So it’s been rather too long a break since my last post but to be honest after all of the excitement of Burghley at the beginning of September, it’s been a tough act to follow. Which is why I thought I’d follow it up with.. yep you guessed it – Burghley. Because I don’t think I’ve quite covered the event enough yet….and because I had the most amazing time, I thought it deserved a little more air time.
As you know, I was incredibly privileged to be involved with Burghley Horse Trials this year, particularly as this year was the first that ‘bloggers’ were officially invited to be part of the event, so it was not only a first for me but also for Burghley! Hopefully some of you will have seen my coverage of the event so I won’t go into detail about the who, what, where, when and why’s but I thought I’d give a little round-up of my highlights and thoughts on the experience. Spoiler alert – I can’t wait to get involved again soon!
There’s actually too many highlights to mention, but if I went into great detail I’d probably be here all night (and you’d probably get bored which is NOT the aim of this post!). So to a whistle stop tour of my highlights:
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Burghley has always been one of, if not my favourite event to attend each year. I love the atmosphere, the setting and of course the horse sport (the shopping’s not bad either!). It’s been my must attend event pretty much every year since I started riding at the age of three and has to be one of the contributing factors to my love of eventing. So to be invited to the event as a VIP armed with a press pass and access to the stables, was a dream come true. To see all of my equine heroes and their celebrity riders off-duty away from the glamour of the show was a particular high for me.
My main role at Burghley this year was to style one of the event riders taking part in this year’s competition. Whilst this turned out to be my biggest highlight, it actually filled me with dread up until the moment I met Imogen Murray. I mean, it’s one thing styling yourself and putting that on social media for people to like/love/criticise/have an opinion on, but to dress someone else…well you have all of those usual nerves and worries multiplied by at least 100! As I didn’t meet Imogen until trot-up day, I had absolutely no idea what she really looked like or the kinds of clothes she would choose, so it really was nerve-wracking. The amount of publicity and hype around the event, being the first styled rider and Imogen herself being rather a hot topic at the moment added even more to the nerves but I’m so thrilled to say that it completely surpassed my expectations and definitely Imogen’s – I think she was as nervous about a stranger picking out her trot up outfits as I was picking them for her!
I’m really proud to say that we achieved 2nd best dressed rider at the trot-up, but more importantly I made a new (and very talented) friend and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the MS Team Eventing tribe for the week. The icing on the cake was watching Imogen finish inside the Top 15 riders which is an unbelievable achievement for such a young rider – watch out for this lady because she’s going to be one of our future stars!
My love of blogging, or more specifically country style blogging, is purely down to the people that have supported me on my journey – not the products I get to test or use or the ‘freebees’ that people seem to associate blogging with – this is my biggest bugbear of blogging and something I’ll be covering in a blog post soon because it’s particularly topical after this event. When I started my blog, it was a relatively new concept – now I’m not saying I created the country style blog by any means, but I am saying it was far less frequent.. so lots of people took a huge leap of faith in trusting me to make it work. For that, I will be eternally grateful but because of that, I have made the most amazing, inspiring and supportive friends I ever could of imagined. Most of the time I’m blogging alone, and by alone I actually mean with the help of my wonderfully supportive and incredible partner James who helps me with my photos from time to time – without which there simply wouldn’t be a successful blog, just tonnes of uninspiring waffle on a white background. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, I talk to this glorious people a lot but I don’t often get to see them which is another reason I look forward to these events because I get the opportunity to have a good old-fashioned face to face catch up.
As usual there’s far too many people to list here who I could list in the category above, most of them I am unbelievably proud to act as a brand ambassador for so you’ll find them listed on that part of my site, but I have to single out some particularly important ones:
- Hiho Silver. I haven’t got the words to do justice to just how fantastic Hiho are and how amazingly supportive they are of me, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet. As far as brands go, this one is top of the tree.
- Mackenzie & George. Ditto my above comment really, but I wanted to single them out for having faith in me and providing Imogen with some gorgeous accessories that really helped us on our style mission!
- Fairfax & Favor – you all know how much of a soft spot I have for these lovely people, but particular thanks go to the team for supporting me in styling Imogen on the final horse inspection (p.s. I have to mention the new Electra boots here too which launched at Burghley – just wow!)
I also have to say a HUGE thank you to three very important brands who really did make my Burghley experience. Not only did they happily provide lots of gorgeous clothing and footwear for myself and Imogen to use during the event, they were genuinely interested in working with me which is a massive honour for a little country blogger like me. I am of course talking about the powerhouses of country and equestrian wear, Joules, Musto and Dubarry.
I’m almost done I promise, but how could I not mention the shopping?! Again, it’s one of those aspects of Burghley that I have looked forward to since I started attending all of those years ago – yes my Mum really did teach me well! and although my tastes have certainly changed over the years (I had a phase of pink and purple with ponies on everything – I mean who didn’t?! If I could get away with it now I’d probably give it a go!), the shopping has always been a draw. With so many independent, unique and high quality brands for horse, rider and home on show, it’s really hard not to find yourself on a spree – or is that just me?! I have loads of top picks to share with you that are in the pipeline for upcoming blogs but again I have to single out a few of my favourite picks from this year’s haul:
- Tom Lane. A brand I’ve followed and admired for a while, but I finally treated myself to some goodies at Burghley. I’m a sucker for cosy – Autumn/Winter is definitely my wardrobe strength, I love getting snuggled in a good blanket next to the fire or wrapped up in a cosy knit for an autumn stroll, so Tom Lane has it all. I’m currently writing this blog wrapped up in one of their gorgeous duck-egg blue cosy wool throws and I’ve basically lived in my lambswool roll neck since I got it. I’ll definitely be recommending – and restocking my wardrobe with more over the winter. Next on my list are some of the beautiful alpaca stripey socks (which would make a perfect Christmas gift, if you can face thinking about the C word at this tine of year!)
- Really Wild. Another one of my favourite buys this year was from the wonderful British made Really Wild. It’s really hard to single out one thing in particular, especially as they have some of the most gorgeous tailored coats, and I’ve been living in their heeled ankle boots for weeks now, but my top pick has to be the fawn feather silk liberty print shirt. Country chic at it’s very best!
- Annabel Brocks. My lovely friend and general PR guru Rhea Freeman has been a huge advocate of this brand for a while, so naturally I had to take her word for it and visit the stand. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed, first of all by the exceptional customer service (everyone on the stand was so lovely) but also by the products. I walked away with a gorgeous gilet which I just know will be one of my staple pieces over the Autumn months – look out for a full review coming soon!
Until next year..
It’s fair to say this year’s Burghley was certainly a busy one! With lots of Instagram takeovers for various different people and brands, a LOT of video content – which really is outside of my comfort zone (sorry for the amount of times my face appeared on your social media feeds – I completely avoided looking through social media for four days!) and lots of involvement with Imogen and her team, it was far from a normal few days off work! Totally different in every way imaginable to my usual experience, but a million times more memorable. I have to say another huge thanks to everyone for putting up with me, encouraging me and enjoying my content which has meant the world – eventing season has closed with a huge bang for me in a completely different way to what I ever imagined.
See you next year Burghley! X