Let’s talk… Mandalas and Meditation with Jen Smith

Jen Smith is a mandala artist, meditation teacher, and serial entrepreneur. She is a qualified social media trainer with over 10 years blogging experience and 5 years working in the digital marketing industry. Jen lives in the heart of the South Downs National Park in England, with her tabby cat Monty and fiancé Tim.

Meet Jen Smith.

Copyright Michelle Wildman

How has your own personal journey influenced your work and life choices? 

I remember a friend from university told me once that I was always striving and never happy with my lot. Too ambitious.

When I thought about it, she was right that I was always striving and ambitious, but I didn’t see it as a negative thing and I actually was happy with my lot, but I was curious to discover more. Push myself further. This meant I was constantly reading, learning and growing. It started with skills in my career and when I started my business it became self development – studying techniques like EFT and NLP to more spiritual practices like meditation. This has had such a positive effect on my life, most notably reducing anxiety.

It’s led me to a passion to make meditation accessible and easy for everyone. You don’t need to be a hippy, yogi or guru to meditate, anyone can do it and reap the physical and emotional benefits.

Copyright Michelle WildmanWhat inspired you to create Mandala Meditation and how did you get started? 

I was compelled to start drawing mandalas after seeing a friend on Facebook share pictures of mandala pebbles. I began creating and drawing them in front of the telly in the evening for pure fun. I quickly realised it quietened my mind and inner critic and I entered a meditative state whilst doing. I started to share this amazing byproduct with friends and clients and the interest I received was outstanding – and people asked me to share the process. That’s how it started and it’s gone from there!

Why is meditation so special to you? 

As a creative person and entrepreneur, my brain is always full of ideas, mulling over problems and thinking through projects. I love my thoughts, and spend a lot of time thinking but it can get frustrating at times and meditation gives me peace and quiet from that constant brain chatter. It has also massively reduced my anxiety, which after trying all sorts of treatments and therapies is a huge benefit.

Colour yourself happy.

Tell us about mandalas and how we can benefit from them?

Mandalas are cyclical designs that grow in layers as you repeat patterns around a central point. They’ve been used in eastern religions for thousands of years as a meditative tool. Not only are they beautiful and satisfying to draw from an aesthetic point of view, but the creation process is what helps you get into a meditative state. This is because you’re focusing your full attention on the action of drawing, helped by the repetition process.

It is also scientifically proven to satisfy both your left and right brain. Your right brain, the creative side, loves to see the bigger picture – the full mandala as it grows. Your left brain, the more analytical side, is nourished by the individual parts of the mandala. These two states are completely satisfied whilst drawing mandalas, heightening the meditative experience.

How do you help others with their Social Media? Copyright Michelle Wildman

My other business, Jen Smith Social Media, is the business I set up when I quit my job in London. I had hit rock bottom – working long hours and commuting 2 hours each way every day and so I decided to use the skills from my career in social media and marketing to help other business owners use social media more effectively. I still offer 121 training, ecourse, workshops and copywriting services and balance my time across both Jen Smith Social Media and Mandala Meditation.

How do you balance your spirituality with your day job? 

It’s funny to think, but I wouldn’t call my businesses a day job! But, to answer your question, I always start my day with a routine of meditation and gratitude journalling – listing all the things I’m grateful for, and the visions I have for my life. This gets me in the right headspace to work. In the evenings I usually am drawing mandalas – either in front of the telly or listening to music – this always makes me happy!

In three words what does cheese mean to you?

Cheese?! oooh curveball question!

  1. Favourite
  2. Jokes
  3. Haloumi

Copyright Michelle WildmanWhat does Holistic living mean to you? 

For me it means looking at developing and growing in all areas of your life and aiming for balance and appreciation in all areas.

What is your message to cynics, sceptics, and the intrigued? 

For the curious: explore and allow your own beliefs and ideas to come through and form. It’s ok to blend ideals, ideas and beliefs and formulate your own world view.

For the cynics and the sceptics: don’t knock it till you’ve tried it

Finally, what are your top five tips for self-love?

  1. Honour your intuition (you might call it your gut instinct). It is never wrong
  2. Act on inspiration and exciting ideas – don’t question them till you’ve implemented them
  3. Take time out for just you – a massage, hot bath, time reading, walking whatever. Be selfish, it’s the most unselfish thing you can do.
  4. Look for the activities that bring you most pleasure and find time to do them frequently (childhood passions are often a good place to start if you are stuck on ideas)
  5. Surround yourself with like minded friends – you’ll need them in times of doubt.

I heard an amazing quote from such a friend yesterday:

A true friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you’ve forgotten the words

Copyright Michelle Wildman

Click here for your free mandala colouring sheets.

Further Links:

(All images copyright Michelle Wildman.)



Are You Going Sober for October?

Fancy doing something amazing for people with cancer? By signing up to be a soberhero you can make a difference.

All the money raised by those Going Sober this October will make sure that Macmillan can be there to help even more people take back control from cancer. It will mean that they can be there right from the moment of diagnosis, through their treatment and beyond. It will mean they can be there to help give them the energy and support to take back control of their life.


The original alcohol free challenge ‘Dry July’ started in Australia in 2008 as a challenge amongst friends to raise funds for local cancer support services.

Running for 8 years now, Dry July has raised over AUD$24 million to benefit the lives of those living with cancer across Australia and New Zealand.

The team behind the original Dry July concept are extemely proud to team up with Macmillan Cancer Support to bring ‘Go Sober for October’ to the UK and help make a massive difference to the lives of people affected by cancer.

What are the other benefits to going sober this October?

Becoming a soberhero might not mean you have X-ray vision or you get to wear a cape (although you can if you want to). But not drinking does mean you’ll gain many heroic qualities, that us beer and wine drinking mere mortals can only dream of.

Staying off the booze (along with a few small improvements to your diet and exercise routine) can mean:

  • Increased energy levels, higher productivity
  • Clearer head
  • No more hangovers
  • Sleeping better / snoring less
  • Weight loss
  • Clearer skin
  • Healthier bank balance / Save money
  • Sense of achievement
  • Fresh approach to alcohol consumption
  • Generally feel healthier
  • Doing something positive for a good cause

It almost makes you feel better just reading that list doesn’t it? So there you have it: having 31 gloriously hangover-free days will not only see you raise lots of money to help people with cancer, you’ll also be doing good for your own health.

To find out more about how Go Sober can make positive changes to your lifestyle, click here.


No one said that being a sober-hero was easy. Only the bravest and most fearless heroes will see it through to November without any alcohol touching their lips.

Every superhero needs a sidekick and we want to be the Robin to your Batman. That’s why they have put these top tips together to make this 31 quest a little easier:

  • Sober-heroes assemble!
    You don’t have to go it along. Assemble a squad of the best, non-drinking soberheroes by inviting friends, family or work mates to join your Sober Squad.
  • You’re doing something heroic for people with cancer
    Even though going sober can be tough, just think of the people you’re doing it for. Your month off the booze will mean many people can take back control of their life from cancer. Focus on the cause to keep you strong.
  • Think of what you can achieve
    31 days of no alcohol means you’re doing something amazing for people with cancer – but you can also develop new powers for yourself. A clear head, better sleep, you may even be able to fly. (Sorry, we’ve just checked – it’s a no to the flying thing).
  • Send out the sober signal
    The world needs to know about your bravery. We think it should be on the front of all the newspapers but if you can’t do that send lots of emails and put it on Facebook. Tell everyone you know you’ve signed up to Go Sober. The more people that know you’re doing it, the more money you’ll raise.
  • A Golden opportunity
    Even a hero needs a night off sometimes so don’t forget about the Golden Tickets, your get out of jail card. A chance to have a night off, and a cheeky tipple or two.
  • TAXI!
    Become the most popular person in your group and be the Designated Dryver to your mates. (And remember to get them to donate to your taxi service).


And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Check out these Tools area for inspirational ideas and creative ways to raise awareness and let people know about the heroic challenge you’re taking on.

Stay strong, soberhero. You’re doing something incredible.

So, wanna get involved?

Everything is managed through the Go Sober website. From here you can Sign Up, make and receive donations, run your own profile page, create a team, go ‘Head-to–Head’ with a mate or colleague, see your national ranking, update your status and much more. We are also on Facebook and people can follow us on Twitter.


Feel free to donate to kick cancer’s butt – https://www.gosober.org.uk/profile/helenereinbolt

Guest Post: How to Heal Your Heartbreak and Find ‘The One.’ by Addictive Daughter

Of all the many addictions and obsessions that leave us feeling trapped – whether it’s drugs, shopping or even just Facebook stalking – what could be a more under-estimated affliction than that of love addiction?

Allow us to indulge you with a personal testimony to the power of this particular vice.

Learn how...


Both of us girls (the founders of addictivedaughter.com) used to be obsessed with dating Bad Boys. They were typically heavy drinkers, serial philanderers and emotionally unavailable.

Inevitably, these relationships never worked out.

Yet, we found ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, believing that we were destined to only ever fall for men who would eventually break our hearts, claiming that they were just our type.  As far as we were concerned, our love lives were essentially out of our control, because we could not help who we fell for.

It never dawned on us that we were actively choosing these toxic relationships as a way of avoiding having to look at what was really going on inside of us underneath all the romantic drama.

Because it is a choice, after all – who we give our hearts to; infatuation and obsession are decisions like any other, but we tend not to perceive them this way. This is because we are regularly bombarded with the Hollywood-ised perception of true love as being all-consuming and immersed with pain, suffering and heartache.

Yet, there came a point for both of us (after experiencing a crushing break-up one too many times), when we decided that this obsessive and addictive form of love was simply too painful and exhausting to fight for any longer.

There had to be a different way.


And – it turned out – there was.  It began by taking a very honest look at our own patterns in relationships. It was probably no coincidence that we kept being drawn to the same type of man that, for whatever reason, could never give us the love we so badly craved.

We realised that we had hopped from destructive relationship to destructive relationship, desperately looking for what was missing from within us – namely, a sense of self-worth and self-love.

It became apparent that the only way that we could ever hope to one day find a healthy loving relationship in the future, was to first develop one with ourselves.

From the murky depths of heartbreak, we began to focus all the energy that we had once used to obsess over relationships that were doomed from the start, into obsessively learning to love and respect ourselves wholeheartedly instead.

Ready for the best rel- (1)


After all, we had been more than willing to become fully addicted to our previous love interests – knowing full well it would only end in pain, so why not permit ourselves to become equally addicted to our own healing, safe in the knowledge that it could only be beneficial to our lives?  Without that other person to fix on, something needed to fill the empty void – it may as well have been ourselves.

After what we later dubbed our ‘summer of self-love’, whenever new love interests turned up on the scene (as they always do just as things are finally going well), we were not thrown off course by them as we always had been before. Our new-found self-worth was too precious a thing to throw away for what we used to sweepingly (and somewhat naively) refer to as love.

We took our time, assessed whether these potential suitors would benefit or hinder our lives, and only chose to commit when we felt sure these men valued us as much as we now valued ourselves.

The result of our new perspective on love?

Heal Your Heart


Well, one of us recently got married to a wonderful man, and the other is choosing to focus purely on her relationship with herself for the time being, and it feels great.

After seeing the huge benefits of examining and working on our own love lives, we felt called to share what we had learned with others out there struggling in romance.

If you’d like to learn the 3 step process we went through ourselves to turn our heartbreak into the best thing that’s ever happened to us, head over to heart-rehab.com – we’re sure you won’t regret it :)

Biggest love,

Persia & Joey 

Founders of addictivedaughter.com


Let’s Talk… Addictive Behaviours with Addictive Daughter

Let’s talk… Tarot, Spirit Guides, Angels and New Age Hipster with Vix

Originally from Australia now drinking a lot of decaf tea while living in Yorkshire, England, Vix is the creator of New Age Hipster.

New Age Hipster is more than just a website, it’s the idea that anyone can be spiritual. Whether you’re a corporate kind of chic, a student kickin’ it in Converse, a working Mom or a Stay at home Gypsy, everyone can connect with their intuition, chat with the Divine and live a magical life!

Meet Vix.

How has your own personal journey influenced your work and life choices? 

My personal journey has been very long and winding and I often wonder why the heck it took so long to get from where I started to where I am right now! I’ve been down many paths, but I know that even though at times it has seemed like I’ve been wondering aimlessly, I was always heading in the right direction. The trick is just to keep moving, even if you have no idea WTF you are doing with your life.

I’ve pursued many career paths over the years, from professional dancer to hotel housekeeper, Drama school student and special educational needs teacher and I’ve learned a hell of a lot from all of it. I got my first deck of tarot cards over ten years ago, and they’ve always been with me, helping me through tricky times, but I never imagined I’d be doing this as a real job! It’s bloody brilliant though. I’ve just always followed my path, whether I knew where I was going or not, and trusted my journey.

10997029_847457398668320_1101945357249977387_nWhat inspired you to create New Age Hipster and how did you get started? 

I was applying for a new teaching job and I bought a tarot reading off Etsy as I really needed some advice. The reading was terrible. The reader cut and pasted card definitions straight off the internet and the words she did type were full of typos and spelling mistakes, and on top of all that, the reading was totally inaccurate. I told one of my besties about it and she said “why are you even paying for readings when you can do it yourself?” It was the moment I realised that actually, I could do a hell of a lot better than the reading I’d just paid for! I did 100 free readings for randoms practicing and collecting feedback. When I finished I had 98% accuracy, and the other 2% were huge learning curves. So I opened up my Etsy store, and the rest, as they say, is history!

What does it really mean to be ‘spiritual’? 

For me being spiritual is about being free to believe in and follow any spiritual or religious path with love, light and without dogma. I love that I can talk to Jesus, hang out with Angels, read books about Buddha, dance with Faeries and then go and do some Numerology all in the same day! But really, I think spirituality is whatever it means to you. Maybe it’s just watching the sunset and being grateful for your life, you know?

Tell us about your love of Spirit Guides and Angels? Vix headshot

OMG I love them! Working with Guides and Angels is just so super easy. All you have to do is say – “hey guides, please can you help me out with this,” or “thanks Angels for helping me do this thing”. Spirit Guides are supposed to be spirits of people who had lives on Earth while Angels are said to never have had lives here, they’ve only hung out in the Angelic Realms. I’m not sure about that, because one of my main guides appears to me as a Native American woman with Angel wings and another one I’m pretty sure is some kind of Alien. I don’t think it matters who they are or where they’re from, as long as the energy is from love and light then it’s all good. Call them whatever you want, they seriously don’t mind. They told me “call us what you like, just call us”.

What could we expect from an intuitive reading with you?

My email readings are like a channelled download of messages from your Guides and Angels and my Skype or phone readings are pretty relaxed and informal, but full of golden nuggets of wisdom which I take no credit for personally, because it comes from your spiritual team. In a reading we can do whatever you want. You can ask me as many questions as you can in the time given, or we can look at one thing that’s happening in loads of detail. We can bust blocks, clear paths, pinpoint problems, identify past life issues, clear karma, find your life purpose, get you back on track, or just have a chat about woo woo stuff!

11693880_865693796844680_6441222615444224931_nWhat advice would you give to anyone wishing to get a bit more Woo Woo in their life? 

Follow your guidance. Read books that catch your eye. Subscribe to YouTube channels that resonate. Talk to your Guides, Angels, God, the Universe or whatever you want to call it, in the shower each morning. Do what feels good and works for you. Ignore what everyone else is doing and find your own path!

Oh and definitely keep your eyes out for my course – Woo Woo 101! It’s a spiritual boot camp for beginners and will cover a whole load of stuff for newbies, or anyone looking to learn more about all this spiritual stuff and how to make it all work for you.

What does Holistic living mean to you? 

It’s all about finding balance and giving love and attention to every part of your life. Having a decent work/life balance and cutting yourself a break if you screw it all up.

What is your message to cynics, sceptics, and the intrigued? 

Interestingly enough the biggest cynics I’ve encountered since starting New Age Hipster are people in the spiritual community who don’t like the way I’m doing it. My message is really that anyone can be spiritual, everyone can have a connection to the divine (or whatever you want to call it!) and the angels hear us all! If you don’t want to be connected, that’s totally fine too. I believe everyone is on their own journey and we should remember that often, I know I need to! Haha!

Finally, what are your top five tips for self-love?

  1. Stop reading women’s magazines, unless it’s Psychologies or you need them for your vision board
  2. Write a gratitude list, of things you are grateful for about yourself!
  3. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re beautiful, even if you don’t believe it… at first!
  4. Find one place in your house that has flattering lighting for a selfie and take them often
  5. Put your own oxygen mask on first


Further Information

Let’s talk…Fasioneyesta: Bridging the Gap Between Fashion and Sight Loss with Emily Davison

Emily Davison is a fan of writing, fashion, beauty, culture, history, disability awareness. She is an English Literature Student, Writer, Astronomer, columnist for the Huffington Post Uk , reporter on RNIB’s Insight Radio and the Founder of fashioneyesta.com. She has been severely vision impaired since birth.

Fashioneyesta is an online Fashion and Lifestyle blog for people with sight loss aiming to bridge the gap between fashion and disability and seeks to change people’s perceptions towards disability.

Meet Emily Davison.

What inspired you to create Fashioneyesta and how did you get started? 

Starting Fashioneyesta all came about for a number of reasons. For one, my mother worked in the cosmetics industry made me interested in personal appearance and looking one’s best. Another reason, a few friends of mine who had sight loss and asked for fashion and beauty advice then suggested the idea of me starting a blog. But, the driving force behind Fashioneyesta was after I received a comment from someone from the general public, which was that I ‘didn’t look blind.’ I started to wonder what this person actually meant. When I dug deeper and started to receive more comments like this I realised a crucial thing about sight loss, that people assume people with sight loss are unfashionable. After that I decided to create a blog to serve as two things, a place of fashion and beauty advice for people like me, as well as a place to change negative stereotypes towards sight loss and other disabilities.

I began my blog, deciding on a name, a design and what sort of content I was going to write. I tried out a few blogs and realised I hugely enjoyed writing about fashion, beauty and disability. I began to make YouTube videos, I started to create a social network and the rest is history!

How has your own personal journey influenced your work and life choices?  

My disability and the struggles it has challenged me to have hugely influenced my writing and my outlook on society. I never want to be completely moulded by my disability and be defined merely as ‘the blind girl’ or ‘the disabled person’ but as ‘Emily’ or ‘Fashioneyesta.’ However that isn’t to say that my disability hasn’t had an impact on my ethos on life, identity and the world.

My disability has made me think outside the metaphorical box, it has made me consider diversity and the way people are different. The smallest things play into my mind now and when I make a video I consider how disability is diverse for everyone and that not all disabilities are one and the same.dsc01042

Growing up with Septo Optic Dysplasia has meant that I had a rather tough ordeal at school facing misconceptions and ridicule. It also meant that people were not as understanding towards my sight loss as they perhaps could have been. My condition was incredibly rare at the time and still is to a huge extent and so people were not aware of my needs. In some ways my disability was invisible and that meant a huge struggle to being provided with the things I would need, like accessible technology and to have my peers educated about disability.

Now at the age of 21 I am determined that no child should ever feel as lacking in confidence and as isolated as I felt as a child. My ambition is to educate children about disability and to help children with disabilities to accept themselves for their differences. This goal has spurred me on to study for a BA Honours Degree in English Literature and this year I will be taking up a Masters in Children’s Literature to help me learn what I need to know about childhood and the way children think and interact with books. In the future I hope to write books of my own full of adventure, humour, questions that ask us to think about who we are as people, and disabled characters that are identifiable to the young minds that may read of their escapades.

How would you describe your personal style, and what are the three fashion accessories you couldn’t be without? 

My personal style changes slightly from day to day. I would say as a whole I am very feminine in the way I dress but I have a firm love of the bohemian style. I think one of the reasons I have a fondness for it is because it incorporates and embraces elements from around the world from Europe, Africa, Asia and America. I love to embrace different cultures and ideas and I believe my clothes should translate that. Clothes can be an extension of our psyche and our thoughts. I choose to represent my love of nature, diversity, creativity and my love of different ideas through what I wear. Whether that’s a fox print scarf, a pendant depicting a seashell or a brooch with a certain quote on it. My clothes reflect who I am and what I stand for as person.

The first fashion accessory I couldn’t live without is a scarf, I think patterned, coloured scarves add so much dimension and anchoring to an outfit. I have many scarves, animal prints, leaf prints, and paisley prints;  pashminas; silk scarves; woolen scarves; decorative scarves; and more. They are a staple to my outfits and can transform the most dull outfit into something special.

The next fashion accessory is an embroidered shrug. I have a turquoise one that I adore, it is embroidered with sequins fashioned into butterfly wings. I can wear it day or night with jeans and a t-shirt or with a black dress. It’s a very tactile, sensory themed garment which is why I love it and it’s perfect for those days when I’m feeling rather uninspired with the fashion scene and can’t put an outfit together.

The final fashion accessory must have for me is my Michael Kors Jetset tote in red. It’s my essential bag as a blogger, university goer and general traveler. It holds all of my items I need and has a padded space for my laptop.


What actions do you feel the fashion world needs to take in order to make fashion more accessible to those with disabilities? 

There are plenty of things that the fashion industry needs to do when considering disabled people.

The first and foremost is that more models with disabilities need to be represented In fashion brand campaigns and catwalks. I would love to see disabled models on a catwalk or new season clothing range advert, not just as a ‘feature’ on disabled models but as a fundamental part of the casting to represent the disabled community.

I also think that online clothing stores and websites need to pay closer attention to making their technology accessible. I would like to see more shopping apps being developed to enable people with sight loss to access clothing by scanning a barcode on a clothing item.

I believe it’s very important that more shops are aware of disabled customers when considering layout in customer service. Having a brightly lit, open plan space with large changing rooms, and staff who are aware of disabled customers, would hugely help more people with disabilities to engage in the fashion industry.

I would also encourage fashion brands, companies and designers to have more disabled people in the workplace. Having disability representation in the work environment of the fashion industry would also be a hugely positive step to cultivating a healthier society, with better ideas of disability.

How are attitudes to vision impairment and other disabilities beginning to change?   

Over the past few years we are beginning to see a huge development in the way perceptions towards disabilities are beginning to change. For one, thanks to Scope’s #EndTheAwkward campaign, we are beginning to see people from the general public adopt a more relaxed vibe towards disability.

For me personally, I feel as if I helped to start off a chain on the social media scene. After my blog began three years ago I have started to see a lot more disabled bloggers and YouTubers online. Three years ago I couldn’t imagine people accepting the notion of a visually impaired fashion and beauty blogger. However, it appears I was mistaken as three years into my blog I have a huge following and support network from people with and without sight, disabled and non-disabled.

I have even been told that I inspired certain bloggers to start their own blogging journey, which I am overjoyed about. Because disabled people are having a presence on social media people are starting to engage with disabled people more and take an interest in the things we have to say.

