Just A Few Days

Firstly, I hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend just gone by! It feels like just last week it was Ash Wednesday, and now suddenly Easter is over and we’re heading straight for Winter. Time flies!

And speaking of time, it’s amazing what just 2 days of holiday can do for you. My boyfriend and I had planned to head to the coast for the Easter weekend, purely because it was our best chance of getting a decent holiday in. But when the weekend crept up on us, the places we wanted to go to were all booked, and the cost of petrol alone was insane. Our favourite places were all booked up, and it soon looked like we wouldn’t be going anywhere – and possibly pitching the tent in the garden! I’m the kind of person who needs holidays, otherwise I become grumpy, miserable and useless. But on this past Wednesday, while at our weekly social evenings, our buddy mentioned they were going to their family camp site up north, and invited us. And boom! There was our holiday!

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We went through on Saturday morning, and arrived to beautiful hot sunny weather (and I’d only packed clothes for cooler weather!). It’s the kind of place you can get away with doing absolutely nothing – even staring into the distance feels good! On Sunday morning, we drove up the mountain to the highest point for several km’s, and watched the sun rise over the flat plains of Limpopo. Gosh, it was amazing. After snapping some photos, we headed back down the mountain and tackled the rough terrain. After a slightly hair raising and stomach churning ride home (I don’t have the strongest stomach in the mornings before breakfast!) we got back and made the most of our holiday.

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On our way home, we took the more scenic route to avoid the expensive toll roads and e-tolls, and had a ride up the cable car to the top of the Hartbeespoort mountains and ended up having lunch there! I’m not one for heights, but it was pretty magical, and worth the slightly scary ride to the top! We made our way home through the Cradle of Humankind, through some beautiful driving roads, and we made it home with time to spare for unpacking and freshening up before dinner.

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This break showed me just how drained I get, because my brain actually never stops once it gets going – I’m always thinking of ideas, trying to solve problems, and my mind is constantly absorbing information, to the point where I don’t want it anymore, but I can’t stop it. Just 2 days of getting away from that and switching off has done me a world of good, because now I feel like I can tackle any oncoming projects with gusto and fresh creative juices! So, if you’re thinking you should keep pushing on, give yourself a break, and you’ll be glad you did!

Disappearing Act

I bet you’re wondering where myself and my photos have vanished too. Well, I’m wondering that myself! The past month has been very rollercoaster-ish, but I’ve survived, and we have a brand new month to start tomorrow! I’m hoping it’ll bring some exciting new things, more progress for me and my design & photography.

Well, let’s start with the photos. Unfortunately, Nikon SA decided it no longer host their daily challenges – but didn’t tell us. I saw numerous unhappy posts on their Facebook page, and I sent them a message enquiring about the lack of daily themes. They replied saying they were no longer continuing with the challenge – no reason. I am pretty disappointed, I do miss my daily photos, and am actually contemplating starting something myself. But that’s a project for a rainy day!

I have been busy with 2 weddings this month, so I’ve had plenty to photograph and edit! For my most recent wedding, I hired 2 Nikon D600s, and what a pleasure they were to work with! It was rather strange but pretty awesome working with something so fast compared to my D300s. Looks like an upgrade is in the near future! Here are my 2 favourite shots from each wedding!

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fireflight photography wedding photography

On the same weekend as the lastest wedding, myself and my boyfriend were up and heading off to the RC track at 6am. One of the international drivers JQ – aka Joseph Quagraine – was in SA taking part in a 2-leg race, so my boyfriend naturally wasn’t going to miss this! Sadly, several issues led to my boyfriend not finishing. It’s crazy how that little car works perfectly for warm ups, goes for a couple of laps in the race and then decides a few things should all break at the same time. It’s a good job there aren’t any hammers nearby when this happens! Anyway, I managed to get some pretty fun shots of the cars, got a bit sunburnt, got very covered in fine brown dust, and had a good afternoon (ending off with a McD’s Oreo McFlurry!).

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I recently got a design project that meant I got to break out the pencils and sketchbook – and I’d forgotten how I used to draw! I found an old drawing of a unicorn from 2009 – check it out here, and was rather surprised. My recent drawings of a kingfisher were nowhere near as polished, but I think I need to start doing a daily sketch or something. It’s fun, theraputic and good for keeping the creative juices flowing! You’ll be seeing this product up on the blog, Facebook and website soon – keep an eye out!

