Tag Archives: Wheelchair

Disability Q&A #20 Angela Mills

Welcome back ladies and gents to another #DisabilityQ&A. Today’s interview is brought to you by Angela. I have known her since the beginning of my blogging journey, and I learnt a lot from her about adrenal insufficiency, back when her blog was called Days In Bed.

 

I’m really happy she wanted to take part in my series, now she can educate you lovely lot on her condition, far better than I ever could.

Tell me about yourself

Hi ,My name is Angela Milnes. I’m 33 years old. I live in Lancashire, United Kingdom, I’m a full time mum and professional blogger.I love researching my family tree and finding bargains.

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

Yes sure.

What is the medical reason you have a disability?

I have a diagnosis of Adrenal Insufficiency, Human Growth hormone deficiency and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Have you had your disability from birth?

No I became unwell in 2013, a week after my wedding.

Do you refer to yourself as a person with a disability? If not, why not?

Yes. I am unable to do the same as a normal healthy person.

Do you tell others about your disability? Or do you prefer to keep that to yourself until you are comfortable with the person knowing?

Yes I tell people about my disability and health issues. I often share on social media and on my blog theinspirationedit.com I also have been published 5 times on The Mighty.

Do you use any mobility AIDS such as a wheelchair or walking stick?

My illness fluctuates and I have a wheelchair and a walking stick and my needs and abilities change from day to day.




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

Of course. It is not fun being unwell and feeling so sick and I would not wish it upon anyone.

For those who do not know much about your disability how does it affect your mobility?

Adrenal Insufficiency can make me feel sick and dizzy. I get weak muscles and sometimes I cannot stand or walk.

How has your disability effected you?

*Socially

I can be isolated a lot when stuck in the home or bed bound and so I try to socialise via internet. This is my main source of socialising.

*physically

I can no longer exercise or do things like healthy people. I don’t walk my child to school as it drains too much energy and I have to limit and pace everything I do to manage myself the best I can.

*Mentally

Being unwell can make me feel anxious and upset, especially when I get really weak. I can get brain fog and feel confused and upset and that can lead to feeling stressed out.

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

Well it’s helped me to speak out and talk about my difficulties and become an advocate for health and disability. I think being unwell has also given me empathy for others and understanding. I have more sensitivity to others who have conditions as I know what it is like.

*Please give a positive example of how this has done so…

Well, I have a friend who’s daughter has Chronic Fatigue and I Understand what it is like and can relate to how hard it is for my friend as a carer for her child.

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

Some people ask me when I will get better. I have a chronic condition and although there will be improvements in my health I will always have to manage and live with the health issues I have.

What are the positives of having a disability?

Well the one positive that came from my disabilities and health issues is my blog. I speak out about the condition and have built a small online space which I love to use. I don’t think I would have done this without having illness.

What are the negatives of having a disability?

There are many, the inability to do things I used to do and the way it impacts on my abilities as a mother.

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

Being able to go places on my own. I often need my husband with me incase I have an adrenal crisis.

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

*In your home

I get frustrated when I feel sick and too tired to do anything. I often want to be productive and have to take time out to rest.

*outside your home

Well I really don’t get out and about too much. When I do, I often get tired afterwards and suffer for it but some outings are worth it.

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

Just learning to pace and stop and rest when you need to. I think pacing and getting a good amount of sleep is really important.

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

To learn what you can and instead of fighting the disability learn to adapt and live with it.

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

maybe just to be more understanding of chronic conditions. So many people say to me “it’s great to see you better” but the reality is i’m never really better, i’m just getting by.

Also I get nasty looks a lot when I park in a disabled park. Just because my condition is invisible does not mean I am not disabled.

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

Not really. There are not many groups for my condition in the UK but I found support and people with my illness on Facebook and that has really helped me to learn.

