Pubs with Playgrounds: The Half Moon, Plumpton, East Sussex

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Honestly, you can kill me now. You will not believe it: until two weeks ago, we had NEVER been to the Half Moon in Plumpton, near Ditchling. And next month we will have lived in Lewes for five years. We simply should know better.

It’s not like we haven’t driven past it a bamillion times (to coin a phrase from my almost-six-year-old). And our non-discovery of it is made worse by the fact that meets all LL PWP criteria: great food, great outside space and very pretty. Seriously, I can’t sing the praises of this place enough.

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Firstly, it’s about the playground. Which isn’t just a playground, it’s a field the size of a football pitch. It goes on and on and on, and at the bottom is a tiny wooded path to a stile into another massive field. There are beehives down the bottom, and when we went, bushes covered in blackberries around the perimeter.

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The only downside to this area is that it’s probably better for slightly older kids – the sort you don’t have to watch like a hawk at all times – especially if you want to get a bit squiffy without having to leap up and save a dangling toddler from a rickety climbing frame every couple of minutes. And there lies my second complaint: the climbing frames, especially the smaller one, have definitely seen better days and feel in places, quite unsteady. But there are also tractor wheel sandpits, a couple of vintage tractors (to look at, rather than interact with – they have their own little fences), and really this pub’s ‘playground’ is more about its openness – its field – and is for taking a rounders kit or football to and running about for hours in.

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The playground/field is separated from the dining area garden by the pub’s car park (I guess another reason why it’s not THAT restful with real tinies, because of proximity to the road – although sit far enough from it and you should be OK). The dining garden is all paved and pruned and landscaped in a way that gives a fair few tables a cosy, cuddled-by-hedges feel.

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Inside the pub looks cosy enough, but inside is not the reason for this post, so I won’t say too much about it. I’ve read reports online about staff being sniffy, but we experienced absolutely none of this – everyone we encountered was very friendly and so helpful with our kids.

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As for the food, oh my. Oh my, oh my. We didn’t go complicated – just a couple of rounds of crispy fried squid with sweet chilli dip to share (above), which came so lightly battered that the black paper napkin it was sitting on didn’t have a drop of oil on it, even after a few minutes. It was melt-in-the-mouth delicious, and the batter had cinnamon in it. Amazing.

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For mains, my husband, sister and I went for the ‘freshly filled organic sour dough rye breads’ (how Lewes does that sound?) – his had merguez sausages, harissa, cucumber and mint yogurt in it, and being half Scandi, my sister and I went for Springs smoked salmon and fresh horseradish creme fraiche with pickled cucumber. They came served with fat chips and were more than any of us could handle. And all absolutely delicious. DELICIOUS I TELL YOU!

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The kids went for the children’s menu – two courses for £6 – and both had fish and chips with salad and tartare sauce. I would guess that the sauce was made fresh (you could tell from the taste, and of course I tried it) and the fish was a perfect little square on four or five big chips. They loved it and followed it with the requisite second course of ice cream – big one plugging for lavender (of all things, and loving it) and the little one for honeycomb. The children’s menu also featured sausage and mash, tagliatelle and tomato sauce, and ham and chips on it – all posh versions of. The bill came to £64.25 for three adults, two children and a round of drinks that included a pint.

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Want to know what the best thing is about the Half Moon though? Right across the road there is a track to a steep walk straight upwards, to the top of the South Downs. We didn’t make it to the very top, but we got as far as to enjoy a view, and this was only because there were burrows and root-covered elevations either side of the path that clearly had to be explored by my climbing-crazy children.

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Summer may be on its way out, but the Half Moon is an absolute must for any sunny day. We were back within a week of first trying it, and will be return time and again in the coming months. I am fantasising about being done with the whole idea of Christmas and just rolling in and out of here to be fed.

(As an aside, they do kids parties as well, with lunch boxes, cake, balloons and all the decorations).

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 THE ESSENTIALS

Drive: 12 minutes

Address: Ditchling Road, Plumpton, BN7 3AF

Tel. no: 01273 890 253

Website: halfmoonplumpton.com

Open: Bar: Mon-Sat, 12 noon-11pm, Sun 12 noon-6pm. Food: Mon-Sat, 12pm-3pm + 6pm-9pm, Sun, 12 noon-4pm. Afternoon nibbles and fresh filled breads: 3pm-6pm (I do not know if this applies to Sunday or all days, the website confused me on this point!)

Disclosure: No compensation, financial or otherwise, was offered or accepted for the writing of this post. The Half Moon did not know that I was reviewing their pub when I went there the first or second time, and I didn’t tell them after we’d settled up either. This is a place that I want to recommend to Little Lewes readers based on it being unmissable – and based on us mistakenly missing it for the past five years! 

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Give Me Strength: Clothing that Lasts from Boden (and a week of discounts to indulge in it)

I’ve decided, just to keep myself amused, to illustrate this post with pictures of girls’ clothing, even though I have boys. Hope you don’t mind! This week, Boden is offering a series of discounts, plus free shipping and free returns – click on any of the pictures or links, or the button in the sidebar to be taken to the site. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see info on the discounts available this week. 

