James and the Birthday Balloon

Posted on December 18th, 2017 -

Here at Coombe Mill we do love a book that is easy to follow, captures kids’ imaginations and has a good morale to it. When I heard that Nicola J. Rowley has a new book out I knew instantly it would be one we would enjoy.  Following on from her success with James and the Amazing Gift, James and the Birthday Balloon sees the lovable James out on a new adventure to make everyone around him smile.  For your chance to win this delightful book and put a smile on your child’s face read on.


James and the birthday Balloon


The Story


James is off to his best friend’s birthday party and the day is full of excitement and happiness, until the birthday girl, James’s best friend Ruby, has a fall. With a friend like James even a trip to hospital can end in the whole hospital smiling.  


Pages from James and the birthday Balloon Book


What we thought


The story is every bit as touching as I have come to expect from Nicola and beautifully illustrated. It only takes a few minutes to read cover to cover making it an excellent uplifting bedtime story.  I was especially happy to see that James’s friend Ruby lived on a farm; this will make it very popular and relevant for our holiday guests.  


As with the last book my only reservation is that for £7.99 I’d like to have seen this as a hard back and bigger to maximise the impact of the beautiful illustrations and keep the condition of the book for longer for reading over and over again. That said there are a couple of extra’s in the price we love:


A little Extra


Nicola lives in Surrey and likes to support local charities. For every copy sold a donation is made to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital which provides care and life saving treatment for children in south London and beyond.


In addition there is a QR code to scan on your mobile at the end of the book to give you a free audio book of James and the Birthday Balloon read by every child’s TV hero Dr Ranj.


Support Evelina London Children's Hospital

Win your signed copy of James and the Birthday Balloon with Coombe Mill


If you fancy a copy of this delightful book signed by the author with a personalized message inside why not enter to win. We will be picking 3 lucky winners. Simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.


James and the Birthday Balloon



We were sent our copy of the book for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions here are my own.



Snowdrops not Snow in Cornwall

Posted on December 16th, 2017 -

So while the rest of the country enjoyed snow days off school we were welcoming spring here in Cornwall. Not a flake of snow in sight but the snowdrops are coming through and glistening in the winter sun here on the farm. I swear they come earlier and earlier each year. It was only late January this year I was marvelling over the last season of snowdrops. Needless to say I am not optimistic of seeing any snow again this winter in Cornwall, but I’ll make a bet we’ll hang onto the snowdrops till March. I think it is the lack of frost and extremes in temperature here that confuses nature’s cycle.

 snowdrops on the farm


It isn’t just snowdrops; the early daffodils are out in the village too. Not just the odd one either, a whole bank of them waving in the wind. It all looks rather strange against the backdrop of Christmas lights but as spring is my favourite season these are a welcome sign of things to come.  


Daffodils in Cornwall in December


The catkins are my other marker that spring is approaching. These are particular to certain trees and have put in an early pre Christmas appearance here on the farm. These are typically seen from late January onwards.


catkins on the farm in December

Which card has nature dealt you this week, snow or snowdrops?

Country Kids 16th December ’17

Posted on December 15th, 2017 -

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. 


Happy Christmas from Country Kids

Welcome to the last Country Kids of 2017. Thank you for all the lovely link ups this year and for all the time and effort spent on seeing what each other have been up to and leaving comments, it has all helped to make this a great community of like minded bloggers appreciating the benefits of outdoor family time. I hope you’ll join me for one last link up this year before enjoying some well earned family time over the festive period. Keep those cameras at hand and come back to join me in the New Year to share all the ways you found to keep Christmas from being sofa based! 

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 last week:

  1. Joy from Pinkoddy who commented on 18 posts.
  2. Clare from Mudpie Fridays who commented on 17 posts.
  3. Louisa from Inside Out who commented on 15 posts.

We have just one guilty blogger link dumping this week, Please go back if it is you. Do remember I comment count on Thursday after lunch so get your comments in before then if you want them to be counted and please approve your comments by then if they need moderating so I can see others leaving you the blog love. 

Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids 

Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly

You Could Win with Rockfish Wellies and Country Kids from Coombe Mill 

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 December / January Rockfish Wellies:

As December will be a short month for Country Kids I’m combining the welly win with January.

Top Commenter this week: Joy of Pink Oddy with a lovely post about visiting Stonehenge in winter

West Country Mum enjoyed a community Christmas tree cutting day with RSPB and brought 3 trees home with them all for £10

Mary from Over 40 Mum to One shared an enchanting post about the the Christmas illuminations at Blenheim Palace  

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 7500 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.

My favourite photos from the week came from @mumturnedmom @marley_and_us @kristinavonschuetzenhof and @dancingdandelionsblog . Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following

A wintry #countrykidsfun set to round off the week with thanks to @mumturnedmom @marley_and_us @kristinavonschuetzenhof and @dancingdandelionsblog Thank you for all the wonderful snowy tags this week, they kept me going when we had none! Don’t forget the #CountryKids linkup is live from midnight for all your outdoor blog posts. Have a great weekend and keep up the outdoor adventures. #snow #snowscape #fridayoutdoorfun #explorerkids #snowball #trailer #snowman #wintersun #outdooradventures #outdoorsandhappy #snowscape

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 

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A Goat in a Boat and all Afloat.

Posted on December 15th, 2017 -

You could be forgiven from the title for thinking I was about to launch in to Dr Seuss style riddle on a goat in a boat, but in fact the goat was in a boat as part of a rescue mission by farmer Nick. 


A goat in a boat and all afloat with Farmer Nick


Some morning feed runs with the guests run like clockwork and others turn into quite an adventure. This was to be one of the latter. Nick has let all the goats, ponies and alpaca out to graze around the lake and over the main tractor route while we only had a few people staying. This gave them access to land that hadn’t been touched all summer and it was full of nutrition still for the animals and a perfect way for us to stave off on the expensive hay feeding. This was all fine except that when the tractor came through in the morning is was mobbed by animals all hoping to peer into the feed buckets to steal the corn.

Animals free ranging on the farm


The ponies were not giving up once they had enjoyed their apples we put on their head collars and I led a party over the road to a new field.


Animals free ranging on the farm


No sooner had my pony leading expedition returned than we heard a bleating down by the river. It took some careful searching to spot one of our little goats trapped on the edge of the river having presumably lost her footing while foraging too close to the edge.

Goat stuck by the lake


There was no way of rescuing her from above so we set Farmer Nick to the rescue in HMS Bath Tub, Guy’s little boat for clearing the weeds. He did look quite a sight in this tiny little boat and we had no idea if he would be able to reach the goat, how much of a fight she would put up getting into the boat or if it would hold all their weight.


Farmer Nick in HMS Bath Tub Boat


The guests were certainly being treated to some extra entertainment as they watched the comedy act of Nick, Amber and I attempting to throw ropes to moor the boat and coax a reluctant goat into a boat!

rescuing a goat in a boat


To be fair the goat was amazingly calm in the boat and we had her back on dry land and reunited with her friends again with relative ease.


Goat released from a boat


We had the whole operation completed in super fast time, however not fast enough for the children who moved between watching the rescue and playing on the play equipment originally placed there for the goats to enjoy!


Playtime on the farm


Finally we continued round to feed the rest of the animals before heading home on the tractor, preceded by the alpaca who insisted on showing us the way!


Alpaca leading the feed run


We have since learned from our mistake and I go along ahead of the feed run and close all the goats and alpaca into a field, letting them back out to roam again once the tractor has departed. It does make me smile that they fall for the same bucket of oats trick every morning but at least there should be no more goat in a boat episodes!


Goat in a boat and other adventures on the morning feed run


Country Kids

Ronja The Robber’s Daughter

Posted on December 11th, 2017 -

The first ever TV series of Ronja: The Robber’s daughter is just out on DVD and Blu Ray. A real Christmas must watch for all the family, this wonderful story will have everyone on the edge of their seat as the gripping adventure and heart melting friendships unfold.  You can get yourself a copy right now  from STUDIOCANAL  or if you are feeling lucky why not enter to win a copy for you and the family here with Coombe Mill.


Win Ronja the Robber's Daughter on DVD


The story line for Ronja the Robbers Daughter

Ronja is a ten-year-old girl who is born on a stormy night in a mountain fort surrounded by her parents and a loving band of robbers. Not your usual start in life but one certain to lead to adventure.

Ronja grows to be strong and capable. She discovers the forest around her is both beautiful and frightening in equal measure as well as being a place inhabited by strange creatures. She makes friends with the son of her father’s rival and this is the start of the drama of her budding friendship and family loyalties.


Shots of Ronja


Need to Know Pointers for Ronja the Robber’s Daughter

Certificate PG
Episodes 26 episodes on 4 discs
Running Time 10 hrs 51 mins
Extras Interview with Goro Miyazaki (Director)
Based on the novel by Astrid Lindgren (also wrote Pippi Longstocking)
Directed by Goro Miyazaki
Voice cast features Gillian Anderson
RSP £32.99 Blue Ray, £24.99 DVD
Available on Blu Ray and DVD
Stockists STUDIOCANAL, Amazon


Ronja available on Blu Ray and DVD


Win your copy of Ronja The Robbers Daughter on DVD with STUDIOCANAL and Coombe Mill


For your chance to win this adventure classic this Christmas just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.


Ronja the Robber’s Daughter



 I will be receiving a copy of the discs for the Coombe Mill Library for our holiday guests to enjoy in return for creating this giveaway opportunity.