Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Brain Fog Blips #1: Avoid the lobsters.

Brain fog is an ever-present companion for many people with disabilities, and most people have moments of brain fog when they are really tired, albeit often to a lesser degree.

I'm someone who gets a LOT of brain fog. To the point that I routinely reply to more complex enquiries with 'Sorry, I'm too foggy at the moment, I will get back to you in a few days.' And when having conversations with the uninitiated, I often explain in advance that sometimes the fog means I can't find the right words, so if I'm not making sense, don't worry, but do check what I mean!

I used to find it frustrating, but as I've got more used to it, I've come to accept that it's just one of my many quirks, and I can't get rid of it so I might as well enjoy it.

Recently I've had a few brain fog incidents which still make me chuckle a few weeks later so I thought I'd share them with you, as I'm sure many of you will relate to them and be as amused as I was by these #BrainFogBlips.

I was going to do just one post, but then I realised I have far too many moments for one post, so instead I'll share the first one now, and do new #BrainFogBlip images whenever the inspiration and fog combine suitably.

So here goes: #BrainFogBlip 1:

I was driving a car with a trailer while helping out with some woodland management. All was fine and fabulous. I'm getting really good at reversing with a trailer (well, really good by my not-so-good standards, anyway, and trees can cope with the odd scratch). However, attempting to reverse near the workshop where there were lots of random obstacles was quite a challenge.

"Just go straight, you'll be fine" my nephew says, looking at the angle of the trailer, but not the random timbers, rocks, and containers lining the narrow track.

"I know - I just need to avoid the lobsters!"

Image description: #BrainFogBlip. Stickman reversing a trailer in woodland, saying "I just need to avoid the lobsters....?...obstacles!" while a second stickman stands near, laughing, and imagining a big lobster on the track.

Pause. Reassess phrase. Err.....I think that should have been 'Obstacles' - I mean, lobsters is like nearly an anagram of the right word!

While the nephew howled with laughter before commenting "Yes, that's definitely Hannah!"

The image of giant lobsters obstructing the quiet woodland path still makes me chuckle.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

My 2 favourite hypermobility/PoTS hacks:

There are loads of tips and tricks for living with disability that only come with lived experience - sometimes our own experience, and sometimes others who've lived with similar conditions or symptoms and discovered things that work for them - which turn out to work for us too.

Anyways, this isn't a long blog. It's just two that I currently love. One newly discovered, and one newly remembered.

Picture: Hannah wearing a white T-shirt with small flowers on,
and hot pink arm warmers. And a smile.
As someone who loves soft warmth but is also heat intolerant due to PoTS, it makes the cooler weather somewhat tricky to cope with. Until: Arm warmers. They mean I can keep my arms snug without my torso overheating. And if it's a bit more chilly, a light scarf plus arm warmers is heaven. And I'd recommend looking on Etsy for arm warmers in your size - I found lots of nice ones on there last autumn - which have been brought back into use thanks to a fellow POTSy facebooker reminding me how awesome they are.

I have proper chunky knitted ones, and soft, thinner jersey ones. And all of them are long- otherwise my elbows get chilly. I usually wear black ones, I want a pair of blue ones, but hot pink have their place too!

2. Floor-based ironing.

Image: ironing board lying on the floor, with a shirt and an iron on,
and the knee and foot of someone sitting on the floor, using it.
Clearly this won't work for everyone, but it was a real light bulb moment for me. I have tried ironing standing up. Burns. Sitting down means board at wrong height. More burns. I literally hadn't done any for months. (except before my brothers wedding when I burnt my arm). Anyway, I was on holiday and having a wobbly legs day but wanted to wear a shirt that had got crinkled. And the ironing board was on the floor - so I plugged the iron in and found myself in a half crouch half kneel at the still folded ironing board - and it really worked! My body likes sitting on the floor and I could adjust my position easily and securely without needing much balance, and with minimal POTS aggravation!

So there you have it: Wearing arm warmers and crouching on the floor to do the ironing are my current favourite hacks.

Friday, 12 October 2018

New style keyring cards!

Today we launch the first few key ring cards in a new style!

They are exactly the same size and construction as the stripey cards we've been producing for years, but instead of bright and stripey, they are pastel and plain.

Why? Because some of our followers have been telling us that they love our work, but find the colours on the cards too bright.

So we mulled it over for more than a year, got inspiration a few months ago, got feedback on social media, finalised it a week ago....

....And they arrived today!

As stripey-border stock of cards gets low-ish we will be reprinting in plain-border. With over 150 card designs, it is likely to be months before we have the full range in the plain-border style. We will stock both border styles alongside each other. So when you chose a card that is available in plain, you will be asked to select stripey or plain.

We decided to use 4 colours on the new cards.
  • Lilac: Cards explaining a specific conditions.
  • Pale blue: Cards giving general information about symptoms or needs.
  • Pale turquoise: Cards that can be summarised as 'here and now, I am OK.'
  • Pale orange: Cards that can be summarised as 'here and now, I am not OK.'
With a few exceptions: The emergency cards will keep their bright red background, and the traffic lights cards will keep their strong red/orange/green. This is because, for these cards colour is an essential element of the communication they facilitate.

Some cards don't easily fit into a category, in which case we will do our best to allocate them a sensible colour.

We currently have 12 designs in this new style, and expect to print new ones every month or so.

You can find all the cards available so far in this new style here.

While our range of cards in this new style is very limited, we've added a new page to our website where we'll put all the cards available in this style in one place (as well as being able to select either stripey or plain border on the main product page).