There’s no beating around the frosty bush: it’s bloody cold. Wherever you live in the country, we can probably all agree that getting out of bed in the morning, let alone getting out of the house, can feels like an Olympic sport.
In a survey by Moneyexpert.com, Brits revealed they’re turning to their own cold weather hacks to reduce heating bills this year. From extra jumpers to thermal undies – even going to bed fully clothed. But how else can we stay warm, when the freezing weather makes us want to stay in that bed all day? We put the question out to HuffPost readers – and they answered in their droves.
All the blankets, all the time
Katie Woodland loves her blankets in the cold weather: her organic one, in the shape of an American bulldog for the sofa, and her electric blanket but not just for bed. The 36-year-old, from Telford, Shropshire, says she has her electric blanket permanently over her legs – although she only turns it on when her fingers get too cold to type!
Cups of tea, and lots of them
As a freelancer, Emma Venebles, 36, from Weston-super-Mare, says endless cups of tea are essential on cold days. “Sometimes I get to the end of my working day and realise the only drinks I’ve had are in fact tea!” she says.
She’ll make them hourly, keeping her hands warm as well as her body. But if you’re not a tea fan, Matthew Knight swears by work hot chocolate, instead.
Invest in a scarf blanket
Yep, it’s just what you thought it was: a scarf, but big enough to be a blanket. Hollie Hines, 30, from Chester has one that measure 1.5m long and half a metre wide – bought from Zara (which seem to bring out these whoppers each year). “Everyone in my old workplace literally thought it was a blanket,” she jokes.
Hot water bottles for all occasions
A hot water bottle isn’t just for home or bed. Sophia Palmer, 26, from Nottingham uses hers at work, too. “I keep it on my belly and tuck it into my jeans so it stays put if I have to get up to pop the kettle on,” she says.
Palmer uses a full-size one, but you can also get minis: “I think I started doing it once I started living in shared houses where people would complain about bills and keeping the heating on, or having the thermostat on a high setting. I’d never done it at work until I started my current job, and the office gets freezing!”
Katie Woodland shoves the hot water bottle into bed about an hour before bedtime so keep it toasty for a good night’s sleep. Try a Yuyu for extra length.
Layers upon layers upon LAYERS
If there’s one tip our readers all agree on, it’s to layer up. We’re talking double socks, double tights, vests under tops, tights under jeans. “A minimum of three layers,” says Neil McLaughlin, whose job meant he worked outside for years.
Hines is a fan of a good old-fashioned vest under her usual clothes, while Daria Gerasimova, 30, from London, says to look into thermals – “Uniqlo does good ones” – which are thin, great for comfort, and adaptable when you’re heading in and out of heat, as on a commute.
Chloe Gould, 28, from London also swears by Uniqlo’s Heat Tech range. “I always wear one under my jumper – and tights under jeans is a winner.”
Stay tucked in
Tuck your tops into your tights, your jumpers into your jeans, “and pyjamas into your socks so theres no breeze and your PJs can’t ride up in the night,” advises Jane Hunt, 38, from Manchester.
Heat warmers in your gloves
Emma Thompson, 32, from Wigan is a football fan – and she says putting hand warmers in her gloves have been a lifesaver when she’s standing outside on the terraces. She buys them from Amazon, and they’re single use.
But Lucy Metters, 22, from Lindfield, uses microwaveable hand-warmers – “like mini hot water bottles” – and says they’re an absolute must. “I got them as a stocking filler for Christmas a few years ago – and you can apparently get ones that you snap like glow sticks which warm up as well!”
Gerasimova grew up in Riga, Latvia, where temperatures would be -10 as she was getting read for school. The material you wear makes a huge difference, she says, advising natural fabrics – “acrylic jumpers won’t keep you warm.”
Wool is your best best, she says, and depending on how much you’re willing to spend on clothes, go for merino or cashmere. “But any natural fabric (cotton, linen, silk) is better than synthetics when the weather is playing up,” she adds.
Wear proper shoes
Yeah, we know we sound like your mum. But Fay Block, 40, from Ealing, London, promises fur-lined boots are a winner (and also swears by a down-filled coat). “I’m still traumatised by the sight of people in trainers last time it snowed in London,” says Gerasimova. ”As for shoes, leather is good but it’s down to where you stand on the ethics of it. You could go for something else that is waterproof and add a layer of warm and comfy socks.”
Cover your chest
“For me it’s all about making sure chest is covered with a decent scarf/coat that goes up high,” says Kate Vine, 35, from London. “Preferably with the option of going loosely over mouth.”
She’ll also take her coat, scarf, and hat off when she gets on public transport, to make sure she feels the effects of actually wearing them outside, too.
My own current bedtime setup includes a thin, coverless duvet, my normal duvet, as well as a blanket. It keeps me toasty warm all night. And John Tomkins, on Twitter, agrees: “Go to bed with two duvets,” he advises. You could even make it a teddy-bear set.
More than one person told us they wear their dressing gown over their clothes when they get home. “It’s quite a look!”
Best of the rest
- Put the heating on full blast in the car to and from work
- Hide your hands in your armpits to keep them warm
- Put washing on a heated airer – and work from that room
- Use a heated mouse – yes, they really do exist.
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