Doll Hospital, the zine made by and for survivors

With zines and similar publications becoming increasingly popular (something I would probably thank the Internet for, as it allows for digital – sometimes free – publications to reach a great range of people through social platforms such as Tumblr), it can be a little overwhelming to find a piece with which you truly connect and that you believe is really leaving a mark worth remembering. Luckily, a lot of writers and general creatives are using zines to discuss and explore topics which go unnoticed or are simply not covered in mainstream conversations, which means there is pretty much something for everybody. Doll Hospital, a bi-annual publication created by Bethany Rose Lamont, is one of such works.

Like many other people, Bethany suffers from mental health issues. According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression the most common mental disorder in Britain. It is a very real, very widespread problem and yet most people still feel very uncomfortable opening up about their own or their loved one’s issues, and in certain tiers of society mental illness is still considered close to a taboo.

'Three is a crowd' by Laura Callaghan (featured on Doll Hospital) @Thorns Have Roses

‘Three is a crowd’ by Laura Callaghan (featured on issue #2 of Doll Hospital)

In May 2014 Bethany asked her Twitter followers whether they would be interested in submitting their own personal mental illness stories to be collected in form of a zine. She wanted to create something that would reach beyond her small community of Tumblr and Twitter, something in which anyone could express their voice, a space for people who always felt out of place.

‘I’ve had mental health struggles for over half my life now. As a result, I want to cultivate a model of mental health discussion for people who might not necessarily get better, who might have to be on meds their whole life. I don’t want to talk about recovery, I want to talk about surviving,’ she told Dazed magazine.

This zine project turned into an art and literature print journal. It is 100+ pages full colour of soothing illustrations, comic art, poetry, fiction, literary essays and real talk. It features poetry, anecdotes, illustrations and comics and it welcomes multinational, multiracial, multieverything voices and their uniquely-cut struggles.

"You Can't Sit With Us" by Herikita (featured in issue #1 of Doll Hospital) @Thorns Have Roses

“You Can’t Sit With Us” by Herikita (featured in issue #1 of Doll Hospital)

 We think it is beautiful, we think it is necessary, and we hope you do too.

This project is important because mental illness is one of those invisible topics that need to be brought up to the surface in order to make some real change happen. But not in that romantic, almost fetishised portrayal of the “sad white girl” which has been popularised in fiction: mental illness isn’t glamourous, it isn’t a fashion accessory and it shouldn’t be used to make a character more interesting because of lack of real depth. It is a struggle, it is exhausting, it is real and it isn’t pretty; which is why creating a safe, supporting and aware environment is so important.

We believe print is the best medium for this project — a refuge from toxic comment sections and constant link skipping. Something tangible to slip in your book bag and read on the bus. Something still, something quiet, something just for you.

Here you can flip through a sneak peek of issue #1, and here you can get both issue #1 and #2 in digital form (prints are currently out of stock, but they’re hoping to make some more soon). A donation of £5 is suggested, but not mandatory, as you can choose how much you want to pay for it.

sources / photo credits:
Milk Teeth (Bethany Rose Lamont’s blog)
Doll Hospital Journal
Dazed Magazine
XO Vain
Laura Callaghan Illustration

Villoid: like Polyvore, but with a Chung

Apps are like mushrooms: they just seem to keep popping up everywhere and all the time, in all sizes and shapes – but not all are good. Okay, perhaps not my finest metaphor, but you get the point. We live in an information-saturated side of the world, and in the ocean of apps that we are drowning in, there is always something that will cater to your needs – sometimes it will even create a need you never thought you had.

One particular app has been recently making an appearance more and more often in my circle of social media and technological gadgets, an app that claims “will change the way we get dressed forever”: Villoid. Alexa Chung has been raving about it on her Instagram and various socials for a while, with her distinctively bubbly and quirky voice, so my naturally curious and nosy had to find how what the deal what.

Elle UK Magazine, who reveleaded the launch of the new app, described it as “like Instagram for fashion, but with a buy button”, and similarities to Pinterest, one of my all-time favourite platforms, have also been pointed out. From my point of view, however, the main competitor (and predecessor) of this new app would no doubt be Polyvore.


Villoid is essentially a social fashion app that allows you to create “boards” (thus the link to Pinterest, which in my opinion ends here) to, essentially, put an outfit together, with a principle not so different than your classic Polyvore sets, only more squared and Instagram-inspired. Board can be used to experiment with different styles or perhaps try and recreate a celebrity’s outfit or a street style you snapped.


My attempt at creating a board.

You can pick your items from a huge database and each piece of clothing in a board can be clicked on and purchased directly from the app. But the app isn’t limited to the shopping experience, as it is grounded on a social media-like setting in which you can follow other users to see the boards they create on your feed, and even brands such as Miu Miu, ASOS and Acne have created their own profiles so that you can keep up to date with their latest styles.


“I suppose that scene in Clueless where the computer puts an outfit together from Cher’s wardrobe really stayed with me,” said Chung to Glamour Magazine. “Clothes are fun, making mistakes is fun, being inspired is fun. Villoid celebrates the process of getting dressed and showing your mates.”

It turns out this app isn’t as new as they make it sound. It was originally released under the name SoBazaar by Norwegian e-commerce interpreneur Jeanette Dyhre Kvisvik. After settling the app in Norway, Kvisvik contacted Chung to help her launch globally. By her own admission, Chung didn’t know anything about making apps and the technical mechanisms behind social media: “I found the social platforms I was on limiting in terms of expressing my involvement with and insatiable appetite for fashion by way of street style,” she said. “I had started thinking about how to blend all of these elements in an app format but didn’t have the foggiest about how to proceed with making it a reality.” However that didn’t necessarily stifle the success of the app as her major contribution was her huge following on Instagram and, really, her face.


“So many downloaded the app the minute Alexa announced her ‘secret project’ last week that the app was crashing,” said Kvisvik. “Social media stars are more important to young people than movie stars. Community trumps the elite. It is in this reality Villoid comes in, merging social media and community thinking with e-commerce. The world is changing, and the market places are changing with it, and we try to be at the very forefront of that development.”

Villoid is currently available in the App store for iOS and an Android version should be released by early 2016.

Apple Store
Harper’s Bazaar
Glamour Magazine

Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair

Ever since I arrived in Nottingham I have realised just how many events and opportunities are going on in this city at all times! I almost feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I wish to go to and see (particularly high on my list at the moment are the Nottingham Contemporary and the Nottingham Playhouse), but if I do miss an event, I try to convince myself that there will certainly not be shortage of fun or interesting things to do over the next three years.

One of such events was a vintage fair, hosted by Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair, which I heard was being held at the Albert Hall in Nottingham last Sunday. I was unsure whether to go or not as I had a lot of work to do and reading to catch up on, but in the end I’m glad I did. I feel that they did a pretty good job at capturing the vintage atmosphere (they even had a live singer performing a few classics) and some of the stands were actually gorgeous. I especially liked the homeware and pottery sections, I kind of wish I had taken some of those flowery teacups back home with me!

Here are a few snaps I managed to take on the day:

Lou Lou's Nottingham Vintage Fair @Thorns Have Roses by Benedetta Barucco Lou Lou's Nottingham Vintage Fair @Thorns Have Roses by Benedetta Barucco Lou Lou's Nottingham Vintage Fair @Thorns Have Roses by Benedetta Barucco

(continue reading to see more photos!)

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