Fandango’s Provocative Question #160

Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration. By …

Fandango’s Provocative Question #160

“Do you think, given everything that is going on in the world, that children born these days will have a worse or better life than their parents? Why do you feel that way?”

I find it sad to think about future generations living on this earth. The threats of war, natural disasters and pandemics will be in the future for sure. Natural disasters are going to become worse and to the extreme that will have never been seen before. Global warming will be at the point of no return as governments haven’t acted quick enough despite all the warning signs over the past few decades. Why can’t we all listen to what David Attenborough is saying?

We see with Ukraine, Afghanistan and many other countries, the greed of powerful leaders/governments wanting to take control no matter what the cost. Sadly, these people have followers, either due to stupidity or just pure evil. I thought people would learn from wars but I don’t think that’s the case and it will certainly remain for future humanity to have to cope with. What is it all for? What does it achieve?

Also I can see more pandemics in the future too. People not willing to do the right thing for the safety of everyone. Wealthier countries unwilling or unable to help the poorer countries. It’s actually quite depressing to think about it for the children of the future. Maybe I’m cynical because things are so bad at the moment with covid, floods, bushfires and countries being brutally taken over.

I really am hoping the future is bright for the next generations. I don’t want people of the future to suffer. It does worry me for family and friends who are all having children. Thank goodness I’m not having any 😜. What do you think?

Wayne ✌🏽

FOWC with Fandango — Launch

It’s February 25, 2022. Welcome to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (U.S…

FOWC with Fandango — Launch

The only thing I can think about at the moment is poor Ukraine. When Russia decided to LAUNCH an attack and invade Ukraine. It just seems so barbaric and unnecessary. People are so greedy and self absorbed. I dread to think what will happen when Putin takes over the capital city. Maybe he will stop there, when he feels he has won. With Ukraine taken over, the government dismantled, the media might stop and people will forget what is happening there. Like many other world atrocities, we tend to forget and move on with our own lives. However, the people still living there have to deal with the trauma every single day. Although, if Putin doesn’t stop there, where will this war head? Will he want to try take over other countries? If so, NATO will have to jump in and would that then be the start of WW3? It’s a frightening thought.

I just feel so sad and helpless for the people of Ukraine, as I’m sure many of us do. I don’t think posting the Ukraine flag on my social media will help. Nor do I think prayers will help. I’m hoping the world leaders will do more. I know they don’t want to engage in war but maybe cutting off Russia from everything might deter Putin. I know they’re trying this already. I suppose it will take time to see if it makes a difference. Sadly, the Ukrainian people don’t have time. They’re fleeing the country or seeking shelter. Just awful ☹️. How are you all feeling?

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V2

Welcome to my second Doors of WordPress post. I am posting today because it is Thursday today and there is an amazing Thursdays Doors group in the blogosphere that showcases the most amazing doors. You can check it out here https://nofacilities.com/category/thursday-doors.

Please let me know which one is your favourite. I have written the location where I found each door in the caption below the photo. Note they are all from New South Wales, Australia ☺️.

1 – Surry Hills
2 – Bronte
3 – Robertson
4 – Kogerah
5 – Woollahra

The last door is my personal favourite. What’s yours?

Thanks all and keep safe,

Wayne ✌🏽

Sir Joseph Banks Park

If you’re looking to check out somewhere different near Sydney, then this could be your next stop. Situated near Botany, this park has it all, including a walking trail, a sports oval, themed gardens and ornamental animals, a maze, shaded walkways and picnic benches dotted around the park.

If you’re intrigued to know who Sir Joseph Banks was click here.
The tiger pen…you wouldn’t get this close if they were real 😝
Beautiful sculptures
Stunning scenery along the water

This park is a lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a sunny morning/afternoon. It’s always a blessing to find a new spot to discover and explore.

Thanks for taking a look with me,

Wayne ✌🏽

FLOWER(S) OF THE DAY CHALLENGE (FOTD)

Cee from Cee’s Photo Challenges has a Flower of the Day challenge. You can check it out here. I thought this would be a fun post to show some of my flowers as I have quite a lot on my camera roll. They just aren’t popular on my Instagram feed for some reason, therefore, they are rarely seen. I’m delighted to show them off here on my blog. A big thank you to Cee for creating this challenge 🙏🏼.

Tulips from the Walled Garden at Glenarm Castle, Northern Ireland
Orange Coneflower, Swords Village, Ireland
Montbretia, Cremorne Reserve, Sydney
Guarianthe skinneri, Fiji
Fire-star Orchid, Fiji
Bird of Paradise, Sydney
Daffodils from Queen’s University Belfast

Thanks for having a look. All photos taken by me. I have so many more if this post becomes popular enough 🤣.

Wayne ✌🏽

100 Posts ☺️

I just want to write a quick post to say thank you to all the amazing bloggers out there. This community is amazing for encouraging others, inspiring others and making everyone feel extremely welcome. To everyone who reads my posts, likes them and leaves a comment, I sincerely appreciate it. It’s true that when you know people read and take an interest in what you have to say, it really drives you to keep writing and sharing your experiences. I am delighted to have found this community and make new friends.

I wrote a post a few months ago to show some pointers that I have learned along my blogging journey and was keen to share with others. I still stand by these points today. You can check it out here and hopefully it might offer you some advice, especially if you are taking the first steps on your blogging path.

Thanks again, everyone!

Wayne 🙏🏼

Uluru – An introduction 🧡

Hey guys! I cannot wait to share this blog post with you about our very recent trip to Uluru. I have so many amazing pictures to share so I think I will create a short blog series, featuring this introduction and a post for each excursion that we managed to fit into our weekend. This is my first time creating a blog series for a place I have visited, so I think that speaks for itself how amazing I found this place ☺️.

I’m sure most of you have heard of Uluru, previously known as Ayers Rock, located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. If not, you can find some really interesting information here. For me personally, I know it as one of the wonders of the world and appears as a huge rock in the middle of Australia. Situated in the desert, it is known to me for its amazing colour, stage presence, it’s spirituality and is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of Australia. It can also be referred to as the spiritual heart of Australia 🧡. For me, this is a bucket list trip that I am so grateful for now being able to tick off my list. Previously people could walk on top of Uluru until people were informed that this is actually very disrespectful to the Aboriginal people. This is an immensely culturally significant place for them and has to be treated as such. Therefore, walking on Uluru was ceased, albeit only from 2019 surprisingly.

For some people, they simply think of Uluru as a giant rock formation in the desert, which it is. However, there is so much more to this feature. When you see it for yourself, you just cannot help but be in awe. It is absolutely mesmerising. You can feel a sense of spirit and connection to the land and the history of Uluru. The way in which the light can alter the appearance of Uluru from sunrise to sunset is astonishing and photographs simply do not even do it justice. It is fascinating to learn about the geography of Uluru and it’s connection to the Aboriginal people dating back to about 30,000 years ago!

It had been advised to me that three days would be enough time to see Uluru. I agree that you can carry out many activities in three days, however, I believe I could have easily stayed for another couple of days if time permitted. Just a heads up if you’re ever planning to visit. There were some other activities that I simply didn’t have time for or they were booked out as this was a very spontaneous trip for us. I will write about the activities that we were able to carry out, whilst also mentioning the couple that we didn’t have the chance to do, in case you have the opportunity to see them for yourselves.

Ok so I will begin with how we travelled to Uluru, where we stayed and a little information regarding the area. As Uluru is in the National Park, the town neighbouring the park is actually known as Yulara. Travelling to Yulara from Sydney is a 3.5 hour flight approximately.

View on arriving into Yulara. Sitting on the left side of the plane gives you an amazing first glimpse of Uluru.

Thankfully Yulara is a small enough place and everything is very close by. When arriving at the airport it is less than a ten minute drive to the main inhabited area with the accommodation and town. All transfers to your accommodation are free and there is a free shuttle bus driving around Yulara every 20 minutes which is pretty awesome. We stayed in Sails in the Desert simply because I had seen it on Instagram and it looked really beautiful. This was a great hotel, lovely room, great food and extremely friendly staff. We couldn’t have asked for more. Although the pool was closed for renovations, we could use the neighbouring hotel pool which was perfect. All of the hotels are running at a reduced capacity due to covid and people not travelling. Personally, I loved this as we had more space to roam around, we didn’t not have to queue for anything and there was great social distancing.

Sails in the Desert hotel
Hotel restaurant where we had an amazing buffet breakfast and the best fried eggs I have ever eaten!

The town has an amazing art gallery displaying all the local aboriginal art (seriously out of this world!) known as GOCA – Gallery of Central Australia and there are also talks from local Aboriginal people, discussing their history and ways of life. Yulara has a cafe, a supermarket and a couple of shops selling some amazing Aboriginal artwork and gifts. There is a local pub known as the Outback Pioneer. This is for visitors and the locals and is most definitely worth checking out. Just hop on the coach and you will be there in 15 minutes or so. The town of Yulara, albeit small, has a lot of character and is extremely welcoming.

Hello, thank you, goodbye and welcome – Palya ☺️
Gallery of Central Australia
Neighbouring pool
Town centre
Outback Pioneer

Stay tuned for my next post where we look at the different activities we managed to undertake, the first one – seeing Uluru by air.

Thanks for reading,

Wayne ✌🏽

Mudgee – a photo blog

I am excited to show you all a snippet of this wonderful place in NSW, Australia known as Mudgee. First of all, what a great name. It is an Aboriginal name meaning ‘nest in the hills’ which is very apt as it is geographically located within the Cudgegong River Valley.

The reason I have always wanted to visit Mudgee as I have heard that it’s the place to visit for wine tasting. I know we have Hunter Valley nearby (I have so many posts on this) but I was excited to try somewhere new and visit a more rural location. Mudgee, being further inland of NSW and a 3.5 hour drive from Sydney is the perfect getaway. I had heard that Mudgee has a lot of character and is extremely rustic and quaint. These traits are right up my street and boy did Mudgee deliver.

We were only there for a weekend so we didn’t have the chance to explore everything on offer. However, that just means we will have to return one day! I will show you where we stayed and the places we managed to check out, including 3 wineries. Also the people here! The people are amazing here and so, so friendly.

This is where we stayed. This is Perry Street Hotel, part of the Peppertree Hill Group. Gorgeous place to stay and very central location.
The kimonos were a lovely touch 👘

The architecture in Mudgee was fantastic. I love seeing the old style buildings and churches. It adds a bit of character to the place and showcases the history of the area.

Mudgee Town Hall
Mudgee memorial clock tower
⛪️
Regent Theatre 🎭
Even the solicitors office looks impressive

We booked a wine tour with Mudgee Wine Tours and we planned the half day tour. This offered three vineyards to visit and to be honest this was just the right amount. We have done a full day wine tour in the past and it’s a long day of drinking wine 🤪. Others on our tour were carrying out the full day and they were exhausted by the end. Our tour guide was with the most fabulous woman we could have met. Lindy was professional, personable, extremely friendly and honestly made the tour very memorable for all the right reasons. She would interact with the different vineyard staff also which was really lovely to see and to be honest this was a first for us. Most tour guides will simply wait outside and operate mostly as a driver for the day.

1 – Our first vineyard was Walter Wines. A lovely place to visit and we also had the most amazing pies here for lunch.
2 – Pieter Van Gent Winery – really delicious fortified wines with an exquisite interior featuring some awesome old church furnishings.
3 – Bunnamagoo Estate – beautiful area to sit outside
Too good not to purchase 😜

A couple of places where we had drinks and dinner. These are all popular spots in Mudgee and worth checking out.

Kelly’s Irish Pub (why do Irish people always have to find the Irish pubs?!)
Beers at Mudgee Brewing Co – the food was amazing here too
Delicious food at Cade Kitchen and Bar
Breakfast at Alby and Esthers – amazing outdoor space, feels like you’re eating in a secret garden.
Paragon Hotel – Our favourite pub just beside our hotel. Perfect for a wee night cap 😉

We loved walking around the town and even managed to stumble upon a pretty park just by the river.

Quaint stores
A lovely walk along the Cudgegong River.

We also took a ten minute drive outside Mudgee to visit Windamere Dam. It is really stunning and you can also visit on your way home from Mudgee as it’s on the route back to Sydney.

Thanks for checking out my Mudgee blog. I hope you liked the photos and maybe feel inspired to visit yourself one day. It is a truly wonderful place that I would happily visit again.

Wayne ✌🏽

Where do you see yourself five years from now? #FPQ

It’s funny but I used to really hate being asked this question in job interviews. How the heck would you know where you were going to be in five years?! Especially as a young person, as the idea of being in the same place five years later would literally terrify me.

Now this question has been posed by fellow blogger Fandango as his provocative question. You can see his post Here.

I feel like I have two realities that could be equally possible. Almost like a Sliding Doors scenario if anyone has seen that movie.

1 – I will still be living in Australia, working as a nurse and teacher but living further afield. I will move out of the big smoke to somewhere more rural, purchase an amazing property, have my own car and have a couple of dogs. I will be able to travel home to Northern Ireland once or twice a year as covid will no longer be an issue.

2 – I will be living at home in Northern Ireland. Covid is still an issue and we cannot travel to Australia as freely as before. I will have a similar life, working as a nurse, buying my own property, purchase my first car and have two dogs. I may be considering a career change as nursing travels deeper and deeper into the depths of despair with the NHS sinking (hopefully not). I will have lots of great times with family and friends, seeing them whenever I please. I will travel all around Ireland (albeit with my raincoat and umbrella) and will travel all over Europe (covid restrictions permitting if still exists).

To be honest, any one of these scenarios would be fine as long as I remain healthy and my loved ones stay safe and well 😊.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Thanks for reading,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 31 – we made it!

Last day of the blogging challenge!!! Cannot believe we made it to the end. 31 days of blogging in a row. For the most part I have really enjoyed it, however, I do feel the prompts have went downhill since the beginning. I can appreciate it must be difficult to think of new topics every day that will keep people enthralled. I was really hoping for an amazing prompt today, seeing as it’s the last one but it fell a bit flat for me. What do you think of today’s topic? On a positive note, it does make you think outside the box.

I don’t often see many stars living in the city. So when I do have the chance to see them, I know for sure that I am out of the city and a little more rural. This in itself is a good feeling as I must be on holidays.

There is something very special about looking at the stars and it always makes me feel contented. It provides a feeling that the world is not that big, as everyone on the planet can look at the same stars (not all at the same time). It brings us together as human beings and with me living so far away from home, I take comfort in knowing we are all under the same stars ☺️.

I also often think about who else can see the stars out there. Are there other planets or galaxies with living beings that can also see the the same stars? Or maybe they have their own stars.

I feel calm and at ease when looking at stars too and almost become lost in their beauty in the night sky. How does everyone else feel?

On a final note, I would like to add a huge well done to everyone for making it this far with Bloganuary. It has been an amazing month of blogging, making new friends and reading other people’s perspectives. It’s funny how we all interpret the blog prompts differently and we form our own methods and ideas to tackle the questions. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process and look forward to interacting more with my fellow bloggers.

Thanks so much for the support and all your amazing comments. I love reading what you have to say and learning more about people from all over the globe.

Take care, stay safe and keep blogging!

Wayne 💛

Bloganuary Day 30

I must say, this is the most random question yet. I immediately thought of taking a quiz online to see if it could come up with a quick solution. You can try yourself here.

My answer is Cherry Blossom tree and I immediately thought yes this could be me as a tree!

I do love to meet new people and have meaningful conversations. I also love to travel and sampling different cuisines. I can appreciate good art but I wouldn’t say I live for it. Maybe more the arts in general, like theatre/concerts etc. would be more meaningful to me.

This is a hard topic to write about, mostly as I do not have a lot of knowledge about trees to see if we have similar personalities. I certainly love trees and love taking pictures of trees. They are an amazing living species that the world cannot live without.

Maybe I could be a palm tree as I love the sun. I definitely would not be an evergreen tree as I could not survive in many different climates. I would need sun, water, shade and my leaves would change with the seasons, so perhaps I could be a deciduous tree, changing my leaves with the seasons as we do with our clothing when the seasons change.

What are your thoughts on today’s topic??

Wayne 🌳

Bloganuary Day 29 ♻️

I would say any change I make in this world will be on a very small scale. I am definitely not changing the world massively by any means.

I am sure that I am contributing to negative changes to the world like every other human being, for example, using too much water, eating meat, adding to the amount of rubbish we as humans contribute etc, etc.

However, I try to be aware of small changes we can make and implement positive measures where I can. I may not make any big changes but I feel I can definitely help in small yet significant ways. If we all do something small for the better, a lot can change. We have seen that with covid and lockdowns. Look how much the world improved for the better with no humans on the streets. The air was cleaner, the waters appeared less contaminated and Mother Nature was thriving.

Small changes that I feel I carry out to change the world for the better are:

– using less plastic (no plastic plates, cutlery etc)

– recycling

– using wooden utensils where possible and other sustainable products

– using reusable containers and covers

– using refill bottles and keep cups

– taking my reusable shopping bags to the supermarket

– trying not to let the water run

– being a decent human being, be kind and respectful to others (this will translate to other people)

– teaching students the correct ways to be well-mannered and caring nurses with leading by example.

These are all small things and I am not perfect but if we all make small changes, we can make a positive change for the future generations.

“IT ONLY TAKES ONE PERSON TO MAKE A CHANGE. LET IT BEGIN WITH YOU” (Joyce Thompson).

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 28

I have so many different artists on my playlist at the moment. I like to have a good variety, mostly upbeat songs as I listen a lot when I’m walking. I do have some slower and meaningful songs on my playlist too for when I’m commuting on the train to and from work. Sometimes at 6am you just need some easy listening tunes to help you wake up gently.

At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Mumford and Sons. The Delta album is the most listened too album at the moment on my playlist. I’m also listening to Neil Diamond. I always loved his songs since my early twenties. It’s refreshing to have his songs back on my playlist, they’re feel good songs and remind me of fun times. I have just picked a few of my favourite songs by Neil to add to my playlist. These include Crackling Rosie, Shilo, Stones, Cherry Cherry and Soolaimon.

I have the Paul Simon Graceland album on my playlist too. It’s one my all time favourite albums, I love the African inspiration and sound.

I also have some random pop songs to make me walk faster or lift my spirits after a day at work. At present I have a lot of Dua Lipa, Guy Sebastian, Ed Sheeran and UB40. I also have some really random songs on my playlist from Blondie to the Communards to Pink to Girls Aloud. I like any kind of music really with the exception of heavy mental or trance. I love pop, rock’n’roll, country, jazz, r’n’b or anything I might just hear from the tv or radio. I have the Shazam app on my mobile phone that is amazing for discovering new music. Any time I hear a song I like, I will Shazam it to see who sings it and then I will add to my playlist, it’s super easy 😊

What’s on your playlist?

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 27

This is an interesting topic today. To be honest, I don’t really seek solitude. I don’t often need or want to be alone. That’s not to say I don’t like my own company as I really do but after a few hours on my own, I become bored of my own company and like to speak to others or my partner.

Maybe I do not search for solitude as I often have it without having to try. I would often go for a walk on my own, especially along the coast. It’s good to blow away the cobwebs, take in some fresh air, have a think and increase my step count. It just so happens that I am often on my own as my friends or partner will be working. So, realistically, this would be my place for solitude and maybe it is required more than I will even know, even if I don’t plan to have solitude.

Also my trips to the gym are good for my own quality time, doing something just for me. However, there are often other people there for me to converse with so I guess it’s not really solitude.

When we were in lockdown, I would find solitude in the bathroom. Otherwise I was with my partner 24/7. This was never a problem for me as we enjoy each other’s company a lot but a visit to the toilet was a great way to have a few minutes to yourself. I know a lot of my friends who are parents agree with this one 😆.

Where do you go when you need solitude?

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 26

Oh what a pompous question 😆. A favourite part of myself…is that physically, mentally, intellectually or morally.

I would maybe say I am happy with my mental self i.e. I have a good sense of my own being. I feel I have a good-natured personality that is kind and caring. I try to be the best version of myself and I am aware that we are not perfect as human beings. I would consider myself friendly and outgoing and I really enjoy meeting new and interesting people. I hope I am a person my friends can come to with a problem or just need someone to listen to, free from judgement and criticism.

There you have it, simple and to the point. My personality is my favourite part of me ☺️

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 25

I feel I have many things that make me feel strong. My family, my friends, my partner, my environment and my values in life make me feel strong on a daily basis. I feel, with their support, I can take on most things life has to throw at me.

On a more personal level, I think my fitness journey over the past five years makes me feel very strong, both literally and figuratively.

Literally, I am the strongest I have ever been. That’s not to say that I’m super strong by any means but I was seriously weak and unfit before I found my love for the gym. Physically I feel good and my fitness is a constant work in progress. I love feeling fit, strong and healthy and that takes me onto feeling strong also figuratively.

My fitness journey has helped my confidence to grow from a geeky little skinny kid to a less skinnier looking man 😆. By looking after my body and pushing myself I am becoming a better version of me and one that I am proud of. I am not hoping for a quick fix with my fitness and body goals. I am on this journey for the long haul and I absolutely love it. I never thought in a million years I would become a gym lover but once you commit for a few weeks and see results, it grabs a hold of you and you start to really love it, to the point where you miss the gym when you cannot go. Plus, even though I have never struggled with my mental health, I can really see how fitness can play such a positive role in helping to maintain your mental well-being.

Thanks to my fitness journey I feel strong literally 💪🏼 and figuratively 💁🏼‍♂️.

What make you feel strong? Please let me know.

Thanks for reading,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 24

Every day at 11am here in Sydney I can see the new Bloganuary prompts and every day at that time I secretly hope for a really fun topic. Some days are pretty good…however, today I am pretty much at a loss for what to write.

The problem is, I never really remember my dreams. There is the odd time that I wake up due to my alarm going off and I was woken up from a really good dream. If you were to ask me then, I can remember all the details but after a few hours it will have all evaporated from my mind. I have often thought about writing the dreams down quickly so that I don’t forget but just have never gotten around to it or maybe the dream just was not that interesting to warrant me documenting it 🤷🏼‍♂️.

I do love when you have a great dream but waken up to use the bathroom. You were really enjoying the dream so you try to re-enter the dream when you return to bed. Sometimes this has happened to me and I actually can go back into the dream. This is amazing when it occurs but I will still forget about it when I waken up 🙈

Nevertheless, I have recently had the same dream twice, although it was more of a nightmare to be honest, whereby, I am back living in Belfast and carrying out the same job I had been doing previously. I was walking through the workplace wondering why I was there as it didn’t make any sense to me. This could be due to the fact that I’m thinking of home a lot and trying to plan my future. I do find dreams very interesting, it’s like your subconscious mind is working overtime, processing all of your conscious thoughts while you are having a much needed rest.

Do you believe that dreams can mean things? For instance, if you dream of your teeth falling out, there are big changes going to happen in your life?

What are your thoughts?

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 22

I have 3 favourite quotes. Let me know if you agree with any of them ☺️.

We are all replaceable so don’t stress too much about work. It’s all about that work/life balance 🙌🏼
I always dreamed to live in Australia, so I like to reflect on this when I become engrossed in my daily living.
I love this one as we have no idea who is watching our progress. This relates to me with my daily fitness and strength growth, trying to escape my skinny boy past 🤣.

Thanks for checking out this post everyone!!!

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 21

This is a tough one today as it’s not something I have ever thought of or desired to do. I guess it would be fun to head back in time to my parents era, kind of like Back to the Future, just to see how they lived and what life was like.

It would be cool to travel to the sixties – the Beatles, flower power and revolutions. Before the Troubles would start in Northern Ireland. I would love to see Ireland as a country when everyone would get along, no matter what religion, before British invasion. This was probably about 500 years ago?!

It would also be nice to maybe spend one day in the future, maybe in 100 years when I know I will no longer be here. What is the world like? Are cars flying yet? Or maybe global warming has had a catastrophic effect and most of the world is under water?!

For now, I will time travel back to my early twenties and relive one my many fun nights out in Belfast with the best group of friends, back to a time when we were allowed to dance and you could go for a night out with £20 and still come back with change. Take me back to 2003 please 😉.

What year would you time travel to?

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 20

I love this question. I love taking photographs with scenery, architecture or anything quaint. I love looking at photographs, I love taking photographs and I think I have a good eye for what subject would make a good photo, however, I’m not that clued into photography. I would love to be but it just flies over my head. I have a “proper” camera but quite often end up using my mobile phone as the IPhone 13 is pretty good at taking decent pictures.

This photograph is one of my favourites. I am a sucker for a good sunset and I like how this image showcases the sunset with a pelican just sitting in the foreground. I love the colour of the sky, the wispy clouds and the ocean at the bottom. This picture was taken in Ballina, NSW in 2020.

I can’t wait to see everyone’s favourite photo ever taken!

Cheers,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 19

Where do I even start??? There are lots of things that are mysterious to me, that make me ponder. I would love to be able to write something fictional as this post screams fiction to me, however, in the real world there so many mysterious happenings that I do think about.

One that always baffles me and is extremely curious to me is the fact that I have never seen a cockroach in Ireland. Here in Australia we have millions upon millions. Even in the cleanest of homes, you will still be able to spot one. We have had more than our fair share over the years in our home, regularly having to place cockroach killer in spots around the house, mainly the kitchen. In a previous shared house we were inundated with cockroaches. In the middle of the night, the floor would move in the kitchen. You open the cutlery drawer and they can be seen scuttling everywhere. They even lived in the microwave timer screen so we could see them as the minutes on the clock descended. You dare not leave food on the table and turn your back, even for a second or they would be having a field day in your next meal.

Yet, I have never seen them at home in Northern Ireland. I would tell people here in Australia that we don’t have cockroaches as the weather is too cold. No one can believe it here. They are gobsmacked, “you must have cockroaches” they say. Well I don’t think we do, I have never seen them. Carrying out some quick internet googling, apparently we do have some but where are they? Maybe they never come out of the woodwork to see us humans. Other websites say you will never find them in Ireland or the UK 🤷🏼‍♂️.

So this folks is a real mystery to me. Have you ever seen a cockroach in Northern Ireland, Ireland or the UK?? What about even colder countries again like in Scandinavia or warmer countries in Europe? Are there any cockroaches where you live?

I would be intrigued to hear your answer.

Many thanks,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 18

I hate to say this but I actually don’t have a book to read next. To be honest, I haven’t read a book in quite some time, except for academic purposes. It’s a little embarrassing but I guess I have other ways to relax. I think coming to Australia I am definitely outdoors a lot more. I walk every day and I frequent the gym 5 or 6 times a week. I love exercise and I have really gained access to a whole new fitness world that was previously unimaginable to me. Also I study often for my employment, so I just haven’t recaptured my love for reading for pleasure as yet.

I used to be an avid reader, smashing a couple of books in a week. I loved the escapism it would offer and it definitely helped with my English writing skills at school.

I really would love to become lost in a good book again. One of those books that you can’t put down as you’re so gripped to turn the page and see what will happen next. I am open to suggestions if anyone is keen to share any. I like fiction that is crime, mystery, fantasy or thriller. I do also enjoy autobiographies and the older classics 📖.

Many thanks,

Wayne 🤓

Bloganuary Day 17 🦸🏼‍♂️

I would love to have the ability to teleport. That would enable me to see my family and friends in Ireland any time I want. I would also be able to travel the world and save so much time and money on travelling.

The only drawback would be that you miss out on the joy of travelling. However, you would always arrive at your destination refreshed and with money on your account 🤣.

I could always settle for the ability to fly. That way I could still travel wherever I want by air for free. However, I feel that if I had that ability, there would be public interest and I could be taken hostage as a science project. Plus I think I would be fearful to fly over oceans in case I lost the ability to fly and fell into the vast depths of the open waters.

There are just too many superpowers to think of. I could settle for any but I always seem to think of the other side of the coin, the drawbacks. Maybe it’s better not to have a superpower 🤔.

What’s your thoughts?

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 16

It’s funny that this is today’s topic as I was just thinking about the cause that I am passionate about this morning.

I was asked three years ago by a company here in Australia to help promote checking your skin for moles and showcasing the importance of monitoring for any changes in your moles.

This hit home for me as I have a few prominent moles on my back and had a couple removed a few years ago due to always becoming caught on things and causing discomfort.

I have my skin checked every couple of years just to be sure all is ok. I learned that it’s even the small moles that you have to worry about, the ones that you can barely even see. I learned to check my skin regularly, protect your skin with sun cream (I use factor 50 here in Australia) and try avoid the sun at peak times.

The company that I help to promote (in a small way) is called Game on Mole. They do amazing work for skin awareness and offer a lot of useful tips for monitoring your moles. They have many influential people to help promote their ideology and spread their message here in Australia, with many telling their own stories about personal battles with melanoma. You can check out Game on Mole here and also some information from the Cancer Council here that offers some really useful information.

I feel that this is such a worthy cause, not just here in Australia but worldwide. I have people I know that have had minor surgeries to remove cancerous skin cells, not just here but also from back home in the UK.

A family member just messaged me this morning to say they just had their skin checked due to seeing my post on social media. I love how we can spread awareness in even the smallest of ways.

Thanks for reading everyone and remember to wear sunscreen 😉

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 15

A good lesson in life is to be kind to others. I know it sounds simple but many people fail to be able to do this unfortunately. I always have the mentality of treating others how I would want to be treated. So often people are quick to judge someone else, without actually knowing what is going on in their lives. Try living in the other person’s shoes.

I would say every single human being has their own personal issues. May that be family, employment, financial, relationship, psychological, physical, emotional etc etc, we all have something that isn’t perfect in our lives. Therefore it is so important to bear that in mind before we judge or criticise others. Just be kind to others, it shouldn’t be that hard to do ☺️. Life is tough enough without being treated unkindly. I feel like everyone can benefit by treating people with kindness. The giver and the receiver of kindness.

Cheers,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 14

This one is easy for me. My biggest challenge to date is gaining the skills to be able to move to Australia. I have travelled here many years ago on a working holiday visa and always wanted to come back and live as a resident. This is no easy thing to do. Australia has very strict immigration rules. If you want to live here in Australia, you have to be of value to them, which is fair enough really.

You can live here if you have a skill that is in demand. I had a good look at their skilled visa occupation list and picked something that I thought I could maybe learn to do and enjoy as a new career path.

Some of you will know the career path that I chose was a nursing one. Everywhere in the world is in need of nurses so I thought this would be a great career move and I had always thought of nursing in the back of my mind as I really enjoy working with people and feel like I have a caring and patient nature. Also my mum was a nurse too so I think that definitely helped with making the decision to study nursing.

Before I could study nursing I had to gain some experience in the caring profession in order to discover these two crucial points:

1 – Would I enjoy nursing?

2 – Would I be capable?

Fortunately, I applied and received my first caring role in a residential home looking after older people. To my delight, I thoroughly enjoyed the work. It was something completely different from what I had ever done before and even though it was really hard work, both physically and mentally, I found that loved it. I loved making people smile, brightening their day and I had the opportunity to work with some amazing other care workers. The experience I gained here was immeasurable.

The next question I would have to ask is, would I be eligible to apply for the course? Although nurses are highly sought after, many people also want to be nurses, making it very competitive to enrol in a nursing degree. I was gaining experience as a care assistant but I also needed the relevant qualifications. Thankfully, I had already carried out a degree beforehand and had the adequate A level results so I was able to meet the eligibility criteria.

I applied to university whilst working as a care assistant and to my horror I didn’t receive an offer of acceptance first time round. I was saddened but I had initially applied for mental health nursing and I knew already that it was highly competitive. Maybe this was a blessing in disguise.

I spent another year in the residential home and reapplied to university a year later, this time for general nursing. I became a supervisor in the residential home and continued to really enjoy the work. This gave me the confidence to apply for a nursing assistant job in a hospital, as part of the NHS. Two years after having joined the residential home, I was now working as a nursing assistant in theatres. This was an amazing job opportunity and extremely different from working in a care home.

A few months later, I received a letter to say I had been successful to study general nursing!!! This was SUCH an amazing feeling to finally be another step closer to my Australian dream.

I enrolled in university the following year and continued to work both as a care assistant in the home and as a nursing assistant in the hospital. I was able to work across four different hospitals in numerous wards throughout my journey as a nursing assistant. I will never forget the things I learned here and the amount of amazing nursing assistants and nurses that I met along the way. It showed me the many different varieties of nursing and also allowed me to discover where I enjoyed working and where I maybe wanted to avoid in the future. I would say all nurses have certain tasks that they love performing and others not so much. The joy of nursing is that there is so much choice with regards to different nursing fields. If you don’t like one aspect of nursing, you can choose another that is more suited to you and you can also work in different settings, for example, hospital, community, GP surgery, telehealth etc.

So I studied nursing for three years. A full time degree whilst working part time. Hard, hard work, long hours and very little money but I loved it again. I had the best experiences, both in placements and in the classroom. Every six weeks we would change from being on placement to being back at uni and so on, whilst every placement you were on was in a different setting.

After completing my nursing degree, I became a registered nurse and luckily was able to obtain my first job pretty quickly. There was a huge demand for nurses then in Northern Ireland so all students were able to obtain their first choice of nursing profession. I worked in my first post for two years whist trying to plan my move to Australia. It all paid off in the end. I completed all my paper work and became an Australian resident before emigrating. This was another whole process and that is for another blog down the line. I do have a previous blog post on the nursing application to be a nurse in Australia here but be aware this may have changed since then.

There you have it. My journey to become a nurse and make the move to becoming an Australia resident. The whole process took about seven years. This was my biggest challenge to date and it was a lengthy process to say the least. I am glad I faced it and overcame the process. I could have let my dream pass and stayed living at home. However, I felt that I owed myself to take on the challenge and see what living on the other side of the world would be like for a lengthy period.

Thanks for reading guys. It’s slightly longer than my previous Bloganuary posts.

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 13

I feel very lucky that I have the opportunity to live my ideal day many times a week or month living here in Australia, mainly due to the weather and lifestyle. Even if I am working, I will take the opportunity to carry out activities that I enjoy before or after work.

I will break down an ideal day for me if I am on my day off, that is, not working.

• Wake up after a good sleep about 6am. Make myself a coffee and walk/run to the gym for a strength workout at 7am. An hour later I will come home to shower.

• I then love to have a good breakfast. Sometimes I will head out with my partner or I will meet friends for a catch-up over breakfast.

• After this, I love to go for a walk. Either along the coast, taking in the beaches of the eastern suburbs or around Centennial Park or even more so, a new place to walk. I love finding new spots to explore and taking many, many photographs. Maybe even go for a swim.

• Try to stop for lunch somewhere quaint or perhaps take a packed lunch. I am happy with either ☺️.

• Come home for a lovely home cooked meal and have a couple of glasses of wine or if I’m free in the evening, head out to meet friends for a few sociable drinks after having eaten.

• Finally, I would round the night off with a big cup of tea at home and have a reasonably early night, say 10 or 11pm. I am all about a good nights sleep.

This is my ideal day. Plain and simple.

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 12

This is an interesting post as I have recently been questioning whether emojis are accepted in the blogging world.

I love to use emojis. I feel like one little image can convey a word or feeling so well. I use these a lot in my daily life, in text messages, social media and now blogging. I think because they’re everywhere now, they have almost become integrated into our written language.

They’re useful, especially when you don’t speak or write the same language as others. They are universal and break down language barriers.

I don’t even realise I’m using emojis half of the time. Maybe it’s a bad habit to use emojis in blogging. I feel like they are looked down and frowned on in the blogging world. I did have another blogger once comment on one of my posts about my use of emojis and to be honest, I felt silly for using them and slightly belittled.

I think emojis are here to stay and are a sign of moving with the times. I personally like them and I will continue to use them. I will try to refrain from using too many in my blog posts as perhaps it does take away from the art of writing. However, I do believe in the saying “you do you and I will do me”, so if you want to use emojis, go for it, it is your blog after all.

These are my most used emojis at the moment. They do change frequently, however, there are a few that always stay at the top. I think you can tell a lot from someone’s most used emojis 😊

I love the hug 🤗 emoji. It’s very positive and shows that you care about someone, especially as we cannot really hug people at the moment due to covid. I also love the face palm 🤦🏼‍♂️ emoji and the shrug 🤷🏼‍♂️ one, which I obviously haven’t used for a while 😉. The grapes, leaves and sunflower are there simply there because I have just been to a few vineyards recently.

What are your thoughts on emojis? I am generally very interested to hear your opinions, especially when blogging.

Thanks for reading and take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 11

For me, this means grabbing life by the horns and living it to the fullest. It means taking chances, leaving your comfort zone and not being afraid to try new things.

I try to do this as much as I can with travelling, meeting new people, sampling different cuisines and changing my roles of employment. I think these things are so important for character building and broadening our horizons.

I think I still can do more for living boldly and it remains a work in progress, for example, trying not to let other people’s opinions bother me and coming to grips that not everyone thinks the same. I am a person that generally follows rules and try my best to do the right thing. So in this regard I don’t live too boldly but I’m ok with that. I’m not a massive risk taker, I like to play it safe in life. That being said, I do love to be spontaneous at times with a last minute trip away or conversing with random strangers.

So I would probably say that I live life semi – boldly if that makes sense. Every now and again it’s good to live boldly but I still have my limitations. I’m a middle of the road kind of guy ☺️

What about everyone else?

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 10

I love today’s topic. It’s good to reflect and remember to be grateful for things happening in our lives. Too often we become caught up in our busy daily lives and forget to be thankful for the positive things around us that we often take for granted.

1 – As corny as it sounds, I am firstly grateful to waken up, alive and healthy. Not everyone has this luxury.

2 – Being away this weekend in Mudgee with my amazing partner as we celebrate 15 years together.

3 – I’m grateful that I had a great sleep last night, 8.5 hours to be exact. If I have 7 hours sleep at night, I am doing really well. So to wake up and check my Fitbit that read 8.5 hours sleep, I was delighted.

4 – Grateful to have no rain this morning. It is supposed to be stormy all week, so to waken with no rain and blue skies on the horizon, that makes me really happy.

5 – Thankful for a lovely breakfast this morning and having a walk around Mudgee. It’s a really quaint little town with lots of character. I will be creating a blog of this town very soon.

Mudgee, NSW

I cannot wait to hear what everyone else is grateful for today 🙏🏼.

Take care and stay safe,

Wayne ☺️

Bloganuary Day 9

Working hard or hardly working?? 🤔

Many of my friends and followers on social media think that I don’t work 😆. I guess this could be for two reasons.

1 – I post frequently on social media, especially Instagram and I do go out a lot. I love walking and try to do this every day, so even if I’m posting pictures of my walk or by the beaches, it’s normally as I’m out and about before or after work. We work 8 hour shifts here as nurses in Australia. Therefore, we can actually do things before or after work. Unlike back home in Northern Ireland where I would have worked 11 or 12 hour shifts. On my days off, I love to go out and see places. I enjoy eating out, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner (never all three in one day 😉). So I think this could give a false impression that I don’t work when I actually do work full time.

2 – I don’t have children. This absolutely gives me freedom to do my own thing, go out when and where I please and I have no ties to be home at a certain time. Also I have no pets as yet. This is something I am really interested in, maybe a couple of dogs in the near future. So having no commitments enables me to carry out my life how I please ☺️. If people on social media compare my social life to theirs, they really shouldn’t. If they have decided to have a family of their own. That’s amazing and it’s their prerogative. They will have many amazing things in their life through experiences with their children (something I do not).

I do work hard in my career but I have a good work/life balance. It may simply appear that I do not work as I often post about the fun things I’m doing. I wouldn’t necessarily be posing about my times in work. To be honest I am more than happy if people assume I don’t work much or work at all. It’s rather amusing. When people say, “Do you ever eat at home?”, it makes me chuckle. I eat at home 5 or 6 days a week. There are worse things to complain about in life than people thinking I don’t work.

Cheers for reading,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 8

To be honest I have never really thought about my writing or style of writing. I don’t write fiction. I simply write about my experiences, more so, my travel experiences. If I was to think about my writing and what I like about it, it would maybe be the following two points:

• I don’t take my writing too seriously, it’s not a chore for me and I like it that way. That’s not to say that blogging can’t be serious. I write how I speak generally. Therefore, I feel I have a light hearted style of writing. Hopefully people can relate to my writing and see that it comes from a good place.

• I find writing in my blog to be very personal and a good tool for self expression. There’s just something about writing that allows you to put all your thoughts on paper (so to speak) and you instantly feel good about it. Maybe it’s also the fact that I don’t have a huge following and I don’t know many bloggers in person here so it makes it easier to be open and frank. To be honest, this challenge is really the first time I have had the courage or motivation to be more open on my blog. My previous posts have been about travel and so I have not needed to show my more vulnerable side.

There you have it. Short and sweet. I like my writing as it’s light hearted, personal and a great way to express myself.

Any one else have the same thoughts? Please let me know.

Many thanks guys,

Wayne ✍🏼

Bloganuary Day 7 – 1 week ✔️

First of all, can I just say, congratulations to everyone who has it made it through the first week of the blogging daily challenge 🙌🏼. Is anyone else really enjoying it? This blogging daily thing is really good actually. Luckily I have some distance to travel to and from work and fortunately I travel by train. This gives me plenty of time to get my thinking cap on, switch off from the world and write a simple blog.

What makes me laugh? Anything really. I laugh a lot. I love when you laugh for no reason. It could be something silly someone said or you said, or an action or a memory. When you laugh so hard that you cannot stop. Even if you want to stop. For me it often happens at the most inappropriate times. When I really shouldn’t be laughing. It’s never ending, tears are tripping me and my stomach hurts, sides splitting 😆. Even then I cannot stop.

My friends normally end up joining in, even if they don’t necessarily want to. Laughter is so infectious. I used to get into trouble at school for laughing so much, especially in the library when we were supposed to be super silent. I can’t count the amount of times that I was told to leave the library or class room for laughing so much and distracting others. Even through my university days and studying nursing, I would have many outbursts of laughter. I have one friend that just makes me laugh so much and vice versa. When we are together, it’s just a laugh fest. Not very good when you’re trying to learn or be productive.

I also think I laugh when I’m nervous or stressed about something. It’s almost like a coping mechanism. Have you ever heard the saying, “if you didn’t laugh, you would cry”.

However, I believe laughter is good for you. Good for your health, good for the soul. We need laughter. Especially when times are tough. Laughter is a good outlet to let negative things go and enables you to reset. It’s the best medicine. Unless of course you have just had abdominal surgery. Then I would suggest not to laugh too hard 🙈🤣.

What about you? What makes you laugh?

Wayne 😁

Bloganuary Day 6

Good morning folks. This one was tricky. I’m thinking who inspires me? I couldn’t think straight away. The more I thought about being inspired, the more I was confusing myself with what it meant.

So I did the old fashioned thing and looked up the word in the dictionary. According to Cambridge University Press (2022) to inspire someone is “to fill someone with confidence and desire to do something”.

I would say my family, especially my Dad would definitely fill this criteria. He is always filling me with confidence and telling me to do whatever makes me happy in life. I am really grateful for this mentality. Not to take life so seriously. Life is short and we need to make the most of it. I have always been instilled with the importance of having a good work/life balance. My Dad inspires me to be a good person, have morals, work hard but to enjoy life at the same time. Making my Dad proud is definitely something that inspires me through life and he is always letting me know that he is proud ☺️, that’s a great feeling. I’m lucky to have such an open minded, generous and caring Dad 🙏🏼.

Thanks for reading,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 5

This is a good question to get you thinking. It took me a good few minutes to think what is something I wish I knew how to do. I feel like if it was something you really, really wanted to do, then you would make it your goal to do so, no matter how much time or effort it would take. In saying that, life often gets in the way of these goals. Other factors, like finding the time, finances, family and friends, employment and just generally having a life will all play a key role in whether you have the opportunity to learn something new.

I would love to speak multiple languages. It was always my dream, right through my school years, to university to now living and working in Australia. Seeing how multicultural it is living in Sydney, you can see the advantages of speaking more than one language. Especially being a nurse. I would love to be able to converse to my worldly patients in their own language, more so when they cannot speak English.

Growing up I would speak German with family and learned the language at school. I then picked up French at school too and absolutely loved being able to speak in two different languages (not perfectly by any means). The ability to communicate in German and French whilst visiting those countries was the dream.

However, as I grew older and left the studies behind (for reasons still unknown now) I slowly forgot what I had learned and taken for granted previously. Now I lack the confidence to communicate in these two languages, especially German. I would love to gain the courage to practice this language, especially as I have family from Germany. The last time I visited Germany, I was speaking at a market stall to order some food and the teller answered me in English 😆. I think he was happy that I had simply attempted to speak in his language.

I think I will get back to revisiting these languages, especially German in the future. I might enrol in some classes to revise the language. It’s just making the time is the issue for me but if I really want to do it, I can make it happen. As for other languages, I’m sure I would have the resources. I’m just not sure how difficult I would find them. Also I guess my priorities are not there yet. At the moment I’m focusing on my career, fitness and travelling.

Therefore, this is something that I wish I knew how to do. How to make the time to learn multiple languages, even just one or two. Also, what is the key to knowing multiple languages?

Let me know your thoughts or what you wish you knew how to do.

Thanks for reading,

Wayne ☺️

Bloganuary Day 4

I’m not sure I had a favourite toy. I was obsessed with 80s cartoons, “funnies” as they were known then to me.

As a child it was Thomas the tank engine, which is still going to this day. If I was placed in front of Thomas on the television screen, I would have sat there for hours, not a peep from me, so I’m told. Apparently my nephew is now the same also ☺️

Then growing up in the 80s, I became mad for Thundercats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Gummi Bears etc etc, any 80s cartoons really. They really captured my imagination. I used to love going to my Grandads house as he had cable tv. Therefore, offering a lot more funnies all throughout the day and not just in the morning. I used to get up super early in the mornings, just to race to the living room to watch the funnies.

So basically, any toy, figurine, comic, annual, video or video game, I was hooked if it featured any of my favourite 80s cartoon characters. As I grew older, I became infatuated with my first games console, the Sega mega drive. Playing Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter or Streets of Rage were my favourite games to play. Anything also that you could play with more than 1 player. Micro machines too come to think of it.

Can anyone else relate to this? An infatuation with 80s cartoons or games consoles? Please let me know.

Many thanks,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 3

This question I had to think a little about. These days, just leaving our home is leaving our comfort zone, with the omicron virus everywhere. Nobody wants to become the next victim to corona, especially as we have to isolate. However, I feel like this is not a true challenge for me when leaving my comfort zone.

I like to think of the emotions you experience when leaving your comfort zone. For me, it’s feelings of dread, fear, embarrassment, nervousness, anxiety, stomach doing summersaults etc. Even though you know these feelings will not last and you will get through it, you cannot help but shed these emotions.

I last had these feelings when I had my first day of teaching this year. As I’m sure many of you are aware, I am a nurse. Therefore, I am used to teaching others, new staff, colleagues, student nurses etc. However, this is normally on a 1 to 1 basis. Recently, I became a teacher of nursing. It’s a completely different kettle of fish. Standing in front of a large number of students is daunting. Especially on your first day. Luckily for me (and the students) I got through it ok. I was nervous on the inside but hopefully managed to hide that. The more I got into it, I actually really enjoyed it, being able to share my knowledge and experiences. When the students seem to enjoy the class, it makes all the nerves worthwhile and you’re happy they you’re having a positive impact of their future nursing careers.

So my advice for others leaving your comfort soon is to know that it will be short term. The dread won’t last forever. Everyone experiences these feelings when leaving their comfort zone. Furthermore, we grow as people when we leave our comfort zones. It makes us stronger, braver and more confident in ourselves. It is a good thing to challenge ourselves, push ourselves out of our comfort zones and grow as human beings.

Thanks for reading guys,

Wayne ☺️

Bloganuary Day 2

The Indian Pacific – Sydney to Perth. You can read all about it here. It is a railway journey travelling across Australia and it takes a few days. Maybe not the most conventional road trip but I still consider it a road trip, albeit by rail.

You sleep here, wine and dine, meet other travellers and stop off at a few different locations along the way, all whilst taking in the magnificent views of the Australian outback. It kind of reminds me of Australia’s version of the Orient Express.

This trip is on my wish list big time. Unfortunately, it’s so hard to plan anything like this due to the ongoing pandemic and restrictions constantly changing here. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to experience this amazing road trip by rail.

If I were to travel by car. I would love to drive from Perth to Broome, driving up the west coast of Australia. The only thing is I would like to drive with a few other people. Safety in numbers. Have you ever seen Wolf Creek? 🙈

Thanks for reading guys. I cannot wait to hear what your favourite road trips would be.

Take care and stay safe,

Wayne ☺️

Bloganuary Day 1

What an interesting and rather deep question for the first day of bloganuary, where we are given a daily prompt to encourage us to blog and interact with other bloggers. I’m happy that it’s a question that we can all relate to and offer our own perspective. This is also a question that features on every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race 🙂

I really wish we could offer some advice to our teenage selves. It would certainly help you through those tumultuous times and allow you to see the light at the end of that long, dark adolescent tunnel. Being a teenager is hard enough in itself, hormone changes (voice breaking, pimples), discovering who you are, trying to act as a grown up, without all the extra challenges that are thrown in for good measure. Being bullied by other teenagers, for no other reason, than for their own amusement, having family and at home issues, struggling with school, living in a small minded country town and balancing a part time job. All of these issues I struggled with on a daily basis. Throw in the confusion of sexuality and coming to terms with being gay and at the time, trying to be a Christian, I’m surprised I managed to crawl out of my teenage years alive. I know I am not alone with these issues. We all have our own struggles to deal with and there are many more struggles that I am so fortunate to have escaped.

The advice I would offer myself would be to :

  • Believe in yourself. You will accomplish many great things in life, both in your personal and academic endeavors.
  • Do not worry about what other people think of you, it is irrelevant.
  • It is ok to be a gay man, there is nothing wrong with that. You were born that way. Just as people are born heterosexual. I love the question: When did you choose to be straight? Erm, I didn’t choose, I was born that way. EXACTLY! It’s the same for homosexual people. I wish I had heard this as a teenager, instead of feeling ashamed and scared. I think my family knew I was gay from as early as 6 years old. Looking back on life, I think I knew subconsciously from about 15 years and I didn’t fully come to terms with this until I was about 21/22 years old. Insane really how society plays such a part in this. I am so happy to see times are changing for the better and teenagers hopefully do not have that cringeworthy and terrifying moment of having to ‘come out as gay’.
  • Do not let small minded people define you. You are going to travel the world and meet so many open minded people who are welcoming and will teach you so much about life.
  • Do not worry about having few close friends at school. When you go to university, you are going to become so popular and well liked, just for being yourself and will make the most wonderful friends for life.
  • Do not worry and stress about your family situation. Things will settle when you move out of home and you can all put things in the past and get along with each other better than ever.

This is the advice I would give my teenage self. I think it honestly would have helped me through those tough years (don’t get me wrong, I had many, many great times as a teenager). Let me know what advice you would give your teenage self. I am honestly so intrigued by this question. Thanks #bloganuary, great first question to kick off the new year.

Thanks for reading everyone and Happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2022 will be better than the last two years.

Take care and stay safe,

Wayne

Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022

It’s a funny time we’re living in. I’m not even excited for the new year to be honest. This time last year, after having lived through 2020, I was super excited to see the back of that year. 2021 had so much promise and potential to be the year things would return to normal. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. It actually ended up being worse, especially here in Australia, where we were to have our longest lockdown to date.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a terrible year by any means. For me personally, I had some incredible highs regarding my employment endeavours. The biggest low, however, was not being able to travel internationally for a second year in a row. Meaning it’s been 2.5 years since I have seen my family and friends in person.

I had hoped to celebrate the end of 2021. More so as it was my first time taking a break since our lockdown had started eight months ago. Granted, we had a lovely Christmas and were able to travel locally within our state. Unfortunately our holiday plans were cut short and we’re now in isolation at home. Covid numbers have continued to soar here in Australia, as we have also seen worldwide. The omicron variant is just so darn contagious.

I became a close contact and therefore had to isolate. It was on the cards. People here have been trying their hardest not to get caught by the virus, so that plans over Christmas would not be ruined. Anyway, my time ran out. Even having to get a PCR test here has been a shambles. Many testing centres are closed over Christmas. Rapid tests are near impossible to get a hold of and if you do manage to grab one, be aware, it will cost a small fortune as prices have been jacked up by the retailers.

On the plus side, it is nice to be at home for a few days. Sorting things out, cleaning, organising and relaxing. At least I will feel well rested and refreshed for the new year and heading back to work. I’m grateful to be negative from covid, presumably thanks to my booster shot that I received a couple of weeks ago 🙏🏼.

I hope you all have a really wonderful 2022 and that things will improve for us all on a world scale. I am really excited for the blogging challenge set out by WordPress this month, Bloganuary. Has anyone heard of this? It will provide prompts daily for us to inspire and encourage us with blogging into the new year. Is anyone else participating in this challenge? How is everyone else feeling regarding the new year ahead? Excited? Anxious? Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading guys & gals, take care and stay safe.

Wayne ☺️

Merry Christmas everyone 🎅🏽

I hope all my blogger and WordPress friends are having a lovely festive holiday period. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s a nice time to meet up with friends and family and have a well deserved break.

Enjoy your time off, wherever you are in the world. Hopefully everyone stays safe and can avoid covid. It’s a challenge these days to avoid coronavirus and escape having to get a covid swab, having to isolate and missing the festivities 🙈. I know a few people who have tested positive and unfortunately have to isolate over Christmas 🥲.

It’s still a little strange for us in Australia as it’s summer time here. As much as I really love the heat and being poolside, you can’t help but miss the cold back home, games with the family, cosy by a roaring fire and a pint of Guinness or cup of mulled wine.

Stay safe everyone and I hope you have a lovely time 🤗.

I can’t complain. The weather has been much better than anticipated. Staying at Peppers Estate in Kingscliff.

12 months and 12 photos (2021)

January

A new year and we started it with a trip to Hunter Valley! This place was amazing for their cheese & wine matching experience at Two Fat Blokes
February

Weekending in the Southern Highlands with friends. We were introduced to this venue Mount Ashby Estate and it was love at first sight. The Southern Highlands has become a firm favourite of ours to visit.
March

Trip to the Gold Coast, returning after 11 years. We stayed at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort. Stunning hotel and it was awesome to be back and see how the Gold Coast has changed over time.
April

Another great holiday in Queensland. This time was in Noosa for a special birthday ( 1 year later due to Covid) and a long overdue catch up with friends. What a fantastic town with so much to see and do.
May

Celebrating with my good friends for finally finishing our course that would enable us to teach nursing. I’m so glad I completed this and it was a highlight of the year to help me land a teaching job in nursing.
June

The Art Gallery of NSW. We loved this place and little did we know that another (much longer) lockdown was just around the corner.
July

Who was to know that this lockdown would last 4 months! We were limited to a 5km radius from where we lived. Thankfully we could go for daily walks in Centennial Park.
August

My first lockdown birthday and hopefully the last. My one wish was to see the sunrise at Bronte. It was really special 🌅. I’ve seen it many times but it never gets old.
September

Continuing with my daily workouts at home, maintaining my fitness and keeping my sanity.
October – After 107 days lockdown is over (for now). It was so nice to be able to leave our 5km radius and see Sydney come back to life. You always remember you live in Sydney when sitting at the Opera Bar ☺️
November

Getting out and about again. We’re still appreciating what Sydney has to offer. Here we attended the musical Come From Away at the Capitol Theatre. We love being in the theatre so this was a real treat.
December

Cheers to surviving 2021. A great day trip to Hunter Valley and a great wine tasting at Vinden Wines. It’s funny, I started the year in the Hunter and now seems fitting to complete the year here. The wine and many lockdown cocktails have certainly helped 😉

Thanks everyone for having a read. When you look back at the year, it actually wasn’t too bad. We still have our health and the hope that 2022 will be better. Stay safe and sane everyone.

Wayne ☺️

Covid booster received!

Hi everyone. So I had my covid booster yesterday. No nasty symptoms as yet, just a very sore arm. I’m delighted I have received it now as the Omicron variant is rampant now all over the world and here in Sydney the numbers are dramatically rising.

Just for your interest, I had two AstraZeneca vaccines and my booster was Moderna. We can now receive the booster after 5 months, instead of the initial 6 months, simply due to the rapid spike in cases. It’s funny when you have the vaccine, as you hear all sorts of signs and symptoms from friends and you are waiting yourself to experience something. Luckily I have nothing as yet but then I am only day 2 post shot.

The yellow band aid made my day!

Is anyone else planning to have the covid booster?

Stay safe everyone 😊

Wayne

Hunter Valley – in a day 🍷

Hunter Valley, NSW, an amazing place to taste some fine wines. Stunning scenery, boutique wineries, friendly people, what more could you wish for. I have been here quite a few times now and have always stayed at least two nights. I guess because it’s quite far away and it’s the ideal place to have a mini vacation. So when I was asked by my friends and work colleagues to join them for a day trip, I was excited to see what we could experience in a day. At least with the 2.5 hour drive each way, we could chat and catch up with each other 😊.

We had booked a day trip with Teds Tours. A company that specialises in wine tours and has a very friendly mentos. You can click https://www.tedstours.com.au/hunter-valley-tours/tour-packages for more information. Our driver Kris was amazing. He was a great laugh and very accommodating, picking us up from Wolli Creek and taking us there and back, whilst driving us also around three different vineyards and also to the pub for lunch. Nothing was a bother for him and he managed to keep us all within the time limits, no easy feat when everyone has had a few wines 🤪.

The gang ready to head off with Teds Tours

The three vineyards we had the pleasure of visiting were: Saltire 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿, Vinden Wines and Tatler. All three were good on there own merit, however, Saltire really stuck out for us. The scenery was unreal. Delicious wines, fantastic setting, a Scottish heritage and the service was extremely warm and inviting. All in all, this vineyard set the bar high and the staff had a really good knowledge and appreciation of their products 🍷.

Saltire 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Vinden Wines

Lunch at The Mighty – this was delicious and I really love this pub!

All in all, this was a great day out. We loved the company, the vineyards and the wines. Would I travel 2.5 hours each way again for a day trip, probably not. However, I would definitely use Teds Tours again, especially if staying in the Hunter in the future. I hope it inspires you to visit Hunter Valley, for a day or a longer stay. You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for reading guys, take care and stay safe.

Wayne ☺️

Come From Away ✈️ 🎭

I want to share with you my experience of seeing this musical and hopefully inspire you to go also 🙌🏼. I’m not sure if you have heard of this one as it’s relatively new so I will give a quick synopsis soon. First of all, being back in the theatre to see any show was such a novelty and a welcome back to normality. It’s one thing that I have really missed, live entertainment. I used to work in a theatre in Belfast, The Grand Opera House and it was from there, where my love for theatre began and grew. Being able to see every show that entered the Opera House many, many times was such a treat, especially the musicals as they’re right up my street. Anyway, being able to return to the theatre for a musical that I have been dying to see for ages was a real joy 🤩 (postponed so many times due to covid). Even just having a drink at the theatre bar was amazing!

Come From Away takes place from 11th September 2001 (can you believe it’s 20 years ago?) over a few days and tells the remarkable true story of those stranded after the events that occurred that day. I’m sure we all remember or know about the 9/11 attacks and the Twin Towers/Pentagon etc. However, you may not be as familiar with the aeroplanes that could not land as they were diverted due to the American airspace having completely shut down.

A total of 38 aeroplanes were told to land suddenly in the small town of Gander in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon (to clear the American airspace). The characters in the musical are based on real Gander residents who rallied around to help the 7,000 stranded travelers that had just landed there. They found them accommodation, provided food for the people and showed great kindness and hospitality. People were stranded there for several days and it managed to double the entire population of Gander temporarily. On a side note, those people not from Gander are known locally as those who “come from away”. Interesting fact ✌🏽.

I won’t say too much as I don’t want to spoil it for you but the story is really fascinating and one that I had never heard before. The music is amazing, really uplifting and memorable and tells the story wonderfully. It makes you realise also how far we have come from that time space, for example, no one really having mobile phones then, making it harder to call loved ones etc when in a time of panic and uncertainty.

If you’re looking for a night out that lifts your spirits and highlights the kind nature of human beings in troublesome times, then this is the show for you! I feel like we can all relate to this in some way, especially now with us living through a pandemic and needing to be empathetic with one another.

This musical is only 1 hour and 40 minutes long with no interval. So bring your drinks and snacks in with you. We saw this at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney, one of my favourite venues so far in Sydney 🤩.

Please let me know if you have seen this also or if you plan to see in the nearby future.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!

Wayne ☺️

Jacaranda season 💜

For this post I want to simply show case these amazing trees here in Sydney. I have been a huge fan of Jacarandas since arriving in Australia over 4 years ago. I think it’s the colour of the trees that make them so special and the fact that I had never seen them before. The season starts around mid October until mid November and it really provides that sense of spring being in the air and a gentle reminder that it is almost summer here.

Although it’s easy to think of these trees being native to Australia, they are interestingly a tree originally from South America, predominantly Argentina. If you want some more info on this tree you can find more info here.

These trees, presumably because of their attractive purple/blueish colour have become increasingly popular with social media people, all vying for that perfect snap or selfie. This is great to see people taking such an interest (me included), however, it can prove difficult at times to take some pictures without any other people photo bombing 🙈.

I will show you some of my Jacarandas snaps over the last few years and where they were taken. The good thing is, there are lots of places that Jacarandas can be found 🙌🏼.

If you’re looking for a grove of Jacaranda trees, McDougall Street in Kirribilli is a popular spot for bloggers and social media people.

McDougall Street, Kirribilli
McDougall Street, Kirribilli

I think the trees found near Como Hotel in Como, NSW, are pretty special, as are those found at Hogben Park in Kogerah. If you’re simply looking for a random tree or two, you can see these in many different streets in and around Sydney. I see a lot of them where I live in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

Como


Croydon

You can find them in lots of other Sydney suburbs, for example, Croydon.

I hope you all have the chance to see a Jacaranda this season and if not, at least you can see them here 🤗. Thanks for taking an interest in my love for the Jacaranda tree!!

Take care & stay safe,

Wayne ✌🏽

Happy Sunday 🌺

The most epic tree I ever did see 😜 or is it a plant? Does anyone know what we call this fine specimen? I was honestly so delighted to have seen this today. It’s a really stunning tree (or plant). I think it also really stands out due to the white wall behind it. It’s the little things in life, am I right?! ☺️

Have a lovely Sunday everyone, wherever you are in the world.

Wayne ✌🏽

Ps. Post update: apparently this tree is in fact Bougainvillea. Confirmed by my WordPress and Instagram friends. Thanks everyone ☺️

Celebrating my 50th blog post and what I have learned so far ✌🏽

Ok so I know this might not be a big deal for most people but for me, this is a huge milestone 😊. I normally do not write blogs daily or even weekly. I am more an every month kind of blogger or when I feel inspired to write. I don’t put pressure on myself to write a blog. I just have never seen the point 🤷🏼‍♂️. It’s an achievement for me as I have been blogging for over 4 years now and I am proud to have lasted the distance of time.

I would like to share with you five things that I have learned over the duration of my 50 posts:

1 – Don’t feel pressured to write a blog post all the time. It’s your blog and you can write whenever you want to. No one will judge you. Or if they do, don’t let it bother you 💁🏼‍♂️.

2 – I know this may seem obvious but it is super important to write about things that interest you. Otherwise it will become a chore.

3 – Always proof read your blog posts or have someone that can check them over before you publish. We’re human and we do make mistakes. Even if you miss something during a proof read, hopefully someone reading can inform you and it’s really easy to fix your mistake 🙌🏼.

4 – Don’t stress about the amount of likes or comments you do or do not receive. I know it can be disheartening when you spend a good amount of time on a post and you receive little to no likes. This concerned me at the beginning. However, I soon realised that many people may still have read my blog and have enjoyed it or been inspired by it. I have had people thanking me for my blogs but maybe were not WordPress users and therefore did not or could not like the post on the WordPress site. This gave me some comfort and reassurance that my efforts were not in vain 👍🏻.

5 – This brings me to my final point. If you want to have people noticing your blog and interacting with you, you have to be social on WordPress. You need to be reading other blogs and showing an interest. This is how you connect, make friends and become involved in the blogging community. I must admit, this is something I have only realised in the past few months. I have a somewhat noteworthy Instagram following and I assumed my Instagram followers would join me on my blogging journey. The reality is, this is just not the case. People perhaps like Instagram solely for pictures and not a lot of dialogue. Therefore, they maybe do not want to read a whole blog piece. It is essential that if you want to grow your blog audience, you need to interact with fellow bloggers and those with similar interests. If you show enthusiasm for other blogs and comment with your own opinions, you will see the same happening for you also ☺️. For me personally, having people react to my blog posts inspires me and encourages me to write more often. This is something I am excited to be doing now and in the future.

I hope this is some help to other bloggers or those who are beginning their blogging journey. Good luck and happy blogging 🤗.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Wayne ✌🏽

NSW on a vaccine high ☺️

90% of people here in New South Wales are double vaccinated. I am so thrilled for everyone here for pulling together, listening to the health professionals and getting their shots. I know it hasn’t been easy with some people divided over having the vaccine. However, the fact that it has been made almost compulsory to have the vaccine has enabled us to be safer in our daily lives and get back to some sort of new normal.

I’m hoping things continue to improve for us here in Australia and for everyone around the world 😷.

Stay safe and sane everyone ✌🏽

Covid 19 Booster

This blog is in response to Fandangos Provocative Question #FPQ, which is: If you have already received your initial COVID-19 vaccinations, are you intending to get a booster shot when it becomes available to you? Why or why not? If you have yet to be vaccinated for COVID-19, are you intending to ever get vaccinated? Why or why not?

Although I’m a travel blogger per se, I think this is such an interesting question and a very topical and divisive topic at present. Personally, I cannot wait to have a booster shot, 3rd vaccine in total to protect against the coronavirus.

I’m a nurse, so I appreciate the importance in protecting ourselves and others from the virus spreading. I am no medical genius by any means but I trust the medical professionals and the advice they have provided. I know with the vaccines you can still be infected and can still pass the virus on to others. However, the chances of this are significantly reduced and if you do happen to become infected, your risk of hospitalisation is decreased drastically. Very few, if any people here in Australia are hospitalised after having the initial 2 shots of the vaccine. This therefore frees the hospital beds for those people that are sick from other illnesses etc.

I believe a 3rd shot is needed to maintain a high number of antibodies in your system. I look at it like a flu shot we receive every year. Different strains may evolve again as we have seen in the past. Therefore, vaccines may need tweaking in the future again and given again to people en mass.

Even with my initial 2 vaccine shots, I still do not want to get covid 19. So bring on my 3rd shot already 🤣🤣. At present we have to wait 6 months for our booster so hopefully I can receive mine next month 🙌🏼. I think we should be extremely thankful that we have the vaccines, especially as some people living in third world countries may find it harder to obtain them or some people may lack the education and knowledge of how the vaccines work.

Stay safe everyone and get vaccinated ✌🏽

Wayne ☺️

1 night in Manly ☺️

When you need a break but can’t have more than a weekend off, 1 night will have to suffice. We just wanted to get away for a couple of days for a change of scenery. So we decided on Manly. Although Manly is still within Sydney and easy to travel to, we have never stayed overnight here. You see, you normally would catch the ferry here from Circular Quay and have a day trip in Manly, normally catching a ferry back home at around sunset. There are a few lovely bars and restaurants at the harbour and we would often have a couple of drinks here while waiting on the ferry to come in and take us home. However, when the craic is great and the drinks are flowing, you seem to just watch the ferries arrive and then they depart, without you on them. There’s always time to catch the next ferry 😉. This could go on for about 3 or 4 ferries until we have decided, enough is enough and head back home.

Drinks at the harbour waiting for the ferry ☺️

So this in itself would be a novelty for us to stay here and not have to worry about catching the ferry home. There’s lots to do at Manly and we still hadn’t seen all that is on offer. You have the harbour, bush walks, beaches and rock pools, as well as, amazing bars and restaurants. We decided to stay at Hotel Steyne. It’s a hotel but more so, it is a restaurant and pub, with outdoor areas, a glasshouse bar, whiskey bar and a rooftop with stunning views of Manly beach. It has charm, character and is right in the heart of everything Manly has to offer. We loved this place.

I could not recommend Manly enough for a short stay (more than 1 night would have been amazing) or a longer holiday. It honestly has everything and really feels like a holiday destination. I am seriously looking forward to a longer break but for now, 1 night will have to do 🙏🏼

We caught up with friends from home at The Ivanhoe Hotel.

The beaches and walks are stunning. We didn’t do any bush walks this time but they’re really worth checking out.

Is anyone else planning a night away? Where’s your favourite place to travel for a weekend break?

Thanks everyone for reading!

Keep safe,

Wayne ☺️

Halloween anyone? 🎃

Is Halloween a big deal where you live? I feel like it’s pretty big here in Sydney. Parents go to great lengths to make it fun for the children. They really decorate their houses well and also outside their houses. I once seen hoards of children and their parents travelling the streets en mass here to go trick or treating. I had never seen this before.

Where I’m from in Northern Ireland, the kids would get dressed up and parade the streets to find sweets and candy from the neighbouring houses (you were devastated if someone gave you fruit or nuts!). I had never seen parents also getting dressed up and travelling with their children. Maybe that’s a sign of the times.

I used to love Halloween as a student. It was a great chance to be dressed up in anything really and head to a party with other like minded souls. The outfits didn’t have to be particularly scary. I never really understood that part. As I grow older, Halloween means less and less to me sadly. What about you? Does anyone else look forward to Halloween and it’s festivities?

Wayne 🧙‍♂️

E.G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens

I happened to stumble across these gardens when working in Caringbah, within the Sutherland Shire recently. I was trying to walk somewhere pleasant and increase my step count when these gardens appeared like an oasis in a desert. It was such a awesome surprise to find. I just wanted to share some pictures of the gardens and the nearby Kareena Park Reserve. Here you can find an abundance of camellias and other flowers, a quaint tea house, numerous bird species and many sleepy flying foxes. This is the perfect spot for a picnic or simply getting lost in nature. If you want to read about the history of the gardens you can click here.

This is somewhere you should check out if looking for a day trip out of Sydney to see something a little different. It honestly made my day to spend some time here and I felt I should share with others who may not have heard of this spot.

Take care and thanks for reading 🙏🏼

Wayne 😊

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