I’d always liked the idea of one day attending a Polo Match. To be honest, I knew nothing of the sport beyond the fact that involved rather fit men on rather fast horses, swinging wooden sticks and manoeuvring a ball.
I love fast paced games, so it had appeal there, but ever the Tatler magazine reader as a young girl seeing the photo’s in the Bystander section, reading comments about the big matches in all the glossiest publications growing up and seeing the photographs of the most sophisticated ladies looking ever more fabulous, it was firmly established in my mind, this is what you do. You grow up, become sophisticated, go to fabulous places, and this list must include at least one trip to The Polo.
What I did find having finally attended my first Polo match this year is that it’s far easier than you think, less stuffy than you imagine and so much more fun than I’d anticipated on every level, I think I’ve found my new ‘thing.’
In my case, our trip to the polo was the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup at Cowdray Park on a very hot Sunday in July. We were a group of 6, one being a 6 year old. It was truly a fantastic day, made all the better because having purchased some tickets, I’d been fortunate and actually won some VIP tickets last minute through The Telegraph Newspaper in celebration of the fact the event was being sponsored for the first time this year by luxury watchmakers Jaeger-LeCoultre. This just helped to add to the feel good factor before even setting off.
Of course, there was the mad panic, what do I wear, my best friend asked the same, my daughter took it all in her stride (product of boarding school). My son found it a fantastic excuse to dress up as he does at any given opportunity, whereas I spend much of my time surfing the sales and highstreet stores of the world for bargains, he begs me to allow him an hour or two in the likes of Ralph Lauren, was amazed by a trip to Tiffany & Co for his sisters 21st birthday gift, asking “is this what girls like?” but stating he thought he’d just buy his girlfriend a house when she’s 21 rather than jewellery. Though he asked me to buy her a crystal encrusted mirror compact the other day for him whilst shopping with me. The boy is 6!
Ever the shopper, obviously this event gave me a great excuse (as if I ever need one) to again exercise my keyboard skills and surf the stores to find something suitable. Of course upon reflection there were many things in the wardrobe that would have been just a suitable, however, big day out deserves new clothes right? First of all I looked online, then the bff and I endured a super hot day traipsing up and down Oxford Street, far too hot to try anything on in the non air-conditioned stores, put off by the fact that many had attempted the feat who’d arrived before us leaving the smeared remains of their foundations and lipsticks on a rather high proportion of the goods we looked at, the fact that sales assistants then thought that offering any form of discount for clothes covered in make-up would need a half hour que to speak to management to usually offer around £3.00 off, made us call an end to the trip and head to Carnaby Street for food and drinks instead..a lot of them…it was a very hot day and we were VERY thirsty, hence arriving home around 11.30pm with no new clothes but feeling the love for life. My partner was suitably unimpressed, I assume it was my singing upon departing the taxi…it’s just not ‘that’ kind of neighbourhood. Tell me about it, bloody hard to get a taxi to go that rural, day or night!
So, the next morning I awoke, bleary eyed, thinking, it’s time to get a dress! I had decided at least I wasn’t ready to try to pull of the Kate Middleton casual chic just yet, so a dress was a safe bet. I spent a lot of time on the rental site, Girl Meets Dress. Wow, there is so much to see and choose on that site, I’d highly recommend it for any occasion. A great online chat gave me many suggestions which I will bear in mind for future events for sure. For me, on this occasion, I had a few upcoming engagements, and there were a few great sales on, so I opted in the end for a dress from Miss Selfridge and a dress from Rare London. The Dress from Miss Selfridge, a long flowing one shoulder grecian type dress was what I chose for the polo and the Rare London stunner I saved for a cocktail party a few days after.
My Boy opted for a slick little suit and shirt from John Lewis Children’s Heirloom range and felt that he looked every bit as smart as the other gent’s in our party.
One of the buys I was most happy with, as I’d had my eye on it for some time, was actually a picnic blanket and picnic rucksack from Fortnum & Mason. Things of beauty I kid you not and if I told you the story of how it got delivered by accident to my former address and the store was so apologetic they rushed one out to me via taxi, to my daughters home…true Customer Service at it’s best.
Call it a bit of a treat, a late birthday present to myself as I’d wanted it for some time and in all fairness, living outside of the city, we do actually go to increasing amounts of fayres and outdoor shows, so it’s an investment, that’s the argument I used on him indoors and I’m sticking to it.
The day in question was a gloriously hot day. The arrival at the polo was very well thought out, we were marshalled in to park and basically from there it was all pretty easy and laid back. A fabulous day of picnicking, drinking and watching the match. A wealth of trade stalls I hadn’t accounted for selling fantastic items and even the opportunity to win holiday which they announced the Winner of at the Match to Barbados!
The actual Polo Match itself was fast paced, easy to pick up the rules and the guide is very good, it was fun, you really get into it very quickly and because each burst is such a short period it’s easy to stay tuned in to the game. You really found yourself drawn in and cheering for your team and the skill involved is undeniable. The commentary was humorous, informative and just added to a really good laid back atmosphere of fun and feel good factor.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre hospitality tent was amazing. The food, the drinks, the service, decor, the DJ placed on the open top deck of a double decker bus playing funky tunes. Everything about the place oozed style. It was truly one of the best days out of the year so far. To say we didn’t want to leave is it putting it mildly, to say we will certainly be doing it all again is a certain fact. It’s a shopping opportunity after all.