Not Passing Your Driving Test The First Time.

Today I’m talking about my experience about not passing my driving test the first time and about the enormous amount of pressure that we seem to be under when it comes to that all important result.

pexels-photo-418490.jpeg(Original Source Photograph)

When you make the decision to learn to drive, it’s quite a dramatic life decision but you might not even think it. It’s a huge piece of your independence that you can gain; even if you can’t afford a car, you still have the skills and knowledge of knowing how to drive a car which can even help you with your career.

I passed my test a few months before my twenty second birthday so a lot of people would see that as quite late to learn how to drive because most people tend to do it as they turn seventeen or eighteen. At that age though, I had zero interest in learning how to drive but once I came back from University, I suddenly became interested.

1001334_635239689820951_2038492520_n(This was me when I passed my test! I look so different.)

I didn’t pass my practical test first time round and I would never pretend I did. I can’t remember the exact number of times, I think it was five. Does that mean I’m a bad driver? Absolutely not and I will fully admit that I have had a car accident that was my fault. It was in my second year of driving but it still doesn’t make me a bad driver and it has taken me quite a while to accept that accidents do happen and it doesn’t make me a bad person. For those wondering, it wasn’t a serious accident; it only involved one other person and they were genuinely lovely about it happening meanwhile I was in floods of tears. I had to immediately drive from the scene and I was driving most of the day after it had happened but that was a blessing in disguise; I wasn’t put off from driving and I think if I had have walked away from the wheel, it would have taken me a while to get back into the driver seat again.

pexels-photo-133826(Original Source Photograph)

There seems to be a stigma around not passing your test first time and even a few years later, it still gets to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy for anyone who gets their driving license because it’s such a huge achievement but I definitely think there is that stigma especially when it’s pointed out, “I passed my driving test and I done it first time!” Sometimes it feels like because we’re not in that “first time group”, we’re not as good as someone who is, and believe me, even four years later, I still struggle with it.

So for those reading this who have had a similar experience to me or who are starting to learn to drive, here’s the four most important things I learned from my experience and what I would tell my younger self.

1) It’s not the end of the world.

There were A LOT of tears from me. I felt really sorry for my instructor, she mustn’t have known what to do with a crying woman in her car quite a few times. It really isn’t the end of the world, something which took me some time to realise. I had the luxury of being able to take the test a few weeks later but I understand that finances can vary for others. In that case, some time away from the wheel to take the pressure off might help.

2) It doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver.

Unfortunately when you first start revising for your theory exam, you start to hear stories of booking your practical exam. You shouldn’t book it for the end of the month or you should book it for a specific time. You hear the stories of examiners having a quota each month so they can’t pass everyone so even if you were a good driver, they might not be able to pass you before of this. Are these type of stories true? I really don’t know. My point is that your instructor wouldn’t tell you to book your test if they didn’t think you were a good driver and for whatever reason, you didn’t pass, but that just means you can take some time either to yourself or with your instructor for some self-reflection (based on the instructors points system).

3) You’re no less of a driver if you takes you more than once.

This is the most important point of my four points. If you passed on your first try, congratulations! If it’s your tenth test, my congratulations mean no less. It’s such a lovely feeling passing your test and just because you didn’t do it first time, it doesn’t make you any less of a driver because of it. You still know how to use the clutch, you still know how to work the gears and you still knows how to do the manoeuvres regardless.

4) Don’t let anyone make you feel bad.

Anyone who tries to make you feel bad for not getting it first time, I call them toxic people and you don’t need them in your life. What you can do though is one very important thing; they can try to make you feel bad, but quite frankly, don’t let them. They weren’t there on the day, they weren’t feeling how you felt on that particular day, they aren’t you and this is your experience and your experience only. I’d feel bad for them that they have nothing better to do with their time that try and bring you down.

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It’s important to remember that no matter how many times it takes you to pass your test, you did it! Whether that’s the first time, second time, third time or as many times as you need to; we all go at different paces and that doesn’t mean that you aren’t as good as someone else. Don’t let anyone put you down for trying your best!

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SS: Sunday Saves (#73) World Mental Health Day Edition.

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Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you’re having a lovely day too, and a lovely weekend overall. Today’s Sunday Saves is quite a special one; I didn’t write a post for this year’s World Mental Health Day but I thought I would incorporate it into this week’s Sunday Saves. I’m featuring ten posts that I have read over the week (including this morning) that talks about mental health in many forms.

1) Becloumar (Focusing On The Small Things. #MentalHealthAwarenessDay)

Rebecca’s post for World Mental Health Day focuses on the small things and this is something that really sticks with me. I much prefer having a cup of tea and a chocolate bar while watching something on TV rather than a big night out (but that’s just me) but even those little things help tremendously with my mental health. She shares the little things that make her happy and I can definitely relate to quite a lot of them.

2) A Carers Perspective (What’s My Name Again? Losing My Identity As A Carer)

I have no idea about the life of a carer so reading Ann Marie’s story about looking after your mental health while looking after someone is very important for anyone to read. She talks about losing herself, losing her identity and even hating the person that she was becoming so she gives a few tips to those who are in the same position as her

3) Sparkles and Stretchmarks (Blue Monday and Seasonal Sadness – Are They Real?)

I wanted to include this post, not only because it relates to mental health but because I feel like over the coming months, it might be something that some people may experience in the coming months. Hayley talks about how she thought her feelings could be related to pre-natal depression and she could start to see a pattern with seasonal sadness instead. I’m not sure a lot of people really know what seasonal sadness feels like, because Christmas isn’t always so happy and festive for everyone, and I think it’s important to learn from stories like Hayley’s.

4) The Rose Glow (Anxiety: What Not To Say)

“Don’t worry” is one of the most stressful things someone can say to me when I’m very anxious and Alice seems to capture this very well in her post. She talks about some of the things that she’s been told by friends and family that can affect you more than you think, and believe me, I can definitely relate!

5) She’s A Writer (A Musing Or Two On World Mental Health Day)

I relate to Sarah so much through this post because she talks about not only how the conversation of mental health has changed over the last fifty years but also because she talks about her CBT experience. As someone going through CBT myself, I always like reading someone else’s experience and how it has impacted them.

6) Elle JC (Anxiety And Me)

Laura’s short post about anxiety gives an overview of how anxiety can play in your head and it’s one that I relate to. One little thought can spiral out of control but I think it’s important that Laura has not only spoken about how it has negatively affected her but the positives that have came out of it too.

7) My Little Brushneen Blog (Mental Health Awareness: My Story)

Kayleigh tells her story of being diagnosed with G.A.D (also known as Generalised Anxiety Disorder) before and after the diagnosis. It’s quite a lengthy post but I love that she goes into so much detail because it can be quite a hard thing to talk about, and I really love that she has opened herself up so much about her journey.

8) Made By Steffie B (Drowning)

Steffie’s post is definitely an emotional one; she talks about her struggles with IVF, babies and how this has impacted her mental health. I can’t imagine how she feels but with her post, we get a glimpse into this journey that her and her partner have currently been going through.

9) Adventure and Anxiety (Mental Health In The Workplace – #WorldMentalHealthDay)

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day was well-being in the workplace so I thought it was very appropriate to include Beth’s post. Unfortunately for Beth, it seems like she hasn’t had very much support in some of her job roles when it comes to dealing with her mental health. She gives statistics on how mental health can play a huge part in your life in the workplace as well as some of her own experiences, which are quite sad that some employers don’t see the impact that they can have on someone.

10) Sarah’s Chapter (T5W: Books With Mental Health)

If you’ve been the reader of the blog for a while or you know me in real life, you’ll know I’m not much of a reader. I would love to be but I can never find the time and I get really tired. However, I thought Sarah’s post about mental health books was really interesting; I haven’t read any of the books that she has featured but “Reasons To Stay Alive” sounds like a really good one (and she has a full review on that particular book so I’ll be giving that a read too!)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading all these posts discussing mental health, their lives and how it affects them. Mental health affects each and every one of us; positively and negatively and I think these posts just prove that everyone has a story.

Training for a 10K Race: Yes, 10K!

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I am writing this post a lot sooner than I thought so sometimes when I remember about the 10K run, it takes me a minute to adjust that it is actually going to happen.

It all began after the 5K race was finished; it was a really tough race mentally for me and I had been very hesitant to sign up to another one based off that experience. My boyfriend had been talking about signing me up for my next race and I simply wasn’t interested yet; I was quite happy to stick to the parkrun and prepare to get faster for those. He brought up a 10K run that had quite a unique twist but it was in November and I had told myself that I didn’t see myself realistically training for a 5K until March or April next year. I’m not sure how it happened; I can’t remember if Scott talked me round or if I convinced myself it was a good idea, but he signed us up to the 10K run.

Yes, in August I pulled myself through a 5K race (and now that I’m back from injury, I continue to do 5K runs every Saturday morning) and now in November, I’ll be taking part in a 10K run. It still doesn’t seem real to me and quite frankly, I am very nervous. When I run 5K, I think to myself “If I’m tired after a 5K, how am I going to tackle a 10K?”

20170717_205853.jpg(My local park has the prettiest flowers!)

One of my biggest fears, which is completely understandable, is the fear of the negative thoughts taking over which is where the anger, the upset and the panic attacks will come in. If you haven’t read about my very negative run, it will be linked at the end of the post, but I urge you to read it if you haven’t already. It’s a very raw and emotional post that was not only hard to go through, but hard to write. At the end of the day, I’m writing about my running training and that was part of the experience, so I would feel like a fraud not to write about it. I’m worried about that experience happening again and there’s not a day I don’t think about it.

The 10K is happening in the middle of November so we’re just a month away so what’s my plan? Well, I’m still planning on running in the parkrun each week and continue to work on my timings. During the week, I hope to run at least twice but up the distance; I’ll not be running 10K from the get-go, it might only be an extra half a mile for a while, then we’ll add on a full mile after a week or two. Scott will be helping me throughout thankfully and because I’ve had the constant challenge of upping my speed on the Saturday morning, I’m going to have to slow it down for the 10K. I believe that that will be something that I’ll struggle with at first because I still have no real idea about my pacing and if I’m going too fast or too slow, so he’ll be there to help me along the way with that.

For all my other running posts, have a look below and take your pick!
Training for a 5K Race: An Introduction and My First Run.
Training for a 5K Race: Running and Negative Mental Health.
Training for a 5K Race: The Lone Run. 
Training for a 5K Race: My First (Unofficial) Park Run
Training for a 5K Race: Last Minute Training!
Training for a 5K Race: Race Day!

Training for a 5K Race: What happened after?

Training for a 5K Race: What happened after?

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It’s been almost two months since my last running update, so that’s what I’m here today to talk about. So what has happened since that 5K race? (You can read it here if you missed it!)

I took part in another parkrun the next week, I didn’t get my code scanned that day because we turned up late and started late so I didn’t want a bad time so that doesn’t count towards my parkrun participation unfortunately. I finished that in just under 36 minutes which I was a little disappointed with but I tried my best regardless.

The next week I took part in something which I never thought I would, it was a mud run. My best friend Leonie asked me did I want to take part and the thought of mud turned me off so I originally said no, but when her sister couldn’t do it, I changed my mind and I’m so glad! It was so much fun!

IMG_20170902_133643_357.jpg(We had to get the obligatory “before” picture)

20170902_122018-01.jpeg(The “after” mud look was worth it. It took two hair washes and three all over body washes to get all the mud off me though!)

I decided to be a little too adventurous on the run however; I thought that I would speed through obstacles under ropes like a little cheetah. That came with consequences where I hurt my groin and it continued to hurt for about four weeks. My running came to a stop at that point; I couldn’t go to the gym in the morning because my walk to work had become unbearable and the injury added an extra ten minutes to my journey just because I was limping so much. After ignoring the advice from my boyfriend for two weeks, he told me that I absolutely had to start using ice gels, heat gels, ice packs and ibuprofen. I’m not a fan of pain killers because I feel like they have never worked for me so I wasn’t too keen on taking them but after two weeks, the pain was getting worse so I didn’t have a choice in the matter.

Thankfully after a few days, I started to feel better and it took about two weeks after I started using the gels and taking the painkillers. I still get slight pains from time to time (on a daily basis) but it’s definitely not as bad as it was.

Last week I went back to the local parkrun and I have never been so thankful to be running again. An injury really makes you appreciate what you can and can’t do and I made a promise to myself not to complain on this first run back. My mental head space tends to take over and tells me that I can’t do it so because I hadn’t ran in a while, I tried my best to push the negative thoughts to the back of my head and just run. It seemed to work and I was really proud of myself for getting back out there.

IMG_20170930_114712_792.jpg(If you’re not red in the face, did you really run?)

IMG_20170930_114712_793.jpg(A very early Christmas present from my boyfriend. It has now become my running shirt!)

With my first parkrun back, I finished with a time of 35:16 and considering I’d been out for about four weeks, I was really proud of that. My groin did start to hurt as soon as I stopped running but that was to be expected.

IMG_20171007_125435_815.jpg(My new Personal Best that I achieved on Saturday 7th October. Just a reminder if you haven’t read any of my other running posts, my FitBit doesn’t seem to recognise the 5K so even though it only says just over three miles, I did run 3.12 miles or 5K.)

So where are we now? Well, this past Saturday I went to the parkrun (which was celebrating it’s 13th Birthday!) and I ended up gaining a new personal best (which is pictured above!). I was completely over the moon! I would say I definitely pushed myself a lot more this run and by the end of the first lap, I was really tired and wasn’t sure whether I could do a second lap but I did!

If you want to run my other runnings posts, they are all linked here:
Training for a 5K Race: An Introduction and My First Run.
Training for a 5K Race: Running and Negative Mental Health.
Training for a 5K Race: The Lone Run. 
Training for a 5K Race: My First (Unofficial) Park Run
Training for a 5K Race: Last Minute Training!
Training for a 5K Race: Race Day!

SS: Sunday Saves (#72)

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Hello everyone, Happy Sunday! It’s quite chilly this morning so a very large cup of tea and a big bathrobe is needed. I hope you’ve all had a nice week so far; I’m back with another Sunday Saves where I highlight three posts that I’ve read through the week that I think you should be reading too. I’ll be talking about things you get excited about as an adult, unfollowing people online and talking about your faith.

1) The Curvaceous Vegan (10 Things You Get Excited About When You’re An Adult)

The way I talk about new bedding is the way I used to talk about new Barbie dolls as a child. Amie talks about things we get really excited about as an adult, bedding being one of them and I couldn’t agree more.  Also, who doesn’t love being a fresh new cooking pot or taking a trip to IKEA? Such a relatable post.

2) PageTwentyFour (Why You Should Begin Unfollowing)

Over the last few months, I’ve really looked at who I follow on Twitter and Instagram. I wrote a post about Facebook friendships and deleted so many people I never talk to (You can read it here) In regards to Instagram, I looked at who’s stories I would constantly skip and if I wasn’t interested, I would unfollow them. If I seen a stream of tweets from someone who was either talking about something I didn’t like, I wasn’t interested in or was quite frankly bored of seeing on my feed, I would just unfollow them. Does that make me a horrible person? Of course not, you might feel differently about that, but in my eyes I don’t see the harm if I’m not longer interested in seeing what you have to say. It doesn’t affect you in any way and if someone felt that way about me, I would expect them to do the same. Paige talks about something similar in her post but she talks about it in the aspect of accounts that can affect you negatively and make you feel bad about yourself.

3) Extraordinarily Mundane (Jenny’s Faith Story)

My relationship with faith is an unanswered one. I used to go to Sunday School when I was younger but the only time I go to church is when there is a wedding, a funeral or a christening. I don’t know if I believe that there is a higher power out there but one thing that I’ve noticed while reading blogs and writing them is that I don’t see a lot of people writing about their faith. I came across Jenny’s blog post and while I don’t relate to her story, I thought it was interesting that she was telling her story of how she began to believe in God. So if you’re looking for more bloggers talking about their faith and religion, I would recommend Jenny’s post.

That’s all for this week’s Sunday Saves! I hope you enjoyed and as always, go and give the posts a read if you can, I really think they’re great. And if there are any posts you think I should be reading, tweet me over at @RetroSnowflake 💛

Three Intentions For Me (#3)

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Happy October everyone! Apologises that I’m coming to you a few days into the month already, but I’m back with another monthly intentions and if you don’t know about my monthly intentions, you can go to my first post from August to see why I’m now setting myself the challenge each month. So before we get into this month’s intentions, let’s talk about last month’s.

❤ Take part in two Park Runs.

I was VERY confident about this because I didn’t think anything was going to stop me doing this. I even told myself I would run in two rather than four, because I thought it was that easy. Turns out when you hurt your groin, you can barely walk to work never mind running a 5K. Thankfully, it eventually healed and I was back at the Park Run at the end of the month. (And for all the runners, I know that’s not how you write Park Run, but I hate seeing it without the capital letters.)

❤ Get back in meal prep mode.

Yes, I did this! I didn’t make the curry, the brownies or the energy balls but I started to bring my bean chilli into work and because I don’t like to reheat rice (I’ve heard the horror stories about the bacteria!), I decided to cook quinoa at home instead and have that with it. It’s just as good as rice too. I felt so much more organised with it and even though I was having the same meal twice in one day sometimes, I don’t mind that at all.

❤ Take my library book back.

I’m not going to pretend this is an excuse but I’ve lost it. It’s in the house somewhere, it’s just hiding but I promise once I find it, it’s going back. I have no excuse when there’s a library down the street from work.

Again, same as last month, one out of three. And moving swiftly onto this month’s intentions…

❤ Run further. 

I was going to put a specific distance for this but I want to run further than 5K, so whether that’s 5.5K, 6K or even just 5.2K, it’s still a longer distance than I’m used to.

❤ Get back into my morning gym routine.

Before my injury, I was on fire with my morning routine, but once I couldn’t go, it stopped completely. Now that I’m not as sore, I want to get back into my early morning gym sessions because I felt so much better going out in the fresh air that early and I felt more motivated during the day. I need that feeling back!

❤ Try a new recipe!

I have lots of recipe books, some that I haven’t even tried one meal out of, so now seems like the perfect time.

Check back next month to see how I got on, and keep your fingers crossed for me! ☀️

SS: Sunday Saves (#71)

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Hello everyone! Welcome back to another Sunday Saves post; I’ve been a little quiet on the blog and over most of social media lately, but I hope to be back in action in full force very soon. This week I’ll be talking about weekly updates, unethical companies and anxiety.

1) Peta (Wonderful Wednesday #34 |2017)

When I came across Peta’s post, it was something that I wish I could do but I don’t feel like I would be able to find something to write about in my life every single week so I give absolute props to her for doing it every week. It’s a really lovely post talking us through her week, what she has enjoyed and her achievements so far. You could almost read it as what she is grateful for too, it’s like a gratitude journal almost. It’s very sweet.

2) Girl in Awe (Dilemma: Buying Food From Companies With Unethical Parent Companies)

The conversation raised in Rosie’s post is something that I believe we need to be talking about more yet it can get very complicated. Two examples she brings up which I see arguments over time and time again (especially in Facebook groups) are Urban Decay and Ben and Jerry’s. Both companies that cater for a vegan lifestyle, yet their parent companies test on animals. What do you do? Do you praise these primary companies for being kinder to animals or do you boycott them because their parent companies are still in the wrong? In the vegan community, it’s a difficult question and often has many diverse opinions about the topic overall.

3) Katie Lou (When Anxiety Takes Over)

If you’ve never experienced anxiety, I would be really surprised because I believe everyone does at some point but maybe some people don’t realise it’s happening. Katie Lou wrote a post on what happens to her when it happens and how she feels; I felt like I was reading about experiences that I had had. It’s so hard to describe to someone yet in the moment, you feel a thousand emotion and a million thoughts. It’s a short post but it perfectly captures how anxiety can make a person feel.

Well that’s all for this week, thank you so much for reading today’s post. Remember to go and take a read of the blog posts and if you ever want to shoot me any blog posts to read, send them my way over on my Twitter! Have a lovely rest of the day whatever you get up to.