An accessible Dehumidifier?

Hello all, 

This blog might seem a bit boring but I wanted to write it. 

About a week ago my dehumidifier got a crack in it and started leaking. Which is quite dangerous when you can’t see very well and there’s a leak you don’t notice until there is water which you step in and get a soggy sock. Which is how I found out. Which wasn’t good because it was near a plug…

Anyway, we put a big tray underneath to stop the water going near the plug. We then realised it was a leak. So I pulled out the water collector and had a look inside. I could feel a crack on the dehumidifier itself. I unplugged it and decided it was time to buy a new one.

I decided to buy the sam model. It’s a Dimplex one.

Why am I reading this? What are you writing about a dehu for?

The reason I thought I’d write this is because it’s a good little purchase. One of the things I find good is how accessible it is to me. Yes a dehumidifier which is accessible.

The light indicators are a good size. When it’s green it means the room is just right, when it’s blue that means it’s too damp, when its red it means the room is too dry. This is great because if you’re visually impaired you want to have things which are more accessible too you visually or, in a tactile format when it comes to things like this. 

When it comes to the physical buttons they are a good size, the power button, one which is for the timer, you can have it on for up to 8 hours. The third is for the level humidity you want it at – I think I have it on this one all the time. Then I turn it off whenever I want to.

Getting the container out is ok, you have curved edges on the side of the container so you can put your hands in the right place to pull it out. The only issue is that it is a bit cumbersome in that there’s no way to grip it. Ideally it would be nice if you could grip it better.

The tank which collects the water is also good because it is see through. So someone can see how full it is, but you have a light indicator for this. It flashes red when it’s full.

But here’s the really impressive thing. The how to booklet which comes with it is huge! I could read it without any help. The font is a good size and the diagrams are easy to see. I was thoroughly impressed and the booklet alone is reason enough to buy it in my opinion.

Don’t just take my word for it. Argos shoppers, where I bought it from, have giving it some great ratings.

This blog post is not sponsored by Dimplex, I just wanted to write about it because I’m quite impressed.

Enjoy your day. Let me know what purchase you’ve made which accessible to you. 

A white dehumidifier on the floor, it has a grill on the top, with three buttons on top.

I’m back

Hello all,

Sorry that it has been a while since my last post. I have been taking some time away.

I am also on holiday from work this week which is nice. Over the past few days I have just been relaxing and doing nothing. Sometimes you need to do that.

Anyway I will try be back on here a little more and get back into my weekly posts where I can. Still here, still posting, just having some me time. Last month work was very busy and I just needed to take a step back from this blog and focus on that. Otherwise there’d of been too many plates spinning at once. Which is not good for me. 

I have also been taking a break from Instagram. Its too much at times to have all these social media accounts vying for your attention. A long time ago I took time away from Facebook. It has been nice to not be on there to be honest, I check in from time to time. But very rarely. It can be good to take time away.

That’s it for today.


Living with Chronic Illness

Hello all,

In the last few days the Chronically Ill Community has been angry, upset and frustrated. The reason why? A TV programme being broadcast by the BBC called Sickness and Lies.

As soon as this came out, on the 5th August, so many Chronically Ill and Disabled people took to Twitter voice their disgust at a programme which is only going to add to the fuelling of Disability Hate Crime.

There is a lot of talk about hate crime, but not a lot about Disability Hate Crime. The conversations about its impact usually only take place amongst the Disabled Community. But I’m not here to talk about Disability Hate crime in general, I am here to discuss the idea of the programme ‘Sickness and Lies’.

I have watched the clip of the programme and from what I have watched I will not be watching the programme. The reason being that I believe it will just add to my already existing anger and frustration around people who believe that the community is faking it.

People like myself have a right to find community online, as we don’t always get to meet others like ourselves in day to day to life. We don’t always feel like we can go out and about and meet up with people and do stuff because we are in pain and exhausted from being in pain all the time.

It is exhausting.

To then find these articles online and TV programmes where people are exploring the ideas that there are people out there who are ‘faking it’, just makes us feel even more tired and frustrated. When you see other topics surrounding the way Disabled people are treated through disability claims, or even when they’re out and about is just adding to the feelings of frustration and anger.

