Last month while organising one of the Into The West Blogger Network events, I was on one of my numerous visits to the Ardilaun Hotel when I noticed their garden was in the beautiful phase of its life cycle where its teetering between Autumn and Winter as if between worlds..

The garden full with foliage and colour but at closer inspection, I could see traces of Winter’s deathly touch creeping up on the landscape. I think that when things are decaying and drifting off to another world, they hold a certain beauty of their own. They may not as beautiful as they once were but they hold tend to have their own wise and somewhat weathered exterior.

Here’s what I saw.

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Here is one of my favourite pieces of writing on Autumn by George Eliot.

Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love — that makes life and nature harmonize. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a pefect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot, letter to Miss Lewis, 1st October 1841

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Earlier this season, Orla and I finally got around to shooting some looks. Orla is one of my favourite people to shoot. I met her a couple of years ago when she decided to not only start a blog but her business too, she wanted to shoot some promo shots as well as some outfit shots for her blog, thus started a wonderful little friendship. Now she is a very well established and very sought after Personal Fashion Stylist with a booming business. Her work with her clients brings them the very best of the seasons style and helps them discover their style along the way.

As well as this, Orla worked with me on some Fashion Editorials for Irish Magazines, check out this one we did for the Irish Examiner Magazine. we shot outfit photos last year when she was pregnant with her baby! This shoot also was a great one!

Fashions fade, style is eternal. ― Yves Saint-Laurent

Orlas own style is fantastic, I often say that anyone can be fashionable, I mean anyone can buy the seasons must haves’ and wear them ‘off the rack’ but Orla has style – something not many people can boast. She has an eye for style, she has her own style, she knows how to style other people and knows both what she likes & what suits her. She doesn’t conform to latest trends – well, not in any way you would overly notice anyway. She has a wardrobe to die for and a solid collection of stylish wardrobe staples. (Believe me! Ive seen the wardrobe!! I DIE!)

Having not shot with Orla in quite some time (since before she had her baby) we decided to shoot these looks earlier this  Autumn. The Dungarees have been a staple in Orla’s life this past season so she wanted to show how to style them creatively and in different ways. Long gone are the days of baggy, 90s ‘rees! You can read more about this look and her styling over on her blog.

I absolutely love shooting with Orla, although, we the amount of chatter we do, our shoots always take awhile. On the day of this shoot I finally met Orla’s baby son Bobby who I also got to shoot some images of too.  He’s handsome like his parents and a wonderful baby. I don’t normally photograph peoples children but I was delighted that we were able to send the shots over to his dad, Colin who was away working at the time. Spreading the joy!

This lady totally proves that we ladies can be both an awesome, stylish mommy  and be a working lady too!

I have two more blogger photoshoots in the pipeline at the moment and am working on dates for some creative portrait shoots in the new year, Hope you enjoy!

001OS-2122OS-2133 OS-2054 OS-2063 OS-2105005OS-24282002004 OS-1706003OS-2283What do you think? Are Dungarees for you? I think I love them!! Let me know in the comments or tweet me at @saibegan. Having great photo content for your blog or website can really boost your traffic and make you stand out from the crowd. Not to mention how much fun it is to shoot and feel good!  If you would like to do a shoot like this, get in touch!

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Oh November has been a busy one! I feel like this Autumn has flown by so fast, like in the blink of an eye, heres December. November being such a busy one, saw Into The West Blogger Network enjoy our last event of the year, the Blogging 4 Business Event at the Galway Bay Hotel at the start of the month. We also attended some coal events and the Galway Fashion Trail too.

This month, I also started a new job which I excited about! Now, December’s arrived and Im thrilled, I love the season, I adore christmas!! Seeing friends, buying presents, nights out and charity work make December on of my favourites! Evenings spent with friends and sunday afternoons watching old movies… bliss!! When do we get to put the tree up!?!  Check out the rest of my month according to my iPhone..

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  1. Photos I shot for the Galway Now Magazine, published early November with fellow blogger & stylist Sandra Harty
  2. Autumnal vibes in Galway at Cross Street are just my favourite thing!
  3. Macavity has been meditating with Gabby Bernstein, clearly he’s totally zen! Follow all my cats on Instagram at #BratFaceCatFace, or my Pup at #JunoSpoono. Yes Im that person..
  4. From Where I Stand  –  sprouting bulb edition
  5. Hot pink pavlova puffs from Gourmet Tart Co. Salthill
  6. Enjoying the lovely Jasmine Solaris Botanicals Tea at the #itwbnBloggerEvent
  7. Galway is starting to look a lot like Christmas, yay!
  8. Amber’s birthday celebrations were so much fun!
  9. Printing photos, old school with PhotoBox – I love this service!

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  1. White, festive hot chocolate dates at Esquires Coffee, Eyre Square
  2. I helped at the COPE christmas food appeal at Tesco, collecting food items for less fortunate, local people this winter with Galways Lyons Club . . want to volunteer with me?
  3. Beautiful autumnal days in Galway remind me that the rain always stops, eventually.
  4. Stunning jewellery by Irish Designer ArtySmartyShop at My Shop Granny Likes It, Galway. Spotted at the #GalwayFashionTrail
  5. Shooting with Sinead from LoveYoga Galway – blogpost to follow <3
  6. Slow Sunday breakfast dates in Kai, Galway are bliss!
  7. Brown Thomas lit up like Christmas, heaven!
  8. From Where I Stand – Wedding/Girlie edition
  9. Winter Warmer Fundraiser with Solaris Tea, Into The West Blogger Network & Simon Community Galway

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Find and follow my adventures on Instagram at @saibhegan

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OS-2-8Links I LoveWell this month has been an actual roller coaster of work and play.  We had the Galway Fashion Trail with the Galway Now Magazine, we had the #itwbnBloggerEvent too, Blogging 4 Business. I  attended my fave store, Amber’s 1st birthday and started a new job too! Im currently working on a rebrand of my blog and organising the Into The West Blogger Network‘s Christmas drinks too!

Its been a sad month for internet reading. With all the evilness in the world and the attroscities being  committed, Facebook was somewhere I didn’t spend much time. I have how ever been reading up on some nice stories that have come out of these horrible events in the world. Ive been listening to great music, looking up some awesome photography and doing some online shopping too! Grab a cuppa and catch up on the Links I Love..

★ Sonita, The Feminist Afghan Rapper Fighting Against Child Marriage, Will Give You Chills

★Lauryn Hill dropping truth to the youth back in 2000 is just all kinds of awesome

★ Portraits showcase the appeal of online shopping across China

★ Top 10 Google earth images from the Earth

★ Israeli Restaurant Gives Jews and Arabs a Discount If They'll Eat Together

★ This abandoned ship is a floating forest

★ Ikea Turned These Children’s Drawings Into Actual Toys, OMG!

★ Did you know that Brad Pitt is a photographer? Check out this work of his muse Angelina!

★ The “Sea Organ” Makes Perpetual Music with Ocean Waves

★ Couple spend a year living through AirBB

★ MC Lyte Says Fetty Wap Is Hip-Hop’s Biggest Feminist

★ Stuck for a Christmas gift for someone? Check out Amber online!

★ Currently listening to First Aid Kit, this EPIC new mixtape from the queen of all things hip hop and rnb; Ms. Erykah Badu and the unreal Brooke Candy

Thats it for another couple of weeks, what did you think? Wanna read more? Check out my previous Links  I Love posts here and get stuck in!

Let me know what you think, leave me a comment or tweet me!

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Christmas is around the corner and we will soon see the swell of people in our towns and cities busy shopping for the perfect gifts! I love Christmas, its one of my favourite times of year. I love buying gifts and even mores – picking them out! I love hours spent trying to find the perfect gift for people and of course, the perfect wrapping paper too!

Picking and buying a special gift for your favourite photographer can sometimes be tricky we can be a hard bunch to buy for! I’ve taken all the work out of it and put together this fun list of things you could buy the photographer in your life.

Camera Strap

Strap

Camera Strap – Gone are the days of having to stick with your boring, branded camera strap. With hundreds of sellers now making custom straps, theres no need for anything less! I love these fun foxy straps as well as these slick leather, embossed ones too. These floral numbers are also just gorgeous in their design and this hipster/folk strap from Photojojo are also very cool. This Galaxy one is my FAVOURITE!

Glass Diana DSLR Lens

Diana

The Glass Diana DSLR Lens – With film coming back in couch a huge way now, the  Diana camera is being snapped up again in force! But, all that money spent on film developing  has started to grate and the Diana has been shelved again for its DSLR counterpart.  It’s time to rekindle the old spark with the Glass Diana DSLR Lens! It’s a glass Diana lens that’ll mount right onto your Nikon or Canon DSLR. Capture Diana’s signature vignetting and the extra-saturated colors with the crispness and clarity that only comes from glass. Plus, none of the hassle or money spent on film processing – WIN!

Notebooks/Planner

Notebooks

Notebooks/Planner –  One of the most important pieces of equipment that every photographer should  have in their kit is a photographers notebook. A Photographers Notebook is the hub of all their creative ideas, goals and inspirations. With shoots, meetings, reccys and editing time, the planner is such an important factor for weeks that are never the same!. The one Im using this year is by Paperblanks, which has to be my favourite (and what I will re-buy for next year!). They are by far the most robust and beautiful in their design also.

The original Filofax is another favourite, tried and tested by me! Really a Filofax is for life and not just for christmas as you change out the pages each year for a new set. Im loving this Asos notebook is cute as well as this cute custom sketch book too. These handmade camera notebooks are also definite crowd pleasers!!

Photoframes

Frames

Photoframes – I love to print my photos and frame them. A gallery wall is on my wish list when I have my own house. I love to find unique frames to house all the special memories and just hate to leave them on the computer for ever. A photo frame, when gifted to a photographer, wont stay empty for long! I love these Copper framed hanging glass frames, as well as the standing version  – they are so unusual! I also love these chunky Metallic frame too and these Poster Frames are wicked for blowing up huge images! Basically, we can never have too many frames!!

Lensbaby

Lensbaby

These are top of my list,  I love these Lens’s for creative freedom! Lensbaby is where innovation inspires creativity and where imagination comes alive. The Lensbaby‘s creative effect lenses, optics and accessories give you limitless combinations of tools to capture the moment as it is happening. The idea behind this lens is that is moves and shoots at the same time, thus altering the finished photograph dramatically! Check out some of them in action here. They are pretty pricey but this is a wish list right?! 

Camera Bags

Bags

Admittedly I have many camera bags, I change them to suit whatever event I am going to. For a big shoot, I like the full gear bag but for bringing use the camera and the lens to a party or out somewhere I use something smaller and more  handbag like. Again, with so many independent sellers now, gone are the days of us only using a boring black camera bag etc. We now have a wide range of bags of varying cost, style and use. I love this waxed canvas one from Etsy as well as the Kelly Moore Bag too! I really love the sling bags too by Lowepro and these unisex ones by Millican.

Phone Accessories

phone

Im not sure I know a photographer who doesn’t love play around on their phone, using photo apps and photo sharing too. Buying photography accessories is quite pricey and lets face it, you’re probably not about to go out and buy your favourite photographer a lens anytime soon BUT you can get them a range of phone lens’s and accessories instead! I love these iPhone and Android Lens Series as well as these Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens too.

These vintage camera phone covers definitely catch my eye as well as these vintage Kodak ones too. This Holga Lens wheel is the business, It’s like having 9 toy cameras all in one!! I am also also HEAD OVER HEELS for this Lensbaby Sweet Spot Phone Lens.. Swwooon!!! Every photographer I know would love a Lensbaby so this phone lens version really is awesome!

Memory Cards, Filters and HardDrives

Misc

These may not be as exciting but this is the sh!t we constantly have to spend our money on! Memory cards come and go like taxis in a photographers life and well who doesn’t need more memory!? Pick up great SD Cards here as well as hard drives (for Apple and Pc) as well as filters too! Always check with your favourite photographer before buying any of these items as different cameras take different cards, some people use Apple and some PC and lens filters have to fit certain lens in order to use them.

Go-To Guide – Books, Instant Cameras, Travel Mugs

Misc2

There are of course some old favourites among with photographers, ones you just can’t go wrong with. There the good old Lens Mug, a firm favourite with photographers and you can’t ever go wrong with a good book either. Coffee table books are muchos better than instructional ones, check out this one by LIFE magazine, its one of my favourites! This book by Irish photographer Peter Gordon shot at Burning Man is also a personal favourite of mine. Instant cameras are also another great gift for your favourite photographer and they are getting more inexpensive by the day! I absolutely love my Fujifilm Instax Mini as well as the new Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 Camera too don’t forget a packet of film!

So theres my round up of gifts for your favourite photographer.. or.. me 🙂 What else would you add?

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Thanks for reading, leave me a comment or find me on social media!

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Last week I was invited to attend the 2nd birthday of one of my favourite stores here in Galway – Amber! Located on Marys Street, Amber stock wonderful range of products from all around the world including beautiful jewellery from India and Morocco, singing bowls from Tibet, powerful and stunning gemstones and healing crystals from South America, Incense from India, the bestselling Angel cards and books, Natural organic oils, soaps and more.. Amber believe in the power of positive energy so each and every product is sent with high vibrational intent, ensuring that your product is ready to use the minute you receive it.

I first came across Amber when they first moved to Galway. They took up residence in an empty store that held alot of memories for me. You see, when I was a teenager, my first job was in that store. At the time it was a launderette and I spent many hours there serving the people of Galway! When Amber arrived I hadn’t been in the newly refurbished building in probably four years so I just had to go in for a look. The store (and website) is a treasure trove of all things spirit infused. The moment you walk in the door, you will feel the good energy in the place. If like me, you recoginze different energies, Amber s such a nice place to be if yours is a little ‘off’. This is helped by the lovely girls themselves, Jessica, Heidi and Fiona who run the store but more than that, they help and work with the people who come to them for guidance.

Besides retail, Amber offers all the alternative products one may need for meditation, healing, relaxation, sound healing, tarot, reading etc. and they run lots of evening and weekend workshops too! From Mindfulness Meditation Workshops to Pendulum Energy Workshops, Understanding Our Female Energies, Angel and Tarot Card readings to Womb Blessings and Journey Through The Chakras & Pendulum Workshops too  – Amber offer so much more to people who want to learn and work with their spiritual/ holistic side. The girls who work there, Jess, Heidi and Fiona are a wealth of knowledge and are always on hand to help our their customers, have a chat and work with finding you the product which is best for you.

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On the day of the birthday I arrived to bubbles and treats! Th store was looking like an Aladdin’s cave of sparkles and wonder, the air was infused with sage and incense and there was tons of people popping in and out all day. I decided to avail of the Henna tattoos being done on the day by the lovely Vcenza.

Vcenza is from Co. Down and has worked with Henna for some time. I had heard some mixed review about Henna art but Vcenza assured me that the one she uses is all natural and no chemicals! The Henna she uses is natural Henna powder mixed with water, lemon juice and essential oils. She then piped the mixture through a funnel or icing bag onto her clients hand. The mixture is black and wet when it goes onto your skin but dries within a half an hour and starts flake off soon after. It smells earthy like the Henna plant or grass and the lemon smell is also very prevalent. Once dry it looks like yellow ink from a yellow marker, a day later its a gorgeous shade of brown and fading slightly. I have to say, I REALLY like it and have gotten very used to it on my hand.. Check out Vcenza here on Facebook (she does parties and weddings etc.) 
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Later in the day I had a Chakra reading by Shaman Janine aka Gentle Warrior. Janine is a Shaman and healer hailing from South Africa (my favourite accent of all time!!) She does a variety of Shaman work but focuses very much so on women and womens issues such as self empowerment, healing, women’s bodies and issues. She is trained in Neuro Linguistic Programming, Animal healings, Tarot reading, Indian Head massage and more. I sat with Janine for about a half hour. She read my Chakras, and opened up the channels of communication for me. Amazingly, she read me spot on and gave me some amazing words of wisdom and  guidance.

I am fully aware and understand that people may be sceptical to this type of work but once you allow yourself to listen and be willing to try it and will to receive it, its pretty amazing how much you learn about yourself. I suppose people have this image in their heads of people who do this work as a pagan witches with long dark hair and crystal ball but this couldn’t be further form the truth. Janine isn’t there to read your palm and tell you how many kids you’re going to have or when you will marry or die but she’s there with a direct line to something powerful which she taps into. Her messages and words, if you let them, have the power to guide you a little and maybe help you when you find yourself at a crossroads. She is a lovely, open and happy person who beams with happiness and love for her job and her journey! I really buzz of happy people and situations so I felt this with her.

Janine gave me the piece of paper which she was writing on during our session with the messages she had for me. She went through everything thing really well and explained evening to me too which was wonderful. I left feeling a great energy, a boost and somewhat lighter!  I felt I clicked with Janine on such a high level, I think we view life in quite a similar way and I had such a good laugh with her after my reading. Find Janine online at www.yourgentlewarrior.com – she does a range of courses and workshops in Ireland and in Amber too, you wont regret it!

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All in all, Amber‘s 2nd birthday celebrations were great success and I am happy I made it down to join in the celebrations. I met so many new and interesting people and made some new friends too which in my book is always a plus! Be sure to drop in for a look next time you’re in town, even to pop in and browse this gorgeous store is solo nice!! The energy in the store is super relaxed and you will definitely get lost in all their loveliness!

Find Amber online at www.holisticproductsireland.com, on Facebook too and on Twitter and Instagram too and tell them I sent you also! Find Janine online at www.yourgentlewarrior.com and check out Vcenza here too!

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L-R: Fiona, Jess & Heidi

Have you been to Amber? does this sound like heaven to you too? Let me know in the comments or tweet me! x

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