Sleek team

Recruiting for 3 new roles… join our team!

We’re looking for 3 new fantastic people at Sleek Events. Fancy joining our #DreamTeam? Take a look at these 3 jobs by clicking on the job roles below:

  1. Project & Sponsorship Executive Job Description
  2. Senior Project Manager Job Description
  3. Placement Job Description

woman laughing in office

More information about us…

Company Overview
Sleek Events is based in Richmond. We work with companies and agencies looking to outsource their event planning and organisation to an experienced partner. We also work with individuals needing support to organise something special for a loved one, anniversary or other celebration.

From exclusive private parties to globally-recognised exhibitions and conferences, we can handlethe entire process for our clients, both in the UK and overseas.

Sleek Vision
Sleek are the most responsive and creative boutique events agency in London. We never say “no”, we say “how?”. Our friendly events professionals are passionate about every job regardless how large and small and set out on a mission to ensure they are successful and memorable.

The Way We Work
We are one big dream team here at Sleek Events. We pride ourselves on a culture made up of:
● Mutual respect
● Loyalty
● Authenticity
● Unity
● Fun
● Creativity
● Personable

We also have a rule at Sleek Events: if you put in 100% during work hours, you must 100% chill out on your days off.

 

Izzie at graduation

Life after university: a day in the life of a new #eventprof

The most recent addition to our team is Izzie Lachecki. She joined us as Marketing & Events Coordinator just 8 weeks ago and has already become an integral part of our dream team. For our latest blog, we asked her to share her journey to choosing events as a career.

When people ask what you want to be when you grow up, most of us say ‘astronaut’ or ‘ballerina’. Personally, I wanted to be a princess! Even though it’s just a bit of fun to dream about the future, it’s easy to lose sight of our dreams and end up settling for something we don’t love, just because we feel pressure to do something with our lives.

When I was at school, and then studying Psychology at university (Uni of Leeds – woo hoo!), I worried quite a lot about where my life was going and started trying to panic-buy a career path. In fact, I used to feel so envious of my friends studying medicine or law because they had a guaranteed career choice. There is so much pressure to decide exactly what you want to do and make it happen as soon as you have finished university – but more often than not it doesn’t work out this way. It’s okay to not know what you want to do!

Izzie on her travels in Western Australia

Izzie on her travels in Western Australia

The day after I graduated from university, I flew to Fiji and began a year of travelling the world. It was incredible. However, when I returned home, pretty penniless and feeling a bit down, I decided I needed to do something to begin a career journey that I actually liked. I had an interest in marketing, so reached out to a couple of companies to chat with their marketing teams to see if they had any advice. They told me to sign up to a recruitment agency, which is free, which really helped me improve my CV and express my personality. I found myself googling and applying for every internship in London (even though I lived three hours away). Soon enough, I was invited to interviews.

After a couple of rejections, I came for an interview here at Sleek Events. As soon as I walked through the door, I knew this was a place I wanted to work. The vibe of the company and its values really appealed to me, plus everyone was so friendly. I came away desperately hoping I would get the job – and two (very long) days later – I did!

Once I started, it was a bit of a shock to the system – I was used to running around barefoot in Australia, not working from 9-5.30 every day! But once I adjusted to living in London and settled in to the company a bit, I started to really enjoy the routine. It’s been two months and I’m still here – so I must be doing something right! The events industry is such a brilliant industry to get into – I love how I’m doing something different every day and get to travel to amazing places.

Izzie with the rest of the team

Izzie is now part of our team at Sleek Events

Although I love how my life has turned out so far, it doesn’t mean I didn’t have some disappointment along the way! My top three tips for people coming out of uni who are worrying about what the world of work holds for them are:

  1.   Just breathe. Sit down with a cuppa and try to note down your interests, areas you think you might like to work in, what experience you might need, and how you might go about getting into the industry. Google is your best friend!
  2. Follow any companies you might like to work at on social media – this will give you a taste of the company and also the industry. I stalked Sleek Events on Instagram for weeks! And don’t forget, if you have things on your social media that you’d be embarrassed for a potential employer to see, make your personal social media accounts private – being aware of what you post is really important.
  3.   Have a really strong CV and interview technique. Recruitment agencies will help with this. Research CV templates or interview techniques both generally and specific to a career sector, to make your application stand out. This will help you be better prepared for any tricky questions in interviews.

Above all, it’s so important to be yourself and follow your heart. If you end up in a job you hate, you don’t have to stay for the rest of your life – so don’t panic! To quote one of my favourite movies: “Everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, it’s not the end.”

departures board

The roaming life of #eventprofs

This month, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, shares her experience of how to cope with the travelling life of the #eventprof. Not only cope, but actually enjoy it!

When I tell people I’m an events planner, most of the times I get the so-called WOW effect, “OMG, you lead such a glamourous life!”

Honestly, I can’t deny that sometimes I replay some of the stories in my head and I can even be ‘jealous’ of the awesome experiences I’ve lived. I’m so grateful for all the places I’ve visited, the amazing people I’ve met and the crazy stories I’m now able to tell.

One big truth, however, is that we lead a pretty unstable, stressful and unbalanced lifestyle. We work outrageous hours and are often away from home for long periods of time… any idea on how to cope with that??

  1. Plan your balance

This may sound weird, I know. At work, we plan and plan and plan for everything to go perfectly smoothly – we have to do lists, run-throughs, roadmaps, memos, lists and more lists of who does what, when and where. When it comes to planning our own time, however, we immediately become reticent and start feeling guilty of taking the time for us rather than be fully immersed in the job.

Remember, there is a time for everything and YOU are the sacred space for all the awesome planning and amazing organising. If you don’t take care of that sacred space (your body, mind, soul and spirit) the castle you are building will have foundations made of thin air and it may collapse at any moment.

Whether you are home or away, plan some time for you. You can pick amongst some of your favourite activities:

  • morning stretching, a phone call to your BFF/partner/son/daughter/ parent
  • a short meditation
  • a breathing exercise
  • reading two pages of your latest book
  • 10 minutes in the sauna.

OK, I get it, this won’t be possible ALL the time but… THIS IS YOUR TIME… Ideally try to have some YOU time at least twice a day!

  1. Plan your food

Travelling can be quite hard on the diet! Hotel breakfasts, restaurants, pastries, sodas, coffees, etc. I totally get that (a) when we are tired we just want comfort food, (b) that sometimes we just do not have the choice and (c) that sometimes a green smoothie just doesn’t do it!

healthy lunch box

Prepare yourself a healthy lunchbox to keep your energy up

Planning your food intake does not need to become an extra stress added to your day. It needs to be fun, joyful and put a smile on your face. If you manage to be reasonable 75% of the time, you are on the right track and surely you know some tricks to keep you going. Try carrying a banana with you, drinking lots of water and herbal teas, possibly trying not to eat too late for dinner, have healthy snacks hidden in your bag and, the most important sustenance of all, laugh at least twice a day!

  1. Pack smart

Packing has become one of my favourite activities! I love to challenge myself to play Tetris, packing as much into my suitcase as humanly possible. Learning how to combine outfits with minimum mixing and maximum matching whilst still looking professional and feeling comfortable is a talent I’ve learned over the years.

Please know that I used to be the worst packer ever! Every trip was an overweight charge, a crazy amount of clothes and yet I felt like I had nothing to wear! The trick is to have in your wardrobe things that you love wearing and mixing basics like jeans with elegant, understated chic items. Don’t worry f you don’t change your shoes every day… no one will notice!

Conscious packing will help you save time, it will make you feel comfortable with what you are wearing every day and it will make you enjoy traveling light!

  1. Making memories

Memories to be grateful for are food for the soul and yet sometimes we forget about making them. We’re so busy and often surrounded by stress, we forget we’re also here to make memories. Who said work had to be tough and unpleasant? Work is such a huge part of our lives, we’d be left with very little time to enjoy if we didn’t have fun at work. Each event, each person you work with or meet, each special dish you savour, each crazy thing you need to do to save the event, can magically become a memory to be grateful for.

Making memories: some of the Sleek Events team taking a boat trip in Stockholm after an event

That is, of course, if you allow gratitude to come in and let go of whatever is not needed.

  1. Sharing

A very usual comment I get in the event business is a frustration of thinking that nobody understands the pressure we are under and that nobody appreciates how much we actually work. Honestly, even if that was true, what’s the benefit of thinking that way?

Are you looking for validation? Is showing off the amount of work we have an excuse to say that we don’t have time for anything else?

What if we could drop that thought and explore different possibilities? What if we started talking to our partner/kids/friends and explain how our days go? When we’re away from home, wouldn’t you love to have someone supporting you? To have someone that not only understands what you do, but actually becomes your partner in crime, knows that you are OK and that you love sharing your life? Wouldn’t you be happy to know your loved ones are happy for you?

Bottom line is… the more you align to your values, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the little things. Fill your life with people who can back you up, with no judgment, just listening and knowing we’re here for one another.

With love and light,

Francesca xo

Stop whining, start smiling

In this month’s blog our resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, tells us how to stop complaining and turn that negative energy into a positive.

Francesca Garola sat on steps

This month’s theme is “WHINING”… want to join me in a challenge?! I’m going to keep the focus on the working environment, but you will see that most things can be applied in everyday life too.

How many times a day do you find yourself complaining about something? Whether it’s work, partner, friends, family, kids, weather, politics, stuff in general. And, how many times a day do you listen to someone complaining?

I may be wrong, however, I’m guessing the answer is: LOADS!

Let’s be honest, sometimes the easiest thing to do is hide behind a complaint – whether it’s a client who is too demanding, a venue which is too strict, a supplier which just does not get you, your boss who is not human enough…

And honestly, your complaints might be well-founded but is complaining about it helping you change the situation? Is complaining about the-job-you-cannot-stand going to deliver you your dream job? Is complaining about how your colleague is trying to steal your client leading to increased revenues? Is complaining about how your work should be valued more, getting you more recognition?

“When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.” Eckhart Tolle

A short reminder from previous posts: we do what we do because it satisfies one or more needs we have at this specific point in time and we do it because somehow it’s giving us pleasure – yes, it does even though you do not know it yet!

Complaining, believe it or not, lifts us up as it generally validates us. A complaining conversation brings on even more complaining. “How amazing! I must be right, other people think like me too!” “You see, I am totally right, they are all so wrong!”

We generally complain because we need to feel valued, we need to feel understood and we need to feel that we’re not alone in our pain.

Please note that there is a huge difference between complaining and critical thinking. They can both be destructive if not dealt with, or they can be shifted to positive change when actually dealing with them. You see, we need critical thinking to improve. If we never had any critics and everything was always beautiful and amazing, there would be no evolution and no change.

The main objective is how to get from ‘a complaining just for the sake of complaining which makes you feel better’ to ‘a complaining that allows you broaden your vision and the vision of those around you’.

  1. The 5 Minutes Rule

A while ago I was working on an event far away from home. We had a super-solid group of colleagues and we used to find so much comfort in complaining about other colleagues and about how disorganised they were, how little fun they were, and the list can go on and on.

At some point during the conversations, I stopped and asked myself: “what is the point of all this whining? Is talking bad about people really making us feel better?”

And there it was. The simple concept of compassion came on board and a crazy idea came to mind. I stopped everyone in the conversation and shared with all of my beautiful group of colleagues (which by the way are awesome!) that (a) I was actually tired of complaining; (b) that these low vibration conversations did not really improve our everyday life and that (c) we were going to install a “5 minutes complaining rule”. If anything major came up during the day we could call on an extra complaining session. We only had 5 minutes a day… OMG, how were we going to survive?

  1. What can we do to change the situation?

It was not enough to limit the complaining. After each “complaining session” we had to answer the hardest question of all: what can we do to improve the situation?

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou

Unless we take action to change/improve/resolve the situation, we avoid taking responsibility for it and we keep stagnating in the same old story trying to find comfort in our pain, putting our pain onto others (which by the way, generally have never asked us to infuse them with our whining wisdom!) and become the victims of our lives!

  1. Your voice can be heard

We are all so afraid to speak up, to say what we think. We always think that “things will never change”, or even better “who I am to change this”. Truth is… if we go to our boss whining, pointing the finger and blabbering nonsense, we will possibly not change the situation. However, if we use the process of complaining => what’s the lesson => what can the growth be => new possibilities, we might find a great deal of resourcefulness in critical thinking and even our boss might find your insights useful.

  1. Let go of the bitterness

I’ve rarely seen people complain with a smile on their face. Generally whining brings on anger, bitterness, irritability and increases susceptibility. When you find yourself in “complaining-mode”, stop for a second, feel the emotion, let it run through you and then find a reason to flip the switch and move forward towards infinite possibilities. When talking about a problem with an infinity thinking mindset, you let go of the bitterness and replace it instead with passion and purpose.

Complaining totally drains our energy, and it brings other people down. We complain to release the stress, when we complain we generally find validation from others, when we are validated we feel better and we repeat the process.

I might have said it on earlier posts, it is much easier to complain about a situation, than finding the strength to change it.

Let me share a new possible way to deal with complaining:

5 Minutes Complaining => What would be the ideal outcome => What can I do to change the situation => Solutions => Growth => Increased Happiness = > Decrease Complaints

How to introduce this within companies:

  • Organise team meetings to bring any issues out into the open and allow everybody to contribute to the resolutions
  • Formalise a guideline for acceptable and unacceptable behaviours within the office, which will be inclusive not exclusive
  • Everyone needs to be given a voice and be encouraged to actively participate to a positive working environment
  • Follow up with regular team meetings and feedback to monitor success or new challenges that may arise.

It is really SUPER SIMPLE!

With love and light,

Francesca xo

“Procrastinating?” “Me?!” “Never!”

Procrastination is something we often do in our daily lives “I’ll mow the lawn tomorrow”, but it’s something we rarely admit to in our professional lives. This month’s blog by Francesca Garola from HappyBalancedLife looks at how we can combat procrastination as #eventprofs.

What is procrastination?

If we put aside its classic definition of “putting off or delaying something that requires immediate attention”, procrastination can, in many circumstances, be defined as nothing less than “self sabotaging”.

How many times a day do you tell yourself “I’ll do this later!” and this later never comes?

How many times have you felt stuck, looping and wondering why things are not changing?

Let me share something with you… the first time I heard about this, I was totally blown away!

We have 6 core needs (more on this topic on another post!) that drive our human behaviours.

The most common driver is certainty. Over 70% of us are in constant search of certainty, whether it is through rigid routines, addictions, need to be right, perfectionism (this is a big one for lots of us !!), need of control, etc. I could go on and on…

The need for certainty is our ego trying to keep us safe, to protect us, to defend the comfort zone and the territory we are familiar with.

The truth is though, that certainty is the greatest illusion we have ever created! And yet we live for it, we fight for it, we cry for it and we spend so much time and energy protecting it.

Procrastination comes in to “save” us and to keep us stuck in the same old comfort zone so that we do not try to cross the road of the unknown. It becomes the perfect unresourceful way of meeting our need for certainty.

On the other side of the road though, is growth.

Growth lies at the edge of our comfort zone, we expand by embracing life, by deciding to experience our magnificence.

I’m going to give you a very simple example: New Year’s Day and its resolutions! This is something 95% of us did at some point in our lives.

