Family Life in Glasgow, Scotland: A Photo Essay by Blogger Flannery O’Kafka

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Image ©Flannery O’Kafka

Scotland is famous for its dark days and wild landscapes, a world we find even more captivating through the melancholy images from Flannery O’Kafka. This blogger, designer and mother of five was just the person to take us on a photo-tour of the city of Glasgow and give us a unique account of motherhood.

BLOG: Flannery O’Kafka
WHO: Flannery O’Kafka (read her full bio here)
Mother to Lydia, Otto Jack-Lewis, Hugo, and Olive Ann
LOCATION: Glasgow, Scotland

Images ©Flannery O’Kafka


How did you come to live in Scotland?
We came to Scotland from the States to work with a church 10 years ago. We’ve changed gears a bit and had 2 more children since then. My husband is currently studying at the University of Glasgow and I’m a working photographer. A few years ago, my friends gave me a certificate that proves I’m now officially Scottish. The citizenship test involved baking scones.

What’s great about growing up in Glasgow?
You can take the train 10-30 minutes in any direction from our house and go to great museums, art galleries, mountains, or castles. The not-so-great thing is that you’re generally going there in the rain.

Scotland by Flannery O'Kafka

Images ©Flannery O’Kafka

Olive Flannery O'Kafka

Images ©Flannery O’Kafka

What projects are you involved with other than family life and blogging?
This Autumn I designed a line of Glasgow-inspired knitwear for Toto knits. I’ve styled and shot look books for Tannhauser, Zoobug, and Beau Loves recently. I’ll soon be shooting for Flamingos & Dominoes, Marmalade & Mash, and A/W for Tannhauser and Beau Loves again. I’ve photographed editorials/pieces for Babiekins, Novalee, Kid-In, and Little Industry Magazine. Portrait sessions are thrown in when I get a chance. I’m branching out a bit doing product photos for Lapin & Me and I’ll be shooting portraits of the band First Aid Kit in November for Oh Comely magazine. I also have some long-term photography projects that I’m working on for exhibition.

How do you balance family with work life?
As I’m very new to work life, I’m still learning this one. My husband is a student, so we basically work in seasons…when he’s off of university, he’s on Olive duty & vice-versa. I also pull a lot of late nights. I carry a camera constantly and sometimes combine work w/a family outing. My kids do a lot of modelling for me, so work and life often naturally overlap.

Your favourite way to spend time with your kids?
Taking everyone out to museums is probably my favourite thing to do…sitting back and watching the littlest ones react to things and seeing the big kids taking care of & playing with the little ones. A typical Sunday is church in the morning, it’s great because it’s one of the few times all seven of us pile into the car during the week. After, we have lunch together either in the West End or at home and as long as Otto doesn’t have a Shinty match, we hang about the house, read books, watch films together, jump on the trampoline, and relax. Our favourite family hang-out is undoubtedly our lounge!

Family by Flannery O'Kafka

Images ©Flannery O’Kafka

Train Flannery O'Kafka

Images ©Flannery O’Kafka

On the train Flannery O'Kafka

Images ©Flannery O’Kafka

What are the best things/places Glasgow has to offer families.
Have I mentioned art galleries & museums? Especially with a big family, having these facilities free, easy to get to by public transport, and often catering to children with exhibitions, events, and classes, they’re fantastic. On a dry day, Glasgow Green and the Botanic Gardens are lovely and Glasgow’s West End is always a great place to spend time. Mustn’t forget Rowdy Roddy Vintage—a new kid’s vintage shop that gave Lydia her first job and Hugo an amazing motorcycle jacket.

What are the things that concern you as a parent raising children in the world today?
Having kids from ages 2-16 means that I get to worry about everything from exams to toilet training. On a bigger-picture level, I am increasingly concerned about the political/social climates our children are inheriting. In many countries (and in my facebook newsfeed) people just seem so polarized and not willing to respectfully listen to anyone they disagree with.

What are the hot topics of discussion for Scottish parents right now?
It’s not on every parent’s radar, but our kids are/have been/will be in Gaelic Medium Education in primary school. Many people I know are advocating for funding and trying to recruit families into Gaelic education. It’s a total privilege to play a small part in keeping a beautiful language alive

Sisters Flannery O'Kafka

Images ©Flannery O’Kafka


We discovered Flannery O’Kafka’s blog last year. As fan of the quirky stylings of children’s fashion brand Mini Rodini she shared some of her personal photographs with us and we quickly became fascinated with her photography. Her photography offers us an intimate look into life with five children “photographing the madness, and finding black comedy in unlikely places”. Flannery is a regular commentator in the children’s fashion scene with a passion for supporting up and coming brands. She has shot the look of and designed for organic children’s knitwear brand Toto Knits.




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