Heated Clothing, Outdoor Heating, Ross

garden astronomy

Astronomy is a brilliant, fascinating science that uncovers the mysteries of our solar system and the limitless universe beyond. If the concept inspires you as much as it does me, then maybe it’s time to get in your garden and start exploring the skies.

For a complete novice, it can sometimes feel difficult knowing how to get started. You cast your eyes to the heavens, and you’re presented with a blanket of tiny specks, all seemingly indistinguishable from one another. Who knows where Orion is or why he’s of significance. You heard the other day that some of those dots are actually planets, but how are you meant to know which ones? And what’s all this about nebulas?

Well, let’s start out by saying you’ve passed the first test. Looking up and wanting to know more is the entryway for amateur astronomy. There’s an incredible universe out there that many of us don’t pay attention to, but we really, really should. If you’ve a curious mind and you’re serious about finding out what you can see from your back garden, then you’re already half-way there.

Three keys to victory

There are three main areas you need to consider when it comes to amateur astronomy – you, the sky and your equipment. So let’s start with you, because it’s incredibly easy to neglect yourself when you start getting giddy about exploring the skies.

It gets cold at night. Remember this. I know it sounds obvious, but if you’re intending on a lengthy stop-up exploring the skies, you need to be prepared for the cold. Whether you decide to settle by a heater, invest in some heated clothing or you just simply wear a couple extra layers, remember to keep yourself in good shape. Thermos flasks full of tea – or perhaps coffee if you’re trying to avoid the Sandman – are useful too. Scanning the skies can be a test of patience, so don’t undercut yourself by under-preparing for the weather.

The second thing to consider is the sky. Predicting cloud density far in advance is of course a very difficult thing, so check your weather forecast and, y’know, look up, before you decide to set yourself up for the night. The skies are pretty incredible, but they don’t always work in your favour. What also doesn’t help, of course, is light pollution. If you live in a densely populated area with a number of lights blaring, you’ll have to be prepared to see less than you might like, even in the dead of night. There are plenty of cool things to see from your garden, but if light pollution is too severe, you may need to look for other local spaces where the pollution isn’t as bad. Parks, hills, fields, out on the open ocean if that’s at all feasible – stay safe and make sure you’re allowed wherever you’re setting up shop, but there are alternatives out there if the area around your garden is too exposed.

Finally, it’s time to consider what you’re looking with. Your eyes will do if you want to just get acquainted with the broader skies, but if you’re looking for certain objects, a telescope will naturally be invaluable. There is a middle option, too; a decent pair of binoculars can help you get a better look at certain objects in our universe without blowing your budget. Honestly, this can be the best place to start for newcomers to garden astronomy. It’s not easy getting accustomed to the vastness of the night’s sky and the technical details of a telescope at the same time. There are plenty of helpful websites, books and guides out there to help you find the perfect telescope if that’s a route you want to go down.

And now you’re ready to explore. Wrapped in four layers and an army of thermos flasks at the ready, you’ve found a nice clear night unobscured by light pollution and you’re ready to study the skies. Now the fun part – what can you expect to see, and what should you be looking out for?

Moon

The Moon

Let’s start with the obvious one – the moon. We’ve all seen it before and we all know the basics, but the moon is still a pretty cool place for us amateur astronomers. It’s a nice place to start because it’s easy to find and it can also demonstrate the sort of unseen detail that you can observe on a clear night. Even through a decent pair of binoculars, you’ll be able to observe a desolate, crater-ridden wasteland and the varying hues of grey that make up the surface of our largest celestial satellite.

Pleiades

The Pleiades

The Pleiades are a small cluster of stars known on Earth as the Seven Sisters. These stars are mentioned three times in the Bible and have become a point of inspiration for nearly all of our ancient cultures, including the Celts, the Aztecs and the Cherokee. When you get a proper look at them, you can understand why. The Pleiades are a dazzling array of gigantic stars blazing their energy into the universe. It’s another easy target in the night sky, given their luminosity and their proximity to the Orion constellation, and one you certainly won’t forget seeing for the first time.

Orion nebula

The Orion Nebula

Speaking of Orion, the constellation holds a number of fascinating celestial bodies and phenomena just begging to be explored. On a clear night, you might just be able to observe a sort of reddish smudge on Orion’s sword (just south of Orion’s belt) with your naked eye, but it comes alive through a powerful enough telescope or pair of binoculars. This is the Orion nebula – nebulas are giant clouds of dust that contain some of the building blocks of creation, like hydrogen and helium. Given that neither Ptolemy nor Galileo – both famous and pioneering astronomers – managed to spot this nebula despite observing nebulosity elsewhere in the night’s sky, scientists theorise that the surrounding stars may have intensified the brightness of the Orion nebula relatively recently.

Jupiter

Jupiter

It’s difficult to imagine what it must have felt like to be have been Galileo when he originally turned his telescope on Jupiter. When he first observed the position and luminosity of the moons, he assumed them fixed-position stars. When he looked the night after, however, they had all moved from east to west. He documented the movement for a number of nights until he reached the conclusion that these celestial bodies must be moons (now known as Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) orbiting Jupiter as our moon does Earth, bringing an end to the geocentric theory of the universe.

The thought of observing Jupiter usually makes astronomers giddy at the thought of the dense, swirling clouds that rage across the planet’s surface. You’ll need a particularly strong telescope to get details of that clarity, but binoculars will be able to reveal at least a couple of the four moons that circle the gas giant. It’s a beautiful thing to witness first hand.

andromeda

Andromeda Galaxy

Yup – you can even see a whole different galaxy from the comfort of your back garden. The Andromeda galaxy is the most distant celestial body you can observe with your naked eye, and even through binoculars, you’ll be able to observe the elliptical shape of our nearest galactic neighbour. Andromeda sits just to the south-east of the constellation of Cassiopeia, and looks like a white oval smudge on a clear night. The light from the Andromeda galaxy has taken two million years to reach us here on Earth. Our own fair Milky Way galaxy is on a collision course with Andromeda and is expected to clash in about four billion years’ time, so get outside and take a look before it’s too late.

Famed Roman astronomer Ptolemy once said: “As I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies, I no longer touch Earth with my feet. I stand in the presence of Zeus himself, and take my fill of ambrosia.” The universe is an incredible, beautiful place, and you don’t need to know what makes a star or what dark matter is to be able to appreciate its majesty. There’s only one thing you truly need to do; look up.

Ross at PrimroseRoss works in the Product Loading department and gets to see all the weird and wonderful products that pass through Primrose. Ross is a life-long Southampton fan and favours jazz music, reading and a quiet place to enjoy them.

See all of Ross’s posts.

Amie, Gardening, Heated Clothing, Primrose.co.uk

Heat packs – the most underrated heating accessory that is guaranteed to keep you warm this winter.

These useful little heat packs are the ideal way to keep warm on the go and maximise warmth. Simply shake and pop in pockets or gloves for a quick and portable source of heat – it really is as simple as that. However, they’re hugely understated and their versatility means they can be utilised for a range of activities. We’ve chosen a few of our favourites below for you.

  1. Football game
    Standing in the crowd on a cold day, these are a life safer for popping in your pockets or gloves and keeping your fingers from falling off.
  2. Fishing
    Sitting on the windy shore, wrapped up warm, these help to get a firm hold of your rod – rumour has it wearing heat pads brings you in an extra large cod for supper.
  3. Fireworks
    It’s often really chilly when we chose to stand outside in awe of the lights, so give yourself some extra warmth.
  4. Walking the dog
    When Scooby wants a run in the snow, you need to keep warm (and it’s not like you have a thick layer of fur).
  5. Snowboarding
    Not much beats hitting the white stuff on the slopes, but it can be pretty cold so layer up.
  6. Romantic walks
    When the snow is falling, there’s nothing more romantic than a walk, but why not hold your lovers hand with an extra bit of warmth and spice?
  7. Camping
    Whether you’re sat around a campfire, or cosying in your sleeping bag for breakfast, heat packs help keep you extra warm.
  8. Gardening
    Now is the perfect time to start planning how you want your garden to look this summer. Don’t be afraid to get out there now and get mucky.
    de-weed your garden

Next time you’re doing one of the following activities, just think about picking up a little packet of warmth and you’ll have yourself thinking why you never encountered them before!

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

Amie also writes restaurant reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.

Amie, Heated Clothing, Primrose.co.uk

The winter is nearing, and the nights are darkening. The temperatures are plummeting and  the snow will soon be falling. Whether you’re tucked up in bed, or out for a scenic walk, we’ve all been there where our feet feel as though they’re close to dropping off. So we’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to keep your feet warm.

winter-boots

  1. Place heated inner soles into your shoes
    Great for when you’re heading outdoors, heated insoles add an extra layer of warmth for inside your shoe. Many heated insoles provide a heating element running down the entire length of the insole meaning your whole foot will be kept toasty, even those pinkies prone to the cold.

    What’s better is heated insoles will often fit into any shoe as they are easily trimmed down to size.

  2. Layer up with socks
    Whether you’re tucked up in front of the TV, or you’ve ventured out for an explore, choosing the right socks can benefit the warmth of your feet greatly. There are socks on the market with external heating elements (battery heated/ heat packs) which provide a gradual warmth to your legs and feet. These are a great option if you’re skiing, hiking or walking as they provide extra warmth in colder conditions.

    Alternatively, cosy thermal socks are great for lounging around the house and help maintain core body temperature also. They’re also perfect for long-term use, with very little maintenance or hassle.

    It’s important here that you don’t wear socks that are either too tight, or that don’t fit comfortably if you’re wearing shoes as this can cut off circulation to your toes.

  3. Put your slippers in the microwave
    You heard right. Cozy Body slippers are microwavable, and in only two minutes, you can benefit from instant warmth and relaxation. A short term solution, they are ideal for those cold mornings when making a brew or late evenings after a bath.

    With Christmas around the corner, they make a great gift too! (I will admit I did buy my Nan a pair and she loves them).

  4. Massage your feet
    Who’d have guessed that a soothing foot massage would improve circulation to your feet? Aiding blood flow, a massage helps to circulate the blood to even the nippy toes.

    Next time you have cold feet, nudge your boyfriend or girlfriend, and blame the cold!

  5. Top up with soups and stews
    With winter around the corner, forget the salads and ice cream and turn your attention to warm, heart foods. Stews, soups, vegetables, potatoes etc will help to keep your whole body warm.

    Also, avoid the caffeine! I know a morning brew is a staple part of most people’s routine, but caffeine is a vasoconstrictor which means it limits blood flow around the body.

    socks1small
    Hopefully you’re now covered  in knowing 5 ways to keep your feet warm!

    For more tips and advice on how to keep warm this winter, we’ve a host of blog posts to read over.

    AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

    She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

    Amie also writes restaurant reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.

 

Amie, Heated Clothing, Primrose.co.uk

It’s the middle of October, the bitterness is starting to hit and I have decided to go camping for a couple of days. ‘You’re mad’ everyone is saying, but I enjoy the sense of adventure, and I’ve never been camping past summer before. Camping in the autumn makes for a delightful setting too, with the fallen, golden leaves and the crisp morning views (makes for wonderful walking scenery too).

One of the buying team recently went to Iceland, so I thought I would test a few new products on my trip. Alongside my normal camping gear, I decided to take some Warmawear heated clothing items with me, to keep me warm late into the night and provide extra warmth come the frosty morning.

My packing list:

all1small

The socks were great, and kept my toes warm throughout the night. Truth be told, I didn’t take them off again! In the morning, they kept my feet nice and warm when preparing breakfast. I took size M/L, which designed for size 7-13 fit my size 8 feet perfectly. They had a soft, fluffy lining, great for retaining heat and were quite stretchy too with their spandex/ acrylic material blend, so were great for wrapping around my trousers to keep the heat in. They also look pretty stylish too I am sure you will agree.

socks2small

The multipurpose muff was very useful for camping. Pop in 3 AA batteries and it warms up in no time. Acting as a warming tube, it was ideal for when sitting around the campsite, and at one point my friend was adamant she wasn’t going to give it back to me! The muff flattens into a warm, comfy pillow too, so I got a great night’s sleep. It was lightweight and compact so perfect for taking camping.

muff1small

The scarf was perfect for the morning cook, when I was waiting for the spaghetti hoops to boil, as well as the early morning walks in the bitter October cold. With handy pockets situated on the end of the scarf, it kept both my fingers and neck toasty when it felt rather breezy. Operated with 3 AA batteries, this 150cm long scarf wrapped around me perfectly, and being made from super soft polyester fleece material, it was more than snug.

socks1small

So whether it’s a camping trip in the middle of winter, or a cold bonfire night and you are looking to wrap up warm, I can not recommend Warmawear heated clothing enough.

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

Amie also writes restaurant reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.

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