Bird and Blend

Hello all,

As promised I will write about a few of the nice things I did when I visited London a few weeks ago to spend time with my Brother. 

A few of you may already know that I absolutely love tea. When I visited my brother he took me to one of my favourite places to buy tea.

We went to Bird and Blend in Angel. The shop is down a small bustling street with little cafes and shops. The shop has a step up into it and is not too big inside. When we went in a lady approached us and asked if we would like to try a sample of some tea.

Then we had a look along the shelves which ran down the right hand side of the shop. There were big silver tins of tea all labeled up, underneath there were packets of tea in different sizes ready to be picked up. There were a few cups and bottles for iced tea. I wanted a cup but I wasn’t allowed one. I have far too many already.

There’s even more tea behind the counter and I could feel myself getting very excited. I’ve never been to a Bird and Blend shop before. The lady behind the counter asked if I wanted to see any of the teas. I asked to see one of my preferred bedtime teas, Dozy Girl. It smelt lovely. Then I went through all of my personal choices when buying from them. The lady seemed happy that I had heard of them before and that I was excited to be able to visit them for the first time. They don’t have many shops up North, they are mostly Southern based.

There were some small pins on the counter so my brother helped me decide which one I wanted. I chose the T-Rex pin badge.  How could I visit their fabulous shop without buying anything? You’ll be pleased to note I bought Rhubarb and Custard teabags.

The teabags from Bird and Blend are compostable so I know they are good for the environment. The pins I bought are made of metal and wood. So this is another win.

When we were deciding on a pin I was getting excited because I was really enjoying being in the shop and they were playing one of the best songs from Beauty and the Beast Gaston. Sadly though Bird and Blend do not use antlers in all of their decorating…in fact I couldn’t see any anywhere.

We bought the pin and tea then we were eon our way. The people in the shop were lovely and I had a great time.

When I got home my pin badge had popped off whilst on my coat. I decided to email them to see if I could request a replacement. The reply was quick and very helpful. Someone called Ian sent me out a replacement pin and sent me one of their favourites as well.

Bird and Blend are a fabulous company who are making some lovely blends and doing it with our planet it mind. Please take a look on their website and give them a try. 

Also go to their shops and say hello, they were very friendly and they defiantly know their brews. Thank you for a lovely visit. 

Wooden shelves with teabags in paper packaging and big silver tins filled with. ore tea.
Brew-tea-ful display

I wrote this blog myself after a fabulous visit! I am in no way associated with the TeaRific company.

Lucy and Yak Fleece

Hello again,

For a while now I have been wanting a fleece from Lucy and Yak. The materials are recycled so it’s a great win for the environment. Also everyone I know who has their stuff seems to really like what they buy.

The other day I treated myself to a nice dark blue fleece. The fabric is very soft, the colour is lovely and the fit is very snug and cozy.

When I’m buying clothes I have to be very careful as I  am quite fussy about the feel and the fit. As I have a Scoliosis it is very important to me that the fit is comfortable. I ordered a small after looking at the size of the model was wearing in the picture. Normally I would go for a medium. But fleeces are meant to be baggy so I went with the small.

When it arrived I was happy with the packing, all recyclable and mostly paper. So it all went in the recycling bin. When I took it out it felt nice and soft. I have been wearing it for two days now and I really like it.

I tend to be quite cold so need to wear three layers. Even in the house. However with this fleece I am only wearing two layers! My back feels comfy in the fleece and I am nice and warm.

I reckon I’ll be buying another item in the future.

The price was £45 which for something so comfy and which was from a recommended brand I wasn’t too fussed by. Its also going towards items which are better for the planet, so why not.

I know this isn’t the usual kind of blog I post, but it does link to my Scoliosis as clothing is very tricky when spine is curved.

If you would like to read a few more posts about Scoliosis please look here.

Thank you for reading, speak soon. 


*I have not been asked to write this or have not received anything for it. I just like what I bought.

Shopping when you’re Visually Impaired

Hello all, 

Been having a bit of think about what the next blog post would be. After some deliberation and a spark of inspiration it hit me…. Shopping! 

Today we went to M&S to do some Christmas shopping. It is better to go during the week for me as it is not too busy and therefore not overwhelming…well….

When we got inside I felt OK as it was not too busy at all. Then we wandered around and after a few moments I felt a bit like my heart was racing a little faster than normal. I told myself it was OK and just reminded myself why this was.

