Book of Bones 10 Record Breaking Animals

Posted on September 4th, 2017 -

There is something fascinating about bones to kids. I remember as a child falling about laughing as our biology teacher made fun of the skeleton in the science room. A generation on and my own children are filled with excitement if they uncover an old animal skull when camp building here on the farm. With this in mind I was keen to have a look at the new book of Bones for kids by Phaidon. It takes the reader on a journey looking at the bones of 10 record breaking animals. If this is something your child might find fascinating too, read on to discover more and for your chance to win a copy of the book.


Win book of bones 10 record-breaking animals


What we thought of Book of bones

The book is both engaging and informative with its superb illustrations and well written record breaking facts. Each page keeps you guessing which animal it could be with clever clues. When you think you have guessed, turn the page and see if you are correct and fill in your knowledge on the animal in question. Discover which animal has the heaviest bones, the longest neck, and the smallest bones and so on. Some you will guess easily, others with have you thinking and there are sure to be a few surprises in there too. 


Pages from Book of Bones Anaiml Facts


We loved the physical size, at just over A4 paper size it is great for reading to a group of children where guessing the animal first becomes a game. The quality and feel of the book are all impressive. We have already used the book as part of activity hour on the farm where my discerning audience gave it the thumbs up as we moved from Bones to Stick Man!


Reading Book of Bones in Activity Hour before making Stick Man

Need to know




Retail price £16.95
Age range 5 – 8
Book format

 Hardback non fiction

48 pages

315 x 254 mm

Written by Gabrielle Balkan
Illustrated bySam Brewster


Win you copy of Book of Bones – 10 Record-Breaking Animals

If you fancy owning a copy of this insightful book for children why not enter to win one. Simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.


Book of Bones



We were sent a copy of the Book of Bones for the purpose of this review. The Coombe Mill holidays copy can be borrowed from our games room. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.



All Weather Giant Sand Pit Replaces Play Tractor

Posted on September 3rd, 2017 -

For years I have been hankering after a giant sand pit for Coombe Mill. It has been one of those projects on the back burner for years since our old play boat sand pit fell apart. It takes a twist in events to bump something up the ‘to do’ list; in this case it was finally condemning the old Play Tractor as too rusty and unsafe, after years of happy use.


Old Play Tractor at Coombe Mill Holidays


Now we had the perfect reason to introduce a giant sand pit and the only decisions became where to build it, how big and what toys to add.

Farmer Nick is on the job

The tractor had been down near the river but as this area can flood we decided to build the new giant sandpit higher up above the play fort. The space was limited by the bank behind but Farmer Nick never let something like this stand in his way, with his favourite toy the mini digger the bank retreated. We marked the area out with spray paint and Nick set to work helped by our eldest boys for the heavy concreting and lifting.

As always when Farmer Nick puts his mind to a project, it comes together remarkably quickly. I put the skeleton of the project up on Facebook to guess what we were up to and had a giggle at some of the suggestions with everything from a bar for parents to a lock up for naughty kids!  

The roof began to go on and the boys work was nearing completion so it was over to me to decide what toys to add. I knew just the site to explore and took a look at the sand pits for sale over at Big Game Hunters for inspiration. There I found just what I was looking for, in amongst the fun shaped wooden sand pits was the perfect sand pit toy for us – mini diggers.

While we were building the sand pit all the children were fascinated with Farmer Nick’s mini digger and he had to be very careful to leave it safe and without keys at all times as the little ones couldn’t resist sitting up on the driver’s seat.

Farmer Nick's Digger

Our new all weather giant sand pit ready to use

A sand pit filled with mini diggers was the perfect answer for our farm holiday. What’s more at just £22 a digger they looked a bargain and we ordered 5 for our finished giant sand pit.


All weather giant sand pit at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays


Needless to say both the sandpit and the diggers have been a huge hit with the children here. The imaginative play coming out from the sand pit is a delight to watch. Just listen to the conversation between the boys in this little video clip



It isn’t just boys enjoying it either, the girls have been creating in there too and buckets and spades and sandcastles have popped up between the diggers. The diggers are lightweight and the children can move them round the sandpit themselves to dig and re-dig to their heart’s content. I’m thrilled with this new all weather play feature which I hope will be in use here all year.   


Playing with diggers in the giant sand pit at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays

Curious about the old tractor?

Never one to throw things away, the old tractor top is now a mini field shelter in the goat field. As for the rest, the rusty old heap nearly defeated Farmer Nick and the boys towing it out, but with a borrowed flat bed trailer and two tractors they finally did it! I was so terrified for them watching it all with health and safety out the window I never took a photo.


old play tractor as an animal shelter

Stay and play for all weather fun

If you have kids that would enjoy playing in our new giant sand pit and any of our other all weather play areas across our 30 acre farm why not take a look a look at our latest price and availability. We have some great early bird discounts on next August too.


Country Kids

 Sunshine for the August Bank Holiday Weekend

Posted on September 2nd, 2017 -

Wall to wall sunshine for the August bank holiday weekend, I can’t remember the last time we were so lucky, not just sunshine but lovely and warm too. It couldn’t have come at a better time for us, we had committed to a big garden party for all our guests and the glorious weather made it a real success.  If ever there was a time to arrive at Coombe Mill and take in the beauty of the farm and charm that keeps our visitors returning then last weekend was that time.

Sunshine on the feed run

 Feeding the animals each morning is the perfect way for our guests to meet one another. The children strike up friendships so easily and in the August bank holiday sunshine there were smiles all around as the children ran across the fields and met the animals.


