Friday, 7 August 2009

A moon just for me

I thought I was going mad on my drive home from a friends house at 9.30pm this evening. As I crossed over the traffic lights onto a country lane I saw in front of me what looked like an amazing African sunset –a huge, orange/ red glowing sun. I was confused because a) it was in the east and b) it was 9.30pm at night.

so it must have been the moon - I’d never seen anything like it before.

When I got home all excited I researched the net and good old
wikipedia told me there was meant to be a lunar eclipse on the 6th august – (yesterday) as did the rest of the Internet?? How weird! I am surprised that no one on the Internet predicted a lunar eclipse on the 7th August 2009

So am I going completely bonkers or has everyone just missed this beautiful sighting? Maybe I'm still drunk from my 30th birthday celebrations last weekend and its all in my head ;o) !!!

if any one has any answers I'd like to hear them

On a different note did anyone do anything today at 12.34: 56 07/08/09

Friday, 31 July 2009

Diamond Dreams

Just dropping in to say – I’m loving life! – hope you all are too!

The funeral industry is so exciting - and it's really gaining momentum. Phoenix Diamonds were on Channel 4 last Friday night - now I'm getting tones of enquires from folks all over the UK wanting advise on what to do with their loved ones ashes!

night everyone!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Who gobbled up all the time?

I know I know – it’s been soooo long. June and July just seems to have been some kind of whirl wind and time has sped up to 100mph! .

So what have I been up to I hear you ask! In a nutshell....

4 days at the National Funeral Exhibition –wow, I think my feet are still recovering 6 weeks on!

4 weeks of being ‘Goldie Cook Secret agent’ trying to win £20,000 so I could invest into Sentiment.. Didn’t win by the way, but hey ho, some nice deserving hardworking chap did win and I was very happy for him. (How gracious of me!!)

5 days of Poxy Child....My Little girl Constance got the chicken pox! (check out her spots!)

5 days and nights at Glastonbury festival - Connie's 3rd Glasto and she's not even 3 yet!!

1 day at Wireless festival - spot my Goo on the loose flag! - Please refer to
Goldiecook's youtube channel for more flag flying!

In between the festivals, fun and rum I have been working working working... recession? what recession! I am now recruiting for new crew across the UK, my email is filling up daily with applicants - now i've gotta find the time to go through them!

Friday was the last day of pre-school for Connie for 7 whole weeks... 7 WEEKS!!!! So tomorrow is the first day of being supermum & superbuinesswoman - wish me luck!

One last photo WARNING 'parental brag coming up' ... my daughter is a genius ;O) she not only started to learn to read at 2 and half but 2 months before her 3rd birthday I walked into to find this on her blackboard (Below) yes she wrote and spelt her own name all on her own... I AM SOOO PROUD!!
Right enough of that - I've got work to do!!

Take care everyone xx

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

I laid in a coffin!!!

It has taken me until today to finally recover from the National Funeral Exhibition!!!

What an incredible weekend. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came to see us on the stand. I was amazed at the positive response from the Funeral Directors (amongst a few grumbles!!) It seemed about 80% of them were open to the idea of video production and photo montages at a funeral. About 30% of Funeral Directors said their families were asking more and more about video productions. 50% Funeral Directors who came to the stand walked away wanting to offer our service, which was a fantastic feeling that’s for sure!!!

I will no doubt write more about the expo weekend over the next coming weeks however I am currently on a mission to win £20k and I need all the support I can get.

Last week it was confirmed that I was into the final stage of a Cadburys competition. I am now competing with 9 other Cadbury Cream Egg Twisted Super Agents to hunt down the Goo on the Loose! Goldie Cook is my Super Secret Agent name and my mission is to track down ‘the GOO’ that is on the loose. I have to follow the clues to where the Goo is going to attack next by trekking up and down the country to secret locations. I have to document my progress by Twitter, YouTube videos and gain as much support publicity as possible.

When I was at the exhibition I got a secret mission from HQ to do to a Rap and upload it to YouTube!!! So I laid in a coffin and did my rap!! I had a great audience and it created lots of laughs from funeral directors and suppliers alike ... there really is fun in funerals” (Thanks to SK imports for lending us their cofffin)

In 2 weeks time the mission will end and all my activity will be assessed. The winner is the one who gains the most support and PRESS!!! I need help in drumming up as much press interest as possible – DO YOU KNOW ANYONE, can you help?

