How to Keep Warm During A Brutal Winter

How to Keep Warm During A Brutal Winter
Carly Jacobs
This post is sponsored by Origin energy. 

This winter has absolutely slammed me which is really unusual because I’m a total snow baby. I was raised in Canberra and I actually legitimately hate the beach and summer (you should totally click on that post if only to see the random dude called Tomas who commented ‘Worst blog ever!’ That Tomas. Such a kidder.) Winter is usually my favourite season but I’ve really struggled this year which is twice as weird because I live in a modern, insulated apartment, which is a major improvement on my old giant warehouse conversion where I used to live that was comparable to taking up residence on a polar ice cap. I used to wear gloves to bed when I lived in that place. This winter hasn’t been QUITE as bad as that but I’m still a bit sooky about it. For those of you that have been struggling this winter I’ve teamed up with Origin Energy to bring you a few tips on how to keep warm during a brutal winter.

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Cup of coffee and book pages- black and white

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Don’t start winter cold

I have a theory that if you get caught on an 8 degree day outside without a coat, you’ve totally ruined winter and you won’t get fully warm again till the following summer. The key is to over dress and be prepared. Don’t let winter seep into your bones or you’ll be properly screwed. I know this sounds insane but trust me. I’ve started winter cold a few times and it’s not been pretty. Start carrying a coat around with you in about March and you should be fine.

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Layer up like a wee little onion

I live in Fitzroy in Melbourne which is total hipsterville. You need several tattoos, a blunt haircut, pants that are too short and a permanent scowl to fit in here. Sheer stockings with holes also seem to be a rather popular new addition to the list. Not the most appropriate winter attire, as it leaves the wearer shivering and jiggling like a plate of pudding on a wobbly stool. Wear winter clothes. Thermals. Wool. Jackets. Gloves. I bought a down coat this year and I hate myself for not having done it earlier, it’s SO TOASTY and warm. I get that we’re supposed to be the sunburnt country and all but it actually snows in some parts of Australia and it’s high time we started dressing accordingly.

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Drink lots of warm beverages and eat hearty meals

I’m a glutton for punishment so I’ll often be seen chowing down on an ice cream or slurpee in the middle of July but it’s really not the smartest thing to do. Drink yummy teas, have lots of soup and eat warming foods. Salads, juices and smoothies will wait until summer. You want to have nice warming foods to raise your core body temperature and warm those chilly little paws of yours.

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Don’t underestimate the power of a blanket

Grab the doona off your bed and snuggle on the couch or better yet, have a dedicated pure wool throw rug that lives on your couch purely for snuggling purposes. Most people underestimate blankets in winter but I’m telling you they’re a life saver. If you’re feeling particularly indulgent, get TWO blankets. Ultra. Supreme. Snuggling.

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Outsource your warmth

Grab a hot water bottle or heat pack and cuddle it until you feel toasty again. I know it sounds ridiculous but I always forget about the existance of heat packs and hot water bottles until I accidently discover mine in the laundry cupboard every year. They’re awesome. Get on it. You can even make your own heat packs which is a perfect winter craft activity.

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Above all though, the obvious thing that most people do is use a heater. The less-than-awesome bit about that though is your energy bill. I’m certainly not the type of person to sit around shivering my butt off because I refuse to turn on the heater – I will pay for the privilege of heat BUT I obviously want to keep my energy bill as low as possible (click here for some extra energy saving tips) so I can buy better stuff with my money and maybe help the planet a bit. It’s kind of a hard thing to do though because energy companies don’t really WANT you to keep your energy bills down. Obviously.

I’ve always found dealing with energy companies incredibly painful, simply because they have all the power. Literally. I’ve teamed up with Origin energy this month because they’ve made some rad changes to their customer service (ie. actually providing customer service). So now you can contact them anyway you like – snail mail, email, Facebook, twitter – whatever takes your fancy. They’ve extended their call centre hours because they’re freaking geniuses and realise that their customers work 9 to 5 and can’t call during those hours AND they’ve ditched their residential door knocking campaigns. Thank god. Nothing scares me more than a man standing at my door with a clipboard. Unless it’s a little girl ghost. Little girls ghosts are terrifying. They’ve also changed the design of their bills so you don’t need a Bachelor’s degree in Bill Interpretation to figure out what you owe them and why. It’s all neatly laid out for you. Bonza.

What’s your relationship like with your energy provider? What was your heating bill like this year? Reasonable? Or totally horrendous?

PS – For the Canberrans out there – did your parents enforce that strange rule that you’re only allowed to turn the heater on after Anzac Day? No matter how cold it got? My dad is a gasfitter and the bastard wouldn’t even go into the roof to light the pilot before Anzac day so we couldn’t even cheat. Does anyone know where this rule came from?

This post was co-ordinated by The Remarkables Group


  1. Christine 7 years ago

    Totally love a hot water bottle. I have one for home and one for work. I live in Qld, so we don’t have heating, but it does get cold. A couple of years ago I invested in a cashmere dressing gown, socks and lounging suit (sounds a bit la de da, they are not pjs, but I wouldn’t wear them out of the house). They are the bomb – so soft and warm. I wear them any time the temperature doesn’t go higher than the teens. Yes, to everything else too – also alpaca insoles for toasty warm feet. Made by an Adelaide company – so yay!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Those alpaca insoles sound AMAZING!!! Where do you get them from??? When I worked in an office building in Canberra the heating for some strange reason was controlled in Melbourne (I’m not even kidding it was so weird) so the temperature inside the building was based on an average of what the temperature was the previous year. It made no sense. My work mate and I had hot water bottles for that office because it was aways freezing. We also each had a tiny heater under our desks. So toasty!

      • Christine 7 years ago

        Get them on eBay – search “all natural comfort insoles” x

  2. That Tomas, he is a real champion isn’t he?!
    I agree with all of this and definitely think the ‘cold to your bones’ feeling is one to be avoided. I’ve just moved to Sydney but have even had the heater on twice in the last month because this really has been the most brutal of winters. I grew up near Canberra and the ‘no heater until Anzac Day’ was totes a thing at our house too!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Oh goodness have you really moved to Sydney? When did that happen? I’ve heard it’s been super cold up there. Like legitmately cold. I’d love to know who started that Anzac Day rule – I want to flip them the bird!

      • Sure did! About 5 weeks ago, it’s been awesome but for the last two weeks’ weather. The first three weeks I was here it was amazing, balcony eating and one afternoon it was 23 degrees! YAY. Tuesday it was pouring crazy rain and blowing a gale. YUK!
        Yep – or better still, force them to leave their heater off all winter and only be able to get warm from the heat of microwaved pizza pockets (the crummy ham and cheese flavour, not the supreme ones).

  3. Liz @ I Spy Plum Pie 7 years ago

    Good tips! I did a post on this a little while back, there’s so many easy ways to keep your place warm without cranking the heater up such as getting door snakes for all external doors. It’s amazing how much of a difference it will make!
    I’m with red energy because they guarantee to match all electricity used with electricity from a renewable energy source (they’re owned by the Snowy hydro scheme) which sits well with me. Plus their customer service number is open til 8.30pm which also helps! Now I sound like I’m doing an ad for them…

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Ha! Brilliant! Weird that they’re called red energy though right? Surely you’d want to sound more green than that? I’m a huge advocate of heating yourself before your home. My brother was a shocker for walking around the house in shorts in the middle of winter with the heat turned up to 30 degrees. So wasteful.

  4. KellyNH 7 years ago

    After 13 long cold winters, we finally gave in this year and got an wood heater for our old stone home with ridiculously high ceilings. Honestly its the only thing that has worked to heat our house. Now the kids, the dog and I can be found snuggled up in front of its with books in our ugg boots, trackies and hoodies every time we get a chance, Absolute heaven. Also pre-heater, our whole couch was literally a sea of throw rugs.
    I never go out without a scarf, and leather gloves in winter. Boots & thick socks are THE BEST. and a big pot of thick chunky chicken noodle soup on the slowcooker is the best thing ever on a rainy windy cold shitty winter day.
    If all else fails and you just cant get warm, grab a good book and a snuggly blanket, park the car in a sunny spot, and read in the car. Guaranteed to get warm. Its like a mini glass house with comfier seats and a radio :o)

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Holy crap I love the car in the sun idea, I’ve never even thought of that! I’m also a total heater hugger. I have a little bar heater in my office and I’m always sitting on it! 🙂

  5. Chelsea Sutherland 7 years ago

    Our heating bill was a bit ridiculous over the past 12mths because we moved to the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland where it actually does get legitimately really effing cold from Townsville where our lowest winter temp is about 8 on ONE night in the whole three months and we mostly wear summer PJ’s year round. So we found a cute little lake house with a fireplace … and went so overboard with ALL THE FIRE that we needed wood all the freaking time and even had to open the doors because we’d stoked the fire up that much 🙂

    I don’t love our energy provider but here in NQ we don’t actually have a choice – we’re in the midst of moving to Brisbane and getting to actually choose who we go with is a novelty I’ve not experienced before.

    Yes, we have moved a lot in the past 12mths. Planning to stay put once we’re in BNE, haha.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Firewood is actually surprisingly expensive. We were in Margaret River a few weeks ago and it was freezing and we ploughed through the wood at that place. You shouldn’t have too much trouble keeping warm in Brissy! 🙂

  6. Nicoll Heaslip 7 years ago

    This winter in Melbourne seemed colder than usual, not sure if it was the case, but it felt that way! I improved matters by investing in a new woolly throw rug for the sofa, and flannelette sheets for all the beds – so toasty and hard to get out of! I love wheat bags too, they never go stoney cold while they’re in bed with you so pleasant to wake up with. x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      I totally felt that too! Everyone else has been all – nah it’s the same but I’ve really struggled this winter and I swear we’ve used our heater more too. I love wheat bags too Mr Smags mum makes them for us out of towels. So good.

  7. theveggiemama 7 years ago

    Good work Tomas, you prick!

    I’m moving to Fitzroy. My Bitchy Resting Face would be so comfortable there.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      You totes should. Your blunt haircut and tattoos would also be quite welcome.

  8. Nicole (@dorkabrain) 7 years ago

    Colorado Winters can get into the minus 20s Celsius, so not having a heating source in the home is kinda a no-go. But I personally prefer to heat the people, not heat the home. So instead of using central heating which is essentially pouring buckets of money into empty rooms, I’ll layer up with flannel and dressing gown and such and then have a small room heater. It usually saves us loads of money. I especially need to have that heater in the bathroom, because, even in South Carolina Winters that were slightly more mild, I couldn’t get warm having a shower. Regardless of how hot I made the water, my skin was numb with cold and I couldn’t feel it, but then I’d step out and I’d be red as a lobster. The heater really alleviates that.
    Unfortunately, our current apartment is sloped so that it’s mostly underground and the windows/doors weren’t well sealed. I’ll often wake up with ice built up on the inside of the windows and that’s always fun.

    I miss hot water bottles so much. They’re really uncommon here and I have NO idea why. The only ones I’ve found are these tiny little things that are for some weird medicinal purpose at the chemist/drug store. I’m legitimately thinking of picking some nice ones up when we go on our holiday to London. That’s how much I miss them.

    Now I’m talking about all this and it’s got me missing the cold as it’s consistently been about 40 Celsius here in Houston the last two months. Thank goodness we’re returning home soon.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Ice INSIDE THE HOUSE??? My lord. Australian weather is temperate compared to the Northern Hemisphere… in Melbs we go from about 0 to 40 and that’s it. Hardly ever in the minuses and very rarely above 40. I can’t believe you don’t have hot water bottles! That’s a crime humanity that is!

  9. Melissa 7 years ago

    This is SO bizarre to be reading right now. Here in Florida it’s supposed to get up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit with 100% humidity today. The frizz, Carly. THE FRIZZ. Blecccch.


  1. […] Wishing: I wasn’t finding this winter so brutal. I usually love winter but I’m just constantly freezing. My body fat percentage is lower this year than last year so maybe that’s it? Better hit the Tim Tams and get some of my padding back! […]

  2. […] Wishing: I wasn’t finding this winter so brutal. I usually love winter but I’m just constantly freezing. My body fat percentage is lower this year than last year so maybe that’s it? Better hit the Tim Tams and get some of my padding back! […]

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