Tag Archives: Christmas hampers

A rainy day in Lewes

8 Nov

Awoke to hear the rain lashing against the window – really terrible weather, heavy downpours, then easing, repeat… Still. Travel hopefully, I thought and prepared as usual; put on my running gear and packed my bag with spare clothes, snacks, coffee and water but added in my book as a contingency plan.


On reaching the college and dropping my daughter off, the weather was as bad as ever, so I decided to abandon my original plan and instead head to Lewes and spend the time investigating independent shops for healthy food for my clean eating plan. I parked in Tesco’s car park for the three hours free parking as I thought it would be useful for toilet stops etc! Then walked into town to see what I could find. The first place that caught my interest was Lansdown Health Store on Cliffe High Street in which I spent a long time browsing, finally buying some tea: pukka chai vanilla (I have had this before and it is delicious),  some chia seeds (I had a recipe in mind for this), protein powder, peanut butter and honey (likewise).


It seemed a very well stocked shop and I would have loved to have bought more but I was conscious of spending too much money and then not finding a use for the products so stuck to things I immediately had a recipe for.


It was hard to stick to my ‘independent shops’ theme and I was next drawn into Holland and Barrett in the hope of finding the things on my list I couldn’t get in Landsdown Health Store, certainly the maple syrup was cheaper there! I also bought rice cakes and walnuts, which I know you can get at the supermarket but I wanted to experience as many shops as possible and I don’t normally go into Holland and Barrett so it was interesting to look around. They also have a huge range of teas, nuts and seeds and protein powders, although I could only see the flavoured ones.


I did end up doing some of my shopping at Tescos when I went back for my coffee and snack and to use the toilets, I bought the wraps, almond milk and Total yoghurt there. I was looking for products with less than five ingredients as this is one of the clean eating principles but both the wraps and the almond milk had more. I looked at all the comparable products but they were all the same.


On walking around Lewes I had found Anne of Cleves house which I had not visited before, unfortunately it opens late on Mondays (the Monday curse!) so was closed, but as I had some time to kill before collecting my daughter I decided to drive back there and see if I could take in some culture. Alas, it was not to be, there were no parking spots and someone was right behind me so I couldn’t dither about, so I headed out of Lewes and was soon on the road to one of my favourite farm shops; Spring Barn Farm. I decided it would make a good lunch stop and I could peruse the shop and see if they had any new and interesting products in light of my clean eating regime. I also thought it would be a good place to buy a couple of ready meals for the boys as I am out early evening on a Monday teaching my evening class.

The farm

It was looking very festive in the shop as they had cleared away all their Hallowe’en stuff and had the Christmas tree up with decorations for sale and a good range of do-it-yourself hampers with some ideas to get you started. I looked all around and noticed they are no longer selling as much Suki tea as they used to, I chose the Vitality tea so I would have a range of teas to try at home. I also bought some Springs smoked trout and two ready meals for the freezer. The verdict on the chilli was very positive – nice big chunks of meat and plenty of it! I have yet to get an opinion from the vegetarian!


Afterwards I sat in the car and had my lunch – a tuna wrap with lots of salad.

The recipes

So, now to what I made with all this produce. Well, first off, I had some pumpkin purée to use up so I decided to make pumpkin protein bars using the protein powder, peanut butter and honey that I bought. These were very easy to make a are a substantial portable snack.

Next I used the trout in a Scandinavian winter salad with egg, capers and a yoghurt dressing. This went down well with the husband. I must say the trout was expensive though at £8 for 4 fillets.



Finally, I decided to make the Chia pudding with the Chia seeds, almond milk and maple syrup. You make it the night before and it is ready in the morning for breakfast. Although it tasted nice I found the colour and texture quite off putting so I don’t think I will be making it again. Sorry, all you Chia fans.


I still intend to make these protein energy balls with the pumpkin purée I have in the freezer along with the maple syrup, walnuts and peanut butter. But more about that later.



Lewes and Spring Barn Farm #2

6 Nov

The run

Money in my purse and a full tank of gas – a good start to the day! The weather was not so good though and I really did not want to get out of the car!

A wild and wet morning in Lewes

A wild and wet morning

Decided to do the Lewes run again (after the previously failed attempt: see Lewes and Spring Barn Farm) and was also curious to see how Lewes was baring up after their infamous bonfire night. So, the day after the night before, would I see any other evidence apart from a boarded up cafe with hastily painted in red; ‘booze and fireworks’ ? It seemed that much of the clearing up had already happened; just barriers being loaded onto lorries, shopkeepers un-boarding their shops and, bizarrely, an absence of the pay machine in the car park I had chosen. It looked like it had been intentionally removed – so free parking today? An excited discussion was taking place in the car park – would we all get tickets – one lady was going to leave a note on her car, another was taking photographic evidence.

Much more confident on this run than last time, having done it twice since with the husband – the first time, even he got lost – so I don’t feel quite such a failure – as he has an excellent sense if direction.

Lewes Loop

Lewes Loop

It’s quite nicely varied heading out under the A27 to fairly open, desolate farmland, passing through the pretty village of Iford, a fairly short but nasty bit of road which you don’t have much choice but to run on, before turning down to Swanborough fishing lakes – but don’t go too far – the husband and I made that mistake before and got stuck between a nettle patch and a barbed wire fence!

Lewes farmland

There is a barely visible footpath sign before you reach the water works which leads you through a fun wooded path between fields. Some evidence of storm damage today as a fallen tree was blocking the path.



I stopped for a natter with the ducks before continuing on to the best field.

Swanborough Ducks

It’s the one you want to run across singing – my husband always has The Little House on the Prairie music running through his head and envisages me in a patchwork dress running through this field!

The hills are alive…

The hills are alive…

The final leg took me back to where the Lewes bonfire clear-up was still going on in earnest, one of the effigies was still intact and I asked one of the volunteers what the story was, apparently they couldn’t get it onto the field of bonfires last night and it had been left behind. I asked what they would do with it – she said it was packed with explosives and gave a shrug.

Bonfire effigy

Bonfire effigy

Back at the car I was relieved to see we had not all been clamped, but as I drank my flask of coffee I noticed a van pull up containing the parking machines to put back – time to make a swift exit!

The farm

The intention was to go to the Tractor Barn at Swanborough (as advertised on the fishing noticeboard)

Swanborough Fishing Lake noticeboard

Beneath all the photos there is an advert for the Tractor Barn

but after missing the turning, doubling back and finding a few houses, but no sign for it, and a large unwelcoming sign saying ‘PRIVATE NO PARKING TURNING ONLY’ I gave up and headed back to the wonderful Spring Barn Farm. The shop was looking very festive with lots of Christmas decorations for sale, a hamper-building service and an excellent selection of sweets, biscuits, local ales and wines. I chose a selection of cheeses, some ham, bread and olives – a ploughman’s for tea!

Spring Barn Farm, Lewes

The lunch

Back to the dingy restaurant which was made to feel a bit more welcome with the addition of a real fire. A couple of toddlers were in with their mothers, threatening to drink the salad dressing on the table.  I took a very amusing phone call from a man offering me a free copy of Women’s Running which may lead to a subscription if I don’t remember to cancel it – he was very charming and his bosses should be pleased with his performance!

I ordered a muddled plum, apple and cinnamon cordial and a venison burger. (Delicious)

Venison burger

Venison burger

Whilst eating my lunch I was treated to a running commentary on a toddler’s seven poos whilst the other one was practising his burping. (Tip: do not sit near the toilets: you can hear everything!)

Teenagers get bad press but I reckon toddlers are worse!

The freebie

Today’s freebie was the parking – thank you Lewes council!

Parking in Lewes

The tarmac-ed area where the parking machine once stood