How’s your January going? If you read my healthy plan for 2018, you’ll know that I’m determined to be more healthy this month (and hopefully carrying on for the entire year), to foster a healthier respect for alcohol, break the habit of my after dinner glass or two of wine and eat a much healthier diet, with a lot less meat and sweet treats. How am I getting on? Well, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, but I think I’m on the right track. Read on for my thoughts so far on my Drinkaware month – an update on my mission to break bad habits and foster new, healthy ones.
So you’ll probably have seen that Erica and I have updated the positive life plan for 2018. I do hope you’ve decided to join in, whether throwing yourself in wholeheartedly, or just jotting down a few things that you want to change this year or some goals that you might have. It did make me smile that after promising myself a healthy, alcohol free New Year, my Dad went and tested me by popping his clogs on New Year’s Day. Many of you knew what he was like and will know that he’d have laughed heartily to himself about that. So, on to my plans for 2018, then.
Ahhhh golden syrup. Is there a nicer smell? I wondered aloud recently (well, on Instagram) why someone had never created a perfume based on the sweet scent of it. I mean, come on! Someone’s already done a gin perfume..
Talking of gin, alcohol free January is miserable. Last year, I said never again, and yet this year here I am nursing a sad, lukewarm glass of squash every night, instead of a sparklingly refreshing glass of mother’s ruin. It’s no life, dearest reader.
Anyhoo, to keep me company on my alcohol free quest, Charlie, the Death Wish Dude has vowed to give up crap. As long as I stay off the gin, he’s promised to stay off the crisps and chocolate. A noble deed, but one which leaves him sadly lacking in snackage when he gets home from school hungry enough to look at the Ninja Cat of Death in a whole new light. So I decided to make him some healthy-ish snackage until he’s back on the Frazzles. Flapjack: gorgeous golden syrupy, crispy on the outside, soft in the middle nutty flapjack…
Nutty Golden Syrup Flapjack
So this is another one of those recipes that, as long as you stick to the basic proportions, you can fiddle with endlessly… Add nuts, sultanas, dried cranberries, chocolate chips… whatever you fancy. Don’t like golden syrup (what’s WRONG with you?) use honey. Like it plain? Covered in chocolate? That’s fine too.
For the basic recipe, you’ll need:
115g brown sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
400g rolled oats
Melt the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan on a low heat until it’s all runny and combined, then take it off the heat and stir in the oats. And that’s it. This is the time to add your extras: dried fruit/nuts/chocolate chips/whatever. I used a large handful of almonds, roughly chopped, but whatever you use, a good handful will probably be enough.
Now press the mixture into a buttered cake tin and bake at gas 4/gas 180 and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely before removing from the tin or it’ll fall apart. Fab for lunchboxes, rushed breakfasts and after school snackage.
Mind you, I’m tempted just to buy him a six pack of Walker’s crisps and a Double Decker and be done with it. Gin o’clock, you say?
We had a such a lovely new year. Turtle, my gorgeous niece, made the most amazing cocktails, we had a scrummy dinner cooked by my very clever sister in law (the sweet potato and chorizo was a revelation), and then Sam, Charlie, Jackson and even, hilariously, my brother IJ and I had a mad dancing competition on the Wii. A fab time. It ended with champagne and cuddles with velvet nosed doggies on squishy sofas watching the New Year fireworks on the telly. I couldn’t have been happier.
Last year at this time I vowed to be completely alcohol free in January. I’ve got to be honest, it was tough, but I DID end January feeling amazing (and a whole 8lb lighter – without even trying!). I also said I’d never do it again (and I got a special edition bottle of Bombay Sapphire for Christmas – sob…), but here we are again after two back to back holidays during which I overindulged in both the food AND the booze, and then Christmas and its associated gluttony. And frankly, after my disgusting behaviour on Christmas Eve (there was singing. And I don’t even remember going to bed), I probably owe it to my liver to give it a holiday.
Sometimes an intervention needs to be take place for anyone whose drinking has got out of control before it’s too late.
Bring it on, then, 2013, I’m ready and raring to go!
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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