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 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 ✌🏽

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 ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – suburbia

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Red Bistort

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to the weekend. This little gem was spotted on our trip to Hillsborough Gardens last weekend. Thankfully it wasn’t covered in snow and we were able to spot this. It’s bright colour certainly does catch your eye.

Red Bistort, originally from the Himalaya Mountains, can be seen all over the UK. They can be found in meadows, pastures and along the roadsides. Traditionally they would have been used in deserts at Easter time, more so in England, I have never heard of this but fascinating all the same. These flowers can also be boiled, roasted and even used for making bread (The Wildlife Trusts, 2022).

Have a great day everyone,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V31 – Best of 2022

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors, the last one before Christmas. This week’s Thursday Doors challenge is to show your favourite doors of the year, thanks for that Dan, not an easy thing to do! I have chosen my top 8 doors of 2022, from Australia and NZ, all the way to here in Northern Ireland. I have ranked them in my order of preference, some have been shown already and some are newly featured. Please take a look and enjoy these magnificent doors and hats off to their owners for doing such a fantastic job.

1 – Woollahra

2 – Bronte

3 – Woollahra

4 – Hobbiton

5 – Auckland

6 – Banbridge

7 – Hillsborough

8 – Paddington

Wayne ✌🏽

10 things I have learned/remembered since being home in Northern Ireland

1 – People in Northern Ireland are EXTREMELY friendly.

2 – The cost of EVERYTHING has increased drastically since I lived here five years ago, from food, to rent, to energy bills (this one is worldwide at the moment). Everything has increased, except for wages, shocking really.

3 – It is BALTIC here in the winter. I had forgotten how cold it can be here. It is minus five degrees this morning!

4 – The pubs and restaurants here are very cosy and quaint. I have missed this. Pints of Guinness by a warm fire.

5 – Everything is so festive here at Christmas. I know it’s what you’re used to but I have really missed the cold, dark evenings, the smell of warm spices, mulled wine, hearing Christmas songs etc etc. For me it was never the same wearing shorts and T-shirts.

6 – The importance of family.

7 – The quality of television shows is pretty high here and I love the Christmas shows/movies that are available in the lead up to Christmas.

8 – We walk a lot less here. I miss doing my 15,000 steps a day in Sydney. My step count has dropped significantly since being home and that’s sad. I guess it’s the cold weather and lack of somewhere good to walk nearby.

9 – It’s dark for most of the day. I love the dark evenings but I forgot how much daylight you miss. You travel to work in the dark and drive home from work in the dark. That can be hard and we have this for the next few months.

10 – People in Northern Ireland say ‘Wee’ ALL THE TIME! Everything can be described as ‘wee’. A ‘wee’ cup of tea, put your ‘wee’ card in the ‘wee’ machine, would you like a ‘wee’ bag? I had totally forgotten how often we use that word and it’s not simply used for small items! It’s actually insane how much we use that word but lovely at the same time. You instantly know you’re home when your hear ‘wee’ being used.

Sunday Strolls : Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Many of you here will have heard of Hillsborough from my doors posts, as there are many fantastic doors found in this quaint little village.

Hillsborough is well renowned for its character and charm but more so for its historic castle and gardens. This is the place of residence for when members of the Royal family come to stay in Northern Ireland and only very recently has Hillsborough been renamed Royal Hillsborough for that reason.

This was the first time I had visited the gardens and I was extremely excited as I had always heard how amazing they are and I have always wanted to visit here. We didn’t visit the castle today but that will be for another time. We just wanted to have a good stroll today and get some fresh air. It was made even more special as there was snow on the ground and gave the gardens a really festive and Christmassy feel.

The admission fee is £11 which is expensive enough (in my opinion) to go for a walk, however, the gardens are absolutely stunning and the castle is a true spectacle. There is also a light show featuring in the gardens at present that can be seen at night time, running until the beginning of January. It’s pretty pricey at £22 a visit so we’ll have to wait and see if we decide to return for that or not. From what I witnessed during the day today, it would be quite the display.

