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A day in the life of an #eventprof… onsite

According to the most recent survey by  CareerCast.com*, events management is the fifth most stressful profession, behind military jobs, police, firefighters and other life-death careers. Even though this is a poll of US employees, I’m sure as #eventprofs in the UK, we’ve all been able to relate to this stress at some point or other! The pressure of liaising with suppliers, clients and delivering to deadlines can definitely get on top of all of us but equally, that adrenaline rush is exactly why we love what we do! We were recently onsite for a corporate event in London, so we caught up with Project Manager, Erin, to hear all about a day in the life of an onsite event professional… 

It’s set-up day. What’s first on the to-do list?

I usually try and get up at around 5am, so I can shower and get ready for the long day ahead without feeling rushed. Once the team is all onsite, the first thing on the list is to set up our production office so we have an organised space to work from. The client is due onsite a couple of hours after us, so we ensure all the relevant suppliers have arrived and started to install, I meet with the venue representative to do a pre-client onsite run through and then hit the to-do list! Amongst the important tasks, someone always goes for a Pret run when we have a moment, to make sure we all have a good breakfast. It’s sometimes difficult to remember to eat when you’re onsite, so now’s the time for everyone to eat and get some water.

pouring water from a jug into a glass - a reminder to keep hydrated

By midday, the client has just arrived so we catch up, update them with the install process and get them some lunch! For the rest of the afternoon, I concentrate on the install. For this particular event, the AV was the largest part of the install, so most of our attention is on getting this ready for rehearsals to start in the afternoon. Later in the afternoon the CEO arrives onsite, so while the team has divided and conquered to ensure each area is on time – branding, registration, expo etc – my efforts are focused in the keynote room where the CEO has started rehearsing for tomorrow morning’s event opener.

Set-up day is coming to an end – what are your last minute checks to ensure live day goes smoothly?

Once the rehearsals are over, the client team heads offsite, so our evening is made up of snagging and fixing a few last-minute branding issues. We then grab a quick bite to eat whilst the last of the suppliers are finishing up before heading to a nearby hotel before midnight. We always try and stay as close as possible to the venue. Someone from the team checks us in during the afternoon – this way the team can head straight to bed once we’ve finished after a long day.

The view from the venue over London at the end of the day

What is your routine the night before live day?

Once back at the hotel, I usually do some stretching after being on my feet all day – I’ll have clocked up lots of steps! I then re-read all my documents and checklists to make sure I know what’s going on at every single second of the event. It’s so much easier to deal with any issues that inevitably will arise when you are fully prepared and know every detail inside and out. I’ll also take some time to write some notes of any little reminders or actions I need to do when I first get onsite in the morning. Following this, relaxation is key! You need to be able to switch off in our industry – before this event I had a relaxing bath and then got an early night.

So, how did it go? How do you unwind post event?

The event went well and the client is happy – this is the most important thing! Once it’s all wrapped up and all suppliers are offsite, myself and the team head to a nearby restaurant for a pizza and a drink. We’ll chat about how the day went, share any onsite pictures and then a summer favourite is to head home to catch up on Love Island!

What are your 3 top tips for long days onsite?

  • WATER – it’s so easy to get dehydrated onsite. It makes you feel so much more awake when drinking enough. We send reminders in the group chat or even over comms every now and again to make sure everyone is keeping hydrated.
  • Get enough sleep pre and post show – there is no way to avoid lack of sleep onsite but stocking up before definitely helps.
  • Enjoy it! The best way to get through a long day is to actually enjoy it. The lead up to an event can be so long and detailed that it’s worth taking it all in onsite and enjoying the day with the Sleek team and the client.

Events Coordinator is the 5th most stressful job in the CareerCast.com poll. How do you combat stress?

  • Lots of lists to make sure everything that can be done has been!
  • The team: having the right team and support around you is key.
  • A post-event stretch/yoga class and, of course, a glass of wine helps too!

a yoga studio - a reminder to de-stress

Working in events can mean times when the pressure is on but it’s also extremely rewarding and fun. If you’d like to work in events, keep an eye on our social media for job opportunities:

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LinkedIn

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*CareerCast.com 2019 survey can be viewed here: https://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/2019-jobs-rated-stress

48 hours in Berlin

We all know that Berlin is famous for its creative people, culinary delights, cultural landmarks and crazy parties, but what you might not know is that Berlin is a great location for corporate events too. We recently spent some time in sunny Berlin, having a look around for some unique waterside locations that would work for anything from a product launch to a corporate dinner event, with impressive views and excellent service. Here is a snapshot of our top three:

First up on the list is Spreespeicher. This trendy venue sits right on the river Spree and offers beautiful views of the Oberbaumbrücke – a bridge connecting two former boroughs that were divided by the Berlin Wall, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, and which has become a symbol of Berlin’s unity. The venue has natural daylight, multiple event spaces and a terrace perfect for a summer party or winter wonderland with outdoor heaters. Your guests can even arrive by boat for a truly impressive entrance!

The second venue on our list is Haus Ungarn. This edgy venue is located close to Alexanderplatz in the heart of the city, and also doubles up as a nightclub! Haus Ungarn, which translates to Hungary House, is extremely modern but with wooden touches and classic rustic Berlin charm the city is famed and adored for. This space, along with its outdoor terrace and spectacular views of the city, is a surefire way to impress your guests and leave them with long-lasting memories of your event.

Lastly, we leave you with Spindler & Klatt; a beautiful venue right on the river. This multi-floor riverside venue allows for plenty of flexibility within the space, meaning you can really pull out all the stops to impress your guests with whatever type of event you wish to put on. Like Haus Ungarn, Spindler & Klatt doubles as a club by night, and a laid-back restaurant and cocktail lounge by day. Whether you’re looking to host a relaxed dinner, a glamorous party, or a fashion show on the water, this venue has it all!

As well as checking out these impressive venues, we also spent some time sampling the local delicacies and exploring the city by scooter – we even got ourselves a bit of a tan! 48 hours in Berlin goes very fast due to the sheer number of activities and venues to keep you occupied, but we left Berlin convinced that this creative city is not just a haven for hipsters – it could be a really unique option for a corporate event or an incentives city break. With competitive prices and direct flights from nearly everywhere in the UK and Europe, the possibilities are endless in ‘the coolest city in Europe’!

We’re always on the lookout for new venues – if you’re interested in hearing more about our search, check out our latest blogs on incentives trips to the seaside, and our current favourite venues here in London.

outdoor event

Challenges of outdoor experiential events

As #eventprofs, we know there are all sorts of challenges when it comes to creating successful events. But what happens when you move your event to the great outdoors? The challenges that come with an outdoor experiential event can be endless, but not necessarily detrimental. We asked the team at Sleek HQ about the challenges they have faced and compiled a handy little list below of potential challenges, how to overcome them and things to consider next time you have to use the great outdoors.

1. Permits

Some outdoor areas, such as parks, gardens and other public areas, require you to obtain a permit before ‘setting up shop’ as it were. It’s really important to read up about the venue before booking suppliers, as this could really impact what you are and aren’t allowed to provide. Setting up a gin and tonic pop-up van in a park for a festival-style event sounds dreamy, until you rock up on the day and are met with an angry ranger telling you there is no alcohol permitted and your event is suddenly in jeopardy. Preparation is key!

Festival tents in the dusk

2. Weather

This is especially important when considering AV requirements. It’s all well and good planning a lit-up wonderland for a fashion show, product launch or Christmas event, but when the heavens open and all your open electrical equipment is at risk – the event could be at risk! Make sure everything is covered and the AV supplier has correctly assessed all potential weather risks and has backup plans for every occasion.

This is also crucial to bear in mind for the attendees too – imagine you’re outside at an event and the weather is unexpectedly hot, cold or rainy, and you suddenly find yourself in need of cover for 200 people. Keeping people happy, whether that be giving them shade, warmth or a dry place to sit/stand is a sure-fire way of making them remember your event – if you have thought about things before they happen, this ensures the event runs seamlessly no matter what Mother Nature throws at you! People like to feel looked after – if they feel like you have provided everything they could possibly need and considered how they experience your event, you are more likely to get good press/reviews, even if it was a washout!

Winter Wonderland light display

3. Coordination

Keeping people happy – have you thought about every eventuality and how you can look after people in all scenarios? How are you going to cook and bring out food? Are you going to provide cutlery? Have you thought about what is going to be the most user-friendly attendee experience? You may want to ‘wow’ them with some fine dining, but if you aren’t providing seating, then maybe you need to think of a more creative alternative to ensure their experience is easy and they don’t have a million things to hold.

Interference – if you are holding an experiential event in a public space, then you also need to consider other distractions/interference that may hinder your event. Traffic, wildlife, external noise etc, all need to be considered and a back up plan put in place. It is also worth mentioning security – if the event is ticketed, you may need to hire staff to ensure you have no unwanted visitors!

Special Requirements – you need to make sure there is suitable access for disabled guests, as well as any other considerations you would usually take for an indoor event.

Fashion show runway

4. Equipment

Things we take for granted in an indoor venue/exhibition hall/conference centre are not available outdoors! Make a comprehensive list of everything you could possibly need, even things you wouldn’t think twice about normally. One thing we find we always need onsite is scissors. You never think you’re going to need scissors until you do, and can’t find any! We recommend packing a fully-stocked stationery box, as well as a first-aid kit – not for your client’s guests as that will be supplied separately, but for your own team!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but will hopefully give you some food for thought if you are looking to plan or are in the process of planning an experiential event outdoors. Outdoor events can be tricky and stressful to plan, but they can also be more fun and exciting and really deliver the ‘wow’ factor that is so important for an amazing experiential event.

One crucial thing to remember is an experiential event is an experience – an immersive adventure that aims to bridge the gap between a brand and its consumers, enhancing selling potential by creating a memorable experience. This being said – make sure people remember your event for all the right reasons! We can’t stress enough how important it is to prepare for every eventuality. As the author Howard Huff once said, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” How topical with this week’s weather!

If you want to hear about how we can help you with any element of your event planning, be it experiential or corporate, outdoors or indoors, please get in touch today!

Dinerama in daylight

May’s top 3 experiential venues

Hello everyone – us again! This week in our live experiential blog series, we are exploring our favourite unique venues for experiential events in London.

There are so many venues in and around London that are great for so many different reasons. Whether it’s an exhibition hall in the Docklands, a warehouse in Shoreditch or a hotel in Mayfair, for us, the venue is up there with the most important elements of a successful event. Of course, different events require different types of spaces. The beauty of experiential events is they can be as weird and wonderful as you like, so the more unique the better! Keep reading for our top 3 venues of the week.

  1. Dinerama

This East London gem is a former truck yard with two levels, rooftop areas (with retractable roof to help with our wonderful English weather!) and multiple different spaces to hire and transform into your own experiential activation!

Capacity: 1,000 pax

Location: Shoreditch

Close to: Shoreditch High Street and Liverpool Street stations (2 and 6 minutes respectively)

Good for: Brand launches, concept parties, brand installations, summer events, festival-type events, food-based events

Why we like it: We love the fact it’s a former truck yard – there’s something so cool about dressing up and attending an event in a space that was once used for something so completely different.

Shows the capacity of the venue with a crowd of people

  1. The Conservatory, Barbican

If you want to create your event in the jungle but don’t quite have the budget to get you there, then look no further than this tropical dream in the City. Located in the Barbican, this small but versatile venue sells itself – there’s no end to the amazing and unique events you could create here! It’s also a perfect place to come and sit if you’re at a loose end on a Sunday afternoon.

Capacity: 150 standing

Location: City of London

Close to: Barbican and Moorgate stations (6 and 7 minutes respectively)

Good for: Jungle-themed events, interactive events, product launches, intimate brand activations, unique dinner experiences

Why we like it: This jungle paradise is home to over 1,000 tropical plants and fish. The key to a great experiential event is the element of surprise – this beautiful venue will wow your attendees and is sure to leave them with a unique experience they won’t forget in a hurry!

The conservatory by night with coloured lights

  1. Garden Museum

This striking venue is a fully-functional event space while maintaining it’s artistic and historical influences within a converted church, making it an ideal location for a slightly more edgy or creative experiential event.

Capacity: 320 standing

Location: Bankside, opposite Westminster and the Houses of Parliament

Close to: Lambeth North and Vauxhall stations (11 minute and 14 minute walk respectively)

Good for: Fashion shows, car launches, product launches, interactive displays

Why we like it: This venue is really different because it’s a traditional church space mixed with beautiful gardens, giving you a sense of calm while being slap-bang in the middle of London.

Glass box view

We hope this blog has helped if you’re on the search for a unique London venue – we think these three have great potential to host some incredible experiential events!

We’re constantly on the lookout for up-and-coming venues to add to our little black book so, if you have a suggestion, please get in touch! Stay tuned for the next blog in our experiential series, which will be tackling some of the financial elements of creating an experiential event!

Experiential Events – what’s all the hype about?

The events industry is an ever-changing, fast-growing and rapidly-developing industry, full of twists, complete 180° turns and, as we all know, no two days are ever the same. With this in mind, certain industry trends naturally come and go, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of what’s ‘fashionable’ in the events world. One such trend is the coveted experiential events of which we are seeing more and more.

But wait, what actually is an experiential event?

According to Ecoconsultancy (2018),  an experiential event “creates a closer bond between the consumer and the brand by immersing them in a fun and memorable experience”. Basically, an experiential event bridges the gap between client and consumer, and enhances selling potential by creating a memorable experience that is actually going to last in people’s minds. The goal is to make people enjoy themselves and, in turn, reap the rewards this enjoyment brings your business or brand. There are two types of experiential events – B2B and B2C. In this blog, we’ll be focusing on B2C but, no fear – we’ll be covering B2B later on in our LIVE experiential events blog series!

Ok, but why choose an experiential event?

Well, experiential events are great for everyone. Humans, especially in this day and age, love to compete with each other. Now, as clever #eventprofs, we can tap into this integral part of our nature and harness it to our advantage. As an attendee, we want an engaging experience that is memorable and allows us to impress our family/friends/frenemies on Instagram and, in the long run, makes it more likely to encourage us to buy a product or experience that makes our lives easier in some way. Additionally, we are so busy in our day-to-day lives, that if we get the chance to attend an event which is just a little bit different and doesn’t necessarily feel like attending a work event, it will leave a longer-lasting impression on us than a boring event that is the same as every other event we attend on a regular basis.

