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.
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
We have the ultimate book for budding star gazers. Seeing Stars from Phaidon is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to know more about our solar system and the stars within it from a historical and artistic perspective. This is a chance to understand and spot the 88 constellations twinkling above us. Who discovered them, when and the story they tell. It is a beautiful book for age 7 to adult that is fascinating and a great reference point for those clear nights. Read on to discover more about Seeing Stars and for a chance to win a copy.
Discover the pictures and stories in our night sky
Seeing Stars takes the reader back thousands of years to when people first began star gazing. Like a giant dot to dot game they joined groups of stars to form animals, gods and objects, these became the Constellations. Seeing Stars looks at each constellation in turn; with clear illustrations and maps the stories are brought to life along with details on when and where you can best see them. Everyone can be a budding astronomer with this book.
What we like
The book is easy to follow, clear and informative. Despite focusing on the history of the constellations there is also up to the minute advice on apps for your phone or websites to expand your learning. Everyone will be able to spot a constellation they want to find, from a birth sign to a favourite animal.
We were sent our copy of Seeing Stars for the purpose of this review. However all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. Cornwall has some of the best Dark skies in the country and our copy can be found in the games room library for star gazing fun on holiday with us.
With Halloween and bonfire night behind us and the run up to Christmas underway life can feel hectic. The kids are getting excited and you may be feeling the pressure to plan and provide a great time for everyone. The nights are short and the days seem to be running away. If all this seems a little too real then may be a little time out in the countryside could help. OK it won’t make all those planning worries go away, but it will improve your mental wellbeing by giving you time to breath, evaluate, be grateful and put things into perspective to be more productive.
You don’t need to go far or for long to fill your senses with fresh air and nature’s beauty. A walk in the woods, the park, the beach or the hills can be more energising than you might imagine. Health experts are beginning to agree with talk of green space and the calming influence of natural flowing water. It is something I’ve known for a long time. I begin every morning with a walk around our farm to check on the animals. The sound of the river, the colours in the trees and smell of the season drifting up from the earth is uplifting beyond belief. I return full of pretty images, a feeling of being alive and a zest for the day ahead. It really does make me more productive and improve my mental wellbeing.
Spring is my favourite season with new born animals and fresh green leaves, however the striking colours in the final stages of autumn is breathtaking.
Morning light seeping into the entrance to Coombe Mill round the log store
Farm path over the stream coated in autumn leaves
Autumn colours reflected in the top fishing lake
Pigs with a view: Lower lake from in front of the pigsty
Take a break and boost your mental wellbeing
Try my morning countryside trick and see what a difference it makes to your day. Even if you work, can’t get our before daylight or back before dark, try using your days off and see how much more you get out of life.
Our cozy lodges are waiting for you
Why not take advantage of our lowest prices this winter and come and see us for a few days. We take bookings any day of the week: make use of school inset days, spare work days or cancelled clubs and mop up a good dose of countryside well being. Whether it is the calm before the storm of Christmas or a well earned break to look forward to at New Year or beyond we’d love to welcome you. Activities for the children run all year even if you are the only ones staying.
Don’t you just love the quintessential image of Christmas? By this I mean the snow scenes, robin, toy shop window and twinkly lights? If you put aside the stress and hassle that can come with being a grown up at Christmas, and focus on the magic as seen through a child’s eye, Christmas is amazing. The wonderful folk at Quarto Kids through their Wide Eyed collection have an adorable book to read with youngsters this Christmas. Discover Let it Glow A Winter’s Walk and get your family excited for the nostalgia of Christmas this season. Read on to discover more and for your chance to win a copy.
Let it Glow – The Story Line
Follow a young boy on his evening journey home through a winter wonderland. See through his eyes all the magic of the season along the way. There are lit-up shop windows, carol singers’ candles, stars in the sky and finally a star on the tree. The story is told in verse with beautiful illustrations throughout. This is a truly magical telling of Christmas kids will love.
Let it Glow – The Clever Bit
Real lights glow as you turn the pages. Through the clever peep holes in each page lights transform the landscape and bring the images to life.
Let it Glow Pages with and without lights
A quick guide to Let it Glow. A Winter’s Walk on video
Need to Know
For replacement purposes batteries needed are 3* AG-13 button cell batteries (3*1v=4.5v)
We were given our copy of Let it glow for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Our copy is available for our Christmas holiday guests to borrow from the Coombe Mill library.
Bonfire night feels like it is steadily being eclipsed by Halloween. Certainly here we make a big event out of our Halloween fun Day, yet our once legendary Bonfire night celebrations have lapsed. It is partly a result of timing. Bonfire night used to fall in half term, yet now always falls the week after when we are quiet. Furthermore, our own kids have grown up and are now seeking out the big organised events with their friends rather than hot dogs, bonfire and fireworks here on the farm.
I do wonder if safety is a factor, especially for the DIY garden bonfire night celebrations. I always worry when Farmer Nick is putting on our wonderful events, though he has become an expert over the years. Pumpkin decorating, baking and even supervised Trick or Treat feels a safer option.
I feel this could be a big factor. Our fireworks for Guy Fawkes night were costing upwards of £200. Halloween costs are far less, even with a whole day of fun planned.
A shift in tradition
Pumpkin patches are popping up everywhere; a visit now feels almost an obligation, but what happened to ‘A Penny for the Guy’? Does this still happen anywhere?
St Tudy Village Bonfire and Fireworks Night
When November the 5th rolled round this year and we were faced with a clear still night and a balmy 14 degrees we headed into our local village of St Tudy to join their annual celebrations. What a treat it was. The playing fields were full of children, sparklers, vans selling hot dogs, Cornish pasties and even a licensed bar. Our kids disappeared in seconds having found old school friends while we caught up with their parents. It is all organised by the village carnival committee and run simply on donations in a bucket on the gate. All I can say is it must have taken plenty of cake sales and pub quizzes to raise enough to put on the amazing display we enjoyed. The bonfire crackled and the fireworks wowed. We had a wonderful evening with no planning, no responsibility and £200 up on the night vs running our own!
For anyone staying with us on November 5th Next year, I can totally recommend this as a cheap local attraction not to be missed.
Kids sparklers swirl watching the bonfire burn
A fizz and a bang as the night sky lights up
Heads crane up to the sky, little ones in arms and on shoulders in awe
A solitary burst in a magnificent display
Is Bonfire night being eclipsed by Halloween?
To come back to my original question: Is Bonfire Night being eclipsed by Halloween, I think perhaps it is more a shift, Halloween is more home led family activities while Bonfire night is becoming big organised events. Halloween feels more significant now as the associated activities and newly forming traditions keep growing over a longer period. Bonfire night is more of a short sharp ‘big bang’, but still a memorable event that I hope survives for generations to come.
“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.