Posted on October 22nd, 2018 - Fiona
Here at Coombe Mill we are big fans of the educational books from Wide Eyed Editions, part of the Quarto group. Nonfiction books for children have quite a job to do in drawing the reader away from the lure of Google. However, I may be old fashioned, but there is something special about a well illustrated book. The physical touch and feel is something Google can’t complete with. My kids may not always agree and would spend their life online given half a chance. I think our friends at Quarto understand what I am up against, and probably other parents too, and have introduced the 3rd book in an amazing “illumi” series Illuminatlas. Read on to discover what makes this book so different and inventive that even a hardened on line enthusiast will want to take a look. There is a chance to win your very own copy too.
Illuminatlas through 3 different lenses
The magic of this colourful informative book is in the colour lens. Read about the history, geography and animals of the world then see them pop out before your eyes. Study the world region by region and let your eyes adjust to the highlights through the lens. The construction of each illustration is so effective and absorbing you become quite immersed in each scene bring in the text to life.
The perfect Christmas gift
This book would make a wonderful Christmas gift. Let the quite discovery of this book take your child to a new level of understanding as the Christmas holidays unfold.
Need to Know
Illustrated by ||Carnovsky design studio|
284 x 346 x 16mm
|Publisher||Wide Eyed Editions, part of the Quarto Group|
|Stockists||Querto online, Wordery, Amazon, Blackwells|
Win your Illuminatlas with Quarto and Coombe Mill
If you have a tween too into their on line activities you’d like to encourage into a good educational nonfiction book this could be the answer. Follow the instructions below for your chance to win a copy. Good luck to all taking part.
I was sent my copy of this atlas book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Posted on October 20th, 2018 - Fiona
The past week has felt very much like the calm before the storm. This week is half term here in Cornwall and for much of the country too. We are all ready for Halloween activities and have made sure everything on the farm is looking its very best. Believe me this included so much leaf clearing I already feel like my shoulders are falling out of their sockets. However it is worth the work that comes with showing off our beautiful wooded valley to its autumn best.
Cornwall was hit by the winds and rain of Storm Callum last weekend. I was worried we might suffer with fallen trees and loose all the beauty of autumn in one swoop. However I’m pleased to say our sheltered valley survived the worst and the farm is still looking stunning in the golden autumn sunlight that has returned. We are all crossing our fingers the dry sunshine continues for this coming week.
Up close on the farm
I have been out enjoying the sunshine and capturing a few random scenes from the farm. The peace and quiet of the past week will be such a contrast with the noise and excitement of this week. I love both in equal measure and am grateful for the changes that come both with the seasons and our changing guests at different times of the year.
Early morning farm checks allow me the luxury of taking my time and seeing the detail of the forest floor.
I can see fairies dancing in here.
The calm before the storm: or actually after storm Callum as the fallen leaves are washed downstream.
Someone is on the look out for the tractor and trailer signalling breakfast time.
And here it comes!
I wonder if they will spot nature’s finer details hiding along the woodland pathways?
I have just 1 lodge to sleep 4 free this week and 3 next week if you fancy a few days away in the school holidays? We will be enjoying a few Halloween activities and plenty of farm fun on both weeks. Following this we return to a slower pace full of peace and tranquility as depicted above. We’d love to welcome you then too.
Posted on October 19th, 2018 - Fiona
I have really been enjoying using nature with the children staying here this autumn. There are so many windfalls hitting the farm giving countless possibilities for learning made fun in our outdoor classroom. With a very young team signed up to join me I knew I had to make things fun and easy this week. Two year olds are very discerning and will vote with their feet if the learning goes over their heads. I remembered how popular dinosaur world creation was last winter but was concerned it would be too fiddly for this group. A little adaption based on my pile of leaves craft and I had a simple dinoscape ready to impress with a dinosaur hunt to finish it off.
Atlas of dinosaur adventures
We began with a little look at the lovely ‘Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures‘ book from Quarto Kids. It is huge with beautiful visuals for each continent. We focused on the Europe page which perfectly depicts all the children could see around them at Coombe Mill from trees and nature to rivers and rocks. Meandering through the landscape were the dinosaurs. Two of the boys were wearing a dinosaur top which was a great start. We talked about the landscape and how it must have looked rather like Coombe Mill back when the dinosaurs were alive.
Collecting Nature for a dinoscape
I didn’t want to keep the children sat still for too long so we headed straight on out in search of fallen leaves, acorns, petals and more to create their own dinoscapes. When the tubs were filled we ventured into the log store to choose a log each as the base to their dinosaur landscape.
Creating a dinoscape
Back at my craft table the children began to spread my flower and water paste on to their log and arrange all their collected nature on top. The dinoscapes came together perfectly as the paste is very forgiving allowing the children to pull things off and re-paste until they were happy.
They were so engrossed in creating their dinosaur landscape they almost forgot it needed a dinosaur on it. They all knew dinosaurs were extinct do I explained we would have to go digging for a buried dinosaur. After a couple of clues they raced off to the sand diggers in the sand pit and began to dig. Oh the excitement as a dinosaur came to life!
A little free play
The temptation to stay and play was too much, and we had no real time limit so we were all happy to let them run around and chase up and down the slide for a few minutes to wear themselves out.
Dinosaurs complete the dinoscape
Finally we reminded them of their dinosaurs and the dinoscapes waiting for them. They ran back to the craft table with dinosaurs in hand and with a little more paste fixed them into their chosen place.
I was so pleased; the activity suited these little ones perfectly with just the right amount of learning and fun.
Recreate a Dinoscape at home
This would be such a simple activity to recreate from a walk in the woods or the park.
What you’ll Need||
Nature collected from a walk
A small toy dinosaur to hide (ours came in a pack of 6 for £1.99)
A small log
Flower mixed with water to form a stiff paste.
The opportunity to explore animal diets and habitats
|Suitable For||Age 2 – 4|
Posted on October 12th, 2018 - Fiona
It was the first day out on the farm for this young lad. He had the feed run to himself as our other guests had made an early get away for a day out in Cornwall in the sunshine. Everything was new and it showed in his 2 year old face, his emotions and reactions to the farm. That said Farmer Nick is very used to this and took the morning duties at this little man’s pace. You can see fear, wonder and then a growing confidence just in one morning.
Tailored to you
It is easy for us to forget how much there is to learn on a first day, from how to handle the eggs, to which animals are safe to feed from your hand. However the feed run is tailored to the visitors we have. In the school holidays the children and animals are highly interactive and for the safety of everyone we have to hold back the over brave. On mornings like this everything is much more gentle. Animal feeding is largely through the fence and very carefully supervised. This way confidence grows and with it the quest to do more. There is something for every child to take away from a farm holiday.
Looking unsure entering the farm
Finding a real chicken egg with a feather still on it
Oops, discovering what happens to eggs dropped into the bucket!
Excitement over the goats
Feeling confident to feed the goats through the fence
Give your kids farm confidence with us
With the beautiful autumn scenery, quieter feed runs with younger children, autumn is a lovely time to visit us. Check out our availability if you are temped for a family break. We are open all year and the animals love to see the children over the quieter months, I promise they will grow in confidence with just a few days here.
Posted on October 8th, 2018 - Fiona
Owning a holiday business with self catering cottages and lodges, the kitchens need to be well equipped. There are two common issues we experience, one is bowls being broken and the other is knives going blunt. Every year we go round sharpening all the knives in all our properties and leaving a sharpener in the draw for use in between. When the chance came to review a new knife sharpener claiming to be “the world’s best” I was curious. Read on to find out what we thought about the Any Sharp Pro knife sharpener and how to win one yourself.
Any Sharp Pro – How it works
Any Sharp is a nifty little gadget that looks like it couldn’t possibly be up to the job; however there is some truth in the saying “good things come in small packages”. The suction pad sticks to a clean surface therefore leaving your hands free to safely sharpen. A 20 degree sharpening angle is designed especially to ensure just a few strong strokes will have your old knife razor sharp in seconds. Given the number of knives we have to sharpen this is a real positive.
There is a choice of colours in a shiny metallic finish so you never need be embarrassed about leaving your stylish sharpener out on display; on the contrary it feels a shame to have an Any Sharp Pro hiding in a kitchen draw! It comes with simple picture instructions inside the outer sleeve showing you exactly how to use your knife sharpener.
What we thought
We followed the instructions and found the Any Sharp Pro knife sharpener does indeed live up to its claims. It is so quick and simple as our little video demonstrates.
Now to go through 12 kitchens sharpening knives!
Need to Know
Use on||Most steel knifes, straight or wide serrated like a bread knife|
|Stockists||Amazon, Argos, Tesco direct, Asda, Robert Dyas|
|Colour Range||Brushed steel, brushed copper, brushed brass, sandblasted gun metal, polished wolfram, painted red and painted cream|
|Materials||All metal alloy body, rubber suction pad|
Win your Any Sharp Pro Knife Sharpener with Coombe Mill
If you fancy making light and safe work of knife sharpening with this stylish little sharpener, simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
Any Sharp Knife Sharpener
We were sent our Any Sharp Pro knife sharpener for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.