Two thousand and seventeen was a whirlwind; a beautiful mess of unpredictable, incredible, forgettable, indescribable, turbulent and transformational moments. I travelled to ten different cities, on nineteen planes and five trains and found myself changing with every crossing border.
Looking back throughout this year, I have grown and changed and struggled and thrived, all at once and moments apart. I can barely remember the person I was at the beginning of the year or through the first few months. Only visual fragments can piece together such a time from which I have evolved from immensely. I made promises to myself that I both broke and kept, aspirations that I met and ran away from, all piecing together a year of contradictions and achievements, cold midnight skies and warm golden sunlight.
It went so quickly that I kept a lot of it all to myself, photographs hidden in drawers and folders and half edits left untouched and unseen by the world; sharing it all mainly with myself. However, this coming year I want to share my encapsulations of creations, memories and feelings more with others. I want to be more vulnerable, open myself up to more connections and spontaneity.
The second half of this year brought me the most independence I’ve ever had to face when I moving into my own studio apartment in Paris, after having shared an apartment in Paris with four girls prior. Growing up as an only child, being by myself was something I thought I was so familiar and comfortable with. But living completely alone, between four silent walls, well let’s just say it was an unpredictable adjustment with a lot of phone calls home. I hid away a little too much, ran away to too many cafes and lived through too many empty evenings feeling lonely and disconnected. I let my passions get a little too lost in the raindrops that blurred my windows but in two thousand and eighteen I want to capture as many encapsulating moments in time through black ink scribbles and splattered paint pages but mainly through a lens; in moving momentary memories and colours stood still on a photograph.
And while I often find myself forgetting the best moments and reminiscing on the faults, this last year I also created the most amazing memories with the people I’m closest with. Holidays home in Spain in the summer, spending time with incredible family that I love so much. Swimming under the sun, card games and a stomach full with laughs and love. Travelling to Switzerland for my best friend’s twenty first birthday; playing games in the garden, so much fun and smiles, sunsets by the lake and lounging in the warmth of summer and just having the best time with one of my favourite people, Melanie.
Travelling on trains and planes and wandering through so many new places with my best jam bean pal, Caitlyn, in Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Barcelona and then later in London. Evening grocery aisle dancing, carrying around a pot of jam whilst continuously jamming when they were playing our jam, swimming in hot baths to find the other bath was warmer as we were leaving, seeing the most beautiful views and wandering through wondrous new worlds. Paris days spent in cafes, laughing over gooseberry and cinnamon yoghurt and having endless Harry Potter chats.
Turning twenty one in London. I spent the day having afternoon tea at Sketch. Stairs guided me down into a rose tinted room with walls of art where I was led to my table accompanied by soft violin symphonies. Moments later, my body was filled with teacups upon teacups of lychee red tea and delectable little sandwiches and desserts. I blew out a little candle and made a wish that I wrote on a folded piece of paper in my mind, to be read when it comes true. I also had a lovely birthday lunch in London with family in a room decorated with pink balloons and banners and a rainbow layered cake and then we let most of the balloons fly high in the sky where I like to think they drifted off to places we haven’t discovered yet.
Back in Paris and at university, I rediscovered my love for imagining up stories and creating places and characters in the pages of my mind. I met new beautiful souls and spent time with those I already had so much love for. I saw Lorde in concert which was the best night of my life. I wish I could put into words how incredible and honestly, life changing her concert was, I’ll never get over it and will never be the same. From the celestial energy to the harmonizing colours to her illuminating presence and her overwhelmingly radiating aura and lyrics and endless talent. I became a little glitter fairy for the night and left with sparkles in my heart and glitter filled veins. A few weeks later I saw Billie Eilish live and got to meet her after. I was mesmerised by the amount of talent and confidence she has for someone so young. She is wise way beyond her years and her voice is just indescribably perfect and was just one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.
I experienced my first thanksgiving with the loveliest group of friends, picnics by the river and in gardens with Jeanne & Martha, evenings out in Paris, getting lost in the lights and the sounds of the city and its symphonies. Sometimes drinking a little too much but mostly not enough champagne and red wine and rose. Brunching with the best and strolling through gardens and just being around the loveliest people that make me feel more at home.
But twenty seventeen will slowly fade away tomorrow evening, in sparks of fireworks, champagne bubbles and first and last kisses. Looking forward, there will be no resolutions or promises to myself that I know I’ll break in an instant but a series of dreams, both whimsical and conceivable. Some I’ll see in the next three hundred and sixty five days, some maybe only in many many months. But whatever happens, I’ll be okay. Always.
A string of words and collages crafted from feelings felt from a colour.
Gazes overshadowed by rosy hues as the sky explodes with a multitude of mauve raindrops; a world is seen through shades of pink pigments.
A vanilla sponge cake sheltered by pink fondant, saved till last with each slice, mixed together with the remains of jam delicately smothered on its porcelain plate. Or eaten first, by those that find pleasure in beginnings.
Fresh pink wildflowers and elegant carnations picked on a sunrise stroll in the summer when the weightless breeze is waking up the leaves and the heartbeats of strangers that cross your path with sleepy smiles.
Cushions filled with feathery metaphoric rose petals, pouring out allures of admiration into your dreams, filling them with shades of salmon, blush, champagne, rose and cherry blossoms.
The colour of the glitter that laces your face, illuminated by the night and all of its stars in the form of lovers and far away lands pulling you into their mystical mumbles.
Fresh figs and strawberries that stain your taste buds with tenderness and a blush of crimson juice, dancing to the sound of cymbals and synthetic sounds.
The shades of sunsets and sunrises as the sun warms your skin with its stillness, softly sending you into a rosy daydream.
*Collages made by me. Images found from Tumblr & Pinterest.
After finishing my first year of university in Paris, the following two days were spent packing away my Parisian life and its belongings into three suitcases and a few bags, storing them away, eating sushi and wandering around Paris with a friend. Travelling was next on the agenda and i packed away my things to hop on a morning plane the next day to go to Berlin, Warsaw and London. Packing away all of my things for storage while i am away from Paris for the summer was a strange process. Realising the unimportance of so many of the items and clothes i owned and realising that if i were to lose a suitcase in the sea, the world wouldn’t stop spinning. But regardless, i packed it all up and went on my way.
Berlin was a fast paced sum of events that were washed away with the rain that fell when we arrived. Tourist attractions, a breathtaking hotel, delicious meals and attending a memorable event for my dads work. A rushed array of little excitements and skyline views while the sun was setting but Berlin left me feeling a little confused about its character and complexion as a city but I guess I’ll have to venture back someday to properly explore its entire environment.
One and a half days later I was onto the next plane to Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw contained an ambiance that rose with the warm, morning sun, renewing my creativity and flooding me with its picturesque palettes. I felt particularly anonymous and contained in my own little bubble wandering around Warsaw in the little time I had, through its old town with its multicoloured buildings and intriguing streets. I had no knowledge of its history, the language, where I was or what was around me but I walked and I explored. Pink and purple roses lined the streets, multitudes of rotating wheels passed me and fresh air consumed my entire being. I felt inspired and ready to blossom for my next escapade to London.
A few weeks ago, the rain drizzled and avocado toast and flowers were on my mind. I met two friends at a small, lovely cafe called Peonies in the 10th arrondissement, the first cafe in Paris to sell flowers and coffee both in the same place. I wore my light pink jumper purely to match with the colours of the cafe. Small details that maybe only I notice but it’s the small things in life after all.
I loved every part of the cafe, from it’s pastel pink tables to the floral artwork on its walls to the perfectly prepared avocado toast that successfully satisfied my cravings. Next time I go, I will definitely try their lovely looking sweet treats and will purchase a bouquet of flowers in the spring time and happily stroll along the streets of Paris with a full heart and soul.
