Coombe Mill

Did I tell you that this holiday was basically just for Arlo?

Well, for me and Arlo.

After what has been one of our toughest years – not tough like the baby days, where his constant need for me felt so great, but tough in a different way, where we were both adapting to needing each other a bit less, or needing each other a bit more but having to compete for it against new factors, such as a little brother, a new life away from me at preschool, and a new-found desire to be independent, stubborn, and three years old – I was desperate to claw back some REAL time with him, away from our usual routines, with Sam there to focus on Rory whilst I could be (almost) completely free to focus on having fun times with my biggest boy, showing him new experiences. Like we used to. Like I missed. Like he wants to do with others but never with me. (Does anyone else feel that juggling day-to-day routines, other children, work, etc means that they are always playing ‘Bad Cop’ whilst everyone/anyone else is SOOO FUN?)

And so we booked a week at Coombe Mill. Not only because it is in one of my most favourite parts of the country ever, but also because it caters so well to children of Arlo’s age. I knew that he would love the daily tractor ride and feed run, and that he would be so excited about the miniature train ride every evening. I knew it would seem so special to him, a place of awesome fun, where he has the freedom to run free, picking and choosing where to explore, at his own pace. And it did all of that.

Coombe Mill

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coombe mill

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The Cornish part of our holiday was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me, revisiting lots of places that I went to over twenty years ago, when I was the child holidaying on a farm, (actually just 6 miles away from where we stayed this time with our own children). We went there so many times – nearly every year from the age of about 2 until the last trip when I must have been 10 or 11. I have a lot of memories of this part of North Cornwall. Except this time I was the driver, and it was interesting to connect all the navigational dots of places in my memory – “Oh, I never realised X place was round the corner from Y place”, etc.

Beaches in Cornwall are my favourite. As a child, I loved exploring the sea caves and rockpools with the waves lapping a warning at our heels. Staying until the tide was almost in always felt a bit daunting, yet exciting. I could sit and watch the long, changing tides forever. It’s where my fascination for the sea and waves developed. I loved clambering up the rocks, seeking out the highest point, or the most difficult route to climb. I was pleased to see that this part of the coastline hasn’t changed at all from my memory, it’s still wild and rugged, as it always seemed to me.

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Arlo had never been to a sandy beach before (well, not since he was a baby). The last time he went near sand (Frensham ponds), he freaked out about the sand on his hands and feet, and was really not keen on the water either. We weren’t holding out much hope that he would appreciate the beach on holiday. But this time, things were different, and I think the beach was his favourite place. As soon as he hit the sand, he was transformed. He just ran and ran, appreciating the wide open space. Watching Arlo enjoy the beach absolutely made the whole holiday for me.

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Rory’s development has come on in leaps and bounds whilst we’ve been away. He learnt to pull up, and to babble away like a pro. He didn’t learn to sleep whilst on holiday, but then that really would have been asking too much.

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When the responsibility for something falls on me, I can’t help but get irrational worries whirling round in my head. Half way through the holiday, I confessed to Sam that I’d never really believed we’d actually make it. It was my money invested, it was me in charge of transport. I worried that I’d be too poorly or sleep-deprived to drive us there. I worried that Arlo would come down with one of his week-long tummy bugs (he’s had five in the last half year. FIVE.) I worried that the weather would be awful all week and everyone would get cabin fever. I worried that our old car, having never driven that distance before, would break down. Sam just laughed and said “Of course you did”. It is just like me to always be worrying about the future and making sure there’s a plan B, whereas it is just like Sam to be happy to live in the moment, crossing any bridges as and when they arise. But someone’s got to do the worrying, right?

As it turned out, the transport gods were kind to us, as were the health gods, and the weather gods were exceptionally kind to us. Our first family holiday couldn’t actually have gone more perfectly. I think Sam has almost forgiven me for stamping my feet and insisting it was about time we went away somewhere, so much so that it’s made him really eager to try and do a trip away every year. It was such a fun, happy, carefree week, there has been a lightness in all of our moods since we came home – even if it’s not the most sensible thing for our bank balance, there are other, perhaps more important benefits.

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A few lot more snaps, featuring Padstow, Rock, Lundy Bay, Trebarwith Strand, Daymer Bay, and Cardinham Woods:

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12 comments

  1. I love all your photos, it really makes me proud to own Coombe Mill when I read a post like this and see such stunning photos. Are we really as good as you make it look? Thankyou so much for being such wonderful guests and taking that trip down memory lane based with us. I recognise all your photos, and they are all exceptionally good. I do hope you will come back and see us again one day. x

  2. What absolutely gorgeous memories. We used to holiday in Cornwall a lot when I was a kid (near Padstow) and I’m dying to return with the kids!

  3. Oh wow love all the photos, looks like you had a lovely time. I would love to go to coombe mill I think my little boy would love it. We love Cornwall, can’t wait to taking my kids one day

  4. Most of the time I think, (excuse me for saying) wow her husband is a HOTTIE. And then I see a photo like the third one you posted (WTF is he wearing!?!) and I get over it. 🙂

  5. Such gorgeous photos Chloe. It looks like a great holiday, I love Padstow. I have been feeling so guilty about the fact I never seem to have one on one time for Cherry anymore. I feel like I almost never have time to even give her my proper attention and I miss it, as does she I’m sure. We are off to Wales next month so I will definitely make sure I take her off for some time with just me. Hopefully it will help her monster like behaviour too! x

  6. Lovely photos. Remind me of a holiday years ago with mine, the baby carrier, daddy on playthings etc. Lovely! I was trying to work out what the problem was with the lambs eyes you were holding….even showed my husband who said “they’re liquorice all sorts” haha……obviously realised further down the post they were ear tags, so funny! Xx

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