Double the Monkey Business

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Auf Wiedersehen Germany…

Auf Wiedersehen Germany…

As you read this post we will be setting off for the long drive home as we leave Germany behind.

While there are things that I will miss about living in Germany, there is no doubt that I left a bit of my heart in London when we left four years ago.

I don’t think I have ever felt truly settled in Germany.

Perhaps it is the language barrier, or the fact we knew that eventually we would pack up and return home.  All I know is that the whole time we have lived here, I have imagined what it would be like when we drive away and return home.

We were lucky to be offered a chance to move here while I was on maternity leave four years ago.  At the time I didn’t want to leave the boys and go back to work.  So, we took the opportunity when it was offered to us.   It was the right decision at the time.

It meant that I was able to stay home with my boys and I didn’t return to work until they were three-years-old. Even then when I did return to work I only worked part time.  For this extra time, seeing the boys grow up, I am incredibly thankful.

It also meant that they boys got to experience a different culture and language.

They leave Germany bilingual before they even start school.  In my mind, this can only be a good thing.

Living here also meant my hubby had a better work-life balance.  He got home early enough to eat with us in the evenings and help with bedtime.  It meant he also got to see more of the boys.

So you see we made the right decision for us as a family.

Germany has a lot to offer and over the years we have had some lovely holidays, Lake Constance, Bavaria, Ski trips.  Also we have taken advantage of the amazing swimming pools and the italian ice-cream readily available over here.

I have made some wonderful friends while I have been living here, for that I am grateful.

However, it is time to go.  Arguably it was time to leave a year ago, but we stayed up to when the boys started school which was better and more stable for them.

However, for us – the adults – we have been ready to leave for a while.

Germany

We miss family and friends.

We miss the family house that we had just bought before we moved here and only lived in for a few months.  We are ready to get back to ‘our life’.

I cannot wait to watch as the boys discover everything that living near London has to offer.  There is no shortage of things to do, museums to visit, exhibitions to experience and culture to soak up.

I am so ready for this.

I miss the hustle and bustle.  The quiet life in Germany, I have realised, is not for me.  Take me back to the big city, bright lights and craziness on every corner.  That is home, that is where I belong, that is where my heart is.

So goodbye Germany, I am thankful for the experience and the lovely friends I have made who are forever in my heart.

To find out more about our life in Germany, check out these posts:

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#parentingscoop Mayflower Blogs

#parentingscoop Mayflower Blogs
This week we have the fabulous Laura from Dear Bear and Beany on the blog, sharing her pregnancy and parenting experience with #parentingscoop

I am really excited to have some brilliant bloggers lined up for #parentingscoop over the next few months!  I am thrilled to have Jemma from Mayflower Blogs telling us all about her parenting journey today. Please pop over to her blog and say hi.

So let me pass you over to Jemma as she shares her story with us.

Bio – Jemma at Mayflower Blogs

I’m Jemma from Mayflower Blogs ( http://mayflowerblogs.com ).
I’m primarily a parenting and lifestyle blogger from Kent. But, originally started off as a Mental Health and Miscarriage Awareness blogger – something I still actively involve myself in.

I am 30 (almost 31 but we won’t talk too much about that), and I’m a stay at home Mum to my Son, Kye (7) and my Daughter, Olivia-May (3.5).  I’m married to my husband Keiron. We’ve been together 12 years, married for almost 8 of those, and we’ve known each other since we were both 7.

Tell us about you when you are not in ‘mummy mode’

I’m always in Mummy mode!
I feel like whenever I’m with them, without them, when they’re in bed etc, I always think about them and being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mum) means everything I do is about them or for them!
On the rare occasion my mind lets me think about something other than the kids, I’m obviously a blogger. So my mind is taken up on those subjects only really!
Jemma from Mayflower Blogs

Tell us about your pregnancy / pregnancies

I fell pregnant with Kye (7), in April 2009.  As I was in the middle of planning my upcoming wedding, it was a little bit of a shock!  I was 13 weeks pregnant with Kye when I got married to my husband, and thankfully the morning sickness held off for that day!
I fell pregnant three more times after having Kye, and suffered three recurrent miscarriages over the course of two years, before finally falling pregnant with our rainbow baby Olivia (now 3 and a half) on Christmas Day evening in 2012.  

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

I gave birth to both Kye and Olivia in our local hospital (QEQM in Margate, Kent).  Kye came the day after his due date, after a 36 hour labour, pethadine and gas and air.  No complications, although the pethadine was forced on me a little, and he ended up really sleepy for days, not crying really and not feeding well.  
Once the side effects from the drugs had worn off (and I’d sworn to never have it again with and possible subsequent labours) he found his voice and began the sleepless nights we’d imagined we’d have.
Olivia came 9 days overdue, a day before I was due to have my induction.  My waters went at home and they had meconium in them, which put paid to my plan of having a water birth.
I was strapped to the monitor, but, still determined to be in control of this labour, and having practised Hypnobirthing for months, I put my breathing techniques into practice, only needing gas and air towards the end and to push.
Her labour was 4 hours active, with half an hour pushing, and aside from some mucous on her chest and some issues initially with feeding, the meconium didn’t give us any major complications, and we were still allowed home within 24 hours.

What were the first few weeks like with a newborn?

The first few weeks with Kye were new.  Our first baby, we had very little idea what we were doing, but we settled well after a couple of weeks.  Lots of visitors came to see us (that always happens doesn’t it – then you don’t see anyone after the novelty has worn off).
The first few weeks with Olivia were difficult.  Having two kids to deal with rather than the one, meant looking after myself became difficult, and, with nursery runs to add into the newborn life I was exhausted.
Once I worked out how to juggle it all however, it became normal and easier.

Do you have any advice for new parents?

My advice for new parents is, do what you think is right.
Obviously take others advice on board, but don’t feel rail-roaded into doing things you’re not comfortable with.
At the end of the day, you’re going to have to deal with your baby every single day. So trying to make everyone happy and follow everyone’s advice may overwhelm you and not make you happy. Which is what having a newborn is supposed to do. Make you happy.

What is your favourite thing about being a parent?

My favourite thing about being a parent is having unconditional, reciprocated, never-ending, love.
I love feeling loved, and loving them in return.
I love doing everything in my power to make them happy and feel safe and secure.  And, I feel I was put on this earth to be a Mummy, so doing my very best by the children fills me with the most amount of happiness.

What is your funniest parenting story

I have SO many funny parenting stories!  Watching one of the kids do an explosive poo as a baby. Then watching my husband have to deal with the aftermath has to be up there with one of the best things I’ve witnessed.
They’re always coming out with funny stories, made up jokes, and they’re both super-quirky. They are always making us crack up with their little personalities.
Thanks you so much for joining us Jemma!  Thank you for sharing your story with us and talking about your pregnancy journey.  
I always love the funny stories and made up jokes too, such a lovely part of parenting.
You can find Jemma from Mayflower Blogs being social here, pop over and say hi:

If you would like to take part in #parentingscoop then leave me a comment below, or email doublethemonkeybusiness@gmail.com.  We would love to have you on the blog.

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#SMB – Google+ Week – Grow Your Community!

#SMB – Google+ Week – Grow Your Community!

#SMB – Google+ Week – Grow Your Community!

Doesn’t it crack you up when people think that Blogging is an “easy” job. There are so many pieces and parts to running a great blog, it’s hard to keep up with it all. When you started your Blog did you realize everything that needed to go into a post? Me neither!

Finding other Bloggers on Social Media, to follow and be followed by, opens doors. It connects us with others, leads more people to our sites who then share our work on Social Media. Are you blogging to yourself? Do you want to be noticed, but don’t know how to get there?

Running your blog in a vacuum is a futile process. “Build it and they will come” is just a line from a movie. Instantaneous Stardom rarely happens in real life. You have to be seen to be noticed.

Social Media Blast. Thursday at 9 PM EST Bloggers working together to grow our social media platforms. Brands are looking for large, engaged communities, let's work together to grow and prosper. Google+ Week.

Reasons to Grow Your Social Media Platforms with Other Bloggers

Social Media connects us with others who find value in our posts. It helps us to grow our audience and hone our skills. It puts you in the position to be noticed by fans and Brands.

It’s hard work to grow your Social Media Platforms. Taking photos, editing them, creating different sizes for Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. Phew! I’m tired already. Aren’t you???

And we haven’t even created the posts and written the Social Media Updates yet.

Or scheduled them. Found the appropriate hashtags. Or, at the very least, hashtags that aren’t flagged as spam. ARG!

Check out the Top Five Reasons why you should be working together with other Bloggers, then add yourself to the linkup and let’s all grow together. We got this!

Social Media Blast. Thursday at 9 PM EST Bloggers working together to grow our social media platforms. Brands are looking for large, engaged communities, let's work together to grow and prosper.

Meet your hosts:

 

Nikki from View From In Here Jessica from Adventures of a Cavemom
Lindsey from Lindsey Tradup Yvonne from Double the Monkey Business
Gidget from Mommy Perfect Rena from Fine, Whatever Blog
Leah from Elm Photo Studio Leanne from Smiles and Sunday

Top Five Reasons To Grow Your Social Media Platforms

ONE: Bloggers are a cool, creative bunch. I love reading updates from other Bloggers on my Social Media Feeds. We are so doggone fun! When I’m having a creative dry spot I get my best ideas from the Bloggers that I follow. (Bonus points for a great food video, or crazy cat vid? Amiright?!)

TWO: Bloggers know all the good stuff. Need a recommendation for a hotel while on vacation? Ask a Blogger. Looking for potty training tips? Ask a Blogger. DIY? Decorating? Paint Colors? Get it? Follow Bloggers from every niche and all the answers you need are at your fingertips! Boo-Yah!

THREE: Algorithm Changes drive you crazy? Yeah, me too. But guess what? Another Blogger has already figured it all out. And you follow her/him! Score. Think about all those hours of research saved.

FOUR: Is there anyone more fun to hang out with than a Blogger? I think not.

FIVE: Okay, here’s the REALS. You want people to read your blog, right? You’re working to raise your Pageviews. You may even be thinking about making money from your Blog. Perhaps you’ve started to Monetize, but you’d like to make more income. Maybe you want all these things, but it’s a slow process?

Guess what? Growing your Social Media Platforms, hanging with other Bloggers, can help you achieve all these things. But working together with other Bloggers can speed up the process.

Social Media Blast. Thursday at 9 PM EST Bloggers working together to grow our social media platforms. Brands are looking for large, engaged communities, let's work together to grow and prosper. Google+ Week.  Social Media Blast Requirements

 -Add the link to your Social Media Account. It must be a Public account or Facebook PAGE not personal.

 -Follow everyone in the linkup, come back later in the week to follow those that have joined after you. This linkup will be open for a week, so come back and follow more as the week goes on, and get followed back!  This is not a link dump, if you aren’t following the others your link will be deleted. Thanks.

Share. Click to Tweet. The more people that link up, the bigger we all grow.

This week we’re focusing on Google+

This week, link up the URL to your Google+ Profile (NOT YOUR BLOG URL), follow others on the list.

To find the URL to your Google+ profile, open up your Google+ account, click profile, grab the URL in the browser bar.

My URL is:

https://plus.google.com/u/1/b/113921717635170127787/+DoubletheMonkeyBusiness

Yours should be similar!

Why Google+ Is So Important

You may not have thought that focusing on Google+ was a priority, but you may want to rethink that. Brands and Sponsors ask for your Google+ connections and it’s great for sending you organic traffic from Google. So let’s work together to grow our accounts.

Compelling reasons why you should be using Google+:

As of June 2014 there were 343 million active accounts in Google+ (and even more use it indirectly, such as by uploading mobile phone photos without opening the app). That is far less than Facebook’s 1.28 billion, but quite a lot more than Twitter’s 270 million. It’s certainly not a slow market that you can choose to ignore.

 

If you want to sell your product or service, you would be crazy to pass up the opportunity to put your brand in front of qualified leads, right? Whether lots of people use Google+ or not, the truth is that Google loves it when you play in their sand box. Today 68% of searches are conducted on Google, so if we told you Google+ can help your company rank higher in their search results, wouldn’t it be worth looking into it?

 

Everything you post on you Google Plus for Business page is immediately indexed by Google. Thus, the content you post to your page can rank in search results even if your website doesn’t. This is huge for companies and professionals, because the websites that appear on the first page of Google, and especially in the first few positions, get 54.8% of all clicks from users (Optify).  Business to Community

 

If you’d like more info read the whole article from Business to Community

Now let’s work to grow Google+

By the way, share this, let’s reach out to as many bloggers as we can, we’ve made it easy to Tweet above. Let’s make 2016 a year for blogging community!


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Brighten Up Your Bookshelf – Part 2

Brighten Up Your Bookshelf – Part 2

Last week we reviewed some new books on the blog, you can see the post here.

As promised here is part two of our book review.  We feel so fortunate to get to review these lovely books and this next one was perfect timing for us…

Ella Who?

bookshelf ideas

I told my Dad, of course.  

“I’m taking the Elephant to my room.”

“Ella Who?”

This book is perfect for us, as we move house next week.  The boys particularly liked this book and could really relate to the story.

This lovely book sees a little girl get a surprise when she moves house and a baby elephant shows up.  The grown-ups are so busy unpacking (I can relate to this!) that they just say “Ella Who?”

I love reading this cute book as the elephant and little girl form a friendship.  I loved it as it took some of the unknown out of moving house, however I am a bit concerned now that the boys will be disappointed next week when we move house and no elephant moves in with us.  Or maybe it will and I will be too distracted to notice…..

Dance is for Everyone

“Much like Madame Prefontaine, Tanya was very strong.  A bit too strong.

And she didn’t seem to know what was going on with her tail.”

The boys love dancing and ‘putting on a show’ for anyone that will watch.  They are always listening to music – although at the moment that means the Trolls soundtrack on repeat (as an 80’s child, that is ok with me!). This book also struck a cord with them, as it sees new student (an alligator no less) turn up to dance class.    It follows the story as this unusual student ends up with the starring role at the dance recital.

So I love the moral to this story that anyone can dance if they have passion and a flair for it.  However, the thing I loved the most about this book was the illustrations.  They really reminded me of some books I read as a child.

Book Information:

  • Ella Who? – Linda Ashman – ISBN – 9781454919049 – £12.99
  • Dance is for Everyone – Andrea Zuill – ISBN – 9781454921141 – £12.99
  • Both books are available from www.thegmcgroup.com or by calling 01273 488 005

DISCLAIMER:

I WAS GIFTED COPIES OF THESE BOOKS IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.

 

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