SBS Event 2015

February 1, 2015 at 5:40 PMCoombeMill

I'm on my way home from the most amazing trip to Birmingham for the annual Small business Sunday meet up.


#SBS Winners Event 2015


As a little background I won my tweet out from dragons den Theo Paphitis back in 2011. This is THE community to which all small businesses aspire to belong. It is friendly and supporting on social media and backed by the most inspirational business man.


A Photo of Fiona Cambouropoulos with Theo Paphitis at #sbs Event 2012


This is the third event and I've been lucky to attend them all as I won early in the process and the events fall in our January close down time. Each year builds on the last but a common thread runs through them all and that is sharing what it takes to be successful in Business:

Essentially this boils down to a real belief and passion in what you do. Yet this alone isn't enough, it must be combined with a gritty determination, a self confidence to persist and a thorough understanding of your business money. The assumption here is of course that your business is a viable one in the first instance.

Perhaps not a revolutionary message but delivered as Theo does it reminds me what I love about having our own farm holiday business.

This year three successful business people joined Theo to tell their story of how they made their millions and take questions from a huge expectant audience. Each made me realise how much is possible for those prepared to run with an opportunity.


sbs question time panel

Reflecting back on this in the car as I travel home these are the gems that will stick with me back into my working day next week. 

  1. If you're not boring all your friends and family about your business you should be! I always worry about this one, perhaps I shouldn't. This was Theo's tip that resonated with me.

  2.  We are all masters of our own destiny, Theo is an incredibly motivational and supportive of our individual businesses, but it is us who must use that and create the success for ourselves.

  3.  Success rarely comes from your 1st business venture and it's ok to learn and change. Judith Naake didn't make St Tropez her first business; in fact she didn't acquire the brand until she was 47, my age, and made millions in the 13 years she owned it. How amazing is that? It does inspire me to keep progressing and developing what we do here at Coombe Mill and adapting in line with modern trends.

  4.  Out of disaster can come real compassion and business acumen - Rob Forkhan and his brother lost their parents in the horrific Indonesian tsunami, his story and business success in Gandys flip flops was born from this, moreover his business helps others who were orphaned just as he and his siblings were. I'd rather not experience the disaster but it is a real example of how positive thinking can generate success and that successful business people like Theo and Rob can be compassionate in helping others. Food for thought for me at Coombe Mill and the experience we have to offer children.

  5.  You don't have to be first to market to make a success, it's OK to copy someone else and do it better. The "lovely" Julien Callede from did just this and took online affordable furniture into a multimillion pound business. Tenacity and perseverance and marketing are all important here. Julien marketted online as his point of difference to start his road to success in furniture.


In answer to Theo's Tweet:


A tweet from Theo Paphitis about #sbs event 2015


The question time was the highlight of the event for me. However there was plenty more too.

Networking is a huge part of the day, on a social and business level. It was great to catch up with fellow business friends and meet new contacts too. The formal time set aside for this was much appreciated and of course it spilled over in to some evening fun.


Networking at the #sbs event 2015

The Cornish Contingency

#SBS the Cornish Winners

Day time to Night time fun with #SBS 2015

The website for SBS winners has had a makeover from Metal Frog Studios and I'm excited to update my profile in here and use it more proactively as a member. Joy from AP Bassets Solicitors who is still waiting to win herself says it makes her even more determined to win and enter this website community, I must make my membership count.


New #sbs website


I have a headache from typing in the car on my phone, but I really wanted to capture my renewed motivation for Coombe Mill while it all so fresh. I vow to keep making Coombe Mill Farm the best holiday experience for families of young children.

Finally thank you to Theo, for his support and desire to see others succeed and for to the speakers and the whole SBS organisational team for putting on such an inspirational meet up all fully funded. It is a pleasure to attend. Now to explore my lovely goodie take home bag!


Goodie bag from #SBS 2015


If you have a small business and would like to get involved, look out for this tweet on a Sunday and make your pitch, it could be the best tweet you ever send!

A tweet to Win on #SBS with Theo Paphitis


I am making this post a blog link up for others who attended to link up their posts from the day as I know many have business blogs too and I'd love to read your take out. Grab the code here to share the badge on your site and the link below.


sbs blog hop from coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays



#SBS with Theo Paphitis 2013

December 2, 2013 at 9:27 AMCoombeMill

What is #SBS?#sbs Winner's Badge

 Back in 2011 I was one of the lucky six chosen by Theo Paphitis as his favoured small business of the week. This placed me in the Small Business Sunday club which Theo heads and is designed to give friendly boost from a man respected in the business world. There is a web site for members packed with helpful advice and information and a family of members who are a great support.

Photo from 2012 Conference 

Posing with Theo Paphitis Last year for my #SBS Winning Photo 

Annual Conference for #SBS

Last week I made the journey from Cornwall to the ICC in Birmingham for the 2nd ever #sbs conference. I knew it was one I had to attend after I came home from the first eighteen months ago full of ideas and enthusiasm for Coombe Mill. This time was bigger and better, not only were there more people who have joined the #sbs family, but the planning and delivery of the day had stepped up a gear too. Theo Paphitis is the most inspirational speaker who can inspire with a message straight from the heart and talk with authority from first hand experience. There were opportunities oozing for all us small business owners within the scheme, a huge question and answer session and a raft of new #sbs sponsors to make the whole day possible. I managed to wave my arm high enough and ask a question to see what we could expect from Theo on TV now that he is no longer part of Dragons Den. It sounds like watch this space as he could be popping up shortly though he wasn't giving away when or where!


sbs conference ICC Birmingham

To anyone with a fledgling business, a small family business or a business who just feels they need a little spark and helping hand to lift them a peg or two, then I can't recommend enough trying to enter for #sbs accreditation. It costs nothing to enter and there is everything to gain. Details are all here on the sbs website. The moment when my tweet came back is one I will never forget.


Theo Paphitis Twitter tag from #sbs


Networking: Friends old and new 

Small businesses covering services and products were represented by the hundreds present on the day. The networking sessions were a great chance to find out more about other people's businesses, challenges, struggles and successes and learn from one another.

Catching up with friends I met last time like Sarah from Silver Birch Crafts, John from The, Kim from Welsh Royal Crystal, Katie from Little Big Sports and Red Herring Games was wonderful; a chance to exchange news and business updates. 

 Meeting up with old #sbs friends

Meeting people who I have been tweeting with for ages is always a delight, especially Aycin from B Organic Skin, Joanne from Charlie Moos, Mon and Maria from Sincerity Gifts and Mystic Moon.


#sbs winners I tweet with

For me it was a real bonus to discover people with businesses alighted to my blog who I hope to work with in the future like Aly from The Rainy Day Box Company and Jennifer from Skribbies, both of whom have great products for children.

#sbs winners I'm looking forward to working with

I discovered a whole crowd from Cornwall: Karen from Just Bunting and Helen from Fenteroon cottages my travelling companions, Cassie from Cake Top Characters, Sian from The One Stop Bug Shop and Joy from A P Bassett Solicitors. Great to spend time with them all and a follow up Coombe Mill cake and coffee business meeting is in the pipeline.

Cornish #sbs Winners

Others Who I met included Katherine from My wonderful Little Designs, Liz from Allergy Aware Kitchen but there are always so many with these events who you really want to find but somehow miss on the day. Georgina from Gem Writing, Allison from Allison Franks d/m I was so sorry to miss you and so many others I am now tweeting with.

Just for fun

Travelling to Birmingham and back in a day is just too much from Cornwall so I travelled with Karen from Just Bunting and Helen from Fenteroon Cottages the day before. Meeting up with Aycin from B-organic Skin we took advantage of a little shopping in Birmingham and a night out on the town. It really is a beautiful City and thank you ladies for some excellent company, next year I will have you ice skating not just watching and admiring!


In Birmingham before the #sbs event

The whole trip was quite exhausting but thoroughly enjoyable and I hope to be able to do it all again next year. A huge thanks Theo, his team and the sponsor companies for setting up the day, providing a lovely buffet and all without charging anyone to attend. This level of generosity is really special and so appreciated. My Final thanks goes to Boden Clothing who sponsored my lovely dress for the day, beats my farm gear any day!

I have set this post up as a blog hop in case anyone one else has a post from the day. Just add your post and grab the code this way we can all read each others take on the day and I can see just how many lovely people I managed to miss!


A day with Theo Paphitis

April 2, 2012 at 11:17 AMCoombeMill

Small Business Sunday #SBS Winners Inaugural Meet

It is 3 days since I made the trek from Cornwall to Birmingham with of Just Bunting for a chance of a few hours with some fellow small business twitter friends and to hear from our mentor in common Theo Paphitis.  

Expectations for the day

To be honest, I have been so busy with the holiday season coming into full swing for Easter, our new lodge being built, domestic life as Mummy to our 6 children and supporting Nick on the farm with all the spring births I hadn't given it any thought beyond the logistics of getting there for the day.

So how was it: #SBS Meet?

I was totally blown away by the day as it unfolded. From the ease of parking and registering with   to leaving with  a quick photo by "The Car" .  

Registration Desk at Edgbaston Stadium"The Car"An obvious number plate!

What made SBS so amazing?

Theo of cause!

I think I expected him to make a quick guest appearance on the day and go again. In reality he spent the full 5 hours with us. I shook his hand as he came in; well I could have gone home at that point and still thought the day was great!

Theo Paphitis arriving and meeting us individually Theo Paphis with Sarah from Silver Birch CraftsHaving a laugh with us!

Inspiring us

To then go on and hear his engaging and funny speeches, inspiring us with his passion and dedication to business from his own beginnings, challenging us to shout about our businesses, support each other and not shy away from publicity, I felt I was ready to take on the world after that!

One large room to seat up all!Delivering his magicChris Wheeler from Metal Frog,  Kypros Kyprianou from Rymans and Theo Paphitis

A dedicated website

But there was more! Theo had invested time, passion and support with a deserving #SBS winner from to develop a #SBS web site Why? For us to have an opportunity to share, develop and grow our business "A website for winners, by winners" and an endorsement from Theo.

