We live in an age where children have access to so much information about the world around them especially when compared to 30 years ago when I was growing up. The educational advantage is huge with umpteen TV channels, the internet at their fingertips, social media pressures and a school curriculum all expanding their horizons. The opportunities for our youngsters are exciting and many. However knowledge and opportunity can be accompanied by fear. Having a child who worries is not uncommon, but recognising a worrier and knowing how to deal with this at an early age is not always easy. Children can be unsure of how to express themselves when young which can make understanding and reasoning difficult. Keeping a good channel of communication and trust is so important in overcoming any anxiety in children.
Teachers and educational physiologists are right behind the new listing over at Prezzybox of worry eaters. These friendly monsters are designed to literally eat your child’s worries away. Not only are they lovable cuddly toys but they have real value. Designed with a zip pocket mouth for children to write or draw their troubles on paper and post them into their friendly monster’s mouth. There is even a helpful hook behind the ears to hang your friend on a door handle or bedpost. Don’t worry this is very comfortable for monsters!
There is no pressure on the child over when to do this, they can do it when the mood takes them and then an adult can open up the mouth later and see just what is causing the worries. What I love about this idea is that it removes confrontation, takes away all pressure to have to speak and gives the parent an insight into the anxiety. With a basic understanding established by the friendly worry eater parent and child can then come together to talk over the root cause of the anxiety.
Here on the farm we encourage all the children to join in with our morning feed run, to help Farmer Nick drive the tractor and to touch and feed the animals with us. Most love this experience, but occasionally children are afraid of the animals, the new situation and all the other children around. We have left Polli our Worry Eater in our borrow room ready to munch and crunch up any little worries here on holiday and help you make the most of your stay. Over on the Prezzybox site you can now find Saggo and Flint. These cheery chaps retail for £19.95 and represent so much more than just a toy.
This is just one of many lovely ideas over on the Prezzybox gift range for children. Pop over and discover a whole range of other great ideas.
If you know a child prone to anxious behaviour who you feel might respond to a Worry Eater then why not enter to win Saggo or Flint with us; just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all those taking part and I hope all your worries are soon eaten up!
I was sent our worry eater to create this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Our Scandinavian lodges have been extremely popular since we began building them back in 2004. Our first was Eden and the popular design was soon followed up with Heligan and Pencarrow where we copied the footprint of Eden but divided the triple room into a twin and single to make spacious 4 bedroom properties with a single room ideal for a teenager, nanny or grandparent to join the party. Trebah and Trevarno are smaller Scandinavian lodges designed to replace our old riverside buildings and offer luxury for a family of 4. The popular play den refits in Honeysuckle and Willow cottages inspired us to change the design totally in these smaller lodges giving the whole of the upstairs to a giant playroom with all the living accommodation downstairs. This was also our first venture into super king 6 foot beds and despite the problems of sourcing linen for them I was convinced this was the right move. We are now committed to supersize comfy beds and playrooms in every refit and new build we do.
Our new builds always take advantage of the latest in building and design technology which has a tendency to highlight improvements we could make to our earlier properties. Farmer Nick is not just a farmer, throughout our 13 years at Coombe Mill he has developed his interest in DIY to the extent that he felt he could take on our latest refit himself.
During our January close down following much discussion between ourselves over the design together with considerable input from those of you who follow our Facebook page we came up with a genius plan to transform the upstairs space in Heligan.
The vast king size bedroom together with locked storage room with the boiler would be transformed into a good sized king size bedroom, capable of taking a super king bed in time, together with a link through toddler bedroom and separate playroom. The space really was more than adequate to do all of this.
I felt my heart was in my mouth as Nick began to peel up the carpet, saw holes into the upstairs corridor wall to make the playroom entrance and erect the timbers for the new walls. I know he is good at DIY and makes all our stair gates, garden furniture and the odd doorway but this was all on a far grander scale and there was always the worry of “what if” something went horribly wrong and things weren’t ready for our 2015 guests to arrive.
Of course I shouldn’t have worried, he took it all in his stride and the finished result looks every bit as professional as the work of North Coast Log Cabins, the trusted local company who builds our lodges.
The toddler bedroom has a new pirate low level toddler bed and a stable style door which can be left part open for a sense of security and comfort for a little one into Mummy and Daddy’s bedroom. It is also right by the en-suite bathroom which is handy for those night time toilet calls.
Although smaller, the master bedroom actually feels spacious with the new layout and more usable space. Nick’s finish on the partition wall to the playroom looks like it has always been there.
Next door and accessed via the corridor and not through the bedroom is the playroom. It has its own open door way with a stair gate so the children can easily be heard and feel a part of life in the rest of the open plan living area while enjoying their own safe space. Filling it with toys is my job and always the fun part!
If you are looking to book with us this year and have a party size of 8 including a toddler this is a serious contender for your family holiday. Depending on the feedback we have this year we plan to make the same changes in time to Pencarrow and Eden.
My testing panel certainly gave the finished playroom a big thumbs up!
Being a working farm we have baby animals at different points throughout the holiday season, I was taken by how gentle this toddler was being with the new born bunny rabbits.
For Nick’s 50th his Mum had given us family National Trust Membership for the year. Football was cancelled for the boys so it felt like a golden opportunity for a family day out to one of Cornwall’s National Trust estates.
Cotehele is under an hour from Coombe Mill towards the Devon border. We arrived as the morning rain dried up which was just as well since we were a day too early for the house opening. The children had visited with school and were rather disappointed not to be able to show us the gun room in the old Tudor house! However the grounds more than occupied our time.
Apparently this is still a working watermill, there was no evidence of it working when we visited although the children were quick to spot the old mill stone just like our one at Coombe Mill.
The courtyards and gardens had the most impressive archways each of which drew you in to see what lay beyond.
Guy impressed me with his knowledge from his previous visit. He showed me a crack in the wall and told me these were found all around and deliberate for defending by bow and arrow, I could only think of how drafty it must have made the house!
The temperature crept up in the sunshine and I felt like the plants were opening up even while we were there, I love the way spring unfolds around you at this time of year. Another month and I think it will be really stunning here.
Woodland paths are well marked out through the valley gardens and planted to offer beautiful views, the children had all ran on ahead while I stopped to admire and photograph all that I saw.
I did feel slightly sad that my children no longer wanted to visit the play area. This natural wooden equipment was crying out for some children but mine rarely indulge these days.
However they weren’t beyond a bit of larking around leaping over the flower beds, running and even stopping to pet a brass hare.
The house is set up the hill and it is a short walk from here down to the quayside where the creek boasts some wonderful views.
Water brings out the child in my kids still and the boys dared each other down the steps hovering over the sinking mud while I shouted at them to come back fearing the worst!
The shamrock boat takes harbour tours in the summer, it was very much grounded now but it didn’t prevent the kids ignoring the signs and hopping aboard for a good explore.
I can thoroughly recommend Cotehele if you are staying at Coombe Mill, with a lovely looking pub and cafe on the water’s edge or picnic tables by the play area it would make a lovely family day out. I rather fancy returning when the house it open and they have a Victorian dressing up day going on.
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A few of my favourites from last week:
I was thrilled by the enthusiasm from Mummy to Boyz writing about her family visit to us here at Coombe Mill.
A day full of educational fun was enjoyed by North East Family Fun at Tynemouth Priory and Castle.
Mummy M's Memories hiked through the countryside to savour the wonderful views from The Cloud.
Spring animals on the farm are such a delight, I make no secret of the fact it is my favourite time of year here at Coombe Mill, yet I forget from one season to another the heart break that can come with it too. While our little star Rocky the goat is making amazing progress we have had much less luck in lambing. Last year I was rejoicing in our first ever year of not losing a single lamb or mother, just having to hand raise Ebony.
