Win a Fire Station Activity Book and Playset

January 4, 2016 at 10:00 PMCoombeMill

Here at Coombe Mill we are great believers in learning through play. Each week we try to come up with crafts and activities for the guests staying at Coombe Mill based on a craft or activity that is both topical and educational. Often these relate to learning from the week on the farm or special times of year. With New Year upon us I was keen to do something linking to fireworks and fire safety with our young guest's head of our New Year's Eve party.


Win a Fire Station Activity Book and Playset 

Parragon books had sent me a beautiful Fire Station 3D pop up and build play set  together with a fun activity book which perfectly fitted my plans for our afternoon session and the children wasted no time in crowding round to help me assemble it.


Activity Book and Playset box


The play set is made from waxed board so substantial in quality and designed to be used more than once. The pieces pop out really easily and there is a handy double page diagram in the activity book to help you put it together. I have to confess it took the parents joining in to help us get it right so although I'd say the finished play set is suitable from age 3 upwards it takes someone older to help assemble it. There are 10 pop up characters to play with and the fire engine fits perfectly into the play station when complete. The Rescue ladder moves to give hours of imaginative play.


Putting together the Fire Engine


The activity book is perfect to supplement the fire station play containing some lovely challenges to help with early years verbal reasoning, counting and pen coordination skills.


Filling in the activity book


Win your firestation Activity book and Playset


If you fancy one of these lovely sets from Parragon books for your little one to enjoy then just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.


I was sent my Fire station play set and Activity book for the purpose of this review, all thoughts are my own. 


Family Fever  

Trash 2 Treasure January 2016

January 3, 2016 at 8:30 PMCoombeMill


Happy New Year and welcome to #Trash2Treasure. Thank you to all who joined me last year, the linky has now been running for 6 months and I'm thrilled with all the fun upcycling ideas that have come through proving that a creative mind can turn a throwaway item into something special. I'm kicking off the first link up with a real something from nothing idea.  

How to make Eco Logs

Recycled Paper Eco Logs Tutorial

Here on the farm we love to enjoy a camp fire, light a BBQ or cosy up by the wood burning stove. We do pretty well for our own supplies of wood thanks to the autumn storms each year bringing a few big windfall branches down but I thought it might be fun to try and make some eco logs to burn from some of the Christmas leftover wrapping paper and other bits paper and card in our recycling bin. They turned out really well and captured my kids imaginations too so I'm sharing them here.

What You'll Need

Old scrap paper - cheap low grade paper is best like Christmas wrapping paper, newspaper, cereal boxes, avoid anything with a wax or foil coating.

Mop and bucket set

A few kettle loads of hot water


Eco Logs for a BBQ, camp fire or wood burner. A Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays craft tutorial



  1. Tear the paper into small pieces.

  2. Place the paper pieces in the bucket until it is full.

  3. Carefully pour the boiling water over the torn up paper.

  4. Stir with the mop handle (remove the mop head first).

  5. Repeat steps 2 - 4 until the bucket is full or your paper used up.

  6. Leave the paper to absorb the water for about 24 hours adding more hot water if needed during this time and stirring as often as you can. We found stirring by hand became easier than using the mop once the mix had cooled down and the paper fibres began to break up.

  7. Take a handful of the paper sludge and squeeze it into the mop squeeze section to remove the worst of the water without it squirting out everywhere.

  8. Once you've removed a lot of the water in the mop squeezer, pull the mixture out and give it a few more squeezes with your hands to remove as much water as you can, shaping it as you go.

  9. Put them somewhere warm, dry and out of the way and leave them to dry out completely, we placed ours on top of the boiler for approximately 24-48 hours, they'll be virtually weightless when they're ready.

Step by Step Eco Logs


A few ideas to try with your log

We used firelighter in a garden BBQ with our logs loaded in a pyramid on top to toast marshmallows. As we had made our logs small they dried easily and caught without the need for kindling. If you fancy upcyling the whole process Craft Invaders have a lovely tutorial for making your own firelighters too. Ours worked so well Guy and Jed repeated it with the guests in our Christmas activity hour


Eco Logs burning

With the holiday business we generate more recycling than most and have a huge trailer in the car park for all the left over wrapping paper at Christmas. Farmer Nick turns this into large brick like logs with a special moulding and squeezing device and the cement mixer in place of my mop and bucket.

Nicks Eco Bricks

A Video Tutorial to make Eco Logs

Joining in with Trash2Treasure

If you have post about something you have made with something from nature or something you would have otherwise have thrown away please come and share on Trash 2 Treasure. The linky will run on the 1st Monday of every month and stay open for the full month. Posts can take any form, all that matters is that the item made has primarily been upcycled from something of little value or found in nature. Leaves and loo rolls, sticks and staples, there are so many throw away items which, with a little imagination, can be turned into something of value. Most of my something from nothing craft tutorials will come from fun keepsakes we have made with the children in our farm activity hour but sometimes I will share bigger upcycling projects from Farmer Nick too. I hope through the linky to acquire some new ideas and I welcome all posts old and new. 


A little extra from the awesome folk at Duck Tape Colours


Trash 2 Treasure sponsored by Duck Tape UK with Coombe Mill Holidays for creative fun.


Trash to Treasure is sponsored by Duck Tape Colours, makers of colourful tape to add pattern and sparkle to all your upcycling projects. Our favourite upcycling post each month will receive 3 colourful rolls of tape to inspire your next project. Do check out their website for plenty of creative ideas.


Thank you for all the wonderful posts again last month and congratulations to Maestro Mummy who has won the Duck Tape Colours with this fab toilet roll reindeer tutorial Toilet Roll Reindeer



I also really enjoyed the marbled tealight holder tutorial by Let Kids Be Kids and this recipe for Boxing Day Parcels from Nature Mum Blog



When joining in please use the hashtag #Trash2Treasure on twitter, instagram or Google Plus and I'll find you

If you link up I'll send you an invite to pin on my Trash 2 Treasure Pinterest board

           Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays's board Trash 2 Treasure. on Pinterest.



Please grab my badge and join my crafting journey and do pop back to check out other people's posts during the month.    




Posted in: Trash 2 Treasure


Happy New Year

January 2, 2016 at 7:30 PMCoombeMill

In the usual blur of fun and activities here at Coombe Mill we have waved goodbye to 2015 and embraced 2016. Over the coming weeks I have so much to share of our festive events here on the farm, but for now I'd just like to wish everyone:

A Very Happy New Year

I hope all your hopes and dreams for 2016 come true and that you toasted the passing of another year and welcomed the beginnings of the new one with those dear to you. We certainly had a house full with my brother and his family and my great nieces and nephews, I loved every minute.

 Family Clan Gathering at Coombe Mill for New Year 2016

Our New Year week feed runs have been wet and soggy, with many of the fields off limits for being too sludgy, yet our resilient holiday makers have made the best of the week, dressed up for the weather and carried on regardless although the Bunny House being undercover was definitely the favourite place.


 Bunny House in winter with the Coombe Mill Family Farm Holiday Rabbits.

Thankfully the rain held off for our all important Coombe Mill New Year's Eve Party in our much used craft and ping pong tent. More on this one in a later Country Kids post. 


ew Year's Eve Party 2015 at Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays


We followed this with a meal for our own family and local friends to see us through to the New Year. Thankfully the New Year's Day tractor and trailer feed run ran an hour later than usual at 10am, a much needed lie in for me, though I'm not sure the animals were so keen! 


 New Year's Eve Family Dinner at Coombe Mill

Country Kids from Coombe Mill

January 1, 2016 at 10:50 PMCoombeMill


Happy New Year

Welcome back to a 5th year of Country Kids, I'm delighted to be back promoting outdoor family fun and will be sharing Christmas and New Year on the farm over the next few weeks.


Christmas Activity Hour


No wonder we talk about the weather in the UK, we began only our second Christmas feed run in torrential rain, it was already clear from the previous day that the chicken fields soaked from weeks of wet weather was soon going to turn into a dangerous mud soup and so we took the decision to round up the chickens and transfer them to the hard surface peacock enclosure for the holidays. This way we could safely visit them without sliding over in the mud; it was a very hands on start to the day for many.


Moving the chickens


With craft hour due that afternoon I was willing the weather to perk up with a plan afoot that involved a visit to the fairy gardens. Thankfully for me the weather was on my side and it turned into a real spring like day just in time for us to start. We began making Elf post boxes in the craft tent, I had practiced them in advance and even have a tutorial on how to make them, but I took a few short cuts like pre painting the toilet rolls and cutting and painting the lids in advance to ensure we had enough time.


Making the Post Boxes


Just as everyone was glossing their boxes I had a prearranged call from my elves in the fairy garden requesting that the children were all needed. We downed tools and all made our way over to find a little Elf sitting under an umbrella with a letter for us.


Hunting for the elf


The children all crowded round while my little Elf carefully read out a letter from Santa requesting that all the children take a scoop of the Elf's specially prepared reindeer food for Rudolph the Coombe Mill Deer Stag, apparently Blitzen was feeling poorly and Rudolph might be needed on Christmas Eve, the food if given on the morning of Christmas Eve would give Rudolph the powers he needed to help Santa. Elf Clio read every one a Christmas story before handing out food to every child.


Reading the  letter and book


Before we returned to the tent I had two more little helpers with a BBQ blazing offering the children a chance to toast a marshmallow. They used homemade Eco logs to burn instead of coal, if you fancy trying them there is a tutorial for them on the blog tomorrow evening.


Toasting Marshmallows

Revived and with a mission in hand we headed back to the craft tend to write messages to Rudolph and seal the special food bags ready for Christmas Eve.

Making the Reindeer Food

Those who were still keen moved onto Christmas tree making before Guy gave us a 'toot toot' for the Christmas train.  Many took the Christmas tree crafts home to finish but a few continued after the train and expertly finished their work.


Train and Christmas Tree


After the downpour at the chickens I was so relieved the afternoon cleared to see my activity hour plans come to fruition and the children having such a lovely time.


Joining in with Country Kids

I'd love you to come and share your outdoor fun with me here on the linky.  All posts are welcome from playing in the garden to days out.  All I ask is that the post is predominantly outside, away from screens and enjoying some fresh air.  I'd be delighted if you would take my badge or link back here and please remember to check out some of the other posts, it might just be the inspiration for 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 


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 

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


A few of my favourites from last week:

Tin Box Traveller has been exploring 'A Christmas Carol' at Mottisfont Abbey

Jump aboard the Santa Express at Nene Valley with Over 40 and a Mum to One

Little Hearts Big Love had a Bricktacular Christmas experience at Legoland

Win a pair of Muddy Puddles Wellies with Country Kids

January Giveaway 


I am delighted to announce that Muddy Puddles have joined with Coombe Mill to sponsor the Country Kids link up. My favourites each week will be considered for a pair of Muddy Puddles Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way.  If you are not already familiar with this wonderful outdoor children's range please do take a look at their website where they have everything needed for year round country kids. The wellies we offer may change each month but are always high quality, comfy and stylish so keep an eye out here on Country Kids to see which designs are up each month. For more more information on the Muddy Puddles wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here   

My winner of the December Puddlestomper wellies is Tin Box Traveller with her lovely Christmas post from Mottisfont Abbey. Congratulations Claire and please email me your choice of colour and size at


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



Coombe Mill Christmas Bloopers 2015

December 27, 2015 at 6:00 PMCoombeMill

The bits you weren't meant to see!

This year has seen me move into the newly popular area of vlogging. I have hijacked Farmer Nick's flood light and become a fan of vlogging for tutorials on both my cooking and craft activities. It is fair to say when looking back on my blunders over the year it is my crafting mishaps that are the most frequent, suggesting I am still very much an amateur in this area. However with eager children to entertain on the farm every week I do enjoy coming up with new ideas and then sharing how I do them here on the blog. Hopefully next year my rookie errors will reduce, in the mean time I hope you have a giggle at my expense on my outtakes video here. There were plenty more farm ones I can recall but not saved on film, it tends to be all hands on deck with the animals, but watch out Farmer Nick, after you have called my bluff and framed me here I might just have the camera running on you more in 2016!



Wishing all our Coombe Mill Holiday guests and blog followers a very Happy New Year

Fiona x

Cheers Bloopers

Please share our family farm holidays, I'd be so proud

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.

Grab the badge & join the linky for outdoor fun Sat - Wed

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Upcycling Linky, 1st Monday every month

Muddy Puddles

Here at Muddy Puddles we believe ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong kit!’. We’re on a quest for all children to be fit for adventure, and to embrace the outdoors.

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