All these things also generate the ‘faking it’ culture which people are lead to believe by the media. When in actual fact those claiming Disability Benefits who are faking it has been proven to be relatively low.

What I would hope the BBC follow up with is a programme about why this programme is so controversial. So they can look through social media and find comments made about their programme and enquire if those who are Chronically ill would be willing to speak to them about life with a chronic illness.

This maybe beneficial as it would allow the community to discuss their feelings about the programme. It would also allow the community to explore why more and more people are opening up about their chronic illness.

This would allow those watching it to recognise that is hard to live everyday in pain, and that what someone like me considers to be a  normal pain day may actually be someone’s ‘I need to take the day off…’

All I want is for people to recognise the fact that living with a chronic illness is not easy, on many levels, and that we put up with a lot. That we don’t need these kinds of programmes to fuel culture of hate crime which already exists but a lot of people outside our community either chose to ignore or do not know about.

That could be a programme in itself.

Anyway I’m off.

If you could check out my fundraising page and maybe donate to help me a make a difference to those living with heart Disease that would be amazing. Thank you.

Heart Disease and Mental Health

Hello all, 

I hope you’re all well.

A while ago I had a chat with the Lead Nurse for the Yorkshire and Humber Congenital Heart Network. We had a great conversation about the staff and their jobs and how they support people living in our region who are living with Congenital Heart Disease. We also discussed what I have been doing with my fundraising. 

So for this blog I thought I would write about the impact of Mental Health when you are living with Congenital Heart Disease. 

Mental Health is important, but I often wonder how much emphasis is put on it for those of us living with the Congenital Heart Disease, or those of us who are living with Heart Disease. 

One thing which may not be aware of is that the congenital heart service has a dedicated counselling service for those who are under the care of the Heart Unit in Leeds. This is pretty amazing. Let me give you a bit of an understanding as to why mental health is so important to people like myself. 

Living with a heart condition whether it is something that has come at some point in your life or you were born with it, has an impact on your quality of life and therefore your mental health. 

Here are a few things you must consider, if like me you were born with Congenital Heart Disease. 

It is advised not to get to get tattoos or have piercings, but if you chose to you are advised to keep the broken skin clean. 

Oral Hygiene is important, for the same reason you are advised not to get tattoos or have piercings. You are at risk of Endocarditis.

‘Endocarditis is a rare and potentially fatal infection of the inner lining of the heart (the endocardium). It’s most commonly caused by bacteria entering the blood and travelling to the heart.’ The infection is caused by bacteria getting into your blood stream and making its way towards the heart.’ This was taken from the NHS website

For this reason I carry a medical warning card. (I will be writing another blog about this where I will go into more detail)

Here’s something people don’t often think about when going on holiday abroad: insurance. Due to my Congenital Heart Disease I have to get a high level of insurance when I go on holiday. So it costs a lot more money for me to just go on holiday with peace of mind. The other problem with insurance is that a lot of companies won’t even insure me. That’s a nice thought isn’t it, that my heart condition is too expensive. 

Another way of looking at this is, my life is too expensive for these big insurance companies to want to cover it. That it’s not worth the investment of their company to cover the cost of my life. That really takes its toll on your mental health. Am I not worth it? I am not worth them making money out of me because they know they would lose money insuring me. Let that sink in. 

The other thing which can have an impact on your mental health, which you may not consider is family planning. Yes, pregnancy and heart health are obviously linked. But did you know that if you had heart disease the chances of you having a baby with Congenital Heart Disease is slightly higher than the normal population. The normal population has about 1% chance of having a baby born with Congenital Heart Disease. If I ever have children that goes to between 2-4%. It could be as high as 50% in some cases. 

Imagine carrying a child knowing you are at a higher risk of having a baby with Congenital Heart Disease. This does not mean you shouldn’t have children. There are plenty of resources and support available to those who want to start a family. Knowing that there is support is important. I suppose you could always get in touch with the congenital team at Leeds  and discuss any issues and concerns, but your Doctor will also be able to help.

