ITALY was, as I expected, just incredible!

We had the most wonderful time in the stunning area of Lake Maggiore, in our Bookings For You villa and I cannot wait to share the photos and travel tales with you all, very soon.

(Once I’ve edited the hundreds of photos I snapped, that is!)

However, it was also one of the strangest holidays I’ve ever had, because whilst I was there, I had a little health scare, which- if I’m being honest – has left me feeling a little traumatised.

Throughout my life, I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve never really had anything ‘wrong with me’ if you know what I mean.

Bar the odd common bug or illness and a bit of a dodgy back (thanks pregnancy!) I’m generally as fit as a fiddle. And I guess, because of my good fortune, I’ve taken my health for granted over the years.

Like many of us, I’ve drank far too much on occasion, dabbled with things I shouldn’t have and sometimes, eaten far too much junk food and nowhere near enough of the good stuff.

I’ve never thought that I’m invincible, but I’ve certainly been a bit blase about my health.

That is, until now.

You may remember that I talked about coming out in a nasty outbreak of hives, just before I set off on my travels.

Which all started on a Thursday morning with an odd rash that appeared on the top of my thighs.

Straight away I thought: “bloody hell, I hope it’s not chickenpox!” seeing as this childhood illness is going around Elsie’s nursery.

As the day progressed, so did the rash, cropping up in other areas, so I made an appointment with my GP, who said I’d had a little allergic reaction to my washing powder (of which I was skeptical as I’ve been using it for yonks), and that I’d be fine.

I was told to pop some cream on to cool down the rash and take an antihistamine tablet every day.

Fair do’s.

But on Friday morning, I woke up to find myself covered in the rash which was now as hot as hell, and unbearably itchy.

At around 9.00am, as I sat at my desk trying to work, I felt my throat start to swell up and developed a weird cough. It then became apparent that this ‘reaction’ had just got a little serious.

Struggling to breathe properly, I rang Jamie to come home and off we went to A&E, where they promptly gave me a big shot of steroids and told me, that I would be well in a few days and was fit to travel.

Relief all round!

And then rolled on Saturday. Travel day.

I woke up in the morning, expecting the hives to have disappeared, only to have found that they had covered my entire body. No longer were they odd spots but instead had merged into giant areas of ‘hot as hell’ redness.

The heat and itching was just horrendous. Seriously, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy but we had a place to catch and so on we went.

I covered up my body as much as possible, plastered my face in make up and jetted off to Italy.

We arrived around 8pm on Saturday evening at the stunning villa and it was then that I noticed that my legs had swollen. A lot.

“Nothing to worry about”, everyone said. “It can sometimes happen with flights.”

But then on Sunday morning I woke up and got the fright of my life.

My face had swollen beyond recognition, with my lips looking like something from a filler horror show. I couldn’t even bear to look at myself in the mirror.

My legs, feet, arms, hands and wrists were also badly swollen.

I looked horrendous, felt dreadful and was beginning to panic a little.

Whilst the look on my husband’s face, and my Dad’s too (who’d come with us) told me, that they were more than a little worried too.

I spent the first day of the holiday, in bed, too ill to get up and too embarrassed for Elsie to see me in such a state. I just couldn’t believe it.

By teatime, and still no better, my Dad rang home and spoke to a relative, a former GP, who told him that I was experiencing a severe allergic reaction which was potentially life threatening.

Basically, if my tongue had swollen, instead of my lips, I may not even be here now, to tell the sorry tale. They call it Anaphylaxis.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the concern on my Dad’s face, when he told me that I had to sleep sat up right and that if at any point I felt the swelling increase in my throat that night, they were going to whisk me straight to A&E in Italy.

That night as I tried to get to sleep, it may sound a bit dramatic, but I was pretty terrified that I may not wake up. That the swelling would happen as I was asleep or that something may go horribly wrong.

So many thoughts ran through my head as I gazed at the moon and stars from my Italian bed. About my life. About the people I love. About the person I am. About Elsie.

But then, the next day, bam.

Like magic, the steroids that I’d had a few days earlier kicked in and – thank goodness – things started to improve. Quickly too!

With every passing hour,I began to feel and look more like myself. And the next day I was absolutely fine and out enjoying my holiday, if a little itchy still, as if nothing had happened.

So what was the culprit?

Well it wasn’t the washing powder or anything that I’d eaten. But a virus.

You see, about two months ago I had a week of feeling absolutely awful and really poorly, yet had no symptoms. It was odd. Very odd.

And I knew it too!

I kept saying to Jamie, this virus is weird! Funny how we know our own bodies huh?

And since then, well I’ve had one little illness after another. Colds,cystitis and sinusitis. Nothing major, but just constant bouts of being germ ridden.

Talking to our relative, who once saved a young woman’s life by performing an emergency tracheotomy after she experienced something similar to me, apparently weird viruses can do this.

My body was/ is allergic to the virus and that’s why the reaction I had, was so severe.

Frightening isn’t it?

I never thought anything like this, would happen to me.

I never thought something so ‘simple’ like a virus, could create so much havoc.

I never thought my life could be at risk, in such a way.

But it was.

And as my Dad said to me, it’s certainly been quite the wake up call.

Good health?

There really is no greater gift.


With love,







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32 Discussions on
    • Thanks lovely. Yes was awful, but so thankful to be here to tell the tale and to have had the most wonderful holiday x

  • Blimey, Katie – that sure sounds scary. I’m so glad you’re ok. Viruses can be funny – I know after having HELLP syndrome that despite all our scientific advances there is still so much about our bodies even the world’s cleverest medical people know nothing about. I think with viruses too the more we get run down the worse things affect us – our bodies just can’t fight it. Keep well darling, looking forward to giving you a big hug very soon! xxx

    • Thank you darling! I agree with you – so much about the body that baffles the experts, even now, after all of our advancements. Trying to rest up and can’t wait to see you soon! x

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your virus Katie, that must have been as scary as hell to experience. I’m glad you’re ok and I hope you managed to enjoy the rest of your holiday. Good health really is so precious and it can be so easy to take it for granted xx

    • Thanks Jen. Most frightening experience of my life I think. Certainly makes you realise how precious life and good health is. x

  • Oh Katie, this is so flipping scary and I’ve been there with food and it’s a nightmare, when I read your FB status I was literally crying. So, so glad you are OK, so relieved you got help quickly, that the drugs kicked in and you are well. Italy looked like the amazing tonic you needed and wonderful you had your Dad with you too, there’s nothing I love more than being away (or home) with my folks. You are right too, nothing matters more than health. I lost two friends last year and it breaks my heart they are not here for their kids. Looking after ourselves is so important. We need to be strong and well for our kids. Much love xx

    • Thanks so much darling. Really was the fright of my life and has certainly made me realise how close to death we all are, even when we are seemingly fit and well. (A little morbid I know, but true). I’m so lucky to be here, I think the gods were looking after me! And yes I’m glad my Dad was with us too. So sorry about your friends :( You’re right, we have to look after ourselves for our children. x

  • How absolutely horrifying! I’m glad you’re doing better now.
    We really do take things for granted when they are going well. I’m suffering from a virus now and hate how incapacitated it makes you feel, but that’s nothing compared to your experience. I’m glad you managed to avoid a trip to a+e on hols and had a nice time in the end! P x

    • Thanks so much. Sorry to hear you’re feeling poorly too. If there’s one thing I have learned or am trying to learn, it is to try and rest when we’re unwell, not matter how inconvenient that may be. Hope you feel better soon and yes in the end, the holiday was wonderful! x

  • Woah! What a shocking story! Absolutely terrifying!
    So glad you’re ok!! A friend of mine ate a tuna salad one day and ended up in intensive care…a severe allergic reaction
    …just like that! She is fine now but it’s so nuts how these things come on all of a sudden .
    Lots of love and so happy you’re back on track xx

    • Something to tell the grandkids huh?! :-/ Thanks darling. Sorry to hear about your friend too, bloomin’ eck. Really frightening how these things happen. As I say, I never thought something like this would happen to me. x


    Omg Katie how absolutely terrifying! Thank God you got sound advice in the end and the steroids kicked in when they did. I remember Ezra having a much milder allergic reaction and when his lips started swelling. Luckily he responded to an antihistamine but when we saw the GP about it the next day she told us if it happened again, go straight to A&E!

    Really glad you came out fine and were able to enjoy the rest of your trip. Easy to take do much for granted but times like these we have to stop and be grateful. Much love X

    • I know Uju! Awful. Scary how our bodies can react so badly to things. But yes with allergies, when they go bonkers, we should never hang around. Between you and I, I can’t bear to think about what may have been if I hadn’t gone to A&E on the day before we flew. Doesn’t bear thinking about x

  • How ruddy scary Kate. Amazing how something that we can normally fight pretty easy can go so wrong. So glad that you are OK and the steroids kicked in so quickly and I hope you managed to enjoy the rest of your holiday xx

    • Thanks Lisa. Yes, I’m very, very fortunate and the rest of the holiday was wonderful (and healing) :) x

  • That’s scary! Katy, if you want to know what is behind this, let me know. My husband had this twice. Terrifying at the time (I was pregnant…)
    Lots of love
    Adriana xxx

    • Thanks Adriana. I can imagine it is terrifying ‘on the other side’ too, watching the person you love struggle. Thanks for the email too. Am investigating! x

  • Oh Katie I remember reading your Facebook status about this and I had no idea how serious it was – how scary for you all! I had an allergic reaction in the US to cold medicine years ago and my heart sped up until it was beating so hard and fast it was physically hurting me. I had a similar night of wondering what was going to happen and a huge relief a few days later when the symptoms subsided. Our health is something we so often take for granted if we’re generally pretty healthy but it really is very, very precious. So glad that you’re fighting fit and well again darling xxx

  • Wow I can’t believe this Katie, bless you. What a huge scare. Thank goodness you are okay. I never knew that about your tongue swelling up. It reminds me of when I was a little girl before I moved to England, twice my whole face swelled up like a balloon and no one knew what it was apart from it being an allergic reaction. It was quite scary and quite uncomfortable too. I am so glad you are okay and there really is no greater gift in life then health. Amen! Xx

  • Oh wow, what a horrible thing to have to go through. But glad you did got through it! Sounds really scary and no wonder you are traumatised. All the best, I hope you feel better soon!

  • Goodness me Katie – what a fright indeed. Your right, we forget how good healthy is until its threatened and we realise we take it for granted ! SO glad it was controlled eventually and you were able to get back to normal, I cant even imagine what it looked like, but you describe it well. ALways worse in another country to be sick x

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