Posted on February 25th, 2017 - Fiona
Friendship is a theme I often return to when talking about life on the farm. It is something I try to encourage for the children staying with us. I find children are generally natural friendship makers and all they need is the opportunity to let this shine. The organised farm activities each day at Coombe Mill like the morning tractor ride to feed the animals is one such example. Friendships blossom over common interests and the different ages couldn’t matter less. Older children encourage younger children and younger children respond with an obvious adoration of their older companions. I see this pattern form each week, but some weeks it is exceptional and a delight to watch. This past half term has been one such occasion.
These first photos were taken on the Sunday morning Feed Run. Here the children are familiarising themselves with the animals and each other.
Animal Feed Run at Coombe Mill
On board the tractor and trailer is a great opportunity for children to strike up conversations
Already the children are working together with Farmer Nick
Our smallest pigmy goat called Queenie, laps up all the attention and food.
Under Farmer Nick’s watchful eye the children all line up to watch the deer come down for their breakfast
We were away ourselves visiting family in the middle of the week returning at the end to see friendships cemented and a real togetherness by the time it came to the last train ride and activity hour. We made daffodils from sticks and toilet rolls that they wanted to plant around their newly made den.
All the families staying with us at half term had visited before, but not necessarily at the same time. Two of them have now rebooked for next year. I am already looking forward to seeing these same friendships rekindled in 2018. If you fancy joining them, February is our cheapest school holiday week of the year and the 2018 bookings are now open.
Do you look for friendship and fun for your children on holiday?
Posted on February 24th, 2017 - Fiona
Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill
Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:
“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”
Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the National Trust 100 things to do before you are 11¾ along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
It’s nearly spring, time to discover what’s new outdoors.
I don’t know about you, but here on the farm January seemed to drag on forever while February has raced by. Whether it is the lengthening days or spring growth raising our spirits I’m not sure, but along with the seasons changing so our willingness to enjoy family outdoor time has increased too. I hope February has been a good month for you with some adventures to share on the link up below.
Guidelines for Joining in:
- Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
- Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
- Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
- Please comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
- If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
- Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
- Linked posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
- I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
- By joining in with Country Kids you’re giving me permission to email you weekly as a reminder.
- There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.
My top commenters from 18th February:
1st Sonia from Mummy Constant who commented on 20 posts.
2nd Sonia from Mamma’s School who commented on 19 posts.
3rd Hiedi from Him, Me and Three who commented on 18 posts.
Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids
Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly
I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.
Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here, will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!
For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.
Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the February Rockfish Wellies:
Top Commenter : Sonia from Mummy Constant
An alternative family Valentine’s campfire picnic in the snow looks so magical from Sonia at The Mammas School.
Four Acorns spent a day admiring the multicoloured rock formations in Rosières, Haute-Loire, France.
Country Kids Communities
I’d love you to join me:
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.
Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.
Join the growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.
I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. With over 1800 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.
My favourite photos from the week came from @tarajgreaves @tammymumuk @four_acorns @lakessinglemum Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following.
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Posted on February 24th, 2017 - Fiona
We had a rare Sunday where the boys had a Rugby match in a beautiful harbour town and we and no guests. This was an opportunity for a family adventure and we grabbed the chance. A quick look at the map to find the Rugby pitch and we spotted it was right next to the final section of the Saints Way trail. This is a trail stretching for 30 miles from Padstow on the North Coast to Fowey on the south coast. We traced the spur path down to Polkerris beach where there was a branch of our favourite Fowey bistro. It only looked about 2.5 miles. The plan was formed and I was looking forward to an adventure.
From Rugby to Fowey Town
Dropping the boys at the Rugby pitch Nick, Clio and I noted the path we needed later and drove down into the town. It was as chilly as I remember last time we visited Fowey, but dry so I wasn’t complaining. We mooched around the shops and harbour and warmed up in a cute little coffee shop.
By the time we headed back to the Rugby club the boys were just finishing. Caked in mud but thrilled with their win with both scoring a try they headed into the changing rooms.
The Saints Way Trail
Thankfully a quick shower had transformed them and we all set off along the Saints Way trail towards Polkerris. Having never been along the path before we took a map print out for guidance. Nick took great pleasure in sharing his best Geographer skills and testing the kids on the landscape we could expect, the distance and topography.
The Saints Way trail section delivered on every count. We passed through woodland, over little bridges, under a bridge, past farm animals and chatted about all kinds of things whist building our appetites for lunch.
There were trees to climb and trees to practice pull ups and even a rope swing I had to forbid them using as I could see jumping off would risk tumbling down a step bank and an ambulance trip instead of lunch!
At one point we went right through a seriously muddy farm. The boys only had trainers on and so accepted a fireman lift from Dad. I wonder how much longer he will be able to do this for, they are already far too heavy for me to lift like this.
Finally the beach was insight and the kids ran down only to discover a very much shut looking beach bistro.
There was nothing for it, a quick splash in the sea and wander over the beach and we headed back.
With tummies rumbling we made quick work of the return journey along the Saints’ Way and rang ahead to book into the Fowey bistro, our lesson learned! I knew we were returning faster as we had all stripped off coats and jumpers and it wasn’t actually very warm.
Back in Fowey
We would have needed to walk back anyway so we hadn’t really lost out and the walk was refreshing. We were however more than ready for lunch!
By the time we finished the sun had come out and as the boys had missed out in the morning we took one last look around the harbour enjoying the local ice cream.
We left before Jed could frighten me anymore balancing on railings too close to the sea! Driving home I realised how special family days out like this are. We will be back into our busy season soon, but at least I have this section of The Saints’ Way as another good recommendation to pass on to those on holidays with us looking for fun family days out.
Tips for walking the Saints’ Way from Fowey to Polkerris Beach and Back
- Park on the road by the Fowey Rugby club
- Wear wellies or good walking boots, trainers may be OK in summer.
- not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs.
- Distance is about 2 – 2.5 miles each way but feels further with rugged ground and some steep climbs.
- Take towels / change of clothes for swimming or paddling at Polkerris beach.
- Sam’s Bistro have great deluxe burgers and seafood but is pricey. Open all year in Fowey town but seasonal opening at Polkerris.
- For cheaper food options in Fowey there are several bakeries serving pasties and more with plenty of harbour seating available to enjoy the view. We do this in summer.
- Toilets at Fowey and Polkerris require 20p entry.
- Parking in Fowey is very limited, park in the signed car park and walk into the town. Aprox 1/3 mile.
- Harbour rails in Fowey are not idea for small children and they need to be supervised running near the edge.
Posted on February 20th, 2017 - Fiona
Coombe Mill sits nestled in a beautiful woodland valley on the edge of Bodmin moor and an area of outstanding natural beauty. We take full advantage of our wonderful wooded back drop with all the crafts and activities we do with our younger holiday guests. For my children being outdoors and exploring nature is second nature and by the end of a week on the farm the children staying here have come to love and respect our woodland too. I’d love for children everywhere to experience the joy of England’s woodland, but sometimes it can be hard to know how to begin. Boolino have the answer with a new range of books from Maverick Arts Publishing based on ‘Woodland Hedgehugs’ with two dear little hedgehog characters.
Woodland Hedgehugs Horace and Hattie
Meet Horace ad Hattie the stars of the books; two lovable characters that will guide you through the woods with an adventure at every turn.
Treat yourself to the activity book and be inspired by countless activities and crafts for children to do, make and collect within the woods. No family walk need be dull again with inspiration from the book. From bark rubbing to play doe animal prints, tree identification to making your own woodland, this book has it covered.
We love the scavenger hunts the book suggests and regularly create them here, spotting colour in nature is a great way to appreciate the colours by season and animal tracks are fun to look for up in our deer field. We even have some handy reminders of the footprints to look for in our woodland fairy garden.
I am definitely trying out the musical sticks for one of our upcoming crafts; we have plenty of y shaped sticks to find and were given a box of bottle tops which will be perfect.
At just £5.99 this book is full of imaginative ideas that won’t cost you the earth to make, but create a zest for exploring our lovely woodlands, which in itself is an inexpensive family day out. The ideas in the book will engage children from age 3 to 8. I am very impressed with the book and will be using the ideas for future activity hour inspiration here on the farm.
After a busy day of exploring and making why not relax indoors with the delightful Hedgehugs storybook, or take it with you on a woodland exploration and read it under a tree? Learn all about how the Hedgehug name came about in an enchanting make believe story to set imaginations running. Priced at £6.99 it is one to read over and over. The book is not too wordy but has plenty of colourful illustrations that are perfect for younger preschool children.
Win your Woodland Hedgehugs Activity & Story Book with Boolino and Coombe Mill
If you fancy exploring your local woods inspired by some fun crafts and activities and relaxing with a good story after why not enter to win. Simply follow the instructions below.
Good luck to all taking part.
I was sent our copy of the Woodland Hedgehugs Activity Book and Hedgehugs story book for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Coombe Mill holiday guests will find our copies to borrow in our games room.
Posted on February 18th, 2017 - Fiona
Following on from my posts about Athens and where we stayed in Kefisia, I’m sharing today the next leg of our Greek trip last summer. It’s a bit of a change from my Sunday photos on the farm but the area is so beautiful in a very different way to Cornwall, I wanted to share a little of what we enjoyed here and brighten up a Sunday in February.
Booking a holiday independently from the UK in an area you are unfamiliar with is not easy, even in the modern age of the internet. We wanted a two centre holiday, beginning with a few days in Athens and finishing with a few days on the coast. For our coastal stay the area near Nafplion, in the Peloponnese region south of Athens, appealed having good reviews. We randomly selected a hotel in a little village called Kantia. That was back in February last year and we had a whole 5 months to wait before we would find out if our choice was a wise one.
The Greek roads have been transformed out of all recognition in the 20 years since I last visited. A super new highway connected Athens with the Peloponnese and in our hire car, complete with sat nav; we reached our destination in under 3 hours. Stepping out of the car was like stepping back into the Greece I remembered; dusty roads, fabulous houses next to derelict ones, rooms to rent and a rather undiscovered beach devoid of all the touristy water sports. Instead the beach supported just the odd Taverna every 200 yards or so, lemon trees, olive trees, the odd dog lying underneath and our little hotel just 30 yards up a dirt track from the beach. This was clearly a place for the locals but with a Greek surname and a smattering of Greek it was just what we were hoping for.
After confusion on arrival and a misplaced booking we were in. Thank God my ever prepared husband had the bank statements and emails printed out to prove we had booked and paid. I did feel sorry for the flustered owner, it is my one nightmare, that the booking system will fail and I’ll have a family arrive I’m not expecting. I’m pleased to say in 15 years it has not yet happened!
Our 4 days here were perfect. After an adequate breakfast we set out exploring the area in the mornings covering Nafplion, Mycenae and Epidavros retreating back in the afternoon for a swim and siesta around the pool or down on the beach.
I love this photo of my eldest and his Dad (Farmer Nick) walking from the hotel to the beach together.
We explored on foot and swam for miles before falling into one of the two tavernas each night to watch the sun go down, sipping ouzo and indulging in the local Greek food.
Greek style squid is still one of my favourite meals
Sun setting inland over Kantia
Early Morning was my favourite time to swim when the sea was as calm as a pond
Tips and pitfalls of staying in Kantia
- We stayed in the Candia House Hotel. It is a mid range hotel, nothing fancy, a little tired but friendly and welcoming and more than adequate. We ended up in the Presidential suit after confusion with our booking, which was a cut above the other rooms. It had a pool and wonderful views out to sea from our suite and the breakfast room / veranda. There is shady parking area for cars and rooms are serviced daily. I would book here again if returning to Kantia.
- Pack light. We only travelled with hand luggage which saved us over £100 each and this was adequate in July. I never needed a jacket once; only swim wear, shorts, tops and a couple of floaty dresses.
- It is suitable for children but be careful in the water as it shelves very quickly so younger children may find swim aids helpful.
- My favourite time to swim was at sunrise and after dark when the sea was like a lake. A wind whipped up the waves during the day.
- WiFi is excellent all around. There is free beach WiFi and it was free in the Tavernas and in our hotel.
- You have to feel comfortable with the Greek style of eating. There is only Greek food on the menu and it is served Greek style, i.e. haphazardly when it is ready. We were happy to go with the flow and share everything, but if you like to order and eat your own it is not ideal as one dish may be half an hour ahead of another.
- Watch out ordering wine, it is only local and pretty poor quality. I loved the old peasant wine Retzina, however this is no longer sold even in the supermarkets, the replacement is quite poor if you like a good sauvignon like me. Local beer is a better bet.
- In the absence of good wine I developed a taste for the local Ouzo with ice. Watch out though as the little bottles I had were 75% proof and more like half pint sized!
- The locals all speak excellent English and are very hospitable so asking anything is easy.
- Kantia is a made up spelling from the Greek alphabet. Unfortunately every map producer has chosen a different English equivalent meaning you have to watch for signs to Kantia, Cantia, Candia and try them all in a sat nav!
- We hired a car from Kafisia where were staying in Athens via Hertz rental and opted for the Sat Nav too. It was a 5 seater costing £320 for 4 days returning to Athens Airport which is well signed on the return journey. Petrol is a similar price to the UK.
Would I recommend Kantia?
If you want to experience the real Greece then this is a great holiday, however if you want modern resort facilities and a variety of cuisine this may not be for you. The beaches were quiet during the week but busy at the weekend as the Athenians came down for their weekend / day retreat. For me it was perfect and just what I hoped for my boy’s age 16 and 18. This year we are tied to school holidays again and will be enjoying the summer from home in Cornwall, however I hope to return with our younger children one day.
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