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 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

Putting Hull On The Map

I’m a Yorkshire girl. I was born in Hull nearly 22 years ago and I’m still here. I’m here by choice too! I finally moved out of my parent’s home almost 3 years ago when me and Matt decided to move in together. We had all sorts of plans, actually… We were primarily thinking about moving to Wales, yet we stayed in Hull because this is simply where we wanted to be.

Putting Hull On The Map

The Deep, Hull – I was lucky to catch that blue sky!

Hull used to have a terrible reputation – some of the criticism was fair, most of it was not. I think Hull is one of those places that you can really only truly love and enjoy when you live here. Passing through doesn’t give you enough time to explore, and there’s really plenty of places you can do that. You can walk through the historic old town, taking in lots of pre-Second World War original features, whilst being only a 10 minute walk from the beautiful fountain of Queens Gardens or The Deep (the world’s only submarium, a landmark centre for marine research and the voted ‘best family place to visit in Hull’). If you wanted to stray from the city centre, there are entire portions of the city renowned for their food and drink too.

Recently, Hull has began to make more of a name for itself. No, I’m not talking about Hull City, sorry! Hull won the title of UK City of Culture 2017, an award given every 4 years to a city that demonstrates the belief in the transformational power of culture. In 2017, the city will celebrate 365 days of cultural activities and, in the meantime, there’s a lot of city-wide preparation (we’re talking so many building sites!). I’m sure it’ll be worth it though.

As well as the City of Culture title, thousands of people recently participated in the world-famous artist Spencer Tunick’s “Sea of Hull” installation. Every participant stripped bare, painted every inch of their body blue and head into the streets of Hull completely starkers in the name of art. As you’d expect, it made the national news and it even trended on Twitter. The final photographs will be revealed when the Ferens Art Gallery re-opens in 2017.

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you may already know one of Hull’s residents! Young Ned Stark, who’s making fans freak out in Bran’s flashback scenes, is played by Hull-born actor Robert Aramayo. When I saw the news that Ned Stark was returning in series 6, I didn’t know whether to be more shocked that he’d return via flashbacks or that a kid I went to secondary school and college with was playing him! After moving to New York to study at the Juilliard School of Drama, known for its prestigious alumni, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of him too.

I’m so happy that Hull is finally starting to be recognised by the rest of the country, even if that recognition did start because of a bunch of naked, blue Smurfs lying in the the middle of Hull’s city centre roads.

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Have you ever been to Hull? Have you even heard of Hull?

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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.

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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.

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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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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

A Night at Ox Pasture Hall

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may already know that I spent last weekend in Scarborough with my mum. I was invited to stay at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, a luxury Scarborough hotel in Yorkshire, in exchange for a review. To make the most of our time away from home, we also made sure to explore the surrounding area as much as we could. We had two full days of exploring to do and, despite how exhausted we were on the Sunday drive home, we saw so many beautiful sights.

The first of those beautiful sights had to be the hotel itself. I was pretty stunned, to be honest. If you tried to imagine the perfect hotel in the English countryside, you’d pretty much be thinking of this place. See, this is why I love Yorkshire. The dull grey skies we were having cleared for about 10 minutes as we pulled up to Ox Pasture Hall, and then we saw this… wow.

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Scarborough Review

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Ox Pasture Hall Hotel:

Hotel and Grounds:

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is set in 17 acres of gardens and grounds, full of flowers, fountains, statues, a pond, a family of geese and views that will take your breath away. I absolutely loved it. Those views surround the entire hotel so I wasn’t ever without my fix of Yorkshire countryside. If you wanted to stay close by, there’s plenty for you to explore around the gardens. On the Sunday morning, before we packed up and left, me and my mum took a stroll in the back gardens around the pond. It was really a lovely way to start our day. If you’re looking for an adventure away from the hotel, you’re spoilt for choice really. Being in the middle of the countryside, you have both the Yorkshire Moors and Scarborough’s coastline to choose from.

Our Room:

Wow. We didn’t just get a room… we got a luxury king size suite. The suite had a living room, a very large bedroom with a ridiculously comfortable king size bed and the bathroom of champions. Seriously, that bathroom is incredible. There was a huge walk-in shower, a giant bath with waterfall taps and twin sinks (which I thought was such a nice touch). It’s definitely luxurious. We even had fluffy white dressing gowns and slippers to snuggle in on the evening.

Food:

I think the food was the highlight of the entire stay, for both me and my mum. We’re both massive foodies so being spoilt with such exceptional food was a right unforgettable treat. Before our stay, I told the staff that I’m a vegetarian and that I don’t eat cheese – awkward, right? I thought this would be a huge problem (as the menu that I took a nosey at had a lot of cheese options) but they catered to my needs completely. I was over the moon. I had the chance to try the incredible food, without being pushed aside with a quick, unloved vegetarian option. Big thumbs up.

The head chef, Craig Wanless, deserves a huge shout out and a whole lot of love. My mum pretty much fangirled at the opportunity to meet him. He’s both an exceptional chef and a lovely person. I’m so thankful that the kitchen catered to my awkward dietary requirements!

After the many courses, we were also treat to a fab little show to end the experience. A tray of goodies was brought right up to the table so we could watch the liquid nitrogen demonstration first hand. A white chocolate mouse was injected with eucalyptus and then was frozen in liquid nitrogen. We had to pop it straight in our mouths and, oh my, it was incredible.

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Exploring Yorkshire:

Anne Brontë‘s Grave, Scarborough:

When me and my mum first arrived in Scarborough, we parked near ‎St. Mary’s Churchyard with the intention to walk down the famous stairs to the bustling Scarborough front below. On the way, my mum called me over to tell me that Anne Brontë was buried here, so I went to have a little nosey. I actually felt a little disrespectful photographing a grave, so I made it short and sweet, but the Brontë’s are huge. It was kinda great to see so much history right there in front of me.

North Bay Railway, Scarborough:

The weather was starting to take a funny turn when we arrived at North Bay Railway. It started off so bloody lovely, the skies were blue and the clouds were fluffy. Then, all of a sudden the heavens opened and me and my mum were trapped under a tree with the worst storm I’ve seen in ages! I didn’t even bring a coat – typical.

This place is lovely though. It’s made up of lots of little things to make a pretty varied collection of activities for families. There’s a railway (if you didn’t already guess from the name of the place), a tree-top obstacle course, water ball walkers, a water slide, food, drinks and just around the corner is the Open Air Theatre. You get some huge names at this music venue, including Status Quo, Jessie J, Busted, Alfie Boe and Bryan Adams!

Scarborough Harbour:

After lunch, we took a walk up the harbour area of Scarborough coast for a look at the boats, the cliffs in the distance and the lighthouse. It was so windy! The view was incredible though. We had a 360-degree view of Scarborough’s coast. The coastguards were doing a range of training exercises too, so we had a little show!

There’s also a little fair ground around the harbour area with a big wheel and other small rides. The entire area is just perfect for families.

Scarborough Beach:

Ah, the beach. One of my favourite places. I can’t swim and I hate the sea, but oh my, I do love to look at it. It’s beautiful and mysterious and just so vast. From the near-by road, I could see the harbour, the fair, Scarborough castle and the long, sandy coast. The sun even made a little appearance whilst I was snapping away.

Hole of Horcum:

Me and my family often visit the Hole of Horcum and I’ve written about this little gem once before on my blog. It’s a huge natural hole in the middle of the Moors, and legend has it that a giant called Wade scooped up the land to throw at his wife in an argument. How romantic.

The Hole of Horcum is fantastic for walkers – newbies and pros alike. There’s also lots of wildlife to spot, including some rare birds! If you visit in the summer, you’ll be met with a ridiculously beautiful sight as the hole is filled with purple heather for a short while. That’s one of my favourite sights, actually. Sadly, the heather wasn’t blooming when me and my mum visited – nooo! I’ve included a photograph of the last time I visited when the heather was blooming, so you can see it for yourself.

North Yorkshire Moors:

The North Yorkshire Moors are a must-see if you’re heading to Yorkshire. They’re renowned for their beauty, but they’re also just so over-whelming. If you’re not up for a hike, even the drive through the moors is enjoyable. I’m one of those annoying passengers that always coos and goes “wow” and “oh my, have you seen that?” when I know the driver can’t really be turning their head every 3 seconds.

One thing I love about the North Yorkshire Moors is the novelty of sheep just chilling in the road. You have to drive really carefully in a lot of places as it’s common for sheep to dart into the road if spooked. It’s so cute though. We stopped the car so I could take some photographs of my new sheep friends!

We also passed through Goathland on our way home. If you’re a fan of the TV show Heartbeat, you’ll definitely recognise the place as that’s where Heartbeat is filmed. Damn, now I’ve got the Heartbeat theme-tune in my head… This small village was bustling. It was as full of memorabilia as it was natural beauty. I loved it there.

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Have you ever visited Scarborough? How about anywhere else in Yorkshire?

Thank you, again, to the wonderful staff at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel for the complimentary stay and fantastic service. It was an unforgettable night, and we’d love to return in the future!

Note: Because I took so many photographs throughout my trip, I’ve displayed them all in a gallery format. If you’re reading on a tablet or mobile device, the format may be a little messed up! I apologise. Forgive me :).

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

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If I Could Do Anything

The list of things I’d like to achieve in life is quickly growing.

I’m at that tipping point between young adult and proper adult, where my life is pretty much completely put together but also kind of not. My future isn’t solidly figured out: I still have the chance to do something amazing and unconventional or I could easily stick to my comfort zone and sail through life without unnecessary obstacles. After graduation, all of my dreams and goals in life could dwindle away into fairytales that I think of longingly in the bath with a glass of wine when I’m 30. Obviously, like everyone else, I don’t want that.

