy’s like us!

The Rat Pack were truly fantastic. singing as a group as well as doing brilliant solo performances, even staying in character and speaking in a New York accent when addressing the audience.
I loved that they performed as if they were the real Rat Pack, Sammy Davis Jr tap dancing and singing the famous Bo Jangles.
The act finished with a audience participation of New York New York, a firm favorite on our table!

Although there was further entertainment for the last hour of the evening for adults only, none of our group fancied sticking around so we headed back to our chalets to continue our own little party!
Needless to say that it was another night full of laughter and alcohol!




Day 3.

Each day got hotter and hotter, we definitely struck it lucky with the weather.
We had been at Butlin’s over 24 hours and Ida was getting the swing of where she was going.
We got lots of comments from the public, including a lot of parents educating their children on not touching working dogs, and what Guide Dogs were for.
It made my heart melt every time we passed a young child or toddler exclaiming; doggy!

Breakfast.

For breakfast I decided to have a cooked breakfast, and even managed to fit in some boiled egg on toast!

On the way back Gary, Lenny and I discussed how disability friendly the staff and site were for people with disabilities.
The paths although not tarmac smooth were flat as much as they could be allowing those in wheelchairs, or those with impaired walking to get around with as much ease as a person with a disability can manage.
It was also great to see that there were so many families and carers enjoying themselves too.
Butlin’s really does cater for all ages, and fantastically supportive for people with disabilities! 🙂

Beach Fun.

After chilling in the chalet for a few hours we decided to head down to the beach once again, mostly because we wanted doughnuts, did I mention we were on holiday? 😉

A stony beach with the sea in the background

Along the beach front there is a selection of kiosks selling everything from many flavoured ice-creams to slushies to doughnuts.
There was also a dog drink station and a few pieces of gym beach workouts in the form of pull up bars, and tricep dips.
Gary and I both gave the tricep dips a go and failed miserably at life!
There is also a pub at the end of the beach front but we didn’t visit.

Deciding that it was doughnut time we headed back down walking past the shuttle train on the way, Gary and a little boy gave a thumbs up to one another as they passed us.

A long Blue beach train with a quite scary red lipped one tooth smile

The back end of a long blue beach train

Ida and I were sitting down in the seated area when a lady and her son came over to us and asked if they could say hello to Ida.
I made Ida sit and explained that when on harness a Guide Dog is working and I don’t usually let people say hello to her when she is working.
At the same time the lady echoed my little speech and said that she sponsors Guide Dogs.
She said that she and her son wanted to come say hello as they have never met a working guide Dog in all the time she has been sponsoring them.
She asked me how long we have been a partnership and has it made a difference? I started gushing about how much Ida has changed my life for the better and given me my confidence back, at this point the lady turned to her son and kindly said; that’s great to hear, and exactly why we donate.
She was a genuinely lovely lady and I thanked her for sponsoring Guide Dogs. 🙂

After consuming our delicious doughnuts and refreshing slushy we finally headed onto the beach itself, all the while Ida pulling like a mad thing and being very disobedient!
I had to give her a very stern telling off, and she settled down.
Clearly she loves the beach as much as I do!

Gary and I were keen to dip our feet in the sea, and encouraged Ida to join us… Gary threw a stone into the water and Ida chased it! She’s such a daft dog!

Ida running towards the sea on a stony beach

It was so relaxing standing in the surf and having the surf crash at our feet, what made the moment even more special was Ida running in and out of the water, splashing and kicking up sand as she ran along the waters edge.

Evening.

On our way to dinner there were a lot more “doggy” comments, and this time it was followed up by “yes, that’s a very special doggy. It’s a blind dog!”
Gary and I couldn’t help but laugh, I don’t think Ida would be much use to me if she was blind also!

Dinner.

You can tell it’s buffet style because when Gary brought my plate to me I had a selection of different foods: hunters chicken, chicken wrapped in cheese, meatballs with pasta, veg and new potatoes… Seriously what is up with this boy and getting me new potatoes everyday? I don’t even really like them that much!

Entertainment.

The evening entertainment on the centre stage was soul night; this was the night I was most looking forward to.
I am a huge fan of soul and mouton, that if they weren’t mostly about break ups and heartbreak I would have to have them play at my wedding!

