Sensory Overload and Flare Audio

Hello all,

I hope you are enjoying your Monday… well as much as you can enjoy a Monday.

One of the things which I really struggle with is sensory overload. Senses are wonderful things, but for me they can all become a bit too much. When there is a lot going on, if it’s too bright, too loud, too many people making it feel like you are stuck in an enclosed space and you just wan to leave. It is all very intense.

The best I can try explain it to you is  this: it is as though your computer has too many applications open and you are trying to get it to do all the things you want it to do at once. It is not going to happen, it starts to slow down and if you try and push through by just continuing, your computer will freeze.

It is the same with sensory overload. Try and keep going, keep powering through. Eventually you will stop. You will not be able to do anymore. You have pushed yourself passed the point where you are overstimulated and you have not given yourself time to process all the different senses going on around you. You have opened all the browser tabs you can while refusing to close some of the others to make space.

You have crashed.

With people it is very similar. There are different ways you can manage sensory over load. But by keeping  going ‘pushing yourself a little further’ is not one of them. You are not giving yourself time to regulate or reset.

Anyone can succumb to burnout, but for those who have sensory processing issues that tolerance is a lot lower.

One of the ways I manage sensory overload is through music. When on the way to work I will listen to music. But there are times when I don’t want to listen to music. I just want to reduce the level of sound I can hear.

I decided to try something which would do just that. I bought myself some calmer earbuds from a company called Flare. I tried the Calmer range.

A square cardboard pouch with Calmer written across the front.

The packing for them is recyclable as it is in a cardboard pouch. There was not a lot of excess packing either which is more environmentally friendly. The buds are washable and made from silicon which is again better for there environment as they are not a one use purchase. 

I got the clear ones, but in hindsight as a visually impaired person this was not a good idea. When you put them down they are harder to find. But they do come with a nice little bag for them go in when you are done with them. The bag is black and has a tiny draw string. Perfect for putting in your pocket.

A small black drawstring pouch with a 'flare' label on the side.

They are made of silicone which I normally hate the feeling of. But these ones are quite soft and squidgy. They are easy enough to put in your ears and they have a tiny piece that sticks out agains the side of your ear so you can pull them out.

I was a bit unsure of them at first as trying new things takes time. I wore them around the house to get used to the feel of them in my ears and it did help a lot. They were comfy once I got used to them. Eventually I decided to try them out on the train on the way to work.
Unfortunately they did not help dampen the sound. I could hear people talking and I could hear annoying keyboard clicks on phones (why do people leave these turned on? I presume some people do it just to be annoying).

I didn’t write them off straight away so I tried them again in work. I work in a busy environment. I thought I would try wearing them to reduce the background noise. Reducing background would be a major help to me so I can just focus on what I am doing, but unfortunately they did not reduce the background noise too much at all.

I put them back in their little bag at the end of the day and slipped the into my coat pocket.

While they did not reduce background noise as I hoped they would I was happy with the comfort of them. Once you got used to them you couldn’t tell they were in at all. Which is a major bonus when you are trying to find ways of working with your sensory needs to try make your day better.

If you are wanting to try the Flare Audio Calmer Range please follow this link. They come with a nice little carrying pouch and feel very comfortable. They do have some great reviews. They just weren’t for me. Flare has a ton of other options available for different needs. Maybe I just haven’t found the right one.

When I am sleeping I use a brand called Beary Quiet. These are wonderful.

Thank you or reading,


Hello all,

It is getting to that time of the year where some people are out in shorts and t-shirts, some are still wearing a jacket. I am still in my big coat.

One thing I have done today though is to put my big socks away for the summer. I normally wear two pairs because it is cold and I have Raynaud’s. Even in the summer my toes go purple or my fingers go a very pale white.

‘Raynaud’s affects your blood circulation. When you’re cold, anxious or stressed, your fingers and toes may change colour.’ If you want to find out more please follow this NHS link.

4 of my fingers, 2 of the tips are white, then a normal pinky colour at he bottom. The end finger is a slight purple.

Here is a photo of my fingers, you can see the contrast between where the blood is flowing and where it is not. When this happens my fingers go numb. If I bite one of them its difficult to feel the pressure.

People living with circulatory disease may feel the cold more than others and it is particularly frustrating when the weather is on the turn. You never know how to dress. Do I need a coat or do I just need a jumper? What kind of shoes should I wear? Will I be too hot or too cold?

I normally take a jumper wherever I go because you can always take a layer off. I you don’t have the layer to begin with then you’re stuck being cold.

One of the items I tend to invest in is a good pair of slippers. I have lambswool slippers because they are very comfortable and very warm. It is always a good investment for me as I wear them more or less all year round. Even in the summer if it is cooler on an evening just to keep them warm enough so that my feet do not get chilly. 

If you are interested in reading more about Raynaud’s or Circulatory disease please take a look at the British Heart Foundations website.

Or check out my other posts about Circulatory Disease.

New Lush Stuff

Hello all,

I this week has been tiring. I am looking forward to seeing a freind later on this week.

A little while ago I bought some new bath stuff from lush. Got some of the usual stuff I like, Blue Skys and Fluffy White Clouds and the Comforter.

But I also bought Rainbow. I have been wanting to try it for a while so I thought why not.

It is brightly coloured, just like the rainbow. Who’d have thought? The smell is very zesty- lemon fresh. I love how when you run it under the water it will make your hands turn blue, yellow, orange or red. There are a lot of bubbles from this one.

A bubble bar in the colours of the rainbow. Sat on a pink exfoliating glove. There is a bubble on top of the bubble bar.
A nice soak

I prefer bubble bars which are foamy because I love a good bubble bath to relax.

Relaxing is important. Having a good bath is a great way to unwind.

Besides my treat from lush I have listened to another audiobook. I’m going to make time to write about these later on.

Anyway, until next time.

A Day Off

Today I have been quite productive. I got up and did some tidying, then I started on anew audiobook, afterwards I moved to doing some of my new online course with Coursera

The course I am doing is Inclusive Leadership; the power of workplace diversity. It is with the University of Colorado. I am so far really enjoying the course and it is giving me a lot to think about. 

Diversity and inclusion are really important for building stronger working environments for your business to thrive. As a disabled person it makes me feel great when doing this course that they have included disability within the discussion. As disability can often be forgotten, or overlooked in these conversations. Disabled people bring value to a team. 

The course had some YouTube clips which had Audio Descriptions for when people were holding up little placards with things written in them. This was a must, especially as they were talking about how to feel included. Well done University of Colorado. 

I am feeling quite accomplished today which is very nice. Doing this online course has been interesting.

I’m off to see my freind next week and maybe we will go for pancakes. I have been to Moose Coffee for pancakes before and I am hoping to go again. If you have never been I think a trip is in order. Here is a link to a blog I have done when I went before.

Today has been a great day off, relaxing but also getting things done which I needed to do. I am hoping to have another blog up soon. 

Enjoy the rest of your week. 

Happy Musings. 

Finding socks that fit your sensory needs

Hello all,

A few weeks ago I decided I needed to get some new socks. This is something I was not particularly looking forward to as I cannot stand wearing socks. Being Autistic means ensuring you are not walking into a sensory nightmare when wearing anything.

An oblong box with the lid closed. Crew logo on the top. Colours white and blue.

Socks to me are too restrictive and the sensation on my feet is offensive. It is very much a sensory nightmare.

Looking online I decided I wanted some bamboo ones as the pair I had already were, surprisingly acceptable. I found that Crew were having a sale which extended to socks. They also had bamboo socks which was brilliant. The colour options I went for were blues and greens, with another pack of vibrant autumnal colours

When they arrived I was happy to see they were in little boxes, which we have kept so we can reuse them for other things. We’re not sure what yet, but we’ll find something.

An open oblong box with socks rolled up neatly inside.

After wearing a few pairs this last week I am very happy with the quality of them. They are not too overwhelming, they are keeping my feet warm (but I am wearing these and a pair of other socks- I have circulation issues). The bamboo is soft to touch and I love the colours.

I should point out I am not being endorsed to write this, its just I really struggle with finding socks which make my feet happy. I also believe bamboo is meant to be better for the environment. Please correct me of I am wrong.

Please be mindful that a lot of Autistic people will struggle with sensory issues and this makes choosing clothing, like socks to be a very difficult one indeed. So this has been a big win for me and my sensory needs. I can say I am happy with my sock choice. Thank you Crew!

Thank you for mooching over to my blog and reading my random musings. 

Until next time,
Philippa B. 

Saint Ives

Hello all,

I am back. I was off for a while feeling unwell so writing took a back seat.

We have just come back from our holiday in Cornwall. We stayed in a new house this time. Whilst we were on holiday the weather wasn’t too great. But it is still Cornwall, which is lovely.

No matter what the weather the colours are always stunning. You get a lot of Artists in Cornwall, whether it’s Rowena Cade the creator of the stunning Minack Theatre or Barbara Hepworth, whose sculptures you may be familiar with if you have visited Cornwall or the Hepworth Museum in Wakefield.

Peering through two sets off rock the right side is higher than the left. The ocean cam be seen in the distance. The sky is cloudy. Shot in Black and White.

Saint Ives is full of artists and it’s an amazing place to draw, paint and just be. The lighting hits things differently in Cornwall. More specifically in Saint Ives. Even if it is raining the blues, green and greys from the ocean look tinted with silver as the light ascends on the town.

I really wish I could live there. Here are a few of the photo’s I took this last week. 

This is a photo looking out from the  headland. Peering between two rocks over the cliff. I think black and white photography can be quite intense as it shows more detailing.

The is high, the layer of rocks in front go out to meet there blue ocean. Harbour of Mousehole is in the distance, to the right side.

We went out to Mousehole to have some lunch at The Ship Inn. You can walk from a car park past the rocks around to the harbour. On Sunny days like this one the see glistens as it is struck by the sunlight. 

Being Visually Impaired I find photography to be more accessible to me, if I see something which I think I like I can just grab my phone or camera and just capture that moment.

In my blog I have tried to share a few other photos I have taken to share with you one of the things which I enjoy doing with my time.

We really enjoyed our holiday and we are looking forward to going back soon. 

Heart Health

For my 30th Birthday I decided I wanted to raise awareness of Congenital Heart Disease. To do this I wrote about Heart Health on this blog and about my fundraising challenge. See Pips Turning 30

February is National Heart Month, lets talk about Heart Disease. I was born with Congenital Heart Disease, I had two holes in my heart and interrupted aortic arch. This was corrected at one week old. 

Here in the UK 13 babies a day are diagnosed with a heart defect.

The BHF has some staggering statistics:

‘Heart and circulatory diseases cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK, that’s more than 160,000 deaths each year – an average of 460 deaths each day or one every three minutes in the UK.

  • There are around 7.6 million people living with a heart or circulatory disease in the UK: 4 million men and 3.6 million women.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD; also known as ischaemic heart disease) is the most common type of heart disease. It is the most common cause of heart attack and was the single biggest killer of both and men and women worldwide in 2019.
  • In the UK there are as many as 100,000 hospital admissions each year due to heart attacks: that’s one every five minutes.
  • Around 1.4 million people alive in the UK today have survived a heart attack.
  • More than 900,000 people in the UK are living with heart failure.
  • Strokes cause around 34,000 deaths in the UK each year and are the biggest cause of severe disability in the UK.
  • People with a family history of coronary heart disease are much more likely to develop vascular dementia.
  • Each day 13 babies are diagnosed with a congenital heart defect in the UK.
  • There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year, with a survival rate of less than 1 in 10.
  • More than 4.9 million people in the UK have diabetes – many thousands of them are undiagnosed.’

    British Heart Foundation (2023)

    These numbers show exactly why we need to ensure we invest in our heart health. Every single one of us.
A red heart with stitching up the middle holding it together. There is a needle and thread sat underneath.
A heart stitched back together.

Being born with Congenital Heart Disease means I will be on tablets for Hight Blood Pressure for the rest of my life. No lifestyle changes can stop this. I have Congenital Kidney Disease so I need to ensure my Kidneys keep working, otherwise this will have an impact on my heart. This is one of the reasons I am on tablets.

Congenital Heart Disease also means I have to attend hospital appointments to ensure my heart stays healthy and that I am doing everything I can to look after my heart.

We need to take heart health seriously, it affects more people every year. Taking far too many lives. You can do your part to help make change by learning CPR. Find a course near you.

By learning CPR you are buying someone time. You are keeping person alive when they have a Cardiac Arrest.

Most importantly phone the Emergency Services. Then someone can come and help you.

If you would like to learn more about the BHF please follow them on Twitter and give your support. Heart disease is cruel, but hopefully, one day, we can live in a world where it does not exist. 

*I am not writing on behalf of the BHF* These are just my own thoughts surrounding Heart Disease as someone who was born with CHD.


Hello all,

Today I thought I would write about Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) as I have not written about this in a while.

I have mentioned previously CVI is the way in which my brain and my eyes don’t always communicate with one another. This means I can be looking at something but not recognise what I am looking at. I could be walking straight towards someone and not understand I am about to crash into them.

The CVI society describes it as ‘Cerebral Visual Impairment (commonly referred to as CVI) is a form of visual impairment caused by the brain not being able to process information from the eyes passing along the visual pathways in the brain. It is the commonest cause of visual impairment in children in the developed world.’ CVI Society, 2023.

Another issue is that I can’t visualise in my head what people or places look like. This makes it exceptionally difficult if I need to go somewhere new. I cannot go somewhere new independently. For me to learn a new route I have to do it a number of times. Even then I will still struggle.

A good way to think about an area of CVI, for me anyway, is to think of it as though you have gaps in your memory. It is just blank. Nothing there. I don’t know if this is a feature of CVI, but it is something which I experience.  

These elements make life quite daunting and very challenging. However there are ways around things. As I say, doing new routes multiple times. When you go out and are with someone try break down descriptions of that person. For example, what colour jacket are they wearing?

Tiredness absolutely has an impact on my vision, as I am sure it does for all of us. But for me when my eyes are tired I kind of go into auto pilot. This is where my cain is important. Because you are putting your safety  in the hands of tactile thinking.

The other day I went to get into the taxi, but I didn’t realise until I was about to open the door that someone was already in it. This is where it is very dangerous because you don’t always see things, sometimes until the last minute.

CVI is only one of the conditions I have. Please check out CVI Society for more info.

Thank you reading and checking in. I hope my musings have been of interest. 

Books From 2022

1 Electricity of every living thing  Katherine May

This was a book I found whilst trying to look for books from Autistic peoples perspectives.
I enjoy listening to these kinds of books because it allows me to feel connected to someone else’s experience.

The name of the book relates back to the feeling the person gets when they touch another person. It feels like electricity running through their body.

They also discuss their feelings of their place in the world and how they interact with what is occurring around them. This is another area I feel connected to the writer and their experience.

If you are Autistic or have someone in your life who is, then please consider this book. Especially if that person is a woman. I am always on the look out for these kinds of books so please drop them in the comments below.

2 mighty boosh Julian Barrett, Noel Fielding
Whilst this is not an audiobook but a Radio Play it still counts.
I have been a massive fan of Mighty Boost for years. Me and my Brother used to watch it. Not a lot of people I knew when it first came out enjoyed it. But we loved it. I mean who doesn’t want to know a talking gorilla?

I cannot believe it came out in 2005! This makes me very upset. If you have never given Noel Fielding and Julian Barrett a chance I highly record you do so. The comedy is weird and quite niche. But if you are into Zoos, Arctic Tundras, Bryan Ferry and Goths you will love it. 

3 divergent mind Jenara Nerenberg
Just like the Electricity of every living thing this book was incredible. It looks at the way in which Autistic People view and experience the world around them. It asks questions like ‘how can we better design buildings to suit the needs of Autistic People?’ ‘How can we better structure our days to get the best out of Autistic people?’ Rather than it being the other way around.

I sat and listened to it whilst in the garden in summer laying on the grass and just enjoying the warm sun. It was quite comforting listening to a book which questions why the world can’t work for Autistic people instead of the other way around.

Again if you are Autistic or have and Autistic person in your life, please read/listen to this book. 

4 full circle Michael Palin
This is a great listen. I cannot believe Full Circle is a documentary from 1997. It was amazing listening to how he got around the world in a age before mobile phones and instant communication. The way he talks about the various places he visited, even back then is incredible.

The way some places were only just starting to grow in terms of people and population, like China. It made me wonder, what would it be like if he did the trip again now and did a comparison?

I like Michael Palin. He has a great voice for narration and is a good book to have on while you want to relax. 

5 avoiding anxiety in autistic adults Luke Beardon
Another book I really enjoyed. Autistic People can really struggle with Anxiety. Living in a world which is not built for Autistic people creates levels of Anxiety which can be paralysing at times.

This books talks about Anxiety from and Autistic perspective and once again I felt very seen. I felt quite comforted listening to it. 

6 outsider live Sarah Millican
I am a major fan of Sarah Millican. She sounds like someone I used to know and her voice is very comforting. So whilst I was in bed feeling poorly I listened to her recording of a live show and it was nice. Plus it made me laugh. 

7 comfort book Matt Haig
The thing I liked about this one is it was just short snippets. But it really made you think about self care and how you can make small changes or think in a different way to allow yourself to feel a sense of Self Comfort. 

8 all of the marvels Douglas Wolk
I absolutely love Marvel. My favourite is Spiderman. This was the first character I ever came across.

The book is quite long, but with good reason, the guy is talking about the whole Marvel Universe, or as good as.

There’s so much he delves into, not just major characters but also ones which didn’t have many of their own comics.

If you are a fan of Marvel I again urge you too read this on. 

9 beyond the wand Tom Felton
This was good listen in that Tom Felton is being very open about his mental health. Which is brilliant. He is very open and honest about his journey in the acting world and how he found it difficult adjusting to life after Harry Potter.

I am a major advocate for people being able to talk about Mental Health. It is really important we have spacers where we can talk about how we feel so we don’t let things get bottled up and overflow.

Again I would urge anyone to listen to this book and hopefully it will enable them to feel less alone.

This was just a list of all the books I listened to last year and what I thought to them. If you have any book suggestions please leave them in the comments. Books are great because we can share our thoughts and we can delve into a completely different world where we can learn about something new.

Happy Reading,

Self Care and Tea

Hello all,

I hope your 2023 is going well. Apparently at this point we have reached ‘Blue Monday’ whereby we have all thrown our resolutions out the window and thought ‘forget that’.

Well how about instead of forgetting that resolution you just hit pause instead? I mean did you pick something impossible to give up? Do you try a new hobby which is becoming more of a chore? Perhaps you picked more than one resolution?

I haven’t bothered with anything this year which is too taxing, I want to enjoy more audiobooks because I like reading. That’s it. I just want to do one thing which I enjoy.

Looking straight down into a teapot with a tea bag brewing inside.

Plus I can incorporate another thing I love- tea. I absolutely love tea. As I am writing this I am enjoying a cup of Twinnings Lemon and Ginger tea. It is quite warming. Its good to relax with.

One thing I realised last year is I can feel overwhelmed at times which gets my head overwhelmed. It might not be a lot by other peoples standards, but to me it is a lot. Which is why, by focussing on books and tea I can tell myself to slow down and be kind to myself. So ask yourself, is your resolution allowing you to be kind to yourself? Mine hopefully will.

I can use books to learn more, I can use them to relax and unwind. Books are amazing to me and I used to love reading physical books. I am grateful audiobooks are a thing because if they were not I would have fallen out of love with reading, as I almost did.

So please remember to be kind in whatever goal you have given yourself. It is only the 16th of January. We still have plenty of time.

Thank you for reading,
Philippa B.

Other blogs you might enjoy:

Navigating Visual Stress
2019 Books So Far