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Expert says best way to cool down in a heatwave – is with a HOT BATH!

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Can’t sleep in the heat? According to one expert, a hot bath could be the solution.

The Met Office have issued a heat alert, and have predicted some parts of the UK to reach 28C this week. Bathroom expert, Dominic Lees-Bell from Drench.co.uk explains how we all can cool down if it gets a bit too overwhelmingly hot.

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“We recommend taking a hot bath to cool down during a heatwave. Many look at buying expensive fans or freezing hot water bottles, but one of the simplest ways to cool down is to actually take a hot bath”

“Taking a cold shower or bath can actually be counterproductive as when our body is submerged in extremely cold conditions it tries to regulate our core temperature. This means you could actually feel hotter than you did before you tried to cool down.”

“By taking a hot bath we are able to drop our body temperature as it stimulates our bodies thermoregulatory system. This increases the circulation of blood throughout our body and results in the removal of body heat and therefore a decreased body temperature”said Dominic Lees-Bell at Drench.co.uk.

Previous research from the National Sleep Foundation also suggests that this method works in heatwaves. Its online guide suggests that some people “do better taking hot showers and hot baths when the room temperature is very high”

Our body temperature is lowest while we are sleeping, and according to the US National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute a hot bath is a great idea before bed as “the drop in body temperature after the bath may help you feel sleepy, and the bath can help you relax.”

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Gardening

Hospital’s flower power proves big success with patients

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A summer of sun and extra flower beds have blossomed into the perfect partnership for patients’ wellbeing at Singleton Hospital.

The recent prolonged sunny spells – the hottest recorded for Wales in 30 years – have provided ideal conditions for hundreds of begonias to bloom.

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This year, the health board has invested in additional raised beds around the hospital to increase the positive impact on the wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors.

Betty Foley has worked at Singleton as a volunteer for over 15 years.

Seeing a large number of patients, staff and visitors during each shift, she has heard a lot of positive patient feedback for the flower features.

She said: “I deal with a large number of patients and visitors coming into Singleton and a lot of them have passed comment on how lovely the flowers look around the hospital.

“A lot arrive through the main reception and they’re welcomed by a really colourful bed of flowers, which can give you a bit of a boost when you’re going into hospital for treatment.

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“I’ve been told countless times recently by patients that they sit in front of the hospital where the benches are and the flowers take their mind off things.

“Small things like that can really make a big difference to your day.”

Christian Berndsen, gardening maintenance, and his team put the bedding plants in at the end of May.

He said: “We’ve used a lot of different types of begonias as they have a variety of bright colours that really catch the eye.

“The flowers have benefited from a great summer of sun.

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Nick Davies, and Christian Berndsen in front of one of the flower beds (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

“I’ve had a lot of comments while we’re around the hospital, which is nice. The intention was to give anyone who uses the hospital a nice, bright collection of flowers to look at around the site.

“Seeing bright flowers such as the begonias can give you a bit of a lift, so it’s been lovely to hear that patients love them as it shows it’s having a positive effect.”

Singleton has also benefited from a wooden sculpture of an oak dragonfly, which features on the Crush Hall roundabout which is situated between the main entrance and the maternity and child health building.

That has been funded by Biophilic Wales and designed by local sculptor Simon Hedger, and adds to a creative corner in the hospital grounds.

Nick Davies, Estates Officer at Singleton Hospital, added: “The flowers and sculpture certainly improves the appearance of the hospital. As we have a lot of patients, visitors and staff coming to this hospital we firmly believe that first impressions are very important.

“If you’re waiting for an appointment or are visiting family or a friend, it’s nice for people to see and offers a little lift. In addition, it’s a natural habitat for small wildlife such as bees and butterflies.

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“Christian and the gardening team have done a great job brightening up areas around the hospital, and we’re really pleased it’s impacted patients in a positive way.”

Lead image: Volunteer Betty Foley, Nick Davies, Estates Officer at Singleton Hospital and Christian Berndsen from gardening maintenance at the Crush Hall roundabout display. (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Gardening

Rescue your summer garden with our hosepipe ban survival guide

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Can you keep plants alive during a hosepipe ban? Well, yes in fact you can.

We’ve teamed up with Sproutl’s Creative Director, Hollie Newton to share her top tips for gardening in a drought.

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It’s hot, there’s no rain and now hosepipe bans are being introduced around the country.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the garden as Hollie explains: “This year a scorched lawn is like a badge of honour and we should be wearing that with pride. We’re all doing our bit for the environment by not watering the lawn. The great thing about a lawn is that it will bounce back as soon as it starts raining again.”

Pick your battles

Gardening during drought is all about picking your battles. “Mature trees and shrubs will soldier on through a drought, but it is plants in pots that need a helping hand,” says Hollie.

“You might not be able to keep everything alive, so focus on your big and expensive plants and water these by hand with a watering can.”

Water plants by hand using a watering can

Save water

“Go 1950s style and save as much water from the kitchen as possible,” says Hollie. “You can use the water from boiled spuds – just let it cool down first. Likewise, the water from the washing up bowl is fair game too. As long as you’re just using normal dishwashing liquid, it will be fine to use on the garden. You can also use water from the bath tub, again, as long as you’re just using normal soap, it is fine to use on the garden.”

The only water you shouldn’t use on the garden is water that contains bleach, disinfectants or similar chemicals. You can use water from the kitchen or bathroom on all ornamental garden plants. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) advises not to use this water on edible crops.

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Reuse water from your kitchen in the garden

Re-think your garden

Longer term, Hollie suggests thinking about what sort of plants you grow. “Let’s face it, we’re going to be having more summers like this, with hot, dry weather, so us gardeners need to look for plants that don’t need much water. Plants from the Mediterranean are properly equipped to face this sort of weather, so things like palms, cacti, lavender, rosemary, santolina, ceanothus, cistus and artemisia – to name a few – are all good choices for gardens.”

There’s also a few tricks when it comes to establishing plants, as Hollie explains: “Instead of watering new plants little and often, give them a really good soaking less often. This encourages them to send their roots down deep to find water.”

And lastly Hollie adds: “Don’t cut down trees! It can be tempting to cut down trees when you move into a new place to give more space or sunlight, but trees are so good during a drought with providing much-needed shade – for us and our plants.”

green plant on brown soil
Rethink your garden – what sort of plants will grow in hot dryer weather?

More top tips for gardening in a drought

  • Group pots together and move them to shadier spots to reduce watering needs.
  • Install a water butt to collect rain water.
  • Focus on watering vegetables when in flower for a good harvest.
  • Keep on top of weeding, as weeds will compete with plants for water.
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Food & Drink

Swansea rated the best place in the UK for a Thai Takeaway

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person eating using chopsticks

A new study has revealed that Swansea is the best place to find a top quality Thai takeaway in the UK.

This is from HouseholdQuotes who analysed Just Eat data in 523 locations across the UK to discover the best places for 20 cuisine types.

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While coming top for Thai takeaways, Swansea ranked a solid 146 out of 523 UK towns and cities for its overall takeaway offering.

While other Swansea Bay towns didn’t rank quite so highly, if you’re after a different kind of cuisine Port Talbot placed 29th for Pizza.

Indian is Llanelli’s speciality takeaway of choice, with the town ranking 72 in the UK.

Bridgend take-out lovers head for fish and chips, with the town coming in at 225 out f the 523 UK towns and cities surveyed.

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