Hi, my name is Fiona Anderson and I’m a 30 year old Mum of 2 sweet girls living in Bolton Greater Manchester. I started the blog ‘Life of an Ambitious Turtle’ in August 2017 with the goal of bridging the gap in the “Mummy blogger” Community, where parents with disabilities are like gold dust to find, follow and learn from. In this day and age, New Mums find the majority of the answers to their parenting conundrums via Google – yet there is next to NOTHING catering for disabled Mum’s like me. When I had my first child, I felt incredibly alone and isolated as a first-time parent trying to adapt to motherhood with my muscle-wasting condition. Adjusting to the life-changing plight of becoming a Mum, is hard for the average woman – throw in a physical disability and you find that most of the go-to-guides, tips and tricks, and even baby gear and products just aren’t suitable for your needs and circumstances. Shocking isn’t it? Yes, still in 2019 disabled people face extraordinary access challenges to all sorts of life’s ventures and stigmas surrounding whether a disabled person CAN or even SHOULD have children is still rife amongst our society.
I didn’t want other disabled women to experience the isolation I felt where they just cannot relate to other Mums. I didn’t want couples to feel discouraged from starting a family – due to stigmas, lack of support networks for disabled parents, lack of accessible parenting gear/products on the market and the inability to connect with other disabled parents who’ve been there, worn the t-shirt and can reassure them there are ways to get around practicality issues a disabled parent may experience. So I decided to blog myself, to provide other disabled women, Mums and Dads with those go-to-guides they can relate to, point them in the right direction to accessible baby products on the market and share our family life in such a candid way that nobody need feel like they are on this parenting journey alone – just because they are parenting with a disability.
Since starting ‘Life of an Ambitious Turtle’ (which is a play on words – showing my highly ambitious and passionate character, the turtle a witty reference to my condition) I’ve contributed to many popular blogs and magazines including leading disability lifestyle magazine Disability Horizons, international platform for families with disabilities and chronic illnesses – The Mighty, Mum on a Mission and am a Mumsnet influencer.
With Mumsnet, in July 2018 I appeared as a panelist alongside famous Mummy bloggers – Mother Pukka, Candice Braithwaite of the high profile campaign ‘Make Motherhood Diverse’ and podcast host Alice Perry of ‘Not Another Mummy Blogger.’ The panel was part of a public transport campaign by the brand Mama Mio Skincare called #ExpectingChange – investigating why todays society no longer freely gives up seats to pregnant women on public transport. I was able to represent disabled Mums-to-be on public transport, which I felt was a big step in the right direction to making sure our minority group is thought of.
I became Transport Ambassador with the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK just before this, as well as being a key Trailblazer – part of a group of 16-35 year old young disabled people campaigning for better access and equality in Britain. With the support of MDUK I’ve been highly emerced in the Changing Places Campaign – you can find my story on why I’m so passionate on the matter of truly accessible toilets in articles published in The Guardian and The Pool, aswell as a piece I did for Granada News Reports. I’m also devoted to the charities Locked-Out campaign calling for more accessible housing and improving public transport via ‘The End of the Line’ report.
Awards & Accomplishments
- My work on the Changing Places saw me earning my 1st ever award for ‘Campaigner of the Year 2018’ presented by Gabby Logan – the chair of Muscular Dystrophy UK.
- Hosting a blogging workshop at the Muscular Dystrophy UK Scottish Conference in late 2017 alongside 1 of the UK’s leading disabled travel bloggers – Emma Muldoon of SimplyEmma and appearing as a panelist along side Lucy Watts MBE and Jamie Hale on the topic of ‘Living the life you Want’ at the Young Persons Conference (part of the National MDUK Conference in October 2018).
- Starting the petition to ‘Make Cervical Cancer Screenings Accessible for Disabled Women Like Me’ that accumulated a whopping 107,000 signatures with the aim to make hoists mainstream in every healthcare centre, adjustments made to the booking, managing and the proceedure itself to make it meet the needs of all women – regardless of physical limitations.
What’s in the pipeline?
Discussions are underway for a workshop focusing on Parenting with a Disability, which I’m VERY excited about! Will keep readers posted in due course.
Why work with me?
It’s important, especially in this day and age to show brands and businesses support, encourage and welcome diversity. Diversity isn’t only limited to wider sexual orientation groups, race or ethnicities, it also means including the disability community. 2018-19 promoted the importance of the so called “purple pound” – the spending power of disabled people. Of the 11.9 million disabled people in Britain, we have a collective disposible income of £80 BILLION! The beauty of working with me as an Influencer in the disability community is your brand/business will reach an specific target audience authentically, that your brand/business may not have explored before! The beauty of dabbing within two blogger niches is that I am a highly relatable character within both the disability and mummy blogger sectors equally, not just narrowing down my own target audience of disabled parents.
What can I offer?
Did you know you could hire me for a number of different things? Here’s some examples, although I am not limited to these and am open to new offers/suggestions;
- Motivational Speaking/Panelist/Guest Speaker opportunities.
- Sponsored or Guest blog posts on a wide variety of topics including – parenting, disability, parenting with a disability, life with Muscular Dystrophy, chronic pain/illnesses, parenting a disabled/visually impaired child, baby/childrens product reviews, disability product reviews, women’s health and more!
- Press trips including – brand launches
- Disabled parent advocacy services
- Disability/Patient advocacy services – either via charities or 1-1.
- Workshops – from planning, promoting to guidance and advice.
- Campaigns – Getting behind your campaign by offering my own story as a lead example if you feel I may have the experience you look for to promote positive change OR full 1-1 support in getting a campaign up and running, aswell as coaching and support throughout.
- and much more, you need only ask!