Exercise!

What do you wish you could do more every day?

Since being back in Northern Ireland I just haven’t had the time to attend the gym as much as I would like to.

I work long days here so by the time I arrive home, have dinner, take a shower, prepare for the next day, it’s time for bed again.

I would love more hours in the day so I can exercise and / or attend a gym class. It really makes me happy to be exercising, feeling fit and releasing those endorphins.

I’m hopeful now that I have moved house and am closer to work that I will have more time to exercise, be that the gym or even a long walk in the evening, especially now as the lighter nights are coming in. Roll on this weekend when our clocks spring forward 😊😊.

Wayne ✌🏽

#exercise #healthiswealth

Doors of WordPress V41

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors from around Northern Ireland. I am sticking with my north coast theme this week and showing you some doors from the Causeway Coastal Route that I posted about yesterday. Please let me know if you have a favourite this week.

1 – Portrush

2 – Dunluce Castle

3 – The Nook at The Giant’s Causeway

4 – Causeway Coast AONB

5 – Legion Hall, Bushmills

6 – Post Office, Bushmills

I think my favourite has to be number three, even if it is a black door. I think it has an elegant appearance, with its transom window and archway. I also really admire the stone work of the building. This was once a school house dating back to the 1850s and is now a very popular cafe for tourists. It’s very quaint inside however it can be pretty pricey. We paid £7.50 for two teas!

Thanks for taking a look and enjoy the rest of your week.

Wayne ✌🏽

Causeway Coastal Route

The north coast of Northern Ireland / Ireland is undeniably beautiful and severely underrated. If you are from Northern Ireland, you will have travelled here many, many times as a child for your holidays. When people couldn’t afford foreign holidays, families would travel here to the coast, no matter if there was rain, hail or shine. Sadly, as many of you will know, our weather is notoriously wet and cold, however, when you do have good weather, the north coast is absolutely breathtaking and has a lot to offer.

You can travel along the north coast, also known as the Causeway Coast and there are numerous locations along the coastal route that are very much worth seeing. I have been to the north coast a lot but I haven’t often travelled along the Causeway Coastal route. It is well sign posted along the whole route and I will highlight the top sites to stop and see, at least those that we were able to tick off our bucket list.

We stayed in one of the popular towns in the north of the country, Portrush. I know this town pretty well as my parents lived here for a few years. It’s a really stunning coastal town and an extremely popular holiday destination. There are gorgeous walks along it’s two beaches, the West and East Strand. Portrush is well known for its theme park for the kids, surfing and paddle boarding and of course its abundance of fantastic restaurants and bars along the coast, in the town itself and by the harbour. For us, this is where we started our journey along the Causeway Coastal Route.

5 – Dunseverick Castle – I couldn’t wait to see this castle so when I found it along the Causeway coastal route, I actually laughed out loud. I couldn’t believe it was simply a couple of pillars left. However, this was once a majestic castle with an impressive history dating back to as far as 5AD. It’s said that St Patrick also visited here to baptise a local man who would later become the Bishop of Ireland (National Trust, 2023).

I hope you have enjoyed the journey along Northern Ireland’s spectacular coastline and hopefully one day you may be able to see it for yourself, if you haven’t done so already. I know I am biased but it is honestly extremely beautiful!

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Hillsborough

Happy Sunday to you all, I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. This sunset was taken a couple of evenings ago from our new home in Hillsborough, Northern Ireland. You will probably have seen from my previous posts that I have been frequenting this town for some time now and have really grown fond of the area. Thankfully, we are able to live here for a while and are looking forward to enjoying all Hillsborough has to offer in the coming weeks.

See you all next week!

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V40 ☘️

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to my FORTIETH edition of Doors of WordPress. I thought with tomorrow being St Patrick’s Day in Ireland, I would showcase some of my favourite green doors that I have seen recently in Northern Ireland.

Sadly I will be working tomorrow and not seeing much of the Patrick’s Day celebrations. It used to be one of my most favourite holidays to celebrate, wearing something green, having a big fry for breakfast and then heading out with friends for some Guinness and Irish music. Even when I was in Australia it was always fun to celebrate the occasion, I guess as there are so many Irish people living in Sydney. I suppose there are so many Irish people everywhere as you will see huge celebrations all over the world, especially in America where many Irish people once emigrated to, just like Australia.

Will you be celebrating St Patrick’s Day this year or have you celebrated in the past? Also please do let me know if you have a favourite green door this week. I love to hear your thoughts.

1 – Cushendall

2 – Carlingford

3 – Ballymascanlan

4 – Hillsborough

5 – Hillsborough

6 – Newry

7 – Rostrevor

8 – Rostrevor

For me, the favourite of the week has to be number 7 from Rostrevor. I think the door and whole building is absolutely fantastic, the windows, the greenery and that homely, country feel. Outstanding.

Have a great day everyone and I hope you all have a lovely St Patrick’s Day tomorrow ☘️☘️.

Wayne ✌🏽

Driving in the snow!

What is the last thing you learned?

I had never driven in snow before, believe it or not. Today was my first time and the snow fall was plentiful. It has been snowing all night so I was not looking forward to my 5.40 am wake up call.

So what did I learn before arriving to work?

I learned the importance of giving yourself plenty of time to clear the snow from your car.

I learned to use a higher gear when driving from your driveway so the wheels do not spin.

I learned not to break when driving down a very steep hill, instead steering my way down and hoping not to meet any other cars.

And if at first you don’t succeed (almost sliding into a wall), try, try again.

Thankfully I made it so work successfully and survived my first snow day in my car 😅😅.

Did anyone else experience snow today?

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V39

Happy Thursday from a very cold and snowy Northern Ireland. We are into our first week of spring here, so of course that means snow here! Without fail, we become excited when winter is over, only to be hit with a cold front. This happens year in year out, with the possibility of this right up until April and even May. I’m not sure why we are always surprised by this!!

For this reason, my doors for this week aim to brighten up your day or even week as I pick out some of my most colourful doors from my archive. Please let me know if you have a favourite.

1 – Dolls Point, Sydney

2 – Woollahra, Sydney

3 – North Bondi, Sydney

4 – Banbridge, NI

5 – Hillsborough, NI

6 – Carlingford, Ireland

7 – Newcastle, NI

8 – Waverley, Sydney

I’m finding it difficult to choose a favourite but I really do love the yellow door from Carlingford. The colour and design of the door, fitting snugly into the brick wall just oozes quaintness overload for me. I hope these doors add a little colour to your week. Enjoy your day everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

The joys of nursing 👨🏼‍⚕️

Do you enjoy your job?

The short answer is YES! I really do enjoy my job. Luckily for me, nursing is a career path, therefore, you can have numerous types of nursing jobs available to you and you can travel the world. Any job that I have had in nursing, I have thoroughly enjoyed and that includes my present job.

I am a haemodialysis nurse, caring for patients with chronic kidney disease / kidney failure. These patients will have to attend for dialysis treatment three times a week for a few hours at a time to basically have their blood cleaned and possibly have fluid removed from their bodies. Their kidneys do not work very well or may have even been removed, so we as nurses, care for our patients by connecting them to a dialysis machine where the machine will do the work for the kidneys. It will take the blood from the patient, clean it using an artificial kidney and then return the blood to the patient. We will care for the patient before, during and after treatment with a holistic approach to ensure they have the best possible experience for their health and well-being.

That’s a very basic explanation but it’s a pretty complex and sophisticated process. For the patients there is also a lot to consider. Not only the physical difficulties of having to have dialysis but also the emotional, mental, sociological, psychological and even economical impacts on people who have a kidney injury or failure.

As a nurse, I love to help others and make a difference in their lives. Even if it’s something small like making them smile or helping them to be at ease with being on dialysis. I try to be empathetic and compassionate with my patients, whilst remaining professional and accountable to providing the best care for them.

Nursing can be a difficult profession, however, it helps to enjoy what you do. I couldn’t imagine being a nurse if I didn’t enjoy it. If that was the case, I think you would have to leave your job!

I’m sure I can speak for all nurses when I say, we would just love to be appreciated as professional people, be treated fairly and paid accordingly. Yes, we as nurses love what we do but we still need to pay the bills.

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday thoughts – DIY

Describe the most ambitious DIY project you’ve ever taken on.

To be honest I am not the best at DIY projects, nor do I enjoy them. My most ambitious project was probably having to build our bed in Australia from IKEA when we moved into our first apartment.

Even with instructions, it will take me more than the average amount of time and patience but I will arrive at the finished project eventually. IKEA furniture is typically straightforward to assemble and requires very few tools, yet it still will be an unwelcoming challenge for me.

I did, however, manage to build the bed with the help of my husband. On my own, I fear that building the bed might have taken me many weeks to put together! Nevertheless, we succeeded not only once but on three different occasions as we had to mantle and dismantle the bed on a few occasions when moving homes.

Thankfully, it does become easier the more times you put the bed together, although never any more enjoyable. I’m sad to say this is my most ambitious project to date. Who knows what future DIY projects await in the future. I dread to think…

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Back yard

Tonight’s Sunday sunset taken from our own very back garden at 5.30pm. The nights here are getting longer and by next week I believe the sun will set at 6pm. This is the best thing about summer in the UK and Ireland, the longer nights, where it can be daylight until about 11pm at night, meaning your days will be super long. Bring it on I say!

Wayne ✌🏽

Scrabo Tower & Scrabo Country Park

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend. Today I want to share with you an amazing landmark in Northern Ireland that is very well known here and is quite the spectacle. We took a drive here yesterday for a walk and some fresh air.

It is known as Scrabo Tower and was built in 1857. Situated on Scrabo Hill, Newtownards (just outside Belfast) you can see the most amazing views of Strangford Lough and across the whole of Co. Down, as far as the Mourne Mountains. I simply put the landmark in to Google maps to find this spot, very simple to do thankfully.

I had always wanted to visit here as I had seen some spectacular photos from other Northern Ireland fanatics and I also love buildings like this one, towers and lighthouses are my absolute favourites. I love the tower’s design and how it is made from stone found at Scrabo Hill, including sandstone. Researching about this tower, I was surprised to read that a family actually grew up in this tower for many years and they even ran a successful tea room, specialising in Irish country teas. You can read more information here if you are interested.

My photos do not even do the view any justice, you really need to see with your own eyes to truly appreciate the beauty all around the tower. If you want some information on the history of the tower and how to get there, you can click the link here. My advice would be to wrap up warm as this site, being so high from sea level, will be very cold and extremely windy. We nearly had our heads blown off! Also try visiting on a clear day to ensure you have the best views possible.

You can’t help but think of Repunzel 😄

At the bottom of Scrabo Tower, just beside the car park, you can find Scrabo Country Park. This is a beautiful woodland park where the paths meander, taking you up and down and round and around. We actually got a little lost here believe it or not but it was worth it for the views at the top of the park that we happened to stumble across. We stopped here for some sandwiches and a cup of tea. This was a real highlight and I was just so grateful that the tea had managed to stay hot in my flask, very welcoming when it’s so cold. The view from our pit stop was out of this world and just encapsulated Northern Ireland for me. You could see hills, green pastures, Strangford Lough, the Mourne Mountains and even Harland & Wolff, the two most famous cranes from Belfast’s ship yards. Thankfully, there were also bathrooms at the end of the walk 😅.

This is a great park to walk in if you’re looking for somewhere different to try and you have the added benefit of having Scrabo Tower just beside you. I can’t wait to return, maybe in the summer and maybe even take a walk inside Scrabo Tower (only open in summer).

Thanks for reading and enjoy your Sunday.

Wayne ✌🏽

Clare Glen Woodland

Yesterday we took a walk to Clare Glen Woodland. It’s less than 20 minutes to drive here from where I currently live in Banbridge and I used to walk here all the time growing up as a child and teenager with our family dog. It’s a beautiful place to become one with nature and really appreciate the beauty around you. It’s a short 2km loop walk in Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland, in between Tandragee and Markethill. You will find a variety of tree species including hazel, oak, ash and I always remember collecting conkers here to collect for the school playground from the chestnut trees. Does anyone else remember playing with conkers (or chestnuts to others) attached to a string and used to swing and break your opponents conker?

The walk takes you along the River Cusher and the sound of the river just resonates with tranquility and serenity. It is so soothing for the soul and really relaxes you and allows you to wash away your daily worries. The trees, greenery, nature, birds and even the mushrooms we saw here are just beautiful. In the spring time you can also see an abundance of blue bells, so I am extremely eager to return in a couple of months time.

Have a look at my pictures taken below and hopefully they can convey even a small amount of how fantastic this woodland is.

Walking through this woodland, you really feel that spring is just around the corner and believe me, I am extremely glad. Thank you for taking a look at my post today and have a lovely weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Dutch Crocus

Happy Friday to you all. It’s been a while since I have showcased a Friday flower / flower of the day but I thought today was very appropriate. These are Dutch crocuses and bloom in spring time, hallelujah it’s a sign that winter is coming to an end. I love the colour of these and you can’t help but smile when you see them. I am currently on day two of having covid and my only trip outside is for a walk where there are no people. I’m feeling ok, just tired with a runny nose. These flowers cheered me up, as did the walk and fresh air.

Dutch Crocus – a symbol of love and vision 💜🤍

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V38

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of wonderful doors. Two weeks ago I flew over to England to visit my sister who lives just outside London in a small town in Cambridgeshire and of course I was able to spot a few lovely doors.

I only managed to picture five doors but I know there are hundreds more. I look forward to seeing more in the future and exploring doors from other parts of the UK. Please let me know if you have a favourite door this week. Not all the doors are clear to see but I love the design and architecture of the whole buildings, however, if you zoom in, you should be able to make out the doors 😉.

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3

4

5

Thank you all for taking a look and have a lovely weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

VANS!

Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes, and where they’ve taken you.

So I have just transitioned to the Jetpack app (I wonder will I miss seeing the WordPress app on my phone?!) and now I appear to have prompts for writing. That’s pretty cool, especially on days that you’re maybe struggling to think of material. I maybe won’t always respond to these but this prompt I found interesting.

My favourite pair of shoes were a pair of Vans that my cousin recommended. They were black with brown laces and I found them to be stylish, yet extremely comfortable. I love a shoe that you can wear with chinos or jeans and appear smart but also look casual with a pair of shorts. The downside was that they didn’t last too long but I guess I wore them to death! They took me all over Sydney on many, many walks and also around Northern Ireland when I wore them home in 2019 when touring the north coast.

Visiting the Game Of Thrones spots in Northern Ireland. Check out my Vans 👆🏼

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday thoughts 💭 – Jetpack app?

Hi everyone! I keep seeing this notification on my WordPress blog and wondering has anyone else made the switch. Do you know what it’s about and if it’s any good?

It does state that this will be removed next month but I’m not sure if it’s worth checking out. Any knowledge on this would be great thanks 😊.

Wayne 👌🏼

Doors of WordPress V37

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors. This week I am showcasing a few more of my doors from my recent trip to Carlingford as they are too good not to share, in my humble opinion.

Please let me know if you have a favourite this week.

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2

3

4

5

6

7

As much as I love them all, mostly for their quaintness and colour, I really love the last door. To me it looks very regal and sophisticated. The red colour really pops and I love the pillars/archway and transom window.

Thanks for taking a look and enjoy the rest of your week everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

CARLINGFORD

Hi everyone! I recently took a trip to this amazing town in Ireland called Carlingford and I just really want to share this place with you. I had been here before for a day trip but had always wanted to return for a longer duration in order to really get a feel of this place. Carlingford is well known to us in Northern Ireland for being a fun place for hen and stag parties or nights out but I wanted to return to explore what else was on offer.

Carlingford has an abundance of things to offer the locals and tourists alike. It is a coastal town in Co. Louth, about halfway between Belfast and Dublin, making it easily accessible to either sides of the Irish border. It’s actually only 40 minutes from where I live by car and 11 km south of the border but you instantly feel like you are a million miles away when you stay here. It’s a coastal town, nestled between Carlingford Lough and Slieve Foy mountain, therefore, you have the opportunity to view beautiful scenery, taking lovely photographs, enjoy the walking trails, view the local attractions, have picnics and even partake in outdoor activities such as horse riding or surfing.

We stayed at Wildwood Lodge, a beautiful hotel style room overlooking the Lough and just a 5 to 10 minute walk into the town. I loved it here for the tranquility and the views were absolutely stunning, especially as you can see the sun rise every morning. I will highlight a few of the attractions/landmarks that we were able to witness on our three day break and to be honest, we could have stayed here longer as there is so much to do. I would love to have taken a few of the walks/hikes but that will have to be for another time, simply meaning I will have to come back 🙌🏼.

Sunrise from our accommodation 😍

Before heading to Carlingford, I checked out the following website https://www.visitcarlingford.com/the-15-most-instagrammable-spots-in-carlingford/ for ideas and inspiration. This website was amazing to showcase the most popular things to see and I simply made my way through the list as best I could. There are a couple of things we didn’t manage to see but that will also be for a later date. I have highlighted my favourite tourist attractions below in the order that I seen them and hopefully they will inspire you to maybe visit the wonderful Carlingford one day.

1 – The Doors (and quaint/colourful buildings). I am an absolute door lover so I was in my element to see so many amazing doors, as you may have already seen and I will be posting more over the next couple of weeks. You can see my doors from last weeks blog post here.

2 – Thosel Street. I am obsessed with quaint and historic places so this street was right up my street, so to speak. It just oozes charm and character with its old stone buildings and historic architecture.

3 – Ruby Ellen’s Tea Rooms. We loved this place, so much in fact, that we returned the next day again for breakfast. Quirky and chic with delicious food and the friendliest staff.

4 – The Giant’s Chair. I love anything gimmicky like this for a fun photo but this was even better as it was located in the Leprechaun and Fairy Cavern. This was magical and although the tours are only on weekends, we were happy to take a walk around ourselves and marvel at the Irish folklore.

5 – Carlingford Heritage Centre & Carlingford Tourist Office. This was great for a history lesson of the town and for £3 you can have a talk from a local historian. The church building is exquisite and you can take a walk around and appreciate the old graveyard. The tourist office was fantastic for finding all the spots you want to see and the tourist officer was extremely friendly and helpful.

6 – Carlingford Marina & Anchor. This can be found just off the Lough front, a one minute walk from the town. You pass here to find the Leprechaun and Fairy Cavern.

7 – The pubs. These are fantastic for some great Irish beers, food and live traditional music. We had the best Guinness in Carlingford!

8 – Carlingford Abbey. This monastery dates back to 1305 and still looks impressive even to this day. I love these type of historic, stone buildings so I couldn’t wait to see this. Situated about a five minute walk from town, you can easily find this on google maps.

9 – King John’s Castle. Initially built around 1190 to defend the sea lough, this castle rests on a cliff overlooking Carlingford and its Lough. Although closed off to the public for repair, you can still walk around the outside and see some spectacular views. This was close to our accommodation so we would walk past this at night to return to our room and it was pretty special, albeit a little spooky.

10 – The Marina. I only stopped here to take a picture as it was beautiful to look at but there is a restaurant here too if you’re looking for somewhere different to eat. I believe the Greenway walk begins here also which I hope to do when I return.

11 – Flagstaff Viewpoint. This is actually outside of Carlingford, near to Newry. I had to add the location to google maps on my phone to find this spot but it’s well worth the short drive to see a stunning 360 degree view and Carlingford from a great height (without having to walk up). Sadly it was quite overcast for us but I’m sure this would be out of this word on a clear sunny day.

That’s my lot for Carlingford. I hope you enjoyed seeing this amazing town just over the border from Northern Ireland. I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to return to carry out some of the walks and view more of the outstanding scenery. Many thanks for having a read.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V36

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors. Over the next two to three weeks I will be showcasing some of my doors from our recent trip to Carlingford, Ireland. I will create a blog post for this town also as it’s too amazing not to share with you all. Let me know if you have a favourite door this week.

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4

5

6

I love the colours of these doors, bright and fun. They really give you a sense of what Carlingford is all about. I love door number five, especially with the wreath, however, the two houses in image six are my favourites this week, just beautiful and the doors blend in perfectly.

Stay tuned for more doors from Carlingford next week and enjoy your day everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Local walks in Northern Ireland to kick off the new year

Last month we managed to squeeze in a few different walks here in Northern Ireland. Some of these, you can spend maybe an hour walking around and others you can spend longer as it will take more time to walk around or you may find yourself snapping away at the beautiful scenery. They are great walks for getting out of the house and taking in some beautiful views and fresh country air. I have provided the websites for each location so you can check them out for yourselves also. These are perfect if you are looking for somewhere different to walk or if you ever plan to visit Northern Ireland in the future. There are many other walks that I have taken or plan to take but these are just the last few that I have walked recently.

Castlewellan Forest Park

https://discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do/castlewellan-forest-park-p675411

Silent Valley Reservoir

https://www.niwater.com/the-silent-valley-trails/

Gosford Forest Park

https://discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do/gosford-forest-park-p675161

Hillsborough Forest Park

https://visitbelfast.com/partners/hillsborough-forest/

Scarva Park

https://getactiveabc.com/parks/scarva-park/#:~:text=Scarva%20Park%20is%20a%20Green,site%20an%20important%20educational%20tool.

Craigavon Lakes

https://discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do/craigavon-lakes-p694861

I hope you enjoy seeing the walks that I have taken over the last few weeks. They are all unique in their own way and offer a place that’s perfect for clearing your mind and taking in some fresh country Northern Irish air.

Take care and keep walking!

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday sunrise – Carlingford

This beautiful sunrise was taken a few days ago when we took a trip to Carlingford, Ireland. I can’t wait to show this place off in a blog post coming soon. I hope you have all had a lovely Sunday. I’m just back from visiting family in the south of England and now counting down until work tomorrow. However, not before a Chinese meal and some Star Wars! See you all next week.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V35

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors. I have a selection from three different places in Northern Ireland. Please let me know if you have a favourite. I love the last two doors, especially with the beautiful wreaths attached and I believe the home was lived in by the popular artist Colin Middleton ( a Northern Ireland landscape artist).

We have just returned from Carlingford in Ireland for a mini break and I have thee most amazing doors to show you all in the coming weeks so be sure to stay tuned. I will also write a blog showcasing Carlingford, highlighting the best things to do and see. It’s a special little town just over the border from Northern Ireland.

1 – Craigavon

2 – Craigavon

3 – The Hillside Pub in Hillsborough

4 – Bangor Marina

5 – Bangor

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Where is the best place to watch the sunset near you?

Bloganuary day 31

Can you believe it’s the last day of this blogging challenge? Blogging every day in January has been fun and it’s great to have a prompt, especially if you are struggling with topics to blog about. I quite like Bloganuary as it asks you questions that you normally wouldn’t ask yourself. So thank you WordPress and your people for providing us with some thought provoking topics.

Today’s prompt is a lovely one to finish on. I often post sunrise or sunset pictures on a Sunday as I thoroughly enjoy watching and photographing these. There were so many locations in Sydney to watch epic sunsets, however, I am yet to find the perfect spot near me in Northern Ireland to catch a worthy sunset. I did manage to see some amazing sunrises this weekend in my trip away to Carlingford (I will show case this very soon), however, the nicest sunset I have seen recently near me was literally outside my house in the town I am currently living in, Banbridge.

I will be making it my mission to find some amazing sunset spots near me in the not so distant future but for now, the sunset in my town will have to suffice.

Stunning sunset in Banbridge, made even prettier by the recent appearance of snow.

If you know of any great spots to see the sun setting in Northern Ireland, please do let me know and I will endeavour to check them out.

Wayne ✌🏽

What would you title the chapters of your autobiography?

Bloganuary day 30

Wow this is a tough and personal one today. I always think of my life in chapters funnily enough but not necessarily what I would call them. When I have finished with one part of my life or moved onto another phase in my life, I always say to myself, “ok Wayne, onto the next chapter”. I guess everyone’s chapters will be personal to them and not everyone will find them of interest. You would want a title that would give a sneak peak to the chapter but not revealing too much, you could even give a cryptic clue, although I’m not that imaginative!

Chapter 1 – The conception of me

Chapter 2 – The new norm

Chapter 3 – Big decisions and a newer norm

Chapter 4 – Everything changes when you turn 13

Chapter 5 – The teenage years – from a soft spoken, hopeful, unbeknownst gay, daydreaming son and step-son

Chapter 6 – Freedom and discovery

Chapter 7 – Fun, friendships and relationships

Chapter 8 – The Australian dream

Chapter 9 – Journey to finding my feet and beginning my career

Chapter 10 – When all the hard work pays off

Chapter 11 – Living your best life, even during a pandemic

Chapter 12 – The reality of adulthood catches up

Chapter 13 – A fork in the road

Whoa that’s it for now. I actually feel like I could write a book as I’ve had a pretty busy life thus far (although I’m sure we all have). Thanks WordPress for the opportunity to reflect on my life and try compartmentalise my journey to date 😅.

Wayne ✌🏽

What is something you learned recently?

Bloganuary day 29

I have learned over the past few months that life cannot be taken for granted. We need to appreciate every day that we have and appreciate our nearest and dearest.

Life is short and you just don’t know what life will throw at you. I feel that being a nurse, I have somehow always known this but I think my life over the last few months has just reinforced this and I am more grateful than ever for the little things in life.

Take each day as it comes and have a little patience with what the word has in store for you.

Wayne ✌🏽

Describe your perfect birthday cake.

Bloganuary day 28

I do love a good birthday cake. For me it can be a traditional vanilla sponge cake with buttercream in the the middle (and sometimes jam) and a good thick layer of icing at the top.

I really am a sucker for icing. So when the whole cake is covered, I love to eat a corner slice, with icing down the side also. This is my absolute favourite and only ever eaten on birthdays.

To be honest, I very rarely have a birthday cake, however, I do enjoy eating birthday cake when celebrating other people’s birthdays.

Wayne ✌🏽

What are the pros and cons of procrastination?

Bloganuary day 27

What a very appropriate question. I love to procrastinate but I also hate it. It’s very 50/50 concept for me.

Pros

It helps you destress by taking your mind off the subject at hand. I used to play online games as a way of distraction but I believe it actually is good for you to clear your head and reset.

You end up achieving so many minor wins, for example, cleaning the bathroom when you should be studying. I end up doing lots of chores instead of doing what I should be doing.

You feel clever for fooling others that you’re being extremely busy and productive, when you’re secretly watching episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Cons

The thing you should be doing gets placed on the back burner and your work maybe doesn’t reach its full potential. You could have finished an amazing project but yet you failed to stay focused and ended up completing other unnecessary tasks at that point of time.

It can make you more stressed as you freak out from “wasting time”.

You’re really only fooling yourself with pretending to be productive. You should just get back to what you’re supposed to be doing.

To conclude, I really sit on the fence with procrastination. I think it’s a good and bad thing. To be honest I have procrastinated a lot in the past, however, I do always manage to complete the work that I was doing. Therefore, it can be a necessary thing to procrastinate to keep you mentally sane but as long as you can stay focused. Some people work better under pressure. This isn’t really me but I do think a little nudge to do more work is something I subconsciously benefit from. Once I have procrastinated enough, my mind then kicks me into work mode and I become productive again.

How about you? What are your thoughts on procrastination?

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V34

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another glorious week of doors. I have been thinking of Sydney, Australia a lot this week, therefore, I think it would be good to show some more of my Sydney doors, even if it’s just for me to be able to reminisce. Please let me know if you have a favourite this week.

1 – Woollahra

2 – Woollahra

3 – Paddington

4 – Paddington

5 – Woollahra

My personal favourite is the first one. It’s the colour for me, so bright and full of life. The panelling and transom window are great features and I also love the greenery and picket fence in the frame.

Thanks for taking a look and have a lovely end to your week.

Wayne ✌🏽

What language do you wish you could speak?

Bloganuary day 26

I would love to be able to speak Cantonese or Mandarin. When I was nursing in Australia, many of our patients were from China and Hong Kong. Many of them were elderly and struggled with the English language. I would love to have been able to communicate with them better and make them feel more at ease in our care. I think they would be very useful languages to learn as they are spoken by millions of people worldwide.

Even here in Northern Ireland we have patients from China and Hong Kong, albeit not as many as in Australia but I would love to be able to speak a little to them. I am picking up a few basic words and that really does have a positive impact on their experience in our care.

I appreciate that these are difficult languages and at this moment in time, do not have the time or drive to learn them. Who know, maybe in the future.

Wayne ✌🏽

What is a song or poem that speaks to you and why?

Bloganuary day 25

Better by Tom Baxter. This was one of our wedding songs and really just sums up our relationship.

“Our love has changed
It’s not the same
And the only way to say it
Is say it, it’s better

I can’t conceal
This way I feel
For all the times we spend together
Forever just gets better

Seem what I’m try to say is
You make things better
And no matter what the day is
With you here it’s better

I stand by you
If you stand by me
I think it’s time that I reveal it
Cause I believe it
It’s better

Seem what I’m try to say is
You make things better
And no matter what the day is
If you’re here it’s better

Ooh the more I write song to you
I’m fall in love with everything you do

Seem what I’m try to say is
You make things better
And no matter what the day is
With you here it’s better

Our love has changed
It’s not the same
And the only way to say it
Is say it, it’s better”

Thank you Mr Baxter 🙏🏼

Wayne ✌🏽

How do you show love?

Bloganuary day 24 ❤️

I show love in small ways. I tell my other half that I love him every single day, sometimes two or three times a day…and I mean it. I tell my family and friends I love them, not all the time and probably not often enough (some people, especially in Ireland, can become embarrassed). I love to give and receive hugs, even once a day or if you or your loved one needs it. It can make such a difference to your emotional wellbeing.

I love to show love for people by giving them confidence boosts and reassuring them. For example, complimenting them if they have a new outfit or haircut, listening to their concerns and being there for them. I don’t often do big gestures but I like to be there for people I love, even being a shoulder to cry on if need be.

I also love the appropriate use of touch. A hand on someone’s shoulder or holding their hand. I feel these little things can make such a big difference and let’s people know that you care for them and their well-being.

What are your thoughts on today’s blog prompt?

Wayne ✌🏽

What’s a lie you tell yourself?

Bloganuary day 23

As silly as this may sound, I don’t think I tell myself lies. I know my limitations and I have hopes for the future. I don’t lie that I’m good or bad at something. I just try my best, maybe not even all the time but most of the time and I’m realistic with my abilities. I’m not delusional to think if I have this or that I will be happy. I strive for happiness on a daily basis and try to appreciate the little things in life.

Even if I happen to play the lottery, I don’t think that I have zero chance of winning, as of course I have a chance, even if it’s the slimmest chance and that’s why I would buy a ticket, however, I am well aware by the same principle, that I may never win.

Maybe I’m missing something, I’m not sure. What do you think about lying to yourself?

Wayne ✌🏽

What was your dream job as a child?

Bloganuary day 22

My dream job as a child was to be a marine biologist as I had a real fascination with the creatures of the sea, for example, dolphins, whales and manatees. I had visions of working in the oceans, helping those animals in need and making a difference to their environment.

Sadly, when I began studying biology in school, I realised I wasn’t very good at it and also it didn’t really deal with marine life at that time.

Also our careers advice at school was next to nothing. There was no real support for careers that were outside the norm and so I feel like I didn’t know what different professions were available or how to obtain information on them. Even now as a nurse, I can see many different professions in the health system that I had never heard of at school, for example, dieticians, speech and language assessors, physios, occupational therapists etc.

As I grew older I did take an interest in local marine biology but it was never what I had imagined. I had envisaged warm waters and tropical environments, however, the marine biology in Northern Ireland seemed less appealing with our cold murky waters and bad weather, studying snails or eels or marshy landscapes. I now know there is so much more to the marine life here, now that I’m older and we do help a lot with orphaned seals and dolphins etc. among many other things.

In Sydney I did happen to meet a very successful marine biologist at a party and her job sounded fantastic, just what I had imagined as a child. I loved to hear her stories and it was so amazing to see others reaching their true potential and finding their dream job. I grew out of that profession years ago after thinking it was never really an option and luckily for me, I am happy in my nursing profession (more or less 😉).

What was your dream job as a child?

Wayne ✌🏽

Who is your favorite author and why?

Bloganuary day 21

I hate to say this but I don’t have a favourite author. I have a few authors that I really enjoy and have some books that I have loved reading over the years but none that stick out sadly.

I am currently reading The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman and really enjoying it so far. I’m happy there’s another two books after this one so I can continue the adventures.

Do you have a favourite author yourself? I need some inspiration!

Many thanks,

Wayne ✌🏽

What irritates you about the home you live in?

Bloganuary day 21

This prompt made me chuckle today. I could write pages and pages on this but I am going to refrain. I am still living with my parents since arriving back to Ireland so all I will say is that the most irritating thing is that it’s not my own home. I have lived away from my parents for over twenty years now so you can imagine how difficult it is to be living with them again.

Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for their hospitality and thankfully we do have a great relationship and have good times together. However, it’s not my own space and I can’t do things how I would normally do them. I also really enjoy my own space and even company at times.

Roll on me finding my own place which will hopefully be in the next few weeks. Send all your positive vibes my way please 😉.

Many thanks in advance,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V33

Happy Thursday to you all. For this week’s doors, I am running with the prompt from today’s Bloganuary, ‘What colour describes your personality and why? I think of blue being my colour, so for this week I am showcasing some blue doors from my catalogue. Let me know if you have a favourite.

1 – Arrowtown, NZ

2 – Belfast

3 – Hillsborough

4 – Hillsborough Castle

5 – Sydney

6 – Arrowtown, NZ

7 – Cushendall

8 – Banbridge

9 – St Kilda, Melbourne

I have to admit, it’s number 9 for me, simply for the splash of colour as well as the bright blue door. It’s a feast for the eyes.

Thanks for taking a look at my blue doors.

Wayne ✌🏽

What color describes your personality and why?

Bloganuary day 19

I would have to say blue because it can be bright and light, yet deep and sophisticated . Not that I’m very sophisticated but blue always puts me in a good mood, specifically if it’s blue skies or blue seas. I like to think I can do that with others, hopefully lift your mood or make you smile. I can be fun and have light hearted banter, yet I can also be a deep thinker and love to have meaningful conversations.

Wayne ✌🏽

What’s your favorite meal to cook and/or eat?

Bloganuary day 18

Funny enough, we just made this dinner last night. It’s our favourite meal at the moment, salmon, rice and pepper/capsicum (depending what side of the word you live). Our favourite meals to cook do vary over from time to time but this has been a favourite for some time now. It’s quick, easy and nutritious.

Ps. It has to be Thai jasmine rice 😜

Wayne ✌🏽

Describe the happiest day of your life.

Bloganuary day 17

This is another tough cookie. I have had so many amazing days that I have lived throughout my life thus far. From my wedding, to receiving my permanent residency in Australia, to becoming a nurse, to passing my driving licence etc etc. However, the one day that sticks out in my mind, where I was so happy all day long and bursting with joy, was way back in 2017. I had just returned from an around the world trip in six days!!!

I had planned a world trip that would last for a year. I was going backpacking with my good friend and three months prior to departing, I had just fallen in love with my partner, my first real relationship.

My friend decided against travelling and I thought ‘I can do this on my own’. Off I headed after a very emotional goodbye with my partner and many epic leaving parties from my friends, family and my two jobs.

I traveled to New York for a couple of days and stayed with my friend there, before heading to my next stop in Boston. I was so sad every day being away from my partner. I was calling him every day and wishing we could be together. After six days I called my parents for advice and they advised to come home immediately. That was all I needed to hear. I stormed straight to the airport to book the next flight home. I was on standby and luckily for me there was one flight left and it was in business class but they would just charge me economy! I was over the moon!

Eight hours later I arrived back home to Ireland. My partner collected me and it was the BEST feeling ever, walking towards each other in the airport arrivals, smiling from ear to ear, a very ‘Love Actually’ moment, if you have ever seen the movie! This was definitely one of my best and most memorable days 😊.

This week we celebrate 16 years together. Maybe that wouldn’t have been the case if I had travelled solo for a year. What’s meant to be is meant to be ❤️

Wayne ✌🏽

Do you have a memory that’s linked to a smell?

Bloganuary day 16

Hmmmm interesting question. I have a few smells that I love and always bring back memories. The main one would be freshly baked bread rolls from Lidl or Aldi. The smell of the German rolls reminds me of mornings spent with my family in Germany. We would always have freshly baked rolls from the bakery, absolutely delicious and crunchy. I have many fond memories of these breakfasts with my cousins, enjoying the continental food, different meats, cheeses, salamis and jams. One whiff of the bakery and it takes me back to those childhood times.

Wayne ✌🏽

What fear have you conquered?

Bloganuary day 15 – one of my biggest fears was moving home to Northern Ireland from Sydney, Australia. It is extremely scary leaving a good life in a country you love, with a good job and lots of friends. I conquered my fear by reminding myself why I moved home in the first place, for family. Furthermore, there are lots of positives to living in Northern Ireland, one of them being the ability to travel locally and travel more of Europe. Also, it doesn’t have to be definitive that I live at home. If I want to return to Australia, I can do so and for this I am very grateful.

Has anyone else had this fear with moving to our from another country?

Wayne ✌🏽

What is your preferred mode of travel?

Bloganuary day 14! This is a really tricky question today as I really enjoy pretty much all modes of travel. I really do love walking and if I can go anywhere on foot, I would prefer to always do that.

Walking to Byron Bay Lighthouse

However, I love flying, be it long or short haul. I love the flights to Australia for the food, drinks, movies and generally being well looked after. I also love the smaller flights where there’s maybe only a few people on a propeller plane.

Flying with Fiji Airways

Travelling by boat is also pretty special. I used to love the ferry in Sydney from Circular Quay to anywhere else that you could travel nearby. I particularly enjoyed the ferry to Manly and I used to travel by ferry there for work. I used to love taking the ferry from Belfast over to Scotland many years ago but sadly I haven’t done that for some time now. Travelling on a cruise liner was special a couple of years ago, although, I would also appreciate a little speed boat taking you to an island somewhere. However, I’m aware these are not common modes of transport!

Cycling is a lot of fun and something that I used to do all the time as a teenager. We were able to cycle when we stayed in Fiji a few years ago to travel around the hotel complex. Apart from that, cycling has been neglected in my life for some time but is something I would love to embrace again in the future.

Cycling in Fiji

Driving by car is a great mode of travel and one that I am using quite a lot at the moment as we are living more rural these days. It is very practical and you can visit anywhere without having to worry about the weather or what time the next bus or train is coming. I used to travel everywhere in Sydney by bus or train and now it is such a novelty to have a car.

Driving again at home after five years of not driving!

Nonetheless, I did used to love travelling by train as you had lots of free time to catch up on your emails, write a quick blog post, listen to your music or even have a wee snooze. The only downside was when the trains would be cancelled and you somehow had to find another mode of transport home.

Good old Sydney train to and from work

In conclusion, I think walking would have to be my favourite mode of travel as it was the first one that I thought of and it’s something that I thoroughly enjoy doing. I miss walking everywhere in Sydney, it’s a great form of exercise and you can just get in the zone with your favourite tunes and take in the beautiful scenery. It’s a bit harder at the moment here in Northern Ireland as the weather is so wet and cold. Bring on spring!

Wayne ✌🏽

If you had a billion US dollars, how would you spend it?

Bloganuary day 13 – Okay! So that is an obscene amount of money. I would not wish to have that much ever. Too much money could destroy a person. If I did have a lot of money, I would like to think I would share it with family and friends first, give a good amount to charity and then use the remaining to enjoy life. Maybe no more work, travelling, and having a lovely home, nothing too grand or fancy. A billion US dollars, I just can’t even imagine that amount to be honest. What about you?

Wayne ✌🏽

What chore do you find the most challenging to do?

I had to quickly look up the word chore as I initially thought of it being a household task that you hated doing. Having looked up the definition, I discovered that yes, it can be a household chore but it can also be a tedious but necessary task.

For me, at this moment in time, it’s having to pack my bags every week as I’m living between a couple of different places until I finally obtain my own home. It’s completely necessary to pack my uniforms for work, toiletries etc but it’s definitely tedious and becomes such a pain in the bottom. Role on having my own place in the next few weeks.

Wayne ✌🏽

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