So, with my usual ?all or nothing? hat firmly in place for the approaching New Year, there?s going to be some obvious changes around here, and I hope you?ll bear with me.
Firstly, as with previous years, I am undertaking the Dry January challenge; giving up booze entirely for the month of January. Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Instagram will be aware that I am susceptible to the odd tipple, usually gin, and have often mulled over giving it all up. Here?s a snapshot from my Twitter feed, and it was a bit grim how much of this there was to choose from:
My Nan, who I love dearly, has been teetotal for decades. I joined her in the Shloer this Christmas, but soon fell off the wagon and was home-infusing cherry-roasted gins and buttery pear vodkas for friends for presents, and imbibing it myself. It?s no secret to anyone with a working set of eyes that I drink more than most, habits I picked up living in the City when a boozy work lunch was the norm and we rolled on through to the small hours.
I received nine kinds of gin for Christmas, a gin encyclopedia, and a book on its history. More than one friend has sarcastically (or gently?) suggested that I seek out my local Alcoholics Anonymous. I?ve decided not to, for now, but will be putting away the booze for January and hopefully learning to fall asleep of an evening without a few hefty swigs of Mothers Ruin or most of an entire bottle of wine. I don?t even know why I?m putting all this out here, but I suppose this blog has always run on brutal honesty and curse words, so here we are. My head is a bit broken. That?s no secret. I?m functioning, and that?s the worst thing about it. Functioning means you can convince yourself there isn?t a problem. Functioning is, sadly, sometimes just that. And so no more. I can hold my hands up and say I mucked up. I made mistakes, I will undoubtedly make more, but for now, I am worried about how much I drink, so when the clock strikes midnight tonight, I?m stopping. Not so much a New Years Resolution as a love letter to my liver. I don?t want to just function any more. I want to thrive. Mm, vinegar and tonic over ice. Fresh juices. Balsamic vinegar and lemonade apparently tastes like Pimms. Bring it on. Less of this, although I will blog the recipe as so many have asked for it.
Secondly, I am going vegan for January. This shouldn?t be too difficult, as I write vegan recipes anyway, and most of the recipes in A Girl Called Jack either are vegan or can easily be scrawled in to make them vegan. As a Christmas present for a young new friend, I sat down with a marker pen and meticulously edited all but two of the 100 recipes in my first book to make them vegan-friendly, in an effort to help her learn to cook according to her diet and lifestyle. It was simpler than I thought, and seeing it on Instagram, several people suggested that I publish it as a new edition of the book. I like the suggestion, and it is on my To Do list, but as we all know, publishing is an unwieldy beast and it takes more than nice ideas and enthusiasm to get books onto bookshelves.
Thirdly, my training for the marathon will begin. Sober, vegan, and with a Fitbit donated to me by a gorgeous friend (the type that sits in your training vest so less a Fitbit than a Titbit?) I will be boring you all with my updates, as a few health issues may mar my training and I may need all the advice and help I can get. I?m running for Stonewall, I may have been drunk when I signed up (see point 1 about going sober), but the intentions are there and I will cross that finish line either cheering or on a stretcher, but I will cross it all the same. A fundraising link will follow when the Kickstarter is done and dusted.
And finally, the Kickstarter for my third book, Cooking On A Bootstrap (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/780456006/cooking-on-a-bootstrap-by-jack-monroe) is still going, and a phenomenal amount of copies ordered ? for yourselves, for schools, for libraries, for people on benefits and income support and disability living allowance and pensions, for friends, offspring, students. I could never have imagined it would get as big as it has, and as it is a pledge-to-order model, those of you who haven?t pledged can still order it. It will currently only be available through this Kickstarter so if you want it, you need to pledge for it!
And so that?s all the important updates about the month to come. I wish you all the very best for this evening, wherever you are and however you are celebrating, whether that?s with fireworks and kisses or whether that?s under the duvet grumbling about the fireworks and kisses, have a Happy New Year. And if you can?t have a happy one, just have one. Just get through. Just hold tight, and look after yourself, and lots of love.
If you find yourself needing them, the Samaritans are free to call on 116 123. Don?t suffer New Year in silence. This may warrant its own blog post but I?ll leave it here too.
Jack Monroe. You can follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr at @MxJackMonroe.