Matalan Memory Foam Pumps Review – Are they as comfortable as they look?

At the start of Lockdown it dawned on me that I didn’t have any comfortable footwear for walking in, that wasn’t a heavy walking boot or an uncomfortable flat shoe. None of what I had was suitable for the hot weather that was forecast either, so one afternoon while my son took a nap, I scoured the internet looking for something to suit me. I have awkward feet, let’s say that!

Not only were there so many different pumps and trainers out there to choose from, but I also couldn’t afford to spend a lot either. So I looked for a shoe with a gripped base and comfortable inside, ideal enough for my wide foot but a shape that would also grip my tiny ankles (I told you I was awkward!).

Usually I wouldn’t even consider buying shoes online, I would normally wait and do it all in store, so little fits me properly, but it was the end of April and with no sign of the virus easing I decided to take the risk and order online for home delivery.

In the end I chose a Matalan pump, it had Memory Foam inside and a gripped sole on the base. It contours to your feet and allows a good grip too.

Product Name: Black Memory Foam Slip On Pumps
Product Price: £12.00
Product Information: Also available in Grey. Sink your feet into maximum comfort with these sumptuously soft slip-ons. Constructed with a plush memory foam insock, which contours to your feet, additional features include a black marl outer, alongside a contrasting white chunky cleated sole for added grip and sturdiness.
Product Link: Matalan

As you can see the pumps fitted me well, I chose a Size 4 despite having one foot slightly larger. My reason behind this was because I read the online reviews people had written on the Matalan website, and many people had said these particular style of pumps were a little on the large size and not true to size for some wearers.

So I tried walking in them on warm days, with and without wearing socks. I found that my feet sweated far more in the memory foam without the barrier of a sock between my skin and the memory foam. I decided that after that day I would always wear socks with them, and they were incredibly comfortable.

Easy to walk in and light and gentle on your feet. The shoes themselves are so lightweight it gives you no additional effort to walking.

Over all I am very happy with these pumps, the purchase price was very good for something so versatile and comfortable. It is annoying that my feet sweat so much and that I will have to wear socks with them when out walking for more than a few minutes, however for the price, I don’t mind that and have plenty of trainer socks to pair with them.

Are they as comfortable as they look? Yes! Even more so. The material is super soft, they are lightweight to lift your feet and they are well made and sturdy too. They are well sewn up together, very neatly over all and the soles have got plenty of grip for any outdoor wear. I wore these on grass and pavement and stone paths, and the grip was excellent throughout the various terrain.

I can definitely recommend these pump shoes, I would even be tempted to get another colour in the future when these begin to wear out. They currently do them in Black and Grey. I wonder if Matalan will release any other colours too? Perhaps a question to ask…

My Final Review Scores

Quality of Product 5/5
Product Price 5/5
Design of Product 5/5

Comfort During Use 4/5

I have walked around 5 miles in these pumps now over the last few weeks, and the soles have barely worn, so I hope they last me a long time.

I hope you enjoyed reading this review today, if you have any questions about the product then please leave me a comment below. Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes.

✩ Sabrina ✩

Fun Easter Crafts

HAPPY EASTER FROM SEVERN WISHES

Fun to Make ~ Easter Art and Crafts ~ with Sabrina of Severn Wishes

I have wanted to do this blog post for the last three years, and I have always been too busy to complete it! Mainly because it is a mixture of writing the blog, creating and making the craft items, and then taking the step by step images, processing all of those and then putting the entire lot together in one blog post. It is both time consuming and a lengthy in process too. So what changed this year? Well for one thing, I was more determined to do some more craft this year, but isolation has also made me re-evaluate what’s important, and that is to make happy memories with my son. No matter what is going on outside our home, he doesn’t understand, and it is my job to keep things as normal as possible, so extra fun, extra learning and extra memories are all on the table at the present time. I’m so glad you could join me to hopefully make some memories of your own!

So without any further ado, let’s get our crafty fingers at the ready! Depending upon which Crafty Project you wish to undertake you will need a variety of items. My idea is this, pick an item from the four below, and then match the “You Will Need” items with what you already have at home. Providing you have all the necessary bits and bobs then feel free to scroll down to that Project and then get cracking with my Step by Step guides! Happy Crafting!

1. 3D Friendly Ladybird
2. Wiggly Caterpillar
3. 3D Paper Flower (Can be Framed or Made into an Easter Card)
4. Hand Print Easter Bunny Rabbit

5. Other Craft Ideas

1. 3D Friendly Ladybird

You Will Need
Pritt Stick or Glue
Coloured Paper and / or Card
Circular Objects to Draw Around (This will determine the size of your Ladybird)
Pencil
Scissors
Black Pen
Googly Eyes (if you have some but not essential)

This is the easiest of my crafts today, and will take around twenty minutes to make. You can make it any size, any colour that you like. Why not make one for each member of the family? I am going to make several of them to put around my son’s bedroom. He loves Gaston from Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, so my son is the inspiration behind this particular craft project.

Step 1. Choose the Size of your Ladybird. Choose your colour. Draw around a Circular object so that you have 4 Circles the same size, and then you will need a smaller circle for the head, judge this depending upon the size of the body. Cut out these 5 circles and then you’re ready to begin.

Step 2. On the small circle draw a line across the centre, you want to colour the half of this circle in with black pen. Don’t forget to draw eyes on it too like mine, if you don’t have any fun stick on eyes to hand! Then pop this face to one side you won’t need it now until Step 6.

Step 3. Take 3 out of the 4 Large Circles and fold them in half across their centre. Gently crease them with your fingers, take a look at my image below to see how they should look.

