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.
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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
Where are those horses Dad, the mist is too thick!
First lap, watch the jockey in yellow and black….
Racing down the back straight as the sun makes a fleeting appearance.
Here’s that jockey in the yellow and black racing up to win. Sadly not the one we backed!
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
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.
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
A game of chase is fun in a group
Round and round they go climbing up….
….And sliding down
Before flopping in the ball pit to catch their breath
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
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.
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
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.
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.
High ceilings make it easy for a 7ft tree to feature in this contemporary lodge to sleep 8.
Can you imagine fairies dancing inside the branches?
Our own Christmas tree fully decorated in minimalist style this year.
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.
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?
Updating and upgrading our holiday cottages and lodges at Coombe Mill is a rolling programme. Now that we are at the end of the 2018 season we have time on our hands and properties empty we are able to work on the most pressing jobs. Honeysuckle and Willow cottages are semi detached and built in the 1980s. They have undergone a number of updates over the years including numerous soft furnishing updates, a playroom in the eves, a new fireplace, new windows and doors and the addition of superking bedrooms. It is the quality real wood kitchens have never changed. The trouble with great quality is they date before they ever wear out. This is the case here. Not wanting to throw the baby out with the bathwater we have worked around the quality fittings to give a modern look with our kitchen makeover.
Farmer Nick the Carpenter
It is actually our eldest son who is approaching the end of his carpentry course; however he has been seriously impressed, as am I, with how Farmer Nick has approached his first job. Together we choose the new worktops, sink, taps and tiles however it is Farmer Nick who has fitted and plumbed everything. Only the original quality units remain but with a modern neutral paint over to bring them up to date.
Kitchen Makeover for Honeysuckle Holiday Cottage
Looking down on the new kitchen from the mistral gallery
Open plan kitchen through to living room
Living Room with modern fireplace and new sofas
Standing back in the wintry afternoon sun, I am happy Honeysuckle is an up to date choice for our holiday makers again. Farmer Nick will be capitalising on his new carpentry and plumbing skills with a mirror makeover in Willow holiday cottage next. I hope you’ll find an occasion to come and see what we’ve achieved.
Front of Honeysuckle and Willow cottages
Pin for Later: Honeysuckle Holiday Cottage – Kitchen Makeover
“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.