Top tips for passing your driving test

Hi,

I haven’t written anything for quite sometime now because I’ve hit a bit of a wall with blogging, which I’m sure every person who owns a blog has had and I hope to get over it as soon as possible. (Praying to the blog gods)

One thing that has happened in the last month is that I passed my driving test after 13 months of learning! I found driving a struggle for the longest time, gears and clutch control caused such an issue, and don’t even get me started on roundabouts.

Once I was feeling pretty confident in the car, my instructor was encouraging me to book my test and at least try it out. If he hadn’t have, I would probably still be happy driving around avoiding the fact I had to pass a test and settled for being a learner driver for the rest of time.

I passed my test on the first attempt after hours of stress and anxiousness, (which is completely normal, by the way so don’t worry) with only four minors.

Before I took my test, I had been searching on Google and Youtube for tips on how to pass. There’s a tonne of articles and videos but I find that the majority are created by instructors and car insurance companies and not by the people who have recently taken the test.

So here are my top tips for passing your practical driving test:

Tips

  • DON’T TAKE YOUR TEST UNTIL YOU FEEL READY

This tip sounds the most simple, ridiculous advice because most people feel ready by the time they take their test, but if the date is approaching just a little too quickly and you still don’t feel confident in yourself, then please consider scheduling. If you get into the car on test day and you feel completely out of your comfort zone then the chances are you’re not going to be at your best. You can alter the date up to 3 working days before your test date free of charge.

  • READ AND WATCH AS MANY TIP VIDEOS AS POSSIBLE

On the run up to my test, I religiously watched videos on Youtube on every driving skill I could think of. Reasons for gaining minors? Maneuver run throughs? Mock tests? You name it, I’ve most likely watched it. I’ll add a few links below of the channels I found most useful:

Go2 Driving School

Ashley Neal

Purple Driving – Helen Adams

  • DO ALL THE LESSONS 

If you have the time/funds then try and get as many lessons on the week running up to your test as possible. You should also have at least one hour before test just to iron out all your nerves and do some last minute practising. I done about 8 hours on the week of my test and I honestly think it was one of the main reasons I passed.

  • GET A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP + EAT

This is just a basic self care tip but please, please, please try and get a decent amount of sleep and eat a hearty meal, no matter how sick you feel, on test day. Firstly, your brain needs it. Simple as. You’ll perform better. Secondly, there’s nothing worse than being distracted by a rumbling stomach and driving on little sleep is dangerous in the first place. Have a bath the night before and an early night to make sure you’re in top form.

  • PREPARE WHAT YOU NEED IN ADVANCE

For your test, you’ll need to present the DVLA centre with suitable ID and your theory test certificate. I had a wild goose chase around my house trying to find my certificate the night before my test and it gave me the worst panic when I couldn’t find it. Thankfully, my dad found it in the letter rack so all was fine but I wish I’d sorted it all earlier on in the week to save from the extra stress. Plus, if you have lost or misplaced your certificate you need to give time to order another copy.

  • TAKE IT EASY AND DON’T OVERTHINK THINGS

This is probably the most difficult tip to follow because you’ll undoubtedly be nervous. However, keeping your cool means you’re likely to make less mistakes. If you make a mistake during test, put it behind you and carry on as it might not be a failable fault. Don’t let it snowball either, if you keep thinking of the mistake you’ll lose concentration and probably make a mistake again.

So there’s my tips for your driving test. Most importantly, try to enjoy it and don’t overly stress. If you fail, it is not the end of the world and you can do it again and again if needs be.

From my experience, the real learning to drive begins when you pass and have to learn how to drive independently in your own car…it’s,well, an experience.

Finally, I hope you gained something from this post and good luck!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

 

 

 

 

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giffgaff gameplan: Lifegoals Workshop Event

Happy Friday,

I hope you’re all well!

Firstly, before I get into this weeks post, I am THRILLED to announce that after almost three months of being locked out of my Twitter account, I have regained access! (*cue the audience cheers*) Hopefully, this means I’ll be more motivated to get back into the full swing of blogging without feeling completely out of the bloggers loop, like I have been these past months.

Yesterday, I was very kindly invited to another North East blogging event, this time ran by the lovely people of giffgaff: gameplan, at the Hilton Gateshead and I thought I’d give you a little run down of how it went!

You probably know giffgaff as the popular mobile network. However the company have started on another venture into the world of personal financing! The network have launched a saving money website, which allows you to compare energy prices, car insurance, loans and credit card providers. The site also offers a free credit report so you can be on your way to building your dreams and budgeting to keep on top of it all! You can find giffgaff:gameplan website here.

The event revolved around finances and money management, a topic which I think most of us tend to just assume we know enough about to breeze by in life. However, since finishing university and being shoved into the real world, I’ve found that I need to know a lot more than just the basics of how to understand financing. It’s all so adult.

Upon arrival to the event, we were welcomed warmly with a glass of wine and had time to mingle and enjoy the view of the Tyne Bridge before being ushered into our workshops.

WORKSHOP ONE: Everyday Savings

eileenadamson
Eileen Adamson of Yourmoneysorted.co.uk

The first workshop was based on ‘Everyday Savings’ and was ran by the charming Eileen Adamson of Your Money Sorted. Eileen talked about ways of saving on interest through paying just that little more than the minimum on credit cards paybacks and mortgages, meaning you are not only saving yourself a nice bit of money to spend how you like but can pay it off even earlier! I honestly would never even think to pay back more than the minimum, I sort of just go with the flow but I’ll 100% be taking Eileen’s advice on board.

We then enjoyed some interactive activities, including spending habits bingo, Jenga (which encouraged us to mingle and feel more comfortable discussing money), scheduling a meal plan for the month to aid in stopping the need to buy more than the essentials, which I am very guilty of! We then shared websites and apps that would help to both make money and save money, including Plum and Chip, two apps that work with your bank to save a small amount from your current account and build up savings.

By the end of the workshop, I really felt like I’d not only learned new ways to save and find great deals but also felt more confident about discussing money around my peers. I’ve always sort of shied away from the topic completely, when, like Eileen said, we don’t talk about money enough and it should be a more comfortable social discussion. Hey, with my new found confidence I might even try haggling!

buffetWe then stopped for a little buffet break and enjoyed some of the food that Hilton had to offer. This is always the part of any event where I feel like I’ve been so lucky with the opportunities my blog has given me, especially with not even having it a whole year yet! I had a lovely little chat with Yasmina, Kate and Becka about all things rom coms and snacks before making my way to the last workshop of the night.

WORKSHOP TWO: Bad Credit/Credit Score Advice

badcredit
Karyn Fleeting of Miss Thrifty

The second workshop was ran by the expert of credit, Karyn Fleeting of The Miss Thrifty Blog. If I’m being completely truthful, I went into this workshop only know the bare minimum about credit and most of my knowledge came from passing conversations with friends. Being only 22, I thought that credit would only affect me when I get a little bit older but Karyn has put me in a much better relationship with understanding that credit should be given more attention, no matter what age.

Karyn talked us through how to check our credit score, using Experian, Equifax and CallCredit, what each rating would mean for future referencing and the importance of a high credit score when applying for a loan or a mortgage. Karyn then went on to advise us on how to inflate our credit score through paying bills on time and avoiding payday loans, before demonstrating how to repair a credit score if it’s all looking a bit downhill, with a credit rebuild card and a smidge of patience.

As I said previously, I had such a small amount of understanding on what credit truly was and how it would affect the way I spend, loan and prepare for my future. Thankfully, after Karyn’s incredibly helpful workshop, I’ll now be more wary of my credit score and keep top tip on making sure it’s as high as possible. I even checked my score as soon as I got back to the house! Keen bean.

missthrifty

To round up the event, I had a great evening and loved being in the company of other bloggers once more. It’s so nice to feel part of your local blogging community and put real life faces to blog names!

Thanks to the workshop speakers, giffgaff:gameplan, Jennie and Alice for organising the event and inviting me and the staff at the Hilton Gateshead for making us all feel very welcome.

Cheers for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

 

 

Struggling with Adult Acne

Hello everyone,

It’s been such a long time since I’ve written on my blog. I explained in my last post that I wouldn’t be posting until I had my Twitter account unlocked as it is my main blogging tool. However, I’ve been pining to get back to writing and the fact of the matter is, I can’t wait any longer! So here I am to talk about something that has affected me since I hit my late teens/adult years.

During my teenage years, when acne is present amongst pretty much everyone your age, I really didn’t have too much trouble with my skin. I was very lucky and only had the occasional spot with nothing too worrying. For a long time, I was insanely grateful to my skin as not only am I a redhead, I also wear glasses and the thought of acne in my teen years turned me into the typical bully victim we all know and love depicted on screen and in books.

It wasn’t until I turned 19, where I started noticing my skin wasn’t cooperating with me as much as it previously had done. The one place where I seemed to be getting recurring spots was my chin. At first, I thought it was the makeup I was using as I had recently changed my beauty routine. My mother thought it might be because I was using too much skincare, which she still blames today.

As the spots became more frequent, they also began to change in appearance. From little red marking to huge cystic under the skin boils which would be extremely painful and have left me scarred as a result.

Over the last few years, I’ve used multiple products claiming to aid in the fight against acne. I honestly can’t explain how many scrubs, face masks, serums, moisturisers, oils, strips, I’ve been through. I’ve used EVERYTHING. For the most part nothing has really helped.

Last year, I decided to take things to the GP. The option I had been dreading. I don’t like treating my body with medicine unless it is absolutely necessary and would much rather try and find a more natural remedy.

The GP explained that acne on the chin is caused by an imbalance of hormones that occured in a great deal of women and that using a hormone balancing drug would help my skin return to normal.

She put me on Limecycline, a huge sized tablet that I couldn’t take. I’m terrible at taking tablets to begin with and this was my worst nightmare. I cried for a good 45 minutes before hopping onto google and searching if there were any alternatives.

Instead of taking the medication, I found a natural oil, Evening Primrose Oil. The tablets came in different sizes and were all from an organic source. I purchased some from Holland & Barrett and started taking them immediately.

It took a little while before I began to see any results but there were differences to my skin. The cystic spots were smaller and smaller each time my skin flared up. I stayed on Evening Primrose Oil for a good 10 months before deciding that I wanted to give my body a break and see what would happen to my skin.

Mistake.

The acne came back. At this point, I was so fed up that I went to see my GP again and she instead put me on an antibiotic cream. I used the cream when I seen my skin was flaring up and it definitely helped.

Now I’m at a place where I’m not 100% happy with my skin, I still have the odd flare up and I have a lot of texture/scarring on my skin but I don’t get cystic boils anymore and that’s good enough for me.

My confidence is still controlled by how my skin looks though and I’m working my way to feeling more comfortable in myself and realising that I’m not the only one with skin concerns which is a more complicated concept to believe than you may think.

I try not to use as many products on my skin now. If I feel like my skin is flaring up, I’ll use a little tea tree oil and hope for the best.

This post was inspired by Joe Sugg’s video on his adult acne which he posted a few months ago on his Youtube Channel that has made me think ever since about how I look at my own skin journey. You can watch the video here.

I decided to talk about my struggle with acne as I want to hopefully find a permanent solution to my skin concerns and when I do, I’ll be writing about everything I’ve tried during the process.

If you’re reading this and also struggle with acne of any type, you’re not alone and there will be a solution out there for you. It might take a little while to find it and it’s hard not to be impatient when you’re trying so many different products and routines and watching thousands of Youtube videos! Trust me, I’ve been there!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

Dealing with Trauma whilst at University

Hi!

I hope you have all been well and are looking forward to the warmer weather ahead which we have had a teaser of over the last few days!

As my post ‘The “C” Word: Talking about Cancer’ was received so well, I decided to write more about my experiences with the disease and hopefully help people who may be going through a similar situation.

My Experience:

When my Mam was first diagnosed with cancer, I was in Semester One of my final and most important year of university. I immediately moved back home to support my family and decided that I couldn’t continue living in a different city whilst my loved ones were going through the heartbreak. As I studied at Sheffield Hallam University which meant I lived a 2 hour train journey from my home in Newcastle, the idea of commuting was a) not affordable and b) inefficient.

At first I was ready to drop out, forget my education and focus on what was happening at home, but my parents wanted me to continue with my study and I also couldn’t let all my hard work in the last two years go to waste.

I emailed my tutor to explain how I was unsure of what to do and was passed onto the student advisors of my university department. The advisors were incredibly helpful and understanding of my decision to attempt studying from home, although I was warned the inability to attend lectures and seminars may affect my grade.

The extenuating circumstances benefits differ from university to university, some may get special consideration of grading and other offer extensions. I was hoping that my university may offer some sort of compassion consideration when grading my papers as I was not really in the right mindset to continue writing essays at the same standard as I was producing whilst studying in Sheffield. However, I was grateful for the extensions as it gave me more time to balance my time.

I continued writing and submitting essays which I hoped were to my best ability and was rewarded with great grades despite only having the support of the online powerpoints and the fantastic help of my coursemates who I wouldn’t have been able to complete my degree without, as some of my lecturers were not exactly cooperative. One even went as far as to say I wouldn’t achieve my potential at home, which when I passed with the exact grade I wanted made me a very smug graduate.

Although I studied from home, I worked really hard and tried to be as involved as I possibly could to make sure I had an equal chance of achieving the best grade under the circumstances.

My Top Tips

University is an incredibly stressful time and the additional pressure of trauma or upset can cause an array of issues both mentally and educationally. I’ve compiled some tips of how to go about studying through difficult times:

  • Communicate: Talk! Talk to your tutor, talk to student advisors, talk to the support team, talk to anyone that will listen! Part of getting through the struggle is sharing your problems with people who can give you advice and understand just how hard it is. Most universities offer student wellbeing plans which allow you to meet with specialists and talking therapies who may be able to help find ways around obstructions in your study. If you have any issues with assignments or exams then talk to your tutors, they’re there to support you and in most cases will provide further explanations with anything you might find difficult.
  • Apply for study benefits: As discussed earlier, extenuating circumstances can give you more time with your assignments, easier examination environments and support with disability and welfare limitations. Applying for these benefits may lift some weight off your shoulders that could make your life just that little bit easier.
  • Find Resources: If you’re working from home it’s likely that you’ll become lazier with finding resources, mostly because you aren’t in short distance of the university library. However, resources and references are what makes essays reach the top grades as it proves that you’ve researched the subject and allows you to present a better understanding. If you are living away from your university but are in reach of another university, you can apply for day or visitor passes for most uni ran libraries. E-books are also a lifesaver, especially for dissertation work.
  • Work Hard: If you’re determined to get your degree then I’m sure this tip is a given. It is true that the more effort you put into your work, the more reward you will get out of it. Also, it’ll feel so good walking across the stage at graduation knowing you did you best.
  • Have breaks: Finally, don’t forget that you’re going through a rough time and you need time to relax, spend time with your mates and step out of the study circle for a few hours. It’ll not only keep you from bursting from stress but it’ll do you the world of good stepping away from the screen or the books for a little while and then reassessing everything through fresh eyes when you come back to it.

I hope this has been interesting and if you’re struggling through a hard time at the moment just remember that you’re only human and as long as you’re doing your best then you can be proud of what you achieve. Please remember to talk to who you need to to get the help which will provide you with the best chance of reaching your full potential. You can do this!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

The “C” Word: Talking about Cancer

Hello again!

Today I bring you a post all about my experiences with cancer and the journey I am currently on. If I had been writing this post in 2015, I would have nothing really to say about cancer other than it has affected me through the deaths of grandparents and family friends, to which I was too young to truly understand. However, in 2016 my mother was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioma which is most commonly known as a terminal brain tumour and now I feel like I have enough reason to talk about cancer and my experiences in case any of you out there are looking to not feel alone within this journey.

Firstly, all cancer experiences are different. There are countless types of cancers and treatments that work depending on the person diagnosed. For my family, there were no signs or indication that my mother had a brain tumour, other than having a seizure which was followed by a CT scan that uncovered swelling in the brain caused by an anomaly. Before this, my mother was in great health and complained only of mild headaches once in a blue moon.

Hearing this news was devastating. I cried endlessly for weeks and found it difficult to process what was really happening. We had a number of appointments with surgeons and specialists, my mother underwent a biopsy to certify what type of cancer we were dealing with and the grade. Unfortunately, the results were that they were unable to operate due to the placement of the tumour and they could only offer other means of treatments in the hope to prolong my mothers life. Obviously, this was another blow and I clearly remember sat thinking in the surgeons office after he had given us the news, that I was only 20 years old and I NEEDED my mother, this had to be some sort of horrid dream.

However, I feel like I also matured very quickly, becoming a support system for not only my mother but my father who was equally as worried and heartbroken. We met with another specialist and she explained that they could offer my mother radiotherapy and chemotherapy to shrink and stem the growth of the tumour, if the desired effect co-operated with her body. Being the strong and determined woman my mother is, she immediately accepted any help she could get.

Radiotherapy was what my mother lose most of her hair but other than that she had basically no side effects of the treatment which was a blessing as I had heard and read horror stories about what can possibly happen.

Chemotherapy, however, is what I was most worried about after seeing it depicted in films and tv shows. I was petrified incase my mother became extremely unwell and for the treatment to not work as we had all hoped. Thankfully, she responded amazingly to the chemotherapy and once again we were very lucky as she was barely affected by it, in terms of general health and sickness at all.

As of December 2017, the tumour has been shrank by the treatments and so far has been stemmed from growing, which is the best possible result we can hope for. From now on we take each day as it comes and are thankful for all the time together we get to spend. I can’t thank the NHS enough for everything they’re doing and continue to do for my mother and others like her.

Cancer is terrifying. There is no doubt about that and nothing can prepare you for dealing with it. It’s more of a “keep going, keep positive and keep hoping” mentality that you have to take on and if you need to talk to anyone about getting help then there are some amazing charities such as Macmillan, who help with everything from financial issues to fundraising. If you are looking for advice on brain tumours specifically, The Brain Tumour Charity  are extremely helpful.

There is a good chance I’ll be writing more about my experiences and how I dealt/deal with them in the hope that someone who really needs the advice finds my posts and feels a little less lost and alone.

Thank you for reading,

Chanel