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15 !

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July 1, 5:57 am.

I roll over, body pressed between blanket and doona. The darkness is crowded – confused, I lift my head, and 23 girls start singing – happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you …

The room is crammed with people, hanging off beds and squished into corners, bed-hair and dressing gowns and giggling to fill the gaps in the song. Paige and Em crawl into my top-bunk afterwards, stroking my hair and tucking themselves in beside me. They press letters into my hand and kisses to my cheek.

6:27 am.

Emerge for breakfast, sweat-shirt and too-long pyjama pants. I keep tripping over. Socks and thongs, two-day old plait. Happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday. I smile into sultanas and yoghurt and fumble over cards and envelopes.

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8:04 am. 

Bags packed, floors swept, walls wiped. Em mops the hallway; I trail behind her, scooting back and forth on a towel. We hang out of a window in a room crammed with luggage, feet cold on the windowsill, disposable camera pressed to my face. 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. I run out of photos and can’t pick a moment perfect enough to use my last one on.

Pink sunrise this morning. Sky coated in fairy-floss. We sign our names in the ice on the windows. Water drips from our words.

8:52 am. 

Sitting on the edges of chairs, like we’re ready to take off. The morning drags on, deadline looming, hours to fill but my fingers are cold and this doesn’t feel like home right now.


9:33 am.

Colours and sound flicker on the screen. Ten weeks doesn’t feel long when you’re at the end, and all that’s left is enough photos and videos to fill several memory sticks and an SD card. I cry into Em’s shoulder – hiccuping, gasping, ugly crying. They throw open the doors while I’m wiping at my mascara, and I give up.

My family’s here. I feel out of place.

11:49 am.

I’ve been folded in the arms of every person I’ve ever loved here. People wave from car windows with arms still damp from my tears.

This home is empty. It echoes. I’m the very last person, wandering through the shed, checking for lost luggage. Will’s left his bag – I grab it and dial his number. Straight to voicemail.

But it’s not my home, now. It’s a building I love, but the people are gone and the rooms are empty and my car door is open, waiting.


Today, I turned 15, and I finished my first and only term of boarding school.

15. It tastes weird on my tongue. I’m still figuring out if I can swear around my parents yet. Sometimes I glance over the kids menu and forget. When I’m asked how old I am I pause for a second too long.


4:21 pm.

I sit outside, toes cold, balancing on rocks, phone pressed to my ear. Talking with an old friend, haven’t spoken in months, can’t quite picture her face. She feels lost with her new friends and we make plans for Monday (they fell through). My phone goes flat but I don’t move, staring across the road. Cars flash past, the sky is a pale, dusty blue.

I hear a door bang behind me, and like it’s a signal I stand and leave.

6:49 pm.

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Tonight the whole world feels bright. I film myself twirling under street-lamps and play absent-mindedly with a silver necklace (a birthday gift – I didn’t like it much at first, but now I adore it). Fairy-lights glitter in the city, mid-winter festival. We eat thai-food and I tell every story I can think of, even the ones I shouldn’t. The more I talk, the closer it feels.

7:23 pm.

Peanut sauce and rice, notifications bright on my screen. I film blurry close ups of my menu. Long black dress, dirty black converse. Unbrushed hair, makeup smudged from crying all morning. A thin plait hangs loosely near my ear.



8:03 pm.

I screenshot instagram stories that are all movie credits and discarded jeans. It won’t make sense in the morning, but right now it feels like everything. We forget to stop for ice-cream on the way home and I slip a t-shirt over my dress.

I know I’ll forget the details in years to come. I’ll remember the food and the tears and the car-ride, but I won’t remember the conversation or the waitress with the pink hair or the name appearing on my screen that made me smile.


11:36 pm. 

I’m sitting at a tiny, plastic table in a caravan, typing this. There’s a small TV playing re-runs of Two and a Half Men, and my sister’s asleep on the couch. I’m about to run out of data and I’ve eaten too much bread.

I’ve grown to hate birthdays. It always ends up like this, somehow. A few minutes left, and I feel the same. I feel odd. Out of place. 2017 has been weird. Like a flickering, silent movie, cut up and sewn together in the wrong places. I see bright colours and odd strains of 2009 music. I’m still finding sand in my clothes and it’s mid-winter.

Thanks for sticking with me. Nearly five weeks ago, I stood thigh-deep in a foaming sea, and I thought of you. Maybe this place – Seafoam, my home, my little corner – isn’t much, but it’s everything to me.

Here’s to 15. Here’s to unanswered questions and dirty t-shirts and sweet smelling hills. Here’s to home, and everything it is and isn’t. Here’s to saltwater and star-gazing and overflowing passion, to words scraping at throats and thoughts lost between laughter. Here’s to everything left unsaid, unheard and undiscovered, and everything to come.


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Here’s to July 1. Here’s to now.

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Illustrated by the lovely Isobel ]

Insta Babes

I fall in and out of love with social media daily. The bombardment of lives leaves me overflowing with jealousy, fear and anxiety. And yet, the authenticity, rawness and beauty to be found re-inspires my passion for humans and the world.

It’s a constant battle, unfollowing toxic accounts and trying to focus on those I adore for their words and art, not their bodies/faces/lives. When I feel like I’m drowning, these are the people I turn to to remind myself, no matter what, vulnerability on social media still exists.

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She feels like a cold day in Paris, mixed in with crowded beaches and picnic mats. Pink glow and flashing disposables, glasses slipping down noses and hair tucked into t-shirts. Clouds melt in the background, bathtubs overflow.





Vibe: your quintessential 70s aussie group of friends. Trippy collages, mustard tees, over-exposed. I am so incredibly in love with this account.





Currently, my favourite photographer in the world. Over-exposed, grainy, peachy and blurry. She is youth, in all its candour. Bruised knees, crooked teeth, dinner, shadows, hoodies, wind, grass, sand, fog, heels, velvet. Captured in film, makes you feel all kinds of everything.





Jessica. Of all these accounts, she has perhaps the smallest following, but one of the strongest presences. I find her incredible in her depiction of the female body and her focus on poc, and her photography – particularly in film – is exquisite. I highly reccomend you also check out her recent photo-essay, documenting her return to her mothers homeland.





Emma Mercury. The girl herself. You most probably know her already, and I don’t know where to begin. Vegas-grown girl, currently couch-surfing in europe and creating an ad-less magazine focused on self-love, growth and acceptance. Authenticity in a human form.





The beautiful girl herself – founder of @girlpowermeetups. Follow for plentiful snaps of galleries, selfies that should be considered art, and plenty of female/poc empowerment and activism inspo.





Capturing the people she loves in vivid, alien forms. High colour, gloss, light and sparkles. She feels effervescent and entirely out of this world (plus, anyone named abby’s bound to be cool, right?)





@arthoecollective curator. her recent post is a grainy photo of herself, captioned ‘I honesty wish I could’ve been one of matisse’s muses for his sketches’. I’m in love – I guarentee you will be too.





BABY CYB. Face of an angel, style of a queen. Literal girl of my dreams. Whether she’s drinking wine in a Parisian AirBnB, dancing around her Brooklyn appartment, or writing about sweatshirts and over-sized coffees, you’ll always find a new source of inspiration in her.





I feel so attached to this girl – been following her for years now, and have watched her grow from a girl dancing around rooftops and carparks in thrifted jeans, to a woman commanding a huge social media audience, making weekly videos and shooting with all types of photographers. She was my first ever interview for Seafoam (read it here), and I’m so grateful to have known her.





QUEEN OF SELF-LOVE. I like my mind more than my face is the message emblazoned across her social media, and you can find her dancing around New York and making videos about everything from high-schoolers style to big-sisterly advice.





There are no words for the love I have for this girl. She is, forever, my style and icon, and constant source of inspiration – no other human makes me want to sit down and construct a dress from sequins with only two pairs of pliers.





Groovy kiwi-girl – Tamara Hitchens. Makes videos instead of journalling, captures everyday moments in a way that makes you nostalgic. She’ll make you fall in love with Weetbix – honestly.







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Salt: Acyd Puffs X Seafoam


The Acyd Puffs girl takes absolutely no shit. She pairs pearls with tattered $5 t-shirts and killer heels that could stomp the lights from your eyes. You’ll see her at festivals and grocery stores dressed exactly the same, and both times you’ll glance back as she passes. She’s loud. She takes up space. She over-dresses for your coffee date and turns up to parties in cotton pyjama bottoms. She’ll sneak out to surf beneath the full moon and you won’t be able to wake her up until 2pm the next day. She’s over-confident, over-passionate, over-excited. She frustrates you constantly, crushes expectations and questions every rule. She wipes out, hops fences, skins her knees, and leaves her shoes behind.

She’ll enter your life with fluffy blue earrings dangling near her collarbone, challenge every thought you’ve ever had and double your wardrobe in the space of 3 weeks with a $40 budget. She’ll piss you off and make you laugh until your stomach aches.

She’s an Acyd Puffs girl.

Photos and video shot by me. Featuring Janae and Bri.
Shop Acyd Puffs full range of colours here.

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she's an acyd puffs girl

Home: Tere and Matenia

Home. In essence, an abstract idea. But how can you define it? Is it a permanent fixture in your life or something ever changing? Can it be more than a person or place?



matenia home quote

An 18 year old from New York City. Her bubbly, loving, eager personality flows through in everything from long emails to messy texts, and she’s not afraid to talk deep and personal. She’s inspired by music, captures stunning character through photography, and generally blogs + makes videos. And, she has so much to say about home.

Photos: Emma Mercury


Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m 18, and I moved to New York City for school in September. I’ve done freelance photography for 2 and a half years and I’ve been writing since I was 14. I like yoga, surfing, blogging, the ocean, the city and my friends; they’re the most important people in my life, and they keep me sane and happy as hell!

So you moved to New York very recently then! How have you been settling in?

I was born in NY and I have family around there, so I was pretty comfortable. Moving was one of the most beneficial things I’ve ever done for myself.

Why do you think that was?

I had to get away from something that was comfortable. The only way I feel like I’m really growing is by being a little bit uncomfortable at first. Moving to New York was always a dream, but it was also terrifying. The move has allowed me to put myself out there so much more, stay inspired, and not care as much about what people think about

I think that’s so true, the only we can grow is by being uncomfortable, being thrust somewhere new, somewhere we have to adapt. It’s such an interesting contrast to the idea of home, because most people would define home by where you are comfortable – and by that reasoning, home is somewhere you can’t really grow.

Exactly! Except my definition of home is less of a place and more of a feeling. When I’m inspired and surrounded by incredible people I feel most at home.

Does a place ever feel like home to you, or is it just somewhere to be and explore and live?

The latter, exactly! Physical places don’t make a home, in my opinion. It’s about how you feel and who you have by your side.

So – if you find the right people, if you’re feeling inspired by where you are – you can feel at home anywhere in the world?

Yeah, that’s 100% how I feel.

Tell me a bit about your childhood, about where you grew up.

I was born in New York, lived in Connecticut, moved to Greece (my background) for two years, then back to Connecticut until I was 4, then down to Florida until I was 18. Florida is beautiful and the weather is incredible. Growing up I spent a lot of time at the beach and outside and exploring. I’ve made so many of the best friends down here, but it’s pretty calm. It’s a great place to relax, but I’m far more inspired when I’m surrounded by people and lots of things happening around me.


Wow, that’s quite a childhood. Do you think that’s one of the reasons your home is more of a feeling then a place? Having lived in so many places as you were growing up, you sort of found your own home in each of them instead?

Yeah! Also I wasn’t super close with my mom and dad until recently (now my mom and I are besties lol) but I didn’t like being at my “physical” home that much, so I stopped placing home in a place and put it more in a feeling.

You weren’t close with your parents?

My mum worked all the time when I was little so I didn’t see her very much, and then in High School I was in trouble all the time the first two years, so I didn’t really talk to either of them haha.

If you close your eyes and think ‘home’, what’s the first image that comes to mind?

A rooftop with friends, sitting on blankets, listening to music, laughing.

You talked about Florida and how much you loved it, but that you felt more at-home when you were surrounded by people and lots of things happening. So, does the physical world around you play any part in this?

In order for me to feel at home, I like to feel inspired because it gives me purpose, I guess. So the physical world around me does have a part in it, it’s just not a specific place.


Have you always felt at home through out your life?

No definitely not! There were certain times when I didn’t think I had a place in this world.

When and how did that change?

Probably when I was 16. It took me discovering my passions and making real friendships for that to change.

