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 ✌🏽

FOTD – Black eyed susan

My Friday flower of the day seen this week at Hillsborough Castle. How amazing are these? I love how they look like mini sunflowers and I also love the name, black eyed susan. Also can you see the little wasp on one of the flowers? These are super easy to look after and have even been known to be good for gardeners with brown thumbs (I love that saying!).

Happy Friday and have a great weekend everyone.

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 ✌🏽

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 ✌🏽

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 ✌🏽

Northern Ireland VS Australia

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

Northern Ireland Pros :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Northern Ireland Cons :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Australia VS Northern Ireland

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

Australia Pros :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australia Cons :

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Five years of blogging!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Two Hundredth Post!

This week I hit a HUGE milestone for me. I cannot believe I have made it to 200 posts. I have to admit, my blogging journey was a slow burner but it has really ramped up in the past year. I actually have covid to thank for that.

Initially I was blogging about my travels, so I was only blogging once a month or every few months. When covid hit, we could no longer travel and I suddenly realised I had nothing to blog about. I had to have a think and revamp my ideology of what blogging means to me.

Covid opened my eyes in terms of blogging. Although I wasn’t travelling any more, I realised there was so much more that I could blog about. I have a lot to say and I really wanted to make an effort connecting with other bloggers. I started to blog about things that were happening in my life and also began participating in blogging prompts. When I took part in Bloganuary, my desire to blog and connect with others grew tenfold. I loved having something to write about and share more of my personality. I met so many other bloggers and loved the connection you could make with complete strangers. I soon started to participate in other blogging prompts and still do to this day. I have many bloggers here to thank for that.

I would like to share with you a few bloggers that continue to inspire and encourage my blogging journey 😊 –

https://renardsworld.wordpress.com

https://ceenphotography.com

https://hughsviewsandnews.com

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.wordpress.com

https://nofacilities.com

https://fivedotoh.com

https://lifesfinewhine.ca

https://beetleypete.com

The people you meet here in the blogosphere are amazing. You realise you share many of the same experiences and beliefs and appreciate so much that there IS a space for you in the blogging world. You also have the opportunity to meet others from different backgrounds and cultures and can learn a huge amount, therefore, growing as a person of the world.

I just want to say thank you to my followers and to those I follow and inspire me every day. This honestly is such a great space and I really look forward to growing, learning and sharing more of what life has in store for me.

All the best wishes,

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – North Coast

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday Thoughts 💭 – Share Your World 28-06-22

Melanie’s questions from her Share Your World this week are:

What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?

Most of you probably know this by now 🤣 but I love going to the gym, going out for a coffee and walking. Lots and lots of walking. Maybe about 20,000 steps along a coastal route would be perfect for me.

Now that Covid isn’t so strictly monitored and folks can go out and about again, are you into after-work happy hours?

Not really to be honest. As I’m a nurse, I don’t really have the time to attend happy hours. If I am free in the afternoon, I usually head to the gym. I don’t really drink during the week and they don’t seem to have happy hours at the weekends much. Don’t get me wrong, I love happy hours but they just don’t fit into my daily schedule.

What physical traits do you share with your relatives?

Wrinkles. The ONE physical feature I have from my Dad’s side is wrinkles on my face and lots of them around my eyes. Sad but true 😜 but at least I have my hair on my head.

How long does it take you to decide if you like someone or not?

I normally make my mind up pretty quickly and I like to feel I’m a good judge of character. I like most people thankfully 😅.

GRATITUDE SECTION

Feel free to share some wisdom you live by.

Try to make the most of every day. Life is too short and you never know what is around the corner so go out and enjoy the little things in life and appreciate everything that’s good in your life 😊.

Thanks for reading and thank you Melanie for some more great questions.

Wayne ✌🏽

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRATITUDE SECTION

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

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

Thanks for reading guys. Have a great day.

