Dear Great Great Grandblog

May 24, 2015 at 9:20 PMCoombeMill

Is there still room for an old timer in blogging? 

We all start blogging for different reasons but our blog then grows with us, perhaps following a predefined path or simply reflecting and responding to changes in our lives. I found myself in a twitter discussion with friends musing on our old timer status in blogging and insecurities as the blogging scene expands each year with fresh new talent. Mari from Maris World started this with a reflective post on her blog titled does my blog have a sell by date?; I mean seriously when your blog is rank 3 on TOTS 100 and you write for Brit Mums how can you possibly feel any worries about your blog future? Anyway if Mari felt she had reason to question the direction and longevity of her blog, I certainly needed to do a little blog navel gazing myself.

Dear Great Grandblog, assessing my blog age and direction


As Claire from Ninja Killer Cat and Hayley from Down side up both shared their thoughts, they moved me to write too.

It began with a cuppa and a play date

I began blogging in March 2011 with a toe in the water in Blogger. The blog is still there it just moved by the autumn as I realised I wanted to take it more seriously and link it to the new website I was designing at the time, a forerunner to what I have today. I began purely as desperation was setting in with the recession and the failure of parenting magazine adverts to deliver a return in terms of holiday bookings.  A good friend of mine popped round after school one day while our girls played.  I confessed our bookings were slower than usual for the first time ever and that advertising wasn't working as it used to and she suggested I looked at social media and a blog. That friend was Mandy of Gift wrapped and gorgeous who was starting her online business supported on twitter. I only had the facebook page for Coombe Mill back then with a few hundred likes. Mandy helped me set up a twitter account, gave me some pointers on my dated website, and suggested I try a blog. She pointed me to Red Ted Art as a good example of a blog and suggested I put a pitch in to win SBS with Theo Paphitis and left me to it.

 Mandy I will never forget that cuppa and play date, you were my introduction to blogging and a whole new way of marketing and I was off on my own journey.


blog journey for Coombe Mill

Exceeding expectations

In no time I felt I had parenting contacts all over the web, Coombe Mill was reaching the audiences I once paid magazines to do for me and our bookings were on the rise again.  I was thrilled to be recognised in the big blogging awards and the buzz from these spurred me on to greater heights each year. I know I can't sustain this level of success going forward but at least I know my blog is out there, well known and achieving what I set out for it and more. It is now one of the most visited pages on my whole website and generates the fresh content that helps people discover our farm when searching for Family Holidays.

Coombe Mill Holidays number 1 search on Google

The unexpected

That was my planned blogging path, what I hadn't expected was to be sucked into real friendships along the way. From bloggers who return to Coombe Mill year after year like The Boy and Me, Redpeffer and One Dad 3 Girls, to name just a few, to twitter friends I thought I'd never meet  being there at conferences for a good natter.  Blogging has given me a wider circle of friends, taken me away from TV in the evenings and even improved my appalling spelling and made me realize I can actually write, take a half way decent photo and finally beat my husband at scrabble!  

I never dreamt when I began that I would want to meet people in real life, that my virtual and real life would in anyway merge, yet as I prepare for my first Blog Camp next month and my third Brit Mums Live I am like a child going to a birthday party, full of excitement to meet everyone again, to exchange news, to learn new things, to come away exhausted but reinvigorated with new ideas for my blog. 

The faces behind some of the blogs I love

My insecurities 

Despite the highlights I've enjoyed in blogging I read a post like Mari's that I mentioned at the start and it really strikes a cord of self doubt, the blogging world is growing so fast with some amazing new people whose blogs I enjoy and I wonder if I am the old timer hanging in there when I should move on, search for a new way to promote my business and stop hassling my now reluctant teenagers for a photo. Instead I should perhaps focus on mucking out pigs, checking cleaning rotas and managing not to leave a child behind on the school run, yes I have done that!

What next?

My rational mind says it is good to be challenged by new trends, to welcome new blogging friends and consolidate old friendships.  An element of insecurity is a good thing and not something to shy away from; it pushes me out of my comfort zone and keeps me scanning the horizons for ways to improve. While I have more posts in draft than time to write them and permanently carry a camera round my neck, I will continue to blog. I have however conceded that it isn't all for Coombe Mill, it is me indulging in my own passion too and for this reason I feel it is important  to find time for my blog alongside the more menial chores of the day, regardless of whether or not I have reached my blog sell by date.  


Posted in: Parenting

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Weekly Farm Photo

May 23, 2015 at 11:40 PMCoombeMill

The children sat here so patiently all watching as our deer come down for their morning breakfast. Farmer Nick places handfuls of  food down for them each morning and then he and the children all stand back to to watch as the deer dance their way down to eat. The children took it upon themselves to sit down together and watch a little closer, the deer were clearly less intimidated from the children sitting and continued to eat while watching them closely. 


Children deer watching at Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays

Posted in: Country Kids | On the Farm | Weekly Photo


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

May 22, 2015 at 11:40 PMCoombeMill

Bank Holiday in Padstow

As locals we should really know better than to visit Padstow on a May bank holiday weekend, but my Brother was down and they really wanted to visit. My own kids never miss an opportunity to enjoy Rick Stein's fish & Chips so against our better judgement we loaded the cars and set off in beautiful sunshine.


Family Fun In Padstow


It was already lunch time when we arrived having had the morning feed run to sort first and the boys had to help Nick with surgery on a sheep's horn that was growing into her eye. Not a pretty sight as there is a blood supply to the horn, I stayed well away but apparently it was a success and she is saved from going blind.

We know the best places to park to avoid all the congestion of the town centre and enjoyed the short stroll along the end of the Camel Trail following which we headed straight for the queues forming outside the famous fish n chip shop.


Walk to the Chippy


By the time our lunch was ready the heavens began to open. So typical of a bank holiday, we scurried into one of the harbour side bus shelters with our chip boxes and sat munching while the rain lashed down feeling like true British tourists!


Rick stein's fish 'n'chips in the rain


The rain eased off and with full tummies we ventured out. Guy had brought his portable fishing rod and set up on the far harbour wall. It was blowing a gale and freezing there but my river jumping adventurer never seems to notice. He was happy as could be with his fishing rod, apart from the passing boats which had him reeling in quick to save his line from on more than one occasion!


Fishing on Padstow Harbour

We left Guy with his fishing and wandered into town.  I love that my kids are so uncomplaining, the adults were freezing dressed for summer when we left but the children just made the most of their time fooling around in the harbour, playing with a ball for sale outside a shop, climbing walls and venturing out onto the beach despite me warning them the sandy mud would claim their shoes!

Padstow shops and Fun on the beach


Back at the car Nick took out my bike, everyone thought I was mad to cycle with it so cold and no rain coat if the heavens opened again but it is a lovely 20 mile ride I haven't done in ages so I waved them off and began pedalling.


Taking the Bike out of the Van


If you ever get the chance it is a lovely family friendly trail that runs from Padstow to within a mile of Coombe Mill. Picnic benches are dotted along the route, the river Camel runs along one side and the old railway line the other. It even passes the Camel Valley Vineyard where the gates were open inviting me in for a glass of their own bubbly and a tour, I was tempted!


Cycling from Padstow to Coombe Mill


As I cycled towards the Bodmin section the old stream train was just drawing into the last of the in use stations. What a treat to see the enthusiasts at work and smell the old coal boilers.


Cycling past Bodmin and Wenford Railway


When I arrived home Guy had run our little train for the guests and retired to the lake with my brother and his friend to continue his fishing while Clio and Theo were gardening on the farm with Nick.


Fishing and Gardening after a day out in Padstow


We enjoyed our day being tourists with my brother. If you are staying with us and plan on visiting Padstow do ask me about parking, bike hire or bring your own bikes and take advantage of our bike shed here at Coombe Mill. There are also crabbing nets and reals to borrow from reception. 



Joining in with Country Kids

Country Kids is simply about family fun outdoors. Anything goes from days out to crafting in the garden. All that matters it that it involves leaving sofas, screens and the comforts of indoors for some good old fashioned fresh air fun. Please do grab the badge or link back here and please check out some of the other posts linked up, everyone appreciates a comment and it might just inspire your next adventure. 

Country Kids is around in these 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 (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)


Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays's board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest. 



Join the Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me 

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A few of my favourites from last week:

Redpeffer is making the most of National Trust membership, I loved this post from Coughton Court.    

A Family day out explores dungeons and more at Dover Castle. 

The gorgeous photos from this farm had me captivated from One tiny Leap .

I was rather taken with this little family after dinner treat from Mummy 3+ 1 dog's Memories.

A full football day for active fun for That Lancashire lass

A great post from Mum in a Nutshell with her surfing teen that reminds me of my own kids. 




Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall




Meet the young explorer who talks to animals.

May 18, 2015 at 11:40 PMCoombeMill

We all love to balance the time for our children between keeping them active and allowing them some quiet time to relax, here is a DVD that will inspire their next adventure whilst chilling out from the last. Wildlife Jack is a new series about an animated young lad who explores the natural world where he meets and learns about real animals. It may encourage nippers to explore the garden, local park or forest with you and if they end up with dirt under their fingernails and mud up their wellies all the better; this is certainly the hope of the narrator TV naturalist Chris Packham. ‘Wildlife Jack is a great introduction to nature, so I hope it will stimulate them to discover more for themselves,’ says Packham. Brilliant! After all, every child likes to be exploring, having adventures and finding things! We know only too well how kids love learning about the real world, but they want to experience it in a way that is fun and magical. Wildlife Jack is the ultimate fantasy adventure for four, five and six year olds. 


Muddy Hands On Fun


The DVD, Book and downloads on iTunes and Google Play are suitable for children 0-6 years. They tell how Jack, who lives in a city, owns a special book written by his wildlife explorer Grandpa (played by Chris Packham). Wildlife Jack is a great introduction to nature and will stimulate your kids to discover more for themselves.  It features footage of British wildlife and the natural world is explored by Jack, an animated adventurer who lives in the middle of the city and is transported into a real wildlife habitat in each episode. Jack has a magical ability to speak to and interact with the animals he comes across including seals, fox cubs, ladybirds and deer among other creatures.


Wildlife Jack DVD


Young children often know precious little about real British animals, after all they are not found at the local zoo and are mostly quiet and shy, often coming out after bedtime to avoid us! Wildlife Jack brings these sensitive creatures to life and makes them accessible to all, even if it’s a spider outside your front door crawling in your new bug home.  Why not see a clip from the DVD here and see just how magical it is.


Fairy Garden and British Wildlife


This lovely DVD would be a perfect way to prepare for a country walk adding a sense of adventure to the journey ahead. You may even like to further supplement the learning by checking out our Coombe Mill Early Years and Key Stage One worksheets to follow up on a walk with animal word searches, farm animals to hunt for and a sensory sheet.


Worksheets and Woodlands


If you are visiting us on holiday we even have our very own wildlife trail with many of the animals Jack meets. Just imagine the fun of walking our trail pretending to be Jack. We have a copy of the DVD in our borrow room for you to help yourself and let the adventures begin.


The Coombe Mill Wildlife Trail


We’ve got a Wildlife Jack DVD to giveaway to a lucky Coombe Mill blog reader!   


Explore Nature with Wildlife Jack


If Wildlife Jack has captured your heart then follow the instructions below to win a DVD in which Jack mingles with real life animals to tell stories of the great outdoors. It really encapsulates everything we are ourselves trying to pass on to kids, with enthusiasm and a thirst for nature. It’s brilliantly put together!   


a Rafflecopter giveaway



I was given my copy of Wildlife Jack to review and the copies to giveaway. I genuinely love the idea behind this DVD and thoroughly recommend it.


Family Fever

Watch out there's a goat in the woods

May 17, 2015 at 9:00 PMCoombeMill

Watch Out There's a Goat in the Woods


This is without doubt the time of year when the countryside is at its best. Here on the farm the summer flowers are blooming and the bluebells rife in all the hedgerows. Leaves have a beautiful hew of a new growth and our baby animals grow stronger by the day.  After a week of unseasonably cold and drizzly weather the sun returned and the farm in turn responded as if a light had been switched on.  This all happened last Saturday, during a busy changeover. There were guests to say goodbye to, cleaners to supervise, and eleven properties to check before welcoming new arrivals. I have to say when the sun shines my job is easy and the farm couldn't look more inviting. Thanks to light traffic on the road everyone was safely into their properties and exploring the grounds by 5pm. I had a yearning to take my big camera out for a walk and enjoy the late afternoon sun myself. Guy hopped on his bike to join me and we set off at a pace all too slow for Guy as I stopped to marvel over all the farm flowers that were bursting into life.


Honeysuckle and flowers around Coombe Mill  Bluebells and flowers around Coombe Mill

Passing Rocky's field you can't fail to be taken by his plaintiff bleating, he still hasn't accepted he is a goat and always wants to come out for a cuddle. We were only heading into the woods and so let him accompany us; as is typical of Rocky he danced along between us jumping between our legs causing us to trip and laugh at one another on more than one occasion. 


Guy and Rocky Running Around



As we ambled through the deer field I wasn't quite sure if the deer were watching us or Rocky but we certainly turned a few heads.


Catching the Deer's Eye



Guy carried Rocky over the stile and into the woods where just as I expected the bluebells were a radiant carpet.


A Carpet of Bluebells

It was as quiet and peaceful as could be with no sign of anyone else the whole time we were there despite being along a public footpath; it was just what I needed at the end of a busy Saturday and I indulged in a little camera play while Guy and Rocky ran and tumbled around in the bluebells together.

Guy, Rocky and the Bluebells

Guy found a low hanging branch struggling under the weight of its new spring foliage which he turned into a human catapult while Rocky nibbled on the delicacies of the forest floor, we kept a close eye on him as the bracken was just beginning to grow and this can turn goats blind but we needn't have worried as ivy appeared to be his favourite tipple.

Swinging from the Trees in Bluebell Woods

Heading back Rocky's little legs were racing at full speed to keep up with Guy on his bike. We took him back to the house to say Hello to Sprout and give them both their evening bottles and a quick peck on the cheek before turning in for the night.  


Cycling home for a goodnight kiss



Suddenly my busy day felt so much more relaxed as I paused to appreciate all that I have here at Coombe Mill with my family and the farm, a little time spent in the outdoors has such a calming effect on me and on this occasion the bonus of some one on one time with just one of my children.   


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall   

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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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WOW’s toy filled Countdown Calendars have been created for children who are looking forward to a special forthcoming day or event in their young lives. Each comes with 10 toys so the fun never ends

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