Posted on January 28th, 2017 - Fiona
It has been years since I can remember a winter like this one. Days of frosty mornings, temperatures only climbing as the sun creeps over the valley giving way to glorious afternoons with a taste of spring and real warmth from the sun. Yet it is still January’s farm and by mid afternoon that spring sun climbs up the opposite side of the valley with visible speed leaving behind a heavy reminder that winter is in fact still in charge. That said, compared to the past few years of endless warm rainy days with fears for the safety of the animals catching pneumonia from the damp and everyone squelching in mud, this year is like the winter wonderland of postcards and childhood fairytales.
A January Afternoon
I have shared plenty of frosty morning photos over the past weeks, the joy of my morning farm rounds as the sun rises over the valley, so today I’m sharing the late afternoon. That half hour in the day as the sun beats down its last rays before retreating up the hill.
Out on the farm the animals know this is the time of day to savour, they can all be found quietly soaking up the sun. I wonder if they appreciate how lucky they have been this year, or remember the rain of January’s farm last year.
Down by the lakes the sun has left a warm glaze over the water which sits as still as can be apart from the odd carp rising to the surface or the wild ducks coming for a swim. Our farm ducks and geese are all now indoors. More on how we’ve managed that on the blog tomorrow.
January’s Farm at Sunset
I can’t resist trekking up through our deer field and out onto the lane to follow the sun’s retreat up the valley. I am rewarded at the top with a beautiful sky looking out towards the sea.
I wonder what February’s Farm will bring?
Posted on January 27th, 2017 - Fiona
Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill
Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:
“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 National Trust 100 things to do before you are 11¾ along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
Make the most of family time outdoors.
I hope you’ve had a good week whether sunny like us or under the mask of fog in the south east. Motivating ourselves and our children to layer up for outside can feel such a chore in winter, but I’m sure if you do, the smiles and rosy cheeks are worth the effort. So much of Cornwall is closed in January but the woodlands, coast and harbour towns are always a cheep day out with plenty for families to do even in January and we have been making the most of this. I hope you have an adventure to share on the link up below.
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.
- Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
- Please 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.
- Linked 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.
My top commenters from 7th January:
1st Tracey from Mummy Shire with 22 comments
2nd Claire from Emmys Mummy with 21 comments
3rd Samantha from Chocolate and Wine and I’ll be Fine with 19 comments
We have 2 guilty bloggers linking up again and not commenting on any posts (as of Thursday pm when counted). Come on you know who you are please go back to be fair to
Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids
Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly
I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality 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. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!
For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.
Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the January Rockfish Wellies:
Top Commenter : Tracey from Mummy Shire.
I have been wanting to try snow painting for years but still no snow for us, instead I’m sharing how The Ladybird’s adventures did it.
Winter in the woods by a Mum’s Blind Love will make you want to wrap up and head out.
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 growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.
I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. With over 1000 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.
My favourite photos from the week came from @pottyadventures @hip2trekemma @mummyinatutu @moortoshore. Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following.
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Posted on January 27th, 2017 - Fiona
I make no secret of loving family days at the beach and here in Cornwall we have some gorgeous beaches to choose from. I don’t mind if it is summer or winter, time at the beach for me is time well spent. I can feel on holiday just minutes from home here and I like nothing better than the school holidays when all my family join me. Having children now age 12 – 18, family trips are becoming less frequent, there is always someone off doing something independently, so when the Christmas holidays gave us a chance to all be together for some winter beach days there was no stopping this trip. For Farmer Nick this is a bit of a rarity, I swear Christmas is the only time of the year he joins us at the beach; normally he is much happier pottering on the farm and having a little peace and quiet from us all!
It wasn’t a beautiful day but it was warm for December and to me it was perfect. School and work were on hold and we could just enjoy a few hours of fresh air. Once at the beach our party split into two, one group walked the coast path to the headland while Guy and I opted for surfing (Guy) and body boarding (me) in the sea.
I don’t remember the wind but looking back at the photos the waves and our hair blowing all over shows there was quite a strong side wind.
Normally photos of my family are a rarity, however thanks to my brother joining us, suddenly the kids were happy to stop and smile giving me some lovely memories of our day.
I wish I could have transported Guy and me into these photos at the headland.
That said we were in the sea nearly an hour and had a great time, it didn’t even feel like winter in there. Though I do have a thick wetsuit and a thermal rash top, Guy was the brave one in a summer weight suit.
Winter beach days: A return trip
We enjoyed it so much we couldn’t resist a return visit a few days later and this time in full sun. The tide was further out and splashing in the sea and football on the beach was all it took for happy family fun.
I don’t know what it is about term time, but persuading the kids to come out with me is so much more of an effort. I’m now looking forward to half term and the prospect of more family winter beach days here in Cornwall.
Tips for family Winter Beach Days at Polzeath
- Take wetsuits, especially for the children, they always end up splashing in water at any time of year. We have plenty to borrow at Coombe Mill from our boot room.
- Take snacks and drinks or a money if it is a beach with facilities. Beach play is thirsty work!
- Our visit here was to New Polzeath, lf the tide is in there is a walk from parking to reach the main beach at Polzeath so check tide times before setting out.
- In 2016 the beach toilets became pay toilets. You need 20p to go and worse, they lock them all together now in winter due to lack of funds for cleaning. My tip is to use the local beach cafes which are open at peak times like the Christmas holidays.
- Parking at Cornish beaches is heavily monitored, never outstay your ticket or you are like to be fined. New Polzeath is free all year but parking is limited. There is a pay car park too for busier months.
- Be sensible in the sea. There are no lifeguards from October to May, though you can still book surf lessons for adults and children with Surf’s Up.
Posted on January 23rd, 2017 - Fiona
You know the problem, put a wash on, take it out and bingo, there is a sock missing. How does that happen? Is it the sock eating washing machine, the house ghost or the wind that whirled it off the washing line and into the neighbour’s yard? Odd sock problems are a curse in every household. This is precisely why a little present to solve the dilemma is the perfect gift for the person who has it all….. Apart from a matching pair of socks!
Trust Prezzybox to hit on a cunning and stylish solution at pocket money prices. Make the birthday boy or girl laugh for under a fiver with this fancy sock hanger. Perfect as a light hearted valentine’s gift being not too serious yet thoughtful. Easy to hang in a bedroom or laundry room and with the fun slogan and stylish design you can make hanging out your socks bedroom art!
Need to Know
- Hanging rope
- Made from MDF with fun slogan “single, clean and waiting for a mate”
- Hangs 5 odd socks
- Dimensions: 13.4 x 28 cm
- Price £4.99 from Prezzybox
- Features rustic heart duo trinkets
Back when we had a Coombe Mill laundry room this would have been the obvious place for our sock hanger. Since all our properties now have their own washing machines and tumble driers I decided in the laundry room of Tree Roots was the best place. As a cottage sleeping 10 there is bound to be a lost sock to hang up at any given time!
Win your odd sock hanger with Prezzybox and Coombe Mill
If you have a problem with odd socks or are looking for a unique present for the person who has it all, why not enter to win. Simply follow the instructions below.
Good luck to all taking part.
Odd Sock Hanger
We were sent out sock hanger for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Posted on January 22nd, 2017 - Fiona
The Acropolis of Athens, One of the Seven Wonders of the New World.
No trip to capital of Greece is complete without a visit to the famous Parthenon at the top of the Acropolis of Athens. Built in the centre on top of a high sacred mountain it was designed as a temple to protect and give power to its people. It has become one of the new 7 wonders of the world and is shrouded in history. An architect’s dream, this amazing building is full of wonder even to the uncultured. I defy anyone to climb to the top and not be amazed by the scale and structure, the breath taking views and wonder of a civilization past.
As we fall into the uncultured band of tourist we split our visit here into two days covering the museum one afternoon and the acropolis the following evening. With two teenage boys in tow this proved the best way for them to appreciate what they were seeing without having a cultural overload in the heat of July.
The Museum for the Acropolis of Athens.
We are lucky enough to have plenty of family and friends in Athens and had travelled in from our holiday base in Kaffisia to meet up with cousins for lunch in the city. They became our tour guides for the afternoon. They recommended doing the museum first given it was the middle of the day and very hot outside. The modern building had benefited from much EU funding and was state of the art, beautifully kept and presented with plentiful air conditioning. Even the approach oozed sophistication with its modern look walking over clear floors with ancient ruins visible beneath us.
Once inside the building stretches over several floors and could easily take you a full day to fully explore. You can book a guided tour which might be advisable, or if you go it alone there are plenty of plaques in English to explain all that you are seeing. We felt very lucky to have our own local family guides and followed obediently round.
I was really pleased we had visited the museum first, as it set my expectations and improved my understanding of what to look out for the following day climbing up to the old Parthenon. My understanding was embarrassingly lacking before the visit. I hadn’t even realised that most ancient Greek cities had an acropolis and that it was the temple at the top, the Parthenon, that was special to Athens. By visiting the museum we saw how the statues had progressed over time, increasing in their movement and characteristics in later years. We learned of the invasions, the missing pieces adorning the UK museums and of the tools and weapons used in each era. Decorative reconstructions of sections of the columns and top of the Parthenon were truly impressive. There were no cameras allowed inside so I can only share the views from the cafe terrace on the first floor where we stepped out to appreciate the view up to the Parthenon.
The Parthenon at the Acropolis of Athens.
We returned the following evening to scale the acropolis and visit the site of the Parthenon. Even though it was gone 6pm the heat of the day was till intense. Walking up was hard going but there are plenty of opportunities to rest on the way and take in the view.
I totally hand it to my 80 year old Mother in Law who made it all the way up with us; it gave the boys no excuse to complain about the heat. Having visited the museum beforehand I felt much more knowledgeable about what I was seeing, if somewhat guilty for the missing pieces adorning the British museums. The early evening sun was perfect for photos and showed the Parthenon off to its best.
Even the kids agreed to the odd photo at the top being totally in awe of their surroundings
Tips for visiting the Museum and Acropolis at Athens.
- Take refuge from the midday heat by visiting the museum in the middle of the day.
- It is worth doing a little research first to know what to look out for or at least visit the museum ahead of climbing the acropolis.
- There is a lovely clean cafe in the museum open to the outside with stunning views to break your visit.
- Prices for the museum are a bargain at 5 Euros.
- The museum is open from 8am to between 3 and 7pm in high summer but I recommend going in the middle of the day to escape the heat and enjoy their air conditioning.
- Prices to go up the acropolis of Athens and visit the Parthenon is £20 Euros for an adult. Student, child (under 16) and OAP discounts are available. For another 10 euros you can have a week’s access to other local archaeological sites of interest too.
- Wear shoes with a good grip climbing the acropolis, the marble is worn shiny and slippery in places at the top and we all found ourselves slipping at times.
- It is open 8am to 8pm in high season but there is no access after 7.30pm. We arrived just after 6pm and needed the best part of the 2 hours.
- Go early or late to avoid the intense heat of the day when visiting in summer.
- Be warned, the toilets at the bottom close at 4pm, we found ourselves wandering off into a cafe before taking our tour.
I totally recommend a visit to the acropolis of Athens and the Museum and hope to take my younger children when they are old enough to appreciate the trip.