Honestly, it’s life changing is a regular series where we talk about the weird and wonderful possessions we can’t imagine life without. Think of it as an ode to the mundane, bizarre and, sometimes, wholly unnecessary products in our lives.
I’m a bottler. A hot water bottler to be precise. I’ve got my mum to thank for this – we have the same poor circulation and by the time I was in bunk beds, she was filling one up throughout the winter to keep my toes warm. She packed me off to university with a homemade cover I still use. And even now when I stay over at my parents’, I’ll often find she’s popped one under my covers.
It goes beyond warmth, I think. My hot water bottle is a comforter and – I increasingly suspect – a proxy. Any flatmate I’ve had will tell you that I walk around with a perma-bump under my jumper. One of them suggested I was frying my ovaries in the process, which is nonsense (at least, I hope so).
The price I do pay is the blotchy, mottled stomach of an addict. What was a November to March habit now sees me through August to May, with only the midsummer heat enough to make me ditch the bottle. That, or a house guest, when it gets kicked – surreptitiously – out of the bed. Hottie for hottie.
So when I heard about a YuYu, a super long hot water bottle that promises a more even spread of heat, I had to give it a go.
“Hi, my name is YuYu, I am the world’s first original long hot water bottle and I am 81cm tall,” the box proclaims. And it is rather big – not dissimilar in size to one of those snake or sausage dog draft excluders you put alongside the door – only this one is covered in grey polkadot fleece. It’s also made from Sri Lankan rubber and claims to be 100% biodegradable (as if I’m going to chuck this).
I take it home, but not before doing a show-and-tell in a bar to my best mate – prompting the same level of childish innuendos as our review of this sleep sausage pillow. Amid the jokes, my friend does say she’s rarely seen a product that seems so absolutely designed with me in mind.
In fact, YuYu was originally aimed at those with chronic pain and I can see why. My colleague Lucy has written about the essential relief she gets from her hot water bottle for endometriosis. I’m lucky to suffer from only one bad day of menstrual cramping a month, but I reckon this would work for both of us.
Filling it up the first time feels a bit fraught – I’ve burnt my hands several times with my regular bottle and this one’s more unwieldy. But as long as you keep tight hold of the neck as you pour from the kettle, you’re fine.
The one thing I’m less jazzed about is the cover, which is more furry than fleecy, and a bit naff. But looking on the YuYu site, there are plenty of alternative designs and fabrics including some in Japanese waffle cotton. Sold.
Lain lengthwise under the duvet, it heats up the whole bed, rather than a single spot. Toasty! But the real genius is in the strap, which you tie round your waist – or neck or back – so the bottle stays put and spreads the heat like a hug. This is due to the bobbly rubber, which insulates for up to six hours, apparently.
Whatever, it works. At least at home and in the office – I’m not sure I’d wear it on public transport (as the website suggests I can) because it’s still a bit bulky for the commute. Time to make a ‘Bottle on Board’ badge, anyone?
We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase.