Dec 8, 2015

Winter Warmth: How to Stay Snug This Christmas


It’s all too easy to seek comfort in the bottle when we’re feeling the cold.

Winter does, after all, have the not so happy knack of creeping up on us unawares and knocking us to the ground, courtesy of its icy cudgel. We get complacent. Sure, the leaves are falling and we’re needing to turn the lights on earlier by the day. But hey, look. It’s still mild enough for linen shirts, chinos and deck shoes.

Yep, pantomime season may well be fast approaching. But is it time to get out the thermals and thick sweaters yet?

Oh, yes it is.

Oh no, it isn’t.

Come on, you only need to take a post-Sunday lunch stroll to see the evidence of our fashion defiance. Darkening skies, quickening breezes and berries a’plenty adorn the trees. But Ralph Lauren still rules the highways, byways and frost kissed hillsides.

That is, until the balmy days become barmy ones. And the talk around the water cooler turns from new cars and holidays to whether you’ve bitten the bullet and turned the central heating on yet!

It’s a bizarre ritual. Many people see flicking that little switch on the boiler from Off to On as evidence of a lack of masculinity. Wives and children are sat in a corner shivering like extras in one of Charles Dickens’s darker novels. But turn the heating on, in November, meYou might as well chew off my balls and put me in a frilly tutu. Put another sweater on if you’re cold.

It’s like the standoff in a Western. No-one dared make the first move, no-one blinks, there is nary the flicker of a finger. Until, that is, someone gives.

Dave in Marketing turned his heating on at the weekend. He’s a marked man now. Yet, his act of self sacrifice now means everyone else can follow suit; “I wasn’t first, other people put their heating on long before I did mine. Boo-YAH!”. Cue triumphant fist pumping.

Well for goodness sake, take a look at yourself.

We just want to be warm and comfortable, that’s all.

Fortunately enough for today’s macho man, there are plenty of gadgets and gizmos about the place for him to not only keep his home and family warm this winter, but to make him feel like the Captain of the USS Enterprise in doing so.

Boo-YAH indeed. Everyone’s a winner.

Futuristic Heaters from Dyson

Dyson Hot & Cool room heaters, for example...

Dyson Hot And Cool

Come on, look again. He’s even made it look like some kind of intergalactic technology from the 25th century. When no-one’s at home, you can pretend it’s a Stargate to another Universe or something.

If you get one of these, then believe me, you’ll be looking for any excuse to get it out and switch the thing on. “I know its June but you can never be too careful!” Plus, it'll do cool as well as warm - making for legitimate all-year-round use!

It’s got a remote. Plus jet focus control. Hell, it’s Top Gun in a box. Keeping the house warm was never so, well, macho.

Or classy, come to that. Disregarding the fact it looks like it was something that was once owned by Darth Vader for a moment, consider the design. It's sleek and contemporary. Sure, it’s there to keep you warm. But it could equally sit in a corner of the Tate Modern.

The Most Desirable Radiators Ever


A more traditional form of heating is, of course, the humble radiator.

They’ve never really been objects of desire. Yet, even the most functional design can be transformed into something desirable. Either that, or you can opt for a more modern radiator, designs that are so cutting edge that they appear ‘rad’ in both name and nature.

A Wiltshire based company has done just that, offering a wide range of both traditional and contemporary radiators for luxury and designer interiors. Cue, the Livinghouse designer radiators...

Black Mirage Radiator

Is this a radiator? Or that mysterious black slab from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Nope, must be a radiator. After all, 2001 is, well, so 2001 darlings. And radiators have moved on.

You can ever get designer radiators for your children’s bedrooms now. Have a child that is a Lego addict? Say no more. Get one or two of these and they’ll stay in their rooms for hours, warm and snug, whilst you get on with other things.

And talking of bedrooms, how about an Anthracite radiator or two to help maintain the heat in there? Say no more.

The Ambience of Candles

Candles are something else that can add warmth and comfort to a home.

No, we’re not advocating you all huddle around one with outstretched hands. It’s the kind of warmth they add to a room in terms of its ambience we’re thinking of...

Candle Ambience

Like this. You can almost hear the Barry White CD - sorry, vinyl - starting up in the background.

It's quite easy to find a range of elegant and contemporary candles and candle holders that will go a long way to adding warmth and atmosphere to a room online. Take a look at this Yankee Candle Christmas set - containing six different scents; Christmas cookie, Christmas eve, season of peace, sugared apple, red apple wreath, and snowflake cookie. How's that for Wintery warmth?

If you like candles but aren’t so keen on the prospect of all that soot on your furnishings, then fear not. Because you can buy Beeswax candles that are both smokeless and soot less from the West London based Scented Candle Shop.

A modern twist to that most fundamental of warmth providers now: fire.

A Classic Throwback: Contemporary Fireplaces

Who hasn’t secretly yearned for a
real fireplace in their home?

The advent of central heating saw both property developers and home owners ripping fireplaces out of their homes with some vigour. They were seen as costly, dirty and time consuming follies.

Not anymore.

Shanghai Fireplace

They’re becoming must-have items. Contemporary, classy. Plus, if you really want it, most reassuringly expensive. Yet, if you ever wanted to change the character of your home, then installing a fireplace is a sure fire, pun intended, way of doing so.

You can burn wood, solid fuel, gas or electric. There is an option for everyone. In fact, the one and only Sarah Beeny has discussed the benefits of enjoying a Christmassy hearth - are you going to argue with her?

But not only that. They’re also considered to be a most ecologically sound option now. Fossil fuel supplies are falling almost as quickly as demand is growing so, with that in mind, wood, a renewable resource is now widely accepted as an economic and carbon neutral energy source.

How about that? A warm, cosy home and a clear conscience.

Admittedly, the message has taken a little while to get through. The actual concept was being pushed over three decades ago.

It’s just that we’re only really warming to it now.

But with designs like these available from Holme-based stone artists J. Rotherham, should anyone be that surprised?

Cosy and Convenient: The Hot Water Bottle

Even the once oh-so-humble hot water bottle has acclimatised to modern living.

It was once bracketed alongside fluffy carpet slippers, nylon sheets and draughty stairways. But not any more - for under £50 you can now have a hot water bottle that is completely in tune with the 21st century. One that will attract admiring glances rather than sympathetic looks:

Fatboy Hot Water Bottle Pillow

Is it a hot water bottle? Is it a pillow? Well, technically, it's both - and it's also really, really comfy.

They’ve taken this concept a step further in Japan with a stunning piece of furniture known as a Kotatsu. It’s nothing more than a table that is covered with a blanket but with a heater placed underneath it. It looks good, it’s contemporary, practical and it keeps you warm.

A Futon with attitude.

Kotatsu Futon

Japan leads, the rest of the world follows. Everyone will be wanting one of these soon.

So remember where you saw it first. And thank us for the tip. You can get the jump on everyone else with one from here.

Whether we like it or not, December is well and truly upon us. Not so much the a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness but one of colds, chills and frigid air.

Yet there is no need to cover up about wanting to keep warm. Don’t hide it, embrace it.

With a warm and comfortable house that not only feels good - it looks damned good as well.

Plus, remember that there are ways to improve your energy efficiency at the same time, with our "Don't Move Out, Move Up!" home improvements graphic.