Is it possible to drink yourself sober?

‘Don’t you know there ain’t no devil, it’s just god when he’s drunk’ – Tom Waits

It’s no secret that I enjoy a glass bottle of wine or two on a weekend so I believe I’m able to speak with some authority when it comes to being drunk. I’m afraid to say as well that I’m probably one of those annoying drunks who speaks too loud, has an opinion on everything, exposes everyone’s secrets then ends the night crying.

20160227_165357Who doesn’t love being in the pub at 2pm?!

My absolute favourite type of drinking is daytime drinking. Having a glass of wine with lunch in a pub on a Saturday (or Sunday if you’re not at work the next day) afternoon is the stuff dreams are made of. Of course that glass of wine with lunch inevitably leads to a few post drinks and before you know it it’s 5pm and you’re eyeballs deep in a session! So in my vast experience in all different types of drinking, it occurred to last Christmas day when we were cracking over the 6th bottle of wine (there were 10 of us!) is it actually possible to drink yourself sober?

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First, in true L’Oreal style, here comes the science bit so concentrate…It takes your liver approximately 1 hour to metabolise 1 unit of alcohol so technically if you drink less than 1 unit an hour you’ll never really be drunk (and where’s the fun in that?) so if you drank 5 pints it would take you 15 hours to fully sober up. In short, no, it is not medically possible to drink yourself sober.

We/I turn to alcohol for almost everything, if I’m celebrating, commiserating, bored, tired, can’t sleep, hungry, the list goes on. And we have quite a unique drinking culture in the UK as well, daytime and binge drinking are perfectly acceptable ways of passing the time (I’m not saying it’s a productive way to spend your time; it’s just acceptable). Every time I see my American friend Meagan and we open a bottle of wine she’ll inevitably end up saying something like ‘you’re so tiny but you can drink so much!’

I am of the belief that the longer period of time you’re drinking over, the more you pace yourself therefore the less drunk you feel. For me, it’s the Christmas day effect. We start drinking (albeit very slowly with a bucks fizz at about 11am) and continue through until perhaps midnight/1am. But because you don’t have as much of a time limit as you do when you’re just out for the evening, there’s no real rush and you’re just nicely keeping the alcohol levels steadily topped up thus giving your liver chance to metabolise it a bit better. As such I usually crawl into bed on Christmas night full of turkey and bubbles and bash out a solid 11 hour sleep.

Enjoying the all inclusive lifestyle back in January

We’ve also been on a few all inclusive holidays over the last few years and whilst we’ll no doubt have put away an obscene amount of units each day, I very rarely have hangovers on holiday because it’s nicely paced out throughout the day and when you can have whatever you want whenever you want, there isn’t the rush to get absolutely piss eyed. As with Christmas, you learn very quickly what’s appropriate to drunk when for example, bucks fizz, mimosa or bloody mary; very much a breakfast drink, after 1pm pretty much anything goes then you have your whiskeys and your baileys for the strasse.

This is all very tongue in cheek and I’m of course not trying to advocate excessively unhealthy lifetsyles. I try my best wherever possible to stay fit and healthy by going to the gym regularly, eating sensibly and almost never drink 5 days out of the week unless it’s a really special occasion. I just find it interesting that after I’ve been drinking slowly throughout the day have zero hangover the next morning whereas a few too many glasses on a Friday night because I’ve had a busy week at work and the Beer Monkey* has absolutely paid a visit and opened up the gates of hangover hell.

*Beer Monkey – n. Mythical Simian like creature that magically appears during the middle of the night to ruffle your hair, crap in your mouth and steal your money while you sleep. Often visits after you’ve been out on a heavy Friday or Saturday night and is known to favour between 3-4am whilst you’re totally wankered.

Kingston Park

Kingston Park metro station is primarily there to service the huge retail retail park; a massive Tesco extra along with other shops such as Next, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Sports Direct etc not to mention an alternative station handily located near our house. So it stands to reason that with such a massive thoroughfare (and the news that the Newmans had moved into the areas) it was only a matter of time before a pub popped up.

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The Rooftop bar is located above Luciano’s Italian restaurant, across the railtracks as you come from the metro station (from either track) and the entrance can be found next door to Greggs. Keeping it classy Kingston Park.

