How is it every year I think I have so much time and then suddenly it is Christmas? All those good intentions in October and November to be fully organised are never quite enough and I’m flying by the seat of my pants again. Then I look back and wonder, if I really was so organised, would it be the Christmas I know and love? Somehow being rushed off my feet, planning activities for the guests and a magical time for my own family, is all I know. This is my stress free Christmas. Stress is a state of mind: take a breather, relish the positive, plan your time and squash the stress.

Learning to love the buzz and not be stressed

I am lucky to have the space to put up all the family over the festive period. Family debates over who to visit is never a factor for us as we need to be here at Coombe Mill. This is a big bonus; everyone has to come to us to see us at Christmas. No decision equals no stress.  Cooking on a large scale doesn’t faze me at all and watching all our holiday guests relax and enjoy the beauty of the farm and the activities we put on is so satisfying. Our Christmas Eve party is planned, the little train tunnel is now a magical Santa’s grotto waiting for the man himself to drop in and the children will make some wonderful crafts with me. I am relishing the Christmas buzz rather than wasting energy stressing this year.

A Few fun Photos from a Stress Free Festive Coombe Mill

Festive Train ride each day with Santa on Christmas Eve.

Train at Christmas

Our resident robin in Christmas spirit

Log Store at Christmas at Coombe Mill Holidays

Christmas cheer with our log store decorations

Log Store at Christmas at Coombe Mill Holidays

Our very own Rudolph on standby for Santa 

Rudolph the red nose deer at Coombe Mill

Crafts prepared and tested for a stress free Christmas 

Christmas Crafts 2018 at Coombe Mill

Wrap yourself in a little Magic

I hope the Christmas build up has been more fun and less stress for you and your family. If not I can totally recommend coming to us next year and leaving the stress at home.

Wishing you and your family  

A Very Merry Christmas

Happy New Year   


Thank you for following my farm and family ramblings through the year and I hope you’ll follow me into 2019

Fiona x  


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Over time I think we all start to build up family traditions around Christmas. Whether they originate in our own childhood or evolve in adult life, they begin to define the Christmas we create. For us a little Christmas flutter at the Wadebridge races is one of these events. Usually hosted a couple of weeks before Christmas, it is a real local point to point.

A wet and Windy Racecourse

The 2018 Christmas races turned out to be the usual wicked winds, squally showers and glimpses of wintry sun I’ve come to expect. I had dressed accordingly with gloves, hat, welly boots and plenty of warm layers; however I am renowned for being cold if I’m not running around and the family awarded me the prize of most wrapped up, yet simultaneously most cold looking spectator! Despite this I still love to go, it is a part of my Christmas now.  

A few photos from one of the Races

Family banter waiting for the race to start

watching the race at Wadebridge Christmas point to point

Where are those horses Dad, the mist is too thick! 

Watching racing with binoculars


First lap, watch the jockey in yellow and black…. 

Point to Point race at Wadebridge Dec 18

Racing down the back straight  as the sun makes a fleeting appearance.

Racing along the back straight at Wadebridge Christmas point to Point


Here’s that jockey in the yellow and black racing up to win. Sadly not the one we backed! 

Christmas Flutter at the Wadebridge Races last lap

Sustenance on Offer

Thankfully there is always refuge from the elements between races in the big covered shed where the bookies take your bets and local businesses sell their wares. This is always a winner for the kids as the smell of bacon and burgers cooking draw them in. Due to various alternative commitments we only had Theo and Guy with us this year, but they fleeced us for some good racing grub. I must say I was tempted by a brandy from the bar hosted by our local village pub, however I was sidetracked buying a new farm wax jacket as my Christmas present.  

Photo credit to Theo as I tried on a new farm coat between races

A new farm coat from Wadebridge Races

It’s not about the money

Last year we pulled in a winner, but this year we lost on every race. In fact we considered ourselves lucky if our horse even completed the allotted race. But when you are only betting a couple of pounds on a race it isn’t about the money; it’s about the family time, the banter we exchange and the sense of belonging within one of our family traditions. My face ached, not from the cold but with laughter from the jokes and puns flying between us. Our Christmas flutter on the horses reminded me how much family traditions mean to me and how much fun having teenagers can be.  

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Christmas Flutter at the Wadebridge Races

Christmas Flutter at the Wadebridge Races

Soft Play is one of those love or loath activities. Usually loved by kids and loathed by parents. However on a rainy day they are a very handy stand by for using up excess energy for little ones. Much as I would love to pretend every day delivers beautiful sunshine for a holiday here in Cornwall, I know that just won’t wash. The reality is we experience our fair share of westerly winds bringing associated showers. Having soft play here at Coombe Mill is a sociable and fun way to dodge the rain clouds on the less than perfect beach days.

Making soft play bearable for parents

My relocation of soft play was always that they were made much more bearable with a decent coffee in hand! We have a table and chairs in the soft play barn for parents to watch over children at play. We request that no food and drinks are taken onto the play equipment, however bringing your real coffee over from your property to enjoy at the table is very much encouraged along with a snack for the children. There is even a highchair in there.  

Soft play with space for parents to sit and kids to run and play 

Soft play barn at Coombe Mill with table and chairs

A game of chase is fun in a group

Soft play climbing apparatus at Coombe Mill Holidays playbarn.

Round and round they go climbing up….

Soft play chase game in play

….And sliding down

Sliding down in the soft play barn at Coombe Mill Family Holidays

Before flopping in the ball pit to catch their breath

Softplay ball pit at Coombe Mill Holidays

Location, location. location

Our play barn is central to Coombe Mill, whether you stay in a cottage or a lodge the soft play barn is no more than a couple of minutes walk away. The morning tractor and trailer ride begins and ends just outside so children can easily run from one activity to the next. The soft play barn is just one of the all weather attractions here at Coombe Mill, so that you never need worry about the weather or the time of year you decide to visit.  

Pin for Later: Soft Play at Coombe Mill for rainy days on holiday 

soft play barn at Coombe Mill Holidays

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With BREXIT upon us and uncertainly for the future of travel and trade I am thrilled to lay my hands on the perfect book all about the United Kingdom. Take a journey through England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales county by county with “Maps of the United Kingdom”. The beautiful illustrated pages make this book of maps perfect for young and old with highlights to impress. To find out more about this wonderful resource from Wide Eyed, part of the Quarto Kids Group, simply read on. There is also a chance to win your very own copy.


Maps of the United Kingdom

Explore more than 1000 highlights from the British Isles

Each region is broken down by county and highlights explored and illustrated on double page spreads. Discover the people that made our cities famous in history, the ancient castles, remarkable engineering as well as art, culture, food and natural resources that make each county special.

Pages from Maps of the United Kingdom

Pages from Maps of the United Kingdom


I headed straight for the Cornwall page expecting to see Land’s End, tin mines, pasties and the Eden Project. I wasn’t disappointed. However there is so much more stretching from 1771 with the man who invented the first steam powered vehicle to present day filming of Poldark, all in one double page spread.  Reading about other the other areas of the United Kingdom I am shocked at how little I really know about our wonderful country. There are so many more places in the UK that I now want to visit.

Video preview of Maps of the United Kingdom

Need to Know

Retail Price  £17.99
Author Rachel Dixon
Illustrated by Livi Gosling


112 Pages

Size: 10.079 in x 12.205 in / 256 mm x 310 mm

Age Range7+
PublisherWide-Eyed Editions Part of the Quarto Group
StockistsQuarto Online, Waterstones, Amazon, Books etc, Book Depository


Win your copy of Maps of the United Kingdom with Quarto Kids and Coombe Mill

If you fancy getting your hands on a copy of this wonderful resource of the UK and perhaps planning your 2019 staycation around it just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.

Maps of the United Kingdom



We were sent our copy of  Maps of the United Kingdom for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


Christmas here at Coombe Mill is all about making family time as relaxing and memorable as possible.  By the time you arrive for your well earned holiday the chances are the shopping is all complete, wrapped and hidden in the car. Let the stress melt away as you begin a week of relaxing family fun. The first thing that greets you as you walk through the door will be the warmth of your cottage or lodge and the pretty twinkling lights from the Christmas tree. Our Christmas Trees are ready assembled with lights on, however the fun part of decorating with tinsel and baubles is left for you and your family to enjoy. Select the bits and bobs you want from our box of treasures, then create the Christmas tree of your choice.

Honeysuckle Cottage

Recently renovated, this spacious holiday cottage easily takes a large Christmas Tree.

Honeysuckle Holiday Cottage Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree in Heligan Lodge 

High ceilings make it easy for a 7ft tree to feature in this contemporary lodge to sleep 8.

Heligan Holiday Lodge Christmas Tree


Can you imagine  fairies dancing inside the branches? 

Looking into the Christmas Trees with lights


Our own Christmas tree fully decorated in minimalist style this year.  

Millers Lodge Christmas Tree


There will be a chance to add to the decorations at our popular Christmas craft session. This always includes a little homemade treat for the tree and a centerpiece for your Christmas table.

Christmas Holly and Ivy

Why not embellish the decorations in your cottage or lodge with a little Christmas scavenger hunt on the farm. There is plenty of holy with rich red berries and ivy creeping up the big old trees. Grab a pair of scissors from the well stocked kitchen and go natural with decorating. There is plenty for everyone. Do tell me if you find any mistletoe, I look each year over the 30 acres but I’ve not yet spotted any.  

Holly with berries from the Farm for Christmas decorations

Outdoor Decorations

Next to go up will be our outdoor lights, I can’t wait to share some more photos as our old log store is the perfect place to light up the entrance with Christmas cheer.  When you put your decorations up? Do you a wait until Christmas Eve or jump in at the start of December?

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Christmas Trees to Greet You in Every Property