Sniffles.

Cold

I haven't exactly got a cold, but the potential is there if you know what I mean, and I do so enjoy indulging my inner hypochondriac in the depths of Winter. Remember last year? I was on my last legs from  January to March and hell on earth it was too. If anyone can make a meal of  the odd little infection, it is I, Alison Joanne May.

But not this year. This year I am fighting the battle against January ailments with a vengeance. I will no more lay down and give in to the demon cold than I will hire John Pawson to decorate my living room (though is it just me or does that monastery look divinely peaceful? I want to take a holiday there.)

And so I am fighting the good fight with an armory of scrumptiously cosy treats and I insist you do the same...

1. Bed socks.

You must have bed socks. Ok so they are not remotely sexy but they can look effortlessly vintage chic with a too big for you white Victorian nightie and a snuggly cardigan. Hunt some out, stitch yourself a little sock bag and hang it from your bed-post.

2. The Blanket Cardigan.

Fold the top quarter of a blanket over and stitch 35cms in from each side to make some makeshift armholes. Adorn as desired et voila! A pretty blanket that will stay sitting round your shoulders and guaranteeing warmth through another episode of Ugly Betty. So you look like a Granny. What the hell, you are warm.

3. Herbal Cold Tea.

At the slightest sniffle of a cold, make yourself some herbal cold tea, then take to your bed and refuse to budge.

4. Candles.

Now I have no idea whether I am right or wrong here,  but I will argue till I'm blue in the face that lighting lots and lots of candles warms you up. My Dad says I am talking nonsense, but whether the effects are purely psychological or not,  I find that lighting, cinnamon, clove or  other wintery spiced candles  makes me feel cosier. As does a red blanket or two. And the scrumptiously cosy red floral bedding I am currently retiring to...

5. Mustard Foot Bath.

Warm feet, warm heart. Or something like that. Mustard oils are absorbed through the skin and elimanated via your lungs, promoting a beneficial anti-bacterial action and causing skin irritation mild enough to make you feel warm. Warm towels and socks on the radiator as your feet soak then snuggle up your tootsies and I guarantee you'll feel better...

6.  Bake  Bread.

Nothing makes me feel more homely than the smell of bread baking. Make soda bread and serve it with crispy bacon and mushrooms swimming in garlicy oil.  Set the breadmaker to wake you with the delicious aroma of hot flaky bread  ready to be served with big bowls full of hot chocolate. Or eat makeshift suppers of warm ciabatta sprinkled with olive oil and sea salt, melted brie and red wine to warm you up from the inside out.

7. Hibernate For The Weekend.

While my Mum has something of a dicky fit if I stay in the house for longer than twenty four hours at a time, I am a great believer in the healing powers of hibernation. Don't feel like going out much? Don't. Fill the pantry with staples. Arrange to have a box of organic veg delivered. Keep a vat of scrummy soup on the go. Go the library and take out a huge pile of books. Don't bother going out for the daily paper. Don't spend hours on the phone. Stay in till you feel better and enjoy the peace of your own or your families company.

8. Curtains.

Close every curtain in the house as soon as the afternoon sun dies. Both in an effort to conserve heat  and to trick your mind into thinking that the house is warmer than it is. It may not be terribly green but keeping a lamp on in every room and every passage way- in fact setting timers so they switch themselves on as dimly as possible as soon as dusk settles, will reinforce the feeling of welcome and warmth in your home and you will not experience the disconcerting jar of switching overheard lights on as you go about the house in the early evening...

9. Draft Excluders.

Can't be bothered stitching vintage fabric wrapped draft excluders? Fold a blanket in half and roll it into a sausage, then tie both ends christmas cracker style with a length of thick velvet ribbon and press your home-made door snugglers up against the drafts creeping through every entrance way in the house.

10. Thermal Vests.

Now the problem with thermal underwear is this: once you move into it for the Winter you have to expect to  freeze should you decide to venture out without it till around about July. But oh my  it is just so yummy. Buy a selection with lacy edges pretty enough to peep out of layers of fine knit woollies and make handwashing them in lavender and letting  them dry on padded hangers a quick, but really rather scrumptious evening ritual.

11.  Nursery Suppers.

Give up dinner for a few nights and instead offer the kids a  very old fashioned high tea when they come home dithering from school and a light nursery supper  (boiled egg and soldiers?)  an hour before they go to bed..

12. Handcream.

Stand a tub of handcream in a bowl of boiling water while you wash the dishes then treat yourself to a warming hand massage when you  remove your Marigolds...

13. Water Bowls.

Fill pretty little bowls full of water and a few drops of aromatherapy oil and leave them in the vicinity of every radiator in the house ready to counteract the dreadfully skin wrinkling effects of central heating.

14. Early To Bed.

Set the scene right and your bedroom is the snuggliest place to be when it is very, very chilly. Line the sheet you lie on  with a wool blanket so the bed feels warm on your skin, switch the radio to Classic Fm,  spritz your pillow with eucalyptus,  pile an extra quilt or  two on top of the bed (I do adore burying myself in  a muddle of cosy blankets) take a cup of chamomile to bed and snuggle up with an old fashioned love story or a thoroughly modern man.

P.S: This was post number 1000 on BrocanteHome!!

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