disability

Wheelchair with fleece lined cover attached

Keep Warm & Cosy With This Fleece Lined Cover – Review

Keep Warm & Cosy With This Fleece-Lined Cover – Review. A friend suggested I try this fleece-lined lower-body wheelchair cover as my legs are always cold, which causes me a lot of pain. Which is made worse when out and about, especially in cold weather. I have been using this cover for almost a week now. It’s probably the best product I have tried to date. So I wanted to share my experience with you.

The Product

Keep Warm & Cosy With This Fleece Lined Cover - Review Main wheelchair cover image

There were two items on Amazon (no, I’m not affiliated) practically identical. One was cheaper than the other, but didn’t look as good quality, therefore, I decided to go with this one. I am extremely happy with the one I purchased: Wheelchair Cover

It’s advertised as being suitable for people up to 5ft 9″ max. I would disagree with this. I’m 5ft 2″ and if I pull the cover up so the sides are at my waist (which is where I would expect them to be) I find my feet are hitting on the bottom inside of the cover (without shoes on), leaving me very little room for shoes or movement.

The back part of the cover has two elastic loops which you can put over your wheelchair backrest handles. I’m in an electric wheelchair, therefore, as I have no handles on my chair, I’ve had to use straps that I already had to attach to the loops (link at bottom of the page). Then I tie them around the bar behind my backrest. I do advise utilising these loops as they keep the cover in place whilst transferring in and out of your chair.

As we all know, it’s extremely expensive at present to put our heating on, therefore I use my fleece-lined cover even while sitting indoors. I also have a fleece-lined shawl that I wear with my lower body cover (link at bottom of the page) and I have found this allows me to sit indoors without having to put my heating on as often.

The outer cover is waterproof (the reason for me purchasing this). I have not used it in the rain as yet but it certainly looks like it will work well.

Using The Cover

This cover comes up to your waist area (depending on your height) with an extra bit that goes up the backrest part of your wheelchair. As I previously mentioned, the backrest has two loops attached so it can be hooked over the handles of a wheelchair. I find this helps the cover stay on your chair while transferring in/out of my wheelchair. I use velcro straps to attach the loops to my chair as I use an electric chair without handles.

The Lining

The lining is made of fleece. I find it to be extremely warm, my legs feel like I just got out of bed which they never feel that way during the day.  I did notice the first couple of times using this, the fluff transferred quite easily onto my clothes. The cover is washable, I’ve washed mine and it survived very nicely!

The bottom of the cover is almost an oval shape with no fleece lining on the inside. This makes sense as this is where your shoes would sit. This obviously would prevent dirt, muddy water etc from dirtying the inside fleece.

The Zip

There is a piece of string sewn into the front of the cover at the top. On the other end, you can tie it to the zip loop.  I find the string extremely useful as I don’t have to bend down to my feet area to grab the zip loop to close the cover. The zip is so easy to open, as all you have to do is gently pull apart the cover and the zip will slide down smoothly, meaning once again, no bending down needed. There is a loop on the inside and outside of the zip.

The cover doesn’t come completely apart, in the respect that the zip will open the cover to the bottom but the zip is sewn into the bottom. This way, you never have to start the zip off as it is always ready to go. Hopefully, the image below will show you what I mean.

One thing I will say, however, is that when trying to use the string to pull the zip up, I find it pulls the cover with it which doesn’t allow the zip to close. What I do, is use a foot to hold the cover down at the bottom of the zip while pulling on the string to close the zip.  I find this works a treat.

Conclusion

I’ve knocked off one star as the inside pocket is not placed correctly for proper use, something I would have used had I been able to. The pocket seems to be almost around my back and too low down for me to be able to use.

Other than that, I would highly recommend this cover as it is very warm and it will protect your legs in wet weather. Go on, treat yourself, I did lol.

Links
Velcro Straps
Fleece Shawl

If you would like to work with me don’t hesitate to Contact Me.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Feature image with 2 star rating of Brighton Hilton Metropole

A Nightmare for Accessibility: My Experience at Hilton Metropole Brighton

A Nightmare for Accessibility: My Experience at Hilton Metropole Brighton – My daughter and I stayed here for a weekend convention. We were looking forward to staying here as it looked very grand and all the rooms had just been renovated. Unfortunately, this is probably one of the worst hotels for accessibility that I have stayed at!

Lifts were too narrow, no heating around the hotel and the restaurant was not available. Renovations happening and raised thresholds in all the doorways. The list goes on and on! My accessible room only had two accessible features: A wet room and red alarm cords.

We had this weekend booked months in advance as it was a convention for our favourite show (Supernatural) and one of the main stars was going to be there. Excited is very much an understatement of how we were feeling.

The Hotel

A Nightmare for Accessibility: My Experience at Hilton Metropole Brighton

Our first issue was parking! We could not use the hotel own’s car park as my van (WAV) would not fit in the underground car park. This meant we could not benefit from the discount offered by the convention organisers. Also, hubby had to take us & pick us up as parking anywhere else was just too expensive! Prices of other car parks are anything from £25 a night!

The entrance to the hotel was very difficult. There was a ramp up to the main revolving door. There was a single door on either side of the revolving doors but these were very narrow. When we arrived, both these doors were locked. My daughter had to go into reception to ask for some help. The first door opened inwards, then directly after that, a second door opens towards you before you enter the foyer. Very difficult to do if you were on your own.

Once inside, first impressions are good. The hotel looks very clean and upmarket. Check-in was easy, I can’t fault the staff in any way, they are all very polite, friendly and helpful. The hotel is advertised as having 340 rooms. When I spoke to the hotel, I was told they have 9 accessible rooms but don’t quote me on that as at the time they were being renovated and things may have changed.

The hotel features advertised:
  • Connecting Rooms
  • Digital Key
  • Spa
  • Beach
  • On-site restaurant
  • Indoor pool
  • Fitness centre
  • Pet-friendly rooms
  • Room service
  • Meeting rooms
Available accessible features include:
  • Accessible meeting rooms
  • Audible alerts in elevators
  • Bathroom doors at least 32 inches wide
  • Bedroom doors at least 32 inches wide (812 mm)
  • Braille elevator
  • Cutlery with oversized or adapted handles
  • Digital alarm clock available with sound and a vibrating pad
  • Disabled parking
  • Elevator buttons lowered
  • There’s an Emergency Call Button on the Phone
  • Emergency pull cords bedside bed & bathroom
  • Evacuation chair is available to help evacuate a disabled person
  • Grab bars in the bathroom
  • Hotel complies with ADA Guidelines
  • Induction Loop System available at reception & in meeting rooms
  • Inflatable chair is available to assist in getting in and out of a bath
  • Large Print Menus
  • Level or ramp entrance into the building
  • Lowered emergency evacuation instructions
  • Public Areas/Facilities accessible for physically challenged
  • Roll-in Shower
  • Rooms accessible to wheelchairs (no steps)
  • Serv support animals welcome
  • Strobe alarms
  • Swimming pool hoist for pool access
  • Vibrating fire alarm available
  • Visual alarm for hearing impaired/Visual alarms for hearing impaired in hallways & public areas
  • Wheelchair ramp for lobby/reception access

Some of their accessible features need reassessing, for example. Their disabled parking is not accessible to WAV drivers. The lifts were far too small, ok you can access them but if you’re a wheelchair user, there is only room for you and one other person. Grab bars in the bathroom for me were useless!

Hotel Access

We found the lifts in the foyer to be extremely small in size, there were two of them. Actually we found all the lifts to be very small. It didn’t help they all have floor-to-ceiling blankets on all sides as part of the hotel was still being renovated. My daughter and I just fitted into them! My wheelchair is a small chair (16×16), I don’t know how anyone using the lift in a bigger chair managed it.

Corner room door with raised threshold

Due to the layout of the hotel and our room being on the 2nd floor, this made navigating around the convention very tiring and time-consuming. We would have to take a lift down to the foyer, which at times took forever. Then travel around to the back of the hotel to another lift (which was smaller again) to get upstairs to the mezzanine floor (foyer lifts didn’t go to that floor). Again, this could take forever as all attendees are practically leaving and arriving to/from talks, photo ops, autograph sessions etc. at the same time,

I found the hotel was cold throughout the whole weekend. This played havoc with my chest and circulation in my legs. The only time I was warm was when I was in bed, which I have to say was rather comfy.

There were doorway thresholds throughout the hotel and in our accessible room, which were all raised causing you to bump over each one and some were more violent than others. I have a powered chair and found them difficult and painful.

Our Room

I found the room to be inadequate as far as accessibility goes. I encountered many issues with our room considering the hotel has just had a complete renovation in all its rooms:

  • Raised thresholds in doorways causing pain in my back
  • No table at wheelchair height – One large round table at knee height. Also prevented safe transferring on/off the bed
  • Not enough grab rails – One on each side of the shower seat but quite low, none at a higher level
  • Grab rails chrome & round – This made them slippery and difficult for me to grab. A silicone cover needs to be added
  • Dim lighting – The room was very dark – The only lights were the two bedside lamps and a lamp in the corner of the room and one just inside the room door (overhead). Windows didn’t let in much light either
  • Safe at the top of the wardrobe, too high for a wheelchair user
  • No clothes rail at all – In what I assumed to be the section of the wardrobe meant for hanging clothes, there was no rail, so you couldn’t hang anything at all
  • The bedside table blocked access to the wardrobe – The wardrobe was in the corner of the room. There was a bedside table in between that prevented access to the wardrobe
  • Light switches too high
  • The room was at the end of the corridor in the corner making it difficult to use the key card and open the heavy door
  • Room temperature control not accessible by a wheelchair user – This was sat against the wardrobe and as the round table also sat next to the wardrobe, again it prevented access
  • The bathroom mirror is too high
  • No finger basin/sink close to the toilet

Staff

I can not fault the hotel staff in any way (shame can’t be said about a certain member of staff from the convention side). Every member of staff I interacted with was polite, friendly and willing to be as much help as possible.

One member of staff from reception (I wish I had got her name), was absolutely lovely as she went out of her way to get me a table I could use in my room. This made all the difference to my being able to function in the room from taking my medication, drinking, eating & brushing my hair.

Hotel Food

Their Salt Room wasn’t open and their advertised on-site restaurant was only open for breakfast. I was told the restaurant was only for special bookings and had to be made 48 hours in advance. The bar serves afternoon tea and all-day casual dining. I personally found the food choices in the bar to be poor and not sufficient enough to be the only place to have a meal all over the weekend. The only other food we had were food huts upstairs when things were happening convention-wise, which served hot dogs & burgers.

I felt the food was very overpriced and what we didn’t know, was that the bar was adding a 12.5% service charge to every order. There was supposedly a sign up at the bar, not helpful for those having table service.

Breakfast was held in the main restaurant. There was any amount of food you could wish for, from toast and cereal to a full English breakfast, all buffet style. Tea, coffee and juices were also available.

Conclusion

The hotel is very clean, with nice enough decor (not my taste). Breakfast was very good but a shame nothing substantial to eat for dinner. Considering this hotel has just had all its rooms renovated, you would think this would give them the perfect opportunity to get accessibility spot on. Instead, it is practically non-existent. I also spent the whole weekend frozen! For these reasons, I would never stay here again!

I’m due to stay in their Birmingham hotel for another convention later this year, I have been assured by other convention goer’s that the Birmingham one is much more accessible and better on the whole. Fingers crossed.

If you would like to work with me don’t hesitate to Contact Me.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Links

Hilton Hotels
Starfury Events

cartoon strip about my experience of Hilton hotel
Cazbarr - Family sitting on a sofa with an empty wheelchair beside them

Wheelchair Life – Is This A Fate Worse Than Death?

Society tells us that being in a wheelchair is terrible, a fate worse than death! Telling a wheelchair user “how terrible it must be to be stuck in that” or “how they couldn’t/wouldn’t want to be in a wheelchair themselves!” IS NOT COOL!!

Ableds have no idea of what it’s like to be a wheelchair user, so what gives them the right to tell us how awful it is? I’m here to tell you my story of how I became a full-time wheelchair user & why I disagree with the above statements!

How I Became A Full-Time Wheelchair User

Cartoon Cazbar sitting in a wheelchair with tank tyres

I became a full-time wheelchair user roughly 20 years ago. I was born with (Arthrogryposis) and walked using calipers until becoming a full-time wheelchair user. Unknown to me (because my disability is very rare and still is today), Scoliosis can be a side effect of my disability. Scoliosis caused so much pain in my back, it prevented me from walking completely.

My back was getting worse & worse and my ability to walk was becoming more & more difficult. I visited the doctor who referred me to the pain clinic. Which in all honesty, from my own experience and from hearing others, is pretty much a waste of time. It’s like a stopgap so “statistics” look better than they really are. As I got no joy or relief from there, I was referred to Orthopaedics.

It was through them I had facet joint injections in my spine, which only worked for 3 days. Then it was onto radiofrequency facet joint injections but this didn’t work at all.

Since then, the medical profession has seemingly washed its hands off me. They ceased contact with me. No advice on how to deal with the pain outside of taking painkillers.

Fearful

Facing the rest of my life in a wheelchair was daunting & scary. There is no escaping that, no matter how positive of a person you are and I would class myself as a pretty positive person. Nobody wants to be disabled but…..I do believe being born with a disability is easier to deal with than becoming disabled later on in life. I’ve experienced both! I was born with my disability and grew up knowing no different. Later in life, I had my independence taken away from me. I now had something to compare to. I now had to grieve the life/independence I lost.

At this point in time I was 33 years old with a son aged 12. I was used to doing everything for myself and my son. I was terrified as to how I was going to cope in general. How was I going to look after my son? I had no choice but to find other ways of achieving what I could do previously!

I’m not going to tell you life in a wheelchair is wonderful and a bed of roses. It isn’t! But it’s most certainly not a fate worse than death! Yes, you have to be a resilient & determined person. A problem-solver! As life throws many curve balls that we (disabled people) must navigate on a daily basis. Live with the knowledge that in most cases, there is always a solution to these curve balls.

I know it’s hard, but it’s not what you’ve lost that counts, it’s what you have left.

Billy Isle – Amputee & atrificial limb manufacturer

Coping

Wheelchair Life - Is This A Fate Worse Than Death? - Male wheelchair user playing wheelchair basketball.

All in all, I would say it took me around the year mark to finally accept I was now a full-time wheelchair user. Learning how to do simple tasks would make me scream and cry every time! These tasks were now more difficult and took 3 times as long to accomplish. I not only had to learn how to do things from a sitting down position but I had to deal with my poor strength in my arms and hands. This made lifting and opening things difficult and painful. I was also in a manual chair which made self-propelling impossible. I felt useless and a burden. (Even the strongest of us can wonder if it is worth it)……But I can tell you, YES, IT BLOODY WELL IS!!!

Everyday life as a wheelchair user can be difficult when society & infrastructure prevents me from doing what I want but thankfully the good far outweighs the bad. The saying: “I’m only disabled due to societal barriers” is probably one of the truest sayings I’ve ever heard! If I’m visiting a venue and the only entrance is by steps, then I cannot enter. If there was more education & understanding about disabilities, I wouldn’t feel so self-conscious about my physique caused by my weak & miss-shaped bones. (I get extremely embarrassed when I shake hands or have to hand over money to a cashier as people either pull away or let money fall onto the counter).

My husband was a massive help throughout all of this. He would be positive when I wasn’t. Helped me come up with solutions that helped me complete tasks I would struggle with. In fact, he still does today. I have asked him many times to help me come up with a solution to a problem I may have.

Accepting

Being a wheelchair user has not stopped me from doing what I wanted to do. I’ve been to many places and done different things, from, Scuba Diving, a long weekend to Vegas to see Billy Idol in concert, Cruising 3 times with a 4th in the pipeline. All giving me wonderful memories that I can tell to my 4 grandchildren (at present lol). More planning is needed of course but it is so worth it!

I had to learn how to redo many things, including the simplest of things like making a cup of tea to getting dressed, all from a sitting down position. I would go to stand up and suddenly realise that I couldn’t. This tortured me every time and made me so frustrated and angry. I would take it out on anyone close to me at the time. Understanding this is all quite normal and part of the healing process is where more understanding needs to come into play. I know this helps as I (unknowingly) needed to know this after my heart attack. Just knowing other people feel the same way and that what you’re experiencing is normal can be half the battle.

Friends and family (and ourselves) forget we are grieving the loss of our old life, this grief is just like any other grief. It takes time to deal with this grief. You will go through many emotions on a daily basis. With a positive attitude and time, you WILL get there. You will learn to adapt to your new way of life!

The longer I was a wheelchair user with limited strength and grip, the more help I needed. I needed help with showering, dressing & cooking. Sitting down made tasks much harder for me than they were when I was able to stand.

Life Changes

Being a wheelchair user means (as I’ve said previously) you must learn to do things differently than you once did. This can also mean adapting your home. Unfortunately, if you own your own home, there is little to no help that you can get financially, or from your council. You have to do everything yourself. If you are a council or housing association tenant, they should be able to help you.

Your first port of call though should be to get yourself an OT (Occupational Therapist). Occupational therapy aims to improve your ability to do everyday tasks if you’re having difficulties. You can get occupational therapy free through the NHS or social services, depending on your situation. You can:

You can also pay for it yourself. The Royal College of Occupational Therapists lists qualified and registered occupational therapists.

How Can An OT Help

Occupational therapy can help you with practical tasks if you:

  • are physically disabled
  • are recovering from an illness or operation
  • have learning disabilities
  • have mental health problems
  • are getting older

Occupational therapists work with people of all ages and can look at all aspects of daily life in your home, school or workplace. They look at activities you find difficult and see if there’s another way you can do them.

Source: NHS UK

Benefits

I am in no way gonna enter the minefield of DWP benefits but, you may well be entitled to some benefits. These could include, PIP, ESA, Universal Credit and if you have someone who helps/cares for you on a daily basis, they may be entitled to a carer’s allowance. The best people to talk to is Jobcentre Plus where they have all the up-to-date information.

Don’t miss out on what you are entitled to, JCP will not voluntarily tell you what you can claim for. Speak to other disabled people to find out what other benefits there might be. Another good source of information is the CAB.

Body & Mind

The words mental health on top of blank scrabble tiles.

Some of you reading this are thinking, I could never do that! I couldn’t cope! Let me tell you this, at first, yes it’s extremely hard to accept you need help after being so independent, I know! But once you get past this stage and you will, it does get easier, to the point of it becomes normal every day.

Mindset is paramount though, having a positive mental attitude really is the key to your coping and accepting. Another extremely important thing is to have supportive and understanding people in your life. This includes family. I was very fortunate to have family around me that were supportive and understanding. Something else that is crucial, counselling and/or supportive groups. I was sceptical until my heart attack and I joined a counselling group. This helped me understand that my feelings and attitude were very normal.

You either get better or you get bitter. It’s simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you!

Josh Shipp

Don’t let negativity in your life wherever possible, especially in your transition stages. It will hold your progress back!

My Final Thoughts

I’m living my life no differently than anyone else. I have a roof over my head, and food on the table that I am extremely grateful for. My family of two wonderful grown-up kids. I go visiting my grandkids, I holiday, I have friends, I socialise and I have sex! Would I say this is a fate worse than death? HELL NO!! Even with the trials & tribulations of daily life and some of society’s attitudes…..I seriously wouldn’t change a thing.

Links

If you would like to work with me don’t hesitate to Contact Me.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cartoon strip illustrating a person becoming a full=time wheelchair user
Sistaco mineral bond nail set

Is Sistaco Nail Set The Solution For People With Dexterity Issues? – Updated!

Is Sistaco Nail Set The Solution For People With Dexterity Issues?I ordered my Sistaco Mineral Bond Nail Set so I can test it out to see if it can help people like me (who suffers from dexterity issues) to apply colour to my nails. – I am in no way affiliated with this company but they knew I wished to purchase one of their nail sets so I could review it, they offered me a discount. Thank you Sistaco for your generosity.

Due to my disability, my hands don’t work very well. My arms and grip are very weak, my dexterity is awful meaning painting my own nails is almost an impossibility. So to make life much easier, quicker and cleaner, I end up going to nail bars to have my nails done. Which obviously can be very expensive if done regularly!

What Is A Sistaco Nail Set?

Sistaco nail set powder on nails in a holographic lilac colour.
Flamingo-Holographic Nail Powder

Sistaco Mineral Bond Nail Set is an alternative to nail varnish. Sistaco nails offer nail powders that come in either Classic, Holographic or Metallic finish that you simply rub onto your nails. There are many colours available and three nail kits to choose from:

  1. The Foundation Set (Choose 1 Colour from their range)
    Priced at £45*
  2. The Deluxe Set (Choose 3 Colours from their range) + FREE REMOVER
    Priced at £75*
  3. The Ultimate Set (Choose 6 Colours from their range) + FREE REMOVER
    Priced at £99*

*Prices correct at time of this review.

My Nail Kit Has Arrived

Packaging
Sistaco Nail Set - The Solution For People With Dexterity Issues?  I Put It To The Test! - Nail package box including the set

Sistaco Nail Set – I purchased the £99 nail kit as I was given a discount. On their website, all prices are in GPB and contact numbers seem to be in the UK, so you are lead to believe they are based in the UK. Not the case, the products actually come from Australia! This is not something that is made clear on their website, I’m unsure as to why but something to be aware of when placing an order.

The packaging is ok, nice, but not as luxurious as I would expect when paying £99 for a nail kit. The packaging consists of one cardboard box with magnetic flap closure. It has a foam filling with cutouts for the different items. (image left). With the £99 kit (as you get 6 colours) you get a separate plastic see-through box with the remaining 3 nail colours.

All of this was despatched to me in a grey plastic postal bag. This shocked me as your products can be easily damaged while in transit! This is especially worrying as the LED light does not sit flush into the cutout at the bottom of the box, meaning the box doesn’t close flush and the magnetic closure could come open easily.

The USB lead for the LED light and a bottle of express remover varnish both sit underneath the LED lamp. This suggests the cutout is being used for more than was originally planned. Not a major issue but I just expected more for the price. (Bubble wrap or other protection would help inside the postal bag).

Quality
Mulberry coloured nail powder from Sistaco nail kit

Feeling the bottles and lids, they have a cheap plastic feel to them, again not what you would expect for your 100 bucks! They do look nice but feel cheap. I can’t help but feel there should have been a little more considering the price. Personally, I would have liked to have seen maybe a ribbon around the box, a little thank you note/card for your purchase or even a discount on my next order (especially in the top-of-the-range kit).

I believe, if you pay a lot of money for something, you expect that something to reflect that. If you’re asked to pay boutique prices, you expect boutique-style products & packaging. The packaging for this product does not meet those expectations!

When you open the bottle, the powders look very lush indeed. Rich colours, a full bottle of powder. (Although on a future purchase, one bottle was only half full?).

How To Apply

Before attempting to use my kit, I looked on their website and viewed a few YouTube videos to find out just how easy these are to apply. From what I have seen It seems relatively easy. There are different methods of applying the powders depending on which finish you are using. Full Instructions: https://sistaco.co.uk/pages/how-to-apply

How To Remove

  1. Lightly buff the surface of your colour.
  2. Apply the Express Remover to your nail (make sure not to get any on your skin).
  3. Wait 2-3 minutes and begin gently pushing away your colour with a remover tool. 
  4. Wipe away any residue, and your nails will be fresh and clean, ready for your next colour!

Source: Sistaco website

I have read some reviews that claim the remover doesn’t do a good job. I will be putting that to the test also.

The video below is the one used on Sistaco’s website. It does seem a little too good to be true. I do hope to be proven wrong on this!

My First Use

Setting Up
Sistaco Nail Set - The Solution For People With Dexterity Issues?  I Put It To The Test! - My setup equipment

My “setup” consists of:
Two sheets of kitchen roll (folded) to catch any fall-out
Basecoat nail varnish
Topcoat nail varnish, (both topcoat/base coat sitting in a tub of hot water)
Plastic tub for sitting my varnishes in hot water
Nail Powder of choice
Nail powder applicator
LED lamp (USB operated)
Orange sticks to clean excess base coat/top coat from around my nails
Small headed make-up brush to brush away excess powder from around my nails
Wooden block so I can rest each finger on at a higher height while applying varnish/powders

The fact the LED lamp is USB operated is a drawback as you then need to be close to a USB socket while doing your nails. I have not seen an AC/DC power lead advertised on their website, so I would assume USB is the only way to connect the lamp.

Hot water for varnishes? Yes, I’ve read from other users that putting your base coat and topcoat varnish in hot water makes them less glupey and much easier to apply.

Preparation
Fingernail with metallic nail powder collected at the cuticle. Sistaco Nail Set - The Solution For People With Dexterity Issues?  I Put It To The Test!

Preparing your nails is probably the most important part of the process as I found out the hard way. I dived straight in and found the powders are attracted to any kind of lump, bump or blemishes on your nails.  I would recommend buffing/smoothing your nails and more importantly making sure your cuticles are clean & smooth around your nails as this will cause the powder to collect in this area making for a rough & unfinished look. (Image right).

I visited the Sistaco Facebook page looking for tips as I found the base coat and topcoat to be very thick & glupey. This makes it difficult to keep the sides of your fingers clean. So once cured under the lamp, you can have excess hardened powder coming off the sides of your nails. Again, making for an unfinished look.

Sistaco users suggest warming up the base coat and topcoat before using. I read this helps thin the liquid so it is easier to apply a thinner coat onto your nails. Something I have to agree with 100%, this does in fact make applying much easier indeed.

Powders/Applicator

When you open the jars, the powders look very lush indeed. Rich colours, a full bottle of powder. (Although on a future purchase, one bottle was only half full?). Applying the powder to your nail is easy but be careful not to rub or press too hard as this can then make the powder ball up and create blemishes.

I haven’t yet found how to clean my applicators, I’m in the process of researching this.

Application

As I said previously I didn’t really prepare my nails before applying, so I went ahead and immediately put on the base coat nail varnish, followed immediately by the topcoat (as you’re told to do this for longer wear). I then cured my nails under the LED lamp for 60 seconds. Once I had done this I took my applicator with the sponge tip, dipped it into the powder of my choice and put on a minimal amount of powder on the applicator and proceeded to rub it onto my nail.

The powder went on smoothly, although at this point I wasn’t expecting much to happen but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Next was a coat of topcoat, then cured under the lamp. I applied a second coat of nail powder and this time I did 2 coats of topcoat nail varnish, curing my nails between both coats.

My Process

  1.  Base coat
  2. Top coat
  3. Cure nails under lamp
  4. Nail powder
  5. Top coat
  6. Cure nails
  7. Coat of nail powder
  8. Top coat
  9. Cure nails
  10. Top coat
  11. Cure nails twice under the lamp
Result
My 1st attempt at applying Sistaco nail powders.  Sistaco Nail Set - The Solution For People With Dexterity Issues?  I Put It To The Test!

I was not initially over-impressed with the results (yes, I know I keep banging on about it) but because I didn’t prepare my nails the powder is quite unforgiving where any sort of blemishes might be on your nail. Therefore, the cleanup process around my nails took some time using a wooden cuticle (orange stick) to try and scrape away the excess powder/varnish.

I’m still in the very early stages of using this kit and I have read that a lot of people initially, find it is a bit of a trial and error method in finding what works best for you. There are a couple of different ways to clean the edges so really it’s a personal choice and finding what works best for you you. (Since writing this, Sistaco now sell a bottle of Precision Edge). I haven’t personally used this as I am more than happy with how I do my nails.

I’m hoping my 2nd attempt will be much better!

Due to not preparing my nails, I ended up with the only way I can describe it is an overhang on my nail. (Excess undercoat and powder that had hardened past the point of the edge of my nail). I happen to catch this and it peeled off my nail. In one respect I was pleased because it gave me the perfect excuse to take everything off and try again but on the same token, I was disappointed as I had made such a hash of my first attempt.

Second Attempt

So, the first thing I had to do was use the express remover to take off the existing nail powder already on my nails. As I mentioned before a lot of people said this didn’t seem to work very well. I can understand what they mean, especially if you’re an impatient person like me. The word here would be patience, patience, patience! OK, that was 3 words!

The express remover does work, it just takes time. You do have to put a coat on, leave your nails for approximately 3 to 5 minutes and then start to gently scrape off the varnish/powder from your nail.

Depending on how many coats of varnish/powder you have put on your nails, this will obviously determine how easy or long it will take to remove! I noticed some of my nails were much easier and quicker to remove compared to other nails that took more work.

Preparation For 2nd Attempt
Buffer block for nails

At this point, I had both the base coat and topcoat sitting in a tub of hot water as I was now testing the thinning theory to see if it did actually make the varnish easier to apply. Yes, it worked a treat and it most certainly helped the varnish go on much more thinly and smoothly.

I cleaned my nails with a normal wet wipe,  I then used a nail buffer block to file, shape, smooth, and buff my nails. Again I cleaned my nails to remove any excess nail shavings from buffing and then put on my first coat of base coat.

2nd Application

My setup was pretty much the same as my first attempt but the only difference was a tub of hot water for my base & topcoat to sit in. I applied the base coat, no topcoat, as per the instructions for classic powder finish you just put on a base coat followed by the powder. Curing your nail/s before applying the powder.

I took my time this time, (holding my excitement back) and did each nail individually, purely due to my dexterity and the way my hands are shaped. I can’t keep my fingers separated enough to prevent one finger from hitting another fingernail and causing smudges in the varnish/powder.

Not only that I wanted to spend more time cleaning around my fingernails preferably without having to use vaseline around the edges as suggested by other users or messing around with liquid latex. I simply resorted back to my wooden cuticle stick and every time I put a coat of base coat or topcoat on my nail, before curing I would take the cuticle stick, use the flat-ended side to gently remove excess varnish down each side of my finger. As the varnish was still wet, this worked beautifully!!

When applying the powder, very little pressure is needed to make the powder stick to your nail. This is great for people like myself who don’t have a good grip. Also, there really is minimal fallout, just make sure to tap excess powder off the applicator over the powder bottle.

Again, due to my dexterity, I am unable to lay my hands/fingers flat under the lamp. The fact it is small enough to hold over my nails, I can cure my nails without having to lay them flat on the table. (Something I struggle with at nail bars).

My Process This Time:
My second attempt at applying Sistaco nail powder in Aqua.
  1. Base coat
  2. Use a cuticle stick to remove excess varnish
  3. Cure nail
  4. Powder
  5. Use a cuticle stick/make-up brush to remove excess powder away from my nail
  6. Top coat
  7. Use a cuticle stick to remove excess varnish
  8. Cure nail
  9. The second coat of powder
  10. Use a cuticle stick to remove excess powder away from my nail
  11. Top coat
  12. Use the cuticle stick to remove excess varnish
  13. Cure nail twice
  14. Wiped nails/fingers clean of any excess with a wet wipe

Warning – When using the topcoat remember to clean the brush BEFORE putting it back into the bottle. The powder can/will transfer onto the brush, so when you put the brush back into the bottle the colour transfers into the remaining liquid in the bottle. I found this out the hard way. (Sometimes you can get away with it on the lighter colours).

Application Instructions

According to Sistaco, here are the instructions for application according to powder finish:

For Classic colours, you’ll have to do, Base coat > set > Colour Powder > Base coat > set > Colour powder > Top coat > set.

For Holo/Metallic, it is Base coat > Top Coat > set > colour powder > Base coat > Top Coat > set colour powder > Top Coat > set.

Result

I’m extremely impressed with the result I got this time and can’t believe how easy it is to apply. I don’t know if it made a difference but once I had completed doing each nail, I put on an extra coat of topcoat varnish. I hoped this would give a little extra shine and I cured them all twice.

One thing I will say (at this point not 100% sure). I think the sponge applicator can cause little blemishes (almost like specks of sponge) over the nail when applying/rubbing on the powder. This then becomes quite obvious if missed and the topcoat has been applied and cured. Either that or the powder is balling up while rubbing the powder on. Something I can not test immediately and will only tell after a few applications. I intend to purchase some eyeshadow brushes (the sponge type) to test out. (So I have applied the powders a couple of times now and found I was rubbing the powder too hard and too long).

Due to my disability/dexterity, I have to do one nail at a time. The powder is so easy to do, you don’t mind. I did one nail at a time so I can spend time making sure each nail/finger is cleaned properly so no extra powder is around my nail.

Conclusion

I have used this nail system several times now. I love how easy it is to use and with over 100 colours to choose from, you really are spoilt for choice. Be careful though, it does become addictive. After putting on my first colour, I couldn’t wait to try the other colours lol. I now have over 20 colours.

As for using this system with my disability, this is extremely easy for me to use. One of the first companies to make doing my own nails work for me. The only issue I have is trying to remove the powder/varnish from my right hand. My grip is so weak on my left, that I can not use a tool of any kind to help scrape off the powder after applying the express remover.

On my last few fingers, hubby does it for me. I have tried putting on a small amount, large amounts of the remover, tried removing it after a minute, 5 minutes but it just won’t budge as easily as I had hoped for.

Unfortunately, (for us customers) I do believe the majority of their products/powders etc. are very overpriced, outside of their powders & varnish, very good alternatives that are identical can be found elsewhere online for far cheaper and I don’t have to wait over 2 weeks for them to arrive. Worth bearing this in mind when choosing what to purchase.

I now have over 20 colours and I’ve just ordered more topcoat, basecoat, remover and applicators. So, that means I have spent well over £400 already. (This does not include the money spent on powders for my Christmas pressie or all the varnishes & applicators bought since starting this review).

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Many colour choices – Over 100 available
  • Colours look better in real life
  • Last longer than traditional nail varnish – Varnish easy to chip
  • Looks just as good as a salon finish – A high-gloss finish
  • 3D embellishments now available – Not available when I started this review
  • 5 /10 pack applicators now available – Not available when I started this review
  • Precision Edge is now available – Not available when I started this review

Cons

  • Products come from Australia – Delivery is normally 2 weeks +
  • Overpriced – Their showcase stand for one, is overpriced for home use
  • Addictive – Can become very expensive
  • One applicator with £99 kit – At least three should be supplied
  • 3 -in -1 applicator for removing powder must be bought separately – You are not getting a FULL kit, even the top of the range kit at £99 doesn’t include one
  • Express Remover does not work as well as advertised on their website

TIPS:

  • Check online for equivalent items before committing to Sistaco as cheaper and similar products can be found
  • One coat of powder may not be enough – Mulberry – classic finish came up a little pale. It didn’t give much coverage at the tips of my nails, making them almost see-through
  • When applying the base coat and topcoat, keep them in a pot of hot water – This makes them go on easier and smoother
  • Keep your top coat varnish brush clean – Colour can remain on the brush and transfer into the remaining varnish
  • Wooden cuticle (orange) sticks are great for removing excess varnish around nails
  • A small-headed make-up brush (not too fluffy) is good at removing excess powder from around your nails before applying topcoat
  • If you purchase “Raven” powder, a black colour, be very careful as I have found this to be the messiest of powders so far when applying and it is a bugger to get off

Will I Continue To Use Sistaco

Try and stop me ha ha ha Yes, I will need to spend money on their powders and Varnishes but for everything else, I will look for a happy alternative before purchasing on Sistaco’s website.

Links

Sistaco Main Site – https://sistaco.co.uk/

Sistaco Nail Powders – https://sistaco.co.uk/collections/nail-powders

Essentials/Refills – https://sistaco.co.uk/collections/refills

How To Apply – https://sistaco.co.uk/pages/how-to-apply

Classic Nail Tutorial – https://sistaco.co.uk/blogs/nail-art-designs-with-sistaco/classic-nails

Holographic Nail Tutorial – https://sistaco.co.uk/blogs/nail-art-designs-with-sistaco/holographic-nails

Ombre Tutorial – https://sistaco.co.uk/blogs/nail-art-designs-with-sistaco/ombre-nails

French Tip Tutorial – https://sistaco.co.uk/blogs/nail-art-designs-with-sistaco/french-tips

3D Embellishments – https://sistaco.co.uk/collections/sistaco-embellishments

***UPDATE 23/8/22***

I’m saddened to say that I am having issues with Sistaco as a company. This is a real shame as this has let the company down.

My husband bought me two colours for my birthday (Emerald City & Satin). Satin is advertised on Sistaco’s website as white colour. Unfortunately, mine comes out silver!

