Country Kids from Coombe Mill

June 13, 2014 at 11:30 PMCoombeMill

The Royal Cornwall Show

This is the big event in the social Calendar for Cornwall, a county country show of epic proportions and in our local town of Wadebridge. The show is so popular that the schools close for the day, knowing that more than half the school would just ring in sick otherwise. Until this year I have avoided taking my children, for one it is expensive and secondly Nick and I would have a miserable time trying to keep tabs on all the children in a place so vast and busy. This year however I gave in to the pleas to go since even the triplets had class friends going. Nick and I went alone on the Thursday to enjoy some adult time and for me to keep an eye on him in case he felt the urge to buy another BBQ hut this year as after Tree Roots cottage we need to save some money. So on Friday while the schools were off I took Alistair and Felix with Clio and her school friends and another Mum. Nick then took Guy, Jed and Theo on the Saturday afternoon while I showed in the new holiday guests. This way all the children got to go and do the things that interested them in smaller more manageable groups while one of us covered Coombe Mill.

Once in the grounds we agreed a meet up point and let the older boys go it alone. This was the last I saw of them until it was time to leave but they had a great day and met lots of their school friends.


Royal Cornwall Show Teens alone


The girls in the main stuck together as they were all interested in the same things. Here is a taste of what we enjoyed:

World War one brought to life in the trenches with volunteers on hand to demonstrate old style masks and a taste of life in the trenches.


Royal Cornwall Show WW1 display


Round the show dogs the girls all decided they needed a new pet, or perhaps it was a budgie or even a new pigmy goat or donkey for Coombe Mill. I was impressed with the handy wash units outside the animal enclosures.



Royal Cornwall Show, animals


In the absence of real cows at Coombe Mill I do think we should invest in a model to milk, it was amazing how they were all drawn to this.


Royal Cornwall Show, milking a cow 


Moving through the maze of tents free samples became their aim. From bags to toy bugs with some tasty treats too. 

Operation Hospital was a challenge and they delighted in filling in competitions to win raffle prizes in the NHS tent.



We sat to enjoy our lunch down by the main show ground to see an amazing motorbike display that had all the crowd gasping especially considering the 40mph gusts of wind. Ally and Felix were watching too although we never saw them. The younger boys and Nick missed the show the following day as the stunt man fell midair and was air lifted to hospital. Thankfully it was nothing too serious, but a very real reminder that these displays are dangerous and can go horribly wrong. The video at the end of this post captures the thrill of the action while we were there. 


 Royal cornwall show motorbike display


It is often a good idea to save the best to last, in this case the fun fair. We made our way down, distracted on the way by companies selling outdoor play equipment which Clio tested to the full. I rather fancied the play tractor for Coombe Mill in a giant sand pit but they are fearsomely expensive.


Royal Cornwall Show play equipment for sale


They raced past the real tractors deciding this was one to leave for the boys. However they fancied themselves as boating babes!


 Royal Cornwall Show Boating babes

Down at the fun fair they spent their money enjoying the rides and winning prizes.


 Royal Cornwall Show Funfair


By all accounts the Boys enjoyed their day too with Dad, the fun fair, candyfloss and the army recruitment tent headed up by a friend being the highlights for them.


Boys day at the Royal Cornwall Show

 Army tent at The Royal Cornwall Show

A happy two days that worked a treat with no one being lost, everyone doing the things they enjoyed most and already looking forward to next year.

Joining in with Country Kids

If you have been out enjoying the sunshine or the downpours of early summer with a story to tell please come and share here. All activities are welcome from garden play to crafts and learning and days out so long as it involves leaving the sofas and screens for some fresh air fun I welcome your post. Do please check out the other lovely posts here, there is always plenty of inspiration for children of all ages to be found.

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A few of my favourite posts from last week:


 Mothering with mindfulness made and sailed boats down the creek just as we love to do at Coombe Mill

Life of a wife mum daughter has some great ideas for outdoor activities in a small garden

 I so want these Go Karts from Emily Beale Photography for Coombe Mill

I love this fishing trip from Joys of the journey  


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Losing a Best Friend

June 8, 2014 at 11:17 PMCoombeMill

Words from Mum

Clio is ten and has just waved goodbye to one of her close friends of several years who has moved away from Cornwall. This is the first time this has happened and has had quite an impact on her. She wanted to write about how she feels and what she will miss with her friend's departure. It is all her own words, thoughts and photos. 

Clio's perspective

Over to Clio

My school is called St-Tudy school, and there are only about 60 pupils in the whole school, years have to share class rooms because it is such a small school. My class room has year five and year six in and everybody knows each other. A new person coming to our school is such a big event.


St Tudy school & church


When I was in year three, a new girl came to St Tudy School, when she first arrived I didn't know a thing about her, but because she was new, everybody was crowding around her and I felt I couldn't talk to her. Anyway over the following weeks Lucy became good friends with me and my friend group and that is how it has stayed.


Friends forever

Last year she said “guys I might be moving to Aberdeen in Scotland.” But she also said “but if I do it won't be for another year or so” But the year has gone now and she has moved. In her last few weeks I tried to spend as much time with her as I could before she left. These weeks have been the best with Lucy. For example we went on a school camp and had an amazing time messing around together.


Messing around on School Camp


We had a farewell boat trip for Lucy with some of my other friends. We jumped into the sea, it was freezing but we still had lots of fun. Leaving the boat I discovered I knew where we were, I had been there with my family on an adventure and recognised Guy's Cottage. We were treated to chips and tango but Lucy didn't want her tango so she gave it to me. 


Clio on boat trip with Lucy & friends


I am now no stranger to friends leaving because when my friends come and stay on holiday they leave, but most of them come back the next year, however Lucy might not ever come back and even if she does it won't be for a few more years so I’m definitely going to keep in touch with her though Skype and she is sending us a monthly letter to our class.

Lucy will do great in Scotland just as she did when she came down to us making exciting new friends, plus she will be with her extended family up there.

I will always miss Lucy because whenever I felt upset she would always come over and make me laugh, she would also never exclude anyone, but the thing I will miss most about Lucy is her smile and that she was always there for me when I needed someone.


Lucy on the farewell boat Trip

Bye Bye Lucy it won’t be the same without you.

Clio xxx 


 Linking up Clio's post to these great linkys; Click on the badges to see what other's have been doing.





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Silent Sunday / Project 52

June 7, 2014 at 11:42 PMCoombeMill


Ducks and Chickens at Coombe Mill Farm

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill

June 6, 2014 at 11:30 PMCoombeMill

Coombe Mill Kids Activity Hour

I've noticed that Friday afternoon tends to be the time when many of our holidaymakers are here on site. It is the last afternoon of the holiday and understandably many want to relax and enjoy the grounds here with a long journey home the following morning. I've had in mind for ages now to start an activities hour for the children during the week. Friday afternoon felt like the perfect time with so many around anyway. Half term was really busy for us with a range of children from age three to eleven all popping their names down to join in the Activity hour. We knew this was going to be a good test of the idea. 

For our first week we decided on a nature walk around the farm to collect flowers, leaves, feathers and a good stick to bring
back to our garden and engage in wand making. I was rather nervous of how this would go down with the older boys but decided to give it a go; they could always drop out if they found it too tame for them. We set the garden table up in advance.

Preparations for Activity Hour


Having explained what we were doing to the children it was eyes down looking and collecting as we set off over the footbridge to the farm

Hunting for farm sticks & decorations

There was an abundance of colourful flowers and feathers to find

Flowers on the farm

The boys found some awesome bamboo sticks around farmer Nick's compost heap


Sticks in Farmer Nick's Compost heap



Back in my garden the children were inspired by the table set up with all sorts of accessories to turn their nature finds into fairy and wizards wands and eagerly begin to work with their imaginations now racing. Even the boys were hooked much to my surprise and delight.


 creative making wands

One imaginative young boy took his time explaining to me how each prong on his wand and feather represented a special power from fire to water.

wand with magic powers

The girls focussed on making theirs pretty with time and concentration.

wands made with care

They discovered they made great tickling sticks and weapons with some design challenges.

Bespoke wand designs & creative uses 


The hour of course ran over and all too soon they were dashing off with wands in hand for the afternoon train ride.



Based on the success of this first session I am encouraged to keep it going through the summer. I have so many ideas of things to do thanks in large part to all the wonderful inspiration right here on Country Kids each week so please keep them coming.

Joining in with Country Kids 

Every week I am amazed by the photos, stories and fun had outdoors. From holidays to garden toys, forests to beaches there is so much for children to do outside. Country Kids is open to anyone wanting to share their outdoor fun from play, learning, crafts or an adventure and generally enjoying some fresh air and time away from screens and sofas. Remember to check out the other posts here, it is a great way to find new ideas.  

A few of my favourites from last week:

Betsey Loves shows how much fun an evening on the beach can be and never mind about wet clothes! 

Adventures of Adam shows how a hiking challenge was just what her 2 year old loved.

Mummy M's Memories and Randomnest have so much fun in the woods, meadows and streams in spite of the weather

Side Street Style finds an oasis of fun outdoors on a city break

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

From Tree Tops to Tree Roots

June 1, 2014 at 3:40 AMCoombeMill


Coombe Mill dates back to the 16th Century when it was a working Mill and small holding. The Millers House, where the family and most likely the animals lived back then was the largest building followed by the Water Mill where all the work took place and a further cottage now called Two Chimneys. Coombe Mill became a small holiday business in the late 1960s with these properties followed by our current riverside lodges.

Millers House with the earliest holidaymakers.

Millers House int he 1970s as a holiday cottage


In the late 1970s the outbuildings of a barn and stable were converted to make Roots and Tree Tops Cottages. For years they were popular at Coombe Mill but towards the end of their life the problems with damp and lack of space and facilities were becoming an issue. Holiday expectations have risen so far in recent years and these two cottages were simply never going to meet these demands, despite being full of character and quaint looking.

Tree Tops and Roots Cottages at Coombe Mill

Let the work begin

And so in 2012 we closed down Roots and Tree Tops and used our winter period to demolish them, but not before we had a bit of fun in there for Halloween. It was sad to see them go; though I knew what we had in mind for their replacement was going to be far superior.

Halloween Fun to Cottage Demolition


The work was not confined to the properties themselves, there were huge amounts of ground work needed to clear the bank at the back, make a proper garden and allow the light in and improve the drainage which had been such an issue previously. The cost was such that we had to make the build a 2 year project stopping at the foundations and making the site safe in 2013 then continuing the build that winter. Farmer Nick was there to oversee and project manage every step of the way.

Foundations at Tree Rootswinter work on Tree Roots foundations


Being a timber framed property the build shot up and we were so lucky with the weather, a lovely 2 week window of dry clear days meant the builders had the frame up and watertight before the heavens opened.


Tree Roots Timber Frame

We really paid for it after that with the relentless rain of January and February but there was plenty to do indoors with modern insulation, plumbing, electrics and more. I find this part of the build quite frustrating, hours turn into days and months with so little to really show, but it is important to get it right. The underfloor heating is quite a science and there are plenty of tea breaks in the building trade.

Months of work on Tree Roots


Outside similarly took weeks of work. We reused all the old granite stone from the previous cottages to face up the front of Tree Roots and what was left made the garden wall.


Using the old granite stone

One side of the old cottage remains as a feature of the wall. This was previously the twin bedroom right down in the flood plain; thank goodness we made the changes when we did as surface water lay in the old bedroom for weeks last winter. 


Tree Roots feature garden wall


The Finished Cottage

The final cottage looks a perfect balance of old and new with the reclaimed stone. It fits in a treat next to Willow and Honeysuckle cottages to one side and Millers House, Two Chimneys and Water Mill the other. We re-tarmacked the driveway and cottage car parking after all the building lorries finally left which left all the cottages looking fresh and complete.


Tree Roots and other Coombe Mill Cottages

The Fun part

With the plastering complete inside and the painting well underway it was time to make the blank canvas into a luxury holiday cottage. I say fun because I love the design stage; however it really took it out of Nick and me at times juggling around our already busy lives. 

As we scoured the shops and the internet I took delight in sharing purchases and seeking feedback along the way across all social media formats. There really is so much needed to make a home and so much choice out there.


 Shopping for Tree Roots

This is our seventh new build in our thirteen years at Coombe Mill so we have a pretty good feel for timing and budget, having said that there is always something new to market and home decorating style moves as fast as clothes fashion. Achieving new and trendy with something that won't look too "house of 2014" before the first refit is due is a balancing act and one I hope we have right. I am lucky that Farmer Nick is a dab hand with DIY and many of the little extras from stair gates to the patio table and outdoor name plaque were made by him.

Tree Roots DIY from Farmer Nick


Tree Roots has no bathroom tiles or kitchen tiles, new panelling material looks modern and will be more hygienic for longer without grout to clean. The bathroom panels we found online, they are still hard to come by and not widely available. The kitchen backsplash and Kitchen units are from Trago Mills.


Modern Kitchen & Bathroom Materials in Tree Roots Cottage


Our bedroom furniture was a bit of a gamble as we felt the modern office look would be more contemporary than pine. To make it even funkier we bought something in every colour then mixed and matched draws and doors for a totally individual look. These came from Trago Mills. The fun colours provided the colour scheme for decorating the whole of upstairs. Some of the pictures were reclaimed from the old cottages while others and the Lampshades were bought to tone in with the furniture from The Range. 


Funky office furniture for Tree Roots


Instead of pine beds in the master bedrooms we added two super king leather look low rise beds as shown above and complemented these with premium mattresses for these and the single beds from Bed Sale Online ensuring a good night's sleep for all who stay. 


Master Bedrooms ensuite at Tree Roots

The two master bedrooms have large walk in showers in their ensuite bathrooms and modern ceiling skylights for natural daylight. The family bathroom has the same panelling and shower together with a bath and there is plenty of space in here for bath time with the children.

Modern bathrooms & Ensuites in Tree Roots Cottage


There are two further bedrooms upstairs, one with twin beds and the other a children's room to sleep four. All the rooms will comfortably take a cot.


Twin & Quad Bedrooms


Downstairs the kitchen dining room is the hub of the house. I am thrilled with the look of this room. From our bargain funky sofas, huge dining table and modern kitchen to the cheeky animals canvases on the wall. With a feature log burner between full opening patio doors, this is holiday living at its best.



Double Patio doors on Tree Roots Kitchen


Tree Roots Kichen the hub of the house


In addition to the vast kitchen dining room there is a grown up's living room in sophisticated black with a large cinema style TV. This is intended as an adults retreat while across the corridor the children have their own playroom complete with DVD player and their own TV to watch on comfy bean bags with two boxes of toys to delve into for endless play time.


Funky lounge with Cinema style TV in Tree Roots CottageModern Lounge for the grown ups in Tree Roots Cottage

Play room in Tree Roots

Finally downstairs just inside the front door we have a utility cloakroom and downstairs toilet. I love this inspired use of the spare shower screen from Farmer Nick as a coat stand. It will be so useful for farm overalls and welly boots after the morning feed run.


Handy Utility & Loo

Leaving the best to last!

Perhaps the most exciting feature of Tree Roots is what lays beyond the huge patio doors to the rear. A landscaped garden with one of Farmer Nick's bespoke bench tables to sit 12, a fun playhouse from Activity Toys Direct for the little ones to play in, gates to secure the garden from the rest of Coombe Mill so you can enjoy your private space with the doors open knowing the children are safe and best of all our very first Coombe Mill Hot Tub. This is a quality tub to enjoy by day or night with colourful led lights to turn a Spa evening into a magical social experience. Huge thanks to Ruggles Leisure who professionally advised as on which make to choose and brought and installed the tub for us. If it is as successful as I think it will be we could be keeping them in business for some time refitting other properties too.


Back of Tree Roots

To the side of the house with the old cottage wall is a slate patio area with built in BBQ so grownups can cook without little ones being too close. Down two steps the patio continues with an all surface swingball from Cuthberts Toys for older children to enjoy.


 Tree Roots Garden Features

See all the Magic of Tree Roots in our Video

I would love to take credit for the video but in fact it is by Mark Futter, one of our guests, who made it for us whilst here with his family on holiday. Thank you Mark it shows off Tree Roots perfectly.


Fancy a visit?

Prices range from £749 to £2299 depending on time of year. The property sleeps ten and is ideal for families to share or for a large family gathering. All electric is included at Tree Roots although use of the hot tub for the week is £35 and the log burner £15 including all the logs you need. It is also our first property to have the Coombe Mill wifi hard wired inside so you can enjoy a great connection on our superfast broadband in every room as fitted by I Comms South West our friendly local communications provider. Furthermore we make no charge for any of the wifi at Coombe Mill.

Our website has all the details for the property including price, availability and online booking, though I am more than happy to answer your questions or make a booking with you over the phone.

I hope to welcome you and your family soon.

Fiona x


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