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.
The lovely RedRoseMummy has tagged me in this meme which asks me to share with you my highs and lows of 2011. Do pop over and read her blog too and see her roller coaster of a year resulting in a fine blog!
2011 in a nutshell
2011 was a good one for me. It was the year I discovered twitter, created my blog and discovered and that I could combine work and pleasure with the two! Farmer Nick made some great changes on the farm, bookings were good and guests were happy which has inspired us to even greater plans for 2012. The children all moved on a stage and parenting by and large became easier.
2. What was the saddest thing to happen? I guess this is the saddest and the happiest all in one. We had a wonderful Christmas day all except 1 major mishap which cast a shadow we had to work hard to shrug off. We were so excited (or at least Daddy was) to show the children their fabulous new Quad bike, but sadly Jed managed to lose control, panic and stuff it into the wall throwing himself and Guy off within the 1st 20 minutes. Half the children hadn’t even had a turn at that stage! We were all shaken and sorry for the children but equally so relieved no one was hurt. The Quad is STILL at the garage being repaired at vast sums of money!
3. What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did? Farmer Nick buying a real cannon! Sent off for groceries and returned with an old war cannon! It did make a funny tail though and is going to be a huge hit in our new 2012 play area now being built. http://bit.ly/CannonDaddy
4. Who let you down? Well, no one yet, but I am waiting with anticipation for 1000 Farmer Nick’s Little Helpers Hats from October due to arrive next week!
5. Who supported you?
Farmer Nick is Husband and Daddy and my true support. We work together in our family business but our secret to making this successful is having our areas of specialization on the day to day chores. He would claim I can’t tell a sheep from a goat (harsh) and I get cross that he can’t tell a single sheet from a double one (true)! However on all big decisions we both rely on each other for support and guidance. This year I can also say my children have been a support. At age 7 to 13 they all now have jobs in the business which really make a difference. https://www.coombemill.com/family-team 6. Tell us something you learned.
As I ponder this at the computer, Felix wonders in (age 11) “what have I learned this year?” I ask him. His reply was about my blog, web site and how to make cool videos. To which I replied, “and what have I learn’t about you?” His answer to this stunned me a little “nothing, you are always on the computer and don’t do anything with us”. That on the back of the two of us going for a run together on Saturday, 2 evenings of family scrabble in the past 3 days, family meal times and an amazing treat of a family skiing adventure day yesterday! My take out from this is that it is impossible to get it all right all of the time with everyone, and that a Mum’s work is never complete. I have learnt to be happy with just doing my best. 7. Tell us one thing that made you laugh. This video of my Kids messing about in the car park while Daddy is trying to wash it down:
8. Tell us one thing that made you cry. Funnily enough I rarely cry at real life. I am too busy getting on with it. However I am terrible with books and films.
The one that stands out for me last year was The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I cried at the book and the film.
9. Tell us three things your child did to make you proud.
This is a tough one with 6 children, but here goes for my top 3
Felix moved up to Secondary school this year from our little 56 pupil village primary and has taken to it like a duck to water. He is happy, confident, found some lovely friends and totally independent organising his school work, bag and homework alone.
Theo started working in the business last year and has total responsibility for the rabbits. He has to lock them up and feed them each night and clean them out once a week. He has never once forgotten them and will even ring home when at a friend’s after dark to remind someone to see to them for him.
Jed finds academic work harder than the others and struggles to keep up in his year group at school. Despite this he is my most tenacious, persistent and driven child. When Jed wants to achieve something he does. It takes him longer and we often have tears and tantrums of frustration along the way, but he is no quitter. He works hard at succeeding and no parent can ask for more than that.
10. Tell us one thing that made you proud of yourself.
Oh this is it! I started the year with a vision for updating my web site and creating a blog. I am so proud of the way it has come together and love it to bits. The bright colours reflect the child orientated family business we run and a my personal style too. I managed to be a runner up in the http://www.lovedbyparents.com/awards/ for 2011 after just a few months of blogging which I am still delighted by.
11. Tell us one challenge you overcame.
12 months ago I didn’t know how to download a photo from my camera to my PC and my phone was so old that I couldn’t work out how to text on it! I have overcome some huge technical barriers in the last 12 months to update my web site and launch my blog. Admittadly I have had a huge amount of help on the web site from my web designer but am still proud that my objectives for the site are being met.
12. Is there anything you would like to change about your life in 2012.
I don’t want to sound smug or cheesy but I love my life. I fear more from loosing something I already have than striving for something new. If I can continue to build the business, impliment our exciting plans for the year with Nick and help our children as they take another step along the path to growing up, then it will be a perfect year for me.
So, who to tag? I am guessing this has been going a couple of weeks so appologies if you have had this one before and please pass on.
It can be difficult to find family time at a weekend for outdoor pursuits, especially when it is cold, the days are short and the kids are indifferent at the prospect. There we are, caring parents, putting some quality time aside for a lovely family walk; only to be met with a ‘grunt’ from the kids and continued TV focus! If we can get beyond the initial lethargy and go then we do find it worthwhile.
When outside their sense of adventure builds and the TV is soon forgotten. Fresh air, rosy cheeks and tired children from physical exercise is so satisfying.
Trekking up Rough Tor
Cornwall is famous for its rocky outcrops known as Tors and we are lucky enough to have some very close by on Bodmin Moor. 10 minutes in the car and we are there.
It looks so beautifully rugged and open with lovely sea views and quite a climb to the top. Nothing is purpose built for children but that is the appeal, just running around, racing each other to the top and building imaginary games from scratch is good for mind and body. With free car parking at the start it couldn’t be a cheaper day out at any time of the year!
Even Grandma (Yia Yia) enjoyed the fun and made it to the top to take a photo of us all!
Perhaps the very best part was the caves formed between the rocky outcrops. Just listening to the banter between the children as they climb in and out claiming each cave as their own makes me smile every time!
Please Join in
What have you been up to outdoors with the children? Please join up with your picture(s), grab the badge and help promote healthy outdoor play for kids all year round.
Kate is a mum of two tearaway toddlers who lives in Cheshire with her long suffering hubby. Kate is a holistic therapist and also a keen writer so I was delighted when she offered to write for my blog on the need for children to have family holidays:
Do you need a holiday?
New Years resolutions. It’s what a lot of us will be thinking about right now, but how many of you are resolving to have more holidays this year? Well, if there’s a queue then I’m most definitely joining it. In fact, I’ll be right there at the very front!
Do you realise that holidays are actually essential for our long term health and wellbeing? Yes, they’re not just the luxury that lots of us consider them to be. Our bodies need regular breaks to allow us to recuperate. If we’re overworked we’re more susceptible to illness because our immune systems become suppressed.
There’s also the issue of stress, which the majority of us suffer from probably far more often than we’d care to admit! Prolonged stress can have a disastrous effect on our bodies. We’re not designed to be in our ‘fight or flight’ mode long term and as far as I’m concerned this is the number one reason that regular breaks are absolutely essential.
I know all too well that trap that we fall into when it comes to taking time off. I’m a prolific offender! ‘There’s too much to do’, ‘We really should be catching up on jobs’, ‘The business won’t run itself’, ‘There’s no way we can afford to take time off’. But I’m also aware that if we carry on that way burnout will slap us hard in the face, much like our toddlers do when we try to put them in our bed to grab an extra half hours sleep in the morning!
So how can we not take that break? We need time off to spend recuperating and relaxing because without it we won’t be anywhere near as productive.
What about our children?
Children deserve holidays and they actually need them just as much as we do. Its absolutely essential for them to have a chance to break free from routine, time to race around outside, explore new places and just spend time playing. Children learn just as much outside of the classroom as they do inside it. They need freedom and unplanned activities just as much as they need routine and structure.
Most importantly, they need to learn that life isn’t all about work. I don’t want my children growing up thinking that it is. However, I am well aware that if we carry on the way we’re going then that is exactly what we’ll be teaching them!
So, I’m going to take a leaf out of my parent’s book.
Learning from my childhood holidays
When I was a child we took the majority of our holidays in North Wales. Occasionally we spent a holiday down south but the majority were in exactly the same place. My parents owned a touring caravan which we always spent our entire summer in, plus most of our other school holidays. While I loved the time we spent there I have to admit that growing up I was insanely jealous of my friends who got to travel abroad on their holidays. I brooded while it thundered and lightened outside, even snowed (yes, in June!) and I imagined that they were all having a great time sunning themselves on the beach, splashing around in a swimming pool and eating out with their families every night while we were stuck in the caravan playing snap!
Don’t get me wrong, Wales did have some sunshine too and we enjoyed many days riding the waves in our dinghy, but it is very easy to believe that the grass is greener, especially when you’re young. The family holidays we had abroad when we older were great too but it’s only now that I’ve begun to appreciate how truly blessed I was and what was really important.
I now realise that my parents were very wise in knowing that it was much better for us to spend ten whole weeks a year together rather than one week abroad like my friends. The point is, it really didn’t matter where we went. We got to go on holiday and spend lot of good quality family time together. Cliched, I know. But very very true!
We had loads of holidays. No one worked, no one had their phone permanently attached to their hand (not that they really existed back then but that’s not the point!) no one was doing housework or running errands for family and friends. We simply spent time together either on the beach, walking, eating, sitting, playing. In addition, we got to make lots of friends, the place was familiar which gave us more freedom than we would have had otherwise and there was plenty to keep us occupied.
Holidays, the bit that money just can’t buy….
Holidaying is something my hubby and I have thought about and talked a lot about lately. We’d love to take our toddlers to all the corners of the world. There’s loads for the little ones to learn from travelling but rather than worry about where we go, we know what’s really important is that we have holidays together. A proper break where we take time away from work, the business, the housework and that never-ending list of DIY! We know that our children are growing up so fast that if we don’t stop and take some time out together we’ll miss it.
We’ve had very few holidays since our children were born but the ones we have had they’ve enjoyed enormously. We haven’t even had to do anything special because they never tire of spending time outdoors. They don’t care whether it’s beaming sunshine or it chucking down rain. And the real beauty of it is, that they’re intrigued by the simplest of things, leaves, trees, insects and even just water! I’m well aware that will change when they’re 12 and 13 instead of 2 and 3 but for now we’ll just make the most of it. The time outside does us all good, the exercise, the fresh air and the daylight all helps us feel much better and the amount they learn is astonishing! It really is true that education happens anywhere.
We know it’s far too easy to be dragged away from family time at home, when we’re ‘off’ work we’re never really away from it. The phones are always on and it’s easy just to take a second to check emails, which always ends up taking far longer than a second! So we’re making holidays a priority this year, we’re going to make lots of time for them, and for us too.
We want our children to have similar memories of their family holidays that we do, including spending lots of time with extended family, and friends who tagged along on occasion too. For them to have memories of family holidays to reminisce over months and even years after. And we’ll be ecstatic if they grow up wanting to recreate their experiences for their own children.
More about Kate
If you would like to find out more about Kate she is a keen twitter girl _katie_bailey
I am so grateful to Kate for sharing her holiday memories and aspirations here. She gives a poignant message about family time that I support wholeheartedly. Hopefully I will meet Kate and her family holidaying with us at Coombe Mill this year!
Family time is special and Christmas a perfect opportunity to share quality time together. Enter our competition to bring the whole family for a great Cornish get together here at Coombe Mill in 2012. Enjoy an amazing 10 night holiday for upto 7 people in one of our beautiful family properties.
With 30 acres of farmland, meadows, woodland and gardens to explore, daily tractor rides with Farmer’s Nick and Ted to help feed and care for the animals, play areas, fishing and more there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.
It has become a tradition for those staying with us over Christmas to have a big bonfire party after Christmas day. With all the wrapping paper overflowing the recycling points it is the only way and makes a great afternoon of entertainment for the older (school age) children here too. All supervised by Farmer Nick, the times are communicated on the morning feed run and all interested children gather in the car park for a spot of camp fire building.
An unusual Journey
It is never conventional here! All the Christmas paper had been collected in the stock trailer and Farmer Nick just closing the back when the children asked to travel in the back with the paper! The excitement at this prospect was quite unbelievable, so pile in they did. The short journey down our woodland path was accompanies by much laughing, shouting and pretend animal noises as little smiling facing peeped out at the top. It never ceases to amaze me how the simple things in life are so special to children.
Christmas 2011 Up in a Puff
Once there everyone was inspired, piling up the bonfire pit with all the old paper. The children stayed playing on the farm and revisiting the fire for hours challenging one another to poke a new lease of life into the cinders with sticks and twigs. The boys especially were in their element, mine showing off their scouting skills for fire lighting to anyone who would listen!
From the commotion on the video you can sense the children’s excitement
Caught on Camera
I think all these children will have some tails to tell when they go back to school!
Reflecting on 2011
Here on the farm as we say good bye to 2011 I can honestly say it has been as busy as ever. For the Properties Old Mill underwent upgrades and transformed into Water Mill with a wonderful fusion of 16th Century Mill and modern decor and new lighting, heating and internal layout. https://www.coombemill.com/cottages/water-mill Towards the end of the year we have begun work on Trevarno lodge which I am very excited about as with each build we add that something extra to help make staying with us special.
Our web site re-design, and the launch of this blog have been something I have enjoyed immensely, even though Farmer Nick now calls me “Tweetface” whenever I sit at the PC!
On the farm we saw the introduction of the Alpaca, Peacocks and Wallabies all of whom have added intrigue to our morning Feed Runs, not to mention the regular delights of the spring piglets, and lambs. The Orphan lamb Domino, being raised by hand, became a huge hit with all the children who took it in turns to feed her bottle each day.
Any year is a success to me if I still have 6 healthy children at the end of it. The farm is such a lovely place for them to grow up, but living here they have so much freedom and try out one or two daft ideas (playing Dare with the Ram just one I recall) that I am always grateful to see them happily into a new year! This year I have noticed their help too, not just as play mates for our guests but in really helping out. If you’ve stayed with us then you may have noticed them stripping beds on a changeover, helping Dad on the farm or bringing round a requested highchair. All to be encouraged! https://www.coombemill.com/family-team
Our Plans for 2012
Next year will be all go once again. The builders are back on site from January 3rd to continue with Trevarno, the new land we purchased needs transforming from mud soup to lawn and new play area. Who knows what is up farmer Nick’s sleeve with the animals, but I bet there will be a new arrival on the farm before the year is out! I know Farmer Nick is working towards a very special addition for Coombe Mill that the children will adore; as always it’s not plain sailing so keep following our news and all will be revealed.
I hope you have enjoyed a fun Christmas holiday too and what ever your take on 2011
“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.