Why We Need More Understanding of Disability


I want to clarify straight away that it is totally fine not to understand disability and that's kind of the whole point behind this post - that there seems to be a lack of education and/or experience in society surrounding disability, which has resulted in a lot of people feeling completely out of their depth when they find themselves in situations involving disabled people. 

I wanted to write this post after hearing a statistic that really horrified me - 90% of pregnant women have an abortion after finding out their baby is at high risk of having down syndrome. I can't say how accurate this figure is, just that it came from a down syndrome campaigner. At first I was appalled, but after chatting to a few friends about it I realised that as someone who has grown up around disability I was jumping to the conclusion that women were doing this because they just didn't like the idea of having a baby with down syndrome, when in fact they're doing it because they're downright scared. And why are they scared? Because they have absolutely zero knowledge or experience of disability. Obviously I'm not saying you shouldn't have an abortion if you want one, but the fact that people are so uninformed is a big issue and must contribute significantly to this figure.

For someone who hasn't had any experience around those with disabilities it must be so difficult to know how to act around people with disabilities, never mind begin to understand them so I think it's really sad that people aren't being given the knowledge they need. Women can be in a situation where there is a chance their baby may have down syndrome and they're still not being given enough information.

I think people who do have experience of disability are quick to judge those who don't and I've learnt over time to see it from a different perspective. When I was younger I glared at any other child who dared to stare at my sister, but now I realise it's natural curiosity for a child to be interested in something they haven't come across before.

The fact that I've grown used to people not understanding disability doesn't mean I think people shouldn't. I think there needs to be better education, particularly around mental disabilities that a lot of people don't know how to deal with and better integration within society (in Hull a lot of mainstream schools are now twinned with SEN schools, which I think is great).

I don't really know how to end this post because basically I've just moaned about a problem and not really worked out how to solve it. But I suppose what I'm trying to say is, let's be more tolerant of each other - if someone doesn't understand disability don't jump down their throat because it may just be lack of experience and alternatively, if someone has a disability why not make the effort to better understand it?

Do you agree with any of the points I've made in this post? (If I put them across clearly enough!)

Amy x

Fitness: C25K Running App


I've touched upon fitness before on this blog and if you read my Fit February series you may remember that I attempted (and miserably failed) my running week (post here). My attitude to health and fitness has really changed this year  and I'm focusing on eating and exercising to keep fit and healthy rather than to lose weight as I've tried in the past, which just made me miserable. 

Since the weather has got a bit (emphasis on the word bit) nicer I've been wanting to exercise outside rather than do my YouTube workouts indoors. On a whim one evening in April I downloaded the C25K app (the free one with the orange logo) and vowed to start the very next day. 

The aim of the app is to get you running 5k in 8 weeks and it is aimed at people who haven't run before and who aren't particularly fit. It starts off by building your stamina using interval training to ease you into running, with each week challenging you to run a little further before taking a break. You're supposed to go three times a week, which really is doable! The app is so easy to use as it tells you when to stop and start, plus you can still listen to music on your phone at the same time! Also, if you feel out of your depth you can repeat days until you complete them. The only bad point about the app is that it doesn't have GPS and works solely with time so once I started the longer runs I used Map My Run at the same time to track how far I was actually running.


Week 1 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 60 seconds of jogging followed by 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes. As someone who was already exercising I found the first week fairly doable, as you get such big breaks in between running. I would imagine this could be challenging if you haven't run before, but definitely still doable!

Week 2 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 90 seconds of jogging followed by 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes. Again, I found this week fairly easy because even though you increase the amount of time you're running for you also increase your rest time. I wouldn't say it was any more difficult than the first week, just different!

Week 3 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 90 second jog, 90 second walk, 3 minute jog, 3 minute walk then repeat. When I saw this pop up on the app I thought it was a huge jump up to 3 minutes, but you get a three minute walk afterwards which was nice! It was a bit of a challenge, but I found the run actually went faster when I was running for longer chunks of time!

Week 4 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 3 minute jog, 90 second walk, 5 minute jog, 2.5 minute walk, repeat. I was definitely ready to stop after 5 minutes, but again I found that running for longer chunks of time made the whole run feel shorter and by the end of it I felt like I could probably do more. Also at the very end of week 4 a nice little message popped up congratulating me for getting halfway through! 

Week 5 | This week is different every day, building up to the end of the week when there's the first big run of 20 minutes without stopping! It does seem like a big jump (and feels like one!) when earlier in the week the longest you've run for at a time is 8 minutes! I could have easily stopped after 10 minutes, but I kept going and even though I was so tired and red faced it felt like such an achievement!

Week 6 | The first 2 sessions of week 6 take you back to interval training, which felt quite easy after doing the big run and was quite nice to go back to. The third day is another long run at 22 minutes without stopping. This was a challenge, but I completed it again and at this point was feeling so good about myself!

Week 7 | Week 7 is pretty brutal I'm not gonna lie! It consists of 3 25 minute runs with no walking and I didn't find it got any easier as the week went on! I did keep track of my pace though using Map My Run and managed to improve my pace slightly each day so maybe that's why it didn't get easier! 

Week 8 | This week again consists of three long runs, 2 at 28 minutes and then one at 30 which is supposed to be your 5k. I actually did slightly over 5k on my final run, but found it a massive struggle! I was so tired and definitely could have stopped halfway through (and would have if I hadn't  wanted to complete it so bad!). 


I'm so chuffed that I achieved my 5k - it's the furthest I've ever run without stopping and I'm determined to carry on running and keep my fitness up. I would definitely recommend this app as it really does work! For me I think it worked psychologically rather than physically - I think fitness wise I probably could have run 5k before doing this, but I never would because I didn't think I would be able to, plus I would have stopped as soon as I got tired, whereas the app kept me going!

Since finishing it I've been going running twice a week and I have to admit I haven't actually achieved 5k again and am tending to run between 3 and 4k. I'm aiming to get my pace up and hopefully eventually 5k will feel comfortable enough for me to start training for 10k! 

Do you run? Have you tried this app? Would you?

Amy x

How I Stay Organised




I did a post last year talking about how I juggle blogging with a full time job (here), but today I wanted to write about how I juggle everything. I'm still not the most organised person in the world, but recently I feel like I've finally got on top of juggling a full time job, my blog, renovating a house and keeping fit and healthy (mostly!). I recently had the opportunity to contribute to Pow Wow Now's Ultimate Guide to Flexible Working which is really helpful for busy bees like me and is full of tips from people in similar situations. Building on that, with a little help from the team at Pow Wow Now who sent me a lovely box of goodies to help me through the working week, here's a little lowdown of how I stay organised throughout the week: 


Work | I always make sure I have my work shifts written down in my diary because staying organised means knowing what I'm working so I can fit the rest of my life around it! I work very varied shifts so planning is key to making sure I get everything else done. Once I've got my work shifts in my diary it means I can sit down and plan my week around them. Because I plan lots of things in my diary it's good to colour code (#whatageek) and I got some coloured gel pens* from Paperchase in my goodie box that will be perfect for that!


Blog | I schedule pretty much all of my blog posts at least a week in advance. I know there are a lot of people who think that blogging should be spontaneous and not too planned, but I would barely post anything if that were the case for me! I tend to use my weekends to make sure everything is finished for the week ahead and it really puts my mind at ease knowing I've got the whole week scheduled! I keep a to do list for each post to make sure I've got everything I need in it and that I've proof read it before I've hit schedule! I used to make my blog to do lists on little post-it notes, but now I've been sent this Paperchase Notebook* I'll be keeping them in there instead (no more post-its going missing!)


House Renovation | Aside from my blog this is the only area of my life that I keep a to do list for. Sometimes I think to do lists are too much pressure (I feel like a failure if I don't get something crossed off!) so I try to make them as realistic as possible. We tend to work on the house when we've both got a free weekend so I'll make a list of the things we're hoping to get done that weekend. Lists really are my best friend when it comes to the house renovation because I also keep a log of how much we've spent, how much money we've got left and a separate log of each room!


Health and Fitness | On a weekend I sit down with my diary and plan my meals and workouts for the week ahead based around what shifts I'm working that week. I plan my meals for the week based on whether they need to be something I can take into work or cook at home and I plan my workouts for the days where I'm working the shortest shifts. Because I'm so busy it can be difficult to stay healthy as quite often I'm just after something quick and filling so I was chuffed to find some Nakd bars* in my box, as they are one of my favourite snacks and are so easy to throw in my bag for fuel throughout the day. It's also so easy to binge drink tea and coffee at work (and at home for that matter) and in a bid to drink less caffeine I've been taking my own herbal teas into work so I'm really excited to try this Jasmine Pearls tea* from Teapigs - and how cute is the little box?!

How do you stay organised throughout the week? I'd love some more tips if you have any! 

Amy x

Spring Favourites

Hello hello, here's a round up of my favourite products I've been using this season...


The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter // This is probably up there as my number one favourite product this season and I've been using it to remove my make up every day. It's so good at removing make up (including eye make up) but so gentle at the same time; I think it's the only make up removal product that doesn't sting my eyes! The scent is very subtle and so calming if you're using it before bed and it just feels nice to use. Like a lil' mini facial every night and I'm definitely here for it. 

Lush Cup o' Coffee Face Mask // I did a full review on this product here so I won't say too much about it, but I will yet again tell you how amazing it smells. It makes my skin so soft as well as making it look healthy and awake. Just don't expect your shower/sink to look clean after using it, it's definitely not low maintenance removal wise...

Rimmel Lip Liner in Spice // I bought three Rimmel lip liners when they were three for two a while ago, but this one is by far my favourite. It's the perfect base for almost any colour lipstick, but is also lovely just on it's own. I've mainly been using it as a base for nude pinks to make them look that little bit more vibrant although I have worn it on it's own a lot too as it's a lovely colour. Who knew I'd ever be into lip liner eh?

Lush Salted Coconut Hand Scrub // I've also reviewed this product in full (here), but basically this is a DIY-er's dream because it sorts out your hands so well (which if left to their own devices would just become a dry crusty mess...) I've heard it's also a firm favourite of nurses and other workers who have to wash their hands frequently (although shouldn't we all really?).

What are your favourite products at the moment? Have you tried any of these?

Amy x

Office Transformation


Before



When we moved in this room was fully wallpapered and carpeted (in scarily bright colours!). There was a blocked up chimney breast in there and a big airing cupboard where the boiler was kept. There were also foam ceiling tiles (hardest things to remove!). Lack of wall space and the presence of the big window meaning this is a nice bright room meant it was the obvious choice for an office!

During

Firstly we had the gas heater taken out and replaced with a radiator. After stripping the wallpaper off we discovered that the walls weren't in great condition and that the chimney breast hadn't been properly blocked up. After toying with the idea of opening it up we decided we didn't need the hassle so blocked it up properly ourselves and put an air brick in. We got the walls re-plastered and also replaced an old horsehair wall with plasterboard. On ripping the carpet up we were pleasantly surprised to find the floorboards weren't in too bad a condition and seeing as we had already bought a big rug for the room we decided to just sand these down and varnish them. At this point we discovered a lot of woodworm marks in the floorboards (at which point I panicked) BUT top tip if you live in an old house, these marks are usually decades old and the woodworm itself is long gone. A quick way to check is the lay some paper down over the wood for a couple of weeks and if there are no marks in the paper there isn't any there (hooray!). We painted the walls and jazzed up the airing cupboard with some beading.

After





The colour on the walls is another Wilko number called Oatmeal. My mum made the blind with some fabric we bought from Dunelm. The desk, rug and chair are from IKEA, as is the blanket box we've had for a while. My favourite little area of this room is around the radiator. We bought a radiator cover and painted it white then decorated it with a couple of plants and my favourite big clock.

What do you think of our office space? How do you/would you have yours decorated?

Amy x