Posted on January 13th, 2017 - Fiona
Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill
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 100 things to do before you are 11¾ along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
A bleak January week when outdoor time becomes ever more important.
Lets face it, mid January isn’t the most exciting time for outdoor fun, however our bodies and more importantly our kids bodies still need some fresh air and to run off some energy. It releases happy hormones and makes the January blues fade – I promise! I was hoping for some snow fun but that has eluded us as usual, however the kids have still got filthy in rugby matches, jumped on the trampoline and helped around the farm. Whether you have Christmas holiday posts to share or managed a few hours out this week, I hope you will join me 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.
- By joining in with Country Kids you’re giving me permission to email you weekly as a reminder.
- 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.
My top commenters from 7th January:
1st Karen from Two Tiny Hands with 25 comments
2nd Rachel from Coffee, Cake, Kids with 22 comments
3rd Louise from Little Hearts, Big Love with 20 comments
We have 3 guilty bloggers linking up again and not commenting on any posts (as of Thursday pm when counted). Come on you know who you are please go back to be fair to others.
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 January Rockfish Wellies:
Top Commenter : Karen from Two Tiny Hands
Keitha’s Chaos wrote about their annual trip to visit family in Canada which was filled with snow, friendly birds and wonderful memories.
Two Tiny Hands joined us here on the farm for the Christmas break, I really enjoyed reliving our Christmas experience from Karen’s perspective.
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.
Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.
Join the growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.
I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. With over 1000 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.
My favourite photos from the week came from @jos_pictures @sophiedowler @lateforrealityblog @mrs.chellebelle Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following.
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Posted on January 13th, 2017 - Fiona
Last week I promised to share the second part of Christmas Eve here at Coombe Mill. It feels a little odd in January to be reliving Christmas but I was so busy making events happen and enjoying the moment writing about it has been put back till now. The Santa Express has become a feature of Christmas Eve on the farm and something those returning to us for a second or third Christmas were really looking forward to. I know I had a lot to live up to after last year but I had an Ace up my sleeve.
The Santa Express with Poppy the Steam Engine
Poppy the steam train made a guest appearance. Watching Poppy be fired up was great fun for the children out the front of the tunnel while Father Christmas snuck into the back entrance!
I was a little worried some of our youngest guests may have been scared by the steam engine so we elected to keep Guy with a carriage on our electric Train with Poppy’s owner in charge of the other. They took it is in turn to draw up at the station, take the children round the line and into Santa’s Grotto.
Once inside some friendly elves were on hand to dish out Santa’s presents before the Santa Express chuffed onward returning to the station for its next passengers.
My biggest thanks to Amber’s family for the loan of Poppy and of course to Father Christmas for stopping by on such a busy evening!
A Christingle Service for Children
We didn’t have long after the excitement of the Santa Express before strapping into cars for a Christingle Convoy to the local village. It is a lovely service aimed at the children which finishes up in the street with guess who….. Father Christmas, who had miraculously hot footed it from our Santa Express to be ready and waiting outside Church to greet the children with more presents. A glass of warm mulled wine was on hand for the adults.
A Christmas Eve Party
Meanwhile back at Coombe Mill I had left Farmer Nick and my eldest heating food and popping corks in the games room ready for the Coombe Mill Party to begin on our return. It was the perfect way to round off a very busy day before little ones headed for home ready to put out the Santa and Reindeer treats we made earlier in the day.
I don’t think I left anyone with enough energy to keep their eyes open for long on Christmas Eve, myself included!
If you fancy joining us this Christmas, we are now taking bookings and running the popular 10 nights for the price of 7 again ( 17th to the 27th December).
Posted on January 9th, 2017 - Fiona
Here at Coombe Mill we a little fairy mad. Our extensive fairy gardens are full of trinkets, magic and wonder and provide a holiday fairyland of make believe that has visitors captivated. Things have a life of their own through the fairy door. Each day items move as if by magic, new fairy houses appear from twigs and nature while gnomes and mystical creatures find themselves discarded at the end of play; or was it the work of the fairies?
Stepping through the fairy door into our gardens is a great way to develop imaginative play, meeting others makes it a social space too and in no time team work is developing and creating a mystical adventure in there. I am always on the lookout for new things to add to the gardens and many of these come from things we make at activity hour here on the farm. We have even decorated our own fairy door tree.
I was only too pleased to further our farm crafts by trying out the’ paint your own fairy door’ from The Irish Fairy Door Company via Prezzybox. The fairy door comes beautifully packed and complete with all the crafting materials you need from stepping stones to paints and trinkets. However that’s not all, there is also a cute Fairy Lease Agreement, welcome guide packed with creative tips and even a little key to the door.
Take your time designing and decorating your door then decide where it should go. Perhaps it will be in a bedroom or playroom, may be fairies scamper along the hall in your house or even live in the garden as at Coombe Mill?
The fairies living with you may like to move house and chose a different location for their home each day? The possibilities are only limited by your child’s imagination.
We love the way this craft set inspires imagination and makes fairy craft a serious business. You can even register your resident fairy online and receive exclusive stories and ideas from fairy valley.
If you buy from Prezzybox before 31st of January you’ll benefit from their special 50% off rate of just £12.49 which we feel is excellent value.
Win your Paint your own Fairy door from Coombe Mill & Prezzybox
If you like the sound of bringing a little fairy to live behind your door, why not enter to win. Simply follow the instructions below.
Good luck to all taking part.
Paint Your Own Fairy Door
I was sent my paint your own Fairy Door for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Posted on January 8th, 2017 - Fiona
I’ve been catching upon reading blog posts this past week and feel I may be bringing up the rear in finally managing to gather my thoughts on the year passed and my goals ahead. I’m not big on New Year Resolutions, but setting out a few objectives with Farmer Nick is essential in planning for success in business.
2016, how did we measure up?
Looking at my post from a year ago, either we were soft on our goals, or we were super successful! The answer is probably a bit of both as I like the ‘feel good’ factor of achieving targets.
Refit the under 5’s Play Barn
There was drama and expense as Nick bought a super new soft play system for our shed, then insulated and raised the floor of the barn so the equipment didn’t fit! A rise in the walls and a new roof later and we had a new play barn we were proud of.
Install Cattle Grids
Watch out now on your drive to the lodges, there are two sets of bespoke cattle grids to cross with sheep grazing in between. These cattle grids have opened up our top fields for animals without the need for holiday guests to jump in and out of cars to open and shut gates.
New wood burners for Honeysuckle and Willow Cottages
Another project that sounded simple but in fact turned out to be anything but. We had damp on the outer wall of Willow cottage and thought the chimney was to blame, this was re-pointed and funky new woodburners added. However the damp turned out to be from the outside wall where the pointing had failed. A long month of hard work with a trowel and a bucket of concrete and Farmer Nick had everything sorted.
Begin building Polzeath Lodge
This was our big autumn project. If we raised enough money from 2016 summer bookings, the plan was to start building a new holiday lodge. We raised the funds and began work after October half term. By the Christmas holidays we met our objective of having the shell up and the building watertight.
A Few Extras
On top of these stated objectives we achieved a whole lot more that makes me wonder now how on earth we fitted it all in to one year:
|With every property now having it’s own washing machine and tumble drier, we turned the old laundry room into a boot room with wetsuits, wellies and farm overalls to borrow.
||A games room was created out of two former rental lodges. This has been really popular with older children and provided a great base for wet weather craft days for me as well as a perfect party room for our seasonal events.
|We introduced new deer to our herd from a city farm in Crystal Palace. ‘The Londoners’ as they have become known are very friendly and have been a joy on the morning feed run as they come so close for their cornflakes.
||Behind the scenes Nick has refurbished the Feed Run trailer and re-painted the ever popular train. Speaking of trains, thanks to Amber, our duty manager, we borrowed her family steam train “Poppy” for Christmas Eve giving our famous Santa Express ride real authenticity.
|The website moved from blog Engine to WordPress midyear. This involved a tremendous effort behind the scene, but as it largely went unnoticed to our users, I count this as a successful step. My main incentive to change was to increase the scope of the ever growing Coombe Mill Blog.
The Coombe Mill Blog
An Award Win
My highlight this year was winning Reader’s Choice in the BIBs awards. I had a wonderful time at Brit Mums Live catching up with blogging friends; to win an award too was just the best feeling. Planning for success certainly didn’t include this but it has been the best confidence boost for me.
A High Rank
Finishing the year ranked 12 in TOTS was another milestone for me. I dropped right out of the top 100 when I switched blogging platforms midyear and never imagined I could shoot back up. I would dearly love to be a helpful blogger and share how I did this, but the honest truth is I have no idea. I just do my thing and wait and see what number rolls round on my side bar each month.
I entered into the Odeon UK Blog Awards in December and have just found out I am a finalist in the Parenting category. Now I have a dilemma, do I go to the awards in London, on my triplets 13th birthday, or demonstrate good parenting and stay in Cornwall?
|My children are growing up too fast and I couldn’t be more proud of them. Alistair started Cardiff University this year studying Economics. Felix did well in his GCSE’s and has moved to ‘A level’ college. Theo is into his GCSE courses and has taken a shine to drama and the Triplets all brought home good reports in their first year at Secondary school. Family photos still elude me, but I do like this one from Christmas day on the beach. Excuse Guy and I in a separate photo, we were in the sea while the others walked to the headland.
Planning for success in 2017
As last year, I am not going to set myself targets that are too stretching and my only measured planning for success goals are business ones. That said, working at full tilt is my style and I’m sure there will be more achieved than I’ve set out here. For My Blog, if I manage anything close to what I achieved in 2016 I will be delighted. As for the children, if they try their best at school, respect one another and enjoy life that is all I ask.
Business Goals for 2017
The bird flu scare has had us bring all our birds into two old aviaries. These really aren’t ideal for long periods indoors so Nick has begun work on some serious animal shelters on the side of his work barn, ‘The Aircraft Hanger’ as I call it. They will have concrete floors that could be used for any animals that need to be brought indoors in time.
Planning for success is no walk in the park, but I hope to make our family business a little stronger again by the end of the year, keep my blog thriving and above all support my family at all times. I hope you can follow our journey and see a path to fulfilling your own dreams for the year ahead.
Posted on January 7th, 2017 - Fiona
We have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas on the farm. The atmosphere has been buzzing with excited children. I’ve so much to share of our adventures over the coming weeks. So far I’ve just covered our Christmas activity crafts and games but Two Tiny Hands has written a lovely overview of Christmas with us. We raced from Christmas into a busy New Year with more celebrations and some of the best winter weather you could hope for. Yet all too quickly the 3rd January arrived, the last holiday guests made an early getaway and I grabbed my camera after the school run to capture a little of the eerie quiet of a stunning frosty January morning as it unfolded around me.
Sun peeping over the valley beyond our now quiet holiday lodges.
With the temperature reading -6 this is the coldest morning of the winter so far. Even after the school run on this frosty January morning, the sun was only just climbing over the tree tops leaving the valley floor at Coombe Mill with a crystal clear blue haze of cold.
The Peahen merges into her frosty surroundings, one of the few birds not yet indoors from the bird flu scare, but she is too wise to fall for our catching tricks.
Down by one of the frozen lakes the first sunlight casts an orange glow across the ice.
However I opted not to sit and watch the patch of orange spread as the old lakeside bench was thick with frost in the shadows.
The goats were hanging around their hay feeder bleating for Farmer Nick to call.
Gloating the in distance were the donkeys chomping happily on their fresh supplies.
Returning home the third floor of our home was basking in sunlight, yet looks can be deceiving, warmth and the coffee machine were calling.
Have you enjoyed a Frosty January Morning this week?