Dear Readers, it's been a while but I'm back with a checklist to get you and your home ready for the onslaught of winter. That sounds a bit dramatic but this is the time to get things organised before the REALLY bad weather sets in. You can then feel safe in the knowledge that everything you need to make you and your home feel cosy and warm this winter is ready.
1. Swap in some cosier textiles. Add a couple of warm blankets to your sitting room, draped over sofas or piled up in a beautiful basket in the corner. They'll be easy to grab when you're feeling the chill and they soften living rooms, making them look and feel cosier.
2. Print off your holiday photographs. I do this after every holiday and put them into albums (even in this digital age) and get the really good ones enlarged to put in frames around the house. They provoke memories of warm sunny days with your friends and family and can take you right back to that beautiful sandy beach in Menorca where you sipped rose under a parasol (even when the rain is lashing at your windows and it's dark at 4 in the afternoon). Below is a beautiful way to 'hang' pictures and practical too as you can change the layout easily without ruining your walls.
3. Get your chimney swept and logs re-stocked. I've just done this at the weekend which is rather timely as the evenings are really starting to feel a bit nippier now. I found a chimney sweep who will also deliver and stack a load of logs so we'll be all set for the big chill. Don't forget the matches, kindling and firelighters.
4. Power Cut Emergency Pack. If, like me, the area you live in is prone to the odd power cut, there's nothing more depressing than finding yourself plunged into blackness without some necessities to hand. First up, you'll need some candles. Tall candles give off a lot more light than t-lights (we've got some beauties from Broste Copenhagen arriving at Andrassy Living in the next few weeks), but a combination of both makes for a romantic ambiance. Also, a proper camping lantern is handy as it's easier to carry around the house with you (and safer) than a candle. You'll also need spare batteries, matches and a plug-in phone if you only have electrically powered phones like me. That way, when the electricity company phones to inform you that the power won't be back on for another 5 hours, you can prepare yourself for the fact that you'll miss Strictly. Grrr.
5. Hallway/Boot Room clearout. It's time to start ditching those sunhats, beach towels and flip-flops you have cluttering up the place and make room for gloves, scarves, winter coats and boots. Check that your winter coats aren't caked in last year's mud and if they are, give them a spin in the washing machine or get them to the dry cleaners.
Photo by Lucas Allen for Share Design
6. Get your wardrobe ready. Have you got enough jumpers, cardies, etc that still fit you and that you still like? Do you have a pair of watertight, warm boots that still look half decent and don't let in the rain? Have you got a good supply of warm tights without holes and a waterproof coat that is actually waterproof (the longer the better as it's no fun having a dry top half and completely wet-through trousers)? Can you tell I live in the countryside where the rain is horizontal and mud is part of the lifestyle?! The person who owns this rather fabulous walk-in wardrobe is certainly organised - perhaps something to aim for when we've got enough time and money.
So, that's the checklist done. Here's to a nice mild winter with lots of sunshine (fat chance) but whatever the weather, I'll be ready for it.