Christmas Eve Activity Hour

Posted on January 6th, 2017 -

Christmas on the farm has been a whirl of fun and laughter. Coombe Mill was fully booked and with many returning for a second or third Christmas with us, expectations were riding high for our special Christmas Eve activity Hour following the success of last year.  I spent some time planning and preparing and it was worth it with so many joining in.

christmas eve activity hour

Dressed as Mrs Claus, I explained to an attentive audience all the things I hoped to complete in the afternoon.  First off was baking biscuits for the children to leave out for Santa as I had been tipped off that these were a favourite of his.

Making Cookies at Coombe Mill

With biscuits baking we set about making our Christmas Gift Tree Decorations. I have a lovely tutorial for this one over on #Trash2Treasure if you fancy doing them next year. They are really simple and fun and made a great way to decorate our Christmas Tree ahead of the party later that evening.

making the christmas gift tree decorations

Moving on we made some fun Christmas Eve Reindeer and Santa Tags ready for when our biscuits came out of the oven. The children were really thoughtful with their messages to Santa on the back.

making the Reindeer and Santa tags

The Games room was smelling delicious as the biscuits came out of the oven. However they were still very hot so we took everyone off on the elf  trail we had laid out beforehand. Each child had a sheet to tick off the elves as they found them and to make a note of the letter hidden behind each elf.

on the elf hunt

 At the end of the Trail the children rearranged the letters to make the word “Rudolph”.  Such a simple idea but they had a wonderful time and were thrilled to complete their sheets.

Completing the Coombe Mill Reindeer trail on Christmas Eve. #reindeertrail #countrykidsfun #outdoorsandhappy #coombemillxmas #coombemill #trail #forest #woods #whatevertheweatherkids #curiouslittleexplorers #outdoorfun #kidsoutdoors #activekids #adventure

A photo posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on

And there was more Elf fun!   

At the end of the bamboo tunnel my little elves were waiting to hand out reindeer food to go with the tags the children had made earlier and chocolate pennies for discovering the word.

lining up for the elves

The children queued to visit the elves and then took advantage of a little adventure play while everyone had their turn.

on the rope swing

There were a few wet welly boots by the time we returned to the games room but everyone was refreshed and ready to wrap and tag their Santa biscuit parcels and reindeer  treats. 

finishing off the santa and reindeer gifts

I was amazed we managed to pack everything in with so many, but we were on a tight timescale with the Santa Express firing up in the distance. I’ll be sharing all about that one next week. It’s safe to say children staying here are more than ready for their beds by the end of Christmas Eve at Coombe Mill!


I hope your Christmas Eve was fun packed too.

Country Kids

Town and Country Turnaround Book

Posted on January 2nd, 2017 -

When little ones come to visit us on holiday at the farm, country life can be a new experience for them. The difference between town and country can be the very reason parents chose a farm holiday. Children may be familiar with bus rides in the towns and cities but riding on a tractor is a quite different. Dogs and cats may be a common site in our towns as pets but being up close with deer and pigs on the farm requires a different skill set. Conversely when our own country bumpkins go to a town they are fascinated with moving escalators and double-decker busses. There are some similarities between town and country but also some big differences. The new book from Ivy Kids by Craig Shuttlewood explores these differences for young children in a visual and engaging manner.

town and country turnaround book

Aimed at Age 3 upwards the book is perfect for reading together. Pick an item from the mini glossary on each page and find it on the picture. Use the simple narration to help explain the picture in its totality, them simply turn the book around and look at the corresponding town or country image. Spot the differences and similarities.

inside the book

What we liked

We took our copy of the book out to the train ride at Coombe Mill to see what our young visitor thought of it. Even after a long day he was immediately able to pick out the farm animals in the book matching the farm animals here. All credit goes to the beautiful illustrations which draw little ones into the page. I loved the unusual landscape shape of the book and substantial feel to the hard back cover and pages. At £8.99 I feel it is good value for money with a whole lot of learning for younger children. It would make a perfect gift for any preschooler.

reading the book

As the train retired for the night, so our Town and Country turnaround book found a new best friend and disappeared for a little bedtime reading.

taking the book home

 Win your copy of Town and Country Turnaround Book from Ivy Kids and Coombe Mill

win a town and country

If you know someone who would enjoy learning from this delightful book, why not enter to win a copy. Simply follow the instructions below.

Good luck to all taking part.

Town and Country Turnaround Book


We were sent our copy of Town and Country turnaround book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and options are my own. Our copy can be found in the Games room here at Coombe Mill for our holiday guests to enjoy.  


SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky  Family Fever

Trash 2 Treasure January 17

Posted on January 1st, 2017 -

Welcome to a new year of Trash 2 Treasure.  I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I can’t quite believe it is 2017 but I’m looking forward to watching the days begin to draw out a little this month and seeing if I can spot the first buds on the trees.  With Chinese New Year this month and Valentine’s Day next month there are plenty of opportunities to get your crafting hats on. Alternatively why not share how you use up your Christmas turkey leftovers or inspire me for the mountain of nut shells I am looking at in our house. Whether you are sewing, crafting, cooking or sawing I love to see all your upcycled ideas.

My photo below is from our New Year’s Eve crafting here on the farm, while my post this month looks forward to Chinese New Year.

Trash 2 Treasure January 2017

Joining in with Trash 2 Treasure

  1. Trash 2 Treasure is all about upcycling. Posts should be about making something foraged from nature, household throw away items or low value items you have added value to.
  2. Posts can take any form, all that matters is that the item made has primarily been upcycled. Whether you cook, sew, make or create I’d love you to join me.
  3. The linky will run on the 1st Monday of every month and stay open for the full month.
  4. There is no post limit as the link up is open all month.
  5. Old posts and new posts welcome.
  6. Please comment on my host post and at least 2 others and use #Trash2Treasure in the sign off so other’s know where you came from and can pop back to see what you have made too.
  7. Do remember to pop back during the month to check on later posts linked up. I will share linked posts during the month as a reminder to pop back and as a thank you for joining in.
  8. Please add my Trash 2 Treasure badge to help others find the link up and to be in with a chance of winning the lovely Duck Tape Colours (see below). 

Most of my Trash 2 Treasure tutorials will come from fun keepsakes we have made with the children in our farm activity hour, but sometimes I share bigger upcycling projects from the farm too. I hope through the linky to acquire some new ideas from you.

A little extra from the awesome folk at Duck Tape Colours

Trash 2 Treasure sponsored by Duck Tape UK with Coombe Mill Holidays for creative fun.

Trash to Treasure is sponsored by Duck Tape Colours, makers of colourful tape to add pattern and sparkle to all your upcycling projects. My favourite upcycling post each month will receive 3 colourful rolls of tape to inspire their next project. Do check out the website for plenty of creative ideas. 

My December winner of the duck tape colours is Anna of Tea and a Sewing Machine. Anna made a wonderful Christmas wreath from dried citrus pieces. Why not pop over and see how to make one yourself.

January winner Trash2Treasure


Thank you to all linking up in 2016 there are some wonderful ideas I have pinned over the year.  

Trash 2 Treasure Communities

Please use the hashtag #Trash2Treasure for your makes, I’ll find you and promote your post or picture on

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Google Plus

If you link up below to Trash 2 Treasure December I’ll also send you an invite to pin on the Trash 2 Treasure Pinterest board 



Trash 2 Treasure

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How to make a Chinese Lantern

Posted on January 1st, 2017 -

I love how national events are slowly becoming international events. When I was growing up I had never heard of Chinese New Year, for my children it is quite different, even in primary school there were crafts and Chinese food to mark the occasion. While we don’t celebrate Chinese New Year I like my children to be aware of different cultures and events and when they take place. A craft is a good way to do this. I decided it would be a fun to make a chinese lantern with the children at Coombe Mill. We had a little look at the pages about China in my lonely planet Kids cities of the world book, discussed Chinese symbols from my printable below and then set about making some Chinese Lanterns.   

