Friday 30 December 2016

Deaf Girly and the (inaccessible) Christmas Movies

One of my favourite things about Christmas – aside from the lovely family gatherings, endless snacks and chocolate, the sparkly tree and presents – is the festive movies. I absolutely love a Christmas film. Even terrible ones... and believe me, there are some terrible ones out there.

There's just something about them – the warm and fuzzy feelings, the amazing scenery as they are usually set in the USA with an abundance of snow, and the cheesy soundtracks – I can't get enough of them.

As someone who doesn't have a TV, I rely mainly on watching movies on catch-up on our computer, and this year Channel 5 did not disappoint with its double bill, daily afternoon Christmas movie fest. There were all sorts of cheesy movies, including one that I particularly liked called A Cinderella Christmas.

It's up there with my other favourite cheesy Christmas movies: Holidaze – staring 90210's Jennie Garth, which is about a woman who hits her head and wakes up in a parallel universe, and A Christmas Snowglobe, which randomly stars Christina Milan and is about... well a Christmas snowglobe.

However, neither of these movies were on Channel 5 this year. They may have been on the Christmas 24 channel, which I only just today discovered existed, but being TV-less, I do not have this...

As I wanted to keep the Christmas cheer a bit longer, I set out trying to find all three of my favourite movies online to download, which turned out to be a bigger challenge than I anticipated.

Holidaze is available on Google Play and Amazon Video to download, but neither of these versions has subtitles or closed captions. Randomly, Holidaze is available to download on US iTunes with closed captions but only if you live in the US... which of course, I don't. It is NOT available on UK iTunes.

A Cinderella Christmas is available only on – the US site – as a digital download with closed captions, and is not available on the UK site, but more on that in a moment.

A Christmas Snowglobe is available on Google Play without closed captions. In fact, this was the only movie that I couldn't find anywhere with closed captions.

So in a nutshell, I cannot get any of these movies with closed captions, in this country.


Obviously I decided to investigate this more and here's what I found out:

A Cinderella Christmas

You cannot buy anything digital on without having a US registered address and bank card. I thought that perhaps I could get around this by buying myself an gift card. I could not. So I contacted the lovely peeps on Amazon chat and to be fair they were amazing. I asked them why the content was not available to the UK Amazon users and they said it just wasn't. But they did – once I fessed up what I was trying to do – refund me on my gift card.

You can however, watch this movie on Demand 5 until 16 January – I am considering watching it every day just in case I never get to watch it again... yes, I am that sad!


I started by writing an email to iTunes, asking them why a movie was available on US iTunes but not UK iTunes and imploring them to consider making it available, especially when it is already available on Google Play and Amazon. I received a vanilla response thanking me for my feedback.


I then contacted Amazon on their fantastic chat function and was told that the movie studio provides the film in that format and so it is not possible to change.

*scowls some more

And finally I contacted Google Play, who also told me that the movie studio was responsible so the error was theirs.

*scowls even more

So I contacted ABC Family/Freeform in America – the company that made the movie – and asked them why they had provided the movie without closed captions to the UK. Of course they didn't answer this exact question but instead told me that the movie had closed captions and they could see no reason why it wasn't captioned on Google Play and Amazon.

And then I got dizzy and sick and tired of going around in circles.

I contacted Google Play again today and was helped by a very nice man called Kevin who once again told me that there was nothing Google could do as this was the format of the movie they had been given by the distributor.

I am not sure that Kevin was allowed to leave the 'live chat' until I had confirmed that I was happy, so we had a 20 minute text conversation about how sad I was about my deafness and the lack of Christmas movies with closed captions while he typed platitudes and shared my frustrations. I think once I finally got off live chat, Kevin went and made himself a very strong coffee in the Google Play Kitchen.

A Christmas Snowglobe

By the time I got to trying to find out about this movie, I had basically lost the will to ask the same questions over and over again, so I guess we will never find out whether it's possible to get this movie with closed captions.

And after all this, I am once again at a brick wall and banging my head against it.

It amazes me that accessibility to digital content differs so greatly between the USA and the UK and while I know these big corporations have bigger things on their plate than worrying about whether some cheesy Christmas movie is available to a deaf girl in London, I am sad that accessible content continues to be something that is overlooked in favour of saving money, convenience or even perhaps licensing laws.

Do you know, I once emailed the company that released Dr Quinn Medicine Woman on DVD – OK, I know that's bad, but please try your hardest not to judge me on my cheesy taste in TV – to ask why none of the DVDs had closed captions and was told it was a money thing. The demand and the cost were incompatible.

Sucks to be deaf eh?

Being deaf is more expensive. While I get my hearing aids for free, my US friends must pay for theirs. But, even in the UK, so many other little things add cost to my everyday life. I understand the cost of deafness more than I'd care to. And just sometimes it would be nice to think that Amazon, Google and Apple did too and gave me and other deaf people, who'd like to watch cheesy Christmas movies with closed captions even in July, a break.

I am going to continue asking for those three Christmas movies to be made accessible to me and if that fails, I might do what the lovely guy on chat suggested and move to the USA...

But then what's a deaf girl like me going to do over there eh? Watch closed captioned Christmas movies I guess!

Happy New Year peeps!

Hope 2017 is a brilliant one.


Friday 2 December 2016

Deaf Girly downloads Netflix with subtitles

Today is thankful Friday and on waking this morning I was very thankful to receive an email from Netflix.

In this email, Netflix told me that the recent iOS app update meant that I could now download programmes to watch offline!!

I know!

This was almost as exciting as when BBC iPlayer released this feature.

But, being deaf and endlessly disappointed by these sort of things not including subtitles – while iPlayer offered downloads for ages, it took them quite a while to offer downloads with subtitles – I proceeded cautiously...

Oh who am I kidding, I excitedly opened the app, found my favourites and clicked straight away to download something. Two minutes later, it was ready and hurrah – it had subtitles.

Things like this really, really make me happy – Netflix gets a new function and deaf people benefit at the same time as hearing peeps. Amazing eh?

Someone asked me the other day if I'd like to fast-forward to 40 or go back to being 10 – with a ton of money thrown in – and I had a big think about this, because obviously I had nothing better to do! If I had to go back to being 10 in 1990, NO WAY would I do that. To a time where hardly any TV was subtitled and even then, not properly, where I didn't own a caption reader yet – and even when I did get one, only a handful of videos had this icon on them:

A time when mobile phones and texting were not available so telephone calls had to be made – and not heard – and hearing aids were large, unwieldy and extremely unhelpful.

But would I like to be 10 now? Nope. Not even with all the technological advancements that would have helped me learn better at school, be more sociable out of school and access more TV and movies. Not on your life.

I am quite happy being 36 in 2016 – which is lucky seeing as this isn't Big and there aren't any viable alternatives. 

I love that I am able to keep in touch with all my friends effortless on the super computer  I keep in my pocket AKA my iPhone – FaceTime is basically the best thing ever... lipreading on a phone call? My 10-year-old self would never have believed that.

I love that I can watch most things subtitled at some point – except There's No Such Thing as a Fish on iPlayer, which has permanently appalling subtitles – and get accessibility help for lots of things. And I love that my Phonak Nathos hearing aids have given me a 3D world I love when I honestly thought I was happy living in a 2D one.

For me, being deaf has it's frustrations, limitations, upsets and annoyances, but I also think there's not better time to be deaf – don't get me wrong, things aren't perfect but sometimes it's the little things. And today's little thing was downloadable programmes on Netflix with subtitles.

Happy Friday peeps



Friday 25 November 2016

Deaf Girly visits John Lewis Haberdashery

Two weeks ago, after reading a news article in The Telegraph which said that John Lewis Haberdashery would be closing, I did something I've never done before – I set up a petition. A petition appealing to anyone who had ever bought a button to sign and show their love for John Lewis Haberdashery department.

I'm sat here in a cafe in central London looking at that petition and marvelling at the 5,562 of you who signed it, many in the first day, many in the first hours before Peter Cross, Director of Communications & Brand Experience at John Lewis got in touch to reassure me that, despite the news stories and rumour, John Lewis Haberdashery was safe.

One of the things Peter also did was invite me to visit John Lewis's flagship haberdashery department on Oxford Street and talk with the haberdashery buyer Ian and Emma from his comms team. And of course I jumped at the chance to meet the person who is in charge of John Lewis's button selection – amongst other things.

Here's what I wanted to talk about:
  1. Buttons and trimmings
  2. Haberdashery department development
  3. Customer interaction
  4. What makes the haberdashery buyer tick

And don't worry, everything I found out and was reassured about, I will go back and check on in 12 months.

But it really wasn't just about me. It was about the 5,000-plus people who signed the petition and many of you were still worried. So I asked you to get in touch and let me know what you wanted me to ask – my email account went mental.

What you guys wanted…

Many of you were worried about the fabric selection being scaled down and the increase in 'kits' rather than individual things you could buy separately. Trimmings came up a lot – you wanted trimmings available off the roll rather than pre-cut, and ribbons fell into that category, too. 

Others asked if John Lewis could showcase and celebrate British suppliers of wool, scissors, patterns and other such things. Those outside of London also pointed out that some of the kits and wool felt very 'London priced' and what you really wanted was affordable, good quality products that you knew would do the job. You felt that starter kits and one-stop projects were taking away your shelf space.

And it wasn't just requests. I read comment after comment of people praising the knowledge of John Lewis staff in the haberdashery department and expressing a wish that these kind of people remain at the heart of this department.

In addition to the staff, you wanted classes, tutorials, workshops and places within the department where you could share and learn. You wanted haberdashery to stand proud in store, not be tucked upstairs with children's things or out the way in sports and leisure. If you had your way, make-up and beauty would be quietly moved to get haberdashery back on the ground floor. There was also many suggestions of putting it near home furnishings.

So, armed with all this, I went to visit John Lewis Haberdashery on Oxford Street. It is tucked away upstairs on the fourth floor past the kids's clothing, but it is there. And I was immediately greeted by 'The Makery Table' and two women knitting and having a chat with each other. 

I met with Emma and Ian, who has been a buyer at John Lewis Haberdashery for six months and there's no getting away from the fact that he is passionate about John Lewis Haberdashery.

So what did I find out?

Firstly, and this was in answer to my direct question and two more slightly differently worded questions, John Lewis is NOT and will not being getting rid of its haberdashery department. Nor is it scaling back on the size of them.

According to Ian, 16 John Lewis Haberdashery departments now have places where people can meet and make. In the Leeds store, there is a community room which can be used for that purpose.

On the products, Ian told me the following:

  • FABRIC There are 1,200 different fabrics available at John Lewis Oxford Street. Other John Lewis's have on average 900 different fabrics. 
  • WOOL When it comes to wool, John Lewis is very UK focused, working with British suppliers and ensuring the Wool mark is on their products. They are offering pattern books and pattern folders and have begun to re-catalogue these according to clothing, home, kids and hobbies. I had a flick through and they look good. If you don't have them at your John Lewis, let them know that this is something you want.
  • KITS Yes there are kits – quite a lot of kits actually – and I told Ian that this was not something you were thrilled about. Ian explained that in an Etsy and Pinterest-driven world, some customers are looking to copy what they find online and John Lewis is working with those Etsy people to bring their work in store. Does it take shelf space away from more traditional items? Sadly right now it does. But I hope that Ian meant it when he said that they are always looking at what people are buying and responding to that. 
  • BUTTONS It's good news for buttons – Ian and his team are in the process of re-working the button department, which means that 2017 will see a refresh and revival of the wonder that is those little plastic tubes of buttons of all shapes, colours and sizes. I personally can't wait for that.
  • TRIMMINGS Trimmings also are getting a refresh – 100 extra trimmings are hitting the shelves on cut-to-order rolls and I was assured that this was not just a 'London thing'.
  • EVENTS These are having a comeback, which is good news. Ian and his team are looking at how they can get experts in to run workshops and classes across the country, not just in London. They are also looking at making sure that your experience of sewing machine buying doesn't stop as you walk out the door with your shiny machine and two-year guarantee. John Lewis wants you to make with them, in store, and it wants established talented crafters, knitters, sewers and creative types to inspire a new generation of people.
As Ian and I were finishing up our chat, I got to meet Sylv – she has worked at John Lewis in the haberdashery department for 47 years. I watched her afterwards moving around the shop floor, chatting to people, picking things out and I realised that it's people like her that matter more than ever.

Ian asked me to send him your comments, which I am going to do (without names or emails attached as many of you requested this) – collated and laid out so he can browse them and see what else made more than 5,000 of you speak up. 

I know I am a bit of an optimist, but really do hope that Ian, and the peeps at John Lewis, will listen and that haberdashery remains safe and even better, grows. They told me that they want to make haberdashery more relevant. And relevant is about giving you what you want. So go in to your local store and let them know what you want, and what's missing. 

You know I did that in my local Sainsbury's once as I really wanted them to stock something specific. I asked in store every week whether they had it, and eventually they did. And it's still there and I still buy it.

But if Sainsbury's ever stops stocking it, I will speak up again, and that's what I think must be done with John Lewis. Keep visiting your haberdashery department, keep an eye on it, spend money in it and let's make sure that John Lewis never ever thinks about closing it, because it quite simply makes too much money and is too loved.

And as I said, I will be going back to John Lewis and checking that everything I was told would happen, is happening.

Finally though, I wanted to say big thanks to all of you who got in touch, tweeted and supported me in my petition – it worked, John Lewis noticed us and even though the closing of the haberdashery departments turned out not to be true, it did so much to reaffirm the importance of haberdashery in the 21st century.

DG x

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Deaf Girly & the John Lewis petition update

So yesterday was a bit of a weird day – but weird in a good way.

On Monday night, when I set up the 'Save John Lewis Haberdashery please...' petition, I had no idea that it would gain nearly 5,000 signatures.

Or that I would receive an email of reassurance from John Lewis that haberdashery was safe – and more importantly not being downgraded.

Nor did I have any inkling at how brilliant the comments would be that so many petition signers chose to leave, reminiscing about their loyalty to the buttons and bobbins floor and how important it is that John Lewis never, ever get rid of it. Especially not in favour of a bikini wax salon.

The power of the internet – particularly Twitter – never ceases to amaze me. While there are plenty of negatives surrounding social media, I feel very lucky to have such a lovely bunch of followers and follow such a lovely bunch of people. Every day someone makes me laugh, or cheers me up, or tells me something I didn't know – not just about deafness-related things but about life in general.

What's more, my little petition even made the BBC news story about John Lewis not downgrading haberdashery!

And today, when I woke up to a Twitter community in despair at the news from America, I went back to the petition and re-read the comments left yesterday and today – despite me changing the title stating that John Lewis Haberdashery is safe – and cheered myself up. Here are just a few of the amazing comments...

To paste them all here would take up the internet – there are literally hundreds. And many of you had a sense of humour about the bikini waxes.

I hope that I am going to meet with the peeps from John Lewis soon and chat to them about the future of haberdashery at John Lewis and get a tour of the department. I can't wait to do this. I can't wait to tell the staff about the comments on the petition – about how loved and valued they are and about how genuinely upset people were when they thought it was true.

But in the meantime, thank you lovely people for getting behind such a great cause and showing that somethings really should be around forever.

Now, I hear someone's started a petition about Toblerone... shall we all head over there and sign that?

Happy Wednesday peeps


Tuesday 8 November 2016

Deaf Girly's John Lewis Haberdashery update

Ok, so my Twitter followers will know that yesterday I set up a petition to save John Lewis Haberdashery departments after news articles appeared on The Telegraph and The Pool

And here's why I did it! 

When I was four years old, my grandmother made me a party dress. It was white, with puffed sleeves and the prettiest pink floral smocking across the front. I wore that party dress to every party and attempted to wear it to a good many non-parties. I loved it. I still have it.

Since my first memories were made, sewing, craft and creating things have been an integral part of my life.

My ma, like my grandmother was, is an amazing seamstress. She made my school uniform when I first went as I was too small for the regulation one, and then continued to make my school uniform because hers was quite frankly better quality and better fitting. It was so close to the real thing, no one noticed, but it had clever hems to let down and all sorts of other things.

I used to get home from school and she'd have a craft project ready - from cushions to cross stitch, soft toy making to t-shirt printing, we did it all, and it was amazing.

And at school, where I struggled to hear traditional subjects where teachers stood at the front of the class and recited facts, I found that in textiles, I could still excel.

So that's why, when I read that John Lewis is downsizing, doing away with, getting rid of its Haberdashery departments in favour of prosecco bars and bikini waxes, I set up a petition to let the company know how much its Haberdashery department is loved and valued. And this is coming from someone who loves prosecco.

And at time of writing, nearly 1,000 of you have let me know you feel the same way.
John Lewis was the place I headed to one Christmas to buy red and green felt, glitter fabric paint and ribbon with which I created hand-made personalized little stockings for all my friends - many of whom still hang them on their trees every year.

It was the place I bought elastic and cotton to help make hair scrunchies with my cousins when the 1990s started becoming fashionable again.

I headed there to buy a denim patch when I went through the knees of my favourite jeans - and I really don't have the kind of knees that should be poking out of jeans.

And when London Cousin 1 declared a proper interest in sewing - it was to John Lewis I sent her to buy her first machine. And she excelled from the moment she got going.

As a deaf person, I have a lot of solitary hobbies. I find them easier, more enjoyable than group events or team sports where I struggle to hear. Craft, making things, creating and designing - however badly as I'm really not that good at it - is something that a great Haberdashery department like John Lewis allows me to do.

So imagine my happiness when I received the following from Peter Cross at John Lewis this morning after my petition had received more than 2,200 signatures:

In the above, Peter Cross confirmed that John Lewis haberdashery departments would not be downgraded or shut... he said some very nice things about haberdashery in fact.

So that's great news! Head to John Lewis this weekend, buy your craft supplies safe in the knowledge that they are here to stay...

Good work peeps and thanks for all your support!


Friday 21 October 2016

Deaf Girly and the Hearing Dog

Meet Hebe – my dog daughter!
On this very Thankful Friday, I'd like to introduce you to Hebe – a Hearing-Dog-in-training – who I have sponsored with Hearing Times in return for writing my column for them. You can read all about that here

Sponsoring a Hearing Dog is very easy – you have several options: a monthly payment of £3, £5, or £10 a month or a one-off donation. The charity is very clear about how your donations are spent – examples include £10 paying for a selection of training aids and £30 being the amount needed to provide a Hearing Dog with its distinctive jacket and lead slip.

But that's not all. Here are five reasons why sponsoring a Hearing Dog is so great...

1. You get to be a fairy dogmother or dogfather

Since I met Hebe, I've been showing photos of her on my phone to anyone I meet at every opportunity. I would have put her on Facebook but I don't really use Facebook, but I get to boast that this gorgeous pooch is being trained to do something amazing and I'm helping! 

2. Get to tell chuggers very smugly that you already donate to a charity
I don't like chuggers and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is very clear that it doesn't use them to raise money. In London, I get stopped every day by someone with a new pitch about why I should give them money. I don't like walking past and ignoring them – they are people after all – but I usually just say that I am already donating to my favourite charity and walk on. One time a chugger replied that I was clearly donating to the wrong charity and I put him straight and left him quietly contemplating his words.

3. You will change someone's life in a way you never imagined possible
When I went on the Hearing Dogs' tour of The Grange last week, I met people whose lives have been completely transformed by their partnership with a Hearing Dog. One lady had had four hearing dogs with her latest about to retire. She spoke about each one with such love and confidence, I actually had a little cry. 

