Pregnancy in a pandemic

I fell pregnant is November last year, so just before we really knew about the pandemic or anything COVID related. It was a planned pregnancy just after our honeymoon and surpassingly and gratefully I fell pregnant immediately. At my age (39) I expected just like my friends and people my age to take at least six months or struggle. My mother who is sadly deceased I was told later apparently got pregnant just looking at my father which I found out later by a family member. That would have bern good to know!

So pregnancy was thankfully really lovely. Other than the discomfort of being so big I didn’t get any morning sickness and my work took it really well. They have such a good policy they basically allowed me to take a year off with pay which is very unusual. My manager did comment that he’d like me to get a nanny which was a joke but I did recognize the compliment in that too.

After a few months it reached February of this year and we’d already booked to go on holiday. I had sinusitis as part of my pregnancy so I lost all sense of taste and smell for a month and looking back i do wonder if it was COVID 19 especially as we did pop over to Lanzarote for a holiday at the year. When I gave birth I was tested for whether I had COVID 19 but not whether o had the antigens for it. I’m not even sure the antigens lady that long or whether the tests are good enough yet but I did wonder.

On returning from holiday my manger advised me as a pregnancy woman the company policy is that I work from home as the pandemic was just stating. I hadn’t even packed up my desk from holiday as I assumed I was going back into the office which you will soon see never happened.

A few weeks go by working from home which is much harder than people make out. Having 10 Skype or zoom calls a day isn’t fun, I did however therefore recognize the first positive of the pandemic and that is no longer having to commute into the office which was long and expensive. I was slap worrying about doing that heavily pregnant which quickly went away as a concern.

The next advantage I’ll say is that not drinking alcohol whilst pregnancy was hard for me. As someone who went for a drink with her husband after work or with work colleagues. I really missed it. Now no one was socializing so no one was drinking. Selfish win on my behalf it think.

I know a lot of pregnant women won’t agree with me on this one and I think it comes to personality typing. Also, as I’ve said my mother is deceased so i don’t have an immediate bond to facilitate but what I really enjoyed about social distancing and isolating whilst pregnant is the distancing itself. To be specific I went to all girls school until I was 18 and don’t enjoy groups of women together as a result. I have close female friends but they are very similar to me, Therefore, not having to attend pregnancy groups and getting to learn it all online was a complete personality joy for me. I know this wouldn’t suit everyone so I guess I was lucky I didn’t need the emotional support.

Continuing on the social distancing topic I found other benefits such as not feeling left out that I couldn’t attend the annual spa day (hot tubs abs pregnancy don’t mix) or feel sad not being able to eat olives or seafood S no one was eating out.

Then let’s talk about family. I’m not a hugger. I don’t like people commenting on my appearance or feeling the need to touch my pregnant stomach. All avoided thanks to the pandemic.

I could go on about all the benefits I enjoyed but to be honest I think it just suited my personality and the fact I’m very self sufficient. This doesn’t give enough credit to my husband by the way locked up with me but thankfully he is very similar to me. We enjoyed having the time to prepare the nursery and being digitally savvy had no issue sourcing everything online (except paint it that’s a different story).

I’m summary although the pandemic was horrific and shocking to a lot of families including mine I think it’s important to recognise that although I didn’t get my baby shower there are more important things in life abs relatively I was incredibly lucky to be so protected at such an important time.

PS My birth story was quite different and sleeping in a mask on under staffed shared ward of screaming babies was a different matter but I’ll cover that in a separate blog.

Trying Slimming World’s Chilli Chicken balls

So Slimming World isn’t really an area I know well or have ever really tried out. After I’ve released some of my favourite Keto recipes when I use that diet primarily to prep intensely for my holidays, I’ve been asked if I could test some of the Slimming World recipes for use throughout the rest of the year. Seeming like a very sensible idea and some of them look amazing I thought I would start with one that looked the most interesting and that was ‘Sticky Chicken Balls.’ The recipe is all over internet but I was recommended the following from Slimming Eats.

Recipe:

  • 455g (1lb) of extra lean chicken mince (ground chicken) or can use turkey
  • 30g (1/2 cup) of panko bread crumbs – 5.5 syns
  • 1 egg
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbs of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger
  • pinch of salt and black pepper

www.slimmingeats.com/blog/sweet-chilli-chicken-meatballs-oven-or-actifry

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEATBALLS

  • Circa 500g of extra lean chicken mince (ground chicken) or can use turkey. I used turkey as it’s much easier to find.
  • 30g (1/2 cup) of panko bread crumbs

(If you can’t find it you can get it at https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004SH0GPU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=melmosparkly-21&camp=1634&creative=6738&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B004SH0GPU&linkId=58a5ce53a9cafaa8d86fb1961364d939)

  • 1 egg
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbs of chopped fresh cilantro (or Coriander in the UK!)
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger
  • pinch of salt and black pepper

 

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 3 tbs of sweet chilli sauce (Aldi make a good one)
  • 1 tbs of light soy sauce
  • 3 tbs of water

TO GARNISH

  • chopped spring onions

INSTRUCTIONS

I used the standard oven method.

  • Preheat oven to 200c/400f
  • Add the ingredients for the meatballs to a bowl, and mix until ingredients are just combined.
  • Form into 12 equal size meatballs
  • Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper
  • Spray over the top with cooking oil spray
  • Bake for 15 minutes, until they look lightly browned and firm
  • Whisk together sauce ingredients, add this to a frying pan with the meatballs and heat over medium heat until coated and sticky and meatballs are cooked through
  • Sprinkle with chopped spring onions

 

My Turkey was quite lean so I used a little less Panko breadcrumbs than they advise in the recipe. I also added a dash of chilli sauce to the balls before cooking which was nice as it gave them some moisture and extra chill flavour.

 

Overall they were tasty but a bit dry more me which makes sense as it’s a lean recipe. I think I’ll move onto the sticky chicken Slimming World recipe next as that seems to be really popular on ‘Youtube’ and looks like a bit more moist. If you have any recommended recipes from Slimming World I should try please do send me or any advice on how to enrich the recipe you’ve come across I’d be really grateful.