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.
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If you are a cook who likes to use fresh herbs, you may well be like me and have a window ledge full of little pots ready to take a cutting to add to recipes. Mine were beginning to look rather messy scattered amongst a couple of neglected pot plants and during a kitchen clear up I suddenly had the urge to tidy this area. With some new glittery Duck Tape Colours that matched my kitchen perfectly and a pub drinks holder from a box of goodies kindly been given for our farm crafts a plan for a potted herb holder was formed. It would also make a great activity for kids to give on Mother’s Day.
What You’ll Need
Pub Drinks Holder
Duck Tape Colours
Supermarket growing herbs or herbs with a little root from the garden in good compost.
Collect 4 herbs in matching pots.
Cut strips of your chosen duck tape colours to cover the outside of the pub tray..
Take care to cut and tuck around the drink holder spaces to give a smooth finish on top.
Pop your growing herbs into the drink spaces and arrange on a light surface or window ledge
Snip leaves as needed
Water regularly according to instructions: Basil I find needs a daily top up but coriander and Rosemary need very little.
Replace as required.
A few alternatives you could try.
Instead of throwing the pots away when the herbs are used, try planting some spring seeds in them or succulents
Look for other containers that will fit the holes. I found Robinson’s squash bottles a perfect fit and cut these to size, added a little duck tape colours to the raw edge at the top and filled them with gravel before adding tin can flowers and tissue paper flowers. This makes a crafty alternative to the potted herb holder for spring that is great to do with children.
If you don’t have access to a pub drinks holder, you could cut holes in the top of a cereal box.
After a quiet January it was lovely to see the number of visitors back up at Coombe Mill for the half term school holiday. We had been away ourselves for a few days mid week, but were back in time for an afternoon of springwatch themed crafting fun. What a delight to discover a group of children who had become the best of friends during the week.
Eager to begin with our spring crafts we started by painting pictures of the farm snowdrops. As always the little ones had to wait for the older ones who were creating some beautiful meadow scenes.
When everyone was finished we searched around for some sticks that would be needed for the next two crafts.
Returning to the table our longer stick was used as the stem of a daffodil, the head being created out of a toilet roll.
The children knew just the place for their daffodils. They had been working on a den together during the week and decided daffodils were just what were needed to finish it off. Carefully they carried them over to our den building area to show off their den and plant their daffodils around.
I love this photo of them all crowded inside.
We hunted around from here for signs of spring to take back to the craft table. The Camellias were out, as well as the daffodils and snowdrops, so there were plenty of colours to find.
The children arranged their spring treasures along a strip of paper which I helped them tape into place.
Next we curled and fixed the paper around two short sticks to make film and used some old chocolate egg boxes I’d been saving since last year to make a TV.
As if by magic their spring finds were now on a TV show!
My thanks to Cheryl from Time To Craft, who reminded me I was storing my egg boxes to make TVs with this post linked to my #Trash2Treasure Link up.
All the children embraced our springwatch crafts with such enthusiasm I shall be using elements from this session again over the coming weeks. We have good availability throughout March if you fancy joining us.
With Valentine’s Day clashing with the half term holidays I like to do something fun to mark the occasion with the children staying here at Coombe Mill. While they may be too young for the romantic side of Valentine’s Day, they have no difficulty with the concept of love, especially family love and hearts as a symbol of this. Last year we made some fun heart charms for the children to remember their holiday and hang in their gardens at home. I hung my Coombe Mill valentine’s charm up in the Fairy Gardens and would you believe a year later it is still twirling in the breeze. On the basis of how well they lasted I decided to make a country trail for the children with them this year and share with you here how to make one yourself.
What you’ll need to make a Valentine’s Charm
Cardboard, a cereal box is ideal
Duck tape colours of your choice
Draw a heart shape on a piece of card to the size you want your charm to be and a smaller heart inside.
Cut out the outer and inner heart.
Cut strips of duck tape colours and cover the card ensuring all exposed edges are covered to keep your charm waterproof.
Cut a long length of floristry ribbons and tear into 2 or three pieces.
Wrap the ribbons round the heart from the centre leaving two long ends for hanging
Hang your valentine’s charm the garden.
A few alternatives to try
Ideas for early year’s children:
Try cutting different shapes for young children and using them to learn and match shapes and colours.
Make different sizes and see if children can order them from smallest to biggest.
Make your valentines charm into a necklace or medal for all the family to wear on Valentine’s Day.
Ideas with older children
Turn them into pretty bunting in the garden or living room.
Make a Valentines Nature Trail or Treasure hunt as we are doing with clues or nature facts tucked into the floristry ribbon.
I hope you will find a use for these cute valentines charms, they are so simple to make and very long lasting even outdoors.
We have various seasonal activities through the year where we go that little bit further as a holiday business to make your stay here memorable. New Year’s Eve is one such time. We have built up a bit of a tradition for having a little party and celebration which has grown year on year. This year we combined our weekly activity hour into the day making a full afternoon and evening of fun for our guests.
New Year’s Eve Activity Hour
I enlisted the help of Guy and Clio and began over in the games room. Our first activity was turning empty toilet rolls into Chinese lanterns as it is Chinese new year this month too. It took some careful cutting to get these right and we even added pretend flames.
My second activity was more straightforward. The children ran off in search of a stick to make a sparkler. They then chose strips of floristry ribbon to tape to one end and as simple as that their sparklers were complete and ready to wave around. These were a huge hit and best of all for the parents, they were the safest sparklers around!
With two crafts completed I was keen to get every one up and running around. I handed out the first clue for a firework treasure hunt. Not real fireworks I hasten to add, but laminated firework clues hidden around the farm in riddles. I had the children chasing all over to find the answers.
The last clue took the children to Guy in the den building zone, who was ready and waiting with a camp fire. As promised in the last clue the children each took marshmallows to toast. It was just chilling down as the light began to fade and the fire gave us a welcome winter warmth.
A few were worried they might miss the evening train ride, however as the train driver was still busy cooking marshmallows no one could miss out. With tummies full of marshmallow and sparklers still in hand the children headed over to the train.
New Years Eve Party
I had an hour spare from our afternoon activities to dress the games room ready for our new year’s eve party. As everyone arrived, corks were popped, nibbles munched and the music played. Everyone was in high spirits to welcome in the new year, although we actually hold our party in the early evening to make it a truly family event.
There was just one more surprise for everyone; crowding outside the games room and looking up the hill, Farmer Nick gave us all a magnificent firework display.
Christmas on the farm has been a whirl of fun and laughter. Coombe Mill was fully booked and with many returning for a second or third Christmas with us, expectations were riding high for our special Christmas Eve activity Hour following the success of last year. I spent some time planning and preparing and it was worth it with so many joining in.
Dressed as Mrs Claus, I explained to an attentive audience all the things I hoped to complete in the afternoon. First off was baking biscuits for the children to leave out for Santa as I had been tipped off that these were a favourite of his.
With biscuits baking we set about making our Christmas Gift Tree Decorations. I have a lovely tutorial for this one over on #Trash2Treasure if you fancy doing them next year. They are really simple and fun and made a great way to decorate our Christmas Tree ahead of the party later that evening.
Moving on we made some fun Christmas Eve Reindeer and Santa Tags ready for when our biscuits came out of the oven. The children were really thoughtful with their messages to Santa on the back.
The Games room was smelling delicious as the biscuits came out of the oven. However they were still very hot so we took everyone off on the elf trail we had laid out beforehand. Each child had a sheet to tick off the elves as they found them and to make a note of the letter hidden behind each elf.
At the end of the Trail the children rearranged the letters to make the word “Rudolph”. Such a simple idea but they had a wonderful time and were thrilled to complete their sheets.
At the end of the bamboo tunnel my little elves were waiting to hand out reindeer food to go with the tags the children had made earlier and chocolate pennies for discovering the word.
The children queued to visit the elves and then took advantage of a little adventure play while everyone had their turn.
There were a few wet welly boots by the time we returned to the games room but everyone was refreshed and ready to wrap and tag their Santa biscuit parcels and reindeer treats.
I was amazed we managed to pack everything in with so many, but we were on a tight timescale with the Santa Express firing up in the distance. I’ll be sharing all about that one next week. It’s safe to say children staying here are more than ready for their beds by the end of Christmas Eve at Coombe Mill!
“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.