A Little Life Update

I think it’s fair to say that things are a little wild right now. The UK is currently under lock down and I am self-isolating with my best friend in Lancaster. As someone with mental health issues, it’s no underestimate to say that this lock down is going to F me up.

My Current Situation

I’ve been placed on furlough at work which means I’m not allowed to do anything for my company. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I get laid off – it’s a small business and it’ll take a while for the workload to increase in a way that’d justify my return to work. That means I have nothing to do with my spare time.

I rely on work to get me out the house, motivate me to be productive, and give my life order. I realise how fortunate I am to be able to self-isolate at a time like this, but this doesn’t lessen the concern I have for my own mental health. Plus, I’m highly aware that everyone is sick of reading about different people’s isolation experiences which is why I’m not going into specifics about supermarkets and daily walks, etc.

I’ve created a list of bits and bobs I hope to do throughout the coming weeks to keep myself busy (a separate post to come). However, I don’t want to fall into the trap of feeling like I have to be productive. The world is in a state right now, this pandemic has really highlighted class divides, inequality, and how selfish some people are. So with this in mind no one should feel the pressure to be productive, to make the most of this time inside, etc etc however other blogs want to phrase it. It’s okay to just exist and focus on escapism.

That being said, I harbour no bad feelings towards anyone trying to make the most of their time or my work for placing me on furlough – we’re all just trying to figure this out and come out the other end in the best condition possible.


Keswick Film Festival

Before attending KFF at the end of February, I did a post all about what I wanted to see and do throughout the weekend. You can find that here. I had BIG plans and my goal was to do a follow up post about my experience, highlights of the weekend, and which movies really stood out.

Sadly, I got food poisoning before the Festival even began. It was bad. I spent the majority of the weekend suffering and confined to my hotel room (props to my friend Adam who stuck by me through it all and made sure I didn’t die). And, I think it’s fair to say following a fairly traumatic public vomiting sesh, I am probably bard from that hotel for life.

We did however manage to see The Farewell, Parasite, and the Ospery Film Awards on Saturday. I cried all the way through The Farewell, cheered throughout the Ospery Film Awards, and was pleasantly surprised by Parasite.

Overall, it was a good weekend. I just wish I could have helped out more and suffered less.


How are you coping with the current state of things? Let’s start a conversation down below.

Keswick Film Festival 2020

Last year I volunteered at the Keswick Film Festival. It was an amazing experience seeing films I otherwise would not have had the chance to see, meeting actress Alice Lowe, and spending the weekend hanging out with some amazing people.

So, of course this year I volunteered again! Taking place from the 27th February to the 1st March 2020, Keswick Film Club’s annual Festival is set to be just as amazing as 2019’s.

KFF 2019:

My experience last year was only possible because my University covered travel with the Bright Future’s Fund, while the festival organisers covered accommodation. For a student, having travel and accommodation covered really took a lot of the stress out of venturing to Keswick for a weekend where I would be surrounded by people I didn’t know.

I was anxious but excited for a weekend of film. What I didn’t expect was just how much I’d enjoy hanging out with the other volunteers. When I arrived at the Theatre by the Lake on Friday morning, I met the loveliest bunch of Film and TV students.

As volunteers, we were offered free entry to all films, including student showcases like ‘Popcorn’, the Ospery Short Film Awards, and featured pictures/events. When we weren’t sat in the Theatre, we’d be handing out voting slips, directing visitors, posting on social media, conducting questionnaires, and just generally having a grand old time.

Plus, the Festival Co-ordinator, Ian Payne was the nicest chap and bought us coffees while we manned the front desk throughout the day.

Personal highlights:

  • Sometimes Always Never. Participating in a Q&A with actress Alice Lowe and Director Carl Hunter. Nervously asked Alice a question on my friend’s behalf and still have her answer saved in the audio files of my phone to this day.
  • Balloon by Emma Smith. Shown as part of ‘Popcorn’. Check it out on Youtube.
  • Theory of Nothing by Kitty Handley. Shown as part of ‘Popcorn’. Check it out on Youtube.
  • Fellowship of Hill, and Wind, and Sunshine. Shown as part of the Ospery Film Awards.

This Year:

This year’s a little different as I’ll be joined by my friend, Adam. This time around my role will be mostly the same, however instead of this being a 3 day trip, I’ll be in Keswick for 5 days, taking in the town and working on personal projects when I am not helping at the Theatre.

I want to take things easy and try to avoid getting burnt out. Where last year I was out and about 12-13 hours of the day, constantly surrounded by other people, this year I want to enjoy more ‘Me’ time. After all, I work a 9-5 that I must return to bright and early Monday morning. Plus, as someone with an anxiety disorder, being in a ‘unfamiliar’ environment surrounded by people 24/7 can be exhausting, and I need to learn to take a step back and relax.

Therefore, unlike last year I’ll be on hand Thursday evening at the Alhambra for the opening film. Then, Friday morning my friend and I will make our way to the Theatre by the Lake where we’ll propose creating a rota with other volunteers to ensure there’s always help, but that no one gets burnt out.

Throughout the weekend I should be moving between the Theatre by the Lake, The Alhambra, and my hotel room. Maybe I’ll do some shopping, dine out and explore the market on Sunday, but those extra activities will depend on my mental state.


Watchlist:

As I’ll be present for the entire Festival, I thought it only fair that I take advantage of our free tickets. Below is a list of all the films I plan to cross off my IMDB watchlist, accompanied by a student film showcase and the Ospery Short Film Awards.

Thursday (27/02)

The Runaways

Synopsis: After their home life is turned upside down, three children and the family’s donkeys escape across the backbone of Northern England, confronting both the harsh landscapes and what it means to be siblings.

Director: Richard Heap


Friday (28/02)

The Patron’s Legacy Project

An afternoon of multi-media performances from the students who, this year, have taken their inspiration from the films of Tilda Swinton.

Only Lovers Left Alive

A depressed musician reunites with his lover. Though their romance, which has already endured several centuries, is disrupted by the arrival of her uncontrollable younger sister.

Director: Jim Jarmusch


Saturday (29/02)

Ospery Film Awards

A celebration of local film making where a selection of short films are showcased, with the audience voting for their favourite to win the Audience Award.

The Farewell

A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.

Director: Lulu Wang

Parasite

A poor family, the Kims, con their way into becoming the servants of a rich family, the Parks. But their easy life gets complicated when their deception is threatened with exposure.

Director: Bong Joon Ho


Sunday (01/03):

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.

Director: Céline Sciamma


I am so excited for things to kick off. Will you be attending? What do you think of the films on this list? Share your opinions in the comments below!

Here’s to a New Year | 2020 Goals

2020 marks the start of a new decade and I’m daunted with the prospect of another 10 years….y’know before climate change wipes us off the face of the planet in 2030. Bad joke? Please donate to Australia’s fire relief.

In all seriousness, now that I’ve graduated I really want to work on myself and find more in life to be excited about. I want to work on passion projects, make rubbish art, and indulge in every area of film, video games, and literature that I can.

However, the majority of my goals for 2020 are life related: home, work, and travel. They’re goals that’ll hopefully set me up for an exciting future, one where there’s always something fun around the corner. So, without further ado, here’s my top 5 goals of 2020.


Say goodbye to Lancaster

Back in 2016, I moved to Lancaster for University. Though I was used to moving around Middlesbrough and Stockton, Lancaster was the first place I truly got to live alone. Now I’m in my fourth year of residency and I’m ready to move on.

In my time here, I found that this town is perfect for students and graduates, but there is only so much you can do. I’ve discovered every nook and cranny, tried every cup of coffee, and even explored the wider area. This year, it’s time for me to move on and let my student life go.


Move away from my laptop

As a digital marketing assistant, I spend the majority of my day on the computer. Then, when I come home I open up my laptop, pop on Brooklyn Nine Nine or some Youtube videos and spend the next three hours staring at the screen before drifting off to sleep.

It’s not a healthy lifestyle and my eyes are begging me to chill out.

In 2020, I want to take a step back from the screen. Instead I want to spend my evenings painting, reading, or hanging out with a friend – something that really lets me relax and let go after a busy work day.


Establish healthy eating habits

I have terrible eating habits. Plain and simple. I rely on snacks, oats, and yogurt, rarely cooking a proper meal. And it’s evident that it’s affecting my day-to-day life. 

So, for 2020 I need to stop eating like a starving student and actually focus on keeping my body running and alive.

There’s so much I want to do, responsibilities that require my full attention and focus, and if my body can’t keep up I’m not going to make it far.


Write more for myself

This is a goal I have every year. “Don’t just write for an assignment”, “Do something creative outside of class”, blah de blah. But since my graduation back in July, I haven’t done any creative writing.

I have projects from my Uni days that I’m dying to revisit, to improve, and fall in love with again; but damn is my brain not cooperating. Maybe I’m burning myself out by writing so much for work? I’m constantly doing blogs and social media content, so other creative endeavours just don’t seem as important.

But this year, I’d really like to revisit a play I’d written in 2018. Set over one evening, Olivia and Emmy celebrate their 3rd anniversary. They go for a walk in the park, a meal, and dessert. But old issues resurface as Olivia realises that proposing might not lead the happily ever after she’s been hoping for.

I’d like to explore a lesbian relationship that has over a decade of history, love, memories, and all the ups and downs. I want it to be heart-warming but realistic; an avenue to craft compelling dialogue. I want it to be something that’d have me crying all night as I relive every moment, the thrilling and the devastating.

I really want it to be something just for me. And if other people like it, that’d be cool.


Revisit Paris

In April 2019, I joined a friend in Paris. And, it was AMAZING. Did the Notre Dame set on fire while I was napping in my hostel? Yes. But was every other aspect of the trip utterly surreal, beautiful, and fun? Definitely yes.

We visited the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower. I discovered beignets, drank delicious coffee, and feasted like a king.

In 2020, I’d like to return and visit places we didn’t explore last time: Sacré-Cœur, Place de la Bastille, Petit Palais and so much more. The city is surprisingly easy to navigate, has beautiful gardens everywhere, and everyone I spoke to was really friendly.

In the very far future I’d love to live there for a time working in the video game industry and living my own gay fantasy. But, we’ll just have to see.


How will you be changing your life in 2020? Leave a comment down below!

My Attempt at a TBR Pile

For those unfamiliar with my writing roots I started out as a book blogger. Ah the days where I would obsessively read, review, and discuss books, take part in readathons and even host giveaways. I had so much motivation before University stomped all over me. But here I am, creating a post to one, pay omache to my origins and two, maybe actually get some reading done?

So, here’s my TBR list of books I wish to read before the end of 2019.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

I still like YA, shoot me. Did I just graduate from University with a degree in English Literature, yeah. Did any of my studies improve my taste, heck no.

But, after watching the Netflix movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before I needed to read this series. And, imma tell you now I am a soppy girl when it comes to cutesy romcoms. They’re easy to dip in and out of, full of low stake drama, and generally fun.

To All the Boys follows Lara Jean, a girl who feels love so intensely she needs to write down her thoughts in a love letter that she’ll never send. But one day those letters get out and she must deal with the ensuing romcom shenanigans. The first book is fluffy and heartfelt as Lara Jean struggles to understand her feelings for the different boys in her life.

So much of love is chance. There’s something scary and wonderful about that.

Jenny Han, P.S I Still Love You

I’m around 40% through P.S. I Still Love You and I’m loving it. The narrative progresses naturally from the first book and you quickly slide back into Lara Jean’s shoes as she discovers new relationships and experiences. This is one of those books I keep on my phone so that I can dip in during my lunch break or while sat on the train because it’s accessible and a joy to read.

Goodreads | Amazon


Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

The first book picked for @theslowtravelersbookclub, Three Women is a non-fiction story 8-year-in-the-making. A significantly more adult novel than that above, this collection chronicles the sex lives of three women across America.

In a world where it seems that men are always open about their sexual desires, it’s rare to hear women discuss the matter. But in reality sex is just as important to us as it is to men, if not more.

Lisa Taddeo dedicated years to exploring feminine desire and how women of different religions and background experience it.

Sometimes there’s nothing better on earth than someone asking you a question.

Lisa Taddeo, Three Women

Sure to be a fascinating read, this novel comes to me at a time where I’m still trying to understand and become comfortable with my urges. It’s a long road and no doubt this book will allow me to explore it further. Plus, as a book club read I am extremely excited to discuss Taddeo’s work with fellow women come November 30th.

Goodreads | Amazon


Know My Name by Chanel Miller

For anyone who has been anywhere on the internet over the past few years you’ve likely heard the name ‘Brock Turner’, how he was painted by the media and the way his case passed through the court. You’ve probably also heard the name ‘Emily Doe’.

Well this is her story. Chanel Miller recently came forward as ‘Emily Doe’ after years of media attention on the case and name ascribed to her. Her case highlighted major flaws in the American justice system, the stigma surrounding rape victims, and racial bias.

We force her to think hard about what this will mean for his life, even though he never considered what his actions would do to her.

Chanel Miller, Know My Name

Before purchasing this book I first wanted to read the sample to determine whether I could handle to material. And, while the beginning of the book gets right into the immediate aftermath of that night, Chanel’s voice and turn of phrase keeps you engaged, sympathetic, and understanding. This is surely a read that’s going to affect me deeply and I’m open to recieving every message Chanel puts forward.

Also, I want to say how incredibly brave Chanel is to come forward, to put her name out there and share every detail of her experience for the world to digest. I am in awe of her willpower and do not take reading this memoir lightly. It’ll certainly be interesting to discover how her words have shaped the minds of others.

Goodreads | Amazon


There we go, the books I’ll hopefully be finishing before December 31st. I wanted to keep this list short and realistic, while also expressing how my tastes have changed. While I still love YA, it’s a genre I will dip in and out of in the future instead of marathoning.

As I am hopefully getting back into reading, I would like to shift my focus more to feminist/feminine experience texts. Right now, I don’t hear many female experiences in my daily life with a quiet office environment, male best friend, and no close relationship to females near my age. So reading literature like this will hopefully allow me to learn more about my own gender, our relationships and experiences.

Any recommendations? Share them in the comments!

The Playlist of My Life

Recently, I’ve been contemplating my music taste. What do I actually like and what do I actually listen to? What’s defined certain moments in my life? As someone who commutes for over 2 hours each day, I listen to a lot of music, so right now it’s hard to tell what best represents who I am. But, there are moments in my past that I remember through the music I listened to.

Most of the time I keep my playlists private as they have no theme or posses a theme so bizarre no one else will understand, but this one’s going public: The Playlist of My Life.

Music taste through the years

Before the age of 15, I never really listened to music much. However, it became my shield against the world, defending me against the anxiety of walking to school or catching the bus. Before downloading Spotify in 2017, I use to cram hundreds of songs on my shitty little phone to the point where if I wanted to add new music, I’d have to eliminate others.

In 2014, I really just listened to whatever was in the charts. Then, I’d look at the artist and explore their other songs. Simple. Safe. In 2015, my taste expanded as I googled recommendations and watched Youtube videos where people would outline their favourite songs. Rebecca Black I’m looking at you.

In 2016, I found Youtubers who were developing music and realised, ‘damn, that’s the stuff’. Tessa Violet, dodie, and Rebecca Black are just some amazing examples and everything kind of steam rolled from there. My music taste became broader, undefined as it strayed away from the UK’s Top 40.

Now, I listen to anything. If it’s a playlist created by Spotify, it’s probably indie/alt pop. But everything else is Youtube artists, musician’s from my childhood who have released new music, or gay millennials.

The Playlist of My Life

On the ‘Playlist of my life’ I’ve ordered the songs to represent the period of time they were most significant to me. Beginning in 2014 with ‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons and ending with now, September 2019 with ‘Woman’ by Kesha.

This playlist takes you through secondary school depression, sexual coming out, and just asking what the heck is going on. It’s small, but will grow as time goes on and as more songs come to represent my life. The playlist is available to follow now, so give it a follow if you want. I promise things should get more upbeat soon (let’s pray together that my life gets better).

Shit, I’m a Lesbian

Back in December, I came out over Facebook with a pretty quick post.

I was drunk, conflicted, and curled up in my best friend’s bed watching the Captain Marvel trailer when it happened. So, it’s fair to say that my coming out wasn’t exactly planned. And, up until a few weeks prior I wasn’t even out to myself.

If you’ve seen my portfolio, you may have seen an article I had written back in March 2017 for ItEquals, ‘Being an Asexual in a Sexualised Society‘. At the time, I truly believed I was asexual and bisexual – also known as Biromantic. I discussed my experience in a 600 word article when I hardly new myself and was just trying to understand my body and my mind. What I said was true to the time; I had never experienced sexual attraction, and I thought I had crushes on men.

For years I thought I had to be into men. It was the “norm”. The expected. I find so many people handsome or pretty and I would confuse that for a crush because I didn’t know how to distinguish my feelings. Growing up, everyone would constantly ask me if they’re were any boys in the picture, crushes, boyfriends, other.

When I got my first proper boyfriend, my family were so happy. Like I had achieved something. They started talking to me like I was a proper adult (I was 15). I’d make-out, hold hands, and cuddle with this person and despite how lovely they were to me, I mean I still have a bracelet they gifted me on my birthday, something just didn’t feel right. Fair to say we broke up. I was relived, no longer having to lie and say “I love you” to someone I wasn’t attracted to in the way I was suppose to be. He was hurt.

Ever since beginning University, I’ve made it my mission to become a better person, to be as good as I can while still being true to myself. But, first I had to know my true self. In first year I made out with several guys on nights out. Nothing ever took. Then in second year, there was this weird period where something developed between me and a guy from work. I liked the attention, I thought “finally someone is into me”. Then, drama happened and that was over.

Not long after, I kissed a girl for the first time and oh my oh my! I wasn’t attracted to this particular girl, but damn did kissing her feel good. She was soft and delicate and kind in her touch. My fingers brushed her cheeks and caressed her hair and I felt safe, held, seen. It was amazing.

It wasn’t until 10 months later that I’d finally realise, “shit, I’m a lesbian.”

Why am I being so dramatic? Acting like the realisation of my sexuality is world changing? I mean, it is for me. But why should you care? Well, let me explain.

Change. That’s what I want you to take from this. Change happens. No your sexuality isn’t going to change at the flick of a switch: you are who you are. It’s the way you identify that changes. You realise something, admit it to yourself, accept it. Breath it in and sit with it. Nurture that identity until it flourishes and if it doesn’t? Maybe that’s not who you are.

I spent a good few years thinking I was biromantic: no experience of sexual attraction for either men or women. I knew people were cute, I told people I had crushes that I didn’t really have, and people believed I flirted with boys despite me just really wanting to be friends with someone I thought was cool.

Do I regret writing that article? No. It was honest to the time. That’s who I truly believed I was.

What does this say about asexual and bisexual people? Nothing. My experience doesn’t speak for them. So to that person who said I was misrepresenting the community, suggesting that because I came out as gay I was displaying the toxic notion that all bi people are in reality gay: I don’t represent the experiences of a diverse community, I was only a member. For me, the bi identity was a gateway to exploring my sexuality. It was a label I was familiar with and I genuinely thought I was into men.

But I’m not. I’m gay. And, I am so happy to finally be able to live with that part of myself. A part I use to ignore, neglect, reject.

I’ve felt so much more confident in myself since coming out. Like I can breathe. I can walk with back straight and my head held high. I look forward to a future where I’ll fall in love, watch my wife walk down the aisle, hold her hand, and say ‘I Do’.


Perhaps the aptest song for a newly out lesbian.