Winter is well and truly with us but don't use the cold weather as an excuse to spend the entire season on the couch. Here is a checklist of jobs to do when the temperatures are low.
If your cooking space is a bit on the chilly side add a rug to warm up your toes and relieve pressure on your legs and back. Choose an outdoor mat made from recycled plastic that can be easily cleaned or look for a rug that can be thrown in the washing machine. Attach it to the ground with some anti slip rug gripper to avoid any tripping hazards.
Spend a wet weekend clearing out all the hotel soaps and shampoos and create a bathroom with just the essentials. Use clever storage solutions to sort items into groups so it's easier to find them when you need to. This might require investing in a shelving unit, storage baskets or an organiser that hangs over the door.
For bedrooms that are limited on floor space, install some wall shelving to display your special treasures or favourite books. This adds personality to the bedroom while not taking up any space on the ground. This is an easy job to diy using shelving from a hardware store or Ikea. For those not so confident wielding a hammer, ask a handy friend for help.
Curtains for Comfort
A huge amount of heat is lost in winter through windows that are not double-glazed and don't have curtains or blinds covering them. Heavy curtains with backing are available ready-made or you can have them custom made to suit your furnishings. Check for draughts holding a lit candle near windows and doors. If the flame flickers, seal up the source of the breeze.
Spending too much time inside can make you long for a change in furnishings. A quick and low cost facelift for any room is to replace the lampshades. You can spend as little or as much as you like. Visit garage sales or charity shops to find inexpensive shades or lighting stores for more of a selection. You could even have a go making your own by attaching fabric over an existing lampshade.
If your children are getting a bit restless over the holidays and scribbling on the walls, set aside a space to make it ok. Use painter’s tape to outline an area on their bedroom wall and paint with blackboard paint. Give them some coloured chalk and they'll be out of your hair an off your walls.
Get carrot crazy
Get the kids in the garden to enjoy the winter sunshine and sow some baby carrot seeds. They love watching them grow and will eat them by the handful. If you are in a very cold area sow carrot seeds into pots filled with good quality potting mix. Choose a spot that gets four to six hours of sun a day and water weekly once the seedlings emerge.
Patrol Winter Pests
Look at the top and bottom of camellia leaves for signs of leafsuckers like thrips and mites. Prune any damage after they have finished flowering and spray with an insecticidal soap followed by a feed of Dynamic Lifter. Don't forget to give them a good drink of water after long periods without rain.
Entice your dinner guests outside for a nightcap to enjoy the warmth from a toasty fire. There are gas or wood or fuelled braziers available that come in steel, cast iron or ceramic. If budget and space allow go all out and install an outdoor fireplace. Check the regulations about fire safety for each state before firing up. You'll never be indoors again.
Cosy cats and dogs
Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in winter because they use more energy to keep warm. Give them a balanced diet and plenty of fresh water. Short hair dogs might need a coat for extra warmth and there is no shortage of embarrassing outfits for your furry friend available. At night ensure they have a warm spot to sleep with shelter from any rain or draughts.