VANS!

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday thoughts 💭 – Jetpack app?

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

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

Wayne 👌🏼

Doors of WordPress V37

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

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

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

CARLINGFORD

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

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

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

Sunrise from our accommodation 😍

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V36

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

1

2

3

4

5

6

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Local walks in Northern Ireland to kick off the new year

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

Castlewellan Forest Park

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

Silent Valley Reservoir

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

Gosford Forest Park

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

Hillsborough Forest Park

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

Scarva Park

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

Craigavon Lakes

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

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

Take care and keep walking!

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday sunrise – Carlingford

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V35

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

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

1 – Craigavon

2 – Craigavon

3 – The Hillside Pub in Hillsborough

4 – Bangor Marina

5 – Bangor

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

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

Bloganuary day 31

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

What would you title the chapters of your autobiography?

Bloganuary day 30

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

Chapter 1 – The conception of me

Chapter 2 – The new norm

Chapter 3 – Big decisions and a newer norm

Chapter 4 – Everything changes when you turn 13

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

Chapter 6 – Freedom and discovery

Chapter 7 – Fun, friendships and relationships

Chapter 8 – The Australian dream

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

Chapter 10 – When all the hard work pays off

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

Chapter 12 – The reality of adulthood catches up

Chapter 13 – A fork in the road

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

Wayne ✌🏽

What is something you learned recently?

Bloganuary day 29

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Describe your perfect birthday cake.

Bloganuary day 28

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

What are the pros and cons of procrastination?

Bloganuary day 27

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

Pros

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

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

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

Cons

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

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

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

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

How about you? What are your thoughts on procrastination?

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V34

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

1 – Woollahra

2 – Woollahra

3 – Paddington

4 – Paddington

5 – Woollahra

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

What language do you wish you could speak?

Bloganuary day 26

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

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

Bloganuary day 25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Mr Baxter 🙏🏼

Wayne ✌🏽

How do you show love?

Bloganuary day 24 ❤️

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

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

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

What are your thoughts on today’s blog prompt?

Wayne ✌🏽

What’s a lie you tell yourself?

Bloganuary day 23

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

What was your dream job as a child?

Bloganuary day 22

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

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

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

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

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

What was your dream job as a child?

Wayne ✌🏽

Who is your favorite author and why?

Bloganuary day 21

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

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

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

Many thanks,

Wayne ✌🏽

What irritates you about the home you live in?

Bloganuary day 21

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

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

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

Many thanks in advance,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V33

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

1 – Arrowtown, NZ

2 – Belfast

3 – Hillsborough

4 – Hillsborough Castle

5 – Sydney

6 – Arrowtown, NZ

7 – Cushendall

8 – Banbridge

9 – St Kilda, Melbourne

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

Thanks for taking a look at my blue doors.

Wayne ✌🏽

What color describes your personality and why?

Bloganuary day 19

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

Wayne ✌🏽

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

Bloganuary day 18

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

Ps. It has to be Thai jasmine rice 😜

Wayne ✌🏽

Describe the happiest day of your life.

Bloganuary day 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

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

Bloganuary day 16

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

Wayne ✌🏽

What fear have you conquered?

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

What is your preferred mode of travel?

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

Walking to Byron Bay Lighthouse

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

Flying with Fiji Airways

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

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

Cycling in Fiji

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

Driving again at home after five years of not driving!

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

Good old Sydney train to and from work

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

Wayne ✌🏽

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

What chore do you find the most challenging to do?

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

How do you define success?

Bloganuary day 11 – When I think of success, I think of being happy with what you have in life. Being happy with your relationships, with your work and not needing extravagance or wealth to make you happy. It’s appreciating the basic things in life that many of us take for granted, a roof over our heads, a warm bed, running water, a loving family and good friends. If I have these things, I am very successful.

It doesn’t have to be about how much money you have in your bank, how far up the ladder you are in work, working 70 hours a week or socialising with famous people. It’s not about bragging or name dropping. That does not impress me or show that you are successful. If you are a good, warm person, happy in yourself and kind to others,you are a success in my eyes.

You see so many people now, especially on social media, giving pep talks and trying to show you a life of extravagance, whilst appearing to work their asses off to prove how successful it can make you. This is not for me. Why work so many hours for a life of luxury? Are these people really any happier than your average Joe. I think not. Yes we need to work hard in order to have enough money to enjoy life but you need to have an adequate work / life balance. If I have this, I will be extremely happy and successful in my own life.

What are your thoughts? How do you define success??

Wayne ✌🏽

Has a book changed your life?

I have thought about this for some time and the answer is NO. A book has never changed my life, at least not to my knowledge.

Many books I have enjoyed and maybe even helped me through times in my life but not one I can say has changed me in any way. I loved Life of Pi, this was given by my partner when we first started dating. I absolutely loved the book and we later watched the stage show in the theatre that we both worked in. That was a truly wonderful experience, one of my favourite books coming to life, simply magical.

