Guest post – we’re all in it together – until we aren’t

You may remember Caz from the interview that she did for me earlier in the year.

Caz asked me to write a guest post for her blog, and I’d like to share that with you today.

It’s about the current situation, and how the feeling of all being in it together is slipping away, particularly for those who are still shielding and not taking part in any of the social activities that others are starting to do.

Thanks Caz for the opportunity to write a post for you, and I hope everyone else will check out her blog too if you haven’t already. It’s well worth a read 🙂

8 Wheelchair Access Issues You May Not Consider

You may remember Gemma from my interview blog post that we did a few weeks ago. We’ve also done an accessibility post exchange – I wrote a post for Gemma’s blog about accessibility problems that make me abandon my virtual shopping trolley. Now Gemma has written a post for Unseen Beauty about the things that make life inaccessible for her as a wheelchair user. I guess we all know about steps – they’re the first thing that comes to mind, but some of these other things, although they seem obvious when you think about it, are things that I hadn’t thought about before.

That’s why I believe it’s so important to talk, and to learn about people whose access needs are different from our own.

I also found we have something else in common – I know too well what it’s like to be frustrated at buffets because I can’t see to serve myself. The dilemma of what to do and how to try and make sure you get something you actually want to eat.

So I’ll now let Gemma carry on with her post…

* * * * * * *

Being a wheelchair user, it is often assumed that steps are my biggest obstacle. I’d be lying if I said they weren’t a big deal, they are, but they’re also often an easy to solve issue.

It’s the finer details that can make a day or experience smoother for me and more accessible.

Space

Is so limited in a busy world where businesses try to fit as many things and people in as possible as to make the most profit and serve demand. Isn’t the saying ‘quality over quantity’ true though? It’s about the experience.

Take for example public transport. Those allocated spaces for wheelchair users can be incredibly small.

I’m not sure if anyone has actually measured your average wheelchair, or they just expect everyone to have the compact, sporty, self propelling kind. I haven’t.

There’s cluttered shops and cafes too. Where I feel I have to pass some kind of obstacle course before I even get to my destination.

Awkward tables

A big part of socialising, for me anyway, is eating and drinking.

Steps, narrow doorways, and cluttered cafes are the obvious barriers, but once I’m in the building, it does in no way guarantee a fully accessible experience for me.

There’s the issue of table height. Oh why is it no longer popular to provide a decent, at sitting height, dining table?! Too often cafes, bars and restaurants are full of bar height benches with stools, or informal sofas and coffee tables.

For starters these are always the tables remaining when I go anywhere. Which tells me I’m not the only one that doesn’t find them practical. But for myself, who’s forever sitting at the same average chair height, these are completely inaccessible. I cannot stretch up to reach the bar height, or bend over for the coffee table. My lap becomes littered with crumbs and coffee drips. I have to constantly ask people to pass me stuff or to put my drink down.

The most frustrating of them all though is the table that gets your hopes up. It looks a good height, seems easy to get to, but still you end up eating from your lap.

The chunky farmhouse chic wooden table. They may be pretty, but I sigh inwardly whenever I’m confronted with one.

So yes they are the right height for me, what more could I want? Well getting close enough to eat from them would be a start. The chunky legs are often too close together, particularly if I’m on an end or it’s a small table for two, for my wheelchair to fit between. There’s always a large wooden rim underneath that my knees can’t quite get under. Socially, this works better than the bar benches, but not practically.

I so often end up sitting at an awkward angle or eating from my lap when dining out. It’s one of my biggest annoyances.

My table of choice would be circular. Not only is it much more sociable for speaking with a group of people, but also easier to drive up to due to minimal legs. The curve is also a bonus when armrests and joystick controls get in the way.

Buffet restaurants

Sticking with the dining and socialising theme. A slight dread washes over me when someone suggests the buffet style restaurant. Buffets are one of my most uncomfortable and inaccessible dining experiences. Don’t get me wrong, having a variety of options is a bonus, as is trying things I maybe wouldn’t otherwise. But not only does the thought of hygiene make me twitch, I find the whole affair very confusing.

I never know what to do for the best. I obviously cannot serve myself. I can barely even see the dishes if they are on one of those bar style serving areas.

I hate getting in the way, it’s hard enough getting to my table in the first place in some restaurants, having to push past and interrupt other diners.

