I moved out!

I did it! I finally moved out of my mum’s house. Not only did I move out, but I’ve moved away. I’ve gone from West Yorkshire to South Yorkshire.

I’ve wanted to move out ever since I had to move back home at the end of university. Moving back in was never part of The Plan, let alone being there for another nine years.

I always assumed I’d move away for work. I haven’t. I’ve moved away for *me*. And that makes it somehow more exciting.

The most obvious, and perhaps ‘easy’ thing for me to do would have been to move to Leeds; it’s where I work and is on a direct train line back to my Mum’s. But let’s face it, I’m not known for doing things the easy way, so I moved to Sheffield. Obviously.

I still work in Leeds (well, my office is based in Leeds, but I’ve been working from home for the last year and a bit) It’s roughly the same commuting time to get to work from Sheff as it was for me when I still lived in Keighley. I’m right in the city centre so everything is close by. I have friends here and I know the city a bit from when I had all my hip and leg surgery as a teenager. Plus, being here kind of reminds me of my dad in a roundabout way so it seemed like a fairly logical step.

Honestly, I’m just really excited to live somewhere that actually has Deliveroo. And a convinece store I can get to that A) has step-free access, and B) isn’t up a giant hill.

Did I mention I can use Deliveroo now?

This isn’t the first time I’ve lived away from home, but it is the first time I’ve lived alone, which brings with it a particular set of challenges on the cerebral palsy front. I knew pretty early on that I wanted to live somewhere that had a 24hr concierge desk that that there was always someone I could ask for help if I got really stuck. I’ve programmed the number for the reception desk into my Alexa so that I can get her to phone them if I (God forbid) have a fall and need them to call an ambulance or something.

I’ve hired a cleaner, and I made sure to choose an agency that offered support with things like changing the bed and putting the laundry away for me too. They would take my laundry away and bring it back for me the following week if I wanted, but I’m going that bit for myself for now. It’s nice to know I have the option to add that to my package if I want to, though.

Most of my crookery is plastic or bamboo because I know I wouldn’t be able to clean up a smashed glass or plate n way own.

Doing more things for myself is taking up more energy and I haven’t quite got the hang on managing that yet. I’m sleeping lots and I tire more easily than I did in my uni days, but hopefully, I’ll adjust soon. Or get better at managing my spoons at least.

It’s been a month so far and I’ doing better than I expected. Let’s hope it continues.

Self-service check-outs & physical disability

All I wanted was cat biscuits and some chocolate.

All that stood between me and said cat biscuits and chocolate was a self-service check out.
Sounds simple, right?
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
There are no words for how much these things annoy me. They annoy most of the able-bodied people too; but when you have mobility problems like I do, they are a total nightmare.
I have cerebral palsy so I can’t do anything quickly and I’m not very good at balancing, so I tend to only use one hand as much as possible when I’m trying to pay for my shopping so that I can keep holding on to my walker.
If there is another person operating the till they can obviously see this and understand it, unlike a machine who expects me to move at speed. A chashier often help me do my packing and give me my change in small bits, all without constantly asking me to please take my items.
I know I could always ask a staff member in the shop to help me, but the staff supervising the area is often busy helping people who’ve found themselves dealing with an unexpected item in the bagging area, so I’ve developed a few strategies to try make things easier:
  • As I often wear jackets of hoodies, I try and get my money out before I even start  and put it in my pocket so make it easier to get to. Obviously, I only do this if I feel safe to do so. Otherwise I put up with the machine asking me if I want to continue while I fumble to get cash out of purse.
  • I take a bag that is as wide as possible so that I can hang it on the side of my walking frame and just drop things into it, rather than having to cram they all into a smaller bag that won’t open out for me properly
  • If I have a friend with me, I ask them to help

 

What do you think about self-service check-outs?

The Unlimited Company Leeds Store Opening Day

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to write this post. I was invited to attend this Bloggers  Breakfast event by The Unlimited Company from Simplyhealth, where I was given food, drink and a free opening day goodie bag – more on that last part later!

I’ll admit that I had no idea what to expect when I accepted the invitation to go and see the new The Unlimited Company Store in Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park, Leeds. I came away feeling really impressed and encouraged by what the future could hold for me as a disabled person.

Not only did they sell items that would make life easier for people with all kinds of disabilities, not just physical ones like mine, but they have a sensory room and a huge disabled toilet with a hoist, adult-sized changing table, and movable sink. And we all know how I often have some strong opinions on disabled loos.