Where can people find you out in the world?
*Blog https://www.theinspirationedit.com/
*YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2pXbt6jyS8iM4plsTFtNyA
*FaceBookhttps://www.facebook.com/theinspirationedit/
*Twitter https://twitter.com/Inspire_Edit
*Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/102124377100011897038
*Instagram https://www.instagram.com/theinspirationedit/
*Pintrest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/inspirationedit/
*Email angela@daysinbed.com

❤❤ Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed Angela! ❤ ❤

I hope that my readers got as much value as I did from your Q&A

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/




How to Rock Your Disability

When you’re dealing with a disability, many people will say ‘don’t let your disability define you’. Well, that’s easier said than done, because your disability does somewhat define you. But, it doesn’t have to destroy you. There may be certain things that you’re unable to by yourself or unable to do period. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying life. In fact, many people have achieved amazing things because of their disability. Take Jim Abbott for instance – a major league baseball player with a deformed right arm. If you’re ready to take the world by storm, here’s how to do it.

Quote in the coulds I have within me all the dreams in the world
Flickr

Don’t Be Afraid to Dream
Your disability may hinder you in some ways, but dreaming of the future is still important. It’s also important to recognise that dreams can evolve. So, if you dreamt of doing something or being someone when you were younger but your disability means you can’t reach that goal, keep dreaming. For example, if you dreamed of becoming a ballerina but you haven’t got full use of your legs, you can still join wheelchair dance classes, and perhaps dream about opening a dance school for disabled children in the future. Try creating a dream board for inspiration. Your possibilities are never completely burnt out.

You Are Not Your Weakness
In fact, a disability isn’t a weakness at all. If you’re willing to look at it from a different perspective, your disability could be your biggest strength. Thankfully, there are many new and innovative disability aids that will allow you to have as much independence in life as possible. One of the biggest challenges for people with disabilities is dealing with the views of others. You may be as positive as you can be about your disability, only to run into someone who treats you like a child or see’s you as nothing more than a disability. In these circumstances, you have to be the most confident person in the room and assert your independence. Show people how smart and beautiful you are. Every time you do, you become an advocate for every other person suffering with a disability.

A lady looking at the camera Eating an Apple
Flickr

Live a Healthy Lifestyle
When you have to live with a disability, there will undoubtedly be times where you feel like giving up. You may suffer with bouts of depression and anxiety and you may not want to make the effort to look after yourself. You may even turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the way you feel about your body and your life. If you need help recovering from drug and alcohol abuse, visit www.orlandorecovery.com/ and get some support. It’s also important to have a healthy diet and get as much exercise and fresh air as possible. All three of those things contribute to good mental health and encourage a good mood. If you’re living with a disability, taking good care of yourself is vital.

Know Your Limits
Pushing yourself to reach your goals and striving for independence is wonderful. But, there will be times when you need help. No man is an island. It’s okay to ask for help when you know you need it. If you push yourself too hard, you could damage your health and risk the plans you have in store for your future. When it comes to stress, you’re just like everyone else. Make sure you take well-earned breaks on a regular basis. It’s also beneficial to develop a good support network of family, friends and medical professionals. That way, when you’re really in need of some help, you have plenty of people to rely upon.

Picture of a glass with the quote because the glass really is half full

Flickr

Think Positively

Stephen Hawking once said, ‘Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically’. Sometimes, the first thing you need to do in order to live positively is to accept your disability. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with it and that’s that. But, that doesn’t mean the world has to be full of doom and gloom. It would be easy for you to become negative because of what you have to live with, but that’s not what you want, is it? Here are some tips on positive thinking – http://www.success.com/article/7-practical-tips-to-achieve-a-positive-mindset. Do your best to stay positive, even in the midst of hopelessness. Let your personality shine brighter than your disability and forgive anyone that offends you.

As a disabled person, you’re faced with something that can seem almost impossible. But, don’t let your disability turn into a mountain you can’t climb. You have what it takes to reach your goals, no matter what your disability is. Find ways to jump over your obstacles and always look for the positive in every situation.

Bar Smith’s Farringdon: A Tiki Review

Bar Smith’s Farringdon: A Tiki review.

What is the Tiki culture?
The Tiki culture can be traced back to a man named DonThe Beach Comber. He was Texan born but knew that there was a world outside of the states so he went to explore.
His travels took him to the rum centred Caribbean and South Pacific. He loved the laid back lifestyle and on his return home opened a bar to recreate his adventures, the bar was like stepping onto a Caribbean island and he made the cocktails to match.

I was invited to attend Bar Smith’s in Farringdon to try the Tiki menu, to say I was excited would be an understatement. If you know me, you know I’m a lover of cocktails, so I was very much looking forward to having a taste.

Arriving at Farringdon, which is wheelchair accessible, we headed to St John’s Street, just a 2 minute walk from the station.

Upon entry to Bar Smith’s there was 3 steps leading into the bar, with no accessible ramp, but once inside it definitely felt like we were transported to a beach holiday.
The bar was a large open area with tall tables and high chairs, alongside lower table and chairs dotted around the space.
It was very rustic and dark which complimented the Caribbean relaxed vibe.

We were approached by a member of staff who asked if we wanted a table for two.We agreed. At this point he said that he would go and check with his manager to see if my dog was allowed inside
I politely explained that she was a working dog and she is allowed in, but he went off to ask anyway.
On his return he had 2 members of staff with him, one being the manager.
They said that the dog wasn’t allowed in. but we could stay. Again, I explained that Ida is a Guide Dog and legally she is allowed in.
I was told that the dog could stay if I ate outside.
Needless to say I was not a happy bunny, and I explained this, alongside stating that I was here for review purposes.
Their tune quickly changed.

We were then sat at a lower table, given menu’s and left to it for a few minutes, Ellie couldn’t see a Tiki menu so we asked for one.

cocktail menu at the tiki bar

Ellie and I both ordered pizza: I ordered the beef rib and Ellie ordered the Hawaiian .
As we were here to review the Tiki, we couldn’t not order a cocktail! Ellie opted for the Navy Grog which alongside the was out of ingredients, so we both went for the XOXO, very tasty indeed!

Our food arrived promptly and was plentiful. As Ellie and I are such little things we took our time eating the pizza’s, I managed to finish mine because i’m a fat pig, Ellie on the other hand did not…
It was a good 10 minutes after we had finished that Ellie caught the waiters eye and asked for some more drinks, the bar was very quiet, but staff didn’t seem to be around.

Beef Rib and tomato pizza

Ham and pineapple pizza

We ordered one more cocktail each, Ellie had a Pina Colada and I opted for the Tiki classic of A Zombie, they went down rather quickly…

Two Easter head style cups with ice and a straw poking out the top

We headed to the bathroom and I was disappointed to see that there was no disabled toilet.The toilet cubicles were small and the taps were quite high, this would not be accessible for a wheelchair user.

As we were in no rush to leave Ellie and I stayed for another 15 minutes or so, chilling and chatting.
The atmosphere was somewhat spoiled by a man climbing a ladder and fixing lights off to our right.
We left with our empty plates still on the table.

Although the food was very tasty and the cocktails were delightful, I don’t think i’ll be returning to Bar Smith’s Farringdon in the future.

Accessibility: 1/5
The tube station was the only accessible part of our experience.

Quality of service: 2/5
There were only 4 things on the Tiki menu, 3 of which being pizza, I originally asked for the salad but they had run out of ingredients.
Although the food was tasty and came quickly, the waiter failed to ask if we wanted more drinks, and did not take away our plates.

Hospitality: 1/5
I was made to feel very unwelcome because of Ida, even after I explained that she was a Guide Dog.
There was also a lot of confusion with regards to the bill, I explained that I was attending for review purposes…. I’m not too sure this information was passed onto the floor staff.

*I was invited by Bar Smith’s for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Disability In Fashion: Where Is It?

Disability in the fashion industry: where is it?

Back in 1998 Alexander McQueen was the first designer to introduce disability in the fashion industry, Amy Mullins a double amputee athlete wore a pair of hand carved prosthetic legs.
and strutted her stuff on the catwalk.
It was seen as a ground breaking moment, an industry renown for it’s lack of diversity and inclusivity were now changing the tide. Disabled people everywhere thought this could be the turning point for fashion and disability.

It’s been almost 20 years and yet here we are, a community of 13 million people with the spending power of £80 Billion still being left behind.

I’m happy to see that disabled people have been showcased as beautiful, bold and have a passion for fashion with more recent designers including disabled models in London, Italian and New York fashion week, adorning the catwalk, but we still have a long way to go.

Where are the models of diversity in our high streets?
Where are the designers creating comfortable yet stylish clothes for persons in a wheelchair?

Recently Nike released a new line of shoe designed to fit the feet of those with limited mobility in their joints, however this campaign only came about because a young boy with cerebral palsy wrote to them asking for a pair of shoes that he could wear and look good in.

Having a disability doesn’t automatically mean that style and sexiness goes out of the window.Every person has a right to look glamorous and feel physically comfortable doing so.

“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” Miuccia Prada

Fashion has a significant influence in today’s society, magazines, social media, television and online, it’s everywhere you look.


“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” Oscar Wilde

Celebrities campaign for, and in some cases against fashion, in the case of Elton John and D&G.
Influence has power, and power directed in a positive way can have a profound and long lasting effect.
So why aren’t celebrities and designers coming together and campaigning for an inclusive world? It’s not like they don’t have the means or motivation, money and influence; two things that make the world what it is today.

Designers should be creating the clothes, models of disability should be showcasing the collection, and celebrities should be shouting from the rooftops about diversity and inclusion.

Clothes are designed for the tall upright able bodied person who walks to and from work. But what happens when that same gentleman sits down at his desk? His trousers rise above the ankle, and his shirt feels taut on his arms when he is typing at his desk.

Now imagine that same gentleman as a person who uses a wheelchair? His strength and mobility may be strained meaning that he cannot roll up his shirt sleeves , so he has to deal with the irritation of stretched material over his arms,


“Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.” Alexander McQueen

There are many talented individuals who have created their own clothing line,wearable shoes and customisable accessories for aids, just to name a few.
However it shouldn’t be left to an individual to have little to no access to fashion that they need to design their own.
I want to see a world where a wheelchair user can go to a high street store, be able to navigate adequately, see a mannequin that represents them, and pick clothes off the rack that will make them look and feel great.
I want to see a world where disability is embraced the way race, religion and culture are.

I want to see a world where models of disability are seen as equal partners, and not a story of inspiration or pity.

I want to see a world where fashion and disability collide and make magic, standing united, coming together and create a long-lasting partnership

“Real fashion change comes from real changes in real life. Everything else is just decoration.” Tom Ford.

“This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader

Disability Q&A #18 George Rector

welcome back ladies and gents to another #DisabilityQ&A 🙂
I am happy to introduce you to a lovely gentleman called George, we met on Twitter and he is a beacon of positivity and warmth. not only is he a great advocate for people with disability, he is always there to lend a helping hand, or in the case of the Internet, lend a listening ear to anyone who may need it. I am lucky to call him my friend 🙂

Over to you George!

. Name: My name is George Rector. I am married to my best friend whose name is Sandy.

Where I live: I live near Orlando, Florida, USA (near Disney).

Occupation: I am a retired eye doctor. I had to quit practice due to my Multiple Sclerosis. I have been an MS Peer Counselor for about 13 years.

Hobbies: My passion is photography. My ability declined as my disability increased. I also like to read or listen to audiobooks.

Reason for disability: I have the rarest form of Multiple Sclerosis. I also have Spinal Cord Damage and am a T10 paraplegic.

Refer to myself as person with a disability? Yes, I refer to myself as a person with a disability. I don’t like the term handicapped, as I feel it is degrading. I despise the terms “wheelchair bound” and “confined to a wheelchair.”

Do I tell others? My paraplegia is quite obvious from my wheelchair, the elephant in the room. I am open about my MS. As for specifics, I share those with people as I get to know them.

Mobility aids: I use a wheelchair full time and have for many years. My chair is a small, titanium chair that is light weight and fits well most places. I don’t object to some stares, as I think that is normal. I do make eye contact and willingly answer questions from children.

If I could extinguish my disability, would I? For me, personally, no I wouldn’t. While I am quite independent, the disability shifts tasks to my wife. I would like to make her life easier. Otherwise, definitely No. I like who I am and the people I have met.

How does it affect my mobility? I have 2 things going on. The obvious thing is my wheelchair. As a T10 paraplegic I have paralysis below the waist. The MS adds to the mobility issue with fatigue. I think fatigue is the most disabling part.

How has disability affected me? First of all, disability ended my professional career. It affects the house we can live in and where we live. My last winter in the North I got snowed in for weeks, and my health suffered.

Has disability made me who I am today? Yes, indeed, it has. Aside from my ever present wheelchair, It changed my profession to volunteer. I have met many wonderful people. The 2 words I hear most often in Peer Counseling are “alone” and “overwhelmed.” At times I feel like that, as well. I try every day to brighten someone’s day, to make them feel less alone and not so overwhelmed.

Question I get asked about my disability? I get stares because of my wheelchair, especially from children. I get asked what happened? Children get an answer; adults who are strangers get a farfetched story. I like to explain to children and will demonstrate my titanium chair to anyone who asks.

Positives of a disability: 2 things come to mind. First, it makes me think, figure things out, think about who I am and how I can help someone. Second, I have met some wonderful people. I met wonderful people before disability, but this is different. There is a bond, a sense of helping one another get through a rough time.

Negatives of disability: Again, 2 things. It places an added share of the load on my wife, and it dictates the type of house we can live in. The huge negative is the added expense. The costs of a disability are staggering

A difficulty for me being disabled: The worse thing is being down here when the rest of the people are up there. In a group, people stand and look at each other when talking. The sound literally goes over my head. It is isolating

What frustrates me? I deal with my wheelchair and the things I need because of my MS. The frustrations come with attitudes, terms “wheelchair bound” and “confined.” There is no duct tape binding me, and my mommy isn’t making me sit in a corner.

Tips for others: For dealing with paraplegic, I’d like to pass along the 2 basic rules. Call ahead to make sure where you’re going is accessible, and use the bathroom before you leave home. For dealing with MS, remember that there are many things. Vision is one of them. Don’t settle. Learn about large print, magnifiers, reading glasses with prism, proper tint for your needs.

Assistive technology? I have reading glasses that are more than just magnifiers. Tinted lenses to manage light. E-readers to control the print size, and audiobooks. Of course, there is my wheelchair. A custom, ultra light weight wheelchair is a prosthetic body.

Advice to someone newly diagnosed: Much of my work with MS has been talking with those who are newly diagnosed. Ask questions; read; don’t trust feel good stories (crip porn) on TV but get information from sources like National MS Society, United Spinal, NFB, etc.

Advice to the person with no disability: Remember that the person you encounter who has a disability is a person. Not a wheelchair; not a white cane; a real person who loves and can be loved; a person with interests and passions; a father or mother; a doctor; or even a blogger!

Special services I use: I volunteer with the National MS Society, and I get more back from volunteering than what I put in. The MS Foundation is good, also. I’d also recommend the Low Vision Section of the American Optometric Association.

Where can you find me? If after all this anyone wants to find me, I’d be honored.
My blog is Popping Wheelies. It is everything you’ve ever wondered about someone who lives life on wheels, and more. www.poppingwheelies.wordpress.com
Twitter: @grector71
Instagram:Grector71
Facebook: George Rector
LinkedIN: George Rector
Email: grector71@gmail.com or george.rector@nmss.org

Anything that I’d like to add: I’d like to thank Sassy for all she does for so many people. And I’d like to get in another plug for my blog, Popping Wheelies!

Thank you!!!!!

❤❤ Thank you so much George, I love that you see your disability as a positive, and the way it has impacted your life and meeting new people. I think like you, for the most part, we would love to change our disability for our loved ones, for all the times they have had to go the extra mile, or change plans because something wasn’t accessible when it should have been. Also, I really love your blog and I think everyone should check it out!❤️❤️ ❤❤

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/




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.




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.

Spring Staycation For Those With Disabilities

With recent unrest and Brexit on the horizon, a holiday in the UK is looking like an attractive option this year. There has been a recent rise in the ‘staycation’ due to economic reasons, but though you may not have to change your sterling into another currency, a staycation still requires a little organisation, especially if your holiday needs to include accessible elements.
Though many would assume sharing a language would make everything infinitely easier (which it does) there are other elements of a mainly meteorological nature, to overcome. The UK has many fantastic locations for every sort of holiday you can imagine, from the picturesque West Country to the action packed Lake District. Though as with most things in life, planning is key.
While the UK is making great efforts towards being more inclusive, accessible for one hotel means wider door frames and a lack of steps, while what you really need is specially adapted facilities and a hoist. Ensuring that you are getting what you expect is mainly down to clear and open communication from the start and at every element of your trip.
Not only is accommodation vital to your trip, but so are many other elements, but often overlooked is dining. While on holiday, you wish to treat yourself, but if all the best eateries are up several stairs and do not cater to those with limited mobility, it will not be the vacation you are hoping for.
We spoke to those who know best when it comes to accessible holidays, for their top tips for a staycation to create a little guide that everyone should peruse before they indulge in a British break. Including everything from accommodation to activities, dining to domestics, it allows you to do nothing but relax by the time your holiday comes round. Click here for the in-depth guide :

http://www.companionstairlifts.co.uk/news/planning-your-spring-staycation/
Keep up-to-date by following their social networks:
Facebook
Twitter


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My BML Experience Part 2

My BML Experience Part 2.

Saturday 25th June was the day of the BritMum’s conference a jam packed day full of talks, networking and seminars.

I set off nice and early to get into London for 08:20 plenty of time to get to the Brewery and meet the Tribesters before the talks began,

Or so I thought…

The guy who came to assist us stood there chatting for a good 5 minutes about getting the bus, because he used to live in Shoreditch… yet had never heard of the Brewery. I told him we weren’t interested in the bus he eventually took us down to the Circle Line; which just happened to be closed! Leaving us with no other choice but to get the bus…

When we eventually got off the bus, Google Maps decided to take us around in a bloody square before heading in the right direction.

Finally we reached the Brewery and registered. Ellie and I grabbed a drink and stood at the very back having a cuppa before attempting to find the Tribe.

They waved at us, but as a talk was going on I didn’t want to head into the crowd to get to them, so we waited until the lady had finished.

We sat down and the entire hall played pass the parcel; I won some chocolate buttons yay!

And this is when the chaos descended; it was all stations go, and apart from Plan The Happy, Ellie and I hadn’t spoken to or been properly introduced to the Tribe.

The Hub was brimming with people and walking into the space was like hitting a wall of noise; very disorientating to me. Very quickly after we entered the hub Nadia came over and said hello, and reintroduced herself, saying just to shout if we needed any assistance.
As we walked around Ellie told me the Brands and what she could see. – This is where I have to point out that Ellie too is Visually Impaired, she hadn’t been to the building before and hadn’t ever been to a conference either, so it was a learning curve and a shock to the system for both of us.

Ellie and I wondered around the stalls, and found other conference rooms: Vlogging and The Big Little Tent Festival, both rooms were busy but the staff were extremely friendly and explaining what their seminars would be about/ what they had to offer.

They certainly were interesting; having interactive games and equipment.

Our first seminar was SEO rub by Judith Lewis who has been using and lecturing about SEO over the past 20 years! She was very informative and quirky; unfortunately because there was so many questions she ran out of time but I will be reading the Powerpoint she created for the lecture.

A few things I learned:

The difference between follow and no follow links
* Too many bloggers are not using the Alt Text description properly, and essentially breaking the law (so I will be rewriting a blog post explaining this)
* SEO is great but a human perspective is always better
The next seminar we headed to was; how to moneitise your blog.
3 experts were there including Vicky from Honest Mum.
Personally I found the talk overwhelming, I thought we were going to learn the basics but Vicky gave too many stats instead of how to do things, in my opinion anyway.

A few things I learned:

On average gaining 10,000 page views per month is when brands/ sponsorships start to approach you.
* There is not set rule on how often you should blog. Write what you like, when you like.
* Be unique and authentic
* If you have worked with brands before, don’t be afraid to contact them to see if they have any other opportunities.
So although this isn’t the path i’m on with my blog, it was definitely interesting 🙂

We adjourned in the hub for lunch and managed to meet and catch up with: Dr Mummykins, Cuddle Fairy and Just Saying Mum. Unfortunately it was quite brief chatting to Dr Mummykins and Cuddle Fairy, but it was great to finally meet Just Saying Mum and have a chit chat; she is as gorgeous in person as she is in real life! Thank you also for seeking us out, and giving us a hand when we looked like lost souls!

After lunch we headed to the last session; How to work smart with PR, run by Alexandra Delf and Susan L. Schwartz.
This talk was extremely informative and very interesting;it was good to get the perspective of a successful blogger (Susan) as well as what to do and not do from the PR perspective (Alexandra).

A few things I learned:

Make each email personal and not blanket = it was interesting to hear the PR had never received a personalised email before!- Surely that’s just polite email etiquette? Apparently not!
* Don’ be afraid to contact PR’s but build a relationship first! Don’t just jump in asking for what you want! – Again, this baffles me as to why people think this is OK and not just rude?
* Your blog is your brand, if you want to make it so every little detail should support it as so.
*Gmail/ Hotmail accounts are seen as unprofessional. Oops!

after the seminar was over, Ellie and I went up to to ask a few questions. Who knows I may have some future collaborations on the cards! 🙂

Ellie and i met Inside Martin’s Thoughts; and Carla which I was really happy about! It was a chance meeting 🙂 so that made it all the better! I think between the 4 of us; we managed to put the world to rights a little bit! 😉
The keynote speeches were a mix of humour, sadness and thoughtfulness. There was definitely an eclectic bunch of bloggers 🙂
The party was held after the keynote speeches and Ellie and I found a few Tribal members; BeTA Mummy, Occupation:(m)other and Phil.

Last but not least was the BiB Awards 🙂 The Tribe managed to grab a few tables together 🙂 We screamed like banshee’s when Island Living 365 won the award for Fresh Voice!
I think we raised the roof! 😉
And if you are wondering; no I did not win the Inspire award, but I never expected to! I lost to the deserving: The Joy Chaser 🙂 it’s just a shame I didn’t get to meet you!

In my eyes we are all winners, being alongside such amazing writers who brings light into the darkness and educating others with their stories, and getting as far as we did; is just spectacular!
Big love to Cuddle Fairy, Steph’s 2 Girls and Downside Up! If you haven’t already checked out their blogs, please do!

Highs:

Meeting some of my favourite bloggers in person over the course of the weekend
* learning new techniques/ ideas
* Networking with PR’s
* The cake/ alcohol
* The company of my best friend all day 🙂
Lows:

Turning up late
Constantly losing the Tribe
* Half of them not introducing themselves to Ellie or I
* The wall of noise
* Missed opportunity to talk to bloggers I would have liked to.
Was it accessible to disabled people?
Yes if your issue is mobility based as there was plenty of seats and lifts.
Not if you have sensory impairments such as sight or hearing loss.

Would I go again?
At this present moment in time no.
I found 2 out of the 3 seminars worthwhile, and the staff / PR’s extremely friendly. But I went there to socialise; meet my Tribe and hopefully catch up with bloggers. Too many times it was just Ellie and I on our own surrounded by hundreds of people, with no one saying hello unless they already knew you by face/blog. I felt lonely and isolated from the Tribe and the people I hoped to spend time with

Thank you for the experience Brit Mums and for making me a finalist :))

If you went to BML16, i’d love to hear your experiences 🙂




You’re Not Disabled, But Your Parking Clearly is!

Dear vehicle drivers in Britain,

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you what a Disabled Badge is and what it represents.
In Britain a Disabled Badge is a Blue badge with an outline of a person sitting in a wheelchair; this is white in colour.
Who is entitled to it?
People who have severe walking abilities, any person who uses a wheelchair, people who need the space to remove medical equipments – such as an oxygen tank, and those with sensory impairments.
I think others may be entitled to it, but it’s an assessment of entitlement application.
What it represents.
So now that you know who is entitled to use it, I guess you’ll want to know why?
That Mr Driver is simple: the person who owns a Blue Badge is entitled to use disabled bays in all carparks, (amongst other places which I won’t get into now).You know that wider space near the front of a shopping centre or Supermarket? The ones with the big white outline of the disabled person in a wheelchair? it relates to them parking in that specific space.
So why am I telling you this? Surely it’s obvious right?
The disabled space is there for a disabled person. just like a Parent and Child space, it is for Parent’s with young Children.
It’s such a simple thing to comprehend isn’t it?
You would think so anyway…
Unfortunately not.
Just this past week I have encountered 2 very strange scenarios:
A Taxi driver parked in 2 disabled bays.
Did he have a Blue Badge you may ask
The answer is no.
He was waiting to pick up a passenger from the Supermarket. He made it nice and convenient for the person and their shopping to pack their things into the vehicle.
 Very kind of him some may say.
I see it as inconsiderate, disrespectful and clearly not Law abiding.
He may have been picking up a disabled passenger you may think.
Yes that could be the case, but this is a regular occurrence at this particular supermarket, so my opinion is that surely every person that calls a taxi firm from this supermarket cannot all be disabled? I visit the supermarket regularly but at different times of the day and week, there really isn’t that many disabled people where I live, and I know quite a few of them haha. I would also like to point out, that even if this taxi driver did happen to be picking up a disabled passenger, he still was not parking in a singular disabled bay, he was parked over 2! Secondly, you are not allowed to park in a disabled bay unless you have a blue badge on show, that still goes for if he was picking up a disabled passenger, he is still obstructing two spaces that two separate disabled people might need to use As well as not following the Laws of the road. .
Airgo the Taxi driver was making his life easier, rather than thinking of the reasons why it’s a disabled space in the first place, and how he may be hindering on a disable persons’right to parking there.
The second situation, again happened in a Supermarket Car park.
A man was parked diagonally across 2 disabled bays. sitting in the car with the headlights on, and no Blue Badge displayed.
Now Ladies and Gentlemen, I don’t know about you but that seemed like pretty disabled parking to me.
My Partner and I decided to approach the vehicle and speak to the man.
*knock on the passenger window*
Car door opens slightly.
Gary: “Excuse me mate you’re not meant to park here
*Confused look and slight nod from the driver as he shuts his door*
Me: “What did he say?”
Gary: “Nothing, I’m not sure he understood me,he gave a little nod and shut the door.”
Me: “So is he moving his car?”
Gary: “Umm it seems not… I don’t think he knows English very well.””
Me: “Let’s knock back on the door and tell him to move then.”Attempting to move closer to the car.
Gary:No, just leave it.  I don’t think he understood what I was saying.” *Moving me swiftly away from the car*
Me: “”I don’t care whether or not he understands English or not. He’s parked diagonally across 2 disabled bays without a blue badge. It’s bloody ridiculous, the disabled wheelchair sign is a worldwide thing i’m sure, if you can’t speak the language you can atlas see and understand the picture.”
*I decide to take matters into my own hands and speak with customer service. What should have taken about a minute took us about 6-7. This was because when we finally got to the front of the queue, the cashier phoned to get the manager to come deal with our complaint, who then informed us She would ask security to go and investigate and get them to move.
I don’t know whether or not the security guard got to the vehicle in time, or if during our wait the driver went home. Needless to say, I believe in rectifying a situation.
So lovely drivers of Britain, if you are parked in a disabled bay without the displaying a blue badge, I will approach your car and ask you to move, and if you don’t I will put a complaint into the Supermarket.
You need to be named and shamed for your disgraceful behaviour. Maybe if you knew someone personally who needed that space, you’d understand just how important they are to the badge holder.
You have no badge, therefore you do not get to park in the disabled bays.
I am also investing in buying stickers to slap to the windshield of cars, hopefully with the tagline: You’re not disabled, but your parking clearly is.
Who knows, it might be me you next encounter…
You have been warned 🙂