• laptop with blank screen
    BLOG,  LIFESTYLE

    Dear Diary: There Is More

    The caterpillar that once was has suddenly discovered its wings and learned how to fly. I found myself struck by the thought of the butterfly and how beautiful and breathtaking it can be to find one. Now I’m not an ecological expert, I’m an artist and a writer, but I drew a butterfly recently for my cards of kindness campaign to remind and encourage people that they are beautifully unique. In today’s crazy-busy world it feels easier to forget to look in the mirror and check in on ourselves than it does to scroll through the reams of stills and images on our phone comparing and contrasting our life and journey with the next person. Yet, how can this be? If we too are as unique as the next. Every fingerprint represents a unique code of gifts, talents, patterns, and humans. This life is not a one sizes fits all, so why then do we spend some much time, money, and effort to squeeze into the box of ideas, to get the same coffee cup as that influencer on social media or just allow ourselves to get comfortable and camp up along the journey of life because we found ourselves tiring of the thought ‘are we there yet?’ ‘Have they recognised me yet?’ ‘Why is this not happening for me yet.’ Yet it is really the keyword here. Perhaps these kinds of questions are a signal to remind ourselves of our why. Perhaps, this is a sign that we’ve become so consumed with the highlight reels around us that we have taken our eyes off our own journey and road. If only we would be reminded that there is more ahead than what we left behind or what’s going on to our left or to our right. Fix your eyes on the path set before you and be prepared to fight. No great adventure was gained without a fight.

    Transitioning from caterpillar to butterfly is not a comfortable process and neither is shifting lanes or change in life for any human, but it is necessary. Perhaps it’s time to be brave in this storm we are currently bumbling our way through to remember that there is more, and it’s time to go again.

    If you like this content, and would love to support me, I’ve set up a Patreon where you get early access to my artwork and written work, plus Patreon exclusive merch and freebies from my little shop over at Frame Your World.

     

  • New Year, New Beginnings
    BLOG,  FOOD,  LIFESTYLE,  TRAVEL

    Life Update: New Year, New Beginnings

    Happy New Year!

    Can you believe we are two weeks into 2020 already? It’s been a whirlwind from christmas shopping to buzzing around running running christmas markets with Frame Your World, and taking up opportunities in London and speaking opportunities in Oxford.

    LIFE UPDATE

    I am still working on filling out the reflect part of my new 2020 bullet journal, and working to build in some exciting goals for me to form habits around this year. This is something I’ll share a lot more of in the future weeks and months as my new self care plan unfolds.

    MY PLAN FOR THIS BLOG

    I have so many platforms and channels going on at the minute that I just wanted to let this be a place where I pop in every so often, and let you know what I’m up too. If you’d like to be kept in the loop just enter your email in the newsletter and I’ll keep you posted.

    Being creative and entrepreneurial means I’m always up to something so I hope if anything you find some entertainment and at times inspiration as I share some insight and real transparent thoughts around life and my journey.

    LESSONS AND REFLECTIONS FROM

    One of the big things I’ve discovered about myself in 2019 was how much I loved the sea. Upon landing myself the best boyfriend in the world (I know I’m bias), I got to spend a lot of time last year near or by the beautiful scenery of Dorset on the South Coast. I find it so nourishing and recommend that whether you love to get lost in a field or go hiking on the mountains, to find something this year that inspires you and allows you time to reflect and reset.

    NEW YEAR 2020

    This year I spent christmas with friends and family back home in Scotland, and for new year returned to spend time with Matt and recovering from the hustle and bustle that December consistently brings with it. For new year I opted to stay home and make a buffet and watch the London fireworks from the comfort of my own sofa. It was delightful but I was also still recovering from the drive and busy period that it was touch and go whether I would even stay away to see the bells or fall fast asleep as I’m in the habit of doing right now, on my couch.

    Due to last year’s epic New Year that led myself and Matt pop down to the sea and stroll around his local town whilst everyone was still strolling home or fast asleep from the glitz and glamour of new years eve, I just had to long to capture that moment once again.

