It’s Sunday morning, a morning of blazing sunshine and endless blue skies, and I find myself tearing along country lanes in Northumberland, with Hannah Layford in the passenger seat and my iPhone’s ‘Official Choons’ playlist in full swing. We’re heading for a 10am start at the Belsay Horse Trials and are meeting Barbour for a late breakfast of tea and cakes. It’s been a long time since this city girl went to an equestrian event but it turns out it’s still not completely beyond the realms of what my brain can handle. In fact watching everyone else gallop around for a few mere minutes gave me the urge to *ahem* get back in the saddle, so to speak.

Barbour are the official sponsors of the Belsay event and, as we’re attending as Barbour’s guests, they’ve kindly dressed us for the occasion. This is of course very generous and means we can look like genuine, bonafide country types. I’m sure we’ll fit right in. So Hannah and I arrive in our new Short Gloss Wellies and a (actually vastly inappropriate for June) jumper from the new Bella Freud collection. This collection is another new collaboration for Spring/Summer 2014 and Bella brings a nostalgic feel to the designs by using images and sketches inspired by the summers of her own British childhood. As with all Barbour pieces the quality of the materials used are immediately obvious, and in the case of my new Puffin Kite jumper this is a lovely soft wool-cashmere mix in the colour ‘blush’. It’s a shame that on this particular Sunday it’s a miraculous 19 degrees and we immediately have to take our jumpers off. Thankfully we’d thought to bring shorts and after changing into said shorts in the car (and failing to avoid the attention of the poor lad directing the traffic, who clearly now thinks I’m mental and possibly saw me with no pants on) we’re ready for the day. And some Pimms.

After the Pimms, we’re bounced around in the back of a 4×4 up to the top of the course where the Barbour fence is, and have a meandering wander back down to the marquee trying not to get trampled by the horses as we cross the terrain. By this point it’s all gone very Made in Chelsea. Or maybe that should be Made in Belsay? Rah rah rah. I’m having all the fun gadding about in a field in my shiny new wellies and a sepia Instagram filter. Once we’ve finished horsing around (SORRY) we regroup and as lunch is served, and subsequently scoffed, we have a lovely chat with the other press and guests drinking and dining at the Barbour table. Which in my mind means now ranks up there with our table buddies for the day; Living North, The Chronicle and Raspberry Kitsch. Obviously you’ll find only the very best cutting-edge journalism here. You’re welcome.

I’ll leave you with some snaps of the day now and a reminder that – cheesy though it sounds – there’s always plenty going on in the North East but you have to get off your sofa and find it. Days like this aren’t exactly infrequent, you just have to keep an eye and an ear out for the whens and wheres. The Sunday I spent up at Belsay really was one of those days when you’re laughing, chatting, drinking and generally feeling happy to be outside and you realise you’re very bloody lucky to have opportunities like this. I certainly had one of those epiphany moments while sipping Pimms in the sun and I felt like a right jammy git. I may spend the majority of my time in the bustling NE1 and enjoy all that the city has to offer but it’s wonderful being such a short drive form the Northumbrian countryside and a slightly more rural backdrop.

On that note I’d like to thank Hannah, and Sarah at Barbour, for having me along for the day (and for the goodie bag!). I had a smashing time, both with the brand and with Belsay Hall. Now that I’ve done some more research and discovered the Barbour International collection I definitely feel at home with Barbour’s ‘dark side’, so please feel free to keep me posted on any biker events in the future!

Leave a Reply