How to make a Chinese Lantern

What you’ll need to make a Chinese Lantern

  • Toilet Roll

  • Scissors

  • Red Paint

  • Yellow or Gold Paint

  • Black or Gold Marker Pen

  • Yellow or Gold Floristry Ribbon
what you'll need for Chinese Lanterns


Method for making a Chinese Lantern

paint it redPaint your toilet roll red and put it aside to dry
Squash the toilet roll and cut a long thin strip from each side leaving a good cm untouched at the top and bottom cutting-the-lantern-holes
cutting the rest of the lantern holes Open your toilet roll and flatten again in a new place about 2 cm round from the first squish and cut another two strips along both sides. Repeat once or twice more until you have strips spaced around your toilet roll.
Now bend the toilet roll gently in half across the middle of the strips, open and push the toilet roll end to end to so the lantern shape pops out from the fold line. folding and squashing the lantern
Cutting the lantern handles Cut two thin strips from the end towards the centre (without cutting all the way through) and lift to form handles.
Cut a length of red, orange and yellow floristry ribbon and split them in half Creating the floristry ribbon candles
Cutting the Floristry Ribbon into Candle shapes Cut the ends of a half of each colour into a point matching a Candle flame
Split the remaining three halves in half again, curl with scissors and organise with the flame style floristry ribbon Floristry ribbon flame
Stapling the flame in the lantern Staple onto the lantern for a flame effect inside
Use Yellow / gold paint to accessorise your lantern Painting the decorations
Draw your decorations on Add Chinese symbols with a black or gold marker pen. (There are some simple symbols with happy greetings on the printable below)


Printable Chinese Symbols.

Chinese Symbols

A few alternatives you could try

  • Try yellow lanterns with red trim.

  • Add your lanterns onto a length of string or floristry ribbon to form lantern bunting

  • Hang your lanterns over fairy lights to create light up bunting.
  • Place on a saucer over a tea light for a table decoration (don’t add the pretend floristry ribbon flame for this option).

  • Add a little glue and glitter if required (or you could add this to the red paint when it is still wet.
A few extra ideas for the Chinese Lanterns


A Vlog tutorial on making a Chinese Lantern



Making a  Chinese Lantern in Activity Hour on the Farm


Making a chinese lantern for Chinese New Year at Coombe Mill Activity Hour

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year or feel it is important for children to be aware of such events?

Trash 2 Treasure

Happy New Year from the Farm

Posted on December 31st, 2016 -

Where did 2016 go? I feel this year has flown by so fast and my feet have hardly touched the ground. I’m planning to touch down and share some of my highlights from the year in the coming weeks when all the festivities are behind us and I have time to gather myself and think. For today I’d just like to share a few festive photos from the past week and wish everyone a Happy New Year.

The Coombe Mill Santa Express on Christmas Eve

Train with Guy on Xmas Eve

Christmas has been a whirlwind as ever here. We have been full with holiday guests which has been wonderful. We’ve had a magical time with our famous Santa train, Christmas farm activities and a whole host of fun entertainments, not to mention our own family Christmas.

Christmas Day Feed Run

Christmas day feed run by Tractor & Trailer

Family Beach trip on Christmas Day

Family beach walk on Christmas Day


We waved our Christmas guests off; cars loaded with happy memories and presents, and welcomed our New Year holiday makers. With plenty of farm fun to enjoy and quality time to spend outdoors exploring the local beaches, Christmas excess is soon worn off here. 

Jed at the end of another glorious day on the beach

Beach time


The wise put aside the diets for another week as we have plenty of opportunity to indulge again with our New Year’s Eve party here on the farm and some of the best local village pubs and seaside restaurants around.  

New Year’s Eve Party for all staying at Coombe Mill

Happy New Year Message from Coombe Mill at the New Year's Eve Party

Fireworks to end the Coombe Mill New Year’s Eve Party

Fireworks 💥 for our New Year guests tonight.

A video posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on


On a personal level I have been in my element with all my family around me for the festive period. Having my great nieces and nephews and my Mum has brought 4 generations here to the farm.  I never could have imagined when we bought the farm back in 2002 what a great investment it would be, not only for the delight of seeing our own children grow up enjoying an idyllic lifestyle, but also as a draw for future family generations too.  

A reflective moment heading back from the local pub to Coombe Mill

Clio and Jed in Sunset walking from St Breward


Happy New Year

Wherever you are I hope you have loved ones around to toast the New Year and plenty to look forward to in 2017.

Remember we are open all year round and hope to be part of your holiday plans. 

Fiona, Nick and the Children


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