The guy’s’ voice was brilliant, and no wonder; he was the voice coach for the X Factor, and now The Voice.After a bit of name dropping he carried on with the set.
One of the women vocalists did a beautiful rendition of a Jackson 5 song.It was truly amazing.
Apart from sitting in silence and absorbing that particular song, our entire table were dancing in our seats and singing away merrily to every song they performed.
For entertainment purposes I just wished their set was longer than 45 minutes!

You could definitely tell that the partying and late nights were catching up on us because we all headed back to our respective chalets and crashed out for the evening.
It was nice to have a night in cuddled up on the sofa watching TV with Gary.

You can find part 3 here.




Festive Fun At Christmas

Picture the scene;low lighting with live Cuban music playing softly in the form of a drummer and guitarist, and me in a black and gold sparkly dress with festive earrings to boot… Yes I was at a Christmas event. but this wasn’t just any Christmas event’ this was the MK bloggers Christmas party #MKFiesta at Revolución DeCuba!

Just before we walked in I admitted to Gary I was a little nervous but excited. This was my 2nd blogging event; my 1st blogging event was somewhat overwhelming. So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this time around.

BoConcept magazine,proper corn, stu's oven and cuban free drinks

I needn’t have worried Gary and I said hello to the girls who were already there. We deposited our jackets and grabbed a glass of Pressecco.

We chatted and mingled getting to know one another, it was great being in such good company

Before long we were piling our plates high with the scrummy food; calamari, chicken wings, shredded chili beef brisket, roasted peppers and spicy rice to name but a few delicious treats!

On the table each person was gifted 2 free drinks; Gary and I both opted for cocktails from their Christmas menu. I ordered a tropical punch and Gary ordered a a chocolatey caramel pudding punch.
I enjoyed my cocktail but sadly Gary’s drink was far too sickly sweet. We were both impressed by the food and the funky glassware our cocktails came in; I had a pineapple shaped glass and Gary’s came in a cool mason type jar!
I’m a terrible blogger, I forgot to take pictures!

Mitchel ness hat "Ducks"

There were about 15 bloggers in attendance so we broke off into smaller groups to sit down and eat. This is where I got to chat more to the lovely Formidable Joy and But First Coffee. It was great getting to know the girls a little better and chatting about all things blogging. It’s fun meeting others that share the same joys and passions as you… Time just flys by…

While we were chatting Sophie’s Suitcase came over and handed out the goody bags, and my gosh were we treated to amazing gifts and vouchers from brands!

Tub of lush hand cream, bottle of ale, £1 off stus pizza, BoConcept magazine, Ducks beenie hat, Zumba classes, ProperCorn and an open spa pass.

  • A cute and cosy hat from Mitchell and Ness
  • A bottle of Ale from MK BierGarten which Gary claimed as soon as he spotted it!
  • Gorgeous hand cream from Lush, now where can you ever go wrong with a bit of Lush?
  • A cool magazine and voucher from Bo Concept. if only I had come across this awesome company before I moved 2 years ago, I
    would have spent hours lusting over the furniture!
  • 50% off at Rush, I’m very much looking forward to booking my haircut in the new year!
  • A relaxation session at Flotation Life, Gary and I are still debating on who deserves this more..
  • Lunch for 2 at Maaya I’m a lover of Indian cuisine so I cannot wait to try this restaurant out!
  • £1 off pizza at Stu’s Oven; Gary’s favourite food is pizza, so I won’t be getting a look in there then!
  • 2 vouchers for Zumba at Fitness Milton Keynes, trying to keep up with a fitness workout when you can’t see is going to be entertaining at the very least!
  • A 120g packet of sweet and smokey chili flavored propercorn it was very tasty i must say!
  • A pot of mustard from Mr and Mrs Fitz, I’m genuinely excited to try this on some pork chops.
  • And not forgetting further drinks vouchers as a fab excuse for us ladies to return in the new year and enjoy a few more cocktails!

A massive shout out goes to  Revolución DeCuba for being fantastic hosts, all the fab brands who gifted us, and most importantly Sophie’s Suitcase for organising the event itself!

I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and I look forward to the next blogger meet up!

Tub of hand cream, bottle of ale, 50% of at rush and apple and cider mustard




Much love,
Sassy x

Are You Indirectly Discriminating?

Are you being indirectly discriminative?

The Equality Act 2010 says that indirect discrimination is:
“A practice, policy or rule which applies to everyone in the same way, but has a worse effect on some people more than others.”

Without realising it, we are indirectly discriminating…

How am I indirectly discriminating you may ask?

I will get into that very shortly but first I will give a brief explanation of what the Equality Act is.
The Equality Act 2010 was proposed as a way to combine previous legislation together to make a better stronghold on discrimination and support those who may potentially be discriminated against in the future.

There are 9 protective characteristics:
*Age
*Disability
*Gender Reassignment
*Marriage or Civil Partnership in employment only
*Pregnancy and maternity
*Race
*Religion or belief
*Sex
*sexual orientation
But for today we are focusing on disability.

Disability and Access to Websites.

The Equality Act at Section 21 includes the adoption of a single concept of the provision of a service which covers ; goods, services and facilities among other things.

While the Equality Act 2010 doesn’t expressly refer to websites the consensus has been that the reference to the provision of service does apply to commercial web.
You can find more information on the Statutory Code of Practice.
“Websites provide access to services and goods and may in themselves constitute a service; for example, where they are delivering information or entertainment.”

*****

Websites can be a double edged sword for those with disabilities. People with sensory impairments such as blindness may choose to shop online, but much in the same way shops/ buildings can create physical barriers, a website can present the same barriers.

Screen readers are software programs giving blind and visually impaired people a way to navigate computers, tablets and phones through audio feedback.
Problems arise when user interfaces such as buttons are not labeled correctly, tables are not configured properly and images have no alternative text. Also known as Alt text attributes.

Why is this important?

Imagine the frustration of browsing the internet and being denied crucial information, such as buttons with the Twitter logo only saying link, tables reading non stop from left to right and photographs only saying the word image.

So going back to the earlier question: how am I being indirectly discriminating?

By not labelling these interfaces/ attributes correctly, you are denying visually impaired people access to your website. Whether it is intentional or not.

So what can you do?

By adding Alt text! Adding Alt text is simple; when you upload/ edit a picture on your website, you should give a clear description of the image.
Example:
Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance

The Alt text reads “alt=”Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Likewise, if you are adding a text based image to your website, you need to include the original text of the image as screen readers cannot distinguish the writing/text.

Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you!"

The Alt text reads “alt=”Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Blogging and SEO.

so you’re a blogger and you bake a delicious cake, you’ve been told to include Chocolate Cake Recipe , in every image of your tasty treat. In order for SEO to give you better rankings you need to include the Title for every image caption, right?

WRONG!!

The caption/ tag area is for Alt Text descriptions. Blind and visually impaired users need to know what the image is about, and SEO will also penalise you for not doing this.
SEO sees this as spam. In order for you to get good SEO rankings as well as being lawfully abiding, your images/ photos should have a brief description.

Most blogs are being indirectly discriminative, and not just to visually impaired people. People with other sensory impairments, motor skill problems and cognitive issues may also be indirectly discriminated against.

If you are unsure whether or not your website or blog is indirectly discriminating, you can use these free tools below to check.
Please think about your potential audience before you hit publish.
Make sure your user interfaces are labelled correctly, images have Alt text and videos have a written translation of what your video contains, especially if it is a slideshow of images.

http://wave.webaim.org/
https://tenon.io/
https://www.squizlabs.com/general/html-codesniffer




 

References
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/employment-statutory-code-practice
http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/111218/smile,+and+the+world.html
https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/helping-people-to-use-your-service/making-your-service-accessible-an-introduction
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
https://www.w3.org/WAI/




Disability Q&A #6 Liam

Today’s interview is brought to you by Liam, a lovely guy who liked my Fb page from the beginning of my blogging journey. His feedback, and support has been invaluable to me and i’m very grateful that he has given me his honesty, as well as agreeing to be part of this campaign! 🙂 🙂

Over to you Liam…

Tell me about yourself:
Hi, I’m Liam, I’m 21 and a second year foreign languages student living in Nottingham. My big passions include traveling, goal-ball and meeting new people.
Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

What is the medical reason you have a disability?
>>>
Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?

I have a very rare genetic condition called Alstrom Syndrome which affects around one in one million people. This means that I was born with some sight but lost it completely within the space of a couple of days around ten years ago. It also affects my hearing–I am moderately deaf in both ears and wear hearing aids–and also has the potential to cause more severe health conditions.
Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired, Sight Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?
Blind, as everyone knows what it means.

Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?
I use a long cane which has red stripes to indicate my hearing impairment.
If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.
Yes I would because it makes certain aspects of life much more difficult, however there are benefits to it.
For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?

How has your disability effected you?