Do I cause a scene and go look at food I can’t even properly see, to instruct a friend to dish it up for me? Do I take a quick browse on the way in and make mental notes of a couple of things? Do I ask someone to go up and let me know what’s there? Maybe taking the odd photo to show me? Or do I go roulette and just send someone that hopefully knows me well to bring back a surprise plate of maybe not delights?

It’s all just too much effort. Whatever I choose, I’ll wish I didn’t.

The food height is often level with my shoulders. Could you easily view and serve food at that level?

How do you make the buffet restaurant accessible?

I’m not sure. Maybe a menu of the regulars? Or even a live stream of what foods are on offer and how they look? Maybe an app? I could deal with the sending a friend to dish up bit then. Even though it will never be my first dining choice.

Eye level displays

Being at a lower height than many doesn’t only pose a problem when viewing food, but also causes restrictions on pursuing the shops.

Jewellery counters can be particularly difficult to view when seated. As can clothing that is displayed high up.

In most instances I can point out things I’m interested in and they can be brought closer to me so that I can view the item in detail. At other time’s I’ve got the person I’m with to take photographs on my phone, but this doesn’t always provide scale or detail.

It’s also the case for display cabinets in museums and galleries. Where often the treasure on display is encased in glass on a plinth that’s eye level for those standing. There is no other way to view the object, it cannot be removed or even photographed.

I understand that some things need to be seen from a certain perspective, and with art this can be crucial.

Lower displays, though, can still be viewed by people standing, or even people that aren’t very tall. Images or booklets could assist with visuals, but shouldn’t replace the opportunity to see something in the flesh.

Directions

When you’re seated at the height of most people’s belly button, it’s not always easy to find your way around. Signposts are high, so if I’m too close I have no chance of seeing without snapping my neck. I understand the reasoning of them being high, so that they can be seen at a distance above a crowd of people. But when your viewpoint in a crowd is a mass of bums, you’re never going to see over the heads to search for a sign.

Maps aren’t much better. You know the ones you find at zoos or parks, city centres or shopping malls. They may seem low when you’re standing, and maybe some thought has gone into them being at a universal height (I do get that those standing don’t want to be constantly hunched with bad backs), but when they’re still higher than your eye level and you can’t get close enough to see the tiny writing because your foot plates and knees are in the way. Height isn’t the only problem.

Getting close

Being at a distance from things is one of my biggest accessibility challenges. Sitting means that your knees and feet are always in front of you, getting in the way. There are ways around this, for example overhanging surfaces, sinks and information boards. But they’re rare. I see many wheelchair users struggle with the side on approach. Where you jut your wheels sideways so to be able to reach things. It requires dexterity, a bendy torso, and the neck of an owl. This isn’t an option for me.

Shop counters

Are a big one for the sideways position. Facing head on to the till or customer service desk means that I am not within arms reach of the counter or a friendly speech level distance from the shop assistant.

This is an issue using cash points, paying in shops, being served at bank or post office desks and the like. Anywhere that you need to be face on with something but there is no leg room.

Lift buttons

The same goes for lift buttons. Or any buttons really. Those at crossings, doorbells, intercoms. They all rely on foot butting and stretching, or the side on position. Neither of which are easily accessible for myself or others.

I have noticed recently that some automatic door opening buttons (I know, automatic shouldn’t require a button) are on a type of post at a distance from the door. These are actually much easier to press.

What I dream of is an app that you can use to call lifts, press road crossings, etc. I basically want all buttons to be accessible via my phone. Or even better, mind control.

Until then, some of these small changes could make a big difference to many.

Check out Gemma’s other links

Wheelescapades Blog
Twitter
Facebook
and Instagram.

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My guest post – accessibility problems that make me abandon my virtual shopping trolley

You may remember a couple of weeks ago I published an interview with Gemma from the Wheelescapades blog. This month I’ve also written a post for Gemma, which she published today. It’s about accessibility problems that make me abandon my virtual shopping trolley
all those little things that turn an enjoyable experience into a frustrating or disappointing one. I talk about these things because I want to raise awareness of them – to do my bit to make the online world a more accessible place, and to help people see the often small changes that they can make in order for this to happen.

So, if this sounds interesting, hop on over to Gemma’s blog and have a read. Why not check out some of her other articles while you’re there?

Blog of the month – the Emma Edit

So, it’s time for the next instalment of my “Blogger of the month” series and today I’m talking to Emma from the Emma Edit. I got to know Emma’s posts through her Blogs in Bloom Facebook group, and she writes on a wide range of topics from food to homeware to travel posts. It was also Emma who gave me the idea for the chocolate subscription! Here are Emma’s answers to my questions:

1. What’s the link for your blog and how would you describe it in a couple of sentences?

You can find me here.
I started my blog over a year ago now, my, how time flies! I could never decide on a niche for my blog, so I decided to blog about a wide range of topics that are of interest to me. My favourite things to write about include: beauty, blogging tips, fashion, lifestyle, out and about and recipes- phew!