If you would like to read more about this wonderful place, you can take a look at the official website here. Thanks for taking a look and I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday.

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 ✌🏽

Share your World 15/11/22

Thank you PENSITIVITY101 for this weeks Share your World questions, I like these a lot.

1. Does the weather affect your mood?

I think the weather really does affect my mood, even subconsciously. If there are blue skies and the sun is shining, I will definitely have a spring in my step.

2. If a stranger smiles at you or says ‘good morning’ when they pass you in the street, do you return it?

I absolutely return it. I love when people are friendly and smile. Quite often I will be the person to initiate a smile or say hello.

3. If you had a choice of just one of these things to eat, what would it be and why?
Chocolate, a sweet pastry, a plate of chips/fries (this is not a forever choice, just one instance).

A sweet pastry would be lovely with a cup of tea.

4. If you could go back to when you were a specific age, what would that be? Why?

Twenty three when I first met my partner. That was a lovely age.

What would your answers be?

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 ✌🏽

Fandango’s Provocative Question #188

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

Fandango’s Provocative Question #188

I love this week’s edition as it’s simple and fun, thanks Fandango! Also I have just realised that you also used simple and fun to describe your question! Or maybe I subconsciously repeated them, who knows?!

Let’s have some fun this week. Or what I hope you’ll think is fun. My question is simple. It’s all about favorites. If you were asked to name your absolute favorite in each of the following categories, what would they be:

  • Song – Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve
  • Musical artist or group – Mumford & Sons
  • Book – Life of Pi
  • Author – RL Stine
  • Movie – Big Fish
  • Television show – Friends (Series 1-5)
  • Movie or TV actor (male & female) – Luke Evans and Julia Roberts
  • Stage play or musical – Chicago
  • Live concert – Eminem, surprisingly one of my favourite concerts I have been to.

Can you name any of your favourites too??

Wayne ✌🏽

Monday Musings – dark and gloomy

Oh what a dreary, dreary day. Window wipers wiping frantically and rain smashing to the ground.

Everything grey and melancholy.

Halloween today and eerie essences are encircling us. Not so much spooky, more Thérèse Desqueyroux. Dark and wet, I sip my coffee by the coffee shop window looking out to the puddles and grimaces on people’s faces.

Darkness begins to fall, autumn is laughing. It knows that winter is around the corner. The darkness is coming for a long, long stay, weeks that will lead into months.

Soon this will be a cosy period of time but for now, it’s pretty grim.

Are you a fan of cold, dark and wet evenings? I normally am but not today 😕.

Stay dry and warm my friends.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Bondi

The sunset I am sharing today is from 12 weeks ago in Bondi, Sydney. You don’t actually see the sunset but the colours that were on show were absolutely stunning. I haven’t seen anything quite like the colour changes here of the sky anywhere else, from yellow to orange and then pink to lilac. I was just standing in the middle of the road, outside our friend’s apartment, in complete awe, as were many other locals.

Beautiful Bondi

I hope you enjoy the colours and have had a lovely relaxing weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Pot Marigold

Happy Friday everyone. It is another wet and wild day here in Northern Ireland. I may get used to this! Lucky we have some flowers in our garden that are pretty bright and cheery.

Pot Marigold – found in my parents garden. I love the bright orange colour and it’s perfect looking petals.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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 ✌🏽

Tuesday Thoughts – Silent

This is a very appropriate word prompt for me this week, thank you WordPress 🙏🏼

I may be quite silent on my blog for the next week as my sister is getting married this weekend. Lots of family time upcoming and I am here for it all. I am super excited for the reunions and festivities, whilst also beaming with pride for my little sister.

There may be silence on my blog for a few days but definitely not much silence in my real life. Enjoy your week guys and gals and I will pop on when I can.

Wayne ✌🏽

Share your World – 05/09/22

Happy Monday everyone. It’s been a little while since I have answered questions from Melanie’s Share your World. I see Di has taken over for now and thought the questions this week were right up my street. You can check out the link here https://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/2022/09/05/share-your-world-5th-september/ and I have the questions for this week below.

