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THE SUNBEAM ZINE

happiness.

VOLUME ONE


hello and welcome to the first volume of the sunbeam zine! during lockdown, i found it very easy to lose sight of the things that make me happy. so, i decided to embark on a mission to bring some light back into my life and combat my lockdown boredom... a couple of months later and the sunbeam zine was born! if you're reading this, thank you for helping me turn this idea into a reality! i hope you enjoy volume one of the sunbeam zine, and i hope it makes you as happy as it has made me. - maddie x

'a calm sunset dip' - photography by Alfie Winters @_a_2_3 // Essex, England


THANK YOU TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS Linda M Crate // @authorlindamcrate Alexa Price // @lexwrites_ Tee Ferguson // @tee.ferguson Lisa Smith // @sweetiecake_los Mils Balcombe // @milsastudioss Jennifer Johnstone // @jennowrites Ruby Felton // @not.very.monday Tiana Angels // @limeote Debbie McArthur // @debbiemcarthur7462 Holly Berry // @hollyberry_x Gemma Allison // @unattainableblonde Gemma Balcombe // @stickingonstuff Sélina Farzaei // @wackography Simran Kaur // @simran_k_01 Casey Hyams // @caseyhyams Esther Gonzales // @esther.poetry Rachel Kavanagh // @rachlkaart Tanvi Nagar // @tanvibnagar Ella Harrison // @ellaharrison.x Kieran Davis // @kieran.jaames Evelína Kolářová // @artbyevelinakolarova Kat Hendrickson // @kathendricksonart Molly Hubbard // @molly_hubbard

Hellen Haernández // @hellen.hs Ricardo General // @ricardo.general.n Maiah Lace // @immaiahlace Maisie Smith // @maisie.smith.xx Rosie Hunt // @rosisrad Maisie Steadman // @maisiesteadmanprints Halin Roche // @365tales James Pearce // @jamesbettershoot Niamh Smith // @niamh.ivy.rose.smith Anacia Sessoms // @anaciiaa Teri Anderson // @tinyteri13 Jolee Mallmann // @jolee.jpg Charlie Sheppard // @travelsofshepp Alfie Winters // @_a_2_3 Natasha Grimble // @natasha_2001_x Ally-Joh Gowan-Day // @allyjoh (letterboxd) James Devine // @james.devine_ Kaylin Moss // @justchillkay John Hawker // @byjohnhawker Irina Novikova // @irinanov4155 Megan Evans // @megs.writing Rebecca Shoobert // @theposter_girl Eleanor Burleigh // @eleanoranneb (twitter)


'Happy' - poetry and illustrations by Casey Hyams @caseyhyams // Essex, England


'Spring Is Coming' - collage by Gemma Balcombe @stickingonstuff // Essex, England


'Summer Joy' - photography by Ricardo General @ricardo.general.n // Chile, South America


'the always people' by Linda M. Crate @authorlindamcrate // Pennsylvania, USA happiness comes when someone takes the time to find joy in your joys, supporting your dreams; and helping you every time you fall— i've had my share of fair weather friends so when i meet someone who doesn't mind being there for me when everything goes wrong i find there's a joy, because people who are with you through thick and thin truly show you that there are good people left in this world which can sometimes be overwhelming in every possible way; and so when i find someone who wants to understand the language of my soul and the mythology of my bones i am happy— because these feel like forever people in a world where not everyone remains in your life always, but the always people make life better.


'untitled' - photography by Sélina Farzaei @wackography // Montréal, Canada


My Sister's Shadow

I was 12 when my mum died. My sister was 20 and my brother was 21. Over lockdown I’ve been thinking about her more than usual. About her voice, which I can’t remember too well anymore. About her mannerisms, her hugs and her smell. She smelled like Clarins perfume and chewing gum. And cigarettes sometimes, too. But not in a bad way. I have vivid memories of Winter mornings when she would get me ready for school: the sound of her hairdryer and the news on the telly. I can’t remember what was on the news, but I do remember wondering what it was like to be my mum. What did she think about? Where was she going? Wherever she went, I wanted to be too. I liked being her shadow. The woman I remember wasn’t a mother nor a mum; she was a mummy to me. She was this because I was so young. I still needed her to sit with me until I fell asleep after a bad dream. She still came up to kiss my forehead every night before I went to bed. So when she wasn’t around anymore, I didn’t know who would do these things for me. I didn’t have someone to be a shadow for. And so I write this with my sister in mind. The woman who stood in, as much as she possibly could, and showed me what mum showed her. The woman who let me be her shadow, regardless of how annoying I was, because she knew how much I needed her. She taught me how to grow as mum taught her how to grow. She was, and still is, the one I go to with anything and everything. I’d like to think I’d have done that with mum if she was still around. Now it’s eight years later. My sister lost mum at 20, so she has no lessons from her about being a twenty-something to share with me. Instead, I learn from her experiences in the same way she learned from mum’s. There has been loss like no other, and it’s been incredibly painful. And at times when I thought that I’d lost the things that felt like home, I could always look to my sister, who shrouded me in love and comfort. She taught me to be the woman I am today, and I don’t think she’ll ever know how grateful I am.

