+

11 Things No-one Tells You About Dry January

I did it…I completed Dry January!

I also managed to raise an impressive £642.19 for my chosen charity CLIC Sargent who work tirelessly to support young people with cancer, and their families, during their cancer treatment and beyond, including bereaved families living with emotional pain.

There were so many advertisements about Dry January that the finger tapping thoughts began. A repetitive ‘Hmmm that’s not a bad idea to do’ thought. One of my New Year Resolutions was to be healthy and I had a few inner battles thinking really, can you do this, why the hell do you even want to do this, are you mad? And what was all the fuss about? Lots of people were doing Dry January so surely 31 alcohol free days isn’t all that hard and I was definitely up for feeling invigorated as the advertisements laid claim to. If I also did it for a good cause then I would most definitely abstain and simultaneously raising money is one hell of a feel good factor. So that was it. Decision made. The announcement in the office seemed to be one of shock horror, wide mouths and nervous laughs. Determination factor #1.

img_3969

Photo Cred: Oscar Soderlund

I have to say it has felt like the longest 31 days…EVER. The journey hasn’t been easy but the benefits have been amazing. Let me explain.

For the first couple of weeks oh man it was hard, I was having real cold turkey moments. What’s that all about? It’s not as if I constantly drink or drink every day and I certainly don’t drink copious amounts. But it was the realisation that there was no glass of wine with dinner, it felt boring socialising as drinking diet coke just doesn’t cut it when everyone around you starts slurring their words and then when you feel stressed but only vino is required, then what to do? I’m happy to report that this did ease off, towards the middle of the month I kinda forgot about having a drink after work and I was busy doing other things, I had way more energy. Towards the final couple of weeks I saw the countdown looking much smaller and almost more achievable that I thought oh my god, you really can do this!

As with everything, there is an app for this. It keeps you focused each day with a report card to track your progress. Initially you plug in the average amount of wine you consume each week, it then calculates your calories and cash saved, now is that motivational or what? My favourite bit is that it displays how many days you have completed and how many days remaining until the finish line. I’m not convinced that I have only saved £93 throughout the entire month. Debatable.

img_3973

I won’t lie, I have struggled. Those late Friday afternoons where we usually gather for some wine became like hell, I even started sniffing my colleagues beers as some kind of freaky compensation! Yeah I know, don’t ask, they also looked at me strangely. It wasn’t just the social aspect either. You know when you are having a really rough day and that glass of wine seems like the ideal therapy to take your troubles away? Just for a while? The hardest time for me was hearing news of a death in the family, a very special Uncle. Usually at times like this I immediately want to forget, I want the pain to go away. But you know what, this month has made me understand that I have to just get on with shit, I have to face things and not rely on that glass to make things feel better. I just realised that made me sound like an alchie (I’m not by the way) but you know where I am coming from right?

On a positive note (there are a few more, bear with me) I have been introduced to Becks Blue, the non-alcoholic beer. I am not sure if it is because I haven’t had a drink for so long but it really does taste like beer! It is low in fat and it messes with your head thinking you are actually having a drink when you’re not. What I also love is that it doesn’t give me a bright red face. Ok let me rewind, so I am a Britsian (my slang for being a Brit and part Asian). For some reason Asians can’t process alcohol enzymes so we go bright red, sometimes purple! You can actually feel your blood pumping round your face, hands and body. For me it’s uncomfortable and I am paranoid about ‘the rash’ so having Becks Blue has been nice to kid myself that I am having a drink and not have that horrible redness to deal with. Another nice tick in the box. The point is, I have found an alternative and I am going to always have a mini stash in my fridge moving forward!

img_3971

Photo Cred: Quentin Dr

I have to say it is the first time I have done this and it is also the last. Not because it was a terrible experience but I actually don’t believe I need to do it again. It has been a fantastic learning experience. I have learnt about my real needs, how to actually deal with certain situations and the world is my oyster, there are so many other ways to socialise. The most incredible feeling has been the overwhelming support from my family, friends and colleagues who have supported me. I couldn’t have done it without you and I am sure everyone will now be relieved (especially in the office) that I am now allowed a glass of wine!

11 THINGS WHICH NO-ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT DRY JANUARY:

  • Your skin will look amazing, dark circles be gone with you.
  • You will sleep better, uninterrupted long hours of good quality zzzzzs.
  • You realise there are so many other things to do in life, and lots of people actually don’t drink as much as you probably do!
  • You save a HEAP of money.
  • You have tons more energy.
  • It helps you lose weight, red wine calories aside, it’s the carb cravings that come after that glass that can cause the problem!
  • There are some great alcohol free beers out there to help get you through.
  • It teaches you to deal with things rather than be stressed or upset and think immediately I need a drink. I now feel stronger, more clear and level headed.
  • You are surrounded by some encouraging and supportive people. The knowledge that people are right behind you and are willing to sponsor you with their hard earned money really does make you feel amazing.
  • It makes you realise you don’t need alcohol to socialise.
  • YOU FEEL GOD DAM AWESOME ONCE YOU HAVE ACHIEVED IT.

So although I found it tough at times I am so glad I did this and I am super proud of myself for achieving it.

img_3974

Photo Cred: Quentin Dr

A big shout out to everyone else who has achieved Dry January…cheers!

N x

Thankyou heaps for reading my blog, I really appreciate it. Please feel free to leave a comment or to share with your friends.

Advertisements
+

Brunching in Covent Garden, London

My fave meal of the day, it’s breakfast and lunch combined into one. This means it’s perfectly acceptable to eat twice as much plus if you think about it, it’s economically smart as you actually save money by combining two meals, right? Add to this the Bloody Mary’s and tall glasses of fizz then brunch got me like, we are on to a winner. So what to do on a gloomy cold Saturday in London…why not have brunch with the girls.

I find that all life’s problems are sorted out over brunch, it’s catch-up time. Is Sandra at work still annoying you, how is your diet going, how on earth do you go to the gym before work and has anyone tried Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream yet? These round the table gems are real caring and sharing items of discussion amongst friends. The caring even continued as the fizz circled the table. There were no Dry January taunts, just words of encouragement (love you ladies). The whole time I am thinking ‘Just sit on your hands Nic’ as it was all to easy to snatch a glass and potentially inhale it. Just two more days remaining, I can do this! Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to sponsor me so far, little ole me has managed to raise £329.02 (to be precise). I really do appreciate your support and it is for an awesome cause. It hasn’t been easy I won’t lie but using brunch as an example, it is usually either a cure for a hangover or is the lead up to one so I have to admit, it was nice to be in neither position so it isn’t all bad.

This weekend, Balthazar, Covent Garden was our chosen venue.

The popular cobbled-stoned hip atmosphere in Covent Garden seeps into the restaurant. It’s bustling yet sprightly with well-timed service throughout. They also don’t scrimp on the portions, a generous serving at an affordable price is a big tick for me. Even our little lady was impressed as she placed her order…she is learning early.

img_3924

img_3912

Full English Breakfast £15.50

img_3914

Sides: Sprouts and Chestnuts £5.00

img_3911

Scrambled Eggs and Cornish Crab with Balthazar sourdough and creme fraiche £11.50

img_3913

Sides: Onion Rings £5.00

img_3907

Avocado on toast with poached eggs served on Balthazar sourdough toast with a tomato salsa £12.50

6 REASONS TO LOVE BRUNCH

  • It’s unobjectionable to start drinking fizz at 11am.
  • You forget what time it is, no-one rushes brunch.
  • Brunch is like therapy for a fraction of the price!
  • It makes you feel glamorous.
  • Savoury and sweet are supposed to be together.
  • And the best one…no washing up!

So no excuses, schedule your next brunch date, I am scouring places as we speak. All suggestions welcome!

N x

Thankyou heaps for reading my blog, I really appreciate it. Please feel free to leave a comment or to share with your friends.

+

How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

According to the English Oxford Dictionary the definition of gratitude is ‘The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.’

Being grateful can completely transform your life, it can change a really shit day into an awesome day. It can shift your focus from what is missing in your life to what is already present. The result of this is happiness and having inner peace. I reckon that’s something we all want in our lives right?!

img_3836

Photo Cred: Roman Kraft

My daily routine includes thinking of three things which I am grateful for. I’ve got to be honest, they range from the wackiest to the simplest of things. I thought about what I am thankful for this week and noticed a theme. I seem to like mornings. A bit of a revelation for someone who literally drags herself out of bed to get to the gym before work but none the less I seem to like the start of my day. I’m an organised person, enjoy a routine and if all runs smoothly so I can leave the apartment on time then all is good in the world. I realised I have a grave determination that each day should be a day to remember. A recent family death smacked me in the face with that vigorous reminder to love every second of my life and I now mean business.

I must admit I thought I was more grateful of my mornings at weekends. You know, not having to get up early for work, not having to lay out my clothes (organisation at its best) or make my lunch (weight watcher craze) and literally having two whole days off to do whatever I wanted. But on reflection it seemed apparent that I was also immensely grateful for the weekday mornings. Let me explain…

img_3801

Photo Cred: Morre Christophe

THE WORKING WEEK

Monday to Friday for me means early alarm clocks (I am one of those who needs multiple snoozes as I am actually full of intentions of getting up earlier and enjoying being at home before heading off to work), making that first cuppa of the day (I literally do not do anything until that is in my hand) and then beautifying myself to head out the door. This hasty sunrise routine means that when I step foot in the office I have lost a couple of hours without even realising. So this week I put a stop to it and called out the things which I am grateful for:

  • My bed – the moment the alarm goes off I instantly fall in love with it! It’s a velcro moment when I feel I can’t move, I am stuck and therefore need at least 5 more minutes to snooze!
  • My masala tea – it’s my 7am hug in a mug. It slowly drip feeds me caffeine whilst I get ready. I enjoy it and think that if I couldn’t have this because of a power cut or god forbid I ran out of teabags then we have an issue. So gratitude #2 – tick.
  • My TV – I know we are discouraged from social media and electrical devices first thing in the morning and I do that to a certain extent but it’s been a godsend this week as the news warned me of train delays which impacted my commute.

 

Photo Cred: Brooke Lark

THE WEEKEND

Ok this is going to sound weird but I just LOVE setting my alarm to wake me super early at weekends. I know I know, what happened to the lie in?! Hear me out, this is why I’m grateful for this early start:

  • I enjoy making my masala tea and doing a big fat HA because I don’t have to do the work day morning routine. That alone is something to be grateful for!
  • I don’t have to get dressed nor do I have to go anywhere. I can relax on the sofa in my PJs for as long as I like. I can catch up on my favourite blogs, schedule my own blogs and actually enjoy my sofa as the sun comes up instead of not even noticing I have a sofa on a weekday morning!
  • For some reason waking up early helps me feel more energised, more optimistic about the day ahead as I’m not wasting the morning away sleeping. I know that if I am attacked by the zzzz’s in the afternoon then a nanna nap it is!

Each and every one of us has something to be grateful for, it can be for having a person in your life, for a material possession you feel lucky to own, to have a job, to have a home, the list really is endless but acknowledging the appreciation for these really can help change your life. Your outlook is different, you feel happier thinking of what you currently have rather than what you don’t have.

img_3840

Photo Cred: Luca Upper

Being grateful even boosts self-worth. When you reflect on what others may have done for you, what your achievements are, what you have overcome, how does it make you feel? It makes you feel good right? This is because it has boosted your confidence, it creates inner joy. What a feeling…don’t you want to feel like this every day?

You can. By thinking of three things to be grateful for every day. Try it, it will change your life.

N x

%d bloggers like this: