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Hats, horses and the heat

Inside track on the hats, the heat and my steady decline from warm glow to hot mess.

I have a confession: I’m a Royal Ascot newbie. There, I’ve said it. I’ve lived in Berkshire for 12 years, worked on national newspapers and glossy magazines for donkeys years but I’ve never ventured out for the social event of the summer season. What was I thinking? Excuse to wear a hat, dress up and drink all day. It’s like going to a posh wedding but with more excitement than a bitch fight between the bridesmaids.

Too many bubbles? Duchess of Cambridge bursts out laughing as the Countess of Wessex has a wobble

With the Royal Enclosure rules in mind: hemlines long, shoulders covered and, thanks to Fiona at Dress 2 Impress Hats, a fine feathery headpiece perched on top, I was raceday ready. My only problem really was that I know absolutely nothing about racing.

I texted Mr Muddy for some advice explaining that it was all very lovely, enjoying the hats (and the interpretation the Royal Ascot rules) but what do you do? I’m staring out at this beautiful racecourse a little bemused. He found this hilarious. His advice was this… the races started at 2.30pm, horses run on the grass to the finish line. I should go and find a man waving his hands around and place a bet.

Exciting, but what horse should I have a flutter on?  Ping… another text comes through. He said: ‘Find the youngest tout, put an each-way bet on Cougar Mountain and then give him a cheeky wink.’ I didn’t get it. And then the penny dropped. Young lad, s*ahem* slightly older woman (me). Ha bloody ha. But I did just that. Damn you Mr Muddy.

Lessons learned

  1. Be bold with your hat. There were really stylish headpieces this year, some bonkers ones too. Loved the saucer styles worn by Countess of Wessex and Princess Eugenie with some hot headpieces worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, Holly Willoughby and Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson. Ross would be getting all hot and heavy over her look at Ascot.

The beautiful…

The bonkers…

And the plain bizarre… but what is it? Boobs, bottom or lady bits? Hmmm

2. Wear comfy shoes. You’re on your feet all day and, although I love my heels, they need to be lower next time.

Who needs a fan when you can have a parasol. Fancy!

3. Keep cool: It is hard to stop yourself looking a hot mess when the temperatures are sky rocketing to 36 degrees but keeping the make up light, buy a pretty fan to keep elegantly waft or really go for it and opt for a vintage parasol.

5. Beat the queue: need the loo? pop out just before the next race starts. Breeze in, have a piddle, fix your face and your good to go. It’s also the only place I have ever been where the queue for the men’s toilets were longer than the ladies. Tehe love it.

6. Finally: never take advice from your husband. My horse came in last. In fact I think he was waiting for the next race. But at least I didn’t have to face the poor young tout to collect any winnings.

If you’ve got any top tips, please share. I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Berkshire