\ Sweet Elyse

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Design the Ultimate Patio for a Relaxing Outdoor Space

A patio is a lovely space to have outside your home. It gives you somewhere to eat and drink, to sit and relax, and to socialize with your family and friends. It's also pretty low-maintenance, so it's ideal if you don't want all of your outdoor space to be covered with grass or plants. Patios can come in many styles, from the paving and the shape to the furniture that you choose for them. You can make your patio whatever you want it to be. Consider how much space you have, where you want to put it (if it doesn't already exist), and how you want to use it.


Start with Awesome Paving


The first thing to think about when you're planning your patio is the paving. If you don't already have a patio, you have to consider where to put it and what type of paving you want to select. What shape is your patio going to be? Will you use different colours and textures in the design? If you already have a patio, your aim will be to see if you can improve it. Maybe it needs weeding or pressure washing to make it look neater and more stylish. There might be some repairs to be made to ensure it looks its best.


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Add Some Shade to Your Patio


Patios can be good for sitting out in the sun, but it's important to have some shade too. When it gets too hot or you just want to get the sun out of your face, you need something to shade you so you're not forced back inside. There are a few options to consider, like outdoor patio awnings or parasols, which can shade your patio from the sun. An adjustable shade will allow you to decide just how much sun you want on your patio. You can avoid having too much shade, so you're not left feeling too cold.


Install Heating for Cold Weather Use


A good patio should be in use all year. It's a shame to only use it during the summer. You might not want to sit outside when it's raining, but a little bit of cold doesn't have to prevent you from enjoying your patio. Some patio heaters can help to keep the space warm so that you can use it whenever you want. Alternatively, a fire pit is a great way to keep your patio warm. You can just light up a fire when you want to, and maybe even enjoy some roasted marshmallows.


Get Some Lights for Evening Use


Another way you can use your patio more is to make sure you can use it in the evening. Some good lighting is what you need to make your patio beautiful and practical after dark. As it starts to get dark, you might have solar lights that come on automatically. You could also have battery-powered lights that you switch one or you could even wire some lights into your home. Alternatively, you could light some torches, lanterns, and candles to light up your patio.


Decide How to Use Your Patio


You could use your patio in a few ways. It might be for sitting on comfortable sofas for chats long into the night. It might be an outdoor dining space that you can make the most of during the summer. It could be somewhere to barbecue, or maybe it's a place to play some garden games. Whatever you want to do with your patio, get a clear idea of how you're going to use it so that you can make the most of it.


Get Practical and Stylish Furniture


Once you've decided how to use your patio, you need the right furniture. Furniture designed to be used outside is obviously the best choice, and luckily there's plenty of it. You can even find outdoor rugs that you can add to your patio. You might have a sofa or some comfortable armchairs, or maybe you want a dining table and chairs so you can eat outside. Some sun loungers or deck chairs could be a good addition to your patio too. Look for furniture that is UV protected and that won't rust so that it looks good for longer.


Experiment with Layouts


Deciding where to put everything on your patio can be tough. There are a few ways you might want to position everything. You can try out a few different layouts to work out where you want to put your furniture. You might want to think about a few things, such as which part of the patio gets the most sun at different parts of the day or which layout allows you to be most social when you're using the patio. Move things around to see what looks good and what feels practical.


Decorate Your Patio


As well as your patio furniture, you might want to add a few other things to your patio to make it look good. Potted plants are an excellent option to brighten up your patio, and a lot of them are fairly low-maintenance too. You can choose different colours and styles for pots and planters, as well as find plants that you love. Different lighting is a good way to decorate your patio too, with lamps, lanterns, and torches available to bring in some light.


Match It with Your Home


Another benefit of having a patio is being able to float indoors and outdoors. Blurring the space between inside and outside helps them to feel like one coherent space. You might put in French doors or bifold doors so that you can open up your home onto the patio. Another way to join the two spaces is to match the style of your patio furniture to the decor inside your home. This brings the two spaces together so that they both have your style and look and feel great.


Design the ultimate patio by making it a space that says something about you and fulfills all of your needs.


Statement: Collaboration

Look After Yourself While Abroad

Are you thinking about going away sooner rather than later? The situation surrounding COVID-19 is slowly but surely starting to improve, so this does make sense. However, you need to make sure that you are looking after your health when you are traveling. This requires you to do more than just wear a mask in certain areas. 


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Stay Hydrated


First, you need to make sure that you are staying hydrated during a holiday. This is particularly important if you are going somewhere hot because you will sweat and lose a lot of the water that is built up in your body. If this happens, then you could feel lightheaded or you might start to feel sick. You could even develop severe headaches. As well as drinking plenty of water, you need to make sure that you aren’t spending a lot of time out in the sun, particularly during the heat of the day. Of course, this isn’t the only issue that the sun can cause. 


Skincare


Skin cancer is not as common as most people think but it’s still quite dangerous. Particularly if it develops in an area where you are not likely to notice it for a while. The good news is that there are easy ways to avoid this particular health concern. One option would be again to make sure that you are not spending a lot of time out in the sun when you are completely exposed. You might also want to think about wearing sunscreen. There are sunscreen products for sensitive skin so you don’t have to worry about an option like this causing further issues. 


Be Careful What You Eat


Next, you should think about being careful with what you eat when on vacation. A case of food poisoning can completely ruin your holiday spirit. That’s why you might want to think about being careful when you are eating out. Make sure that you do look at the reviews of different places and ensure that you are watching for any particular red flags. You might also want to avoid food that you are unfamiliar with, particularly if it’s a short trip and you’re not going to have much time to recover from an issue like this. 


Sleep


Traveling and even a typical vacation can take a lot out of you. As such, you do need to make sure that you are getting the right level of rest throughout the day. This is particularly important if you are planning on waking up early and spending the majority of your time exploring while traveling on foot. To ensure that you are getting enough sleep, make sure that you do think about using extra methods. For instance, you might want to consider whether you should use supplements to help with sleep. 


We hope this helps you understand some of the best ways that you can look after yourself while you are traveling. By doing this, you can make sure that a health issue doesn’t spoil an adventure that you could have been planning for a long time. 


Collaboration

Allergies | What you can do to take back control


AD: Partnership with Klarify. 

When Klarify got in touch about collaborating I agreed straight away because I am one of those people (1-in-4) that suffers greatly from allergens daily. It's an absolute burden in my life and collaborating with a company that enables people to take control of their wellness through education, home testing and actionable results is paramount to beating those horrible allergen symptoms. 

Most people have been afflicted by an allergy of some sort at some point. It just seems to be one of those things along with growing up, paying bills, and deciding what to make for dinner that day - all equally frustrating especially as we get older. Likewise, it's always difficult to know if you're just afflicted with allergy symptoms or a common cold, sometimes the two are very much alike so how do you know if you can pass it along to someone you care about? You don't. 

What is an allergy? 

The human immune system protects the body from foreign invaders that may pose risk. In the cases of allergies, the immune system reacts in a similar way to viruses and bacteria causing an inappropriate response to what should be a harmless invader. When the allergen enters the body the body triggers a response which leads to the release of histamine in the body. The release of histamine causes symptoms that we normally associate with being 'allergic' such as: 

Sneezing
itching
wheezing
shortness of breath
rashes/hives
runny nose
migraines/headaches
vomiting/nausea

You can find out more about allergy symptoms and allergy testing via Klarify's allergy testing article which is really informative and covers the types of allergens and the differences in symptoms.

My allergy background

My own symptoms strange enough happened as I got older, more so from pregnancy onwards. Growing up I never suffered from any hayfever or seasonal allergies, I was allergic to Penicillin as was all of my family along one line but nothing really more than that. Genuinely I felt like one of the lucky ones as some in my family were severely allergic to a lot of things and had asthma also which can be linked to allergies. 

It was only really as I had my first child I then noticed I became allergic to something but could never put my fingers on the what exactly. Trying to reduce allergens in my home and my life would work to a certain extent them it seemed as if my immune system would just fight back. At one point I was constantly bombarded with all of the symptoms listed above and the reality of those symptoms was miserable.  

I was tested luckily via the NHS but this isn't something that they really do any longer, and my own testing only happened to see if this was something that could be passed to my sons as anaphylaxis. My allergens included:

Dust
Mites
Moulds
Specific grasses
Basil
Rapeseed
Tree pollens
Bananas & latex (apparently they are closely linked)
Kiwis
Aubergine
Various yeasts
Medications - many antibiotics, codeine, pethidine, and a few others.  
Gluten (celiac) - this was a separate test done through endoscopy

At the time I was attempting to eat healthier so many of the foods I was eating included fruits and vegetables, the vegetables (more than those listed above) were typically allergen-causing due to growing near specific grasses and pollens - this may have been why I was so reactive. Reducing my intake of allergens through a change of diet along with regular hoovering of our home, using a vax filter in the home to reduce dust and allergens in the air, and reducing the use of cosmetics that contains a lot of additives was enough to get my own symptoms to a manageable condition. 

Even up until 2020 I was still facing new allergens. Growing up I believed that kiwis and bananas hurt everyone's mouth, I know how strange that sounds saying it now but no one even said it didn't when I mentioned it growing up so I thought it was one of those things, you eat a banana and it hurts the top of your mouth. In 2020 when the pandemic started I wanted to be healthier, now I knew about the latex allergy but not that bananas and latex were intrinsically linked. I decided to eat bananas every morning with my healthy breakfast and eventually a few months in (and after feeling so poorly in the lead up) I ended up in A&E with the worst pain imaginable as the allergy (bananas) was affecting my gallbladder. After learning it was this and stopping eating bananas I've never had that pain again (luckily) and my gallbladder is no longer inflamed. Hoorah! This is why understanding what your allergens are can be far more important than just curing your sniffles and sneezes, it can stop the destruction of your internal systems and organs. 

I do suffer still especially around my monthly cycle as my itching intensifies so I always try to ensure that I am reducing my allergen intake ahead of my period due date. Strange but true I know - allergens and their horrible symptoms typically do as they want, when they want but understanding which ones trigger your histamine response can be the change to truly getting your life back. 

Honestly, I dread to think how ill I would have become many years back if I didn't find out what caused mine, I genuinely thought that by eating healthy and being active I would be able to take back control of my own wellness when in fact the foods I was eating were causing my symptoms to become more reactive. I was getting ill, my conditions (colitis, PCOS, fibromyalgia to name a few) were worsening also, naturally as my body was struggling with its histamine and mast cell response. 

Take back control 

Klarify home allergy test enables you to test yourself against 294 allergens. Much like the test I had years ago, this test allows you to find out which allergens you personally have - pollens, mites, pets, foods, moulds, yeasts, Hymenoptera venoms as well as others. I personally urge everyone to find out what their allergens are before they pose a problem long-term. The more you know about yourself, the far wealthier you become in taking back your own life and future. 

Elyse

Statement: Collaboration