Monthly Archives: February 2017

Getting back in the kitchen 

My relationship with cooking was weird when I was a drinker.

I would get massively anxious about cooking. For myself was bad enough.
For other people? Awful. I could hardly bare it.

I hated everything about cooking. I felt useless at it.

I had no idea what to do. And no impetus to learn.

Plus being in the kitchen meant that I wasn’t in a pub drinking.

Or on my sofa, also drinking.

Two of the most important and worthwhile ways to spend my time.
I hated it. And never wanted to do anything to change that.

And had I kept drinking? That’s how it would have stayed.

Because that’s the thing about alcohol abuse.

Nothing ever evolves

But anyway, I did stop drinking. And almost immediately, I became obsessed with healthy eating.
Because I only knew how to engage in emotional extremes.

And then because I was physically very poorly, and decided food would be my salvation.

I would pour obsessively over recipe books. Even when I was too sick to get out of bed.

Even when I did eventually get my body back to a place it could stand and walk.
I was too afraid to eat most foods.

In case they were dangerous and made me unwell.

Food wasn’t really about eating, it was about a fantasy lifestyle where I could pretend to be someone else.

I became a militant vegan, because I based my new, faux personality on women who write cookbooks and blogs.

I didn’t know who I was, thanks to drinking my entire adult life, so I thought I may as well pretend to be them.

I was obsessed with my vegan lifestyle for years, yet barely ate.

Then I stopped all of that, and just ignored food for a few years.

Everything I bought was readymade. Or prepared for me by someone else, because I knew it was the only way I would ever be free from this prison.

Then. I simply waited.
Waited until I felt interested in making food for the pleasure it gave me to prepare it.

It took years.

But finally I moved into a home with a kitchen I loved, and people I really wanted to feed.
Finally I saw food as connection.
Connecting to my past, by using my nana’s decades old recipe book.

Connection To my present, by bonding with people during food prep together and the eating afterward.

Connection to friends and family by making them gifts in the kitchen.

Connection to myself by finally having the confidence in my burgeoning creative streak, to express it in the kitchen.

Now, I’ve come back to the kitchen.


I can spend a lazy Sunday morning baking cakes and buns.

Or a Friday night making a roast dinner for extended family and inviting them over.

I can nip in for 20 minutes, if someone is popping over, so I can feed them fresh scones.

Or spend quiet time at my kitchen table, reading, whilst the smell of baking bread permeates the air around me.

There are no rules to the kitchen now.

Whilst-ironically-I actually use the vegan cookbooks now that I just used to read when I wouldn’t eat.

I also use vegetarian, meat filled, or any others that grab my attention.

There are no labels. 

Just a lovely, bright, warm and inviting space that I love to spend time in.

A place that makes me so glad that I learned how to get back in the kitchen.


Coming full circle 

When I was a drinker. 

My houses were never homes.

Okay, flats. I always lived in flats as an adult. But they were never nice.

I had no idea how to make a home lovely.

How to create what I needed from a living space.

Mainly because it never occurred to me to ask myself what I needed from my home.

(My home now)

By default, the only time I was ever there was to drink, or to recover from a hangover.

That’s what I needed from my housing.

So that’s all I did. Sleep. Or drink. Or get ready to out drinking again.

Nice homes were for other people.

Not people like me, who didn’t deserve nice things, and wouldn’t know how to create them, even if I did feel I deserved them.

I stopped drinking, as we all know, or I wouldnt be writing any of this.
And when I stopped, gradually? The fog lifted.

And, over the years of non-drinking, I changed.

I changed every time a question came up in my own mind.

Little questions like “what do people do in their own homes if they don’t spend all their time drinking”


“How do people go about making their homes and lives lovely places? Do they learn it in a class somewhere?”

(I’d always felt like I’d be born without instructions everyone else seemed to already have read, so this was nothing new.)
We have the internet now. On our phones. Which is very helpful.
Most of the answers can be found on there.

If I’d stopped drinking now, instead of 11 years ago, I’d have just hopped on my phone and spent hours on Apps like Pinterest and Houzz.

I’d have stripped down my dingy flats, and made them into the homes I was discovering online.

(And then kept recreating them, because we change and evolve at a rate of knots when we become non-drinkers, so the stuff I thought was the height of chic 5 years ago, would be of no interest to me now. That’s how I know I’m doing non-drinking right, the sheer rate at which I still, even 11 years on, keep changing.)

By the time we stop drinking, our world revolves around alcohol. It’s our life. Our hobby. 
The only thing we truly feel anything remotely like enthusiasm for.

So of course the world feels full of drinkers and bars and happy hours.

Understandably, no other human appears to talk about anything else except getting pissed.

Because our world has become so tiny, that it’s all we see.

But the world is nothing like that.
Most people, are nothing like that.
And right now, in 2017, there’s never been a better time to let technology show us that.

11 years ago, technology was far less accessible.

So it excites me that I get to live vicariously through the women that come to me for lessons in stopping drinking.

Because they get to use these brilliant things I never had!

I’m not going to talk about the journey I made, that resulted in me caring about my home.

Not this time, next time I will.

And I’ll follow it on with the other things I replaced drinking with, how I did it, and then how my ladies use 2017 technology to do it now.

It’s all I have to offer these days.

Because I genuinely cannot be arsed to tell anymore sad drinking stories from my past.  

If alternatives are what you are looking for.

If coming full circle, back to a life that you know you had the potential to have.

Could have had, before drink got in the way.

Then stick around for the next few weeks.

Because that’s all I’ll be talking about.
If you are ready to come full circle with me, that is …