Sunday, 22 January 2012

Libby Loves

* 'I want to have adventures with you' (Really, I do) £40, Urban Outfitters
*YES' bag : because life is worth saying yes to. £12,
*Daisy earrings, £7,
*Stag head, £100, V&A shop
*Practically Perfect in Every Way teatowel (I want to be Mary Poppins), £9.95,
*Train ticket cushion, £28,
*Vinyl record cake stand, from £26,
*I love London lunchbox (because you're never to old for sandwiches cut into triangles), £5, V&A shop



Regent's Park and Serpentine Swans

I love London parks. Recently I have been to Regent's Park and Hyde Park with friends. At Regent's Park I jumped up and down to see over the hedges at the giraffes in London Zoo and wished for a rich boyfriend to take me to the zoo and buy me fish and chips and ice cream. (Since when has a zoo ticket cost £18.50??)

Perhaps that is a strange ideal date. That or a roller disco... Bars and caf├ęs are over rated. You can't see zebras or wear roller blades for starters.

In Hyde Park I wandered along the Serpentine, where I contemplated jumping in and doing laps in the swimming area. It was dark, and January, so I didn't.

1,125 views and counting...

A bag of peas and an embroidered jacket

This afternoon I headed to Brixton Village to go food shopping at the market.

Instead of buying food I ended up being lured into the quirky clothes shop, Saloon 97, where I spotted this vintage waistcoat. It was reduced to £15 in the sale and I couldn't resist.

As I parted with my cash, I told the shop assistant that I was supposed to be food shopping and that I would now have to eat porridge for a week instead.

She laughed and said that when she was a student she lived off pasta and bags of frozen peas.

Who needs food anyway when you have a colourful embroidered jacket?

Shopping bag in hand, I headed off to buy some peas.


Friday, 20 January 2012

The Last Fashion Victims: The Film

Here is my documentary; you can also watch it by following the link below:

So how can you help now? If the video moves you (as it moved me whilst filming) then please add your comments on the youtube page and share the link. My aim is to spread this message but I need your help!

Thank you in advance from me and the women involved in the documentary,


My visit to The Scar Project, New York

Here are some of the photographs that I took at The Scar Project in New York, an incredible series of photographs by David Jay that show the reality of breast cancer.

His work has been a huge source of inspiration for my project and I am so pleased to have been able to include him in my documentary.

The Scar Project has yet to visit the UK, but I have high hopes for David's project and hope to see him and these images in London in the not too distant future.
View David Jay's images and find out more about The Scar Project at


The Last Fashion Victims: The Story

Over the past few months I have been working on a project that I would now like to share with you.

As a woman, breast cancer is something I cannot help but think about. (My book, 'Love Pink' raises money for Breast Cancer Care.) Something I had never thought about, however, was how breast cancer affects a woman's wardrobe.

Last year a family friend underwent a bilateral mastectomy. She got in touch and said that she was really struggling to find clothes to wear following her operation. She felt frustrated by what was on offer, and let down by the high street. As an aspiring fashion journalist, was it something that I would be interested in investigating?

After our conversation, I started my own research. I searched the web and trawled through specialist sites. I was shocked - the majority of what was on offer looked stuck in a different era. There was certainly not much I could imagine my friend wearing.

Together Lynne and I took to the Breast Cancer Care forum and asked whether this was a problem other women had come across. The response was overwhelming.

I then got talking in detail to several women who told me the problems they faced and what changes they would like to see. Of these women, I found three in particular (including my friend Lynne) who were happy to appear on camera.

Tripod and camera in hand, I headed down to Devon and up to Glasgow (in one rather hectic weekend!) and then across to Leeds. The women I met were interesting, inspiring and I felt privileged to hear their stories and capture them on film.

Next I got in touch with the photographer David Jay, whose wonderful photographic project, The Scar Project, had been shown to me by Lynne. I had found the images incredibly moving and wanted to hear more about the project.

I emailed David on a Wednesday. That day I received an email from him, thanking him for my interest but saying that to fully appreciate the images I needed to see them in their original 6ft state, rather than just on my laptop. Would I be able to 'pop over' to New York to see the exhibition before it closed that weekend?

At first I laughed. And then I thought, why not? This was a project I felt passionately about and an opportunity that seemed just too good to miss. I knew that David's images would add another dimension to my film and I was fascinated to meet the man behind the images. And, of course, it meant a weekend in New York. By that afternoon I had spoken to David, withdrawn from my savings, booked a last minute flight and found a friend of a friend's whose floor I would be able to sleep on for two nights.

I was not prepared for the weekend that awaited me. I landed in New York on Friday evening and although I was exhausted, I decided to make the most of my visit and spent the evening wide-eyed on the top of the Empire State Building.

The next day I headed to The Scar Project exhibition. As soon as I walked in I knew that travelling 4000 miles (plus a stop over in Charlotte) had been worth it. David was right; seeing the images online is one thing, but being surrounded by them in a stark white gallery blew me away.

I spent the whole day talking to David, filming in the gallery and meeting the many people who had made their pilgrimage to the gallery or been drawn in from outside by the arresting images. I was lucky enough to speak to Melissa, one of the women involved in the Scar Project, whose photograph hung on the wall. I also spoke to Doris, another wonderful lady who I sadly wasn't able to fit into the documentary. Throughout the day a whole range of people came through the doors. Some came alone, some were couples, or sisters, or friends. There were tears, but I also found it heart warming to see the smiles as well.

David Jay himself turned out to be one of life's wonderful people - as the project itself would suggest. I was lucky enough to join on a tour he gave of the gallery, in which he shared the incredibly moving stories of the women he had photographed. I found myself learning not just about the project, but about life, death and all that goes between. Being in the gallery made me feel at once alone but also part of something much bigger than myself. It was one of the most moving and powerful experiences of my life.

When I arrived back in the UK, (despite being exhausted and jetlagged!) I felt all the more determined to give a voice to the women I had met and that David had photographed so beautifully.

Fashion may be a small part of a woman's life in the grand scheme of things, but the women I have met have shown me that it can also be an incredibly important part. I also realise that as much as I would like to, I am never going to discover a cure for cancer. What I can do instead is try my best to make a small difference in the area in which I am trying to start a career, and to use what I am studying at university (broadcast journalism) to give a voice to those who are otherwise being overlooked.

That is my aim anyway. The video above is a short trailer for the longer documentary that I will post later. This site seems to have cut part of the shot of the video so CLICK HERE to see the full version on youtube.

Find out more about David Jay's 'The Scar Project' at


Thursday, 19 January 2012

And my superpower would be...

I was searching through my computer when I came across these photos from a project I did at LCF last year. Our group filmed a stop motion animation in which we all dressed up as mock superheroes (yes, this was a costume, not my usual get-up...).

I was quite a new breed of superhero altogether - an all pink, all dancing sort of superhero who could prevent disasters with a flash of a smile and a swish of a polka dot umbrella. Because that really would be my superpower.

Oh, and being able to fly and run really really really really fast. Of course.


Smile, it's Thursday

What's not to love about Thursdays?

At least that was the opinion off the train driver on the Victoria Line this rainy morning.

Whilst I stood crushed between two business men and struggled not to fall into the lap of an elderly lady as the train pulled to a stop at Oxford Circus, I heard a rather unusual announcement booming over the tannoy.

"I just want to say," he said, "have a wonderful day. It's Thursday guys! Which means it's nearly Friday! Which means it's nearly the weekend! Don't let anyone cramp your style or bring you down. I mean it, have a really amazing day everyone. Keep smiling. The next stop is Tottenham Court Road."

Dear train driver: it is people like you who make the world a brighter place. Even when you're underground.

Tube experiences that put a smile on your face are sadly few and far between, but when they happen, I for one am left smiling all day. Examples: the classical music that Brixton station often plays loudly in the morning, and the wonderful 'Thoughts of the Day' at Angel station (which can be found online at


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Fascinate Me

Today was a sad day for rainbow feathers, as Ascot announced that fascinators will be banned from their Royal Enclosure this year.

In a BBC article Ascot spokesman Nick Smith was quoted as saying, "there is no doubt our customers would like to get back to a situation where it is universally acknowledged this is a formal occasion and not an occasion where you might dress as you would at a nightclub."