Why was this you ask?

One of my visually impairments is Cerebral Visual Impairment, which means my eyes and brain don’t always get along. The messages my eyes are receiving are not being interpreted by brain. This isn’t great, but now that I know why this is it’s easier to manage the emotions which are caused by it.

I will write you something about CVI later on. But if you want know more, please check out the CVI Society.

When we were in M&S I became quite overwhelmed. One of the reasons for this is that there is a lot of colour and shapes and the lighting is quite intense (hence why I wear sunglasses)

Having colours can be very helpful in some ways as it means colours can be associated with things. For example, if I am trying to find the right size of clothing, I can say size x is y colour. Then I am not having to look for small writing. This is great for my Nystagmus, so I don’t have to focus on tiny writing. But its not great for my CVI because if there’s a lot of colour and shapes and ‘stuff’, my head just goes ‘waaah…wait…hang on….nope. Too much information at all once…’ This will then result in either a ‘shut down’ or ‘meltdown’.

A shut down is where everything just needs to stop and I need to sit down. Preferably on the floor to feel grounded and allow myself to sit eyes closed and head in hands. It reduces my need to take in sensory information. 

A meltdown is similar in that it is your body telling you no! It is a way for you to physically express the emotions you can not verbally express during a melt down. This is not, I repeat not, the same as a toddler having a tantrum.

Shopping can be very stressful for those with CVI and we need coping mechanisms. One of which is going shopping on a quieter day. We shouldn’t have to just shop online. This can be just as bad if website accessibility is not user friendly. But that’s a blog for a different time. 

One thing I like to do which is important to those of us who are Visually Impaired is feel the clothing. As we don’t have the ability to take in things visually in the same way seeing people do, yes I am calling you that, we rely on our other senses. I found some great PJs  and they went straight in the basket after I felt how soft they were.

I was mooching around the bedding section, I love bedding, only to find myself feeling all the fleecey stuff. I stopped and said excuse me to someone who’s trolley I nearly bumped into, but they said it’s OK and let me go past. This was nice as they recognised my cain and didn’t tut at me. Which does happen.

Anyway, overall M&S was nice and I like shopping there for various things. They are always happy to help. Which is a massive part of shopping. 

Have a nice evening all and let me know what you think in the comments below. 

Thank you,
Philippa B. 

Online Christmas Shopping

Hello all, 

I hope you are well. I thought today I’d write down some of my thoughts around ways in which we will be trying to adapt this Christmas. 

Given that we are currently under new restrictions here in the UK it is important to consider how we are going to adapt our shopping habits for Christmas. Shops are technically only open for click and collect which means you need to be more organised with your shopping this year. 

Last year I tried to buy gifts from local and or independent shops. I made this decision as I wanted to try find unusual and handmade items. Me and my Mum have already started to swap Etsy shops with one another. It’s nice browsing around on Etsy. You tend to find yourself filling your basket pretty quickly. 

I think for me this year it’s so important to try support any local business, artists, authors etc that you know, by sharing their website or photos of their work so that people can see what they do. We need to support our local business’s so that the people running them can stay afloat during these uncertain times. 

I am not saying to not shop at bigger business’s,  but maybe split some of your gifts. For example I love Lush! If you’ve seen my instagram you’ll know I love a good bath bomb. But every now and then I mix up my order and buy from The Cornwall Soap Company. they make lovely little soaps and amazing scented candles.

Another little shop is called The Great Yorkshire Shop. They are based in the Corn Exchange in Leeds and are very proud of their Yorkshire Routes. Who wouldn’t be? Check them out and celebrate all things Yorkshire. 

It’s interesting that shops are having to adapt to be more online focussed. It works better for Disabled people. However, just because you have an online shop it does not mean you are instantly accessible. For example if your site does not support screen readers (these are tools used by Blind and Visually Impaired People to have their devices read out to them what their screen is displaying) or if you have made videos but not paid someone to close caption them you are cutting out a percentage of a potential market who may really enjoy your products. As Disabled People we have a right to access the world just like everyone else. 

If you are unsure if your site is accessible then you can pay a Disabled person to check it for you. It’s better to have your website checked and ensure you are accessible so that you can then reach a wider audience. 

Anyway, thats me for now. I have back pain so I’m going to stop writing now. 

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While you’re here please check out my Fundraising for The British heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund