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Trends for 2019

Trends for 2019

As the year closes, I’m drawn to the trends and themes for next year. It’s cold this morning and after a crisp morning walk with Pippa our Jack Russel, I’m taking a little time to plan the year ahead. With the fire stoked and the coffee close at hand I can’t quite believe December is here once more.

Everywhere I look trends are being published for 2019. These themes for everything from fashion and weddings to lifestyle and holidays are increasingly important. Looking at the trends for next year we are naturally delighted that the environment remains a hot topic. Awareness around the amount of plastic polluting our oceans remains high – I’m still shocked that approximately 8 million pieces of plastic make their way into the ocean every day.

 

Weddings can have a significant impact on the environment which is why I was delighted to see Meghan and Harry reflecting on their environmental footprint and making small changes. Simply using flowers that were in season, going plastic free, using recycled paper and sourcing locally made their wedding more eco-sensitive. By donating their flowers to charity afterwards the happiness was spread even wider.

We know that small changes make a huge difference. Ever since we opened the doors to guests and wedding couples over 10 years ago, Tim and I have put the environment at the heart of everything we do constantly lowering our environmental footprint. We believe we are stewards of this wonderful valley – its woodland, pasture and glades as well as our beautiful grade II* listed farmhouse that nestles at its heart. We are also believers that changes do not mean compromising the luxury we enjoy.

95% of our heat is from renewable resources – primarily logs cut from our woods, the remainder is from environmentally friendly sources. Our swimming pool and hot tub are completely carbon neutral heated entirely by solar power and our farm is completely organic. All our complementary tea and coffee is fair trade and we support our local food producers, restaurants and transport. These little unnoticed changes have led to our weddings producing 78% fewer emissions per guest than the industry standard. Something we are extremely proud of every day.

Looking ahead we are looking forward to welcoming back a number of old friends as well as having the opportunity to meet through the weddings and holidays booked. The Devon School of Yoga are joining us for the 5th year running and the Two Moors Festival will again return in March for their young musicians competition – not to mention numerous others joining us to celebrate birthdays, hen nights anniversaries or to simply spend precious time together.

So, if you are thinking about your holiday, wedding or organising an event why not think about how the impact on the environment can be reduced without sacrificing style or impact. We have loads of ideas or for wedding ideas from compostable vegetable cutlery (see www.vegware.com) or why not pop over to our friends at Green Union – www.greenunion.co.uk to see what is possible.

Take a look at what makes us special here

Natures Harvest – Autumn at Middle Coombe Farm

Natures Harvest – Autumn at Middle Coombe Farm

At this time of year my mind often goes to spring and I wonder where the summer has gone – not this year!

As I pick the sun-ripened grapes around the door of the farmhouse I forget how hot it was and value all the long hours of sunshine that has made them the sweetest in memory.

With record breaking temperatures I don’t believe a drop of rain has landed on any of our brides this year and you can count the number of wet days on one hand – and as we stride into autumn it is only getting better. The leaves are beginning to change into their robes of gold and red – and our ‘aisle’ up to the ancient oak is beginning to be pathed in warm rich tones. The turning seasons are perhaps my favourite time here at Middle Coombe.

I love sharing natures bounty with all our guests. Farming organically and softly we embrace nature’s rich bounty our hedgerows seem more stuffed than ever – and at this time of year everyone is welcome to pick wild mushrooms, crab-apples, elderberries or blackberries that scramble in the hedges. The sweet chestnuts are fattening after the recent rain and we will soon stash them like mice for the Christmas Stuffing… if only there was more time to pick and make more jams, pickles, wines and preserves to get us through the winter in style. As my own children grow older they still enjoy sharing time simply picking and eating straight from the hedge – and as I watch our lucky autumn visitors doing the same, their children running freely I wonder what delights will be made in the kitchen to bottle and take home as a memory of their family holiday with us in Devon.

Flora & Fauna

Flora & Fauna

Last week I was struck by a comment in the article I was reading in Country Living.

“if you don’t know flora and fauna in the countryside, you won’t notice it when it’s gone”

This got me thinking about life here at Middle Coombe Farm and the rich diversity of flora and fauna in every corner of the estate and the varied habitats we are able to support. It also saddened me that they had assumed “when it’s gone”.

As an organic farm and estate our ecological philosophy that is the very backbone of everything we do. We strive daily to understand our environment so that we can not only value it but share this wonderful corner of Devon with our guests and future generations. It also got me thinking how many of the plants and animals we have on the farm I could identify – and in true form, I tested myself as I went about the rest of the day and was surprised how much I really take for granted, almost blind to it.We have been delighted to be able to provide a sanctuary for hundreds our native species – from the common to the more endangered and have records of how this has changed.

After so many years it has become second nature and we have proven that being sensitive to the environment does not mean dropping our high standards or compromising on quality. We offset as much carbon as possible through our solar panels and woodchip boilers fuelled by wood grown in the woods. We recycle everything and are plastic-less as much as possible – even our cutlery is VegWare.  All our toiletries are natural and our list of suppliers share our values – the list goes on. All this work means that one of our guests has a footprint 78% lower than the industry standard and we can continue our work as guardians of our precious countryside.

And before you ask how many species I could identify why not come and try for yourself – and thank you Country Living for opening my eyes to how lucky we are to have a rich environment on our doorstep.

Natures Surprises

Natures Surprises

I think it is fair to say that it’s been hot. Very hot. At the same time, it is this time of year when Middle Coombe Farm really comes to life as we hit peak wedding and holiday season. Every morning and evening I always make time to walk Pippa our Jack Russel, and am constantly reminded that nature never stops with something new every morning. This week it was the reminder of the heady smell of the hay waiting to be bailed in the meadow before plunging into the welcome shade of the woods with its fresh perfume – and some welcome shade as temperatures reached 30 degrees at the height of the day.

It is here that our ancient oak stands, a constant throughout the year. I can often be found sat on the swing either with a flask of hot tea in the winter or a bottle of water in the summer while Pippa takes a rest, simply drinking in the quietness and peace away from the hustle and bustle of modern life preparing myself for the day ahead. With the nearest road miles away you can hear a pin drop and simply enjoy the sound of nature, whether a bee buzzing past in the morning or the hoot of the barn owl off to hunt in the twilight.

Many of our wedding couples weave the countryside into their wedding themes and decorations with all bringing something new, just like nature – whether cutting foliage from the woodland for their bouquets and table decorations or as earlier this year making country themed domes for the tables. Likewise the people joining us for a holiday walk the crisscross of paths in the woods or play games in the meadow… or simply relax in their own private pool. For me, even after all these years it’s a real treat to be constantly surprised by and be one with nature.

20% off all Remaining Dates for July

20% off all Remaining Dates for July

We’ve got a few last minute dates for July – whether for a wedding or a holiday.

*** 20 July – 27 July was £6,160 now £5,133 – just £37 per person per night
*** 27 July – 3 Aug was £6,160 now £5,133 – just £37 per person per night

We’ve been discovered by Britain’s got Talent!

We’ve been discovered by Britain’s got Talent!

It was one of our more unusual requests – and this comes from a team that has seen over the year’s dog wedding cakes, pianos in the woods and even a bride in wings! But to us each hire of Middle Coombe Farm is unique and treasured, so this is why when ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent contacted us to host one of their semi-finalists we were thrilled and slightly star-struck.

Picked out from literally thousands of woodlands available in the country, the researcher was looking for a picturesque woodland to interview and film Olena Uutai as part of her semi-final. We know our woods are special, and so do our visitors – but this really brought it home why so many people come (and come back) to our woods.

The day of the filming couldn’t have been better. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. At this time of year spring is in full swing with birdsong, bluebells and the buzz of busy bees making the woodlands sing – allowing Olena to be at one with nature, and complement her Shamanic tones.

Living in Devon, we often take for granted our humble scone. there was a huge batch of scones for the crew – served the Devon way; lashings of clotted cream then home-made strawberry jam on the top (if you arrange a viewing with us we promise you can taste these too) and of course, copious amounts of tea. With many of the crew London based, needless to say these didn’t last long. From the comments they won’t be forgotten – for all the right reasons!

Quite simply, when Olena sang in the woods, we were moved to tears, it was like the spirits of the woods stopped to listen. It couldn’t be more perfect and despite her not getting through to the finals that day she gained us all as fans and hope she will visit us again soon. We hope you enjoyed watching the event as much as we did.

Two Moors Festival at Middle Coombe Farm

Two Moors Festival at Middle Coombe Farm

We are delighted to be hosting the  Two Moors Festival, young musiucians competition for 2018. Renowned as one of the leading classical music festivals in the UK the event draws visitors from around the world and we are so looking forward to the Cider Barn, Farmhouse and surrounding grounds being filled with beautiful music.

more details on the event can be found on the Two Moors Festival Site – http://www.thetwomoorsfestival.co.uk/discover/young-musicians

Middle Coombe Farm | A Deeply Romantic and Unique Devon Wedding Venue Celebrates its 10th Anniversary!

Middle Coombe Farm | A Deeply Romantic and Unique Devon Wedding Venue Celebrates its 10th Anniversary!

“If you’re considering a wedding in Devon, do visit Middle Coombe Farm. It’s so beautiful and the owners are so lovely you’ll have a wonderful time. The farm will always have a special place in our hearts.” Alice and Kev.

I know I shouldn’t be biased where my listed wedding suppliers are concerned but sometimes I just can’t help myself…

One that is very close to my heart for lots of reasons, not least because they have supported Green Union right from the get go (we were rooky businesses together), but also for its strong eco credentials and sheer enthusiasm for making your wedding just the very best experience, is Middle Coombe Farm.

The Middle Coombe Farm Special Weekend: Mastering the early season escapes for your family Christmas & New Year get-togethers……

The Middle Coombe Farm Special Weekend: Mastering the early season escapes for your family Christmas & New Year get-togethers……

Writing about Christmas and New Year when the joys of spring are so close at hand?…are you completely mad? I hear you yell. Not mad, just getting older, amazingly sensible & really excellent at planning. Words I never thought I’d hear myself say & certainly not in succession….

It’s about clarifying exactly what works for you as a family. Get back to what’s really important. Relax. Breathe. Smile. Make your own festive season & stuff the pressure from the Media. Time together, space together (this is as important as time together…). Turn your phone to vibrate and stick it in your sock drawer for the day. Utter rebellion. What do you want from your ‘Christmas’, or more simply put, your time together in 2017?

Half-Term Happiness at Middle Coombe Farm

Half-Term Happiness at Middle Coombe Farm

Phew. January is in full swing & the vagaries of Christmas & New Year seem months ago already. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

I spent the Christmas season hiking around visiting all those I needed to visit & like many of you, I am just poking my head above the parapet now looking for escape & a bit of rest & relaxation with my family.

Fortunately I am based at Middle Coombe Farm so all I need do is walk in the 200 acres of private woodlands each morning to set the day off in a soothing way. After travelling the world & working in many places, this is the most special place of all.