One (slightly extreme) example that springs to mind is Redbull’s Stratos campaign which, as you all probably remember, saw skydiver Felix Baumgartner set a world record for the highest skydive…  from 128,000 feet. Now, we’re not saying if you drink Redbull you’ll be able to do this too, but doesn’t it tie in perfectly with their tagline of ‘Redbull Gives You Wings’? Not only this, but people felt like they had been part of something truly amazing as they intently watched the whole event. This is a prime example of ingenious experiential marketing that will be remembered for years to come and probably saw their sales, ahem, skyrocket.

Of course, as our clients will attest, the benefits of experiential events are obvious – spending more time and effort putting a little more creativity into the way products are marketed and events are created undoubtedly result in a higher ROI – and this isn’t just limited to the attendees themselves. I have touched upon Instagram but this goes far beyond putting a photo on your personal account and that being the end of the story. The social media phenomenon has drastically changed the face of brand development and ‘spreading the word’. For this reason, even if your amazing experiential event only has 50 attendees, if each of those share their experience on social media platforms, your event is actually reaching 10 times (if not more) the number of actual attendees. It also makes your event more elusive, in turn, increasing demand and, to some extent, also enhances trust in your brand. If a potential customer is there experiencing your product and can see it and try it for themselves, they will hopefully be more encouraged to carry on using it.

One great example is IKEA’s event back in 2011 – in response to a Facebook petition to have a sleepover in IKEA, they decided to allow 100 lucky people to spend the night at their Essex store, complete with manicures and massages. This created huge social media coverage, showed IKEA in a charitable and good-natured light and most likely increased their bed sales!

The way I look at it is twofold – we as humans A) love to have fun, and B) love a freebie. Therefore, the combination of an amazing, unique and fun event, coupled with a fun freebie or something a bit different than the usual swag of water bottles, tote bags and USBs we all seem to hoard after an event, is a winning one and one that is more likely to engage new customers. Ever heard of the saying ‘Happy Customer, Happy Client’? Probably not but, if you’re in professional services like us, you’ll understand what we mean!

To prove our point, take a look at these statistics:

  • 74% of attendees at an experiential event say they are left with a more positive view of a company and its products than before the event (Event Marketing Institute)
  • 70% of attendees become regular customers after a great experiential event (EventTrack).

I don’t know about you, but these stats seem good to me, and really demonstrate the power of an experiential event. For this reason, we think this is one trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Hopefully, this blog has given you a little more insight into experiential events and why they could benefit your brand. I will leave you now with a tiny bit of food for thought – psychologically, we are more likely to remember something that has a semantic connection rather than acoustic or visual connections. To break this down, if something has more understanding and meaning behind it, we are more likely to remember it than if we have just seen or heard it, such as on an advertisement on TV.

So, next time you sit down with your boss or your marketing team, bear in mind that sometimes we need to break down the ‘corporate barrier’ and give people something a little more meaningful and a lot more fun.

If you have any questions or just want to chat more about experiential events and how we could help you, please get in touch!

Let’s gift ourselves a Conscious Spring Cleanse!

How is your spring cleaning going? Not so well? Our resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, gives some great insight into why spring cleaning is such a great idea for your overall wellbeing.

I’ve been wondering so many times what this fuss about spring cleaning was and why everyone would just become obsessed with cleaning as soon as spring came… I clean all the time!

Let me tell you, spring cleaning is actually one of the oldest rituals that exists. It is, in many ways, linked to religious traditions. From a more scientific point of view, it is linked to the longer days and the fact that our “sleeping” pineal gland reduces its work with the increase of daylight, giving us more vitality. And on an energetic level, it is meant to welcome in to our homes and our lives the awakening energy that springs carries with it.

spring saying

Spring represents the blooming of nature, the waking up of the earth, the flying back of the birds and the blossoming of the sleeping flowers… Blooming is essentially the word that most resonates with me and I visualise it as two hands that are opening up and holding a beautiful bubble of sun. Which word would you choose to represent spring?

Now that we know that spring cleaning is not just fashionable, I can also say that the spark of clean can be repeated as often as we like. What’s important are the intentions we are putting behind our cleaning.

Your home is a representation of your mind, body and spirit and in many ways – there is a huge connection between all of these energies.

When your environment (what surrounds you) feels good, you will in return feel good and vice versa. Imagine being an advocate of calmness, meditation and harmony and living in a place that represents disorder, confusion and chaos. How much more energy do we need to put into balancing off the chaotic energy? What would it mean to have a balancing internal and external representation?

Internal and external worlds need to go hand in hand or the energy you are going to spend trying to keep the internal world calm is most likely wasted.

And surely, there are better things we can employ that energy for!

Physical Cleaning

I’m sure you have all heard about Marie Kondo. To me, she is awesome. She managed to turn something as boring as cleaning and decluttering into a game between having fun with “lego” and sparking joy.

Her motto is “whatever does not spark joy, thank it for all it has given you and let it go”.

Marie Kondo saying

How many things are you keeping that you never wear? How many things are you keeping because “you might need it one day”? How many things are you holding on to because you’re afraid that the memory will go away if you get rid of it?

Imagine it as energy: everything that surrounds us holds in itself an energy which is either dense or light. What we want to do is to only surround ourselves with light, with an energy that sparks joy and that makes us feel at peace when we look at it.

I am not implying that we all need to become queens and kings of tidiness as Marie, however I am asking you to try imagining how your life would be if your surroundings would emanate light energy and spark joy. Pretty awesome, right?

A brief summary of the konmari method

The konmari method tells us that an effective decluttering needs to be divided into categories:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (miscellaneous)
  5. Kitchen
  6. Personal items (this is generally the most difficult).

Each category will be divided into subcategories and everything needs to be looked at in each subcategory. For example, you may divide your clothes in subcategories such as t-shirts, trousers, socks, etc.

The decluttering process needs to be done by seeing at a glance all the items in each category. If you are doing clothes, for example, you need to pile up ALL of the clothes you own in one space (all of it, no cheating!) and then divide them into subcategories. If you do it little by little, you would not know how much stuff you own and how to recognise what really “sparks joy”.

Some of you might find it hard to imagine how a t-shirt can spark joy… well again… you can call it joy, you can call it lightness, you can call it warmth… Don’t try to over think it. Sparking joy is a matter of seconds, you either have it or you don’t.

This way of being will also help you when buying new stuff. Sometimes we buy just for the sake of buying, however when we bring the concept of joy to our shopping, we might end up buying only things that really matter to us.

During the clothes decluttering process, you could have 3 different piles: one to keep, one pile to give to charity and one pile to sell. Whatever makes sense to you really.

You can find thousands of articles about Marie Kondo and her method, should you fancy looking into it in more detail. What I really wanted to share here was the concept of sparking joy and how to bring more joy to your homes through decluttering, cleaning and rearranging how it better serves your need for joy.

Only after everything is organised and rearranged shall you start with the common cleaning process thanking each time you get rid of “unneeded energies”.

It can be so inspiring to come home to a clean space where you know where everything is, where you feel safe and where you feel at peace and surrounded by love.

environment saying

As a short recap:

  1. Thank your home just the way it is and promise it that you will give her a sprinkle of joy!
  2. Make a mess!
  3. Categorise and subcategorise your items
  4. Choose only what sparks joy
  5. Have fun reorganising (the use of boxes and/or small transparent containers can really help the process)
  6. Common cleaning
  7. Energy cleaning
  8. Thank your home for holding the space and keep the joyous energies up!

If you are wondering if I have done the process myself or if I am just telling you something you may want to hear, please know that YES I am doing it right now and having lots of fun in the process!

To make it even more fun, don’t forget to play your favourite music while cleaning… and why not, maybe a little singing can help you stimulate your voice and clean your thoughts at the same time!

It is not only necessarily about sparking joy… having a tidy environment will:

  1. Increase productivity: when you know where everything is, you can save so much time when you are looking for it!
  2. Increase health: Removing allergens from the home can make you feel healthier, especially at a time when allergies are rife.
  3. Helps to focus: decluttering helps to make space for decision making and essential tasks.

Last but not least, I would like to introduce the concept of holding your space “comfortable” while stretching your beliefs around cleaning.

The objective of this blog is not to make you all become obsessed with cleaning – any obsession is completely out of balance. My objective is to create a balance between your internal and external world and making you feel at peace with and in your home, with what you own and with whatever surrounds you while at home.

Cleaning your outside world is a great metaphor to help you clean your internal world. We have done a lot of work on our internal world and internal representations, so it is time your environment keeps up with it!

With light and love,

Francesca

PS: Energetic Cleaning – If you are into energetic cleaning, you can add smudging, crystals and essential oils to the clearing process. Let us know if you are interested and I can make a short add-on for you on this topic!

Take another look: Dubai

We visited the UAE last year and shared our thoughts on the location for events of all kinds. This time, our marketing coordinator Izzie was invited on an incredible trip by Visit Dubai and Alpha DMC to take a look at Dubai in closer detail.

If you’re looking to take your team, clients or work pals on an amazing incentives trip, then look no further than the up and coming incentives hotspot of Dubai!

Where to stay

When considering a destination for an incentives trip, at the forefront of any #eventprofs mind is that it needs to be fun, educational and, most of all, easy. For this reason, the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Dubai could be the perfect place for your group to stay. Located just 15 minutes from the airport, it has luxurious rooms, 3 restaurants, a bar (this bar, called Vault, also gives out 3 free drinks on Mondays for Ladies Night!) on the 78th floor and a large pool area to relax in. They also have great meeting spaces should you wish to squeeze in some strategising!

The Palazzo Versace could also be a great option for high-end groups. With intricate Versace detailing from the shower tiling down to the tea cups and the chair stitching, this hotel is a bit of a novelty and really delivers the wow factor. It has 3 large pools, impressive common areas if individuals want a bit of me time! The food is delicious and you can even do some shopping at the onsite Versace shops.

Another beautiful hotel in the Jumeirah Beach Residences area of Dubai is the impressive Ritz-Carlton. We had a spectacular drinks reception and dinner on the beach here, complete with a warming fire-pit for when it got a little chilly and the most incredible views of the skyline. This would be a really impressive evening for groups who want the beach feel without compromising luxury and great facilities. Simply stunning!

