Things I Wish I Knew When I Learned to Drive

29 May 2017

Bingley, UK
I started learning to drive in June 2016 and passed in November 2016 – so basically it took me four months to drive. I’ll admit I hated it at first. Truly, I didn’t understand why it was a privilege and didn’t appreciate the opportunity at first. After every lesson I wanted to give up. Now that I’m an independent and fully licenced driver, (who passed first time with one minor may I add) I look back and realise there’s a couple of tips I wish I had, before I got into the driver seat.

Keep calm!
Panic is an understatement when it comes to an error when driving. I remember the first time I stalled, oh my goodness I basically had a breakdown. It’s difficult to encourage yourself to keep cool, calm and collected, but really helps. It’s really easy to allow nerves to take over. There’s this little thing called clutch foot, which is a result of nerves taking over the body. It’s definitely terrifying when it comes to getting in a car for the first time, 10mph feels like 500 – but freaking out is not the answer. Take a few deep breathes when the pressure gets too much, roll down a window to cool down or request silence to help concentrate!
Be honest!
Let me tell you a little story: I needed the toilet while on one of my two-hour driving lessons. I hid it from my instructor for most the hour, but then told him I was bursting (I really was – the nerves got to me) and pulled (unsafely) into a random street. Because I was so desperate, I managed to accidentally mount the rather high pavement, and basically got out the car and ran. I knocked on the friendliest looking house and asked to use the toilet. The lovely woman (shoutout to Linda) allowed me to use the bathroom. Once I returned to the car, my instructor said: “maybe next time we just stop at a supermarket when you need the loo, huh?” I was so embarrassed. So quick tip: be honest with your instructor about how you’re feeling emotionally… and physically.

Do research!
Before even learning to drive, it’s good to know you’re a really good company. I really like Pass ‘N’ Go, mainly because they offer such a wide range of courses and have their own online blog. Driving instructors can be expensive, and not all are well trained, so going with a well-known company is useful. Plus, Pass ‘N’ Go have their own shop, when you can purchase study packs for theory and motorway courses. I did hours upon hours of revision for my theory test and that’s what help me pass first time! I managed to get majority of the test answers right, and got only two hazard perception clips wrong – but it still counts as a pass! If I didn’t revise before, there’s no way I would have known the answer to half the questions so doing the right research is very important. Then you don’t have to pay for a whole new theory test!
Cars are expensive!
As a child, I was always saying: “So basically when I’m 18 I’ll but my Range Rover Sport in matte black with hot pink rims and chrome accents.” Yeah… that didn’t happen. I didn’t even know insurance, break down cover and road tax existed back that and I still struggle to accept it now. Trust me, when I bought my adorable little Vauxhall Corsa in January, I had tears in my eyes. Partially from happiness, but also from the paid of paying for insurance and having to live the next twelve months with a black box. Anyone relate? Yup, black boxes suck. Even when I began driving lessons I assumed I would just be able to buy a car the day I passed. I’m not super rich, so sadly that didn’t happen.

Traffic is the new hell!

Before I knew how a car even operated, traffic didn’t bother me! I will never forget being with my mum or dad, who would yell and huff and puff in frustration of stand-still cars, and I never understood it. Now…now, I understand it. My goodness, it has got to be one of the worst things in the world – how do people in capital cities live?! Oh and I hate traffic lights too, they’re nobody’s friend. Before I got my licence, I thought things like getting MOT checks and have to park would be the bane of my life. Nope! Driving at peak times is. 
This post is in collaboration with Pass ‘N’ Go. 

Next Autumn Press Day 2017 - Key Trends // #NextPressDay

24 May 2017

The RSA, London, UK
On 18 May 2017, I travelled from Leeds to London to check out Next's Autumn 2017 line and I was not disappointed. Whoever I head to Next Press Day the first thing I'm always blown away by is the venue and this time was no different. It was held at the The RHA in the heart of London and was full of fashionable. My blog followers know I'm a fan of any building with exposed brick inside so as soon as I walked in I was obsessed. I noticed quite a few trends walk walking around, and found it difficult not to say "I want that" with every other piece I picked up.

The immediate vibe I got from the womenswear section was "femininity". There were quite a flushing blushing florals and floaty dresses that came as a pleasant surprise. I love the idea of giving women a glamour touch in each outfit, and the pieces do exactly this. They enhance the feminine silhouette in a simple and stylish way. 
As this is the Autumn Press Day I definitely expected the typical "fall colours": browns, greens, mustard yellows and navy blues. And I certainly found them, but with an awesome twist. My first impression was a preppy-school-Blair-Waldorf inspired line, with a hint of traditional autumn style. The plaid, tartan and dogtooth styles are making an elegant comeback in the best way possible. From stunning suede skirts to classic tartan, I can't wait to shop this section. Plus, I become highkey obsessed with a bright burgundy leather jacket featuring a fur collar... I want. 
Finally, I couldn't escape the endless pieces with gorgeous prints on. What I loved the most about this trends, is that it wasn't just a dress with a basic print on that'll fade after ten washes. There are laced dresses with detailed appliqué patterns on, and cotton numbers with intricate detail on. Each piece looked unique and would be easy to dress around, as they catch the eye immediately. I loved that the prints stuck within the colour scheme and took inspiration from the fashion trends originating from long ago. 

With the accessories, there was a huge emphasis on detail, and lots of little things that made them so great. Clearly inspired from the era of big statements and glamour, there was an enormous range of items to fall in love with. I found it hard to pick favourites, but the super-glam slouch ankle boot (pictured above) was a definitely yes from me, just imagine rocking those babies on a girly night out! Similarly, the textured boots took centre stage, stealing the spotlight from the over-the-knee nude boots. 

If you follow me on Pinterest (I just hit 1000 followers - yay me), you know how obsessed I can be over interiors. I mean, I have a board for each of my favourite rooms in the home. Next's home section was the first place I headed because I knew I was going to love it - I always do! The whole range was Scandinavian-inspired, but with the added Brooklyn, New York element. The exposed brick as a background certainly helped sell the items for me, and I loved the geometric styles mixed with wooden and metal must-haves. Everything was simply stylish, but still practical. There's nothing worse than having a totally unique chest of drawers or bedside table that you can't use because the drawers are tiny and barely open. I got a real autumnal feel from this line, but it wasn't drab and boring. The mix of old and new from old wood and modern shapes made the collection appear refreshing and quirky. I love the use of brighter colours for the smaller products, which will immediately brighten up a room. Individually, each item was a statement, but nothing clashed - perfection.

Summer Technology Wishlist

17 May 2017

Leeds, UK
I can be a little bit of a tech geek when it comes to stylish gadgets and cool must-haves. I like to have the latest of most gadgets, especially if it’s going to make life a little easier. Let’s just say, I rely on Siri and assisted parking a lot.

iPhone 7 Plus (in rose gold, obviously)
I currently have the iPhone 7, and as much as I adore this phone, I would love the 7 Plus! It’s bigger, which makes tasks like blogging on the go a little easier, but the thing I love the most has got to be the camera. Pretty much everything about the 7 Plus is the same as the 7 regarding its operating system and effectiveness, and the camera is magnificent and would mean less time packing up a DSLR and having fun with the 7 Plus’s dual camera lenses and portrait mode.

This camera has got to be one of the most famous vlogging cameras ever. And although I’m not a vlogger quite yet, if I was to purchase a camera just for this hobby, it would totally be this one. This pocket-sized gem basically has the power of some of the greatest DSLRs at half the weight. You could create a full HD film with this camera alone, and it’s ideal for travelling and working on the go. With built-in Wi-Fi, 1080p quality videos and its own pop-up flash, this Canon is perfect for me.

I’ve had my current television for about seven years. Don’t worry, it’s a flat screen but a very chunky one. Unfortunately the quality is not as good as it used to be, despite the efforts of my Sky+ HD box. I’m the type of person that gets excited when I can watch a YouTube video in 4K on my desktop, so imagine having it on your TV! This television has a cinema-like display and it’s own Firefox operative system which means it’s perfect for catching up on my subscriptions as well as my Netflix shows! Plus, it’s less than a third of the weight of my current TV.

It’s like someone created my dream laptop. I first saw the YouTube advertisement online and was immediately sold. I’ve never had a MacBook, so I’m very used to the Microsoft Windows operating system and feel perfectly happy using it. I was elated to find out Microsoft had created a powerful laptop, that would be ideal for blogging and creating online content. The design feature is stunning and I love the idea of a detachable keyboard that also works with the Surface Pen.

I currently have the Bose Soundlink Mini II and I absolutely adore it. But it’s not great for a raging house party or hooking up to my TV. On the other hand, the Sonos Playbar has 9 amplified speakers and can be connected to just about anything, including the latest TV. It’s super sleek and stylish, so it would love wonderful in my minimalistic living room, or even in the bedroom. It doesn’t come with Bluetooth, but the built-in Wi-Fi is ideal for me.

Is a car under the technology category? Well it is now. I looked up a YouTube review of this car after spotting it on the street and immediately fell in love with it. I only bought my first car a couple of months ago, but I like to be ambitious. Any Mercedes is a classy car, and this one has just about everything I need. Perfect from every angle, and awesome built-in technology – I think this is definitely the next car for me. 
*Paid promotion

5 Ways to Positively Get Rid of the Negative

9 May 2017

Leeds, UK
As mentioned in my comeback post, when I fell out of love with blogging, I gave up because I associated every aspect with something negative. Not only did this put me off something I used to love, it altered my mind-set completely, and I didn't really want to do anything – not even my other hobbies. Now that I'm taking a stand against those negative vibes, I'm sharing the ways in which I switched out the negative stuff, for the positive stuff.

#1 Stop focusing on enemies 
I plan on writing a whole blog post on this in due time, but one way I got rid of negativity was to stop thinking or dwelling on people I don't like. I'll admit it, I'm human, there are some people in the world who haven't been kind to me and so I don't like them. And I love a little gossip from time to time, but sitting and talking about someone in a bad light for hours doesn't really do anything for you and doesn't even matter to them.

#2 Enjoy each moment
A lot of the time, I feel like I overlook those special moments in time. Or I spend those moments worrying about something else. To brush off the destructive vibes, I spent more of my time enjoying and simply loving the things that make me happy. Doesn't have to be anything big, just something like a beautiful sunset or the scenic drive to work. Sometimes I get stressed because I’m stressed. Spending less time fretting, means I can take in what's around me.
#3 Work out and get fit
I could easily say I’ve been on a diet for six years. But this time, I’m taking it seriously. I re-joined a gym in March and since then have been going around five times a week, as well as working out at home when I can. Being totally honest, I’m not happy with my body, I wouldn’t be confidence to stand next to my friends in a bikini, and so what’s the point in moping around about it? I’m changing it! Working out has helped me in so many ways, from my strength to my attitude. I love it!

#4 Make a conscious effort
It’s no secret that I have a slightly pessimistic outlook. But I need to shake it. I can be sarcastic and petty, but I don’t want to be that way permanently. I have a notebook (among many) that I save just to write down positive things. I also try to make a conscious effort to think about optimistic memories, or something that makes me happy. It’s like squashing all the toxic stuff and replacing it with puppies and rainbows. Totally works.

#5 Smile and laugh
I’m currently smiling as I write this blog post. I’m also listening to a Jenna + Julien podcast that’s guaranteed to make me laugh. If I’m ever feeling down, I try not to sit in that state of mind for too long, because negative feelings with anchor in my brain and I’ll become unmotivated and lethargic. To filter out the bad vibes, I find something or someone who will turn that frown upside down. Whether it’s my dorky little sister or bloopers from Friends, a little levity goes a long way.

Guess Who's Back... And 21!

5 May 2017

Eldwick, UK
Happy May! Anika May is officially back in business. If you follow my blog on Bloglovin', you may have noticed a distinct gap in between my posts. In fact, my last post was December 2016! At the end of last year, I fell out of love with blogging. I started to change the way I posted on my blog, worrying about how my outfits look and stressing out if I didn't look fashionable enough. I started to compete with other bloggers, who had no idea I was competing with them. Comparison got the best of me and it started to get me down. Before long, every aspect of blogging before something negative or a chore. 

Well today I turn 21 and I’ve been reflecting on the past year of my life. There’s been massive ups and enormous downs, but overall, there’s a hole in my life that used to be occupied by my blog. Since taking a break from the big digital world, I’ve been able to figure out exactly the type of person I want to be, the type of career I want, the type of blog I’d like to own. Now that I’m a whole year older, I want to fall back in love with blogging. I remembered the reason I started blogging, because I thought it was cool to have my own little corner of the internet, and write about everything and anything. I absolutely adore photography and travelling, so why not incorporate that in the way I publish content! 

It's a little late for the whole "new year, new me" vibe, so how about new age, new me. I want to give this dream career of mine another shot, and I’m more motivated than ever. 

I have missed blogging more than anything in the world, and I can't wait to share more and more online. I want to alter my mind-set to being more positive, and then spread that online. I’m learning as I grow, and documenting each step of the way will be a lot of fun. I know turning 21 isn't really a big deal, but I’m back to blogging, and I couldn't be more ready. 


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