Nursery Essentials for Baby’s First Year

Posted on July 1st, 2013 - Fiona

Expecting your first baby and wandering what you really need to buy? 

From deciding what brand of nappies to opt for, to whittling a names list down to a mutually agreed top three, preparing for a baby’s arrival is an exhilarating time for expectant parents.  Getting all those necessary products ticked off the ‘to buy’ list is a priority for most expectant parents and is one that can easily end up costing a fortune by spiralling into baby-buying overdrive. The trick is to carefully plan your baby product buying list and have a good idea about which products are likely to be important during that first magical year and which are likely to be little more than superfluous.

Baby Guy and Mummy

Whilst nappies, baby clothing, pram/buggy and car seats are all vital purchases when planning the arrival of a baby, preparing a baby’s nursery and what is going to go in it is another indispensable factor to consider when organising for your baby’s arrival into the world. In fact, designing a nursery for your baby has to be one of the most exciting elements of the pre-baby period, yet at the same time can be fraught with apprehension that you are kitting your infant’s room out with all the necessary products.

If you are about to take on the challenge of converting the spare bedroom into a delightful nursery,  take a look at the following ten products parents might consider for their baby’s nursery room.

1-      A Moses Basket

It is generally advised that babies sleep in a Moses Basket or crib in their parents’ bedroom until they are six months old. It is therefore important that you have a Moses Basket at the ready for when you bring your bundle of joy home from the hospital.

2-      A cotNursery Cot

Anybody who has been blessed with the joy of having a baby will tell you just how quickly those first few months fly by and no
sooner was your baby a newborn unable to open his eyes or do little more than sleep and cry, he will be a smiling six-month old, whose personality is beginning to shine through. Before no time at all, your baby will have reached the six-month milestone and will have advanced from a Moses basket to a cot, thus meaning a stylish and quality cot should be an inherent component of a nursery design and is certainly a top baby product.


3-      Mattresses

Once you’ve decided on your cot, you’ll obviously have to buy a mattress for your little one to lie on. Cot mattresses should provide comfort and support for your baby and the better quality ones will have water-resistant quilted covers for air movement and heat dissipation, not forgetting a mattress protector to protect against any little accidents.

4-      Baby bedding

There is nothing quite like the bedding to complete the overall cosy, cute and adorable look of a nursery, not to mention keeping your little one snug and warm in those early years. Cot bumpers around the inside of the cot will also help protect the baby from hurting themselves.

5-      StorageNursery storage draws

With the myriad of baby gifts new parents get showered with and the mound of baby clothes, toys and other items that seem to pile up even before a baby is born, it is safe to say that plenty of storage is essential in a baby’s nursery.

Wardrobes are a good option as they offer a variety of storage possibilities, such as full width drawers, internal shelves and rails to hang all those adorable tiny outfits.

6-      Changing dressers / cot top changers

Dressers with the added bonus of having a flat surface to be able to change a baby has to be one of the top ten products that will make a new parent’s life infinitely easier. Some even come with detachable frames so you can utilise the dresser as a regular piece of furniture as your child grows. Practicality aside, changing dressers are a stylish addition to a nursery. In my case I made do with Farmer Nick’s DIY changing table, all function but lacking in style!


Kids playing under Nick's DIY changing table

7-      Baby monitors

Baby monitors enable you to know what is going on in the nursery and provide parents with peace of mind that their baby is sleeping soundly or is awake and content. No matter whereabouts a parent is in the house, a baby monitor will you to keep track of baby’s activities.

8-      Toy boxesStorage for toys

Whilst newborns don’t care too much for toys, in no time at all your baby will be cooing, giggling and grasping out at rattles, mirrors, soft books and a whole range of baby toys. Having a place to store all those toys in will help keep the nursery noticeably tidier. Toys boxes come in a wide range of colours, sizes, and designs and can prove to be an invaluable baby buy for parents.

9-      Mobiles

Placing a baby mobile in a nursery can be a great way to develop a baby’s senses, helping little ones to utilise their sense of sound and sight. Coming in a wide range of styles, patterns and colours, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a mobile that will coordinate and complement a range of nursery decors.

10-   Soft toys

Preparing for a baby’s arrival should not be void of buying one or two soft toys. Ultra soft toys can bring comfort and intrigue to an infant’s world, as well as making attractive and adorable additions to a nursery. Soft toys grow with them, at age nine my children still have their soft toy collection.

Soft toys from birth upwards.

BorntoToddle is dedicated to sourcing the best nursery furniture and accessories for your baby.  You can follow them to get some inspiration for your nursery at their Pinterest Gallery. If you are thinking of holidaying at Coombe Mill with a new baby we have most things covered here for baby, just ask when booking and leave your lovely nursery at home for your safe return.

Nb: This is a Sponsored post, however I am happy to support Born to Toddle and can recommend a peep at their website.

Working with your partner, great idea or big mistake?

Posted on May 27th, 2013 - Fiona

Working with my best friend and husband.

In many ways working with Nick is all I have ever known. He was at Tesco in the same department as me when I joined as a new graduate in 1989. Our career paths stayed together through out Tesco, into Unilver and then in 2002 we took the huge decision to abandon the corporate careers and take on Coombe Mill. However this was going to be more than seeing each other in meetings and saving Unilever a few pennies on overnight confrences by sharing a room! Running Coombe Mill together meant learning together, sharing the business ups and downs, only having each other to consult and having no external boss. When I look back and reflect on the pressures we had with three young children age four and under, not understanding the first thing about the holiday market or farming yet having a very clear vision for the business we were taking on, I think we have managed our business relationship very well. By adding 3 more children within 2 years giving us six under six whilst developing the new business I think we did rather well on our persnoal relationship too!

11 years on from our move to Coombe Mill and the business is still thriving and developingwith a clear paln still in place, are still best of friends and the children are all thriving and very much playing their part in the family business.  I thought it worth sharing the things that I feel have really made a difference for us in working successfully together in the hope that it may inspire others contemplating a move from employee to family business. 


a sucessful working partnership needs:


Belief in each other’s ability

Different areas of responsibility and accountablity

A shared vision

An abillity to switch off from work to enjoy shared family and couple time

                Family days out, thurlestone

A business you both feel pasionaltely about owning and developing 

A business that you can manage together around family life

Financial security

  I would avoid overstretching financially to begin a business, financial worries are a recipe for testion and trouble. Every business involves risk and usally borrowing but too much can bring stress which is difficult to mnage. Do the maths and make sure it is realistic!


I’m sure there are more, but these are the things that stand out for me as to why Coombe Mill has worked so well for Nick and I as a couple and as parents. If you can put answers to each of the above then I hope you will follow your dreams too. 

BritMums Live Meme

Posted on May 20th, 2013 - Fiona

Joining in and sharing a little about me ahead of the exciting conference in June.


Farmer Fi and  family


Name: Fiona Cambouropoulos 

Blog: Coombe Mill – Tales from the Farmers Wife

Twitter ID: @coombemill 

Height: 5ft 3 & 1/2 (the half is important at this height!)

Hair: Long luscious redhead greying redhead & fighting it, hair has seen better days!

Eyes: Greenish

Is this your first blogging conference?

Yes, I am a conference newbie though I have been blogging for 2 years. I always was a late developer!

Are you attending both days?

Absolutely, coming all the way from Cornwall I am going to be there till the doors shut!

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2013?

Doing Brit Mums for real rather than from home on twitter! Meeting people I feel I know so well yet many of whom I have never met and picking up some blogging tips along the way. 

What are you wearing?

That depends on the weather. I’d love to be wearing a sundress; hey I am in the Big Smoke and off the farm! 

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2013?

Apart from the social fun and I’d like to feel I might come away with some new ideas for my blog and a little technical knowhow.

Tell us one thing about you that not everyone knows

I am the family hairdresser and even cut and colour my own hair. A huge saving since we are a family of 8! 

Thanks for reading and a massive thank you to anyone responsible for helping me to the BIBs shortlist in Lifestyle and Social Media, I am so grateful and chuffed and I can’t wait to meet you very soon!

Blame the Tooth Fairy!

Posted on May 13th, 2013 - Fiona

Mythical Traditions

Where did the tooth fairy originate? As parents many of you, like me, will feed your children all sorts of tales over the years about the alleged tooth fairy. One minute we are keen to see our children demonstrate maturity for their years, to understand the basics of life, values and science, the next we are indulging in fantasy folk such as the Easter Bunny, Santa and the tooth fairy. Why? Because it is endearing to us, we know it won’t last and in the end it is harmless, magical fun. 


Tooth Fairy Image

Beware of the tooth fairy trap!

We have indulged our own children in all this nonsense and to our peril! However as I prepare to morph into the tooth fairy tonight for Clio, I thought I would share some of the pitfalls ahead for those new to the wonder of the tooth fairy, in the hope that forewarned you will fare better at these hurdles than me.

There may be trouble ahead………….

  • Watch out for the waking child as you tip toe into the room £1 in hand. I have lost track of the number of times I have stuffed a pound up my sleeve and pretended I was just popping in to check on them! “What again Mummy, but you might put the tooth fairy off?”
  • You make it to the bed, child still sleeping but they have buried the tooth so far under the pillow you can’t find it, leaving you deliberating whether to leave the £1 anyway or risk turning on the light.
  • They suspect you may actually be the tooth fairy and test their theory by not telling you about the tooth that fell out in class, instead waiting then confronting you 3 days later as to why the fairy never came!
  • Alternatively they may test their suspicions by hiding the tooth in a secret place so you can’t find it!
  • Some lucky kid at school tells your child he or she had an amazing present from the tooth fairy, or they always get a £5 when you only give £1, how do you explain that one away? I have tried saying “Perhaps X brushes his teeth better so their tooth is worth more than yours” Only to be met with “but Mummy, X’s teeth are really yellow, that’s why he had to have it taken out at the dentist!”
  • Never get complacent, with 6 children I have simply forgotten to deliver. In fact we have had the tooth fairy not check on Coombe Mill for 4 nights before! I have tried in vain to cover my failings claiming that “Coombe Mill is a very tricky place to find” and once again been flawed by the response “but fairies fly so they would easily see us and Santa always finds us?” Why can’t my kids be this smart at school? 

I still have 6 little pots of teeth hidden in my bedroom, each with a tale to tell. I am sure Clio really knows the truth now and hasn’t bothered to hide the tooth too well in case I don’t find it! However at age 9 neither of us are quite ready to leave the magic behind and she still coverts the pound!


And so to bed:


Bedtime and hoping the Tooth Fairy will visit Coombe Mill


And then I wait and TRY to remember to return…..


Tooth Fairy at Work



The morning will be a success on this occasion.

I would love to hear of any similar stories, and if you are yet to go through this, take note and steer clear of the pitfalls!


Matilda Mae at Coombe Mill

Posted on May 2nd, 2013 - Fiona

A Special Angel Star is 1 today

The Lovely family of Jenny, David, Esther and William are holidaying with us at Coombe Mill this week. This was to be the happy birthday for their beautiful baby Matilda Mae. Tragically Matilda Mae is with the family only in spirit today on what should be her 1st birthday. I feel privileged to have Jennie and the family here in the peace and tranquillity of Coombe Mill at this difficult time and delighted to have seen some of the joy the twins have experienced on their holiday. I hope what we offer at Coombe Mill has made this week a little easier for Jennie and David. Unable to find the words, I have put together a video of a few holiday moments I have captured for them this week:

David and Jennie for you:


Love and best wishes to the family today here at Coombe Mill as they celebrate the birthday of their shining Star Matilda Mae.  


 1st Birthday





There is going to be an auction to raise money for The Lullaby Trust in Matilda’s name and memory. For details please follow at Edspire and  Ghostwritermummy. The auction will be running from the 11th-20th May. 


Matilda Mae Memorial Auction
Joining everyone else’s good wishes on the blog hop: