My New Year

For me there is now only....*checks countdown app on phone*...13 days until the new year. Until MY new year.
The Isle of Man TT in 2015 was a big turning point in my life. It was the moment really that a lot of things that were going around in my head for the previous 6 months made sense.
Coming home was strange and a confusing time because life was the same but I was so different. I guess I didn't fit the life I had returned to. Or that life didn't fit me anymore.
It was scary. I wondered how I would cope or whether or not I was doing the right thing. I wondered if it was just a phase and if the novelty of having that free time to myself and experiencing that world would wear off.

I didn't really expect to come back being a fan of the TT. I say so often, probably because it still surprises me to be honest, I only went to spend some time with my brother. I wasn't interested in the bikes at all...I had a crush on William Dunlop...wasn't all that bothered about Michael Dunlop at the time. Then I was told that the bikes were on their way and before the first one was even in sight I was crying and having a panic attack as the atmosphere soaked through my skin into my blood.
The first bike went past and it was like I was shot. That adrenaline was in me and I couldn't wait for the next bike to go past, and the next one, and the next....

I remember looking at my brother and seeing him completely differently. Now understanding why this person who I thought was a bit of a loser for sitting watching Youtube videos of previous TT's got excited by those very videos. Why the sound of the bikes on those videos made him so excited.
I understood why he returned to the island every year, why he started counting down and why that holiday was everything to him.
I understood why he wanted me to be part of that.

I feel like I owe so much to my brother. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be this version of me.
Ok I have really tough days and sometimes wonder if my old life was better off, however, I wouldn't have been me.
Because yes, I do quite like myself. I am happy with who I am becoming. Someone who likes sport (holy sh!t, I never thought I would be saying that!!) someone who chooses a two week camping holiday on a rugby pitch over a two week holiday in a hotel in Spain. Someone who can name more than 10 TT racers (yes, I am ridiculously proud of myself for that. Total loser I know) and is passionate about who she supports and the reasons why.
The person who gets frustrated at people who say "I've always wanted to go" or "Yeah me and some mates might go next year". JUST BLOODY GO THEN! Life is too short to talk about it and if you REALLY wanted to go, you would.

I do get a touch of mum guilt. Knowing I am having this break from my children, and choosing to spend two weeks away from them. Essentially using two weeks of work holiday to be a bit selfish I suppose and do something for me rather than taking time off to have extra days with them.
But the thing is, it is my new year.
I know I will come back an even better version of me. I will be happy. Refreshed.
And a little more me.


Five Things | Buying a New Car

When I separated from my ex-husband and got a job one thing I promised myself I would treat myself to was a nice car.
My ex-husband had provided me with cars before we separated, and even got me a cheap run around after we separated as the Land Rover we shared would have cost too much for me to run as well as the up keep costs.
Buying my own car was one of the biggest decisions I had to make as a single person (other than finding a house to live in obviously) and, although exciting, I knew I had to research and really think about what I wanted prior to making the purchase.

Ask friends

I think it’s really important to at least ask other peoples opinions on certain purchases. I asked friends for recommendations on car brands. I already had a particular brand in mind which I knew and trusted and wanted to at least get an idea of other brands and other people's experiences. This was also the case when it came to car showrooms and garages.

Create a wishlist

The thing with buying a car is that we are all different. We all have different wants and needs. Ok, the basics are the same, we want a car that will move forward.
I created a list of what I wanted, and I decided that actually...I would be fussy and not feel guilty about the little things that mattered to me.
I wanted air con, I wanted 5 doors, I wanted a radio, CD player, two cup holders, and colour was important. I wanted nice interior and a nice steering wheel. Boot space was also important and leg room in the back for two growing boys. Not too old, in fact 5 years old max.
I only ended up going to one showroom. In fact I was window shopping whilst I tried to research what sort of budget I was looking at, and had such a good rapport with the salesman that I didn't go anywhere else. I work in sales so maybe I should have accepted that most salesmen would have a similar attitude as the man who I was dealing with, however with internet shopping now so easy I knew that I could visit one showroom and still look elsewhere.

Determine your budget 

This for me was the biggest aspect to get my head around. I didn't know what sort of budget I needed with the wishlist I had. And in all honesty, my original budget wasn't at all realistic with what I wanted.

Arrange financing in advance

I fell in love with a car before I knew the exact date my finances would be available. Not knowing whether or not I could put enough of a deposit down made me panic and realise that I had gone about it a little wrong. 
It's well worth finding out at first what kind of deposit each garage or showroom will take. If you know you can afford that, then it's worth then looking further into which car is for you. 
If you have money coming in due to a house sale, inheritance or work bonus then make sure you know exactly, or roughly when that will be. Or, if you are going down the route of using finance or a loan, make sure these are either in place or that you know about your credit history and chances of being accepted for a loan/finance before attempting to make a purchase.
As with the car, make sure you look into these options as there are so great, low-cost deals out there.

The important details

Before you drive your new car home make sure you have looked into road tax and insurance. Be aware of how much these will cost so you don't have any nasty surprises when it comes to arranging them after you have bought your dream car.