Gee Gee and Me is an equestrian lifestyle blog that puts everything equine to the test, bringing to you honest reviews and the occasional Dear Diary post, about my personal journey with my Connemara pony.
I was kindly sent the Grafter Brushing Boots in October '18.
I am under no obligation to feature them on Gee Gee and Me.
Horse Health give me as much time as I need to trial, test and provide feedback.
My review features my own personal thoughts on the product and I would not feature something I would not be willing to spend my own money on.
This week Horse Health have chosen the Grafter Brushing Boots as their 'Product of the Week' making it the perfect time to showcase them on Gee Gee and Me as they are discounted by 10%. I have had these boots since October and have used them throughout the process of backing baby Arnold, to riding him away so it is safe to say they've been put through their paces...
The LeMieux Grafter Brushing Boots are appropriately named, they've created a durable, soft, lightweight and breathable boot that will withstand daily work, without costing you the earth at £21.50 per pair. LeMieux have kept it simple; an inside panel for protection, secured in place by strong velcro tabs. Available in sizes Small to XLarge, and as always my Connemara ponies wear Medium all around. They're perfect for turnout, schooling, hacking, fast work and competition, coming in a range of colours whether you prefer the classics of black, brown and white or you like to match your saddle pad or XC silks.
Arnold has worn them from being long lined, to learning how to carry a human for the first time and popping his first jump. They have given me huge peace of mind he is adequately protected, from the occasional stumble in the early days as he figured out what his legs were doing, to more recently when he gets excited and leaps with enthusiasm and joy. I know there are a lot more innovative and exciting products out there, you only have to look at the Horse Health website. But for me having a boot that I can wash off with the hose pipe, whip off and throw on the floor guilt free after a muddy hack is perfect for everyday use and my tack room wouldn't be complete without them.
Making a clothing purchase from Honest Riders declares you a rider on a mission because a percentage of every sweatshirt, t-shirt and vest goes to one of three wonderful equine charities:
Retraining of Racehorses
Pablos Horse Sanctuary
World Horse Welfare
I purchased my first Sweatshirt last spring, opting for the humorous 'No Scope, No Hope' slogan. I remember being stopped at Badminton Horse Trials by someone who had seen the design and wanted to know how they could purchase one of their own. That's the thing, they look equally as stylish away from the yard, as they do with your breeches. My collection has recently grown, and now includes a Limited Edition 'Two Hearts' Sweatshirt and a 'Centre Line' t-shirt, spring I am ready for you...
The material used for the clothing is organic cotton from Fair Wear certified factories, it is beautifully soft to wear and there is a fit to suit every shape and style preference whether you're a Warmblood or more of a Thoroughbred. The meticulous attention to detail continues all the way through to the brands selection of hand picked Horse Care Products, also available on the website. These promise to be free from chemicals and animal testing, and include a brand Gee Gee and Me already love; Topline Naturals plus many more we want to try. These standards are complimented by a zero plastic policy and 100% recyclable packaging.
If you're not part of the fan club yet, I hope my adoration for Honest Riders and its exemplary ethics encourage you to click here and listen to Zoe's compelling interview via Podcast with Rhea if you haven't listened already.
My last blog post ended on a cliffhanger...and now the contents of my gift bag from the amazing Hiho & Co - Be All You Can Be Event is revealed...
I will start with the first product I pulled out of the gorgeous purple gift bag that channels my passion, or should that read my OCD? I adore keeping everything - with the exception of my farming chic Land Rover - squeaky clean and sparkling, so I was excited to get my hands on an Albion Leather Soap and Balm Duo Pot. Founded in 1985, Albion are a truly British brand and their name means Old England. The company are dedicated to their equestrian roots, recognised and known for their leather and how to care for it.
The soap element is gentle and perfect for cleaning excess sweat and mud from leather. This is complimented by the balm, a 200 years old Swiss formula, originally developed to care for leathers exposed to extreme conditions, to nourish and protect against the elements. I have often admired the product on show trade stands at events because the packaging of the larger pots is so stylish, they'd add class to any tack room and are something I would invest in following my taster pot. This week I've used it on my bridle, breastgirth and boots...its fabulous!
A day with Fairfax and Favor wouldn't be complete without tassels and a Premium Handbag Tassel was inside. I popped it straight on my car keys and it works just as well as a keyring as it does a handbag accessory. I adore the Fairfax and Favor brand, their dedicated team, the marketing, products, ethics...everything, I wish I had more of it in my wardrobe - if only the ponies didn't take up so much of my money, something I am sure those reading will empathise with.
Hiho Silver pulled out all of the stops and spoilt each of us with personalised Silver Letter Roller Bead Necklaces. My roller bead has engraved a big J a little j and is looped onto a pretty silver chain, presented in the most amazing purple boxed packaging. I won't lie I am a little bit in love with it, something I would buy as the perfect gift but never splurge on for myself, it filled me with delight to receive it.
A refreshing change from my usual coffee and earl grey addiction, Cupsmith's provided a taster of their Garden Mint Tea. The companies brand statement "for the finer drinks in life" suits this tea, it is naturally caffine free and the pyramid bags are biodegradable, happy to end their life on our compost heap. Served hot or cold from the fridge, this is delicious and a welcome change from the norm.
Finally the Joules Tiewell Embroidered Neckerchief got my Mumma and I in the mood for spring; bright, polka dot and jolly, Mrs C definitely models it better than I do! A classic, every wardrobe needs one, casual or formal it works and comes in red, yellow and navy.
Not forgetting the inspiring cards from Rhea Freeman and Sophie Callahan that are now positioned around the house for me to glance at daily; #girlpower and the discount for a Dressage Anywhere test, that could possibly be Arnold's first competition?!
Writing everything down makes me realise how much thought, hard work and generosity went into the event and the gift bags we were given to take home. I am incredibly grateful and feel like I have relived the day all over again. Now, until the next one...
You're holding them like a baby...yes, that's because they're precious. The Rockinghams.
After being glued to the fantastic coverage of 2018's Style, Skills and Silver InstaMeet on social media, I was determined not to miss 2019's event, Hiho & Co - Be All You Can Be. As a loyal follower of all things Rhea Freeman PR, I had plenty of notice to organise my life in time for the big day to make it happen...and a special mention to Rhea who endured a running commentary on my list of things to do. I appreciate as a wife, mother of twin boys, dogs and horses, it appears to be a walk in the park and in hindsight relatively small.
Holiday booked off work - tick
Arnold sent to boarding school - tick
Help organised for HRH Oscar - tick
Ticket purchased - tick
Monday 11th February 2019
I turned into the idyllic location of Blackdown Shepherds Huts, having just made it in time for the 9.30am start. The sunshine was streaming through the trees surrounding the hideaway shepherds huts and I felt the buzz of nervous excitement as I stepped out the car and headed into the barn, alone - what's that thing people say about doing one thing everyday that scares you.
I needn't have been nervous, Emma Warren of Hiho Silver warmly welcomed me like an old friend and handed me my name badge, hanging from a bespoke leather lanyard – thank you Chris from Mackenzie & George. I was whisked off for a freshly ground coffee served from a delightful Doris cup, decorated with the words of William Blake; "I will not reason and compare, my business is to create". How appropriate I thought as I took a sip, a deep breath and let my eyes wander around the room.
I was immediately drawn to my soul sister Becky Wren; Country Bumpkin Chic. We'd never met before, nor did we follow one another on social media prior to the day but arrived dressed almost identically. Not such a coincidence if you’re dressed in denim and tweed, only we were in leopard print midi dresses and leather jackets - just for the record, we were less Kat Slater and more Claudia Schiffer - I am certain we will remain firm friends following our day together. With Becky was Charlotte writer of the Forelock Journal, recently crowned Haynets Equestrian Blogger of the Year 2018 and lovely Gem of Gem Eventing.
It is impossible to write enough superlatives to justify how fabulous Lucy is. I fell in love with her, she is warm, passionate, funny, engaging, knowledgeable...I could go on, but having just declared my love for her, it could all come across as a bit much. So I'll stop. You get the idea, she is amazing!
Lucy made flatlays come to life and invited me into a whole new world that I hadn't been part of before. Our morning’s activity was to create and photograph a flatlay that is you; your blog, your business, your passion, your hobby, your personality. We were presented to a table covered in glossy magazines, colourful postcards, ribbons, fresh flowers, wild and wonderful accessories and Lucy's genius flatlay backgrounds - learn more about them here, and yes I've ordered one.
Siri "what is a flatlay photo...?"
Flatlay photography is an insanely easy way to showcase awesome items you own, tell a story, and wow your Instagram followers. Flat Lay is simple to do, can be shot almost anywhere, and can be as simple as emptying your handbag or arranging the items on your desk.
Here is my picture...the steps to the shepherds hut made the perfect backdrop for the wild meadow flowers bound with ribbon and allowed the Fairfax and Favor Rockingham Boots to take centre stage. With Rockingham being on my doorstep at home they couldn't suit me more and of course a horseshoe for good fortune. Simple and very different to what you're used to seeing on Gee Gee and Me.
Time for Lunch
Freshly cooked and served from the Towby Hut by Mr Emma Warren and Co, the menu was delicious and I had pheasant goujons sourced from a local shoot, served in a wrap with fresh yoghurt and salad, washed down with a Hullabaloos Lemonade. I found myself sat next to another amazing woman wearing leopard print too, Zoe the founder of Honest Riders, modelling her own Limited Edition Two Hearts Sweatshirt.
Over lunch we talked about her business, my blog, our history and future aspirations. I learnt Zoe is a beautiful person, a true force for good. I won't share too much as I placed an order on her website only last night and believe Honest Riders warrants its very own blog post so watch this space.
Five of us were given the opportunity to perfect our eye with Rachel, following the morning’s flatlay session. Before the practical activities got under way we were able to talk about what barriers we face and share our experiences. Rachel was an excellent coach and it turns out Al - the front-man of Blackdown Shepherds Huts - is also an excellent barista. As the wood burning stove roared and Emma appeared delivering cupcakes the setting was heavenly. To then top it all off we were surrounded by luxurious lines from Fairfax & Favor, Albion, Mackenzie & George, HihoSilver and Joules free for us to flatlay and photograph. Sadly, the only thing off limits was taking them home.
We regrouped for tea and scrumptious cake – thank you to my Mumma for preparing one earlier for me to bring - to discuss hot topics amongst small equine and country businesses, bloggers and influencers. You couldn't get a better panel to bounce off Sophie Callahan, Rhea Freeman, Emma Warren and Capture by Lucy who encouraged us all to have the confidence to be ourselves and happy in our own skin. Emma chanted the 'Be All You Can Be' motto and asked us to share this message with others who weren't able to make the event.
I travelled home feeling happy and content with an exciting list of ideas in my head, I had made many new friends and deepened existing relationships. I had also been prompted to take a step back and view Gee Gee and Me from a follower’s perspective:
My blog, founded in 2013 has always centred around trialling and testing the very best handpicked products and services our equestrian world has to offer. I have a loyal following - thank you all, you mean the world to me - and my opinion matters. I am proud that the fantastic page you’re reading now averages 30,000 hits per year with an ever growing following, and that Gee Gee and Me has inspired and supported so many aspiring bloggers to take their first step.
My Instagram is horses, horses, horses...or should that be Connemara's, Connermara's Connermara's!
My Facebook being a mix of both of the above.
And as incredible as the above three are, they've hit a glass ceiling and a reoccurring theme that I couldn't wiggle out of was the fact people want to see more of the person behind the camera - how about that to take me out of my comfort zone...well Friday I took a small step and before dashing off to work I took a selfie, knowing I didn't have the time to think about the imperfections I posted a picture of me in my kitchen, making coffee, showing off my Hiho Silver necklace from the insane goody bag I left with on Monday.
The next blog will be all about what’s inside...it’s worth the wait, I promise. In the meantime I am going to be a little kinder to myself and I hope you enjoy seeing a little more Jess alongside the Gee Gee's.
Botanica International were also kind enough to send me a pot of their Natural Herbal Cream, this took a little longer to put through its paces as fortunately, I don't have any mud rashes, ringworm, cuts or wounds to contend with - touching wood as I type! I do however have very sore human hands and Oscar, as always at this time of year has rubs, from almost everything and anything that touches his skin. As a result I have been lathering it on the both of us.
The Natural Herbal Cream is a unique combination of herbal ingredients, similar to those found in the Cleansing Wash, carefully selected and blended to repair blemishes and skin complaints. There is a noticeable scent of tea tree oil, that works alongside aloe vera, comfrey and lavender to perform their magic to support and maintain healthy skin.
The tub has a handy pump helping it stay hygienic, meaning no fingers inside the pot and because its not 'just for horses' I have found myself using it has a hand cream after I have washed out water buckets and feed bowls before my gloves go back on. The tub I have is the largest; 500ml and £29.95 - and can be purchased by clicking here - I will certainly be investing in another pot as soon as I am out as I think it will be perfect in the summer months as a fly repellent and fly bite treatment. Thank you Jessica Gee Gee and Me
Smart Grooming Products were introduced to me by a friend who had overhauled her whole wash box to contain nothing else. Must be good, I thought and went on a spending spree! Over the next few months I am going to share my thoughts on the Smart Grooming Products I put in my shopping basket as Oscar, Arnold and I put them to the ultimate test of Keeping up with the Unicorns.
No easy task...and those of you who follow @geegeeandme on Instagram will have had a special preview of what’s to come! Although they say ‘save the best till last’ I can’t help but go all out and share my favourite first. So here goes...
The little Pot of Blue aka Super Blue is my new addiction. You won’t find a hot water bucket of mine without a dash of this magic powder in it! When it arrived I was surprised at the size, no bigger than a mini pot of jam served in a cute B&B at breakfast time. As instructed, I added ¼ teaspoon of the Super Blue powder to my bucket of warm water, instantly turning it purple. Nothing said unicorn more!
I carried the bucket over to Oscar, who had a big day ahead of him hunting the Quorn Friday country. I paused and hoped it wouldn't actually turn him purple, for the fear of a hunting etiquette faux pas. Already clean – as always– I hot clothed his body, sponged the water over his mane and shampooed with a blue shampoo rinsing with the same Super Blue and hot water cocktail. I repeated the process on his tail and legs, dipping the hair for no longer than 30 seconds. The results were stunning, he really was whiter than white and without a purple patch in sight.
Top Tip: as winter comes to an end and coats become a little dull, dry and brittle, I have been using this little pot of blue whilst hot clothing with a dash of my favourite oil. It cleans, brightens and refreshes the coat whilst adding back some of the essential oils needed at this time of year. Roll on spring...
Sitting proudly on the footstool in our living room is a beautiful keepsake by Papier. I rushed to put it together in the days after we lost Bridge, as a story book of our time together. Mixed emotions of grief, that I wasn't able, or ready (I am still not...) to accept that he has gone, then fear of having an iPhone malfunction and loosing the precious memories of the short time we had.
It arrived carefully wrapped in tissue and it was impossible to hold back the tears as we turned the pages, Papier have created something we will treasure forever.
Goodnight Bridge of Cally, our beautiful boy. The best was yet to come... Jessica Gee Gee and Me.
What's not to love, riding tights are stylish, feminine and figure hugging with technical fabrics designed to contour and lift. I have chosen my favourite three and whether you save, spend or splurge on a pair they're each a fantastic addition to any equestrian wardrobe...
Those that follow Gee Gee and Me will know I love Derby House rugs and I haven't bought anything else for Oscar since I discovered them. So I was really excited to get my hands on something for me to wear.
ThePro Gel Riding Tights are thicker than your average riding tights, with a flattering seem down the front and a full gel grip seat for security. They're super stretchy and allow plenty of movement whether riding, mucking out or rushing around the supermarket. They look incredibly smart and pass the see-through test with flying colours. They are true to size and feature in an adorable 'mini me' collection too.
The practical features haven't been forgotten either, with belt loops and a flattering mid-rise waistband finished with the signature Derby House embossed Pegasus pendant. A steal at £39.99...now which colour to get?
The LeMieux brand just gets better and better and I have enjoyed every minute putting their Pull On Breeches to the test. The design is ultra modern and available in vivid colours; of navy, blackcurrant and grey. The contrasting black waistband, generous side pocket and My LeMieux logo all stand out.
They are fleece lined and beautifully soft making them incredibly comfortable to wear and perfect for the winter months - with LeMieux working on a summer weight option ready for the change in season, as always one step ahead. They're flexible, breathable and don't wiggle down as I rush around the yard doing chores. With a full silicone seat for security and a fit that is true to size, they really feel like a quality pair of breeches rather than 'just' tights. Worth the spend at £49.96.
I see Holland Cooper and I think of Cheltenham, tailored tweed and luxury. I don't think of being of at the yard...smelling dubiously of horse wee after mucking out. This is why I love Jade Holland-Coopers latest release; the Equi-Legging, because it brings a little bit of luxury to the dark, cold and very often wet early mornings.
Branded with Holland Cooper on the outside of the right leg, they have monogrammed silicone knee grips reading HC on the inside, a gold foiled logo on the back and a silver disc at the waistband. They are high waisted, glossy and super slim, although not necessarily true to size and I could have ordered a size down - makes me love them even more! The Equi-Leggings are pure luxury and would make the perfect present (even to yourself...), whether purchased from a Holland Cooper shop or online, they'll arrive beautifully wrapped in HC tissue and feel very special to unwrap. Available in black, ink navy, charcoal and mulberry a splurge at £69.00.
Whether you're adding a pair to your Dear Santa wishlist or treating yourself to a January pick-me-up, you won't go wrong with any of these three and I am very lucky to have them in my wardrobe.
Little Arnold and I - pictured wearing the LeMieux Pull On Breeches.
Happy Christmas Much love from Jessica Gee Gee and Me.
I am a hat girl, I love them and during the winter months I am seldom seen without a bobble hat to keep cosy and warm, a cap to hide my dreadful riding hat hair or a beautiful Hicks and Brown Fedorawhen best dressed.
I purchased my first in April '17 ready for a wet day at Aintree Racecourse on The Grand National Thursday, saving my dress and fancy fascinator for Friday's Ladies Day! The weather was true to the forecast and unkind, my Hicks and Brown Fedora kept the rain away from my face, my hair reasonably in place and coped well against the elements, drying out as good as new. Proof the felt wool hats are water resistant. Since then my collection has grown and a Hicks and Brown Fedora would be an asset to any country chic wardrobe.
- Hicks and Brown provide an excellent size guide on their website - in cm's - click on a hat and look to the right.
- I have purchased all of my Fedora's online, using the guide successfully. If you're buying as a surprise gift, sneak a look in your loved ones riding hat. I wear a 56cm riding hat and a size small Fedora fits perfectly. Don't go up a size, as you want it to be secure in all weathers! No one wants to chase a Fedora on a windy day...
No two Hicks and Brown Fedora's will be the same, the feathers vary in colour and size making your hat truly unique. A fantastic Christmas present for the equestrian in your life and the perfect season for wearing it...
Since the launch of CiCi by Celeris, luxury luggage is no longer exclusive to the frequent flyers and first class jet setters. The range of elegant, yet functional equestrian Hat and Boot Bags complement their beautiful boots perfectly.
For my birthday in July I was lucky enough to receive a Hat Bag in the classic colour of Military Green. Handmade in Portugal alongside their bespoke boots, it feels very special and I couldn't wait to place the "posh riding hat" I featured in June on Gee Gee and Me safely inside it.
The Hat Bag is well padded, with CiCi and the Celeris horse embroidered in luxe gold thread to the front. An inside pocket is the perfect place to keep a mirror for those final pre-competition checks - straight stock and hairnet well hidden, tick, tick. My gloves have often been found tucked in there too. Finished with a superior gold zip and a short strap for ease of carrying, it is total perfection - priced £20/£35.
Now onto the luxury Boot Bags, these are equal quality to the Hat Bags and the perfect home for your beautiful, made to measure boots by Celeris. With my growing collection of bespoke boots, I think its about time I invested in one. They're available in 10 stylish colours and would make the perfect present this Christmas- priced £65. Happy shopping... Jessica Gee Gee and Me