Posted on January 21st, 2017 - Fiona
The snow may have passed us by for yet another winter but our early Cornish daffodils and snowdrops littered along the country hedgerows are a joy to behold. Out and about this week I’ve literally witnessed them burst into life with a few sunny days. For me this is the taste of spring I’ve been waiting for.
Have you spotted any Cornish Daffodils for sale ?
The startling yellow is such a breath of fresh air after the drab brown of winter. If you go to buy a bunch from your local market, do ask when they originate from as they may well be Cornish Daffodils. There are fields and fields dedicated to growing them commercially throughout Cornwall and daffodil pickers are always in demand around this time of year.
Here on the farm it is not just the daffodils bursting into bloom but the snowdrops too. Delicate clumps of white little the sides of the pathways and twinkle in the afternoon sun.
Elsewhere one in a clump stands proud while the rest are still just shoots.
These beautiful blooms will continue throughout January right into April to be replaced by the start of the wild garlic in May. More of a shock than the Cornish Daffodils and snowdrops which are renowned for their early appearance was spotting these Red Campion in full flower. This is something I usually don’t expect to see until March at the earliest. Yet walking back through the neighbour’s farm they were in full bloom tilting their flowers towards the January sun.
I have a feeling spring is going to come early here on the farm in Cornwall. Sunset has already moved back to nearly 5pm
Don’t forget we are open all year, if you fancy a winter break weekends are available and it really is starting to look like spring here in Cornwall, why not wrap up warm and give the family a treat.
Posted on January 20th, 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.
Time to embrace January with outdoor adventures.
January hump day has passed, the daffodils and snowdrops are making an appearance here on the farm and the days are drawing out. We now have a good hour of daylight after school to enjoy as well as the weekends. I hope that has meant more time to spend outdoors for everyone. Our farm jobs have been brisk in the cold this week but the sunshine and spring bulbs still lift our spirits. I hope you had a good week and a tale 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 Louise from Little Hearts Big Love and Clare from Mudpie Fridays with 12 comments
2nd Emma from South West Reviews with 11 comments
3rd Karen from Would Like to Be with 10 comments
We have 3 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 others.
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 Commenters: Louise from Little Hearts Big Love & Clare from Mudpie Fridays both get put into the shortlist for this month’s wellies this week.
Over 40 Mum to One went exploring Scotney Castle, a real fairytale castle complete with moat.
Starting off the year blowing away the cobwebs, Mum Turned Mom went for a chilly walk on their favourite beach.
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 1200 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.
My favourite photos from the week came from @chelseamamma @topsyturvytribe @coffeecakekids @jjhearduk Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following.
Loading InLinkz ...
Posted on January 20th, 2017 - Fiona
We have various seasonal activities through the year where we go that little bit further as a holiday business to make your stay here memorable. New Year’s Eve is one such time. We have built up a bit of a tradition for having a little party and celebration which has grown year on year. This year we combined our weekly activity hour into the day making a full afternoon and evening of fun for our guests.
New Year’s Eve Activity Hour
I enlisted the help of Guy and Clio and began over in the games room. Our first activity was turning empty toilet rolls into Chinese lanterns as it is Chinese new year this month too. It took some careful cutting to get these right and we even added pretend flames.
My second activity was more straightforward. The children ran off in search of a stick to make a sparkler. They then chose strips of floristry ribbon to tape to one end and as simple as that their sparklers were complete and ready to wave around. These were a huge hit and best of all for the parents, they were the safest sparklers around!
With two crafts completed I was keen to get every one up and running around. I handed out the first clue for a firework treasure hunt. Not real fireworks I hasten to add, but laminated firework clues hidden around the farm in riddles. I had the children chasing all over to find the answers.
The last clue took the children to Guy in the den building zone, who was ready and waiting with a camp fire. As promised in the last clue the children each took marshmallows to toast. It was just chilling down as the light began to fade and the fire gave us a welcome winter warmth.
A few were worried they might miss the evening train ride, however as the train driver was still busy cooking marshmallows no one could miss out. With tummies full of marshmallow and sparklers still in hand the children headed over to the train.
New Years Eve Party
I had an hour spare from our afternoon activities to dress the games room ready for our new year’s eve party. As everyone arrived, corks were popped, nibbles munched and the music played. Everyone was in high spirits to welcome in the new year, although we actually hold our party in the early evening to make it a truly family event.
There was just one more surprise for everyone; crowding outside the games room and looking up the hill, Farmer Nick gave us all a magnificent firework display.
We are now taking bookings for new year 2017. If you fancy joining the fun please check out our availability.
We offer short breaks from the 27th of December, or ten nights for the price of seven from the same date.
Posted on January 16th, 2017 - Fiona
I always know when I pick up a book from the Lonely Planet Series they are going to be age appropriate, well thought out and inspirational to young minds. As a country lover I wasn’t sure I was going to get along with a book about how cities work. However with just a peep at this creative book I could see in a flash it would appeal to children everywhere.
From what goes on underground to life behind closed doors all is revealed in this educational interactive book. Clever flaps to lift and tabs to pull are perfect for engaging children from age 5 plus and you’ll be surprised how much there is to learn along the way. The illustrations from James Gulliver Hancock are spot on for making learning fun with pages that fold out to make pictures sometimes four pages wide.
- Aimed at age 5 to 12
- Educational and interactive
- RSP: £8.99
- Dimensions 28.9cm x 26.3cm
- 24 pages
Giving our ‘How cities work’ book the ultimate test
It takes a good book to draw children staying at Coombe Mill away from the farm. I offered ‘How Cities Work’ to a regular family of four coming in from feeding the animals with Farmer Nick. The clever illustrations immediately caught their interest and they sat down for a read. To have three siblings crowd round to read, open tabs and pull out folding pages, told me this book is a winner.
The writing is informative but the language aimed at children making it easy to read.
Win your copy of Lonely Planet Kids How Cities Work
For your chance to win a copy of this lovely children’s book simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
Lonely Planet Kids: How Cities Work
I was sent my copy of the book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts are my own and those of the family who reviewed the book with me here on holiday. Those staying on holiday with us will find our copy to borrow in the book library here at Coombe Mill.
Posted on January 15th, 2017 - Fiona
Welcome to the first in a series of posts I have coming out on Greece. Farmer Nick is half Greek, which explains our crazy surname (Cambouropoulos), and he has been retracing his roots to near Athens. I’ll be sharing our journey with some lovely sunny photos to brighten up the winter months. Right now is peak summer booking time, I hope you’ll enjoy our adventure. If flying abroad isn’t for you, then why not join us in Cornwall, I think we will be staying here this year and enjoying some family day trips out from Coombe Mill.
Athens: A treat for our boys
It was 2.5 years ago now when Alistair, our eldest, finished his GCSE’s. We rewarded his effort by taking him and his choice of friend away to our favourite Honeymoon hotel in Devon, he chose to take his brother Felix and we all had a wonderful 2 nights away. Roll on 2 years and we had them both finishing A levels and GCSE’s. Upping the stakes somewhat we agreed it would be wonderful to go Athens and visit some of Nick’s relatives the boys had never met and make a little holiday of it. We booked 3 nights in Athens followed by 4 nights in the Peloponnese making the most of Nick’s Mum for her knowledge and connections there and her command of the Greek language. This was almost a year ago back in February 2016 and excitement was riding high as the exams finished and the holiday arrived.
Kifisia on the Outskirts of Athens
I have to confess I was rather worried about the economic situation in Greece and the impact on Athens with their desperate government debt, terrible unemployment (60% for under 25s) and refugee crises from Syria. We had treated ourselves to a lovely hotel in Kifisia with air conditioning and a pool that Nick’s Mum had stayed at many times before. It proved a great base at the end of the underground line allowing us to easily travel into the city centre but perfect to relax in the leafy suburbs at the end of the day.
Kifisia is a well to do area of Athens, rather like the Fulham of London. Here we encountered many boutique shops, bars and restaurants with a very continental and cosmopolitan feel and some huge houses with high walls and beautiful flowered gardens. I felt quite safe walking the streets during the day or night, though I always had Nick or one of the boys with me, largely because I have a hopeless sense of direction and found myself clueless on direction on more than one occasion! It felt much more prosperous than I had feared and the dust and dirt I remember from the Athens of 20 years ago was pleasantly absent.
For our days out it was about a 15 minute stroll to the underground station from our hotel followed by a 40 minute tube journey into central Athens. This cost just a couple of Euros for us all, was impressively clean, spacious, new and most importantly air conditioned! We made just one line change to take us right to the base of the Acropolis. There are only two lines so it is very easy after London. One terminates at Piraeus port and the other at the city beaches.
We spent both days in the centre covering the acropolis museum and the acropolis, meeting up with family and soaking up the buzz of the city. I have a separate post to follow on the Acropolis of Athens as this deserves more than a passing comment.
The Greeks are famous for their warm welcome and sense of family and belonging. Whether visiting relatives a couple of miles further out in Narathriar, where Nick’s Grandma once lived, or old friends and family in the city centre we were made to feel so welcome by all and treated to more food than we could eat. I had to say to the boys after a while to stop finishing everything on their plate as they would at home as it was taken as a sign they were still hungry and more plates being ordered. The city trip was completed for the boys when their cousins, who they had never met before the holiday, took them out clubbing on our last night. It is certainly a holiday they won’t forget and not everyone gets to go to a night club in Athens before they do in the UK! Safe to say after rolling in at 4am we had very tired boys on our drive south to the Peloponnese for the next leg of our holiday.
Tips for visiting Athens
- We stayed in the Theoxania Palace at Kafisia. The hotel was perfect and a little bit of luxury. It is expensive but if you just book bed and breakfast and eat out in the local restaurants it is not so bad.
- Having a pool was a real bonus after a few hour of sightseeing in the city.
- We booked directly with the hotel by calling over the phone to secure the best price, but if you go online www.booking.com is the most common site used across Greece. English is widely spoken as a second language so calling to book directly is easy.
- Reaching the centre of Athens by foot and tube takes an hour, but it is clean, cheap and air conditioned.
- The local restaurants are reasonably priced and good and start from within a short stroll of the hotel.
- We found Athens to feel safe and encountered no problems, however we met with others staying in a cheaper central region who had witnessed some scary night time scenes involving drugs and alcohol.
- If we can afford it I would love to return when our younger children reach the same age and would choose the same hotel again.
- This is not a trip I would recommend with young children in summer as it is very hot in the city: typically 34 degrees when we were there in early July.