Doors of WordPress V30 🎄

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to my 30th edition of Doors of WordPress!!! This week we’re showcasing some festive inspired doors, mine are all red as that’s the colour I think of when I envisage the Christmas season. I haven’t seen too many festive doors this week but I suppose it’s still early days. I love seeing all the Christmas wreaths on the doors too, a tradition that still makes me smile when I see it, so if I see any wreaths over the next couple of weeks, I will be sure to share them.

1 – Love & Death, a cool bar in Belfast city centre.

2 – St Malachy’s Parish Church, Hillsborough

3 – Hillsborough, I love this door, the frame and transom window, very regal in appearance and just beside Hillsborough Castle.

4 – Avonmore House, Banbridge. This house was built around 1791 and was the home of Francis Crozier, the Banbridge born polar explorer.

5 – Hillsborough, a great door and I love the Christmas wreath.

I hope you’re all enjoying the festive season thus far. I’m just working away and enjoying the build up, the Christmas songs and mince pies. I haven’t even started Christmas shopping yet, what about you?

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V29

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors. I have another handful from around Northern Ireland so please take a look and let me know if you have a favourite. I’m looking forward to seeing if there are any festive doors in the lead up to Christmas, seeing as today is the first of December. If you celebrate Christmas, do you have your tree up yet?

1 – Cathedral Quarter, Belfast

2 – Banbridge

3 – South Belfast

4 – Banbridge

5 – Banbridge

Have a great end to your week everyone and enjoy the beginning of December.

Wayne ✌🏽

M O I R A

As most of you know, I was in Moira last weekend for my sister’s wedding and I really want to show you all this picturesque and charming place.

Moira is a beautiful little village in Co. Down, Northern Ireland and can be accessed directly from the motorway, making it very easy to access. This was only my second time visiting here, which is surprising as it has always been a close enough place to where I had been living.

The last time I was here was in 2016 and it made a huge impact on me even then. I knew I wanted to return for a visit one day and luckily enough for me, I would be visiting for a wedding. It’s an extremely quirky place with many independently owned shops, quaint cafes and award winning restaurants. There is a very welcoming and homely feel to Moira and it has an abundance of character. I will run through some of the places I managed to see over the weekend and highlight a couple of places that I would love to visit in the future.

1 – Ralph’s Bed and Breakfast

2 – Tutta La Pizza

This is a lovely pizzeria across the road from Ralph’s that has amazing pizza, where you can grab a takeaway or you can dine in, whilst soaking in the rustic charm that it has managed to encapsulate.

3 – The StillHouse

4 – Moira Demesne

5 – Places to interest

A lovely sunset on the Main Street on a crisp autumn evening.

All in all this is a great little place to check out and spend a day or two. I personally can’t wait to return to explore more and try the coffee shops and restaurants, as I’m sure there are even more that I haven’t even seen yet.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Blueblossom

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to the weekend. My flower of the day is the blueblossom and I just happened to spot this in my parents’ garden. I love the colour and shape of these flowers and the fact they can be found on an evergreen shrub, making the blue really pop with its green leaves. You can’t help but smile when you see these.

They are native to the west coast of the United States, however, here we see them in Northern Ireland thankfully. Birds tend to love these shrubs due to the protection they offer, as well as the seeds that the blueblossoms produce.

Have you ever seen this flower?

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V28

Happy Thursday everyone. It’s a cold and wet one this week in Northern Ireland (what a shocker) and the dark evenings have leached into the afternoons.

However, last weekend we were in Moira for my sister’s wedding and I was able to spot a few doors that I liked. Take a wee look below and let me know if you have a favourite.

1

2

3

4

5

Number 5 is my personal favourite. The quaintest and tiniest door I ever did see! I wonder if a bird lives in there?!

Have a great day everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Banbridge Riverside Walk

Does anybody else love to take a Sunday stroll? I love to walk, as nerdy as that sounds but it really makes me feel good. Since leaving Sydney I have been walking less and less, mainly due to being extremely busy but also as there aren’t too many interesting walks nearby. This riverside walk in Banbridge is the nearest walkway to me and I really love it. The only downside is that it’s really quite short, therefore, it doesn’t enable you to obtain many steps for the day.

The name of the walk is pretty self explanatory, it’s a short walk along the river, the River Bann to be precise and it’s one of the longest rivers in Northern Ireland. The walk itself in Banbridge could take you about 20 minutes but it’s beautiful all the same. It’s especially scenic at this time of year with all the autumnal colours.

It’s a shame you can’t walk the whole length of the river, however, I am grateful to have even a small path to walk along when you need to clear your head and breathe in some fresh air.

Have a great Sunday everyone. I will be watching a Christmas movie this afternoon to get into the festive spirit 😉.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V26

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors spotted in Northern Ireland. This week’s selection are colourful and full of character. Let me know if you have a favourite 😊.

