April 2020 summary: Journalism workshops, Macbook, Wizardry fairytales & TV streaming services

Probably for the first time in my life, I’ve spent an entire month in my house, and I’m surprisingly loving it. April 2020 has been filled with plenty of work complete, joining many virtual workshops and enjoying lots of entertainment on TV streaming services.

Freelance journalism and workshops

For many people, being stuck in lockdown has resulted in endless boredom and over-eating. However, for me, I published a couple of  sponsored posts, built-up my list of publications to pitch and secured my first freelance position.

As you will see in my blog roundup below, I’ve published two sponsored blog posts; the first about alternatively care support during the coronavirus pandemic sponsored by the disability holiday park Revitalise. The second is planning your next accessible trip after lockdown sponsored by Access Rating.

Since then, I’ve been in touch with the founder of Access Rating, Mark Esho, who has offered me some freelance work, which will include writing blog content for the Access Rating website and putting together and distributing press releases.

In addition, I’ve been taking part in a variety of free virtual journalism workshops. I came across them on Twitter by Journo Resources and news Association. The first I attended was a workshop on how to pitch stories, the second was about Freedom of Information requests and the third was basic SEO and social media skills. I’ve found them all very useful and I look forward to attending more next month.

Disability Horizons

As well as all the work above, I’ve also continued to write content for Disability Horizons. A majority of this month’s articles have been practical guides to living during the coronavirus pandemic.

My interviews with comedian Rosie jones and actress Ali Stroker have also been published.

Furthermore, I managed to write up a couple of news stories about assistance dogs and BBC Casualty. However, I haven’t posted a DH News roundup, but you can find direct links to them, and the rest of my DH content in my blog roundup below.

Additionally, I took part in our co-founder Martyn Sibley’s daily video interviews, where I discussed my time volunteering at Disability Horizons plus much more.

Health

Back in March, I was awaiting for an appointment to have my suprapubic catheter changed at a hospital clinic. Of course, due to COVID-19, all non-essential clinics have been stopped until further notice. So instead, I had district nurses come to my house three weeks earlier than the original due date. Luckily it was a successful change and the nurses had PPE.

Apple Macbook Air

Since I began this blog in 2017, I’ve been writing and uploading content using my iPad mini 4. But, since my workload has increased these past few months and I’ve missed using a computer mouse,, I decided to treat myself to a new laptop.

Growing up I’ve always used Windows computers, but as I have an iPhone and iPad, I wanted to complete the Apple family and bought myself a Macbook Air.

It was difficult to set up the accessibility features initially but after a bit of trial and error and a bit of help from Google, it works fabulously and I use it every day.

I plan to share a full accessibility review of my Macbook Air soon – watch this space!

Books

This month J.K Rowling released an audiobook version of the wizarding world children’s book The Tales of Beedle the Bard. These are five fairy tale stories, which have been read by young witches and wizards for centuries.

In the Harry Potter stories, Hermione is given a copy of this book in Dumbledore’s will, which later unlocks the key to the Deathly Hallows.

Now in this audiobook, five well-known people from the wizarding world; Professor Flitwick, Lucius Malfoy, Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger, each read one of the stories that we’ve heard mentioned for years, but now we get to hear the magical stories come to life. Plus, Albus Dumbledore shares his analytic notes on each story.

I admit for a children’s book, it was quite complex read. I think I need to give it a second read to fully understand the narrative and the meaning behind each story. But I loved hearing some familiar voices from the wizarding world.

TV and film streaming

Throughout this lockdown, I’ve discovered some awesome TV shows and films.

Firstly, I’m ecstatic Killing Eve has returned. I know we’re only three episodes in – spoiler alert here – but should this series be called “Killing Kenny” instead?

Also, when the lockdown began, I was discussing with my Mum which old programmes should return while filming is suspended for soaps and new or reoccurring shows. I suggested My Family and then last week I found BBC One broadcasting it. I then checked BBC iPlayer and they are streaming all 11 series – thank you BBC!

Another awesome show I’ve binged watched this month is The Morning Show on AppleTV+. I only joined this streaming service because I was given an one year free subscription after purchasing my Macbook. I’ve seen adverts for this show and really wanted to watch it. It was very dramatic and thrilling. Plus I loved Jennifer Aniston’s high-profiled powerful character, rather than the ditsy, uneducated, naïve girl type that she usually plays.

After finishing this series, I had a browse of other programmes on AppleTV+. However, there wasn’t very much choice and for the rest of the service, you have to rent each episode for £2.99. Can anybody suggest any good shows or films available on the AppleTV+ subscription service? I want to make the most of my free subscription.

And finally, I have to mention Disney+. I initially wasn’t going to bother subscribing as I have almost every Disney film on DVD. But I’m so glad I did. Almost 90% of the content has audio description, I can access the whole app with Voiceover and I don’t have to get help putting a DVD on and instead just press a couple of buttons.

Not only can I watch new films and programmes but re-live classics from my childhood. I have hundreds of films and TV series saved in my watchlist. So far I’ve watched or still streaming:

    • Recess
    • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
    • Pick of the Litter (documentary series about Guide Dogs)
    • The Lion King (2019)
    • The Lion King II
    • The Lion King 1½
    • The Little Mermaid
    • The Little Mermaid II
    • The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning
    • The Hunchback of Notre-dame
    • The Hunchback of Notre-dame II
    • The Jungle Book (2019)
    • Lady & the Tramp (2019)
    • Bed knobs and Broomsticks
    • The Parent Trap (1998)

Audio Description petition

Just another reminder my audio description petition still needs more signatures. So far there is 195 signatures but I’m eager to reach thousands. The more signatures we get, the more likely changes could be made within the TV & films industries. Please, please, PLEASE continue to sign & share!

Guest bloggers wanted!

I’m still eager to collaborate with even more bloggers in 2020. So if you’re a lifestyle, disability and/or music blogger, send me your blog stories. Plus let me know if you’d like me to feature on your blog as a guest blogger.

I’m flexible with any type of blog posts; life story, disability awareness, music event, musician promotion – basically anything to do with life, disability or music!

Blog post roundup

In case you missed any of my blog posts this month, here is a roundup of them:

1. DH News: Study shows assistance dogs improve the mental health of disabled young people

2. Music Interview: Lifecycle

3. Living life in lockdown with a disability | #CovidCarePlan #AD

4. Interview with comedian Rosie Jones

5. Coronavirus UK: how to get your food shopping if you’re disabled people

6. DH News: BBC Casualty story highlights health inequality for patients with learning disabilities

7. Music Interview: Stone Sea

8. 10 accessible places to visit after lockdown | #AccessRating #AD

9. Interview with actress Ali Stroker

10. Music Interview: Hearts & Hand Grenades

11. How to self-isolate and get help: a practical guide if you’re disabled

5 Favourite Blog Posts

Here are my 5 favourite blog posts I’ve read this month:

1. Let’s Talk About Disability And Mental Health by Miyuki Amano (which I’m featured in)

2. Social distancing with a Visual impairment? by My life, my story

3. Muscular Dystrophy Q&A by Carrie Aimes

4. Audio Description Awareness Day by Well Eye Never

5. 1 YEAR LIVING WITH CROHN’S DISEASE: LESSONS LEARNT by Megan Elizabeth

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Published by Rock For Disability

This blog follows my life as a disabled person, reports disability news, share music reviews, give advice pieces, shows multimedia content plus much more!

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