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One Coke and they think I'm pregnant

WE live in a country where it's easier to turn down food than an alcoholic drink. One coke or orange juice in a pub, and everyone's glancing at my stomach for signs of a baby bump.

That attitude of, 'Ah, will you have a real drink?' has moved into our homes, and the traditional welcome of putting the kettle on has been replaced with popping a cork or turning a cap.

I, like an increasing number of Irish women my age, drink every day. I'm not talking sneaky swigs from a hip flask at 11am, but opening the fridge at 7pm and fixing that drink that I feel I not only deserve, but have earned.


I examined my drinking in the documentary Merlot & Me, in which I spoke to medical experts, psychologists and addiction experts. I met other ordinary women who look forward to a drink at the end of most days.

I looked at how we kid ourselves with home measures, had my liver tested and asked myself if I really have the upper hand in my relationship with alcohol. I even went as far as to test what my nightly half bottle of wine is doing to me, with alarming results.

I was asked if being married to Johnny Vegas had given me a better insight into drinking. The irony is, a lot of his 'drunkenness' is part of his on-stage persona and he can more often than not be found with a cup of tea in his hand. He'll kill me for ruining his image now!

Merlot & Me, RTE 2 Monday, January 21