How’s your January going? We’re just hoovering up the last of the Christmas goodies, but we’re also eating much more healthily (lots of healthy food inspo to come) and I’m back running again, so I feel I can forgive the odd Cadbury’s Hero (or three!). I mentioned in my plans for 2018 post that I’m really going to start concentrating on my health and wellbeing this year: looking after my body and my mind, and a big part of this for me is cutting down on my drinking, staying within the recommended guidelines and getting lots of alcohol free days. We’ve spend an enjoyable few days researching some healthier substitutes our usual drinks, and while lots are just hideously sweet and horrid, there are a few really good non-alcoholic alternatives:
I adore my Dad. I love it when he emails me ALL IN CAPITALS and rings me and updates me on what he’s been up to, which seems to be mostly falling over, or sleeping:
‘I’ve just had a nap’
‘Dad, it’s 9am’
‘I know, but I got up at 5 and I get tired’
And I love his outlook on life:
‘I’ve been saving £200 a month. And then I said to myself ‘Alan, you’re 80 years old, what on earth can you possibly be saving for?’
Today, he rang to complain about the raspberry thieves. It seems the birds are eating all his raspberries. He’s hung CDs above them, to frighten them off (I should imagine Elaine Paige’s Christmas album would be enough to deter most of them), added netting and fake birds of prey, but still they come. Now, thwarted by all the aerial fortifications, they’ve taken to just tootling up the path and eating the low ones.
Anyway, he’s got far too many raspberries, and even though he doesn’t want to share them with the birds (‘I don’t grow raspberries to feed the local bloody bird population’), he’s quite happy to share them with us, so Sam I and I popped round to help him pick some.
His garden is absolutely beautiful, and while we were having a chat and playing with Alfie (well, Sam was having a chat and playing with Alfie and I was actually doing all the work picking raspberries), I started thinking about raspberry cocktails. With mint, and maybe other summery, garden-based things like roses. It just so happens that we got sent some elderflower and rose cordial recently so I decided to experiment.
To make it extra special, I froze some rose petals and raspberries in ice cubes to decorate.
Summer rose and raspberry cocktails:
5 or 6 raspberries per person
2 or 3 fresh mint leaves per glass
1 measure gin
A dash of elderflower and rose cordial (just elderflower is fine if you can’t find it – mine is by Belvoir)
Sparkling water or soda
So just muddle the raspberries and mint leaves in the glass, then add the gin, elderflower and rose cordial, and then top up with sparkling water.
Delicious! It’s his birthday next week so the boys and I are going to take him for a pub lunch. More shenanigans will ensue, no doubt. Cheers Dad 🙂
There’s nothing better than receiving a present that really makes you smile – a present that you know someone saw and thought ‘wow, that would be perfect’. And so, I was pretty delighted to receive this:
It’s ME! I adore it, it looks amazing in my kitchen and it makes me smile every time I look at it, which is, let’s face it, the very best thing about any present. Mr and Mrs B helped me choose the very best colour frame to complement my kitchen and set off the print and I think we all did a darned good job. You don’t have to have your personalised prints framed, of course, but there are so many lovely frames to choose from it seems a shame not to.
Boo & Boy is a gorgeous new website from the fabulous duo that is Mrs B&B (aka Laura, fellow blogger and one of my very best friends), and Mr B&B, aka Andy, designer of THIS VERY BLOG! So you know that everything they do is going to be darned fantastic, creative and beautiful (not that I’m biased in any way)
Next on my wish list is the very scrummy ‘my only vice‘ print, which, I’m thinking should say ‘cake… cheese… red wine… sunshine and… more cake’
Do yourself (and all your friends and family) a huge favour and bag some gorgeous prints for everyone. There is nothing better, I can vouch, than signing for a beautiful, brown-paper wrapped parcel and seeing those googly Boo&Boy eyes peeking at you from one corner…
Oh wait, there is one thing better: a special code for English Mum readers! Just add the code: B&B/EM/10/2012 at the checkout stage and you’ll get 10% off every order plus FREE Shipping, until 31st December 2012. Just in time to buy all your Christmas presents to show all your family and friends how much you care. Oh, you’re welcome.
So finally… FINALLY! alcohol-free January is over. It seemed like a really long month but I stuck to my guns and not a drop of alcohol, nor a single fattening thing passed my lips the entire time.
It was tough. That’s an understatement – it was really tough. For someone whose routine is to finish clearing up from dinner, then head straight to the fridge for a glass of wine before collapsing in front of the TV, it took some getting used to.
I found that half the battle was having something nice to sip, so the norm became diet tonic with loads of ice and a slice of lime. This really seemed to do the trick and I actually started to enjoy waking up with a clear head.
And then I went to the Gatwick Passenger Panel meeting and lovely Penny Haslam said ‘wow, you’re looking fantastic – your skin looks great’, which made me feel fab (especially coming from someone so gorgeous). Another side benefit was that I lost 8lb. In one month! Yes, okay, after December’s excesses I was always going to lose a few pounds, but the combination of not wanting to snack (a terrible side effect of drinking wine) and not eating cakes and biscuits really did me good.
Would I do it again? Honestly? Probably not. Especially in the light of a report released in January by the Commons Science and Technology Committee which says it’s much better for you to drink in moderation and make sure you have at least two days a week completely alcohol free than a blanket ban in January which can often mean you go back on it ‘large’ in February!
But it’s changed my attitude to drinking. My first day back ‘in the saddle’ as it were, English Dad and I had a couple of glasses of red wine each. Not an over-indulgence, you’d think, but the next day I woke feeling groggy and headachey… and I’m really beginning to believe that a glass of wine or two should be an occasional treat rather than an everyday occurrence. I love a gin and tonic occasionally, and this doesn’t seem to have such a bad effect on me, so maybe that should be my drink of choice…
A friend also told me that sometimes that initial craving for a drink can be because you’re thirsty too – so I’m forcing myself to grab a glass of water and sip that first, before jumping on the booze.
What about you? How much do you drink, and did you abstain in January?
Don’t forget to check out my friend notSupermum’s take on alcohol free January as well.
Do you have suspicions that a friend or a loved one is facing an alcohol problem? There are signs that someone is abusing alcohol that you will have to know about to be sure.
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