Top 5 Festive Films

Me again! I know, I know I signed off my last blog wishing you all the best for 2021… And yes, I know that gives the impression that I wasn’t going to return… But more accurately, I wasn’t intending on returning. This post just sort of… happened.

I decided to put together my five favourite festive films for your perusal and perhaps to give you some inspiration as to what to watch over the next couple of weeks. So, let’s get into it!

Top 5 Festive Films

No. 5

Just to build the suspense… let’s start at the bottom of the list. Coming in at No. 5 is The Grinch. Perhaps controversially so, but hey – at least it’s on the list! I hadn’t actually seen the newest cartoon version until the other day and, despite being sceptical prior to watching, I rather enjoyed it and would even go as far as to say both the original and the cartoon versions can share this spot at No. 5.

No. 4

Next up is Nativity! I first saw this last Christmas while at a friend’s house and found it to be one of the happiest and most heart-warming films I’d seen in a while. Also, since that first viewing there’s been many more! Its accuracy and relatability are sure to bring memories flooding back from everyone’s days of auditioning and performing in the school nativity – no matter how long ago it may have been! Despite knowing the storyline, the film never gets old for me and is always a feel-good film for the festive season.

No. 3

At No. 3 is Miracle on 34th Street. The 1994 (yes, it really is that old!) version of the classic checks all the Christmas boxes for me. Mara Wilson is an indisputable star throughout and carries the film. Her endearing nature paired with the sweet, Santa-shielding storyline makes for a near-perfect picture to stand the test of time. Also, the ending (I won’t be a spoiler-sport!) is just fantastic – it’s incredibly well-written and one you won’t forget in a hurry.

No. 2

Taking the No. 2 spot is the veritable classic of Home Alone. Now, if you thought Miracle on 34th Street being released in 1994 was shocking… Home Alone was released all the way back in 1990! I had to do a double-take when I first read it! So yes, this 30-year-old(!) Christmas classic has certainly stood the test of time and Kevin’s antics while ‘home alone’ at Christmas are always sure to be an entertaining watch. With a spectacular soundtrack to boot, composer John Williams’ ‘Somewhere in my memory’ is a magical melody which brings back memories for many and is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.

No.1

Personally, as fantastic a film as Home Alone is, the film which just takes it for me is director Nancy Meyer’s masterpiece The Holiday. With an incredibly talented cast (who happen to be very easy on the eye!), this film never fails to get me feeling festive. I must admit, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched it, as it manages to strike the perfect balance between feeling comfortingly familiar while remaining remarkably rewatchable and refreshing each time.

So there you have it – my five favourite Christmas films! Let me know what your list would be and if it looks anything like mine! Wishing you a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2021.

Until next time!



A 2020 Christmas

Merry Christmas! 🎄

Wishing you much-needed health and happiness for the year to come. I thought I’d emerge from hiding on here just to share a short poem I wrote about this festive season! ⛄

A 2020 Christmas

Though December may be different this year,

There’s always room for Christmas cheer,

For spending time at home with close relations,

And sending love to friends across the nation.


Circumstances simply place more importance on,

Writing loved ones letters and picking up the phone.

For though December may be different this year,

There’s always room for Christmas cheer.

 

Wishing you all the best for 2021, which will hopefully bring better times than 2020!

Book Review – How To Grow Your Own Poem

4 stars – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I liked the idea of this book. Having studied creative writing at university, I have a fondness for poetry – both writing and reading it.

I did enjoy reading this and ended up taking away a good few ideas, which Kate Clanchy (the author) puts across well through the book – one example being an exercise of writing definitions of concrete and abstract nouns to then invert them, resulting in an unusual and very creative poem being written from them.

One element I didn’t enjoy so much was that – and I’m not sure whether it was the format in which I was reading the book (on my phone) – sentences seemed to cut off and move to the next line in odd places which did make for a slightly more difficult reading experience, but it didn’t detract too much from the content.

One sentiment I particularly liked and related to was ‘Editing poems is scary – often far scarier than writing them, because you actually have to read your own words!’ – I feel most writers are able to empathise with this! There are numerous little tips and tricks for writing, editing and rewriting pieces of poetry sprinkled throughout this book – like diamonds in a pool of gems.

Overall, some intriguing tips standing in line alongside some wonderful exemplar pieces by a variety of poets – many I would consider to be more obscure and whose work I otherwise would likely never have read. With such a wide range of processes and potential activities included, there is certain to be something which works for anyone looking to produce their own poetry.

Thank you to NetGalley for sending a copy in return for an honest review.

Handle With Care

Forever seen as fractured, frail
Rendered as untouchable
As thin as vases of
Glass and porcelain
In a cardboard box
Labelled
Enfeebled.

Oh, woe is Miss Understood
Broken shell but soul intact
Jagged edges surround her life
Eager to be a mother and wife
Confined, though, to a life alone
To protect fragile skin and bone.


I wrote this poem just this morning as my entry to a creative writing competition being run as part of an online, virtual open mic night organised by my fellow Chester University alumni friends! The writing prompt was: A Fragile Object. It’s a bit different to my usual style, but I quite like that about it. In case you hadn’t noticed, it is actually an acrostic poem – reading Fragile Object down the left-hand side!

I hope you enjoyed reading it and I’ll hopefully be back with another post before too long!

Until next time.

Top 5 Blogging Tips

In this blog post, I’m going to go through the top 5 tips I’ve learned throughout my blogging journey. From proofreading to plugging, try these 5 strategies for strengthening your posts!

1. Link-build by including outbound links.

2. Read, read and reread your writing before publishing it!

3. Social media is your best friend.

4. If you’re struggling for inspiration, just start writing.

5. Don’t be too disheartened if some posts don’t garner as many views.

Including outbound links to other sites in your blog posts increases SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and therefore boosts the chances of your post being seen by more people and subsequently the right people.
The way search engines work is they look for key features which indicate that a web page is of high quality – as they want to provide their users with the most valuable resources relating to their query. 
Therefore, if you include links to external, relevant sites you are providing value to your audience and search engines see this as a positive attribute. Linking to other websites is also helpful to the user as it provides them with the option to discover further information. See more about the benefits of link building in this article from Moz.
(See what I did there?)


2. Read, read and reread your writing before publishing it!

The last thing you want is any pesky grammatical or spelling errors slipping through and discrediting your skill and knowledge. I like to use Grammarly as a final check for any mistakes I might have missed! Also, although they may not seem as important as blog posts, I would recommend making it a habit to check your Tweets and other social media posts for errors before publishing. They are, after all, still a reflection on your writing proficiency.


3. Social media is your best friend.

Don’t be afraid to share your work on whatever social media platforms you have at your disposal. In order to reach people, you have to be present wherever they are. I myself was hesitant at first for fear of being judged, but try to overcome that fear and be proud to push writing you have worked hard on creating. You never know who might end up reading and enjoying it! I always say – they can’t read it if they don’t know about it! I personally share my work on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Creating an association between your work and your social media profiles also makes your blog seem more human and allows people to get to know the person and personality behind the words.


4. If you’re struggling for inspiration, just start writing.

This may seem a bit contradictory, but what I mean by this is just write whatever words happen to come into your head – however random and seemingly unrelated. Once you have created a list or mind-map, see what you can write including those words or what they could inspire. Alternatively, there are thousands of writing prompts online which are great for kick-starting inspiration! This list, for example: https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/


5. Don’t be too disheartened if some posts don’t garner as many views.

Yes, it’s certainly not ideal and can be disappointing when few people click through to have a read of your work – especially when it’s a piece you’re particularly fond or proud of. However, unless you keep writing and sharing your work they never will see it! Persistence and perseverance are key. It’s well-known that many of our favourite, iconic authors such as Beatrix Potter, Dr Seuss and J.K. Rowling – to name a few – had their fair share of rejections of pieces which are now considered to be staple literary texts. Just keep going.


There you have it! I hope these 5 tips help you in your blogging journey and you found this post useful.  This was a bit of a different post for me – not my usual creative writing-style work!

If this did help or inform you in any way, please do let me know with a like or a comment!

Until next time.

No Hoverboards or Self-Tying Shoelaces

The sound of the transparent, solar-powered radio drifted in and out as the surprisingly-strong May sun dipped behind the sporadic clouds dotted across the bright blue sky. BBC Radio 2’s non-stop oldies gave a nice, nostalgic feel to the air. It almost made one feel as though one should fetch one’s one-piece and go on a day-trip to the local beach. But then one remembers… The Lockdown. The Lockdown we’ve been under for exactly two months tomorrow – ever since The Announcement on 23rd March 2020.

I always thought 2020 sounded like such a futuristic year. This isn’t the type of futuristic, dystopian lifestyle I was quite hoping for though. I was thinking more along the lines of the Marty McFly-style hoverboards and self-tying shoelaces which Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis predicted in 1985 would be common place in the year 2015.

Instead, we’re sheltering from an invisible virus and grown adults have – quite alarmingly – decided to hoard reams of toilet paper. If I had been sent into a shop just before the country was put on lockdown, for some reason, I cannot see myself thinking of toilet paper as being such a necessity. More fool me, I suppose. Oh, flour is also now a valuable, sought-after commodity – I suppose we know for next time…

So, yes. It is strange times to be living in indeed. Had someone told me back in February that it would be the last month of full freedom for who knows how long, I wouldn’t have believed them. And even if I had, I’m not even sure what I could have done differently to make this period of quarantine any less unbearable than it is. No friends, no boyfriend, no family, no fun. None of the four fragments which made up the very bones of my former joie de vivre.

Life could be worse, however, than sitting out in the surprisingly-strong May sun and listening to BBC Radio 2’s non-stop oldies.

So Darling, Be Home Soon

I originally uploaded this poem in January of last year, but I’ve just reread it and I like it so much that I felt I wanted to share it again for more to read! Hope you enjoy! =)

emma leeming writes

Seven, long months of hell,
Since he bade her farewell,
His fiancée-turned-bride,
Gone, so far from his side.

Committed to her career,
She couldn’t remain here,
Sent off to pastures new,
With three words, “I’ll miss you”.

He awaits her arriving,
Picturing her driving,
By the light of the moon,
“So darling, be home soon”.

This was inspired by The Lovin’ Spoonful’s song of the sixties ‘Darlin’ Be Home Soon’. I highly recommend it as a song to relax to!

View original post

Unbridled Satisfaction

For this piece, I was inspired by the writing prompt:

Complete: Be inspired by a project or task being completed – whether it’s crossing something off the never-ending to-do list, or a project you have worked on for a long time

Unbridled Satisfaction

I like to see tasks on my to-do lists,

It gives an idea of how my day persists,

Of how it will be, of what it consists,

It fills us with joy, us completionists.

.

Don’t slow down when gaining traction,

Go down the list and find the next one,

That feeling it gave you only just begun,

That pure, unbridled satisfaction.

.

I hope you enjoyed it – I managed to write it in one 20 minute sitting! 

Until next time!

Junction 20A

The journey down. It’s so familiar to me now.

Making my way onto the motorway, I’ve done the journey so regularly it’s second nature to me. Start the drive on the M65, merge onto the M6, and there I stay until I see the sign for Junction 20A. I like driving on the motorway – sailing along, nice and straight. Constant speed, no need to wait.

Once I get my playlist on and I’m singing along to AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long and tapping my toes to The Beautiful South – Song For Whoever time has never passed as fast. I’m seeing those jubilation-inducing signs for Chester and the iconic River Dee – flowing free and waiting there for me.

The three years I spent here play as a mental movie of memories before me, projecting onto the willing windshield. From moving into halls to walking the historic walls, three years I spent here at university.

From running in the rain in the self-designated fast lane of the pavement to catch the train home to packing that final box of belongings into the car for that final journey from university back home… from Home.

Blades of Grass

With the unusually balmy weather we were experiencing in April, one could do little else but take full advantage of this rarity. Spending hours upon hours out and about… in the front garden. (You’ll understand later on).

It seemed that Spring had boldly swept Winter out of the way, presented herself to the world and declared “I’m here!” It was about time really, Winter had long overstayed his welcome and the world was becoming somewhat dreary and weary of him.

The current affairs here on Earth wouldn’t have helped Winter’s cause – what with the global pandemic and resulting rules regarding self-isolation and quarantine (now you understand!). People were suffering – many suffering alone. It seems to me that throwing bad/cold weather into the mix would be the very definition of adding insult to injury…

But despite the gloomy goings-on, spirits were at least attempting to remain high and the uncharacteristically warm(ish) weather we were experiencing in Northern England was going a long way towards encouraging this.

So, like many throughout the country, I selected my spot in the garden from where I would soak up the surprisingly strong sun’s rays. The bountiful grass seemed so soft and lush to look at, but when my bare legs lay upon it their sharpness became apparent. The hundreds of deceptively soft-seeming, pointed ends stabbing my vulnerable skin as I tried to relent and relax in the warm air.

Perhaps this is why they are referred to as ‘blades of grass’.