By clicking on all of my YouTube videos and following me on twitter and sending the links to all your friends you can also help raise my profile.

Please support me by following my twitter campaign
And check out my other crazy YouTube videos

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

We are at the National Funeral Exhibition this Friday – Sunday

Sentiment is at the National Funeral Exhibition 12th – 14th June (this week) Come and see us in the in the innovations area (Hall 1).

We will be promoting tribute DVD’s and video production for the funeral industry

Why visit Sentiment? - As well as being lovely approachable ladies, we will also have loads of freebies to give away!

The innovations area is a great place to sit and chat with Sentiment and the other suppliers on the stand. Take the time relax in the seating area and view tribute films and photo montages on our BIG TV!

Come and see Sentiment and we'll can keep you informed on:

· Video and photo montages / slideshows
· Tribute films
· Filming of funerals
· Hire of Screens, TV, projectors and PA’s
· Editing · Filming
· Photo and slide scanning
· VHS, cine and audio transfers

We are also here if you have any questions about how we work with Funeral Directors all over the UK and how it can complement your business.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Stiff old funeral directors make me laugh!!!

Ohh you’ve got to see the funny side of the funeral industry, half the industry are a bunch of old crooners stuck in their ways, fighting with other funeral directors over business, bitter and twisted arguments over who has the contract for the hospital, moaning about the coroners, and stealing car keys from each other hearses...

After 3 years I have met many bitching, moaning, competitive old boys with one foot in the grave while their heads so high in the clouds they have a altitude problem.... I’ve been cold shouldered by about a 2/3 of funeral directors that I have met along the way!

I did a presentation to a group of funeral directors last week - most walked into the room and avoided me!! However during my presentation I felt the room was divided. Most sat there and smiled while a handful sat there and scowled or looked utterly bemused ... one even shook his head and walked out!!! How can you possibly be offended by a beautiful photo and video tribute??!!!

I will say though, at least 1/3 of the industry are Lovely! There are funeral directors out there who are pretty special, who really do think about family needs, who think much further than the profit margin on a coffin.... Those who are amazing are the ones that embrace the changes in trends and cultures, bend over backwards to help families and don’t turn their nose up at an unusual request. These funeral directors are the ones who will walk away smiling when they’re business is growing while others are failing – they are the future.

My theory on this... The ‘crooners’ are fearful of change, too dam lazy to allow their minds to think out of the box so they hide their fear with ignorance and stubbornness.

So my message to my grumpy old chums is this... life is short as you well know, there is plenty of business out there for everyone , do your job well and you’ll have nothing to worry about!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Precious friends

This is the photo of me and my girlfriends at a picnic a few weekends back.

There we were sitting in the sun having our photo taken, feeling nostalgic and thinking how lucky we are to have such a great friendship. Seconds after this snap was taken one of the girls told us she was having a baby and getting hitched! This beautiful news made us overspill with happiness and caused a fantastic reaction from each one of us! Our screams could be heard from the other end of the park!

There we were crying and jumping up and down like utter lunatics followed by a massive group hug - what a bunch of overexcited girls we must have looked like! Our reaction caused my daughter Connie (in the photo on my friends lap) to burst into fearfull tears, I don’t think she had ever witnessed such a reaction and she wasn’t quite sure what to make of it all!!

When I remises about that moment I get all teary because it just highlights how I feel about the most beautiful simple things in life. This is life at its best, so simple so beautiful, no flash car or big house, no designer suit or swanky dinner can make you feel that way – to truly be overwhelmed with excitement for someone you love - friendship is so powerful.

I am well aware that life won’t always be this simple, maybe that’s why I’m such a sentimental fool. Every day I look at my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends and even my 2 cats and just feel so grateful for what I have because I know all too well how precious they are and how in a flash it can all be gone. Life is short and can be very sweet.

Have a good day everyone.

Monday, 27 April 2009

It was painful but it was worth it!

In April I joined the NAFD (Nation Federation Of Funeral Directors) as a supplier. Last Wednesday was the AGM and the first time I was to meet the Chilterns members. I’d been informed that these meetings were generally a chance have a catch up over a laid back beer and curry. In my eyes this was a perfect way to introduce myself to all the local funeral directors that I had not yet met and charm them with my good looks and talent!

I walk into the pub and see 2 men ‘fully suited and booted’ perched at the bar with a couple of pints - Ah ha, I can spot a funeral director a mile off! I smile and ask them if they are here for the NAFD meeting. They respond with a shy mumble! I interpret this as a very confused ‘yes’!

I go on to chirpily introduce myself and my company and explain that I had been invited to join the NAFD as a supplier. I asked their names and they managed to inform me in all of 4 words who they are and where they are from. I tell them that I recalled having spoken to them on the phone in the past – neither of them seemed to remember and then the conversation (if you could call it a conversation) slides into a somewhat uncomfortable silence! Both men seemed to be gazing desperately into their pints as if they were trying to summon a genie to get this strange girl out of their face!!!

I took the shunning on the chin, smiled and caught the eye of the barmaid. I ordered an orange juice and soda but if I was to be honest with you, all I wanted was a pint Guinness followed by a shot of anything from the top shelf!

So with my OJ in hand I smiled at the 2 men, who rapidly look back into their pints desperate for the genie to arrive! I once again I (painfully) tried to make conversation, and like a good English girl, I talked about the beautiful weather we were having. But they clearly did not want to respond. I was sinking and my confidence was taking a serious battering so I did what any girl does to get out an awkward situation ... I get my mobile phone out of my handbag and with an air of ‘professional busy business woman’ I check my emails while praying to the good ‘whoever’ above to make it ring so I can get the hell out this situation!!

3 or 4 minutes later a young funeral director walks through the door, suited and booted with a friendly smile on his face my heart lifts ‘ thank god’, I know who this guy is! We met a few years back. He says hello to the 2 men and chirps on about what a lovely day it is outside. It takes him a few seconds to look at me , I suppose he didn’t really click who I was, or why I was stood smiling at him like an eager puppy! I hold my hand out and say hey I’m Louise from Sentiment we met a few years back... babble babble babble and he sort of looks at me in a confused way, shakes my hand, orders a pint and starts a conversation with the other 2 men.

The 3 men didn’t include me in their conversation so I smiled and included myself... someone had to finally take note that I was there and I wasn’t going to go away!! More funeral directors came through the door and each time I was greeted with the same odd look, quick handshake and swift exit to the bar!! I wasn’t going to give in. Thank god a few guys walked in who I’d worked with in the past, they met me with a friendly warm greeting that filled my drained confidence tank up a few notches! Within minutes I was included in their conversations, and they started link me to funeral directors I had work for in the past. Soon they started to realise that I really do work in their industry and that I am a) not competition and b) actually quite interesting to speak with!

After the meeting the ‘quiet’ funeral directors that I had first encountered left ... it turns out it wasn’t just me they were being awkward with – I think they were just very shy, shocked I was there and I think maybe a bit old school?!

By the end of the night my stomach muscles hurt so much from laughing, and I’d managed to land myself as the party planner for the Christmas party. All in all it was a job well done and I’m actually looking forward to the next AGM in 6 months time.

Thanks to all the lovely funeral directors in the Chilterns area for making me feel so welcome.... ooh and for Peter who paid for my dinner!!!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Radio gaga!

Just as I was running out the office on Thursday morning, I received a phone call from BBC Radio Berkshire asking me to speak live on air... I knew what it would be about straight away as I'd had 3 calls from various sources in the past 24 hours regarding the launch of the Co-operative Funeralcares survey regarding Music in funerals).

I was interviewed by Henry Kelly - here is the link:

(about 33.09 on the time line).

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Dont bring me flowers...

I’ve never been a massive fan of flowers for funerals. In my family we have always said no to flowers and asked people to donate to charity. I could never understand why people would spend £100 on a wreath that would be seen for an hour. I even tried to convinced a local florist a few years back to make ‘ reusable fake wreaths’ just to go on the coffin during the ceremony... I’m a bit of a scrooge!

