BritMums Live 2015

Posted on June 28th, 2015 - Anya

After 3 years of attending BritMums Live, did year 3 match up to those before? Hell yes! In fact this may have been the best year so far. My expectations going there were pretty routine, I wanted to catch up with my Mum before and after while I was up country, I hoped to meet with old blogging friends and introduce myself to new friends I’ve made on line and hopefully learn a few tips for my blog too. 


Coombe Mill meets The Twirly Woos at Brit Mums Live


For me BritMums delivered on every count. I had a lovely time with my Mum topping and tailing the event at her new flat and exploring the surrounding countryside. I find it so hard to leave the business and travel up there but Brit Mums provides the opportunity.


Meeting Mum before BritMums Live


I proceeded to make the most of every minute of the 2 days in London. Meeting so many people in a short space of time does feel a little overwhelming and I found myself having to apologise for my failing eyesight at reading the badges and hopeless recognition, but once I was put straight on faces to blogs it was truly wonderful to meet, hug and exchange stories.  


Blogging friends to Coombe Mill at Brit Mums 2015


I lost count of the number of times I failed to make it to the coffee table for bumping into fellow bloggers I just had to stop and hug. If ever there was an event to make me feel included and welcome this was it, even if I was one of the oldest bloggers there. I didn’t capture everyone but if I stopped to chat, the chances are you are in these photos.


Blogging friends to Coombe Mill met at Brit Mums 2015

Socially, I couldn’t have asked for more: Thank you to everyone who came up to me recognising my fabric logo and a huge thanks to those who thanked me for running Country Kids; you made the work I put into the linky promoting the benefits of outdoor time for children worth every minute.


Brit Mums Life Bloggers meeting with Coombe Mill


When it comes to content from the two days I always find the best sessions on the Saturday and infuriatingly they often clash. Please BritMums spread out the popular topics more next year.  I missed the YouTube session and Improve your blog design that I had hoped to attend. Never the less I made my choices and on balance learned something from each session I that I can do right now to improve my blog. In no particular order and without looking at my copious notes these are the main action points for me:

  1. I need to work my facebook page. I knew this coming out of blog camp a fortnight earlier and have begun to try to engage more. It is still the most widely used platform and especially important for me with the Coombe Mill Business as it is where Mums with young children are to be found. I plan to:
    • Check out new features
    • Post daily with relevant content, currently I only post 3 or 4 times a week
    • Pay to promote a key post, like late availability or a special offer

  2. Be clearer on Pinterest
    • Split some of my boards into more specific searchable boards, especially my craft boards
    • Reduce the collages I use to pin and focus on a clear photo with a clear message
    • Have another look at Rich Pins which can help SEO ranking, I tried this last year but found it very hard on my non wordpress/blogger base.

  3. Consolidate my Google Plus
    • I have 4 accounts running as Coombe Mill all performing in different sectors, but it would seem for me Local business is the one I should concentrate on and build my reviews there. If anyone reading this has stayed with us please do drop me a review here as it will really help out holidays to be found on Google searches.

  4. Add a What’s App button.
    •  I’ve no real idea about this but apparently i need it on my website so I’m off to find out what it’s all about.

  5. Be more creative with my giveaways and competitions
    • I picked Di Coke’s brains on the merits of imaginative competitions rather than just giveaways thinking in particular of my annual Win Christmas at Coombe Mill offer, watch out for some exciting entry criteria this autumn. 

Brit Mums speakers from the 2015 conference at the Brewery London as attended by Coombe Mil

There was so much more besides from analysing key words to learning to knit and meeting brands  but the points above are the things that I feel will make a difference quickly for my business. There were some inspiring presenters that knew their stuff and I need to go over some of the slides again in more detail, that said there are also some real gems I picked up from other bloggers in coffee lounge chats. The whole event is such a learning curve, even for an old timer like me, in fact I discovered a whole crowd of us over 40 bloggers and I’m joining their facebook group as there are some real characters in there who make me smile and are at a similar life stage to me.   


Brit Mums Live 2015 over 40s bloggers Group


I came home hoarse and exhausted but feeling the blogging love and excited to move my own work forward as I handed out my lovely goody bag amongst my family.

Brit Mums Live 2015 Goodie Bag

Thank you Brit Mums and all the sponsors, I might even be back for a 4th year!


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on June 26th, 2015 - Anya

Launceston Steam Fair

We had a wonderful family day at the Launceston Fair a couple of years ago and on hearing it was taking place again we were keen for a follow up trip. I am still coming to terms with my teens choosing not to accompany us on all our family outings and reluctantly left them to fend for themselves at home instead taking just Guy, Clio and Clio’s friend.


