Picnics, a favourite with the kids

Posted on September 9th, 2011 -

What makes the humble picnic so special?

Picnic time

 Picnics remind me of my own childhood, of freedom, fun, friends, happy times and play. I suppose this is why I am such a fan. They are a break from the routine, a chance to chill out without the formality of meals at home or at a restaurant and therefore always popular with small children. The sitting still etiquette can be wavered at a picnic introducing a fun element. My children always end up eating twice as much as they would round the table at home.


All the fun and excitement and you save a fortune compared to eating out too! No stressing over whether they like cafe/restaurant food, whether it is good for them, whether or not to let them have the fizzy drinks, and worrying that they don’t like it after you have paid and waited to be served. All the content of the picnic and the time of when you eat it can be exactly as you choose. Now I think about it that has huge advantages!


When and where to Picnic

We are huge picnic fans and take every opportunity. We have even been known to carry a picnic to the play area or front lawn at Coombe Mill and indeed I have seen many of our guests do the same. The If you are not staying with us then a picnic in the garden with a sun tent or in the local park can be a great half day activity. The beach is another favourite for us, all that running around building sandcastles and paddling and the kids are always ready to eat an hour earlier than usual! A quick hand rinse in a rock pool and they are ready to tuck in! Any day trip is worthy of a picnic, in Cornwall we have so many family attractions which make a great day out and every time the picnic wins for us. Having 8 in our family makes finance a big factor but for all the convenience and fun factors already mentioned I think we would choose a picnic anyway!

Picnic in the GardenPicnic in the Garden

Picnic on the beachPicnics away with friends

What to pack for a picnic

I always vary my picnics to keep it interesting but have a few golden rules:

Never pack chocolate in the summer or anything else you are worried about going off or melting

Make more sandwiches / rolls than you would at home, kids will eat more outdoors!

Pasties, sausage rolls or toasted sandwiches wrapped in foil are good alternatives to sandwiches for a change

Use the picnic as an excuse to have some of the treats you don’t always allow at home (crisps are a winner with mine, they are a real treat food normally and they don’t melt or go off)

Bought little cakes or biscuits are popular with us as I always bake my own at home

Dried fruit like raisins and apricots or carrot batons travel better than fresh fruit

Pack plenty of drinks, water or squash but they will drink more on a picnic too.

On colder days a flask of hot chocolate goes down well


For a real last minute picnic simply drop into your local supermarket and buy everything en route, no hastle at all, all the fun and still much less money than eating out!

A few extra tips from experience

  • Always know where the nearest toilets are to your picnic spot – kids always eat then need the loo!
  • Wet wipes for sticky fingers
  • Use disposable containers – I recycle ice cream tubs – then you can throw it all away afterwards
  • Don’t stress about making and packing the picnic, simple and quick is fine or it becomes a chore
  • Remember the picnic rug or blanket
  • Chill and enjoy your family time

Picnic fun

I first wrote this blog for multiplemummy Kerry. She has 3 lovely youngsters and is keen on the benefits of picnics. You can see her blog and my original post here http://multiplemummy.com/blog/picnics-a-favourite-with-the-kids/

Silent Sunday

Posted on August 21st, 2011 -

Guest Blog: Top 10 family daytrips from Coombe Mill Farm

Posted on August 20th, 2011 -

My first guest blogger writing for the Coombe Mill site is Georgina from Gem Writing. She is a freelance copywriter specialising in marketing for small businesses and lover of North Cornwall so I was delighted when she offered to share her favoutite days out with us.  I have added our pictures to Georgina’s copy as we agree with her selection and have been to many of these treasures too……..

Here’s what she says:

 Coombe Mill Farm is an idyllic base to explore North Cornwall. And with wild Atlantic coastlines, sandy surfing beaches and pretty coastal villages alongside major tourist attractions there’s plenty to please all the family.
With so much on offer here’s a list of ten must-do activities to take the pain out of planning.
1.     Sunbathe and sandcastles at POLZEATH BEACH.
Surf’s Up Surf School where all 6 of mine go
Polzeath beach
At low tide this surfer’s paradise offers up masses of golden sand. Polzeath is also great for sunbathing and sandcastles making it perfect for families as well as the surfing dudes. Polzeath explodes in the summer when the beach, shops and cafés become a hive of activity. For surfy things check out Surf’s Up Surf School, and if you want some adrenaline pumping action try Cornish Rock Tors. Alternatively for a scenic coastal walk take the buggy friendly route to Daymer Bay or the more challenging trek to Pentire Point and beyond. 
1.     Lookout for dolphins on the Jubilee Queen at PADSTOW.
You can arrive at this picturesque working fishing port via the Camel Trail or the Padstow Rock Ferry. Stroll around the harbour and browse the plethora of interesting shops and places to eat. For lunch you can takeaway Rick Steins Fish and Chips or a Cornish pasty. And if you want to get on the water, a cruise on the Jubilee Queen is a great family treat (if you get really lucky you could spot dolphins). 
2.     Cycle the CAMEL TRAIL.
Join this popular cycle path at Padstow, Wadebridge or Bodmin and follow the easy going trail as it winds along the beautiful Camel Estuary. It’s suitable for most ages and abilities. And if you don’t have your own bikes, you can hire every variety imaginable. Even younger children can join in on tag-alongs, and buggies mean babies in car seats can enjoy the ride. Try Bridge Bike Hire.  

The last stretch of the trail arriving at Padstow
3.     Hunt out old fishing communities at PORT QUINN, PORT ISSAC & BOSCASTLE.
You could do these in a day, but children may prefer to explore the pick of North Cornwall’s villages at a slower pace.
Take a picnic to the tranquil rocky cove at Port Quinn. At low tide kids will love exploring the exposed nooks, crannies and caves. And if the sea is calm, the cove is safe for a paddle or a dip.
The busy village of Port Issac of Doc Martin fame has pretty whitewashed cottages and narrow streets and alleyways to wander through. Explore the working harbour, browse the gift shops and catch a view of the fishing boats from a dainty café.  
Further north is Boscastle. Its recent floods are documented in the child friendly visitor centre located near to the medieval harbour. Other attractions include the Museum of Witchcraft
4.     Let their imaginations run wild at TINTAGEL
Legend tells that Tintagel is the birthplace of King Arthur. It’s still home to the ruins of his castle as well as Merlin’s cave. Pack some hardy shoes and climb the winding cliff path to the castle ruins to enjoy stretching views of the rugged Cornish coastline. Buggies aren’t allowed so this adventure may be difficult for very young children. Other attractions include the Old Post Office along with interesting souvenir shops and various eateries. And when you want a rest The Cornishman Inn has a spacious play area and will keep children occupied while you relax with your drink.
5.     Enjoy the atmosphere at NEWQUAY.
Fistral Beach is the main attraction with its fantastic surf – but away from the surfing scene this laid back town has something for everyone. There’s a youthful vibe and crowds flock for the thriving nightlife and array of water activities. Alongside there are plenty of attractions to keep the family entertained including Newquay Zoo and Blue Reef Aquarium. And nearby Watergate Bay is an idyllic expanse of sand so perfect for picnics and sandcastles
6.     Have fun together at CORNWALL’S CREALY.
If your kids are crazy for a theme park, Cornwall’s Crealy is your nearest choice. With drop slides and mazes in the large indoor play areas this attraction offers all weather fun. The outdoor “Big Six” rides include some get wet ones so if it’s chilly consider packing cagoules! What’s more your tickets give entry for seven days, and if you visit in peak season there may be a children’s character appearance.
The new ride at Crealy for 2011
7.     Experience other climates at THE EDEN PROJECT.
Where else in the world could you experience a taste of the tropics and the Mediterranean in one place? The Eden Project’s iconic biomes and inspirational vision make this unique garden a holiday essential! There is something to inspire everyone from horticultural delights to delicious food, some of which is grown on site. In school holidays the Eden team put on some brilliant activities to inspire and entertain your children so check out their website for the latest offering.
8.     Watch the cows being milked at DAIRYLAND.
DairyLand successfully combines education with fun. Watch the cows being milked in the “orbiter”, and browse the farming relics and rural history displays in the Cornish Heritage Museum. Kids will love the huge indoor “Bull Pen” (perfect for escaping the Cornish summer showers) as well as the outdoor play areas and pony rides. What’s more your admission price includes 7 days of unlimited entry.
Our triplets when they were little enjoying Dairy land!
9.     Ride and groom the ponies at SPRINGFIELDS PONY CENTRE.
Springfields is great if you love ponies. There’s a range of species waiting to be groomed and ridden including Shetland, Gypsy and Dartmoor. Away from the ponies children can run riot in the giant indoor play barn, take a ride on the Springfields Express or visit the farm animals. And the eight acre Old Quoit Wood is perfect for a woodland walk and local wildlife spotting.      
Bonus trip – Express your arty side at ST IVES.
If you are happy to travel for more than one hour, St Ives is worth the journey. The streets of this bustling seaside town are lined with the workshops and galleries of local artists. The Tate is worth a look even if you aren’t a modern art fan, and there’s plenty inside to inspire your children’s creativity. Away from the art scene amble through the maze of cobbled streets, explore the working harbour, or enjoy a fun packed day on the beach. For something different children will love the stunning train route into St Ives. Take the First Great Western Train from Bodmin Parkway or St Erth.
Happy to travel for more than an hour? These are the pick of other further a field destinations.
If you have a small business and would like some help with copywriting you can contact Georgina via email – georgina@gemwriting.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @GemWriting.


Newborns on the Farm Today!

Posted on August 15th, 2011 -

Theo and Jed a Goat each!
An exciting day for the farm with 3 newborns! Our lovely long haired goat gave birth overnight to healthy twin boys! A real treat for our guests on the feed run this morning! My children all missed the excitement having gone to bed too late last night. Still when the news filtered back they were straight out there to see the action!
Well done Mummy!

Theo and one of the twins
Everyone wanted a hold and Mum waited patiently at the door eager to come back into nurse her boys. Goats can make very indifferent mothers so we are delighted at her protectiveness towards the pair! Just need help now with 2 lovely kid goat names….. suggestions most welcome on the comments area below
Mum Hovering at the doorway

Clio claiming her cuddle
A Lovely Surprise to discover a new duckling too! Animals being born on our farm are like buses in London…all or none!
Hatched today, hoping for a brother or sister soon!

Wondering back home I spotted Farmer Nick making excellent progress on the new Wallaby fencing! I do hope it is finished soon as I am keen to embark on the great Wallaby Capture http://coombemill.blogspot.com/2011/07/on-farm-wallabies-free-to-good-home.html
Nick employing our eldest son to help with the hard digging of fence posts
All in a day on the farm, do hope you can come and join us on holiday soon, don’t worry digging fence posts not included! 

Family Time at the Camelford Show

Posted on August 10th, 2011 -

The sun shone all day for one of our favourite family days out. There is so much to occupy the children that it’s always a winner for us. Today it clashed with our return from Sussex, after a lovely week with Farmer’s Nick’s Mum, but not to be beaten we set off at 4am to ensure we were back in time to check all was well at Coombe Mill and head on out to the show!

Striding out to the action

Many of our guests this week are regulars and know it makes a great family day while others saw my daily update on the wi fi and followed the recommendation.

This lovely family remind me so much of us a few years ago, they have 5 boys under 6 yrs old with twins for number 4 and 5!

So takes me back!

The children headed straight for the big tent and all the free circus equipment where they met up with our guests and local friends. I think they must have spent nearly the whole day here riding penny fathings, juggling, plate spinning, tight rope walking and much more!

Watch out Clio you are about to fall!

Happy faces all round!

Generally we bring a picnic on all our family days out. Eating out with 8 of us is an expensive exercise, more than the £25 entrance fee for the 8 of us!

Lunch with friends
(You can read more on my picnic tips on multiplemummy’s site where I guest blogged on the subject last week)


Today I am fraid I broke my own rule! After arriving home this morning to an empty kitchen we did splash out on a very unhealthy pasty and chips combo to keep us going for the day. It will definitely be back to the picnic’s next time (pocket hurting)!

At 2pm the big tent fills to overflowing with children for a comedy act of magic tricks and circus stunts. Guaranteed to make them laugh every year and a great way to keep them occupied at any age for hour or so!
I have compiled all the highlights into a fun video of the day. Well worth a watch!