These are just three things which can have impact on your mental health. Three very big things, which are either big life events, or things which stop you from being able to do what you want. Well, they don’t stop you, but they will have major implications if things don’t go to plan, mostly these things involve your life. 

I am not saying these things to make you feel woe is me. I am saying them because they are true and they can have impact on your Mental health because you have to be a lot more careful than others. It’s not as easy as just go an do whatever you want, because you can’t. You have to really think before you plan a holiday. I don’t want to risk Endocarditis so I don’t have piercings or a tattoos. No I am not boring I just read the warning label and decided a piercing isn’t worth it. 

Over the past year I have been cycling and walking to raise money for the British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. I have just over 2 months to go and have raised £1467. I aim to raise £3000. 

In terms of miles I have done 943.77 miles. 

Raising the money is hard, but what’s harder is getting people to realise why I am raising the money. It’s not just about immediate implications of heart disease, it’s also the aftermath. Not being able to live your life how you fully want to due to the nature of your condition. This really takes its toll on those living with a heart condition. By supporting my fundraising you are helping to support those living with Heart Disease. 

Heart Disease doesn’t care that you can’t buy life insurance because of the Heart Attack you had. Heart Disease doesn’t car e you’re exhausted after walking up the stairs because of the Cardiac Arrest you had. It also doesn’t care if you want to have children. 

But the British Heart Foundation, the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, they do care. They care about supporting those living with Heart Disease, they care about improving quality of life. They also care about beating heart disease. But they can’t do that without your support. 

Thank you for your support with my fundraising. I turn 30 in August. I was born with Congenital Heart Disease and had open heart surgery at a week old. It was on the 21st of August 1991. My Brothers 5th Birthday. 

Donate Here

All the info I have got for this blog has either been through my own conversations with Doctors or from this handy website here

Travel Kind

Hello all,

I have been rather busy with work lately so I haven’t had chance to do much writing. Today is my day off so I thought I’d do some.

In the past few weeks I have noticed a difference when traveling to and from work with the business of public transport. This has made it more tiring getting to and from work.

The differences have been that more and more people are using public transport as people start to return back to working in the office. At weekends more people are using public transport to go out into town.

What makes it even more tiring and stressful is that I am starting to notice people’s return to ‘normality’ when it comes to public transport.
By this I mean people are not always giving me space when I get on the train, they are not offering me a seat, they are cutting in front of me and my cane.

This is physically exhausting and mentally draining.

All I want is for people to respect my space and to just ask if I need help. It’s nice to be nice.

Looking down at my feet, wearing converse. My guideline is in between my feet.

However, I do try to focus on the good people do. For example a lady helped me cross a busy road and asked I needed help navigating some road works on the pavement ahead. I said I was fine and thank you for asking me if I needed help.

Another lady asked if I needed assistance on the escalator. She said she was’t sure whether to ask because she understands that Disabled people are capable of being independent. I replied saying that I would prefer if people asked, because in doing so you are showing you are being kind whilst respecting they might be perfectly fine. I thanked her for her help.

Please just be mindful as you go abut your day that all this ‘opening up’ business is very exhausting for Disabled People. I  wasn’t shielding I was going to work as normal when my work re open-end. It was much nicer for me travelling to work when it was less visually stressful. Please be aware of your surroundings and if you see someone who might need help, just ask. Personally I prefer this, then if I do need help if more people are offering, I don’t have to worry about finding someone to ask.

Thank you for reading. If you can please check out my fundraising page and help me raise £3k for the BHF and Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. 

CPR and Defibrillators

Hello again,

This blog will focus on the importance of CPR and Defibrillators. Before I dive into this I would like to ask if you know the difference between a Heart Attack and a Cardiac Arrest?

‘5 differences between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest:

1. A heart attack is not the same as a cardiac arrest.

2. A heart attack is when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked. The heart muscle is robbed of its vital blood supply and, if left untreated, will begin to die because it is not getting enough oxygen.

3. A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping blood around their body and they stop breathing normally.

4. Many cardiac arrests in adults happen because of a heart attack. This is because a person who is having a heart attack may develop a dangerous heart rhythm, which can cause a cardiac arrest.

5. A heart attack and a cardiac arrest are both emergency situations. Call 999 straight away.’

The above information is taken from The British Heart Foundations Website.

I remember in secondary school in a PE lesson we learnt CPR. It was a very strange lesson. Knowing that what you were learning could be used to safe a persons life was very strange. I do not remember getting a certificate for it. But I do remember being taught the basics and what to do in the event someone collapses.

Learning CPR is a vital skill you could save life. Here are some facts from the BHF (Click on BHF Statistics Factsheets-UK):

• There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) in the UK each year.

• The overall survival rate in the UK is just 1 in 10.

• Every minute without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent.

• Performing CPR can more than double the chances of survival in some cases (ventricular fibrillation).

• It’s estimated that public-access defibrillators (PADs) are used in less than five per cent of OHCAs.

• The Chain of Survival (below) is a sequence of steps that together maximise the chance of survival following cardiac arrest

These numbers are very scary. I hope that one day we can live in a world without Heart Disease and all the other areas the BHF is working so hard to fight against.

If you want to do your bit to help ensure more people survive out of hospital Cardiac Arrests please learn CPR. You can find out how to do CPR here.

St Johns Ambulance has a course which is Certified for learning CPR. Click here.

When you are out and about keep a look out for any Defibrillators you might see. Take a picture of it and post it on social media. In doing so you are helping to raise awareness of their locations and ensuring other people know where they are. Also check out the National Database for your nearest Defibrillator. (Caution that this may not contain all defibrillators and it may not be accurate as to whether they are in service.)

Always dial 999 if you suspect someone needs an ambulance.

When it comes to CPR it is better for you to try and do something, call for an ambulance immediately. If you can do CPR, try. No one is going to say anything if you do it wrong. Very second that passes counts.

While you are doing CPR you are doing the work of someones heart for them. You are working to keep that person alive. That to me is pretty mind blowing.

Please consider all I have said. If you can also help by donating even £3 to my fundraising to The BHF and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, you will be helping to make a difference. Donate here.

Thank you for reading.

Twitter: @PhilippaB

Instagram: @VisuallyImpairedPip

Learning Difficulties Awareness Week


Thought I’d drop in again. 

There are quite a few awareness weeks dotted around the calendar and this week is Learning Difficulties Awareness week. Before moving into this topic it is firstly worth noting not everyone is happy with the wording of this. I am happy with the wording learning difficulties, some people may prefer Learning Differences. 

Learning Differences/Difficulties are things which can have a massive impact on people’s lives. According to Mencap

‘There are many different types of learning difficulty, some of the more well known are dyslexia, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia and dyscalculia. A person can have one, or a combination.

As with learning disability, learning difficulties can also exist on a scale. A person might have a mild learning difficulty or a severe learning difficulty. The same is true of learning disabilities.’

Not everyone has the conditions to the same extent, as mentioned above they exist on a scale and this can have a varying impact on persons day to activities. This can lead to feeling of frustration or anxiety which should never be underestimated when discussing ways to help the person. 

Someone with Dyslexia may find it difficult when trying to follow directions. This is because they may struggle knowing the difference between left and right. 

looking down at my orange pumps.

People who have Dyscalculia may find themselves getting frustrated when dealing with splitting a bill when out at a restaurant. This is due to them finding numbers really complicated

The emotional impact of learning difficulties can be overwhelmingly tough. It can take lots more energy to perform simple tasks because  the person finds it difficult. This can lead to exhaustion. 

Not using physical cash and using a bank card really helps me. This means I don’t have to deal with counting cash I just use my card or ApplePay to make the Payment and then that’s it. Although setting budgets its very tough because my head just won’t do numbers. This does lead to exhaustion and frustration when it comes to even the simplest things. 

Making it easier for those with learning difficulties does not necessarily mean doing the task for them. It could be where you break the task down into smaller manageable chunks. Or make a change to something to adapt the task to suit the persons needs. 

An example might be sitting somewhere quiet to read, or if they are really struggling but still want to read, use an audiobook. 

For someone who has Dyspraxia they may find laces difficult. Try and put different laces in the shoes which are a little thicker so they can hold onto them. I did this with a pair of mine. It still takes me 5 minutes to do them, but I can do them.

One of the best pieces of advice for anyone who has a learning difficulty is to not be too hard on yourself. You’re trying your best and tats what matters. 

I’m off now as I am a bit tired. My back pain is flaring up. 

Thank you for reading.

Scoliosis Awareness Month

Hello all,

Sorry for the delay in posting something. I have had a very busy few weeks.

Seen as it is Scoliosis Awareness Month I thought I’d better talk about this. If you have checked out other pages on my blog or you are following me on Instagram/Twitter you will know I have a curved Spine, otherwise known as Scoliosis. 

I was diagnosed with Scoliosis when I was 13. At the time we were told it is pretty mild and I wouldn’t need to wear a brace. When I got to 16 we were told there was no need to have surgery to correct my spine so I went onto sixth form. The same thing happened when I was 18, I went onto university. We decided this as we were advised it wouldn’t get any worse. Obviously things can change and there are multiple factors involved.

Unfortunately as I got older the pain I was in got worse. Over the past few years I have been getting sport massages, alongside my physio. Thankfully the combination of Sport massages and physio, along with pain killers, has enabled me to reduce the amount of pain which I am in. Although it does not stop it all together. Everyday I am in some form of pain because of my back and it will be like this forever. 

I do low impact exercise, for example my cycling. 

If you suspect you or someone you know has a curve in their spine I would urge you to go to the doctors to get it checked out. If they are able to spot it early then you can have treatment to help. It’s also really important to work on your posture. For example, when I’m at work I try not to lean against the tables. It might feel comfortable in the short term. In the long term it is not. Right now while I am writing this I am having to remember to sit as straight as possible. As I try to do this it feels uncomfortable. It is the right thing to do for my posture. 

Back pain is more common than people realise. Be kind to yourself and take regular breaks to sit down, or have a walk around. Remember that it is not easy living with back pain and everyone is different. There are no quick fixes. The amount of pain someone is in takes its toll on your physical and mental health. So be kind and don’t tell someone with back pain ‘oh you should just….’ because they’ve probably already heard it. 

It has been months since I last went for a sports massage. I have messaged my physio and asked if they can fit me in. I have an appointment. The pain in my back is more prominent lately, I can feel it all down the right hand side. It is also in my neck. As well as the pain I also loose strength in my right shoulder. So opening doors is very tricky. I basically have to put my whole weight against the door to open it.

Really looking forward to my sorts massage. It will be a long time coming. The image below is one I drew a while ago, but did not wish to share. However, I now feel I want to. It was drawn on Procreate.

A hand drawn picture of a back to show a person with a curved Spine.

Thank you. 

While you’re here please check out my post on my fundraising, I am trying to raise £3k for The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. 

On Twitter: @PhilippapB

On Instagram: @VisuallyImpairedPip

Who are the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund?

Hello all,

Today’s blog is looking at the fabulous work the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund do.

For those of you who don’t know the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund are based in Leeds in the UK. They were set up 1988 by Duncan Walker and Dr Waterson. The charity was set up with the motto every child a childhood. The charity’s aim was to support hospitals and their patients to live a long and happy life. This remains their goal today.

Over the past 30 years they have managed to adapt and make the necessary changes which have enabled them support the patients and families which use the services at the Leeds General Infirmary.

The charity used to be based at Killingbeck Hospital which was a hospital dedicated to treating heart patients. In 1997 the hospital closed and the services were relocated to the LGI. This meant the charity had to relocate.

Why am I telling you about all this?

In August I turn 30. On the 21st of August 1991 I had open heart surgery. I was born with two holes in my heart and an interrupted aortic arch. I had open heart surgery at a week old.

I wanted to do something to mark the occasion, so I set myself a goal of raising £3000 in a year for this amazing charity and The British Heart Foundation.

Read how here.

