Caffeine is the new alcohol – for me anyway. Not in the forms of energy drinks or tablets but good old-fashioned coffee.

I’ve cut down massively on alcohol over the past few months. In fact at the time of writing, I have only consumed alcohol on one day so far in March – though admittedly that one day accounted for rather a lot. As my alcohol consumption has gone down, my coffee consumption has gone up. This could be considered a bad thing, but it is definitely the lesser of two evils. For a start it is less expensive – assuming I’m drinking it at home, of course.

Much as I enjoy coffee with friends in one of our local coffee shops, it isn’t always practical due to other responsibilities so most of my coffee gets drunk at home. My faithful old filter coffee machine I was given as a wedding present many moons ago is still going strong and having used it almost daily since then, I’ve pretty much perfected it to my liking. I’ve tried virtually every possible combination on the menu at my local branch of a well-known national coffee chain and I haven’t found anything that I enjoy as much as my own – at about five per cent of the cost.

I had a check-up at the doctor’s this week and found that my blood pressure is nicely under control so it seems that the switch away from alcohol to caffeine is having benefits in that area too. Another benefit is the lack of calories. I don’t take sugar so I am continuing to lose weight. In fact the picture accompanying this column does not do my new slimmer persona justice.

I find most of my coffee is being consumed in the mornings.

As I’m sure any of you out there with primary school aged children will know, the couple of hours between 7am and 9am are the most hectic of the day.

I manage a quick cup of tea first thing and then it is a whirlwind of breakfasts, packed lunches, getting children dressed and more – usually with a distinct lack of co-operation from the children in question.

Mine won’t let me put their collars down – they squirm and wriggle – then they can’t find their shoes and I can’t find my keys. It’s a constant battle against the clock.

Children at this age seem to have no sense of urgency and the tighter we are for time, the greater the obstacles they will place in the way.

When I eventually arrive home from the school/ nursery run around 9.30am I am absolutely gasping for a coffee (and maybe a nice pain au chocolat to go with it). The pot is filled to the top, and over the next hour-and-a-half and three cups I begin to feel human again.

After that I’m caffeine-free for the rest of the day and knocking back the sparkling water faster than a formula one driver knocks back the champagne.