Wayne ✌🏽

Pride Month 🏳️‍🌈

I read the most amazing, open and honest blog post this morning and wanted to share it with you all, especially, as for many people around the world, pride is being celebrated this month. We should be proud of who we were born to be and educate others who are still ignorant to what it’s like to be a gay person.

It’s LGBTQ Pride Month. I was struggling with what to write about that has not already been done, and better, by smarter, more talented people than …

Pride: A Powerful Reminder.

Thanks for reading guys and have a lovely day.

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday Thoughts 💭 – Share your World 24/5/22

Melanie’s questions from her Share your World this week are:

If You Could Be Best Friends With A Celebrity, Who Would It Be?

I would have to choose Chris Hemsworth or Zac Efron, simply so they could help me with my gym training 😜.

What is, or should be, the main purpose of law?

To keep everyone safe and to have order in the world.

Do You Care About Reviews?

Yes I do to a certain extent. I often look at reviews for hotels or a product before I purchase. However, it’s good to go with a majority vote as some reviews can be over the top. Especially with hotel reviews, some people complain about the silliest things 🙊.

Is the ‘mind’ different to the ‘brain’? If so, in what ways?

I would say yes. They are interchangeable, however, for me, the brain is the biological aspect whereas, the mind is the psychological aspect. They depend on each other to coexist (if that makes sense).

GRATITUDE SECTION

Overall how sunny is your nature?

I’m a pretty happy and upbeat person I think. I like to make others feel happy too 😊

Have a great Tuesday guys!

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress – Game Of Thrones Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks so much for reading.

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday Thoughts 💭 – Mother Teresa

There is a new documentary called Mother Teresa – For the Love of God? Has anyone else watched this? We have it here in Australia on Stan (an Aussie streaming service). I will share my thoughts on the programme and hopefully you can comment if you have also seen it or plan to watch in the near future.

Personally I didn’t know all that much about Mother Teresa. I remember her dying in 1997 when I was 14 years old. I remember it being significant as she passed not that long after Princess Diana and that had made a big impact on my memory. So when Mother Teresa died, I recall people feeling extra sad. I knew she was a good woman who helped the sick and poor and she was a very spiritual person. So when I spotted a new documentary about her life, I thought it could be interesting, especially as the title states, For the Love of God? The question mark made me think, are we to question that her life was or wasn’t for the love of God? Or was the help she provided for the love of God? I wasn’t sure but I was intrigued.

I don’t want to spoil the documentary for anyone so I will just make some vague points but personally, I found it to be very interesting. It begins with telling you the history of Mother Teresa, that she was born in Macedonia and how/why she ended up in Calcutta, India. It shows how she helped the poor, sick and most vulnerable members of society and how her legacy grew. Many women joined her to become nuns and assist with her quest to look after the most downtrodden. There are a lot of positives shown about Mother Teresa and the amazing work carried out by her and her team, for example, giving temporary homes to those who had been orphaned.

However, interestingly, it does show aspects of her work from another point of view. The documentary shows how she became so well known and adored by millions. The Catholic Church embraced Mother Teresa and often utilised her to create a positive image for the church (specifically to cover up the issue with Priests and sexual abuse). She also gained A LOT of money that was given to the church. The controversy being that much of the money was given to the church and not necessarily to those people that needed it the most. The money was not used to treat the sick and dying. Medical professionals who had worked with Mother Teresa initially, were horrified at the lack of proper treatment and facilities and ended up leaving to work elsewhere. Mother Teresa was about bringing the word of God to people whilst they were coming to the end of their lives and providing them with a place to stay, rather than helping them medically or offering any pain relief from their suffering. I think in the eyes of Mother Teresa, pain was seen almost as a necessity when dying, like Jesus was in pain when he died on the cross. This part did make me feel uncomfortable, although I was not that surprised that she was used by the church for financial and popular gain, sadly.

Having watched the documentary, I still believe Mother Teresa to be an amazing woman, who gave up her life to devote herself to God and look after those in need. However, I do think it is sad that much of the money acquired through charity and donations, never reached those who really needed it and very tragic that the church had used her kindness and time to their own advantage.

