Posted on June 16th, 2018 - Fiona
OK so I’m cheating somewhat this week, I’m stealing a couple of photos sent to me by our guests. Their story is so perfect I have to share. It was the half term week and here on the farm and we had a lovely family staying in our Honeysuckle Cottage. What none of us knew was that there was a marriage proposal in the making. We have had the most beautiful weather for the whole of April, May and June to date and sitting out in the evening has been a real treat with temperatures holding up into the 20’s. Anyway, during half term, while the children were tucked up in bed, a romantic scene was being created in our outdoor BBQ shelter. Candles and a tablecloth made a perfect shabby chic alfresco dining experience. Monitors easily reach from the cottage to the lawns, so while little ones slept a romantic scene was being prepared under the stars. Who knew Coombe Mill could actually be the most romantic place in the UK? To me this is the most beautiful place in the world so it makes sense. With all quiet except for the relaxing sound of the river, all still bar the flicking of the candles, what better place could there be to propose?
I think this next photo tells the rest. I am beyond thrilled for the couple and their family. That this wonderful event happened here at Coombe Mill makes me so happy.
It just goes to show a family holiday here is not just for the kids, it is truly for parents too. I hope we will see the family again; after all it is not a moment they will forget in a hurry! While I can’t guarantee the beautiful weather we have had this year, I can guarantee all the makings of a relaxing holiday in the most beautiful setting.
Could we be your most romantic place in the UK too?
Posted on June 15th, 2018 - Fiona
Clio told me back in February, as we wandered around the lake, that the bright yellow flowers on our gorse bush were edible. I’ve been thinking about how to use them ever since. Then I saw a lovely post from Annette at Four Acorns who used them to make ice cream and I knew I had to try something. Ice cream sounded delicious but would take too long to set on an afternoon with the children here so I decided to bake wild gorse flower cakes with them instead. I tested a batch out on my own children first, and then happy that they were going to be popular with the holiday guests, I formed our afternoon activities around this idea.
We began with a walk over to the lakes where I knew there were a few bushes for us to raid. It was May and the flowers were nearly over. It was tricky to pick the flowers without getting prickled so the older children and grownups were in charge while the younger ones played on the lakeside play equipment.
Back at the craft table with hands and gorse flowers washed the children helped me add all the ingredients into a big mixing bowl.
We divided the mixture into little cake tins and placed them in the oven.
While the cakes were cooking, the children created a little recipe cards. These had the cooking instructions and a few pressed gorse flowers.
Then they sat on our new picnic rug from Prezzybox and began to colour in the fun designs.
I think they could have been colouring away for hours if they hadn’t spotted me bringing out the trays of perfectly risen wild gorse flower cakes. I placed a plate of cooled cakes on the picnic rug and colouring pens went down as everyone tasted their baking.
I think its fair today they went down a treat. Foraging for edible flowers is a great way to encourage children on a country walk. Remember to take a container to bring your flowers home. Here is the recipe if you fancy giving it a go.
Recipe for Wild Gorse Flower Cakes
All the fun of our foraging and baking afternoon on video
Posted on June 9th, 2018 - Fiona
Back in the New Year I made a commitment to create a new trail in the orchard. Farmer Nick had carved out a pathway so he could mow, but I instantly saw the potential for a new farm trail. I painted some kindness plaques and lay them along the slopes. We used the newly forming trail as part of our Easter Activity hour creating a wishing tree too. However as I showed it to friends in May, I discovered the plaques had been buried in spring growth. Farmer Nick came to the rescue. He screwed the plaques to some old balcony batons and hammered them into the ground. To these I added my painted wishing well under the apple blossom of the Wishing tree.
I’m thrilled with my newly named kindness trail and hope to add to it over the summer. For now it is a beautiful space to explore. Guests can wander through at leisure discovering the motivational messages on the plaques and add a wish to the wishing tree. With no traffic noise, just the distant sound of the river and nature going about its business, it is a peaceful setting to reflect, feel grateful and dare to hope for the future.
Wishing tree and wishing well.
Kindness plaque and wishing tags on the Wishing tree.
Kindness plaque standing proud on a banister in the ground.
Coombe Mill Lodges located in front of the trail.
Wood chip paths for ease of walking the kindness trail to the wishing tree
Posted on June 2nd, 2018 - Fiona
Last week I shared the lovely spaces pure and unedited here on the farm. This week I wanted to home in on colour. The transition from spring to summer brings out all my favourite colours on the farm; the rich Rhododendron, the delicate wisteria and lilac and the bright yellow and wonderful scent of honeysuckle. Rich oranges merge with burnt russets against crisp lime green leaves. These vibrant colours can seem lost in the green spaces on the farm, but going on a nature colour hunt reveals a rainbow of vivid colour. Nature is so clever and manages to make stunning combinations which in any other context might appear quite gaudy. Rainbows of summer colour has been the theme of our activities here this week and from nature hunts to flag making the colours have been fun to spot and collect.
Rich pink Rhododendron and sweet yellow Honeysuckle in the garden to Water Mill cottage.
Close up on the Honeysuckle.
Rainbows of summer colour all in one leaf on this colourful bush.
Flowering each year this rich orange flower frames the Coombe Mill train track.
Wisteria hangs over the old 16th Century Miller’s House.
Every summer I want to pause time and keep these wonderful colours for longer. Yet this is the cycle of nature, the summer colours will fall to be replaced by the burnt oranges of autumn before winter takes hold and the whole cycle starts again. Perhaps I appreciate the rainbows of summer colour more for not having them all year. For more beautiful gardens in Cornwall Lanhydrock National Trust is awash with Rhododendron at this time of year and they line the approach to Pencarrow House. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are full of colour as are Trebah Gardens. If the names sound familiar that’s because our Scandinavian Lodges are all named after these delightful Cornish Gardens.
Posted on May 26th, 2018 - Fiona
It isn’t very often I go out to snap a few photos and share without any editing, but my photos this week are indeed unedited. Not a tweak, a highlight or a boost, just raw photos. Coombe Mill is set on the edge of an area of outstanding natural beauty. Our valley is wooded and lush and our 12 properties are spread out, set back along the riverbank. I find it hard to convey the feeling of space and beauty here, the sense of calm and rest and of being at one with nature. However on a sunny May morning Coombe Mill takes some beating for shear natural beauty. Anything I tried to add to these photos of our relaxing gardens just detracted from the original, so in keeping with the saying “why change what isn’t broke” I have left them all unedited. The pictures still don’t do justice to the beauty of the season here, or convey the amount of space there is to explore, but hopefully it gives you an idea.
All our Lodges face down to the river Camel. The field gardens offer plenty of open space perfect for picnics and play or just relaxing and listening to the river.
Polzeath lodge is our newest holiday lodge with it’s own fenced garden leading to the wide open field.
Across the lane Coombe Mill continues. This photo is the private front garden to Water Mill with the lane and more cottage gardens beyond.
A sweeping drive leads from the lane to Tree Roots, Honeysuckle and Willow Cottages with relaxing gardens either side.
Space and facilities on the cottage lawns leading to the river.
We still have a few summer spaces if you fancy loosing yourself in our relaxing gardens this summer, experiencing our enchanting river and learning all about the farm.
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