Hangovers in your twenties: Part 2

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve had even a slither of hangover. Maybe partly because the last one was so brutal and I couldn’t comprehend that happening again for quite some time. This time around I was treated to a whole new breed of hangover: the slow-burner. I woke up after only a few hours sleep feeling not TOO bad, albeit groggy and slightly confused about the time/day/my name. The slow-burning hangover is not your friend. It tricks you into going outside and using the District Line and then basically floors you by 5pm.

Event: Wine and cheese night, because wine and cheese

Venue: Home, the kitchen to be exact

Night plan: Basically, just drink nice wine, eat nice cheese, talk about life and lots of general rubbish until about midnight or the last tube

Run Down: Friends arrived about 7:45. The first few hours of the night involved mainly over-cooking a Camembert, eating a whole block of chilli cheddar and deciding the Brie looked too soggy for any action. I managed to polish off a whole bottle of red despite swearing blind I would save some. Accidents happen. By the time 11 came about, the house mascot- a multicoloured chicken with one eye and no legs, was being thrown around the kitchen, Gangster’s Paradise was playing and there were bread crumbs EVERYWHERE. One friend ducked out just after midnight to catch the tube and things looked to be winding down…

Five and a half hours later the strobe light was on, Alanis Morissette- Ironic was blasting from some speakers and one of my old uni lecturers was drinking wine in the hall (no idea). Civilised night-in gone massively wrong (or right). Any attempt to salvage a fairly tame night was probably lost when Toto- Africa came on in drum and bass form.

Food: Cheese, obviously, a few grapes and some home made cheese and chilli twists. A failed chicken burger and equally failed curry the next day with some satsumas forced down for the vitamin goodness.

The hangover: Initially, not that bad. The epically late night didn’t help much but general feelings first thing were tired and a bit sick, nothing too heavy. Shower, post office chores and cleaning up feathers/wine bottles happened without too much trouble. Then the hunger hit. So much extreme hunger. Me and one friend tried eating chicken burgers but could manage about a bite. Fake hunger. Sick hunger. The day got progressively worse. A feeling like every movement was a hardship started about 3pm. Visiting my sister ended in a lengthy nap on the sofa before declaring I couldn’t move or eat. So much fatigue, so much aching and massive loss of voice from rapping aggressively to Eminem. The whole thing peaked at about 7pm. SO LATE. The feeling that something bad is slowly creeping up on you and the realisation you can’t master stairs don’t make for a great combo. Also one bottle of wine probably spilled over to a bit more, so I deserve whatever I got. This was a justified hangover, equal amounts of suffering for equal amounts of drinking.

The weirdest part of this hangover was the realisation with my housemates that the night played out over 10 HOURS. Longer than a day at work. The power of wine and Spotify.

Score: 6/10- I’ve had much worse, but slow-burning hangovers are quite brutal

Favourite things from November

November is a good month. It might be cold and wet, but the Christmas build up begins, you can start really planning for 2015 and everything is pretty and autumnal still. The best things from this November have mainly involved eating (shock) and nice views. Two of my favourite things in the world.

1- Autumnal dog walking in pretty parks. Instagram central.

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2- These charbonnel et walker truffles. Champagne. Chocolate. Massive win. And they were a gift.

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3- Post-Christmas plans. Booking a trip to Skye with friends in February has made me excited for amazing views, staying in the most gorgeous seaside house (below) and trying to see Puffins and other arctic animals.

 

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4- Really pretty urban sunsets. I can only see them if I finish work early now, but our little view in Fulham is really rather lovely.

 

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5- This burger. Buttermilk and chilli and lime coleslaw burger from All Stars. Need I say more.

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Learning the tough way that life really is for living

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Time is a funny thing. It seems to be moving so fast that I sometimes sit back and wonder where the last five years have gone. How can so many different things have happened and ended in what seems like no time at all? We have no control over time, we live within its constraints and it’s a guarantee that it will keep on moving, probably at what feels like a hundred miles an hour. One thing we can do , which the last month has really taught me, is not waste it.

Going through something incredibly tough really does put so many things in perspective. I’ve never reflected so much on life until life has felt like it’s constantly kicking me in the face. What’s been the hardest four weeks me and my family have ever faced, has at least thrown out one positive. I’ve heard a million times that life is too short, but it doesn’t really, truly mean anything until you face a big shock or wake up call. I don’t think it does anyway.

