Hi, Friends, I’m Back

As I sit here, watching Jeremy Kyle on catch-up TV, with a mushroom and ale pie cooking in the oven and a cup of tea in my hand, I couldn’t shake the guilty pit that was building up in my stomach. My beloved blog, where have I been? All of my lovely readers, I’ve treat you so badly. Don’t for a second think that this came easily. Every single day I think “Is today the day? Do I have time?” and since Valentine’s Day, the answer has always been no.

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I have reasons though, so let me explain.

I’m in the final two months of university. As you can imagine, all of my deadlines and exams have come crashing down. That’s not my issue though – I work so well under pressure and I’m great at what I do. The work isn’t the problem. What I’m struggling with is the lack of passion I have left for the whole degree and any prospect of going into this field of work after graduation makes me feel sick. I hate it. Believe me, it’s incredibly difficult to put your heart into working hard on something when you hate it so much.

Silver lining? I realised what I actually want to do for a living. I’ve always known, but I didn’t believe it would be possible. I want to be a photographer. Always have, always will, and I finally think it’s in my reach. I remember debating whether or not I should study photography at university, but I was met with laughter. Being easily influenced by other’s opinions of me, I gave that dream up. However, last year, I set up my own portrait studio at home and I’ve been steadily and happily growing my clientele ever since. I love every second I spend with a camera in my hand. The problem is that I have a hard decision to make – follow my dreams and make very little money after graduation, placing a lot more pressure on Matthew to get a job that supports us both, or follow my degree’s career path, be incredibly unhappy and make a lot of money. Happiness or money?

During my year in industry at university, I spent my time as a software developer for a company that builds software for the fire service. The work was fine but the environment was soul destroying. I broke. My whole mental health was shaken and I’ve never been the same since. It’s been over a year now and I still fight daily. Honestly, I don’t think I could do that again. This is horrible to admit, and I’m sorry, but I wanted to die. I’ve never felt such pain. I’ve been getting better and I don’t want to go back to that dark place.

If I didn’t experience that, without a doubt, I’d be happy running and dancing and bounding straight into a graduate developer role after university. However, I now know better. On the other hand, if I didn’t have a fiance, a home, two precious fur babies, a wedding on the horizon and if I had a bed to return to at my parent’s home like a lot of single students, following my dream would be a piece of cake.

Yeah, there’s a lot going on in my head right now. I won’t know which path I’ll follow for a few months yet, so I can’t imagine I’m suddenly going to be back like nothing happened, but I’ll try. With me in the process of creating social media channels and a blog for my photography, my entire social media presence is soon to increase. Maybe that will influence me to write more often, too. I hope so!

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I’m massively sorry that my reintroduction to this sweet little blog was such an unhappy one, but sometimes the truth needs to be told. Getting something off your chest is always a sure way to make yourself feel a little bit better, and I sure as hell don’t feel that guilty pit in my stomach anymore! Honestly, one blog post later, I do feel a lot more excited to be back (again).

How have you been?

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You can read my previous post here.

Currently, I Am… | #10

Hi, friends! Ah, I’ve missed you. It’s been almost a whole month since I’ve shown my face on my lovely little blog, but it’s definitely been well deserved. The first few weeks of 2017 were filled with coursework and university deadlines, so The Rose Quartz had to take a bit of a backseat. Don’t worry though, I thought about you every day!

After that, I had a few days of beautiful nothingness and relaxation with Matthew, before me, him, his brother and his girlfriend went off for a 4-day bender to Butlins for the Giants of Rock festival. That, I tell you, was flipping fantastic and I’ll be talking a lot more about that the next time I’m around! We saw some incredible bands and some really impressive musicians – it was mind blowing, really. As well as enjoying lots of music, the nearby beach was just beautiful. We spent a lot of time walking around and taking pictures – you know what I’m like.

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My “Currently, I Am” series is always a great post for when I return from a pretty long break. I haven’t posted one of these since November, just after Trump managed to find his way into an incredible, ridiculous position of power. Coincidentally, this one comes just after his inauguration and the reinforcement that his new found power is taking America down a horribly familiar, slippery slope.

Anyway, let’s not talk politics. Let’s have a bit of a catch up!

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Currently, I am feeling

…oh, well, a lot of different feelings actually. I’m gunna quickly take you through them, otherwise this could go on for a very long time. I’m feeling excited and nervous about my wedding day – I get married in November and there’s a lot of exciting plans to be made! I’m feeling anxious, unprepared and lost with regards to my future career prospects – I’m graduating in the summer, with no passion for my degree or field of work in any way. I’m feeling tired, because sleep is alluding me – that’s probably because of all these FEELS.

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Currently, I am watching

…Daredevil S2. We recently finished Jessica Jones too, which was unbelievable. Kilgrave is one of my all time favourite villains! He’s easily Marvel’s best on-screen baddie. His ability to manipulate people, simply by talking to them, is a really clever way of avoiding “not-another-fight-scene”. Daredevil is also picking up. The first season started off incredibly dull, picking up towards the end. The second season started a little slow too actually, but it quickly sorted itself out and now me and Matthew are both really enjoying it.

Since my last catch up post, Westworld finished too. That was one of the best bits of television I’ve ever seen. Highly, highly recommend.

Currently, I am reading

…The Great Gatsby. Can you believe I’ve never read it? I also recently read Tim Burton’s The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories which was a super interesting and super quick read. It’s worth it though. The title story was one of the longer short stories/poems in the collection and it actually made me feel pretty sad. Poor, Oyster Boy.

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How have you been? What have you been up to recently?

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You can read my previous post here.

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

My Year in Review #2/3 | Books and Films

Last year, during my first installment of ‘my year in review’, I was going through a huge book dragon phase. I spent a lot of free time with a book in hand, a cup of tea in the other and a kitten on my lap – as you can imagine, those were delightful months.

This year, I only read 5 books… I know I shouldn’t be, because I had way more important things going on, but I’m pretty embarrassed about it! I absolutely love reading and I would consider myself pretty well read, but 5 books!? Outrageous (okay, not that far, but you catch my drift). So, instead of simply having a look back on what I read, I’m going to briefly review my year through film and books.

My Year in Review 2016 TV Film and Books

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Books:

What books did I read in 2016?

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • Fear of Falling by S.L. Jennings
  • The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Random Riggs

My favourite read:

This is really tough. On my Goodreads, I gave The Sense of an Ending, The Girl with all the Gifts and Miss Peregrine’s House for Peculiar Children all 5/5 stars. They were absolutely incredible, completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

The Sense of an Ending left me speechless for a very long time. It made me think about life, time and mostly about memory – it’s not something you consider a lot, but our memories are very fragile and can quite easily be manipulated by time. The Girl with all the Gifts was one of the best books I’ve ever read and it left me completely in awe of the author’s talent. It was ridiculously clever – a lot of real-life science was kind of flipped on it’s side to create the whole “what if?” With a completely unexpected final twist, I would read this again in a heartbeat. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was really wonderful too. It was on my to-read list for a very long time and it did not disappoint. The characters and the use of time were definitely highlights for me. I didn’t actually know it was part of a series, but there you go! I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Fear of Falling was a bit of fun, a bit of trashy writing but enjoyable. You know the type. However, I was a little disappointment with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I think I read it when I was very, very young so I counted my recent read of the book as my first time. It was not how I remembered it at all. I’m completely invested and in love with Lewis Carroll’s universe and everything Alice related will be forever loved, but the book itself left me a little deflated. Of course, Carroll’s writing and whimsy is absolutely beautiful, I just wanted more.

Full book reviews: 

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Film:

Total number of new films watched: 26 (half of which were watched over the Christmas period!)

Highest rated films: 

  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
  • Chicago (2002)
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (2016)
  • Skyfall (2012)

Lowest rated films: 

Sausage Party (2016) – This was one of the worst films that I have ever seen. It was stupid and not remotely funny. I kid you not there was a full on animated food orgy to end this disaster of a film. Just… what…

Suicide Squad (2016) – So much potential, yet such a disappointment. The director could quite easily have been replaced with an A-level film student with a handout of $175,000,000 and the differences would be minimal.

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Special mention: HBO’s Westworld (2016) was one of the most extraordinary pieces of television I’ve ever seen. I’m finding it hard to put the series into words, so I highly recommend any sci-fi fans to just watch it. You will not be disappointed.

Considering the year I had, that’s a pretty good haul of books and films! I read some absolutely incredible novels and I even reignited my huge (and pretty sentimental) love for film. That sounds like a good thing to me.

What was the best book you read this year? Did you watch any great films?

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You can read my previous post here.

My Year in Review #1/3 | The Blog

My friends, it’s so good to be back. It’s been a while. Did you miss me? I properly missed you, all of you.

I’m not going to coo about how unbelievable it is that it’s been a whole year already because, frankly, this year feels like it lasted an absolute lifetime. As I’ve told you, repeatedly, this has been the worst, most soul-destroying year of my life and I can’t believe I’m still around to see the back of it – honestly, it was touch and go for a long time. But, I made it. I’m here and we can all kiss this disaster of a year goodbye in just one more day. Hopefully, that black hole of negativity that I’ve been waving around will disappear too.

I know, I know, the passing of one more day won’t actually make a massive difference in any literal way. It’s just another day, after all. For me, though, it’s more of a symbolic passing. Au revoir, you arse.

Anyway, despite the little amount of time I’ve spent around my lovely little blog this year, it still means so much to me. I’m hoping that 2017 will reignite the love I have for writing and socialising with the wonderful people I’ve met during my time as a blogger, because that’s something I miss for sure.

So, what did my blog accomplish throughout 2016?

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Blogging Stats:

Total number of posts published in 2016: 156 – considering it feels like I wasn’t around an awful lot, that’s not bad!

Total number of followers overall: 465 – I didn’t reach my goal of 500 WordPress followers, but I did reach over 650 followers on Twitter which was an unexpected delight.

Total number of unique views in 2016: 16,933

My Year in Review | The blog

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Best Posts:

Statistically, my most popular posts of 2016 were:

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Blogging Goals for 2017:

Post regularly: This year was a bit of a mess for my blog, and if I have any regular readers left I’ll be flabbergasted (how wonderful is that word?). I’d love to begin posting regularly again and, hopefully, planning my posts more efficiently will help with this!

Interact with my readers more: I failed so bad with interaction, especially during the second half of the year. I miss you all, and I can’t wait to see what you’ve all been writing about.

Read more blog posts from other bloggers, old and new: I haven’t read somebody else’s blog post in a very long time (apart from the odd one that catches my eye on Twitter). Sitting down and reading my friends’ posts used to be an important part of my blogging setup, so I can’t wait to get stuck back in.

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Do you have any personal goals for your blog in 2017?

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You can read my previous post here.

Getting Festive in the Studio

Can you believe that it’s the first of December? I still don’t have my Christmas decorations up and I don’t actually see it happening any time soon. For someone who normally has their Christmas decorations up in the first week of November, this is a bit of a big deal!

Despite the lack of festivities in my personal life, my photography studio been been regularly bringing a snippet of Christmas Day into my home.

Recently, I had the sweetest little elf visit for a Christmas photo-shoot, and once you see his little smile, you won’t blame me for wanting to share these with you. With his little pointy ears, his festive cheer and his childish wonder, he brightened up my home. I admit, I did feel a festive twinkle whilst photographing this beautiful baby in his little elf outfit. I’m only human!

The Rose Quartz Photography Christmas PhotoshootThe Rose Quartz Photography Christmas Photoshoot

Once he left and the Christmas props had been packed away, however, all signs of Christmas cheer vanished into thin air and the reminder that Christmas is almost upon us made me cringe. I promise, I’m not always this much of a Grinch. This year has been tough – really, unforgettably tough – so mustering up a bit of happiness for something that 2016 has to offer me is proving a lot harder than I thought it would!

The solution: lots of Christmas photo-shoots!

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If you’d like to have a look at my photography page on Facebook, you have find me here.

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You can read my previous post here.

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

I’m Getting Married!

Our engagement story is a sweet one. Despite months of hypothetically talking about it, the whole thing was actually a massive surprise to me.

After spending the afternoon of my birthday being pampered with my mum – we both had a massage and our nails done at a salon – I head home to spend the rest of the day and night with Matthew. He met me at the car (with an umbrella because it was raining) and he was dressed up in his fanciest shirt, but I still didn’t realise anything was different. He’s always pretty well dressed anyway.

When I walked into our living room, “our song” was already playing and the cats looked a bit coy – they had new, light purple collars on with bells. Matt didn’t like the idea of dressing himself up without dressing up our girls. I presumed, at this point, that this was just an extra special birthday treat. He handed me a birthday gift, which I opened. It was a beautifully bound, golden edged collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales and poems. As you can imagine, I loved that.

He then passed me another gift. So, I’m sat there thinking ah, no, stop spoiling me! I’m already cooing to the max about “our song” playing in the background. I open up this second present, and it’s a collection of love poems. How adorable… Matthew tells me to flick to a particular page and there, cut open in the centre of the book, is the message “will you marry me?”

I couldn’t believe it. I transformed into ultimate girl-mode and just stared at him – wide-eyed – for an unreasonable amount of time. Honestly, I thought it was a weird joke. We’re a pretty progressive couple, in the scheme of things, and I just presumed we’d one day say to each other “so, we’re gonna get married soon, right?” We were already practically married anyway. This, though, wow. It was honestly one of the most romantic, memorable moments of my life. He put so much thought and effort and secrecy into the whole thing. I knew he loved me anyway, but understanding the time that someone puts into something is beautiful.

I'm Getting Married Engagement News

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After a lot of hypothetical plans and dreams (and two years later!), we recently and finally booked our dream wedding venue. Dream wedding venue isn’t even an over-exaggeration – when we visited, a very long time ago, we didn’t think we’d ever be able to book this place in time for our own wedding. It’s a beautiful country house, a little on the outskirts of our home city. It really is something special.

I'm Getting Married Engagement News

So, it’s official! Me and Matthew will be getting married on the 26th November 2017. I honestly cannot control my excitement and I’ll be talking about this for the whole year.

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Obviously, we’re both so excited! We’ve been planning this for ages and for it to finally be happening is just fantastic. 

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You can read my previous post here.

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Currently, I Am… | #9

Being back at university is weird! I feel like I have both no free time and lots of free time, you know? As illogical as that sounds, it’s pretty accurate. Yes, I could technically stay in my pyjamas all day and play games, but as a final year student that’s not going to lead to good grades or any sort of rise in self-confidence. I’ve been staying late at university a lot recently, hence the lack of attention I’ve been giving my beloved blog. Once I’m home, sitting in front of another computer screen has been one of the last things on my mind. As you can imagine, a computer science degree involves a lot of screen time.

Anyway, hi friends! Let’s have a bit of a catch up.

Currently, I Am Catch-Up

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Currently, I am feeling

…lots of things, which is generally a good thing! I’m feeling busy and a bit stressed but that’s nothing I can’t handle. I had a wonderful birthday weekend, I’ve had some great marks in my university work from this semester and me and Matt are in full-on wedding planning mode! So, despite the stress, I have lots of good stuff going on.

On the other hand, there’s this giant black cloud hovering above me. The recent news, the terrible news, that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States rattled me to the core. It’s terrifying that this joke of a human being – this monster, racist, homophobic, sexist, rapist – could possibly be granted any sort of power. Yet, here he is. Stay safe.

Currently, I am watching

…well, I’m in the middle of watching quite a few things at the moment, but they all got left behind! Me and Matt started Stranger Things, which we were loving, but after maybe three episodes we got distracted and busy. When Westworld aired, we super excitedly started watching that too. Then, we got busy again… We’ll catch up eventually, I promise.

Currently, I am playing

…Skyrim! I recently bought Skyrim remastered for the Xbox One. It’s my favourite PC game of all time, so having the chance to play it on an updated console with achievements is just a no-brainer. It’s fantastic, obviously.

Currently, I am excited for

…the first thing that comes to mind, our wedding. I’ll be covering this in a post of its own some time soon, but me and Matt recently set our date, booked the venue and put down a deposit. It’s our dream venue. I’m also pretty excited for Christmas, obviously. I’ll be putting the Christmas tree up soon!

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So, what are you most excited for? Do you have any good news?

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You can read my previous post here.