A helping hand in the kitchen

October 17, 2014 at 7:40 AMCoombeMill

We all know the difficulties that come from day to day life and accept anything that would help to make the day a little easier. With 8 people in the house, 5 of which teen and tween boys, we have a lot of dishes to be washed up daily and I couldn’t live without my dishwashers, yes I actually have 2 in my kitchen.  They are always in use and constantly full of plates with egg yolk, chocolate spread and sauce all over them. So when Servis, a well-known household brand contacted me asking if I wanted to review one of their new ranges of dishwashers as the start of a business partnership I jumped at the opportunity.

My double dishwasher kitchen

Since 1929 Servis has been providing homes with the everyday essentials that make life that little bit easier and I’m sure many of us can remember our parents or grandparents having one in our homes. Servis was re-launched in the UK in 2012 with new ranges in washing machines, washer dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers and cookers. All of their new ranges of appliances have a modern look which would fit in any kitchen as well as a few added extras that makes Servis stand out in kitchen appliances.

The dishwasher that I will be reviewing is the DN61039 and is available in stainless steel or white. It has a great energy rating at A+++ and boasts a low noise level which is always helpful against the backdrop of family mealtime chatter since the kitchen is the hub of our house. It has an impressive 10 programmes available to choose from including an Eco 500 and a Quick 30 minute 40o with both cleaning and drying performance rated A. The dishwashers other features include handy little things such as a child lock option which would be useful for those little fingers that like to fiddle, foldable racks on both the top and the bottom baskets allowing total flexibility and a pause option if you realise that you need something that you've put in the dishwasher halfway through a wash. 


Servis then and now

Servis has always been a household name and their attention to detail is impressive. Looking at all the options included in their products suggests they have really thought about how they will fit into a busy home. I am really looking forward to receiving my dishwasher from Servis and putting it through its paces in our busy kitchen. I'll be back to let you know just how I get on and whether Servis lives up to its claims, the first job will be to educate my family in how to use it and explain that unlike one of my current dishwashers it should work on every setting not just number one!


I will be receiving a fully paid for dishwasher to review from the Servis range for which my views and options will be as I find the appliance in use. This post is an information post based on manufacturer information available on the Servis website.

Autumn Duties for Spring Rewards

October 12, 2014 at 10:00 PMCoombeMill

Time to put Rambo and Billy to work

While we kiss good bye to flip flops and enjoy the end of a beautiful Indian summer on the farm our plans turn to the winter ahead and next spring.

A highlight each spring is the arrival of the first lambs and kid goats. Last year Farmer Nick's planning went slightly askew and we had kids born in the January storm who ended up spending their first month of life in his shed waiting for a dry spell before venturing into the great outdoors. This year Nick has downloaded a spreadsheet with all the animal gestation dates and ring fenced February for our first arrivals.  


Planning chart in Farmer Nick's shed for sheep and goats


The first ewes have been put in with Rambo whose chest has been sprayed. This way we can tell if he has done the deed or not as the orange paint marks transfer to the ewes behind. I am slightly concerned as initially the orange splodge only appeared on the rear of a young ram in with him and not the lady in waiting!


Rambo and young ram mix up


Things are looking more hopeful with lady number two. She proved less than willing to move fields testing all Farmer Nick's strength but Rambo on the other hand was only to eager to greet her and get down to business. Hopefully he will now be on the right track. The other ewes will be gradually introduced to Rambo's field over the next two months  so that spring births are spread out through to May half term giving more of our guests the chance of seeing a newborn on their visit.


Ram and Ewe Meeting


The same timing applies to the goats so Billy goat gruff  has a lady friend called Ginger added to his field.


Nick and Ginger the goat


It turns out Billy has competition from last year's little ram kid who thought he would get in there first!


Ginger and kid ram


Billy soon worked out that he was missing the action and chased the young chancer into his place. A friendship of the correct goat order has now formed in their field.


3 isn't always a crowd


With Ginger out of the way Titch and Hairy were led back to the main herd. They had taken up residence in our lambing field over the summer thanks to bullying led by Ginger. So far so good for the pair back in the main field and a chance for their field to rest before lambing next spring. However we have a second shelter in there just in case anyone is bullied out of the shed.


Farmer Nick moving Titch and Hairy


Goat politics is worse than my daughter's class at school! Hopefully now all will now be well with the new mix of personalities in each field, though I've no doubt each week a new goat is moved a fresh settling in period will follow. 

While Spring is magical here on the farm, the indian summer has left everything looking fresh and lush right now. The animals have vibrant glossy coats and look in peak condition just as they should in readiness for the winter ahead and the trees are just beginning to turn colour leaving a beautiful glow across the 30 acres that forms Coombe Mill. If you fancy joining us this season we are open until the 15th November for a late break and then again from 17th December for Christmas. We also have one remaining cottage to sleep nine for half term including heaps of halloween fun but hopefully no baby animals unless someone has given Farmer Nick the slip!  


Autumn on the farm


Linking up with The Gallery and Savouring the Season for the autumn photos Brilliant Blog Posts What's the Story and Magic Moments Click on the links to see what's happening in the lives of others.

Silent Sunday / Project 52

October 11, 2014 at 11:50 PMCoombeMill


Farmer Nick and his Shadow



 TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky   OneDad3Girls   


Posted in: On the Farm | Weekly Photo


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

October 10, 2014 at 11:50 PMCoombeMill

Entering the magical world of fairies and goblins

Activity hour here on the farm goes from strength to strength. Each week we wait to see the age range of the children signing up before agreeing on an activity to suit all their needs.  The one to three year olds this past few weeks have really made us put our thinking caps on for enough stimulating and engaging ideas for them. We had been doing up to 5 different crafts as their attention span is so much less than the older children, however this week I decided on a change. I thought we would try linking the activities together with a theme so their understanding could evolve from one task to the next. Our theme was Discovery and Sensory learning in the world of fairies and goblins. 

 Sensory learning with fantasy fairies and goblins


The dressing up box is always a good way to get imaginations running with children. They chose their own outfits with Mums and Dads helping them dress.

We explained that our little folk were asking for some more food in their garden and that we were all going to help them from the things we found around the farm and here in my garden. Handing out sensory sheets we invited the children to collect the herbs on the list explaining that they were all things their Mums and Dad's used to flavour their food and could be found in and around our green house.


Sensory learning exercise with herbs for early years

Folding over the sensory sheet we rolled and rubbed to release the fragrance.


Making scented paper from nature sensory exercise for early years children

Then we explained that while we added our herbs to meat and vegetable for cooking our fairy folk used them differently. Our fun fairy food scavenger hunt sheet is full of things to collect for the perfect fairy dinner, including herbs we had just been investigating.


Fairy Food Sensory Walk Worksheet

Each child chose a brightly coloured dinner pot to fill with their ingredients and we set off exploring to find them.   


 Fairy Food Hunt at Coombe Mill


They all did really well with finding all the ingredients on their fairy food list and carried them carefully into the gardens. I had arranged some tree stumps in a circle and we all took a seat to enjoy a delightful Fairy story I found in our reception; the children still clutching their fairy dinners.


Fairy storytime


Then it was on to the serious task of scattering fairy food and seeing if we could spot any of the little folk along the way.


 Scattering fairy food in the fairy gardens


We didn't see a fairy but we did see plenty of their handiwork around the gardens!

It was a lovely afternoon in the fresh air full of imagination, fun and a little learning too with collecting and identifying our fairy food ingredients.



If you fancy trying out these activities in your garden or at the park here are printables of the activity sheets we created.

Sensory Leaf Activity and Fairy Food Sensory Scavenger Hunt 


Joining in with Country Kids

If you have been outdoors enjoying the fresh air please come and join the linky. Country Kids is all about family time with the children away from screens and sofas making the most of the great outdoors. Discover our forests, enjoy the beach, get crafting in the garden or find a local park; there is so much out there and a little fresh air is good for us as well as our children. Please grab the badge or link back here and do check out some of the other posts, there are always some lovely ideas for enjoying outdoor time with your children.    

I always comment on every post that links up with me but doing this has led to some commenting systems seeing me as spam *sobs*. If you don't see a comment from me please check your spam, I am probably lurking there!  

Country Kids is around in these communities, I'd love you to join me there:

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)

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Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet

A few of my favourites from last week:

I love the colour sorting with broad beans from Adventures of Adam

City girl gone coastal took the family to a fascinating woodland fair

The perils of kids football is a broken greenhouse....again! I love this story from Touchline Dad 

Let Kids be kids venture out to the discovery centre which the children embrace

Charlie Moo's  goes to Farmer Palmers for a fun family day with the animals



Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A Chance Meeting at the Beach

October 5, 2014 at 10:30 PMCoombeMill


Every week I look forward to Tuesday's from Easter to October as this is our beach afternoon. I collect all the children from their various schools and we head out to Polzeath where the triplets attend surf school and the others have a free 2 hours of beach fun to do as they choose. Usually the bigger ones bring their boards and surf too while I body board, however the sea has been like a millpond the past couple of weeks so we have been running the coast path together with a dip in the sea at the end. This week I instantly regretted the decision as there were some beautiful waves to surf.

Once the triplets were safely off with boards and wetsuits and the Surf's Up team, the bigger boys and I agreed to run the coast path in the opposite direction to usual and see if we could make it as far as Rock beach.

My running these days is not very serious and I am easily distracted taking photos of the lovely view and the boys are soon way ahead of me. 


 Running the coast path


I hadn't even managed a mile before a tent and sign on the cliff edge caught my attention. I wandered over and began to chat to Mark Gibbons who explained his work and how he sets up his tent around the coast painting the same stunning views I enjoy photographing.  It looked like the most idyllic way to earn a living and I was captivated.


Artist at Work on the cornish coast path


I had lost sight of the the boys by now and focussed on a gentle trot snapping away as I travelled. The peace and beauty of the coast is so refreshing I was lost in my own world and nearly missed them running back passed me along the vast stretch of beach!


Polzeath to Rock


Passing Mark again at his tent I could see I wasn't the only one taken by the quality of his work. He had quite a crowd by now and was selling water colours as fast as he was creating them! I was glad I had a chance to chat on my way out and I'm hoping we might soon be supporting some of his work on show at Coombe Mill. We would make a perfect outlet for him to display his work and his delightful water colours would certainly brighten up any of our cottage and lodge walls. If you are down visiting us in the future do keep an eye out for them.


Mark Gibbons selling watercolours at the beach

In the mean time you can find out more about Mark and his work over on his website at Mark Gibbons Art, I promise it is worth a look.

This is just one picture I selected to share from his site, anyone who has visited Polzeath will recognise this scene.


Mark Gibbons Art - Polzeath beach


Back at the beach we managed a quick dip to cool off in the sea before the surfers came out telling us just how amazing the waves were. I'm definitely packing all our wetsuits and boards for next week. However my run was both productive and enjoyable and meeting Mark a real bonus. My love of Cornwall and the coast continues I hope the children never grow out of surfing!


 Mark Gibbons with his seascape at Polzeath


Disclosure: I was not paid or asked to write this post for Mark, I simply chose to share a chance meeting and a talented local artist.     

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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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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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