|First thing this morning. The snow has become thicker and there is less greenery around now.|
Whilst I love the cold, sharp air and frosty landscape in the morning, our house feels even colder than usual. Our heating is ridiculously inefficient, the roof space inadequately insulated and an icy draught seeps in through the windows. The thick walls and cold ground-level floors make the place difficult to heat.
At this time of year I am envious of friends who live in warm, modern houses but it seems I am drawn to the old and crumbly. Previous houses have included a tiny thatched cottage with shutters at the windows (chocolate-box pretty but it was a playground for mice and permanently dark inside), a converted barn with exceptionally high ceilings (the windows were a nightmare for showing up every smear) and a beautiful old town house with the most amazing timber sash windows (but being right in the town centre, we had to endure the sound of drunk youngsters singing and throwing up all the way down the street at the weekends).
The house that we are in now is my favourite of all, despite its draughty rooms. We just need to take extra precautions to keep snug.
We had wood burners fitted a couple of years ago and it was one of the best things we did. We have this one in the living room and another in the dining room. At this time of year we keep the fires banked up for most of the day. We've found that a combination of coal and logs burns most efficiently and once it has been going for a while, the room gets toasty.
We keep plenty of blankets to hand in each room; my favourites are the checked and striped ones I bought at Avoca. My stepson's favourite by far is the cream faux fur blanket I bought from The White Company - we keep it across the back of the sofa year-round and he has been known to wrap himself up in it to watch TV in the middle of summer!
We had curtains made with extra-warm thermal lining for living room, including this long curtain that covers the (unused) front door. The door is an old wooden one and sports a few little gaps that enable the wind to whistle through!
It isn't so difficult to stay warm upstairs but our bedroom is freezing because we have a small open fire that lets in a constant draught. I've now bought two sets of the flannelette bed linen from John Lewis (one red and one natural) and then layer up with an eiderdown from Peony & Sage - the plumpest, heaviest eiderdown ever! - and a blanket or two. It is impossible to get up in the morning, we are so comfortable!
The snow looks set to continue here, for the early part of the week at least. I have made a huge vat of creamy tomato soup (low fat, natch, I'm on a NY diet) and we are spending our evenings on the sofa catching up on Grey's Anatomy. Obviously, cuddles are an essential way to keep warm too.
Have a good week.