I think the thing that appealed to me the most was that the shop has a resident Occupational Therapist who is on-hand to offer help and advice to anyone who needs it. She spent ages showing me a lot of things they had for people to look at and try out.

There are just so many things that I didn’t know existed. They have an adapted kitchen to show people what they can do now, and just how stylish they are. It didn’t have a ‘clinical’ feel to it at all, as many of you probably agree some of these things do have. I felt really optimistic about what my ideal home could look like in the future. Well, if I ever manage to get on the property ladder, that is. That’s a debate for another time.

Remember that rant I had about clothes shopping with a disability? Well The Unlimited Company even had that covered too, because they stock clothes from a company called The Able Label. I’ve never heard of these guys before, but I’m definitely going to be checking them out. They make clothes with velcro instead of buttons and zips! How amazing is that?

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Talking to in-store OT Rachel about The Able Label: photo courtesy of The Unlimited Company from Simplyhealth.

If all of this wasn’t enough, I was lucky enough to be able to meet members of TeamBRIT. I’m not going to lie, sport would not be my strongest subject on a quiz show, but I have to say that car looks very cool. And people were impressed by how my walking frame Ivy and I had managed to colour-coordinate with it. I wish I could say I’d planned it that way all along, but I’m not that good.

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Meeting TeamBRIT – photo courtesy of The Unlimited Company from Simplyhealth.

My goody bag had a TeamBrit cap in it too, (and they gave me an extra one for Rob, thanks guys) this totally makes me an honorary member of the team now, right? Right?

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I suck at selfies

They also gave me a really cute mini-hot water bottle which will be a huge help with my pelvis pain, or any other pain for that matter.

And what was the hashtag of the day, I hear you ask.

#nolimitsjustliving

Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

 

FIND OUT MORE:

If you want to find out more then I’m going include social media links below:

The Unlimited Company

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheUnlimitedCompanyUK
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theunlimitedco
Website: http://www.theunlimitedcompany.co.uk/

Simplyhealth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simplyhealthuk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimplyhealthUK
Website: https://www.simplyhealth.co.uk/

The Able Label

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheAbleLabel/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theablelabel
Website: https://www.theablelabel.com/

TeamBRIT

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeamBRIT/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeamBRITracing
Website: http://www.teambrit.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

Four years on from uni

So I had an entirely different post planned for today, and then Facebook (not so kindly) reminded me that today marks four years since I finished my multimedia journalism degree. Now I’m kinda freaking out.

I’ve been told that I was as good as written off by some people when I was primary school age. People didn’t think I’d achieve all that much, but as soon as I learned university was a thing I knew I HAD to go.

Then, when I got to the age that it was time to seriously think about these things my mum started to get nervous about me moving away, my dad started researching disabled access at unis, and some people started to tell me they thought I should stay close to home. At which point I told them, in slightly politer terms than this, that there was not a chance in hell I was staying close to home if I could help it. I was moving out, and that was that.

There was a point when I did almost go to a university 40 minutes away from where I lived, but then I fell in love with Teesside University, about an hour and a half or two hours away depending on traffic. The staff there were all really supportive, and the university employed someone to help me physically get around campus so that I didn’t get stuck anywhere and he carried my stupidly heavy bag for me.  (Sorry about just how much it weighed if you’re reading this by the way!)

In the end I got a great result on my degree, but perhaps the biggest thing I achieved was a whole new level of independence and and physical fitness. I overcame my nervousness about getting the train on my own so I could go home and surprise my dad for his birthday. I learned that I could get by on a few visits from a supportive living team a week, and some help from my housemates, and I walked almost everywhere because I didn’t have a car and was too nervous to get the bus by myself.

Even on my most down and lonely days when I feel bad that I’m of where I hoped I’d be when I graduated, I could never think it was all a waste of time, even if I am pretty convinced I’ll be forever in debt.

Changing bedsheets

There’s been a few times now that I struggle with various aspects of housework, like doing the laundry and folding clothes to put them away or pack

I’ve found ways to make doing all these easier over time, like using liquid tabs instead of washing powder so that I don’t have to struggle with lifting heavy boxes of washing powder, and I think if I ever lived alone I’d probably invest in a washer/dryer so that I wouldn’t have to faff around trying to hang things on a clothes horse or getting the clothes from one thing to the other.

That said, the one thing I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fathom, and, yes, I know you’re never supposed to say never, is changing my bed sheets. I know enough able-bodied people who are a lot taller than my tiny 4ft 10″ who find that really hard and say they prefer to do it with another person.

Continue reading “Changing bedsheets”