Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"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.
The Coombe Mill Halloween Fun Day is one of the farm annual highlights. It has developed and grown over the years into a day that holiday makers return for year after year. This year followed the highly success format of 2018, but with a few additions to keep things fresh.
Halloween Fancy Dress Feed Run
Our usual morning tractor and trailer ride to feed the animals was turned into a fancy dress feed run. The trailer really looked the part and even Farmer Nick joined in with fancy dress.
Perhaps the highlight of the feed run was discovering spooky Halloween chocolate eggs in place of farm eggs at the chickens
Families then had the middle of the day free while I moved decorations from the Trailer to the train tunnel and added to them and prepared the pumpkin crafts for the afternoon.
Last year we provided pumpkins for carving as part of the carts. It was so successful I thought I’d extend it to this year but instead of just handing out pumpkins I hid them in the fairy garden so the children’s first task was to go on a pumpkin hunt.
Armed with a pumpkin each the children set about designing their pumpkin and then carving. We had plenty of adults on hand to help out with this. When it came to scooping out the middle, we reserved the seeds and flesh for baking.
We made pumpkin cakes indoors, very similar to the blackberry cakes of a few weeks before, but substituting the blackberries with grated pumpkin flesh.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
This is one of my favourite things to do with pumpkins. The seeds are so easy to roast. Simply clean them in water and pat them dry, then transfer them to a roasting dish, add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil before roasting in the oven or under a hot grill for around 10 minutes or until golden. It is worth shaking the seeds mid way through cooking to ensure they toast nicely on both sides.
The children filled jars with the toasted seeds and made spider tops from cereal boxes while the cakes cooked.
Halloween Party Games
We cleared away the baking tables and turned up the Halloween music for a bit of fun with musical statues and musical bumps. The children were so good it was hard to catch anyone out, even with a wide age range. In the end I had them spinning and bumping to make it harder for them and easier for me! There were treats for all so everyone was a winner really.
Daytime turned to night times during our games and the children were really excited for our last two events, the Ghost train and Trick or Treat. We made our way over to the train station by torchlight and everyone enjoyed at least two round of train riding in the dark with a spooky tunnel of fun.
The evening ends in style with a huge trick or treat procession. This is totally unique and very Coombe Mill. We go from property to property as an organised group. Weonly stop if there is a pumpkin lit outside. Between the ones we carved together and extras created by families in their own time there were some real works of art
Trick or Treat challenges my voice. My trick is to keep order, keep everyone safe and ensure the little ones have as much of a chance to call at each house as the bigger kids. Excitment is full on as this is the real highlight of the evening for the children.
My thanks to all the parents for the wonderful treats and decorated properties. I think this might have been the best trick or treat ever. One little one told me as much which was totally spontaneous and adorable.
With Halloween just passed, Bonfire night coming up and Christmas festivities on the horizon this feels like a busy time of year for families. With this in mind I have a snappy to the point newsletter for you with updates from the farm, ideas to keep holidays in mind and the latest on November Events Cornwall.
Halloween Fun Day
Hot off the press our Halloween fun day was another year of spooktacular fun and games. From the morning fancy dress feed run to evening trick or treating, this remains probably the most popular event of the year. Jump ahead to book October half term next year and be part of fun.
The Golf Course has moved!
I mentioned last month that the train and golf course would be coming across the road as we separate Honeysuckle, Willow and Tree Roots cottages. The train was waiting till after Halloween so that we could run the ghost train, but the golf course has moved. It is now located where the under 5’s ride on play area was and Farmer Nick is working on a fun 7th hole into the little house.
Come and stay for New Year
Christmas is almost fully booked (unless you are a family of 4?) but we still have good availability for New Year. Come and join us for anything from 3 nights upwards. A holiday here is a perfect chance to walk off the Christmas calories on the farm and local beaches before warming up by our cosy log burners.
An imaginative Christmas Present
Don’t forget we have gift certificates from £50 upwards if you are looking for a different sort of gift for a family member this year. You can use our gift certificates with our “refer a friend” scheme saving you, and those you refer, £50 off your next booking with us.
Guest post of the month
This wonderful post came through to me on Facebook messenger. The family are now all grown up but still have fond childhood memories here with us. The property is long since gone and the pig field moved, the rest is very much Coombe Mill. Please do share your posts and pictures with me on social media using #CoombeMillHolidays or direct to our group or via the page or email.
It is such a wonderful surprise when I receive an enexpected message like this. “Hi Fiona and Nick. I wanted to share some photos I found of my two on holiday a few years ago now. What fantastic times we had too. Hope your both well and thanks again for … https://t.co/49SDAMczmdpic.twitter.com/dk3rvErU9N
We have so many baby guinea Pigs that we are going to need to re-home a few. Just ask if you fancy taking one home with you after your holiday. They make the most adorable pets.
We are now entering the Rutting season when Rudolph can become quite unpredictable and as such we are recommending that guests only go through the deer field with Farmer Nick on the morning feed run. Rudolph is however looking his most magnificent for his ladies with a full set of antlers.
