FOTD – Crimson Bottlebrush

What an amazing looking flower. My partner and I thought this looked like one of those bottle brushes you see mothers having to clean their babies’ bottles with. When we found out their name, we thought it was very amusing. The crimson bottlebrush is native to Australia and is very popular with birds for its nectar, specifically lorikeets, which we see here in Sydney all the time.

Thanks for taking a look at my flower of the day and I hope you all have a very happy Friday!

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – China Rose

Happy Friday everyone. Please see below my flower of the day. Todays offering is a China Rose.

China Rose – native to south-west China

This rose is significant for it’s ability to bloom almost every month of the year and therefore, it represents longevity. I like this idea of living a long life, through thick and thin.

Take care all and have a lovely weekend.

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 ✌🏽

FOTD – Silky Oak

Happy Saturday everyone. Usually I post my flower of the day on a Friday as I always think of Friday Flowers. However, I was pretty beat after work last night so I thought I would leave it for this week.

However, I was doing my usual walk today after work around the eastern suburbs and spotted this amazing flower on my way home from Bronte Beach. Even though it is Saturday, I really wanted to share this one with you all. It is known as Silky Oak and it’s botanical name is Grevillea Robusta. The Silky Oak is an evergreen tree and the flowers appear from spring to summer, which is quite funny as here in Australia it is autumn going into winter. Go figure! I was fascinated as I don’t recall ever seeing this one before. Let me know what you think? Have you ever seen this flower before? It honestly put the biggest smile on my face when I spotted it. I love the bright orange colour and the long looking tentacles.

Silky Oak

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V7

Welcome to another week featuring some amazing Doors of WordPress. I was fortunate enough to spot some fantastic doors last weekend when we were staying at The Rocks in Sydney. Therefore, the doors featured this week were all spotted there at The Rocks, almost like a Rocks special episode of doors. This is a very popular tourist spot with a very interesting history. You can read more about this area here if you so wish.

I was really hoping to explore Darlinghurst and Five Ways today but alas, the rains have returned again to Sydney. That will be for another day, all being well. Please check out my doors below and do not hesitate to let me know which one is your favourite this week.

1 – I’m a sucker for plants, flowers, wreaths on people’s doors or in the vicinity.
2 – I love the colours of the doors with the colour of the building. As well as the doors, the windows and lights also add to the quaintness and character of the building.
3 – Amazing colours and I love the door knobs.
4 – I really like the steps here and the door to me looks quite old and rustic, almost a medieval or Game of Thrones feel.
5 – The colours here are fantastic and look quite regal to me. Also the door knocker above the handle looks great.
6 – Great colour and design. I also love the light to the side of the door.
7 – What a great building. You can’t really see the door too well but I still liked it. I was going to remove the bins from the photograph but then I thought it maybe adds a “je ne sais quoi” to the image.
8 – I love the appearance of the red door with the rustic brick work, looks quite European to me.

That’s my lot for this week. Which one do you prefer? Have you ever been to The Rocks in Sydney? It is honestly such a beautiful area, with cobbled streets and meandering pathways all around. You can spend a lot of time here and I never tire of visiting. It’s a bonus that there are so many amazing doors to discover and I have only scratched the surface.

Thanks for having a look and take care everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday Thoughts 💭 – Birthday

Today I think of my partner and how it is his birthday today! Unfortunately we are both working today so we will celebrate modestly this evening. On the other hand, we were able to celebrate during the weekend just past and had a really lovely weekend together in Sydney.

Sydney Opera House

I planned a secret outing on Sunday in the CBD. I wanted us to participate in an event or excursion and it just so happened that there was an Oyster masterclass happening, courtesy of Sydney Oyster Farm Tours. This was part of a larger event that was happening all weekend in the Sydney CBD to celebrate food, drink and live entertainment.

We were able to shuck our own oysters (the process of opening the oysters) and thankfully none of us managed to injure ourselves. There was a girl in front of us who nearly chopped her finger off! We learned some history and gained knowledge regarding oyster farming and we were able to eat them afterwards. We had a collection of Sydney Rock Oysters and Pacific Oysters and I’m sure we managed to eat nearly a dozen each! This was a great experience and one that we had never done before.

Oyster shucking – The Pacifics were already opened in the tray and the Rock Oysters were in the bags waiting to be opened.

We then checked into our hotel for the night. I thought it would be cool to stay in a really nice hotel with stunning Sydney views, just for one night. You have the novelty of being away from home but with the luxury of not having to travel too far. Being a tourist for the day and night was fun. We stayed in the Shangri-La and really, thoroughly enjoyed it. I would say the only negative point was that it was a long weekend, therefore, it was pretty busy and had lots of kids. It was impossible to get a window view at the bar for drinks and also for breakfast the next morning. Out of season would be better. However, the bottle of bubbles in the room for my partner’s birthday was a really lovely touch and the staff were so, so friendly. The views of Circular Quay were stunning and I’m sure if you have a Harbour Bridge view, that would also be pretty epic.

❤️

We had dinner at The Spice Room at Circular Quay. Delicious Indian food in a really quaint and authentic setting. I had been here before and loved it. Thankfully, my partner loved it too 😊. When you see many Indian and Nepalese families eating there, that’s a sure sign the food will be tasty and authentic 🇮🇳.

On the following day, it was ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), remembering the soldiers lost at war. We had a dip in the pool and checked out. We had breakfast at The Rocks which was beautiful and watched the parades honouring the service men who fought in the World Wars. I always find this day really moving and I love how people of all ages come out to remember those who lost their lives fighting for their country.

Breakfast at The Rocks Cafe
ANZAC DAY PARADE

We headed home for a quick change and then out for lunch with friends at The Chiswick in Woollahra. Absolutely stunning venue and food. If you ever have the chance to visit here, do not hesitate. It’s definitely up there.

Ready for lunch
Apple crumble and ice cream or ANZAC biscuit and ice cream 😋

That was our weekend in a snapshot. I really feel like birthdays deserve to be celebrated as we only have one a year and life is so short.

How was your weekend? I apologise as it’s Tuesday but we were off work yesterday 😛.

Cheers,

Wayne ✌🏽

Flower of the Day (FOTD) – Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Happy Friday everyone. This is the day of the week that I post some flowers that I have seen recently or I have managed to haul from the archives, as part of Cee’s Photo Challenges (you can find here).

Today’s flowers were taken at The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and are known as Wax Begonia. They are native to South America and are often used as ground cover.

I really need to return to the Botanic Gardens soon as they have such an array of flower and plant species and it’s a really beautiful spot to take a relaxing stroll through.

Such a stunning backdrop with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge seen in the distance.

Have you ever seen these flowers? Have you ever visited the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney?

Please do let me know and thanks for checking out my FOTD.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V6

As it’s Thursday Doors today, courtesy of No Facilities, here are my latest offerings of doors from my neighbourhood. Thursday is fast becoming my favourite day for blogging as I love showcasing the local doors. My only concern is, what happens when you run out of doors?

Please see my selection below and their locations in Sydney👇🏼

1 – Bronte
2 – Paddington
3 – St. James Church, King Street
4 – Bondi
5 – Bondi Road

What is your favourite this week? I love the artwork for the last one. This is a very popular coffee shop on Bondi Road called Up South Bondi. However, if I’m thinking solely of the door/doorway, the first one would be my favourite.

Thanks for checking out my doors.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V5

As it’s Thursday Doors today, courtesy of No Facilities, here are my latest offerings. I love walking around Sydney and finding new doors. I feel blessed to live somewhere with such an array of fine looking doors 😛. Have a look below and let me know which ones are your fave? 👇🏼

1 – Woollahra
2 – Woollahra
3 – Vaucluse
4 – The Rocks
5 – Woollahra

As you can see, many of my Sydney doors are from Woollahra. I love this suburb in the eastern suburbs and it’s right on my doorstep. It’s very quaint with lots of character and charm.

That’s me just finished work for the week. I am sitting on the train home, tired but delighted to be off for a few days. I hope you all have a lovely long weekend and if you celebrate Easter, enjoy the celebrations, enjoy your time with those nearest and dearest and treat yourself to some chocolates.

Take care everyone and thanks for checking out my selection of doors.

Wayne 🐣

Solo Sunday in Sydney 🙋🏼‍♂️

Today I am flying solo. I am off from work and the sun is finally shining in Sydney. It feels strange but exciting to see blue skies after having so much rain. I am dying to get out and about so I take myself off for a really long walk, wanting to soak up as much vitamin D as possible and to increase my step count for the week. I can’t do the Bondi to Coogee walk as it will be packed on a Sunday. So I decide to walk to Watson’s Bay via the residential streets, hoping to encounter as few people as possible. I pass Macquarie Lighthouse and from there I walk to Camp Cove, just past Watson’s Bay. It’s a little beach that is not as well know, unless you live here in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. I take the South Head heritage trail to Hornby Lighthouse and return to Watson’s Bay. Here I take the coastal walk from the Gap Lookout and return home via Rose Bay.

As well as being a beautiful walk and a good distance for gaining the steps, it also gives me the opportunity to take many photos, most of which I can add to my future posts for my Doors of WordPress and my Friday Flowers ☺️.

I hope you enjoy some of the scenic shots from today. This is my happy place. Walking in beautiful weather, with stunning scenery and the chance to see what I can photograph.

Macquarie Lighthouse
Camp Cove – a small beach with lots of charm and city views
Camp Cove kiosk – I love the quaintness of this kiosk and it was the perfect spot to stop for lunch
Views for days when you take the South Head heritage trail to the lighthouse
Hornby Lighthouse
Walking from the Gap Lookout towards Bondi.
The coastal views are stunning.
City views and the Harbour Bridge.
When I passed Macquarie Lighthouse again, I took the residential streets to Rose Bay and then home.

All in all, my walk was about 3.5 hours with a lunch stop. My feet are walked off me but I feel great for having done it and I can now put the feet up at home.

I hope you all are able to have a lovely Sunday wherever you are. Take care and keep safe,

Wayne ✌🏽

Friday Flowers

My Friday Flowers are back again this week! Sometimes I will post a flower of the day on a Friday but if I have a few to share, I will call the post Friday Flowers 🤗. I think it’s a nice way to end the working week, splash a bit of colour through WordPress and it’s a good opportunity to appreciate the little things in life that we can often take for granted. We are still having A LOT of rain here in Sydney and through NSW. I can’t even complain about it as some people have it much, much worse then me. There are severe floods here, people losing their homes, their livelihoods and sometimes even their lives. Plus we still have the war in Ukraine that is in my thoughts every single day. When will it all end? 🙏🏼 .

Please feel free to check out my Friday Flowers below and hopefully they can make you smile and add a little colour to your day ☺️. I will tell you their name and where I have seen them 👇🏼

Scarlet Star – Bellagio Resort, Las Vegas
Flame Vine – Vaucluse, Sydney
Angel’s Trumpet – Wendy’s Secret Garden, Sydney
Pride of Madeira – Vaucluse, Sydney
Chinese Hibiscus – Kogarah, NSW

I have to say, I am in no way a botanist but I have an amazing app on my phone that can tell me about a flower species by simply uploading a photo. I cannot believe how amazing it is that we can learn so much from a photo. The app is called Picture This if you want to have a look for yourself.

It also gives you the botanical names, where they originated and other common names.
It can also identify weeds, birds, insects etc. – simply amazing 🤩

Ps. This is not an advert for this app. I just want to share as I think it’s fantastic if you want to know more about the flowers you are photographing. You can check them out here at https://www.picturethisai.com/

I hope you enjoyed my Friday Flowers post. Have a great weekend everyone and if you’re in Sydney, good luck staying dry 😬.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V4

My fourth instalment is here, featuring doors found in and around Sydney. These posts are creating a door monster within me! Now every time I see a door that I like, I have to photograph it. I just hope the person behind the door doesn’t mind. If ever questioned, I will explain my love for doors and inform them that they are part of my blog post. That is quite the achievement to be featured 🤣 (jokes). I hope you enjoy my selection of doors this week 👇🏼

The Butler Restaurant- Potts Point
Dry Cleaners – Bondi Junction
The Flower House – Surry Hills
Graffiti Door – Surry Hills
Double Doors – Randwick

Thanks for taking a look!

Enjoy your Thursday everyone,

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – BRIDGE

I do love a good word prompt! I was scrolling through my junk emails and spotted this one from WordPress (swiftly moved to my inbox). I like the idea of having a monthly word prompt and luckily for me, I discovered this on the last day of March 😅.

Coincidentally, I also have a love for bridges. I’m not sure what it is that I love about bridges. It doesn’t even have to be a big or majestic bridge. I like any sort. I love the design of them, I love how many of them travel over water. I love the excitement of seeing what is at the other side of a bridge. Does anyone else have the same sentiment regarding bridges?

Most of you will know what my passions are from my previous blog posts, for example, photographing anything quaint, scenic, architectural etc. and a good bridge definitely falls into these categories. I have so, so many pictures of bridges but I don’t want to bore you all with them today. It is more than enough that I share my doors, flowers and sunset pictures 😆.

However, I will share one of my favourite bridges that is right here in my current city. You can maybe guess it already. Every time I see this bridge I am in awe. It also always reminds me that I am living in Sydney, one of the best cities in the world, in my humble opinion. I think I have photographed this bridge from every angle possible. I have walked under it on numerous occasions, sailed under it, walked over it, travelled over it by car, bus, train and even had the opportunity to climb this bridge with my Dad when he came to Australia. It is of course, the Sydney Harbour Bridge 🙌🏼.

View from Hotel Palisade
On top of the Harbour Bridge with my Dad
View at The Rocks
Harbour Bridge at night

What is your favourite bridge that you have seen so far???

Wayne ✌🏽

Fridays Flowers

I want to share with you today some flowers from a very popular place here in Sydney at The Grounds of Alexandria. Presently they are showcasing their Secret Garden, where lots of people come to take some pictures and pose with the flowers, mainly girls for their social accounts but it is a really impressive spectacle. I’m unsure if the flowers are real or artificial or maybe a combination of both but it really is a feast for the eyes either way. You can see more information about the event here.

Let me know what you think 🤗

A little video to capture your imagination ☺️
This was when I visited the event last year.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V3

My love of doors continues to thrive. I cannot wait to travel again and see doors from other countries too. However, I do love how Sydney has such an array of door types and fortunately for me, are all in my neighbourhood. If you are also a lover of doors, check out Thursday Doors here. You can take a look at my top 5 doors this week below 👇🏼.

Woollahra, Sydney
Bondi, Sydney
Woollahra, Sydney
Point Piper, Sydney
Waverley, Sydney

Thanks for taking a look and stay safe guys,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V2

Welcome to my second Doors of WordPress post. I am posting today because it is Thursday today and there is an amazing Thursdays Doors group in the blogosphere that showcases the most amazing doors. You can check it out here https://nofacilities.com/category/thursday-doors.

Please let me know which one is your favourite. I have written the location where I found each door in the caption below the photo. Note they are all from New South Wales, Australia ☺️.

1 – Surry Hills
2 – Bronte
3 – Robertson
4 – Kogerah
5 – Woollahra

The last door is my personal favourite. What’s yours?

Thanks all and keep safe,

Wayne ✌🏽

Sir Joseph Banks Park

If you’re looking to check out somewhere different near Sydney, then this could be your next stop. Situated near Botany, this park has it all, including a walking trail, a sports oval, themed gardens and ornamental animals, a maze, shaded walkways and picnic benches dotted around the park.

If you’re intrigued to know who Sir Joseph Banks was click here.
The tiger pen…you wouldn’t get this close if they were real 😝
Beautiful sculptures
Stunning scenery along the water

This park is a lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a sunny morning/afternoon. It’s always a blessing to find a new spot to discover and explore.

Thanks for taking a look with me,

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 ✌🏽

Merry Christmas everyone 🎅🏽

I hope all my blogger and WordPress friends are having a lovely festive holiday period. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s a nice time to meet up with friends and family and have a well deserved break.

Enjoy your time off, wherever you are in the world. Hopefully everyone stays safe and can avoid covid. It’s a challenge these days to avoid coronavirus and escape having to get a covid swab, having to isolate and missing the festivities 🙈. I know a few people who have tested positive and unfortunately have to isolate over Christmas 🥲.

It’s still a little strange for us in Australia as it’s summer time here. As much as I really love the heat and being poolside, you can’t help but miss the cold back home, games with the family, cosy by a roaring fire and a pint of Guinness or cup of mulled wine.

Stay safe everyone and I hope you have a lovely time 🤗.

I can’t complain. The weather has been much better than anticipated. Staying at Peppers Estate in Kingscliff.

12 months and 12 photos (2021)

January

A new year and we started it with a trip to Hunter Valley! This place was amazing for their cheese & wine matching experience at Two Fat Blokes
February

Weekending in the Southern Highlands with friends. We were introduced to this venue Mount Ashby Estate and it was love at first sight. The Southern Highlands has become a firm favourite of ours to visit.
March

Trip to the Gold Coast, returning after 11 years. We stayed at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort. Stunning hotel and it was awesome to be back and see how the Gold Coast has changed over time.
April

Another great holiday in Queensland. This time was in Noosa for a special birthday ( 1 year later due to Covid) and a long overdue catch up with friends. What a fantastic town with so much to see and do.
May

Celebrating with my good friends for finally finishing our course that would enable us to teach nursing. I’m so glad I completed this and it was a highlight of the year to help me land a teaching job in nursing.
June

The Art Gallery of NSW. We loved this place and little did we know that another (much longer) lockdown was just around the corner.
July

Who was to know that this lockdown would last 4 months! We were limited to a 5km radius from where we lived. Thankfully we could go for daily walks in Centennial Park.
August

My first lockdown birthday and hopefully the last. My one wish was to see the sunrise at Bronte. It was really special 🌅. I’ve seen it many times but it never gets old.
September

Continuing with my daily workouts at home, maintaining my fitness and keeping my sanity.
October – After 107 days lockdown is over (for now). It was so nice to be able to leave our 5km radius and see Sydney come back to life. You always remember you live in Sydney when sitting at the Opera Bar ☺️
November

Getting out and about again. We’re still appreciating what Sydney has to offer. Here we attended the musical Come From Away at the Capitol Theatre. We love being in the theatre so this was a real treat.
December

Cheers to surviving 2021. A great day trip to Hunter Valley and a great wine tasting at Vinden Wines. It’s funny, I started the year in the Hunter and now seems fitting to complete the year here. The wine and many lockdown cocktails have certainly helped 😉

Thanks everyone for having a read. When you look back at the year, it actually wasn’t too bad. We still have our health and the hope that 2022 will be better. Stay safe and sane everyone.

Wayne ☺️

Hunter Valley – in a day 🍷

Hunter Valley, NSW, an amazing place to taste some fine wines. Stunning scenery, boutique wineries, friendly people, what more could you wish for. I have been here quite a few times now and have always stayed at least two nights. I guess because it’s quite far away and it’s the ideal place to have a mini vacation. So when I was asked by my friends and work colleagues to join them for a day trip, I was excited to see what we could experience in a day. At least with the 2.5 hour drive each way, we could chat and catch up with each other 😊.

We had booked a day trip with Teds Tours. A company that specialises in wine tours and has a very friendly mentos. You can click https://www.tedstours.com.au/hunter-valley-tours/tour-packages for more information. Our driver Kris was amazing. He was a great laugh and very accommodating, picking us up from Wolli Creek and taking us there and back, whilst driving us also around three different vineyards and also to the pub for lunch. Nothing was a bother for him and he managed to keep us all within the time limits, no easy feat when everyone has had a few wines 🤪.

The gang ready to head off with Teds Tours

The three vineyards we had the pleasure of visiting were: Saltire 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿, Vinden Wines and Tatler. All three were good on there own merit, however, Saltire really stuck out for us. The scenery was unreal. Delicious wines, fantastic setting, a Scottish heritage and the service was extremely warm and inviting. All in all, this vineyard set the bar high and the staff had a really good knowledge and appreciation of their products 🍷.

Saltire 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Vinden Wines

Lunch at The Mighty – this was delicious and I really love this pub!

All in all, this was a great day out. We loved the company, the vineyards and the wines. Would I travel 2.5 hours each way again for a day trip, probably not. However, I would definitely use Teds Tours again, especially if staying in the Hunter in the future. I hope it inspires you to visit Hunter Valley, for a day or a longer stay. You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for reading guys, take care and stay safe.

Wayne ☺️

Jacaranda season 💜

For this post I want to simply show case these amazing trees here in Sydney. I have been a huge fan of Jacarandas since arriving in Australia over 4 years ago. I think it’s the colour of the trees that make them so special and the fact that I had never seen them before. The season starts around mid October until mid November and it really provides that sense of spring being in the air and a gentle reminder that it is almost summer here.

Although it’s easy to think of these trees being native to Australia, they are interestingly a tree originally from South America, predominantly Argentina. If you want some more info on this tree you can find more info here.

These trees, presumably because of their attractive purple/blueish colour have become increasingly popular with social media people, all vying for that perfect snap or selfie. This is great to see people taking such an interest (me included), however, it can prove difficult at times to take some pictures without any other people photo bombing 🙈.

I will show you some of my Jacarandas snaps over the last few years and where they were taken. The good thing is, there are lots of places that Jacarandas can be found 🙌🏼.

If you’re looking for a grove of Jacaranda trees, McDougall Street in Kirribilli is a popular spot for bloggers and social media people.

McDougall Street, Kirribilli
McDougall Street, Kirribilli

I think the trees found near Como Hotel in Como, NSW, are pretty special, as are those found at Hogben Park in Kogerah. If you’re simply looking for a random tree or two, you can see these in many different streets in and around Sydney. I see a lot of them where I live in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

Como


Croydon

You can find them in lots of other Sydney suburbs, for example, Croydon.

I hope you all have the chance to see a Jacaranda this season and if not, at least you can see them here 🤗. Thanks for taking an interest in my love for the Jacaranda tree!!

Take care & stay safe,

Wayne ✌🏽

Happy Sunday 🌺

The most epic tree I ever did see 😜 or is it a plant? Does anyone know what we call this fine specimen? I was honestly so delighted to have seen this today. It’s a really stunning tree (or plant). I think it also really stands out due to the white wall behind it. It’s the little things in life, am I right?! ☺️

Have a lovely Sunday everyone, wherever you are in the world.

Wayne ✌🏽

Ps. Post update: apparently this tree is in fact Bougainvillea. Confirmed by my WordPress and Instagram friends. Thanks everyone ☺️

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 ☺️

E.G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens

I happened to stumble across these gardens when working in Caringbah, within the Sutherland Shire recently. I was trying to walk somewhere pleasant and increase my step count when these gardens appeared like an oasis in a desert. It was such a awesome surprise to find. I just wanted to share some pictures of the gardens and the nearby Kareena Park Reserve. Here you can find an abundance of camellias and other flowers, a quaint tea house, numerous bird species and many sleepy flying foxes. This is the perfect spot for a picnic or simply getting lost in nature. If you want to read about the history of the gardens you can click here.

This is somewhere you should check out if looking for a day trip out of Sydney to see something a little different. It honestly made my day to spend some time here and I felt I should share with others who may not have heard of this spot.

Take care and thanks for reading 🙏🏼

Wayne 😊

Sydney lockdown is officially over 🙏🏼

We made it guys! After 106 days we are now officially out of lockdown. Boy it feels good…but also a bit nerve wrecking. It’s so nice to have our freedom again, seeing people out and about, hustle and bustle everywhere. However, you can’t help but think, the virus is still out there. I’m still in favour of social distancing and trying to be as safe as possible. Although I’m double vaccinated, I’m still keen to avoid contracting coronavirus 😬.

People of Sydney, or anywhere in the world that has lived through a lockdown (I’m sure everyone has), what was the first thing you did when the lockdown was lifted???

For me, it was work as usual. Being a nurse, we didn’t have any time off during lockdown. Yes I am forever grateful to have been in employment and have some sort of normality. At least we could see our work colleagues and chat about the ever changing pandemic days whilst still earning an income. However, I’m sure I speak for many nurses, it would have been lovely to have a couple of weeks off at home. Not annual leave or being off sick but just days at home to chill out and reset. Alas it wasn’t meant to be and that’s ok.

Finishing work, it was really amazing to see people out on the streets, seeing people sitting through cafe windows enjoying their soy caps and shopping malls with shop doors finally opened again. There was a real buzz around Sydney today and it felt good, albeit a bit strange. The first thing I did was go to the gym. As much as I was slightly nervous, I couldn’t wait to get back to training and seeing friends. Finally I could lift a heavy weight again 🏋️‍♂️ and maybe feel the burn the next day 😅.

I hope you all enjoy the next few days/weeks of having no lockdown. What are you excited to do/see? I personally can not wait to be able to travel again ✈️.

Thanks for reading guys and stay safe 🙏🏼

Wayne 😜

Sydney Lockdown: My 5km radius

Bronte Rock Pool

This week we enter our 15th week of lockdown and hopefully the last, as restrictions will ease here next week. As you may or may not be aware, we have been restricted to moving within 5km of where we live or our local government area. I can honestly say, I have exhausted my 5km radius, having walked almost every area possible 🤣. I want to display a few photos to show you my 5km radius from when lockdown here began and you will see for yourself how diverse a small area in Sydney can be 🙌🏼.

1 – Coastal walks – Bondi to Coogee (or anywhere in between)

Bondi Beach

2 – Centennial Park

3 – Double Bay

4 – Rose Bay

5 – Hermitage Foreshore Walk

This encompasses many of Sydney’s intimate beaches along the harbour with great views of the Sydney city skyline. Includes Milk Beach, Parsley Bay & Nielsen Park.

6 – Paddington

That’s it folks. Thanks for taking a look around my 5km radius. It has been great to be able to show some photos again as it has been a while.

Take care and stay safe everyone.

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 🙂

L E U R A

Leura is a small town situated in the Blue Mountains. We wanted to see somewhere different within the mountains as we have been a good few times now and luckily there is still always something new to see. Blackheath, Katoomba and Leura are the 3 main towns and so we had already visited the other 2 towns. It was my birthday at the start of the month, so we thought it would be fun to have a weekend away, a mini vacation. We wanted somewhere that we could travel to by train, so we could save the hassle of hiring a car like we normally would do. Leura has its own train station and is less than 2 hours to get to from Sydney. Perfect spot because you are within the Blue Mountain region, great for stunning scenery and long walks ☺️. I had heard Leura has lovely cascades with picnic areas, so for me, that’s what I really wanted to see. I also wanted to simply see the mountains and feel a million miles away from the normal daily routine.

We used booking.com to book a lovely cottage in Leura, a 5 minute walk from the train station. The cottage was The Priest’s Cottage at St Raphael (no priests were spotted) and it was really special. Extremely cosy with its own little electric fire and it even had electric blankets that was a really nice touch. It was freezing at night when we were there but luckily you wouldn’t have known staying in this cottage. It was very easy to find and so close to the town. A really quaint little place that was pretty spacious and had all the amenities you would hope to find. Outdoor seating area too that would be great in the summer.

First thing you do on a holiday/mini break, check in and check out your surroundings. We took a walk to the town and had a look around. The main street is really quaint with lots of cafes and really cool shops. Our favourite findings were the vintage shops (particularly The Leura Emporium Vintage Collectables) and the really cool Teddy Sinclair’s Man Cave. This shop was awesome, you could spend all day in it. It smells amazing as you walk in with all the leather wallets, bags, coats, jackets etc and it has lots of men’s accessories from shaving utensils to travel bags, jewellery, watches and gifts.

Flemish Flavours

This is the best spot, in my opinion, for a beer and some food. This bar/restaurant is situated in a heritage listed mansion overlooking Leura. The outdoor space and gardens are stunning. This is a really cool spot to try out some Belgian beers and gourmet food. The beers were delicious and the atmosphere here is quirky and cosy. Be sure to check this place out this month as the restaurant/bar will be leaving the premises here for new pastures.

Bygone Beautys Treasured Teapot Museum

If you love tea as much as I do then this is the place for you. You can pay $5.50 in to see the museum or you can be admitted for free in the condition that you purchase a cup of tea after. The museum has the largest collection of private tea ware in the world and boasts more than 5,500 teapots from all over the world and from different eras. The staff here are super friendly and helpful and the atmosphere and surroundings create the perfect place to have a cup of tea, where you can choose from an array of different varieties.

Leura Cascades

I was super excited to see these!! I was just looking forward to heading out for a walk into unknown territory and seeing something a little different. We walked to the cascades, it takes about 30 minutes from Leura itself. We brought a picnic as we’d heard there are lovely spots to sit and have lunch, plus there are no cafes or shops nearby so best be prepared. The cascades themselves are stunning. Not overly big but tucked away amongst the trees and rocks to create a special ambiance. The walking trail is pretty easy to navigate with some steep stairways if you want to head upwards and see the views overlooking the Blue Mountains. Definitely worth the trek up as the views are spectacular. As soon as you see the mountains it’s a truly breathtaking moment. You really feel the vastness of the area and at one with mother nature. There are lots of areas worthy of having a picnic, with some picnic benches also provided. You can walk as far as Katoomba from here but we decided against it. All in all the walk takes about an hour and a half.

We did, however, head to Katoomba later that day as it’s only 5 minutes from Leura on the train. We always feel we have to see the infamous 3 sisters. Although we’ve now seen them multiple times, they still manage to make us feel in awe.

Two places to check out for dinner:

1- Miss Lilian Tea House

This is authentic Asian casual dining. If you want something tasty but not overly fancy or overpriced, this place is the ticket. Food was delicious and the decor is pretty funky with a stress on birdcages. It’s in Katoomba but a bit of a walk to so we travelled by taxi here. Definitely worth the fare 😉

2- Leura Garage

This award winning restaurant and bar has been on my list for a while as I have always heard good things about it. Using all local ingredients and wines, it was really amazing and didn’t disappoint. It is really handy, basically across the road from the train station. It is always busy so be sure to book ahead.

So that’s my mini weekend guide to Leura. Hopefully some of you find it helpful. This little town is most definitely worth seeing and is often a looked over little gem of a find. Next time your in the Blue Mountains be sure to check it out.

Thanks for reading,

W 😊

Cremorne Reserve 💦🌸

I had to write a blog post about this place as it is truly magical and has all the elements required for a great day out. Every Sunday we have free, we like to do a new walk around Sydney and see new places. I use this link that gives you a run down of good walks to do around Sydney. It is my aim to complete them all soon. We picked Cremorne Reserve as it is close to us and pretty short at only 3km roundtrip. We had no expectations of this walk although I was looking forward to seeing the lighthouse that was mentioned.

You can get to this reserve by taking the ferry from Circular Quay to Cremorne, it’s the 1st stop. Once there, grab a coffee from the little coffee shop and head up the steps. You have then entered the reserve. Take a left to start the walk. You can also head right to see the Robertsons Point Lighthouse. We did this at the end of the walk so I will mention it again later.

Heading on our walk the first thing you will come to is a path veering off to the left. We were eager to see what was down there and to our surprise we found an outdoor swimming pool. It’s called MacCallum swimming pool. Honestly the walk to the pool through lots of greenery is amazing and to reach a pool at the end makes you feel truly blessed. The pool is really cool with absolutely amazing front row seat views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

After a swim, head back onto the track. The walk along this is class. You have views of the water to your left with pretty houses and many, many boats. To your right are beautiful gardens and really impressive houses (like million dollar homes), how the other half live. If you like architecture, design and all things quaint then you will enjoy seeing these. There are lots of places to stop and sit, appreciate the tranquility here or pack a picnic.

Along the track we stumbled across the most stunning little hand made garden, made by 2 volunteers Lex and Ruby in 1959. The garden has many different plant and flower species and has steps that take you through and down to the waters edge. Such a delight to see and you really feel like you are entering the secret garden.

Having finished the walk and returned to the wharf, we took the path to the lighthouse. I am honestly so glad we were able to see this. I have to say, I think this is my favourite lighthouse that I have seen to date and I have seen a lot. It’s the sheer slightness of it, it’s surroundings and the quaintness that makes it stand out for me. It is like something taken from a movie. Maybe I’m a bit over the top but I really thought it was magnificent 🙈🤣.

Anyhow, if you ever get the chance to visit here, you really ought to. It’s a unique location in Sydney and one that isn’t laden with tourists.

Thanks for reading!

W 😊

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