Melanie Clay lives with her husband and 2 gorgeous boys in Warwickshire. She has just established a successful on line business selling adorable baby and toddler products with a bias towards environmentally friendly and traditional suppliers. Many of these products would make ideal gifts if you are looking for some Christmas inspiration! http://www.grandbaby.co.uk/ . Melanie stayed here on holiday earlier this year with her lovely family and has kindly sent me this 'grand' review of their experience to share on my blog.
I took the liberty of a short break from Grand Baby recently, some much anticipated time away with my hubby and my boys, and found such a wonderful place I just had to share it with you!
Now normally I spend an age debating where to go on holiday and where to stay, but I’d stumbled into Fiona from Coombe Mill whilst networking on twitter and face book, and after taking a look at Coombe Mill on facebook, and then the website just couldn’t believe it – could one place really be so toddler & child friendly?
Cameron is 2 + 4months, and Adam 7 months, so we needed somewhere that was baby & toddler friendly, and Cameron is well, a typical boy I think! Very active, very inquisitive, loves to climb, run, race, doesn’t miss anything ever, loves to terrorise his baby bro and can be a little….dare I say it….downright naughty! When we stayed at Coombe Mill in the middle of May, Adam was just over 6 months and weaning.
So when I read that Coombe Mill was a working farm with self catering cottages and Scandinavian lodges with:
Daily tractor rides to feed the animals and more animals than you could shake a pail of food at,
An indoor play barn and three outdoor play areas,
A river and stream running through plus two fishing lakes for Daddy!
Cot’s and High Chairs provided
Home cooked food available
Stair gates as standard and the cottage’s had toddler den’s full of toys
And all this as well as being in CORNWALL, we love Cornwall! So that was it – booked.
It was great to hear so much was provided or available, we’d piled the car high when we had just one boy but with two had no idea how we were going to fit everything in.
Booking was simple and Fiona and Jill were extremely helpful in assessing our needs…cots, highchairs, the right accommodation, and called to check a few days before where the cots needed to go too. You also get the details for the local store – St Breward’s, to contact who deliver a grocery order to your accommodation before you arrive so it’s all ready. No need to take the basics or start hunting for a shop the minute you arrive.
We arrived easily thanks to top directions to find the very picturesque Coombe Mill situated in a lush valley, which is in St Brewards, Bodmin. We checked in and were accompanied to the accommodation for a quick tour and explanation of all the facilities both in our cottage and across the farm.
We stayed in Willow cottage, with great views to the front and back, not overlooked, private toddler safe patio garden, open plan lounge and kitchen area with an upstairs balcony looking over. Our provisions including local meat, cheese and of course scones jam and clotted cream were all waiting for us and everywhere was scrupulously clean, not even a toddler fingerprint in sight, which lasted for all of 5 minutes!
We found all the cutlery, utensils and kitchen equipment you could need, and even a dishwasher and washing machine. The toddler den was indeed full of toys including a huge amount of wooden railway, trains and accessories which was Cameron’s favourite all week – we kept that in the very spacious lounge. Downstairs was a Jacuzzi bath and shower with second bathroom, bath and shower upstairs.
Exploring the grounds we quickly found the first play area, river, stream, and investigated the reception area where you can borrow most anything you might need really! Wellingtons, fishing nets, toys, more toys, games, maps, books, extra toddler cutlery, plates, baby carrier, waterproof’s, and buy basics including bread, milk and home cooked food, all left for you to help yourself and complete your “IOU for” in the book, which in itself gave a lovely feeling of being welcome and trusted
Now I love food so it’s important to me, but it’s also important to me to feed my family “proper” food most of the time and Adam is weaning too. And proper food it was waiting in Fiona’s reception freezer – casserole’s, lasagnes, and cottage pies and fish dishes with home cooked puddings to choose from too. So as well as doing a little cooking ourselves and eating out we sampled a couple of dishes across the week and can highly recommend them, in fact we’re hoping Fiona share’s all her recipes soon!
Over the next few days we found two more outside play areas, the inside play barn, the fishing lakes, stream, wooded area, field’s to explore and of course all the animals.
We waited until the first feed run on Sunday morning to find the animals, we found the tractor trailer and all the other guests and their little ones in the car park, and farmer Nick ready to accept his first assistant of the day to drive the tractor with him. My “no fear” two year old suddenly became trailer shy so we walked behind with the rest of the parents, and Adam in the pushchair while most of the children happily travelled in the trailer to fetch branches for the goats, then feed for the Chickens and Ducks and everyone piled into their pen to collect the egg’s, and visit the baby chicks and ducklings. It was wonderful to see everyone encouraged to feed them, collect egg’s and hold the chicks and ducklings at leisure – a great experience on its own for children but this was something they could do every day, as well as then (after a another tractor/trailer ride) piling into the Guinea Fowl and Peacock Pen. Then back on the tractor/trailer to the Pigs (you can save your food scraps for a treat for them) Donkeys, Sheep and Lamb’s, Alpaca, Deer and Goats. These were all spread across quite a large area so plenty of exercise for rowdy toddlers, lots more feeding experiences – you can go in all the pens. And a trek through the Alpaca’s field, up to the wood and through to chase the deer out for a very speedy appearance – but quite exciting for a little one. And after all this - another tractor ride back to feed the rabbits – no small feat with a whole enclosure of them so the children can run round with them, and even some seating! Oh and let’s not forget the ponies.
It was amazing to find most of the morning gone when we headed back and time for lunch, and the feed run’s are 6 days a week so plenty of entertainment and all included!
And of course there isn’t just the farm, you can use the swimming pool at the holiday park just up the road, and Coombe Mill is a great base for exploring Cornwall being so central, it’s just 20-30 minutes to great beaches to the North West and South, and 1-1h 30 to St Ives. There was a great guide in our accommodation – compiled by Coombe Mill to everything to see and do in the area too.
So after feed runs, exploring, swimming, more feed runs, beach visits and even more exploring we thought we would let Daddy try out the Carp lake, so he borrowed a rod from Farmer
Nick’s shed, bought some bait from the handy fishing shop at the holiday park up the road and settled in a chair for a few hours, and a very productive few hours it was – 5 huge carp were landed, admired and let loose which the 2yo thoroughly enjoyed too, of course he didn’t see them all we couldn’t keep him still that long! And he had his own little go with a borrowed fishing net, bucket and the thousands of tadpoles that were bobbing about!
A fabulous week was had by all of us, we loved Coombe Mill and won’t hesitate to book again soon – Thank you so much Fiona, Nick and everyone for a lovely holiday!