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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I have posted many a times about fun family beach days; however as the childhood years slip away, the excitement of a beach trip with mum wanes. That’s OK; it is a natural part of growing up. I have two, soon to be three kids independent and driving, can I even call them kids now? Behind them are three, full of attitude, fifteen year old’s. Expecting them all to say “yes please Mum” when I suggest going to the beach is a big ask and I respect this. That said if just one teen fancies joining me then I’m thrilled. I’ve learnt to take this as a positive and not to dwell on the ones who, for whatever reason, would rather do something else without me.
When I was faced with three of my kids and one girlfriend joining me on a sunny Sunday afternoon I thought I’d just won Mum of the year!
The beach brings out the child in us all
We rocked up in a mix of the eldest’s car and my soft top. The sun was shining, spirits were high and spotting the advance party the kids all bonded over a game of beach rugby.
Ice cream treats
They were soon hot and bothered and asking if I’d brought a drink. It was a spontaneous thing and I hadn’t brought anything so I treated them to money to spend at the ice cream van. This was something I never allowed when they were young. With 6 children to pay for I always brought a picnic and the highlight was stopping for a multipack of ice creams at Tesco on the way home. In fact we fondly reminisced about the excitement this brought.
Water sports you never grow out of
Revived the kids headed for the sea, one in my wetsuit having refused to bring his own claiming he wouldn’t go in the water anyway!
While the kids swam I sunbathed in the sheltered rocks and enjoyed a spot of people watching. Usually I’d be in the water with them, but I had just given my wetsuit away and in any case I was rather enjoying just sitting in the sun and watching them, something I never do.
Two cars gave us flexibility on the way back, most headed off with the eldest, but Jed accompanied me on a coastal hike round to the headland. It is such a pretty stretch of coastpath. The chance for some one on one time is a big bonus.
Everyone enjoyed the few hours off and we rounded the day off with a garden BBQ with the rest of the family. I am thrilled that teen time out with Mum still has its place.
Tips for coaxing teens to join in a beach trip.
Have siblings, friends or partners too
Give them independence, not everything has to be together when you are there. We often travel in 2 cars for added flexibility.
Don’t expect them to be too grown up, mine still arrive and complain they are thirsty or hungry expecting me to have packed something
Do treat them, nothing big, just a sign you are pleased they came along. An ice cream on the beach was all it took with mine.
Don’t expect to be introduced to friends they see there. Mine only told me afterwards about others from school they saw and teachers, and that’s fine. I know my place as an embarrassing parent!
Remind them about sun cream and hats but don’t nag them, eventually they will learn the hard way.
Do have a laugh and a joke with them. This is usually this is at my expense, but I don’t mind that at all. This time I had my shorts borrowed, my wetsuit borrowed and my changing robe borrowed. I had just my bikini left to call my own to great amusement by them all!
Do keep it casual and don’t appear to watch over them, which of course you will do, after all you will always be Mum however old they get!
Try an evening beach trip with a campfire and swim as an alternative. We love to do this on warm summer evenings.
Appreciate the time together and tell them so after.
If you don’t have a local beach, there are plenty of other casual family days out that you may have loved when the kids were younger which would actually work well with a little adjustment as they get older. Woodland walks and Wetland centers spring to mind but I’m sure there are lots more places too.
Here at Coombe Mill we love to work with nature. Our activity hour in high season is usually based around nature crafts and building on educational topics in the great outdoors. Lonely Planet Kids have come out with a wonderful book packed with all the wild things we love to create here and lots more ideas too. It is a great resource with over 100 wild activities kids of all ages will enjoy. Read on to discover more and for your chance to win a copy.
More about Wild Things
This beautiful glossy book is wonderfully illustrated and packed with ideas that can be created just as suggested or embellished. From fairies to monsters, day time to night time, there is a way to make nature and fantasy come alive for everyone combining nature with everyday household bits and bobs and a good dose of imagination.
We know just how much children love to make pretty wands, crowns and equally how brewing up a good potion in a cauldron appeals to others. Have you tried writing with wild ink and stick pens? All these things and more we love here at Coombe Mill and how to do them is covered in this inspiring book.
What we love
Promotes a love of the outdoors
Gets kids excited about nature
Unleashes kids inner creativity and imagination
Beautifully written and illustrated
Activities are uncomplicated and fun to create or embellish
A great resource to come back to time and time again
The year continues with so much happening here, I can’t wait to fill you in on the exciting news from the month and share some of the events coming up for June I think you’ll enjoy. Have a scan through, there’s sure to be something to catch your eye.
Booking with us
We have very few summer holiday spaces left now, but if you can come week commencing 17th or 24th August you could still be lucky. Outside of this June, early July and September still has some availability and some cracking prices, so pop on over to check them out if these weeks or short breaks work for you.
Our Den building zone was created around 5 years ago. It has been greatly enjoyed by the children here who have rebuilt and created in there week after week. However the large structural branches had begun to rot out and break and the whole area needed a rethink.
Spare branches are not hard to come by here and farmer Nick gathered a whole new set which we used during an exciting Activity hour to recreate the den building area on the site of the old bug hotel. The bugs never used their purpose built space, preferring to house themselves under the fairies toadstools! The space was perfect for a fire pit and den building zone. We enjoyed a happy afternoon building the first camp there and making garlic bread from wild garlic along the river bank on the fire pit. It is now ready for children to enjoy and redesign to their hearts content.
Over the other end of the farm, the zip wire wooden cross beams suffered a structural split. This has always been popular with the children and Farmer Nick wasted no time in ordering up new wood to rebuild this. It took a little help from our older kids to help him lift everything into place, but it is now up and running again. Now everyone can enjoy a safe ride with the added feature of a non slip starting platform.
I had the pleasure of being the first to test ride it and ensure it the wire was correctly tightened for the perfect ride.
On the Farm
This month has been all about new arrivals with nature’s usual tale of winners and losers.
Last month I mentioned we had been keeping the chickens indoors as Toulouse the goose was incubating her eggs in their outdoor field shelter. Sadly it turned out all the eggs were in fact infertile. The chickens are now enjoying free ranging for the summer and Farmer Nick is looking for a new Gander for Toulouse.
Christmas the Turkey on the other hand hatched 2 live chicks from her clutch of eggs. Despite placing Christmas and her chicks in a lovely safe indoor house with plenty of bedding, food and water she lost both chicks in the first week leaving us stumped as to the cause. Our little day old Lavender Pekin chicks on the other hand are all thriving to the delight of the guests.
Scruffy has babies
I was feeling quite sorry for Scruffy the guinea pig towards the end of her pregnancy, she was looking twice her normal width and I knew she was carrying a few. Turns out we have 3 little mini me’s running round the guinea pig house. Unlike rabbits they are born looking perfectly formed with eyes open and fur. Scruffy has her work cut out now keeping the inquisitive little ones under control. Scruffy and babies.
What no antlers!
Out in the deer field Rudolph has shed his antlers for summer. We went on a hunt and found the first. The following day he did a hop skip and a jump right in front of us on the morning animal feed run and dropped the second. That was a once in a lifetime sight we’ll possibly never witness again.
Remember I said we had a full house of boy piglets again this year? Well it turns out that was just a case of trying to sex them too young. In fact they are fairly evenly split. In an attempt to wean the boys and separate them from mum, Nick thought they might enjoy some of the beautiful May sunshine in the “Sin bin” field. The piglets were in heaven, but they were churning the field into a soup before our eyes therefore their time there had to be limited. Chasing them back in to the pig sty on concrete was amusing to watch! They are now looking to be re-homed so that Sally and the girls have more space for the summer. Anyone want a piglet?
That brings us up to date with events on the farm this month. We are looking forward to the arrival of fawns in June and enjoying the lovely long evenings which are perfect for BBQs, watching the kids out playing and sipping wine in the beautiful gardens here. There are also some great family Cornish events June 2019 locally we think you might like. Which will be your favourite?
What’s on Guide Cornish Events June 2019
Events June 2019
Find out more
Distance from Coombe Mill
Music by the River with Silver band,food, drink and kids activities
If you are struggling for the perfect father’s Day gift this year, we may just have the most innovative, fun filled answer for any adrenaline loving risk taking Dad out there who is game for a laugh. Lightning Reaction Reloaded from Prezzybox is a game quite unlike any other. It is all about fast reaction time and watch out if you are slowest to respond as you’ll receive an electric shock so everyone knows just who was caught out. Definitely a game for adults and older kids, but don’t worry, the electric shock is adjustable so you can make it as shocking or not as you choose.
If you fancy giving the Dad in your house a shock this Father’s Day and creating some family entertainment time that will give you all a laugh and keep the kids happily off the screens for a while then read on to discover more about Lightning Reaction Reloaded and how you can win yourself a game.
More about Lightning Reaction Reloaded
The game is can be played with two, three or four players. It needs loading with 3*AAA batteries then each player takes a handset. Press the start button and the sound begins. When the sound stops the light goes from red to green indicating it is time to press the handset trigger. Be the last to react and you are in for the shock. Press too soon and the same will happen!
Lightning Reaction Reloaded is recommended for age 14 plus due to the electric shock effect. However we have played it responsibly on a low setting with adult supervision with our children from age 10 and they love it. That said the game is unsuitable for anyone using a pacemaker, suffering epilepsy or heart conditions and it is not advised for pregnant women.
What we love
It is a great party game
Tests reaction speed
The level of shock can be turned up or down
Great fun for teens and adults
Easy to set up and play
See how much fun it can be in our short video clip:
For our final week of Easter Holiday activities I decided on a giant Den Building mission and a campfire bringing the children back to basics with some wild garlic cooking. It was an ambitious undertaking with a large group, however with so many older children so keen to take part it felt like the right activity.
It’s all in the preparation
As always with my activity sessions, preparation is everything. Farmer Nick had been talking about moving the Den building zone for some time and this prompted the activity. The old zone had been standing for many years and the branches were becoming so dry and brittle they were beginning to snap. Since we were talking about re stocking with new trees and branches we also agreed on a new location which I knew would be popular with the children.
The Bug hotel next to the fairy garden was a bit of a white elephant. The bugs never inhabited, preferring instead the giant toadstool seats of the fairy garden to hide under. Nick took it all down and spent a morning anchoring supports for a new Den building area in its place. He then chopped a load of branches and placed them all outside ready for me to use with the children. Felix, who was home from university, set up a lovely stone fire pit and seating for me and I prepared some cheesy bread mix. It all looked so natural I was delighted.
Excited den building kids
The children all came home from their days out super excited by the den building task ahead. Everyone had been eyeing up the growing mound of branches and couldn’t wait to see where they were going to take them. One by one the children dragged the branches to Felix at the Den building zone who took them from the children and agreed with them where each would go.
In no time at all the den was forming and Felix was struggling to keep pace with the arriving branches
We were racing against the rain too and keen to get a good canopy over our den. It all worked a treat and easily housed all the children.
Felix explained to the children how to start a good campfire with dry wood and firelighters. He showed the purpose of the stone surround and let them help develop the fire once it was lit.
There is nothing quite like a campfire to excite children and they all crowded round adding firewood.
Cooking with wild garlic
Wild garlic is one of my favourite foraged herbs in spring and we have plenty on the farm. The children collected and chopped the wild garlic, then mixed it into a chunk of cheesy bread dough. Finally they wrapped it round a stick.
By the time the kids had prepared their garlic bread onto the sticks the fire was ready to cook on. The smell was wonderful and I wish I had a chance to toast one for myself!
I love how the children were drawn back into the den to enjoy their garlic bread.
A pack of marshmallows finished off the session. After all who can resist toasting one of these on a campfire?
It was such a busy afternoon but one the kids all adored. Each took home some happy memories of fun on the farm with Farmer Nick and wild den building and campfire cooking with me.
“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.