What are your thoughts if you have watched it? Would this blog post make you want to watch it? I believe Mother Teresa’s life was for the Love of God and I believe her help was for the Love of God. I just think maybe more could have been done to treat the sick and offer them pain relief. Also saddened that she became so popular and maybe lost track of her initial mission, with a focus more on the church rather than the people. However, it’s easy for me to say that sitting at home. I wasn’t there to know the facts and I’m sure we are not seeing the whole picture.

I hope I do not cause any upset to anyone with writing about this documentary. It’s just one take on her story and I’m sure there are many other points of view. However, I did really find the show interesting and gripping, albeit rather sad.

Take care and thanks for reading my Tuesday thoughts.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V8

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

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

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

Thanks again for checking out my doors this Thursday.

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday thoughts 💭 – Anniversary

Today my husband and I celebrate five years of marriage. After ten years together, it was time to put a ring on it and make it official. We had a civil partnership in Northern Ireland as it was still illegal for people of the same sex to be married then. Thankfully, it was made legal in 2020.

For us, marriage was about strengthening our commitment to each other, showing our love for each other to the world, providing security for each other and having that certainty that we would be seen as a couple in the eyes of the law. As we were moving to Australia, we wanted that security, for example, heaven forbid, if something happened to one of us. We also wanted to have a time of celebration with our families and friends, before we would leave Northern Ireland for a new chapter Down Under.

The best day with our nearest and dearest.

When we arrived in Australia the following month, we were surprised to discover that gay marriage was also not legal here. This was astounding as we know how gay friendly Australia is and Sydney hosts one of the biggest Mardi Gras festivals in the world.

On 9 December 2017, the right to marry in Australia was no longer based on sex or gender. This was amazing news and enabled us to be married officially. We had a small wedding service on our one year anniversary (four years ago today), just for us. We felt that we were married before but now it was official. We had a ceremony at one of our favourite beaches with an intimate collection of family and friends.

❤️

#loveislove

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – GREEN 🍃

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

It’s good to feel at one with nature

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

I love wearing green!

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

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

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

Taveuni, Fiji

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽 #wordprompt

Tuesday Thoughts 💭 – Share your World 05/04/22

Thank you Melanie once again for your questions. I will use these for my Tuesday Thoughts today 🙌🏼. I love this Share Your World blog which you can check out again here. A great idea to connect with others and answer questions that you would not normally be asked. Check out my responses below 👇🏼

Are you more productive at night or in the morning? Do you think it’s possible to change and get used to another schedule?

I am always more productive in the morning. My brain must work better or maybe because I’m refreshed from a good sleep. I am more focused in the mornings and determined to meet my goals. I think it is possible to change, however, other things in your life would need to change. Maybe going to bed later and rising later. Maybe going to the gym in the evening might provide you with more energy. Who knows. All I know is that I’m content with my morning productiveness 😆.

What’s the biggest vehicle you’ve driven? If you don’t drive, what’s the biggest vehicle you’ve ridden in?

The biggest vehicle was a Renault Scenic. Maybe not that big for some but my first car to drive was a Ford Fiesta so the Scenic seemed pretty big. I loved that feeling of sitting up high with a good view around you. My dream is to drive and stay in a camper-van one day but like one of those big motor homes from Meet the Fockers.

What songs would be played on a loop in hell?

Oh anything heavy metal or trance music. That would be painful 🙉.

How were your spirits (mood) over the past week?

Pretty good to be honest. I have a lot to look forward to this year and plans are starting to come together. Watch this space 😉.

Thanks everyone and have a good week. Enjoy your Tuesday (Monday night for some).

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunsets – Portrush

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

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

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

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

Be sure to let me know.

Take care everyone,

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunsets – Phuket

Happy Sunday everyone. I have been thinking about this for some time now. As well as my love for travelling, doors, flowers, architecture and anything quaint, I am also obsessed with sunrises and sunsets. Preferably sunsets as I don’t like to wake up too early to see the sun rising. I want to share with you every Sunday some of my favourite sunsets (and a few sunrises) over the years and where I have seen them. Hopefully the colours will also brighten our spirits with all the sadness in the world today.

This week I will show you a sunset I watched in Kata Noi on the island of Phuket, Thailand. I met my parents here for a few days as they were holidaying from Ireland and I flew over from Australia. It was amazing to be able to catch the sunset with my parents and spend some quality time with them on my own. A time I will forever cherish.

Kata Noi Beach
With my Dad

Thank you for taking a look.

Wayne ✌🏽

St Patrick’s Day ☘️

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

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

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

We drink anything green really 🤣

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

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

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

Drinking Guinness in an Irish pub in Sydney 2019

Have a great day everyone.

Slainte! 🍻

Wayne

Fandango’s Provocative Question #160

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

Fandango’s Provocative Question #160

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Friday Art

This amazing piece of art is from my good friend Grainne Knox. You can check her out on Twitter, Instagram etc. Grainne is providing people with this image if they care to donate to the people of Ukraine via the Disasters Emergency Committee here. No matter what the amount is, it can make a difference. It’s a good idea if you’re feeling helpless and not sure how to help.

I think it’s a lovely gesture and I love this image. It is very relatable for Ukraine today with the sunflower being their National flower 🌻. I also love the idea of sunflowers growing everywhere.

If you want to check out Grainne’s work online you can click this link https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/GrainneKnoxArt?coupon=GRA4MNA.

Wayne ✌🏽

FLOWER(S) OF THE DAY CHALLENGE (FOTD)

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

100 Posts ☺️

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

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

Thanks again, everyone!

Wayne 🙏🏼

Uluru – Sunrise tour

This tour was part of our Field of Light tour. After the lights, we headed upwards to the vantage point. There we were offered some tea/coffee and biscuits to watch the sunrise (this was needed due to being so early 😉). Needless to say, the sunrise was unreal. Even though we had witnessed a sunset, seen Uluru up close and from afar, this sunrise still managed to massively impress us. Take a look for yourself below.

Sun is rising
Waiting for the sun to rise 🌅
The colours 🤩
Sunrise with Uluru to the right. The way the sun hits is just stunning.

So we have now come to the end of my Uluru blog mini series. I hope you all enjoyed the pictures and are maybe now inspired to visit Uluru for yourselves. As I mentioned previously, we travelled here for a weekend break and didn’t quite get to see everything on our list, although I am overjoyed with what we did manage to see. If you plan to visit for yourself, there are a couple of other excursions you could try. Dining under the Stars is supposed to be amazing and was on my list big time. I’m sure it’s beautiful to eat in the middle of the desert with a clear sky above. Can you imagine how bright the stars must be? Also a camel tour around Uluru would be pretty epic, riding through the desert. Although part of me is slightly wary of this, could this be considered cruel to camels?

Anyway, hopefully you can do all the things you would like when and if you travel there. Not every excursion suits everyone. I for one am extremely happy with what we have seen and done and we have absolutely made memories to last a lifetime.

Thanks for reading,

Wayne ✌🏽

Uluru – Sacred Sites & Sunset Tour

We had already booked a sunset tour but we really wanted to get up close and personal to Uluru. We had initially booked to have a BBQ after the sunset with some interesting bush tucker but sadly for us the weather had been pretty wet the week before (great for the National Park as rain doesn’t happen too often). Therefore, the BBQ had to be cancelled as they could not have it due to the area being saturated. This actually worked out well as we could then swap our BBQ for a day tour of the scared sites at Uluru. This enabled us to see Uluru up close and learn about its history. It’s one thing to see Uluru from afar but when you have the chance to touch the sacred rock formation, it was a welcome addition.

We booked our tour with AAT Kings and it offered a walking tour guide of Uluru and a sunset experience with drinks and nibbles. I have to say the tour was really good but for us, having the chance to simply see and touch Uluru from up close was the main event. You really do feel how majestic Uluru is and you can’t help but become engrossed in your surroundings.

We were delighted to able to touch Uluru
Mutitjulu Waterhole – this is a really special location and is one of the few permanent water sources around Uluru. This is a beautiful spot to sit and appreciate the peace and tranquillity.
We stopped here to see where tourists used to start the climb of Uluru. It’s hard to believe this was only stopped three years ago. Now we know how insensitive it was to climb this sacred site.

After seeing Uluru up close, it was time to head out and see the views from afar. This way you can really see how the light changes when it hits Uluru as the sun sets.

Sunset here is pretty special ☺️
Cheers to life 🧡
Every second spent here changes when the sun starts to set. The colour changes are impeccable. This was lovely to watch, whilst having some wine, cheese, dips and crackers.

As the sun was setting, local Indigenous people sit nearby displaying their incredible art work, hoping to sell a piece. They were all outstanding creations of art and we had to buy one. Such an amazing location to buy local art and support the local community.

This was honestly such an unbelievable experience seeing Uluru up close and at sunset. It’s difficult to even put into words. I hope you all have this opportunity to visit Uluru but until then, I really hope you can enjoy the photos ☺️. Thanks for reading.

Wayne ✌🏽

Uluru – By air

This was the first excursion we did when arriving to Yulara. This was a surprise for me as it had not even been on my radar to see Uluru from an airplane. I was told five minutes prior to being collected by the pilot. My remarkable partner had it all secretly planned.

We travelled with Ayers Rock Scenic Flights and yes you read that correct, we were collected by the pilot. This was certainly a first for us. We were taken by minibus to the airport where we boarded a very small airplane, a four seater Piston-powered aircraft (that’s as much as I know) and we had a safety talk with our amazing pilot.

I have been in a few different aircraft that holds up to ten people but never one that has just four seats. This was very exciting. You have to wear a headset that enables you to talk and listen to the pilot, whilst also listening to her communicate with the local air traffic control team. Then up, up and away.

The views even taking off were out of this world. I have never seen the ground so red and dusty. It’s amazing to be in the desert with not much at all around you. There were some green plants however, as there had been much needed rain just days before. We could see the town of Yulara, the hotels, the workers’ accommodation and an even fancier hotel away from everywhere else, where William and Kate had stayed. Our pilot was a great tour guide, giving us a run down of the area and history.

Then when you see Uluru, it’s just magnifique. Such a feast for the eyes. From the air it doesn’t look as big as on land but it fairly stands out in the middle of the desert. You can also see Kata Tjuta, another rock formation about 25km away from Uluru, which is just as formidable but somehow understated.

Honestly this is such an experience to see from the air. Whether you choose a plane or a helicopter, it will be worth your while booking a trip in the air. You won’t regret it. it’s not as scary as you might think and the turbulence was very minimal. The pilot talks to you throughout and you’re busy taking in the scenery to be anxious or worried about the height you are at.

Some advice for you that I learned after. You can only take and post pictures of Uluru from one side. On the back of Uluru are some culturally sensitive sites that you cannot take pictures of or post on social media. I had learned this when doing the tour on foot, however, I had never considered that fact when I was snapping away from the air. Granted I had this experience before the tour on foot so I was ignorant to this information. I have so many photos and videos but unfortunately cannot show them here from this angle. I will show more in the next blog post when we carried out the tours on foot.

Let me know what you think about seeing sites from the sky?

Thanks for reading all,

Wayne ✌🏽

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Thanks for reading,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 31 – we made it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, stay safe and keep blogging!

Wayne 💛

Bloganuary Day 30

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

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

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

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

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

What are your thoughts on today’s topic??

Wayne 🌳

Bloganuary Day 29 ♻️

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

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

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

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

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

– recycling

– using wooden utensils where possible and other sustainable products

– using reusable containers and covers

– using refill bottles and keep cups

– taking my reusable shopping bags to the supermarket

– trying not to let the water run

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 28

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

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

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

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

What’s on your playlist?

Wayne ✌🏽

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