How to Make a Valentine’s Charm for the Garden

Posted on February 5th, 2017 - Fiona

With Valentine’s Day clashing with the half term holidays I like to do something fun to mark the occasion with the children staying here at Coombe Mill. While they may be too young for the romantic side of Valentine’s Day, they have no difficulty with the concept of love, especially family love and hearts as a symbol of this. Last year we made some fun heart charms for the children to remember their holiday and hang in their gardens at home. I hung my Coombe Mill valentine’s charm up in the Fairy Gardens and would you believe a year later it is still twirling in the breeze. On the basis of how well they lasted I decided to make a country trail for the children with them this year and share with you here how to make one yourself.   

How to Make Garden Heart Charms

What you’ll need to make a Valentine’s Charm

  • Cardboard, a cereal box is ideal
  • Duck tape colours of your choice
  • Floristry ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Pen
What you'll need heart charms



  1. Draw a heart shape on a piece of card to the size you want your charm to be and a smaller heart inside.
Draw your heart shape
Cut out your heart shapes
  1. Cut out the outer and inner heart.
  1. Cut strips of duck tape colours and cover the card ensuring all exposed edges are covered to keep your charm waterproof.
Tape the Heart to create waterproof layer
Split the Floristry Ribbon in two or three
  1. Cut a long length of floristry ribbons and tear into 2 or three pieces.
  1. Wrap the ribbons round the heart from the centre leaving two long ends for hanging
Wrap the Floristry Ribbon around your Heart
Hang your Heart Charm in the Garden
  1. Hang your valentine’s charm the garden.

A few alternatives to try

Ideas for early year’s children:

Try cutting different shapes for young children and using them to learn and match shapes and colours.

Make different sizes and see if children can order them from smallest to biggest. 

Make your valentines charm into a necklace or medal for all the family to wear on Valentine’s Day.

Ideas with older children

Turn them into pretty bunting in the garden or living room.

Make a Valentines Nature Trail or Treasure hunt as we are doing with clues or nature facts tucked into the floristry ribbon.

Making Heart Charms in Activity Hour

I hope you will find a use for these cute valentines charms, they are so simple to make and very long lasting even outdoors.


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An action packed New Year’s Eve at Coombe Mill

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.


Enjoying New Year's Eve at Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays in Cornwall


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.


Making chinese Lanterns on New Year's Eve


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!


Making safe child friendly sparklers


Making sparklers ahead of our NYE party 🎉. #activities #activekids #countrykidsfun #outdoors #outdoorcrafts #newyearseve #kidsfun #coombemill #countrykids #kidscrafts #newyearcrafts #sparklers #fireworks

A video posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on



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.

Firework trail at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays on New Year's Eve


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.


Toasting marshmallows on a campfire at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays on New Year's Eve



Toasting marshmallows at the end of a fun treasure hunt. #fire #campfire #toastingmarshmallows #outdoors #countrykidsfun #outdoorkids #funtimes #coombemill #outdoorsandhappy #newyearseve

A video posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on



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.


Train ride on New Year's Eve


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.


New Year's Eve Party at Coombe Mill 2016

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.

Fireworks for New Year's Eve at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays


Fireworks 💥 for our New Year guests tonight.

A video posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on




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.

Country Kids

Christmas Eve Activity Hour

Posted on January 6th, 2017 - Fiona

Christmas on the farm has been a whirl of fun and laughter. Coombe Mill was fully booked and with many returning for a second or third Christmas with us, expectations were riding high for our special Christmas Eve activity Hour following the success of last year.  I spent some time planning and preparing and it was worth it with so many joining in.

christmas eve activity hour

Dressed as Mrs Claus, I explained to an attentive audience all the things I hoped to complete in the afternoon.  First off was baking biscuits for the children to leave out for Santa as I had been tipped off that these were a favourite of his.

Making Cookies at Coombe Mill

With biscuits baking we set about making our Christmas Gift Tree Decorations. I have a lovely tutorial for this one over on #Trash2Treasure if you fancy doing them next year. They are really simple and fun and made a great way to decorate our Christmas Tree ahead of the party later that evening.

making the christmas gift tree decorations

Moving on we made some fun Christmas Eve Reindeer and Santa Tags ready for when our biscuits came out of the oven. The children were really thoughtful with their messages to Santa on the back.

making the Reindeer and Santa tags

The Games room was smelling delicious as the biscuits came out of the oven. However they were still very hot so we took everyone off on the elf  trail we had laid out beforehand. Each child had a sheet to tick off the elves as they found them and to make a note of the letter hidden behind each elf.

on the elf hunt

 At the end of the Trail the children rearranged the letters to make the word “Rudolph”.  Such a simple idea but they had a wonderful time and were thrilled to complete their sheets.

Completing the Coombe Mill Reindeer trail on Christmas Eve. #reindeertrail #countrykidsfun #outdoorsandhappy #coombemillxmas #coombemill #trail #forest #woods #whatevertheweatherkids #curiouslittleexplorers #outdoorfun #kidsoutdoors #activekids #adventure

A photo posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on

And there was more Elf fun!   

At the end of the bamboo tunnel my little elves were waiting to hand out reindeer food to go with the tags the children had made earlier and chocolate pennies for discovering the word.

lining up for the elves

The children queued to visit the elves and then took advantage of a little adventure play while everyone had their turn.

on the rope swing

There were a few wet welly boots by the time we returned to the games room but everyone was refreshed and ready to wrap and tag their Santa biscuit parcels and reindeer  treats. 

finishing off the santa and reindeer gifts

I was amazed we managed to pack everything in with so many, but we were on a tight timescale with the Santa Express firing up in the distance. I’ll be sharing all about that one next week. It’s safe to say children staying here are more than ready for their beds by the end of Christmas Eve at Coombe Mill!


I hope your Christmas Eve was fun packed too.

Country Kids

Trash 2 Treasure January 17

Posted on January 1st, 2017 - Fiona

Welcome to a new year of Trash 2 Treasure.  I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I can’t quite believe it is 2017 but I’m looking forward to watching the days begin to draw out a little this month and seeing if I can spot the first buds on the trees.  With Chinese New Year this month and Valentine’s Day next month there are plenty of opportunities to get your crafting hats on. Alternatively why not share how you use up your Christmas turkey leftovers or inspire me for the mountain of nut shells I am looking at in our house. Whether you are sewing, crafting, cooking or sawing I love to see all your upcycled ideas.

My photo below is from our New Year’s Eve crafting here on the farm, while my post this month looks forward to Chinese New Year.

Trash 2 Treasure January 2017

Joining in with Trash 2 Treasure

  1. Trash 2 Treasure is all about upcycling. Posts should be about making something foraged from nature, household throw away items or low value items you have added value to.
  2. Posts can take any form, all that matters is that the item made has primarily been upcycled. Whether you cook, sew, make or create I’d love you to join me.
  3. The linky will run on the 1st Monday of every month and stay open for the full month.
  4. There is no post limit as the link up is open all month.
  5. Old posts and new posts welcome.
  6. Please comment on my host post and at least 2 others and use #Trash2Treasure in the sign off so other’s know where you came from and can pop back to see what you have made too.
  7. Do remember to pop back during the month to check on later posts linked up. I will share linked posts during the month as a reminder to pop back and as a thank you for joining in.
  8. Please add my Trash 2 Treasure badge to help others find the link up and to be in with a chance of winning the lovely Duck Tape Colours (see below). 

Most of my Trash 2 Treasure tutorials will come from fun keepsakes we have made with the children in our farm activity hour, but sometimes I share bigger upcycling projects from the farm too. I hope through the linky to acquire some new ideas from you.

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. My favourite upcycling post each month will receive 3 colourful rolls of tape to inspire their next project. Do check out the website for plenty of creative ideas. 

My December winner of the duck tape colours is Anna of Tea and a Sewing Machine. Anna made a wonderful Christmas wreath from dried citrus pieces. Why not pop over and see how to make one yourself.

January winner Trash2Treasure


Thank you to all linking up in 2016 there are some wonderful ideas I have pinned over the year.  

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Please use the hashtag #Trash2Treasure for your makes, I’ll find you and promote your post or picture on

  • Twitter
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  • Google Plus

If you link up below to Trash 2 Treasure December I’ll also send you an invite to pin on the Trash 2 Treasure Pinterest board 



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How to make a Chinese Lantern

Posted on January 1st, 2017 - Fiona

I love how national events are slowly becoming international events. When I was growing up I had never heard of Chinese New Year, for my children it is quite different, even in primary school there were crafts and Chinese food to mark the occasion. While we don’t celebrate Chinese New Year I like my children to be aware of different cultures and events and when they take place. A craft is a good way to do this. I decided it would be a fun to make a chinese lantern with the children at Coombe Mill. We had a little look at the pages about China in my lonely planet Kids cities of the world book, discussed Chinese symbols from my printable below and then set about making some Chinese Lanterns.   

How to make a Chinese Lantern

What you’ll need to make a Chinese Lantern

  • Toilet Roll

  • Scissors

  • Red Paint

  • Yellow or Gold Paint

  • Black or Gold Marker Pen

  • Yellow or Gold Floristry Ribbon
what you'll need for Chinese Lanterns


Method for making a Chinese Lantern

paint it redPaint your toilet roll red and put it aside to dry
Squash the toilet roll and cut a long thin strip from each side leaving a good cm untouched at the top and bottom cutting-the-lantern-holes
cutting the rest of the lantern holes Open your toilet roll and flatten again in a new place about 2 cm round from the first squish and cut another two strips along both sides. Repeat once or twice more until you have strips spaced around your toilet roll.
Now bend the toilet roll gently in half across the middle of the strips, open and push the toilet roll end to end to so the lantern shape pops out from the fold line. folding and squashing the lantern
Cutting the lantern handles Cut two thin strips from the end towards the centre (without cutting all the way through) and lift to form handles.
Cut a length of red, orange and yellow floristry ribbon and split them in half Creating the floristry ribbon candles
Cutting the Floristry Ribbon into Candle shapes Cut the ends of a half of each colour into a point matching a Candle flame
Split the remaining three halves in half again, curl with scissors and organise with the flame style floristry ribbon Floristry ribbon flame
Stapling the flame in the lantern Staple onto the lantern for a flame effect inside
Use Yellow / gold paint to accessorise your lantern Painting the decorations
Draw your decorations on Add Chinese symbols with a black or gold marker pen. (There are some simple symbols with happy greetings on the printable below)


Printable Chinese Symbols.

Chinese Symbols

A few alternatives you could try

  • Try yellow lanterns with red trim.

  • Add your lanterns onto a length of string or floristry ribbon to form lantern bunting

  • Hang your lanterns over fairy lights to create light up bunting.
  • Place on a saucer over a tea light for a table decoration (don’t add the pretend floristry ribbon flame for this option).

  • Add a little glue and glitter if required (or you could add this to the red paint when it is still wet.
A few extra ideas for the Chinese Lanterns


A Vlog tutorial on making a Chinese Lantern



Making a  Chinese Lantern in Activity Hour on the Farm


Making a chinese lantern for Chinese New Year at Coombe Mill Activity Hour

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year or feel it is important for children to be aware of such events?

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