April Update

Hello again, 

How are you?

I am dropping in to tell you about the last few weeks. 

It’s been quite difficult in some ways as I had a piece in the news paper about my fundraising. Talking about being born with Congenital Heart Disease is very difficult. It was hard to articulate my emotions around it and my feelings now I am going to be turning 30. Having my story shared in the paper was a good thing overall as it hopefully has allowed me to make other people feel less alone. 

One thing I have aimed to do with this fundraising is to share my story as it may help others feel less alone. When you are going through something as horrible as my family did, you are feeling alone. You don’t know what do. So by me sharing my story I hope to also make other people feel like there can be hope. Hope that their child can have a future. 

As well as raising the £3000 for the British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, I also want to encourage people to think about the long term impacts of Heart Disease. For myself it was just the beginning. If you have read any of my other blogs you will know I am also Visually Impaired. This has a massive impact on my life. Heart Disease is not just about your heart, it is everything else which goes with it. 

But this blog is not a woe is me, it’s a look what I am doing with the problems I have. I am aiming to raise awareness in the hope that others know that they are not on their own. That no matter what happens I hope they can find the support they need to live their lives as much as possible. I know I am very lucky. Even with all my other health problems. It’s about what you make of what you’ve got. 

Please do not assume that I am happy all the time, everyone has days where they feel down. Emotions are a part of life. If you need help I hope you can find someone to help. That help can even be in the form of just reading this blog to know you are not alone and someone out there understands a bit of how you’re feeling.

I have found it so moving hearing from people who they have in their lives who has a heart condition. It makes me feel connected to them in some way. It makes me really want to keep pushing on and raise this money. 

Me on the front page of the Yorkshire Evening Post. Headline 'I will be forever greatful'
Yorkshire Evening Post

In the past few days my fundraising has reached £1347!!! I have to reach £3k. That will be £1500 for each charity. If you can donate please follow this link. If you can share my page please do. Thank you so much for your kind donations in helping me to raise this money. It really means a lot to me.

Thank you for reading my blog.

If you want to follow me on instagram it’s @VisuallyImpairedPip

or my fundraising Twitter @PhilippaB 

Finished Reading Debbie Harry Face It

Hello again, 

How are we all?

One of the things I decided to do more of last year was read. I didn’t read as much as I would have liked. So I’m going to try again this year. My brother bought me an Audible subscription and I really enjoy it. 

I have been told that with Audible you don’t actually buy the books. So that’s a bit of a downer. But it’s still a good subscription service. 

The book I have just finished reading is ‘Face It’ by Debbie Harry. I love Blondie and I think Debbie Harry is wonderful. It was really nice to read more about the band and how they evolved and changed so much over time. 

The thing which I did not check out before buying the book, because I was so excited it was there, was who was reading it. Which made for a wonderful surprise when I heard Debbie Harry’s voice. I’ve always loved Blondie and I think their music is brilliant. To be able to read about her life and the band was great. 

Seeing how much of an impact she herself had on the music industry and how Blondie changed and grew over time made it difficult to stop listening. The amount of women who were lead singers in Rock bands at that time was quite limited. So I think that is one of the reasons why I like Debbie Harry so much. She wasn’t afraid to try new things and she wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. It was great how she says she did what she did because she enjoyed it. She did it for herself. But it was said in a way that was not self righteous. She is a woman who is amazing at what she does and she isn’t afraid to go for what she wants. 

It was interesting to hear how Punk started to grow and evolve around the 70s and how she describes the difference between the scene in New York, LA and London. It was interesting because I don’t know much about Punk. I don’t know much about the culture. But to learn how she and Blondie were such a force in helping to shape that genre and culture was pretty cool. 

I genuinely enjoyed the book and I would urge people to read it. It came out in 2019 and is available on Audible. You get an accompanying PDF with fan art people have sent her over the years. The way she discusses her fans and the fans of Blondie is so nice. She loves receiving the art work from people and you can really tell that in her voice. 

In the book she also talks a lot about her relationship with Chris Stein. His book is one I will be putting on my reading list. 

Anyway, it was an amazing book, I loved it and I think you should read it too. Debbie Harry is incredible and I need to take a look online and see if I can find that Barbie Doll of her. I never knew there was one. 

One more thing, if you have enjoyed my blog please follow this link to my fundraising page. I’m in the process of using the bike in the garage and counting my daily steps to cycle 660 miles in about 200 days to raise money for The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. 

Hello 2021

Hello 2021. 

So last year was a bit of a wash out wasn’t it? I wrote a blog about the books I’d read, looking back on it now I did not read that many. Although the ones I did read were very good. So this year I’ll try read some more. 

One of the good things to come out of last year was purchasing my own domain name, pipxar.com. It was a really pleased with this as it got me back into blogging. After looking at a variety of websites to host my blog and talking to different people I settled on wordpress.com. I think it was a good choice. I didn’t bother with the email address though. I just kept using the old one I had. The main issue I had setting up my domain was that I used to call my blog Random Musings. This domain was already taken though so I had to come up with something different. For a bit of a joke me and my bother thought Pipxar might be a funny choice. Turns out it was an unregistered domain and I went with it. 

The other good thing to come out of 2020 was my decision to start a bit of fundraising for two amazing charities. One is The British Heart Foundation and the other is The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. They are incredible charities which exist to help support those living with heart conditions. If you’re interested then click here and you can follow my journey as I aim to raise £3000 by the 21st of August 2021. 

Whilst writing this blog I took the opportunity to partner with my friend Beth, who is a completing her BHF funded PhD. I would definitely check out her blog. She’s very passionate about what she does and about getting more women into science. Check out her blog, it’s pretty cool. 

I think this year I will just continue with my blog and fundraising. I also aim to continue reading more. I use Audible because I’m Visually Impaired and it really does help me get more joy out of reading. I used to love wandering around Waterstones and buying books, but I soon realised audiobooks would have to be the way forward. Reading has always been something I enjoyed, but I slowly started to realise that the reason I was not reading as  much as I liked was because my Nystagmus was playing up even more if  I read physical books. Nystagmus, for those who don’t know, is an involuntary eye movement. It makes you feel like you’re living life on a roundabout and you feel sick. Check out my blog here

Anyway, thats me for now. I’m going to go. I’ll check in again later. There are a few ideas I have for my blog, with the help of my new moleskin notebook I will hopefully be a bit better this year at planning out my posts and getting them scheduled. 

I wish you all a happy and safe 2021!

See you soon, 

Philippa B. 

Fundraising Update

Featured

Hello all,

Today is the 11th December. We’re just sorting out the Christmas tree and the lights have been put up outside. Last night I didn’t sleep to well so I’ve not been able to do everything I wanted to do today. But I have created my Facebook group to try get people more aware of my fundraising on Facebook.

So for those of you who have just stumbled across this blog here’s what my fundraising is all about:

I was born with Congenital Heart Disease and had heart surgery at a week old. I had heart surgery at Killingbeck Hospital in Leeds. Next year will be my 30th Birthday and a big milestone since my surgery. Therefore I have decided to try raise £3000 for The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.

In order for me to raise this money I will be doing a number of things throughout the year. First of all I am doing 660 miles, broken down over 4 groups of 50 days. I have already done 100 days where I’ve done 278 miles. I am now onto my 3rd lot of 50 days. Where I need to do another lot of 180 miles. To do this I am counting my steps taken on a daily basis and cycling on the bike in the garage.

I have been in the T&A where I talked about my fundraising, my heart surgery and why I am choosing these two charities.

So far I have raised £732, that’s £899 with gift aid. Thank you to those who have donated so far! Click here to donate.

Screenshot of fundraising goal, £3000, total raised £732, with gift aid £899.

According to the BHF:

Heart and circulatory diseases kill more than 1 in 4 people in Yorkshire & Humber.

33 babies a month are diagnosed with a congenital heart defect in Yorkshire & Humber.

Around 210,000 people are living with coronary heart disease in Yorkshire & Humber.

These are some truly horrible numbers to have to take in. But there is hope. Which is why I need you to help me raise this money for both the BHF and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. These charities aim to support those of us who have been diagnosed with heart conditions.

The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund are based in Leeds and do some truly wonderful work helping to support families from the moment they discover their child has a heart defect.

I have been to the heart unit many many times and the staff are lovely. They truly make you feel cared for and explain absolutely everything.

Please help me to make a difference to the lives of those living with Heart Conditions. Donate your morning coffee, £3 and share my page to get me to my goal.

I started the 3rd lot of 50 days on the 3rd of December and have already got my 180 miles down to 136.07. So I am on my way.

My next blog will go into the map I am working on and show you where in the map we are ‘traveling’ to. Click here to read more about my fundraising.

Thank you for reading,

Philippa B.

Fundraising

Hello, 

Some of you maybe aware that I am currently in the process of fund-raising for two amazing charities; The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. I wanted to give you all an update on whats going on so far. 

I have been counting my daily steps and cycling on the exercise bike in the garage to build up my miles. First of all I did the distance from Bradford to Newcastle, we’re now doing Newcastle to Liverpool. From there we are going to do the distance to Bristol and from Bristol we are doing the distance down to Lands End. In total I am doing 660 miles. I aim to have this done by March 20th!!

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=PhilippaBarraclough&pageUrl=1 

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

A heart stitched back together.

Some of you are probably thinking this post is a little different to my usual blog post about Disability and you are right, it is different. 

However, what I need to tell you all is that I was born with Congenital Heart Disease. Who knows, this might have been the cause of all my Disabilities. We will never know.

One of the reasons why this challenge is hard for me is my curved spine. I have Scoliosis. The top half of my spine curves outwards and almost touches my shoulder blade. It leaves me in pain and means I have to take tablets on a daily basis. Once a month I go for a sport massage to help my back muscles as they get quite tight and very uncomfortable. 

This challenge is something I am doing for my 30th Birthday. I want to give back to these charities. The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund was partly founded by one of the Surgeons who is responsible for saving my life. I want to raise awareness for this fabulous charity based in the Leeds General Infirmary. They offer support to families and their children as they go through the journey from diagnosis of a heart condition right the way through all of their follow up appointments. They are there to support staff to support their patients to make their stay in hospital as good as it can be. They provide a place to stay for parents who’s child is poorly. They offer emotional support. This charity is truly wonderful and does so much to help the patients at the LGI. 

I am supporting The British Heart Foundation because they are working to Beat Heartbreak Forever. They are funding research into areas such as Circulatory Disease and Vascular Dementia. Their 750 stores go along way to help sell your old items and maybe they could be where you pick up your next outfit? 

If you want to see Heart and Circulatory Disease in Context then click here. These numbers will show you why I am doing my bit to help raise money for the British Heart Foundation. 

I will be posting more about my fundraising as we go into the next few months. It might not be disability related directly, but as I mentioned previously my Disabilities could have been caused by my Congenital heart Disease. 

If you can spare £5 thats £2.50 to each charity you will be doing something wonderful. Thank you very much. 

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=PhilippaBarraclough&pageUrl=1 

Dyspraxia Awareness

Hello, 

I am currently very busy as I have a lot to do. So today I got up and sorted out the washing, then did the washing up. Mum went to Tesco and did the shopping for us, some family members and neighbours. We have been very  busy. I have decided to take a page from my friends book and booked a whole day in my calendar to do nothing. This is something I need to do to recharge. Otherwise I will get very overwhelmed which can happen very easy. 

I am currently in the process of fundraising for The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, based in the Leeds General Infirmary. Check out my fundraising page here and donate.

My organisation has become better but I could defiantly improve. I am a big user of the notes app on my phone. In the past few days I have decided to create a calendar on my phone specifically for my fundraising. Now everything to do with that, goal dates, phone calls, setting up events, can all go into there. I feel like this has helped to calm down a little because everything is not all up in the air. If it is written down then it is manageable. 

One other thing I did and continue to do is to keep on top of my inbox. A while ago a friend decided to organise his inbox and he posted a picture of an empty inbox on Twitter. I was jelous so decided to do the same. He was right, it is a very therapeutic. Keeping on top of this is something I quite enjoy because you can unsubscribe from all the nonsense you thought was good idea the time. It is also very satisfying haha. 

I think one of the reasons I have decided to write this blog is there has been a lot of talk on Twitter lately about Dyspraxia. One of the reasons I got into blogging was that I wanted to help raise awareness of Dyspraxia and to find other Dyspraxics, which is what I did. It can be hard living with Dyspraxia as it is not just about the lack of coordination which people always assume it is. It can be about coordinating your thoughts, time and energy. I often have a lot of ideas in my head but struggle to get them down. So I do rely on others to help me with this. 

The calendar app and the notes app are brilliant, you just have to remember to look at the notification when it pops up. Otherwise it is quite pointless. Organising my inbox was like decluttering inside my head. Making space for the important stuff and getting rid of the old stuff. Plus making way for anything new. 

Dyspraxia Awareness week is the 6-10th of October this year. I would recommend checking out the Dyspraxia Foundation. Also just search for other Dsypraxics on Twitter. We’re out there and we’re willing to talk to about Dysrpaxia so we can help you help us. 

Til next time, 

Philippa B. 

Twitter: @PhilippaB

Instagram: @VisuallyImpairedPip 

Remember to always be kind and give people the time they need. The world is a hectic place and its important to just take 10 minutes everyday to sit and just have a cup of tea. Nothing else. Just be in the moment. 

Beary Quiet

Hi,

For a long while I struggled with sleeping, one of the reasons was down to my room not being dark enough. So we got some black out blinds fitted. They work quite well. However there was also another issue, noise. No matter how quiet you might think it is, as soon as I lay down to shut my eyes I can hear everything. 

When I say I can hear everything, I mean everything. From that weird noise the fridge makes every so often, to a car outside. I decided I would purchase some ear plugs. Searching online I came across a company called Beary Quiet. The name made me chuckle so I decided to check out the reviews. People had left some great reviews on Amazon so I thought I’d give them a go for myself. 

IMG_1649

On Amazon this is what they have to say for themselves:

‘DESIGNED FOR HIBERNATION…

Small But Mighty

Our slow rebound foam is designed to form a expansion seal against the walls of your ear canal. Activating a 37dB (decibel) barrier to noise.

  • Enabling you to achieve REM Sleep (Rapid Eye Movement)
  • Flared bell shape increases sound absorption to bounce unwanted noise
  • Boosted Fibre Blend forms a safer structural design. Preventing any risk of the plug disintegrating in your ear when in use

Comfortable Sleep

We engineered our earplug with Soft Sonar Foam which has a premium texture verses the traditional sponge foam earplugs.

  • Key benefit being, it’s comfortable when worn and it has an improved grip within the ear canal when you sleep

Noise Reduction

Beary Quiet earplugs dampen noise around you by 37 SNR dB (sonar decibels). They won’t block noise entirely but there’s a reason behind this…

We’ve engineered our earplugs to provide a perfect harmony of reducing unwanted noise and permitting important audible alerts such as smoke alarms, home invasion and most importantly your alarm clock!’

They arrived fairly quickly and as soon as they turned up the first thing I noticed which I really liked was the packaging. It comes in a circular tube, with a picture of a bear on it. I would like to think it is recyclable, which is better for the planet. Inside the tube is a packet of 30 earplugs. You also get a little tin to keep them in during the times you’re not using them. The earplugs themselves are black and feel quite squishy. 

There are different sorts you can buy but I opted for premium foam reusable ones. You get 30 in a pack. 

I have had the earplugs since….late May this year. So I thought I’d let you know how I’ve got on with them. As I mentioned before I really struggled to fall asleep, due to many reasons, one of which was the slightest noise. 

You take them out the packet, they all come in one big plastic bag, rather than individual bags. Roll them between you finger and thumb until they are stick thin. Then place them into your ear. Hold them inplace while the foam expands and then let go. Beary Quiet says they block  out up to 37 SNR DB of noise. So obviously they don’t block out everything. I can still hear certain things, but the sounds are now nicely muffled. However, this is only when I am starting to fall asleep. Once I’m off to sleep I don’t wake up because I’ve heard a noise. I must be quite a deep sleeper when the conditions are right. I genuinely love them and I will be buying them again. They have made such a massive difference to my sleeping.

As for the reusableness… that’s a word right? meh… it is now, I think they’re living up to that. I use mine for 2 nights and then put them in the bin. I am concerned for my ears so I want to make sure they stay as clean as possible. So I don’t use them more than twice. 

I would recommend Beary Quiet to anyone who is struggling with sleeping due to noise. It is now July and I have been using them since late May. Even if I can’t sleep because I can’t switch off, the noise reduction is very beneficial because it’s one less thing I have to contend with. Meaning if I can’t sleep, which has happened, I can just lay their and enjoy the quiet as much as possible. 

I would just like to point out that I have written this blog post reviewing these earplugs without any endorsement from the people of Beary Quiet and I hope that you maybe try them out to see for yourself. They only cost £12.99, but on Amazon where I bought them, directly from Beary Quiet, they cost £8.99. Click here if you to want to hibernate peacefully, without missing your alarm clock in the morning. 

Whilst I have you, if you have a few pennies spare would you mind donating to my Virtual Fundraising Tin for the British Heart Foundation?

If  have written a blog post about why here.

Right I’m off. 

I’m on Twitter: @PhilippaB

I’m on Instagram: @VisuallyImpairedPip