Written by Anouska Levart – Senior Features Editor
What’s your favourite season, someone would ask. It would be a toss-up between summer and winter: sun and sea or snow and Santa. Now, the decision is not even questionable. That arctic breeze hits you mid-November and by the time its January you’re used to being permanently half frozen.
You leave the library late at night and have to run home, cursing your earlier decision of not bringing a coat. Then there’s the night-outs, you’re faced with either an icy walk and only your alcohol-blanket as comfort or you have to wait 15 minutes in the clock room queue to pay an over-priced fare, only to then forget you even put it here at the end of the night. Half the time it’s raining, and you don’t even want to get out of bed, let alone go to the library, and if you’re in student housing forget about heating – we all know the only option is firming it with multiple jumpers; my housemates even wore their coats in the house to save money!
However, there may be hope. Here are some must-needs that can really make the winter season manageable, and will keep you toasty on your way to class.
1) HEAT-UP TRAVEL MUG
The mornings can definitely be a rush – you have to fit in showering, breakfast, potential last-minute work and make it to class on time?! Breakfast usually gets skipped, and forget sitting there for the kettle to boil when you won’t have time to drink that scorching coffee before you run out the door. Cue: the USB heated travel mug. It will keep your drink, and hands, heated all the way to class (and throughout the day if you don’t finish it) and the flip top lid prevents any spillage in your bag. If you wanted to hide in your room all day and didn’t quite feel like facing the barrage of people in the kitchen, then there is also the mug warmer. Plug the small device into your computer, pop your mug onto it and you’ll have heated drink in no time.
2) HEATED SLIPPERS AND MICROWAVEABLE FOOTWARMERS
Our feet help us stabilize our body temperature, but due to the lack of muscle, they cool down quicker than other parts of the body. That’s where USB heated slippers come in. If your feet are heating up, then the rest of your body will feel much warmer, and they come in fun designs like the S’mores version, the Yeti, and the narwhal. If you know you’re not going to move from your desk then you can also get foot-warmers that you can put in the microwave, and then there’s the microwaveable foot-warmer booties that you can slip on when you’re in the library. There’s also the heated mat – it can fit under your desk and provide direct heat to your feet while you work, it’s a good opt if you’re not the slippers kind of guy. If you want to be snug when you’re out and about, then you can also buy in-sole foot warmers to warm your feet when you’re carrying a load of shopping back.
Although earmuffs must have been around since the dawn of time; their official inventor was a 15-year-old boy in 1873. Earmuffs are great for the hat-hair phobic, and they really do block the wind. The type of earmuff you buy depends on the person: you can get the basic black kind, nothing too ambiguous, the fluffy kind, the collapsible all-purpose kind, the cute animal-styled ones (pandas or fluff balls equipped with cat ears). There’s also the heated earmuffs where all you need to do is ‘click and heat’, and they look stylish. We can’t forget the music earmuffs, where you can wirelessly connect to a device, play and control music all with your earmuffs.
4) HEAT-UP MOUSE AND PAD
For the computer techs’ you can kit your hub up with a heat-up mouse and pad to keep your hand and wrist warm while you work. All you have to do is plug the USB powered mouse in, and when you click away your fingers will stay toasted, you can even bring it with to the library. With the heated mouse pad, you can either get a just-pad version or one where you slot your hand in and control the mouse inside the contraption, kind of like a mini heat cave for your hand to move the mouse.
If you feel really cold at night (or during the day), then blankets are perfect. The wearable blanket is ridiculously comfy, and the electric USB blanket is ridiculously warm – you can wrap it around yourself or use it as a cushion. Mermaid knitted tail blankets are also super cute. Heated pillows make you fall asleep straight away, all they need is a USB, and they can come in cool animal-shapes. Wrap-around styled microwaveable neck warmers are also useful when studying at your desk.
You have heard it hundreds of times before, “Wrap up” and “Take your coat, you’ll catch a cold”, but at uni, you think it will somehow be okay to just wear a hoodie. Invest in a GOOD JACKET! Life will become that tiny bit better if you’re not shivering the moment you step out the door. You’ll also make good use of it – you’ll wear it every day of winter after all. Equip it with a scarf, you can go for the blanket, neck, poncho, oblong or wrap style and men’s scarves can look really stylish and sophisticated. Don’t forget the hat; they keep your neck and ears warm while keeping your hair in place: there’s the Trapper hat (the one with the ear flaps), the beanie, knit hats, ski hats, wool hats and bobble hats. Add a giant festive jumper or a themed onesie and you’re good to go, and if you want to be really lazy you can always wear the onesie under your coat when studying!
7) HAND-WARMERS and GLOVES
Tucking your hands further up your sleeve or half in your pocket doesn’t really stop the winter breeze. Purchasing a pair of gloves or mittens will make your journeys smoother, and you can get some cool designed touch-screen ones which will mean no cold fingers when texting. There are some gloves which heat up themselves so if you know your hands are always cold and you have no-one to hold, then invest in a pair. Hand-warmers also work – they are small, can fit in the palm of your hand, and are easy to carry in your pocket. You can also get knitted and click and heat hand warmers that you put your hands into. For a multi-combo, you can get a USB rechargeable hand warmer, power bank battery charger and LED lamp all in one.
8) FLUFFY & HEATED SOCKS
Fluffy socks have been the rage for the past few years, but they’re not just a girl’s thing. They are thicker, warmer, softer and taller, and you can get awesome patterns and winter-seasoned themes (or plain ones for the guys who want to keep it cool). They are also super cheap and will keep your feet cosy in class, and for the girls, there are tons of animal-themed styles. For that extra-oomph, you can buy some socks that actually heat up with rechargeable batteries.
9) HOT WATER BOTTLE
Filling up a hot water bottle before bed can seem a bit outdated, but it’s a simple trick that can leave you feeling warm until the morning. Whether it’s a fluffy one or simple one, all you need to do is either fill it with hot water or microwave it (depending on the type you purchase), get into bed, and there you go – you have your cuddle companion, and you didn’t even need to go to the club. You can also get really cute fragranced animal plushies that you can microwave, and they look lovable when they are just sitting on your bed waiting to be used.
Last but not least we cannot forget winter-time food. Homemade mugs of hot chocolate oozing whipped cream and melted marshmallows. Hazelnut, vanilla, peanut butter, salted caramel, Nutella, white chocolate, the list goes on. If you don’t want to leave the house but fancy something sweet you can check out our top 10 mug-cake recipes, it’s as simples as just egg, sugar and cocoa powder! Soups also have that warming effect, and can be taken to class in the travel mug!
Hopefully at least one of these warming tips will help take one worry off of your mind: the cold!