18 Highlights of 2018

I’ve made it a new year tradition to compile a list of my top highlights from the year passed. I think it’s so important to spend some time looking back before we can really start looking ahead, so in no particular order, let’s dive in!

1. Karl: Ok, ok, yes, it’s totally fair to put him first on the list. This year we ticked off some real bucket list goals together. We had the stress of moving homes, the excitement of successful career years, and the joy of doing things together like road tripping in a 70's camper van. Together we’ve become this little team, working proactively as one to make our dreams and adventures happen.

2. Buying our house

We didn't really intend to rent for so long when we moved to Glasgow but it took a bit of time to find our feet and know where to look. After we found Gartloch village, I was done for. We wanted to live on this street for so many reasons: it had charm, it was near town but in the countryside, the houses were new but had quaint character and are on a historic plot. Moving wasn’t the easiest as we collected the keys after work on Friday, I shot a wedding on Saturday and moved all of our belongings in time to host Karl's sister and niece that very week but we are so gratefull for the new space that is ours.

3. My JK Brides (& Grooms) I am so incredibly thankful for each and every JK Bride, past, present and future who invite me in to photograph one of the most important days of their lives. This year has been such an amazing growth in confidence and I'm still pinching myself that I get to do what I love professionally and no longer just as a hobby. It has been a ton of work, but anything worth doing is. I am beyond thankful for the support of my clients, friends and family who cheered me on and made this possible.

4. Our vw camper trip

Another instance where Karl and I battled repeatedly over old versus new. He wanted a huge, automatic, ugly, American RV. I wanted a classic, cool, retro campervan. There were many arguments over a lack of power steering, effective heating, the ability to climb hills... but obviously, I won. And, no regrets, because we had the BEST time in Bluebell.

See the blog post here.

5. Planning our wedding

We can’t wait to be married in a few more months! Until then, our plans definitely need some polishing as I posted about previously here but I can't wait to get tucked into some wedding DIY. Speaking of which, this year Kindly provided aaaaaaalllllll the wedding inspiration with TWO televised Royal weddings. (Euginie's look was better, just saying)

6. Seeing my brother graduate as a fireman. 2018 has felt like an amazing, transformative year for all Kirkwood Kids. Sure, Fraser and I have taken ambitious steps forward in our careers but Ross has made the biggest leap, becoming a full time fireman. Typically the middle child, growing up I genuinely thought there was a greater chance of him being more of an arsonist than a fire fighter. We're all so proud of him.

Some bonus family snaps from this year. Just 'cause ^

7. Friendships. Looking back on this year and feel incredibly thankful for friendships both new and old. I feel like my friends have had to put up with a lot from me this year. I'm always working, I never know if I have a free Saturday, I regularly drop out of a text conversation for 3 days then reply like I didn't just go MIA for 72 hours. You have all been so supportive so, I just want to say thanks for still being my pals. Sadly, my phone battery is dead so I can only include photos from my computer. And they're not great. Sorry.

8. Learning from Other Photographers

A real highlight for me this year has actually been working for other photographers! Working creatively makes me a bit of a hermit. Although I do have an art school degree, when it comes to photography, editing web design, marketing and so on, I'm mostly self taught. This means I don't often speak with like minded people and always carry this doubt with me about how I'm doing things. This year was just so great in terms of connecting with other wedding photographers. (This is Sarah of Morgan and Rose by the way, she ROCKS)

9. Prague

For my 28th birthday this year we visited the Czech Republic — which is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The East’s Paris, some even say. My birthday's in February so we braved temperatures of -9 degrees but definitely worth it!

10. Georgia Rose Hardy workshop. I've followed this genius photographer on social media for years now. I travelled to Yorkshire in October to join in on an incredible weekend shooting alongside an industry Titan like Rosie. It was amazing to pick her brain on what it's like to photograph celebrity weddings for Hello magazine and how she ended up on the cover of a Maroon 5 album!

11. Photography farm shoot with Gabe McClintock. Before this year, I’d never actually been to a photography workshop. I'd photographed for years as a hobby and crammed in some evening class after work to really get to grips with my camera before taking on clients. However, I watched other photographers hashtag from cool places with cool people from the photography world and I never thought I could afford it. I attended two this year, so, looks like I got the bug.

12. Glasgow life. AKA fooooood. When Karl and I lived in Northern Ireland, rare time off together orbited around food and not much has changed really now we live in Glasgow. Our favourite thing to do together is seek out incredible cafes. Other Glasgow highlights include going to gigs and accidentally watching a Korean Erotic film in the historic wee cinema on Ashton Lane. (don't ask).

13. Our Isle of Bute adventure. This summer Karl and I got on a train out of Glasgow with only a rucksack and a bike each. We cycled around the Isle of Bute and somehow back home. I insisted on getting a dutch bicycle with a basket a couple of years ago despite the insistent persuasion of my family that a mountain bike with a dozen more gears would be more practical. I stubbornly insisted on the bike I thought was pretty and we cycled 30 odd miles in a weekend. There were tears. I was fully prepared to give up and die of exposure at one point. But hey we did it. (Next time, I'm taking a different bike)

14. Interrupting my anxiety with gratitude. I don't think there's anything unusual in admitting life can be overwhelming. I don't talk about it but sometimes my anxiety will spiral too far out of control. This year has been a turning point for me, personally. It's down to being so grateful for everything on this list. It’s pretty self explanatory, but basically, when I’m feeling like I'm really struggling, I will just take a moment to say in my head or out loud things I’m thankful for and this has really helped me a lot. I want to make sure I am finding the balance with everything in my life. (I'm not...but I'm working on it) I want to feel as chilled, happy and carefree as possible this year. I am a terrible over thinker, so I really want to try harder to remember the positives.

15. The weather this year... am I running out of things to put on this list now? Yes but... no. I really have bloody loved the weather this year. I think we can all agree after the amazing snow we had in March, this was one of the warmest summers we've ever had, followed by a really colourful autumn. I just felt like we had really good days.

16. My regular job co-workers. I spend the majority of my waking hours with them. They've definitely made those 11-to-9.30pms feel more bearable.

17. Brooklyn Nine-Nine was saved. For several terrible, horrible, no good, very bad hours Brooklyn Nine-Nine was cancelled. And I thought Karl was going to jump out of a window. But thankfully, American TV people saw sense and saved our relationship.

18. Writing EIGHTEEN Highlights for this Blog Post!!

I’ve decided that’s a highlight in and of itself — because this is A LOT of writing. Ok, so, I did stoop to a tv show but still a very real highlight in our lives- note to self: work less, go out more.