In the warmer months, doing so came with a number of perks, including alfresco workspaces in our back gardens and impromptu barbecue lunches. But, unfortunately, the third lockdown coincides with the bleak midwinter, meaning we’re stuck inside for the foreseeable.
While many have become accustomed to spending more time indoors, being trapped at home all day during the colder part of the year means heating bills are likely to mount up.
But is it possible to stay toasty without cranking up the heat?
The good news is that there are plenty of simple ways you can keep warm that don't involve increasing your utility bill.
To help you keep your outgoings in check, we’ve rounded up some of the best cold-busting methods to try, from cosying up in lots of layers to investing in trendy draught excluders.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
If you’re feeling the cold while sitting at your desk, the likelihood is that you’re not wearing enough clothes.
While that crewneck T-shirt might have seen you through the summer months, it won’t cut it during the winter, so make sure to invest in multiple light layers that will insulate your body and make it easier to regulate your temperature.
If you need to ensure you still look the part for Zoom calls, we suggest picking up a knitted co-ord like this puffed sleeve sweater (£20, Monki) and midi skirt (£25) combo. The set featured in our round-up of the best wool two-pieces and was praised for being an affordable smart option – the slight puff sleeves on the jumper are bang on-trend. It’s worth noting, however, that the skirt does have a slit, so we recommend teaming it with a pair of cosy tights for a quick and easy solution to nailing off-duty style.
If a skirt isn’t for you, pair the jumper with these cashmere joggers (£99, M&S) instead, which were included in our guide to the best ones to wear during lockdown. “Cashmere keeps you warm without the need for bulky fleeces, and feels luxurious on the skin, so these are a real treat,” said our reviewer. We also love this utility style pair (£29.99, Topshop), which feature four pockets – two on the hips and two on the legs – giving them plenty of form and function. The reviewer chose the stone colour as their favourite but they come in sage green too.
A cardigan is another great piece to have in your wardrobe for days when you’re feeling the chill. In our round-up of the best women’s cardies, this textured style (£93, Everlane) was one of our favourites as it has a large, chunky design that’s comfortable to wear and promises to keep you warm when temperatures plummet. For a more budget-friendly option, we recommend H&M’s fine-knit cardigan (£8.99, H&M), which comes in a great range of colours. Our reviewer described it as the perfect layering piece that, because it’s not too heavy, will see you through the cold days, as well as summer evenings.
Don’t get cold feet
So, you’ve upgraded your winter wardrobe but one of the most crucial cold-busting items is still missing: a pair of slippers.
If you tend to have chilly floors, wearing cosy slippers around the house is guaranteed to make your whole body feel warmer, especially if you choose a boot style like this sheepskin pair (£55, Woolovers). In our guide to the best women’s slippers, our reviewer described them as “the ultimate in luxury” and an ideal way to keep your feet snug and cosy on cold winter mornings.
For a more statement pair, we recommend these sen pink slippers (£35, Sheepers), which are made from 100 per cent natural sheepskin and available in a range of colours and styles. The reviewer said they are “the perfect pair to be seen in this winter”, adding that the brand has made sure the slippers are made ethically and that workers are fairly paid.
Keep cosy with a hot water bottle
If you’ve kitted yourself out in the warmest of loungewear but still can’t seem to shrug off the winter chill then a hot water bottle should be top of your shopping list.
Ideal for keeping you warm while working from home, this sheepskin version (£49.99, Ciora) won best buy in our round-up of the best hot water bottles for feeling “luxuriously soft”. “Don’t be fooled – this fluffy hot water bottle is not a massive cuddly cat,” our reviewer said. “Although once it’s filled with hot water and becomes warm, it comes pretty close!”
For a more purse-friendly version, we suggest picking up Aldi’s new long hot water bottle (£6.49, Aldi), which is a fraction of the price of similar designs. Measuring 58cm in length, you can easily wrap it around areas of your body, such as your neck or lower back, to ease aches and pains or pop it in your bed to warm up your duvet before settling down for the night.
Unfortunately, the hot water bottle is currently out of stock online, but it will be available in store from Thursday 21 January, so you can pick one up while you’re doing your weekly food shop.
Warm up from the inside out
The answer to many of life’s problems (according to Brits, at least) is a hot cup of tea, and one will work wonders when it comes to warming your body from the inside.
Taking the top spot in our round-up of the best plastic-free teabags are the Brew Tea Co proper tea bags in early grey (£4.95 for 15), which our reviewer found to be full of flavour, mixing bergamot oil with ceylon black tea, orange peel and calendula petals.
If you’re planning on making a round of well-brewed teas, it’s a great idea to invest a teapot. We love this blue haze version from Denby (£50, John Lewis & Partners), which features a trendy deep blue fading to stony white. “It makes a lovely cup of tea and is a sophisticated display piece, too,” our reviewer said in our guide to the best teapots.
Not a tea fan? Fear not because there are plenty of other winter warmers you can try, including the ultimate indulgence: hot chocolate. In our round-up of the best ones, this peanut butter flavour (£9, Whittard) impressed our reviewer for tasting just like a dessert in a mug and being suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Coffee lovers, meanwhile, will do well to invest in a handy pod machine, like the Nespresso vertuoplus (£199, Nespresso), which was highlighted in our guide to the best ones for providing you with everything from a single espresso to a longer drink.
“Incredibly easy to use, simply make sure you’ve got the right-sized coffee cup for the drink that it’s making and then press a button. The machine even neatly dispatches the used pod into a waiting container at the back of the machine,” said our reviewer.
Hunker down with a blanket
Not that we need an excuse to cosy up, but blankets are another great way to layer, helping to keep the heat your body generates close.
This millay throw (£185, Issy Grainger) is a toasty and more affordable alternative to reaching for the thermostat. Featuring in round-up of the best wool blankets, it’s made from 100 per cent pure merino lambswool and was described by our reviewer as feeling “lightweight yet incredibly warm”. We also love the look of this pistachio green wool-blend blanket from H&M (£24.99, H&M), which is a fraction of the price. It has large fringes along the short sides and also comes in pink or grey marl.
Alternatively, you could invest in a weighted blanket. The science behind them relates to deep touch pressure (DTP), which is a form of sensory input often delivered through hugging and squeezing, that is said to be able to help people who feel anxious, and lead to better sleep.
If you could do with a snuggly quilt that keeps you both calm and cosy, try this knitted weighted blanket (£169, Sommio). Described as being “unlike any other we tried” in our round-up of the best ones, the blanket gets its weight from layers of knitted organic cotton, which makes it super calming and breathable.
Draught-proof your home
If your home isn’t properly insulated, then a draught excluder is a must for keeping the chill out. And, not only are these nifty products great at stopping air creep through cracks, but they can also add a stylish touch to your living space.
For a chic addition that also does the job, we recommend picking up this juju door stop (£32, Kalinko) which was the winner in our round-up of the best draught excluders. “The double-lined material has a top-quality feel, and the weighty gravel filling ensures it stays put. Although its compact size means it’s not ideal if you’ve got deep gaps beneath the entire width of the door, it’s a great option if your cold air issues stem from doors swinging open,” our reviewer said.
For a more playful style, we love this one that looks like a row of cute hedgehogs (£65, Hayes Garden World). The excluder is seriously weighty, using sand as a filler, and is an ideal option for anyone looking to ensure doors stay firmly closed.
For more tips on how to stay warm, read our guide to the best men’s fleece jackets