Create your Woodland Party

February 29, 2016 at 9:30 PMCoombeMill

Here on the farm we love to embrace nature. Alongside our farm animals if you sit in a quiet spot on the farm all manner of wildlife will pass you by. However for those less patient we have a fun woodland trail to hunt down our wildlife statues cunningly hidden just enough to make it a challenge.

Wildlife real and fake

Add to nature a little mystique and imagination and little ones can spend hours in our wooded fairy gardens. Often our weekly farm activity hour will involve hunting for treasure or bugs in here or collecting flowers, leaves and twigs for crafts.

Activity Hour

I like to do a few of our worksheets sheets from the website, read a story or make a jigsaw at the start of our activity sessions. When Orchard Toys asked if I would like to review their Woodland Party Jigsaw I knew immediately it would be the perfect start to my hour of fun. I have reviewed Orchard Toys games in the past I am always impressed with their quality and educational bias; the Christmas Surprises game had everyone engaged at our family Christmas Eve Party so I had high expectations from the Woodland Jigsaw. I laid the pieces out on a large table and invited children over to have a go. There was a real mix of ages all joining forces to complete the magical jigsaw of a fantasy woodland party scene. What I loved about the jigsaw is how it brought the children together, created team work, sharing and a sense of achievement. It was lovely to stand back and watch as interest in the task took hold. Older children helped the younger ones and everyone had a turn at fitting a piece into place.


Making the puzzle

The jigsaw is designed to cover 4 key educational learning areas

   1. Developing manual dexterity

  • Actually fitting the pieces together required careful coordination even on this large puzzle.

   2. Encouraging imagination

  • The woodland scene is full of fantasy and possibility for the wonder of the woods.

   3. Reinforce counting skills

  • By counting how many pieces are left or how many pieces have been placed

   4. Promote observation and discussion

  • The back of the box is full of useful discussion areas around the puzzle picture to engage young minds.


The recommended age for the jigsaw is 4 to 7, however I know some of the children, including my own, enjoyed in joining in too and still found it a challenge. If you are making the puzzle alone with your child, rather than with a group, a younger child may need a hand getting started with some corner pieces to work from.

Finished puzzle


The completed scene did remind me of many of the garden parties, casual picnics enjoyed by our holiday makers and children's parties we have had at Coombe Mill over the years. 


Garden Parties at Coombe Mill


The Woodland Puzzle is available from the Orchard Toys website for just £9.75 offering hours of fun to complete again and again.

Win an Orchard Toys Woodland Party Jigsaw


Win the Woodland Party Talkabout Floor Puzzle


If you would like to try and win one of these lovely puzzles for your child just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.

Woodland Party Talkabout Floor Puzzle


I was sent my Woodland Party Puzzle for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If you are holidaying with us this year our puzzle is available to borrow from the games room

Family Fever

Maths made active and fun

February 22, 2016 at 9:00 PMCoombeMill

We all know the importance of learning maths from a young age. It is one of the core subjects that all children need to learn yet it may seem unfair how some kids just 'get it' while others ponder. It may be hard to iron out natural inequalities however we can give our children every chance to be the ones who succeed by bringing maths into every day fun activities even before formal schooling starts. Here on the farm we often mix a little maths learning into activity hour, it may be choosing something longer or shorter than something else, working on a shape with paper or in nature or counting things on a nature walk. The children are never told they are learning maths, it simply fits into our hour of fun, although we have a full education category on the web site for those wanting to further all schooling related to their farm holiday experience.

Number Bundle

Number Bundle box

Gavin Mair, a UCL Mathematics Masters Graduate turned Goldman Sachs banker, has picked up on the evidence amongst educational bodies suggesting that learning with your child will enhance and speed up their ability to grasp the concepts and used this to create Number bundle, a monthly subscription toolbox for parents to help their children in maths.

