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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