Posted on January 12th, 2018 - Fiona
Traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations may revolve around fizz at midnight but when you have younger children we think it’s great to do something fun as a family at a time they are able to enjoy. I remember as a child myself fighting to stay awake with my parents till midnight to see in the new year, then finding it all a bit of an anticlimax on orange squash and being grumpy and tired the next day. For this reason here on the farm we run from the afternoon New Year crafts into a family party as the night sky settles in. This has the added benefit of leaving the traditional party hours free for adult time celebrating New Year while worn out little ones sleep.
A Versatile Games Room
My own children helped me turn the games room from craft centre to party room with twinkle lights, music, drinks and a table of party food straight from the oven. We even rigged up a heater to make it warm enough to take off coats and really enjoy the atmosphere.
As the guests arrived the children played games and danced while the adults enjoyed a drink and a chat in comfort without the usual wellies from the farm duties.
Fireworks to Impress
Farmer Nick snuck away from the party to prepare the fireworks for us and I prayed the rain would hold off for us to enjoy them. We had sparklers for the children to start and their little faces were a picture as Guy and Jed lit them and handed them out along the path.
Then we followed the beam of the tractor lights along the path to stand and watch the display.
With Rockets and a giant mixed display box we were kept entertained for a good 5 minutes. Not quite central London but enjoyed just as much.
As Nick and I cleared up and prepared to return home for our own family celebrations for New Year we knew we had left some happy little ones excited for 2018.
Celebrating New Year with Younger children on the farm
Posted on November 25th, 2017 - Fiona
Last week I mentioned how difficult it can be having my teenage children in my photos these days. This week I am proud to share not just one teenager but all of them and Farmer Nick too. The occasion was my 50th Birthday party. I was determined to mark my half century in style with a fun filled party and not a oldies style sit down event and be surrounded by all my family. While I can take no credit for the photos as I am in them all, I am very grateful to all who took over my camera on the night for the official and unofficial photos. The theme was James Bond which resulted in some great themed and smart outfits. I enjoyed every minute of the evening with 4 generations present as well as friends. We gambled (fake money) and danced the night away and while it took a lot of organising, it was a wonderful memorable evening. As an added bonus I finally have a photo to replace the now rather dated picture of The Family Team on my website. Nick and I may look much the same, but a couple of years make a huge difference with children.
New updated photo from my birthday party last Saturday
Farmer Nick and me looking very un-farmer like
The unofficial snaps make me smile. I had gathered all the kids around me while I said a few words, the contents of which I can’t quite remember, but something must have made them smile judging by the photo. Even better is noticing the casual arms draped around one another, there is nothing more wonderful to see as a parent than your kids like this.
Looking very much a family
Not to be left out Jed grabbed the microphone from me and added his own words, I love this photo of him looking as though he is mid karaoke!
Jed taking centre stage
I can now safely say organising an adult birthday party is at least as much work as a children’s party, but twice the fun. If you have a significant birthday approaching, do consider a good party, it really is such a memorable way to embrace a new decade, bring family and friends together and keep the inner kid in you alive.
Posted on December 31st, 2016 - Fiona
Where did 2016 go? I feel this year has flown by so fast and my feet have hardly touched the ground. I’m planning to touch down and share some of my highlights from the year in the coming weeks when all the festivities are behind us and I have time to gather myself and think. For today I’d just like to share a few festive photos from the past week and wish everyone a Happy New Year.
The Coombe Mill Santa Express on Christmas Eve
Christmas has been a whirlwind as ever here. We have been full with holiday guests which has been wonderful. We’ve had a magical time with our famous Santa train, Christmas farm activities and a whole host of fun entertainments, not to mention our own family Christmas.
Christmas Day Feed Run
Family Beach trip on Christmas Day
We waved our Christmas guests off; cars loaded with happy memories and presents, and welcomed our New Year holiday makers. With plenty of farm fun to enjoy and quality time to spend outdoors exploring the local beaches, Christmas excess is soon worn off here.
Jed at the end of another glorious day on the beach
The wise put aside the diets for another week as we have plenty of opportunity to indulge again with our New Year’s Eve party here on the farm and some of the best local village pubs and seaside restaurants around.
New Year’s Eve Party for all staying at Coombe Mill
Fireworks to end the Coombe Mill New Year’s Eve Party
On a personal level I have been in my element with all my family around me for the festive period. Having my great nieces and nephews and my Mum has brought 4 generations here to the farm. I never could have imagined when we bought the farm back in 2002 what a great investment it would be, not only for the delight of seeing our own children grow up enjoying an idyllic lifestyle, but also as a draw for future family generations too.
A reflective moment heading back from the local pub to Coombe Mill
Happy New Year
Wherever you are I hope you have loved ones around to toast the New Year and plenty to look forward to in 2017.
Remember we are open all year round and hope to be part of your holiday plans.
Fiona, Nick and the Children
Posted on December 22nd, 2016 - Fiona
I’m just sharing a short poem as a Christmas message today to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas.
If you have popped over looking for #CountryKids it is taking a Christmas break, although last week’s linky is still open. A new link will be back on 7th January where I’d love you to share you outdoor festive family fun.
A Christmas Message
Whether you are celebrating at home like us
Or away with family and friends,
May peace and happiness reign down on you.
He may be Father Christmas he may be St Nic
Or even Santa Claus
When bed time calls check that stocking is hung.
No peeping in the night through eyes fighting sleep
Or looking out the window,
The sleigh only stops when all are asleep.
Whether you are watching Christmas movies
Or cooking the dinner out back,
May laughter and fun fill the room for you.
A country walk on this winters day
Or a blast of sea air,
May rosy cheeks and warmth spread from within.
Spare a moment to stop and think
Or say a little prayer,
For those less fortunate on Christmas day.
Hold dear ones tight as festivities end
And be thankful within,
For family and friends this Christmas time.
From all of us here at Coombe Mill, whether you have holidayed with us or followed our farm news this year here on the blog:
Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.
Please keep us in mind as you chat over your holiday plans for 2017 this Christmas. We would love to be welcoming you to the farm for an out of season short break or your main family summer holiday. Coombe Mill will be saying open right through 2017 and all the farm activities will run each day for anyone booked in, even in January! Do check out the homepage for any special offers and sign up for our newsletter there too.
Posted on September 25th, 2016 - Fiona
I thought I was done with the emotional roller coaster of the first day of school. At age twelve to eighteen my children are all growing up and finding their independence. Their need for me and their Dad is reducing all the time and this independence is something I’ve always encouraged. However I failed to factor in just how emotional taking the first to University would be. Suddenly I felt like a parent taking my child to his first day at primary all over again; except worse, I wouldn’t be returning to collect him with a big hug in a few hours.
Off to Cardiff University
When Alistair secured his place at Cardiff University I was so happy for him, it was an exciting new world opening up. The days closed in and as we drove up I could feel the apprehension in the car. A cocktail of nervous excitement from Alistair and a quiet dread of saying goodbye from me. Thankfully it was a beautiful day and the bridge into Wales felt very welcoming.
Nick had driven up separately as Alistair was keeping his car with him. As we met at his new halls of residence it felt like time had stood still from 30 years ago and my own first day. That same smell, a cross between school and a hospital, the old fire doors, bike lock up and small rooms. However a friendly group of early arriving girls keenly welcomed Ally to the group on his floor and I felt things were going to work out at university. He even had a cracking view over the city and Cardiff bay from his 5th floor window.
We were blessed with the most amazing September weather and took Ally for brunch in Cardiff bay. I’m already looking forward to return trips and Nick is exploring the idea of hiring a boat to blast across from Padstow to Cardiff which he thinks would only take an hour.
With a big supermarket shop done there was no more need for us to be there. It was time for us to bid him Goodbye and let him find his feet alone. I was determined not to cry but as Nick pointed out the family photos he had secretly packed and pinned up on his notice board I almost cracked. I walked out with a huge lump in my throat, but reassured this little cuckoo was well set up for his new university life.
I had to wait a full 36 hours before I had my first Facebook message. He had been out to his first freshers party and it was “awesome” relief flooded through me. He is hopeless at staying in contact so I treasure the occasional message and I’m trying not to keep asking how he is. I don’t want to be an annoying parent, but it is so hard to just let go and not wonder how he is doing. I remember all too clearly blaming vandalised payphones when I forgot to ring home, though I guess the modern day equivalent would be ‘my phone was out of charge or credit’!
Ally has left a big gap in our family life but we are learning to adjust, it is every bit as hard as I feared and I think about him all the time. Whoever is on dinner time table laying duty is still setting out eight places instead of seven. I can’t believe I may have to do this 5 more times over the coming years. If you have a little one just started primary, watch out, the heartache at leaving them certainly doesn’t get easier as they get older. Once a parent, always a parent, even when they fly the nest.
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