• community
    BLOG

    All the right words, in all the wrong places

    Can we open our eyes?

    We talk about being more authentic, our mental health and being able to talk to each other, and the importance of community, but I’ve noticed that we can be just as judgmental about who we share a smile with – especially when the person seems different than our norm.

    It still feels a little selfish to me… and don’t get me wrong, I’m talking about everyone else. I’m far from perfect here too, but I am challenging myself with this thought too. We are getting better at talking about the things we need to talk about but sometimes too good.
    I just wonder how many of us take time to notice the individual in the canteen who is searching for a seat on their own, or who pass us on the street with tears running down there eyes. Whilst we sit in groups comparing and contrasting the good and the bad of our jobs, day, and life, or go about our business ignoring the tears dropping by our side. I don’t know about anyone else but I know how easy it is to be distracted from actioning the very thing I know to do… We are so good at giving out all the excuses in the world about why we can’t, why we didn’t, and I don’t know about you but I’m just tired of hearing all the right words, in all the wrong places. I want to be someone who follows through all the time, not just when it looks good, makes me feel comfortable, and reaches across the room.Someone wise once said about life that;

    “It’s not about what you see but how you see it.”

    What are you noticing today? Where does your sight need adjusting?

    It’s one thing to say you stand for something or that you’re going to change something, it’s a whole other matter to live it.

     

  • LIFESTYLE

    What wikipedia can’t tell you about Love

    Hello! I am extremely excited to introduce a new staple blog post right here, every Saturday “What wikipedia can’t tell you about love.” It’s really born out of my own personal journey as I seek to discover and love myself more as a single young professional, and a passion I have to encourage others in reaching their best potential. As soppy as it sounds, I believe love is the fuel to that. More on that in the coming weeks ahead. Today’s post is an my introduction to an idea that love is more than words on a wiki page, it’s way more than the superficial and self obsessed walking definition we can find by taking two steps outside our front door.  I hope to capture a glimpse and do some research into what others think love is, love does before concluding and discussing the idea that I mentioned before – love never fails. 

    So back to where this all began. Last Saturday, I was sitting in a local coffee shop when a beautiful young lady came to sit beside me with her mum. Her daughter so attentive, and full of respect for her mother who she insisted sit down whilst she ordered them coffee and cake. Given recent events that shook our country, I was captivated by this beautiful moment. I didn’t think too much of anything at first, but then suddenly a wave of compassion came flooding over me as I felt inspired and overwhelmingly homesick. I couldn’t stop thinking how beautiful their bond was, and make me think of my mum and my gran – who are currently 600 or so miles north of my current location. Then it hit me. I have to ask if they mind me taking their picture. I didn’t want this moment to pass, but the desire mixed with the fear of rejection and being labelled “weird” put up a fight. In the end, I decided to take a leap and ask if they would like to take part in my new blog campaign to depict love. And guess what? They said yes!  Meet beautiful Kiran and her mum Beant from West London. I asked them what love is to them, and this what they had to say: Kiran said, “Love is knowing that everyone is you.” Beant said that to her, “Love is natural it comes from nowhere.” I am so thankful for Kiran and Beant having enough faith in me to take part in this fresh idea. I will be continuing to ask those around me to help me fill in the blanks to my quest on discovering what love is to me and others. To join me on the journey make sure are you follow me on Instagram, Facebook and spread the word by sharing this post with this week’s hashtag #loveis Let me know what you think too! What is love to you? What does love do? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please email, coment and share. Love lee! Me@leannemacduff.com Xoxo Oh P.S. I’m currently working night and day to get myself ready for the launch of my new notebook and prints collection for Frame Your World. I can’t wait to introduce this beautiful idea to the world. So if you’re in London on Saturday 9th July be sure to pop down to St Paul’s Way and check us out! You can also follow us on Instagram under @FYWcompany for more information.

  • BLOG

    Mothers Day

    It’s a day we take as a nation to celebrate the mothers, mums, and amazing woman in this world. As I write this on the train, and reflect on how bitter and sweet this day has been (I’ll explain later). It got me thinking… What is a mother? The obvious picture to describe her would be a woman who gives birth to a child. In many cases it becomes her full time job, at least for the first year. It’s 24 hours care. Day in, day out. Of course the difference is the overwhelming love and bond between mother and child that allows the mother to all that she does so effortlessly.

    As I get to experience this first hand from friends, flatmates and families around my life, I have found a new level of appreciation for a mothers love. I’ve talked about this over on EYILOVE blog, which I write for once a month. (Read here to see the real life stories of how a mothers love has impacted her child.)

    Her job from day one is nuture, care and guide the child through many seasons of life as best she can from her own experience and journey. When we think of a mother’s role like this, then we understand that she doesn’t have to be a biological parent to be a mum – she is a woman who has accessed all that’s within her, and devotes herself giving herself, her love, and her best to help and carve a way and leave an inheritance for the next generation. Motherhood is a gift and a blessing.

    I mentioned earlier that it was a bitter sweet day because I am currently residing in London and my own amazing mother is in Scotland. Despite efforts to go home this weekend it wasn’t possible, but I would like to take a moment to share just how amazing she is.

    I don’t know how I would ever fit this into a moment, because this woman has done so much for me. Due to a complication in her pregnancy she has had trouble in her feet where the sole of her foot has less padding than normal. Despite, the pain she continues to run quiet literally not just for me, but many around her. She’s gone from being a full time mum with a sick child who pretty much spend the first 19 years in and out of hospital. From bed side, to school, dance classes (yes I was rather active for a kid with chronic asthma) and continues to mother me 600 miles from home. She really is a superwoman who sticks by me regardless, and shows me an incredible amount of love in so many ways. 

    I would like to honour my mum today, and thank her for being her beautiful and caring self. This is a photo from our last daughter/mother date last month! Xxx

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    The other sweet part of this day is I got to spend it in church, and it was super special. The youth smashed it with their Mothers Day item. 

    https://vine.co/v/OVmHY7j0uLb

    Whatever your relationship with your mother today. Whether she’s here, or not. I want to send you some love today and hope that through my words you won’t be discouraged or think of what is gone or not great, but to hold on to memories, hope, love and let the mother (or father) in you rise up to be the best! Let’s not forget to cherish those mother figures in our life this day, and every day.

    Xoxo

     

  • BLOG,  LIFESTYLE

    A note to you from me…

    It’s good to reflect and consider the person we want to become. For me sometimes that gets muddled up with what I want to achieve, but after taking some time out to reflect and make some bold declarations… I wanted to share with you a statement made by Jim Carrey as he spoke I a ground of graduating college students.

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    I know I often blog about heavy stuff, and I could change that. My books and other pieces of writing don’t generally reflect this. However, I don’t really want to, nor have the time to try be anyone but me. I’m so excited as my desk ask chest of drawers arrived this weekend. I’ve been out and (of course) bought another copper photo frame, which you may have seen on a video blog I made (check out my channel). I want to print out this quote to remind myself of the two choices I will face everyday.

    Anyway, I hope this encourages you too!

  • LIFESTYLE

    Tough day, but that’s ok.

    So after a great weekend away, and one very sleepy Monday (hence no blog yesterday). Today, got off to a successful start, and then it seemed to fall a little flat. I’m not sure why, but hey ho that’s ok. I’m learning lots about emotions, and how to handle them. In fact I was speaking to a friend who also had a rough day. She made a very good point, which was we have to remember what we have, and find something to be thankful for.

    I know that is really good advice, so I thought I’d share a few things I’m thankful to remind myself, and hopefully encourage anyone else reading this who has similar kind of days.

    I’m thankful for… my job. I absolutely love working in my organisation. It’s interesting, and I’m able to focus on generating ideas and content for a bunch of digital platforms. I love to work with photoshop, and although I haven’t quite managed to get out the DSLR at work yet; I’m hoping to explore and take some original photos this week. Working in public sector is great, but it can be challenging at times when you want to get something done fast. My computer was playing up today. It didn’t help that I had the same experience with my home computer, and mobile the night before.

    Anyway, I’m dwelling on the challenge, so back to being thankful.

    I’m thankful for… my friends. I have the honour of knowing and doing life with some great, funny, and inspiring people. My friend sent me a cute message this morning about a girl she was listening to online. I know the woman she was referring too, and it was a huge compliment. I had the best Valentines weekend too having fun with the girls. We ate loads, laughed, shared stories, and had so much fun! One of the girls wrote some cards for each of us too. Oh, and my new desk is arriving at the end of the week. I will finally have a place to work! Woohoo!

    I’m thankful for my new desk. To have a place to write, edit my vlogs, and be inspired is important for what I’d like to do.

    I’m still craving some more cheesecake… YUM!

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    I’m thankful for having slept so well last night that I was able to get up with one alarm, and not ten, and get to work early. And for the beautiful sunshine! Check out my dodgy picture!! 🙂

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    I’ve had this weird sensation in my hands all day though. I thought I’d fixed it at work after adjusting my chair, but as I write my hands feel strangely cold and… weird. I’m not sure what it is, but I think I’ll go make some tea and heat them up. Anyway, I’ve got the I’m thankful for ball rolling, now it’s time for some news… I’m planning to start writing a new eStory each day. I’m calling it Diary of a comms girl. I’ve realised that I’m twenty-two days into my new job, and contemplated going back to day one, but I’ve decided not too.

    Stay tuned for tomorrow’s first entry, and wherever you are on your journey, let’s remind ourselves to stay thankful.

    Xox

     

  • 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.
     

     

  • BLOG,  LIFESTYLE

    Real talk.