What a difference a year makes. We followed all the new procedures we put in place for 2014 with the same feed, supplements, and the same combination of field rotation and brought the ewes down to our most secure fields to lamb.
It turns out nature had different ideas. This was the first year we had one of our own young ram boys from 2 years ago service the ewes over the autumn. There is always a worry that he is perhaps not up to the job until the first lambs are born; I had my concerns right from the start when he met his first lady friend. Yet at the beginning of March the first lady gave birth overnight to twins. Sadly they were still born and looked to have been aborted. Nick always checks the farm in the early hours of the morning so that our guests never find anything distressing. We were encouraged that the Ram was in working order but sad to have lost our first lambs.
More than a week was to pass before the next lamb was due; this is expected as we like to stagger our lambing in order for as many guests as possible to be able to enjoy seeing a newborn. However Farmer Nick’s early morning rounds showed that while the next lamb had been born healthy it had been savaged within hours that same night by a badger. We couldn’t believe our misfortune. With deterrents in place for the badger we hoped it would be third time lucky. We were rewarded with triplets from the same mother to deliver them last year; two boys and a girl, named of course after our triplets Guy, Jed and Clio. They were all healthy if a little scrawny and all captured, tagged and placed with Mum in the nursery. Here they had a snug shelter, fresh grass and secure fencing that a badger couldn’t tunnel through.
They thrived on their first day all feeding perfectly from mother with no help needed from us. Nick made sure they were in their shelter before bedtime and had no reason to worry over night. Yet on his morning rounds the lambs were gone and Mum was bleating. No left tail or insides, no struggle evident, just three missing lambs and a dejected looking mother. After the morning feed run we scoured the field for any clues as to what could have happened. Eventually we found a trace of blood on the fence and a little on the pathway. Being so small something had dragged them through the fencing, all three of them, but what could it have been? We were speculating on the possibility of an otter, stoat or weasel; whatever it was had to be small to have made it into the field or strong and timely enough to have dragged three lambs through from the outside. To find out more Nick set up his night vision camera over the now empty field and places some cat biscuits just inside the fence to see if the perpetrator would return to the scene of the crime for second pickings and sure enough when we downloaded the recording the following morning, look who we saw sniffing around.
Now we had racked up 3 failed lambing attempts, 3 sad mothers and 6 lost lambs and no live ones on the farm, thank goodness for Rocky the goat entertaining the guests.
There followed four more tense days of checking and counting sheep each morning before one gave birth just as Nick was on his early rounds. We were hopeful that as it was already morning there would be no predators watching, apart from perhaps a lurking magpie waiting for a chance to peck out an eye, their favourite tipple! Mum and daughter were soon tagged, stamped and ringed with the guests on the feed run and this time moved into Peacock world where the rabbits had been housed over winter.
Nothing was going to be dragged through this fencing, there was a roof to ensure nothing could swoop in and the door was bolted so that only we could enter to feed Mum and change her water. It is not the space we would have liked for them but at least they were safe. Rocky was fascinated by the new arrival dancing up close to the enclosure then jumping back when the lamb moved.
It was then to be musical fields as within the week twins were born up in the main field. Our already strengthening lamb and Mum moved into the Nursery in the knowledge she was now far too big to fit through the fencing and newly born Solar and Eclipse, twin boys moved into Peacock world. No prizes for guessing when they were born in the cold and dark morning light, but by the time we had tagged and moved them it was warming up into a beautiful spring day.
It has been a long month already, nature can be so cruel, but I’m hopeful we are now on our way to a success for the rest of the lambing season. Mr fox and Master Badger it is time to look elsewhere for your next meal!
If you fancy seeing our new born lambs and goats we hope to have them arriving all through April and into early May. We still have some spaces and can accommodate short breaks at this time too so please do ask or visit our price and availability page.