Get their look: Christmas fireside

Christmas firesidecredit

Have you put up your tree and hung your decorations yet? What’s your colour scheme? We usually go for traditional red on the ground floor and copper on the top floor. We really like the look & feel of this Christmas fireside; simple rustic with minimalist white tree ornaments and wrapping paper.

The addition of a vintage wooden child’s sled adds a sense of fun. The unusual, half-moon wood-burning stove is the focal point of the room (well, it is when the Christmas tree isn’t there!). All its accessories are close at hand – logs, newspapers, companion set… there’s even a vintage metal fire bucket to add a flash of colour.

  1. Vintage chalkboard
  2. John Lewis Croft Collection Stanley rattan large easy-to-fit ceiling light
  3. Scan 85 Series High Top fire
  4. Vintage wooden wine box
  5. Vintage fire bucket
  6. ALSEDA banana fibre stool
  7. Vintage wooden sled
  8. Black fireside companion set
  9. Personalised wooden storage box

Get their look: Christmas fireside | H is for Home

Winter Wisdom – 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter

Winter Wisdom - 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter

Winter is a wonderful time of year for those of us not so keen on extreme heat and having bugs everywhere. In fact, many good things happen in winter. It’s the perfect season for hot food, woolly socks and crackling fires. The key to a good winter is to make sure your home is ready for it. For suggestions on how to get your house in good order for the cold months, read this list of 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter.

Bathroom shower

Household maintenance

Your house maintenance should be taken care of before winter gets its icy grip on your house, because when things suddenly or catastrophically go wrong it can take much longer to fix. It’s essential that your house is completely watertight – and pipes, drains and gutters are clear and free flowing. The endless torrential rain that often falls in winter and early spring can set back work on neglected pipes or other work that needs excavation…and bad weather can also prevent work being done on roofs or outdoor electrical appliances like water heaters. Imagine not having hot showers for a week in winter. No thank you!

Many companies clear blocked drains in Melbourne, for instance, and getting that done prior to winter’s arrival is a good idea, as some nights can get downright frosty. The last thing you need in the middle of a freezing night is a burst drainpipe.

Slippered feet up with a hot drink in front of an open fire

Light a fire

First and foremost, if your house has a real fire, then it’s time to break out the firewood! Make sure coal stores or log piles are well stocked during late summer and autumn. Organise deliveries early or get some wood chopped in readiness! Fires are a great, economical way to warm a house, and they can provide hours of entertainment. They give a room a real sense of drama and atmosphere. The additional burst of heat will also cut out any need for appliances such fan heaters.

Woollen blanket and patterned pottery mug

Scatter some blankets

Winter is a great time for snuggling up with some blankets. The best thing about blankets is that they not only keep you warm, but they can be dotted around your house and over the backs of sofas as decoration, then easily grabbed if you feel the chill. Distributing blankets around rooms in your home will mean you’re never far from a warm, cosy blanket in the dead of winter.

Bowl of meat stew

Roast away!

Arguably one of the best things about winter is the food that you begin to crave. When it’s 4ºC and raining outside, nothing satisfies hunger like a good roast dinner. Warming food like roasts, stews and hearty soups are perfect for not only warming you and dinner guests, but also make the whole house smell amazing.

Pair of thick, pale-coloured curtains

Heavy curtains

One thing that many people forget when winter-proofing their houses is how much heat is lost through the windows, even when the curtains or blinds are closed. If your house is freezing cold at night and you have large windows, consider buying thicker or lined curtains or blinds for them. This will keep more of the heat in and save you money through lowering electricity and gas bills.

Over the knee winter socks

Dress for the occasion

What will keep you warm in winter, no matter where you go? Woollens and waterproofs are the obvious choice for the cold season, but even within the protected environment of your own home there are things you can wear to keep the chill at bay. Thick socks on your feet will keep cold, tiled floors from freezing your toes off – and a quilted robe can mean the perfect combination of comfort and warmth.

Blue fleece electric blanketcredit

Warm the bed

Your bed will likely be too cold at night before you hop in, and even with pyjamas on this can cool you down before your body heat manages to warm up the bed and duvet. An electric blanket is the perfect addition to a winter bedding ensemble, and all you need to do is switch it on an hour or so before you hop into bed to ensure a nice, toasty night’s sleep.

Radiator thermostat

Radiate heat

Finally, there are ways of keeping heat in the less used rooms, like your bedroom.

While most of the evening might be spent in the common areas of your house, your bedroom will be where you retire to and unless you have put something in place to heat that room, it will likely be freezing cold. A radiator heater can be a great option for this, as it uses very little electricity and stays warm for long periods of time. Turn in on when you get home from work and your room will be toasty by the time you get to bed that night. Or perhaps fit timer switches that can activate heating systems precisely in specific areas.

With these tips in mind, the cold of winter doesn’t stand a chance at infiltrating your abode – so get out there and start winter-proofing your house today.

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Updating your home style for the winter months

Winter exterior

A new season is upon us and with it comes the challenge of transforming the home. For a season with a reputation for being boring, winter is often viewed as a tricky month to bring into the home. The blues & greys usually associated with winter are cold and uninviting, but it is possible to emulate the warmth and cosiness and sparkle and glamour of winter. Here are two easy to do themes that are guaranteed to bring a touch of winter beauty and character into your home this Christmas without leaving you shivering.

Living room mantlepiece decorated for wintercredit

Winter wonderland

This winter theme is for those looking to inject a touch of class, sophistication and glamour into your home. It’s all about silver colours and sparkle, emulating the sparkle of the frost and the snow and capturing the sparkling beauty of the frosty winter months (not the cold, though!).

  1. The living room

Turn your living room into a winter wonderland by swapping your centre light for a beautiful chandelier. Get some gorgeous sparkly candle holders, light some scented candles and watch the light dance off the crystals. Silver scatter cushions with plenty of sparkles are great for creating a cosy, winter-themed sofa. Instead of bright lights this winter, use candles and lamps to create warmth.

  1. The bedroom

Snuggle into your very own winter wonderland. Swap drab boring furniture for beautiful mirrored furniture. There’s plenty of different styles to choose from – plain glass, or smoky coloured, depending on your style. Swap your bedspread for something glittering and beautiful. You don’t have to stick silvers and greys either; rich purples and royal reds also ooze winter sophistication. There are plenty of places to find bedspreads, including JD Williams.

Winter log cabin

Rustic log cabin

If you’d prefer a more home-made, cosy winter feel, the log-cabin theme is the one for you. It’s all about rustic colours, mismatched furniture, dim lights and rustic fashion.

  1. The living room

Swap heavy lights for lamps and candles to create a cosy, warm, rustic hue this winter. Snuggle up on a sofa that’s covered in comfy scatter cushions. There are plenty available this season in reds, greens and oranges – all with beautiful patchwork patterns or reindeer images. Nature themes are great for this time of year. The more handmade, the better. Drape a patchwork blanket over the sofa, ready to grab and snuggle underneath on those cold nights. Drape some multi-coloured lights across door frames and windowsills to capture the festivities of the season and add some much-needed colour and warmth to what would otherwise be a drab and cold winter.

  1. The bedroom

Carry on the theme of mismatched and rustic style into the bedroom by investing in a patchwork quilt, knitted throw and heavy curtains to block out the cold air. The best colours for the bedroom to instil warmth this season are reds and oranges. Candles and lamps create a beautifully warm and inviting glow. Christmas decorations are usually reserved for downstairs, but a couple of carefully draped strings of fairy lights will set off any bedroom. Swap modern furniture for antique pine to really create the feeling of a log cabin.

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Price Points: Black thermal leggings

Black thermal leggings

I took my first Christmas shopping trip into Manchester city centre yesterday. I was mainly looking for warm winter clothes for Justin, but I managed to have a little browse at a few things for me as well. Before the weather begins to get too cold, I want to make sure I get myself a new pair of black thermal leggings to wear under my waterproof trousers while I’m out walking.

I popped into Marks & Spencer and made a beeline for the escalator up to the ladies’ underwear department. They had a very good selection of thermal socks, tops and bottoms. I had a feel of their cashmere blend leggings… so soft and warm! Cashmere is a brilliant material for thermals, it’s very soft – softer than sheep’s wool (which makes me itch if it comes into direct contact with my skin for too long), it provides excellent insulation, it’s lightweight and it’s a natural material. Everything you need for a winter base-layer – it’s the choice that I’ve gone with!

Thermal leggings have had a 21st century high tech treatment. They’re all about Heatgen™, Thermolactyl and Isotherms and their ‘heat retention technology’. It reminds me of the kind of terms used by laundry detergent and cosmetics companies in their TV and magazine ads!

  1. Isotherm women’s brushed leggings – black: £4.99, Mountain Warehouse
  2. AUTOGRAPH Heatgen™ thermal leggings with cashmere: £25, Marks & Spencer
  3. Thermolactyl grade 4 long pant: £32, Damart

Price Points: Winter slippers

Selection of winter slippers

When we finished photographing items for our recent George at Asda collaboration, Justin snaffled the slippers in lightning quick time. I pointed out that they were a bit big, but he pointed out back that come mid winter, they’ll be combined with thick woollen socks, so no problem. There was just no getting them back!

I wear surf slippers during the summer, but when the weather turns cold, I need a proper pair of winter slippers – I suffer with bad circulation!

I’ve had two pairs of the North Face tent mules (#1) in the past and I absolutely love them. When you wear them, it feels like your feet have their own personal duvets!

Number 2 from The White Company, look super cosy too with their faux fur, but appear most suitable for a world of soft carpets, beds and other clean furnishings. Number 3 – classic Ugg slippers, also look very comfortable, but more robust. Their waterproof, rubber soles will allow for trips out into the garden or bin emptying duties!

  1. The North Face Nuptse Tent Mule: £32.50, Surf Mountain
  2. Faux fur cosy slippers – mink: £ 35.00, The White Company
  3. Women’s Tasman: £85, Ugg

Get yourself and your house ready for winter

Wintry streetcredit

There’s not much prep needed for summer – a few workouts, maybe a leg wax and a spray tan – the rest just takes care of itself. Winter, however, needs a bit of forethought and a lot of smarts if you want to avoid all the petty annoyances that the cold weather brings.

By following these clever tips, you can win at winter, hands down!

Boot pebble traycredit

Make a pebble boot and umbrella tray

This is genius – when you’re on your summer hols, select some attractive pebbles and carry them home. Get two or three cat litter trays and fill them with the pebbles, then use them to stick wet umbrellas and wellies in. The boots and brollies will drain without leaking all over your floor.

Domestic oil tankcredit

Order your heating oil while it’s still summer

Yes, winter’s a long way away, but if there’s one way of getting cheap home heating oil it’s to order it while the sun is shining. That way, you’ll get a great deal and you’ll feel all secure once the first frosts appear!

Car floor matscredit

Buy some spare car mats to help you get out of deep snow

If you’re in an area that actually gets good old fashioned deep snow, you’ll be familiar with getting stuck in it! The lack of traction for your car wheels will have led to many a late start, so keep a couple of spare car mats in your boot and when you’re stuck, place them in front of your wheels to give them something to grip.

Snow covered bikecredit

Make instant (well, almost) snow tyres for your bike

Another genius hack here. Not many people use their bikes in the snow because it’s hard to grip. Wrap cable ties around the wheels at 3-4cm intervals for that all-important traction.

Vacuum packing clothes for storagecredit

Vacuum-pack your summer clothes

This space-saving trick works all year round, of course, but there’s something significant about getting out the winter woollies in anticipation of the cold weather. You feel armed, somehow.

Wine bottles keeping boots uprightcredit

Use wine bottles to keep your boots upright

This might seem a bit obscure, but if your boots flop over while they’re drying (on your pebble trays), then once you haul them upright, they will start to develop cracks, which shortens their life and can let leaks in. Keep them standing proudly and they’ll last another winter.

Dog training padscredit

Switch to dog training mats for when it’s really cold

If you have a really small dog, or one who feels the cold, on some days even nipping out for a quick pee and poo is torture for them. Buy a few packs of puppy training mats for these occasions – you may need to remind them what they’re for – and you’ll have a happier dog.

Sausage dog tartan draught excluderscredit

Think about ways to retain and add heat to your home

This could be using bubble wrap to insulate windows, or getting the kids to make some draught excluders over the summer holidays. There’s also handy tricks like leaving the oven door open after you’ve finished to let some heat into the kitchen.

What are some of your great ideas for staying warm and comfortable over winter?

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