My favourite time of the year is here. Autumn is wonderful, the colours of the trees, collecting conkers, walking on bright brisk days with the sun low in the sky. My wardrobe is better at this time of year also, boots, jumpers, tights and long socks. Pulling my scarf up around my face to keep out the cold air, I love it. Autumn also gets us prepared for what lies ahead, winter! Two years ago the toilet froze for 9 days so I am nothing short of a hardy northern lass, (you can tel by the way I casually used the word lass instead of woman). I am not adverse to braving the elements and walking in the icy wind with the dog but that makes returning home all the more appealing.
It is easy to feel like your home lacks a little warmth when the view from your window is so bleak. This coupled with the fact that when we pick up a house magazine at this time of year it looks like the only way to give our home that snug as a bug in a rug feel is to completely redecorate. Who has the time and money to do that each season, certainly not I so here are my tips for making your home a cosy haven this winter.
Invest in a teapot. This is a time of year to really get into warm drinks, be that coffee, tea, hot chocolate or even a hot toddy. Nothing says cosy more than sitting on the sofa in socks with your hands grasped around a warm mug.
You can't go around buying a new sofa for winter but you can cover it blankets. We keep a box of blankets in the corner also. Let me paint you a picture, there you are on the sofa, wearing socks, drinking tea watching The Darling Buds Of May Christmas special, (why not), and surrounded by blankets, wonderful soft blankets. It is a great way to change up your decor and keep warm and cosy.
Never underestimate the value of slippers. In fact all of your warm clothes, cardigans, dressing gowns, the works. I didn't live in a house that had central heating until I went to university. When we were at university we couldn't afford to use the central heating but I was prepared. The old adage you don't miss what you never had comes to mind. It is a very modern concept that even in the winter we should be able to walk around our home in summer clothes, it is winter after all and with ever increasing fuel costs we cannot afford to relay on having the heating on 24hours.
If you have a fire use it. In fact if you can afford to ditch your fire and swap to a wood burning stove all the better as attractive as an open fire is you loose most of the heat up the flu.
Eat comfort food. Heavy meals like baked cheese, stew and dumplings, bread. Fill yourself with fuel to keep warm and cosy indoors. There are many reasons food poverty is a big issue and it is not just nutrition we need this fuel to survive the winter. If you have a local food bank please give generously as well as stocking up your own cupboards.
Finally think about where heat is lost. I live in a Victorian home with old sash windows that I cannot afford to replace. The wind really makes it through the house. Here are my last few suggestions for keeping the heat in, some of them cost nothing apart from common sense. Close all of your interior doors, if you have fancy double doors leading to a room keep those close too, smaller areas are easier to heat. Choose warm curtains, in some rooms I have blinds and curtains. Yes it is nice to see Christmas lights twinkling though the window but it is warmer if you close the curtains, this makes a difference even if you have double glazing. Having the heating on lower for longer is more cost effective that short blasts of high temperatures. My last and least attractive tip, but nevertheless it works is make a layer of cling film inside your windows trapping the air. It looks terrible but it does work, it is what got me through university.
I hope that you all stay warm and cosy in your homes this winter and that you spare a thought who have no refuge and donate what you can to a local homeless charity.