Learning To Drive and Getting My First Car

A week and a half ago Justin (my boyfriend) and I had a particular conversation for possibly the thirtieth time since we've been together- Should I learn how to drive? I have the money available, I have the determination, so why not? A day later I booked my theory test and ten driving lessons with a wonderful instructor whom I've known for many years of my life. The instructor happens to be the same person who taught my brother how to drive, and he has highly recommended him to me. My first lesson isn't until Monday. I'm super excited to get behind the wheel for the first time ever, but also a little nervous about figuring out the coordination between gears, clutch, accelerating, braking, and paying attention to the road around me. I'm sure I'll be okay with it, I suppose it takes everyone a little while to get the hang of it at first. I've never been behind the wheel of anything before, so this is a completely blank canvas for me!
I have been studying hard for my theory test, and am feeling confident I'll be able to do it. I'm achieving high percentages and passing most of my mock tests. I have no reason to be worried, so I shouldn't panic during the real exam. I have my fingers (and toes) crossed tightly! I still have a couple of weeks to get more practice in for my theory test, and I'm taking mock tests in literally every spare minute I have.
When I decided I was going to learn how to drive, Justin said he would purchase me my first car, but we wouldn't rush into anything as I won't be able to drive my own car until I've had a few lessons with an instructor. Well, guess who bought me my first car only four days later!
My dad has been going to a car auction every week as he is looking for a new motor, and Justin has been joining him and loves seeing all the cars going through for bargain prices. When looking at the upcoming cars for that week he noticed a particular car that he liked the look of, and even the number plate stood out to us both. We did some insurance checks and it all seemed good- as long as it went for the right price and seemed in good condition.
The night of the auction Justin came home and seemed a little odd. He was distant with me, not telling me about anything that had gone through the auction like he usually would. I eventually sat down and he passed me the auction sheet to look at what sold and for how much. I asked him about a few different cars and he explained they were too much or in bad condition. Then I reached this one particular car that we said we wanted if it went for the right price.
I had a bit of a moan at him "Why didn't you get it if it sold that cheap?" "What was wrong with it?!" he shrugged at me but looked shifty. Then he blurted out "That's because it's yours!"
I thought he was joking at first, I was so excited and couldn't believe it.
The next day we collected my first car and I fell totally in love with it, it's such a gorgeous colour and a really nice car. Fair enough it was dirty, but nothing a full valet couldn't fix.
I'm looking forward to getting behind the wheel of my own little car!
Here is a picture of my little orange Fiat Grande Punto (yes, it's orange! It looks a bit red in the pictures though)
It needed a couple of things buying for it- a new washer pump, some mats, paint touch up, stain remover for the seats. All really cheap things and none of them an issue.
I do highly recommend the stain remover I used. It was called CarPlan Stain Valet and it comes in a can with a brush attached to the top. My passenger seat had a huge ground-in stain on it, but after a thorough scrub with this stain remover, it came right off! The seats look brand new after one go-over with this product. The can was 300ml for £4 and after doing all of my seats there was still over half a can left.

It has always been my dream to learn how to drive, but something has kept me from doing it. Mainly that I've never had enough money aside to learn to drive and buy a car. I'm so glad I finally have a man in my life who helps me chase my dreams and does everything in his power to make them a reality. I have my car- now it's all up to me to learn to drive and pass those tests!

10 Little Things That Make Me Happy #Tag

I have been tagged by the blogger Reclusive Fox to take part in the '10 little things that make me happy' tag. I do find it important to think about the little things, those parts of life that you may not dwell on in the moment, but looking back they fill you with so much joy. As I mentioned in my previous post, sometimes you have to take a step back and look at life from a wider angle. This tag seems like a perfect opportunity to pause for a moment and think about those little things in life that make you happy.

1. Seaside sunrises and sunsets- Until last year I'd never seen a sunrise on the beach before. When I went on holiday in Wales, Justin and I woke up stupidly early and headed out onto the beach to watch the sun come up. It was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever witnessed, and I even got to see the fishing boats being towed into the sea by a tractor.

2. Fireworks- I think fireworks are lovely to watch, but it's even better when it brings the family together. Last year we had our own little display for the first time in years, and it was lovely to be spending time together having a good laugh.

3. Kitty cuddles- My favourite animal ever is a cat, they are so freaking adorable! I have two of my own, Billy (1-year-old) and Daisy (6 months), and I love having cuddles with them both. Billy is the more cuddly of the two- laying on top of me first thing in the morning purring in my face.

4. Warm sunny days- Ask anyone who knows me well, and they will know warm sunny days are what I live for. I'm the sort of person that feels miserable when the weather is bad and feels like I'm in paradise whenever the sun is shining.

5. Listening to music- I don't go a single day without listening to music. There's nothing more enjoyable than turning up a good tune really loud!

6. Binge-watching TV shows- I don't get to do this so often anymore, but I love watching shows on Netflix, Prime, TV, etc. Right now some of my recommendations are- Dark Matter, Once Upon a Time, iZombie, and The 100. feel free to check them out! 

7. Walks through the countryside- I always fill with joy when having long walks through the countryside. It's a nice way to spend time with Justin and it doesn't cost a penny! We both enjoy doing photography, so it gives us something that brings us closer together. 

8. Spontaneous trips- Due to Justin and I working so much we don't get to do this often, but it's awesome to wake up in the morning and decide to go on a last minute trip somewhere. With me, the trips are usually to Nottingham or Skegness as they are two of my favourite places to be. 

9. Technology- I'm an absolute geek when it comes to technology! Laptops, cameras, stereo systems, gaming consoles, headphones, mobile phones, etc. I love them all! Wherever I go I always enjoy looking at new technology, and occasionally purchasing it. 

10. Steam Trains- Okay, so this one may seem a bit random, but seeing steam trains make me so happy! I've always had an interest in trains, but steam trains, in particular, have a special place in my heart. I've travelled on steam trains a few times on holiday in Somerset on the West Somerset Railway and it's the most magical experience.

I'd love to keep this tag going, so I've decided to tag some bloggers to take part themselves. Feel free to take part even if I don't tag you! 

Getting Over the Worlds Longest Writer's Block

Back in 2015, I used to write on my blog on a regular basis, and I loved it! Writing has always been one of my favourite hobbies, and having a blog where I can freely write all my thoughts is wonderful. However, I seem to have hit a writer's block that never wants to end. Last year I barely posted anything after re-starting my life following a breakup, but when 2017 started I promised myself I would get back into writing on my blog once again. However, it doesn't seem as easy as it may have sounded in my head. In January I re-vamped and re-launched my blog, but not long after this, my boyfriend became very ill, which caused me to stop posting anything on here. And since then I never got back into it like I expected I would.
My life has been full of adventures, plans for the future, fun days and many thoughts. All things I could have been writing about, but haven't. I've not been taking my laptop out with me like I usually would as it is in need of a new battery which will cost me £200, and when I'm piling into my savings account for my future, it's not so easy to splash out that much money on something that isn't 'essential'. My laptop isn't the only reason I've not been writing, my life has sort of felt like it's been on overdrive the whole time. Everything has been whizzing past at the speed of light and each day has blurred into the next. I'm not saying this in a bad way, as I've had some really amazing days, but on a typical work day, I don't tend to do as much as I used to. I don't really find the time to sit alone with my thoughts long enough to write those thoughts down into a blog. I work and sleep day after day and that's all that seems to happen. Then comes the 'weekend' (my weekend is Sunday and Monday rather than Saturday and Sunday) where both days always seem so busy that it doesn't feel like I've had any time off.
I'm at the point now where I feel like I have to press pause, step back for a moment, and appreciate what is actually going on in my life. Each day needs to be individual and I must remember it for unique reasons. Perhaps I should start writing down something good that has happened to me each day to remind me that it's not just another piece of the blurry puzzle, its a day- something individual that needs to be loved for the right reasons, not added to the pile of 'just another day'.
This blog is all about my life, and I can't write about it if I have nothing to say. I'm not saying things are boring right now because they aren't. I'm loving every minute of my life, but I need to appreciate it all a little more.
I have a long list of things to look forward to in the future, things I never thought I'd do, but they will happen within the next few years. So in the meantime, I just want to share things a bit at a time so you can understand my feelings in the lead-up to my future.
I've always focused on writing long posts trying to cover as much as I can, but I might start doing some smaller posts just to get me back into blogging. I think at this point I need to take it a step at a time and not worry about what other people think about me or my life.
I have some post ideas to write up soon, but I think I need to make this blog more personal in the meantime.
Do you ever feel like your life is in fast-forward? If you do, how do you slow things down?
Kelly x

Monthly Competition Wins

I decided I would enter a few competitions here and there over the last month, and it seems to have paid off as I've won a couple of really nice things! I enjoy spending a little time each day entering a few comps on facebook, twitter, blogs, and other websites. It doesn't take much to do as long as you have an email address, phone number, facebook, twitter, and other social media's in order to enter. Here are some of the things I've won so far since December:

£20 Halfords Voucher (Castrol UK on Facebook)
I won this in a little competition over on Castrol UK's Facebook page where they posted a picture with loads of tiny cartoon cars & you had to guess or count the number of cars in the picture. I was one of a number of people who guessed correctly and won £20 to spend at Halfords. I did look in my local store and couldn't find anything I wanted, so I've given this one to my dad.

Pugs & Kisses Mug (My Lovely Stuff UK)

As many people in my life know, I adore pugs with a passion, so this is a gorgeous little win for me! It is a bone china cappuccino mug and saucer. I'm not so big on coffee, so I'll be using this for my hot chocolates and mochas.

Ted Baker Gift Set (iwon-iwon)

This is a lovely set for men, I'm not sure yet if I'm going to let my boyfriend have this or give it to someone as a gift for Christmas. I'll let him have a smell of it and see if he likes it before deciding. This was actually my first win in December and I was so excited when it arrived, I'm not normally very lucky with competitions.

Totes Slippers & Bed Socks (Willow Lane Blog) 
With the weather getting colder by the day I was pleased to find out I'd won some warm slippers and fluffy socks. I got a choice of size- small, medium, or large for the slippers. I have fairly big feet so I opted for a large, which fits size 7-8. The prize is worth nearly £30 and I love it so much! I think this is probably my favourite win so far, especially as I needed some new fluffy socks.

Christmas Card (Katzenworld)

Anchor Trumpety Elephant (Unknown)
I actually have no idea where this one came from! I don't remember entering to win one of these, and I've never entered an Anchor competition, but it's really cute so I'm happy to have it. For anyone who's seen the advert you'll know how irritating this little cutie can be, because it makes the noise from the ad! 

I have also won a Billy Connolly High Horse Tour DVD from Flickering Myth and 10 free cards with free P&P from Choosey worth nearly £40.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of my wins from the past month. I've not been so lucky this month yet. I think my luck was mainly over the Christmas period with there being so many competitions going on! Do you like entering competitions? Let me know what you've won in the comments!

What I Got For Christmas 2016

I know it may be a little late for a 'What I got for Christmas' post, but I've been a little too busy to write this one up, with wanting to write about my goals for this year along with working 30 hour weeks and having a busy lifestyle. I decided not to include every single little present in this post or it would get a bit tedious, so I'm just showing a few of my favourites from Christmas 2016!
My first and main present was an iPad Mini 4 32GB. I used to have an iPad Mini 3, and I always missed having it around. I did purchase a couple of different Android tablets last year but none of them faired up to the iPad. So this year I decided to put my Christmas money from my family together with some of my own money to finally purchase myself the new iPad.
I purchased it from Currys PC World and they happened to have a discount of £20 off any iPad on the day I went in, so I bought myself a fancy £20 Targus smart case to go with it. The case doubles up as a stand and it locks and unlocks the screen as you open and close it.

The next thing I received was 'Ari' by Ariana Grande perfume. I remember before Christmas going around shops smelling perfumes and aftershaves with Justin and this was by far my favourite scent. For the rest of the day, I kept commenting on how amazing the scent was and he must have remembered that it was my favourite as he bought it for me. The fragrance is described as sparkling fruits with floral undertones and a hint of marshmallow. I think I'd pretty much agree with this description and it's officially my favourite ever perfume.

Next was this Blooming Gorgeous duo- a set of bath fizzers and a double pack of lotion. I absolutely adore all kinds of floral smelling bath products like bath bombs, salts, bubble bath; anything to relax in the tub.  I've not actually used either of the products yet so I can't comment on what they are like, but the packaging is beautiful and I really look forward to using them.

I also received this super cute pug puppy cushion! I think anyone who knows me properly is very well aware that I adore pugs and I'd love one of my own someday, but until that day I can look at this little cutie in my living room.

This Pretty & Witty gift set is absolutely adorable, but what makes it more special to me is that the little cat whose face is plastered all over the set looks just like my own kitten, Billy. The sets contain body butter, lip balm, body spray, bubble bath and shower gel. All the items have different scents e.g. the body wash smells like bubblegum and the body spray smells like strawberries.

Christmas isn't complete without receiving at least one book! I've not actually seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them yet, and with this being the screenplay I'm super tempted to wait until I've seen the movie before reading this. I've always been a Harry Potter nerd for as long as I can remember, I grew up reading the books and watching the films and remember the excitement of a new book coming out. I'm not quite as excited to read this one as I was to read the others because I personally feel that JK Rowling is making up more and more stories and sidelines for the sake of it. But being a diehard Potter nerd I have to read the book, for curiosity's sake.

I'm forever losing lip balms and I tend to like having lots of different ones so I can keep one in each bag and pocket just in case I end up forgetting to bring one with me. I have seen these Coca-Cola inspired 'Lip Smacker' before in shops and it's something I've always wanted for the novelty of it. This year I received a little gift set containing Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta and Coca-Cola vanilla. So far I've only tried the classic Coke flavour and it does actually taste like the cola, except with a very plastic after-taste.

As I mentioned above I absolutely love bath products, and that certainly includes bath salts! They are made by Joules and not only are the salts in the most gorgeous looking jar, but they also come with a really cute scoop for you to measure the perfect amount of bath salts. They smell very floral and are so relaxing when used with a bit of bubble bath (they go really well with the bubble bath from the Pretty & Witty set).

The last thing I'm going to mention in this post is a Yardley London English Rose gift set. This wasn't exactly a Christmas present, but Justin bought it for me in the Boxing Day sales. The set contains a body spray and a perfume, both have the scent of garden roses in the summer time. It wasn't expensive at full price, so I was very happy to have found this at half it's marked price. I'm hoping I'll be able to find this gift set again next year as I'd like to buy some for my friends.

That isn't everything I received for Christmas, but I don't want this blog post to go on forever! I hope you've enjoyed seeing what I got- as I know people are nosey and like to see these sorts of posts (I know I do!).
Feel free to let me know what you got for Christmas, I'd love to hear about it!

My 2017 Goals | Kelly Pendragon

I have always enjoyed making goals at the beginning of each year. It gives me something to aim for and helps me to see what I've achieved, or how my life and goals have changed. Out of the five things I wanted to aim for last year, I only actually achieved one- to purchase a new camera. I bought myself the Nikon D3300 DSLR, which I found on Facebook for a bargain price of £200. I also bought a big lens for the camera so I can take nice wildlife and macro photographs. Hopefully this year I'll achieve more than one of my goals!

1. Write at least one blog post per week
The only way to keep a blog active and interesting is to keep writing new posts, and I've struggled a little with that. When I first started this blog I used to write on a regular basis, but then I slacked out a bit. I spent the whole of 2016 writing only one post at the beginning of the year and started writing again in the last week of December. I love writing, it's been a hobby of mine since I was in school- I was forever writing stories and had a very creative mind. I'd still love to write stories, but prefer writing blog posts so I'd rather aim my writing skills here on the blog. I don't want to blog professionally, only as a hobby, but I'd also like to build up a following of regular readers. I have struggled a little with categorising my blog, writing whatever I like and not really having a particular category to sit into. So this year I'm officially categorising myself as a 'lifestyle blog', writing about my own life, experiences, travels, interests, ideas, etc.

2. Go on more adventures
2016 for me was full of adventure, mostly because of my boyfriend Justin taking me new places. For the first time ever I spent more time exploring the countryside than city shopping and I loved it! I've had more excitement travelling through miles and miles of fields, woodlands and rivers than I ever had shopping in Nottingham or Birmingham. It's so amazing how much you can discover in the middle of nowhere. I've seen birds and animals I'd never seen in real life before and made the most of my cameras by taking countless numbers of photos. This year I'd like to continue what I started last year by going on more adventures with my other half. I want to travel through more countryside, whether that be the same places or new places. I also would like to visit at leat one new city I've never been to before, as well as having the adventure of a lifetime on my summer holiday to Cornwall this year.

3. Learn how to do night-time photography
This is something I've always wanted to do since I started taking photography more seriously. I love doing photography as a hobby, and now I have a proper DSLR camera my passion has grown even more. So far I've learned everything I know from YouTube videos, websites, facebook groups, and a friend of mine gave me all the notes and slides from a photography college course. All of this has helped a lot, but one thing I've never learned how to do is night-time photography. The main thing I'd like to learn is how to do light trails. I'm sure it's fairly easy with a tripod, but I've not looked into it properly so that's why it's one of my goals for this year!

4. Read more books
I've always enjoyed reading from a young age and used to read book after book in my teens. However, since I've left home and got a place of my own I don't seem to read very much anymore. I do still love it and have so many books it's unbelievable. This year I want to read at least five books, which may not seem very many to most people, but I want to slowly edge myself back into it. I'm currently reading a book on my new iPad which was free on the apple books app. I like reading on my iPad because it means I can read in the dark without bothering my other half with the lights being on whilst he sleeps. You can also change the settings to how you read most comfortably including the shade of the page (e.g. white, grey, black), font, and text size.

5. Don't be so stressed / Be happy
This is a major one for me as I've spent most of the Christmas period getting unnecessarily stressed and upset. My new year motto is 'There's no point stressing over things that are out of my control' and this week that motto has helped me a lot. I'm in a better place in life, no longer plastering on a fake smile or pretending I'm ok, which has made me a little more fragile. I allow emotions to flood over me more which leaves me feeling unhappy at times, even though my life is almost what I would describe as perfect. There are a few things which really get to me, but I'm changing my mindset so I don't get upset about things I can't change. It's sometimes easier said than done, but I have some of the greatest friends and most supportive family I could ask for.

Feel free to let me know what some of your goals are for this year in the comments, I'd love to hear them! I wish you all the best for the new year!

The Missing Year | Highlights of 2016 | Kelly Pendragon

I vaguely remember writing my last blog post back on 4th January 2016 all about my New Year plans and hoped from then to keep writing my blog on a regular basis as I loved writing about my life, places I'd been, things I'd experienced, etc. However only a few days after publishing the last post my life got turned completely upside down. Breakups are hard, but what I went through was so much worse than that. However I'm not here to talk about that, this post is more an update of what's happened over the last year of my life. I've done so much this last year that I've had to use my Facebook as a reference. I hope you enjoy the highlights of my year!

January: Got a new tattoo
The first thing that happened since I wrote that last blog post was got a new tattoo. It was completely fresh when this was taken, it doesn't look anywhere near as bold now it's healed. I'd wanted this tattoo for a long time, but never got around to having it done. This was my first impulse buy as a single woman. To me it symbolises freedom- me spreading my wings and flying away from the bad things in my past.When I'm having a low day it reminds me to stay strong and it's my favourite tattoo of the three I currently have. I am planning my next tattoo for 2017 and hope to have it done in the spring.

February: I found my happiness
The cat isn't how I found my happiness, he isn't even my cat, but it's the only picture I have from February and I look rather happy here. This was the month when my boyfriend and I started a relationship together. I was an emotional wreck before meeting him, but he pulled me through my hardest time and showed me what true love really means.

April: Seaside galore
Back in April, I ended up going to Skegness twice. Once at the beginning of the month and once at the end. Both visits were great, but the second one stands out in my mind the most as we did so many different things in the space of a day. We went on the beach, wandered the shops, visited an aquarium, went to a farm park, wandered around Ingoldmells. It was a day filled with fun, laughter, and lots of photos (I must have taken over 1,000 pictures that day)

May: Countryside walks
From walks through my local countryside behind my town, to the absolutely stunning walks I took through Hougham and Marston- I had some great long treks in the month of May. Through fields of rapeseed, to a hidden bird hide where we saw some pretty water birds, and to a railroad crossing where I got excitingly close to high-speed trains. I remember jumping up and down with glee after I got this shot. The feeling of adrenaline as a train passes you at arm's length traveling at nearly 100 miles per hour is brilliant!

June: I got a kitten!
I've always been a cat person growing up, I had a family cat from a young age and always wished to have one of my own once I moved into my own place. One day in June I was scrolling through Facebook looking at pets for sale and after seeing a few cuties I came across this little guy. However, he was more money than my boyfriend and I wanted to spend on a kitty so I sighed and scrolled on. Later that day my boyfriend found the same post and told me how he really wanted this kitty no matter what the cost and it was then I knew he was to be our new little family member. Somehow no one else had asked for him in the meantime and so I got in touch with the seller and he was ours to take home! He's a Bengal Manx cross- although his personality is more Bengal than Manx. We decided to name him Billy (based on an inside joke from our trip to Skegness, the name had real meaning to us).
Billy is now around 9 months old and looks like this

August: Family holiday

In August I went on holiday with my family to one of my favourite places ever- North Wales. We stayed in a gorgeous seaside town called Prestatyn where I witnessed the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets of my whole life. Over the duration of the holiday we visited Llandudno, a zoo, we saw a free air display, went to Anglesey and visited Anglesey Sea Zoo, visited castles, and even went to Blackpool on the way home. 

It was my second time visiting Blackpool and I went on the tower once again. I had a really fab time and it was the best end to the holiday I could have ever asked for.

September: New camera
In September I finally got the camera of my dreams! The Nikon D3300 DSLR camera. It's so strange to start using for someone used to digital or compact system cameras as it seems very manual and almost feels old-fashioned. But the results I've managed to achieve from this camera are stunning! I also bought a nice big lens for it as well so next spring and summer I can hopefully get some great photos of wildlife on my long countryside walks. These two photos were some of the first I took, so they were testers more than anything, but they show what can be achieved by someone who hasn't got much of an idea how to get the most out of the camera.

November: Fireworks
Late last year I remember purchasing a couple of packs of fireworks to set off for new years, but we never got around to it due to bad weather along with other things, so by fireworks night my brother and I decided to purchase some more packs of fireworks to make our own fabulous display! It was a lovely night with an indoor BBQ and great company of my family and some friends. My boyfriend takes credit for the lovely photo- he got some gorgeous ones of fireworks, whilst I was too busy appreciating the moment. 

December: A time for joy
December has been one of my happiest months! My boyfriend celebrated his birthday early in the month and we had a lovely week off together- we took a trip to Nottingham where we did some Christmas shopping and I treated him to a Red Hot World Buffet. That week we also went to Springfield's shopping outlet and Baytree Garden Centre with my family and had an awesome day- and we stopped at The Fortescue Arms on the way home (I've mentioned it before on my blog only two posts before this). 
Christmas day this year was a lovely little day filled with joy and many gifts! I was overjoyed with all the presents I got from my boyfriend, family, and friends. 

I'm now ready to head into 2017 as a fresh new person, filled with happiness and living a life I could have only dreamt about. I've had a magical year and made so many memories. I do regret not blogging throughout the past year, I have missed it very dearly, but I plan to keep my blog active throughout 2017. I aim to write about my life, my journey with photography, places I travel, reviews of the odd products, maybe the occasional giveaway, and I'll most certainly be writing about my holiday next year as well.