Of course there is a huge way to go for disability to become fully accepted into society but if people carry on getting their opinions out into the world it will happen sooner than we think.

What are the main challenges you still face regularly?11666064_726172724157727_4088336943294071590_n 

One of the main challenges I usually come across is people’s misconceptions towards disability. People often assume things about my slight loss and about my capabilities. I often get comments like ‘do you need your guide dog?’ or ‘are you able to work?’. It’s society’s misunderstanding towards disability that poses my biggest challenge to overcome. But, all one can do is smile, remain calm and educate.

What are your key pieces of advice to anyone wishing to start blogging or campaigning?  

  • Focus on the things that interest, inspire and motivate you. Don’t work on a topic you have no interest in, as this will translate in your writing and campaigning.
  • Only write when you feel inspired – don’t force it.
  • Remain consistent. The one thing about being a blogger is that you have to remain consistent with your writing and content. Keep your readers in the loop and try and keep to a schedule as best you can.
  • Be a diplomat, with blogging and campaigning, especially where disability is concerned it is very important to remain as polite and inoffensive as possible. Try and consider all minority groups and consider everyone in your writing. If you are unsure about something you write invite people to contribute their opinions so that your readers can educate you and fellow readers.
  • Be individual. Don’t steal other people’s ideas, and if you do get an idea for a blog from another person be sure to credit them.
  • Keep going. Don’t lose heart if you don’t get the immediate reception you want. It takes time and patience.

dsc00712Tell us about your love of astronomy? How can it be made more accessible for those with a vision impairment? 

Astronomy has been something I have enjoyed for many, many years ever since I saw my first Planetarium show at the age of 8. I was fascinated with the scale of our Universe, the discovery of new planets, and theoretical ideas of traveling through space like time travel and teleportation and the objects of the sky like stars, galaxies and nebulas.

I was the first person with a visual impairment to receive a GCSE in astronomy from the Greenwich Royal Observatory. A year later I took a course in Traveling Through Space and Time and later next year I plan to take a course in an Introduction to Astrophysics.

I personally think that Astronomy is one of the fundamental subjects we should learn about, after all it explains a lot about the world and how we live. A charity called the Living Paintings Trust produced a tactile audio guide of the Universe, for blind and partially sighted teens, which I helped to produce. It’s a great starting point for anyone interested in astronomy with sight loss. However, I do believe that more courses in astronomy should be developed for visually impaired people. More tactile models of the Universe should be made to help visually impaired people get a sense of the scale of the planets, the solar system and objects in our galaxy. I also believe that more astronomy apps and websites should be made more accessible to people with sight loss.

What is your main message about vision impairment in today’s world?  11743004_731525233622476_4765914957360293394_n

Visual impairment doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t ‘see’ anything both in a physical and spiritual level. Not everyone who is sight impaired is fully blind or has to use glasses. Equally, visual impairment may mean that you lack sight but you don’t lack in ideas, vision or ambition. The world can be perceived on so many levels through the way we smell the wet grass on a rainy morning, or the way we hear the sound of a car rushing by. The senses are a huge part of our empirical understanding and there isn’t merely the one sense of sight. Sight loss doesn’t equate to ignorance, nor does it equate to non-creativity. Sight loss challenges a person to use their other senses to perceive the world around them. People with sight loss are still sentient human beings with ideas, dreams and emotions and their sight merely means that they experience things in a variety of ways. If you are sight impaired, or you ever come across someone who is sight impaired, embrace it don’t disgrace it.

Finally, what are your top five tips for self-love?

  1. Don’t measure yourself up to other people or by other people’s standards. You are the best version of yourself and you are completely unique.
  2. Think about the things you can do and do have and not about the things that you don’t have or can’t do.
  3. Do something everyday that makes you happy.
  4. Don’t waste time thinking about the one negative comment you received but the many positive comments you get from people who know, love and respect you.
  5. Eat cake (or something tasty of your choice) and stop worrying about carbs. You only live once!

Further Information: