Wednesday, 24 September 2014

[Laura Loves] Autumn inspired outfit


This feature - Laura Loves - is to replace Wednesday Wishlist, as lets be honest, they were rarely posted on a Wednesday! These will not necessarily be every week but will hopefully be quite frequently. They will be similar to the wishlists, but will feature outfit inspirations, interior design inspirations, products I like the look off, things like that! Please let me know what you think of this feature! 

So, let's start with today's post! This is an outfit which I think works well for autumn. Autumn is possibly my favourite season, as is winter, as I just love wrapping up in cosy jumpers whilst at home/out shopping or wherever, and for the yard wearing nice rugby tops and hoodies with gilets. What's not to love?! I find summer so much harder, especially riding wise, as no matter what you wear to the yard, you will get unbelievably hot, plus there's fewer places to stash your phone, money, treats, keys, etc! So much hassle! 

Charles James Fox - £26

I'm tempted to invest in a base layer this year, as I normally just buy a couple of long sleeve tops from Primark which obviously aren't that great at wicking away sweat. In the autumn, it can always be a bit of trouble deciding whether to wear a hoodie or not as the weather can be so deceiving! So I think putting a base layer followed by a polo and then a gilet is the perfect combination! 

Joules - £29.95
I'm pretty sure that when you think of polo tops, one of the first brands to come into mind is Joules! I used one of there's as an example as they are really nice and last really well too! Also if you ever get a chance to pop to one of their big sales (not the general in-store ones) I would definitely go! I've been a few times with Mum and you can get such good bargains! I went a few months ago and picked up a few things, one of my favourite being a nice duffle type coat with hood that was only £25 and when I got home I saw the label advertised it for £170-£180! Complete bargain! A few other polo brands I like are Ralph Lauren (Dad bought me one once as a surprise from the outlet shop in Bicester!) and also Toggi. 

Jack Wills - £89.50

Okay, I have to make a confession here! For my 18th, my mum and I went half and half on a Jack Wills gilet very similar to this one, only to make the promise that I wouldn't wear it at the yard. That lasted about a year or two! Oops! However, it is just so nice to ride in and I love the hood with it - I think Pea does too as he often tries eating it when I bring him in! It is the perfect way to keep warm without needing a jacket and the pockets are perfect for treats, mobiles, keys, etc. It is so hard to find gilets with zips on the pockets but this one does! It is generally one of my most worn items!

John Whitaker - £55
My local tack store has started to stock these John Whitaker breeches and I'm forever tempted to buy some! They are such nice quality and I love the grey colour! I prefer breeches to jodphurs but I'm not so keen on the huge difference in price!

Riding Sock Co - £6.99

I bought these socks a few weeks ago from a local tack store and I am in love with them! The colouring in this picture isn't that great but I have a picture on my instagram of the orange ones (@lauracb_93) and they are reasonably bright! They are just so comfy, a good thickness and I just love the colours! 

Kanyon Boots from Mole Valley Farmers - £89.95

I bought these a few weeks back, just after Burghley as I was originally going to buy some Toggi ones but nowhere at Burghley had my size so I popped into my local tack store and found these instead. I'm hoping they are going to last me a while as I get through wellies ridiculously fast! Country boots always look so stylish and are perfect for horses or country walks. 

Let me know if you liked this post! Also what are your perfect autumn outfits?

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Monday, 22 September 2014

[Product Review] NAF Silky Mane & Tail D-Tangler

I have tried various different mane and tail sprays and always say that they seem pretty decent, but then I bought this one... It was on offer in my local tack store and it's a pretty large bottle so decided to buy it. I've often thought that mane and tail sprays can be a bit on the pricey side and do not always seem to last that long (or people steal some!), however this, as mentioned, is a larger bottle, and I also found that I don't need to use it that frequently! I have noticed this more over the past month or two, especially, as I only get to see Pea at the weekends. Normally, leaving Pea's tail for a week would result in it being horrendous, however, I have noticed that if I have used this, even a whole week before, although his tail is still a bit tangled, once you brush through it it is still soft from the spray. 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

All the Small Things #3

I haven't properly featured Pea on here for a while, nor have I done one of these posts for a while so I thought that I would incorporate the two :)

If you want to read the other parts, here are the links:

#1: He has some weird love affair with trying to nibble at my hair or my hood when I bring him in. I have no idea why but he always does it at least once, and it's mainly only when we're walking through the field to the gate! 

#2: Pea hates people who are in places he deems they shouldn't be. He properly freaks out if we're out hacking and he sees people walking, or if they're in a field or on the jump cross field! The other week I was bringing him in and someone was sat on the jump cross field so he tried to spin round and go back to his field...not helpful!

#3: When I go to catch him in the dark during winter to bring him in for the night, he thinks it's great to hide behind his friends. It's bad enough that his field is humongous so I'm walking round for ages in the pitch black trying to find the horses, and then have to look longer to find him! 

#4: I have a lot of pictures of him like this! Normal pictures are just not his style! Or he's getting in to the 'selfie' craze!

#5: If he is the slightest bit wet when you turn him out, he will roll and often ends up looking more bay than grey! Normally he waits for me to turn around to walk away before he rolls, but if he's wet it's like some crazy need of his that he hardly waits for the head collar to come off first! Top tip: don't buy a grey ;)

Hope you enjoyed this post!

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Thursday, 11 September 2014

[Laura Loves] The Dog & Dobbin

I'm starting to think that I should give this a new name as I seem to often miss Wednesdays! However, this week I couldn't decide what to feature and then when I did decide upon something, it was late and I wanted to sleep instead!

However, I have got a wishlist! This week features 'The Dog and Dobbin'. I found this feature during #equestrianhour on twitter, and my god do they have some gorgeous stuff! The company has horse and dog themed gifts (in my case - for myself!) and accessories and honestly they just have so much nice stuff from mugs to jewellery! I know this is an equine blog, but I'm going to feature some of the dog inspired ones as well! Luckily they do relate so it's all good :) 

Snaffle Cuff Silver & Gold - £60

Typically, one of the pieces I love has to be one of the most expensive! This is simply gorgeous though! It's quite delicate looking and I love the contrast between the silver and gold. I hate bulky jewellery and rarely wear bracelets but I know that this would very rarely leave my wrist! Might just have to do some sweet talking to my parents! Or save up...

Folky Horse Design Cushion - £35
I actually really like this cushion! I know it might not be for everyone but I think it's so quirky and unique and will really stand out! It's so different to all the other horse designed cushions that are out there, and proves that an equestrian theme can be quite fun! 

Large Silhouette Mug - Terrier - £11.25
I have a bit of a love affair with mugs and have to resist so hard when I find ones I like and right now I want one of these in all colours! They have a French bulldog one as well which I really like but I think the terrier one does slightly over rule! They're just so colourful and cute, how can you not like them?!

Beagle Print Scarf - £8
Ahhh I am in LOVE with this scarf! I can't actually decide which colour I love best but the print is just so nice! It's a beagle print with a cute little red nose! Seriously adorable! I love scarves (I blame my friend for getting me more obsessed with them) and they're just such a nice way to spice up an outfit! I'm finding it rather hard to resist buying this so it may *accidentally* be delivered through my front door in the not too far future! 

I hope you liked this post and be sure to go check out their website! Though you might regret it when you want to buy virtually everything! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Burghley Horse Trials 2014

Every year, Burghley house attracts thousands of people for one of the largest and well known three day events. Despite living on the door stop, I have yet to attend the trials on all 4 days (I haven't even been in the house or anything!), instead following the dressage online and normally doing the same with cross country.  This year, however, was different as my mum and I decided to go on the Saturday instead of the Sunday.  It's safe to say that whilst I still loved going Saturday,  it was odd not being there on Sunday so I'm going to try and be there at least both days next year if not all 4!

Catching up with the dressage, I noticed how more and more riders seem to be opting for hard hats now, which is something I fully back. As much as top hats do look smart, I think that at this level, especially, the riders are seen as role models and just because they are riding on the flat, it doesn't mean that accidents can't happen. I still think that hard hats look smart, especially with the large range of options available now! (as a side note, it was nice to see the GB dressage team at WEG all wearing hard hats!). 

At the end of the dressage it was nice to see Jock Paget in the lead after all the hassle he went through with the doping - though I bet he was rather apprehensive about returning to Burghley! Moving onto cross-country and it was such a foggy start to the day that Mum and I were wondering if we'd manage to see anything! Luckily the fog soon cleared and it ended up being a really nice day! Cross-country day to me is always a bit of a hard one! We got there slightly earlier to do some shopping, yet still missed the start of cross-country as we didn't realise the time and never heard any tannoys about it beginning which I think is something that should potentially be considered? I understand that not everyone at these events want to know about the cross-country, but I think it would be a nice thing to have. Mum and I had a bit of a walk round the cross-country, getting lost and missing a load of fences out! It's so hard to follow along as obviously you can't necessarily follow the course as the horse goes and instead have to go the long way round so miss a bit! However, we did see a few riders but no falls! We seemed to have moved off to the next fence at the time when
someone would fall at the previous fence! We even missed Andrew Nicholson go round as we made our way back to the shopping area so it is hard to ensure you see riders, therefore I think I would definitely go over a few days so you can shop and see riders as I think on cross country day it's hard to do both! 

As previously mentioned, it was so weird not being at Burghley on the Sunday and I feel like you miss a lot as the television hardly shows it! Something definitely needs to be done about increasing equestrian coverage on television! As much as I was happy for Andrew Nicholson to have managed to win for the third year in a row (although my mum likes to say that he technically hasn't) there's always a part of me that would love for an outsider to win! Looking at the top 25, I think it's encouraging to see riders coming through such as Francis Whittington, Gemma Tattersall, Izzy Taylor, Matthew Heath and Georgie Spence which I think could be exciting for teams in the next few years!

Did you go to Burghley this year?

What were your highlights? Or lowlights?

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Monday, 8 September 2014

Burghley Buys 2014


I thought that I would do a post on the things that I bought from Burghley Horse Trials this year as I don't know about you, but I love having a nosy at what people buy!

First of all is probably an item many of you can guess if you have read the past few blog posts of mine...

Champion AirTech - £89.95

Yes! I finally have my new hat! This is actually what my 21st present from my parents was, I've just had to wait a month! It is the Champion Airtech helmet, and oh my isn't it gorgeous! Okay, the picture really isn't that great but I love it! I am so excited to wear this riding tomorrow!

Roma Stretch Hood - £18.95

I've also bought Pea a stretch hood. This is one which I think also goes over the face and is just a black elastic one as he has the blue zip up full face one, but I have decided to grab this one and not use the face bit but have it up to his ears. The bottom part of his mane always rubs away over winter and his shoulder guard didn't seem to help (I've not lost it), so over the summer it would slowly grow, just to get rubbed over winter. Therefore, I've decided to use a full neck hood which hopefully will stop this! However, the zip up ones were more expensive/couldn't be found so I just grabbed this one :)

Horze Ines Show Shirt - £26.99

I'm not sure how well you can see this from the pictures as they aren't very good, but I finally got a new show shirt which is so nice! It's a stretchy fabric (I bought one size down than I normally do!) and has such gorgeous buttons! The collar can be either a stock collar or tie collar, and there's also some navy thing which I'm not sure what it is but it might be another collar? It's so nice and I am planning on buying a navy spotted stock to go with it! So excited to get out competing again, just have to wait to know about what I'm doing after placement and get him back into work!

Norton Lead Rope - £6.50

I have been thinking about buying a new lead rope for a short while now as I have my leather head collar, and then also a spare nylon one, however, only one lead rope. So I decided to grab another lead rope and then use my old one as a spare one. A lot of Pea's things are navy or brown, so although this is a light blue it still goes with his stuff and I just really like it! 

Rydale Ava Stripe Shirt - £9.99
These shirts were actually two for £18 so my mum also bought one, saving a pound :) You can't really tell from the picture but it's a light blue stripe and it's long sleeved. When you turn the cuff back, it's pink and white striped and this is the same on the underside of the collar. It is so soft that I almost don't want to wash it and it's so comfy (I've been wearing it today!). Mine fits me really well but Mum reckons hers is slightly tight which is odd! However, I absolutely love it and it's such a steal at less than £10!

Horseware Ireland Socks - £8
I haven't properly taken these out of the packaging but they are long socks and I need more riding socks! I've recently bought two pairs from the riding sock company (I think that's who) which are so nice and then I saw these on sale at Burghley and decided that I had to get these too! You can never have too many riding socks! 

That's all I bought at Burghley, though the next day I did pop into my local tack shop and bought some country style boots which will hopefully last me longer than wellies! I also very nearly bought some rugs at Burghley, and there's one in my tack shop which I might buy - luckily I do have an excuse that it's a MW stable rug which he'll need when I finally sort out a job/place to live/place for Pea to live! 

Would you like to see my other recent horse buys? 

I will also have a Burghley round-up post shortly! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

[Laura Loves] ASDA Homewares

This weeks wishlist is slightly different than previously. This week, I am going to show you some pieces that George Home at ASDA have in that are equestrian themed. Normally, I don't go for too much horse items at home (I don't want to come across as a crazy horse lady!!) however, these items are just too nice! I love ASDAs home range - they always have so many nice items!

Pink Horse Cushion - £8
First is this cushion. I love cushions, but I never stick with a theme so I've decided that I'm just going to carry on buying the ones I like and when I get my own place, I'll work out a way for them to look right! This cushion is actually sold out online! Clearly proves how popular it is as it's new in!

Horse Shoe Hanging Ornament - £5

I'm pretty sure that this is more the type of thing that horse owners/riders will probably be more inclined to make themselves using their own horses' shoes, however, I still think it's a pretty cool thing that ASDA have come up with - although it does seem rather bland!

Horse Ornament - £18

This is the type of thing that would look so good on a mantlepiece or shelving unit, especially in a country style designed house. 

Annoyingly, I cannot find some of the other products I wanted to include, so I'm guessing they've maybe stopped selling them? Though I'm hoping that they are still in store... I've also lost the link for the cushion, but it is meant to be new in so hopefully it will be back on site soon! 

Let me know if you liked this post!

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

[Monthly Review] August 2014

There's isn't really much to report on for this month as Pea's on a holiday until I finish placement. Originally, the plan was to bring him up with me, however, finding somewhere suitable for him proved difficult and so I decided (with the help of you!) to leave him at home. As much as it pains me leaving him and not being able to do much with him or compete him, he's at least happy! This picture just sums up how much he has been loving his holiday:

He's mainly just been lunged or hacked as I don't feel it's too important to school him. However, once I am able to ride more permanent he is onto boot camp! He will be clipped, hopefully stabled again, and on the way to getting fit! I'm hoping the holiday will have done him some good...but with Pea, who knows? I have also decided that I am going to try and get fitter as it's unfair to expect him to do all the work and improve if I'm not fit enough! Therefore, I have started running again and will hopefully stick to going more often! Normally, after about two/three weeks I seem to stop..but not this time! Not riding during the week means that I have decided I can put that time to better use and get running. I also plan on doing some pilates or core exercises to strengthen my core which will hopefully help as well! If anyone has any tips, I'd love to hear them! 

September will probably be the same, but hopefully I will be fitter than what I currently am! As for the moment, Pea seems content with his holiday and didn't feel the need to get up despite me sitting on him or other horses coming over! 

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx

Monday, 1 September 2014

Champion Hat Fitting Course

The importance of hats!
Source: Daily Mail (google images)


Today I was fortunate to attend a Hat Fitting course by Champion as they are currently visiting various BHS approved centres around the UK for approved centres to go along for free and today they held on at our HQ so I was invited along. I would suggest to anyone, whether you own a yard or work at one or not, if you get the chance to ever go along then definitely do! I learnt so much and it made me realise that my current hat most probably doesn't fit properly and is actually way overdue (luckily I'm getting a new one at Burghley as a present - funnily enough it's a Champion one I want [featured here]). 

He started by showing us how previously, hats just had a thin piece of foam as protection, but now they contain polystyrene and foam to offer more protection. He also discussed the different standards and what they mean and how important it is that hats have these. It was interesting to find out that just because a hat might be more expensive, doesn't mean it's safer. In fact, some are refused from riding clubs, eventing, etc, as they do not have the correct standard - so always make sure yours does! Hats should be kitemarked with either one of both of these standards: PAS 015 2011 or BSEN 1384 2012. 

He also discussed how the average lifespan of your riding hat is normally around 3-4 years depending how often you wear it, though other manufacturers may state longer. He mentioned that a child who has an hour lesson each week, minus 2 weeks for holidays, therefore riding 50 hours a year will probably be fine with their hat lasting around 4 years. However, those in the racing industry start noticing green circles in their hat after 18 months - pretty grim! This is due to the sweat from your head as well as other chemicals such as hair products, make-up, etc., seeping into the polystyrene altering the shape of it and causes a gap between it and the outer layer - no longer providing the correct safety! Again, I realised how much I need a new hat! 

Another fact that I learnt is in relation to those little rubber bands that are commonly used as keepers. Turns out, these are highly important as they are supposed to be situated under the buckle bit and stop the straps from loosening. He even demonstrated to us their importance! Basically, if this doesn't make sense, try this out: place the rubber band at the end, acting as a keeper for your chin strap and then pull - you will find that the chinstrap loosens really easily. Now, place the rubber right at the other end, under the buckle so it's virtually hidden and again pull - you should find that the strap doesn't alter! No wonder my chin strap always seems to loosen! He also wore his hat and asked each of us to remove it to give us an idea of how a correctly fitted hat should fit - let me just say, we all thought we were going to end up pulling his head off! It's quite tight and therefore requires a bit of a pull to remove. So if your hat comes off easily, like mine, then there's a good chance it's a bit loose! 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the course and now I have a nice certificate saying that I have been instructed on the correct fitting of Champion riding hats and skull! Who doesn't love getting a certificate? Especially when it didn't involve any tests or exams! 

Hope this has given you a bit of an insight about the fitting of hats. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask as no doubt I probably haven't included everything I learnt!

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx