School's out, summer is well and truly here. It's time to select a few events to take the children to in between combining, hoping to entertain them. Harvest is going well (touch wood) this year, seeming to be on track. So, we have decided to pop along to The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, home to no less than HRH The Princess Royal. Although you would think this is purely for horse lovers, The Festival offers a lot more, it's a great family day out for anyone who enjoys the outdoors and the British countryside.
From August 4th through to August 6th –The Festvial becomes a haven for all thing country, with a mix of world class eventing, wonderful displays, shopping and fine crafts there really is something for young and old alike, including my burly farmer husband and my 3 and 2 year old children.
VALEGRO - Parade of The World's Best Ever Dressage Horse - 13:30 SUNDAY ONLY
ATKINSONS ACTION HORSES - Saturday & Sunday
Atkinson Action Horses have spent the past twenty years training horses and riders for Film & TV. With recent credits from Poldark , Victoria, Peaky Blinders, The Living and the Dead & Hippopotamus – it is guaranteed this elite force has at some point invaded your TV screen!
Tricks/stunts include: Roman Riding, Drags, Falls, Pick Ups, Flips, Horses Rearing and Laying Down.
SHETLAND PONY GRAND NATIONAL - Saturday & Sunday
PONY CLUB MOUNTED GAMES - Saturday & Sunday
FUN DOG SHOW - Saturday & Sunday
You can bring your own dog along and enter on the day.
For a full itinerary of the arena displays and the eventing program please click here: Plan your day
be All this and I haven't even touched on the eventing program! I am so excited to see some of Britain's top riders go for the following Championship clases: The TopSpec Challenge for The Corinthian Cup, the British Amateur Championship, The Dodson & Horrell British Novice Championship, The Smith & Williamson British Intermediate Championship, The British Open Championship CIC3* incorporating the Event Rider Masters (ERM) and The Neptune Trophy for Advanced Horses.
It's going to be a spectacle to watch and the atmosphere is sure to be electric.
Shopping, did I mention shopping?? At The Festival there is a whole shopping village, with trade stands opening at 9am, a whole days shopping would not be out of the question! Having looked through the exhibitor list, all my country favourites, amazing crafts including jewellery will be there along with new exciting companies.
Ticket wise, I feel this is a really reasonably priced day out for the amount that is on offer and under 13's go FREE, you can buy day or weekend tickets. For ticket information and to book tickets click here. Buy tickets
If you are making this a day out or considering it, let me know, I'd love to hear your thoughts and how you plan to spend your day or even weekend.
I'll be reporting on how our day out went after The Festival, I have to say I'm pretty excited about taking to family somewhere new.
"The gin and tonic has saved more Englishman's lives and minds, than all the doctors in the empire" - Winston Church.
Firstly I am writing this review as a gin lover not a gin expert.
British Polo Gin (BGP) as it sounds, is stunningly patriotic, from its Union Jack packaging, its quality and its association with the sport of kings, polo. Described as "The Players Choice" I can see why.
Ironically, I came across BPG at a polo game nestled in the Shropshire countryside (Moor Farm Polo Club). I immediately fell for the gins smooth taste and its serving garnish, so then I got chatting to founder Richard Hine.
The story behind BPG is a simple one, Richard saw a gap in the market for 100% organic gin, he had retired from being a professional polo player, sold his top polo ponies and in 2016 launched the company we see today. Although this gin is typically British you will find hints of Australian gin lingering in there as Richard spend a long while in Perth working for a gin business, this is where he picked up and established the need to create a gin that is smooth, yet different from gins already on the market. The organic gin is distilled in small batches of 150 bottles at Da Mhile Distillery in Wales and boasts spring water and organic botanicals including elderflower, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla.
What I particularly love about this gin is that it is quadruple distilled which means is it so smooth it can be enjoyed with no fuss and straight on the rocks, yet it still has the unmistakable taste of a world class gin. The serving suggestion is so fresh, strawberries and basil with a splash of tonic, this not only looks so pretty it adds a completely different dimension.
As far as gins go, this is defiantly one for your collection and to bring out on those long summer evenings in the garden or on the beach. Gin is the perfect drink to spark conversation, all gin lovers can't wait to try something new and compare to their last tipple, BPG is certainly a welcome ice breaker.
British Polo Gin Here
You might also like: Gin Mare
Try The Chukka Cocktail
Cashmere and two toddlers don't usually mix well from experience, until now! Thanks to two friends and Cove founders Sarah and Jacqueline who have created a luxurious knitwear brand for everyday so we can look good effortlessly.
Being a busy mum of two, I need clothes that are simple and easy to wear, yet at the same time are stylish and flattering. Introducing the very eye catching and super soft Holly Star jumper in navy and pink.
We went for a little break away last weekend. The beach can be one of two things either blistering hot or artic cold, as we headed to North Wales I had no doubt I had to pack a jumper! The sun shone for two days, although the wind soon took the edge off the warmth. How thankful was I to have the Holly Star with me? very... It's a cashmere mix (5% cashmere, 95% cotton) so although its not a chunky jumper, it is, by all accounts beautifully cosy and warm. It didn't feel out of place wearing this jumper with my denim shorts, if fact, I've never been complimented so much for an outfit!!!
On the beach, in town and in the bar this jumper turned heads (so much so, someone asked if the could 'stroke' my arm!), I can see this being a very versatile piece in any wardrobe. It's comfortable enough to throw on for the school run and stylish enough to wear on an evening out, its the perfect investment.
So, what made me look into the niche company Cove? Without a doubt it was the way they use classic base colours for their jumpers and ponchos and then from nowhere add a subtle hint or generous splash of neon or lurex sparkle, who in their right mind could resist that combination? Not me! Suitable for ladies of all ages, this playful trademark would cheer up any dull day.
From previous posts, you will know I'm pretty short in statue! This, however, was not an issue with this jumper, the fit is so flattering and the cut is such that it would become most women. The sleeves are slightly more fitted and ribbed (great detail), this add shape and structure to jumper allowing you to casually Push your sleeves up and still feel you're doing your jumper justice. This also means that if you have shorter arms you can turn them back and continue to look good.
I can completely understand how and why this jumper was a sell out when it was very first launched, it has got everything you need and want from a jumper, from being machine washable to being a classic timeless design.
The Cove journey actually began with its signature reversible ponchos, today continues to grow with new styles that show off the simplicity and elegance of its designs with eye catching details and motifs. Ever loyal to its original desire for practical style, the collection continues to include both cashmere and cotton cashmere pieces that focus on gorgeous colour combinations, quality yarns and original designs.
If you do nothing else, have a browse on their gorgeous website and you'll see exactly why I have fall in love with this company, whilst you're on there take advantage of the voucher code below - www.covecashmere.co.uk
*Offer T&C's - on full price items only, to be used by 31/05/17
My picks to wear with Holly Star...
Before I blog about this super gorgeous Cove jumper, I thought I'd open my exciting delivery with all of you. I had no idea what was in the beautifully wrapped package, so I was as intrigued as you.
So, here it is... (more detailed blog to follow)
"All you need is tweed!"
This jacket is no exception, it's a perfect addition to any wardrobe if you're looking for a tweed to wear all year round.
Welligogs are a very British company designing and producing very 'distinctively British' country attire. A small company with a big outlook, they have dressed not only me(!) but the likes of Victoria Pendleton, Clare Balding and Jilly Cooper (to name a few).
Their trade mark with this tweed jacket has to be the lovely little proud collar, as shown in the pictures. I love that thoughtful detail.
So lets talk about the Ascot Jacket. I'm pretty petite and worry about the fit of jackets, however, this jacket is cleverly designed to complement most body shapes, the smooth shape of the back just follows the contour of your body. I wore a size 8 and I would definitely say it was true to size, don't panic about the sleeve length though, they come up a bit longer so they can be turned back to show the gorgeous and funky silky feel lining if you wish.
This jacket has many great features, 100% new wool to start with, which is then teamed with moleskin detail on the collar, pockets and cuffs . beautiful buttons on the back and on the cuffs too, not to mention the pretty pink and fun lining.
I have to say whilst wearing this jacket out for the first time at our local point to point I had lots of complimentary comments, what seemed evident was people were loving how different and versatile the tweed was, and I have to say, that is what drew me to this particular jacket.
I can see me using this jacket for day to day activities like the school run, going out for lunch (not that that is day to day!!) shopping and also on an evening out.
Welligogs have a lot more amazing products in their arsenal, so keep your eyes peeled, you'll be seeing a lot more them .
GET THE LOOK
Jacket - Ascot Tweed
Boots - Mayfair (in Navy)
Fairfax & Favor Chelsea Boot in Tan Suede
I had heard amazing things about these Fairfax and Favor boots and I had always admired them being worn by friends, so when my chance came to own a pair I was crazily excited (kid in a sweetshop excited!).
When they promptly arrived, the first thing that struck me was the love and care put into packaging them, you can tell these are more than just your run of the mill brown boots. These have been made with passion and British flair, and it shows. Each boots was wrapped carefully so not to mark each other in transit and the box its self was bubble wrapped.
Why the Chelsea Boot? I know Fairfax and Favor do many lovely boots including their long Regina boot, I took the season into account along with being fairly petite, this boot is so versatile and on trend the choice was easy for me. The Chelsea Boot comes in a variety of colours, Tan (pictured), Black, Navy, Chocolate and Brown full grain leather. All of which are classic and ooze class, I chose Tan as it was the lightest colour and with summer fast approaching thought this would be most appropriate.
What stood out for me was the boots leather sole, I really don't think you can beat a good leather surface to walk on, although leather can be deemed slippery, I have not found this at all, maybe I haven't been in the right terrain yet, or maybe they just adapt really quickly and become non slip... I'll keep you posted on this. The suede is soft and I can already tell they will mould to my foot to become more of a 'slipper' than a boot, comfort is a massive factor me over style, luckily this boot has both in abundance.
The boot itself is, I feel, reasonably priced for the craftsmanship that has gone into each pair, however, still at over £100 per pair its good to know they can be protected from day to day spills and accidents. Sold separately is Fairfax and Favors own protective spray, and all I can say is WOW, i'm not going to say any more on this, just watch this:
The fit I found true to size, I am a mini size 3 (36) and haven't encountered any obvious sizing issues, they fit snug which is a bonus for when the leather gives a little. These boots are made to be with you for a long time, so I imagine they become a better and unique fit after months / years of use.
In spite of being new to these boots, I love them, I still have a lot of exploring to do and adventures left to have in them, so stay close to hear how they wear over time. I have no doubt that if I look after them, they will look after me and be my next faithful foot companions!!!
Enjoy your boots (or bag - check out the bags!!!)
Follow me and my boots on Instagram
If you would like to browse the Fairfax and Favor website click the logo here
I am overjoyed and so excited to say that for this year’s Cheltenham Festival I teamed up with my good Uni friend Cleo Lacey - from many years back!- who is the fabulous and hugely successful stylist behind Demi Couture http://www.demi-couture.co.uk/
Having seen Cleo in her professional environment, transforming a clients wardrobe, not only making her look a million dollars but reinstating the clients confidence, I knew I had to collaborate with her sooner rather than later. I totally love the country fashions and how the classic designs bring practicality up to pace with the fashion world, through my blog I have made many contacts in the country fashion world, one being the fabulous Fairfax & Favor. Having said that, I do not have the professional now how and expertise that Cleo has gained over the past 7 years.
Both Cleo and I studied at Harper Adams University College (formally and Agricultural College) and although both from country upbringings many of our mutual friends would concur that I fitted into the establishment way more than Cleo did!
So, what could go wrong when you combine a farmer's wife who loves all things country and a background in wearing wellies and a fashion expert who lives, sleeps and breathes the latest trends and understands the emotion behind dressing? We make the perfect combination.
Elegant, country outfit for Cheltenham Festival 2017.
LETS GET TO WORK...
Cleo often gets asked what to wear to the races by my clients and have to perform many special occasion personal shops each year, dedicating time and effort in making sure my clients look amazing for these spectacular events. After all, with the press in abundance, everyone wants to be papped so they appear online or in the newspaper. There are also some incredible prizes to be won for the best dressed, which some ladies take very seriously indeed (we are talking jewellery, holidays and cars up for grabs!) even if appearing in the media, or winning the best dressed isn’t really for you, just feeling good and confident on the day is always so very important.
Cheltenham has a unique look among the race meetings, partly thanks to being held in March when the weather is unpredictable, but also because of the smart country set which it attracts. Think tweed, tweed and more tweed then throw in some feathers for the effect.
Think Practicality, you’ll definitely need some form of knitwear or a jacket and possibly an umbrella. My favourite brands to create the perfect look for Cheltenham are Le Jabot and Stock, Holland Cooper or Timothy Foxx. All of which create beautiful tweed, leather and fur, jackets and capes perfect for keeping warm whilst remaining stylish. I would also always opt for a hat in the form of a fedora or tweed and feather head piece.
Forget the elegant stilettos, this is not like Ascot or Aintree. I always advise my clients to wear stylish but practical footwear, my go to boots are by Fairfax and Favor. In particular the knee high heeled Regina are my favourite festival footwear choice as seen on my client Julia below.
The boot is crafted with an elastic panel that can stretch up to 3cm and sports a flattering 5cm heel to give you elegance without sacrificing comfort as you will be on your feet for most of the day.
The most important thing is to have fun and always keep to a winning streak. Celebrate your wins with champagne. Commiserate your losses with champagne. Make up your mind with champagne. We always think a theme helps!
GET THE LOOK...
Boots - www.fairfaxandfavor.com
Cape and Hat - www.lejabotandstockcompany.co.uk
When faced with a large wall and a pile of pallets in the yard, the only thing to do is create some art!!
I couldn't find any pictures I liked for my daughters bedroom, so I decided to try my hand at some "pallet art". It's not as hard or as time consuming as you might imagine. So where do you start?
1. Find a pallet, any size, any wood configuration, there are no rules.
2. Buy or recycle some paint, I went neutral to go with any décor change.
3. Chose your personalisation
4. Sand your pallet and clean off any dust
5. Paint your background colour, probably 2 or 3 coats
6. Make a template of your personalisation or image and trace it onto pallet (this saves free hand painting)
7. With a smaller brush fill in your traced work
8. Let dry, stand back and admire
SIMPLE AS THAT
I love this so much, it is, by far, the most commented on artwork in our house. Every time someone asks about it, it is so rewarding to be able to say "I made that!"
Up cycling and recycling is currently very cool and fashionable and if something this beautiful can be created by an old pallet and some paint out of the shed I'm all for it.... Bring on my next project.
World Book Day is on Thursday 2nd March 2017 and it has become the biggest annual celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading.
So when you get the letter from nursery or school requesting your child is in fancy dress on that day, don't panic here are some brilliant DIY costumes you can make at home.
* No time? Click here to Browse some high street costumes
6. The Gruffalo
9. Willy Wonka
10. Wimpy Kid
Enjoy making your costumes, get your little one involved, see how much fun you can have. x
Credit for all images goes to www.bookaid.org
Playmobile Country Pony Farm
11% Off the original price.
This list could go on, but i have to restrain myself!!
I hope you have fun looking through these amazing bargains, and keep those little ones farming... Our future will depend on them.