Now that christmas is done and dusted, it feels like winter is truly settling in.
January often feels like the longest, darkest, wettest and coldest month of the year (it usually is!) and truth be told, February isn’t usually much better (although it’s my birthday month so i can’t complain!). It’s always at the start of a new year when I start properly thinking about ‘winter-proofing’ my home, now that the cosy festive cheer of Christmas trees, fairy lights and decorations have been put to bed.
January for me is always a month of hibernation. Coupled with the terrible weather outdoors it’s also tax-season for us freelancers, so staying nice and cosy indoors and preserving precious finances is always on the cards for these first long weeks of the year. So, in collaboration with Local Heroes, here are my top tips for keeping as snug as a bug this winter.
Home for me is more than simply the space you live in, it’s the feeling of warmth and contentment you create within the four walls you call home. I spend a lot of my winter evenings curled up on the sofa, so my first port-of-call when winter proofing is to add more squishy cushions and thick knitted blankets to my decor scheme to ramp up the tactility, as well as switching out my lighter weight summer rug for a thicker, more tufty feel underfoot. I do the same in my home office space, adding a cosy sheepskin rug to the back of my chair so I have have something nice and snug to lean back against while working – although when it’s particularly cold i also end up wrapped in a blanket as well, with my mini heater blasting warm air at my feet. There’s definitely nothing worse than trying to be productive whilst also shivering, so keeping my office area warm is a priority.
Keep the heat in
My flat may be small, but my kitchen/living space is open plan and as a result takes a long time to heat, especially given the uselessness of the ugly wall space heaters I’m stuck with. In fact, they’re so ineffective I usually don’t even bother switching them on and instead use my small directional heater to warm the area I’m using at any given moment – which 90% of the time is my sofa! To help keep the heat contained I always shut my living room door in the evening, and when it’s very cold i like to roll up a blanket to use as a draught excluder – in lieu of having one of those retro sausage dog excluders which, to be honest, I really should invest in! I also make sure to close my blinds as soon as the sun sets, in a (somewhat futile) attempt to keep the cold out – having fabric curtains would be far more effective, but in a rental flat you have to make do with what you have!
Check your boiler
When you rent you’re at the mercy of your landlord when it comes to your boiler, but thankfully I’ve – touch wood – not had any issues with mine in the three winters I’ve spent in the Fab Flat. If you own your own home though, and your boiler is more than 10 years old, it might be time to consider replacing it, as modern boilers are far more efficient at keeping your home warm and your bills down; the investment could save you money in the long run. Backed by British Gas, Local Heroes help match skilled and vetted local tradespeople to customers who need jobs completed in their home, quickly and easily. It can often be difficult finding a reliable and trustworthy tradesperson to do skilled jobs within your home, but Local Heroes takes the stress out of the process by offering a booking platform with a network of over 7,000 reliable and vetted local companies, covering almost every job in your home from plumbing to plastering and decorating to electrics. They’re also experts in boilers and understand the importance of ensuring homes are kept warm during cold winter months, which is why they have some unmissable boiler finance options from under £24.00. Definitely worth investigating if you’re concerned about your boiler performance this hibernation season!
Upscale your bedding
I like to keep my bedroom temperature fairly low but increase the tog on my duvet and the tactility of my linens to create a nice cosy cocoon for myself in winter. If you’re not familiar with tog ratings, it simply refers to the scale of warmth of the duvet and the effectiveness of a material’s thermal insulation, using an ascending scale from cool and lightweight low tog duvets at 1.5 and 3 tog (aka summer duvets), up to the extra cosy 15 tog (aka winter ones). Because i like to add blanket layers over my duvet so I can regulate my temperature throughout the night, my winter duvet is a 9 tog, and i always opt for linen covers no matter the season. Unlike cotton, linen bedding doesn’t break down anywhere near as quickly due to the higher moisture absorbency rate of its fibres, which also gives the fabric unique thermal-insulation properties to keep you cool in summer, whilst trapping your body heat to keep you cosy in winter too. a perfect all-rounder in my opinion!
Let there be light
Candlelight and winter go hand-in-hand in my book – what better way to add a cosy feel to your home than lighting a candle and having a heady winter scent fill the air, making your home feel all warm and inviting? There is something naturally restorative about turning down the harshness of overhead lighting in your home and letting a more natural light source illuminate your surroundings, especially on a winter evening. My favourite scents this time of year are always spicy and woody, evoking the scent of pine forests or warm winter berries.
Discover my top candle care tips here.
Boil the kettle
The winter months are also all about hot drinks for me. Mulled wine isn’t just for christmas, and makes the perfect accompaniment for a lazy evening binge-watching your favourite online shows (anyone else whizz through the latest season of mrs. maisel?), but I can also recommend copious amounts of coffee, sweet tea and (nut) milky lattes flavoured with turmeric, beetroot or cacao to help you feel all warm and cosy inside, no matter what the weather is doing outside!
So there you have it, my top tips for staying cosy in winter! Which do you like to do to help ‘winter-proof’ your home?
This post is in collaboration with Local Heroes but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. All photography © Fabric of my Life.