How To Keep Warm This Winter

Keeping warm over the winter months is a challenge that everybody knows all too well. Whether you’re working outdoors or you’ve just returned from a crisp walk in the winter sun, it’s hard to know how to get yourself warm again without jumping straight into the bath!  From combatting cold hands to warming up icy room temperatures, we supply the solutions to all of your winter woes here at Neo Direct.

Invest in a soup maker

There’s nothing nicer than returning to a piping hot meal when your toes feel numb, and your stomach is impatiently waiting to be fed. Here at Neo Direct, our soup makers are a great addition to your kitchen. Hassle-free and simple to use, you can enjoy a hearty bowl whenever you want! With multiple settings, you can create a smooth soup or a firm-favourite chunky soup. So whether you want to start healthy eating or are looking for the perfect way to use up your leftovers, our soup makers will keep you feeling warm and fulfilled. Eating healthily will also help you feel warmer, feeding your body with all the nutrients that it needs to feel satisfied for longer. If you’re feeling uninspired when it comes to finding the perfect soup, be sure to read our Soup Recipe blog for new and tasty ideas.

Invest in an instant hot water tap

As the saying goes, a watched pot never boils! After a cold spell, nothing warms you up quite like a piping hot drink. Whether it’s hot chocolate, coffee or tea– it’s perfect for cold hands and is guaranteed to warm you through. With our instant hot water tap here at Neo Direct, you don’t have to wait around for the kettle to boil. The perfect solution for cold days but also busy mornings before work! It’s more important than ever during the winter months to keep your immune system at its best, and with our instant hot water taps, you can make green tea or honey lemon water to keep your vitamin and mineral levels healthy.

Invest in a coffee maker machine

There’s nothing quite like waking up to the smell of coffee, and what better way to start a cold morning than with a piping hot cup? Here at Neo Direct, our coffee maker is the perfect pick-me-up for keeping warm and content this winter. With 6 different functions, you can choose a method which makes your coffee just how you like it. Our coffee maker machine is ideal for a quick and effortless solution to help you feel awake when the weather’s dark and dull. To take your hot drink making to the next level, why not also add a milk frother into your coffee routine which allows you to heat up your milk or create delicious cappuccinos.

Oil-filled Radiators

If you can’t seem to get warm, whether you’re watching the TV or working from home, our oil-filled radiators are a great way to expel some heat into the room. 

What is an oil-filled radiator?

An oil-filled radiator is a convection heater that allows you to warm up your home quickly and easily. If you’re sitting away from your fixed radiator, our oil-filled radiator can be moved effortlessly so that you can keep yourself warm. If you want to stay away from naked flames, an oil-filled radiator is a great substitute as the oil inside the device is heated up instead of being burned. Investing in an oil-filled radiator will preserve and regulate the temperature of your room to make sure you’re kept toasty and warm. If you’re partaking in a project outside in the shed, garage or workshop– an oil-filled radiator is a vital addition to your space to make sure you’re working at a comfortable temperature.

Fire Pit

So, how do you keep warm outside during winter? Throughout the cooler weather, we rarely get out as much as we usually would, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be making the most out of our outdoor space. Although we may not be inclined to sit and relax outside, it can be great fun to get into the garden and enjoy some of the simple things in life. Here at Neo Direct, our fire pits are great for toasting marshmallows or even for a spot of stargazing while you enjoy a hot meal made with your latest soup maker. Fire pits are a great investment for year-round use, ideal for summer BBQs as well as warming us through during the colder weather.

Although these gadgets will help to keep you warm and regulate your temperature, there are some lifestyle changes that you can make to help the process.

Stay active 

It’s sometimes hard to find the motivation to get up and move, especially when the weather isn’t so welcoming, but it will help you to fight off feeling cold. Getting your heart and blood pumping will not only keep you feeling happier and healthier, but it will also improve circulation, which will combat the cold. If you’re working from home, stand up and move around regularly– even if it’s just to the kitchen (make the most out of your new hot water tap!) this will help keep your blood flowing. 

