Brr... it's starting to get chilly.
If you're anything like me, you'll be looking for ways to stay warm this winter without increasing those ever rising fuel bills or wasting unnecessary resources. If that's the case, you might be interested in these tips for eco-friendly, cheap ways to ward off the cold.
- Don’t let drawn curtains hang in front of radiators. If yours do, either shorten them or tuck them behind it.
- If you have water fired radiators, consider fitting Radiator Boosters. They work by sucking air up and blasting it into the room eliminating the loss of heat through walls. I have a sofa in front of my main living room radiator but since fitting the booster, the warmth in the room has increased dramatically. Fitting aluminium foil behind radiators (shiny side towards the radiator) will also help reflect heat back into the room rather than straight through the wall.
- Buy or make draught excluders to keep the cold from creeping in under your doors (and the heat from creeping out).
- Don’t worry about becoming a size zero (or anything even close). Humans were designed to have a layer of fat on their bodies because it both bolsters us against bumps, protecting our bones, and insulates against the cold. Believe me, when I became positively skeletal (through no choice of my own, I hasten to add) I felt the cold far more than when I have a decent fat layer around me. Of course, being obese isn’t good for you either so try to strike a balance.
- Have a bowl of soup. If you’re feeling peckish, heat up a bowl of soup instead of grabbing the biscuit barrel. It’ll warm the cockles of your heart.
- Get physical. As long as your using energy you’ll feel warmer so get up off your bum and do some housework, dance or play chase with the kids instead. Of course, there is another way of getting physical which leads me to my next point...
- Have a cuddle. That way you’ll be sharing your body heat with somebody else and you’ll feel so much warmer for it.
- When you sit still, pull a blanket around you or slip on an extra woolie. You might even consider taking up knitting and making them yourself.
- Wear a beanie. Yes, I know you might think that’s gonna feel pretty strange indoors but as 20-40% of body heat is lost through the head, it really will help you stay warm and it doesn’t have to be chunky. If possible, choose one made from lightweight wool rather than man-made fibres because not only will they keep you warmer, they’re more environmentally friendly too.
- Dress in layers. Animals that live in cold environments generally have two layers to their fur so take a tip from nature - several thin layers of clothing insulate far better than one thick one. Again, natural fibres are better than man-made alternatives.
- Wear socks or slippers. If your feet are cold, you’ll feel cold all over. If you can knit, try making some home-knitted socks out of wool sock yarn as they keep your feet lovely and toastie. If not, buy yourself some comfy slippers and wear cotton socks (acrylic doesn't keep you warm as it retains the moisture between your skin and the fabric whereas cotton breathes).
- Don’t sweat. If you find yourself sweating, take off some clothes or take a rest because sweating will ultimately make you feel cold. Pace yourself and layer your clothing according to your activities instead.
Having lived in Norway – a country where winter's so cold that my duvet once froze to the wall – I do know a thing or two about keeping warm. My trouble is, since coming back to the UK, I haven’t been too good at taking my own advice. That’s going to change this winter, though. I’m on an energy and money saving drive so anything that’ll help use less while I stay warm gets a big tick in my book.