If you’re anything like me, December flew by in a haze of cheeseboards, mulled wine, tubs of Celebrations and prosecco. Because I got struck down with the flu, I will also add into that a large amount of Kleenex and a lot of take-aways, as I had no energy or inclination to cook. When I woke up on January 1st, not only did I have a bit of a hangover, I also generally felt exceedingly rotten. It turns out that when my Dad used to tell me ‘your body is like a car, what you put in, is what you get out’, he was probably right – and apparently my body doesn’t appreciate being run on Five Guys and large glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.
So when Fentimans got in touch and asked if I wanted to receive some of their delicious botanical drinks to help with my aspirations to cut down on the nightly glasses of wine, I jumped at the chance. I’ve long realised that when I’m flopped on the sofa and fancy an alcoholic drink, it’s not really the alcohol, it’s just having something there as a bit of a treat. And it turns out that they have a lot of options that more than do the job (shout out to their Rose Lemonade which is has long been a favourite of mine and is now permanently stocked in my fridge).
Although I was tempted to undertake ‘Dry January’, I had a couple of fixtures on the calendar where I’d already booked in a night of cocktails or a friend was staying and the champagne was already chilling in the fridge. So I decided to aspire to a drier January – cutting out the midweek drinking and going out, and seeing what I could replace those habits with that wouldn’t leave me feeling so sluggish and constantly battling off colds and flu.
I’ve been trying to up my water intake alongside cutting down on alcohol and takeaways, so I’ve been carrying my water bottle everywhere and I usually have that beside me in the evenings when I’m at my desk or on the sofa. I’ve also been experimenting with cordials and syrups – House of Broughton make an Elderflower Syrup which is amazing mixed with water, or with other drinks like the Fentimans Rose Lemonade (I’ve also discovered that adding ice and a sprig of mint makes any drink feel like a cocktail, regardless if there’s alcohol or not…)
I’ve bought Fentimans drinks many times before and one thing I love is just how pretty the bottles are. I shared this picture on instagram last year of some flowers in a Rose Lemonade bottle and several people said to me that they also do the same! They used to make their 125ml mixer bottles with green glass, but now they’re the same design – the smaller bottles are perfect for little posies of flowers (and for using as mixers if you are still enjoying the odd spirit!)
Now I live in town, we usually walk to a bar or club if we’re going out, but I find that offering to be a designated driver is also a good way to take away the temptation of alcohol. But ultimately – if I feel like I really fancy a glass of wine (or a vodka and bitter lemonade, yum!), I’m not beating myself up about it. It’s just been a great exercise to examine my relationship with alcohol and cut it back where I know I don’t need it. For me, balance is the key to everything.
Have you been participating in Dry January?