Well friends, it’s been a week or so of me resisting the camera lens, meaning I simply lack the desire to photograph myself. Often, I think doesn’t the internet have enough photos of me? Sometimes the stares of other people on the streets feel too mean, too annoying - the interference of men (isn’t it always the men?! ) is less easily ignored. And then there’s the fact too that its unbearably hot outside and I’ve exhausted my summer wardrobe, which mostly consisted of clothes I loved from seasons past, pieces from my vintage collections or the same six dresses still in my Ibiza suitcase, still covered in sand. I don’t feel any urge to buy anything new. And with my work ending for the season this Friday, my heart and soul are already fired up and preparing for September meanwhile I’m reminding myself to cling to these last weeks of summer because as soon as the scarves come out, I’ll be missing these months. And surely this is what Lana del Rey meant when she sang about summertime sadness? And surely my disinterest in buying yet another white bikini is symbolic of something? What that something is, I’m unsure but I guess I could start with unpacking my suitcase because I’m leaving again this weekend. Just a few weeks left of summer - I’ll be relaxing through mine because September? It’s going to be a big one. | sandals by @jamessmith_thelabel | skirt by @sezane | @audrey leighton.vintage blouse | @fendi bag |
I am wondering if I’m ever as relaxed as I look in this photo. And I have to conclude that no, it’s unlikely. I’ve been thinking a lot about anxiety lately and the relationship I have with mine. Sometimes I view it as my edge, the force that pushes me, keeps me sharp, lands me at the gym when I’m exhausted or pushing through a deadline at 5 am. Other times I wonder what my life would be without all my energy, nervous and otherwise - other people seem far more complacent (something I’ll never be ) but happier too. At ease. Not always working towards the next thing, never wrestling through the “worst case scenarios” or “what if’s”. I feel like my anxiety both prepares me for the future but also urges me to make what’s coming the best it can be. But it often makes me less happy and more agitated, stressed, on edge than I should be. I juggle between viewing my anxiety as friend or foe. And I’ve come to realize it’s both, and just like every other complicated part of myself - it needs to embraced as much as it does managed. And there’s solace in that - don’t simplify complexities that exist within you as flaws, instead see how it shapes you both good and bad. Because every personality trait is a double edged sword, wouldn’t you say? And that’s one thing I think we all are: swords with powers of a unique kind. Or so I like to think. | swimsuit by @monroe designs |
I can’t wait to share all the beautiful things I am in the midst of chaotically planning, creating & dreaming up for September. #audreyleightonvintage
Just about all I can shrug into from my wardrobe these days is a scrap of fabric tied around my chest, the same white shorts I’ve worn for years & my trusty @audrey leighton.vintage x @blackandbrownlondon belt - which absolutely goes with everything and hopefully distracts from the sweat.
No makeup just the most beautiful @dior bracelet I’ve ever seen, part of @audrey leighton.vintage collection 9 - launching next Wednesday 31st July at 10 am CET time. This will be our last summer collection, and we won’t launch again until 30th September - this also means I’m going to be dedicating most of my time in August to finally finishing my book! Which I then hope to self publish for the end of the year - and to make sure I focus properly, I’m slipping away to the countryside for most of the next month with nothing but a few kimonos, no makeup and many books in my suitcase. #audreyleightonvintage
It’s been a long, long stretch between pay days. It’s so hot I can barely think, eat or sleep. I spent all my money on fresh fish in Ibiza/ Formentera and boats and glasses of crisp, cold wine. I’m back in Barcelona and simply being here is making me tired all the time. So here’s to the @audrey leighton.vintage wrap skirt my mama made and this 1 euro white fan I bought in very sweaty desperation last week - which is actually the only new thing I’ve bought in a very long time. No “hauls” from me my loves, just this fan, a new collection of freckles and this linen wrap skirt I’ve worn over and over again since we released it last month. It will be available to buy one last time, 31st July at 10 am CET time - which is when collection 9 launches! #audreyleightonvintage
We clean our faces everyday. I myself, clean mine up to 4 times a day and then there’s our teeth, hair, bodies. We have all these rituals for washing away the dirt that accumulates with being alive. Travelling for a week, I realized I bring an entire kilogram of products with me to just clean my body. But what about the dirt in our souls? That too accumulates with being alive. And I don’t see as many rigorous, religious rituals for cleaning that away. A shower can only cure so much. La mer face wash won’t make me any happier. I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe at 30 I need to clear out some of the dirt and the dust I’ve accumulated internally by simply existing on this earth. I am perhaps too cynical, too distrusting, too bitter at times. And there’s no la mer product to unclog those parts of my soul. Which leads me to this, I’ve always told you ultimately I want a very peaceful life. I want to be calm, collected and not as volatile as I have been for so much of my life. So it’s time to obsess over what I feel rather than my pores or the Botox or how white my teeth are. I’ll always care about those things too because I’m a woman but I want to clean myself internally of the world as well. I’m not sure how as of yet but I’ll share as I go. And it’s a very liberating thought, because once again I realize I’ll never grow up but instead, will always be growing. And isn’t an enormous part of growing, healing? This world will always break us down, it’s how we clear that out, overcome it - that’s what counts. And I’m very interested in the residues that collect from existing as a human being. Some of them we should keep, but many we should scrub away. And how we do this is also endlessly fascinating to me.
Yesterday I finally had time to get my manicure & pedicure done. It was almost spiritual to sit there under the cool of the air conditioning and be pampered. I haven’t been that happy or relaxed in many weeks. Sometimes? It really is the simple things that end up making me feel great, so so great, incredible even. Quite like the 5 minute salad I made for dinner last night ; cold, crisp vegetables from the fridge with a spray or three of balsamic from the Italian deli down the street - or these lace up sandals from @headoverheels with the most perfect tortoiseshell block heel. And to put my feet up here and glance appreciately at my new white pedicure tucked inside these beautiful shoes? I felt satisfied. Happy. Calm. Don’t overlook the simple things my loves - sometimes they are absolutely the most important, most uplifting, most happy. | sandals by @headoverheels |
When the going gets tough? I remind myself I’m relentless. I think at 30, I’ve proven that to myself. I’m not always the most patient. I have a temper I have to watch. My perfectionism has nearly driven me to insanity. But I will say this : I am relentless. Ever since I was a child at school, I’d show up, take on more than I should and work, work, work. My professional life has been littered with more lows than highs but I just kept going. I’m proud of that fire in me. It’s my best trait. And I’ll admit, my friends, I’m burnt out - the fire faded somewhere mid May and I’ve been on autopilot ever since. So I’m taking some time away soon and then I’ll come back better than ever. Because once you realize you aren’t capable of giving up? That’s when you realize you have no choice but to keep going, keep trying, keep working towards goals. And you know what? Whether you succeed or not, never giving up? That keeps you alive. Alive in a way most people will never feel. So before you berate yourself for not reaching a goal or ambition just yet, remind yourself that you can be relentless and in that? Lies the flame of a truly passionate life. Fuck an easy life. I want the fire. And that fire? It’s as beautiful as it is uncomfortable. But so be it. I’ll take that over never trying.
Let me tell you about my friend, @oliviamadigansheajewellery I first met Olivia when she was a child. For some reason, it’s a moment I’ll never forget and I think I remember it because back then I was very shy and not many kids at school ever approached me. She came up to me at school, during a parent teacher meeting and introduced herself to me. I was a few years older. She couldn’t have been older than 11 but she was so charming, even then as a child. Her brother, Alex, who is the same age as me, was the only boy at school who was kind to me, I was awkward and strange looking, not that my face was visible very often, it was usually buried in a book. Olivia has been a friend of mine ever since. She’d come see me in Paris when I lived there and last year I saw her for the first time in a good while. She’s one of the most magnetic people I’ve met, she’s also very, very, very funny. One thing I love about where I grew up amongst a collection of small towns clustered around a coastline? Is that so many of the people I grew up with there are some of the souls I still admire most. And so naturally I had to buy these beautiful gold hoops from Olivia, who is an incredible jewellery designer. They are my dream hoops and even better that they are by her. Adore you babe! | double hoops by @oliviamadigansheajewellery | @chanelofficial earring |
My job as an influencer is rarely taken seriously, it’s usually mocked but in my 10 years of doing what I do, a job I accidentally created for myself from a crumbling student single bedroom? It’s given me the opportunity to meet so many interesting, varied souls. Ive met more incredible people than anyone I know. And sure, they might not live where I live, but watching their creative dreams play out as our friendship grows? It’s the biggest honour. I’m so proud of my influencer friends and I’m so proud to watch them evolve as they grow, into new businesses, new dreams, new cities. And one of those people is @anouskapb who recently started a new company ; we spent an entire two days on a boat, half naked, half drunk, talking about all we want to achieve next. It was the most beautiful experience and one I’ll remember every single day I’m sitting in front of my computer at 5 am or shooting for 10 hours straight and I know she will too. Because that’s the thing, being ambitious can be lonely. Working all the time can be boring. But she’s a kindred soul and knowing she’s out there, feeling the same, struggling the same? It gives me peace. She gives me hope, and isn’t that the best thing a friend can give? I love her so much. And I love these days in Ibiza I spent with her in a way not even I can accurately describe.
Just a kind reminder that if you’d like one of my photos to live on the back of your phone, I collaborated with @thedairy on a collection of my photographs on cases. I admire the brand for uplifting artists from all over the world, giving their work another platform - one we all hold in our hands all day long. I love that! And I’m so honoured to share space with so many other talented women on their website. You can shop directly from their Instagram too, hoping you’ll take a look if you enjoy my photography.
The face of a woman with two full boat days on her skin and a full summer of freckles, salt water and sun ahead. I know skincare is important but I also simply don’t believe city life to be very healthy. I always look better, feel better, think better when I leave. And when I was on that boat? I thought about how confining living in a box stacked on top of other people is. How I so rarely get to see the sunset and if I do it’s from a rooftop bar I’d rather not be at. How all my vegetables come from a sterile supermarket when I’d rather pull them from the ground myself. How everyone is existing too close and crowded but people aren’t kind to one another. And how sad all that often feels to me. How sometimes city life feels like the most depressing sort of existence, and the people living modestly in the countryside are the ones with the most sophisticated lives, not the people drinking wine they can’t afford at the fancy bars that Vogue featured or even the richer ones with the penthouse terrace furniture dusty with pollution. City life doesn’t feel beautiful to me anymore in the way it did when I was younger. I grew up in the countryside after all and while at 18, I was so desperate for city life, it’s funny how I’ve ended up wanting exactly what my parents gave me. | top by @fuchsia shaw | belt by @blackandbrownlondon x @audrey leighton.vintage | mules by @headoverheels |
In trying to create, I found myself. All that effort, all those years, is how I found who I am. When I’d be close to throwing my camera down in frustration because what I mentally pictured never mirrored itself into an actual photograph. The same goes for writing, I tried writing a novel at 15, reas vicariously, kept journals and then I went on to later spend 3 years studying all kinds of writing for my literature degree. I cannot even describe how much anguish I went through in trying to be good creatively. It didn’t work the way I wanted for a very long time. And I still have so much to learn, but there’s an ease now and that took over a decade. So I found myself through trying to create but in creating now, I preserve myself. If a boyfriend leaves, all my friends fade, the money dies out, I’ll still place much of my personal value on my undying creativity, which wasn’t always good, most days I still don’t think it is - but it defines me in a way that’s stable, solid, long lasting. And absolutely no one or any job can ever take that from me and when I’ll die I’ll be grateful I found so much of myself but also so much happiness in photographing things like this right here or even writing captions like this one too.
Walking alone in this world is very tiring. Working for yourself. Being independent. Relying on no one ever for anything. Ambition like fire. All these traits are as beautiful as they are uncomfortable. Mostly I take pride in who I am and how I live life but I’ll be so honest and tell you that this week? I’m fed up. I’m irritated. I’m tired down to my very bones. It’s one of those weeks where I wonder how all these women online have all this free time to galavant across Europe all summer when I’m struggling to frantically finish all my work so I can take just 3 days off ? I barely have time to clean the clothes I need for my suitcase. I maintain an incredible level of motivation and enthusiasm for all that I do, including the gym, a place I’m at everyday and lately, twice a day. Not to mention the long, long days. Starting at 5 am. Finishing at 9 pm. But every so often, I just break. It’s like I melt away. And I momentarily just have to not care at all. This week is one of those. Who I am is entirely down for repair, out of order, sincerest apologies please come back next week. Which is why I’m skipping the gym, maybe shrugging some clothes into the washer and pouring myself the biggest glass of wine. Because sometimes, I’ll say it - it’s very hard to be me. And I know, it’s very hard to be you too. So just momentarily pause all the fucks you usually give, to blissfully not care at all. Okay? | bikini by @houseofcb | hat by @lackofcoloraus |
We spent today packaging up all your orders, my loves. I also worked out twice and I’m already in bed. Love you all. Every single purchase you make means so much to me! And heads up, we are having our first ever sale for 12 hours only over on @audrey leighton.vintage ! #audreyleightonvintage
An over spilling Sunday trying to plan how I’ll possibly manage to do everything that needs to be done before I go away for a week. | bag by @ateliersauguste |
Well my loves, I’m in the midst of an intense love affair with flowers. As soon as I manage to find a week to launch my print shop, you can expect many of these photographs I’ve taken, some quietly at home on my own but often too with my assistant julia helping with every floral whim I can dream up. In other news, all the work, the shoots, the 5 am wake ups, the gym and existing sans carbs made my immune system weak and I tumbled this weekend into the worst cold ever. The kind that requires a skyscraper of pillows underneath my head so I can sleep and breathe simultaneously at night. I’m not one for self pity, but I am kicking the wall in frustration. I have so much to do and all the pressure makes it impossible to rest right now. And yes I still have been working out, limply / as best as I can and yes I woke up to work both weekend days at 5 am because I just refuse to let my nose and throat dictate my days. I need a real work break soon. I keep saying soon because there’s so much to do but maybe I’ve put it off too long now. But I also am in a period of such creative productivity, a cycle that doesn’t come around often enough so I want to honour this stage in every way I can. Truthfully though? I feel absolutely frazzled which is perhaps why I’ve found such solace recently in photographing flowers. It brings me such quiet joy. I hope you feel happy looking at this photo too.
If you haven’t bought a wrap skirt yet, I suggest you do so. I have four in my wardrobe and I wear them with everything. They flatter every single kind of body type, really, I promise you this is true. In fact one of my dreams with my brand is to design a capsule collection of wrap skirts and dresses, I’m even thinking of having my mother, who is an incredible seamstress and makes all her own clothes to make my first set to sell. So tell me, are you team wrap too and would you buy one? I’m looking into raw silk as the fabric because it’s the most perfect material. And I’d love to see some of you wearing a wrap skirt my mother and I designed this summer. It would make me so happy! | wearing @audrey leighton.vintage |
I’m really, really big on lip balm, did you know this? I somehow manage to justify spending 50 euros on 1 pot, which yes is a ridiculous price, I agree. And I must always, like my bottle of water have a balm in arms reach or in my handbag. The @lancomeofficial lip balm has moved up to my number one, best ever. Really. And not half as expensive as the La Mer or Chanel balms I fell for too. Also very much into using @givenchybeauty ‘s youth essence serum. I coat my face in this before applying my CC cream and the glow my loves, is a good one. I can’t recommend the @lancomeofficial Patchouli perfume enough . It’s rich, dark, sexy and smells like a tropical sunset. I loveeee it. And if you’re prone to crying or never sleeping enough like me, I like their eye patches too. I store mine in the fridge and putting them on over coffee in the morning is the closest I’ve come to a spa experience in a very long time. And no, none of this is sponsored. So many of you ask me for beauty product recommendations, so I shot this photo and shared these for no reason other than I love you.
You must must hold on to the fact that you are alive. You must keep that flame alight. It’s ironic that living can often make us forget we’re alive. The routine, the commute to work, the glow of the screens our eyes see, the laundry, the tedious task of shrugging dinner into a shopping basket, bills we’d rather not pay... But don’t let yourself forget that there’s air in your lungs, fire in your soul and so much life wrapped right into your bones. Please promise me you’ll remember to never forget just how much life you have, and just how much it means to live. | dress by @nidodileda |
Four pieces of thick double sided tape, two perfectly round, large enough yellow flowers, 1 bra discarded on the floor and voila we got the photograph I saw in my head, another in my ongoing personal flower project, which I absolutely don’t have time to be indulging in but I paused my 10000 deadlines for a few minutes, tore off my top and with no shame asked my photo assistant Julia to help me tape my nipples to the flowers... the things, the ridiculous things we do as a team in pursuit of a photo. You can’t even imagine. And the messes we make? Oh wow, those you wouldn’t believe either. Also I say we, but it’s mostly just ME making the mess and she will be nearby rolling her eyes.
Still one of my favourite photos I’ve taken for @rocknrosegirls who I have the honour of shooting for on a regular basis. They were the first brand I ever collaborated with back when I started as an influencer over a decade ago. @jesslathan & @emilyjanelathan are practically online family by now. And yep these are still the best simple everyday hoops you’ll find anywhere, I promise.
There is beauty in breaking. There is beauty in the messes. There is beauty in the chaos. There is beauty in the fires you hide, that you try to hold down. And that which lies quiet; the mayhem of everything it is to be human, all I choose to see is it’s messy, chaotic, fiery, prone-to-breaking beauty.
Next up in my personal flower project, a photo I actually shot for @audrey leighton.vintage but I love it so much I decided it should live here too. And what better timing than when I’m long between paydays, the expenses of simply existing often feel so ludicrous to me, wouldn’t you agree? If only flowers were money, because I have an abundance of them at home right now. #audreyleightonvintage
It took me a very long time to love my face. I was a very awkward, very ugly teen. And then I relied on glasses for many years, not because I preferred them but because I believed they helped cover up my face that I didn’t like. It’s so silently painful to feel ugly. I struggled under the weight of that belief for most of my life. And it pains me to think of all the women that still everyday sit with that quiet, crushing idea about themselves every single day. So much of beauty is homogenized. We’re taught beauty is about looking the same in some way. So, its far too easy to believe you have an ugly face. As I’ve gotten older, I began to find the typical “pretty” face and it’s many variations to be absolutely boring. Generic good looks just simply don’t entice because mostly the faces are the same. Someone I care very much about once told me I have a very fascinating face - one that is very interesting to look at. And that compliment meant so much more than any man who has told me I’m pretty. Because what the fuck is pretty? I’d much prefer to look interesting. Unusual even. So next time you find yourself sinking under your quiet disbeliefs, remember all the irregularities, the unusual qualities of your face that you probably most hate... remember that those are your beauty. Because they make you interesting to look at. And like any work of art, it’s not the most pretty we remember, but the most interesting. The ones that fascinate us. That’s what’s beautiful to me. A fascinating face. And that has nothing to do with whether you have big eyes or a small nose or poreless skin, it’s the chaotic combination of all the features on your face, that my loves, is what’s truly captivating. | earrings I ADORE by @audrey leighton.vintage |
I am very excited for a very @audrey leighton.vintage summer. We are bringing our office to the beach everyday next week for shooting. And in June the team is meeting me in Ibiza. We have many exciting projects in the works. We’ve found a very reliable, very efficient courier and our Instagram account has been restored! There were a few hassles recently, situations that made me question why I decided to venture into e-commerce. But with the sun, my enthusiasm came back around. I am SO excited. And we will be finishing the summer with a 90 meter office (previously my apartment ), hopefully hiring another creative soul or two and maybe, eventually I’ll find time to finish writing that book I’ve promised all of you... #audreyleightonvintage
Coffee, a camera or two and my favourite park in Barcelona which I selfishly keep a secret because it’s always empty, there’s beautiful statues and what was once I assume to be a very old but very grand house. This is actually one of my favourite places in the city, which is why I won’t be telling you about it. I dread the day I come and there are 20 year olds drinking beer on the grass. As I’ve gotten older, crowded places irritate me, I almost always leave agitated. And I just cannot deal with the cacophony that seems to always surround young people. So this park I’m keeping for myself and the 3 adorable old people who come and quietly read their newspapers here. #weekend