Category Archives: Sober treats

Sugar detox for Lent time!

So today is Ash Wednesday and for those of the Christian faith that means the beginning of Lent, a traditional time of giving something up.  Well booze is obviously off the agenda 😉 and I’m pleased to say that since the beginning of 2015 I have succeeded in weaning myself off of the nicotine lozenges so am now nicotine free YIPEE!!  I’ve been drinking caffeine free for a good couple of years so that’s a no-go too.

So that only leaves one substance – SUGAR.  As you know sweet treats have been a massive way of rewarding myself since I started on this journey.  Although I am eating way less than I was in the early days I am aware that once again I’m not role-modelling great behaviour to my kids when I’m quietly snarfing chocolate every night and we ALL need to eat less sugar in this house.  It’s time for a sugar detox!!

So it is with great trepidation that I bought the new book of Davina McCall’s called Davina’s 5 Weeks to Sugar-Free which is described on Amazon as ‘yummy, easy recipes to help you kick sugar and feel amazing’ and if you’d like a copy you can get it here.  She has been criticised as she uses honey and maple syrup in her cooking/recipes but that seems eminently sensible to me because if I tried to deprive my 7 and 8 year old of all sugar there would be a mutiny!!  And I wouldn’t be too happy either as a resident sweet tooth 😀

Over the next 6 weeks I’ll write an update post once a week on a Wednesday to let you know how we’re getting on but I’m expecting it to be a bit bumpy and I’m going to have to find a new way to treat myself that doesn’t resort to reaching for the biscuit barrel!!

For today if I can’t  have sugar I’ll have make do with thoughts of a mutiny involving Johnny Depp 😉

johnny depp

 

12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 12

Twelve Drummers Drumming.  Well my daughter has a drum kit and I used to hate it when I was hungover – now not so much 😉

For me I’m drumming up cash and fellow sober treat hedonists for this the final treat of this series.  It’s a biggie and I’m hoping to enlist the company of some of my sober friends to accompany me!

A chocolate, yoga and meditation week-end retreat in May!!

Yoga-Class-2014-300x182

There is no reason to ever ‘give-up’ chocolate, but make sure you eat the right kind though!!

This weekend is an education into raw chocolate, yoga and meditation. You will learn how to make Inner Guidance’s infamous Raw Chocolate Fudge, Raw Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Chip Banana Ice Cream and of course a range of Raw Chocolates.
Enjoy our Five Star service and accommodation, all set in our stunning location just outside Lavenham in Suffolk.

Oh my goodness, that sounds lush!!  It’s not cheap but it is an awesome sober treat that hits sweet, inspiring, supporting, pampering, nourishing and surprising all at once! Who’s with me 😉

What other sober treat ideas are there for twelve drummers drumming?  A drumming class?

Merry Christmas all my lovely sober peeps and if you’re thinking about stopping drinking maybe this retreat in May is something to aim for and you’d be welcome to join us 🙂

PS Prim recently shared a Swedish alcohol awareness advert in the comments section and it got some good responses so I thought I’d share two here now.   The first is the Swedish campaign for Christmas and New Year (which shows lots of drinking so could be triggery) and the second is a feature advert on the new alcohol free nightclub in Sweden called Sober.  There’s a killer line in the second one ‘Flirting with guys or girls, be a king on the dance-floor or make lots of jokes when you are drunk. Any amateur can do that, but when you do it sober, that’s when you are cool for real!‘  LOVE this 😉

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 11

Eleven Pipers Piping – hmmm, well I am piping up about this awesome meal I had recently!  So I met my London Marathon running partner for a catch up and we decided to treat ourselves to a culinary delight.

We went for a pub lunch – but not any old pub lunch, a Christmas Lunch at The Hinds Head in Bray, owned by none other than the world famous chef Heston Blumenthal.  He also owns The Fat Duck in Bray, a 3 Michelin star restaurant, which was budget busting for us at £220 per head taster menu and requires 4 1/2 hours of dining time ……

Heston Blumenthal

Ours was a Michelin star lunch and oh my goodness, it was divine!  To see the full menu we could chose from – go here.  I can safely say it was the best Christmas lunch I’ve ever had!

This was pudding that arrived after I’d been presented with a note explaining what a Christmas Quaking Pudding was 🙂

christmas quaking pudding

And here’s the accompanying note:

IMG_0459

As my friend, who’s a ‘normie’ said, we celebrate Christmas together with her raising a glass of Argentinian Malbec and me raising a glass of a gorgeous green elderflower based mocktail 😉  Hell for me food is perfect sober treat territory and this meal was both nourishing and inspiring.

What restaurant have you been dying to try and you could treat yourself too?  Maybe the pipers piping could be a piping hot cup of hot chocolate instead?  Let your imagination run riot about how you could spend the money you’ve been saving by not drinking alcohol 🙂

 

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 10

Ten Lords A Leaping – well the only place this sober treat has me leaping is into bed!  I struggle with self-care around the soft and cosy suggestion.  Do I not think I’m worth soft and cosy things?  Maybe.  I did a big sober treat splurge last New Year in the sales and bought myself a beautiful shirt and trousers – which I have yet to wear.  What’s that about?   Am I saving it for a special occasion?  Maybe.  I need to wonder on this one some more ……

But I did buy myself a little sober treat earlier this month.  It’s winter here and getting cold and I love my bed so yes I bought myself some beautifully fluffy and warm bed socks!!  How glamorous for a 46 year old women 😉  But you know what I LOVE them!!  I love to have a deep bath with bubbles and candles early on in the evening, get into my pj’s and socks and sup on my herbal tea in front of the fire whilst nibbling on chocolate and watching Breaking Bad.  My new decadence! 🙂

soft and cosy socks

What soft and cosy sober treat could you get for yourself?  Maybe you want to follow the tradition and get yourself something to do with lords a leaping – a Lord of the Dance DVD, or a Lord of the Rings DVD or a copy of the book Lord of the Flies?  I shall be looking out for more soft and cosy things to buy from here on in – that’s for sure!

12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 9

Nine ladies dancing – well this one makes me dance anyway!! 🙂
Over the last five weeks of my Cambridge course one of the tutors has repeatedly described mindfulness, and the practice of mindful meditation, as the two wings of a bird.  She describes it as one wing is insight and the other compassion.
flying-on-the-wings-of
And then in a moment of synchronicity Feeling posted a link to a talk by Tara Brach where the very same description was used (Thanks feeling!)
Her talk is so good, and at times funny, that I am sharing it again here as a sober treat and as the idea for another sober treat.  Mrs D is a BIG fan of Tara Brach and I am fast becoming one too.  She has books and meditations free online that you can access here.
As part of my course I am expected to complete a daily mindfulness practice and then journal about it.  Maybe a moment of mindfulness each day would work for you too?  Why not over the next 30 days find a few minutes to be mindful: washing the dishes, making a cup of tea, in the shower, wrapping presents?  Or why not sign up for the excellent Headspace app where you can complete the Take 10 challenge for free and even sign up with a buddy so you can work on it together, as well as support and motivate each other.
As we head into Christmas and New Year when it can be really difficult to remember why we’ve made the choice we have – being present and mindful can help with that.  I find this practice both inspiring, supporting and nourishing and helps me accept that who I am is okay as I am.  What better way to treat yourself? 🙂
Any other ideas for nine ladies dancing – a CD of your favourite tunes? Ticket’s to a gig of a band you love?, A fitness class like Zumba?
PS 15 months today!! 😀
PPS The 600th person has subscribed for my e-book and has been offered a free Udemy course place so now the offer is open to subscriber no 750!

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 8

Eight maids a milking – well I’m going to have to milk this one for sure!!  I’m going to propose that this sober treat you save for next year.  Delay gratification?  A big ask for us instant gratification driven drinkers LOL!

movie tickets

Set aside the money to pay for a ticket to go see ‘A Royal Hangover‘.  It’s already premiered in the US and Australia and is due to premiere here in the UK in the New Year.  If you haven’t heard of it here’s the films trailer:

I was lucky enough to be sent the film to watch by it’s producer Gabrielle Weller and I can safely say it is absolutely brilliant.  In fact that’s an understatement – it is f**king dynamite!!  I was squirming in my seat from the first two minutes and I was enthralled the whole way through.  The film covers all the facets of how embedded drinking is in this countries culture and reveals the problem so clearly that  you wonder why it has taken us so long to wake up to the public health crisis unfolding before our very eyes.  I could not agree more with director Arthur Cauty’s view of what is going on and it saddens and enrages me in equal measure.

I met them at the Alcohol Concern Conference and this is what Gabrielle has confirmed about viewing availability in 2015: The film is still on the international film festival circuit and as such isn’t being released outside of independent movie theatres (in the UK, Australia and the US) until April next year when it will be available on NetFlix and also shown on television across the UK, US and Australia. Follow the facebook page of ‘A Royal Hangover’ for all updates on distribution and screenings.

This definitely fits in the surprising category of Living Sober’s First Aid Kit.  You’ll watch it and be surprised that it has taken so long for a film this good to be directed and produced about what we know is a major issue for both us as individuals and within our own respective cultures and countries.

Any other eight maids a milking sober treat ideas?  A cup of hot milk? Some milk chocolate?

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 7

Seven swans a swimming – hmm, I’m going to have to take liberties with this one too and it makes me think of swimming against the tide.  Which we are – we are swimming against the whole tide of alcohol advertising and marketing and drinking in our culture and that can make this journey feel tough.

So sometimes we just have to surrender to the idea that we can’t drink.  With that in mind here’s Veronica and I’s next Skype chat installment where we talk about Step 1 of the 12 steps <decent segway or not?>  😉

To remind you Step 1 reads: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.  Over to Veronica where she really breaks down what each step means and clears up any misinformation.

I have found these conversations hugely helpful because AA has been in existence since 1935 and their wisdom and 12 step process has helped many millions get sober and stay sober.  Whether we choose to go sit in the rooms or not I feel there is much to be learned from this programme and I find the premise of the steps both supporting and inspiring.

Maybe this series will help you re-evaluate how you feel about the programme and the fellowship and help open up an important new avenue of support?  You could always buy yourself Veronica’s book to support your spiritual recovery process 😉

Veronica Valli is an Addictions Therapist and the author of Why you drink and How to stop: http://www.amazon.com/Why-You-Drink-H…

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280

Any other ideas for seven swans a swimming?

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 6

Six Geese a Laying ….. hmm I’m going to have to think about this laterally again.  How about something for when you’re ‘a laying’ in the bath? 😉

For my birthday my sister in law’s family gifted me this amazing candle.  It smelled heavenly of mandarin and plum and has a wooden wick so it crackles when it burns.  I’d like me some more of these and you can get them on Ebay.  I found this caramel and apple  one available for about £8 -20.  Plus my sister in law shared that she bought the one for me in Homesense, that is part of TKMaxx, so you can probably pick them up for even less £££’s there.  Happy Days!

wooden wick candle

If you want to push the boat out then what about a Jo Malone or Diptyque candle? Slightly more pricey at £40 and Selfridges carries the best selection.

So for me this is both a smelly sober treat and feels very pampering when I’m luxuriating in the bath with my cinnamon buns bath soak 🙂

What other geese a laying ideas could you use?  Eggs hollandaise for breakfast ……

 

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 5

Five Gold Rings – yes gold is one way to my heart but at £760 per troy ounce currently is a little extravagant even for me!

So the other way to my heart currently?  Chocolate! My favourite chocolaterie in the whole wide world is in my home city of Brighton and goes by the name of Choccywoccydoodah and boy is their sweet stuff the best 🙂  If you want to see chocolate porn just go to their website – it’s amazing!!

choccywoccydoodah

These chocolate lollies are £9.99 each and a sweet rescue moment

If chocolate’s not your thing how about 6 festive mixed flavour fortune cookies? Each handcrafted fortune cookies is perfect for the festive period and contains a traditional style fortune message.  And the flavours – all 22 of them from salted caramel to chocolate and chilli to raspberry, honey and vanilla, here they are all listed: http://www.crackingcookies.co.uk/en/content/6-our-flavours

6-festive-sugar-spice-fortune-cookies

YUM!! and a snip at £6.99 🙂

These fit sweet, inspiring and surprising in the sober first aid kit.

What other gold ring inspired sober treats could I get? A bag of chocolate gold coins? Glazed doughnut rings maybe …..

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 4

Four Calling Birds ……hmm how about the kettle calling instead?

You could buy  yourself some specialist or expensive loose leaf tea.  This is my favourite and I’ve talked about it before here.  It is on my Amazon wish list – with 45 other things 😉 (mainly recovery books!!)

Beautiful tea

This is a handmade glass infuser mug for flowering tea, which looks and tastes divine, and you can get from Amazon here for £24.00

For me tea has been a massively supporting sober treat so this is perfect for the sober first aid kit

This may be too late for this year but an idea for next year?  How about a tea advent calendar!  24 different teas for each day from December 1st – 24th and a special treat for the 25th.  Each day’s sachet has enough tea for 2-3 cups of tea, so you can enjoy a treat in the morning and in the afternoon, or with a friend.  The flavour choice is huge: Lemon Verbena, Japanese Sencha Green, Peppermint Infusion, Assam, Breakfast Blend, Duchess Earl Grey, Blackcurrant Burst, Pai Mu Tan White Tea, Balancing Infusion, Lemon Gunpowder, Chamomile Infusion, Spring Spritzer, Refreshing Infusion, Orange Blossom Oolong, Clanwilliam Rooibos, Gingerbread Chai, Citrus Zing, Aromatic Black Chai, Cherry Medley Rooibos, Jasmine Green Tea, Winterberry Fruit Infusion, Strawberry Split, Spiced Apple Infusion and Genmaicha Popcorn Tea.

Any other four calling birds sober treat ideas? …..

Edited to add: these were two teas that I bought today:

ThreeTulsi_CMYK_NEW                     Love_CMYK_NEW

Here’s where to find out about three tulsi: http://www.pukkaherbs.com/pukka-products/pukka-teas/three-tulsi-new/

and love: http://www.pukkaherbs.com/pukka-products/pukka-teas/love-new/

Enjoy! 🙂