Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Christmas in the Countryside and What You Need to Know

Christmas in the countryside is a beautiful experience, with frosty fields sparkling in the Winter sun and quaint village festivities to get involved with.  Supping mulled wine in front of an open fire in a country pub and taking long, crisp walks with the pup all adds to the wonderful charm of Christmas in the countryside.  If you're thinking of spending Christmas in the countryside, here's a few tips to prepare for the season ahead.

1. You will need a 4 x 4 (or know a farmer with a tractor)

 Navigating country lanes in Winter is an experience in itself.  Especially if you're a country Mum with several excitable children squabbling in the back and at least half a dozen Spaniels and Labradors, whilst trying to successfully wind your way through mud or snow riddled lanes and avoid being squished by on coming farm machinery.

2. Stack up on the mulled wine and mince pies (homemade of course)

Christmas in the countryside is a very social affair.  There's always somebody popping round to drop off a card, a bottle of home made sloe gin (to sample of course) or to catch up on the latest gossip.  Often with a dog or two in tow, so don't be too precious about Winter sludge being dragged through the kitchen.  

This is, of course, unless your nearest human neighbour is too many miles away and you only have to be concerned with neighbours of the cattle or sheep variety escaping in to your back yard.

3. Layers, layers and more layers!

Make sure you have an abundance of knitwear and a decent Winter jacket.  Invest in a good pair of neoprene wellies to keep toes toasty and a hat to keep the rain or snow off.  Country folk are made of sterner stuff when it comes to the British weather so make sure you don't miss out on all the wonderful, and often outdoor, Christmas activities by kitting yourself out with suitable attire.  Fleece gilets are a country staple for layering, along with a robust waterproof and windproof coat. A splash of tweed wouldn't be out of place either - although, we'd recommend avoiding the head to toe tweed ensemble of plus fours, waistcoat, sports jacket and deer stalker hat look (unless you're on a shoot day).

4. The Christmas tree farm visit

Country dwellers tend to appreciate natures gifts more than most, and that includes the Christmas tree.  You won't see a plastic Christmas tree in a country house (if you do, it's a rare breed indeed!).  A trip to the local Christmas tree farm is usually a family outing due to the likely hood of Dad returning with the nearest 'that'll do' tree.  It's usually Mum who supervises the Christmas tree purchase as the dimensions, spread and species are all important things to consider, don't you know!

5. Roasting chestnuts on an open fire is actually a thing, not just a song

A crackling open fire is as common in the countryside as pigeons are to the city.  So roasting a few seasonal chestnuts on one is a rather satisfying and rewarding activity to take part in.  The sweet, nutty flavour of a roasted chestnut is sure to bring out your festive spirit and also gives the man of the house an opportunity to poke and prod the fire some more, which, of course, is the Winter equivalent of a BBQ.

6. Christmas Day down the local

There's something special about taking a stroll in the Winter cold to the local pub and being greeted by log burner warmth and a festive and jovial atmosphere.  With an abundance of waggy tails and friendly faces on Christmas Day, it's a standard tradition for villagers to gather at the local pub for a mulled wine whilst the turkey slowly roasts in the Aga. 

7. Get your walking feet at the ready

If you reside in the country, you will have a dog (or several).  And with a dog comes many miles of walking across beautiful landscapes.  We love our walks, and one of the most enjoyable is the Christmas day post lunch ramble.  Wrap up well and embrace whatever the weather throws at you.  And if you just so happen to pass a country pub on route, it would be considered rude (or mad) not to pop inside and warm up for a while before the long trek home.

Picture Credits: Pinterest

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Which are the best Le Chameau Wellingtons for me?

Le Chameau, maker of luxury wellingtons and boots, have refined their collection over the years, adding new technologies and updating old favourite designs.  The Autumn / Winter 2017 collection will not disappoint; reassuringly recognisable, but instantly different!

We all know and love the iconic, hand-made Le Chameau Footwear.  But are you wearing the correct style for the job?  The more popular styles we often see here in the UK are the famous Chasseur or Vierzonord styles.  Both boots were designed for specific country sports, such as the pegged Gun, with cross terrain features, superior comfort and cold-weather protection.  But did you know, there's a Le Chameau boot for all aspects of country life including agriculture, country sports and even for walking the dog!

The Le Chameau Chassuer Range

Famous by the name of 'zip boot' since 1970, the Chasseur provides unparalleled comfort courtesy of its adjusted fit, choice of calf fittings and linings.

Available in both men's and women's sizes, the popular choice of linings are either the full grain leather lining or the 3mm neoprene lining.

The leather lined Chasseur Cuir (leather lined) boasts a waterproof zip, a bi-density sole that's abrasion resistant with an all-terrain grip and a shank reinforcement for better arch support.

The Le Chameau Vierzon Range

Arguably the best selling Le Chameau boot in the UK, the Vierzon range is a perfect blend of functionality and style.  Designed nearly fifty years ago, the Vierzon boot is a cold weather hero.  Available in both men's and women's sizes and combined with a hard wearing and supportive sole unit, makes a great all round country boot.

The Le Chameau Cérès Range 

Michelin and Le Chameau bring together their know-hows to create a line of innovative boots for agriculture with great performance.  The Le Chameau Cérès range boasts a sole developed with the same structure as a Michelin tyre with ultraflex technology for extra grip, comfort and resistance.

Available with 3mm neoprene lining (Cérès Neo), jersey lining (Cérès Jersey) and adjustable rear gusset (Cérès Soufflet) to avoid farming niggles such as catching clasps on quad bikes or tractors.

The Le Chameau Country Range

A functionally flattering walking boot for those who still need a performance boot.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Introducing Simon Esnouf, Seeland Sales Agent & Experienced Gun

Introducing Simon Esnouf, Seeland Sales Agent & Experienced Gun

Simon Esnouf, our Sales Agent for Seeland, recently appeared in their 'Take It Outside' magazine.  Here's what what we learned...


Simon Esnouf is the epitome of the classical English shooter.  Read his account of English shooting traditions, and why he uses a shotgun that is almost 140 years old.

Did you grow up with shooting?
"No, when I was a lad I was obsessed with fishing, and didn't know much about shooting.  When I got married, we moved to the country, where my parents-in-law had an indoor shooting range, where we could fire air guns and gallery guns.  So it was natural to take up shooting, and my first big passion was pistol shooting."

How did that happen?
"I started in the air rifle club, which was a bit boring.  So I went on to the rifle club, which was really boring.  People lay down for ages to take the shot.  So I tried the pistol club, and thought: 'Wow! This is for me.'  There was lots of shooting, and bullets flying everywhere, quite safely, of course....My first big love was a Colt 45 Canadian revolver from the Second World War.  Unfortunately, pistol shooting was made illegal in the UK and disappeared overnight."

So how do you shoot today?
"We mainly shoot pheasant, duck and partridge.  I'm a member of two syndicates.  There's a small local farmers syndicate with 16 shooters who take turn to beat and then shoot the next drive.  Then we go to the pub, where we can boast that we're actually really much better shots than we are.  I also take part in a larger shoot in Suffolk each year.  I really enjoy the social aspect of shooting."

What is the best shooting advice you have been given?
"One of the shooters I've learned a lot from is an elderly gentleman from here in Oxford.  He said that when it looked good, it was good.  You should never hurry, but take your shot elegantly, like an English gentleman."

Do you have a weapon that means a lot to you?
"I have a George Gibbs from 1879, which is a really beautiful firearm.  It was made in southern England, in the 19th century.  It's a hammer gun with a barrel of Damascus steel.  It's not very fast, but it can actually shoot birds, if you point it in the right direction.  But we also have people who shoot even older guns, muzzle loaders that use black powder.  So compared to them, I'm pretty fast."

"...but it can actually shoot birds, if you point it in the right direction."

What is special about using an old gun?
"It sounds different.  It's like bells, which all have a different chime.  A modern shotgun sounds very hard and tight, while an older weapon has a more melodic boom, which reverberates afterwards.  The wood is incredible, and far superior to anything made today."

What is your best shooting experience?
"One of my best shooting trips was the first time I was out with my colleague John in Northumberland, near Hadrian's Wall - close to the border with Scotland.  We'd planned one outing in the evening, and one in the morning.  On the first one, I shot my first roe deer from around 120 metres, with one shot.  It was an amazing moment.  Later that evening we had a good dinner, and a drink, followed by another, and yet another.  So we never got out in the morning.  Not a very impressive trophy, but I've saved the antlers."

Friday, 5 February 2016

Love in the Countryside; Valentine's Wish List

Gents, don't leave Valentine's Day to the last minute this year.  Fear not, we're on hand to help.  The ladies in our office share their Valentine's wish list to help inspire you...

Amy Powell - Customer Service Advisor

"I like pretty, but practical. Just because we work and play in the countryside doesn't mean us girls need to be covered from head to toe in green!"

Rachael Childs - Marketing Manager

"Classic country is the way to go for me.  I prefer quality one off pieces that won't date or go out of style.  Oh, and anything that can withstand a bit of horse slobber."

Chelsea Booth - Embroidery Technician

"Any footwear that matches my lipstick and keeps me dry and comfortable is a winner for me!"

Julie - Product Data Manager

"Everyday elegance is always a winner for me.  Things I can use everyday that adds a touch of glamour."

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Seeland has Landed

We are super excited to have launched with fieldsports clothing brand, Seeland.  A Danish company, and founded in 1976, Seeland's clothing is developed around the belief of getting the most out of your days shooting.

Clothing yourself properly for shooting is a science and each piece of Seeland garment is developed through a year long design process involving numerous lab tests and field tests performed by professional hunters.

The attractive pricing makes Seeland products accessible to all who enjoy hunting and nature to the full.

Key Pieces

Handwarmer pockets with fleece lining • Spacious cartridge pockets with drain holes and quick load strap • breast and inner pockets •  Elasticated waist and hood • Game pocket lined with oxford nylon • 2-way front zip

Tall back to keep the small of your back warm • Boot flap that prevents water ingress • Game carrier attached to trousers • D-ring on left side with gallow • Suspender buttons • Articulated Knee • Velcro fastenings in legs • Hand warmer pockets • Zipped back pockets

Hand warmer pockets with fleece lining • Front pockets with drain holes and quick load function • Napolean pocket • Game pocket lined with oxford nylon • 2-way front zip • Drawstring in waist 

Side pockets • Back pockets on both sides • Gusset at hem • Adjustable leg hem