There’s a lot to be said for hibernation. Snuggle down somewhere warm, probably cuddled up with some of your nicer family members or perhaps even just your significant other and snooze the winter away. You also get to emerge in spring rather thinner than you were when you first went to sleep. Really – what’s not to like? Sadly, employers and indeed the rest of the world tend to look on hibernation as being a tiny bit eccentric, to say the least – hibernating humans are normally either sacked or locked up somewhere safe for their own protection. So, what you need are some ways to keep warm in winter – and if those ways happen to be full of gadgetty goodness, so much the better.
#1 – Staying warm on the sofa
Most people don’t need to have their houses as warm as they do and turning down the thermostat just a couple of degrees can save loads on the heating bills as well as doing your bit towards cutting emissions and all the nasties from power stations and the like. But sitting and shivering is never going to be a fun option so what you need is to make your corner of the sofa a chill-free zone and the best way to do that is to use a heated throw. There are loads of these on the market and some of them have gone a bit further and come shaped as a slanket (a gigantic fleece blanket with sleeves), but this isn’t really necessary and of course you have to unplug before you go walkabout – if you are even slightly absent-minded, perhaps it would be best to stick to just the plain throw! You can use it year round without plugging in as well, so you don’t need to pre-think the storage. If you want to stay really toasty, you could add some microwaveable wheat bag slippers and a nice woolly hat – this is beginning to sound seriously like hibernating, so let’s move on.
#2 – Staying warm at work
Workplaces have all kinds of rules and regulations about ambient temperatures but for every rule there is an exception so unless you have icicles on your nose you are unlikely to get very far when you try to get things warmed up a little. Even if your office or workplace is generally warm, you might find yourself in a draft and so you need to take a few individual steps to keep warmer. If there is no dress code, you might want to go as far as a heated body suit – it will keep you warm and if nothing else it will send a very clear message to the boss that you are really cold! If things aren’t quite that bad – there aren’t many workplaces that will put up with you looking like an enormous baby – you could compromise with a heated gilet or vest. It looks fairly smart and although it is really designed for people who work outdoors, you could still wear it inside. You can get several different types; some use pre-heated packs which you slot in to pockets back and front and others are actually plugged in to the mains or a USB. These are perhaps not ideal if you have to leave your desk a lot – see the plug-in slanket for health and safety problems! If you just suffer from cold hands, why not give the heated mouse a try? The great thing about this is that it draws no attention to you – it’s just a mouse to look at, with a hidden heating element with a slider to choose how hot it gets.
#3 – Staying warm walking the dog
Although it’s tempting to just stay indoors in cold weather, the dog still needs a wee and so you’ll just have to go out. Putting your feet into icy wellies drops your body temperature before you’ve even left the house, so investing in a shoe warmer machine is well worthwhile. These vary in design and cost, but they are worth their weight in gold. If you have the space and can afford it, choosing one which takes several pairs of shoes or boots is best – then you can share walking the dog! Once inside your lovely warm wellies, feet can soon get cold, so some battery powered heated socks would be ideal. These are not thick and cumbersome like some of the heated footwear around so they don’t make it hard to get shoes or boots on. They just work a bit like an electric blanket with wires spread through the sock and keep your feet toasty. A hat is essential of course – to keep you amused on your walk, a woolly hat with built in headphones is the answer, so you don’t have a nasty draft where your earbuds fit under your headgear.
#4 – Staying warm in bed
An electric blanket is the obvious answer of course, but nowadays electric blankets have moved up a notch and are no longer the rather unpleasant hard and scratchy things your granny used to use. You can get electric duvets and padded mattress covers as well as some amazing things that actually monitor your body temperature through the night and adjust themselves to suit, so you won’t end up with the 4 a.m. horror of waking up feeling as though your feet are freezing but that your back is on fire. The one snag with these is that you can’t use them with any kind of memory foam mattress and topper, so if you have one of those, you will need to have a quick warm option for your bedroom instead.
#5 – Keeping the whole room warm
And here it is – the Dyson hot and cold fan. As far as a gadgetty gadget goes, this has the lot. It hasn’t got any blades or visible heating element, yet it can direct warm air (or cool in the summer) wherever you want. It looks space age, is almost totally quiet and it is probably the must-have fancy heater for anyone who likes design and something a bit inexplicable. They’re pricey, but worth it. Like most innovations, cheaper copies will appear in time, but if you want to just sit or loll in your own personal summer breeze, this one is for you for sure. If you prefer something a little more discreet though, there are new ceramic radiators to be found from most manufacturers nowadays that are replacing oil filled radiators. With nice touches such as remote control and the ability to only have one side giving out heat (why heat the wall?) these radiators are much quicker to heat up and tend to circulate the warmth better. So, you don’t have to poke more than a remote control out from your lovely warm bed to have your bedroom toasty. Or you could just decide to hibernate after all!
This is a guest post written by Zoe Horne. Zoe Horne writes for Storm Chase and is a keen horse riding enthusiast.