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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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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Team Honk Relay Has Begun

by CoombeMill 12 January 2014 17:57

3 amazing bloggersTeam Honk Relay

Team Honk is the brainchild of three amazing bloggers Annie of Mammasaurus , Penny of Aresidence and T of Mummy Barrow. Together they have travelled and blogged their socks off for Comic Relief and achieved the most amazing amounts of money and publicity all in a great cause. Their work to date is all detailed on the Team Honk website.

Team Honk for 2014

This year begins possibly the biggest blogging challenge yet. Team Honk are mobilising 150 or so bloggers across the UK  for Sports Relief, to move in whatever form from Lands End to John O Groats. All over the country bloggers have been facebooking, tweeting and instagramming plans under the well organised Team Honk leaders. This all takes place from today to March. You can donate here and even help name the travelling batton and give all at once for your chance to win some Hi Tech Trainers.

Team Honk Cornwall

Today was kick off with the wonderful Pippa from Story of a Mum.  Her route was fun filled and varied with lots of fun all the way to Jackie Murray who stepped in, thanks to Zoe Corkhill to hand to Farmer Nick, me and the Boys and from us to Lara Trewin from Trails of the Unexpected for a windswept and soggy bike ride and run to meet Jenny Paulin of Mummy Mishaps.

 

Team Honk Relay for Cornwall 

Pippa and Jackie handing over to us. 

Handovers of Relay Baton

Coombe Mill

Our involvement began back at Coombe Mill as Pippa was on route from Lands End. Farmer Nick hitched up the trailer with the quad bike inside for the boys; and I organised the dressing up with Jed and I as farm animals, Farmer Nick as himself in his farm finest and Guy as our chief Train Driver, a role he is very proud of.

 

 

Coombemill preparing for Team Honk Relay

 

From Coombe Mill we were off to Fraddon to meet Jackie Murray and collect our baton. We just had our order in at Mcdonalds as Jackie spotted the unlikely crew that had to be Coombe Mill in Fancy Dress! Time for a quick hello and photo as they boys gobbled their lunch.


Fuelling up for a Quad Bike Roar

 

The rain came down as the boys zoomed their quad bike from the trailer and joyfully tore around the car park with their baton flying high and Nick and I in hot pursuit!

Back on the road and tweeting away with the all important hashtag #TeamHonkRelay. OK I screwed up and forgot my specs, I think there were a few versions of the hashtag from me as we speed as fast as we dare with the quad bike in tow. In the end we were 25 minutes late to meet Lara Trewin at Camelford. 

On the Road

 

Zoe Corkhill and her family were there to greet us too.  More quad bike action and photos followed in the now growing drizzle, but we were all in high spirits for a great cause. A soggy baton, t-shirts and the wonderful Lands End Sign from Pippa passed between us and our leg was over bar the journey home. Lara and her team set off north by bike racing against time and the weather.

Handing over the Baton at Camelford

I am thrilled to have been a small part of such a wonderful event. Go Team Honk and all who are taking part over the next 3 months. Such amazing support for a great event.

Want to help?

The first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. The public can join the fun and games by running, swimming or cycling their way to raising cash at over a thousand venues around the country, including the landmark events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

As one of the biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people both at home in the UK and across the world.

An offer from Nick and I

We are offering you a £25 discount for EVERY new booking from fellow Honkers made on line for Coombe Mill Farm Holidays. We will also match our discount to you with a further £25 for Sports Relief. Simply add #TeamHonkRelay to your booking.

This offer applies to bookings made between now and the end of the relay in March for holidays taken from now until 20th September 2014.

 

 

Silent Sunday / Project 52

by CoombeMill 11 January 2014 22:14

 

Ladybird on flower bud for photo of the week

 

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill

by CoombeMill 10 January 2014 22:34

The Eden Project

Every year before the children go back to school from the Christmas holidays I like to try and squeeze in a trip to the Eden project. We have season tickets as it is little more than half an hour by car from Coombe Mill. I always have ideas of visiting during the summer as I know they have activities for children all year, however somehow the lure of beach in summer always wins making this our winter place. From November to February they have an ice rink in the concert marquee and I must confess this is the highlight for all my children. Interest in everything else is partial until their place on the ice is secure. 