Did moving to New York help?


Do you think it [home] is something people are always searching for?

I think so. It’s human desire to desire a place that fits you.

Advice for those searching for their ‘home’ …

You will find it eventually no matter how long the process is. Stay true to what makes you happy and pursue that.



tere home quote

An 18 year old hailing from Barcelona, Spain. She’s the youngest of 5 children, reads Jane Austen, has the most gorgeous accent, and I can only describe her as an eclectic mix of Freya Haley, Emma Mercury, and this other-worldy vibe entirely her own. She makes videos, blogs, and generally shares art with the world. + she has a few thoughts on what home is to her.

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Tell me a bit about yourself.

I’m Tere, an 18 year old girl from Barcelona who loves film making, fashion, photography, painting, writing… And likes to pretend she is in a Quentin Tarantino movie. I’ve always wanted to be a musician, but sadly I’m not very skilled in that department. I believe in another life I was a hippie in Woodstock.

You’re from Barcelona, Spain. Do you still live there?

Yes I do. I lived in Dublin for two years, but I was born and raised in Barcelona and I still live here.

What has your experience living in Barcelona been like? Especially considering you can compare it to living someplace else (Dublin).

Spain is more relaxed. People are more friendly, and they do things more relaxed. In Dublin people do things the way they are supposed to. If they have to get to work at 9, they will be there at 9. In Spain, people usually tend to change their schedule a little bit.

And Barcelona is not always warm, but it’s usually sunny, so I think that changes the mood of people – I think people in Barcelona are more easy going. But in Dublin, it’s usually gloomy and rainy, and you usually have to stay at home more.


Do you think people find themselves becoming more similar to where they are living, or they’re attracted to these places based upon their personal qualities already?

I think that people are attracted to different places depending on what they like or their personal style. For example, I prefer going to the city rather than a typical island. And that’s probably because I know I will get tired of the island. I need a place where I can do different things everyday. Explore different things. Not being at the beach 24/7 working on a tan that’s going to fade.

Yeah, I totally get that. Your environment has to represent your personality so you can grow. Do you think your definition of home will always depend a bit on your personality?

I guess it does. I only feel at home if I’m comfortable in that place. It doesn’t have to be a country or city, it can be a room or a person. I feel like I have more than one home.

So home is closely linked with comfort?

Yeah, it is.

You mentioned you have two brothers and two sisters, and you’re the youngest. As a result, do you think you find yourself craving space alone, or space with others?

Craving space alone. I’m used to playing alone when I was a kid. Spending summers alone at home also. I grew up playing by myself or at a friends house. My siblings were teenagers when I was a kid. So they didn’t really play with me. And even though we don’t really talk that much we have a good relationship.


So is who you are, and where you feel comfortable and at home, directly influenced by your childhood?

In some aspects, yes, I’ve grown up very independent, but my idea of future has changed a lot growing up. When I was in my early teens I wanted to get a job and settle down. But now in my late teens I just want to travel, to discover lots of new places and see what lives has prepared for me.

Yeah, most people around this age tend to be in that mindset. 

Yeah, I think so. When I was in school I was always daydreaming about roadtrips and places I would go. I still do. It’s kind of difficult since I don’t have a lot of money, but I still manage to travel a lot.

When I say Spain or Barcelona, what’s the first thing you see in your mind? What’s the first thing you think?


What are some of the memories you associate with your home?

My favorite memories of my childhood house are always me in my garden. I used to spend hours there, even if it was freezing or boiling hot. I don’t really have a lot of happy family moments to be honest, but I love every single trip I’ve made with my mum. One in particular is when we went to Sorrento (Italy) together. It was like a runaway trip, we both needed to disconnect from the real world and we went to a little vila in Sorrento, and till today that was one of the best places I’ve ever stayed in.


How would you define home?

As cliche as it sounds, where the heart is. Where I feel comforted and relaxed.

Going back to talking about travelling, do you think ‘home’ will always be a place you can come back to, or is it somewhere you’re still searching for?

No matter if I’m staying in a hotel or at a friends house, home for me will always be Barcelona.

May/June Edit

two in one – australian films, online art, interviews, mandarins, ridiculous earrings, sweatshirts, sunrises, and plenty of music.

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I spent the last ten weeks, hours from home, up the coast with 45 strangers.

Well – not strangers anymore. Some of them are now my closest friends in the entire world. I can’t even begin to describe the adventures of the last two-and-a-half months – there’s stacks of photos and memories to sort through, but every emotion feels overly vivid right now.

In five days, I turn 15. And in five days, I go home. It feels like the end and beginning of the world, and I have no idea how to cope without these people, without this environment, with the beginning of a new year for me. Every day brings something new here. I don’t want that to fade away.

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Seafoam hit several milestones this month – 375 followers, 15 000 views, 5000 visitors. Thank you, a thousand times. You’re all everything that continues to push me further, and dream bigger.

From here on in, Seafoam is focusing on art and interactivity. We’re expanding across more platforms, and introducing a new series to the blog. (While I’ve got you, don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list; be the first to hear about announcements, opportunities, and new and exclusive content). On top of that, The Restless Times is growing rapidly, and the moment I return home there’s a stack of exciting announcements to make. All I can say is stay tuned, and check our instagram (@therestlesstimes) regularly for more.

I know this has all been very vague – but keep an eye out for the next few posts. It’s time to get a bit deeper, a bit more honest; I’ve been searching for vulnerability everywhere – now I’m looking for it in myself.



Robin Williams Remembered. Self-explanatory, really. I cry every. single. time.

Black Balloon. A 2008 Australian film that’s quickly risen to one of my favourites. The movie follows Thomas – your average, australian teenage boy – as he attempts to fit in at a new school, thwarted constantly by his autistic brother Charlie. Love, in every real, raw facet, is explored constantly through this movie. And you can never, ever tire of looking at Gemma Ward’s face.

Grease. Flashback to my seventh Christmas, when my little sister and I were given this by Santa. We spent all winter watching it over and over again, probably much to the displeasure of our parents. I only just watched it again – laughing hard at all the jokes I missed when I was little, and singing along to every single song. Still a favourite.

Tomorrow when the war began. Saturdays were the only free days I’ve had for the last couple of months, and I’ve spent most of them cuddled up with friends watching old, sometimes shitty movies. This is no exception.

