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my 30th birthday

A Review of Goals & New Experiences for 2016

By Books & Authors, Happiness & Joy, Life, ThinkingNo Comments
goals-and-adventures-large Goals for throughout the year:
Unticked Box Read & Review at least 20 books.
I have read 19 books this year and reviewed 17 of them. The two books that I have not reviewed yet, will be reviewed in January 2017. See my Book List 2016 for a list books that I’ve read this year, along with links to reviews I’ve written for each book.

Unticked Box Watch & Review 6 films.
I can remember watching at least 5 films this year, they include: The Giver, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Good Dinosaur, Star Trek Beyond and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. However I’ve not done a review of a single film this year.

Tick Box Bullet Point To create more time for creative projects.
I am more than happy with my creative output this year. I’ve reduced my working hours, so that I can still afford to live, but so that I have more time for creative projects. I have also been careful about how I use the limited time and energy I have to get the most out of it. This combination of working less and using my time and energy better has significantly increased my creative output.

Tick Box Bullet Point To complete 2 creative projects.
I’ve completed 12 creative projects this year. This is a massive achievement when compared with my creative output in previous years. For more details of my creative projects see: 11 Creative Projects That I Never Intended To Do… This Year and The Finished Project (candle making project).

Tick Box Bullet Point To get up-to-date with my financial obligations and continue to reduce the balance on my debts.
I am up-to-date on my mortgage and other household bills. I have continued to reduce the balance on my debts. I have paid monies back to family that I owed monies to.

Unticked Box Save up for and buy a new rug and corner sofa for the living room.
I still need to do this. The sofa is getting in desperate need of replacement. Both of these will be goals for 2017.

Unticked Box To give up smoking.
I’m still working on this on a semi regular basis.

Monthly Goals

January
Tick Box Bullet Point Start a new creative project.
I published my latest short story Soulmates, here is an excerpt:
Soulmates-by-Antony-Simpson-Short-Story-Excerpt

I also wrote two blog posts that I’d been thinking about and planning to write for at least the last few years: 5 Wise Quotes from Albus Dumbledore and A Tale Of Overcoming Adversity.

Unticked Box Take it easy.
This didn’t really happen. This year has was exceptionally busy. Most of time due to circumstances beyond my control.

February
Tick Box Bullet Point See Mary Poppins with Mum, etc.
Done. I blogged about it here: Mary Poppins Live at The Palace Theatre, Manchester: Marvellous, Magical and Magnificent.

March
Unticked Box Treat yourself to a reiki treatment.
I haven’t had a single reiki treatment this year. At the start of the year it was due to lack of money. Towards the end of the year it has been due to my Reiki Pracitioner changing where she works.

April
Unticked Box See a sunrise.
This has been a goal for the last few years. I think I need to take a day of annual leave off work to experience this next year. So this will be a goal/new experience for 2017.

May
Tick Box Bullet Point Celebrate your 30th in style, including a night out in Newcastle and a family meal.
I didn’t manage the night out in Newcastle, but did do the family meal which was wonderful. I blogged about the family meal here: My Thirtieth Birthday.

June
Tick Box Bullet Point Visit Chester Zoo Islands Exhibit.
I actually did this in May, as part of my birthday celebrations. See A Day Trip to Chester Zoo.
Tick Box Bullet PointStart a new creative project.
One weekend in June I wrote, edited and then published an article on The History of the National Health Service (NHS). It was a creative project that I have been thinking about for sometime and I was proud of myself because I had finally done it.

July
Tick Box Bullet PointSpend time in nature. Go for walks in places of natural beauty.
I visited Astley Hall Park with my friend Simon. I would have liked to spend more time in nature during July, but the variable weather influenced what I was able to do.
Tick Box Bullet Point Visit a botanical gardens.
I visited Southport Botanic Gardens (Churchtown) with Simon in August.

August
Tick Box Bullet Point Visit a castle, one that you haven’t been to before.
Okay, technically I didn’t visit a new castle this year. But I did do a tour of acient sites along Hadrian’s Wall with Simon. See The Hadrian’s Wall Adventure (Part 1) and The Hadrian’s Wall Adventure (Part 2). A goal/new experience for 2017 will be the finishing off of The Hadrian’s Wall Adventure, meaning that Simon and I will have followed the wall from one end of the country to the other.

September
Tick Box Bullet Point Read in the horror genre. Maybe some Stephen King.
I read Under The Dome by Stephen King, which I reviewed here. I also read The Stand by Stephen King, which I reviewed here. Although I’m not sure that either of them was in the horror genre, I’ve ticked it off as completed.

October
Tick Box Bullet Point Celebrate Samhain.
Celebrated Samhain in style with my friends Simon & Chrys. Great food, drink, fire, music and company.

November
Tick Box Bullet Point Take it easy.
I tried to do the bare-minimum in November. This was probably why there were only a few blog posts in November.

December
Unticked Box Bring people together to celebrate Yule.
Yule fell on a Wednesday, which made it difficult to arrange a get together. Perhaps I will put this on future goals when it lands on a weekend.

This year I’ve completed 14 of 22 goals/new experiences for 2016. That’s over half and not at all bad when you consider the 12 creative projects I’ve completed this year, along with how busy the year has been otherwise.

Blog soon,

Antony

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A Day Trip to Chester Zoo

By Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, NatureNo Comments

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Chester Zoo Invite To Friends

On Saturday some good friends and I visited Chester Zoo. It was a belated birthday celebration event. It was lovely to see the friends and the Watts family that came along. I was super excited to see the new Islands Exhibit.

The day before I got this email below, telling me about the return of the dinosaurs. Last time I visited Chester Zoo was 4 years ago, when the dinosaurs were last there.

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The day before I got this email about the return of the Dinosaurs, on the very day of our visit. I love dinosaurs! Yey!

I love the dinosaurs and had no idea that they were even coming back. That’s lucky I immediately thought and then remembered that I’d recently burned the Hot Damn candle created by Dorothy Morrison (for more info on this see Dorothy Morrison’s Wickedly Wonderful Magical Mystery Packages). This isn’t the only lucky thing that’s happened to me recently, but that as they say: is another story.

Here are some photos from the day trip to Chester Zoo:

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Islands Exhibit Sign

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Islands Exhibit – Was well designed but lacked good signage to direct visitors.

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Islands Exhibit – Mask with smoke.

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Me in a makeshift tent on the Islands Exhibit.

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Islands Exhibit- Hogs (1).

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Islands Exhibit- Hogs (2).

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A ginormous exotic plant.

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The Elephants.

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A Donkey.

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The best photo of the day – a butterfly in the Butterfly House.

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The Giraffes (1).

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The Giraffes (2).

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The Chimpanzees (1).

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The Chimpanzees (2).

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Turtles having a Mother’s Meeting.

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The Flamingos.

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Dinosaurs have returned! The dinosaurs and display were exactly same as we saw 4 years ago.

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Lioness.

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Lion.

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Penguins.

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Fountain.

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I finally got a photo of the Speckled Bear (1). I tried last time I visited the zoo (4 years ago), but the bear walked off and went behind a bush before I could get a photo.

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Speckled Bear (2).

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Black Rhino (1).

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Black Rhino (2).

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Black Rhino (3).

In 2011 the Western Black Rhino was declared extinct in the wild. According to Chester Zoo’s website there are only 500 Eastern Black Rhinos left in the wild.

I was fortunate to see and watch an Eastern Black Rhino majestically eating. As I watched and videoed I reflected the sad realisation that generations to come might never see Black Rhinos alive. Nor will they see the thousands of animals that are already extinct. I reflected on the cruelty of human poachers. Poachers have hunted Black Rhinos close to extinction, hunting them for their horns and for sport.

Here is an edited video of an Eastern Black Rhino’s eating:

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Write soon,

Antony

Edited 30/05/16 @ 15:25 – Changed information about Black Rhinos. There are two subspecies of Black Rhino, the Western Black Rhino and the Eastern Black Rhino.

The Western Black Rhino that has been declared extinct in the wild and there are only a few left in captivity, all of which are the same gender, so they will be unable to breed.

Chester Zoo has the Eastern Black Rhinos. There are only 500 Eastern Black Rhinos left in the wild and a good number in Zoos around the world.

The post above has been changed to reflect this fact checked information.



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Dorothy Morrison’s Wickedly Wonderful Magical Mystery Packages

By Happiness & Joy, PaganismNo Comments
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My Wickedly Wonderful Mystery Packages arrived from the USA a few days before my 30th birthday and were a extra special gift to myself.

Dorothy Morrison is my all-time favourite Witch. I first discovered her some years ago when I read her book Everyday Magic. I loved the book that much that it made its way on to the top shelf where I put my favourite books. At the time I read the book cover to cover, and still to this day go back for ideas, spells and inspiration.

To celebrate Dorothy Morrison’s birthday she has put together Wickedly Wonderful Magical Mystery Packages in two sizes small ($30 about £21) and large ($50 about £35). These packages will be available to order throughout May. In these magical mystery packages Dorothy Morrison is putting some goodies from her own personal stash, as well as some products from her range that are available on her Wicked Witch Studios website.

Here’s what Dorothy says about these Wickedly Wonderful Magical Mystery Packages:

…I sincerely hope they elicit the response for which I’m hoping: that resounding “WOW!” that warms your heart. I can’t think of any better way to celebrate my birthday!

Since the contents of each package will be different, there’s no way to post photos of assortments. But…possibilities include autographed books, limited edition items, candles, oils, sprays, gris gris bags, and other products found on the Wicked Witch Studios website, as well as goodies from my personal stash. [No one needs as much magical miscellany as I have on hand – so it’s time to pass some of it on!] What I can tell you is this: The packages come in two sizes – small and large – and regardless of which size you choose to purchase, I can personally guarantee the retail value of each package to be higher than the $30.00 or $50.00 price you’ve paid. So the fact of the matter is that you’ll actually be getting your goodies at a discount. And that’s enough to elicit a shout of joy from nearly everybody!

