Christmas at Coombe Mill

Coombe Mill in Cornwall has been on my holiday wish list for a few years now – ever since I first started joining in with the Country Kids linky. It always sounded so amazing in Fiona’s blog posts and I thought my girls would love it there. Sadly we never did get to take Jessica, but when she died in April, Fiona kindly offered us a stay at Coombe Mill if we wanted to get away for a while.

 

We knew our first Christmas without Jessica would be particularly tough. We couldn’t face the thought of staying home and trying to do the things we would normally do without Jessica. Getting away felt like the best thing to do and Coombe Mill the perfect place to go.

 

Farmer Christmas standing next to the children's trailer - "Christmas at Coombe Mill"

 

 

Polzeath lodge

We stayed in Polzeath, the newest of the Scandinavian-style lodges, which accommodates four people. It has two bedrooms downstairs. The master bedroom has an en suite bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower and there is a second bathroom next to the twin bedroom which has a bath. The living area is open plan with a dining area and kitchen area. The heating in the lodge is through night storage heaters and it was so warm that we kept having to turn the heating down. There is also a wood-burner in the lounge which you can use throughout the stay (there’s an additional charge for the log burning starter set) but we didn’t use this.

 

(from top, clockwise) Polzeath Lodge exterior; the master bedroom; the twin bedroom with Jessica's photo blanket on one of the beds; the kitchen and dining area; the lounge and kitchen area

 

Upstairs was the best bit as far as Sophie was concerned! Above the bedrooms was a huge play room with a Brio train set, lots of toys to play with, a reading nook and a soft play area with a window overlooking the lounge. It was amazing. We brought the last of our Advent books with us and enjoyed a bedtime story each night in the reading nook. Christmas afternoon was spent playing games in the playroom and Thomas even got to sit on the Thomas the Tank Engine train and in the soft play area too!

 

The playroom; Thomas in the soft play area; Sophie and Daddy in the reading nook; Thomas and Sophie on the Thomas the Tank Engine train

 

 

Decorating the tree

As we were staying over Christmas, there was a Christmas tree in our lodge with a box of decorations all ready for us to decorate it together. Sophie loved hanging baubles on the tree. We brought a very special little angel with us to hang on the tree in memory of Jessica too.

 

Sophie decorating the tree

 

 

A special surprise

When we arrived at our lodge, there was a book on the table with pretty hearts all over the cover. I assumed it was a guestbook until I opened it. Each page had a Christmas card glued to it with a printed message inside. Fiona had collated all the messages from everyone who has contributed to our stay at Coombe Mill. It was such a beautiful gesture. Reading the messages made me cry – there was so much love and support in each of them and to know that Jessica touched so many hearts means a lot.

 

The book with the heart-covered cover

 

There were a few blank pages in the book – I’m planning to print some photos from our week to fill them up with memories of our Christmas stay.

 

 

Feed run

One of the things I really loved about the feed run was that it got us outside first thing in the morning. At 9am each day (10am on Christmas Day), Farmer Nick and Farmer Fiona were waiting with the tractor and children’s trailer in the car park.

 

Farmer Christmas standing next to the children's trailer

 

The children took it in turns to help drive the tractor. Sophie got to help drive it three times when we were there – each time doing the drive around the lake.

 

Sophie driving the tractor with Farmer Nick

 

There are lots of animals to see at Coombe Mill including pigs, goats, chickens, ponies, deer, alpaca and guinea pigs. Sophie loved helping to feed them each morning. It was lovely to watch her making friends with the other children. I also enjoyed being able to chat with some of the other guests while the children were helping feed the animals. It was lovely to meet fellow blogger Kara (Chelsea Mamma and Are We Nearly There Yet?) during our stay too.

 

Sophie with the goats at Coombe Mill

 

Me with fellow blogger Kara

 

At the end of the week, the children received a certificate for being part of Farmer Nick’s Little Helpers Club.

 

Sophie with her Farmer Nick's Little Helpers Club certificate

 

 

Train ride

The train ride was the other highlight of the day for Sophie. The feed run got us outside in the morning, but whatever we did during the day, we always had to be back in time for the train ride!

 

Sophie on the Coombe Mill train

 

The train tunnel was decorated with twinkly lights for Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we had a festive looking driver and a very special visitor waiting inside the tunnel. Father Christmas was there waiting for the train to make a special stop for the children to each receive a little gift.

 

The children on the festive Coombe Mill train

 

As well as getting to ride on the train, there was also the fun of being able to control the signals. Sophie was a bit too small to be able to climb the ladder but Fiona gave her a helping hand!

 

Sophie being helped up the signal ladder by Fiona

 

 

Activity hour

I always love reading about Fiona’s creative activities during activity hour and was looking forward to this. Our craft activity was to make a special Christmas decoration for the table. The children had to look in the fairy garden for some of the things they needed for their crafting. Having to hunt for their plastic bottles and collect holly and ivy added to the fun. We also had to pick up a log from the log store for the base. Sophie went for an off cut of wood rather than a log. This was easier for her to work with, even if it did lose a little of the rustic charm a log would have had! She loved making a Father Christmas figure to stand on her piece of wood along with a candle, a photo cut from a Christmas card and some tinsel, holly and ivy to decorate.

 

Sophie making her Father Christmas table decoration

 

We took a break midway through our crafting to catch the afternoon train ride and toast some marshmallows over a fire. Hubby enjoyed helping Sophie with that one!

 

Sophie with a toasted marshmallow

 

 

Pooh sticks

Opposite our lodge was the bridge that I recognised as being the starting point for the annual Coombe Mill nature raft race. We were there at the wrong time of year for raft racing but it was a good spot for a game of Pooh sticks.

 

Sophie and Daddy standing on the bridge playing Pooh sticks

 

 

Crazy golf, play areas and gym

Next to the train stop at Coombe Halt was the crazy golf. Sophie loved playing a few holes before and after the train ride each day. The trampoline on the other side of the train track was also a big hit!

 

Sophie playing crazy golf

 

There were a couple of play areas that we didn’t find the time to explore. Sophie did discover the outdoor gym though and quite enjoyed trying this out. Hubby had a go on the treadmill inside the gym a couple of times as well.

 

Sophie on the outdoor gym equipment

 

 

Games room

Sophie enjoyed a couple of games of pool and playing table football with Daddy in the games room. There are lots of books and board games too which you can borrow during your stay. We borrowed Giraffes in Scarfs which has become a new favourite for Sophie. We also enjoyed getting to chat to the other guests over drinks and nibbles in the games room on Christmas Eve.

 

Sophie playing table football with Daddy

 

 

Christingle service in St Tudy

On Christmas Eve, we headed to the next village, St Tudy, for their Christingle service. It was a beautiful service although hubby and I did find it quite emotional too. Afterwards, we enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies in the street. Sophie and Thomas also got to see Father Christmas again. It must have been a very busy Christmas Eve for him going out to meet the children just before his epic sleigh ride to deliver the presents!

 

Sophie and Thomas with Father Christmas

 

 

Feeling in a bubble

We had no phone reception at Coombe Mill. There was wifi in our lodge, but this was just about enough to send and receive emails, check social media and make voice calls on WhatsApp. I loved the feeling of being cut off from everything and being in our own little bubble.

 

Hubby holding a smiley Thomas on Christmas Day while Sophie holds up a pair of dungarees (one of Thomas's christmas presents)

 

Thomas lying on the bed next to his Christmas stocking

 

Going away for Christmas was the best thing we could have done. Coombe Mill was every bit as magical as it had seemed in Fiona’s posts. Jessica would have loved it there. It was hard to face the festive season without our beautiful big girl, but being at Coombe Mill helped us to make happy memories with Sophie and Thomas amongst the moments of heartbreak. Getting outside a couple of times each day was good for us too and it was lovely to chat to the other guests each morning on the feed run. Thank you Fiona, Nick and family for a wonderful stay. We will definitely be coming back again!

