World Sight Day | Living with sight loss, trauma and decline

wsd_web_banner

I was the only six-year-old I knew who could spell ‘haemorrhage’ correctly. It was a word I learned from the dictionary, reading it aloud to my mum as she wrote a letter excusing me from P.E. lessons.


For those of you who don’t know, I was born with a condition called Incontinentia Pigmenti. The condition can affect many parts of someone’s body but, for me, it most prominently affects my eyes.

It is my experience with IP and resulting symptoms that prompted me to write this post today, as well as urge everyone to regularly have their eyes checked. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) states that 80% of the world’s blind are avoidably so. This is a frightening statistic.

To find out more about what you can do to lower this number, please visit their website.


Bright lights and dark shadows


When I was six, I went into my mum’s bedroom, complaining of ‘lights in my eyes’. Continue reading

#AbseilforAutism | I’ve never been so glad to be back on the ground

This Saturday (14th May), I took part in #AbseilforAutism to raise money for the National Autistic Society.

My day started off very calm, as I woke up in time to have a hearty breakfast before heading to London. Things were looking and feeling good as our fundraising team strapped on our harnesses (except that one who forgot to put his legs in the straps and had to be corrected before a disaster happened!).

Then we reached the roof. Nerves were starting to jangle because 90% of us had never abseiled before. The lovely people at NAS were joking with us to put us at ease and soon I found myself teetering on the edge of a 230ft building.


“Now lean back.”


Nope. No. No way. Nuhuh. 

My body suddenly locked itself in protest, acutely aware that only a rope was stopping me from plummeting to a very messy death.

ba49252a5afb795a0eb611ab96822019


When the helpful man on the roof eventually persuaded me to drop back into thin air, I was rewarded by cramp in my left foot, which is not exactly what you want when you’re 21 storeys high.

My mild panic increasing foot by foot, I annoyed my descent partner by repeatedly calling her name. I think it was a desperate attempt to assure myself I wasn’t alone on the side of this forsaken building. I was suddenly regretting that hearty breakfast.

That’s me on the left.

IMG_0823

Half-way down, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t a natural abseiler as I:

  • was shaking like a leaf
  • was fighting not to spin around (although I did succeed in this venture!)
  • had completely lost all rhythm of my descent and was now just resolving to reach the ground as quickly as possible.

I REACHED THE GROUND.


I was neither dignified or graceful about it, but I did it.

I was caught on a horizontal metal pole for a few seconds at the end. I had to disentangle myself and looked ridiculous.

But I DID IT.

Next year, I’m doing a sponsored cycle ride or something that lets me stay close to the ground. Never abseiling again. Never.


My terror (and the fears of my colleagues) was rewarded by circa £3000 (incl. Gift Aid) for The National Autistic Society. We’re still taking donations so we hope to break £4k by the time we’re done!

A huge thank you to everyone who supported us and helped fund-raise for the NAS. Your donations make their important work possible.


This is me when finally reached the bottom. I’m laughing so I don’t cry.

IMG_0827



To find out more about #AbseilforAutism and the National Autistic Society at their website: http://www.autism.org.uk/

2 days left until I throw myself off a 230ft building to raise money for the National Autistic Society.

This Saturday, I’ll be abseiling 230ft in order to raise money for The National Autistic Society.

The facts: 

  • I’m really short and as such, don’t really like to be high from the ground. I’m not joking. I sometimes get vertigo from standing on a Tube platform when the train pulls away and I see the empty tracks below.
  • I wanted to do a sponsored walk but was outvoted – so now I have to do this instead. And I’m still willing, because it’s a fantastic cause.
  • The NAS is the leading UK charity for autistic people (including those with Asperger syndrome) and their families. They provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for autistic people.

All donations and sponsorship (no matter how small) is greatly appreciated. Our overheads have already been paid by our company, so every penny you donate goes directly to the charity. 

The donation site: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alinea-consulting


To find out more about The National Autistic Society and autism, please visit: http://www.autism.org.uk/

Thank you!

Rejection, rewrites and jumping off tall buildings (unrelated)

With the exception of my book sale post, it’s been Quite Some Time since I blogged anything worthwhile. I promised you all book reviews and then failed to deliver in spectacular fashion.

Well, I have been reading and the reviews will be forthcoming shortly. It just took me a little while to get my head (and bottom) into gear. Here’s what’s been happening in my neck of the woods:

  • I received my fifth and final rejection letter – possibly the politest of its kind ever written – so decided to revise The Elder Throne yet again before my next query attempt. Just a tad, though.
  • Due to aforementioned rejection letter, which called my manuscript ‘a near miss’, I have also been happily continuing with my book’s sequel, The Winter Court.
  • I signed up to abseil down Canary Wharf in order to raise money for The National Autistic Society. Given I’m not oh-so-fond of heights, being naturally 5ft nothing, this could be the most terrifying decision I’ve ever made.
  • And over-time. So much over-time.

But I’m back from all that – with the exception of the Abseil for Autism, which happens on the 14th May – so business will resume as usual. See you all soon!


If you’d like to find out more about The National Autistic Society, their website is here:

If you’d like to make a donation (no matter how small!) to the fundraising for Abseil for Autism, please check out our JustGiving page. All overheads have already been paid by our company, so 100% donations go directly to the charity.

For reference, I’ll be abseiling…

  • circa 50 times my height.
  • 230 feet.
  • 70.1 metres.
  • In other words, really high.
  • Too high, one might say, but I’ve already handed the form in.

… I’ll let you know if I survive.