 

 Ice Skating at Eden Project

There is always someone who spends too much time with their ass wiping the ice, but they tend to bounce back smiling. I have never yet fallen, but then as the children are quick to point out I don't go too fast, try skating backwards or perfecting my 360 turns! 

 Falling on the ice at Eden

Country Kids on Ice

I am the mean mother that carries a bottle of water with me for them to drink and a slice of cake each from home, however this time the kids had their Uncle Mark to spoil them and it was giant hot dogs all round on the side of the ice rink. I think they had a bath in ketchup but were most appreciative.

 

Skate side Treats for Country Kids

Refuelled we took in some of the iconic features that really make Eden famous.

Sights of Eden

The layout of Eden is perfect for inquisitive minds. There is so much to see, touch, do and read making it is educational yet engaging. 

The Mediterranean Biome had us learning how to make Giant crocheted snowflakes from polystyrene piping.

 

Snowflake Making at Eden

We admired fruit growing on the trees under fun coloured lights and ambled round at our own pace. The children happily lifted lids to read about olive oil, dared each other to taste a chilli and had a good look around an old style straw hut.

 

Mediterranean Biome

 

The tropical biome is a chance to warm up from the winter air with plenty more to see and touch as you travel round.

 

 Tropical biome at Eden

Inspiration for Coombe Mill

Eden is full of great ideas that I would love to adopt for us. I was quite taken with the designer tractors and wondered if Nick might be able to copy this. The hop, skip and bounce instructions for little ones along the paths would be fun to create along our lodge path and the domed information stations I would love to have next to our animal fields with information on breed temperament and diet.

 Ideas for Coombe Mill from Eden

Guy and Clio had a quick go at crafting at the DIY crafting room, I loved this idea and have again added it to my 'to do list' for Coombe Mill when we invest in a larger indoor play area. 

 DIY Crafts at Eden

 

Hopefully we won't leave it another year before returning!

 

Family Fun at the Eden Project

Joining in with Country Kids

Please don't let the January weather make you hibernate. Embrace the seasons and grab yourself some outdoor fun. From walking in the woods to playing in the park, wrap up warm, leave the central heating and screens behind and give your mind and body some fresh air. Just remember the camera and come back here to tell of your adventures. Please grab the badge and link up remembering to check out the other posts here, it is often the source of my ideas.

A few of my favourite posts from last week:

HPMCQ Tells of life with us at the farm over New Year 

I love the adventure of this festive row from A party of seven

Brinabirdandson and Mumturnedmom make me long for some winter snow here 

The Puffin Diaries show how outdoor fun can bring family together 

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Together we make Coombe Mill Rock

by CoombeMill 6 January 2014 07:16

Sitting here on 6th January as the schools go back and our New Year's guests have all departed, I find myself reflecting on the past year and our plans and aspirations for 2014. Actually it scares me to look at all we have taken on, had I known this at the start of the year I may have laughed in my own face and run a mile. In reality we have embraced everything, the good and the difficult and come out smiling and looking forward with hope and optimism.

On the FarmFarmer Nick taking kids on the tractor Rides

Farmer Nick works nonstop from dawn to dusk on our 30 acres, not to mention the daily tractor rides for all our guests. It has to be said he adores what he does, imagining him eleven years ago in a suit inside an office just feels so alien now; thank goodness we both changed all that for beautiful Coombe Mill.

 

This year has seen our most successful lambing thanks to vitamin supplements throughout the winter and a dry spring. Our first lambs were born in late February and the little girl, who is rather special, is still with us today.

 

First Lambs of 2013

 

The Pigs have been re-housed with Nick building their new home all from scratch with some help from the teens just in time for Sally to give birth to ten healthy piglets. Creating a huge bonfire from the old shelter remains became an educational family afternoon, I love the way farm and family life integrate for us. Our chick breeding with the Polish Bantams delighted the guests all through the summer season while the Brown Nicks delivered us eggs to collect throughout the year. 

   Sally's Piglets & toddlerBurning the old pig styBaby Chick

Our Stunning new Stag came in a teenager, settled in well and was looking every bit the handsome man come the Rut in October; together with our pretty summer fawns, fathered by our old stag, we have a healthy herd for 2014. We even made our own reindeer in December.

   Coombe Mill Stagfawn hiding in the undergrowthDeer all as a herd

For next year we have plans all in place for a full season of baby animals and hope you might be here to share in some of these special farm moments. However as we are dependent on nature, there are no promises, only plans!

Farm Plans for 2014

Our Farmer Nick does like the big boys' toys and his mate Ben the digger man came in to dredge the carp lake and flatten a new path wide enough for the tractor. Now our morning tractor rides take the scenic tour round the lake. 

 

Creating the tractor path round the lake

 

All was finished just in time for our October half term guests who enjoyed a rather wet but fun week here on the farm.

 

No one enjoys a challenge more than Nick, like this old cart he bought at auction and restored. Now I am coaxing him to try and build a wooden horse to head it up much along the lines of our Christmas reindeer, I'm sure he could do it!

 

A New Cart for Coombe Mill

               Cart bought at auctionPainting and stenciling the cartTaking the cart from shed to lawn

 

Our Holiday Business

The introduction of the Coombe Mill Railway has been a huge hit in 2014. Every afternoon the children delight in boarding the train with Guy our resident driver. It began with a few hiccups, weeks of track tinkering and problems with derailing. However I am delighted to say that slowly but surely as the year progressed we have ironed out the technical glitches and have a truly unique holiday offering. 

Our resident Train driver in action

I took advantage of the engine shed and tunnel to make themed events for our guests. Halloween saw the train and tunnel turn into a ghost train while at Christmas it was transformed into our very own Santa Express complete with Father Christmas and his elves.

   

This year, more than ever before, we enjoyed some fun seasonal events with our guests. Recycling led Raft Races, Easter egg treasure hunts for all ages, natural raft building in the Summer, a full day of Halloween fun, our annual Bonfire night with drinks and a BBQ for all, Christmas Eve fun from 4pm till late and Fireworks at the BBQ hut on New Year's Eve. The feedback from these social occasions has been so positive we plan to take them forward into 2014 with the help and support again of all who stay. 

 Easter recycled rafts to raceEaster Egg HuntNatural Raft Races

Halloween Ghost TrainFireworks for Bonfire NightSanta & elves in the Coombemill grotto

We took off on building Tree Roots cottage in the autumn confident in bookings coming in for 2014. This is going to be our largest property yet to sleep ten plus cots with so many luxury features. At the moment it stands with windows still to go in and plastering underway, not a pretty sight at present but I'm looking forward to sharing the finishing touches here shortly as it is bookable from May 2014.

 

Tree Roots Cottage at January 2014

 

Waving goodbye to Camel, our largest riverside lodge, disappointed regular visitors, but it was reaching the end of its rentable life and has been turned it into a new reception and staff room. This is huge improvement on the old location and a much more welcoming start to your holiday here with lovely new signs from Giraffe Banners to guide you and a wonderful new range of Rockfish Wellies inside our borrow room. Rockfish are a local Cornish business who I am delighted to support.

         Reception from Camel LodgeShop in RecpetionA welcoming reception room at Coombe Mill

                 Rockfish Wellies to borrowmaps and leaflets to borrowReception Signs

Later this year, bookings permitting, we hope to start to incorporate the old reception into Two Chimneys Cottage as they are two parts of the same building. This will make a spacious 3 bedroom property for five people. It will boast a modern layout and a good size playroom; a feature of all our conversions and new builds. My thanks to my Brother, who not only played Santa for us at Christmas, but applied his business knowledge as owner of Upstairs Downstairs in Chester to draft up some fantastic plans for the new Two Chimneys for us. If you see a hike in the price list for 2015 these plans might help explain why; conversely if you are looking for great value in 2014 for a holiday for four then Two Chimneys would be a wise choice as we have lowered prices ahead of the refurbishment. 

Two Chimneys and the old ReceptionTwo Chimneys Plans: Ground floorTwo Chimneys Plans: 1st floor

We were rewarded in the holiday sector for the standard and quality of our holidays. Thank you to everyone who has written reviews for us on Mumsnet, we are proud to be featured as best in class for 2013 and to all who voted us as a double Gold Winter in the holiday sector with Loved By parents. Winning the Jacqueline Gold Women In Business award and being officially approved as Family Friendly really topped an amazing year.

                 Mumsnet Best Self Catering Holidays     Loved By Parents Winner Best Family Friendly Travel Destination        Loved By Parents Winner Best Family Accomodation
   
                         Jacqueline Gold WOW Award for Coombe Mill             

 

It isn't just me though, I have to say a huge thank you for all the active tweeters, facebookers and bloggers who have stayed in 2013, booked for 2014 or just like what we offer and support me online. If you missed any of the wonderful blog reviews on Coombe Mill I have a Pinterest board with links to them. Thanks to all you wonderful people awareness of our farm holidays is spreading across the net in the best, most reliable and honest way possible. We may not be large or have a worthwhile marketing budget, but I feel the support I have is keeping Coombe Mill up there with the "big boys" in the holiday business. Thank you so very much, you all know who you are, you can see your impact in this post and through your social media you are making Coombe Mill Rock. 

The Blog

And to my secret love: I really enjoy my late nights recalling all that we do here on the blog. I now permanently have my camera strapped to me and feel my blog content and writing style has matured so much in my three years of blogging. The only thing to suffer is my sleep as I work into the early hours! I am so encouraged by the amazing comments that you write here, the success of my Country Kids linky which regularly topped a hundred link ups in the summer months last year and the warm support I receive from everyone participating. To see my blogging endeavours rewarded at the wonderful MADS and BIBS national blogging events this year was the best feeling ever; my heartfelt thanks to all who voted to make this happen. Towards the end of the year I was proud to become an Activity Toys Direct Ambassador and continue to be a Forestry Commission blogger.  I really hope I can maintain my blogging momentum into 2014 and inspire all who follow me with outdoor fun, our farm holiday developments and family antics.

       Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallMAD Blog Awards   NOMINATE ME BiB 2013 SOCIALMEDIA   NOMINATE ME BiB 2013 LIFESTYLE 

Activity Toys Direct”Official

Our Family

We survived the year with no major accidents, this when you have free range children on a farm and a husband engaging in machinery and ladders that turn my tummy is my biggest achievement of all. A year older, wiser and full of the love of life, I am so proud of them all. Academically I have those who excel and those who struggle, I have learned that they are all individuals and effort is what counts, to encourage and support but not to push to obtain the best from them. Without the children's help on the farm Nick and I would really struggle and between the fun and frolics that often makes my Country Kids posts they really do pull their weight, for pocket money of course! 

 

Our Children Farmer Nick and Fiona New Year's Eve

 

I am so excited about all we have achieved and everything in the pipeline for 2014. I hope we will see you here at some point during the year to enjoy the fruits of our labour. Please dig those diaries out and check out our price and availability page which now runs into 2015. 

Happy New Year

from

Fiona, Nick, and the children

xxxxxxxx

 

I'm linking up my review of the year with: Emmy's Mummy, The Olivers Magic Moments & PodCast What's the Story

 

Silent Sunday / Project 52

by CoombeMill 4 January 2014 22:35

Eggs on the Farm

 

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