Where did 2016 go? I feel this year has flown by so fast and my feet have hardly touched the ground. I’m planning to touch down and share some of my highlights from the year in the coming weeks when all the festivities are behind us and I have time to gather myself and think. For today I’d just like to share a few festive photos from the past week and wish everyone a Happy New Year.

The Coombe Mill Santa Express on Christmas Eve

Train with Guy on Xmas Eve

Christmas has been a whirlwind as ever here. We have been full with holiday guests which has been wonderful. We’ve had a magical time with our famous Santa train, Christmas farm activities and a whole host of fun entertainments, not to mention our own family Christmas.

Christmas Day Feed Run

Christmas day feed run by Tractor & Trailer

Family Beach trip on Christmas Day

Family beach walk on Christmas Day


We waved our Christmas guests off; cars loaded with happy memories and presents, and welcomed our New Year holiday makers. With plenty of farm fun to enjoy and quality time to spend outdoors exploring the local beaches, Christmas excess is soon worn off here. 

Jed at the end of another glorious day on the beach

Beach time


The wise put aside the diets for another week as we have plenty of opportunity to indulge again with our New Year’s Eve party here on the farm and some of the best local village pubs and seaside restaurants around.  

New Year’s Eve Party for all staying at Coombe Mill

Happy New Year Message from Coombe Mill at the New Year's Eve Party

Fireworks to end the Coombe Mill New Year’s Eve Party

Fireworks ? for our New Year guests tonight.

A video posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on


On a personal level I have been in my element with all my family around me for the festive period. Having my great nieces and nephews and my Mum has brought 4 generations here to the farm.  I never could have imagined when we bought the farm back in 2002 what a great investment it would be, not only for the delight of seeing our own children grow up enjoying an idyllic lifestyle, but also as a draw for future family generations too.  

A reflective moment heading back from the local pub to Coombe Mill

Clio and Jed in Sunset walking from St Breward


Happy New Year

Wherever you are I hope you have loved ones around to toast the New Year and plenty to look forward to in 2017.

Remember we are open all year round and hope to be part of your holiday plans. 

Fiona, Nick and the Children


So with a year of vlogging under my belt you’d have thought I’d have mastered the art by now and made vlogging bloopers a thing of the past. It turns out, when I look back through my video clips from the year; this is far from the case. On the contrary, my crafting projects in particular are riddled with retakes thanks to moments of memory loss and things that didn’t quite work out as easy as they should have been when filming!

Last year I shared the silly outtakes and even though I’d hoped there wouldn’t be any this year I’ve managed to pull together a hefty collection of the bits that were edited out of all my published blogs.  It feels a waste to just hit delete on them when many of them make me laugh looking back. As a result I find myself competing with my own mistakes in another year of vlogging bloopers edited to show off all my worst moments.  I hope they make you chuckle, and if you vlog yourself, please tell me you have a few of these hiding on your lap top somewhere too?

Coombe Mill Vlogging Bloopers for 2017

 If I’ve not put you off watching one of my real vlogs, they are largely part of my #Trash2Treasure upcycling posts. I’d love you to jump on board with the linky; no vlogging necessary, just sharing ideas for making something of value from something that might otherwise be thrown away or abandoned. The link up is the first Monday of each month lasting all month. December is still open and a new January link up will go live on the 2nd.

For now I leave you to continue with your family festivities and in my case way too much Gin! Just as well it is only Christmas once a year.


vlogging bloopers christmas message from Fiona

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Fiona xx


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I’m just sharing a short poem as a Christmas message today to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas.

 If you have popped over looking for #CountryKids it is taking a Christmas break, although last week’s linky is still open. A new link will be back on 7th January where I’d love you to share you outdoor festive family fun.


A Christmas Message

Jed and bunny in elf hat

Whether you are celebrating at home like us

Or away with family and friends,

May peace and happiness reign down on you.

Happy Holidays A Christmas Message From Coombe Mill

He may be Father Christmas he may be St Nic

Or even Santa Claus

When bed time calls check that stocking is hung.

Reindeer and triplets at Coombe Mill Holidays
Guy running the Santa Express at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays

No peeping in the night through eyes fighting sleep

Or looking out the window,

The sleigh only stops when all are asleep.

Joyeux Noel Christmas Message from Coombe Mill Holidays
Peace Snowflakes Christmas Message from Coombe Mill

Whether you are watching Christmas movies

Or cooking the dinner out back,

May laughter and fun fill the room for you.

Chrildren running to help on the farm in the Christmas Holidays
A Christmas Message from Coombe Mill with our very own Rudolph the stag

A country walk on this winters day

 Or a blast of sea air,

May rosy cheeks and warmth spread from within.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas Message from Coombe Mill
Merry Christmas Message from Coombe Mill

Spare a moment to stop and think

Or say a little prayer,

For those less fortunate on Christmas day.

Eden holiday lodge log fire and Christmas Tree
Elf Jed in the ferns

Hold dear ones tight as festivities end

And be thankful within,

For family and friends this Christmas time.

 seasons greetings from Coombe Mill

From all of us here at Coombe Mill, whether you have holidayed with us or followed our farm news this year here on the blog:

Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Please keep us in mind as you chat over your holiday plans for 2017 this Christmas. We would love to be welcoming you to the farm for an out of season short break or your main family summer holiday.  Coombe Mill will be saying open right through 2017 and all the farm activities will run each day for anyone booked in, even in January! Do check out the homepage for any special offers and sign up for our newsletter there too.

Best Wishes

Fiona x

I do love a new children’s book to chew over. Even though I no longer have little ones of my own, I have a weekly intake of holiday children who like nothing better than a little time with Mummy and Daddy and a good book at the end of a busy day here on the farm.  Keeping my borrow books up to date and including the latest must reads is a passion of mine. I am a firm believer in starting a love of reading books from a young age.

When it comes to books for younger children, in my mind they have to meet a few key objectives:

  1. An easy to follow memorable story line
  2. A captivating story
  3. Have a morale or teaching element or be funny   
  4. Be supported by eye catching relevant illustrations
  5. Represent Value for Money

With my key criteria in mind I gladly accepted an offer to review the new Book, James and the Amazing Gift, by Nicola J. Rowley from Troubador Publishing.

front cover of James and the amazing gift

James and the Amazing Gift: The Story

This book really ticks the educational morale tale. The story is suitably simple to follow and uplifting. It tells of a boy called James and his propensity to be happy and smile. This smile is infectious and influences all the people James comes into contact with; hence it becomes regarded as his gift. Then one day he comes across a lonely old lady. He has to work really hard for his charm to work, however his persistence pays off and she is so very grateful to the young boy. It is a lesson for us all in kindness to others told in a captivating story which is well illustrated.  


fun pictures in james and the amazing gift

What we thought of James and the Amazing gift

When I read the book to the children staying with us they all enjoyed the story and loved the photos which they through looked rather like themselves.

Reading James and the Amazing Gift

In my mind the new Nicola J Rowley book is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an original book for age 3 – 6. My only hesitation would be the price. At £7.99 I feel it is expensive for a 20 cm square paperback book of 23 pages. The story and content might be better displayed at A4 size which would look in keeping with its price tag. That said the content is all there and it is worth noting that for every copy sold £1 goes to the charity Contact the Elderly which is totally in keeping with the book’s teaching and a great charity worth supporting.   

Win your copy of James and the Amazing Gift

win James and the amazing gift

If this book sounds like something you would enjoy reading with your child why not enter to win one of 3 books here on the Coombe Mill Blog. Just follow the instructions below.

Remember you can always order the book through Amazon and know that £1 of your order will go to Contact the elderly.

James and the Amazing Gift


I was sent my copy of James and the Amazing gift to review. All words and thoughts are my own. You can pick up our copy to read here on holiday at Coombe Mill from our book shelf in the Games Room.

Christmas is such a wonderful family time but it can be stressful too. Sometime in late November and early December I look at the diary and worry how it will all come together in the coming weeks. With 6 children of my own to think about and so much to prepare for our Christmas holiday guests I go into overdrive. I am naturally an organised person and early Christmas planning is essential for my sanity. By this weekend I like to have presents bought and wrapped, decorations up and everything in order to be able to make the most of this special time of year.


Christmas planning with the log store all lit up ahead of the Coombe Mill guests arriving


With many of our Christmas guests arriving this weekend and taking advantage of our 10 days for the price of 7 Christmas offer, I am forced into making this my decorations deadline. From trees in each property to outside lights and a Santa Grotto inside the train, this is the deadline weekend for me. I’m pleased to say I can now sit back and enjoy Christmas knowing my Christmas planning has paid off.

 There is something rather exciting about turning on the lights for the first time and in high spirits Clio came out to watch them with me and even agreed to me taking a few photos. Trust me at 12 years old this is a big thing. As a rule of thumb selfies by Clio are awesome, photos by Mum are not! So my thanks to my daughter for agreeing to a little festive photo shoot.


Clio standing under the Coombe Mill Lantern on the entrance to the log store above.

Clio standing under the Coombe Mill lantern at Christmas


A wistful expression, we actually had the giggles making this one tricky! No editing here, just a blue glow from the icicle lights outside.

Clio in the log store with the first night of the Christmas lights at Coombe Mill


Possibly my favourite, all colour stripped out, then red drawn back in, just enough to be obviously Christmas.

Clio on a log in the log store at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays


I hope your Christmas planning is coming together.