Change Involves A Challenge!

Change Involves A Challenge!

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When I started my blog I had no intention of setting up the Lifting Weights Not wine exercise challenges, they just sort of happened!  Initially they helped give me content for my Instagram page @liftingweightsnotwine and now I’ve ended up having a few messages asking to start another one!  So on Monday 12th November I will start a new 40 day challenge that will run up to the 21st December, which is perfect timing for Christmas.

I don’t know about you guys but I am certainly someone who likes to journal or chart any sort of progress I am making.

For years I was obsessed with writing down my weight and aiming for a certain (normally unrealistic) goal in a specific time frame (unhealthy obsession I know!)

Then when I became aware that my drinking was getting worse and I wanted to cut down/stop, I downloaded the Drinkaware App.  Now this App is brilliant BUT you have to be honest with what you put into it, and that was my problem! You would find me fiddling my units on a sunday night in an attempt to make my weekend alcohol intake look better!

Then once I had stopped drinking, I (like every other soberista out there) started tracking my days and weeks of sobriety.  This stopped when I got to one year and now I track it monthly along with the exercise challenges to keep me motivated!

OK, so I know it looks like I’m a bit of a crazy woman writing down and tracking all of these things but it all refers back to one thing………………………….

MOVING FORWARD AND WANTING TO CHANGE!!

Here’s the thing, if you want to make your life better, you’re going to have to challenge yourself!

It’s so easy to stay the same, especially when it comes to our lifestyles.  We are in our own comfort zone and although we may be unhappy with how we look and feel,  that feeling is “easier” than taking on the challenge to change.  How we are is the norm, it’s what we are used to and it’s how our friends and family are used to seeing us.  Its comfy. Its normal. Its easy!

Personally I feel that we live in a society where drinking is considered normal.  I know I have had a lot of raised eyebrows when ive told people I don’t drink anymore, which is crazy when you think if I told people I don’t do crack cocaine anymore they would give me a pat on the back and think I was amazing! (Anyway I could blog about that all night long but I will save it for another post!)   We are so embedded into the drinking culture that surrounds us that its hard to escape,  its hard to make the change as we get pressure from around us to remain the same and stick with the “norm”!

Some changes are inevitable and we just have to accept them, like growing old, ill-health, financial situations, relationships etc some changes  WILL occur and there is nothing you can do but accept them and adapt.

The real challenge is when you decide to make a change yourself .

Stopping drinking was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, it was a huge challenge, it wasn’t easy but I just knew that I couldn’t stay the same.  I had to move from the place I was in, I was unhappy and unhealthy and I didn’t want to continue feeling the way that I did.  But by doing it I have proved to myself that I am capable of so many other things, I can push myself outside of my comfort zone and achieve so many other things with my life.  So now it’s opened up the door to lots of other challenges for me such as; focusing on a new career, pushing myself physically, wanting to learn and do new things and having an outlook that life really is one big adventure!

You have got to keep challenging yourself to change, yes its hard, yes you feel stressed and  uncomfortable at the thought of it but at the end of the day its the only way you will get there.  And in no time at all the ‘old you’ will be what makes you feel uncomfortable and the new you and how you live your life will become the norm for yourself and everyone around you.

So start right now – set the challenge – write it down – and make the change! And if you need some accountability or support then join me on Monday for my 40 day exercise challenge, tie it in with no alcohol and you will be feeling AMAZING by Christmas! And who knows you may want to spend this christmas sober! (Sober Christmas blog post coming soon)

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Any advice, tips or questions then please comment below or just to let me know how things are going for you on your sober journey?

Angie xx

 

 

 

Hangover Free Half-Term!

Hangover Free Half-Term!

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So half-term is almost over, and it has been an action packed one for me and my family!

A while ago I shared a post titled A Sliding Doors Weekend…..which basically was about life being so different for me after kicking the booze.  And this half term has certainly been a “sliding doors” kind of week!

We started the half term at the beautiful Whinfell Center Parcs in the Lake District.  I think holidays are a time when I definitely see a big difference in myself now that I am sober.  We try to visit Center Parcs every year since we’ve had children, it’s just somewhere that we all love.  Now the only time that I haven’t drunk on a Center Parcs holiday was when I was pregnant with my second daughter.

So for me normally it’s  typical “holiday” mode drinking!  Starting as soon as I get there to “start” the holiday off with wine at lunch, then a few beers in the pool, followed by wine whilst getting ready at the lodge and into the evening whether we are going in or out for tea.  Needless to say I have had some horrendous hangovers whist I have been there, and normally would be counting down to a decent hour that I could have a drink to feel better.

The last two times I have been I have been sober and  I have definitely noticed the difference.  Take away the alcohol and you really get a feel for what Center Parcs is all about!  I have had a weekend of feeling full of energy, we did so much more and seemed to pack our days full.  I woke up every morning feeling raring to go, compared to how I used to sit trying to stomach breakfast, watching people run past on an early morning run and just not getting how people did that???? And now, that WAS me, early morning runs and feeling fresh after a fab nights sleep after falling into bed physically, exhausted.  And when we came home I felt recharged, still tired after a full on weekend, but a weekend full of life not full of wine!

For the rest of the week we have been on bike rides, baking, pumpkin carving (obviously!), had dvd nights with home-made popcorn, been to Liverpool for a shopping trip, plus I had a girls night out on Friday.

Before I stopped drinking I still loved the time spent with my girls but drinking would slowly creep in, taking my focus away from them.  For example I would want to get them to bed so I could ‘chillout’ and have a bottle of wine, I wouldn’t have the patience to sit through a dvd or make popcorn.   I would make the most of not having to get up for the school run and drink every night, leaving me feeling totally rubbish the next day.  We still did things together and went to places but my hangover anxiety would creep in and we wouldn’t venture very far!

On top of the drinking I would eat rubbish ALL week and just forget any ideas of exercise.  Now this week yes I have had some lovely treat food (Café rouge thankyou for the best donuts with dark chocolate dipping sauce EVER!) and I have purposely had some rest days to give my body a chance to recharge, but I have also been active on walks, bike rides etc to balance it out.

People think that by stopping drinking that you are giving something up and missing out.  Personally I feel (and I hope I am showing) that this isn’t the case at all!  My life and especially holidays and times together with the family, have become even richer and fulfilled.  I am getting more out of our time together (and with my eldest being a tween I am not sure how many more holidays she will want to spend with me!).

The thought of sober holidays can make you feel anxious and worried.  Holidays are a time when we just know we will be drinking more, after all we ‘deserve’ it don’t we???  On average we drink three times more than normal when we are on holiday!  That’s the norm, its just what we do isn’t it?

But ask yourself – was your last holiday a time that you recharged your batteries, looked after yourself, tried something new?  Or was it just like all the other holidays, eating and drinking to excess, coming home in need of a holiday?

It’s also about what happens after the time off, when life returns back to normal and school and work resume.  For me that used to be the worst!  The horrendous anxiety and fear that I was going  back to some sort of structure and early mornings again.  Feeling drained but trying to plan to exercise and lose the weight I had gained over the week, attempting to detox my body.  On top of that I am not one of these parents who look forward to the kids going back to school, (there is nothing at all wrong with being like that) it’s just that as I work from home it all goes very quiet when they go back and I miss having them around.  So true to form I would be drinking wine as a last chance to make myself feel better!

So yes,  I may feel a little sad that normality resumes tomorrow, but I am also feeling positive and refreshed ready to face the week ahead.  We have had a fab week and made some amazing memories for my little family, and I am now ready for the hectic countdown to Christmas!

Have you got a holiday coming up? Or have you just had your first sober half term if you’re doing sober October, how did it go? Any sober survival tactics that you can share?

Wishing you all a fabulous hangover free week ahead!

Angie xx

Own Your Story And Write A New Chapter……

Own Your Story And Write A New Chapter……

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This week I have had my first ever interview with the lovely Gayle from the sober website and Instagram page SOBER BLISS!  Gayle offers a professional and personal service for people looking to stop drinking and discover the world of Sober Bliss!  You can find her at www.Sober-Bliss.com

So Gayle contacted me to see if I would share my sober story so far, for her to share on her you tube channel and website.  I am not going to lie, at first I was really nervous and hesitant as I still haven’t shared my Lifting Weights Not Wine Blog to ALL of my friends and family.   But I thought hey why not, I need to practice what I preach and step outside of my comfort zone with this!

So we set a time, and I was surprised at how easy it went.  It really was like just chatting with a friend over a coffee! If you would like to watch the full interview please follow the link below (and you may need to make a cup of tea, its a full 30 minutes, believe me I can talk!)  I feel like I have shared a little more of my story and revealed a little more of myself and the reasons why I have stopped drinking.   Listening back to it I did feel emotional, some parts are hard to hear and they take me back to not a very good place, but I wanted it come from the heart and it did.

I am so glad that I did it because I believe it is so important to share the positive message of sobriety.  There is a stigma attached to sobriety that it’s boring, dull, grey and that your life is over if you stop drinking alcohol!  Believe me this is certainly NOT the case!  I know that stopping drinking has given me a new lease of life, a lust for life a yearning to constantly try new things and push myself outside of my comfort zone.  I am doing things that I had only dreamt of doing before with a new found confidence.  I believe in myself!   That doesn’t sound very grey and boring to me, especially when you compare it to sitting on the settee with a bottle of wine most weekends or nursing a hangover!

If my story can inspire just one person to change their drinking habits and start on a journey to be the best version of themselves, without the booze, then I will feel proud to have shared it.

We all have a story, and if we are unhappy with how it is turning out it’s important to realise that you have the power inside of you to change it.

When we deny the story, it defines us.  When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.”

(BRENE BROWN)

 

So I have made this a short post as I would love you to head over to You Tube by clicking on the link When Sober Bliss Meets Lifting Weights Not Wine

Please let me know what you think and if you like it then please share away, the more positive sober success stories out there the better!

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy those heavenly hangover free mornings!

Angie xx

Focus On Your Weights At The Gym Going Up, Not Your Weight Going Down.

Focus On Your Weights At The Gym Going Up, Not Your Weight Going Down.

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Ok so where do I begin…….. let me try to cut a long story short (well as short as possible!)

So from the age of about fourteen I have weighed myself approximately three times every week (minimum), more often than not on a daily basis.  My weight in that time has fluctuated from 9 stone to 12-13stone,  this isn’t including my weight when I was  pregnant with my girls. I sort of went off the scales then (literally!) but I was busy growing my babies, so nothing else mattered!  I am sure I am not alone in saying that I have had a very unhealthy relationship with weighing scales, they can determine my  whole mood, diet, energy and plans for the day ahead in a heartbeat – yes they really have that power over me or should I say they  HAD that power over me!

When I gave up alcohol, I knew that I could potentially turn to food and that could be my new addiction,  food could fill the gap alcohol had left behind.  This is why I had to consciously focus on exercise and trying to get in my best possible shape, so that if I was indulging in treat foods at least I was burning some of them off too.  In a previous post I explain how exercise is possibly my new addiction but at least its a healthy one. Exercise – A Healthy Addiction!

It’s only recently that I have had to try to get out of the really bad habit of weighing myself regularly, and I have got to be honest I have  struggled.  My main issue has been my weight gain from lifting heavier weights, and even though my clothes size has gone down I just feel frustrated because the number on the scale has gone up.   It’s crazy I know but I am sure that I’m not the only one who feels like this?

So the said scales are currently locked away in the shed and I am trying to stay body positive, which some days is harder than others.  I am just trying to focus on how I feel – I am lifting heavier weights than I have ever done, I have more energy, I am eating good, healthy, regular meals and snacks with not so healthy treats occasionally too.  A healthy,  balanced, realisitc diet.  A tiny little square that I step on every morning cannot measure how I feel, and although it’s work in progress I definitely feel like I am getting there.

Earlier this week I was chatting with a friend at the gym and she was telling me that she doesn’t weigh herself and instead uses a pair of jeans as a guide!  It felt like a light bulb moment for me, and I promised myself to do exactly the same.  It feels so liberating and scary!  It’s crazy how I could put own the wine glass pretty easily yet struggle with my battle with the scales.  I suppose somethings are easier to give up than others.

An article from The Insider (March 2018) gives 5 reasons why you should stop weighing yourself NOW!

  • It can distract from body cues – the number becomes so important that you ignore important body signals such as exhaustion and stress.
  • It can create mental obstacles – for example it can determine your mood and diet for the rest of the day even effecting your social life in some cases.
  • It can go hand in hand with or encourage eating disorders as the number on the scale becomes priority over everything else.
  • Standard scales don’t indicate your body composition, so they can’t tell you the distribution of fat and lean mass on your body.  This is why someone with a lot of muscle can look slimmer than someone with a higher fat composition, even if they both weigh the same amount.  If you only focus on the number, you could be stopping yourself from building muscle that will ultimately make you appear leaner.
  • And finally, the number on the scale is a poor indicator of your overall health!

So now my focus is watching the weights I’m lifting going up instead of obsessing about the number on the scale going down.  Who’s with me??  After all how can we measure our awesomeness on a set of scales!  I am stronger now than I have ever been and although my scales have been saying I am around 10lbs up from what I was at the beginning of the year, I am also fitting into a size 8 pair of jeans (that has NEVER happened) – I just need to get my head around it, and I am……..  slowly…..its work in progress!

I apologise that this post isn’t really about quitting the booze.  However it is something I have wanted to discuss, and I feel I have taken ownership of it now that I have shared it with you all.  And if its helps someone else in the process then that’s even better!

To anyone who is Going Sober for October, you are nearly a week into it and that’s amazing!  Make sure you have lots of alcohol free drinks stocked in the fridge (and chocolate!)  and that you spend the weekend nurturing yourself and taking time to chill – you are SMASHING it!

I will finish with a quote I saw recently (unknown):-

Your best weight is whatever weight you reach, when you’re living the healthiest life you actually enjoy living!

Well,  I will raise a Becks Blue to that!

For further tips and sober support please follow me on Instagram  @liftingweightsnotwine

I hope you have a happy, healthy weekend.

Angie xx

It’s not just about stopping drinking….

It’s not just about stopping drinking….

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I apologise to anyone who follows me on Instagram because it’s the second time I have used this pic since Saturday,  yes its me making star jumps whilst out on a run early Saturday morning!  I’ve used it again because this picture sums up how I feel most of the time now I have  stopped drinking – yes there are off days but ninety percent of the time I am in star jump mode!!!!!!!!!!

” I Didn’t Get Sober To Sit On The Couch”

Now this is a quote (unknown) that I have seen so many times on Instagram and social media and I never really understood it until I was around 10-11 months sober, then suddenly it clicked!  For the first twelve months I was just counting down to the big ‘one year of not drinking’ and yes I was exercising regularly and feeling good in myself, which for the first months was the reward I needed, I felt amazing but this quote still didn’t register with me.

It was only around the ten month mark that I started thinking …………what happens after the first twelve months, what next? Do I carry on my journey? Do I try and moderate? Do I drift back into my old habits and just have this 12 months as proof that I can do it?  (Gosh the thought of going back to that makes me feel physically sick , the wheels would fall off big time!)

NO – I wanted to take my journey further, I needed to take the next step that came naturally ………. so my little blog was born followed by my Instagram page, which this weekend got to over one thousand followers, woo hoo I still can’t quite believe it!  Having a blog and Instagram page is something I could never have imagined the old me doing, I didn’t believe in myself enough to do something like that.  It is what other people do but not me. But here I am 22 months sober and it’s happening.  And that’s the key, stopping drinking alcohol has made this possible for me for a number of reasons:-

  • I have confidence in myself that I have never had before.
  • It has given me so much more free time to do the things I love. I am no longer planning my time around wine time and hangovers.  I’ve got 24 hours a day to spend, fully functional, full of energy on whatever I want!
  • I don’t have the niggling negativity that I would get after a boozy weekend, the self-doubt and anxiety I talked about in my last post (read it hereAlcohol & Anxiety, …….
  • I discovered my love of lifting weights and the amazing feeling of being strong both inside and out.
  • I’ve found that there is a whole new world out there in social media, of people sharing their stories and who are on a similar journey to me. All supporting one another. People who build you up not knock you down.

This week I am taking another step forward in my journey, a big step for me…………….. I am hopefully looking at becoming a fitness instructor in January 2019.  So this week I am mixing my exercise up a little and i’ve got a three-day pass for a local gym to try all of their classes and help me make a decision in what I want to teach.  I never thought I would be looking at this as an option, it’s the sort of job that I would look at and feel envious of people doing it. I could never be that fit, healthy, in shape or confident enough to do that. But that was the old me, and although I do keep having a bit of a wobble about it, I just know that I will give it my all and love every part of the process even if it does scare me to death somedays, deep down I know I can do it- it something that I’m excited about!

When you stop drinking or even if you’re trying to cut down its so easy to focus on what you’re giving up, but instead focus on everything you have to gain.  Think of all the things you want to do but haven’t had the confidence or self-worth to do them.  Alcohol feeds all your negative emotions, it enables you to escape your reality. By stopping drinking you create so much space to create a life you love and achieve things that you have only dreamt of in the past.

So now I understand the quote “I didn’t get sober to sit on the couch”  I have spent hours and hours sat on my couch sipping wine, and now I want to make up for that.  You don’t necessarily have to be signing up for mud runs or becoming a fitness instructor, you may want to write a book, learn a language, travel more, make a career move, make a relationship move even or just start your own blog??? The list of possibilities are endless! Write your list down of what you want to achieve and make that your motivation to stop drinking, to start or continue on your sober journey. There’s a whole new world out there for the sober you, stop letting alcohol hold you back!

If your following me on Instagram @lifitingweightsnotwine I will be posting my exercise challenge updates on there daily to keep myself and anyone else motivated and I apologise in advance for any future star jump pics!!!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy week ahead.

 Angie xx

Find Your Tribe…..

Find Your Tribe…..

 

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There are a lot of online support groups out there to help you stop drinking.  And the most important word in that sentence is GROUP!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you will know that it took me about 12-18 months to finally quit drinking successfully.  And during that time I knew deep down that I didn’t have a healthy relationship with alcohol and it was taking up a lot more of my mind than it should have been.  Any free time I had would be spent googling about cutting down, quitting all together, how much is too much?  And my favourite – quitting alcohol success stories and transformation pictures (which I still love to read!)  I can honestly remember being sat at my girls tennis lessons on a Monday evening, after feeling rubbish all day with a weekend hangover, googling over and over again, feeling so desperate to change the pattern of self destruct that I was repeating weekend after weekend.

I’ve got to be honest, I did feel very alone, I didn’t discuss my drinking with anyone. My main reason for stopping drinking was how bad it was making me feel physically and the guilt I felt because I couldn’t stop or cut down,  it wasn’t really something I wanted to admit to friends and family.  I  didn’t have the courage to join any online groups because I didn’t feel like one of those people, I didn’t believe I could ever stop drinking.  I felt like I was the only person who felt this way.  The first online blog I started reading was Clare Pooley – Mummy Was A Secret Drinker.  I could certainly relate to her story and it felt amazing to know there are other people out there who aren’t necessarily alcoholics but know that they have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

After a particularly boozy weekend, I emailed  Clare on second day of not drinking and she replied within an hour.  I still think if she hadn’t had replied I wouldn’t be where I am today,  nearly 21 months sober.  I started to read her blog from day one and read the comments and even commented on some posts myself and I suddenly felt part of a group, a support system, a safe place where I could be honest about my drinking and people understood because they felt the same.

I would advise anyone trying to stop drinking to look online and find a group they feel comfortable with, and you know what you shouldn’t have to pay anything to join.  There are lots of free, helpful groups out there.

Other ones I have joined are Living Sober and a Facebook group called The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober (after the book by Catherine Gray).  I have also found so many new friends on the same sober journey, through my Instagram page and blog.  Its been amazing how many people have contacted me for help and advice, and sometimes you just need someone to listen who isn’t  going to judge, and I think online support provides that because we are all going through the same thing.  The people who follow me, motivate and inspire me just like I hopefully do for them.  It’s a two-way thing and there is no negativity, no nasty comments, unlike in the real world where I have had quite a few.

In real life yes you do have your family and friends who support you. But let me just put things into perspective, I only actually physically know two actual people who have stopped drinking.  One is a neighbour who is also a customer of mine and I recently discovered a school mum from my eldest daughters class has also been sober since Janury.  So you can see its much easier to find the sober support you’re looking for online!

Being anonymous (if you choose to be) online also gives you more confidence when it comes to talking about your drinking habits, as a lot of people keep their drinking habits a secret if they know they are developing a problem.  Being anonymous was a huge thing for me in the early days, it allowed me to open up about my relationship with alcohol to those who were feeling exactly the same.  I’ve gradually introduced my blog and Instagram page to close family and friends, but I am waiting for my 2 year soberversary before I shout it out to the big wide world of Facebook!  I am hopefully looking at starting up a closed Facebook Lifting Weights Not Wine Group in the not too distant future so I will keep you posted.

In the meantime if you haven’t already,  then please take a look at the support groups and blogs I have mentioned.  If you’re at the stage that I was at, hovering on google because I was too scared and had zero confidence in myself to stop drinking, don’t wait any longer just reach out for help and that one reply may be all you need to kick-start your sober journey!

Have any of you joined any other good online support groups or blogs that you could recommend for others?   I will be starting another 100 day of exercise challenge at the beginning of September so I will keep you all updated in that too!

Angie xx

 

 

Perfect Timing!

Perfect Timing!

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You know when things happen for a reason, well this card is just that!

I had an hour to spare before the school run so I sat down to do a quick blog entry, then ……. total mental block ( and I know why, so stick with me!)  Literally at the same second this card came through my door, it’s from a very close, good friend who I worked with nearly twenty years ago and thankfully we have kept in touch.  She wrote inside “I saw this and thought of you, loving your blog and insta!” How lovely!!!! She will be reading this and she is a superstar, supporting me 100% on this sober journey of mine!

So the reason I had a mental block is because I haven’t had the best week.  And I was undecided whether to bring this into my blogging world or not,  but I suppose the card popping through my letterbox decided it for me!  Basically to cut a long story short, last year I had a lump in my breast that needed investigating further, and the same has happened again this week.  Luckily it was nothing to worry about last time and I am telling myself its nothing this time either, so fingers crossed all will be fine!

The reason why I am blogging about it is because I often talk about the highs being high and the lows being low when you don’t drink, and having to take the rough with the smooth. But at the same time being safe in the knowledge that what you are feeling are true feelings that haven’t been heightened or numbed with alcohol.  This week is a perfect example of this.

Because I have been here before I don’t feel as stressed as last time, and I am trying to think of all the positive outcomes.  The hardest thing for me is the waiting to find out what it is, my appointment isn’t until the week after next so it feels like ages off.

In the past this would be the perfect opportunity for me to drown out the waiting with a bottle of chardonnay every night and I would probably be making things much more dramatic than they need to be and feeling absolutely rubbish for the next two weeks.  I would be thinking negatively from the outset and be constantly thinking about the worse case scenario.  Plus the beer fear and hangovers making the whole situation a lot worse than it needed to be! I would then be talking myself into getting as healthy as possible and quitting drinking once I knew the outcome.  So basically I would be in self destruct mode for two weeks,  before I even knew if it was anything to worry about or not!

However the sober me has dealt with it much better.  I’ve stuck to my normal routine of exercise and eating the best I can.  Although twice I’ve given into McDonald’s mocha frappe this week (rehydration purposes in the heatwave!!!) And I am telling myself to stay calm until there is something to worry about.  Yes the waiting isn’t great, but you know what I’ve got to deal with that, and with my eldest leaving primary school in two weeks I certainly have a lot to keep me busy!

So although I haven’t been very ‘badass’ this week and more like a wet lettuce,  feeling emotional every five minutes,  I hope by sharing this its helped someone stop reaching for the wine glass thinking it will help them feel better.  I can’t name one situation or scenario now where drinking would benefit me or make me feel better, and I really mean that.

So whether your stressed with something or just have a lot on your plate and you would normally turn to drinking to ease the stress, just see what happens if you don’t?  And just go through what your going through, maybe you will be surprised at the outcome!

And to anyone who is a sober warrior and going against the majority of drinkers this weekend, then you are definitely BADASS!!

Have a lovely, happy, healthy weekend!

Angie xx