Hey Everyone! Seeing as my last access review post on Amsterdam got so much love, I've decided to do one a little closer to home.
Because of hospital appointments and activism, I'm splitting most of my time these days between college and Dublin. I've learned bus routes and short cuts in the past few months so I'm practically local at this point. Being a gig goer on top of that means that I've picked up a few places across the city that I thought I'd compile my favourite spots in a one-stop shop for all your accessible bite to eat needs! Whether you're visiting or just looking for a new spot for a bite, you've come to the right place! There are so many different types of places to eat in Dublin so i'm gonna try and break down the list by meal.
Breakfast: Lemon, Dawson Street
Pancakes. Enough said, right? Up the top of Dawson Street (I think, at least), Lemon has some of the best pancakes & crepes in the city. They do sweet and savoury too, so you're really spoiled for choice. It's pretty reasonable as well, so to me it's the perfect central breakfast option. They also have vegetarian options (no vegan choice though!). I've never used the toilet facilities so I'm not sure if there is an accessible bathroom or not, unfortunately.
*EDIT* I've been informed that there's a wonderful accessible bathroom in here!
Lunch on the Go: Boojum, Various Locations
This is a new one in my life, but a quick favourite. Boojum has taken over Dublin in the past few months, and it has become the staple diet of students across the city. There's a few locations across Dublin, both North and South side. May not agree with anyone who has a sensitive stomach as the one I got definitely gave me heartburn but I would also say it's worth the pain. The one I was in over by Kevin Street and also Abbey Street. The Abbey Street one was a little tight but Kevin Street is grand. Not sure about bathroom access because it's more of a grab-and-go type of feed for me. Student deal means a burrito with a drink is 7.50 if I remember correctly!
Sit down Lunch: The Pepperpot Cafe, South William Street
Another one over on the southside, The Pepper Pot. It's in the Powerscourt Centre just off Grafton Street on South William Street, and it's gorgeous. They have the nicest little mugs and saucers (I love a good aesthetic), and the staff are so sound. A little more on the pricey side, but well worth it for the stunning food and great service. It's on the first floor, just around the corner from the lift. The accessible bathroom is one floor up, and it's pretty spacious though the door is a little heavy. No music but there's just the general buzz of a busy cafe on the ground floor as the Powerscourt Centre is pretty open plan, so not sure how noise levels would suit people who aren't fond of crowds
Casual Dinner: Token, Smithfield
Is it an exaggeration to say that I live in this place? Absolutely not. Token is one of the most unique places to grab a bite in the city. Mixing tasty food with classic arcade games with great staff makes Token my absolute favourite place to eat. It's quite loud and busy, so sensory overload potential is absolutely huge. I'd recommend going before the after work rush because it can get a little tight even in my neat little chair. The bathroom is really spacious an the staff are really accommodating when it comes to moving chairs around if necessary. There's also a lift to basement level. I'd recommend the Buffalove Wings (they're a little on the spicy side though), and for dessert the Bacon covered Reese's cups are to die for. In terms of a price point it's pretty reasonable!
Fancy Sit Down Dinner: HQ Brasserie, Grand Canal Dock
Great cocktails, the best fall apart beef I've ever had and a really nice window of fairy lights? Meet your favourite indulgence spot. I first went to the HQ when I was staying in Dublin for the Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Bord Gais. It's a stones throw from the arena and the hotel we were staying in (I got the tickets and hotel stay as a going away gift from my pediatric hospital when I moved to adult services) so it was both convenient and gorgeous. I've been in it a few times since for both dinner and lunch. Bathroom fit my chair comfortably from what I remember and it was really ambient. I would recommend it more at night though to get the full effect of the fairy light wall. It's not to be missed.
Let me know your fave accessible places to eat across Dublin! I love trying new places but I need to know where to find them first!
Time has flown by, but it's true; Wheelie Healthy is officially a year old! The past year has seen a lot. Food, a TEDx Talk, a trip abroad.. Vulnerability unlike anything I've ever shared in public before. Social justice, fighting for my rights and the rights of others. A little platform that I built from Instagram and upwards that has welcomed submissions from people all over the world.
I have so many big plans for Wheelie Healthy's growth. It has already seen a massive overhaul in image and it's still early days for us. I hope that it keeps growing, and I'm grateful for the support it's gotten.
Here's to this year, and the many others. Remember, you can follow our instagram @wheelie_healthy, our facebook and you can also follow me on Twitter @Wheelie_Healthy to keep up with what I'm doing as well (Because I am an incredibly busy bee lately)
Thank you all for the past year!
Hey everyone! So I decided to turn my holiday into a little accessibility guide to my experience with Amsterdam. I'm gonna breakdown the journey from start to finish as best I can, and talk about the experiences I had there. It's gonna be a blow by blow of my entire holiday so it's probably gonna be long and you'll probably be able to skip a lot of it. I'm gonna put a content warning as being mature. I'm pretty sure this is one of very few posts that will need it but yeah, just in case! I'm also gonna include a little slideshow at the end of the post with pictures!
So let's get started with the basic details:
- I flew from Dublin -> Schipol Airport on the 24th, and I flew home on the 27th from Schipol to Dublin.
-I flew with Aer Lingus both going over and coming home.
- I stayed in the W Hotel which is a 5* Hotel just off Dam Square (It was my 21st birthday gift to myself, I went overboard). It is a 10 minute journey from Centraal Station which we turned into a forty minute trip.. I'll explain further down
- I had done absolutely zero research into Amsterdam other than watching The Fault in Our Stars a few years ago and deciding I was in love. I figured any obstacles that I was met with could probably be overcome somehow.
- I went with my PA, and we had a suitcase each.
-The weather stayed dry and pretty mild throughout
The experiences I had were:
- Seeing the city of Amsterdam during an Accessible Canal Tour
-A trip to The Heineken Experience
-Roaming The Van Gogh Museum
-A stroll down the Red Light District
-The Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market)
-A trip to the Dampkring Coffee Shop.
It was an early start, we were up at 5:30am to get our bits together. We got dropped up to Dublin Airport and the first thing I done was met with OCS there to make sure everything was okay in terms of getting assistance onto the plane. I had no trouble, nor have I ever with OCS services. They make getting through the airport a lot easier and I cannot speak highly enough of them. I hopped into the aisle chair just before getting on the plane and they took my chair to put under the plane. Now I know plenty of stories that come from airlines who either damage or lose a chair, so I'm always a little bit nervous. But so far, I've had no problems with either of the two airlines I've used to fly in my life. The flight overall was about an hour, so I didn't have anything to drink in case I needed the bathroom (which is a no-go on planes for access). We got to Schipol Airport and we were greeted by a lovely passenger liaison whose name I don't remember. He helped us go get our bag and advised us the easiest way into Amsterdam city.
The airport is extensive, it took us a good twenty minute walk to get to the main hub bit. We got the Sprinter train underground as it was the only one accessible from the airport (I didn't look at busses or taxis for this whole trip, unfortunately!). Tickets were 7.60 each I believe. There was a small gap between the platform and the train so I wouldn't have managed alone I don't think, but with someone I was okay.
It wasn't too far a journey into Centraal Station, half an hour or so. Centraal Station is absolutely gorgeous as a building. We went across to the little tourist office, got a map. It was about as much use to us as a chocolate teapot, to be honest. We hadn't a clue where we were going. Now my google map was also acting the maggot so what should have taken us around fifteen minutes maximum took us about forty minutes. I ended up accidentally walking us down the Red Light District in broad daylight which was.. Interesting, to say the least. The streets themselves were busy and difficult to navigate at times, but it was a Saturday so it was extra busy.
We EVENTUALLY got to the W Hotel after crossing Dam Square. It was incredibly cobbled so getting across it was a bit of a pain but I wouldn't call it unmanageable; just irritating. I had power assist wheels though, I don't think I would have done it in a manual chair. We stayed in The Bank W, which was across from The Duchess W. just off Dam Square. The staff here were so incredible. We had an assigned staff money that we could text for help if we needed anything (they emphasized the anything, their concierge desk was called 'whatever, whenever'. We were invited to a special lights-out event in the hotel lounge to celebrate Earth Hour, and we had plans to go out later that night as well.
The Room. This room, I can't even begin to explain how pretty it was. It was absolutely massive, had a fully accessible shower, all the controls for the lights etc were beside the bed. Two criticisms I would have is 1. The door to the bathroom was pretty heavy and 2. We had to ring down and ask for the accessible shower chair (it wasn't there automatically having booked an accessible room). That's being incredibly nit-picky though I couldn't really fault it. We relaxed for a while in the room and then headed out to explore. We got dinner in a little Italian place off Dam Square, because we didn't wanna venture too far on our first day. We were pretty exhausted, being honest. There was a step in the door but the staff were more than happy to help me in and make room, and the food was really nice and pretty good value for a starter & main plus drinks. We headed back, got dressed up and went to the lounge. All the lights were out excluding some feature lights, and the drinks had light up ice cubes. Drinks were incredibly expensive though (16 euro for a cocktail hurt my soul), so we didn't drink much. We decided to try get into the nightclub attached to the hotel, The Mad Fox. However, it was un accessible so we just went to bed after leaving the lounge and going up and down on the elevator a few times after a miscommunication.
I can't remember what time we got up at but we were definitely out and all by 11 or so. We had pre-decided that we wanted to do the Heineken Experience, and a canal tour as well if possible. I had been googling a bit and I knew that I also wanted to hit at least one museum. We went to a local tourist office to see whether it was easier to buy tickets in bulk or whether we were better off just paying individually and we were also advised on what tram links to get where. The tram was 7.60 for the entire day, which was pretty cool. It stopped right around the corner from the hotel too so it was handy. The platforms were fairly hit and miss in terms of step free access, but again because I was with someone and I was in a reasonably maneuverable chair I managed. So we went down by The Heineken Experience, which was 20 euro entry. Sounds steep, but with the value for money I was pleasantly surprised. You got some free drinks, an entire 4D experience and a walking tour. We were also given a key for the lifts etc. It was a little confusing trying to follow the key so we just kinda ended up wandering and doing our own thing. Compared to the experiences you get at home with the Jameson Distillery & The Guinness Storehouse; it was better value & access than both. I didn't feel like any part of the tour was off limits to me (despite one lift being broken in the beginning), and the staff were friendly and willing to help at every turn. It took about two and a half hours to do too so it took up a pretty nice chunk of the day.
