For the first time EVER, our little family spent the Christmas & New Year period on holiday.
It was amazing for us all to be together, spending a full 10 days just relaxing and enjoying our surroundings. After a busy year, it was a much-needed and well-deserved break. Those regular visitors to my little blogette will know that we love to go to Coombe Mill, in Cornwall. The tranquillity and the closeness to the natural outdoors appeals to us, and it made a great setting for us to enjoy Christmas even more.
The most memorable experience, however, was the day of New Years Eve. We decided to spend the day surfing in the sea at beautiful Polzeath Beach. Bonkers, I hear you mutter, given the time of year but, with the proper kit, we hardly noticed the cold and lasted over an hour in the surf, jumping and riding the waves.
We went to a surf shop located right on the beach, where we were able to hire a board, wetsuits, boots, gloves and hats, all of which were much needed in the chilly swell. We used the “privacy” of our car to writhe and wriggle into our wetsuits, and then we were ready to face the waves.
The first few steps into the ocean we sort-of OK, and surprisly not as cold as we anticipated it to be. Having the correct kit is essential, and I was able to slowly lower myself deeper into the water without too much of a cold-shock to the system, acclimatising as I went tentatively ever farther out into the surf.
My daughter caught her first wave and soon stood up straight away, making it look very easy and completely putting her Mum to shame! I don’t mind admitting that I’m not the best surfer, and I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been able to successfully stand up on a moving board, but I still love the whole experience.
After almost an hour, the wind started to chill our heads, and cheeks began to glow a nice shade of rosy red. We were ready for warm clothes and, as we waddled quickly back to the car, we all agreed that we should visit the nearest tea-rooms, where we enjoyed a steaming pot of tea, and a huge warm scone with extra clotted cream and large spoon of jam!
The ability to enjoy such a wild, fun day with my family was such a brilliant way to end the year and mark the end of a wonderful holiday.
Where to start with my post on outdoor fun, this week!
What an amazing week we had, as our family (along with the family “The Boy and Me”) were able to be country kids in every sense, after spending a week at the wonderful Coombe Mill. I really couldn’t wait to write this post, so that I could share our amazing stories and adventures.
Though there’s so much to tell and to share about our adventure at Coombe Mill, this post will focus upon my daughter, a true country kid!
Olivia and her new hat
Our favourite part of the day was the animal-feeding run, at 09.00. We would have a very quick, light breakfast, throw on our waterproofs and wellies, then head down to meet the farmer ready to start the day.
We’ve spent many day trips on different farms where the children get a small handful of feed to throw at the animals, and that would be the sum total of their farm experience.
Coombe Mill is very, very different.
The children take it in turns to drive the tractor, (and I really do mean drive the tractor), while the adults follow behind.
Olivia waiting for the Farmer to help her drive the tractor
The first stop was at the family of pygmy goats, with the most cute baby pygmy goats we’ve ever seen. We stepped into the pen, and my daughter and her cousin were quickly given one of the babies to cuddle. They were so beautiful and, when they snuggled into her arms, she was in love!
The pygmy goats
Next were the pigs. Again, children don’t stand by the side or away from the pen. They’re encouraged to get in with the pigs, throwing them their breakfast from the metal buckets. We worked out very quickly that pigs will eat anything and everything, so we were encouraged to save our food waste for the pigs to have, the next day.
The pigs waiting for their breakfast
Next, we went onward to the chicken, geese and hen enclosure. A huge variety of birds were freely running around, all trying to get at the feed. They scurried here and there, running quickly past us and were not at all bothered by the people invading their home. The best part was the addition of two baby wallabies who live in with the birds. Staying away from the crowd, the farmer made sure that the feed was thrown up to them. This was to ensure that they had their fare share, because the greedy birds would try to get it all away from them. Opening the small coops, the children collected the freshly-layed eggs, with 8 being the best find of the week.
One busy little farmer
Up to the billy goats, next, who were ready for their food, clambering through the fence and butting the buckets to try and get it quicker.
Then we had to feed the deer.
The deer had a huge open area with fantastic woods at the top of their field. As we walked in, we were met with a small group of deer slowly prancing their way nervously towards us, trying to make sense of the strange, two-legged creatures who had invaded their space. In and arround them strutted the mighty stag, who (very strangely) was the most nervous of the bunch! These animals were magnificent, stunning and beautiful, and were my favourite of all. I really could’ve sat watching them all day.
The beautiful deer
Then, we moved on to feed yet more sheep, more goats, the two ponies, and Rolo the donkey. They were all looking for their breakfast, as they’ve worked out that the noise of the tractor coming towards them meant that food was definitely on it’s way.
What a magical start to the day.
Absolute heaven for my daughter, whose confidence grew and grew with each passing day. By the 3rd day, she wasn’t looking around for me any more, and didn’t need anyone to prompt her what to do. She was just straight in there, and behaving just like a mini apprentice farmer.
Her favourite day was when Farmer Fiona was in charge. She followed Fiona around, happily engrossed in all the farm jobs and, as a parent who encourages outdoor adventures, it was amazing to watch.
I hope that the photographs help to illustrate, and add depth to, this post. My daughter was happy, engaged and confident. She didn’t worry about her clothes, if her hair was tidy, or that her hands were a bit mucky. All that mattered was the farm experience and the excitement of being involved.
In one simple sentence, she was totally happy and satisfied at becoming the ultimate county kid.
Thank you Coombe Mill.