Are we bringing up a generation of phone phobic kids?

October 1, 2014 at 8:00 AMCoombeMill

My fourteen year old son is a typical teen. He is popular at school, from what I can gather and pretty self assured, most of the time. That is within the confines of the family, school and holiday guests here at Coombe Mill where he can be larger than life or at the very least courteous. However what happens to my face booking, You tubing, playstaioning expert when the phone rings? He and his brothers all leave it to me to answer, and if Nick or I are out then I can just imagine them all passing the virtual hot potato by way of the phone to see who is going to lift the receiver and manager to splutter a gruff  " good evening Coombe Mill"  down the line.  


Are we raising phone phobic kids



At his age I still remember the old house phone in the hall, no social media, in fact the internet hadn't been invented and TV was only four channels. The upside of this was that I grew up answering the phone and making phone calls to arrange all my social comings and goings with friends and taking messages for my parents.

I suddenly realised when it came to ringing an old friend of ours about work experience that Felix was quite scared of this innocent piece of equipment. To Nick and myself it is slightly mystifying but the sixteen year old agreed remembering having to phone and make his work experience arrangements too. 

Our response was to turn into pushy parent mode backed up by four younger siblings all nudging each other and sniggering around the door as we cajoled Felix into ringing. Of course we had warmed our friend to the idea first and agreed that Felix would ring and ask for himself, yet still even knowing this he was terrified of what to say. I suspected he would be a little nervous but to see him almost back down from what he wanted to do rather than make a phone call did shock me.

I wonder if my teens are typical. May be everything will be arranged by facebook one day and even formal things drift into the world of social media as an acceptable form of communication?  We already restrict thank you letters to the 'our age and over group' allowing anyone younger to be thanked by social media or text. Here again somehow the phone call was by passed as an option and email appears to have the sole function of authorising apps and social media accounts in my children's world.

To speculate further I wonder if the mobile phone will become superseded? I remember the dash for my older two to own their own phone and enter the world of text. However my twelve year old has never used his phone and the triplets have never mentioned one. It turns out all they need is an i pod for the apps and games, facebook and Skype.

Perhaps I shouldn't chastise Felix for his phone phobia; maybe in reality he will never have the need to use one anyway when wi fi fills the airways.

Perhaps he will look back and laugh telling his children of his fear of this old thing called a telephone.


Joining in with Word of the Week, my word being "Phone" and Small Steps Amazing Achievements and Loud & Proud for the phone call made and Brilliant Blog posts.


Posted in: Parenting

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Three easy to make crowns

September 28, 2014 at 10:10 PMCoombeMill

Coombe Mill ‘How to make’ Series

How to Make Crafts for Children from Coombe Mill

Every Friday afternoon we run an activity craft hour on the farm for the children staying here with us on holiday. The fun from these sessions I often share on my Saturday Country Kids linky in-between our own family adventures, but as these sessions build I am creating a post focusing simply on instructions to make the ideas we use. You can find more crafts in the series under the Farm Crafts Category. Farmer Kym had the idea for this craft following a festival she went to earlier in the year.   

Fairy Crowns

What you'll need

  • Long strands of ivy
  • Flower heads with a bit of stem (to make them easier to attach).


What You'll Need Fairy Crowns


  1. Gather about 3 or 4 long strands of ivy together.
  2. Measure the head of whoever's headdress it is and create a circle in the ivy.
  3. Feed the long ends through the the centre of the loop and back down.
  4. keep twisting the ends of the ivy in and around the ivy circle until a small amount is left.
  5. Tuck the ends of the ivy into the circle to stop them from being in the way. 
  6. Weave the stems from the flowers into the ivy circle and decorate into your perfect fairy crown.


Step by Step Fairy Crowns


A few fun additions you could try out:-

  • Turn gathering what you need into a scavenger hunt
  • Florist ribbon can be added for extra colour and twirl 
  • Organise some imaginative fairy role play that with your crown.


Fairy Crowns

Royal Crowns

If you couldn't find the ivy you needed for the Fairy Crowns you could always give these a go, great way to stay natural and also recycle

What you’ll need:-

  • Old cereal boxes or cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Feathers
  • Flowers
  • Leaves

What you'll need Royal Crown


  1. Design the outline of the crown on the cardboard and cut out the design.
  2. Measure the crown around the child’s head and mark it to show where they can decorate (so that none of their designs are covered up)
  3. Have the child decorate the crown by attaching their flowers, leaves, ribbon, and feathers.
  4. Staple the cardboard in a ring to make it into the crown.

Royal Crown Method

A few fun additions you could try out:-

  • If you had more time than us you could use PVA instead of staples.
  • If you don't have time for PVA but don't like the idea of staples you could always used sticky tape. 
  • Let the kids decide how they want the band of their crown to look.
  • Give them colouring pens/pencils and let them colour in as well as attach natural items.

Royal Crowns


Native American Headdress

On a miserable wet day when the outdoors is less appealing why not give these a go using all recycled materials.

What you'll need:-

  • Old Newspaper
  • Old postcards, thick magazines or old cereal box's cut into ovals about the length of a feather.
  • Stapler
  • Scissors


What You'll Need Native American Headdress


  1. Fold down the newspaper down so that it's a band about 2 inches thick.
  2. Measure around the head of whoever's having the headdress
  3. Staple the strip at that measurement
  4. Fold the oval shaped card in half and cut triangle chunks out of it
  5. Unfold for a paper feather.
  6. Staple to the headdress as and how you like.
  7. Repeat until the headdress is complete


Step by Step Native American Headdress

A few fun additions you could try out:-

  • Again, PVA could be used instead of staples
  • If you only have plain card to use for the feather they could always be coloured in with pens and pencils.
  • You could make different shapes with the folded over card for different designs
  • Try cutting along the folded edge to make different patterns inside the headdress. 






For more crafting tutorials do please check out my 'How to make' Pinterest board

Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays's board How to Make Craft Tutorials from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.

Linking up to 'Creative' at The Gallery Creative Monday Savouring the Season, and Monday Parenting Pin it Party  Tuesday Tutorials

Silent Sunday / Project 52

September 27, 2014 at 11:40 PMCoombeMill



Dinky the Coombe Mill Shetland Pony



 TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky   OneDad3Girls   


Posted in: On the Farm | Weekly Photo


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

September 26, 2014 at 11:40 PMCoombeMill

Blackberry picking & Baking

Activity hour has really taken off this year and I've found the more we do, the more ideas we have.  When something goes down really well we try to repeat it and in doing so the activity develops too. One of my favourite sessions this autumn has been blackberry picking and baking muffins.


 Blackberry Picking around the Farm

We start by distributing plastic containers and giving each child a target of how many blackberries to pick.  I am always surprised by how many have never picked blackberries before so I always begin with a little quiz on what to do and what to avoid before we set off. 


 Guidelines to children for blackberry picking

 The Mums and Dads help to ensure the children keep to the rules as we set off foraging on the farm.


 Blackberry Foraging


With our number quotas met we head back to my house and channel everyone in doors to wash hands while I wash the blackberries. The children then gather at my garden bench to stir the blackberries into my premade muffin mix.  I like to let the children all have a stir, lay out the baking cases and a chance to fill them with the mixture. This can be a challenge even for the more dexterous children, but a little slop never hurt and it is a great way to get them interested in baking. For all those who have tried my muffins and asked after the recipe here it is. It really is so simple that anyone could knock a batch up in minutes.


 Basic Muffin Mix


They cook at 200 degrees in just 15 minutes but the berries inside can be very hot straight from the oven so I always cool them on some racks for 5 to 10 minutes before allowing the children to taste their handiwork.

This gives us a little time to fill in with another craft and take their minds of the delicious smells coming from the kitchen.


Friendship bracelets and Hair Braids


With the older children we used the time to make hair braids from coloured wool. Farmer Kym is the expert and had all the children paired up each taking it in turn to braid their plait under instruction. We slipped a hair grip into the end to make them into removable hair braids while the boys tied them around wrists as friendship braids. If you are interested in how to make these keep an eye on my How to Make Craft posts as I will be doing a step by step guide.


Fun on the Trampoline

With the younger children their attention is already wavering so some fabric colouring and a little bounce on the trampoline with Clio in charge soon fills in the time till they can all get stuck into a warm muffin and head off with Guy for the afternoon train ride.



Joining in with Country Kids

If you have been enjoying time outdoors with the children please come and join me on the linky. Country Kids is all about getting outdoors and having some screen free family time. Posts can be Country or Urban but must be outdoors and include children. Whether you have been playing, crafting, learning or going on a family adventure I'd love to hear about it. Please grab the badge code below or link back here and remember to check out some of the other posts. There are always some great ideas.


I always comment on every post that links up with me but doing this has led to some commenting systems seeing me as spam *sobs*. If you don't see a comment from me check your spam, I am probably lurking there!  

Country Kids is around in these communities, I'd love you to join me there:

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)

Join the Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet

A few of my favourites from last week:

Baked Potato Mummy has the perfect answer to a fear of bugs 

Redpeffer discovers a local day out where the children relished the interactive learning activities

Mummyshire treated the children to the local town street fair  

Raisie Bay enjoys the fun of a local festival



Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A Night at the MAD Blog Awards

September 22, 2014 at 1:00 AMCoombeMill

I can't help but smile to myself as I type reflecting on a night to remember at The Mums and Dads Blogging Awards (MADS) 2014. It is such an honour to attend the awards evening as a finalist and I had the best time from before it even started to long after it should have ended thanks to some great organisation by Sally Whittle and her team. Sally's dry wit charmed the lovely Dr Ranj into returning to present for the evening. I didn't win in my Family Fun category, that pleasure was for the delightful Family Days Tried and Tested and huge congratulations to them but I did have a brilliant evening that I wouldn't have missed for the world. 


The Mad Blog Awards 2014


So what made it such an amazing night for me?

Everyone there of course combined with my own state of mind. I am lucky enough to have been a finalist for 3 consecutive years and each year I have lost more inhibition, shed the nerves and learned to go all out to have a great evening in good company. So many long standing blogging friends rightly there for years of consistently high quality blogs, newer bloggers I've only chatted to on line who I was thrilled to finally meet, and even those I chatted too without even realising who they were (how could I My Mummy Pennies!)  There were many heartfelt hugs shared, glasses clinked and the silly and light hearted moments perfectly complimented the serious and emotional times throughout the night. 


A few MAD moments


 Catching up with friends at the MADS


The Mad Blog Awards Serious Moments


 Oh what a night

Thank You

First and foremost my wonderful husband Farmer Nick who drove. We had a lovely time together in town on Friday, me admiring all the high street fashion and Nick looking wistfully at the cars.  We even found a patch of home here in Kensington!


Country Bumpkins in London


Parentdish and all the supporting category sponsors make it possible for Sally and the MADS Team to host the night at the swanky Royal Gardens Hotel. I hope they all enjoyed the evening too. I've already talked my category sponsor, the marketing director at Pokémon about a holiday at Coombe Mill with his two year old, always the penalty of ending up on a table with me! 


Dinner at The Mad Blog Awards

Hair and makeup by the Powder Puff Girls was such a treat. They worked nonstop all afternoon and evening and as I sat and waited my turn I was amazed by the wonderful hair styles coming out, each unique. Being last I was the cheeky one who nipped into the reception for a chat and glass of fizz before returning for my turn. Thank you ladies for hanging on to fit me in at the end, you are all true artists.


 Hair do and Make Up at The MADS thanks to the Power Puff Girls


We didn't even leave empty handed thanks to a lovely goodie bag to take home. Thank you to all the brands who contributed to this, if your product is missing in the photo it is because my children dived straight in in appreciation!

Goodie bag from the Mad Blog Awards 2014

Last but most important, a massive THANK YOU to the wider blogging community, friends and family who voted for me and made my part in the evening possible. Thank you for following our farm adventures and leaving kind comments on my blog, for supporting my passion for the freedom of the outdoors for children with my Country Kids linky and for late night chats on twitter and liking endless farm fun from Cornwall on Instagram and Facebook.

You make my blogging world rock and put Coombe Mill on the map.



Linking up with What's the Story and  Magic Moments

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Coombe Mill

"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all. 

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