Grandma found my blog!

Posted on November 8th, 2012 - Fiona

Technology and the Elderly

Bless my Mum, she is in her mid 70’s and about to have her first birthday without my dear Dad who passed away back in the Grandma helping me at Coombemill last monthsummer. Grandma lives a good 4 hours drive away so we can’t always be with her and rely on various forms of communication, most typically letter and telephone, and I mean land line, as this is what her generation grew up with. Trying to explain to my children that a text, an email or a facebook message just isn’t going to cut it on Grandma’s birthday is hard to understand when this is the technology they have grown up with. Even I think it is perfectly acceptable to use some form of on line thanks or a text after a dinner party, kids play date or such like, though would still go for a real birthday card for close friends and family.

Grandma has bought a lap top and is really struggling but persisting in learning the basics of email and the internet. I forget how far I have come in recent years till I see my Mum trying to bang the keys like an old typewriter and grappling with the fine motor skills needed on a mouse. However managing without these days is becoming harder. We no longer have printed material for our farm holidays and we are not alone, finding information quickly and easily without the internet is a proper bind. We have just updated Grandma’s house phones which were so old they didn’t allow you to “press one” when prompted, no wonder she was having trouble! Who knows when printed phone directories will go but surely it is inevitable and what then for the elderly with no computer knowledge?

Managing in the modern world on old technology is becoming a real issue and I am keen to encourage Grandma with her “new toy” as she calls it. I now receive a weekly email (though it is sometimes blank having pressed send instead of backspace!)  and she has discovered how to tap into my blog posts and read our news here, armed with a cup of coffee and her ‘morning head’ for the task! 

Happy Birthday Grandma

To encourage my Mum in her pursuit of modern living we are sending birthday wishes here and giving the behind the scenes look at the Grandchildren making her more traditional card, which hopefully will have arrived safely by snail mail.

First we collected flowers from the gardens and meadows around the farm:

Collecting farm flowers

Then we brought the flowers and leaves inside and arranged them onto a piece of black card to make a picture. This was sellotaped into place and our eldest took charge of writing in gold pen on the front. Everyone then added their personal message inside, the eldest helping the younger ones with their spellings.

Card making for Grandma's Birthday

Finally they came up with a few unprompted birthday wishes, this is far from a polished performance, but I rather like it warts and all! Grandma, you need to left click the mouse over the arrow to play the video! 

Will we be left behind too?

Perhaps I will become the next generation left behind? Will my kids laugh at me when I ask them to email me and look at me with horror when I talk of videos and blogs? It is a sobering thought and one which I realize I will need to work at avoiding, though I am not yet sure how. I am sure when my parents proudly turned on the first colour TV in the street, they never imagined technology would pass them by! I would love to hear your stories of how your parents do or don’t cope and what you will do to prevent being in a technical time trap as the world begins to race by at a faster pace than you.

Call for Multiples Mayhem Carnival Submissions!

Posted on November 6th, 2012 - Fiona

I am thrilled to be hosting the Multiples Mayhem Carnival on 3rd December!


My Triplets - Newborn in HospitalToddler TripletsMy triplets now age 8

This is the first carnival I have ever done, so I hope I manage the protocol correctly and those in the know please do correct any blunders I make! I am looking forward to sharing some fabulous reading. The photos here are simply a snap shot of my parenting journey so far with Triplets.

What is the Multiples Mayhem Carnival?

It is a post that is held every two months (I have already failed by slipping a month) by different Multiple Parent bloggers. On the 3rd December I will put together a post to showcase the fun, the serious and the amusing posts from other Multiple Parents and Carers over the past few months giving one place for you to visit for some great reading and parenting tips!

How to get involved:

I am looking for Multiple Parent related posts, anything to do with twins, triplets or more would be welcome, even tiyr own story if you are a multiple. Please get writing or digging out those recent posts and email me your post URL link by Friday 23rd November so I can share them back here on the 3rd December.

Hosting the next Carnival:

As far as I’m aware there is no one booked for the New Year to take on the Multiple Carnival so please let me know if you would like to host the first of 2013 and I’ll pass on the baton.

Please grab the badge.

Below is the badge, which was made by Rebecca from twobecomefour. I have linked the badge to this blog so you can find the other entries if you add it to your post. You can also find the code in my side margin and I shall keep it there for the next few weeks whilst this is running so you can pick it up at any time. Just copy the code and then paste it into the HTML section of your blog and it should show the badge and link back here.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

The Carnival is now live here please click through to read all the entries. There is lots of helpful advice, some questions posed and a couple to make you chuckle too!


What makes a good party?

Posted on October 26th, 2012 - Fiona

Does entertaining thrill or scare you?

Last Saturday I had my birthday party. I organised it jointly with another Fiona and with some help from good friends we had the time of our lives. It made me sit back and think, what is it that makes a party really go with a swing, and enjoyable even when you are the host?

My Essential Guide to Partying:

1. Plenty to Drink

We over bought and friends kindly brought a bottle too, but I would rather that than run out any day. People relax and enjoy themselves if the wine is flowing. Farmer Nick was the perfect host all night, no one was left holding an empty glass!

