Is it only me?

Please tell me I am not the only one who has ever done these things?!

I had got in to such a habit of watching a movie at home with a few glasses of wine. It would be impossible to relax and watch a movie without it.

So what did happen when i would go to see a film at the cinema?

While the kids are focused on loading up with chocolate and sweets, I am busy hooking out the biggest handbag out of the back of my wardrobe.
I then pick a glass (from the thousand to choose from) and carefully wrap it in kitchen roll and place it in my handbag. I then gently place my (large) bottle of red wine along side it.
Now a days a lot of cinemas sell small bottles of wine, but unfortunately they usually taste like something best used to clean your toilet with.
If I’m going to use up calories drinking wine then I most certainly want to ‘enjoy’ drinking the extra cals!
So, wine of choice carefully stowed in my handbag and having passed ticket control we are now seated comfortably in the cinema.
The kids start to rustle their packets of popcorn, chocolate and sweets. I on the other hand sit still waiting for my cue.
Finally, adverts finish and Twentieth century Fox presents….and there it is, my cue! Assured everyone has their eyes fixed on the screen, I proceed to take out my wine, like Mary Poppins removing her medicinal medicine from her bottomless carpet bag. Smugly I pour myself a glass of vino, I can now relax and enjoy the film….this feels normal.

By the time the film has ended, two of three things have occurred:-
A. The film was not very good, in which case I will have consumed the bottle sooner and be snoring my head off before the film finishes.
B. The film was good, still finished my wine but remained awake to the end.
C. In both cases of either A or B, walk out of the auditorium a little wobbly and three sheets in the wind!

The lengths I would go to ensure I didn’t go without my wine o clock. Thinking about it, planning it, implementing it. Exhausting.

Infact, my life, for most of it, seemed to revolve around alcohol.

If we went somewhere and hubby suggested having a meal out, my head would immediately visualise the food with a glass of wine…good idea, always up for a meal out what ever the reason!

I don’t buy wine to stock up with. My wine rack is usually empty, because if it had two or three in it, I would just end up drinking it all in one evening (or most of it until I fell asleep).
Disciplining myself to buy in one bottle at a time stopped me drinking anymore than one bottle. That was the theory anyway.

If on the rare occasion I would tell myself during the day to give myself a night off from wine, invariably when it came to the evening and I was cooking, I would cave in and find an excuse to pop out to the shop and pick up some ‘missing’ ingredient which included a bottle of wine! I would then be very territorial over ‘my’ bottle. Unwilling to share it. I would give hubby a glass only if he asked for one (begrudgingly). Remember the Ferraro Roche advert as she passes the chocs around the table and as she sees them disappearing panics and shouts “don’t eat them all”!
If I knew he was going to be drinking ‘my’ wine, I would buy in two bottles. While he would only have two or three glasses I would still have to finish the entire contents of both bottles.

This week has felt more challenging because I have not been at work very much. The challenge is keeping myself busy and occupied to stop thinking about food (hard when on a strict diet) and drink. I’ve had moments of feeling down thinking I am deprived, but then I tell myself that this is not true, remind myself why I’m doing this, I look at my sponsor form, I look at my weight loss, I look at my improved complexion. I wake up bouncy (going to bed early might have something to do with that), but I’m going to bed sober, and I am sleeping better, and that’s what counts.

Joined FB’s ‘Club Soda Together’ this week and have been chatting to some great people. Extremely friendly. Recommend.

My weigh in at Slimming World yesterday was disappointing as I stayed the same, but the lady realised I had crossed the 7 lb barrier, and seeing I did not have a sicker, informed me I get a 1/2 stone sticker for my log book. Whoop whoop, finally, a reward (I can’t eat cake, I’m not drinking alcohol), so I am very excited to get a sticker. As I wait in anticipation for my reward sticker, she tells me they don’t have any left. At this point I nearly have a melt down over a silly little sticker. I keep it together and politely smile, until I get in the car, where my 18 year old daughter is waiting for me, and then I have my melt down. “It’s OK mum” my daughter remarked “I will make you a sticker”!

I’m still waiting for my sticker…..

Finally, I’ve proved I can go to the cinema without my wine (and my oversized Mary Poppins handbag)!
Ive been to see ‘The Post’ with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep on black coffee and Diet Coke. Stayed awake to the very end, walked out the cinema in one straight line and even drove home.



Day 25 alcohol free

Still 9 lb lighter

54 days left to hit target weight loss of 28 lbs.

Seriously getting worried.



Wine Witch Alert!

I’m sitting in the car being driven back from London’s West End completely sober! It’s Thursday the 18th of Jan.

The plan was to take our second-eldest daughter (who’s birthday we were celebrating) out to dinner followed by the amazing theatre production of Les Miserables.
It was all going great, until we arrived at the restaurant for the pre-show dinner.

The place was buzzing, it felt like the perfect place to chill out and have a drink…then, for that split second, I forgot I had stopped drinking, and suddenly my heart sank.

Then ‘she’ hit me or, should I say, the Wine Witch hit me, for those familiar with that term. Does anyone remember Lizzy Dripping? If you do, think of that! The witch appears beside me, breathing down my neck as the barman slides the cocktail/wine menu under my nose.

At the back of the rather sophisticated bar was a display of all the sexy looking glasses. I have an obsession for glasses, every drink has to be enjoyed in the right glass, and not just any old crappy glass :)!

I hummed and arghed over the only two mocktails on the menu. Let’s face it, as I didn’t know if I was going to like them and they were charging a second mortgage for a single serving, despite the lack of alcohol, I wanted to be sure of my choice! My husband ordered a pils lager (hope he doesn’t choke, resonates in my head).

My daughter asks for a mocktail. “But it’s your birthday,” I exclaim. “Are you sure you don’t want a drink?”

Can you believe I even said that? It’s conditioned in my head, celebrating something equals alcohol. “No,” she says, “I am going to keep you company.” Bless her :).

Finally, after what seemed an eternity to decide, I reached a decision and then proceeded to watch the barman make it. As I watched him measuring everything out and pouring it in the cocktail shaker, I found myself thinking it’s a shame there’s no alcohol in it, slap, slap and double slap me! I wish that bloody Wine Witch would disappear.

The mocktail was a combination of seedlip citrus spice, elderflower cordial, lime juice, mint and cucumber served over ice. It was very nice and refreshing with a lime kick, but I confess, I missed the kick of the alcohol you get on the back of your tongue and down your throat! I was experiencing fine dining for the first time without an alcoholic drink, only my mocktail and water to compliment my meal. Beam me up, Scottie!

Conversations started and my Wine Witch continued to linger in the back ground until my food arrived. Thank goodness for food.
The meal was delicious, which helped take my mind off the witch. Despite being on a strict diet (and remembering the waitress’s recommendation to have the chocolate bombe) I decided to reward myself with a heavenly dessert for succeeding at putting the Wine Witch into liquidation on this occasion. It suddenly felt like it was my birthday.

The show was amazing and during the interval, instead of joining the herd queueing at the bar, we headed for a large jug of self service iced water on a table. Freebie water, how novel, and wallowed in the fact that I had just saved myself some money by not drinking.

Every cloud….

21 days alcohol free.

21 days 9 lb lost.

*59 days remaining to hit sponsorship target of losing 28 lb (2 stone)!

*Getting a little worried!


Drunk at two!

It’s official. The way I was drinking alcohol, according to a training audit at work, revealed ‘possible dependence’. I did the audit on myself while undertaking some compulsory self-training on smoking and alcohol this week! Ironically.

It’s not exactly a revelation, it’s just highlighted something I already knew. I answered all the questions very honestly. The funny thing is, the help is there waiting to be offered under the NHS, but unfortunately when we see our GP’s and they ask us that million dollar question, “how many units a week do you consume”, the majority of us lie. I wonder what would happen to the research data base if everyone answered those alcohol related questions honestly. They would realise that more money is significantly needed in the NHS to offer more help and support, in the same way that they provide free support and medication for people who are trying to give up smoking.

Some twenty odd years ago I struggled to give up smoking, but I managed it and then I stupidly started again for a couple of years. I’m pleased to say that I did, however, succeed in giving it up again, mainly thanks to my eldest daughter who (at the age of thirteen) told her grandmother she was worried I would die of cancer. I wanted to reduce my risk of getting lung cancer (and to stop my daughter worrying). I managed to quit the second time round through medication and a support group via the NHS. Back then, agreeing (reluctantly) to go along to the support group was the only way you could get free nicotine patches, but the combination of both did actually work.

So why does giving up alcohol feel different? Because I want to significantly feel better about myself and reduce my risk of getting liver disease and cancer?!
When I announced I was giving up alcohol, the first thing my mother asked me was, “Does that meant you’ll be having an alcohol free holiday?” (we are taking my parents on holiday this year). “Yes,” I replied, and a look of disappointment was written all over her face. The fear of losing her wine buddy no doubt, but I will prove that we can still have plenty of fun without me providing all the drunken entertainment by staggering around the dance floor, thinking I look like some sex goddess on Strictly Come Dancing, when the reality is I don’t. I know that on-lookers must be wondering if I’m going to make it through the next song with out toppling over, or dancing on their tables. Just kidding about that one! Well, maybe I did the table dancing thing once or twice in my younger day, at least I survived without injury!

I haven’t been the perfect role model for my kids over the years where drink is concerned. They have seen me drunk too many times, they have seen me with hangovers, they have seen me drink socially (and not socially). A glass of wine while I’m cooking (and I love cooking), a glass of wine when I’m eating, booze with barbecues, a glass of wine watching TV. A glass of wine relaxing in the bath (well, they just know I did this), picnics, wine to celebrate, commiserate, the list is endless.

I started drinking very young, when I was two years old or so, my parents tell me. I managed to get hold of a little miniature bottle of brandy at home and drank it all. My mother realised there was something wrong when I was unable to walk in a straight line, swaying and bumping into the walls….I was drunk!

One childhood memory I have of alcohol was when my mum would put the Sunday roast in the oven on very low, and then my parents would take my brother and I out to ‘The Club’ every Sunday for a lunch time drink. It used to be packed with families socialising over booze on a Sunday afternoon. I would have been around 11 years old. This was when I would be allowed to have half-pints of (weak) larger shandies, which made me feel all grown up and giddy. A feeling I enjoyed.

I entered my teenage years in the eighties with music from Duran Duran, eurythmics, Midge, Madness, Human League blaring from my bedroom. Mods, rockers, New Romantics were the fashion, as were regular village hall discos all fuelled with large quantities of cheap lager and cider.

When I embarked on my nurse training at 22, I lived away from home in the nurses’ quarters and did we learn how to party. The trainee doctors occupied the top floor of a high block of flats and every week they hosted the party. Doctor’s parties were never complete without a long line of catheter bags hung up, filled with every imaginable cocktail ready to pour from the drainage tap! Most of the cocktails tasted like pee so having them in catheter bags was rather apt!

At no point did I imagine that I would be using alcohol down the line for any reasons other than socialising.

But here I am at 49, using it for mainly everything else but socialising now. Preferring to relax in the comfort of my own home where no one can judge me (apart from my husband) while getting blissfully intoxicated on my sofa to relax and unwind.
Have you noticed when you try and give something up, you’re reminded of it constantly?

Watching TV to take your mind off drinking is near impossible. Every other actor has a glass of wine glued to their hand in almost everything you watch. Although I don’t recall David Attenborough showing any funky gibbons delighting over a bottle of Shiraz, or Nelly the elephant trunking down copious amounts of chardonnay! So that’s clearly the answer, stick to watching David A (or start a blog :)).

Day 17 alcohol free
9 lb lighter
Clothes not so tight, sleeping better, head clearer. Constipated (must drink more water and eat more greens 😆)!

Yea yea yeah!


The grocery shop!

They say never go shopping when you’re hungry, but what if you’re also stressed and desperate for a large glass of vino? This was my dilemma in the week. Grocery shopping!

I’d had a particularly busy day, going here, there and everywhere and by the time I got to the supermarket it was 8pm. Already the image of de-stressing on my cosy sofa with a large glass of red wine was popping into my head. The image was strong and looked almost heavenly in my mind. I slapped myself (not literally) and told myself to pull it together. I only wish I’d had on those horse blinkers to stop getting distracted.

If anyone could have seen the battle going on inside my head as I tried to whizz around the supermarket, they would have thought I was nuts. “Don’t look at the cheese. Put those peanuts back down this minute. Just because the chocolate is on offer doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Don’t look, don’t look, keep going, almost done”. It’s like being in Supermarket Sweep, desperate to get round, but without the booze and goodies.

If I had been a real contestant a few weeks ago, the booze aisle would most certainly have been the first aisle I’d have sprinted down, closely followed by the crisps and dips! But I’m not in any sweep other than my own, so back to reality…

“Fizzy water, must not forget my fizzy water, where’s my fizzy water?” At this point I stop completely dead in my tracks, tightly holding onto my little trolley as I’m faced with the last aisle. My fizzy water is kept with the wine and alcohol too, NOOOOOO!

Sod the water. I go straight to the checkout and do not pass go, who needs fizzy water anyway??! MEEEE!

When I got home, I fed my hunger (not my thirst) and breathed a huge sigh of relief as I sat on my cosy sofa with a mug of ‘low cal’ hot choc, which I must admit tasted A-maze-ing (bit of strictly there). That hot choc moment I will retain in my head for future referencing.

I wanted my giving up alcohol and losing weight to have purpose and meaning. So before the new year kicked in, as well as joining the diet club and getting my blog made, I got my friends and family to sponsor me. Not only did it make me feel more committed, it gives me other reasons to stay focused and committed. I’ve managed to raise (potentially) just over £400 (thank you to those for your support if you’re reading this, by the way) but most importantly the money I raise from losing weight will also be helping a dear friend of ours…

A year ago my husband lost one of his closest friends. He was 51 years young when he died in a tragic accident doing the sport he loved. The lovely wife who he sadly left behind is one of the most kind hearted souls I’ve ever met, and she has decided to set up a Foundation Trust in his memory.

The money I manage to raise will go to help the trust.

Another reason I must keep on track :).

Talk about put your money where your mouth is. But it’s actually been the best thing that has got me through these first couple of weeks, my commitment to myself and to others.

Day 13 alcohol free.
Weight down 6.5lb.

Yea yea yeah! Loving it, loving it.

In memory of our friend, who used to use those last few words a lot :).


Hello world!

Copyright SMSM

28th December 2017, I am rushing around to get ready for work, and dreading getting into my post christmas nurses uniform trousers. As I pull them up, to my absolute horror I can’t  do the button up not even close, and as I struggle with it, it pings off across the bedroom floor!

Thats it 😩. Grabbing my phone to search safari for slimming World (one of the weight loss programmes I’m more familiar with from the days when I first had the children to remove those post pregnancy excess pounds). As luck would have it there is a class that very night in the town. Rushing down in the car, not wanting to be late for work, I get weighed. Just weigh me in and sign me up I plea (disgusted with myself) but hopeful knowing if I commit tonight I will definitely return for the first week of the new year.

Continue reading “Hello world!”