New #SBS website explained

Now it was beginning to sink in just how privileged I was on 9.10.11 to receive this little Re tweet: 

Theo Paphitis Twitter Feed with Coombe Mill

Suddenly I felt part of something big, something real and something with so much passion and energy that I truly believe we will as #SBS winners make our new web site work for us and our individual businesses.

Questions and Answers

Asking a question to Theo Paphitis

An electric two way session had me with my hand up in the air like a school girl, not once but twice I stood up to ask a question. If you had asked me before would I have done this I would have laughed in your face, that is how wrapped up in the essence of the day I had become. 


That Photo

Talk about the icing on the cake, a photo and a certificate, I was as excited as the children leaving Coombe Mill with their farm hat and certificate! Thank you Theo, we all loved that one! 

Theo Paphitis awarding my #SBS certificate

Fired up by my fellow winners

I have never thought of myself as a networker or as having much confidence, but when I look back at my pictures and notes I think I may be more of a closet networker than I feel. Thrilled to be able to meet so many I tweet as I "speed dated" my way round the room. I have become known as the camera and notebook lady of the day thanks to  . I think the two tally and I have those I managed to stop and chat to correctly matched to photos, but please let me know if not! (Hover over the photo for information)

Jane and Neil from Kidz OutdoorsHeather from A Little Furniture ShopRachel from Kool Sun Kids

 Nicola Cunningham From Wood and WillowsSarah from Tiny GemsKim from welsh Royal Crystal

Tia Lush from Who Ate My CrayonsDebbie and Gavin from Eco BagsHelen Botrill from Kindred Rose & Ali from My Gorgeous Gifts

Robert & Sue from Bodlondeb Holiday CottageJan Jack from Perfect Verse & Jo Smedley from Red Herring GamesMelanie from LollyLoops

Julia Onslow from Absolutely FlawlessNeil Jackman from Whites and SmallsSarah Smith from Silver Birch Crafts

Daddy NatalMelanie Brooks from Milk Chick BreastfeedingKate from Little big Sports

Farmer Phil from Wiggley WigglersThe Bedside Company and Village Green SoapsBaby Duck Shop

All Ironed Out, Danny from Baby's 1st Photo and Brett Symes Photo

To those I now realised I missed on the day, I will be on your case next time!

Behind the scenes

Huge thanks to Theo's company for hosting, organising and picking up the tab for the day. A massive effort in every respect, much appreciated. I am still perusing the catelog and enjoying my goody bag. "Did I mention ?"!

Going Forward

Are you feeling as excited about your business ability as me by Edgbaston? If you plan to blog your highlights, please link up below and I will add this post with the links to the new web site for us all to share. Any format is good, use my headings or your own or simply add a comment to this post.  

Looking forward to keeping the #SBS buzz alive!

Silent Sunday / Project 52

April 1, 2012 at 12:00 AMCoombeMill

Sshh it's Sunday.......

Theo Paphitis handing me my #SBS award

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky Silent Sunday 

Dragon Roars, but are the Kids Impressed?

October 15, 2011 at 1:08 AMCoombeMill

My week began with a Dragon's Roar!

Dragon roars tweet for Coombe Mill

How thrilled was I to receive the coveted #sbs Small Buniness Sunday award from Theo Paphitis of BBC's Dragon's Den? Just wow and wow again! Anyone who has been there will know that Sunday night feeling, on a complete high, watching the twitter congratulation messages flooding in. Yes flooding! I was struggling to read them at one point never mind reply to them. I think I have spent every night this week up till gone 2am replying to and following new twitter friends and contacts, updating my bio's and under good advice from  and  writing a press release. Not done one of those since school english lessons!

My badge created for my web site

What is Small Business Sunday?

#sbs is a great opportunity by the Dragon entrepreneur Theo Paphitis. Each Sunday he takes time to look over all small businesses tweeting him @TheoPaphitis between 5.30pm and 7.30pm with their business and #sbs included in the tweet. He receives over 1000 each week and re-tweets his favourite 6. With 177,000 followers and growing,  his re-tweet has real impact. An amazing opportunity at no cost to me yet hours of work for Theo, so definitely my dragon with a heart! He has his own web site with his twitter stream on the home page

Theo Paphitis Twitter Feed with Coombe Mill

And the family?

With 6 children, all their sports and clubs, meals and house to look after and the day to day running of our Holiday Farm, I guess I shouldn't be surprised there is no time to sleep! I do worry when the children are pleading for a good night hug and I am just finishing one last thing on the computer, or I burn their tea taking a booking on the phone. Juggling parenthood and business is never easy and I do feel the business has taken the high ground this week. We have friends round this weekend and so after we have all finished changeover tomorrow it is going to be quality family time. It may not be perfect but it's my way of juggling being a mummy, wife and working. I have learnt not to beat myself up over it, or over worry every time they complain I am busy, but just to try and find a balance that works for us all.   

The Kids and Me taking Time out on the Farm together

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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Here at Muddy Puddles we believe ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong kit!’. We’re on a quest for all children to be fit for adventure, and to embrace the outdoors.

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