Dealing with Dry January

Taking on the “challenge” of Dry January often sounds tempting on New Year’s Day. That friendly bottle of Vodka makes your stomach turn, the smell of the Tequila is enough to put you off shots for life and the fact that you don’t remember that weird photo happening on Facebook is often an excuse to take a few weeks off the sauce.

The problem is (if you party regularly), a week or so in you sometimes begin to realise that it’s not as easy as it seems when you get to the bar, get served immediately and you don’t have time to switch off autopilot and order that soft one instead. My small periods of abstinence in my uni years followed by my 2 and a bit years of teetotalism to stand by a former partner, didn’t start easy and when becoming single weren’t any easier either.

If you’re finding the process more than sobering, here’s a few ideas to help you hang in there for the next 3 weeks. If you need further inspiration, take a look at Olivia Cox’s entry on the Huffington Post or Oilver Wheaton’s list on Metro’s website.


This seems to be the most popular option for people in the last couple of years. If you don’t want to put off your social life for the month and the idea of going out drinking Pepsi and Water sounds pretty grim, then emulate the drinks you love with their non-alcoholic equivalents.

Mocktails are one form of these and are basically cocktails without the alcohol, but instead are mixed with juices to simulate or create new flavours in the spirit of cocktails (just not liquid spirits).

There are many different mixes to try online and many cocktail bars, larger chain bars and restaurants often carry a mocktail list in addition to their alcoholic cousins. If your watering hole doesn’t do dedicated mocktails, you can often ask for a “virgin” equivalent of your favourite cocktails and your mixologist may be able to add in a suitable alternative.

Non Alcoholic Beers, Ciders and Wines

If you favour the flavour of the grape or grain over cocktails and mocktails,  the good news for you is you can still have it in non booze form too.

These drinks are made the same way as normal with an extra step added in to boil, steam or filter out the alcohol. Done correctly this means the flavour won’t change too much, with companies such as Kopparberg and Becks already sporting their ranges in many places.

The Other Kind of Brew

If you’re from or studying in the North of England, this will make complete sense. For the rest, a simple cup of tea or coffee in the evening is another great way to unwind, provided you’ve had a break from it at some point in the day. You’ll notice too that if enjoyed at a Sunday afternoon pace you’ll feel a little fuller and the urge for it’s name sharing friend will become less so. So grab a knife and fork, the nearest paper or whatever you choose to stream your boxsets on and forget about the ironic depressant that often livens you up and instead chill out with a stimulant that’ll help you unwind.

Go Healthy

If it’s a daytime session replacement you’re after, why not switch it up and take advantage of that new year’s resolution of trying to be healthier. Juice bars are becoming more popular alongside fruit smoothies and shots of Wheatgrass (only for the reckless and the brave) and offer a healthier alternative to your choice of poison.

If the expense of the outing seems too much, why not try making some at home? Again a quick search online usually leads to this or in the case of chipping in to buy a blender, your manufacturer may even be generous enough to share a few recipes in the instruction book. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone and giving yourself the chance of a better life ahead (at least until next month).


However you choose to stay dry, I hope it all works out for those taking part, and to those who feel a little left out this week, I’ll be counterbalancing with some fun when this is all over.

Good luck and keep going!



Maximising Your Night Out

A night out is often the pinnacle of student lifestyle, whether it’s a visit to the cinema, a restaurant or more commonly, on the town.

In order for you to actually make it through these nights without hurling, passing out in the street, destroying friendships or spending part of your night in a police van or ambulance it’s worth considering these little tips.

Please note, this article focuses mostly on drinking alcohol, but it can apply to those who aren’t drinking too much or who are under any sort of influence.

Whatever your poison, please enjoy responsibly and know your limits.

Have Somebody Responsible Available

It always helps to have ‘responsible’ people nearby if you plan to let your hair down, on the off chance something doesn’t quite go to plan. This doesn’t necessarily mean a friend has to stay sober as a judge with you all night. A responsible person can be anyone in a fit state to help you or look after you – a housemate that’s staying in, friendly bar or waiting staff or a residential warden. These people will make sure you stay having fun during the night, know when you’ve had enough and ensure that you’re still in a fit state to get home, or if not make sure that you can get home and hopefully not end up in too dangerous of antics (i.e.: Passing out on the toilet in a locked bathroom, falling asleep in somebody’s garden, jumping off a roof, or skinny dipping in ice cold water).

Many people will follow an unspoken take of turns and help each other back to houses, sat down, drinking some water and in worse case scenario making sure you get into your room and into bed okay.

Mix It Up (with Water)

Now I know everyone thinks it’s lame to drink water part way thorough the night, but it’s a proven tactic (particularly if your tolerance is lower), that if you drink a pint of water every few bottles/glasses of booze it’ll slow you down generally and allow you to party on through the night, rather than downing it all in one go and finishing yourself off before you even make it out of the door.

Keeping hydrated also reduces the feeling of sickness and will help to counteract the dehydration alcohol will create.

Think Your Outfit Through

I’ll be careful with this one. Now if it’s regular night out, wear whatever feels comfortable. Dress up, look sharp/pretty, enjoy yourself!

If it’s a theme night or it’s winter though, think function before fashion. What I mean by this is: question those heels or those smooth shoes before you step out the door and think likewise is a black shirt in a busy club in the height of summer a wise choice.

Ask yourself, will I be stable enough to walk?  is there foam/water/ice involved? (I’ve known friends break ankles wearing heels in slippery foam) Will the foam ruin my clothes? (Never ever wear suede!) Will I be warm enough? If I decide to go for a spontaneous swim in the sea, can I walk home in these clothes?

I know it sounds silly, but if you make a few sensible choices on top of deciding what looks good, your really expensive clothes will live to see another night and so will you!

Don’t Talk Taboo After Two

Ever heard of the phrase “Nothing Good Ever Happens after 2am”? Well Ted from How I Met Your Mother was certainly right for some topics! One important thing to do once inebriated is to avoid confronting more controversial topics. These can include trying to resolve or announce a conflict with a friend or partner, talk about social taboos within your circles or express negative feelings towards others. It sounds a little obvious, but it’s very easy to do when under the influence and sadly it’s very easy to react too, often leading to arguments, disrupting yours and your friends’ nights or worse – leading to  violent fights that will inevitably get you, your opponent and anybody that decides to get involved thrown out of the venue you’re in, possible barring and (if started or continued in a public street) may also get you arrested for assault.

If you wouldn’t say it to somebody in the street when you’re sober, don’t think about it when you’re drunk or it might just not end well.

And Finally

Have fun responsibly. Despite many primary school programs making partying looks like it’s all terrible for you, it is possible (yet not at all necessary) to drink and enjoy yourself if it’s kept in moderation. Likewise you shouldn’t need to drink to have a good time if you don’t wish to. But otherwise, keep a level head, have a laugh or two and enjoy the times you get to go out to the fullest.

One last tip. If you do decide to drink, make yourself two pints of water up before you go out and as soon as you get in, drink one before you sleep. You’ll see why the next day when you’ll want the other one 😉