Tuesday 29 December 2020

Christmas reflections & New Year

I truly had a lovely Christmas. With COVID this year it's been much more low-key which I've preferred and it made it more manageable for me. 

Normally during the day I have regular rest periods but with how the day worked out I wasn't able to have them, but I did have one longer rest period in in the afternoon and by about 7pm I was shattered. 

It was lovely to be with family especially as so many people spend this time of year alone. I do enjoy family time but equally I like my quiet alone time. 

I feel so grateful for all the gifts I received from family and friends and my notice board is looking very festive with the cards that I received. I also received money towards buying an Apple Watch so I'm super excited to order that when I can!

I hope everyone reading this had a lovely Christmas too whatever you got up to and if you don't celebrate Christmas I still hope that you had a lovely day.

Going forwards into the New Year is difficult for more. For new me New Year isn't about 'new year, new start, new me' as Georgina put in our YouTube video collaboration. For me New Year makes me feel stuck; another year gone where I've been ill and another year ahead of still being ill and my life probably not going far forward. I do hover now feel better equipped in many ways. I have the knowledge that I learnt in hospital, I have some really good professionals in my care team, I have my faith and I have some amazing friends and people in my life. As hard as it can be sometimes it's trying to find the negative in the positives as I wrote about in my mini Positivity Series here on my blog. I also have plans for my blog and YouTube channel.

A person holding a pebble in their hands and on the pebble is written the word hope.

So as hard as my life can be I do feel that despite all the challenges I face there is a lot of good and hope in it all in terms of moving forwards into next year..

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Tips for coping with the holidays

The holiday's can be a challenging time for many people with all sorts of illness, disabilities or impairments. This post comes from my experience of living with physical chronic illnesses. I also write from having lived experience of having difficulties with my mental health and on top of that also having autism. So with a combination of all those things Christmas and New Year poses many challenges for many different reasons both physically and emotionally.

Here are some of the things I find help me cope with the Christmas and New Year period that I feel might help others too:

Ensuring you have enough medication & medical supplies

A rainbow pill organiser with a variety of different pills
This is very important especially as over the holidays your GP my be on holiday or your GP Practise may close for the holidays along with other services so it's very important that you ensure that you have enough medication and medical supplies to see you through he holidays.

Making a schedule

From when I was in hospital I developed with the Occasional Therapist a 'Daily Plan' which is a schedule for my day with set times for rest, activity, meals, physio etc. I normally keep to this as much as possible with the odd adjustments which I'll do for the holidays. You may already have something like this, or you may already have a calendar, planner or diary or you may want to create a document on your computer specifically for the Christmas and New Year period. 

On this I'd suggest putting on your schedule events that you are going on that you are going to such as Christmas dinner, games night, when you'll have or go and see friends and family, when you'll be opening presents etc. From there you can then plan rest periods, time to yourself, when you get washing and dressed etc - whatever is relevant to you and what you need to plan for to help manage your symptoms.

I've also made a timetable for Christmas card and gift wrapping and what needs positing to help me keep on track but also to pace myself with this activity and also to ensure that I've got everyone's gifts and that I also don't forget to wrap something.

Make yourself a safe space where you can retreat to for time-out

Photograph of a blanket fort with blankets draped on the ceiling with fairy lights and pillows on the floor
For me this is my bedroom and I find having a place to retreat to when I need to rest, or I'm in need of somewhere calm or familiar really helpful for my mental health. It's my 'safe zone'. (Unfortunately I'm unable to build myself a blanket fort as in the picture I chose.) 

You might want to add things your safe space such s things that you find comforting or calming such as creating yourself a self-care box*. 

Having a safe space of place set aside can really help you emotionally as it's a place to retreat to when things become overwhelming for example or you're just needing some self-care space and alone time away from hubbub of the house.  

* Link it to a blog post I wrote with a list of 30 things to put into a self-care box

Knowing it's okay to sit out of events

Often you can feel like your missing out if you don't attend certain events. If you know what events are happening you can prioritise and plan which ones you can attend and with your schedule you can plan things like saving up your energy levels or ability to eat. or manage any other symptoms that you experience. Also know that for some events there is always next year.

Try not to feel guilty or rude for not attending particular events; it is an act of self-care and it allows to to pace yourself out to get through the holidays.

Noise cancelling ear plugs/headphones

If you're like me an you struggle with sensitivity to noise I would defiantly recommend purchasing some noise cancelling ear plugs/headphones. I find if I'm needing time-out, needing to rest it helps to shut out the noise around me (especially if there is a noisy event going on). 

Tip: when purchasing noise cancelling earplug/headphones find ones with a high decibel dB cancellation or NRR - Noise Reduction Rating

Make a list of coping techniques

Coping techniques are different for each person and what may work for one person may not feel beneficial to someone else.

Some of the coping techniques I find help me are:

  • Caucasian woman with brown long hair and a blue t-shirt she is laid in bed with her hands behind her head her eyes are closed and  she is wearing white headphones
  • Planning ahead 
  • Making 'Now & Next' plans
  • Engaging in self-care
  • Setting boundaries
  • Taking time out
  • Using the 5 Senses technique
  • Breathing exercises
  • Spend time being creative
  • Being gentle, patient and generous with myself
  • Listening to music
  • Telling myself that whatever I'm experiencing/feeling will pass
  • Taking time away from social media/technology
  • Visualisation

Tuesday 15 December 2020

FFORA Product Review*

FFORA are a brand that design bags, cupholders and tumblers that go with a magnetic attachment system that attaches to your wheelchair.

From FFORA I got the Essentials Bag Plus with the silver (Nickel) pebble which comes in black, the Essentials Bag in electric blue, the cupholder in white and silver and silver tumbler and the attachment system also in silver. (I like to coordinate myself)

Collage of photographs of my FFORA product on my wheelchair including the black Essentials Plus bag and another of this bag but showing it from the back attached to the attachment system, a photograph of the white cup holder with the silver tumbler in place, the silver attachment system and also me (sat in my wheelchair) bending down unzipping using the zip loops on my blue Essentials Bag

Check out the FFORA Website (Link) 


I love being able to choose between my two bags to go with my outfit. They're a good size to keep my essentials bits and bobs in (see my video on what I was able to fit into my Essentials Bag - it was quite a lot!). I still do need my other bags which attach to my wheelchair unless I'm travelling light. I see my bags more as a giant purse.

What I like is that normally I keep my purse in the bag that is behind my knees (I don't keep it in my handbag that attaches to the back of me wheelchair for security). But I find bending down and then having to search for my purse quite difficult as I don't have much core strength. So when I went to the Post Office (I travelled light on this occasion). It was super super easy to just pull my Essentials Bag Plus up and un click it from the magnetic attachment system to get my letters out of the back section and to access my phone to pay for my postage and stamps and the then to easily click my bag back in place. It also felt really nice to choose the bag that went with that day's outfit and it felt nice to accessorise and include my wheelchair in with my outfit.

On the Essentials Bag Plus you have a loop at the top of the bag and inside in the main section you have space for your cards; some hidden pockets (which I've used to put in some medical information), then a purse section and two compartments then it's deep to put other essentials in. Then in the back section it opens out to put other bits and bobs in.

The Essentials Bag is very similar except it's a bit smaller and it doesn't have the loop and you just have one compartment behind the zipped purse and just one hidden section behind the card slots. Then on the bag it's smaller to just be able to slip your phone in and a face mask.

The Essentials Bag comes in different colours. I was a bit torn between the blue bag and the pink bag but I though the blue would go with denim which I wear a fair bit. The Essentials Bag Plus just come in black. 

All the bags come with a magnetic pebble on them and to attach it to the attachment system it just very easily clips on and off. The bag also come with a cross-body strap which is great from people like myself who are ambulatory wheelchair users, or for when your in the car and then going to transfer into your wheelchair. I also though that it would be great for being ale to wear your bag when you're sat in your wheelchair if your using your attachment system is in use with your cup holder and tumbler to save you having two attachment systems.

The design feature I love most about these bags is that all the zips come with big zipper loops which is great for people like myself with limited hand function as the zip loops makes it a lot easier to be able to open ann close my bag if my hands are in spasm or if I'm wearing my splints etc.

The bags come in a fabric bag which I'm using to store them in to keep them nice when they're no in use and sat in my bag storage box.

Cup Holder & Tumbler

This cup holder is a solid ring (I thought I was squidgy silicone until I opened the box. Again it has a magnetic pebbled that clicks onto the attachment system. As it's ridged not everything fits in it. My FFORA tumbler obviously fits it and some of my other lidded mugs but unfortunately my water bottle is too slim to fit in.

The tumblers come in 3 colours (Nickel/silver, Champagne/Pale Gold and Midnight/Black - it now also very recently comes in white) and I went for the silver tumbler. The lid is ver spill proof and it comes with a straw. Again like with the big zip loops on the bags I'm not sure if the tumbler includes a straw because some disabled people like myself require straws to drink with or FFORA are just offering a plastic straw as an alternative to the paper straws now offered in cafés. The tumbler is very insulated; if I want to drink my coffee straight away I have to put in plenty of cold water. The size of the tumbler is also pretty big which I like.

Attachment System

The first thing I want to say about the attachment system is the brilliant design of the allen key that I needed to attach the attachment system to my wheelchair. The handle was a giant metal loop (you can see this better in the video) so design wise it's extremely accessible for people with limited hand function like myself and I was able to very easily use this on my own. Normally with things like screwdrivers etc I have to get someone else to do it for me.

The attachment stem has rubber guards to protect your wheelchair and you get two spares of these. The attachment system comes in 3 colours - Nickel/silver, Champagne/Pale Gold and Midnight/Black.

It's very simple and easy to attach and comes with instructions. Both the attachment system and cup holder where presented in a really nice box which was a nice touch. I ensured it was on tight but I didn't fully tighten it to allow me to be able to reposition my bag when it's clipped in so I can reposition the angle the bag is at on my wheelchair.

Downsides & Design Suggestions

To make the bag more accessible like FFORA has done with the hand loops it would be helpful to have bigger clips on the cross-body strap as they're a little too small and fiddly especially if you don't have brilliant hand function.

My design suggestion it would be nice to see the Plus bag also in a brown/tan colour and the for the Essentials bag to see it in a brown/tan colour, an aubergine sort of colour and maybe some toned down colours as currently they're all quite bright colours at present. It would be also nice to see the active bags in other colours too other than white and black.

I also think that it would be good to have wider availability of these bags to countries other than the USA and Canada as the products are so fantastic, helpful, fashionable as well as functional for wheelchair users it would be good to offer the bags to other wheelchair users in other countries too.

The white Active Bag had been out of stock in the UK for quite a while.


The bags are great for ambulatory wheelchair users due to the fact that they come with a detachable cross-body strap.

Though I did suggest some additional colour options there is still a good selection of bags to choose from. 

The selection of Nickel/Champagne/Midnight for the attachment and magnetic pebbles though small is a good choice selection and I like how they've now added a white tumbler. (I probably would have chosen this if it was available at the time).

They are now adding a water bottle and bottle holder to their collection, I'm keen to order one but I'm waiting for them to get round to designing more accessible lids on the water bottles which they are in the process of doing.

I love how many features have been designed with accessibility in mind and for those with limited hand function and also including a straw with the tumbler.

Taking things like the bag and cup holder off the pebble is so so easy - no having to fiddle around to detach and attach.

I like how deep the bags are so you can fit quite a lot of your essentials in the bag (see the video and I've done a clip showing how much I was able to fit into my Essentials Bag).

Screen shot of FFORA's website where you can search for you brand and model of wheelchair to see if the attachment system is compatible with your manual wheelchair
It's really nice to be able to decide which bag of mine to choose from to go with my outfit. It's also really helped my confidence to feel able to include and accessorise my wheelchair by having my bag on their that goes with my outfit that is attached to my wheelchair.

The attachment system will fit most manual wheelchairs (over 180). Just go onto the FFORA website and scroll to the bottom where you can search for the brand and model of your wheelchair. If you don't see your wheelchair you can contact FFORA below the search.

The postage costs are also really good.

Video Review on my YouTube Channel


If you click the link to go to the YouTube video you can access the subtitles (I always subtitle my videos)

Also feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep up-to-date with new videos.

* This is a sponsored promotion by FFORA who gifted me some of their products

Tuesday 8 December 2020

My Article in Action For M.E's InterAction Magazine

A couple of months ago I contacted Action for M.E asking if I could write something for their InterAction magazine, which gets sent out to members. I had a few ideas that I proposed to them and a few of them they liked and asked if I could merge them together and also if I was able to write a two page article. They also asked for some photographs to go with the the article.

The article touched upon living with severe M.E and how I've ben able to find ways to do the things I love - blogging and letter writing. I also write about friendships and the importance of staying connected with people and how for me I love letter writing and like with blogging how I've found ways to keep in touch with friends via letters. I also touch in the article on friendships.

An open magazine article. The heading is "I've found new ways to do the things I love". The main body of text is unreadable. There is a large photograph of a caucasian young woman with auburn hair in a braid wearing dark glass sat up in bed with a bed table in front of her with her laptop on the bed table. There is also a smaller picture od a laptop with my blog's webpage superimposed on the screen. Behind her is a notice board with colourful item pinned to it.

Friday 4 December 2020

Vlogmas 2020

This year on my YouTube channel I'm giving Vlogmas a go - you may have already noticed this on my blog's Instagram @agirlcallednaomi_blog.

I'm not going to do a video every day as that would just be impossible for me to do due to my health. Instead I'm going to aim to do a couple of videos a week (also incorporating my usual YouTube posts as Vlogmas posts like I did with my decopatch 'Monthly Make'). So ideas of 'Vlogmas Day One' I'm naming my videos 'Vlogmas Video One' instead.

Some of the this I hope to do are some chatty videos (and hopefully a collaboration if I can), managing the holidays when you have a chronic illness/disability/mental illness, Christmas crafts, Christmas BSL signs and more.

To keep up-to-date with my Vlogmas videos I'd encourage you to subscribe to my channels. If you have any ideas for videos just comment below or on my Vlogmas videos or alternatively as a DM on YouTube.

To view the videos with subtitles or on a bigger screen or to subscribe to my YouTube channel click on the video and it will take you to viewing the video on YouTube.

Click the photo to go to my Vlogmas playlist on my YouTube channel

Tuesday 1 December 2020

December's Monthly Make - Decoupage

Decoupage is a great little hobby. There are so many things you can decorate - I've done a draw set, trinket boxes, wooden spoons, boxes, photo frames, hanging decorations and more. There is also such a wide variety of different papers out there for whatever project you're doing.

My go-to place for decoupage supplies is The Arty Crafty Place they have a wide selection of papers, craft blanks and kits and the prices are very good and as a bonus you're supporting a small business.

Below is a video tutorial on how to decoupage for December's Monthly Make.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Positivity: Part 3 - Friendships

Illustration of two girls holding hans the girl on the left has brown hair in a braid and has a turquoise printed top and a plain skirt, the girl on the right has light coloured hair and is wearing a floral top and a brown skirt with a bow at the back their other arms are reaching over their head so that both girls arms come together to form a heart shape.

Having friends and good people in your life help me so much. Because of my health I'm pretty isolated at home but talking to a friend via text or WhatApp or getting a letter in the post really gives me a positivity boost. Having friends and good people in my life reminds me that I'm not alone. 

Also having people in my life that can also relate to having health struggles whether that be with physical health problems or mental health difficulties really helps as I know that we can relate to each other on how difficult it is to have those extra challenges in our life and together we can share the highs and the lows. Also when I'm talking to a friend who also has health problems I know that they 'get it' and can relate and understand. As well as talking about illness we talk about life and 'normal' stuff too like crafting, our pets, projects we're working on, online courses we're doing etc. 

Even if I'm talking to a friend about something negative it's like that saying 'a problem shared is a problem halved'. Knowing that I can share my problems with some of my friends is such a positive thing to know that they're there for me and equally that I am there for them and together we can share the highs and the lows. And also when I'm talking to a friend who also has health problems I know that they 'get it' and can relate and understand.

Also the vast majority of the people and friends that are in my life now have come out of me being ill. Yes I have had people who have walked out on me but the people and friends that I have in my life now I know are the people that are quinine and do care about me and that we are there for each other. These people I've met through pen pal groups, social media and through my blog/YouTube and in hospital and all of those things I wouldn't have started doing if it wasn't for me becoming ill.

The people I have in my life now I know are my genuinely true friends and it's more about quality than quantity and I now feel that I'm in a healthy place with regards to the people and friends that I have in my life.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Positivity Series: Part 2 - Things that help me stay positive

Finding positives in the negatives

So the big negative in my life is being chronically ill and I'm not ashamed to say that. It's held me back from doing a lot of things and makes simple things not quite so simple. But equally there are so many positives too. I have received some great care, this, my blog which I never would have done if I hadn't have become ill - the same goes for my YouTube channel. I would never have met some of the amazing people and friends that I have in my life now if I hadn't of become ill. If I take a negative for example I'm in pain I can still find positives within that such as access to medication, the ability the text a friend or having help and support from my Dad or PA. 

Finding the little positives

A man with his back to the camera with brown hair and a grey coat waving in the street to a caucasian woman with long brown hair wearing a red coat

Life isn't filled with positives, especially big positives and when I've had a bad day or a bad week whether it be to do with my health or not it leaves me in a really negative headspace. So looking for the little positives even if it's just one or two tiny things takes me out of that negative headspace. And I can grantee you that positive things do exist however small like someone waving to you and saying hello in the street.or a text or a letter from a friend or a looking at a beautiful sunset.

Make a positive list

Writing a positive list can help you to identify all the positive things that you've experienced that day or that week no matter how big or small and that list is unique to you. What is positive for one person may be different for another. For most people being able to leave the house isn't significant but for me it's a huge positive.

Letter writing

A red post box with a hand putting a handful of letter into the post box
I get so much joy out of creating letters and equally receiving a letter and it brings me so much positivity. I love hearing from my friends and pen pals and it's a good escapism to read a letter and it gives me that outside world contact.

Some of my pen pals have become really good friends and what's positive that comes through our conversations is that those who do have health problems we can talk about that but equally with all my pen pals most of the time talk about "normal" things too like our pets, what we've been watching on TV, books we are into or current craft projects. It's nice that health, or illness, isn't at the centre and that is a real positive for me as it just gives me a break from thinking about my own health.

Monday 9 November 2020

Positivity - Part 1

Being positive isn't about having an amazing life. Being positive is something that I've had to learn, especially since becoming ill. My life is far from perfect and there are a lot of struggles I am faced with on a daily basis both on my good and bad days.. On my bad days I do get down and I do have my negative moments but positivity is a mindset and outlook that I've have to work on and sometimes I have to do "fake it till I make it". it's also okay to be negative as long as you don't stay negative; we're human's and we're built with positive and negative emotions.

I'm not an overly positive person, but I'm trying to be more positive and this was something that came out of my psychology sessions when I was in hospital. I do really struggle to be positive a lot of the time especially about my health and my future. But there are little things that I find help me to stay positive as much as I can.

Personally I think if you're overly positive all the time you lose an appreciation and gratitude for things in life. So when you have a balance of being positive you'll have more of an appreciation and gratitude for things when something good does happen. But equally if you're negative all the time and you let it take over you and you don't even try to be positive life will start to feel worse than it actually is and that goes for anyone.

I come from the perspective of someone with a chronic illness as that's the situation I'm in and I'm learning that balance of being a positive and an occasionally negative person. Usually when I'm fatigued, in pain or experiencing a lot of symptoms I'll most likely become more negative and being ill is probably why I'm not positive all the time. I do try to 'smile through the pain' but that can be a challenge. 

I can be a positive person too and I want to be a positive person more often even on my bad days.. I have gratitude for the family, friends and people that I have in my life. I am so thankful for the NHS (though that comes with a mix of negativity at times), I feel positive when I have cuddles with my guinea pig Flop, play a game with my family, hear from a friend via text or a letter in the post, or get lost in an activity I enjoy or when I have clean hair and braid it, put on some makeup or when I've done my nails.

So that's part 1 as I didn't want to write a super long blog post. Check out next week for part 2 which is about things that help me stay positive.

Illustration of a rainbow with text below reading "Positive Vibes"
© Stacie Swift

Tuesday 3 November 2020


Purple background with people signing within the purple background with white text reading purple Tuesday changing the customer experience 3 November 2020
What is Purple Tuesday?

Purple Tuesday is a day of action to call out improvements in the retail industry both online and in stores for disabled customers. The day will involve organisations of all sizes and from all sectors taking decisive and practical actions to meet the needs of disabled customers. 

This could include improving accessibility on the store's website,, staff undergoing training to better support disabled customers such as by learning basic BSL or other customer service training such as supporting customers with a Sunflower Lanyard, to gain an understanding of visible and hidden disabilities, making the physical space of stores more accessible, ensuring facilities such as the assessable toilets and changing room are ready to be used, ensuring emergency red cords are hanging freely, installing a Changing Places, and introducing quiet hours in stores for those with autism and other sensory impairments..

What is the 'Purple Pound'?

Across the UK, the 'Purple Pound' as is known is the consumer spending power of disabled people worth around £249 billion pounds yet worldwide less than 10% of businesses have a targeted plan to access this market.

On statistic shows that 75% of disabled people have left a store or website due to issues around accessibility.

Clicking away

This is in relation to the inaccessibility of websites or incompatibility with assertive technology used by disabled customers who because of this "click away" and leave that particular brand's website.

This could be for a number of reasons including poor mapping of the best for those unable to operate a mouse, the choice of colours or font choice on the website affecting those who are blind or partially sighted and conditions like Scotopic Sensitivity or colour blindness, images not having image descriptions (Alt Text), and the website not being compatible with assistive technology such as voice over and magnification.

Around 73% of potential disabled customers have experienced difficulties on more than a quarter of the website they visit. - Purple

Estimates show that around 4.3 million UK online shopper who have a disability click away from inaccessible websites; these people have a combined spending power of £11.75 billion. - Purple

Me as a Disabled Customer

As a disabled customer myself I've faced many barriers when shopping, both online and in stories. This could be the the website isn't compatible with magnification, or reading the screen. Or due to my Scotopic sensitivity I find certain colours or fonts more difficult. Then with my autism I find 'busy' screen with lots going on and lots of animation quite overwhelming.

Often I have to shop online as it the easiest for me as I am mostly housebound and I also find it easier online to find the best prices r the items I need especially living where I do we don't have a wide range of shops to choose from.

Then in stores I've found the whleo experience quite overwhelming as someone with autism - I would love more stores to put on regular quite hours.. 

It can also most often always be difficult to get parked even with a Blue Disabled Parking Badge and often these parking bays are abused leaving people like myself unable to get parked and as a result I'm unable to visit the store unless a disabled parking bay becomes available..

The photo on the left is of a tightly tied up red cord. The photo on the right is of the cord hanging freely ad accessible to be used.
After finding a red cord
tied up I contacted to store
and they sorted it out
Then even wth a very petite wheelchair it can be hard to navigate around some stores with clothing racks or displays not giving enough room to pass through or items being left on the floor; also the till being too high if they don't have a designated lowered counter. If I do want to try on clothes sometimes I find the accessible changing room out of action as it either being used for storage or often people with young children and/or with pumas or buggies - I can understand why families may opt to use the disabled changing room but the store should have family changing rooms alongside accessible changing rooms. This is because
like with disabled parking bays there are facilities I need as a disabled customer such as seating, grab rails, room for me, my wheelchair and my PA and also an emergency red cord - all things families don't need. That or the accessible changing room is being used by people with shopping trollies which I find inexcusable. 

Going back to the emergency red cord often this is tied up, out of reach and out of action; there would be no way I could get help should I say have a fall.

Alongside this I also look for representation of disabilities which so far I rarely have seen. I know of things such as the Mannequal designed by paraplegic disability campaigner Sophie Morgan. I also know that George at Asda used the model Kate Stanforth in a recent campaign - Kate has M.E, is a dancer and ambulatory wheelchair user. As well as this when I'm purchasing 'disability products' often the model used is elderly which massively puts me off as it makes me feel as though  shouldn't be needing such an item at my age. Younger disabled models are defiantly needed to promote disability aids, adaptations and equipment. Just a final note on clothing and accessories is finding things for myself which is comfortable and practicable with me spending most of my time sit or laid down but is equally stylish and fashionable. The brand FFORA who I've done a collaboration with has defiantly hit the mark in designing bags that can be attached to my wheelchair but in term of clothing that market could defiantly be improved upon.

Sunflower Lanyard Scheme

A caucasian woman with brown hair carrying a basket wearing a green sunflower printed lanyard speaking to a member of staff inside a supermarket.
The Sunflower Lanyard Scheme is for people with hidden disabilities or impairments to discreetly wear inside
a store a sunflower lanyard to identify themselves to staff that they have a hidden disability or impairment so that staff are better able to offer assistance to the individuals.

A few statistics by Purple

In the UK there are more than 12 million disabled people who have a combined spending power of around £249 billion.

80% of disabled people in the UK have a hidden or invisible disability or impairment - BBC

Businesses loose around £2 billion a month by not meeting the needs of disabled customers.

Around 3 in 4 disabled people and their families have left a store due to poor access or customer service.

Research has show that the following retail sectors loose the approximate amount of money each month due to inaccessibility.
  • High Street Shops - £267 million 
  • Supermarkets - £501 million

Articles, Resources & References

Sunday 1 November 2020

November's Monthly Make - Crochet Can Cosy

This is a patterned that I actually created myself. It's a spiral pattern so there's no need to join each round making a nice seamless can cosy. You could just use a single colour, or use different coloured yarns to create a stripe effect - I made a nice cosy using up scraps of different yarns. I also made a lovely mini cosy for the mini drinks cans using multicoloured yarn.

At the bottom you will find my YouTube video tutorial on how to make this Can Cosy and it's great for beginners as I explain how to make loop, create chains and the different stitches etc.

Difficulty level ★☆☆☆ Beginner

What you need

  • 4mm yarn
  • 4mm crochet hook
  • Stitch marker (or alternatively a safety pin or paperclip will do)
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle


  • CH = Chain
  • SC = Single crochet
  • BLSC = Back loop single crochet
  • SLST = Slip stitch

How to make your Can Cosy

This is a spiral pattern so at the end of each round you don't SLST to end the round

Step 1

Make a loop and CH 3

Step 2

Into the fist CH make 12 SC

Step 3

In the next stitch space make 1 SC, place your stitch marker in this stitch.
In the same stitch space make a second SC. Go around and create 2 SC as you go around.
Continue until you have created 24 stitches in total; this will bring you round to the stitch marker.

Step 4

Remove your stitch marker.
In the next stitch space make 1 SC, place your stitch marker in this stitch.
In the same stitch space make a second SC. In the next stitch space make 1 SC; then the next stitch space make 2SC. 
Continue this pattern of 2-12-1 until you have created 36 stitches in total; this will bring you round to the stitch marker.

Step 5

Remove your stitch marker
In the next stitch make 1 BLSC, continue and go around your spiral making 36 BLSC in total.

Step 6

You are now ready to start building your cup shape for your Can Cosy.
You now don't need to count your stitches anymore.
In the next stitch space make 1 SC, continue going around in a spiral making 1 SC in each stitch space.
A cup shape will begin to form. Carry on crocheting around until you have your desired height of Can Cosy.

To finish

Once you have your reached the desired height of your Can Cosy stop making SC. in the next stitch space make a SLST.
Cut off your yarn and weave in your yarn ends using your yarn needle 

Voilá, you have finished your Can Cosy. Now all you need to do is pop in your can, open it and sit back and enjoy.

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Tuesday 27 October 2020

Public Health, Not Public Shaming - A Campaign by Beat

Beat is the UK's leading charity that supports those with eating disorders and those that support them such as family and friends as well as professionals.

Beat's new campaign 'Public Health, Not Public Shaming' is around the new governments announcement in a plan to encourage weight loss. Now whilst this is a good thing to help get the public more healthy and making better decisions about their health which will improve health and wellbeing. It will also in turn ease the strain unhealthy lifestyles have on the NHS.

The new measures laid out by the government include introducing a weight loss app and also increasing the publication of calorie labelling in places such as cafés, restaurants and takeaways and fast-food outlets. Whilst this is good, what I feel is missing is the public education of what is a "healthy" amount of calories to consume when browsing the menu - a bit like how the traffic light system works on food labels with green being a healthy amount of calories and red being a high amount of calories in that portion so people will understand and consider consumption of that particular food item.

What I also feel is also missing is the consideration of the many people in UK who are living with and trying to remain in recovery from an eating disorder.

I've written here on my blog before about my own experience of anorexia and now even though I am in a well state of recovery from my eating disorder even I can struggle at times. Eating out can still be a stressful situation for me and faced with the numbers [calories] on the menu it may possibly leave me feeling rather flustered when choosing what to eat.

Now I'm in a much better place to manage my eating disorder but if I where to take myself back 10 years I found eating publicly challenging enough without being faced by calories on the menu even when looking at my list of safe go-to foods and knowing that there where apps for weight loss defiantly would trigger my spiral downwards aiding my anorexia.

