Tag Archives: Positive

Adventures at Butlin’s Bognor Regis

Butlin’s

Billy Butlin’s was an entrepreneur who created the British iconic holiday parks for family’s to have an affordable UK break, now commonly known as a staycation .
Butlin’s Skegness opened on the 11th April 1936 and was officially opened by Amy Johnson; the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.
Billy’s dream was to create a place for family’s to eat, sleep and be entertained which was also situated close to a beach.
There are now 3 sites: Skegness, Bognor Regis and Minehead, welcoming millions of families each year.
Some of the most widely known comedians, actors, singers, dancers and double acts have found fame because of Butlin’s.
Laurel and Hardy, The Drifters, The Foundations,Dez o’Connor, Cliff Richard and Ringo Star to name but a few!

A group of us had booked our 4 night stay months in advance, and having never been to Butlin’s before I was really keen to go.

A few days before we left I went on the website to see what we could do when we were there.
Clearly geared towards family I was blown over by the sheer amount of activities there were to do, which were all included as part of your holiday costs!
I was also happy with the accessibility of the website. The mobile version is not very compatible with screen readers, but after switching to desktop mode, I had no further issues. I flicked through page after page with ease and eager anticipation for the Butlin’s holiday ahead!

Our destination was Bognor Regis in West Sussex, situated between Brighton and Portsmouth. This was ideal for us as it was only a 2 and 1/2 hour drive.

Arrival.

The first thing Gary noticed was the giant millennium dome, meaning everything was under cover. Perfect for the unpredictable British weather!
The majority of our friends were there already and had checked in, so we headed to the Oyster Bay reception to ask for directions.
The staff were friendly and extremely helpful, and ended up giving us verbal directions to our chalet as they had run out of maps.

Our Chalet.

Being visually impaired and having a Guide Dog, we were given a ground floor chalet which conveniently had a large grass area, and bins right outside our door.
The chalet itself had a living room area complete with two sofas, a television and coffee table.
A dinning table and chairs were immediately on our right as we entered.

4 person table, two leather two seater sofas and a small tv

The kitchen was fitted with a fridge freezer, cooker, microwave and kettle.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that tea, coffee and sugar had been provided along with cutlery and crockery; perfect for a group who wanted to self cater.

Kitchen with microwave, kettle, toaster and cooker

Our bedroom was a decent size; homing a double bed, 2 bedside tables, a set of drawers, wardrobe and a desk and chair with a mirror above it.
The only criticism i would have would be for the bathroom, the toilet cistern took about 10 minutes to fill up, the shower cubicle was quite small, and didn’t drain quick enough so your feet would be in a bath of water, and having no window meant that the bathroom would be completely steamed up. On day 3 Gary found an extractor fan but it didn’t really live up to it’s name.
Possibly the most annoying of all was that there was no bathmat, meaning that the floor became soaked as you exited the shower or you had to use your own towel to mop up the mess.

A double Bed with white bed sheets and green feature wall

Wardrobe and window with the bed at the bottom

Dressing table and the door

Food.

As we wanted our holiday to be as easy-going as possible we paid for breakfast and dinner buffet style as part of our package.

After dropping our bags off we headed down to dinner to meet up with the rest of the party.
Not before going to the wrong restaurant and getting turned away because we hadn’t paid for that meal package!

We opted for the cheap and cheerful option and we dinned in the Coral Beach restaurant for the entirety of our stay.

As it is a buffet style food court you can go up as many times as you wanted.
I was very happy to find out that hot and cold drinks were part of the package and unlimited, the only drinks you would have to pay for would be fizzy drinks or alcohol.
Because the food court was so busy Gary offered to go up and get me an assortment of foods : chicken, new potatoes, veg, gammon and minted beef, not forgetting the lovely slice of cake for pudding.

Entertainment.

There are 2 main stages at Bognor Regis Butlin’s:Reds and Center Stage.
On our first evening the entertainment on the center stage would be Whitney Houston in concert, Ive always loved Whitney Houston so I was keen to go along. According to our brochure we got with our check n details it said that the performer would not be on stage until 21:45 meaning we had plenty of time to have a wander around.

We went into the local shop which was full of everything you could need for a self catered holiday.
However having the luxury of Gary driving we decided to head off to the local supermarket, less than a mile away.
We stocked up on the essentials; alcohol and coconut scented toilet roll!

Arriving back on to the parks premises Gary noticed that there was a closer entrance to our chalet, so we politely asked if he could drop myself, Ida, Lenny and Dillon off and then park the car back in the Oyster Bay car park.
The man on the gate was very accommodating, letting us through and saying he would give the heads up to his colleague on the other gate.

2 blind people, 2 Guide Dogs, a crate of beer, box of wine and a carrier bag full of other things made the much shorter walk a whole lot easier… See having a disability has it’s perks! 😉




By the time we got back to the chalet it was time to head off for the evening entertainment.
By this point neither Gary nor Lenny fancied it, so we headed next door to Lenny’s chalet for a quiet night.
Phyllis, Lenny’s chalet mate had returned from the entertainment saying she wasn’t in the mood.
The 4 of us stayed in chatting, drinking and laughing until 2Am in the morning!

You can find part 2 here.

Disability Q&A #17 Elin

welcome back ladies and gentlemen to my #DisabilityQ&A Series. Today we have the lovely Elin sharing her story with you.
We met on Twitter and I love reading her blog, so much positivity and great Beauty posts.
Now over to you Elon! 🙂

Tell me about yourself:

My name is Elin, I’m 18 years old and I live in the UK. I am currently working as a Trainee Community development assistant for the RNIB/Action for blind people and I really enjoy my job, I love working within the sight loss field. I have 2 main hobbies, one being music, I play a number of instruments including the piano, harp and guitar and I also like to compose my own songs every once in a while. Another hobby of mine is blogging, it’s a huge passion of mine as I love writing but I also like to share my interest in beauty and fashion with the online community whilst also attempting to raise awareness of visual impairment along with other disabilities in the hope of changing people’s perceptions of disability.

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

What is the medical reason you have a disability?

I have two disabilities the main one being my visual impairment, I have a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and I am registered blind Severely sight impaired.
I also have a disability known as Chronic fatigue syndrom/M.E.

Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?
I was diagnosed with RP when I was 6 years old and I was diagnosed with Chronic fatigue when I was 15.

Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired,
Sight Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?

Visually impaired or Severely sight impaired.

Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?

I have a cane and I’m currently on the waiting list for a guide dog.

If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please
explain why.

I think I would.

For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?

My vision is blurry but I can see some things. I am able to read large print on good days, I can see movements and I can also see objects when they’re not to close or not to far away from me.

How has your disability effected you?
Socially

It has affected me in A number of ways socially, I’ve felt socially excluded at times and I often feel isolated. As I can’t see people’s faces I can’t go up to someone and start a conversation and this is something that has affected me a lot. My Chronic fatigue has also stopped me from going out at times because I’ve been to tired therefore I’ve missed out on social events which has again made me feel isolated.

Physically

Chronic fatigue syndrom results in severe tiredness and weakness and can also make me feel very light headed meaning I sometimes can’t complete certain tasks because I’ve been too physically drained to do them.

Mentally

My disabilities can make me feel very low but I have learnt to maintain a positive outlook on life. Although I do have my down days I find it’s easier to deal with them as i grow older.




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

Yes definitely! I would be a completely different person without my disability, it’s helped me in so many ways and helped me to be a positive person. I don’t judge people, or I try not to, because I know what it feels like to be judged and it’s definitely not a nice feeling.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your
disability? If so, please explain below.

“How much vision do you actually have?” – when I tell people that I am registered blind/severely sight impaired some assume that I have no vision at all so when I explain that I do have some remaining vision they are curious as to how much I actually have.

What are the positives of having a disability?

In my opinion there are a number of positives, meeting fellow disabled people is a great positive as you can relate to those people and become really good friends.
Another positive is that you can help and inspire others who have a disability and make them realise that their is a positive side to everything, I love helping and motivating other people.

What are the negatives of having a disability?

Being treated differently within society and not being able to see certain things that sighted people take for granted.

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

Not being able to go anywhere on my own without learning the routes, having to depend on other people if I want to go places. Not being able to do certain things if I’m too tired or weak to do them.

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 sometimes for example if they’ve been moved.

*outside your home

Not being able to go somewhere spontaneously on my own, I can’t just hop on a train whenever I want to because I would have to have someone with me. Also not being able to go to unfamiliar places on my own because I wouldn’t know my way around and I wouldn’t be able to see to find my way around.

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

Label your make-up products with braille labels or with a penfriend, it makes finding the products you want to use a whole lot easier.
Keeping your clothes either colour co-ordinated or together depending on what they are.
E.G. keeping t-shirts together, dresses together etc.

Do you use Assisstive technology in your daily living?

I use a lot of assistive technology, I love Apple products because of the accessibility so I use VoiceOver and the zoom on my phone and laptop. I also use ZoomText at work which is a screen magnifier and reader.
I also use a number of accessible apps such as Tap Tap See, NantMobile Money reader, TextDetective, Overdrive and a number of others.

I also use a liquid level Indicator from time to time.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going
through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?

It’s hard, I know it is from personal experience but just know that you’re not alone. Living with a disability isn’t easy but you shouldn’t let it stop you from doing the things you love in life. If you feel like you’re struggling then it might be best to talk to someone, don’t struggle on your own, talking always helps. Don’t let your disability define you and don’t let it be a barrier,
I always say ‘no matter who you are, you can live a life without limits’.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?

Don’t judge people with disabilites, we’re not different to anyone else in this world.
Also, don’t assume that we disabled people need help because most of the time we might not need it and can feel a sense of discrimination if people assume that we can’t do things for ourselves. Even though we know you mean well and we appreciate any support it’s always best to ask before assuming that we need help.

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

My family and I haven’t used a lot of services for help but we have gained support from the Amber Trust, VICTA and the RNIB which we are very thankful for.




Where can people find you out in the world?

Blog : https://myblurredworld13.wordpress.com

FaceBook :
https://www.facebook.com/myblurredworld/

Twitter : @myblurredworld

Instagram : @myblurredworld

Email : myblurredworld@gmail.com

❤❤ Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed! I love and appreciate your honesty, sharing your thoughts that life can be tough, difficult and stressful but with the right support, determination and positive mindset you can achieve what you want to!
I also love that you have listed some of the technology that you use, and how to keep things organised! I’m sure lots of people will find this very useful! ❤❤

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

http://www.thinkingoutloud-sassystyle.com/category/disability-qa-campaign/




Mental Illness: Seeking Help

Mental illness will affect almost everyone reading this post at some point. That could mean you develop a condition like depression, or it could mean someone close to you goes through that experience. Whatever the situation, you’ll want to know how to overcome the issue and get back to normal. While medication is the right course of action for some people, most of us just need to apply some self-help. With that in mind, you should consider some of the methods mentioned below. At the end of the day, drugging yourself doesn’t solve the problem. It just stops you from caring about it quite as much.

Clinic Counselling Session

Credit For photo

*Picture showing a counseling session in a clinic between two women.*

  • Try talking therapies

Sometimes you just need to spend time talking to an expert to overcome mental health issues. That is often the case if you suffer depression or anxiety. You might have bottled everything up for years because you can’t ask your friends for help. However, there are plenty of professionals willing to listen to anything you have to say. Considering that, ask your doctor for recommendations for local therapists. You’ll have to pay for their services, but it’s worth the expensive in many instances. Once you’ve worked through your issues, it’s much easier to recover and become a happy thinker again.

  • Get yourself a life coach

There is a misconception out there about life coaches. Most people think their services are only suitable for rich people. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of experts in that profession that don’t charge the earth for their advice. A life coach will consider all your problems before designing a plan of action. They’ll uncover the reasons you feel down at the moment, and then try to counteract them. If you’ve tried everything else, you have nothing to lose. Just search online for suitable professionals and then read reviews. That way, you can sort the wheat from the chaff and ensure you’re dealing with someone with a good track record.

couple

Credit for source
*A young couple sitting on a pier overlooking a lake where two ducks are swimming.*

  • Improve your existence

It might sound obvious, but most people seem to forget they can make positive changes without assistance. With that in mind, you should sit down with a pen and paper and work out what you don’t like about your life. You can then come up with a strategy for altering all those elements. If you hate your job, you need to retrain and look for something new. If you spend every evening feeling lonely, you should register on some dating websites. It’s not rocket science, and you could feel better instantly. You just need to take control of the situation.

Using the advice from this article, anyone with a common mental illness could improve their lives. You can’t sit around feeling down and expecting things to get better on their own. You need to take decisive action if you want to recover. Of course, medication can help some people to get their head in the right place. Just make sure you use the techniques mentioned on this page alongside any antidepressant drugs. Otherwise, you’re just prolonging the agony.

#GuideDogDiaries Day 13

#GuideDogDiaries Day 13

Breakfast was still a little chaotic but I definitely think Ida is grasping the expectations we have for her.
This time she did stay in her bed while I was getting her breakfast ready but that was primarily because Gary was sitting there telling her to stay.
Ida clearly couldn’t contain her excitement because Gary shouted through to me that there was a puddle of drool forming on her bed!

She did speed through to the kitchen at the mention of her being summoned but thankfully she was quicker to settle. I gave her her breakfast and she scoffed it like there was no tomorrow!

I was really excited about today; this was going to be our first walk in our local area together!
Mikyla arrived and as expected Ida was a total whirlwind! She was ecstatic to see her friend again, However Mikyla deliberately didn’t show the same enthusiasm, she wanted Ida to settle and remain calm.
Mikyla explained that this was the process of her withdrawing herself from Ida, Ida needed to learn that Mikyla was no longer in charge, I was,. Because they have spent 3 months together training and being a companionship Ida was more likely to look to Mikyla for guidance and obedience. However when Ida was fully relaxed and content Mikyla did say a quick hello, reinforcing that she wanted Ida to be calm in a visitors presence, but also to make sure Ida was aware she had done nothing wrong.

We chatted about the events of the last few days, she seemed happy with th progress Ida and I had made so fa and happy that Ida was relaxed… Even if she was still jumping at the air-freshener! 😉

Our walk was short and sweet: we walked around the block only once.
We talked, stopped and repeated certain areas of the walk that Mikyla thought Ida needed more help reinforcing, for example indenting at the pavement. Not because Ida or I were doing anything wrong, but to ensure that Ida would indent enough so it was safe for both of us to cross.
Ida did fabulously by locating the up kerb; putting her 2 front paws on it and waiting for me to reach it, and giving the command forward before proceeding.

As this was our first walk together since we arrived home Ida was keen to say the least,: the tension on the harness was probably as strong as it had ever been but thankfully she did steady and slow herself down when I asked her to.




I was so impressed with Ida on the entire route, particularly when I got her to locate the bus stop, she did it slowly but precisely, and put her nose to the seat indicating that she had found an empty space for me to sit.

We repeated the approach to the bus stop again, and Ida executed it perfectly! I couldn’t stop grinning, and Mikyla and I both gave her lots of fuss for working so hard! 🙂
On the last stretch of our block route there is a zebra crossing, which Ida located. Even though I wasn’t planning on crossing Ida got a positive response from me for doing so; “
not today, good girl!”

This assures Ida that she did a fantastic job by locating the zebra crossing, however we were not taking that route today.
Training with any dog, especially a Guide Dog is all about positive reinforcement. Congratulating them on a job well done, and communicating this assertively so they will repeat such behaviour. 🙂

On the approach to our house I gave the signal to Ida to find it.

“”Where’s that gate on the left? Find it.”

She found our house beautifully and seemed rather impressed with herself for doing so,wagging her tail happily!
She got lots of fuss for working so hard! 🙂

Mikyla and i chatted through what we had just done and how pleased she was with our partnership, and Ida’s intuition for locating things such as the bus stop and zebra crossing.
Mikyla said she wanted to do the block a few more times, and in reverse too before she qualified us on the route, but assured me with our work ethic and ida’s enthusiasm it could be as early as Monday!

Mikyla wasn’t going to return until Monday, and as we were not qualified she did not want me to do the route, however she was more than encouraging for Gary and I to take Ida on a free run on the Sunday together.
This would give Ida a chance to let off steam, Gary and Ida to spend more time together and most importantly a chance for me to test Ida’s recall!

All in all a very positive day, I’m super excited about tomorrow: free run here we come! 🙂




#GuideDogDiaries Day9

#GuideDogDiaries Day 9

I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since my lovely pup was handed over to me! I am loving learning and experiencing new things with and about Ida everyday! 🙂

In the morning we set off for the same area as the day before to run through traffic awareness.
We covered the same routes and that darned lady in the blue car was still trying to run us over!
Ida was 100% responsive and did not get us maimed or killed: winning! 🙂

Because the morning was so successful and we were close to the shopping centre we decided to head straight there instead of breaking for lunch and coming back again in the afternoon.

We followed the building all the way around, giving Ida plenty of opportunities to steer me through crowds, objects and furniture.

Again I was totally in control of Ida on harness, Mikyla didn’t use the support lead and deliberately followed behind us so Ida would not get distracted by her.

Ida worked very well, listening to me every time I told her “over” “left” and “right”.
She really has been a joy to work with on harness and it’s great that she is very responsive to me now! 🙂

I only had to correct her the once.
A part of the wall had jutted out, and Mikyla got me to stop, tell Ida “watch” and “over”, if Mikyla hadn’t of stopped us, Ida would have caught/ walked me into the wall.
These moments are all learning experiences for both of us, and it makes Ida more aware of the distance between us and the inner shoreline.

Ida successfully took me to the toilets, overshot the cubicle, and when I pointed this out to her she shot in there as if she was the one desperate for the loo!
I even got her to guide me to the sink, handdryer and get me back out into the mall.

We met up with Adam and Hope on the last leg of the journey, and the girls stayed nice and calm until Adam deliberately tried to get Ida’s attention, she held off for a little while, but this girl can’t refuse a fuss!
So naturally I got my own back by distracting Hope! 😉
Once the fun was over we headed back out and towards the car.

Ida made us chuckle; asking her to find the car she decided to head off to the car parking space where the car was parked the day before, instead of looking around at where the car actually was… She found her way eventually! 🙂

The afternoon was spent playing and having lots of down time before we headed down to dinner.

When we first arrived she did try to commando crawl under the table . to pick up a crumb i’m sure… But when I put on my authoritative voice, she settled down very nicely and stayed relaxed for the whole meal.




Things I’ve Learned.

•Ida and I have a great partnership on and off harness, but her obedience is paramount when on harness.

•I too have to be vigilant that if I feel myself getting too close to inner shorelines or objects, a quick flick of the harness and “over” really works wonderfully.

If Ida is trying to turn and I don’t want her to and she may not have registered my commands, stepping right up to her head and using my body to physically block/ push her in the right direction will always work.

She loves finding things even when she is not on harness.
•She is getting so good at finding our hotel room door! 🙂

•She loves playing with me, and especially when her toys are involved.
I even have to ask her to leave her toy dinosaur behind when I put on her gentle leader.
I deliberately leave it near the door, (where I put her lead on), so she heads straight for it as soon as her gentle leader has been removed!
It is the cutest thing!



I cannot believe that it is our last full day at the hotel tomorrow!
I’ve absolutely loved being here at the hotel with her, but I am truly excited to be taking her home and settling her in.

All going well, mostly weather dependant, we are going to be taking our dogs on a free run and doing our first bus journey together! I’m really looking forward to it! 🙂

#GuideDogDiaries Day 8

#GuideDog Diaries Day 8

I can’t believe it’s Monday already! This week has sped past and i’m loving every minute of it!Even when Ida tries to be a little madame! 😉

Last night I had a bit of a scary moment.
At dinner we were not in our usual area for eating so when it came time to leave the cafe I became disorientated.
Not that I realised that at the time…
I ended up heading in the opposite direction to my room and tried to get Ida to “find the way” (don’t do this when your dog is not on harness).
She ended up taking me to a flight of stairs that went down into the bar.
I only knew this when it was too late and i dropped onto the first step. Luckily I caught myself and got Ida to stop.

I took her back over to where we were sitting and set off again.
Again, asking her to find the way.
The same thing happened again.
I will point out here that stairs have always scared me., my arthritis hinders a steady and smooth assent or descent, meaning I can lose my balance quickly, which can then end in disaster.

Ida once again took me over to the steps and walked down them, because I was still totally unaware that i was going the wrong way, I got a shock all over again, and I became very stressed.
Thankfully a member of staff noticed me and came over to offer help, she got us to our corridor and i thanked her and headed to my room.

It wasn’t until I was safely in the room that the terror hit me like a tonne of bricks.
I phoned Gary and started crying, saying I didn’t know how I would cope having a Guide Dog.

I’m truly scared off stairs, and falling down them. So much so that I was reserved about having a Guide Dog and having it pull me down the stairs.
I was so scared and unsettled I didn’t want to train with Ida, encase it happened again and this time one or both of us weren’t so lucky.

Gary helped calm me down and see sense, explaining that I really needed to tackle my fear of stairs with Ida, speak with Mikyla in the morning, and ask her to show me how to manage stairs safely.

I felt better after talking to Gary and gave Ida some cuddles, more so for my own comfort than anything else.

I woke up ready to tackle the day.

I spoke with Mikyla first thing and she reassured me that it’s ok to be scared and stressed, but of course with us both being disorientated Ida took me back to the same place a second time because she wasn’t sure what I was actually asking of her.
All of this is my fault and I took and take full responsibility for it, and I think once I slept on it, and saw just how much I had expected of Ida when she wasn’t on harness and I was steering her in the wrong directions, I would be ok to manage stairs with her as long as I was under the guidance of Mikyla.

I skipped lunch and spent time bonding with Ida, I felt terrible for my behaviour the night before and knew that this gorgeous little pup was the best decision I had made.
Also, not one to be defeated by my own psyche I decided that i was going to take Ida up and down a flight of stairs to ease myself into it, and put a lot of rigidity on the gentle leader so I would not allow her to pull me.
This was successful and made me feel more confident that I could slow her down, or even speed her up if she wasn’t going the right speed for me on the stairs.

In the afternoon after our walk I asked Mikyla if I could do stairs with Ida on harness and under her supervision, which she fully supported.

Having Ida on harness, on the stairs, especially going down, made the world of difference to me and my confidence.
She was far more controlled and because the harness Is a metal handle there is no room for slack, which gave me the perfect walking distance between us when travelling down the stairs!
The relief I felt was overwhelming and I couldn’t help but give my pup the biggest love and fuss she deserved!

Mikyla also said that there was other options of using the stairs with a Guide Dog and she gave me instructions on the different methods available.
I tried them all, but having Ida on harness was definitely the best way for me to travel on stairs safely and confidently! 🙂

As Gary rightly said the night before, i’m going to make mistakes, and doing it while on training is the best time, because I have support in the form of Mikyla to talk things through and find new solutions to each and every challenge I face.
This is exactly why I love him, he knows me better than I know myself and he brings me back to a place of sanity and roundedness! 🙂

The very best part of the day definitely had to be the morning, a day of my life I will never forget!
WE did traffic awareness.
Traffic awareness is when you and your Guide Dog are in a controlled environment, in the form of another GDMI, driving a car at you and your Guide Dog, and wanting/ hoping that they will spot the car and disobey your command to cross the road!

We did near traffic: asking Ida to cross the road right as a car is pulling up in from of you.
You give the command to go; “forward” and you want them to stay stock still/ plant themselves and not go.
I am beyond ecstatic to say that Ida did this perfectly and disobeyed me!

As Ida is such an obedient Guide Dog on harness both Mikyla and I were apprehensive that she would follow my command and try and move.
Mikyla reminded us that we needed to stay as calm as possible, use your normal voice, and if, Ida did move forward, gently correct her and say “no.”

My clever little pup didn’t move a muscle, completely disobeyed me, and shocked me so much that I actually squealed with excitement and gave her massive fuss…
Mikyla had to tell me to calm down haha, and we both laughed about it.

Because this was a controlled environment and Suzie was driving the car, as part of the traffic awareness she deliberately stopped and didn’t pull off straight away. Giving me time to ask Ida to go forward again.
Again she did not move, and i’m happy to report, I managed to keep my composure this time too! 😉

Once I had waved Suzie on, and checked all traffic was clear, I got Ida to cross the road. 🙂

One of our controlled traffic awareness tests was to cross a back alley where Ida’s view was blocked by a wall.
I was to tell her to go forward, and when she saw the car approaching she was to stop.
Again, if she did not, it was a firm no, but not chastising.
We want our Guide Dog to learn through positive
reinforcement, not negative reinforcement.

The other type of traffic awareness we did together was far traffic.
This involved crossing the road and Suzie meeting us in the middle. The goal was for Ida to stop us continuing to cross the road.
We did this twice, and both times she aced it!
Mikyla reassured me that Suzie would be travelling quicker, because she had to time it correctly to meet in the middle.
I will admit when I heard the engine go faster than it had previously I was a bit nervous, but I knew this was a controlled environment, and Ida was amazing!

The last type of traffic awareness we did was being vigilant of a car pulling into a drive. Stopping us continuing, even as we were walking at a steady pace in the middle of the pavement.
She did a cracking job, and I made sure the driveway was 100% clear before I asked her to go on.
This meant she was aware it was safe to continue.

In the afternoon we went back to a familiar area, where we have been doing our walks.
Ida took me through the town, full of human traffic and obstacles. This included bus stops, bollards, A-Boards, wheeliebins, parked cars and the odd dog and pigeon distraction.
She did fabulously!
We also did a number of different crossings including, side streets, driveways, 4 way intersections, zebra, pelican and split pelican crossings.
This was the first time I was out in the area without Mikyla using the support lead to assist me and gently move Ida.
As I had had some practice the day before in the mall, I was far more confident asking Ida to move over if I felt her going too close to anything.

This was also the first time i had done a split crossing with Ida and she did a brilliant job of guiding me!

As I had been getting Ida to move across a lot in our last couple of walks together she was very aware of keeping a safe distance from objects.
This just happened to include the pedestrian crossing button box.
With my little arms and legs I couldn’t quite reach far enough so I got her to come up to my side after I had positioned myself next to the button.




Things I’ve learned.

•How to walk up and down stairs using both the gentle leader and harness.

•What to do in each situation when there is near or far traffic.

•If Ida goes in a different direction to the way i’m asking, and she doesn’t register, then getting her to sit and doing a controlled turn works very well.

•If Ida is not sitting straight before setting off, and she seems to be getting in a pickle correcting herself, putting the gentle leader in your right hand and feeding it around your back, and then swapping back to the left hand will get her straightened up perfectly.

•Ida does not like to be benched: a battle of wills occurred this morning, and after speaking to Mikyla, she said to put her lead on, and this will snap her back into doing what you want.



After my wobble the night before it was great to wake up happy and ready to take on the day.

Ida’s fabulous traffic awareness, smooth and safe stair travel and then having a focused afternoon really reminded me just why this little pup is perfect for me and just how lucky I am to have her!
I’ve known her 5 minutes and I love her so much already! ❤

Bring on tomorrow, round 2 of traffic awareness! 🙂 🙂

#GuideDogDiaries Day 7

#GuideDogDiaries Day 7

With it being Sunday we were able to have a bit of a lazy morning, well Gary did; I still got up with Ida. I did manage to sleep in until 08:00 which was great! 🙂
We headed down for breakfast and decided to treat ourselves to a naughty cooked breakfast.
Because the restaurant is so hectic in the mornings we’ve been asked to leave our dogs’ in the hotel room.

As Ida has been pushing the boundaries and getting onto the bed Mikyla said it was best to bench her.
Benching is where you use a specific lead and tie it around a sturdy surface and attach the dog to it.
This is good because it meant that although the lead itself wasn’t short, it was short enough that Ida could not climb onto the bed, which is exactly what she tried to do before the lead stopped her a foot short.

When we came back we made sure not to give her attention, as to not excite her. After a few minutes I released her from the benching lead and gave her lots of praise for being good.

Gary was invited by Mikyla to join us on our walk. We headed off to the city centre again and headed for the mall.
As it was a Sunday it was a lot less busy than the previous day.

From a mobility standpoint I was actually quite uncomfortable and felt my right foot sticking right out as I was walking.

This was the first time Mikyla relinquished the use of the support lead, giving me more scope to really feel Ida and have more control of her while she was on harness. Unfortunately with my foot pointing outwards at an angle to the right this then encouraged Ida to slightly come across me meaning she too was going slightly at a right angle instead of being straight at my left hand side.
I had to keep telling Ida “over,” giving a flick of the harness off to the left and saying the command.
This made her more aware that she needed to be straighter and more streamlined, rather than following the angle my body was taking us.

Mikyla really insisted I do this because it is good for Ida’s awareness and cements her obedience.
I did feel guilty though because this was the first time I had full control of her on harness by myself, I really had to tug the harness to get her to move across.
Mikyla assured me it wasn’t uncomfortable to Ida, but it didn’t stop me feeling bad.

I did manage to bump into a man slightly and I did say a snooty excuse me, but I was quickly informed that he had tried to manoeuvre out the way but as Ida was so close, and I hadn’t made her move over, it was going to happen. Oops!

We walked through the mall and Mikyla said that we were going to head into M&S, a route that Ida had been learning, so I was to relax and let her take the lead.
We walked through the food and then clothing section, she moved me beautifully and smoothly. I was very impressed! 🙂
It really is great to be able to give them that scope to make decisions and let them lead the way. It enhances their level of concentration as a Guide Dog and shows us how well they learn and remember routes!

In the car on the way back Gary explained how interesting it was to walk behind and watch us together. He did say that he was unnerved at some points where it looked like Ida was going to walk me into someone or something, but right at the last moment she smoothly and successfully managed to guide me around the object in question.
Gary said it gave him a better insight into how important the partnership is between Guide Dog and owner, and how impressed he was with her focus and work ethic! 🙂

With it being a Sunday and both Adam and I having visitors Mikyla gave us the afternoon off.
This gave Gary and ida more chance to bond and have fun together.
I could definitely tell they both had a soft spot for one another! 🙂
It was perfect to see them bonding so well and Ida being so at ease with having Gary around, It makes me more excited for us going home next week 🙂

Gary left after 7 in the evening and because neither of us were sure how Ida would react to him leaving, I made sure to distract her with food not too long after he left.
They did have some playtime not long before he left, but I encouraged Gary to then get her to relax and settle down before he was due to leave, that way Ida wouldn’t be too wound up or overexcited.
I definitely think the food made a perfect distraction! 😉



Things I’ve learned.

•It is a big difference taking full control of Ida in harness in comparison to having Mikyla using the support lead and helping to keep her straight.

•Ida will follow the pattern/ angle of my body as I am walking,. so if I am having a tough day with my leg jutting out I have to keep her as straight as I can.

•Using the word over: giving the verbal command and giving the harness a good flick gesture to move over.
This was tough because I did have to put a lot of arm strength into it because of my awkward body angle.

•When she is familiar with a route, Ida’s concentration is at peek level and she is very steady and careful guiding me through all different types of obstacles.

•having Gary visit was actually really important for their bond and interaction together.
Even though they have only met that once, i’m hoping this will make the transition to going home much smoother.



I’m really ecstatic because I got to see Gary, have some quality time with Ida, and, having him be so calm and gentle with Ida,, and, being on board with obedience made me appreciate them bonding even more.

#GuideDogDiaries Day 5

#GuideDogDiaries Day 5

Today has been full of fun and new adventures,well aside from the 06:00 AM alarm in the form of Ida barking!
I know she isn’t barking to be naughty, she’s either giving the noise a warning or she’s unhappy about the noise.
It wasn’t until I spoke with Adam later on that Ida barking had set off Hope… Ooops!

Our walk this morning was in a shopping centre type building, Ida and Mikyla have been training there so it was a chance for me to see how pro-active she is when she is on harness and knows exactly where she is going!
We walked through a carpark with her stopping at each kerb even if it wasn’t necessary for her to do so.
She veered off to the left and walked through automatic doors. As it was indoors the floor was lovely and smooth so it made the walk even more enjoyable and relaxing for me.

She weaved through people, past objects and furniture, and when she got to the end of the route she went straight to the automatic doors and headed left, back in the direction towards the carpark!
I was seriously impressed! If this is what she is like on a familiar route, I cannot wait for us to do routes together in places I actually know!
She is such a confident dog on harness and i’m so proud of her work ethic and minuscule distractions!

Before we headed back out for our second walk Mikyla taught me how to tackle stairs with Ida.
You get the dog to find the stairs and she put her front 2 paws on the first step and waits. This is so you can find the step, step up and then judge the depth of the step itself.
When you are comfortable you tell the dog to set off and you use the lead to control the speed you want your Guide Dog to go.

On the way down Ida sat at the edge of the stairs and waited, this gave me a chance to find the handrail and stairs.
I then stepped down onto the first step and asked her to come when I was ready for her to join me.
Her pace was fine until we got to the last 3 steps, she decided to go a little faster, and as the handrail stopped 2 steps before the stairs finished this made me really unsteady and uncomfortable.
Mikyla said that this happens with all dogs because they get into a rhythm, and I am just to hold the lead firmly and tell her to steady if I need her to slow down.
She wants to make sure that I am comfortable and confident to use stairs safely.
I’m going to definitely practise with Ida more tomorrow. 🙂

In the afternoon we headed towards the area we have been working in previously, this is so that both you and your Guide Dog can tackle a familiar route together and it gives you time to work the dog.

For this walk Mikyla reduced the tension on her support leader giving me a chance
to really steer ida on my own.
it definitely felt different; there was more tension in the harness as we walked and if I needed to make her steady or pay attention I would do a small jerk of the handle, to add a bit more dominance to her through the harness.
This isn’t painful to the dog, it’s a bit like a friend giving you a nudge if you were to fall asleep in lectures.

I did have to do this twice.
Once because Ida walked me into a wheeliebin.
I corrected her by taking her back to the setting off position and as we approached the bin I did a flick of the harness and said over.
Ida is so switched on that she did automatically move over this time, but it’s good practise for both of us to remind her that she needs to be aware of our width together.

The way Mikyla explained it to me was that Ida is still learning our width together and as this is very different to the width of her and Mikyla, she is having to readjust.
This also happened because Mikyla had allowed me to take full control of Ida on harness instead of steering her gently with the support lead.

The second time happened when we were approaching a down sloping kerb.
Mikyla had previously mentioned if I felt Ida going off to the left or right, I should flick the harness and tell her to go straight on.
As we approached the kerb I felt Ida veering off to the left. I flicked the harness and said no, straight on.She followed my direction and then stopped.
I bent down to give Ida a fuss for listening and as I did so my hood slightly grazed a stone bollard.
The reason Ida was going off to the left was to avoid the bollard and get me to a safe part of the kerb to cross.

Mikyla said she had an inclination to what would happen but she wanted to see what would happen if I would correct her. Which I did.
Immediately I felt terrible, Ida was doing the right thing and I made her go off course.
Mikyla said that sometimes things like that will happen, especially in environments I don’t know. She said I did the right thing by correcting Ida, because I thought she was going wrong, and when it does happen just give Ida praise for paying attention and doing as she was told, even when she knew which way to go.

A massive highlight of the day has to be when Ida took me into the Co-Op.
This is a route she has been learning with Mikyla, and wow was she amazing!
She found he automatic doors, turned right as we got into the shop, found a smaller set of doors and sat by them so I could judge the width and tell her to go.
She then took me through thee aisles without me catching anything. She stopped infant of a queue of people until there was a gap in the crowd and she gently manoeuvred us both through the queue.
She then stopped just after,, by the Irn Bru was, Mikyla has been training her to stop at. And then I gave the command to find the door, and she took us out the doors.
She did it so gracefully it was absolutely easy going and relaxed!
I don’t think i’ll ever forget that moment. It was so beautifully executed; ida was totally in control and utterly confident.
I’ll never forget the calmness that fell over me even though I had absolutely no clue where she was going!

On the way back to the hotel we popped into Pets At Home for a nosey; wow they like to hike up the prices for things don’t they?
But it was good to see the sort of things I can get for Ida. 🙂
Also, we saw a rabbit that was flat out on it’s side and fast asleep, but it looked eerily like it was dead!
And another rabbit who had one floppy ear and one stiff ear sticking straight up!

When we came back I decided to groom Ida, i’m really glad she likes being groomed, it’s good to see her so relaxed and zone out. 🙂

At dinner, Ida was great. There was a few distractions but she listened to me when I wanted her to settle down.