You really want change and what better time than the first day of the year? You really want to start exercising so, you sign up for the gym, you buy all the gear you need because this time you are really motivated; three times a week, I’m all in! Motivation is at its high on the first month, you are tired but you keep going; I’m so busy this week, I’ll only go twice; oh I’m so tired I really need some time off; I’ll go only once this week…

And so, we go on and listen to our ego convincing us that stepping out of our comfort zone and embracing the unknown is too challenging and it’s so much better when we do what we already know.

Here procrastination comes back into our lives, keeping us safe.

But the problem is never the problem. Behind procrastination lies the way of calming the uncertainty of life, and that need of certainty also keeps us safe from all the things that our inner child has put into the avoidance drawer.

Overcome procrastination

How can we overcome procrastination? These are some simple baby steps – please know that behind these steps lie a whole world of reasons why we choose to do what we do and why we believe we cannot do the things we really want to do. The self-development journey towards a happy balanced life is ever evolving and each step will lead to the next and each step will reveal something that will hopefully create some “Aha” moments moving towards an ever better version of yourself.

  1. Back yourself into the space of uncertainty

We want balance between certainty and uncertainty. To better explain this: making sure we find time for a hobby we love every day will give us the certainty we need. Opening the doors to variety will balance the need for certainty, increase and welcome adventure into your life. If you love reading, make sure you give yourself the certainty of a good read every day, just for you and only you. This certainty will give you the power to try something new because you know that your reading is there for you and will be there also after you have tried something new.

  1. Start where you are (but start!!)

Waiting for the perfect moment to start doing something is just another way of saying to life “I will do that when X happens” and therefore telling yourself that you’re not going to do something unless that other specific thing happens. Truth is… if you do not do the work, nobody is going to do it for you! Start accepting where you are, work with the tools you have, trust that you have your back and please remember to have some fun along the way.

  1. Set micro goals

Setting big short-term goals will only increase your procrastinating habit – remember, we are creatures of habit and our ego loves the same old, same old. Micro goals will help you achieve them. For example, a to do list with 25 things will not motivate you to get going. Prioritise and do one thing after the other. When you are onto one thing, do not go over and see if there is anything more interesting or more fun or more urgent you can do instead. There will always be. Stick. To. Your. Micro. Goal.

  1. Hold yourself accountable

Have someone who can hold you accountable and who can check on how you’re doing. We love being solitary and thinking we can do everything on our own, we don’t need any help and we can handle it. Breathe, it’s awesome to ask for help and to have someone to share your victories with!

 

What’s your trigger? What’s your procrastinating strategy? How much pain does that give you? How much pleasure?

In light and love,

Francesca xo

 

A day in the life of an #eventprof: Project Manager

Our new series of Day in the Life blogs are here to give you an idea if you would like to become an event professional (commonly known as an #eventprof) either with us at Sleek Events or with another company.

Venue Kings Place London

Client Okta

Event name Okta Forum

Date 27 June 2018

Okta help companies do 3 things: modernise their IT, build customer experience and prevent data breaches. Their 2-day forum brings together hundreds of IT leaders for an interactive learning experience to narrow the innovation gap at their businesses.

Okta’s executives, product leaders, key partners and customers showcase their integrated identity, mobility and security products, and forward-thinking IT leaders share their experiences in implementing best-of-breed technologies.

We were hired to make sure the whole event ran smoothly – and this included building on the morning and the evening of the first day, with very close timings to the live event. Here’s our Project Manager, Erin Corrigan’s walk (and sometimes run) through the day.

The night before the day in the life

This is a day in the life but it’s important to say that getting quality rest before an event is absolutely key – sounds obvious, I know, but for this event, I choose to stay close to the venue the night before at The California.

Just a quick ramble off the path before we get back to the event… if you’re looking for a reasonably-priced guest house in the city then The California is perfect – and this is by no means a bog-standard guest house so expect to be hit directly between the eyes by their personal touches. You get the best room rate by booking direct through their website.

The morning shift

We are due onsite at 7am so it’s an early start – I’ll be wearing an Okta-branded t shirt so I need to wear smart yet functional clothing with comfortable shoes to see me through the whole day.

We’ve already had a team briefing in the office the day before, so I conduct the morning briefing with two other full-timers from our Sleek Events team and two of our regular hostesses. Once I’ve gone through the running order with them, I move on to a meeting with 10 of the venue’s team assigned to us and go through the function sheet with them. The venue will be supporting the event with audio visual equipment and the catering, as well as the space itself.

In addition to them, we have a range of suppliers on site to make the event come to life. Onward Display has provided the branded elements, Conference Expo brings the sponsor stands, Clarkes Coaches is on stand-by to collect the delegates at the end of the day to take them on to a networking evening (which we have also organised!). Then we have Conference Badges covering the registration desk, whilst YR takes care of the giveaway station.

The client relationship is paramount and they have to trust us to manage the event so they can feel comfortable to spend time rehearsing for the next day. I report to them that the first day’s sessions are running smoothly, that the delegates are happy and the suppliers are on course to install on time.

Keeping up with my to-do list

Once I’m sure everything is set up correctly for the day, I can spend some time on other client projects that are in the pipeline. At this point, I’m working on five other projects with delivery dates ranging from mid-July to October.

You may notice, I didn’t mention what I had for breakfast earlier in my blog. That’s because

7am is too early for me to eat breakfast! We don’t get regular mealtimes during events – in this case, I eat lunch once all the attendees are happy and in post-lunch sessions.

The evening shift

The second day of this event includes a small exhibition with 10 sponsors’ stands as well as Okta-branded build items and a giveaway supplier. Once the first day’s programme is finished, our second shift begins at 6pm. Some of the team go on to manage the networking reception evening, some stay behind with me at the venue and the hostesses head home.

The install takes 4 hours, my job is to oversee it rather than get stuck in with the heavy lifting. I check the artwork on the stands to ensure they are all correct. Whilst the stand builds go without a hitch, I notice a few glitches with some of the client’s artwork and there’s some feedback from today about the room set-ups from my team, so I’m the one who must provide the solutions. I get the artwork reprinted, confirm room set-ups for tomorrow with the venue’s team and when the giveaway supplier gets stuck in traffic, I change our install timings to accommodate them.

I go for dinner with our MD, Jennifer, while the install is completed and then I pop back to the venue for a final check to be sure everything is in place for the next day. We stay at the same hotel tonight and can sleep easy knowing we’ve prepared well.

Combating stress – a follow-up to our ‘day in the life’ from Jennifer Davidson…

If you read some of our other blogs, you’ll notice that we take wellness extremely seriously at Sleek Events. As this event was in June when we were enjoying some impressively sunny weather, we decided to take a long evening walk the night before the event before we headed into the city. Richmond Park is on the doorstep of our office so we take every opportunity to ramp up our steps each day!

Erin talks in this blog about missing out on meals when an event goes live. We really don’t like our team to go hungry but it is often the case that when the adrenaline kicks in, we forget about food! I would always recommend keeping a snack to hand to keep you going in between meal times – you need to feed the energy in to your body to perform to your best.

Heard of “to fail to plan is to plan to fail”? Being an #eventprof can be made more stressful by poor planning. Successful event management is 80% planning and 20% execution and ensuring thorough planning can significantly reduce stress levels when it comes to event day.

Erin says, “Ultimately, I’m an #eventprof because I love what I do – the variety in my job keeps it exciting and the challenges mean I’m constantly learning.”

Think you’d like to become an event prof with Sleek Events? Keep an eye out on our social media for new job opportunities.

sleeping images

Sleeping beauties

In the second of our series on how to combat the stresses and strains of working in events, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, talks to us about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.

 

Sleeping Beauties… don’t make sleep a fairy tale

How many of us have fallen for the common myth of “Busy, productive people need less sleep” ? I certainly had! I’m wonder woman, aren’t’ I?

I hacked my sleeping pattern and, for years, I tried to survive on 5/6 hours of sleep a night so I had time for my morning rituals and fitting everything I had to do in a day.

As we know, events life can be super crazy and our phone can easily take over our lives… “What? Are you not on your emails 24/7?” “Does this mean you are actually off on a weekend?”

Most of us are getting far less sleep than we actually need and lack of sleep is affecting us in so many harmful ways.

Here are 5 simple examples on how lack of sleep can affect our system:

  1. Weight Gain – the less you sleep, the more your hormones will have fun increasing and decreasing as they please. Cortisol (the stress hormone), insulin and the appetite hormone are directly linked with the lack of sleep and they increase exponentially when you haven’t had enough rest. The hormones’ rollercoaster can affect your metabolism, increase risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, etc.
  2. Concentration & Productivity – let’s imagine your body requires an average of 8 hours of sleep and you only sleep 6. This means you are forcing your body and your brain to skip 2 hours of beauty sleep! According to a couple of studies this leads to a one-third reduction in your cognitive abilities… it’s pretty much like showing up to work after having downed a pint of beer and pretending to have a super-productive day!
  3. Mood – lack of sleep impacts your mood, increasing anger, anxiety and depression. It also decreases your ability to empathise with others and makes you less able to calm your mind when needed. A study on over 10,000 people, showed that insomnia sufferers are 500% more likely to develop depression.
  4. Learning Abilities – did you know that if you study something before going to bed, you are increasing your probabilities to learn it faster? It is called the ‘consolidation’ method. Also, a rested brain will thank you at work and it will be your ally even on your most difficult day!
  5. Immune System – a healthy sleeping pattern will help your immune system to heal you faster, to fight colds and to naturally protect your body. For those who care, lack of sleep also ruins your skin! When you do not get enough sleep, your body releases cortisol, the famous stress hormone, and also the cause of breaking down skin collagen. Lack of sleep increases the C-Reactive Protein, the ‘inflammation’ protein, and can increase chronic inflammation in the body.

I’ve now made sleeping an essential part of my life, both in the working and personal-growth realm. How have I done that? Here are a few tips I hope you can adopt in your life.

  1. Discover your OAS (Optimal Amount of Sleep)

We all have different sleeping needs. Generally it varies between 7 and 9 hours. Whenever you can, try not to set any alarm for a few of days and see at what time you naturally wake up. Check how many hours that is and get an app on your phone so that you can time your sleep until you get the hang of it and become a master at allowing yourself to sleep

  1. Routine your sleep

Try to get a super simple routine before you go to bed. It can be as straightforward as: brushing teeth, reading, snoozing; or more detailed such as night yoga, stretching, meditation, etc. Whatever works and can be applied daily so that your body knows that it’s time to go to bed!

  1. Can I have a nap?

In Asia, napping is compulsory! To increase productivity, Chinese workplaces include a 15-20 minutes nap during lunch break. In western culture napping is for kids but why not try a nap yourself? Imagine what you could do with the energy of a toddler every afternoon! Here’s one method to ensure you power nap and not sleep the whole day – hold an object (it needs to make a lot of noise when it hits the floor!!) in your hand and start napping. Once you start getting into deep sleep, your muscles will release and the object will fall. The noise will wake you up and you will be power napped!

And, the obvious:

  • Avoid coffee after 2pm
  • Use the bed for sleeping only (do not work/eat/watch TV/play, etc)
  • Avoid sleeping pills, all they do is get you hooked so you believe you will never be able to sleep without them
  • Do not eat right before going to bed.

After reading this post you might get a sense of denial and still think that this is all BS and that you can easily make it with 5 or 6 hours of sleep. Do yourself a favour, do some reading on the subject – there are so many interesting resources available online.

P.S. For the event leaders of the world – I know how we love to rock in our job and I completely understand how difficult it can be to actually find time to sleep. However, please allow yourself to rest whenever you are not physically on an event, switch off the phone when you get home at night and enjoy some “you” time.

Happy dreams everyone!

Keep up with Francesca on Facebook and Instagram.

meditation pose in Iceland

Enjoy a Happy, Balanced Life

Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, works mainly in the events industry and through years of personal study, she is also an inspiring Healing Coach. Her coaching aims to help people find their way to a perfect and ideal self, whilst exploring the power of mindfulness.

Francesca Garola sat on steps

We’re really pleased to bring a regular blog from Francesca where she’ll address her expertise to help us mitigate the stresses and strains of working in events…

Being in a world of Doing

I’m curious, what does BEING mean to you?

We generally say “I am” to define a part of ourselves: our name, our job, our background, etc. This is how society defines “Being”… and it is so much more than that!

We live in a world where Doing has taken over Being; where Doing is the primary concern of our everyday existence. We live in TO-DO lists and we get trapped into “The Spinning Wheel of Doing”. The result is often what I call “The Claustro-Doing” which is nothing more than an increased anxiety due to over-doing.

Have you ever wondered why we do so much? Have you ever wondered why we tend to put so much on our plates that we are drawn into doing and clog up our mind, soul and spirit?

Doing can easily become an addiction and it works as a sort of patch so that we do not have to deal with our emotions, with our thoughts and with our subconscious.

Can we really stop doing? Of course not! And there is no need to. The idea here is to find a functional way of Doing without forgetting your Being.

sunset beach with lady stretching

Are you ready to step into the world knowing how to BE YOU rather than being a doing machine?

  1. Become aware of your language

How do you speak to yourself? How many times a day do you tell yourself “I have to”? And what would it take to replace it with “I choose to”? The way you talk to yourself creates the imprint of the way you treat yourself and how much you value self-respect. Would you be ok to start treating yourself with kindness and compassion? Talk to yourself as you would have wanted your inner child to be talked to.

  1. Be You as soon as you wake up

What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you look at your phone? Have a coffee? Listen to the news?

Would it be ok to pause the doing and allow yourself to just be for a minute? Before you get up, take 3 big breaths to really feel your presence and wake up all of your muscles and organs. Get up, gently wash your face, smile at yourself and make the following statement: “I allow myself to be me and respect me today.”

When you step into the shower, would it be ok to use it as a cleansing ritual where you actually clear out from your body, mind and soul anything that is no longer necessary; anything that you no longer need to hold on to or any emotion that is ready to be released. I think this is something that can easily be integrated into your daily life. And if you rather shower at night, use this cleansing ritual before going to bed – what a great way to end the day and get a great night’s sleep!

  1. Be mindful of what you read and listen to

Reading or listening to dreadful news early in the morning can be pretty unsettling for the subconscious. If you can, choose to fill yourself up with good vibrations, comforting words and good intentions for the day. Whether it is vibrational music, your favourite podcast, a meditation or your favourite audiobook, remember that the morning can set your foundations for a successful day!

  1. Check-in with yourself

Are you willing to ask yourself “how am I doing?” every now and then? Is it ok to let your subconscious know you are there for you? Being You means you know you are there for yourself, it means that you do what you say and say what you do. It means increasing awareness of whatever goes on within and without. It means starting a brand new, beautiful, functional and life-long relationship with yourself.

With love and laughter,

Francesca

You can get more tips from Francesca by liking her Facebook page or following her on Instagram.

northern light over Reykjavik

48 hours in Reykjavik

Reykjavik is not only difficult to spell but it’s also crazy to get to grips with its extended hours of daylight or lack of it depending on what time of year you visit.

Located just two degrees south of the Arctic Circle, Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city. Its location means that during the winter months the city only gets four hours of sunlight on the shortest day. However, during the longest day in the summer months, when we were visiting, Reykjavik sees almost 24 hours of daylight!

sunset

We had almost 48 hours of daylight to research the best of Reykjavik and the surrounding area for our incentive travel programme, having wrapped up another successful client event in the city.

Here are our top tips to make the most out of a city break in Reykjavik…

ONE

Absolutely hire yourself a car. You’ll find a theme running through this blog – Iceland is expensive. Getting the cheapest travel option from the airport to the city is by bus but, if you value your time, the 1 ½ hour ride is pretty unbearable whilst a taxi will cost you at least €100 – and so your wallet starts to become a lot lighter before you’ve even reached your hotel! Having a car not only gives you the obvious flexibility for sightseeing but it works out significantly cheaper when there is more than one of you travelling together.

TWO

Eating and drinking (and doing most other things) in Iceland is expensive and even more so in the city. Your concierge is likely to offer you the chance to buy a voucher booklet when you check-in – our advice is to go for it! In 48 hours we managed to work our way through our favourite restaurants and bars using these discount vouchers saving us in excess of €200. If you’re with a larger party than just our two average-size tummies, you will save a fortune. We love sushi and didn’t find a bad sushi bar in the whole of our trip.

Discount vouchers

Read more about the voucher booklets on Reykjavik’s Grapevine

Alcohol is so expensive here that we were willing to give it up for the weekend, that’s right, tea-totalling event profs! Of course, that didn’t last for long and here are our two favourite bars we stumbled across. Slippbarinn is part of Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík Marina near Old Harbour, Reykjavik’s first ever cocktail bar and because imported beer is so expensive Kaldi Bar is a great option as they serve several of their own locally-brewed lighter beers.

THREE

The hotels in the city centre are fantastic and great if you’re planning to just spend time walking through the city but, if you plan to go farther afield, we found choosing a hotel on the outskirts much more convenient – and it meant we could park our hire car for free.

Reykjavik Lights hotel

FOUR

If you like horses, this is the destination for you. Did you know there are around 80,000 horses in Iceland with a total population of just over 330,000 people – one horse for nearly one third of the people in Iceland! Whilst the Icelandic horse is a prized breed, don’t be surprised to see horse on the menu in some restaurants.

Icelandic horses

FIVE

Do plenty of research if you’re not visiting via one of our organised, luxury incentive travel programmes. We wanted to fit a couple of tourist destinations into our short visit and were given some great advice by Guide to Iceland. We’d recommend browsing their website before you go to plan in your excursions.

We love a spa like any girl, so were intrigued by the Blue Lagoon tour – apparently one of the 25 wonders of the world. This famous geothermal spa has silica mud under your feet which is said to have healing properties so we smothered it all over us – we have not included a photo for that! You can choose all sorts of premium spa packages but, as this was Erin’s favourite tour she says, “Be aware that you’ll be sharing the facilities with people who don’t mind picking up the bathing robe you’ve paid for!”

You might have noticed our love for a bit of Richmond’s nature on our Instagram so we couldn’t miss out on the whale watching tour run by family-owned tour operator, Elding. We chose to get as close as possible to the action and took a rib tour – this is also the fastest way to get to any wildlife activity. Just bear in mind that it’s extremely chilly, even in the summer months so dress appropriately.

Whale watching tour

SIX

From horses to cats… if you’re more of a cat person then Reykjavik has the country’s first cat cafe – Kattakaffihusid. This isn’t just a cafe where you can take your cat for a saucer of milk, this cafe now hosts 3 homeless cats at a time from the organisation Villikettir and approved guests can give them a forever home. Visit their Facebook page to find out more about their range of tasty cakes and cute kitties looking for a home.

 

SEVEN

We actually found the cat cafe whilst walking in the city to find one of its most well-known landmarks and possibly the most funky church we’ve ever come across, Hallgrímskirkja. Named after the 17th-century clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson, author of Hymns of the Passion, the church’s impressive stepped, concrete facade is an ode to modernism and a reminder of the Icelandic landscape. It’s well worth a visit and they have a varied programme of concerts on throughout the year.

STUNNING REYKJAVIK

We packed in quite a lot in 48 hours but we also got some time to stop and reflect. My absolute favourite moment of the whole trip was driving round the Golden Circle Tour.

Golden circle tour map

We came round a bend in the road and the landscape opened up in front of us to show the bluest sky I have ever seen. The beautiful scenery around Reykjavik is enough to make anyone stop and feel grounded to the Earth and all of its natural wonders. Definitely worth a place on our incentive travel list.

As experiences top the list of must-haves over the latest tech, Sleek Events test out Mauritius as a luxury incentive destination as part of their new service launch

There’s no doubt that Mauritius is a fantastic destination for couples who want a luxury, romantic break. As Sleek Events launches their luxury incentive travel service, this wasn’t a holiday but an opportunity to find out if Mauritius could also be a great incentives destination too.

Jennifer Davison, Founder & MD at Sleek Events shares her view on Mauritius

Managed by Emotions DMC, a unique concierge service driven through elegance and style, and organised by Pearl Representation Ltd, with over 18 years’ experience in the travel and service industry, I was promised an itinerary full of excellent service and new experiences. All event profs will know how precious time out of the office is – this trip was an opportunity to network, relax and share industry perspectives in beautiful surroundings whilst checking out the destination for our clients.

Left to right: William and Annick from Emotions DMC and Wayne from Pearl Representation

So much was fabulous but I’m going to mention the standout moments on each day… hold on for this whistle stop tour!

ARRIVAL

On arrival with the Air Mauritius flight, a private Audi awaited me as I stepped off the plane and I was whizzed over to the YU Lounge at the airport for a 12.30 meet & greet by Annik from the Emotions Team. The same chauffeur service took me on to the Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort.

DAY ONE

After about as quiet an evening you can possibly have with a group of event profs, I woke up to the sound of the Indian Ocean lapping against the shore, breathing in the scent of the gentle sea breeze and listening to the peaceful melody of tropical birds singing after a blissful night’s sleep – exactly what the resort hopes for every guest. Every element of Heritage Le Telfair, from the four poster bed, to the wooden floors and freestanding bath, the accommodation is designed for the utmost in luxury and comfort. It’s everything you expect from a resort in Mauritius and the private villas are ideal for group incentive trips.

Want to see what could be the world’s longest sushi platter? Go for cocktails and dinner at Gin’Ja. Set on a stretch of white sand, overlooking the lagoon, Gin’Ja is one of the most desirable dinner locations in Mauritius at the moment. I love sushi and if it’s your thing too, make sure you put this place on your itinerary.

DAY TWO

Domaine de Bel Ombre was set to give us an insight to traditional Mauritius. The full estate is 2,500 hectares in the south-west of Mauritius, stretching from the mountains to a turquoise lagoon on the coast. For the past century, Domaine de Bel Ombre was an agricultural business with its main focus on sugar cane cultivation and production. Following the closure of the sugar factory, a complete reengineering of the business environment in Bel Ombre was initiated and set the vision to transform the region into a quality hospitality and leisure zone. One of the houses which is part of the estate, Le Chateau, is available to hire in its entirety and makes a stunning and unique venue for group entertainment.

DAY THREE

Mauritius might be one of your bucket list destinations but it could also tick off some activities on your bucket list too. For me, one of those things is swimming with dolphins and that’s what I did when we jumped into the sea off the back of a boat. Happy, wild dolphins paid us attention without any coaxing from the guides and I can imagine this experience would be much more enticing than the latest iPhone or other gadgets offered as an incentive at work.

Having worked up a healthy appetite, we had lunch laid out for us under a canopy at La Prairie. This public beach venue had a relaxing vibe, only improved by the acoustic music played by locals.

Could the day have got any better? You’d think not but then I hadn’t expected a helicopter transfer to our second hotel of the trip – the Four Seasons Resort at Anahita. After landing, an executive car took me to a 5-bedroom villa with a refreshing plunge pool to use during some leisure time.

I took my personalised dressing gown past the welcome message written in golf balls surrounded by dancers and musicians, picked up my cocktail and boarded a golf buggy to take me for a relaxing massage.

Feeling revitalised, I met up with seven event profs to do what we do best – eat, drink and make merry! Overlooking the lagoon, we enjoyed the live music at O’Bar with a great casual-dining menu.

DAY FOUR

If you have budding chefs on your team, they will love the lunch challenge put on by Vacoas Terrace. After putting on our personalised aprons, we were given one minute to grab ingredients from the pantry. Our food was judged by the restaurant chef – he said that mine was the worst food he’s ever tried in his life which probably wasn’t an exaggeration. Luckily, they cooked a local-style BBQ for us all instead!

After lunch, a speed boat excursion took us to the Eastern islands and in the national reserve, a bar was set up for us in the sea. We sat in the warm water sipping on coconut water and cocktails wondering which corporate job would offer a reward programme like this because we’d consider taking a job there!

Our last dinner in Mauritius was Creole style. I knew things were going to be special when drums sounded outside the villa and we were paraded down the street with firelight and people in traditional dress. We were treated to an atmospheric site visit of a candlelit villa, with staff playing the roles of a bygone era in Mauritius. Serving a variety of dishes including lamb curry and chapatis, the team did their best to entice us to stay for another 5 days!

Not tired yet?  

If you’d like to fill each day with heart-pounding adventure, Mauritius has so much to offer – these are two of our favourite locations.

Domaine de L’Etoile is the biggest natural and private reserve in Mauritius and is a beautiful setting for quad biking and the longest zipline course in the world – a breathtaking ride of 3,500 metres through the air.

Ile aux Cerfs is a privately-owned island near the east coast of Mauritius. Besides the Ile Aux Cerfs Golf Club, there are three beach restaurants and a host of water sports to enjoy.

Fancy Mauritius for your next incentive trip?

Event profs are the hardest people to please when it comes to venues and delegate activities. If they wow us then we know they will wow our incentive clients. Mauritius has ‘wow’ written right through the heart of it like a stick of rock. It’s almost impossible to put this type of trip into words that give it justice – the only way to really understand it is to get your next incentive booked up and take a bite of the ‘wow rock’ yourself.

When costing out a 4-night incentive trip for 60 people at either the Heritage Le Telfair or the Four Seasons with a host of activities included but not your air travel, you’re looking at a little over £1,000 per person – now that’s what I call a sensational reward experience for less than the cost of the laptop you’ll use to sort the hundreds of photos you’ll take!

Click here to find out about how Sleek Events can create luxury incentives tailored to you.