Launceston Steam Fair

On arriving the sun was shining and the fair had a real festival buzz about it. The kids wasted no time in spotting the most sick making machine at the show and insisted on making it their first venture. I conceded on the basis that at least they hadn’t eaten anything yet! It was rather like a mini fairground wheel that tossed you upside down and back to front, it made me feel sick just to watch but Clio insisted her screams signified she was enjoying the ride!

Clio on the Gyro Ride

Guy found a paintball shooting range. What boy could resist proving himself here with plenty of scary targets waiting to be struck?


Guy at the Shooting Range


The girls then sauntered off to look at jewellery and clothes tents. I was really impressed with the range of stalls there, always something to tempt you that you don’t see in everyday shops.


Range of stalls


Besides the stalls there were endless displays in the arenas. Guy set his new back pack come stool up in the front row to watch as the Minion dance moved into war time classics before the mini plane came thundering down the field, although apparently there was insufficient space for it to actually take off.

Guy sat watching the show

My favourite display was the kids on their motorbikes. How they make those stunt bikes climb and jump I don’t know but it is a thrill to watch.


Kids on Scrambler Bikes


Motion in miniature had us all captivated as from fairground ride to steam trains every stand had a mini working model. Further down the big brother counterparts whistled, chugged and sputtered oozing charm and nostalgia for a bye gone era.


Vintage Vehicles

Having munched our way round the stalls and invested in far more impulse purchases than strictly necessary we were about to leave when Guy spotted the bike challenge from last year and just had to have a go. It looks so easy, just cycle a few yards on a bicycle with the handlebars on back to front and claim £15. Needless to say it is much harder than it sounds and poor Guy had to forfeit his last £2 and concede defeat. No doubt he will be back for another try next year!

Guy on the wrong way bike

The video captures much of the fun from the day and the children are looking forward to more Cornish events this summer.

Joining in with Country Kids

If you have been out enjoying the summer days from playing in the garden to an organised event like ours then please come and share with me on the linky. Country Kids is all about motivating us to leave sofas and screens and enjoy some good old family fun in the fresh air; you’ll be surprised how positive it leaves you feeling. Please do grab the badge or link back here and remember to check out the other posts, you might just find the perfect idea for your next adventure.   

Country Kids is around in these communities, I’d love you to join me: 

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)


Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest. 



Join the Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me 

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet


A few of my favourites from last week:


 Farm fun with animal interaction that reminds me of Coombe Mill on a day out for Life at Cooks Cabin

This fairy walk from The Evans Crittens will have you captivated 

Outdoors Mom combines nature and Frozen to the delight of her children.

 If only Edinburgh Zoo was closer, North East Family Fun make it look like a great family day out

 Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary takes the family on a real adventure camping where the sunset and sunrise meet

All my Geography lessons in one day with these welsh Caves from 92 three 30 

Small Wonders proves that you don't need to wait for a sunny day to enjoy the outdoors 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall




Blog Camp Bristol

Posted on June 14th, 2015 - Anya

I’ve done it, I’ve finally managed to attend my 1st blog camp and in true blogging style feel the need to share my highlights.

BlogCamp Bristol Coombe Mill's Perspective

Bristol is a fair old journey for me but it is the closest any blogging event has ever come to Cornwall so I was keen not to miss out on an event I could ‘just’ do in a day. 

Expectations on the day


Expectation of BlogCamp Bristol

By networking I mean catching up with friendly faces I knew and meeting those I’ve so far only spoken to online. New tips on my blogging are always welcome, after all the learning journey never ends as I’ve alluded to before. Finally I mention the journey because living in deepest darkest Cornwall I don’t actually travel that far very often so Bristol city centre actually felt quite daunting.  

The reality of Blog Camp Bristol

I was right to worry about my journey, after opting out of driving in fear of the journey back to Cornwall on a summer’s Friday evening with all the tourists I booked myself on the train, something I’ve not done in years. Oh dear things have moved on, after a 5am start I was soon confused by the parking meter, machine to sort my ticket and only just made it onto the train. there I relaxed and began to tweet and selfie my time away.


Train #selfie check out a tired me from my 5am start.

A photo posted by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on


3 hours later in Bristol I couldn’t work my google maps and resorted to asking for directions to passersby until running into Mel and Vicki on the walk in and feeling much happier in company.


Vicki Mel and Fiona

I’m not sure that Bristol was typical of all blog camps but being just 50 attendees it felt very informal, relaxed and easy to network. All the sessions were inclusive in one room and two way discussions soon flowed with those in the room embellishing the speaker contributions. Molly began with babe in arms, well what else can you do with a little one in tow? It set the informal scene for the day along with other babies welcome in the room. The content  was professional and insightful on writing for a living, just showing how we Mums can really multitask on so many levels! Amy inspired us with her entrepreneurial achievements running into food blogging before lunch making my tummy rumble from Mel and Helen followed by Hayley talking photos with many amusing quips after lunch and the day finished with a panel of bloggers and a great open discussion with everyone in the room. It really was a perfect opportunity for anyone who fears the larger conferences to be involved in a comfortable friendly atmosphere.


