In the wake of Rai (Odette)…

A source in the Philippines states that there is little support from the government in the wake of Super Typhoon Rai (known locally as Odette) that hit the island on the 16th December 2021.

The Philippines continued attempts to recover in the wake of Super Typhoon Rai  (or Odette as it is locally known) that hit the island of Siargao on the 16th December 2021. Not two months have passed and the Philippines is at risk of a second typhoon hitting as tracked by Pagasa Weather Bureau.

Siargao (pre-covid-19) like much of the Philipines has had a strong tourism led economy and was voted the best island in Asia to visit by Conde Nast Traveller 2021.

It is reported that around 1,8 million people have had their homes destroyed by super typhoon Rai, these people have been displaced and lost everything. I had the chance to speak to a Siargao Island resident recently that states that the government intervention has been little to non. For her safety we shall call her Amelie.

She states that:

For Amelie to challenge and to even speak out against the Pilipino government risks her being shot in the head.

‘…little to no warning was given about the typhoon or its strength until 8AM that day…’

At 8:00 AM the electricity went out, the alert of the ‘Super Typhoon due to hit’ was sent the same morning and by then it was too late to do anything about it. At midday a message saying it was a ‘Signal 4’ (the highest being a Signal 5); but she believes that it was a signal 5 typhoon.

‘…the only real help seems to be from private organizations and people who care about the island….’

Amelie says that she saw the ‘…Red Cross but that other NGO’s were a no show…’.

Greenpeace liveblog.

A lone comment on the blog reads

Pano po pag mga damit ang idodonate?

‘How about donating clothes?’ posted 16.12.21

 She (Amelie) states that ‘…around 8 billion pesos (£11,5292.83 pounds sterling) has been received by international aid, however where the money is going remains to be seen…’

Al Jazeera have reported a so the 15 January 2022 that the Philippines are to acquire missile system from India for $375 Million (£27700,2187.50 Pound Sterling).

Amelie ‘…Philippines buying missiles, helicopters and army equipment but have no money for aid to their own population…’

Amelie is fortunate enough that part of her house remained in tact through super typhoon Rai, She described how she couldn’t see anything out the window, even the neighbours house. How she hid in the bathroom with her dogs as the storm raged outside. She describes how her ears popped as the typhoon engulfed the island.

She is still without electricity and running water, and says that the only reason that the island is healing is due to foreigners and ex-pats that have an interest in the beautiful island.

People are dying from sicknesses due to drinking dirty water.

It was ‘…insane…’ and I kept thinking that ‘…if I don’t die form this typhoon, I’m gonna die of fear…’

‘[About the government]…they just left us…’

As I speak to her voice quivers on the line, her anger is palpable; frustration and exacerbation at the forefront of her recounting the experience of surviving the super typhoon.

‘The Philippines are one of the most vulnerable from the impact of climate change and typhoons in the world’.

After the typhoon hit Amelia was able to get to her neighbours who helped her with food and water. Then the wait began. She describes how 5 days passed and they heard nothing, no food, no water, no phone signal.

‘…We have nothing left…’

‘’… no one came for us… the government didn’t come for us…’.

She describes how during those 5 days waiting that the rain continued to fall mercilessly. How people who had lost their homes sat in the rain where there houses used to stand, and describes the hopelessness etched onto their faces. ‘… the community help one another with what they can, ‘…but when nobody has anything there isn’t enough…’.

Amelia states that the Pilipino media focus is on Covid-19 and elections.

‘I’m talking about something that is real, just by talking about it I could be shot’.

Amelie’s greatest fear is that due to Covid-19 taking up so much of the media sphere that the Philippines will be forgotten.

Please check out the Save Siargao page.

The Victoria and Albert Museum…

© Copyright Robin Webster and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

It has been 14 months since lockdown brought a halt to the activities that we used to enjoy and we are only now seeing the emergence of inside dining, theatre visits and shopping. One of my missed pastimes has been going to the museum, seeing exhibitions and being around people. I was booked to attend the Victoria and Albert Museum (Est. 1852) in South Kensington.

© Copyright Dome with Dale Chihuly’s contemporary sculpture- Drew Reynolds

My first trip back was on the 19th May 2021, I was surprised at the excitement I felt when showing my pre-booked ticket at the entrance and being allowed into the museum from the Exhibition Road entrance. It felt surreal walking towards the large glass doors of the museum, maybe not exactly Lewis Carrol’s vision but my own slide down the rabbit hole. I have been familiar with this museum for many years but being given the freedom and autonomy to make plans in booking and visiting still felt eerily uncanny. This feeling soon disappeared when I stepped into the museum and was welcomed back it felt like being taken under mother hen’s wing again.

The staff were immensely welcoming and helpful as though the galleries and exhibitions had been opened for me personally. The spark of excitement lit up greater as I wandered throughout the numerous rooms and corridors filled with artefacts and their corresponding labels. There were families, friends, museum workers and myself all grateful for the re-opening and welcoming back visitors to the previously silent and still museum.

Unfortunately, the Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser was not yet open to the public (now open and extended to 31 December 2021), but I have managed to secure a ticket for July. I did manage to see the Bags: Inside Out which I would highly recommend for any fashion lovers out there, or those interested to see the process of bag making and history of the design of bags.

Louis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami ‘Eye Need You’ bag, Spring-Summer 2003. France (c) Victoria and Albert Museum London

The V&A never fails to disappoint and even the Bags: Inside Out exhibition was eye opening to the bag novice, the tools used, the processes, the length of time from design to product. I especially liked the projected videos of processes being shown on the walls of the space in conjunction with the breakdown of parts of the bag. I found it fascinating.

I recall looking at a calligraphy set in the China room and a girl of about ten rushing past me to get a closer look, her blond ponytail swishing behind her as she looked intently at the objects on display before moving onto the next, her trainers thumping the floor as she moved from one section to another. It was this excitement that I loved, albeit mine a little more contained; the joy of seeing something new, learning something that you never would have known before and feeling part of something again after so many months cooped up at home. I walked through the newly refurbished Raphael Cartoon Court where the tapestry’s hang dwarfing myself and the other visitors (unfortunately I missed HRH Kate Middleton) the vastness of the court took me by surprise as I sat and looked on in awe. The Cast Courts and Medieval and Renaissance Rooms (1350-1600) always impress.

©Copyright Cast Courts V&A- Drew Reynolds

I also enjoyed walking through the Buddhism room, Sculpture Corridor, the John Majenski Garden where people were relaxing and having a coffee near the central pool. The weather had improved since my arrival and the sun shone, illuminating the  collections gloriously. I saw artists sitting sketching the sculptures, families walking hand in hand through the exhibits and pointing out objects of interest to one another. I saw a group of teenagers taking photographs of each other posing in the sculpture room mimicking the poses of those around them. There was a sense of ‘normality’ and joy at being able to participate in the first day of opening since lockdown in 2020. Even behind my mask I was smiling at everyone, even though they couldn’t see me.

©Copyright Topiary at the John Majenski Garden- Drew Reynolds

I was able to grab a swift lunch at the Members’ Room before heading out. I passed through the gift shop and browsed the merchandise, books, scarfs, postcards, something to fit every budget even mine. I would say a big thank you to the staff at the Victoria and Albert Museum for making my visit as a solo visitor warm and looking after me. I daresay that my next visit will be in the near future to try to see the many other rooms and levels that I was unable to fit into my 3 hour visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Wee Ditty

So Day 1 back to work amid COVID-19 was interesting. I got the train to Charing Cross with wary commuters, wrapped up in medical masks, gloves and scarfs. People are attempting to social distance but on a train which is barely 1 meter across trying to navigate the seating plan is an effort in itself. 

I change at London Bridge for my connecting train, everybody is so eager to exit the carriage that social distancing is flouted, especially on the escalators. I do what I can but it’s definitely less than 1 meter apart. Walking up the strand in the early morning is eerie to say the least. There are a few rough sleepers congregated near to the Sainsbury’s, I see a couple helping one another to put on medical masks. The air smells fresh, smells less polluted, a couple of vehicles can be seen in the distance, swerving and turning off the main road.. in spite of the movement on the street it feels apocalyptic.

Most of the shops and restaurants are closed, nobody running for coffee, picking up a hit sandwich for breakfast before hitting the office for the day. Checking my watch I see it’s 8am, I need to hurry up and get myself to work. A jogger passes me Lycra running shirt and a yellow top, headphones in and talking, I don’t recognise the language… but the intonation could be followed… he was on the phone to a loved one, a parent, grandparent, sibling it doesn’t matter. The wind blows and chills me, my fingers numb, the contents of my bag for life a bottle of water, jar of coffee, home made soup and an umbrella are my rations for the working day.

I see a lady in a beautifully fitted navy winter coat buckled at the waist smoking a cigarette as she made her way to her destination on the opposite side of the road. Her brown hair casually coifed and designer sunglasses resting on the tip of her small nose. A homeless man tries to make conversation… I couldn’t hear what he said, but spare change or a cigarette are the best guess. She waves him away and proceeds to make her way down the Strand… her nonchalant gesture palmed off the man, with his sky blue sleeping bag slung over his left shoulder. Were the lady and I even experiencing the same street? The same London? Possibly not but we were definitely in the same pandemic held fear… the same fear that had now been added to those less fortunate souls… the waft of desperation danced freely along the wind, as it blew down the same street, encircling us three individual souls trying to get through a new way of life.

Falling High- Sarah May


…rising down into the deep”

Falling High
Artwork by Shahrukh Hussnain

Sarah May has already proven herself to be an established singer, songwriter and performer through her euphony of releases, Take Me Away, Fly, and Oops to name but a few tracks. Her latest release is just as compelling as she transitions her talents into an ambient electro chill out track. In previous interviews with Produced By a Girl Podcast she has expressed her love of house, dance, techno and electro as being favoured and influential genres.


  • Written and produced by Sarah May
  • Mixed and mastered by James Preston
  • Artwork by Shahrukh Hussnain

The title itself is an oxymoron and fits perfectly with the lyrics. The juxtaposition of “Falling High” with “…into the deep…”  is emphasised through the song with a beat that builds as the track progresses surrounding and holding the listener throughout. The incremental progression of the track adds layers for the audience through the ambient almost meditative feel.

“I’m falling high into the deep” although contradictory enables the listener to embrace the euphoric graduation of the track throughout to its crescendo. Sarah consistently delivers polished music and this is no exception, it may deviate in style from her previous tracks but the creativity and effort put into her music is self evident, well constructed and a joy to listen to.

The track starts softly but builds progressing into an exemplary piece that wouldn’t be out of place on the club circuits of Berlin, London or Ibiza.

Falling High is Sarah’s first release of the year, and I am excited to see her creative talents continue to flourish throughout 2020, as with most creative mediums the hunger for more is greatly outstripped by the ability to create, produce and release. When I hear of Sarah May’s next track release I shall keep you all updated, until then I await patiently.

Take Me Away- Sarah May

…Comfort me dancing in the rain…

The latest release by Sarah May Take Me Away deviates from her previous releases of tackling social issues such as mental health, feminism and sexism lightened through her use of humor. Take Me Away reflects Sarah’s love of techno with a prominent beat, synths and effects when combined with her voice creates a song that wouldn’t be out of place in the Berlin club scene let alone London.

Sarah is obviously a creative force to be admired and Take Me Away stands as an accomplished piece from a differing facet of her music tastes. Take Me Away opens with the title lyrics in an almost meditative chant before building the layers of music that washes the listener in an ambient and encompassing journey.

Similarly Sarah’s previous releases her music continues to offer an expressive escapism for her fans as well as herself. Her upbeat electronic work in Take Me Away adds to the permeating effect her music has on the listener as she continues to ooze creativity with a momentum of brilliance behind her.

Take Me Away illustrates the breadth of creative talent Sarah has, as well as expanding the relationship of artist to audience through the medium of music. Sarah’s work consistently welcomes and encourages the listener to partake in her journey, her accessible lyrics and polished creative talents are evocative and reflective allowing the listener/audience a release and rest bite from the wet and windy November weather.

Catch Sarah May’s interview on the Produced by a Girl podcast to find out about her influences, creative process and the personality behind the voice.

Oops… by Sarah May


I can’t wait for Sarah May’s next Release Oops…

Oops- Sarah May


Sarah May’s individualistic and honest style of songwriting exemplifies what good artistry is about. Her clear and at times raw messages are enveloped by catchy melodies that take the listener on a journey that they’re all are able to understand.


Sarah is a born and bred Londoner who discovered her passion for music at a young age. She has an active interest in contemporary culture, politics and obviously music. She has recently returned from Taiwan after a two-year stint of travelling and exploring south-east Asia and intends to be gigging a few times a week. She may well be at an open mic night near you.


Themes of female empowerment, patriarchal double standards and the yearning of unrequited love list but a few of the topics tackled in her music. Whether acoustic or accompanied by a jaunty synth beat Sarah May’s transparent and sometimes hauntingly powerful vocals stay with you even after listening (in a good way).


Sarah’s honest and unashamedly frank style demonstrates the authenticity that I enjoy and I shall be awaiting Oops to drop shortly (available on all major platforms).


Other titles include:

Because I Turned Your Down [Explicit]:


Nothing To You [Explicit]:

Mary Stuart: Queen of Scotland… and Runway

A life cut short through loss, betrayal leading to imprisonment and finally execution doesn’t fill me with positivity.


There have been a many depictions of Mary Stuart in film from Katharine Hepburn in Mary Queen of Scotland (1936) to Das Herz der Königin (The Heart of the Queen) (1940) a 1940’s German interpretation which saw Zara Leander in a historical musical role, yet one of the aspects of the movies that abide (majoritively) to the sixteenth century fashions also find themselves seeping into the creations of luxury designers.

Read more

Fashion: On Screen


Over the years there are films that have given us great fashion viewing, some famously popular and some that have received less acclaim. The following titles are but a few that have offered great outfits, interesting plots and complex protagonists.

Holly Golightly & Paul Varjack

Lets start off with a classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) where Holly Golighlty (Audrey Hepburn) and Paul Varjack (George Peppard) meet when Varjack moves into the same apartment block. The iconic sheath little black Givenchy dress that hugs Hepburn’s slender figure made of Italian satin epitomizes her character. Hepburn was famously a friend of Hubert de Givenchy, however it was Edith Head that assisted with costume support on the movie and had to re-design the dress for screen as the original showed too much leg. Read more