THE ABSTINENCE

large (4)No, this isn’t what you think it is.

I will not being doing a Josh Hartnett and refraining from any between the sheets action for forty days, instead I will be abstaining from unhealthy online habits.

If you didn’t grow up in the grasp of a Catholic childhood, you’ll be wondering why I’m abstaining from anything in the first place. But the reason you filled your gobs with pancakes yesterday is because you’re supposed to be giving something up today, for forty days and forty nights. (Bet ya didn’t think of that as you sprinkled the sugar on your fifth crêpe of the day, did ya?) It was supposed to be your final feast – a last supper if you will – before giving something up, or doing a good deed each day for the next month or so.

No, I am no longer a follower of the Catholic faith; that went out the window along with skirts past the knee and a complete incapacity to speak to men. However, I like to stick to tradition and normally mark the occasion by giving up bread in a bid to lose a few pounds, but seeing as I’ve realised I actually need it to function these days and lunch times get a bit boring without it, I’ve decided to do something to cleanse the mind, rather than the colon this year.

I’m going to stop stalking people on social media.

I’m not talking catching up with a friend I haven’t seen in a while or checking in with my favourite bloggers, I’m talking the stupid kind of stalking. The type of stalking that gives you a similar buzz to a theme park ride, paired with a come down worse than Glastonbury. I’m talking the stalking your ex kind. The stalking your new boyfriend’s ex kind. The stalking anybody ever attached to your boyfriend kind. Or the stalking somebody you’d like to look like kind.

I’ll shamelessly hold my hands up and say that I love it. There’s nothing better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a couple of free hours to snoop on someone who makes you feel a little bit insecure about yourself. Think about it. Why wouldn’t you look through your ex boyfriend’s photo album of him and his new beau in the Bahamas? It’s obviously, completely vital to take a look at your current boyfriend’s life before you. And it would be silly not to take a look at that girl with the perfect body after you’ve gobbled down a burger and chips. It’s the most stupid and ridiculous, but actually, one of the most common things to do of an evening. But why do we do it?

I hate to say it, but it’s a female thing. I genuinely don’t know one bloke who stalks his ex girlfriend – or someone similar – but boys, please correct me if I’m wrong because I’m no expert. And also, I’d like to think that it isn’t just us girls who do it.

Back in the day, when you broke up with someone, they disappeared from your life quicker than a fat kid at a salad bar. These days, they’re more in your face than Lady Gaga’s engagement. So for the next forty days and forty nights, I’ll be avoiding this social (media) trap and refraining from stalking those who I shouldn’t because, well, it makes me feel a bit shit.

So whether you’re religious or not, pinpoint your bad habit and give it up – be it smoking, vodka, or something a little less easy to reach out for – 40 days is far less daunting that 365, so see it as a trial resolution for the year ahead.

You never know, it might result in you kicking that bad habit once and for all.

Good luck!

The Promise

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Between pancakes, BRIT nominations, London Fashion Week and Valentine’s Day, February is arguably that little bit better than bleak and frosty January.

But for those of us raised in a reasonably religious household, February also ushers in the start of all things Easter, beginning with lent. And for me, this means one thing only: giving up baguettes, thickly sliced loaves and anything by the dozen, all for forty days and forty nights.

Now I know that most of you will try and remain chaste from chocolate, or even make the effort to avoid sugar altogether. You might even be contemplating going t-total or surviving without caffeine, but I personally need to take my annual break from my long-term boyfriend: Bread. Although he rises right on cue when things get hot, he’s also not very good for me. He makes my thighs expand and my tummy bloat, he makes me eat too much butter and cheese and he can’t resist getting messy when it comes to Balsamic Vinegar. He is, sadly enough, my guilty pleasure. And it’s at this point that I can’t possibly feel anymore Irish.

When it comes to my lentern promises, I will be the first to admit that I am selfish in my yearly abstinence. The same as every year, by Easter Sunday, just in time for my birthday, I simply wish to be a few pounds lighter. It has nothing to do with Jesus, God or any of his disciples. No, as per usual, it oozes selfishness, but my promise allows me to feel a little sense of achievement as I settle down on Easter morning to some peanut butter on toast. And as I push my chocolate eggs to one side on that day of rest, I will, without fail, swear that I didn’t even miss toast that much as I gobble down my fifth slice. So even if motivated by selfish reasons give something up or do something good everyday for the duration of lent. You’re guaranteed to feel something, even if it is just a looser waistline.

So although Josh Hartnett did endure one of the most challenging of challenges, I think I rise to it with my break from bread, although to be honest I’d much rather part with a penis than a Panini any day of the week.

And unlike a man, after we’ve taken a break from each other for over a month, he won’t ask questions when I make like a toaster and whisper “I want you inside me”. Bread will softly reply, “That’s hot.” And hop right in.

That’s love for you.

Happy Pancake Day everyone!