2. Plenty of tasty food

Everyone is hungry when there is a good spread of temping food, and let’s face it you need food when your glass is being topped up all night! I have gone for hot food and cold in the past. This year I decided on cold sliced meats, which I could cook the day before including our very own home cured Parma ham, a whole cooked salmon, baked potatoes, garlic bread and a huge variety of colourful and tasty salads. With around 6 puddings and 2 cheese boards there was plenty to go around and even the children had a chance to come down and tuck in too. On balance I would say this is easier than hot food where you really need to serve people.

Party FeastParty SupperMouthwatering deserts

3. A good theme.

We decided on Hollywood glamour. The idea was from the MADs awards night. It gave a focus to decorating our kitchen for the evening and a dress code for the night. I was sorted; my lovely Littlewoods outfit from MADs would have another airing! It doesn’t matter if the theme is sensible or dressing up, a dress code is a talking point and creates the party mood.

Hollywood at Coombe MillHollywood DecorationsThat Dress!

4. Accept help.

I used to think if I was hosting a party then I had to do it all. Now if someone offers I gladly accept. I shared my party jointly with my good friend going by the same name of the same age. We brainstormed the theme together, agreed the invite list and shared out the food. It made a real difference. I also had 2 friends spend all day helping to decorate the room. We really went to town with old Hollywood stars around the room, A Hollywood sign outside and even a red carpet and photo call for everyone as they arrived, which was then projected onto a white sheet for the evening, people always like to have a giggle at photos of themselves. The beautiful baked salmon was also cooked by one of my friends, and anyone who asked if they could bring something I asked for a pudding.  No way could I have managed all this alone on a busy changeover day at Coombe Mill!

My helping hands!

5. A decent music system and good music mix.

I have fallen short on this one in the past testing the volume in an empty room and thinking all was well, then rigging up the music on the night only to discover in the throng of people chatting you couldn’t hear anything, no one is going to find their dancing feet if there isn’t a good beat calling them! Think about a good play list too, we had softer music to chat and the start and during  the meal, then stepped up into disco music from the 1969-s to today on a random mix. This really worked a treat with everyone guessing the song and the artist and bopping on down regardless.

Dancing in my kitchenStrutting my stuff!Disco girls

6. Add a little fun

A silly game, quiz or such like adds fun to the evening. I did some Hollywood style awards with silly little presents for things like best dancer and best dressed man, it was just a bit of fun and providing an excellent way to publically thank those who had helped me. This was the first time I had tried anything like this and I would definitely weave a fun game or something into a party evening again.

7. Make provision for the children

Mine are now beyond the age of going to bed before a party starts and love to sneak down and join in too. Provided they are behaving and being charming rather than a nuisance I am happy to encourage this, it helps them develop their social confidence too and realize it is not only them who can enjoy a party! Mine took it upon themselves to raid their wardrobes and the dressing up clothes and improvise to be in theme. They also had a couple of friends round whose parents were here too, so when they were fed up they could all play together upstairs or go to bed (some hope) without moving beyond the charming phase!

Guy and Jed dressed as Humphrey Bogart from the photo behind them! They charmed the guests for the first hour or so then disappeared upstairs as the grownups became boring (loud and under the influence)!

Dressed to join in

8. Relax

I have spent too many parties in the past worrying about everyone else and just stopping to sit down and chat only to find everyone thanking me and leaving! This time with a combination of all the above factors and the confidence of my lovely dress I enjoyed every minute and had my fill of chat, drink and food!

My best party moments captured on film


So what next for partying at Coombe Mill?

The next few events are family ones to share with our Coombe Mill guests and friends.

Halloween fun from 2011


I will be challenging my children and those staying on the 31st October to prepare their houses for trick or treating with dressing up of the house front and the children all part of the fun. This year we are also looking to deck out an old property as a haunted house with some fun inside for the children. 


Coombe Mill Bonfire Party

Held this year on November 4th, the evening includes a BBQ with plenty to go round and drinks for all,

2012 Bonfire in building

the most amazing bonfire which is already in building with of course a Guy Fawkes made by our children and finished with a magnificent firework display thanks to Farmer Nick. It all runs from 4.30 to 6.30 so as to fit in with bed times for our younger visitors. Last Year’s was amazing; this year’s bonfire is going to need some building up in the next week but I know Nick will pull it off again (no pressure)! 



Christmas Eve

For those staying over Christmas we have a lovely open house supper on Christmas Eve. This is a family occasion and starts after the local Church nativity service for as long as people want to stay. I have grand plans to use our new indoor BBQ hut in the garden as a Santa grotto where Farmer Nick will be sizzling sausages. There will be more fun and food in our party kitchen with plenty of Christmas music to excite the children even more! 

Our kitchen was humming again at the party last year!

Our Kitchen on Christmas EveXmas lucky dip for the kidsFarmer Nick?


Come and Party with us at Coombe Mill

If you are tempted to get away for any of these occasions we do still have some availability and are now taking short breaks too. Come and help me party, and if you can’t be with us, best of luck with your party season, remember relax and enjoy yourself! 


Win A Qatch Travel Toy with Coombe Mill

Posted on October 23rd, 2012 - Fiona

Making travel fun and comfortable.

Car journeys with children is always a means to an end. There is always one asking “are we nearly there yet?” just five minutes into a long journey! We all know as parents that the best way to avoid this is a combination of toys, in car DVD players, a favourite blankie or soft toy, perhaps a kiddie pillow and if all else fails eye spy where your spend half an hour working out what begins with ‘w’ only to give up and find the answer is seat! When I stumbled over  on twitter I thought their two in one pillow toy range were just delightful. Nothing is ever going to eliminate car boredom for kids, but these cute pillows will certainly help. 

Qatch Toys

I would recommend them from early toddler upwards. At age 8 if my own children are right at the top end to appreciate these toys but they were still happy to try them out (just don’t tell their school friends). All the knitted jumpers are sewn on so there is no losing them and while the front is a fun animal the reverse is a soft pillow, making them ideal for nodding off in the car with the added benefit of a little play time too! We received Luno The Owl and Bola The Cat.

Luno and Bola According to Guy and Clio:

1. Cuddly

Clio and Bola the CatGuy and Luno the OwlClio and Bola the Cat

2. Perfect for imaginary play

Imaginary Play

3. Great to play with in the car, then when you fancy a snooze just turn them over!

In car playQuiet timeSnooze Time


4.Great friends to take to bed at night Zzzzzzzz!


Bed time with BolaBed time with Luno


These adorable travel toys retail at £25 on line and there is a 10% twitter discount for followers. You can see the whole animal family on the Qatch web site and buy them on there too with free delivery before Christmas. 

Win a Travel Toy with Qatch Toys and Coombe Mill 

I have one Qatch Travel Toy to send free to a lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment below saying why you’d like to enter, remember to also leave a way for me to contact you.

To increase your chance of winning:

‘Like’ Qatch Travel Toy and Coombemill on Facebook and leave a separate comment here to say you have done so with your facebook name.

For an additional entry, follow  and Coombemill on Twitter and leave an extra comment here with your twitter name.

For one final entry, please tweet the following sentence and leave another comment to say you have done so:

I have entered to win a Kids Travel Toy from @qatch with @coombemill here: Why don’t you? Pls RT

The competition is open to UK residents and will close on Tuesday 6th November at midnight with the winner announced the following morning. Good luck to all taking part.


Disclosure: I was given my Qatch Travel Toys to review for this competition and keep for our holiday visitors to use.  However, the views and opinions expressed are entirely my own. 


 This competition has now closed. The winner is Ness Gorton as chosen by True Random Number Generator  16 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Well done to Ness and thank you to Qatch for the competition and to all who enetered.


But Why? Meme from Coombe Mill

Posted on September 10th, 2012 - Fiona

Tag Acknoledements A92CT2CA3TQV

I have been tagged by the ever bubbley, friendly and now very pregnant who blogs at Emmy’s Mummy  to carry on a fun meme set by the lovely ladies who are  in their meme exploring life’s why? moments. You know when your children ask endelssly “But why Mummy?” Here is our chance to vent a few questions too!

The rules are as follows:

1. Post your whys – as many or as few as you like

2. Link your post to Mummy Central

3. Tag 5 bloggers to keep this going

4. Feel free to leave your questions below if you aren’t a blogger but demand some answers!

Some Why questions from Me, Mummy and The Farmer’s Wife

Why can I not get up in the morning but feel wide awake at midnight?

Why do I keep having to hide treat food, even cake decorations, in strange places for it to last more than a day?


Hiding Treats in secret places!


Why has no one invented a lock for the fridge door?


Fridge Lock

Why do I go out with three things to do and invariably forget one?

Why do I put a cakes in the oven, then go on the computer and forget to take them out? 

Cakes in Oven

Why did I enjoy TV when we only had 4 chanels, yet now I can never find a programme I want to watch?

Why do I love my old blackberry when I can’t even download photos from there to my PC?

Blackberry and Computer

Why does my to do list look longer not shorter each day?

Why am I the only one in a family of eight to change a toilet roll?


Toilet Roll

Why do my children find it so hard to sit on their bottoms all the way through a meal?

Why do I love my high heals but live in flip flops, flats and wellies?


Shoes and wellies


Why am I surprised when my nail polish chips when I spend my life on a farm!


Chick and nail polish!



I’m tagging the following bloggers to carry this on:

 who blogs at Larger Family Life Because she is a lovely blogger with an ever larger family than mine and I think I will sympathise with many of her Why’s!

Elaine who Blogs at Littlesheep Learning because I think I she will have some familiar work life balance why’s. 

 who blogs about life with her gorgeous twins as I think she will have some funny questions.

Catherine who Blogs at Mummy Lion as I bet she will have some why’s on life with her little cub.

who blogs about life with her beautiful girls and I’m sure they will generate some mummy why’s!