If the January blues have got the better of you why not follow the lead of those in the know booking a winter weekend break with us on the farm. There are some weekends where it is just our family here, then others like this one where we have a few families staying and making the most of our cheapest rates with all the same farm fun.
There is the south west we are prone to wet weather. This weekend was no exception, however is dressed for the occasion it really doesn’t affect the enjoyment that our farm rides bring. While it may be showery it is rarely cold and while the rest of the country struggled with temperatures around freezing, we were feeling smug in double figures, always important with little ones. Thankfully our tractor and trailer ride is all undercover, unless you volunteer to ride up front with Farmer Nick.
During the summer months our chickens are free ranging in Jurassic park; however over the darkest winter months it is just the ducks, Geese, Christmas the turkey and Floppsy the rabbit. Being careful not to slip on the wet ground the families venture in with Farmer Nick to hand out the grain and stop for a stroke of Floppsy.
One little girl thought that was it, but no there is plenty more in store. Just across from Jurassic Park is the winter chicken house. This was built a couple of years ago during the bird flu scare when the government insisted all chickens were kept indoors. Thanks to the floodlight it has become the chickens winter home ever since. They are protected from the harsh weather and the light ensures we have eggs all year round. There was a giant haul waiting for the children to collect.
With a new driver upfront the tractor then takes everyone round the lake. Even on a damp winter weekend the scenery is beautiful with the snowdrops and winter gorse in flower.
One of the benefits of winter on the farm is how enthusiastic the animals are to come and say hello at breakfast time. Food in nature is scarce and so the morning grain and hay we bring is much needed.
By the time the tractor leaves to take the families back over the river to their cottages and lodges everyone is ready to cook with eggs for breakfast.
However for those in the know there is one more stop; our adorable guinea pigs. They have a giant shed to roam and a safe home for our guests to visit and revisit throughout the day.
Whether you fancy a few days in February half term or a weekend before Easter at our lowest prices, a winter break could be the boost you need to see you through to summer.
We all know how curious a young mind can be with the constant “but Why” to regular instructions. Now there is a great book to stimulate that curiosity that is both educational and fun. ‘The everyday journeys of ordinary things’ by quarto Kids is pitched perfectly at young readers. Whether reading alone or at a younger age with help and explanation from a grown up, this book will enlighten and delight. From phones to food and from post to poo, discover the ways the world works. If you are keen to learn more and be in with a chance of winning a copy of this enchanting book please read on.
The book begins with 15 minutes in the morning of an average child from waking to watching TV. During that time so many things happen that could trigger a How, Why, where or when. This book captures them all and explains each one on a double page spread. Written by Libby Deutsch and illustrated by Valpuri Kerttula each page draws you in making learning fun.
|Age Suitability||7 – 10 years|
|Publisher||Ivy Kids (part of Quarto Kids)|
Hardback, 48 Pages
Size: 9.843 in x 11.693 in / 250 mm x 297 mm
|Stockists||Quarto Kids Online Shop , blackwells, Amazon|
For your chance to win a copy of this engaging and educational book just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
We were sent a copy of the book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. Our copy of the book is available for holiday guests to borrow from the Coombe Mill library in the Games Room.
Last week I shared our easy to make Christmas Crafts which formed the basis of a wonderful afternoon here on the farm on 23rd December. Today I’m looking back on our Christmas Eve 2018 through to Christmas Day Programme. I believe that having made the effort to prepare Christmas ahead of schedule and pay for a holiday with us, our guests deserve to relax, unwind and let us take the pressure of Christmas. Activities start from the moment they arrive.
Each property has a copy of the Christmas schedule ready on arrival, so trips out to the beaches and local attractions can be planned around our all included fun on the farm.
On Christmas Eve our daily train runs earlier than usual to allow for extra laps and extra time. The tunnel is decorated as an elaborate Christmas Grotto throughout the festive period in anticipation of Christmas Eve when Father Christmas takes up residence at the end of the tunnel together with a sack of toys.
Being a good sport one of my own children dressed up as a Santa helper to drive the train and take the children round and round the little track, stopping with Santa in the Grotto.
There is nothing more rewarding for all the time and effort of setting this up than to capture the faces of the children as they come into the tunnel. As if the excitement of Christmas Eve afternoon wasn’t enough, this certainly added to their spirits.
Our local village puts on a beautiful Christingle service. This lasts just under an hour for families on Christmas Eve. It is very participative for little ones and aimed at keeping their attention on this magical night. Along with their glow stick Christingle oranges, they come out of the beautiful service to discover Santa has hot footed from Coombe Mill to the Church. Here he is ready to hand out yet more presents under the village Christmas Tree. Even the parents are offered mulled wine and mince pies. It is a lovely touch and a chance for everyone to chat in the street. Thankfully it was incredibly mild and dry for everyone.
Back at Coombe Mill we have a party in the games room. Here everyone can join us for a glass of Bucks Fizz and nibbles. A perfect treat before heading off home to hang up stockings. That busy Father Christmas has to move fast to leave the village and hocked up with his sleigh for the night.
A later than usual feed run on Christmas Morning sees Farmer Nick as Santa ready to take the children round the animals. There is always a big question mark over whether our Rudolph had been out working all night or snoozing in the field? One we will never know!
If you fancy wrapping your family up in the wonder of a Coombe Mill style Christmas holiday do take a look at our bookings. We take short breaks and full weeks and offer 10 nights for the price of 7 leaving on 27 or 28th December. If Christmas is very much a home event for you, why not join us from the 27th and celebrate New Year here on the farm.
So here we are in January and I’m only just finding the time to write up Christmas! We were so busy with holiday guests and then family visiting that the time ran away. Finally I have one safely delivered back to Uni, one back at work one back at collage, 4 back at school, extended family and festive holiday guests left and time to reflect on some of the fun we had. I’m beginning with a post about our Christmas crafts. Ever since I did our Halloween Log craft I knew that it would be perfect to adapt for our Christmas guests. I added a few bits and pieces and before long I had an afternoon of action packed fun waiting for a group of excited pre Christmas children.
Having explained to an eager gathering what the afternoon would entail we set off on a special Christmas scavenger hunt. The children had sheets of all the things they needed to find and collect. This was going to form the basis of our Christmas Log Decoration and Christmas bauble.
Having put quite a time into preparing my example Christmas Log table decoration I was a little worried about how long it might take in a big group. To speed things up I had pre cut some of the more intricate bits. Just as well I did as it still took longer than I anticipated with sharing scissors and paint. The children took real care over their coke bottle Santa’s and decorated the rest of the log in their own style from the bits we collected and resources I provided.
I still had two activities to run but I know Guy had a roaring fire pit waiting for us to toast marshmallows ahead of running the train for the evening so we agreed to return to the games room and finish our crafts after dark.
I may have ruined tea time for a few but the children had a great time dipping their marshmallows in the fire. Succumbing to the excitement of the moment the adults joined in too, after all who can resist a toasted marshmallow?
Thankfully Guy was not just in charge of the fire but also our train driver for the evening, a few were worried about missing the train but when I pointed out that our train driver was still cooking they stopped worrying. Finally we ran a late train through the Christmas filled tunnel as the daylight fell away.
For those still keen to continue crafting we returned to the games room where the bottom of our coke bottles became a container for reindeer food. OK so we have fallow deer, but let’s not be too picky, our Rudolph was still on standby for Santa and needed some special food with magic sprinkle for breakfast the following day (Christmas Eve). Christmas paper and colourful ribbon finished the packaging and the children promised to bring them along the following day for the morning feed run to feed to Rudolph.
Finally the left over tinsel, ivy, holly and chosen Christmas card pictures were filled into hollow baubles to make take home tree decorations.
There was certainly enough to keep the most active and creative children occupied for the afternoon. With just 2 sleeps left to Christmas the energy levels were riding high and here on the farm the children were thoroughly enjoying the festive build up with us. Join me next week to see the fun we had on Christmas Eve and don’t forget if you fancy leaving the Christmas organisation to us next year and sitting back enjoying a fun festive holiday we are taking bookings now.
Welcome back to the Coombe Mill blog for a new year of farm fun and holiday activities. I’m starting the year with a traditional review of the plans I set out this time last year. As always there are some great achievements and some things that fell off the radar, however it is a good way to see the year that was 2018 in review and use this to plan ahead for 2019.
Last year these were the things on our to do list:
This has been a popular activity for all the family
|Playroom and link bedroom for Pencarrow||FAIL. the popular Heligan format is going to be carried over again for next year.|
|Nature Trail along the orchard|
Became a fun Kindness Trail for reflective time
|Re-plan the Welly Walk||FAIL. I wanted to make more of this and it just didn’t happen in 2018.|
|Update the Fairy gardens with new decorated stones, trinkets and regular new chippings|
This ever popular area is constantly being updated
|Keep on top of SEO||This is a harder one to call a pass or fail. I feel I’m slowly moving forward in my understanding yet slipping back in an ever crowded market place where SEO logarithms are moving faster than my knowledge.|
|Develop an animated farm map for the website|
The new animated map supplements the existing aerial map
|Convert the last remaining old lodges||FAIL. These are currently used as storage awaiting more exciting plans.|
In summary a mix of success with some outstanding projects to carryover. However we did bring in some left field initiatives that sapped up our time too.
|Updated wifi directly into all properties||
Enjoy free wi fi inside all 11 properties
|New Kitchen for Honeysuckle||
Farmer Nick shows his new carpentry skills
|New kitchen doors fitted in Millers House||
New Door panels and modern handles
|Introduction of guinea Pigs|
5 Guinea Pigs and 3 babies take us into 2019
|Introduction of miniature Shetland ponies|
Shaggy and Scooby Doo are as cute as can be
|New marketing initiatives such as our ‘refer a friend’ scheme and branded mugs.|
Refer a friend and save money for them and you. #CoombeMillHolidays and if I share your post you take home one of these lovely mugs. Perfect for our morning feed run.
I began to pull back a little on the blog even giving up hosting the Country Kids Linky after 7 years of weekly posts. Sadly with children aged 14 – 20 outdoor play posts are a little too tricky. Three of my favourite outdoor bloggers, who have supported Country Kids each week, have collectively taken over and doing a great job. I still join in with activities we do here with the guests as outdoor fun and back to nature are still something I’m passionate about for children. Do join Louise at Little Hearts Big Love, Lucy at Kids of the Wild and Helena at Queen of Collage if you can where the link up still runs each Saturday to Wednesday.
I backed out of blogging awards in 2018 and didn’t put myself forward for any. I feel the blogging community has been more than generous to my little blog over the years. On the back of this I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to find myself with a new award.
We had a big year of exams for 2 of our boys.
|Willow Kitchen makeover to bring it up to date like Honeysuckle.|
|Welly walk theme. I need to crack this one and bring the trail to life this year.|
|Replace Farm fencing this may not sound exciting but the fence posts have rotted through on so many of our fences thanks to stringent EU rules on tanalized wood. Replacing many has now become an expensive priority.|
|Website: I am toying with a website revamp next year primarily to make booking via a mobile more viable.|
|Advertising I need to expand my reach for our holidays beyond social media and my blog which has been the focus for the past 7 years. I will still post here weekly, but also look at how else I can bring our educational farm holidays to the attention of families with young children.|
As always I’m sure there will be many more opportunities that present themselves during the year and new projects that we will undertake. I am excited to meet the challenge and hope that you might visit us on holiday and see how we are progressing.