A Christmas Day Surf 2017

Posted on January 5th, 2018 - Anya

We make no secret of loving the beach at any time of the year; however one of my favourite days to visit is Christmas Day. The weather doesn’t need to be perfect, just warm enough to face changing into a wetsuit and dry enough not to ruin a walk. Christmas Day this year delivered on both these criteria with the typically Cornish mix of warm with outbreaks of drizzle and occasional sunshine. Just to further encourage a family beach visit Jed had a surf board for his Christmas present which he opened with great excitement here in the morning and couldn’t wait to test it out.


Christmas day 2017 in the surf


Everyone has their own Christmas Day traditions, ours is Stockings in the morning, followed by feed run with the guests and then family cooked brunch.  


Refuelled by something warm to eat, we head out for a walk, preferably to the beach, while the Turkey cooks for an early evening Christmas dinner. I like it this way as it ensures I manage to join the family for the daylight hours and not be left stuck in the kitchen cooking. With the window wipes on and off during the car journey to the beach I had my doubts about our plan this year, however the kids were keen and who am I to stop their fun. Half of us hit the waves while half walked the beach and coast path. I left Theo with the camera so he is responsible for most of the beach photos.


I hadn’t thought to bring my long lens and really wanted to capture Jed trying out his new surf board so I risked my camera in the water and waded in while Theo held my surf board. I even managed a couple of little video clips before a wave nearly had me over and the camera ruined for good!


Sea and surf at Polzeath on Christmas Day 2017


After nearly an hour in the water I had to drag the kids out, they were going blue but still having a wonderful time on their Christmas Day surf.



Changing back on the beach is the most unpleasant part, but we made up for it with the heating on high in the car going home and a wonderful traditional Christmas dinner within a couple of hours of being home.  


Christmas Dinner 2017


I always say kids are like puppies, they need a good dose of exercise every day in order to relax quietly. Surfing and sea air clearly did the trick; they all played Monopoly and watched films with us in the living room late into the night. It was my perfect balanced Christmas Day.

A Christmas Day Surf 2017

Country Kids

Sunset Beach in Winter Glory   

Posted on December 9th, 2017 - Anya

It has become a bit of a pre Christmas tradition for us to take a family weekend break in the run up to Christmas. A little Christmas shopping and a good burst of family time at the end of a busy holiday season and ahead of the festive break. This was last weekend and we were blessed with arriving on the most glorious winter afternoon just before sunset. How could I resist? As the kids headed for the hotel sports and Nick the golf course, the photographer in me grabbed my camera and headed the short walk down to the beach to capture the sunset and relax into our weekend. I’ll share more about our busy weekend in a future post, but for now here is the view that greeted me, I hope you’ll agree, it was worth the walk and sitting in the winter sand to capture. Despite being bitterly cold and losing all feeling in my fingers, the glow from the winter sun makes it look much warmer than the reality.


From the Coast path a first glimpse of the sun.


  sunset over the ocean 


A huge ball of fire out to sea.


watching the sunset through the reeds along the coastpath


Down on sunset beach  watching the reflection across the water.


Sunset beach from the sand in December


As the sun begins to disappear over the horizon a burnt orange glow fills the sky. 


sun setting over horizon


I hurry back up the coast path while I can still see my way.


Brit Mums Live 17 The Highlights

Posted on October 8th, 2017 - Anya

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.


Registration at Brit Mums 17 for Coombe Mill Holidays

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.


A tour of Parliament with Visit Parliament

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.


Brit Mums Live 17 at Country Hall London

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.


SEO with Judith Lewis at BML17

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.


Rachel Riley Photography at BML17

 Gorgeous Nails

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!

Still loving my funky nails from #BML17 in support of #anInumber5 #nailpolish #fancynails

A post shared by Coombe Mill (@coombemill) on


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.

City Crusies on theThames with FionaCambouropoulos and Kate Sutton


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.  


Brit Mums 17 Goodie Bag contents

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?



Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs Twinkly Tuesday Rhyming with Wine ethannevelyn Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday Family Fever

Brighton Pier for Teenage fun

Posted on October 6th, 2017 - Anya

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.


Brighton Pier for Teenage Fun

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!


Picnic on Brighton Beach

Digesting their food and preparing for the pier involved stone skimming and acrobatics.

beach fun in Brighton

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.


Wrist bands for Brighton Pier


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.


Rides at Brighton Pier


Nick and I left them to their fun and enjoyed a quiet afternoon wandering through the lanes and side streets of Brighton.


Brighton Lanes and Marina


By the time we returned the kids were buzzing with excitement and reliving their favourite rides as we wandered back together.


Fun post rides on Brigton Pier


This will be one trip to Brighton pier that will stay with them for a long time to come.   



Country Kids After The Playground

Holidays and Home Coming

Posted on September 30th, 2017 - Anya

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

Galaxidi 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

sunlight over Coombe Mill for Holiday home coming

Our chicks have grown and lost their baby fluff while we were away


cuddles for a growing chick on the farm

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.


Clio at Polzeath

Autumn and winter I’m ready for you now!

Do you enjoy holidays and home coming in equal measure?