Nb: I have not been paid or sponsored to mention these places, they are just the Cornish events November 2019 that I feel would be of interest to Coombe Mill Guests.
As a last note I will just say that we are open right through November and December if you fancy a long weekend break before the rush of Christmas. Have a good month whatever your plans and I hope we all enjoy some crisp sunny winter days.
As summer fades into autumn I like to take advantage of the abundance of blackberries here on the farm. Foraging, baking and crafting are a perfect use of blackberries. I try to mix things up a little each year so nothing is quite the same as the year before. While I had tried a version of all of these activities before, none of them were quite the same. There was something new with our blackberry fabric printing crafts for even our most regular guests.
I handed out collecting tubs and we headed down to the river bank for a power 15 minute blackberry collecting session.
Health and Safety Awareness
Back at the craft tables, Guy led the children to wash their hands while I washed the blackberries to flush out any creepy crawlies.
All cleaned up we were ready to start work. I have a tried and trusted recipe for muffins which is ideally suited to adding any additional ingredient, like blackberries, and also easy for children to measure. With each child adding an ingredient and taking turns stirring while others set out the paper cases there is something to keep everyone in a large group engaged.
Blackberry Fabric Printing Crafts
Blackberry stained fairy clothes
While the muffins cooked in the oven I tipped out a bag of fairy clothes cut outs on to the table. The children had to find pairs of clothes lay out blackberries on one and squish the other on top. I stapled them all onto a line of string to make a fairy washing line to go in the fairy gardens above the new fairy house.
Blackberry tie dyed flags
Our final activity involved winding loom bands tightly around sections of triangular fabric. Next we dunked the fabric in blackberry juice before opening the fabric to reveal some fun circular designs. The children collected a stick for me to staple their tie dye triangle round to make a flag.
By the time the flags were completed the muffins were ready to eat. Even those who claimed not to like blackberries tried one. I think being involved in the whole cooking process makesw children more inclimed to have a taste. There were very few left for me to take home which is always the real test.
Each of these activities are both fun and educational for children. They held their attention and yet cost very little to put together. I would recommend them for a garden birthday party or perhaps a play date at home.
A sunny afternoon with a group of 2 – 6 year olds calls for some creative make believe. It is ages since I’ve focussed on our natural woodland here and the magic of the fairy garden. This was the week to change that with a creative afternoon of woodland wizards and fairies.
Usually I set up for activity hour outside the games room on the grass, however as this session was all about wizardry and the imagination that comes from our fairy garden I thought this would make the ideal place for our creative fun and set up the little bench table in there.
We began with nature crowns; these are something I’ve used in many guises before. Double sided sticky tape on stripes of cereal card is perfect. All the kids need to do is decide what nature they want to feature on their headdress.
Another one we have done before but perfectly suited to the fairy garden where there are sticks and twigs in abundance. We simply used tape and ribbons to decorate the sticks into make believe wands.
Capes for Woodland Wizards and Fairies
For this I used old duvet covers from the business that were in my reject pile for being marked. I cut them into cape size rectangles for the children. They used paint and nature to print their capes then chose coloured ribbon to feed through slits in the top to wear as magic woodland wizards and fairies.
It was a lovely way to pass an afternoon and the children loved the setting. If they finished any of their activities early there was always plenty of fun in the fairy garden to keep them occupied until others caught them up. It would make a great them for a play date or birthday party and is surprising easy and cheep to do.
What you’ll need to create your own woodland wizards and fairies activity
colourful ribbons or wool
double sided sticky tape
Rectangles of material
stapler (if attaching nature)
All the fun of creating woodland wizards and fairies on film
We all know the value of enjoying books from an early age. Quarto Kids have a charming starter book illustrated by Camilla Falsini designed to grab the attention of little ones with a colourful and interactive look at Shapes. 5 Wild Shapes will appeal to children and parents. Read on to discover more and for your chance to win a copy.
More about 5 wild Shapes
The bold colour themes and shapes on every double page are eye catching. A short story of a couple of sentences ties the illustrations and shapes together while the reader is encouraged to get physical and move the counter around each shape. It is an adorable way for youngsters to learn about shapes and discover a little about animals and their habitats.
Find circle as a flower, triangle as a tree, heart as leaves on the trees, wavy as the sea and hexagon as a bees hive and square as a Farmer’s field. Well not Farmer Nick’s farm fields perhaps, but that’s another story! The chunky hardback book is designed to withstand handling by the most destructive toddler, while the wipe clean surface to each hardback page will ensure sticky fingers are not a problem.
Develops hand eye coordination
Builds cognitive skills
Inspires a deeper knowledge of the world
Video insight into 5 wild Shapes
Need to Know
Age 3 upwards (due to small parts) but educationally suitable from Age 2
Board book, 10 Pages
Amazon, Waterstones, Book Depository, books Etc.
Win your copy of 5 Wild Shapes with Quarto and Coombe Mill
For your chance to win a copy of this fun learning book simply follow the instructions below.
We were sent our copy of 5 wild shapes for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. Our copy can be borrowed from the Coombe Mill Games Room for our guests to borrow on holiday.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.