Exciting Giggle News - I’m “handing over the reins" to my gorgeous sister!

November 8th, 2017

After weeks of feeling like I am going through a very difficult break up with the most perfect partner whom I can no longer give everything to, I am ready to explain how I came to this decision.

Giggle has been far more than a passion for me. The best way to describe it is that Giggle has definitely been my first baby. It feels appropriate to say I ‘birthed’ Giggle but since the birth of my second baby, Rocco – my world has changed.

A close friend said to me ‘Motherhood is the biggest unpaid unrecognised career in society’ and I could not agree more! I am finding so many similarities to running your own business and having a baby. The responsibility never switches off, both are exhausting and demanding but most importantly both are incredibly rewarding and the love and passion you develop is so hard to explain. It is on another level.

I feel as though I have blinked and Rocco is 9 months old. A clichéd comment but so true. At month 7, I finally felt as though my feet touched the ground and I came out of the baby bubble – ready to take on work again. So I started back at the office – slowly easing my way in for 2 days a week.

Driving in a car without a crying baby, without nappies spilling out of a handbag, switching off from motherhood and engaging the brain with adult conversation and feeling like I have another purpose… it felt wonderful!

As the weeks went on and I became more involved, the list grew and my two days felt like I was only touching the surface. In my previous life, I would work all hours, all week! I was totally obsessed. I began coming away from my two days feeling as though I hadn’t achieved. My quality time with Rocco was often spent with me still trying to do the odd call/email and guilt was setting in with the struggle to juggle.

I am an all or nothing person. I wish I could be less like this but it is something I have to accept. Along with this, I also tend to be a bit of perfectionist so I have been struggling to work out how I can give myself fully to Giggle and give myself fully to Rocco without either of them being compromised. For those of you who work and have children-I don’t know how you do it! You are my hero!

Whilst in this turmoil, I spoke with close friends and family and a few people asked if I would ever sell. To which I quickly said ‘ No-it would feel like losing half of my body’. But as I thought more about this, and realised that my time and passion for Giggle will become increasingly compromised when I potentially have another baby, I decided to look into this as an option.

Ruth is my closest friend. She started Giggle with me 10 years ago. For the first few years it was the two of us out at every party. And although Ruth has had other ventures in her life, she has continued to be a huge part of Giggle over the past ten years, stepping in and forcing me to have a day off – or even brave a holiday. Entertaining every weekend, even when she was living the other side of London. And more recently, ensuring everything continued to run when I met my whirlwind romance and got married, honeymooned and then became pregnant. Ruth developed Giggle with me and her passion for Giggle has never changed. In the past few years, Ruth has also taken on the social media for Giggle and therefore knows the voice of Giggle more than anyone. And for those of you who have met Ruth, she and I look and sound the same!

Like me, Ruth and I strongly believe that a successful company comes from a happy and valued close-knit team – which is exactly what we have created in our Giggle family.

So although the letting go part for me has been and may continue to be hard for some time, under the sadness, I feel at peace that this is the best thing for everyone involved. Rocco gets a full time mummy. My husband gets a more relaxed wife. I get to fully emerse myself in motherhood and helping Rocco get the best start to his life – which is the biggest pleasure. Giggle will fly. Ruth gets a new venture. And you all get Ruthie! A winning combination!!

This is not goodbye. I plan to still do occasional parties that fit around family life. I get to watch Giggle fly with a fabulous new boss who has the fire in her belly and the time to give her all to making it even more amazing. This is an exciting handover to an already established Giggle expert. Nobody will notice a change – in fact, if you do, it’ll only be in a positive way.

I cannot find the right words to express my gratitude to all those who have supported Giggle and continue to support Giggle.

I genuinely feel like the luckiest lady in the world – to have had this opportunity of running my own business. A business with a purpose to make children smile – is there anything in the world better than that? Now it is time to focus on keeping Rocco smiling :)

Here is to a new lease for Giggle – one that I cannot wait to see emerge and be a part of. I have so much love for you all I feel I could pop!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart

Tara xxx

P.S - We will be planning our Giggle Party for Rocco soon :)


Newborn Photoshoot with Natasha Wiening

July 20th, 2017

My experience:

Parking at Natasha’s house in Ealing was easy and we were greeted with a huge smile, calm energy and a cup of tea :)

Having just had our first baby, I struggled to get myself organised so arrived with a few clothing options and bedraggled hair. Natasha helped decide on which option to wear and I managed to make my hair presentable over tea and muffins.

The studio was set up beautifully with a lovely aroma, changing area and music playing quietly. The sense of safety and calm was perfect for a little one and the props and materials on display made us very excited!!

Rocco was only 10 days old and not very good at being anywhere other than in someone's arms! I was a little nervous that he wouldn't settle for any photos. Throughout the photoshoot, Natasha helped calm him and get him back to sleep and I soon realised there was no need to feel nervous as Natasha would work her magic whatever the situation.

From the moment the shoot started, Natasha was in her element, ensuring no time was wasted while maintaining a calming manner. 

I watched over her shoulder at the precious little human we had created. My womb ached with the cuteness, he looked so incredibly edible in every shot!

Time flies and it’s not long before we forget just how tiny our babies once were. I hadn’t envisaged having professional photos done at such an early stage as I am super snappy happy with my phone but there is something special about being able to look back at professional photos from that very short pocket of time. We are pleased we did this and I often hear other mums say they wish they had done this for their little one(s).

Incredibly professional, experienced and talented, Natasha comes highly recommended from us!

We were delighted with the final images – her attention to detail within the edit was perfect! We are excited to order some framed prints!

Thank you Natasha for these very special photos of Rocco and our little family :)

See Natasha's website

To watch a slide show with all the images from our shoot, please visit Natasha's blog

Xx


My Birth Story

February 14th, 2017

*My Birth Story - A gorgeous water birth*

 

Friday night (20th Jan)

7pm sitting at dinner with my family

I had started having little cramps earlier in the day – like period cramps, not painful just an uncomfortable womb ache.

As they talked, laughed and enjoyed sushi I breathed through each cramp and they seemed to pass quickly.

3% of babies arrive on their due date so I was pretty certain he would not join us until early next week. I had my whole weekend mapped out, Sainsbury’s delivery, gym, office, shopping, cinema, extended family lunch…

I will never forget my Dad who was like an excited child as each time a cramp came and he saw me quietly breathing through it – he would loudly announce ‘Tara is having a contraction everyone!! I felt like a naughty school kid :)

The men started to time each one. The app said – pack your hospital bags and go to hospital as we were having three ‘contractions’ in 10minutes. I found the whole thing hilarious and was in complete denial.

 

8pm

My husband (Anton) suggested we went home to be near our hospital bags in case we needed to go. I was still certain I was not in labour. On the journey he asked me to call Kelly, our midwife and let her know.  I honestly could not believe that she said she was coming over. I told her it would be a waste of her time as these was such minor ‘cramps’.

Once home, I showered and kept giggling. Anton dimmed the lights, played calming piano music and took our numerous hospital bags out.

 

9pm

Kelly arrived and bought a calm aura with her. I felt safe. We continued to time the ‘cramps’ and monitor baby’s heartbeat.

 

10.30pm

Examination showed I was 3-4cm dilated

 

11pm (2 hours to delivery – this is where labour began for me)

Cramps became more intense. I started calling them contractions. Kelly said it was time to go to hospital. Contractions became painful whilst in the car on the way… we listened to magic to get us through :)

 

11.30pm

We arrived at Queen Charlottes to a gorgeous room at the birth centre. The lights were dimmed, candles flickering and birthing pool half run.

Contractions were now coming thick and fast.

No time to pretty up the room.

I had forgotten about the tens machine and all other remedies in my bag.

I remember having to hold the sink and squat low.

 

12am – 21st January - now his due date

Waters broke when I went to the toilet.

I went into the birthing pool to try and slow things down but there were only 30 second gaps between contractions.

 

12.50am

I could feel his head coming down – felt like the epi-no machine, which I cannot recommend strongly enough!! It fully prepared me for the birthing sensation – and kept me in tact with no tears. It's basically a little balloon than you inflate inside the vagina, to help stretch the perineum and get you used to the sensation of the head crowning.

Kelly said to feel. I reached down to feel the top of his head. It felt like a jellyfish but a moment I hope I will always remember. I asked Anton to feel too. This was becoming VERY real and so exciting.

Anton and I were nose to nose through each contraction. Breathing in and out together. He was utterly incredible in every way – as expected. Kelly too - was a wonderful breathing coach. ‘Relax your shoulders’ – ‘Relax into it’ – ‘You are climbing that hill and at the peak… coming down now’. At points, I felt to hold my breath and push. Kelly kept telling me to breathe and not push. I don’t think I realized how quickly this was all happening.

With each contraction, I could feel the top of his head pop out a little and then pull back in when the contraction ended.

I made no sounds. Breathing was everything!!

 

12.57am

His head came out – I cried a little yelp! Then his body quickly followed after and he floated up for me to catch him. I was in shock.

Took my bra off and held him on my chest. His mouth crawled to my breast and latched on immediately. Rocco Sensky. Weighing 7pounds 8ounzes.

 

We had wanted to film the birth but there was no time to set anything up so I am forever grateful to Anton for capturing the moment I caught Rocco in a photograph

 

 

In my mind, it was all over – time to enjoy our little boy. But things took a surprising turn…

 

I got out of the pool to lie on the couch with baby Rocco on my chest and birthed my placenta ten minutes later (I loved this feeling – was very soothing after a head!). I could tell that Kelly wasn’t so sure about how much blood I was losing. I was encouraged to use the bathroom (going to the toilet helps the womb to contract). I walked into the bathroom and fainted. Two midwives came in to help me stand and get back to the couch. I fainted again.

 

Then I was in an what felt like an episode of 'Greys Anatomy'. A bed arrived for me and I was rushed up to the labour ward. I sensed panic from doctors and nurses surrounding me ‘She is losing too much blood’. Injections in my leg, IV fluid through a cannula, IV drip, tablets up my bottom and worst of all – a catheter. They were pushing my uterus down and emptying me of all clotting. I felt totally violated.

I was no longer practicing the calm breathing that hypnobirthing teaches - I went into panic mode. I felt that there were too many people in the room also panicking and my body seized up, which made everything they did so much more painful. I really can only describe this experience as traumatic.

The scariest thing was hearing the doctors and nurses confused by the blood loss and not knowing the reason.

2 hours later, everyone left. I had had a post partum hemorrhage because my uterus did not contract. This may well have been down to having such a quick birth.

Anton Rocco and I breathed a sigh of relief. I lay, covered in blood with tubes all over the place for another 4 hours – but the silence and calm was blissful. Holding him nestling into my neck made me forget everything.

We were kept in the hospital for two more nights and I had to have a blood transfusion. In hindsight this became a positive aspect to our birth experience because it meant having advice with how to look after a little human! We took a private room and made it our own with fairy lights, music and candles. Those two nights were really special bonding time.

 

Most importantly, I can look back at the birth itself and smile with tears in my eyes. It was utterly incredible. Perfect in fact. Unbelievably empowering. And the love I felt for both Anton and Rocco was off the scale.

Next time, we know exactly how to stop the blood loss so there are also no fears for baby number two.

Everybody tells you that the love you feel for your little human is something you cannot describe. It really isn’t. I am obsessed with the smell of his head. I am happy to lose hours just watching his facial expressions whilst he sleeps. He is perfect. I am in awe of how we can create little humans. Mind blowing.

 

Thank you so much for reading!

 

We have recently had a gorgeous newborn photo shoot with Natasha Wiening – can’t wait to show you all the photos!

 

Tara xx

 

P.S

Whilst I was writing my birth story, I jotted down a few must haves/must do’s for anyone expecting:

 

MUST HAVES/MUST DO’S

 

  • Hypnobirthing course: If in London or Devon, Siobhan Miller from ‘The Positive Birthing Company’ is incredible!
  • Pregnacy + app: to follow week by week progress of your little one in the womb
  • Squeezy app: to remind you to practice pelvic floors every day
  • Yesmum cards: to keep a positive mindset every day of your pregnancy
  • Epi no machine: to help stretch the perineum and get you used to the sensation of the head crowning
  • Birthing ball at home: for early labour. I found that sitting was not comfortable throughout contractions so leaning on this was great.
  • Lucozade: to keep energy up in between contractions
  • Flap Jack bite size: slow release energy (again great to keep energy levels high)
  • Melon chopped: this was a personal love. Just have your favourite thing to hand!
  • Electric candles (with remote): home from home
  • Long dress like vest tops (not tshirts): makes it easy to breastfeed after birth
  • Bridget jones pants & sanitary towels: comfy stretch Primark ones!
  • Edith Dare ward – side room £295: If at Queen Charlottes, these private rooms are half the price of the others and are great!
  • Bendy straws: to take fluids when lying down exhausted
  • Pillow from home: home from home and perfect addition if staying in the hospital overnight
  • Breastfeeding pillow: absolute god-send for in the hospital

 


Giggle Handover

January 24th, 2017

Giggle handover… A giggle baby is on the way

(Written 20th January 2017)

With our baby due any day now, I have finally taken a few days off! :)

I thought this might be a good opportunity to write my first blog to let you know my plans for Giggle with a new baby on the horizon.

I can hardly believe Giggle (previously called Funky Monkey Parties) is 10 years old! It was and will always be more than a business for me as it was ‘born’ out of my passion for children. I really have loved nurturing it and helping it stand on its own two feet while seeing so many children and their families enjoy happy times. Also LOVED the added bonus of watching those children returning yearly, grow up! Wow, what a privilege! So a big thank you to all who have supported me/us so far!

As Giggle expanded, it became my life with almost no time for anything else. It grew faster than I expected. Five years ago we were running up to twenty parties a weekend and baby & toddler classes all over West London throughout the week. With more opportunities coming our way, I was buzzing with ideas and excitement for where Giggle could go with dreams of Television. At the same time, my very wise mother asked me to step back and ask myself if I wanted to be a mother or a career-driven woman. I pondered and thought, ‘well both!’But essentially the penny dropped and I realised that I could easily leave having a baby too late and never realise my greatest dream!

So - three years ago, I sold the baby & toddler classes and scaled parties down to twelve every weekend. A year later (June 2015) - I met a wonderful man at the gym and knew he was the man I was to marry.  Three weeks later, and both sure of where this was heading, he moved to Kenya for 9 months. Four weeks apart - then I joined him in Kenya for two weeks. He proposed. I said yes. That December, when he came home briefly, we got married (legally) ready for our 'real' wedding in Thailand in April 2016. He finished his job in Kenya and met me in Thailand for the wedding. It was a whirlwind of magic. May 2016 we arrived back from honeymoon to find out that we were pregnant. The rest of 2016 was spent cooking a baby - and working out how to deal with these crazy changes! A HUGE thank you to my incredible sister for keeping Giggle running smoothly throughout this time!

I continued partying until my bump no longer fitted/suited the princess dresses! With weekends off for the first time in 9/10years, I took the opportunity to spot check our team. As many of you know, we have a very small family of entertainers and I am VERY particular about who I take on. First and foremost, they must ADORE children (genuinely) as you can see straight through an ‘act’, second, they need to be incredibly talented and of course, also experienced! I couldn’t have been happier and I felt like a proud mother watching each party I went along to. Though there are always things to learn from and improve on, I came away with the overriding feeling of amazement and thankfulness for having  such a wonderful and talented team. 

Now onto the office part of Giggle... this is where I introduce an absolute diamond to you all: Tania. Tania came on board two years ago and became my office assistant/PA. I could not think of anyone better to take on my role of 'Giggle boss' whilst I take maternity leave.

She has been my ‘right hand woman’ for long enough to know the voice of Giggle and as it’s a lot of work we have also taken on a new office assistant for Tania: Georgia - another gem!

When faced with the prospect of taking an extended leave, I recognised that to keep Giggle running smoothly I needed to simplify things! My web guy kept encouraging me to  ‘hand over to the robots’ but I was afraid of losing how personable Giggle has been. So the challenge was to combine the robots with a personable touch to ensure that we could still run the business efficiently without me working every waking hour! At the end of 2016, we launched the new online system! After some pretty major teething issues, we are there!!

I feel very excited for the next chapter of my personal life but also for Giggle’s! We are always developing themes, props and costumes and once I have got the hang of looking after another little human, I will be approaching it with fresh eyes and being a mother will only enhance what we do and offer!   

Rest assured, you are in the safest of hands with my incredible team. I am still constantly memo’ing the girls to keep in the loop (which I love) and am pretty sure I will be in the office quite soon after his arrival :) Tania and Georgia may well help watch little one whilst I get my work fix :) - we shall see!!

I miss entertaining at parties and cannot wait to start partying again so as soon as I feel ready for this and have found my feet with being a mummy, (not sure when this will be), I will happily leave baby with his adoring daddy so I can be a princess again :)

See you the other side!!

Tara x


We’re almost ready to pull back the curtains

June 5th, 2016

Watch this space!

Tara x