I woke bright and breezy the other morning (full of cold and residual dregs of 2 day hangover) to the following texts to our borderline alcoholic whatsapp group from my dear friend T who recently departed for a much more fun life overseas.
‘Right who’s awake first?! I got fucked up last night and need consoling’
Ah hangover anxiety my old friend. The slow dawning feeling of dread that hits you often before your eyes have even opened. We’ve all been there.
If you haven’t been there… well then I really must question why you read this blog at all. Did you think this was full of actually useful tips of things to do in London? Did I force you to read it after too many wines and now you’re being polite? Do you read this to make yourself feel better about your own crummy life? If it’s the latter take it from me, if you don’t know what hangover fear is then you’re fine mate. You probably do things like open your bank statements and take your coats to the dry cleaners. You’re one of life’s winners and you can leave this blog forthwith.
My remaining fellow losers…read on!
If you’re anything like me hangover fear usually manifests itself in three key stages.
Stage one: Sheer blinding panic.
Where am I?! Who am I?! Who is THIS?! Where the hell is my sodding bag/keys/coat/shoes/pants/all of the above.
This panic is multiplied exponentially if you wake up in someone else’s bed. Something I have, of course, never done. LOLS.
Waking up in someone else’s bed means that you have to clear your throat, testing your raspy ‘I haven’t spoken to another human in at least three hours’ voice to ask politely where you might be and pray to god the answer isn’t ‘Wandsworth’, ‘Putney’ or something similar. (If you live in Wandsworth you can insert something equally hideous like ‘Walthamstow’ or ‘Clapton’ in here).
Even in the comfort (double lol) of your own home there is still room to panic like a headless chicken. This usually, for me, occurs as I desperately try to locate my bag whilst also keeping my head as still as possible.
Surviving Stage One
Ok so worst case scenario. You’re in Wandsworth, your clothes are nowhere to be seen and you feel and look like someone Russell Brand would take a gander at and say ‘Nah you’re alright mate’.
The best thing you can do here is keep calm. Capitalise on the fact that you are probably a bit drunk and therefore able to see the funny side. Take yourself to the bathroom. Perhaps repeat something ‘motivational’ to yourself. Something that you’d see on Instagram layered over a pic of Marilyn Monroe laughing. Something about how girls who don’t drink themselves into oblivion and are never sick into stranger’s rucksacks will never make history. I may be paraphrasing. Hey ho.
Wipe off last night’s make up and take a deep breath. This is the most energy you are going to need to use all day. This is your Everest and you are the Jessica Ennis of the Hangover Hills.
Locate your clothes. They will be in the room. You may be a mess but you are certainly not a naked in the street kind of mess. Unless the room you have woken up in is a police cell. You can panic at that point.
Put on said clothes and get the hell out asap. Order yourself an uber. Even the most frugal of Francesca’s have to allow themselves this expense. It will be 20 pounds maximum and take it from someone who commuted from Wandsworth to Seven Sisters in a lace skirt and see through top, I’d have paid every commuter on that tube 20 quid EACH not to look at me.
Stage two: Slow dawning realisation of horror with a side of hideous flashbacks.
Ahh my least favourite stage. The part where you’re no longer tipsy from the night before and along with the banging headache comes vague memories of your disgraceful behaviour.
Maybe you over shared to a colleague (‘Seriously, I’m just a really sexual being Susan’ ERLACK OH GOD) or maybe you snogged someone inappropriate (‘oh hey 19 year old intern – can’t wait for Monday either. Ps: did you do my photocopying as requested?). Or maybe…I don’t know… you did something truly hideous like got into your ex’s bed at a house party and pretended to be asleep until forcibly dragged out by your well meaning mate whilst you shouted at her ‘I SHALL NOT BE MOVED’ Gandalf the Grey style…..(I don’t know just plucked that one out of the air). Ahem.
The point IS, flashbacks such as these are hideous and impossible to erase. In fact many of mine have become what I like to call shame shudders. Nice, vivid, brain scorching memories that pop into your head just before you go to sleep or on the bus in the middle of the day and make your whole body convulse with absolute toe curling horror. No? Just me?
It’s also around this time that I decide that I’ve done something heinous and now all of my friends hate me. Surely no one could love someone who performed the entire hits of Chicago on a bar and then fell asleep in her shoes?! GAH!
How to survive Stage two
Just take a breath. There are three very important things to remember at this stage:
- Everyone else was drunk too. Hangover fear tends to cloud your judgement and make you believe that you were the only drunk person, surrounded by elegant sober people exchanging witticisms and facts about the housing market. Not so. 99% of the time everyone else will have been, if not as drunk, nearly as drunk as you and are probably far too busy thinking about their own rogue snogging or oversharing incidents than they are about judging you for yours.
- No one hates you. Everyone gets drunk now and again (all the time) and your friends (fellow borderline alcoholics) are no different. Remember all the times your friends did ridiculous things when they were pissed? Remember all the times you hated them forever and never spoke to them again? SEE! Send them a little text explaining your plight and I promise you the response is much more likely to be ‘oh god I know me too I was sick in a wardrobe/slept with Duncan from accounts/lost all my stuff and gave my debit card to a homeless person’ than it is to be ‘I think you and I are moving in different directions in our lives’.
- You are a nice, normal human and right now you need snacks and sleep. In the morning everything will be ok again.
This brings me to
Stage three: Bottomless pit hunger and a sloth like state
So you’ve heard from your friends and they don’t hate you. Hurrah. You’ve found all your belongings and made it home in one piece. Huzzah!
Now is the time for action.
Get yourself to the nearest corner shop (big shout out to Mehmet who works in my local and saved me the last Capri Sun last Saturday morning – what a gem) and buy yourself the following:
- a Capri Sun
- a Diet Coke
- A large packet of crisps
- An oven Pizza
- Big bottle of fizzy water (trust me) or flavoured water if you can’t stand fizzy
- a loaf of bread, butter and a tin of beans
- A giant Twix
Get yourself home and follow the following timetable.*
*NB: these times are guesstimates based on years of experience. please adjust accordingly
12.30: let yourself in the door with shopping. Drop it all on your bedroom floor. Locate comfiest, softest pyjamas/loungewear and put them on.
12.45: Head to the kitchen and wap on the oven. Put pizza in the oven and head back to bedroom. Find something good to watch. I usually go for a so crap its good thriller: Criminal minds/CSI style or a nice easy watching Happy Endings/New Girl.
13.00: Load up the episode of your choice and arrange the drinks you have bought on the bedside table. Drink Capri sun in two gulps immediately.
13.30: Get pizza out of oven and eat it in your bed whilst watching program. Yes you heard me in your bed. No I am not an animal. Look at that pizza its a thing of beauty. Drink as much fizzy water as you can muster. Rehydration is key and fizzy water is the best compromise between actual water and a litre of coke. Or as I like to call it, the compromise between not tasting all of last nights alcohol all over again and not rotting all your teeth into the bargain.
14.00 – 17.30: watch all manner of crap tv whilst texting your mates and sniggering about last nights events. Some of the most excellent laughs you’ve ever had will come at this moment. Take last Saturday morning when a friend of mine began a text ‘Sorry to turn this back to my poo but…’
17.30: Go and get in the shower. Go on. It will feel amazing. Wash your hair and everything.
18.00: Put toast in toaster and can of beans in microwave.
18:30: Eat beans on toast and laugh smugly about how clever you are to have bought your dinner meaning leaving the house was not a necessity.
19.30: put yourself to bed. You earned it.
Remember – when you wake up you will feel like a whole new person. So go on, wallow in it. Eat an entire pack of monster munch in the bath. Cry at an RSPCA advert. Laugh so much that your eyes go into your head as your mate recounts how she sat in her own sick and called her neighbour a knob cheese/ate a whole raw garlic baguette/stole a large expensive candle from a house party/ called a bouncer a ‘jobs worth’.*
*all true stories from my most excellent partners in crime. Get yourself some, they are the best.