Now, I'm guessing that across Manchester today people have dragged themselves out of bed and into work, to face an inbox so full that one may as well simply delete the lot, and exchange pleasantries with a range of colleagues with the puffy faces and oh-so-tight waistbands that can only really be acquired after two solid weeks of carousing ("no, no, really, you look fine. I've only put on the half a stone myself. Yes, I am sucking my cheekbones in"). Little wonder then, that most people's New Year's Resolutions revolve around eating and drinking less; indeed, I know two otherwise perfectly nice people who have elected to give up alcohol for the whole of January.
Logical, yes. Sensible? Well, I would say not. What's worse than going back to work after Christmas? Going back to work in the knowledge that you can't even have a glass of wine at the end of the day, and with nothing more to look forward to than cabbage soup for dinner. Quite apart from this, cunning restaurateurs and event planners across Manchester have devised a range of devious means of parting you from your good intentions, some of which are listed below and already marked in my diary:
1. Living Ventures - the group behind Gusto, The Alchemist and the Blackhouse chain of Grill on the... restaurants - is offering 50% off food throughout January. Tables must be booked online, and there are a few exceptions to the offer (basically no lobster, no fillet steak, no Saturdays - check individual restaurants for terms and conditions) but this looks a pretty good offer to me. And obviously, as you've given up the booze for January, your bill will look positively miniscule, although you will of course have to ignore those quaffing wine around you as you sip sadly at your diet lemonade.
2. Harvey Nichols' Supper Club - reasonably priced at ANY time of the year - is also having a January Sale by shaving a fiver off the normal price. For just £15, you get three courses plus a cocktail on arrival, and although the Supper Club is in the Brasserie rather than the Second Floor Restaurant the food is of excellent quality - and you can always pretend you can see the Manchester Wheel from your seat. Available Monday to Saturday from 5.30pm; visit the website to book.
3. Well, so far we've kept it down to lemonade plus one cocktail, but there's really no way of mitigating the alcohol content of this next one. The Campaign for Real Ale's National Winters Ales Festival 2012 arrives in town on Wednesday 18th January and runs until Saturday 21st, thereby accommodating those who have elected to give up alcohol on weeknights only. More than 200 British and foreign beers, Real Ales, Ciders and Perries will be available (I can just see Mr Liz reaching for his geeky tasting-notes pad as I speak), with CAMRA’s Winter Beer of Britain Competition on the Wednesday. Full details are on the website, to which I am currently attempting to block Mr Liz's access.
So, as far as I'm concerned, it's business as usual - I can always start the healthy living regime in February...