Giants of Rock | Minehead

Giants of Rock – sounds great already, right? – is an annual adults-only rock festival hosted by the one and only Butlins. I promise, this is not a joke post. Butlins really does host a rock weekend.

You think of Butlins and, like me, you probably think of the seaside, family holidays, cheesy music and a place as far away as humanly possible from several thousand rockers. You’d be right, because Butlins is an awesome place for a family holiday, but did you know they also regularly hold live music weekends just for us grown-ups? And they’re incredible.

At the end of January, Matthew and I, alongside Mark and Kat – also known as Matt’s brother & brother’s girlfriend, good friends, best man & maid of honour, which ever tickles your fancy – jumped into the car for a 5 hour car-ride down to Minehead. We booked this weekend away so long ago, on a bit of a whim really, after visiting Matt’s mum and her foster children during on of their family holidays at Butlins. All four of us are child-free and loving it, so whilst Butlins (and the prospects of music, drinks and swimming) is forever enticing, the idea of spending a long weekend around many, many children is not. All they had to do was throw in “adults-only” and “rock music” and we were sold.

The music was, obviously, the highlight of the entire weekend. Surprisingly, though, the surrounding area came a very, very close second and that’s what I want to share with you today.

Minehead Butlins Beach Sunset

The Butlins resort we stayed in was in Minehead – almost 300 miles from our home city. It’s down in Somerset (which is also kind of near Wales), so even the car ride was a thing of beauty. I’m a bit dramatic when it comes to nature, I guess you’d say. I can’t quite control my excitement with how overwhelmingly and sincerely beautiful I find everything. It still baffles me how people can pass rolling hills and not look at them in awe, but that’s a story for another day. So, when we rocked up at the resort and head down to the nearby beach, I was blown away.

The beach seemed to start right at the base of a huge cliff, before winding all the way over mounds of huge rocks, around the bright green fields of a nearby golf course and into rolling hills in the distance. It went on forever.

Minehead Butlins Beach SunsetMinehead Butlins Beach Sunset

We went for two walks on the beach. One walk was full of fog and an orange sun that made the whole place look warm (even though it wasn’t). Even in the fog, it was incredible. During the second walk, we caught the sunset before almost being caught in the high tide. You bet we practically ran back to safety.  I could have walked up and down that beach for days… but only minutes away was the Butlins resort calling us back with an itinerary full of rock music and how could we turn that down?

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Have you ever been to Minehead or Somerset? I wish we could have explored a little more but, this time, we paid for the music and not for the nature!

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

My Year in Review #3/3 | Photographs

They say a picture speaks a thousand words… Throughout 2016, I took over 5,000 of them.

Despite how overwhelmingly rubbish this year was, when I look back on all of these beautiful photographs, I can’t help but feel thankful that some good came out of it. I saw some wonderful things, I made a lot of life-long memories and I grew hugely as a person. Yes, a lot of these memories were made as a way to distract myself from the big black dog but that doesn’t make those memories any less important!

So, to recognise all of the good that came from this year, I’m going to focus on those best bits in my final instalment of ‘my year in review’.

Here’s my best bits of 2016, summarised in photographs!

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Happy new year to all of my lovely followers, friends and family. 

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

A Night at Napoleons Casino

I went to a casino for the first time yesterday! Just down the road from me, smack bang in the centre of Hull, is a wonderfully fancy looking building, home to Napoleons Casino. Alongside a handful of other lovely Hull bloggers, I was invited to try out the casino and restaurant. Of course, I head out in my fanciest dress – super excited for the new experience and super nervous to meet some new bloggers! Everyone was incredibly kind, so not only did I get to try out something new but I also was able to meet some lovely, local bloggers.

Here’s something you may not have considered, ever… If you put a group of bloggers around a table, in a stunning restaurant and in front of some fantastic food, what do you get? “This lighting is terrible for photos”, “There’s a shadow”, “What app do you use to edit your Instagram photos!?” plus a whole load of selfies, angles and tweets. When there’s only one of you (generally that’s me on my billy bob!) you don’t realise.

