Posted on October 8th, 2017 - Fiona
This was my 5th Brit Mums Live event, every year I question whether I should go again and each time I return I’m glad I did. I always go home with a few new insights I want to implement on my website and blog and feeling happy to be part of the blogging community. It is an exhausting 48 hours but worth it. Everyone will have their own highlights from Brit Mums Live 17, this is by no means all that there was on offer, just the moments that were important to me and which I hope might be insightful to others thinking of going in future years.
Order Order we are in Parliament.
I choose to make a full 2 days of Brit Mums and teamed up with Karen Whitlcock and Michelle Pennell in joining the Parliament tour. We were treated to the family tour as a blogging group and it was full of interesting information covering the history behind why Parliament operates as it does today. I have a degree in Politics and I was surprised how detailed the tour was whilst staying at a level understandable for children about age 8+. I now want to treat my teens to the same tour and try to sit in on a Question Time from the gallery.
Brit Mums Live 17 a cracking new venue
County Hall was a long way from the Brewery of previous years but a great alternative. Right next to Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, Parliament and the London Eye. For a country bumpkin like me it was a wow at every turn outside and a stylish hosting venue. The food was scrumptious all day and there was no shortage of drinks or time and space to catch up with old blogging friends and make new friends too. Please can we come back here next year Brit Mums organising team.
The learning bit
SEO we all need to know
So as well as countless opportunities to mix with brands and chat to fellow bloggers there are some serious learning sessions to choose from. I took the deep dive SEO with Judith Lewis for the second year which was excellent. I’m putting together a separate post on “ SEO – the bits YOU need to know” so unless you are an up to date expert I totally recommend having a look at this. It will take 5 minutes to pick up what took me 3 hours! Drop me a note in comments and I’ll tag you when I post it.
Photography Know how
I also jumped in on the Photo deep dive with Rachel Riley. I am totally grateful to Rachel for helping me sort the theory of how to shoot in manual on my camera. I had a few settings out on my DSLR making taking manual photos harder than it should have been. Something so simple, fingers crossed I’ll now be wowing you with my photos.
It isn’t often I have a chance for a manicure so I wasn’t giving up the opportunity to have my nails professionally painted. I felt so far from the farm chatting to the lovely ladies from Am I Number 5? and choosing a pretty colour for my nails with a contrast glitter green to represent the 1 in 5 women who suffer each month. My daughter assures me a contrasting finger is very modern! Now to see how long I can hang onto my pretty nails back on the farm in Cornwall!
Party on the Thames
Thanks to City Cruises and Brit Mums genius idea the BIBs party was hosted whilst cruising down the Thames. I was lucky enough to be a finalist again this year in the Readers Choice Category and am hugely grateful for the support for my blog in reaching this stage. Thank you a million times if you voted for me. I captured a large chunk of the BIBs ceremony on board the boat on Instagram stories live. What a great tool this is. I can’t use it much in Cornwall with poor signal and no farm wi-fi (don’t worry there is wi-fi in the properties if you stay with us) but it worked a treat on the river. Sadly it was all lost but I have a few stills in my video at the end of this post. Huge congratulations to all the winners especially those I’ve come to know and admire over the years Chelsea Mamma, My Travel Monkey, One Tiny Leap. It was a pleasure to sit with the gorgeous winning Mrs: The Dad Network and congratulations to Life, Love and Dirty Dishes who won my category.
Up on deck was my favourite place. It was well worth braving frizzy hair in the rain for the views along the Southbank and under Tower bridge and a good catch up with Kate Sutton from Wit Wit Woo.
I finished the night off in style with great blogging chums in All Bar One for a second night and return home with a frazzled brain, screaming liver no voice but a warm feeling about the lovely blogging community and of course a goodie bag of useful loot! Thank you Jen, Suzanne, Nadine and all at Brit Mums for another great experience.
All my highlights from Brit Mums Live 17 on video
Highlights from Brit Mums Live 17 right here, if you’re after a flavour of the weekend please do take a peep, if you were there did I capture you?
Posted on October 6th, 2017 - Fiona
Take a bunch of teenagers away with you for a few days and trust me finding something that fires them up with excitement for a day out is not easy. However Brighton Pier has it all for my Cornish country bumpkins. From the food stalls, to people watching (largely other teens in far more way out clothes than themselves) to the ultimate amusement arcade and thrill seeking rides.
Pebbles on the beach.
It was an overcast day but that never dampens spirits for something as fun as Brighton Pier. Lunch on the pebble beach was the first stop. We have done this so many times in the past and ended up with soaking wet children from playing too close to the water’s edge. A real reminder of how much they are growing up when we finished lunch with a full set of dry clothes and shoes!
Digesting their food and preparing for the pier involved stone skimming and acrobatics.
5 go wild on Brighton Pier
Next stop the pier. My kids have been so many times before but for Theo’s girlfriend it was a new experience. That said, we have only ever allowed them one or two rides each in the past as it is so expensive. This year I’m sure the prices have come down as we were able to get them £20 all day wrist band tickets to go on any ride they wanted over and over again.
OK it cost us £100 for all 5 of them but I can’t express how much fun they had. We watched for a while as they twisted and turned, span and screamed.
Nick and I left them to their fun and enjoyed a quiet afternoon wandering through the lanes and side streets of Brighton.
By the time we returned the kids were buzzing with excitement and reliving their favourite rides as we wandered back together.
This will be one trip to Brighton pier that will stay with them for a long time to come.
Posted on September 30th, 2017 - Fiona
The Summer Holidays are a busy time for us here at Coombe Mill. On the plus side there is no more double school runs taking out half our day, but with 6 teens bounding around the house and the business full with holiday makers life can be hectic. Now the autumn has arrived and the kids settled back into the routine of school and college Farmer Nick and I took advantage of our eldest son’s last week before the new term at University to pop out to Greece to catch up with family and chill out with some of our favourite scenery outside of Cornwall.
Galaxidi on holiday in Greece
It was only a week, but that was just perfect to recharge our batteries and leave us looking forward to returning home, appreciating Coombe Mill and our family life here with fresh eyes. The worst part of holidays abroad is the travelling, with unsociable flights it took us 48 hours to get home and I was quite exhausted and felt I could have slept for a week. To open the door and walk into a spotless kitchen was so refreshing. Whether the kids were covering up from a wild party or just being kind I’ll never know, but it made the perfect home coming. This week has been all about family time, family banter over meal times and feeling reunited. I love going away but I also love coming home to beautiful Coombe Mill and the life we have here. The guests praised Amber our duty manager and all the kids for keeping everything running in our absence. It was a pleasure to pick up the reigns again and see the changes over the week on the farm.
A lovely warm home coming at Coombe Mill
Our chicks have grown and lost their baby fluff while we were away
Making beach time at home with my girl
This isn’t the best photo, it is simply a snapshot on my phone through the fog, but we had such fun in the giant waves on body boards together. The mist and dampness of the day couldn’t have mattered less. It is moments like this that make me looking forward to returning from holiday.
Autumn and winter I’m ready for you now!
Do you enjoy holidays and home coming in equal measure?
Posted on September 29th, 2017 - Fiona
Who doesn’t dream of owning a beautiful home with stunning views over rolling hills, a pool inside a walled garden and a tennis court? My kids have loved this particular home of family friends for as long as they can remember. The friendly elderly couple who own it have spoilt them rotten with picnics and ice creams over the years, a poorly written thank you letter and a load of lost tennis balls all they seem to receive in return! However the excitement of visiting these lovely folk and enjoying an afternoon at their mansion, as the kids refer to it, has never lost its appeal.
Outdoor Pool Antics
We planned on visiting on a warm sunny day. In the end a stubborn cloud hung over us but that didn’t stop our enjoyment. The kids were in and out of the pool, splashing, pushing each other in and avoiding my camera – not too successfully!
They even managed a race or two
Anyone for Tennis?
If they weren’t in the pool then there were tennis games in play. I think Farmer Nick was a bit of a pro in his time and spent a good deal of time, coaching and umpiring games for us all.
The orchard was blooming under the weight of the late summer fruits which I couldn’t help indulging in, whilst being careful not to be caught by the eager wasps.
Beautiful gardens at the Mansion
Clio was taken with their beautiful flower borders and paths. One day I will have a garden like this.
Even the tortoise made an appearance lured by some freshly picked tomatoes from the greenhouse. This began round two of why we can’t have a tortoise at Coombe Mill from Guy. My reply was when we own a mansion!
It was a lovely happy afternoon on our summer trip to Sussex that keeps visiting this kind couple and their beautiful mansion right up there in the fond memory bank of childhood days.
A Mansion with a pool and a tennis court in Sussex
Posted on September 22nd, 2017 - Fiona
Over the summer holidays we took a family trip for a few days mid week to stay with Nick’s Mum in Sussex. When we come here Brighton is always a favourite place for the kids to visit. The pebbly beaches, shopping and pier are a huge draw to my teens. Heading into town on our first day Farmer Nick had something new he wanted to try out, crazy golf. We have played in the past and always enjoyed it but this time was slightly different, we are seriously looking at a crazy golf course for the farm and this was to be not only a fun game in teams but also a fact finding mission for what we would need.
Crazy Golf in Teams at Brighton
WE split ourselves into two teams as we were too many to play all together. I was on a team with the triplets and I must say the shouting, cheering, accusing and competitive drive reached fever point on each hole. You would have thought their lives depended on the game; however despite this they all agreed it was great fun.
There were several out of bounds balls requiring fence leaping and fishing in ponds to continue play!
My favourite moment was Jed claiming his hole in one!
Farmer Nick spent as much time analysing the flooring, height of the surrounds, materials, features and complexity of each hole in preparation for making our own version at Coombe Mill.
Crazy Golf at Coombe Mill
We may be some way off the cleverly made course in Brighton, but Nick has terraced the orchard with his beloved digger in preparation for creating our very own Coombe Mill Crazy Golf.
We have kept all our Facebook followers guessing over the purpose of the new terracing, but I’m hoping you’ll agree it will be a fun use of a wasted slope. I can’t wait to move this project on. Fingers crossed I will have something to share by next summer.
I’m thinking fairies & gnomes in the woods for our theme rather than the Pirates of Brighton. What do you think?
Come and see how we are getting on this Christmas. Head on over to Facebook and WIN your family Christmas with us.
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