My ‘What I loved’ blogs fell by the way side in November and December, mainly due to taking a long trip to Vietnam, focussing on my rebrand and trying to juggle Christmas fun at the same time! I figured this month I would go large and let you know my 2018 highlights.
I’ve been looking through all the weddings I shot last year, putting together highlights for blogs and so on. It’s been so lovely to look back and remember the incredible summer I had. Thank you to all of my couples for letting me be part of your big day – it’s really special and a privilege to share it with you.
2. Asian Exploring
Back in June, I was lucky enough to go and direct a shoot in Tokyo, and then took a two week trip to Vietnam in November. I feel so grateful for having two large trips to Asia in one year! Tokyo was my first ever solo trip and I enjoyed it so much. The city is incredible, as are the people and their culture. I’ve written a blog about the first part of my trip, which you can read here.
Compared to cosmopolitan Tokyo, Vietnam was an entirely different trip! I went with my best friend, and over two weeks we travelled around Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City and finally Phu Quoc. The cities are absolutely crazy and I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere so hectic, which coming from London is quite a statement! We had a great time exploring plenty of museums as the Vietnamese history is so fascinating, eating plenty of traditional dishes, and going on tours in each location. My favourite was our cruise around Halong Bay, or our cookery class in Hoi An. We finished the trip with a few days in the remote retreat of Bamboo Cottages in Phu Quoc – absolutely dreamy.. I would love to go back!
I’m sure 2018 will go down in everyone’s mind of that time we had an actual summer! I absolutely loved it. However, one down side was getting the central line to work everyday. It’s bad enough normally, let alone when its 35C out. In July, I decided enough was enough, and bought a bike. Buying my beautiful Dawes Duchess was the best decision I made all year! I was super nervous at first about cycling around London, but it is the perfect commute. I no longer get to work/home grumpy and tired – my moods are so much better now, as well as my fitness!
4. Styled Shoots
I am a huge fan of a styled wedding shoot, and this year co-ordinated and shot some that I am really really proud of. Two were real labours of love and needed a lot of perseverance, so I’m even happier that they actually happened and turned out to be amazing. I also ticked off something that had been on my to do list for a while – a destination styled shoot! My sister casually invited me on a last minute trip to Malta, and me being me, thought ‘perfect, I’ll plan a shoot’. Next thing she knew, oversized wedding cakes and bouquets were filling up our hotel room. It was a really stressful one to organise – I underestimated how different the wedding industry was there, and trying to find suppliers was a real challenge. However, all the stress was totally worth it, as it turned out better than I dreamed.
5. Going vegan
My biggest new years resolution for 2018 was to be at my healthiest ever by the time I hit 30 in August. I’ve always been into my fitness and healthy lifestyle, so over the past few years I’ve tried certain workout plans and diets – counting macros etc. This year my biggest change was going vegan. I’ve never really talked about going vegan as I find it such an explosive topic (which I find bizarre), so this is the only time I’m going to open up. I’ve had stomach problems so that was my main reason for giving it a try – I was at the point where I had to try something new as nothing was working. I had dabbled with being veggie the year before, and planned to just do Veganuary as a taster.
Over a year later and I’ve never felt better. My stomach is the happiest it’s ever been and I’ve rediscovered my passion for food – people may say vegan is limiting but actually I am trying different foods and experimenting so much. I no longer worry about calories, macros etc.. I don’t eat vegan junk food, so everything I’m putting in my body feels really nutritious. If you haven’t read ‘How Not To Die‘, I can highly recommend it for changing your attitude to food. I would say I now have my healthiest relationship with food ever. I’e also saved lots of animal lives, as well as carbon, water etc so it’s a winner all round.
7. Yoga & Mindfulness
As part of my 2018 new years resolution of turning 30 and being the healthiest I’ve ever been, this didn’t just mean physically. Mentally, 2018 was quite hard. I constantly felt stretched thin, overwhelmed and generally with my head in a million places at all times. My solution was concentrating more on yoga, and being more mindful. I normally do Yoga with Adriene 4-5 times a week before I go to bed – It helps clear my mind so I can sleep better. I’ve also been starting to meditate, do gratitude lists and generally take more time out for myself. If there’s one thing I learnt this year, it was when to take a break from work, and how beneficial that break can be.
One of the tools I’m using this year is The Happiness Planner. It was a bit of a ‘spur of the moment’ Christmas present for myself but I’m so glad I bought it. It’s perfect for keeping track of goals for the year, to do lists and the usual, but also for being grateful and positive.
8. Refinding my passion for new music
Since Zane Lowe left his Radio 1 show a few years back, I found it harder to find new music and learn about new bands. I normally find I go searching on Spotify, but then just end up back on my regular music. Thanks to Jack Saunder’s new Indie Show on Radio 1, I’ve fallen back in love with my favourite genre and discovered so many up and coming bands. Sundara Karma were probably my fav find of 2018, followed by the likes of Pale Waves, the Hunna, Deaf Havana, Bishop Briggs, The Amazons and Nothing But Thieves. There are so many new bands who have released great EP’s or singles in 2018 – really hoping they release albums this year! Here’s a playlist of some of the indie/alternative songs I was enjoying in 2018.
7. North Coast 500 Road Trip in Scotland
Ever Easter for the past years, me and my other half have travelled up to Scotland for a long weekend. This time, we decided to road trip around and did the North Coast 500 route. Words can’t tell you how beautiful it was! A lot of the route reminded me of driving through Yosemite or Big Sur – the scenery was so dramatic and varied so much as you drove. My favourite section was probably around Applecross, up to Gairloch and around Ullapool. The landscape was very rural and mountainous – my favourite! Of course, it wouldn’t have been Scotland without stopping at some castles and distilleries as well.
8. Unwinding in the Dominican Republic
At the end of wedding season we took a week out to relax in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I’m pretty terrible at completely unwinding and just relaxing, but I feel like over that week I nailed it! I left my phone locked in our safe everyday and it made such a huge difference. Every day we strolled down to the beach and spent the day reading, drinking cocktails and swimming in the sea. On one day we headed to the capital, Santa Domingo, to take in the history and culture. Our tour was really interesting and I learnt so much about not just the island, but the rest of the Caribbean. Also came home with some Passionfruit Rum – needless to say it disappeared pretty fast 😉 We had the most relaxing time and both came back feeling super refreshed.
9. Being more aware of the environment
I’ve always been passionate about the environment, but in 2018 I tried to make lots of attempts to be more environmentally friendly in my day to day life. I’ve written a separate blog about it which I will publish soon, but there’s so many little changes you can make. My favs were getting a reusable bottle, reusable make up wipes, and a shampoo bar from Lush. This year I intend on doing the same and continue making swaps to make a different.
10. Good Books
This year was a mixed bag for reading – I started reading most nights before bed, but then lost my tube reading time as I started cycling instead. However, I did get through quite a few books. I got reminded that Stephen King is one of my fav authors, but also read a lot of inspiring business or self care books. Here’s a run down of my favourite reads of 2018:
- A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara. It takes a while to get going but once you’re in, you get so connected to the characters. A real tearjerker but amazing read to make you aware of the fragility and gift of life.
- Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts. I’ve been meaning to read this book for years and finally got round to it this year after finding it in a local charity shop. Beautifully written – but don’t bother with the follow up.
- Salems Lot – Stephen King. Bit of a horror classic and it went where I really wasn’t expecting it to. Brilliant!
- Bag of Bones – Stephen King. Yep, another from Mr King. This is much more what I was expecting – a bit of a psychological thriller/ head f**k! I couldn’t put it down.
- How Not To Die – Michael Greger. Really eye opening and informative – if you’re interested in a healthy lifestyle or doing what you can to minimise the risk of disease, you’ll want this.
- Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig. Matt’s book about depression was super inspiring and made me grateful for everyday I wake up.
- Things We Never Said – Nick Alexander. I would love this book, as it showed the importance and power of photos, especially once we’ve gone. A beautiful read.
Well, there we go. I’m sorry I waffled on for quite a while!
2018 was amazing – professionally my business came on a long way, leading up to this new look, and I managed to go part time. It was also a struggle – trying to balance two jobs while still having a life is hard! 2019 is all about finding balance and trying to leave more room for leisure time. Let me know what your highlights of 2018 were, and what you’ll be taking forward for a great 2019.
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