Sunday, January 11, 2009

Keeping warm in the snow

Goodness it’s cold here in New York. Still, I’d rather be battling the snow than dripping in August’s humidity and it doesn't take rocket science to stay warm. My new weapon is a formidably chic mid-thigh length black wool, hooded cape, bought first for cycling when Spring arrives, but which I have discovered is genius for the Winter.

Instead of looking like a bulbous Michelin man in a coat made too small by umpteen layers, its elegantly capacious folds can camouflage lots of sweaters. I paired it with a denim pencil skirt, three layers of cashmere, woollen stockings pulled over my ribbed Falke tights, elbow length leather gloves and my Hunter wellies to walk to supper in the West Village with JK last night. Only my nose peeking out from the hood felt the cold.

Inside it’s more of a challenge: the ancient cast iron radiators in my apartment aren’t quite effective enough against the draughts from the sash windows. During the day I drink endless cups of tea, do my floor exercises and hop around to the new Kaiser Chiefs & Killers albums whilst thinking up story ideas.

Staying warm in bed on my own is more of a challenge. Over Christmas in the English countryside I stuffed the whippets down my bed and toasted my toes on their warm tummies. Unfortunately, there is not such ready access to whippets in Manhattan, and I just do not understand the allure of pyjamas. Not only are they claustrophobic, they bunch up around my legs and make me feel as though I am going to bed in my day clothes. Still less do I get the brushed cotton, Bridget Jones variety printed with penguins or fluffy bunnies. They are Pour Les Enfants.

Instead, I’ve discovered that it’s perfectly possible to be toasty without looking like a kindergartner by reverting to the 1950s with silk or satin lace trimmed nighties, cashmere bedsocks & bedjackets. And, of course, I add two hot water bottles, a proper duvet and the extravagantly high thread count sheets I inherited from my mama.