Tuesday, 18 November 2014

What Helps With Your Grief?

Christmas time suits me very well. Its the busiest time of year for most people, and I have found that since Lola died I have to constantly keep busy. At first I didn't notice it, but I was always planning the next thing, and if there didn't happen to be a Birthday or main event happening in the very near future I would immediately plan something like a dinner party or a big Sunday Lunch for the family. I guess I did it subconsciously at first and I did use to feel guilt as it seemed I was always rushing onto the next thing and not stopping for a moment to appreciate every day.... which of course is also important and probably the angle My Husband John takes from his grief. He is very much make every day count because you never know what the future will hold. He is right of course, but too much time gives my mind far too much free range. I think I will always be this way, organising the next new thing, which brings me on to my new job as Deputy Editor of Village Living Magazine. This is a local magazine run by my lovely friend Katie also a Mum at my Children's school. She has asked me to come on board because of my fashion and sales background and I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. So between Gifts for Angels, Village Living Magazine and the School Christmas Fayre, not to mention my own family Christmas I am happily tied up for the next month!
Does keeping busy help with your grief ? I would love to hear your thoughts.



Monday, 10 November 2014

Gifts for Angels at Christmas Time new Products www.giftsforangels.co.uk

This Christmas I am so pleased to offer some lovely pieces to keep all our loved ones close in our hearts.
The personalised Christmas Baubles are back, which were so popular last year. I have my beautiful Glass bauble which sits pride of place on my christmas tree every year. In addition to these I now have a Sliver finished 'Tree Angel' and a real 'Slate Heart tree decoration' both of which can be personalised. The beautiful Stained glass Gifts, are perfect for any tree and can be made in any colour of your choice.

The Gold and Silver Grave Side Vases are back too.

I understand how hard Christmas time can be and I'm sure that will be the title of my next blog......

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Story of The Brighton Charity Ball in loving memory of Lola Rice www.giftsforangels.co.uk

The Brighton Charity Ball was an absolute roaring success. I am so proud to have been part of this amazing evening and I am so grateful to my fabulous friends Josie and Andy Kelly from
'Funky Lush Events and weddings' for helping me organize the whole thing. Without their professionalism and attention to detail along with many a spread sheet, it really would have been much more of a struggle, instead from the moment we sat down to organize it to the evening itself was just Fun and laughter!
My wonderful friends EJ and Christophe, directors of Profile Model Management Ltd sponsored the evening along with my Brother in law director of McCroreys Removals, I am so grateful to them.

The evening started with guests arriving along our own private corridor accompanied by Show Girls and being photographers as they walked towards the drinks reception.
"We felt like super stars by the time we got our first drink!", was a comment from one of our guests. The Great Gatsby sound tracked played as local magician 'Tony Charles' wowed people with his truly amazing skills. A Phot Booth which was generously donated to us for the evening by 'Photo chambers' donated every £1 spent on personalised photographers to our total  and as you can imagine went down a treat with our guests, the photos just got funnier as the evening went on!

Guest were called to be seated for dinner just before 8pm and this was the bit I was waiting for, our guests faces as they walked into our Ornate Ball room, with tables dressed to perfection with Black Ostrich feathers pouring out over a tall lit glass vase. Black and gold name cards circled every table,
and on each guest's chair was their very own goody bag, which contained bespoke Cream, Sented Candles, Magazines, Toni & Guy Products, Dermalogica products, a token Brighton Rock and much, much more. 
The slightly terrifying bit was next, My Speech... After a quick glass of Red I was on a roll (sorry everyone!) 
After dinner we were entertained by Singer, Matthew Vankan who sung a variety of popular swing songs. This gave some ladies and gentleman a chance to dance together which was lovely. We then had a Soul Funk band from Brighton know as 'Brighton Soul Revue' They were fantastic and managed to get everyone up and on the Dance floor. Just before 11pm we announced the raffle, our prizes were all donated and they were pretty spectacular - they included A Ski Holiday for 2 with choice of resorts, a Mulberry Handbag worth £1200. , XBox 360 + games , £200 M&S vouchers and so much more... People were so generous. Then DJ - Marc James played us long into the night, while our silent Auction continued this included a 'Preen' Dress worth £1400. Thank you to Preen who are designers to the Stars! Original prints of Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss and Cara Delvigne all courtesy of Centrefold magazine... Thank you so much Mr Andrew Hobbs.
The dancing continued into the wee small hours of the evening, and the photo booth pictures just got funnier!
We had a representative there from 'Brain Tumour Research' , who spent a short period of time letting our Guests know exactly where their money was gong to go... And I am very pleased to announce that so far the eveing has raised a massive 
We still have a just giving page, so please even is its £1. Please donate to Brain Tumour Research, I feel very strongly that Research is the only way to stop this dreadful disease.

To everyone that came to The Brighton Charity Ball 2014 - thank you all so much, the last time so many of my friends were together as a group was at Lola's funeral, so it means the world to me that you all came. To all that couldn't make it, thank you for all your donations and don't worry, we will be doing it again... Currently looking for sponsors please....


My Very Big Thanks to:

Brighton Soul Revue  http://www.facebook.com/brightonsoulrevue

Ramin from la Cucina Pizzeria - Brighton  www.lacucinabrighton.co.uk  phone 0333 253 7866

Show Girls from     http://wwwmanicsp.co.uk

DJ    http://marcjames.net

Centre Pieces from www.dazzlingdecor.co.uk    Phone: 01273 612111

Blue dawg Photography



Friday, 13 June 2014

Themed Funerals www.giftsforangels.co.uk

Funerals seem so far away, and not usually given much thought while we are all still young and fit. There are many "funeral payment plans" available to the over 50s. So I thought I would do some research and see how easily information is available for the unexpected deaths, that unfortunately do occur. It seems that there are many websites that will give you all the basic information you need, from how to register a death, to costings and local funeral directors. I will add these websites at the end of this post. Very few actually give you a choice of Funerals! What I mean is, as time goes on us British are getting more able to discuss death and dying and I have notice there are alternative funerals available. Recently a beautiful boy passed away in Lancing he too had a Brain Tumour which he bravely fought for 2 years... Jack is his name, and I do not personally know the family but they lived opposite friends of mine that I used to visit regularly over the last 2 years. On occasion I noticed his Mum, bringing him in and out of the house, sometimes he was wheel chair bound where  I'm sure the chemotherapy had hit him hard. I was desperately saddened to hear of his passing, but my spirits were lifted a little in seeing his "Star Wars" themed send of. His coffin was escorted by Storm Troopers and it was wonderful to see his life celebrated in this way.
So I wanted to see how accessible these themed funerals were, and as much as they are not well advertised it seems most good funeral directors will be able to source all sorts of things from Crazy Biker Hearst to Bright Pink Ones and beautifully painted coffins .
The only legal requirement in the UK for funerals is that the death must be certified and registered, and the body must be disposed off either buried or cremation or another means.
So as much as the bereaved person may not be coherent at the time of funeral planning , I would urge all those closest to them to really do your research and give them all the options available.
I , like most people were totally unaware of such funerals, even floral arrangements were unknown to me and I can assure you that had I known such things were available so many things would have been different for my Lola.

Jack's funeral was arranged by Ian Hart Funeral Service Ltd , phone: 01903 206 299
They cover most of Sussex.

Themed Funerals

A Husband and wife team with over 23yrs experience in the business. They offer a wide variety of funerals
"One Size fits all does not work" said MD Christopher.

Their knowledge, understanding and dedication is very apparent.

" We see it as a Vocation, not a job" he told me.
They are soon to launch a new website called, 'Bluebell Funerals' so look out for this but in the mean time you can contact them at

Phone : 01760 336819

Nigel Dengate & Sons - Hove/ Brigton / Sussex But They do Travel Further

Having personally used them for my Father's funeral, I can highly recommend them. Another well managed Family business with a wealth of experience. Nothing is ever too much trouble. They went above and beyond for my family and they are now firm friends.

Contact : www.nigeldengateandson.co.uk
Phone: 01273 204410

Other Useful Contacts.

Uk funeral guide and directory of funeral directors. www.uk-funerals.co.uk
The natural Death Centre . www.naturaldeath.org.uk.  Registered charity

This Blog Post is dedicated to Jack Bray, may you rest in peace Angel x

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Stephen Sutton www.justgiving.com/Stephen-sutton-tct

The world lost a truly inspirational soul last week, "Stephen Sutton,http://www.giftsforangels.co.uk" who passed away peacefully in his sleep, his Mother let the world know from his Face Book Page. Her words were beautiful she said,

"My Heart is bursting with pride but breaking with pain for my courageous, selfless, inspirational son who passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning, Wednesday 14th May".

To his Mother, I wanted to say..... I feel your pain that crippling unbearable pain. I know your shock that although your beautiful Son was sick for a long time, that shock is still so unbelievable.... He's been with you for so long and now.... Empty that empty lonely feeling that you have deep inside, no matter how many people hold you up, wipe your tears and speak soft words of encouragement ... It's still there empty and lost. I want to tell you it gets easier.... But I know that is not what you need to hear now, I want to tell you how amazing the world thought your Son was... But again that does not help! People from everywhere want to grieve Stephen's death, but You,nothing comes close to your grief and I don't  think grief is even a word you no to use yet, is just pain, fear, shock and utter sadness. I want so much for you to know that you are not alone, we will grieve our children for ever, we will have a broken heart, a piece that will always be missing...... I wish to you strength on your journey ahead, and peace in your heart in time. My thoughts and prayers, like so many others, are with you and your family and I want to thank you for the wonderful person you brought into this world he  has touched so many lives and will remain in our hearts always.

To donate in Stephen's name to the "Teenage Cancer Trust" please go to



Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Brighton Charity Ball, in memory of My Lola x www.giftsforangels.co.uk

Gifts for Angels along with event organising company "Funky lush Events" are putting on
"The Brighton Charity Ball" in memory of my daughter, Lola with all proceeds going to the charity we support "Brain Tumour Research".
This event will take place in Brighton, at The Hilton Brighton Metropole
On Saturday 4th October 2014
It promises to be a fantastic evening with live entertainment, a three course meal to include wine and a champagne reception. We will also be holding a raffle and silent auction.
Tickets are priced at £60. Each

Funky lush Events are a husband and wife team, Josie and Andy who I have know personally for 5 years. They have hosted many events including my Mother's 70th party so I know with their knowledge and wealth of experience this will be an unforgettable evening.
With my background in  Management and Pr we make a winning team.

I am very excited about the whole evening and so far the planning is going very well. It's wonderful to do something big in memory of "Lola" , to let more people know about this amazing little person that blessed our lives in every way. Like most bereaved Mothers and contary to what people think we like people to know about our lost Angels and to talk about them. We want to share them with the world, it keeps their memory alive and there is a certain amount of comfort in this. It's not about our sadness and grief, because this is private, we don't need the world to see how hard we cry.... It's about celebrating their life and showing people how utterly fantastic they were and how very luck we were.
 It is also about raising awareness and money for this underfunded charity -
Brain Tumour Research. So little is known about their cause or symptoms and  many of you having read my blog  know how easily Lola was misdiagnosed several times. It seems to me very obvious that research is the only way.
 More adults under 40yrs and children die from a Brain Tumour here in the UK than any other type of Cancer! I find these odds astronomical and even more unbelievable is that Research into Brain Tumours receives less than 1% of the national cancer research budget.

I am looking for sponsors to help make is evening a true success. I can offer free Pr and advertising for any company willing to help us, this will include all Social Media, press coverage, feature in our promotional video and much more....

Please share and post this information to anyone/company that may be willing to offer us financial support no matter how small.
For more details on the evening please go to


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Today I buried my daughter.... www.giftsforangels.co.uk

Today 8 years ago My Lola left our house for the very last time.
This week has been much easier than last week, and today I'm feeling calm and together. I can't explain why, grief has a strange way of hitting you at different times. Sometimes it's so over whelming that its crippling and the pain becomes physical and other days, like today, you know that you should feel sad and cry and yet I'm numb! I think maybe it's a coping mechanism or maybe it's just I'm eight years along now and I have become a master of hiding my emotions.... Even from myself. At any point I can sit down and relive those fateful days and I'm transported back in time and the pain feels exactly the same. This pain lives within me, it is a huge part of me. It fills the empty space in my heart and although it hurts me, I would not be without it. It is this pain that is a reminder of My Loss, My Daughter, My Baby. So days like today, when I feel mostly numb, I must embrace, for its the numbness of the pain that allows me to carry on.....


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Today is not a good day www.giftsforangels.co.uk

It is now nearly 8 years to the day that Lola passed away. We have plans for Saturday 22nd, but today is not a good day..... I can't seem to stop crying sometimes the build up to her anniversary is so much worse than the day. Fortunately I don't have a job that demands that I go into an office and function, because today that is just totally out of the question!Its a day when I just want to stay in close all doors and cry, just cry!
I have never really understood the expression "Burst into Tears" because for me this has never been the case.... Before if something upset me it would play on my mind and eventually I might have a cry, but never have I Burst into tears... Until the day when I heard the words that would haunt me for the rest of my life
" Lola has a very large brain Tumour on the right hand side of her brain"
since then that expression describes a lot of days in my life like today for example. School run - dark sunglasses trying not to meet people's eye so I don't have to speak to them. I could feel the Tears building and trickling all the way back to the car it was only once I got home that I shut the front door and collapsed into a heap and Burst into tears..... I sat in my hall wailing loudly, uncontrollably and I knew that this is how today will be. I made coffe and went into my garden and smoked a cigarette ( yes today calls for smoking!) and all of a sudden I was back in 2003, even the weather was the same maybe a little warmer, but the exact feeling of shock and disbelief came over me. It is so easy for me to transport my mind back to those days before the funeral, when my angle was lying in her bedroom. Every morning I would wake up (not that I really slept) hoping to God that it was not real, just a dream and there are no words to describe the feeling of reality that followed soon after.
On the 22nd of March 2006 Lola passed away, 23rd-29th she lay in her bedroom peacefully and I am so pleased we had her at home, she was my child, my baby, my world.
On the 29th March was her funeral and Lola left home for the last time....
My Darling Lola,
I don't know where the time has gone. I miss seeing your beautiful face smiling back at me. You have missed so much and there is not a single day that goes by that I don't think about you sweetheart. I know you are such a good girl and I hope that you are having fun with your grand parents but I miss you. I want to hold you tight and hug you. I want to drop you off to school and meet all your friends. I want to know what you like, are you happy do you need me? Are you ok with being taken away from your family so soon? Do you understand? Are you warm, do you have friends? Are you Happy? I love you so much my darling girl and my heart aches for you every day - do you know this? So many questions I have that I know I won't get an answer to, but know that I will hold you close in my heart forever and I will take you with me always.
Loving you Much, Much and Much My sweet sweet girl.
Mummy x
This piece was .written through tears and direct from my heart today, please excuse any poor
grammar.. I

Monday, 24 February 2014

Keeping your loved one close www.giftsforangels.co.uk

When Lola first passed away I needed to be close to her in every way possible. I would put photos up everywhere ( even the bathroom) , I slept with her special blanket I even made my sisters sit through the then new "Charlie & Lola" cbeebies DVD. I used to sit in her room for hours just going through her wardrobe stopping every now and then to wrap her jumper sleeves around me - closing my eyes and pretending it was her hugging me.... The pain was immense. I had a tiny locket that I used to wear and my sister gave John a large locket with  pictures of Lola in. I hunted high & low for a large locket for me. I did fine one in a charity shop and I used to wear it all the time as did John. Over time the pictures wore, they were never cut properly and as they were only colour copies of actual pictures they were on thin paper.
 I can't tell you how amazed and happy I am to have found a company that lazer photos from an emailed image to the locket itself! It's just genius. They use a process called "Sublimation" to infuse your image onto the metal of the locket. These really are fantastic, the image stays clean, vibrant and durable over time. The glass locket especially can hold up to 6 pictures on discs that can be engraved on the reverse.
As much as I don't go through Lola's wardrobe as much and her blanket has now been taken by her sister "Ava", I have to have something off her with me at all times. I carry a mini photo album sometimes, I have a necklace that has her name & now these beautiful pieces of jewllery. The house is still full of her pictures even my bathroom!
As I always say everyone's grief is different, and this is one of my coping mechanisms. It works for me!

Add caption

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

What is normal, this lady has read my mind x

What is normal?            Written by Gail from www.achildofmine.co.uk 

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realise someone important is missing from all the important events in your family’s life. 

Normal for me is trying to decide what to take to the cemetery for Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, New Years and Easter.

Normal is feeling like you know how to act and are more comfortable at a funeral than a wedding or birthday party.. yet feeling a stab of pain in your heart when you smell the flowers and see the casket.

Normal is feeling like you can’t sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don’t like to sit through anything.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand ‘what ifs’ and ‘why didn’t I’s’ go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.

Normal is having the TV on the minute you walk into the house to have noise, because silence is deafening.

Normal is staring at every child who looks like he is my child’s age and then thinking of the age he would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child’s death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone’s eyes at how awful it sounds, and yet realising it has become a part of my “normal”.

Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honour your child’s memory and their birthday and survive these days, trying to find the balloon or flag that fits the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special that reminds me of my child. Thinking how he would have loved it, but how he’s not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to even mention my child.

Normal is making sure that others remember her.

Normal is that after the funeral is over, everyone else goes on with their lives but we will continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you – it doesn’t compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental health depends on it.

Normal is realising I do cry everyday.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken with grief over the loss of your child.

Normal is feeling a common bond with friends on the computer in England, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and all over the USA, but never having met any of them face to face.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry or if there is any food in the house.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have two children or one, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that my baby is in Heaven. Yet when you say you have one child to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your baby.

Normal is knowing I will never get over the loss, in a day or a million years. 

And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become “normal” for you to feel, so that everyone else around you will think you are “normal”.  

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

What do you do when you see a funeral procession? www.giftsforangels.co.uk

A question I always want to ask people is this
" what do you do if you see a Hearst with a sometimes long procession of cars following it?"
Befor Lola died, I would never over take such a procession if for instance it was on a dual carriage way... But I very rarely would acknowledge one, that may have been passing me as iwalked along a busy street! That's the truth and I feel ashamed to admit it.
The morning of Lola' funeral was by all accounts a big blur... The undertakers coming to take her from her bedroom, my husband and his brothers insisting that they carried her, me leaving her room before they closed........ ( I can't bring myself to say the next line let a lone type it, but you get the general idea). I remember looking at the car and walking around it, don't ask me why but did. Sitting in the car behind I was watching in disbelief the car in front as it pulled away taking my baby girl from her beautiful home for the very last time. Much more is a a blank but what really stands out is I was intently watching all the other cars that passed us, and when we drove into the centre of "Hove" it was busy with people going about their business.... The cars had to turn off a very busy street ( church rd) to drive to the church where the service was going to be held, as the car turned not 1 person out of the 50+ people in that street stopped, or made the sign of the cross or did anything!!!! I wanted to get out & scream at these selfish people , they didn't even notice the small white ...... That was in there very reach. How could people be so Unobservant, so dismissive, so disrespectful of what they were witnessing? It was very clear that it was a child and yet not 1 person did anything. It must haven only been 2 minutes but I was transfixed on all these people thinking
" someone will notice" but no, nobody did, they didn't care that that was someones whole world in that car, my whole world. Much was the same on the way back except for one man. He was walking up another busy road with a child on a scooter and caring another child who was clearly having a tantrum... He was busy but I never forget the look on his face as he glanced to his left and saw that first car & as he looked away he did a double take in utter disbelief.... His look was of shock and immense sadness... This one man in that 3 maybe 4 seconds restored a bit of my faith in the human race. In all that time 1 person stopped and looked and expressed the human emotion that I wanted, I needed and that I felt Lola deserved.
Now when ever I see a Hearst I stop just for a second acknowledge the procession and make the sign of the cross. So please I erg you all, even if your not religious just stop and show some respect to the dead and to their loved ones, it only takes seconds out of your life, but the memory I have of that one man will last a lifetime.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Bereaved Mothers www.giftsforangels.co.uk

Hello All and Happy New Year, sorry I don't seem to be able to manage to write regularly any more, I do it when I feel inspired, stressed or just fed up! To day it is inspiration that brings me to my keyboard. With all the pain I go through as a bereaved parent means I can be of some use to others in my situation. I am further along with my grief and I was recently asked a very honest question from another bereaved mother,
" does it get easier?" And my answer was
"Yes". Life has away of bending to the traumas it throws at us. I honestly said that the pain does not leave you, nor would you want it to.... This pain is your scar, a reminder of your greatest gift & loss. A scar that you learn to hide, not because of others but so you can get up and meet the demands of each and every day. You are never the same person after experiencing such sadness, you are not a complete person anymore a party of you is missing. If for instance you had your right hand amputated, you would have to learn to do everything with your left hand.... It would be hard but you would have very little choice. In a similar way grief gives you no choice but to learn to live a different way.
Sometimes when I have these email/ phone conversations with other Mums in my position, it amazes me how easy it is. We have a mutual vulnerability a complete understanding of each other and yet we have never met, I have no idea about their general life, what their husband does for a living, where they were brought up and yet I am at ease in there company speaking to them about the most personal part of my life. We know so little about each other but we are drawn together because of the unspeakable agony that we all live with. Many of our usual friends will try to understand our pain but they never can & as time goes on people stop asking, but once someone has walked your path they understand and will always understand in 2 years or 22 years they will still get it!  We are not alone, and sometimes that's all we need to hear.
My love & strength I send to you all my friends , who knows maybe one day we may all actually meet!