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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

My Summer Lookbook

This is one blog post that I never imagined myself doing, I've enjoyed doing the odd OOTD every now and then but I'm never consistent enough to call myself a fashion blogger or to compile posts like this. The thing is, I'm only just finding my style again. Becoming a powerchair user threw me completely when it came to fashion, dressing for sitting down all the time isn't simple or easy and suddenly I found myself clueless as to what would look good on me. Disabled fashion bloggers and instagrammers inspired me though, they inspired me to find my style again and to enjoy fashion again, even though I don't see myself in any fashion ads, even the mannequins in store are mostly stood up.

I think I'm finally starting to discover my fashion sense again though, learning what colours and styles I like, learning what suits me best when I'm sat down. I've found out that skirts are a no go, they look odd as I lose a lot of the length of my torso when sat down but equally I've discovered a new love for dresses and bold colours and prints. It's a fun journey and I'm enjoying throwing out old pieces and replacing them with new ones. So, I thought today I'd put together a little lookbook post of some of the outfits I've been wearing this Summer!

THE BIRTHDAY OUTFIT

Jeans | New Look | buy here
Top | New Look | buy here
Jacket | New Look | similar here
Shoes | ASOS | similar here | similar here
Bag | New Look | buy here


THE PICNIC BLANKET

Jeans | New Look | similar here
Top | Primark
Shoes | New Look | buy here


THE DRESS I'M OBSESSED WITH

Dress | Urban Outfitters | buy here
Shoes | New Look | buy here


THE TROPICAL TOP

Top | George at Asda | buy here
Jeans | New Look | similar here
Shoes | Matalan | buy here
Bag | New Look


THE GINGHAM TREND

Jeans | New Look | similar here
Top | Primark
Shoes | Next | buy here

It's safe to say that over the past month I've been a little bit obsessed with a certain pair of pale blue ripped jeans from New Look, it was the turned up hem that I fell for, sadly they are out of stock now though! I've also been trying to inject a little more colour into my wardrobe, wearing a lot more red and a little bit of pink every now and then and so many of you have complimented my outfits when I'm wearing more colour so that must be a good sign! I've loved Summer but I'm definitely ready to start snuggling up in cosy jumpers and I'm excited to wear my Dr. Martens again, I've got my eye on a second pair that I'd love!

Are you looking forward to Autumn fashion or are you more of a Summer person?
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Monday, 21 August 2017

20 Things I've Achieved in 20 Years

Today is my birthday! Finally after years of waiting I'm able to drop the -teen from my age, I'm officially 20 years old. Now, this seems to come as quite the surprise to some people, in fact most people I meet are surprised at how young I am. I've always been older than my years, a phrase that has been used to describe me countless times, simply because I've often been forced to grow up quicker than others. I've suffered with a lifelong genetic condition all my life and I've grown up knowing my reality is different to others, having to deal with major surgeries at a time where my peers are only just beginning to find themselves. I've always related more to adults, always enjoyed their company more and I thought that at 18 I would finally feel like an adult but people like to remind me of the -teen that still sits within my age so, finally I can wave goodbye to my teen years.

I was going to do a '20 things I've learnt in 20 years' post but after feeling a little negative towards my birthday, since it's another birthday I'm spending in chronic pain, I thought it might be nice to celebrate all the things I've achieved. I think writing this post will allow me to think more positively towards my birthday, a celebration of my strength rather than a marker for what I've missed out on. So, here's 20 things I've achieved in 20 years, from the small things all the way up to the big things.


I RUN A SUCCESSFUL BLOG

We all measure success differently but nearly 6 years into blogging I think I can finally say that it is successful. My numbers and stats might not be great but my blog speaks to people on so many levels, it educates people and open's their eyes to issues that they haven't experienced themselves. It's made a real world difference to other people's lives and to me, that's success.

I'VE EDUCATED COUNTLESS PEOPLE ON DISABILITY ISSUES

Linking on from that, I've used my blog and social media platform to educate people on everything from ableism to accessibility. I get tweets and messages every week from people who have learnt something from me and that is the best feeling.

I'VE WRITTEN POSTS AND ARTICLES FOR BIG CHARITIES & COMPANIES, ONLINE + IN PRINT

In the past couple of years I've started writing for charities and companies outside of my blog a lot and my pieces have even been published in various magazines. I regularly write for Scope, a disability charity, and I post about Marfan Syndrome every week for the Hypermobility Syndromes Association. I've expanded my reach beyond my blog.

I REGULARLY WORK WITH THE BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION

Since last year I've been working with The BHF on various different projects, it started off with me being part of their media campaign for some new research that came out about my rare genetic condition, Marfan Syndrome. Since then I've been part of their patient advisory group and I've helped out on specific Marfan related projects too, I honestly never saw myself having such a close relationship with a charity like The BHF and I pinch myself every time they email me for my thoughts or advice.

I'VE WRITTEN SOMETHING THAT WILL BE GOING INTO A PUBLISHED BOOK

This year, quite recently in fact, I wrote a piece about my experience as a young disabled woman for a book that is due to be published next year, a book that collates 20 stories from Britain's youth, a diverse collection of experiences. For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to write a book or have a piece of my writing in my book and I honestly never thought that I would achieve this goal so soon.

I CAME OUT OF SCHOOL WITH GOOD GCSE GRADES DESPITE MISSING A LOT OF MY FINAL YEAR

It still astounds me that I left school with mainly A's and B's in my GCSEs, simply because I missed some of year 10 and a lot of year 11 due to my health. Even when I was in school I ended up sitting in the library doing worksheets because I couldn't climb the stairs to get to my lessons, so it really is incredible that I got the grades I did.

I'M CONTINUOUSLY RAISING AWARENESS OF MARFAN SYNDROME

I've raised awareness of Marfan Syndrome in more ways than I ever could have imagined. I've been on the radio, in newspapers, I've done online interviews and used my blog and social media to spread the word about this rare condition.

I'VE TAKEN ON A BUS COMPANY TO IMPROVE THEIR SERVICE FOR WHEELCHAIR USERS

You've probably seen my posts this year about how one of the local bus companies in my area have failed to provide a suitable service to me, a powerchair user, on several occasions and this culminated in me having a meeting with some of the managers at their offices. We discussed the issues I've had, what steps they are taking and made a plan for me to contribute some documents to their driver's training so they have a better understanding of what it's like when myself and other wheelchair users can't access the bus.

I'M SLOWLY MAKING PLACES MORE ACCESSIBLE

In the past year I've managed to flag up access issues to 2 shops who have both gone on to buy ramps to enable wheelchair users to access their stores. If I hadn't flagged these issues it's likely that the shops would still be inaccessible, so I'm pretty damn proud of that. I've attempted to improve the access of countless shops but so far only 2 have been receptive to change, but I'm determined to keep pestering places until they improve.

I'VE GOTTEN THROUGH 3 MAJOR SURGERIES AND I'M STRONGER FOR IT

In the past 4 years alone I've had 3 major surgeries, 2 spinal surgeries and one hip replacement at the ripe old age of 18. I've had more operations, and there's more to come, in the space of a few years than some people experience in their whole lifetime. I know that I'm stronger for it, they aren't nice experiences but they've definitely shaped my personality and character in a positive way.


I OVERCAME MY FEAR OF LIFTS

For as long as I can remember I've been scared of lifts, avoiding them where possible and dreading times where I'm forced to use them. As my health went downhill I was forced to use them more and more though and when I started using a wheelchair I had no choice at all, this didn't make the experience any easier for me though. I've been using lifts about every week for probably about 2 years now though and I no longer panic so much, I have my wobbles but for the most part, I've overcome my fear.

I'VE LEARNT HOW TO ADVOCATE FOR MYSELF

When you have a rare condition you often find yourself in the position of seeing a doctor who either doesn't know enough about your condition to help or doesn't believe the symptoms you are experiencing. I learnt how to advocate for myself and stand up to doctors from a young age but particularly after my first spinal surgery when I was displaying signs of a nerve complication but all the doctors shrugged the problem off as soft tissue damage. I fought and fought for answers though and in the end, I'd been right all along. Since then I've advocated for myself on many occasions, often bypassing ignorant doctors to find alternative routes to the support or treatment I need.

I UNDERSTAND HOW TO DEAL WITH MY ANXIETY BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE

It's difficult to remember a time where I didn't feel anxious, anxiety has been a part of me and my personality for a very long time. I constantly worry and question myself and my actions but I've learnt how to cope and deal with my anxiety over these past couple of years and I'm more equipped than ever before to deal with it. I honestly never thought that my anxiety would improve, I thought that it would just be something that I'd have to learn to live with and whilst that is partly true it's also true that I now have the tools to recognise my anxiety and deal with it before it escalates. I've also learnt to recognise when I need extra support and help though and I'm proud of myself every time that I put my hand up and say 'I'm not okay'.

I'M INSPIRING OTHER DISABLED PEOPLE

I must get an email or a DM on Twitter every week or so from another disabled person who has been inspired by me or my actions. Sometimes it's disabled people who are inspired to set up a blog and sometimes they are inspired to use their voice more or to speak up for themselves on public transport when things go wrong. I love that what I'm doing is inspiring other disabled people to do the same because the more voices that are heard, the bigger impact we have in this world and the changes we make.

I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH REMOVING TOXIC PEOPLE FROM MY LIFE

I used to think that the more friends I had the better, I used to think that I wasn't allowed to cut family out of my life because they were blood. Well, not anymore. I no longer hesitate in blocking people, unfriending on Facebook and ignoring texts from toxic people. Life is too short to waste on people who only bring me down.

I WENT ON A ROLLERCOASTER

This might seem like a small thing to you but ask any of my family and they'll tell you how terrified I use to be of theme park rides. I remember a trip to Thorpe Park, I went on a water ride that from the outside seemed innocent. Well, we turned round the corner to see a huge drop and I was practically trying to jump off the boat. During a school trip to Germany I finally put my fears behind me though, with the help of peer pressure, and hopped on a rollercoaster. And guess what? I loved it. I went on it another 4 times, soaking up the adrenaline. I'm gutted I left it so late to enjoy theme park rides because about a year and half later I had major spinal surgery that means I can no longer enjoy such rides. I'm proud that I did it though otherwise I would have been left wondering for all of my life about whether I'd enjoy theme park rides.

I'VE WRITTEN APPROX. 900 BLOG POSTS

Over the space of nearly 6 years I've written nearly 900 blog posts, and about 835 are still on my blog (I deleted some of the embarrassingly poor quality ones from my early days). That's a lot of words, a lot of words that I'm very proud of. I've talked about everything from lipsticks to ableism and I'm proud of my dedication to my little hobby.

GETTING THROUGH 2 YEARS OF BEING LONG DISTANCE WITH MY PARTNER

Me and my partner have been living together for around 9 months now, the time has flown by and it feels like a lifetime away when we were long distance. For around 2 years we regularly took turns to make the nearly 4 hour journey from Hull to St Albans, I won't pretend it was easy because sometimes it wasn't. We'd sometimes go 3/4 months without seeing each other because we are both disabled but we got through it and it was so worth everything we went through to get to where we are today.

I'VE LEARNT TO BELIEVE IN MY ABILITY

At school I thrived, I loved education and consuming education. I was smart as well, I got good grades and was in the top sets, yet I hardly ever believed in my ability. I loved creative writing but threw away so many stories that I'd written because I believed they were worthless. These days I believe in my ability more than ever before, when I pitch ideas to websites I pitch with pride, safe in the knowledge that I know I have something to offer. I still have my struggles but I know that I am good at what I do.

I'VE MADE A POSITIVE IMPACT IN AT LEAST ONE PERSON'S LIFE

I know that I've had a positive influence in at least one person's life and that makes everything I do so worth it.

Here's to the next 20 years, hopefully full of more achievements and memories to treasure.
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Friday, 18 August 2017

5 Trinket Dishes That Will Improve Your Flat Lay's

It's difficult to remember a time where flat lay photos didn't fill my Instagram feed, they seem to be such a vital part of blog photography now. Personally I've still not cracked the art of flat laying but I am getting better each and every day at putting together beautiful and instagram worthy images. There is one particular type of item that has had a pivotal role in my instagram and blog photos recently and that is trinket dishes. They are ideal for creating focal points in photos and they can break up an image that contains lots of small items, I really have become quite obsessed with these little dishes! They are also an item that I'd happily use as decor in my home as well, so I don't feel quite as bad when I buy them as I know they won't just be used for photos. So, I thought today I'd share some of my favourites from the highstreet right now, everywhere from Primark to New Look seem to be selling them at the moment so it's the perfect opportunity to up your flat lay game without spending too many pennies.



The catcus and unicorn dishes are both from Primark and they cost about £3.50 each if I remember rightly, I bought them both within the past month so they should still be in store when this post goes out. I've got a few catcus candles from Primark so I thought this cute little dish would be the perfect edition to my catcus blog photo props collection, I had visions of Summer flat lays in my mind. The unicorn dish was just too damn cute to pass by as well, I know I'll get lots of use out of it and it makes a fun addition to any insta photo.

The pineapple dish is from a shop called Flying Tiger, they aren't online but I did find a very similar dish from New Look for those who aren't near to one of Flying Tiger's shops. If you can make your way to one though I'd really recommend going as they are my favourite place to shop for photo props! Most of their stores are in the south of England, so whenever I'm down south visiting family I always make a visit.


The last 2 dishes are again from Flying Tiger and again, as with the other dishes I bought these very recently so they should still be in store. They had a few different styles of this shell trinket dish and I thought I could use it for summer flat lay's but also during Autumn and Winter because of it's dark colour! I'm so excited about creating flat lay's with warm Autumnal colours soon. Finally, the last dish is pretty damn heavy but it was so worth weighing my suitcase down because it is so beautiful. I know for sure that this is one item that I'll be using for decoration in my home as well and as my Soap & Glory Brand Focus post proved, it looks stunning in photos.

Do you have a favourite kind of blog photo prop?
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