Our second Christmas at Coombe Mill

Christmas is a tough time for us since Jessica died and we haven’t yet been able to face doing Christmas at home the way we used to. Instead, we headed to Cornwall to spend our second Christmas without Jessica at Coombe Mill. Last year, it was just the four of us, but this year Grandma and Grandad joined us too. It was lovely to get away for a few days and to enjoy an outdoorsy Christmas.


Sophie opening presents in front of the Christmas tree in Heligan Lodge – “Our second Christmas at Coombe Mill”


Heligan Lodge

This year we stayed in Heligan Lodge which accommodates up to 8 people. There were two twin rooms and a single room downstairs, and a master bedroom upstairs with an adjoining bedroom, separated by a stable door, which had a toddler bed. This bedroom was perfect for Sophie and Thomas, whose cot was set up here too. We put Jessica’s blanket on the bed in the single room (she had to have her room too) and Grandma and Grandad had one of the twin rooms downstairs.


There was also a playroom upstairs which Sophie and Thomas loved. It was a nice safe space for them to play in, with a gate at the door and gates at the top and bottom of the stairs to help keep them safe.


Sophie and Thomas in the playroom in Heligan Lodge


The main living area downstairs was a nice big open area, with a lounge, dining space and kitchen area, overlooked by the minstrel gallery on the top floor, so we could hear the children playing in the playroom (and occasionally got bombarded by the balls from the ball pit which Thomas liked to throw over the gate!). The wood-burner (with fire-guard) made it very cosy and Sophie loved decorating the Christmas tree on our arrival. We brought a couple of special decorations with us, in memory of Jessica, to add to the tree.


Sophie wearing an elf hat and decorating the Christmas tree in Heligan Lodge


Morning feed run

The morning feed run was the highlight of our stay. Getting out first thing in the morning to feed the animals was a wonderful way to start the day. It was lovely to see Thomas being able to join in this year. He absolutely adored the goats and the sheep.


A smiley Thomas with the sheep at Coombe Mill


Sophie also enjoyed herself. She was more confident around the animals this year, and particularly enjoyed feeding our vegetable scraps and leftovers to the pigs.


Sophie and Thomas wearing puddlesuits and Coombe Mill hats sitting in the trailer ready for the feed run


I’ll share more about our feed run fun in a separate post next week.


Making friends

There were a few other blogger families staying over Christmas, including Herne Hill Mum, Crazy With Twins and Chocolate Is Not The Only Fruit. It’s always lovely to meet other bloggers, and get to know them a little better. It was also lovely to watch the children interacting with each other and making friends so easily. Crazy with Twins’ twin girls were quite friendly with Sophie and were lovely with Thomas. There were a couple of moments when they were competing a little over who was going to sit with him in the trailer. It gave me a little glimpse into what life might have been like with two big sisters looking after him.


Sophie and Thomas sitting with twin girls in the trailer at Coombe Mill


Christmas Eve activities

Sophie loved taking part in activity hour on Christmas Eve. She helped make some mince pies and we took one home for Father Christmas. I’d forgotten to buy mince pies as none of us really eats them so that was handy! Sophie also had fun making a snow globe to decorate our table for Christmas dinner.


Sophie making a snow globe in activity hour


We then headed to St Tudy, the next village, for the Christingle service. After the service, Sophie was very excited to see Father Christmas outside in his sleigh while the adults got to enjoy some mulled wine and mince pies.


Sophie sitting with Father Christmas in his sleigh at St Tudy


Back at Coombe Mill, there were drinks and nibbles, and the chance to chat more to some of the other guests. The children were called in to see Father Christmas in his grotto and received a present each. What a busy Christmas Eve it was for him – and he still had to get out and deliver all the presents too!


Sophie and Thomas with Father Christmas and Christmas Bear in Father’s Christmas’s grotto at Coombe Mill


One good thing about all the activity of the day was that Sophie had no problem falling asleep that night despite the excitement and anticipation for Christmas morning.

Our Christmas Day

After all the activity of Christmas Eve, the children slept in until 7am which was a very civilised time to start Christmas Day. Thomas wasn’t quite sure about what to do with the wrapped presents in his stocking though. Sophie opened them for him. She ended up with three stockings to open, as Father Christmas filled Jessica’s one too.


Grandma joined us on the Christmas morning feed run. Afterwards, we had a little wander around the fairy garden before heading inside to open presents.


Sophie exploring the fairy garden at Coombe Mill


As lovely as it was watching the children having fun opening their presents, it did of course bring that ever-present sadness to the surface. Jessica is missed every second of every day but especially so at times like this.


Thomas wearing an elf costume, sitting on Daddy’s lap and opening Christmas presents in Heligan Lodge


Getting outside after the presents were opened was a good distraction. Sophie had a wonderful time in the play area. She spent ages making various concoctions in the mud kitchen and also enjoyed digging in the sand pit. And while I was watching her having fun playing, a little robin flew down on to a nearby tree stump and watched for a while too. A reminder that Jessica is still with us.


Sophie on the swing with the mud-kitchen and river in front of her


Sophie climbing on the play equipment in the play area at Coombe Mill


Sophie mixing a muddy mixture in a teapot in the mud kitchen


Sophie sitting on one of the diggers in the sand pit


Other activities

We’d been lucky with the weather on Christmas Day, which had been a beautiful dry, crisp and cold day. Boxing Day was very soggy though! It didn’t put us off joining in the feed run though. After the feed run, the children had fun in the indoor soft play barn. Thomas loved the ball pit.


Thomas sitting in the ball pit in the play barn at Coombe Mill


On our final day, there was just enough time for a quick go at the crazy golf after the feed run, before packing up to head home.


Thomas watching Sophie playing crazy golf at Coombe Mill


We all had such a lovely time. Coombe Mill at Christmas is such a magical place. It was good for us to get away. We made fun memories with Sophie and Thomas while still taking time here and there to remember Jessica and allowing  ourselves to grieve for her. She would have loved Coombe Mill. I wish she could have been there with us too.


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12 thoughts on “Our second Christmas at Coombe Mill

  1. Coombe Mill sounds like such an idyllic way to spend Christmas, I wish I’d visited sooner, when my kids were younger and I didn’t need a wheelchair. I love that you managed to include Jessica and it must have been nice to have the grandparents around too. I like how you get to decorate a Christmas tree on arrival. I’ve never really thought that I’d enjoy Christmas away from home, but after the last few I think it would be ideal. xx

    1. It’s funny, I never wanted to spend Christmas away from home before, but after Jessica died we just had to get away, and the change of scenery really did help to make it easier. It was lovely to see how much the children enjoyed it and to have the grandparents join in too x

  2. Coombe Mill is such a special place and I imagine it even more amazing over Christmas.
    The lodge sounds fantastic. The playroom is such a lovely touch. The feed run sounds like brilliant fun. I love their little caps. How cute.
    What a bonus to meet some other bloggers.
    It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas. x

    1. It is an amazing place to spend Christmas and we all enjoyed it. I’d love to go back during the spring or summer though and experience Coombe Mill during a different season x

  3. What a lovely way to spend Christmas. I’ve always thought a few days at Coombe Mill would be brilliant fun. How lovely that Father Christmas filled Jessica’s stocking too. I was thinking of you all over the Christmas period, it must be such a difficult time.

    1. Thank you Nat, being at Coombe Mill certainly made the Christmas period easier to bear x

  4. What a lovely way to spend Christmas, and still have the essence of Jessica there with you too. Coombe Mill looks like a very enjoyable place to stay, I love that the kids were involved in the feed run in the morning. So many activities for the children to take on too. #countrykids

  5. A post filled with so much fun and sadness all at once. It has been wonderful having you here with us the past 2 Christmasses, but I too wish Jessica could have experienced the magic with you. I hand it to you and your husband for making each day such fun for Sophie and Thomas while keeping Jessica close in all your hearts too. Thank you for such a beautiful post on your stay. #CountryKids

    1. Thank you Fiona. I wish you could have met Jessica, she was such a little sweetheart. She would have absolutely adored it at Coombe Mill. Thank you again for such a wonderful stay x

  6. How lovely to see all the fun Sophie and Thomas had at Coombe Mill over Christmas!
    The cabin seems brilliant too, I especially love that it has gates in all places needed to keep children safe. It can be very difficult to stay away from home with little children if details like that are missing.
    They seem to put on so many fab activities there too! And I agree that plenty of time outdoors makes Christmas even better. (Best part of our Christmas Day was a lovely long walk in the afternoon sunshine at Rye Harbour nature reserve) xx #CountryKids

    1. Getting outdoors on Christmas Day is lovely and I love the sound of your lovely long walk. I’ve always struggled with feeling cooped up around the festive season and being able to be outdoors so much was brilliant. I do love how thoughtful the layout is in the lodges – knowing that the children were safe in the playroom made things so much easier.

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