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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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Country Kids from Coombe Mill

by CoombeMill 13 September 2013 23:32

Blackberry Picking

As the new school term settles into a familiar pace so the children are reminded of the late summer blackberries around the farm. Last year the highlight for them was making blackberry cakes and selling them around Coombe Mill one afternoon. As soon as they saw the bushes laden with berries this is just what they wanted to do again. Funny how some things stick in their mind from one year to the next.

Blackberry Bushes at Coombe Mill Farm


I adore blackberry picking and was only too willing to accompany them. We set off round the back of the lodges and play area where we filled our container in no time at all. I love some of the less well known parts of Coombe Mill, they always feel like undiscovered areas to me. They are filled with butterflies on the lilac and all sorts of flying creatures competing with us for the blackberries.


Blackberry Picking at Coombe Mill Farm


Back at the house we soaked the fruit and watched various unsavoury creatures crawl out in the water while we assembled our cake making ingredients. I opted for my trusty all in one yogurt recipe which the children could manage themselves all on the garden bench. 

Blackberry Cakes

IngredientsBlackberry Cake Ingredients in Coombe Mill Garden

3 cups of SR Flour

2 cups Sugar

1 cup sunflower oil

1 cup natural yogurt

Teaspoon vanilla essence

1 egg

I large container of freshly picked and washed blackberries


Measure all ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine adding in the blackberries at the end taking care not to break them too much.

Spoon the mixture into cases and bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.

Coombe Mill farm blackberry cakes


The girls took over the cake making while the boys disappeared off for a blast on their quad bike, returning as if my magic as the cakes came out of the oven!

Coombe Mill Farm blackberry cakes and quad bike

As time was marching on we agreed that the afternoon train ride was the perfect opportunity to sell the cakes. Having carefully designed their advertising pages the girls nipped round the properties giving advance warning of their cake sale before joining the boys who were just putting on their driving uniforms. The cakes were still warm from the oven as they took them out and all 50 vanished in minutes while waiting for train rides. £10 up on the day the children split their money and were only disappointed that there were no cakes left for them. Needless to say we made some more in the week which they kept for themselves!

Coombe Mill Railway selling blackberry cakes

Foraging to cook is right on trend at the moment. There is a lovely video from a google plus hangout by the amazing crafty Maggie of RedTedArt with loads of ideas from some great bloggers of what can and found and how to cook with them. It is something that is perfect to do with kids.

Joining in with Country Kids

Country Kids is all about fun outdoors. It could be a family day out, a crafting activity, play time or learning, it doesn't have to be in the countryside but it does have to be outside. No screens and sofas allowed. I am a real believer in a little freedom and fresh air for children especially now the school term has begun again. There are so many fun ideas linked up each week so please take a look at some of the posts here and be inspired for your next outdoor adventure. As we move from summer into autumn I hope you will don an extra layer and keep heading out for that outdoor fix! Remember to take the camera and come back here to tell all.

Some truly amazing posts last week, just a few from so many great entries:

3 Kids and a Glue Stick left the glue behind and enjoyed a fun filled week in Cornwall

Mummy Mishaps Packed so much into a last week of summer and show cased it all beautifully

Crazy with Twins has the prize for the most photos in her epic Gromit spotting adventure

Lakes Singles Mum has an enviable local festival over 2 days.

My Mummy's Pennies for a great learning adventure in nature from a classic kids book. 


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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Goat Antics

by CoombeMill 9 September 2013 13:13

Loved but Cheeky Pigmy Goats

Our goats are one of the farm favourites with all the children. They are pigmy so not too big or boisterous. They are in the main good natured but have a proper cheeky way about them. This can frighten some of our younger guests at first, but as the week goes on most become accustomed to their cheeky habits and know that if they hold food the goats will come running to eat it from their hands and are really friendly and harmless.

 Goats eating from kids hands

Our animals rotate around the fields on the farm but the field by the top lake is usually home to the goats. It has an interesting landscape for them to roam, natural water supply and easy for us to reach on the daily tractor run where all the children staying help us to feed the animals. Having successfully placed an old Wendy house in the chicken and duck enclosure what better than to offer some exciting new play equipment to the goats?


Chicken play house

Our indoor play barn had a huge sturdy Little Tikes climbing piece which had developed a small crack right in the centre. Nick had tried using the boys surfboard repair resin to correct the fault, this was never going to look pretty but we thought would be strong enough to safely mend the break as the rest of the apparatus was still in perfect condition.


Play barn with little Tikes climbing actity


Sadly after 2 attempts the tear reappeared and so it was time for a rethink. Two mini trampolines were purchased for the play barn which are in daily use.

New Indoor Play Barn Play

Now we had an almost perfect Little Tikes climbing piece in need of a new home. The goats was the obvious choice. With their agility and playful nature I just knew they were going to love it. 

At first however they were a little unsure, but as soon as we began to feed them on the climbing frame they were up and down the slides and steps like true mountain goats.


Goat feeding in Little Tikes Play Equipment

The children found this hilarious and now join the goats for a turn themselves. Nothing like combining helping to feed the animals with a little play time! The tear is still there but with farm overalls and welly boots it doesn't seem to worry anyone, it has also helped the children beat any fear of the goats as they are distracted by competing for a go on the slide!

Goats and Children together on the Little Tikes Play equipment

I have seen a very funny You Tube clip of goats on a trampoline, forwarded to me by , who is familiar with our playful team. I now know where our big trampoline will be headed when it is too worn out for the children's play area, though ours is a quality one from Big Game Hunters so it may be awhile yet, perhaps we should look on ebay for an old one in the meantime? We could turn into the Coombe Mill circus at this rate! 


I am linking our Goat Antics up with these lovely linkys Click to see some more stories from other bloggers.

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Silent Sunday / Project 52

by CoombeMill 7 September 2013 23:00


Piglet on the farm for Photo of the week


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Country Kids from Coombe Mill

by CoombeMill 6 September 2013 23:34

A Tree Top Challenge

Health and safety in the UK has taken the fun out of many things. Not so for the French forest equivalent of "Go Ape". We all spent an afternoon up in the trees, swinging from branches, struggling through tree top obstacles and whizzing down zip wires. The challenges ran through 3 stages. Nick backed out after the first worried for a shoulder prone to dislocating, the triplets managed stage one and two and the older ones, me and our French cousins carried on to the hardest run. I was absolutely terrified yet determined to keep up with my boys. Georgia did say to me as we set off, "now wouldn't be a good time to discover you are scared of heights" "Oh I am" I replied "but don't worry, I'm determined to do this". Risking life and limb I took this shot down from one of the high platforms hanging on with one hand as I did so!

Forest tree top adventure 

I should qualify at this point that we had full safety harnesses on and completed a safety circuit first where many of my photos below are taken to ensure we knew how to move our harness clips safely from one wire to another. Having said that we were alone up there after the practice run and I had to remind myself and the children several times not to unclip both harness clips at the same time when moving from wire to wire. There was no feeling that the harness was there as it didn't take the slack, the work and balance really was down to the individual with the harness just there to kick in if you did happen to slip. I confess to losing grip and missing a cargo net. I was hanging on by my legs having to haul my body up by my arms, while the French teenagers behind laughed their heads off at my antics with my bum in the air. Not my finest moment! The final tightrope crossed the canyon; it was thrilling and terrifying all at once.

Farmer Nick looking all at sea up in the air.

Farmer Nick goes Tree swinging

Fortunately there were some animals too to make him feel more at home! 


A goat for Farmer Nick



The boys were all on a total high at the end; I was shaking like a leaf but so proud of myself. My tummy and shoulders killed for the next few days but it was so worth it, the views when I dared to pause and look were tremendous. We showed Farmer Nick how it should be done:


Tree Top adventure in France for Country Kids


The Triplets were only just tall enough; you can see Jed struggling to reach the platform in the video. They did so well.


Nick sat and watched us and took the triplets canoeing on the river as we trapeze flew over them. Whist he did this his brain was whirring on the possibility of a zip wire across the valley at Coombe Mill.  Watch this space on this one; project 99 on the list of things to do on the farm, but he is a man with a plan and has already made contact with a company specialising in these large scale zip wires, I just hope it will prove to be workable and that our insurance company will go for it!

Joining In with Country Kids

Country Kids is simply about enjoying some family time in the fresh air. Weather it is a picnic in the park or sandcastles on the beach I'd love to hear about it. A little outdoor time away from sofas and screens is good for us all. So from learning to play, crafting to exploring, please come and share your outdoor fun here. There are always some lovely ideas to inspire each week so please take a look at what others have been doing.

Just a few of my favourites from last week were:

Mum turned Mom for a great adventure day across the globe with plenty of active fun

Adventure Togs for a great learning day and a chance for you to claim a free outdoor play guide and 10% off their lovely range. Perfect for any Country Kid!

The Brick Castle where the North West Bloggers Group do Country Kids proud in the forest

Chelsea Mamma for her kayaking adventure, we tried this summer and so I know how much fun it is for all the family.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Inspire Young Learners to Read

by CoombeMill 2 September 2013 16:01

We all want our children to show an interest in reading. Making reading part of every day is one of the best ways to do this. From a story at bed time to quite time in the afternoon, time spent together with a book is quality time that will give your child the step they need to learning at school and a love of books.  However not all children will show the same level of interest. Some are naturally more energetic, more inclined to physical activity and less willing to sit and learn. For these children, finding books that are tactile with a gripping story line and illustrations becomes so much more important. There are some beautiful books around for youngsters these days so it should be possible to engage even the most reluctant learners. 

Parragon Books

I have been lucky enough to have found a great company to work with on the blog. Parragon Books have a whole range of super books. I have already made use of their step by step cook books and now am delighted to share their wide range of stories for younger children from babies to 8 years. 

Young readers enjoying Parragon books at Coombe Mill

For Babies and toddlers

The Little learners books have engaging pull out card sections, while others have sensory touch and feel or a face character in fabric through each page. 


Baby & Toddler books from Parragon at Coombe Mill

Early readers

Less tactile and beautifully illustrated these stores have just a sentence or two a page for a fast pace and feeling of moving on to a more gown up style yet still very engaging. I would say these books would happily be enjoyed from age 4 to 8 as children move from having books read to reading alone.

 Parragon books for 4 - 8 year old children at Coombe Mill

The lovely selection of books I have received are now in our reception for our holiday guests to borrow. They are proving very popular and it's not hard to see why as they are engaging youngsters just as books should. We have happy children, delighted parents enjoying these books on holiday without the usual pressures of daily chores.


Win your Parragon Children's Books with Coombe Mill

Parragon books to win at Coombe Mill

Parragon books are offering a chance to win all of the following titles for one lucky reader: 

Little Learners (Range aimed at babies and toddlers) 
- Hickory Dickory Dock Finger Puppet Book
- I Am Big Slide and See Book

Children's Picture Books:
- Count to 10 with a Mouse
- Goodnight Little One
- Around the World We Go

Total retail value £23.97

If you would like to be in with a chance just leave a comment below to say so together with a way for me to contact you.

To increase your chance of winning: 

Follow Parragon Books and Coombemill on Twitter and leave ONE separate comment here to say you have done so with your twitter name.

For another entry like Coombemill and Parragon Books on Facebook and leave ONE extra comment here with your Facebook name.

For one final entry, please tweet the following sentence and leave another comment to say you have done so

I've entered to WIN a delightful set of @ParragonBooks for young children with @coombemill  Why don't you? Pls RT:


The competition is open to UK residents and will close on Monday 16th September. The winner will be selected by and announced the following morning. Good luck to all taking part.

The Winner is Jo @ Le Baby Bakery. Well done Jo ands thank you to all who took part.


I was sent the Parragon books to review and offer to our holiday guests. They can be found in our reception for the perfect holiday bedtime story. All views expressed here are my own.