Step 4. Take the flat circle and cover it lightly in glue or pritt stick, I always prefer a glue stick when messing with card, less mess! Then take two of your folded circles, stick glue on their side that faces flat, place them back to back and glue them down on to the flat circle so that they make a V shape.

Step 5. Take the remaining Circle that is folded in half and cover it in glue before pressing it down into the centre of your Ladybird body, covering the two below neatly. You now have a finished insect body.

Step 6. You can now glue the head on by placing the glue on to the half you didn’t colour in, make sure you line it up with the V of the Ladybird to make it look right. See my image below.

Step 7. Push down all the flat surfaces of the Ladybird and leave for an hour or two for the glue to dry. Then using a Pen or Marker, draw on however many Spots you would like.

Step 8. Repeat steps for making other colours or other sizes if you have Card or Paper left over. If you need a base for your Ladybird to sit on, why not make him a cardboard leaf! (You need leaves for another of my crafts anyway!) 😉

CRAFT FINISHED

2. Wiggly Caterpillar (munching on a leaf)

You Will Need
Pritt Stick and PVA Glue
Green Paper or Card (Card is better)
A Mixture of Green and Black Pens
Poms Poms! All Colours Welcome!
Googly Eyes or Stick on Sequins
Scissors
A Pencil
A Piece of Cardboard (Cereal box is good!)

This is a fun craft to do with young children. They can make their Caterpillar whatever colour they want. All you need is some Pom Poms! You can follow my Steps or watch my video below!

Step 1. Draw and Cut Out a Leaf Shape (this is your main leaf) from your Cardboard. Then draw around this cut out piece of cardboard on to your green paper or card and Pritt Stick together.

Step 2. Draw your Leaf design on with Green pens. Set to one side.

Step 3. Decide what Pom Poms you want to use and arrange them!

Step 4. Make some antenna and extra leaves and stick your eyes on to a Pom Pom ready to assemble your bug!

Step 5. Using PVA glue stick your Caterpillar together, don’t forget the extra leaves, arrange however you wish, then leave to dry in a warm flat place.

Step 6. Add any additional things to your bug once it has dried.

Caterpillar Video

3. 3D Paper Flower (Can be Framed or Made into an Easter Card)

You Will Need
Pritt Stick or Glue
Different Coloured Cards or Papers
A Piece of Card for Sticking to
Scissors
Pencil
A Circular Object to Draw Around (it’s diameter will be half the width of the flower so choose wisely)

This idea is simple but looks so pretty when complete. It makes a great card.

Step 1. Take a piece of plain card, this will be your base. Draw a Stem or Cut Green Card or Paper and create one. Make sure you leave plenty of room to stick the flower part. Cut out leaves and small circles of yellow paper to create the centre of the flowers. Be as creative as you like.

Step 2. Making the petals next, you need to cut circles of different colours, you will end up with 8 Petals in total per flower. I did two different sized circles to end up with two sized flowers.

Step 3. Fold all of the petals in half so you end up with 16 halves with flat sides that stick up. This is how the petals will look 3D.

Step 4. Using Pritt Stick, stick the sides of the petals down so that they rotate around the centre of the flowers. You want them all to face the same way when you stick them around the yellow centre.

Step 5. Turn the flowers into a card if you like, or make other smaller flowers too using smaller circles, and make a pretty Easter meadow scene picture. Draw or Stick Easter Eggs and Rabbits and other Easter items along the edge like an Easter scene.

4. Hand Print Easter Bunny Rabbit

You Will Need

Paper or Card
Pencil
Hands!!!
Pens for the Details
Scissors
Paint

Paint works well for this one so you don’t have to colour in, unless you prefer to colour of course. It depends how much you’re painting, if you plan to do my hand prints picture (below) then you could do extra on different paper and make them into cute Rabbits!

Step 1. Draw around your hand and / or children’s hands. Or you can do a Hand Print on to Paper using Paint! MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE OUT THE THUMB! You want the shape to resemble a Rabbit head with two of each fingers being the ears! Keep two fingers together!

Step 2. Once dry you can cut the Rabbit shape out.

Step 3. Draw on Nose, Mouth and Eyes!

Step 4. Add any extras like whiskers, inner ears and freckles! Cut it out and hang it up or stick to a handmade card if you like.

FINISHED

Not the best hand print but you get the idea! My son was a bit reluctant to help out yesterday, ha ha!

5. Other Craft Ideas
If you want to just Print some Easter Egg patterns and do some Colouring in with younger children then here are a few that I really like that you can save and print 🙂

Alternatively you could do some Painting of Hands and do some Prints!

Layer the Prints of your Hands to make a nice picture.

Thanks so much for joining me for this blog post. I hope that you’ve had fun, maybe even a laugh at my crafty items. If you made something please share it with me on social media, tag me or my page! I would love to see them! What was your favourite? Would you like to see more Art and Craft? Leave me a comment. Have a wonderful fun and safe Easter!

Best wishes from me!

Sabrina

Sabrina’s Tips On How To Make Your Food Go Further

Chicken Stir Fry with Noodles and Peppers

If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’ll know that food is a huge passion of mine. Coming up with new recipes and experimenting is a hobby of mine. But today, with all this talk about panic buying amidst this deadly virus, I couldn’t help but think, what can I do now to help others…

My epiphany was this! My Ideas On How To Make Your Food Go Further!

There are certain things that most of us keep in our kitchen during week to week shops or our larger monthly stock ups, so I wanted to focus on those to begin with. The issue right now is that due to bulk panic buying some of our staples are very hard to get a hold of. Take a look at the meals below to see if any of them would appeal to you or your family. Then see how you can make them go further with my recipe adjustments.

All of these recipes are my own, so if you wish to recreate one please credit me and notify me on where you have used it, thank you.

Keep those handy takeaway boxes ready to freeze any leftover freshly cooked meals, extra vegetables or leftover homemade sauces.

Author: Severn Sabrina
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 people
Allergens: Wheat Flour, Barley and Soya in the Gravy Granules

COTTAGE PIE
Serves 4 to 6 people (sometimes with leftovers if its children’s portions)
Ingredients

1 or 2 Large White Onion – Diced
3 or 4 Large Carrots – Diced
500g Mince Beef – Cooked & put through a processor to make smaller pieces
1kg Potatoes – Cooked and Mashed
Gravy Granules – I use the Bisto Onion Gravy Granules
Additional foods to add to make it go further…
Baked Beans x 1 Tin
Mixed Dice Vegetables x 1 Cup
~~~
Most people will have a bag of frozen veg or veg that needs to be used up. Dicing it up small and adding it to your cottage pie gravy is a great way to get extra veg into children as well as help an adult get their 5 or more a day! Same with the tin of beans! Pour off a little sauce if there is lots in the tin, but the tomato sauce actually helps you to get a lovely gravy. The beans bulk out the cottage pie filling while adding your veg in take. You can even add all of this into a large casserole dish, and cook it in the oven for an hour, even the veg if cut small enough will cook in the gravy, locking in all the vitamins…

My Cottage Pie is a family favourite! If you cannot get fresh meat then using a tin of Minced Beef and Onion would work just as well!

Author: Severn Sabrina
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 people
Allergens: Dairy will be present in Naan Bread if you choose it as a side

CHICKEN CURRY
(You can use one of my Recipes already on my blog for the method)
Serves 4 to 6 people (sometimes with leftovers if its children’s portions)
Ingredients

2 Large White Onion – Diced and Chopped into two sizes
50g Tomato Puree (this is for your homemade sauce)
2 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes (for your sauce)
500g of Chicken cut into bite size pieces
100g of Yoghurt, I use Dairy Free Coconut Yoghurt
Serve with Rice and / or Naan Bread
Sauce – I prefer to make my own to my taste but you can use a jar of sauce, but if you do use a jar you only need 1 Tin of the Chopped Tomatoes. You then add curry spices like Cumin, Paprika, Garam Masala and Chilli. As well as Garlic and Coriander usually! (See my Recipes for more on making sauce and a method for the curry too).
Additional foods to add to make it go further…
New Potatoes x 1 Tin (They’ll cook in the sauce on a low heat for 20 mins)
1 or 2 Peppers Sliced thinly (fry these a little with your onion then add)
Cauliflower Diced up x 1 Cup (Chopped small it will cook in the sauce)

Here is one of my recent Curry dishes, this one was with extra Peppers and Potatoes

Author: Severn Sabrina
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 people
Allergens: Check Jar if you purchase a sauce, otherwise none.

CHILLI CON CARNE
Serves 4 to 6 people (sometimes with leftovers if its children’s portions)
Ingredients

2 Large White Onion – Diced
4 Large Carrots – Diced
1 Tin of Plum Tomatoes (they are sweeter but you need to chop them)
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes (you could use 2 of these and no plum if easier)
500g Mince Beef or Pork or both – Cooked & then put through a processor to make the pieces of meat smaller – or use Quorn or Soya Mince
1 Tin of Red Kidney Beans
Serve with Rice
Sauce – I use a packet or a jar for convenience but you can make a sauce, you have done the basics with the tomatoes already. So add the tomatoes to a bowl, then add Cumin, Garlic and Chilli to your own taste.
Additional foods to add to make it go further…
Baked Beans x 1 Tin (some people don’t like Red Beans so you could use Baked Beans (Haricot Beans) instead.
Peppers – as many or as little as you like, if one needs using up do it!
Mixed Dice Vegetables x 1 Cup (You can add other basic veg if you don’t have enough or you want to do a vegetarian style chilli).

✩ ✩ ✩

Author: Severn Sabrina
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 people
Allergens: Check the Jar of Sauce if you buy one.

SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN
Serves 4 to 6 people
Ingredients
500g Chicken Breast (Diced) or a Vegetarian Alternative
Tin of Pineapple – Cut into Small Chunks – 1 Ring per person
Peppers – 1 Yellow and 1 Red Cut into Small Long Pieces
1 Large Onion – Diced into Small Long Pieces
2 Carrots – I Peel and Slice them with the Peeler into long thin shards!
Serve with Rice
Sauce – I always buy a cheap jar of sauce, the cheaper the better!
Alternatives
This dish is so easy to make and these flavours are quite specific, if you aren’t keen on that much pineapple then do one ring total or leave it out but then you should add more of the other ingredients.



Fresh meat, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables are hard to get hold of in my area right now. When I did a home delivery order most of what I asked for was either out of stock or I was given a substituted alternative closest to what I wanted. This was very inconvenient and I have ended up spending 4 hours in total, chopping, peeling and bulk freezing some of the fresh veg before it went bad. I created mixed veg bags including a stir fry mix!

TOP TIP: Only make a freezer portion size for what you or your family members would eat at a meal time! Then there is no waste when you defrost it to use!

Washed, Chopped and Sliced, Ready to Freeze. MY TOP TIP always squeeze the air out of the freezer bags before popping them into the freezer to save space!

You can make 6 portions of Vegetable Stir Fry using the following raw vegetables, washed, chopped and ready to cook or freeze:
3 Coloured Peppers – 1/2 a sliced pepper per portion
1 Broccoli Head – cut into thin stems
1kg Carrots – I use a peeler to slice mine into strips
1 White Onion for every 2 Portions – Diced into small chunks
~ Add any of the following to make it go further and become 8 portions~
Water Chestnuts – I use Tinned x 1
Bamboo Shoots – I use Tinned x 1

Adding Noodles OR Rice on the Day you make the Stir Fry for extra bulking out of your food. Either use 1 Packet of Stir Fry Noodles once your veg is cooked, or a packet of Microwave Noodles or a Microwave Rice (all down to your preference) and one of these makes this meal double in amount.

Using a bought Sauce or Making a Sauce?

Adding a bought sauce to this stir fry is great, but if you’re feeding more than 4 people then 1 jar is only just enough. TOP TIP: Make sure you add 2 cm of warm or hot water to the bottom of the jar, replace the lid and give it a good shake, add this to your stir fry, no sauce left in the jar and wasted!

Don’t be scared of not using all the sauce, you can you half, replace the lid and use the rest within 2 or 3 days usually (always check the label).

Alternatives for Sauce… Make your own!
You will need… Garlic fresh or paste, Ginger fresh or paste, Sweet Chilli Sauce or Chilli Sauce (if you like it hot!) Salt, Pepper and Chinese Five Spice! I prefer the pastes as it makes things so easy!

In a small bowl mix up a tablespoon of everything above! Less of the hot chilli though unless you like it spicy! Add more or less and experiment with the taste until it’s to your preference. Add this to your stir fry when you add the noodles. One of each paste does me around 7 or 8 stir fry’s or Chinese orientated meals. Chinese Five Spice goes a long way too!

A Pasta Bake is also a great way to use up Vegetables about to go stale and any leftover sandwich meats or leftover sausages for example. This is a firm fave of mine, bacon chunks, peppers and tomato!

I really hope I have given you some inspiration on some family favourites and ideas on how you can make them go a lot further during this difficult time. You can of course substitute the meats for vegetarian alternatives or swap out the vegetables you don’t like for others too.

Experiment with what you’ve got to use up and so long as you’re making healthy meals with vegetables in you’re already winning for the day! If you liked any of my meals after making them please leave me a comment, I would love to know how you got on.

Is there anything you would like to cook but need some help with? I’m an experienced cook and perhaps have experience of the dish, please comment and ask me 🙂 I’m happy to help!

Stay In and Stay Safe Friends. I might go do some baking now I’m done with my savoury cooking! If you’re after sweet treats check out those recipes that are on my blog already too!

✩ Sabrina ✩

Endo & Me ~ Endometriosis Awareness March 2020

In coordination with Endometriosis Awareness month this March 2020 I am going to be telling my diagnosis story. I know I have talked about my Endo in many of my posts, but this is the real true and honest story of mine. I will also be sharing statistics, symptoms and other information, as well as giving links to the websites you might find useful to find more out about Endometriosis if you wish to.

Not only is this going to be emotional post, it is raw, and it could also be disturbing for others. I am choosing to share some pictures post surgery too. I will therefore by putting a Trigger Warning on this post, because I am showing pictures but also talking about things that may upset others.

Please don’t let this put you off reading it, I think people need to see what effect this horrible condition can have upon the body. The female body already endures so much, so to have to deal with this condition too, it is exhausting. I should know.

There was light at the end of the tunnel for me, so this post does end on a positive, but I do believe more people need to realise the repercussions of having this debilitating and incurable condition.

Please continue reading now as I tell my story of pain, loss and eventual diagnosis.

Endo and Me

I have a love hate relationship with my body. Sometimes I love that I have a fast metabolism, it keeps me slim and I’m generally quite fit and strong despite my thin frame and small bones… however the Endo side of me causes unimaginable pain at times. It’s a chronic and incurable illness that doesn’t just affect your period like so many ignorant and uneducated people might believe. It is so much more than that because a number of things that happen to you can have a real negative affect on your life as well as your body. Let’s start at the beginning for me. I first had issues with my body when I was around fifteen years of age. I began getting unusual pain that I had to take medication for. All you could get at that age was paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets which were 200mg a piece and trust me; they barely touched the sides of my pain. As I got older I began having more symptoms, I didn’t know back then they were to do with Endometriosis. Except that whenever I sat in front of a doctor they tried to tell me it was anything and everything but that, it was never even mentioned. When I was seventeen I lost weight suddenly and quickly, I was tested for Thyroid issues and even Cancer! All tests came back negative and I tried to just deal with my awful periods and pains. Doctors were reluctant to explore further, so I let it go. At 19 I was fed up with the ridiculously heavy flow I had every month and the fact that I had no regular cycle, it was so exhausting and an anxious time. So after some persuasion on my part, I went on to a contraceptive pill. Regulating my cycle was a bonus of the tablets, and for the first time in my life I could be social with confidence. By knowing when things would be occurring allowed me to be at home with my hot water bottle and tablets when I needed to be.

When I was 25 I came off all medication in the hope of starting a family. Little did I know that all the pill had done for years was masking other symptoms of my Endo. When I had been off it for just six months I had such pain that it began affecting my everyday life. I cancelled social time with friends and family, I ended up avoiding things that I usually enjoyed because I was worried about being unwell in front of people. This caused me to suffer with anxiety, and that never went away, it just got worse as years went by… and so did my pain.

When I failed to conceive for years I went to my doctor and had various tests, blood tests for Thyroid, Hormones and Vitamin Deficiency amongst them. Then when everything came back with no issues and my pains were so bad that they affected me daily, I began seeking more answers. Endometriosis or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome was just two conditions that female members of my blood line suffer with. I must have told this to over a dozen doctors over the years. There are correlations between female genes that are often ignored. It wasn’t until I finally conceived after three years of trying, and then I tragically miscarried, that I ended up in Accident and Emergency every four weeks when I got my period, and I began getting sussed on this…

When I lost my baby I blamed myself and it made me depressed. I was so unwell physically I just didn’t know to what extent just yet.

So to help my state of mind I kept a diary, what I ate, what I did daily, what my pains were and where, I kept track of my cycle down to the hour and tried to make sense of it all. I looked for answers online and anything that told me what it could possibly be. Going in and out of hospital with no answers was exhausting, and it was wasting so much time too.

One afternoon I had written out all of my symptoms and matched them to the condition Endometriosis. All I wanted was someone to take me seriously and try and attempt to diagnose me. Instead I was in hospital nine times over the course of eighteen months. I had one MRI, seven ultrasounds, I went on a drip three times due to dehydration, I was given antibiotics twice, I had examinations with five internal swabs checking for infections… Nothing came back with anything concrete. On an ultrasound they told me that I had had a cyst that had burst. That time I ended up almost passing out in the bathroom at home from the pains, I was vomiting and couldn’t keep anything down. A&E was the only option when I had so much blood loss and was so sick from pain that I became dehydrated and needed a drip.

When I was admitted during the period that came after I lost my first child it was clear that I was incredibly ill and needed help. I had doctors who wanted to take me to surgery to check my appendix and my bowel, but I kept telling them it was Gynaecological. After I had a complete meltdown and shouting because I was kept nil by mouth for three whole days while two doctors argued over what to do with me, a lovely doctor who was a cancer specialist offered to do a basic laparoscopy on me that evening, to simply look inside me and take some pictures, so I could be passed on to whichever department I needed to be. This was the turning point for me; it was the start of my actual diagnosis. Over thirteen years since my first unexplained pains had begun…

It was severe. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis, with a mass the size of a Tennis Ball attaching my Left Ovary, Bladder, Bowel and Womb to each other. My organs were all pulled off to the left side of my body, which was contributing to other symptoms that I was having, including bloating, bowel pain and problems, pain when I had a full bladder and pain during intercourse. The pictures that were taken inside my body showed extensive Endometriosis, like a mesh of tissue, thick cobwebs and various sized pockets of blood. At this time I had been ill for a long time, and I had lost weight, I was a size 6 and I didn’t feel like me anymore. The pain was all I knew some days. Having a diagnosis was like a light bulb had been turned on in my darkened room…

I was lucky because there was an Endo Gynaecologist Specialist at my local hospital. After speaking with him he agreed to operate, to try and save my left ovary. I wanted to be a mother so badly and he understood this. We also agreed to check for reasons why I couldn’t carry a baby thus far, four years of trying and a miscarriage was an indication things weren’t right. And he wanted to find out if it was all down to this Endo and the position of my organs. He would also do the dye test on my Fallopian tubes while I was under to see if they were clear of Endo too.

So I was popped onto his waiting list for surgery twelve weeks later. Every day was hard during that time, it was a blur of medication and hot water bottles and I had to give up work and go off sick after trying and failing to do my shifts and ending up just collapsing. After dealing with the chronic pains during that time, having hardly any sleep because I couldn’t get comfortable and my constant anxiety and nausea… I finally went in for my surgery…

The day afterwards I felt like a new woman, this man and his team had literally given me my life back. It was bad, but they had fixed me for now… I had had the Endo mass and tissue removed, then my organs gently coaxed back into place, my tubes flushed, my bowel that was damaged had a resection, and my left ovary was carefully saved. I could feel that constant pressure was gone; there was no more dull pain in that area. In fact recovering from the surgical incisions wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the pain I had lived with every day for years. I stopped taking pain medications three days after I got home from my surgery, because I felt like I could deal with the pains I was getting, which were less than ten per cent than what I was used to. How mad is that?

The worst thing about the surgery for me was the gas, it fills every part of your body as it absorbs and fills the spaces between your organs, it can be very painful until it’s gone. I had to drink so much peppermint tea to help with the bloating! Below is my abdomen after surgery, you can see I’m swollen and bruised and you can see the three incision sites.

Days After Surgery…

The worse thing about having Endo is that it has stolen friendships away from me, and it put strains on other relationships too. People don’t understand how you can look so “well” on the outside but feel incredibly ill on the inside. Pain is something your body gets used to but it is the fatigue that most people struggle to deal with. Sometimes I would visit family and I would be talking one minute and falling asleep the next. Even after my surgery, although I didn’t have the same pain levels as before, I was still keeping up with the feelings of being tired, and my periods were exactly the same.

Did you know that Endometriosis also causes a whole range of other issues? I had over half of these when I eventually got diagnosed. Most women get told they have painful periods and IBS. Most of us only have these things because we have Endo. Here is a great diagram that was shared on the social media Endo pages earlier this month outlining most of what women like me have to deal with, sometimes these are daily symptoms, some are infrequent but they still occur, often brought on by hormone changes and cycles.

I experience a great deal of these symptoms. Some are daily and some are infrequent.

Endo Warrior is a term I use often to describe myself, because some days it feels like a battle just to get through the day. I am extremely lucky because I got the time to recover from my surgery, both body and soul searching too. Then when I was ready I had to do IVF in order to have my son. He is my entire world and I would be lost without him. I look back at all that I’ve been through and I am proud that I never gave up, despite everything.

If you want something in life and you have to work harder to get it then it makes it all the more worthwhile. I overcame a needle phobia and dealt with my Endo pain during my IVF treatment. But I would do all of it again if I had to. Being a mother is one of the most incredible and rewarding things I have ever done.

I realise some women have too bad a diagnosis and never get the chance to be mothers because of this condition, and that makes me sad. I class myself as one of the lucky ones.

To anyone out there who is suffering, make your voice heard. I once said to a friend that “Living a life in pain is like letting pain decide your life for you” and I got to a point where I just couldn’t live like that anymore. If your pain is ruling your life, then perhaps it is time to do something about it. Find a Doctor willing to listen and willing to take you seriously. Keep a diary, show that to a specialist if you’re lucky enough to get referred quickly.

Endometriosis has cost me so much in my life already, and because there is no cure I deal with those uncertainties for my future every single day. I still class myself as one of the lucky ones, I still have all my organs at the moment, and I was able to carry and have my son. I love being a mum. I try not to let my pain get in the way of that. As my son gets older I will be able to explain why mummy cannot bend and play today, and I will come up with other things for us to do together on those, my bad days. But I know it won’t stop me from being the mother he deserves. Of that I will make sure.

Website Links To Endometriosis Information

Endometriosis UK
Endometriosis NHS

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes today. If you would like to leave a comment please do so, I hope that my words help even just one person to stand up for themselves, to explain to a doctor that you want answers, that you deserve to live a life without pain. Stay strong.

✩ Sabrina ✩

Argos Tester Review of the BaByliss 2993KSU Keratin Shine Volume Hot Air Styler

Everything that is supplied in the box.

Being an Argos Tester I often get sent items for the purpose of a review. This month I was offered an item under the category of Personal Care ~ Hair Products. This post has been written about a product that I have been supplied in order to review it and test it.

Fitted with the 38mm thermal brush.

I chose to review the BaByliss 2993KSU Keratin Shine Volume Hot Air Styler. This amazing Dryer Styler has two heat settings and a cool setting, as well as being made from Keratin infused ceramic. It’s lightweight and easy to use. The BaByliss 2993KSU has two sized thermal brushes, one 50mm and one 38mm. They have also included a styling nozzle and the cord is a handy 2m in length.

This styler is designed to dry your hair while creating volume and a smooth finish. I have fine long hair so I wasn’t sure how well this was going to work for me. It dried my hair in a matter of seconds even on the lowest heat setting. Using the different sized roller attachments you can create different levels of volume. I needed to use products to stop my hair from going frizzy, because of how fast it did dry.

This device can only be used on damp hair and not wet hair, due to it being electric of course. Always use a heat defense spray on your hair as well before using dryers. Overall I found this device is a good time saver, it did make my hair straighter and smoother, and I used products before and after using it to tame any frizzy sections. I’m not sure how much volume it would create on fine hair, people with thicker hair types might find that aspect more beneficial. It did put a kink to the ends of my hair. I have used it several times but I also want to experiment more with it over time and see if I can work out how to create more volume.

I enjoyed testing this product and always wanted to test something like this which combined a styler with a way to dry your hair. I found that all I needed was some products to tame the frizzy flyway’s from my fine hair. I would use this product if I needed a smooth style after washing my hair, for both quickness and convenience, I feel like I would use this over a dryer and separate straightener.

Easy to Use Settings

Product Name:
BaByliss 2993KSU Keratin Shine Volume Hot Air Styler
Product Information:

1000W Power
Two Heat Settings and A Cool Setting
Two Buttons for Easy Interchangeable Attachments
Keratin Infused Ceramic Finish
Frizz Controlling Ionic System – Smooths Hair and Enhances Shine
Lightweight and Easy to Use

Interchangeable Attachments for Drying, Shaping and Adding Volume.
Two sizes of Thermal Brushes 50mm and 38mm.
Styling nozzle
Swivel Cord is a handy 2 metres


Argos Website – Click here for the link to the product on sale at Argos.



Manufacturing Quality 5/5
Overall Design 4/5
Unique Features 5/5
Performance of Product 4/5
Ease of Use 5/5

As you can see in my image above I chose to style one side of my hair in order to show the products potential. It did give me some volume towards the roots and curled at the ends of my hair, however I find that because my hair is thin it becomes frizzy the more I use it. It also dried so fast even on the lowest setting, it took three brushes and was dry. If I needed to dry and style quickly I would use this device. Otherwise I would usually let my hair dry naturally, like the left side of my image, it is naturally curly.

✩ My Argos Tester Review ✩

My favourite feature of the BaByliss Keratin Shine are the styling heads, they brushed through my hair gently and smoothed it out in seconds. Although I have fine hair and knew it wouldn’t take a lot to dry, I was impressed with how soft my hair became. I wasn’t able to get a great deal of volume from using it but I think that’s down to my hair type.

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes today, I hope you have enjoyed this review. If you have any other questions about the product then please leave me a comment or click on the links above to visit the Argos website.

✩ Sabrina ✩

Argos Tester Review of the Casio Keyboard, Stand and Headphones Bundle

Being an Argos Tester I often get sent items for the purpose of a review. In December I was offered an item under the category of Entertainment. This post is of a product I have been supplied in order to review and test it.

During the latest Entertainment campaign I was offered an electronic keyboard.
I jumped at the chance to review and test something musical because it’s been years since I have had the opportunity to play anything such as this.

The Casio CT-S100AD Keyboard and Bundle Supplied.

Product Name: Casio CT-S100AD Keyboard, Stand & Headphones Bundle
Product Information: A Keyboard Ideal For Beginners.
New Slim Line Full Size 61 Key Keyboard.
Integrated Carrying Handle & compatible Stand & Headphones set.
This keyboard can connect to computers via a USB port.
There are 122 sounds, 61 rhythms & 60 songs already saved.
It has a Built-In Metronome.
2 Speakers with Clear Sound.
255 Level Tempo Control.
Grand Piano feature which has 32 note polyphony.
Chorus and Sound Effects kits included.
Speaker & Headphone Jack for additional sound or for quiet learning.
When Batteries are used it has 16 hours of use, it requires 6 AA Batteries (not included).
Mains AC Adapter is included for use on mains electricity.
Keyboard Weight 3.3 kg.
The stand is easily erected with the use of an Allan key which is supplied.

Manufacturing Quality 5/5
Overall Design 5/5
Unique Features 5/5
Compatibility 5/5
Sound Quality 5/5


Overall this Keyboard has great features, the keys are soft and easy to press, the addition of the stand and headphones mean that you can learn quietly in your own time and without disturbing others.
I really liked how the keyboard has so many features like the added songs, sounds, instrument themes and various rhythms.
This type of instrument is fun for people of all ages to have a go, and for those who wish to learn it allows you to start at the beginning and work your way up.
The Mains adapter and the keyboards lightweight design is also great.
I would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn or wants to mess around and create some fun music of their own.
My young son was rather intrigued when sounds came out while he was pressing the keys, I’m sure he will take more interest in it as he grows up.

✩ Argos Website Link ✩
Casio Keyboard Bundles

✩ My Argos Tester Review✩

This Casio keyboard is filled with great features like being slim line & has its own carry handle. It has soft gentle keys that are easy to use and ideal for beginners. A great bundle that includes the stand & headphones so you can learn without disturbing anyone. I really liked the feel of the keys & how easy the controls were to navigate. There are great features like built in songs & rhythms too. Being able to connect to a PC is a fab feature & its stand & headphones make the package complete.

  

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes today, I hope you have enjoyed this review. If you have any other questions about the product then please leave me a comment or click on the links above to visit the Argos website.

✩ Sabrina ✩

Argos Tester Review of the PDP Gaming LVL50 Wired Gaming Headset An Official Licensed Product for PS4

Being an Argos Tester I often get sent items for the purpose of a review. This recent Autumn campaign has been about Gaming Accessories, predominantly headsets.

On this occasion I chose the PDP Gaming LVL50 Wired Stereo Gaming Headset which is an Official Licensed Product for PS4
.

PDP Gaming or Performance Designed Products Ltd have designed an official licensed headset for PlayStation, specifically the PS4. This compatibility is designed to enhance the gaming experience by giving the best possible quality of sound.

This headset type can also be bought to be compatible with Xbox or PC but you need to choose the correct one from their stock available. See the Argos website for more details or pop in store and take a look.
Search for “LVL50 Official Licensed Headset” to see all of the available products.

Product Information: Gaming Headset LVL50 Official Licensed PlayStation Product that works with controllers that have a 3.5mm headset jack.
Product Name:
PDPGaming Headset LVL50 Licensed Product for PS4
Colours Available: Black/Grey with Blue
Price:
RRP £39.99

Headset Main Features:
Compatible with PlayStation 4 Dualshock 4 wireless controller.
Lightweight with padding along the head bar and ear cushions.
Cushion is made of soft, breathable and durable material.
This headset has high definition 50mm drivers.
There is a microphone attached to the left ear cup.
The microphone has a flip up mute capability.
There is an adjustable volume dial on the right ear cup.
All features are adjustable without needing to remove the headset.

Overall Scores 

Manufacturing Quality 5/5
Overall Design 5/5
Unique Features 5/5
Compatibility 5/5
Comfort 5/5
Sound Quality 5/5
Connectivity 5/5

I rate this headset 5 stars. My reasons are due to it’s features that rival some of the other types of headset on the market. Some other headsets also have microphones and mute capabilities, but the design on the wired LVL50 is both simple and effective. There is no need to remove it from your head in order to find the button because there isn’t one, you just push the mic up into an upright position to activate the flip-up mute. This bi-directional design is both effective and quick to administer while gaming.

Another great feature is the volume which is on the opposite side to the mic and features a turn able volume dial for Min to Max sound. The sound itself is incredibly clear through the ear cushions that feature nylon mesh fabric that is both soft and breathable. The clarity of both talking, music and sound effects through the headset is excellent.


The entire headset is comfortable to wear because it is so lightweight and even the headband has a cushion for comfort. The attached 3.5mm headset jack with cord is long enough to reach the controller and give enough slack for even those gamers who might have a lot of movements to make during their intense gaming sessions.


Finally I will end by saying that overall this headset is excellent for anyone who enjoys their PlayStation products and I would encourage them to purchase a licensed product such as this one, which is designed to coincide with their console and provide the best possible addition to their gaming experience. The quality of the sound is clear and precise, it’s one of the best headsets that I have had the pleasure of testing, I would highly recommend this headset to all who use PlayStation 4 products.

✩ Argos Website Link ✩
PDP Gaming Headset Link

✩ My Argos Tester Review✩

This headset has some great features like the mute capability with a flip up microphone, and the adjustable volume dial on the opposite ear cup. Talk about comfortable, this headset has cushions on the ears and the headband for hours of gaming comfort. I was very impressed with the clarity of the sound, the music, sound effects and talking through the headset and mic is clear and precise. It is one of the best quality headsets I have had the pleasure of using. I would recommend it for all PlayStation users.

  

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes today, I hope you have enjoyed this review. If you have any other questions about the product then please leave me a comment or click on the links above.

✩ Sabrina ✩

7 Ways You Can Really Help a Pregnant Friend

Sabrina’s Honest Posts: 7 Ways That You Can Really Help a Pregnant Friend

