Leaving children home alone

Posted on April 12th, 2015 - Fiona

 

Parenting  is all about making judgements, about nurturing and knowing when to let go. But do you know when your children are ready to spread their wings, to stay home while you nip to the shop, go out for a meal or go away overnight?

 

Leaving the kids home alone

We have brought our children up to be self sufficient, to do for themselves and to help us out with the business. My eldest has been babysitting for us for a couple of hours since he was 11, shocking to some, but he is capable, respected by his siblings and we were never more than a few minutes away. As the years have passed and the children grown up we have encouraged them to do more for themselves. My eldest two at nearly 17 and 15 do all their own washing and can make a light meal not just for themselves but for the rest of the family too and answer most of the queries coming through the business.  My only complaint is their reluctance to answer the telephone.  I have to shout at the answering machine for one of them to answer when I am trying to ring home and I know they are there. My last resort is facebook messenger on the wi fi as there is always someone chatting there!

Despite all this I have never thought to leave them overnight apart from last year when we were lucky enough to go to the MAD Blog awards.  The school holidays are my chance to catch up with them, not to be driven by routine, school and clubs and to indulge in some family time. However Nick and I were also craving some couple time. When he suggested we leave them running the farm and have a 2 day break I laughed. I could see how put out he was by my response, developing a male slump and so began to give it serious consideration. The children could do everything on the farm, except have the confidence to lead the feed run, if Farmer Ted and our apprentice Amber could cover this then what was really stopping us? Guy could run the train as usual, they could cook and wash for themselves, answer most problems arising and rather than wanting Nick and I accompanying them all the time would probably relish a little more independence and trust. Going away in term time is out of the question as they have no way of travelling to school without us. We broached the idea with them and they were all very relaxed about it. I think one of my secret fears was wanting to be a good Mummy, to be there to cook an evening meal as I always did, to go on family outings, to be there to answer the business calls and sort out their sibling squabbles. Actually what the children wanted was more independence, less family outings and more trust.

Realising it was time to let go, to give that trust, especially after Theo had disgraced himself earlier in the year was not easy. However I knew Nick and I needed a break too. We took the plunge, gave the obligatory parental warning about not leaving a hob on and burning the house down or a tap running and flooding the place and left.

Grown up treat night away

It felt strange to be away knowing they were in charge, I knew they wouldn’t contact me unless there was an emergency and I craved a little reassurance that everything was alright. Thankfully I had my spies with 5 bloggers staying on holiday at the farm; huge thanks to One Dad 3 Girls, Minnowmep, Redpeffer, Southwarkbelle and Ruggles Leisure for those little tweets and Instagram pictures with #coombemilleaster that reassured me that all was well.

We returned 2 days later to find everything much as we had left it, no wild parties, punch ups, missing drinks or anything else you might imagine with teenagers home alone. They had enjoyed their freedom and managed the business perfectly and we had benefited from some couple time.    

If it were not for Nick pushing me I’m not sure I would have felt ready to take this step, in hindsight I can see it has benefited us all and we will definitely do it again. Our children are growing up, they are young adults now and they have shown they are ready to be treated as such.

I sometimes hear parents here on the farm telling their young children not to run and I wonder why not? If they fall it is only grass beneath them, they won’t break anything but they will begin to learn their limits and come to understand what their body is capable of.

 

Allow children the space to flourish

 

As parents we are programmed to protect our children, however if you can give them space within that protective sphere to flourish and grow and resist the urge to over nurture, even if it means experiencing a few knocks along the way, it will build their independence and self assurance to their benefit and yours one day.

 

 

 photo 4d06e438-4e6a-4f3b-88b2-0c1093350397_zps361ad0e9.jpg      


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on March 27th, 2015 - Fiona

Cotehele National Trust

For Nick’s 50th his Mum had given us family National Trust Membership for the year. Football was cancelled for the boys so it felt like a golden opportunity for a family day out to one of Cornwall’s National Trust estates.  

Cotehele is under an hour from Coombe Mill towards the Devon border. We arrived as the morning rain dried up which was just as well since we were a day too early for the house opening. The children had visited with school and were rather disappointed not to be able to show us the gun room in the old Tudor house! However the grounds more than occupied our time.

 

Cotehele National Trust grounds: a family day out in Cornwall

 

Apparently this is still a working watermill, there was no evidence of it working when we visited although the children were quick to spot the old mill stone just like our one at Coombe Mill.

 

 Watermill at Cotehele just like at Coombe Mill

 

The courtyards and gardens had the most impressive archways each of which drew you in to see what lay beyond.

