Uploading my last winter shots (and practicing presets for my summer ones!)

We are heading into the middle of spring here in Europe. The days are getting longer and brighter, even if we can only witness this from our kitchen window. But that window is being opened a little more everyday, and the sunshine alone is keeping me in good spirits.

Saying that, I still have a small backlog of winter photos that I haven’t had the chance to upload yet. So I am doing so before it’s too late.

The shot below for example. I captured a commuter yawning, or yelling at me, whichever you prefer to believe!


I think I was heading up Regent Street to look at the Christmas lights, which is just past the Underground sign seen on the left of this shot. I could have also been doing a clothes shop as I badly needed new clothes on my return home. Oxford Circus is right up the other end of Regent Street and great for shopping.

I chuckled to myself looking at these pictures, as at the time of taking them all I could think about was the summer sun. I didn’t know that I would later look back and take that cold weather for a life without a pandemic…


The ground at Piccadilly Circus looks more like a mirror in the rain. I love the reflections from the famous advertising boards and I have seen so many great shots of them on Instagram. The rain in London will give me plenty of time to perfect those puddle reflection shots that’s for sure. And speaking of the weather, it has provided me a little challenge to work on.

Now I am uploading more frequently on IG, I have been looking at creating a preset for my London shots to give a more consistent look. With the skies here constantly changing from bright blue to cloudy, the look and lighting in each shot varies wildly. Great for the variety, but hard to give shots my own unique look. Below is an example of my recent shots and you can see that despite the change in weather, the shots all share a similar colour and lighting theme. This is an example of a preset, pre-adjusted settings in software that you can create yourself and add to your photos.

I have a lot to learn on the Adobe software I am using (presets are in a programme called Lightroom), but with the free time I have this is a blessing I guess! Got to stay productive in times like these.

Are you using presets? If so let me know your theme and style. Hopefully I will have gotten much better in time for summer, and I hope you are liking the shots so far!

Stay safe,




Due to the Coronavirus outbreak I am somewhat limited as to what I can do in London, but I aim to post as much as I can during this time. I promise to have some great posts coming your way once this is all over as I continue to explore London.

Stay home, stay safe and happy blogging!



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My Australian Journey #3: Blue skies and skylines

I much prefer a blue sky in any photo. It adds so much more to a shot and just gives off a warm, happy vibe. It does for me anyway.


The shot above is one of my favourite pictures on my whole working holiday visa. I love the brightness and the bright white flag blowing in the wind before an impressive skyline. The skyline is the main reason I used to enjoy a walk around Darling Harbour and I have plenty of shots in this post from September 2017.



I took a couple of shots here, this one and when I was waiting at the traffic lights at night, decided to try and get another shot from the same angle. I like looking at both together, it’s like travelling in a time machine.


I think the theme of all my Instagram uploads is a blue sky, or pictures with lots of colour. It puts me in a good mood, which is probably why I like street art so much. Bright colours to raise my spirits, especially at times when I need it.


Expect lots of sunshine and colour in my upcoming posts!


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My Australian Journey #2: Arriving in Sydney

After departing on the 1st September from London, I finally arrived in Sydney on the 3rd. It is so strange to think that it would take three days to get anywhere in the world, but I did have a great big layover in Singapore to blame for that.


I’ve just realised that on Instagram I am uploading these shots in the wrong order. I was about to type this post with the below shot of the Sydney Tower Eye as my first photo of Sydney, but it was in fact the one above. I was on the train and as I had no clue about the journey from the airport, almost missed the view behind me. I was on those seats that face sideways and was looking at the highrises of the CBD and probably noticed the harbour glistening in the reflections. What a view it was too. Here is a very short post I published at the time.


This was a very tiring day. It was hot, I stupidly decided to bring two large heavy bags with me and due to having them packed to the brim, was wearing my winter jacket. I don’t know what made me decide to bring that with me as I was entering summer, but after experiencing a Melbourne winter (where I currently am) this wasn’t a bad decision. You can read another very short blog post on this day here.

Oh, and I also made a friend. I realised he has his problems like the rest of us.




Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

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When you realise you’re about to have two winters in a row…

I was never warned about the winter here in Australia. We aren’t as Brits, we just see the golden beaches, the clear waters and are pretty happy to go with that perception. And as I was finally getting back to my place last night, taking off my soaked jeans and dipping jacket, I decided to look through some pictures of the summer I have oh-so missed as I made my way down the east coast of Australia.

Green Island- Cairns
Cairns from Pullman Cairns International
Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island
Looking out to Gold Coast from the Q1 Tower
A yellow taxi in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

I have been pretty lucky to be fair. I arrived in the summer of 2017 and as winter was creeping up, decided to do my farmwork in far north Queensland. Despite the odd heavy thunderstorm the days were warm. The nights were cold, but nothing a heavy duvet and a couple of beers with a bunch of fellow international backpackers couldn’t fix.

And after August and the beginnings of summer I made my way to Brisbane. A more humid city than Sydney, but I will always remember the day Sydney hit 47c. January 8th 2018 was a pretty brutal day, the breeze was no relief and felt like a hairdryer to the face. Brisbane however was hot but I enjoyed the simpler life. T-shirt, shorts and flip flops on the way to work, that kind of thing. But from March 2019 and the beginning of winter my contract ended and there was one last city I needed to visit. Melbourne.


Now Melbourne has had some nice weather since I have been here, such as the day I took this shot above. But it isn’t unusual for me to wear a scarf and two jackets walking through the city.

And as my last day in Australia will be August 27th, I will be heading to Europe at the back end of what seems like a great summer and again, preparing for winter.


I mean I don’t mind a British winter at all, the Christmas Markets and mulled wine and all that, but after a heatwave to cool off from. I am going to have a winter shortly after a winter, whilst the UK (and seemingly everyone outside of Melbourne!) enjoys some glorious sunshine.

Winter is coming. Well it just won’t leave me.

What’s the weather like where you are, are you enjoying the heatwave yourself? Let me know and feel free to make me more jealous than I already am.



Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

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Back to Brisbane (and some sunshine)

This trip was very last minute. And with this could only find an early flight to the Gold Coast, which meant that I needed take an hour long train journey up to Brisbane. But this was fine as I had much more time on Saturday evening to see some friends and old work colleagues for a catch up.

The weather getting into Gold Coast was mixed, but one thing I noticed was the difference in temperature to Melbourne. I got that holiday feeling the moment I left the plane as the warm tropical Queensland air hit me walking into the terminal.


The weather was nice enough for this stunning sunset as I made my way north.

The good thing about the train is that it drops me off right here. The hotel I used to work in.


I had such a fun experience working here, and I think it may be the best place I have ever worked in terms of actually enjoying going to work. It was right in the city centre and if Brisbane had something going on we would usually play a part. I was actually gutted when I left Brisbane for Melbourne, the only saving grace was that Melbourne is a fantastic city with a lot going on. But coming back to the warmth and going in to see some on my friends there was nice, although it made me miss it even more.

What I love about hospitality is that every day is different. You never know what is going to happen, for better or worse. But the bad days help with personal development, and the good days are great memories. I think that is why I have stayed in the industry for so long, and I have been very fortunate to have worked in the same chain in three Australian cities now. Despite the six month working holiday restriction, transfers are possible and this has kept me in employment within the chain.

What I also love about Brisbane is it’s size. Not as hectic as Sydney or Melbourne but just the right amount of everything for it to be a fun city to live in. After finishing my farmwork in the middle of nowehere and travelling down the east coast in fun yet small destinations, Brisbane seemed like New York City. However after moving to Melbourne and revisiting I can see why it gets labeled ‘a big country town’. Limited options on a Sunday, a city centre you can walk through fairly quickly, it is growing rapidly but it isn’t quite comparable to Melbs or Sydney yet. But I love this big country town and out of the three, it may be my favourite to live in so far.


But each city has it’s perks, Sydney has the landmarks and Melbourne has amazing food. I think it would be unfair to have a ‘favourite’ as each have their own strengths and differing identities.

I crossed the river to meet my friend, who I met during my 88-days farmwork. Coincidentally he was born just up the road from me in the north east of England and even more of a coincidence is that he shares the same birthday as me.

And for this reason the beers started and my camera roll ended.

The night got pretty messy pretty fast, which I guess is not surprising for a milestone birthday. Especially with a friend that is celebrating on the same day. My only regret was not being sober enough by the time I met the others to get some group shots, but what can you do. Two guys that used to live in Newcastle going out for drinks is always going to go downhill fast.

It is also fairly strange being away from home on a birthday, let alone a 30th, and is never going to be the same as it would be back home. There will never be that big sense of occasion and I guess with that I was content with it being low key. It was a sacrifice I knew I was going to have to make at the time when I was arranging the visa, and long term solo travel always comes with some sacrifices. We just have to ensure that the sacrifices are worth the journey, and to me I can have a big 31st instead. The opportunity to travel isn’t always there, or at least being convinced enough to book that one way ticket.

But I am glad I chose to enter my thirties here. It felt right and I was back in a city that has given me so many memories and great friends in and outside of work. I think any future visits to Australia wouldn’t be right without stopping by this great city and I am grateful to feel welcome every time.

Hopefully this won’t be the last time.





Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

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A short but sweet visit to Green Island (Great Barrier Reef)

So today we have been blessed with some fantastic weather all day long. It turns out our decision to do a short half-day trip to Green Island was a good one as the conditions were perfect to see the reef and fish living around it. We made our way to the boat terminal, (you can see how close it is to our hotel below), departed at 11am and arrived 45 minutes later.


The weather is scorching.  No clouds were around to give shade so we hid in a cafe until it was time to board. What I remember from my last trip out was that being at sea from 9-5 is a long time in the unforgiving far north Queensland sunshine, so a slightly shorter trip wasn’t really an issue. The shorter journey to Green Island meant we didn’t really spend too much time at sea getting to and from the reef.

The Reef Rocket


Cairns looking great from here! As the city disappeared onto the horizon, our little island emerged. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it did seem very small! Not that I was complaining, my last reef trip consisted of no land whatsover, so having somewhere that I was able to walk around on without bobbing up and down like a cork was welcomed.


That colour though!


Immediately upon looking down we saw some impressive sized schools of fish of all kinds. That and a small reef shark minding it’s own business amongst the snorkelers. Humans and animals seem to get along pretty well here. Now because this was a short trip we only spent an hour on the island to have lunch and walking through it actually makes it seem bigger than I originally assumed. I didn’t take any photos (why the hell didn’t I?!) but there is a walkway that takes you from one side of the island to the other and in the middle is a resort with a couple of restaurants, bars and a pool for guests of Green Island. We had lunch fairly hurried as we didn’t want to miss the glass bottom boat ride and headed back out to the boats.

Oh I needed to save my terrible iPhone battery. That is why.

The boat was a different one to the one we got here, it was a long boat and people sit facing each other with the glass running down the length of the boat. Due to the shallow reef the views were clear and fish aplenty.


How cool is that? We also saw a turtle which was perfect timing as a man asked the driver if there was the possibility. His response was ‘Yes! Right there!’.

He surfaced a couple of times away from the boat before submerging and swimming off for good.

Now this was the perfect little day as we were actually going to do a popular train ride and realised we had missed the train! So with the weather being perfect and not wanting it to go to waste we looked at short trips out to the reef and the few hours at sea actually felt a lot longer. But in a good way, 11-4pm means there was no time for sea sickness and we have enough energy to do something tonight. Tomorrow we will do the Kuranda Train ride in hopefully decent weather. But I don’t mind too much because if I wanted any day to be great, it was a day at the reef.


More info on the Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises on their website here.



Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary or follow me over on Instagram

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Happy blogging,



The hottest day I have experienced so far

Today it has finally hit 40 degrees, a temperature this half English- half Scottish guy was warned about and not designed for. Celsius that is for you Fahrenheit fans out there, I am sure 40f would be a completely different story. It is roughly 104 Fahrenheit if the first converter I found on Google is accurate.

The weather in the UK has never hit 40c in recorded history. Looking at this Wikipedia article it has come close, but not reached this level of heat. No doubt it made headlines back in 2003! 

Funnily enough, the 10th August is my sisters birthday, the 30th June is mine. Strange!

It is fascinating that a temperature the UK never experiences is just another summers day in Australia. It is equally fascinating to me that whilst the Southern Hemisphere is baking, the Northern Hemisphere (the UK at least) is freezing. Sometimes I don’t know if the world is incredibly big or unbelievable tiny. It depends on what I am comparing it to I guess. Big enough to be home to all kind of weather systems, drastically changing landscapes and life forms… small enough for us to cover it all in 24 hours or so. If one rock orbiting the sun varies so much, what is at the end of the universe? It’s enough to melt my already overheating brain.

It is safe to say I will be spending the midday indoors to avoid bursting into flames. Mid twenties is my comfort zone, however 40c isn’t as bad as I first feared. Thankfully I arrived in September, a good time to climatise before the heat truly hit.

Is 40c a temperature you are used to? Are you currently sitting through summer or winter? Let me know, I am sure many of my readers are used to extremes that we just don’t get growing up in the UK.

Travel Diary: Newcastle, NSW

Being from Newcastle in England, I wanted to visit Newcastle in Australia ever since I found out there was one. Located in New South Wales, a couple of hours north of Sydney and a million miles away from big city chaos. I decided to visit on a Sunday, but even on a Monday morning Newcastle it seems to be a lot more chilled.

It has taken a lot of strength to type today as I had too many beers last night. When a pint costs you on average $10, schooners for five bucks are warmly welcomed. It was earned after a lot of walking along the coast in very warm weather, the first thing I did once I got here. I only spent one night in the city so as soon as I got to the hostel the lovely receptionist gave me a map and told me where to head. First, Nobbys Head.

I’m sure this lady was drunk. She was lovely though!

I was told Newcastle is quite industrial, to the north (or left of this image) it is clear to see. Beaches with sunbathers, surfers, jet skiers and dog walkers are occasionally dwarfed by huge tankers sailing through.

This isn’t an issue, when you are walking down the coastline over Newcastle’s many beaches, this is all out of view. What comes into view are beautiful cliffs, piers and para-gliders.

Eventually, you come to the Bogey Hole. This was cut out of rocks by convicts in 1819, pretty impressive. On VisitNSW, the following is said of the attraction.

The Bogey Hole was constructed by order of Commandant Morisset in about 1820 for his own personal use. Morisset was Commandant of Newcastle from 1819 to 1822. It was known, originally as the “Commandants Baths”. The name “Bogey Hole” was applied afterwards and comes from the indigenous word meaning “to bathe”.

I didn’t go in as it was pretty full. Instead I gazed over the horizon and waited for the occasional wave to crash over, which is an awesome sight.

Away from the waves, Newcastle has some nice architecture. I didn’t spend too much time wandering the streets, however there were some notable buildings. This one is a bar and restaurant called Customs House, where I was told about other places to go for a few beers.

The staff here were cool, friendly and informative. The people of Newcastle are very friendly, something Newcastle in England is thankfully known for, so there was a similarity. Another reminder of home was Nobbys Head, gazing out to sea was light doing so at St Mary’s Lighthouse in the North East of England, a lighthouse that can be accessed when the tide is out. This right now is receiving snow, a huge contrast to the palm trees and dolphins here in the Southern Hemisphere.

As I am typing, I am ready to say goodbye to the hostel, I can hear the horns of the huge ships entering and leaving port. I hope I have an excuse to come up again, it’s been fun. Thank you to the girl that gave me this recommendation last night, it helped with the hangover today.

Also, thank you for putting up with me being drunk. I cannot remember getting back to the hostel last night, but I will certainly remember this trip.

A quick teaser…

Well, the weather couldn’t have been any better for me to take a day trip somewhere and with Newcastle having a fair few beaches to choose from, I felt it was a great choice. 

I will have a post up tomorrow with my thoughts on this city in New South Wales, in the mean time here is a snap of the beautiful coastline on offer.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend, I’ll speak to you all soon.