Here on the farm with our own little cheeky Shetland ponies Skippy and Dinky we are big My Little Pony Fans. The wonderful Hasbro Studios has been releasing the popular Friendship is Magic series on DVD and we are proud to have reviewed these and have them available for our guests to borrow after a busy day on holiday with us. To add to our collection we now have the latest release: Spooktactular Pony Tales. This comes out on sale from 5th October in time for Halloween and Hasbro are offering Coombe Mill blog readers a chance to win a copy.
Gather around the camp fire for six mysterious tales, as adventures unfold in this special new collection featuring series favourites Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. Equestria is aglow with all the fun that Nightmare Night brings, including pumpkins, costumes, candy and friends. With everything from a giant bear monster in the Everfree Forest to the mischievous Diamond Dogs up to no good, the herd has a lot to contend with. Even Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie and Spike come together for some ghostly escapades, but Princess Cadance gets into a spot of bother when Queen Chrysalis conjures up a devious plan.
Treat your little ones to this delightful Halloween series of six episodes and give them the magic of Halloween without scaring them. As with all My Little Pony DVD’s Spooktacular Tales is certificate U and fit for general viewing, reassuring for parents.
To be in with a chance of winning your copy of the latest in the Friendship is Magic series, please complete some or all of the steps below. Good luck to all taking part and remember you can also buy or download your own copy from October 5th.
We were given our copy of the DVD for our holiday guests to enjoy.
What could be more heavenly to a bunch of children than a visit to a sweet factory? Our French cousins live just minutes from the Haribo factory which boasts a museum and a factory shop. Unlike the usual museum visit this one generated a great deal of interest from the triplets and Theo and we even benefited from free admission thanks to one of the cousins working there for her summer job. Even so it is only 7 Euros for adults and 5 for children, perfectly reasonable for any average sized family.
On arriving we were handed tokens with no idea what they were for, but suspecting they would have a significance Nick held on to them for everyone as we made our way round. The whole museum was designed to appeal to children with brightly candy coloured rooms and reading panels on the history of sugar and candy in three languages posted around the walls. It was after the 1st world war that candy really took off as a treat for families of all classes.
However with the best will in the world, children in a candy coloured room act like they are already full of e numbers just at the prospect of all those sweets! Thankfully the museum anticipated this and had plenty of interactive games to play along the way and display stands of sweet making from times gone by.
Drums showing the sweet making process really brought it all to life, although the simplified style of the displays had the children dreaming of all the sweets they could make at home. Coombe Mill will turn into a sweet factory if they have their way!
The penultimate zone took us out across a draw bridge to the factory. Unfortunately there was only a screen of the workers from long ago with the real factory window all blacked out. Apparently the workers complained at being stared at all day and so this was to protect their privacy. A shame as I would loved to have looked down at the production process and seen the source of the wonderful candy smells drifting across to the museum, but I guess being on show all day would become tiresome.
The best in this case was most definitely saved till last, a room full of mini machines filled with a variety of different Haribos. Here we discovered what our tokens were for. Each token whirred a machine into action, the sweets lifted up the mini conveyor belt and dropped into packets which sealed and popped out the dispenser in packs of four.
Loaded down with their bounty we headed out. However this is only possible via the vast factory shop. Any remaining Euros soon disappeared, with only Clio opting for a t shirt instead of more sweets.
Overall it was a great use of our damp morning, but it is really only a couple of hours to see everything so not something I would recommend travelling miles for, but ideal if you happen to be in the area with children.
Generally when I blog about our beach fun it is here in Cornwall where we have the most glorious sandy beaches and surfing waves, however at the very end of the summer holidays we take our family holiday to stay with family in the south of France. Last week for Country Kids I shared our kayaking adventure, and this week is the French stretch of the Mediterranean. It is just over an hour’s drive from our family base in Uzes to Palavas near Montpelier and if I’m honest the sand is more course, the sea less clean and the rows of holiday apartments flanking the miles of beaches less attractive than our local beaches right on our doorstep in Cornwall, yet what we don’t have is warm water and the kids French cousins who they adore. Having enjoyed a day here last year it was right up there as a must do family outing and in true teen style we made it down for lunch time, their idea of an early start!
Unusually after the storms of the weekend the sea was rough and giant waves were breaking close to the shore. We steered the kids away from our base point of last year to a more gently shelving area of the beach and instantly they devoured the packed lunch it had taken me an hour to prepare!
Replenished they headed for the sea, the waves were a glorious challenge being so fierce and strong, I was soon regretting having a tankini instead of a swimsuit as I lost top and bottoms with every wave! Thankfully everyone was too busy enjoying the immense force of the waves themselves to notice. If you could make it beyond the breakers then it was possible to enjoy a proper swim, but mostly we just played and laughed in the waves.
I have mentioned before that Farmer Nick is no beach lover and after a quick dip he was bored on the beach and accompanied Guy setting up his fishing over on the rocks; this is Guy’s latest passion and as sea fishing is something he has never tried he was very excited to give it a go.
Hiking along the promenade to explore the area was more Nick’s style, leaving the girls all sunbathing and boys in the sea I dutifully accompanied him wishing I had something more appropriate than flip flops, still our hike was rewarded with a beautiful harbour, and even the novelty of cable cars flanking two stretches of beach separated by one of the many river tributaries.
By the time we returned I was more than ready for another dip only to spot all the kids diving from the road bridge near our tributary into the water. Clearly their tombstoning and acrobatics from kayaking was still fresh in their mind along with memories of doing the same last year.
The afternoon more than lived up to the kids expectations and I’m certain we will be returning here again next year, driving back I couldn’t resist one last photo out of the car window as we turned and headed inland taking the scenic route back to Uzes.