    ROAD TRIP

    We started off on a different route this year, and since we weren’t as close to the sea we drove down from Oxfordshire to the New Forest and Matt took us along some of the new villages and back roads to get a bit of something new in our new years day. It was a little rainy but in the end we had a lovely day. I stopped by a cute little cafe called the Beachcomer Cafe in Barton On Sea New Milton, and it was jam packed! It felt magical to watch the different conversations and taking in the wonder of a fresh new year and new decade. Despite tradition and plan to head home in time to make traditional Scottish steak pie, we ended up grabbing food from Turtle bay, which is one of our favourite date spots and headed home in time to watch the football. I still can’t believe how much I have grown to enjoy watching the Premier League on special occasions.

     

    Scottish Breakfast

     

     

     

     

     

    P.S. I didn’t get to make steak pie, but I did make an epic Scottish breakfast.

  • BLOG,  COMMUNITY

    What to do when life hands you lemons?

    If my life was a quote, then this would sum up my day and week. Do you ever get those weeks where it feels like you’re been hit with one obstacle after another? I’m sure you do! For me, this week, was exactly like that. I’ve cried and crumbled for a moment with anxiety until I realised that it’s time for me to get on my feet and fight back. Not in the literal sense, but internally I decided to stand firm regardless of the circumstances that were facing me. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond.

     

    On that note, I’m taking some time this weekend to refuel and replenish. It feels like these last few weeks have required so much psychically, mentally, and emotionally, but I am also reminded that we can do what we need to do. However this post finds you today, I pray that you know you are not alone. I don’t wish to share insight of the challenges I’ve faced to dwell in any self-pity but to remind you and be transparent that we all have those days, weeks, and moments where things are rough, where we get overwhelmed and need a moment to catch our breath.

    And more importantly that you CAN and WILL overcome this!

    with love,

    Leanne xox

     

  • TRAVEL

    Wild horses and beach huts

    This weekend I achieved an unwritten goal by exploring Bournemouth beach and taking a long-awaited picture of their famous beach huts. It was a magical adventure that I didn’t anticipate. I mean… who knew we had thousands of wild horses running around the UK? I didn’t. A mere 90 minute journey from my current home and I felt like I had transported to Spain or arrived on a holiday adventure where there were palm trees and sunset for days. Bournemouth has all of that, and more. It’s likely that I haven’t covered everything about this trip today but I hope to unpack in the following weeks. Now back to this magical day of adventure…

    The day started with a good old trip to Starbucks. It was a long week, and a rough night so I was definitely in need of breakfast and a nice coffee.

    Once we accomplished that we set off on an epic road trip into the New Forest. First stop, Burley.

    A quaint little town on the edge of the New forest with patches of lavender and wild horses roam free. It was stunning, and the weather wasn’t bad either. I struggled to wrap my head around the fact that no one owned the 20 horses just running around together, mingling in cricket matches, playing chicken on the roads (actually), and photobombing wedding pictures. It was like something out of a fairytale to me.

    Compounded by a stroll through some dry patches of a hill and forest where a dark brown stallion came galloping towards us as I stopped to take a video of the beauty.

    Being wild it had flies hanging around but its eyes were endearing and I so wanted to give it a big hug. As if this would be in any way realistic… it was like being in a dream. Shortly after we stopped by The Queen’s head after a brief look around some local shops that in many ways seemed dated with pattern carpets and dusty sparse-looking shelves. As small as this town appeared, the crowds gathered and our time in Burley was complete with a small stint of Morris dancers and a trip to The Queen’s head for my very first glass of pink gin.
    Next stop for the day took us to Lyndhurst, which was by far a bigger town and just as busy. Having a quick bite to eat we picked up some local rolls and climbed to the top of this hill to take in the view of horses, more sport, and family days out.
    It was super peaceful.
    I missed out on sampling the new forest ice cream, which I hear is epic and tastes like frozen clotted cream. I am sure another trip will ensue for this review…
    Bordering on 4 o’clock we had covered a good amount of attractions today, and just as the sun decided to appear from the clouds we made our way back to Bournemouth beach. The results were not disappointing… as I continue to learn and discover more about myself in this journey of life, I’ve learned that I am a huge fan of the beach and sea. There is something so calming and evoking about sitting by the sea and taking a moment to breathe from the busiest of life that ignites my soul.

    I can’t wait to share more about my epic trips, thoughts, and adventures… I hope this inspires you to explore and discover more of our beautiful country. Stay tuned for next week’s post on Thai food and lavender fields.

  • FOOD,  Uncategorized

    Smoked salmon love

    I have recently discovered the joy of poached eggs and salmon! It’s incredible, and despite years of turning down the cured fish for its raw appearance and texture. I am in love! ? 

    I don’t imagine this is news to anyone, but I was rather excited at discovering news ways to eat my favourite ingredients, and found a bunch of greens, with a slice of lemon brought a fresh and delightful lunch to the table. 
     

    P.S I find using the cling film technique to making poached eggs much more effective than the silicon cups I bought from Robert Dyas. If you’re not familiar with this technique, then get a cup and wrap some cling film over the cup and pour the egg into the cup. Add some salt and pepper to season, and wrap the clingflim into a nott before popping into simmering hot water (not boiling). This creates the perfect shaped poached egg in 4 mins (depends how you like the). I used to make them without, and got frustrated with some bad attempts that left me scrapping the egg off the bottom of the pan. 

    As January diets and resolutions kick in, I thought I’d share two other light but deliciously tasty, and fairly cheap dishes that will keep you fuller for longer. Did I just quote a cereal advert?

    Anyway this meal costs £5 and would make 4 meals (if you portion the cheese and beetroot).

     

    This tasty salad comprises of cous cous, beetroot and feta cheese, with spinach leaves. Masterchef eat your heart out. ?

    And one of my favourite ingredients (but not so healthy) Chorizo and mediterranean veg, sprinkled with parmesan. Ingredients for this meal cost me £6 including the parmesan, which lasts for weeks. This will stretch a few dishes too. 

    Hope you enjoyed my very quick cheap eats blog. If you have any quick and cheap eats then please do share, or if you try any of these let me know what you think below.  

     

  • BLOG,  LIFESTYLE

    Where’s our great British summer?

    You could say this is the question on everyone’s mind? It’s not exactly been the Indian summer we were promised, but then again I am Scottish and I come from a land where the sight of grey sky, rain and wind is of regular occurrence.

    Sorry to my Scottish friends, and family out there! 🙂 I love you all dearly, and truth be told it sounds like you have seen more of summer than London this year!

    Still, as it is Wednesday and I missed the Great British Bake Off tonight. #GBBO I’m going to have to watch that one on catch-up, so  I thought I’d share some of my favourite pictures from a moment of sunshine in one of my favourite spots in London… the park.

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    This spot in particular was stunning. Despite being deep in conversation, eating M&S cake and drinking coffee – The sunshine, blue sky, park buzz and sound of birds singing softly in the background was bliss. I took a Vine of this moment too.

    *Warning* I hear it’s not good to tilt the camera, so sorry in advance. I was a little excited.

    https://vine.co/v/eTqUp176vI5

     

    I think I have a filter on my iPhone 6 phone…
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    I had a really cool picture of the sunset from my room window tonight. It’s not been as warm as it looks, but I feel these pictures have brought back a moment of sheer bliss and cheering me up this evening.

    So that’s it for me today. These are just a few of the beautiful moments I have captured recently. I’m not sure where the great British summer has gone this year, but if all I had was this one snapshot, I’d be pretty chuffed with this one.

    I hope you’re having a good week. If not, make sure you stop and look for the opportunity in your week and day to appreciate. If the dream or circumstance you’ve been waiting to see seems slow to turn up. Remember the process of growing like the tree above. As long as you’re sowing the right seed into good soil, the harvest will come.  As one of my hero’s today said, “You can’t sow a seed and reap a harvest at the same time. There is always a natural delay in between.” Just because something hasn’t happened yet, or fallen into place, doesn’t mean it won’t.

  • BLOG,  LIFESTYLE

    Valentines love

    Hello!

    Happy eve of Valentines!! I hope this finds you well. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good chick flick. If you’ve been close enough to read a snippet of my current novel, you’ll know I like to write love stories too.

    Besides starting a new job, meeting new people, and venturing into a world of new opportunity. I have been given the absolute honour writing for the wonderful stationary designers (Jack, and Lorna) over at E.y.i.love.

    I asked folks across social media to share their favourite, funniest, most romantic, or biggest fail Valentines story with me. The result was this… Sweet Valentine! I hope you enjoy!

    Oh, and a BIG thanks to all who shared their stories with me. Here’s a bonus story (that arrived after publication) to give you a little insight to the post over at E.Y.i Love. This is a wonderful woman’s valentine fail… It’s also important to say that she really does believe in LOVE.

    As Valentines Day rolled around each year, I literally put my heart and soul into my creative card and gift I gave my husband year!  I have to say that even though my effort was never fully reciprocated, I still fell in love all over again with each 14 February.
    Until… Valentines Day 2009!
    Having been quite smitten by the first ‘Sex and the City’ movie, I decided to use words from the Ludwig van Beethoven letter, read out by Carrie to Big from the book ‘Love Letters of Great Men’.
    There I was with my gift all wrapped and the most beautiful, simple card all written and my excitement lay not in what I would receive, but in the reaction I’d hope to get from my valentines to him!
     
    Inside the card Beethoven expressed my love:
     
    ‘Only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together –  love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all . Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
     
    ever thine
    ever mine
    ever ours’
     
    The card gets opened. He reads, and my heart beat fastens. And then those immortal words…
     
    ‘Have you developed a stutter?’
     
    WHAT ?!?
     
    That was it – A STUTTER?!?
     
    Valentines Fail of the highest degree!
     
    Needless to say that we are now divorced, but I still hold true to my belief in L’amour – in the end it’s all we have.
     

     

  • LIFESTYLE

    Spots v Stripes

    Hey all,

    I went shopping at the weekend to my favourite spot. Now normally this would feature something from Zara, but today I’d love to show you a few items from Topshop that I have on my most wanted list right now. I don’t profess to be a fashion blogger, but I do love finding new styles and going shopping, so I thought I’d share. Hope you find it interesting. Let me know in the box below either way.

    First a few things you need to know about me, and my choice of style.

    My favourite shops for many years has including, Zara, Warehouse and then Topshop.

    I love spots, and stripes. However, despite many efforts to pull off spotty and stripy garments, I find them hard to wear. I guess I just haven’t found the right material, with the right shape before now, but I never gave up trying.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t had the budget to go out and buy as much as I used to for a while. As London is an expensive place to live, and most of my time and money is spent on travel, rent, and food; and I have to be creative with what I have. In all honesty this can bring any girl in London down, but I have recently discovered a light at the end of the tunnel. My friend suggested making some plans to do new things, which for some reason was a great wake up call. I got so excited and carried away that amongst many other adventures and re-discoveries, I’ve re-ignited my passion to shop! Instead of avoiding shops these days I go in and trying things on. What better what to find out what fits than to test it out, right? In fact, whilst shopping on Saturday I’ve come up with a scheme to reward myself for achieving my goals this year. I am really excited about this years goals in particular. I will share all in Friday’s post. I know I still haven’t filled out in on my recent food haunts yet, but I will get to that next Monday.

    So here’s my top picks, and latest items that I love to wear.

    1. Stripy casual dress, £36, Topshop

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    I love this, but stripes don’t usually look as great on me as it did on my friend. However, there is something about navy and ivy, or cream (which one do you think it is?) that I am drawn too. It’s £36 to buy, which in my opinion is a little expensive for what it is, but it is super comfy to wear too. If you’re too heavy like me, then you might want to go up a size for extra comfort. I think it looks nice with extra room. I tried both 10 and 12 sizes on – I only wish there was an 11 to be just right. Hehe Wonder why they don’t do that size? If you know, please share below. I would normally pair this with tan slouch boots, and a plait hairstyle! I learnt to braid my own hair this weekend, so everything’s a choice of plait for me this week. Better late than never, right? It also helps that my hair has grown longer.

    2. Stripy Jumper, £38 Topshop

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    Now I love this jumper, but for £38 pounds? Why? I am clearly drawing a pattern here, with stripes, but I really want this jumper. I know it’s casual, but it just means I’ll get more wear out of it, and the quality did feel good. It’s super soft and the material was of good thickness. I just wonder why £38? The dress and other chunky knit items seemed to hold a pattern price of £36. I know it’s only £2, but for some reason that makes a huge difference in my mind. I’m not 100% sold yet, so who knows I may return and purchase soon.

    3. Mustard, chunky knit, Topshop, £36

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