2. Have you always enjoyed writing, or did you only start recently?

I used to enjoy writing a lot when I was a teenager; I remember I used to love writing poetry and short stories. My blog is the only thing I write at the moment, though.

3. What’s one of your favourite posts from your blog, and why?

Can I pick more than one, please? My favourite posts are titled ‘My Home: One Year On’ and ‘Holiday In Ibiza’ because they are the most personal to me- they are really nice to look back on as they bring back memories.

4. How do you make sure that you don’t run out of ideas? Where do you get most of your inspiration?

I had an almost blogging break in February because we all run out of inspiration sometimes. If you feel like you need a break, have one- it will benefit you more in the long-run. But apart from that, a friend and other bloggers inspire me to keep going.

5. What would you say is the best thing about blogging?

As a person who’s never really had a hobby before, I’m proud to say my blog is my hobby!

6. What’s one of your most popular posts? Why do you think people liked it so much?

My most popular post is the one where I talk about my Facebook group, Blogs In Bloom; this post is most popular because I upload it once a month to reach new followers. I have a haul post which includes homeware, beauty and fashion items- this is my 2nd most viewed post.

7. If you were asked to put together a beauty and lifestyle box with 4 products inside, which favourite items would you put in?

It’s so difficult just to pick 4 items! 1) a cute leather purse, 2) Benefit Roller Lash Mascara 3) a fancy candle 4) Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser.

8. What’s one thing you wouldn’t have done or learned if you hadn’t started a blog?

Honestly, I have already learnt so much along the way with this blogging journey! Even just learning how to use WordPress is an achievement on its own.

9. Have you ever bought anything because a blogger was talking about it?

Good question! I always read blog posts by others and lust over the pictures, and appreciate a good write up. I have a mental wishlist, but I don’t think I have bought anything recommended by a blogger- yet!

10. What type of posts do you most enjoy writing? What type of posts do you find hard to write?

I love working with brands, but I find those posts most difficult to write because I want everything to be just right. My favourite posts to write are lifestyle and spontaneous posts that you can’t wait to write.

11. Have you read any good books lately?

Reading is definitely a seasonal activity for me that I like to do in the summer- you can’t beat taking a book outside in the sun! I’m a sucker for a girly love story, so I loved reading Me Before You by JoJo Moyes last summer.

12. Online shopping or going to the shops – which do you prefer and why?

I like to browse online, but I like to make my purchases in store. It’s just nice to get out of the house, isn’t it?

13. What’s a trend that you think should stay in 2017 – something you hope will go away this year?

I honestly know nothing about trends, so I can’t answer this question- sorry!

14. If you were in a hurry and only had time to apply 3 make-up products, what would they be?

For me, it’s got to be: 1) eyebrow pencil, 2) mascara, 3) liquid lipstick

15. What do you need for the perfect night in?

I love a night in (every night!). A relaxing bath, a glass of wine, chocolate, music and candles make a night in perfect for me.

16. What’s one thing that you would like to do this year?

When the weather warms up, I am going to be on a mission to get out and about and visit lots of new places.

Thanks Emma for answering my questions and I enjoyed getting to know you a bit better through this post.

Don’t forget to check out Emma’s blog, and for those of you who are bloggers, I can definitely recommend her group. It’s one of the most friendly places on the internet when it comes to bloggers getting together, encouraging, and helping each other out.

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Interview with Heidi from the Body Shop at Home

I ask Heidi questions such as why she’s working for the Body Shop, what her favourite products are, what’s new, and which products are good for staying safe in the sun.

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while will know that I am a fan of the Body Shop. I love the products, particularly because they have some of my favourite ranges, such as the mango and the grapefruit range, but also because they are cruelty-free and natural products.

I’m also a fan of online shopping, which is why I joined Heidi’s Facebook group, where she gives advice, tells us about the products, including new releases, and sells the Body Shop products (payment by Paypal or bank transfer).

This week I’ve interviewed Heidi for the blog – this is what she said!

