The Theatre Shed Takes CapeAbility To Brighton In Collaboration With Brighton Shed

disability

Last weekend I had an amazing time with my Theatre Shed family and Brighton Shed. It was our first day of The Theatre Shed going on tour. With a our production CapeAbility, which is all about each and everyone of us finding our unique super powers and showing the world that we are all CAPEABLE!

Throughout this whole production we explore super powers, friendships , mental heath and struggles in the education system.

We performed at The Brighton Open Air Theatre the day was great and we were really lucky with the lovely warm sunny weather. We did two performances of CapeAbility during the day.

I really enjoyed doing the movement pieces and having to use my imagination to help create some of the scenes of the production. I enjoyed using drums to help create tension during some parts of the show.

I loved performing at an open air theatre as I have never performed at an open air theatre I was a bit nervous to begin with but by the end of the day I didn’t want it to end.

I found that performing at an open air theatre helped me to develop my acting skills because it made me feel more aware of what was going happening on stage and how to communicate with the audience at different angles as your audience is all around you.

I really loved the day and can’t wait till our next show!

Disability Representation In Children’s TV

disability

Growing up I remember watching lots of different Children’s TV programs but very few of these programs featured a character with a disability. The only program I really remember watching as a child that featured a disabled character was The Story Of Tracey Beaker. However I only started watching The Story Of Tracey Beaker when I was old so what about before then?

I was diagnosed with my disability when I was in year 2 of primary school. My teacher at the time noticed I was having difficulties compared to my classmates and that’s when the many hospitals appointments started. I remember at the time I didn’t really know what was going on all I knew was that I had to spend days off school to go to the hospital some where near and some felt very far away.

I remember the doctors and my parents explaining to me that I had a disability and that I had some brain damage that my other friends didn’t have but everyone is unique and life would be boring if we were all the same. During this time I did start to tell my friends at playtime that my brain was a bit different to theirs as I got used to saying I had a disability that’s when things started to change. Friends drifted away and started to make fun of me not wanting me to be with them. This was hard for me as I didn’t understand why because to me I hadn’t changed. I was still the same old me.

I remember coming home from school sitting on the sofa watching TV and I couldn’t see what was wrong with me just that I was different but I didn’t understand why I was treated differently. As I grew up I understood more and more what a disability was, how it made me different and how others saw me but to me I was still the same.

I remember watching TV programs and thinking I was strange as I couldn’t see anyone else like me but to me I was normal. As I got older I understood more and more about my condition and why others treated me differently but when watching the TV sometimes I felt strange as I couldn’t see a person in the programs quite like me. Until I was older and started watching The Story Of Tracey Beaker which had disabled characters in.

Not seeing characters with disabilities in things I watched when I was younger now looking back really affected me. I think it made me feel that I was strange a freak as I couldn’t identify myself with anyone from my favourite programs but my friends and other classmates could. It made me feel that whatever I did I wouldn’t fit in and when your a child all you want to do is be able to fit in with everyone else; to feel accepted and liked by others.

This is why I think it is brilliant that the very popular pre-school show Peppa Pig will have the permanent feature of Mandy Mouse starting in 2020.

I believe that it is very important to have disabled characters in TV shows for children who are very young like preschool years. I think that having characters like these introduced on Children’s TV is important as it helps to show young children that everyone is different and that we are not all the same. I also think that having more disabled characters on Children’s TV will massively help young disabled children feel less alone and it may help them to understand more about what having a disability is like and the types of things they may face. I also believe that if we show characters like these on Children’s TV from a young age then children may not feel like they need or should pick on or bully others that outside society’s norm. As well as this I believe it sends the message to children from a young age that someone might be disabled but disabled people can still do things and you might have more in common with them than you think!

To find out more about Peppa Pigs Character: http://www.pretty52.com/entertaining/tv-and-film-peppa-pigs-new-friend-has-parents-choking-up-heres-why-20190404?fbclid=IwAR2wyYjjQ3ZaCObilbJhQRFnBvDR6WW11ru_bvc2q9SyAl8YPl5Cd_pjHWo

Makeup Model At Iver Makeup Academy

life

Yesterday I went back to the Iver Makeup Academy to do some more makeup modelling for some of their students. During the day the students had to do two different makeup looks on two different models.

The workshop for the day was creating looks using individual lashes one glam look and a look with a good base to the skin.

