10 February 2019

Why do I Blog?

Yes, a question I often ask myself or more likely ‘why do I bother to blog?’. Here’s an open and honest account of why I keep this little blog space of County Bumpkin Chic alive in a bit of a candid interview with myself.

30 December 2018

5 Event Riders You Should Be Following on Instagram...plus my fave 5 from Dorset

Who else loves Instagram stories? Or perhaps I should I ask who doesn’t love Instagram stories?

I do wonder what on earth we did before Instagram & the introduction of stories? I know I spend an average of nearly an hour and a half a day on the pesky addictive app, thanks to the new ‘your activity’ feature.

Over the last year, more equestrian Instagrammers have popped up & are fully embracing stories - sharing behind the scenes from their yards, training horses & competition life at horse trials up & down the country & across the waters. Which I find absolutely fascinating, especially the competition side, as it makes you feel like you’re there at the event instead of being inside at work.

Here are some of my fave equestrian Instagrammers from the world of eventing & I can’t wait to follow their British Eventing season in 2019.

Tina Wallace is from Cornwall & documents her eventing highs & lows on the beautiful Banksy, & often features her friend Emma from @emd_eventing94 Their post-event vlogs are hilarious, especially the one after Bovington & the seagull incident.

Becci Harrold is an amateur event rider from Derbyshire who competes two lovely Shannondale horses, Annie & Goldie. Her Insta stories with her northern tone are very entertaining & relatable.

She’s also the owner & founder of Super X Country @superxcountry, so if you see someone with some funky XC colours, they’ve probably Becci's! 

Tamsin Drew is an amateur eventer & co-founder of the popular Facebook group #TwitterEventing. I love following her & her gorgeous horse Ziggy from training at home to competing, as well as product reviews - a right equestrian feast. Plus, she’s a fan of Reformer Pilates!

Harriet Upton is an International event rider based in West Sussex & has a team of lovely horses including Twinkle who’s owned by the Queen.

Harriet not only shares stories about her horses but her fitness regime with @georgebranford & from looking at recent stories, something exciting looks like it's about to launch in the world of Fitness for Riders – so definitely one to follow.

Ben Hobday - if you’re not following this international eventer, what have you been doing? Pure entertainment, sometimes I’m not sure if Ben’s training for eventing or for a reality TV show! Now that would make good entertainment – right?

Dorset Event Riders on Instagram

And here’s some love for a few of my fave event riders on Instagram in Dorset:

Joe shares gorgeous photos of his eventers doing their thing across the south-west: Dusty, Fred, Auriella & JP.

Jess is based at the same yard as Joe Roome, along with her fab 4* event rider mum Jo. Jess is definitely a young rider to keep an eye on in 2019.

Rosie is based over in West Dorset with her lovely string of eventers who loves her hunting too. & she’s often in the style stakes-winning the HiHo Silver best-dressed female at Blair this autumn.

Rachael & her chestnut Johnny live just up the road from us near Beaminster, & are often at the same events as us, so it’s great to see a friendly face.

Alexa is another fellow Dorset event rider, who’s made a remarkable recovery from a spectacular XC fall in the summer of 2018 & never stops smiling. We can’t wait to see you out competing again soon & your sister Kitty too!

Who's your fave event riders or equestrian talent to follow on Instagram? Drop their Instagram handles in the comment box below.

02 December 2018

Interview: Dorset Based Designer Caroline Tucker

1st December in the UK this year marked Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to raising awareness about supporting small businesses & shopping locally. But, it’s not just about shopping locally that one day it’s about supporting those small businesses all year round. 

Which is why on Country Bumpkin Chic I’m passionate about supporting local businesses in Dorset & on the blog today is local designer Caroline Tucker based in West Dorset.

25 November 2018

Interview: Oliver & Lorna from Ministry of Fudge

During the autumn the lovely team behind Ministry of Fudge got in touch about their budding business over in Christchurch, Dorset & as a supporter of small businesses in Dorset was only too happy to interview Oliver & Lorna for the blog. & I'm delighted to offer readers a special discount...but you have to read on to find out more!

Q1. Tell us about Ministry of Fudge. When did you start the business, what was the reason behind starting up & why fudge?

11 November 2018

Black Cow on the Blog!

Back in the summer, I attended a delightful tasting evening with Black Cow (BC) at Vinny at 6 in Dorchester. Two of my favourite things & I fell in love with Black Cow Vodka just a little bit more, especially with all the amazing concoctions we had in puddings & cocktails.

Big shout out to Zach for organising a top-notch event! If you haven’t been to any of the Vinny at 6 events, you really should check them out. Head over to their Facebook or Instagram page & make sure you’re following them, as they sell out pretty sharpish.

After the event, I got in touch with the lovely folk behind Black Cow Vodka who are nestled over the hill near Beaminster in West Dorset & they were happy to take part in an interview for Country Bumpkin Chic. The first of a few festive posts.

CBC Q1) So, for anyone who hasn’t heard of Black Cow Vodka, is it really made from cow’s milk?
BC A1) Yes, indeed it really is! Black Cow is made entirely from the milk of grass grazed cows on England’s West Dorset coast. Fresh whole milk makes an exceptionally smooth vodka with a deliciously creamy character

CBC Q2) How did founders Jason Barber & Paul Archard come up with that unique idea?
BC A2) The unique recipe is the invention of West Dorset dairy farmer  Jason  Barber. His inspiration came from a desire to diversify the produce from his 250 strong dairy herd & his personal love of vodka.
CBC –  Wow, well who doesn’t love vodka?

Black Cow Vodka founder Jason with his herd of dairy cows

CBC Q3) Is it a fact or myth that after drinking Black Cow Vodka, you don’t have a hangover the next morning?
BC A3) Very true – our founder, Jason often says its so smooth, he can drink it until the cows come home!
CBC – think I’ve found my new Christmas party drink!

CBC Q4) What’s the best cheese accompaniment for Black Cow Vodka?
BC A4) Our deluxe Cheddar, of course! We use all of the milk with no waste, the vodka is made from the whey & the cheese is made from the curds.

CBC Q5) What Black Cow cocktail would you recommend our readers trying?
BC A5) Ooh good one. We’d recommend a delicious warm cocktail called the ‘The Mooled Cranberry’. This cocktail has it all - fruitiness from the blood orange & cranberry, spice from the cloves & charged with vodka. 

CBC Q6) Where can we buy Black Cow Vodka in the shops?
BC A6) You can find Black Cow Vodka in Sainsbury’s, Majestic, M&S, Morrisons & various speciality farm shops across Dorset.

CBC Q7) There are lots of gorgeous items on your shop including the cow print glasses, but what I’m sure everyone will want to know is where can you buy the gold straws featured on Instagram from?

BC A7) Since Black Cow’s inception we have consciously tried to create a sustainable, green working culture. & we’re concerned about the world’s waste crisis, as the UK discards a staggering 8.5 billion plastic straws a year - that’s an average of approximately 130 straws per person per year!

So, we wanted to offer an alternative to the plastic straw & have developed a gift pack with a 24-carat gold plated stainless steel straw. You can shop the gift pack here

CBC - they’re gorgeous & I’m impressed that BC is doing their bit for the environment. If anyone wants to buy me this set for Christmas, it would make me very happy!

CBC Q8) Do you do tours of your distillery & can we come?
BC A8) Yes, we do! Our next distillery tour and lunch is on 15th December. You can find out more details here.

CBC Q9) What’s coming up for Black Cow Vodka, any other collaborations, new flavours, & anything special for Xmas?
BC Q9) We’ve got some very exciting launches in 2019, but sadly can’t share any more details just yet! However, we have recently launched a ‘Travellers Edition’ mini for the Christmas period – the perfect stocking filler or bauble to hang from your Christmas Tree.

CBC Q10) What events or festivals can we see you out & about in 2019?
BC Q10) We’re in the process of planning events for next year, & hope to take The Black Cow Saloon to another festival closer to London & collaborate with a high profile sporting event right here in Dorset!

For NYE we’re hosting a party at Mark’s Bar, Soho where guests will enjoy live music & delicious bespoke cocktail menu. To be the first to hear about our exciting news, please sign up to our mailing list

Thanks, Black Cow for taking part in the County Bumpkin Chic interview, we look forward to seeing the exciting ideas come to life in 2019!

What other west country or Dorset based brands would you like to hear from on the Country Bumpkin Chic blog – let me know in the comments box below.

14 October 2018

Dorchester Literary Festival – an interview with Janet Gleeson

Next week is the Dorchester Literary Festival in Dorset, now in its fourth year & with a fab line up I caught up with Co-Director Janet Gleeson to get the low down on the festival.

Hi Janet, thank you for agreeing to chat with Country Bumpkin Chic…

For those who’ve not heard about the Dorchester Literary Festival, can you give us a brief overview?
It’s an annual 5-day event where we invite a very broad range of leading writers and other inspirational people to come to Dorchester to talk about their latest book. Talks last for about an hour, some are interviews or ‘in conversation events’ some standalone talks, but we always leave time for the audience to ask questions. Afterwards, you can buy the books and have them signed.

How long has the Dorchester Literary Festival been running for?
This is our fourth festival. In our first year, we began with just three days and 15 events, but it’s grown and now we have around double that.

How long have you been involved in the festival & what’s your role?
I’m a founding Co-Director and started the festival with a friend and fellow author Paul Atterbury. This means I get to choose the speakers and chat with them when they visit. But it also means making all the arrangements and worrying if things go wrong.

Paul & Janet
Which authors are coming to Dorchester?
We have an amazing line up this year including Judy Murray, Jeremy Vine, Joanna Trollope, Mark Billingham, Lisa Jewell, Peter Snow, Mark Austin, Lynne Truss and Julian Fellowes are some of the great names. The books we are featuring cover all sorts of subjects: the Suffragettes, Byron, Health, Yetis, Foraging, Rainforests, Orchids, International Veterinary practice, and much more.

Where can we go & watch them?
Events are held at three main locations in Dorchester – Duke’s Galleries, The Corn Exchange, and Thomas Hardye School Theatre. Our website www.dorchesterliteraryfestival.com has all the details.

Who is the Dorchester Literary Festival aimed at?
Anyone and everyone – we deliberately choose as varied a programme as possible so there’s something for everyone, whatever their interests.

Who are you most looking forward to watching or meeting? Will you get a chance to go to all the events?
I don’t see them all as I’m usually rushing about although I see snippets of most. This year I am really excited about the incredible Tara Westover, who was raised in a Mormon family, didn’t go to school till her late teens, yet managed to get to Cambridge – Her book Educated is a wonderful memoir and she’s only 29. The book was a best seller, book of the week on Radio 4, Barrack Obama has tweeted about her - and she’s coming to Dorchester!

Have you been to any other Literary Festival’s this year?
No – I’ve been too busy sorting out the Dorchester Festival and moving house, but I love Appledore in Devon, it’s in a really beautiful location.

And what book are you currently reading? And which one of the authors coming to the DLF are you most looking to read?
I’m reading Dr Dawn Harper’s book Live Well to 101 and trying to take the advice on board! I’m going to read more Lisa Jewell, she’s one of our featured crime writers - her books are real page turners!

Finally, where can we buy tickets from?
You can buy online from the website www.dorchesterliteraryfestival.com or from Dorchester Tourist Information Centre in Dorchester Library. Tickets are £10 or three for £25.