• Karen McConnell

The Game Fair 2019

4.15am and the alarm clock beeps to wake me up. Oddly, this morning I wake straight away and don't even think about snoozing. Just as well really as there's no time to spare! By 4.45am I'm in the car and heading through to Edinburgh Airport to catch the early flight down to London Luton and a day at The Game Fair at Hatfield House.

There's something I still find really exciting about hopping on a plane for a day out - I'm a bit of a people-watcher and airports have to be one of the best places to do that.... 'I wonder where they're going?' 'What's their story?' 'Oh, they're clearly in the early stages of a new relationship!' and 'How on earth did they manage to get that drunk already? It's only 6am!' are the thoughts that fly through my mind as I grab a cuppa and wait for my flight to board.

A short 1 hour flight and I've touched down 500 miles away expecting Mediterranean-like temperatures as forecast on the Met Office app - but sadly, though it's not cold, drizzle and thunder clouds await me! A quick stop at the hotel to drop off my bag and I'm in an Uber heading to Hatfield House about 28 miles away.

I think everyone must be heading to The Game Fair today as it takes us a little longer than expected to get there and restrictions for drop-off mean I have about a mile and a half's walk up to the show ground... in the rain... with no jacket, or umbrella - oh well, who wants to look good anyway!?!

Unfortunately the delay in getting there meant I missed my first appointment of the day which was meant to be a tour of the newly launched, Game Fair Garden which I was sad to miss but I used the extra time to have a wander around and work out where everything was ahead of my other appointments.

I managed to catch the 61 gun opening of the fair which was rather impressive (and loud!) and then one of the Shetland Pony Grand National qualifiers which is always a hoot!

One of the people I wanted to meet in person was Holly Ella from In The Country so I took the opportunity before things got a bit busy to pop round and introduce myself. It was lovely to finally meet and while I was there I also got to meet and catch up with others which was nice.

Around mid-morning I met up with my favourite (and heavily-pregnant) friends Emily Mumford from Inkpot and Press and we took a wander round the showground and onto my next appointment with Ellie from Whale of a Time clothing and the lovely Maddi from Bloxham PR. I'm always so impressed by stories of young people launching brands and businesses and so often it's about creating something they couldn't find for themselves. Ellie's story is exactly that and she set about designing the kind of laid back, comfortable, coastal-inspired apparel she now sells. I got treated to an item from their stand as well and I chose the Salcombe Deck Shirt in White with Blue and Pink detailing which I've already worn twice and only owned it 4 days!! Their products are made from organic cotton, are beautifully made and wash extremely well so are pieces that will last. I'm sure this will not be my one and only Whale of a Time item for long!

From there Emily and I took a bit of a wander and grabbed some lunch ... some noodles which were yummy! ... before watching a bit of a demo with a pack of beagles and fox hounds. As I mentioned, Emily is super-pregnant at the moment and was starting to tire (I don't miss that), so she made a move and I went on to meet the ever-so-lovely Claire at Purdey and Sloane who were launching that day.

Purdey and Sloane is a brand new skincare brand designed specifically for country people. Their gorgeous products are packed full of ingredients from the British countryside that nourish and protect our skin from the ever-changing elements, they smell divine and they come in eco friendly packaging which I love. I came away with all three of the products and I'm loving trialing them. I'll do a full review once I've had a chance to really use them and see how my skin responds but so far, I'm loving them.

Straight from Purdey and Sloane I wandered over to Aigle where I'd been invited to join them and the Bloxham PR team for drinks and to hear about how they make their boots including a demonstration from one of their master-craftspeople. It was seriously impressive to see that they hand-make every single boot that they make and the skill that's involved in doing so. There are 200 qualified Aigle boot-makers in the world and each took 2 years to develop their skill. The rubber boots are incredibly robust, no floppy welly boots here! and are designed to withstand the intensive life of a rubber boot fully involved in country life. I was extremely impressed with the whole story.

So that was me done with appointments for the day so I finished off with a catch up with the fabulous Marius from Holland Cooper and more gin, chat and magic on the Fairfax and Favor stand.

It was a lovely day with lots of great meetings and all that was left was for me to wander back down to the main gates for a taxi to take me back to my hotel where I grabbed a quick bite to eat in the restaurant then enjoyed an early(ish) night in front of the TV.

K xx


Karen & Clan 2019

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