a peek inside the fishbowl

14 Dec, 2010

Gifts for the cold

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life|Oh! Things!

I’m sick today, and feeling rather downtrodden with a headache and sniffles and a cough that leaves me feeling exhausted. Piper and I are lying on the couch with Mark’s laptop, keeping warm.

I hate being cold. And the older I get the more I hate being cold. I’ve slowly been (a) finding and investing in warm winter wear and (b) stopped caring about hat head. And I tell ya, both things have made me a much happier person during the winter months. (Which is a long time here in Ottawa.)

What also helps keep me warm:

– slippers. I have a pair of sock slippers I bought in Syracuse last year; pink knitted things that are mid-calf with a soft leather sole. I love the slippers. When my feet are warm, the rest of me is warm too.

– hot water bottles. The girls are crazy about hot water bottles. They happily fill them up and trot off to bed with them. In fact, I am seriously considering putting some new ones under the tree this year.

– tea. Right now it’s plain Red Rose with a couple slices of lemon and a dollop of honey for my throat.

– hot snakes a.k.a the kind of heating pads you heat up in the microwave and apply to necks/shoulders/other sore body parts. (We call these things hot snakes here at Casa Fishbowl.)

– coats and sweaters and hats. I don’t care about hat head any longer. I’d rather be warm. I bought a beauty of a hat (black knitted trapper-style hat with faux fur) at Old Navy the other day. My coat was a big investment. It’s a big down-filled 3/4 length coat. It’s like walking around town with a duvet thrown over your shoulders. Expensive, but worth every single penny.

– electric blankets – Is it eco-friendly if you turn your household heat down and preheat a blanket a little bit? I feel guilty, but I love it and use it sparingly. Sunbeam sent us one to try last year and every once in awhile (like now) I’ll turn it on now and snuggle under it. I turn it off after awhile, but man, for those of us with perpetually cold feet is is pretty sweet. I used mine the most back in October before we turned the heat on here at home.

– adding more warmth to our closets i.e. pjs, long underwear, sports socks and hard core gloves. The kind folks at Mark’s (remember them from here?) sent me a package of warm things awhile back which contained a sample of each of the aforementioned. I love the pj bottoms, they fit me better than the top does (pictured here – and on sale!), the long underwear has been a godsend and the gloves will probably get their first workout in the snow later. ETA: there’s a big sale on tomorrow (Dec 15)!

I’m watching the snow pour from the sky today, grateful to be under a cozy blanket with a mug of tea and a puppy by my side. How are you keeping warm today?


13 Responses to "Gifts for the cold"

1 | Hellcat13

December 14th, 2010 at 12:04 pm


I am keeping warm with my brand-new furnace! We replaced our almost-as-old-as-I-am original furnace yesterday. When we had our eco-audit, the auditor said our furnace would last until the end of time, but it was incredibly inefficient, so we went ahead to replace it (and our AC unit) while we could still qualify for the government rebates.

I can’t believe the difference I’m noticing now. I currently have it set at 70, which is what I normally keep it at when I work at home, and I am toasty beyond belief. I could easily turn it down a degree or two, as I am used to dressing for a draftier house and have a cozy sweater and my slippers on. Great investment!

2 | Javamom

December 14th, 2010 at 12:17 pm


Slippers- check.

Hot water bottles – LOVE them. Sonja, who is 3, has one that gets stuffed into a bunny, she calls it her ‘warm bunny’ and even in the heat of summer, if she’s feeling bad or tired or cranky, she asks for a warm bunny! Nothing like a hot water bottle to make you feel warm and cozy.

Roasted chestnuts. Ok – don’t have a fireplace, but the toaster oven works just as well!

Hats – who cares about hairstyles! I purposely wear my hair long so that if I take a warm hat off, and the hair looks, um, messy, I stick it in a pony tail.

3 | Jessica

December 14th, 2010 at 6:07 pm


there are few words to describe my love for electric blankets lol

I must also add snuggly pets:) They are awesome at keeping us people folk warm!

4 | lacoop

December 14th, 2010 at 6:25 pm


Hot stone massage. Heats you to the core. ummmm

5 | Mary @ Parenthood

December 15th, 2010 at 10:01 am


I too love hot water bottles. We have several different sizes. And the seat warmer in my car, which I use all year round.

Not to mention flannel lined pants, newly discovered this year.

At night I swear by a down filled comforter

6 | Natalie

December 15th, 2010 at 10:30 am


Ahh to have a seat warmer in my car on the days I get off the hill with a FROZEN derriere *sigh*.

Hot water bottles have been a staple in my house since I was a kid.

Thanks for the the heating blanket idea Andrea, I’m going to pull one out.

I have the most divine cozy sheets, they are some fur like material and heavenly.

Really good socks, my feet are perpetually cold.

About to invest in a serious 3/4 length parka. Dressing warm is key. I’ve always done it for skiing, it translates to the city too.

Feel better soon Andrea :)

7 | Catherine

December 15th, 2010 at 9:16 pm


We used to use hot water bottles 30 years ago but we use those “Magic Bag” type things now. You heat them in the microwave for 2 or 3 minutes and they keep warmer longer.

You can make your own – there are very good instructions and patterns at http://www.microwavecornbags.com/pattern.htm – this site discusses what kind of fillers to use and materials.

8 | Vicky

December 15th, 2010 at 11:07 pm


I saw some gorgeous hot water bottles at Chapters, with cable knit covers. Maybe I’ll treat myself to one too!

9 | Sarah (mrsgryphon)

December 16th, 2010 at 3:45 am


There’s some hot water bottle love going on at our house too!

Hope you’re feeling better soon (my favorite sick-and-need-to-warm-up drink is boiling water poured over the juice of half a fresh-squeezed lemon and a tablespoon full of honey. Works like a charm!)

10 | andrea

December 16th, 2010 at 10:10 am


Oh, I feel warmer already.

Hellcat you mentioned your furnace. I would love to replace ours. We had our windows replaced last year and it’s made a big difference too.

Javamom: Roasted chestnuts? I must be making them wrong, because I don’t see the appeal. Do you have a secret?

Sarah/MrsG: That’s my standby drink too. Love it.

11 | Lisa

December 16th, 2010 at 1:24 pm


sheepskin boots/slippers, wool long johns, and a long cashmere cardigan — soft and cozy

To that sick-and-need-to-warm-up drink I would add: one generous shot of whiskey, especially before bed. It feels so good that you might want two, except then you’d have to get up to go to the loo.

12 | Valerie

December 16th, 2010 at 3:55 pm


Lisa – LIKE!

I really like the hot water bottle idea, thanks! My daughter wears her slippers to bed because her feet are cold, but then is too hot later. A hwb sounds perfect for her. Do you just use the Cdn Tire plain ones or have you found something nice and funky? We used to have a huge Barney that held one, but my kids have rejected him now. ;) Maybe I should just sew a nice flannel cover?

For myself, I’ve been considering bibbed snow pants if I can find a TALL pair. I’m reluctant to play outside with the kids because I get wet then cold.

13 | Amy

December 19th, 2010 at 2:11 pm


Flannel sheets – my husband and I were freezing at night until I got a set, now we’re toasty.

I’m all about a good quality coat, a warm scarf, and thick mitts. I crocheted myself a toque last year that is lightweight yet warm and doesn’t give hat hair. I got the directions off a ball of chunky yarn, and just sized it big enough for added head room so it isn’t too tight.

Tea, or hot milk with 5-spice powder, or homemade hot eggnog. Here’s the single cup eggnog recipe:
1 egg – place in mug and beat well
1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons Splenda granular (or to taste), sprinkle of nutmeg – add and whisk thoroughly
Heat in microwave 1 minute, stir, heat 30 seconds or till hot and thickened
1 teaspoon vanilla – add at end

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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