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Sunday, January 27

Keep calm and "cosy up" your life this winter...

Feeling pretty chilly, I decided to "cosy up" my life as much as I could and thought I'd share a few of the ideas I've tried -
please feel free to add your own cosy up ideas here.
1. PJ's on the radiator...
A really easy way to feel toasty warm - pop your PJ's on the radiator when you get in from work and after tea snuggle into them while you lounge on the sofa with...
2. Blankets, eiderdowns and scarves...
All of last year I "thrifted" tartan bits in preparation for the winter, Tartan scarves/shawls, blankets and a ruby red eiderdown were all squirrelled away into my loft last summer - ready for wintry evenings -
Now if I get a little chilly - I just snuggle under one of the blankets on my sofa -
D R E A M Y!
3. Play in the snow until your hands/paws are numb...
I love to wrap up really warm and go foraging in the woods with my little jack russel (Mr Harry Grimwood).
On our walks, we collect kindling and rose hips (well, I collect kindling and rose hips - Harrys far too busy snuffling!), and I make silly things out of the snow until I am really cold.
Then, the minute you step through the front door it just feels sooooooooo good to be home!
4. Light an open fire...
(5. & 6.) and make homemade bread and soup...
I use the kindling foraged from the wood to light an open fire
(and sprinkle on some pine needles I saved in a tin from the Christmas tree - fills the house with a lovely fresh pine smell).
Then maybe I'll get down to making some proper, wholesome. REAL, soup and home baked bread.
One of my favourite winter soup recipes is Carrot and Chestnut soup -
try it - you'll love it
1 large onion chopped
2tblspn Olive oil
3 sage leaves (plus more to garnish)
200g (7oz) of chestnuts (vac packed) - chopped
500gms (1lb) carrots peeled and chopped
800ml (1pt 8oz) vegetable or chicken stock
3 Tblspns creme fraiche
Put all the ingredients (apart from the garnishing sage leaves and creme fraiche) into a pan and bring to the boil.  patially cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Pass the whole lot through a food processor until thick and smooth. Add cream to taste and serve with chopped sage leaves on top and freshly baked bread.
 After not having any success with baking from scratch in the oven (I think due to the fact that we always seem to live in drafty old houses!), I invested £10 in a bread maker at a car boot sale a few years ago - it's kind of cheating, but we've had some lovely loaves from it and once you get the hang of it you can make all your own flavoured breads.  
Just remembered that many years ago I made a tomato flowerpot bread which was heavenly - baked in a terracotta flower pot - must look out that recipe -
D E L I C I O U S!!!
7. Invest in a pure wool rug...
I was amazed at the difference a wool rug made to our lounge - not only does it look warmer, its soft and toasty underfoot rather than cold laminate flooring or wooden floorboards
8. Save electric and cosy up with candles...
The room always feels warmer with candles - sometimes I gather as many as I can find together and squeeze them all onto the mantle shelf!
9. Craft some winter warmers...
were you will find loads of tutorials on how to get crafty and keep warm at the same time - sewing, knitting and lots of other craft ideas to keep you occupied and warm for when it's just too cold to venture outside!
10. Check on older relatives and neighbours...
If you have elderly relatives and neighbours - pop in to see if they are warm enough. There are lots of government schemes to help older people or families on low incomes with heating bills etc.
Perhaps you can make a trip to the shops for them or help them to cook a meal?
Oh and don't forget the birds this time of year - put your scraps out for them (apple/pear cores, oats, cereal, etc) or any nuts left over from Christmas as a real treat.
Helping others always makes you feel cosy and warm inside.