Win a Fire Station Activity Book and Playset

Posted on January 4th, 2016 - Fiona

Here at Coombe Mill we are great believers in learning through play. Each week we try to come up with crafts and activities for the guests staying at Coombe Mill based on a craft or activity that is both topical and educational. Often these relate to learning from the week on the farm or special times of year. With New Year upon us I was keen to do something linking to fireworks and fire safety with our young guest’s head of our New Year’s Eve party.


Win a Fire Station Activity Book and Playset 

Parragon books had sent me a beautiful Fire Station 3D pop up and build play set  together with a fun activity book which perfectly fitted my plans for our afternoon session and the children wasted no time in crowding round to help me assemble it.


Activity Book and Playset box


The play set is made from waxed board so substantial in quality and designed to be used more than once. The pieces pop out really easily and there is a handy double page diagram in the activity book to help you put it together. I have to confess it took the parents joining in to help us get it right so although I’d say the finished play set is suitable from age 3 upwards it takes someone older to help assemble it. There are 10 pop up characters to play with and the fire engine fits perfectly into the play station when complete. The Rescue ladder moves to give hours of imaginative play.


Putting together the Fire Engine


The activity book is perfect to supplement the fire station play containing some lovely challenges to help with early years verbal reasoning, counting and pen coordination skills.


Filling in the activity book


Win your firestation Activity book and Playset


If you fancy one of these lovely sets from Parragon books for your little one to enjoy then just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.


I was sent my Fire station play set and Activity book for the purpose of this review, all thoughts are my own. 


Family Fever  

Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on January 1st, 2016 - Fiona


Happy New Year

Welcome back to a 5th year of Country Kids, I’m delighted to be back promoting outdoor family fun and will be sharing Christmas and New Year on the farm over the next few weeks.


Christmas Activity Hour


No wonder we talk about the weather in the UK, we began only our second Christmas feed run in torrential rain, it was already clear from the previous day that the chicken fields soaked from weeks of wet weather was soon going to turn into a dangerous mud soup and so we took the decision to round up the chickens and transfer them to the hard surface peacock enclosure for the holidays. This way we could safely visit them without sliding over in the mud; it was a very hands on start to the day for many.


Moving the chickens


With craft hour due that afternoon I was willing the weather to perk up with a plan afoot that involved a visit to the fairy gardens. Thankfully for me the weather was on my side and it turned into a real spring like day just in time for us to start. We began making Elf post boxes in the craft tent, I had practiced them in advance and even have a tutorial on how to make them, but I took a few short cuts like pre painting the toilet rolls and cutting and painting the lids in advance to ensure we had enough time.


Making the Post Boxes


Just as everyone was glossing their boxes I had a prearranged call from my elves in the fairy garden requesting that the children were all needed. We downed tools and all made our way over to find a little Elf sitting under an umbrella with a letter for us.


Hunting for the elf


The children all crowded round while my little Elf carefully read out a letter from Santa requesting that all the children take a scoop of the Elf’s specially prepared reindeer food for Rudolph the Coombe Mill Deer Stag, apparently Blitzen was feeling poorly and Rudolph might be needed on Christmas Eve, the food if given on the morning of Christmas Eve would give Rudolph the powers he needed to help Santa. Elf Clio read every one a Christmas story before handing out food to every child.


Reading the  letter and book


Before we returned to the tent I had two more little helpers with a BBQ blazing offering the children a chance to toast a marshmallow. They used homemade Eco logs to burn instead of coal, if you fancy trying them there is a tutorial for them on the blog tomorrow evening.


Toasting Marshmallows

Revived and with a mission in hand we headed back to the craft tend to write messages to Rudolph and seal the special food bags ready for Christmas Eve.

Making the Reindeer Food

Those who were still keen moved onto Christmas tree making before Guy gave us a ‘toot toot’ for the Christmas train.  Many took the Christmas tree crafts home to finish but a few continued after the train and expertly finished their work.