1. What is your favourite Body Shop product and why?

As you can probably imagine I have quite a few favourite products so that is really hard to narrow down! As many as I come up with I always come back to the Oils of Life Sleeping Cream as I was so surprised by how much it helped my skin! It’s one of those products that you wonder whether it’s worth investing in at first but the benefits outweigh that completely. It lasts a long time, it’s amazing for any skin type, but worked brilliantly for my dry skin patches, it feels and smells luxurious, the packaging feels luxurious. I think that will forever be my favourite!

2. What are some of the myths that people believe about skincare? Or what are a couple of skincare facts that you’ve learned since joining the Body Shop?

When I joined The Body Shop at Home I started to realise that I actually didn’t know that much about skincare at all! I thought people washed their face, put a bit of moisturiser on and that was it. I’ve learned how important it is to cleanse, tone, treat and moisturise your skin.
It’s really important to make sure that before moisturising your skin you are regularly exfoliating both face and body. If you don’t exfoliate then the dead skin cells will just sit there and when you’re putting moisturiser on top, it’s not actually sinking into the cells that need the hydration. It’s really important that you take those off first and your skin will be in much better condition.

3. Do you have any recommendations for people with dry skin?

Skincare I’d recommend the Vitamin E range, this range is also never full price which is an added bonus! It’s good for all skin types but is so hydrating and I find sinks so well into dry skin.
Body care I would recommend the coconut or shea. If you’re after intense hydration for body then the Argan Oil Body Butter will be the best one for you! However it also depends on what scents you prefer. There are body lotion versions of these for those people who prefer that way of applying moisturiser.

4. What made you decide to work for the Body Shop at Home?

I had just started on my maternity leave and originally was looking for a way to make some more money, there wasn’t really a lot of information about The Body Shop at Home that I could find so I decided to meet up with the local consultant (now my upline) and have a chat and see what it was all about. Turned out I really liked the idea of getting paid to pamper people, I liked the fact that it would be my own business, it would get me some independence back and I also love the products so I thought why not? I also now love the fact that I can bring people into this business and help them be able to change their lives too!

5. Have you got any tips or favourite products for staying safe in the sun?

One thing I never knew was the difference between UVA and UVB rays which I think is really important. Skincare that contains SPF will only protect you from UVA rays. These are the ones that damage your skin, causing redness. UVB rays are the ones that age your skin and give you wrinkles and discolouration. Protection from UVB rays is only in products that have a PA rating on them. E.g. PA+++ The plus signs indicate just how much of that protection is in there.
The product I would recommend for staying safe in the sun is the Skin Defence. It’s an amazing all rounder product, contains UVA and UVB protection, it contains red algae which will help brighten your skin and help with any uneven skin tone and its SPF 50! By far my favourite product for staying safe in summer!

6. I know you have a little boy. Do you use any of the Body Shop products on him?

I have done! The Almond Milk & Honey range has been specifically designed for sensitive skin so I have put some of the bath milk into a few of his baths. He comes out smelling gorgeous and I know that it hasn’t got any nasties in it and it’s not going to dry his skin out!

7. Are there any interesting new ranges out at the moment?

The newest body care range is the Almond Milk & Honey which contains so many lovely products for sensitive skin! However, there are so many products coming out for July! New Eye Colour sticks, a new formula of foundation, a balm to help improve the appearance of faded tattoos or to help stretch marks etc, new hair care the list goes on!

8. Fruity or floral? What’s your favourite?

It has to be fruity! Although I surprised myself a little bit as the Elixirs of Nature Eau De Parfum have floral notes but I absolutely adore the smell of the one called ‘Swietenia’ which is the sweetest one out of them all.

9. What’s your favourite Body Shop make-up item?

I absolutely love the Instaglow CC Cream! It can be worn alone or underneath foundation to create a gorgeous healthy glow! I wear it under my foundation and I just love the way it makes my skin look. It also has SPF 20 and PA+++ and if that wasn’t enough it moisturises for 24 hours. Amazing product!

10.Where can we find you online?

You can find me in my Facebook group for personalised advice, cheaper offers and competitions! /

How about you?

What is your favourite product from the Body Shop? I find it really hard to narrow it down to one, but at the moment I am enjoying the vitamin e day cream, the mango whipped body lotion and the pink grapefruit hand cream. I’ve also got the sleeping cream that Heidi mentioned and it’s fab!

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.

Get to know Kirsty – guest post on the Beafreee blog!

Do you know the Beafreee blog? If not, why not go and check it out?!

At the moment, Bea from Beafreee is running a “get to know” series of interview posts, and this week she interviewed me. You can read the post here.

Have a great day everyone!

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.