Doors of WordPress V30 🎄

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to my 30th edition of Doors of WordPress!!! This week we’re showcasing some festive inspired doors, mine are all red as that’s the colour I think of when I envisage the Christmas season. I haven’t seen too many festive doors this week but I suppose it’s still early days. I love seeing all the Christmas wreaths on the doors too, a tradition that still makes me smile when I see it, so if I see any wreaths over the next couple of weeks, I will be sure to share them.

1 – Love & Death, a cool bar in Belfast city centre.

2 – St Malachy’s Parish Church, Hillsborough

3 – Hillsborough, I love this door, the frame and transom window, very regal in appearance and just beside Hillsborough Castle.

4 – Avonmore House, Banbridge. This house was built around 1791 and was the home of Francis Crozier, the Banbridge born polar explorer.

5 – Hillsborough, a great door and I love the Christmas wreath.

I hope you’re all enjoying the festive season thus far. I’m just working away and enjoying the build up, the Christmas songs and mince pies. I haven’t even started Christmas shopping yet, what about you?

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V29

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another week of doors. I have another handful from around Northern Ireland so please take a look and let me know if you have a favourite. I’m looking forward to seeing if there are any festive doors in the lead up to Christmas, seeing as today is the first of December. If you celebrate Christmas, do you have your tree up yet?

1 – Cathedral Quarter, Belfast

2 – Banbridge

3 – South Belfast

4 – Banbridge

5 – Banbridge

Have a great end to your week everyone and enjoy the beginning of December.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Common Borage

Happy Friday everyone. I spotted this flower in the Botanic Gardens Belfast and I loved its uniqueness. I have never seen this particular species before. I love the colour and find it a very uplifting flower. Have you ever seen a common borage?

Also known as beeplant or starflower. The edible leaves of common borage, said to have the fragrance and taste of cucumbers, are often used to make salads, soup, and sauces. Its blue, star-like flowers can also be used as an attractive drink garnish and as an ingredient in some gins (Picture This, 2022).

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V25 🎃

Happy Thursday everyone. As it was Halloween this week and we are still in Autumn/Fall, I thought I would try to share my most autumnal and spooky doors. Let me know what you think and if you have a favourite.

1 – The Gatekeeper’s Inn

2 – Banbridge

3 – Hillsborough Castle

4 – Elmwood Avenue

5 – Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

I hope you all had a lovely Halloween if you celebrate at all. I was driving in the evening so I missed it all. I did manage to see a few fireworks in the sky though which was nice.

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Bondi

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

Beautiful Bondi

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

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Pot Marigold

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

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

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V24

Hi everyone and a very happy Thursday to you all. The sun is shining here in Northern Ireland after some horrendous stormy weather yesterday. I have been pretty quiet here in the blogging realm for a few weeks due to some family circumstances but I thought today would be as good a day as any to make a return, plus I love creating doors posts on a Thursday so it’s perfect timing.

I hope you have all been keeping well and adjusting to these seasonal changes wherever in the world you might be. I have been trying to keep an eye on other people’s blogs, as a means to stay in tune with what’s happening here but also for some light reading as a welcome distraction.

I hope you enjoy my selection of local doors from around Northern Ireland and please let me know if you have a favourite.

1 – Finaghy

2 – Carnlough

3 – Glenann

4 – Malone Road, South Belfast

5 – Banbridge

My personal favourite is number five. I love the colour of the door, the glass panels on either side, the arch around the door, the wreath on the door, I could go on and on and on. I just love this one. How about you?

Thanks so much for reading and taking a look.

All the best,

Wayne ✌🏽

Tuesday Thoughts – Silent

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Storage?!

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

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

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

Many thanks and have a great week.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Black eyed susan

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

Happy Friday and have a great weekend everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Bali 🍃

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

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

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

UBUD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEMINYAK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Seminyak V2

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

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Spiral Ginger

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

Enjoy your weekend everyone,

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – TRANSITION

Two things spring to mind when I see this prompt. Firstly, the image says Week of August 8 which makes me think the monthly word prompt is now weekly!? I asked WordPress about this and they stated that they are trialling more frequent word prompts. Fair enough and I think it’s a good idea, especially if you are maybe struggling to think of a blog topic.

Secondly the word prompt featured is transition which jumps out at me as I feel this is personally very appropriate at this time. I am making a huge life transition in the coming days. As many of you know already, I have been travelling a lot over the past few weeks and next week I will be heading to Northern Ireland after three years of not being able to visit home. I have packed up all my belongings and moving across the world to finally reunite with my family and friends. Whether I stay there or return to Australia remains to be seen but for now I will be concentrating on catching up with loved ones and reacquainting myself with life in Northern Ireland.

I will be keeping you all updated and sharing plenty more on my blog as the next chapter of my life commences, hopefully showcasing the best places see in Northern Ireland, Ireland and even Europe. I would like to say thank you all for your continued support and for creating such an amazing blogging environment here on WordPress.

Take care and enjoy your weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

Wellington highlights!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

MILFORD SOUND

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

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

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

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

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V19

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

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

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

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

QUEENSTOWN

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe’s Garage – perfect for breakfast

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

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

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

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

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

Seafood chowder and a glass of rosé 😋

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Muriwai Beach

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

Sunday Sunset – Queenstown

Tonight’s sunset from Stratosfare, the skyline gondola restaurant in Queenstown 🌅. You can see the colour change on the mountain tops and the reflecting water.

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

Take care and peace out from New Zealand.

Wayne ✌🏽

Northern Ireland VS Australia

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

Northern Ireland Pros :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Northern Ireland Cons :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

Australia VS Northern Ireland

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

Australia Pros :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australia Cons :

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

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

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

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

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – PLAY

July’s monthly word prompt seems pretty apt for me this month. I have just wrapped up work in both of my jobs and moved out of my apartment. From today, I am work free and no more moving furniture. Hallelujah and time to play.

Today we listened to a little jazz band with lunch in Homestead at Centennial Park. I had never been here before in the whole five years I have been coming to this park. Isn’t it amazing to discover new things right on your doorstep.
Mulled wine, the perfect winter warmer 🤗
Rounded off with some peppermint tea. Loved it.

Have a great weekend folks.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V16

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to yet another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors in Sydney. Luckily I still have quite a few to share before I move back to Ireland. Have a look below and let me know if you have a favourite this week.

1 – Paddington
2 – Edgecliff
3 – Paddington
4 – Darlinghurst
5 – Waverley

This is a tough one for me this week but I think number 4 just pipped at the post. I love the red door with its doorknob and letterbox but I also love the whole setting with the window to the side. The plants and flowers really add to the quaint and homely aesthetic. What do you think? I also love numbers 2 and 3, the former for its vibrant colour and the latter for its unique appearance of blending into the wall and the little step.

Please let me know and thanks again for reading.

Wayne ✌🏽

Two Hundredth Post!

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

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

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

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

https://renardsworld.wordpress.com

https://ceenphotography.com

https://hughsviewsandnews.com

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.wordpress.com

https://nofacilities.com

https://fivedotoh.com

https://lifesfinewhine.ca

https://beetleypete.com

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

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

All the best wishes,

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V13

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors in Sydney. Who knew one city could have SO many amazing doors and doorways. I feel so lucky to have an abundance of doors on my own doorstep. Let me know which one is your favourite. 👇🏼

1 – Edgecliff
2 – Darlinghurst
3 – Paddington
4 – Paddington
5 – Tamarama

It’s a hard one for me but I really love door number five. I know it’s not a door to a house but it’s a great door nonetheless. I love that we don’t know what is on the other side of the door, there is an air of mystery, almost like there could be a secret garden. I love the colour, its simplicity, the archway and the steps leading up to the door. What is your door favourite and why?

Thanks for reading everyone and hope you’re all well.

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – OPEN

June’s monthly word prompt makes me think of an event I attended a couple of nights ago at the OPENing of the new Hijinx Hotel. This is not a hotel to stay overnight in, rather each room of the hotel has a challenge room where you have to partake in different activities with your friends.

Invited guests on the opening night had a red carpet entrance and were able to see first hand what the Hijinx Hotel has to offer. You can see some of my pictures below to get a feel of what is in store when you visit this funky hotel. We had an absolute ball at this event, made even more enjoyable by the fact that we are now learning to live with covid and returning to a new kind of normality. It was unbelievably refreshing to be out socialising again, meeting new people and experiencing new things to do in Sydney.

Amazing to dress up and feel a real buzz!
The paparazzi warming their bottoms. They were hilarious yet extremely professional 😉 staying in character for the entire evening.

There you have it. My fun night at the Hijinx Hotel and the opening night just so happened to coincide with my WordPress monthly word prompt 🙌🏼. I hope you also have the chance to partake in this month’s word challenge. I previously found it difficult to find the prompt but if you follow WordPress on Twitter, they will announce the monthly prompts there. Also, be sure to check out this amazing new venue if and when you happen to be in Sydney.

Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend.

Wayne ✌🏽

FOTD – Tea Rose

Happy Friday everyone. Hooray for the weekend…even if I am working tomorrow but let’s not dwell on that. For today’s flower of the day I am showcasing the tea rose. It’s basically an ornamental, garden rose and can have a variety of colours. When I discovered these yellow tea roses, it just so happened that I was matching with the colour on this particular day with my bright yellow jumper. You have to love yellow, such a bright and cheerful colour.

As much as I loved the roses, particularly for their colour and placement, I also loved the architecture of this home and the white picket fence, which can be found in Centennial Park, Sydney.

Thanks for reading guys and have a lovely Friday.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V12

Happy Thursday everyone and welcome to another weekly post featuring some more of my favourite doors in Sydney. This week show cases doors that I discovered last weekend in Glebe, an inner-west suburb of Sydney. I hadn’t been here in donkeys so really wanted to revisit for a stroll and a coffee. The doors seen were an added bonus. Feel free to let me know which one you like the best. Some of the images you may have to zoom in as I really liked the whole setting or building as well as the door and wanted to include that.

1
2
3
4
5

Many thanks for checking out my doors again this week. Did you have a favourite by any chance? I love them all but I am really drawn to number 4, mainly because I love the architecture of the whole building. I do love the design, shape and colour of the door too. How about you?

Take care everyone and enjoy your day.

Wayne ✌🏽

Vivid Sydney 2022

Vivid Sydney is a yearly light show that is on display in many key parts of Sydney. You can find light displays around Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo, Taronga Zoo, The Royal Botanical Gardens and many more spots around Sydney. You can find lots of information on the official website https://www.vividsydney.com with timings, locations and what’s on offer.

This year is a special Vivid as the last two years have been cancelled due to Covid, so every is very excited to witness the event. It truly is a spectacular show and a real feast for the eyes. It starts as soon as the sun sets, making the lights really stand out and the best thing about it, is that it’s a free event for everyone.

I would say the best time to visit is during the week as it becomes pretty busy at the weekends. Pick a location to start and spend some time walking around and to take it all in. There are food trucks around and plenty of portable toilets around Circular Quay and on the route to Barangaroo, which is great if you have a weak bladder like myself. You could head over after you have had your dinner or pick somewhere nearby for a bite to eat. We chose to eat at a Thai restaurant at Circular Quay and watch the sunset at the Sydney Opera House.

View of the Opera House from the left side of Circular Quay.

We really wanted to see the Opera House lighting up first before we started our walking light tour. We headed from Circular Quay around to Barangaroo and there were many light installations on the way. Many impressive buildings also have light shows depicting different stories and show case the distinctive areas of Sydney. These shows are pretty magical for children and the whole family.

We never had the chance to see the Royal Botanic Gardens but we will try this week to visit Vivid again before it finishes on the 18th June. Be sure to head down and visit if you’re living in Sydney and if you live abroad, you can check out the website or my pictures below 👇🏼🤗.

Sydney Opera House

Let me know if you have heard of Vivid, have ever been or plan to go in the future. It really is quite the spectacle, with locals and tourists really looking forward to this event every year.

Thanks for reading and take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

10 Harsh Truths About Blogging That Everyone Should Be Aware Of

Feel free to check out the below blog post by Renard. It’s a very interesting and truthful post that can help and reassure you when starting or continuing your blogging journey. I have learned many of these tips throughout my blogging journey and I still have to remind myself of these points from time to time. Enjoy the read guys 👇🏼.

Renard discusses some harsh truths about blogging.

10 Harsh Truths About Blogging That Everyone Should Be Aware Of

Have a great week everyone.

Wayne ✌🏽

Doors of WordPress V10 🎉🎉

Welcome to my tenth edition of Doors Of WordPress. I love creating these posts and it has really fuelled my love of doors even further.

When I started these posts featuring doors, I had no idea that doors were so popular on WordPress. I soon found other like minded bloggers posting about doors in a feature called Thursday Doors. Perhaps that’s why I love to post my doors on a Thursday. If you want to check out other doors and join a community of door lovers, feel free to check out the amazing No Facilities by host Dan.

Please see below my doors for this week along with their locations and my reasons for liking them.

1 – Woollahra

This door reminds me of Dracula or does anyone else remember Count Duckula?
2 – Paddington

You can’t beat a red door, am I right?
3 – Paddington

I know technically you can’t see the door but I love the external door and everything about the setting, the colour, the style, the plants etc.
4 – Double Bay

I love this door and the fact that the house looks like it is part of the tree, almost like a secret house. The door has wooden panels on it, presumably to make it blend in with the tree and create a natural aesthetic.
5 – Randwick

I love the simplicity of these doors and the colour but for me it’s the floral wreath that makes it pop! Perfect for a gelato shop.

I saved a few of these purposely for my tenth edition and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Please let me know if you have a favourite.

Have a great day and take care,

Wayne ✌🏽

WordPress Monthly Word Prompt – STRONG 💪🏼

“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 May, the WordPrompt is: STRONG”. Thanks WordPress, better late than never 🙊.

I only discovered the word prompt today, on the last day of the month. Did anyone else happen to see the prompt anywhere? I had to email the WordPress team to ask if the prompts were still happening. Anyway, without further ado…

What does STRONG mean to you? I automatically think of being physically and mentally strong. However, you could also think about being emotionally and spiritually strong. Also being courageous is an act of being strong in yourself and for others.

I wrote a blog piece for Bloganuary about what makes me feel strong and I will share it here as I am going to bed now and I don’t want to miss out on this prompt, as sad as that sounds 🙈.

You can take a look here. Thanks guys and gals and it’s a goodnight from me.

Wayne ✌🏽

🙌🏼

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Tuesday Thoughts 💭 – Share your World 31/05/22

First of all, was anyone a little excited when they awoke to find the WordPress app looking a lot different?! The black background with the rainbow W really jumped out at me and jolted me from my groggy state. I was curious to see what it was all about. When opening the app, the screen said there was a new block editor feature. Ok, yes that’s great but why the dramatic change in appearance? I mean, I like it, a lot but what does it mean?? Is it temporary? I can’t see anything on Google so if you hear or see anything be sure to let me know 😊

Version 19.9

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

Has anyone ever tried to scam you?

Not recently but when I was 16 years old I had a customer tried to scam me on more than one occasion. I was working my first job at a supermarket and I loved it. I worked on the checkouts putting through people’s groceries. One day, a woman gave me a fake £20 bank note. I didn’t realise and I was pulled into the manager’s office and reprimanded. The second time it happened again. The same lady came to me and this time I suspected the note looked dodgy but I freaked out and accepted it. I was so worried about getting in trouble that I replaced the fake note with one of mine (£20 was a lot of money for a 16 year old). It happened to me a third time and I had no idea this time, how could I have been so stupid and not realised AGAIN?! I was in so much trouble with my manager that I was so scared to go back to work on the checkouts. I had some training in identifying fake notes but I had lost all confidence at this stage and just didn’t want to let anyone down again. The fourth time 🙈! I knew who the woman was and my managers put me to the test. I was used as bait. When the woman came to my checkout and handed me the fake note, I knew this time. I nodded to my manager and she was questioned by them and the police. I felt bad for her that she maybe had to use fake notes but at the same time, I was angry that she kept picking me as she obviously thought I was an easy target. However, little did she know that I nearly lost my first job and I was traumatised from that experience in future retail jobs. I did learn a valuable lesson though. I certainly knew how to spot fake notes and I had the confidence to speak up about it. Luckily for me and future companies 😉, it never happened again.

What’s the best thing about parties?

Meeting new people. I love talking to others and having interesting conversations.

Do you listen to people’s advice if you didn’t ask for it?

Yes I do if it’s valid and it comes from good place.

Why is it impossible to spell funeral without fun?

Good question. Maybe funerals are meant to be fun, I mean as a way of celebration for the person’s life or maybe it’s just a coincidence as it comes from the Latin word funus (which still has fun in it!).


GRATITUDE SECTION

How was last week for you?

I had a very busy 6 day working week. I just kept my head down and got on with it but it was all good. I can’t complain 😊.

Thanks for reading everyone. Take care,

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

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 ✌🏽

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 🙏🏼

My very 1st blog!

Hello there. What’s the craic? I have been debating for a long time whether to start blogging or not, mainly down to the time that may be required. However, I feel it is something that could be fun, therapeautic and provide a platform to interact with others from all walks of life. I’m very new to this so please bare with me.

So a little about me. I’m a man in my near mid thirties and I come from Northern Ireland. I had been living in Belfast for the last decade but my ambition was to 1 day return to the land down under. Having already spent a year in Australia on a working holiday visa, I soon acquired the desire to return in the future. 7 years later a lot has changed in my life and I have reached my goal of becoming a permanent resident. It has been a lengthy process with many highs and lows, however, it has been an incredible journey that is still continuing to this day.

Please follow me on my Australian adventure and I will aim to keep you updated and entertained.

Thanks a lot,

Wayne ✌🏽

When I saw this landmark I knew I was in Australia! 👌🏼

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