Alcohol is toxic to your largest organ - your skin. The toxins make your skin less elastic and it is very ageing. Your liver will improve. It can handle small quantities, but excessive drinking causes it to get inflamed - which is what we call 'alcoholic hepatitis', a silent disease.
So it's that time of year again - 'tis the season of seemingly endless Christmas parties and get-togethers. Throughout December many of us will spend time with our family, friends and colleagues in pubs, restaurants and bars enjoying festive indulgences we wait all year for.
Maybe I need to forget about the artificial construct and endless to-do lists of 'the festive season' - constructed piece by piece to generate the best income of the year - and focus on the glimmers of light Christmas brings to dark months and bleak times.
Christmas does indeed get the greater share of focus, and I have focused on it primarily due to my background, my grandfather was an Anglican Vicar and my primary school was Church of England, so I can't help but associate this period with the Christian church which is my own failing.
As parents, we owe it to our children to show elderly people that we care. One day, we too will be old and who knows if we will be lucky enough to still have family and friends around us? We will be extremely lucky if we do.
Our current education system both avoids and punishes failure, whilst the creative process actively encourages it. If you haven't failed, you haven't tried. Creativity is an opportunity to explore and learn, and children should not be afraid to fail or ask questions. Schools must carve time out for their pupils to express what they think and feel. To be creative without fear of being judged or rejected by a group of peers. It's incredibly important to facilitate exploration, curiosity, playfulness and imagination. Our ability to imagine things that do not exist is fundamentally what makes us human.
Feeding 300 people, plus 100 volunteers, three times a day for ten days, isn't a simple task. Food donations (some of surplus food) lined up the dance studio in the college where we were based. Lead chefs, a little like in the invention test on Masterchef, would make up the menu from the produce available.
Christmas is nearly here! Festive fun, presents, family and good food. Well that's the finished result anyway. What about all of the hard work before it gets to the fun part? Months of budgeting, shopping, wrapping, planning meals, organising family and remembering to move the elf on the shelf every night!
Last year, when my husband Rob died, I sacked off Christmas. I didn't buy any presents, I didn't give a fuck about the John Lewis advert and I left the country to spend it in India. And people, I loved Christmas. The lights in Oxford Circus. Pigs in blankets, mulled wine, all the cheesy jingles Spotify can muster into a playlist. It was a time when we spent it as a family with my sister and parents, and Rob would cook Christmas day dinner. We'd fight over Strictly and Doctor Who. Our dog Daisy would clamber over all the presents believing them to be hers. I couldn't imagine celebrating it again without feeling overwhelmed by the absence of him. But this year, we've decided to spend it again as a family.
Sadly, each year we receive complaints from parents who have been severely disappointed by the failure of the promise provided by the 'real' Father Christmas brochure. We have heard of holidaymakers experiencing a rushed 'day' trip, with little of what was promised or indeed having to deal with children's disappointment at not seeing Father Christmas, to serious injuries as a result of tobogganing or other activities!
If there is one group of creatures on earth who find Christmas dinner more stressful than all the turkeys out there do, it is people with eating disorders. Actually scrap that, when it comes to having an eating disorder it isn't simply Christmas dinner that is stressful, it is the entire build up over the festive season when suddenly it feels as if EVERYTHING is about food.
The buying of gifts this busy festive period is not actually that difficult, It's who you are buying those gifts for that requires some extensive research. Nothing requires deeper thinking than buying for a certain demographic group of people. A group so ungrateful it beggars belief Teenagers.
Then Advent begins and with it a renewed duty to my family to get out the house. Having failed to get an Advent calendar, I need to think on my feet. We've got a little Christmas tree but it's fairly bare, awaiting hand-me-down decorations.
Don't harass said parent into giving you a list within 24 hours of receiving your e-mail/phone call. Parents are busy, and they may even have to have a few sneaky conversations with the child to determine what would be a good gift suggestion
While walking in a wonderful Christmas market in Copenhagen last weekend, he announced loudly and proudly to his 6 year old sister that of course Father Christmas is not real and it is in fact Mum and Dad who bring the presents.
Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina begins with the now famous adage: 'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' Tolstoy ...