Our 10 great tips for flushing out the new year excess

IF THE thought of colonic irrigation and slurping wheatgrass smoothies deters you from the annual January detox, then why not try some less expensive, arduous, self-denying ways to flush out the excesses of December? Lifestyle s 10 cheats tips for cleansi

IF THE thought of colonic irrigation and slurping wheatgrass smoothies deters you from the annual January detox, then why not try some less expensive, arduous, self-denying ways to flush out the excesses of December?

Lifestyle's 10 cheats tips for cleansing the mind, body and spirit this January are:

1. Go for a walk or a dip on Hampstead Heath - the calorie-burning exercise, plenty of fresh air and the rapid contraction of the capillaries from diving into cold water will stimulate the circulation and boost energy.

2. Spend Sunday at the Porchester Spa - housed in the Art Deco-inspired old Westminster library and leisure centre on Queensway, the spa reopened last November after a £500,000 revamp. Women-only sessions are held throughout the week, including 10am to 4pm on Sundays for £20.35 or £11.95 for card-carrying Westminster residents. Sweat out those toxins in the Russian steam rooms, sauna or Turkish hot rooms before diving into the icy plunge pool. Entry includes access to the adjacent swimming pool.

3. Diet evangelist and Hampstead resident Gillian McKeith has produced a pocket-size shopping guide, including tips for healthy snacks on the run and how to go organic without breaking the bank. Cherry pick a few feel-good diet changes, without having to plough through loads of finger-wagging theory. Gillian McKeith's Shopping Guide is published by Penguin price £6.99.

4. Pick up some skinny miso soup or a delicious detox drink from Itsu in St John's Wood High Street. The innovative takeaway sells no caffeine or alcohol. But, at £1.50, its detox zinger of ginger, apple, mint and lime tastes so clean and fresh you feel instantly virtuous. A tub of skinny miso soup will set you back just £1.55 and 16 calories - or better still the salmon or tuna salads are to diet for. Delivery to your door is free for orders more than £25. Call 020-7586 7475.

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5. Have a detox facial at Face It Beauty at 17 Highgate High Street. Owner Donna Gershinson says the annual round of smoke-filled parties, boozing, lack of sleep and fatty, sugary foods combined with the winter weather leaves the skin dehydrated, depleted and prematurely aged. Her facials nourish the skin with vitamins A and C. She bounces sound waves over the face to ensure deeper penetration before daubing on a plastic substance that sets like a mask and peels off after 15 minutes. While mine was on she put on "lymph boots" - inflating plastic socks - which go right up to the thigh and massage excess puffiness out of the legs. For prices and bookings, call 020-8340 1770.

6. Book a taster session or course at Triyoga in Erskine Road, Primrose Hill. Beginners courses in pilates and yoga - from the gentler Hatha to the detoxifying strengthening Ashtanga - run throughout the year. For the less active, try flushing out your spiritual toxins with lunchtime meditation classes. Courses start from £60 for six sessions. Individual classes from £11. Bookings on 020-7483 3344.

7. Drink more water. Most nutritionists agree that the single best improvement we can make to our diets is taking in more fluids. Eight glasses a day will boost vitality, improve skin, assist kidney and liver function and promote anti-ageing. Tea and coffee don't count. But why not start the day with a cup of hot water and a slice of lemon?

8. Order a Riverford Organics veg box. For £9.50 a week, a small box contains eight different veg from the Devon farm delivered to your door. Typical contents during winter include parsnips, cabbage, onions, potatoes, carrots, curly Kale and leeks. Boil it all up with an organic chicken to make a nourishing soup. Order at riverford.co.uk or on 0845 6002311.

9. Cuddle your partner/child/pet. Lifecoach

Sam Cowan, who runs West Hampstead's Cuddle Parties, says non-sexual, comfortable touch promotes bonding, reduces stress, boosts immunity and makes us feel nurtured. People emerge from her events with feelings of "bliss and well-being". Bag a little for free by grabbing your nearest loved one for a squeeze.

10. If all else fails, unload stressful guilt about not detoxing with a read of A.M Homes' This Book Will Save Your Life. It tells the story of the emotionally frozen Richard Novak, who despite eating only macrobiotic, low carb food, suffers an excruciating attack of pain that lands him in hospital. After befriending a doughnut shop owner and sabotaging his purist diet with sugary delights, he feels better physically, emotionally and spiritually. Published by Granta £7.99.