Each box takes a topic from the national curriculum that is age relevant, for example boxes for pre-schoolers cover colour and counting whereas Year 2's explore more complex areas like symmetry and division. The boxes come with full guidance for parents including all of the materials and discussion points needed to introduce and expand on the major themes from the mathematics curriculum, whilst spending fun, quality time with the child.

Every month the box contains a range of activities to engage your child including cookery, arts & crafts, active games, solo puzzles, cross stitch, outdoor play, science and a story. This really appeals to me as a way to learn outside of the classroom and I can instantly see how it might fit into our weekly fun on the farm here.

 Number Bundle the Mathematics Activity Box

Number bundle boxes cost £21 for a single purchase box or £16.99 per month for a subscription whereby each month subscribers are sent a brand new themed box. You can find out more from their website at  

We have been testing the preschool box and true to its word, the box really does think of everything. The activities are diverse so there is always something that will really appeal to your child, after all, we all learn differently and these boxes certainly allow for that. Here are just a couple of the ideas that we enjoyed from our box.

A welly hunt from our borrow collection; I showed the wellies, then hid them then the children had to find them and order them from smallest to biggest.

Welly Boot Hunt

The older girls enjoyed the enjoyed the mazes matching bigger and smaller people while everyone liked making playdoh shapes to fill in on the animal mats.  (Mats provided, playdoh is our own although there is a recipe to make your own in the box).

Play Doh animals and Mazes

There are plenty more activities in our box to go at, you might just see me referring to them over the summer in my Country Kids posts.

Win a 6 month subscription to number bundle

Win a 6 Month Subscription to Number Bundle

If you like the sound of Number bundle and have a child age 3 to 7 why not enter our competition to win a six month subscription and watch your child become that "can do" mathematician whilst having fun.

6 Month Number Bundle Subscription


I was sent my sample number bundle box to review; all opinions expressed are my own.  

Hope for tired winter skin

February 15, 2016 at 9:00 PMCoombeMill


Winter can be tough on our skin, the cold, the rain and in and being in and out of different temperatures all takes their toll; for Mums add to this endless hand washes with cooking, washing up and nappy changing. With children I'm the first to shout about the benefits of outdoor play with my Country Kids linky but it can leave young eczema prone skin dry and chapped. Here on the farm as a family we are forever in and out in the cold weather tending the animals and washing hands and chapped skin does become a problem. If you can relate to any of these issues and are are keen to try a new solution I have found one that is a little different from the rest and that I can recommend.


Win a £43 Bundle of Hopes Relief for All Your Families Needs


Hope's Relief Range

Hope's Relief has been formulated over 35 years, originally created by a Naturopath for her own daughter.  The current range includes intensive rescue cream, moisturising lotion, body wash and herbal hair care products all of which are created using therapeutic natural actives like Hospital Grade Organic Manuka Honey NPA 10+, Gotu Kola, Aloe Vera, Organic Calendula and  Licorice Root. Pilot tests show 93% improvement to skin making it Australia's number 1 choice as a natural eczema cream. 

I have been testing the body wash, moisturising cream and intensive dry skin rescue and have to say they are good. The intensive cream in particular is wonderfully nourishing. The natural looking putty colour and lack of flowery fragrance add to the feel that this is one that actually works and is free of irritant ingredients including artificial colours, fragrances and petrochemicals. The moisturising cream is thinner yet easily absorbed for liberal spreading.


Moisturising Lotion and Intensive Dry Skin Rescue


The only product with a significant fragrance is the body wash, we have it in our cloakroom as a great way to refresh farm hands and add moisture all in one.


Hand Wash

I really can't fault the range, personally I'm not a fan of the goat photo on the front of the body wash as I rather feel I have my farm goats still waving at me indoors but that is purely subjective and certainly doesn't detract from the product quality.  My children have all been helping themselves to a little squeeze of the moisturisers to keep chapped hands and mouths at bay.     

You can buy the range on line at their website and in good health stores and independent pharmacies. We are also offering Coombe Mill readers a 20% off voucher on all non saver packs just enter promo code HOPE20 at these would make a wonderful and different Mother's Day gift to rejuvenate tired winter skin in preparation for spring.


20 off from Hope's relief for Coombe Mill readers

Win a £43 bundle of Hopes Relief


For a chance to win yourself a family bundle of the cream, moisturiser and body wash I tested here just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.

£43 bundle from Hope's Relief


I was sent my Hopes Relief products to test and provide an honest review. all thoughts expressed are my own.


SBS Event 2016

February 14, 2016 at 7:00 PMCoombeMill

Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday (SBS)

Back in 2011 I was lucky enough to have a tweet from Theo Paphitis that made a difference. It brought me into a community of fellow small business owners all of who, just like me, are passionate about what they do. These online connections soon became real friends as the SBS events began to take place. I have now managed to attend every one and each year  I learn something new that leaves me heading back to Cornwall inspired to further develop what we offer at Coombe Mill.

SBS win with Theo Paphitis in 2011 for Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Highlights of 2016

1. Networking

For me there is always as much to be gained from colleagues as from the official speakers and this year was no exception. I spent hours chatting with the lovely Francesca from Stamptastic who I've worked with in the past on my blog, we shared our SEO knowledge, latest marketing ideas and zest for our businesses, if sewing labels in kids clothes isn't your idea of fun then do visit their site for an effective quick alternative. Francesca convinced me to be less scared of paying for post boosts on Face book so watch out if you follow my page, you could see more of me!


Facebook for Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

I drove up with my long time SBS buddy Karen from Winifred and Mabel Karen is such an inspiration with a real can do attitude and a great bespoke range of home and gift items in her Wadebridge shop. Jen from GrippyLeads joined us too after winning with her unique pet leads. A huge thanks goes to Joy of APBassetts for organising a Cornish Stand, I was proud to see so much entrepreneurism coming from Cornwall at the event.


SBS Event 2016 Coombe Mill with Cornwall Winners


I talked and photographed so many wonderful people, you may spot yourself here thank you for taking the time to chat and share what you do. I will be following up with Zest For Learning, the Cornish Food Box , NW DesignTommy&Lottie and Kernow Spa as businesses aligned to our family farm Holidays.


SBS winners at the 2016 Event in birmingham with Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


As for the pre and after parties I shared a drink or two with so many who work hard and party hard.


SBS Party Evenings with Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


2. That Dress!

Talking of businesses working together I had been in contact with Bags of Love for some time to do something together. I was just browsing their website a couple of weeks before the event when inspiration struck. Bags of Love have the facility to design a dress to any design, I played with the graphics on their site and created the Coombe Mill Brand in a dress. Thanks to their speedy service and delivering straight to the venue I became the most talked about dress in the room. It certainly made it easy for anyone who had heard of Coombe Mill to approach me with certainly and strike up conversation. I shall be wearing this to every business and blogging event from now on.


Coombe Mill Family Farm Holiday Dress for #SBS

3. The Speakers 

Listening   to those who have really made it big in business is always inspiring. This year was no exception, Theo held everyone's attention with his effortless use of language to making goals sound so easy to achieve. Holly Tucker who founded Not on the High Street and Mike Pickles from the Really Useful Box Company kept the questions rolling in from the floor, I captured chunks on Periscope and I know that was appreciated by many who were not able to attend the event. I even happened to be filming when someone asked a question to Theo about Periscope and I was able to shout out that he was indeed being live streamed as we spoke.


If you missed the event you can see all my Periscope session on my Katch channel here

4. S.E.O. Unraveled 

I have always managed my own SEO and prided myself on doing it through organic material, largely thanks to my blog. However as all bloggers will know it takes a huge chunk of time every day and with 6 children and the day to day business to run I do worry I am not allocating my time wisely and question if I have my SEO as sorted as I like to think. Here was an opportunity to quiz Nick Leech of 1, 2, 3 - Reg about SEO on a one to one. I bombarded him with questions about follow links, Google rules, linky value in SEO and more, most confirmed what I knew but Nick is coming back to me on the SEO benefit of having a linky as he wasn't sure and did worry me in saying that all blogger badges displayed on other blogs are not allowed by Google and could be doing harm. He is checking this out before anyone panics as we all like to share a badge!  He also confirmed that 3 posts a week was the optimum, so I'm doing too many, and that and that each post should be 1000 words, I still thought it was 500 so another learning point for me.  For SEO it isn't comments on your posts that matter but shares of your post URL to social media, so if you really like a post you read please remember to share it and give the blogger a little SEO boost. If you want to check how your blog stacks up for SEO reach have a look on 

5. An On Line SBS Shop

Amazon did it, Not on the High street does it and now SBS plans to have a shop to sell all the products and services we make. I'm really excited for the potential this offers at a low rate for members, however I'm not yet sure it can work for holidays in the same way it does for other retail purchases but I shall watch with interest.

Will I go back again?

Absolutely!  The whole event is free for members and a great opportunity for those who embrace all that is on offer. A huge thank you to Theo and the #sbs sponsors for hosting another wonderful event. Roll on #SBSEvent2017, but please not on the half term weekend again.  Driving back to Cornwall at 7.30am to check properties and be on top form to welcome our guests wasn't my chosen hangover cure, however the kids were delighted to see me and take their pick from a lovely goody bag.  

SBS Event 2016 Goodie Bag for Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


If you have a post from the event please do share with me here on the link up so we can all read each other's posts and share widely!

  Marvellous Mondays badge by Hello Archie Share the Joy linky at   Mummascribbles Let's Talk Mommy   Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday         Mudpie Fridays   




Maya the Bee goes on an Adventure

February 8, 2016 at 8:50 PMCoombeMill

Tiny Pop's popular production of Maya the Bee is coming out on DVD and digital download from 8th February 2016, just in time for half term.

Maya the Bee on DVD

The storyline

Maya, is a busy little bee, ready to leave her hive and live in the meadow. The world is just too big and too fascinating to remain confined to the restricted life of the hive. But soon Maya realises that a bigger challenge beckons and that together with her friend Willy, she must return and save their hive from the greedy queen’s adviser and end the long-term hostility between bees and hornets. Join Maya and her friends, as they set off on their “un-bee-lievable” adventures.


Maya and Friends in the Meadow


Maya the Bee is a lovely child friendly way to discover the insect world in a series of fun adventures that take a little of the fear away from creepy crawlies and being stung by a bee. When children are cautious rather than afraid they are less likely to panic and less likely to be stung. Here at Coombe Mill we have a thriving bug home the children staying are encouraged to visit and we enjoy bug themed activity hour sessions and seeing the wildlife in our meadows. We have set up snail races and built snail homes. 


Kids hunting for Bugs


Why not give Maya the Bee a chance and bring their meadow adventures into your home.


 Maya the Bee DVD

Film Facts

Certificate U

Irish Film Classification G

Run time approx 88 minutes

In association with Friends of the Honey Bee.


The film was produced by Studio 100 Media and Buzz Studios, and is distributed in the UK by Enchanted Animation. Directed by Alexs Stadermann the DVD features some big names in the voice over's including Coco Jack Gillies (Mad Max: Fury Road), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Jacki Weaver, (Silver Lining Playbooks, Animal Kingdom), Miriam Margolyes (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2) and Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge, Van Helsing, Mission Impossible 2). 

Win a Maya the Bee Toy Bundle

We have 3 bundles of Maya the Bee soft toys to giveaway.

Maya the Bee cuddly toys

To be in with a chance of winning these adorable soft toys in association with the new DVD launch just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.

Win 1 of 3 Maya the Bee Plush Toy Bundles


We were sent our copy of the DVD to write this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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