Posted on August 12th, 2017 - Fiona
This week, while my pictures are taken over the last 7 days, I’m actually talking about summer 2018 and some fantastic early bird discounts we have to share. When you have a young family, holidays to book at work and need to be organised, then getting ahead and booking a holiday well in advance can give you something to look forward to and take the pressure off last minute availability. If this appeals to you then read on as we have some cracking deals at the moment.
I have selected 4 of our properties in the mid price range and knocked a whooping £400 off the school summer holiday price for 2018. If this isn’t an offer worth shouting about I don’t know what is. We have never done this before but with BBC Breakfast TV unhelpfully putting down UK holidays this week and raving about Eastern Europe I thought it was time to fight back. If the possibility of airport delays, 40+ degree heat and worrying about falling ill abroad sounds off putting on your summer holiday then why not join us for all the fun of the farm, it really isn’t so expensive. At full occupancy this deal represents from £214 per person for a 7 day break (less than £30 per person per night). With farm rides, animals to feed, train rides, crafts and activities and acres of play areas we have a lot to offer. What’s more we have some pet friendly properties too so your 4 legged friend can join in the fun. Check out what others think on our Facebook Reviews and I hope you might pop over and bag yourself a bargain with us.
Willow and Honeysuckle cottages nestled in our lush valley. Perfect for those without pets and with young children
Water Mill dates back to the 16th Century. Quaint and quirky for families with older kids.
Inside Water Mill is a real fusion of old features and modern styling.
If modern and contemporary is more your style Eden lodge has the early bird discounts you need.
Check out the acres of space in the en-suite master bedroom
Enjoy the rest of your summer and remember our early bird discounts if you like to plan ahead for next year.
Posted on May 21st, 2017 - Fiona
In our next life Farmer Nick and I are coming back as property developers. Pardon me while I blow our joint trumpet for a moment, but we have now built or refurbished every cottage over the 15 years of owning Coombe Mill. Polzeath Holiday Lodge is the latest high specification bespoke property to add to the Coombe Mill estate. I’m thrilled with the result, it is perfect for a family of 4.
Planning a New Build
Planning and design begins around the kitchen table around 18 months before completion. Coombe Mill is set on the edge of an area of outstanding natural beauty and on the cusp of the river flood plain, idyllic for a holiday, but time consuming to create designs and applications in keeping with the beautiful surroundings and acceptable for planning regulations. Polzeath was approved as one of 8 new lodges and we were determined to make this the best blueprint we could for the 7 that will one day follow.
Keeping the cost down on the foundations
Cost and cash flow is always at the forefront of our mind and bookings need to be coming in to finance the expenditure going out. Farmer Nick is a wonderful handy man and learned so much about the building trade over the last 15 years that he delights in doing what he can himself. He dug out the foundations for Polzeath lodge on his own mini digger.
I love to see the concrete being poured into the foundation through the giant pipes on the lorry. For anyone who has visited us and worried about the lane, just remember this giant lorry makes it up and down with ‘relative’ ease!
The Builders Take Over on Polzeath
Once the October half term rush is over the boys from North Coast Log Cabins move in. North Coast is local to us and have built all our lodges from the play barn to Polzeath. They know just what we need, how to respect the holiday business around us and work well to deadlines, something critical for us. It feels very quick once they arrive to seeing the lodge go up.
By Christmas Polzeath was water tight and the rooms defined. However the time from Christmas to Easter seemed to drag as all the less glamorous jobs took place. Electrics, plumbing, plastering and carpentry were all messy an unexciting to show. Behind the scenes Nick and I were busy ordering bathrooms, kitchens, choosing colour schemes and the like so we are not holding things up when the builders were ready.
Here we are just weeks before the launch date still looking far from finished!
The Creative Bit
The internal layout follows the already successful blueprint of Trebah and Trevarno; however we made Polzeath taller to allow greater headroom upstairs. This gave us the chance to take the successful playroom format to a new level. Polzeath lodge has more than just a playroom; it is a 3 in one zoned floor with its very own soft play, reading snug and wealth of floor space and toys. We spent the most time researching this area to create something really special from a vast blank canvas.
You gave us the answers
While I give ourselves a pat on the back and marvel at the finished results, I have to also thank everyone who follows me on Facebook. On many occasions when Nick and I disagreed, or couldn’t decide which way to jump, I put the question out to you. The feedback has been so helpful and we really have taken the results on board.
Just look at this initial floatation of ideas for the upstairs space:
You chose a) soft play followed closely by b) Reading snug. We managed to do both and a general play space with seating based on the images above: You can read more about the finished playroom in yesterday’s post
If you don’t already follow my Facebook page please do, I really value all the input on there.
The Finished Polzeath Lodge Revealed
I was just a little excited as I made this little video the week we completed all the work.
Everything came together with the colour schemes and ultra contemporary feel I’d hoped for. All the planning, measuring and holding colour swatches of everything in my bag at all times paid off. Seeing the first family walk in and take in their new home for the week with the smell of fresh wood was payback in itself.
Behind the scenes the stress showed
There were moments of blood sweat and tears in the process, cross words between Nick and I and shouting at the kids that accompany the tension of adding a massive project onto an already busy lifestyle. However we always pull through, apologise to each other and value one another’s contribution. Neither Nick nor I could do it on our own, it is a real team effort including our kids, who as teens, were expected to jump in and help at the drop of a hat as a shouty parent demanded assistance. I hope we can make it up to each other over the summer months with some quality family time at our favourite beach, Polzeath of course!
Come and Stay at Polzeath Holiday Lodge
We are proud to be open for bookings now and even better, we have not set a premium on this exciting new build, so grab your calendar and head on over for a look!
Posted on May 20th, 2017 - Fiona
If you have a young family finding holiday accommodation that is truly child friendly can be a challenge. Having such child friendly accommodation is something we pride ourselves in. As our knowledge and experience of designing and managing new builds and refurbishments grows, so each new holiday lodge becomes more desirable for families. Polzeath is the name of our latest holiday lodge finished just this last week. It is our most superior and luxury holiday lodge yet featuring a bespoke personal playroom which is split into three sections occupying the whole of upstairs.
Soft Play in your own holiday lodge
We have a little room within the playroom kitted out for our younger guests with soft play. Watch them learn to build and stack the towers, create and ride a soft play train and take a slide down to ground level. There is even a concave window to watch what’s going on downstairs.
Quirky Reading Snug
This year’s latest trend in small spaces is a reading snug, somewhere for a little mature quiet time. We have filled our book shelves with all the latest new release books including ones from Lonely Planet Kids, Quarto Kids and Simon and Schuster . Educational reading time is fun in our cosy snug. Soft cushions and seating and a swishy curtain section this quiet area off from the rest of the playroom.
Fully kitted out Playroom
The middle of the room is simply furnished with a comfy sofa for parents. There are draws full of toys for the children to take out for play and building including a giant wooden train set, medieval castle and ride on Thomas the Tank Engine.
Book Polzeath Luxury Holiday Lodge with Bespoke Personal Playroom
You can check out the whole of the property including the modern and contemporary downstairs living space with a super king bedroom, twin room and 2 bathrooms on our webpage for Polzeath. We have space from October onwards this year and just one school holiday space on 26th August. I hope we might see you here soon.
If you are interested in the build process I have a follow up post tomorrow sharing the stages of building Polzeath holiday lodge over the past six months.
Posted on March 4th, 2017 - Fiona
It is a while since I’ve written a post sharing a little about one of our holiday cottages, but as I walked round Willow holiday cottage yesterday, I decided to take a couple of pictures to update the photos on the website and share here today. Last year Farmer Nick spent weeks repointing outside before a new contemporary wood burner was installed and this year the master bedroom has been redecorated. I was reminded what a spacious and practical family cottage it is as I tended the fire and ensured everything was looking welcoming and spotless for our new new guests.
Entering through the handy porch, there is plenty of space for wellies and coats. This leads into into a vast open plan living area. The downstairs is all on one level with no tricky steps to catch grandparents or toddlers out. This spacious room is L shaped to define the kitchen dining area yet cosy enough to make it the hub of the cottage.
The highlight for little ones is the little play den under the eaves. This was the very first play room we created at Coombe Mill and its popularity was such that every new build and refit over the past 5 years has incorporated a play room.
There are two Twin rooms in Willow cottage, the one upstairs is ideal for children while the one downstairs better suited to grandparents with French doors out into the private garden.
We know how important a good night’s sleep is for parents with young children. Like many of our properties, Willow master bedroom has a 6 foot super-king bed with a quality mattress. Even little ones that climb in with you in the night will find plenty of space to snuggle down leaving everyone fresh for the morning farm rides.
Try Willow Holiday Cottage out for yourself.
We have good availability for this lovely self catering family cottage this spring including Easter week if you fancy a week on the farm with home from home comforts.
Posted on January 29th, 2017 - Fiona
When the government’s chief vet announced in December that all birds should be kept indoors for at least the next 30 days my heart sank. We have the most amazing “Jurassic Park” for keeping chickens and ducks safe at Coombe Mill with fresh water pond, fox safety fencing, shelter and all mod cons – well if you are a chicken or duck that is.
In theory we could move everything indoors for a period, but we knew the birds wouldn’t enjoy it and neither would we enjoy the resulting smell from having them all cooped up! We had no choice but to do as advised. The risk to humans from bird flu is still extremely small but it would be churlish to ignore the advice. Over the coming week we gradually captured the chickens and moved them to our old peacock enclosure. It had been a makeshift home last winter for a month when the field became too slippery and wet for the guests to enter. This winter they would have to return even though their field was still lovely and dry.
The ducks and geese were harder. An even older Avery has now become their home with much help needed from Guy, our resident geese catcher in moving them. On the plus side the space for them is much better than for the chickens, so long as the structure actually survives another year!
Farmer Nick had a premonition that the 30 day indoor ruling was likely to be extended and set to work creating his very own chicken world for keeping chickens safe behind his farm shed. Being such a handy man really comes into its own at times like this. He spent every spare moment over the Christmas holidays taking advantage of the older two boys being home from college and university to put his plan into action.
Beginning with a proper concrete floor and building up with solid wooden walls and doors, a patch of scrubland was transformed into a luxury chicken coop. Nesting boxes, perches and lighting will hopefully mean even our winter guests will be able to find an egg for breakfast!
The chickens certainly looked happy to be leaving their old quarters and scratching round in the fresh sawdust of Chicken world. I was mighty pleased for an opportunity to give the old home a good hose down!
Because my clever husband always thinks one step ahead, he made the new housing extra large; sectioning off a second room that can be used for other any other animals that need to be moved indoors. A poorly animal, new struggling mother or even all the goats or donkeys in prolonged periods of wet weather can now be housed indoors as well as keeping chickens safe.
It will still be good to let the birds back out into Jurassic Park again, but for now at least we know they have a comfortable indoor home.
Do you know anyone keeping chickens? Are they indoors now too?
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