31 December 2014

Jumping on the 2014 Bandwagon...

I’m sure you’ve all read a hundred Facebook, Twitter & Instagram updates with people reminiscing on how god dam amazing 2014 was, or not. Hats off to those honest people who are keeping it real.

Anyhow’s, as an amateur blogger it wouldn’t quite be New Year’s Eve if I didn’t jump on the blogging bandwagon brigade and post some poignant words before the year is over and the last of the champers has been drunk. So here it goes, I’ll make it quick, as I’m sure most of you are a little bit squiffy on cocktails or Sudafed if your suffering from that dreaded 2014 lurgy. That is one thing I won’t be glad to see that back of!

End of an Era...

The beginning of 2014 made for an interesting start to the year with the ending of my 11 years at the Look of New! As one friend put it, it was my longest relationship to date!

Sadly, after dodging a fair few bullets over the years, it was my time as I wasn't prepared to move my life to the big smoke for the corporate circus that it had become.

On the plus side, I have a tonne of good memories, visited cities and countries that I wouldn't get the chance to in normal life. Attended some of the best parties in fashion, heard some of the juiciest gossip that could fill a whole book and made some amazing long term friends who will always be there.
The last New Look selfie...
My desk buddy of 8 years and favourite graphic designer Toby! 
My favourite Welsh lady, marketer extraordinaire, fellow UWE girl and cracking lass Shiv!
The next chapter... 

I'm not sure I would have predicted this, but I ended up swapping shoes for screws and started at another retail giant DIY/Trade leaders Screwfix in Yeovil. I'm now the Marketing Manager for Creative and have a fabulous team who make the working day whizz by with hard work, copious amounts of tea and good banter. They even embrace Christmas leading to us winning the Christmas decoration competition with a Hawaiian theme. I think my competitiveness might have rubbed off on them already.

Mele Kalikimaka - Hawaiian for Merry Christmas!
Becoming a Godmummy...

2014 saw the arrival of a precious bundle of joy in the form of Evie Alice Heywood for my best friend Rachel and hubby Ian. I was delighted to be made a Godmummy, and look forward to introducing her to lots of firsts from festivals, riding, and no doubt many other sporting activities. She even had her own shout out on Ridgeway Hospital Radio when I was doing a bit of Radio presenting at Dorchester hospital.
Evie Alice Heywood - 12.03.2014 - cute as a button
Evie's first Race for Life at Kingston Maurward
Evie and her older brother Jack embracing dressing up!
The Christening...
Goodbye Gilly Dog

Sadly we had to say goodbye to our Jack Russell x Terrier Gilly in November. She was originally my nan's dog and my parents inherited her 7 years ago after my nan passed away. Little did they know that she'd become a big part of our life, coming with us to horse events and accompanying my dad on his site surveys. She had a great 16 years of life and it was a very sad day when we finally had to make the tough decision to say goodbye.

Gilly Dog..
The Boys...
It's been a mixed year with the horses, due to other things happening they took a bit of a back seat. Barley had an op on 1st January to treat a ligament in his hock and took most of the year to rehabilitate, enjoy the grass and hacks. He competed at two horse trials at the end of the year and showed that he was pleased to be back and more than capable of stepping up to Novice next year.
Jonty has come into himself this year and has personality by the bucket. He was up for sale many a time in the spring, but after much debate we stuck with it, changed jump instructors and decided to try our hand at showing. And much to our surprise he's pretty good at it and we scrub up well. The only thing that needs work on is his manners in the show ring.
Barley enjoying one of his many sunny rides.
Jonty scrubbing up well and standing in 2nd at Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show...only to then misbehave and asked to leave the ring!!

So, I found my running mojo again. Signed up to the Weymouth half marathon in March, set a new parkrun 5km record of 23 minutes 31 seconds and found a crazy running partner at work in the name of Laura Haigh. Who has started her own hilarious blog - www.helpmeimchubby.wordpress.com
Now I just need to keep training through the cold, wet and dark... I'm sure I'll blog more about running and fitness in 2015. I've just discovered an amazing Aussie who is my new fit-inspiration Kayla Itsines and will be sharing some of her tips.
My running buddy Laura

When I first started Country Bumpkin Chic back in July 2010 I had no idea there would be a time that I'd be in a privileged place to interview some pretty cool people and musicians. This year, I managed to grow some balls and just ask the question and be inquisitive which led me to interview Seth Lakeman and Newton Faulkner at the inaugural Behind the Castle Festival in Sherborne and my Made in Chelsea heart throb Andy Jordan - which wasn't awks at all!
The gorgeous Seth Lakeman

Funny guy Newton Faulkner
Hottie patottie Andy Jordan...
Au Revoir 2014...& Salut 2015...
Anyhow... the clock is ticking, my pizza is nearly ready, I need to get my glad rags on and start drinking some champers...I hope you all have a very merry NYE whatever you're doing.
Cheers for supporting & following Country Bumpkin Chic through the highs and lows. 2014 turned out pretty okay in the end... here's to 2015 and making more memories.

02 November 2014

Eventer Turned Runner #1

At the weekend most people go shopping for shoes and dresses… not me.

Normally, you’ll find me in the middle of a field jumping fences on my horses, but sadly the eventing season has finished for another year, and both Barley and Jonty are having a bit of down time.

Instead of competing this weekend, I purchased a teddy bear onesie and a space at next year’s Just Racing Weymouth Half Marathon on Sunday 15th March. The onesie is for a Children in Need event at work and the half marathon space, well, I must have been having a mad moment!
My fluffy bear onesie courtesy of New Look for manning the phones during Children in Need

A few girls I know were signing up and it started me thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be so hard especially if I started training now, right? It’s the off season for eventing so will also help with my fitness. The race is on our doorstep around Weymouth and Portland, a great way to get involved in a local event and have home support. Plus, it’s in between Moreton and Aldon horse trials next year, so no excuse really!
Confirmation - there's no going back now!
Those who know me, will probably think it’s a walk in the park as I’m a sport billy - and it's only a half marathon! For me taking part in a long distance race is not just about the physical side, it's more of a mental thing. Having the will power to stick at a training programme whilst it’s wet and cold outside when I’d rather be curled up on the sofa drinking hot chocolate, dunking biscuits and watching Millionaire Matchmaker. Although, it might cure my addiction to the new ITVBe!

So, I’m putting my money where my mouth is, donning my trainers and I'm actually going to stick at it. Oh, and I’ve already got a finishing time in mind! Have I mentioned I’m just a little bit competitive? Well, I am an eventer at heart after all.

First trainer shot of many...

Over the next 4 and half months I'll blog about my progress throughout the winter, include some training tips, product reviews and share my ups and downs along the way...

Watch this space for more Country Bumpkin Chic updates from an eventer turned runner this winter.

05 October 2014

Introducing Rosie Lee by the Sea


The other week Country Bumpkin Chic took a very special delivery courtesy of Rosie Lee by the Sea. Some of you may remember I posted a photo of a cardboard box which led to some intrigue.

What's in the box?
Well, inside the box was a gorgeous vintage-esque 3-tier cake stand hand made by my good friend Gemma Tomlin who’s just launched her own business Rosie Lee by the Sea.

Oh I do love a surprise!
Lovely & pretty...

Don't judge me on my choice of cake!
Once my cake stand was merchandised with some naughty chocolate cake snacks I interviewed Rosie Lee by the Sea owner and founder Gemma Tomlin about her new venture.

So, grab a cuppa, slice of cake and sit back and enjoy my interview with the lovely and very talented Gemma.

Rosie Lee by the Sea founder - Gemma Tomlin
What made you set up Rosie Lee by the Sea?

A couple of things led me to set up Rosie Lee by the Sea. Planning our wedding knowing that I wanted a relaxed informal cream tea in the afternoon and my love of vintage - especially the pretty! I started looking around for vintage crockery and before I knew it I was in love and a bit addicted. I had a whole collection and was busy making my own cake stands. 

I continued to search for crockery and bought any tea sets, trios and mis-matched china I could get my hands on with the intention of setting up a hire business after our wedding.

Mr & Mrs Tomlin on their wedding day.
How did you decide on the name Rosie Lee by the Sea?
I came up with the name back in March when I decided I was going to start up a hire business.
I decided on ‘Rosie Lee’ quite quickly - it sounds pretty and was a nice link to the time Luke and I had spent living in London.
I had originally decided on ‘Rosie Lee Vintage Tea’, however that name was already taken. So, after a morning at work bouncing names back and forth with a friend I came up with the second part ‘by the Sea’. A perfect nod to our hometown Weymouth.
Can you tell us a bit about the range & price points?
Our prices are very competitive and as well as being able to hire items individually we also offer afternoon tea and wedding packages to suit any budget. We recommend contacting us for a quote and meeting up with us to discuss your requirements over a nice cup of tea and cake!
Rosie Lee by the Sea‘s handmade ‘one of a kind’ cake stands are available to buy and prices range from £25 - £40.
Handmade cake stands
Pretty crockery for hire
What’s the Rosie Lee by the Sea’s vibe?
With a love of all things vintage Rosie Lee by the Sea is a small, friendly, vintage crockery hire company based in the sunny seaside town of Weymouth, Dorset.
Who’s Rosie Lee by the Sea aimed at?
Rosie Lee by the Sea has wide appeal and is for anyone wanting to add a touch of vintage nostalgia to their special occasion. Whether it’s a celebration, hen party, wedding, anniversary, birthday, baby shower, christening, afternoon tea party, retirement party, wake, charity fundraiser or even a photo shoot our beautiful vintage crockery is great for adding that touch of vintage elegance.
Rosie Lee by the Sea cake stand featuring Kakes by Kat
How can people find out more about Rosie Lee by the Sea?
Twitter: @rosieleebythesea
Etsy shop: Rosie Lee by the Sea 
Cake stands are available to buy on: Just Right For  and at Brewers Tea at Brewers Quay
So, what’s the future for Rosie Lee by the Sea?
Well, it’s still early days, but interest is growing fast and we’re finding ourselves getting involved in more and more exciting projects. We will continue to build our collection, hunt for more plates, drill more holes and grow our client base. Hopefully we’ll have a ‘Rosie’ 2015 and beyond to look forward to.
And last of all and most importantly, what's Rosie Lee by the Sea's favourite cake & sandwich?
Well, I’m not one to turn down a cake of any description but if I have to choose my ultimate favourite. It would have to be the carrot cake!
Favourite sandwich would have to be honey roast ham and piccalilli, on brown bread of course.

20 September 2014

FEAST your eyes on this...

The nights are drawing in, you’ve packed away the BBQ for another year and in need of an exciting social event for your diary. Then you need to get involved in FEAST this autumn!

FEAST is a 6 week long foodie event supported by Weymouth BID, kicking off from 1st October to 15th November in Weymouth and is fast becoming the talk of the town. Top eateries are coming together to provide fantastic menus at great prices celebrating the talented independent restaurants, pubs and cafes we’re fortunate to have in Weymouth.
So, who’s taking part? More like… who’s not! There’s a mixture of all your favourites and a chance to try out some new establishments.

Acqua Beach Weymouth
Marlboro Restaurant
Balti House Tandoori
Ming Wah
The Bluefish Café & Restaurant
Moby Dick's
The Monkey's Fist
Crows Nest in the Square
Oasis Bistro & Wine Room
Dining Room
The Portland Pizza Company
Dorset Burger Company
The Red Lion
Sense Restaurant Ltd
Galley Bistro
Shelley's Restaurant
George Inn
Ship Inn
Gurkha Bars & Restaurant
The Spice Ship
Handmade Pie & Ale House
Vaughan's Bistro Ltd
Il Porto
Waffle On


Menus launch this Monday 22nd September and there’s a price range to suit all budgets from £5, £10, £15, £20 to £25.

To keep up to date with all the FEAST news head to:

So, this autumn there’s no excuse to say you’re bored, get involved in FEAST and celebrate dining out in Weymouth.

If you need more info, get in touch with the lovely team over at In the Bag -  Sophie Kermani on 07739554794 or email sophie@inthebagpr.co.uk  

15 September 2014

Words can paint a thousand pictures…

Yes, I know the saying is usually the other way around ‘a picture paints a thousand words’, however, in this instance words can really paint a thousand pictures.

I recently rediscovered a poem which I remember having written out and pinned up whilst I was away at uni in Bristol. I often re-wrote it for friends popping it in a card or letter. Wow, remember the days when we used to look forward to receiving snail mail?!

It's a really lovely sentiment and the main message is ‘you get what you put in’. Which is very true and can be associated with so many things in life, from being successful in business or a job, to a sport or hobby, to even friends, family and loved ones. Anyhow, perhaps I’m getting soppy in my old age, but it would be rude not share this one with you. Enjoy x

The more you give, the more you get,
The more you laugh, the less you fret.
The more you do unselfishly,
The more you live abundantly.
The more of everything you share,
The more you'll always have to spare.
The more you love, the more you'll find
That life is good and friends are kind,
For only what we give away,
Enriches us from day to day.

27 August 2014

Grab your trainers for Weymouth parkrun’s first year anniversary

Weymouth parkrun will be celebrating their one year anniversary on Saturday 30th August, with members lacing up for an early morning 5km run or jog around the Lodmoor Country Park and all for free.

parkrun is the brainchild of Paul Sinton-Hewitt who held the first ever event at Bushy Park, Teddington in October 2004. The aim was for the parkrun concept to exist in every town in the world, allowing people to run for free in a safe, fun environment in their local community.

Today parkrun takes place in 9 countries including the USA, Australia and South Africa. In the UK, 525,252 members have signed up to parkrun to date, held across 284 locations on a Saturday or Sunday. Each event is hosted in a unique location from a park, to a beach or promenade.

Weymouth parkrun will be marking their 53rd event this Saturday at 9am. With over 1,300 signed up to the Weymouth parkrun, they’re looking for existing members and new faces to join in the run and set a new PB for attendance numbers and help beat the current one of 177 runners.

It’s a great opportunity for all the local community, male or female, young or old to come together on a regular basis to enjoy this beautiful park and get physically active at the same time.

Taking part is really easy, simply register before your first ever parkrun online and print off your barcode which you’ll need to bring along to each event. You only ever need to do this once. Then, set your alarm for Saturday morning and get yourself down to Lodmoor Country Park.

Whether you’re a complete novice looking to get yourself started on your own running journey or a seasoned athlete wanting to use it as part of your training schedule and improve your personal best, parkrun is more than just a run. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, what matters is taking part. It’s all about inclusiveness, well-being and being part of a real local community. It’s why parkruns are never more than 5km – it’s a distance that anyone can complete.

So, what will you be doing this Saturday 30th August? Resist hitting the snooze button, grab your trainers and join in the first year celebrations at Weymouth parkrun.

Weymouth parkrun have confirmed that the theme for the first year celebrations will be beach party - so dig out those floral shirts and Hawaiian grass skirts. Plus, there will be celebratory cake for after the run. Who can turn down a piece of birthday cake?!

Head to Weymouth parkrun to find out more - www.parkrun.org.uk/weymouth

23 August 2014

Raspberry & Blackberry Muffins

It’s been a while since I’ve found time to bake some cakes and I’ve missed it! Yesterday, I saw on Twitter that @foreadventure had been busy foraging blackberries in Dorset and I decided I was going to make some of my classic muffins. Sadly, I didn’t forage my blackberries and raspberries from the hedgerows in Charminster, they were from the aisles of Tescos. However, as I said, it’s been a while since I’d last baked and some friends had already beaten me to the flour - flour mites! Anyway, I finally got round to baking them this morning with some fresh flour and they look and taste delish!


Makes 14 medium-large muffins
  • 100g plain white flour
  • 150g plain wholemeal flour
  • 2 heaped tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 280ml milk
  • 80g butter melted
  • 150-200g raspberries and blackberries (you can substitute for other fruits e.g. blueberries, strawberries)

How to:

1.     Preheat the oven to 180C and put 12-14 cake cases into muffin tins. Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. With the wholemeal flour there will be some small pieces of bran caught in the sieve, which need to be tipped into the bowl once the flour has been sifted to incorporate some air into the bowl. Stir in the sugar.
2.     In a large jug, mix the egg, buttermilk and butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just combined, then gently fold in the raspberries and blackberries, using just a few strokes. Keep the mixing light, as the more you knock out the air, the heavier the muffins will be.
3.     Spoon the mixture into the cake cases and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and firm. To tell if they’re done, put a cocktail stick in the muffin if it comes out clean, they’re done. Transfer to a cooling rack… and enjoy with a cuppa tea!

27 July 2014

A Week in Pictures: Ahoy There!

This week I’ve been out on the road for Mad River visiting four RNLI lifeboat stations across England which are due to receive a display re-fresh to help drive visitor engagement. To spice things up on Country Bumpkin Chic I thought I’d share some of my snaps  courtesy of my iPhone 5 with you from my visit to four beautiful coastal areas: Aldeburgh in Suffolk, Hastings in Sussex, Lizard and Padstow in Cornwall. Obviously half are from the west country, but the rest are truly beautiful too and worth sharing.

Westleton Crown Inn hotel - where Kate & Will stayed the night before their wedding anniversary.
I stayed in the aptly named 'Wren' room... was very Country Bumpkin Chic.
Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station in the sea mist.
Apparently Aldeburgh is the new Chelsea-on-Sea.
Through the port hole.
Big, bright and blue - Hastings Lifeboat Station.
Lizard Lifeboat Station.
Lizard Point.
Panoramic from Lizard Point, the former Lizard Lifeboat Station on the right.
A former Lizard Lifeboat Station built in 1914.
Trevose Head Lighthouse near Padstow.
Trevose Head and lighthouse.
Padstow Lifeboat Station basking in glorious sunshine.
Panoramic from outside Padstow Lifeboat Station.
View from Padstow Lifeboat Station across Polventon Bay
Gorgeous Country Bumpkin café who made me a delicious ice-cream milkshake for the road.