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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Clio told me back in February, as we wandered around the lake, that the bright yellow flowers on our gorse bush were edible. I’ve been thinking about how to use them ever since. Then I saw a lovely post from Annette at Four Acorns who used them to make ice cream and I knew I had to try something. Ice cream sounded delicious but would take too long to set on an afternoon with the children here so I decided to bake wild gorse flower cakes with them instead. I tested a batch out on my own children first, and then happy that they were going to be popular with the holiday guests, I formed our afternoon activities around this idea.
We began with a walk over to the lakes where I knew there were a few bushes for us to raid. It was May and the flowers were nearly over. It was tricky to pick the flowers without getting prickled so the older children and grownups were in charge while the younger ones played on the lakeside play equipment.
Back at the craft table with hands and gorse flowers washed the children helped me add all the ingredients into a big mixing bowl.
We divided the mixture into little cake tins and placed them in the oven.
While the cakes were cooking, the children created a little recipe cards. These had the cooking instructions and a few pressed gorse flowers.
I think they could have been colouring away for hours if they hadn’t spotted me bringing out the trays of perfectly risen wild gorse flower cakes. I placed a plate of cooled cakes on the picnic rug and colouring pens went down as everyone tasted their baking.
I think its fair today they went down a treat. Foraging for edible flowers is a great way to encourage children on a country walk. Remember to take a container to bring your flowers home. Here is the recipe if you fancy giving it a go.
Recipe for Wild Gorse Flower Cakes
All the fun of our foraging and baking afternoon on video
If you have a budding designer in your family then it is a trait to be encouraged. Kids are naturally inquisitive, curious and learn through experimentation and creation. Anything that fuels this behaviour will aid their development. Phaidon have come out with a comprehensive new book containing 24 great DIY projects thought up by designers especially for kids. Turn plastic bottles into model people or buckets into drum sets. Create puppets lampshades and even character footwear from everyday household items. Read on to discover more about “Now Make This” and be in with a chance of winning your own copy.
Now Make This and Coombe Mill
Here on the farm we like to get creative with the children staying for activity hour. Using nature and throw away items, we create treasures for the fairy gardens and holiday keepsakes for the children. I know just how much pleasure the children here have doing this and what a great learning journey it is too.
With this in mind I couldn’t wait to see the wonderful ideas real designers would come up with in the book. Every idea has step by step instructions, illustrations to guide you and a list at the start of what you’ll need. We loved creating the painted window in the Coombe Mill Games room and are going to compare nature with science putting the paper copters to the test against the falling sycamore helicopter seeds in the autumn. As plastic waste is right up there in the news right now, talking about this with children whilst building a plastic man seems a great way to learn about conservation and recycling.
Need to know
Hardback 120 pages
270 x 205mm
Paidon.com, Wordery.com, Blackwel’s.co.uk
Win your copy of Now Make this with Phaidon and Coombe Mill
For your chance to get creative and see science in motion with these great designs just enter below to win your copy of the book.
Back in the New Year I made a commitment to create a new trail in the orchard. Farmer Nick had carved out a pathway so he could mow, but I instantly saw the potential for a new farm trail. I painted some kindness plaques and lay them along the slopes. We used the newly forming trail as part of our Easter Activity hour creating a wishing tree too. However as I showed it to friends in May, I discovered the plaques had been buried in spring growth. Farmer Nick came to the rescue. He screwed the plaques to some old balcony batons and hammered them into the ground. To these I added my painted wishing well under the apple blossom of the Wishing tree.
I’m thrilled with my newly named kindness trail and hope to add to it over the summer. For now it is a beautiful space to explore. Guests can wander through at leisure discovering the motivational messages on the plaques and add a wish to the wishing tree. With no traffic noise, just the distant sound of the river and nature going about its business, it is a peaceful setting to reflect, feel grateful and dare to hope for the future.
Wishing tree and wishing well.
Kindness plaque and wishing tags on the Wishing tree.
Kindness plaque standing proud on a banister in the ground.
Coombe Mill Lodges located in front of the trail.
Wood chip paths for ease of walking the kindness trail to the wishing tree
Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:
“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”
Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the National Trust #50 things along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
Galloping towards mid summer
Where did half term go? Blink and it is all over! We have been away in Greece while our older boys and Amber have been running the farm. Now we are back in the saddle and on the home straight with GCSE’s and A levels under way and the summer season in full force here on the farm. I’m sure I’ll share our holiday adventures in Athens over the coming weeks, but for now I’m sticking with my horse riding theme and a day at the races from earlier in May. Whatever your plans for the week ahead I hope it includes some outdoor fun and as always please come and join me with your adventures on the link up below.
Guidelines for Joining in:
Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
Please comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
Linked posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.
Thanks to all of you who joined in last week and for the comments you took time to leave, we had a week with no link dumpers so a pat on the back to you all!
Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids
Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly
I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.
Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here, will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!
For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.
Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the June Rockfish Wellies:
Top commenter: Jo from Where Jo Goes
The Little Pip went foraging along the North Cornwall Coast and cooking with the results. This is close to us and I want to try too.
Flip Flops or Wellies visited the Big Sheep for the day. This is somewhere I’d love to have taken mine when they were young as it looks great fun.
Country Kids Communities
I’d love you to join me:
Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too.
On a lovely sunny day in May what could be better than a little fun and a flutter on the horses? We are not big gamblers but love the atmosphere, a good deal of family banter and the outside hope of possibly coming home up on the day with some winnings. It was with Ally, Theo and Guy that we set off for the May Point to Point at St Columb Major about 30 minutes from Coombe Mill.
The location was perfect, set high up with a great view from the fields around the course. We ended up parking in the centre of the racecourse giving us the option of watching from the boot of the car or up on the grassy hill. The first job was to try and glean a little information by purchasing a race card.
A day out with teenage boys means food before they can think about anything else so we delved into our picnic. It was a rather unsophisticated affair compared to the family next to us with their picnic basket and champagne – next time!
Refuelled, and not much wiser from studying the race card, we trekked up across the course to the parade ring where the boys had me laughing so much with their banterful exchanges on why each horse should win.
Decisions made we placed our bets with the bookies, a grand £1 on the nose from the boys and £5 from Nick for us. I did say we weren’t big gamblers! It is all about the fun of the day. Watching the boys with Nick always makes me smile. Theo towers over his Dad and Ally is much stronger, however they have a lovely relationship that is great to watch.
We settled down to watch the race each with our hopes pinned on a horse. Everyone there had a great view and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
In total we stayed for 5 races moving between the parade ring, the hillside and the boot of the car. I haven’t laughed so much in ages as we each bigged up our horses to win, but actually lost on every race. Thank goodness we really aren’t big gamblers!
If you are down with us it is worth looking into the local point to point races. They are very family friendly and a great day out. I may have teens now but mine have enjoyed the races with us since a young age. I couldn’t help but capture these girls who were having a wonderful time between races rolling down the hill.
Facilities at May Point to Point at St Columb Major
Entrance fee £10. Under 16’s are free.
Hog Roast baps and cake stall
Ice cream van
Indoor shed for wet weather
Potaloos – basic but functional!
Top Tips for Point to point local country races
Wear wellies or boots especially if it is damp
Be careful where you park if the ground is damp, especially without a 4 wheel drive car, there was no problem when we visited.
Bring a picnic rug to sit on (we forgot)
It is a perfect picnic opportunity but take your wrappings home as animals graze the fields.
Never bet more than you are happy to lose!
Take layers, even on a sunny day the wind up on the racecourse fields can catch you out.
Funnily enough I’ve just finished reading a book that takes racing to it’s highest level. It’s a great read if you have any interest in the sport, horses in general, or love a good fiction book with some real twists in the story. It’s called Citizen by Charlie Brooks
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Emma and our 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.