I jinx boilers.
Sounds silly, but I’m pretty sure it’s true. I’ve been in two different flats in the past two years, Folkestone last year, Canterbury this year, and I’ve ended up with no heating or hot water both times – in the middle of January.
Fortunately, I’ve learnt a few tricks for keeping warm without. And as the weather forecasts promise colder weather is coming, what better time than now to share my top five tips for staying cosy without central heating?
1. Buy a fan heater.
This may not apply so much if your heating is off to save money, but if you can afford it, it’s worth considering. A fan heater will leave an average-sized room feeling tropical in about half an hour and they cost as little as £11 from places like Tesco, Asda and Argos. Perfect for bringing a little summer to January.
2. Wrap up warm.
A no brainer, but no less true: layers, layers, layers. Jumpers, onesies, blankets, your duvet, everything. Wrap yourself up and become a giant fabric cocoon. I like a Snuggie myself. Don’t laugh – they may look ridiculous, but the stuff they’re made of is so efficient that I often find myself overheating in it and have to take it off again.
3. Love your kettle.
Even more true when you’ve got no hot water and a mountain of washing up. But even if you don’t, an electric kettle is your best friend when you’ve got no heating. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, instant porridge, instant soup: all of them warming, and all just a kettle of boiling water away. Thaw yourself from the inside out.
4. Release your inner chef.
This works in three different ways. First, you’re getting up and moving, which gets your blood pumping and your body’s own heating system going.
Second, the food itself works like a hot drink, especially if you make a hearty winter warmer like chili or lasagna.
And finally, the oven itself will heat your kitchen. Open the door after the meal is cooked and that baking hot air will leave the room nice and toasty. Of course, if you can’t cook yourself, you could beg/bribe a housemate into doing it, or get yourself a take-away if they all say no.
Or you could just make beans on toast if you’re desperate.
5. Something warm to cuddle.
The most obvious choices for this are to grab a hot water bottle (yet another reason to love your kettle) or grab your boy/girlfriend and leech away their body heat.
But far more adorable, the microwaveable stuffed toys available at chemists or on Amazon for as little as £10. You can get dogs, cats, sheep, elephants, owls and many more, and each one is filled with beads that hold heat when you microwave them. Adorable and functional: what more could you want?
I hope these ideas help you as much as they did me. Drink up, snuggle up, and stay safe and warm this winter.