"I can stand here and smile vacantly, and no matter how fervid my prayers, no matter how 
desperate my longing, there is an ocean between us; there she will stay and starve, and here I 
shall walk from one street to the next..." - Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer, p149

My car is still running in the pick up and drop off zone. The whole drive to the airport I was trying not to think about the fact that my passenger seat would be empty on the way home. As soon as my feet hit the pavement, after checking and re-checking the back seats for any of her stray belongings, the base of my throat constricts. We hug and I shut my eyes tightly, I tell her that I don't want to cry but as I say it I start to anyway. I'm looking at her now and she's standing on the pavement with her bags about to leave my tangible world once again. She removes herself from my space by stepping onto a tarmac, boarding her way to a place she created for herself. Ultimately I was happy for her to be leaving, she's found her place and her people across the sea. The only thing between us were kilometres, manageable ones as long as time and money are on your side. As she waved goodbye and turned on her heel, I got into my car and made a quick, decisive lane change. For some reason I thought that maybe if I got out of there quick enough the small though significantly cavernous space she left would close up without me looking.

I was reading Tropic of Cancer and finished a paragraph on page 149 and thought about the notion of 'goodbye'. I say goodbye everyday in one form or another: goodbye to my mother, goodnight to my sister, adios to that thought, au revoir to that feeling, have a nice day, see you later. They mark the end of a conversation, the parting between two people and at times provide an incentive to politely back away. Despite having spoken many a goodbye to strangers and loved ones alike, some goodbyes have been heavier than others and weigh on my mind time to time. They're ones I can play over and over again; short films on rewind. I don't know exactly why they stick, but they're there.

You see, a goodbye is a two sided instance, you're either on the giving or receiving end of one; each position possessing particular power and intention. Receiving a goodbye might come unexpectedly, sounding the collapse of something stable and whole. One might finally arrive, not surprising you because you spotted it in the distance. In other cases they simply occur without much thought behind them. Giving a goodbye may hold certain emancipation, no matter how small. It may guide you to becoming more independent and capable; to a tarmac or a station platform. Or you might look at your car keys and imagine what it would be like to not say goodbye, not a single one.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said: "the only constant is change". He believed that opposites are necessary for life, existing unified in a system of balanced exchanges. He believes the world identifies with a constant law of change. This constant ebb and flow that is change pulses through us, sometimes urging us to say goodbye; whatever form that might take. When I turned back onto the highway that day, Heraclitus's quote dawned on me. Even though change was occurring, I'd see her again, on the flip-side of some kind of change. For now I just have to deal with the fact that goodbyes are inevitable, they come and go passed between lips, across phone lines and scribbled on note paper. And sometimes they really, really suck. I don't find the thought of that exactly comforting, but why should I expect to feel comfortable about change? 


There is something nostalgic about selecting a book and sitting down to turn its pages. It's an action reminiscent of sleepy days where nothing needs to be done. When you sink beneath a volume of words, you board a train to somewhere unknown. Now that 2015 has wound to a close, my holidays stretch out before me and beckon for me to pick up a new book. Academic texts on fashion theory, art history and post-feminism that littered my bedroom are left behind for now. Instead they're replaced with a novel I'd rather carry; an undisclosed ticket.
I can now read for pleasure, and get off at any stop.

Since a young age I've remained an avid reader. In primary school the library stifled me after I read my fair share of Jackie French,  Iranian themed novels and anything with a horse on the cover. I borrowed and finished 2-3 books a week. Conveniently enough, I'm never stifled by lack of choice as I now work at a bookshop, where I first handed in my resume at 8 years of age. Nonetheless I got the job some years later. Throughout my first years of high school I would borrow consistently from the library, a new place where I read many books I probably shouldn't have. I even remember some of my friends and I hiding books on the shelves while there on class visits so we could come back and borrow them at lunch time. Safe to say I was pretty obsessed. Books consumed most of my spare time and I continued to fill up notebooks worth of short stories. When I was fifteen, I decided to "write a book". 30,000 words later, I deleted the whole thing in a spout of teenage rage. It was crap, everything was crap. In my final years of high school, despite working in a bookstore I read less and less. I still wrote a bit, scattered throughout school books and random journals. However, the books I did read stimulated some of my strongest values. They rubbed off against my shoulder with some force, seeping under my skin and evidently permeating my identity. Moreover, they acted as a snake oil concoction, soothing my insecurities and entertaining my curiosities of times gone by.

Here are just five of some of my favourite books I've ever read. Some I read in school and others after I'd left. Nevertheless, they've impacted me in ways I am both aware and unaware of. 

1. 'Just Kids', Patti Smith (2010)
"No one expected me. Everything awaited me," (p25)

Fifteen years old on a plane ride to New Zealand I began to read the story of a woman I barely knew of. I'd danced to her Gloria which turned around and around on a turntable in my friend's bedroom. "Who is this?" I'd asked, and my friends responded by lending me Smith's memoir they'd come across while away on a trip to Europe.  Gripping the book by its cover above the clouds, I delved into Just Kids.

This book is so honest, a pure recount of a life lived. Smith tells of her early years and humble beginnings, that so eloquently re-evokes a childhood plagued by illness and wild imagination. After falling into trouble as a teenage girl, she makes an inspired move to New York City in 1967. That summer she meets artist Robert Mapplethorpe and the rest is history. Just Kids captures Smith's sheer tenacity to make something of herself. Moreover, it delves into her intense relationship with Mapplethorpe as they became two creative kindred spirits, punctuated by the iconic time they lived and breathed. 

Smith's grounded though hauntingly poignant narration drew me into her story. Weaving stream of consciousness prose throughout her words, Smith tells everything beautifully, even the ugly. I read the whole book in a way I imagined she would tell it to me in person. She spoke softly, though her words were heavy. 

Smith will always be my main muse as a strong, intensely creative woman. I recently finished her second memoir 'M Train', which I highly recommend as an excellent follow up book. 

2. 'Lolita', Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
"She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolres on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita" (p7)

I think I read this book when I was fifteen and a half. After developing an obsession for the orange covered Penguin Books classics, I picked up Lolita while at work and bought it upon leaving. Leafing through it now, I realise I really need to read it again. 

Lolita was first published in 1955, an iconic and controversial piece of literature for the time which Nabokov is best known for. It is the story of a middle aged man, Humbert Humbert, who develops a vehement obsession for a twelve year old girl, Dolores Haze. Humbert shares the origin of his desires and his intensifying attraction to his adored nymph Haze, who he nicknames Lolita or 'Lo' for short. Humbert continually humanises himself to the reader which in turn makes his actions seem almost natural. Moreover, Haze's juvenile manner toys with Humbert, blurring the lines between what we originally perceive as right and wrong. 

Lolita is undeniably dark, disturbing and beautifully written. Nabokov obscures notions of love, age and forbidden desire. In the end I was left asking, who really was in control?

'Lolita' taught me a lot about the beauty of words and how they can be pieced together so eloquently to form a flowing sentence that can be used for better or for worse.

3. 'GRACE: A Memoir', Grace Coddington (2012)
"It always arrived rather late in the month, and there were usually only one or two in stock. Presumably, Harper's Bazaar was around then, too, but for me it was always Vogue," (p30)

I pretty much almost fell over the day this book arrived in stock at work. While watching The September Issue documentary on American Vogue, which focussed primarily on the commonly demonised (though incredibly driven and successful) editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, I was introduced to the creative director (newly creative director at large), Grace Coddington. I'd seen former modelling images of Coddington, her iconic fiery red mane sticking in my mind. Her highly regarded position at Vogue, her love of cats and her undeniably chic though down-to-earth personality immediately placed her in the shrine of women I look up to.

Grace: A Memoir is a captivating recount of Coddington's upbringing, her fashionable modelling years and life at British Vogue and American Vogue. Her words are accompanied by unique scribbly drawings throughout, the same style in which she would pen every outfit at runway shows as they walked her way in the front row. The book puts Coddington's transition into perspective, from the naive, young, thin-though-not-traditionally-beautiful girl in Wales to experienced, confident, witty creative director at Vogue magazine.

Coddington is effortlessly her stylish self, which she communicates through her writing. I love the way she relives times in her life, is able to laugh at herself and share her honest reflections and opinions on the industry she was destined to thrive in.

Coddington will always inspire me to pursue a career in fashion.

4. 'Astragal', Albertine Sarrazin (1965)
"My new freedom imprisons me and paralyses me," (p32)
"She was my guide through the nights of one hundred sleeps. And now she is yours," Patti Smith

Tucked away in the offbeat novel section at the bookstore, I found Astragal waiting for me. I took it down off of the shelf and felt it's weight in my hands. I noticed that Patti Smith had composed an introduction for this print edition and typically, I instantaneously felt compelled to fall into bed and read it in one go.

Sarrazin's semi-autobiographical Astragal is a transfixing piece of 1960s French literature, a forgotten classic to the masses. It was written from a prison cell, as Sarrazin herself was serving time. She tells a bewitching tale of youthful rebellion and romance (which somehow feels all too familiar to Sarrazin) that follows nineteen-year-old Anne, who makes a daring escape from prison by leaping from the height of its walls. She falls, only to break her ankle under a blanket of stars - "L'astragale" is the French word for the exact bone she breaks. She's rescued by a motorcyclist named Julien. From then on they're destined for a life of love and crime. 

The emotions presented throughout Astragal are extremely vivid, I felt every one. This book not only speaks of love and crime, but epitomises helplessness and the feeling of being left behind. 

This book showed me how captivating fiction can be. I worried for Anne even when I wasn't reading about her.

5. 'Not That Kind of Girl: A young woman tells you what she's "learned"', Lena Dunham (2014)
"How could I ever experience true solitude again when I'd had someone poking around my insides? How permanent virginity feels, and then how inconsequential," (p8-9)

I'd heard of Lena Dunham before, I knew of her hit TV series Girls but had somehow missed the bandwagon and never watched an episode (this is a common trait of mine: missing out on pretty much any interesting/popular TV shows). I love reading autobiographies (as you've probably gathered from this reading list) and drawn to the satisfying bolded font on the cover, I started to read this book and there was no turning back.

Undoubtedly one of the funniest books I have ever read, Not That Kind of Girl is a hilarious though sophisticated compilation of Dunham's life-shaping experiences. Unashamedly honest, her  book is a realistic representation of a life lived existing as a female during this generation, in a culture punctuated by technology and sex. Sometimes shocking, wrenching even, Dunham doesn't hold back at all. She tells you how it was and how it is. It's boldly genuine, exceptionally clever and written with a kind of awareness that considers the world we know and the people who inhabit it. 

Nuanced and imperfect, Dunham's candor shines brightly from the first few lines. Not That Kind of Girl is a testament to her brilliant ability to communicate through written words. 

Once I'd read the last line, closed it shut and lingered for a while on the satisfying feeling of reading a good book, I developed a new found appreciation for Dunham. I was itching to watch Girls, and so this new found appreciation for was pursued. 

These are the books I suggest to my friends, the ones that I couldn't put down. I hope you have something new to read now, something to pick up and take with you wherever you go. 

Love Chlo x


Holly floating at Little Cove // 35mm film
I do not yet know another cure like salt water. When I was little and got a cut on my knee 
from exploring the island I always went to with my pa, I would go to him and 
he would wash my broken skin with salt water, 
and it would heal.

I love diving underneath waves, to feel my body move through the mass of water that is rushing over me. Once I'm under, I look up and can see the white wash crash. Waves form and then they disappear onto the shore. The power of the ocean is unpredictable, every time I step into it I am so vulnerable. If it's a crappy day out there and it's rough, but I'm still swimming, I know that I might go under a wave and not come back up again. Because it's stronger than me, this water. Built in mass and depth, it swirls, spits and slaps up against rocks and sucks and draws currents through the water like a rogue pen on paper. There's something about salt water that has always soothed me. Once I'm in it, I don't want to get out. I just want to lie here and look up at the sky, have water fill my ears and hear only the stirring of sand. It keeps me afloat, the salt clings to my limbs and pushes me back up to air. Everything becomes nothing once I slide beneath the surface, the ocean transcends time and I may have already been out here forever, I'm not sure. I don't mind.

I learnt to swim from a really young age, since I can remember I've been in the water and always felt comfortable being there. My pa, Ron, had a big boat on two pontoons, a palm tree painted on the side and a pirate flag flying on top, called "The Island Cruiser". I was always semi under the impression that my pa was a real life pirate who had battled scoundrels and thieves at sea, hunting for hidden treasure while gliding across the big blue. He even had a large shark tooth strung around his neck that he still wears today, that came from a shark caracas found on a  beach somewhere - but I was certain he had wrestled the shark and plucked the tooth himself as a take home token. I soon learnt that was not the case, and that my pa adored sharks and all sea life. He is a man of the sea, had introduced me to salt water since I was a baby when we would all hop aboard the "Island Cruiser" to explore beaches for the day. The water there was always hot in the passage until the afternoon, but on the other side of the island, it was deserted of all human life, that was where the great big ocean  crashed and howled with the wind. This is where I collected shells and paddled carefully in the shallows. Looking out to huge container ships that looked like ants crawling the horizon and the violent waves were at least triple my seven-year-old self. 

The ocean has remained a massive part of my life despite growing up in the bush, and I don't think that will ever change. However, it has taken from people in my life, and I will always remember that too, but I stand by the big blue and hope my generation doesn't cost it anymore than it already has. The salt water cures broken skin, it soothes aching bodies and minds, the least we can do is respect it and keep it clean from litter and pollution. I try to always remember what nature gives me, it's irreplaceable. 

Ending a day with salt lingering on your skin, a window down in your the car and balmy air consuming your senses brings back nostalgic moments spent floating in the sea. 
Sometimes I was cold, sometimes I was warm. 

I was lucky enough to spend my first week of February soaking up the salty goodness of Byron Bay with Ryan. We packed up his van with my comfiest bed wear and headed South to our favourite place to be together. The days were long and calm, the mornings were all blue skies and sunshine, while the clouds rolled in for the afternoon and brought the cool air with them. Our staples things were breakfast, coffee, sand, ocean, books and sleep. Time was a hazy, soft concept that knew no bounds. My body was light, my head was light, the sun was bright.

We visited my beautiful friend China White in her home town, Brunswick, where we spent hours jumping into the Bruns River, catching up over delicious coffee and satisfying our empty bellies with the best Turkish food around. Luckily I brought a cam with me and here's what we captured. China is now living it up in Sydney, I hope to visit her soon... because she is a babe who knows what's up. 

Love, Chlo x


Roadside cactus jungle
It was the kind of heat that dried out your skin and chapped your lips, the kind you had to wade through, where each step is laboured by the waves of heat that enveloped your whole body. Balmy summer nights set in after the sun went down late, the cooler breeze gave you goosebumps, and sometimes brought the rain along too.

I'd never experienced dry heat before. It made you sweat in a way that made you feel healthy, pooling at the small of your back, and treated by diving under the waters of the Murray River. There was no hesitation upon jumping in, the relief the water brought left us speechless and there was no need to exchange words. We  proceeded to lie naked on it's shore for an hour or two and dive under once we were warmed again by the sun. The cool water pushed it's strong current against us and pulled debris along with it that would travel it's length, or get caught in a snag of tree roots along it's shore. White cockatoos weaved between the dense bush, crying out as they flew over us in massive flocks, sometimes gliding down to a visible branch which was immersed in water to drink. 
I felt like I wasn't really awake, when I was underwater I pulled my arms through the current, coming up for air which my lungs sucked in and let out. It was if I was dreaming, the heat dulled me down although the water awoke my senses, everything had this hazy clarity about it. Our heads were in the sky and we lazed in the water, in the heat, and soaked up the day, like lizards do on steaming rocks. 

It was a few months ago now that I flew down to country Victoria to visit my best friend Tayla. Out of the plane window as we lowered from the clouds I peered down at the great plains of brown earth. It was as if a massive brown patched quilt had been thrown down from the sky over the mountains and land, which dipped down into massive gauges that zigzagged the earth, cutting it like a knife would a cake. Then it soaked into rivers and changed to a green colour, sprouting roads, cars and buildings. We grew closer to landing, industrial places and suburban houses appeared as if white tic-tacs had been scattered over the quilt. Then the quilt turned into Melbourne, and then into an airport, and I experienced possibly the worst landing I ever have, where in a moment I thought to myself: "Hm, maybe we're not going to stop this morning."

Dry grass dream

Tayla lives next door to a cherry farm which surrounds her property and is one of the biggest distributors in the country. Sadly cherries aren't in season during summer so I wasn't able to run down the rows and binge on one of my favourite fruits! 
We ran a muck along the Murray, kayaking for a few hours one day and swimming in it nearly every day. It brought us significant relief from the heat of the day and was conveniently not even a five minute drive away. We rode Tay's horse Chicka together and lapped her paddocks along the fence line while the sun was slipping down. Her mum drove us around to wineries and we got drunk on tasters after visiting several while attempting to keep it together while talking to the experts. It was so wonderful to see Tay again in her current location, and explore the small town she is living in. Now she's working on a tomato farm near by and saving her pennies for her travels. Here are some of our moments together on 35mm film, enjoy.

On our way to Tay's after she got me from the airport (which 3 hours from her home)

Chika the Horse
Once a horse gal, always a horse gal

Murray River Series

My toes touch the edge...
And I trust it to hold me...
Water races down the back of my throat

Immersing my body into it's mass consumes me, and I become aware of everything surrounding me
Dreaming, light filters through my eyelids, colours and shapes dance in front of me,
time ceases to exist...

Love, Chlo x


Our family atlas ft. Ricoh film camera//sunglasses from Berlin//nana's Italian makeup compact from//Chanel lippy
Packing for a trip is one of my favourite things to do. I love sorting through potential outfits 
and neatly folding everything away in a bag so I can open it at my destination and 
riffle through it for that one thing I thought I'd forgotten. 

My first time on a plane was when I was 6 months old, my parents took Holly and I for our first visit to dad's family in New Zealand. Ever since then we have travelled to NZ once a year and although the flights only lasted 3 - 4 hours they helped introduce me to flying and I'll always be thankful that I was exposed to plane travel from an early age. It was always so exciting to prep for a flight, packing my bag and choosing which pair of shoes to bring. The best flights were the early morning ones when we would rise before the sun, bundle into the car and speed off to the airport. I loved airports: arrive early, check in, bag drop, customs, cafe, boarding gate, fly away - that routine! I was allowed to pick out a magazine from the airport newsagent while my brother Eli practically begged mum to buy PK chewing gum so our ears wouldn't pop on the way up. Watching planes take off and land through those massive windows at the boarding gate made me a little anxious before the flight, but I was soon soothed by being airborne with the clouds. 
Once you know where you want to travel to, visit your local travel agent and have a casual chat with them about flights, prices, and times to travel. They're so helpful and most of them are just sitting there waiting to give you valuable information for free. 

Now, have you got a job? If not, get one! Preferably with lots of hours so you can earn that cash. The main thing that is going to fuel your trip are dollars. You're going to need $1000-2000 for a flight depending on where you're going, and about $5000 spending money if you plan on staying over 4 weeks. Stop spending, literally right this second. Exit your ASOS tabs and let's get serious. I can guarantee you that no item of clothing is going to surpass a piece (let alone experience) found on your journey. 

Saving tips:
 - Have a jar/envelope in your underwear draw and tip it when you've got spare cash (and then do not touch it)
 - Start up a travel account with your bank branch (and never access it)
 - Sell your old clothes! Out of your car or at a local market - I've made so much money from selling my clothes it is ridiculous
 - Get a second job. I mean you won't have a life for now but going overseas is worth missing a day/night out with friends!
 - Prep lunch at home to take to work
 - Lemonade stand?
 - Steal money (ha ha, don't)

As for booking accommodation, check out where you can book out people's houses, apartments and rooms all over the world! Sometimes these places are even cheaper than a hostel. The owner will greet you when you arrive, show you around the place and give you local advice on the area. I have used AirBNB multiple times and will always be the first to recommend it to anyone who needs accommodation anywhere.

As stated previously, I love packing for a trip away. I mean when I stay a night at my boyfriend's place I'm honestly prepared for every kind of occasion and weather event known to humankind. It's not the most practical habit, although other times I'm thankful for my obsessive over packing tendencies - I mean, it will probably rain and that is why I need my jeans. It you're going on a long trip you'll probably have checked baggage therefore you have 20kg to play with, just always remember you're going to want to top it up with new things on your journey. Carry on baggage for short trips is a little trickier, just wear your heaviest stuff on the plane even if its 30ºC and then strip off once you're on board! 7kg isn't a lot, but surprisingly it can be. Just think: practical! 

A long flight is nothing to be afraid of, you just need to be prepared. My big sister Kobe who has travelled between the UK and Australia her whole life has got her long distance routine down pat - she even wears a clear face mask during the flight, books a lounge and shower for her stop over, and then reapplies the mask for the last leg of the flight! 

1. Once you're on that plane, you're on it for multiple hours so you're going to need to be comfortable. The most important thing is to wear something comfy, preferably layers with long pants, always pack a scarf and bed/flight socks in your carry on for extra comfort because the air con is unforgiving. 2. The air con also really dries out your skin so pack your favourite face wash, moisturisers, hand cream, lip balm and face spritz to apply during the flight and on your stop over in a big bathroom. 3. I'm going to be real with you, you are going to feel super seedy after about 9 hours of the flight, so please do not leave your toothbrush at home! Brushing your teeth on a long flight at least makes you feel like a real person for 5 minutes - and if you can access a shower during a longer stop over, even better. 

My carry on essentials! // Clockwise from top right: Apple earphones; Aēsop body balm; hand mirror; Claudalie beauty elixir; passport; folding hairbrush; sunglasses; notebook; travel pouch; iPhone; small travel book of destination; long flight socks; pen; wool scarf; Catalogue reading material; eyelash curlers; Lily of the Valley hand cream; Chloé mini perfume; Marc Jacobs: Daisy Fresh sample; aromatherapy sleep roll on oil; eco toothbrush; Burt's Bees lip balm & cuticle cream; $50 safety cash; bamboo bralette; sleeping mask.

4. Brushing your hair and remembering a hair tie is vital, you will regret not being able tie up your long locks. 5. Take sunglasses. Yup, be that pretend celebrity, you are going to want them in a bright airport when you'd rather be sleeping. 6. Sleeping is the most important thing to do! Try and time it right with your flight, take a sleeping mask and an essential oil that will aid you to sleep such as lavender or neroli. 7. Fresh tunes and old acoustic albums will make the perfect soundtrack to your flight, bring a little notebook to jot down musings and travel ideas while you're feeling inspired in the sky. 8. DRINK WATER! Okay this is so important, if you only drink the smallest cups of water you've ever seen that come with your in-flight meal, then you will be in trouble! Make sure you buy a 600-750ml bottle of water in the Departures lounge pre-flight and make friends with the air hostess who will continually top it up for you during the flight. 9. Watch Bridget Jone's Diary I don't really know why and neither will you when you're 16 hours into your flight. 10. Relax, chill out, spread out as much as you can and if there's a row of spare seats, grab em' as soon as the seat belt flight flicks off. 

Details clockwise from top left: Caudalie beauty elixir; Burt's Bees lip balm and cuticle cream; eco toothbrush;
Therapy Range Sleep roll on (they also have a ket lag one!); Daisy; Chloé; eyelash curlers; Lily of the Valley hand cream

Ah, definitely a relief. Make sure you've arranged transport to your accommodation or head to an information desk to suss out the public transport system. If you're cashed up and ready to roll on out, head to the taxi ranks (lucky duck) and have a printed address in English and in the first language of the country you're in. Enjoy every moment of your trip, it's what you work your butt off for and it is always so worth it. Go there with no expectations and get into the local nooks and cracks everywhere you go.

This blogpost is dedicated to the overwhelming amount of girls who have contacted me in the past month about planning their gap year present of future! I'm really flattered and a little surprised at how many of you want my advice on travelling in your gap year. Apart from what is written above, the other piece of advice I have is: be safe and stay as long as you can! Better yet, you can always go again!

Love, Chlo x


No makeup, No nuthin' //my 2014 soundtrack: Warpaint//Chet Faker//Courtney Barnett//Alt J//
Basement//Nai Harvest//DZ Deathrays//Angus & Julia
The other day a palm reader in Byron Bay grabbed my palm while doing my sister's reading and said: "Ah, independent as hell! But you're relying on your parents too much. You, YOU, have got a big, HUGE life ahead of you! You, *waggles finger at me* are very smart, you have very high values - are you living up to them yourself? No! You're not! It'll take you half your life to get there if you don't start now! You've got big things ahead of you!" So I better get cracking...

Looking back over my soon to be sun kissed shoulder I can see 2014 dissolving into memories of just another year gone by. It was my after school oasis that I dipped into and was able to swim whichever way I wanted.  I got myself overseas through determined saving and working two jobs  - one I loved and the other I did not love - and proved something to myself: that it is possible to travel at 17 years old with your twin. The travel bug most definitely bit and I now hunger to get on plane to New York, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, India, back to Europe anywhere I can... or in a car down the coast through NSW and out onto the Great Ocean Road. But you can't do it all at the same time, let alone the same year (unless I had planned my work/saving a little better) and I sometimes forget that I have some life ahead of me with some ambitions to fuel by studying a University degree. Who knows if the paper certificate is my way to get to them or not, but it's a start and it's knowledge of different worlds that I want to immerse myself in. I've always strived to achieve the goals that I set for myself, I guess I just like to succeed at things I deem important in my own eyes. It's just a matter of finding another kind of determination, grasping ahold of it, and going with it. 

I constantly reevaluate myself, think of how I could've been better in a moment, but the most important thing to recognise is that you had that moment in the first place. It was apart of your year, it came and went like a distant ocean breeze. Now something new has blown in, 
and it's time to get salty. 

Post-travel I found life back at home okay, but I felt really quite depressed while working after two weeks or so. It hurt to wake up each day and not have a new adventure, experience, cuisine, or person in my life, just a shift for some money to suffice. I realised how spoilt you become while in another culture, they're cherished weeks of my life that I will refer to an reminisce on - often just for the comfort of knowing that I did leave in the first place! The waves of travel disease come and ago, some stronger than others, but they hit pretty hard in my little post-school oasis that was... therefore I want this year to excite me, to bite me, to frighten me, to light up and shout: THIS IS WHERE YOU WANNA BE! But it won't do that by itself, I need to step up and shout for it. Because this life I'm in can go anywhere, I just need to make it happen. 

This is my first blogpost of 2015, something compelled me to sit down this rainy afternoon and type my little heart out over my laptop keys. I hope this kind of sudden inspiration is inspired to come out regularly over the year, because boy, that'd be a great help! This year I'm enrolling in uni which is both exciting and stupidly scary; I'm working on my blog collaboration with sleepwear label ROMERSK (@romersksleepwear // and hopefully releasing it ASAP; I'm also working with the Noosa boutique Bow & Arrow (@bowandarrowtrading // and learning more about the local and national fashion industry; I'm quitting the job that got me overseas in the first place -  so the fear of never leaving the country again will probably hit me more than once. 2015 will see me evolving, adapting, and changing. I'm interested to see what it holds and where it will take me, all I know is that I'm hoping to be productive more than anything. I don't know if I feel like there's any kind of oasis to be found but I'm hopeful at least one will appear along the way. 

I hope that if you're reading this that 2015 brings you peaceful solitude so you can converse with yourself and hear out your own do's n' don'ts rather than believe in someone else's, I hope that you make a new friend, find a new hobby, buy a new dress, a new hat, some new sunglasses (I da know, just treat that wardrobe right) and continue all the good things in your life that are actually good for you. It's gonna be good, and I hope that things will be more better than worse! 

Thank you for reading and looking with your very own eyes at my blogposts, it really does mean so much to me. For those that have emailed and messaged me encouragement and feedback, thank you! There are still two more travel posts in the vault to start with, but I will hopefully be doing more interviews and fashion related posts during the year. It would mean a lot for you all to stick around! 17,000+ page views for 2014, that makes it all worth while!

Love, Chlo x


The window sill, taken by Hamish. This window was our favourite bit about the apartment...
There's no denying this city's charisma, buoyant in the air and passed between Parisian 
lips, it's all around. I can't help but be charmed by the city's sex appeal, 
laid back atmosphere, and beauty. 

The hum of daily traffic and French accents echo up our street and to our apartment's open window. The morning has been spent drinking bitter espresso and purchasing our religious croissant and baguette. The croissants here melt in your mouth and leave flakes of light, buttery pastry on your lips. We've drunk bottles of €3 red wine every night, and kept record of our favourite bottles. For so long I've waited to visit this city and it feels so surreal now that I'm actually here. 

The sunshine comes and goes when it pleases, the weather is cool enough to wear my favourite boots and shawl to most destinations. On the Metro we see the people of Paris that have not escaped to holiday elsewhere during this time of year - the dark tunnels leading us to where we want to go and where they have to go. An accordion player jumps into our carriage and plays a song I wish could follow me around for the rest of my stay. We rise above ground for a moment, morning light streams into the windows and the accordions' notes match the flickering of early sunshine. We duck back under. The song finishes, he shakes a tin to collect coins from passengers, I empty my 1c pieces into his tin, he nods his head in thanks and jumps off at the next stop. Goodbye accordion playing man.

I went to Paris with Holly to meet up with our good friends from home; Hamish and Ben. We travelled via the Eurostar which was amazing and relaxing and calming and comfy and everything we love in transport - I mean, who doesn't?! - but it was bloody expensive and I considered selling Holly to cover costs (just kidding). When we first staggered up our metro stop stairs we were unknowingly about to start making our way in the opposite direction to our apartment until, out of know where, Ben walked across the street right in front of us and saved us from being stranded in Paris surrounded by leering Turkish men.

Sharing our first bottle of wine in our beautiful apartment found on AirBNB

We're positioned in Ménilmontant, a multicultural area in the 11th arredosmint which is about a 10-15 minute metro trip into the centre of Paris. When you step outside our front door, on the corner, a tobacco shop and bar was home to many men during the day who watched us leave and then return. We would walk past small cafes and rustic bars. Turkish food stores were dotted along the main street outside the front doors with miscellaneous drinks, stacks of nuts, and fruits ripening in the sun. Middle Eastern restaurants and kebab shops were side by side for the first length of the street which lead to French restaurants and slightly classier looking joints. A loud and bustling Middle Eastern market of fresh produce, olives, fabrics, fish, meat and knick knacks stretched down the street. Multiple times during our stay where we would grab our fruit and vegetables from here. Our favourite patisserie was further up, the guy behind the counter (who I assume was the owner) would chat to Ben in French and then make conversation with the rest of us (who were extremely limited in our French, oui). He smiled sweetly as we attempted to brake down the language barriers between us.
Holl sitting in our cute kitchen where we all cooked (Ham cooked his famous curry, and Ben his famous pasta)
Back of Ben's head in a sea of bargain hunters and barterers 
Ménilmontant was vibrant, and the suburbs after it only grew more and 
more colourful. It gave me a taste of what a lot of outer Parisian 
arrondissements are really like. 
Blue doors in Belleville//Tony Bianco Boots// hand-me-down poncho & scarf
Once we made our way into the centre of Paris it was love at first glimpse. Strolling by the River Seine (which is no doubt one of my favourite parts of the city) we got a feel for this city that I have personally waited years to finally visit. People were sprawled along the bridges that criss-crossed from the islands' to the city. Traffic built up behind crossings and horns tooted. I was immediately enamoured with the architecture around me; there were gorgeous windows of residential blocks and flower boxes beneath them. The sun was gleaming out from behind grey-white fluffy clouds that gave a hazy glow to our surrounds.

Our tummies were empty as we hadn't eaten for a few hours and I wanted my first taste of Paris to be wedged in a baguette. Hamish lead the pack in search of the cheapest deal he had found in the days he was here prior to us. As it turned out, the afternoon had grown long and the cheapest of the cheap had sold out with only limp ones left. As we still longed for our baguettes the rain started to pitter patter down, our first purchase in Paris were matching black umbrellas that became our friendly companions during our days spent wandering the city's streets (and then I fled into a famously tiny Parisian chemist to babble with the sales woman in French and buy spot cream).

 Beautiful buildings and artists at work in Montmartre 

 - Eiffel Tower
 - Arc de Triomphe
 - Louvre (actually didn't go inside! But the outside was incredible and I'll go inside another time)
 - Montmarte
 - Sacre-Coeur
 - Palace of Versailles
 - Jardin de Tuilleries
 - Musee d'Orsay
 - Palais de Tokyo
 - Photography Museum (that I forget the name of but it was a petite two three story building with a winding white staircase with old red carpet flowing down the stairs)
 - Couroone Park (a gem that Ham spotted on Google maps: "That looks like a good park" - and it   was! More so incredible than good. On the outer of Paris with views over the whole city, waterfalls and bridges over massive drops, we certainly didn't feel like we were in Paris)
 - Galaries Layafette (deluxe shopping centre hell!! Do NOT enter unless you're rich or are use to feeling horrible while shopping)
 - Printemps (shopping department luxury - much nicer than above but you still need to be ultra rich)
 - Champs-Elysées (very, very busy and very overrated -  but hey, we went!)

Whatever premeditated thoughts or assumptions you might have about Paris, you should probably drop and leave them at the airport on your way there. Lucky for me, I travelled expectation free and found I enjoyed everywhere I went by seeing it for what it really was. I found romance, danced around the city, but instead of a soothing waltz, it had a solid groove about it. Paris had soul, people did their own thing, and I found it to be quite grungy rather than the picturesque, quaint, ritzy, romance fuelled city that is commonly communicated by forms of entertainment.

Strolling the streets of Paris is so rewarding in the sense of suddenly walking into a place you never quite expected

Unfortunately, not all Parisians were the stylish madams and monsieur's 
I had expected to see walking every street and turn - although most of them 
were always carrying a baguette in hand

However, things of Parisian dreams do exist, like Laudreé Macarons and Vouge cigarette smoking women. Particular places exude class and beauty, like Saint Germaine, just off of the River Seine, where people wine and dine in quaint cafés that are surrounded by patisseries, bookstores, wallpaper shops and other interior stores that line the narrow streets. Couples zoomed past in flash cars and Vespas' while I strolled in awe. It was as if the river had bled it's beauty down the streets to these dreamy spots. I tip toed in and out of the precious book stores, attempting to ignore the fact that taking a massive series of Chanel books home would be a sensible idea. I went there on my last day, to Saint Germaine, as my mind rebelled against the thought of leaving.

