“ Heated Underblanket „
I've always been pretty wary of the idea of Electric Blankets - I seem to remember as a child hearing about fires caused by them, and I think that stayed in my mind. However, when my parents purchased one last year, they went on and on about how good it was, and a couple of months ago, my dad decided to buy me one as I was suffering from a particularly nasty bout of flu that had me feeling permanently freezing.
I was pretty excited to try it - it came packaged in a plastic zip up bag, neatly folded inside a purple card insert that extolled the various virtues of the product, and came with instructions .
The kind my dad purchased was an underblanket - designed to go under your sheet and provide the warmth from beneath. Unfolding it, I was surprised to see that it was actually significantly smaller than my double mattress. However, I soon realised that the shorted length of the blanket was because, really, you don't need the area under your pillows heating. Also, rather than being fitted as I expected, it was designed to be secured to the mattress using ties and eyelets .
This proved a little tricky - as I had to lift the mattress up on my own, crawl under it and rummage for the strings to pull through to the other side, before securing them through the eyelets and tying in a secure knot.
Being a double blanket, it had two separate controls, one for each side of the blanket, which is a nice touch, as my fella generally likes things colder than I do. The controls are easy to attach and detach with the blanket, and each control has enough wire to hang at the side of the bed to be reached easily whenever you need to adjust the setting . Each control comes with its own mains plug too, which was a little awkward, mainly due to the positioning of power points in my room, and required some creativity with extension leads.
The blanket heats quickly, taking ten minutes to heat up, which is great - just the right amount of time to make your bed toasty and warm while you go off and brush your teeth, find a book, make a final cup of tea etc . You can set it to continue heating for either 75 minutes or 12 hours, and can of course turn the heat off at any time . However, they do recommend that, if you're leaving it on overnight, you have it set no higher than 3 to prevent it overheating.
There are 9 heat settings, from gentles warmth to sauna roastiness, and my preference is to set it on the highest setting for the first 10 minutes of heating, and then to turn it down once I'm in bed and leave it on for 75 minutes s. Its warm, and the heat distribution is really very good . Its also had a couple of positive side effects for me. I have a niggling pain in my back from an old injury which is easily soother by setting the blanket on high and lying on my back, and also, I'm sleeping a lot better and deeper now that I'm at a comfortable temperature. The blanket has extra warmth in the foot area, which is also nice.
Its so nice on a cold winters night to slip into a bed that already snuggly and warm, and the warmth seems to help me and my muscles relax so I get to sleep in comfort .
The blanket is not only machine washable, but its also dryable in a tumble dryer, which makes keeping it clean and fresh a doddle, and adds another yummy little effect - if you tumble dry it with fragranced dryer sheets, it releases lovely wafts of scent as it warms! Naturally, you need to take the controls off before washing or drying in this manner.
The controls detach, and it folds quite small for easy storage - I can store it in my airing cupboard with no problems at all, and the handy zip up bag it comes in mean it will stay fresh and clean.
It is also BEAB tested, which means its safe and good quality, and it comes with an overheat protector too.
I'd definitely recommend this for anyone who needs a little extra warmth this winter . It's kept me toasty warm without adding huge amounts to my electricity bills, and I get much better sleep that I used to .
My dad purchased mine, and I have no idea how much he paid for it, however, a look on google reveals that Argos sells a double at £53.79 . I'm sure other places will sell it far cheaper if you shop around, but even at that price, it's still a product I'd heartily recommend, although I will take one point off for it not being fitted and for finding the ties under a double mattress being tricky when done alone.
I'm one of those people who is always complaining about the cold and switching the heating on for an hour, unfortunately my husband who possibly has a little more natural insulation than I do is a warm type of person and he is always switching it back off. To counteract the lack of heat in the house (in my opinion) I always had to take a hot water bottle to bed in the winter. My last one had a lovely pink fleece coat to allow you to rest your cold tootsies on it even when newly filled. This bottle and my fleece pyjamas (sexy they are not, comfy and hot they are) were the mainstay of my winter survival.
Then one night I filled the hot water bottle, sat on the settee to have a quick flick through the channels before switching the TV off when suddenly there was a pop and the whole neck of the bottle came apart from the body and the scalding hot liquid inside spewed out, burning my stomach in several places and the complete thigh area of both legs. I of course stood up quickly shaking the bottle of my knees and this resulted in various spurts of boiling water going over my feet. The screams brought hubby running down and he stripped me (Was it my lucky night?? - no he did it in a medical way) and began to apply soaking cold wet towels and burneze on me while I shivered away underneath.
After about three years the blisters and scars have finally healed but I will never use a hot water bottle again and have thrown out any that the kids had. My brother still bares large scars over his back were a hot water burst on him when he was only about 3 or 4 but I had presumed that was a one in a million chance rather than a common occurrence and it hadn't occur to me that I might experience the same event.
What was I to do??? I was still a cold person but couldn't use a hot water bottle, I didn't want a hot gel pack which you heat in the microwave as they can burst and once they are stuck to your skin they are very difficult to get off and they burn really badly. I tried a natural bean bag type hot pad but the heat faded far too quickly. I didn't want an electric blanket because my old one took about 40 minutes to heat up and I never remember to turn it on in time.
Hubby solved my dilemma arriving home with this dreamland electric blanket from Boots. I looked at him quizzically and he pointed to the large caption on the front of the box which stated "Heats up in ten minutes". On further inspection I discovered it was also washable and could be left on overnight if desired.
I was a little surprised when I noticed the word single on the box, was he trying to tell me something????? I asked him if he knew he had bought a single electric blanket for a King size bed and he said "yes, I'm far too warm in bed so I don't want to feel the heat" pretty clever I thought, half the price of one of those dual heat electric blankets but I get my heat and he gets none which suits us.
- -To use - -
Uncoil the blanket from the box and lay it out very flat on the bed. Make sure everything feels flat and in position. Take the ties from one side of the blanket, pass them under the mattress and tie with the adjacent ties on the other side. Not an easy job but only has to be done once at the beginning and atter washing.
The ties on the single bed size easily fitted around our king size bed. Then plug it in choose one of the nine heat settings to either heat for 75 minutes or over night. At the higher levels you can leave it on for 75 minutes but choose a lower level if you wish to have it on all night.
The best bit of this blanket is that if you forget to switch it on there is plenty of time when you actually go to bed Simply switch it on when you first go upstairs, get your pjs on, brush teeth, complete your washing ritual etc. ten minutes is up and its warm.
- - Sleeping on it - -
Lifting up the quilt you immediately feel the heat, you lay your shivery little body down on the electric blanket which has a bit of a sheepskin look\feel to it and even when you have placed your fitted sheet over it you can still feel the soft, warm wool through it. The heat penetrates through your body from top to toe and it certainly helps in the pre sleep relaxation process.
I do feel that although 10 minutes makes it an acceptable heat to jump into bed, 20 minutes feels a lot warmer, and although the claim on the box is that there is extra warmth in the foot area of the blanket I have never found it to be a detectable amount.
The blanket heats the bed for about 20 minutes after it has been switched off and by then you should have cuddled up surrounded by quilt etc. and the residual heat should keep you perfectly cosy. I'm not a very good sleeper and would often take 2 to 3 hours to go to sleep. If this happens and I get up to get a drink or go to the loo, I switch the blanket on again and it heats upto full power in half the original time.
Unfortunately because its only a single on the odd night that hubby is cold he thinks he has the right to put his cold feet over on my side, on my electric blanket, that's his problem, he should have bought a bigger one.
Fast heat up in 10 minutes
Feels soft and fluffy under the sheet
Can be used all night
Washable (obviously remove the necessary electrical bits and read the instructions
You can leave it on full power when you get into bed safe in the knowledge that the timer will switch it off.
Choice of nine heat settings
Couldn't feel the alleged extra foot warmth
With each night of sleep the blanket slips a little and every couple of weeks you have to hoist it back into the preferred position as its hanging half over the side.
I leave my electric blanket on the bed all year but don't always switch it on I think this is a safer method of storage for the wiring rather than rolling it up and shoving it in the airing cupboard. Either way always check that the blanket is in good condition before switching it on each winter.
If you use a hot water bottle, its not very expensive to buy a new one annually as the rubber does tend to wear thin and can split as witnessed by myself and my brother.
Currently in Boots for £29.99
Turn on the blanket 10 minutes before hopping into bed. Use the easy countdown timer and 9 heat settings to regulate the temperature. Machine wash/tumble dry. Comes with a 3yr manufacturers guarantee. For single bed size.