    I just have to take a moment and get real for a second. This is another letter from my heart to my younger self.

    Dear my younger self,

    There comes a point in life when realise you are worth so much more than what you settled for. It’s time to get up and take action for we have one life. Trust me darling, it’s better for you to spend this one spreading love and joy, than fighting or falling over the trap of comparison. Choose to give love, than just to take love. For it’s the only real way to receive love back. Take a preference of trying over failing to try at all. It is better to go through the growing pains of life, and take some responsibility for ourselves to deal with the issues inside ourselves, than to wait for something or someone that may never show up. Trading an eternity of happiness for a quick fix now will never suffice.

    #dearmyyoungerself #lifelesson #graceisallyouneed

  • BLOG,  FOOD

    Cheese, broccoli and chorizo pasta dish

    I am late again in giving you this recipe, but as I look forward to making this very meal for dinner this evening, I thought it fitting to share with you all today.

    You’ll need:

    1 chorizo ring

    1 bag of whole-wheat pasta

    1 tree of broccoli

    1 courgette

    Many sprinkles of your favourite cheese (I choose mature cheddar)

     Cut up the chorizo ring into coins, and fry in a large pan with a spot of olive oil (the chorizo will provide an oil that will later coat your pasta, and in my opinion, this finishes the dish off. Boil the broccoli in a pan for 10 minutes, and some whole wheat (or your choice of pasta) in another pan. This will take between 7-12 minutes depending on which pasta you decided to use. Once all components are drained, and ready to eat, mix together in your biggest pot. Sprinkle with your favourite cheese to finish, and viola! My simple and super tasty pasta dish.

    I had this for lunch today, and it was simply divine! I hope you like!

  • BLOG

    My Cheesecake Story

    I just have to share a small act of generosity I received on my way home from work two days ago. Anyone who knows me will know that it’s really on my heart to encourage a culture of generosity, and be a resource.

    Well, I was so encouraged by the hand of generosity from a kind lady in M&S supermarket the other day that I just had to share. If anyone follows me on Instagram, you’ll have noticed I’m calling it my miracle cheesecake!

    Living in London isn’t cheap, and after many many weeks and months of finding a job, moving home 3 times in a matter of 3 months, and attending to the ebbs and flows of life in between. I was struggling to find money for food. After a day of temping, and a lingering cold I popped into the shop on my way home for a little TLC. After careful calculation of cost, and choice between food and cheesecake, and then which kind of cheesecake. Would I go for the raspberry and passion fruit cheesecake, or the smaller hazelnut version. It looked so cute. I went with the hazelnut in the end. By the time I got to the counter, I encountered trouble with my card. As I stepped aside to check my banking app, I ushered the woman to continue serving the growing queue behind. Just a few seconds later I hear the shop assistant ask the lady to repeat herself, and I look up I see the lady behind me asking the lady to scan my cheesecake. The look of confusion passes across my face, and as small as it seems this act of kindness really took me by surprise. The lady insisted on paying for my cheesecake, and whilst I was insisting on paying for it myself, she simply asked me to pass it on to someone else.

    There will be some who read this and think, it’s just a cheesecake. However, to me it was more than that. It was an ease of a burden, a moment of delight, and a slice of comfort.

    Dear Princess,

    You have experienced many acts of kindness already, but I just want to encourage and remind you of those moments of generosity. Don’t underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, or a gift. A gift can be many things, and culture can often teach us that we must receive before we can give. Darling, that’s not true. You don’t have to wait to receive before you can give.  It’s not the amount you give, it’s the heart motive that you give with that matters most. What seems small to you, can make the world of difference to someone else. We ‘the human race’ are really good at wearing masks, placing incorrect labels, and some are also good at hurting you, but don’t let that stop you from giving. Remember darling that a gift really does make a way.

    Much love,

    Leanne x

    #mycheesecakestory #miraclecheesecake #agiftmakesaway #makeadifference

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  • BLOG

    Sow to grow

    I am feeling rather inspired this evening after a packed day of interviews, work, editing and listening. As I prepare for move number seven in a few weeks time, and think about some of the plans I have coming up in the next few months, I am more excited than ever about the fruit of this seasons labour.

    #sowbabysow

    Dear Princess,

    Remember the principle of seed, time and harvest, and how we must sow wisely with our thoughts, words, and actions. Be thinking about what kind of fruit you want to see come from your life, and the kind of person you want to be. Be sure to check it matches up with the seeds you are sowing today too. Don’t be fooled now, even inactivity is a seed sown. Do something great. Do something wonderful. You don’t need more than a mustard seed.

    If you find an area where you lack, then think about how you could sow into that area for someone else. Don’t give an ear to the voices that can often be screaming from within, telling us that we must hold on to what we have or we miss out. No, darling. In order to grow, you must sow.

    #growbabygrow

    Leanne

    x