Hello everyone


What a surprise!  It snowed heavily Sunday afternoon and that’s quite rare these days, as we haven’t had snow in the south of England in any quantity since February 2019, but we’re in the midst of a long cold spell of weather with temperatures well below 0C (32F). That was yesterday late afternoon.



I know those temperatures must seem like nothing at all to those of you who live in colder climes but this is cold for the southern parts of England. And don’t forget our cold is a damp, wet kind of cold, which gets right into the bones particularly when there’s a north wind.


I don’t know about you but while I love the look of snow I’m not over-keen on how it leaves the pavements (sidewalks). We don’t drive into town more than once, or maybe twice a week at the most, preferring to walk in. But the snow was heavy yesterday, so I shall see about walking out today. The thing is as a country we think we have middle-of-the-road, mild weather, neither too hot or too cold. So when we get hot and/or cold weather we don’t know how to cope with it. Consequently, cars get abandoned on snowed out roads as we don’t do winter tyres, gritters don’t go down any of the smaller roads, and trains and planes grind to a halt.


This was taken whilst lying in bed with my morning cup of tea!



My word though, we are so glad we’ve moved as our flat in Lewes is very toasty and warm – it is well insulated, so much so that we hardly have the heating on at all.


Even though the heating is hardly on, or perhaps because of that, I do layer up. If the country doesn’t know how to cope with the cold weather I cetainly do and that means over my bra and pants, I wear a vest, a slip, leggings, and two pairs of socks, then a wool skirt, and two further tops, one thin, the other a woollen sweater or jumper as we call them. I love my skirts and think that in the winter they’re the best protection against the cold.



This one is the first of two skirts I bought at the same time from my favourite charity shop in Kemptown, Brighton. They are good quality skirts from M&S and they wouldn’t have cost more than £10 each.


So I feel fine as the temperature in the flat seems to stay at 20C (68F) throughout the day after half an hour of the heating on in the morning and half an hour in the evening. Yes, we are lucky as the last flat was freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer and all due to its lack of insulation, which is something a lot of housing in the UK lacks.


Because this weather has lasted an unusually long time and is forecast to go on for another week you could be getting Cold Weather Payments of £25 a day. This  is a benefit which is given when the weather is below 0C for 7 consecutive days. Well that’s what the weather is like now. And just in case you are not sure who gets this money, the following people on these benefits are eligible:


  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest


It may not apply to you but I wonder if you know people who might be eligible for Pension Credit and aren’t claiming it. Click on this link for a guide as to who can claim this as there are apparently many pensioners who don’t claim it or don’t even know about this benefit and think that because they have have savings, or own their own home they won’t qualify. But it is available to all pensioners who have a low income, and it’s a really great benefit to have if you are eligible as it is the gateway to other benefits which could be very helpful if you are on a low income.


Here’s another shot of the black M&S skirt. I’ve topped it with another charity shop find, the mustard/beige (not sure what the colour is) woollen sweater which cost £5.50. I love its long sleeves



You can see we’ve put our Christmas tree up!



I’m pointing to the oldest Christmas decoration we have. It was bought shortly after my parents came back from India in 1947, so that makes it 75 years old. It’s a miracle it’s survived all the moves we’ve made!


Here’s the other skirt from M&S worn with a very jolly sweater, scarf and beret.


I got all three of the fun pink items from Primark. I know, I know, but I actually won’t criticise this store as for some it is all they can afford.  It is rare for me to buy new fast fashion clothes. But I just couldn’t resist the colour.


And then when going out I have choice of several coats. But this one in the photo is my choice for these cold days as it is thickly lined and, just as important, buttons up right down the length of the coat, so it is very toasty.



That’s all  for now, but do tell me how you’re coping with the cold weather, I know I haven’t even begun to talk about the cost of living and the price of energy here in the UK. But I’ll leave that for My Other Blog – starting a piece for it right now.


And if you live somewhere cold, do tell how you cope with winter 🙂


With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

Coping with the cold weather! It’s layers of warm clothes for me! Plus cold weather payments – see if you qualify
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42 thoughts on “Coping with the cold weather! It’s layers of warm clothes for me! Plus cold weather payments – see if you qualify

  • 12th December 2022 at 1:01 pm

    Hi, Penny! Your snowy weather looks lovely to this southeastern US girl – we’ve been experiencing 81 degree (27C) weather during December and it just doesn’t seem like Christmas-time at all! Your outfits look wonderful, warm and Christmasy. Enjoy!

    • 12th December 2022 at 2:26 pm

      Penny, I love your funky boots.

      • 13th December 2022 at 3:19 pm

        Thank you so much Sue 🙂

    • 13th December 2022 at 9:25 am

      Thank you Lynn and my goodness, 81F! That seems very hot and is the kind of temperature we barely reach in the summer!!!!

      It does look Christmasy but it is very cold and the sidewalks are icy and as a nation of people who tend to walk into town rather than take the car, it’s quite dangerous at times!!!

      But you’re right it does look so nice – thanks again Lynn 🙂

  • 12th December 2022 at 2:50 pm

    I love the three pink Primark garments on you, there’s much to be said for wearing bright colours in winter. Says me, whose usual winter outfit is a black coat and trousers 😁 but always with a bright scarf, usually red or purple.
    Like you, I wear a vest if going out. But for indoors, I’ve got my Oodie (and a spare) and I don’t give a toss how inelegant I look. My daughter gave me a cheap version of one two years ago and I thought it was cosy but the O wins hands down, well worth the money. I’ve bought my daughter/g’son Oodies as part of their Christmas this year.
    It’s wonderful that your flat stays so warm with so little heating, I’m in a council house(Local Authority), there is double glazing but sadly, no insulation. It’s a maisonette, two bedrooms, big windows, with two in both the sitting room and my bedroom. Currently, I have the gas ch on for two hours at a time, three times a day. I’ve tried various permutations on timings, including keeping the heating on all day at a lower temp and what I’m doing just now appears to be best value financially.
    I don’t know if you ever read Grace Dent’s restaurant reviews in the Guardian. This week, she reviewed Fork, 14 Station Road, Lewes. She really liked it, have you eaten there?

    • 13th December 2022 at 9:39 am

      The Primark items are fun and actually that pink beret is exactly the right size for me as I have a big head and berets often slide upwards on me and look daft – this is bigger and is a keeper.

      Do you know I had to look the ‘Oodie’ up and you know what I’m buying one for my daughter’s household as they have an ex-council house in Lewes. It’s great, btw, lovely garden and double fronted, but guess what no insulation to speak off in the walls so it’s currently freezing. Only wish I could give it to them now! Thank you so much for pointing me to this garment!! There’s sure to be more freezing days so they’ll find really useful.

      Have read the review. I know exactly where the restaurant is but haven’t been yet. Love Grace Dent.

      Thanks so much again 🙂

  • 12th December 2022 at 3:31 pm

    I do admire how chic you look and still stay warm. We have mild Winters where we live which is the best part of living here, Nice. Still feels like Winter but we have many sunny days so we make a point of getting out. I wonder why the people who are eligible for the cold weather payment have to apply surely the departments who provide the Universal Credit, or whatever, know who they are. These are the most vulnerable people and no doubt often at risk in other ways. We’ve been asked to be careful with energy to avoid black outs and as a result consumption is down on last year.

    Your tree is pretty I haven’t got into the seasonal spirit yet my famous cheerful default setting is on the blink. Stay warm

    • 13th December 2022 at 12:46 pm

      The thing is with benefits is that it is such a complicated system. If you are on Pension Credit already you will get the Cold Weather Payments and same for Universal Credit. BUT it’s those pensioners who haven’t applied for Pension Credit. I’ve googled how many and one source reckons there are over a million pensioners who could get Pension Credit and haven’t applied. Once you’re on this benefit it is the gateway to lots of other things that could help so it’s critically important to alert people to this benefit.

      Honestly I dress up every time I go out to Lewes – even if no-one can see the skirt underneath the coat 🤣 It does help my mood! I hope the Christmas decs go up in your abode soon. Take care and thanks for the comment Flora 🙂

  • 12th December 2022 at 3:36 pm

    I agree with you about skirts being warm – provided they are long like the ones you are wearing. These are all wonderful outfits, but I really love the pink on you. Glad to hear you are staying warm! While we will have some cold weather in a few weeks, so far we are staying above freezing.

    • 13th December 2022 at 3:18 pm

      Yes, I don’t understand people who wear pants or jeans. I’d have to wear something thermal underneath and as I mainly wear skinnies that’s not possible!

      I shall have to wear pink more often!

      Thanks Michelle 🙂

  • 12th December 2022 at 3:42 pm

    Hello Penny. This morning I awakened to our first snowfall of the season and temperatures below freezing, which was in the low 30’s. Not as cold as it can get around here but pretty darn cold for me. I had to clean off my car before I could go anywhere, defrost the ice and remove the snow. As I drove away from the town it looked quite beautiful as the snow was still on the trees. I have a number of winter coats, collected over the years. My son once remarked and questioned as to why one person has so many of them. A couple of the older parkas are for dog walking and to wear to the barn, Ok if I get hair and dirt on them. Of course there have been many times when I need to pick up groceries and just can’t be bothered to change, fashion be dammed. I so regret a long wool coat I had and gave away. It was full length, lined with some kind of thermal, insulating material, with a hood and faux fur trim. Deep burgundy. My daughter had the same coat but in navy. she no longer has hers either. they were heavy, but there was nothing like them to keep you warm and they were so beautiful. I felt like a character in Dr. Zhivago. I actually think your layering with skirts is an excellent idea, you can get so much more under a skirt than pants, and you look so fashionable in yours. Layering is really the way to go. I have this base layer I must have purchased from lands End over 30 years ago, in the days when I would get up early to run before work. I no longer run, walking is my chosen speed these days, and I no longer work, but I still have this top and long johns. They are made of some kind of technical synthetic. They are actually big on me, but no one sees them, so who cares. They have a few small holes, but other wise going strong. I have a couple of other thermal tops, one was bought at a tag sale at the barn no doubt outgrown by one of the kids. I do have nice clothes but why replace when the old stuff works just fine. Your tree is so festive, I was not going to do one this year but like you I have so many sentimental ornaments with stories behind them so I might relent and get a small one I can manage by myself. Hopefully the local supermarket still has one. So enjoy your Winter wonderland and the holiday season.

    • 13th December 2022 at 3:36 pm

      Ah yes, I always associate a New York winter with snow and cold. weather.So it has arrived! Our smaller roads though are never fully salted or cleared so people fall and cars slide around. It’s crazy but we don’t deal with it like other cold countries because snow happens so rarely. Not in Scotland I hasten to add where they are more accustomed to cold and snow. I have to say I like the look of the snow but am not keen these days on walking around on it!

      One can never have enough coats! But sorry to hear about the lovely Dr Zhivago coat – you never know you might find one in a thrift shop.

      Actually all my leggings are really old like your thermal wear. And you know, a small tree could look very nice and bring back memories too 🙂

      Enjoy the New York winter wonderland! And thanks as ever – do like hearing about your New York life 🙂

  • 12th December 2022 at 3:54 pm

    That’s how I layer and it really works. I love skirts this time of year because they don’t get all messy in the snow and slosh.
    Have you tried the fleece-lined tights?? I think they are better than sliced bread!!

    • 13th December 2022 at 3:38 pm

      Do you know I haven’t tried fleece lined leggings – I must look out for them as they sound so right for this kind of weather.

      Thanks Jodie xxx

  • 12th December 2022 at 6:34 pm

    Great outfits on you Penny, I do like the pink beret and scarf. As you say layering is the way to go. I have Damart vests that are many years old but keep on going. My daughter wears fleece-lined tights ; she lives up north where it’s usually colder than here. I’m wearing a charity shopped fleece gilet today over 3 layers one of which is pure wool. I have a long wool skirt which I keep for cold weather & a (faux) fur -lined coat which I call my Henry VIII outfit. Lots of hats and berets too including one with woodcock feathers around the edge which I bought in France and a furry hood which I bought for a winter cruise to Norway a few years ago. So warm enough but slightly worried about slipping unless I wear my walking boots.

    • 13th December 2022 at 3:53 pm

      Thanks re: the pink items – I must wear pink more often! Like your vests my leggings are really old but I am interested in the idea of getting a pair of fleece lined leggings as I haven’t come across these before.

      I love the sound of the beret with the woodcock feathers – bet you look stunning wearing it!

      Gosh I was so nervous going out today but most of the snow has melted and it was fine. But we went by car and we could see that some of the pavements going into town were still icy – nope, not going on those!

  • 12th December 2022 at 6:45 pm

    You look fabulous in the pink ensemble, and the long coat is perfect with it.
    Here in SE Pennsylvania temps are in the high 30s F today. Our new geothermal heating/cooling system is performing beautifully in its first winter, and saved us 35% on our electric bill in the hot, muggy summer.

    Too disabled now for charity shops, so I rely on layered pre-owned cashmere sweaters and coats from Poshmark.

    Glad you shared info on heating assistance in the UK. Hate to think of people suffering from the cold.

    • 13th December 2022 at 4:20 pm

      Thank you so much Sharon, I shall have to wear pink more often!! Yes, those temperatures sound as though it’s beginning to be quite cold where you are and your heating system sounds excellent.

      The situation that this country finds itself in is shocking. So many people are suffering as they cannot afford to heat their homes – and many are having to choose between eating and heating. It’s not the only reason but like everywhere else, we are impacted by the war in Ukraine and the supply issue around gas, but unlike elsewhere the government has not sufficiently subsidised the population’s energy costs, nor has it sufficiently taxed the oil and gas companies. Yes, we have sums of money that the government has given us, but these sums won’t cover the cost of heating bills for many of the population – and these sums end in April and no-one knows what their bills will be like after that date. Care and nursing homes now have huge bills to pay, restaurants are closing as are many shops because they cannot afford the heating bills and so it goes on. Consequently a huge number of our population is at the mercy of cold weather.

      Sorry to sound so negative Sharon but in our little flat we’re fine, I’m just so mindful that others are not as lucky as us.

  • 12th December 2022 at 7:48 pm

    I have always wanted to celebrate Christmas in London, but my husband told me there’s rarely snow that time of year. So, I was surprised to see your photo! But, it sure is gorgeous, isn’t it? I love snow, especially now that I’m retired and don’t have to worry about driving in it if I don’t have to do so. I always layer. We are fortunate in that we have always had very well insulated houses as well as good windows. Add to that the central heating, and being warm is a matter of how much do I want to spend on the gas bill! Since I’m cheap and have plenty of clothing, I layer, layer, layer! I don’t, however, layer near as chicly as you do! I love both of these skirts, especially with the boots you’re wearing! I’m not familiar with Primark though I wonder if it’s not akin to Old Navy. But, those three pink pieces are fabulous on you! I’m trying to think how often I see you in pink…yellow, frequently…but, pink? Hmmm…


    • 14th December 2022 at 4:49 pm

      By the time it’s Christmas I expect all the snow will have gone and your husband is quite right as we don’t normally get snow, but this year it’s been different. But the temperatures will rise from this coming Sunday and then it’s gong to rain nearly every day right up to and including Christmas Day!!

      Primark is a store that sells exceedingly cheap clothes and absolutely geared to the fast fashion that is so damaging to our climate. And yet, you can find some great things in the store and I won’t criticise it as i) ALL the High Street stores exploit their workers and create havoc with their fast throughput of fashion and ii) for some people Primark prices are the only prices they can afford, and tbh there are quite a lot of noses going in the air as they criticise this store, as in I think people are being just a tad righteous when they say negative things about this store. The only way to stop fast fashion is to just not buy anything from the High Street and that is quite challenging for us all. Personally I always aim to buy second-hand/pre-loved and that was the first time I bought something from Primark for many years. Sigh but the pink colour is delicious – so there you are!

  • 12th December 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Lots of layers for me. I also like up to the knee thick socks. Warm long scarves and a beret.
    Just can’t seem to keep my hands warm when it’s really cold.
    Love you outfits Penny xx

  • 12th December 2022 at 8:45 pm

    Lots of layers for me. I also like up to the knee thick socks. Warm long scarves and a beret.
    Just can’t seem to keep my hands warm when it’s really cold.
    Love your outfits Penny xx

    • 14th December 2022 at 4:54 pm

      Oh yes, long thick socks are always part of hat I wear when I go out, and sometimes when I’m inside too!

      Thanks Vivien and keep warm if you can!

  • 13th December 2022 at 9:14 am

    Hello Penny…It is good to see that your move to Lewes continues to be a good decision as your home is better built for the weather. You look cozy in your many-layered outfits. Now I understand how skirts can be warm over the many layers you wear underneath as opposed to a more restrictive pant.
    I have missed reading your posts as I’ve been caring for my ill husband. He passed away last month with our younger son and I by his side. We are thankful that he is no longer in pain and is with his Savior. I have tremendous support from family and friends and my faith really sustains me. We miss him and keenly feel his absence as we head into Christmas. As his family, we will gather for Christmas and, again, in January when we hold a celebration of his life. I’m sorry to add this sad news but I wanted to explain my absence as you have become a wonderful blog-friend.
    Thanks for “listening”…Charlene

    • 13th December 2022 at 11:14 am

      Oh my goodness Charlene, I did wonder if something was up, but I am so very very sorry. As you say I am so glad he is no longer in pain, that is something, nevertheless you must feel it so and of course Christmas… So glad you have your family and your faith to support you.

      You take care and look after yourself – there will be a lot to do but at the same time rest and replenish and savour the love you friends, including me, are sending you.

      With deepest condolences RIP ❤️

      • 13th December 2022 at 4:05 pm

        Thank you, Penny.

      • 14th December 2022 at 7:15 pm

        Hello, Penny

        Would you mind if I added my condolences to Charlene and her family alongside yours? I’ve always read Charlene’s comments with particular interest ever since she wrote how she loved the idea of me (plus husband) driving all over the States on the black tops and real back roads when visiting our family- just a small connection with another friendly American. Losing a loved one is always sad but it happening near to Christmas seems to add an extra layer of grief. God Bless, Charlene, I am so very sorry for your loss. x

        Thank you, Penny x

  • 13th December 2022 at 10:04 am

    Snow in the south? Wow, need to experience that once. It’s as cold here but no snow yet, luckily, as I hate it. Love the pink items! Such a uplifting colour!

    • 14th December 2022 at 4:52 pm

      The snow in Lewes is hanging around still, and it’s going to be cold and frosty until Sunday when the temperatures begin to rise. Thereafter it’s going to rain every day right up to and including Christmas Day 🤣

      I must wear pink more often – thanks Nancy!

  • 13th December 2022 at 1:39 pm

    Hello Penny,
    I’m a fan of layering too. I’ve bought full length slips from Damart which I can recommend because they come high up at the back unlike most which are only on straps. I use over the knee socks which help a lot, I have terribly cold legs. I wear skirts but can’t find any warm ones. I thought people like Boden did them but everything seems to be flimsy, polyester or cotton doesn’t cut it in this weather. Sadly I can’t get out to rummage in charity shops but not anyone knows of a stockist of woollen skirts I’d love to hear from them.
    Keep warm x

    • 13th December 2022 at 4:27 pm

      Ah ha, I might well get a couple of those from Damart. However I got some really long vests fromM&S which I’m finding really good to wear during this weather.

      And do you know I think you’re right about skirts not being made in wool. Looked everywhere and skirts are cotton or synthetic mixes these days, so I Googled wool skirts and came up with John Lewis but nearly fainted at the prices of, for example, Brora, lovely but phew!. Just for the fun of it have a look https://www.johnlewis.com/browse/women/womens-skirts/100-wool/_/N-fm2Zlwk4

      You keep warm too X

  • 16th December 2022 at 8:11 am

    A bauble 75 years old! Wow. I wish my mum had kept all the decorations but she threw everything out.
    Looking stylish and cosy. I’ll be wearing a skirt, vest, 2 pairs of tights etc after I’ve been to Pilates. I’ll be getting the bus this time. Yesterday the pavements were very treacherous. Thanks for linking x

    • 16th December 2022 at 11:02 am

      My Mum did the same, including a vase belonging to my paternal grandmother that I particularly wanted! I do have 2 glass baubles which belonged to my mother-in-law which are probably from the 30s/40s and a few other bits of hers which get dragged out every year!

      • 18th December 2022 at 1:33 pm

        Wow, baubles from the 30s/40s – that’s old!

    • 18th December 2022 at 1:26 pm

      The pavements were awful and I hated the way it affected my walking. I could see the years ahead when I might use a stick! Mind you I shall be sure to have a psychedelic stick or one with neon colouring! Today though it’s fine albeit it’s that horrid cold rain.

      I have other baubles on the tree from mother’s decs -all very much cherished.

  • 16th December 2022 at 5:12 pm

    Living in an apartment/flat/condo with excellent insulation makes all the difference! Our apartment in Minnesota is quite toasty warm. It’s just below freezing (-1 C) right now and I am wearing leggings, a short-sleeved T, and mules…with a couple windows open. But absolutely layering is the name of the game when it gets actually cold. I love the bright pink print mix outfit – very cheerful!

    • 18th December 2022 at 1:30 pm

      I shall have to wear pink more often!

      Your apartment sounds so lovely and warm. We just haven’t done enough here about insulation. You can understand why our old housing stock hasn’t got the insulation, but even new builds aren’t all that well insulated and that is lack of regulations. It is noted in the media but I can’t see this government sorting anything out let alone this. Enough about that. Thanks so much Sally 🙂

  • 16th December 2022 at 5:21 pm

    Hasn’t it been cold Penny, I only like snow what I’m skiing and that’s overnight! You look cosy and warm and I hope you take care in this weather. Jacqui x
    Thanks for joining my linkup today. x

    • 18th December 2022 at 1:31 pm

      The snow was quite heavy where I live and very lovely it was too until I tried walking on our icy pavements – eek! So glad it’s melting now but it is rather grey and wet now. We’re never satisfied with our weather are we!!!

      And thank you for hosting your lovely link-up 🙂

  • 17th December 2022 at 12:13 pm

    I discovered your blog recently Penny and find it really inspirational! I’m 48, live in the south east too (tho no snow so far!), love charity shops and dressing how I want to without a massive price tag and knowing it’s helping the environment. It takes a bit of time doesn’t it? but so worth it.. my hubby and I often find new or barely worn items we like at about 1/10 of the order original price. Currently have a teddy bear coat in mind.

    Thank you for the cold weather payment info too. we’ll pass that onto my MIL.

  • 17th December 2022 at 3:25 pm

    Since my friends and I run even when it is below 0 degrees, I have learned it is all about wearing the right layers. We don’t get snow very often here in Georgia either but we get excited when we do as long as we don’t lose power. We do have lots of clothes and blankets we can layer with if needed be.

    • 18th December 2022 at 1:32 pm

      Ah yes,I can imagine that running when it’s below 0degrees would need lots of layers! Thanks Mireille 🙂

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