1 – Hillsborough

2 – Lisburn

3 – South Belfast

4 – Cushendall

5 – Cushendall

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Common Borage

Happy Friday everyone. I spotted this flower in the Botanic Gardens Belfast and I loved its uniqueness. I have never seen this particular species before. I love the colour and find it a very uplifting flower. Have you ever seen a common borage?

Also known as beeplant or starflower. The edible leaves of common borage, said to have the fragrance and taste of cucumbers, are often used to make salads, soup, and sauces. Its blue, star-like flowers can also be used as an attractive drink garnish and as an ingredient in some gins (Picture This, 2022).

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V25 🎃

Happy Thursday everyone. As it was Halloween this week and we are still in Autumn/Fall, I thought I would try to share my most autumnal and spooky doors. Let me know what you think and if you have a favourite.

1 – The Gatekeeper’s Inn

2 – Banbridge

3 – Hillsborough Castle

4 – Elmwood Avenue

5 – Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

I hope you all had a lovely Halloween if you celebrate at all. I was driving in the evening so I missed it all. I did manage to see a few fireworks in the sky though which was nice.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V24

Hi everyone and a very happy Thursday to you all. The sun is shining here in Northern Ireland after some horrendous stormy weather yesterday. I have been pretty quiet here in the blogging realm for a few weeks due to some family circumstances but I thought today would be as good a day as any to make a return, plus I love creating doors posts on a Thursday so it’s perfect timing.

I hope you have all been keeping well and adjusting to these seasonal changes wherever in the world you might be. I have been trying to keep an eye on other people’s blogs, as a means to stay in tune with what’s happening here but also for some light reading as a welcome distraction.

I hope you enjoy my selection of local doors from around Northern Ireland and please let me know if you have a favourite.

1 – Finaghy

2 – Carnlough

3 – Glenann

4 – Malone Road, South Belfast

5 – Banbridge

My personal favourite is number five. I love the colour of the door, the glass panels on either side, the arch around the door, the wreath on the door, I could go on and on and on. I just love this one. How about you?

Thanks so much for reading and taking a look.

All the best,

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday sunset – Banbridge

This sunset was taken last week at my parents home in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. Although we didn’t see the sun actually set, I loved the colours of the sky as it was setting. I especially like the way the buildings become a silhouette against the skyline.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. This is now almost three weeks for us being home in Northern Ireland. Where does the time go??

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Black eyed susan part 2

Happy Friday everyone! Today’s flower of the day was spotted at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park when I was there last week. This flower really jumped out at me and I couldn’t believe it was another black eyed susan. You might remember I showed this flower last Friday but I feel that this flower looks very different from last weeks. Therefore, I thought it would be good to showcase this flower again. What do you think of this flower today? Does it look similar or different to my previous black eyed susan? I have placed the link to last week’s flower below my image.

https://wrookieschu.com/2022/08/26/fotd-black-eyed-susan/

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

A map at the entrance of this amazing park.

This park is located in South Belfast and is a good walk from where I am staying at the moment. I have been here a couple of times and have always known it was famous for its many flowers and in particular its rose gardens. However, this was the first time I actually followed the map and purposefully looked for the attractions listed, such as the walled garden and Japanese garden. I also was not aware that there is a cafe here too, that was a welcome bonus. I will leave the official link for this park here so you can read a little history about this place and how it ended up being available to the public. https://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/things-to-do/parks-and-open-spaces/a-z-parks/sir-thomas-and-lady-dixon-park

I hope you enjoy reading about this wonderful park and please let me know if you have ever visited yourself.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V22

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of Doors of WordPress. I have been in Northern Ireland for just over one week now and have managed to spot a copious amount of doors. To be honest, I was nervous leaving Sydney and not seeing any more amazing doors, however, I am pleased to say, Northern Ireland has a fantastic array of doors that I am very much looking forward to showcasing. Have a look below and let me know if you have a favourite door or if you have been to any of the locations.

1 – Banbridge
2 – Hillsborough
3 – Belfast City Centre
4 – Banbridge
5 – Belfast City Centre

Thanks for checking out my doors again this week. Have a great day everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – TRANSITION

Two things spring to mind when I see this prompt. Firstly, the image says Week of August 8 which makes me think the monthly word prompt is now weekly!? I asked WordPress about this and they stated that they are trialling more frequent word prompts. Fair enough and I think it’s a good idea, especially if you are maybe struggling to think of a blog topic.

Secondly the word prompt featured is transition which jumps out at me as I feel this is personally very appropriate at this time. I am making a huge life transition in the coming days. As many of you know already, I have been travelling a lot over the past few weeks and next week I will be heading to Northern Ireland after three years of not being able to visit home. I have packed up all my belongings and moving across the world to finally reunite with my family and friends. Whether I stay there or return to Australia remains to be seen but for now I will be concentrating on catching up with loved ones and reacquainting myself with life in Northern Ireland.

I will be keeping you all updated and sharing plenty more on my blog as the next chapter of my life commences, hopefully showcasing the best places see in Northern Ireland, Ireland and even Europe. I would like to say thank you all for your continued support and for creating such an amazing blogging environment here on WordPress.

Take care and enjoy your weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

Northern Ireland VS Australia

Having looked at the pros and cons for Australia in my previous post, let me take you through my pros and cons for living in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Pros :

Family & friends. My absolute number one reason for moving home is seeing my family and friends and making more memories. Covid has given me a new appreciation for spending time with loved ones, especially as we haven’t seen them in person for over three years.

The Scenery. Northern Ireland is very green and scenic. It has lots to offer in terms of sightseeing, for example, the north coast. Also I plan to visit more of Ireland as a whole and explore what is on my own doorstep.

Europe. Northern Ireland may have left Europe (unwillingly) but we are still situated in the European continent. This means we can travel pretty much anywhere in Europe quickly and relatively cheaply, as opposed to when living in Australia. It really is amazing to have Europe in your back yard and I plan to take advantage and make the most of travelling to places in Europe in the future.

No natural disasters. Yes the weather in Northern Ireland can be horrendous, being wet and cold almost all of the year but at least we don’t suffer the extremities such as fires, floods, earthquakes and volcanoes etc.

The NHS. Yes the National Health Service has its fair share of problems but it is still a free health service (I know we pay through our taxes) and a pretty good one, most of the time, especially in Northern Ireland. To receive free health care for everyone is fantastic and I actually really loved working for the NHS.

The Craic. In our country, this term means fun and good times. It can also mean sense of humour. People in Northern Ireland are great fun and have the best craic. They are also very friendly and hospitable people.

The bright nights. In Northern Ireland it can stay bright until 11pm at night in the summer months. I took this for granted until I moved to Australia, where it never stays light past 6 or 7pm.

Northern Ireland Cons :

The Weather. Unfortunately this has to be top of my list. The weather is pretty horrendous in Northern Ireland for a really long part of the year. From end of September until about April, it will be really cold with good chances of rain, sleet, snow and hail. They even had snow in June this year! We do have the odd good day now and again. Unfortunately we do have the most beautiful scenery but it is all weather dependent.

Spides & Millbags. Yes most of the people in Northern Ireland are extremely friendly but we do have a minority of people known as spides and millbags. These are people who can be described as being small minded, brash, loud, still argue about religion, never leave Northern Ireland and have the worst dress sense. I, for one, do not miss these people. I’m sure every country has their fair share of people like this but in Northern Ireland, they’re a breed of their own. Most of the time you can avoid them but now and again they will leave their homes and make an appearance into your safe little world.

Religion. Northern Ireland, sadly is still stuck in the past with regards to religion. You have Protestants and Catholics (both a Christian religion 🤷🏼‍♂️) still arguing about Northern Ireland and whether it should belong to Ireland or belong to the United Kingdom. I actually think it’s not even about religion anymore but more about territory. Thankfully, these people are in the minority and I don’t personally know many people who still think like this but they do still exist in Northern Ireland. Thanks to immigration these people are being diluted and the country is moving forward, albeit at a snails pace.

The dark mornings and nights. Just like the cold and wet weather, Northern Ireland is also pretty dark for a lot of the year. You will go to work in the dark and return home in the dark. This is pretty grim to be honest. Due to this, many things do not open early, for example, it’s nearly impossible to obtain a coffee before 9am. I think I will struggle with this since living in Bondi where you can grab a coffee as early as 5.30 am.

The Government. I don’t like talking about politics so I will just say that our government is pretty basic. They argue with each other and when one party can’t agree with another party, they just stop working altogether. They actually still get paid even though the government stops working. They take whatever rules they want from the UK and if they don’t like them, they will change them to suit their own religious agenda and beliefs.

Even writing about religion and the government in Northern Ireland makes me cranky. On the whole, Northern Ireland is a great country with lots of character and interesting people. I love being from Northern Ireland as I can have dual nationality, meaning we can carry an Irish and British passport. Northern Ireland is a unique country with lots of potential. We are really upping our game in terms of attractions, bars, restaurants, hotels and even media (think Game of Thrones). I honestly hope you all have the opportunity to visit Northern Ireland one day.

Thanks for reading my part two blog post on the pros and cons of both Australia and Northern Ireland. Do you agree or disagree with any of my points? Have you ever been to these countries or want to visit in the future?

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Australia VS Northern Ireland

As I plan to move back home to Northern Ireland (at least for a few months) I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on both countries and delve into the pros and cons of living in each country. I had been thinking of these a lot over the past few months when trying to make a decision about where to live. As an expat, these are things we think about, pretty much on a daily basis, as sad as that sounds. In this post I will look at the pros and cons of Australia and in my next blog post I will look at Northern Ireland.

Australia Pros :

The weather. It’s pretty much warm for most of the year. Winter here can be cold enough but only lasts for about three months give or take.

The lifestyle. It’s very chilled out here in Australia, especially in Sydney where I live by the water. The sunshine makes people happy, the coastal walks, dining outdoors, exercising etc. I think just being outdoors is so good for our mental health and well-being.

The opportunities. Australia is the land of opportunity. There is plenty of work available here and you can process quickly. Even the fact I have been teaching here has been a huge opportunity that I wouldn’t have been given back home.

The money. The fact is, I earn a lot more as a nurse here than I ever will back home. That can be said for many jobs here. Yes the expense of living is much higher here but you can still manage to save money here and live a really fulfilling life.

The health system. It is amazing here, with a mixture of public and private, it works really well. I feel so fortunate to be in a country with such a fantastic health system, unlike America where it costs a fortune and many people can’t afford or the NHS that is really struggling and has been for many years now.

The activities. There is always something to do, especially in Sydney. There are an abundance of bars and restaurants, plenty of bush, beach and ocean walks, lots of experiences, seeing the sights and famous landmarks etc etc, I could go on forever here.

The sheer size of Australia. There is also so much to see and do all over Australia, therefore, you don’t really ever need to leave Australia if you want to see somewhere new. I don’t think I realised how big Australia actually is until I lived here for some time. It is unbelievably huge with each state completely different from the next and offering so much that really is a feast for anyone living here.

Australia Cons :

The weather. As much as I love the weather here, it can also be a negative for Australia, especially the past three years. The bush fires are becoming more aggressive, wiping out so much land and killing millions of animal species. 2019 was horrific, so I dread to think how the next bush fires will be. Then we have the other extreme, flooding. The last two years we have had the La Niña weather event, bringing catastrophic amounts of rainfall. This is also predicted to last well into next year. The only silver lining with the rain is that it prevents the bush fires. I feel also with global warming, that the weather here, sadly, will be seeing more and more extremes of weather disasters.

The distance. Personally, this is my biggest issue. It never used to bother me before covid. I always felt that if I needed to be home, I could always hop on a flight and be home within 24 hours. However, since being in lockdown, we haven’t been home in over three years. We suddenly feel very far from home. We are literally at the other side of the word. With lockdowns, it appeared to the outside world that Australia was very much cut off from everywhere else in the world. Family and friends are very important to me and if I can’t see them, that’s a big problem.

In conclusion, you can see I have many more pros than cons. I absolutely love Australia and its people. It is a magnificent country with lots to do and great opportunities but I don’t have my family here. I feel extremely far away and for that reason, I will be going home for a few months to see how it goes.

Keep an eye on my next blog post where I will write about the pros and cons of Northern Ireland. Thanks for reading everyone and have a pleasant day.

Wayne ✌🏽

Five years of blogging!

Wow! Another milestone hit this week for me. I have been blogging for five years now and I really feel like I have come full circle.

I started blogging when I arrived in Australia five years ago. I wanted to document my travels and the plan was initially to share my travels with those from home in Ireland. However, I soon found that when I was blogging about places in Sydney, local Sydney people were taking an interest and learning from my travel experiences. This was fantastic and really gave me a boost to keep sharing the places I had been visiting.

Now after five years, I will be heading back home to Ireland. My blog has come full circle and I now really look forward to taking my blog back home and sharing travel experiences from Ireland and Europe. We have a lot to offer in Ireland and Northern Ireland, where I will be living. I hope you continue to follow my journey and see what the other side of the world has to offer.

It hasn’t been an easy decision to move back home after five years but again I have covid to thank for that. Suddenly we feel so far away from home here in Australia. Previously I always thought I could be home within a couple of days, however, it has now been over three years since I have been home. I miss my family and friends and feel I have to take this opportunity to return home and see what the future has in store for me there. That’s not to say I will never be back to Australia. It’s not a good bye but rather a “See you later”.

I will be doing a little travelling soon before I reach home with my partner so stay tuned and hopefully I will have some really interesting places to show you on my blog.

Thank you everyone again for following my journey and I hope to keep you further entertained in the next chapter of my life.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – North Coast

Happy Sunday everyone. This sunset was taken at Portrush, along the north coast of Northern Ireland.

Portrush, August 2016.
I love the colours of the sky and the way that they reflect in the water. This is also our family dog in the photo 😊

Hope you have all had a lovely weekend. It’s currently lashing in Sydney, a months rain in the last couple of days. Hoping it stops soon.

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday thoughts 💭 – Share your world 07-06-22

Melanie’s questions this week are good ones in my opinion 🤗 so thank you Melanie.

When you were a kid, did you eat the crusts on your sandwich or not?

Yes absolutely. I love the crusts and still do. They also give you curly hair!

Are you a fan of musicals—why or why not?

Yes I LOVE musicals. I love the energy and the way that musicals can be emotive, really lifting your spirits with one song and the next you could be weeping like a willow. I used to work in the Grand Opera House Belfast as an usher and this is where my love for musicals blossomed. We were able to watch every single show that visited the Opera House. I remember “having” to watch Chicago for fifteen shows straight…and I loved every minute of it. The euphoria you feel at the end, when everyone is clapping and the actors take their bows, it’s another level.

Is it difficult to do what you do? (for a living, hobby etc.). If you’re retired, what you ‘did’ previously for a job can be substituted.

I am a registered nurse here in Sydney. I would say it is a tough job but when you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t seem so bad. The tasks that we have to perform are not difficult, as we are well trained. It’s the obstacles in front of us that can make our work hard. For example, being short staffed, not having the resources we need, having numerous tasks to perform in a short period of time, not to mention the things that can happen out of the blue, i.e. if a patient becomes really sick or we enter a pandemic. The last two years have been extremely difficult for nurses worldwide. Not only for the extra duties we have to carry out and the PPE that we have to wear for a whole shift but we were also fearful of becoming sick ourselves and/or bringing the virus home to our loved ones. You not only become physically exhausted but also emotionally drained. I feel for those nurses who were working in nursing homes, emergency, ICU and the covid wards. When family were unable to see loved ones. That must have been heartbreaking for everyone concerned and for the nurses being the patients first and maybe only point of call. Nurses do not want to be recognised as superheroes, we want to be seen as professionals in our trade and respected and paid accordingly 😊.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? (Doesn’t have to be a rock concert either).

Eminem, Glasgow, 2003. I’m not a huge rap fan but he was really out of this world. Also John Legend in Atlantic City, 2005 was pretty special.

GRATITUDE SECTION

Looking back over your life, what is one thing you’re grateful for? One thing you really regret?

I’m grateful for the upbringing I was given. To be kind and respectful to others, to be the best person I can be. The one thing I do regret is undertaking a geography degree. I completed it but it has done nothing for me. It was one of those degrees that everyone seemed to be doing whilst having a great time at uni so I thought, sure why not. However, it was a complete waste of time. Maybe I learned some life lessons but that’s about it 🙈.

Thanks for reading guys. Have a great day.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress – Game Of Thrones Edition

I was inspired by Suzette B’s Blog some time ago when she showcased one of the Game Of Thrones doors in her blog post. It was a fascinating read and it made me think back to when I had also seen one of these doors. So as part of Dan’s Thursday Doors, I thought I would show case the Game of Thrones door that I have seen.

First of all, a recap of what these doors are all about. If you have watched Game of Thrones and were an avid fan, you might be aware of some of the filming locations. Many scenes were filmed in Northern Ireland, much to my delight and the delight of most people living there. A prominent scene was filmed at a location called The Dark Hedges in Co. Antrim and has since become a huge tourist attraction. It is basically a road lined with beech trees but the trees are magnificent in their stature and appearance, creating a very moody and suspenseful location to wander through.

The Dark Hedges – 2015
We came back the next day to see the trees with blue skies

Over the years, sadly many of the trees have fallen. They have been subject to storms and the ever increasing presence of tourists coming to the site. Tourism Northern Ireland and HBO found a way to keep the fallen trees alive (in spirit at least) and make good use of them. They were upcycled to create ten wooden doors, with each one depicting a scene from the Game of Thrones series and scattered throughout different locations in Northern Ireland. If you want to see their locations, you can find information here. This is where I found out that mine was number six in the Game of Thrones doors series.

I had heard about these doors when I was last in Northern Ireland, three years ago. My parents had known that there was one nearby in Ballintoy, in a pub called the Fullerton Arms. We headed there for a pint and a nosey and we were delighted to spot the Game of Thrones door, created with such finesse from the fallen beech trees. The pub also had a shrine to Game of Thrones with other memorabilia, a themed dining room and even its very own throne!

Game of Thrones Door #6 at Fullerton Arms
Amazing carvings and such intricate detail. This one show cases House Targaryen 🐉

I absolutely cannot wait to see all of these doors when I head back to Northern Ireland soon. Once I have seen them all, I will create a new post to show case them all.

Thanks so much for reading.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V8

As it’s Thursday Doors today, courtesy of No Facilities, here are my latest offerings of doors from my neighbourhood and beyond. Please let me know which ones are your favourites. Check out my doors below 👇🏼

1 – Darlinghurst, Sydney
St Kilda, Melbourne
3 – Hunter Valley, NSW
4 – Portrush, Northern Ireland
5 – Paddington, Sydney

I find it hard to choose a favourite as I like them all for different reasons. I am watching the tv series Cheers from start to finish at the moment, so for that reason, I will say the door from Northern Ireland as it has the Cheers logo 😉.

Thanks again for checking out my doors this Thursday.

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – GREEN 🍃

“Each month, we’ll be bringing you a single word that serves as a prompt for your writing, your art, your coding, whatever it is that makes you, you.
For April, the WordPrompt is: GREEN”. Thanks WordPress 🙌🏼.

It’s good to feel at one with nature

Ok I like this prompt and I smiled when I saw the word. To begin with, green is one of my all time favourite colours, falling just behind blue. I love scenery and nature and for me, this will most often include green and blue colours. Perhaps this is a reason for loving these colours. I feel like green has so many shades that can all emulate different energies. For example, racing green makes me think of class and sophistication, whereas, apple green is light, fresh and fun. Even when wearing green clothing I tend to feel good 😊.

I love wearing green!

I am also from Ireland, the Emerald Isle, where we have lots of greenery. We have luscious green fields, trees, grass and moss, namely due to the amount of rain we receive. Ireland is always associated with being green and we can see this especially on St Patrick’s Day, when all the Irish will wear green clothing. This isn’t only in Ireland. People all over the world will celebrate this day and don their favourite green attire. Ok, so it is mostly in countries that have a large Irish population or heritage but wearing green has become a trait of being quintessentially Irish.

It is super green in the Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland, pretty even on a cloudy day.
Castlerock, Northern Ireland. The blue skies really make the green pop!
Wearing green is essential on St Patrick’s Day ☘️

However, that’s not to say green is solely for the Irish. There are many countries that show case the colour green very well. When I think of green, I also think of tropical places. I think of holidays and paradise. Many countries and islands have wet seasons, therefore, green vegetation will be in abundance. When we travelled to Taveuni, the garden island of Fiji, it was extremely green, as you would expect.

Taveuni, Fiji

I also love to eat many healthy green fruit and vegetables. I love peppers (or capsicums in Australia), broccoli, peas, salads, apples, pears and grapes. I think even just the green colour makes me think of them as being healthy and good for you. I remember as a child always hearing “be sure to eat all your greens!”.

There’s even a green knife!
Everything appears healthy with greens 🥬

Thanks for allowing me the chance to divulge in a sea of greenery!!! What do you think about the colour green? What does it invoke in you?

Wayne ✌🏽 #wordprompt

Sunday Sunsets – Portrush

Happy Sunday everyone. I’m up early here in Sydney, bright eyed this morning but without the bushy tail 🤣. Four hours sleep is just not enough for me (I’m a 7 hour man!) and I’m away today for some wine tastings. So I thought I would create my Sunday Sunset post before I head out for the day.

These were taken in 2016 at a place called Portrush. It’s a little seaside town along the north coast of Northern Ireland. This is the small harbour known as Portrush Harbour (funnily enough). It’s a really beautiful place and it’s a town that many people from Northern Ireland visit for a mini vacation. At the harbour you can find a variety of restaurants, quaint and cosy pubs, a yacht club and you’re in very close proximity to the beaches and town.

I am extremely fortunate that my parents moved here a few years ago so it means I always get to come here. I used to frequent as a child, like most kids did then, as most people couldn’t afford foreign holidays. People would have travelled locally for the weekend or a week away. However, we always had the best times and treasure those memories into our adulthood.

Have you ever visited Northern Ireland’s stunning yet underrated coastline? I feel like it often gets forgotten about when people visit Ireland 🤷🏼‍♂️.

Be sure to let me know.

Take care everyone,

Wayne ✌🏽

St Patrick’s Day ☘️

Happy St Patrick’s Day everyone. 17th March is a day the Irish love to celebrate. We celebrate St. Patrick as he drove the snakes out of Ireland, although he also brought Christianity to the island too apparently, saving the Irish from their pagan ways 😝.

In 2016 we visited the grave of St. Patrick at Downpatrick Cathedral

For most of us, it’s a time to celebrate being Irish or to be from the country of Ireland, including Northern Ireland. It’s a time to gather with our friends, drink lots of Guinness, wear our finest green attire and listen to traditional Irish music. It is an excuse for many to have a big breakfast and start the celebrations early. If you manage to stay out celebrating past 7pm, you have done extremely well.

We drink anything green really 🤣

This is also a day where everybody wants to be Irish. Everyone will tell you that they are Irish. “My grandmother’s aunt came from Ireland or my Dad’s great grandfather’s wife was Irish, so I must be part Irish too. We hear that a lot and in most cases I’m sure it will be true. The Irish tend to be everywhere. Years ago, Irish people had big families and many emigrated to seek a better future for their families, especially to America, Canada and Australia.

Being in Australia is a bit different from home and the traditions are a little different. I was working today but will be heading out for dinner tonight. I will be wearing green and I will be drinking Guinness. Even though it doesn’t taste as good here (they say Guinness doesn’t travel well, it’s best to drink in a country pub in Ireland, preferably Donegal 😉).

Will you be celebrating St Patrick’s Day today? Do you have a connection to Ireland? Do you have an Irish heritage? Please do let me know.

Drinking Guinness in an Irish pub in Sydney 2019

Have a great day everyone.

Slainte! 🍻

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 ✌🏽

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 🧙‍♂️

12 months and 12 photos (2019)

Hi everybody!!! It has been a while. I haven’t written a blog in about 4 months, sorry for that. To be honest, I haven’t had much to say or write about as there has been no travelling for the past few months (except Melbourne twice but does that even count?!). I have been attempting to lay low and save my pennies/cents for the big year that is to come in 2020. A fellow blogger has been carrying out 12 months and 12 photos and I loved this idea. It’s a great way for me to create a blog and keep me in the game. It’s the first time I saw another blog post and thought, yes, I want to do that. So thanks to Tanja from @theredphoneboxtravels for the inspo. I have picked my 12 photos (not an easy task by the way, if you have a few things going on each month) and added a little caption to each one. I hope you find them of interest 🙂

January – Taveuni

Taveuni
The holiday of all holidays. We won a trip back to Fiji and we decided to visit the garden island of Fiji that is Taveuni. An absolutely amazing place with the best people. We made memories there that will last a lifetime.

February – Belfast comes to Melbourne

Belfast comes to Melbs
2 of our really good friends Brian and Rachael came to Melbourne. I didn’t want to miss them so I flew over to spend the weekend with them and had the best craic!

March – Meet my parents in Thailand

Thailand
I had the oppotunity to visit my parents when they were in Thailand celebrating their anniversary. I couldn’t miss this, maybe my only ever chance to have a holiday with just the 2 of them all to myself. A really chilled out holiday with memories I will always cherish.

April – 10 years later

10 years later
We love our Sydney walks and for me, my photo opportunities! We sat here to have a photo taken and realised we had sat here 10 years ago also. We have lived in Sydney in 2009 for 1 year and had made it our dream and mission to return. I like this photo as it highlights how far we have came and what is achievable if you want something bad enough.

May – Home

Home
We love our trips back to Northern Ireland. This was our 2nd trip home since leaving for Australia. We had an amazing time as always, plus we attended 2 very special weddings. The landscape in Northern Ireland is stunning, it definitely needs to be seen if visiting Ireland.

June – A time of reflection

Reflection
This is the Chinese Garden of Friendship. The perfect spot for reflection and gathering your thoughts. I was really happy to have been shown this place.

July – Quality time

Quality time
July was a month of spending time with the other half and taking in the beauty of Sydney. Lots of nice walks and this day we were whale watching, a really unbelievable experience!

August – Leura

Leura
This is my birthday month!! I really wanted to head away for a couple of days. We decided on Leura, in the Blue Mountains. I would highly recommend this to everyone. It is a really quaint little town with a lot of character. The Leura Cascades are impressive and amazing walks in the heart of the Blue Mountains.

September – A personal journey

Personal journey
I have been going to the gym for about 2 years now. I am loving it and acheiving results that I am super happy with. This was the month I hit a personal milestone as I had hit the 10kg mark. Thats a 10kg increase in weight (muscle mass). I was delighted. May the journey continue.

October – Wedding dress shopping

Wedding dress
Never thought in a million years I would be doing this but it was an incredible experience. To be there for my best friend on such a huge occassion in her life was a true honour. We had the best weekend and not a bridezilla in sight!!

Novemeber – My cousin

My cousin
My cousin has been in Sydney for a year and we have loved it. To have a family member here is amazing, to share old memories and make new ones is incredible. We were sad to say goodbye as she heads off on her travels and then home but we have had the best year and again made the best memories.

December – Christmas time

Christmas
One of my favourite months of the year. This year we are spending it together, just the 2 of us. We are heading away on what will be our only holiday as a couple since 2014. Keep an eye on my socials for photos to follow. Merry Christmas everyone!!! See you all next year 🙂

Northern Ireland: An alternative guide – part 2 ✌🏽

Hi everyone! As most of you are aware, we have just been home again for a few weeks to see family and friends and of course to attend 2 amazing weddings. Fortunately for us, we were also able to see some new venues and features in Northern Ireland and increase our appreciation for our home country. Keep reading to see if you have visited any of these places and if not, maybe they can be on your bucket list 😉.

Grand Central Hotel Belfast – The Observatory

This is a new hotel recently erected in Belfast and is the second tallest building in the whole of Ireland (second to the Obel Tower, also in Belfast). However, it does boast to have the tallest bar in Ireland. The observatory is on the 23rd floor and has the most amazing view of Belfast. It really is spectacular. You will be taken in the elevator by a concierge and taken to a seating area available. Luckily, we had arrived before most others so we could choose where to sit. You can also take a walk around to see the city from every view possible. The seating areas are stunning and very comfortable. The service is lovely, friendly and welcoming staff. The drinks are pricey, for example £15 for a cocktail and £8 for a pint but to be honest, you get what you pay for. The view is outstanding and I suppose it’s not something you would do every day. It’s a really amazing experience for a special occasion and definitely worth a trip if you are visiting Belfast.

Glass of Thrones

I was fortunate enough to be at home at the same time as the Game of Thrones final season. As many of you know, the majority of filming for this amazing show, is in Belfast!!! To celebrate this milestone of the 8th and final season, 6 stained glass windows were erected around the city centre, 1 for each episode. You can walk from Belfast City Hall to Titanic Studios to witness these Glass of Thrones installations, displaying scenes from seasons one to eight of the show. Each window represents the trials and tribulations of a different house, and at the final window you can take a picture on the Iron Throne. For a map of where to find these, click here. I personally loved seeing a new window being unveiled each week. They are exceptional and if you’re a fan of the show, this is a must see. It’s also a good way to explore Titanic Quarter.

Belfast street art

This was completely accidental but it is amazing to walk through the streets of Belfast and see new street art popping up everywhere. It shows that we are a city to be reckoned with in the culture stakes and we are ever progressing. I did want to find the infamous Belfast mural as I had seen this all over Instagram. Having lived in Belfast for over a decade, I had to see it. You should definitely take a walk through the city to find these art pieces. You can find these mostly in the Gaeltacht Quarter and Cathedral Quarter. Bear in mind these are nothing to do with the peace murals. These would be representative of a more forward thinking and inclusive Belfast IMO.

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort

Now this is a place that I have been dying to try. So when my sister said she wanted us to go, I was delighted 😁. The spa treatment here is unreal, even better than I had imagined. It had a huuuuge area with lots of facilities. Leave your clothes in a locker (changing facilities are even impressive) and don a Galgorm dressing gown/robe/house coat (whatever you call it in NI). When I entered the spa area I was overwhelmed. It’s like what you would see in a movie. People walking around in the robes, pools, hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms everywhere, indoor and outdoor. There are chill out areas with relaxing chairs and loungers and even an ice room. I was honestly so impressed. We even had the chance to have a Celtic sauna treatment that was fantastic. It was unbelievably hot in the nicest possible way and you receive a nice cold mocktail afterwards. We had lunch here too and you are invited to eat in your robes. A very surreal experience but you will really feel like it’s a special occasion. I cannot recommend this enough peeps. We even went on a cold and wet day but it didn’t faze us at all. Ps. The photos do not so this justice at all.

City of Derry Jazz Festival

The biggest jazz festival in Northern Ireland is held in the amazing Derry ~ Londonderry City. If you don’t know Derry that well, a bit like myself, then this is the perfect chance to explore the city and see it in all its cultural glory. The festival has been happening yearly since 2001 and it is 1 of the leading Irish music events of the year. There are street performers, food stalls and live music performing in all the bars in the city. As the bars are all in close proximity, you can easily hop from 1 bar to another to experience as many live acts as possible. The lineup is HUGE, far too many artists to mention but you can check out the website here. Details are already up for next years event in 2020 🎷 🎶 . Oh and while you’re in Derry, you have to check out the Derry Girls mural, I’m sure you’ve seen the show on Netflix! Hilarious…and the paining of the girls is outstanding.

Portballintrae Causeway Loop

Ok so in my opinion I have saved the best until last. This walk was one of my highlights at home, especially because I was able to do this with my parents. Everybody knows about the Giant’s Causeway but instead of heading straight there and spending a fortune on parking, you can complete a small enough walk from Portballintrae to the causeway and see the breathtaking views the north coast of Ireland has to offer, the best coastline in Ireland IMO, yet often overlooked when people think of the Irish coast. Not only will you see coastline but you also see beaches, rock formations, cliffs, sand dunes, a really old railway line and the most quaint little railway station you have ever seen, bridges, rivers and countryside. It has to be every walkers dream to see all these things!! The walk over the 3 quarter mile bridge is short but it is pretty stunning to walk over the Bush River – apparently so dark as the river runs through Bushmills where they make the whiskey 😋 🤷🏼‍♂️. I’m not very good at directions but you can find them here. This is a walk you will want to experience and you will finish at the Giants Causeway. I still love coming here even though I’ve seen it many times but when Northern Ireland has a blue sky, this part of the world is fantastic.

Thanks everyone for reading. It’s lovely to showcase Northern Ireland. It has a lot to offer and every time I return home, there is something new to discover. Be sure to check it out if ever visiting Ireland or the UK.

W 😊

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