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.

Butlins Minehead

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 #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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20160907_165854img_20160716_150917img_20160716_17293120160416_141758robinimg_916620160814_214304314163908_10208985609249982_1958375167_o20160902_170348img_9006img_229520160214_155257img_2419img_2441Sewerby Bridlington Cliffs Photographyimg_092520160830_15024920160830_15023420160928_20083120161021_11422920160730_13461220160912_18474120160619_12110620160619_12115620160718_14313220160611_095157Hull Fair 2016 PhotographyHull Fair 2016 Photographyimg_20160124_210619

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

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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

4 Subscription Boxes I’d Love To Try

I have this weird fascination with subscription boxes, yet I’ve never actually ordered one! They’re always so full of wonderful things. I don’t often find the time to buy myself little gifts so having somebody else send you a selection of goodies in the post each month is just so appealing.

When I do decide to take the plunge and fork out a bit of money each month, here are the 5 subscription boxes that are just calling for me to own them:


Bloom and Wild:

Bloom and Wild Subscription Box

Having fresh flowers dotted around the home is one of my favourite things. These ‘letterbox flowers’ are carefully delivered in the post each month for around £15 a month (depending on the subscription you choose). There is also an option to send these as a one-off, which would be a perfect gift idea!

OwlCrate:

OwlCrate Subscription Box

Each month, the lovely folks at OwlCrate round up a themed bunch of goodies and pack them into a box fit for a queen bookworm. This was the first subscription box that I ever happened upon – in fact, I found this company back on Instagram a while ago, when they were a tiny little thing, packing boxes in their living room. Filled to the brim with bookish goodies, these subscription boxes are £25 per month.

Loot Crate:

LootCrate Subscription Box

Loot Crate is the ultimate geeky subscription box. Every month has a different theme with some past crates being ‘invasion’, ‘dead’, ‘futuristic’ and ‘dystopia’. It’s pretty hard to describe the contents of these subscription boxes as they vary so much month to month – generally, they include a Pop Funko and a geeky t-shirt! On a monthly contract, you can get these geeky boxes from £21 a month!

CatLadyBox:

CatLadyBox Subscription Box

I am a massive cat lady so, no surprise, this is my dream subscription box! Anything kitty related is just my best friend. The box is full of goodies for you and your furry friend, including items of clothing, jewellery, home-ware or treats for your cats, all for £32 a month.

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Are you subscribed to any boxes? Which one’s would you like to try?

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You can read my previous post here.

 

How I’m Improving My Sleep Hygiene

Me and sleep aren’t friends. We haven’t had the best relationship for around 6 years now but, as I’m getting older, I’m becoming less and less able to bounce out of bed in a morning on 3 (or sadly, sometimes way less) hours sleep. To try and improve this, me and Matt have been making a real effort to manage our sleep hygiene – and no, that’s not whether or not you’ve had a bath before bed! Your sleep hygiene is the habits and patterns you practice nightly, that are helpful towards improving your night’s sleep.

Improving Sleep Hygiene

I’m grouchy in the mornings (you probably already guessed that I’m definitely not a morning person!) but, when I’ve had no sleep, I’m a completely different person. Working on improving my sleep hygiene has been absolutely vital to my sanity, my relationships with everyone around me and my health – you’d be surprised what insomnia can do to your skin and hair!

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So, how am I trying to improve my own sleep hygiene? Here are my five tried and tested tips for a good night’s sleep:

Make your bedroom an irresistible sleepy kingdom: Black out curtains, shut your bedroom door, fresh bedding, your favourite ‘bedtime’ scent – think lavender mist or, my favourite, Lush’s fairy dust. These are all going to help make your bed seem inviting, even on the worst nights when you just know you’re not going to get any sleep.

Maintain a regular bed time: Try and trick your body’s “internal clock” into thinking that you have your shit together. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day (including weekends!) is going to really help create a consistent sleep schedule.

Don’t eat too late: However tempting it may be to cook yourself some chips at midnight, they aren’t going to settle in time for you to comfortably go to sleep.

Associate your bed with sleeping (and sex): I used to read in bed, watch films in bed and just chill out in bed on my phone. I got used to being cosy, without the prospect of sleep. Avoiding all of the above has helped associate the act of getting into bed with going to sleep.

Avoid naps or nap early: I confess, I’m a napper. For the worst part of a year, the only sleep I had was during a nap in the afternoon! After that, I kind of got into the habit of napping… They’re definitely a bad idea if you’re trying to start up a sleeping pattern!

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These tips have massively helped me improve my own sleeping pattern, so if you’re having difficulties of your own, I do hope they help you out!

Do you have any other tips?

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You can read my previous post here.

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills