The VIP Daily Living Tag

Hello everyone,

Today’s post is a collaboration with my good friend My Blurred World. She’s honestly kept me going throughout my time as a blogger and we’ve become really close, she’s so amazing and inspirational and I feel so lucky to have her as one of my friends. She’s an incredible writer so make sure you check out her blog! We’ve wanted to do a collaboration together for a while now but neither of us have had the time so I’m super excited that we’ve finally got round to doing one!

This post is a tag, so you can all join in if you like! This post is about daily living for blind and visually impaired people. We decided to split the questions into 5 different categories; beauty/fashion, mobility, education, assistive technology and friendships. The main aim of this post is to inform people on the daily struggles we go through as blind or visually impaired people and how we adapt everyday tasks to suit our needs. I hope you find this post informative and have fun reading it as much as we did putting it together and writing it!

 

Beauty/fashion

  1. When preparing an outfit, do you have your clothes set out in a specific way so that it makes it easier for you to choose an outfit yourself?

Kind of, I have my daily casual clothes separated from my smart clothes that I wear for going out. I also have jumpers together, leggings together and so on.

 

2. When you want to buy new clothes, do you:

a. Do online shopping on your own.

b. Go shopping with someone.

I usually go shopping with someone. That way they can describe the clothes to me and then I can decide whether I like them or not.

 

3. When you go shopping with friends/family is there anything that you ask them to do for you to help choose clothes/makeup you might like?

I ask them to describe things to me. If I’m buying makeup I will ask them to help me match my skin colour making sure that I get the right colour for my skin. The people close to me know my style so shopping is usually relatively easy.

 

4. Do you find it difficult to pick out an outfit due to your visual impairment?

Sometimes, yes. I can’t see clothes clearly because I only have light perception so rely on apps such as Tap Tap See or for sighted assistance to tell me the colours. I can also do it by touch, I know what my clothes feel like so this enables me to pick an outfit out myself.

 

5. Do you find online shopping accessible?

It depends on the website and whether they have descriptions of items. I can’t see the pictures so have to rely on descriptions and sometimes these are non-existent or unclear.

 

6. Does your visual impairment stop you from applying makeup? If so, why?

No because I’ve learnt how to apply makeup myself. It took a lot, and I mean a lot of practice!

 

7. How do you organise your clothing/beauty products?

I have all my clothes in my wardrobe and tops I don’t wear as often in drawers. For example, shorts and tops for summer.

In regards to beauty products, I have the products that I use every day in a makeup bag and others I don’t use as often I keep them separately.

 

Mobility:

8. Do you have any kind of mobility aid? If so, what is it?

I use a long cane.

 

9. Do you prefer using this or to be sighted guided?

I don’t mind either way. It depends on the situation that I am in.

 

10. If you use a cane, do you feel self-conscious whilst using it?

I used to feel very self-conscious whilst using my cane due to bad experiences and judgements from others which knocked my confidence but I have got over that and I feel much more confident in using it now.

 

11. When it comes to transport, do you go on the bus, train etc. by yourself?

Yes I do. I have also been on a plane by myself which was such a scary but exciting experience!

 

12. How do you feel about travelling independently?

Don’t get me wrong, it is quite scary but it is such a great milestone to achieve. I used to be really anxious about travelling on my own but have got over this fear now.

 

Education:

13. Do/did you attend a mainstream or specialist school?

I attended mainstream school all the way throughout my education.

 

14. If you had a choice, which one would you prefer to go to?

I’d probably say mainstream due to the fact that you meet people that will understand your disability and others that won’t so you learn to accept that. You also learn how to have a backbone when people are damn right rude or don’t understand the simplest of things. I’d definitely say that attending mainstream school has helped shape the person I am today.

The plus side of going to a specialist school is that they are fully equipped for blind or visually impaired students and you have dedicated lessons for mobility and independent living skills.

 

15. Overall, was your experience of education as a visually impaired person mostly positive or negative? How could it have been improved?

I’d say mostly positive but like everything, it did have negative aspects. My teaching assistants 100 % made the experience so much better and I’m not even ashamed to admit that. My friendship group made the hard times so worthwhile as they supported me throughout. I sometimes felt rather isolated because some of my peers saw me as “the blind girl” and didn’t get to know me for who I am. Also some of the teachers didn’t understand that I needed work adapting and this often caused problems.

I also didn’t have access to some equipment that I could have really benefited from due to funding so this is another improvement.

 

16. Did you carry on into further/higher education? If so, how did you feel about this transition? If not, why?

Yes I carried on into the sixth form at my school and I am now at university.

I remember being really excited to start sixth form but I’ll be completely honest, it definitely wasn’t what I expected. I loved the subjects that I chose but my main issue was with people in my year just being focused on learning to drive and going out at weekends and I felt very isolated because of this.

Due to this I was very anxious but excited about starting university. It’s crazy how different people are at university, I am so much more accepted than I ever was at school and it has most certainly made me much more happier. At university, people look beyond my disability. It did have its rocky patches but I am so glad that I continued on into higher education.

 

Assistive technology:

17. What is your opinion on assistive technology for blind and visually impaired people, do you think it is vital?

I absolutely love assistive technology! I couldn’t live without it, it opens up the world for us blind and visually impaired people. I’ve used it since a young age and I feel so lucky that I can use it and be just like a sighted person.

 

18. Do you use assistive technology?

Yes all the time! I use it on a daily basis. Quite frankly, I couldn’t do my university work and some everyday tasks without it.

 

19. What assistive technology/specialist apps could you not live without?

My screen-reader on my laptop and VoiceOver on the Apple products that I have. In regards to apps, I use Tap Tap See, KNFB reader and the money reader all the time so probably couldn’t live without those. I have previously written a post on aps that I use so if you’re interested check it out Here.

 

20. If you could recommend one piece of technology for a blind or visually impaired person what would it be and why?

I’d definitely recommend a screen-reader on a computer or VoiceOver on Apple products depending on which you prefer. I think this opens up the world for blind and visually impaired people because it allows them to browse the web, send emails, write documents and so much more.

 

21. What’s one piece of assistive technology that you’d really like?

Probably a braille note taker. I’ve recently got a braille display and I love that.

 

Friendships:

22. Do you mainly have sighted friends or blind/visually impaired friends?

I have both. I probably have a few more sighted friends but I do have a good set of blind and visually impaired friends as well.

 

23. If you have blind/visually impaired friends, how did you meet them?

I met them through blogging. As mentioned at the start of this post, My Blurred World who I have collaborated with to write this post I met through the internet and I couldn’t imagine my life without her. I also met one of my best friends through the internet and she happens to be blind as well, we met on twitter. I have also become really good friends with the people that I have mentioned later on in this post. We have become really good friends and I am so glad we met. I also spent a week at a specialist school so made some blind and visually impaired friends whilst I was there that I still keep in contact with now.

 

24. Do sighted peers understand your disability and try to help you?

Since I started university I’d definitely say that my sighted peers are more understanding of my disability and do try to help me.

 

25. What’s one thing you wish your friends understood about your disability?

They’re absolutely amazing in terms of understanding my disability and what I can/can’t do, what I feel comfortable/don’t feel comfortable doing and all that so this was quite hard for me. However, it sounds really silly but I wish they realised that my screen-reader doesn’t read pictures so I can’t join in on things on group chats on Facebook. That probably sounds stupid but yeah, some people that have experience this will get what I mean.

 

26. Who do you tag to do this post?

I tag Yesterdays Wishes Thinking Out Loud-SassyStyle Molly Burke See My Way and fashioneyesta have fun doing this girls! If you’re blind or visually impaired or maybe you have another disability feel free to do this tag and adapt it to suit you!

Hope you enjoyed this post 🙂

Make sure you check out the people’s blogs that I have tagged to do this post and like said at the beginning, make sure you check out My Blurred World

Feel free to give me feedback on this post/any suggestions for future posts – I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! You can comment below your feedback and suggestions or click on my Contact Holly page to find out other ways of contacting me 🙂

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoyed this post!

Holly x

How Jessie J Helps Me Conquer Blindness

Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog!

I’ve been wanting to post this for a while but truth be told I haven’t had the confidence as it’s something that’s really personal to me. I  like to be completely honest on my blog so thought that I should finally publish it.

This post is about how my favourite singer (Jessie J) has helped me conquer blindness over the last few years and continues to do so today.

You’re probably thinking what, she sings about doing it like a dude and money… joking aside, her songs include some of the most motivational and inspirational lyrics out there, that’s my personal opinion anyway.

I can also connect with her on a more personal level – she has Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome which is a heart condition. Due to this she was on beta-blockers which turned her skin a greeny colour when she was younger which people bullied her for. She also suffered from a stroke when she was 18. I haven’t experienced either of these but have experienced some forms of bullying and have felt isolated due to my disability just like Jessie has.

 

I’ve been a fan of Jessie since she uploaded videos on YouTube and supported her ever since but I never imagined her music would have such an impact on my life and help me when I need it most. Even now I’m 20 years old, her music still has the same impact on me like it did when I was younger. It makes me feel happy, good about myself, inspired and motivated but it also has one effect on me that no other artist ever does – it makes me feel like I can conquer blindness and that this disability won’t stop me from getting to where I want to be in life.

I remember hearing Jessie’s song ‘Who You Are’ for the first time and nearly crying, that song has such an impact on me I can’t describe it. The lyrics in that song honestly mean everything to me. For those of you that have never heard it, here it is: Jessie J – Who You Are I’ll talk to you about some of the lyrics in that song that mean the most to me. The first is ‘seeing is deceiving.’ Well seeing as I’m blind, this one is pretty self-explanatory but I’ll explain it. It makes me feel like being blind is okay, it doesn’t make me any different. It really makes me think, maybe seeing really is deceiving.

The second is ‘it’s okay not to be okay.’ When I’m feeling down or having a bad day this lyric puts me back on track.

Next is ‘there’s nothing wrong with who you are.’ This makes me realise that there’s nothing wrong with having a disability and that it doesn’t define me.

I could honestly talk about every single lyric from this song but the final one I’ll talk about is ‘just be true to who you are.’ This is by far my favourite lyric…ever. It keeps me going and reminds me to stay true to myself, embrace my disability and love myself for who I am.

There are so many more of her songs that help me including Stand Up, Harder We Fall, Masterpiece and You Don’t Really Know me just to name a few. Go and give them a listen!

 

I’ve seen Jessie live a lot and her concerts blow me away. It’s not all about visual effects or dancing so I think this is one of the reasons why it makes it so special and why I can connect to her even more. It’s her vocals, the emotion in the way she sings – she always gives it her all. And it’s her speeches…they are indescribable. Even watching those on YouTube reduce me to tears. They really make you think about you as a person and about your life. Not in a bad way but in a good way. They honestly help me. No matter if I’m at a concert hearing the speech first hand or watching one on YouTube that I’ve seen so many times before they always help. They trigger something within me that makes me think “you can do this you know”. It took me forever to narrow it down but here are a few of my favourites: just a little heads up there’s 5, I doubt anyone will listen to all 5 but if you have the time go for it! I urge you to listen to speeches 1 and 2 but watch 2 the whole way through, wow, just wow is all I can say. Speech 1 Speech 2 Speech 3 Speech 4 speech 5 I truly believe that Jessie’s music, inspiring words, her determination, dedication and her work ethic have helped shape the person I am today.

Self-confidence is something I’ve struggled with for many years and Jessie’s music has helped me overcome that. I will admit that if it wasn’t for Jessie I wouldn’t have created this blog and so much more. Who knows where I would have been now?

I hope to meet Jessie one day to thank her for helping me to be confident and for making me realise that having a disability isn’t a barrier. I want to help others just like myself, who are maybe experiencing the same struggles that I have gone through. I want to put a little positivity and light into their lives and for them to know that having a disability doesn’t define them or stop them from achieving their dreams. If I can give them some advice or help them in any way I can then that’s all that matters. Jessie has inspired me to aim for that and I do hope that i’ll get there. I’d honestly just like the opportunity to thank her for everything that she has done for me personally and for everything she does for us fans. With Jessie it’s about the music, not the looks and that’s something I am so grateful for as a blind person.

I hope this post wasn’t too cringey haha! Hope you enjoyed it. We all need something to put us back on track and that’s exactly what Jessie does whenever I need it.

 

I hope you’re all well and I’d like to thank you for your continued support, it means more than you know.

 

Remember: just be true to who you are!

Hol x

Guest Blog For RLSB

Hi Everyone,

I would just like to say thank you for all your support, the response that I have been getting the last few days is amazing and it really does mean the world!

Today I  am sharing another guest blog post, if you haven’t read My Blog For Action For Blind People then check it out!

Todays guest blog post is for RLSB (Royal London Society For Blind People). In this post I talk about life as a blind university student. Check it out here!

 

Hope you enjoyed this post 🙂

One last thing, I now have a Facebook page, please go and have a look and press that like button by clicking here it would honestly mean the world!

 

Once again, thank you.

Hol x

How To Become Comfortable With Your Disability

Becoming comfortable with your disability isn’t something that happens overnight, it can be hard and can be something that takes a long time to accept. As someone that is registered severely sight impaired and has faced many challenges because of it, I wanted to share how I became comfortable with my disability to help others in the same or similar situations as me.

 

Never change your vocabulary to fit your disability. It may seem wrong to say things such as “I’m watching TV” or “would you like to go and see a film at the cinema?” but why is it wrong? It’s everyday language so why would you change it just because you’re blind or have another illness or disability. If you change it, those around you will feel uncomfortable and start to adopt that way of thinking as well. It’s just basic language so you shouldn’t change it because of your disability.

 

Accept the fact that you will have to approach certain tasks differently and certain things will have to be adapted for you in order for you to take part or be independent. You have a guide dog, use a cane or a wheelchair, so what? That’s your independence; don’t let anyone take that or deny you access of something that’s invaluable to you. For them it’s just something small, but for you, it opens up the world. Be honest about what you can and can’t do. If you can’t do something then that’s okay, accept your limits. Everyone has limits and things that they can’t do, even when they thought they could.

 

Your disability does not define your dreams and ambitions. Just because you’re disabled you have dreams and goals that you want to achieve just like everyone else. Never let anything or anyone stop you from getting to where you want to be in life.

 

Remember: “those who mind don’t matter, those who matter don’t mind”. If people can’t accept you for who you really are and look beyond your disability then they aren’t worth your time or worth being in your life. They aren’t worth having the chance to get to know the real you. Those that truly care will love you for who you are and look beyond your disability. For them, your disability is only one small part of you.

 

Don’t take yourself too seriously. You messed up? You made a mistake? So what if you walked into a wall because you didn’t see it? Everyone makes mistakes, you’re no different to anyone else. At the end of the day, you’re human so you can’t be perfect all the time. Don’t expect too much of yourself.

 

However hard life may seem, get through the times when you think your disability gets the better of you and when you think it is controlling you and taking over your life. You may feel like you can’t do this anymore but get out of bed each time and face each challenge. Sometimes things will go wrong, but learn from those mistakes and experiences. It is okay to admit it’s all getting too much. If you’re really struggling, get help and tell people how you truly feel so that they can support you. There are two options; to either let it control you, or for you to control it. Yes it’s easier said than done and sometimes you will feel like giving up but at least you can say that you didn’t let your disability stop you and you didn’t go down without putting up a fight…

 

Never let your disability define you as a person. It’s beyond hard; you face people on a daily basis that don’t understand it and even when you try to educate them, they still don’t get it. You meet people that are damn right rude, that treat you like you’re some sort of weird creature or not “normal”, but what is normal anyway? People will tell you that you can’t do something because of your disability but try your best to prove them wrong. If you succeed give yourself a pat on the back, and then wait for their reaction. If you don’t, don’t worry, another door will open. Whatever the outcome, be proud of yourself to know that you tried. Your disability will never be a barrier. There are some things that you can’t do, some things that you need assistance with but that’s fine. If you need help, ask. Don’t be ashamed to ask for assistance or for someone to do something for you or for them to show you, so that you can do it yourself next time. Truth is, not everyone will accept you for who you are, and not everyone will understand your disability and not everyone will want to help you. No one told you that life was going to be easy. You’re going to have so many questions with 0 answers, why me? Why this? Why now? No one knows, no one can answer those for you. Life was never going to be a walk in the park; it’s always going to test you no matter how old you are. That’s not just because you’ve got a disability, that’s because you’re human. You’re the only person in your life that can accept who you are and embrace it, be proud of yourself and make sure you get to wherever you want to be in life. Don’t let your disability or anything for that matter hold you back. If you want to be a writer, a singer, a teacher, a social worker or whatever, reach for it. Don’t let your disability stop you or be a barrier. Maybe you’ve had it all your life or maybe you were diagnosed recently. Whichever it is, grab it with both hands and don’t let it overtake you or your life.

You often wonder how you’re still functioning, how you’re still coping with this disability but you’re going to manage. You’re going to be pushed beyond breaking point, wondering how you’ve got any fight left in you but trust me you have. If you dream it, you can achieve it. Find an escape; for example listen to the lyrics of motivational songs and really reflect on them or write your thoughts and feelings down. No matter what anyone says, don’t let your disability define you. With or without a disability, you are your own person. You can do this. You are not alone, there are so many people in the same position as you wondering how they’re still coping. Be you, always. If you want to try something, go for it. People are going to judge you anyway. Remember: your disability is only one small part of you and in no way does it define you, so let it stay that way.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know your thoughts/suggestions for future posts 🙂

Accessible Apps For Blind And Visually Impaired People

Hello everyone,

Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you so much for all the feedback on my last post, it’s the most amount of feedback that I’ve had and it really means so much to me, keep it coming! I thought I’d do a blog post on the apps that I use on my iPhone, iPad and iPod, some of them are especially made for blind and visually impaired people and others are just normal apps. I hope you enjoy this post!

 

Apps for blind and visually impaired people:

Tap Tap See

This app helps blind and visually impaired people recognise objects and oher things, for example tins of fruit or books.

Cam Find

This app is a low budget version of Tap Tap See.

KNFB Reader

This app is like a ClearReader, you can scan a printed document and it uses text-to-speech software to read out loud what is on the page. For example, it will read letters/menus.

Prizmo

This  does the same thing as KNFB Reader but it is a lot cheaper. Despite the price difference it is still great.

Voice Dream Reader

With this app you can import word documents, pdf documents etc and it uses text-to-speech software to read them out loud. I use this for reading books for university all the time.

Voice Dream Writer

This app helps you proofread essays and anything else, it is also great for helping you structure essays.

LookTel Money Reader

This app identifies money, if you’re like me and rubbish at identifying money it is great for telling you which is a £5 note or a £20 note etc.

VIA

This is a good app directory for accessible games etc.

Ariadne GPS

This is a GPS app for blind and visually impaired people. It helps you navigate places, save routes and so much more.

BlindSquare GPS

This is the same as Ariadne GPS, it does have some differences and some similarities. It can help you identify travel, restaurants, shops and uses Google maps/Apple maps to help you navigate to a particular place.

RNIB Overdrive

This app was created by the RNIB, it allows blind and partially sighted users to access talking books, podcasts and so much more from the RNIB library using the app or from the website on a PC.

Selfiex

Allows blind and visually impaired people to take selfies.

 

Other apps that I use:

National rail

This app tells you what stops you are at and it also tells you train times.

The Train Line

This allows you to book tickets and is accessible with VoiceOver.

Bus checker

This app tells you what bus is coming next at a bus stop.

 Pages

It allows you to write documents. It also comes with a range of templates, for example CV or letter templates which are really useful.

Kindle

It allows you to read books from Amazon’s Kindle website using VoiceOver. The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver.

Audible

It gives you access to Amazon’s audible website that has a huge range of audiobooks. It is also fully accessible with VoiceOver.

Twitter

This is a social networking website.

Instagram

You may be wondering how why a blind girl would want to use a photo based social networking app…I upload pictures that other people take for me.

Facebook

Again, this is a social networking website.

Google

This is a search engine.

Youtube

Allows me to watch and upload videos.

Spotify

 Allows users to listen to music from just about any genre, artist or playlist.

WhatsApp

 A great app for texting/voice messaging people.

Shazam

Identifies songs.

WordPress

I use this app to post my blog posts and read other people’s.

Netflix

Users can watch a huge range of TV shows and films. It also has audio description in a lot of its content which is great.

 

These are just a few apps that are available and also accessible for blind and visually impaired people. I know there are thousands more out there but these are the ones that I use.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any blog post suggestions please do let me know!

 

Hol x

 

What I Wish For As A Blind Person In A Sighted World

I try to make my blog as positive as possible but I think its okay to admit that we’re not okay and that we’re going through a rough time. I’m not going to lie, living in a sighted world as a blind person is so so hard at times. Honestly, I don’t know how I get through it sometimes.
I’ve been blind since birth so being blind in the sighted world is just the norm for me. God do I wish that I was living in the sighted world like everyone else.
The most upsetting part for me is that I have no idea what my friends or family look like and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to see their faces.

What I wish:
I wish I could see my friends and families smiles, their faces when something amazing happens. Everyone says my dog is “cute”, I don’t know what she looks like. I wish I could see what my favourite celebrity (Jessie J) looks like, the person who’s music has kept me going in my darkest times, kept me strong when I felt like giving up and continues to inspire me every single day. I would love the chance to meet her to thank her for everything and actually think “wow, I have seen my idol in person.” I wish I could see what my university friends look like. I wish I could see what the photos we take together look like. I wish I could snapchat my friends. I wish I could take photos/videos easily. I wish I could see the computer screen. I wish I could see print, not feel braille. I wish I could see the beauty in this world. I wish I knew what I actually look like. I wish that people didn’t just see me as the “blind girl”. I wish that one day I can actually see what my husband and children look like. I wish that I don’t have to remember where everything is. I wish that I could just go for a walk without memorising every route I have to take. I wish that I could ride a bike in the city. I wish that I could drive a car like all my friends and just jump in my own car and drive to wherever I want to. I just want to experience the sighted world as a sighted person.

I haven’t wrote this post for sympathy, I’ve wrote it to help others. I know that accepting blindness is hard, I’ve been blind all my life and I still have my down days. But I try to accept it, not let it be a barrier and not stop me from getting to where I want to be in life. Blind people have feelings and ambitions. I know there are people in far worse situations than me but I just wanted to highlight the things that us blind people want and wish for. In reality, being blind is far from easy but life is what you make it.

Thank you for reading

Holly x