Reflections on 2018

At the end of the year, I like to write a post reflecting on the year and what I’ve been up to, I really enjoy writing these posts, so I hope you enjoy reading them. I think they are a nice way of looking back on what’s happened that year, life can often get very hectic, so we don’t always get the chance to look back and think about what we’ve done, the things we have achieved, and how the year has been.

 

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that 2018 has gone extremely fast. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for me, and a lot has happened. For the most part, 2018 has been a good year, don’t get me wrong, there have been some twists and turns along the way, but that’s almost inevitable isn’t it?

I feel like I’ve really found my voice in terms of blogging this year and I hope that you have enjoyed reading my blog content, I hope you will stick with me on this journey in the new year. It’s been an amazing year for me and my blog, I’ve had some great blogging opportunities. I couldn’t have done it without all of your support, it truly means the world to me and I can’t thank you all enough for being on this journey with me. Thank you for reading my posts or watching my youtube videos, for sharing them on social media, for your comments/messages, and just for being such a supportive bunch of people. I’ve published some of my favourite blog posts in 2018.

Let’s take a look back at 2018 shall we?

 

January

I started off the year with a trip to New York with my Mum and Dad, starting a year off like that couldn’t get much better to be honest! New York is somewhere that I have wanted to visit since I was a child, so it was a dream come true for me.

A photo of Holly at the top of the Rockefeller Centre in New York

We visited famous attractions such as the Rockefeller Centre, Central Park, the 9/11 Memorial and went to see a Broadway show.

A photo of the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree

We also visited Times Square, Grand Central Station, the Hard Rock Cafe, and also did a river cruise and a bus tour.

A photo of Holly at Times Square in the evening

I could go back to that city any day!

It was even snowing whilst we were there, and the Christmas decorations were still up which made it even more magical.

A photo of Holly in a snowy Central Park

A snowy Central Park, the frozen lakes are clearly visible

 

January continued to be a busy month as we had my cousin’s hen party amongst other things.

 

February

AT the start of February my cousin got married and I was a Bridesmaid which was such a lovely experience. It was lovely to be surrounded by family on such a happy occasion.

A photo of Holly wearing a blue bridesmaid dress and blue heels

 

In February, I finally got all of my equipment and software for my job, I had been waiting for quite a while, but we had some delays for reasons that were out of our control, so it was such a relief to finally get it and put everything in place.

In the UK, disabled people can apply for a scheme called Access To Work which enables them to get support that helps them carry out their job like any non-disabled person would. This may include equipment, assistive technology software or a support worker. It took a while for my Access To Work to all get sorted but I finally got it at the beginning of February and I was then able to do my job to the best of my ability.

 

I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by supportive colleagues who really do understand my disability and are always happy to help.

I have done some things that I would have never had the confidence to do this year at work including doing a talk, co-running a workshop, as well as raising awareness of visual impairment and the importance of accessibility. Doing all of this has made me realise how good it is to step out of your comfort zone.

I am excited to see what my job will entail in 2019.

 

In February I published my first ever paid blog post which was on disability and identity, this is one of my favourite blog posts that I’ve ever published.

 

March

In March I spent a few days in Manchester with Elin, it was such a girly few days – we got takeaways, went out for a meal and just had a relaxing few days away.

 

April

In April, I saw Aston Merrygold live with my friend Jess, we also met him after the show! It was such a brilliant gig and meeting him was definitely one of my highlights of 2018.

A photo of Aston and Holly

 

I also saw Calum Scott live with my Mum, I had got her tickets for Christmas as she’s a huge fan. He was really good live, I was really impressed, I would definitely see him live again.

 

I was featured in Allied Mobility’s Access All Areas Magazine, this was a first for me! It was a real honour to be listed as one of their top bloggers alongside some of my favourite disabled bloggers.

Access All Areas Magazine

 

May

As well as writing blog posts for my own blog, I love writing posts for other organisations and publications, it allows me to raise awareness of visual impairment, tackle the common misconceptions surrounding sight loss and disability and help others.

In May, I wrote a blog post for RNIB NB Online about living with Retinopathy of Prematurity and gave an insight as to what it’s like to live with a visual impairment. I loved taking part in the series, if you haven’t read the post then make sure you check it out.

 

I know first-hand how hard it can be to find a job when you have a disability, so when Seable asked me to share some tips on looking for a job when you have a visual impairment, I wanted to share some of the knowledge that I’ve learned, I wrote a post for their blog, I do hope that it may help others.

 

I felt like I spent the majority of May trying to purchase VIP tickets for me and a friend to meet Shawn Mendes in 2019, why do disabled fans still not have equal access to concerts like everyone else? It took around 4 weeks of constant phone calls, emails and social media messages but I finally had success!

 

On 25th May, I saw Ed Sheeran live in Manchester with Elin, her brother and his friend. All I can say is…what a show, I have never seen anything quite like it in my life! He has no pyrotechnics or no band, it’s just one man on stage, just him and his guitar.

A photo of my Ed Sheeran concert ticket

 

June

Because one Ed Sheeran concert wasn’t enough, I also saw him live in Newcastle on 9th June. I felt exactly the same as I did the first time I saw him live, he’s someone that I will never ever get tired of seeing live. I have also got tickets to see him again in 2019.

Ed Sheeran on stage at Newcastle St James' Park

 

I published one of my favourite blog posts towards the end of June, it was a guest blog post by my Mum and Dad on their perspective on my visual impairment and discussed what it’s like to have a daughter with a visual impairment. If you haven’t read the post then make sure you check it out. I had wanted them to write a post for a while and I’m so pleased that they did, I’ve had some lovely messages about that post, I am so grateful to my Mum and Dad for writing it as I am sure it will help many parents in a similar situation.

 

I was very kindly asked by the disability charity Scope to write a guest post. I’m a girly girl, so when Scope asked me to write a blog post on beauty, fashion and sight loss, I had to say yes!

 

July

I went to Wales to spend a few days with Elin for her birthday. We went out for a meal on her birthday, I also had my first experience in a cable car. It was also nice to enjoy the summer weather. We did have a very rubbish experience with passenger assistance on the way back to Manchester though, I won’t stop raising awareness of these issues and campaigning for change in this area, I’m sure I’ll be doing more of that in 2019.

 

I also enjoyed a day out in Edinburgh with my Mum and Dad, it’s such a lovely place and I always enjoy it when we visit.

 

In July I also started visually impaired cycling, I love it, I’m really looking forward to the sessions starting again in the new year. For those of you that know me, you will know that I am not very sporty at all, but I really enjoy cycling. It was a new experience for me and one that I’m so glad I tried.

A photo of Holly stood next to a tandem

 

In July, I decided to start a YouTube channel to go alongside my blog, it was something that I had wanted to do for a while but never had the confidence to do it, but I finally took the plunge and I am loving filming and editing my videos. I actually edit my videos myself, they may not look the most fancy or outstanding, but I think it’s an achievement considering that I have no useful vision. I love using that platform as another way of raising awareness, tackling common misconceptions and helping others.

I don’t have thousands of subscribers but it’s not about the numbers, I’m slowly trying to grow my channel and make it an extension of my blog to continue sharing my experiences of living with a visual impairment, raise awareness and tackle common misconceptions surrounding sight loss and disability. If you aren’t subscribed to my YouTube channel then I suggest that you do as I’m hoping to have some exciting content up in 2019.

If there’s any videos that you would like me to film then please let me know.

 

August

August was another busy month, on 10th August, I met one of my favourite Author’s/YouTuber’s, Louise Pentland. I’ve watched Louise’s videos for years and supported her journey as an Author as well.

To celebrate the release of her new book ‘Wilde About The Girl’, Louise did a few book signings across the country. I really wanted to go to the Leeds signing and my Mum very kindly said that she would come with me.

The event consisted of a Q&A, as well as a book signing and a photo opportunity with Louise.

A photo of Holly and Louise

It was truly great to meet someone who I have supported for years.

 

I also went on holiday with my Mum and Dad, it was nice to get away for a few days and go somewhere new.

 

August was also a month that was busy in terms of blogging. I took part in the RNIB’s 150 stories campaign as part of their 150th birthday, I wrote a piece on technology, in particular my iPhone.

 

I’m sure you’re all aware that I love live music so I loved writing a blog post for the brilliant charity Attitude Is Everything on what it felt like to miss out on meeting my idol because I had disabled access tickets so was unable to get a VIP upgrade. Access for disabled fans at concerts is something that I feel very passionate about, so I really enjoyed getting involved with their series.

 

September

September was a relatively quiet month, which was good as it was in preparation for a very busy upcoming three months!

I’ve been a reader of She Might Be Magazine for a while so I was very honoured when they asked me to write a blog post.

Independence is something that I struggled with for many years, I’m not ashamed to admit that because I know that many other blind and visually impaired people go through similar experiences. Writing that post and sharing my thoughts and feelings really put things into perspective and made me realise how far I’ve come, I really hope it helped others.

 

October

October was one of the months that really stood out for me in 2018. The main thing that happened in October was the launch of the Disability Power list which I am truly honoured and grateful to be part of. Being named as one of the top 100 most influential disabled people in the UK for 2018 is still such a surreal feeling.

Holly's page in the 2018 Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 list publication

I am listed alongside some incredible disabled people, including some of my favourite bloggers and some huge names within the disabled community.

The launch event in London was a lovely evening and something that I will never forget. I met some fellow disabled bloggers who I had been talking to on Twitter for awhile, it was lovely to meet them in person and celebrate together. You can read all about it in more detail in this post.

Holly holding a physical copy of the 2018 Disability Power 100 list publication

It’s certainly one of my proudest achievements.

 

Following the launch, I was on cloud nine!

I did my first ever radio interview on RNIB Connect Radio, and I absolutely loved it…I want to do it all over again! A few years ago I would have never had the confidence to be on the radio, so it shows how far I’ve come.

 

I was also featured on the BBC website which was crazy!

BBC News - York woman in list of top 100 influential disabled people

 

November

At the start of November, I got a surprise award nomination! I was shortlisted in the Young Change Maker category of the Igniting Inspiration Awards. I didn’t win the award, but I am so grateful to have been nominated.

 

Later on in the month, I found out that I had been shortlisted in the lifestyle category of the UK Blog Awards, it was such a huge surprise! I am listed alongside some of my favourite bloggers who I have looked up to for years. No matter what happens, I am extremely grateful to have been shortlisted. I also love that disabled people are being recognised in these awards as I often feel like we are overlooked in the disabled community.

 

After a year’s probation at work, I found out that I had passed and was officially permanent! It was a great feeling, and I am really proud of myself.

 

November was my birthday month, despite not being excited at all on the run up to it, I had a lovely day and was very spoilt.

 

It was very much a concert orientated month for me (I’m not complaining) as I saw Jessie J twice on her R.O.S.E Tour in Manchester and Leeds. Honestly, that was my favourite tour to date, she just keeps on getting better and better every time I see her live!

Being centre barrier at the Manchester show was such a brilliant experience for me as a disabled fan, one that I will never forget. Her shows are so inclusive which means the world to me as a disabled fan.

Following on from the tour, one Saturday night, I put out a tweet to Jessie, telling her how inclusive her shows are and thanking her. It never even entered my head that she would see it, but the following morning, I woke up to a load of notifications, amongst them was a notification saying that Jessie had retweeted my tweet, it was such a huge surprise and a great way to end the tour!

A screenshot of Holly’s tweet to Jessie J. The tweet says “I don’t know why but the R.O.S.E Tour was a completely different experience for me, it has stood out from the rest. The vocals, the energy, the speeches,, but most of all the inclusivity. @JessieJ thank you for making your shows so inclusive, I have never felt like that before ❤️”

 

I wrote a post for 4Sight Vision Support on my visual impairment and blogging.

 

December

December has been filled with festivities, including my works Christmas party which was a great night. It was nice to spend time with my colleagues and friends.

I am very much looking forward to spending time with family and friends over the Christmas period.

 

It’s been another busy month for blogging opportunities. To celebrate International Volunteer Day, I wrote a guest post for Scope on the importance of volunteering. I’ve done a lot of volunteering over the years and continue to do so, it has given me some great skills.

I also wrote a Christmas themed blog post on how to make Christmas accessible for people with a visual impairment for Scope as well.

It still feels surreal to me that people read my blog from all over the world, I think this really hit home when Blind New World asked me to take part in their #MyBlindStory series. Reading the other stories in the series made me think about how truly wonderful the visual impairment community really is.

I also wrote another Christmassy blog post on tips on Christmas shopping when you have a visual impairment for RNIB Yorkshire and Humber.

 

I was also featured in my works magazine for being named as one of the top 100 most influential disabled people in the UK for 2018 in the Shaw Trust Disability Power list.

Holly's article in the Quarterly Magazine

 

So there you have it, a look back at 2018.

As you can tell, 2018 has been a whirlwind of a year and I’m sure you’ll have noticed from this post that I have been extremely busy. I think I could sleep for a month…

I have mentioned some of the guest posts that I’ve done this year but there are plenty more on my featured page if you fancy checking them out, feel free to go and read any of my posts on my own blog that you may have missed as well!

 

I have had some fabulous opportunities in 2018 which I certainly don’t take for granted. I am so grateful to my family and friends for some amazing memories this year and for always supporting me.

Thank you to my readers for all of your support this year, it truly means the world to me, I cannot thank you enough. Without your continued support, none of this would have happened, I am so thankful to you all.

I am excited to see what 2019 has in store, and I hope that you will continue to read my blog posts and watch my YouTube videos.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

 

What’s been your favourite memory from 2018? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

 

Here’s to a great 2019!

Holly x

7 Comments

    • lifeofablindgirl@gmail.com
      Author
      December 23, 2018 / 7:57 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  1. December 24, 2018 / 11:09 am

    Absolutely loved this post Hols, you should be so proud of everything you’ve achieved this year, you’ve come so far and done amazing things, I couldn’t be prouder! Thank you for some amazing memories as well, I can’t wait to make more in 2019!xxx

    • lifeofablindgirl@gmail.com
      Author
      January 10, 2019 / 12:14 pm

      Thank you so much, glad you enjoyed reading 🙂

  2. January 7, 2019 / 3:28 pm

    Hi Holly, what an inspiration you are. I work for the Wilberforce Trust which is York’s oldest charity and we support people with sight and hearing loss. We are very excited because we are about to begin building new accommodation for our tenants and a new Living and Learning Zone for anyone in York with sight or hearing loss. This will include a community cafe, a sensory room, an activities room and our Yorsensory suite which gives advice on assistive technology and on independent living. Are you still based in York? I’d love to meet you if so. I am organising the Apppeal and we have a small Development Board set up to add ideas, contacts and enthusiasm to the new development. We’d love to have you on board if you can spare the time. I’ve been in touch with Elin too and she’s keen to support us but lives a little too far from York to take part in any activities.

    I’d love to hear from you. My email address is j.carter@wilberforcetrust.org.uk and my phone number is 07730414028.

    Best wishes

    Jane Carter

    • lifeofablindgirl@gmail.com
      Author
      January 7, 2019 / 4:35 pm

      Hello, thank you so much. That sounds really interesting, please could you send me more information and how you’d like me to get involved?

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