Liebster Award Number 2

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

Some of you may remember that I was nominated to do the Liebster award last year which you can read here. Well…I have been nominated again! I love this award as it allows you to connect with other bloggers and gives so many fantastic bloggers the exposure they deserve.

I have been nominated by the lovely Elm who is basically a wonderful person, and her writing style is amazing so make sure you check out her blog! A huge thank you to Elm for nominating me!

 

The Rules

  1. Thank the blogger who has nominated you

2. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who has nominated you

3. Nominate 11 blogs

4. Ask them 11 questions

 

Elm’s questions

  1. What’s a song that you feel summarises your thoughts right now?

Jessie J – Masterpiece. I’ve got my degree, but I’m still getting to where I want to be in life and working on myself.

2. When was the last time you felt happy and why?

I’ve just got back from a lovely holiday with my family so I feel happy at the moment as I had a relaxing break.

3. Do you like books?

I absolutely love books! I love to just sit down and relax reading a good book.

4. Do you often find yourself thinking about the past, present or future?

Probably a mix of all three, but mostly the future.

5. If you’ve made a difficult decision recently, what have you learned from it?

Hmmmm, probably that everything happens for a reason.

6. If you had to choose between always travelling abroad but never being able to travel in your own country or always travelling in your country but never being able to go abroad, which would you choose?

This was such a tough one! I think I’d choose travelling abroad, as there’s so many places that I could travel to and explore.

7. What’s your least favourite instrument?

Probably the Violin (nothing against Violinists), it’s not really my kind of instrument.

8. Can you cook/bake?

Sort of, but I’m not the best at either haha.

9. Do you get emotional easily?

Yes! I kind of wish I didn’t sometimes.

10. What kinds of posts do you most like writing?

It depends what mood I’m in but I love writing my disability related posts, especially my educational ones.

11. How do you resist negative pressure to do something from others?

I think it’s important to remember that if you don’t want to do something, then you don’t have to. Those that value you and love you for who you are should respect your decision.

 

My Nominations

Elin Sassy The Heart Of Me Jade Marie Hannah Lois L Sarah Shona Glen Emma

My Questions

  1. What’s your favourite thing about blogging?

2. If your life was a book, would you stop reading at this point or carry on?

3. If you could meet any celebrity, who would you want to meet and why?

4. Favourite album at the moment?

5. Favourite memory of 2017 so far?

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

7. Favourite social media site?

8. Who is your biggest inspiration?

9. What’s your biggest achievement?

10. One place you’d like to visit?

11. If money wasn’t an issue, what would you spend it on?

 

There you go! I really hope you enjoyed reading, make sure you check out all of the lovely bloggers that I have mentioned in this post! To those of you that I have nominated…enjoy!

Holly x

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Blogging And Sight Loss: How It Works

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

Today I wanted to address a question which I get asked quite a lot, ‘how do you blog even though you’re blind?’

This is a very valid and interesting question, I get asked it by both sighted and visually impaired people. So today I wanted to tell you how I’m a blogger even though I am blind, give tips to aspiring bloggers out there and hopefully answer that question for you all.

So, without further ado let’s get into today’s post!

 

Find an accessible blogging platform

Once you decide on the main focus of your blog, it’s important to find a blogging platform that’s accessible and one that you like, and feel comfortable using. You may need to do some research beforehand on different blogging platforms, this will help you decide which one is right for you.

Personally, I use WordPress, as I find this to be the most accessible with my chosen screen-reader. It’s also got an app which I also use on my iPhone or iPad which I find very useful and it is also very accessible. I do know blind and visually impaired people that use Blogspot, so it’s all about personal preference and finding out which one works best for you.

When initially creating my account, and setting up my blog, I did need sighted assistance to originally find a blogging theme and to help me with my blog header and things like that.

Blog header that says 'Life of a Blind Girl'

However, the pages, menus and other aspects that are on my site I did myself.

 

Writing posts

Writing content is obviously the main aspect of blogging. Everyone has different ways of doing this, and there’s no reason why you should be limited to doing this because of a visual impairment. There’s so much technology out there that can enable you to do this such as screen-readers or magnification software.

To write my posts I use Jaws screen-reader on my laptop and sometimes tweak them using VoiceOver on my iPhone or iPad. In simple terms, a screen-reader reads out loud everything that is on the screen and also what you’re typing.

Before I even write my posts, I like to plan them and write down any ideas that I have for future blog posts. To do this, I usually use the notes app on my iPhone as it’s something that I can refer back to quickly and easily.

picture of an iPhone

In terms of writing posts, I will either write my posts on a word document or write them straight into WordPress and spell check them using the built-in editor.

 

Visual content

For fully sighted people, visual content is often as important as written content. It catches people’s attention, and can often draw them into reading your posts. Depending on how much vision you have, adding images in your posts may be something you need assistance in doing. When you insert images into your posts, it’s important to add Alt text (alternative text) or a photo description so people who are blind or visually impaired know what the photo shows. That goes for any sighted bloggers out there as well!

I’m going to be honest here, I don’t take blog photos myself as I don’t have any useful vision to be able to do this. My Mum or Dad take them for me, which I am extremely grateful for. I do insert them into the posts myself and write the descriptions to go with them. I will often get my Mum or Dad to check whether they look okay before I press publish.

 

Sharing posts on social media

It’s important to share your posts on social media in order to gain new readers, followers, and visitors to your blog. All social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are fully accessible for blind and visually impaired people so this shouldn’t be a problem. Sharing and promoting your posts is all part of blogging! Social media is also a great way of interacting with other bloggers and being part of the blogging community. It’s important to share the love!

 

Engaging with other bloggers

It’s important to engage with other bloggers – read their posts, leave them a nice comment and you may even find that you will make new blogging friends along the way. Depending what blogging platform they use, you may experience accessibility issues such as not being able to leave a comment but there are other ways in which you can do this such as contacting them on social media or sending them an email. It may also be good to let them know if their blogs are not accessible as they may want to try to change this.

I like to engage with other bloggers and have also found some of my closest friends through blogging. Engaging with other bloggers may lead to blogging opportunities such as being asked to write guest posts or being contacted by brands.

 

That concludes today’s post everyone, I hope some of you have found it useful or that it gave you an insight into how I blog as a blind person.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments, or do not hesitate to contact me. Are you a blogger with a visual impairment and have some other useful tips? Or are you a fully sighted blogger and have some general blogging tips? Then leave them in the comments below!

Holly x

Far Away Friendship

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well. I’m so glad that I’m able to post again this month as I am really missing posting regularly for you all!

Today’s post is both a lifestyle and disability one which I thought might be quite nice.

You all should know Elin from the blog My Blurred World as we do our ‘seeing through sight loss series’ together, and it’s no surprise on our blogs that we’re best friends. This post is also part of the series.

You may remember that we met up back in August last year and wrote a post all about it which you can read here, well after 7 months we were finally reunited again last weekend! We live 150 miles away from each other, it’s not easy to meet up as often as we’d like. Adding to this, I’m a few months away from graduating from university, so the workload is piling up too.

Despite all of this, we manage to maintain a very very strong friendship and I think that’s something to be proud of. Today we wanted to tell you about our recent meet-up and how we manage to maintain a long distance friendship which I’m sure some of you can relate to.

So, let’s get into today’s post!

Ever since me and Elin met up in Manchester back in August last year, we’ve been wanting to meet up ever since. After one thing after another, we set too to plan exactly how we could meet up and spend a weekend together. After a lot of planning and research, we finally came up with a plan that we were going to spend a weekend in Manchester as it is a central location. We needed to find somewhere to stay and somewhere that would cater for two visually impaired guests. We contacted several hotel companies and Premier Inn told us that their staff were trained in disability awareness so we decided that was probably the best option for us. We researched a whole load of Premier Inn’s and found one that seemed nice in Salford Quays, neither of us had been before so it was something new for us both. We booked it, told them that we had a visual impairment and asked for any assistance we might need. They were extremely happy to accommodate, they gave us an accessible room on the ground floor which was close to reception, assisted us to and from breakfast and were there if we needed any help. This was a huge help as we didn’t have to worry about which room was ours as ours was the first room from reception. The staff guided us to and from breakfast and made sure that we got to our room safely, the service and assistance we received was excellent!

On the Friday evening, me and Elin met at the hotel and were both very kindly dropped off by our parents ( thank you so much to them). After we checked in at the hotel we all went for a meal before our parents went back home. Me and Elin spent the Friday night unpacking, catching up and listening to music which was nice and chilled.

On the Saturday, we went for breakfast mid-morning and spent some time in our room afterwards. Later in the day, we decided to go for a walk by the waterfront. We didn’t know the area at all, but our mums had kindly shown us the route out of the hotel when they were with us so we grabbed our canes and decided to have a wander. We successfully managed it, we didn’t bump into anything or fall in the river! Navigating an unfamiliar area when you can’t see is very tricky so we were quite proud of ourselves!

