How I Managed to Pass My Full Licence Test

After an unexpectedly hectic November I am finally back to write another wonderful post & this time I am back with AHHH Mazing News!! So if you have guessed from the title of today’s post, I’ve passed my full drivers licence!! Drivers Be Aware….!

Little bit of background story…

I passed my Theory Test on Friday the 13th of September 2013. I got a job that required me to drive to, so my licence, job & new car all happened within one week. Whirlwind isn’t even the word.

My first time alone going down the N7 reminded me of Cameron Diaz driving a car in the movie “The Holiday” – an utter sheer and panic.

Cameron Diaz in The Holiday

Once I got over the initial fear of rolling backwards and the embarrassment of cutting out while trying to do an uphill start, I got the hang of the road. (Mind you, prior to this I drove in the US for almost a year in an automatic transmission – this allowed me to get the sense of space and size of the car)

I continued to drive on Provisional Licence for the next 4 years in Ireland on manual transmission until I decided I won’t let the insurance company rip me off once more & I decided to apply for my full licence.

How To Apply

You can apply for your Full Licence Test on http://www.rsa.ie – Their website is full of valuable information with regards to what you will need before & after you apply. The test costs €80.00. During the booking process it will allow you to put in any dates you are unavailable to take the test i.e. for example I work Monday – Friday therefore I could only do my test on a Saturday. You will not receive a test date until all 12 lessons are completed & logged online by your instructor.

Learner Permit

If you recently got your Provisional Licence you must wait minimum of 6 months before you can apply to do your full licence, as this is the guideline time to let you get comfortable on the road.

In order to receive a test date you must also complete a 12 driving lessons, it’s called Essential Driver Training (EDT) by Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). You can find your nearby ADI on the RSA Website also.

After each lesson the ADI will fill out your logbook (you will receive this book during your first lesson) sign it and then proceed to log it into the online database. Once the 12th lesson has been logged by the ADI online your Test Date will be emailed to you.

The Test

The test is very straight forward. It lasts for approximately 40 minutes – between the verbal & driving part. At the beginning of the test the Instructor will ask you about some rules of the road and road signs; He will then proceed to bring you outside and ask you to show him under the bonnet of the car and the signal lights in your car as well as secondary signals inside the car (such as how to de-fog your back window, your hazard lights etc.).

You will then proceed with the test, apart from your regular driving you will be required to do a 3 point turn & reverse the car around the corner.

Whatever you do stay calm, collected and do your thing. What they are actually looking for is not perfection, it is to simply follow the rules of the road they have set out. Concentrate on the road, not on the examiner and whatever you do is think safety – i.e. if I do this maneuver will this be a safe road practice? Can I stop here? Will I have enough time to stop etc. It is really that simple.

Clane Driving Academy

Clane Driving Academy - James Malone

I found my driving instructor James via the ADI section on RSA Website. Turns out James is a good family friend and gave my husband few lessons back in the day so it was a perfect match! I have previously done 3 lessons with another instructor when I first started driving in Ireland, so I only needed 9 to complete the training and be able to do the exam.

James was super friendly and patient, even when I asked stupid questions. I’m not going to lie, there were few blonde moments! Before each lesson James discussed what area we will cover and what’s expected of me as a driver. For someone who doesn’t use indicators very much and has a major road range (I’m talking about myself here) James was able to tame me and calm me down a little haha.

Clane Driving Academy - James MaloneClane Driving Academy - James Malone 2

Once my lessons were completed & logged online I got my test date – 25th of November! I thought I was going to vomit with the nerves. Something you should know about me – I have never ever failed any test or exam in my life, nor have I had to sit a repeat therefore my “good name” was at stake here and cheating wasn’t an option. (And the fact that I HAD to prove to my husband I was a good driver haha!)

I rang James and he immediately booked me in for an hour before my test to go through everything one last time.

I won’t dwell on it much more, safe to say I have passed the test and I am 100% sure I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for James. He was friendly, we had the chats – he treated me as a friend not as a client and that really put me at ease of asking questions and making mistakes. James also recently got an award for a Driving Instructor of the Year which really proves he’s the best at what he does.

I’d highly recommend his services – for a one man show he has an amazing reputation. You can find out more on his Facebook Page.

Clane Driving Academy - James Malone 3

Thinking about it now, I have no idea as to why I waited so long to do my full test. I guess some people are mentally “ready” before, however I was happy with the way things were. If I can give one final piece of advise is not to wait too long to do your test, otherwise you will inherit a lot of bad driving habits like me and it will make it that much harder to pass your test.

Happy Motoring!

Joanna

This is not a sponsored post, I’m very happy to simply recommend James’ services for other learner drivers out there. 

 

 

Energy Bites: How To Cheat Your Brain into Thinking You’re Having a Sweet Treat

When I went onto the “healthy buzz” before my wedding I REALLY cut out all the bad things: sweets, fizzy drinks, carbs, sauces you name it – I didn’t eat it. Basically everything that was not in my meal plan and everything that contained sugar. I have then substituted all my sugar cravings with this healthy recipe I came across and somehow I managed to “cheat” my body into thinking it’s the sugar I was craving all along. It’s really simple to make, the preparation is approximately 10 minutes; the mixture then will need to cool in the fridge for 1.5 hours.

Ingredients:
  • 100g Flaked Almonds
  • 50g Brazil Nuts
  • 50g Cashew Nuts
  • 3 Table Spoons of Pumpkin Seeds
  • 50g Goji Berries
  • 100g Coconut Seeds
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 4 Table Spoons of Coconut Oil
  • 4 Table Spoons of Honey
  • 4 Table Spoons of Peanut Butter
  • Vanilla Extract

I am aware it’s quite a lot of ingredients involved, however they are quite affordable and you can get them all in Lidls/Aldis. You will then have all of these ingredients for at least 2 batches of the energy bites.

Method:

Take the almonds; Brazil & cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds and put them into the food processor until finely chopped. Once they have been chopped place them into a large mixing bowl, then add goji berries, sea salt & half of the coconut seeds and mix all together.

Melt the coconut oil in a pan, once melted remove from the heat & stir in the honey, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Mix well and pour over the seed mixture in the bowl. Stir until the consistency is smooth.

Leave in the fridge for 1.5 – 2 hours maximum.

Shape the mixture into individual balls and roll them in the second half of coconut seeds. Once they are all done, leave the balls in the fridge for further 2 hours to harden.

Energy Bites

I personally use Organic Peanut Butter as it makes it a really healthy snack then. I find that peanut butter makes your brain think you are getting all the sugar your body is craving.

Let me know how you get on if you decide to make them yourself. Also, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions with regards to the above; I’ll be happy to help.

Bon Appetit!

Joanna

Christmas Traditions from Poland

Now that we are in December, I believe it is finally acceptable to share a Christmas Post! This year I thought I’d share with you Polish Christmas Traditions (from what I can remember) and what we still currently “uphold” as we have adapted some Irish Traditions also.

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6th of December – Santa Claus’ Birthday

6th of December is a day celebrated as Santa Claus’ Birthday. On this day people gift each other with something small as a “celebration” of his birthday. If you are doing a Secret Santa in work or school this would be the day when you bring in your gift. Mostly it would be parents who give something small to their children perhaps chocolate or a small toy as a token to symbolize this day.

24th of December – Christmas Eve

In Poland we have our Christmas Dinner on the 24th of December. On this day we don’t eat any meat, sweets or drink alcohol. Generally speaking we should be fasting all day until the dinner itself, this of course does not include elderly or children. In a traditional household the dinner consists of 12 courses and there is quite a lot of fish involved. When I say 12 courses, I do not mean what most people will think of as 12 main courses – one course for example could be tea/coffee. In our house we have the following:

Body of Christ; Vinegar Marinated Herring with Onions; Mushroom Soup; Butter Beans; Mushroom & Cabbage Dumplings; Carp & Makielki (Pasta with Poppy Seeds & Raisins); Dried Fruit Juice; Cakes; Tea & Coffee.

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We don’t stick 100% to the traditional 12 courses, however I feel the above is more than plenty and each one of us always “saves space” for their favorite course – mine are the dumplings! For someone who doesn’t eat any seafood (me) it can be quite an ordeal as part of the tradition is you must at least try each dish to bring you luck for the coming new year.

Putting Up The Tree

According to a very old tradition the Christmas Tree was to be put up on Christmas Eve; however nowadays with Christmas enthusiasts such as myself, first weekend of December is usually when family would get together and put up the tree. If it was up to me, I’d put it up in November!

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Our parents have raised us with an ideology that nobody should go hungry at Christmas & if a stranger knocks on your door on Christmas Eve you should welcome him/her and offer them a seat at your table. Therefore whilst setting up the table we set up one extra setting for this “wondering soul” in the event they show up at your door. Some also light a candle & leave it at the windowsill at the front of the house to let those travelers know they’re welcome in their household.

Straw Under The Table Cloth

Another old tradition is that you should place a little bit of dry straw under the table cloth. This tradition dates back to Pagan Times when the Pagans worshiped a God of crops & soil. The straw represents the donation/sacrifice to represent their faith and beliefs to their God. For us its more of a tradition rather than an actual religious meaning.  We don’t place the straw under the tablecloth, we place it on a little plate on which we put Body of Christ. (More about that shortly).

The Dinner

Traditionally dinner is supposed to begin when it’s dark outside & the first star makes an appearance on the sky.

Body of Christ (which is exactly what you get during communion in the church) is our first “course”. This can be easily purchased in the parish or catholic shops such as Veritas. Each person receives a square of the Body of Christ and each family member privately exchanges well wishes for the upcoming year to one another. This is my least favorite part of the dinner as it can get quite awkward. 

Also, it’s a very old Eastern European tradition that whilst preparing the carp you cut off few fish scales and put them aside to dry. Once they fully dry, couple of them along with a €1.00/1 zloty coin are placed under each plate setting. The fish scales are then put into your wallet at the end of dinner to bring you financial luck for the upcoming year, whilst last years are disposed of.

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Once the dinner is over the whole family helps to clear the table and we then proceed to open our gifts.

Few days after Christmas but before the New Years Eve a local priest comes into your home to bless it with Holy Water for Prosperous New Year.

Now that I’m married, I also have the traditional turkey dinner on the 25th of December and receive more gifts on the morning of Christmas Day from my husbands family (I’m a very lucky girl!)

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What are some of your Christmas Traditions? Where do you come from? Are they similar to what we do in Poland? I’d absolutely love to hear what you do at home with your family – cultural differences are really some of my favorite things to talk about.

Joanna x