Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"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.
Den building and campfire cooking
Den building and campfire cooking on holiday. An organised event with homesourced wild garlic for stick wrapped garlic bread. ... Read More
For our final week of Easter Holiday activities I decided on a giant Den Building mission and a campfire bringing the children back to basics with some wild garlic cooking. It was an ambitious undertaking with a large group, however with so many older children so keen to take part it felt like the right activity.
It’s all in the preparation
As always with my activity sessions, preparation is everything. Farmer Nick had been talking about moving the Den building zone for some time and this prompted the activity. The old zone had been standing for many years and the branches were becoming so dry and brittle they were beginning to snap. Since we were talking about re stocking with new trees and branches we also agreed on a new location which I knew would be popular with the children.
The Bug hotel next to the fairy garden was a bit of a white elephant. The bugs never inhabited, preferring instead the giant toadstool seats of the fairy garden to hide under. Nick took it all down and spent a morning anchoring supports for a new Den building area in its place. He then chopped a load of branches and placed them all outside ready for me to use with the children. Felix, who was home from university, set up a lovely stone fire pit and seating for me and I prepared some cheesy bread mix. It all looked so natural I was delighted.
Excited den building kids
The children all came home from their days out super excited by the den building task ahead. Everyone had been eyeing up the growing mound of branches and couldn’t wait to see where they were going to take them. One by one the children dragged the branches to Felix at the Den building zone who took them from the children and agreed with them where each would go.
In no time at all the den was forming and Felix was struggling to keep pace with the arriving branches
We were racing against the rain too and keen to get a good canopy over our den. It all worked a treat and easily housed all the children.
Felix explained to the children how to start a good campfire with dry wood and firelighters. He showed the purpose of the stone surround and let them help develop the fire once it was lit.
There is nothing quite like a campfire to excite children and they all crowded round adding firewood.
Cooking with wild garlic
Wild garlic is one of my favourite foraged herbs in spring and we have plenty on the farm. The children collected and chopped the wild garlic, then mixed it into a chunk of cheesy bread dough. Finally they wrapped it round a stick.
By the time the kids had prepared their garlic bread onto the sticks the fire was ready to cook on. The smell was wonderful and I wish I had a chance to toast one for myself!
I love how the children were drawn back into the den to enjoy their garlic bread.
A pack of marshmallows finished off the session. After all who can resist toasting one of these on a campfire?
It was such a busy afternoon but one the kids all adored. Each took home some happy memories of fun on the farm with Farmer Nick and wild den building and campfire cooking with me.
If you dread labelling up kit for kids we have the best ever cheats answer for you. Stamptastic are the experts in no sew, no mess named permanent ink printing labels. Think nursery school clothes, school uniforms, PE kit, stationary, school residential trips, after school club kit and more. Read on to discover how much use we have had from their bespoke branded logo stamp for Coombe Mill and how you could win a stamp with your child’s name on it for all your labelling needs.
More about Stamptastic
I have been a big fan of Stamptastic since they first launched. As a busy working mum with 6 children, Stamptastic was the answer to all my school and business labelling. It was being in the same situation that led Founders Francesca and Emma to develop the range, which has gone from strength to strength each year. While school labelling was the beginning, the range now extends to fun and branded logos for all kinds of events.
Name Stamp and Ink Pad
The ink pad and stamp block are so easy to use you’ll want to label everything in sight, just because you can! The stamp block is £10.00 and ink pad £12.00, both are sold separately and if like me, time is money, you will be saving yourself a fortune! No problem if your ink runs low, just order some more when you need it. You can see my review of the Name Stamp and Ink Pad here. (Nb these are the products for the Giveaway below).
Bespoke Logo for your family or business
We have been lucky enough to be sent one of the new ‘design your own logo’ stamp blocks from Stamptastic. How cool is this, our very own Coombe Mill logo stamp!
Even in just one colour it is so very clearly ours. I have been busy labelling everything from farm certificates to welly boots and books to farm overalls. Just like the name stamp, it is easy to order online and easy to use when it arrives. Check out our little video to see just what we mean.
What we love about the Stamptastic stamp and ink range
Bespoke to you (tip: If you have more than one child, why not just use a surname, or include all their initials on the stamp)
Intuitive to use
Super quick to stamp
Lasts wash after wash
Refill ink pads available online
Stamp block is hard wearing and built to last. (One stamp block did all 6 of my children through school and is still in use now at Coombe Mill).
Transparent block allows easy positioning of the stamp
Stamps to a variety of clean flat surface materials
Get the whole school on board with a 20% discount via the PTA team (details online)
Win your Stamptastic Block Stamp and Ink Pad with Coombe Mill
If you’d like your child’s name on a stamp to make light work of labelling everything from PE kit to stationary then follow the instructions below for £22 worth of bespoke block and ink. Good luck to all taking part.
Oh my, what a busy month April was here on the farm and we have plenty of fun going forward into May and June for you too. Grab a coffee and have a read.
Easter was a bumper few weeks for us here. We enjoyed some wicked Easter crafts with nature cards and decorative logs. The children made these to their own creative designs.
The Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday was a huge success as always, give or take a few melted eggs at the end of the trail thanks to the phenomenal Easter heat wave
On the Farm
It wouldn’t be Easter without lambs and this year didn’t disappoint with twins born on Easter Morning
Baby Robins Hatch
Farmer Nick had one of his tool trays in his big shed overtaken by a clever robin who thought it made a perfect nesting box. It was suitably sheltered and protected by being locked up at night from predators. We watched with interest over the month as her eggs hatched and the baby robins grew before finally flying the nest.
It wasn’t just robins laying eggs. We have a goose nest in the outdoor chicken house that we are expecting to hatch any day. However thanks to the location of the nest, half our chickens are still indoors since their home has been taken over! Once the goose eggs hatch all our chickens will be outdoors for the summer months. On the plus side the chickens lay better indoors and there have been enough eggs for everyone staying each day.
A lucky escape for Queenie
Queenie is our lucky goat. Not only was she rescued and hand reared by us at birth, but she has now just survived a traumatic emergency caesarean section at the vets. We knew she was heavily pregnant and had her separated from the other goats waiting for her to give birth. Sadly the kid was just too big for her and breached, I did my best as midwife to correct the situation when she went into labour under the guidance of our local sheep farmer; however it just wasn’t to be. Nick rushed her to the vet who carried out the necessary c section saving Queenie but sadly not the kid. Queenie is now recovering well with Prince Charles (her kid from last year) who is in with her for company.
A little beauty treatment from the farrier
The farrier came in April and gave all the ponies a little horse pedicure. Our miniature Shetlands, Scooby Doo and shaggy, weren’t at all sure about the merits of this. I received a good kick in the thigh and suffered trampled toes a few times in protest as I tried to hold them still against the fence for the farrier; however in the end they gave in and accepted their treatment. The timing worked perfectly for the feed run and the children were treated to a commentary from the farrier about what he was doing and why. They even had the chance to keep a bit of hoof clipping as a souvenir. You really never know what you are going to learn on a holiday here!
May looks like it will be just as busy going forward, hopefully with some more beautiful sunshine, farm antics and the sound of happy children playing out on the lawns. We’d love to see you here as part of this too.
Here are a few of the family Cornish events May 2019 locally we think you might like.
The Coombe Mill Easter Egg Hunt is one of the big events of the year here on the farm. Reserved especially for guests staying on Easter Sunday, it is a little chocolately fun the kids adore. It takes some careful planning to set it up without anyone seeing and much finger crossing for half an hour of favourable weather to make it enjoyable. I thought last year was good, but this year we succeeded on every level.
The morning starts early for me placing my premade the clues around the length of Coombe Mill at strategic points including popular play areas the children will guess. By the time we greet the guests for the 9am animals feeding, the clues are hidden and the eggs divided into bags for Clio to hide while we are on the farm.
Easter Day Animal Feed Run
We had the most amazing weather with the first heat wave of the year for Easter. All the children were soon excited by the farm, our new born lambs and driving the tractor. There is even the fun of Cadbury Crème Eggs laid by our Chickens on Easter Sunday!
Easter Egg Hunt Rules
By the time the tractor came home I was worried the eggs Clio had hidden could be melting as the heat was really beginning to break through. We agreed a quick 10 minute comfort break before meeting back for the Easter Egg Hunt. I made a hurried change into my DIY Easter Bunny outfit, added some bunny make up before heading back out to explain the rules and start the hunt with the first clue.
Let younger children have a head start.
No grabbing all the eggs, be considerate and share.
Search for the next clue at each stop and bring to me to read for everyone.
No running ahead and skipping / second guessing where the trail will go.
Let the Heat wave Easter Egg Hunt Begin!
As I read out the first clue the children were super excited guessing my first clue of “Ahoy Maties come and see, what treasures you can find on me” as the pirate ship play boat. They raced ahead and scoured the ship from top to bottom to start their egg collection.
The next two clues led them round the train routs and onto the Den building zone.
From here we skipped off to my favourite ‘the fairy garden’ where there are so many lovely places to hide sparkly eggs amidst the trinkets.
A rush along the lodge path via the Games room took the children to the kindness trail and on down to the end play area for their last clue.
I do like to finish at a play area as it is a great way for the kids to hang around and play, whilst munching on their haul. It made a full morning’s entertainment with the feed run as well and a lovely start to the holiday for all our guests. A Heat wave Easter morning no one will forget.
Our 2019 Heat Wave Easter Egg Hunt
You won’t be surprised to hear we are already taking bookings for Easter week 2020. We’d love you to join us if you can!
For nature and animal lovers the new book from Quarto Kids is simply a must. Sounds of Nature: World of Forests explores 10 different forests across the world, each on a double page spread. Packed with interesting facts and information, the book can’t fail to delight. The interactive sounds really bring each forest to life for the reader. Read on to discover more about the book and for your chance to win a copy here with us.
More about Sounds of Nature: World of forests
The clever sound system to play on each page keeps the reader matching each sound to an animal following the number guide. The deciduous forest of the New Forest in the UK will be the most familiar to most with easily identifiable animal sounds, however even here there are some surprising facts to learn. Did you know there are wild pigs in the forest to eat the fallen acorns and other nuts that might otherwise be poisonous to the grazing ponies and cows? We know how much Sally, our holiday farm pig, loves the fallen acorns here.
Move away from familiar territory, especially outside of Europe, and the sounds of the forest become more mysterious and intriguing. We enjoyed the sounds from the Boreal forest, Mangrove Forest and Desert forest. Though our Alpaca at Coombe Mill are camelids and sound rather like the Dromedary camel of the desert forest.
What we love
Interactive sound system with number guide to match each animal with its sound.
Colourful illustrations which build the forest scene.
Informative facts for each animal
Quick paragraph detailing each forest habitat
Education made fun
Video of Sounds of Nature: World of Forests.
Need to Know
Robert Frank Hunter
Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.6 x 12.4 inches
Wide eyed Editions (Quarto)
Quarto Kids online, Amazon,
Comes with 3 AG-13button cell batteries (3*1.5v = 4.5v) replace with similar.
Win your copy of Nature: World of Forests with Quarto and Coombe Mill
For your chance to WIN a copy of this lovely book with sounds simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
We were sent our copy of Sounds of Nature: World of Forests for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. A copy of the book can be found in the Coombe Mill Games Room for our holiday guests to borrow.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.