- words by Molly Hubbard @molly_hubbard // Manchester, England


'vintage valentine' - photography by Anacia Sessoms @anaciiaa // New Jersey, USA


'vintage valentine' - photography by Anacia Sessoms @anaciiaa // New Jersey, USA


'reminiscence of summer' - photography by James Pearce @jamesbettershoot // Konstanz, Germany


The Hunt for Happy by John Hawker @byjohnhawker // Essex, England There it is, stood in the clearing. I push forward to the front, I glance sideways at the faces joining in the happy hunt, I’ve spent time and lots of money, all to line up in this place, And I jostle for position, set to start the happy race. There’s the gun and we rush forward, fight with elbows, nails and teeth, Lots of clawing, punching, biting, dragging people underneath, We take photos, we post stories, always so much time for those, Filters set to show our perfect life, we know it’s all for show, Out in front, soon overtook, advantage lost, myself to blame, I’ve been beaten, now she’s smiling, set to win the happy game, Saddles on and reigns are fastened, she jumps up onto its back, Selfie time and seconds later she’s bucked off, a deafening crack, Here’s my chance and I spring forward set to win the happy match, I float high above the hunters as they shout and swear and scratch, I spring up and hold on tight, take my seat, all’s calm and still, I look down on all the others as they scramble up the hill, Then I hold my camera steady and I thrust my arm out straight, Hold the pose I’ve practiced daily, post the photo then I wait, Wait for what? A like? A comment? Perhaps a retweet or a share? Before I know it I’m flat on my back and gasping hard for air, I stare up at and see the sun and birds against the opaque clouds, Silence shattered by the snarls as Happy’s chased off by the crowds, But I lay a little longer wondering where it all went wrong, Perhaps the things that I’ve been chasing weren’t the right ones all along. I stand up and throw my phone away and walk off through the trees, Taking time to feel the air and drag my heels through dirt and leaves, And I revel in the silence and I spot things once unseen, All is peaceful, I’m content as I walk on through fields of green, In the distance there’s a river and toward it now I go, I sit down upon its banks watching the water down below, I lay back and close my eyes a while my head against the grass, And I revel in the peace and calm as all the hours pass. I wake to see the sun go down beneath the hills ahead, And rise to make my way back home under a sky of red, My hunting days are over, there’s no need for me to race, I walk side by side with Happy and a smile across my face.


'untitled' - photography by James Devine @james.devine_ // Essex, England


'untitled' - photography by James Devine @james.devine_ // Essex, England


'dear love' - poetry by Tanvi Nagar @tanvibnagar // Haryana, India

'soulmates' - illustration by Rosie Hunt @rosisrad // Essex, England


'angel and the heart' - artwork by Irina Novikova @irinanov4155 // Moscow, Russia


'visions of you' - photo by Tee Ferguson @tee.ferguson // Devon, England


Happiness: A State of Mind? - words by Alexa Price @lexwrites_ // Cardiff, Wales

A common mistake made by many is to associate happiness with a feeling, rather than a state of being. This means that when asked whether they are happy, one might think of a time where they felt positive, or contented with themselves perhaps because they were celebrating or they treated themselves to something nice. It’s not wrong to say you were happy in that very moment which you were thinking of, but what one is looking for in response to that question is whether you live in a state of true happiness. This doesn’t mean that you’re happy all day, every day, and that you don’t feel sadness, or frustration. Happiness is a state of being which allows one to independently manifest experiences of joy through simple aspects of their everyday life. Finding a state of happiness is a journey different for every individual, but the foundations are all the same. Grounding yourself and focusing on the present is a key part of finding happiness. By doing this you are allowing yourself to let go of the past and plan for what’s ahead of you. Letting go ensures that you are not giving yourself reasons to be down. Of course, I am definitely one to confirm you that no two days are going to be the same, and that to feel low is completely normal. Although if you are bringing the past into your present, you’ll find yourself longing for something or someone, which masks the potential that everyone has to be whoever it is that you’d like to be. You are able to acknowledge your own strengths and work on what needs to be done in order to get to where you want to be. Ideally, everyone’s primary goal should be to reach that embodiment of happiness, where you are able to independently rely on and love yourself. Happiness is not to chased, but to be felt. It’s to take life in the palm of your own hands, and to recognise that though your life may not be half as glamorous, adventurous, or as eventful as some others, and that is OK. Your life is as malleable as you’d like it to be, and so long as you know that you are living in a state of happiness and that you are making as much out of it as you possibly can, nobody can or will ask anymore of you. I find that Roald Dahl encapsulates the real affects of a state of happiness in one of my favourite quotes of all time; ‘if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.’ Here, it’s implied that if you live in a state of pure happiness, then worries like self-doubt and confidence will be diminished, allowing you to be the best version of yourself possible.