Catching a runner duck duck on the August bank holiday weekend at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays

Coombe Mill Garden Party

With just a few hours for us to set up while our guests chilled out around the grounds we had a garden party up and running. From the waft of cooking on the BBQ to the fun of country fair games it was an afternoon to remember. Some of my favourite moments came from watching teams of children making friends and running off together while the parents could sit and soak up the atmosphere watching their children at play. I even set up a little paddling pool for the youngest to keep them cool in the afternoon sun.


August Bank Holiday garden party in progress


tractor riding at the Coombe Mill Summer Party

August Bank Holiday Monday

Bank holiday Monday rolled round and the sunshine continued. For me this was a chance for some family time off and a visit to the beach after our busy garden party. From the look of the empty car park after the morning feed run I think our guests followed our lead.


Polzeath beach August bank holiday weekend.

If you are thinking ahead to next summer we have some great early bird August prices on selected family lodges and cottages currently available.

Country Kids

Country Kids 2nd September 2017

Posted on September 1st, 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 #50 things along with all other ideas for family fun outside. 

Country Kids 2.9.17

 Back to school! 

 So this is the week we make sure the uniforms are ready, the shoes polished, pack lunch things are in the fridge and the kids are ready to move up a class or school. It is this coming Tuesday for my own children and I have to say I’m not looking forward to the early starts and two schools runs again, however looking back we have had a wonderful summer both personally and as a business and I have plenty to share over the coming weeks.  I hope you are also ready for the new term  with an outdoor adventure or two in hand for the link up. 

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. Michelle from Mummy from the Heart who commented on 20 posts.
  2. Sara from Mum Turned Mom who commented on 18 posts.
  3. Dawn from Dear Mummy Blog who commented on 14 posts.

Thanks to all of you who joined in last week and for the comments you took time to leave, a ticking off to the one link dumper we had this week! 

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. 


August Welly Winner

Congratulations to Clare at Flip Flops or Wellies who is our August Country Kids welly winner enjoying outdoor fun in the south west of England. I loved this post of Canoeing in Devon and Cornwall. It takes me back to our French adventures and makes me realise we should try it here too.  Do follow their journey over on their blog. 


Clare please email or DM me your choice of wellies showing in stock from the amazing Rockfish selection and a UK delivery address.


Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the September Rockfish Wellies:

Top Commenter: Michelle from Mummy from the heart

Watch out for pirates in the Maize Maze. A fun day out from Over 40 Mum to One.   

Up close with the Polar Bears in Copenhagen for Renovation Bay-Bee

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 6050  posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.

My featured photos from the week came from @talking_mums@thefrenchiemummy @bakedbymummyiris  & @thecampfirediaries Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following.

#countrykidsfun featured images for the week with thanks to @talking_mums @thefrenchiemummy @bakedbymummyiris @thecampfirediaries . Thank you for all the lovely outdoor fun tags again this week. Please keep them coming. Remember the #countrykids blog link up is live from midnight and I'd love to see you there too. #noahsark #river #outdoorsandhappy #countryside #kidsoutdoors #explorerkids #lovenature #naturekids

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 

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Blackberry Juice Tie Dye and Muffins   

Posted on September 1st, 2017 -

I love working with nature and when blackberry season comes around I can’t resist popping on my creative cap for activity hour.  Every year we end up baking with blackberries, whether to make crumble, ice cream or cakes. This year a friend had given me a bag of windfall apples from the garden, so I decided on blackberry and apple muffins, with tie dye experimentation to follow.

Foraging for blackberries

We began by handing out blackberry collecting trays for blackberry picking. We didn’t have to go too far and had more than enough from the hedgerows around the cottage gardens.

foraging for blackberries

Preparing Blackberry and Apple Muffins

Back at the craft table we washed hands and blackberries and began peeling our cooking apple.

peeling apples to make muffins

It took quite a time to get all the ingredients measured and mixed with my team of 14 eager helpers. We managed and with spoons and mixture in all directions enough landed in the muffin cases to go into the oven.

Making blackberry and apple muffins at Coombe Mill Farm Holidays


It would appear my own kids are not the only ones to love baking for the fight over the mixing bowl after. Spoons and sticky fingers delved in to ensure none of the mix was wasted.


Licking the baking bowl

Tie dye with blackberry juice

While our muffins cooked we cleared the table, washed sticky fingers and set up for a little creative tie dye fun. I had been blackberry picking in the morning and blended my foraged finds into a rich mixture and had a little test go to ensure it worked.


Blackberry juice tie dye

Happy that this was a runner with the children I brought my mixture to the table along with enough pieces of cloth for everyone to have a go. We used some of my supply of loom bands to make the ties and everyone crested their own designs wrapping the bands around the fabric.

Making blackberry tie dye cloth


Dipping the cloth in the blackberry dye was messy fun. I had a sheet of kitchen roll on hand to dry each one, before peeling off the loom bands to reveal the tie die cloth.


I was thrilled with the results everyone achieved. Time was marching on, but they all wanted to mount their cloth, as I had done, on coloured paper and card to show it off to its best.


Finished tie die with blackberry juice mounted on card

Those muffins were delicious.

In any case the extra time gave my muffins a chance to cook and cool sufficiently for everyone to take one home – or eat it there and then.


Backberry and Apple Muffins made and baked with kids at Coombe Mill Holidays

There were only 3 muffins spare to bring back to my house so I had to make a fresh batch for my own kids. As for the blackberry dye mix, I couldn’t throw away all that goodness, instead I boiled the remaining juices to make sure it was hygienic and turned it into ice cream.



I do like foraging in autumn, maybe we will go hunting for elderflower or mushrooms next.  


Country Kids