Inside the bar is pretty trendy to be honest, lots of dark wood, leather(ette) seating, high tables and a swanky bar in the middle of the room. For a bar that looks so stylish it’s a nice surprise to see that they have real ale on tap, as well as the usual lagers, wines, prosecco by the mini bottle (winner winner) and actually a pretty extensive cocktail menu. Their range of food comes up top trumps too; their Tuesday night burger offer (any burger and a pint or 175ml glass of wine for £7.95) is yummy and really excellent value, as apparently are their Sunday lunches.

 

So far so good right? Well don’t let the name fool you, if this were the Rooftop bar in New York or Sydney you’d be expecting some pretty impressive views, however at the Rooftop bar in a semi middle class Newcastle suburb, the view is simply a massive car park. They do also have an outside terrace on the roof however as we visited the first Friday in January we didn’t venture out. I’m sure in the summer though it’s lovely (ish).

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The fact the the bar, which almost every seat in the place is pointed towards, is flanked by massive plasma TV screens which, when not showing whatever match is on that day, are always showing Sky Sports News. It turns what could potentially be a really cool, upmarket cocktail bar into a mediocre sports bar. I have absolutely no issue with pubs showing a Newcastle match, we’re a football city after all, but when there’s nothing of interest on, and they’re playing music, turn them off! They also have bouncers on the door on a weekend or match day – which feels wholly unnecessary.

I shouldn’t complain too much however, as well as the Twin Farms in Bank Foot it’s our second local and we visit at least a couple of times a month. The staff are friendly, the atmosphere is cool, if a little hit a miss. Tuesday ad Friday nights are nicely busy with a good buzz about them, as are Saturday afternoons if there’s a Newcastle match, however with it being so large and wooden, it can sometimes get a bit rowdy.

All in all it’s not a bad pub, unless you live locally though it’s hard to see why anyone would stop in for a drink. On the other hand I do understand why half an hour in Tesco could drive you to alcoholism.

5 ways to minimize your hangover

‘A real hangover is nothing to try out family remedies on. The only cure for a real hangover is death’ – Robert Benchley

A hangover is never just mutually exclusive to Christmas time but for me at least December is certainly a time where I’m out more often which means I’m seriously burning the candle at both ends more than usual.

Despite having a semi strict (albeit flexible) ‘no mid week drinking’ rule, I’m a seasoned pro when it comes to having a few too many glasses of wine on the weekend. I’m by no means claiming to have found the all elusive cure to a hangover but I have over the years discovered some tricks that take the edge off, or at least make you look a hell of a lot fresher than you feel:

Drink water

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It’s well known that the main thing that makes you feel so crap after a night on the sauce is dehydration. And while I’ve never been able to do the whole ‘sit every other round out’ trick, I do try and order a pint of water for every second drink, just tap water with ice, which is free (and if it’s not you’re drinking in the wrong places) and is good to gulp down every now and again. It will stop you getting too drunk too quickly as well.

Invest in some rehydration tablets

I discovered the power of these when Dave was training fro ultra marathons but they actually work really well as hangover mediators. Some of my faves are Nuun (available from amazon) SiS Go Hydro (available from Sainsburys) or even some good old fashioned Berocca (although it will make your wee technicolour due to you expelling the vitamin C that your body can’t absorb). I try and take one in a pint of water before I go to sleep and 90% of the time it stops you waking up at 4am with a mouth like a gravel pit but they also work well the next morning if you forget.

Take your make up off

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Not only will your skin thank you in the morning but it also means you’re likely to sleep better because you haven’t just collapsed into bed with your dress around your neck and a stiletto up your nose. I’ve been known to suffer from chronic acne in the past to definitely need to make sure my pores are clear every chance I get, even a half arsed wash with some face wipes is better than nothing. Plus i read once that dust mites that live in your duvet LOVE to eat mascara, it’s like their version of Ben & Jerrys Phish Food. And that’s just grim isn’t it?

Smear your face in aqueous cream

I’m sure any beauty experts reading this will be screaming ‘oh my god woman what the hell is going on in your crazy drunk blonde brain?’ but I swear this works wonders for me. Obviously this is only relevant if you remember to take your make up off first, lord knows what mess you’ll wake up to the next morning if you don’t but I smear this over my face as if it’s a face mask and lie in bed face up until it soaks in, which only takes about 10 minutes and will be your natural position if the room is spinning anyway. The next morning you’ll need to wash off the residue but even if you feel red-eyed and bushy-tongued, your skin won’t give it away.

And finally (and  you’ll hate this one)…

Do some exercise

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I know (believe me I know) that exercise will be the last thing you’ll be thinking about, especially if you’ve had a few technicolour yawns the night before but I promise you that some gentle exercise will make you feel loads better. It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous (although i do believe the more you sweat out the toxins the better you’ll feel) but even a nice long walk or bike ride in the fresh air will do you the world of good.

Failing any of the above cuddle up on the sofa with a bottle of lucozade and something greasy from Greggs and ride out the storm with Netflix

Beer Tasting at Brewdog with Living Social

‘Hooray for beer, I’m really glad you’re here’ – Bowling for Soup

I’ve already mentioned before that one of the lies I told Dave to get him to like me when we first got together was that I liked beer. This was in the early 00’s when ladette culture was still prevalent and I wanted him to think I was a proper geezer bird. At the time, nothing could have been further from the truth, I mean, I could force down half a Fosters with lime if  I had to but that’s where my affinity with beer ended. Over time though, thanks to what I fondly like to call ‘chick beers’ like Desperados and Cubanisto I can easily sink a few pints on a night out before I go back onto the Prosecco. I’m such a laaad!

Ever ones to try something a bit different and broaden our horizons yet still live within the constraints of two NHS salaries we decided to get a Living Social voucher for a beer tasting afternoon at hipster joint du jour Brewdog in Newcastle. After all is was only £19.99 for two people  (only available weekdays or Sundays) and old Einstein Newman over here had the brilliant idea of booking it on a Sunday of a bank holiday weekend – I’m nothing short of a genius. How bad could it be?

Well as it turned out, not bad at all. In fact, as such a lover of the old grape juice, they were going to have their work cut out for them in converting me but the whole experience was very pleasant indeed.

We were met by barman Ben who was going to take us (and abut 8 others) through the different beers. He spoke enthusiastically about the company and although he said it was the boring bit, I actually enjoyed learning about how they were started by someone who hated his job and an accountant or solicitor or something like that and wanted to do something he was passionate about instead – stories like that make me believe anything is possible – even converting me to liking beer!

One point (before we get onto the beer) I found particularly interesting was when Ben said that Newcastle City Council were against them opening in the City due to fears it further encouraged binge drinking culture. This resonated with me as one of the very first blog posts I ever tried to write was a top 10 of Newcastle’s happy hours, until I learnt that bars aren’t allowed to advertise their happy hours (and ‘press’ like me are discouraged from writing about them) for that very same reason. Who knew that Brew Dog and I had so much in common?

Anyway on to the good stuff. We tried 5 in total and just got shy of half a pint each time (which at about £4.50 a pint at the bar seemed like a pretty reasonable deal considering what we paid for the voucher). We were talked through each craft beer (which is different to real ale FYI – craft beer doesn’t have live yeast in it) how it was made, how popular it was and what smells and flavours we were supposed to be able to detect in each glass.

First up was the most popular Punk IPA – this is the stuff you’ll see in supermarkets (and I think they even sell it in Wetherspoons?) It was probably my favourite to be honest, it tastes the most like a good lager, a very ‘Sunday afternoon in a beer garden’ type of drink. Next was King Pin and 5am Saint which were both much of a muchness to me sadly. I mean, they were nice, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t think my pallet is mature enough to tatse the subtle differences between each one and it all just tasted like ‘beer’ to me. Not that that’s a bad thing, I just couldn’t really tell the difference all that much – I happy sat and drank them though, very happily.

 

On each table there was also glasses of hops and barley to have a look at, sniff and even taste (only the Barley though, you don’t want to be eating hops – one of which was so malty it tasted exactly like Marmite, and I was in heaven)

After the third beer we were treated to a lovely spread of meats and cheeses to cleanse the pallet a little bit. I was very pleased to note that it was exactly the same board I’d seen going out to regular paying customers – so us voucher fwends weren’t getting a bum deal when it came to the scran.

‘After dinner’  or at least ‘post food’ we were treated to the last two beers, Jet Black Heart which was very Guinness like, very thick and heavy, almost chocolatey. I have to say the tasting of it I had I really enjoyed, it worked well after food as it felt very much like a desert, i’m not sure I’d be able to drink a pint of it though. Then finally the final beer The Hardcore IPA, named as such because it’s 9% (which, fact fans, is the minimum percentage of wine I’ll drink) and betchabygollywow did it have a kick to it. It was probably my second favourite after the Punk IPA to honest, perhaps that’s because it was another IPA or perhaps it’s because it was the closest percentage to wine, I’ll let you be the judge.

All in all it was a very fun bank holiday afternoon with the hubby, drinking beer, eating cheese and chatting to some different folk we would never normally get the opportunity to meet. Special mention must go to Ben who lead us through everything. Having someone passionate about what they’re talking about is half the battle and he really sold all the beers to us without ‘selling’ the beers to us. If that makes sense?

There’s always a worry with a Living Social voucher that you’re getting something a little sub-par, that’s not really on offer to the general public and it leaves you feeling a little cheated. Well I left feeling a little buzzed, but also like I’d learnt something, which is worth £20 of anyone’s money. I’ll be completely honest I’m not entirely sure it would be full value at full price (£52) and I’m also not sure who, other than a stag do perhaps, might buy such a thing. However if you ever see it pop up as an offer somewhere, there are worse places you can spend a Sunday afternoon for your money.

My only regret is I didn’t half inch one of the glasses when no one was looking – they were really cool!

 

 

 

Saturday at the Steamer

‘I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day’ – Frank Sinatra

It’s the first weekend in September, the mornings are getting darker and cooler. The only good thing about this time of year is that the dog over the back fence no longer gets let out at 6am to do its morning ablutions then yaps for half an hour to be let back in. So what better to do on an autumnal Saturday than hang out at the Boilershop Steamer with the rest of Newcastle’s hipsters and get drunk.

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I heard a lot about the Steamer through Steph who’s been a few times, but I’d never really thought about it, the mix of my ever so slightly acrophobia husband and poorly reproduced street food (I went to a food festival in Bents Park in South Shields recently when the normally excellent Zapatista had a stand and the food was dreadful) doesn’t fill me with much confidence. I’ve often viewed these things the same way I’ve viewed music festivals, everyone else always looks like they’re having a great time but I’m always in the way, or too hot, or can’t see anything, or getting covered in someone else’s urine (ok, I’ll admit I would have been very shocked had that happened at the steamer, but you never know!). But I’m always up for trying new things and in the same way they say you’re never more than 6ft away from a rat in London, I try and never be more than 6ft away from some gin. Off me and my motley crew went.

We decided to go on the Saturday, got thee early as its free before 2pm (shout out to the cheapskates, woop!) and it was already starting to fill up. It was smaller than I imagined. People I know who’ve been before have said that it’s absolutely massive. The Boilershop it’s self though is impressive (the birthplace of Robert Stephenson’s Rocket – fact fans!) and an excellent use of space. We had a brief walk around to see what was there then settled on some drinks (doing nothing to banish any gender stereotypes we went for Real Ale for the boys and Prosecco for the girls). Prices for drinks weren’t outrageous (£3.50 for a pint of ale and £20 for a bottle of Proescco) and you got (albeit plastic) champagne flutes for the fizz, which is always nicer to drink out of than a crappy plastic half pint glass. There are very few places to sit so if you want a seat you need to get there really early and I’d advise if you do get a seat, don’t leave it!

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We stood around people watching for a while, it really was hipster heaven so i’m glad i was wearing my new checked shirt to blend in with the crowd. A game of ‘spot the longest beard’ is always fun after a few glasses of bubbly. It’s worth pointing out though that it’s really family friendly. Whilst there isn’t much in the way of entertainment for kids, there were lots of families there and they seemed to be made to feel very welcome, just watch where you put you feet as there might be a little person below your eyeline right behind you!

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When it came time to have something to eat there certainly was plenty of choice. Some went for pizza, some went for pulled pork burgers, some went for chilli and all of it looked very fresh and decent sized portions. I myself went for some sweet potato fries with sesame mayonnaise which was really tasty, although I wasn’t all that pleased to see them use frozen sweet potato out of a packet, especially for the £4 pricetag. The paying system was something else that bothered me. For drinks you could just pay cash but for food you had to buy tokens which were £2 each. To me it just seemed an excuse to charge more money. For example at the falafel stand where I got my fries, a lamb burger was 4 tokens. £8 seems a lot of money to pay for what it was. Dave’s mexican pulled pork filled taco bowl was 3 tokens and most of the taco bowl was burnt. Value for money, this place isn’t.

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I really love the idea of the steamer. I think it’s a great use of space there and there’s a great laid back atmosphere. I like that there’s something for everyone, you don’t all have to order off the same menu or drink the same drinks so it caters for all tastes. It’s something different from just sitting in a Wetherspoons all afternoon. However if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful afternoon out with your friends then this probably isn’t the place for you. The food is over priced and there wasn’t half the vendors there that were advertised on their website; Longhorns, Papa Ganoush, Fat Hippo and Fat Friars were all advertised as being in attendance but weren’t there (I personally was looking forward to visiting the ‘Hip Hop Chip Shop just for the photo op alone!) so that was disappointing. For me they could also do away with the token system, as it serves no purpose other than an excuse to charge more than if they were accepting cash. Later on in the day they had some live bands on,which is a great idea, and provides a great opportunity to listen to some local bands however with the building because the size it is, they’re were just way too loud and you couldn’t really hold a conversation. Saying that there is lots of outside space as well if you wanted somewhere a little quieter. We left after the first band as we wouldn’t hear a word anyone was saying.

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The steamer is on the first weekend of every month with special events on for bank holidays

The Boiler Shop
Sussex Street
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear
NE1 3PD

General Enquiries: info@theboilershopsteamer.com
Food Trader Enquiries: riley@rileysfishshack.com
Drinks Trader Enquiries: admin@wylambrewery.co.uk

Twitter: @steamerevent
Intsagram @steamerevent
Facebook The Boiler Shop Steamer

What Do You Get The Girl Who Has Everything?

‘In suggesting gifts; money is appropriate, and one size fits all’ – William Randolph Hearst

I don’t know about you but I have a distinct feeling that the older you get the harder you become to buy for. Gone are the days when I had a Christmas List as long as my arm full of cds, and gadgets or earmarking every other page in the back of the Argos catalogue.  I had a few things on my list (as mentioned here) but nothing major, and I really struggled giving people ideas of what they could get me.

Luckily, this Christmas I discovered the answer to the age old question ‘What do you get the girl who has everything’? Turns out, what you get her, is this:

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It’s a bracket that sticks to the side of the bath so you can have a glass of wine whilst having that lovely Friday night, post gym, thank fluff the weekend is here soak. The funny thing is, I didn’t even know how much I needed this in my life until i got it! Here’s mine in action:

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Bath time at the Newman’s just got way more fun!

Get your own Bath wine glass holder from the Handpicked Collection here (psst. it’s in the sale at the moment!)

MTV’s The Challenge: Battle of the Exes 2 Drinking Game

‘All’s fair in love, war and challenges’ – Johnny Bananas

I wouldn’t even go so far as to say that MTV’s Real World/Road Rules spin of show The Challenge is one of my guilty pleasures, I don’t feel guilty about how much I love this show at all!

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Anyone who watches the show regularly will know that there are a lot of common themes that show up time and time again each season, so I figured, why not marry that with the only love of my life; booze!

I’ve devised a very simple drinking game to spice up your viewing experience of the current season (Battle of the Exes 2) which kicked off this week*

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We’ll start off gently….

Take a sip every time….

  • Someone is referred to as a ‘veteran’ or ‘fresh meat’
  • Someone is voted into an elimination round by the rest of the cast
  • Someone cries (for any reason)
  • Someone smack talks another cast member in a VT
  • The word ‘alliance’ is mentioned

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Take two sips every time……

  • A clue is received from TJ on whatever mobile device is being shamelessly plugged this season
  • TJ says ‘get it done’ or ‘you need to pick it up’
  • Someone is topless (girls or guys) when there’s no requirement to be ie. Not in the shower, sleeping, swimming etc
  • Someone refers to Johnny Bananas as simply ‘Bananas’

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Finish your drink every time…

  • CT wins a challenge
  • The least popular team wins an elimination round & the remaining teams are pissed off
  • There’s a hookup
  • There’s a breakup

Now to ramp up a little…

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Take a shot every time…

  • Someone is stumped by a puzzle
  • An item of furniture is thrown
  • TJ announces some kind of twist
  • Johnny Bananas refers to himself in the third person

And finally….

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Take 2 shots every time…..

  • TJ says how much he hates quitters
  • Someone says ‘balls to the wall’ or ‘going for the W’
  • The location of the challenge changes
  • Someone gets sent home for breaking the rules

*it goes without saying that this is all just a bit of fun, please drink responsibly!