I am not sure where Mr Smith likes to party. I am clearly hanging out in the wrong places. I personally have never seen anyone wearing a fascinator in a nightclub. Perhaps I just missed them, but on second thoughts I am sure I would have spotted the explosion of feathers through the crowd.

Does this mean the death of the fascinator? Because you may say, if I can't wear my fascinator to Ascot, where can I wear it?

But ah, that is where you are wrong. Why shouldn't you wear a net and quill fascinator to a nightclub? Or why stop there? Why not wear one out to dinner, on the bus or in Tesco? Or just whilst you do your washing up? Ascot has ruled that wearing a bird on your head is too casual for watching horses racing. But if it is too casual for Ascot, that doesn't mean it's too casual for me. So keep your eyes pealed next time you're in a club. I will be the one with the feathers.

(Fascinators at the fabulous VV Rouleaux)


Strawberry Laces

Oh the joy of a new pair of shoes.

Perhaps it is wrong to admit it, but for me the thrill of new shoes is on par with the first bite of a delicious cake that you have been salivating over behind a glass case, a sunbeam warming your back through a window or the accidental happiness of a coffee froth heart. They make me smile, and all the more when those shoes happen to be bright red.

Another, perhaps strange reason to smile is that I know I shouldn't have bought them.

"I really really can't buy these," I said to the smiley shop assistant, "but obviously I am going to."

We are living in tough times so in theory have to justify our purchases even more than ever before. But I think that the best things you buy are the ones that you can't really justify. Yes, a grey cardigan or new pair of tights to replace those ones you laddered are a sensible idea. But you won't love them like a pair of bright red shoes. And equally, they won't love you either. Walking in my new boots is like walking with a permanent hug around my feet. (Honestly. They really are that comfy.)

So that is the story of how I came to be sat on my bed in a pair of bright red suede ankle boots. And a pair of laddered tights.
(These boots are made for climbing....)
Now I just want to save up for the leopard print pair... Because obviously my shoes need company...


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bargain Hunters Anonmyous: Diary of a Sales Shopper

The 'Sale' sign waves at me in the shop window. It would be rude not to go inside.

'50% off' banners are hung like tardy tinsel around the ceiling. Music is blaring and the shop floor buzzes with bargain hunters. Their arms are held away from their bodies like branches that sprout carrier bags. H&M, Topshop, and the yellow fruit of a Selfridge's bag.

Piles of clothes on tables and on the floor. Jackets and dresses half hanging off coat hangers. The queue for the changing room trails half way around the shop until it nearly makes a full circle with the queue for the tills. Did that woman just push her buggy over a sequin dress? Two women are fighting over the last pair of size 6 leopard print pumps, one holding the right shoe and the other the left and neither loosening their grip. Maybe I should intervene. Or leave.

But hold on one minute; is that a raspberry pink jacket I spy on that £10 rail? And does that tag for that t-shirt over there really say £2? Surely you can't go wrong with a £2 t-shirt? I suppose it does have a picture of a skull and cross bones on it, but still... £2.

I make a beeline for the t-shirt, snatching the pink jacket on the way. My arm is quick like the tongue of a lizard seeking its prize. It is unfortunate, of course, that it clips that elderly woman on the back of the head. But she really was standing in the way.

Suddenly I am moving towards another rail. I am getting the hang of this. My arm swings back and forth to the rail, grabbing hold of hangers as I go. £5! £12.99! Half price! I work up quite some speed as I make my way to the next rail. A child is crying on the floor. I am sure she was already falling over before I bumped into her... It was just a case of bad timing.

Everything becomes a blur.

Protectively cradling my load I head for the till. £2 for a t-shirt... this stuff will be gone if I don't get in quick. What a bargain.

I leave the shop with a smile and a full bag. That was surely worth a visit, after all, it is not often that you find a t-shirt for £2.....

(Two weeks later)

.... Why is there a t-shirt with a skull and cross bones in my cupboard? And those lime green leggings? How did I end up with such luminous legwear vandalising my wardrobe?

Oh have pity on me. January is simply the hardest month for we Bargain Hunters Anonymous.