1. Do you prefer tea, coffee or juice first thing in the morning?

I always have a coffee first thing in the morning. It’s not that I need to have it as there’s been a few times I couldn’t obtain one before work and was totally fine without it (much to my surprise) but I do love a coffee in the morning. For the rest of the day I can drink tea until it comes out of my ears!

2. When it comes to food, what is your favourite smell?

Always the smell of freshly baked bread, especially German bread.

3. Do you prefer a take-out or to dine in a restaurant?

Dine in a restaurant. I love to eat out and try different places. I find take-out is often disappointing and I could probably do better myself.

4. If you are hosting a party, do you prepare the food yourself, get caterers in or ask everyone to bring something for the table?

I normally prepare food myself for others as we don’t often have large parties, just a couple of people. I do like the idea of everyone bringing a plate to share and this is very popular in Australia where I first learned of this.

Gratitude: What has been the highlight of your week this week?

As it’s only Monday morning here, I would say my highlight so far was the gym this morning and just completing my working from home for the week 😊

Thank you Di for the questions and I look forward to reading other people’s replies.

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 ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V23

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another Doors of WordPress. This week I thought I would show case some more doors from Sydney, as it has now been two weeks since we left and it is never far from my mind.

1 – Woollahra
2 – Woollahra
3 – Paddington
4 – Bondi Junction
5 – Paddington

I think my favourite is number five. I love the colours, the panelling and the design on the windows. Do you have a favourite this week?

Ps. I have started compressing my photos and have seen a huge difference in my storage already. Thank you everyone for your help and advice.

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 ✌🏽

WordPress Storage?!

Happy Monday everyone! The start of a new week and I’m just having a look at my blog memory. I have noticed that I have used 80% of my storage, presumably on images as I do tend to upload a lot of these. Does anyone here in the blogosphere know what happens when you run out of storage? Do you have to pay for more or is it best to delete some of my older images?

I already pay quite a bit for a yearly subscription for a personal plan and I have 6G of storage, so I don’t really want to pay any more. However, I am worried about deleting images as that may affect my previous blog posts. If you remove the images from the media library, does that remove them also from your blog posts?

There are quite a few questions there but if anyone has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, I can contact the engineers and see what solutions they can offer.

Many thanks and have a great week.

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 ✌🏽

Bali 🍃

After our New Zealand holiday, we had another trip up our sleeves before heading home to Northern Ireland. Initially we were planning on Tasmania, however, New Zealand was freezing and Tasmania would be freezing too at this time of year. So we decided to cancel Tasmania and head somewhere hot. Bali had never really been on my agenda but it’s pretty close to Australia and a popular tourist destination. After some research online and speaking with friends, we settled on two locations to try, simply to break up the trip and have two different experiences. We opted for Ubud for the scenery and peacefulness, contrasting with Seminyak for the beaches and tourist vibe.

This was to be a relaxing holiday, lying by the pool and absorbing some much needed vitamin D. Normally I really dislike these types of holidays but I was fine on this occasion as we had just travelled quite a bit and packed up our whole life. Rest and relaxation was most definitely welcomed.

Arriving into Bali was a lengthy process with four different queues needing to be passed. Covid screening, obtaining and paying for your visa ($100 AU), immigration and declarations. I’m not going to lie, this was tough going after a long flight from Australia and we arrived late at night. By the time we passed immigration etc it was 12pm. Luckily we had pre booked a taxi and he was very kind to wait for us as we had another one hour drive to our hotel in Ubud. I felt so bad for the driver but he reassured me that this is the norm.

UBUD

Element Bali Ubud – this was our hotel in Ubud for 4 nights and to be honest, it was the highlight of the holiday. We are absolutely amazed by this hotel and how fantastic it was. The staff were unbelievably friendly and accommodating, everything was so clean, the food drinks were delicious, the location to town was pretty good and we loved the amenities. We used the spa, the gym and the pool and were so pleased with them all. I would definitely recommend staying here if you ever come to Ubud. You can check it out here for yourselves.

Things to see in Ubud : We hired a taxi to take us around the key sites of interest that we had been researching. The Monkey Temple is a huge tourist attraction but we don’t really have a love for monkeys so we avoided that one.

1 – Seeing the rice fields. This was great to see how the farmers work the fields and grow their best prized crop.

2 – Tirta Empul Temple. A very busy temple for locals and tourists alike. This was built around a bubbling spring and is a fascinating place to see Hindu devotees purifying themselves by ways of ritual bathing.

3 – Sampling the Luwak coffee. This coffee is famous for its unusual methods of creation. The Luwak animal is a cat like creature that feeds on Luwak coffee beans (among other things). When they excrete the beans, the outer shell is removed to expose the inner bean, which in turn is used to make coffee. Seen as a delicacy, this was an honour to taste, alongside some really different and unusual tea and coffee varieties, such as avocado coffee and lemongrass tea.

4 – Saraswati Temple. This just looked amazing online so we really wanted to visit. It can be found in the heart of Ubud centre and was built to honour Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning.

5 – Dinner at Chora. I found this restaurant on Instagram (the benefits of social media) and thought it looked interesting. It was fab! Great healthy food with a Mediterranean influence, fantastic service and a truly serene experience.

SEMINYAK

Aloft Bali Seminyak – We loved this hotel and it had such a great location. It’s a good distance from the town but you are in a quieter location and very close to the beaches. We would walk 5 minutes to the beach and then walk along for about 30 minutes to reach Seminyak town. The rooftop pool and bar was lovely with stunning ocean views, the hotel served up some great food and drinks, plus the staff again were so, so friendly here.

To be honest we didn’t do many tourist things here in Seminyak and we were happy just to relax. Also, I did have a case of Bali belly during the trip (a common occurrence here for Westerners with sensitive stomachs), I think from the water, so I was out of action for a couple of days with pretty bad stomach cramps. However, I can show you a few places that we enjoyed eating in when I felt better, asides from the hotel where the food was really delicious.

1 – Shelter Restaurant. Shelter is a contemporary Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurant located in the central part of beautiful Pererenan. The food was absolutely stunning and the service was exceptional. There was a great tropical vibe and the musical really set the scene, even the bathrooms were impressive. This was our favourite place to eat from the whole trip (maybe as it was also my birthday).

2 – Da Maria. This was a fantastic Italian restaurant actually on the same street as our hotel. It’s great when you can walk to the venue and we had heard great things about this place. Food was lovely and there is a real buzz in this place.

3 – Potato Head Bali Beach Club. This is a really cool place if you want to come and chill out for the day. We loved the food here also and it was just a short walk from our hotel via the beach before you get to Seminyak Village.

One thing you do have to do in Seminyak is watch the sunset from the beach. You can be anywhere on the beach but we found the sunset to be popular near our hotel. The actual beach is called Pantai Batu Belig. People come to just sit on the beach and take it all in, it actually reminded me of Ibiza sunsets.

That’s a wrap on my Bali trip. It’s a beautiful place with the most gorgeous people. This was a great trip for rest and relaxation before heading home to Northern Ireland. Follow my journey home and I aim to highlight the numerous places NI has to offer.

Thanks for taking a look at this Bali blog post and have a great week everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Seminyak V2

Happy Sunday everyone. I hope you’re all having a good weekend whatever you’re doing. We are adjusting to life at home and catching up with family and friends. Today’s sunset picture was taken last week on our last evening in Bali. We were sitting at the rooftop bar at our hotel and we were fortunate to be able to witness this sunset. I love the colour of the sky and the way it contrasts with the dark and moody looking cloud coverage.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Spiral Ginger

Happy Friday everyone. My flower of the day was taken in Bali. I was amazed to spot this as I have never seen anything like it before. It is a species of costus and is native to Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Enjoy your weekend everyone,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V21

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to my latest edition of Doors of WordPress. This week I want to show you some doors that I discovered last week on my holiday in Bali. I will also be completing my Bali blog and hopefully have that up in a few days. I arrived in Northern Ireland three days ago and am enjoying catching up with family and becoming acquainted to the local area but I will continue to blog whenever I have free time.

