Double the Monkey Business

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Baker Days: It’s all about the cake

I love cake.  Who doesn’t?  So when I was offered the chance to review the letterbox cake from, UK based,…

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Rookie Mistakes: Top Ten

Rookie Mistakes: Top Ten

We all have to start somewhere I guess, we were all a rookie at one stage.  Parenting is a hard job.  Rewarding, without a doubt.  But definitely not easy.  It is one that you don’t get  much guidance on and you really have to learn as you go.

Let’s face it, we have all been here at the end of a long day:

So here are my top ten rookie mistakes:

1. The Rookie mistake of the vests

When I first started out on the parenting journey I never even thought about why baby vests have open necks.

Roughly 12 months in, someone told me that the vest necks are open wide in the event of a poo explosion.

So rather than trying to negotiate the vest back over their head, or in the most extreme examples cut it off (yes I have been there), you can slip the vest down over the feet.  WHAAT!!!  Why is this not mentioned in antenatal class?

Pass the air freshener.

2. Going out without a change of clothes for mummy

I think the boys were only a month old when I made this rookie mistake.  We went out to meet a friend.  I packed a change of clothes for the boys but not for me.

Bob D was suffering from reflux at the time and was sick often, so this was a BIG mistake.   After feeding Bob D, and then him throwing up over himself.  He then threw up down my top.  I was drenched right through.  I had no change of clothes and a 20 minute drive home through busy London streets. That was not a good day.

3. Maternity Leave: Ah it is all coffee and cake

Oh man I want to go back and shake my pre-mummy self for thinking this.  I truly believed that maternity leave was going to be a breeze.  Ha!  How naive of me.  Especially as I knew I was having twins.  What. Was. I. Thinking???

Those first months are the hardest I have ever endured.  Sleep deprivation causes your brain to malfunction, you cant think straight.  You can’t even see straight.

I did stupid things like try to put the kettle into the fridge, then wondering why it wouldn’t fit.  My husband took the thermostat to work instead of his phone.   It fries your brain.

You are lucky to have the energy to get out of your PJ’s and have a shower.  As for going out for coffee and cake, that is like mission impossible.

4. Newborn babies will sleep on their own…

When I was pregnant I thought that sleepless nights would be like this:

  • Baby wakes up and gurgles softly to wake me from my slumber
  • Feed baby
  • Burp baby
  • Lay baby down in the cot
  • Baby gurgles softly and goes to sleep
  • Marvel at their beauty and what a wonderful parent I am
  • Go back to sleep

I was, of course, conveniently forgetting that I was having twins and they would not always be awake at the same time.

My reality was more like this:

  • Baby wakes up
  • Baby screams the house down
  • Eventually manage to get baby to latch on
  • Baby unlatches
  • Baby screams house down
  • He latches on again (repeat 100 times over)
  • Burp baby
  • Put baby down in cot
  • Baby screams house down
  • Pick up baby
  • Rock baby and sing every song my sleep-deprived brain can remember
  • Put baby back in cot
  • Baby screams house down (repeat 100 times over)
  • Eventually baby goes to sleep
  • Just as I am dosing off, baby number 2 wakes up.
  • Repeat continuously throughout the night.


5. Potty training: It is an overnight job

I am assuming most of you have read my potty training post.  If not check it out here.

When I was starting to think about potty training, I thought I would wait until I had a few days at home with them.  Train them and they would be dry within a week.

I know that some people have been fortunate enough that this worked out for them.  I am guessing that good timing had more to do with that than anything else.

It took years for me to potty train my children, mainly because they were not ready.  Even now they are having accidents.  As I mentioned to my blogging friend Gemma at Life is Knutts, only last week Bob L pooped on the floor and then sat on it. Yep that is right, sat on it.  Grim times.

6. I am in charge

Ha ha ha!!  I am in charge.  I still like to think I am.  When I asked the boys who was in charge this morning, guess what they said?  Mummy?  NO.  Daddy?  NO.

Apparently they both think Bob L is in charge of us all.  I have to say I think they might be right.

7. Buying to many baby clothes

When I was pregnant I went overboard on baby clothes.  I mean completely overboard.  If I had my time again I would be way more sensible.  What I didn’t appreciate is that children grow.  Quickly.  I don’t think they wore half of what I bought them.  Talk about burning money…

8. I will clean the house when the kids are sleeping

Yeah, once again I didn’t appreciate that I would be sleep deprived.  Or even what that was.  Before hand when I said I was tired I really meant: “couldn’t be bothered”, or “been out partying too much”.  Then along came proper sleep deprivation.

This meant on the few occasions when the babies napped at the same time, there was no way I was going to go all Wonderwoman and clean the house.

Definitely not….I was going to sleep… or watch rubbish TV.

9. Thinking I will get out the house on time

I really feel the need to refer you this hilarious video.  Just to say I am NOT a Michael McIntyre fan, but he has pretty much nailed this on the head:

I don’t think I need to say much more.  Suffice to say,nearly four years into my parenting journey, I am ALWAYS late leaving the house.

10. Baby books contain ALL the answers

I bought so many baby books, I read them religiously and made notes.  This was all while pregnant of course, I had no time for extended baby book reading and note making later on.

What I didn’t appreciate is that all children are different.  Being a twin mummy, has brought this home to me.

Baby books are fine, they are a great source of information and ideas.  But, every parent has to take their child’s personality, likes, dislikes and fears into account.


So there you have it, my top ten rookie mistakes.  I am sure there are loads more to come.  As the monkeys grow up I am making new mistakes all the time!!

I would love to hear about your rookie mistakes in the comments.

We all have to start somewhere. Here are my top ten Rookie Parenting Mistakes!

Preeclampsia: Maternal Mental Health

Preeclampsia: Maternal Mental Health

Preeclampsia and Maternal Mental Health

Today we are discussing maternal mental health. Research suggests that women who have experience a traumatic pregnancy, such as preeclampsia have four to ten times the risk of screening positive for post-traumatic stress disorder.  Additionally, they are at an increased risk for postpartum depression and anxiety.

Mental Health Infographic


For patients who have experienced seizures, liver failure, premature delivery, the loss of their baby, or a sudden turn of bad health caused by hypertension during pregnancy, it might seem obvious that women are left feeling depressed, scared and lonely.

It is important that ALL voices are heard and that their experiences are understood to help other patients through their own traumatic pregnancy experience.

This week the Preeclampsia Foundation are focusing on mental health.  This is something which is incredibly close to my heart, after being diagnosed with PTSD.

To find out more, please visit the Preeclampsia Foundation website.



HELLP – I am in High Dependancy

HELLP – I am in High Dependancy

After a restless sleep, where I am awoken many times by two little babies looking to be fed, a new day has dawned on the maternity ward.

I am feeling better today.  Stronger.  I am able to sit up in bed.

My husband hands me too little bundles of joy; it is very early in the morning and these are the first cuddles I remember with my beautiful twin boys.  I can’t believe they are really here and in this moment everything stops.   Small faces look up at me.  Tiny fingers.  Tiny toes.

I know then that everything has been worth it, no matter what happens to me.  This belief has never faltered.

The move

The midwife comes in.  I have never seen her before.  It’s another new midwife.  I ask if I am going to be moved to the post-natal ward today.  She looks at me with shock and barks: “absolutely not you are far too ill”.  With that, she is gone.

So, I am sat with my thoughts.  Wondering what is going on.  I am feeling better, albeit only slightly.

I look to the hubby who shakes is head in disbelief.  Bedside manner has clearly escaped this midwife.  She is definitely NOT one of the guardian angels on my HELLP journey.

An hour later, a Canadian doctor breezes into the hospital ward, with a handful of trainee doctors.  This is to become the norm over the next few days because I am a special case.  They are all interested in reviewing my notes.

He introduces himself.  He tells us he is a Specialist.  In what, we have no idea.  He looks at my notes, asks a few questions and disappears.

Then, the midwife is back.

“Pack her stuff up,” she tells the hubby.  “We are moving you to the 24-hour observation ward”.

This is the first we have heard of this.  The hubby demands to know why.  She mutters words like: “risk of stroke, liver failure, kidney failure”.  Then as quick as she can, she has left the room.

The tears come now.

What is wrong with me.  My head is swirling with thoughts.  Confusion, fear and anxiety grips like a vice.  A dark fear creeps into my mind.  Cancer?  I say nothing.  I keep it all in.  If I don’t say it, it won’t be real.

We are moved to the 24-hour care ward and I am in tears the whole time, unable to articulate how I am feeling.  I look like an absolute emotional mess.  Thank goodness my parents and hubby are here for support.  And don’t judge me.

There are two other ladies in this small ward.

There was one lady whom I had not seen before.  She is unconscious.  She remains that way for the duration of my stay. Her family sit by her side, hoping her condition will improve.  Meanwhile, they tend to her baby.  Midwifes take over in the evening.

The other lady, however, I instantly recognise.

The lady from the post-natal ward, Mum A.  The one that I feared for.  The one who moaned and groaned the whole time she was there.

She is bed-ridden.  Unable to sit up.  She is awake and moaning constantly.  My heart skips a beat; where is her baby?

Eventually, I ask the new midwife allocated to me, if she is ok.  She quietly explains she is very ill and her baby is in the special care unit.  She gave birth and hasn’t seen her baby since.  They don’t think they will be reunited any time soon.

I suddenly feel overwhelmed with sadness for her.

I realise how lucky I am.  My boys never left my side, even when I was out for the count.

I look at these other ladies and fear tightens its hold .  I must be ill.  Seriously ill.  Otherwise, why would I be here?

That day is a long one and nighttime is even longer.

I am lucky the midwife sits by my bed, helping me with the boys in the evening.  I need her because the hubby is not allowed to stay with me.

This is the midwife who realises the boys are jaundiced.  After a few hours in her care, she remarks on their skin colour and says that we need to get it looked at.  Once more, I feel like I have let the boys down.  I didn’t see it.  Blood tests are taken and we await the results.

Day two of my boys life comes to a close.

I am in 24 hour care.  I don’t know what is wrong with me.

The doctors now know I have HELLP Syndrome.  The specialist who was brought in has diagnosed me.

No one has told me or my family this.  I continue to think the worst….

Do you want to know more about HELLP Syndrome?  Check out this post.

Want to know more about Preeclampsia Awareness Month?  Visit here.

Visit the Preeclampsia Foundation website here.



Beauty Blog Wales – #parentingscoop

Beauty Blog Wales – #parentingscoop

Welcome to #parentingscoop

This is a new guest series for Double the Monkey Business, and I am so chuffed that my very first guest star is the fabulous Nia from Beauty Blog Wales.  Nia is a fabulous lady, and I am very lucky to have her as a blogging friend.  She is always there to listen and offer advice to other bloggers.

Nia offers incredible tips over on her blog, on all things beauty related:  Please pop by to say hello and check out what she has to say.

Over to you Nia…

Bio – Nia at Beauty Blog Wales

My name is Nia Patten, I live in Cardiff with my husband (who’s a carpenter). I’m a dentist. We have two daughters, the young one is 5 months and the elder is nearly 4 years old.

Tell us about your pregnancy

It took us a long time to get pregnant with my first.  3 years of dedicated calendar watching and disappointment until the month I least expected it to happen, it just did. Phew!

The pregnancy was fine, not enjoyable, but zero problems until the last week when we discovered the girl was breech.

One ECV later she was pointing the right way and I was in labour.  

My second pregnancy wasn’t quite as smooth going. Number two was an IVF baby. We tried for a year and a half until I decided I had had enough of this disappointment malarkey, it was time to ask for help.

2 iuis, 1 IVF and 1 ICSI later we had our big fat positive. The stress had been enormous, and the positive result gave no relief. I counted the days till the second trimester safe zone and checked my miscarriage statistics on the daily.

Then at 11 weeks, disaster! I had some bleeding. I ran to the hospital. “There’s no point in scanning you, you will just have to wait and how it goes, try and relax” said the doctor. I ended up paying privately for a scan the next day, I was so anxious. Apparently there was a clot outside the amniotic sac. The baby was alive and visibly kicking on the screen.

The stress didn’t really improve.

At the 20 week scan they couldn’t locate the babies stomach bubble, 4 scans later the sonographer informed us that there was definitely something wrong it was likely that the baby was missing the connection between its mouth and stomach. We were referred to Fetal Medicine for further tests. I was in bits, I shouldn’t have googled it, oesophageal atresia as its called is associated with syndromes and other abnormalities in 50% of cases.

There was only an 8% chance of normality after a finding of no stomach. Lying in the sonography room of the Fetal medicine department with my heart in my mouth, the scan took about 45 mins. At the end of it the lady said “Do you know, she looks lovely” she meant normal. It’s the news I hadn’t let myself imagine I’d hear.

It was wonderful.  

I felt sad for the other ladies waiting with grim faces at that clinic, it’s the last place anyone wants to be. The rest of the pregnancy was normal and blissfully uneventful. I could finally relax. 

I had to push hard to be allowed a home birth.

In the end everything went to plan.

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

I didn’t go to the hospital for either of my baby’s birth. I had a bag packed but it stayed where it was.

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

See number 5!

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

I gave birth at home for both of my babies. Fortunately my births have been “easy” and positive. I found being at home and mobile relaxing and needed no pain relief apart from tens with my first.

My second labour was so quick I barely had time to make it to the bed and undress. The midwife was present, but only just. It was fab.

What were the first few weeks like after giving birth?

The first weeks with a new baby are a baffling time, especially the first. The thing that knocked me is the lack of recovery time you get after the labour. You barely have time to take a breath before you have to master the art of feeding the baby. It’s hard!

Do you have any advice for new parents?

Don’t worry about what anyone else tells you, go with your gut. If you want to spend a week on your own with babe cuddled up in bed do it! The rest of the world can wait.

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

I probably would have taken a bit more time of work at the end, I could have been more self indulgent.

What is your funniest parenting story?

My daughter is always making us laugh with her comments and misunderstandings.

The day she asked me “Whobody’s a huper sero?”was a good one.

My husband and I  still chuckle about my second labour. My husband was bathing my elder daughter at the time. I was pacing the landing on my own waiting for the midwife when my waters went, I was gripped with panic and the urge to push.

I screamed.

My husband looked out of the bathroom and thought to himself “oh dear, Nia’s lost control of her bladder” and just stood there looking at me with pity while I struggled not to give birth into my trousers.

It was pretty ridiculous.

Nia at Beauty Blog Wales speaks to #parentingscoop

Thanks Double the Monkey Business for letting me tell my story!

Where to find Nia, Beauty Blog Wales:

My favourite posts from Beauty Blog Wales:

Thanks so much for taking part Nia.  Thank you for sharing your incredible story with us.  Great advice: “If you want to spend a week on your own with babe cuddled up in bed do it”.   I wish I had paid attention to that in those first few weeks.

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