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And to finish off, yesterday my boyfriend and I went out on a breakfast outride at Shepherd’s Fold Stables. You goΒ for a 1.5 hour horse ride through the river, valley and mountains, and come back to a yummy full English breakfast on the farmhouse porch. The weather was gorgeous – a bit of sun and a bit of cloud, and when we were tucking into breakfast, a small burst of rain came down and cooled us down before heading home. I haven’t ridden a horse in ages, and it was great to be back in the saddle – even if I hurt quite a lot today! If you need something to do in Johannesburg, go for one of these rides, you won’t regret it!

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Goodbye February, Goodbye Summer

That has to be the most depressing title yet. Gosh. January flew by, and now suddenly February has vanished too. I can feel the change in the air, the sun has moved over and the green leaves are slowly starting to fade, and for the past week it’s been cold, gloomy and rainy almost all day.

Ccan you believe we’re already into Lent? I’m terrible at choosing something to give up that isn’t chocolate, coffee or snack related. I don’t eat much chocolate or snack very much (usually Provitas with cheese) and coffee is impossible. I think I’m going to give up using my phone as an extension of my PC, no Facebook, email, nothing. Just a good old fashioned phoned again. And I’m also going to give up sitting by the PC at night, and spend some time with my family.

So, with February coming to a close, so ends my February photos. It seems my usual Facebook page from Nikon SA hasn’t got a challenge for this month, so I’ll have to find one elsewhere on the web! Any recommendations?!

Our group of friends has recently started having a Wednesday social evening, so we get to hang out more often in a budget-friendly way. Last week we went ten-pin bowling. I sucked completely, but only because I was laughing so hard. We tried playing darts last week, and I sucked at that too. I know I can’t aim, it’s a curse! Does anyone else here suffer from aimlessness?

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We were super lucky in going to see Nitro Circus Live here in Johannesburg! Oh my goodness. These guys (and girl) are just amazing, the skill and precision they have when performing tricks and stunts is mindboggling. I wish I’d been able to take my camera into the stadium, but sadly they’re super strict and only media can do so. However, a buddy of mine took hers with as she’s an accredited motorsport photographer, and her photos are insane. Check them out here!

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Here are my last shots for February (yes, I’m missing 28, but sadly I never got round to shooting it!). Holding thumbs I’ll find another daily challenge to try and keep my creativity up every day.

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Day 16 – Guilty Pleasure

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Day 17 – Pancakes

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Day 18 – Window

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Day 19 – Circles

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Day 20 – After Hours

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Day 21 – Just Dance

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Day 22 – Interior

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Day 23 – Something Pink

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Day 24 – Lace

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Day 25 – Brownies

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Day 26 – Friendship

027_PetsDay 27 – Pets

Love Bug & The Week From Hell

As luck would have it, my body decided to treat me to a case of love sickness on Valentine’s Day. Yup. I woke up with an horrible migraine in my right eye, which is unusual for me at this time of the year. I usually get early summer migraines, which happen when the temperatures spike in October, and my body isn’t used to the heat, resulting in a migraine or two. But this was hell. So I decided to have an anti-inflammatory – on an empty stomach. Stupid idea! Not 30 minutes later, that anti-inflammatory and the single cracker I’d eaten came right back up. Nice eh? I was in seven shades of hell, but at least my body temperature sorted itself out, and I got to sleep some of it off.

Thankfully it was all mostly gone so we could enjoy our evening out at the Lipizzaners in Kyalami – the only performing school of Lipizzaners out of Austria. Needless to say, I wanted to take them all home! β™₯ Can’t wait to go to a Sunday morning performance and take my camera, get some proper shots of them. Last night my cellphone had to suffice!

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I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day, and if you didn’t do anything romantic, I hope you had an awesome Friday nonetheless! I know I used to hate VDay during school, purely because of the raging teenage hormones that made one feel pathetic if you didn’t get anything from someone. It’s overrated from a commercial aspect, so I just take it as an opportunity to do something different or just hang out with my boyfriend. We don’t do it often, so it’s nice to get out every now and then. πŸ™‚

So, this week was hectic from start to finish, including my website crashing. Yup. My hosting guys were having maintenance done on their server, and both drives decided to fail. They managed to get a new server sorted quickly, but unfortunately I lost my data, including my client’s emails. Thankfully I got all my client’s sites up and running easily (Old school HTML sites ftw!) but my WordPress site took a lot longer to get up and running again. I thought I’d lost weeks of work on my site, but it turns out that WordPress was epic and somehow backed up a lot of the work I thought I’d lost. Score! Since then, I have backed everything up, and am buying a lovely 3TB external drive to store it all in, as well as investigating in some Cloud storage and automatic backup software. I’m more worried about my clients’ stuff getting messed up than my own, so I want to make sure that’ll never happen again!

Thanks to all that madness, I didn’t have much of a chance to upload any of my daily shots since the start of Feb, but here they are! Have a lovely weekend folks!

 

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Day 1 – Red

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Day 2 – Umbrella

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Day 3 – Hearts

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Day 4 – 4 Things

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Day 5 – Cheetah

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Day 6 – The Letter T

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Day 8 – Milkshake

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Day 9 – Can’t Live Withoutthe ginger creative photo a day challenge

Day 10 – Dear Diary

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Day 11 – Architecturethe ginger creative photo a day challenge

Day 12 – Bling Bling

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Day 13 – 2 O’ Clock

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Day 14 – Love

the ginger creative photo a day challengeDay 15 – Roses

Heading Out Of The City

It’s pretty easy to get wound up with the hustle and daily frustrations of the city. And I think we become to accustomed to it that we get to a point where we just keep going and don’t think to take a break. Even a day out. It doesn’t sound like much, does it? But it can make the world of a difference if you make the effort! I was lucky enough to head out of the city – just a mere 45 minutes – to this beautiful lodge that has become a client. What they have to offer is insane, so if you need to get out, and want to see something different, make some coffee and keep reading.

Glen Afric Country Lodge is a working farm just 45 minutes from Johannesburg, and it’s beautiful. They have a huge variety of things to do, so whether you just want to have a nice lunch out on the deck, or have incredible experiences meeting the animals, you can do it.

It started out as a private home, and the owners turned it into a lodge. But it’s not just a lodge with animals. It’s also a well-known location for movies and photo shoots. Films such as Mr Bones, There’s a Zulu On My Stoep, Jock of the Bushveld, and series such as Wild At Heart, Carte Blanche, Top Gear and 50/50 have been there. They have various sets from movies and series dotted around the property, and while they’re only shells, they’re pretty interesting to see!

And if you’re looking for somewhere different to give your time and energy, Glen Afric runs a Volunteer Experience. Volunteers spend 2 weeks at the farm, helping with daily tasks and events, and getting really stuck into it. Their main source of volunteers is from Europe, with some Brazilians and Aussies visiting too, but locals are also welcome to join!

The venue is popular for weddings, where couples can get married under the Wedding Tree in the middle of the game reserve, with the animals close by (but not in a dangerous way, they’re all well trained and have an experienced handler on hand at all times.) Once you’ve taken a trip around the place, head up to the main house and get a bite on the deck. The food, drinks and service is excellent, and is definitely conducive to putting your feet up and doing some relaxing.

Sound like your cup of tea? Check out their website, get the directions, hope in the car early on Saturday morning and go! You can enjoy a full day out of interesting things to do, relax and be home before the sun sets.

Click on an image to enlarge.

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Getting Back In The Game

Gosh, can you believe that January is already gone?! I have a feeling this year is going to fly by, I may as well start buying Christmas gifts already!

This past weekend was fun and interesting, something we haven’t done in ages. On Friday we went to our favourite local hangout, Monte Casino, for dinner. For once it wasn’t my suggestion, so I was pretty excited! We then went for some ten-pin bowling, because it’s a whole lot of fun, even if you do suck at it! We had some people join our game and they were pretty interesting and fun! It reminded me of how being spontaneous is actually a good thing! We then wandered around, grabbed some drinks and headed home through an intense storm and torrential rain. On Sunday we headed out at some crazy early hour to an RC car track for a day of racing. Yes. Racing RC cars. It sounds funny, but you should try it! These guys are seriously passionate and dedicated, friendly and knowledgeable too, and happy to help. We hit a few hiccups before the main race, and hit even more hiccups as the race started, but it was a ton of fun!

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I’m starting this week with early mornings as I’m ferrying my boyfriend’s cousins around to and from school. I’ve never been an early morning person, but I can manage it as long as long as there is coffee! I’m also meeting a few people this week that might turn into some new and interesting projects, so holding thumbs it will all go well! And one exciting thing happened yesterday – my photo for Day 27 made it into the Top 10 for Nikon South Africa’s Facebook page! πŸ™‚ It was one of the nominations for their Fan Photo Cover images, but sadly the composition didn’t work out. However, being a nomination was an honour in itself, so I’m a happy bunny!

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At last, I caught up on the last few shots for the month and eagerly awaited the new themes for the month. They were a bit delayed, so I have some catching up to do today, but those will be up by the end of the week. This month seems to be very love-themed, but don’t expect tons of pinks and reds from me. I’m a hopeless romantic, but not to that extent. So I’ll make it interesting, not too lovey-dovey, cus not all of us can handle it!

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Day 29 – Water Droplets

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Day 30 – Mint

031_In_The_CornerDay 31 – In The Corner

Catching Up

It’s been a busy while since my last post, but not much to say about it all! I had my birthday bash – a pirate themed party that went down a hit, and my parent’s celebrated 25 years of marriage. 2 parties in 2 weekends is the most we’ve ever done, so I’m a little pooped to say the least! I finally launched my new website – be sure to check it all out here. I’ve got a ton of new projects lined up that I’m super excited about and ready to dig into, and I’ve got my daily photos to keep me busy. I haven’t had a chance to upload them all here, so brace yourself for some Photo-A-Day spammage below!

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Day 13 – Let’s Run!

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Day 14 – Arch

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Day 15 – Back To School

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Day 16 – The Best

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Day 17 – Emotion

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Day 18 – Action

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Day 20 – Cinnamon

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Day 21 – Sign

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Day 22 – In The Garden

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Day 24 – Twinkle

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Day 25 – Yummy

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Day 26 – Soft

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Day 27 – Rise & Shine

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Day 28 – Collage

Oh Summer!

The past few days have been the most wonderful summer days! Beautiful blue skies, with the occasional fluffy white cloud flitting across before it fizzled and faded in the heat. The gentlest breeze to dissipate the unbearable heat. Iced coffees, ice cream and ice-cold juice. This is what summer is made of! I’m a summer baby, having been born in January, and I love the heat. In fact, the hotter the better. Having worked in an chilly 20 degrees centigrade office space, my body would automatically shut down to keep me warm. Trust me, I get cold easily – anything less than 25 degrees is cold for me. That would explain why I adored the 40 degree plus heat in Dubai all those years ago. Bliss!

Thankfully, in this heat I can really enjoy working. With the study door open and the fan going, I can look outside, see some blue sky, and work away. I’m not really missing anything – just some sunburn! This past week I started working on my official website, which is coming together quite nicely, and I’m hoping it’ll be up and running on Friday! Going through all the projects I’ve completed has really brought back some good memories, and reminds me why I love what I do. πŸ™‚

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Over the past week, I’ve also been continuing my photo-a-day challenges. Some where a little more challenging, but others were fun. We had a horde of thousands of white butterflies flying from the south west, and it was beautiful to watch! I made my own DIY bokeh shape to create ‘square’ bokeh. I poured an entire tube of gold glitter onto fabric, photographed it, and realised what a mission it was going to be to clean it up! Lint rollers ftw! I had a brief episode of sounding like a nutter, walking around trying to find something with the letter ‘R’ in it. I looked crazy. I cheated and used an old photo – since strawberries aren’t in season here, and I wasn’t paying a fortune for some local ones. I reminisced an old tree. Reminisced about the good ol’ times of playing pretend. Watched butterflies. Photographed the most photographed tree in our garden, but just the leaves, no spring flowers this time. That was my week in photos – hope you enjoy them!

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Day 4 – Snack Time. Who can resist warm crumpets slathered with butter until it melts and gets absorbed? Yum.

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Day 5 – Square. My attempt at ‘square’ bokeh. It was a ton of fun, perhaps I’ll try this again!

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Day 6 – Favourite Colour. Needless to say, it’s gold and purple. I can’t resist the allure of gold glitter.

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Day 7 – The Letter ‘R’. I cut out glitter-foam letters that said ‘Toy Run 2013’ and stuck them on the bike during the run. Good memories.

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Day 8 – Strawberries. This one I had to cheat on. Strawberries aren’t in season, and I wasn’t going to pay nearly R40 for a punnet! Besides, I really like this photo, and never got to share it before.

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Day 9 – Wood. This was a giant camphor tree in our garden. Was. Unfortunately it was wrongfully cut down when our neighbours complained about their gutters being full of leaves, but failed to mention it was another tree. Needless to say, I don’t like them anymore.

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Day 10 – Fishing. With no seaside for fishing, and no point in going to fishing farms for lack of experience in fishing, I turned to my childhood imagination of fishing in the swimming pool.

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Day 11 – Black and White. Thousands of these beauties descended upon our garden, and it was so mesmerising to watch and photograph them on the lavender flowers.

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Day 12 – Jagged. This tree is usually photographed for it’s stunning spring blossoms, and I’ve never noticed their beautiful jagged leaves before, until now.

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2014 – With Love

Having now gone freelance into design and photography, I can feel I’m actually doing what I enjoy. What I love. 2013 was a learning year, even though I didn’t even go to any kind of educational institute. No diplomas or degrees could teach me what I learnt last year, which was about the person I really am. Studying taught me about what I like and how I work, but putting that into practice with my actions, attitudes and beliefs was the toughest but most enlightening thing I’ve ever encountered. I learnt that I’m not a creature of habit – I don’t thrive in routine and repetition, and I definitely need a window to look out of every once in a while! However, I also learnt that I can sit down and work for hours – and have something to produce in the end! I can also handle questions and clients and co-workers. I learnt that I absolutely cannot handle a quad grande latte from Seattle – no matter how delicious it tasted! And that if I don’t eat breakfast, I’m officially screwed for the rest of the day.

The most important thing 2013 is that I need to do what I love and what I’m good at – and I can’t settle. So, 2014 is going to be a year of ‘love’ – I will love what I do, do what I love, and put a lot of love into what I do!

2014 do all things with love

If you’ve read other blog posts, you’ll know that I used to take part in the Nikon Photo A Day Challenge. I completed a few months successfully, but having started working last year, this became impossible. Now that I have a little more flexibility during the day, I can get back onto the tracks. I loved this challenge, it gave me a chance to experience and be creative in as little as 30 minutes. So my challenge is back – I’ll be posting them weekly with the photos for the past few days. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy seeing the shots from the challenge over the next few weeks!

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Day 1 – The Beginning: I started a new book, Revenge Wears Prada, and I’ve missed having a good book to read!

 

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Day 2 – Pearl. I’m not a huge fan of pearls, but they are a classic. I do actually have a few old pieces with pearls that I unearthed for this project.

 
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Day 3 – Lime Green. I simply love lime green – it’s in my bathroom, my nail polish, and my go-to colour for anything green when I design. It’s fresh, vibrant and always gives me a bit of a smack in the face, something I sometimes need.

Hello Pony – Pretty Products in Action

On Sunday I headed out to Shepherd’s Fold Stables to photograph Hello Pony‘s beautiful line of equestrian gear for children & ponies. They have such gorgeous, funky and colourful items, like their numnahs, blankets, travelling kits and more! Their range of clothes is both colourful and functional, meaning riders can wear them around the stables and look great too!

At first, the weather decided it didn’t want to co-operate, and it was pouring with rain when I arrived, followed by lightning and thunder. The ponies were hurried into the stables, and for a few minutes the rain looked like it wanted to stay. Not long after, the skies started to clear and the rain moved over, leaving us with fresh gardens and stables, and some lovely light too! Crisis averted! I can’t wait to put these photos on the website and get it running soon, it’s going to be oh-so funtastic! πŸ™‚

Thanks to Vicky, Hermien and Karien for all your organising of children, ponies, parents and gear! Thanks to the parents who brought their kids along to be photographed – they were so awesome to work with!

Click on images to view them larger.

To order your photos, please send an email to Vicky or myself with your chosen photos.

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