1 – Element Hotel Ubud
2 – Ubud city centre
3 – Taman Ayun Temple
4 – Saraswati Temple Ubud
5 – Kerobokan Kelod

You may or may not know but Bali is a Hindu island that is part of Indonesia which is predominantly Muslim. Therefore, you can see many, many temples in Bali where the people can practice Hinduism. I really admire the temples and their architecture, some of them are absolutely stunning with such intrinsic detail. Do you have a favourite door this week?

I hope you are all keeping well.

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 ✌🏽

Auckland

After Hobbiton, we drove for a couple of hours to reach our final destination of Auckland. We were here primarily to catch up with a good friend who lives here but also we were keen to see and experience what this city has to offer. I will highlight the places we managed to visit while in Auckland for three days.

1 – Cheltenham Beach

2 – Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve

3 – Takapuna Beach Path.

4 – Wine tasting at The Hunting Lodge.

5 – Sunset at Muriwai Beach.

6 – Auckland Museum.

7 – Ponsonby.

There you have it! Our New Zealand trip has come to an end. What an amazing trip and so fortunate to have finally been able to visit after being in lockdown on and off for two years. I hope you enjoyed the journey and photographs from this truly epic country with the absolute friendliest of people. It’s a trip I will not forget in a hurry. Thank you all for showing an interest in my posts over the past couple of weeks, it really means a lot.

All the best,

Wayne ✌🏽

Rotorua 🌋

This was the perfect spot for us to stop and rest during our drive from Wellington to Auckland. As well as being a great location to stop, we had really wanted to visit here for a couple of reasons.

This area was created thousands of years ago by volcanic activity and sits at the southern end of Lake Rotorua, also formed from a volcanic explosion. Although the volcano hasn’t erupted since, there remains a lot of geothermal occurrences daily, which in turn creates geysers, hot springs and hot mud pools.

We really wanted to try the hot springs as well as seeing and learning about the traditional Māori people. In Rotorua you can find a living Māori village, there the people have been living for more than 700 years. You can have a tour of the village and witness how the people live.

Rotorua itself is a quaint little town with plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars. You will see many Māori people here which is really lovely to see. Another thing to note with this place is that it has a strong sulphur smell (think eggs) from the geysers which can be quite overwhelming if you’re not used to it but I’m so glad we were able to experience it.

Such an amazing place and we thanked the tour guide for an awesome opportunity to see how the Māori people continue to live to this day and aim to keep their traditions alive in the 21st century.

I hope you enjoyed a little insight to Rotorua. This is a definite pit stop if ever travelling from Wellington to Auckland. We made one more stop on our way to Auckland, can any of you guess where it was? I am really excited to show you all later this week.

Take care and thanks for your continued support.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Ubud

Watching the sunset from our hotel in Ubud during the week. The glass walkway was stunning and really adds to the image. We couldn’t really see below as it was dark but the sunset was truly magical. This hotel Element Bali Ubud was out of this world and I will write more about that in my future Bali blog 🍃.

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

Wellington highlights!

We had flown to Wellington from Christchurch and thank goodness we were able to. The weather had been bad for weeks with heavy downpours. Many flights had been cancelled but fortunately for us, our flight made it across the water to the North Island. It was exciting to depart the South Island and have new experiences of the north. We also really wanted to see Wellington as it is the capital of New Zealand. We stayed here only for one night and would then hire a car and drive up the island to our final destination of Auckland.

As we were only here for one day, I will show you my highlights of the city and what we were able to squeeze in. We really enjoyed Wellington and we were extremely blessed to have good weather (mostly).

1 – Staying in the QT Wellington. This hotel chain is one of my favourites. We have stayed in three others before so we kind of knew what to expect. They’re a little more pricey but we thought if we’re only here for one day, why not treat ourselves to a nice hotel. This one in Wellington I think has been the best QT so far. Extremely quirky and we loved the art throughout the building. I would totally recommend staying here if you visit Wellington.

2 – Take a walk along Lambton Harbour. This is situated just beside the museum and it’s beautiful just to walk along the water front. This eventually leads onto Wellington Harbour.

3 – Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. This museum was on our doorstep so we had to check it out. Such a great place to learn about NZ and for us the highlight was the Gallipoli: The Scale of our War exhibition. You can find more information here. This unique exhibition tells the story of the Gallipoli campaign in World War I through the eyes and words of eight ordinary New Zealanders who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. The people are recreated as larger than life models, really bringing it home what these people went through. An extraordinary exhibition and extremely moving.

4 – Wellington Cable Car. You can find this in the city centre and takes you to a great height up a mountain to see great panoramic views of Wellington. You can also see the Botanical Gardens there too that are really worth a visit.

5 – Take a walk through the city centre. There’s lots of character in this city, funky shops and great pieces of street art.

6 – Dinner at Mr Go’s. This Asian fusion restaurant is really quirky and serves delicious small plates perfect for sharing. There is such a good vibe here.

Thanks for taking a look at my Wellington blog and I hope you are inspired to maybe visit or even just enjoyed looking at some photographs of this amazing city. We would then head towards Auckland and make a couple of stops on the way. Next stop where we were staying is Rotorua, blog coming very soon 😊.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Aphrodite’s Phalaenopsis

Happy Friday everyone. This flower was seen in the garden here at our hotel in Bali where we are vacationing for a few days before heading back to Ireland. I will continue to work on my New Zealand blogs over the coming days and hopefully share my Bali experience also 😊.

Aphrodite’s Phalaenopsis

“Aphrodite’s phalaenopsis is an orchid hailing from Taiwan and the Philippines. It is an epiphyte, which are sometimes called ‘air plants’ because they grow on trees or other objects, and get all the nutrients they need from debris that drops from the air onto those hosts. The delicate yet striking appearance of this flower has inspired the alternative common name of Goddess of Fertility” (Picture This, 2022).

Have a great weekend everyone and take care.

Wayne ✌🏽

MILFORD SOUND

We took a day trip here from Queenstown. It is the one place everyone asked about whether we would be visiting or not when in Queenstown. I’m really glad that we did take the trip here, even if it was a long day. We booked a coach trip (you can do this at the tourist information office in town) and it lasted the whole day. It’s more than 12 hours to drive there, take a boat tour through Milford Sound and then the drive back. It’s a big day but really worth seeing, especially if you may never return here again.

Miford Sound is a fiord, carved by glaciers during the ice ages. It really is captivating and I don’t think I have ever seen anywhere quite like it. The scenery is out of this world, no matter what the weather and if you’re lucky you may be able to spot some dolphins, seals and penguins that call this place home. We were fortunate to have seen seals sunbathing and dolphins that followed our boat back into the dock.

Even the journey to Milford Sound is spectacular and we were able to make a few pit stops to take some photographs. I will show you a couple of our stops and then show you some snaps of the magnificent Milford Sound.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post and I hope it inspired you to maybe visit for yourself one day.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V19

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to yet another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors. This week’s edition follows on from last week’s doors in New Zealand. I have some more to show case from this amazing country and next week I have some extra special doors to show you as it will be my twentieth edition of Doors of WordPress! Let me know if you have a favourite door this week 😊.

1 – Arrowtown
2 – Arrowtown
3 – Rotorua
4 – Auckland
5 – Christchurch

Thanks for taking a look and stay tuned for next week’s special edition!!

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

ARROWTOWN

This place was a no brainer for me. It’s in close proximity to Queenstown and I had heard that this town was extremely quaint and full of character. Winner winner chicken dinner! We took the number 2 bus and were there 45 minutes later, however, if you travel by car it’s only about 20 minutes.

This church was the first building we had seen on arrival to Arrowtown. I love its craftsmanship.

I didn’t know much about the history of the town but that’s ok as they have a museum to provide you with some interesting information. I was already aware that Arrowtown was a good mining town and home to many European and Chinese immigrants who had settled to make their fortune.

Many of the architecture remains intact and the buildings are beautiful to look at. The whole street is very photogenic and there is a stunning river and walkway alongside, which is where the gold had been found many years ago.

Our last stop was for lunch at The Fork & Tap.

Thanks for reading guys and I hope I have been able to show you the beauty of Arrowtown. Please let me know if anyone has ever been there.

Wayne ✌🏽

QUEENSTOWN

When you say to people you are travelling to New Zealand, they will pretty much always ask “Are you going to Queenstown?”. I didn’t really understand why but now that I have travelled there, I totally get it. This place was the highlight of NZ for us. The scenery is just out of this world and made even more special as we were here in winter. The snow peaked mountains were absolutely stunning and you just can’t quite take it all in.

The flight into Queenstown is breathtaking and you won’t be able to peel your eyes away from the window.
As soon as you arrive at the airport you will be blown away by the epic scenery and become lost in the magic of Queenstown.

We caught the number one bus from the airport into Queenstown which takes about 10 – 15 minutes. It’s a very easy ride and luckily for us it stopped just before the town at our hotel, The Ramada. We loved our stay here, great proximity to the town, beautiful scenery all around, very friendly staff, lovely hotel and the breakfast was open until 11.30 and you simply pay for what you order (this was a real novelty for us as you usually pay a hefty amount for a buffet breakfast and they often close early in other places I have been).

For us, Queenstown was all about the scenery and using it as a base to see other places close by. We took the number two bus to the quaint little Arrowtown. We also took a coach trip to Milford Sound. I will post a little blog about these two places after this but these were the two places we most wanted to see. The scenery itself in Queenstown is beautiful and it’s really lovely just taking a stroll through the town and having a look at all the shops, restaurants and bars. There is a lovely walkway that passed the back of our hotel to the town that takes you along the side of Lake Wakatipu. It was beautiful and can also take you to the town via Queenstown Gardens.

Views from the back of the Ramada. We took the walk into the town. It takes about 30 minutes and the views are out of this world.
Lake Wakatipu
The town is very picturesque.

A few people have been asking about food recommendations so I thought I would run through a quick list for you :

Joe’s Garage – perfect for breakfast

Stratosfare – this is the restaurant on top of the huge mountain. Take the gondola up to the top for spectacular views of Queenstown. It’s a buffet dinner with plenty to choose from.

Surreal Bar & Restaurant – nice pub grub and home cooking. All the staff appeared to be Irish too 😊.

Flame (need to book) – we actually couldn’t go here as it was fully booked. My advice would be to book ahead ( for most restaurants actually, as they get pretty busy and there are very few staff here at the moment due to the pandemic).

Bombay Palace – perfect little spot for some Indian food. We loved it.

Boardwalk – PIER Restaurant – this is just at the pier (funny enough). Beautiful views to watch the world go by and they have heat lamps for dining al fresco.

Seafood chowder and a glass of rosé 😋

Paddy Gaddy – Southeast Asian – the food here was stunning. It’s an Asian fusion type restaurant with a real vibe.

Margos Mexican – another one you would need to book. This looked awesome but there was no space the night that we tried. Definitely looks worth a visit if you like Mexican food.

The Pig and Whistle – we loved this place for drinks, either sitting inside or out.

The Speight’s Ale House – lovely quaint little pub with the best toasty fire.

That’s my lot for Queenstown. Such an amazing place that you have to see for yourself. We only had 4 days here but that was actually perfect for us as we weren’t skiing or participating in any winter sports (not our cup of tea). Should that be your thing, you will love this place even more!

Thanks for reading and I will have a couple of blog posts for Arrowtown and Milford Sound coming.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Muriwai Beach

Stunning sunset on the black sand beach at Muriwai, Auckland 🌅

I hope you’re all having the best weekend. My blog posts will be up for NZ over the next few days all being well 😊.

Wayne ✌🏽

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