Speakers at BlogCamp Bristol

We were perfectly catered for all day with an ample supply of tea and coffee breaks and a scrumptious buffet for lunch. there was plenty of time to eat and chat fulfilling the needs of my rumbling tummy whilst managing to catch up with many of my fellow bloggers. However my food photography learning went out the window as I snapped chatted and ate proving that my own multitasking only goes so far!

The food at BlogCamp Bristol

My personal take out was that I need to work harder on my Facebook page, it is not my favourite form of social media but the session did remind me that this is where most Mums (bloggers or not) tend to be and so where my target market hangs out and I need to make more effort to engage readers here. My second take out was that I need to do more PR for Coombe Mill, I do nothing to shout about our achievements in the press or on external websites and this is currently a missed opportunity.    

Reality of BlogCamp Bristol


I have to say a big thank you to Hiive who sponsored the day; all the speaker slides will be available on their creative networking website for job seekers. If you join them you can see all the slides and ask questions of the presenters through there too.

Finally I have to say a big thank you to TOTS 100 for organising the day.  I may have missed the famous Sally Whittle humour and squeezey hug but Lindy did a great job hosting and facilitating the day.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on May 29th, 2015 - Anya

Trerice National Trust

Now that the football season has come to an end and our Sundays are no longer consumed with football matches across the country for Guy and Jed we are free between the morning animal feed run and the afternoon train ride to make the most of some family time.  Keen to make the most of our new National Trust membership we checked out options for the day. Trerice at 40 minutes drive and close to Newquay felt perfect. We hadn’t been before and had no idea what to expect.  We left the teens behind, Ally revising for AS levels, Felix for GCSE’s and Theo who is boycotting family days out as “uncool” at 13!

Family Fun at Trerice

I have learned over time that my children only operate on full tummies so the first stop was MacDonald’s for lunch. Refuelled we drove into the car park at Trerice surprised how busy it was since it was still school term time. Despite this as we entered it actually felt really quiet and the children immediately set up a game of chase along the pathways in the formal gardens. 


Tag in the Formal Gardens at Trerice


Our last National Trust visit was Cotehele just before the season started and the house was still closed. This time there was no problem going inside and guy and Jed were delighted to be greeted by a room of medieval armour in the first room. Thanks to some helpful staff they were allowed to try the chain suits, this really made their day, though made of metal they did question how anyone managed to run from their enemy or even see them clearly decked out in the full kit!


Trying on the Medieval Armour


Clio soon lost interest in the boys and busied herself with a giant jigsaw of the house that Jed had abandoned on seeing the armour.

Upstairs the children couldn’t have been more delighted than to see a vast empty banqueting room with an old woven mat, a chance to practice their gymnastics, check out the view from the window and try a little weaving for themselves.


Exploring the Great Hall


As we expected the rest of the house received a cursory glance and they turned down the chance to follow the house trail eager instead to explore further outdoors. A mini maze caught their attention.


Exploring the mini maze


Of cause they ignored the steps preferring to leap over the flower bank to reach the maze!

Jumping over the Flowers

In the outbuilding they found a huge empty guilt frame next to a box of dressing up clothes. Without the interference of the teens they rummaged in the box and found an outfit each in which to pose, and repose within the frame.


Silly Dress Up at Trerice


At the head of the hayloft a table of brass rubbings caught their attention.  A reminder for me that we need to try out bark rubbing here at Coombe Mill, I couldn’t believe the children hadn’t heard of brass rubbings before.


Brass Rubbing at Trerice



What I loved about Trerice was the informality, it was quiet and peaceful and we were free to explore. Down onto another terrace and the children found a game of quoits casually placed in the centre of the garden.  I can’t tell you how much fun this provided as family challenges took on a serious dimension. The triumphant garden lap by Jed when he won akin to a crucial premier league football goal! 


Family Game of Quiots

For me the beauty of the National trust is the gardens in bloom at this time of year, I hung back to capture a little of the beauty.


Trerice Macro Flowers


While the kids disappeared up a tree! Even the journey back to the car involved scaling a wall and exploring down the lane.


Climbing trees and walls at Trerice


Back home the triplets regaled their brothers on all they had missed.  I can thoroughly recommend Trerice for a visit if you are staying with us. It is also just minutes from Newquay with its famous beaches and seaside town centre if you fancy combining both on a day out. We popped in for an hour to enjoy ice creams and a mooch around the shops.



Joining in with Country Kids  

Country Kids is all about getting up and getting out, whether it is to play in the garden, enjoy an outdoor craft or a day out exploring please come and share with me on the linky. The only restriction is it MUST be mainly outdoors and an enjoyable way to take in some fresh air away from screens. Please grab the badge code below or link back here and remember to check out the other posts too, it might just be the inspiration for your next adventure.  


Country Kids is around in these communities, I’d love you to join me: 

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)

               Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.


Join the Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me 

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet


A few of my favourites from last week:

 Wakefield Place has so much for young adventurers as Wild about Here shows 

Just 30 minutes from home and Little Hearts Big Love found themselves a great day out 

It's festival time and the Joy of Five shares her first one ever, I'm eyeing up the giant rope swings for Coombe Mill

A pirate park on the Isle of Sheppey is the latest island discovery for Hannah and the minibeasts

I love a little resourcefulness and You Me and Magoo showed this in making their own garden swing 

Let kids be kids hired a real farm to their home for their children's birthday. This could be Nick and I in retirement! 

Mum to a Monster enjoyed Bank Holiday on the cheap with plenty of fun and a great recommendation. 


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall




Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on May 22nd, 2015 - Anya

Bank Holiday in Padstow

As locals we should really know better than to visit Padstow on a May bank holiday weekend, but my Brother was down and they really wanted to visit. My own kids never miss an opportunity to enjoy Rick Stein’s fish & Chips so against our better judgement we loaded the cars and set off in beautiful sunshine.


Family Fun In Padstow


It was already lunch time when we arrived having had the morning feed run to sort first and the boys had to help Nick with surgery on a sheep’s horn that was growing into her eye. Not a pretty sight as there is a blood supply to the horn, I stayed well away but apparently it was a success and she is saved from going blind.

We know the best places to park to avoid all the congestion of the town centre and enjoyed the short stroll along the end of the Camel Trail following which we headed straight for the queues forming outside the famous fish n chip shop.


Walk to the Chippy


By the time our lunch was ready the heavens began to open. So typical of a bank holiday, we scurried into one of the harbour side bus shelters with our chip boxes and sat munching while the rain lashed down feeling like true British tourists!


Rick stein's fish 'n'chips in the rain


The rain eased off and with full tummies we ventured out. Guy had brought his portable fishing rod and set up on the far harbour wall. It was blowing a gale and freezing there but my river jumping adventurer never seems to notice. He was happy as could be with his fishing rod, apart from the passing boats which had him reeling in quick to save his line from on more than one occasion!


Fishing on Padstow Harbour

We left Guy with his fishing and wandered into town.  I love that my kids are so uncomplaining, the adults were freezing dressed for summer when we left but the children just made the most of their time fooling around in the harbour, playing with a ball for sale outside a shop, climbing walls and venturing out onto the beach despite me warning them the sandy mud would claim their shoes!

Padstow shops and Fun on the beach


Back at the car Nick took out my bike, everyone thought I was mad to cycle with it so cold and no rain coat if the heavens opened again but it is a lovely 20 mile ride I haven’t done in ages so I waved them off and began pedalling.


Taking the Bike out of the Van


If you ever get the chance it is a lovely family friendly trail that runs from Padstow to within a mile of Coombe Mill. Picnic benches are dotted along the route, the river Camel runs along one side and the old railway line the other. It even passes the Camel Valley Vineyard where the gates were open inviting me in for a glass of their own bubbly and a tour, I was tempted!


Cycling from Padstow to Coombe Mill


As I cycled towards the Bodmin section the old stream train was just drawing into the last of the in use stations. What a treat to see the enthusiasts at work and smell the old coal boilers.


Cycling past Bodmin and Wenford Railway


When I arrived home Guy had run our little train for the guests and retired to the lake with my brother and his friend to continue his fishing while Clio and Theo were gardening on the farm with Nick.


Fishing and Gardening after a day out in Padstow


We enjoyed our day being tourists with my brother. If you are staying with us and plan on visiting Padstow do ask me about parking, bike hire or bring your own bikes and take advantage of our bike shed here at Coombe Mill. There are also crabbing nets and reals to borrow from reception. 



Joining in with Country Kids

Country Kids is simply about family fun outdoors. Anything goes from days out to crafting in the garden. All that matters it that it involves leaving sofas, screens and the comforts of indoors for some good old fashioned fresh air fun. Please do grab the badge or link back here and please check out some of the other posts linked up, everyone appreciates a comment and it might just inspire your next adventure. 

Country Kids is around in these communities, I’d love you to join me: 

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)


Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest. 



Join the Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me 

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet


A few of my favourites from last week:

Redpeffer is making the most of National Trust membership, I loved this post from Coughton Court.    

A Family day out explores dungeons and more at Dover Castle. 

The gorgeous photos from this farm had me captivated from One tiny Leap .

I was rather taken with this little family after dinner treat from Mummy 3+ 1 dog's Memories.

A full football day for active fun for That Lancashire lass

A great post from Mum in a Nutshell with her surfing teen that reminds me of my own kids. 




Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall