Showing posts with label Winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winter. Show all posts

31 October 2018

Tips For Preparing Your Garden For Winter

Whether you have a large garden or a small one, there are still things that you need to do to prepare for when winter is on its way.

You do not have to be an expert gardener to make your garden ready for the cold and make sure that it is in the best condition possible for the spring the following year.  But it isn't just about your garden, you need to take care of your equipment too.

Do a Pre Spring Clean

After months of mowing your lawn with grass getting clogged up every time, don't just store your lawn mower in the corner of the garage for months on end.  Give it a good clean, clean out the grass and soil and if you have an older mower, maybe get a service done so that it is in perfect working order when you come to use it again.

Clean up your shears, forks and spades.  Make sure that everything is dried properly and oil the metals parts so that you are not greeted with rust in spring.

Use the Leafs Pro Actively

Where we live we are surrounded by trees, not only close around the property but also with large trees across the road when seem to shed their leaves and deposit them all over our garden, paths and patio.

Cleaning them up is such a chore (especially when they aren't even your trees!!) and then there is the question of where to put them.  Your gardening bin can be filled within a couple of days.  But there is an answer.

After doing some reading last year, I found out that leaf mould is a great way to give structure and organic matter to your soil which will in turn help your plants to grow again in the spring.  All you need to do is find a corner and create an open bin using mesh and a few wood posts.  Shred down the leaves a little, put in your bin, pour water over them and then use leave them.

Once the leaves get mulchy (technical term!) and crumbly, you can then cover your soil and borders.  This is a long time process that can take a couple of years to complete but it gives you somewhere to put your leaves and will benefit your garden in the long run.

Cold Protection

Protecting the plants outside that are in pots is easy.  Simply wrap the pots in sacking and tie up the leaves.

Check out the wooden elements of your garden such as gates, fence posts etc and see if anything needs repair or replacing before the snow, ice and gales hit.  Wooden can degrade quickly if not properly protected and you don't want to have to start fixing things like garden gates and doors in the depths of winter.

Cut back any trees with overhanging branches to enable them to properly grow again in the warmer months and whatever you do, stay off your lawn once the weather turns wet and icy.  The footprints and mess that you mess will still be there in spring and will a mess.  Trust me.

Hire a Gardener

If you are not green fingered or are not sure how to properly protect your garden in winter, hire a gardener  They will be able to tell you what plants you can use during the cold, what plants to put away, what plants to leave and also give your garden a good clean up and tidy so that you are in a great place when the lovely days of spring arrive.

We pay someone to come for 2-3 hours just when autumn arrives so that we are in the best time for making any changes and doing what needs to be done.  

If in doubt, hire an expert!!

4 October 2018

Winter Is Coming

Tell me, are you a Summer person?  Someone who craves the sunshine, loves the fact that you can walk around without the baggage of a coat?  Someone who looks at the snow and ice with dread and has a hatred for all things cold?

Alternatively, are you a Winter person?  A lover of warm drinks and cozy clothing.  Someone who loves a good snow ball fight and generally loves the beauty that Winter brings to the landscape.

Me, I'm a definate Summer person, but am trying, slowly to learn to love Winter.  So here are a few things that I thought about that I love about Winter that might make you love it too.

A Good Cuddle

Summer is wonderful, but how many nights have you spent far too hot during the evenings, stripping off layer after layer of clothing, drowning yourself in ice filled drinks and throwing off the bed covers at night?  How many times have you given up on the idea of a cuddle with your partner because you are just too damn hot?

Winter is made for cuddles on the sofa, a hot chocolate and a good film.  My fella is like a walking hot water bottle and snuggling up in bed on a cold night is something that brings us together even more.  

Stepping Into a Warm House

When you have spent a freezing day in the office followed by a cold and miserable commute home, is there really anything better than walking into a warm, inviting house?

It is this time of year that I make sure that our central heating systems are working as they should to ensure a warm and inviting house.  There is nothing worse that getting home on a cold day only to find out that your radiators are not working and you walk into freezing cold house.

My top tip for ensuring that your house heats up faster and retains more heat is to cover a thin sheet of card with tinfoil and placing it behind your radiator.  This reflects the heat back into your room and helps to heat everything that much and more importantly, retains the heat (saving you a bit of money too!)

Winter Clothing & Accessories

As much as I love, and I do adore, a Summer dress, there is just something about wrapping yourself up in many layers like a cocoon that makes you feel wonderful, calm and serene.  

Warm toasty socks in bed, a sumptuous scarf around your neck to keep out the cold, fur trimmed gorgeous coats and a good, old fashioned hot toddy on a particularly cold night are all things that I love about Winter.

The Food

At a risk of sounding like what they call a "typical woman" (what about any woman is typical I have to ask?), I do love a gorgeous roasted hazelnut latte in the Winter months.

Also, who can resist the lovely beef stew, simmering throughout the day in the slow cooker and ready to perfection when you arrive home?  Cauliflower cheese, apple crumble, chicken and mushroom pie or the good old English breakfast.  My mouth is watering just typing about them.

So, is Winter really that bad?  The icy streets can be hard to handle but there is so much about Winter to love, if you only care to look.  

19 March 2018

Review: Jileon Wide Calf Boots

A few months ago I was afforded the opportunity to review a pair of wide calf wellington boots from Jileon

Now as any dog owner knows, wellington boots are not something that are not confined to the winter months, especially in the UK where weather can range from sunshine in the morning to pouring rain in the afternoon, with of course the snow we are experiencing at present.  They are of course also perfect for festivals where the mud is an ever present feature.

For me however, wellington boots are an essential to walk this little snow angel.

Now I said that I received these boots a few months ago and you may wonder why it has taken me so long to review.  The thing is with wellington boots is that you need time to make sure that they are right for you.  Are they comfortable?  Are they going to rub?  Do they support your ankles? Do they help you walk in mud, snow etc?

None of these questions can be answered with a single wearing. 

What I would recommend with these wellington boots from Jileon is to size down.  I am a size 6 and they were too big for me, even with wellington boot socks.  So for an accurate review I gifted these boots to my sister who is a size 7; and they fitted her perfectly.

 This was probably a bonus to this review to be honest as I can be a little "tippy toes" in adverse weather conditions whereas my sister takes her dogs out every day, tracking through mud, snow, streams; everywhere basically.

I asked her to wear the boots and give me an accurate reflection of what she experienced while wearing them.  Her thoughts were that they were supremely comfortable, a good fit on the ankle and had great traction.   All basically that you can ask from a wellington boot.

These are wide calf boots but there is also a belt buckle facility at the top which allows you to tighten/loosen depending on the clothing that you are wearing.  

Jileon offer boots at both the standard and wide fitting.  They also offer different wide fittings at the calf, from below calf. wide and extra wide.  They also offer usage options whether you want occasional use, to regular and hard wearing.

From both my trying them on and my sister using them on a regular basis I can confirm that the wide on the calf fitting is very accurate and the adjustable buckle at the top comes in very handy.  

I would not hesitate to recommend these wellington boots to someone else, just with the advice to size down in your shoe size in order to get the perfect fit.

*This item was gifted to me but all opinions are my own

4 December 2017

5 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill This Winter

We're approaching the end of the year at break-neck speed, and that means many different things to different people. For some, the winter months mean festive cheer and fun family celebrations with the people you love most. For others, while those happy thoughts are in the pipeline, there's a more pressing concern to worry about in the form of impending winter energy bills.

During the colder months of the year, we find ourselves consistently struggling with bigger, more worrying expenses. As the weather gets colder, thermostats are cranked all the way up, and we spend a lot more time indoors, watching television, using electricity, and avoiding the outdoors.

The good news is that if you're dreading a painful energy bill in the New Year, there are things you can do to begin cutting down costs. Here are some simple and effective ways to bring your energy expenses down to a minimum.

1.       Switch Energy Providers

Changing energy providers can seem like an unnecessary waste of time and effort. Most of us would rather avoid the complexity involved with calling up our supplier and explaining why we no longer want to use them for our electricity or gas. On top of that, you also need to spend extra time looking for an option that's cheaper and more effective.

Though switching can seem like a pain in the neck, the truth is that changing to a more effective provider for your needs could save you hundreds every year. All you need to do is get online and check out a few energy comparison websites. It's that simple.

2.      Pay Bills by Direct Debit

Rather than waiting for your energy bills to come to you in the post, and then trying to find the money to pay for them in a mad rush, you could always set up an account to pay a certain amount each month. This is often a much cheaper way of doing things. With a monthly direct debit, your supplier should be able to estimate yearly usage and spread your bill over 12 months too.

You'll probably overpay a little during the summer months when the weather's good, but this also means that you should be able to store up extra credit for the winter. Just remember to call up now and again and give your supplier an accurate meter reading.

3.      Stop Leaving Things on Standby

How often do you go out to pick up your shopping, or work at your 9-to-5 job, while leaving various electronics on standby around your home? You might leave your television playing to itself, or even a few light switches turned on around the home.

While this might not seem like much of a problem, leaving your devices on standby does drain your cash quicker than you might expect. Most households waste around £30 a year leaving their devices on standby when they're not being used. While this doesn't sound like much in the grand scheme of things, it's enough to make you think twice about turning things off when you leave home.

4.      Turn the Heating Down

The concept of turning the thermostat down a notch or two when you can see the frost building outside might seem like madness, but the truth is that it could do wonders for your energy bills. 

Ultimately, you should never put yourself in a position where you're freezing, or risk illness, but if you can simply reduce your thermostat slightly and throw on a jumper instead, then you could save a lot of money.

Try wrapping yourself up in a nice warm blanket the next time you're feeling chilly, instead of cranking up the radiators and taking your layers off.

5.      Change to a Smarter Thermostat

Finally, if you've got a little cash for an initial investment, or you can afford to take out a personal loan, then it might be a good idea to switch to a smarter heating system in your home that allows you to place your radiators on a timer. This way, you can make sure that you're only heating your property when you're going to benefit from the extra warmth.

Timers on your thermostat can ensure that you don't need to leave your heating running all day when you're out at work just, so you can come home to a warm flat or house. Your thermostat will naturally turn itself up at a certain time each day so that your home welcomes you back with just the right amount of heat.

*Collaborative post

5 December 2016

Drive Safely in Winter

When I started to learn to drive I was a very cautious driver.  Very cautious.

It took me about a year and a half to learn how to drive because I was so scared about being on the road with other drivers and what could potentially happen.  The reasons why I feel like that can be found in my blog post THINK

Over the years my confidence grew and I became, much to my surprise, a pedal to the metal kind of driver, but safely.  I loved speed, but on  a motorway, with a clear road; no traffic in sight.

That said, one thing which, in highsight, probably lead to the fact that I sadly, no longer drive, is an incident that happened when the country was enveloped in snow and ice.  

I remember the day very clearly.  I had successfully negotiated the 30 minute drive to work without incident.  I was feeling proud of myself for not slipping or sliding on the roads and was, looking back, feeling a little cocky.

The road leading to my car park at work ended with a hard corner and a downward hill.  Feeling (overly) confident in my abilities I took the corner faster than I should, hit black ice and as a result, completely lost control.  The car span 360 degrees about seven times down the hill, narrowly missing a brick wall and stopping, luckily without collision at the entrance to the car park.  I was lucky.

Whilst recently doing my Google magic (as my mum calls it) for her, I recently came across the car insurance from Chill website.  In their blog, they talk about driving in Winter and give tips in how to stay safe.  

One of the most important advice tips that they provide is about black ice and keeping your distance.  You cannot see black ice so have no idea if you are speeding along and suddenly hit a patch.  

Driving slower and more cautiously when ice and snow is on the road is so important.  Remember, when on the roads, you are not just responsible for your own life, but also others if you are driving irresponsibly and end up causing a collision by driving too fast or not maintaining a proper distance.

Make sure that your tyres are in good order and that your MOT and regular service checks have been completed.  Find a garage that you can trust and stick with them.

I hope to return to the roads soon.  I missing driving so much and hope to overcome the fear that enveloped me by the end.  Driving provides so much freedom and independence.  There is nothing like being on a clear motorway, your favourite song coming on the radio and that speedometer rising a bit.

But we have to be safe.  A risk you take on the roads is not just a a risk for you, it is a risk for everyone around you.

22 November 2016

Styling the Opposite Sex

The way that we dress and the things that we choose to wear are a reflection on our personalities.  These days, this is as true for men's fashion as it is for women.  

Geek, goth, emo, classic, hipster, sports fanatic, punk; they are all represented and are clearly definable. 

I remember a few years ago now when a male friend of mine challenged me to go shopping with him and few up some new outfits for him to wear.  I felt like I was entering into a foreign land.  I am so used to choosing outfits based on what will enhance and suit a woman's body; the concept of choosing men's clothing, more personality orientated that body aware was something new for me.

I did not do too badly however, although he might disagree as he had spent £500 by the end of it!

But men of course, like women, have their challenges too.  Maintaining their style with a fuller figure, sourcing clothes that will fit taller than average bodies.

With that in mind, my friend recently challenged me to come up with an outfit for a larger man.  So here in my idea of an outfit for a winter's day.

Men's Parkas £100.00

Joe Brown's Funnel Neck Jumper £45.00

Lambretta Recharge Jeans £55.00

Trustyle Chelsea Boots £30.00 - perfect match with the Joe Brown's jumper!

So fellas, how did I do?

22 December 2015

Fabulous Coats

When it comes to winter, I think of two things when it comes to clothes.  The first is warmth.

Cosy jumpers, decorative scarves; gloves to keep your hands warm and toasty socks in bed at night.  Surrounding yourself with these items during the winter months will ensure a warm and comfortable time.

When it comes to coats and jackets however, I like to add a little glamour and luxury.  There is no reason why you cannot be both warm and look glamorous.  So here are some of my favourite elegant and glamorous coats to see you through the next few months of the cold.

Best of all, all of the coats I have found are on sale!

Biba Luxe Leopard Faux Fur Coat

Alice & You Faux Fur Coat

Jane Norman Beige Bonded Fur Collar Jacket

Oasis - The Great Coat

Uttam Boutique Contrast Kimono Coat

25 November 2014

Winter is Coming

As I have been mentioned before on this blog, the thought of winter and the snow that follows has always filled me with dread.  

Last year I wrote about some ice cleats that I had bought which have definitely made winter a little easier for me.  

The NHS have created some top tips for getting through the winter:
  • Avoid going out in bad weather but if you do wrap up warm in plenty of layers, and wear a hat, scarf, gloves and shoes with a good grip on the sole.
  • Try to be active during the day. Visit a local leisure centre or shopping centre if you can. If you can’t get out then get up and move, as light exercise will help to keep you warm.
  • Make sure your heating, radiators and boilers are serviced to reduce the risk of breakdown in cold weather.
  • Use a room thermometer. Your main sitting room should be between around 18-21C (64-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F).
  • Have at least one warm meal each day and drink warm drinks.
  • Sweep the chimneys, in preparation for winter.
  • Set heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed.
  • Get snug in bed with fleecy onesies, socks, thermal underwear and a hat. 
  • Take care of elderly friends and neighbours. Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night, and they have supplies of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather.
When you are young and have family around you, it is easier to think of just oneself when it comes to surviving winter but what your neighbours?

My street has many elderly people, my parents included, who all make the effort in winter to help out each other, but what about those who are more isolated?  My mum was talking to an 83 year old lady on the bus the other day who told her that her neighbours never speak to her or offer any assistance and she was worried about the winter ahead.  

It is important when winter arrives that we do not just think of ourselves.  Clearing an elderly neighbour's drive of snow or offering to get some items for them in your weekly shop isn't a big encumbrance to you but can make all the difference to someone who is elderly and alone.

I will be actively doing this when the snow comes.  If my mum lived alone I would hope that somebody would do the same for her.  When the temperatures drop and the ground gets icy, we all need to take a little extra care and if that can be extended to the people around you, maybe the winter won't seem to long after all.

30 October 2014

Safety Tips for the Elderly This Winter

Winter time can be especially cold if you are in your advancing years. A combination of dark nights, icy conditions, and hefty heating bills can make it a stressful time of year for pensioners. It is particularly troublesome for those who live on their own. So if you are worried about the next few months or have a relative who you are concerned about here are a few tips to help the elderly keep safe this winter.

Get Care
Services such as Extra Care At Home provide a helping hand in various aspects of a person’s home life from help getting up in a morning to and housework to providing companionship which can be very important during the isolating winter. Such organisations provide all the benefits of a retirement care home without the person having to uproot from their home.

Outdoor Physical Activity
It is important not to exert oneself as the cold weather will already put extra strain on the heart as it works overtime to keep your body warm. Do not attempt to shovel snow or carry heavy shopping, instead get a younger family member or carer to run such outdoor errands.

Prevent Falls
Wear boots with non-slip soles and keep paths and steps carefully cleared of snow or ice to avoid falls in the cold weather. Put a rubber tip on any cane or walking stick needed to walk to prevent it from slipping.

Wrap Up
Frostbite is a very real risk during extremely cold weather so it is important to cover up as much of your body as possible as areas such as your nose, cheeks, ears are most at risk as are fingers and toes. Frostbite is especially common amongst people with poor circulation and heart disease.

Keep Warm Indoors
Cold homes can lead to serious effects on a person’s health. Flu, depression, heart attacks, strokes, and pneumonia can call be caused by chilly houses. Measures such as electric blankets, eating well, wearing warm indoor clothes can all help your body keep in check when temperatures plummet.

Get a Flu Jab
It is recommended that all over-65s get a seasonal flu jab as the illness can escalate into pneumonia.

Stop Smoking
This is good advice for any time of the year but it is especially pertinent for winter. A smoke-free life will allow you to breathe easier and return your immune system to its best.      

Keep Social
To prevent the winter blues, keep in regular touch with friends and loved ones via telephone. If you feel like widening your circle of friends there are great services such as Age UK’s BefriendingService which assign older people with a befriender who provides friendly conversation on a regular basis.

13 October 2014

My Winter Wardrobe

I always used to tease my mum about the amount of clothes that she owned.  Every year when the weather turned warmer and then again, when the cold breath of winter started to make its appearance she would pack away her summer/winter wardrobe in suitcases and take out her other clothes, ready for the season to come.

I never did this.  What is the point is having many clothes when they are all black?  My summer and winter clothes fit into my wardrobe with ease.  There are only so many pairs of black trousers you can own after all. 

Last year however when the first warm days appeared, I realised that my attire was expanding at a rate that my small wardrobe could not keep up with.  The riot of colour and print, which makes me beam from ear to ear every time I opened the door, was getting cramped and overcrowded. 

 photo mydresses_zpsdd6c57d3.jpg

I said goodbye to all of my winter dresses and cosy coats, packing them away until winter reared its ugly head again. 

This weekend I looked my wardrobe again and decided that it was time to change back to winter wear.  The nip in the air and the cold journey on the bus to work needed something a little warmer to wear than I have been wearing.

I actually found myself stood at my wardrobe talking to my clothes.  Not a good sign I know.  Dresses that I have been in love with over the summer months that I didn't want to say goodbye to.  I'll admit that a few of them have remained in the wardrobe, purely for gazing on purposes.

Upon getting my winter clothing out again though it was like greeting old friends.  My adored purple checked coat, the first leopard print dress I have ever owned, along with a body con dress that I bought when I was feeling confident.

It might have been hard to say goodbye to some dresses this year, but I can't wait to meet them again when summer comes around again!