Monday, 19 January 2015

Exhibition planning!

It's official.

Im going to the 'Kidz in the middle' exhibition on the 19th March 2015 at the RICOH arena in Coventry.

My first major indoor disability exhibition.

I'm listed on the website and everything!

I went to the one in Reading as a visitor a while back and absolutely loved it. So now I'm starting to plan the stand and work out how to get the most out of the day.

I turned to google for advice -  'Top tips for exhibition stands' and the like.

But most of it was either stuff I'd already thought of - or not applicable. My favourite being "Don't sit down because it looks unprofessional". Chuckle. If you think my sitting is unprofessional, you should see my standing!

So I have returned to stand planning my way. Getting everything sorted early on so that when I arrive to set up the day before everything is planned, and everything has a home.

So far I've drafted a brochure showing all my keyring cards, sorted by topic, which will be displayed on a flip-poster stand-y thing. (I know what I mean!) A positive side effect is that I also now have a downloadable brochure of cards for customers to download and browse through or show to others.

If I sell all my products I'll clutter the stand, so I'll take samples of most things that people can play and hand out 10% off vouchers for online orders. And just have a few key items for sale. Like:

  • the Autistic Spectrum keyring card pack because I have had really positive feedback recently from parents and school teachers.
  • And the 'Positive Accessibility Symbol' stickers. Because happy, lively depictions of disability that are relevant to kids are few and far between - what better place to sell them than at a kids exhibition? Which probably means that most of my 'differently normal' stuff might need to come too.
  • And my children's books 'Welly Walks' and 'Biscuit Baking' - again, the general lack of positive, joyous, normal depictions of disability makes me want every child to read them,
  • And the 'Today is..' wristbands because these are one of my favourite (and best selling) items - so simple and yet such an effective communication tool.

And design posters showing my product types....

....and probably change my mind in 2 weeks.

All without visually overloading my 2x3m stand....I think I have my work cut out!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

"My kingdom for a fork!"

Not long ago I tried out some adaptive cutlery at my local Independent Living Centre.

It is one of those things that will probably only make sense if the pain and effort of picking up your knife and fork to eat dinner makes 'curl up and whimper' seem a sensible thing to do.

Suddenly a whole new world of actually eating dinner without having to down-tools every few seconds was tantalisingly close.

Unsurprisingly, I placed an order with the CompleteCareShop, opting for the Newstead angled knife and fork, and an easigrip sharp knife. (And a garden fork - but I haven't tried that out yet.)

But I had to wait for delivery - with every meal after placing the order accompanied by a little song of hope in my head perhaps soon the parcel will come! Perhaps tomorrow I can eat without so much pain!- A song which I admit became increasingly desperate.

Then yesterday, after a few days away, my hands were in a bad state...and the rest of me was an exhausted zombie. I had to eat but the only microwave meal in the house had a chicken breast in it. The very thought of cutting it made me want to weep. Oh well, I'd just have to eat what I could....

In that 8 1/2 minutes between putting it in the microwave and hearing the ping, my cutlery arrived! And yes, it really is that fabulous!

It felt a bit weird to start with, and takes a different technique, but for probably the first time in weeks I was able to eat a whole meal without a) getting someone else to cut it, and b) having to keep putting my cutlery down.

Ok, so cutting an overcooked chicken breast isn't exactly chopping up steak, but for someone who has been defeated by a mushroom, it's a near superhuman feat :D

[Note to any members of the Hypermobility Syndromes Association: The company PETA UK have some cooking utensils with similar grips, and the gardening tools too. HMSA members get 10% off! (I only remembered this after buying them elsewhere. Duh!) ]