Fundamentals: How To Make Your Website Disability Friendly

Glasses

When I was first diagnosed with retinal detachment, I was understandably paranoid about losing my vision. Thankfully, a number of operations and a whole host of comments about my ‘dodgy eyes’ later and I’m still seeing, meaning that the worry has somewhat decreased. Sure, I could still lose my sight, but (and I hate to say this) so could you! Anything could happen to any of us at any time whether we’re expecting it or not. Worrying is futile. Better to get on and enjoy the things we can do, rather than worry over the things that one day we might not be able to.

However, having that fright has given me more empathy for those with more serious vision issues and has made me realise that just because you can’t see so well, doesn’t mean you should miss out on anything, not even the internet. That’s why when I stumbled across this article on making your website disability friendly I thought I’d share it with you guys. It’s amazing how just a few small tweaks here and there can mean the difference between someone being able to access your page, or being shunned by your site. Even if you’ve used up all your empathy having more site visits has got to be good, right?

Take a read here.

Fab & Fail List: Sunday 27th July 2014

Fab List

The things I’ve been loving this week are…

The weather. Loving the fact that we’re ACTUALLY having proper summer weather this year. Result!

Getting nostalgic for Sex and the City. These quotes and this video montage has really inspired me to dust off those box sets.

Finding out what’s causing my annoying chin zits, thanks to this YouTube video. Not sure what to do about them mind you?!?!

Sam Smith’s album FINALLY being available on Spotify. This man has the most amazing voice, it’s the musical equivalent of eating Galaxy chocolate whilst laying in satin sheets, wearing cashmere. Love it!

Dreaming of Autumn getaways. We have a week booked off work in a couple of months. Our original plan was to return to Edinburgh, now we’re thinking of jetting sun-wards.

Hot chocolate – yep, I know it’s almost 30º outside, but whether it’s Green and Blacks instant hot chocolate, or a lowly chocomilk from the vending machine at work I’m loving myself some hot chocolate action. I’m thinking it’s my coffee replacement, maybe?! Don’t worry I’m limiting myself to one mug per day, lest I get addicted to this stuff instead.

Spending Tuesday morning by the river in Worcester and getting paid for it. Yay for the day job!

Almond Magnums – so yumsome.

Getting the new NEXT directories. Sure, whilst the sun has still got its hat on I don’t really want to be thinking of Autumn clothing… but NEXT has some really gorgeous pieces that I might just have to. Roll on pay day!

Caudalie Beauty Elixr – keeping me cool (and awake) on frightfully hot days.

Reading – you may have noticed I’ve been a bit of a bookworm just recently and I’m really enjoying it.

Trying out contact lenses again after a two year sabbatical.

Fail List

And the things making me go meh are…

Washing up – so nice to dunk your hands in hot water in the winter, blooming sweaty work in the summer. Phew! Housework and hot weather aren’t a good match it would seem.

Feeling a little overwhelmed – a host of to do tasks to tick off in the day job and a living room full of odds and sods as we start decorating the spare room. Argh!

Not having air con in my car – toasty, much?

Pesky chin zits.

How has your week been?

Fiction: Book Review Run For Your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

photo-6

I love, love, love books where you really get a mental image of what the characters look like. Slightly surreally with this thriller, my ‘good cop’ was the spitting image of Freddie Prince Jr , my ‘baddy’ bore more than a passing resemblance to Lord Disick from the Kardashians. Of course, the Irish Priest was Father Ted and the Irish Nanny was Alice Eve. My brain’s clichéd casting abilities aside, I really enjoyed this book.

As with all James Patterson novels, the chapters are short, progressing the story in enticing bite sized morsels. Each one leaving you wanting more. The sentences, paragraphs, pages are so well crafted so as to paint a picture, without any unnecessary fluff and avoiding giving the game away too early.

Detective Michael Bennett is assigned to the case of a serial killer who is striking at classy establishments all over New York City. The novel moves between the perspective of Michael and ‘The Teacher’, the ruthless serial killer who is on a moral mission. This adds great colour to the book – we learn about Mike’s turbulent home life, which endears us to him. And we slowly start to find out what’s made ‘The Teacher’ so mad.

A fast-paced crime thriller, if you like James Patterson novels, or you’re looking for an exciting easy read this would be a good choice.

Fabulous Rating: 4/5

Fab & Fail List: Sunday 20th July 2014

Fab List

Hubby transforming the spare room with his decorating genius.

Being able to sit in the park on my lunch break, catch a tan and read a book. Gosh, weather, you are spoiling us.*

Treating myself to some new skin care – thank goodness for pay day.

Having a digital clear-up – good for the soul.

New books.

Fail List

*Except this weekend, where we appear to have tropical storms of epic proportions.

Getting rudely awoken by the boom of thunder at 4am.

The terrible news about flight MH17, sometimes I really do worry about the state of the world.

Far Away Places: The UK Isn’t Just London!

23 View of the Houses of Parliament from the London Eye

Seriously, it’s no wonder us Brits are so frequently asked whether we know the Queen (I don’t by the way). To those from foreign lands the rest of the UK must just seem like an extension to London. In fact, to those from foreign shores, does the rest of the UK even exist or do they think that the UK is London.

Don’t get me wrong, I love London. I really do. The hustle and bustle. The way the sunlight bounces off the polluted sky to produce some stunning sunsets across the Thames (best viewed from Waterloo Bridge in my opinion). I love that there’s so much to do. It’s a city full of opportunities. There’s exciting places to work. Trendy bars. New foods to try. Fashion is eclectic. The whole place is cosmopolitan and you’re never quite sure when you’re going to stumble across a manly man in a lumberjack shirt wearing a mini-skirt and carrying a sparkly clutch (well, that’s my experience anyway).

However, I also love Birmingham, and Manchester, and Bristol, and Edinburgh, and Oxford and lots of other places in the UK…

And, what seriously pisses me off (sorry I’m cross and the profanities have emerged) is that, as a country, we’re still so London-centric. Even now the BBC is mostly based in Manchester. Even though video conferencing and working from home means we can be anywhere in the country. Even though cities outside of London have so much to offer (and cheaper house prices to boot). We still fixate on London.

The most recent example to add fuel to my fire is this tweet from Robbie Williams. Don’t get me wrong. I adore Robbie. I think Olly Murs is pretty cool too. But why do these ‘guest appearances’ always seem to occur for London audiences?

Take the second-leg of Beyoncé’s recent ‘The Mrs Carter Show World Tour‘. Hubby Jay Z was watching in the wings at Birmingham, but didn’t decide to take to the stage with Bey until they reached London.

Erm, excuse me for a moment. I get it. London is the capital. But please understand, as London is the capital it ALREADY HAS SHITLOADS OF REALLY COOL STUFF (sorry the expletives and the capitals have come out now), spare a thought for us types in the smaller cities. OK, so we have the smug contentment of being able to buy a four-bedroomed house for the same price as a studio flat in the capital, but does that make us any less important in the eyes of superstars? Apparently so…

What do you think? Are we too London-centric? What could be done to redress the balance?

 

Fiction: Book Review #19 – Cover of Night by Linda Howard

Life is too short to read a bad book, James Joyce

Via Pinterest.

Oh yes, monsieur Joyce. Never has a truer word been spoken.

Cover of Night is billed  – on the front cover no less – as…

Suspense that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

Admittedly that acclaim does come from middle-aged women’s magazine, Bella.

I tried with this book, I really did. I was expecting a tense thriller. Something where I needed to know who dunnit, why they’d dunnit and what they were up to next. I made it to chapter seven and then gave up…

Cover of Night by Linda Howard

Cate has moved to a sleepy town in Idaho after the death of her husband and now runs a small B&B. One of her guests mysteriously disappears (exiting through an open window in his room) and she’s kinda perturbed (although she seems more annoyed about having to tidy up his stuff than anything particularly sinister). She also seems to have a bit of a thing for the local handyman, although by chapter seven, she doesn’t quite seem to realise this herself. Then there’s the plot of the guys who are looking for the guy who escaped from the window. But it’s just, well, boring. Dishes have been washed, coffee has been served, Cate’s mother has come to visit, Cate has sent her toddler twins to the naughty chair on numerous occasions. But I kind of felt that none of this added anything to the story. It didn’t grip me, in fact it was so lack lustre that I’m surprised I made it to chapter seven.

One of the issues with this book, is that it has a bit of an identity crisis. It doesn’t quite know whether it wants to be a romantic novel or a thriller. It succeeds in being neither and is, instead, utterly boring.

The novel could also do with substantial editing. I know that when you’re trying to write you feel the need to include every minuscule detail to ensure everything makes sense/is in context etc… (heck, I often stage manage my dreams in such a fashion) but the art of a good writer (or editor) is to take bits out. The bits that are left out are as important as the information that’s left in. They’re the bits that make the reader use their imagination – the parts that make the story unique to them. Here’s one such instance which I think could have done with some editing…

Goss’s weapon of choice was a Glock, but in situations like this you took what was available on short notice. The two handguns provided were a Beretta and a  Taurus, with a box of cartridges for each. Goss had never used a Taurus before but Toxtel had, so Toxtel took it and let Goss have the familiar Beretta. They transferred the weapons to their bags, then called the pilot of their rent-a-plane to tell him they were on their way.

Because they were flying on a private plane, they didn’t have to go through security at the airport.

Seriously?! How can a few sentences about guns and ammunition be so blooming boring?!

I don’t like to slate things, I really don’t. But this just wasn’t for me.

Fabulous rating: 0/5

Check out my reading list here. What’s on yours?

Fab & Fail: Sunday 13th July 2014

Fab List

Charlotte Tilbury

This make-up look and interview with Charlotte Tilbury in the current edition of Style Birmingham magazine. I love this quote:

I know that makeup can make your day better. The psychology of makeup is interesting. It’s an instant effect so when you look at yourself in the mirror you feel good about yourself and the whole world reacts to you in a happier and more positive way.

This graphic print dress from Wallis. It’s received poor reviews, but I might just have to try it on for myself.

Adding some new book inspiration to my Pinterest board. 

Re-living the Swing Both Ways gig by listening to the live CD of the night we went. Gosh, us screaming crowd were louder than I thought!

This blog post provides some words of wisdom on how to live and love your life. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

The sound of early morning breakfast bowls being scraped for the last morsel of cereal.

New notebooks.

Fail List

Feeling ropey.

Feminism: Sexism in Football?

I keep taking photos of their arses.

Oh yes, bend over again.

Take your top off.

Imagine a man uttering these sinful words whilst spectating women’s sport. Outrageous, right? So sexist. They should ashamed of themselves, right?

So why is it OK for hoards of women to be saying these things about men? Yep, whilst watching Socceraid (and doing my own fair share of ogling) I overheard a group of women uttering these exact words and I’m fairly certain they weren’t the only ones.

Just another reason why I think feminism is an outdated concept.

James McAvoy

What do you think are men fair game to be ogled? How would you react if a man was saying these things about a woman?