YOOCAN: A Supportive Online Community For The Disabled

disability

I remember when I first found out about this online community through Instagram. On Instagram they share stories of many different disabled people from around the world. When I looked at the website a big smile grew across my face. This was because I found a place where disability was embraced and not laughed at.

YOOCAN is an online community where people with disabilities from all over the world can share empowering stories about living life with a disability. Here people write about many topics for example they might do a product recommendation . Or write about what it is like to travel with a disability. Another topic I love to read from is all about other people’s hobbies.

I can’t say how many stories I have read about covering so many different topics. When reading others stories and experiences I feel that I am not alone. I also feel that others get it and understand. It’s a great way to get tips and tricks on things I may find hard to do such as cooking. I have got some good fashion styling tips as well. For example when I wore a splint at school I was bullied for this and wearing one made me feel very self-conscious. I didn’t like showing it so wore trousers quite a lot even in summer. Kids bullied me because I couldn’t wear girls and women’s shoes I had to wear boys shoes as my splint made my shoe size bigger etc. By reading other people’s stories I realised that I wasn’t alone in feeling self- conscious and being bullied for wearing a splint. Reading others experiences made me feel that I was not a freak. I felt like a freak a lot of the time at school as that was one of things other kids called me.

One of the big reasons I love YOOCAN is how people write about their stories and their experiences they have had in a positive way but also keeping it real.

Being part of this community definitely helps me with my confidence and self-esteem as I can also write about my experiences; I find I can really relate to others with thoughts about being a disabled young adult on topics such as having to need more support than others my age. Or when my friends wear high heels but I have to wear flats. Just the simple small day to day things that you wouldn’t really think about or notice.

Lastly I think YOOCAN slogan “do anything” is so positive and sends a very powerful message to everyone. Just because someone has a disability that doesn’t mean they don’t have ambitions and dreams. It doesn’t matter who you are your dreams can come true!

Website: https://yoocanfind.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoocandoanything/?hl=en

 

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My 19 Goals for 2019

life

 

Happy New Year to you all, I can’t believe its 2019 already!

As it is the beginning of the year I thought I would share with you 19 goals I have for 2019. Here they are:

1. Surround myself more with the people who make me feel more positive and happy.

( Photo Source: Pinterest)

 

 

2. Know that it is ok to say no

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( Photo Source: Pinterest)

 

3. Try new recipes

(Photo Source: Free Canva Photos)

 

4. Get better at budgeting

( Photo Source : Free Canva Photo)

 

5. Read or listen to more books, magazines, radio programs and podcasts

( Photo Source Free Canva Photo )

 

6. Post regularly on my defeatingdisability Twitter Page

( Photo Source : Google Images )

 

7. Join a gym and go swimming more

( Photo Source: Pinterest)

 

8. Do my own photography projects

 

9. Experiment and try out new makeup looks

 

10. Create myself a blogging schedule so that I am more organised and can upload more content for you all to read.

( Photo Source: Free Canva Photo)

 

11. Get back into doing different types of journaling for example art journaling

 

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( Photo Source: Free Canva Photo)

12. Do more volunteering

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13. Create myself little reminders of things I could do for my own self love and self-care.

( Photo Source: Instagram- @blessingmanifesting , go check out her page to find other self care ideas. )

 

14. Don’t be afraid to try new things and give things a go.

( Photo Source : Pinterest)

 

15.Build up my body confidence

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16. Embrace my curly hair more

 

17. Learn more about how to care for a range of different animals

 

18. Try not to focus on the past but look towards the future more

( Photo Source : Pinterest )

 

19. Write down my achievements however big or small, so I can look at them when I feel down.

( Photo Source : Pinterest)

I would love to know what your 2019 goals are, you can comment below . Or send me a message on any other defeatingdisability social media pages .

I wish you all a very happy new year full of love, happiness, laughter and adventure!

My 2018 Achievements

life

What a year it has been full of its ups and downs, highs and lows and everything in between. To celebrate the year I have had, I thought I would share with you some of my most happiest and proudest achievements of 2018. These achievements have made me have one of the biggest smiles on my face and they have helped me to get through those not so good days.

1. This year I have started volunteering as a Retail Volunteer at a charity shop. I have made quite a few of my own window displays. I have now started to serve customers at the till by myself.

2. This year I have started to volunteer at a farm as an Animal Care Volunteer. I enjoy looking after all the animals as well as learning more about how to care for them all.

3.  This year I have  joined The Theatre Shed as a Youth Theatre Student. This year for Christmas we did a Production of The Snow Queen I played one of the three Gerda’s.

4. At the beginning of this year I did work experience at a theatre as an Evening Theatre Usher for the Stage Production of The Jungle Book.

5. This year was the year I started this blog!

6. I have just started to learn British Sign Language; I can’t wait to keep learning more next year.

7. On the 1st July 2018 I took part in the Stagecoach World Record Attempt. We did this to celebrate Stagecoach’s 30 Years Anniversary. The World Record we are attempting to break is for the largest simultaneous performance of one show. The production we did was Beauty and The Beast. We are still waiting to find out if we have set a new world record.

8. This year at the Riding for the Disabled Group I go to I helped to train a new member of the family a pony called Billy. I absolutely loved doing this because now other RDA riders can have the joy of riding him!

9. I helped my local Recovery College as a Social Media Volunteer for a few months. I found and posted inspirational quotes and some photos of student’s fabulous work.

10. I gave supported living the best go I could even though it did not work out.

The Joy Of Baking

bryony bakes

From a young age I have loved baking especially with my mum. As a young child I found it magical to see how the cakes in the oven would change and get bigger and bigger. Or seeing how the biscuits got all golden; not forgetting the wonderful smells they created coming from the oven.

My mum used to come into my primary and do cookery lessons, we learnt how to make lots of different things from cheese scones, jam tarts and marble cake to name a few.

A few years ago I went into a mental health hospital for a couple of weeks. I had 1:1 sessions with the occupational therapist (OT for short). The OT and I had quite a few sessions together baking. We would bake party food together such as cupcakes,biscuits and brownies. I would make party food because when someone was due to leave the ward we would have a little leaving party for them. I enjoyed doing baking activities whilst in hospital as it helped me with my anxiety as I started to feel more comfortable around others. I found by baking it helped me to talk to others and start conversations. People would ask me questions like “what recipe book did you use?”Or “how much chocolate did you use ? “. From just these few questions the conversations I was having grew and before I knew it I had made new friends. I loved seeing others enjoying my baking!

Last year at college I did baking sessions to build up my independent living skills. I would make all the recipes from scratch and my 1:1 helper would help me to make each recipe. I made things such as Victoria Sponge Cake, Black Forest Gateau Cake and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. At college before I made anything I would go on the computer and look at a supermarket website to see how much the ingredients cost and how much I would be spending to make each recipe. I would then go to that supermarket and buy the ingredients I needed.

Chocolate Fridge Cake

Baking doesn’t just make me feel happy, it helps me build up lots of different skills:

Baking helps me to improve my maths as I have to weigh each ingredient correctly to make sure the recipe turns out right . I also need to make sure the oven is on the correct heat and I have to manage my time efficiently because my baking needs to be done and cooked properly before the end of the day.

Sometimes when baking I will need to rub butter into the flour with my finger tips to make a crumble type mixture, by doing this with my hands I am building up my hand strength; I need to make sure I am building up my strength as I am weaker on one side of my body due to my disability.

I find following recipe instructions sometimes difficult to understand so by trying out new recipes I am not only building up on my reading skills but I start to understand the sequence of the instructions.

At college I enjoyed baking things for when we did cake sales . We raise money for Children in Need, Comic Relief and local charities that helped disabled people and their families.

Bryony Bakes: Tanya Burr’s Iced Spiced Scones

bryony bakes

At Christmas time I love to bake with my mum. Filling the kitchen with all smells that scream the Christmas Season from the smells of cinnamon to dried orange.

This year I tried out a new recipe from Tanya Burr’s new book TANYA’S Christmas. I loved how these scones turned out, however  I put my own twist on the recipe so I thought I would share it with you.





Makes 12 Small Scones/ 8 Big Scones

if you would like quite big scones you will need 5cm round pastry cutter

Cooking Time 15 Minutes

Ingredients

250g self-raising flour ,plus extra for dusting

1tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

lemon zest or orange zest

40g unsalted butter softened

30g golden caster sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

125ml milk, plus extra for brushing

For the glaze:

3-4 tbsp lemon juice

150g icing sugar , sifted

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C / 400 F / Gas Mark 6. Then line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder,spices and lemon or orange zest in a bowl. Add the butter, using your fingertips work the butter into the flour until the mixture has a crumbly texture. Then stir in  the sugar.
  3. Add the lightly beaten egg into the flour mixture then add the milk; little by little not all at once. You might not need to add all the milk. You just need  enough for your dough to be soft and sticky.
  4. Dust your work surface with a little bit of flour. Put the dough out onto the floured surface. Using your hands pat it into a nice flat disc shape. Roll it gentle a few times to flattered  it to a thickness of 2-3 cm.
  5. Using your pastry cutter; cut out your circles and place them on the baking tray. Repeat this making sure when you need to bring the dough back together you knead it lightly, before patting it into a disc to cut out more circles.
  6. Brush the tops of each scone with milk and pop into the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the tops of the scones are golden.
  7.  Whilst the scones bake, prepare the glaze by stirring the lemon juice into the icing sugar a little at a time until you have a smooth runny mixture. You could add lemon or orange zest into the glaze.
  8. Remove the scones from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely . Pour the smooth runny glaze over the tops and allow them to set. You could just enjoy them whilst the glaze just put on them.
  9. Enjoy!

Bryony Bakes: Christmas Spiced Brownie Cake Recipe

bryony bakes

Ingredients

150g Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped.

150g Unsalted Butter.

3 Large Eggs.

125g Caster Sugar.

1tsp Vanilla Extract.

Zest of 1 Clementine.

1 tbsp Orange Juice.

3 tbsp Red Wine.

1/4 tsp Ground Mixed Spices.

100g Plain Flour.

1/4 tsp Baking Powder.

For The Decoration.

A Couple Of Rows Of White Chocolate From The Chocolate Bar.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180*C, Fan160*C, Gas 4 and line the base of a round 24cm-diameter springform tin.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of gentle simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. You could gently melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave at a low setting; stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes.

3. In a large bowl whisk the eggs , caster sugar and vanilla extract. Then add in the clementine zest , orange juice , red wine and ground mixed spice whisk till just combined. In a separate bowl sift the flour and baking powder. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the beaten eggs and mix until combined and smooth. Then fold in the flour mixture until combined making sure no flour is visible.

4. Pour the mixture into the lined tin. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until set on top but still a little bit gooey inside. Leave to cool in the tin.

5. Whilst the cake is cooling, melt the white chocolate on a low heat in the microwave for about a minute and a half. Once melted stir the chocolate to help get rid of any lumps. Once the cake is completely cooled, take the cake out of the tin and drizzled the white chocolate all over the top of the cake.

6. Enjoy!

Creativity And Mental Health

mental health

I have always loved being creative, I have found that doing creative activities helps me to express, understand and process my thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Creativity plays a big part of my mental health recovery journey in lots of different ways. Here are just a few ways creative activities help me with my mental health.

I used to go to a Mental Health Recovery College. Here I did group workshops on creative activities such as glass painting, pottery and scrapbooking. I enjoyed doing these as I was able to express myself. I felt safe as I knew others would understand if my day wasn’t going so well. By doing creative activities I was able to let go of my worries for a bit. I could just have some fun and feel like my life wasn’t just about going to doctor’s appointments all the time.

One of the things I love about doing something creativity is there is no right or wrong. It helps me to try and relax , sometimes it relaxes me so much I feel I can start to tell people how I actually feel I have found it has also helped me to develop my trust in others.

To begin with I found pottery very difficult but as time went on I found I started to like it more and more. It helped me to ground myself as I was really had to work with the clay in my hands. I found doing the pottery very tactical this helped me to stay in the here and now.

I enjoyed using different tools such as a garlic press to add texture to my work. I now find that having different textures in the pottery is useful when having to really focus on the here and now. As I touch different textures on the pottery such as smooth and rough indents in the pottery.

I love doing scrapbooking I did do a little bit as a child. I enjoy having a book that I have made using lots of different photos and pictures I like. I enjoy building up on the pages by adding things like ribbon, stickers and wrapping paper to name a few. When I am sad I find looking at my scrapbook a good resource to use as it helps me get a smile on my face. It’s really lovely to have photos in my scrapbook too as this reminds me of many happy memories.

Printing is another thing I like to do sometimes I might use a print I have done as a background and build on top of it. Sometimes I may layer prints on top of other work. I may use paint; ink, stamps, feathers and bubble wrap to make different patterns and marks.

I have done some decoupaging on glass. Here I have used an old glass and covered it in a light pink and orange glass paint. I have a few layers of paint dabbed on using a sponge to build up the colour. I have then stuck lace to the glass and covered the lace in paint. I have then added beads and hessian material to the glass rim.

On this glass I have put strips of pink, red and orange tissue paper all over the glass. I have then added pink powder around the rim of the glass I put pink ribbon on the glass too. I find these make lovely presents to give to someone. You could put a little fake tea light or fairy lights in the glass too and see the glass all lit up!

I would love to know what creative things you like doing. You could leave a comment or send me a message on Instagram.

Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover

disability

On the 3rd December 2018 it is International Day of People with Disabilities. So I thought I would do a blog post on a few of the discrimination and ignorance’s I have faced or even face on a daily basis.

I have Cerebral Palsy Right Hemiplegia I was diagnosed with this condition when I was in year 2 of Primary School. I have had many years of comments said to me as well as opinions about my disability. I am 20 now and I can honestly say the comments haven’t really stopped and it is from people of all ages.

Don’t get me wrong I really don’t mind people asking me questions about my disability, But I’d rather people asked me when stare at me for a while and try and work out what’s “wrong with me”.

Often when I go out to the shops people see the driver park in a disabled car parking space. I put my blue badge out get out of the car, and that’s when I get the looks and then the comments. ” That’s a disabled spot let a disabled person have that space ” or maybe another disabled person wants to park in the disabled parking spot I am in and that’s when I get told to move. I have had on quite a few occasions people walk to the car and check I have a blue badge. I remember I used to have a helper at college and we went out into the community I said I had a blue badge and they said “how come you have one but some of the students with walking aids don’t “.

When I am out in public and I need to go to the bathroom sometimes I will use the disabled toilet. This could be because I need more space and sometimes my walking can go a bit funny as my legs can shake, so I find this toilet easier and safer to get too as it can be closer too. However when I sometimes come out of the bathroom people look at me and I just know what they are thinking. Once this lady in a wheelchair got so angry I did try and tell her about my condition and that I was disabled but she just said ” excuses excuses young people today are lazy and have no respect “.

Yes I can walk but I did at secondary school and college use a wheelchair as I was having lots of non- epileptic seizures.  It was decided that it would be safer and better for me to use my wheelchair as my seizures made me very tired and my balance anyway is not very good due to my disability. I do use my wheelchair if I go on trips out for example around a museum which I know I will have long walking distances. This is because my legs get extremely tired and I could just fall to the floor.

I get this said to me quite a bit especially when other disabled parents ask me do you go to this group or that group. I might say I hope to see my friends soon or I might see some at Stagecoach at the weekend. They then want to know what social group I met them at. They then want to know what conditions they have and when I say they are able bodied the parents looked quite surprised! I do have friends who also have disabilities but I also have friends who are able bodied.

Being Disabled I have found it harder to get onto college courses. Before I talk about my disability things seem to be going ok but once it’s mentioned it suddenly goes the other way. For example a tutor knew I was disabled and was willing to have me on their course. I am normally allowed to have extra time, a reader etc in tests or exams. In this course I would have to do exams practical and written in each of the units I would be taught. However the exam board would not allow me to have extra time ect so I could not do the course. I have found it very hard to get onto lots of courses due to the way others see my disability.

I want others to know that not all disabilities are visible ! Our disabilities do not define us and we are more than the labels society gives us ! In fact that having a disability is probably not the most interesting thing about me!

This amazing artwork is done by the very talented Solanna. Check out other fabulous artwork on Instagram @spoonfulsofkindness.

Animal Care Volunteer: Down On The Farm

life

Through my love of animals which started when I was little as well as  how animals have helped me with my mental health. I decided I wanted to do volunteering with animals.

I now volunteer once a week at a farm as an Animal Care Volunteer. The farm I go to has lots of different types of animals. From Alpacas, Goats and Llamas to Guinea pigs, Hamsters, Rats and Rabbits to name a few. We also sometimes get to look after reptiles such as snakes, geckos and skinks.

Well Hello .

The farm works with children, young people and adults to build up their confidence and self-esteem through working to care for a variety of animals. Children and young people  who come here maybe home educated, have mental health conditions or found mainstream school hard  to name a few.

When I was looking at different places I could volunteer at this place taught my eye as they had worked with other young people with mental health conditions. I thought this place would be fantastic as we get to work with animals in a more therapeutic environment. I felt that I could help give back to other young people  and show them how much joy animals can bring into your life and help you to be more positive. Animals don’t just help   them to forget about difficult things  but sometimes helps them to process things as the animals are making them feel relaxed and safe.

Throughout the day on the farm I do a number of different tasks to care for all the animals on the farm.  Here are some of the tasks I do.

Cleaning out hutches,cages and fields. I put down fresh hay in all the animals hutches, cages and shelters. Giving all the animals fresh water in their water bottles and bowls and topping them up regularly throughout the day.

Mucking out the ponies field.

Refilling the rabbits water bottles.

Sometimes I groom the goats, ponies and the dog. We also take the goats and ponies out of their main field and take them for walks around the farm so that they have new things to explore and they love it !, The goats love to try and eat the leaves too.

I help to prepare all the animals food as well as giving it to them when it is feeding time.

Grating carrot to put into the rabbits food.

Dinner Time for the rabbits.

Feeding Obama the Llama.

Can I have more food as I’m just so adorable ?!

Finally a big thing we try to do is do as much animal handling as possible this is not just because the animals need to have human interaction but sometimes children and young people come to the farm to do animal handling sessions here the children and young people learn all about the animals.

I absolutely love volunteering on the farm and would highly recommend volunteering not only is it good to put on your CV but you get to learn new things about yourself. You get to see if you prefer learning through doing or more sitting down and writing.

If you are aged between 14-25 you can log your hours of volunteering you do on the website : http://www.vinspired.com , by doing this you will get certificates for the number of hours you do . You can show these certificates in any interviews you may have from college course interviews to internships, work experience placements and jobs.

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Photography & Mental Health

mental health

Over the past couple of months I have really got into photography, I have found that it is helping me to manage my mental health.

Doing photography helps me to not only be creative but to help me to really ground myself and bring me back to the here and now.

Photography is a very useful tool for me to use when doing my grounding technique I learnt in therapy.

The Technique

5. Name 5 things you can see right now

4. Name 4 things you can hear right now

3. Name 3 things you can touch right now

2. Name 2 things you can smell right now

1. Now take a slow deep and breathe

I love doing nature and animal photography as I have to really look at what is around me and try and see how and what it could look being photographed in different ways. I especially like taking photos in autumn as the leaves are all changing colour I like how the light shines through the leaves and can cast shadows on the trees. I enjoy experimenting with trying to get photos of the raindrops on the leaves and grass.

Raindrops On A Fallen Leaf.

Raindrops On A Blade Of Grass

Light Coming Through The Leaves

Taking photos of wildlife has helped me to look at detail and to take my time when looking and not to rush but be quick enough to capture the shot I want.

I really enjoy taking photos whilst on walks with my dog, by doing photography I can now see things I wouldn’t normally see for example the light shining on some leaves or some fungi growing on some wood. This helps me to stay in the present and try not to dissociative.

Pheasant In The Garden

Visiting Bumble Bee

Wild Deer In The Garden

The great thing about doing photography is that I can do it where ever I am because I don’t have to just do it on a traditional camera I can do it on my phone or iPad.

Doing photography has also helped me to express myself too as I can do my own photography projects on different topics. By doing photography I can express and understand my emotions in a creative way instead of keeping my thoughts and feelings inside.