Facebook Messenger Conversation

I wanted to post on their Facebook group to ask other users if they had the same problem. My post was not published and Sistaco contacted me privately:

Sistaco (blue text): Hi Carrie, hope you are well. We got your enquiry on Sistaco Collective and we would love to assist. Do you have a photo of your nail application using Satin? and can you tell us the steps you’ve followed? ?

Me (pink text): Hi, I’ve taken 2 pictures. (I sent them the one shown on the right) You can see it doesn’t look the lovely white colour shown on your website.

My procedure was: I put the satin on first on clean dry nails. I then put on the base coat, cured, then powder, then top coat, then cured again.

I found the colour to get very dull once I put the top coat on though.

Thank you

Two days passed and no response.

Hi, Any reason my post has not been approved regarding my satin powder? No one has responded either to the above???? Really would like to know why my satin is coming out silver.

Three days later:

Hi Carrie, thanks for your message. We are happy to forward this enquiry to our team so we can properly asssess. ❤️

(Notice no comment on why my post was rejected!)

If you wouldn’t mind please as I have a colour not as you advertised. Thank you.

Satin is our classic white colour and it doesn’t have shimmer to it. What you can do is to ensure to only apply thin coats for each application. Hope it helps. ?

Hi, thanks for your reply. I do this already, so can’t be the issue. (Would a thin or thick layer really change the colour of your powders?) I’ve not noticed this with my many other colours. I do find the colour deepens if a 2nd coat of powder I put on but that is all. I’ve looked at your group and seen many others who have used Satin and they all look lovely and white.

Could it not be a simple case that my one is faulty in some way?

A further 10 days with no response, so today, I wrote again:

Hi, Is there a reason no one wants to rectify my issue/complaint? I’m still stuck with a powder that is not the colour advertised. Any solutions? Like maybe a replacement? Thanks.

Hi Carrie, thank you for your message. Can you kindly send us video applying Satin on one nail? ?

I’ve already sent an image of the satin that I applied and a description of how I applied the Satin, why now a video?

I’e been using your powders for almost a year without any issues. I feel like this is a delay tactic now.

I just want this resolved!

They WANT ME TO WHAT!!! So basically, they don’t believe the image I already sent them, nor the description of how I applied the powder? Disgusting behaviour! I’ve been using their product for almost a year, I think I know what I’m doing. I’ve had no issues up to this point.

What Sistaco DON’T Want You To Know

In the 10 months since posting this review, I’ve come across a couple of flaws with the company:

  1. Sisto will NEVER allow any posts on their FB group if it contains any sort of negative comment. Whether that be someone having a problem with the product or if I wanted to post about the express remover (below). Your post WILL be rejected! Their group is nothing but positivity and glowing comments about Sistaco. This gives a false impression to customers, leading them to believe this product is almost a miracle powder. Don’t get me wrong, their product is almost amazing, they don’t NEED to manipulate the comments on their FB group. (Unless of course many are complaining and finding faults).
  2. Their co.uk website says nothing about their products having to come from Australia, you are led to believe they have a UK distributor (which clearly they don’t).
  3. I’ve just received some bottles of their express remover……..I will let the picture speak on this occasion:

Half-filled bottles???? No wonder you go through them quickly. Oh and the other thing, once the bottle is open, the brush doesn’t/can’t reach the bottom so you are wasting so much product!! You receive this large heavy square bottle believing it is a decent amount of remover.

You can see there is a bottle inside a bottle and the inside bottle is a fraction of the main bottle size. I’ve tried to capture how there is a bottle inside a bottle. So at £6.95 (price correct at the time of this update) a bottle, you’re not really getting much when you have to use so much to remove your powder.

Resolution

As things stand right now, it’s taken two & a half weeks to get to this point and obviously, I’ve not had a response back since my last message, so no resolution as yet. If and when that changes, I will follow up with what happened.

28/8/22

Sistaco insists they want me to show them a video. So I did and sent it off today (Sunday) so obviously not expecting a reply. If I do, it will probably be mid-week before I get one and we know they are going to insist nothing is wrong. I had to put three coats on as there were streaks with just two and it still doesn’t look smooth.

Hi Caroline,

Thank you for reaching out to us. 
I can confirm the receipt of the photo but there is no video attached in the email. 
Your nail application is looking perfect. We do our best to make sure that the colours are represented as accurately as possible on our website however, the colour may still vary depending on the calibration of your screen/monitor. Please refer to our FAQs about Colour Representation. 
Hope this information helps.
Kind regards,

My Reply

I sent two emails, one with the video and one with an image as they would not fit into one email.  I’ve found another way to send you the video. 
So, you’re telling me you’re not going to do anything about my issue?  This is very bad customer service.  

As I have previously explained, I’ve been using your products for over a year and I have never had issues with your powders before, to have been treated in the way that I have been to date, is really quite shocking and unprofessional.  I have been fobbed off, made feel like a liar and most definitely not a valued customer!  
You say:  “the colour may still vary depending on the calibration of your screen/monitor”.  I am including more images taken after the video to show how the colour is still showing to be not as advertised or even close to it.  I have also read your “colour representation” and other FAQ and you seem to wash your hand of all issues your customers may ever encounter.  

Your T&C say “Any defects will be replaced as long as we have reasonable evidence such as a photo sent by email to [email protected].”  This I have done, again the fact many others have said this powder looks Silver is still not enough for you.  

Unfortunately, I’m beginning to see behaviour from Sistaco that to me is somewhat underhand and secretive:
  • You’re website advertise/claim that Sistaco is not responsible for 90% of issues that may arise (your defence would not stand up in a UK court of law)
  • You have a co.uk website but fail to make customers aware your products are shipped for Australia or that you are an Australian company.
  • Express Remover is packaged in a heavy-painted square bottle, giving customers the illusion they are getting a decent amount of product when in reality there is another bottle inside that is a fraction of the size.
  • You block comments from your Facebook page that is not complimentary therefore manipulating the image of Sistaco products as a whole! 

With the price you charge for your products, one would expect customer service to be second to none and receive better treatment when coming to you with a genuine issue.

We are talking about ONE powder that may or may not be faulty and as a company, you blankly refuse to take responsibility!  As a result of this, you have now created a situation where you have an unhappy customer who will be taking the matter further.  Whereas, if you had simply offered to replace this powder, you would have had a very happy customer who would have blown your trumpet and complimented Sistaco.  

As you are unwilling to satisfactorily resolve my complaint, you leave me no other choice but to take this matter further.  I will be contacting the Queensland Government’s Office of Fair Trading in due course with my concerns.
Kind Regards

Image Comparison
My result V Sistaco’s
2/9/22

Hi Caroline, 
Thank you for your response and I am happy to assist with your enquiries. 
Sistaco operates with local websites as this allows us to segment our audience and marketing.  We also sell in a currency that is local to the region and provide information that may only concern that market; such as our Terms and Conditions that may vary from country to country, depending on different regulatory requirements.​
The packaging on our liquids such the Express Remover are intended that way as they are light sensitive and they will set in UV rays.
We’ve also set up group guidelines in our group so we can better assist you our customers. This can be found in the About section of the page. 

As I have checked, I am an unable to confirm the colour Satin powder on your orders. Can you kindly confirm the order number for this and can you kindly check the name of the colour powder at the bottom of the pot?​
Kind regards,

My Reply

I did show the colour when submitting my video of the application that Sistaco requested, I’m not trying to pull a fast one here you know.  I really am getting fed up with all of Sistaco’s requests.  Why was I not asked for all of this at the beginning?  Is it because Sistaco keeps coming up with new ways to fob me off in the hope I will just give up!
To answer your question.  I received both Satin & Emerald City as a present from my husband.  Order no:  K30035  Name Jeff Bathurst, 300 Summerwood Road, Isleworth, London, TW7 7QP
This is extremely bad customer service!!
Kind Regards

Hi Caroline,​
Thank you for confirming your order and yes I can see Satin on the order thus I have reached out to our team for further advise. ​
As I have checked, the photo from our website is applied with our Matte Top Coat, this gives a different effect and finish against applying it with the gloss finish.
With this, I have created a photo comparison for you with our Satin gloss finished application on our website in which you got the correct colour. Satin definitely gives this glistening white when applied in gloss as opposed to a flat finish when applied with the matte top coat. 🙂 

Currently, our Matte Top Coat is sold out and hopefully it will be back soon. ?
​Hope this information helps and let me know if you have any questions. 
Kind regards,

Does my application (middle image) look anything like the other 2 that Sistaco supplied? I don’t believe so.

My reply – 6/9/22

So basically, you’re telling me you have advertised a product showing a particular finish but fail to inform customers that that different finish will result in a different look than advertised and to achieve the result advertised, I now must spend more money on purchasing a matt finish top coat????  How about you just issue a refund as I bought this item under false pretences and misleading information.

So ALL your customers instinctively know this do they?  Again, not being as transparent as you could be!  By not informing your customers of this, this is a form of misleading them, something you seem to do very often.

So why is Sistaco NOT resolving my complaint???

Thank you for that information as now I need to update my review of your product on my website to include this, to make sure all my readers know that different top coats can change how an advertised product can look.  Wow, we are buying a mystery product every time then!!
I have to say, 10/10 for fobbing off a customer and taking the longest time ever to still not resolve my complaint over ONE powder that Sistaco have misleadingly advertised.

I have to say though, you have made my case to Queensland Trading Standards even stronger.  Yes, I do know what I’m talking about as I fight consumer law cases regularly!!!!

Reading their T&C you can see they basically say they are NOT responsible for ANYTHING that a customer may have to complain about. That’s ok, I’ll inform the Brisbane Trading standards of their behaviour and bottles etc.

Still waiting for a response!

It looks like Sistaco really does not care about its customers. Their attitude is very similar to the fake companies you find on Facebook when you try to rectify a problem with them. Complete disregard for the fact they have an issue and fob you off until you just go away.

I will email Queensland Trading Standards but if they are anything like here, they’ll just fob you off too!

I do love this product (90% of the time) if only their cust serv was better, this would make Sistaco probably one of the best companies around.


So, literally a month down the road I still had no reply. I emailed them informing them, that as they were unable to give a satisfactory resolution to my complaint, I would now be taking the matter further.

I got a reply informing me they have given me a credit for the cost of one powder (presumably £14) and to use the code they gave me the next time I purchase with them. Not the resolution I wanted as now I have to still spend money with their company to benefit my credit!

Conclusion

Sistaco hasn’t given me the resolution I had hoped for but I suppose I have no choice as things stand. I will say this though, it is worth noting I didn’t give up, I kept on at them and finally got a result. Sistaco di try to get me to give up but it didn’t work. I will still contact Trading Standards as I do believe Sistaco operate without full disclosure on many different aspects of their business. They have been very bad at customer service:

  • They drag their feet in responding, sometimes more than a week
  • Fob you off with any and all excuses they can think of
  • Advertise powders in different finishes but fail to explain this will result in a different outcome to what is advertised (as they don’t inform the customer as to what finish they have used – (either matt/gloss) in the image used on their website). Therefore, misleading the customer!

Unfortunately, this treatment has tainted my opinion of their product and especially their company! I would always tell people of Sistaco whenever anyone commented on my nails. Now? Not likely, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for anyone having issues with Sistaco.

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If you liked what you have read and you would like me to review one of your products or work with me in some other way, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

White outlined wheelchair in shopping mall

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person – On the high street as a full-time wheelchair user, shopping is difficult at the best of times. Throw in Christmas and it is a whole new ball game. Being in a pandemic and lockdown leaves me no other choice but to buy online! Do I prefer this to doing my shopping on the high street? What did I find to be the best and worst parts of shopping online for Christmas gifts?

I hate high street shopping at any time of the year. People, access, stupidity all add stress to what should be a normal part of my life! If you are an able-bodied person reading this, how many times in one shopping trip have you NOT been able to gain access to a shop because of steps? How many times have you NOT been able to browse around a shop due to clothes rails being so tightly packed together they hit your shoulder causing severe pain? Gone to a counter to pay and been ignored because the counter is so high you are NOT seen? Exactly!! I can experience each of these EVERY TIME I go shopping.

Benefits of Shopping Online

There are many benefits to shopping online.

  • It’s stress-free.
  • You can visit many different websites at the touch of a button.
  • Browse 1000’s of products in a short space of time.
  • You are not worrying about the next person bumping into you or clambering over your wheelchair.
  • Queue jumping because “they didn’t see you there”!
  • Best of all, left out in the cold because you can’t get into the shop!!

Online shopping gives you the freedom to search for what you want at a time that is right for you. Websites don’t have “opening times” the same as physical shops do! So, if you want to shop for a pair of socks at 2 am, you can!

If like me and you use a PC, then another benefit is you can have several tabs open comparing the same item across different sites to check for delivery time/charges, price of the item and of course returns policy. Can you imagine doing that on the high street, even if you’re not a wheelchair user? I love the fact I can sit at my desk, a cup of tea beside me and settle down to browse gifts for family/friends in the warmth of my own home.

The Downside of Shopping Online

When shopping online, images of products are of course going to be great looking. After all, the company is trying to sell you their product. You only have to read my review of Tapi Carpets to see the issues you can have.

  • You can’t feel the item – Texture, material
  • Smell the item – Some fake leather products can smell really bad
  • Colour is not always the same when viewing on a monitor
  • Judge sizing when shopping for items such as clothing.
  • Solitary experience.

I have bought things that look great online but once received, the material is of lesser quality, or the item is smaller, or worse, turns up broken or faulty. I have bought a Christmas present that looked a good size and quality online but having received it, I know it’s going to be a big disappointment to the recipient! No doubt it will have to be returned. Sometimes you just want to see an item in the flesh.

I have done 90% of my Christmas shopping online this year. I’ve used brand company websites, eBay and Amazon. Companies I’ve not been familiar with and I have to say, I’ve only had two incidents. One, where an item arrived broken and another replaced by a lesser quality item than what was advertised. Both of which have been sorted fairly easily.

Security Measures in Place

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person - Safety - A as a padlock T as a key

Online Christmas Shopping During A Pandemic As A Disabled Person – Making sure you are aware of the pitfalls of shopping online is paramount! There are many ways things can go horribly wrong.

  • Identity theft.
  • Spam emails.
  • Fake websites.
  • Fake products.
  • Cloned bank card – To name a few.

However, research is everything! It is important to gather as much information as possible about the company you are shopping online with. Once you have done these checks a few times, it will become easier to spot a dodgy website/product.

  • Check websites address for HTTPS – If the company’s web address starts with HTTPS (especially on checkout pages), then you know your information is being sent over a secure network. – What is HTTPS?
  • Pay with Paypal where possible – If you pay by Paypal, the company you are purchasing from will NOT have any information regarding your card details. Only your name, address, email address and phone number if supplied. The beauty is, you don’t even need to have a Paypal account to do this.
  • Use a recommended website where possible – It’s always good practice to use website friends and family have used. You will know if they had a good or bad experience.
  • Check delivery and returns policy – Things can go wrong and for this reason, always check the returns policy and make sure you agree with the company’s terms. You don’t want to get caught out when things are too late.
  • Can you find the company address? – The Gov.uk website, says the following: Before an order is placed, you must provide: your business name, contact details and address, so it is helpful if you can find this as a lot of companies show pricing in GBP but originate and send products from another country.

Conclusion

If you do your research and check out the website the best you can, you should have a fairly pleasant experience. Yes, things will invariably go wrong, that’s life but you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting the issue resolved. I will most definitely be doing my Christmas shopping online next year!

May I take this opportunity to wish you all very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please look after yourself and others. Here’s hoping next year will bring better things to all.

Santa in his sleigh with raindeers

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Non-disabled person standing between two wheelchair users asking "what's wrong with you?"

When I’m Asked What’s Wrong With You?: Should I Take Offence?

When I’m Asked What’s Wrong With You?: Should I Take Offence? – As a disabled person myself and a full-time wheelchair user, I am often asked by complete strangers, “what is wrong with you?”. Some people take great offence at this, yet these same people bang on about how ignorant ableds are! Can ableds win?

What’s Wrong With You?

I was on holiday last year and I experienced good and bad attitudes from non-disabled people.

When I'm Asked What's Wrong With You?: Should I Take Offence? - Front of cruise ship with blue interior lights

The good side (in my opinion): It was at the end of a wonderful ’80s themed night aboard a ship I was cruising on with my family (read my review). We were finishing our drinks after dancing the night away to all the popular 80’s music when the lady sat at the next table asked me “do you mind me asking what is wrong with you?”. I replied, “no, of course not”. I genuinely didn’t mind.

I went on to explain how I was born with my disability Arthrogryposis, how this affects my daily life and how my husband is my carer etc. etc. She seemed genuinely interested and even asked more questions when she didn’t understand something. She was amazed when I spoke of the barriers disabled people face on a daily basis by society/buildings etc. I explained this was why I loved cruising, as it was one of the more accessible holidays available to me. She couldn’t understand why access wasn’t better.

I spoke for quite a while, not realising how passionate I had become explaining why I do the things I do and how my disability affects my outlook on life. So I wrapped things up and said goodnight.

The bad side: (again on our cruise, we (my family) had a great but tiring day at port this particular day. I was making my way back to my cabin and while in the lift alone, this lady got on at another floor and immediately starting complaining to me how sore her feet were and how she had walked and walked and walked the whole day. How she couldn’t wait to take her shoes off and rest her poor feet. Now maybe it was because I was tired but all I wanted to shout at her was “at least you bloody well have legs that you can use to walk and walk and walk!”.

Should I Get Offended?

Should I get offended? I suppose this question can’t really be answered with a simple yes or no. It boils down to the individual’s perception of they deem to be offensive, the same way as asking “did you find that joke funny?”. Each person has their own idea of what is funny, the same way as each individual find some things offensive while others do not. Me personally, I’m not offended if someone genuinely wants to know. But that’s the key for me if the person asking is genuine!

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Offend: To irritate, annoy, or anger; – Cause resentful displeasure in: – To affect (the sense, taste, etc.) disagreeably. – To hurt or cause pain to.

I kinda get it when disabled people say how rude and personal this is but, in all fairness, you can decide how personal your answer will be…..Can you not? I can’t help but feel that some disabled people want their cake and eat it. Some go on and on about how ableds are so uneducated and ignorant towards disability, yet when they take the time to ask you about it, you go all offended and say how rude of them?

When I'm Asked What's Wrong With You?:  Should I Take Offence?  -  Red no entry sign over a blue shaped wheelchair user

I love someone wanting to take time out of their day, holiday, shopping or whatever to ask me about my disability. I hope that I am contributing to helping people better understand disability (well mine anyway), so they may pass this on or prevent discrimination in the future.

Of course, I think it’s fairly easy to know if someone is being false or malicious in their questioning and yes, I totally agree they should not be entertained!

Disability Assumptions

One of the things I do get offended by is the fact my husband wears an artificial left leg and normally the first thing strangers assume is that he has been in the forces and lost his leg. They seem to forget that he may have been born with a disability. I mean, there is no other way to have an artificial limb, is there!!

The other is that I have polio. When I used to walk with my calipers, 90% of people (especially minicab drivers) always assumed I had polio. (Not sure if this was anything to do with a common charity box outside a lot of shops back then that was a young boy wearing one calliper on his leg). I would then have to correct them and explain what Arthrogryposis was 🙂

To me, assumptions are more offensive than just asking me “what’s wrong with you”. I am always happy to take the time to talk to anyone wishing to be educated.

Conclusion

If you want to know about my disability, I will always do my best to explain it to you, provided you are genuinely interested. I understand how difficult and uncomfortable it might be for some, to talk to disabled people. People are only human at the end of the day and are scared of “different”.

I saw a video some time ago where a wheelchair user (male) sat in a very popular area (can’t remember where now), sat with a cardboard sign saying people could ask him anything about his disability. I have often thought of doing this myself. I am intrigued as to what people would ask me.

In my opinion, disabled people who complain and give out about how rude ableds are for wanting to know about their disability don’t have the right to complain and moan about the same ableds of being ignorant or uneducated!

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White circle of petals next to the word Motability on a blue background

Disabled People: Brand New Car Every Three Years!

Disabled people: Brand New Car Every Three Years! The biggest misconception is that disabled people get a brand new car for free. Not true! The Motability Scheme helps disabled people in receipt of the higher rate mobility allowance by exchanging this allowance to lease a new affordable car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair.

Motability

In a nutshell, anyone in receipt of the higher rate mobility allowance (such as the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment or the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance) can use their mobility allowance to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle from Motability. The lease is normally for three years and five years for a WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle).

Motability’s standard lease takes care of running costs such as insurance for up to three named drivers (this doesn’t have to be you), servicing, maintenance, breakdown cover and tyre and windscreen repair and replacement. All you need to do is add fuel and go.

Misconception

I’ve had it said to me many many times that it must be so good getting a brand new car every couple of years for free! Yeah, I suppose it would be great but this is just not the case. The look on those people’s faces when I explain that’s not the case and I actually pay for my car on a monthly basis is a cross between shock and disbelief.

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The look on those people’s faces when I explain that’s not the case and I actually pay for my car on a monthly basis is a cross between shock and disbelief.

I give up the higher rate of my mobility component so I may have a car to allow me my independence, rather than having to depend on other people to get my medication, shopping etc. When my son was school age, I was able to take him and pick him up from school. This was paramount to me as he was being bullied at school and suffered terrible anxiety.

Ford Tourneo WAV - Disabled people:  Brand New Car Every Three Years!
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

I became a full-time wheelchair user many years ago, not being able to put my own electric wheelchair in our car and drive off somewhere, means I can longer go out on my own. Therefore I am now in the process of applying for WAV (I will write about my experience, once I have received my car).

Further Information

For a full breakdown of who is eligible, how to apply and more help, check out Motability’s website.

If you want me to blog about a specific subject, or just to say hi, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

Hands holding a piece of paper with VAT at the top and coins and paper money in the background

Are You VAT Exempt?

Are You VAT Exempt? Did you know, as a disabled person, you may be exempt from having to pay VAT on certain items?? Neither did I!! According to Gov.uk website: If you’re disabled you’ll generally have to pay VAT on the things you buy, but VAT relief is available on a limited range of goods and services for disabled people. VAT relief may be available if you’re buying goods because of your disability. Source: Gov.uk

You’ll only be able to have eligible goods VAT-free if you’re chronically sick or disabled and the goods are for your personal or domestic use. You do not need to be registered disabled or eligible for any other benefit to qualify for VAT-free goods.

Goods you can buy VAT-free

This section has information on the goods you can buy VAT-free because of your disability including:

  • medical and surgical appliances
  • invalid wheelchairs and mobility scooters
  • equipment to aid the hard of hearing, and low vision aids
  • specialist beds, chair and stairlifts, rise and recline chairs and other lifting equipment and sanitary devices
  • goods that have been designed solely for disabled people
  • computer equipment
  • emergency alarm call systems
  • boats
  • parts and accessories


You can hire or lease eligible goods VAT-free if you’re disabled. Your retailer or other supplier is responsible for checking if the goods are eligible to sell VAT-free.

Medical and surgical appliances

You’ll not have to pay VAT when you buy medical or surgical appliances that are designed solely for the relief of a severe abnormality or severe injury such as amputation, rheumatoid arthritis, learning difficulties or blindness.

Appliances that can be bought VAT-free include:

  • invalid wheelchairs
  • certain types of mobility scooters
  • leg braces
  • neck collars
  • oxygen concentrators
  • specialist clothing
  • specialist footwear
  • wigs

Items that you cannot buy VAT-free include bandages, plasters or other wound dressings and dentures (unless you buy them from a dentist or other dental care professional).

For full information, please visit: www.gov.uk

If you liked my blog, leave a comment below. If you would like to work with me, or if there is anything you would like me to blog about, don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

Empty wheelchair space on a public bus

Wheelchair Space on Buses – Row Continues!

Even after a landmark court case win, disabled people are seemingly still fighting for the wheelchair space WE fought to have implemented on buses!!

Quote: In February 2012, Doug Paulley, a wheelchair user, tried to board a FirstGroup bus from Wetherby to Leeds. The wheelchair space was being used by a mother with a pushchair and a sleeping child. She refused the driver’s request to move or fold the pushchair and so the driver told Mr Paulley he could not board the bus.

Mr Paulley successfully sued FirstGroup at Leeds County Court for unlawful discrimination against him due to his disability, but this was later overturned on appeal. The case was then heard by the Supreme Court, which has given its final verdict today. The Commission has supported Mr Paulley at the Court of Appeal, and at the Supreme Court.

David Isaac added:

“Public transport is essential for disabled people to live independently, yet bus companies have not made it easy for this to happen. This is a victory for disabled people’s rights. The success of this case means bus companies will have to end ‘first come, first served’ polices, increasing peace of mind for disabled people.

“This has been about correcting a confusing policy which has caused untold problems for disabled people.

“For years, wheelchair users have been deterred from using vital public transport links because they could not be sure they will be able to get on. Today’s judgment will make that easier.” – Source: EHRC – David Isaac said Today’s judgment will make that easier……How? The law is still not specific enough about the wheelchair space! It should be made a law that buggies can use the space but when needed by a wheelchair user, they MUST move or fold down their buggy and if they refuse, they vacate the bus and wait for the next one. I mean, parents don’t mind that happening to us at present, so I say equality is the way the go!! Let them know what it’s like to sit in the pouring rain on a freezing cold winters day being refused access to bus after bus because parents don’t want to move their buggies. Now before I’m lynched, I know full well that there are many parents only too happy to move, I thank each and every one of you for this. It is the ignorant, self-important ones I’m on about. They just turn their heads and completely ignore everyone!!

The signs on the bus say:
“Priority wheelchair area – This space is reserved for a wheelchair – The wheelchair must be placed facing forwards resting against the support or backrest with the brakes on. – Please give up this space for a wheelchair user.

Baby Buggies – Buggies can use this area if it is not needed by a wheelchair user – Please move out of the wheelchair priority area if necessary. – Buggies may need to be folded a busy times.

Wheelchair Space on Buses - Row Continues!  Sign on buses stating wheelchair takes priority!

So what part of PRIORITY WHEELCHAIR AREA – This space is RESERVED – Please give up this space for a wheelchair user. – Buggies can use this area IF IT IS NOT needed by a wheelchair user are people not understanding?? The sign seems very cut and dry to me!!

If you went to a restaurant and sat at a table marked “Reserved”, you would be moved by a member of staff, yes? So why can’t bus drivers/companies make buggies move from this “Reserved” area?? It really isn’t rocket science!!

TFL say: Buggy users and other passengers may use the wheelchair space, however, if a wheelchair user wants to board the bus, other passengers and buggy users will be asked to vacate the space or fold their buggies.

On many buses, the space is big enough for the wheelchair and buggy to share, but the wheelchair user does take priority and must be correctly positioned in order to travel safely. In some circumstances buggy users may be asked to fold their buggies and wherever possible fold their pram.

Yeah right!!!

Black wheelchair with a red colour frame

I Fake my Disability??

There is a culture in today’s world that the majority of disabled people are faking it!  Contrary to belief and we know who started the rumour, (yes the government, so they can condone their actions regarding austerity, ATOS, PIP assessments, UC etc all of which were designed to fail, except austerity of course).  Fakers are few and far between!  Disabled parking bay abusers are a much more common daily occurrence but that doesn’t cost the government money, so of no interest to change or enforce.

The media have contributed to this culture by seemingly creating two types of disabled people: inspirational/sporting “look what they can do”, or lying scroungers.  So if I can’t partake in sport/Olympics and represent my country, I must be a faker?  This is the problem!  What people are forgetting is that our Olympians are sponsored by many different companies, their equipment, (wheelchairs, artificial limbs etc) cost thousands and thousands of pounds to help them achieve their goals.  This IS why they can do what they do, plus the years and years of training they do!!  If you are Joe Bloggs, believe me, you are given what you’re given and made feel you should be grateful for that much.  My husband who was also born with his disability wears an artificial leg, he went to his GP to ask him to sign the form necessary to apply for a freedom pass, the GP responded by saying “how can you class yourself disabled when we have Olympians with artificial limbs”?  Needless to say, he didn’t sign the form!!!!  So when up against attitudes like that, why would anyone want to FAKE being disabled?

Able-bodied people will never & can never understand why we (disable people) NEED the things we fight for, like, accessibility, adapted housing, barriers removed, attitudes changed.  How can they?  They don’t have to live the life we live.  They are blessed with being able to take most things we HAVE to fight for, for granted!!  For example, let’s take something simple:  Busses:  Disabled people fought for many many years to get the wheelchair space implemented, now everyone wants to use it.  Some parents with buggies will not move from that space if a wheelchair user needs it, believing it is their RIGHT to stay put!!  Well let’s see now, the sign on the busses says what exactly:

Salesman selling wheelchair to abled explaining great parking and sympathy

“Should a wheelchair user wish to use this space, please move to another part of the bus”.  So when I am left again feeling downtrodden, embarrassed, a burden, angry, wet & cold, yes I fake my disability.  So, when it’s obviously clear, you are asked to move, this self-righteous attitude some of you have adopted is quite obnoxious!  At the end of the day, you CAN take your child out of the buggy, fold said buggy and move, I CAN’T get out of my wheelchair and sit on a seat and fold my chair, no matter how much I would love to be able to do that.

The hate & personal attacks shown to disabled people is fed by the fact you are made to believe we are receiving special treatment or an added extra.  This then makes you believe we must be faking it to get said treatment.  So…………

When I’m having to have another painful procedure to unblock my catheter that’s caused another urinary infection, or radio-frequency facet joint injections into my spine to try to alleviate my pain, I mean, there’s no guarantee they are going to work!

I am suffering the terrible side effects of the medication I have to take just to keep me alive.

Losing friends because they have no idea what it is like to live my life and have no patience.

Stuck in bed again because I’m in too much pain to be able to move.

Losing the career I love because my employer sacked me due to the amount of sick time I have to take.

The list goes on and on and on!!!

Just because I have a smile on my face, doesn’t mean I’m ok!!

All the stuff disabled people fight for can take many years to get changed or implemented and most are not even achieved.  All we want is to have the same quality of life most able-bodied people take for granted.  The trouble is, the things we fight for often don’t even help as disabled people are not listened to so the entity making the changes rarely ever get it right.  You believe it is special treatment and extra because something has to be an add-on feature because, in the structure of life, disabled people are forgotten about.

YES, I FAKE MY DISABILITY!!!!!!!!

Sample image of the disabled blue badge

Disability Blue Badge is Changing!

The blue badge disabled parking scheme is undergoing its biggest shake-up since it was introduced in 1970.  Previously, local authorities could not exclude those with hidden disabilities, but granting permission was very much open to interpretation. The changes now give councils clearer guidelines.  Last month, the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed that from 2019, people with hidden disabilities will be granted access to the scheme too.  Read the full story here.

According to the Citizen Advice Bureaux:  

If you’re disabled or have a health condition that affects your mobility, you can apply for a Blue Badge.  You can also apply for a badge if you care for a child with a health condition. 

Who can get a Blue Badge 

You’re automatically eligible for a Blue Badge if you:

  • Are registered as blind
  • Get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • In receipt of Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Scored 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ area of your assessment. Check your decision letter if you’re not sure
  • Receive War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement 
  • Received a lump sum payment as part of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (tariffs 1 to 8). Been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability
If you’re not automatically eligible

It’s worth applying as you might still be able to get a badge. You’ll have to fill in an extra part of the application to show why you need one. 

You should do this if:
  • Problems walking that is permanent, or that your doctor says are likely to last at least a year
  • You can’t use your arms
  • You’re applying on behalf of a child aged over 2 who has problems walking. A child under 3 who needs to be close to a vehicle because of a health condition

Source:  Citizen Advice Bureaux 

This raises a few questions:

  1. Will the councils, private car parks, hospitals, high streets etc. increase the amount of disabled parking bays to accommodate all the new users?
  2. Will councils tackle Blue Badge abuse that happens, more effectively?
  3. If the blue badge is now open to people with all disabilities, how will this affect people with mobility conditions and people who need the extra space for wheelchairs?

We all know how difficult it is to find an empty disabled parking bay as it is.  Once this change takes effect next year, can you imagine just how much harder this will become?  I always believed blue badges were for people who had mobility disabilities.  The wider bays were/are for people who need the extra space to be able to get into and out of their cars, for wheelchairs, straightening callipers or something else.  Am I right to assume that everybody with a disability NEEDS extra space around their car?  So, if not, why not introduce more disabled bays the same width as other bays, for those that don’t need the extra space?

Apply for a blue badge.

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Inside an aeroplane toilet to show how small they are.

Stressed & Embarrassed by Taking A Pee With The Door Open & Staff Loitering!

The Degradation Of Peeing With The Door Open & Staff Loitering! – Is this something you would tolerate flying on your hols? I guess not but that is exactly what disabled people are expected to do! That is what I had to do! Oh, and that is IF you can use the toilet in the first place!

Airline Failures

Flying & disability are not two words airlines want to put together!

I’m due to travel to Las Vegas later in the year and one of my big fears among many is what if I can’t use the toilet!  My flight is 11 hours long, I can’t hold myself all that time!  I shouldn’t be expected to either but that’s exactly what airlines are expecting us to do. Anyone who has flown will know just how small the toilets are on an aeroplane. How on earth is any wheelchair user expected to use one is beyond me. More importantly, why are airlines still getting away with this blatant discrimination??

While going through my Twitter, I came across another lady who is also flying in the near future and was asking if anyone knew how she could find the dimensions of the toilet on the type of plane she will be flying on.  This made me realise I wasn’t the only one needing this kind of info. So, I took this opportunity to find out how one would go about searching the dimensions of an aeroplane’s toilet.

I got in touch with BA who couldn’t help, I contacted other airlines but no luck there either. I even contacted several companies including Boeing themselves who I might add never responded.

It Turns out, airlines don’t actually hold this information. I’m left hoping that a nice member of the cabin crew will take the dimensions and pass them on.  So far, trying to research this information has been practically impossible.

Stressed & Embarrassed by Taking A Pee With The Door Open & Staff Loitering! - Aeroplane with an image of what a standard toilet looks like inside the plane.

Availability

Why is this type of information so hard to source? Why can’t airlines have this info available from their accessibility team? Because they don’t want disabled people flying! That’s why! The way airlines treat disabled customers and their wheelchairs/aids are beyond incompetent and disgusting!!

  • This information should be readily available.
  • it should NOT be this difficult to obtain this kind of information directly from the airlines.
  • Information of this nature should be available from their accessibility team.

Now we all understand the business concept of making money but when you are clearly making changes that exclude sections of society because of said business concept, surely this can be deemed as discrimination?  So why, are these airlines allowed to not only continue this behaviour but actually make the situation worse? 

Airlines are doing all they can to discourage disabled people from flying!!!  Oh and it’s not just disabled people, large people also are affected.  People who may need 2 seats instead of 1, (we know how small the seats are too) who also wouldn’t be able to use small toilets.  So why is there not more public outrage??  I’m truly baffled!!

Discrimination

As I’m typing up this blog, the lady on Twitter has just got back to me saying she went into the airport and spoke with the airline in person and got the information she needed.  Why should she have to do that?  Couldn’t the airline have given her the info over email/telephone when she/I first asked? An able-bodied flyer wouldn’t have had to do this!!

Equality Act 2010 Says
Equality Act 2010 logo

What is discrimination arising from disability? (new)

Discrimination arising from disability occurs when a disabled person is treated unfavourably because of something connected with their disability and the unfavourable treatment cannot be justified.

Discrimination arising from disability is different from direct discrimination. Direct discrimination occurs when a service provider treats someone less favourably because of the disability itself. In the case of discrimination arising from disability, the question is whether the disabled person has in practice been treated unfavourably because of something connected with their disability.” Source: Equality Act 2010

So what should have been a simple task, cost that lady time, energy, petrol/travel expenses and frustration! Being disabled is a full-time job, believe me! Disabled people are faced with tasks of this nature DAILY and several times a day. (No wonder I’m always bloody tired!)

The most frustrating aspect of this is, that the majority of the research we have to do is unnecessary. If companies were more inclusive, we wouldn’t have to fight for basic information!

Links

Boeing

Equality Act 2010

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