Monday 1 August 2016


It feels like winter has been playing tricks on us this year. One day it's cold and there's frost on the farms lower in the valley and then we're walking around in short sleeves. 

We're also living in a completely different style of home to this time last year. Australian inner-city terrace homes are not known for being warm, although ours wasn't too bad. It was double brick which meant that once we got it warm, the heat stayed in for much longer than many other similar-style homes. But it wasn't an open-plan house so while we could get individual rooms warm, it took a lot more energy to heat the whole place.

And although we had a working fire, it wasn't a slow combustion fireplace so the timber burned off quite quickly and the heat didn't linger. As many other Australians who live in unrenovated homes, we had to rely on portable gas and electric heaters to warm our place. Then became the issue at the end of winter of storing them somewhere too. 

There were some strategies we used though to help make life a little easier though. One of them was devised by our son when he decided to sleep on one of our sheepskins. We thought he was being cute about it, but then we tried it ourselves and it's hard to go back. It really is a great way to sleep. And it's much more preferable to using electric blankets for us, as it's more economical and better for the environment. All of the children now sleep on sheepskins, including the baby, who has one underneath his cot sheet in his bassinet. The others lie directly on the sheepskin - our daughter says it's like sleeping with a giant (natural-fibre) teddy bear!

Not only does our current home have a large slow combustion fire at its centre, but the chimney stack runs up to the second level. This means that the bricks warm up throughout the house. Plus there are vents on the ground and first levels which disperse heat into open-plan areas on both levels. It's such a great way to warm the house. In fact, many times this winter we have had to change into lighter clothing when sitting in our office area as it gets so warm because it's right next to one of the vents.

For the baby we took one of the ideas that we used to use in our previous home - sheepskins on our chairs in the study - and placed them on his bouncer for when he's awake. This also gets placed on the floor for him to lie on during the hour or so he's alert in between feeds and naps.

Of course, we are big fans of layering our beds with wool blankets and swapping over our cotton cushion covers for woollen ones in the cooler months. And reindeer hides get placed on chairs, the sofa and on the floor in our bedroom. Every little bit helps.

Interestingly, after having such a hot summer in this house, winter has been a welcome season for all of us. It's hard to beat spending evenings in front of a warming fire. 

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