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.


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


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!