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New Year’s Eve Party Survival Guide




Party Girl’s


Survival Guide


Alice-Azania Jarvis



November 18th, 2008


Cocktails and canapés

take their toll.

But you can still have fun

without losing your fizz,

says Alice-Azania Jarvis


We’ve all been there.

It’s 10.45pm and your

feet are killing you.


So is your back and,

judging by the quantity of

wine that’s still flowing,

so will your head be

in the morning.


Parties are supposed to be fun,

but sometimes,

usually around 1 December,

those invitations start to seem more

like a cause for complaint,

competitive griping even, than an

excuse to have fun.


Each year,

the pool of people with whom

we celebrate gets bigger.


Once it was family.

Then family and friends.

Now we celebrate anyone

and everyone:





fellow gym-goers,

even occasionally buying tickets to

celebrate with complete strangers,

donning black tie to knock back cocktails

with people we’ve never met.


And then we moan:

at the office the next day,

when our hangovers kick in;

at home in the evening,

when we can’t face the thought

of yet another night out.


We even moan at parties

when the small talk falters.


By Christmas Day,

we’re all gasping for a nice

cup of tea and a sit down.


And then there’s New Year’s Eve…

It’s enough to drive

anyone back under the duvet.


I know this better than most –

as a gossip columnist,

party-going is part of the job description.


And at Christmas time,

the social schedule is at its most hectic.


It’s all too easy to fill

your diary with engagements,

start out feeling fresh,

and then gradually get more run-down

as the month goes by,

ending up with goodness-knows-what

sickness by 25 December.


But it doesn’t have to be that way:


with the right attention to your health,

you should be able to get through

the month ailment-free,

and maybe even manage to stave off

that hangover until Boxing Day.




What to wear


Often the first thought

on receiving an invitation,

but rarely for the right reasons.


Party gear can do so much –

it can make you look slimmer,

more attractive,

but it can also wreak all kinds

of havoc with your health.



high heels are the worst offenders.


They shift all your weight to your toes,

squashing them together to cause

blisters and corns.


And they accentuate

the curve of your spine,

causing long-term lower- back problems.


Not that we’re going

to stop wearing them.


Nothing turns an outfit from

casual to cocktail like stilettos.


So the answer,

it seems, is mitigation.


“Changing your choice of shoes

can make a difference,”

says the

British Osteopathic Association’s

Danny Williams.


“The higher they are,

the worse they are,

so go for medium heels

every now and then.


And it’s worth sitting down regularly,

or just moving around

to change position.”


Most experts recommend slipping off

your shoes when you get the chance.


I tend to kick mine off in the taxi

for the duration of the journey,

taking advantage of the privacy

for a break.


Handbags come a close second

on the health-offenders register,

and it’s no wonder:

rushing from work to soirée can

mean lugging a good deal of stuff

along for the ride.


“Big handbags are the worst

for the spinal damage they cause,”

says Williams.

“Across-the-body bags are much better,

but best of all is a small, hand-held bag.”


If it’s not possible to

leave that tote behind,

take a smaller bag or

clutch along too.


That way you can stow

your heavy bag somewhere,

and just carry the essentials.




Make sure you eat right


Trying to eat sensibly can be a

nightmare come party season.


It’s never a good idea to

drink on an empty stomach,

and you know you should have a snack first –

but then, who has the time to rustle up

a salad when they’re doing the mad dash

from desk to cupboard to cocktails?


Most of us end up arriving

with our stomach grumbling,

eyes frantically searching

for a tray of canapés.


And that,


Professor Chris Seal of the

Human Nutrition Research Centre,

is where the trouble starts.


“If you begin your night on an empty stomach,

you’ll end up drinking more to fill the gap,

and pile canapés into your mouth.


They’re often pastry-based and

very high in fat, or fried,

which is just as bad.”


If eating something

beforehand isn’t an option,

the next best thing is good

old-fashioned willpower.


Not all canapés are off-limits,

so resist the urge to pick at

whatever is going past,

and try to snack on healthier options.


Asparagus, sushi or seared tuna,

for example, are fine, as are crudités –

but be careful what you dip them into.


Stick to houmous or salsa rather than

any of the creamier options on offer.




What to drink


It’s no fun being the only

sober person in the room.


Not only are you constantly stuck

in lopsided conversations with the

More Intoxicated but,


you have to fend off “polite” enquiries

as to why you’re not drinking,

or whether you’d like a top-up.


Having a drink in your hand

puts others at ease and,

in moderation,

there’s nothing wrong with that –

after all,

it’s Christmas,

not Lent.


“The big danger is the

volume you drink,”

says Seal.



the trend is to have large,

250ml glasses,

which means that if you have

one glass of wine,

you’re having almost

a third of a bottle.


So count your units carefully.”


If you are drinking,

he says,

heed your mother’s advice

and have plenty of water,



“The main problem with what

we drink at this time of year is

that it dehydrates you.


So keep hydrated by alternating

alcohol with water.”


It’s also worth taking into

account what you’re drinking.


According to

Andrew Irving,

author of Little Books’ How

to Cure a Hangover,

it’s the congeners in alcohol 

the chemicals responsible

for taste and colour –

that determine the severity

of hangover.


So that old wives’ tale that red wine

is worse in the morning than

white holds true.


“The simple rule is that

the paler the drink,

the less likely it is to carry

a load of congeners.


Vodka and gin are less


than whisky and brandy.


Similarly, the darker the wine,

the more likely there is to be a

hangover if drunk in excess.


Burgundy must be treated

with more care than claret.”


And, whatever you drink,

don’t neglect your body the next day.


Just because it’s the festive season,

it doesn’t mean that you should

abandon a healthy lifestyle completely.


If you maintain a balanced diet,

you won’t need to turn to miracle cures –

most of which,

according to Seal,

don’t actually work.


Try to maintain an exercise routine,



You may not feel like it,

but if you have a reasonably

high muscle-to-fat ratio,

you’ll metabolise residual

alcohol faster.




Mind your back


Almost as hazardous as high heels,

bad posture can have disastrous effects

when you’re spending night after night

standing around at parties.


Williams warns that stooping,

or leaning against a wall

can compromise

the structure of the body.


“Standing incorrectly puts

unnecessary pressure on

vulnerable parts.”


“Being bent over can even inhibit

breathing and digestion,

both important functions

at this time of year.”


“If you get the chance to sit down,

take it –

but beware of seats that are too low,

like the low-slung couches common

in bars and nightclubs.”


“They force you to sit at

an uncomfortable angle,

which puts strain on your back,”

says Williams.


“It’s even worse when you’re

drinking alcohol and are

a bit dehydrated.


Your discs will be under

a lot of pressure.”




Don’t overdo it



learn to clock-watch.


December brings with it such a

volume of social occasions and so

many consecutive nights out,

that maintaining your stamina

becomes key.


It’s important to pace yourself,

not just your drinks,

in order to avoid exhaustion.


Without enough early nights,

you’re sure to end up feeling run-down

and yearning for a cup of

cocoa by Christmas.


So if you know that one night

of the week is going to be especially late,

make an effort to leave other events

early enough to get a decent night’s sleep.


Don’t be afraid to call time on partying –

everyone else is going to just as many dos,

so one night off is unlikely to make much

difference in the grand scheme of the

festive season.




____________Katie Green foto unleasheddigital.com







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