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.

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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.

Monkey Feet’s Highs and Lows of 2016…

When Helen asked me to write this post my heart sank! 2016 has been a tough year at Monkeyfeeet HQ, heck most of us would agree its been a year full of shockers world wide right?

I’ve thought a lot about our year and we are genuinely very blessed in many many ways, I have an amazing little family and  we have a lovely house in a lovely location. This year we have had 3 great holidays and my husband and I have spent two evenings away without children which is unheard of! Because of this it seems silly to complain about anything making us sad, we really are very lucky.

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Crazy holiday selfies

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even crazier ‘parents night off’ selfies

We have had some struggles though the largest of which being the passing of my lovely Mother In Law, the kids lush Nana. Her death came suddenly and the shock and grief have honestly infiltrated every bit of our family life and so I’ve felt like we have been at times washed out to sea, struggling to stay afloat. We are strong though and whilst the light may be a small chink there it is at the end of the tunnel and I feel we will get there together.

Another low is how poorly we have all been following a bout of Norovirus on our October Holiday we seem to have spent all of November catching and passing around one bug after another!

Personal highlights for me have included having two articles published in The Huffington post, earning a small wage from my little corner of cyber space and  working with some amazing companies. I’ve also been involved in the creation of a new local Womens Institute and I’m proud to be the Secretary but more so be part of a group of women so eager to support one another and make a difference in  our community, we have collected food for our food bank and donated around 40 bags filled with treats and necessities for vulnerable and homeless women across the region.

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My WI committee sisters!

I’m also proud of my Facebook pals, in November I asked for donations for

  • The Womens Refuge
  • Children who would have little or nothing at Christmas
  • Handbags for the Homeless Appeal
  • Gifts for the Church Christmas lunch for lonely and homeless folk….

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Not even half of the collection!

We were over run, overwhelmed and over joyed with the response! Two car loads of toys clothes and toiletries to the Refuge, one car load of gifts, clothes and toiletries to our young peoples projects and church lunch, bags of food to the food bank, a car full of toys and books to families with nothing this Christmas  and 2 massive cars full to the Homeless Women NE charity! My spirit was truly restored at the generosity of others and I will definitely be co-coordinating more charity help this coming year.

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My Son squeezed into a car full of Handbags for the Homeless with not an inch of space left over!

In balance I can’t bring myself to say we have had a great year because it feels disloyal to the memory of our lovely Mam BUT we are blessed every day, we have found a smile every single day and the family may have struggled but we did it together.

Karen writes at blog.monkey-feet.com and can be found on facebook and twitter

My Best Ever Christmas Gifts by Rachel Kershaw

‘As we give presents at Christmas, we need to recognize that sharing our time and ourselves is such an important part of giving’ – Gordon B. Hinckley

Happy boxing day everyone! Hope everyone had a fabulous day yesterday full of family, food and fun! Obviously all that stuff is cool but we all secretly love the presents too right? I’ve asked my good friend Rachel (and one of the first blogging gals I ever met incidentally) to tell me all about her favourite pressies:

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One of my earliest childhood memories is being sat on my parent’s living room floor, playing happily with my big yellow teapot. As a little girl growing up in the 80’s it was the toy that dreams were made of! I don’t specifically remember opening it on Christmas morning but I’m pretty sure a gift that good could only have been brought by Father Christmas as I didn’t get expensive toys at any other time throughout the year. I received birthday presents, of course, but the iconic big yellow teapot was definitely a ‘main present’, Christmas day kind of toy! I absolutely adored it and never bored of lifting up the teapot lid to revel the hidden rooms and little family hiding inside. It had a roundabout in the middle and the spout doubled up as a slide for the little figures to whizz down, it was exactly how I wanted my house to be when I grew up!

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Childhood Christmases were definitely the best so I have to say that as an adult the best Christmas present I have received is the gift of becoming an Aunt! My sister in law gave birth to beautiful twins, Jack and Emily, in December 2011 and they brought the magic of Christmas back in to my life! I remember the day they were born, James (my boyfriend) and I made the long journey from Newcastle to my home town of Rochdale to visit them in hospital and we arrived literally moments before visiting hours ended. There was only time for a quick cuddle on that cold, winters night but I was smitten and knew I would spoil them rotten that Christmas ad every one that followed! Perhaps I’ll buy them a big yellow teapot one day!
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Find more about Rachel here:

Christmas Day at the Rickelton’s

‘One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly’ – Andy Rooney

Merry Christmas everyone! As part of my 12 Day of Christmas series, Samantha from North East Family Fun has opened up her doors and invited you to take a seat at the Rickelton family dinner table….

Christmas day begins at around 7:30am these days (it used to be a lot earlier than that when the kids were younger) and one of the most magical parts for the day for me is lying in bed listening to the kids empty the contents of their stockings onto the boys’ bedroom floor and chatting excitedly. They then dive on our bed and show us their stocking fillers. Father Christmas seems to like to fill their stockings with whoopee cushions, magic tricks and lots of sweets. After around 15 minutes we’ll head downstairs and check to see if Father Christmas has paid us a visit and eaten the mince pie we’ve left out and if Rudolph has taken a bite from the carrot we’ve left. So far so good!

Then absolute carnage ensues – the kids open all of their presents together and are generally super excited. I normally buy Christmas Pudding themed bin liners and place all the wrapping paper in there but we still end up with boxes and wrapping paper all over the floor. When the kids are done, they’ll feast on chocolate as Steve and I open our gifts (which takes around 1/100th of the time).

Christmas breakfast for us is ALWAYS extra special bacon sandwiches and bucks fizz. Eaten in our PJs in the middle of all the chaos and usually with Christmas tunes playing in the background. The kids play with their new toys (aka make even more mess) and I head upstairs to get ready for the day. We are the sort of family who get dressed up for Christmas day and we all usually have a new outfit to wear. This year I have bought Heidi and I matching Christmas dresses. Exciting!

Steve will then take the kids upstairs to get dressed and I will attempt to sort our living room out so you can at least walk from one side to the other. Ha!

We spend alternative Christmases with my side of the family or Steve’s side of the family (and Boxing Day is vice versa). Whoever we spend it with, there’s always 12-15 of us together. If we are heading to Steve’s parents house we all contribute a bit towards dinner. I’ll often make a Christmas Pudding and Steve made Goose one year. If we are heading to my mam’s house we will normally dine out. My mam is a bit of a control freak in the kitchen so won’t let anyone help and as I only see her every other Christmas I don’t want her to spend hours in the kitchen! This year we are heading to our local Greek restaurant for lunch (they are serving traditional Christmas lunch though). We can all walk there from our houses which means we can all have a drink! Yeah! It has to be Champagne for me.

I am a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas Day lunch and like Turkey with all the trimmings followed by Christmas Pudding and Brandy Sauce. LUSH! Everyone has to share the joke in their cracker and wear their Christmas hat or there’ll be trouble! I’m not one to force the kids to eat all of their lunch either – I like Christmas to be chilled. If they don’t want to eat their spouts I’m not going to battle with them (unlike every other day of the year).

After lunch we’ll head to my mam ’s house for coffee/wine/sherry/beer and the kids will open more presents. My three are very lucky and are spoilt by both grandparents over Christmas so it feels like they have three Christmases. In the afternoon my grandad will probably fall asleep in the corner and we’ll play a family board game/set up the kids’ new toys. We’re not really ones for watching the Queen as there’s always far too much noise. I like the craziness though and can’t ever imagine Christmas any other way.

At around 6pm we’ll walk home from my mums full to the brim and probably a bit tipsy. Steve and the kids will watch Doctor Who and I’ll try and sort the kids’ presents into some sort of pile. The kids will then head off to bed (in their new Christmas PJs) and then Steve and I will crack open the Amaretto and put together an epic cheese board for supper. We usually buy cheeses from the various Christmas markets we visit throughout December and I buy my Christmas Chutneys from local farm shops. It’s a bit of a tradition for us to watch a new stand up comedy DVD on Christmas Day night. Steve and I will head to bed at around midnight and look forward to a bit of a lie in on Boxing Day Morning – the kids normally get up early and head downstairs to play with their new toys but they are old enough to do this without supervision now. Yeah! Then we are all set for Christmas Day no2 at Grannies house.

Christmas Memories with Missus Wolf

‘When you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you’ll find you’ve created family traditions and lasting memories’ – Caroline Kennedy

When I asked some of my best blogging friends to help me out with a 12 Days of Christmas blog series, I had no idea we would all have so much in common. This was particularly prevalent when Gemma from Missus Wolf wrote about her favouite Christmas memory and turned out, apart from the sisters, her Christmas day routine is almost exactly the same as mine….

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I have a feeling that my favourite Christmas Memory will be re-written this year. And perhaps for many years to come. As this is the first one where I have a little human of my own to share the magic with.

But as for Christmas past, my favourite memory is not actually a specific Christmas. It’s not a specific present or year in par”cular.My favourite Christmas memory is that of how I spent Christmas collectively as a child.

We spent Christmas Day at my grandparents’ house in Nottingham. As we lived in the North East, Christmas Day consisted of travelling to their house. But that was part of the excitement. Christmas Eve, I’d rally my two younger sisters together and we’d watch Santa Claus: The Movie, The Snowman and in the later years, The Nightmare Before Christmas. We’d have ourselves a little ‘Christmas Eve’ party (which was held in alternative bedrooms each year). There’d be snacks of Twiglets, Selection Boxes and Quality Street before we said our goodnights and tucked ourselves up in bed. Where we’d eagerly await for the man in red to arrive.

On Christmas Day, we’d do the kid thing and wake our parents annoyingly early. As we had to travel, we had to get dressed straight away into our Christmas party frocks. We’d all file downstairs and stand in line outside the living room door. Waiting to see if he had been.

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Our dad would go in first using his stage voice of ‘I’m just checking to see if he has been’ while he scurried in to set the camcorder up. Ready to capture our reactions. As he excitedly shouted back that yes, Santa had indeed been, we all entered the room and scrambled to the tree. Being the eldest, I took it upon myself to hand the presents out until we all had our own piles. Then it was a free for all as we ripped the paper off and cooed over our toys.

It’s funny how you become creatures of habit. We always kept the same side of the room each year.And once all the presents were opened, we picked our favourites and packed them into the car. The rest were taken to our rooms to play with when we returned just before New year. The drive always went quick (for us kids anyway). We were entertained with our new toys, sang songs, played car games, and had a nap. Life was good. Plus there was the anticipation of my grandma’s amazing Christmas dinner and the chance toopen yet more pressies.

We’d arrive just as Top of The Pops Christmas special was playing on the TV. We tended to have Christmas Dinner while this was on. Once we’d pulled our crackers and eaten, it was time for more presents. Again, same positions taken up and presents distributed as before. Another camcorder came out to play, this time my Grandad’s.

More exciting toys and presents ensued. After all the excitement, my sister and I would play with our toys as the grown-ups watched the Christmas Telly with their feet up. Oh. And the bossy big sister would come out. I’d organize a Christmas ‘performance’ with my sisters, aptly named Sister Act. It would involve dancing, singing and instrument playing (depending on the instrument flavour of with month). One year my sister played the clarinet. The grown-ups endured this year in, year out. Embarrassingly this went on into my teens too.

So it’s not specific to one year. That’s my childhood memory of Christmas as a whole. And I’m excited to start new memories with my own little family now.

That’s what it’s all about.

Who you share your day with.

Love Missuswolf xxxx

Hello Jennifer Helen’s Christmas Traditions

‘Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling’ – Edna Ferber

Welcome to the first day of my 12 days of Christmas series where I’ve asked some of my best blogging friends to talk all things festive!

First is the lovely Jennifer from Hello Jennifer Helen, who aside from having an awesome middle name, also has some awesome Christmas traditions to tell you about!

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Christmas is my favourite time of year! I am lucky to have been able to spend every Christmas with my family and over the last thirty years, we have created our own little Christmas rituals and traditions. Now that my husband and I are hosting Christmas at our house for the first time, I have found myself adopting these traditions into our Christmas day, as well as trying to add in some new ones of our own! I thought I’d share my top five Christmas traditions that never fail to get me in the festive spirit before, during and after Christmas Day.

Advent Calendar
When my brother and I were growing up, my Mum made some advent socks that we strung up on the wall. Each morning there would be a little treat in there – a piece of chocolate, a rubber, a note – and it was so exciting to come down and fish something new out every day. I just hope that when we have children I will be organised enough to make this happen for them! For the meantime, Andrew and I just get each other chocolate advent calendars (although I got treated to the ASOS one this year, lucky me!). I tried to do the gift thing for him one year and it was so stressful (and expensive)!

Dressing the Tree
I absolutely love dressing the Christmas tree! And there is nothing better than doing it to a real tree. I love the smell and the odd shape of the branches. Each real tree is unique and I think that’s so lovely. When we decorate our tree, we put on the Christmas music, turn down the lights and get stuck in. We start with lights (one set of coloured, one set of warm white), then add tree chocolates, tinsel (red, gold and silver), baubles and finally lametta. To me, a tree isn’t decorated until it has lashings of lametta on. And if you don’t know what that is, it’s like small strips of tinsel and you just throw it onto the branches to give them extra sparkle. So pretty!

Hanging up Stockings
The night before Christmas is a night I just find so lovely. A lot of my friends at school went out into town drinking on Christmas Eve, but I never really wanted to. For me, the evening is all about getting cosy, having a nice meal, drinking mulled wine and just spending some quality time with family. It’s the epitome of Hygge! And of course, the last thing we do before bed is hang our stockings up in the hopes that Santa will bring some presents down the chimney!

A Family Photograph
I have a small family, but we are close and we stay in touch via a family WhatsApp group. But it’s not that often that we are all together at the same place at the same time. That’s why Christmas is such a special time, because it gives us a chance to catch up, chill out and just spend some no pressure time together. A newer tradition, that started when my brother and I left home for University, is to get a family shot at some point over the Christmas period. It’s a nice reminder of a lovely time and I love looking back at them to see how we’ve changed over the years!

Watching The Queen
I know this isn’t for everyone, but what is Christmas Day without the Queen’s speech?! We time our dinner to eat just after she has finished. I like to hear what she has to say and I am intrigued as to what positives she will take after the shit storm that 2016 has been.

What Christmas traditions do you have? Do you share any of mine?

♥ JH

Find our more about Jennifer Helen here:

Do Long Distance Relationships Work?

‘Obviously, a long-distance relationship is hard. But, like anything worth having, you make it work’ – Leona Lewis

Growing up on an Army base means that the majority of my friendships as a child were fleeting; we all moved around every 3 years or so, so if they didn’t bugger off to another country halfway through our friendship, I did. A few I became pen pals with and have since reconnected with on Facebook but for the most part, no real solid friendships were made.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a charmed childhood; great weather, 10 week long summer holidays, average class sizes of around 10 but I get green with envy when I hear people talk about someone they’ve known since they were kids. I also feel we missed out with loads of family time as I only ever saw my grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles once a year if that. All of our relationships, apart from the four of us, were long distance.

Helen & Meagan

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I met Meagan when I was 15, on the internet in a Backstreet Boys chat room. It seemed my allocated hour of internet usage on a Sunday morning coincided with her allocated hour on a Saturday night and we quickly became close. We then became email pen pals, in contact almost on a daily basis and in 2001 we finally met in London when she was over in the UK studying in Oxford (after spending what felt like 6 months convincing my parents it was ok to let their 19 year old daughter travel to London to meet someone off the internet!)

Since then we’ve grabbed every opportunity to see each other wherever we may be. I visited her in college in 2002 in Nebraska, she was studying in Spain in 2004 and flew to see me in Cramlington. In 2006 Dave and I were on holiday in Orlando and she flew down to spend a few days together and loads of other times since then. Most importantly, she flew to England for what was essentially a long weekend to come to my wedding in 2013. I love how we’ve integrated into each other lives even though we’re miles apart; her friends and family have become my friends and family and vice versa. I love how her and my dad banter about baseball and politics over twitter or how she will wish my friends happy birthday over Facebook, because any friend of mine is also a friend of hers.

Of course it gets difficult sometimes. There’s days when I may be struggling with something or see a piece of super exciting boyband news and I want to go to the pub with her to have a full debrief of the situation but I can’t. Whatsapp and Facebook have made things loads easier but it’s not the same as being in the same room as someone. I know she’s always at the other end of the phone or email though if i ever need her. It sucks we don’t get to do normal friends things like go to the pictures together or meet after work for a drink; but we do get to have amazing adventures together instead which is a happy compromise.

Sam & Jo

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My best friend Jo who I met when I started middle school at age 10 has lived apart from me since we were 18 when she left Cramlington to start uni in York (she now lives in Manchester). It is mad to think that now we are 32 we have spent more years apart than together but between the ages of 10-18 we forged a super strong bond that I think is unbreakable.

We don’t chat on the phone/on Facebook as Jo is super busy with a demanding job and I am busy at home with three kids and work and we only see each other two-four times a year (we always make the effort to spend the day together around Christmas time and at some other point through the year) but when we do that bond is instantly back and we just pick up our conversation where we left off. We can tell each other anything even if it has been 12 months since our last meet up and I think that’s pretty special.

Holli & Laura

We met back in 2009 on our first day at Teesside University, where we were allocated the same grubby little student house along with eight other girls. As student life goes, we ended up getting drunk together for two weeks straight during Fresher’s after which we felt like we’d known each other our whole lives. 

In 2012 when we graduated and it was time for us to move back home and get ‘proper’ jobs, Laura headed home to Lytham St Anne’s in the North West whereas I decided to make a go of it in Newcastle in the North East with my boyfriend who I’d also met at university. Since then, we’ve relied on WhatsApp, Snapchat or speaking on Facebook Chat to keep in touch. As is a best friend’s duty, we’re still on hand to give each other fashion advice, albeit not from the changing rooms, but we’ll Snapchat each other photos of outfits we’re considering to get the other’s honest opinion. When there’s something really big we need to talk about (like Laura’s recent engagement eeeek) we’ll have a phone call where minutes seem to turn into hours without us realising.

Of course, like any long distance friendship, life can sometimes get in the way and you feel like you’ve drifted apart, but the great thing about my friendship with Laura is, no matter how many days, weeks or months its been since we’ve spoke, as soon as we pick up that phone to have a catch up it feels like we’ve never been apart. We’ve sort of got this unspoken understanding that no matter how long its been, we’ll be there for each other as soon as we’re needed. It doesn’t matter if we don’t speak every day, because we know that when we do we’ll have loads to catch up on.

Fast forward to 2016 and we’ve even started a blog together (https://shesaidshesaid.co.uk/) as a way to keep in touch and share what we’ve been up to! We’ll write about our own little adventures and send drafts to each other to edit. Who’d have thought we’d find a hobby we can share together whilst 150 miles apart!