Product Review of the Maybelline Skin Perfector 4 in 1 Matte Makeup

Hello and Welcome to my Product Review today!

This Spring I became part of the UK Maybelline Team of Bloggers who Review products that are brand new out in the country. Maybelline New York is one of the leading brands worldwide for make up. I have been reviewing a few items, and today it’s the turn of the Vegan Instant Skin Perfector 4 in 1 Whipped Matte Makeup to go up on my blog.


To see my other Maybelline Reviews after you’ve read this one, please click the Maybelline Category on the homepage of my blog.

I have been sent this sample for free for the purpose of providing a written review and photography across my social media platforms. I am always honest in my critique and review a product solely upon my own personal experience of using it.

You can see Video content of my Reviews on my Facebook or Instagram

I was pleasantly surprised with this makeup because a little of it on your finger or brush goes a long way. It was so soft and easy to apply to my skin with a great match! Light was the colour I was matched with online, and it blended in well and minimised the look of redness, blemishes and even my dark circles somewhat too.

I highly recommended this product if (like me) you don’t have much time in your morning routine for applying makeup, As a single mum I need something that I can apply fast but without compromising on its effectiveness. With having a 4 in 1 application this cream saves me lots of time in a morning, and since the initial review I have frequently used it and applied it after my daily SPF moisturiser. I feel like there is barely anything on my skin, and I found my skin felt breathable compared to some makeup which can feel physically heavy set in the pores of the face. The Vegan formula is also something I can really get behind and I’m always trying to go Vegan friendly when it comes to makeup.


The 4 in 1 Matte Makeup was also easy to remove, I use a Garnier Face Wash and then a Garnier Micellar Water to remove any makeup that I apply.


I would recommend for people to at least try this makeup for themselves and see if they get as good a match, it has true to skin shades and self adjusts to fit your unique tone. I have sensitive skin, and I had no reaction to this makeup.

BEFORE
&
AFTER

As you can see in my images, before I had quite a lot of redness in my skin, and afterwards that redness is reduced and so are my pores.

Overall Appearance in Use 4✩
Overall Product Quality 5✩
Skin-True Match 5✩
Staying Power 4✩

Now that I have used this product for a few weeks I will say it is excellent, easy and fast to apply, saving me lots of time, and a great match to my skin, no reactions and a good staying power. It did go a little cakey one time when I was outside a lot of the day and I think that may have been the wind drying out my skin. Other than that one occasion its been a fantastic product. I would recommend people still applying their usual SPF face cream about 15 minutes prior to putting on this matte makeup. SPF is so important and the extra moisture will undoubtedly increase the makeups staying power.

About the Skin Perfector Matte Makeup

Vegan

Whipped Matte Makeup
Available in 6 Self-Adjusting and Skin-True Colours
Contains a 4 in 1 formula of Primer, Pigment, BB Cream and Powder
4 Benefits in 1 of Blurring, Concealing, Evening the Skin Tone & Mattifying the Finished Look

Wishing all who have read this review a happy and healthy remainder of April!

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes Blog today, I hope to see you again soon!

✩ Sabrina ✩

5 Healthy Choices Everyone Can Get Behind This New Year

Hello everyone, I hope this latest blog piece finds you all well.

Today I am discussing the 5 healthy choices that I do all the time, that are easy enough so that anyone can get behind them! You’ll feel better if you accomplish even one of these this new year, because they are not only good for your body but also your mind, let us all have a healthy year ahead.

  1. Drink More Water

    I cannot stress enough how so many people don’t drink enough water every day. Women and Men need at least two litres of water a day to aid blood pressure and digestion and to help cell renewal in the skin. I personally aim for 2.5 litres a day and use my reusable water bottles. You will also find that by drinking more water your organs and joints will be cushioned and hydrated. Water contains minerals too, such as Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride and Sodium to name but a few. Water is essential for good kidney and bladder health and helps them by removing toxins that have built up. If these aren’t enough reasons for drinking more water then how about this, by drinking a glass of water when you first wake up it stabilises your blood pressure and kick starts your digestive system, meaning when you start your day your breakfast is ready to be harvested for all its nutrients. To top it off your brain can also respond with regular and consistent water in take, including by improving your mood and memory. So why not try and drink more water this year, once you get into the habit of it and you feel the improvements for yourself your body will ask you for more. That is why a reusable water bottle is great, I carry one everywhere I go.

2. Swap to some Dairy Free food items

You may not believe me now, but making a few swaps to things such as Dairy Free Butter (which is delicious by the way) can help with things such as cholesterol and get you to eat less salt too. You can still bake and cook with Dairy Free Butter and because it’s so tasty you wouldn’t know the difference. I would never go back now to a dairy based butter or spread. I love the Vitalite spread! Perfect in Mashed Potatoes and fab for baking too!

One reason to go dairy free is the choice you have, wow what a range! Plant based or nut based milks are healthier options for you and most alternative milks are fortified with vitamins and minerals too. You may also find that some have lower calories and are better for your body because they are hydrating.
Some people (like my family) use alternatives due to allergies and medical conditions. However you can still make the change to a healthier alternative for both your body and the climate.
Most people find they have more energy and are less bloated and have less digestive issues by swapping from dairy to the alternatives out there, finding one that you like might be hard because there is a massive choice. However my Doctor recommended unsweetened Soya Milk in small amounts or Oat Milk because they are both filled with Vitamins and Minerals necessary to maintain a healthy body such as Calcium.

Dairy Free Cheeses are getting better every year! When I first went Dairy Free there were two choices on the shelf in the chilled isle, now there is a whole fridge dedicated to various types and varieties of dairy free cheese, be it grated, hard, soft or even something in between them all! The only way you can know is to try it for yourself one day. I do recommend the Violife range though!

3. Taking a 15 to 30 Minute Break for Fresh Air Every Day

Fresh Air is so important and a lot of us don’t get enough of it, so if you make one new year resolution this year make sure it’s to get more of it. Even if the weather is bad, standing in your garden under an umbrella still counts. You could walk and that would be even better because it would be light exercise too!

Fresh Air is vital for blood pressure and heart rate by providing clean oxygen for your body, it also aids digestion by increasing oxygen flow through your organs. Fresh Air also improves your mood and can make your happier. Oxygen is vital for good brain health and mood so the more fresh oxygen you can get every day the more you’ll feel the benefit of it.

Breathing in fresh air can also help to reduce the risk of getting air born illnesses and infections by clearing the sinuses. People are more likely to lose weight and stay fit by going for a daily walk and getting both their heart rate up a little and by breathing in plenty of fresh air. Even if you live in the city search on local maps for parks and green spaces. You never know what you might see on your walk either, make it fun for children and play a game like eye spy or pick a letter every day and each person has to spot five things beginning with that letter.

As the weather improves into Spring this will be a much easier one to do every day.

Find Somewhere Local, Green and Full of Nature and Enjoy

4. Do Something You Love for Half an Hour a Day – For Your Mental Health

Most of us prioritise lots of things above our mental health, including housework and other chores, when we should be either resting or doing something for ourselves. Try to make a list of what needs to be done that day and what can be put off until tomorrow. It’s important to get through your every day necessities at home without feeling guilty about wanting to do something for you. And when you’re a parent you get even less time to yourself so it’s very important to take that half an hour, just to fit it in somewhere if you can. I usually have my half an hour before bed, gaming, reading, writing, catching up on a television program I have recorded…

Choose Happy and Healthy

5. Eat a Rainbow of Coloured Foods Every Week

This may sound like a simple one, but I have read many studies that suggest eating a variety of fruit and vegetables over the course of a week, and not just the same four or five every day, gives our bodies the varied vitamins and minerals that it needs to stay healthy. So why not try adding a different lunch and a different evening meal to your routine this week, start to experiment more and try that piece of fruit that you always see in the supermarket but never buy! The more colour the better. Check out my recipes on my blog for some inspiration to start with!

You can get your five or more a day through fruit juice, fruit pieces that are fresh, frozen or tinned, frozen veggies or fresh ones, they all count towards your total. My photograph below shows a typical dinner for myself, and I usually get one of my five during the cooking of my evening meal, I regularly eat a whole raw Carrot while I cook!

If you find that you’re struggling to get your 5 fruit and veg a day (for whatever reason) and feel like you’re lacking something in your diet, perhaps consider taking a multivitamin to give your body a boost, even if just through the winter. Most people lack Vitamin C and D during the colder months.

Eating More Colour Is Better For Your Health

Thank you for reading this blog post today and I do hope that you enjoyed it. If you do take me up on any of my healthy suggestions do comment and let me know how you’re getting on.

Have a wonderful last few days of January! Best wishes!


✩ Sabrina ✩

Glossybox Reviews for the March Mystery and April Blossom Boxes

As a birthday present from March I have received a couple of boxes from Glossybox and I wanted to review their contents for you. Because I had a Mystery box at the end of March followed swiftly by the April Blossom box, I figured I would combine the two unboxing reviews instead of bring you too many beauty posts within a short time frame.

I made the choice to head into isolation quite early, it was the week of my birthday, and following that only weeks later it was Mother’s Day. I didn’t do a lot for either of then and it left me feeling pretty low as the prospect of now not seeing family for months dawned upon me. So I made the decision to order a Glossybox on a deal which saw me receive a Mystery Box for the end of March and a week later I got the April Blossom Box. They were little pick-me-ups at a time when I needed some distraction from everything going on.

In the early morning light, I was ready to test these beauties!

I had never had a Glossybox before but having followed them on social media for a long time, I knew about their concepts for the box and hoped I would find the products inside useful. Well I wasn’t wrong!

March Mystery Box

I’m first going to talk about the March Mystery Glossybox, which I have tested several of items from that box which appealed to me the most. This box was my first impression of Glossybox as a brand. I liked how neatly everything arrived and it was a nice gift to unwrap surprises.

Here are the five items that arrived in the March Mystery Box.

Maria Nila 1 Shampoo and 1 Conditioner Bottles 1 of each 100ml
Mitchell and Peach Eau de Parfum
15ml
Kandi Skin Work Out Mask
Bang Beauty Black Felt Tip Eyeliner
1.8g

I was interested in the Shampoo and Conditioner, as someone with naturally curly hair, Sulphate Free Shampoo usually works for me.

Maria Nila True Soft Shampoo and Conditioner
100ml Bottles x 2 (one of each)
Produced in Sweden
with a Colour Guard Complex and Softening Argan Oil
Vegan, Cruelty Free, Sulphate Free, Paraben Free

These Shampoo and Conditioner smelt lovely and were lovely and soft in my hands. As for my hair, they made it soft and lightweight and helped with my unruly curly frizz. I did find that my hair required washing a day earlier than I would usually do so though. Otherwise a lovely product I will happily continue to use until they are all gone.

Mitchell and Peach
Flora no.1 Fine Edition
Eau de Parfum
15ml

The Mitchell and Peach perfume smells nice, it isn’t the type of scent I would normally wear, however it is nice and spring-like. The bottle size is ideal for a handbag or travel bag. It says it is created in England using essential oils from the Mitchell Estate, which is very interesting, and I like to support British business where I can.

Now I am going to talk about the April “Blossom” Glossybox which honestly I was really impressed by. My first proper Glossybox containing the handpicked products that they had chosen for this month as opposed to the mystery box I received initially. They did well to stick with the Blossom theme within the products and even the box smelt nice when I opened it.

The products that I had inside my “Blossom” box for April were the following:

Nails INC Nail Polish – Pink – “Blossom Kisses” 14ml
Avant Face Exfoliant “Gentle Rose Beautifying” 50ml
The Ritual of Sakura Cherry Blossom Rice Body Scrub 70ml
Sanctuary Spa Nourishing Rose Petal Face Mask 30g
Sport FX Raspberry + Rhubarb Recovery Lip Balm SPF15 8g


I have tested everything except for the Mask as I haven’t had time to do it. Three products stood out for me in quality, the lip balm smells really lovely and was nice when worn, but it is not the best balm I have tested. I would give it a 4/5.

It’s hard for me to pick a true favourite item in this box because I have three that I loved and would rate all three of these 5/5. So I’m going to tell you about each of them now and why.

Firstly the Nails INC Nail Polish was such good quality, one coat lasted ten days with minor chipping, that includes daily chores, washing my hands tons of extra times a day and playing and bathing my toddler! It’s an excellent brand of polish and a lovely shade of pink as well, you can see photos of me wearing this polish on my social media. The quality and ease of application with the nicely shaped brush are why I give it 5/5.

My second favourite is the Ritual Cherry Blossom Body Scrub. It made my skin smell lovely and feel soft. It was a nice product for a bit of much needed self care, I used mine in the shower as I have little time for a bath these days! Cherry Blossoms are some of my favourite flowering trees. For how it made my skin feel, with no reactions and a little of it went a long way too, that’s why it gets 5/5.

Finally my third item of choice is the Avant Face Exfoliant. I often use a face cleanser and scrub so it was nice to try a new brand of one. It smells strongly of the Rose and was incredibly soft between my fingers. You can barely feel the scrub aspect, it’s gentle on your skin but very effective. I now use it three times a week to remove dead skin. This face exfoliant worked well with my skin, I had no reactions which is something I’m always wary of having sensitive skin. I have used it for two weeks now and would recommend it to others, I’m not even a quarter down the tube after multiple uses, for its quality I’d definitely like to give it a 5/5.

Thank you for joining me for this beauty review today, I know that it’s been a while since I shared any of my self care on my blog, that is mainly due to the fact I haven’t tried any new products for a while, plus my self care and skin routine has kind of gone out the window recently. I rectified this when I realised that I need to start taking better care of myself. I was putting all of my energy into being a good mother and it left me with very little time nor energy to do the little extras for myself. But do you know what? Trialing these products made me realise that I do deserve to do more than just cleanse and moisturise once a day. I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing these items and noticed my skin improved too. Plus I have made time for skin care in my life through buying these boxes and that cannot be a bad thing! I just now need to maintain that time!

Would I recommend Glossybox to a friend? Or even any of you?
Yes I would. If you like to try and find new beauty and makeup products and enjoy the testing aspects, I would say go for it. It’s a box of treats and self care is so important.

If you would like to use my referral to get 20% off your first box then please click here.

See you around here soon I hope! Stay Safe!

✩ Sabrina ✩

April 2020 Treatbox Reveal

Hello! Happy April to you!
Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes and reading the April 2020 Treatbox UK Reveal and Review with me, Sabrina.

It’s Spring Time! It’s also Isolation Lockdown in the UK! I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the NHS, the other Key Workers such as Supermarket Staff, Delivery Drivers, the Post Force, and those who create Subscription services like Zoe and her team at Treatbox UK! They are keeping spirits high and are making us a bit happier in this dark situation, by making sure we get our post! Thank you!

The theme of this month’s box is “Time To Bloom” all ready for Spring.

The pink tissue paper wrapped around our April gifts this month has a sticker that reads “Keep Going” which is so appropriate with everything going on right now.

What’s actually inside this month’s box then?

Treatbox “You Are Enough” Drinks Coaster
Packet of Seeds “Keep Going Keep Growing”

Treatbox “It’s Your Time To Bloom” Special Positivity Diary
Treatbox A5 Print “Bloom Where You Are Planted”
Flower & White Raspberry Meringue Bar ~ 96 calories & GF
Joe Cool Pair of Flowery Socks

Here are some more images of the contents of the April box.

April 2020 Treatbox UK Reveal

My Honest Opinion on the Contents of the month’s box

Overall I am very happy with the April 2020 box. I love the Print, the Coaster and the Positivity Diary most. The floral design throughout really made me happy when I saw it, very pretty and representing Spring in a beautiful and colourful way.

Something like this diary will bring me a lot of joy to complete. And I plan on keeping it once it is full and then look back on it in years to come. This virus will be a turning point in some many peoples lives, and documenting what it was like will be interesting to show my children or even my grand children one day (hopefully!).

Socks are always nice to receive I think, and getting a pretty item is a bonus. I like that the edible item is British made in Shropshire from Eggs from this county, and considering it was the county I was born in, I like it even better!

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.

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

Don’t forget you can follow my social media such as Instagram for more Treatbox photos and updates throughout the month including me using items! @SevernSabrina

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes, have a great month of April! If you need some ideas for baking with the children or arts and crafts please check out the rest of my blog for inspiration.

✩ Sabrina ✩

I really needed to hear this quote this week, a great addition to my collection of coasters from Treatbox over the years! I think this has been my favourite so far!

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 ✩

February 2020 Treatbox Reveal

Hello Treatbox Fans!
It’s time for the February 2020 Treatbox Reveal and Review!

Greeted by baby pink paper and a sticker that reads “Awesome People’s Club” the February treatbox smells nice as I open it up…

The first thing I notice is the scarf, wow it’s beautiful! It has instantly become my favourite item inside this month’s box. I look forward to wearing it.

White Scarf with Triangular Pattern Details
“Dream Big” Long Cosmetics Bag / Pencil Case
“Don’t Worry if Today Feels a Little Grey” Treatbox Card
Self Care Print A5
Korean Beauty Mask – Purifying Pink Clay Sheet Mask
Whitworth’s Shots – Berry and White Chocolate – Healthy Snack
Pink Heart Bath Bomb

A Sticker – I think! Will Update! “Beautiful Inside and Out”

My Honest Opinion

Here we are everyone, it’s February! I was looking forward to this box, as it could have literally been anything and the themes aren’t a thing anymore. Knowing it would be self care and making time for yourself is always good, but it’s also different for every person.


I’m very pleased with most of its contents. I especially like the scarf, the case and the shots. The quotes and the quality in these three items are right up my street. The card is also nice and has a good quote to remind us all that grey days do eventually pass. The bath bomb is a nice touch but I honestly don’t have much time to relax in the bath these days! HA!

We do have yet another Korean Beauty, which I would like to see something else inside the next box, perhaps still beauty but not a mask, maybe a lip balm, a stick on tattoo or even something like jewellery perhaps… the final item I think might be a sticker of some sort, but without the useful calendar and explanation page I can’t tell you what it is! I shall find out from Zoe and update my blog accordingly!

Finally the quote on the A5 print this month hit home to me, we often find ourselves so busy to do self care, I know I do. Some days I do feel I am just giving what is left, and I want the people directly in my life to have the best parts of me.

Overall I have really liked the February box, there have been some nice items and a good improvement on the products inside too.

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.

Don’t forget you can follow my social media such as Instagram for more Treatbox photos and updates throughout the month including me using items! @SevernSabrina

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes, have a great February!

✩ 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

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