The Glam Look

In the morning for the first look I worked with a MUA student called Mary. She created this pink and red toned makeup look on me. She used a mixture of different pink, red and purple based eyeshadows on my eyes and then add a very light pinky red toned lipstick to my lips. To begin with the lips were too red so she stripped the colour back by taking some of the lipstick colour off so it wasn’t over powering and distracting from my eye makeup. Then she worked on blending my eyeshadow to create a more smokey eye. She gave me a more defined eye by using a black eyeliner and adding some individual lashes. Then applying mascara to my lashes.

Good Base To The Skin Look

In the afternoon I worked with a student called Amy. She created a different look by focusing on getting a good look and coverage to my skin but also adding some glam to the look as well.When doing my foundation Amy used a variety of different shades using MAC products. To help make my foundation look less “cakey” she used different beauty blenders to work the product into my skin as well as using just some slightly damp beauty blenders too. For my eyes she used green and brown tones of eyeshadow and also added a sparkly green eye shadow into the eye as well. She worked different mascaras on top of all my lashes to make them stand out. For the lips she used a pale skin pink toned lipliner and a natural coloured lip stick.

I really enjoyed my day and can’t wait to go back and model agin very soon!

Exams & Self Care

mental health

It’s that time again for many students exam season . As we all know exams can be very stressful and challenging and this can have a negative impact on our mental health. Sometimes we feel we have a lot of pressure to do well from outsiders. You may feel that if you don’t reach your targets or your not the best in your class you will have a higher chance of failing your exams. This can be hard as we are always told in school your grades affect what jobs you will be able to do in the future and what kind of career you will be able to have.

I feel that during this very stressful period a lot of us forget about giving ourselves a break and actually remember to be kind not just to others but also to ourselves. We are told a lot about taking breaks during our revision time but I sometimes find this hard as I’m not sure when to use it.

So looking back on doing my exams from doing my GCSE’s to BTECS I thought I would share with you some self care ideas you could do in between revision and your exams.

During my revision time I can get very distracted and find it hard to remember information.

To help me with getting less distracted and help me to ground myself I like to think of a letter from the alphabet and then come up with as many objects I can see beginning with that letter in the room I am in.

Or I like to do the 5,4,3,2,1 activity. This is were you think of:

5 things you can see

4 things you can touch

3 things you can hear

2 things you can smell

1 say one of your greatest achievements out loud

Sometimes you might just want to forget about the revision and just relax. I love to listen to my favourite music or maybe watch a video by one of my favourite YouTubers or a TV program.

If I have a longer break I enjoy taking my dog out for a walk in the fresh air and grounding myself in the here and now with nature.

You could maybe do some easy baking like a chocolate fridge cake. You could get creative and do some drawing or painting. You could make yourself a board with nice things others have said to you to help boost your confidence when revising for a tricky subject.

Another thing I like to do in between revision is go on websites such as Pinterest and look at lovely inspiring quotes and funny pictures of animals .

Make sure you drink plenty of water and eat regular meals. Listen to your body it is not a race everyone has different energy levels and study levels. If you are struggling with anything tell a family member, friend or someone you trust they can support you.

Please remember all that matters is that you try your best, we are not defined by our grades, you are worth so much more never forget that!

My Horse Riding Journey Through The Years So Far….

Riding for the Disabled Association

As some of you may know recently Riding for the Disabled launched their 50 Faces Campaign. I am very lucky and pleased to say I am part of for this campaign. So this got me thinking about how my horse riding and love for horses journey began.

The first time I sat on a horse I was terrified. I only managed a few steps and then just had to get off. You wouldn’t believe me now if I told you. I love going horse riding I look forward to my Saturday morning lessons like mad. I would ride everyday if I could! Going horse riding helps me to stay and be more positive I have found that horse riding and just being with the horses and ponies really does wonders to positively impacting on my mental health.

Just been out on a hack with King.

One primary school holiday I did try horse riding again with Camp Mohawk at a nearby stables to the centre. I remember doing a bit of trotting for the first time with a leader and our riding instructor. When my parents came to lead me around the hacks we would go on. After the summer holidays I decided that I wanted to do weekly lessons at the stables as I enjoyed it so much. At that stables I normally would ride Candy or King. King was a very naughty Pony!

One of my first lessons on Anya.

Whilst riding at this stables my mum came across Riding for the Disabled Association and put me on the waiting list. It was lovely when we got a phone call from South Bucks RDA asking if I would like to come for an assessment as I had been on the waiting list for a very long time. I remember on the way to the stables I was so excited but when I got there I didn’t want to get on. After a bit of persuading I got on and I’m so happy and glad I did. The first pony I ever rode at South Bucks RDA was called Barbie she was lovely by the end of the assessment I didn’t want to get off!

Charlie Girl

And that’s when amazing life changing journey with horses and ponies started. Since that first assessment I have achieved things I never thought would be possible. Horse riding has helped my self esteem and confidence massively. From doing The Countryside Challange and Dressage Competitions at Regional and National level, doing horse riding and horse care as part of my Short Course PE GCSE to meeting Princess Anne!

Rosette from The Countryside Challange 2011.

National Championships with Bonnie 2012.

RDA massively helped me when I was getting bullied. The horses and ponies are like my best friends and I trust them more than people! When I went horse riding I could just forget about the things happening at school. I felt safe and it is a place where I can focus on what I can do and it’s not about what I can’t do. I love all the horses and ponies at RDA with all their different personalities. I have grown a massive bond with the horses and ponies at RDA I call them my Saturday morning pets! The bond between horse and rider is so beautiful, unique and powerful theirs nothing else quite like it!

RDA isn’t just a place where I go riding every week it’s a family. All the grooms and volunteers are amazing without them I wouldn’t of been able to achieve what I have! RDA changed my life and continues too I don’t think I’d still be here if it wasn’t for the RDA. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

To find out more about the RDA visit: https://www.rda.org.uk

Want to meet all of The 50 Faces visit: https://www.rda.org.uk/50-faces/

Down On The Farm Update: Meet George

life

Recently on the farm we have said hello to some a new addition to the family a goat called George.

When George first came to the farm he was very shy and didn’t really like people going near him or being touched. He enjoyed his own company so was put in a separate field for a bit, away from the other goats; but next door to them so he could watch them from a distance.

George was also a bit chubby as his previous owners liked to spoil him. At the beginning he was a very fussy and picky eater and wouldn’t eat anything off the floor. Now though he loves to eat what the other goats eat. I recently gave him some spinach which he loved however we still need to work on getting him to eat off the floor as he loves to be hand fed best of all!

He does have a couple of problems with his coat such as bald patches and lots of dry skin. So he has his own very special grooming brush that not any of the other goats can use. Through working with him one to one he has grown in confidence massively. I enjoy grooming him getting rid of excess dry skin and dust out of his cot. By doing this George is now more trusting around people and likes to have a bit of attention and fuss. Which I love. I also find grooming him very relaxing myself.

He can now live in the same field as the other goats Erik, Molly and Dolly. Erik and George do sometimes have play fights together as they both want to be leader of the group. They can be like school boys fighting in the school playground. But somehow to George’s disappointment Erik is still head goat and likes to keep him in check and tells him off every now and again.

It’s been lovely to get to know George and I enjoy working with him. I can’t wait to work with him more and watch him grow.

Body Image & Peer Pressure At School

mental health

This week is Mental Health Awareness week, the theme this year is Body Image. The way bullies treated me through my school life really had a massive negative affected on my mental health and how I saw myself compared to my peer group . It still affects me to this day.

Growing up at school with a disability was very hard for me . I looked different from my peer group as I wore a leg splint on my right leg . I couldn’t wear girls shoes as my splint couldn’t fit into many shoes at all sob I had to wear boys school shoes. I remember their came a time when I had to wear trainers to school and I got picked on a lot because my peer group didn’t understand why I could wear trainers and they couldn’t. I’d get called a teachers pet in class all the time.

I remember I would get bullied because of the designs I had on my splint other kids would say they were childish.As well as calling and shouting out words down the corridor when they saw me from “cripple”or a “spastic” to telling me they would cut off my legs. The bullying from wearing a splint got so bad I decided I wouldn’t wear a skirt to school so that my splint wouldn’t show so much. But of course when it came to summer and the warm weather other girls would bully me for not wearing a skirt but instead still wearing trousers like I did in the colder months. I remember this one time when I took off my splint because sometimes it would rub so much and my foot would be red and sore and another student told me they would break my leg so I wouldn’t need to wear a splint. When I came home at the end of the day I would wish I didn’t have to wear one in the hope the bullies would stop. I just wanted to feel accepted and normal.

Unfortunately the bullying didn’t stop their I was also bullied for having curly hair . At school I remember it was really fashionable to have straight hair, however mine was curly. I remember I used to think I was friends with these’s other girls who were popular. They would pour hot and fizzy drinks in my hair and tell me it was shampoo and that I needed to straighten it. But when I did straighten it they would always say it wasn’t straight enough. Having curly hair really affected me for a very long time but now I am on a journey to loving my natural curly hair but that’s a whole different post in it’s self.

One other massive thing that affected my body confidence growing up was having facial hair. I got bullied loads because of it, not just my peer group or other students in different years but also by some members of staff. Bullies made my life miserable. I began to feel scared just at the thought of having to go to school and knowing people would laugh and point. Walking down the corridors or going to the canteen for lunch was so horrible and scary I was always on edge. Other students would shout at me from down the corridors and call me names like Frida Kahlo. I remember this group of girls who threatened to pour acid on me if I didn’t get rid of it. Other students started to try and make rumours about me; I would sometimes just hear people laughing at me as I walked past as I was trying not to make eye contact wishing the ground would swallow me up.

Harnaam Kaur photo from Instagram.

One of my helpers was really lovely and tried to help me. I remember the day she told me one day about a lady called Harnaam Kaur. Harnaam Kaur also known as the bearded dame is a body positivity warrior and activist. She has a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome at the age of 16 she decided to embrace herself for who she is. She stopped removing her facial hair just because others didn’t like it.

Harnaam really helped me to not feel like a freak and that I wasn’t alone. Bullies made me want to end my life. With all the horrible things that happened to me at school. However Harnaam helped me to stay true to myself. I now get rid of my facial hair but because I want to not because I feel I have to in order to please others!

Though what happened to me was horrible I am now on a never ending journey with trying to be more body positive as well as building up my self -esteem, confidence and self worth.

Find out more about body image: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/body-image-report/exec-summary

Makeup Model at Iver Makeup Academy

life

Recently I was a makeup model for students studying at Iver Makeup Academy. I thought I would share with you my experience of the day. The workshop for the day was makeup for different skin tones. For the day I was modelling for a student called Tillie, during the day the students had to complete two makeup looks assignment briefs.

The first look the students had to do in the morning was a very natural makeup look more suitable for the daytime.

I found it really interesting to see how Tillie did my foundation as I find looking for the right foundation in shops such as Boots or Superdrug really difficult as most foundations are either to dark or light for my skin tone. I learnt a lot about how I can create a more flawless foundation look by using different coloured and different tones of foundations in different areas on my face. For example I need to put a more orange tone foundation under my eyes so I don’t look too grey or shiny under my eyes.

In this photo I have a more natural foundation lightly applied to my face. Tillie also applied a pink toned blusher to the apples of my cheeks, a little bit of mascara to my eyelashes to give them a bit more volume and a lip balm to my lips.

Finished look for the more natural makeup look.

In the afternoon the students had a brief to do more glam evening makeup look. The looks they needed to create had to feature a smokey eye. They had to work with the first look they created and turn it into an evening makeup look.

Tillie decided to give me a gold and purple smokey eye I was so pleased as gold and purple are my favourite colours and I like the way the two colours work together. She then gave me fake lashes then added a thine line of eyeliner to give the look more of a glam feel but also to help give my eyes more definition.

The gold and purple smokey eye.

Here Tillie is using a cotton bud to help get my lipliner into the corners.

The finished glam look!

Model and Makeup Artist.

I really enjoyed working with Tillie for the day and hope to work with her again soon. She is an amazing MUA in training, Checkout her Instagram account @thebronzerbandit to see more of her fantastic work!

Guest Blogger My Dad: How Riding for the Disabled has helped Bryony

Riding for the Disabled Association

Bryony started with the South Bucks branch of Riding for the Disabled (RDA) from the age of 8. As her Dad, I’ve got a lot of pleasure seeing how they have helped her overcome some of her problems whilst riding.

But before we get into that, I must confess that sometime in the last century I was also a keen horse rider: my mum had a horse called Blaze and, given her back problems, I became Blaze’s main rider for a few years. I mucked him out (sometimes), I prepared him for shows and won a few rosettes at the local Pony Club Events.

But while the few photos I have are of show events, my memories are quite different. I remember the togetherness of riding him over a round of small jumps with no saddle and no bridle (although I don’t remember how!). And my best memories are of sitting on his back revising for my “O” levels while he grazed on the grass in our small paddock. The type of togetherness that can bind man and animal, or, in this case, boy and horse. I didn’t have a lot of friends at school and Blaze was probably my best friend that summer.

So I can easily understand how the RDA has helped Bryony, how it continues to help, and hopefully help in the future. Her 45 minutes every Saturday morning are one of the top highlights of the week as she becomes a very different person. She becomes much more confident and self-assured, almost literally discarding her other issues as she gets on her horse at mid-day on Saturday. Her horse, whether it be Mabel or Billy, senses that Bryony is in charge. The horse may be led (usually by Hazel), but Bryony is definitely the boss. Her concentration is evident to us, her family, but we see something others don’t. We see that the issues and concerns that are very visible for most of the week are simply not there once she is riding. No-one is threatening her, or making fun of her, and that is clear from her appearance and confidence on the horse. I can’t remember when we last saw her have a fit on the horse, whilst she continues to have such episodes at home when she is not on a horse. Maybe it is the girl/horse relationship, maybe it is the nurturing and care of RDA staff, or more likely it is both of these. As Bryony puts it: the RDA is a second caring family to her and that’s an amazing thing to have when one is six foot up in the air on a very strong four-legged animal!

Bryony started this blog last year and we both hope that while it helps her, it can also help its readers, and can help others discover the pleasures – and very real benefits – provided by the RDA.

The Disabled Blogger Tag

disability

If you are a regular reader of my blog or follow me on my social media platforms, you will know that I am passionate about talking about disability. I want to help raise awareness of living with a disability but also help others who have disabilities too to feel not alone. I also want to show others that we might be disabled but we are still have lots of things in common with able bodied people. After all what is normal?

Image from Canva.

I decided to start a blog as I already had an instagram account called defeating disability which I used to document my life though photos. I then decided that I wanted to write about my experiences and thoughts this then lead onto me creating defeating disability the blog! My first ever blog post was last year back in May 2018 and it was about The Riding for the Disabled Association.

Image from Google Images.

I did intend to talk about my disability online from the beginning as I first started defeating disability on Instagram. The first ideas for starting a blog was because I wanted to share my experiences with living life with a disability and show others just because someone maybe disabled that doesn’t mean they can not achieve want they want and that we all have hopes and dreams for our future disabled or not. As well as this around the time I started the blog I was looking into supported living so I wanted to document my experiences with going and living in supported living. Showing others that a future is possible and that a future comes in many different shapes, ways and sizes.

Image from Google Images.

Yes, In the beginning I wasn’t sure if writing about my disability was a good idea because I wasn’t sure how it would be perceived. But now looking back I am so glad I did because I have been able to help other disabled young people . From writing and talking about my disability I now get quite a few messages from people saying that they now are beginning to see that not all disabilities are visible and that if someone comes out of a disabled cubical that doesn’t mean they are ” faking ” being disability.

Image from Google Images.

I get quite a few comments now from people telling me when they read my blog posts they now have a bit or more of a understanding about what it is like to live with an invisible disability daily.

I don’t just talk about disability other topics included Mental Health, Performing Arts, Life ,Recipes and lots more. I have some very exciting new content ideas I hope to use soon!

Image from Google Images.

This is definitely an area I need to work on! I like to lots of photos and pictures in my posts to help break down my writing I also like to use photos that help to illustrate what I’m writing about.

I enjoy blogging about my disability because I am able to share my experiences and this can really help others with disabilities to feel not alone.I also have had messages from people who have disabled relatives or friends saying some of my posts have really helped them to understand more about things disabled people can face and live with on a daily basic . I love writing about my experiences with Riding for the Disabled and how this incredible charity has helped me for many years and continues to help me. I have had messages from lots of people saying that by reading my posts about RDA they now want to do horse riding lessons which I think is just amazing! I enjoy also raising awareness for invisible disabilities.

This one is a hard question for me as I feel that they all my blog posts have a powerful message to share. But if I had to choose I’d probably go for:

1. How horse riding helped me through getting bullied ( TRIGGER WARNING) – This blog post is about how horse riding helped me to keep going when I was getting bullied at school and just wanted to not be here anymore.

2. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover- This blog post is all about living with an invisible disability.

3. A letter to the education system- This blog post is all about the struggles I have had trying to access higher education with a disability.

Images from Google Images and Instagram.

I think that their are starting to become more disabled Bloggers and Youtubers entering the community but I think we still have along way to go. I think more brands and companies could work more with disabled Bloggers and Youtubers for example by dong more collabs. I think that disability still needs to be represented in the media more as we are part of society.

Image from Canva

Sometimes I may find it hard but I try and find inspiration from other bloggers or I do sometimes like using websites such as Pinterest to look for ideas. I will always try and write about just normal things I do as I enjoy sharing what I’ve been up too I can sometimes relate it to a disability storytime .

Image from Google Images.

I think that blogging about disability can help to change people’s perceptions however I think blogging about disability can also help others to understand the challenges disabled people can face.More importantly I think blogging about disability and not making it a big thing can show others that the disabled community has more in common with them as they may think!

WHO DO YOU TAG?

I tag anyone who is a disabled Blogger/YouTuber who wants to be involved with this tag created by blogger Elin Williams who is behind the disability and lifestyle blog “My Blurred World”.