2015 finished here on the blog with a comical look at my vlogging bloopers, with some funny outtakes from the farm and my crafting projects. If you’ve not watched it do pop over, it’s quite a giggle. However there is a much more serious side to running a holiday business with a level of attention to detail that goes unseen in providing family holidays that quietly offer that little extra and which has prompted so many of you to write. Thanks to your kind words I have a growing Pinterest board of Coombe Mill Reviews and was awarded the highest commendation on Trip Advisor. I know I’ve been known to bleat about the effect of Trip Advisor in the past, but if I’m honest it keeps us on our toes and in the main tells a good story for us.
A holiday at Coombe Mill is a lifestyle experience, I like to think of it as opening our heart and our farm to all who visit, building on the memories for those who return each year is my pleasure. After the grand opening of Tree Roots Cottage in 2014 I knew we were more cash strapped for 2015 investment and needed to think creatively. There is nothing like a challenge and thanks to my Country Kids linky and a strong feel for all the things you enjoyed on day trips out I was able to take the best and find a way to build them into Coombe Mill as well as taking advantage of my super DIY farmer husband for the bigger projects. In the end the 2015 line up is quite impressive:
The move from king to super king beds in Honeysuckle and Willow, every property refit from now on will have super sized beds, they are perfect for co-sleeping and early morning visits from children.
A Wildlife Trail covering parts of the farm even many of the regular guests were not familiar with. There are signs along the route and cards with clues and tick sheets to collect from reception or an audio recording to follow on our web site to help you spot the eleven animals the 1.5km walk.
An underutilized area of the cottage gardens was transformed into a kids den building area with a weekend of work for my teens lugging fallen branches from winter storms over ready to use while Farmer Nick created signs and I cleared the brambles.
I've had a mud kitchen in mind for years, finally we converted an old log store into our kitchen complete with some kitchen units and old pots and pans and some fun recipes. I'd say this has been one of the most used areas of the farm this year.
Our new craft tent transformed activity hour on wet and windy days and has been perfect for housing the new Ping Pong table the rest of the week
Last but not least Farmer Nick invested in a new, well new to him, digger and cleared a wonderful path up the Ravine, now accessible I decided it was far too good just for the animals to graze and turned it into our Welly Walk with signs, activity sheets to follow and a rope swing at the end.
I'm sure this is not an exhaustive list but it certainly shows that we have kept ourselves busy all year and grown the Coombe Mill experience.
Plans for 2016?
What more can we possibly do? Actually my list is never-ending but these are a few of the things I hope I will be reflecting on next year:
A New Play Barn, we have almost completed a total refit of our indoor play barn, it was open for Christmas, just, but there are some final finishing touches to make before sharing the whole story, and there is quite a lot to share on this one.
Cattle Grids again cross over the cusp of 2015 with Nick working right up to the day the guests arrived for Christmas to make them roadworthy and has just completed all the fencing now, I'll be following up with a post explaining the benefits of these for the farm and our guests.
New Wood burners for Willow and Honeysuckle are planned in for January; they will replace the old style ones and their rather nasty concrete wall overhang with modern easy draw, heat retaining flues that will transform these cottage living rooms.
We have a couple of options to create a games room for older children this year. Either the store room to the side of Two Chimneys cottage or the old riverside lodges are contenders, more on this later in the year as the plan unfold.
We have had planning permission in for 7 new 2 bedroom Scandinavian lodges like Trevarno to be built where the old riverside lodges stand. This is a long term project probably spanning the next 10 years but we hope to start the first towards the end of 2016 so watch out for availability in 2017.
I'm sure this is only the beginning and when I reflect back in 12 months time there will be a whole lot more we actually achieved.
On a personal level I have Alistair sitting A levels this year and hopefully leaving for University, Felix taking GCSE's and hopefully moving to collage to start his A levels, Theo taking his options and beginning his GCSE courses and the triplets completing their first year in secondary school, so our personal life will take on quite a change too.
I hope you'll follow our progress through my blog during 2016 and even better, book yourself in for a family holiday and see for yourself what the Coombe Mill holiday experience is all about.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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