With Dry January in full swing, we've hunted out the coolest things to do with your friends which don't require a single drop of alcohol. From cooking to crafts, your weekends are about to get a whole lot more exciting...
Ditch your wine cravings with our pick of the best activities to keep you occupied this January. So long, hangovers…
1. Go for a long winter walk
We’re talking a proper country stroll that goes on for hours. Mark it out on a map, get your wellies on and take a flask of really good coffee. It’s the ultimate way to have a girly catch-up, plus you’re burning off the Sunday roast you’ll probably (definitely) have afterwards before you’ve even eaten it – score. Need convincing? Just think of how good your Sunday night sleep will be after all that fresh air. Total and utter bliss.
2. Have a board game night
We’re talking proper old-school Monopoly, Cluedo and Trivia Pursuit. Get the girls to all have a dig around in their cupboards, line up the mocktails and the bowls of crisps and get playing, just make sure you shotgun a good playing piece. We’ve known games nights to last way longer than nights out, so expect the competitiveness to take you into the early hours. Oh, and just a heads up – It’s a known fact the orange properties are the most profitable in Monopoly…
3. Have an at-home spa party
You’ve had a long, hard festive season. So many parties, so much time spent in heels, so many forced family conversations – it’s only right to make some time for you. A home spa party is just the ticket, which is where a trained beautician will treat a group of you to spa and beauty treatments in the comfort of your own home. Urban Retreat is one of our favourites. They offer everything from mani-pedis to massages and prices start from just £55 an hour per party.
4. Host a Come Dine With Me night
You’ve been saying you’d throw a Come Dine With Me competition with your friends since you first became hooked to the show back at uni, and now’s your chance – albeit with a lot less £4 wine. Set up a weekly group dinner with the girls and get judging. Eating a three-course meal for free every week? Now that’s something we can get on board with.
5. Watch classic films at the cinema
We’re not going to bore you with the standard ‘go to the cinema and watch the latest blockbuster hit malarkey’, instead, try something new – or rather, old. Plenty of cinemas, including the big chains, do one-off showings of classic cult films and, our personal favourite, all-night movie marathons with complimentary coffees. If you’re a Londoner check out the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square, they show everything from 90s chick flicks to – wait for it – sing-a-long Dirty Dancing. A-frickin-mazing.
6. Be a volunteer
Ok, so it might not be the first thing on your list of fun things to do on a Friday night, but just trust us on this one. Head to Do It, put in your postcode and which days you’re available and it’ll come up with all the opportunities in your local area. Try everything from refereeing local volleyball matches to being a youth mentor at a community centre. Plus, there are also bigger group projects you can drag your friends along to – starting 2014 with good karma? Check.
7. Make a style mood board
Don’t skip straight past this suggestion because it makes you feel about thirteen, this is a goodun, we promise. Get out all your old magazines and a big sheet of card, and get cutting and prit-sticking. Pick out street style looks you really admire, celebrities who have totally nailed it, and individual items you need immediately. You’ll feel refreshed and positive ahead of all that SS14 shopping that’s about to start…
8. Go to a pottery painting café
Going for a coffee with the girls just got even better. Pottery painting cafés have popped up across the country and we’re obsessed – what’s better than a cute teacup and saucer we’ve designed ourselves? Expect to pay around £10 plus a small firing fee – a bargain when you consider what you’d normally spend on wine. Our favourite thing? We’ve found a café in Brighton that offer doggy painting days for paw prints – awww!
9. Visit London Zoo
If you didn’t already know about London Zoo’s Zoo Lates, then you’ve been seriously missing out. Their evening opening hours are from 6-10pm every Friday and are adult-only, which means you can check out all 17,500 creatures without tripping over toddlers. Check out their website for more info – just maybe ignore the bit about the wine garden…
10. Visit Drink, Shop & Do
Right now Drink, Shop & Do is a Londoner only event (sob), but it’s well worth including in your weekend plans. Aside from enjoying one of their yummy and swanky afternoon teas, you can get involved in different craft projects including garter making, flower headbands and fascinators from only £15. Making your own summer accessories is so 2014, darling.
11. Start knitting
Join a local knitting club, or start your own. Not convinced? Not only are Kate Middleton and Christina Hendricks both huge fans, but you’ll eventually be able to knit your own very kitsch, very cool blankets. Or if you’re feeling charitable, teeny tiny baby hats for the Special Care Baby Unit. Yep, we thought that might do it…
12. Go to a fitness class
Hit up a fitness class together. It may sound dull, but have a look around for something new that none of you have tried before. Our recommendation? Hot pod yoga. It’s the craze that’s about to go big for 2014, and is based on Bikram. There isn’t a better way to ensure you stick to your New Year’s exercise resolutions than enlisting your friends to help…
13. Visit an exhibition
Address your cultural side and head out to one of the cool exhibitions 2014 has to offer. If you’re a fashion addict then the V&A’s incredible exhibition on the glamour of Italian fashion post-World War Two will have you utterly mesmerized. Whilst if you’re a huge fan of the TV series Sherlock (who isn’t?), then you’ll want to explore the Museum of London’s super-cool exhibition on who Mr Holmes really is.
14. Watch a box set
Gather together duvets, giant mugs of tea and all your leftover Christmas chocolate for a boxset bonanza weekend. After the chaos of party season, you totally deserve a hangover weekend, without the hangover. Our top boxsets you’ll be able to get through in just weekend? Go for The Tunnel if you like a crime thriller, or Orange Is The New Black if you like a girlie drama.
15. Host a juicing party
We’re about to fill in that Saturday morning hangover gap for you. Get the girls to bring round all their favourite fruit and veggies and get experimenting with different juice recipes. Juicing parties kicked off over in the U.S. last year, and while we’re not suggesting you swap actual parties for juicing dates, we’re pretty sure having a gossip whilst getting your five-a-day is probably the best way to get your nutrients, ever.