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3.4.19

Equino Chaps, Yes They're Worth It

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I discovered Equino Chaps at HOYS many years ago, I remember trying on a pair and falling in love. Autumn was in full swing and I thought how incredible they would be to take me through winter, and into spring. I was so tempted to place an order but talked myself out of the idea as I hadn't intended to spend that much money on the day.

Each winter I admired Equino Chaps and it took the relentless Beast from the East - possibly 6 years after trying on my first pair - for me to place my order. Tell me this, if it was something for one of the horses they certainly wouldn't have to wait 6 years, more like 6 days for delivery! The snowfall came in time for a white Christmas, it was magical at first but it didn't stop until April. I remember bringing in perished little lambs over Easter, they had been turned out with the hope that spring was on its way following a few dry days only for the snow to return. I was thoroughly fed up of my thighs being pink and sore and the chilblains on my toes, so I placed my order. Made to measure and brown were my two specifications and I worked with Melanie to get the perfect fit.

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Handmade in Britain, they're a small company that use premium grade calf skin leather in every single pair of chaps. The measurements are key as they're designed to be skin tight, this enables them to be worn when working on the yard and for riding in. I find the fit incredibly flattering and feel secure in the saddle when wearing them, they stay in place and allow a full range of movement to canter out of my seat and jump in, and they haven't lost any of their shape, despite having them for over a year.

I have a tendency to only wear my chaps in the winter months for insulation and protection, although the quality of the leather means they are breathable and can be worn in the summer months too. They have two buckles around the waist and zip up down the outside of each leg, secured with a buckle above each ankle and I wear them with jodhpur boots. The design means they're super easy to slip in and out of in the tack room, or the back of your trailer or lorry. They also don't require any special care or attention and I simply wipe mine down with a damp cloth, or tack cleaning sponge as they're regularly splattered in mud.

Of course you don't have to be as plain as me and you can choose almost any colour you like and personalise with piping and embroidery. Equino Chaps have an excellent Instagram page where they showcase clients custom designs if you're looking for inspiration.

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I was blown away by Melanie's attention to detail and incredible customer service. I even sent her snaps of me wearing them once they had arrived for her to give me the thumbs up, as she knew what they meant to me after years of longing for a pair. Melanie wants this bespoke item to be 100% perfect for every client, and offers extensive after-care including a lifetime repair and alteration service. Now I own a pair, I don't see the price tag as frightening as it was back on the trade stand at HOYS all those years ago. They're a sensible investment, a dream to ride in and worth every single penny.

Equino Chaps retail at:
£265 + P&P
M2M £295 + P&P

Much love,
Jessica
Gee Gee and Me

16.3.19

The Ultimate Allrounder; LeMieux Grafter Brushing Boots

Gift  -  Official Blogger for Horse Health
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. 

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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.


Much love,
Jessica
Gee Gee and Me


9.3.19

Why My Collection of Honest Riders Clothing is Growing...


I have been bursting with excitement to share my Honest Riders splurge with you all and I can't think of a better time than now, following the founder Zoe Kiff's appearance on Rhea Freeman's Small and Supercharged Podcast this Wednesday. 

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:
  1. Retraining of Racehorses
  2. Pablos Horse Sanctuary
  3. 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. 

Much love,
Jessica
Gee Gee and Me

2.3.19

Want to See Inside the Hihi & Co - Be All You Can Be Gift Bag?


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 Blackdown Shepherds Hut Wooden Board was included, because we all know this is how tea and biscuits should be served. A simple, stylish and a beautiful hand crafted reminder of our perfect location for the day. I now dream of having a Blackdown Shepherds Hut in the garden!


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. 

I touched on Chris from Mackenzie and George making the stylish lanyards in my last post and they were just a taste of what was to come. A Premium Leather Luggage Tag from their Travel Collection; handmade in their workshop embossed with each of our initials...yes, another wow moment. Can I use this as an excuse to book a holiday...?


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...

Jessica & Oscar
Gee Gee and Me

16.2.19

Hiho & Co Event 2019 - Be All You Can Be


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.



Guest Presenter
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.

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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.

Intimate Afternoon Session with Sweet-Images Photography
Rachel Bragg
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.


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Afternoon Tea and Goodbyes
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 CallahanRhea FreemanEmma 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.


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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.

Much love...
Jessica
Gee Gee and Me



9.2.19

GEE GEE AND ME REVIEW BOTANICA INTERNATIONAL NATURAL HERBAL CREAM


Back in November I praised Botanica International's Cleansing Wash on Gee Gee and Me...Arnold had just arrived from Ireland and his skin, coat, mane and tail were in need of some love. Living life in the herd is a little different to life at GG&M HQ...

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.

The more people I speak to about Botanica International Products, the more I realise how widely known the brand is. I feel like it is one of the best kept secrets in our equestrian world and if you're like I was and blissfully unaware, I really urge you to take a look at their products. Hot clothing will never be the same again...

Thank you
Jessica
Gee Gee and Me

24.1.19

Keeping up with the Unicorns - Smart Grooming Products - Super Blue

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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.

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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...

Jessica

Gee Gee and Me