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Sunday, 8 January 2012

Feeling Blue? Five Reasons January ROCKS

Everyone seems a bit fed up, don't they? January is dark, and cold, and cash-strapped, and full of unrealistic expectations - already three quarters of the people I know who gave up the booze for January are well and truly off the wagon - and tight waistbands. So here's five reasons that January is, in fact, ace.

1. New diary. Everyone loves a nice new book to write in - who doesn't carefully, laboriously, use their very best handwriting on the first page, and die a little inside if a crossing out or correction has to be made? This year, not only do I have a new diary, but it's a big one. And it's a Simon's Cat one, with pictures of a hungry feline pointing sorrowfully at its mouth on almost every page. No further evidence required on this point, other than those pristine pages can now be filled with...

2. Even more good restaurant deals. I wrote rather giddily about some of these the other day - and have indeed already booked for Harvey Nichols Supper Club - but a couple more have come to my attention since. Firstly, I admit to my shame that I completely forgot about Room's legendary Winter Sale, which offers 50% off the food bill Monday to Friday (before 7pm) until 10th Feb - visit their website for further details and to apply for a discount card. And secondly, Azzurro, the excellent independent Italian restaurant in West Didsbury, has a tempting-looking offer on Friday nights, with three courses (from a set menu) and a bottle of wine per couple for £20.12 per person. The food here is consistently outstanding, lovingly chosen and prepared, and served in a convivial family atmosphere - check their website for sample menus. Obviously they could take my advice on the decor and replace all their tasteful nonsense with a few gingham tablecloths and some candles artfully stuck in be-skirted bottles, but apart from that this place is pretty much perfect. If the offer is popular, they may extend it beyond January, so you know what you need to do here.

3. And on a food-related note, the advent of Stilton Sunday. Now admittedly this is a new tradition, and it's not yet absolutely certain it will be adopted on a national level, but it should be - an annual event, perhaps the first Sunday in January, where every meal must contain leftover Christmas Stilton to a greater or lesser degree - I prefer greater. Today I have stopped short of stirring a chunk or two through my cups of tea, but only just.

4. January telly. There's always loads of Sexy Drama on TV in January - tonight it's Sherlock, tomorrow it's Above Suspicion, Hustle is back on Friday...and if you're more of a reality show bent, I note from my, ahem, Twitter timeline that certain besequinned favourites are back on our screens *pretends that in no way, at all, is watching Dancing On Ice - hard when Bleakley-rage is simmering not far beneath the surface*

5. January sales. Now, I'm obviously not advocating the type of frenzied, Boxing Day scrummage that ends up on the news every year, more the sedate pleasure of going round the shops in early January and picking up lots of gorgeous things that - inexplicibly - no-one else wants. This is a particularly enjoyable activity if one has received vouchers for one's birthday in November, although can cause feelings that a/ one is somehow misshapen, and a completely different size to the rest of the clothes-buying population in the UK, and b/ that one's taste is essentially quite suspect. Nothing that a half-price Jack Daniels gift set can't assuage though...

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