Simple, cosy, low-cost winter evenings…

Though we’re past the winter solstice and the days are starting (slowly) to get longer, in my hemisphere we’ve suddenly been plunged into winter. A bright and bracing winter, but rather colder than my ears and nose would like.

I rather like winter, on the whole. Once I’ve got over the inevitable first sneezes and sniffles of the year, it’s usually the time of year when I set new routines, reply to my Christmas cards with long letters written by hand or on my typewriter, when I still have a burst of energy and enthusiasm following the Christmas break to review the year just gone and plan for the one ahead.

Walking to work in the mornings, I feel alive, fresh and thankful. The fields are frosted, the air is crisp and it’s doing me all kinds of good to breathe fresh air first thing. Plus I get to wear my unicorn hat which seems to make my fellow walking commuters smile.

However, come evening, when my working day is over and dusk has long since fallen, and I have trudged home in the cold, the wind, the rain and occasionally the snow – then it’s time to crank up the cosy in my little house.

As I write I still haven’t had January’s payday (and the early, pre-Christmas payday we had on 19 December feels like a lifetime ago), so I’m trying to have a luxuriously snuggly winter on a fairly small budget – and using the hashtag #wintertreats on Instagram and Twitter.

So here are my top five ways to survive the cold blast of January…

  • Big, snuggly throws. Most of mine, including the hand knitted ones, have now been commandeered by the two fluffballs who are clearly in charge of my household, but I bought two big, soft throws in the sales which are only for kitty use when they’re simultaneously being used by a human. There is nothing better than getting home, kicking off my shoes and curling up under both throws at once – human hibernation should definitely be a thing.
    Cost: £0 – £15 (my two favourite throws are from Dunelm Mill and Ikea. Alternatively, take up a new hobby and knit your own!)
  • Hot water bottles. Retro, but oh-so-delicious, tucked into your bed half an hour or so before you retire for the night, and then you can sink into a soft, fluffy and warm place to rest your weary head.
    Cost: £0
  • Library card – I’d normally scour Amazon for free Kindle books when my reading budget runs out (i.e. by about the 3rd of every month), but my library lets me borrow 14 books free of charge. So I am indulging in a Discworld-athon in the evenings. They’ve also recently introduced audiobooks which means I can listen to my favourites without even having to turn pages.
    Cost: £0 (providing you don’t follow my usual pattern, forget all about them and end up with a £51 fine though)
  • A teapot full of hot chocolate, which I like to make with rich whole milk. My favourite is Montezuma’s peppermint,of which I received a bumper crop at Christmas. A small teapotful is pure luxury – more than a mug, not enough to make you feel sick after finishing it.
    Cost: £6.29 for a pack of Montezuma’s Hot Shots – you can eat them as well as melting them! And it’s even more luxurious drunk in the…
  • … long, hot bath. Preferably with one of Lush’s bubble bars – I have my eye on the Unicorn Horn they’ve brought out for Valentine’s Day, but my all-time favourite is the Butterball bath bomb. Not so pretty, but makes your skin oh-so-soft.
    Cost: £3-£4
  • And a house can never have enough candles. Though I definitely recommend proper lamps for reading, if you’re watching TV, listening to an audiobook or just curled up chatting to a loved one, candles make me instantly more relaxed.
    Cost: Use tealights and you’re talking pennies. Make sure the flames are contained in a suitably deep holder if you have inquisitive pets (though coconut oil is excellent at removing candle wax from kitty fur…)

What are your favourite #wintertreats?

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