Flowers on the Beach

Honestly, I have too many dreams. Is that a thing? I know it’s pretty unrealistic for me to achieve everything I want in life, but I’d like to hope that the future doesn’t stomp on all of my life goals. That would be nice.

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So, if money, time and realism was no object, here’s what I’d like to achieve during my lifetime:

Animal Sanctuaries:

That’s plural, yep.

Initially, I’d love to open my first sanctuary for rescued farm animals – for example, those that have nowhere else to go but the slaughter house, unwanted pet pigs from owners who thought they were teacup sized, skeletal horses left tied up at the roadside and featherless, abused caged hens. I’d happily spend my time and money looking after all of them myself, but running it as a charity with volunteers and staff would be ideal.

A sanctuary for stray cats and dogs is also something I’d love to set up in the future. I can’t stand the thought of those precious little angels out in the cold and rain. Somewhere safe, somewhere warm and a little food to eat is all they need, and I’d love to provide that!

Professional Photographer:

My ultimate career goal right here… Photography is such a huge passion of mine, as you probably already know, but I can’t ever see me having the time in the future to seriously pursue it. At this point in life, I don’t even care about the money. The entire process is something that makes me swell with happiness. I just love it.

If I could choose, though, candid wedding/pet/on-location event photography would be something I’d love to do. I feel as if that would leave me time to enjoy nature and landscape photography as much as I do nowadays anyway, providing prints of my work to those who enjoy it.

My heart is melting. That’s the dream.

Etsy Boss:

This is something I’ve been contemplating for a couple of years now. I’m sure I’ll get around it eventually. I like to think it’s a win-win situation – I’ll always be a crafty and creative person, and I’ll always be creating new things so why not see if someone else out there wants one?

I’m determined, passionate, creative and organised – I’d like to think I have all of the skills needed to provide cute goods for others. Honestly, this seems like one of the more achievable dreams if I put my heart into it.

Travel the World:

“If I could do anything…”, well, how about not having a fear of flying? That would be something incredible to overcome. If I wasn’t scared, money wasn’t something I had to worry about and I didn’t have responsibilities back in the real word, travelling the world would be something I’d love to do before I die. It’s on almost everyone’s bucket list, and I’m really not surprised.

Thinking about it, we’re pretty cut off from all the different cultures, food, people and scenery that’s scattered all over the world. If you can’t travel (and there’s many reasons people can’t), then you’ll never ever get to experience those things. Having the chance to see it all with your own eyes and touch everything new with your own fingers seems pretty fantastic to me.

Related: If I Wasn’t Scared of Travelling…

Move to Italy:

Again, if money was no object and I had no responsibilities or fears or worries, then Italy is where I’d be right now.

This is a disappointing dream because it’s something so magical to me, but almost completely impossible. You couldn’t pay me enough to get on a plane right now, so technically I can’t get there – I don’t see this changing any time soon either. Uprooting the cats makes me feel terrible too. Would they like the climate? Would they be okay during travelling and quarantine? Ah, I can’t even imagine it. Home, family and familiar places are my comfort blankets. It’d be tough to have them taken away.

It’s a shame that those things would get in the way, because living in Italy – preferably near Lake Garda – would be spectacular. It seems like the perfect combination of the historical and cultural background, romance, relaxation, sun (but not too much) and people. Beautiful!

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Of course, there are many more things in life that I’d love to take part in during my lifetime if I had no restrictions, but these are the ones I dream about the most!

If you could do anything, absolutely anything, what would it be?

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

My Day in Photos | East Park

I grew up right next to a park. How lucky is that? I always had somewhere to play and hide. I always had somewhere to escape to. Growing up next to a park practically shaped my entire personality.

When I moved away from home, I didn’t actually move too far. I’m around 30 minutes down the road from my parent’s house and the park, so it’s pretty nice and easy to get there. East Park is just the best park. It’s not too busy to be crowded but not too empty to make me anxious. It’s clean and well looked after. It’s full of wildlife. Most importantly, it was my back garden growing up. It’s still the perfect place to escape to.

When I don’t have the time or the funds to go further afield (train prices are insane!), I’ll head there to walk among the trees, feed the ducks and probably stare enviously at the swings because damn… taking up a swing when you’re 21 isn’t socially acceptable.

For someone with such a deep-rooted passion for nature and the outdoors, living in the city is a bit like living in a bird cage. You can’t stretch your wings. That’s why the park is so great – it’s like a middle ground between the city and the countryside.

A couple of weeks ago, me and Matt went on a little adventure to see the animals in the park. Turns out, they closed pretty early that day… bummer. Instead, we went for a walk around the lake and I whacked my camera out, as usual, to capture the day.

Enjoy!

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Related: My Day in Photos | Beverley Minster

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I think East Park is one of the loveliest places in Hull!

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You can read my previous post here.

-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills.