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Tuesday 31 July 2012

No Fifty Shades of Grey here

Image from Mail Online

The Queen of girly Irish fiction - Maeve Binchy died last night 30th July aged 72 years. A journalist, short story writer and best-selling novelist, she was famous for her warm stories about love, life and relationships. A far cry from the more recent bestsellers like Fifty Shades of Grey. You could almost describe reading one of her books as being with a good friend; you laughed, you cried, experienced romance, everyday life and all the baggage that comes with it. Trending all over the internet, she has received kind words from all over the globe and from every walk of life. Sounds about right.

  • She wrote her first novel at the age of 43
  • A journalist at the Irish Times, she eventually became its women’s editor
  • Her first novel - Light a Penny Candle was published in 1982
  • She had 16 novels translated into 30 languages
  • Sold 40 million copies worldwide
  • One book was developed into the 1995 film Circle of Friends starring Minnie Driver and Chris O'Connell
  • She was born in Dalkey in Co Dublin and studied at UCD
  • She announced her retirement in 2000
  • But her last novel Minding Frankie was published in 2010
  • She received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards in 2010
  • Throughout her career she made Britain's top 10 most popular writers, the New York Times' Best-seller List and even appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

RIP Maeve, you deserve it.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Financial Support in Ireland Part 2

Social welfare payments

If you were living with or were dependent on the deceased, any current benefits or payments you are getting may change, or you may be able to claim additional benefits. Depending on your income and circumstances you may be entitled to a social welfare payment in your own right, for example:

  1. Financial Assistance Following Bereavement - Supports are available in Ireland to help families following bereavement.
  2. Social welfare payments following a death – Some social welfare payments can continue after someone dies, where someone who was getting a certain social welfare payment dies, his or her spouse/civil partner/cohabitant may get 6 weeks of this payment after the death.
  3. Widow's/Widower's Contributory Pension
  4. Widow's/Widower's Non-Contributory Pension is paid to widowed people who do not qualify for a contributory pension and who pass a means test.
  5. Guardian's payment is paid to the child's guardian up to the child's 18th birthday if he or she is in full-time education.
  6. One Parent Family Payment can be paid to you if you are parenting alone as a result of the death of your spouse or partner. If you also qualify for a Widow's/Widower's Contributory Pension you will have to choose which payment is of most benefit to you because you cannot get both.
  7. Dependent Parent's Pension is paid to a dependent parent whose supporting child dies as a result of / while suffering from a work related illness or accident.
  8. Additional payments - the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme provides financial support to people with low incomes. You may qualify for a weekly supplement payment under the scheme to meet certain special needs, for example, help with rent/mortgage interest payments, special medical diets and fuel costs. In addition, payments can also be made for urgent or exceptional needs.

There are also extra credits for widowed parents in the years following the death of a spouse. 

For Further information click here

To check your entitlements, contact your nearest social welfare office or your nearest Citizens Information Centre. You can also phone the Citizens Information Phone Service on lo-call: 1890 777 121

Friday 20 July 2012

The One Habit of a Highly Effective Person

Stephen Covey, of 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' passed away on Monday. A seminar he gave - Imagine the end of your life, you attend your own funeral. Who would be there? What would they say about you? What life would you have lived? (called a Purposeful Life).

“Begin with the end in mind” was one of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” in his best-selling 1989 book.

  • Over 20 million books sold (in 38 languages)
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century
  • International Man of Peace Award
  • International Entrepreneur of the Year Award

His wife, 9 children, 52 grandchildren and people from around the world will pay their respects to a highly sung gentleman on Saturday July 21st 2012.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Financial Support in Ireland Part 1

Both the Department of Social and Family Affairs and the Health Service Executive (HSE) provide support services.  

Bereavement Grants

  1. Widowed Parents Grant - a once-off payment to widows, widowers or surviving civil partners with dependent children. This grant is payable in addition to the Bereavement Grant for insured people.
  2. Special Funeral Grant - available under the Occupational Injuries Scheme to the dependents of anyone who dies as a result of a work related accident or illness. 
  3. Standard Bereavement Grant - a once-off payment made when someone dies. Eligibility for this grant is not related to your ability to pay for the funeral but is based on PRSI contributions - either yours or those of the person who has died. 

However, do note that if you are claiming the grant, you are responsible for the production of certain certificates and documents. 

For Further information click here

To check your entitlements, contact your nearest social welfare office or your nearest Citizens Information Centre. You can also phone the Citizens Information Phone Service on lo-call: 1890 777 121

Monday 16 July 2012

Nora Ephron Memorial

Nora planned every detail of her funeral including the location, who was going to speak and even how much time each speaker would get! She filed the plans in a folder marked “exit”. 

Here is/was the lowdown:

Venue: Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center 
When: 11:30AM Monday 9th July 2012
Music: "It's a Beautiful World" and "As Time Goes By" and many more.
Drink: Reception of pink champagne post memorial
Theme: FOOD!

Order of service/ Memorial booklet: Each one housed a torn out page from one of Nora's collection of recipes to go to the 800 odd people who were in attendance!

Film/Tribute: Actors performed sketches, musicians sang and they even introduced clips from some of Nora's films.

Attendees: Sons - Jacob and Max Bernstein, Martin Short, Delia Ephron, Richard Cohen, Mike Nichols, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell, J.J. Sacha, Annette Bening, Diane Sawyer, Martin Scorcese, Stephen Spielberg, directors Jack O'Brian and George Wolfe, gay activist Larry Kramer, Meg Ryan, Sally Field; Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt, media mogul Barry Diller and his wife, designer Diane Von Furstenberg, Joel Klein, the head of News Corp.'s education division; playwright-screenwriter Tony Kushner; writer-director James L. Brooks; Barbara Walters; Steve Martin; Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Larry David; Kristen Chenoweth; Diane Sawyer, Matthew Broderick; Martin Short and Martha Stewart, Charlie Rose, author Gay Talese; Tina Brown; Gayle King; and Gail Collins and David Carr of the New York Times among the attendees. phew!!!

Thursday 12 July 2012

Life cycle events

Parties or events tend to get a bit more complicated as we move through the cycle of life. As an event planner I know that organising a birthday party for a 3 year old is not the same as a 13th birthday or a 21st. Then there’s anniversaries and 60th birthdays and weddings and then there are funerals. These are the events no one wants to organise. Yet it is the one event guaranteed to happen regardless of age. If a bride and groom had to plan their wedding in 3 – 5 days they’d be seriously stressed out. Add to that waves of grief and sadness.

By preplanning your funeral you can minimize stress and anxiety on your family and save money. Here are three reasons to preplan your own funeral:

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Save money
  3. Create a personal service in your memory
With just a little bit of forethought, a funeral can become a celebration of your life.

To talk to Jennifer about preplanning call 086 8440966 or email