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A General Life Update (with Photos)

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Friends & Family, Life, TechnologyNo Comments

My first batch of 13 paperback copies. They have all been signed and sent out to people.. More have been ordered.

This is a general life update. As most of you will be aware my new book Mental Health Wisdom has been released. It was due to be released in May, but was moved forward due to the way Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Works. I realised that it is also available on Amazon internationally. You can learn more here here.

The whole process of writing, editing and publishing the book has been a huge learning curve. It’s awesome to see my own work in print. I feel really happy and very proud of myself.

I’ve managed to get my book on Goodreads. I’ve reached out to some bloggers who have agreed to review my book. I now need to get some reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

As I spent the end of last year and the beginning of this year working on my book, I’ve used the time since to catch up with family and friends. I’ve met with my mum and she’s shared her excitement about going to Thailand and Cambodia. My brother Shaun and his girlfriend are adding to our family. My brother Neil and his fiancee are excited about a move.

My friend Kay has shared her experiences from a recent trip to Australia. A family I’m close to (they have all but practically adopted me!) have shared stories of their children and grandchildren. My friend Sye shared that he has passed his theory driving test.

There’s been so much going on for the people that I love and it’s all positive. It is wonderful to hear.

My iPhone 6 Plus had fingerprints on the camera that no amount of lens cleaning would remove. The battery was beginning to die. This is the second iPhone I’ve had in two years and I really look after my stuff. So I decided to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S10+:


Samsung Galaxy S10+ SmartPhone.

This phone is superb. The only annoyance is that often the fingerprint scanner doesn’t recognise my fingers. Here are some features on the phone:

  • A massive screen.
  • A long-lasting battery and fast charging.
  • Three camera lenses on the back and two on the front.
  • A sensor that can detect you heart rate, the oxygen saturation in your tissue and levels of stress.
  • It was quick and easy to transfer my data (contacts, photos, music, calendars) from my iPhone to the S10+. In fact Samsung has an app that does it all for you.
  • The settings make the phone highly customisable. You can download full themes, or just wallpapers and icons.
  • All Apps available on iPhones are available in either the Google Play Store or Galaxy Store.
  • It has plenty of RAM.
  • A huge amount of storage, the amount customisation on order. It can also be extended by Micro SD.
  • It can be wirelessly charged and can be used to wirelessly charge other devices.
  • Has a headphone jack.
  • Dual speakers that are really loud.
  • Affordable accessories made by third parties.
  • The list could go on.

I’ve planned and booked my annual leave off work until the end of January. I am in the process of make plans for my time off.


After Life by Ricky Gervais is on Netflix and a must watch.

I’ve been enjoying Star Trek Discovery on Netflix. I also watched After Life written by and staring Ricky Gervais.

After Life is a must watch. It’s about a man (Gervais) whose wife dies due to cancer. It is about how he deals with the loss and gets on the path to contentedness.

After Life is funny, pulls at your heart strings and is overall brilliant. The ending felt rushed, but the reasons for this are understandable.

Here’s a trailer:

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Finally, I’ve recently had feedback from a 360° online anonymised questionnaire as part of a Leadership Programme at work. This questionnaire was sent to a wide range of people that I work with. I don’t discuss work on my blog. But I will say that it was hugely positive, with only a few minor areas for improvement. This affirms my beliefs that I am good at my job and perform well.

Blog soon,


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The Hadrian’s Wall Adventure (Part 4) – Warkworth Castle & Tynemouth Priory and Castle

By Adventures, Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, Life, NatureNo Comments

Simon (right) and me (left) at a services stop for dinner.

This is the fourth part in my Hadrian’s Wall Adventure with my good friend Simon. You can read and see the photos from Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

Yesterday Simon and I set out to do the last leg of our Hadrian’s Wall Adventure. It was my birthday. The day was gorgeous, sunny, around 19°C all day and not a cloud in the beautiful blue sky.

There aren’t many specific Hardrian’s Wall sites near the Newcastle end of where the wall would have been. So we decided to do Castles near Newcastle.

Our first castle was the magnificent impressive Warkworth Castle. Before you see the photos, first let me apologise for any fingerprint marks on them. The lens of my iPhone had fingerprint marks on, but I didn’t realise because of the bright sunshine.

Here is Essential Info and are some photos:

Essential Info:

  • A castle including remains and a keep with Duke room’s.
  • Highly recommended.
  • Admission Fee: Adult £7.50 with gift aid (£6.80 without). Free admission to English Heritage Members.
  • Opening times: View here.
  • Parking: Plenty in front of the Castle. However even English Heritage Members are required to pay (rather than the usual free parking with sticker in car). The shop does refund the cost of parking, but this was disappointing and we could seen no reason for this.
  • Toilets: Available in the carpark.
  • Has a very small gift shop. Free audible guides available.


Entrance to Walkworth Castle.


Outside of Walkworth Castle.


The most well preserved keep.


Remains of Walkworth Castle (1).


Remains of Walkworth Castle (2).


A selfie of Simon (right) and me (left).


An iron fireplace in the Duke’s rooms inside the keep.


The view from inside the Duke’s rooms.


A view from an archway (1).


A view from an archway (2).


One of the many tunnels to rooms in the remains.


Our next stop was Tynemouth Priory and Castle. Here is Essential Info and are some photos:

Essential Info:

  • A priory, castle and World War 2 defence station.
  • Highly recommended.
  • Admission Fee: Adult £6.50 with gift aid (£5.90 without). Free admission to English Heritage Members.
  • Opening times: View here.
  • Parking: Follow signs for free parking.
  • Has a small gift shop.


The view from the top of the hill near the entrance to Tynemouth (1).


The view from the top of the hill near the entrance to Tynemouth (2).


Tynemouth Priory and Castle remains (1).


Tynemouth Priory and Castle remains (2).


Tynemouth Priory and Castle remains (3).


Stone coffins.


Simon (right) and me (left) in the stone coffins. I couldn’t believe that we both fitted perfectly.


Tynemouth Priory and Castle remains (4).


A carving that looked similar to The Green Man on the entrance to the priory.


Tynemouth Priory.


Tynemouth Priory stained glass window (1).


Tynemouth Priory stained glass window (2).


Tynemouth Priory stained glass window (3).


Tynemouth Priory stained glass window (4).


Inside the Priory, photo of Priory door. Reminded me of the door to heaven.


Tynemouth graveyard and World War 2 defence tower.


Tynemouth World War 2 defence gun.


Shells for the gun in bunker.


Tynemouth Lighthouse.

We had a great time. Next year we are going to visit the fine city of Newcastle including Newcastle’s castle.

Blog soon,


Edit: 16/05/18 18:30 – Used GIMP to remove some of the finger prints in some of the above photos. If you click on the photos for full size, you will see the updated photos.


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Health Tech Review: Contour Next USB Glucose Meter by Bayer

By Health, Reviews, TechnologyNo Comments

Diabetes/Health Illustration Logo.
© Antony Simpson/Sye Watts.

I’m a type 1 diabetic. See my blog post How I was diagnosed with Diabetes to learn more about my diabetes story. Anyway today I’m reviewing the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter.

Sometime ago, I switched to the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter. It was one of the best diabetes-related things I’ve ever done.

The Contour Next USB Glucose Meter is small, easy to use and track trends. There’s so many good things about the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter, that I’ve put together a list of features that I like:

  • It’s small – tiny in comparison to most other Glucose Meters. Something I appreciate and that I imagine others would.
  • It’s easy to use – with it’s big colour display and three options. It’s three options being: Logbook, Trends and Setup.
  • As well as logging blood sugars it has the options to log carbs and/or insulin.
  • USB connection to the computer with java-based software that’s Windows & Mac compatible.
  • Software – That creates great detailed reports in PDF format that you can then share with your GP, Diabetes Nurse, Diabetes Consultant, etc.
  • Both the device and software track trends – the software reports giving much more details on trends.
  • USB charges meter battery – not that in the plus 6 months I’ve had it I’ve needed to charge it.
  • Meter allows you to fill the same strip with extra blood if you didn’t put enough blood in the first time. Rather than starting again.
  • No coding or quality testing required.
  • Finger-pricking device is small.
  • Comes with a slightly bulkier case that keeps everything together – the meter, the testing strips and the finger-pricking device.

Here are some images of the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter:


Contour Next USB Box


What The Meter Looks Like


Sample of PDF Report that the software creates.

The only thing I dislike is that the java-based software can be slow and occasionally crashes. But the benefits the software brings far outweigh these slight annoyances.

Overall the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter is by far the best glucose meter I’ve used. It’s probably the best on the market. An improvement on future models could include connection/communication with Apps that could be used on the iPhone or iPad.

You can Request a FREE Contour Next USB Glucose Meter or Find Out More about the Contour Next USB Glucose Meter here.

Review soon,


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My Happiness Report and How To Be Happier

By Happiness & Joy, Technology, The WebNo Comments

About six months ago I watched the video below and I decided to try Track Your Happiness:

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Track Your is a new scientific research project that aims to use modern technology to help answer this age-old question. Using this site in conjunction with your iPhone, you can systematically track your happiness and find out what factors – for you personally – are associated with greater happiness. Your responses, along with those from other users of, will also help us learn more about the causes and correlates of happiness.

(From: About – Track Your Happiness, last accessed: Saturday 19th April 2014)

Fifty times I was sent emails with a link to a questionnaire about my current state of happiness. First it collated what day it was (I think collating the time would have also been useful), asked where I was, asked what I was doing and whether I had to do or wanted to do what I was doing. Here were my results:


Happiness Report – Weekday


Happiness Report – Location


Happiness Report – Activity


Happiness Report – Want to or Have to do what I’m doing?

Then I was asked about how focused I was feeling and how productive I was being. Here were my results:


Happiness Report – How Focused am I?


Happiness Report – My Productivity

Then I was asked about the amount of sleep I had got the night before, along with the quality. At the time I wasn’t sleeping well. Here were the results:


Happiness Report – Amount of Sleep


Happiness Report – Quality of Sleep

There are a few human errors in this data. This was because on a few occasions, I checked the wrong box or clicked the wrong ratio button and clicked the next question button, before realising the error (a Back button would have been useful and eliminated these human errors).

In terms of data analysis a flaw is that the data is self-reported. That said, I don’t know how else you could measure something that’s as subjective as happiness is.

I really enjoyed taking part in this study and I found the data interesting. Some of the data I already knew – such as the amount & quality of sleep I was getting, but some of the data surprised me – such as how much time I was doing different activities.

The most surprising realisation for me was that the more I thought about happiness, the happier I became. So if you want to be happier, try thinking about happiness more and consider Tracking Your Happiness.

Blog soon,


I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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