Posts

Behind… the Hiho Silver sponsored best dressed at the Badminton Trot Up

Badminton Trot Up

Image by Sweet Images/Rachel Bragg

I think I’ve JUST recovered from Badminton – but what a week it was! Badminton Horse Trials week is always a busy one for me (as are the weeks leading up to it with all the prep) BUT when you see it all come together so beautifully it makes every moment worth it. And that’s why, today, we’re going behind the Hiho sponsored best dressed at the Badminton Trot Up.

The Hiho Silver sponsored best dressed at the Badminton Trot Up

For the second year running, Hiho Silver sponsored the best dressed at the Badminton Horse Trials Trot Up. Last year they did it for the first time (and the first time the best dressed had been awarded at Badminton too!). And this year, well, it was the sequel!

Last year, Hiho’s Andrew Ransford judged the best dressed with sponsored rider Emily King and eventer Dani Evans. This year, Andrew judged the trot up style stakes with brand ambassador Alice Plunkett and stylist, socialite and columnist, Lady Alice Manners.

The Hiho Silver team – trot up side

Now, you might think that Andrew, Alice and Lady Alice were the only people involved in the Badminton trot up and Hiho’s sponsorship. But you’d be wrong. Because behind the vast majority of ‘things’ like this, there’s a lot of work. And this was no different…

Also on the ‘house side’, we had…

Badminton Trot Up - Emma Warren

Emma Warren – image by Sweet Images/Rachel Bragg

Emma Warren- Hiho’s Queen Bee/MD. Emma went up for the trot up to take pics for social media, which she sent over to me (before they were showing on the trot up Live stream – talk about fast fingers!!) to help keep Hiho’s Instagram and Facebook following up to date with who was running down the trot up and what they were wearing.

Sophie Callahan- brand ambassador. Sophie was on Radio Badminton with Rupert Bell and Matt Ryan discussing trot up style. She did this last year too and was absolutely amazing. After the trot up, she also wrote a news item for the Badminton website about it – you can read Sophie’s take on the trot up here – along with who won the Hiho best dressed female and male prizes…

And then we had Rachel Bragg- Sweet Images/photographer. Rachel was also house side and was taking pics of the presentation, the judges and the horses and their stylish rider too. These have already been used on Hiho’s social media but will also appear online and on other content soon and in the run up to next year’s event too.

And, in addition to this…

There was the Badminton team who helped to bring it together from their side. And I had the joy of working with them and they were incredible.

And that’s before we dig into the ‘home team’ who helped keep the home fires going (Michelle and Amanda at Hiho Towers), the show team who kept the stand going during the trot up and the HUGE amount of planning something like this takes.

So that’s how it all works. It’s great to be a small cog in this kind of event, and when you see it all come together and work exactly how you want, well, it’s something else!

How to make the most of your time at Badminton Horse Trials

With Badminton very much here, I wanted to share with you some of my top tips, to help you make the most of your time at Badminton Horse Trials. This is a truly AMAZING event and I can’t wait to go this year, but trust me on this, prior planning prevents poor performance. Sounds like a military operation, doesn’t it? It isn’t, but I have found my enjoyment for events has been increased 10 fold by following the advice below. It’s a bit like like advice your mum would give. But I’m doing it clad in Hiho Silver, my Mackenzie & George Fedora and my Fairfax & Favor Explorers. Horse Trials uniform if you will… so here goes…

How to make the most of your time at Badminton Horse Trials…

1. Organise. I know, I know, it’s such a boring tip, but it’s a big one. Get all your clothes organised the night before. Locate your purse/bag/car keys/ticket THE NIGHT BEFORE. Do everything the night before. Make a list of stuff you need and put as much of it in a heap by the door or even in the car. This might mean poo bags and leads if you’re taking a dog, waterproofs and umbrellas or sunscreen. Give yourself a little time to think and plan… it’ll save you running around in the morning and increasing stress levels before you get into the car.

2. Maps. Ah. Another piece of parental advice. If you have stands you HAVE to see, print off a map of the tradestands from the Badminton website and get them marked on with a pen. When you’re there, you’ll thank me. You’ll move around in a much more efficient manner, saving miles on your boots and also saving you lots of time.

** Make sure you add Hiho Silver on stand 188 – you can see the Official Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials Jewellery Collection there, Mackenzie & George in Rural Crafts, Super X Country and Eqclusive to your list of must visits!!**

3. Drinks. Drinks matter. And not the alcoholic kind. I’m notorious for the amount of water I drink (as in, nowhere near enough), but when you’re at an event and you’re running around, it’s really easy to get dehydrated. Add in some tea, coffee or alcohol and you’ll find you have a banging headache and a bad mood way too early in the day. My best bit of advice is bottled water. Get a bottle or two and pop them in your bag and drink them. I hate having headaches and find they make me feel really rubbish and definitely hinder my enjoyment of the day. This changes the game. Obviously get other drinks too when you’re there, but you know you have a supply!

4. Food. Food is a must. Make a plan to eat. There are amazing stands there but I tend to buy some food to take (almost a picnic!) and also buy something delicious there as a treat. The last few years I have found myself eating on the move, and having a sandwich and some crisps in my bag has been a big plus. It doesn’t mean I’m not visiting the amazing stands there, but it stops me having a low when I get super hungry and I’m in the middle of something.

5. Footwear. PLEASE PLEASE wear good footwear. I’m wearing my Fairfax & Favor Explorers but will also take my Rudds in case its really wet. Both of these boots are comfy, robust and durable. Please PLEASE don’t go for flip flops or heels if you’re planning to walk the XC course. Please. Come on. That’s crazy bananas.

6. Weather. Take everything you need for all the seasons. Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, wellies, waterproofs, coat, etc. You don’t want to get burnt or soaked.

7. Cars. Remember where you left your car. I now take a picture of where I’ve parked the damn thing with something obvious that I can find again in the background. You’re speaking to someone who lost their car for an hour at the NEC. Always take a pic or something else that will help you find it again.

8. Bags. Take a good bag. Backpacks are great, but I’m taking my Fairfax & Favor Windsor because it has plenty of space, it’s comfortable to carry and I love it. Take something with lots of room for your essentials.

What tips did I miss? What stands are on your must-see list? I’d love to know!

 

Behind… Hiho’s EXCLUSIVE Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection

Hiho Silver Official Badminton CollectionI am so SO excited to be able to write this one. It’s been bubbling away in the background for a while but, quite rightly, it was top secret. Now it isn’t, I am going to tell you a bit more about Hiho Silver’s new collection, because the company was unveiled as the Official Jeweller for Badminton Horse Trials not that long ago. And with this accolade, there’s an Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection. And I am beyond excited about it.

Hiho’s history with Badminton Horse Trials

If you’ve ever been to Badminton Horse Trials (and if you haven’t, it’s incredible, you MUST go!) you will have no doubt seen Hiho’s stand. It’s a big stand on the main run (Deer Park Drive) and acts as a real beacon for anyone who loves jewellery. The gorgeous purple branding draws me in each time (and did long before I started working with the company!), and that’s before you see the lovely display cabinets glistening with stunning jewellery. Hiho’s King Of The Road, Andrew Ransford (again, if you’ve been to the Hiho stand anywhere, ever, you will have met Andrew!!), and his family have been exhibiting at Badminton for nearly 20 years… so Hiho and Badminton go way back. They’re old pals really…

And then there was the sponsorship of the best dressed at the first horse inspection

Last year, Hiho sponsored the best dressed at the first horse inspection (also known as the trot up) in front of Badminton House. This happens on the Wednesday and has become a cross between a fashion show (I mean, a bit different to London and Milan!) and, obviously, a chance to make sure that horses are sound and fit for competition. The outfits that the riders wear are incredible. Some are rather wacky and out there, some beyond elegant, some bespoke. Articles are written about the fashion as much as the horses. Hiho is well known amongst eventers (and sponsors Emily King and supports Abi Boulton, Tina Wallace, Becci Harrold and Lucy Robinson in the eventing space!) so it was a great fit. The first ‘best dressed’ competition was judged by Hiho’s Andrew, Emily King and Dani Evans and was won by Paul Tapner and Danni Dunn. It was a superb sponsorship and fitted the company perfectly. So much so that Hiho is also sponsoring this year’s trot up and beyond. This further cemented Hiho’s link and passion for Badminton. And it was just lovely.

The Official Jeweller for Badminton Horse Trials… and the Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection

A couple of weeks ago, Hiho was announced as the Official Jeweller for Badminton Horse Trials. For me, I was beyond excited. And it was great to be able to tell people! Everyone at Hiho is delighted and the Badminton team are just the nicest to work with. As part of this comes an Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection, which is now available for pre order and people are already loving it!

This year’s Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection

This year, Hiho’s Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection is a capsule collection with a few key pieces. This will be built on over time and continue to develop going forward too… how exciting is that? The collection is currently made up of three pieces: a Spinner Ring, a Roller Bead and a Roller Charm Bead. All of these have ‘Badminton’ written on them and are gorgeous – combining Hiho quality and Badminton’s magic. All pieces have been approved by Badminton, as I’m sure you can guess, which, in my eyes, adds a further seal of approval.

How do you get hold of the Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection by Hiho Silver?

Simples – you can pre-order now (on the website) and your lovely Badminton pieces will be delivered at the end of April, or you can visit Hiho’s Badminton stand (188 Deer Park Drive) and see the Collection in person. Actually, you can try the ring on, spin it around, get the Roller Bead or even Roller Charm added to your Foxtail, other charm bracelet or Cherry Roller… or any other charm bracelet too. If you order online, Hiho has a superb returns policy, so if there are any sizing issues, they’ll sort it out for you!

So, that’s a little bit of the story behind Hiho and Badminton Horse Trials. Are you going to the event? Make sure you pop in and see Hiho if you are!!

Eleven reasons to love the latest Hiho Silver Country Shows Journal

Hiho Silver Country Shows JournalWhy eleven reasons? I’m not entirely sure… but here goes. To be honest, there are more than eleven reasons to love the latest issue of the Hiho Silver Country Shows Journal, but these are my top eleven. The best thing is if you read it yourself. I would love to know your favourite bit…

What is the Hiho Silver Country Shows Journal?

Hiho Silver produces the Country Shows Journal. This online publication is produced at specific times of the year, for Hiho customers and fans to enjoy for free. There’s always a competition, some brilliant brand and product features, there’s usually some gin… and there’s always beautiful jewellery. The latest issue of the Hiho Silver Country Shows Journal is no different, but is also bursting with fashion, style, an inside out horse (it’s OK, no animals were hurt!) and a lot more. So… my eleven reasons to love it…

  • Harriet Edwards’ fashion feature. In her role as Hiho brand ambassador, Harriet styled the lovely Imogen Murray for the trot up at Burghley. Dressed in Musto, Dubarry, Joules, Mackenzie & George and Hiho, Imogen looked absolutely stunning… Harriet did an exceptional job. In this issue of the journal, Harriet also shows us some other potential trot up looks that made her shortlist. There wasn’t a look I didn’t like. Honestly.
  • The competition. Who doesn’t love a great competition? And this issue’s is, as usual, a complete corker. In this issue, Hiho has teamed up with Hyde & Hare and Teddy Edward to offer one lucky winner one heck of a prize haul. A new Foxley Bag from young British brand Hyde & Hare, who specialises in cowhide products, a £150 gift voucher to spend at Teddy Edward, and a Cherry Roller Bundle from Hiho. STUNNING.
  • The Cherry Roller options. I ADORE my Hiho Silver Cherry Roller and have upgraded and changed it as new beads have become available… and in this issue Hiho created an image to show all the options – from CZ roller beads in a range of colours to the World Horse Welfare Charity Bead, the Fairfax & Favor Bead, all the way through to the new solid gold and diamond 4 Star Bead, which launched at Burghley. Oh my. It’s a stunner.
  • Doris’s Burghley Picks. I adore the shopping villages at horse trials and this issue, Doris picked some lovely products that you could find around the tradestand village… but can also enjoy online and buy from the comfort of your chair.
  • Who doesn’t love a cocktail? And what about a gin one? Exactly. In this issue, the lovely people at Silver Fox Gin share a couple of delicious cocktails to enjoy, and there’s a brilliant story behind the brand too, and how it came to Hiho Silver Country Shows Journalbe.
  • Teddy Edward. Have you heard about this lovely British brand? I have heard so much about this brand, and it’s great to read a bit more about in the in the Country Shows Journal too.
  • Horse Inside Out. Before I started PR and marketing, I actually used to work at an event yard and then later as an instructor. As I went up through the BHS levels, I spent a LOT of time learning where the muscles and bones were… and attempting to compare a picture to a horse in motion was a bit tricky… but not with Horse Inside Out. With the ‘important bits’ painted on the outside of the horse, it’s a great way to understand how everything works together… and Gillian explains how it all works in the latest issue.
  • A Badminton recap. I love Badminton Horse Trials and I was so, so chuffed with how Hiho’s first sponsored best dressed at that trot up went. Sophie Callahan, one of Hiho’s brand ambassadors, commentated during the full trot up on Radio Badminton… and then wrote an article for the Badminton website, and here she relives it for us. It’s fab.
  • Sweet story. Rachel Bragg from Sweet Images Photography is a long term Hiho fan, so Hiho caught up with her and had a chat about her job, her favourite Hiho pieces and more. It’s a really great read.
  • Hyde & Hare is a new brand that produces a range of high quality cowhide bags that are real one offs. They are made from genuine cowhide that is completely natural and unique, and hasn’t been printed like many available. I love the feature about Piers Dickinson, the man behind the brand, and enjoyed finding out what Leonardo DiCaprio had to do with it… and there is something!
  • An Event Rider Masters update. It’s been such an amazing series for far and I can’t wait to see the finale at Blenheim…

So, there you go – eleven reasons to love the Hiho Silver Country Shows Journal… but I am sure you’ll find loads more. Have a read of it here, and don’t forget to enter the competition. It’s a really good one.

Packaging matters – with Fairfax & Favor

As Badminton Horse Trials starts this week, it seemed a good idea to share this blog all about Fairfax & Favor, a brand and stand that is on my hit list when I attend the event on Friday, and a website I find myself straying towards more regularly than I’d admit in public (oops).

As you may have noticed (if you follow my blog or my Facebook page, you will have noticed!), that I’m a teeny bit obsessed with packaging. Well, obsessed sounds bad. I have a keen interest in packaging. I think packaging as much as social media, blogs, press releases, the design of a website (I could go on and on) helps to tell your company’s story. Whether you’re a sole trader or a huge company, packaging matters. Just like your social media does. Just like your website does. But how often do you see amazing packaging? Yep, not all that often. So when I see something special, I have to share. I’ve written about a few great examples, but today I’m going to talk about Fairfax & Favor and their Regina packaging.

Haven’t we been here before?

Yes and no. Last time I created a video about Fairfax & Favor’s Windsor Bag. That was equally stunning, but this time we’re talking about boots. Now, the Regina is the boot style that Fairfax & Favor is best known for (although there’s now an Explorer and other boots too). Being quite tall, I went for the flat version, although I assume that the heeled ones have similar packaging. I can’t see why they wouldn’t.

What did Fairfax & Favor get right?

Quite a few things…

  • The care and attention given to the packaging gives you a feel for the quality of the product within.
  • The handwritten note. Something that I think all businesses should do. It makes you feel special and like the company cares about your business.
  • The show dates/invite. It promotes the events that the company is at this season, but framed as an invite which, again, makes you feel special.
  • The fabric wrap/liner. I’m not sure the correct name. The boots were/are wrapped in a piece of material to help protect them. And it’s Fairfax & Favor branded. Obviously.

Anyway, I’ve created a video about the packaging too – enjoy!

I’d love to hear you thoughts. Have you experienced packaging that has blown you away? Do you think it matters? Let me know!

How to survive a horse trials!

I was planning to write this blog before Badminton Horse Trials but, with a number of clients exhibiting at the event and lots of exciting things to tell the press about, as normal, my blog got knocked down the priority list! That said, this blog, all about how to survive a horse trials, is now written with a fresh appreciation of the kit you really should pack in your bag to ensure you have the best time possible.

Now, just to be clear, although the title may suggest I’m not a fan of horse trials, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I love going to horse trials with Badminton and Blenheim definitely at the top of my list. They’re quite different to each other, so I’m not saying which I like the most…it wouldn’t be fair (!).

Onto the serious matter of how to survive and thrive at a horse trials…here are my top tips.

1. Get organised. In order to arrive at a reasonable time without stressing yourself out, it’s best to get organised at least the day before. This year I took my dog Jam with me, so in addition to tickets, money, maps and more, I also had to remember her breakfast, her two leads, poo bags and waterproofs in case it rained.

2. Maps. Not just for getting there, but for the show itself. I had a number of clients to see at Badminton, so I printed out a map of the tradestands and marked where I needed to go. This may sound a little too organised, but some of these tradestand villages are HUGE, and if there are some stands you really want to see, it’s worth printing out a map, finding the stand numbers and marking on where you want to go. Honest.

If you’re planning to walk the XC course, especially on a non-XC day, consider printing out a map of here too. I didn’t this year, walked a good way…and realised I’d missed most of the XC course. Not a huge problem, but a little annoying!

3. Drinks. Yes, make sure you take a bottle of water with you/be prepared to buy at the show and drink it! It’s very easy to forget to drink when you’re taking in what’s going on and having fun…but the headache you’ll get and general feeling of being less than 100% that follows isn’t ideal. I’m not saying you should only drink water as there are some fab drinks places around the shows, and this year the lovely Hiho Silver offered their customers tea or coffee on the stand in stunning Doris & Co mugs. Very well received by everyone.

4. Food. Yes, you’re going to have to eat! You can tackle this in a few ways: 1) you can stop at a supermarket and take advantage of a meal deal 2) you can pack a lovely picnic of your favourite things 3) you can make the most of the food stands and tents and sample all the delicious food available. I tend to do a mixture of one and three, just because then, when it’s 10.30 and I’m starving and in the middle of something, I can eat the food I have stashed away…ready to enjoy the food tent later.

5. Comfortable boots. It’ll depend on the weather, obviously, but boots are good…and for god’s sake make sure they’re comfortable. If you’re thinking of wearing heels (it’ll be in a field, come on!), flip flops (seriously?!) or anything similar, THROW THAT IDEA AWAY. YOU’VE LOST YOUR MIND. Even on a warm day, you’ll be dealing with long grass (if you walk the XC) and maybe mud/dirt in the shopping village. And you’ll be deal with other people. When someone in their size 12s treads on your foot, you’ll be pleased you’re not wearing beach wear!

6. Ready for all weathers. I was very, very lucky at this year’s Badminton, but it can often be a mixed bag, If it’s warm, put a lightweight waterproof in your bag and, if it’s cold…make sure you coat has waterproof qualities. Or take a brolly…but be aware of taking people’s eyes out as everyone runs for cover in the shopping village.

7. Car parking. I always take a picture of where I leave my car – obviously including some point I can refer to (not just the car). Having temporarily lost a car in a large car park once before it’s pretty important for me!

8. Backpacks. They might not be the most elegant of bags, but a backpack can be worth its weight in gold. As I said, I took a dog this year, and it was very useful being ‘handsfree’…well, from the bag at least. It also means that you’ll stay balanced, as I’ve been unbalanced with bags before, and it really does make everything ache after a while!

 

I’m sure I’ve missed some tips, but these are definitely the top ones that come to mind. Obviously the whole point of going to events is to have a good time…and the tips about should help you do this!