4. You get to be a great present giver
Did you know that you can sponsor a Hearing Dog as a present for someone? That someone who always says, "Oh, I don't need anything..." and you're left panic buying them something on Christmas Eve in your local supermarket. This gift is brilliant – sponsors of Hearing Dogs get access to exclusive content, updates on their puppy and all sorts of other great things. You get to see your puppy grow up and get ready to change someone's life. I know I keep banging on about it being life changing, but it really is.

5. It's not all about sponsorship
Of course, I know that committing to a monthly sponsorship is not for everyone, but there are tonnes of other ways you can support Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. You can collect your stamps, which they then sell to raise money, you can share this blog, ask for a dog sponsorship for Christmas and tell everyone you meet about Hearing Dogs... 
My very lovely Ma does this at every opportunity – since we found out I was deaf aged 10, she's been a huge supporter of this charity. In her excitement she once called them Deaf Dogs for the Blind, but that's a whole other story!

My amazing dogdaughter Hebe who is learning to be a Hearing Dog

*Hearing Dogs did not ask or pay me to write this post. Due to the fact I am sponsoring Hebe with Hearing Times, they invited me to meet and see the amazing work they do. And it is amazing and I will happily shout about it all day long! 

Thursday 20 October 2016

Always love on this day

Today I'm sat at my desk. I am at work.

On this day for too many years, I can remember exactly where I've been. The day, all those years ago, I remember the clearest.

Today is about remembering the person who taught me along side one my favourite people in the whole world to love the big scary world that is London. The guy who watched episode after episode of Grand Designs with me while drinking beer, who never criticised my inability to time cooking new potatoes with pie, meaning one was burnt if the others were edible, or the potatoes were more like weapons of mass destruction.

This is a person who watched Flashdance with me and remarked it was basically porn but still busted out some moves while making the best Thai green curry ever. A person who on his wedding day grinned so hard I thought his face might fall off – and as he was marrying one of the best people in the whole wide world, who could blame him.

He taught me how to buy a travel card when they still came in paper form, how to change platforms at Earls Court without asking for help, how to become a devotee to BBC Breakfast London Travel bulletins so that your entire morning wasn't ruined by a signal failure.

He taught me that sometimes when you pick up children, you drop them. That rice really does need to be soaked for longer than you think, so start cooking before you get hungry. That there is a limit of how many Krispy Kreme donuts a four-year-old child can eat and that yes, if you go over that, it ends up in a big big mess.

He also – and he never knew this – invented a new verb... "to Pret".

And so today, on this day, I am most definitely going "to Pret" and send all my love to wherever you are.


Wednesday 19 October 2016

10 things my deafness makes me better at

The other day I was thinking about what I might be like if I wasn't deaf. Firstly, I wouldn't be here as Deafinitely Girly. I'd probably be blogging about other things though... but this wouldn't include defending myself against a coat stand with a hot water bottle and many of the other scrapes I've found myself in as a result of not hearing much.

But what about the other things that I think my deafness enhances. The things I've become better at, quicker at, more efficient at. Here's my round-up of the 10 things I think I do better than I would if I was hearing:

1. Form filling

Who doesn't love a form eh? Especially those ones with the boxes where you have to get your letters just inside and hope your email address isn't too long to fit. In my life I have filled in countless forms to do with my deafness – from Freedom passes and my recent application for a Hearing Dog (YAY!) to complaints online about subtitles, service and applications for various things to help. You name it, I've filled it in. I love forms! 

2. Planning ahead

I wonder if I'd be quite so organised if I wasn't deaf. If I'd be more laissez-faire, leave things to the last minute, and fret less? Maybe not, but I do know that being deaf means I consider all options, all scenarios and all possible outcomes when planning, organising and booking things. This means I can request pre-boarding on planes, seats at the front of talks, or tweet the relevant people my questions and worries and ensure that at no point is my deafness going to trip me up. Of course it invariably does, but I'm still on a quest to plan ahead to the point that it doesn't.

3. Finding out names

I am terrible with names. I never hear them and then am too embarrassed to ask someone to repeat their name. But this means I have a stealth-like skill at finding out people's name and NEVER forgetting them ever again. When starting in a new office, I always draw a floor plan in the back of my notebook and then find a friendly face to help me fill it in. I will hit up linked in and match faces to names, whatever it takes. 
Of course, I could simply admit that I hadn't heard their name three weeks ago when I first met them, which is why for the first two weeks at one of my recent jobs I called a guy Tom and not Adam, before LinkedIn told me otherwise… but that would be too simple wouldn't it?

4. Understanding ignorance

Do you know I once pointed an empty seat on the tube out to a blind person by saying 'There's a seat over there'? It was one of the most embarrassing disability unaware things I have ever done. But it made me realise that when people ask you odd things about your deafness – 'Can you drive?' being one of the most asked and ridiculous ones – I don't get so riled anymore. After all, if I can forget that pointing to an empty seat is really not helpful to a blind person, then hearing people with little knowledge of deafness deserve a break.

5. Sleeping with the light on

I can sleep pretty much anywhere – planes, trains and automobiles and even trendy nightclubs... actually especially trendy nightclubs. One of the reasons for this is that I've spent much of my life sleeping with lights on – I hate darkness you see, it feels like I have no senses left and it's very isolating. As a child, my parents used to leave the hall cupboard light on, when I lived alone I left my hall light on, and in my current flat, if FJM is away, lights galore provide me with the visual reassurance that all is OK. My light resilience is very useful when it comes to needing naps in non-nap friendly places.

6. Making up stories

Before I knew I was deaf, I spent much of my life guessing what was going on. After I knew I was deaf, I continued to do this as well. Things like Chinese whispers at sleepovers – I always made my own ones up as never heard the whisper. Or Dictation at school, which I treated like a creative writing exercise. Or basically any conversation I ever had was pieced together with lipreading and a good amount of guessing what was going on. I've now written a book. A whole book. And I love making up stories.

7. Having a specific morning and evening routine

Every morning and every night I have the same routine. It's meticulous. It works. I could do it with my eyes closed. I could do it drunk. Why? Well it's all about my hearing aids and making sure I don't get halfway to work and wonder why I can feel cold air in my ears and then realise in a panic my hearing aids are somewhere they shouldn't be, not right beside my glasses on my dressing table ready to go in straight after I've finished putting on my make up. OK, so it's vaguely OCD, but it works. In the five years I've had hearing aids, I've forgotten them three times.

8. Bagging benefits

I don't mean the DLA variety. But in life, there are many benefits available to deaf people and I make sure I boldly ask for them all. Things like friends going in free as carers to museums, country houses, zoos and art galleries. Getting pre-board on planes so that you can be the first on, not miss your row being called and let the crew know that you can't hear announcements. Or asking for discounted tickets at the theatre if a subtitled show isn't available – I've done this and taken a script for things I really want to see. The Barbican has an access card, which gets me all kinds of benefits and I could write a whole blog about what else is available. My deafness means I am never afraid to ask – nicely, in a non-demanding but totally, hard-to-say-no-to way.

9. Laughing at myself

Deafness can be embarrassing sometimes – like the time I leant my head out a changing room to lipread my mum, tripped, pulled the whole curtain rail down and found myself flat on my back and naked in the middle of a shop. In those times, you've just got to laugh… and drink gin.

10. Being determined

This is perhaps my favourite thing. I wonder if I'd give up more easily if I had hearing. If I'd take things for granted, be less bothered about things. When I look back at what I've achieved and what I want. At the forecasts from teachers or even my own worst fears, I can see that I somehow found a bloody-minded determination to go after what I want. Of course it wavers in the same way it does for everyone else, but for me, there's always the nagging in the back of my mind that I need to do this, and my deafness isn't going to stop me.

Happy Wednesday peeps! Hurrah – it's Bake Off Semi Final night!

DG x

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