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Cord dungaree dress

Right from the start, from when my first boy was a newborn, I shopped for him at Boden. I received some gift vouchers as a new mum and since their womenswear isn’t quite me, I splurged on my newborn. There were corduroy dungarees with brown and white striped turn-ups – such a hit I bought them in three sizes – and a snowsuit that has been passed on to four different newborns and now awaits my niece of nephew’s birth in December.

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Bid Now: Illustrators for War Child Auction ENDS in Four Hours!

Hello everyone. Now, usually I don’t blog about things that are time-specific as I want Little Lewes to be a source of inspiration and information any time people discover or tap into it. But I flex that rule when moments like these come up.

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Signed gicleé by Tim Hopgood

Lewes resident and children’s illustrator Leigh Hodgkinson has organised an online auction of illustrations and artwork by various talents – many of them children’s book illustrators – to raise money for War Child. This is a charity that provides life-changing support to the most vulnerable children – those whose families, communities and schools have been ripped apart by war. The charity works in the Congo, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Iraq, Uganda and Syria and Gaza.

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Something for the Weekend: Picturehouse Kids’ Club at Duke of York’s and Duke’s At Komedia, Brighton

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This won’t be new to many of you, but it’s one of two things we did last weekend for the first time since moving to Lewes nearly five years ago. The other, I’ll be blogging about later this week or next.

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SERIES: Let’s All Look at Some Blogs // Kids/Craft

I cannot believe I am saying this, but I feel like I’ve run out of things to blog about. 

No, no, no, before I start to really believe that, I need to get something up on here quick. Today marks the one week mark until school starts again. I am so sad – as one of my friends said a couple of days ago (who I know subscribes so might read this – I hope you don’t mind me quoting you!), “I just really like hanging out with my kids.” I already miss by bigger boy.

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A ‘back to school’-themed project that Mini-eco’s Kate Lilley conceived for designmom.com
Image copyright Kate Lilley, via minieco.co.uk

As promised, the second in the LALASB series is about kids/craft. And it’s appropriate too, because of the aforementioned week ’til school, and the fact that the weather seems to have had a lobotomy (as have some catalogue retailers who sent me a pamphlet this week – that’s this week in AUGUST – saying ‘it’s never too early to start getting prepared for Christmas’. Yes, yes it is). It might be good to have some indoor activities up one’s sleeve, wouldntcha say?

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Classic, Cool, Cute, Comfy: Start-rite Measures Up (or Why I’m Obsessed with my Children’s Feet)

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Look book excellence from Start-rite

PREOCCUPIED WITH PODIATRY

Anyone who knows me knows I am OBSESSED (no exaggeration) with my kids’ feet. I will happily take donations of clothes and toys and books, but I won’t put the boys in second hand shoes. This is a hangover from my own childhood, when my youngest sister wore ill-fitting shoes for slightly too long and now has to go to physio every week because her feet are such a mess. An operation involving breaking and resetting both feet and six weeks minimum in a wheelchair is in her future. I know, really.

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Art in the Woods: Cass Sculpture Foundation, Goodwood, West Sussex

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‘Janus Head’, by Peter Burke

What I have to share with you today, I am almost tempted to just do with pictures. Because I am so in love with my new discovery in Goodwood, West Sussex, I almost feel that words can’t do it justice. But this is me, Ms. Little Lewes, and if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know by now that I can’t not give you just a few details. I’ll try to keep it short though. Try…

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Home again to little Lewes

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Well we are back. On the floor with jet lag, but back nonetheless. Three weeks is a long time, you feel like you’ve been away for three years, and it feels like there’s so much time ahead of you no matter how many days have already passed. Then all of a sudden you’re in the final week and after 18 days of blue skies and blazing sunshine, it’s drizzling. And you find yourself actually ready (would you believe) to go home.

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Little Lewes on a Big Adventure

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This is just a short post to say: so long, pals!

No, I don’t mean to sound so glib, I’ll give you a bit more than that: there won’t be anything new appearing on Little Lewes for the next three weeks. This afternoon myself and my little family are gliding off – or rather leaving on a jet plane! We are flying away to a place nine hours west of here for what is already a treasured adventure, we have talked so much about it.

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Beachcoming at Birling Gap + Reviewing Project Jelly’s Shoes

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A great day happened to us by total accident a couple of weeks ago and quite by accident it ended up being the moment my boys reviewed Project Jelly’s bright, practical jelly shoes.

I had contacted the shoes’ creator Natalie Collier about taking two pairs on holiday – one donated, one paid for. A couple of years ago she conceived the idea of creating traditional jelly shoes with JuJu Footwear such as we wore in the ’70s and ’80s, but in limited edition colours. She did this to raise money for Mencap (25% of sales go to the charity, which is close to Natalie’s heart for the help they have given her sister-in-law, Helen.)

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