If you fancy a family Christmas away being Country Kids on our farm here in Cornwall checkout our competition to win your Christmas to remember
I’d love you to come and share your outdoor fun with me here on the linky. All posts are welcome from playing in the garden to days out. All I ask is that the post is predominantly outside, away from screens and enjoying some fresh air. I’d be delighted if you would take my badge or link back here and please remember to check out some of the other posts, it might just be the inspiration for your next adventure.
Country Kids is around in these 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 (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)
Join the Google Plus community page for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me
Share your posts on Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet
A few of my favourites from last week:
Domesstique has a beautiful set of photos that make you dream of late summer meadows and lazy days from an outing with her daughter.
I love the energy of these teens over at Susan Snaps
Thomasland always looks such a wonderful day out, A Day in this Dad's Life managed a Daddy Daughter visit while the boys were at school.
I do love a bit of history reenactment, it is such a great way to engage kids as Mad House Family Reviews discovers.
I am delighted to announce that Muddy Puddles have joined with Coombe Mill to sponsor the Country Kids link up. From now on my favourites each week will be considered for a pair of Muddy Puddles Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. If you are not already familiar with this wonderful outdoor children's range please do take a look at their website where they have everything needed for year round country kids. The wellies we offer may change each month but are always high quality, comfy and stylish so keep an eye out here on Country Kids to see which designs are up each month. For more more information on the Muddy Puddles wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here
Whilst on holiday in France we took a day trip to Avignon. Knowing nothing of the town beyond a famous song about the bridge it was all an adventure.
The approach gave us great hope as we admired the stunning city walls and famous bridge with expert direction from Mademoiselle Tom Tom. Studying the map from the tourist office we discovered this beautiful town was the home of the French Popes in the 14th Century. I was a little confused assuming the Pope only lived in Rome but apparently France split from Rome for 65 years and set up its own Pope complete with grand home in Avignon.
We sauntered down towards “Le Palace de Pope” with high hopes. The cafes were booming with tourists and locals out on the streets giving a wonderful buzz and delicious aromas in the late summer sun.
In the centre we stopped to admire the street performers and musicians. One Chinese couple really captured the kids imagination with the husband apparently sitting statue like on the end of a pole supported by his wife. I’m sure there was a cunning seat and stand within the costumes but it was a great effect. Guy couldn’t resist parting with a few Euros for him and to his delight was rewarded by the husbands face filling with animation and signalling for Guy to step forward and take one of the rolled up Chinese proverbs from the lantern. The others crowded in to read and he started the whole crowd copying which made Guy’s day and I’m sure the street performers too!
Clio couldn’t resist the market stand and bought bracelets to take home for her friends with my help to negotiate on the price for her. We celebrated with a quick selfie before the boys hurried us along.
The palace itself was a work of art stretching over 27 rooms. From the outside the architecture was simply stunning against the clear blue sky. For the kids this was enough cultural appreciation so we agreed on a split giving them money to go the MacDonald’s we had passed and meet us back at the tourist office later. This is a real advantage for us this year over previous years, being able to trust the children together in a strange town, a little independence for them and a chance to venture inside the place for us.
Having paid our 11 Euros each we entered in anticipation only to realise very quickly that in true French style the splendour was on the outside and internally there was nothing remaining but the walls. A helpful audio guide did give a feel for how life would have been but it could really have done with the National Trust touch with some old style props and pictures to bring the place to life. The enormous chimney in the centre of the kitchen did elect a wow from everyone passing through and the height and space of the rooms were impressive but apart from that the views out over Avignon, the central courtyards and gardens were the most impressive aspect of the tour!
We were delighted we hadn’t paid for the children to go in too, a trip with their cousin to a French MacDonald’s may not have been culturally enriching, but it certainly brought a smile to their faces and hadn’t put them off accompanying us on another day trip.
Back home there was only one thing to do: dive into the pool for an hour or so while we prepared the evening BBQ over a good bottle of wine and recounted the highlights of the day.
Autumn is the time of year we eagerly await the arrival of our piglets. This year Sally delighted us with 14 healthy piglets. They are quite delightful and really become the focus of our morning tractor and trailer feed run with the holiday guests here on the farm. To tie in with their popularity we have been majoring on Piglet crafts in our weekly activity hour. From Piglet face snouts and farm collecting pots to Pig writing and pencil control with our Twinkl education worksheets for early years we have whiled away an hour of crafts each week. However my most creative and popular has to be these adorable toilet roll pigs which are perfect from toddlers upwards with a little help on scissor and stapler tasks. They form part of a whole series of farm animal crafts so do come back again if you like this one.
Pink or pink and black wool
Old cereal box or light card
Stapler or paper glue
Felt tip pen
Googly eyes – optional
Fill a cereal box or egg box with grass cuttings or shredded paper to give your pig a home.
Make a family of pigs with a Mummy Pig from a kitchen roll and piglets from toilet rolls.
Talk about food pigs eat and a little about breads and lifestyle.
Try our Pig learning to write and colouring sheet from our education pages.
If you have post about something you have made with something from nature or something you would have otherwise have thrown away please come and share on Trash 2 Treasure. The linky runs on the 1st Monday of every month and stay open for the full month. Post can take any form, all that matters is that the item made has been upcycled from something of little value or found in nature. I’d love you to join me and there is a winner each month thanks to the awesome folk at Duck Tape Colours. The September link up now running is all about back to school while October will lead with Halloween crafts.
Finally just in case you haven’t already spotted it I have a great opportunity running until 29th of October to WIN your family Christmas holiday here with us at Coombe Mill. Just click on the badge below to see how.