Friday, 8 January 2010

tips for keeping warm

It is sooooo cold! I am very glad I am off and not having to face the daily commute and can slob out in my hoodie. I hate hate hate being cold and so have various ways of keeping cosy. Here are my favourites:

Hot water bottle - yes, turning the heating on is a no brainer but a hot water bottle will heat you up asap and really helps to defrost toes. I have one from Boots that comes with a furry red and white spot cover. If I am really cold I tuck it up my jumper for an extra blast of heat!

Wooly leggings - if you have long johns wear them. If you don't, and can't quite bring yourself to buy some, the trend for leggings means you can get a wide selection of woollen leggings. You can wear them under your favourite comfy trousers.

Socks - wool walking socks are excellent for keeping toes cosy. The trick is to not have them too tight - in fact I like to steal Andy's as it means there is plenty of room for air to circulate and warm up. If they are too tight they will cut off your circulation which is already struggling as it is in the cold.

Layer up - loose layers are much better than one big thick layer. Layers trap air that gets warmed up and creates insulation. A merino wool base layer long sleeved top under a fleece is a good start.

Mittens - mittens are maybe seen as children's gloves but they are much more effective at keeping you warm. I prefer the ones you get where it is a pair of fingerless mits with a mitten covering you pull over your fingers. This means that if you have to do something that requires full finger movement, you don't have to either take your gloves off or struggle with woolly challenged fingers. The fact that your fingers mingle in the mitt mean they share warmth rather than being trapped in their own lonely chilly wool finger. I got mine from Monsoon Accessorize although you can probably get some that are more robust from outdoorsy shops.

Hot tea - I have posted before about making a right proper pot of tea. It is even more important when trying to conserve and create heat to warm the pot and your cup before making and serving your tea. In this weather dishes become very chilled and will therefore leach heat out of your food and hot drinks. So also warm plates before serving dinner etc.

Have a bath - having a lovely warm bath is often the only time when I feel completely toasty and warm. It works a treat in cold weather. My key tips are to swirl warm water arond the bath before starting to fill - like warming a giant pot for tea! - so the bath has the chill taken off it. Make sure the bath is warm but not to hot - you don't want chilblains. I fill 2/3 full to a medium temp, get in, then add hot water as required. If you plunge icy toes into very hot water you could end up with painful feet. To make the bath more special than just a way to heat up, I add bubbles and light the room with candles. Make sure your towel and pyjamas/clothes are hanging on the radiator so you don't go from warm bath to chilled clothes and have your slippers ready to avoid cold tiles!

An electric blanket - some people don't like these but I love them. You can get them with two sides if you have a partner that doesn't like them or has different temp needs. Mine has a pre-heat setting so that you can warm the bed safely before hitting the sack.

Slippers - I love slippers. But you do have to be careful that you buy good ones. You don't want to buy slippers that don't have good grips or support. You might just be wearing them in the house but you should still think about how safe they are for your feet. I love the sheepskin boots from M&S - they have in-built support, have a rubber sole and are super cosy. They are so good even my slipper-hating husband has been converted. After stealing mine for several weeks Santa brought him a pair for Christmas!

Soup - a bowl of soup is the most warming thing I think to have. A basic tomatoe soup is really easy to make and, of course, there is always good old heinz! Warm the bowl before serving so it doesn't cool too quickly.

A hat - not only does a hat keep you cosy and warm, it means you don't have to do your hair!!!

Fourth Element - this isn't a serious suggestion (unless you are keeping warm beyond nipping out to the shops) but I have Fourth Element arctic base layers for diving and I have used them for going out walking this Christmas and I think they might get an airing today. They are the warmest tops, leggings, hats etc ever.

So, as you can tell, I am very focused on staying warm! And, although it seems like going outside is madness in this cold, going for a brisk walk followed by hot chocolate will be a good start to keeping your system moving and keeping you warm alongside all my other wee tricks.

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