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Southport Botanic Gardens (Churchtown)

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

Tick Box Bullet Point Start a new creative project.
I published my latest short story Soulmates, here is an 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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,


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Places that I’ve Visited this Year

By Adventures, Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, Life, Nature, ThinkingNo Comments

As the dark, cold, winter nights draw in and signal the end of the year I’ve took some time out to reflect on the places that I’ve visited this year.


Birdozwald Roman Fort – Photo Opportunities, especially on the outside of the fort.

In May my good friend Simon and I did the first half of our tour along Hadrian’s Wall.

We started at the Cumbria end of the Wall and worked our way along, stopping at several historical sites along the way. In one day managed to enter Northumberland, stopping at Walltown Quarry and Vindoland Roman Fort & Museum.

If you want to see exactly where we went, along with photos and essential info for each place see The Hadrian’s Wall Adventure Part 1 and The Hadrian’s Wall Adventure Part 2.

Next year we are having another day out, starting at Vindoland Roman Fort & Museum and working our way along to the end of Hadrian’s Wall.


The Elephants.

As part of my birthday celebrations I invited family and friends to spend the day with me at Chester Zoo. I really wanted to see the Islands Exhibit.

Unfortunately not many people could make it on the day to share the experience. The Islands Exhibit was also rather disappointing.

But the well-established exhibits were great. My favourites were: the Elephants enclosure, the Butterfly house, the Giraffes, the Chimps, the Flamingos, the Lions, the speckled Bear and the Black Rhinos.


Astley Hall Park/Grounds (3)

In July Simon and I set out to one of our faviourate places – Rivington. But unknown to us, there was some sort of cycling event and with many roads closed we couldn’t work out how to actually get there.

So instead Simon directed me to Astley Hall Park. It was a place that I had never been to before and is beautiful.

We had a walk around the park, stopping to take photos. Then we had coffee and cake in the on-site cafe.

I have wanted to visit a botanical gardens for sometime now. I wanted to meander inside a giant glass greenhouse full of exotic plants and trees. I even put it as a goal for 2016. So I did a Google search looking for my nearest botanical gardens, found Southport Botanic Gardens (Churchtown) and dragged Simon along.

It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. No giant glass greenhouse. But the weather was sunny and warm and in its own way it was totally charming. The small park was filled with trees from across the world. I just wish there had been some sort of guide to what species the trees were and where in the world they had come from.

There was an unexpected aviary and a small yet delightful Victorian gardens. There was another cafe, so of course we stopped for coffee and cake.


The Victorian Garden (1).

York is known for its iconic Abbey and shopping. It’s a place that I had never been to until this year.

Simon and I visited York and Knaresborough. York is architecturally splendid and has building from various times in its long history. We did visit The Shambles, but didn’t really buy much.

Probably the greatest thing about our visit is the fun we had together. We talked and laughed lots. Here are two photos of me being silly (click on any image for full size):


Me racing on a wooden sheep.


My arrival at Knaresborough Castle.


York Abbey (from a distance).

So these are the places that I’ve visited this year. I think it’s time to start planning for 2017.

Blog soon,


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A Visit to Southport Botanic Gardens (Churchtown)

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

Yesterday my friend Simon and I visited Southport Botanic Gardens in Churchtown, Southport. It was perfect weather and we had a great time exploring a park bursting with a variety of trees and shrubs from across the world.

Southport Botanic Gardens features include a bowling green, a Cafe, an Aviary, a Victorian Fernery, a Victorian Garden, a children’s play park suitable for all ages and a lake. Here are some photos from our visit (click on any image for full-size):


Southport Botanic Gardens (Churchtown) Sign.


Southport Botanic Gardens entrance.


A short stone tunnel.


The Cafe & Aviary in the centre of the Botanic Gardens.


The Aviary houses a variety of birds.


Victorian Fernery notice board sign.


Inside the Victorian Fernery is this beautiful fountain.


Inside the Victorian Fernery is this small Wishing Well.


Me inside the Victorian Fernery.


The Victorian Garden (1).


The Victorian Garden (2).


The Victorian Garden (3).


The lake is bigger than a pond, but not really big enough to justify the term lake.

Essential Info:

  • Admission Fee: Free.
  • Opening Times vary so check Visit Southport’s website.
  • Postcode for SatNavs or Google Maps is: PR9 7NB.
  • Free parking is available on the street outside of the Botanic Gardens.
  • Highly Recommended is the reasonably priced Cafe.
  • In the same building as the Cafe is a gift shop. It sells seeds for the birds in The Aviary There is also a gift shop, which sells seeds for birds at The The Aviary, toys & sweets and other seemingly random gifts.
  • Has Toilet facilities.

There were many trees that Simon and I admired, but weren’t able to identify. The only thing that could have been improved was more information about the trees and shrubs. A fun way this could be done is by means of a tree hunt. It would be great if visitors could pick up a leaflet from the Cafe, which directed visitors to trees and shrubs in the Botanic Garden. The leaflet could help visitors identify what species of tree or shrub that they have found and a give a bit of additional information.

Afterwards Simon and I headed home, stopping along the way for tea.

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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