The beach has to be my favourite place when I am not here at Coombe Mill and it is a love shared by all my children too. From Easter to October half term they all enrol for Boardriders at Polzeath beach on a Tuesday after school. This is one of the highlights of the week for us all and whatever the weather I know we are all going to enjoy it. For the children it is a chance to have a chat with all their friends, most of the local village school attends, for the adults some fresh sea air and a coffee or a stroll along the beach to watch the children and for the odd over enthusiastic parent a chance to join in with the kids (yes, that’ll be me).
The friendly staff at Surf’s Up Surf School have a laugh and a joke with the children so it never feels like school yet they really do learn how to surf and will tell them off or send them onto the beach for being silly, I have caught Guy and Jed having time out on more than one occasion. Before they go into the sea they cover the theory on the beach. Wave conditions, the current, wind direction and understanding the importance of the lifeguard’s flags are all essential.
Then it’s off into the waves to put their learning into practice under the careful guidance of the instructors.
They spend over an hour actually in the water and mine love everything from the silly games to riding the waves. It is so much harder than the children make it look and required good balance and careful attention to the tips and techniques given out by the instructors.
When the tide is high and there isn’t too much beach to carry the heavy boards over I do like to have a go, however being less agile than the children I spend most of my time crashing into the sea! The children love to have a giggle at my expense but I’m happy to humour them as I love trying. I did actually scramble up for one wave but of course no one caught my golden moment.
Every week I reflect on how lucky we are to have the opportunity to do sports like this. For those coming to Coombe Mill on holiday you can book lessons with the Surf’s up Surf School for children and adults. Children need to be confident in water and age five plus to handle the board with help. For everyone else and me most of the time, there is wave jumping and body boarding.
From the garden to the beach I would love you to join me for Country Kids. All posts about outdoor fun are welcome, Country Kids is simply about enjoying nature’s playground and leaving screens turned off for a while. Fresh air is so good for mind and body and a perfect way to enjoy quality family time. Each week there are some really inspiring posts linked up, do grab the badge and check out the other posts, it may be the inspiration for your next adventure.
A few of my favourite posts from last week:
Our Trebah lodge is named after these lovely gardens. Sophie Is shares their beauty
MummytoBoyz enjoyed some good British holiday fun in Devon
AttachmentMumma shares the joy of beach evenings
Some handy trips for visiting Ceebies Land from BrummyMummyof2
I’m in love with the gorgeous photos from Would Like to be on their country walk.
Remember you can join Country Kids here on the linky as well as:
Pin on the Pinterest board
Join the Google Plus community page for Country Kids
Share your posts on Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids
You may feel voted out after The MADS and BIBS but I am in the Loved By Parents Finals for my Holidays under Special Awards for Best Family Travel Destination and Best Family Holiday Accommodation and I would really love your vote here. The form is a little complicated so if you are happy I can do it for you with a name and email. Just drop me both to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will make my day.
The much awaited Loved by Parents shortlist for the 2014 awards is out. These awards cover an enormous range of products and services from all over the world that are rated by parents. The judges have spent weeks pouring over the hundreds and hundreds of entries and I am thrilled to be one of those shortlisted in two categories with in the Special Awards section.
1. Best Family Friendly Accommodation as Coombe Mill Farm Holidays
2. Best Family Travel Destination as Coombe Mill North Cornwall.
The winner will be the the one pulling the most votes between now and 29th June. Last year I managed to win the Gold in both categories, no pressure then! I am totally dependant on those who have visited us, heard about us and wanting to visit us to put that vote in. Please please do so, it only takes a minute and would really make my day.
If you click on the the form you will be asked to enter your name and email.
You then have 3 votes each asking:
1. Category e.g. Special Awards
2. The Category Name for This Entry e.g. Best Family Friendly Accommodation
3. Name of the Company you would like to vote for e.g. Coombe Mill Farm Holidays
If I use up two of your votes realise that only leaves you with one more, I know it is a big ask when there are so many categories and companies, but if you feel you can vote I would be ever so grateful. This year more than ever, Nick, myself and the children have invested so much time, love and money in Coombe Mill and winning would mean the world to us all.
Fiona, Nick, and the children
There is much importance being placed on the benefits of outdoor play, of safe fun for kids enjoying the simple pleasures in life. I am a hardened campaigner through my Country Kids linky each week supporting all manner of imaginative, crafty and educational ways to make the most of time outdoors with children. There are plenty of tempting indoor distractions around with the myriad of computer games available and all day television, the impetus to play outside for children and safety fears for parents can make outdoor play a challenge compared to years ago. Yet once outdoors and energised by the fresh air and a good idea, outdoor play can rival the best of virtual online gaming. Once the kids are inspired many of our childhood games from hide and seek to bike riding are still every bit as relevant in the modern day.
Cuthberts is a lovely toy shop in the heart St Albans with an online website selling all manner of toys for children. Browsing the website I was especially impressed with the traditional and educational focus for many of the items together with a whole section on outdoor sports and games. The website is easy to navigate and products and prices all clear. There is something here guaranteed to make every child want to enjoy some screen free outdoor time and with the on line ordering it is available to all, even if like me you live nowhere near St Albans. There is even free delivery if you spend over £30.
When Chrissie who works with Cuthberts, better known as the lovely @mediore_mum on twitter, asked me if I would like to review the new swingball in their range I was delighted.
Chrissie has stayed with us at Coombe Mill and knows how much outdoor fun is a part of farm life for our holidaymakers and my own children. We have a swingball set in one of our play areas which is a dig in the ground variety and very popular but I was keen to put the all terrain version we received onto the shiny new slate patio to the side of Tree Roots cottage. With the hose right by the patio for filling the hot tub it was really easy to fill the base and I had plenty of helpers keen to give it a go.
The children took it in turns on the swingball and really put it through its paces. Then they developed a relay system swapping places every time I shouted “change”. This way everyone took turns and the fun carried on for hours as the sun crept round to the patio.
Theo enjoyed the free tail ball which came with the set too, harder than it looks!
The All terrain swingball retails for £24.99 on the Cuthberts website, well worth it for the hours of fun it gives, though probably worth having a check around the rest of the site and topping your order up by another £5 for the free delivery.
Our afternoon of outdoor fun with swingball
If you like the look of this great, easy to assemble swingball set from Cuthberts Toys why not enter to win one of your own. Just follow the rafflecopter instructions below. Good luck to all those taking part.
Disclosure: I was sent my swingball from Cuthberts Toys for the purpose of this review. All opinions on the product are my own.
I have been cooking in earnest to fill our shop freezers ready for the busy summer season. There is now a good selection of my regular dishes, many of which are here on the blog, but every now and then I have an ingredient knocking around that inspires me to try something new. In this case I had found a hidden bag of redcurrants in the freezer left over from our ‘Pick Your Own’ afternoon at Pencarrow House last summer and decided it was time to use them before we return this year to gather more.
I do love to experiment and can never follow a recipe, an idea and flavour combination just takes my fancy and I’m away creating with what I find in the cupboards and fridge. I had a yearning for something sweet and sour for supper and thought the redcurrants would work perfectly with the gammon I had also defrosted. Delighted with the way it turned out I am sharing the recipe here. It is a perfect meal to cook in bulk and freeze so would be an excellent choice for a large family gathering or party where you want an easy recipe to prepare in advance and impress all with a truly unique and flavoursome meal.
2 large Gammon joints (I forgot to weigh them but it really doesn’t need to be exact)
3 to 4 tablespoons of plain flour
1/2 Bottle rose wine
200ml Elderflower presse
4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 desert spoon Hoisin Sauce
1 Teaspoon of mustard powder
300g fresh or frozen redcurrants
1 tin sliced peaches in light syrup
1 tin mango slices in light syrup
1 tin of borlotti beans – drained
1 tin kidney beans – drained
500g red onions – sliced
500g carrots – cut into rings
Black pepper to taste
Chop the gammon into chunks; boil in plenty of fresh water for 40 minutes and drain. This is the most time consuming stage so worth ensuring you have a good sharp knife ready.
Reduce the heat and sprinkle over the flour, toss lightly for 1 minute to coat the meat and form a thick paste with any juices left on the gammon.
When the flour begins to stick to the pan add all other ingredients except the peaches and mango. Stir gently to combine and place in a moderate oven for an hour.
Remove and add the peaches and mango with their juice and return to the oven for a further half an hour on a reduced heat.
I served with Chinese noodles and salad for our supper but layered the casserole over the noodles for our shop meals. It would also work very well for a party with jacket potatoes or rice and a salad or green beans. It had the thumbs up from all my family so I hope our guests enjoy it too.