After that, we went and booked an accessible canal tour for later that day. It was a 75 minute tour, again, pretty good value in my opinion (Think it was 30 euro for both of us? Could be wrong though!). It was run by a company called Blue Boat Company. We found them via Sage Travel who I use to do my research whenever I'm anywhere. We were tired after that so we went for a bite to eat in the Bulldog Cafe. If you don't like the smell of Amsterdam culture this place will not be for you; it made me hungry though. As far as I remember it was reasonably priced for our burgers.
We had passed the Museum quarter along the way so we decided on the Van Gogh Museum after that and bought tickets because you need a time slot to get in. I also got my picture taken at the IamAmsterdam sign, because what self-respecting tourist wouldn't? We headed back to the hotel after that, made a plan for the night. We just decided to roam the streets for a while, explore a little. We ended up walking down the Red Light District, which was pretty interesting. It was accessible to walk through though, which was positive. None of the establishments were accessible apart from Cassa Rosso which was a sex club. It's definitely not my thing but would have been an interesting story to bring back. Tickets in were 45 euro though so they were a little out of our price range considering how much we'd already spent. Disabled people are sexually active too so I figured I would include this part because I know people are curious. Overall, sex positivity and disability do not mix in Amsterdam as almost everywhere fun was off limits. I have no doubt that We also bought some cannabis brownies which, while way too expensive, were really tasty. We had also been snacking throughout the day, Amsterdam LOVES its food. Particularly pancakes and sweet things. Munchie food, I guess.
This was our busiest day, we were out by 10. It was our last day in Amsterdam, we had a lot to fit in today! We got our souvenir done in half an hour in the morning, paraphernalia included. Again, there was a step into that shop (a pretty extensive one, actually) but the staff were more than happy to help me in. The usual holiday bits were also bought, fridge magnets and key chains. Chocolate bars for the littler ones. It was definitely a case of putting blinkers on and just focusing on what you had to buy rather than what you wanted to buy because otherwise I would have bought the entire shop. In particular there were these really adorable wooden tulip bouquets that I hated leaving behind. After getting breakfast in a lovely little cafe, we dropped our bags back in the room and hit the tram to head over towards the Museum Quarter.
Side note, Amsterdam natives don't drink milk with their tea so I gave black tea a go (something I had sworn against) and it was pretty good! After eating one of the largest pancakes I've ever been handed in my life, we headed for the Van Gogh Museum.
I am a massive fan of Van Gogh's work, I loved studying him in Art history and his story always struck a chord with me. It was incredibly accessible, lifts everywhere and everything was quite open plan. We found ourselves doing it in reverse, much like we kind of did everything this trip (it was the same in the Heineken Experience). It was 18 euro a ticket which I would pay again in a heartbeat for what you got for it. We wandered for about three hours, three floors, listened to all the letters and took in both the main Van Gogh part as well as the special exhibit of Van Gogh's Japanese influences. I loved it. I took a few pictures, which I'm used to doing back home in Ireland but a security guard told me to stop. Apparently people don't appreciate that kinda thing, so I had to stop.. I took a few sneaky ones though. There were accessible, large bathrooms throughout and everything was flat. Doors were relatively light, and there were elevators to each floor. There was also the option of doing an audio walk through wherein you paid 5 euro for a set of headphones as you walked through the museum. After we left there, we got off a few stops early and wandered down the canal of the Bloemenmarkt. It was really gorgeous, dried flowers hung from displays and there were bags upon bags of flower seeds ready to be bought. What struck me was that a lot of them were bulbs rather than seeds. Now, everything I touch dies which is why I have artificial plants, so I didn't get anything. I wanted to though, so that's what counts. We also found a Christmas shop which was gorgeous but I wasn't paying 10 euro for a bauble.
We headed back and freshened up, got a quick bite and then went out on a mission to find one of Amsterdams finest treasures: A 'coffee shop'. I had found one on google maps not far from the Bloemenmarkt and considering we didn't really know our way around, it seemed easier because we knew where it was. I had looked it up to make sure it was accessible, and off we went. Fun fact about the Dampkring Coffee Shop is that while filming Oceans 12, some of the crew hung out there. Being a film student, it felt like a right of passage. Now, Amsterdam coffee shops are not in the business of tea and scones but wares were sampled. It was pretty good value for money considering I bought pre-rolled, because my fingers don't allow me to roll myself. After awhile there (they didn't appear to have a bathroom but don't quote me) and once the munchies hit, we went and got food and headed back for the hotel. It was a nice, chilled out end to our travels!
