Tis the season to be jolly FA LA LA LA LAAAAA LA LA LA LA
Or in my case
Tis the season for getting fat, panic attacks and drunk texting my boyfriend until he blocks my number. YAY
Seriously though Christmas is the best time of the year. When else is it acceptable to wear a sequin skirt and a feathery jumper to work? When else can you glug a hot wine at around 11am without anyone raising their eyebrows and slowly pushing an AA flyer in your direction? At what other time of year is lying on the sofa in a onesie eating quality street and binge watching ITV actually deemed an activity in its own right.
However, like most nice things, there’s a price to be paid for all this merriment.
And that’s a colossal hangover my friend.
And sadly because I’m not a millionaire or a millionaires wife (come on – actually much more fun when you think about it) said colossal hangover often annoyingly coincides with a full day of work.
Now look before any one gets all up in arms and starts muttering things like ‘self control’ and ‘local meetings in your area’ I would like to stress that it is virtually impossible not to get boozy at Christmas (i.e. any day after 5th November) in London. There is temptation on every single corner: from obligatory Christmas drinks parties to work functions that are the same as every other work drinks apart from the fact there’s some sad tinsel around the water cooler and the office ‘joker’ is wearing a jumper that says ‘jingle my bells’ – there’s literally no avoiding it!
Take Winter Wonderland for example, the beacon of enforced Christmas fun. Likelihood is you will be made to go. Maybe you’ll merrily trot along of your own accord. Maybe you’ll start going out with someone and realise that they love Winter Wonderland with an enthusiasm that borders on frightening COUGH MOD COUGH. Whatever the reason you will find yourself there. And on finding yourself there you will remember that the whole thing is as fun as a root canal unless you are tipsy at the very least.
Don’t frown at me. We all know the bloody Bavarian beer tent is the only good bit and anyone who says otherwise can go enjoy their 8 pound hot dog in a ‘artic hut’ that is actually an old Wendy house.
You can attempt it sober but then you’ll end up like me, freezing and wandering around the Bavarian beer tent plaintively asking people when the amazing and sexy singer was coming out on stage only to realise that the old German man murdering fairy tale of new York was, in fact, the man that me and my beer goggles had fallen in love with on a previous trip.
I made a facebook appreciation group. Yep.
So yeah it’s unavoidable. You’re invariably going to end up out on a week night, squinting at your watch and slurring ‘fack – is 11.30! wuzz only 8pm faive minutes ago. I’ll get an uber after this mulled wine.’
Ps: you wont get an uber after that mulled wine. You’ll try and get an uber after that mulled wine, a mulled cider and some sort of hot whiskey however will end up flagging a black cab after standing on the corner of Tottenham court road looking at your phone with one eye shut, breathing heavily and gently swaying.
So let’s just acknowledge that there may be a day where you’ve had a shocker. You’ve woken up with a mouth drier than the sahara that tastes like you licked every inch of a Wetherspoons bar and skin that hurts. You’ve got to be in work in an hour. What do you do.
You navigate the day like a boss that’s what you do!!
Before the night out.
If you take nothing else from this blog post, please hear me when I say:
No amount of under eye concealer is going to hide your hangover if you spent the majority of the previous afternoon talking your colleagues through the cocktail list at the bar/restaurant/Christmas market/carol service (NO JUDGING) that you are planning to attend that evening.
If you want to be able to get away with being a bit hungover in the office, you need to pretend that you basically live the life of a librarian. This is a little technique I like to call ‘lying to my colleagues’.
Seriously though, whilst it might sound bad I’ve come to find that for every nice normal person in an office environment there is at least one notoriously petty arsehole who thinks that it’s their duty to make sure that everyone is working just as hard as they are. I once worked with a guy who seemed really normal until he took me for a coffee and took me through a list he’d kept of all the times he’d felt I wasn’t ‘on my game’ in the office over the past three months despite the fact that he’d spent the majority of the day before trying to buy a surfboard off ebay. SIGH.
This man was not my boss. He was simply a patronising weirdo who had a bad case of the ‘not knowing when to butt his huge spotty nose out of other people’s business’.
Maybe it’s just me but I literally don’t give a single shit about what my colleagues are doing unless it directly affects me. There have been days where someone could probably have set themselves on fire next to me and my only thought would be ‘bit warmer in here than usual’.
So by all means tell your work mates the ins and outs of every plan you have coming up that week but don’t mention it to officious Olivia from marketing because nothing makes a hangover more horrific than receiving an email with the words ‘office conduct’ or being asked for a ‘quick word’.
Do damage control before you leave the house
This may seem counter intuitive but get yourself out of bed ASAP as soon as the alarm goes off. Snoozing won’t help you now. Ten minutes of sleep will do nothing to dull your pain and you may as well get up, face it and try to make yourself look like a normal human being.
Anyway, there’s a good possibility you’ll still be drunk at this point. Sound horrifying? Don’t be a fool, residual drunkenness is your bloody saviour. Relish it as you giggle in the shower. This is most likely the best you will feel all day. Think of it as a big numbing blanket of non self-awareness and good humour. Expect merry chats with the corner shop man and saying ‘whoopsie’ to strangers you barge into on the tube. Don’t begrudge it because at circa 12pm that blanket will be whipped off and you’ll be greeted by a cold gust of flashbacks and an impending sense of doom.
Get yourself into a shower, that goes without saying. There’s nothing worse than someone who smells like the inside of a brewery and I know this because I can have literally two glasses of wine and it smells like I’ve bathed in it. My skin is a big tell tale tit.
What also helps however is to fill the sink full of cold water and plunge your face into it for 5 seconds. Kate Moss once said this was her secret beauty tip. I won’t lie to you I’ve never emerged and thought Kate Moss had broken into my bathroom but it does make you feel just so much better.
Also 10 points to Gryffindor if you manage to do this without subsequently slurping from the sink like a thirsty dog.
What? Don’t judge!
Select an outfit
Now look I know it’s tempting to go for your comfiest clothes when you feel like utter poo but today is the day to bring your A game. You want to channel that boring girl from your uni seminars who had always done the reading and had an immaculate blow dry always whilst you sat like a hideous goblin in the corner sporting hedge hair and fingerless gloves to hide the club stamp on your hand.
My go to outfit for hangover days is a white shirt, a black jumper, a black skirt, tights, boots, red lipstick and slicked back ponytail.
No one’s saying that you’ll look like Giselle in this outfit but most people will assume that someone with a cracking hangover would be unlikely to bother to wear anything other than a sack.
This is a v.g. non verbal example of the ‘lying to your colleagues’ technique I mentioned earlier.
Go via a shop
Ok you will need to buy the following.
– An overpriced, coffee based, blended drink. A caramel frappucino works very well.
– A bottle of water
– a diet coke
– something bread based
Drink the frapuccino thing on the way to work. This will taste delicious and also make you feel like Carrie Bradshaw rather than Stig of the Dump. Who you look like is questionable.
Side note: no matter how much your frappucino makes you FEEL like Carrie Bradshaw don’t attempt to do her silly trotting run across the road because no amount of red lipstick will help you when you fall, cut your knee and cry before realising you’ve sat in your frappucino.
That was a dark day.
Next get in and park yourself at your desk. This is where you shall stay til lunch minus loo breaks.
Plan your day wisely
Ok pal this is how your day goes from here.
Get in walk straight to your desk and sit down. Do NOT attempt to make casual conversation with anyone. You’re still probably a bit drunk and no one wants to learn the hard way that thumbs upping all your colleagues like Mr Bean is a direct indicator of impending hangover hell.
Equally do not try and pass your state off as illness. Tis bullshit and they will smell it.
Sit at your desk and wait for someone to offer you coffee. If they don’t resist the urge to shout ‘BASTARDS’ in all their faces and instead make yourself one. Quietly. Keeping yourself to yourself is key here mate because you’ve had a shocker and as soon as you speak everyone will know it.
Drink the bottle of water and eat the bread based thing.
Do a poo
Now – listen. THIS IS THE ONLY PART OF THE DAY WHEN YOU’LL BE ABLE TO ACHIEVE ANYTHING.
Do you hear me? Good.
Get everything that MUST be done today done right now. Ride on the glorious wave sponsored by last night’s wine and rattle off your emails/weekly reports/other generalised work stuff with gusto. Every time you feel like stopping remind yourself how unlikely it will be that you’ll get any work done after lunch.
Go for lunch. Get out of the office for god’s sake. Even if it’s just to air your boozy boozy skin. Eat something else bread based but with some green in it. A salady sandwich (look mate I don’t know I’m not Deliciously Ella CLEARLY).
Have a little lie down on a bench if you can. But do know that if you do this people may try to give you money and if it’s a day when you’ve…oh I don’t know…fallen over whilst pretending to be Carrie Bradshaw and sat in your Frappuccino you’ll probably accept it and buy choc with it. I mean I don’t know because it wasn’t me so…. I don’t know.
The tiredness will be getting you by now so the name of the game is just pushing through to the end of the day. Don’t waste your energy speaking to anyone. Let me ask you what is more vital
- Not falling asleep on the tube and ending up in Morden
- Having this exchange with ‘Chaz’ from Creative design
Chaz: “Ooh keeping you up are we?”
You: (thinking Fuck off you Weasel) “Ha – good one Chaz. No, Just a little tired”
Chaz: “Burning the candle at both ends are we” *mimes drinking from a wine glass*
You: Uneasy laugh “yeah something like that”
NO – pointless and waste of oxygen! Just perfect the short unenthusiastic laugh and nod reserved for all patronising wankers the world over.
This time can be spent doing any of the following activities: filing your emails, organising your desktop, cleaning your desk surface, reading something you printed out from the internet that looks vaguely worky, having a brainstorm in a meeting room (code for having a nap)
I’m not going to lie to you pal – if you’re anything like me, it may all get a bit apocalyptic at this point. You’ll start questioning your life.
Why you feel the need to pound a bottle of wine on a Tuesday at a theme park designed for children so young they still believe in Santa Claus
Why your friends didn’t prize the alcohol out of your hands but instead encouraged you like the heathens they are
Just breathe through it because these thoughts are just thoughts and actually will become immaterial as soon as you get back into your bed.
ITS HOME TIME – do not pass go, do not stop to chat, throw on that coat and run like the wind. Head straight home and get yourself into bed and put something nice on like friends or SATC with a cup of tea. Shake your fist at Carrie Bradshaw and mutter ‘stupid trotting bitch’.
Eat something with cheese on. And ultimately pat yourself on the back for surviving. Beyonce knows nothing of your strength and valour.
You are a SURVIVOR.