When I downloaded the iPhone app Timehop about five months ago, I began getting a daily reminder about just how fast life passes you by. Pictures of me and my university friends grinning like maniacs and drinking blue VKs on nights out felt like they were only taken five weeks ago, not five years ago. I nearly fell off the train platform looking at a photo of me and my sister in a pool in Cyprus taken seven years ago, on a day I remember like it happened yesterday. How can it be 7 years ago? How can time have gone that fast?

I’ve always been one for trying to get the most out of life, but I’ve realised that it’s taken an extra shove in the right direction to truly appreciate that life will end and I’ll be taking nothing with me. If it has to take a negative, scary event to make you wake up and see that time waits for no one, at least something positive has come out of your battle. In the last month I’ve stopped worrying about staying thin and how many calories are in my lunch, I’ve stopped freaking out over putting too much in my savings and needing to get it back and I’ve started looking forward to things SO much. It’s so nice to wake up and realise a few home truths. I cringe and roll my eyes when I see people post things like ‘times likes these you know who your real friends are’ on Facebook (vom), but actually, maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s for the best to know these things. Why waste time on people that won’t spend any time on you?

I don’t think I will ever fret over trivial things the same way again, as much as I don’t think my family will either. I think from now on I will appreciate every beautiful view, every amazing day out, every travel adventure and all of my relationships just that little bit more. Life is for living while you can. I also get irrationally pissed off on New Years Day when I see endless tweets of ‘new year, new start’, but this time around I actually think I will wake up on January 1st ready to squeeze every drop of love, adventure, hard work and fun out of 2015 that I possibly can. Something I’ve never, really, truly felt the need to feel. I really want all of my friends and family and basically, all people, to realise how much time we waste on stuff that ultimately means nothing. If you can all realise it without the hard times really bringing you down, then even better.

We only get one life, so we really should do it justice.

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Raw gluten-free Nutella brownies

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I’ve become a bit addicted to ‘raw food’ lately. Since Wholefoods opened in Fulham all I want to do is eat things infused with chia seeds or buy organic freshly made soups everyday. BUT since I’m not a millionaire and Wholefoods products are not cheap, this is a compromise. I absolutely love Nakd bars, particularly the plain cocoa one, so this is a sort of take on that using dates, which creep me out to look out but I love.

It’s unbelievably quick and easy, you just need a blender and a fridge.

Ingredients: 

460g of dates (medjool are the best as they’re the stickiest, but they’re pricey. Standard dates work too)

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200g pecan nuts

2 tablespoons Nutella

1 tablespoon honey if you want them extra sweet

Method: 

Blend the pecans for about a minute and half until they resemble breadcrumbs

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Add in dates and blend until the mixture becomes thick and sticky, usually 2 minutes will do it

Separate the mixture in your hands and put the Nutella in the middle, blend again for about 40 seconds

If you want to add honey, drizzle it in with the Nutella. I personally find them sweet enough as they are.

Once you have your mixture, take it out (it should come out in one big lump) and roll it out until it’s about an inch thick. Cut into shapes. I try to make them square to look more brownies, but I cut them with a round cutter this time and it was much easier, despite making them look like little burgers.

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Result: 

Delicious. Eat them straight away or whack them in the fridge to keep them fresh. They’re definitely not calorie free, because of the dates and nuts, but they are a healthy brownie. They are also fantastic fuel for exercise or a particularly busy day, or just for doing this:

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Hangovers in your twenties: Part 1

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So apparently hangovers get worse as you get older. My colleague recently told me that I have nothing to complain about now, and that 28 is when things start getting really bad. If this is true, then I have four good years left. According to the Huffington Post she could be right.

At uni I used to regularly be able to go out three times a week and feel absolutely fine. I remember a few, quite spectacular hangovers, but they were fairly quick and could be ended by a trip to somewhere really unhealthy and a bottle of orange Lucozade. These days, this seems less like the case.

So this is part one of my hangover diary between now and Christmas. Since the festive period brings quite a lot of festive drinking, this seemed like the perfect time to work out if my hangovers really are getting worse.

Event: Friend’s 25th birthday

Venue: Adventure Bar, Clapham, London

Night plan: Pre-drinks at home, Adventure Bar from 9, then whatever happens when it shuts at 2.

Run down:

Biblical rain saw five of my friends arrive at my flat in varying states of damp and pissed off. One wonderful  friend arrived with a very special treat: Russian Standard vodka infused with Drumstick lollies and Squashies. Needless to say, this was sensational. The best confectionary vodka I have tasted to date and much nicer than the classic and over-done skittles. One shot of this, two vodka oranges and one vodka lemonade.

Check out the_hallissey on Instagram

Check out the_hallissey on Instagram

After a disastrous cab journey in which the cab driver called me babe at least 37 times and then refused to cut the price despite being late and sending the wrong cars, Adventure Bar happened. One cocktail, one tequila, two weird beers and apparently some sort of whiskey. I have drunk more, I have drunk less. But that’s a fair amount of mixing. Not sensible.

Food: 3am Dominos, A Mexican baguette the day after, more pizza, three satsumas and litres of orange squash.

The hangover: Awful. Lots of regret. It’s been a while and it may be a while again after this one. Woke up still quite drunk with a friend on a blow up bed next to me, phoned my housemate who was downstairs, tried to hum the Coronation Street theme tune at each other before she came up with another friend who didn’t make It home. We proceeded to lay for about four hours, watched endless You’ve Been Framed, napped, laughed at nothing and generally felt vile. I think I said I was never drinking again at least four times. Also still struggling to deal with how much You’ve Been Framed we watched in one day.

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Duration: 2 days. Monday wasn’t fun. I ate everything. The second day was also very tired and very grumpy.

Score: 8/10

Girls, be nicer to other girls

Girls go through a lot of crap. I’m not saying boys don’t either, but as I’m not one I can’t really comment. After 24 years of being a certified female, it’s increasingly obvious that girls need to be nicer to other girls. I am not obsessed with feminism and I don’t look into every situation and think ‘this is unfair to women’ but that doesn’t mean I don’t openly disagree with bitches bitching at each other and being just generally very bitchy. We can sympathise with each other and we have vaginas, which really do throw up some problems men can’t always relate to, so why is there so much negativity and so little help?

It’s not all about having a vagina in common, obviously. We need to stick together a bit. At a time when emotional support has been important to me and my wellbeing, I’ve realised how much girls can knock each other down. My friends are all lovely and luckily I get the good kind of support I need, when I need it.  It’s no great secret that social media and indirectly trying to make people jealous of you happens all day every day in this day and age, but my God, give each other a break. I have friends who are so badly affected by self-esteem issues that they hide away and avoid social situations, let alone looking at Instagram.

I saw on Twitter this morning a lifestyle blogger who I really enjoy and markets herself as ‘plus-sized’ tweeting about vile abuse she receives from people online. When I looked through her replies and Instagram comments, it was probably 90% women. It’s awful. Online bullying is vile, and I know friends of mine with big personalities online have suffered from it. I’ve also witnessed, on nights out with big groups of girls, how much some people play up to making others feel bad about everything and anything they can. It might be a short-lived boost to your own self-esteem to feel better than someone, but in the long-term really, what do you get out of it?

I mean come on, the struggle can be very real. We have to fight a lot of battles- periods, hormones,  career worries, babies, birth, weight problems and so many other things. CYSTITIS. OMG CYSTITIS. Without really nice friends that can relate to all manner of bladder issues and help me with advice and support, my bladder would probably have ruined my life last year. That’s just one example of the many things that come up daily in life that I know I need a fellow female to chat to about, or make me feel better about. A lot of the time it isn’t problems that are exclusive to girls, it’s just nice to have another girl to stand alongside you and say ‘I FEEL YOUR PAIN.’ It shouldn’t get to the point where I don’t want to post a bikini photo on Instagram in case I make someone feel bad and think people might think I am showing off because I look alright in this one and so subsequently not posting it. Let’s just take five minutes to think about each other and be a little bit nicer, eh?

I need the girls in my life and I’m absolutely sure I’m not the only one.

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Bruges Christmas Market: One to visit this year

It’s November, which means it’s now slightly more acceptable to talk and think about Christmas. I’m not one for getting excited weeks early and Christmas shopping when it’s virtually still summer, but if you want to do a Christmas trip, you need some time to plan. So, if you haven’t been, go to Bruges Christmas Market.

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I’ve been to Bruges three times over the last few years, twice at Christmas. If you fancy visiting a foreign Christmas market without breaking the bank, I highly recommend. If you have a car and are travelling from London, and can get a few people on board, you can do it pretty cheaply. Book the car ferry as far in advance as you can, split the petrol and you’re looking at roughly £25 each. This is what I shelled out anyway, for a car share of 4. Not bad at all and plenty of money left for ALL OF THE CHOCOLATE. You can park in big underground car parks a few minutes walk from the town centre or a ten minute walk out of town. There are signs everywhere so you can’t go wrong.

Bruges is lovely. It has everything you want from a Christmas market too. The hot chocolate is divine and if you fancy really warming up get a Baileys version from the market. You can even keep the cute glass mugs from some stalls, or return them and get a Euro back. Belgium’s famous triple cooked chips are a must (don’t come here on a diet) and if you can fit in a waffle, DO IT. You will leave full of Christmas spirit, it’s basically impossible not to. There is tinsel everywhere, fairy lights on all surfaces and in all trees and stall after stall of amazing festive foods and gifts.

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Bruges11 It’s a tiny town, so you can get round it in a day easily if you don’t want to shell out for a hotel. If you do though, there are so many pubs to frequent, so many treats to sample and so many little shops to visit that you won’t get bored over a couple of days. Also, visit the soap shop. It’s in the town centre, inside a tiny little maze of shops. It smells like heaven and your mum or friends or yourself definitely need a little bar of white musk soap. Trust me.

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I’ve visited in the pouring rain and freezing cold and in lovely crisp, sunshine. If it isn’t raining, go on a boat trip on the canal, you get a little guided tour and you see the smallest window in Bruges. Your life will never be the same. It’s also VERY picturesque, so camera lovers and Instagrammers will have a grand old time, just like I did:

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Oh and if you do want to do something a bit cultural, pop into the free museum and art gallery.

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6 Favourite life hacks

Everything is better when it’s easier. It turns out my sister’s boyfriend has an easy alternative and solution for pretty much every activity or problem. I tried to talk him into starting his own blog about it (he is basically Nigella and a Stepford wife in one) but that won’t be happening. Spending time at home with them this week led to a kitchen table brainstorm of ‘OMG really!?’ life hacks. These are our favourite six:

Also, we’ve tried them all, so we aren’t lying.

1) Cleaning Mirrors

I have a big full-length mirror in my room and more mirrors in the bathroom and I DESPISE cleaning them. They’re always full of smears, mostly because i’m blind as bat and if i put make-up on without contact lenses I frequently headbut the mirror. SO it turns out, you need to forget the glass cleaner or the glass wipes. All you need is a wet flannel and a dry towel. Clean the mirror with the wet flannel first, get rid of all the dirt, smears, mascara, toothpaste and other interesting substances….then just dry it with the towel. EASY. CLEAN. SMEAR FREE. MIRACLE.

2) Wine chilling

We had three bottles of wine on a Friday that needed chilling ASAP. Absolute emergency, obviously. This was where my sister’s boyfriend stepped in to sort out the whole situation, as he often does. He took the wine, wrapped it in wet kitchen towel and stuck it in the freezer. Er, amazing. Within ten minutes, we had wonderfully cold wine and frosty kitchen towel. Seriously useful and my personal favourite of all of these tips because, well, wine.

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3) Green fingers

This one comes direct from my right hand. I always wear a junk jewellery, brightly coloured ring and quite often have a delightfully green finger lurking underneath. The Kermit tinge thankfully came to an end once I started painting the inside of the rings with clear nail varnish. No more green smears, no more ‘my ring was £3’ shame and looking like you have a fungal issue. Yay.

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4) Bananarama

Here’s a handy hint for all you protein loving fruit ninjas. I’m not a huge fan but I’m informed by banana loving family that this is VERY useful. Ever have massive issues and think ‘what is life?’ while trying to peel a banana without breaking the ends and opening more of the yellow fruity tubes? Just make like a monkey and peel from the other end. Easier and no breaks, cracks or whatever it is happens with bunches of bananas. Wonderful.

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5) Put a spring in your step (or phone charger)

This is SO worthwhile. I am on my third iPhone charger because I carry it around everywhere and don’t look after it because let’s face it, life is too short.  If you want your sources of power, Facebook and selfie-taking glory to live a longer life, you need a spring from a pen. Just your standard, push-up, nib type pen. Take the spring. Wrap the spring around the end of the cable you plug into your phone to stop it from bending and flailing around. The bending and flailing is bad. Blailing= bad. Well this will help stop blailing and preserve your charger. Happy bloody days. Here’s a youtube video from a clever lady showing you how better than a photo could:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqoeE_AqOQ8 

6) Cheating heating

This is one from the student days when money was tight and heating was basically a myth. Getting into a bed that’s so cold it basically feels damp is no one’s idea of fun. The same goes for getting up in the morning and putting on cold clothes. If you’re a girl maybe you’ll be more equipped for this one, but basically you need a hairdryer. Blast your bed sheets before you slide in. Blast the inside of your jeans or jumper. It may not last long, but it takes off the edge. Also just generally turning the hairdryer on, especially in small rooms, can heat things up a little.