Top tips for staying warm this winter…

warm

This has been a cold, nasty week in our nations capital. On Monday morning I went into work at 10.30 and there was still frost on the gound!! Not just in the odd shady corner either. There were thick blankets of it laid out across the grass. Not. Good.

So my top tips for keeping warm?

1) Build some big woolley socks into your wardrobe. Eco-friendly, and with lots of Australian made options, socks will not only keep you warm but may also increase your chance of orgasm!!! Find out more here.

Tuff Mongrel Socks

2) Block up spaces around your windows and doors to help keep the heat in. Don’t have anything? That’s ok. Make your own door-snake with these simple instructions.

doorsnake1

3) Drink lots of tea. Comforting, delicous and warm. You’d be mad not to use the change in the weather to drink more. It’s also an opportunity to help lift people out of poverty, with 100’s of tasty fair-trade blends out there for the buying. See this post for some of my favourites.

tea

4) Make your own heatpack from things that are lying around the house when things get truly desperate.This easy little trick is a great substitute if no hot water bottles or wheat packs are on hand to soothe a sore body or add a little support to feet that are desperately trying to warm up.

So there you have it – the simplest, cheapest and most universe friendly ways I know to add a little warmth to your winter.

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go back to Netflix and a massive cup of peppermint tea… maybe winter isn’t all bad 😉

Just my cup of tea. The benefits of drinking fair-trade.

This is the fourth and final ‘winters warmers’ article offering tips for staying warm while feeling warm and fuzzy with the LLUF philosophy. So far I have covered:

So now to cover fair!! Fairtrade tea has long been a thing, but the fancy marketing and familiarity of big brands like Tetley and Bushells keep us going back for more. But there are plenty of similarly priced and equally delicious fair-trade teas that come with two added bonuses:

  • They are better for you (most fair trade teas are also organic), and
  • They are better for the people who produce your tea.

So if you are thinking of making the switch why not start with one of these (excuse my dodgy graphics):

Love teaBoth these teas are on the fancy end of the tea scale. And both are delicous. However Love Tea’s earl grey is organic, fair trade and comes in a very cute cardboard cannister. It is also an Australian run family business, which I love. When odering from their website I have always received my purchases within 48 hours and always with a little sampler of one of their teas to try!!

LiptonTwo old family favourites, similar prices, simalar tastes. But Lipton’s black tea range is Rainforest Alliance Certified which gets it the LLUF-green-box-of-approval.

NeradaI love peppermint tea. I have it in a 500ml stein because a standard mug just doesn’t cut it. So needless to say price is a major consideration when it comes to this purchase. Nerada Organics has a complete range of fair-trade organic herbal teas that is available in most supermarkets. And at around $5.50 for 40 bags beats Liptons ‘Refreshing Mint’ by 5c a bag!!

Still not convinced? Watch this short video about the benefits of fair-trade and then see how you feel.

A-door-able: stay warm with this super easy, eco-friendly DIY project

Over the last two weeks I have talked about staying warm with less (using the Bogan Heat Pack, or BHP) and with the amazing Tasmanian made Mongrel Socks. Moving on to the next part of the LLUF philosophy (less; local; used; fair), I want to talk about how you can stay warm using second hand clothing. Not to wear – so don’t freak out if you are a person who prefers to avoid second-hand clothing – but to sew into a super cheap door snake…

The advantages of making your own door snakes from second hand clothing or material are many and include:

  • You can choose a material that matches your décor, as opposed to choosing between the bright red and the brown striped options at the supermarket.
  • They are very easy to sew – a good way to practice your skills.
  • In the words of Napoleon Dynamite ‘girls love guys with great skills’. That’s right men. Sewing your own door snake will make you more attractive to women.
  • You are can choose to use all recycled and/or biodegradable materials, reducing your impact on the planet.
  • You can save your wallet too, by drastically reducing your heating bills.

Oh the list goes on.

I personally, struggle to cut up second hand clothing that isn’t either ruined or truly hideous. I prefer to wear them. And if you are so inclined, I would encourage you to shop-up at your local Vinnies/Salvos/whatever. I have bought some awesome jumpers, jackets and cardis from various op-shops and my star winter-find has been a bright pink snow suit with matching hat which I intend to give a run in the mountains this weekend. Too. Much. Fun.

So I have chosen an old shirt of Mr LLUFs that is well beyond saving to make into my door snake. If you are choosing an item to destroy I would probably recommend using pants or dresses – for the length – and avoiding stretchy materials because they are harder to sew with. This second tip applies if you have decided to use new material as well.

doorsnake2

As you can see, I have decided to stuff my doorsnake with plastic bags lying around the house, but for best results I suggest you use a grain such as rice or wheat. See instructions below:

how to sew a doorsnake

P.S – This is my first time putting together sewing instructions so let me know if they don’t make sense and I shall revise accordingly :-S

To warm your heart and sole – why you should wear Australian made socks.

Tuff Mongrel Socks

Last week I talked about using the BHP to warm up with less. Moving through the LLUF mantra (less, local, used, fair) – this week I want to talk about why you should add some pairs of locally-made socks to your shopping list this winter:

They are a practical, low energy way to deal with cold feet. My feet get ridiculously cold, as my partner is always keen to point out when they find him under the doona. We had a housemate who would tell us that he knew that winter had arrived when he heard Mr LLUFs pained pleas for me not to touch him with those feet through the wall. Good times.

My favourite supplier of Australian-made socks is my best mates Nana who unravels knits she bought at the op-shop and turns them into the chunkiest, warmest socks you have ever seen. Wearing these socks to bed has all but saved our relationship. Unfortunately for you, Nana-socks aren’t for sale. But I have an awesome alternative recommendation for sourcing your own winter woollies. Read on.

Surprisingly they are also a practical way to deal with hot, sweaty feet. That’s right. A pair of socks made from the right material can help keep your feet cool and dry by protecting them from the non-breathable, non-absorbent materials your shoes are likely made from. Sweaty feet are the gateway to a range of nasty infections, so if this is an issue for you I would definitely recommend a new pair of socks.

I recently bought Mr LLUF some Tuff Mongrel Socks. To avoid any confusion this is a brand, not an adjective. At 60% merino wool these fall into the ‘right material’ category, while having just enough synthetic fibre to make them easy care. And he says they are super comfortable.

Mongrel Socks are available in a range of different blends depending on your needs – pure wool, possum merino blends, 94% mercerised cotton – most of their socks are made in Tasmania, so you know they’ll be the perfect addition to your winter wardrobe. After all, Tasmanians know cold. Hell, that place is near freezing in the height of summer.

There are studies to suggest that wearing socks has some other surprising benefits including a better nights sleep and increasing your chances of orgasm!!

With this in mind, why wouldn’t you rush out and buy yourself as many pairs of Mongrel Socks as your budget and drawers will allow?

The BHP – the weirdest trick for staying warm this winter

warm

My first winter in Canberra I cried in public three times because I just didn’t want to be that cold anymore. After four years here I still desperately long for the mild winters of my beloved Brisbane, but I’ve stopped crying. Needless to say, the subject of staying warm is close to my heart, so now that we are in the middle of winter I thought I’d do a series of articles to help you through the worst of it using each element of the LLUF mantra (less, local, used, fair) – starting with less.

Now I don’t usually associate winter with less. I associate winter with more clothing, more emotional breakdowns, and as I outlined in the ‘No Sweat’ article, more food and a whole lot more red wine. However, one sneaky trick, imparted to me by my first housemate and childhood friend (love you babe), allows you some extra toasty warmth by repurposing things you are almost guaranteed to have around the house. I call it the bogan heat pack or BHP.

The BHP requires three things. A wet tea towel, a plastic bag, and a microwave. Just hear me out.

  • Firstly, fold the wet tea towel – and I mean saturated – to the desired size, keeping in mind that the more times it is folded the less of you it will cover, but the longer it will stay warm (I prefer to fold it twice), and place inside plastic bag. Fold plastic bag around tea towel.
  • Secondly. Place the plastic bag inside the microwave with the opening to the plastic bag on top. This will reduce any water running out onto the microwave plate or onto you when you pull it out.
  • Microwave for 1-2 minutes. Be super careful when removing from the microwave as this baby will be very, very hot. This is no sweet and simple store bought wheat bag we are talking about.
  • Finally, wrap it up in another tea towel – preferably one of the fluffy ones for a bit of added luxury – and cuddle/place on your cold or aching body part.
  • You might also like to grab your laptop and start researching how to change your name to Shazza -your call.

The BHP has many advantages over the traditional hot water bottle or heat pack, as it not only doesn’t need to be stored anywhere, does not get lost down the back of the cupboard during summer, and costs nothing.

As long as you heed the very, very hot warning, you can’t go wrong with the BHP.