The Final Furlong!

I feel like I’m on a horse in the Grand National coming up to the finishing line. Almost their, but a small way to go before the final Furlong!

Desperate measures are needed with 7lb left to lose and only 6 days left to go for my sponsorship deadline!

I did resist the temptation to book in for a gastric bypass, or asking one of my colleagues to give me a week of colonic irrigation πŸ˜‚.
Instead I have put my last gallop into DietNow…
Basically it’s very similar to the Cambridge Diet. I am on three of their products (shakes) a day.
Apart from that nothing else passes my lips accept water, black tea and coffee.

I’ve started obsessing and crossing off the final days on my wall calendar.
Part of me remains positive and hopeful that I can still achieve my goal, while a small part is a little nervous about the 7lb milestone before me!

Last weekend, like other mums, I celebrated Mother’s Day with my kids and my own mum (hi mum).
I decided to give myself a day off from the diet (perhaps I shouldn’t have) and enjoyed some home cooking and a few chocs (well quite a few chocs actually).
Ive become partial to drinking M&S elderflower press (no added sugar) as my new found drink and ensured my glass was full of it on Mother’s Day.

The cards from my children were lovely…inside my sons card, part of what he wrote in his hand writing read,

“Thank you for being there for me in times of need and supporting me in life”

Perhaps they do appreciate us after all! πŸ™‚

Wine ‘O Clock has gone. Instead I call it ‘Do ‘O Clock’. I can do or not do, to be or not to be ahaha.

Day 73 alcohol free and feeling so much better for it.

I sleep better, I’m less tired, my moods are less of a roller coaster, my skin has improved, and I am starting to fit into some of those dresses that have been hanging around in my wardrobe forever, yippeee.
I can also walk down the booze aisle in supermarkets without the anxiety I might pick up a bottle or two.
My head is generally clearer, I can think clearer and no more hangovers to worry about.

The support from family and friends has been encouraging.
Mr S has gone from being my very annoying alcohol barometer to my biggest cheer leader.

To think this all started with my button flying off my work trousers. Which I still haven’t sewn back on incidentally.
That button was my turning point, my deciding moment.
Perhaps I shouldn’t sew it back on and I should frame it instead!

I often thought my deciding factor would be that one massive hangover or that significant embarrassing moment that you can’t quite remember, but everyone else can!
Instead, it was a button popping off at 49 years of age.

Over the years, sub-consciously I must have been preparing for that ‘deciding’ moment by the books I have read, ‘How To Kick The Drink Easily’.
Dresses I have clung too.
Various exercise machines I have purchased that ended up as clothes horses, or garden props!
Attempts to moderate my drinking.
Why did it take so long to find my point of readiness? What was I waiting for? What was I afraid of?
If I knew then how I would feel now, I would have gladly stopped drinking years ago.

This week, although I am focused on the final furlong, it is going to be a busy week, lots of night shifts and I have to go to the Midlands with Mr S in a van to collect our tools plus furniture and see our new tenants in.

If you have seen the programme Homes Under The Hammer, it’s similar to what I do with Mr S when I’m not wearing my nurses uniform. Renovating houses and renting them out.

I’m usually the painter and decorator, glorified tea maker, cleaner, accountant and tenant finder!
We have been working together doing up houses for seven years now.

They make it look so easy on the TV but it wasn’t easy working together in the beginning.
Imagine how Gordon Ramsay mixed with Mary Berry would be! πŸ˜‚
Fortunately for us Mr S worked out who was the boss fairly quickly πŸ˜‰.

My whip is out ready for the last gallop! (I’m that starving, I could eat a bloody horse not ride one!!)

Off to make a DietNow vanilla shake.

Roll on Tuesday 20th March…


Stone Cold Sober!

What a week!!

Dorset comes to a complete stand still from the Arctic weather (or I should say, the Siberian weather)…including myself.

I couldn’t get into work for a night shift and Slimming World was cancelled.

Weighed myself on my own scales and they showed 2lb loss, not sure how accurate my home scales are, but happy to go along with that result for the time being :).

Birthdays are for celebrating, and this week I discovered it’s not just my own birthday I have to get through!

It was my daughters 19th birthday this weekend.
Usually I happily organise a family gathering, make an iconic cake, and ensure there is plenty of booze, because after all, you can’t have a celebration without booze…right?!

I decide to book up somewhere special so I don’t have to think about organising any booze or food.

My son is working the weekend so he can’t make it (deep down I’m glad because I don’t have to worry about him drinking).Β For those following the previous post, my sons face is back to normal and he is back at work. He has not had a drink since he was beaten up. Fingers crossed it continues. Only time, love and support will tell.

Now, bearing in mind my daughter loves cheese, I reserve us all a table at a cheese and wine bar for Saturday night!!! Afterwards I realise this was probably not one of my better plans as images of cheese and glasses of wine start to play in my head.

It will be OK, I am driving I tell myself, and I text ahead to ensure they offer non alcoholic alternatives.

When we arrive the place is buzzing. The surrounding blackboards are written with every cheese imaginable and a variety of meats.
The walls are displaying bottles of wine from floor to ceiling.

After much deliberation deciding what to have, its not long before a magnificent spread of cheeses, meats and nibbly bits arrive to our table on one long wooden board.

I have my large wine glass already filled with elderflower and ice.
At this point my head is asking, did I love cheese because of the wine or did I love wine because of the cheese?

This is the first time I have allowed myself some cheese since my diet started on 2nd January.
Without the wine it didn’t seem to have the same appeal.
I looked around the room watching others sipping their wines out of large sexy glasses, while savouring their cheeses, and I suddenly felt sad.
Sad that I knew I was unable to do the moderation thing. Sad that I had spoilt it for myself from years of excessive drinking.
Although I was quiet, my thoughts remained my own, a stiff upper lip and a brave smile was worn :).

The night moved on from the wine bar to a disco bar.
Seating was extremely limited and so I eagerly seized a spare bar stool when one became available.
This was perhaps not such a great idea, as I began to realise it was the section of the long bar they use to make the cocktails.
I found myself mesmerising over cocktails being made, one after the other as I sipped on my beetroot juice!

Dancing had not yet progressed on the dance floor and Mr S was insisting I dance with him.
At this point he got the Paddington Bear stare, and through smiling gritted teeth I said, “I am stone cold sober, and if you think I am getting up on an empty dance floor, you are very much mistaken, now please leave me alone”! Deciding it was better not to mess with his wife at this moment in time, he took my advice and began badgering another family member :).

Back in the day, it would have been me bullying everyone up onto the dance floor. What a pain in the arse I must have been, especially to those that were sober ish just wanting to sit quietly, being hounded by a drunk woman who thinks everyone should be up dancing.

Finally the dance floor does begin to fill up and feeling less conspicuous I boogie the night away.
Dancing sober is a new experience, it’s not as bad as I imagined. Once your limbs loosen up a bit, I realise I have control over them and my balance! IΒ am not falling over anything or anyone…

I have to confess, at 11.30pm I’m ready to go home. This is when you find out those in your party that are drinking are ready to party all night long.
Again, back in the day, this would have been me.

I get my fellow party go-ers to agree a time to leave and at 12.30am we make are way to the car (It’s a good hours drive home from Bournemouth).

Secretly I’m relieved it’s over.
My daughter had a great time and I got through my first birthday celebration….completely stone cold sober! Feeling good I got through it and no hangover in the morning :).

Total weight loss so far 19lb.
16 days left to go to lose 9lb (OMG)

62 days alcohol free.


Accident And Emergency!


Most of my posts have been written in humour because I feel it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself.

This week the humour is a little lost!

I mentioned in one of my posts that I was not the greatest role model for my kids where alcohol is concerned.

They have always seen me socialising with a glass of wine in hand. Seen me many times drunk. Witnessed my hangovers.
Is it any wonder that they grow up to think this must be normal and socially acceptable.

So when you know one of your kids has a drink problem at the age of 17 what do you do?
Apart from everything and anything to help them avoid the path of self destruction. Counselling, referrals to support services, GP’s. Nagging, not nagging, tears, worry.
I then take on the guilt trips and start blaming myself.

This week I get a phone call at 4.30am whilst on my night shift, to say my son was very drunk and had been beaten up. The police had found him and taken him to the nearest A&E department.

When I arrive at A&E I don’t see a 21 year old man lying on the stretcher, I see my vulnerable boy, my battered and bruised boy :(.
Battered and bruised because of alcohol.
The fumes coming off his breath are toxic. I look at his tiny framed body (all of 7 stone) wondering how his poor liver is able to cope with the weekly binges.
As I poor my heart out to the doctor asking her to refer him for help, she asks my son questions, he acknowledges to her that he thinks he has a problem with drinking (no shit).
The doctors words to him still play in my head, she said…

“If you don’t do something about it, it won’t end well for you”!

I decided to give up alcohol because of the negative affect it was having on myself, those around me, my well being, my self esteem. I was already on a path of self destruction, drinking way too many units a week, being overweight, always tired.
Why did it take until I was 49 to finally do something to change. Was I really so afraid of giving up something that I believed helped me get through the stresses of life, but knowing it was really the devil!

My son is almost 21 and yet I hope every day he will want to change enough to do something about the way he drinks.

Amy Winehouse was at an awards ceremony having been clean for some months. After she was announced as the winner of an award, she whispered to her friend “this is no fun without drugs”.

I want to be a role model for my kids and prove to myself and to them that you can have fun without alcohol.

Life IS an adventure and for my second half of it, I want to remember it all :).

Lost 1.5 lb this week.
Total so far 17 lb.


Fish And Chips!

I never realised just how much support is out there thanks to social media.
Having found sites such as Club Soda Together, it’s great not to feel like ‘your alone’!
Folks of all ages, from different backgrounds, struggling at varying degrees to kick the drink join the Facebook support sites.

Someone on the Club Soda site asked us what we would say to our ‘Wine Witch’ if we could meet them face to face (metaphorically speaking).
There were so many comments in response to it.
This particular one stood out and I felt compelled to share it (permission was obtained from Russell and he was also happy for me to use his name :)).

Russell meeting his ‘Wine Witch’

Hi How are you?
Please take a seat.
Look I’ve been thinking… Its not working out anymore I’m sorry.
Its not you its me totally.
I feel I need to go in a different direction and explore.
Oh where abouts am I going to go did you say?
Well, largely anywhere you’re not tbh. If I’m honest the controlling behavior has been a bit much, you might want to think about that…Also while we are on the subject…
You do have a tendency to be destructive, dramatic, egotistical, bullying, selfish and demoralizing. I hope you can accept this as its intended.
I want you to perhaps reflect upon my observations.
Now I am going to insist that we can’t be friends either. This is a permanent break up!
Oh don’t be sad its ok you’ll find another victim, I mean person…. Oh don’t you get me going now…Oh wait, wrong emotion.
I’m very happy about this, this is good.
Oh would you take this too on your way out…What is it you say?? Hmm that’s pity…Pop him in the trash on your way out. Thanks…Bye Bye πŸ‘‹

Written by Russell Grieg-Bartram

I could write something similar over my ‘food witch’ this week.
I’ve actually surprised myself so far, by how well I’m coping not drinking alcohol.

I am obsessing over food at the moment.

As the weeks are rolling on, my momentum is slowing down and it has felt especially hard this week sticking to my plan.

I went to my weigh in on Thursday and was told my weight had remained the same 😭😑. What ever stopped me driving straight to the fish and chip shop after that I will never know.

I have just over four weeks left to lose 12.5 lb, which is basically 3lb a week to hit my target.
How I long for it to be March 20th right now and at my goal weight.
Wouldn’t it be great to go to sleep for a few weeks in some sort of pod and be woken up slim!
Where is the Starship Enterprise when you need it…beam me up Scottie FFS!

I’m dreaming fish and chips when I go to bed.
Never mind the wine or sheep, I’m counting chips jumping over the fish straight into my mouth. 1 chip, 2 chip, 3 chip, more!
Wafts of salt and vinegar soaking into the freshly cooked batter on the cod make me salivate just thinking about it. Torture! Such torture!

After my weigh in this week, I have to drive past our local fish and chip shop.
I’m like a deranged stalker if someone comes out the chippy loaded up with steaming hot bags as I drive by.
I’m looking longingly back at them in my rear view mirror, imagining what they have just bought.
My head goes in a spin thinking of battered cod, chips, sausages, pies, mushy peas, the smell of vinegar and the taste of salt arrrrrgh….

STOP IT! Think slimmer and healthy thoughts.
Think of those dresses hanging up in my wardrobe just waiting for me.
The dresses i’ve not worn for years because they don’t fit. Think how amazing it will be to get the zip done up on my wedding dress….OK, maybe a little ambitious for March 20th.

Remember not being out of breath walking up hills and going up long flights of stairs.

Think of the beach and not having to worry about who I park myself next too!!
Think of not having to worry anymore about the long walk down to the sea edge in my tight swimwear.
Even better, not having to worry about walking back to my beach towel (then again, looking like Dudley Moore hot rodding over the hot sand is somewhat unavoidable at any size)!

Once, I crawled out the sea as it got shallow on my hands and knees because the small pebbles hurt my feet to stand on them. Can you imagine what a sight that must have been for onlookers wondering if they were witnessing a new species of beached whale?!

FOUR WEEKS. Four short weeks left to go.

I can do this (she says with a wobbly smile).



Flying: Any Drinks Or Snacks?

Its my 7th day of blending!

I have to admit, the first couple of days on my Blend challenge I wondered how I would get through it due to the sudden onset of headaches.
On day 3 the headaches stopped (thank goodness).
Allowing myself a coulple of black coffees a day have helped.

Ive lost 5 lb weight in 7 days, whoop whoop and 5cms round my waist.

Have also saved Β£196 being Alcohol free so far.

Starting to feel lighter and healthier.

I decided to reward myself (and hubby) by booking a very cheap flight to Malta in March.
Neither of us have been to Malta before and the flights were so ridiculously cheap. An impulsive wave suddenly came over me, and as I hit the purchase button, I saw the scenario of the flight play out in my head….

I’ve been fortunate enough (or unfortunate if you hate flying or hate cheap flights) to have flown on a few no frills flights.
Once in the air, I sit waiting for the ‘happy’ air hostess and her drinks trolley.
The longer it takes to arrive the more twitchy and impatient I become looking up and down the aisle to see where it’s got too.
Can you imagine if the air hostess announced on the loud speaker, “Could all those people who depend on alcohol to get through the flight, please raise your hands so we can serve you first”!
How many hands would go up?
I’m sure most of us would remain stiff upper lipped tightly strapped to our seat, being typically British not wanting to admit to such a thing and jump the que.
Or maybe a whole sea of hands would rise up one by one, speeding up gradually like a progressive standing ovation.

I decided to overcome this waiting game on flights (and expense) by filling a couple of miniature bottles of spirits with gin to take on board, mixed with a soft drink purchased at the airport. Thus saving myself the anxiety of waiting on board.
Not good practise but it was also rather satisfying saving a few quid in the process!

Then of course I see myself at the duty free.
OMG I had forgotten the duty free!
The duty free is a ritual.
The obligatory purchase of booze to take on your hols.

I will have to overcome this ritual by treating myself to a new fragrance (as if I need another one), but buying a new perfume is a better idea for the new sober me :).

This ‘new’ scenario now plays in my head…

I buy my purchases of fragrance at duty free (notice I said purchase’s’, can’t assume there won’t be a buy one get another half price on offer!) Avoiding all of the booze.

Armed with my free newspaper you get with a bottle of water purchased from WHSmith at the airport (note: if free, bound to be all gone) I board the plane.

Seated, relaxed, with (hopefully) free paper poised on my lap, I DON’T wait and look for the ‘happy’ hostess and her trolley.
I have no miniature tipple ready for decanting, just water to hand.
Calm is the mantra playing in my head, breath, suck a sweet, “WHERES the sweets”? I need to suck a sweet before my ears explode. I FORGOT the bloody sweets. Looking to hubby for reassurance, I see he already has his eyes shut and mouth wide open! Huff huff.

When the trolley arrives and I will hear those well known words, “Any drinks or snacks”? I shall ‘joyfully’ reply “black coffee and nothing else for me thank you”. πŸ™‚

Despite the lack of sweets (reminding myself this is, after all, only the scenario in my head)….

All is well!

Including my ankles! They usually swell up on flights when I drink alcohol to the size I struggle to get my shoes back on if I have slipped them off.
So another plus, no more feet the size of an elephants when disembarking!

This is what will happen on the flight in March (must remember sweets ;)).

Onward and upward.

I should throw those miniature bottles away while I think of it. Where did I put them, oh yes, right next to my passport!!


39 days Alcohol free

Lost weight, 15.5 lbs so far.

39 days left to lose 28 lbs. On track :).

Yea yea yeah!


The Big Blend Up!

Well here we are at the beginning of February and for many that were doing dry January, they will have already been celebrating their achievement with a favourite bottle of vino!

Congrats to all those that completed dry January by the way!

I have given up alcohol, not just for dry January.

The last 30 days I have found giving up the booze not too challenging (surprisingly).
I think the fact my mind was mentally ready to give it up has helped.
I don’t feel I’m being deprived, in fact I actually feel very positive about gaining back control and not having to think or worry about drinking.
Free from the constant battles that were going on inside my head and the morning guilt trips when I knew I had drank too much.

I have kept busy with work and so haven’t done a lot of socialising yet. So I am expecting there is still a few challenges ahead of me, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it and be prepared as much as possible when the Wine Witch strikes!

Those following my blog will know I’ve given myself added motivation by setting a challenge to lose 28 lb by 20th March and have some sponsors in place.

One of my sponsors has enjoyed texting me pictures of burgers and chips. The sponsor is also a ‘friend’! Co-incidentally they have sponsored me quite a bit of money for ‘when’ I do succeed! So I shall hopefully have the last laugh.

Its now day 33 AF and I feel the weight is not shifting quick enough (I want to make sure I can collect all my sponsor money from the ‘burger’ messenger!)

Action stations, as I set myself a new challenge. Welcome Jason Vale and the Super Blend Me challenge!

Jason Vale also wrote the book, Kick The Drink Easily, which I read two years ago and it really inspired me to change the way I viewed alcohol. I am sure it has also helped the way I think towards giving it up as well.

I have read Clare Pooley’s book, My Sober Diaries, which I found very entertaining and also relatable.

Armed with the new Super Blend Me challenge book, which I have read from front to back in one day.
Ordered in all the ingredients online from the handy shopping list it gives you.
I’m now ready to start the 21 day blend challenge.
You can do 7, 10 or 14 days, but I felt I need the full 21 days (I figure if I don’t get results after 21 days, I still have time for surgery ahahaha).

And so it begins….

Day 1, and getting used to my new fancy blender.
This was actually a Christmas present to me, and I’ve not used it yet.
Its one of those machines that can do 158 different things but takes forever to fathom out how to do 3.
Gadgets galore and no idea which is for what…I’m not so hot when it comes to reading manuals. I usually guesstimate my way round as my learning process and hope for the best (I got that little time saving trick from my husband ;).
As long as I don’t have all the ingredients exploding out the top, this should be a breeze, or a mess!

First Blend of the day successfully made (without too much mess).
The drink is a satisfying thick shake but with the difference of knowing it’s full of healthy goodness (I sound like an advert!)

As I’m throwing in the spinach, cucumber, apple, advocado, pineapple, coconut water, before hitting the blend button mode (see, who needs a manual), it does cross my mind how it’s all going to taste, so it’s actually an added bonus when it’s very enjoyable.
Just hope I don’t get constipated :).

I’ve gone from drinking copious amounts of wine, to drinking mocktails, to drinking three daily fruit and veg shakes! What ever is it coming too!

I will worry if I start to hallucinate my husband looking like a juicy pork chop, or should I say he should start to worry :).

So here is to another sober month and starting the 21 day SBM challenge…

Day 33 Alcohol free.

Lost weight 11 lb so far.

46 days left to lose 28 lb.

Yea yea yeah!



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 πŸ˜†)!

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 Β£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 :).