Loved By Parents Awards

May 29, 2014 at 9:50 PMCoombeMill


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



Anyone for Swingball?

May 29, 2014 at 9:04 AMCoombeMill

Outdoor play

There is much importance being placed on the benefits of outdoor play, of safe fun for kids enjoying the simple pleasures in life. I am a hardened campaigner through my Country Kids linky each week supporting all manner of imaginative, crafty and educational ways to make the most of time outdoors with children. There are plenty of tempting indoor distractions around with the myriad of computer games available and all day television, the impetus to play outside for children and safety fears for parents can make outdoor play a challenge compared to years ago. Yet once outdoors and energised by the fresh air and a good idea, outdoor play can rival the best of virtual online gaming. Once the kids are inspired many of our childhood games from hide and seek to bike riding are still every bit as relevant in the modern day.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A Traditional Toy Shop

Cuthberts is a lovely toy shop in the heart St Albans with an online website selling all manner of toys for children. Browsing the website I was especially impressed with the traditional and educational focus for many of the items together with a whole section on outdoor sports and games. The website is easy to navigate and products and prices all clear. There is something here guaranteed to make every child want to enjoy some screen free outdoor time and with the on line ordering it is available to all, even if like me you live nowhere near St Albans. There is even free delivery if you spend over £30.

Cuthberts Toys

A New Swingball for Tree Roots Cottage

When Chrissie who works with Cuthberts, better known as the lovely @mediore_mum on twitter, asked me if I would like to review the new swingball in their range I was delighted.


New Swingball for Coombe Mill

Chrissie has stayed with us at Coombe Mill and knows how much outdoor fun is a part of farm life for our holidaymakers and my own children. We have a swingball set in one of our play areas which is a dig in the ground variety and very popular but I was keen to put the all terrain version we received onto the shiny new slate patio to the side of Tree Roots cottage. With the hose right by the patio for filling the hot tub it was really easy to fill the base and I had plenty of helpers keen to give it a go.

Helping put up swingball

The children took it in turns on the swingball and really put it through its paces. Then they developed a relay system swapping places every time I shouted "change". This way everyone took turns and the fun carried on for hours as the sun crept round to the patio.

Playing Swingball


Theo enjoyed the free tail ball which came with the set too, harder than it looks!


Playing tailball


The All terrain swingball retails for £24.99 on the Cuthberts website, well worth it for the hours of fun it gives, though probably worth having a check around the rest of the site and topping your order up by another £5 for the free delivery. 

Our afternoon of outdoor fun with swingball

If you like the look of this great, easy to assemble swingball set from Cuthberts Toys why not enter to win one of your own. Just follow the rafflecopter instructions below. Good luck to all those taking part.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent my swingball from Cuthberts Toys for the purpose of this review. All opinions on the product are my own.

Tutti Fruity Gammon

May 26, 2014 at 7:30 AMCoombeMill

Inspired by Redcurrants

I have been cooking in earnest to fill our shop freezers ready for the busy summer season. There is now a good selection of my regular dishes, many of which are here on the blog, but every now and then I have an ingredient knocking around that inspires me to try something new. In this case I had found a hidden bag of redcurrants in the freezer left over from our 'Pick Your Own' afternoon at Pencarrow House last summer and decided it was time to use them before we return this year to gather more.

Theo tasting a redcurrant at Pencarrow PYO

I do love to experiment and can never follow a recipe, an idea and flavour combination just takes my fancy and I'm away creating with what I find in the cupboards and fridge. I had a yearning for something sweet and sour for supper and thought the redcurrants would work perfectly with the gammon I had also defrosted. Delighted with the way it turned out I am sharing the recipe here. It is a perfect meal to cook in bulk and freeze so would be an excellent choice for a large family gathering or party where you want an easy recipe to prepare in advance and impress all with a truly unique and flavoursome meal. 


2 large Gammon joints (I forgot to weigh them but it really doesn't need to be exact)

3 to 4 tablespoons of plain flourIngredients for Tutti Fruity Gammon

1/2 Bottle rose wine

200ml Elderflower presse

4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 desert spoon Hoisin Sauce

1 Teaspoon of mustard powder

300g fresh or frozen redcurrants

1 tin sliced peaches in light syrup

1 tin mango slices in light syrup

1 tin of borlotti beans - drained

1 tin kidney beans - drained

500g red onions - sliced

500g carrots - cut into rings

Black pepper to taste


Chop the gammon into chunks; boil in plenty of fresh water for 40 minutes and drain. This is the most time consuming stage so worth ensuring you have a good sharp knife ready. 

Chopped Gammon

Reduce the heat and sprinkle over the flour, toss lightly for 1 minute to coat the meat and form a thick paste with any juices left on the gammon.

Adding flour to the gammon


When the flour begins to stick to the pan add all other ingredients except the peaches and mango. Stir gently to combine and place in a moderate oven for an hour.


Mining other ingredients into Gammon

Remove and add the peaches and mango with their juice and return to the oven for a further half an hour on a reduced heat.


Adding peaches & mango to Gammon

To serve

I served with Chinese noodles and salad for our supper but layered the casserole over the noodles for our shop meals. It would also work very well for a party with jacket potatoes or rice and a salad or green beans. It had the thumbs up from all my family so I hope our guests enjoy it too.


Tutti Fruity Gammon


Silent Sunday / Project 52

May 24, 2014 at 11:10 PMCoombeMill

 Coombe Mill Chick & child


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

Posted in: On the Farm | Weekly Photo

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill

May 23, 2014 at 11:30 PMCoombeMill

Lanhydrock House and Gardens

A lovely sunny day gave us an opportunity to enjoy some family time between the morning feed run and afternoon train ride. We indulged in a late farm style breakfast and set off for Lanhydrock House. Despite having lived at Coombe Mill thirteen years and this great National Trust House being only 20 minutes from us, we have never visited. Guests are often asking us about it and the locals have told us the new cycle paths are wonderful for families so we piled in the car and set off. All of us except the eldest Alistair who is in the middle of his GCSE exams and stayed to revise. This was our first trip away from Coombe Mill as a family since his exams began and I did feel guilty leaving him, but we promised a BBQ with friends in the evening as an incentive and that he should make the most of a quiet house for a few hours.  

Arriving at Lanhydrock we found parking easy in the newly built and free car park. I could see immediately why everyone is talking about Lanhydrock. There is a wonderful purpose built play area for children and very modern airy looking cafe right next to the car park. The kids all circled it but only Clio went in, a sad reminder that mine are growing up now. Years ago we would have struggled to move them passed this point and it looked as though many were here for a bite to eat and an easy afternoon's play.


 Lanhydrock Adventure Playground

Bike hire from here means you can do some of the 10k of family cycle paths through woodland without paying to go into the house, or of course for free if you take your own bike and we have undercover bike storage at Coombe Mill. We did consider this but sorting seven bikes with the inevitable fixes they would need first meant it was one to wait for another day.


Lanhydrock Bike Hire

It is a short walk to the house entrance but there is a land train running back and forth, racing this was a must for my gang; followed by hopping over the garden wall just to fool the poor ticket lady as Nick tried to pay and explain there were five children with us!

Entering Lanhydrock

The grounds are wonderful, I can only imagine we saw them at their best with the Rhododendrons out. There is plenty of space to wander free and paths for buggies, the kids soon found the little cafe selling ice creams and were very happy exploring and playing.


Lanhydrock Gardens


Having Fun in Lanhydrock Gardens

We insisted on a tour inside the house, it was beautifully presented with plenty of information on the family that owned the house, how it burned down and was then restored and the use for each of the many rooms. The younger children lost interest after the kitchens when I wouldn't let them steal a jam tart from the display and went on ahead. The old style knife cutters, fridges and huge fireplace grill were actually fascinating.

Inside Lanhydrock House

As we passed the school room there was evidence on the little black boards they had worked their way right round, all be it faster than us!

School Room at Lanhydrock House

On our way back to the car we stopped to watch the Gymkhana taking place and of course climb a tree or too.

 Gymkhana & Tree Climbing at Lanhydrock


My favourite photo from the day, it had to be with the beautiful rhododendrons. 


Clio in the Rhododendrons at Lanhydrock


A lovely day out and I think we will be back with the bikes too.



Back at Coombe Mill it was time for the train ride and to fire up that promised BBQ for Ally who missed all the fun.


Train & BBQ at Coombe Mill

Joining in with Country Kids

If you have been out enjoying the Summer weather do come and share here on the linky. All outdoor activities are welcome, Country Kids is about making the most of family screen free time for fun outdoors from your garden to the beach. Nature's playground gives children so many opportunities for play, learning, crafts and adventure. Please do grab the badge and check out the other posts here, there are always some inspiring ideas you may like to try.

A few of my favourites from last week:

The Reading Residence visited Sudbury Hall and Museum for an action packed fun

Spring Tide Festival from Chelsea Mamma will make you want to be part of their day

Adventures in home schooling enjoyed dam building & exploring down by the stream 

Ruby plus Lottie found my favourite beach

Time to craft is creative in the garden

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 

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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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