Once we got back to the hotel we ordered a takeaway from Dominos, the pizzas were gorgeous might I add! We did probably get a bit too excited tracking our delivery but oh well, who doesn’t?

The rest of the Saturday evening consisted of watching some TV, listening to music, and having a proper girly chat and a lot of laughs. It was so nice to chill out with my best friend, forget about uni work and all the stress that goes with it and completely be myself.

Sunday soon arrived, we went for breakfast mid-morning again and packed to go home. We were both quite sad as we only had a matter of hours left but we wanted to make the most of it so decided to go for a walk by the waterfront again and have some lunch. When our families arrived to pick us up we walked to a nearby shopping centre, had a coffee, and walked by the waterfront with them and got some photos taken. We both love to keep photos as we think they’re something lovely to keep and look back on.

unnamed.jpg

(photo of me and Elin)

It was hard to say goodbye to my best friend but we’re reunited in 6 weeks as we’re seeing Shawn Mendes together so that made the goodbyes easier.

I honestly had such an amazing weekend with Elin, I’m so lucky to call her my best friend. I am also extremely grateful to my Mum and Dad for taking me and picking me up, family is so precious.

We also wanted to tell you about how we maintain a long distance friendship. It can be extremely difficult as I live in Yorkshire and Elin lives in Wales and it’s quite a long journey, therefore we hadn’t seen each other for several months. Maintaining a long distance friendship is not easy but it’s possible so we wanted to tell you how we do it.

Text regularly

You don’t have to text all day every day but it’s important to keep the conversation going, ask them how they are and keep them updated on your life, telling them yourself rather than them finding out on social media adds more of a personal touch. Me and Elin are always texting each other to keep each other updated on things, we think that this really does help.

Chat over the phone

Sometimes texting isn’t always good enough, having a phone call gives you chance to have a proper catch up. Sometimes you just need to pick up the phone and speak to your best friend which can instantly lift your mood. It’s not the same as being with them face-to-face but it is so important to have verbal conversations as well.

Do something together

You’re probably wondering what I mean by this, but me and Elin have our blog series which we include a range of posts on sight loss, to tag posts, to memories like this so they are nice to look back on. It’s nice to go back and read them sometimes! We also have a collaborative Spotify playlist which consists of our favourite songs, this is something that we like to update and share our music taste with each other. We’re lucky in that we like the same artists/bands. Let me just tell you, it’s a very good playlist!

Plan meet-ups

It’s important to have something to look forward to. Me and Elin have been focusing on this meet up for a while now, we’re also seeing Shawn Mendes and Adele together this year and I can honestly say that’s getting me through these last few months of university! Being able to countdown to something together is so exciting! It also makes the distance more bearable when you’re having one of those rubbish days.

Keep them motivated and always be there for them

Distance is nothing when friendship means everything, so make sure that you’re always there for them. If they’re going through a hard time or need a bit of motivation, then help them along the way.

If it wasn’t for blogging then me and Elin wouldn’t know each other, and I am so grateful. We may live miles away from each other but it makes the friendship stronger.

You can read Elin’s post here.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, thank you so much for reading!

Do you have a long distance friendship? Let us know how you maintain it in the comments.

I’ll hopefully be back soon with a new post for you all.

Holly x

My Top 10 Blind Girl Problems

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

Today’s post is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while but never actually got round to it. As you can tell from the title, it’s my top 10 blind girl problems. It’s a bit of a light-hearted post, I’ve put together a few of the mishaps that I experience due to my visual impairment. This post is part of Elin and I’s seeing through sight loss series where we discuss a range of topics on visual impairment, we thought this was a great post to include in the series!

So, without further ado, let’s get into today’s post.

  1. Having a conversation with someone thinking that they’re still in the room and ending up talking to myself.
  2. Walking into a cupboard or door.
  3. Walking into the dishwasher because I left it open and ending up with a huge bruise on my leg.
  4. Falling or tripping over the kerb because I misjudged the step.
  5. Knocking the dog’s food or water over and it spilling literally everywhere!
  6. Dropping something on the floor and scrambling around on my knees to find it for a good few minutes…it’s like a mini treasure hunt.
  7. Losing something and taking forever to try and find it so giving up and asking a family member to come and help only for them to find it straight away.
  8. Tripping over someone’s feet when they’re sat down.
  9. Standing on something soft and panicking it was my pet, turns out it’s their toy.
  10. Walking slap bang into someone because I didn’t know that they were stood there.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Make sure you check out Elin’s top 10 blind girl problems!