Previous Government anti-obesity campaigns have been ineffective in reducing obesity. However they have increased stigma, and have put those vulnerable to developing an eating disorder or those currently experiencing an eating disorder at risk. 
As one eating disorder sufferer highlighted: “My eating disorder makes me, and many others, susceptible to taking these messages to the extreme.” 
Beat recognises the importance of reducing obesity, but it is vital that the public are not shamed into losing weight in an attempt to solve this problem.. - Beat


Since starting to write this blog post there has been n update from Beat in regards to the Public Health England's planned weight loss app.
"Public Health England have now taken steps to update the app to help ensure that people with eating disorders and people who may be vulnerable to eating disorders do not use the app." - Beat

The flaws with the app are still that those under 18 and those underweight could still use the app and knowing from my own experience of having anorexia you become a great deceiver and when there is a will there is a way. So on the app you could possibly falsify your age or BMI/weight to still be able to use the app and even if you are stopped from using that app there are probably many other apps that can be used in its place.

Help for Eating Disorders

If you or someone you care about are concerned bout eating disorders, (and remember you don't have to be underweight to struggle with one) you can always initially speak with your GP or contact Beat.and look at their resources on ther website to better understand eating disorders, the different types of eating disorders and spotting the signs that someone my have an eating disorder. Beat's website can be found here.

Beat also have a helpline

📞 Helpline - 0808 801 0677
📞 Studentline - 0808 801 0811
📞 Youthline - 0808 801 0711

The helplines are open every day of the year 
9am - 8pm during the week 
4pm -8pm at the weekend and on bank holidays

→ Calls to this helpline are free from landlines and mobile phones within the UK and do not appear on itemised bills

There is also a 1:1 web chat if you are unable to get through on the phone.

Alternatively you can email

Adult support email inc concerned adults/parents or professionals e.g. school staff

Student line

Under 18's Youthline

💻 fyp@beateatingdisorders.org.uk 

Purple background with the Beat orange, purple, red, turquoise logo and below in turquoise text is the hashtag Public Health not Public Shaming

Tuesday 20 October 2020

What's in my make-up bag?

So in putting this post together I came to realise how much makeup I own (most has come through my monthly Birchbox's). Subscribing to Birchbox over the years defiantly has increased both my interest in makeup, my makeup collection and also how adventurous I am now with trying out new shades and products. 

Here is some of my favourite products as well as what I'd put into my essential's makeup bag like for instance some of the makeup products I had with me when I was in hospital earlier this year.

So, what I'll do in this post is tell you about the products photographed above as well as some of the brands of makeup I like. If I'm buying makeup for myself (i.e. not what comes in my Birchbox's) I do go for cruelty free products/brands and those that are ethically sourced and vegan. 

So starting off I have: 


Primer... This is by one of my favourite brands Barry M as they're have some great products that are well priced within my personal budget for makeup and they're also cruelty free. This primer is actually a 'Beauty Elixir' with vitamins and minerals and I'd defiantly recommend it. When I bought it I was stuck between this and the 'Unicorn Primer Drops' so I may go for that next time.

Foundation... I always find it so hard to find the right shade for my skin so I hope Barry M will continue to sell this product for when I next need to buy a foundation as this one is just the right shade and the wear is long lasting. I used to put foundation on with a brush but after watching some videos on YouTube I now use a sponge. In my Birchbox I got a teardrop shaped sponge by Spectrum. I used to avoid makeup sponges because of my latex allergy but this one is latex free and it blends in my foundation so much better.

Fixing powder... This is another Barry M new edition to my makeup bag. I used to use multicoloured pearls but (a) I'd had them a while and (b) they just weren't doing the job. This also really helps to set my foundation in place and give an even matte look to my foundation. On no makeup days when I have oily skin a tip I've learnt from my stepmum is to pat a bit of talc on my face and it's a tip I'd highly recommend.


Eyeshadow etc... For eyes I love Revolution's eyeshadow palette's and I have to resist the urge to buy more when I see ones I like. I also have a liquid eyeshadow in a rose gold tone that I got in my Birchbox that I love and the mini palette that I keep in my essentials make bag as it has a nice but simple variety of shades some sparkly some matte. I also love Barry M's really fine eye glitter and their holographic eyeshadow topper too. I've also gotten into using eyeshadow crayons too.
On a basic makeup look I'll just use on colour but if I have the time and and energy I've been trying different looks like smoky eye and crease cut eyeshadow looks.
Lashes...  On my lashes I used a tined primer and on my top lashes I'll go over with mascara.
Eyebrows... On a basic make-up day I tend to leave my eyebrows, occasionally I may put on my eyebrow mascara. If I putting more effort into my makeup I'll use a pencil.
Eye liner... Occasionally I'll put on eyeliner; I use to always wear it. I quite like gel eyeliner that I put on with a brush and I have some eyeliner pens too. I also like to use eyeshadow as an eyeliner quite often.


I generally match with what I'm wearing. I've discovered that I quite like matte lips and also crayons. Through Birchbox they've defiantly gotten me more adventurous with what colours I'd use.


