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.
With Halloween and bonfire night behind us and the run up to Christmas underway life can feel hectic. The kids are getting excited and you may be feeling the pressure to plan and provide a great time for everyone. The nights are short and the days seem to be running away. If all this seems a little too real then may be a little time out in the countryside could help. OK it won’t make all those planning worries go away, but it will improve your mental wellbeing by giving you time to breath, evaluate, be grateful and put things into perspective to be more productive.
You don’t need to go far or for long to fill your senses with fresh air and nature’s beauty. A walk in the woods, the park, the beach or the hills can be more energising than you might imagine. Health experts are beginning to agree with talk of green space and the calming influence of natural flowing water. It is something I’ve known for a long time. I begin every morning with a walk around our farm to check on the animals. The sound of the river, the colours in the trees and smell of the season drifting up from the earth is uplifting beyond belief. I return full of pretty images, a feeling of being alive and a zest for the day ahead. It really does make me more productive and improve my mental wellbeing.
Spring is my favourite season with new born animals and fresh green leaves, however the striking colours in the final stages of autumn is breathtaking.
Morning light seeping into the entrance to Coombe Mill round the log store
Farm path over the stream coated in autumn leaves
Autumn colours reflected in the top fishing lake
Pigs with a view: Lower lake from in front of the pigsty
Take a break and boost your mental wellbeing
Try my morning countryside trick and see what a difference it makes to your day. Even if you work, can’t get our before daylight or back before dark, try using your days off and see how much more you get out of life.
Our cozy lodges are waiting for you
Why not take advantage of our lowest prices this winter and come and see us for a few days. We take bookings any day of the week: make use of school inset days, spare work days or cancelled clubs and mop up a good dose of countryside well being. Whether it is the calm before the storm of Christmas or a well earned break to look forward to at New Year or beyond we’d love to welcome you. Activities for the children run all year even if you are the only ones staying.
Don’t you just love the quintessential image of Christmas? By this I mean the snow scenes, robin, toy shop window and twinkly lights? If you put aside the stress and hassle that can come with being a grown up at Christmas, and focus on the magic as seen through a child’s eye, Christmas is amazing. The wonderful folk at Quarto Kids through their Wide Eyed collection have an adorable book to read with youngsters this Christmas. Discover Let it Glow A Winter’s Walk and get your family excited for the nostalgia of Christmas this season. Read on to discover more and for your chance to win a copy.
Let it Glow – The Story Line
Follow a young boy on his evening journey home through a winter wonderland. See through his eyes all the magic of the season along the way. There are lit-up shop windows, carol singers’ candles, stars in the sky and finally a star on the tree. The story is told in verse with beautiful illustrations throughout. This is a truly magical telling of Christmas kids will love.
Let it Glow – The Clever Bit
Real lights glow as you turn the pages. Through the clever peep holes in each page lights transform the landscape and bring the images to life.
Let it Glow Pages with and without lights
A quick guide to Let it Glow. A Winter’s Walk on video
Need to Know
For replacement purposes batteries needed are 3* AG-13 button cell batteries (3*1v=4.5v)
We were given our copy of Let it glow for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Our copy is available for our Christmas holiday guests to borrow from the Coombe Mill library.
Bonfire night feels like it is steadily being eclipsed by Halloween. Certainly here we make a big event out of our Halloween fun Day, yet our once legendary Bonfire night celebrations have lapsed. It is partly a result of timing. Bonfire night used to fall in half term, yet now always falls the week after when we are quiet. Furthermore, our own kids have grown up and are now seeking out the big organised events with their friends rather than hot dogs, bonfire and fireworks here on the farm.
I do wonder if safety is a factor, especially for the DIY garden bonfire night celebrations. I always worry when Farmer Nick is putting on our wonderful events, though he has become an expert over the years. Pumpkin decorating, baking and even supervised Trick or Treat feels a safer option.
I feel this could be a big factor. Our fireworks for Guy Fawkes night were costing upwards of £200. Halloween costs are far less, even with a whole day of fun planned.
A shift in tradition
Pumpkin patches are popping up everywhere; a visit now feels almost an obligation, but what happened to ‘A Penny for the Guy’? Does this still happen anywhere?
St Tudy Village Bonfire and Fireworks Night
When November the 5th rolled round this year and we were faced with a clear still night and a balmy 14 degrees we headed into our local village of St Tudy to join their annual celebrations. What a treat it was. The playing fields were full of children, sparklers, vans selling hot dogs, Cornish pasties and even a licensed bar. Our kids disappeared in seconds having found old school friends while we caught up with their parents. It is all organised by the village carnival committee and run simply on donations in a bucket on the gate. All I can say is it must have taken plenty of cake sales and pub quizzes to raise enough to put on the amazing display we enjoyed. The bonfire crackled and the fireworks wowed. We had a wonderful evening with no planning, no responsibility and £200 up on the night vs running our own!
For anyone staying with us on November 5th Next year, I can totally recommend this as a cheap local attraction not to be missed.
Kids sparklers swirl watching the bonfire burn
A fizz and a bang as the night sky lights up
Heads crane up to the sky, little ones in arms and on shoulders in awe
A solitary burst in a magnificent display
Is Bonfire night being eclipsed by Halloween?
To come back to my original question: Is Bonfire Night being eclipsed by Halloween, I think perhaps it is more a shift, Halloween is more home led family activities while Bonfire night is becoming big organised events. Halloween feels more significant now as the associated activities and newly forming traditions keep growing over a longer period. Bonfire night is more of a short sharp ‘big bang’, but still a memorable event that I hope survives for generations to come.
What a week it has been! For many it has been half term. Here in Cornwall our kids were back at school, however the farm has been busy with half term visitors from up country. For me that has meant another packed week and a rerun of our ever popular Halloween fun day. More pumpkin carving, ghost trains and trick or treat, but with a very different feel to the weather. Gone were those warm southerly air streams to be replaced by our first taste of sub zero winter temperatures.
A winter landscape
There is something quite magical about the first frost of the season. I don’t remember having such a heavy frosty in October before, but it was enough to have me don a few extra layers and venture out. The frost hung heavy in our deep wooded valley looking so thick you could mistake it for snow. Our striking Scandinavian lodges remind me of a Christmas card. Only the leaves still clinging to the trees give away the early arrival of the sub zero days.
Scandinavian Lodges coated in the first Frost of winter
A confused farm
The poor animals were very confused as the temperatures plummeted down. They picked over frozen grass and ice crystals round the leaves. Even the stinging nettles were coated in frost. The frost held them rigidly in place, unable to wilt until the morning sun rose over the valley to melt their new skin.
Sub zero winter temperatures are a shock to us all
Frosted leaves and grass intertwine
Thankfully by the time Farmer Nick and I had finished the morning school runs and taken the guests out with the tractor and trailer the temperatures were rising enough to keep little fingers and toes from Jack Frost.
Sunrise over the valley soon melts away the frost
We have returned to the more regular south westerly air stream now giving us the warmest temperatures across the country. This is normal for us in winter, but I rather like the chilly sub zero days with clear blue skies. I hope we have more to come.
I’m on a bit of a roll with my crafts at the moment. One idea morphs into another and a whole new activity emerges. My latest crafts are all born out of the amazing stickabilty of flour and water. First I used nature on pebbles and then on logs to make a dinosaur log and a Halloween Log. This week I worked on my nature log and came up with a Peg fairy with magic wand and fairy dust.
The first thing we needed was to go off in search of a log, a stick and some autumn nature.
Building a fairy garden
I had some new additions for the fairy garden I was keen to add so the children helped me decide where these should go.
Autumn flower fairies
Anyone remember the flower fairy books from their childhood? They captivated my imagination and stuck in my mind creating the autumn habitat on the logs . We piled on acorns, flowers, leaves and more with flour glue before making the peg fairies.
Magic Fairy wand
Winding some colourful wool around twig made a simple magic wand to add to our log.
Making a Peg Fairy
We pushed two thick leaves through the peg holes to simultaneously create wings and arms. Then the children chose some material for a skirt. Bingo our easy peg fairy was ready.
Magic Fairy Dust
All that was left was to sprinkle some fairy dust. For this I just added a few drops of food colour to sugar. To keep things really natural you could use blackberry juice or any other berry juice instead. The children sprinkled a little dust over their fairy logs placing the bulk in milk bottle tops secured with the flour glue. they were only too happy to pose for a photo with their fairy landscapes.
The children were all quite young and I knew they would need a little help to pull this one off but they managed really well thanks to some great parental support and a concept that captured their imaginations.
Create a Peg Fairy Log and wand at home
This would be a fun and educational activity to recreate from a family woodland walk.
What you’ll Need
Seasonal nature gathered from a walk to include things like leaves, berries, acorns, conkers, pine cones, twigs, feathers
A small log with one stable side as a base.
A small twig for a wand
Two evergreen leaves with structure for wings and arms
Flour and water paste
sugar and food colour for fairy dust
Colourful wool or ribbon for wand.
A rectangle of material with small cut at the centre for a fairy skirt
The opportunity to explore changes in nature with the seasons
“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.