If you are blind or visually impaired yourself, then let me know your common blind person problems in the comments. Can you relate to any of these?

If you enjoy reading posts like these then let me know and I can write more of them for you.

Thank you for reading.

Holly x

Embracing Your Disability

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

I’m sorry that I am not posting as regularly as usual but I am now in my third and final year of university so the majority of my time is taken up on that at the moment. I do have some posts planned though, so stay tuned!

As you can gather by the title, I wanted to write about embracing your disability. I’ve touched on this topic before in my how to become comfortable with your disability post but I feel like I’ve learnt a lot more about this topic since writing that.

I hope you enjoy this post and hopefully take something away from it.

 

When I was younger I used to refer to myself as being “visually impaired” or “partially sighted”, strictly speaking, this is not true as I am registered as “blind”/“severely sight impaired”. As I said, I’ve no idea why I did this, I wasn’t embarrassed about my disability, I guess I didn’t really understand the meaning behind the terms.

Whether you are disabled or not, one of the easiest things you can do is compare yourself to others. We are all guilty of it right? Remember that you are your own person so love yourself for who you are. You may not have achieved the same things as your friends, travelled around the world like other disabled people but that’s ok. Everyone wants to achieve different things. Who cares if you don’t want to travel around the world like others? You’ll have more than likely achieved something that’s just as great.

It’s very easy for us to say ‘there are so many people worse off than me’. Yes, there probably is, but everyone’s disability is unique and affects them in different ways. Every disability has its own sets of challenges but it’s important to point out that these challenges affect people in different ways. There are millions of people in the world with a disability each tackling it in their own, individual way.

Make your disability what it is, don’t let it make you. Do not identify yourself as “a disabled person”, you are the person with a disability, your disability is not the only thing that identifies you for who you are. You should always put yourself first before your disability as it doesn’t represent you as a whole and is only one small part of you.

Your disability is not your enemy. It may feel like it is at times, when you must fight for something so simple that non-disabled people take for granted but it should be an integral part of your life and something that you should learn to accept.

Having a disability can enable you to develop many valuable skills such as navigating using a long cane or a wheelchair, to give you the opportunity to learn ways of communication such as braille and sign language, it enables you to use your other senses effectively and become an independent individual despite having a disability.

 

I don’t love my disability, that’s rather strong but I like the person it’s made me become, I like how it’s shaped me as a person and my way of thinking. Personally, I think having a disability has made me approach life from a slightly different angle to my non-disabled peers; I don’t judge a book by its cover, I can educate people on disability, in my case sight loss and one of the most important things that it’s made me realise is that I can get to know someone for who they truly are. It’s also given me many skills: the ability to read braille (including music braille, French and German braille), use assistive technology such as a screen-reader, also the ability to navigate using a long cane to name a few.

Society can often have a negative view on disability but if you think about it, disability can be positive.

It’s important for us as disabled people to educate others on disability and help them challenge their perceived ideas. If we do this, we aren’t only putting our disability to good use but we are also tackling the stereotypes and stigmas that surround disability. Not everyone will change the way they view and perceive disability, but some will.

Let’s get rid of the idea that a disability disables us and start to embrace it. Having a disability makes us intelligent, mindful, strong and independent individuals.

In order for other people to accept your disability and get to know you for who you really are is first for you to accept your disability for what it is and learn to love yourself. Having a disability is nothing to be ashamed of.

 

We all have the ability to do something with our lives so let your disability enable you to do so, not disable you.

If you are a disabled person reading this, I hope that this post has helped you in some way. If you are a non-disabled person, I hope that it has educated you on disability itself and how capable and independent disabled people actually can be.

Fall Favourites Tag

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well. Today’s post isn’t disability related but I was tagged to do the ‘fall favourites tag’ by the amazing My Blurred World so thought I’d complete it.

I will hopefully be back with a visual impairment/disability related post for you later in the week (time permitting) but in the meantime here’s a little post for you all!

  1. Favourite candle?

It has to be a Yankee candle!

2. Favourite lip product?

I quite like lipsticks, I don’t really have a specific favourite at the moment though.

3. Favourite nail polish?

I don’t really get expensive nail polishes so it’d have to be something good but cheap like No7.

4. Favourite trendy clothing item?

At the moment it’s my long cardigan.

5. Favourite comfy item?

I’d have to say a fluffy jumper, they can keep you nice and warm but look really stylish too.

6. Favourite shoes?

Definitely my Ugg boots!

7. Favourite accessory?

My Tiffany bracelet.

8. Halloween or Thanksgiving?

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK and I’m not that fussed about Halloween now that I’m older so neither.

9. Favourite drink?

Hot chocolate.

10. What’s the happiest part about fall for you?

The cosy nights in with a lovely hot chocolate or a walk with my family on a chilly day.

11. Who do you tag?

Lucy – Yesterdays Wishes Rach – Beauty With Rach Emily Davison – Fashioneyesta and Megan – Books and Beauty

I hope you enjoyed this post. I will hopefully be back later in the week with another post but if not it’ll definitely be up next week so stay tuned!

Holly x

Fashion And Sight Loss

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

Today’s post is another post for Elin My Blurred World and I’s seeing through sight loss series. If you don’t know about our series then you can find out more about it here.

Today’s post is all about fashion, we’re going to tell you how we make fashion accessible for us as blind and visually impaired girls. Sighted people often have perceived ideas that blind and visually impaired people can’t be fashionable or look stylish, however this is wrong and we are going to tackle these ideas in our posts on fashion and sight loss.

This post is split into different categories so it gives you more of an insight into everything about fashion and sight loss.

Let’s get into it!

 

Shopping

There are many ways in which blind or visually impaired people can shop for clothes, makeup, jewellery, and all the daily essentials. The first is to go shopping with a sighted person. This can be a nice day out if you want, for example going with a friend or a family member and having a good catch up at the same time. That way, you don’t feel like you’re dragging them along just for you to do some shopping.

The second is to get sighted assistance in a store from a member of staff. The way in which this works is you tell the member of staff what you need and then they will help you find the specific items, describe them to you and tell you about any available offers on the products that you want.

The third way in which blind and visually impaired people can shop is to do online shopping and buy from a range of different websites depending on what you want to buy. Personally, I don’t always find online shopping that accessible as the pictures of clothes for example, don’t always have photo descriptions so it’s hard for me to know what they’re like. Websites aren’t always accessible with a screen-reader either so this can make things extremely difficult.

Personally I prefer going shopping with a sighted person as I know that they’ll help me choose things that I’ll definitely love!

 

Organising

Many people are amazed at how blind and visually impaired people organise their clothes and accessories. Everyone is different but personally I think being more organised is best and really makes things easier.

The way in which I organise my clothes is in wardrobes and cupboards/drawers. For example, I have all of my “smart” and “going out” clothes in one side of my wardrobe and all my “casual” clothes in the other side. I then have t-shirts and things like that in cupboards and drawers. This way works well for me as I know where everything is and things aren’t cluttered. I hate clutter!

For blind and visually impaired people, it’s often about the sense of touch. It’s also about memorising what goes with what. For example, which tops go with skirts, jeans, trousers etc. When it comes down to dresses though, as you can guess, they are rather easy. As a blind person myself, choosing an outfit is all about the sense of touch and memory because I cannot see my outfits. I’ll memorise the feel of something and then remember what it goes with. I do sometimes also use apps on my phone such as Tap Tap See to find out the colour of an item of clothing.

One other useful tip is to label items of clothing, I know many blind and visually impaired people that do this. One way to do this is using the RNIB Penfriend, stick a label on an item of clothing for example, place the penfriend device on the label and record what it is and whenever you scan the device on the particular label it will read your recording out loud.

 

Jewellery

Jewellery is such as important part of fashion, for me anyway! I’ve got the jewellery that I wear every day but the way in which I organise the rest of it is probably like sighted people, in jewellery boxes and little stands. To pick out my jewellery I do it using the sense of touch and memory, I find that it all comes naturally to me and I don’t think about it when I’m doing so.

There’s this idea around fashion and style that blind people can’t be “stylish” but why not? There’s ways and means around things such as getting new outfits, organising clothes and picking out an outfit. Just because a person is blind or visually impaired, it doesn’t mean that they can’t keep up with the latest trends or be stylish.

I hope you enjoyed this post and got a bit of an insight into the way and fashion and sight loss works.

Make sure you check out Elin’s post as I know it’ll be amazing as always! Please keep an eye out for future posts in our series and if you have any post suggestions for us then feel free to contact us!

If you enjoyed this post and would like me to do more fashion related posts then let me know!

Holly x