Jayne Dawson: Stop moaning, the worst is over and fab Feb is here

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Stop moaning, the worst is over and fab Feb is here.

Those people who woke up jubilant this morning because IT WASN’T JANUARY ANY MORE.

Nope. Not one of them.

I like January. It has its advantages. For instance, you can get away with almost anything in the first month of the year.

Forgotten your beloved’s birthday? Arrived spectacularly late for work? Smashed the china dog that belonged to your mum’s gran?

Don’t fret. In January you can easily style it out. Pah, it’s easy. Just roll your eyes and exclaim “January!” and all will be well.Just that one word is all you need. Honestly, everyone will fall for it.

And here’s another thing: people don’t bother you in January. No-one wants to go out with you, no-one wants you to come over for coffee, no-one wants sight of your silly face, which leaves you free to alternate your free time between lying on the sofa eating leftover Christmas fruit jellies, or haphazardly chucking leftover Christmas decorations into the loft. You will pay for that slovenliness next December, but that’s such a long way away. Who cares?

So there is a lot going for January. But I understand, I’m nothing if not empathetic to a fault. There are a lot of you out there who feel the January burden has been lifted. And don’t get me wrong, February is great too. Here are just some of the ways:

February is not dry. You know, dry January, no drinkies at all for anybody. February is not like that. This is the month when everyone dives right back in, glugging like survivors staggering out of the desert.

You may or may not want to join them - entirely your call - but the important thing is this: You don’t have to listen to anyone moaning anymore about how hard life is when seen only through the bottom of an orange juice glass.

Even better, your workplace will be free of everyone who has spent January crowing about how much better they feel, how waking up each morning is a hangover-free joy, how they are loving spending their evenings doing their children’s homework instead.

This month they will be back on the sauce, and everything will be as it should be once more.

February is full of food festivals. There is Valentine’s Day for a start. You might be thinking that it is not, strictly speaking, a food festival at all, but you would be wrong. This is a day so cynically designed to exploit the consumer that everyone needs chocolate to get through it.

Then there is Yorkshire Pudding Day on Feb 5 - another entirely made-up date but we can accept it regardless because Yorkshire Puddings are great. And there’s more. To complete the feast that is February we have Pancake Day on Feb 28. What’s not to love?

February is the month that your exercise class - should you still be attending - will suddenly be a lot more roomy. All those New Year Resolutionists, the ones who arrived full of mince pies and hope in the first week, will have melted away as fast as snow in summer. If you are grimly hanging on, you will no longer be having to apologise every five seconds for accidentally brushing against someone else as you ..do whatever. You could backflip across that room in perfect safety, if only you could backflip.

February is the month when you really, really can begin the new year. You have actually, genuinely eaten your way through all the daft pre-Christmas buys. Your evening snacks of cheese and fancy biscuits, your energy-boosting breaks of coffee with a bit of Turkish Delight. All finished. You have finally eaten your way through the lot. Admit it. It’s a relief. No go buy some lettuce and four cans of tuna.

Finally, February is short. So very short. Which means your money doesn’t have to stretch so far and, before you know it, it’s over. I like to think of February as a springboard, we step onto it, and then with one bound we are free...soaring away into spring. Happy days.


You know what’s really getting on my nerves? Diet food.

Didn’t used to. Once, I would be in there, scooping into my trolley all the things that said they were reduced in something, low in something, free of something. All of that.

But now, not so much.

I think these foods are often - well let’s be polite and say misleading.

You can, for instance, run amok in the fat-free yogurt aisles. There are hundreds of them all declaring their fatless state. They won’t necessarily make you slimmer because, often, they’re loaded with sugar to make up for the lack of fat.

The fat-free theme appears in every supermarket aisle - cheese, spreads, milk. I’ve even seen cereal advertised as being fat-free, which is a bit like advertising carrots as fat-free. Nature just makes some things that way.

And now even biscuits are joining in. McVitie’s has launched Digestive Thins containing 31 calories each compared with the normal 83 calories. No fat removed this time, just the same biscuit, but smaller.

But anyone who loves biscuits won’t stop at one of these things. We’ll all just shove more down our throats to get the full Digestive hit.

Manufacturers need to stop treating us like fools. We know the true, painful way to lose weight - it’s eat less, move more. Not “diet food”.


Hmm, I’m not sure I like the sound of this.

You know that thing you read about, where someone in a situation of great stress sees their life flash before their eyes?

Usually, they are of the firm opinion that they are about to meet their maker, but then they don’t - which is how we get to hear about the life-flashing thing.

Well, scientists are saying it’s real, not just a hallucinatory trick, or a false belief brought on by the trauma.

They have even identified the bit of brain responsible. It happens in the memory processing part which just begins to work much more intensely, they say.

Well that’s very clever of our brains, which continue to surprise us. But I’m not sure I would like it. Life is wonderful, I feel privileged beyond description to be alive - but it’s also exhausting and traumatic enough in real time. To live it all again, super fast, would be enough to ..well, kill a person.