The Old Stocks Hotel, Stow On The Wold

When it comes to looking for a bar stool, one thing that should be in mind is pleasing the customer. The stool should be appealing and give maximum comfort to the one seating on it. Several factors might affect the comfortability of the stool namely the height, the back, and the cushion. Not to worry, here you will find useful tips that will help you in the selection of bar stools that will cater to your customers’ comfort.

Desired Height and Shape

Most barstools out there come in a round shape cushioned top that is more functional as it is appealing. This element in design paired with foam filling ensures maximum comfortability. Once you have a cushioned top that is padded and well fitted don’t forget about the height. The height is usually selected based on the height of the countertop. The best way to hack matching the height of the stool with the countertop is to get a stool with an adjustable height functionality.

Detachable or Fixed Cushions

As much you want to have the best barstool there is affordability is key. Most bar stools that come already padded might tend to be a little costly and might cause a dent in your budget. A way of having a bar stool that is cheap and offers comfortability is by getting a generic barstool and attaching a cushion. The good thing about having a detachable cushion is the fact that you can easily change them regularly to ensure the stools remain comfortable for the customer.

The Fabric On The Stool

The materials that are used to make the sitting area of the stool are always very important. Take keen notice of how different fabrics might react to the type of cloth you have on. Faux leather has been in use for a while, although it gives the stool a classical look and all, it tends to be a little slippery. If one gets on the stool at the wrong angle, you might fall off. A fabric that offers not only an eye-catching value but also a grip is one that you should go for. It is not uncommon to see a bar stool top fitted with a crotched cover, because one is assured both comfort and grip.


As you go looking for bar stools for your establishment you must remember what is the use of the stool, whether it is an outdoor or indoor stool. Look for a stool that can be easily switched to cater to more than one area. That way you will spend less cash on buying many stools for different areas within your premises. Still on this point. You have to know if you need a stool with a back or a stool with no back. Bar stools with no back support are easily stackable and give it an upper hand when compared to the one with a back. Though in most cases a bar stool with low back support works its magic in regards to offering comfort while sitting for a long time.


To many, a piece of meat is a thing of beauty. Have you ever tried taking your meat up a notch by adding a topping? A topping is a way to make any piece of meat better whether tender or tough, thick or thin, rare, or well done. From flavored butters to rich sauces, these ideas add a whole new layer of flavor to any meat you serve. 

Steak Butter

You can’t go wrong with butter. A dollop of plain butter adds an appealing richness to just about any grilled steak, but compound butters are even better. Mix up softened salted butter, garlic, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs and pour over steak. Pro-tip, you can put that butter on anything and everything – dinner rolls, toast, chicken, or seafood. 


Want an incredibly delicious chicken dinner loaded with fresh flavors? Spoon fresh salsa over chicken for a fresh, light meal, then serve the leftovers with crunchy tortilla chips. Keep it convenient with a jar of store-bought salsa, or use your farmers market haul to make it at home. Actually, any meat that’s a little bland can use the assistance of salsa. Serve it alongside grilled chicken or steak or even spoon it over meatloaf.

Au Jus

Au Jus is traditionally served with rib roasts, prime rib or other thicker cuts of beef. You can adjust any Au Jus recipe for other meats like chicken or turkey by replacing the beef stock with the matching stock. Au Jus is great to have on hand in the freezer for your next veal or beef dish. 

Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom sauce makes the absolute best topping for steak and is also great served over chicken, pork, and seafood. Steaks are so delicious in a gravy sauce and take on a whole new flavor/texture. Bonus – mushrooms are very healthy and contain many nutrients including Vitamin B, copper, potassium, and Vitamin D. Mushrooms are low in calories, high in fiber, and low in carbohydrates. 

Hot Pepper Jelly

A jar of hot pepper jelly is bright, with pops of spicy pepper flavor and sticky sweet. Your taste buds will thank you with each bite. Cook your pork chops are you do then top with a generous amount of hot pepper jelly sauce. Be sure to spoon plenty of the pepper mixture and the sweet and tangy liquid over the top. The chops should be tender and juicy, and the simple glaze will add a great punch of savory, sweet flavor.


How does it feel to give birth at any age really? Could you describe birth to someone who hasn’t experienced it and really communicate what it’s like in a way that would make them feel it?

Even if you could, would that birth experience be their birth experience? I’ve given birth twice and I’m not sure there were comparable, even though it was the same hospital, the same vagina.

I was pregnant the first time around when I was just 16 years old and gave birth at 17 and now, aged 42, I often think about the women starting families for the first time. It feels a lifetime away to me. How on earth would I cope with the exhaustion and pain of pregnancy and childbirth now, let alone the sleepless nights and relentless parenting. If there is one perk to having a baby as a teenager it’s that you have a LOT more energy.

Baby Bee

Me and baby Bee

When people find out that I had a baby when I was 17, their first reaction is often ‘that must have been hard’, but honestly, I’m not sure it was. You have an adaptability and resilience when you’re 17, a kind of carelessness almost, like the world is yours for the taking. At 17 I felt invincible, immortal. Nothing much worried me – I just lived. Things happened, I made things happen.

Giving birth as a teenager, I felt like I knew it all. I didn’t really have a plan, I certainly didn’t have a birthing soundtrack or preferred blend of essential oils, but perhaps that worked in my favour? I know a lot of women have births that don’t go according to their ‘plan’ and they end up feeling like they’ve failed somehow.

I was naïve at 17 for sure, unprepared even, but maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing, maybe it allowed me to just go with it, to do whatever needed to be done without self-criticism.

I wonder sometimes if this isn’t just my entire approach to life to be honest.

To give you a little flavour though of what it was actually like for me, giving birth at 17, I’ve reproduced, unedited, my own ‘birth report’ from the time, transferred from the Peter Rabbit notebook I wrote it in 25 years ago. I have shared this before, a long, long time ago, but as you likely haven’t been reading my blog for ten years, I thought it was worth another look. View Post


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Tesco bauble cake

There’s no getting away from the fact that Christmas is going to be a little different this year. There’ll be no crowds of people gathered around the bandstand performing hearty renditions of Oh Come All Ye Faithful, no jostling for position at the front of the mulled wine queue on a group trip to the Christmas market, none of those extra things that give you those warm, festive feelings.

However, Christmas is far from cancelled.

If anything, it’s been wonderful to see the number of people jumping on the festive bandwagon early, getting the tree up, tucking into mince pies and bejazzling the front of their homes like they’re auditioning for Deck The Halls. If any year needed us to raise the festive bar it’s 2020. View Post


Within the world of dating, there has never been a clear-cut answer regarding whether or not long-distance relationships work. For some, the thought of having to battle against the odds is too much, and thus they would rather not try. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. As the old cliche suggests, if you really love someone, then what you have is worth fighting for. Of course, that’s not to say that making things work over a distance isn’t problematic, but it doesn’t always have to be a relationship-ending issue. So, let’s take a look at how to get around distance.

The Importance of Keeping Romance Alive

Irrespective of whether or not you’re in a long-distance relationship, efforts should focus on keeping the romantic flame burning. According to a report by Medium, making an effort in this regard helps to make the connection between two people feel fresh. In turn, keeping the excitement alive will go a long way in minimising sadness when apart from your loved one. While, of course, it can’t fill the void entirely, there’s no benefit in focusing on factors that you can’t control, when instead you can centre your plans around sustaining a romantic connection.

do long distance relationships work?

Source: Unsplash

How a couple deals with the issue of distance will likely vary. That said, there are numerous ways of keeping the romance alive. When seeking to make the best of long-distance dating, whether it be starting a new relationship through dating apps or maintaining an existing connection, it’s essential to make time for conversation throughout each and every day. Communication provides the platform to learn more about each other, and that can range from life-long goals to favourite food. While talking can bring you closer together, it’s also advisable to continue with date nights. Retaining a sense of intimacy acts as a reminder of the connection between two people, which is a must when seeking to get through a testing period.

If It’s Meant to Be, It’ll Work Out

The world of dating is full of advice and old-school cliches. However, little can help in instances where distance is keeping two people apart. That said, if anything, 21st-century couples are better equipped than those before them to combat this predicament. Following the rise of digitalisation, people are able to communicate with the touch of a button via their smartphones. Although this doesn’t provide the same level of real-world intimacy, it’s one easily-accessible way to feel close to your partner.

tips for long distance relationships

Source: Unsplash

As per a report at Verywell Mind, those who have gone into a long-distance relationship with a positive mentality have enjoyed greater success regarding communication and satisfaction. Adopting a success-orientated mindset can undoubtedly make the difference, particularly in relation to making your partner feel loved and valued. Perhaps the most important thing to remember, however, is that if it’s meant to work out, then both parties will make an equal effort to keep the spark alive.

Don’t Listen to Negativity

The worst thing that long-distance couples can do during their geographical break is to open themselves up to negative opinions. Each relationship is different, and there’s nothing to say that your connection can’t flourish in spite of the distance. Ultimately, if you remember to make time for each other and communicate, you’re already off to a positive start.


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hammock beach holiday

I know – the dream right?? Can you imagine winning the lottery? I mean I can’t, but that’s because I don’t play it. Apart from the occasional Euromillions obviously, when the jackpot gets up to something like 46 squillion pounds, and you feel like you’d be an idiot not to.

It doesn’t stop me daydreaming though about what I might do if I suddenly found myself swimming in cash. Where would I want to live? Which countries would I want to visit? Who would be the first person I would tell?

There’s actually a lot to think about if you find yourself the lucky recipient of a big lottery win, and for a lot of people it’s not all champagne and holidays. Suddenly finding yourself with a very large sum of money comes with a lot of responsibility and pressure. If your bank balance says £274 then let’s face it, you don’t have much to consider, but if it’s £27,400,000 then there are a lot of decisions to be made and a lot of pressure to spend or invest it wisely.

So what are some of the things to consider if you win the lottery? Here are just a few: View Post


As a mom, nothing can prepare you to hear that your child has autism. When they first get the diagnosis, it can be scary since you might not know how to help them the best. Or you may find conflicting information online. It’s true that this is a condition your child will have for the rest of their lives, but there are things you can do to help them learn skills and become well-adjusted in life.

Look into Medical Marijuana

Today, more people with autism are using medical marijuana to see if it will alleviate some of the problems associated with the condition, including chronic pain, insomnia, and others. But before deciding that this treatment is right for your child, it’s a good idea to do your research on the topic. With a guide that compares medical marijuana for autism, you can learn more about the condition and the existing treatments. You’ll also learn about which states you can legally use cannabis in and what the research says. These things are all important in helping you make an informed decision about medical marijuana as a treatment for autism.

Do Your Research

When your child is initially diagnosed, it’s a good idea to lean as much as you can about the condition. When you know more, you’ll be a better advocate for them. Participate in decisions about treatment and ask questions if you don’t understand something. It’s equally important to learn as much as you can about your child. For example, are there certain triggers for negative behaviors? What causes them to feel better? Learn about things that frighten or stress them and the things they enjoy. When you know how your child will react in certain situations, you can better change situations that might be challenging for them. While they are different from others, don’t compare them to others. It’s important to accept your child for who they are and let them know they are loved.

Provide Consistency

For kids with autism, it can be hard to apply things they have learned in one place when they are in another place. For instance, if a young person is non-verbal, they could use sign language while at school. But they might not remember to use it when they are at home. To reinforce the skills they’re learning, try to create consistency in their life. Learn what their teachers and therapists are teaching them and do the same thing when at home. You may consider having your child do therapy in multiple locations so they’re more likely to apply these new skills in multiple places. When dealing with challenging behaviors, it’s a good idea to be as consistent as you can.

Create a Schedule

Often, autistic kids do better when they have a structured routine and know what to expect. That’s because it can help create consistency. Have school, meals, bedtime, and therapy at regular times. If possible, try to avoid disrupting their schedule. And if you can’t avoid a change, try to prepare your child for it before it happens.


The first lockdown in the UK caused a massive surge in addiction problems and a crisis in mental health. According to the Independent, ‘high-risk drinking doubled’ during the lockdown, and the BBC reported a rise in ‘suicidal thoughts’.

Unfortunately, with a second lockdown now upon us, we are facing many of the same problems. So how do we deal with the stress that lockdown puts on addiction recovery and mental health? We’ve compiled a few tips for you.

Stay connected

Addiction and poor mental health thrive when we are isolated and disconnected. This is one of the main reasons why the UK has experienced such a huge rise in addiction problems during the pandemic.

In order to combat this, it’s important to keep up connections and maintain relationships as much as possible. It’s easy to let friendships fester when you can’t see people face-to-face, especially if you don’t like technology.

Unfortunately, these sorts of technology (Zoom, Skype, texting, phone calls) are the only way we have to keep in touch with people at the moment. So, even if you’re a technophobe, it’s worth making the effort to call people up and keep those relationships going.

You’ll find that the simple act of talking to someone who’s in a similar situation to you makes a big difference.

For those following the 12 Steps, make sure you stay in touch with your sponsor. For others, consider joining an online support group. And for everyone, keep in touch with friends and family!

Don’t rely on alcohol to improve your mood

It’s important to not rely on alcohol to improve your mental welfare. If you are reaching for a beer or glass of wine each night, then you are heading for trouble. Drinking too much could mean you become physically dependent on alcohol. Afterall, alcohol is a very addictive substance.

If you have drank too much alcohol over the course of the pandemic, you could require alcohol rehabilitation in order to overcome potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. If you experience withdrawals, seek out the help of your local GP clinic as a first port of call.

Establish a routine

Addiction loves isolation; it also loves chaos… and there’s plenty of chaos at the moment, both on the global stage and at home.

The best way to fight that chaos? Establish a routine.

It can be hard when you’re working from home, or if you’ve been furloughed, to keep to a routine. It may feel like there’s just too much dead time in a day. But for the sake of your recovery, and your mental health, it’s absolutely crucial.

It might be a good idea to actually write down a routine for yourself, where you wake up at a certain time, have meals at certain times, exercise at certain times and so on.

You’ll find that as each day passes, it becomes easier and easier to stick to that routine.

There’s something in our genetic makeup which seems to react well to routines: it’s been proven, for instance, that having a sleep routine is a great way to ensure a good night’s sleep.

So do yourself a favour: get a routine, and stick to it. You’ll feel better for it.

Stay away from social media

Having praised the benefits of technology in my first tip, I’m now going to talk about some of its dangers.

Social media can sometimes offer a false sense of connection. We refresh our Instagram feeds obsessively, desperate to know what everyone else had for dinner, or we check Facebook for the millionth time, to find out what that girl we went to school with thinks about the US Election.

This is not connection. If you want connection, call someone up and have a real conversation.

Be careful what you read

A lot of us get our news from social media now, so this is related to the previous point.

There is more of a risk now that reading the news can act as a trigger for mental health and addiction relapses. With coronavirus sweeping the planet, the news is pretty bleak at the moment. If you suffer from anxiety, especially, there is a lot to be said for avoiding the news as much as you can.

Perhaps try reading something comforting: a favourite book, for example. Reading can be a great form of escapism in these distressing times, and it’s better for the mind than just watching TV.

Keep up a healthy lifestyle

One of the best ways to look after yourself – regardless of the pandemic – is to keep eating well, sleeping well, and exercising.

It can be easy to give up on these things when you don’t have such a strong routine. That’s why a routine is important: it helps you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Food, diet and exercise are like the three pillars of mental wellbeing. If you get these right, then you give yourself a good chance of avoiding a relapse.

Focus on the positives

This point also ties in to the one about the news.  There’s a lot of negativity around at the moment, and it can be difficult to stay positive.

One way to do this is through a technique called mindfulness. When you notice yourself having a negative thought, stop for a moment and write it down. Then try to come up with a more positive alternative.

Similarly, if you find yourself having a craving, make time to call someone, perhaps a sponsor, a friend or a member of family. Remember that staying connected is one of the best antidotes to addiction.

Don’t go too hard on yourself

If you notice that you’re not being as productive at the moment, or you’re not exercising as much as you’d like, or whatever it may be, remember that this is a really difficult time for everyone, and cut yourself some slack.

That’s not to say you should use the lockdown as an excuse for destructive behaviours: obviously, you still need to avoid those. But it’s OK to not be realising your full potential right now.

Final thoughts

Remember, things will go back to normal eventually. Hang on in there, stay connected, stay safe, and hopefully we’ll all come out the other side of this in one piece.


I may not have quite gotten around to learning to play the trombone or turning my vagina into a bespoke candle or whatever it is that Gwyneth Paltrow would have us do at times like these, but if there is one lockdown activity that I’ve well and truly bought into it’s banana bread.

In fact I was on the banana bread wagon even BEFORE the pandemic, but then we’ve always known I’m a trend setter haven’t we? ‘Finger on the pulse’ is a phrase close family often use to describe my approach to fashion and current affairs.

Just to keep ahead of the lockdown banana bread curve then, I decided to crank things up a notch last week and take my banana bread exploits to the next level. I did this in two ways.

First, I added chocolate chips. I know, mind blown. You can literally add chocolate chips to ANYTHING and it’s better. I feel like you could add chocolate chips to a bath and it would be a win.

Second, I went MINI. Everyone knowns that making normal sized things SMALL is a sure fire way to improve them. Think of all the things you know and love and imagine teeny tiny versions of them. It’s adorable isn’t it? It doesn’t work with wine, but that might be the exception.

Bish bash bosh – mini chocolate banana loaves. We’re saved! November’s lockdown is going to be okay! (I mean it’s still shit, but at least you’ll have cake and something to do for half an hour.)

To make mini banana loaves you will need:

  • 140g soft margarine
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Splosh of vanilla essence
  • Big handful of chocolate chips
  • 2-3 ripe bananas.
  • Extra chocolate and banana chips for decoration should you feel so inclined

Whisk everything except the chocolate chips and bananas up together into a delicious looking cake batter. Stir in the bananas and the chocolate and transfer to a tin.

You’re done.

That was easy wasn’t it? I had quite fancy eggs, with brightly coloured yolks, so my mixture was quite a vibrant yellow colour. Fitting for banana bread I thought.

easy banana bread recipe View Post


Advertisement feature in association with Thorner’s Farm Shop

Okay, so not just pies, but that’s the beauty of this giveaway from Thorner’s Farm Shop – if you did want to spend your whole £50 prize on pies then you could. No one’s judging. Their pies are award-winning after all.

The idea behind this competition is that we all need a bit of a pick me up don’t we? Winter is coming, the nights are drawing in, (I’ve banged on so much about dark evenings on Instagram that I’m boring even myself), and really, a pie WOULD HELP. There’s no getting away from it, when the weather turns nasty, a cheeky cheese and leek pie can do wonders.

Jon Thorner's pie competition

(Confession: this is a picture that I pinched from the Thorner’s website because even though they sent me a pie to try, amongst other delicious treats, I got over-excited and ate it before I remembered I was meant to take a picture. Also this is way better than anything I could take, so.)

Although the Thorner’s pies are award-winning and delicious in every way, they are about much more than pies. They are a butcher, so sell all kinds of fresh meats, as well as deli meats. When I was little my mum says that, in a bid to get me to eat, she used to leave little plates of ham and cucumber around the house so I would happen upon them and eat them, so I know a good ham when I eat it.

They sell cheese, quiches, fruit and vegetables, even fresh ready meals, and the beauty of it is that it’s all online, so you get all the wholesomeness of a farm shop without having to get your shoes muddy.

They also make cakes, and although generally I’d consider myself more of a homemade biscuit girl, the toffee apple slice is a think of magic and wonder. Put one of these in your virtual basket and you won’t regret it.

(I also make an exception for this ricotta and raspberry cake but you do have to make that yourself, sorry. Unless you want to pay me to make it and bring it to your house.) View Post


untold stories slummy single mummy

Today’s anonymous contribution to Untold Stories is a powerful one. It tells the story of one woman, living what seems to be a perfectly normal life, but hiding a secret. Reading it raised so many questions for me about relationships, intimacy and sexuality. Can we really be happy if we are keeping a part of ourselves hidden? Where do you draw the line when it comes to putting other people’s happiness ahead of your own? I’m sure there are a lot more people in situations like this than we realise and I’d love for you to leave a comment if you’d like to tell your own story or simply share your thoughts.

I got married fairly young by today’s standards. I was 24 and had met my future husband 5 years before that. We had a house, a dog and joint bank accounts. The next expected step was marriage and so, when he proposed, I accepted without hesitation.

We’ve now been married for the best part of 15 years. We have three gorgeous kids, a beautiful home and a secure financial situation. We go on holiday a couple of times a year, upgrade our car regularly and are always doing something – days out, evenings with friends. We have a busy, full, happy life.

So where’s the catch? Well, for that I need to go back to the start.

I grew up on a city council estate with parents who worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. They were very conservative for labour voters really and it was a different time back then in the 1990s. Life has, thankfully, changed so much over the years.

By the time I got to my teens I knew my parents expected me to get a boyfriend eventually – they were dreading it. I was a late developer. Had no interest in relationships and instead focused on school. But, by the time I got to 16, all my friends had boyfriends so it seemed really natural for me to have a boyfriend too.

I’d had a hard time at school and hadn’t found it easy to make friends or form real relationships so as soon as a boy showed interest in me, when I was nearly 17, I jumped at it. We went out, I lost my virginity – as I felt it was expected of me – and we were together for a few months.

After that I had a couple more boyfriends and it was all fine. But, I didn’t really know what the fuss was about. We had sex but it wasn’t the mind-blowing experience from the movies. It was more mechanical than anything else – going through the motions until it was finished. Everyone was doing it, but what was so special about it?

Then something changed for me. A new girl started at work and she was different to anyone I had ever met. She was gay and she didn’t mind who knew it. She was loud, proud and full of personality and we became friends easily.

Our friendship was strong from the start. I’d chat to her all day at work and then text her through the evening until I saw her the next day. We’d go for drinks, go to the movies and wander aimlessly around the shops. All the things that friends do.

And then one day we were sitting in the park, drinking Red Square like we did most weekend evenings, and she kissed me. She kissed me and my world span around. I finally knew what people got excited about. I had butterflies in my belly and tingles everywhere else.

After that we formed a tactile, close relationship. We’d kiss and mess about and I felt like the 17 year old I always should have been. I found myself and I liked it.

But, back then I was torn. I found someone that made my heart leap. Their fingers entwined with mine made me so happy and even now, 20 years later, I can remember the smell of their shampoo on their hair.

But, it was never going to be straightforward. View Post


baby feet

The most worrying experience for most parents is when their baby gets overheated or become so cold. With these conditions, the baby’s night will be quite uncomfortable. Plus, they may spur other health risks like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The following tips will help you detect the body temperature changes. Then, you can take proper action to ensure your little one gets a good sleep.

Feeling the hands and feet

The typical way to know your baby’s temperature is by feeling their hands and feet. Most babies are prone to having cold hands because their circulatory system isn’t mature enough. When they are asleep, it’s quite challenging for them to feel bothered with the cold paws. So, the parent must ensure the baby gets the warmth they deserve.

In such cases, a sleeping sack that covers the hands is the best choice. Plus, use mittens and socks to keep their hands and feet warm and comfy. When you buy your baby girl clothes, be sure they are soft and have thermals to keep them cosy and prevent overheating.

Check the room’s temperature

Usually, a suitable temperature for a baby’s room ranges from 19 to 21 degrees. So, you should always take the temperature readings of your child’s sleeping room to determine if they are comfortable enough. However, this may vary depending on how cold or hot the exterior weather conditions are. Let your baby sleep in a crib with soft and comfortable cotton or fleece when it is cold outside. You can also wrap warm your kid should you find a drop in the temperature readings.

Low crib temperatures

During winter periods, there is a light wind that flows from the windows, decreasing the room temperature. That’s why you will find the baby’s crib relatively colder than the readings from your main floor’s thermostat. Therefore, the crib fails to keep your baby warm as required making them cold. The best solution is to set the crib away from the window and if possible, between the walls. By doing so, your baby will not get the chill brought in by drafts.

The baby is joyful

Seeing your baby laughing, playful and joyful before getting asleep is an indication of cosiness. Thus, in turn, implies that the baby is warm enough. On the other hand, a silent and still infant it is probably due to cold body temperatures. So, be sure to allow your infant to have skin to skin contact with your body. After that, dress you, little girl, with warm baby girl clothes, and wrap them with warm blankets; do the same for the little man but with boys clothes, to give them sufficient warmth.


The best way to know your baby isn’t cold is to feel their hands and feet with your hand. The other methods discussed above can help you understand if the infant is cold or not. If you want your baby to sleep well and stay healthy, make sure you provide cosy yet warm clothing and bedding.