About Me

Im 35, married to the lovely Lisa and we have a 6 year old son Josh and a baby girl called Gracie. We live in Newtownabbey just outside Belfast in Northern Ireland, We run our own wedding stationery business Wickedly Innocent. We also love to travel and did a tour around the USA, New Zealand and Australia a few years back, but recently we havn’t had the chance due to our business and Josh.

I have decided to start studying again as I wanted to keep busy and to be honest just thought why not. I plan to do between 60-80 points a year, but time will tell if i can fit it in.

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15 Responses to About Me

  1. Hey Chris,

    Interesting blog! Being an amateur astronomer myself I have often wondered about the worth of undertaking a more formal course of study, though it’s hard to know where I might find the time! I’m not sure if you’ve been to see us before – I’m on the Council of the Irish Astronomical Association and we meet fortnightly at Queens University Belfast from September to April, and hold numerous events outside of these meetings. Have a look at our website – irishastro.org

    Maybe see you along sometime?

    Clear skies,

    Paul Evans – IAA Webmaster

    • Hi Paul thanks for the message, always good to know someone is reading what i’m writing lol. To be honest I had never even heard of the IAA but it looks good, I joined the NIAAS there last week but the IAA looks good aswell, might just have to join up. I like the thought of going to the lectures, but with working for myself and doing the study its hard to get the time to do it all. Im doing the Degree in Physical Science (Astronomy) just for my own entertainment really, it would be nice to be able to get a job at the end of it but I think that would be very hard and probably have to move. Even if I got into the astronomy field and help others in the long term would be a good outcome for me. Looking at my study calender in will be well into 2011-2012 before I may even touch on the astronomy part of the course, but I guess thats just so that I get a good basic science understanding.

      Anyway hope you keep reading and I will be keeping an eye out for your 10/11 lecture schedule



  2. Matthew Jones

    Hi Chris. As a middle rate pianist, I have also started a degree in English with music being a side kick. Being a student with a love of words and lyrics i have noticed you have a natural talent for expression in an account of a story, just wondered if you have ever thought about become a writer. I have also started a blog of my own but cannot find the inspiration or time away from work to find an introduction or any structure to give it some light. Any tips on this.

    My name is Matthew, i live in South Wales with a wife and little girl of 5.

    • Hi Matthew, sorry it’s taken a bit of time to get back, I have been working flat out. It is hard to get time to do a blog, It’s something I’m just doing for myself, just to keep like a diary of what I have been doing. Sometimes I’m thinking I need to post about this or that and just can’t get the time to do it properly. The best advice I can give is just start it and see how it goes, if you get the time then happy days, if not well at least you have tried.

      As for me becoming a writer, it would be nice but I would never have the time. I run a wedding stationery business, study with the OU (I little too much at times), and decided to run the Belfast Marathon next year. So all that keeps me very busy…..oh and I have a 3 year old boy so that means everything is done around him lol. But thanks for the suggestion, it’s always nice to know someone is reading this.

      Good luck and keep me updated about your studies and blog if you get one.

  3. https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_106864549382789&ap=1

    Increase awareness and understanding of the effects of dyslexia … Bring together those involved with dyslexic adults and children to discuss ways… and the aim to bring about a dyslexia friendly society. I started the group to aim to encourage organizations and individuals to work together represent the needs of dyslexic people, that we can work together to raise awareness of dyslexia… support all to reach their full potential as audience or members, to take positive action to achieve this. To work with others in the aim to bring about improvements and build a wider group of people the opportunity to do … meaning to a much wider audience than the individual alone. I’m hopeful that we can make this happen together. Welcome Bow Dee

  4. hi Chris, stumbled across your blog while looking for some more details on the OU BSc in Natural Sciences. There’s a fantastic amount of info on your site and it’s a great encouragement to take up doing the BSc. I live in Dublin and know a few of the gang in the NIAAS & IAA. I’m 2 1/2 years into an IT degree but am going to switch to the sciences — am 45 years old and now realise science has always been my first love and still is (day job is writing business software.) I may not do the astronomy modules as I’m more keen on something similar to the Climate & Earth Systems Science degree offered full-time by University College Dublin. I see Birkbeck College (part of the University of London) do a distance learning degree also in Earth Sciences … decisions, decisions 😉 Thanks again for your blog and best of luck with the programme modules. John.

    • Thanks John, it’s good to know that people are reading and getting help out of the blog, kinda makes it worthwhile. What are the costs like for you? I know most in England are going way up but since im in Northern Ireland they shouldn’t be changing. I know you can do it through the Open University but prices look high for Ireland £1300 odd for 60 pts.

      I know some people don’t like the distance learning method but I can’t fault it, If it wasn’t for the OU I probably wouldn’t even have done type of study. Another thing is sometimes people look at you and say ” Your just doing if fun !!! ‘ as if I’m a nut job for putting a lot of time and money into it. As far as I’m concerned I’m having more fun doing this than sitting with my backside in front of a playstation 4 hours a night :)

      Anyway keep us updated on what you decide and keep popping back here once and a while :)

  5. One bonus about the distance learning option is that it opens up access to courses we are interested in that local universities or colleges may only offer full-time, if at all. One of the guys in our club did a Masters with Swinbourne (Australia) and travelled out there to collect the award — I remember Al mailing us at one point on his travels saying, “The wildlife hasn’t killed us yet”!!! John O’Neill (http://www.variablestarnights.net) from Dublin, but living in Boston, is doing astronomy through the OU also Chris. The cost is pretty high for the courses but I can’t really put a price on doing something I’m passionate about. I applied recently to the Credit Transfer centre to see if they will make some allowances for the 2 1/2 years completed to date on the IT course — hope to hear about that in the next few weeks. There’s an open day in Dublin on August 27th where I’ll have a chance chat to some people about the Natural Sciences degree. All the best Chris, John.

  6. Hi Chris . I have decided to take the plunge and do the simular course. Your blog is really good and interesting and I have my own blog but as usual never get round to updating it. Now I have decided to get this degree I am going to try to keep it updated. I dont know if you can answer for me but their is some modules that will end before I think I will get chance to study them i.e Astronomy and others. what effect would this have on the degree and what about modules I do that are meant to be ending before finishing my degree do they still count towards it. I’m hoping you have more knowledge than me :). Im also going to keep up to date on your blog its very useful. I’m quiet excited but also aprehensive of the exams and some of the assignments of the bigger modules.

    • Hi Mike I have had a few people mention the fact that some courses are ending (S282, S283 etc) and how will they complete their degree. In my view they will be replaced my something updated in 2014. They did something similar and took away the old SXR208 Observing the Universe last year, I thought after that I wouldn’t get the chance of doing some proper observing and a proper Observatory. However last month they released details of a new course SXP288 and they have included it in that (I did a post about this a few weeks back). So it looks like they like to leave things to the last minute for updated. Also they have made a lot of changes to the degrees this year, going from named to the single Natural Science Degree. So with SXP288 running until at least 2021I think the Astronomy route will be safe for the next lot of years.

      As for your blog keep at it, I have had a few periods in the past where I didn’t update, usually when I’m flat out but it’s nice to get all the feedback from people and it’s got to the point where I really enjoy updating it.

      Good Luck and keep coming back for a read and to update us with how you’re doing

  7. Hey there Cris, came across your blog when looking for material on TU100. You have some really nice stuff on here and I was wandering if you would like to do a lik exchange?

  8. Neil Nelson

    At the momnt I’m doing TU100 as my first course towarfs a degree in Computing and ICT. Really enjoying it too, learning loads.

  9. Stefanie

    Hey Chris,

    I noticed that some of the blogs in your list don’t exist anymore:
    – abscforme.co.uk

    You and I both have a similar study route, I really like the information here. A pity that you had to drop out of S283, but hey, most likely we’ll take it at the same time then next year. :-)
    I have also started an OU blog (I’m currently taking S104), would be cool if you listed it as well: http://studying-physics.jimdo.com/

    All the best,

  10. Kathleen Hubert


    I was wondering if you accept guest post for your blog. If you do, I would like to submit a few. I’m a recent college graduate, with an English major, looking to build out my portfolio. I can write on a wide variety of topics and am sure you would be happy with the quality. Please email me back if you are interested. Thank you for your time.

    – Kathleen Hubert

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