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Everything you need to stay warm without putting the heating on all day, from slippers to hot water bottles

Ward off the chill without cranking up the thermostat this winter

Sarah Young
Wednesday 13 October 2021 15:19
<p>From knitwear to slippers and hot drinks, this is all you need to battle the cold</p>

From knitwear to slippers and hot drinks, this is all you need to battle the cold

It’s a sad reality but the weather is on the turn, so before temperatures really start to plummet, it’s important to make sure you’re fully prepared.

Whether you’re feeling the chill while working from home or struggling to stay warm during movie marathons at the weekend, staying indoors more often can become expensive if you resort to putting on the central heating all day.

However, if you’re concerned about your bills increasing over the next few months, especially in light of the current energy crisis, it’s important to remember that cranking up the thermostat is sometimes necessary. According to the NHS, the cold weather can actually make some health problems worse, while certain age groups are at greater risk of cold-related illnesses.

Plus, leaving the heating off completely can cause your home some serious damage in the long run, with sub-zero temperatures one of the main reasons for pipes bursting.

To ensure you can stay cosy and comfortable without breaking the bank this winter, consider turning the heating on intermittently throughout the day instead of full-blast 24/7 and, for those times when heating alone just won’t cut it, we’re here to help.

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The good news is that there are a number of simple things you can do to make your home feel that little bit toastier that don’t involve increasing your utility bill. From preventing unwanted draughts to layering up, we’ve rounded up some of the best cold-busting methods to try.

Layer up

If you’re feeling the cold while sitting at your desk, the likelihood is that you’re not wearing enough clothes.

While that crewneck T-shirt might have seen you through the summer months, it just won’t cut it during the winter, so make sure to invest in multiple light layers that will insulate your body and make it easier to regulate your temperature.

If you need to ensure you still look the part for Zoom calls, we suggest picking up a cosy jumper, like this puff style (£121, Everlane.com) from the environmentally friendly brand Everlane. Featuring in our round-up of the best women’s knitted jumpers, our tester said it was best-suited to the winter months as the softness of the fabric made them “feel as though we were wrapped up in a blanket”, while the thick boudin-style neckline “gave it that extra snuggle factor”.

Whether you’re working from home or not, you can’t go wrong with comfy joggers, and this cashmere pair (£99, Marksandspencer.com) will keep you warm in style. Included in our guide to the best women’s joggers, our reviewer said: “Cashmere keeps you warm without the need for bulky fleeces, and feels luxurious on the skin, so these are a real treat.” We also love this pair of essentials joggers (£70, Sweatybetty.com) from fitness brand Sweaty Betty, which our tester said were perfect for “winter feasting”. “They are roomy, quite oversized and made with a breathable French terry loopback fabric,” they added. “Sweaty Betty recommends sizing down for a slimmer fit, as the relaxed silhouette means they run large.”

A cardigan is another great piece to have in your wardrobe for days when you’re feeling the chill. In our round-up of the best women’s cardies, this textured style (£93, Everlane.com) was one of our favourites as it has a large, chunky design that’s comfortable to wear and promises to keep you warm when temperatures plummet. For a more budget-friendly option, we recommend H&M’s fine-knit cardigan (£9.99, Hm.com), which comes in a great range of colours. Our reviewer described it as the perfect layering piece that will see you through all seasons because it’s not too heavy.

Don’t get cold feet

Now that you’ve upgraded your winter wardrobe, it’s time to invest in one of the most crucial cold-busting items: a pair of slippers.

If you tend to have chilly floors, wearing cosy slippers around the house is guaranteed to make your whole body feel warmer, especially if you choose a boot style like this sheepskin pair (£55, Woolovers.com). In our guide to the best women’s slippers, our reviewer described them as “the ultimate in luxury” and they’re an ideal way to keep your feet snug and cosy on cold winter mornings.

For a more statement pair, we recommend these Ugg slides (£100, Ugg.com), which our tester described as “undeniably soft and cosy”. “Although a little over the top, we were obsessed from the moment we put them on, and they instantly put a smile on our face every time we wore them thereafter,” they added.

Keep cosy with a hot water bottle

If you’ve kitted yourself out in the warmest of loungewear but still can’t seem to shrug off the winter chill, then a hot water bottle should be top of your shopping list.

Ideal for keeping you warm while working from home, this sheepskin version (£49.99, Ciora.co.uk) was named best buy in our round-up of the best hot water bottles for feeling “luxuriously soft”. “Don’t be fooled – this fluffy hot water bottle is not a massive cuddly cat,” our reviewer said. “Although once it’s filled with hot water, it comes pretty close!”

For a more purse-friendly version, we suggest picking up this lavendar scented one (£13, Studio.com) that can be microwaved and heats up in just 90 seconds, making it a great option if “you can’t tear yourself away from the computer for longer than a couple of minutes”.

Warm up from the inside out

The answer to many of life’s problems (according to Brits, at least) is a hot cup of tea, and a good brew will work wonders when it comes to warming your body from the inside. Taking the top spot in our round-up of the best plastic-free teabags are the Brew Tea Co proper tea bags in earl grey (£4.59 for 15, Brewteacompany.com), which our reviewer found to be full of flavour, mixing bergamot oil with ceylon black tea, orange peel and calendula petals.

If you’re planning on making a round of well-brewed bevs, it’s a great idea to invest a teapot. We love this blue version from Denby (£45, Jarrold.co.uk), which features a trendy blue speckled design. “We were pleased to discover the integral stainless steel strainer inside, despite the traditional design, which makes for a fuss-free way to brew yourself a real cuppa. The convenience continues as it’s dishwasher safe, and comes with a 10-year guarantee, should the Denby durability falter,” our reviewer said in our guide to the best teapots.

Not a tea fan? Fear not because there are plenty of other winter warmers you can try, including the ultimate indulgence: hot chocolate.

For a seriously luxurious experience, we recommend buying a velvetiser (£99.95, Hotelchocolat.com), which works by simultaneously heating and whisking the milk and hot chocolate together to create a homogenous, silky smooth mixture with a frothy top. In our review of the gadget, our tester called it a “fun and opulent way to take your fix from standard to standout”.

Coffee lovers, meanwhile, will do well to invest in a machine, like the Nespresso vertuoplus (£199, Nespresso.com), which was highlighted in our guide to the best pod brewers for providing you with everything from a single espresso to a longer drink. 

“Incredibly easy to use, simply make sure you’ve got the right-sized coffee cup for the drink that it’s making and then press a button. The machine even neatly dispatches the used pod into a waiting container at the back of the machine,” said our reviewer.

Hunker down with a blanket

Not that we need an excuse to cosy up, but blankets are another great way to layer, helping to keep the heat your body generates close.

This millay throw (£185, Issygranger.com) is a toasty and more affordable alternative to reaching for the thermostat. Featuring in round-up of the best wool blankets, it’s made from 100 per cent pure merino lambswool and was described by our reviewer as feeling “lightweight yet incredibly warm”.

Alternatively, you could invest in a weighted blanket. The science behind them relates to deep touch pressure (DTP), which is a form of sensory input often delivered through hugging and squeezing, that is said to be able to help people who feel anxious, and lead to better sleep.

If you could do with a snuggly quilt that keeps you both calm and cosy, try this knitted weighted blanket (£184, Sommio.co.uk). Described as being “unlike any other we tried” in our round-up of the best ones, it gets its weight from layers of knitted organic cotton, which makes it super calming and breathable.

Draught-proof your home

If your home isn’t properly insulated, then a draught excluder is a must for keeping the chill out. And not only are these nifty products great at stopping air creep through cracks, but they can also add a stylish touch to your living space.

For a chic addition that also does the job, we recommend picking up this juju door stop (£32, Kalinko.com) which was the winner in our round-up of the best draught excluders. “The double-lined material has a top-quality feel, and the weighty gravel filling ensures it stays put. Although its compact size means it’s not ideal if you’ve got deep gaps beneath the entire width of the door, it’s a great option if your cold air issues stem from doors swinging open,” our reviewer said.

For a more playful style, we love this one that looks like a row of cute hedgehogs (£65, Hayesgardenworld.co.uk). The excluder is seriously weighty, using sand as a filler, and is an ideal option for anyone looking to ensure doors stay firmly closed.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on portable heaters and other household appliances, try the links below:

For more tips on how to stay warm, read our guide to the best hoodies for men

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