Layer up clothing

If you’re sat at home and aren’t getting up and moving regularly, you’re more likely to feel the cold. Layering up on clothing will help you retain your body temperature and heat. Whether you layer up your attire with a woolly jumper or wear your slipper socks to prevent your toes from getting cold, layering up doesn’t have to mean you forget about style, have fun with the amalgamation of fashion and functionality! 

We hope that this blog has left you feeling inspired on how to keep warm during the winter. It often feels as though the days are dark and long, but there are some inventive and fun ways to keep yourself toasty over the colder months!



We were shortlisted!

Here at Neo Direct, we are thrilled to announce that we were shortlisted for an eBay for Business award. Out of over 1,200 entries, we were fortunate enough to be included in the top 32 applications. We are extremely proud and grateful for the opportunity to take part in the eBay for Business Awards and are excited for our continued success over the next year.

What else have we been up to?

We were recently featured on Radio 4! We joined the conversation about COVID Misinformation, Gift Cards and Heating Gardens to discuss the noticeable shift in demand for our outdoor garden products. We have over 15 years of trading and witnessed huge growth over lockdown which tells us that more people are beginning to view their garden as an extension of their living area. With COVID-19 guidelines suggesting we socially distance outdoors, we have seen a 250% growth in fire pits and over 300% growth in patio and outdoor heaters from the same time last year. If you want to hear more about our Radio 4 interview, you can check out the segment today.

Our favourite soup recipes

best soup recipes

It’s always soup season here at Neo Direct! We’re looking forward to bringing you a fantastic selection of different soup recipes that we know you’re going to love. Soup is a favourite for any meal of the day, whether you’re wanting to warm yourself up or eat something that’s going to keep you full for longer, it’s always a great option.

How to make chicken and sweetcorn soup

Chicken and sweetcorn soup is an old reliable, perfect for batch cooking or family meals; you can whisk it up from scratch in no time.

Ingredients 

  • Chicken carcass
  • 2 onions, diced 
  • 2-4 garlic cloves (depending on preference)
  • Large tin of sweetcorn 
  • 100 grams of pre-cooked and shredded chicken
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 spring onions, using the whites only

Method

Step 1 

Fill up your kettle to the maximum water level and boil. Break up your chicken carcass into a large pan, adding your ⅔ of your garlic and your diced onion. Turn on the heat and cook, regularly stirring, for around 2 minutes. Then, add your 1.5 litres of boiling water, cover, and leave to simmer for another 2 minutes. 

Step 2

Sieve the liquid over a large bowl, you will need roughly 450ml of liquid. Move the onion from the sieve and place it into a blender with ¾ of your sweetcorn, blending until you reach a smooth consistency. 

Step 3

Pour the liquid back into the large pan, adding your blended sweetcorn and onion as well as the remaining sweetcorn, garlic, spring onion and shredded chicken. Simmer this for around 5 minutes, turning off once done. You will then need to add the egg, making sure you stir gently to create what is known as ‘egg thread’. 

Step 4

Season as you see fit with salt and pepper, serve up and enjoy!

How to make chunky vegetable soup

Looking for the perfect way to reduce waste and utilise what’s in your fridge, what better way to do so than making a chunky vegetable soup?

Ingredients

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 leek chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb chopped
  • 225-250 grams of potato diced
  • 225-250 grams of suede or turnip diced
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 600ml vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped chives for garnishing purposes
  • Oil

Method 

Step 1 

Heat your oil in a frying pan and add your chopped onion, frying until soft. Proceed to add your leek, fennel, potato, swede or turnip and carrot to the mix until they have softened. 

Step 2

Add your bay leaf and stock cube liquid and chopped tomatoes into the pan. Season with salt and pepper as you see necessary and cover to boil. Once your pan reaches the boil, you will need to reduce the heat, simmering until all of your vegetables are soft.

Step 3

Sprinkle your chives over the soup and serve with a delicious chunk of crunchy bread. 

How to make sweet potato and red pepper soup

For something a little different, why not try your hand at making sweet potato and red pepper soup for a satisfying, yet healthy meal alternative?

Ingredients 

  • A whole sweet potato diced
  • 1 red pepper diced without seeds
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, preference dependent 
  • 200ml of vegetable stock cube
  • ½ tablespoon of sriracha sauce 
  • 200ml of coconut milk
  • Oil

Method 

Step 1

Roast your sweet potato, onion, red pepper and garlic in the oven for around 30 minutes, making sure that they’re all evenly coated with oil. If you want to add a smokey undertone to your soup, add a small amount of paprika to the roasted vegetables. 

Step 2

Pour your roasted vegetables into a blender and blitz with your coconut milk, stock and sriracha sauce. Blend until you reach the consistency you want, adding it back into your pan to heat up. Serve and enjoy! 

How to make spicy pumpkin soup

Spicy pumpkin soup is an Autumnal favourite, embracing all things spooky, using the insides of your pumpkin that you don’t need is a great way to minimise waste and create a delicious meal.

Ingredients 

  • 2 diced onions
  • 1kg of  pumpkin – peeled, deseeded and cubed
  • 700ml of vegetable stock
  • 150ml of double cream

Method

Step 1 

Fry your onions in a pan until soft, adding in your pumpkin and fry for another 10 minutes until it turns golden brown.

Step 2

Add your vegetable stock and season as you see fit. Proceed to bring your pan to the boil, after this you will need to simmer your soup until your vegetables are softened.

Step 3 

Add your double cream into the mix and bring your ingredients back to the boil. Add this into your blender and blitz to the consistency you prefer. Serve and enjoy!

Of course, not everybody has time to make soup from scratch – adding endless pots and pans to the washing-up pile isn’t always plausible. However, here at Neo Direct, we may have the perfect solution for you. Our soup makers are great for batch cooking or leaving your soup maker to create dinner while you’re busy elsewhere, so be sure to invest for hassle-free dinner preparation. 




How to host the best garden party

Hosting a garden party can be stressful but there’s no need for it to be! Here at NEO Direct, we have assembled some of the finest tips for you to consult so that those worries about hosting a BBQ can melt away just like the ice in your drink. 

BBQ Garden Furniture 

One way to impress your guests is by having the best BBQ garden furniture and here at NEO Direct, we have just the pieces that will make your neighbours jealous. Firstly you will need a place for your guests to sit and we’re pretty sure you don’t want to be scrambling to find the ‘emergency chairs’ hours before your guests arrive. It’s best to be prepared and we have a selection of essential garden party furniture that will take your BBQ to the next level. 

Heat your guests with a 2KW Electric Quartz Garden Patio Heater which will radiate heat up to 15 square metres so no one has the excuse of going home early because they’re cold. The heater is waterproof and can be adjusted to 3 different heat settings making it a must-have piece for a garden party. 

If you don’t think that this will impress your in-laws or hard to impress neighbours then we’re pretty sure that this next piece will. A black fire pit is the perfect fixture to gather around when the sun sets and can double up as a BBQ during the day. 

The all singing all dancing BBQ

Over the years the BBQ has become a status symbol of garden parties and here at NEO Direct, we have the perfect show-off piece for you to cook with. A large BBQ will keep the ‘dads and uncles corner’ of the gathering in awe at the sheer functionality of the fixture. With multiple compartments for cooking and storing food, your guests won’t be left hungry (unless you burn the sausages) and will allow you to cook different items throughout the party with ease.

How to get a BBQ going

Let’s set the scene – your guests have all arrived and are chatting away with their drinks in their hands. Then your neighbour (Sandra, from number 4 who always reminds you which bin should out) rubs her stomach and declares that she’s “quite peckish” and asks when the BBQ food will be ready. Usually, this would make your heart sink and cause you to stress, but after following the handy tips we are about to give you, you can calmly tell Sandra that the “food shouldn’t be too long – sausage or burger?”.

How to light a BBQ

  • Preparation is key! You will want to set up the BBQ before your guests arrive and make sure that it is away from the main area where guests will be sitting, away from trees or fences. You are setting up an open fire so you need to be careful of your surroundings and keep an eye out for any children or pets that could be around.
  • Ensure that you use long-handled BBQ tools as you don’t want to burn any fingers. A trip to A and E will definitely not get you a nomination for ‘Best Garden Party of the Year Award”. 
  • Buy good quality charcoal as this will ensure that the fire lights easily, for longer and will cook the food (Sandra doesn’t want food poisoning). 
  • Set the charcoal out in a stack and place the occasional firelighter or scrumpled newspaper ball between the coals as this will make sure that the coals start to heat up. 
  • It is important to know when your coals are ready to cook over. Follow our coal colour guide to know when to start cooking. 
    • Black or Grey (With flames) – steady on, it’s not ready yet – have another drink and wait. 
    • Glowing white with red centres – ready for direct heat. 
    • Ashy white but still hot – ready for indirect heat or cooking in the coals.

Top 10 garden party ideas

Nobody wants to go to a boring garden party – so make sure that you don’t throw one. Here are some ideas that you can use to spice up your BBQ or garden party. 

  1. Throw a themed party! Set a theme and make everyone stick to it. Whether that is a colour theme or a regular theme – it’s up to you. 
  2. Turn it into a wine and cheese tasting afternoon. 
  3. Play vintage games. 
  4. Set up a lemonade stand and serve you own homemade lemonade. 
  5. Make a cake! – View the top 5 cakes that Brits love to eat and serve them up for your guests. 
  6. Have a fire pit where your guests can sit and get warm – give your guests a blanket each to add to the cosiness. 
  7. Grab a bag of marshmallows and roast them over the fire as the sunsets. 
  8. Serve prosecco with hibiscus buds in the flute as a fancy refreshment. 
  9. Prep ice cream before your guests arrive. Scoop ice cream into cupcake liners and decorate with sprinkles. Then place them into the freezer and bring them out for guests as a dessert. 
  10. Hang fairy lights around your garden and in your shrubbery to give your guests a nice surprise at night.

Cool your guests down with ice 

The best way to stay cool in the heat is with ice! Here at NEO Direct we have a selection of products which will help keep the adults and even the children cool as the sun beats down. 

Neo 1.7L Electric Ice Cube Maker – When entertaining it is important to have a constant flow of ice available for your guests. They can add it to their drinks to keep them cooler for longer and with the electric ice cube maker you won’t have to worry about keeping the freezer constantly stocked. Ideal for when you are making cocktails, iced smoothies or just regular drinks that need to be chilled, the ice cube maker will keep your guests happy throughout the day. 

If you are looking for something that will keep the children entertained then you should purchase the Snow Cone Maker available here at NEO Direct. The easy to make, delicious snow cones that can be made with the machine will keep your children refreshed and entertained for hours. When the children have gone to sleep there’s no one stopping you from adding a dash of vodka to a slush for a cheeky late night treat. 

Now that you know the essentials and have some top tips for a BBQ including how to make sure that Sandra doesn’t go hungry you are all set and ready to entertain. We hope that you have the best garden party and that your guests are all impressed with your new garden furniture, BBQ food and hosting skills. 

The Top 5 Cakes Brits Love

cake

As a nation, we are united by our mutual love of cake. We have developed, and enjoyed, a cake for every occasion. They are used to celebrate birthdays, christenings, baby showers, weddings and even engagement parties. Not only are they the dessert of occasions, but they also deliver a sweet treat when we need it most, as well as making a decorative, tasty touch on an afternoon tea.  While there are hundreds of baked goods that could have made our list, here at Neo Direct, we have chosen 5 scrumptious recipes of Brits best-loved cakes to share with you.

Continue reading “The Top 5 Cakes Brits Love”