We all get to that age where we all know of someone who is pregnant. Sometimes several friends will be pregnant together and lean on one another for support. If you’ve been there or been through pregnancy and birth it’s very easy to put our opinions across, and they won’t always be welcome. So try to avoid offending and start by helping with these 7 tips of mine, how you can be a better friend and really help that pregnant pal!

  • 1. Be honest about the birth and what she can expect about the feelings of the experience, it can be overwhelming but positively tell her about the first time you held baby. Certainly don’t rub it in if you had an easy time in labour, just include the facts. Remind your friend about the miracle of life and encourage her to be positive and listen to the health professionals when the time comes.
  • 2. Don’t be honest about everything, steer clear of horror stories so as not to frighten or make her anxious. Don’t go into a negative story either, if you had a traumatic time you can be honest about what went wrong, but perhaps outline to her the reasons why it happened. You could be completely different people, as in medically, plus every baby, mother and birth is different.
  • 3. Give her a maternity bag list to help, there is nothing worse than when baby brain kicks in and you forget something vitally important on the run up to the big event! So help a pregnant friend out by giving her a list of what you took, and even add on anything that you wished you had had when it was you! All hospitals vary so tell her to find out what her local one allows.
  • 4. Tell her to go somewhere or treat herself to something before her baby comes, it may be to have a haircut or to get her nails done. Go together if you can! Or throw her a baby shower or a Mummy-Moon (a day out for just mums-to-be!). Something to distress and give her a day out of her house because soon she’ll be in there a lot.
  • 5. Give her a list of the baby essentials that you found most useful… this is tricky and depends on the person, but I know I was grateful for friends input on what they bought and used versus never needed. For example we bought a baby bath and our son loved it. Other parents don’t bother with them. Each to their own but it’s good to hear people’s opinions.
  • 6. Be a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen to all her concerns, you don’t always need to have an opinion, she may just want to vent, so don’t make it about you and yours, listen and respond only if she asks you. Hormones can spin your head around sometimes.
  • 7. Don’t be condescending about this new chapter of her life. It’s a hard transition even for the best prepared of people. For example, avoid saying clichés like “Oh you think you’re tired now wait until…” and instead give her positives about those first few (albeit) difficult weeks! You can start with the sweet and funny things like “Think of all those cuddles” and “Is it wind or their first smile?” things like that.

Thank you for reading this post today, I hope I have given you some food for thought and you may consider helping one of your pregnant friends out.

 Sabrina 

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

Argos Tester Review of the Corsair HS35 Multi-Platform Headset

Being an Argos Tester I often get sent items for reviewing purposes. This recent campaign has been about Gaming Accessories, predominantly headsets.

I chose the Corsair Headset, it is Green and Black and is compatible with multiple gaming platforms such as PC, PlayStation and Xbox.

What I like the most about this piece of equipment is how comfortable it was to wear, this is thanks to the brand choosing to use memory foam for the padding on the headband and also in the ear cups.

Another aspect that is both useful and an excellent idea are the buttons situated on the left ear cup. On the Left side where the Mic is attachable you also have the adjustable Volume and a button for Mute. The ability to choose whether or not to have the Microphone there is a fantastic idea. Sometimes you might want to immerse yourself in a game with the sound effects and music coming through your ears, but you might not wish to have the ability to speak to other gamers.

The final feature I want to talk about is the sound, it has excellent clarity and the quality of both listening and speaking through the microphone were excellent. As a keen gamer I have had, tried and tested several brands of headset over the last few years. This Corsair has so far outdone all the rest in relation to comfort and quality of experience
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Product Information
Product Name: Corsair HS35 Headset (Multi-Platform Compatible with Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC Headset).
Colours Available: Green & Black, Red & Black, Blue & Black, All Black.
Price: RRP £39.99

Features
Detachable Microphone – Left Side Ear Cup
On Ear Mute Button – Left Ear Cup
On Ear Adjustable Volume – Left Ear Cup
Comfortable Padded Ear Cups with Memory Foam
Adjustable Padded Head Band with Memory Foam
Good Length of Cable from the Headset to the Controller
Custom Tuned 50mm Audio Drivers
An Overall Lightweight Constructio
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Personally I think this headset is excellent value for money and I would definitely consider this brand in the future. The memory foam is a great asset for both comfort and allowing the headset to be lightweight. The simple but genius design for the volume and mute buttons to be on the ear cup, as well as the detachable mic, has won me over for a full score in aspect to its features.

  

✩ Argos Website Links ✩

Green and Black https://www.argos.co.uk/product/1950568
Red and Black https://www.argos.co.uk/product/1950575
Blue and Black https://www.argos.co.uk/product/1950544
All Black https://www.argos.co.uk/product/1409954

✩ My Argos Tester Review✩

This Corsair headset has some unique design features such as a detachable microphone & memory foam ear cups. It is comfortable to wear & has the added use of a volume control & a mute button situated on the left ear cup. This is very convenient as a gamer. Another useful feature is the long cord length. It is by far the best headset that I have tried & tested. What has impressed me the most has been the clarity of the sound, both through listening with the ear cups & speaking using the mic.

Overall Scores

Manufacturing Quality 5/5
Overall Design 5/5
Unique Features 5/5
Compatibility 5/5
Comfort 5/5
Sound Quality 5/5
Connectivity 5/5

  

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes today, I hope you have enjoyed this review. If you have any other questions about the product then please leave me a comment or click on the links above.

✩ Sabrina ✩