Make A Splash with these Bath Accessories!

Baths provide a great way to relax both the mind and the body, offering therapy to tiredness and aches. With the weather getting colder, it’s an especially comfortable method to warm up and defrost!

Even though baths can be difficult to get into,  there are some excellent bathing aids that make getting in and out of the tub a piece of cake. Read on for more information on a couple of ideal bath products.

The Bathing Cushion

Ideal for individuals with limited mobility, this excellent bathing cushion helps with getting in and out of the bath. The lightweight, portable design can be fitted and removed within seconds, whilst easily adapting to the size and shape of any bath so no expensive alterations are required. The cushion simply deflates to allow the user to comfortably lie flat and fully immersed in the bath and can fold down flat, perfect for use when travelling and on holiday. It comes with a fully waterproof hand control and is completely battery operated for safety, whilst the cushioning can be tilted for a comfortable reclining angle.

The Archimedes Bath Lift

The Archimedes Bath Lift is perfect when getting in and out of the bath. For individuals with limited mobility, the bath lift rises and lowers to fully immerse the user in the water, with a design that can be placed further back in the bath to maximise leg room. A key feature is the twin flexible flaps which bend on contact with an obstruction, in addition to the fully waterproof hand control and battery operated design. Four quick release suckers enable the lift to stay secure in the bath, whilst the lift itself divides into three parts for easy removal.

 

 

Studying At Uni With An Illness by Caroline Appleton

Today’s blog post comes from Caroline, whose site “Pots And Spoons Blog” details her life experiences with chronic illness. Caroline’s excellent guest post offers handy tips and advice on how to study at uni when you’re living with a chronic illness, we hope anyone going through a similar experience finds it useful!


Hello! I’m Caroline, I’m 21 and studying for my MSc in Developmental Psychology, having recently completed my undergraduate degree. I have a collection of as-yet undiagnosed chronic illnesses, my main symptoms include dizziness, fatigue and severe joint pain. Unfortunately, I got little support for my conditions during my undergraduate degree, so I’m well practiced in getting a degree whilst living with health problems.

Hopefully, my experience is rare and there is often a lot of support available. Research the support available at your place of study, and ask for help. Speak to anyone who might be able to help, your lecturers, flatmates, supervisor, disability services, accommodation services. The more people know, the more likely you are to get the support you need. Whilst universities emphasise the importance of independence, they also want the best from you so they will often be happy to help.

The more people know, the more likely you are to get the support you need. The more people know, the more likely you are to get the support you need.

If you’re UK based, apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance. This is funding that comes alongside your student finance, to help cover the extra costs created by your disability. Rather than providing money, they often provide equipment, such as laptops and desk chairs; software, such as speech-to-text software; or support workers, such as mentors or study skills help. This can help you to access the course in the best way possible.

Study in the best way that works for you. Everyone goes on about spending all night in the library and working until 4am on deadline days. If that’s how you work best then by all means go for it, but just because that’s what everyone else is doing, you don’t have to. I do the vast majority of my work lying in bed, first thing in the morning, and it works for me. You might study best listening to music, or in complete silence; working alone or with others, on a computer or by making handwritten notes. Take some time to find out what works best for you, and stick to it.

Make sure you enjoy yourself!

Plan extra time. Give yourself a few extra days/weeks before a deadline, just in case you have a flare. I always set my own deadlines at least a week before the official deadline, then whatever happens I have extra time to play with.

Make sure you enjoy yourself! Studying is important but it’s just as important to make time to relax and meet people — you can’t work all the time. Get a good work life balance that gives you time to study, relax and recover.

You can find my blog here.


Thanks to Caroline for her excellent contribution! Don’t forget to check out her blog here, and if you have any advice yourself about studying with an illness or disability, tweet us at @AbilityStore!

Top 5 Tips To Prevent A Cold

Flu season is upon us and there are already a lot of cases of “the lergie” going around. Read some of our tried and tested top tips to help keep away colds this season. These are simply small efforts you can take to avoid getting a cold, if you need professional medical advice or are worried about flu-like symptoms, please consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Image: Bundle of healthy foods including lemon, orange, ginger, kale, nuts and berries

Support your immune system

Staying topped up on your fruit and veg intake to get all your vitamins is one of the best ways to keep your immune system tip top. Not only do they keep you healthy and aid digestion but they provide all the nutrients to fight colds.

Image: Cup of herbal tea on a table

Sip tea

Fresh lemon, honey and hot water is always a good way to fight a cold as the lemon thins mucus and honey is antibacterial. Menthol and herbal green tea’s are also great immune system boosters. Breathing in the steam from a hot cup of tea is a great way to stimulate the hair follicles in your nose which gets germs moving out more efficiently.  It always important to stay hydrated, especially with the sniffles, if tea isn’t your favourite, stay topped up on water!

Image: Hand washing under running water

Wash and sanitise 

Wash your hands regularly and especially after being in contact with anyone who does have a cold. Send those germs down the drain with plenty of hand wash and hot water. Hand sanitisers are also a great way to avoid unwanted germs on the go. If you are not a fan of the chemical-y clean smell, there are many water-based solutions available that are fresh and unscented.

Image: Box of tissues on a bathroom shelf

Vampire sneezing tactics

If you’re already sneezing and don’t have a tissue straight to hand, it’s best to sneeze into the crook of your elbow (like a vampire with a cape!) and not your hands as they are a common source for germs and can help them spread more.  It is always best to do the ‘catch it-bin it-kill it’ trick with tissues, especially when out public.

Image: Two jars of honey and lemon slices

Relieve and prevent

There are a lot of products on the market that can stop and prevent colds in their tracks. Throat sprays and lozenges are some of the best as they tackle any germs that rest at the back of the throat. The majority of treatments available help tackle symptoms with natural immune system boosters like lemon, honey and menthol.

“I swear by ColdZyme mouth spray when I feel any symptoms coming on – it forms a protective enzyme barrier in your throat and deals with any nasty germs that have settled there.”

Let us know any of your tricks for battling colds and any old wives tales from your childhood that actually work by tweeting us @AbilityStore or comment on our Facebook post!

Celebrating Nans & Grandads for Grandparents Day

Grandparents are the backbone of the family and if you are lucky enough to have had a fun-filled childhood with them then that is certainly something to cherish. We’re celebrating all the fantastic Grandad’s & Grandma’s out there this Grandparent’s Day!

Always up for fun & adventure

No matter what daft games and adventures you pursued as a child, Nan or Grandad would always be the ones joining in. Whether it was making forts out of blankets, going on a bear hunt through the woods or just making you laugh with silly antics. Did you ever make a mask or silly hat? Who were the ones always trying it on? Grandparents are certainly the big kids of the family, because who says getting older means you have to grow up?

 

Always keep you well fed

Whether it was going for tea after school or heading round on a Sunday for a roast dinner, Nan & Grandad are always the ones asking “do you want any more?”. From serving up jelly and ice cream to Nan’s homemade Yorkshire pudding, it was the place to be for the yummiest food. That old sewing tin that was always choc-full of biscuits was the perfect treat!

 I used to go with my Nan  into town on a Saturday morning and the treat of the day was having tea and toast in the local cafe”

Always patient and willing to help

Grandparents can make the best teachers, whether it is learning to read, write or ride a bike – they know that patience is a virtue and helping little ones to master these during childhood can send them a long way. From buying your first stabilisers and loading you up with brilliant books, they never shy away from lending a helping hand and spending time with you.

“My Grandad has the patience of a saint – he used to spend hours teaching me how to ride a bike and swimming. On holiday I was so adamant that I wanted to “swim in the adult pool” that he would carry me around in there all day as I couldn’t stand up!”

They make the best audience

Ever had an audition for the school play or rehearsed a dance for a talent show? You know no matter what, Grandma and Grandpa will be your biggest fans – whether they are front row at the nativity play with the video camera or listening to your constant rehearsals of ‘silent night’, even if it was terrible, they would never get bored.

“On my school sports day I was really nervous before running the sprint race. As we set off, all I heard amongst the crowd was the loudest shout – my Grandad cheering me on – I got 1st place.”

They’re actually really cool

 

Grandparents are always full of surprises – with stories from their youth of how they met, their adventures in school and growing up and living through some of the most historically interesting decades, sometimes it feels like they have never had a boring day!

“Once at a birthday party, after a couple of drinks, ‘Rock around the clock’ came on and they headed to the dance floor. Next minute my Grandad was flinging my Nan around jiving and twirling! I didn’t even know they could dance like that!”

 

 

 

 

 

Accessible Autumn Activities

Image: small child throwing autumn leaves around with the title “Accessible Autumn Activities”

It’s officially autumn now, which means it’s time to forget about going to the beach and find a new fun activity that’s perfect for the cooler weather. If you’re planning a family outing or venturing out on a solo trip, there’s plenty to do in autumn! Read on for our top activities this season…

Image: stately home at the edge of a lake.

Visiting a National Trust house is a perfect way to experience nature changing. Many of their historic sites have beautiful gardens which are ideal for an autumnal stroll, and when it’s time to warm up you can visit their cafes for a bite to eat and a hot drink.  Most of the houses and gardens have accessible features like wheelchair access and mobility vehicles that you can loan for the day, so everyone can enjoy it!

Image: several pumpkin pies.

Baking a pie is the ultimate way to welcome the start of autumn.  Whether it be classic apple or seasonal pumpkin, baking a pie is a key sign that it’s time for hot food again. Baking is also a good way to spend time with friends and family, as it’s therapeutic and fun! If you’re planning on baking something yummy this autumn, check out our blog post on baking which features our stylish new kitchen products, that are perfect for everyone to use.

Image: two carved Halloween pumpkins.

Carve a pumpkin to get into the Halloween spirit! Pumpkin-carving is a fun way to accessorise your home and show off your arty side, plus it can be enjoyed by everyone. If you’re unable to carve the design yourself, ask a friend, carer or family member to give you a hand — the more people involved, the better! From simple to intricate carvings, personalising your pumpkin is an essential autumn activity.

Image: a tree-lined path with orange and red leaves on the ground.

Go for a stroll in the beautiful autumn weather and appreciate all the changing colours of nature. If you’re a wheelchair or scooter user, parks and public gardens are ideal for accessibility with level ground and wide walkways. Take a camera and a friend with you  to capture nature’s most beautiful season and enjoy the cooler weather — you can find more reasons to go outdoors this autumn on our previous blog post here!


What are your activity plans for autumn? Let us know by tweeting us at @AbilityStore!

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Positives of Venturing Outside this Autumn

Image: park bench with autumn leaves and the title “5 Positives of Venturing Outside this Autumn”

With autumn upon us at last, it can be a shock to go outside with the lack of the summer weather. The shorter days along with the cooler climate means that autumn isn’t everyone’s favourite season, but there are plenty of positives  of taking a quick stroll this season — even if it’s just down the road.

Enjoying the fresh air is a simple and easy way to enjoy autumn, with added health benefits too. As long as you’re wrapped up safe and warm with plenty of layers, the beautiful autumnal air has that perfect bonfire-tinged scent mingled with the crispness of the season, which is guaranteed to blow away the summer blues.

Embrace the peacefulness of a cooler day. Whilst most outdoors spots are busy and bustling in summer, it’s easier to enjoy the atmosphere when visitors are tucked up indoors and there’s room to navigate woodland paths. A local park is ideal, as they are generally flat and wheelchair-accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Image: autumn leaves on the ground.

Observe nature at its best, as the weather transitions from summer to winter. Autumn offers stunning scenes of burnt reds, oranges and yellows, thanks to the falling leaves, which contrast beautifully with the usually-grey sky. Going outdoors to view this shift in nature is reason enough to venture out this autumn!

Light exercise helps to keep away any signs of flu, as it helps to improve your immune system and keeps you healthy throughout the winter holidays. Just 30 minutes of strolling, stretching or pedalling a day can improve your health significantly, and we’ve got some great exercise products to help you with that.

Have a treat waiting for when you get home! Keeping a toasty bowl of soup or a comforting hot drink waiting in your kitchen cupboard is motivation to keep up your autumnal outings, whilst also providing the perfect way to defrost and warm you up when you get back. Check out our dining section to find the ideal treat holder for you!

Image: pumpkin soup in a jar, with pumpkins in the background.

Preparing your home for autumn.

image: preparing your home for autumn over a view of autumnal village scape

The autumn equinox officially arrives on Friday and you may already be able to tell it’s on its way with the cooler mornings and sun sets arriving earlier every day. It’s the perfect time to do some seasonal maintenance in and around your home to make sure you’re ready for the brisker weather and allow yourself to fully enjoy the beautiful season ahead.

image: mug of tea rests on top of pile of books on a window sill
  • Check for any leaks or drafts. Dealing with this is not the nicest at the best of times, but when the weather gets cooler, leaks and drafts can cause unwanted illnesses such as chest infections so it is important to make sure your home is fully insulated. Draught excluders are a quick way to avoid any breezes making their way into your home.
  • Buy a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one. With proven energy-saving features, smart thermostats like the Nest automatically adapt as your life changes. One week of use and it programs itself, all while being adjustable from your smart phone, even if you’re out of the house. If you don’t have access to a smart phone, there are lots of smart, programmable thermostats on the market which can all provide your home with the perfect comfort and warmth to suit you this season.
image: log fire in front of sofa in a cosy living room
  • Have your furnace/boiler inspected before winter. Most gas providers will have an annual boiler service where they can send someone round to your house to check that everything is functioning properly. If you have a wood fireplace and use it often, it also best to have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
  • Test home safety devices such as smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors. Always important to have these regularly checked and change any batteries that need it.
image: cat walking down wooden outdoor steps surrounded by potted plants
  • Proof your garden/door steps from slippy leaves or floors. Grab rails are a great and inexpensive way to make sure you always have stability when leaving your home, especially when slippy leaves are likely to be around. It always best to try and keep your driveways and doorways as clear as possible but an outdoor grab rail can ensure extra safety and grip.
  • Extra comfort around the home is always ideal, especially in autumn and the run up to winter. Heated lap blankets can provide extra warmth when you have just got in from a chilly walk and need to warm up quickly.
image: blanket and newspapers laid out on a sofa
  • Have a general clean up and rid your home of any accumulations of things like newspapers etc to make sure there is no tripping or fire hazards. Always keep a clear space around electrical heaters, fireplaces and appliances.

Keep yourself and your home safe and tidy through the wintery months is vital to provide comfort and safety for you and your family – why not make a weekend of giving your home a little autumn-ready tlc? Once everything is in checked and in place, then it’s time to enjoy the fun and colourful season!

Tweet us any tips you have for preparing your home @AbilityStore!

 

 

Get Set Bake!

With the Great British Bake Off finally back on our screens, we have just the right products that’ll earn you the title of Star Baker. From measuring to mixing, our baking products make even the technical challenges seem straightforward!

Our measuring items, like this measuring bowl set and squeeze and pour cup are stylish and perfect for any kitchen. The measuring bowl set features three differently sized stackable bowls, all with comfortable handles and easy-pour spouts for ease of use, whilst our squeeze and pour cup is made from silicone to enable you to form a spout when pouring. It has a honeycomb pattern which causes heat to dissipate, making it safe and efficient to use!

Cook up a concoction to make even Paul Hollywood smile, with these fab mixing products. This white mixing bowl is an attractive addition to the kitchen, with the stainless steel design helping to regulate the contents’ temperature. Pair it with this silicone whisk for maximum fluffiness, which features a non-slip handle and durable design, perfect for whipping up a feast!

Our one-handed products are easy and comfortable to use, like our brand-new chopping board which folds to create a chute and easily adds ingredients to the mixture. Roll out the dough with the help of our one-handed rolling pin, which features a steel core for extra weight and a smoother action. Ergonomic handles and an adapted design makes these products perfect to use one-handed!

Whilst your mixture is baking in the oven (and making the whole house smell delicious), it’s a good time to have a clean up! Our new washing up brush is perfect for cleaning any cups or glasses — baking is thirsty work! — thanks to its curved design, which makes one-handed cleaning simpler. Mop up any surfaces with ease with this kitchen roll holder, featuring a blade and a weighted design for straight-forward, one-handed tearing.

If you’re saving your masterpiece for another day, the fridge/freezer is the perfect place to store it. This excellent container features a dial which allows you to set the date you stored the food, or the eat by date, so you’ll know exactly when to eat it — perfect for any leftover nibbles. After all that baking, a cold refreshing drink is in order; use this tray to easily extract the perfect ice cubes to cool you down. Also ideal for making the best little chocolate nibbles — simply pour melted chocolate into each section and place in the fridge.

Let us know what you’re planning to bake by tweeting us at @AbilityStore!

 

10 Things We All Love About Autumn

10 things we all love about Autumn on background of orange leaves

Autumn is on the way and we can’t wait for this beautiful season to get here! There’s so much to enjoy this time of the year, from the gorgeous nature to the exciting celebrations. Read on for our favourite things about autumn, and see if your favourite  is on here too…

1. The beautiful colours

Autumn forest with winding path

Autumn is a season full of gorgeous shades of oranges, reds and yellows. The fiery leaves against the grey skies make for excellent photos or paintings, and it’s the perfect backdrop for an autumnal stroll in the park. After the bright summer, it’s refreshing to see a whole new palette of hues before the darkness of winter rolls in. Autumn wouldn’t be the same without the vibrant leaves decorating the ground!

2. Bonfire Night

Close up of sparkler

This historical celebration has proven fun for everyone over the centuries, and Bonfire Night certainly hasn’t lost its appeal. The excitement of dressing cosily in your favourite hat, scarf and gloves is a change from the summery clothes of the holidays. Watch a firework display or spell your name with sparklers, enjoy a toffee apple or wrap up warm, the 5th November is definitely something to remember.

3. Halloween

An array of orange pumpkins

Likewise, Halloween is a great excuse to get dressed up in your spookiest outfit and enjoy All Hallow’s Eve. Perfect for kids and adults alike, the last day of October is packed with all sorts of scary fun and free chocolate – what could be better? Get dressed up or get decorating with a few carved pumpkins and let your creative side show this Halloween.

4. The weather

Misty autumn forest with woman jogging

With the hot climate of summer behind us, the autumnal weather is the perfect medium between the sunshine of August and a cool winter. A few days of sun mixed in with a period of frostiness appeals to everyone, so you can still enjoy a few more picnics before winter sets in, as well as the crispiness of a November day.

5. The food

Two bowls of pumpkin soup on a wooden table

With autumn and the colder weather, there also comes some tasty grub! The chill in the air provides the perfect excuse to have a hot drink and tuck into some warm comfort food, like a pie or a delicious bowl of pumpkin soup. Or you could even just enjoy a tub of trick or treat sweets and get your sugar fix before the advent calendars begin!

6. The drinks

Mug of latte with yellow saucer on wooden table

Similarly, the drinks at this time of year are perfect to enjoy. With a jug of Pimms or a fruity smoothie left behind with summer, autumnal refreshments are all about spicy pumpkin latte, warm cinnamon and hot chocolate! Ideal to sip by the fire or put in a flask when you’re at a bonfire, a toasty warm drink is one of the best things about autumn.

7. Cosy nights in

Close up of burning log fire

Whilst summer is all about being outdoors as much as possible (weather permitting of course), one of the best things about autumn is all the cosy nights sat by the fire with a blanket or two. Autumn is definitely a relaxing season; time to chill and make the most of the rest before the busy build up to Christmas begins!

8. The clothes

Woman dressed in a winter hat and woolen scarf

The start of autumn means the end of summer clothes, and whilst this may not be a good thing for everyone, you can’t deny that a soft jumper and a cosy scarf is the height of comfort. An appearance of earthy-coloured clothes in the shops and sudden sales of hats and gloves means that you can get all wrapped up and enjoy the autumn weather.

9. Darker evenings

Sunset over a lake and hillside

Whilst it’s nice to be able enjoy more of your day, there is something magical about the moon coming out earlier. Plus, when the clocks turn back, it means we all get an extra hour in bed everyday! The clocks go back on the 29th October this year, meaning it’s the perfect atmosphere for trick-or-treating or enjoying a firework display.

10. Christmas isn’t far off!

Close up of Christmas tree branch with lights

Obviously the best thing about autumn is the fact that it’s a lot closer to Christmas, meaning presents, chocolate and festive fun! Before long, it’ll be time to take down the pumpkin and ghost decorations, and replace them with bunches of tinsel and baubles – and of course, a tree. Once Bonfire Night is over, it’s time to start that Christmas countdown.

Red squirrel with chestnut

What’s your favourite thing about autumn? Let us know by tweeting us or getting in touch via our Facebook!

Ideas for an accessible home – Autumn 2017

Autumn brings a multitude of cosy but modern tones along with its darker evenings and chillier days. We have some exciting new ranges to introduce this season that stand apart from the rest when it comes to daily living aids.

Create a perfectly beautiful accessible home this season with our guide below:

Cosy autumn evenings by the fire call for the perfect chair. Our Indiana recliner is one of the softest, most luxurious chairs with its chenille fabric and comes in a modern charcoal grey. Pair with a heated lap blanket and popcorn for the ultimate movie night.  Keep your bathroom modern but practical with the stylish Etac Relax shower seat in slick grey. Easily adaptable to your needs, this shower seat smart and ideal when space is limited. Our Let’s Fly rollator in the sleek graphite colour option  offers ultimate stability while out and about, with it’s contemporary design and strong frame.  If you’re a blue badge holder you can keep your cards neat and tidily displayed in the tweed badge holder, it even comes with its own timer clock and is a timeless design created using heavy cotton. For little ones, the beautifully designed OXO Tot perch booster seat is an adorable option to help them reach the table when dining, with its handy integrated handle, it is ideal for taking out with you.  Stay organised on the go with these modern buggy/wheelchair organiser bags. With funky animal designs to choose from, you can even co-ordinate it with a cosy!

Not typically considered an ‘autumn’ colour but pink can be warming and subdued with its blush tones and pastel floral patterns. The Serena rise & recliner can add an attractive and contemporary flair to any living room in it muted oatmeal colour.  Layer different tones of pink with the super soft velplush wedge cushions. Not only can they provide support while at the office or at home, but they are great for long car journeys too!  If you’re looking for practical items to aid in the bedroom, the washable bed pads are subtle enough to blend in with neutral bedroom decor and sheets.  Add a splash of pink while out and about with the worlds smallest-folding walker the metro walker. Or co-ordinate your walking stick strap to one of the pink blossom sticks!

You can’t go wrong with classic monochrome. Simple staples for around the home add a modern luxury, like the beautifully designed Uccello kettle & tipper – whether its ice white or black and white – both designs offer effortless pouring.  Easy squeeze salt & pepper mills are ideal for one handed use and the coarseness can be easily adjusted making them perfect for any user and any kitchen.  If you’re a keen baker, a whisk is a necessity. Keep it slick and easy to grip with the OXO hand held mixer – combining two beaters that can be removed for easy cleaning with non-slip handle. The Rollz Motion is an inventive and stylish solution to getting about.  If you need a little support on the move, this 2 in 1 transport chair and rollator is the ultimate solution to a modern day mobility aid.  Add a sleek twist to a classic walking stick with a monochrome pattern like the folding cane in black wave.

Let us know how you’re keeping your home accessible this autumn by tweeting us @AbilityStore!