Our fourth installment of #FollowFriday takes us to the United Kingdom, where we meet Jessica Challinor, the very lovely lady behind the super blog Gee Gee & Me. I stumbled upon Jessica’s blog when searching online for reviews of a product, and found her posts to be thorough and detailed. I immediately subscribed to the blog (one of the few websites I’ll let into my inbox!), as I identify very much with her approach to product testing and trialling. Like Jessica, Iove to try the latest and greatest products, but hate to feel like I’ve wasted any money when I buy them, so do quite a lot of research prior to purchase. Still to this day, Jessica’s blog is my go-to source for product reviews before I buy. Jessica and I are also fellow HorseHealth bloggers – but while I tend to get lots of jumping and eventing kit, Jessica gets the MOST fabulous Matchy Matchy wear to trial and review, a must see for any dressage or matchy fanatics!
Name: Jessica Challinor
Location: United Kingdom
Blog Name: Gee Gee and Me
Social Channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube
Horse(s): Oscar, a 13 year old grey (oversized) Connemara Pony. Fully registered!
- Tell us a little bit about Gee Gee & Me – what inspired you to start it/why do you do it, and what do you blog about?
Gee Gee & Me was born in December 2013. I was inspired to do so because prior to purchasing anything equine I undertook intensive research. Googling to the end of the earth and back! I figured there were others like me. After all every penny counts and I was already the go to person amongst friends when they needed a new equine shampoo, brushing boot or breastplate. So I put it online!
I love to write and I am equine obsessed, because of this Gee Gee & Me gives me a huge amount of pleasure.
Gee Gee & Me is dominated by product reviews, with a little help from my guinea pig pony Oscar. Together we trial and test everything equine, putting both products and services through their paces. Most of the time my research pays off; it is rare I find a fail. This explains why Gee Gee & Me is full of glowing reviews of my tack room treasures.
Most recently Gee Gee & Me launched a Facebook page, it has a very different feel to the blog. Here I introduce new products, giving a glimpse of what is to come. Some products I can confidently write about after a week, a shampoo, a fly spray. Others I have waited as long as eighteen months to share, tack, rugs, bits for example! I also feature a Dear Diary element on the Facebook page, writing about our adventures, allowing people to get to know us a little better.
- You have a wonderful Irish Connemara pony called Oscar who is the light of your life – can you tell us a little bit about him, and what made you decide to buy a Connemara pony?
Oscar is a fully registered Connemara Pony from Ireland. At 15hh he is overgrown, once a dappled grey, at 13 years old he is now a very pretty freckled flea-bitten.
Oscar is bred from a line of famous “Gentle” Connemara’s and is by the prolific stallion Glencarrig Prince.
A sensitive soul, he often acts before he thinks and is a hot little pony. When his mind is with me, his buzzy energy gives a great feel. Oscar thrives on work and if left un-ridden for any period of time, he all too easily forgets he has ever had a saddle on his back!
I chose a Connemara Pony because I love the breed, their intelligence, sense of fun, strength and hardiness! I purchased Oscar from an Irish dealer and would do so again and again. Although green he ticked a lot of boxes; breed, height, a gelding within budget. Oscar was viewed, vetted and home in less than a snowy week in March.
- I found (and subsequently followed) your blog thanks to the rigorous product reviews you and Oscar do. I love how thorough they are, and that you review every product, big and small! What are your top five products that you have reviewed on your blog, and why?
I found writing a shortlist of my top five blog posts harder than I first anticipated because a lot of what I write about, I love! However after much deliberation here I go..
Lucy is my crystal ball and her input has been key to the successful management of Oscar’s arthritis. My review of her services HAD to be in the top five. Lucy is also a wonderful person and was incredibly kind to let me have free rein when writing this piece. Thankfully she approved and we’re still friends.
Prior to passing my trailer test and having my own transport my parents hired Oscar and I the Bloomfields Horse Taxi for the weekend as a birthday present. I was elated and it is still a highlight for me three years on! Bloomfields are an amazing company, owned by people who understand horses; equine safety is paramount. With the added bonus of their stylish eye, Bloomfields boxes are divine and if I won the Lotto, placing an order would be the first thing I’d do!
This blog saw me step out of my comfort zone and film a video to announce that Gee Gee & Me had been shortlisted as Official Bloggers for LeMieux. Not all that long ago, November 2016, three years after our launch, it felt amazing to be recognised by such a powerful equestrian brand.
I couldn’t pick just one from the infamous series so I’ve linked them all. They’re in my top five because they’re so much fun to write. Often featuring cheats on how to keep a grey horse clean!
Those who know Gee Gee & Me will understand I will always advocate splurging on Kingsland! My favourite equestrian brand of rider wear, therefore it was surprise I was in heaven when they launched their Charlotte Dujardin Collection. I was first in line with my order and couldn’t wait to share the Thea Jacket and ISA Training Shirt on my blog, which Charlotte herself shared on Facebook! The following collections have proved to be detrimental to my bank balance!
- What has been your greatest achievement since you started your blogging journey? What would you attribute this success to?
I always get a huge sense of pride when I get e-mails and Facebook messages from followers of Gee Gee & Me. I am often asked advice on how to start a blog, what I think of fellow bloggers’ work and further advice on products. For example, I received a recent message from a fan in Australia about my beloved Equipe Emporio dressage saddle! I was overwhelmed my little blog had made it all the way to an equestrian in Oz! I attribute a lot of my success to my loyal following. I love to know what I have written is of use and may help someone.
I always advocate blogging with the one word of warning “commitment”. Gee Gee & Me is in its fourth year and has taken much dedication to be what it is today.
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“If it was easy, everyone would do it” from my boyfriend.
- What is the one thing you would like your readers to take away from your blog?
Guidance…or reassurance of what to save, spend and splurge on!
Thank you to Inside Track Eventing for inviting Gee Gee and Me to feature in #FollowFriday.
Along with working full-time and looking after Oscar pony on DIY Livery, Jessica is also going through the process of renovating a lovely cottage she recently bought in the countryside. I’d like to thank Jessica for taking time to answer my questions, and for putting so much thought into each response.