Pretty uneventful! We got packed up, checked out and went for breakfast in the same place that we had had breakfast the day before. The sun was shining and I was sad to be leaving. By now we had mastered the public transport system, and we knew exactly how to get back to Centraal Station. We could laugh about how easy it was to get there now. So it was back on the Sprinter to go catch our flight. We figured we had loads of time, forgetting of course how massive the airport was. Long story short, we nearly missed our flight. They had already started boarding when we got to the gate, so I had to wait to be boarded. We made it, though. It was a little more complicated this time because there were trays separating each seat, so instead of being able to just shuffle in I had to be lifted by two really nice staff members. Again, service couldn't be faulted but it was more a spectacle than it needed to be. People in wheelchairs have to take the window seat, so its often more a hindrance than needed. We got back in to Dublin Airport without incident or issue though, and as usual OCS and the staff on both ends were absolute angels!
Accessibility and Final Thoughts!
Congratulations on making it this far! I know it was a long one this time. Overall I would definitely call Amsterdam an accessible city. Buildings with steps into them were staffed by people who were more than happy to help you in if you wanted to, and the people overall were incredibly friendly. The cobblestones were more a hindrance than an actual issue. Public transport was a little hit and miss so I wouldn't say do it alone if you, like me, are in a wheelchair. I'm not sure how a heavy duty chair would navigate, I'm only speaking from my own experiences as someone in a relatively small chair with power assisted wheels. There is a lot of walking around if you choose to see the city like that but transport links are quite good. Food is good value for money, though drinks are incredibly overpriced. Amsterdam is the kinda place where it can be any kind of holiday you want it to be. Laid back, cultural, or just a non-stop party. If you're someone with a disability looking to get a bit of action you probably won't find the Red Light District overly welcoming, but the one or two clubs that are accessible are more than happy to welcome you with open arms.
I would go back again in a heart beat! If you have any other questions that I didn't answer, feel free to DM me on Twitter or comment below! I'll leave you with a slideshow of some of my favourite parts of the trip!
Hello all! I know it has been a while since I've done any kind of writing, life has been wild lately and I have lots of stuff in the works in terms of writing. At the moment though, my energy is being focused on finishing my final college year which is proving harder to do than I thought. I have this awful habit of taking on far too much outside college and exhausting myself. BUT I've decided to crawl out of my little academic cave to write about something incredibly topical: The Repeal Movement.
Now, this is a movement that has been going for a number of years and I have watched it grow and grow. I even took part in one of the March For Choice marches in September last year. However, through all this there has been a serious lack of representation of one group in particular; people with disabilities. It's something that obviously I felt quite strongly about as a woman with a disability, as the 8th is as much an attack on my autonomy as it is on able-bodied people. I think that it's often the case that people discount those with disabilities in the fight for bodily autonomy. In reality, as much as people don't think it; disabled people experience crisis pregnancies too. People often don't look at those with disabilities as sexual beings. Just last year, a law was repealed that meant people with intellectual disabilities were now allowed to have a sexual relationship. Before that, it was a criminal offence... Yes, really. There are a number of barriers that come with the 8th Amendment, but there are even more when you bring in the sphere of disability.
The ability to travel with a disability is incredibly reliant on others. Booking transport (that could fall through, which we all know happens from my other blog posts on the subject), air travel, taxis etc. Whether a PA is needed to accompany you. Accessible dwellings; not even including the cost of all that on top of the price of the medical procedure. All of these things make having to travel abroad for a termination even more harrowing. In this country you can't cough without having to notify someone... Imagine how difficult it would be to travel to another country if you wanted to keep your termination private? That's the case of a lot of pregnant people with disabilities who feel too shamed by those around them to speak about their experiences. People with disabilities are consistently denied rights, and the 8th amendment is no different. So, I helped co-found a group called "PWD4REPEAL" or People with Disabilities for Repeal. We are people with lived experience of disability who want to campaign for better reproductive rights for people with disabilities. Because reproductive rights are disability rights; they're not mutually exclusive.
Getting involved with Repeal has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, but it hasn't been without its challenges. People often forget about disability when they talk about repeal, and it's not something I judge people for. People in Ireland are conditioned to see disability as a medical entity. The social model and integration of disability has been a slow but steady thing in Ireland and one I've both watched happen and helped make happen. With PWD4Repeal we want to ensure that the campaign for Repeal the 8th is as inter sectional and accessible as it can be. Our main focus is vocal advocacy, dispelling myths about disability and the 8th amendment as well as making sure that the messaging is inclusive of everyone it aims to fight for.
"Fake woke" feminism is something that's very much on the rise. Those who will wear Repeal jumpers as the fashion statement they became in recent times, and who will very much push their own agenda and view of what equality is. We have had experiences during this campaign wherein our voices were silenced or an attempt was made to undermine us. That solves nothing. If you're not fighting for every member of a community, then what's the point in fighting at all? I would definitely argue that the concept of fake woke feminism is actually as harmful as those who fight against us. It's also the fake militant feminism that makes our jobs a lot harder to deal with, because it feeds the misconception that feminism is about domination. That women hate men. The more people we have preaching so called feminism with a toxic attitude; the less serious we are taken. Then, it makes it harder to fight for equality. The idea of calling yourself a feminist without educating yourself on the plight of every type of person who falls under that bracket makes no sense to me at all. People can see through you, and they recognize those who are fighting for the right reasons rather than the fact that it's topical and makes you look somehow different. Really, you just look like you're embarrassing yourself.
