10 Truths About Your First Year Driving

First year driving

I’m still a few months off of the anniversary of passing my driving test, but I’ve already learnt a tonne of stuff about being a new driver. Your first year driving is apparently the most exciting – but also most difficult – according to every single person that is baffled that I passed my test and got my first car at the age of 26.

“OMG I can’t believe you are only just driving? How did you cope?!”

Whodda thunk that a millennial (eww that word makes me feel dirty) wouldn’t have learnt to drive a car the second they turned of age?

Oh wait. There’s loads of us. In fact, I know people in their thirties who haven’t taken a single driving lesson.

So here’s a few nuggets of truth about your first year driving your first car – or y’know, if you want to be pedantic – the first 9-10 months.

  1. You’ll be a model driver for about a month tops. You’ll nail your signalling and manoeuvres, you’ll never go a single MPH over the speed limit and you’ll look twice at a junction. But then you become a real driver and learn the art of road rage and eagerness to get home during rush hour.
  2. Now you have your own car to look after (oooh, get you!), you’ll always assume there’s something wrong with it. Slight rumbling noise from the engine? IT’S GOING TO BREAK DOWN ANY SECOND.
  3. Petrol is damn expensive, isn’t it? Can’t cars just run on optimism or rain or something?
  4. When learning to drive, you had that magical ‘L’ plate that meant most drivers were nice to you and gave way to you whilst you were panicking about that parallel park you’re about to attempt. Now you have to adapt to the fact that even when you have right of way, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to be given it. Better to err on the side of caution than have a collision!
  5. Say goodbye to nice things, because that insurance, breakdown cover and tax don’t come cheap.
  6. As soon as you get your car washed, a bird will crap on it. Or in my case, the neighbour’s cat will run all over it and leave adorable but infuriating paw prints all over it.
  7. Your first “collision” will be incredibly undramatic. In fact, it’ll probably be with a bollard because you have no driving instructor to slam on the brakes when you get too close. This may or may not have happened to me (it did).
  8. Driving in the dark on your own the first few times will feel like you’re in a horror movie. Take it slow. Don’t worry because you’re not really alone. There will no doubt be someone driving right up behind you trying to get past because they clearly have somewhere so important to be. They might even beep their horn as they cut you up.
  9. Your first time driving in snow will be a weird combination of excitement because YAY SNOW ISN’T IT PRETTY? and sheer horror because OMG SNOW I CANNOT SEE.
  10. Ultimately, you’ll learn that approximately 75% of what you were told when you learnt how to drive will be thrown out of the window because you have to react to other drivers’ stupidity – and you can’t teach that.

My Pull List Picks

comic book pull list picks

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while or happens to be lucky enough to know me IRL will know that over the past year or so I have become somewhat of a comic book fan.

Yeah I know. I couldn’t get any cooler tbh.

It started out with trade paperbacks (these are the collected volumes) – but back in May, following my first Free Comic Book Day experience, I got suckered into that single issue life. I blame my local comic book shop, tbh. So now, I have what’s called a “pull list”, where the shop basically puts aside new single issue comics of my choosing when they come in and I can pick them up and binge.

For those not privvy to comic book lingo at all, single issues are the comics whilst trade paperbacks (TPBs) or graphic novels are collected versions that pull together a number of the comics that form a story arc. But anyway, I’m boring you with technicalities now when what I wanted to do was share with you my current favourite single issue comics that I’ve been working my way through.

You’ll notice one or two recurring themes in the comics I’ve pictured above – the obvious being that they all feature the colour red. I’d say it’s coincidental, but the other thing they all share in common is that they have elements of horror to them so y’know, the red is starting to make a whole lotta sense, isn’t it? Horror comics are my fave.

The comics I’ve chosen are not just my absolute faves to burn through at the moment, they’re also by my two favourite distributors right now – Image Comics and Aftershock. They are killing it with their catalogue of titles.

Kill or Be Killed

(Image Comics)

Kill or Be Killed was a comic I knew I was going to love from issue one just from the basic plot. To keep it short and avoid any spoilers, it’s about a guy who is forced to kill bad people. Who (or what) forces him to do so was an unexpected twist early on, but even knowing more now about his “curse”, every issue is still super engaging because the main character is oddly relatable.

The artwork and storytelling are both totally awesome, and you’ll probably like this comic if you’re a fan of the Dexter TV show/books.

Another thing I love about Kill or Be Killed is reading the section after the story that is written by Ed Brubaker, who also writes the comic itself. He basically shares an insight into what he’s been up to (including his favourite comics, TV shows etc etc) and depending on how much of a nerd you are you’ll either find it pretty cool or weird. Guess where I sit on that scale.

Black Eyed Kids (B.E.K)

(Aftershock)

B.E.K makes my pull list because it’s grim but dares to avoid conventional horror and goes with a slightly supernatural twist. No witches and whatnot, but something feels “not of this world” about it. Again, the artwork in this title is great and although I prefer the story to Kill or Be Killed, B.E.K is an interesting concept that I look forward to seeing continue to play out.

Before picking up the comic, I had read the below synopsis and was totally sold instantly.

“It’s dark. You’re alone. Then there’s a knock. You open the door to find two seemingly normal kids. They ask to come in, to borrow your phone to call for a ride. You find yourself overcome with an intense fear that you can’t explain. And then you notice their eyes…black…SOLID black. You want to run, but now they’re inside. It’s too late. They have you.”

Ooooh.

B.E.K plays on that classic “children are scary” trope, but creates a few unique twists on it that makes it even more sinister. You’ll probably like this if you happened to see the movie The Children (if you haven’t, you should also watch that as well) or any other horror movie that puts you off ever wanting kids.

Glitterbomb

(Image Comics)

Back to another Image pull list title now! Glitterbomb sounds like a fun and friendly title right? Like a Lush product or something. UH. NUH. Glitterbomb is about a middle-aged actress searching for her next job in an industry that values younger and prettier people. Her frustrations with this manifest into something quite dark and violent and OMG GUYS I LOVE IT.

It’s super bizarre, but in the best way, and I look forward to each new instalment. Like your horror more monstrous with a few flecks of gore? You’ll like this comic.

Animosity

(Aftershock)

Aaaand we’re back to Aftershock again! I added Animosity to my pull list because it sounded like a similar(ish) concept to another comic I’ve read before called Rover Red Charlie. RRC is basically an apocalyptic tale where the world has literally gone to the dogs – people are turning on each other (in particularly violent ways), and Rover Red Charlie follows three canine pals as they deal with having to let go of what they knew before.

Animosity on the other hand is where animals “wake up” and turn on the humans to exact revenge for the “slavery” they endured before. It follows one dog and his girl on their journey to safety. It turns out there are quite a lot of differences between RRC and Animosity but it’s still a lot of fun to get a story from a dog’s eye view.

Although the artwork in this title isn’t really anything special, the story is definitely intriguing and I see me continuing this title for a little while yet. If you’d like to see an interesting take on the bond between human and animal and how it may not always exactly go to plan, then give this one a go.

Would you (or do you) read any of these comics? Any others I should add to my pull list? 

What I’ve Been Watching #3

cineworld unlimited card

WIBW is a semi-regular series where I post short spoiler-free reviews of the movies I’ve seen recently at the cinema, as well as share my expectations for upcoming viewings.

Live By Night

It’s a shame to start this instalment of “What I’ve Been Watching” with a negative review, but unfortunately I must.

I love Ben Affleck, I think he’s great and I think he’s a great director, too. But Live by Night just didn’t do it for me. It was really average and felt overly long. Y’know those sorts of films where it feels like any minute it’s going to end and you can go home, get your pjs on and instantly forget about what you’ve just seen? Well, this wasn’t one of those films. It kept going on, and on and I can’t forget (or forgive) that.

I wonder whether Ben Affleck really enjoyed the source material (it’s based on a book), so he felt like he had to cram in as much as he could? I’m not sure…all I do know is that whilst his and Elle Fanning’s performances were great, it doesn’t entirely overcome the ‘meh’-osity of this movie.

Expectation: 3.5/5
Reality: 2.5/5

La La Land

I have been so excited to watch this movie, you guys. It’s the one both me and Liam have been anticipating the most. I’m pleased to report this movie is worth the hype (7 Golden Globe wins and 11 BAFTA noms!).

It’s an absolute rollercoaster of emotions – #cliche – at times I thought I was going to cry, but not necessarily with sadness. I became really invested in the story from early on, and loved/hated that it didn’t always go how you expected it to.

The songs were great, the direction was great and Emma Stone absolutely smashed it. Ryan Gosling was great, as well.

Go see this, ASAP.

Expectation: 4/5
Reality: 4/5 (we are going to rewatch it at the weekend, so this may even go up to a 4.5 on second viewing!)

Manchester by the Sea

I saw the trailer for this film a little while back, and was expecting a real tearjerker. It looked like it was going to be a heavy duty drama with amazing acting and a great story.

And it was. Except the tearjerker bit. On several occasions I felt like I was meant to feel upset, but the story didn’t quite hit as hard as I expected it to. Some really awful things happen in this film, but one of the worst seems to be over too quickly for you to really get invested in it.

Casey Affleck was fantastic as Lee, the titular character of the film. I also loved Kyle Chandler who although plays a minor part, steals every scene he is in. I don’t know what it is about him, he’s just brilliant.

My expected rating was pretty much on point – although I didn’t cry like I expected, the film was really well made and is worth your attention.

Expectation: 3.5/5
Reality: 3.5/5

What’s up next?

Hacksaw Ridge

Our next Cineworld Unlimited screening is for the film Hacksaw Ridge which stars Andrew Garfield. When we booked the tickets, I knew nothing about it but having now seen the trailer twice, I am intrigued. It’s not usually the sort of film I would choose to watch, but that’s kind of the beauty of having an Unlimited card – to try different films.

Hopefully I’ll find it to be good – it definitely has the potential to be.

Expectation: 3/5

Sing

After Moana being a surprise favourite of last year, I am looking forward to seeing if another animated movie can impress. I’ll be honest, I’m going to go in with low-ish expectations because I think most of the humour will be derived from which actors are voicing the parts, but we shall see!

Expectation: 2.5/5

Trainspotting 2

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the first Trainspotting movie, so I’ll need to rewatch that before I really get hyped for this sequel. However, judging by the trailer I think it’s going to be great.

Expectation: 3.5/5

A Wintery Walk

wintery walk

I am #blessed to work in the adorable market town of Midhurst. Have you heard of it? It’s kind of nearish to Chichester and it’s full of independent shops, including one which exclusively sells wicker baskets.

But other than being twee AF, it’s also situated slap bang in the middle of the South Downs which makes my commute the absolute one because I get to drive along the A283 which is surrounded by beautiful scenery. If I arrive at work early enough (which I usually do because I’m all about that avoiding-traffic-by-leaving-early life), I can park up and go for a stroll up to the Cowdray ruins – and that’s exactly what I chose to do earlier in the week.

It was one of those wintery mornings where every fleck of grass had frosted tips like a 90’s popstar. The puddles were frozen over, and the air was bitterly cold. Usually, I would retreat to Costa for a latte before work, but that day I just knew my winter walk was exactly what I needed.

winter walk 2

My wintery walk only lasted about 10 minutes, but felt infinitely refreshed and more awake – but maybe that’s because I was freezing through. Note to self: it’s definitely the time of year for a cosy hat as well as the scarf and gloves. Plus, maybe pop on a pair of tights under those jeans and consider two pairs of socks as a minimum.

Don’t you think that going for a walk to clear the cobwebs is heavenly? I found that I didn’t lag in the afternoon like I sometimes do, and I’m thinking of also adding a lunchtime walk to my routine, and make the morning walk a regular thing. Unless it’s raining because sod that tbh.

If you can get out into nature before or after work, or during your lunch break I definitely recommend it! It gave me the chance to just clear my mind and also feel like I’ve actually done a bit of exercise instead of going from driving, to a desk, and back to driving again.

Here Are My 2016 Highlights

2016 highlights

Y’know, the beauty of doing a monthly favourites post every month is being able to go back and find my absolute favourite things that have happened in 2016.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a stinker of a year (I don’t need to go into the reasons why…), but I’m determined to find the diamonds in the rough and hope that you can do the same as we wave goodbye – or stick a middle finger up – to 2017.

So let’s go…

2016 Highlights

January 

I’ll be honest…the year started slow. My highlight of January legit was rewatching Jessica Jones with my parents. There’s something satisfying about introducing family members to something you love and watching smugly as they enjoy it too.

But yeah… rewatching a great show was the best thing about January. Cringe.

February 

Good ol’ Feb picked it up a gear or two with the good stuff. Deadpool was a particularly memorable cinema trip (for all the right reasons), and booking in my driving test was pretty sweet…terrifying and anxiety inducing, but pretty, pretty sweet.

March 

In March, I took part in The British Heart Foundation’s Dechox, where you give up chocolate for the whole of March. I was, and still am, a bit flummoxed as to how I managed to pull that off.

Aside from that clearly incredible achievement, me and Liam went to see The Book of Mormon and guys – it’s hilarious.

April 

Let’s face it – one of my absolute favourite happenings in 2016 was passing my driving test. I’m not sure how the flip I managed to do it given how much stress learning to drive caused me, but I ruddy passed first time! WHAT.

The end of April was also amazing as we had our brains scrambled by Derren Brown on his Miracle tour.

May 

My most expensive 2016 highlight has to be Nelson, the little red Mini. I was so lucky (and grateful!) that my Dad contributed towards paying for my very first car at the tender age of 26. Nelson has enabled me to be much more independent and to be able to apply for the job I have now…but more on that later!

May also marked my first experience of Free Comic Book Day at our local comic book shop – and yes, I did slip into the trap of buying single issues and I love it.

June

Ngl, June was just another month. Like another January, where my highlights revolve around watching good TV shows and not a lot else.

I started making the effort to find more time for creative endeavours…needless to say it didn’t last!

July

July was the month I got suckered in to Pokemon Go. Yep. I know. I’m not even sorry. Well, I am now as let’s face it…it was a complete waste of time.

But it was also the month I watched even more great TV (namely Stranger Things and Band of Brothers) – and best of all, I got a new job!

August

August was a bit lush, wasn’t it? I got to wear skirts which now feels years ago because this week I’ve had to wear multiple pairs of socks and keep a scarf wrapped round my neck all day.

What made August even more awesome was getting to move back in with Liam ahead of starting my new job in September. I love my parents dearly but it felt good to move out again.

September

This month was when Dexter the goldendoodle puppy came bounding into my family’s lives – a fluffy cloud of excitement that loves to play pretty much constantly. He’s gorgeous but I do look forward to the days when he calms down a bit!

I also started my current job in September – and it’s been an amazing opportunity to work for a great charity. I’m really enjoying my role, and getting to work alongside dogs is always a plus!

October

OMG October was when The Walking Dead returned after *that* cliffhanger. TWD has to be the standout show of this year – but maybe I’m biased as they introduced my absolute favourite character from the comics.

At the end of the month to celebrate Halloween, me and Liam went along to Tulley’s Farm with our friend Jack to Shocktober Fest. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it but I actually ended up enjoying it the most!

November

I’m fairly sure that November was my favourite month in 2016. Mostly because I got insanely spoilt for my birthday – we went to see The Cursed Child, the Harry Potter Studio Tour and stay overnight in a Harry Potter themed hotel room.

I almost couldn’t handle all the nostalgia. In fact, Liam would probably argue that I couldn’t handle it at all given that I cried twice watching The Cursed Child.

As if all this HP excitement wasn’t enough, in November I also discovered a new love… Sainsbury’s TU Clothing. The obsession lives on, pals.

December

Ofc it goes without saying that Christmas was a highlight – who doesn’t love overindulgence? Celebrating my Mum’s and Liam’s birthdays was also great.

Otherwise, December was suitably quiet and calm… y’know, once the Christmas shopping was all done.

What were your highlights of 2016, or are you just glad to see the back of it?