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

Matt Asks Me Weird Things

You know what’s a really incredible thing? Loving and living with your absolute best friend in the world.

After 5 and a half years – or, almost 2000 days (I don’t know why I Googled that) – being asked weird questions by my better half, Matthew, has become the norm. We have the strangest conversations, like everyone else, but Matt in particular comes up with the most ridiculous things. Tonight, I was thinking about this one particular memory, and I suddenly remembered that I noted down a few of the weird questions he asked me, just for, I don’t know, future notice, I guess.  We went on a summer hike in the middle of nowhere, and periodically throughout the walk, he’d turn to me and ask a question. As if the beautiful walk, rolling hills, and blazing sunshine wasn’t enough, this made for a super special memory.

For all you lucky people that do live with your best friend, especially if that best friend of yours is a massive, random weirdo, you’re probably gonna relate with me a little here! If not, admire a few of the weird and wonderful things that Matthew thought to ask me throughout the duration of one hour.

Green Landscape Trees

If you had a horse, what would you name him?

Frasier, Dougie, Ezekiel, Felix. I think I love Ezekiel the most, but I can imagine my fictional, beautiful, shiny stallion with all of the above names.

What mythical animal would you most love to find in the wild?

To clarify, he also meant “to find and have as a per”. This was easy for me. I’d want to find a domesticated unicorn or Pegasus or Rapidash (do Pokémon count?). As you probably already guessed, I’m pretty obsessed with horses – but, alas, I do not own a horse. I did also consider a Phoenix because 1) it’s beautiful, 2) you won’t be sad when it dies, because it will come back to life 3) they have the ability to heal with their tears.

Would you chop off your own arm if you could replace it with a mechanical one?

Basically, no. We debated this one for a while because, yes, the mechanical arm has countless advantages but I can’t imagine any of those advantages outweighing the unimaginable pain of having to cut your own arm off. I also like the idea of, at least for now, being completely human. If you were offering a deal more like “would you chop of your pinkie to become a bionic human, or human 2.0, with massively improved cognitive functions?” then I might say yes.

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What do you think?

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The Wall Street Crash

My lovely friend Kat, who’s a qualified makeup artist and is studying a degree in the subject, recently asked me if I’d be the model for a 1920’s makeup competition that she was taking part in. Now, if you don’t already know, I’m ridiculously uncomfortable in front of the camera. I can tolerate the odd “Matthew, take a photograph of me in front of this beautiful landmark” type thing, because I know it’s my camera and I could always delete it anyway. Again, when I’m feeling pretty fly (hands up if you just mumbled “for a white guy”), I’ll take a cheeky selfie. But, the idea of putting that power into the hands of a professional, meaning I’d be unable to double check and delete any images that made me look bad, gave me the jitters. She’s my friend, though, and I was absolutely over the moon to help her out. Either way, I got to dress up as a rich 1920’s lady of leisure and that was pretty exciting.

For me, a full face of makeup is made up of my trusty mascara, winged eyeliner, translucent power on my nose and a bit of red lippy. Being put into the hands of a makeup artist, who literally has a suitcase full of makeup with her, was pretty daunting. I was met with primer, foundation, a ridiculous number of different eye shadows, false lashes and lots of other things that I don’t even know the name of. Honestly, it felt weird but I definitely wouldn’t look too out of place during the 1920’s.

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The brief was “Wall Street Crash”. Kat’s plan was to do a full face of 1920’s inspired make-up, before sitting me down alongside lots of other models, as all of the makeup artists performed their special effects magic. I was expecting a pretty tense atmosphere but I actually had a really good time – Kat covered me in fake blood, cuts and bruises, whilst I just sat there and watched the world go by. There was such a range of different looks going on in the competition room. Some makeup artists went for realism, like Kat, and some took it to the other (far) end of the spectrum with stilettos in eyeballs or shards of glass sticking out of the model’s skin.

Kat’s overall look was incredible. It showed how I was trampled during the people’s rush to the banks, hence the huge bruising to one side of my face. It looks bloody painful, right!?

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Ouch…

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Didn’t she do such a good job!? If you want to have a look at her makeup artist Facebook page, you can click here! She posts all of her makeup work – from beauty makeup to special effects – on this page, so it’s definitely worth a like.

What do you think of the final look?

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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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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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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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