Sweet Treats Week – Day 5 – Sabrina’s Customisable Cookies

Welcome to Sweet Treats Week on Severn Wishes. This half term I wanted to share my top 5 baking treats with you all, hopefully you’ve got some time this week to make them with me! I cannot believe this is Day 5 already! I hope you’ve had as much fun baking these as I have!

Check out my Instagram and Facebook page for more food pictures, videos and future recipe ideas too!

Day 5 is Sabrina’s Customisable Cookies!

And the great thing with these is that you can literally add anything into them… I like mine to have chocolate chips. But you could put tiny marshmallows in them or different kinds of chocolate confectionery. Just follow my basic recipe and then add in whatever you feel like! This is a great one to get the children involved in too and perhaps they could each make two or three cookies just for them!

My recipe will make between 12 and 16 cookies with a prep time of 20 minutes and a fridge time of 3 hours. When you bake they take as little as 15 minutes and only a five minute cool time, so before you know it you could have cookies to enjoy as a mid afternoon snack today!

What You Will Need

A Flat Oven Tray or two
Baking Paper or Parchment
A Large Mixing Bowl for the main mixture
Small Mixing Bowls if your children are doing their own
A Wooden Spoon
A Tablespoon or Ice Cream Scoop
A Sieve
A Cooling Rack
Something To Store The Cookies In After They Are Cooled

Ingredients to make the Cookies

100g Light Brown Sugar
75g Caster Sugar
100g Butter / Dairy Free Spread (Melted)
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
220g Plain Flour

Additional Ingredients

100g of Chocolate Chips

You can use other colourful confectionery like Smarties, M&Ms, Chocolate Chips of different sorts or even chop up your favourite chocolate bars and use those. (Get an adult to do this chopping up). You can use as much or as little as you want.

Step 1. Mixing Sugar and Butter and Salt

Method Steps

1. In a Large Bowl start by mixing the melted butter with the sugar and salt. You should have a thick brown liquid when it’s mixed enough.

2. Next you need to add the egg and once again mix thoroughly.

3. Make sure you sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir gently to combine as you do so. Once it’s all mixed in you can add your chocolate chips. If you’re doing different cookies you can now transfer some of the mix into smaller bowls and add the various confectionery. If your mixture is looking dry add one tablespoon of water at a time until it becomes more like cookie dough.

4. Place cling film over each bowl you have and let them cool in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours. TOP TIP While you wait you could play a game!

5. Then coming up to the end of the 3rd hour you can preheat your oven to 180’c and place some baking parchment onto a flat tray ready for your cookies.

6. In order to make your cookies the same size either use a tablespoon or an ice cream scoop to get a measurement out of the bowl. You want to make heaped almost ball shape but press them lightly to the baking paper. TOP TIP Leave at least 4 cm between each cookie! You may need 2 trays!

7. Bake the cookies but stay close by and keep an eye on them! I always have to rotate my tray half way! They will take between 12 and 15 minutes in a fan assisted oven, and you need to let them cool on a rack before you tuck in!

Step 6. Ready to Bake

TOP COOKIE TIPS

Don’t over handle your cookie dough!
Mix in your chosen confectionery into the dough but don’t over mix it.
When laying the cookies on the tray leave them heaped, they will flatten on their own.
Bake your cookies straight from the fridge for best results.
Keep an eye on them so they don’t over bake, it’s a fine line!

Cookies Freshly Baked and Cooling Down on the Rack

Thank you for joining me for Sweet Treats Week! I do hope you have enjoyed it and if you do make any of my bakes then please let me know how they turn out!

If you make any of my recipes be sure to tag me on social media, leave me a comment here on my blog. Any questions about a recipe please don’t hesitate to ask them! If you recreate this recipe somewhere else please credit me for it and name me and my blog, or even better link back to this original post too! Thanks everyone!

 Sabrina 

Sweet Treats Week – Day 4 – Sabrina’s Loaf Tin Cake

Lemon Loaf Cake

Welcome to Sweet Treats Week on Severn Wishes. This half term I wanted to share my top 5 baking treats with you all, hopefully you’ve got some time this week to make them with me! Check out my Instagram for more food pictures, videos and recipe ideas too!

Chocolate and Banana Loaf Cake

Day 4 is Sabrina’s Loaf Tin Cake

I know some people aren’t fond of eating loads of chocolate things so I figured I’d have to put my next favourite baking combination out there, which is Loaf Tin Cake! This can be my favourite cake which is a Lemon Drizzle cake! Or we can do a Banana and Chocolate Chip flavour!

I make this delightful and refreshing cake in a loaf tin because it’s easier to cook it, easier to cut it and easier to store it too! You have lots of options to customise your own cake too! I will be giving you two versions, Lemon or Banana and Chocolate, you can choose which to try or even do both!

When baking you’re looking for a gorgeous golden colour on top!

A loaf tin cake is much easier to judge than a round cake, I think!

It’s also easier to store, cut it into slices and it’s ready whenever you want a piece! One tin gives you around 8 slices! This cake keeps best for up to 3 days, but because there aren’t many slices it’s usually enjoyed during a day or two when it is at it’s best. TOP TIP Store this cake in a cake tin with a piece of kitchen roll underneath the baking parchment to help absorb any moisture.

Fresh Out Of The Oven

What You Will Need

A Loaf Tin
Baking Paper or Parchment
A Large Mixing Bowl
A Small Mixing Bowl
A Wooden Spoon
A Tablespoon
A Sieve
A Knife
A Whisk (Manual or Mechanical)
Something To Store The Slices In After They Are Cooled

Lemon Drizzle Cake
Banana and Chocolate Chip Cake

Ingredients To Make Any of Sabrina’s Loaf Cake Recipes

1 Free Range Egg (Fresh is best for baking)
125g Butter (or Dairy Free Spread) Melt in the Microwave
100g White Caster Sugar
50g Golden Caster Sugar
190g Self Raising Flour
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Essence
1 Tablespoons of Milk or a Milk Alternative

Additionals to Flavour the Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake
For the Cake: 30ml of Lemon Juice
For the Drizzle: 30g Icing Sugar, Lemon Juice, Lemon Rind (Optional)
In a small bowl Mix Lemon Juice one Spoonful at a time to Icing Sugar, how much you want to make depends on your personal preference.
Pour this over your cake when it’s baked.
Add the Lemon Juice at Step Number 2.
Add the Drizzle only when the Cake has cooled but still on its parchment.

Banana and Chocolate Chip Cake
For the Cake: 1 Banana – The Softer the Better! Mushed Up!
50g Chocolate Chips (I use Dark and Dairy Free)
25g Chocolate to Melt and Pour on Top of the Cooled Cake (Optional)
Add the Mushed Up Banana and Chocolate Chips at Step Number 2.

Method Steps

1. In a Large Bowl mix the egg and sugars together with a wooden spoon until smooth. Then add the milk and vanilla. Add the melted butter which has cooled and combine all these ingredients together using a whisk.

2. Now is the time to add your additional filling, use your small bowl to measure out anything you want, then transfer it to the large bowl and mix in.

3. Next you need to sieve the self raising flour into the bowl, do this a little at a time, stirring it together constantly mixing until the mixture is smooth.

4. Make sure you cut a piece of parchment to the correct size for your tin, it needs to stick out above the sides to allow the cake to rise and not spill over.

5. Bake this Cake at 160’c or 150’c (Fan) for 30 – 35 minutes. Check the cake at 25 minutes with a knife or skewer and then check it again at 30 minutes. The knife should come out clean and the top of the cake should be golden like my image below.

6. Once baked remove the cake from the tin by lifting it out using the parchment, and leave it to stand on a flat surface to cool down. Once cooled you can either add the additional options as outlined above or cut it and serve.

Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

Thank you very much for joining me for Sweet Treats Week! I hope to see you again tomorrow for our final baking day!

If you make any of my recipes be sure to tag me on social media, leave me a comment here on my blog. Any questions don’t hesitate to ask them! If you recreate this recipe somewhere else please credit me for it and name me and my blog or even better link back to this original post! Thanks everyone!

Sabrina

Sweet Treats Week – Day 3 – Sabrina’s Rocky Road

Welcome to Sweet Treats Week on Severn Wishes. This half term I wanted to share my top 5 baking treats with you all, hopefully you’ve got some time this week to make them with me! Check out my Instagram for more food pictures and recipe ideas too!

Day 3 is Sabrina’s No Bake Needed Rocky Road

Definitely one that the kids can get involved in, and this tray bake requires zero baking! You just need an adult to do some melting and chopping! This recipe will make 24 delicious squares of Rocky Road and you can do a custom set of ingredients to suit your family too!

Start by gathering all of your favourite things and a giant bowl to mix them! You’ll need chocolate for melting which will be the glue to hold all of the other ingredients together! You also need a deep tray to squash it all down into before you refrigerate it too!

The best thing about Rocky Road is that it’s totally customisable to your family and you can’t really get it wrong! Plus it’s fun for everyone! There’s only one danger with Rocky Road! Just don’t go eating all the singular ingredients while you’re making it!

I love to put things in mine you don’t usually find in a supermarket style tray bake, sometimes you find Nuts and I don’t put any of those in, some also contain fruit, which is a personal preference to whether or not you add this in. I will outline all the measurements below, and you can make your selection of your favourites.

Step 6.

What You Will Need

A Large Mixing Bowl – the bigger the better!
A Wooden Spoon or Two
A Saucepan (to do the melting part)
A Spatula
A Sharp Knife
Tea Towel and Rolling Pin (Or something to smash the biscuits with)
Baking Parchment to line your tray
A Large Tray that will still fit in your Fridge minimum of 1.5 inches deep

Ingredients

Mini Marshmallows 50g to 60g
Maltesers or Honeycomb Shards 50g to 60g
White Chocolate Chips 30g to 40g
Biscuits 150-200 grams (You can use a mixture of biscuits like I do, Digestive, Shortbread and Ginger are my faves, Ginger give a nice taste!)

Milk Chocolate (for the melting) 250 grams
Dark Chocolate (for the melting) 120 grams
Butter (for the melting) 140 grams
Golden Syrup (for the melting) 4 tablespoons

Additional Ingredients to Personalise your version of Rocky Road

Your “Special Ingredient” can be anything, between January and April I tend to use Mini Eggs or other Easter related Mini Chocolate Eggs etc. I just cut some of them up for going inside the bake. Other things that go well and add colour are Smarties, Aero Bubbles anything that sort of size etc.

Use around 70g to 100g of your chosen ingredient and remember to save around 30g of it for the topping!

You can also add any of the following things that all go brilliantly with this type of non-bake recipe – Cherries / Cranberries / Nuts / Raisins etc…

You will need 50 grams of your chosen one/s and make sure you then increase the depth of your tray by half an inch / 2 cm if you decide to include more than one of these ingredients. You could also choose to remove say, the white chocolate from my main list, and add in Raisins instead, just keep the ratio the same…

The customization is all down to you and your family! Go crazy! Have fun!

Method

1. Measure out and then Crush the Biscuits into mixed bite size pieces and add them to a large bowl.

2. Next, gather all your additional ingredients as outlined above, measured correctly and add these to your large bowl. The aim is to then mix all these dry ingredients together so they are evenly distributed.

3. Melt the Milk and Dark Choc with the Syrup and Butter until Smooth. Set 150ml of this melted chocolate mixture to one side in a jug to cool a little (you need this for the top of the mixture).

4. Add your melted mixture from the saucepan to your large bowl, coating all of the dry ingredients, keep mixing it quickly but carefully. You need to cover all of them in a light chocolate covering before it cools down too much.

Step 5.

5. Transfer from the bowl to the tray making sure the parchment is already lined inside it and smooth the rocky road out as flat as possible, push it down gently using a wooden spoon. Then pour the remaining melted chocolate (from the jug) over the mixture and smooth that all over the top with a spoon or a spatula, you need to try and coat most of the mix if not all of it, TOP TIP don’t forget to coat up to the corners!

6. Finally add your chosen Chocolate Decorations like Mini Eggs. Push them down a little so that they stick to the melted chocolate. Score the pieces of size you want to cut once it’s solid, using a knife (adult part only). Then put the whole tray in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

7. To serve it, gently remove the paper from the baking tray, lay flat and cut the Rocky Road where you scored into it earlier, do this using a knife that has been run under hot water (another adult only part). Remember to put the pieces into a seal-able tin or tub afterwards to make sure it stays fresh. Once set and cut you just store it at room temperature, for the best results eat it within 3 days.

Step 2.

Thanks very much for joining me for this recipe on Sweet Treats Week!
I do hope to see you here again tomorrow! See my social media for some videos while I am baking these as well! Including versions and what I use to make my bakes dairy free too!

If you make any of my recipes be sure to tag me on social media, leave me a comment here on my blog. Any questions about a recipe please don’t hesitate to ask them! If you recreate this recipe somewhere else please credit me for it and name me and my blog, or even better link back to this original post too! Thanks everyone!

 Sabrina 

Sweet Treats Week – Day 2 – Sabrina’s Warm and Gooey Cookie Dough

Welcome to Sweet Treats Week on Severn Wishes. This half term I wanted to share my top 5 baking treats with you all, hopefully you’ve got some time this week to make them with me! Check out my Instagram for more food pictures and recipe ideas too!

Finished Cookie Dough, Yummy!

Day 2 is Sabrina’s Warm and Gooey Cookie Dough Recipe.

This fantastically easy recipe is great if you want a hot desert ready in under an hour. It’s egg free too! I make mine with a dairy free butter and use dairy free chocolates. But you don’t have to if you prefer the real thing. This warm desert is best served about thirty minutes after it’s finished baking, cooled off a little bit but while it’s still warm and gooey. Great on its own or you can pair it with a nice vanilla or coconut ice cream for example.

What You Will Need

A Glass Dish measuring approximately 12cm x 17cm / 5″ x 7″ and preferably with a lid for easy storage after its cooled down!
A Large Mixing Bowl
A Wooden Spoon
A Sieve

Ingredients

150g Plain Flour
115g Butter (Dairy Free Spread)
110g Light Brown Sugar
Water (Per Tablespoon – See Method)
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
Chocolate Chips or Chunks (As many as you like but a nice ratio between dough and chocolate) I used around 60g of dairy free chocolate chips.

Additional Information: This sized portion will make 4 portions when transferred into pudding bowls. This is a rich desert and you can divide it up into 8 portions if you want to have it accompanied with something else such as ice cream. Keep any leftovers inside the glass dish with the lid on at room temperature, eat it within 48 hours. If you want it warm and extra gooey then microwave a portion for 20 seconds in the microwave.

Dairy Free Cookie Dough with Various Dairy Free Chocolates

Cookie Dough Variations

Add Chunks of Chocolate Brownies. If you have already made brownie earlier in the week you could put small lumps of your softest brownie into the cookie dough along with some chocolate chips. Just ensure they are submerged in the dough so as not to overcook near the top!

Method Steps

1. First you will need to soften the butter a little, add the measured out spread into the large mixing bowl, melt it at 10 second intervals in the microwave and stir after each one. Once softened you add your measured out sugar. Mix until smooth and combined.

2. Sieve your measured flour into the bowl now, make sure once it’s all in you carefully mix it. Then when smooth you add your Vanilla and Chocolate Chips.

3. You now need to add some water to the mixture, add it a tablespoon at a time until you achieve a Cookie Dough consistency. It usually takes between 4 and 8 tablespoons to achieve the dough like substance. Once you’re happy transfer it to your preferred baking dish.

Step 3. Ready to Bake!

4. Now it’s time to bake! Preheat your oven to 180’c and cook in the centre of your oven until the cookie dough top goes golden and slightly brown. The best way to test the dough is right for you is to carefully touch the top, beware it will be hot, so leave it a minute outside of the oven and push down on the top. I like mine to be like a Cookie on the top, and then soft and gooey underneath! Mine took around 24 minutes!

5. As I described above, leave the glass dish out of the oven for around 30 minutes after the bake is complete. Serve the dough after this, it won’t be too hot that way, it should just be warm and gooey!

Thanks very much for joining me on my blog for this recipe! Thank you very much for joining me for Sweet Treats Week! I do hope to see you here again tomorrow!

If you make any of my recipes be sure to tag me on social media, leave me a comment here on my blog. Any questions about a recipe please don’t hesitate to ask them! If you recreate this recipe somewhere else please credit me for it and name me and my blog, or even better link back to this original post too! Thanks everyone!

 Sabrina 

Sweet Treats Week – Day 1 – Sabrina’s Extra Special Chocolate Brownies

Welcome to Sweet Treats Week on Severn Wishes. This half term I wanted to share my top 5 baking treats with you all, hopefully you’ve got some time this week to make them with me! Check out my Instagram for more food pictures and recipe ideas too!

Sabrina’s Chocolate Brownies

Day 1 is Sabrina’s Extra Special Chocolate Brownies

Brownies can be tricky, but if you follow my recipe one step at a time you should be able to recreate my incredible triple chocolate brownies! Since needing to go dairy free I’ve even made these brownies free from dairy by substituting the butter for a dairy free spread and then I swapped the triple chocolate chips for only dairy free chocolates, and they still taste incredible! So do whichever version you would prefer, the difference in butter doesn’t change the end result.

My recipe will make around 20 brownies once you cut them after they have cooled. They are quite rich which is nice because they will last longer! They will last around 3 days in a sealed container, the best way to keep them is to store them at room temperature. TOP TIP Reheat a square or two for between 10 and 20 seconds in the microwave and serve them with ice cream! Yum!

Sabrina’s Triple Chocolate Style Brownies (A.)

What You Will Need

A Glass Dish or Baking Tray measuring approx 26cm x 20cm (8 x 10″)
Baking Paper or Parchment
A Saucepan
A Large Mixing Bowl
A Wooden Spoon
A Metal Spoon
A Whisk – Manual or Mechanical
A Sieve
A Knife
A Cooling Rack
Something To Store Them Inside After They Are Cooled

Step 5. Once Smooth Add Your Chocolates To The Mix!

Ingredients

3 Free Range Eggs (Fresh is best for baking)
175g Plain Chocolate (for melting) (You can use dairy free chocolate too)
175g Butter (or Dairy Free Spread)
200g Caster Sugar
75g Plain Flour
50g Cocoa Powder

Additional Flavours or Additional Chocolates… There Are Endless Possibilities! What Would You Do? Here are my favourites…

Brownie Variations

A. Triple Chocolate Brownies require 75g of White Chocolate Chips and 75g of Milk Chocolate Chips (or use different varieties of dairy free chocolates). Add these at Step 5.
B. Chocolate Orange Brownies require 100g of Chocolate that is Orange Flavoured, dairy free choc orange bars from Asda are fab or a few broken segments of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange are best! Put these pieces in the mixture at Step 5 instead of chocolate chips.
C. Mint Chocolate Brownies require 75g of Chocolate that is Mint flavoured, with such a strong flavour of chocolate it can be used as part of the melted part at the start of the bake. For a more Minty flavour later on you could add some Aero Mint Chocolate Balls when the brownie is almost cooked! Push them into the top of the brownie before the top is solid leaving just a little sticking out so they don’t melt and or burn!

Sabrina’s Chocolate Orange Brownies (B.)

Method Steps

1. First you need to place your butter and plain chocolate into a saucepan. Break the chocolate into small bits so it melts faster. Only melt on a low heat slowly. Keep stirring the melting mixture frequently until it is smooth with no lumps left. TOP TIP I only have my hob one setting 1 or 2 for melting, you don’t want to burn the mixture! I don’t like melting chocolate in a microwave, it’s too easily burnt!

2. Set the melted chocolate mixture to one side and allow it to cool. You can now preheat your oven to 180’c, 160’c for a Fan Assisted or 350F or Gas Mark 4. Cut a piece of baking parchment for your tray and push it inside.

3. In a large bowl break the 3 Eggs, make sure no shell falls in. Using a wooden spoon mix them up, add the Caster Sugar gradually while stirring. You then need to Whisk them both up together until they are combined and smooth with a light and creamy colour.

4. Using a Large Metal Spoon, you now fold in the cooled melted chocolate and butter mixture, one spoonful at a time. Keep stirring it through the creamy mixture, keep going one spoon at a time until all of the smooth thick liquids are combined into one large one. It should be a lot and not lumpy. TOP TIP If the chocolate mixture is still hot it instantly cooks the eggs and you end up with a curdled concoction! Make sure its cool, lukewarm is best, and stick to my one spoon at a time method!

5. Finally you need to Sieve the Cocoa Powder and the Plain Flour into your liquid, again you do this gradually, shaking a little into the bowl and mixing it through until it disappears. Repeat until all the dry ingredients are in the bowl and the mixture should now be a thick pour-able liquid. Add your chocolate chips or buttons or other bits now! Mix them in thoroughly.

6. Pour the mixture entirely into your tray with the parchment inside it. The mixture should sit just over half way inside giving it a little room to rise up slightly. Add any toppings like chocolate chips now, or part way through if they are not bake stable. Shake the tray from side to side before pushing it into the oven, so the bake is level.

7. Bake it with the correct setting for your oven, you’re looking for an even bake with the slightly crisp topping, it should change colour, it should be soft but cooked in the centre. On average this bake takes between 20 and 30 minutes, depending upon tray used and oven type. Just keep an eye on it, take it out and stick a knife into it. When the knife comes out almost clean, pull the tray out. Leave it on top of your oven for ten minutes, try the knife again. Remember if you hit a melted chocolate chip you may think it’s not cooked when it is! For this reason don’t be tempted to over cook it! They should be soft with the additional chocolates melted inside when you cut it!

Remember to wobble the tray so the mixture goes flat!

Thank you very much for joining me for Sweet Treats Week! I hope to see you again tomorrow!

If you make any of my recipes be sure to tag me on social media, leave me a comment here on my blog. Any questions don’t hesitate to ask them! If you recreate this recipe somewhere else please credit me for it and name me and my blog or even better link back to this original post! Thanks everyone!

Sabrina

Sabrina’s Chocolate Orange Brownies (B.)

Fun Crafts With Children This Christmas

Hello everyone, today I’ve gone all arts and crafts on you! Most children break up from school today and I’m sure a lot of you are trying to come up with ways you can entertain everyone without it being Christmas movie after Christmas movie. Hands up if I’m right!

So what about some crafting! You can choose whichever one of these that you already have the necessary items for!
Pick one or do them all over the festive season! They make great tree decorations or cards, and perfect gifts for family members too!

Top Tip: Pop your little ones name and the year in the corner of the decoration if you’re keeping it, make one every year and compare the sizes!

It’s amazing what you can make out of a few bits of card, a pack of mixed pens and some washable paints! Why not give one of these awesome craft ideas a go with your little ones this Festive Season!

I always love the idea of doing cards! You can combine any of the below ideas and then simply cut out your finished design and stick it on to a piece of card.

Reindeer Foot Print
Penguin Foot Print
Snowman Foot Print
Christmas Tree Foot Print


Reindeer Hand Print
Robin Hand Print

What Will You Need:

A Sensible but Fun Adult 😉 with Baby Wipes at the ready!
Coloured Paper and Card
Pack of Mixed Coloured Pens, Glitter Pens are also cool too
Double Sided Tape or Pritt Stick or Glue

Washable Paints in mixed colours – I like the Crayola ones
A few different sized paint brushes or a sponge for skin application.

Scissors (one reason you need an adult)
Stickers if you want to add those or some googly eyes for your print animals

You may need a ruler, a hole punch and string or ribbon if you plan on making anything into a hanging decoration.

Use Washable Paints and some Card to make your very own Tree Decorations or Christmas Cards. It’s easy to do Hand Print Robins, Wreath or Reindeer! Or Footprint Trees, Snowmen, or Penguins!

How To Make It…

Paint your child’s Hand or Foot and carefully press it down on to your chosen card or paper.
Let it dry overnight somewhere warm.
Flatten the design for the next few hours once it’s dry.

Next you need to decide which Christmas theme to go for!
Paint, Draw or Stick on your favourite bits to make your design real!
Get an adult to do any cutting parts that are needed to make it into a decoration or card.

Toilet Roll Snowflakes are great to do too!
You need two toilet rolls per snowflake, glue, scissors, paint and glitter!
Tip One: Paint the Toilet Roll and Glitter it up first and then let it dry before cutting, at least overnight!
Tip Two: Cut all the pieces the same width and arrange it before gluing!
Tip Three: Tie some Ribbon or String to the top and hang in your home!

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes today, I hope you enjoyed this Arts and Crafts post. Hopefully I will to see you here again soon. Have a great Festive Season!

✩ Sabrina ✩

Reindeer Child Foot Print

Breastfeeding Your Baby, the Issues, the Infections and the Isolation. But it’s the Most Rewarding Thing I Ever Did.

In my article I’m going to be talking about the different issues and infections I have had during my current journey, in order to raise awareness for other mothers who, like me, may have been unaware of the seriousness of them. And I will also be touching upon the isolation too, it’s such a stupid thing in modern times for it not to be accepted by everyone.
It is however the most rewarding thing that I have ever chosen to do.
At the end of the day breasts are part of a woman’s body in order to nurse children. I will discuss lots of things in these 4000+ words! So grab a cup of tea and a biscuit and brace yourself for honesty and facts…

Breastfeeding is Incredible but it is also Hard Work

Breastfeeding my son has been one of the most rewarding yet hardest things I have ever done in my life. It was a choice I made while I was pregnant and I wanted to persevere and give it my absolute best, with the aim of feeding him for at least six months if it was possible. But then when we hit that milestone and after that other milestones too, I just kept saying “I will now stop when baby no longer wants it”. Now we are at 15 months and still going, yay for us! The bond we have is amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, it certainly was not the easy way of feeding my baby and I think that women who do breastfeed give up a lot, and this should definitely be recognised a bit more. Let me start at the beginning and explain how and why I chose to carry on, in the face of pain, problems and less than four hours sleep for many a night. And why I’m still breastfeeding… right now in fact! While I type some of this story!

It had been an uphill battle to establish the breastfeeding and the routines to begin with. We were plagued with problems from the outset but because I was determined I continued on. Our son developed jaundice a day after birth which required a lengthy stay in hospital in an UV incubator and I breastfed or pumped every ninety minutes for the first two weeks of his life. Tough was an understatement, because my milk was still only just coming in when we realised our son had some problems. So I ended up with sore and cracked nipples from the constant feeding one way or another. The lack of sleep and the worry caused me to get rundown too. I remember filling myself with food and drinking litres of water at the beginning, it really did help get me through. And I have to thank the midwife team and breastfeeding coordinators at my local hospital too for their support and kindness.

When we eventually went home, to stay, our son was cluster feeding, we encouraged this to get him to gain some weight. It was incredibly hard, with sleep time being few and sitting down time a plenty, yet I wouldn’t change the bond it allowed for us to grow. So many hours were spent just gazing at one another; sleepy feeding at all hours and burping sessions too! We were doing so well, our little boy was slowly gaining weight and we had turned a corner. Family were also supportive and I carried my pregnancy pillow with me everywhere I went… Then one day as we started to feed I got pains, and these increased over the course of the day, and it turned out to be an infection that I knew nothing about. Let me tell you about Ductal Thrush.

Lots of doctors misdiagnose this ailment as Mastitis when in fact it’s Ductal Thrush. And if you get a misdiagnosis like I did with this, then you can actually make your infection so much worse! Let me explain a bit more about my run-ins with the dreaded Ductal Thrush and then I will show you a list of the symptoms and give you some facts!

Ductal Thrush

My son was only seven weeks old when I got some bizarre pains as he latched on to feed. Previously my breasts had been engorged and that was painful, my nipples had been sore and cracked and they had also been painful, but this was different. It felt as though my son was drawing my milk out through the nipple, and as usual you can feel that gentle pull, except this time it was as though my nipple was being shredded from the inside out by glass shards. Yes… glass shards. It’s the best way I have of describing it, and it’s incredibly painful. At times during my experience with Ductal Thrush I would even say it hurt me more than the contractions of labour.

Now I’m pretty good with pain, I had my son naturally on just a little gas and air, and even my midwife took that off me almost ninety minutes before he was born to get me to focus more… so when I was tearing up and gritting my teeth through baby latching I knew something was not right. My son and I had such a bond already, but he was feeding frequently, usually fourteen to fifteen times in every twenty four hours. The pain of Ductal Thrush lasts for around a minute or two into the feed, and then different pains occur after baby has fed and you have your milk let down. That pain is a dull ache felt right in the depths of the breast tissue, mine was so deep it radiated around my back under my armpit.

I managed to get in at my GP quickly, the next day in fact. But I had hardly any sleep because of the pain during and between feeds that I was exhausted when I got there. The doctor took a look and listened to my symptoms before telling me that it was Mastitis. Having read about this condition and also having been given leaflets on it in hospital because it’s quite common in new breastfeeding mum’s, I just didn’t think he was correct. I went home with a box of antibiotics, and despite my reservations I took them for four days. The GP said that after forty eight hours I should begin to feel better and that the pain would get better. In fact by the fourth day the pain had almost doubled and I was crying my way through every single feeds. I was biting down on one of the baby teething rings we had bought for him just to get through the initial latch, and if he let go and had to start all over again I would literally be sobbing it was terrible.

After this night of debilitating pain I decided to call the breastfeeding coordinator number that I had been given, and they gave me some advice. They also sent a member of the breastfeeding team to my house to check me over when I described what a time I was experiencing. They checked to make sure baby was latching properly, and once I had told them about the pain they instantly knew it was Ductal Thrush and not Mastitis. I remember exactly how the conversation went, and how exhausted I felt. She also looked inside my son’s mouth because you can often see the thrush in baby’s throats and on their tongue. I wasn’t aware of this until I was told, but it’s white and often sticks to babies tongue and gums, and it was evident towards the back of my little ones mouth.

“You need to go back to your GP with this new information, and you need to stop taking those antibiotics because that type is feeding the infection not helping to get rid of if”.

I was devastated, it was now worse because of the misdiagnosis and my son was suffering too, I had to phone the GP up and ask to see them again. When I told him what the breastfeeding team had said he needed to look it up on his computer and find out what he needed to prescribe me instead. Not only did we require tablets but we also needed a nipple cream for me and a gel for my son for his mouth. They weren’t an everyday antibiotic, and my local pharmacy required a minimum of twenty four hours in order to get them in. So I waited, my husband picked up the prescription for me the following afternoon, and it was three days for them to enter my system and begin working.

During all of this time I continued feeding through the excruciating pain, and my poor son kept looking up at me wondering why I was so upset, his mind must have been so confused at the time, since I had always enjoyed our feeds and bonding since getting over the initial first pains and soreness that comes with new mothers feeding. Now he saw it as something that was upsetting me so I tried to not show him how hurt I was feeling and tried to smile down at him for reassurance.

But I was now in pain for minutes at every single feed, and this continued for a further week before it finally began to improve. It was tedious, I had to apply this fungal cream after each feed but remove some of it if it hadn’t been absorbed into the skin when he next wanted to feed. I also had to rub the gel onto his gums after each feed was over. I also had Lanolin for my nipples which were so sore from all the contact. But the antibiotics were finally starting to work, and I had a two week dosage of tablets which I thought was fine. It wasn’t. Due to it being so bad and embedded so far into my breast tissues I had to return to the GP and get a further repeat prescription of it. In total I was medicated for a whole six weeks, and it was a concern with my son being so young and the medication passing on to him.

For me Ductal Thrush at times was more painful than giving birth, and any mother who has had a severe case of it like I did will no doubt back me up. I’m not exaggerating with the pulling your milk through shards of glass description, or the burning sensation that radiates through your entire chest and into your tissue and muscles well into your back. I look back now and it’s a bit of a blur, I wonder how I even got through those weeks, but I did. I remember having to bite down on that teether at our three o’clock feed to stop my crying waking up the neighbours.

The GP even sent me to the hospital during my second dose of antibiotics to have an ultrasound scan on my breast tissues, to make sure nothing else was going on, luckily there was not and I was able to return to feeding my son. Although this was not before I was asked if I wanted to stop feeding him. When the thrush reoccurred without the tablets, well it never really left thinking back on it now, it was just starting to improve when I ran out of medication that first time and therefore it flared up again. But I recall telling every member of the health department that I came across, “No, I have worked too hard to establish feeding I want to continue”. I knew that I could beat this and carry on, not just for my son but for my sake as well.

As a sufferer of Endometriosis, I’m currently at Stage Four, so it was more beneficial to me to continue breastfeeding as long as was possible. When I explained the benefits most people could see why I wanted to maintain the feeds. But it was important to me because of how much I had already been through to even get to this stage of breastfeeding. For those few weeks that were debilitating and exhausting it felt never ending, but then we turned a corner, I woke one morning and the pain was there but bearable. I didn’t see the Ductal Thrush again, and if I never do again it would be all too soon. It affected the supply in my right breast, so much so that the left side became dominant and grew to almost double the size. I live with the constant lopsided reminder of how infection can really change your body. But I am a stronger breastfeeding mother because of what I have been through.

So many mothers are misdiagnosed with Ductal Thrush and it can have implications as well as creating painful feeding. Please speak to your local breastfeeding team if you are at all concerned that your GP might not be fully understanding to your needs. Get them to check inside your baby’s mouth because this is also an indication of where thrush lies. As a mother who has chosen to breastfeed you should be made aware of what Ductal Thrush and Mastitis are, so that you can make an informed decision if you should contract either of them.

Let us now go through the differences between the two of them. Ductal Thrush occurs when an infection grows among the breast tissues and is usually spread and passed from mother to baby and back again. Thrush can be an infection that occurs on several different parts of the body. Evidence of it in the breast can sometimes be seen on and around the nipple, or within baby’s mouth. Baby needs to be treated at the same time as the mother and it usually affects both of the breasts, but usually one side more than the other. Mastitis occurs in the breast when the ducts of tissue become blocked, it is usually associated with engorgement or when your baby is not feeding effectively and draining every part of the breast. Mastitis is accompanied with red, swollen and hot skin, then pain and redness that expands. Both of these conditions are serious, Mastitis more so due to the nature of the infection.

As explained on the NHS website, here are some more facts about Mastitis as a condition.

Mastitis only usually affects one breast and women feel unwell.
Symptoms develop quickly and can include a red, swollen and painful area of the breast.
Usually there is a lump or hard area to the breast tissue that doesn’t go after feeding baby.
There can be burning pains associated with feeding your baby or occurring continuously.
Discharge from the nipple is common including white or blood streaked.
Flu-like symptoms are the normal experience for people with this infection, aches and pains, fatigue, going hot and cold, running a temperature and a having a fever.

Mastitis in breastfeeding women is known as Milk Stasis, it is caused by a build-up of milk that has not been drained properly. This occurs when the baby hasn’t got a good enough latch, there is an abundance of milk and baby isn’t feeding effectively or when the baby is feeding infrequently or misses a feed. It is an infection most common in the first twelve weeks of breastfeeding; however it can occur at any time for breastfeeding mothers who have a change in their usual routine for example. Mastitis occurs when the build-up of breast milk that has become blocked becomes infected with bacteria. If the bacteria are not treated quickly then the milk can turn into pus in the form of a breast abscess which may then need to be surgically drained.

Luckily Mastitis is easily treatable with antibiotics and rest. As with any infection you need to rest and hydrate, as well as eat healthily and take the tablets you are prescribed. Pain medicine such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can be taken on the advice of your Doctor. Avoid tight fitting clothes and no bra if you think you may have Mastitis and while you are recovering. You must continue to breastfeed so as to remove any milk from the breast and avoid any further infections.

Is it important to remember that Mastitis can be a serious infection, and if you believe you may have it you need to see a Doctor as soon as possible. When infections spread it is more difficult to treat them and undiagnosed infections can lead to problems like Abscess’ or even Sepsis (Blood Poisoning). If in doubt see your GP and don’t be embarrassed about seeking help for something like this.


My Experience with Mastitis

I think I was in denial when I had Mastitis. I kept thinking, just one more painful feed and then it will be better, but this went on for weeks until I finally walked a mile and a half to the doctors on a really hot day because I could literally take it no more. I had a sore nipple after my son had accidentally bitten me with a fresh tooth he was cutting, and as he breast fed the sore kept reopening as a wound and became rather painful. This is what I attributed my pains to, and it wasn’t until I woke with an adjacent lump and red patch on my skin that I thought it was something more.

As I sat down to be examined with the doctor a chaperone was there too, and she was watching my son who was getting flustered at the sight of somebody other than him touching my breast, ha! Within seconds of looking at me he concluded it was Mastitis and told me I needed to start antibiotics immediately, I was told off for not coming in sooner. He told me to go to the pharmacy across the road and then go home and rest. He advised me to up my fluid intake, take paracetamol and stay warm. He even told me that if the redness spread any further across my chest to phone 111 and get admitted for IV antibiotics. It was quite scary…

My son was so flustered I had to breastfeed him in the Doctor’s surgery waiting room before I left the premises. That’s one thing people don’t realise about Mastitis, you actually have to keep on feeding despite the pain. Allowing the Breast to become engorged again would be dangerous and could further spread the infection.

So once my son was done I managed to get him back into his pushchair and I did what the Doctor said, I got my tablets, then I grabbed myself some Pepsi Max and Chilled Water from the convenience store next to the pharmacy too, it was so hot that day. Walking home afterwards I was getting more and more exhausted.

Once home I didn’t get the chance to rest, I took my medication then I fed my son both food and my milk. By the time I was sitting down to breastfeed I realised how hungry I was, but upon reading the antibiotic packet I saw it read no food for two hours after a tablet. So I then had to wait even longer to have my lunch.

By the time my husband got home from work in the evening I was sat on the sofa huddled in blankets watching my son play with his toys on his mat. I was so exhausted I just did dinner in the oven that night. One of the symptoms is fatigue because your body is fighting an infection. Another is the flu like symptoms that hit you like a train. For a moment you feel fine and then boom you’ve got shivering shakes and feel really cold. It was 28 degrees Celsius outside and 24 inside my house, yet I was sat with a heavy cardigan on and a blanket wrapped around me. I had these particular symptoms on and off for just over forty eight hours, and they were not pleasant.

I was on my antibiotics course for two weeks, one tablet four times a day. Luckily by the time I came to the end of the course I had noticed an improvement and my pain was now subsiding. I did however still had the open sore on my nipple which took another three weeks to heal completely. My son couldn’t help opening it every time he had an aggressive “I’m really hungry” feed.

The reason I got Mastitis was because I was away from my son for a few hours. Despite expressing some milk while away that day I still ended up engorged and in a lot of pain. Although I had encouraged him to feed more from my breast in the days that followed I could see my raised ducts weren’t going back down. If I ran my finger over my skin while he fed I could feel them, they were like tiny raised finger like shapes. A week or so later the pain and discomfort began getting a lot worse. One side of my breast was bright red and due to my encouraging more feeds to try and empty the breast, it had become sore and my skin was splitting where my nipple met my areolas. I gritted my teeth at the start of every feed.

My son prefers one side to the other… I hear most babies do! I recall the doctor asking me if he fed on the other side and I said he did do, but my right could never keep up with the supply and demand that the Left could. He commented that I was rather lopsided, and I asked him to tell me something I didn’t already know!

So the weeks past and luckily my Mastitis completely rectified itself and I didn’t need any further treatment. I’m one of the lucky ones, and I also have fairly small breasts as far as sizes go! I could imagine that someone with larger breasts where more infection could spread would be having a more difficult time of it! It didn’t reoccur at all although I have been careful not to have a spaced out feed since then, and my son has gone everywhere with me.

It took me a whole month to feel normal again, it was awful feeling so weak for a few days, but then the fatigue took a few days to recover from as well. I was grateful that I knew a bit about Mastitis due to my misdiagnosis when I had Ductal Thrush, so at least I was clued up on what to look out for. But some women are never told about these conditions and I think it’s important that they are discussed and recognised by the wider community.


Isolation

Finally, I want to talk about the Isolation that Breastfeeding brings.

Breast is best, and it sure is! You get to bond with your baby, get extra cuddles and even burn more calories and get your pre-baby body back more quickly! But breastfeeding can also be very isolating especially if you can’t express or find it difficult to get your baby to take milk from a breast and a bottle… this was us. We had always hoped to do combination feeding, but our son didn’t like multiple bottle types. That said, I have never had an issue with feeding him by my breast, wherever I was and whenever he needed me to, I did it. So far that has been sat on the floor in Primark and even whilst walking around Tesco supermarket doing the grocery shopping.

I knew of mother friends who went back to a date night routine when their child was twelve weeks old, they went back to work at nine months, they went on a family holiday around the little ones first birthday. Most of these friends bottle fed their children for whatever reason. But you could end up like me, putting your little ones needs ahead of your own, you could be breastfeeding them for a particular reason. Our main reason is allergies, specifically food ones. It was imperative that I kept feeding him when my son was diagnosed with a potential milk allergy, and now we know it is a serious one I was glad that I stuck with feeding and didn’t put him at risk by trying all sorts of random formula. We are now waiting to see a consultant about his allergies, so for now I am sticking with breastfeeding him and maintaining a free from diet for me. It makes things difficult but I am used to it now, and I know he is safe.

It’s been hard not to be the social butterfly that I once was, but I have enjoyed the time with my son, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Especially the teaching and learning for both of us, the bonding and the love. Teaching him has been an absolute joy so far and I hope that it continues.

Unless other mother friends have breastfed and know what it’s like to have a cluster feeding baby who feeds every two hours and for fourteen or fifteen times a day, then they don’t know what it’s like to painfully turn down social invitations because you’re so exhausted you can just about feed and clothe yourself and the baby. It does get better, and routines are the key. Now I can plan my day so that I can get in a short walk and maybe a grocery shop between breast feeds and even do things around the house without baby getting too grumpy by not being permanently attached to my chest! I know it’s been a good day if I have showered, have done my home chores and gotten a walk in all before four o’clock in the afternoon. At that time every day we cuddle up on the sofa so he can feed, with a packet of free from biscuits for me, and we watch our favourite quiz shows together until it’s time for me to cook dinner. It’s a great life to live, although it can sometimes be a little lonely in terms of adult interaction, though I have to say being at home with my son all day is one of the best decisions I ever made. I know it cannot be like this forever and I will make the most of the time I have with him before things change.

I am a proud mother bear to be still feeding my child now at fifteen months of age. I’m also quite glad looking back, all the hurdles we have beaten and all the issues we have overcome. And yes I have to maintain a dairy free diet for the entire time that I continue breastfeeding, but you know what, it’s what is best for my son, so I will do it.

I guess what you can say here is that breastfeeding is only isolating if you let it become such. During those first few months everyone is learning and discovering and it’s both wonderful and scary and also amazing. This little life looks to you for everything and that is a massive deal, but you also cannot lose sight of who you were before you were mother of the baby. I think for a few months that was what happened to me. I stopped being Sabrina and started being mum, mum for every occasion. When in reality what was really happening was that I was isolating myself even more. I got out of that rut by joining a baby class and having an afternoon out with other parents and their children every week. The isolation started to become less and less and I soon felt more like myself again.

Recently my son has been teething, in fact for the last month he has cut tooth after tooth and is ahead of the game in terms of a teething diagram! This is a good thing in some ways, but it has also meant that he has fed more. Partly out of comfort and partly out of the fact he is having an overall growth spurt. I am back to having between four and six hours sleep in every twenty four hours, I am up at least twice a night and it is quite exhausting some days. But the feelings I have when I am the one who can soothe his pain and calm him down, is very reassuring to me, that bond is irreplaceable. So for now I make do with the lack of sleep, because of all the positives our continued feeding provides us.

So, if you’re breastfeeding and feel a little bit alone here is my advice. Join a club or a group, get out for some fresh air, invite family or friends around and do something together even if it’s free! Just remember that you’re not just a boob on legs, although some days you think that that is all your little one sees! You are a person, a parent and a mother who is doing this amazing thing for their child, but you need to look after yourself too, body and soul.

Don’t let breastfeeding close you off, allow it to open doors to so much more, more friends and more life experiences.

Thanks for reading this lengthy article, if you got to the end in one sitting then I give you a pat on the back. I will be talking about more aspects of parenting very soon. until then, see you later.

Sabrina

Sabrina’s Special Free From Curry

Sabrina’s Special Free From Curry

What makes my recipe different to others? My “Special” Curry is Free From for my family! The great thing about my recipe is that you can put any meat with it or even vegan alternatives such as Quorn with it. Whatever protein you fancy really! Even fish if you’re that way inclined! The combined flavours work well with everything, but I prefer Chicken and… Potato! Yes… you’ll see!

I use my nifty little food processor (Russel Hobbs Mini Chopper) to save chopping time but if you don’t have a processor then just chop the vegetables as small as possible with a knife and watch those fingers!

The Free From Bit! This curry recipe is DF, NF and GF and it serves 4-6 people. So many curries in the supermarkets contain dairy and nuts. Even local take away restaurants cannot guarantee things being free from certain ingredients. Our family has a wide range of allergies so I’ve learnt to cook my recipes alternatively and figure out what works without it including an allergen. This has been my best recipe to date! You can follow this and it be great for you and your family as well! Plus it’s 3 of your 5 a day!

What can you serve with it? You can serve this curry with a nice Rice, Basmati is a good choice or Pilau, and you can easily get GF rice these days, I recommend Tilda or Tesco’s own brand rice for their flavour! Naan Bread is delicious but obviously it’s not DF or GF so do be careful there! Poppadoms and Chutneys are a great accompaniment but again some of these will not be GF and some even contain Nuts!
If you don’t have any allergies then you can have any of these (or all of them) with the curry! If you choose all of the above you will serve at least 6 people…

Sabrina’s Special Free From Curry
Prep Time: Up To 60 Minutes
Cooking Time: 90 Minutes
Serves: 6 People (8 if you include side dishes)

Ingredients

500g – 600g of your chosen Protein into bite size pieces for frying

400g Tomatoes – use a tin of Plum Tomatoes for the Sauce, pop them into a food processor until smooth and a sauce like consistency, use plum will taste sweeter

1 Large Onion Diced Finely for the Sauce, you can pop this in the food processor before you prepare the tomatoes until shredded very fine

1 Large Onion Chop into bite size pieces ready for frying

2 Peppers – Chopped into short slices (Red or Yellow) ready for frying

4 Tablespoons of Tomato Puree for the Sauce

The Sauce needs to be made of the following spices and seasonings;
4 Tablespoons of Garam Masala
1 Tablespoon of Cumin
3 Tablespoons of Coriander Leaf
1 Tablespoon of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Paprika
2 Tablespoons of Chilli Powder (Mild) (Use Hot if you can handle it)
30ml of warm water
Salt and Pepper to your taste.

Oil for Frying

400g – 500g Potatoes – Cut into bite size chunks and washed

Method

  1. Prepare all of the ingredients as stated above, diced and chopped.
  2. You need to have a large saucepan and a frying pan warming with a little oil in each. First begin by adding the chopped onion and peppers to the frying pan. Add the tiny diced onion and some garlic to the large saucepan.
  3. Fry off all the ingredients, once the saucepan with the diced onion is nicely caramelised, you can add the sauce ingredients from the list above and mix well. Leave the Onion and Peppers inside the Frying Pan to caramelise and then add the chicken.
  4. Put your plum tomatoes in a food processor and then once blended add them to your saucepan. Next you’ll need to continue frying off the protein and vegetables in the frying pan until thoroughly cooked.
  5. Add anything additional you require for the sauce, that includes the tomato puree and seasonings. Taste it before you add your meat and vegetables so you can tell if it needs more chilli or more salt and pepper.
  6. Simmer your sauce on a low heat, adding the contents of the frying pan which should now be nicely cooked and combined in flavour. You need to continue to simmer this for at least an hour for the flavours to coat everything and for the sauce to thicken up.
  7. Now is the perfect time to add the Potatoes! They will cook inside the sauce and do not need boiling before hand. Use fresh or tinned whatever you have at hand. Leave it to simmer for a while…
  8. Taste test at one hour to ensure the potato are cooked and the chicken is tender, stir occasionally during this hour of cooking time to ensure it’s not getting stuck to the bottom or sides. It should gradually thicken. If you don’t think there is enough sauce when you add all the contents and mix it then add 10ml of water at a time and mix in until the sauce covers everything.
  9. Serve immediately with Rice and any of the other sides I suggested.
Here is my curry when I served it with Pilau Rice and No Potato in this one either… you don’t have to add them it’s optional.

Thank you reading this post today, I really hope you like the look of my recipe, if you give it a go yourself then please tag me on social media to let me know and show me the end result too!

Sabrina

Six Tips for New Parents – the things that everyone forgets to mention!

These are my Six Tips for New Parents – but they are the things that everyone forgets to mention!

So despite being post birth and genuinely exhausted, most mum’s will admit to that feeling of pride that comes with the arrival of a child. Be it your first or fifth baby, they are all special and all little miracles. Just look what you have achieved!

However there are things people forget to mention to you and I thought I would share some of my tips in this blog post for getting passed these… we will call them the six newborn phases!

When you become a mum you look at your bundle of joy and you feel incredible, that rush of emotions and pride… you just grew and birthed (in whichever way you did) a small human being. Go you! Own it!

But, while trapped in a chair under said small human, (in fear of waking them up if you were to even clear your throat!), you can’t help but wonder why your amazing body didn’t also develop the ability of telekinesis while it was doing this awe shattering feat! How amazing and useful would that be?! So here are my six phases… I guarantee you’ll laugh before the end of this article…

Phase 1. The “I Can’t Put The Baby Down Because We Are Bonding Or Cluster Feeding” Phase.

Always keep the essentials close by, as in within an arms stretch! This goes for the TV remote, your phone, at least one snack, your phone charger or a charging device, iPad or a book, and definitely a glass of water. If you have a little one who won’t sleep very much then life saving materials can be what get you through those afternoons, as you cradle your small bundle who is finally napping but you dare not put them down. Instead you settle in to an afternoon of Netflix binge watching and you have a whole packet of biscuits with your name on.

Personally I had a lunch bag size cool bag next to where I sat with my son. Inside it were snacks, a reusable bottle of water and piece of fruit. I kept a table to one side of me with the remotes and my phone on, and a box of tissues. On the other side within a stretch away was the cool bag, my iPad and a portable USB charger. Life savers for me on several afternoons!

Phase 2. The “Where’s The Flipping Muslin Cloth” Phase.

Buy Extra Cloths! So cloths for a newborn are a given, but have you considered you may need to wipe all sorts of things off your baby and multiple times in one day. I couldn’t believe how many cloths I went through a day at first. The tip for this is to keep a folded clean pile of muslin’s somewhere in every main room of your home. Also buy similar colours of cloth so that you can just throw them all in the wash together. Because Muslin cloths are thin they don’t take a lot to wash and also dry, but you won’t want to wait a few hours when you’re down to your last one and baby is due for a feed…

Phase 3. The “What Time Is It? Oh My Days, I Forgot To Stop For Lunch, Again” Phase.

Nobody tells you how fast the time goes. This isn’t a lie, time actually goes faster and you will forget what time of day it is and then realise you haven’t had a drink for hours! Make sure you always get nourished every time you journey into the kitchen, keep snacks and fruit handy, things you can eat one handed, and keep a reusable water bottle by your favourite seat. Keeping hydrated is most important especially if you’re breastfeeding and recovering from birth too. If baby is having something to drink then you should be too!

Phase 4. The “I’m Too Tired To Cook, Let’s Open Up The Fast Food App” Phase.

Every parent will admit to ordering fast food in those first few weeks with a newborn baby. But if you can organise yourselves in the weeks running up to their arrival, you’ll feel better for it, both stomach and bank balance!

The answer is this, Bulk Cook your favourite Foods! Keep some of those previous takeaway Tupperware tubs, check how many you can stack in a drawer in your freezer. Then bulk cook a few of your favourite dishes using fresh ingredients. Then you can freeze them in tubs and in portions. Throw in Veg too if you like, at least then you’re getting healthy food inside you. Chicken Curry with added Veg or Spaghetti Bolognese made with a few Veg to bulk it out are both easy to reheat.

Phase 5. “I Managed To Put The Baby Down, Shall I Pop On That New Series On Netflix Or Go To Sleep?”

It’s really tough when Social Media blows up with the latest Netflix series, and you’re surviving on maybe 4 hours of sleep and only scrolling on your phone in order to stay awake during the 5am feed… But there will come a day when things get easier, your baby won’t need feeding every two hours forever. And then you’ll sleep a little more… (does 6 hours or less sound good to you?). Plus you’ll get used to the lack of sleep and gradually be able to do more, like managing to watch half an episode of something… once a week… then forget what happened and watch it again… and so it goes on…

Phase 6. “We haven’t had any us time for a long time…”

This phase is a serious one and more to do with you as parents, it’s brand new, it’s exhilarating and exhausting but remember you have become two different people. You are still you, and what time you spend together is still important. You might not get a date night in weeks, if not months after baby is born. But if you have the support of family and you trust them, then there will come a time where you can leave your baby with that person and get back to being you “both” again.
People don’t tell you how hard it is, not being able to go out just the pair of you, you won’t get to watch television or a film without interruption or pausing it every now and then. This is the new normal and it’s okay to find it a difficult transition. Especially if you’re used to going out for a meal once a week or pop off to the cinema at an hours notice…
My tip to get through this phase is this, plan, plan and plan some more. Make timetables and plan ahead with a calendar and try your best to stick to it. Change the usual cinema outings to a Netflix movie and a meal at home, with a big bag of popcorn and sweets from the supermarket as a great and cheaper alternative to the cinema treats…



Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes today, I hope that I see you here again soon for more parenting posts.

✩ Sabrina ✩

Sabrina’s Dairy Free Vegetable Nuggets

How To Make Delicious Dairy Free Vegetable Nuggets For All The Family To Enjoy!

Today I will be showing you how to make tasty, nutritious and dairy free vegetable nuggets that contain four different vegetables.
They are great fun for your children to eat as finger food and your older children can dip them in the sauce if they choose.
This recipe is ideal for weaning and beyond.

Veggie Nugget (broken so you can see the soft inside)



Ingredients for Sabrina’s Veggie Nuggets

3 Tablespoons of Tomato Ketchup
1 Tablespoon of Reduced Salt Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon of Mixed Herbs
1 Large Egg (Beaten)
160 grams of Breadcrumbs (approx) roughly 4 slices of bread – I always use the 2 end bits if I have them!
6 Medium Carrots – Grated and Squeezed
2 Courgettes – Grated and Squeezed
100 grams of Swede Cooked First, then Diced Finely using a Chopper
1 Large White Onion Diced Finely
50 grams of Dairy Free Alternative to Italian Style Hard Cheese
Plain Flour (6 tablespoons approx) spread this onto a small plate ready for rolling…




Method

To make the sauce combine tomato ketchup and soy sauce together. Double the amount if you are preparing these nuggets for people to dip into the sauce straight after cooking them. Use half of the sauce for the vegetables mixture and leave half for the dip.

Once you have prepared all of the vegetable ingredients as directed above, you will need to ensure the mixture of vegetables isn’t too wet. Take a handful of the grated and chopped veg and place it between a few paper towels, a muslin cloth or a clean tea towel. Squeeze and press it in the cloth to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Do this with all of the grated veg.

Get a large mixing bowl and crack the egg into it. Add the herbs and stir until combined. Next add some of the tomato dip. Next add the squeezed vegetables, then lastly add the hard cheese (or alternative) and the breadcrumbs, stir it all thoroughly. You don’t want lots of the same type of veg in each ball, try and mix it so you get a variant of all the ingredients. (I do my breadcrumbs in a small food mixer).

Place the flour onto a small plate ready to roll your nuggets in.

To make a nugget take a small handful of the combined mixture and roll between your palms. Top Tip! Do this with wet hands so it doesn’t stick to you! Roll them out into oval shapes, and then once happy you can roll each one in flour to coat it.

Have a large frying pan ready on your cooker with some oil getting hot. You should place the nuggets down gently so as not to break them or splash the oil. Fry each one until lightly browned all over. Top Tip! Use a pair of tongs to adjust them while frying to make sure you do all of the sides. Keep topping up the oil after every few nuggets.


Once they are cooked set the nuggets to one side on a piece of kitchen roll so as to drain any excess oil from them and let them cool a little, and then serve them while they’re still warm in a large bowl with the remainder of the tomato dip. They are great for a children’s party or a finger food family night in.

Squeezing the Veg so as to remove as much moisture as possible.
Veggie Nugget Mixture Ready For Mixing and Rolling

Vegetable Nuggets are ideal for children who are weaning at around 10 months and older, when they are learning to hold and bite into foods.
They are great for getting your children to eat vegetables.
The tomato dip provides a fun element for older children.
The leftovers can be frozen, defrost over night and re-fry them to give them a crunchy outside again.

My Recipe made me approximately 24 Nuggets.

Once you have rolled your nuggets between your palms you can get ready to fry them… My Top Tip is to have some done so you can fry one set while you make the next set…

Frying Tips

When frying the Nuggets take care and turn them frequently so that they cook evenly on all sides. You also need to maintain the oil so that they sit in a few millimetres at all times to avoid sticking to the pan.

Finished Veggie Nuggets

These Nuggets are great, and rather tasty too, that is providing you like the Veg I have chosen. You can substitute the Courgette for Mushrooms if you prefer those! And you can also do these without being dairy free by using a regular cheese like Parmesan if you wish.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have enjoyed reading about this recipe, if you decide to give it a go then please leave me a comment with how it went afterwards… Check out my other recipes on the category list!

✩ Sabrina ✩