Is Bonfire Night being eclipsed by Halloween?

Posted on November 9th, 2018 -

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.

 

Is Bonfire night being eclipsed by Halloween

Safety Concerns

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. 

Financial implications

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

sparklers watching the bonfire

A fizz and a bang as the night sky lights up

Fireworks at St Tudy

Heads crane up to the sky, little ones in arms and on shoulders in awe  

Bonfire Night fun at St Tudy Cornwall

A solitary burst in a magnificent display

Firework at St Tudy Bonfire Night

 

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.


A first taste of sub zero winter

Posted on November 3rd, 2018 -

What a week it has been! For many it has been half term. Here in Cornwall our kids were back at school, however the farm has been busy with half term visitors from up country. For me that has meant another packed week and a rerun of our ever popular Halloween fun day. More pumpkin carving, ghost trains and trick or treat, but with a very different feel to the weather. Gone were those warm southerly air streams to be replaced by our first taste of sub zero winter temperatures.

A first taste of sub zero winter

 

A winter landscape

There is something quite magical about the first frost of the season. I don’t remember having such a heavy frosty in October before, but it was enough to have me don a few extra layers and venture out. The frost hung heavy in our deep wooded valley looking so thick you could mistake it for snow. Our striking Scandinavian lodges remind me of a Christmas card. Only the leaves still clinging to the trees give away the early arrival of the sub zero days.

Scandinavian Lodges coated in the first Frost of winter

Lodges at Coombe Mill in frost

A confused farm

The poor animals were very confused as the temperatures plummeted down. They picked over frozen grass and ice crystals round the leaves. Even the stinging nettles were coated in frost. The frost held them rigidly in place, unable to wilt until the morning sun rose over the valley to melt their new skin.

Sub zero winter temperatures are a shock to us all

Goats in sub zero winter

Frosted leaves and grass intertwine 

leaf lying in frosty grass

Thankfully by the time Farmer Nick and I had finished the morning school runs and taken the guests out with the tractor and trailer the temperatures were rising enough to keep little fingers and toes from Jack Frost.

Sunrise over the valley soon melts away the frost 

We have returned to the more regular south westerly air stream now giving us the warmest temperatures across the country. This is normal for us in winter, but I rather like the chilly sub zero days with clear blue skies. I hope we have more to come.

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Seasonal Peg Fairy and Nature Wand Craft

Posted on November 2nd, 2018 -

I’m on a bit of a roll with my crafts at the moment. One idea morphs into another and a whole new activity emerges. My latest crafts are all born out of the amazing stickabilty of flour and water. First I used nature on pebbles and then on logs to make a dinosaur log and a Halloween Log. This week I worked on my nature log and came up with a Peg fairy with magic wand and fairy dust.

Seasonal Peg Fairy and Nature Wand Craft

Nature Hunt

The first thing we needed was to go off in search of a log, a stick and some autumn nature.

collecting nature

Building a fairy garden

I had some new additions for the fairy garden I was keen to add so the children helped me decide where these should go.

New ornaments in the fairy garden

Autumn flower fairies

Anyone remember the flower fairy books from their childhood? They captivated my imagination and stuck in my mind creating the autumn habitat on the logs . We piled on acorns, flowers, leaves and more with flour glue before making the peg fairies.

Creating fairy garden log

Magic Fairy wand

Winding some colourful wool around twig made a simple magic wand to add to our log.

Making wool fairy wands

Making a Peg Fairy

We pushed two thick leaves through the peg holes to simultaneously create wings and arms. Then the children chose some material for a skirt. Bingo our easy peg fairy was ready.

Making peg fairies

Magic Fairy Dust

All that was left was to sprinkle some fairy dust. For this I just added a few drops of food colour to sugar. To keep things really natural you could use blackberry juice or any other berry juice instead. The children sprinkled a little dust over their fairy logs placing the bulk in milk bottle tops secured with the flour glue. they were only too happy to pose for a photo with their fairy landscapes.

Peg fairies on logs

The children were all quite young and I knew they would need a little help to pull this one off but they managed really well thanks to some great parental support and a concept that captured their imaginations.

Create a Peg Fairy Log and wand at home

This would be a fun and educational activity to recreate from a family woodland walk.

What you’ll Need

Seasonal nature gathered from a walk to include things like leaves, berries, acorns, conkers, pine cones, twigs, feathers

A small log with one stable side as a base.

A small twig for a wand

dolly peg

Two evergreen leaves with structure for wings and arms

Flour and water paste

sugar and food colour for fairy dust

Colourful wool or ribbon for wand.

A rectangle of material with small cut at the centre for a fairy skirt

Educational Benefits

Creativity

Imaginative play

Dexterity

The opportunity to explore changes in nature with the seasons 

Suitable For Age 4 – 12

 

 

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Giraffes in Scarves Colour Matching Game

Posted on October 29th, 2018 -

The clever folk at Orchard Toys have done it again! They have launched yet another game that is educational fun at pocket money prices. Mum’s and Dad’s will approve of the counting and colour matching practice, while kids will love the fun characters, bright designs and silliness of the giraffes they create as the games is played. Read on to discover more and how you could win your game of Giraffes in Scarves in time for Christmas.  

 

Giraffes in Scarves Game for Kids

How to play.

The game can be played with 2 to 6 players, the more the merrier. The object is to turn over cards based on the colour you throw on the dice, and build your giraffe from bottom up. Cards add to your giraffe’s neck with one, two or three scarves, but watch out a few trick cards have none. The aim of the game is to collect as many scarves as you can before you turn over your giraffe head. Once you have your head your giraffe can’t grow any further, however you still take a turn to try and find your opponent’s head and stop their giraffe growing too. Once everyone has a head the winner is the player with the most scarves.  

What we liked

This game is packed with all the usual Orchard Toys awesomeness. A careful blend of fun and education pitched perfectly for children aged 4 and over. Children will learn turn taking as well as colour matching and basic addition. All the time the learning is gentle and carefully sits alongside the funny giraffes forming before your eyes. The box and cards can all be wiped clean to play over and over again and all for just £7.75.

giraffes in Scarves game

Need to Know

Retail Price £7.75
Age Suitability4 – 7 years
Players2 – 6
Materials100& recycled board.
Contents
  • 24 neck cards
  • 6 head cards
  • 6 base boards
  • 1 colour dice
  • 1 instruction leaflet
Educational Benefits

Reinforces colour matching skills

Encourages counting

Promotes turn taking

StockistsOrchard Toys on line shop, Amazon 

 

Win your game of Giraffes in Scarves with Orchard Toys and Coombe Mill

For your chance to win this great game simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.

Giraffes in Scarves Game

Disclosure

We were sent our game of Giraffes in Scarves for the purpose of this review, however all opinions expressed here are my own.

 

 


Go Pumpkin Crazy for Halloween. Carve, light and Eat

Posted on October 27th, 2018 -

Whether you love it or hate it this week is all about Halloween. We have gone all out for our 2018 Halloween Fun Day this year in October half term. For the first time we have added pumpkin carving. Traditionally we have asked our guests to source and carve their own pumpkins to signal participation in our famous Trick or Treat evening. However this year we are including pumpkin carving in the afternoon crafts. Our first session was last Wednesday, but as half term stretches over 3 weeks this year we will be doing it all again on Halloween itself.

 

Go Pumpkin Crazy for Halloween. Carve, light and Eat

Pumpkin Carving

With no exciting pumpkin patches in Cornwall and the need for rather a lot of pumpkins Farmer Nick scoured the internet for good value pumpkins. Morrison’s came up trumps with a discount on bulk bringing us down to around 50 per pumpkin. We laid them out on our craft tables with a collection of knives, scoops and Theo’s great know how. We soon had a hive of activity taking place with little ones designing the funny faces and adults and older children carving.

Pumpkin carving activity table

 Pumpkin Carving at Coombe Mill Holidays for Halloween

Light up those Pumpkins

Later in the evening each cottage and lodge lit their pumpkins to guide the way for our organised Trick or Treat Procession. They shone beautifully in the night sky. Many of our younger guests had never experienced pumpkin carving and lighting before and were totally taken in by the magic of the evening.

Lit pumpkin for Trick or Treat

Nutritious Pumpkin Seed Snacks  

Nothing is wasted here on the farm. We Have Sally and her 6 piglets who are only too happy to be the recipients of all the pumpkin scooping. However the pigs have to wait until I have saved the seeds. They are create dried out for crafting, or scattered on a baking tray with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled for about 10 minutes till popping and browned.  I took a tray out for the guests to snack on whilst carving. In our house I have a storage jar full to add them to snacks and meals for us.

Avocado, crispy bacon and melted cheese on toast with roasted pumpkin seeds & wedges.

Pumpkin seeds on avocado, bacon and cheese on toast

 

If you fancy going Pumpkin crazy with us,  we are already taking bookings for next October half term. There is also a ghost train, fancy dress feed run, Trick or treat, games and crafts for all. If you are staying this coming week you have plenty to look forward to.

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