The Hangover Companion: To help you through the Christmas parties

Only six days to go, which means the festive party season is in full swing. With office parties, parties with friends, Christmas Day itself, and New Year’s eve all crammed in to the next couple of weeks, it’s no wonder that surveys report that people’s alcohol consumption rockets in December.

To safely see you through the Christmas party minefield, we recommend a copy of The Wrath of Grapes, or The Hangover Companion by Andy Toper.

If you’re the organised type, you’ll find plenty of useful wisdom in Chapter Three: The Complete Imbiber (How to Avoid a Hangover Without Becoming Teetotal), which will enable you to prepare your body the day before it encounters the free bar at the office Christmas party…

Or if you’re the less organised type, then Chapter Four: The Morning After will be better suited to you. With your hangover punishing you for the night before, Andy Toper gently leads you through the first steps of recovery, from rehydration to that much-needed fry-up.

And if you’re really suffering, there’s always Chapter Five: Hair of the Dog. With recipes to suit every stage and severity of hangover, from the mild to the skull-crushing, you’ll almost certainly find a cure within its pages. (Warning: may simply delay your hangover until tomorrow!)

Why not try the mild-sounding Hair of the Dog: single measure of whisky with 1tbsp double cream and 1 tbsp honey? Or if you’re in need of something stronger, how about The Evelyn Waugh: champagne, a sugar lump, Angostura Bitters and red pepper? Or, if your hangover is of the skull-crushing variety, you might need Hangman’s Blood: champagne, whisky, gin, rum, port, brandy and stout. Not for the faint-hearted, that one, and almost certain to do something with your hangover, though we’re not sure quite what…

Of course, we recommend that you drink responsibly, but we’re all grown-ups here, and if you do think you might over-indulge this Christmas, it’s best to be prepared. I mean, you’ve got a snow shovel in your car, just in case, some emergency cash in your purse for a cab home… why not an emergency hangover companion?

Merry Christmas!








Drink responsibly, and have fun.


Christmas Party Planning Souvenir Style

Season’s greetings one and all!

Is planning your Christmas party getting you in a flap? Not sure what drinks to serve? Don’t know how to combine party games and eating chocolate? Already dreading your post party hangover?

Well fear not,  here at Souvenir Press we’ve put together a helpful guide to help get you through the festive season in one piece – more or less.

Click the image below to read in full.

And as Tiny Tim would say, “God bless us everyone!”

December Newsletter

Are you planning to unplug this Christmas?

Does this sound familiar at all?

You meet up with a friend – perhaps you’re in a bar, or a coffee shop – and you’ve not seen each other for a while. You’ve been busy at work, or there’s been a lot going on at home. But instead of sitting there chatting and catching up over a drink, you’re taking it in turns to check your phone.

You’ve checked yourself in, and tagged the other person in your status: “Drinks after work with Gemma!” And then you get drawn into that cycle: who’s liked my status? Who’s commented? Have I got any emails? What’s happening on Facebook? What’s trending on Twitter? And then after a couple of hours, when you’ve had a couple of drinks and you’re ready to head home, how much time have you spent on your phone, and how much have you really spent with Gemma?

For many, Christmas is the bright spot in their social calendar, with the office Christmas party, drinks with friends, dinners with families, and once you’ve made it past the big day itself then New Year’s Eve glimmers on the horizon. In December it’s likely that you’ll see more of your friends and family than the rest of the year. But even with so much time set aside to spend with our nearest and dearest, and with time off from work, away from the constant pressure of emails and deadlines, we still can’t seem to set down our smartphones and tablets, or step away from our laptops.

Daniel Sieberg, author of The Digital Diet, offers some simple suggestions to help you unplug this Christmas, to make sure that you spend some quality time with your loved ones away from the screen:

  • Turn on your out-of-office for your work emails, stating when you’ll be back in the office – and stick to it. If you say you’ll be checking your emails occasionally over the Christmas break, it’s OK to do so – but maybe only once or twice a day, not every 15 minutes
  • Don’t bring your phone to the dinner table. It’s OK – you can go back to them when you’ve all finished eating, but by leaving your phone behind when you sit down to eat you remove the temptation to check your emails/texts/Facebook/Twitter and give yourself space to enjoy each other’s company
  • Got a great gift, or having a really fantastic festive moment? Take the time to enjoy it in real life first before posting a photo or update online.

Remember: the internet will still be waiting for you in the new year when you’re back at work, but why not try and spend some time with your friends and family this year where they get to see the real you, not the virtual one? It’s time to unplug, and step away from your smartphone.

Happy Christmas!

Digital Diet

The Digital Diet by Daniel Sieberg is published by Souvenir Press. It is available now in paperback and as an e-book.

Naming and Blessing: 2013’s top baby names

When the lists of this year’s most popular baby names were released last week, there was perhaps some surprise that Royal names weren’t at the top of the list. After the birth of Prince George in July, George was only number 13 on the top 100 boy’s names this year. Harry was up at number 4, and William was at number 11. Clearly new mums and dads didn’t want to be seen to be copying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

For boys’ names this year, the most popular choice was Oliver, with this being mirrored in choice of girls’ names, where Olivia was number one on the list.

Naming and Blessing by Reverend Andrew Tawn is a collection of personalised name prayers for more than 500 baby names, perfect for christening readings or for parents wanting to pray for their child at any stage in their life. Below are the name prayers for this year’s most popular baby names, taken from Andrew Tawn’s Naming and Blessing, published by Souvenir Press.

On all that Oliver is and does,
Lord, grant your love and blessing.
In all the challenges he undertakes
Various gifts bestow upon him.
Everyone he loves and all who love him,
Reach out, Lord, to bless them through him.


Over your walking and going out
Let God keep watch and guard you.
In your making and your working
Various gifts of God equip you.
In your coming in and resting
All God’s peace and love be with you.

(Name prayers © Andrew Tawn, Naming and Blessing, published by Souvenir Press)

Naming And Blessing cover

Albie Sachs on Nelson Mandela

Albie Sachs, a judge in the Constitutional Court of South Africa from 1994 to 2009 and author of The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter was appointed judge by Nelson Mandela in 1994. In an article in today’s The Independent following Mandela’s death yesterday, Sachs wrote:

“One of Mandela’s great accomplishments during the years of his Presidency was to link up the ordinary details of life with the great events of our history, and to do so with a light and intensely human touch.”

In The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter Albie Sachs described his own part in South Africa’s transformation, and how he worked alongside Mandela to create a new constitution for South Africa. He worked with Mandela on a new Bill of Rights in the post-apartheid years which placed non-sexism on a par with non-racialism as a foundation feature of the new constitution.

In a speech at Constitution Hill, at the Old Fort Prison, now the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Sachs paid tribute to the President Nelson Mandela:

“All of us here are mortal,” I realised that this was not too tactful a statement, “except for the President, who will live to be two hundred years old.”

It turns out that Albie Sachs was correct the first time: even Nelson Mandela was mortal. He passed away aged 95, but we can be sure that his legacy will live on – for two hundred years, and more.

Read Albie Sachs’ full tribute to Nelson Mandela in The Independent, or learn more about his involvement with Mandela in South Africa’s post-apartheid transformation in The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter.

World AIDS Day 2013

World AIDS Day is an annual opportunity to raise awareness and to unite people the world over in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Only in the news this week were reports of another step towards finding a cure for HIV, with British scientists from five UK universities announcing a groundbreaking trial to take place next year to test a possible cure for HIV infection.

But the fight against HIV and AIDS has not always been embraced by the medical community. In the early years of the disease, as it spread through America in the 1970s and 1980s, there was a great deal of reluctance from all sides to step up and fund treatment or research for the disease. Seen initially as the “gay plague”, or a uniquely “homosexual disease”, the early response  to the spread of the disease, or lack thereof, makes for shocking reading.

And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts is the definitive history of the spread of the AIDS epidemic from the very beginning in 1976 to 1985, with a briefer look at events after 1985 which brought this disease to international attention.  A masterpiece of investigative journalism, weaving together the personal stories of those in the gay community and the medical and political establishments with political and social reporting, he exposes how AIDS was ignored, or denied, by many national institutions.

By the time President Reagan had delivered his first speech on the epidemic of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, on 31st May 1987, 36,058 Americans had been diagnosed with the disease; 20,849 had died. 

And the Band Played On was awarded a Stonewall Book Award, and in 1993 Shilts was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists’ Association. Published as part of Souvenir Press’ Independent Voices series, dedicated to making available work that has been unavailable in the UK although it is as relevant today as on its original publication, it is also available as an e-book.

This World AIDS Day, take a look at the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and then you will understand just how far we have come in the fight against HIV and AIDS.