A Night at Napoleons Casino in Hull

Anyway, on arrival, we were escorted to the bar for a drink, before being seated at our table. Thankfully, the table was tucked away in the corner so we could all snap away without bothering anybody else – and trust me, there was a lot of snapping away because this place is gorgeous.

The highlight, for me, was the food. I quickly decided that I’ll be going back but living so close is just an extra bonus! Being a vegetarian is a bit awkward sometimes, especially if you’re visiting a new place, but Napoleons had some fantastic options for me to try. To start, I had strips of melon with a blackcurrant sorbet and pomegranate. My favourite course was the main – a mushroom and ale pie, wow. It was so rich and delicious that I instantly tried to find a similar recipe on Google. I need to make this myself! For dessert, I had my all-time favourite pudding which is pavlova topped with fresh fruit. How beautiful does that sound? It was one of the most incredible meals that I’ve had in a very long time.

A Night at Napoleons Casino in HullA Night at Napoleons Casino in HullA Night at Napoleons Casino in Hull

With very full bellies, we were then escorted to the casino floor for a crash course in Blackjack, Three Card Poker and Roulette from the wonderfully helpful Ash. He thoroughly talked us through each of the games, with a few cheeky practice games, before letting us loose into the real world. I felt like a little girl with pocket money. I didn’t know where to spend my £5 chip! Roulette was the best option for us all, we thought, and we head straight there. It turns out I’m pretty lucky – I won £17.50 on my first spin!

Me and Matthew have already decided that we’ll be going on Monday to try out this package for ourselves. Yes, it was so good that I’m going to go again within the space of a week.

A huge thank you to the staff at Napoleons Casino for having us! 

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Have you ever been to a casino?

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-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

My Day in Photos | North Landing

I used to go to North Landing quite a lot when I was a kid, or that’s how I remember it anyway. Maybe I only went once and my childhood memories are kidding me, maybe I really did go all the time – either way, it’s a lovely place and I was proper chuffed that me, Matt, my mum and my dad ended up there this afternoon.

North Landing is a rocky, pebbly, sandy beach in Flamborough (near Bridlington) with lots of caves to explore when the tides out. Today, the tide was pretty high (cue Blondie’s “The Tide is High” stuck in your head all day) so we didn’t get to explore the caves at all. No worries though, because the views were gorgeous. I absolutely love the cliffs at North Landing – I’ve never seen anything like it. They’re uniquely shaped and bright white, so you can’t really beat that.

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We started the day with a BBQ on the cliff top before heading down a very, very steep cliff edge to the rocky beach below. There was so much going on today. We saw jet-skis, groups of people exploring the caves at high tide, and even a group of teenagers throwing themselves off of cliffs. My mum couldn’t look and – rightly so – she said her kids would be absolutely grounded if she found out they were throwing themselves into the sea. The smaller cliff they were jumping from was about 25ft which was pretty daunting on its own, until we saw a group of them start jumping from the mega cliff at the other side of the bay… I’d say it was easily double the height of the smaller one. Someone even back-flipped off of it. If they were my kids, I’d be freaking out big time. It was insanely dangerous. You could even see the jagged rocks just beneath the surface of those crashing waves. That’s a giant fat nope from me.

😂North Landing Flamborough Photography

After exploring the cliffs and the rocky beaches, we climbed back up to the top and had an ice lolly over-looking the life guard training exercises below us.

North Landing Flamborough Photography

I slept all the way home and, as soon as I walked through my front door, I threw my coat and shoes off and went to bed. I was absolutely knackered. I woke up 3 hours later and, to be honest, it feels like it’s Sunday. That’s good though because at least tomorrow will actually feel like a bonus, extra weekend day!

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What did you do today?

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

My Day in Photos | Sewerby Hall and Cliffs

To celebrate the summer and my little holiday from work, me and Matt have been bus-hopping around Yorkshire, meaning we can get lots of stunning English countryside views, rolling hills, blue skies and wildlife in a relatively short amount of time. On Monday, me and Matt visited Sewerby Hall and Gardens and we had the most perfect day. Although this was our main goal for the day, we also had plans to mooch along the beach and paddle in the sea, because the weather was just unbelievable.

In fact, Sewerby Hall didn’t even end up being the most beautiful thing we saw – when trying to find somewhere along the cliff edge to get down onto the beach below, we stumbled across a little slice of paradise.  I’m still completely overwhelmed that this little gem is in Yorkshire and not on the coast of a Mediterranean island… it absolutely took my breath away.

This was the best part of the day, week, month and year all rolled into one.

Sewerby Bridlington Cliffs Photography

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We began the day by hopping on the bus to Bridlington, where we also visited quite recently. Sewerby Hall is a beautiful Grade I listed Georgian country house, surrounded by 50 acres of colourful, landscaped gardens. It’s a 2 mile walk from the seaside town of Bridlington, so we grabbed the cute little land train that took us right up to it’s entrance. Although it’s a lovely walk, we were planning on walking along the beach on our way back and we didn’t want to overly exhaust our feet!

As you can see, it’s bloody gorgeous and so massive. Obviously they’re not, but all of the windows look like they’re sparkling with gold. We slowly made our way through all of the rooms, taking in the vintage clothing, accessories, décor and it’s history. There was also a few exhibitions going on in some of the rooms, one of which was about Hull-born pilot Amy Johnson!

Sewerby Hall and Gardens Photography

Although the house was beautiful, it’s the gardens that I’d love to see again. There are two main gardens at Sewerby Hall – the Pleasure Gardens and the Walled Gardens. Both are beautiful but the Walled Gardens stood out the most. They were themed! To celebrate Roald Dahl, many of his much loved characters were scattered among the garden in little sculptures, statues or subtle hints. I imagine it’s a great way to get the children who are visiting more interested in walking around the gardens too – it’s like a treasure hunt!

Even without the theme, the gardens are just spectacular. We spent a very long time walking around and we could easily have stayed there much longer, with a book or a drink. It was a little piece of heaven.

Sewerby Hall and Gardens PhotographySewerby Hall and Gardens PhotographySewerby Hall and Gardens PhotographySewerby Hall and Gardens PhotographySewerby Hall and Gardens Photography

When we finished up in Sewerby Hall, we grabbed a Mr Moo’s ice-cream and head down to the cliff edge. We knew we wanted to walk along the beach with our shoes off, but we didn’t quite know how to get back down… So, we set off back towards the Bridlington sea front until we found a well-hidden staircase. Feeling adventurous, we followed it and ended up… well, here…

Sewerby Bridlington Cliffs Photography

I think we stood, just staring at the view, for about 10 minutes mumbling “wow” and “no way” until we could actually form proper sentences again. It was memorising. The shallow water was sparkling and the white stones were reflecting so much light that it felt completely surreal. The sea was crystal clear, too. You don’t really sea that in Yorkshire… We honestly felt like we were tricking ourselves and we somehow had hopped on a plane abroad without remembering. It was that beautiful.

Sewerby Bridlington Cliffs PhotographySewerby Bridlington Cliffs PhotographySewerby Bridlington Cliffs PhotographySewerby Bridlington Cliffs Photography

I’m still completely in awe. Looking back at my photographs makes my heart swell – it was just so incredible!

Obviously, we took lots of shameless selfies too… On the beach, at Sewerby Hall, against the cliff walls… lots and lots and lots.

We ended the day with a stroll back along the beach, getting our feet al wet and sandy, and then we popped into our favourite seaside pub for a little drink whilst waiting for the bus home.

This is one of my favourite memories. It’s definitely going to stay with me forever… that moment we saw the sparkling, bright blue water was just insane. I fell in love and that’s, for sure, the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited.

I can’t wait for us to go back!

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Have you ever found a hidden gem like this?

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-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

My Day in Photos | Bridlington Beach

I had the best day today. It’s Matt’s 22nd birthday and, to celebrate, he wanted to spend the day in Bridlington so we could visit this gorgeous pub that we found last year – it opens up to and over looks the sea. It really is something special. As well as that though, we had plans to walk along the beach, play in the amusements and have some lunch. It was a proper day at the seaside! Matt thought it was the perfect way to spend his birthday and I wouldn’t have asked for any other way to spend a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon.

We accomplished every single thing we set out to do today, and more. It was perfect.

Bridlington Beach

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Me and Matt don’t drive yet (I know, we’re both pathetic excuses for adults) so we hopped on the bus to the beach. We didn’t realise how hot it was going to be, really. If we did, I doubt I’d have worn tights and a thick dress and I’m certain Matt wouldn’t have put on his black jeans… I probably would have packed some sun-cream too.

We started our little adventure with a walk along the beach. Everyone else was being typically British so all the kids were swimming and the grown ups were topless and/or sunbathing. When we found a quiet spot on the beach, we had a little break and sat down on the insanely beautiful white sand. Like, I don’t know how Bridlington has such beautiful beaches, but it does…

Bridlington Beach Yorkshire, PhotographyBridlington Beach Yorkshire, PhotographyBridlington Beach Yorkshire, Photography

On the horizon was an incredible view – we could see a semi-circle of coast and some great looking white cliffs. How could we resist? That was our next destination. Instead of walking along the beach, we decided it was probably best to walk along the cliff edge in case the tide came in (it did come in quite quickly too, if you’re wondering). Safety first, guys. I found the most gorgeous beach huts on the way up the cliffs. I fell in love and I took what could possibly be my favourite photograph ever. I didn’t even think to pop out my proper camera so I just snapped a few pictures on my mobile instead! They’re still pretty though.

Bridlington Beach Yorkshire, Photography, Pastel Beach Huts

Eventually, we made it to the top of the cliffs and we just took in the view. Wow. I always feel so overwhelmed with natural beauty. I’m a bit of a nature geek, but this was just… wow. Honestly, the entire trip to Bridlington was basically just so we could pop to this amazing pub, but I’m so glad we detoured. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have known that this little spot even existed.

Bridlington Beach Yorkshire, Photography, Coastal Cliffs

It was a long walk up those cliffs, and we were both absolutely exhausted afterwards so we popped into the amusements for a drink and some indoor fun. After an hour or so of winning tickets and slotting 2ps, we finally ended up at the pub with an endless ocean view – possibly my favourite spot in the whole of Yorkshire.

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What a week – a graduation and a birthday. I’m so pleased Matt enjoyed his day though! Happy birthday, sweetie.

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

My Day in Photos | Keswick

On Sunday, me and Matthew spent the day in the beautiful Keswick and the Lake District with his family. The first anniversary of Matt’s dad’s death happened to fall on Father’s Day (which was quite sweet actually) and it was time to spread his ashes with his dad’s wife and the rest of his family. Although we both expected it to be a completely miserable and emotional day, it was lovely.

Phil (Matt’s dad) and his wife Claire regularly visited the Lake District – it was their absolute favourite – so it was only fitting to have Phil’s ashes spread around one of the Lakes. To do this, we hiked for 9 miles to find the perfect spot (which we found!). All of his sons, his wife and his close friends scattered his ashes into the roots of the woodland trees and along the rocky lakeside coast. We all then continued our trek around the lake, before settling down for a drink at the end of the trail in a nice hotel.

Keswick The Lake District Photography

Because I was snapping away (oh, what a surprise!), me and Matt got pretty lost at one point! We had no signal and when we did nobody was picking up the phone… Honestly, I was worrying a little for a while there but we just decided to continue in that one direction. We eventually found everyone else at the hotel, thankfully. Apparently they could see us all along and me and Matt had only thought we were lost because of our completely awful eyesight, oops!

I don’t think I’ve ever ached this much before. The majority of the walk was up hill so my legs are pretty much dead, and because I had a heavy backpack on I’m still walking like the Hunchback of Notre-Dame. The pain was worth it though. The views in the Lake District are incredible. Really, they’re completely breath-taking… (even though it was a pretty dull day and the skies were a boring white sheet).

It was nice spending some time with Matt’s family too. Him and his brothers (and all the brother’s girlfriends/wives) are pretty similar ages, so we get along well as a group. The entire day was a really great combination of nature, photography, fun and purpose.

Related: My Day in Photos | Windermere

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Here are some photographs that I took throughout the day!

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It was a bloody long day but it was completely worth it to be completely immersed in nature. I absolutely love the Lake District!

Keswick The Lake District Photography

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Have you ever been to Keswick?

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills.