man with hand on headHeadaches are part of being human. Ranging from slight to ones that make you think your head has been covered in cling film and microwaved. But perhaps your head feels more like there's a rehearsal of Riverdance going on in it? And your tongue looks like a couple of square inches of Axminster? Then it's highly probable, isn't it?, that you're headache is a hangover.

dog asleepOf course, it could have been avoided by not drinking to excess the previous evening. But hindsight is really rather annoying, so ignore it. The best course of action now is to alleviate any unpleasant symptoms and then go back to bed for rest and more sleep.

Start with a couple of paracetamol and a large glass of water. The analgesics will help you cope with the pain of the headache and the water will start the slow process of rehydrating your body.

I know, you've already poured in a large amount of liquid but your body knows this wasn't a wise move so it's rejected this along with essential salts and minerals. Help the now prune-like flesh along by sipping easily digestible liquids like tap water, an isotonic sports drink (comes complete with replenishing salts, minerals and sugar) or a cup of weak tea.

a nice cup of teaStrong stewed tea contains high levels of caffeine and so may irritate your stomach right now. A safer option is decaffeinated or green tea. Green tea is my preferred choice when I'm feeling a little 'delicate' - it contains virtually no caffeine and the gentle lemon and honey flavours help reawaken my will to live.

Medical evidence suggests I ought to source the honey taste from first principles. Fructose, a natural sugar found in honey and fruit, helps the body process alcohol faster. So if, like me, you're not a tea-and-honey person, you could toast a slice of wholemeal toast and smear on the honey.

fried eggIn fact, most food will help to replace lost nutrients. You may not feel like eating, but not doing so could prolong the agony. If you're not up to chewing then take your food liquidised. Bertie Wooster (from the P.G. Wodehouse novels) swears by his butler Jeeves' special 'tissue restorer' based on an unbroken raw egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, tomato juice and a dash of cayenne pepper. This patent morning reviver was said to make the top of the skull fly off and the eyes shoot out of their sockets. When eyeballs and skull rebound Bertie always feels immeasurably better. If that sounds hard to swallow then be thankful that Jeeves wasn't Japanese (their hangover cures are made from liver) or Mongolian (traditionally they drink tomato juice with a pickled sheep's eye in it).

Unfortunately effective hangover cures are a figment of the imagination, that's official. Researchers at Exeter University's Peninsular Medical School tested a huge number of hangover remedies including aspirin and prickly pear - but found them all ineffective. It didn't matter if the remedy used complementary or conventional medicine, all were ineffective in treating or preventing hangovers.

"The most effective way to avoid the symptoms of alcohol-induced hangover is thus to practice abstinence or moderation." Of course we'll follow their advice won't we? Because we have the benefit of hindsight.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on

Black Tower label1992 was all about being smoozed with shark steaks at Berni Inns, accompanied by the wine of choice: Black Tower wine. Heaven. But times weren't always as good for the German white wine served in a black bottle. When Black Tower was bought out by Grants of St. James's in 1987 they found a once premium brand going down, and down, thanks to the launch of 'own-label' wines where supermarkets bottled, and sold, other people's wines under their own supermarket logos. So what was this misunderstood wine to do?

school deskTerm has started for the children, and now it's the adults’ turn. Evening classes begin in September and it’s not all about beginner’s French. Wine tasting is still being offered by many local education authorities and if you’re lucky the course will be taught by a wine tutor who is knowledgeable and understands you’ll be nervous when you first arrive.

Chinese bowl and chopsticksChopsticks leave me fumbling, but that doesn't stop me devouring Chinese food at least once a week. Unfortunately cooking my own stir fries has become a bit of problem since moving house: lack of mains gas means all my cooking must be done on an electric hob and my round bottomed wok just doesn't work well on that.