And a warm welcome back to you all, first of all I would just like to extend a massive thank you to everyone for your incredible and overwhelming support in light of my recent blog I wrote about my past battle with Anorexia. It meant a great deal to me that you were all so supportive about something that for so long has been a very sensitive topic. I know I say it a lot, but I feel incredibly privileged to have such a lovely group of people following and supporting my work.
Anyway before things get any more slushy that we cannot even wade through it, today I wanted to write a blog on a new tag that has been created. I am utterly overjoyed to see so many visually impaired bloggers and bloggers doing their thing and having their say. When I first started my blog 4 years ago there wasn’t hardly any people blogging and now there is a thriving community of visually impaired bloggers. The tag that I am doing today was created by two lovely bloggers by the name of My Blurred World and Just Your Average Blind Girl. Its called The Visually Impaired Daily Living Tag and the tag was created to shed light on some of the difficulties that can occur through having a visual impairment and performing tasks in our everyday life like shopping, mobility and technology.
Both girls very kindly tagged me to do this tag, so here I am at my laptop!
I do love a good tag after all.
So, without further adieu…
Beauty and 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?
I organise my clothing in my wardrobe in order of the colour spectrum and in particular groups, so all my red dresses are in one part of my wardrobe and so on. This just makes it easier for me to know roughly where certain garments will be located.
2. When you want to buy new clothes, do you:
• Do online shopping on your own.
• Go shopping with someone.
In all honesty, I do a mixture of both, it very much depends on what I want and what time of the year it is. If I’m looking for a particular item, but I want to shop somewhere where everything isn’t online like Primark I would usually go with my friends or my mother. But, as a lot of online stores make it easier to return things if they are not suitable, I do tend todo a lot of my shopping online and then get someone to critique my choice once the items arrive.
4. 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?
Where clothing is concerned, I do need assistance with finding the right size for me as I can’t always clearly read the clothing labels. But, I also occasionally need someone to observe whether the garment suits my shape and does not expose my underwear and that it just generally suits me. In the makeup department, I usually tend to require help with colour watching to ensure that I am purchasing the right colour to match my skin tone.
5. Do you find it difficult to pick out an outfit due to your visual impairment?
I do find it difficult to pick out an outfit, buts thats because I have far too many clothes! But, hey don’t judge I’m a fashion blogger, its an occupational hazard. But, my sight loss doesn’t inhibit my ability to select an outfit. As I can still see colour and pattern provided that the light is good and the colour contrast is reasonably good.
6. Do you find online shopping accessible?
It very much does depend on whether the website in question is accessible. I prefer websites that have a clear layout, detailed garment descriptions and an image which can be easily enlarged to allow me to see it in more detail. Where this is not possible I tend to shop for an item in person with someone instead.
7. Does your visual impairment stop you from applying makeup? If so, why?
Not any more. When I was a lot younger, applying makeup was a daunting task for me. But, after years of refining my technique and having my mother to teach me (who was a makeup artist for Clinque for 8 years might I add). I was able to hone in my skills and now I have no problems with applying makeup. Accept liquid eyeliner due to having Nystagmus, but I think everyone finds liquid eyeliner a fiddly business sight or no sight.
8. How do you organise your clothing/beauty products?
To organise my clothing I have different compartments for all my items, I have a basket for all my scarves, a big Ottoman for my bags, four drawers to organise my shoes and boots, a jewellery organiser and boxes to store my hats and other items. For my makeup I store it in my dressing table comprised with two sets of the Ikea 5 Alex drawers, which are a staple for many beauty bloggers because they are so deep and therefore you can fit a lot in. I have separate drawers for certain items like lipsticks, eyeshadows, palettes, hair products, blush and highlighters and so on. I store my makeup in drawer organisers and dividers which you can buy from Ikea, T K Max and Tiger. I use lipstick divers to store my lipsticks and organise them in order of colour and brand. I do like to be organised as it helps me retain control over my daily life.
1. Do you have any kind of mobility aid? If so, what is it?
I have a beautiful, fluffy little guide dog by the name of Unity who is my mobility aid and my partner in crime. I used to use a cane (which I customised with Swarovski Crystals and coloured plastic) and I distill use them from time to time.
2. Do you prefer using this or to be sighted guided?
I much prefer using my guide dog, she’s my independence and I’m a very independent person, I prefer to fly solo. So, having her makes me feel more confident and I do enjoy being able to do things myself. But, if I’m somewhere with my close friends like at a Theme Park, I don’t mind being guided by them so much. But, on the whole my guide dog is my one true sighted guide.
3. If you use a cane, do you feel self-conscious whilst using it?
When I used it, I did. It got easier once I customised it and added my touch of bling. But, even then I still felt self-concious in the way I walked and carried myself. I personally found it much easier to get used to a guide dog.
4. When it comes to transport, do you go on the bus, train etc by yourself?
Yes, I do most things on public transport by myself unless I’m going to a certain place with a group of my fiends. But, I’m a bit of a lone star when it comes to this and after all I’m not ever really alone as I always have a bright eyed, bushy tailed guide dog at my feet.
5, How do you feel about travelling independently?
I love it, I feel very gratified to know that I can get out and about confidently on my own. I think because I have a visual impairment, going on public transport is a little bit more of a challenge and thus its an adventure.
1 Do/did you attend a mainstream or specialist school?
Mainstream, although at secondary school there was a visual impairment unit in the school although it was still technically mainstream.
2. If you had a choice, which one would you prefer to go to?
Mainstream, for me personally I felt that even though it was tough it prepared me for everyday life and gave me a lot of life experience which I can now relay into my writing.
3. Overall, was your experience of education as a visually impaired person mostly positive or negative? How could it have been improved?
It was a real mix, I saw the best and the worst that it had to offer. At primary school my experience was awful, the teachers mostly were no unsupportive (all barring a few) and I did not receive the support I needed. I was bullied due to my disability and I didn’t get any moral support from the heads of the school when this occurred. But, at secondary school and sixth form, I had the best support and they really helped me to excel and go on to achieve excellent GCSE’S and A Levels.
4. Did you carry on into further/higher education? If so, how did you feel about this transition? If not, why?
I did indeed, I went all the way through education and graduated with a Degree in English Literature and am now studying a Masters Degree in Children’s Literature.
1 What is your opinion on assistive technology for blind and visually impaired people, do you think it is vital?
I am extremely pro technology, I grew up with it, I learned to touch type, my whole life revolves around it. Technology got me through my degree and helps me to blog, I rely on it as someone with severe vision loss. Without it I wouldn’t be able to do half of the things I do. I think that technology can open so many doors for people with sight loss and can make your life that whole lot easier, if you explore what it has to offer.
2. Do you use assistive technology?
3. What assistive technology/specialist apps could you not live without?
I use a whole host of assistive technology, I use my Apple iPhone and Macbook on a daily basis which have been customised to suit my access needs with Speak Selection, Text Dictation and Zoom. I also use an electronic magnifier to read books, magazines, menus and other various things. I also use a C Pen Scanner to scan text from a book onto my computer which proves very useful. I use a program called Claro Read which enables me to scan documents and read documents on my computer, its honestly my live saver and best friend.
Another App I simply love is Overdrive, its an app that the RNIB use to host their talking book service. I use it to access audiobooks and its a wonderful app to flick through the latest titles and releases. Its one of my most used apps.
An app that I sue to help me plan outfits is called My Outfit and its a virtual closet app that allows me to add clothing, plan outfits and match garments. Its great if you have difficulty finding clothes or planning an outfit.
I also use an App called RefMe which can be made accessible with VoiceOver, its an app for University students which formats the references for you in whatever style you need. Any visually impaired University students, or indeed just students in general, this app proved to be my salvation throughout my degree.
I live and breath technology and it has proven to get me through some very difficult times in my life both on a personal and academic capacity.
4. If you could recommend one piece of technology for a blind or visually impaired person what would it be and why?
An iPhone, there are so many amazing free apps that you can easily download and it honestly makes life so much easier. All the accessibility features are built in and you can easily make the iPhone fit your accessabilit needs.
5. What’s one piece of assistive technology that you’d really like?
Nothing currently stands out to me, I have a lot of technology that I find useful to me and my needs.
1 Do you mainly have sighted friends or blind/visually impaired friends?
I have a mix of both, most of my university friends who I see on a regular basis area fully sighted. But, I have a lot of friends I know external to university who are visually impaired and disabled.
2. If you have blind/visually impaired friends, how did you meet them?
Most of them I met online and through my blog and work as a speaker, I met them during events or we after they discovered my blog.
3. Do sighted peers understand your disability and try to help you?
My university friends are incredibly empathetic and understanding and often make sure to very subtly include me in their activities whether thats by describing things when we are at a theatre production or the cinema or offering to carry my drinks when we go out for coffee. Its the little things they do that help, but they are such a wonderfully understanding group of people and they never make me feel as if I’m a burden.
4. What’s one thing you wish your friends understood about your disability?
Although my friends are incredibly understanding, sometimes I wish they could experience what its like to be a University student with a visual impairment who has to write a 5,000 word essay with research, footnotes and citations. Because, I know its hard for anyone being a university student, but being visually impaired and having to format a footnote…its a different ball game. And if they could write just one essay with bad eye sight, I’m sure they’d realise why I gripe so much.
5. Who do you tag to do this TAG next?
So, that concludes my blog for today again thank you to both bloggers for tagging me to do this.
Do feel free to take part in this tag yourself and share it on social media as I’m sure they would love to see it as would I.
Until next time.