Mac Twins: New Year, new now

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HOW did we as a society manage to turn something as positive as a new year into something grossly negative?

Yes, you, young buff man, eyeing up our Christmas tyres and thrusting a “99.9 per cent-off-gym-membership-until-February-where-we-rip-you-off-until-the-end-of-the-year” flyer into our hands. We do not want it. And you, Facebook advertisements offering us green gunge which we’re supposed to consume while starving ourselves. And you, worst of all, our friends, glaring at us and our Sauvignon Blanc as you endure your ‘dry-athalons’ and other such torture, trot off and meditate or some-thing.

Oh, don’t get us wrong we’re generally suckers for wheat-grass shots, cellulite busters and contra-ptions that look like they should be on Inspector Gadget. But shouldn’t new year resolutions be about benefits rather than deprivation?

Is being a stone lighter really going to enrich our lives? We’re not saying hike the Himalayas, but perhaps the standard ‘learning French’ or ‘how to play Chopsticks’ on the piano are more fulfilling resolutions? I know we’re sick to the back teeth of people preaching that it should be a ‘lifestyle’ not a ‘fad’, but there’s a lot of truth in that. It’s not only about setting realistic goals, but also re-evaluating what’s between the goal posts. Is it really the ripped out magazine image we have posted to our fridge we want? Or is it affirmation from friends that you’ve stuck to something? Or do you want prove to yourself you have a shred of will power left after the seasonal gluttony? In any of these instances, learning something or acquiring a new skill would work just as well, surely? At least when the course is done or the book is finished it’s in there, but with the resolutions most of us are making, when we reach that destination it’s never fulfilling, because we’re looking at jumping onto the next lily pad or over the next rock.

Visit your granny once a week, try a new cheese every fortnight, start a book group, organise an annual school reunion. Who are we to dictate what it should be? You get the general gist.

The point we’re trying to make is, make your resolutions more immediate, things that make you happy in the moment, not when you’ve reached that weight goal or scraped together the coins to buy that TV the size of your wall you never needed. You and granny will both be happy you went, the cheese will be delish, and you can show her the book you got recommended at book club by the ‘old corridor flame’ you met at the school reunion.

If we are going to starve ourselves of something, let it be the phones we have sewn to our hands, the constant calorie counting, or the meaning-less conversation with acquain-tances over instant messenger. Let’s take our gaze away from our bodies and open our eyes to the new things we can gain from 2014.

Edinburgh’s eateries

IN the spirit of addiction and gluttony, we ate out a lot in Edinburgh during the festive season. Cafe Andaluz, on George Street, a Mother Mac fav, really is a tapas treat for the tastebuds. The atmosphere is warm yet spicy, like the chorizo, and they use locally sourced ingredients, too.

The freshly opened Rascals, on South Bridge, is an American style burger bar, with the widest range we’ve ever seen.

Our choice would be the Sir Alex, topped with haggis and whisky sauce, and the desserts will keep your sweet tooth at bay for the entire year. The fab, friendly staff and gargantuan portions, will make you want to hang around for cocktails well into the evening. There really is something for everyone here.