 

 Archways in Cotehele grounds

 

Guy impressed me with his knowledge from his previous visit.  He showed me a crack in the wall and told me these were found all around and deliberate for defending by bow and arrow, I could only think of how drafty it must have made the house!  

 

Looking through the arrow hole at Cotehele

 

The temperature crept up in the sunshine and I felt like the plants were opening up even while we were there, I love the way spring unfolds around you at this time of year. Another month and I think it will be really stunning here.

Woodland paths are well marked out through the valley gardens and planted to offer beautiful views, the children had all ran on ahead while I stopped to admire and photograph all that I saw.

 

Cotehele in spring with flowers budding & wooded pathways

 

I did feel slightly sad that my children no longer wanted to visit the play area. This natural wooden equipment was crying out for some children but mine rarely indulge these days.

 

Play area at Cotehele

 

 

However they weren’t beyond  a bit of larking around leaping over the flower beds, running and even stopping to pet a brass hare.

 

Kids playing at Cotehele National Trust Gardens, Cornwall

 

The house is set up the hill and it is a short walk from here down to the quayside where the creek boasts some wonderful views.

 

Quay and views down the creek at Cotehele Cornwall

 

Water brings out the child in my kids still and the boys dared each other down the steps hovering over the sinking mud while I shouted at them to come back fearing the worst!

 

Playing down by the creak at Cotehele

 

The shamrock boat takes harbour tours in the summer, it was very much grounded now but it didn’t prevent the kids ignoring the signs and hopping aboard for a good explore.

Shamrock at Cotehele

 

I can thoroughly recommend Cotehele if you are staying at Coombe Mill, with a lovely looking pub and cafe on the water’s edge or picnic tables by the play area it would make a lovely family day out. I rather fancy returning when the house it open and they have a Victorian dressing up day going on.

Joining in with Country Kids   

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)

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A few of my favourites from last week:

I was thrilled by the enthusiasm from Mummy to Boyz writing about her family visit to us here at Coombe Mill.

Let Kids be Kids and Randomnest explored the local woodlands and became true Country Kids climbing the trees.

A day full of educational fun was enjoyed by North East Family Fun at Tynemouth Priory and Castle.

I Heart Motherhood and Mum Friendly explored Limpsfield Common in search of some special homes I'd love to recreate in miniature for our Fairy Garden.

Mummy M's Memories hiked through the countryside to savour the wonderful views from The Cloud. 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

   

   

  



Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on March 6th, 2015 - Fiona

Portsmouth Harbour and the Mary Rose

I do enjoy an educational day out with the children and our half term visit to Portsmouth fitted the bill perfectly. It was a freezing cold and slightly drizzly day but it didn’t matter as there were plenty of opportunities to nip inside between the outdoor explorations.

 

The Mary Rose & HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

 

We headed straight for the Mary Rose Museum at opening time before it became too crowded. The history is incredible. To think this boat sank in 1545 and didn’t come out of the water until 1982!

 

The Mary Rose from Sinking in 1545 to lifting out of the water in 1982

You can walk the length of the boat and see the old drying timbers through the glass.

 

The Mary Rose Ship Timbers

 

There are plenty of staff in costume to answer your questions as you go, of which we had many!

Old weapons, implements and such like had been preserved or recreated to fill in the learning gaps. Written, audio or interactive computer pads supplemented staff in costume so everyone could learn in their favourite way.

 

Learning in different ways at the Mary Rose Museum Portsmouth

 

Watching the old medical procedures made my skin crawl, never again will I complain about an injection at the dentist! However the highlight for my kids was learning how to fire a cannon. They sat transfixed until they had the chance to lead the cannon loading process themselves.

 

Learning to fire a cannon

 

Filled with awe and wonder at the lives they must have led we leaded for the outdoor picnic benches all thoughtfully set up in a spacious square with sails overhead to protect you from the elements.

A few well positioned statues provided interest and climbing potential for my younger children while we refueled.

 

Picnic lunch at the Royal historic dockyard in Portsmouth

The rain was holding off so we queued for the harbour tour, treating the hovering swan and seagulls to the remains of our sandwiches whilst we waited.

 

Feeding Swans and Seagulls at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard

A helpful commentary complimented the tour with information on the ships we were passing, the work being done to them and battles they had fought. I must say this was the perfect way to take in the modern working harbour and the kids spent every minute hanging over the railings to see everything. I was quite glad of the captain coming round to ask them not to climb up the edges after they had ignored me saying the same!  

 

Harbour Tour on the Portsmouth Ferry

In the Mary Rose Museum you can’t actually step aboard the ship as the timbers are so frail, however the same is not the case for The Victory. There was no queue so we walked straight on board.

On deck there were staff to answer our questions once again and the children love to touch and feel everything as they go, somehow I think this completes the learning for them.

HMS Victory on deck

Heading below deck my teens really had to duck, sailors were shorter in the 1800s! Nelson and his officers ate and slept in relative Luxury, however the conditions for the crew had deteriorated compared to when the Mary Rose was at sea and men as young as 12 were press ganged into working on the ship and enduring the harsh conditions. The daily nine pints of beer allocated per man was clearly needed to dull the senses to the life they were leading all cramped together to work eat and sleep with eight men to a station no bigger than a dining room table. Down in the base of the ship the barrels of beer and supplies were kept along with the rats running between!

 

Below Deck on the Victory at Portsmouth Naval dockyard.

Back up on deck Nick couldn’t resist enacting Nelson’s dying moment for the kids!

 

Farmer Nick where Nelson Fell

 

We checked out the modern day Navy Rooms on our way out, having fun with the costumes, machinery and comparing the living quarters which Theo decided were still not big enough for him!

 

 Dressing up in Navy Uniform

 

Even the walk back to the car took us passed more statues and cannons. Our tickets are valid for a year and I hope we manage to return as we still didn’t see everything and missed out The Warrior which I’m sure holds more secrets of our war time history. I really recommend a visit, and do book online from their website where you can save 25% on the booking costs.

 

 

 

Disclosure

I received a free journalist pass but paid in full for my family.

 

Joining in with Country Kids

If you have been out and about whether it be spotting signs of spring in the countryside or playing in the park or a day trip like ours please come and join the linky. All I ask is that your post includes outdoor fun with the family. Fresh air, time away from screens and sofas combined with quality family time is good for the kids and good for us too, Country Kids is all about promoting this time together in the outdoors. Please grab the badge code and check out some posts from others too when linking up.

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:

My Travel Monkey paid a visit to Sir Winston Churchill's home and explored all the grounds. 

Twinlakes park in Melton Mowbray provided Kids Days Out Reviews with some great outdoor fun.

Creative STAR found an awesome play park in Australia filled with something for everyone.

After recovering from chickenpox Bug Bird and Bee went for a family walk along the River Avon.

Chelsea Mamma and Renovation Bay-Bee have been out on family walks too although theirs took them on some seaside fun. 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

 


Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on February 27th, 2015 - Fiona

The Magic of the Secret Beach

I have been keeping my promise to the family to ensure we manage some winter beach trips. There is nothing better on a crisp winter’s day than to feel the chill of the sea breeze and enjoy some quality family time. Usually we head out to Polzeath which has all the facilities you might need as a family and where we know all the sneaky places to park for free! However I really fancied a bit of a cliff walk too and so Clio and Guy came with me for a quick expedition to the “secret beach”. This is just a 10 minute drive from Coombe Mill, parking is simply in the lane by a farm and there is a beautiful 15 minute farm and coast path walk to Tregardock beach.

 

The Secret Beach at Tregardock Cliffs, North Cornwall near Coombe Mill Holidays

 

This beach is simply stunning, with caves, waterfall and plunge pool, not to mention beautiful soft sand, the bluest sea and always quiet even in August. There is a catch though and that’s that with a 15 minute farm and coastal walk and a very steep decent over rough steps caved into the rock it is very unsuitable for young children and the elderly. I have to confess to shuffling down the last sections on my bottom while Guy and Clio laughed at me from below! It is also tidal so that the beautiful beach disappears completely at high tide and I am always nervous to make sure our escape route is in sight. This said when you walk the path down a couple of hours before low tide on a sunny day it is one of the most magical places around.

 

 

Tregardock cliffs, the way to the secret beach   

 

Guy took a short cut down one of the mountain passes and left Clio and I watching in dismay, thankfully he finished feet first!

We were the only ones there and I followed the kids as they explored the caves and rocks.

 

Waterfall and caves to explore at Tregardock beach North Cornwall

 

This soon turned into a game where one would make a spade trail across the sand and round the rocks to a hiding place while the other had to follow the trail.

 

The Sand Trail Game on Tregardock beach, North Cornwall

 

Those giant rocks became a climbing and jumping challenge. I managed the climb but not the jump! To be honest I was more interested in the giant mussels on the rocks and had a go at building a fire as we have done in the past with the idea of cooking a few but with only the remains of a box of matches in my pocket my attempts were in vain. Next time I will come prepared!

 

Rock Climbing at Tregardock Beach North Cornwall

The shining nuggets of crystal embedded in the rock were glistening in the sunlight and Guy took to chiselling a few chunks with his spade. I said that would never do it and he should bring a hammer next time, of course he proved me wrong!

 

 Digging for crystals at Tregardock beach North Cornwall

 

For us this was a wonderful couple of hours of sea air and discovery. Tregardock beach you have our hearts.

All the photos were taken on my iPhone 6  courtesy of Simply Business. This is my very first i movie, I love the slow mo app on Guy’s heroics. I hope you enjoy it too.

 

 

Joining in with Country Kids

The temperature is beginning to warm and the days are drawing out. I hope this means you are finding it easier to grab a little fun in the great outdoors. Adventures needn’t be expensive; our day didn’t cost a penny and was just what we needed. Why not have a look around your local area and see what treasures it hides. Whatever you do, if it is family time away from screens and enjoying some fresh air please come and share with me here on the linky. Grab the badge and remember to check out some of the other posts too.

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

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A few of my favourites from last week:

I wasn't the only one on the beach recently, My Family Fever and Let's Talk Mommy have been out enjoying the sea air.

Bubba Blue and Me stayed closer to home exploring their farm with a metal detector, something Guy's desperate to try. 

There was lots of outdoor activities for Randomnest to try out at Hill End.

The park was full of friendly animals for Mummy M's Memories to meet.

Whilst Mummy Shire went to the local farm park to meet some greedy goats. 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

   

   



Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Posted on February 20th, 2015 - Fiona

The Eden Project with my Teens

The Triplets were all away on a sleepover for a friend’s birthday enjoying plenty of fun on a bike trail and racing around at Laser Tag. Meanwhile I’ve enjoyed a rare day out with my three oldest down at The Eden Project. It was an opportunity to brush up on our ice-skating skills after our enjoyable session in Plymouth a few weeks earlier.

 

A day at the Eden Project in Winter with teenagers

 

We set off at 10.15, trust me with teens this is early on a Sunday morning proving they were all keen! Eden is only half an hour from Coombe Mill so much closer for us than Plymouth.  We booked our skating for mid day giving us time to go exploring as we’ve not visited in over a year.

They reminisced over outdoor play areas they used to clamber over as younger children and Theo couldn’t resist seeing if he could now race down the steps that always tripped him up when he was little. Of course it was easy, they are now all three taller and longer legged than me and I struggled to keep up with them stopping to take photos too.

 

Kids checking out old challenges at the Eden Project, Cornwall 

Most of my pictures are from behind as they are not at a photogenic age and I was always trailing them, my interest caught on something that had passed them by.

Exploring The Eden Project with teens. A family day out from Coombe Mill Farm Holidays

In the Mediterranean biome the boys remembered the huts being much bigger, marvelled at the size of the lemons and testicles on the strange animal statues then tested their geography on the world map.

 

The Mediterranean Biome at the Eden Project, Cornwall

 

Theo couldn’t resist taking the chilli challenge, apparently started on the many school trips to Eden.  He selected his chilli and bravely bit into it. We all laughed ourselves silly as the inevitable happened and he danced around like a mad man looking for a fresh water fountain his mouth on fire. Recovering the other two pointed out there was another plate twice the strength if he fancied another go!   

 

Chilli Challenge by Theo at the Eden Project, Cornwall

Down at the ice rink the boys were like lightning with their boots having mastered the knack of the awkward straps and soon in the queue to jump on the ice.

I hung back to capture them before joining in. the ice was definitely more challenging than Plymouth being like a sheet and it look us all a couple of laps to find our feet.

 

Ice skating at The Eden Project Cornwall

We felt triumphant at not falling over, though Theo did try to frame the rest of us throwing snowballs from the edges of the rink to our backs. The others soon had their own back tying him into his hoodie like a mummy whilst changing. No wonder he needed to show off with some acrobatics after! 

Wrapped up like a mummy at the Eden Project, Cornwall

 

 I couldn’t resist this last photo just for fun, ice creams and a little play on the way out! 

 

Leaving the Eden Project for Coombe Mill with ice creams

Our fun day captured on video

Joining in with Country Kids

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:

Over 40 and Mum to One and Redpeffer spent the day together enjoying muddy fun at Packwood House. 

The beach proved too much of a pull after a trip to the cinema for Smiles and Trials.

Mommy loves Trees showed us some great activities for outdoor play in the winter.

Making the most of a sunny afternoon in February, Little Hearts Big Love went exploring Fassnidge Park.

Keitha's Chaos went on a snowy hike to hand feed the birds

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall