Posted on December 31st, 2016 - Fiona
Where did 2016 go? I feel this year has flown by so fast and my feet have hardly touched the ground. I’m planning to touch down and share some of my highlights from the year in the coming weeks when all the festivities are behind us and I have time to gather myself and think. For today I’d just like to share a few festive photos from the past week and wish everyone a Happy New Year.
The Coombe Mill Santa Express on Christmas Eve
Christmas has been a whirlwind as ever here. We have been full with holiday guests which has been wonderful. We’ve had a magical time with our famous Santa train, Christmas farm activities and a whole host of fun entertainments, not to mention our own family Christmas.
Christmas Day Feed Run
Family Beach trip on Christmas Day
We waved our Christmas guests off; cars loaded with happy memories and presents, and welcomed our New Year holiday makers. With plenty of farm fun to enjoy and quality time to spend outdoors exploring the local beaches, Christmas excess is soon worn off here.
Jed at the end of another glorious day on the beach
The wise put aside the diets for another week as we have plenty of opportunity to indulge again with our New Year’s Eve party here on the farm and some of the best local village pubs and seaside restaurants around.
New Year’s Eve Party for all staying at Coombe Mill
Fireworks to end the Coombe Mill New Year’s Eve Party
On a personal level I have been in my element with all my family around me for the festive period. Having my great nieces and nephews and my Mum has brought 4 generations here to the farm. I never could have imagined when we bought the farm back in 2002 what a great investment it would be, not only for the delight of seeing our own children grow up enjoying an idyllic lifestyle, but also as a draw for future family generations too.
A reflective moment heading back from the local pub to Coombe Mill
Happy New Year
Wherever you are I hope you have loved ones around to toast the New Year and plenty to look forward to in 2017.
Remember we are open all year round and hope to be part of your holiday plans.
Fiona, Nick and the Children
Posted on December 22nd, 2016 - Fiona
I’m just sharing a short poem as a Christmas message today to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas.
If you have popped over looking for #CountryKids it is taking a Christmas break, although last week’s linky is still open. A new link will be back on 7th January where I’d love you to share you outdoor festive family fun.
A Christmas Message
Whether you are celebrating at home like us
Or away with family and friends,
May peace and happiness reign down on you.
He may be Father Christmas he may be St Nic
Or even Santa Claus
When bed time calls check that stocking is hung.
No peeping in the night through eyes fighting sleep
Or looking out the window,
The sleigh only stops when all are asleep.
Whether you are watching Christmas movies
Or cooking the dinner out back,
May laughter and fun fill the room for you.
A country walk on this winters day
Or a blast of sea air,
May rosy cheeks and warmth spread from within.
Spare a moment to stop and think
Or say a little prayer,
For those less fortunate on Christmas day.
Hold dear ones tight as festivities end
And be thankful within,
For family and friends this Christmas time.
From all of us here at Coombe Mill, whether you have holidayed with us or followed our farm news this year here on the blog:
Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.
Please keep us in mind as you chat over your holiday plans for 2017 this Christmas. We would love to be welcoming you to the farm for an out of season short break or your main family summer holiday. Coombe Mill will be saying open right through 2017 and all the farm activities will run each day for anyone booked in, even in January! Do check out the homepage for any special offers and sign up for our newsletter there too.
Posted on September 25th, 2016 - Fiona
I thought I was done with the emotional roller coaster of the first day of school. At age twelve to eighteen my children are all growing up and finding their independence. Their need for me and their Dad is reducing all the time and this independence is something I’ve always encouraged. However I failed to factor in just how emotional taking the first to University would be. Suddenly I felt like a parent taking my child to his first day at primary all over again; except worse, I wouldn’t be returning to collect him with a big hug in a few hours.
Off to Cardiff University
When Alistair secured his place at Cardiff University I was so happy for him, it was an exciting new world opening up. The days closed in and as we drove up I could feel the apprehension in the car. A cocktail of nervous excitement from Alistair and a quiet dread of saying goodbye from me. Thankfully it was a beautiful day and the bridge into Wales felt very welcoming.
Nick had driven up separately as Alistair was keeping his car with him. As we met at his new halls of residence it felt like time had stood still from 30 years ago and my own first day. That same smell, a cross between school and a hospital, the old fire doors, bike lock up and small rooms. However a friendly group of early arriving girls keenly welcomed Ally to the group on his floor and I felt things were going to work out at university. He even had a cracking view over the city and Cardiff bay from his 5th floor window.
We were blessed with the most amazing September weather and took Ally for brunch in Cardiff bay. I’m already looking forward to return trips and Nick is exploring the idea of hiring a boat to blast across from Padstow to Cardiff which he thinks would only take an hour.
With a big supermarket shop done there was no more need for us to be there. It was time for us to bid him Goodbye and let him find his feet alone. I was determined not to cry but as Nick pointed out the family photos he had secretly packed and pinned up on his notice board I almost cracked. I walked out with a huge lump in my throat, but reassured this little cuckoo was well set up for his new university life.
I had to wait a full 36 hours before I had my first Facebook message. He had been out to his first freshers party and it was “awesome” relief flooded through me. He is hopeless at staying in contact so I treasure the occasional message and I’m trying not to keep asking how he is. I don’t want to be an annoying parent, but it is so hard to just let go and not wonder how he is doing. I remember all too clearly blaming vandalised payphones when I forgot to ring home, though I guess the modern day equivalent would be ‘my phone was out of charge or credit’!
Ally has left a big gap in our family life but we are learning to adjust, it is every bit as hard as I feared and I think about him all the time. Whoever is on dinner time table laying duty is still setting out eight places instead of seven. I can’t believe I may have to do this 5 more times over the coming years. If you have a little one just started primary, watch out, the heartache at leaving them certainly doesn’t get easier as they get older. Once a parent, always a parent, even when they fly the nest.
Posted on May 29th, 2016 - Fiona
A golden rule of parenting
“If you make a promise to your children and make sure you follow through”
It’s there in every parenting best practice book and we all know it’s right.
Be consistent, don’t make hollow threats and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Yes, we all bend the rules, use the power of Father Christmas to our advantage and sometimes promise things that simply don’t materialise. But on the whole we know the rules and that it pays to stand by them.
Then this happened….
I woke up and flicked through my emails as always before the school run to see a notification that I had made the BIBs finals. I honestly thought it was a mistake. I was sure they were due the following day and shrugged it off. It was only with children safely delivered to school and returning on line that twitter assured me it was no mistake. I lost my morning of work basking in happy banter online before another thought crossed my mind:
Follow through with that Promise
When I found out I was shortlisted in two categories I wrote a heartfelt post on how much this meant to me and why I was so thrilled. Readers Choice was the category I had pinned my hopes on right from the start. I didn’t really imagine making the finals, and added to my post a silly dare just for fun. Except now it had happened and I felt all those best practice parenting books pointing a finger at me. I had to follow through with my promise.
Swimming for BIBs.
I was feeling hot and sticky after lawn mowing and decided it was time to put to bed the niggling commitment I made, to swim fully clothed across our river, if I made the finals. Guy, my resident river boy, thought it was hilarious and positioned himself on his bike downstream to watch. Before I had set a foot into the water, I spotted a curious gathering of our guests on the bridge. Now I had an audience and there was no going back!
It was May, the river was freezing, and I was dressed in my running clothes and trainers. Quite possibly one of the craziest things I’ve ever done sober.
I did it, and I felt proud. I had stood by my promise, pushed myself to do something a little crazy and demonstrated just how thrilled I am to be a BIBs finalist. Thank you so much if one of those votes was from you, you have made me so happy and put Coombe Mill on the map.
And if I win?
I said right at the start I’d never be as brave as my kids and jump off the bridge into the river, but ‘if’ I were to win, hell that would be so amazing I’d really have to try. After all, a promise is a promise!
Would you go out of your way to keep a promise?
Posted on May 2nd, 2016 - Fiona
I keep reading this title again and again; I am so pleased I’m not quite sure I can believe it yet. 3 days I have sat on this news and pondered this post and still the words refuse to come. It is such an honour to be shortlisted in the 2016 BIBs Awards (Brilliant in Blogging), to find myself in 2 categories leaves me speechless in the best possible way.
I don’t even want to think about the competition out there for the next stage, I’m still enjoying reaching this milestone. But seriously I’ve had a good look at the shortlisters in all categories and frankly wow, what a talented list with so many of my favourite blogs being recognised and a few I’m keen to discover.
2016 BiBs Awards for Social Media
I have been shortlisted 3 times and a finalist twice but never made it all the way. I feel so guilty asking to be considered again in this category especially with such well known social media gurus in the line up with me all of whom deserve to win, but I’m swallowing my guilt and asking.
Blogging is more than my passion, it is how I market Coombe Mill, and it is how Mum’s and Dad’s with young children discover our farm and book holidays. Without my blog and the social media channels I run to support it, I’d have no marketing for our family holidays. It is where I share our latest crafts, our outdoor fun, our new building programmes and all the latest news from the farm.
To be a finalist in this category and in with a shout of winning is the ultimate sign I’m doing the best I can for our family business. If you don’t already follow me please do, I’m around on every platform as Coombe Mill and you’ll find it hard to miss me in real life at a blogging event.
2016 BiBs Awards for Readers Choice
This brand new category on BIBs really excites me and I cheekily popped on my side bar from the start thinking it really could be the category for me. I feel like a liquorish all sort in the blogging world. I’ve always been a parent blogger but as my six children are now age 12 – 18 I write about them less, not because there is less to say, on the contrary; but they all have their own social media now and frankly anything I might want to say about them is “embarrassing” and would be seen by their friends. I respect this and feature parenting tips from experience less than I once did. That said; with parental permission I still share plenty of parenting fun here on the farm with our holiday guests. Our weekly Activity hour covers some imaginative crafts which I follow up with tutorials in my #Trash2Treasure linky. Outdoor fun is what gave me my blogging voice and my #CountryKids linky is now in its 5th year with a new outdoor adventure from the farm to our family travels each week. Add to this my desire to build education into everyday life and all under the umbrella of farm life and I have a blog of all sorts.
Readers Choice is the place for me and if I were to be your choice for the finals I might just swim across our river to celebrate fun on the farm. Trust me that would be a personal challenge and I’d video it screams and all, though I can’t promise to be as brave as my kids jumping in from the bridge.
Many congratulations to all the shortlisted 2016 BIBs Awards bloggers, you have such talent and I admire you all
Please vote for your favourites here.
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