Easy Christmas decorations the kids will love

Posted on December 20th, 2012 - Fiona

Christmas, fun or stressful?

I love Christmas, all the fun and excitement that goes along with it in the build up for the children, but I also find it stressful at times too and have to remind myself what is and isn’t important when I start worrying about catering for 10 each day in the house, the parties I am arranging and the number of presents to buy and store with such a large family. However seeing the excited faces on my children after school each day, counting down the days on their advent calendars and writing cards for their friends I remember that there is very little that really matters to make Christmas fun for them. Christmas Decorations

I have watched some amazing homemade Christmas foods being prepared with Yellow Days Festive Food Hop and contributed  a couple but have failed totally on the crafty link ups. I have seen amazing work coming from ,  and  to name but a few and have been feeling guilty at not managing anything myself. Here is where I put that right and add a couple of really simple ones that work for us and I can thoroughly recommend to any wan-a be crafter who just hasn’t found the time or energy to get it together, and let’s face it, time is running out!

Christmas cards and snowflakes

I love this because it solves all my problems of where to store the hundreds of Christmas cards arriving each day. They fall off the window sills and blow over on work tops when the doors open and so turning them into decorations up high is perfect storage and decoration all in one. I simply use the Curtain pole tops and the odd nail in the top of the walls to string up some wool, then hang the cards over as they come in. Guy had taken to making snowflakes from folded scrap paper so we threaded these too and the finished result is really rather festive!

Table decorations

Guy and I made potato table decorations back in the summer and I vowed then we would repeat the exercise for Christmas. The children helped me round the farm to pick holly and winter foliage and we collected shells from the beach last weekend.


Collecting Shells and holly


By stacking the shells we made Christmas trees which we sank into potato slices, then the children added their trimmed holly using wooden skewers to help pierce the holes in the potatoes. We finished their decorations with tea lights and spray snow and added them all together on a silver plate for effect.  They were delighted with the results and it made for a fun afternoon together.


Making Christmas table Decorations  


Christmas table decorations by Coombemill kids


Keeping with nature

A few holly leaves from the farm and fairy lights draped around the curtain poles and picture frames, together with the Christmas cards and snowflakes transform our kitchen into a festive family room with so little effort. It works for the kids and keeps me happy as my work tops and window ledges remain clutter free for all that cooking and entertaining I have ahead!


Nature and decorations

Don’t Stress this Christmas

Try to ensure the  decorations you do  this Christmas makes you and your family happy. When it becomes a chore the magic is gone. If you are more ambitious than me then take a look at some of the really cool crafty room decorations on the “Count down to Christmas” linky here run by Rainy Day Mum ~ The Boy and Me ~ The Madhouse ~ Here Comes the Girls

The Christmas Tag

Posted on December 17th, 2012 - Fiona

I have been tagged by the lovely Jenny from Mummy Mishaps in a Christmas meme that I have seen travelling widely in the blogosphere, I may be the last to finally add my piece, but it is a fabulous list of questions so I am taking time out from working towards Christmas and enjoying all that it brings to sit down and record my thoughts.
Q1. What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?
Catching some family outdoor time. I love the Christmas lights, visits to Santa, putting up our decorations and just being outdoors with the children in the run up to Christmas when they are so excited for all that is ahead.
Christmas at Coombe Mill
Q2. What’s your favourite makeup look for the festive season?
Couldn’t be further from my thoughts, last year Christmas day was so full on I’m not sure I managed any makeup, which is probably just as well as it would have run in the sea anyway – yes we all went body boarding in the sea on Christmas day! The eldest two boys have new winter wet suits for Christmas so I hope to repeat our beach trip again this year! 
 Polzeath beach on Christmas DayIn the sea on Christmas DayIn the sea on Christmas Day
Q3. Real or fake tree?
We have real trees in all our properties from the local nursery and one for us too. I love putting them up and decorating them with all the kids favourite treasures over the years. The finished result is far from designer but loved and homely and very Coombe Mill! I just love the smell of the pine, but pay for it when I am still trying to pick pine needles out of the carpets in spring!
Real Christmas Tree with the children's treasures
Q4. Giving presents or receiving them?
It gives me such pleasure to see presents being opened; I am so looking forward to seeing the triplets’ faces when they unwrap these their tablets this year and these amazing handmade cases made especially for them by the lovely Sarah at Silver Birch Crafts.
hand made tablet cases
Q5. Do you open your presents Christmas morning or evening?
With 8 of us and family staying each year presents become a morning, noon and night event! Father Christmas presents for the children in the morning, a few presents after lunch and the main haul of family presents in the evening round the tree after Christmas dinner when we have enjoyed the best of the outdoors for the day.
Christmas Morning stockings waitingMorning stocking openingFamily presents waiting for the evening!
Q6. Handmade Christmas cards or bought?
I find Christmas cards a real chore and write less and less each year, it strikes me as an awful waste of time and resources. I only send them to friends and family I don’t see regularly and they are bought ones.  After about the 17th December I find I am falling over cards everywhere, though they do make very effective cheap decorations for the room when interspersed with homemade snowflakes which also gets them up and out of the way! 
Cards into decorations
Q7. What’s your favourite Christmas film?

 ,  and  all rave about Polar Express so I might have to watch this, I don’t think I have stopped to watch a Christmas film since I was a child, back then it was always The Sound of Music or The towering Inferno which stick in my mind each Christmas on TV.

Q8. What’s your favourite Christmas food?

Dates and Stilton, cracking nuts from their shells and a glass of port. Though if I am honest I love all the Christmas food and since I invented my wheat free, bit free Christmas cake recipe it is definitely up there as one of my favourite Christmas foods too.

Wheat Free, Bit Free  Christmas cake slice
So I now tag the following Christmas stars, it is a long list in the hope that I find someone who has not already completed this festive meme. If you have been tagged and already posted, please leave me a comment with your post so I can check out your Christmas fun too.

Follow your dreams into 2013

Posted on December 13th, 2012 - Fiona

Life Changing Decisions

It’s a New Year and I’m sure many will have New Year’s resolutions on the go, consciously or otherwise. But have you included the big life changing plans? 10 years ago we put our New Year’s resolution into practice and never looked back again as we bravely bought Coombe Mill Farm Holidays.

Why we wanted to change our lives

Why Coombe Mill


Reflections 10 years on – The good and the bad

Why it is still right for us today – future plans, train, gym, property upgrades,the kids freedom

Inspiring you

Follow your dreams, it doesn’t matter if they are big or life changing, if you know you want it you will find a plan to make it work. I hope 2013 is the year you follow your dreams. 

Multiples Mayham Carnival

Posted on December 3rd, 2012 - Fiona

Grab yourself a cuppa and cake then settle in for a good read!

I am delighted to be hosting my first ever Carnival and even more delighted that it should be the amazing Multiples Mayhem. I find multiple parents very supportive and full of helpful hints and tips for handling all the wonderful and worrying things that parenting brings our way. I needn’t have feared about you seeing my call for posts, thanks to all the retweets and shares from you the message clearly worked its way round the blogosphere and I have a wonderful collection here; so pull up a chair, grab yourself some quiet time and settle down for a lovely read. 

Multiples Mayhem from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Over to you:

Some Questions to Answer:

Debbie at Johnson Babies asks us for some advice on one to one time with her twins. Looks to me as a working Mum she is doing an amazing job right now, but I’m sure she would appreciate your views on her dilemma as her delightful twin boys reach two.

The school play and unequal parts for her twins leaves Anthea of Blue Bear Wood feeling proud and guilty all at once. How would you handle this one?

What sparks off a tantrum with your toddler? Rebecca from Here Comes the Girls shares what sets her girls off and how frustrating it can be on a school morning!

Suzanne from Mummy to Twins asks us for some hair styles for her girls, personally I love what she has created for them in her post, but can you add some more funky, practical and cute suggestions?

Karen from Tales of a Twin Mum  tells the journey of her twin boys accepting a baby sister on the scene. Have you got any advice to offer as she enters this new chapter with three children?


Information Posts

Wonderful News for Margaret as she announces over on Mummy’s Space that she is about to join our Multiples club!

Over on Twins Tiaras and Tantrums Lisa reflects on why she didn’t realize she was in labour. The whole pregnancy and birth thing can feel a little surreal at the time, I can see just why Lisa reacted as she did.

Eleanor who blogs at 2 of Everything reflects back on her birth story. A gripping read that brought many memories back of my own births and I’m sure will do the same for you too. 

If you have multiples coming up to weaning age, see how Emma from Crazy with Twins worked out her twins were ready for solids.

Read how child led potty training of Twins can be stress free from Kristen at Caution! Kids at Play 

Kristen from Caution! Twins at Play shows how to ensure our children keep the play space tidy! It will take patience and input from you but could be worth it in the long run.

Are you part of a real life multiples group? Joanne from Trouble Doubled is but finds her local group under threat. See why she values her group and is pleading to keep it open.


Reflections on a first term at school

Mari from Maris World updates us on her twin girls as they start school, noting their differences, happy moments and tricky times. Something in here I think we can all relate to 

Michelle at Mummy from the Heart shares her concerns for the twins from their first term at school, different characters really do react differently to situations as Michelle finds out. She would love to hear from anyone else who has been through early school days and opted to separate their twins into different classes.

Anthea from Blue Bear Wood has twin girls who are so sure of their identity; check out their lovely response when Mummy asks one to look in the mirror at her new school uniform


Twin Differences

Even at 6 months different personalities are showing at Crazy with Twins, Emma takes a fun look at development through her babies eyes.

Stacey at Five’s a Fellowship looks at the same phenomena of the startling differences in her twins already, my triplets are all very different too, is this your experience?

Even at 6 months different personalities are showing at Crazy with Twins, Emma takes a fun look at development through her babies’ eyes.

Amie relishes the differences in her twins and offers 8 helpful steps on her blog Triple T Mum to ensure your multiples feel like individuals.

Funny Post:

I had to include this one for the fun factor, things you could only say to multiples from Crazy with Twins

Never Forgotten

I must just finish with a little mention for Multiple Mummy who is usually part of this Carnival. I think everyone by now must know the terrible situation with Kerry in Hospital, it felt only right to give her a mention here and also thank New Mum on Line for her memorable #Healing for Kerry night on twitter and linky. Kerry we hope you will be back to join us here again in the future.


Looking Forwards

I have 2 lovely volunteers to host the next Multiples Mayhem. Kristen from  and Lisa from  I’ll leave you to agree the order and dates ladies which should take us well into 2013, thank you for offering and I hope you enjoy hosting as much as I have.

Can I also put in a mention for the Multiples Mayhem facebook page. If you are not already following please do. It has been newly set up by the ever efficient Joanne at Double Trouble and it would be great to see it supported as a forum for us all to share and learn all things multiple related. 


Wishing you all Happy Christmas Preparations this month and thank you for taking the time to participate and share here on the Carnival.



Is Remembrance Sunday Still Engaging Us?

Posted on November 12th, 2012 - Fiona

Remembrance Sunday, My memories

Since I can remember I always had to stand for the 2 minute silence on Remembrance Sunday, first with my parents and then with the Brownies and Guides. Buying a poppy and standing in respect once a year was something I was happy to do, and I remember fondly being part of the Brownies and that feeling of occasion and importance that would surround the Sunday service.

History repeated

In our house the tradition continues; my children doing as I did observing the two minutes silence and attending parade with the Brownies, Cubs and Scouts. We stood for a lovely half hour as the winter sun beamed down on us at the memorial, the wreaths were laid a few words and a prayer from the Vicar before the stillness and quiet of the two minutes, broken by the traditional sound of a solo trumpet player. The children had a bounce in their step as they proudly marched down the lane following the brass band to Church. It was a moving time and respected by all who gathered. 

 Remembrance Parade


My confusion comes after this. Having marched to the Church, the service is a letdown.  Even the leaders agreed it was dull, so what hope for the children? My generation can still remember grandparents and great uncles touched by the war, for my own children it is just stories and pictures, surely we need to work harder for the children today if we want them to carry on these traditions. How hard can it be to give the service a relevance to their lives and talk at their level in their language too? The Scouts were behind a pillar so they couldn’t even see anything.  I knew the answer before I asked my children what they thought. There are only a few major occasions in the year where the Church gets so many children in, I wish they could go all out to make them count. Our local Church in the Village is packed out for the Service on Christmas Eve, if only a little of the Christmas involvement could be included for Remembrance, I know the message is totally different, but the need to connect is not. 

By the time it came to marching back to the memorial, the Army Cadets, that bit older still looked the part, but the Scouts and Cubs were looking thoroughly fed up! I captured this photo of Theo on his way back which says it all.


 Theo being rebellious on Parade

No I didn’t know he had taken bubble gum in with him!


Is this just my experience? do you acknowledge the day? How are you keeping it relevant to your children or have you let the occasion slip? Do you have to coax the children through a Church service which by choice they wouldn’t attend? I will continue to insist my children attend in the hope they will mature and the Church will adapt, but I fear they may turn their back on it all in time.