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 Baby, the Issues, the Infections and the Isolation

In my article “Breastfeeding Baby, the Issues, the Infections and the Isolation” I’m going to be talking about the different issues and infections I have had, 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. 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!

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
.

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 ✩

October 2019 Treatbox Reveal

Hello readers! It’s time for the October 2019 Treatbox Reveal
with me, Sabrina of Severn Wishes Blog.

Happy Treatbox Day! It is time for some unboxing! This is my Reveal and Review of the October Treatbox.

It has a tissue paper of deep purple again this month and the sticker says “xoxo Treatbox” on it.

Don’t forget you can follow my social media for more Treatbox photos and updates throughout the month!

Here are the contents of the October box, this month there are 9 items in total, 7 physical, 1 Recipe Print and of course the Calendar Print.

October Calendar Print
Print as a Recipe “Millionaires Shortbread”

Bakedin Chocolate Brownie in a Mug Mix
Joe Cool – Pair of Socks – Green Panda for me! Cute!
Purple Tree Miracle Balm – Papaya Flavour for me! For Dry Lips & Skin
Drink Me Chai Spiced Chai Latte Drink Sachet
After Spa – Soap + Sponge 2 in 1 Oatmeal
Notepad for Recipes including space for writing Method & Ingredients
Bookmark – “When It Rains Look For Rainbows, When It’s Dark Look For Stars”

Here are some more images of the contents from this October box…

Calendar Print and Bookmark
Miracle Balm and Socks
Chai Latte, Brownie in a Mug Mix and Oatmeal Soap + Sponge
Calendar Print, Recipe, Recipe Notepad and Bookmark

My Opinion on the October 2019 Box

I really love some of the items in this months box, especially the Socks, Balm, Bookmark, Recipe Notepad and Brownie Mix!

I love Reading and this Bookmark has one of my favourite quotes of all time on it!

The socks are great quality and the Panda is so cute too! I am someone who nearly always has socks on her feet because they get cold so easily.

The Miracle Balm is a great handbag size and can be used on any dry skin. It smells lovely and I used it on my lips and found it very smooth.

I will definitely be using the Recipes Notepad because I’m always making up new recipes in my kitchen, and I often don’t have anywhere to write them down, so I write on post-it notes or a note on my phone. Now they can go on here! Hurrah!

Finally the Brownie in a Box is great because it has no dairy in it so I can eat it! Yay! I can add dairy free butter to it and even soya milk if I’d like, when I do enjoy it! I will pop it on my social media when I do!

The other additions to the box of a Recipe is lovely (I may have to alter it to suit our family allergies but I will give it a go at some point!) and the Soap + Sponge is rather intriguing! I will be gifting the Chai off to my Sister who loves this sort of thing!

All in all a very good box and I’m happy with the contents.

Are you thinking of ordering a TreatBox for yourself or for a gift for someone?
Then you can find Treatbox subscriptions and build your own box at their 
website

Check out my previous Treatbox unboxing posts in this unique category of mine called ‘Treatbox’ it is specifically for these box reviews and reveals – Severn Wishes Treatbox.

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes today, I hope you enjoyed the Review of this Treatbox and that I see you here again soon. 

✩ 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

Reviewing the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Silly Sounds Light-up Piano

As part of being an Argos Tester I often get sent items for reviewing purposes. This recent campaign has been surrounding Fisher-Price toys and items relevant to development and learning. It has been a great opportunity for me to introduce my son to various new things and to build that level of curiosity within play time and learning.

An Eye Catching Colourful Design on this Fun Toy

Today I’m bringing a new Argos Tester Review to my blog with the help of another fabulous Fisher-Price toy. This is the Laugh and Learn Silly Sounds Light-up Piano, and it is classed as a teaching toy.

This mini piano is great for any child who has shown an interest in liking music and sounds. It’s especially brilliant because of how easy it is to use, any infant will love to press the buttons and make the sounds and songs appear.

Learning and Fun with the Light-Up Piano

Who doesn’t like a mixture of learning and fun?

The Piano has 4 Settings with fun and learning incorporating sounds and words. Numbers, Colours, Shapes and Sound including songs that encourage children to listen and learn. Each key when pressed will be spoken by the Fisher-Price voice in either the Number, Colour or Shape. For example, “8!” “Teal” & “Diamond!” And it also sounds a little jingle afterwards representing the shape.

The 8 main keys are smooth to the touch and are brightly coloured. Each of them have a colour, a shape and a number. They are the perfect octave! Although I almost wish the black keys were also press-able so it was like a real piano.

There are also 2 fun modes of Duck and Cow which have various sounds from both of the animals which is so funny that even 30 somethings laughed when it was pressed in our house! The novelty aspect of these modes makes it quite unique.

The flashing light on the top part of the toy is a great way to get little ones attention to the beats of the songs and along with the sounds it encourages movement. The light colour also corresponds to whichever key has just been pressed too.
The green handle on the top right of the you piano is excellent for ease of carrying and moving the item around the home.

This Fisher-Price toy is excellent for allowing children to explore all sorts of sounds, while encouraging their learning of shapes and numbers too. As well as recognising a range of colours and animal sounds. The great thing about toys like this is that a child will be counting and not even realise because they’re just playing, but it’s a wonderful way to introduce both musical aspects of playtime and also early academics with each mode available.

Product Information

Ages 6 months to 36 months.
Dimensions 19cm Width 25cm Length 5cm Depth

Retailing for around £20.00 this toy has been made to an excellent standard and comes ready to use. When the batteries do run out all that you’ll require is a small screwdriver and 3 new AA batteries to replace them with.

Argos Website Link

Overall Scores

Manufacturing Quality 5/5
Overall Design 5/5
Toy Features 5/5
Entertainment Value 5/5
Development Value 5/5

Perfect for little fingers…

Argos Tester Review

This toy is excellent for allowing children to explore sounds while encouraging their learning of shapes, colours & numbers too. As well as recognising a range of animal noises. The great thing about this is that a child will be learning & not even realise because they’re just playing with the instrument. It’s a wonderful way to introduce musical aspects to playtime & also incorporate the essential early academics with each of the learning modes available. Just wish the black keys worked too!

“8 keys to count with me” sings the piano…

Thank you for reading this review today, for more of my opinions on some of the latest children’s toys then please click the appropriate categories on my main page.

See you on Severn Wishes again soon I hope!

✩ 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 ✩