This year has seen me move into the newly popular area of vlogging. I have hijacked Farmer Nick’s flood light and become a fan of vlogging for tutorials on both my cooking and craft activities. It is fair to say when looking back on my blunders over the year it is my crafting mishaps that are the most frequent, suggesting I am still very much an amateur in this area. However with eager children to entertain on the farm every week I do enjoy coming up with new ideas and then sharing how I do them here on the blog. Hopefully next year my rookie errors will reduce, in the mean time I hope you have a giggle at my expense on my outtakes video here. There were plenty more farm ones I can recall but not saved on film, it tends to be all hands on deck with the animals, but watch out Farmer Nick, after you have called my bluff and framed me here I might just have the camera running on you more in 2016!
Wishing all our Coombe Mill Holiday guests and blog followers a very Happy New Year
This is my day to chill and relax after a busy Christmas Eve with our Santa Express and Christmas Party, more on these coming up on Country Kids over the coming weeks. Christmas day itself begins with a delayed Feed fun with Farmer Christmas allowing everyone some present opening time.
After wishing our guests a Merry Christmas we headed out on a family beach adventure while the turkey cooked. The wet and windy conditions were not going to deter us, Guy had a new surf board so he was keen to go in the sea, Jed and I were happy to join him while the rest of the family and the two Grandmas were content to stride along the beach, take in the sea air and build up their appetites ahead of my Christmas dinner. Theo has taken a recent interest in photography so I gave him my DSLR while I was in the water to take a few snaps, I think he really has a good eye for composition so I’m sharing a few of my favourites.
He could have done with my longer lens for these ones, but still managed a decent photo at the expense of wet feet!
I’m loving the relaxed smile on my older boys here, much better than the frown I usually receive when I appear with a camera in hand.
As we finished off preparing Christmas dinner and cracked the champagne open back at Coombe Mill we all totally forgot to run the evening train, I’m rather hoping that with the drizzle everyone assumed it was cancelled as no one rang to ask where the train driver was. I clearly relaxed into Christmas day a little too far!
The past few weeks has seen Coombe Mill closed for winter maintenance and family downtime. We took full advantage with some lovely days out and lie ins over our weekends but it soon passes and the last 2 weeks have seen us all hands on deck as a family preparing for our Christmas opening. We are almost full for this Christmas which makes a fun and festive atmosphere for all who stay. The children have plenty of play mates, the parents have a chance to catch up with other parents on the morning animal feed run and evening train rides and to this we add our extra Christmas fun.
By the time the guests began to arrive last Thursday the farm was looking its festive best and I can honestly say it was a full family team effort to get there.
Farmer Nick and Ally had to finish off setting in the cattle grids and make good the road to the Scandinavian lodges again.
The indoor play area has been completely refitted during this close down, there were plenty of problems on this one but it was finally open just in time for little feet to play. Watch out for a full post to follow on this one.
The top of Pencarrow Scandinavian Lodge is where we house all our Christmas Trees and decorations, it was a 2 day job to bring everything down and check lights, tree decorations and assemble trees for every property. With so many quirky differences in the cottages and lodges including different ceiling heights we found ourselves moving trees from house to house to correctly locate them, we will be labelling them for next year to save all leg work and changes this year! Every family arrives to a tree with lights on and a box of decorations ready to make their own family decorating time.
Ladders and a steady hand are required for the outdoor decorations; we swapped a few locations this year and added some new pieces which are a lovely welcoming sight. Again there were unseen issues to overcome, the electric to the log store had been severed by the builders working on the play barn roof so Nick lost a vital day purchasing and rewiring here, however the finished result was worth the effort.
Our Santa train has become a highlight of Christmas at Coombe Mill and I’m delighted to say it is at its festive best. The children are already enjoying the Christmas cheer in the tunnel and looking forward to Santa taking his seat at the back on Christmas Eve.
Finally this is the first year we have had the craft tent for Christmas and after a successful Halloween Make over it has been given a Christmas one too. Our Christmas crafts will take place in here as well as our Christmas Eve festive drinks.
With the work now done we are looking forward to enjoying Christmas and New Year as a family and sharing our festive farm and Christmas activities with all our holiday guests. We even have some baby rabbits ready to hold!
Christmas is a time for sharing, a time to be merry and bright and it’s almost here. *Yippee* or should that be help, panic! Sometimes the stress of preparing for Christmas can feel overwhelming, I know I’ve felt it at times this past couple of weeks as I’ve sought to work out and wrap presents for our 6 children and visiting family. But when it all feels too much it is worth remembering that deep down it isn’t the card your forgot to post or the present that might not be quite right that matters, it is giving and sharing your time and love with those dear to you.
There is nothing quite like one of our cute baby bunnies to help me remember the magical side to Christmas.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing our preparations for Christmas here of the farm and a glimpse into some of the projects finished just in time for our Christmas holiday makers. I’m now ready to take the foot off the pedal a little, relax and enjoy the next 2 weeks with family and guests, I hope you can too.
Following the success of the Wadebridge Christmas Fayre last weekend we set off this week for the Pencarrow fair, this is one of the lovely houses just 10 minutes from Coombe Mill and one where we had a wonderful afternoon last year. It was far less agricultural than the Wadebridge one Clio and Guy had frond memories from our last visit, not least of which was the amazing chocolate Brownies and they were keen to come with me again, the rest of my children were washing cars and cement mixing back home so we picked up Clio’s friend en-route.
The sun was shining as we turned into the ling private driveway and soon hit a queue of traffic all thinking like us it as a great use of a Sunday afternoon. Having the 4 wheel drive I simply dived off onto the grass and parked up, fully expecting others to follow suit as the car park was clearly full. Clearly we were the only ones risking the off road option but for me it certainly beat queuing and we were happy to enjoy the walk up through the estate to the house. The kids ran on ahead finding trees to climb, or slide down in Guy’s case!
The beautiful steps and fountains make the formal gardens stunning in the winter sun
We were all captivated by the amazing fungi growing in the otherwise immaculately manicured lawns. The colours were astonishing and I tried to look them up afterwards but was baffled by the possibilities I found online!
Eventually we found our way to the house entrance and embraced the Christmas atmosphere where from craft stalls to food stalls the rooms were filled with Christmas cheer.
The children soon found the table they were really looking for and all chose from the amazing chocolate brownie flavours on offer, I’m rather hoping Guy was queuing by the Cornish coffee stand to buy my favourite Christmas coffee for under the tree and Clio and her friend both bought trinkets to start their Christmas shopping.
With full tummies and crafts purchased we headed out to retrace out steps to the car. Thankfully they are still not too old to indulge in a little soggy leaf fun along the way.
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.
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A few of my favourites from last week:
Stick Man is running at Moors Country Park and other Forestry Commission sites, My Two Mums made the most of it on their visit
Reindeer and an Abbey to explore made a lovely day out for Tin Box Traveller
This may be the best Christmas Tree Farm experience I've seen from Drops of Learning
Santa in the caves brought a spot of magic to the Christmas build up for Stopping at Two
I am delighted to announce that Muddy Puddles have joined with Coombe Mill to sponsor the Country Kids link up. 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
The Next Country Kids will be in a fortnight where I will share all the Christmas and New Year fun form here on the farm. I wish you and your Families a very Merry Christmas and hope you will be back to share those post turnkey dinner walks with me on the 2nd January.