- words and page design by Mils Balcombe @milsastudioss // Essex, England


'I wish for a sapphic socialist utopia' - collage by Gem Allison @unattainableblonde // Sheffield, England


'snowy sand' - photography by James Pearce @jamesbettershoot // Konstanz, Germany


Chai - poetry by Kaylin Moss @justchillkay // New York, USA

Chai colored leaves, swirling with the sugar crystals in my tea. Here comes a cool cinnamon breeze. I sprinkled some into my tea. Its warmth soothes me, the bonfire brings a motherly heat. From sparks, orange nymphs dance, then glow - in the sky. I don’t have favorites, but you, you should be.

'golden shore' - photography by James Pearce @jamesbettershoot // Konstanz, Germany


'sunny afternoon' - photography by Ruby Felton @not.very.monday // Essex, England


'Sunflower Island' - poetry by Esther Gonzales @esther.poetry // New Jersey, USA

We sit underneath The canopy of trees above us Hiding us away underneath their shade Listening to the sound Of the water cascade over the old brick wall I follow you Over the mossy stones As we cross the riverbank You take my hand And point to a shell I smile as you carve our names On a tree With the red knife you always keep In your pocket I watch you scribble a poem To capture this moment And i think to myself This is my happy place - sunflower island.


'dreamscape' - photo by Hellen Hernandez @hellen.hs // Costa Rica, Central America


'handy eye' - photography by Tiana Angels @limeote // Berlin, Germany


Wake - poetry by Jennifer Johnstone @jennowrites // Glasgow, Scotland

I'm wrapped around you like ribbon on a Christmas gift. Limbs intertwined so organically that I don't know where I start and you end. The light creeps around my eyelids but I'm not yet ready to greet the day. Instead, I focus on the calm of your warm breath, I let myself rise and fall with each billow and bellow of your chest. The alarm bells chime an unwelcome din in the serenity of our carefully constructed cocoon. I kiss you with my paper lips, pry myself away from the safety of your body and let myself drift off with the tide of the day.


P O S I T I V I T Y

playlist S C A N

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Wake Up Boo! Praise You Alright Unfinished Sympathy Tongue Tied Never Too Much Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) Breathe Deeper Dancing in the Moonlight Knock Knock Sundress Bitter Sweet Symphony Big Yellow Taxi. Swim Good Dopamine Latch I Wanna Be Your Lover Young Folks Love Really Hurts Without You Julia

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by The Boo Radleys by Fat Boy Slim by Supergrass by Massive Attack by Grouplove by Luther Vandross by US3, Rahsaan & Gerard Presencer by Tame Impala by Toploader by Mac Miller by A$AP Rocky by The Verve by Joni Mitchell by Frank Ocean by Franc Moody by Disclosure & Sam Smith by Prince by Peter Bjorn & John by Billy Ocean by SZA

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T U N E S ,

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'as if marker' - artwork by Kat Hendrickson @kathendricksonart // Marietta, Ohio


'sucba diving in the Great Barrier Reef' - photography by Maisie Smith @maisie.smith.xx // Essex, England


'the water brings me joy' - poetry by Linda M. Crate @authorlindamcrate // Pennsylvania, USA


'summer reminiscing' - photography by Alfie Winters @_a_2_3 // Essex, England


'sun dancer' - photography by Kaylin Moss @justchillkay // New York, USA


'give a seagull an ice cream' - illustration by Kieran Davis @kieran.jaames // Essex, England


'in defence of pineapple on pizza' - poetry by Eleanor Burleigh @eleanoranneb // Hampshire, England

the only defence I need is your teeth fruit infested across the shiny outside table in a café in summer you don't eat meat so you ordered plain pineapple with cheese and I laughed out loud because it seemed absurd I had only ordered coffee it came with one of those sweet little biscuits which you pinched to catch a crest of the white milk foam

'abstract no. 14' - artwork Evelína Kolářová @artbyevelinakolarova // Czech Republic


'old dreams' - photography by Hellen Hernández @hellen.hs // Costa Rica, Central America


To All The Sunshines, You are all spirited spitfires that I totally adore. Here's my letter as a proof that you are all amazing, even though this would only be understood by none of your age. I once read, what you fear is mostly based on what surrounds you. But all you kids, children, young ones, from all walks of life—are fearless. You don't just walk—you skip, you run; you don't just talk—you scream, you shout; you don't just tell stories, you share your detailed and unfiltered imagination. Your laughs are always expressed with such genuineness and pure delight. Your toothy grins and smiles are as contagious. You are all fascinatingly unpredictable, once you are just silently drawing your wishful world of unicorns, then the next, your momma's lipstick, served its colourful purpose all over your face, the walls, and of course, on your momma's vanity mirror—such an artistry. One time, you are selfish, wanting no hands near the pack of your favourite chocolate, then the next, you're giving the pack to any one you see with one piece of chocolate left—such generosity. Earning disapproving head shakes here and there, but their unmistakable grins says other wise. Every one of you is wacky in your own juvenile way. You drive the world crazy and not the other way around. Your raw innocence are the lenses that sees the beauty and peculiar in everything. You are all the feverish fires that lit the smudged adulterated life of everyone around you. All is possible because, you made it so. Remember that there was this time that you are your own rock star, kid, remember. - open letter by Maiah Lace @immaiahlace // The Philippines


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'Little Miss Sunshine' by Ella Harrison -- @ellaharrison.x // Essex, England

Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 comedic drama film that follows the Hoover family, father (Greg Kinnear), mother (Toni Collette), uncle (Steve Carell), grandfather (Alan Arkin), brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), and daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) as they drive to California in a rundown bright yellow VW bus for Olive to live out her dream of winning the Little Miss Sunshine contest. All of the family members are unhappy at the start of the film and struggling with their individual problems. The father is an unsuccessful motivational speaker, the mother is stressed, the Grandpa is struggling with a heroin addiction, Uncle Frank is struggling with the aftereffects of his attempted suicide, and brother Dwayne has taken a vow of silence until he accomplishes his dream of becoming a fighter pilot. At first, as we see the struggles that this dysfunctional family face, this film may not seem to link to the theme of happiness. However, along their journey they learn the importance of family and supporting and loving each other no matter their flaws. The family, along with you watching, come to understand that you can find happiness in the smallest things, and you can see the character of Olive learning to accept herself for who she is. Olive represents the beacon of light and happiness in their family, as she is the reason that the family group together to go on the journey to let her live out her dream. Beauty pageants are a common event in America that glamourise America’s idea of the ‘perfect woman’. Olive’s dream is to perform and win the Little Miss Sunshine pageant, and her family support her in getting there. Although Olive is not what society would stereotypically call ‘beautiful’, she does not wish to change herself and shows strong confidence in herself throughout the film. However, in one scene when the family are having breakfast in the diner, Olive asks for ice cream; the dad makes a comment that models would not eat ice cream. Olive then starts to doubt herself. However, this is one scene that shows the family supporting each other for who they are. They proceed to all eat ice cream, saying how delicious it is and giving Olive the support to enjoy it. We then see Olive dig into her ice cream with a happy and satisfied smile on her face, as she chooses her happiness over society’s concept of beauty. One quote from Little Miss Sunshine that I think sums up its link to happiness and clearly shows the meaning behind this film is “you do what you love and fuck the rest”. This film clearly focuses on the idea of individuality and loving yourself for who you really are. Towards the end of this film, the family accept Olive’s dream of taking part in the beauty pageant and cheer her on when she is performing on stage. Even though she may not be the presentation of stereotypical ‘beauty,’ she is doing what she loves and not giving up on her dreams. The pageant scene clearly shows the family finally sticking by and protecting each other. Even though they try and stop Olive performing as they know she will be laughed at, the mother argues that “we’ve got to let Olive be Olive”. This shows that they are accepting the fact that they shouldn’t care what others think, and instead of trying to stop her live out her dream they should support her. Little Miss Sunshine clearly presents the important message of doing what makes you happy no matter what others think, and Olive’s confidence in being true to herself makes her the real winner of the pageant.


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'Clueless' by Ally-Joh Gowan-Day -- @allyjoh (letterboxd) // Merthyr Tydfil, Wales

After my first watch of Clueless, I knew that I absolutely loved everything about the film. Although it features a few ‘chick flick’ tropes, its iconic dialogue and fashion never ceases to amaze me, and its tropes become quite charming for that exact reason. This 90’s drama is based around a high school student named Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) who discovers herself through a series of adolescent mistakes and lessons. The story explored in Clueless is loosely based on Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’, and although I won’t delve into this too much, there are a few good bits of information comparing the two pieces of art, so be sure to check it out if you’re interested in how Amy Heckerling made a more up to date ‘Emma’. I feel it’s important to get the most obvious out the way which, of course, is the iconic use of fashion. One of the tropes that is played on is the use of cliques and the importance of popularity, which almost every teen movie features (think of Mean Girls, or literally any teen movie ever). However, even the characters that are shown to be of a lower status than Cher and her best friend Dion Davenport (Stacey Dash), seem to feature their own sense of fashion that still manages to encapsulate one of the many 90’s aesthetics. Travis for example, repulses Cher due to his manner and his fashion, yet his ‘skater’ style is just as iconic as Cher’s yellow plaid suit. Although the wonderful mix of 90’s fashion is appealing to our watchful eyes, it definitely doesn’t appeal to Cher, who becomes obsessed with providing makeovers (another trope? Yikes!) to the totally hopeless and, well, clueless. Miss Geist (Twink Caplan) and Tai (Brittany Murphy) being the two helpless victims that Cher seeks to change, purely for her own benefit. Even though the only thing on Cher’s mind was bargaining higher grades when she sets out to makeover Miss Geist, she learns a different meaning of love when she sees her two teachers together, and this sets up her later revelation of her romance with Josh (Paul Rudd) “I am totally butt crazy in love with Josh!”. Her makeover on Tai also teaches her that life isn’t all about style, but personality too, which was taught to her through a tough, heartbreaking line brought to her by the very monster she created, Tai “You’re a virgin who can’t drive” ...Ouch. However, these two makeovers are the least important, as when Cher begins to learn that fashion and popularity may not be everything, she begins to transform herself, paying more attention to others and her personal life outside of fashion, “Except this time, I’ll makeover my soul”. In her transformation, she begins to realise characters individual unique qualities, and they have nothing to do with looks or popularity, “Then I realised all my friends were really good in different ways”. At first glance, I can understand why you’d think this movie deserves an utterly heartbreaking roll of the eyes, but if you look past all the stereotypical teen tropes, you’ll realise that the movie is utterly satirical. Did you seriously think Cher was just an airhead? As if! Cher and other characters within the movie seem to be sarcastically aware of their ‘airhead’ attitude, and their own banality “you think that’s all I do, I’m just a ditz with a credit card?”. Although Cher is totally self-absorbed for most of the movie, she has lines like “Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie”, a funny and clever line that gives a nod to the audience and breaks out of the ditzy attitude that Cher sometimes exhibits. So, what appears to be just another teen movie with all its great fashion but annoying familiarities, becomes vastly unique and entertaining when you realise the characters run much deeper than the dialogue can sometimes suggests, with comments on social and personal achievements and obstacles that the adolescent must face, whether you’re as rich as Cher or not (everyone struggles with love and figuring out what they want, don’t they?). Whether you enjoy this movie or if “you are a snob and a half”, you can’t deny it’s iconic lines, sense of fashion and it’s fun 90’s soundtrack. With the 90’s fashion trends making their way very forcefully into mainstream trends today, I’d recommend you revisit Clueless, you may want to pick out the similarities from Emma, or you may simply want to get some fashion inspo. Either way, Cher will certainly provide you with that effortless 90’s confidence, and maybe a smile or two!


'head in the clouds' - artwork by Maisie Steadman @maisiesteadmanprints // Essex, England


Vorfreude - poetry by Halin Roche @365tales // India

if i impose rent on all the thoughts my head inhabits, i might be the next millionaire. or i might as well tell them to vacate and only be home to a few. the ones which let me breathe as happy people do. some thoughts hop and skip. some bottle up till the brim. a few of them terrify and make my heart palpitate overflowing and pouring out. into the void, i think and stare. etching a long path in joyful anticipation. one such thought lately is about happiness. what exactly does it mean? who exactly feels them? perhaps it’s about the hidden impulse we have. the knowledge of what is to come. tons of emotions, dozens of returns. life is all about vorfreudeyou anticipate what is to arrive, a little greedy about what your future holds. a little safe from thoughts that collide.


'throw it back' - photography by Jolee Mallmann @jolee.jpg // Wisconsin, USA


'golden girl' - photography by Jolee Mallmann @jolee.jpg // Wisconsin, USA


'summer joy' - photography by Ricardo General @ricardo.general.n // Chile, South America

'golden girl' - photography by Jolee Mallmann


Happiness Away From Home: The Journey Not The Destination - words by Charlie Sheppard @travelsofshepp // Byron Bay, Australia

I've been travelling in Australia for 1 year and 2 months now. Yes, I was one of the very lucky people who went travelling before the pandemic and I managed to stay out here as Australia got back on it's feet. I sometimes get asked how I find happiness being so far away from home for so long. A common misconception is that moving to a certain place will make you happy. You might think that moving to Australia will make you magically happy, or moving cities, or just once the pandemic is over and you can go on holiday again you'll be happy. And, to an extent, it's true that travelling can make you happy. If you're like me and it's your passion, it can feel great and I'm sure once travel restrictions are eased everyone will be much happier being able to freely see the stunning sights of the world again. I'm loving living in Byron Bay right now as it's one of my favourite places in the world. But, when it really comes down to it, true happiness isn't about the place. We're talking true happiness, not just fleeting moments of fun and relief from normal life. The hard truth is, if you're unhappy and you move to Australia, you'll still be unhappy, just in a different place. Your problems will follow you. Happiness doesn't come from external factors. It comes from within. Happiness is not necessarily dependent on the place you live; it's about where you live in your mind. That's the one place you can never move away from. So, take care of it. Self-care looks different for everyone, so life's about figuring out what works for you. For me, getting the right balance between socialising and spending time by myself is really important, and setting those boundaries of when I need to be alone is a great way for me to look after myself. It is sometimes difficult to figure out the fine line between enjoying myself and going with the flow, and spending quality time alone to stick to my boundaries. But that's a journey I've been on recently and I'll continually be on it. Looking after your mental health is difficult on your own, but so essential for your own happiness and wellbeing. Plus, travelling does come with its own challenges. Being so far away from home and missing family and friends is really difficult at times. I'm away from everything I've known my whole life, and so many of the people I love. Even the new people you meet and grow to love can leave your life, when travel plans don't match up and people move on to new destinations. So, with all this displacement, it can be easy to get down and feel a bit lost. Through this, I've learnt that happiness comes from within myself. It can't be reliant on the physical location I am in the world and my proximity to people, so it has to come from within. Happiness is peace within yourself. Even with this interpretation of happiness, it's not something that will come naturally to me. It's something that I will have to constantly work on as I continue to grow. Happiness a journey, not a destination.


'his first snow' - photography by Simran Kaur @simran_k_01 // London, England


'his first snow' - photography by Simran Kaur @simran_k_01 // London, England


'love is two people dancing in the kitchen' - artwork by Niamh Smith @niamh.ivy.rose.smith // Essex, England


A Suitcase Full Of Happiness Moving to university presented one main problem for me: how to decorate my new bedroom. It sounds ridiculous now I think back to it, but looking at my bedroom at home and wondering what I should bring with me reduced me to tears an embarrassing amount of times- even more than the thought of living with strangers in a new city. I had a limited amount of luggage I could fit in the car, but I knew that I wanted to pack things that would make me happy in this unknown space. I started with the obvious, which was photographs. I made sure I had photos of my family, my best friends, and my favourite moments. Sitting in a new house and trying to work up the bravery to talk to the housemates that I didn’t know would eventually become a second family to me, I could look at the collage of images I’d stuck on the wall and almost picture (pardon the pun) them encouraging me. On countless occasions, the frustration of not understanding something on my course could be offset when I glanced up and saw a picture of me and my best friends after we’d gotten our A-level results; it was a reminder that I’d struggled with learning before, and that I’d overcome it then so I could overcome it now, too. If I was feeling isolated one evening, I would see a picture of my family and I on holiday and, no matter how cheesy it sounds, remember that there was at least one place where I was always unconditionally welcome. These little snapshots of happiness were revolutionary for motivating me to make the most of starting university, and by the time my first year was over I had a whole separate collage of new memories with my university friends. The second thing I packed were any small items in my room that I associated with a happy memory. Comforting pieces of home on my university shelves worked equally as well as the photos did, with the added bonus that they were things I could interact with. The synthetic bunch of lavender that I keep on my windowsill at home was brought with me, so every morning at uni I could open my curtains and have the same bright sight of purple that I always did. My travel speaker meant I could immerse myself with my favourite songs and watch Netflix the same way I did at home. My favourite snowglobe from my childhood- which I end up shaking every time I look at it- was front and centre on my new desk as an echo of home. Packing these things helped the transition from home to a new place work more smoothly, as I could feel familiarity in every corner of my new space. If you’re moving to university, remember the importance of surrounding yourself with happy memories! In my loneliest moments, nothing could have made me happier than the reminders of everything I love. - words by Holly Berry

@hollyberry_x // Essex, England


H A P P I N E S S

is for happiness, a simple little word

is for actually I think that’s quite absurd

is for perhaps, perhaps they do not know is for possibly, I possibly don’t know is for incredible to think that could be so

is for now then, it’s time to concentrate

is for especially as I elaborate

is for succinctly, to make it very plain simple words like happiness can take away the pain - poetry by Debbie McArthur

@Debbiemcarthur7462 // Suffolk, England


'my happy corner' - photography by Lisa Smith @sweetiecake_los // Essex, England


'abstract no. 12' - artwork Evelína Kolářová @artbyevelinakolarova // Czech Republic


'abstract no. 12' - artwork Evelína Kolářová @artbyevelinakolarova // Czech Republic


'think happy be happy' - illustration by Rebecca Shoobert @theposter_girl // Essex, England 'i wish for ass and socialism' - collage by Gem Allison @unattainableblonde // Sheffield, England


'girl thoughts' - artwork by Rachel Kavanagh @rachlkaart // Ireland


It's The Little Things - words by Gemma Balcombe @stickingonstuff // Essex, England

Although material objects can’t bring true happiness, they can certainly bring joy. Whether it’s a favourite mug, a special painting or a meaningful ornament, I’ve always felt it is important to surround yourself with things you love. Those things could be as simple as a smooth pebble found on a beach that now lives on the windowsill, or something you’ve spent your hard earned cash on – you never regret an extravagance after all! One special object that lives in my home and never fails to make me feel happy is a shelf that greets me every time I come through the front door and in to the hallway. It is affectionately known as ‘the collection.’ The shelf itself is a vintage printers’ tray where their intricate letterpress shapes would have once been stored. It was gifted to me by my Dad and over the years it has been filled with tiny treasures. I’ve always been drawn to miniature things, so the individual shelf compartments are perfect for anything diddy! Each little shelf houses a special memory, tiny souvenirs brought home from holidays just for the collection, small objects my friends have given me to put on my funny little shelf, small stones or shells picked up be the little fingers of my daughters (who are both young adults now,) and even objects from my own childhood live there. We each have our favourite compartments and often friends and family will stop at the collection on their way out to discuss little findings or comment on the miniature bits and bobs. Although the things in the collection appear to be a random bunch each one has a special meaning and has been placed there with love. No matter how big or small, keepsakes and mementos can bring happiness to all.


'rooftop light' - photography by James Pearce @jamesbettershoot // Konstanz, Germany


'lavender orchids' - artwork by Anacia Sessoms @anaciiaa // New Jersey, USA


'Mother Gaea' - artwork by Anacia Sessoms @anaciiaa // New Jersey, USA

'Fruits Of Fertility' - artwork by Anacia Sessoms @anaciiaa // New Jersey, USA


THE MEANING OF HAPPINESS by Megan Evans -- @megs.writing // Cardiff, Wales

In one of the darkest and most troubling of times, there hasn’t seemed to be a chance to really engage with ‘happiness’ in all of its glory. In usual times, I would be the most happy in the company of my nearest and dearest, drinking in the sun, exploring new places whether that’s with a close friend, or even alone. But the freedom being restricted due to the restrictions of COVID-19 which have been ongoing for nearly a year now, it is safe to say that we have had to alter our usual routines that would usually keep us more positive. I felt like happiness was achieved when I had the approval of others. However, the approval of others does not gain you the genuine satisfaction we all so rightfully deserve. Happiness forms in the eyes of the bestower. What keeps you feeling happy? Is it a lighthearted conversation with a stranger? Eating a delicious home cooked meal? Watching your favourite film? Keeping my physical health happy, I have come to realise, makes my mind happy too. There is nothing worse than sitting around, knowing that is a lot that needs doing, but you have absolutely no energy to do those tasks. This is what I found myself doing repeatedly during these lockdowns - sitting around, and feeling worse, but repeating this cycle constantly. Even just heading outside for a slow paced walk really sets the mood for the day. True happiness to me, is engaging in simple pleasures with little effort. That could come in the form of me being so invested in a conversation, that I forget what I am doing, and also forgetting I have a mobile device. We are all so connected on our phones from messages and notifications in our modern world, and sometimes I do feel like I am living two lives- one online, but also one offline. My happiness has been touched at its most from appreciating the beauty within nature. Our natural world is so fascinating if you actually take more notice of it. I’ve reconnected with some lovely people, whether that be an old school friend, or somebody who I have mutual friends with. It is so easy to drop a line to someone checking in on their mental health, which could potentially make their day just that little bit nicer. I also love the days where you have not much planned, but you end up creating your own entertainment. Me and my sister will amuse ourselves by playing games (sometimes even the ones we spent hours immersed with when we were far younger), chatting about various issues/topics that are occurring within the world, and baking. During lockdown, I became so much more invested with reading. I read SO much for my degree, which isn’t as interesting as the things you know you’re desperate to look at. It’s innate within us to be much more engaging with our interests, rather than the boring tasks you know you have to complete. I love reading pieces from all ends of the Earth, whether it be an article about space, to the latest review of an upcoming film, yet to be released. I’ve not wanted to look at my bank account, as I am fully aware that I have spent a hefty fee on material since we were locked down back in March 2020, but never mind. Something I have also noticed, is that I have branched out, not only through literature and film, but specifically music. I have negotiated listening to much more alternating artists compared to the comforts of regular ones, and I love it. I’ve been enjoying the 80s classics much more than usual, since watching more 80s films, like Back to the Future. The rise of Podcasts has been really great. Again, it’s nice to feel engaged in a conversation when the world makes no sense. Not to drag back to technology, but we seem to feel satisfied sending Snapchats in our modern age, or posting the most picture-perfect selfies to show off to our friends, extended families, and mutuals how interesting our lives are. I don’t need to carefully satisfy those who have chosen to view my content. What matters to me the most, is those closest to me, giving their truths and honesties, and how they add value to me upon investigation over the course of these past few months. We are all guilty of using social media to reaffirm our ‘happy place’. My happy place is completely far from this. Happiness is simple. Trust your instincts. Whatever you know you want to do but you don’t want to do, go do. If you are desperate to spend hours crafting the most perfect Pinterest boards, go do it. If you oh so badly want to start a business from scratch, you are not alone. Etsy has boomed with so much delightful material. If you want to become a writer? There’s no stopping you from crafting that piece that may have been ticking away at you for months. A very close person to me said this the other day, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. We are NEVER going to have this much time and freedom to ourselves EVER again. As soon as our luxuries in life start reappearing, it’s time to provide those happy thoughts and feelings in the present day. Stop relying on in the moment gratifications, and go and do what you love, despite the pandemic. Go out in the sun. Enjoy spending time with your friends, whether that’s via FaceTime. Bake a fat off chocolate cake and eat the whole thing? Who cares. Stop satisfying the media, and satisfy yourself. This is your chance to find your hobby, which can carry you through the rest of your life (even if’s more temporary). Don’t fuck it up.


'untitled' - photography by James Devine @james.devine_ // Essex, England


'mellow melon' - photography by Tiana Angels @limeote // Berlin, Germany


'mellow melon' - photography by Tiana Angels @limeote // Berlin, Germany


connecting with nature - poetry by Linda M. Crate @authorlindamcrate // Pennsylvania, USA

i find happiness in every hue except the grays and whites and blacks of winter which weigh heavy on the soul, dragging them into a painful silence; but there's a difference in an autumn gray or a summer black or a spring white— winter is a reminder of everything lost, but the other seasons are full of colors and warmth and joy and flowers; when birdsong nests in my ears and i am walking in the trees and grasses i find there's a peace that restores me— every crow song and swishy gray tail of a squirrel wandering up a tree, and every deer galloping past makes me feel a deeper connection to the universe; we're all connected and i find there's a happiness when i connect to nature instead of people.

'untitled' - photography by Sélina Farzaei @wackography // Montréal, Canada


'summer joy' - photography by Ricardo General @ricardo.general.n // Chile, South America

Wanderlust - poetry Tanvi Nagar @tanvibnagar // Haryana, India

My heart yearns for another breeze to brush by me gently, My road of life is shaped by my curvaceous path of destiny, My dwelling is in every creek, in every cave by the mountainside, Yet, I don’t have a solitary who keeps my secrets, in whom I confide, I am not garlanded by pearls just adorned by the solar systems’ stardust, I keep one foot after the other, inspired by my soul’s wanderlust. My heart aches for the beckoning forests and scent of the fresh roses, I do not regret over the roads in life I have left unchosen, I am enchanted by this stupendous world and its blue streams, I seek pleasure in the untruthfulness of my illusionistic dreams, I do not wish to bear the weight of the finest of silk nor purest gold, I only yearn that mysteries of this world, with my wanderlust, I can unfold. My pockets are filled with emptiness like the core of my longing heart, This immortal longing of mine is satisfied by nature’s exquisite art. My aching, yearning heart desires to see all of life’s zillion hues, For my soul’s lust for adventure, the earth is it’s only muse, I am armoured with nothing more than an ignited desire of adventure, And I have no tales to tell of heroism, cowardice or valour, Yet, wanderlust takes upon my soul in a thousand different ways, It is this unusual desire that shapes my destiny, the world says.


'oh I do like to be beside the seaside' - photography by Rebecca Shoobert @theposter_girl // Essex, England


@theposter_girl // Essex, England

Happiness by Rebecca Shoobert Where is your happy place? I have a few, in the woods, I’m happy crunching leaves beneath my feet, in my wellies running through streams, by the sea, the sound of the water makes me happy, the calmness and smells make me happy, I love to be surrounded by nature and colour. You can always find something happy in the great outdoors. I’m also happy when I’m Home, snug in my pjs with the blanket and a book for doodling, writing ideas for my future business. Who makes you happy? My beautiful family and friends. We have our moments but I know I can rely on them to cheer me up if I’m feeling blue. What makes you happy? Seeing my children happy and thriving. Seeing my dog happy (he only needs a treat, it’s easy), having plans to look forward to (which has been difficult this last year), being motivated and having goals to reach, and lastly crafting, there is something about being immersed in a craft that brings happiness, learning something new or doing something you haven’t done for a while and still being good at it. What does happiness mean to you? Happiness means being content, living life to the full and making the most of each day. How do you find happiness? I look for the good in each day, I try and set mini goals I know are achievable. I thrive on seeing others happy and will always do my best to pick others up. What do you associate with happiness? Bright colours, sunshine or snow both make me feel happy, my happy childhood memories, my family, my friends always make me happy. Which photos bring you happiness? I’m a photo fanatic. I have a medical condition that means my memory is not great and so I photography every day. Every photo I have means something to me and reminds me of how I felt on that day as well as what we did. I want my children to have so many photos to look back on when they are older because I know my childhood photos make me happy. I really am that parent who is always taking photos (ashamed to admit it but even my food).


'happy' - embroidery by Teri Anderson @tinyteri13 // Essex, England


'bee happy' - illustration by Natasha Grimble @natasha_2001_x // Essex, England


'sycamore' - photography by Tee Ferguson @tee.ferguson // Devon, England


'sycamore' - photography by Tee Ferguson @tee.ferguson // Devon, England


'blankets' - photography by Kaylin Moss @justchillkay // New York, USA


'untitled' - photography by James Devine @james.devine_ // Essex, England


THE SUNBEAM ZINE 2021 CREATED BY MADDIE BALCOMBE

Profile for The Sunbeam Zine

Volume One: Happiness  

Welcome to Volume One of The Sunbeam Zine! During lockdown, I found it very easy to lose sight of the things that make me happy. So, I decid...

Volume One: Happiness  

Welcome to Volume One of The Sunbeam Zine! During lockdown, I found it very easy to lose sight of the things that make me happy. So, I decid...