The next weekend, I ventured out to rue Cremieux, which I had seen to promise colourful houses nestled away from Paris’s historic architecture, similar to houses in Notting Hill, which is one of my favourite places to explore. The street definitely lived up to its expectations. I wandering along it for ages, looking at the colours and imagining what type of people choose to inhabit such beautifully painted places.
Each house had their own unique colour scheme with contrasting colours of shutters and walls with plants bordering their exteriors. Behind every door there was a unique story to be told. An empty Nutella jar sat outside of one, old bikes lent against some of their walls, plants sat on their windowsills and I even came across a beautiful white cat that sat in a window, gazing at the passers by and soaking up all the admiration it received when it was noticed. Places like these make me wonder a lot about the lives of others and what thoughts circle peoples minds as they go about their day, how they decide what to do that day, what are their greatest fears and aspirations, what is their favourite breakfast food. Endless questions I plan to explore in a blog series I hope to start soon. But for now, I remain continuously curious.
Finding words to introduce a personal, creative space is always leaves me trying to avoid introductory cliches and feeling a little lost for words. I created this blog just over a year ago but was never in the right frame of mind to keep it up. However, I’ve always loved the feeling of a new year and a fresh start so here we are again.
My name is Stephanie (Steph) and I am currently twenty years old. I was born and raised in England on the 6th of July 1996. When I was ten, I moved to Cape Town but after nine long years, I decided Europe was truly my home. So in 2016, I moved to my dream city, Paris, for university to study Film, while my lovely parents moved to Spain with my two beautiful basset hounds.
I find happiness in expressing myself through the mixing of writing, photography and videography to produce my own muddled world of expression. I hope for this blog to be my own creative outlet through my love for writing, photography and filming my life experiences, travels, people I meet, places I go to, any thoughts/life advice I have, short stories, short films, poems etc.
I love to spend my days writing in journals and watching films or reading and taking in all the beautiful visuals of everything around me, as well as peoples blogs and collecting inspiration from everywhere. Photographing everything is an everyday habit and something I cannot go a day without. I am fascinated by people and enjoy observing the slow rotation of the world as it spins around me. I find that late nights with pouring rain and early mornings with burning sunshine are the best times of the day, when avocado on toast is involved.
I am now passionate about positivity and the law of attraction. While going through hard times in my life, I have voyaged through dark tunnels and tiptoed on cracked mirrors but have began finding the light within and am starting to build a life I have always imagined but never felt capable of doing, starting with this outlet for my creativity. For a long time, my passions were obscured by a mist I thought wouldn’t diminish. But after a lot of time and effort, I managed to find freedom from despair and am now rediscovering my creativity, desires and excitement for life.
In the near future, I would love to just do something creative with film, writing and photography as my job. I’m still figuring it all out but it will all fall into place when the time is right. For now though, I’m just taking one day at a time, experiencing as much as i can, creating as many things as i can and trying to keep up with life itself, while not letting it slip through the non-existent wrinkles on my forehead.
As most nineteen year olds, and everyone else at some point in their lives, I’ve been terribly confused as to what I want to do for the rest of my life and have felt baffled at the question of who I actually am as a person and how I fit into the world. One thing I knew for sure was that I needed to be exploring my imagination and growing my creativity. But was never entirely sure how or if I was even good enough or capable to do so. But something I’ve only learnt recently, with the help of so many wonderful and kind souls, is that I don’t need to complicate life and myself so much. I just need to know that I am enough. Simple. I need to trust that the path I’m on, no matter how puzzling it all may seem, as it is leading me to where I need to be.
In recent days, I’ve found myself realising that the mundane and monotonous idealisations of reality is sometimes something that I don’t always understand and struggle to be apart of. I always thought I was different to a lot of people for not thinking the same way as they did or for wanting to do things differently in life but not having the connections or confidence to do them. And for a while I didn’t even know what those things were; and possibly still don’t but that’s okay.
For a long time I’ve been in my own world. A world that used to be filled with vibrant ideas and picturesque aspirations but it got clouded by shadows and scraped by stones and left me in a dark and distracted place. But now that I am on a journey of healing, I am rediscovering perhaps what makes me happy and what brings me fulfilment and bliss. And possibly what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. And part of that includes writing, photography and making films.
I believe that I look at the world with a different perspective to some. The other day I became aware of the fact that I had watched a lot of films throughout my life, especially during my childhood. When I was younger, I would obsess over different character’s lives and aspired to be an actress (while having the confidence of a shoe). I didn’t realise that it wasn’t the acting that I was craving but the ability to create a world of escape; something different than the life of my own that I was living, but I didn’t know how. And now I feel like I do.
I think I’ve always looked at my life and everyday experiences as a film, my eyes taking the position of a camera lens and my eyelashes fluttering like a shutter. The unknown, peripheral dimensions of my sight creating endless frames I wished could resettle onto a screen, mixing with palettes of motions. I sometimes struggle to be present as I would have the indescribable, overwhelming need to capture everything and make it into something even more beautiful than it already is. I blink my eyes and create a film still.
I wish to go on adventures, both inside and outside of my mind, and to immerse myself into the alluring depths of reverie. I want to connect with creatives that share the same visions and dreams as I do and to constantly surprise myself with what I am capable of doing. I hope to for these aspirations to become my reality and to be constantly learning and blossoming through the ever-changing progression of life, aesthetically captured through words and motions.
Ambling amongst orange and yellow painted leaves, my third time in this beautiful city, I felt a deep connection once again. A motivation, an inspiration flowing through the breeze and a sense of serenity amidst the overly active minds of the beings around me. As around every corner, there is a new place to explore, a new shade of green and a new opportunity to unearth a part of yourself that may have been buried under your former roots of existence
Aesthetically aged buildings fill the city, with their grey painted roofs and little chimneys, each expelling their own memoirs, conversations and alluring concealed whispers tangled in between wisps of smoke. It’s neutral tones of beige, green, monochromes and browns added to the simplicity of the city, along with the elegant style that fills every pathway.
The view of the city from Arc du Triomphe was something I never thought my eyes would be able to see. The mist that filled the skies made it even more magical to experience. The roads were framed with overgrown broccoli shaped trees, enclosing layers of impeccably sculpted structures. The structures reached vastly out into the atmosphere, disappearing with the clouds that hovered above them, keeping them sheltered from the overhead disputes of the atmosphere.
Both day and night in Paris are irreplaceably exceptional, not one better than the other. By day, Paris is filled with never ending bliss in amongst it’s decorative sceneries and sunlight filled pathways. While by night, streets are illuminated by artificial sparkles of magic, lighting up the shadowy and vivacious nightly presence of beings.
I thought that I had yet to uncover the romantic ambiance of the city. However, Paris’s romanticism is not only conveyed between the love of two people but in the passion that drifts in between each breathe taken. Inhaling an affectionate ache of passion and vision, whether it be expressed between two souls, burning sunlight that falls into shadowy depths of the River Seine at dusk or the swift second between the meeting of ones lips to the sweetened taste of a warm, freshly baked pastry.
I could conjure up a billion and nine more sentences to describe this beautiful city but I will leave that for you to venture into and write for yourselves if you ever happen to find yourself hopping off a metro and into the mesmerising, irreplaceable streets of Paris. In eight months time, this city will be my new home for the next three years. I would be dishonest if I said I wasn’t terrified. But at the same time, I’m overjoyed that I get this opportunity to immerse myself into the cliches of new beginnings, independence and freedom to start again but also continue with my ever-changing journey of life.
1// I was born in England and spent my early childhood there until I was ten when I moved to Cape Town with my parents. I consider myself British (and half Greek) as England is where I feel most connected to and at home.
2// I’m an only child and while I do have two amazing older half sisters that live in England, I’ve never lived with them and still consider myself an only child. Spending my whole life being alone with myself a lot, I’ve grown to love my own company (a little too much) and have become quite an independent person. Until I need my parents to make phone calls for me, do my washing and all those fun adult responsibilities that I have yet to tackle.
3// I love slow, relaxing mornings. There’s something inspiring about the hours just before or after sunrise where you have nowhere to go and no one to be, that bring a sense of serenity. A time to yourself to just be you, manifest your intentions for the day or week or your life and energise for the hours that follow.
4// I like to think of myself as a yogi as I’ve been doing yoga on and off for around two years and love everything about it! The connection to myself, my body and the inner peace I feel throughout practicing it. While it’s something I tend to go days and days without, as soon as I’m back on my mat, I remember exactly why I keep coming back.
5// Sunsets are one of my favourite things to see and one of my favourite times of the day. They always reminds me of how exquisite the earth’s beauty is. I can never comprehend how so many diverse and harmonised colour tones appear in the peculiar atmosphere of the sky each night but the not knowing how it comes about makes it even more magical.
6// One of my favourite things to do is write in journals, plan and manifest my future dream life and aspirations and pour out all of my fanatical and perplexing feelings. I have draws and boxes filled with unfinished notebooks and diaries, containing stories and memories I rarely read back on. So all the words and letters sit in darkness, sleeping amongst their written neighbours, spilling their secrets to one another while I create more memories to join their gatherings.
7// I would describe my sense of style as quite minimal. While I adore fashion and the creative expression it holds, I tend to stick to neutral tones with hints of patterns, florals and colour. I often catch myself admiring everyone’s clothing style while driving which is a habit I definitely should not stick to! But I love to see how each person takes on different ways of piecing together items to create their own unique expression of individuality.
8// Foods from the earth are my favourite. In particular avocados (especially smashed on crunchy toast), bananas, pink lady apples, orange melon (basically all fruits in general), nut butters, vegan chocolate, sweet potato and medjool dates! If I could live off just these foods for the rest of my life, I would be very very content and would dance everyday, eating spoonfuls of nut butters and handfuls of fresh fruit!
9// Harry Potter is a very big part of my life and something that always manages to brighten up my mood, even in the smallest of ways through a couple of delicate notes from its soundtrack, the mention of magical worlds or a flicker of light, ever reminding me that magic is real.
10// A characteristic of mine that is both negative and positive is that I am a huge perfectionist. It leaves me starting endless amounts of creative projects and never finishing them as they never feel good enough or up to the mountainous standards I set myself. My perfectionism, amongst my other flawed characteristics cause endless internal battles with myself and my struggles with mental health. However, I am on the path of healing and recovery and everyday I discover more and more about myself and life that brings me closer to the inner peace I crave.
11// Photography and videography are my favourite ways to get lost into a world of imaginative creativity. While I’ve struggled for too long with my mental-health and my body, it’s taken so much of my time away from the things I love to do and became distracted for many years, leaving me lost without my creative nature. However, my passion still remains and is tiptoeing it’s way back into my life as I heal and rediscover my sense of self and joy.
12// Travelling and exploring and the idea of it all brings me so much excitement. I dream of owning a cute green, blue or pink bicycle with a basket on the front and cycling around cities and villages, meeting new people and capturing the diversity of it all in memory filled journals of imagery and words.
13// My favourite colours are green and white, the colours of plants and peace. The theme of my bedroom is based around green and white tones, creating an open and bright, yet blissful and serene space for creativity and rest.
14// I am very much an over thinker and deep thinker, constantly preoccupied with the meaning of life and questioning everything that runs wild inside my head. I am always intensively observing the world around me and everyone in it to try and get a better understanding of the entirety of what I come across each day. However, I try not to let my thoughts override the serenity of my mind.
Photographs from my instagram: @stephhalexis