Country Kids from Coombe Mill

June 6, 2014 at 11:30 PMCoombeMill

Coombe Mill Kids Activity Hour

I've noticed that Friday afternoon tends to be the time when many of our holidaymakers are here on site. It is the last afternoon of the holiday and understandably many want to relax and enjoy the grounds here with a long journey home the following morning. I've had in mind for ages now to start an activities hour for the children during the week. Friday afternoon felt like the perfect time with so many around anyway. Half term was really busy for us with a range of children from age three to eleven all popping their names down to join in the Activity hour. We knew this was going to be a good test of the idea. 

For our first week we decided on a nature walk around the farm to collect flowers, leaves, feathers and a good stick to bring
back to our garden and engage in wand making. I was rather nervous of how this would go down with the older boys but decided to give it a go; they could always drop out if they found it too tame for them. We set the garden table up in advance.

Preparations for Activity Hour

 

Having explained what we were doing to the children it was eyes down looking and collecting as we set off over the footbridge to the farm

Hunting for farm sticks & decorations

There was an abundance of colourful flowers and feathers to find

Flowers on the farm

The boys found some awesome bamboo sticks around farmer Nick's compost heap

 

Sticks in Farmer Nick's Compost heap

 

 

Back in my garden the children were inspired by the table set up with all sorts of accessories to turn their nature finds into fairy and wizards wands and eagerly begin to work with their imaginations now racing. Even the boys were hooked much to my surprise and delight.

 

 creative making wands

One imaginative young boy took his time explaining to me how each prong on his wand and feather represented a special power from fire to water.

wand with magic powers

The girls focussed on making theirs pretty with time and concentration.

wands made with care

They discovered they made great tickling sticks and weapons with some design challenges.

Bespoke wand designs & creative uses 

 

The hour of course ran over and all too soon they were dashing off with wands in hand for the afternoon train ride.

 

 

Based on the success of this first session I am encouraged to keep it going through the summer. I have so many ideas of things to do thanks in large part to all the wonderful inspiration right here on Country Kids each week so please keep them coming.

Joining in with Country Kids 

Every week I am amazed by the photos, stories and fun had outdoors. From holidays to garden toys, forests to beaches there is so much for children to do outside. Country Kids is open to anyone wanting to share their outdoor fun from play, learning, crafts or an adventure and generally enjoying some fresh air and time away from screens and sofas. Remember to check out the other posts here, it is a great way to find new ideas.  

A few of my favourites from last week:

Betsey Loves shows how much fun an evening on the beach can be and never mind about wet clothes! 

Adventures of Adam shows how a hiking challenge was just what her 2 year old loved.

Mummy M's Memories and Randomnest have so much fun in the woods, meadows and streams in spite of the weather

Side Street Style finds an oasis of fun outdoors on a city break

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

From Tree Tops to Tree Roots

June 1, 2014 at 3:40 AMCoombeMill

Background

Coombe Mill dates back to the 16th Century when it was a working Mill and small holding. The Millers House, where the family and most likely the animals lived back then was the largest building followed by the Water Mill where all the work took place and a further cottage now called Two Chimneys. Coombe Mill became a small holiday business in the late 1960s with these properties followed by our current riverside lodges.

Millers House with the earliest holidaymakers.

Millers House int he 1970s as a holiday cottage

 

In the late 1970s the outbuildings of a barn and stable were converted to make Roots and Tree Tops Cottages. For years they were popular at Coombe Mill but towards the end of their life the problems with damp and lack of space and facilities were becoming an issue. Holiday expectations have risen so far in recent years and these two cottages were simply never going to meet these demands, despite being full of character and quaint looking.

Tree Tops and Roots Cottages at Coombe Mill

Let the work begin

And so in 2012 we closed down Roots and Tree Tops and used our winter period to demolish them, but not before we had a bit of fun in there for Halloween. It was sad to see them go; though I knew what we had in mind for their replacement was going to be far superior.

Halloween Fun to Cottage Demolition

 

The work was not confined to the properties themselves, there were huge amounts of ground work needed to clear the bank at the back, make a proper garden and allow the light in and improve the drainage which had been such an issue previously. The cost was such that we had to make the build a 2 year project stopping at the foundations and making the site safe in 2013 then continuing the build that winter. Farmer Nick was there to oversee and project manage every step of the way.

Foundations at Tree Rootswinter work on Tree Roots foundations

 

Being a timber framed property the build shot up and we were so lucky with the weather, a lovely 2 week window of dry clear days meant the builders had the frame up and watertight before the heavens opened.

 

Tree Roots Timber Frame

We really paid for it after that with the relentless rain of January and February but there was plenty to do indoors with modern insulation, plumbing, electrics and more. I find this part of the build quite frustrating, hours turn into days and months with so little to really show, but it is important to get it right. The underfloor heating is quite a science and there are plenty of tea breaks in the building trade.

Months of work on Tree Roots

 

Outside similarly took weeks of work. We reused all the old granite stone from the previous cottages to face up the front of Tree Roots and what was left made the garden wall.

 

Using the old granite stone

One side of the old cottage remains as a feature of the wall. This was previously the twin bedroom right down in the flood plain; thank goodness we made the changes when we did as surface water lay in the old bedroom for weeks last winter. 

 

Tree Roots feature garden wall

 

The Finished Cottage

The final cottage looks a perfect balance of old and new with the reclaimed stone. It fits in a treat next to Willow and Honeysuckle cottages to one side and Millers House, Two Chimneys and Water Mill the other. We re-tarmacked the driveway and cottage car parking after all the building lorries finally left which left all the cottages looking fresh and complete.

 

Tree Roots and other Coombe Mill Cottages

The Fun part

With the plastering complete inside and the painting well underway it was time to make the blank canvas into a luxury holiday cottage. I say fun because I love the design stage; however it really took it out of Nick and me at times juggling around our already busy lives. 

As we scoured the shops and the internet I took delight in sharing purchases and seeking feedback along the way across all social media formats. There really is so much needed to make a home and so much choice out there.

 

 Shopping for Tree Roots

This is our seventh new build in our thirteen years at Coombe Mill so we have a pretty good feel for timing and budget, having said that there is always something new to market and home decorating style moves as fast as clothes fashion. Achieving new and trendy with something that won't look too "house of 2014" before the first refit is due is a balancing act and one I hope we have right. I am lucky that Farmer Nick is a dab hand with DIY and many of the little extras from stair gates to the patio table and outdoor name plaque were made by him.

Tree Roots DIY from Farmer Nick

 

Tree Roots has no bathroom tiles or kitchen tiles, new panelling material looks modern and will be more hygienic for longer without grout to clean. The bathroom panels we found online, they are still hard to come by and not widely available. The kitchen backsplash and Kitchen units are from Trago Mills.

 

Modern Kitchen & Bathroom Materials in Tree Roots Cottage

 

Our bedroom furniture was a bit of a gamble as we felt the modern office look would be more contemporary than pine. To make it even funkier we bought something in every colour then mixed and matched draws and doors for a totally individual look. These came from Trago Mills. The fun colours provided the colour scheme for decorating the whole of upstairs. Some of the pictures were reclaimed from the old cottages while others and the Lampshades were bought to tone in with the furniture from The Range. 

 

Funky office furniture for Tree Roots

 

Instead of pine beds in the master bedrooms we added two super king leather look low rise beds as shown above and complemented these with premium mattresses for these and the single beds from Bed Sale Online ensuring a good night's sleep for all who stay. 

 

Master Bedrooms ensuite at Tree Roots

The two master bedrooms have large walk in showers in their ensuite bathrooms and modern ceiling skylights for natural daylight. The family bathroom has the same panelling and shower together with a bath and there is plenty of space in here for bath time with the children.

Modern bathrooms & Ensuites in Tree Roots Cottage

 

There are two further bedrooms upstairs, one with twin beds and the other a children's room to sleep four. All the rooms will comfortably take a cot.

 

Twin & Quad Bedrooms

 

Downstairs the kitchen dining room is the hub of the house. I am thrilled with the look of this room. From our bargain funky sofas, huge dining table and modern kitchen to the cheeky animals canvases on the wall. With a feature log burner between full opening patio doors, this is holiday living at its best.

 

 

Double Patio doors on Tree Roots Kitchen

 

Tree Roots Kichen the hub of the house

 

In addition to the vast kitchen dining room there is a grown up's living room in sophisticated black with a large cinema style TV. This is intended as an adults retreat while across the corridor the children have their own playroom complete with DVD player and their own TV to watch on comfy bean bags with two boxes of toys to delve into for endless play time.

 

Funky lounge with Cinema style TV in Tree Roots CottageModern Lounge for the grown ups in Tree Roots Cottage

Play room in Tree Roots

Finally downstairs just inside the front door we have a utility cloakroom and downstairs toilet. I love this inspired use of the spare shower screen from Farmer Nick as a coat stand. It will be so useful for farm overalls and welly boots after the morning feed run.

 

Handy Utility & Loo

Leaving the best to last!

Perhaps the most exciting feature of Tree Roots is what lays beyond the huge patio doors to the rear. A landscaped garden with one of Farmer Nick's bespoke bench tables to sit 12, a fun playhouse from Activity Toys Direct for the little ones to play in, gates to secure the garden from the rest of Coombe Mill so you can enjoy your private space with the doors open knowing the children are safe and best of all our very first Coombe Mill Hot Tub. This is a quality tub to enjoy by day or night with colourful led lights to turn a Spa evening into a magical social experience. Huge thanks to Ruggles Leisure who professionally advised as on which make to choose and brought and installed the tub for us. If it is as successful as I think it will be we could be keeping them in business for some time refitting other properties too.

 

Back of Tree Roots

To the side of the house with the old cottage wall is a slate patio area with built in BBQ so grownups can cook without little ones being too close. Down two steps the patio continues with an all surface swingball from Cuthberts Toys for older children to enjoy.

 

 Tree Roots Garden Features

See all the Magic of Tree Roots in our Video

I would love to take credit for the video but in fact it is by Mark Futter, one of our guests, who made it for us whilst here with his family on holiday. Thank you Mark it shows off Tree Roots perfectly.

 

Fancy a visit?

Prices range from £749 to £2299 depending on time of year. The property sleeps ten and is ideal for families to share or for a large family gathering. All electric is included at Tree Roots although use of the hot tub for the week is £35 and the log burner £15 including all the logs you need. It is also our first property to have the Coombe Mill wifi hard wired inside so you can enjoy a great connection on our superfast broadband in every room as fitted by I Comms South West our friendly local communications provider. Furthermore we make no charge for any of the wifi at Coombe Mill.

Our website has all the details for the property including price, availability and online booking, though I am more than happy to answer your questions or make a booking with you over the phone.

I hope to welcome you and your family soon.

Fiona x

 

I'm linking my Tree Roots journey up with these great linkys. Click on them to see what others are sharing. 

  

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Silent Sunday / Project 52

May 31, 2014 at 11:59 PMCoombeMill

Half Term Feed run on the Tractor & Trailer

 

  TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky   OneDad3Girls   Love All Blogs Better Photos Project

Country Kids from Coombe Mill

May 30, 2014 at 11:36 PMCoombeMill

Boardriders at Polzeath

The beach has to be my favourite place when I am not here at Coombe Mill and it is a love shared by all my children too. From Easter to October half term they all enrol for Boardriders at Polzeath beach on a Tuesday after school. This is one of the highlights of the week for us all and whatever the weather I know we are all going to enjoy it. For the children it is a chance to have a chat with all their friends, most of the local village school attends, for the adults some fresh sea air and a coffee or a stroll along the beach to watch the children and for the odd over enthusiastic parent a chance to join in with the kids (yes, that'll be me).

Boardriders social and fun

The friendly staff at Surf's Up Surf School have a laugh and a joke with the children so it never feels like school yet they really do learn how to surf and will tell them off or send them onto the beach for being silly, I have caught Guy and Jed having time out on more than one occasion. Before they go into the sea they cover the theory on the beach. Wave conditions, the current, wind direction and understanding the importance of the lifeguard's flags are all essential.

 

Beach talk

Then it's off into the waves to put their learning into practice under the careful guidance of the instructors.

 

In the waves at surf club

 

They spend over an hour actually in the water and mine love everything from the silly games to riding the waves. It is so much harder than the children make it look and required good balance and careful attention to the tips and techniques given out by the instructors.

 Riding the waves

When the tide is high and there isn't too much beach to carry the heavy boards over I do like to have a go, however being less agile than the children I spend most of my time crashing into the sea! The children love to have a giggle at my expense but I'm happy to humour them as I love trying. I did actually scramble up for one wave but of course no one caught my golden moment. 

 

 Trying to surf

 

Every week I reflect on how lucky we are to have the opportunity to do sports like this. For those coming to Coombe Mill on holiday you can book lessons with the Surf's up Surf School for children and adults. Children need to be confident in water and age five plus to handle the board with help. For everyone else and me most of the time, there is wave jumping and body boarding.

 

 

Joining in with Country Kids  

From the garden to the beach I would love you to join me for Country Kids. All posts about outdoor fun are welcome, Country Kids is simply about enjoying nature's playground and leaving screens turned off for a while. Fresh air is so good for mind and body and a perfect way to enjoy quality family time. Each week there are some really inspiring posts linked up, do grab the badge and check out the other posts, it may be the inspiration for your next adventure.

A few of my favourite posts from last week:

Our Trebah lodge is named after these lovely gardens. Sophie Is shares their beauty

MummytoBoyz enjoyed some good British holiday fun in Devon

AttachmentMumma shares the joy of beach evenings

Some handy trips for visiting Ceebies Land from BrummyMummyof2

I'm in love with the gorgeous photos from Would Like to be on their country walk.

 

Remember you can join Country Kids here on the linky as well as:

Pin on the Pinterest board

Join the Google Plus community page   for Country Kids

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids 

 _________________________________

You may feel voted out after The MADS and BIBS but I am in the Loved By Parents Finals for my Holidays under Special Awards for Best Family Travel Destination and Best Family Holiday Accommodation and I would really love your vote here. The form is a little complicated so if you are happy I can do it for you with a name and email. Just drop me both to mail@coombemill.com and you will make my day. 

Thank You

Fiona x

___________________________________

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Loved By Parents Awards

May 29, 2014 at 9:50 PMCoombeMill

Shortlisted

The much awaited Loved by Parents shortlist for the 2014 awards is out. These awards cover an enormous range of products and services from all over the world that are rated by parents. The judges have spent weeks pouring over the hundreds and hundreds of entries and I am thrilled to be one of those shortlisted in two categories with in the Special Awards section.

1. Best Family Friendly Accommodation as Coombe Mill Farm Holidays

2. Best Family Travel Destination as Coombe Mill North Cornwall.

The winner will be the the one pulling the most votes between now and 29th June. Last year I managed to win the Gold in both categories, no pressure then! I am totally dependant on those who have visited us, heard about us and wanting to visit us to put that vote in. Please please do so, it only takes a minute and would really make my day.

If you click on the the form you will be asked to enter your name and email.

You then have 3 votes each asking:

1. Category e.g. Special Awards

2. The Category Name for This Entry e.g. Best Family Friendly Accommodation

3. Name of the Company you would like to vote for e.g. Coombe Mill Farm Holidays

If I use up two of your votes realise that only leaves you with one more, I know it is a big ask when there are so many categories and companies, but if you feel you can vote I would be ever so grateful. This year more than ever, Nick, myself and the children have invested so much time, love and money in Coombe Mill and winning would mean the world to us all. 

 

This is the link to the form please just click here

Coombe Mill shortlisted with Loved by Parents

Thank You

Fiona, Nick, and the children

xxxx

 

Please share our family farm holidays, I'd be so proud

Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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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