I'm aware that by most standards, I am speaking from a position of privilege. I am more than able to speak up for myself and to fight for whatever cause I decide to fight for whether it be women's rights, disability rights etc. I recognize that not every woman has that kind of privilege. Which I suppose is the main point of me fighting in the first place; I like to lend my voice to those who aren't always able to speak for themselves. There are also those who would prefer not to speak up. Ireland's culture of shame and silence runs so deep that it's unsurprising that some women keep their stories to themselves. I have personally been called a murderer, I have been spat at on the street on the way from marches. I do it for a reason, which makes it somewhat worth it. I think if less people were concerned about what others thought of them and banded together for the greater good, we'd be in a better position. People are already united by hate on the pro-birth side; we could do with being united by compassion.
People have been mean on both sides, that can't be disputed. I hope that this referendum, at least from our side, will be respectful. People have their own opinions and a lot of the time you're unable to change them no matter how much level headed discussion and fact you throw at them. The only thing to really do with bigots is to leave them alone with their bigotry. It becomes a vacuum of energy better placed on important things. People resort to name calling and counter rallies when they know they're on the back foot. It hasn't been an easy thing fighting for something that should be commonplace, but I wouldn't choose to do it with better people than I'm doing it with now.
For anyone who wants to get involved in PWD4Repeal, you can follow us on TWITTER , our twitter has our email address as well for contacting us! We do a twitter chat about Repeal and Disability on a Monday and we're always looking for people to join in and engage.
The March for Choice will be held tomorrow (the 8th) and will be going from the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin at 5:30. I'm also hoping to speak with USI in Trinity College from 4:30 and then roll up from there to join everyone. It's going to be another massive day and I look forward to marching in solidarity with everyone.
Happy International Women's Day, a day where we appreciate the women in our lives and where we celebrate the lives of female pioneers throughout history. Why there is only one day for this is beyond me, but I enjoy celebrating it every year regardless.
Sisterhood is something that's incredibly important to me. I'm from a family of 5 girls and one boy, my aunts greatly influenced me growing up and my grandmothers are the wisest women on earth. Plus, who can forget my mother who has taught me everything I know. I've also had the pleasure of watching and learning from many other incredibly strong women in my life. No woman I've met has ever been the same, each one has traits in them that I admire that are different from the last. Getting deeper within the blogging community, particularly on Twitter (which I will talk about further down), we're often taught to see other women as competition. If social media and community engagement has taught me anything, it's that it's the opposite. As time moves forward, women all over the world are rejecting the idea that women are each others competition. Even on a basic level, anyone who's been on a night out and has went into the girls bathrooms will know that you will never find a more friendly space. Women giving each other pep talks, sharing makeup, drunkenly telling each other that they're the most perfect people in the universe. While I'm not one for going out much, I remember all the lovely girls I've met in bathrooms that have improved my night in one way or another.
Looking at the way women and girls interact with each other, social media is a big part of my life (as it is everyone's these days). My friends and I have a separate groupchat from the college one. The topics vary but it's one of my favourite things, because it's where we build each other up, it's where we swap notes with each other, it's where we send each other hilarious memes and make plans that we'll probably not follow through on. Same with my groupchat of secondary school friends, it's just the four of us but it's still special. I'm probably too sentimental, but I put a lot of weight on my female friendships. Maybe I've seen Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants too many times? Then looking at twitter, I've met some wonderful women there as well who have taught me the value of supporting one another. People who have shared in my accomplishments, and who have helped me become a part of a community filled with rich history and valuable insight
Women & Women's rights is something that is at the forefront of Irish history right now. It's a little surreal to be alive in such a pivotal point in Irish history, a point where women's bodily autonomy will hopefully be restored. Campaigning for Women's rights is something I'm incredibly passionate about, and I am having a great time learning from others and in turn hope to educate others. I've heard stories in the news that I hope will never be told through the life of someone else. I hope we never have to repeat some of the history that we have written as time goes on. We are rewriting history right now, and correcting the wrongs that others have made. We're building a new republic, one which will hopefully put a much higher value on women than it does right now. Disabled women, women of colour, trans women, migrant women. ALL WOMEN. Activism and the celebration of women is flawed if it doesn't support all women.
We live in a world where the bravery and strength of women is changing the narrative. It's challenging societal norms. Women are speaking out, and rejecting the idea that they are going to be silenced. That they are compliant. The Tarana Burke's, the Grace Dyas'. It's a case of whether the men and other women in their lives, in my life, in our lives, are going to be a part of that or not. Because celebrating women isn't just something for women to do with one another. It's a global movement.
To the women in my life, I'm incredibly proud to know you all. To the women I'm yet to meet, I can't wait to swap stories with you and learn from you.
Take the time today to celebrate the women in your life, tell them you appreciate them. Lend your voice to the women who are voiceless. Take action. I'm glad I did.
An AWARD is such a strange thing to associate myself with. This blog is well under a year old, but I've always put my heart and soul into it. Being recognized as a positive influence is something that's really important to me, and I'm honoured to have been nominated by Maria (whose links I'll leave at the bottom of the post!) So without further adieu, let's jump right in to the questions!
1. What inspired you the most to start a blog?
My main inspiration was honestly my followers that I had gotten on Instagram. I started my instagram account to try and keep myself on track with my new healthy eating and I was instantly comfortable. I found the entire chronic illness community SO welcoming, and I wanted to expand on the amount of work I was putting into the instagram account into something a bit more fleshed out, and something that could make a wider impact than I was already making. After that, and hours of working on the website, Wheelie Healthy was born. I intended it to become a safe space for people to feel understood, because often that isn't the case with people with chronic illness particularly in the social media sphere outside of our known hashtags.
2. What are some of your pet peeves?
Being late. There's nothing I hate more than people being late, or being late myself. I always get super annoyed at myself for being late, so I have the worst habit of being insanely early to everything as a result. My mate is always making fun of me because i'm always 20 minutes early for buses and I leave myself sitting in the cold. My concept of time is absolutely USELESS.
3. If you could choose any fictional universe, which one would you want to be in, and why?
San Junipero from Black Mirror, hands down. The fashion, the music, the pretty girls to fall in love with and live by the beach with for literal eternity? ALL of that please.
4. What is your biggest wish for your blog this year?
I'd like to make it more collaborative. I'd like to invite guest bloggers, get the chronic creators section up and running to feature creatives with chronic illnesses. I'd love to go self hosted as well at some stage but for the moment I'm just gonna tip away at making sure the site is the best it can be right now!
5. Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
My Tedx talk (which you can see on our home page!). Getting up in front of hundreds of people and talking about my life, my experiences and the passion I have for this blog and what it means to me will always be the best thing I've ever done and an opportunity I hold really close to my heart.
6. What is your favorite part of blogging and the blogging world?
THE PEOPLE. With Twitter in particular I love getting into blogging threads and seeing new people and their content and sharing it between ourselves. People are so supportive, you can always count on each other for support and advice. Without a blogger I wouldn't have the new logo or the new headers that I have for the blog now (thanks helina x ). It is that constant camaraderie that keeps me completely immersed in the blogging world.
7. Who’s your celebrity crush?
This is incredibly difficult. I'm taking liberties here as someone who is interested in both genders and taking one from each (try stop me). Okay so for the gals, at the moment at least, it's Hayley Kiyoko. I think she's perfect to be honest and all her tunes are bops. I have crushes (obsessions?) with so many people, but male crush number one at the moment is Armie Hammer. I'm dying to see Call Me By Your Name and I just think he's stunnin'.
8. If you had the chance to borrow Dr. Who’s Tardis (time machine) and take it for one ride, where in time would you want to go?
La Belle Epoque in Paris. It was a point in France when everything was chill before World War I, everything was so beautiful, peaceful and the historical fashion was completely on point. For me it's the ultimate age of glamour, culture and artistry.
9. What are some of the biggest challenges for you as a blogger?
Growth. Engagement. All of these things with the way that Instagram in particular has decided to conduct itself. The only time I get a decent amount of engagement is if I promote my posts and I'm never really a fan of doing that. As a student who is trying to graduate, I don't have the money to be promoting Instagram posts. Plus, I want people to find my blog and enjoy it on their own. Consistency is another big problem for me, I'm the worst at keeping up with blogging on a regular basis. Sometimes, life just gets in the way! Plus there's writers block and everything so those are some of my biggest issues
10. Which Disney or Dreamworks movie is your all-time favorite? You can only name one.
Only ONE? Hm... In terms of message and least emotionally damaging, I'm gonna say Moana. The songs are great, the message of female empowerment is terrific and I just love it. I relate spiritually to the chicken that does nothing but scream at the slightest inconvenience.. Same, HeyHey.
11. Which one of your blog posts are you most proud of?
My one on mental health awareness. I wrote really candidly about my experience with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts and I turned it into a positive awareness post about how to help others. I think it's an incredibly hard thing to do that bloggers do a lot, by putting themselves out there into the world. If you'd like to read it, there's a tw for mental health and suicidal ideation so be aware of that and take care of yourselves loves x
That was fun! Now, for the nominees, rules they need to follow and the questions!
Nominees: Bryony, from BryonyBaker.com , Helina from justhelina , Shirley from ShirleyCuypers, Rebecca from sheintheknow.co.uk, Eleanor from littlethoughtsforlittlepeople , Chloe from Chloemetzger, Lauren from Loulabellerose, Chloe from yourschloe, Charis from Princesschairs, Isabella from YearofYou , and Asia from Asiajadewalker
Thank you again for nominating me Maria! You can find Maria at her website, her twitter, her instagram and even snapchat!
The rules to follow are simple: 1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions they asked you.
3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write 11 new questions for them.
4. List the rules and display The Sunshine Award logo on your post/blog.
Here are your questions!
1. What's your favourite food?
2. What is your dream holiday?
3. What did you want to be when you grow up?
4. How did you decide what to blog about?
5. Who is your ideal dinner guest?
6. What's your favourite memory?
7. What's your go-to comfort activity?
8. What is one strange fact about you?
9. What's your guilty pleasure?
10. What's your favourite film?
11. Is there anything you'd change about your life?
I'm finally starting to make my way back to keeping the blog in check. As a welcome back, I thought I'd come back with a little post on the bits and bobs I use in the shower. I've talked about my skin and the battle with psoriasis on my face before, so I thought I'd build on that and go more in-depth into the routine. Most of my products are from a spoonie staple: LUSH.
The employees of Lush on College Green in Dublin know me by name at this point, I'm in so much. I can't get enough of the place. One guy says "You, again?" every time I see him. Considering the cult following that Lush has particularly in the spoonie community, I thought I'd share my favourite shower products considering I have piles of them!
First up is the Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub. I use this on the brown hyper-pigmented skin that I have from my insulin resistance. It's all over my arms, on my neck, basically EVERYWHERE. I was incredibly self conscious about it because it constantly looked like dirt, and none of the creams were working. One came close, but it had urea in it so I smelled like.. Well, you can guess what I smelled like. So I went into Lush a year or so ago and showed them, and they handed me a tub of this stuff. You can use it either wet or dry, depending on the scrub you want. I often use it dry but it is tough on skin so if your skin is easily broken down I definitely would recommend looking at another product or using it in the shower with a ton of warm water, because it is after all a sea-salt scrub.. And let me tell you, if your skin breaks down and you get this stuff in it? The worst pain. It doesn't have that strong a smell which is a plus for me, because then you know there hasn't been a whole lot of scented additives thrown in on top of the natural ingredients. I normally get the massive tub (665g) and it lasts me ages, so you pay a bit more but it goes the extra mile. Plus, it doubles up as a hair product. If, like me, you find your curly hair needs a bit of extra bounce? Work it into your roots and wash it out, beachy waves for DAYS!
So after you've scrubbed all the skin off your body, you need to wash the new skin! That's where the shower gel I use comes in. However, it's been discontinued SO I'm on the look out for a new one as it's about to run out. It was called "Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" While I definitely think it's a missed opportunity for a shampoo name, it's one of my favourite shower products I've ever used, so I'm sad to see it go. The smell is quite strong, but you only need a little bit and it goes a long way. It smells like figs and lavender so it feels quite rich and luxurious. Paired with your newly smooth skin, you feel like you should be lying on a gold couch being fed grapes. According to a friend, Oaty Creamy Dreamy is good for dry skin so I'll get back to you guys on how I feel about it!
So now that you've scrubbed and washed, it's time to show your hair a little bit of love. I have a really greasy scalp as well as dealing with the occasional itch. I blame my meds. I normally have to use a combination of shampoos or change them out regularly. That was before I found Rehab! It completely sorted my greasy problem, and I get way more wear outta my hair. People with chronic illnesses know how much goes into actually taking a shower and how exhausting it is, but with the peppermint oil in the shampoo and the tingling sensation you get off it, it not only smells great but it also feels great too.
This is a long process, so by now you're probably exhausted. You don't want to have to get out of the shower, dry off, and then MOISTURISE, now do you? Lush have come up with the answer to all our spoonie prayers. Enter Ro's Argan, the in-shower body conditioner! This is the final stop on the journey to clean. Basically you rub this into your skin, wash it off and then pat yourself dry after your shower. The shower body conditioner locks in all the good stuff that you normally lose as soon as you get out of the shower. Which gives you more time to recover after your shower that you'd normally spend moisturising. It also smells like roses and shea butter, so what's not to like?
What I like most about Lush, is that it brings the luxury of pampering yourself to the home. I don't have the energy, or quite frankly the money, to go get pampered. However, what I CAN do is set aside a day where I decide to be kind to myself and give myself an at home pampering session rather than just hopping in and out of the shower. Going through all these steps is a little exhausting but it also leaves you feeling really refreshed afterwards and relaxed. Paired with a warm, fluffy set of pyjamas and a good film I'd even call it the perfect day. The products themselves are natural and cruelty free, plus as a brand Lush works a lot on charity projects. I've always had a really positive experience with their products which is why I'll continue buying them, and plan on trying as many of their products in the future as possible. I've even left a little slideshow at the bottom of the post of all the products so you can see for yourself the sizes of everything, and get a better feel for all the stuff I've talked about!
What's one of your go-to shower products? Are you as much of a Lush fan as I am? Get in touch any time!
I haven't updated in a while, and our social media is a little quiet as well. I have a few things going on right now that I'm dealing with so I'm taking a bit of a step back. I don't really have anything to write about right now cause I'm not in the frame of mind for it, and I'm not gonna churn out content if my heart isn't in it. I've always been 100% real on here and that's not gonna change any time soon. I have the next two weeks off college before heading back for Christmas, and I think the smartest thing I can do is use that time for myself. I'll still probably be active over on twitter (@wheelie_healthy) but it's more a personal account at this stage. I have some stuff coming though so my break won't be completely empty:
I can still be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for submissions, guest article requests and general inquiries. Social media links are on the home page as well!