 

The view across the lake at Coombe Mill

 

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18 thoughts on “Christmas at Coombe Mill

  1. I’m so so glad you had a good time, it sounds like the most perfect place on earth. I know it was a very difficult time for you but I’m glad that you found some joy. Sending lots of love. Louise x

    1. Thank you Louise. It was an amazing place to visit and made our first Christmas without Jessica a little easier to bear x

  2. What a joy to read all of this and well done for fitting everything in one post. I think i will still be telling Christmas in February! It is wonderful to see Christmas with us from your perspective, we did so enjoy having you to stay and so pleased it gave you the break you all needed at this difficult time and some very different Christmas memories to take home. While the absence of Jessica was so painful for you it was lovely to see Sophie come into her own and really enjoy all the activities on the farm. I still marvel at her energy levels. I’ll look forward to see you all back again one day and Thomas starting to join in too. #CountryKids

    1. Thank you Fiona, we had such a lovely stay and it really was just what we needed over Christmas. Sophie loved every minute of her time at Coombe Mill – she certainly does have plenty of energy and it was a good place to use up some of it! I’ll be sharing another post next week about the fun we had on the feed run. Thank you again for a wonderful stay and we shall look forward to coming back again one day x

  3. I’m so glad you all had a lovely break and were able to make some happy memories at such a sad time. I’m sure Jessica would have loved it there but I bet she would also have been happy that you managed to find some enjoyment in Christmas this year. Your photos are beautiful and it has made me even more keen to go and stay at Coombe Mill some time soon!
    Nat.x

    1. Thank you Nat. I am sure that Jessica would have been happy that we managed to find some enjoyment in Christmas too. Going away was definitely the right decision for us and it was so lovely to see how much Sophie enjoyed it. I think your girls would absolutely love it at Coombe Mill and I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough x

  4. We spent Christmas at Coombe Mill a couple of years ago so i know how magical it is. What a perfect place to make new family memories and remember Jessica.

  5. How lovely of Fiona, I cannot even begin to imagine facing Christmas without one of my children my heart completely goes out to you and your husband, it is so unfair. I am glad you were able to be in that little bubble and enjoy new experiences with your two little cuties. Sending love. Thanks for sharing this with us #ABlogginggoodtime

  6. I am so happy you got to visit Coombe Mill. It looks such a wonderful place but must have been extra special at Christmas. I’m so glad you had a nice time x

  7. I am so pleased you were able to do this. Jessica would be looking over you with pleasure. Coombe Mill looks like a wonderful place and Fiona is such a lovely person. The lodge looked lovely and cosy, the perfect place for the kids. x #ablogginggoodtime

  8. I loved reading about your stay. The Christmas after we lost my sister-in-law, we changed our Christmas location and it was sad but also easier. I’m so glad you all had such a wonderful Christmas. I wanted so badly to visit Coombe Mill when my son was young.

  9. I’m so glad the magic of Coombe Mill helped you through the festive week. My son still has his certificate on his wardrobe door. I love the idea of there being a tree and decorations. Everything is thought of there #countrykids

  10. I remember when back in the spring, Fiona offered to have you stay at Coombe Mill. So glad that this was the break that you needed for your first Christmas without Jessica. How thoughtful and lovely is this scrapbook? Fiona is a magician!
    Warm wishes from Ireland for this new year x
    #CountryKids

  11. I’m so glad this experience helped make your first Christmas without Jessica a little easier. It looks like Sophie had a great time. We keep saying we will visit Cornwall one day. #countrykids

  12. What a wonderful break and a great way to work through your first Christmas without Jessica. Coombe Mill sounds amazing too. I love that there were toys in the cottage, tree decorations and your special tree angel too. Fiona seems to make things feel really personal. And the book from contributing bloggers was a really thoughtful touch. Also nice to read Chelsea Mamma’s post too. #CountryKids

  13. Your lodge looked beautiful, we loved our stay in a wooden cabin although we needed a bigger one as there were so many of us this time. Lovely to meet you and your beautiful family, some very special memories were made over Christmas xx

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