Saturday, 11 November 2017

Discovering my love for photography w/ Black Rapid

For nearly 6 years I've been taking photos for my blog and in that time I've learnt a lot about photography, going from using a basic digital camera to more recently a DSLR. Photography has always interested me though and as much as I love taking blog photos, it doesn't quite quench my thirst to take things further. When I bought my DSLR I vowed that I would use it for more than my blog, finally investigating whether my love for taking photos went further than snapping beauty products in my bedroom.

I quickly realised though that the camera strap my DSLR came with didn't suit my needs at all, the weight of the camera was heavy on my neck and made my chronic back pain worse. So, I started researching different camera straps that would shift the weight and make things easier for me and that's when I came across Black Rapid on Kaye's blog. She was using a strap that shifted the weight of your camera to your shoulder, instead of all the pressure landing on your neck. She's a professional photographer and so wears her camera for hours at a time, I wouldn't be using mine for quite so long but if it was comfortable for her for hours then it would definitely work for me for an hour or so. This is the kind of product that I like to call 'accidentally accessible', it wasn't created with disabled people in mind but it ends up being a really accessible product.

Black Rapid got in touch with me and I told them about how accessible their Curve Breathe strap in particular appeared, just from photos on their website and Kaye's blog it appeared to be perfect for chronic back pain sufferers. Sometimes when I explain to brands that their products are accidentally accessible they shy away from the topic and aren't interested in pushing the product as ideal for some disabled people but Black Rapid embraced what I had to say and very kindly sent me over the strap to try out! I've been trying it out for quite a few months now and had planned to do this review earlier but as you might have seen, life got in the way and I took a unplanned break from blogging but I'm back now and ready to tell you how much I adore this product!

As said above, traditional camera straps that go round your neck really don't work for me, they put pressure on my back and in turn increase my chronic pain. I also found that the strap my camera came with was quite short and so I wasn't able to rest the camera on my lap and relieve the pressure, without taking the strap off and leaving my camera vulnerable to being stolen. The Black Rapid Curve Breathe strap rectifies both those problems though! The strap sits around your shoulder, with plenty of padding to make it comfortable and the camera sits on the opposite side of the your body, almost like an over the shoulder bag, and this helps to distribute the weight of your camera further. The strap is really adjustable and also longer than the traditional neck strap so I'm able to rest the camera on my lap when I'm not using it, or hang it to the side of my body, but having the option to completely take the weight off my body is nice.

Your camera attaches to this strap by the tripod screw on the base of your camera and the camera isn't restricted to one space on the strap either, you can move it up and down making taking photos a breeze. There's no getting caught up in straps, or having to adjust it every time you want to take a photo, you can just bring it up to your face and back down again in one movement. It took me a few attempts to put on the camera strap at first, with a little help from Kaye when we took these photos but once you've put it on a few times it's easy to get the hang of it!

This is definitely a practical product and whilst it isn't unattractive I wanted it to reflect me a little more and Kaye's use of pins on her camera strap inspired me to do the same. I'd been trying to figure out how to display my pins for months, not wanting to poke holes in my faux leather jacket, and putting them on my camera strap seemed like a genius idea, all credit to Kaye for that one.

This camera strap has allowed me to finally pursue my love of photography and I've had so much fun being able to take my camera around with me, whether it be to the local park to take photos of the changing autumnal leaves or into London to capture the busy city. It's made photography more accessible to me and if you're a chronic pain sufferer too, or just someone who finds traditional camera straps uncomfortable, then this is the style for you. Check out the Curve Breathe camera strap and other Black Rapid products on their website.

I'm currently fundraising for a vital new powerchair as I'm becoming increasingly housebound due to how basic and unsuitable my current chair is, can you spare a few pounds to help? Donate here.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Rollercoaster of Life

If you follow me on Twitter then you'll know just how difficult a month October was, life has completely changed for me. My blog fell far down on my list of priorities, to my sadness, but with everything going on I just didn't have energy left to give to it. Usually I'd feel guilty for not blogging but for once, I've just accepted that sometimes life happens.

You all know that I moved to Hull last year to be with my partner but after a year of living together we split up, just a few weeks ago. Cue me packing up my whole life and moving back to St Albans, to live with my family and share a room with my Mum. None of this has been easy, there's been bad days and then there's been very bad days. Even though splitting up was the best thing for me it didn't make the process that followed any easier. I've been down south for just over a week now, finally unpacked and starting to settle into a new environment. Going from a whole house and my own space to sharing a room with my Mum and most of my belongings being in boxes under my bed has been an adjustment that's for sure. I'm making it work though, and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to find my own place after Christmas, a nice little accessible bungalow. That all depends on whether I'm moved over to the governments new benefit's system, Universal Credit, that's a story for another day though.

Obviously everything else in my life has taken a step back because of this, including fundraising. Donations have really slowed down, I knew they would eventually but it triggers a feeling of hopelessness. Things were going so well, we raised so much in month 1 so it's a horrible feeling when the momentum is lost and with that, your hope as well. I really felt like we would be able to raise most of the money before Christmas, I'm not so sure anymore. Sharing my GoFundMe link on Twitter and Facebook only gets you so far, but any other fundraising activities are energy draining. I don't have any friends who can do sponsored activities for me either. I know that things will pick up again eventually, but moving into an inaccessible home in an area with poor public transport has just highlighted my need for a new powerchair even more and thus made me feel even worse about donations slowing down. For now, it would be great if you could keep retweeting my tweets, sharing the link, as much as you can and of course, I'd be so grateful if you could spare even £5. (My GoFundMe page).

As I said, I am starting to settle in down here, but living in an inaccessible home with stairs is taking it's toll on my health. I really hope to get back to regularly blogging soon though, for now if you want to keep up to date with everything then it's best to follow me on Twitter. I'm confident that by the end of the month things should be back to normal on here though!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

OUTFIT: Discovering Joanie Clothing

As both a child and an adult I have always gravitated towards jeans more than dresses, I just feel way more comfortable in jeans and trousers and I'm one of these people who gets cold even in Summer so bottoms have just always suited me and my lifestyle more. Over this past year though I've really been enjoying wearing dresses, I've found a new love for them thanks to midi dresses, the style that I prefer over the rest. Midi dresses just sit really well when I'm in my powerchair, they don't get caught in my wheels but they aren't so short that I'm flashing everyone either. So, when I was introduced to Joanie Clothing, having been informed that they sell dresses with pockets, I knew I had to treat myself to something from them.

I picked up a couple of dresses initially but ended up keeping just one, I had no idea what size I'd be so only one of them actually fit me and luckily it was the dress that I liked the most. This is their Maurice Shirt Dress, a light denim colour dress with brown buttons all the way down and the cutest swallows on the collar. It also has 2 large pockets on the front, any dress without pockets will just be a disappointment from now on! For me it seemed like a great middle ground between my typical jeans and t-shirt style and a feminine dress.

I love the wooden buttons that go all the way down the dress and the dress itself is made out of a thicker material than expected, because it's a shirt dress you do get a bit of gapping between buttons in the boob area but the buttons are pretty close together so you don't really see anything other than material. It's sleeveless so with the weather getting colder I like to pop on a little Primark cardigan to keep my arms warm, and I'd probably have to start wearing tights with it soon as well but I'm determined that I'll be able to transition it into my Autumn wardrobe with ease!

I felt quite 50s in this outfit with my little cardigan and my plain white trainers and I'm definitely going to be treating myself to another dress from Joanie Clothing soon! The Maurice dress is currently half price, a bargain at just £20, so if it takes your fancy I'd grab it now whilst they have a couple of sizes left. In hindsight I should have done this post a little earlier so they had more sizes in stock, you can tell I'm not a fashion blogger!

Dress: Joanie Clothing | Cardigan: Primark | Shoes: New Look

I'm currently fundraising for a vital new powerchair as I'm becoming increasingly housebound due to how basic and unsuitable my current chair is, can you spare a few pounds to help? Donate here.
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