Posted on July 11th, 2016 - Fiona
Here on the farm we have had great fun with Num Noms. Little girls are drawn to them and whenever I bring them out curiosity, imagination and play develop as friendships form. I knew that the new Num Noms Go-Go Cafe would have the same reaction as the starter set and I wasn’t disappointed.
Developing Friendship and Play
I casually set up a blanket on the lawn with the Go-Go Cafe, 2 mystery pots and our pre exciting Num Noms collection and within minutes I had a crowd of curious girls and boys attracted by the colourful looking cafe. I invited the children to come and try it out and more or less left them to it.
Children came and went, Guy ran the Coombe Mill train but always a crowd remained captivated in Num Nom play. They soon worked out that some had lip gloss, and some smelt sweet and delicious and that the motorised base could move.
Games began to develop as the Num Noms took a shower, whizzed in the doughnut maker and fell into the bucket.
This little gif really captures the way they all played together sharing Num Noms and the Go-Go Cafe beautifully between themselves.
Num Noms Go-Go Cafe Need to Know Facts
- Retail Price £24.99 via Amazon, Smyths and Toys R Us
- Tea pot shower
- Swing doors
- Spinning Donut Wheel
- Peek-a-boo Teacup
- Teeter-totter Saucer
- Special Edition Num Nom
- Age 3+
The Num Noms Go-Go Cafe is just part of the ever growing Num Noms range. You can mix and match with 1000 different combinations of Num Noms. Kick start your collection with a starter pack from £8.99 or even a little mystery Num Nom pot at just £2.99; a perfect pocket money purchase.
Win your Num Nom Go-Go Cafe with Coombe Mill
The lovely folk at Num Noms are offering Coombe Mill blog readers a chance to WIN a Num Noms Go-Go Cafe for hours of recipe making mischief. To be in with a chance, just follow the instructions below.
Good luck to all taking part.
Num Noms Go-Go Café playset
We were sent our Num Noms Go-Go Cafe for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Our Num Nom collection can be found in Tree Tops Play room for the enjoyment of guests staying in this family holiday cottage.
Posted on July 10th, 2016 - Fiona
The One I nearly didn’t Attend.
This was my 4th Brit Mums Live and the one I almost didn’t attend. Why? I was feeling a bit of an old blogger in every sense of the word. After 5 years of blogging and 3 great Brit Mums Events, I felt my blog was perhaps a little ‘old hat’ and that actually so was I as one of the older Mummy Bloggers on the scene. In my mind it was perhaps time to leave things to the new wave of successful young Mums coming though this year. The early bird tickets came and went and I let it ride until:
- My Mum’s disappointment that I wouldn’t be going to stay with her in June as had become a tradition for my attending Brit Mums.
- I was shortlisted in an incredible 2 BIBs categories.
Both these factors played on my mind, I didn’t want to let my Mum down and my confidence in my blog bounced back. I bought a ticket.
The Fringe Party
New for 2016
After a girly 24 hour catch up with my Mum, I was excited to be heading into London to find the Fringe Party.
Hosted by Holiday Inn overlooking Camden Lock it made the perfect party venue. The wine flowed and the chat rose. For me this was a wonderfully relaxed way to start Brit Mums .
Meeting newer bloggers I’ve come into contact with this year as well as catching up with old friends is what makes me feel part of the blogging community. I felt I had more time to start a good conversation here than at the main event. If you didn’t go this year I can thoroughly recommend it as part of future Brit Mums Live events.
Photo stars: Catching up with Mari of Maris World, Emily of A Mummy Too who I can’t believe I’ve not spoken too before now, Wayfair UK, Susanna of A Modern Mother who again I’ve never managed to catch up with during the main event as she is busy hosting BML, Cathy of Mummy Travels who I’ve shared a bottle of wine with putting the world to rights at Coombe Mill, the bubbly Nadine from Juggle Mummy and stunning Jen from Jenography and co founder of Brit Mums, the wonderfully friendly Franca of A Moment With Franca, and a Clare from Tin box Traveller who shares some lovely adventures with me on #CountryKids. Another Claire I was delighted to finally meet was Claire Justine, and catch up with the lovely Gretta from Mums do Travel and Penny who blogs at Aresidence. I met Kirstie, one half of the Family Adventure Project, briefly touched base with Vic of Vevivos then embarrassed myself by not remembering I’d met the lovely welsh Mummy of 5 Claire from Dairy of the Evans Crittens who always joins Country Kids with such fun family adventures from and the ever friendly Steph of Steph’s Two Girls.
Brit Mums Life: The Main Event
I was back into London on the train bright and early Saturday for Brit Mums Live supporting my ‘School Uniform’; a clever branded dress from Bags of Love. Never again do I need to worry about what to wear to a blogging event, only to remember to breath in as it is not very forgiving on my multiple mummy tummy!
The whole day seemed to disappear in a merry blur of meeting and greeting friends, enjoying cake and dashing between the breakout sessions. How could I ever have considered missing all of this?
Photo Stars above include the talented and vivacious Vicki from Honest Mum, uplifting Michelle From The Joy Chaser, comical cartoon illustrator Jo from Heir Raising who makes me laugh every time I visit her blog, super blogger Aby from You Baby Me Mummy. Absent from photos but I was delighted to meet: Emma from Island Living, Tim from Slouching towards Thatcham who amazed us all with his singing, and the delightful Jane from Maflingo Blog as well as catching up with old friends: Catherine from Cultural Wednesdays, John from Dad Blog UK and long time blogging friend Joanne from The Boy and Me.
I know I spoke to so many more than I have photos for and mentions here, I must have just been wrapped up in the moment and left my camera languishing at my side. Huge apologies if you are not here, I genuinely loved meeting everyone at Brit Mums Live that I came into contact with and you all made my day special.
My Brit Mums Live key learning
Photo Stars: Jen and Suzanna the amazing Brit Mums founders introducing the day, Judith Lewis who is wonderful at explaining SEO in simple actionable language, Julie from The Fat Girls Gide to Running who I actually had a lovely chat to at the Fringe Party the night before, Emily of A Mummy Too talking Pinterest need to knows, Gori Yahaya explaining Google Analytics.
I have come away with 2 pages of scribbled notes from sessions I attended and have listed my key learning across the groups below. The one I beneffited from most from was SEO, I went last year too and found it so helpful. Please Brit Mums can this session go on longer next year. It generates so many questions and always overruns.
- Don’t spam your photo alt tabs with key words, Google may penalise you. Alt tabs are designed to be photo descriptions for blind people. I had thought I was being very clever tagging “Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays, Cornwall” onto the end of all my descriptions. That stops today!
- Get your follow and no follow balance right. Google likes to see a good mix. Do follow bloggers you are commending on a post link and no follow any paid for posts. Not to do so risks being penalised by Google – if you are reported. I have been inclined to ‘no follow’ all but the most relevant link in fear of the wroth of Google, but this isn’t the best plan.
- Don’t republish an old post with changes to increase its SEO, just make the update and safe as it is unless you want it to rank head of your latest posts as the changes as so significant and relevant to the current time.
- Only your Landing page is SEO ranked, not the extra elements in a ‘read more’ link so get your key message at the top.
- Keep an eye on AMP (accelerated mobile pages) they’re going to become critical in the future as mobile searching overtakes lap and PC use.
- In email marketing link via a hyperlink not a click through picture. It will have a greater response as not everyone will think to click a photo.
- If you subscribe to the paid for version of mail chimp it will help you to identify the best times of day to send out your email marketing campaign, however the free version is surprisingly helpful to get you started.
- In Pinterest make sure you are on a business account and have your rich pins sorted ( I still need to add the coding to mine).
- Make sure you register to be pinned by Pinterest
- Google will index your Pinterest account in board order so make sure your most important boards and current season boards are towards the top.
- Pinterest searches are months in advance, so make sure you are thinking Halloween and Christmas now and ‘How to’ and ‘Round up’ posts are the most commonly repined.
- for help understanding Google Analytics to measure your blog success check out Google Digital Garage.
- Make sure your blog is mobile friendly. Check this at Google webmaster tools which will show you how many things on your site fail at mobile level.
There were plenty more tips from the day, these were just the ones that I needed to act on.
The Brilliance in Blogging Awards
As if needed, this was another chance to catch up with friends over a drink.
Photo stars include: Long time blogging friends: Helen from Actually Mummy whose work I always admire, Charly from Podcast who always oozes confidence and success, Clare from Emmy’s Mummy, one of my first ever Blogging chums and always a friendly ear, Louise from Little Hearts Big Love with the prettiest dress on the night, Darren with the lovely photos at photalife and my Cornish blogging friend Stevie from A Cornish Mum.
I was a finalist in Readers choice but never in my wildest dreams did I think I could win. Up against blogs I admire I was happy to watch and congratulate the overwhelmed and happy winners of each category as they received their awards. Then suddenly it was me. Totally blown away I don’t remember too much after that but thankfully I was sat with photo loving Darren of photalife who took over my camera for me and Liska of New Mum on Line who videoed me and all the other winners going up on stage. Thank you both, you have captured a great moment for me.
This was the icing on the cake of a thoroughly enjoyable Brit Mums live and I’m thrilled with my award and bubbly.
I won’t be dithering over purchasing my ticket for Brit Mums Live next year (#BML17) and already look forward to catching up with everyone again.
There is just one thing niggling at the back of my mind. I promised to jump from the bridge into the river if I won in the BiBs. Oh heck! My teens say it is OK for the triplets but I’m too big and could break a leg as it isn’t deep enough. I didn’t want to chicken out completely and let the kids have a giggle by taking my turn on a rather hair raising zip wire at a local attraction. It flies up so high at the end you loose your seat and it’s a struggle to cling on. Oh Brit Mums Live remind me not to make silly promises again!
Posted on July 9th, 2016 - Fiona
The Lakes at Coombe Mill
Time and time again I share photos of our lakes. I walk around them most days checking the animals or joining the morning feed run. Yet even after fourteen years of living at Coombe Mill the beauty of the lakes still takes my breath away. They change in appearance and character with the seasons. Right now they are teaming with wildlife as pond skaters, dragonflies and damselflies scoot by, not to mention being a home to our carp for those wanting to try their hand at fishing here on holiday. The carp bring the beautiful but less welcome heron gracefully sliding by, while wild ducks come and go with the promise of ducklings. There is plenty for youngsters to learn from water safety to the nature within. Pond dipping is a favourite activity.
I keep meaning to head out with my tripod and long lens to capture some of the wildlife at play. However more often than not it is just an angle or cloud reflection that captures my imagination and has me reaching for my i-Phone in passing. This has been one such week.
I didn’t actually think a phone could take a decent close up but I’m quite pleased with this one in the long grass beside the lake.
The reflections from the sky on a clear day give the most beautiful rich blue shine on the water.
This might actually be my favourite photo as it captures a different perspective to usual. It was actually taken by Theo who is showing the greatest interest of all my children in photography. He crept own into an overgrown section that once was home to one of his many childhood camps to take the photo.
I hope where ever you are the start of July has brought some much needed sunshine your way with fewer downpours.
Posted on July 8th, 2016 - Fiona
Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill
The joy of helping Farmer Nick to drive the tractor and trailer for the morning animal feeding.
Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky with a simple objective for healthy kids of mind and body:
“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”
Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the #30DaysWild challenge and National Trust 100 things to do before you are 11¾ along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
Guidelines for Joining in:
- Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
- Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
- Large unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
- Comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
- If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
- Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
- Link posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
- I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
- By joining in with Country Kids you’re giving me permission to email you weekly as a reminder.
- There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.
Thank you to my top 3 commenters from last week:
1st Merlinda from Glimmer of Hope who commented on a whopping 30 posts this week – thank you so much!
2nd Heidi from Him Me Three commented on 28 posts this week – also really impressive
3rd Sarah from Boo Roo and Tigger Too commented on 14 posts this week
Do check out their posts too.
My top commented post will automatically qualify for a chance at the Rockfish wellies below provided other giveaway criteria are met.
Disappointed to see that the, ‘link dump and run’ culprits went up this week from 4 to 6 with plenty more not following the few rules above. Please pop back here to rectify if this was you last week.
Introducing Rockfish, the Country Kids Sponsor
Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly
I am delighted to announce that Rockfish have joined with Coombe Mill to sponsor the Country Kids link up. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish Wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.
Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here, will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way.
For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here
Posts from last week in with a chance of the July Rockfish Wellies:
My most commented post going through and also carrying the Country Kids badge is Sarah of Boo Roo and Tigger Too with fairground fun
I loved this summer Santa visit from Sara of Mum Turned Mom
This crafty skittles game from plastic bottles is a great garden activity from Samantha of Chocolate and wine and I’ll be fine
Country Kids 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
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Posted on July 8th, 2016 - Fiona
Country Kids from Coombe Mill
The summer weather has brought out so much wildlife on the Coombe Mill lakes and river I was keen to run an activity hour session introducing a little pond dipping and river life into our play. Glorious sunshine in May and early June had given way to rain this week, thankfully it dried up in time for our activities but any study of the river was out of the question as it was racing through Coombe Mill at close to flood levels.
Undeterred I had a plan of activities using the more tranquil lake and a DIY safe pond whilst talking through river safety.
We began with a sweet little storybook about a fish and his friends.
From here we set off on a scavenger hunt for bracken, sticks and sticky weed to play nature fishing. This is something I did a couple of years ago and knew it would be perfect for toddlers.
Our story rug was transformed into a pond with bracken fish. Sticks became fishing rods with stick weed as the line. It is such a simple activity but perfect for preschool age as it encourages creativity, imagination and counting.
When every fish had been caught we put together our pond scopes. These were simply made with plastic bottles, cling film and loom bands. With these, some identification sheets of things to look out for and a fishing net each we set off over the river towards the lake. Crossing the footbridge everyone took a look at the raging river, but this was as close as we dared go.
Our two lakes are a fair size and ideal for serious fishing. However Nick built a launching pad for HMS bath tub last year and this was a perfect spot on the slipway for our pond dipping. We could see boatmen and pond skaters zipping across the surface and the nets gave the children a chance to trawl a little deeper.
I had prepared a little micro pond for our pond scopes to avoid anyone peering into the lake and toppling in. Felix had helped me in advance to fill a paddling pool with buckets of lake water, then launched me off in HMS bath tub to trawl deeper in the lake. I knew we had some water mini beasts for the children to find in our micro pond.
The excitement of turning stories and play fishing into real pond dipping and finding waterlife was palpable. I was thrilled with how well the pond scopes worked and when the children found something in their nets they took it over to the micro pond for a closer look under their pond scopes.
Pond Life Craft
Once everyone had found something on their pond dipping sheets we headed back towards the games room. My final activity was painting trout. We have fresh water trout in our top lake where we were pond dipping as well as in the river. On a calmer day we could have watched the trout swim through under Coombe bridge. I had pre-cut the trout shapes and stuck them to paper plates. The children then painted on the river or pond and pulled away the cut out fish to reveal their trout.
It was a very busy afternoon for the children with so many activities, but they never once looked like they were flagging.