I like traditional powders but I also have a blush crayon I got in a Birchbox a while ago which I love.
On basic looks I just go for a sweep of colour but if I going for a fuller look I like to use highlighter. I either use a stick or I'm quite liking a liquid highlighter I got again in one of my Birchbox's and I find it easier to blend into my skin and I love the glow and shimmer highlighter gives.
I'm also experimenting with bronzer and learning how contour. 

You Tube Video: What's Inside my Makeup Bag...?

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Staying connected

Handful of colourful postcards being posed into a red Royal Mail letterbox

Staying connected is really important. When you're mostly housebound it's so easy to feel isolated from the out outside world but with the way the world is now what with the coronavirus situation it's important for all of us to stay connected. 

Many of us will be missing friends and family whether they live close by or at a distance. There are many ways to stay connected: talking on the phone, sending a text, via a video call, email, social media or my personal favourite which is sending mail in the post.

If there's someone you haven't been in touch with for a while or a friend you know who's having a difficult time my challenge to you is get in touch with them to let them know that you're thinking of them. Small acts of kindness like thins can go a long way. I know it does for me when I hear from someone I haven't heard from in a while or receive a letter on a day when I really need a reason to smile.

Keeping connected is key to our wellbeing. Most people will automatically think of this as keeping connected socially but it's important to stay connected with ourselves too.

Make a habit of checking in with yourself. Ask yourself how you are feeling and don't feel guilty for taking time out for yourself. This may be turning your phone off for an evening, or having a bath, painting your nails, doing some colouring, whoever makes you smile inside.

Thursday 1 October 2020

October's Monthly Make - Acetate Handmade Card

This week I though I'd show you how to make a handmade card. In the digital world the art of writing to people is getting forgotten about but for me writing to friends bring me so much joy. I love creating letters and cards unique to my friends likes and interests. So my challenge for you is when you've made this card is to send it to in the post to a friend to bring them a little joy too.

A selection of four cards all decorated very differently but made in the same style as given in this tutorial.


  • Blank card and envelope - any size of your choice, for this on I used a 4"x4" card but I've made these card other sizes
  • Acetate - you can either use card making acetate or the acetate that comes in packaging as it does the job just as well and this is what I mostly use
  • Quote/message stamp - if you don't have this you could hand letter a message or quote
  • Ink pad or if you wish you could emboss your message
  • Thin double sided sticky tape
  • Glue - glue stick or liquid glue 
  • 3D sticky pads
  • Patterned card/paper
  • Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Ruler

Step 1

Select the size of card you want to make. 
Measure the size of the stamp you want to use so you will know how much area you need to cut out of your card.

A white square card front
Image 1
A green ruler next to a stamp taking a measurement of the height of the stamp
Image 2

Step 2

From the size of the stamp work out how much you need to cut out of the centre of the card front. Cut out this centre piece so it will look like image 2.

A green ruler and pencil with an open white square card and two pencil lines on the card
Image 3
Front of a white square card slightly open with a middle section cut out across the card
Image 4

Step 3

Work out how much acetate you need ensuring you have enough overlap and ensure your double sided sticky tape will not overlap on the cut out section. Cut your acetate to size. 
Using double sided sticky tape stick the acetate at the top and the bottom and stick your acetate to the front of the card.

A piece of acetate laying of the top of a white square card front that has a middle section cut out of it
Image 5
A piece of acetate stuck to the front of a white square card covering the middle cut out section
Image 6

Step 4

Using your ruler work out the space where you need to place your stamp (I find it helpful to draw a faint line as shown in image 1 to know where to place my stamp.
Place ink on your stamp and stamp onto the side where you will write your card.

An open square card and on the inside is stamped the word 'hello'
Image 7

Step 5

Decorate the front of your below and above the acetate window in anyway you wish. For this card I have used the Rose Gold Collection paper pad.
Measure out and make a rectangular piece to attach to your card. Place on the back of this rectangular piece 3D sticky pads.

Front of a square card. In the middle is a cut out section with acetate and you can see the stamped 'hello'. Above the acetate it is now decorated with pink and white patterned paper with rose gold dots. Below the acetate is a pink and rose gold glitter floral patterned paper. Next to this is a thin rectangle of card which has an cream order and a geometric pattern of pink and rose gold paper.
Image 8
Front of a square card. In the middle is a cut out section with acetate and you can see the stamped 'hello'. Above the acetate it is now decorated with pink and white patterned paper with rose gold dots. Below the acetate is a pink and rose gold glitter floral patterned paper. Next to this is a thin rectangle of cream card which has 3D sticky pads stuck to the top and bottom.
Image 9

Step 6

Place the rectangular piece of the card as shown in the image below and now you are done! You can practice different styles and sizes if you wish like this time for this tutorial I used a square card and my scalloped edged scissors.
The image at the top of this tutorial might help give you some ideas.

Front of a square card. In the middle is a cut out section with acetate and you can see the stamped 'hello'. Above the acetate it is now decorated with pink and white patterned paper with rose gold dots. Below the acetate is a pink and rose gold glitter floral patterned paper. on the right side of the card is stuck a thin rectangle of card which has an cream border and a geometric pattern of pink and rose gold paper.
Image 10