My disability meant that I struggled to make friends as a child however I attended a specialist secondary school where I was a boarder which made a huge difference. It has led to periods of loneliness but also introduced me to a community which I would not have otherwise found. Physically it means some tasks, including simple ones like popping to the shop for a pint of milk or cooking dinner take longer and are more tiring.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?

Yes definitely. It has meant that I have met people who have become lifelong friends, it has introduced me to a new group of people, new activities and new opportunities which I could not imagine having had I been born without a disability.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? If so, please explain below.
Two questions I get asked on an almost daily basis: “do you have a guide dog?” and “do you need to use the lift?”
Firstly I don’t have a guide dog because I am allergic to dogs and a little frightened of them, also as a confident cane user I don’t feel that having a guide dog would benefit me at all.
Secondly, No, I don’t need to use the lifts because, as I usually tell people, “it isn’t that part of my body which doesn’t work.” I find this especially irritating because I have a number of friends with limited mobility and they are never offered use of the lifts because they don’t “look disabled” even though they need them much more than I do.

What are the positives of having a disability?
That you are introduced to a community of people who you would not otherwise have met. That you potentially have a wealth of opportunities in front of you and that you never have to pay a bus fare!

What are the negatives of having a disability?
That some things take longer, are more difficult or tiring and that you have to learn to admit to yourself when you need help. I have always found it difficult to ask for help, preferring to try first and generally get myself in a terrible tangle. Whilst I’m not advocating getting everyone to do everything for you–far from it.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI /
disabled?

That things which I think non-disabled/sighted people find simple are difficult and challenging. For a long time when I moved to university I couldn’t operate the washing machines but didn’t want to ask anyone because I felt stupid for not knowing something so straightforward…then after a few weeks someone asked me if I knew how it worked and we worked it out together.
As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily / weekly basis that frustrate you?

One of the most frustrating things in the home is dropping things, or putting them down somewhere, and not being able to find them. If they have fallen into a corner or are in an unusual place you will most likely never find them without help from someone who can see.
Outside the home buses are one of life’s challenges. As so few buses have announcements telling you which stop you are approaching and as they don’t stop at each stop you have to rely on the driver or a fellow passenger telling you when you have reached your destination which is inconsistent and if you get off at the wrong stop you are almost certainly totally lost, hoping that someone will walk past who you can ask to help you out. Even if the drivers tell you when it is your stop it is still an uncomfortable experience because for the whole journey you are doubting whether they will remember or not.

Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another VI/ disabled person?

It might sound a little obvious but the best trick is to have plans and routines. To put things back where you found them and don’t change things around too much. Whilst this is difficult to do, especially if you live with other people as most of us do, it could save you a lot of time searching for things and getting frustrated with yourself that you didn’t put them somewhere easier to find.

Do you use assisstive technology in your daily living?
I use a screen reader and braille strip for most of my work. In the home I use a liquid level indicator when making hot drinks. I also use certain apps such as TapTapSee–an app which takes a photograph and describes the picture to you–and the various colour detection apps of which I find ColourDetector to be the most accurate.
What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?
It might be difficult to come to terms with at first but this is the start of a new adventure, one which will be exciting and full of surprises.
My second piece of advice would be, if you don’t have one already, get yourself a smartphone! They might be expensive but they will become invaluable because of the number of functions and apps which will make things so much easier.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?
Firstly, if you’re one of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who have helped me or another partially sighted person–whether as part of your work at a train station, hospital or supermarket–or as a member of the public, we are all truly grateful. Without your help life would be ten times harder.
In addition to that remember that we are just ordinary people, most of us anyway! I get called “inspirational” or “brave” several times a week and, whilst I know that you mean well, it does get a little tiring and embarrassing because I haven’t done anything to be “inspirational” other than lived my life the same as you have. Likewise people often say “I couldn’t cope if it happened to me” whereas in reality there is no other option, if it happens to you you have to cope.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?

I attended New College Worcester, a specialist secondary school for blind pupils, and also worked with Living Paintings, a charity which provides a free postal library service of tactile books and information packs for blind and partially sighted people. I have also used the specialist company Traveleyes, who provide holidays for blind and partially sighted people to realise some of my travel dreams.

Where can people find you out in the world?
Find me on twitter @liamgoalball94
On facebook at Liam Goalball Mackin
Or join my facebook group: Ask a Blindy

Thanks so much Liam for your very positive yet honest interview! I really enjoyed reading it, because you have put into words so many of my own thoughts and feelings, especially when it comes to using buses! 🙂

Please don’t forget to follow his links, and why not share the love? Leave him a comment, we would both appreciate it!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
Facebook

If you enjoyed this interview why not check out the others in the series so far?
Interview 1
Interview 2
Interview 3
Interview 4
Interview 5




❤️ ❤️

BritMums

Disability Q&A #5 Matthew

Today’s interview is brought to you by Matthew, he followed me on Twitter, and was very kind; liking and retweeting my tweets. Of course I said my thank you’s, and we began chatting from there. 🙂 He is a very lovely guy, and I hope you give him all the love and support he deserves for writing this!

On to you Matthew 🙂
Tell me about yourself:
I’m Matthew, 29 and live in the North West of England. Right now I’m a stay at home dad looking after my 3 year old girl, before that I stayed at home to look after my older son but he is now at school full time.
To be honest, I kinda hide behind this as a reason not to try harder to find work because I am afraid that I wouldn’t find a job as I have no formal qualification except for GCSE’s. That, combined with my visual impairment I find it hard to justify anyone employing me.
I’m not short of hobbies but I have struggled sticking to one hobby for very long. I enjoy gaming mainly on PC but as my eyesight has deteriorated over the last few years I’ve found this increasingly difficult. I attempted to take up twitch streaming to go along with my gaming hobby but as I lack any kind of discernible personality I was about as popular on there as a bunch of flowers at a Hayfever convention.

I also have a desire to learn programming of one shade or another so I apply some time towards learning that skill. Although it’s slow going as I suffer from bipolar and my thought process swings from invincible to useless on a regular basis.

Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

What is the medical reason you have a disability?
I suffer from a hereditary condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa commonly referred to as RP .

Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?
As it is a hereditary condition I assume it’s been lurking in there since birth but I was only formally diagnosed at the age of 7. It’s harder to pinpoint a start date for my mental conditions.

Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired, Sight Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?
The government uses both Visually Impaired and Blind when pigeonholing people like us/me but although my visual acuity is hand movements only I feel like an imposter using the term Blind as I do still have some sight. So I guess you can call me what you choose.

Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?
I have a cane but never use it. I guess for the same reason as above, as I have some sight I’d feel like an imposter if I were to use it, although it would come in handy in some circumstances especially when crossing the road to inform drivers of my condition.

If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.
in a heartbeat I know people attribute their personality or at least part of it to their disability and rightly so in most cases. Who’s to say that you wouldn’t have turned out the same or a better version of yourself if you had not suffered from your disability?I for one will never know but I can only hope that would have been the case for me. I wouldn’t have felt handicapped during my education or when it came to me finding work. I know for sure I would be driving and earning my way in society instead of hiding behind those I love. My visual impairment is only partially to blame for my feelings, my mental condition plays a huge part in this too. However, I find it hard to believe my mental condition would be this pronounced if I did not suffer from RP or any other disability.

For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?
For me, colours are not very vivid, so unless things are moving I find it hard to pick objects out from their backgrounds. In addition to this everything appears smaller and out of focus so seeing any detail what so ever is next to impossible. Reading is out for the question too for all but the largest of prints held ridiculously close to my face making it completely impractical. I cannot pick people of a crowd, even my loved ones of whom I’m completely familiar with, including my children. Once they leave my side and mix in with a crowd of children they could be anyone.

How has your disability affects you?
*Socially
I am very introverted. I do not take any pleasure whatsoever from going out and socialising and so have very few, if any friends outside of my family. The main thing I struggle with when it comes to social interaction is, apart from not being able to see, is the fact I can’t look directly at the people I’m trying to talk to. Sighted people use eye contact as a social indicator when communicating and I lack this basic skill so I find myself being ignored in a conversation or failing to realise when people are addressing me not being able to see who they are looking at. I’m sure this is something that affects most if not all visually impaired people but it is a hurdle I have never been able to clear.
*physically
I find myself using my visual impairment as a reason for me not taking part in a lot of physical activities that I used to enjoy such as walking and athletics. It also impacts my day to day life from simple tasks such as grooming and cooking to commuting and playing with my children.
*Mentally
This is where I feel my visual impairment has affected me the most I’m sure my underlying mental issues were there from the start as some people affected with disabilities and visual impairments seem to come to terms with them, adapt to them and some even turn them into an advantage. I have failed completely to do this I tend to focus on the negative in nearly all situations and I always find myself blaming my visual impairment for almost all of my shortcomings.
.
Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?
*Please give a positive example of how this has done so… Example: Not judging people by their appearance
As you have probably picked up on while reading my responses to the previous questions positivity isn’t my strong suit but I’ll give it my best shot. I suppose the biggest positive impact my visual impairment has had on my life is the fact I don’t rely on my sight. So I get to absorb the world in a completely different way to other, sighted people. I focus on how things feel to the touch and under foot as opposed to what they look like. I appreciate beauty in a completely different way, assessing someone’s attractiveness (superficially) by what they sound like as opposed to what they look like.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? If so, please explain below.
I think what can you see’ is or was the main question I was asked at school when people found out I suffered from a visual impairment. However as I try my best, for better or worse, not to draw attention to the fact I have a visual impairment I don’t get confronted with that many questions.

What are the positives of having a disability?
Free public transport is a boon as the cost of that is ever increasing. However unpopular this may sound, having the security of state benefits is also very reassuring as it gives the disabled a chance to live a reasonable life, if not living it up if managed well you aren’t poverty stricken either. However recently this has become a bone of contention in the conservative party as they have taken it upon themselves to change up the current benefits system and introduce a lot of uncertainty into a lot of disabled people’s lives, including my own.

What are the negatives of having a disability?
Although I previously mentioned this as a [positive, having to rely on state benefits for my income is a huge disadvantage. I feel trapped by them, they don’t offer me the freedom to look for work without the risk of losing my benefits. As a family man I can’t afford to apply for a job, get it, then lose it again after finding myself unable to manage the job and have to go without either pay or benefits in the intervening period. My family needs money to live and right now I see no other way to obtain that other than benefits. I hold those who suffer from disabilities, especially visual impairment and hold down a full time job in the highest of regards as I could only dream to be among them doing the same.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled?
Difficulties come thick and fast when you have a visual impairment. The smallest thing a fully sighted person might take for granted from making sure they are wearing matching coloured socks / shoes to having clean nails and tidy hair. To the larger things such as getting from A to B and shopping. Sure these things can be overcome with adaptations and the reliance on friends or family. But having to rely so heavily on other for everything make you, or at least me, feel like a burden on family, friend and society as a whole.

As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily / weekly basis that frustrate you?

*In your home
Not being able to find things such as my mobile phone or my toothbrush, as has been mentioned by some of your other interviewees is a major bugbear of mine.Along with identifying the difference between shampoo and shower gel in the myriad of different bottles that turns up in the bathroom thanks to my partners addiction with buying what seems like one of every kind on the market. Finding and identifying specific toys when playing with my young son and baby girl is also difficult and somewhat upsetting .

*outside your home
I find getting around using public transport very difficult, with my unwillingness to use a cane or identify myself as being visually impaired I find locating the right bus to get to where I need to be when traveling alone next to impossible, the same applies when using the train.

This issues raises it’s head when shopping too, I find myself taking the best guess when asked to go collect something from the shop by my partner and just hoping I have enough money in my pocket when going to the till as I have no idea how much anything costs as I am unable to read and unwilling to ask. So a white bread request from my partner is often a brown loaf of bread when it arrives home and semi skimmed being delivered as full fat.
Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another VI/ disabled person?
I wish I had a few tricks that made my life easier but the only one I can think of is utilising the talkback feature on my android phone. That paired with a bluetooth headset makes it possible for me to use the vast majority of the features of my phone either at home or out and about without feeling self conscious. Not all third party applications are compatible or take advantage of this feature fully but just being able to phone and text is a huge benefit.

Do you use Assistive technology in your daily living?
I use windows magnifier and narrator on my home PC and the accessibility features on my phone. Apart from that I don’t take advantage of any other assistive technologies although I’m sure there are plenty out there that would make my life a lot easier.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?
Find someone that can help you come to terms with you condition, weather that be a counsellor or your GP, a charity like RNIB or action for the blind. You need to come to terms with it and move forward with your life, don’t let it take over and dominate your life like it has with mine. It has held me back for so long, I’m 29 years old and haven’t achieved anything with my life. Don’t let the same happen to you. Look on me as an example of what not to do.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?
Don’t assume, don’t assume that people asking for the destination of the bus they are about to step on are just too lazy to look at the front of the bus for themselves, instead, if you know the answer, just answer or perhaps look for them. Don’t assume that if someone walks into you in the street that they are instantly a trouble maker, perhaps they didn’t see you and a simple gesture of kindness and a passing ‘are you ok’ might be in order as opposed to a hail of insults. Don’t assume that ‘if they need help they’ll ask for it’ because that isn’t always the case, if you see someone struggling, offer help, maybe they’ll accept your offer, maybe they won’t until you offer you won’t know.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?
I have sought out help in the past from specialist groups and charities in the past such as action for the blind but as I touched on earlier, I sometimes feel like an imposter and find it hard to seek out help from these charities. I feel like a huge burden on society as it is and don’t’ like to put on others. This may be my mental condition talking, but I can’t change how I feel.

Where can people find you out in the world?

youtube.com/whitecanegamer
facebook.com/whitecanegamer
twitter.com/whitecanegamer
Instagram.com/whitecanegamer
twitch.tv/whitecanegamer
whitecanegamer.com




Wow Matthew, thank you so much for opening up and being so open and honest with your struggles with your mental health, and the impact it has had on you as a person, alongside your visual impairment. It’s brave of you to do so, and i’m glad you felt you could.
I am always here if ever you want to talk, and i’m sure i’m not the only one who will reach out to you, once they too have read your raw and thought provoking interview.

Please don’t forget to follow his links, and why not share the love? Leave him a comment, we would both appreciate it!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
Facebook

If you enjoyed this interview why not check out the others in the series so far?
Interview 1
Interview 2
Interview 3
Interview 4

You are most welcome to subscribe to my mailing list so you do not miss any future interviews. For that I would be most grateful! 🙂

Thank you once again Matthew.

Much Love, Sassy x




The Real Batman

The real Batman known as Daniel Kish was born in California and had an aggressive form of cancer called Retinoblastoma which attacks the retinas, by the time he was 13 months old he had both eyes removed to save his life.

Kish uses a term he coined as Flash Sonar, more commonly known to you and I as Echo Location. Yes, the sound waves used by bats, . He does this by clicking his tongue to the roof of his mouth;each click creates reflective sound waves, bouncing off objects enabling him to discern what’s around him.

Kish says he started clicking around the age of 2 and has always used flash sonar to get around, he even refused to use a white cane to navigate as he believed it made him stand out to the public and made him look strange!

Daniel Kish set up World Access for the Blind in 2001, he wanted to counteract the misconceptions that blind people *can’t* do things, he wanted to eliminate the word NO in a blind persons’ vocabulary as he sees it more as a hindrance than a help to them. Since setting up the organisation he has travelled around the world and taught over 500 blind and sighted people alike how to use echo location/flash sonar. Although Kish is not the first person to use echo location, he is the first person to publish academic papers, and teach others how to use it.

Echo location works in 2 ways: our ears are conveniently placed on either side of our head, when there is a noise off to one side, the sound reaches the closest ear about a millisecond before it reaches the other ear. For example, if someone calls your name, it is unlikely you will turn the opposite way from which side they called you.
Secondly, on average, humans have excellent hearing. We hear much better than we see, think about it in this way; we can hear behind us, and around corners. Unless someone has a hearing impairment, a human will never truly be in silence, as you should hear your heart beating or blood pulsing in your ears.

Through his use of flash sonar Kish is able to ride a bike, hike and camp solo. He believes children especially are told “No” too often and aren’t allowed to learn their environment around them because someone always jumps to the rescue before the child “gets hurt”. Through echo location Kish teaches not only blind and partially sighted people who to get around safely, but educates the parent or care-giver how to relinquish control and let the blind child/person make mistakes and learn from them.

My Thoughts

Personally I think Kish’s World Access for the Blind is a fantastic organisation, giving people the freedom and confidence to get around. I do find clicking strange, but that’s because we’ve been brought up in a society that discourages any sort of blindisms that brings attention to the blind person. If you haven’t already read my opinions on blindisms you can check it out here. But, to me, clicking isn’t a blindisms that should be eliminated, it is actually an aid to get blind people around efficiently, and in the case of Daniel, very quickly too.

Would I like to learn echo location to use it out and about in daily life? Probably not, but that’s because I’ve been put off looking / acting like the stereotypical blind person. What i will say is: without realising it I have always used a form of echo location, that Ive called my sixth sense, I can feel the air/ density around me, and even when I could see I could walk around my entire house in the dark without bumping into things because I could feel the space around me.
I’m in no way an expert, because since losing my sight Ive frequently walked into things and crashed about, but I blame that mostly down to lack of concentration on my part. I walk much slower now since I have gone blind, so I try to keep up at a decent pace, and this is usually where the blunders happen.

All blind people do have spacial awareness, but I believe, like Kish, it’s a case of whether the blind person uses it to their advantage and hones in on it. Sighted people alike, can also use their hearing to gain a better spacial awareness, but I think they rely far too heavily on their eyes to give them visual feedback.
The next time you go to the toilet in the middle of the night, try walking in the dark. and not touching the walls, you’ll be surprised at how easily you can manoeuvre if you concentrate!

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings, but I do think Daniel Kish’s message is a great one, if you’d like to listen to his Ted Talk speech click here, I found it very interesting!

What are your thoughts on echo location? Would you learn it, if you could? I’d love to hear your opinions 🙂




Much love, Sassy x

Semantics of The Word Disabled

Today I was tagged on Twitter by Someone’s Mum to share my thoughts on her recent post. I was responding via Twitter and then realise I didn’t just have a little something to say on the matter, but something much bigger. And this is where my post began. Firstly I’d like to say that this is a beautifully written piece, and 100% spot on.

The language of words is utterly powerful, but peoples connotations of said words is part of the problem. I am disabled, but that is not all of who I am it’s a part of me just as my size is.

I use the adjective freely, because that is what it is; describing a part of me. People get far too caught up in the semantics of words, it’s literarily and linguist Dick meaning, but we as a society, we as the world need to educate one another. What one person might prefer to be called, might be different to that of another, but it doesn’t change The definition of the word, only people’s interpretation of it.

The dictionary definition of the word disabled is:
adjective
1(Of a person) having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities.
Which is clear cut, clinical and unemotional.

However, it still does not mean that people who are disabled are defined by its semantics and that only.It does however, mean that we fit into a category and description of a word.
Society choose not to use these words in fear of offending someone, yet these are the words that describe and define a part of who we are.
Words describe something, someone, a place, or a feeling: yet the same words are broken into sub sections, or collectives such as; nouns,pronouns and adjectives.
We don’t fear such connotations or literal meaning of the word capable, so why is the word disabled seen as negative?

We see the word disabled, and associate it with failure, DIS a Latin prefix meaning “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” “utterly,” or having a privative, negative, or reversing force (see de-, un-2.); used freely, especially with these latter senses, as an English formative:
disability; disaffirm; disbar; disbelief; discontent; dishearten; dislike; disown.

Inherently we believe it’s a negative , as a society were told its a negative. Semantics tell us it’s a negative.

So how do I as a disabled person encourage you to ignore The semantics and stereotypes, while taking into account the person who has the disability?

I continue with life, face the barriers and obstacles put in my path and bulldoze through them. You are a human, I am a human. Humans show compassion and empathy towards one another. What I ask is that you are vigilant of my disability, do not discriminate or undermine my capabilities, but trust and have faith that with the right support, Technology and education I too can achieve the same things you can. I may take the long way round, I may look strange when doing so, but fundamentally I am human, I am just like you.




Happy Diaries #1

Dear Diary,

It’s been a pretty amazing week if i’m honest! – What a lovely way to begin my first Happy Diaries entry!

The reason that this week has been so fantastic is because I have spent some quality time with my friends.
One of my best friends and fellow blogger ElzTheBelz came to stay for a few nights!
On Monday we went to Las Iguanas for dinner and cocktails: so yummy! And afterwards we went to see Derren Brown! I would never spoil it for anyone but if you like magic with humour and psychology thrown in for good measure he’s definitely one to go watch! Ellie and I have seen him twice now, and both times we left the theatre agok and astounded! He’s simply magical! *Pun intended!*

Throughout the week we caught up with other friends for lunch, and a catch up, and we also spent a day in town leisurely shopping and enjoying some much needed girl time!
Ellie was so fantastic at describing everything, down to the exact shade and material of the clothes we looked at!

As we are girls we couldn’t resist actually buying a few things, as well as stopping off for hot chocolate and cake! 😉
I adore spending time with Ellie, we always have such a laugh together, and bring out the best in each other, exactly what I think you need in a friend! 🙂

Gary and I went to a friends’ for a dinner party! There was 10 of us and the Chef cooked us a delicious 3 course meal, which was then topped off with delicious brownies cooked by another friend!
Our friend the Chef got rather drunk towards the end of the night and kept the entire group laughing and joking with (and maybe) at him too!
Gary and I both had a wonderful evening with great food and fantastic company! What more could you ask for?

I’ve had a fabulous week, and although it was an unusually for me this week, it was great to be around so many friends!




Looking forward to seeing what the week ahead has in store for me!

Much love, Sassy x