There aren’t any children in our household, however that doesn’t stop us getting excited about Christmas. Christmas proper for us generally begins on Advent – this year, the 3rd of December. On that day, the tree gets erected, decorations go up and, if we’ve managed a bit of forward planning, the first door of the Advent calendar gets opened.
There’s a growing number of grown-up Advent calendars on the market – and there’s something for everyone – glamour pusses, real ale drinkers, coffee connoisseurs as well as the sweet-toothed. Here are three of our favourites…
- Christmas coffee advent by Perkulatte: £40, Notonthehighstreet
- Beer advent calendar: £74.99, The Pip Stop
- 24-day beauty advent calendar: £120.00, Selfridges
In an earlier Price Points post we compared a trio of electric blankets. Sometimes you want warming up before you actually go to bed. This is where heated throws come into the spotlight.
Working from home like we do, I spend hours at a time sitting at a computer. In the colder months, instead of turning the heating on to warm up the entire house, or going to the lengths of getting the wood-burner started, simply clicking on a throw is a better option. Not only does it get you warm quicker, it’s cheap to run – one model claims to cost as little as a penny a day.
The three that we’ve short-listed are all around the same dimensions – double bed blanket size. They’re also all machined washable (essential if you’re a snacker and tip tea down yourself like I do!). All these heated throws look as though they’d do a decent job of keeping you warm. However, I think the faux Alaskan husky example would be so snuggly and soft – like curling up with a real husky… without any of the doggy smell!
- Luxurious monogram heated electric throw/overblanket, large size, 180cm x 130cm: £34.99, eBay
- Homefront electric heated throw / over blanket in chocolate (160 x 120cm) easy to use digital control – machine washable – ultra soft, cosy finish: £44.95, Amazon
- Dreamland Relaxwell deluxe faux fur heated throw, Alaskan husky: £99.99, John Lewis
We have a washer-drier but I’ve never actually used the drying cycle on it. I prefer to use non-electric clothes driers. It saves on electricity and you can be getting on with the next load while the previous one is hanging.
I’ve compared Sheila’s Maids in a previous post – however, there’s only so much ceiling space available for drying laundry. And, if like ours your ceilings are low, floor-standing clothes driers are a great addition or alternative; we use both types. our 2-metre 4-lath Sheila’s maid hangs about one and a half loads of washing, the one above has seven 2.4 metre slats – a stonker!
We have two floor-standing clothes driers – my favourite is a vintage 4-panel wooden one that fans out from a central axis. It folds flat and takes up very little room.
- Classic traditional concertina indoor clothes airer, 6-metre: £34.99, Lakeland
- 4 panel, 4 rung clothes airer: £69, Etsy
- 2.4-metre, 7-lath Victorian Kitchen Maid® pulley clothes airer: £86.25
What are your plans for Christmas? Do you normally visit family or do they come to you? If you’ll be playing host during the upcoming festive season you’re probably already beginning to plan for it.
The food cupboards and drinks cabinet need to be replenished – now’s the time to start thinking about making your Christmas cake and sloe gin. Make sure you have ample cutlery, crockery and pots & pans. Who likes eating their Christmas dinner with a plastic knife & fork from a paper plate? Potatoes for a dozen people take up lots of saucepan space when boiling.
Having lots of friends and family round will mean that you’ll also need to provide extra furniture; more beds, more chairs and more table space to accommodate all that festive fayre and the people who want to eat it!
You won’t need the excess furniture all year round, especially if space is tight. So where do you store it all when not in use? Collapsible items such as inflatable mattresses, camp beds and fold up chairs are easier to pack away. The simplest and most practical way of gaining the necessary extra Christmas dinner space is having extending dining tables. There’s a suitable version available whatever your room dimensions, party size or budget.
- MADE Essentials Mino folding dining table, white: £129.00, MADE.com
- SUKI 2-6 seat white folding dining table: £247.50, Habitat
- Amarna 140cm extending dining table: £679.00, Fishpools
Coffee connoisseurship keeps reaching higher and higher levels. We have become more discerning about where our coffee comes from, the taste we prefer and how we like to take it. Many people have coffee makers of one kind or another in their kitchens. The simple, classic Bialetti stove-top percolator, the coffee filter machine and the high tech bean-to-cup machines.
The obvious progression is an increase in the popularity of home coffee roasters. The basic models are surprisingly affordable and, as they don’t need electricity to run, are perfect for use al fresco or when camping. If you’re not the outdoorsy type, there are many others available – at a range of price points – for stove-top or counter-top use.
- Nuvo eco ceramic handy coffee bean roaster: £33.77, Amazon
- Antique coffee roaster: £135.03, Etsy
- BOCABOCA 250 coffee bean roaster with cooler: £345.99 eBay
I may shortly be leaving my 5th decade however, it wasn’t until recently that I’d ever heard of dual-control electric blankets – what a great invention!
I mentioned in the past that Justin & I have different preferences in pillow size, number and hardness. Well, we also differ in the temperature that we like the bed to be. I’m almost never warm enough – I could have an electric blanket switched on for the whole night during the winter. Justin throws the duvet off complaining of the heat.
One of these king-size, dual-control electric blankets will prevent much night time grumbling and tossing & turning!
- King-size electric heated under blanket fleece throw twin controls: £16.99, eBay
- Homefront electric blanket king-size dual control: £48.95, Amazon
- Dreamland heated fleece dual control fitted electric underblanket: £69.99, John Lewis