Life on the receiving end of Tripadvisor

May 12, 2014 at 7:30 AMCoombeMill

Everyone has heard of Tripadvisor and most of us have probably used it sometimes, if not regularly to investigate somewhere before committing to visit. You may even have put your own comments up there. It is a handy website and can give you a good idea of what you might expect but it is also worth remembering that it is subjective, personal and only a guide. 

Comments can Hurt

As a small business I cannot tell you how upset I get by a few of the comments on Tripadvisor about Coombe Mill. People can pick up on the smallest imperfection and blow it all out of proportion. There is one so nasty from an anonymous entry that it nearly put a family off visiting. I only know this because during their stay they told me about the post and how angry it made them feel when, like many, they had the best holiday ever and their view of Coombe Mill couldn't have been more different. It saddens me that people can visit us, be unhappy about something, not say anything to Nick or I whilst here but then anonymously tell the world about a fault they found with their holiday. I know I need to put this in perspective and remember that there are so many outstanding entries to every poor one but it doesn't stop them hurting me, especially as some are directly pointed at me, Nick or worse still our children. As a family we put so much into making every single person's holiday special which makes these comments feel like a real kick in the teeth. If you want to see what I mean this is the comment feed on Trip Advisor for Coombe Mill

Making Changes

There are always improvements going on here and those returning year on year comment on the positive changes. Over the past 12 months we have invested in the Coombe Mill Railway, introduced new animals and improved field fencing, built Tree Roots Cottage and dredged the fishing lakes together with ongoing maintenance.

 Improvements & Investment at Coombe Mill 2013 / 4

However much I would love to we can't afford to change and add everything all at once; I wish I could, there is always something that is work in progress and something that needs updating.  I have a growing Pinterest Board of things I would love to change or add if money were no object!

About the Farm 

We are a holiday farm. Our farm is a working farm but on a very small scale. It is not a petting zoo, the animals are not zoo animals and neither can we or would we want to expose you to all the real machinery and life cycle of a true working farm. We do our utmost to educate and develop confidence with the animals within safe guidelines but to some I guess we will always be too much of a farm and to others not enough.


Too farm like for little helpers?


We Act on all Comments

If someone takes the time to mention to us that something is not right in their property whilst staying at Coombe Mill we will do everything we can to rectify the problem at the earliest opportunity. We live here on the farm and are available to talk to at any time of the day or night. An uncomfortable mattress or a squeaky door are not always picked up on our weekly changeover checks, but tell us and we will sort it. Just two weeks ago a guest left us mentioning, very nicely, that there was an unacceptable damp smell in the downstairs bedroom in Willow Cottage. We aired the property as best as we could that day for the following guests, provided an alternative property for the parents using the room, and identified the chimney as the issue. This was not something we could sort instantly, however we were straight onto the builders to book them in for our first free week and they have now rebuilt the chimney from our emergency funds and also replaced the back door which families were having trouble locking as it had become stiff over the winter period. 


Replacing Willow ChimneyNew back doors to Willow Cottage

Please tell us of issues before venting on line, we do care and we will act. Just for the record I have chosen not to respond to comments on Tripadvisor to avoid becoming entangled in a public discussion there, but we do address every issue arising, it would just be so much more helpful if these comments could be directed to us here at the time of inconvenience so that we can sort them out before they spoil a holiday. 

Next time you go to add a poor review about a family business on Tripadvisor please remember there is someone who may really care receiving your complaint. Please consider approaching them directly about your concerns first, they may be only too happy to help.

My pleas to you before you visit Coombe Mill and during your stay

Do Don't
Read the web site and see what is included and excluded. It is very clear Don't book a riverside lodge because it is cheap and then complain it s small and basic when the web site clearly states this is the case.
If you visit us and are not happy please, please tell us at the time. Don't let something we can help with like an uncomfortable mattress ruin your sleep, we will happily replace it that day if we possibly can.
Do be aware this is a working farm with real farm animals and natural dangers. Children need to be supervised Don't expect the river and lakes to be fenced. They are natural features that our insurance prohibits us from fencing and signing.
Do use our safe play areas as somewhere to let the children run free and meet others  Don't expect us to find a damaged play item immediately. It really helps if you can tell us so we can fix it.
Do take advantage of our honesty shop and leave us a note in the book of purchases Don't expect us to stand in the shop all day, there is a door bell if you need us
Do take part on the activities provided. The morning tractor rides are fun and educational for parents and children and the train rides a great way to meet with others at the end of the day. Don't expect us to anticipate your every need. We try to ensure all children take turns at tractor driving and train turns but please speak up if we miss someone, or something is scaring them.
Do plan for all weathers. This is England and it can rain as hard in summer as in winter.  Don't book your holiday dates based on what you think the weather will be; it is very unpredictable in England for good and for bad!
Do enjoy the freedom and peace of the farm, appreciate the nature around you and respect it. Don't allow your children to run riot on the farm, leave gates open, terrorise the rabbits then complain they have been bitten or the play equipment is broken.


We work hard as a family to provide happy holidays for your family with plenty to keep children learning and enjoying from tots to teens. However if the outdoors, mud, wellies and animals in a beautiful 30 acre estate doesn't appeal and evenings by the log burner listening to the river babbling in the background is not your idea of entertainment then we may not be the holiday for you.

Still interested? Here is the link to our availability page.  We look forward to welcoming you to our farm and making your holiday one to remember for all the right reasons. 

 Tractor, trailer and animals at Coombe Mill Farm

I'm linking up with What's the Story over at Podcast

Silent Sunday / Project 52

May 11, 2014 at 12:00 AMCoombeMill

Tractor race tug of war

Posted in: On the Farm

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill

May 9, 2014 at 11:42 PMCoombeMill

An Epic Birthday Party 

After last week's aborted birthday party this week was hotly awaited. Within minutes of finishing the morning feed fun excited classmates began to arrive. Each child came armed with spare clothes and a water pistol; the triplet's parties are becoming legendary! Having said this I removed every single water gun promising they could all have them for a water fight at the end but that I wasn't going to have 3 hours of soaking wet children; with water guns confiscated they piled onto the trampoline.


 Triplets Birthday on the trampoline

Excitement was running high and I felt it was best to channel that energy into the first game. My older three children all hid three sets of pre prepared clues for a treasure hunt. Team Guy, Jed and Clio eagerly accepted their starting sheet and raced off to the first place. It was all I could do to keep up and advise them along the way as they dashed from one end of the farm to the other. I deliberately set the clues apart to keep them running and busy.

Triplets Birthday Party Treasure Hunt


There was seconds between them when they came back and that certainly took the edge of their energy levels!


Triplets Birthday time out

Next up the highly successful game from last year; everyone has played Pinata, but make your own girls vs boys recycled Pinata is amazing fun, ecological and cheap as chips! Each Team had a ready prepared milk bottle filled with sweets attached to a string, a pile of recycling and a real of sellotape. They then had ten minutes to make the biggest most indestructible Pinata they could. The shouting through their team work reached fever pitch as they taped and wrapped to a countdown finish.

Triplets Party Pinata making

Then I was grateful of the help of my teens in rigging them up to the veranda while the party members searched the farm for suitable sticks. The aim was for the girls to beat their way into the boys Pinata before the boys beat their way into the girls one; huge excitement bringing out the competitiveness in all.  


Triplets Party Pinata Fun


Thankfully I had a couple of Mummy friends who stayed to help me police it all and lay out the party lunch, thank you Fiona and Mandy, after all the running around everyone was hungry.


Triplets Birthday Party Lunch


Next up Farmer Nick's inspiration; down on the train lawn he set up two tractors both attached to a long rope. We mixed and matched the teams to race the tractors to the finishing post. It did remind me of something out of the old Iron Man TV series, but so perfect for our farm kids!


 Tractor Pulling Challenge

I had one more game up my sleeve before I let them loose on their water guns. This was a game I remembered from my own childhood but which must have become forgotten over time as one of the children had played it before. It involves trying to eat a bar of chocolate with a knife and fork in silly clothes when you roll the dice to a six. However if someone else gets a six they take the clothes and knife and fork from you; frantic fun in the afternoon sun on a picnic blanket.


Triplets Party with Chocolate Game


Finally we sang happy birthday and there followed a huge roar of "yessss" as I said they could go wild with the water guns.


 Triplets 10th Birthday Cake

Of course they were wet in seconds but at least I had held off the moment until their parents were due to take them home!


 Triplets Party Water Fight

Apparently this was their best ever birthday party and well worth waiting for. It was certainly helped having the space and fun of the farm as a base. I was pleased I remembered to warn our guests it would be happening as the noise levels during the games would have been quite a disturbance.



Joining in with Country Kids

Country Kids is all about taking time out from the comfort of the sofa and screen entertainment and enjoying time outdoors. Active kids are healthy kids and the same applies to us grownups. A little time away from the day to day chores enjoying quality time together doing something fun, from as close as the back garden, is good for mind and body. Please join me, grab the badge and add your outdoor adventures to the linky. Crafting, learning, playing and discovering are all Country Kids activities when they are outside. Please do check out some of the other posts here, everyone loves a comment and it could be the inspiration for your next post.

A few of my favourite posts from last week:

Bod for Tea Came to stay at Coombe Mill and shares some wonderful photos, no wonder she is shortlisted for a BIBs photo award

Taming the Goblin goes crabbing, this post reminds me how long it is since we did this, such a great seaside activity.

Le Baby Bakery finds success on a beach fossil hunting expedition

Chelsea Mamma takes the family Kayaking, an activity my children love too, though the choopy sea made this time a real challenge

Mama Mummy Mum gets the Geocaching bug and if this is new to you Chantelle gives a great explanation of how to get started

Can I walk Mummy?  takes advantage of a great outdoor Education Cantre to learn with the kids

Dear Mummy visits a farm and totally fires up my imagination with tales of sheep racing.


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 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 and if you are still to vote I would love your support in the BIBs for SOCIAL MEDIA. There are serveral other regular Country Kids bloggers in the short list too across the categories, do look out for them.



Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle

May 6, 2014 at 9:04 AMCoombeMill

Keeping Active

Everyone loves the idea of being fit and active and enjoying a healthy lifestyle. Here on the farm the fun starts early in the morning with feeding the animals and extends all day for parents running after busy fun loving children. We need to look after our bodies from the inside to stay healthy on the outside. A healthy balanced diet is always the best way to achieve this but sometimes we cheat on our intended diet and still expect our bodies to respond when we go chasing after the children!

 Keeping up with the children

Omega 3

The health benefits of taking Omega 3 have been well publicised in recent years. The so called "brain food" to help children to learn and adults to maintain a healthy heart and sense of well being. However not everyone has a taste for large quantities of oily fish where they are most commonly found and so a plethora of omega 3 supplements can be found on the market for those days when you just fancy pizza and chips! Finding one that is safe, affordable and high quality can be daunting. I have found myself squinting at the small print on bottles more than once trying to establish what I am paying for.

Nordic Oil

Nordic Oils are a modern Irish company with a straight forward website that makes things clear. They formed to provide a high grade of omega rich fish oil carefully sourced and turned into a consumable product range at a sensible price. All the products are third party tested and the dose, usage and suitability all clearly marked.

Here at Coombe Mill we are testing the High Grade Omega 3 Capsules with added vitamin D, something many of us are running low on thanks to the success of modern high factor sun creams reducing natural vitamin D from sunlight entering our bodies.


Nordic Oil supplementing a healthy breakfast at Coombe Mill


The oils are easy to take in the capsule form and leave no unpleasant aftertaste unlike products I have bought previously. I can't say it has worked magic and turned me into a genius or made me as fit as my children but I can say it feels a small step in maintaining well being. They are suitable for children too although mine found the capsule too large to swallow. There is however a liquid format available for those capsule. The tablets are much smaller and easy to swallow.

If you feel your diet could do with an Omega 3 boost Nordic Oils currently have a great offer on their website to buy the High grade oil, capsules and tablets all for £39.99 reduced from the usual £46.97 including free delivery in the United Kingdom 


Win your Nordic Oil Spring Pack worth £39.99 with Coombe Mill

If you would like to win your Spring Pack of 1x 500ml Bottle 500ml Nordic Oil, 1x Pot Pure Omega 3 Capsules and 1x Pot Vitamin D tablets then follow the instructions below.

Giveaway from Coombe Mill and Nordic Oil


a Rafflecopter giveaway


I was sent the Omega 3 capsules and Vitamin D tablets for the purpose of this review. The information here can be found on the Nordic Oil website, the opinions expressed are my own. 


Silent Sunday / Project 52

May 3, 2014 at 11:39 PMCoombeMill

Train ride on the Coombe Mill railway

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"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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