Double the Monkey Business

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Tabby McTat #monkeybookreview

We love to read in our family.  The boys have loads of books and we read together every night.  We…

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Anniversary: Time to Get a Plan!

I completely forgot to celebrate our six-month anniversary!!!  Double the Monkey Business is now nearly seven months old and I cant believe how much has changed in that time.  I did read that a lot of blogs don’t make it past the first year, so I am excited to be over half way there!

I think now is a good time to really reflect back on the past seven months, think about the future and (gasp, horror!) maybe get a plan together!

I need a plan!!!

What have I achieved?

  • Sharing my HELLP syndrome story

    • This has been huge for me. I can honestly say I feel like a different person now that I have got my story out there.  It has helped me hugely.  I have been encouraged by the lovely comments that people have written. I have loved speaking to people who have been through the same as me and understand what that feels like.
  • Preeclampsia Foundation

    • I love that I have been in contact with the Pre-eclampsia Foundation and I have been so happy to help raise awareness for their campaign in May.
  • Huffington Post

    • This is huge for me.  I realise that this isn’t a paid gig, but to get the recognition to write on their website has been the highlight of my blogging year.  To visit my profile, go here.
  • Community

    • I have said it before, but I have been so pleasantly surprised by the blogging community.  I had not idea that all those lovely people were out there.  I have been blessed to be able to say that some of those community members have become close friends – you know who you are!!!!
  • Blogging Challenges

    • I was a bit unsure if I would have time to do the blogging challenges when I first heard about them.  How would I fit it in I wondered.  However, I am so glad that I gave it a go.  It changed everything about my blog, how I write, what I write about, the frequency of my blog posts.
  • Self-hosted

    • In April I moved to self-hosted and I have never looked back.  I guessed that would be the case, I just was frightened to make the leap.  The website is not exactly how I want it but I will come to that…
  • Reviews

    • I was excited to be given the opportunity to review a few things on the blog.  It has added an extra dimension to my website.
  • Meet other mums

    • I have become a regular blogger for  This has been so exciting for me, especially as I am in such good company 🙂
  • Guest Series

    • I have loved featuring some guests on my blog.  I have been fascinated by their individual stories.

This weekend we are off on holiday to Bavaria.

I am hoping that taking time away from work, school runs and general day-to-day monotony, provides an opportunity to about what I want to do with this blog and where I want it to go.

What do I need to plan?

  • Review my social media outlets, what works, what doesn’t

    • Decide if I should just focus on a couple of these rather than tackle them all.  Once I have figured this out, I need to decide how I am going to use them.
  • Facebook Page

    • This is something that I want to give a bit more love to over the coming months.  I will plan out how I am going to use this a little more and try and post there everyday with different things, ie: instagram photos, blog posts and general updates.
  • Review the links ups, what works, what doesn’t

    • I want to get this down to a handful of linkups that really work for me.
  • Buffer and Hootsuite

    • This is something that until this week I had not really used.  I plan to try and use this to help with my Facebook page, hopefully setting things up in advance to auto-schedule might help me become more organised.
  • HELLP syndrome and pre-eclampsia awareness

    • My story has concluded but I still want to keep raising awareness.  I plan to start sharing other people’s story on my blog.
  • Blogging conferences

    • I completely missed the boat with this in 2016.  2017 will be different and I plan to go to a couple throughout the year.
  • Brand Involvement

    • The only problem is that I don’t know where to start with this.  I hope the blogging conferences next year will help with this.
  • Weekly plan

    • Work out what I am going to do throughout the week and when.
  • Website

    • I would like to have a proper think about what I want from the layout of my blog as I am still not really happy with it.  I want to consider different themes and look into the possibility of buying one for a more professional look.
  • Brainstorm some ideas for future posts

    • This is always good to have in my back pocket for busy weeks or when I have blogger writers block!

I have said a few times before that so far I have been pretty much flying by the seat of my pants since I started this blog! The main reason for this is I just didn’t really have a clue where I was going with it. I didn’t know what I wanted out of it.  Most of all, I didn’t realise that people would actually want to read my stuff!

I am starting to wonder now if I should maybe take this whole blogging thing a bit more seriously!

Wish me luck!




HELLP – We Need You!!!

HELLP – We Need You!!!

We need you!

Did you suffer from pre-eclampsia?

Did you suffer or suspect you suffered from HELLP syndrome?

Are you a partner or Grandparent and want to share your story?

If so then I would love to hear from you.

We need you!!

When I started this blog at the beginning of the year, my aim was to raise awareness of pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome through telling my story.  It seems like a long time ago now, since I first hit that publish button!

However, now I have told my story and I am looking for others to share their experiences.

You don’t have to be a blogger or writer. I am looking for anyone that wants to share his or her story.  I am happy to help write the story so don’t let that put you off!

If you are interested please get in touch. I would love to hear from you.

I need you to help me spread the word, get your story out there and we can raise awareness together.


Send me a message and we can take it from there, either:

Did you know?

  • Approximately 5 to 8 percent of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia. This means that more than 6.6 million women worldwide suffered from this disease in 2002
  • Preeclampsia causes 15 percent of premature births in industrialised countries and it is the number one reason doctors decide to deliver a baby prematurely
  • Complications of HELLP syndrome – including placental abruption, permanent liver damage and acute renal failure – occurs in 25% of HELLP syndrome cases
  • 40% of HELLP babies are small for their gestational age
  • 10% – 20% of women with severe preeclampsia go on to develop HELLP syndrome.
  • HELLP usually begins during the third trimester however some cases have been seen as early as 21 weeks.
  • 8% of HELLP cases develop AFTER delivery

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms or are at all concerned, please speak to a health professional.




The Culinary Jumble #parentingscoop

The Culinary Jumble #parentingscoop

Welcome to#parentingscoop

I am so excited to have one of my favourite foodie bloggers, Tracy from The Culinary Jumble, on #parentingscoop this month!!!

If you have not already, please visit her website.  The recipes on The Culinary Jumble are incredible, she makes a wide range of different things and there is something for everyone, including gluten free recipes.

You may recognise this website, as I am often sharing her recipes on Facebook, and with good
reason.  She is fabulous.

Over to your Tracy, as she has a VERY important story to tell about her pregnancy…

Tracy, The Culinary Jumble

Bio – Tracy at The Culinary Jumble

I am Tracy.  I am mum to two boys, Harley 11 and Luka, 9, I am an English expat living in Sweden.  Currently, I work part-time as a home language teacher and I spend WAY too much time on my food blog!.

Tell us about your pregnancy

I had my boys fairly late in life.  My first son was born when I was 37.  My second, a month after my 40th birthday.

With both pregnancies I suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum.  I had no idea it even existed until after my first son was born.

With my first baby, I weighed less when giving birth than I had before I got pregnant. I lost so much weight and was vomiting until around 16 weeks. After that, the nausea continued until the very end of the pregnancy.

First time around nobody believed how bad it was.

Second time around, I went in all guns blazing at my first midwifes’ appointment, but luckily she was more clued up and knew about HG.  I was given a very sympathetic ear and medication, which made my second pregnancy slightly easier to bear.

Many women who suffer with HG have a form of PTSD and depression after the births because the pregnancy is so horrific and hard on the body both mentally and physically. Whenever I think back to those days, I still cry and it is something which will always stay with me. I was robbed of a special time which should be a peaceful, wonderful experience.

I didn’t enjoy one minute of my pregnancies, and that breaks my heart. 

Now, I am a bit of an advocate for the cause. Although understanding is so much better than it was when I was first pregnant, people still confuse HG with morning sickness.

It’s a battle that most women who go through HG have to endure.  People think you are overreacting and exaggerating, but I always say: imagine the worst hangover of your life. Now imagine feeling like that for nine months.

I have written a couple of articles on the subject: – this is a my personal account.

What was your one essential item for your hospital bag and why?

I guess I just had the usual; nappies, wipes and baby clothes.

What item did you pack in your hospital bag that you didn’t use?

The extra 199 baby bodies that I didn’t use!

Where did you give birth? Did you have any complications?

I gave birth to both boys in Sweden. The experience for both was brilliant (if giving birth could ever be termed as “brilliant”).

They do things differently in Sweden.  Firstly, you never see an obstetrician unless there is an emergency (both during the pregnancy and labour) and the midwives do it all. Both of mine were lovely – very supportive and encouraging!

I went into labour with Harley at 9pm on a Monday (I know because CSI was just starting!) and gave birth at just before 4am. I had gas and air and needed an episiotomy, but other than that, no complications.

With Luka, I was eight days overdue and went in to be induced.  He was born within two hours of them breaking my waters. I tore naturally and again just had gas and air. He was born with the cord wrapped round his neck and a very bashed face.  He also had a slight heart murmur but that healed on its own.

What were the first few weeks like after giving birth?

It’s all hazy, to be honest, but I think I coped way better than I’d imagined I would.

Henrik (my husband) believes I was a little depressed after the births, but I don’t really remember that. I think that HG paid such a toll on my body that it would have been perfectly understandable to feel a little out of sorts after giving birth.  But, I just remember feeling relieved that I could eat again, and smell food without wanting to heave!

Do you have any advice for new parents?

Yes! Do what YOUR instincts tell you to do!

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and don’t let well-meaning older and experienced friends / relatives make you feel wrong about your own decisions.

He/she is your baby and nobody will know them like you do.

Don’t sleep when the baby sleeps – nobody actually does that – catch up on the things you can’t do when the baby is awake instead.

Take each day as it comes and don’t ever let mummy guilt bite you on the bum – you are doing a great job!

If you were to go through pregnancy again, what would you do differently?

I would shout louder about how bad I felt.

I wouldn’t let people palm me off with it’s just a normal pregnancy or “try ginger”.

I wouldn’t feel ashamed that I felt so ill.

I wouldn’t feel so terribly guilty about others having to help me so much.

What is your funniest parenting story?

I have scratched my head over this one.

The only thing that jumps out is that when Harley was first born, I didn’t know how to pick him up. I’d never held a new-born before and I was so scared of hurting him. I would scoop him up with both hands like I was lifting a heavy box, and the midwife had to show me how to do it properly!

Embarrassing and funny at the same time!

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Where to find Tracy, The Culinary Jumble:

My favourite posts from The Culinary Jumble…

now this is a tricky one as there are so many amazing recipes on her blog.  In fact I think the only real solution is for you to check out her blog here.  Anyway here goes, these are three you must check out:

Thanks so much for taking part Tracy.  Thank you for sharing your story with us, I am so sorry that you have had to experience this.  I cant imagine how it must have been for you, being so ill for the whole of your pregnancy.

Great advice though: “Do what YOUR instincts tell you to do!”  and “Don’t compare yourself to anyone else”. I think this is so important. I still compare myself to others so could do with listening to this advice.

Have you had any experience with HG?  Do you have any questions about it?  If so leave a comment below.

Are you interested in taking part in the next guest series?  If so either comment below or drop me am email at  For more information on #parentingscoop, visit here


HELLP: I have my medical notes

HELLP: I have my medical notes

Since I was discharged from hospital, I have wondered often about my medical notes.

I wondered what they contained.

I wished that I had read them properly at the time.

In reality I was too ill.

When I first started to write this blog back in January, I started to – tentatively – write about my HELLP syndrome story.

I had no idea that writing about what happened would lead me to a happier place.  Who would have thought sitting down and writing about what happened, would help me to such a huge extent?

I don’t think I would have found the strength to request my notes from the hospital, had I not started this blog.

I requested my medical notes a few months ago. A few weeks later, I received them through the post.  I was surprised that they were sent on a CD.  For some reason I was expecting photocopies.

Since I received them, I have slowly worked my way through the pages.

It may seem like an easy thing, but to be honest reading through them took me right back there.  Like I was reliving it all again.  It was both hard-going and cathartic.

To be honest there was nothing startling there.

Nothing hugely shocking.

computer-15812_1920No life-changing light bulb moment, where everything suddenly made perfect sense.

That said, it was not a complete waste of time.  I did read a few things that made me think.


I was so sure that I had mentioned my symptoms to my midwife at the appointments which led up to giving birth to the boys.

However over the years, I started to doubt myself.

My medical notes, however, confirmed this.  Turns out I am not going to mad after all.

A month before I was admitted to hospital, I had a lot of symptoms which could have pointed to pre-eclampsia and/or HELLP Syndrome.  It is clear on my notes that I suffered from; swelling, protein in urine, pain at the top of my bump, rising blood pressure, black spots and visual problems.

As well as this, I had a rash all over my bump.  The midwife said that it was most likely stretching.

At the end of listing all these symptoms, the midwife finishes her comments with: “mother is generally well”.


I was told that I developed HELLP syndrome after I gave birth to the boys.

I was told this at my follow up appointment after I was discharged from hospital.  At this appointment the hospital could not find my medical notes.  However, the doctor said they were ‘pretty sure’ that this was the case.  I have doubted this but had nothing to prove otherwise.

From looking at my blood tests, my platelets dropped 24-hours before I gave birth to the boys.  Perhaps indicating that I had HELLP syndrome a little earlier.

The Diagnosis

As far as timescales go, I was intrigued to find out when they diagnosed me.  I was never clear on this.  The medical notes spell this out quite clearly:

Monday:  Admitted to hospital

Tuesday evening:  My waters broke

Thursday morning:  The boys were born

Friday afternoon:  HELLP syndrome was diagnosed

Sunday morning:  We were advised I had HELLP Syndrome

I have always got the distinct impression that the doctors were baffled by my symptoms.  No one seemed to know what was going on in those first 24-hours.  My notes confirmed this.  Throughout my notes in those first 24-hours, I noted many comments about requesting further blood tests and calling the doctor / specialist for further advice.

Bob L

We didn’t know this but apparently, Bob L had a gritty placenta.  We were told that both placentas were intact and healthy.

I didn’t know what this meant.  So I turned to Dr Google.  Where I found that this is a sign that the placenta was not working properly.  I also read that this tends to go hand in hand with pre-eclampsia.  It also could cause a baby to stop growing in the womb.  Which makes sense as he was tiny considering I gave birth at 37 weeks.

It is not going to be particularly helpful to dwell on this, but I did find it interesting.

I have often wondered why he was so small.  We have also often wondered if his hip development problems were caused by my illness.  I am now sure that this was no coincidence.


I have one more thing that I noticed, doctors have terrible handwriting!!!!  I really struggled to read some of the comments, not so much from the midwives but the doctor and in particular the specialist!

So has this helped me?

Yes I think it has, despite it being hard to read.

I really feel like I can start to draw a line under my experience now.

So what is next?  

Although my story on the blog has finished, I am determined to continue to raise awareness of pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome.

Please read my blog post next weekend, where I will be asking for anyone who has suffered pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome to share their story on my blog.

Lastly, I want to thanks those who have continued to read about my HELLP journey.  I have appreciated the kind words and support from readers.

As for the weekend slot on my blog, as I have finished my HELLP story I now plan to try and recall what it was like in those hazy days of new parenting.  I will be trying to talk about what it was like with twin babies, the good, the bad and the ugly!