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.
The Bear, the Piano, the Dog and the Fiddle
The Bear, the Piano, the Dog and the Fiddle by David Litchfield published by Quarto Books is a charming tale for children of friendship that... Read More
Creating Illusion and exploring perspective at the beach
Building a rock stack at the beach and creating the illusion of climbing it using perspective and distance in photography.... Read More
Creative Nature Boards in Stick Frames
Creative nature boards in stick frames. Something kids will love. Easy to make from nature for ages 4 - 12. Educational Fun outdoors.... Read More
Piglets for September on the farm
Piglets for autumn. Sally our sow has given birth to 7 healthy piglets who are ready to meet out holiday makers. Come and stay this autumn a... Read More
Evening Fun at the Secret Beach
The secret beach of north Cornwall is our local delight. A National Trust beach requiring a coastal walk and cliff decent. It is worth the e... Read More
We were lucky enough to be offered Nick’s cousin’s summer flat for our summer holiday with the triplets in Greece. Vouliagmeni is one of the desirable suburbs of Athens down by the coast and popular with Athenians for beach days and holidays. The flat was just one block inland from the beautifully maintained private Vouliagmeni beach and needless to say we spent quite a bit of time here during our week away.
A Gramable Underpass
The beach may have been just a few minutes walk, but it involved crossing the main coastal dual carrigway road and I didn’t trust the kids to look the right way for oncoming traffic. Thankfully there was also a subway which to the kids delight was covered in Graffiti and in their words was “gramable” for their Instagram profiles so they were happy to cross this way and we were happy for them to come and go from the flat on this basis.
There is everything you need at the beach for a day there without leaving if you are visiting from further away. You have to pay to enter but it is only a few Euros and so worth it. Once inside the sun loungers and umbrellas are free, the whole place is clean and litter free and there are many more facilities including cafes, loos and showers. With large open grass areas, flower boarders and even courts for ball games it is a very comfortable day in beautiful surroundings.
Vouliagmeni beach is very gently shelving with little wave typical of the Mediterranean. In early June the water temperature was perfectly warm and my kids spent hours in the sea just throwing a tennis ball to one another and keeping cool. There are lifeguards at either end of the beach for added safety.
Anyone for Bat Ball?
Their other great love became the Greek Bat Ball. After watching the locals all play we bought a set and had a go. It is so much harder than it looks and we were so obviously the clueless foreigners. The locals managed to keep rallies going for minutes while we only managed seconds. Jed is my naturally sporty one and he spent most of his time perfecting his technique on each one of us.
Not completely unplugged
The flat had no WiFi and very little mobile signal so the kids were truly unplugged most of the holiday. That said there was beach WiFi, all be it with a very limited signal strength, this kept the kids up to date with their friends at home via Snapchat from their sun loungers. After catching up on the chat there was always time for more swimming and a little siesta.
The Free Beaches
There are many free beaches in Vouliagmeni and all along the coast to Glenfada. Here you pay for the loungers and umbrellas or sat on the sand for free. However by the time you paid for our loungers and umbrella the price is much the same as the one we used. Most beaches were supported by tavernas, which we made a point of trying each night.
We all had a lovely relaxing week in Greece and were very grateful to Nick’s cousin for the use of their flat. We wouldn’t hesitate to go back, there are plenty of hotels in the area and it all felt so clean and safe. The beaches themselves are still not a patch on our Cornish beaches, but we can’t compete on water temperature and guaranteed sun and it was blissful to swim without a wetsuit; something I rarely do in Cornwall.
Tips for visiting Vouliagmeni Beach
Entrance price is 4 euro kids, students and OAPs. 6 euro adults. Payment is for a full day and their is no late admission discount. OAPs and students need to supply valid ID, even my 82 year old Mother in Law was not trusted at face value as being old!
Prices go up at the weekend (8 Euros for adults) and the beaches are overcrowded with Athenians as are the carparks and local streets. There are not enough sun loungers to go around on Saturday and Sunday, these days are best avoided.
Toilets and open showers are free
2 cafes stock drinks, ice creams and hot snacks. There is seating there or you can take away.
Across the road from the beach is a supermarket if you’d rather take in your own picnic
Bat ball courts are provided though they are very busy at weekends and any spare space is used.
The Beach has 2 Lifeguards all day.
Free beach wifi but very patchy to actually use as demand way outstrips supply.
The beach is litter Free with plenty of bins and staff to tidy each day. In fact this was true of all the beaches.
If someone says Croquet to me, I think of elegant garden parties, stately homes, long summer days with Pimms and cream tea. Well Coombe Mill may have the acreage of a stately home but certainly not the manicured lawn. It is however perfectly adequate for a family afternoon of outdoor fun enjoying this quintessentially English game. We are thrilled to have one of the quality Garden Croquet Sets from Big Game Hunters for our guests to enjoy these summer days here on the farm. Read on to discover more about the game, the lovely set on sale from big Game Hunters and how you could win one for your garden or even a community game in your local park.
History of the Game
An early version of Croquet is believed to date back to the 14th Century in Northern France. It was played in Ireland before finally coming to England in 1852 where it was an after dinner recreation of the wealthy. The modern version of croquet has only been around for about 100 years and while it still has that aristocratic feel to me, it is very much a game that can be enjoyed by everyone.
The Garden Croquet Set from Big Game Hunters
Bringing you right up to the 21st Century, this beautiful Garden set comes in a lovely carry bag with shoulder strap and carry handles, handy as they mallets to play with are weighty and substantial. We were very impressed with the quality of the set, like all the big Game Hunter Garden Range; it is built to last for years of fun. It is easy to assemble, though we did use our own mallet to bang the hoops and winning peg into the ground as we didn’t want to damage the ones for play.
Having set the game up (which takes just minutes) I soon had a family out enjoying the late afternoon sun on the farm take up the offer of a game. The rules take a bit of getting used to but once you grasp the idea it is great fun and quite competitive. There is skill and coordination involved and I can see how practice would really help. It is ideal for families, though very young children are more of a game hindrance if funny!
I left the game out for a couple of days and was delighted to see it repeatedly being used. For our set I laminated the double sided rules as I can already see them being referred to time and time again by new visitors.
If we host another summer garden party this year this will definitely be a new feature. You can make the pitch as challenging or small as you want depending on the size of your garden and competency of the players. It packs away so perfectly for travelling it would be ideal to take on a day out or family visit.
I’ve said it before but in beautiful weather Cornwall takes some beating; from the stark beauty of Bodmin Moor to the sandy beaches and clear blue sea of the coast. During the recent heat wave I couldn’t resist popping down to the beach after supper one evening. I had planned to take some stunning photos with my DSLR but arrived to discover I’d made that rookie error of forgetting to put the battery in the camera! I braved the heat on a mountainous coastal walk and was rewarded with breathtaking views and a slowing setting sun. With only my smart phone to capture the scene the quality may not be right up there, but it still captures a little of the holiday vibe present on balmy summer beach evenings here in Cornwall.
Cornish coastline from the Coast path
Secluded bays waiting to be discovered
Campfires and friends watching the sun set over Polzeath
A Golden Glow on a balmy summer beach evening
I had such a lovely couple of hours I returned with one of my boys the following day. Again it was so hot we both went for a swim without wetsuits. I can’t remember the last time I did this in the UK. After the initial shock it was refreshing and a lovely rest bite from the searing day time temperatures.
Soaking up the Cornish sunshine the following afternoon.
Driving home in my soft top with salty hair and skin felt so uplifting. I know the heat doesn’t suit everyone but I just love it and it makes me appreciate the beauty of where we live. I will try to remember the feeling of balmy summer beach evenings in the middle of winter when we are all tucked up indoors by 3.30pm in the afternoon against the outdoor chill and darkness.
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.
End of term draws near.
It’s nearly the end of term and it feels like it in our house. With exams over for my eldest boys they are already working over the summer while the younger ones are doing precious little in lessons with under 2 weeks to the end of term. I’m already looking forward to no more school runs and a few weeks chill out time with some family fun. Until then we are making the most of the summer sun, light evenings and weekends. 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.
My top commenters from last week:
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:
Country Kids Communities
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I love to build on an educational theme for our activity hour on the farm. This week was all about shapes with a group of children age 2 to 5. I had some fun ideas prepared to make learning shapes fun. After all, the children were on holiday and coming along for some creative fun and not to feel like they had started school.
Learning shapes and counting
I had a beautiful book on counting, colours and shapes from Phaidon I had reviewed on my Facebook Page and dug it out of our library collection. As we all sat down on my colour in picnic rug I began the book. The children were instantly drawn to the quirky opening of the book and soon they were all helping me turn the pages to identify and count the shapes revealed.
It was clear the children had a good grasp on basic shapes and only a couple of the higher sided shapes were new to them. Everyone loves a little painting fun and while I read the book Clio was setting up paint at the craft table. We gathered round and used potato stamp shapes to print onto corresponding shape worksheets. (These can be found on the education pages of my website).
Re-gathering on the rug the children settled down to listen to a fun story of a circle who took on a life like character and rolled into his fellow shapes creating quite a commotion. This light-hearted tale had the children laughing and totally engaged. It is another gem from Phaidon I can totally recommend.
Identifying shapes in the fairy garden
After sitting so well, the children were more than happy to be on the move for our next task. We were off to the fairy gardens to identify shapes on the fairies new dancing carousel. This was one I had been making in Farmer Nick’s shed from an old chain real painted and wrapped at the middle with Duck Tape Colours to avoid any splinters. I had chosen to decorate it with different coloured painted shapes so it was perfect for today’s theme. The children spotted it as soon as they ran into the gardens and began shouting out all the shapes they could recognise.
Creating Shapes with Nature
While we were in the gardens I showed the children the magic sticking property of sticky weed. They each collected and piece and hunted for colourful flowers for our shapes craft.
Back at the table and rug I handed out cereal boxes cut to size and invited the children to choose some fabric to cover their boxes. We simply cut and stapled the material around the boxes to make a base for the sticky weed.
Then came the fun part; the children created their chosen shape from stickweed and stuck it to the board. If it didn’t work the first time, the stickweed just peeled off and could be stuck down again. We used double sided tape to fill the shapes with the collected colourful flowers. The children loved making them and seeing their shapes take form. The results were colourful and pretty and the shapes clear.
Extra time and extra activities
That was the end of my organised learning shapes activities but the children took things further rolling down the bank like the circle in Circle Rolls. Then they asked for long rectangular strips of material to add to the wishing tree. They made their wish as they hung them and enjoyed a play with the wishing well before feeding the ponies that had come to watch us.
I don’t think anyone left thinking they had been learning anything, but they certainly had!
“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.