Brrr! It isn’t even the middle of winter, and the cold snap we just had reminded me that we aren’t ready to brave the full length of winter. With it’s dry, bone-chilling air. Certainly not without my repertoire of ways to stay warm and cozy all winter long!
So, if you’re an expat arriving, or you’re accustomed to the Botswana winter, but looking for some budget-friendly ways to avoid turning on the heater… Then this post is for you!
Number 7 – Coats, Hats, Mittens/Gloves, Scarves
This is a no-brainer for most of us. However there are a few Northern Hemisphere expats who think we can make it through winter with just a fleece jersey and a sweater.
My family were those people back in 2012. Little did we know that the houses have little insulation owing to the fact they’re made from cinderblocks. The cold stays trapped inside during the winter and you’ll find it’s warmer outside in the sunshine than inside your house! Eventually, you’ll acclimate and realize that the seemingly 15 layers of snow-worthy gear locals wear really are a must in a non-snow country.
Number 6 – Flannel Jammies/Sheets & Fuzzy Socks
Your small children will thank you for purchasing the flannel jammies for them. Otherwise, every single morning my children will act as though the world is ending. I dare say since we donned the flannel jammies and/or flannel sheets, and the fuzzy socks, the complaining has lessened a bit.
For the parents, I find a nice pair of flannel pajama pants and a long sleeve shirt does the trick nicely. Or you can go all in for the classic flannel button-down pajama top and bottom set.
I can’t take the feel of socks under the sheets, so I keep a pair of fuzzy socks with no-slip rubber bottoms on my nightstand. That way I can slip them on before my feet hit the cold tile.
Number 5 – Speaking of Cold Tile – Cozy Slippers
You’ll need cozy slippers. Your summer slippers/flip-flops/bare feet will no longer be sufficient. You can wear those fuzzy socks alone, but sometimes it really is cold enough for a double dose on the feet of socks and cozy slippers. Right now, as we’re in the milder winter temperatures, I’m doing one or the other, but go ahead and get yourself a pair!
In fact, the entire family will need cozy slippers. I can’t manage to keep socks on my children. There is some type of imaginary magnetic force that rips socks from their feet as soon as I put them on. Yet a pair of slippers by the bed at night somehow manages to stay put for feet in the morning.
Number 4 – Winter Fuzzy Robe
If you’ve read to this point, you’re probably tired of my use of the adjective, ‘fuzzy’, but truly there is no better descriptor. Unless you’re my 3-year-old who calls everything fuzzy/soft and cuddly, ‘cozy’.
So, when I purchased my fleece robe last week from Woolworths and donned it the next morning – she promptly declared my robe the ‘coziest robe ever’ and wished it were a blanket for her to wrap up in!
Trust me – you’ll need one when you step out of the shower into the freezing cold air. Maybe your family will even give you extra snuggles because of your ‘cozy’ robe. As with the slippers I’m going to guess the whole family will enjoy each having their own.
Number 3 – Fleece Blankets / Lap Blankets
I find that almost every room in the house needs a lap blanket. One for each child (of course they can’t manage to share!), one for the sofa and one for the master bedroom. I found a great quality/variety of colors at Ackerman’s this week. The thickness of the fleece lap blankets seems perfect to ward off the chill. Mr. Price Home has some as well, but I find they are thinner.
I also keep the lap blanket by the bed. So my kids can grab it as they walk in a zombie-like fashion to the breakfast bar and wrap up in a blanket while they eat breakfast.
Number 2 – Hot Water Bottles
My first winter here, I thought the stores like Clicks or Mr. Price Home were stocking these for old folks. I really hadn’t seen a hot water bottle before other than in my grandparents’ homes maybe? It’s embarrassing for me to recall this, but I really thought it was something they used for their aching joints or other unmentionable old folks problems!
It wasn’t until we visited one of the safari lodges in Madikwe during wintertime that I even understood how these hot water bottles were applicable to me.
When you come back from that late freezing-cold game drive, many of the lodges will place a hot water bottle in the foot of your bed to keep your feet warm! I didn’t even know it was there the first time until my feet hit it, and then I had to peel back the covers to investigate the source of the brilliant warmth upon my feet!!! My daughter even had one in her bed that looked like a stuffed animal.
We fell in love with them, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I even fill them during the day when my hands get cold from typing on the laptop, etc, so I’ll keep it on my lap to help warm up or rather ‘thaw out’ my fingers.
Number 1 – Hot Beverages / Hot Cocoa!
My favorite way to stay warm in winter is hot cocoa and my children find it to be a special treat. They have since moved past drinking hot cocoa as their only warm beverage of choice to rooibos and even -GASP! – the occasional tiny cup of café latte.
However, whenever I find the individual packets of hot cocoa at the grocery store and turn the label to read the ingredients (you should always read labels!) – my stomach usually does a little churn inside. The strange ingredients are not appetizing in the least!
So, I will give you my easy-peasy homemade cocoa recipe below, so you can fill your family with ingredients you can explain and pronounce! Enjoy, stay warm, and don’t forget to top it with white mini-marshmallows!