Double the Monkey Business

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Holiday time is nearly here…

We are excited to be going on holiday in a few weeks time, especially the kids.  Every day this week…

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School: The Big Decision

School – is it really that time already?

School Bags at the ready

We are approaching the point by which we need to make a decision on our children’s future. Scarily, we will soon need to decide on which school we would like them to go to.

Such a big decision, with so little control. The idea of being unable to influence to which school they go makes me feel powerless.

I have heard plenty of words about how to approach this process: strategy; tactics; game plan.

But as I understand it, your preference is only taken into account should you be offered a place at more than one school? Is that the case?

We have a whole other dimension to be concerned about: the ‘twin thing’.

By this I mean do we keep them in the same class at school or split them up. What a hugely monumental decision to make. Even worse because I don’t know the answer.

From what I have read, some schools have strict twin policies. They have already decided that all twins will be split, or not.

All children are different.

So how can a standard policy work for everyone?

I cannot help but feel the best plan would be to see how it goes. Perhaps keep them together in reception. Let the teachers get to know them. Then decide between us what is best.

We might not get that luxury.

This saddens me.

What a huge decision to take regarding your children. Even worse still that parents – those who know these little people best – might not even get a say.

So I wonder, what if we like a school and the only thing we don’t like is the twin policy? What do we do then? What if this school is perfect in every other way?

In a few months, we are going to have to make our mind up.

We are going to have to fill out the dreaded forms.

We are going to have to take a decision that may affect them for the rest of their lives.

On top of this, I am not sure I am ready to say goodbye to my babies.

Yes, I realise it has been a long time since they were babies, but to me they are still so little. So dependent on me. So happy to have their parents on their best friend list.

I have been very lucky, I was a stay-at-home mum until they were three and will work part-time until they start full-time education. I have had so much time to cherish and love them.

I know when they go to school everything changes. At this point, there is no point pretending they are babies anymore. They are growing up. They are little boys and it won’t belong before those little boys become teenagers, then adults. This is the start of them needing us less. This is the time when they can stand on their own two feet. This is the beginning of their independence.

This time next year we will be buying uniforms and preparing our little monkeys for the big world of school.

In the past I have thought that I would be ok with this. This was, of course, before I actually had any children.

Now that the time is looming and we are thinking about visiting schools and filling out application forms, I am absolutely petrified. When I think about it, I break out in a cold sweat.

How can this be when it feels like they were just born yesterday? How can time pass so quickly.

I am not ready for that. It makes my heart ache. It fills my eyes with tears.

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HELLP – We are Grandparents

HELLP – We are Grandparents

The only thing better than having you as my parents,

is my children having you as their grandparents

Grandparents, they are such an important part of our lives, always there with unconditional love and support.

When I first started to write my blog back in January, I suggested to my parents that they may want to do a guest post.  After all it is not just the sufferer of HELLP Syndrome that struggles with the aftermath.

I thought it would be interesting to hear our HELLP story from a Grandparents perspective

This is their thoughts on what happened four years ago, written by my Mum (A.K.A. Grandma)…

We were both looking forward to becoming Grandparents.  We were amazed to find out Yvonne was expecting twins.

Little did we know what was going to happen….

Our son-in-law, J, called in the early hours of Thursday morning to let us know that Yvonne had given birth to twin boys.

A few hours later, we were on the train down to London.  We checked into the hotel and headed over to the hospital.

J met us at the door of the hospital.  He told us that Yvonne was not in a good way.  We were shocked when we walked into the room.

Yvonne looked tired.  She was pale like marble and appeared to be out of it, not really aware of her surroundings.

At that stage, we didn’t know then that she had HELLP syndrome.  We assumed it was a traumatic birth.  It was an emotional day for both of us.

J spoke to the nursing staff to ask for open visiting for us,  ensuring we could provide additional support.

Between the three of us we took care of the boys that day.

We had not expected the boys to be so small – the scans had indicated they were a lot bigger – and they didn’t have enough clothes and nappies for them, so the next day J rang and asked us to pick up some things from the shop.

We were a little late getting to the hospital that day.  Yvonne and the boys were moved into intensive care, not long after we arrived.  This was a frightening time for everyone.

At this stage, nobody had told us what was happening.  We were relieved when she was moved back to High Dependancy Unit the following day and started to show improvement.

HELLP Syndrome

The next day J called to say that he had questioned the midwife about Yvonne.  This was the first time we heard the words, HELLP syndrome.  We had not heard of it before and were concerned about what it meant.

While we were getting ready, Grandad looked it up.   He was worried when he read how serious this condition was, but didn’t share what he read as he didn’t want me to worry.

We went straight to the hospital.  When we arrived, J explained what HELLP Syndrome was. Shocked and frightened, we were worried about the consequences for Yvonne.  We felt so helpless that the fate of our only child was in the hands of the doctors.  We kept our fingers crossed and hoped she would recover.

What made things so much harder, was watching Bob L in the bilirubin machine, as he was being treated with jaundice.   We were also worried about him too.  He was so unhappy and the only way you could settle him was to let him hold your finger.  It was heartbreaking.  We took turns to be with him, reassuring him that he wasn’t alone.

That night as we left the hospital, we met the kind nurse who had cared for Yvonne that day.  She said: “I admire your daughter’s spirit and determination to over come this serious illness”.

We whole-heartily agreed with her.  We found this conversation very emotional, it confirmed our worst fears for our daughter.  That night we both had a restless night as we realised that we may lose our precious daughter.


The next day, when we arrived at the hospital, Yvonne asked if I could help her have a shower.  It was not easy, but we managed to get her into the bathroom.  We tried not to pull on the drips and tubes still attached to her.  I was shocked to see all the bruising and rashes that covered her body.  I joked with her, saying I shouldn’t have to still be showering her at this age.

She was determined to do it even though she was exhausted afterwards.  She hoped it would make her feel better.

The night before we were due to go home, we were thrilled to see an improvement in Yvonne.  We knew she was feeling better, she started complaining about the food!  So we brought her in some treats that we knew she loved.

Then the day came where we were due to leave and go back home.  We were concerned about leaving Yvonne.

It was a very emotional time.  However, we knew she was in good hands.  We were glad she was making a recovery.

We were thrilled when Yvonne called us to say that they had all been discharged.  It was such a relief.

Over the next two weeks we were in daily contact, we wanted to give them a chance to settle in as a new family. So a couple of weeks later we returned, when J went back to work.

We feel incredibly fortunate that we still have our beautiful daughter with us.  We love being Grandparents to our two fantastic grandsons.

Grandchildren make the world a little softer, a little kinder, a little warmer

Grandparents Photo 13-09-2012 17 54 24 Photo 16-09-2012 13 12 23


Twisted Tales: Book Review

Twisted Tales: Book Review

“Crazed stalkers, killers, dealing with the Devil and everything in between, this collection shows the darker side of human nature in all its black glory”  Twisted Tales – Deborah Stansil

A few months ago, I read a post by Debbie at My Random Musings.

In it, Debbie discussed having signed up to The A to Z blogging challenge.  I thought it sounded fun.  Before I knew where I was, I had signed up too.

I bookmarked Debbie’s page to track her posts and I eagerly awaited the start of the challenge.

Soon, I was gripped by Debbie’s posts, each of which were themed as a 100-word flash fiction.

I thought – as I read these posts – Debbie should write a book. In fact, I left comments on her blog to that effect.  When the challenge finished, I missed reading her short stories.

So, I was thrilled when Debbie announced her book release, Twisted Tales, on Amazon.  I jumped at the chance to review it.

Shortly after, I spotted an email from Debbie inviting me to review the book.  It arrived just in time for the start of Euro 2016.  It was as if she were psychic, as I had been pondering how I was going to keep myself busy. PERFECT!!

The book is based on the short stories released as part of the A to Z Challenge. Some stories are in their original form, some are expanded and some are new.  Each has a recurring theme, ‘the dark side of human nature’.

I was quickly hooked by the book, captivated by the twisted minds of the characters, often wondering what would happen next.

The stories ended differently to how I expected, which I loved. I was proved wrong.  Keeping me on the edge of my seat. In doing this, Debbie skilfully challenges our perceptions.

Once I started reading Twisted Tales, I didn’t want to put it down.  I found the short stories easy to read and I tended to to read for longer.  I thought: “they are just short, I will quickly read the next one.”

Conclusion – Twisted Tales

I really enjoyed reading these captivating and nail-biting short stories.  I would highly recommend Twisted Tales.

When you read the book – and I recommend that you do – look out for The Prediction and Jump.  Both made me gasp.

“There is a dark streak in all of us, just waiting to come out” – Deborah Stansil

Twisted Tales is available from Amazon, to pick up a copy visit here.

Here is how you can keep up to speed with what Debbie releases in the future.  Please pop by and say hello:



My Dad

My Dad

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It is UK Father’s day today and I am very lucky to call an incredible man my Dad.

I have always known that I was a much wanted baby and my parents have always shown me kindness, love and affection.

My Dad has always supported me through good times and bad.  He has been a sensible voice to counteract my whirling brain when times are bad.  Always the voice of reason, in an incredibly reassuring way.

When I was small, my Dad was always very calm.  I only remember him telling me off properly once, and I am going to be honest with you I definitely deserved it.

Here are just a few memories I have of my Dad:

  • Every night my Dad would sing me ‘follow the yellow brick road’ as I went to bed, I loved the film and I had red slippers.  Up the stairs we would trot while he sang to me…
  • My Dad is a huge football fan and we spent many Saturdays watching our local team while my mum worked.  I always got a pie 🙂
  • My Dad taught me to ride my bike without stabilisers.  From what I am told, there was an important football match on that day (European Cup, Everton won I am reliably informed) and he was determined not to miss it.  Not wanting to let me down though, he taught me to ride my bike in no time.  He said that he always remembers watching the footie and proudly seeing me cycle past the living room window every two minutes.
  • He helped me with my homework when I was at school, supported me when I found things tough.
  • When I moved out and bought a home of my own, my parents came to help.  One day when I was at work, they transformed the garden.  I mean completely transformed, in a DIY SOS kind of way.
  • When I had my boys, my parents were on the first train to London.   The way my Dad is with my boys, reminds me of all the fun times I had when I was younger.  In particular, when he reads books to my children.  He always says them in a way that brings the books alive!  Takes me right back to my childhood.

These are just a small selection of the incredible memories I have with my Dad.  I am so lucky to have him in my life.

Happy Father’s Day!

Love you to the moon and back