Doors of WordPress – Game Of Thrones

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 💭

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 ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 24

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

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

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

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

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

What are your thoughts?

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 22

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

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

Thanks for checking out this post everyone!!!

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 21

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

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

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

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

What year would you time travel to?

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 19

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

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

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

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

I would be intrigued to hear your answer.

Many thanks,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 18

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

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

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

Many thanks,

Wayne 🤓

Bloganuary Day 17 🦸🏼‍♂️

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

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

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

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

What’s your thoughts?

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 15

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

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

Cheers,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 14

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

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

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

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

1 – Would I enjoy nursing?

2 – Would I be capable?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is my ideal day. Plain and simple.

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 11

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

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

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

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

What about everyone else?

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mudgee, NSW

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

Take care and stay safe,

Wayne ☺️

Bloganuary Day 9

Working hard or hardly working?? 🤔

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

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

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

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

Cheers for reading,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 8

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks guys,

Wayne ✍🏼

Bloganuary Day 7 – 1 week ✔️

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

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

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

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

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

What about you? What makes you laugh?

Wayne 😁

Bloganuary Day 6

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Wayne ☺️

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care and thanks for reading.

Wayne ✌🏽

NSW on a vaccine high ☺️

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

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

Stay safe and sane everyone ✌🏽

Covid 19 Booster

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe everyone and get vaccinated ✌🏽

Wayne ☺️

1 night in Manly ☺️

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

Drinks at the harbour waiting for the ferry ☺️

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks everyone for reading!

Keep safe,

Wayne ☺️

12 months and 12 photos (2020)

What a year it has been. I think most of us will be glad to see the back of 2020. Coronavirus has a lot to answer for…but it hasn’t been all bad. For me personally, it hasn’t been the worst year. It was sad not to be able to go home this year to see family and friends but thank goodness for the internet and learning to socialize online with video calls etc. Here is a look at my year with 12 photos for each month of 2020.

JANUARY

I was starting the new year on a high. We had just completed a cruise holiday for Christmas and I was feeling my best with my weight gain. I was at my heaviest here at 77kg. This was such an accomplishment for me and I was excited to see my progress continue with the gym and eating well.

FEBRUARY

It was AMAZING to have family here from Ireland. When friends and family come to Australia and love it like you do, it’s priceless 🥰

MARCH

The pandemic reached Australia and everyone went crazy for toilet roll. (I think this was world wide). We were in an 8 week lockdown and people were panic buying. It was insane, however, this was just the beginning.

APRIL

Celebrating the main man’s big birthday. We were in lockdown so all holiday plans were cancelled. However, we had a lovely party at home Mexican style 🇲🇽 🌵

MAY

All gyms are closed. Home workouts ensued. They were fun enough but I lost a lot of muscle mass. Sad times after all the work put in but at least I maintained my fitness and you ALWAYS feel better after a workout 🏋🏼‍♀️ 🤗

JUNE

Hooray! Our 8 week lockdown was over and restrictions started to ease. Pubs opened and we went for our 1st schooner in what seemed like an eternity.

JULY

Visiting Madame Tussauds was awesome. Healthcare workers were given free entry to some venues in Sydney and this was one of them. This was a nice touch! Hiya Oprah!

AUGUST

A little local holiday to Hunter Valley for my birthday. We feel really fortunate to have so many great places to travel to within our state.

SEPTEMBER

We’re still travelling local but Sydney never gets old. I love living in this city. To be confined here is not too shabby.

OCTOBER

Trying to see as much of NSW as possible, as that’s all where we can go. This is Ballina. Make sure to stop here before heading on to Byron Bay (see previous blog post).

NOVEMBER

And after being back to the gym for a few months, I am finally getting back to the shape I was in pre Covid. I honestly never thought it would take so long but hey ho, thankful to be in a position to even visit a gym these days.

DECEMBER

Back to Byron Bay for a 2nd time. Our Queensland trip was cancelled again (3rd time now, sooooo over it) but this was the best place to spend Christmas with close friends. Grateful for small mercies and staying healthy.

Happy New Year everyone! May 2021 be better for you than 2020.

Keep safe everyone,

Wayne ☺️

Malabar Headland National Park

If you are looking for an awesome way to spend your day off in Sydney then this is the place to visit. Many people have done the Bondi to Coogee walk but have you done the Coogee to Malabar walk via Maroubra? If that’s too long, you can catch the bus to Maroubra and walk from there to Malabar. The beginning of the National Park is only a 10 minute walk from Maroubra beach.

Maroubra Beach
Entering the Malabar Headland National Park

Malabar Headland National Park boasts dramatic coastal views and walks between Maroubra and Malabar beaches, in the east of Sydney. Follow the path within the National Park. There are many steps, areas of bushland and at times rocky terrain so my advice is to wear comfortable footwear. It takes about 20 minutes to reach Malabar Beach along the western section of the walk. The views on the route are incredible. The beach itself is quite small but has lots of character and is a really beautiful spot. From the beach you then follow the path along the eastern section of the park. This can be closed at times so be sure to check the opening times at https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/malabar-headland-national-park. The views on the return leg to Maroubra are stunning and you can often see whales here migrating from May to November on their annual migration route.

Honestly, this is one park you will want to check out. I had no idea it was there, a real hidden gem in the eastern suburbs that’s right on your Sydney doorstep.

All the best,

W 🙂

Travel during Covid

As you may or may not be aware, I havent written a blog post in quite some time. I mainly write about my travels and positive experiences in Australia, however, 2020 has been a very strange year so far. Australia had a rough ride at the end of 2019 and entering 2020 with the insane bush fires that were reported all over the world. This coupled with drought was very catastrophic for most of the country. Even here in Sydney the amount of smoke was crazy and pretty scary as you worry about your physical health with regards to breathing and being outdoors ( it was, at one stage, the worst air pollution in the world). You could feel it with every breath, even sitting in your home and sleeping at night. So dear help those who were living in the middle of it all and the poor animals who lost their lives.

This was then followed by severe flooding, which crazily enough, initially made putting the fires out even harder. So when the fires, finally, after many months began to be contained and controlled, people here believed the worst to be over. Enter the coronovirus.

This needs no explaining, as every country in the world and every person is being affected in some way or another. Thankfully, Australia has been doing really well up to this point and long may it continue. I have just been grateful to still have a job and maintain some sort of normality. I think the fact that we can’t travel is the least of anyone’s worries. Everyone just wants to be healthy, both physically and mentally, ensure safety of our loved ones and come out of this covid situation being able to have a new way of normal life.

As we begin to ease out of lockdown here, we begin to live our lives in a new era of social distancing and strict infection control measures. We may not be able to travel internationally here, however, I am extremely grateful that we are now in a situation where we can travel locally and soon to be inter state. For us, it provides the opportunity to see more of Australia, as will be for most people here and in turn will help the economy and the tourist industry. Therefore, I will be continuing to write about day trips to make in and around Sydney for now, with the hope to expand to places more further afield in Australia. We were meant to be travelling home to Ireland this month but that will have to be placed on hold for the time being unfortunately.

Stay tuned and keep safe everyone.

W 🙂

12 months and 12 photos (2019)

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

January – Taveuni

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

February – Belfast comes to Melbourne

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

March – Meet my parents in Thailand

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

April – 10 years later

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

May – Home

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

June – A time of reflection

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

July – Quality time

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

August – Leura

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

September – A personal journey

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

October – Wedding dress shopping

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

Novemeber – My cousin

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

December – Christmas time

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

Northern Ireland: An alternative guide – part 2 ✌🏽

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

Grand Central Hotel Belfast – The Observatory

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

Glass of Thrones

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

Belfast street art

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

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort

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

City of Derry Jazz Festival

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

Portballintrae Causeway Loop

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

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

W 😊

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