(the main one being that Holly and I were able to get into 90% of galleries, etc, for free because we were 17)
1. Street strolling: simply walking around Paris was so enjoyable. It was how I got a feel for the place, just by taking in everything around me on foot. I strolled down small cobbled streets that were  accompanied only by restaurants; saw the River Seine for all it's beauty from the bridges and walkways above it; found a gorgeous small vintage store that stocked old designer pieces; and peered into people's flowery gardens in Belleville. All of these delights were discovered on foot, the jackpot being a delicious hidden food market where we ate flavoursome Moroccan tagine, with juicy apricots that popped in my mouth.

Delectable treats in Montmartre 
Outside Laudrée where macaroon "rush hour" appeared out of thin air

2. Sunset atop the Arc de Triomphe: at the top of the Arc de Triomphe was when it hit me that, yes,  I really was in Paris and that I really was watching the sun set over the magical city. The memory of the sun washing over French windows, the lights blooming alight on the Tower de Eiffel, and car horns tooting below will be something I cherish for a very long time.

Simply, beautiful 
Lights blooming
3. Palais de Tokyo & Musee d'Orsay: Ben pointed out Palais de Tokyo on the map and so we went to check it out, to our delight, it was an amazing art gallery. The building itself was huge, with expansive rooms where the modern art was displayed. There were lots of cool installations, one that was particularly moving was made up of five (or six?) huge screens playing moving projections of the ocean from above, each wave crashing at the shore and then receding back into the dark mass of water.

Exhibition at Palais de Tokyo
Inside Palais de Tokyo's expansive rooms
Musee d'Orsay is an adored art gallery and well known, my ex-art teacher suggested to me that I go because it was her favourite in Paris. The gallery itself use to be a train station way back when, which explains the huge glass ceilings and general architecture of the building. I stood in front of many beautiful Monet, Picasso, and Toulous paintings, and peered out of the massive clock shaped window that looked out onto the Lourve across the river, with Montmarte in the distance.

A huge clock that doubles as a window over the city inside Musee d'Orsay
4. Meeting up with our Berlin friends: while Hamish and I were in Berlin two weeks before we went to Paris, we met two friendly chaps in our hostel room who happened to be fellow Australians from Melbourne. They went by the names of Kingsley and Sam, who had an old friend coming from Copenhagen to meet them, Grace - who turned out to be my gal pal that I could "ooh" and "ahh" over ACNE boots and shawls with. We had many laffs and 90c beers all together in Berlin, and Ham and I suggested they all book an apartment close to ours in Paris so we could meet up again. Two weeks later, they were on our Parisian apartment doorstep on the fourth floor for a dinner party! Cheese, wine, cheese, wine, wine, baguette, adventures, memories, strolls, and the rest is history.
On our last night all together we went out to have dinner, which turned into a major journey as us gals ventured on from our first option to find something we sort would suit the occasion better. We ended galloping up very tall, extravagant stairs through a park where children met up at dusk and from the top you could look over the whole of Paris (but the restaurant there didn't hold any appeal and we went back to option one) The local Café Melimontant is where we had the menu translated to us by an eager waiter, happy hour bevs, and escargot for the first time (which is deeeelicious!) Meeting people who you just click with is the best, and even better while you're travelling - even if they are one of your own kind.

Polaroid's of Paree feat. Grace and I in the middle at our restaurant dinner

5. Palace of Versailles: now I won't lie, but visiting this palace was fucking exhausting. We waited in line for HOURS and then proceeded to be pushed through the palace by crowds of tourists who couldn't stand still long enough to take in all of it's beauty. But, in saying this, it was an experience I will not forget. The enormous ceiling paintings in every single room were something straight out of a history book and I do not regret going in the slightest - just get there really early mid-week...

In the palace these great big windows are along the walkway into the main digs
 Ma Paris boyz and the magnifique palace

Holl feat. palace (at this point in time we were all going a little stir crazy)

Our last afternoon spent in Paris was in Montmartre with Ben (as Ham was already on a train to his next destination). We had a glorious time exploring and eating gelato, although I had made the mistake of reading the wrong ticket, which made us miss our train. 
(Holl n' I freaked out...but they put us straight on the next one due to policy #thankgod)

The whole time I was in Paris over the course of ten days, I was seeing sights and doing things, going places, but by the end of my stay I left feeling like I still had so much to see and do. My last morning was spent back by the River Seine wondering where my time in this city had gone, and what had I really done -  didn't I just get here? It was the leaving blues and my mind was playing tricks trying to give me any reason to find the negative in such a beautiful last moment by the river.

Holl twirling in the back streets of Montmartre 
Being in Paris was literally a dream come true for me, and I can't wait to go back to France one day to go deeper into the countryside and see it's wonders. But something I must do before I return to Paris is really research the shopping destinations to find the understated, local fashion scene I was (and still am) so hungry for. Grace and I did seek out: AcneA.P.C and Merci - but I feel like we only touched the surface of something that runs deep in the history of Paris.

Street art lovin' in Montmartre 
 Lasting impressions of our cool apartment and it's surrounds...

I loved Paris, and will never forget it's magic grungy-ness. Au revouir for now...

Chloe x