See you all soon!
Normally I’m not the resolution type, but I figured I’d try and make a habit of it. Going into 2017 I set myself some goals, and I achieved one I had set and one I didn’t know I had. TEDx was the latter, and it was exciting.
I was going into 2017 incredibly fragile, physically and mentally. I’d had a rather rough time December 2016 which I’ve already written about here. 2017 was a mixed bag, and probably one of the toughest years I’ve had. There are a lot of things that I’ve had to go through the motions with in the past few months. This blog isn’t focusing on the negatives though, it’s looking at the positives and moving forward! Professionally, I’ve had a fun year! A film I directed premiered in Portugal, and was nominated for an award. I started this blog from a little Instagram account and it continues to grow, which I’m eternally grateful for. I was vocal about the issues I face as a young person with a disability in Ireland, in the media, online and even on stage with TEDx. I marched for choice with ROSA. I turned 21, which was a really nice thing to celebrate with family and friends. I helped friends through tough times, and in return I got helped through my own stuff. There have been points in my life where we thought that we wouldn’t get to celebrate 21, so I made sure to put a lot of my energy into organizing the festivities. Spite is a wonderful thing.
As 2017 winds down, I've been looking back at the year I've had and making goals for the year ahead. I've left the list below!
Be more social: I’m guilty of being a workaholic. Due to access issues and my general preference for work over play, I rarely go out. I only have a few months of college left and I’m hoping to squeeze a bit more social time into those months. The past 3 years have been so fast paced because I’ve tried to take on so many big roles in projects. This year though I promised myself (and my PA who has had to talk me out of dropping out from stress far too many times) I’d take more of a backseat in my work, to put less pressure on myself. With two successful projects under my belt, I felt I had proved myself enough. Not that I was gonna lazy, but that I’d stop taking the leadership roles that I’d take in the past. So far, I’m enjoying it! It’s still stressful but nowhere near what it used to be. I’m hoping that, with the pressure off, I’ll be able to bring myself to go out and socialise a little more to get as much out of the last few months as possible. I have some gigs coming up in the next few months that will hopefully give me positive memories going into 2018!
Be kinder to myself: I am incredibly self-critical. I never think my work is up to the standard it should be, and if I make any kind of mistake I dwell on it FOREVER. I’m hoping to leave that in 2017. I’m gonna try give myself credit for my strengths and the positives rather than constantly focusing on the negatives. Whether I’ll manage that remains to be seen but that’s what resolutions are there for; to give yourself something to work towards
Listen to my body more: This ties into the first one a little. I love being busy and productive, to the detriment of my health sometimes. I’m gonna try and slow down a little, listen to my body more and really take care of it. I started that in a sense when I got a little healthier with my diet and started actually drinking water rather than living on tea (my teeth are glad of that). So hopefully, I can convince myself to take better care of myself rather than constantly being in busy mode. I say that as I look at my planner which is already majorly filling up…
Be more creative: I finished writing a poetry series this year that I’ve been writing for about a year and a half now. I’m hoping to convert that into two separate zines (one art, one photography) so I’m hoping that they can be the next fun project I do. I’m also adding a creator’s section to the blog, which will focus on creators within the chronic illness community. I’m hoping to work on more film stuff over the summer in between resolution number five
Travel: I graduate this year and I feel like it’s a rite of passage to travel afterwards. I’m heading to Amsterdam in March with my PA and then going away for a week in July (with someone or alone, I haven’t decided yet). I haven’t decided where yet either, but the family is heading away so I figured I’d do the same! I wanna see more of the world before settling down, and considering my health is doing so well I’d be silly not to take advantage of it. I’m probably gonna stick to Europe but I’m not ruling anything out just yet! I’ll be documenting everything no matter what so look forward to that in 2018!
Above all else, 2018 is a fresh start. I want to leave as much negativity as possible in 2017 and move forward from the unpleasant experience; and ultimately, replace them with positive ones. I’ve made some wonderful memories this year and met some wonderful people. I’ve opened books and closed them. I’ve fallen in love with myself, which is something I want to build on in 2018. I’ve broken and rebuilt. 2018 feels like it’s going to go great, and I hope that feeling comes through. 2017 seemed to test everyone, so here’s hoping for a better one in 2018. Practice self care, be selfish with your time. You deserve it.
What about you? What are your aspirations? Your goals? Get in touch!
Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you find everything you’re looking for in the year ahead!
From Wheelie Healthy HQ, I'd like to wish all of our followers & readers a very merry Christmas! Spoonies, remember to take it easy over the festive period, don't let the Christmas spirit compromise your health! Santa approves self-care!
As for the friends and family who read and support the blog, thank you! I've had a great few months writing and developing the blog & various social media accounts, so every supporter counts!
I'll be back close to the New Year to share my New Years resolutions, and I'll be writing a little piece on Christmas food as well!