Just one more thing: Even though I’ll be offering the Wickedly Wonderful Magical Mystery Packages for the entire month of May, you’ll probably want to order yours early. That way, you’ll be sure to receive some of the items I only have in limited supply – and you certainly wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity like that!

(From: http://wickedwitchstudios.com/MysteryPackages.html, Last accessed: Monday 26th May 2016.)

When I heard about these packages, I was initially super excited and then remembered that Dorothy Morrison doesn’t ship to the UK. I posted my disappointment on Dorothy Morrison’s Facebook profile and she said that she’s now working with The Angry Cauldron who ship internationally and that I could order from there. The Angry Cauldron stock and sell Dorothy Morrison’s Wickedly Wonderful Magical Mystery Packages, as well as other Dorothy Morrison’s products.

The Wickedly Wonderful Magical Mystery Packages were released in early May on mid-night eastern time, which is 5am here in the UK. I decided to treat myself for my 30th birthday. I was up at 5am and ordered, so I that I would be one of the first to put my order in. I ordered a small and a large Wickedly Wonderful Magical Mystery Package. They arrived in a big box a few days before my 30th birthday. I was so exited that I nearly wee-d.

Here are some photos of the small mystery package:

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I ordered a small (pictured) and large Wickedly Wonderful Mystery Package.

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All of the items were wrapped in colourful bubblewrap meaning that it felt like opening gifts.

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First item I opened was a Dorothy Morrison ‘Hot Damn’ candle, which is used for good fortune/good luck. I’ve since burned this and it smells Devine and burns beautifully.

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Next I opened these two oils one: Wicked Witch and the other: Puttin’ on the Witch. Both smell amazingly magical and are great for anointing candles. Oh I also should point out that these are unique blends made by the fabulous Dorothy Morrison herself.

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Next was a Dorothy Morrison ‘Ghost Repel’ candle. Will keep hold of this, in case the occasion ever arises that I need to send a ghost or other spirit on its way.

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Dorothy Morrison’s ‘Wishin’ Mojo’ candle.

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All the items in the small package together. The price of a small Wickedly Wonderful Mystery Package is $30 (about £21) and the items I received are worth a lot more.

Here are some photos of the large mystery package:

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A large Wickedly Wonderful Mystery Package.

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Items wrapped in colourful bubblewrap meaning that they were packed well and opening them was like opening gifts.

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Sandalwood is my all-time favourite smell, so it was brilliant to have it in an incense.

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A Dorothy Morrison ‘Extreme Bad Ass’ Personal Power Accelerator candle.

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A copy of Dorothy Morrison’s book – Utterly Wicked: Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions.

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A candle that can be used for working with Santisima Muerte (around the topics of: death, healing & protection).

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A candle that can be used for working with Hekate, Queen of the Witches & Maiden/Mother/Crone (around the topics of: fertility, magic/power & crossroads).

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All the items in the large package together. The price of a large Wickedly Wonderful Mystery Package is $50 (about £35) and the items I received are worth a lot more.

All of the products are of the highest quality and I can confirm that they are well above the retail price I paid. To order your Wickedly Wonderful Magical Mystery Package (either small, large or both), if you are from the USA you can order yours at Dorothy Morrison’s Wicked Witch Studios. If you are from the UK or another country you can order your at The Angry Cauldron.

But remember that you’ve only got till the end of May to order and the sooner you order the better, as some products are limited edition and once they are gone, they are gone.

Blog soon,

Antony

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My Thirtieth Birthday

By Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, Life, Thinking3 Comments

Yesterday I Became:
30

Thirty years old. It was a busy day with many highlights. My close family and I went out for a meal in my favourite restaurant Gallimore’s. I was so pleased that almost everyone could and did come. Here are photos of my cake and balloons:

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My 30th Birthday Cake: Minion Bob.

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My 30th Birthday Balloons.

Gallimore’s Fine Restaurant served sublime and tasty food and the service was excellent. My thanks to Gallimore’s for making my birthday even more special.

I was completely overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity from my family and friends on my birthday. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the Facebook messages, the cards, the balloons, the gifts and the money from family and friends.

At the end of the month, some good friends and I are going to Chester Zoo to see the new Islands Exhibit.

Big birthdays always cause me to reflect on my life so far. I think about what I’ve done and not done. What I’ve experienced and haven’t experienced. I play what if scenarios out in my head for both the past and the future.

We are all a work in progress. We are constantly growing as we experience life and learn. I am proud of what I’ve achieved in life so far. I could list my achievements like overcoming adversity, becoming and being a good Nurse, being creative and my ongoing recovery from a mental health illness.

But the thing I’m most proud of is to have a wonderful loving family and a bunch great friends whom I would trust with my life.

Write soon,

Antony

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