Since the beginning of the pandemic every charity has found it difficult to keep going. The BHF have had to cut their research funding by half. The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund have had to relocate their office to one which cost less to rent. These are just two of the things which have been effected by the pandemic.

I have chatted to Lisa Community Fundraising Manager who works at the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and Sarah, Family Support Worker they are both absolutely lovely.

A red heart with stitching up the middle holding it together. There is a needle and thread sat underneath.

A heart stitched back together.

How Children’s Heart Surgery Fund make a difference;

Over the past 32 years CHSF have spent more than seven million pounds supporting the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, the 17,000+ babies, children and adults from Yorkshire, the Humber and North Lincolnshire treated each year and their families.

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is a heart condition or defect that develops in the womb before a baby is born.  CHD is one of the most common types of birth defects, affecting up to 8 in every 1000 babies born in the UK. While for the majority of babies their conditions are minor, some are more serious, and they do not survive.  However, thanks to advances in early diagnosis and treatment, around 8 out of 10 babies will grow up to become adults.

CHSF vision is to support hearts for life.  Their mission is to support the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit to remain a centre of excellence by providing funding and resources needed to care for a patient’s heart, mind, family and future.

CHSF know that caring for people with CHD involves more than treating just the heart itself.  They are there for;

Care for the heart

Providing revolutionary medical equipment

Care for the mind

Creating a positive and restful environment on the wards and funding play distraction equipment

Care for the family

Contributing towards living/travel expenses, offering parental accommodation and exceptional grants.

Care for the future

Funding research, clinical posts and projects.

Thankfully I am still here and approaching my 30th Birthday. I want you to know how amazing this charity is, how amazing the people who had a hand in saving my life are.

Thank you will never be enough. Please share my story and that of the charity and help me to raise £3000. Thank you.

Back to it again

Hello again, 

Hope you’re all well. This week has been the first week in about four months I have had to leave the house for work. This involves me getting on the train. 

The first day back on the train was ok. The conductor helped me on the train and to find a seat. If someone offers to find me a seat I say yes. The reason is that I have learned it takes away the visual stress of having to do this myself. As the trains are busier than I expected this is something I will continue to do. 

When I go into the station I use on my way to work I found that the one way system has been changed. This now means there is no one way system on the platforms themselves. Only on the bridge routes linking the platforms together. This I can see making life a bit more difficult as things get busier. If they keep the one way system on the bridges it will really help. 

One ways systems are better for Visually Impaired and Blind people because we don’t have to worry about navigating people coming towards us. It really reduces the levels of visual stress. 

Once I am off of the main bridge and down towards the barriers things became a bit stressful. The reason being they are relaying the floor. So there are barriers which means my brain cannot easily find a quick route around them. It wasn’t too busy so I just took a bit of time and wandered slowly where everyone else was going. Once through the barriers I noticed the same thing. I stopped. 

The issue is not just the visual stress, but the unexpectedness of the train station having work done to it. Once I knew where I could walk I just focussed on the exit and made my way towards it. 

The next issue with all of this is that I am using my long cane. This means I am sweeping the floor to find out where things are. So when a surface changes it can impact how I am going to navigate my way through the station. After a few trips to work and home I am feeling a bit better about it. 

I just want the work to be quickly so I don’t have to deal with ongoing upgrades to this station. 

The work they are doing though is very good. It will definitely modernise the station which is something that has been needed for years. One of the biggest improvements is the new glass ceiling. It really lets in a lot of light. Which compared to how it previously was is so much better. The ceiling used to be old darkened wood. 

Please be mindful while you are out and about as a lot of people are feeling anxious. Disabled People find travel difficult at the best of times and we are having to navigate a new way of travelling. We want to be able to get out, get to work, see our friends. We just need you to be patient with us. Going back to normal is a scary thought for some of us. I am not looking forward to jam packed trains and people pushing and shoving me because they can’t wait. Lets just be nicer and be mindful of others as we ease out of this lock down. 

Be back soon, 

Philippa B. 

While you’re here please check out my fundraising page.

my guide cane is in the foreground, there are two blue seats the background facing me, with two 'Out Of Use' signs pace on the tops of the seat.

Where to sit?