Yesterdays funeral consisted of about £10,000 worth of flowers! I had never in my life seen so many flowers. There were 3 lorry’s, each over flowing with outstanding floral tributes. Each tribute was made into something unusual from the Tower of London, speed boats, Lorry’s, hearts, teddy’s, angels, shirts, cars and even Coke Cans – not a cellophane wrapped bunch of flowers in sight, just grand floral tributes in their hundreds! This could have been perceived as tasteless and over the top, especially as they dominated the entire cemetery, however I thought it was bloody wonderful - what a send off? How amazing that all these people emptied out their pockets to pay their respect with flowers to a good old working class man of the community... this is not a celebrity we are talking about just a great guy!

Yes, I’ve changed my mind - bring me flowers by the bucket load for my funeral, they are fab!

(I will post a still from the film as soon as I get permission from the family)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Comin' for to carry me home

When I first set up Sentiment 3 years ago one of the first things I did was write my funeral plan. 3 years have since flown by, so last night I settled down to see what has changed... Surprisingly nothing drastic - other than the amount of input a funeral director has. In my original plan I had requested that the family call in the local FD and have them do everything - but not use their hearse because I want a bus!

Recently I decided that I didn’t really want the local FD to take over my funeral because I have come to believe it’s really important to have everyone involved (if they so wish). I added to the plan some information and advise so my family can carry out most of their own arrangements from transporting my body , washing it down right through holding ‘viewing’ at our home.

Today’s blog from the
Good Funeral Guide coincides with what I had written... and I’d like to stand up and give Charles a round of a applause for making it sound logical!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Power of Music

If people ask me why I set up Sentiment the usual reply isMusic’!

Knowing how music can vastly change an image you are watching, an event you are attending or an emotion that you are experiencing is the main reason for driving Sentiment forward. The right music at a funeral or an event can leave an impact that will last forever in your heart. And the right music set to photos or video means you will watch it over and over again feeding from the comfort of both the music and the imagery.

Music has the power to influence your mood, manipulate your perceptions and make a situation better.

I am well aware that not everyone is a music ‘boff’, in fact I have been incredibly surprised that half of my clients have no idea what music they want for their DVDs or events. In this instance I get the honourable opportunity to get to understand their tastes and help them choose something that’s appropriate and meaningful to them.

Here is my first instalment of
'Music For The Soul'... There is something here for everyone.

Join up to
Spotify to link direct to the play list . If you don't already have a Spotify account then I would suggest you get one - its free and blooming great... the best music site next to LastFM

For those of you who are dedicated LastFM users then do check out Spotify , otherwise link to the LastFM playlist

I'll be doing more play lists - if your lucky you'll get one every month!!!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Jades wedding - photo slideshow / photo montage

So did anyone watch Jades wedding on Living TV?I love a good wedding so settled down to watch the 2 hour episode - I cried my eyes out all the way through! what did you think?

There was a lovely photo slideshow / photo montage provided by her ‘best men’– I love that photo montages are becoming the norm for weddings, funerals and anniversaries. caters for all celebrations of life. New samples due to go up on the website in the next few weeks in the mean time there have been some updates, in products including memory books.

Monday, 9 March 2009

'Wendy Richards.. she was a good laugh'

2 blogs in 1 day - you are lucky people!!!

Great report from the
beeb on Wendy Richards funeral

I love the comments

"Wendy's gonna love this"
"The whole thing was a show, I was mesmerised"

"A Stitch in Time Saves Nine"

"A Stitch in Time Saves Nine" ...It’s one of those phrases my Mum and Nan would use when I was a kid (in reference to keeping on top of things) I never paid much attention, I always ended up spending all day Saturday tidying a week’s worth of mess in my bedroom! I wish my Mum and Nan had taken their own advise when it came to organising their photos, memories and music. Trying to organise photos for my dad's 60th birthday was quiet a task when crammed up in the loft with a torch trying to hunt through 6 box's and a 2 bags of jumbled up photos!

I have this 'super organised' client who has asked us to create a life biography for her husband. On our first meeting she pulled out from her cupboard:

  • 20+ photo albums, in year order.
  • 10 CD’s each containing photo files all in order + a contact sheet for each file (A4 print out of all the photos) - not even I’m that organised!!!
  • A box of photos all organised in date and event order packs with big bold back writing on each pack with details of what the photos are
  • A box of video tapes is labeled and in date order
  • Love letters, cards and trinkets all boxed up in order of year and everything is label in some way

For me she is a dream client! Instead of spending a weeks organising photos we sat down for an afternoon and the process was enjoyable , relaxing and rather therapeutic for her... this is not the norm. Often it gets stressful and more like a labour of love!

So ... today take with you ‘A stitch in time’... it’s never too late to start organising. A few minutes here and there and you could save yourself and your family much so much time and stress, plus you can actull
y start to enjoy your photos!

Digital Photo Organisation Tips

  • File everything chronologically.
  • In my Pictures folder have a folder named for each year, for instance, "2006."
  • In each year's have a folder for each month, named for the number of the month, like "01." Always use a leading zero, like "01" instead of "1," or the name of the month so they always list in the correct order.
  • In each month's folder have a new folder for each day / event / holiday: ie "09 Brighton Beach."
  • Name each photo or favourite photos with key words to help with searches in the future
  • Have a ‘highlights’ file for each year with a copy of all the best photos
  • BACK UP YOUR PHOTOS create CD’s and even update onto external hard drives. Back them up!

Hard Copy Photo Organisatation Tips

  • Put aside a Friday evening with a bottle of wine/ gin/ tea = whatever your favourite tipple
  • Put on some good music
  • On the floor lay out A3 white envelopes + colourful dividers a black marker pen for the envelopes and a pencil to write on the back of photos if needed. + storage box's
  • File them in a similar order to your digital image.
  • Write on the front of the envelopes dates, events etc
  • Use divider to separate years / or decade in some cases!
  • Take notes of any photos that you would like to scan
  • Put aside a date when you can sit and scan the photos or send them to us and we’ll scan them
  • Any old VHS and cine film get transferred to digital!

why a stitch in time?...

Saturday, 28 February 2009

the next generation funeral

A friend pass this on to me today - I loved it!

check out the vids on this.

The Facebook invite, the dancing on tables... I love it - Obviously they couldn't have said goodbye to Mo in any better way.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

“It isn’t wrong, but we just don’t do it”

"Can we not agree just to suspend our critical faculties and let others do their thing"

(fab quote taken from Tuesdays blog update from the Good Funeral Guide)

My 2 years old daughter's favourite Thomas the Tank Engine book is ‘Gordon’ (we have read it every night for 3 weeks and I feel it’s speaking to me personally!!)

Gordon is a stereotypical English Engine, pompous, grumpy and jealous and always thinks his way is the right way! In the book he tells Henry off (my favourite engine) for whistling too much (Henry is a chirpy little engine)

Gordon moans “
Henry whistles too much. No respectable engine whistles loudly at stations. It isn't wrong, but you just don't do it”
After that, Henry is upset. Percy (the cute little green engine) tells him that he likes Henry's whistle,
Then Gordon saunters past telling Henry to remember what he said!
Later on in the story Gordon learns his lesson when his whistle valve blocks and his whistles all day long! When he gets back to the sheds all the other Engines take the piss out of him” it isn’t wrong but we just don’t do it!! (woh ha ha that’ll teach you Gordon)

In the
Good Funeral Guide blog it talks about British snobbery when it comes to tributes (such as flowers, letters, teddy’s at roadside memorials and great big plastic smiley faces and wind chimes on children’s graves) and why people like to complain about them. Here in England we like a good old moan and negative twist on everything we see that we don't necessarily agree with, especially when it comes to how we deal with death in an open hearted manner. As Gordon say’s (and the rest of the miserable UK) .... “it isn’t wrong but we just don’t do it”

Sound familiar? Like the old school English pompous funeral directors and their views on anything modern and outside of tradition!?

I like the fact that we are more open with our grief. The fact that so many people make such an effort to show their affections and display their grief by publicly placing letters, teddy’s, flowers etc. Its a comfort and I like it.

When Diana died seas of flowers were laid, yet there was so many people moaning that it was disguising and a waste. People couldn't understand why you would lay flowers for someone you didn’t know. “it isn’t wrong but we just don’t do it”. I liked it, I thought it was wonderful everyone came together and indulged in a bit of public grief!

I also like roadside memorials. It gives people driving past a moment to remember that they are not indestructible in fact they are themselves the possible destroyers - Albeit, it may only sit with them for a wee second as they drive by, but the thought is still implanted on their mind.

Public displays of grief and emotion show that we are human. Generations are becoming more and more open with their feelings and I like it! Down with the old English way and in with the all America heart and cheese – before we know it here in Great Britain we’ll all be standing at bereaved family’s front doors with candles singing ‘Calling All Angles’ ;o)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

I wasn't go to write about this... but!

Its half term this week so I’ve been hanging out with lots of mums - Hot topic in the mummy world? You guessed it... ‘Jade Goody’!

To be fair I’ve not seen much of the Jade thing as I’m not one for the media – I don’t buy the papers, I rarely watch the news and I certainly don’t buy magazines due to the wise words of a Baz luhrmann’s song ‘Sunscreen’ - “don’t buy beauty magazines they only make you feel ugly”

So I did a bit of investigating into the media and my reaction was – wow, it’s everywhere! Also, where people can have an opinion they do! There are some beautiful messages to her, but also on a few blogs and social networking sites people seem to be up in arms about the media coverage she has encouraged... why? Because they all like a good chance to criticise and think they are so much better!

I like to think that Jade is saying...“ f*** you I’m dying! I can do what the hell I like and dam well do what I feel is right in my own death... I don’t give too hoots to what you or your dog has to say about it, come share the same opinions with me when you’re in my life position and I’ll kick you with your own sodding insults and see if you’re as strong as me”

My message to Jade Goody is ‘Good on you girl... good on you! Get as much money as you can! In the process you raise awareness of how critical cancer can be and how it can affect anyone one at any age. Show the UK that they are dam lucky to be alive and well, hopefully in the process they will face the reality that people die and maybe just maybe it could happen to them –Yes it’s like looking at a car crash, but doesn’t looking at a car crash make you more aware to drive carefully?

I am saddened for her, no matter what the media has to say about her, no matter how she is perceived ... she is human and until you are in her boots I don’t think anyone can judge.
The fact of the matter is, it is tragic! For her and of course for anyone else in the same position as she is.

My love and thoughts go out to Jade and everyone else that is going through the same suffering.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The best thing in simply living.

When you are aware of, hear, see and feel the pain and sadness in the lives of others, it can only make you appreciate what you have – not what you don’t have, haven’t had in the past or won’t have in the future.

So many people who have really lovely lives love to moan; about their job being crap, they want a new car, the kids are getting on their nerves, they’ve no money to go on holiday, the're husband doesn't do the washing up right, life's not fair, I hate.. I want... Yarda yarda yarda (You know what I mean?)... and yes, we all fall into the poor me trap sometimes, but we get out before we get bogged down with poor me syndrome. So how is it that so many people do not jump out of that hole before it becomes a deep dark and sulky life, losing the capability to look up to see how beautiful the sky is, or appreciate that they can pick up the phone and talk to the person they love or even appreciate that they have a working body?

I think maybe society today wants so much that they just can’t see what they have – the simplest things is what makes up your life, your everyday tasks; for me washing up with my music blaring and shaking my bum in time to the beat, tidying up the incessant mess my 2 year old makes, picking up my daughter from school and hearing her babble on about what she has done, working until the small hours in the office with my husband beside me on his computer tapping away, the snuggle and kiss goodnight before we fall asleep... and most importantly waking up to radio 6 (they always have a great song on at 6am!) getting up and getting out of bed is bloody hard work when it’s cold outside and you’ve only had 4 hours sleep, but it’s a new day and it’s another day in your life to carry on doing those simple things that one day will be taken away from you.

Living life ... It’s great. It’s so simple, good God, I would miss it if I couldn't do it!

How do I tell these grumpy folks to wake up to life?

"Because terminal illness robs its victims of so much. Of all the ordinary days which drift past without you noticing — the days of simply sharing a life as it goes by" Roads -the price of love blog

Monday, 2 February 2009

Chiltern Woodland Burial Park

I have been waiting to visit the new Chiltern Woodland burial Park since it opened up in November. In fact when I heard there was one opening up I just wanted to burst with excitement! Our area was crying out for a good woodland burial park and when I found out it was the same organisation as Epping forest then I knew it was going to be great!

I decided to take my daughter along to see it, she’s only 2 and a half and I thought she could run around and get some fresh air while we wondered round the woodland chatting to Fran Hall the site manager. The development is still very new, none of the buildings are finished, there’s some construction work going on and the office is a portacabin! However, you instantly see right through the imperfections. The woodland is just breath taking, it’s beautiful, its perfect and its development is Unanimous. I don’t want to seem as all hippy dippy about it, but I can’t help but be overwhelmed at how wonderful the woodland is. Its energy and its beauty is consuming .

The buildings are beautifully designed – still unfinished but judging by the photos of Epping forest buildings then they will be nothing but harmonious with the woodland surroundings. Fran gave me an insight into creativity and spiritualism reflected in the architecture of the wooden buildings. (it’s something I feel is impossible for interpret back to you but will seek out more info about it to pass on)

Fran is lovely, she was a funeral directors for 6 years and understands how hard it is to prove yourself as a young woman in the male dominated funeral industry so naturally we got on well and connect over our vision and the drive for the future of the funeral industry . You can instantly see why Fran and her team will make the woodlands a home for everyone who comes to visit. She is open and accommodating to all ideas as long as it respectful to the woodland.

I can’t wait to see the park complete in the spring. I just want to take people, clients, friends and family to see it. Show them that it’s not such a dark, morbid and scary place as their mind sees! I’ve spoken to friends and mums & dads at the pre-school gates about this fantastic place and they look at me as if I am some crazy weird woman – I mean who the hell gets over excited about a burial ground? I just want to say, hey come and see for yourself, it’s amazing, It’s beautiful, its tranquil and it’s the way forward.

In truth, walking into the woodland last week gave made me realise why I was so excited about this place – the woodland makes death more acceptable, even beautiful. It lifts a layer of taboo, peels back the shade hiding the reality of death and tackles the stigma attached to the processes.

Maybe this is the first step to cracking the great British way of ‘not wanting to think about or deal with death’

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Great book and great folk!

I am in the middle of reading a fab book at the moment – called 'Big Hearted Man', I’m only on page 75 but the book has moved me so much that I just had to share it with you... Kate Boydell
wrote the book after she was widowed in 1998 after nine years of marriage to her beloved husband Charlie. He died of heart failure at the age of 37.

Please take a look at her website this is a hugely popular online resource for anyone who has lost a partner. Her Second book Death and How to Survive has had some fantastic reviews too.

While we are on about books ...

I must introduce you all to a fellow Funeral Buddy Charles Cowling who writes a fabulous blog with some controversial and funny posts. He’s due to have a book published called ‘The Good Funeral Guide’ . Its sure to be a fantasic handbook and a real insight into the fast changing funeral Industry. I cannot wait to see it in the bookshops.

Monday, 19 January 2009


Yes yes, so much for my New Year resolution of blogging at least once a week *slap on wrist*

My excuse is that I've been working hard! I've been busy as a bee preparing and giving presentations about Sentiment Ltd - There have been some hairy moments and a few times when all 6 computers in this office were on their way out the window - PowerPoint and myself are not friends!! However, all in all, it has been a fun start to 2009.

This last week I met up with a TV production company who approached me with the view of possibly hosting a TV show about funerals. So I headed into London Town to meet the TV company and talk through their ideas. The nice TV chap said to me... "We want to follow the stories of 6 people who are dying. They will need to pre-plan their funeral and then when they die we will film it." He went on to tell me that he needs to do this in a 6 month time scale! I sort of looked at the poor guy with a bit of a blank expression and asked him what happens if these people live beyond the 6 months?

His response was... "Well, if they've got something like motor neurone disease, they're guaranteed to die right?" Oh my god I wanted to laugh so hard! If it wasn't for the fact he was so sweet and genuinely serious, with all the best intentions of showing funerals in the right light, I may have slapped him in the face and told him to wake up to the reality that this real life we are talking about?

Anyway, I saw it as endearing and naive, so I'll forgive him and hope that he has gone back to the drawing board with a bit more research, understanding and compassion! I suppose when you've had no experience whatsoever with death and dying, you can see life so black and white!