Oh boy, I actually had tears streaming down my face when it was time to go back to the room.
The bit of the harness that sits over her mouth and nose had come loose, and because I was all fingers and thumbs trying to put it back on I removed the lead so I could put it back on correctly.
This was when she decided to wonder off and wouldn’t come back to me when i called her (she was only about 2 foot away but still). I had to go over to her, I tried to get her to sit so I could put the gentle leader back on but the combination of her being on a tiled floor and her not being interested she started slipping about.
I guided her back to the carpet and got her to sit. She was completely uninterested and thought it would be fun to collapse on a heap on the floor.
At this point I was already giggling, but that ramped up to shoulders shaking kind of laughter… I put the gentle leader over my hand and guided it towards her nose, just as I got to her mouth she stuck out her tongue and licked the inside of my hand.
I removed my hand and repeated the process, but she just kept on sticking her little tongue out every time it was about to be placed over her mouth and nose.
After she snuck under the chair I managed to slip it on.
Maybe this isn’t as funny on paper, but honestly at the time I couldn’t stop crying!
Even Adam laughed along with me, telling me to never give up my sense of humour, because it’s good practise for the future when she wants to be be difficult!

As soon as the gentle leader was on, she went back to good dog mode! 🙂
I love her cheeky side, her character is just brilliant.
Her happiness and cheekiness is magnetising 🙂




Things I’ve Learned.

•Learning how to go up and down stairs with a guide dog, I definitely need more practice!

•I cannot leave empty food bags on the bed and then leave the room: ida rips them to shreds!
Clearly the smell of food is far too tempting for her not to jump onto the bed and grab it down.
I think she thinks i’m depriving her of food!

•She is so good at direction and knowing our routine within the hotel she now knows how far away to sit from each door so I can open it to get us both through, not only this but she finds the door when I ask her to.
Technically when a Guide Dog is on a gentle leader she is not guiding you so you shouldn’t ask her to find things but I think it’s good practise for her listening to me, plus she gets a massive fuss every time she is right! 🙂

•She enjoys being mischievous but will snap back into good dog mode when the gentle leader is back on.

•She loves company but also enjoys her own company; every time we come back from somewhere and have had some playtime together she takes herself off to her bed and entertains herself.
It’s great knowing that she’s not needy and will come see me when she wants attention 🙂



I’m so excited for tomorrow, we are heading to a proper shopping centre, AND Gary is coming to visit!
I can’t wait for them to meet, I can tell Ida is going to be a proper little flirt!
And of course, I shall let you know all about it! 🙂




🙂

#GuideDogDiaries Day 4

#GuideDogDiaries Day 4

It’s the cutest thing waking up each morning, getting out of bed and Ida noticing; she comes running up to the end of the bed and wags her tail excitedly. How could that not put a smile on your face everyday? 🙂

She’s definitely more relaxed with me now, and has been testing the boundaries in the case of jumping up onto the bed!

I got a shock after turning off my hairdryer and hearing a jingling coming from behind.

I put on my stern voice and told her off. She just sat smiling and wagging her tail!
It wasn’t until I got hold of her collar gently tugging her towards the edge of the bed and saying off that she decided to listen!

I shared this with Mikyla this morning and she gave a little laugh and said yes, she’s pushing the boundaries to see how much she can get away with!
Funnily enough Hope had done the same to Adam this morning too!
I think they had a cheeky conversation the night before and see who could outsmart us first! 😉

The walk this morning was good, the bitter weather made me quite stiff but that didn’t seem to phase Ida, she is so in tune with slowing down when I physically can’t walk at her pace. I’m so incredibly lucky to have her.
I give Ida so much praise when she does this, especially because i’m not even asking her to slow down!

Later on in the morning Morvan from the health and well being team came in to chat to us about caring for our dogs’ health and how to notice behaviours in a dog when they are not feeling quite right.
It was reassuring to know that I can pick up the phone at anytime if i’m worried or have questions.

Ida was a total whirlwind when we first went into the room, new smells and lots of faces, I had to be firm with her to get her to settle, but when she did, I only had to ask her to lie down once.
It’s fab knowing that she is becoming really receptive to me. It’s a pleasure having a charismatic dog that also knows when it’s time to listen. 🙂

In the afternoon we went on a slightly different walk compared to the morning; full of lots of types of road crossings, pelican and zebra crossings and fantastic guiding through lots of people and street furniture.

Ida certainly had her business head on this afternoon, I could tell she was full of energy and really wanted to work.

She got big love and praise throughout our walk but it’s so rewarding to remove her harness and give her so much fuss and attention for being so assertive and hardworking.

The walk obviously hadn’t burned off enough energy for her because as soon as we got back to the hotel and I was sitting on the sofa she came up to me with her toy dinosaur: her way of telling me she wants to play.
I threw it across the room and couldn’t help but laugh as she sped of and skidded around the room retrieving it and having me repeat the process.

She got a little too excited because she thought the bed was another part of the game! The second she jumped up i stood up, cleared my voice, said a firm no and pointed to the ground… instantly she got down!

I can’t explain the feeling I get having that fun with her yet still having that respect for me that she does as she’s told.

As strange as it sounds i’m actually enjoying her pushing the boundaries and being mischievous; she’s always keeping me laughing!

I can’t believe it’s Friday tomorrow, time really does fly when you’re having fun!




Things Ive Learned.

•Ida thrives off working. I can’t put into words how happy that makes me.

•When finding a pelican crossing: Ida takes me to the kerb edge, but right next to the crossing button, this means I can reach out and press the button and wait in a secure place to cross.

•Ida is so tiny she can sit up straight while being under the table. OK not on her best Guide Dog behaviour, but it’s very funny, and not to mention super cute!!

•She is learning the layout of the hotel: knowing to sit at doors and wait, but also how far away she needs to sit so when it opens it won’t catch her.

•Loud noises don’t startle her: we had fire alarms and unexpected bangs happening and she didn’t react.

•Food is even more precious to her than I first thought: as she was scoffing her dinner, a bit flew out of the bowl,, she bolted to it and inhaled it before returning to the bowl to finish it off.
You definitely had to be there to appreciate just how funny it was!!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, we are tackling stairs and going to a different area completely to walk new routes 🙂

I hope you are enjoying our journey so far? 🙂

Much love, x




Blind Girl Hacks: Beauty Essentials

Blind Girl Hacks: Beauty Essentials

I’m definitely no beauty expert but I believe that any girl that wants to get into a good beauty regime should have these in their arsenal.
I feel it’s important to share this with you as it is going to be a good base for my next few posts 🙂
If you are visually impaired or blind and want to start experimenting with make up I hope these posts will be of use to you!

Before we begin, always make sure that you exfoliate and cleanse your face before applying any products.

🙂

Moisturiser

It’s important that everyone uses moisturiser, it keeps your skin soft, supple and hydrated.
Find a moisturiser that works with your skin type; normal, dry, sensitive, oily or combination.
Doing this Not only is good for the skin, but because moisturiser is the base for anything else beauty-wise going on your face.

Vaseline

Not only is vaseline great for keeping your lips moisturised, but it also has many other uses as a beauty product.
Which I will go into further in another post. 🙂

Make up brushes

There are several make up brush brands out there, and each make up brush has a different purpose.
Although, it’s not necessary for you to get lots of make up brushes if you are just starting out. But it is important to invest in 1 or 2 good quality brushes that can assist you with make up practice.
I will be creating a separate post of the different types of make up brushes and their specific uses.

A selection of makeup brushes large on the left and small on the right

Eyelash curlers

Eyelash curlers are a big must! in the make up world; Whether you have short or long lashes, using them will open your eyes up and make them look bigger and brighter

Silver eyelash curler


Eyebrow brush

This is another big love in the beauty industry. They are great for tidying your brows as well as shaping them before applying brow liner or mascara.
Eyebrow brushes are also great for separating eyelashes. It does this by individualising your lashes before applying mascara, and handy for running through the lashes after application to remove any clumping of the eyelashes.

EyePencil sharpener

An absolute must if you are going to be applying eye, brow or lip pencil.
They are so cheap, having 2 or 3 in your arsenal is very worthwhile.
It means you can have 1 for your make up collection. 1 for your travel bag and a spare encase either goes missing!
Tweezers
Perfect for when you want to get rid of that stray eyebrow hair, but also extremely useful for doing delicate things like applying false nails or eyelashes.

Cotton buds
There are so many brilliant uses for cotton buds:adjusting make up, correcting make up faux-pas, and brilliant for creating your own travel eyeshadows, or travel lipsticks.
You can also use them as emergency applicators. Or to create more definition.

Cotton pads

Great for removing make up nail polish and applying cream.
If you are travelling put a cotton pad on top of your powdered make up, it stops your foundation/ blusher/ bronzers cracking when luggage is being thrown around.

Make up wipes

Pretty self explanatory; used mostly for make up remover. You can also use wipes for cleaning make up bottles/ products.

Nail file

As of yet I haven’t found any other purpose for the nail file.
Keeping your nails at similar lengths is good for nail strength.
Only ever file in one direction, otherwise it damages the nails.

Nail strengthener

Sometimes your nails can become a bit brittle, especially in the Winter.
Using nail strengthener now and again will help improve the durability and length of your nails, especially in those colder months.

Nail polish remover

If you’re the type of person that wants to wear coloured nail polish, then nail polish remover is a must!
Removing nail polish before it starts chipping will not only help keep the nails in a healthier condition. Having chipped nails makes you look tacky.
Nail polish can become a bit sticky,, adding a drop or 2 to the polish will return it back to it’s original liquid consistency.
Keeping your nail polishes refrigerated will ensure longevity.

These beauty essentials can be bought at any drugstore. I would recommend doing your own research for your skin type. Buying a moisturiser that will work with you and your skin tone is important for any beauty regime.
Even though I am going to produce a post on make up brushes it is worthwhile shopping around to find the brushes that match your taste and budget.
Online stores, blogs, YouTube, magazines, reviews speaking with family and friends or going to a make up counter and asking to test the brushes yourself is always useful.
Remember, what may work for one, person may not work for others,

For those of you who are very new to make up, I am going to list drugstore products I use.. Showing You that you can still have quality products that makes you look and feel good, but you don’t have to break the bank to do it.

I am extremely fair skinned so all the products I am going to share with you are for my specific skin tone.

How do you find out your skin tone?

In places such as Boots you can have your skin tone matched for you by a specialist machine. The machine looks slightly like a handheld barcode scanner and is placed gently on your face. This will give a reading and the lady behind the counter can help you pick out make up that will match your skin tone.

Alternatively you can take someone you trust along with you and they can help you.

TIP:
Testing your foundation should always be applied on your jawline. If it blends in then you have the correct shade for your skin tone.

Depending on your specific skin tone starting out with nude/ natural colours is always a safe bet.

makeup paltte




***
Beauty products:
Foundation: Bourjois radiance reveal healthy mix in Vanilla.
BB cream: No7 Beautiful Skin BB Cream for Normal / Dry skin medium
Primer: Bourjois Air mat Vannilla.
Highlighter: Makeup Revolution London Strobe highlighter
Bronzer: Live Love makeup obsession London Bronze and shimmer light
Concealer: B.radiant BB under eye concealer
Contour Palette: Mua light/medium Bronze and sculpt
Mascara: Soap and glory Thick and Fast high definition Mascara
Eyeliner: Rimmel London exaggerate eye definer (250) Emerald sparkle
Blusher: N0 7 Pop &glow cream blush

Eye Primer: Makeup academy pro base eye primer nude
Eyeshadow Palette: MUA makeup academy Heaven and Earth eye shadow palette
Eyebrow Pencil: Avon glimmerstick Brow definer 093 medium
Lipstick Lip: Dior addict lip Glow color reviler balm 001 Pink
Lip Liner: N07 Perfect Lip pencil (20) Nude
Fix and hold Spray: MUA Makeup academy pro base fixing mist

it’s best to go for quality over quantity, and always try before you buy.

As mentioned previously, take a trusted friend or family member with you when shopping so they can give you their honest opinions as to what suits you.

Make up should be something fun you practise and experiment with, so just relax and enjoy it!
Who cares if you look like CoCo the Clown? That’s what make up wipes are for! 😉