Train and Christmas Tree


After the downpour at the chickens I was so relieved the afternoon cleared to see my activity hour plans come to fruition and the children having such a lovely time.


Joining in with Country Kids

I’d love you to come and share your outdoor fun with me here on the linky.  All posts are welcome from playing in the garden to days out.  All I ask is that the post is predominantly outside, away from screens and enjoying some fresh air.  I’d be delighted if you would take my badge or link back here and please remember to check out some of the other posts, it might just be the inspiration for your next adventure.

Country Kids is around in these 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 Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me 

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet


A few of my favourites from last week:

Tin Box Traveller has been exploring 'A Christmas Carol' at Mottisfont Abbey

Jump aboard the Santa Express at Nene Valley with Over 40 and a Mum to One

Little Hearts Big Love had a Bricktacular Christmas experience at Legoland

Win a pair of Muddy Puddles Wellies with Country Kids

January Giveaway 


I am delighted to announce that Muddy Puddles have joined with Coombe Mill to sponsor the Country Kids link up. My favourites each week will be considered for a pair of Muddy Puddles Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way.  If you are not already familiar with this wonderful outdoor children's range please do take a look at their website where they have everything needed for year round country kids. The wellies we offer may change each month but are always high quality, comfy and stylish so keep an eye out here on Country Kids to see which designs are up each month. For more more information on the Muddy Puddles wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here   

My winner of the December Puddlestomper wellies is Tin Box Traveller with her lovely Christmas post from Mottisfont Abbey. Congratulations Claire and please email me your choice of colour and size at


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



Coombe Mill Christmas Bloopers 2015

Posted on December 27th, 2015 - Fiona

The bits you weren’t meant to see!

This year has seen me move into the newly popular area of vlogging. I have hijacked Farmer Nick’s flood light and become a fan of vlogging for tutorials on both my cooking and craft activities. It is fair to say when looking back on my blunders over the year it is my crafting mishaps that are the most frequent, suggesting I am still very much an amateur in this area. However with eager children to entertain on the farm every week I do enjoy coming up with new ideas and then sharing how I do them here on the blog. Hopefully next year my rookie errors will reduce, in the mean time I hope you have a giggle at my expense on my outtakes video here. There were plenty more farm ones I can recall but not saved on film, it tends to be all hands on deck with the animals, but watch out Farmer Nick, after you have called my bluff and framed me here I might just have the camera running on you more in 2016!



Wishing all our Coombe Mill Holiday guests and blog followers a very Happy New Year

Fiona x

Cheers Bloopers

Decorative Christmas Branch Tutorial

Posted on December 16th, 2015 - Fiona

If the Christmas Tree is occupying the living room and your hall or kitchen needs a little creative something this could be just the ticket and virtually free to make too. I know many of the decorations these days can be bought cheaply, but by choice I still like to upcycle things and bring nature into the house where I can. This festive branch is an easy Christmas craft to keep in mind if you are heading off on a woodland walk. The wild winds from the autumn storms have brought twigs and branches down all over; it wasn’t hard to find the one I wanted here on the farm at Coombe Mill. If you are looking for inspiration why not check out the Forestry Commission sites, they are encouraging stick foraging with their stick man trail and activities while you walk their specially maintained paths and would be delighted for you to take home a fallen branch to make a festive home decoration too.  

Decorative Christmas Branch Tutorial

What you’ll need


Old plant pot or kids play bucket

Christmas tree decorations *

Spray paint

Rounded Pebbles

Garden stones

Coloured poster paint



Wool, string or other to hand decorations

Materials to make a Christmas Branch, A Coombe Mill Family Farm Holiday Craft


*For my decorations I have used simple paper snowflakes made by Guy, Christmas ribbon sticks, toilet roll Christmas trees and toilet roll post boxes, click on the links for tutorials on how to make each of these.


  1. Paint your pebbles in pretty colours and leave them to dry. For a touch of glamour give one corner of the dried pebbles a highlight spray with the gold paint.

  2. Wedge your branch into the bucket or plant pot with some large heavy stones so it stands upright and stable.

  3. Spray the branch with gold spray, ideally outdoors, and leave to dry.

  4. Place a sheet of wrapping paper under the plant pot and draw the sides up folding the ends in around the large stones and use a piece of sellotape to secure if needed.

  5. Place the coloured pebbles over the top of the garden stones and wrapping paper to make a pretty finish to the pot.

  6. Add your chosen decorations.  

Step by Step Christmas Branch

A few additions you could try

Why not try an all natural branch with sprigs of holly or mistletoe hanging down

Use it as a Christmas message or Advent Tree with a different rhyme or saying for each day to open up.

Wind Christmas lights around to make it sparkle

Treat the children and hang chocolate pennies or Christmas chocolates.

Our Christmas Branch will go to decorate our craft and ping pong tent for the festive season and showcase all the decorations the children can make with us in our Christmas Activity Hour.

Other additions

Vlog Tutorial to make a Christmas Branch


This craft is part of my monthly upcycling linky #Trash2Treasure. It opens on the first Monday of each month, is sponsored by the lovely folk at Duck Tape Colours with a prize each month so please do come and join me there with any upcycled projects you have from big DIY projects to children’s crafts. The December link up is here.


Trash 2 Treasure      Sincerely, Paula  Clarina’s Contemplations  thumbnailsizeKeep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.comMami 2 Five  



Toilet Roll Christmas Tree Tutorial

Posted on December 13th, 2015 - Fiona

I find the uses for toilet rolls never ending which is just as well as we generate so many between the holiday cottages and lodges and our own home with 8 of us living here. Throwing them away feels a crime. In the past I have turned them into cute farm pigs and have several more farm ideas up my sleeve for spring next year. For the Christmas countdown I shared my toilet roll inspired elf post box a few weeks ago and today I am making them into mini Christmas Trees to decorate a big tree, festive window or mantle piece. 


 Christmas Tree Toilet Roll Tutorial

What you’ll need

Toilet Roll



Green paint, Gold or yellow paint


PVA Glue

Wool (optional)

Materials to make a toilet roll Christmas Tree, A Coombe Mill Holidays Farm Craft



  1. Cut into the toilet roll at an angle withdrawing scissors before the centre
  2. Cut again in a straight line to meet the withdrawal point from the last cut and remove the triangle created
  3. Repeat up the toilet roll finishing on an angled cut
  4. Turn around and mirror the cuts on the other side finishing with an angles cut to form a point.
  5. Take 3 of the Triangle fallen pieces and overlap them to form a star and staple together.
  6. Staple the star to the point of the tree
  7. Paint the Tree Green and the star yellow or gold, leave to dry
  8. Coat with PVA Glue to give it a glossy finish
  9. whilst the PVA Glue’s drying sprinkle with glitter to add some Christmas Sparkle

Step by Step Toilet Roll Trees


A few additions you could try

Make a few and string them up as bunting

Use Christmas stickers from a sticker book to decorate

Add tiny pieces of cotton wool to the wet PVA glue to look like snow or stand the tree on a cotton wool base in a coffee jar lid.

Paint them different colours and thread wool through the top then hang them on the Christmas tree

Wind wool round before adding PVA glue to look like tinsel 

Toilet Roll Christmas Tree Decorations, a farm craft at Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays, Cornwall


These will form one of our Christmas crafts this year with the children staying on the farm. They are simple enough for toddlers to enjoy with a little scissor help and yet intricate enough to engage older children too. In all our properties we provide quality Christmas Trees and all the decorations to go with it for our guests, however there is nothing quite like personalising it with the children’s own handiwork.  


Vlog tutorial on making a toilet roll Christmas Tree


for more thrifty Christmas Crafts check out my monthly upcycling linky #Trash2Treasure. It opens on the first Monday of each month, is sponsored by the lovely folk at Duck Tape Colours with a prize each month so please do come and join me there with any upcycled projects you have from big DIY projects to children’s crafts. The December link up is here.


Trash 2 Treasure