31 March 2014

Nowley - time for change

A few people have recently complimented me on my new watch, so I thought it’s only fair I gave you the low down on my purchase from Spanish watch brand – Nowley.
I bought mine whilst holidaying in Gran Canaria back in January. I would window shop most evenings and day dream about which watch I'd treat myself to for all that sunbathing! For a mere 33 Euros – I was pretty stoked by my fashionable bargain.

In the end I choose the bright fuchsia one from the metallic range. They come in variety of fun, bright and cheerful colours: red, blue, green, orange, purple, as well as silver, gold, white and black.
What I love about my watch is that not only is it practical at telling the time - always handy, it has a real fashionable sport-luxe look. It’s even water resistant to 5 metres - what more could you want, not that I'm planning on going diving anytime soon.

I don’t where it all the time, I have an old metallic Roxy watch which I wear daily and for getting dirty with the horses. The Nowley one is more for special occasions or when I feel like injecting some colour into my day. Surprisingly the pop fuchsia colour goes with a lot of outfits and compliments a LBD.
Sadly, you can’t seem to buy Nowley watches in the UK – or good for me that it’s unique?! I’ve seen a few on eBay. So, when you’re next on holiday in Spain or one of the Spanish isles have a look out.

All the best

Becky x

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30 March 2014

Say it with Brownies

Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing yummy mummy’s! I hope everyone's got a top treat in hand to spoil your mum?

I imagine the majority of the country will be saying it with flowers today, however, this year I decided to say it with brownies and not just any brownies.
Say it with Brownies
I’ve followed founder Anita Street on Twitter for a while as she’s a keen horse lady; she launched ‘Say it with Brownies’ from her home on the IOW back in 2011. In a nutshell, they’re handmade chocolate brownies delivered by post, with a choice of 10 delicious flavours and beautiful gift packaging. But the thing is they’re not just any brownies and after seeing the reaction on social media from my work colleagues at the Christmas treat I sent them, I wanted to get my hands on a box. And what better way to taste test than on Mother’s Day.

The website is really simple to navigate with pictures of brownies doing all the talking. There’s so much choice from cookies and cream, chocolate orange, peanut, mint, fudge and even gluten free. I chose a dozen fudge chocolate brownies which at £18.99 or £1.58 each – you can’t go wrong. Yes, I could have made the effort to bake myself, but I’m time poor and there’s something still fun and nostalgic about receiving a gift in the post.
On Thursday a brown paper box arrived at my parents’ house and Friday morning my mum opened her early Mother’s Day present. I’m not sure who was more excited, me or mum!
There's something nostalgic about receiving post
It's all in the detail: personalised message, ribbon & sticker set the scene for the 'surprise'
Beautiful themed print packaging, you'd almost think you've received a Glossy Box
Ditsy floral print tissue paper
Lots of thought has gone into each element
Store in an airtight container - they won't need storing for long, that's for sure
11 chunky fudge brownies..
& 1 waiting to be scoffed!

The packaging is exquisite; so much thought has gone into each element from the Mother’s Day sticker, ribbon, personal message, ingredients card to the tissue paper.
And then there are the brownies themselves which are divine! We’ve had a few slices with a cuppa and one’s thing for sure there won’t be any left overs. What’s amusing us the most is that because they say ‘Mother’s Day’ on the box, my dad has stayed well away – so more for us! Win, win!

To find out more about Anita’s Say it With Brownies browse, like and follow:
They’re the perfect treat for any occasion: birthdays, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s, Easter, Thank You, New Home, or just to cheer you up.

And Happy Mother's Day everyone, have a wonderful day.

Courtesy of Sonja Davidson via Pinterest
All the best...

Becky x

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29 March 2014

British Eventing Volunteering - 'the other side'

Two weekends ago was the British Eventing (BE) Aldon one day event at the Yeovil Showground, Somerset. Usually I’d be competing with my top horse Red Sky Diamond aka Barley. However, he’s currently recovering from a small op on his hock which for the first time in a very long time I was horseless. 

Barley & I at Aldon 3 Day Event - October 2013

For those of you, who’ve had horses on recovery or been in between buying one, will know that not being able to compete can feel like a form of torture. Not wanting to miss on the action I got in touch with Sara Greenwood BE Regional Training Organiser for the south west to volunteer my services for dressage!
My thought was that whilst I’m giving back to the sport, I will be picking up some top tips from the pros/judges. What I didn’t expect was that I had almost as much if not more fun volunteering than competing.  Don’t worry I’m not planning on hanging my riding boots up yet.

Saturday 15th March - Dressage Stewarding

Bright and early I headed up the A37 to Aldon for a 7.45am start, to be greeted with coffee – which always makes for a good start. A few of the dressage judges had already arrived and surprisingly weren’t as scary as I’d imagined they’d be. Growing up through the Pony Club with a passion for jumping, you see the dressage judges as the ogres of eventing. In fact they couldn’t have been more pleasant.

Early morning start at the dressage

After a quick briefing, off I set to the dressage warm up with my Section K bib for the ON, clipboard and schedule in hand. I’d already done a bit of homework to see who was in my section and was delighted to see some top names including: Daisy Berkely, David Doel – fresh back from the sunshine tour in Portugal, Mr long legs William Fox Pitt, Bicton Events Manager Helen West, local rider Amanda Taylor from Cricket St Thomas and Harry Meade making his come back after a horrendous fall last August.
It was a joy to see so many of our top riders in one field at the same time. I think we had Pippa Funnell, Sir Mark Todd, Tina Cook, and Mary King all warming up at one point. My favourite rider had to be Harry Meade who turned up with 5 minutes to spare after having a technical issue losing a shoe, but remained calm and just got on with it.

Panoramic from a sunny dressage warm up

My role was to check in the riders on arrival at the warm up, keep them informed on how many horses to go before their test and make sure they get to the right arena and on time! Overall it was pretty straight forward, and riders were obliging as they were just happy to be back at what was for many their first event of the season. Time whizzed by chatting to other stewards, owners, grooms and helping riders remove tack and keep some of the more novice/junior riders calm. Which is something I can relate to, at times I’d turn to jelly in the dressage warm up and quite frankly ride like a sack of potatoes. So, I felt relieved to be on the other side for once.
As I was about to head home to ride my own jolly Jonty inspired to make sure he was on the bit and listening to my aids I was asked if I’d like to come back on Sunday to help in XC Control. Eh ‘yes’ was my response!

Sunday 16th March - XC Control

Day 2 at Aldon, and this time I headed up with my folks in convoy before my 3 hour stint in XC Control. The event was packed, sun shining and everyone and his dog was there, including the lovely Martin Clunes with his dogs and family just blending in with the spectators.
So, 1.30pm was the start of my XC Control shift and I had no idea what to expect. Another volunteer gave me a quick handover and then I was in the hot seat.

This time my role was to update the horse and rider cards with the latest scores. Phoning through to show jumping, adding any faults and passing it over ready for when combinations headed out onto the XC. Once I got the hang of everything and on top of my scores, I could sit back and enjoy the view.
XC Control is definitely the best seat in the house. I could see and hear everything so clearly, no mistakes could go un-missed. The selectors were also up in control keeping a close eye on the Under 21s, there really is no room for error.

View through Aldon - pre-competition day

Sunday was the more advanced classes including Open Intermediate, Under 21 OI and Advanced Intermediate, which meant all the pros were out in force with their Badminton horses.

It’s amazing to think you can get so close to the riders and horses that have been to the London Olympics and ridden at World Equestrian Games.
It was great to see Caroline Ryan Bell - Rathmoyle King, Mary King – Imperial Cavalier, Tina Cook- De Novo News, Lucy Wiegersma – Simon Porloe and a master class from Andrew Nicholson on Quimbo! I was also impressed by Will Furlong in the Under 21 OI who swept the board with 3 horses in the Top 4 – definitely one to watch.

One of the best moments had to be seeing the XC master himself Nicholson hop on a quad bike to go and help out one of his team who had a tumble – cool as a cucumber.
Simon Greenwood and his team made me feel very welcome and talked me through how it all works in the ‘nerve centre’. I don’t really think I appreciated how much goes into an event until that weekend. I just usually rock up to the start box and go.

So, would I volunteer for British Eventing again, most definitely – why wouldn’t you? You get to see the sport from the other side, meet new and upbeat people, learn tricks of the trade and you’re giving back – so when you take part your fully appreciate that people are giving their time and dedication to make British Eventing one of the best sports to be part of. Plus, I received some yummy Dorset Shortbread courtesy of Moores bakery.
To find out more about volunteering at a British Eventing event click on one of the below links:
All the best

Becky x
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