Coping with the cold!


Hello Dear Reader,

It’s going to be a cold winter! I know what you’re thinking! Alaska is cold, Britain gets a bit parky. I shall rephrase that. It’s going to be a cold British winter. Our houses are not designed to keep us warm, well mine isn’t. It’s made of any old stones piled up with mortar and even though the walls are thick and solid, the cottage still gets cold. We moved in 2013 and have had mild winters since then and I’m really feeling the cold.

I could, should I choose to, turn on the gas central heating and leave it on and just pay for it. We live on a budget and choose not to have the heating on too much. When we do it’s set to 18.5C and that keeps the house from being chilly but I wouldn’t call that warm. We do lots to keep warm.

At the weekend, we light the wood stove and use a fan to push the warm air around. We open and close doors so we can move air around the house. We collect pallets and cut them down and add them to our firewood supply which helps stretch the budget as the pallets are free. We buy our firewood in the summer and stack it away and we spend £120 on fire wood a year. We use the wood stove to dry our laundry which keeps our electricity bill lower.

We use old-fashioned simple methods to keep warm. I’m feeling listy at the moment so here’s a list.

  1. Close all the curtains as soon as we get in.
  2. Hang thermal curtain linings on the back of the already thick curtains.
  3. Wear layers indoors. I get home and change out of my work clothes into something warm and cosy. I wear socks, slippers, a thick jumper and jogging bottoms around the house. Underneath a couple of t-shirts and I’ll stay warm that way.
  4. Duvets are not expensive so I have one under the bottom sheet in my bed and one on top, so I sleep in a duvet sandwich.
  5. Go to bed earlier by an hour and watch TV in bed or read or catch up on blog reading. I don’t need any heating at all them as I’m warm in there.
  6. We have sealed double glazed doors and windows so we don’t have any draughts but if I did have draughts, I’d use draught excluders to ensure I didn’t get them.
  7. We keep quilts and a blanket or two in the lounge and cover ourselves up so we stay extra warm.
  8. We keep a warm room. Instead of running our central heating, as we just don’t need it, we heat one room, in our case the room with the wood stove.
  9. I don’t heat the bathroom, when I shower, I keep the towel close by so as soon as the water is switched off, I can get dry in the residual warmth of the shower cubicle and get out dry and step straight into my dressing gown.
  10. Plenty of hot drinks, it definitely works.
  11. Keep moving and keep busy – easy for me, I’m a proper figit! There’s always something to be done.
  12. When I cook, I leave the oven open when I finish to let the heat into the room.
  13. On sunny days, I make the most of any warmth coming in and keep the curtains wide open.
  14. Snuggle up with nearest, dearest and dogs. We have a little two-seater sofa but two big humans and three little dogs can be found cuddled up together.
  15. Wear those summer strappy tops as vest tops underneath. A pretty substitute for thermals but just as efficient.

Over to you. How do you keep warm and keep the budget in check?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx





33 thoughts on “Coping with the cold!

  1. The back of our house is south facing so gets a lot of sun from noon onwards – providing its sunny – so this warms the house. We had double glazing 2 years ago – this has made a huge difference to draughts and condensation. Last year we got free loft insulation – another big heat saver. We’ve got central heating but only use it for a couple of hours at night if really necessary. We’ve got no fires, open fires or gas fires. I’m at home during the day in a thermal vest, sweatshirt and fleece – nice and cosy! We have throws on the sofas and did away with the floorboards look and went back to carpets – much warmer. I’ve found to my surprise that a lightweight scarf worn indoors really keeps you warm.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have a couple of large pieces of fleece in the living room for winter tv watching. We’ve just had my in laws here for 4 days and they can’t live without central heating so tonight even though it’s cold out, it feels a relief not to have heating on!


    • We had a very small, heavy, metal fan that sat on our woodstove and ran through some sort of convective heat magic. I thought it would do more to circulate air than it did and it made an ever-so-slight whackety noise that would annoy the heck out of my (sensitive) husband. Eventually I got tired of the power struggle of me putting it on the stove and he taking it off when it annoyed him (and I wasn’t looking) and I gave it away.


    • Yes, warmly recommended! Ours makes a real difference.

      Froogs, if you are able at some point, I would verry much appreciate one of your tutorials on lining curtains. I have bought yards of microfleece in black but do not know how best to go about it. Thx Cheesepare.


  3. We all wear vests (and sometimes long johns), there are throws on the sofas, I just made draught excluders for some draughty Windows (I made them using the inside of an old duvet and a pair of curtains from our local charity shop), I wear bed socks, I thermal back curtains, I shut the curtains after school, and we keep busy during the day.

    This post has made me evaluate the temperature I keep the heating at during the day! I’ve just agreed with my husband to reduce it.


  4. We do pretty much all the things you do, except closing drapes. I cannot bear waking up to covered windows. In any case, I like a cool house. 64 Fahrenheit during the day at most, 55 at night. Anything warmer, and I can’t sleep, and our kids complain of being “hot potatoes.” Quilts are folded on all the chairs and couches for burrowing under in the evening. We also all have down comforters on our beds. Those were a great investment. We are in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., so we have similar winters to yours. We will only use our woodstove if we get temps. below freezing, as it simply makes the house far too warm for our liking.


  5. We’re in Northern Colorado here, on the high plains and right next to the Rocky Mountains, and while winter is weirdly behind schedule here again this year, it does eventually get down below zero F (It used to be 20 below but in recent winters 10 or 15 below is as cold as we have gotten.)

    We have a wood stove in the living room and burn free-to-us-wood. Some is from dead trees being cut down by neighbors. Some comes from friends who work in businesses with scrap wood that they would otherwise throw away (a brewery, of all places, and a millworks). Those milled pieces of wood help the cottonwood and aspen wood that our neighbors cut down burn hotter and more thoroughly. We have cut down pallet wood in the past, but haven’t needed to in recent years and I don’t like having nails all through my ashes so that I can’t just toss them onto my vegetable gardens.

    We too use the oven more in the winter and we air-dry laundry inside by the wood stove. DH is right now installing the last of the replacement double-paned windows for our house (it’s taken us some years to afford replacing them all) and we hope that will cut down on heat loss. I’m also taking an old down quilt that has had its feathers migrate to the outer edges (and which the dog peed on, sigh) and folding and sewing it to the size of one of our drafty exterior doors so I can hang it in the door frame and cut down on some of the heat loss there.

    We have much more we could do, from replacing the no-longer-clear cover on our solar heat collector/blower that some previous owner installed on the south side of the house and doing a better job of sealing around the front door and a stained glass window that transmits a ton of heat out, but we do it as money and time and energy allows.

    We do run our furnace, but not nearly as much as our neighbors, not just to save money, but because DH and my daughter both get horrible bloody noses in the winter if we run it too much. And it wakes me up at night with the noise of it cycling on and off.

    We are comfortable with the fairly wide temperature swings we have every day as a result of not wanting to run the furnace at night. We will let the house drop into the mid 50s overnight, but by the time the wood stove has run for a couple hours the house is at 70 or warmer. We couldn’t be this frugal about heating if we weren’t home all day but have constructed our lives to be that way and love our lifestyle, even if it means we have to be more frugal than most everyone else we know.


  6. We live in Indiana and winters are very cold. We have a programmed thermostat that help us manage the temperature inside our house so we do not waste energy. The thermostat is programmed to be at a very low temperature during the time we are at work and kids are at school (40°F). It is programmed to start warming up the house 15 minutes before we arrive home from school and work. Right after we arrive we start the fire on our fire place and then turn the thermostat down again.The fire keeps the house and especially the family room warm and because we spend most of the time before going to bed in our family room, there is not need to have the heating working to keep the bedrooms warm as no one is using them. The thermostat goes up again close to bed time to keep the house in 65°F during the night. We also collect pallets and other kind of wood to keep the fireplace working for us during the winter. This not only keep us warm but also save us a lot of money and we see it when the gas bill arrives, and same as you, extra layers of clothes and hot drinks help us on the process 🙂


    • I too am in sunny Queensland and at present temps are mid 30’s but fortunately just arrived at the beach where there is a lovely breeze blowing and camped only about 50 metres from the beach edge.


  7. I actually took pity on my boys this morning and put the heating on for an hour (the kitchen was 8 degrees, brrr). We only have it on for an hour before the children go to bed usually. We do most of what you have listed although we don’t have a duet under the bed sheets but we do have hot water bottles (using water heated on the woodburner) . When the woodburner is on through the day I also cook stew and soups on top. Going out for a walk also helps you keep warm and the house always seems much warmer when you get back in 😀.


  8. Keep warm with porridge for brekkie, and – even if you just have a light sandwich type of lunch, a big mug of soup too.
    Buy inexpensive fleecy jim-jams and bed socks from Primark. My socks are so thick they’ve literally got a tog rating! Toasty toes guaranteed.
    If you get cold hands when out, double glove. A thin pair of gloves that go up over the wrists, then a pair of sheepskin mitts on top. Knitted cuffs are great too, really helping to keep you cosy indoors. If you can knit a plain and purl you can make knitted cuffs in a chunky wool in an evening.
    Finally, internal door curtains. I can’t close interior doors as the cat sits in front of every one demanding I open it (only to stalk off with a look of disdain as if she was never interested in the first place …) So a couple of large cup hooks screwed into the top of the door frame, a piece of curtain pole and a charity shop curtain. Keeps the unheated air from the kitchen wafting into the heated sitting room and lowering the temperature of an evening.
    Best wishes Val x


  9. Hi, we have storage heaters, I love them as they run on economy 7, when it’s winter I have a routine that has never failed everyone to get a good night’s sleep, all my curtains are drawn as soon as teatime arrives it keeps in any sunshine heat in the rooms, just after tea I go upstairs with a hand full of hotwater bottles, put them in the beds make sure all blankets and quilts are on top, the children have PJ’s and bed socks to put on so they are warm and so are the beds. This routine has never failed, I have door curtains and all of them have bump lining in so there is an extra layer of insulation in the curtian, draught excluder’s are a must, and I get everyone to layer up. A traditional hot meal is a must and warm pudding I find a full belly is a great help to keeping warm.Good old fashioned home warming is the way.xxxx


    • An Aldi men’s fleece dressing gown worn as a housecoat (XXL to fit over everything!) works a treat, and if it’s really cold at night, thrown over the duvet on the bed, it makes a surprising difference.


      • Thankyou for your suggestion ,I’m a firm believer in helping yourself and have found over the years that keeping a traditional home where everybody eats the same and the majority of us sit around the table, the old fashioned rule of bills are paid and the pantry, fridge are full everything else is a bonus.


  10. Our thermostat is set to 19 and the timer for evening and early morning. Doing the ironing is one way to get a bit warmer before the heating comes on. And, yes, T shirts past their best make a good base layer.


  11. Hop on youtube and search for something called terra cotta pot heaters. Apparently they are amazing at heating spaces. It is a do it your self may really like.


  12. We decamp into the kitchen by the Rayburn like this
    Admittedly this year it’s mainly because DH is decorating, but we’ve done it plenty of years just for the cold and it’s so cold tonight I’m kind of glad it’s done.
    The rest of our house is ***** freezing! We get ice on the insides of our windows upstairs. So I have a hot bath (water is a byproduct of the Rayburn AND the one radiator it runs is in the bathroom, so that’s our luxury spot!) then run the heater in our bedroom for about ten to fifteen minutes while I’m in the bath, then hop into bed with books mags and laptop. turning the heater off and capitalising on my warm feet and hot water bottle!


  13. Hi Froogs!

    Is bashing your head against a brick wall something that keeps you warm? I found out my OH had left an oil-filled radiator on in his loft den for days… at least a week. Maybe 2. He was hardly going in there. The loft!!!

    It’s a wonder we didn’t have police helicopters circling round, they look out for hot roofs to catch weed farmers!

    I am now so stressed about the money he has wasted, I need to phone him while I’m at work to make sure he isn’t pottering about in there, burning more money needlessly. He’s doing coursework and insists on using the den for the peaceful atmosphere. I think it’s time I cleared some winter space for him, downstairs. Upstairs is hardly distraction free from the music and YouTube videos I’ve been hearing…

    He’s totally on board with our continued debt-busting, honest! Apart from these little practical things.

    We keep the curtains closed, we have our store of firewood prepped and under cover, fleece blankets, jumpers on. All that’s sorted.

    I have two draught excluders, but the cats really object to those and shove them out the way.

    Apologies for venting!


  14. Since I live further north (Norway) I would recommend long johns and thin west in thin and soft wool under the normal clothes in wool. Or I recommend to wear thick sweaters in wool. And use covers in the sofa in wool. I hear so much about fleece, but nothing can compare with wool to keep you warm. Unfortunately, even if we have our own sheep in Norway, the wool from them is not soft enough to make comfortable under wear in wool, so those are made in merino wool from New Zealand….
    I could not live with a unheated bath room, then I would never manage to get up in the morning to go work and ear money…. I would rather work some extra hours. We need some heat to survive the winter up here!


  15. I just spend the whole winter miserable and cold except at night in bed with a couple of hot water bottles , there is no way to keep this house warm we have oil heating that we run an hour a day its set to 12′ , crap single glazing which no matter how many curtain layers you put up still feel cold when you walk past , we have door curtains , blankets on all the sofas , hot water bottles worn at all times . I go out for walks to try and get warm , spend hours sat in the library and anywhere else with heating , love going to work at my crap job because the car has heat . This is my annual winge …lol


  16. My cancer treatments have definetly caused us to adjust our budget to keep me warm. I am really feeling the cold. A fire burns 24/7 and I often have to take a hot soak to get rid of the chill and it is a pleasure to soak in a lovely scent. My lack of hair means a knit cap and scarf or high collar for my neck. We rearranged the furniture in the sitting room so I’m not right by the window but can still see the birds at the feeders (my joy). I use a hot water bottle on my lap and put one under the sheets to warm the bed before climbing in. I reheat the same water and at the end of the week put it into the plants. Sometimes hubby will go to bed as I am getting ready and lay on my side to warm it. He’s a darling. I time my baking so the extra heat from the oven is early morning or after sundown. I visit the library a bit more. I love reading and if hubby is running errands he will drop me off at the lubrary. It is warm and cozy and I enjoy reading the many magazines and newspapers I do not pay to subscribe, too.. We’ve always been frugal and kept warm using tips that have been listed. We have just had to add a few extras this cold season.


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