Marie AntoinetteThis movie feels like a hazy sunday afternoon. Look at the cake. The rooms. The light. The dresses. The hair. The sick lavishness, at complete odds with the cuts to 18th century France starving and rebelling. Watch this movie, if just for the cinematography.

Claire Michelle. She feels so incredibly genuine and emotional and real that I ended up crying about 40 minutes into the first one. She honestly makes you believe she’s been sent to this planet to spread the most amazing, beautiful energy. Sounds crazy. Watch this and you’ll understand.

Motion. Expresses the whole world, in incredible colour, vibrance and sound. Makes me feel so inspired and happy and colourful and grateful and alive.

 IMG_1134@tiahenricks – Aussie dream girl.

@abbyb3rg3r – Girls captured in vivid, dreamy light, glossy makeup and candid moments. See life through the eyes of this 17 year old.

@thenudeblogger – A go-to for self-confidence and self-love.  Beautiful landscape and the naked form – does it get better? PS – something very special is coming soon featuring this girl … stay tuned.

@sadgirlsclubpbg – “We’re here to create a community within the world of depression & ignite conversations regarding mental health amongst girls/women worldwide.” With a focus on poc and a straight-forward attitude, this organisation cuts through the white noise of most mainstream media about mental illness.

@officialreefmag – A favourite blog of mine, in instagram form. Plenty of coffee and film, what more can you want?


The Restless TimesEvery day, I fall more deeply in love with the girls I work with on this newspaper. If you haven’t heard of The Restless Times yet, get ready to plunge yourself into a world of fiery ideas, dreamy words, and an honest vibe. Issue 5 is about to be released – check it out, read a couple of back issues, and get excited.

Seafoam MagWeirdly, this has nothing to do with MY blog. I googled ‘seafoam’ to see what came up, and discovered this: an online arts magazine just begging for me to fall in love with. I’m proud to share a name with such an incredible collection of inspiration.

Womankind. It’s been a while since I’d come across a new in-print magazine to fall in love with, so when a friend introduced me to this, I was understandably overly-excited. Think Yen, think Frankie, think Messy Heads.

Inheritance Cycle. A masterful craft of fantasy, these books enthralled me for a solid month (and this was my third or fourth re-read). Highly recommend.

Lorde interviews. My desperation for a new album has seeped into my entire life – now, I hunt down interviews with a slightly insane determination. She is incredible. I am in love.

The Happiest Refugee. In truth, I’ve only just begun, but I’ve heard this is an incredible auto-biography of Ahn Do, and it’s been recommended to me by nearly all of my friends.

Ketchup Clouds. This has been one of my favourite books for years, and I recently came across a hard-cover version in a second hand store. It’s a compilation of letters a girl has written to a death-row criminal, confessing her own crime, and the events leading up to it. The author skillfully conceals the true ending right until the final chapters, and you’ll be tearing through the pages until the end.


Porridge. I had my first taste of porridge a month ago, and proceeded to eat it every morning for the following month. I’m a little sick of it now, I have to say, but it’s still a go-to for a hot, quick, filling breakfast. (Favourite toppings include tinned apricots, crushed weetbix, jam, honey and cinnamon).

Passionfruit slice. Oh, heaven. Sweet, crunchy, rich heaven.

Sweet-chilli dip. Take one part sweet chilli sauce, one part sour ceam, one part cream cheese, and mix. Spread liberally on any sort of cracker, bread, or carbohydrate.

Baked potatoes + sides. The easiest lunch you’ll every fall in love with – bake a potato (optional – stuff cheese in the center and let melt), cut open on your plate, and fill with sour cream, garlic butter, bacon, cheese, corn … you get the idea.

Nacho tacos. Forget stuffing tacos sideways in your mouth – slam your hand down, crush your shells, and spoon your fillings on top. It’s nacho taco day.

Mandarins. Over the last couple of weeks, you’d find me in bed with Paige and Corina, mandarin skins in a small pile on the floor next to us. I’ve been throwing them in bags whenever I go out, too. Easy go-to snack and late-night feast.


Acyd puffs earrings. Fluffy earrings for restless souls. Shop them here.

Soy sauce earrings. My cousin has a very large bedroom, and in her room she has a very large rug, and that rug is covered in beads, toys, plastic, wire, winecaps, chain, and everything you can imagine that she could attach to an earring. She recently gifted me a pair of soy-sauce earrings (with the soy-sauce still intact) and I barely take them off.

Sloth-patterned pyjamas. Brighten your mornings.

Sweatshirts. The mornings are cold now, but not quite cold enough to rug up. I reach for a sweatshirt and pair of fluffy earrings, rubbing sukin moisturiser into my face and delaying breakfast. My favourite was $4 from a thrift shop – for thrifting tips, click here.

Explorer socks. In this case, sleeping is my form of exploring.

Bralettes. I don’t think I’ve touched a real bra in a solid four weeks. I live for these – lace and string and halter necks, combined into the perfect, can’t-feel-a-thing feeling. Over the weekend, my friends got their hands on the same bralette, and now we all match. Feels pretty special, I have to say.

Boyfriend jumpers. There is something about a boy’s jumper – whether it’s brand new from the store, or you stole it from your best friend’s room – that is so much more comforting and warm. So, I have resolved to shop for my winter knitwear in the mens section, and I’ve hereby dubbed the term boyfriend jumpers – if that wasn’t a thing before.


Hidden Brain, ep. 68A comprehensive overview of the impact social media has on our lives. Some parts rang so true I sat up straight, eyes wide, listening as my own disconnected thoughts were explained in scientific terms. Eye opening.

Ed Sheeran, Divide. I missed out on tickets, but my friends and I have pledged to hold our own concert on his melbourne tour dates next year, complete with loud music, pizza, wooden-spoon-microphones and dancing. Regardless, every time you walk into a room where I’ve been living, someone’s been playing this album through crappy laptop speakers.

Flame Trees, Sarah Blasko. This song deserves an entry all by itself. I can’t can’t can’t stop listening to it, and it feels like it’s seeping into everything I think about and create.

Instrumental music. Evermore, Dave Eggar, Debussy. Writing, studying, video-editing. Even some white-noise rain sounds have found their way into my earphones. I connect sound to thought very closely, so when I need quiet or relaxtion, these are helpful.

Jose Gonzalez. I have fallen in love with every single song he has ever created.



Yoga. I taught my first yoga class to a few friends this past month, and it’s re-ignited my love for it. Spending half an hour stretching and breathing to a ‘yoga’ spotify playlist is the perfect regenerating exercise in the morning.

Sunrises. For the last ten weeks I’ve had to wake up at 6:30 to not miss communal breakfast. The benefit – I see a sunrise nearly every morning, and it’s spectacular, spread out across paddocks where the mist rolls in. Watching the sun touch the world every morning is indescribable. Highly reccomend.

Sukin. Forever my favourite skincare brand. I looked around a couple of days ago and realised everything I lather, spray, or somehow apply to my skin is by sukinWouldn’t have it any other way – all-natural, all-organic goodness.

Tea-tree and Lemongrass oil. I have these two tiny bottles sitting on my desk, and every time I see them I unscrew the lids and inhale the smell. It’s like water cutting through my head – leaves everything feeling clear and fresh.

PixlrFor those without access to (the infinitely more expensive) photoshop, check out the Pixlr online editor – it’s a pretty cool alternative. Powerful, sophisticated, free and easy to use.

JCTBrand. Can you believe this is only an excerpt of their work?


clash of printsimminent – tuesday – hollie/isabelle – is this paris? – autumnsuburbsjade4pm with riverella – wild land – the terrible irony – the unruly girls – technicolour – silver for the forestfresh laundryvalencia, spainemma


happy early winter – seafoam X

Capetown -> Amsterdam

Words and images: Miah Ke-Leigh
Drawings: Me

Sixteen. That’s how old I was when my father announced that we would be moving to the Netherlands. I didn’t take him seriously. I had never really pictured leaving South Africa, my home country. I was in love with the idea of moving, having been fortunate enough to have traveled to seventeen other countries. Though I flirted with the idea of leaving, I knew moving and visiting were two completely different things.

I thought of the weekends my friends and I spent in Kalk Bay; my favourite place in the city of Cape Town, with all its wonderful cafés, gorgeous scenery, flea markets, local music. I thought of the things I loved most in South Africa; sitting underneath the almond tree in my grandparent’s garden, beaches with waves that seemingly washed away my worries, drinking copious cups of tea with my gran, sleepovers with my best friends that I would now only get to see twice a year. I thought of leaving my school and having to start anew, of other people living in my home.

I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know how to adapt –  until I had to.

capetown to amsterdam

The flight from Cape Town to Amsterdam was twelve hours. I was listening to sad music on the plane to reflect my mood, because I was still in denial. We arrived on the 23rd of December, 2014, and a taxi took us to the city of Rotterdam.

It was freezing – in December, it’s summer in South Africa. The kind of summer where it’s 32 degrees celsius and your bare feet burn when they touch the pavement, where the combination of salt and sun makes your hair two shades lighter and despite a second skin of sunblock, your skin burns so much you practically change ethnicities.

When I arrived in the Netherlands, it was 5 degrees celsius. My hands were numb from the cold, my breath hung in the air like all of the words I wanted to say but couldn’t find the courage to, and the wind and my hair were in a fierce argument (the wind was clearly winning). My new home was also smaller than I had expected; three floors with spacious bedrooms, but a smaller living room and back garden than in South Africa. Back home, we had a fairly big house with a large front and back garden. Here it was different.


Starting school was different too. I attended an American International school, where there was only ten other people in my class. This was a huge difference from my old school, where there was thirty-two people. I adapted to the school faster than I thought I would, but mostly because I felt like I had to prove I could keep up. I think that pressure is common when you come from a third world country.

Either way, the routine was simple; attend class, maintain a steady grade point average, and most importantly, try not to get too attached. Every summer, people left, and every autumn, new people replaced them. In my first year at this new school (grade 10 for me), there were ten students. By grade eleven, only four (myself included) were still left. The others had relocated to Singapore, Korea and America.

I made some of the best memories and gained amazing friends at this school, and despite half of them moving away, I still stay in touch with most. My grade 10 year was me finding my place. I just focused on school, got on honor roll, and tried to figure out who I was going to be friends with.

Grade 11 was an excellent year; I was actually participating and getting involved in extracurriculars, I got into creating short films and writing poetry, and I was discovering more about myself. I also met wonderful people – all with stories about how they ended up in the Netherlands. None of us had wanted to move from our original homes, but Rotterdam became a special and memorable place for each of us.

Grade 12 was a stressful year – so many things were going on at home. My dad’s contract had expired, my family was moving, my little sister was going to a new school, and I needed to find an apartment asap before my family left for South Africa.

in june high school

On the 2nd of September, I moved out of my family home and into an apartment with my friend Deb. She would be studying Global Law, at the same university where I had just been accepted to study Online Culture: Art, Media and Society (really just a fancy way of saying Journalism, Digital Media and Communications).

I have lived in the Netherlands for nearly four years now and I still feel like a foreigner every single day – but at the same time, this place is also home. I’m not sure what the concept of home is to me, because home is my mom, my best friend’s Megan’s house, my house in South Africa, the almond tree in my grand-parents garden.

But home is also my old house in Rotterdam and the apartment in the city I live in now. I didn’t want to move – I cried for ages when the taxi dropped us off, but I also cried at the airport when my family left to move back and I stayed, because I chose to. As an expatriate, I miss my culture, my language, my friends and family.

There are moments when you will get pushed out of your comfort zone, no matter how big you try to make it. It might not be what you want at the time but sometimes it’s exactly what you need.


For me, nothing is more fulfilling than traveling, meeting new people and having conversations about topics that matter to us, no matter how silly we may think those topics are. I cannot stress how much self-confidence I have gained from living in the Netherlands, how many true friends I have made and how much more independent I am.

South Africa will always ground me because I know where I come from, and the Netherlands will always motivate me because I know where I want to go. Moving was the most magical thing to ever happen to me. Despite the sacrifices that had to come along with it, every day continues to be an adventure.


View from my bedroom window.

tips 2


Miah is a 19 year old South African girl living in Tilburg, the Netherlands. Her hobbies include traveling, writing, creating short films, drinking too many cups of coffee and complaining that she doesn’t get much sleep. (She also has a beauty mark on her right-hand’s pinky which she lovingly named Albert). Find her:  InstagramBlog – Snapchat: miahk_blog

Idolization and the self

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11pm, late autumn, beach.

A lot of this is actually straight out of a journal entry from a little while ago. I scribbled it down at about 2 am in semi-darkness, a pair of jeans thrown over my lamp to soften the light, a bon iver record playing quietly in the background. I’ve tried to connect my disjointed thoughts as best I could, and I hope I’ve created something tangible, something that aids an exploration into yourself.

Inevitably, I’ve reached a point where I’m struggling with the idea of identity.

what is my identity

I think this has been spurred, in part, by throwing myself into all these big, new creative projects. The last few months I’ve opened my mind wide to the world, and in turn, I’ve been provided with this steady flow of thoughts and ideas. And because of this, I’ve just been creating a lot more, thinking a lot more, and a lot more attuned to myself and my surroundings.

I’m in a time of tumultuous change in my life. Starting a new year at school has removed me from the class and friends I’ve known for two years, and thrown me somewhere where I feel quite stranded and a little lonely. Re-adjusting is hard – I’m not really coping with the change well, and holding very tightly to the past, which has actually surprised me. A lot of things are shifting in my mind, and I feel different every day I wake up.

I’ve been turning to a lot of art and a lot of inspiring people to kind of keep pressing forward. But it’s reaching this point where I’m putting these people on a high pedestal, and idolising them unhealthily.

I’m losing touch with myself. I’m comparing my own life to perfected, filtered lives as shown on social media. I’m comparing myself to people nearly a decade older. I’m comparing my personality to theirs, my art to theirs, my decisions to theirs.

i'm losing red

I’m finding it difficult not to emanate them through my forms of creativity, difficult to have trust in myself, and difficult to find satisfaction in what I have and am doing. I’m so obsessed that I can’t be sure where myself begins and they end anymore. I feel like … people I don’t even know are controlling my life.

I’ve been spending more time alone. Journaling. Filming. Writing. Reading. Eating. Singing. Painting. Shutting off my paths of social media and trying new things.

Already, I think I feel myself shifting again. To a place where I can view others online more critically. Myself with more wholeness.

Right now, I think there’s a huge pressure to ‘find yourself’. I was just recently watching an interview with someone (I can’t remember who, unfortunately), where she talked about finding yourself as the most important first step to begin creating authentically. I disagree.

Find myself? I don’t think there’s anything to find. I don’t think there’s any definition of the self that can be put in to any language, any thought, any idea. What are you looking for, when you ‘search’ for yourself? A word? A feeling? Something you can sum up and convey to another person? We are so incredibly complex. How can you truly sum yourself up?

I used to have this idea that a definition of myself was something I could ground myself with, something I could find comfort in when I was unsure.


It’s not about defining yourself. You’re an entire person; you have moments of bliss and despair, hours alone and hours with friends. There’s a thousand different contradictory facets of yourself.

‘Finding yourself’ is about finding what you love. It’s doing what you love. It’s wearing what you want, speaking your mind, blasting your favourite music without any thought of it fitting into a genre or category. It’s staying home Friday nights, and partying away your Tuesdays. It’s you. It’s what you like. All the aspects of you can’t fit into a definition. You have to slide around on tiles in your socks and drink alone and wear the t-shirt you know no one else likes but you, and you’re going to look around and go: oh. This is me, this is what I’ve been looking for.

Here’s the thing: it’s not easily summed up and describe to someone else. Who am I? I’m mango smoothies and late nights watching Friends. I’m my home, my friends, my family. I’m the island I grew up on. I’m salt water and film cameras and embroidered skirts and the smell of jasmine, the smell of chlorine, the smell of petrol in the morning. I’m art, activism, feminism, a slight obsession with nudity, an inability to shut up, and an unfortunately strong ability to piss everyone off.

And – that won’t be me in a few months. It probably won’t be me in a few days. I’m ever-changing – everything and everyone around me is constantly inspiring, affecting and changing me.

find myself

You don’t need knowledge of yourself to be grounded. You’re grounded in the knowledge of what you love, value and believe in. For me: the ocean. The beautiful people surrounding me. Change. Creation. Art. Love.

The other day I came across another interview on YouTube. She spoke about her aversion to the idea of finding herself, and how it interfered with her creative process, because she would constantly try to make art that she thought ‘fit in’ with who she ‘was’. She talked about going with the flow and just doing what felt right as the key to unique creation, and I think that’s the secret, if there is one.

You are what you are attracted to, what you create, what you believe in – so just do what feels right. Stop questioning everything, stop wondering if so-and-so would do the same thing. If you like it – listen to it, wear it, watch it, read it, write about it, film it. That’s the only way to get in touch with yourself, to feel truly satisfied with where you’re going and what you’re doing, and to begin to access the creative flow that only YOU can access.

Try not to immerse yourself in the lives of others. Everyone is paying bills, everyone has shitty days, everyone gets frustrated and has doubts and heartbreak and creative blocks and no one’s really sure what they’re doing and everyone, everyone has to clean the toilet.

Just a little something to remember.

This was originally published in the first issue of The Restless Times, a youth-focused online newspaper exploring positivity, art, good news, reviews and more. 

Art w/ Alanis Avenilla

A quick interview with Alanis Avenilla, resident Filipino architect student with a big passion for collages. She’s founded a creative community and freely admits the one thing she’s worst at is swimming. Find her on instagram, where she shares dreamy mixes of colours and prints and odd shots of an aesthetic life. She captured my imagination – let her take over yours.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your background.

I’m an 18-year old architecture student from the Philippines. I want to do so many things my life can’t accommodate — engineering, architecture, science, art, fashion design, graphic design, photography, song writing, curating … the list goes on. It makes me sad sometimes, but it fuels me too — must keep creating because time’s ticking!

How did you first get into art?

I started drawing pretty decent loose lines filled with oil pastels when I was 3 years old. Although my school then was really small, our art classes had so many projects and activities that introduced me to different toddler-friendly art forms. As early as 6 years old, I already knew I wanted to take up a double degree in Fine Arts and Conservatory of Music (which didn’t exist, and still doesn’t).

What’s involved in your creative process?

I strongly believe in collaborative work and in the fusion of the traditional and the digital. Plus, I’m all about challenging a particular medium or particular mixed media — painting watercolor on black paper, making digital illustrations without a drawing tablet, shooting with a broken or unmounted lens, painting acrylic on tracing paper, and the possibilities go on. My style is often brought about and is heavily influenced by the way I challenge a medium.

What inspires you?

Everything. I tend to put two or more things together like art and poetry or art and music — a collaboration between mediums of some sort. Boredom also inspires me to create a lot. When I’m busy working on projects, I don’t really get the proper headspace for creative ideas — so downtime and slow afternoons can spark creative ideas!


What form do you usually create in? ie. digitally, on paper …?

I create both traditionally and digitally, but the thing I love the most is fusing both the traditional and the digital together! I take my sketchbook doodles and turn them into digital art or even collages.

How do you overcome creative blocks?

I take a break, or focus on a different project or creating something else. Working on the same things can get sickening. Fresh ideas, inspiration boards, and even playlists can help!

What’s the hardest part about creating art?

I guess the hardest part is being satisfied with your outcome or determining when you’re going to stop — whether a piece is already done or not. Sometimes, it can be a risk to continue finding ways to improve an artwork because you can end up ruining it.

Do you see the influence of other artists in your work?

I actually don’t think so. I would normally admire an artist because he/she can create something I can’t execute or I wouldn’t have ever thought of. Because of this, the artists I look up to serve as inspirations but do not necessarily influence or reflect on my works.

What inspired your Eggnog series? (pictured above)

I’ve done collages since I was little but I only realized its potential as an art form last year. I started making digital collages last summer (2016), with different prompts for each month. My eggnog series was a product of midnight boredom and wanting to edit some travel photos. I was editing some photos from our holiday but I couldn’t seem to capture Baguio/Pangasinan/La Union in one photo, with all its beauty. So I experimented — cut and pasted some together and it kind of just happened. The solid-colored circles in the collages are supposed to be suns, also reminiscent of Eggnog biscuits.

What is your dream project?

Before my time’s up in this lifetime, I hope to publish a book. It could be about anything — architecture, illustration, life; but surely it’ll somehow be about art! I hope this book will last longer than my life so I could reach people even beyond my time. Oh, I can only imagine!

Obviously, you kick butt at art. But what are you bad at?

I am still growing in terms of art, and I’m bad at a lot of things — swimming, any form of physical sport, dancing, public speaking, and keeping my room organized!

What makes you angry?

I don’t get angry easily, but don’t try me. In general, I get angry at people who don’t care — those who don’t appreciate effort, who only care about themselves, and so on.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Love people and use things because the opposite never works.”
— from “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things”

We’re all somehow guilty of trying to find happiness in our accumulation of things to that point that we neglect the important people in our lives, our health, our relationship, and all the important things. I’m personally guilty of this and its an advice I wish I could apply in my life everyday.

“Don’t let your schooling get in the way of your education.”
— Mark Twain

That’s another piece of advice I really live by. Learning from school isn’t enough, especially for architecture students like me. Most often than not, you’ll find yourself learning more through experiences beyond your classes — symposia, field trips, site visits, and non-school projects!

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What are your dreams/plans for the future? Do they involve your art in any way?

I dream to inspire a lot more people, especially in making them realize that lack of equipment can’t stop you from creating. Art is definitely involved in my future, everyday. I just couldn’t escape it. For a while I was telling myself I was going to take a break from art because it’s been taking a toll on me, but I just can’t stop creating! I plan to finish architecture school first, then hopefully form a small art-related business. I don’t really want to cage my future in detailed plans so I’ll just welcome whatever opportunities life brings me!

How many people have you met who have changed your life?

I think every single person I meet changes my life somehow. However, there’s this particular small group of creative friends that gave me so much life — three I initially met online, while two have been precious bestfriends — Sergi, Esto, Cheska, Tin, and Julian. I asked them to start a collaborative community with me called Let’s Grow Together.

They’ve become my constant team for support and collaboration. Every single person who joined the community I formed also warms my heart so much.

Sergi deserves a special mention. He changed my life the most by being the first listener of my rough recordings, the only person I used to send my artworks to, and my home away from home! Without him, I wouldn’t have shown my work to anyone.

What exactly is let’s grow together?

Let’s Grow Together started as a concept in July 2016 for a collage I madeI then entered a chalk art piece with “Let’s Grow Together” as the concept in Wanderland, got to the finals, and redid the piece in their live art battle. After that live art battle in November, I envisioned a collaborative community. I then had this sudden urge to just make it happen!!! So, I became the change I wanted to see in the art scene.

I did what I could do. I asked some of my favourite art humans to be a part of my team. November 13, 2016 — I drafted a spiel I would send to them. I put up a site for all our collaborative works, a Facebook page, a Facebook community, and a Instagram account for it. We didn’t have an exact date for the launch but it was in January 2017.

Our community now has 90 members! We have a slambook spreadsheet for us to get to know each other in an organized manner — it can also serve as an org info sheet of some sort! We also started calling it LGT for short. It warms my heart so much whenever I see shy artists share their works in our thread, whenever members who only met through LGT collaborate among themselves, and whenever each one would give out tips and answers to others’ art problems!






Thrifting 101

I went to this amazing vintage sale a few suburbs up the other day. It was absolutely crazy. My friends and I turned up 20 minutes early, and there was already a hundred or so people milling around the big garge doors. By the time it was 10:00, we were packed in, people pressing in on every side. When – finally – the doors began to slide open, we were all literally scrambling under it, exploding into the store and dashing for the nearest racks.

And oh my god, there were so many racks. Every wall was line with velvet tops and overalls and dresses and sweatshirts and fleeces and polos, every stand was crammed with jackets – denim, leather, army, sport – and t-shirts and t-shirts and more t-shirts, boxes littered the floor, overflowing with  belts, jeans, shorts, skirts, long sleeves and crocheted pieces, and there were tables stocked with sneakers and bags of every sort you could imagine.

Change rooms? Overrated. Who needs them? You can just as easily cram into a dark corner piled with discarded clothes and forgotten belongings, strip down in front of strangers, and edge your way into view of the phone you propped up on a seat and switched to the front camera, because – mirrors? Who needs them?

This is all followed by a half an hour wait in line, slowly inching your way back around the store you just squeezed through to get to the end of line. And when, finally, you are just about to pay, the assistant will appear from some room yelling about new stock with armfuls of overalls and jackets, and you’ll duck out of line to snag the army-green one as he passes, just in time to dash back to the cash register and finally, finally escape.

With the grooviest pair of pants that has ever existed and a shirt so yellow you feel like the sun.

love thrift shopping. There’s something so special about searching for your style in amongst the discarded remnants of wardrobes. It turns buying clothes into an adventure. Where’s the excitement in flipping through racks of identical jeans you saw that girl downstairs in the foodcourt wearing?


Not to mention how much money you save, how much more unique your style becomes, how much more confident you become, the sense of community that thrifting carries, and the fact that you’re not supporting fast-fashion.

fast fash·ion / fɑːst ˈfa-shən /
A term for clothing that’s too cheap to be real. You’ll find it stocked in stores that cycle through their range within a month and a half. These days, trends come and go so quickly that people just buy cheap clothes and throw them out when they’re ready for the next trend. 

Cotton alone uses around 3% of our water, and textile producing (dyeing & adding synthetic chemicals to fabrics) pollutes alot of our water supply. It all turns to runoff and creates unusable water. There’s no reason to be so cruel to the planet just to post a cute picture on instagram wearing the latest thing. 

In addition to the environmental cost, you also have to ask yourself the social cost. If these clothes are so cheap, how is anyone making living off of creating them?

If you buy a pair of $100 jeans, a factory worker is probably making around 50 cents. So imagine the wages people who make $30 jeans are receiving, and what kind of conditions they must be working in.

The good thing is- There are so many clothes already made that are stylish as hell, hanging patiently in thrift shops and vintage stores. I recommend watching The True Cost on Netflix, but there’s so much more you can read and watch on this subject, and it’s all a quick google search away. Educate yourself, kids!

If you love the planet as much as you love clothing (if you don’t, what in the world are you doing) then you should shop vintage! It can be overwhelming, (it certainly was when I first started out), but it’s worth it, and I’ve got a few tips for you all.


Thrifting 101 – it’s not like flicking through the racks of a department store. Every single piece could be the perfect pair of mum jeans you’ve been waiting for, or that lacy cami, or your dream over-sized denim jacket. Most of the time, the gems are tucked away in the middle of the rack or at the bottom of the box. I’ve first-hand witnessed my friend Cassie pull the most gorgeous pair of Levis from a box of tangled, mis-matched denim. Sorting through pretty much everything is essential, if you’re looking to find the best pieces.


Okay, I know I said to check EVERYTHING – but if you never wear jeans, there’s really no point in searching through the jeans, is there? Know the colours you like, know your size, know what you generally wear.

I’m going to contradict myself again here, because thrifting is the perfect opportunity to try new things, and really get to know your style. What am I trying to say!?! Basically, head into the store with an open mind, but with a general idea of what you’re looking for.


If you really want to dedicate yourself, and really find something, you’re going to need an hour or two. Sorting through everything takes time! Plus, rushing or feeling stressed from a lack of time will make thrift shopping frustrating, and sometimes boring. It’s a slow, methodical process, and it takes time! Relaxing is key. Enjoy yourself!


There’s lots of different types of second hand stores, and op shops, and thrift stores, so try a variety and change it up often. Every store offers something different in variety, price and style. You’ll probably be surprised by the number of shops near you, and they’ll all tend to be near each other too. Walk around for a while, do some googling, check out yelp … I guarentee you’ll be surprised.

Obviously, the more stores you check out, the higher your chance of coming across a cool piece. So hit all the stores in your area, and make a day of it!

TIP: Look for stores that donate all or most of their profits to charity – they’re pretty common.


The thing about thrift stores, is the stock is constantly changing. You need to be regular! It’s that simple. Check with your local stores – they may have a specific day they put new clothes out. Otherwise, every week, couple of weeks or month – whatever works for you – pick a day, and go shopping.

If there’s a few stores you frequent regularly, you can also get to know the staff. If there’s a particular sort of piece that you’re looking for, you can let them know, and they might think of you if they come across it.


Gender divides do not exist in thrifting. I repeat, there is no such thing as gender seperated clothing when you’re thrifting. This goes for the men, too.

The best pieces I’ve found have been from the mens section. T-shirs, button ups, long sleeves, pants, shorts …

Gender. Divides. Do. Not. Exist. In. Thrifting.


So – you’re in a store, you know what you’re looking for, you’ve got plenty time, you’ve disregarded any gender divides, and you’ve just come across what looks like the perfect piece.


You need to check for damage. Second hand clothing can have lots of little problems. Check for missing buttons, torn or frayed hems, holes in the clothing and stains. Give it a quick once over, and make sure it’s in good condition.

#8 – TRY IT ON

Fairly self-explanatory, but oh-so important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the perfect top, only to come home, try it on, and toss it in a dark corner where it will remain for the next six months, until I go through my wardrobe again, and return the unfortunate piece back to where it came.

Try everything on. Just do it.


Wear tight-fitting clothing so it’s easy to try things on, or wear loose, easy to pull-off and put-on clothing. You’ll be in and out of the dressing room, so make it easier on yourself.

AND always bring a fold-up grocery bag – the ones you can get from Kmart/Big W that come with a pocket on the inside you can shove the whole bag into (or just a plastic bag). Often, op-shops charge if you want a bag. Skip the fee!

Have fun, rock your vintage finds, and put all your savings towards a plane ticket, concert, or just a new book. Happy thrifting xo

Is this Paris? (Mood Boards + Playlist)

Paris. Shadows. Red. Heels. Glossy faces. Wine. Apricots. Hand drawn. Lipstick as paint. Umbrellas. Roman marble. Mixtapes. Thin jumpers. Too-bright eyeshadow. Disposable cameras. Glassy roads. Slate skies. Diamond oceans.

Late April. Mid-autumn, and summer has well and truly faded. Now I catch buses in twilight and walk home in the dark. Street-lights glimmer on the damp pavement and thick, slate clouds are pressed into the sky. I eat breakfast on the kitchen bench and watch the rain become puddles in the driveway.

Hazy afternoons. I daydream about apricots, Paris and glossy faces from the confines of sheets and a dressing gown. I walk down the street in bare feet recording voice memos and poetry. There’s little light in the evenings and the cicadas are loud, but I make these few hours my own.

What am I thinking about?

What am I gravitating towards? Inspired by?

motion in yellow inkedmarble haze is this paris inked

playlist 2

red wine shadows inked
girls girls girls inked 2

I’m safe and settled in my temporary home. 8 weeks to go. I’ll write soon.