I’ve been reading a brilliant book called The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley. Like me, she’s a mother of three in her forties. Unlike me, she doesn’t drink alcohol. What made her stop was a slow decline from having a glass or two in the evening once the kids were in bed to drinking at least one, sometimes two bottles a night. It’s a heartbreaking but hopeful read; refreshingly honest and really funny.

And it’s definitely made me think about my relationship with alcohol. Even with two or three dry nights a week I’m sometimes on the outer limits of the current government ones (7-10 glasses a week, depending on the wine). But I know what counts is knowing my limits, not just my units.

Anyway, I absolutely loved reading Clare’s book. Not least because realising I’m not the only one whose children leave dirty plates on top of the dishwasher and not in it made me feel so much better.

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Current cordial in the fridge: Ferdinand’s Riesling Verjus

Price: £14.15 - Buy From Amathus

I was given a bottle of this as a present last year and it’s turned out to be one of the most useful bottles in the stash. Verjus, meaning ‘green juice’ is basically a fancy cordial but, brilliantly, it’s made from unripened Riesling grapes and infused with herbs and flowers from the Saar region in Germany (also famous for its wines). You can drink it, cook with it, put it in cocktails with or without booze…honestly, it’s a multi-tasker. Adds instant sweetness and freshness to whatever you add it to. (Check out the KMWC fb page if you want to see me make a quick booze-free V&T with it).

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Current red in the rack: Paul Mas Cote Mas Pezenas

Price: £10.99 - Buy From Majestic

Not as famous as nearby Corbieres and Fitou, the wines of Pezenas in the Languedoc are slowly making a name for the region. Think big: the reds are typically fairly robust with lots of dense, dark fruit flavours. This one’s a blend of three local grapes and is aged in oak barrels, giving it a whack of spice and pepper too. Definitely needs food, preferably something that’s been cooking slowly in the oven for hours.

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