I also loved The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, recommended by a good friend of mine when I was dealing with growing up in my university days. A really inspiring novel that leaves me with fond memories of my early twenties.

I also read a lot of Virginia Andrews novels as a teenager. These novels really helped me through my teenage years, as ways of escapism but also encouraging me through life when sometimes it felt difficult. It was the help of these novels that really threw me into reading and I became addicted to reading for a few years before I left my hometown for the big smoke of Belfast. Flowers in the Attic was and probably still is a complete classic, albeit slightly disturbing. I recommend anyone to read this book.

How about yourselves? Have you ever had a book that has changed your life?

Wayne ✌🏽

How far back in your family tree can you go?

Bloganuary day 8 – Sadly I can’t go back that far. I have tried a few times in my life and never seem to get past my great grandfather. It’s quite difficult in Northern Ireland unfortunately. There are lots of websites that can help if you live in Scotland or England but for us here in NI, it seems impossible. I can see my great grandfather on the 1911 census but I can’t see any previous censuses.

I am always fascinated with my family tree, I’m not too sure why, maybe as it’s a part of who I am and where I come from. In reality, it maybe doesn’t even matter as we will all be gone one day and no one will remember or care for us. Perhaps that’s a bit morbid to think that, who knows?! What are your thoughts on family trees?

Wayne ✌🏽

Write a short story or poem about rain.

Bloganuary Day 7 – what are you doing to me?! Here is my little rain poem 👇🏼

Rain rain to go Spain,

And you will have a happy Wayne,

Don’t stay away too long though,

As ALL living things need you to grow! 🌱

Wayne ✌🏽

Ps I will never win any poetry prizes…

FOTD – Butterfly Bush

Happy Friday everyone! That’s nearly the first week of 2023 over, can you Adam and Eve it?

Today’s flower is the amazing Butterfly Bush. I have never seen this before so I was delighted to have spotted this. I love its vibrant purple colour and the shape of this flower. Originally native to China and other parts of Asia, this flower can now be found worldwide, although can be viewed as a pest due to its ability to invade and outcompete other local species.

It is named butterfly bush as its flowers are a vital source of nutritious nectar for many butterfly species and I managed to catch a shot with a stunning butterfly in the frame.

Butterfly Bush

Wayne ✌🏽

Why do you write?

I enjoy writing about my travels as a way of sharing my experiences with others but also as as way to remember my travels and my thoughts at that time in my life. It’s nice to be able to look back on previous posts and reminisce with my previous travel experiences.

Bloganuary day six! Why do I write? To be honest I don’t think I do that much writing in my blog compared to others. My posts are more like photo blogs, a platform for me to share my travels through pictures. However, I do like to write a little to explain the situation or location that I have been too, as photographs can’t always sum it all up.

When I do decide to write freestyle about a certain topic, I find it really therapeutic to expel my thoughts, almost as if they are having the opportunity to escape my head. I enjoy just writing my thoughts as I’m saying them in my head or how I would speak them. I’m not one for writing poetry or short stories, although the latter is something that I would be keen to endeavour in the future.

I also like to write, especially here on WordPress in order to make new friends, acquaintances and like minded folk.

To conclude, I write primarily to share my life and my travels whilst simultaneously keeping a record of my adventures for later reflection.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V32

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to 2023. These are the first doors to be shown here on my blog this year and I thought I would showcase some doors all found in one street! It’s not often that you find a street where you appreciate every single door. I had seen this once in Sydney in Darlinghurst and now once here in Northern Ireland. As many of you will know by now, there is a quaint little town here in Northern Ireland that I absolutely adore, known as Royal Hillsborough. I thought I had seen most of the doors here, however, after having walked off the beaten track, I stumbled across a tiny street with the quaintest doors I have seen for some time. Please let me know what you think of these or if you have ever discovered a street where all the doors are as fantastic as each other.

Wayne ✌🏽

What brings you joy in life?

This is a good question for day 5 of Bloganuary and is an easy for me. Being outdoors on a good nature walk brings me joy, especially if I am with my other half or friends. I love it. I really enjoy the serenity, the scenery, fresh air, feeling healthy, taking photographs and just generally appreciating life. It’s the simple things in life for me that bring me joy.

I do love walking in general, anywhere really, for example walking tours in the city. However, what really brings me joy is a walk in nature, be that by the sea or in the countryside.

I have accomplished so many great walks in Sydney, Australia and now I really look forward to some fantastic walks here in Northern Ireland and Ireland as a whole. Bring it on!

What about you? Do you love to walk? What brings you joy in life?

Wayne ✌🏽

How are you brave?

Ok everyone, I have somehow missed this question and seeing as I have no question for today, I’m guessing I have been jumping the gun and doing them in advance. So yesterday’s post was really todays. Confused.com. So I thought I would write a little post based on this prompt from two days ago.

How am I brave? I think we can be brave in many different ways and for many different situations. I think I am brave by moving back to Northern Ireland, having left an amazing life in Australia. I think I am brave to begin a new chapter in my life and maybe finally do some adult things, like buying my own house for the first time and purchasing my first car (especially as I approach my forties).

All these things scare me and I have to be brave and embrace the change, for my own sake. These are big life changes but being brave could be simply leaving the house or going to the gym on your own etc etc.

I think we are all brave at times and we should be proud of ourselves for overcoming whatever life throws at us, no matter how big or small. Being brave is made easier with the support of loved ones and encouragement when times are tough. We are not alone in this world, whether it be your family or friends that you rely on for support, or a particular faith or community group, there are always others there to help you overcome whatever it is that scares you or makes life more difficult at that particular time in your life.

Can anyone else relate?

Wayne ✌🏽

What is a treasure that’s been lost?

Bloganuary day 3. Today we lost a bank card in the ATM. It was just sucked in and never returned. This is honestly one of the most annoying things to happen and definitely feels like a lost treasure. We finally received the PIN number for the card, after waiting for, what seems, an eternity. We tried to change the pin at the hole in the wall, which we successfully managed to do. However, the machine did not want to return the card. It’s one of those moments where you want to scream or pull your hair out. Back to the bank again tomorrow to order a new bank card and another PIN number, which will take seven days to arrive. Aaaaaaaah!!! 😭

Have you ever experienced this? Sadly, it’s happened me a couple of times and it always makes me detest banks that little bit more than previously.

Wayne ✌🏽

What is the earliest memory you have?

Bloganuary day 2 asks for our earliest memory. Mine is living in a little village for the first few years of my life and having a friend in the same cul-de-sac as me. We did many things together until we moved house when I was six years old. I remember really missing her when we moved.

I love the eighties clothes!

It wasn’t until I was fifteen or sixteen years old that I bumped into this girl again at a new school that I joined. It was an amazing moment as we both remembered playing together when we were younger and cherished those memories. I don’t have one specific memory but rather a feeling of happiness when we were together.

Wayne ✌🏽

Welcome back Bloganuary!

Bloganuary! I am so glad to see you back. Today’s question is a good one for the first day of 2023.

What is something you want to achieve this year?

What is something you want to achieve this year?

One word springs to mind for me, FOUNDATION. I have just returned from Australia back home to Northern Ireland and my goal is to build my foundation for the next chapter in my life. I want to buy a house, settle in a new job and decide what is in store for my future. I am really looking forward and thinking of positive things for the days, weeks, months and even years ahead. I hope you will all follow me on my journey and very good luck to all those participating in this years Bloganuary. I look forward to reading everyone’s responses and making some new friends here in the blogosphere.

Happy New Year everyone and here’s hoping 2023 brings us everything we hope for.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Greater Periwinkle

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to my last flower of the day for this year. I can’t believe it’s the 30th of December 2022, however, I will be glad to have this year behind me and focus on 2023. It’s been a tough few months to say the least but I feel like this image below signifies it perfectly. This beautiful lavender periwinkle flower was covered in snow and now it’s slowly thawing out, ready to shine once again.

I want to wish you all a very happy new year and take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you very, very much for all your support with my blog. I honestly appreciate it so much, every like, every comment, every emoji and ALL the positivity shown here in this extraordinary space known as the blogosphere.

Greater periwinkle (fabulous name) – spotted at one of my new favourite places, Hillsborough Castle.

Take care everyone and I hope to see you all back here in 2023! I will be participating in this year’s Bloganuary as I loved it so much last year. Will anyone else be participating?

Wayne ✌🏽

Ballymascanlan Hotel

I was catching up with a good friend from Sydney at the weekend past and wanted to meet in a place that suited us both for travelling. My friend was coming from Dublin and I would be travelling from Belfast. We settled on the Ballymascanlan Hotel, just outside Dundalk. This was a one hour drive away for both us, making it a perfect spot for a lunch date.

This hotel was very easy to find from Belfast. Straight down the motorway, onto the dual carriageway towards Dundalk and then just off the roundabout towards Carlingford. I was aided with google maps but just be mindful that the mobile data may switch off, as did in my case, due to travelling from Northern Ireland to Ireland.

The hotel is very quaint, an old Victorian house in the middle of a stunning parkland. Inside was beautifully decorated, ready for Christmas. We had a three course Christmas lunch that was very tasty and really made us feel those Christmas vibes. We loved it and I will definitely be keen to return in the future. Be sure to check this place out.

Have you a favourite spot for a Christmas lunch? What do you do to feel Christmassy? Tis’ the season!

Wayne 🎅🏽

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