If you are looking to take your groups to have a little evening fun – Wavehouse at Atlantis The Palm is a relaxed diner-style restaurant that serves great food and even has a bowling alley, old school arcade games and a wave machine! Another great excuse to have a little competitive fun!

What to do

If you have a couple of thrill seekers in your group, a trip to the Dubai Autodrome could be just what you need to let your hair down! When you arrive, everyone gets their own tracksuit and helmet before settling in to your go kart and letting loose on the track! An hour on the track is brilliant to unwind and introduce a bit of healthy competition between the group!

Dubai has a really interesting history and culture, and I personally had so many questions about life in this part of the world. If your group also wants to learn about the Emirati culture, taking a visit to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is a real eye-opening experience where you can freely ask any questions you may have without fear of judgement or causing offence. The staff there are really open and happy to answer anything, and you can even try your hand at dressing like an Emirati and sample a traditional Arabic breakfast. Following this, you can take a stroll through the Al Fahidi Historical District and the surrounding souks to stock up on some spices or even some gold! Afterwards, be sure to visit the fascinating Etihad Museum to learn about Dubai’s history and the UAE as a whole.

No visit to Dubai would be complete without a trip to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, which is accessible through the largest shopping mall in the world! Take your group on the world’s fastest lift to the 125th floor to see a spectacular view of Dubai, including the Palm and the surrounding desert outside the city. There is also a hotel and several restaurants inside the Burj Khalifa, so if you really want to impress, a dinner followed by a trip to the top to see Dubai at night would be a really memorable experience for everyone.

Our final incentives activity (but by no means the end of the list) was the incredible Desert Safari by Platinum Heritage. We were picked up in 4x4s and driven just 45 minutes outside the city into the Arabian desert. We were given scarves to protect our heads and then jumped into some vintage open-top Land Rovers for a drive through the beautiful desert. We visited 3 camps Platinum Heritage have available for groups (ranging in price but all beautiful and even with accommodation so you can sleep under the stars!) before arriving at the camp where we spent our evening. Platinum Heritage can arrange an amazing falcon show (the falcon is the national symbol of the UAE) before letting you try some traditional Arabic activities such as camel riding, henna tattoos and shisha. Then, your group can sit down to a delicious traditional dinner of salad, breads and hummus, followed by rice with meats and vegetables with different accompaniments. We even tried some camel, but luckily not the same camel we rode earlier! After dinner, your group can be treated to a traditional Arabic dance with imitation guns, which you can even join in on! They then switch off all the lights in the camp and you can spend some time stargazing – seeing the stars in the Arabian Desert really is something else and can make for a truly memorable end to a jam-packed incentives trip.

This trip taught me so much about what is on offer in Dubai, as well as their culture, cuisine and way of life. As an incentives destination, I would recommend 4 days as the perfect amount of time and really you couldn’t ask for much more on offer – there are incredible activities, luxurious accommodation, delicious food and, of course, don’t forget about the stunning weather! During winter, Dubai enjoys temperatures of around 22 degrees, whereas in summer it can rise up to 45 degrees. If the summer temperatures put you off, be rest assured that there are also so many water-based activities that you will easily be able to cool off. Dubai is a beautiful and intriguing destination which should be on everybody’s bucket list whether it be for business, pleasure, or both!

Celebrating who you are

Celebrate who you are being right now

Celebrate who you want to be

Celebrate your dreams

Celebrate your vulnerability

Celebrate success

Celebrate your truth

Celebrate those you look up to and model them

Celebrate the magnificent power you have within you

Celebrate the communities

Celebrate the fact that we are all here to support each other, no matter what

Celebrate knowing that all the strengths you need are already within you.

In the aftermath of International Women’s Day, we wanted to celebrate everyone in our latest wellbeing blog. Written by our resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, there is a special power to celebrating who you are…

2019 is a very special year in terms of energy and the healing that this energy can provide us. It is said to be a year of evolution, with a very strong power coming in to help us move towards a higher state of consciousness.

Let’s use this energy to increase our awareness about everything we can be for ourselves and everything we can be for other people. I cannot insist enough on the importance of contribution. There is always someone that can benefit from your help and your love. How much more awesome would it be if our change can also impact the person next to us? What if our experience and our sharing of that experience could impact someone’s life in a way you cannot even imagine?

Any impact that has been made on bigger scales, has always started in small communities. Become an advocate of your energy, your power, your truth and your acceptance.

Celebrating your feminine energy (I promise this section is not just for women!)

Feminine energy is curvy while masculine energy is about straight lines. Would you agree with me that always walking in straight lines might be a bit boring? And that being on a constant roller coaster might be draining after a while? Balance. Walk a line, make a curve, turn right, go straight, repeat. You can also include a pirouette once in a while, they’re quite fun!

  • Feminine energy is creative, masculine energy is controlling.
  • Feminine energy it is intuitive, masculine energy is logical.
  • Feminine energy is collaborative, masculine energy is competitive.
  • Feminine energy is about the journey, masculine energy is about the results.
  • Feminine energy is emotional, masculine energy is protective.

We all have feminine and masculine energy within us. To be sustainable and functional, we need both of them to be perfectly balanced. Can you see why it is so important to welcome both into your life? Eastern medicine calls it the Yin and the Yang, Hindu culture calls it the Linga and the Yoni, we could call it the moon and the sun, the ocean and the sand, the sky and the stars.

Masculine energies are primarily about doing, while feminine energies speak to being. The key is to understand when each serves us and to be able to identify if we’re out of balance and how to get back in alignment.

Life is not about who is more powerful, who is winning, who is strongest, who is better, who has the best life, who has the best idea… Life doesn’t have to be a constant competition, life doesn’t have to be a constant power battle.

As women, we’re taught to be more like men in order to be successful, we need to be strong, we need to be independent and do it all ourselves. I’m wondering, how can this be functional? How can it be functional to override our feminine energy full of curves in order to become a straight line in disguise? Do you think the curve is happy? Do you think it can express all it has to express or do you think it is more frustrated and would like to burst into a swirly confetti?

Balance. Accept that both energies have equal rights to live within you. Drop the conditioning of how things are supposed to be, drop all you have been taught. There is no better, there is no worse. There is just the road to balance.

Here are a couple of hints on how to celebrate your feminine energy. If you are a man and reading this blog, I trust you are honoring your feminine energy as much as your masculine. And why not go as far as starting to celebrate the feminine energy within you as you add in more curves into your straight lines, as you add in creativity, intuition and sit with your emotions while you experience the journey?

  1. Be in nature. Nature is life-force energy and is, at its core, the strongest representation of feminine energy. It’s the strongest representation of constant movement, infinite contribution and magnificent power. What can you learn from it?
  2. Express your creativity. Curves need to move and they need a way to express their flow. What can you do today that would allow your creative side to be able to show up?
  3. Sit with your emotions. Yeah, I know, it’s hard. It’s so much easier to push them away. There is no perfect way to do it, just do it. Whatever you resist, persist. Whatever you embrace, dissolves.
  4. Value spontaneity and play. Just have fun. Play, restore your factory settings and allow your inner child to play free and joyful. What can you do today to have fun with your inner child?
  5. What can you wear today that will allow your feminine energy to feel empowered, flowy and joyful?
  6. Celebrate the road ahead. Whatever the journey is, celebrate it. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.
  7. Give voice to the voiceless. Contribute, Educate, Share, Influence every single day, Serve the Energy of Your Soul, Be Your Own Leader, Take Action.

How are you going to use your magnificent power today? How are you going to use your personality to serve the purpose of your soul?

With love,

Francesca

PS: I would like to make one very important note as I believe too many people misunderstand this concept: feminine energy and sexual energy are two completely different. Men and women shouldn’t be afraid to embrace traits that have been pigeon-holed into a male or female category.

Day in the Life of an #eventprof … a Project Manager tells all

This month we are entering into the world of one of our wonderful project managers, Claire Riddell. Claire joined us in June last year and has made huge strides in the company, working on corporate and private clients. We asked what a typical day looked like for her in the exciting, yet busy, world of events!

My alarm wakes me up at 6:30am everyday. I like to take 5 minutes to wake up and often find myself thinking about what I need to do to achieve my goals for the day. I have a shower, do my makeup and then leave the house at 7:30am to catch the train. On my way to work I like to catch up on the news, but it’s also a good time to get stuck into a new book or a podcast! At the moment, I’m reading “Everything I know about parties, dates, friends, jobs, life, love” by Dolly Alderton.

Once I get to the office at 8.45am, I catch up on emails while having my breakfast and chat with the girls to see how everyone is. Breakfast is a much-needed coffee and some porridge with fruit, which sets me up for the day. Around 10am, we usually have a team meeting to discuss a pitch for a client or a status update on any upcoming events we are managing. With the telephone constantly ringing and the ever-changing events industry, my day doesn’t always go to plan, but this is what makes no two days the same and keeps me on my toes.

Next, I have several catch-up calls with clients and suppliers, to touch base and update them with progress and details. Other typical tasks include researching and sourcing venues if we have a new brief, managing budgets and nailing down the finer details of an event to ensure our client is the happiest they can be.

I do always try to make time for a decent break at lunchtime. I like to walk into Richmond and grab something healthy – my favourite lunch in this cold weather is a nice warming soup. After lunch, the day always seems to fly by so, to make sure my days are as productive as possible, I spend half an hour at the end of each day planning and writing a ‘to do’ list for the next day.

My job also involves attending networking events once or twice a week, which helps to keep me up to date on event trends and meeting other #eventprofs. Sharing experiences and learning from others is something which I value very highly, and it’s also a good excuse for a drink or two! If I’m not going to a networking event or meeting up with friends, I often spend my evening keeping myself fit – a spin class is a favourite. After the gym it’s time to wind down by watching a documentary with my flatmate, making some dinner (salmon and roasted veg – yum!) and enjoying a glass of red wine.

Working at Sleek Events has been amazing so far – the people, the office and the clients really make it such an exciting and rewarding way to spend my days. No two days are ever the same in the world of events, which is something I really enjoy and keeps me on the look-out for the next challenge!

I am me: the next in the series of our wellbeing blogs

We’ve really enjoyed sharing the wellbeing advice from resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, over the last few months. But this latest blog is a particular favourite for the Sleek Events dream team. Learning to celebrate your self and each other makes for so much of a happier life, so we hope you’ll enjoy Francesca’s latest blog as much as we do…

I am me.

In all the world, there is no one exactly like me.

There are persons who have some parts like me,
but no one adds up exactly like me.

Therefore, everything that comes out of me
is authentically mine because I alone choose it.

I own everything about me
My body including everything it does;
My mind including all its thoughts and ideas;
My eyes including the images of all they behold;
My feelings whatever they may be…
anger, joy, frustration, love, disappointment, excitement
My Mouth and all the words that come out of it
polite, sweet or rough, correct or incorrect;
My Voice loud or soft.
And all my actions, whether they be to others or to myself.

I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears.
I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.

Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me.
By doing so I can love me and be friendly with me in all parts.
I can then make it possible for all of me to work in my best interests.

I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me,
and other aspects that I do not know.
But as long as I am friendly and loving to myself,
I can courageously and hopefully, look for solutions to the puzzles
and for ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do,

And whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is me.
This is authentic and represents where I am in that moment in time.
When I review later how I looked and sounded, what I said and did,

And how I thought and felt, some parts may turn out to be unfitting.

I can discard that which is unfitting,

And keep that which proved fitting,
And invent something new for that which I discarded.

I can see, hear, feel, think, say and do.
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive,
and to make sense and order out of the world of people
and things outside of me.
I own me, and therefore I can engineer me. 

I am me and I am okay.

Poem by Virginia Satir

 

I wanted to start this month’s post with this poem as a celebration of our selves, as a celebration of who we are, truly, intrinsically and deeply.

You are OK, just the way you are. You are beautiful just the way you are. It is OK to love you just the way you are.

Lately, I have met quite a few people who have expressed feelings of wanting to be different than who they are or how they believe to be. “I should be fitter”, “I should be stronger”, “I should be braver”, “I should be this” and “I should be that”.

In this precise moment, if there were no ‘shoulds’ – Who would you be? How would you be? What would you be? Would you accept you as you just the way you are? With all the amazingness, with all the wrongness, with all the fears, with all the blockages, with all the dreams, with all the happiness and with all the sadness?

Have you ever thought to give yourself a break from shoulds? And the main question I would like to ask you: are all these shoulds yours or someone else’s?

I would like to challenge you for this month of February to give you the freedom to just be. To share your emotions, to seek validation, to validate others, to bring on compassion for yourself and for others, to be grateful for the journey, to be grateful for the person you are and for the person you are going to become through this journey, to show your truth rather than showing what people are expecting of you.  What beliefs are you still carrying with you from when you were a child? What are you holding on to that you are not ready to share? Who has imposed your standards? Who has made you believe that to fit in to have to suppress a part or parts of you?

Let’s make space to just be who we really are. Let’s give a chance to our inner child to be heard, to be validated, to know that it is safe to be who we are.

It is only through being authentic that we can find out who we truly are and how to get there. It is only by getting rid of unneeded resources that we can make space for new ones. It is only by validating what our inner child wants to tell us that we can find out what it is really feeling. It is only by validating and thanking our ego that we can choose differently.

Suppressing is not the way to freedom. Shine the light on your shadows and the light will set you free. Give yourself permission to be who you are right now and know that you have the choice to be a continuously evolved version of you.

We don’t have to buy into the standards, we do not have to buy into all the social media race to be perfect, we don’t have to buy into the struggle to fit in.

The freedom we are so longing for, might just as well be the simple freedom to just ‘be’. The freedom to see what is there to see, to hear what is there to hear, to feel what is there to feel, to say what is there to say, to ask what is there to ask and to step into the unknown territory of being, and dropping the security of the egoic shoulds.

For the next few weeks try these very simple steps in your everyday life:

  1. See and hear things like you saw or heard them for the first time. Allow yourself to see and hear things just as they are, not how you have learned to see or hear them. Give it a different meaning, your own personal meaning, in your own personal story.
  2. Feel and own what you are feeling, exactly as you are feeling them and not as you should feel them or as you have been taught to feel them. Give the feeling the chance to exist, give them a chance to tell their story.
  3. Think and own what you are thinking. Drop the need to be in control. Give the thought a chance to exist, talk to your thought, and then decide whether you choose to keep it or whether you choose to change it. Is the thought limiting or expanding? Is it light or heavy? What’s the feeling underneath it? Repeat the process.
  4. Give yourself permission to express your opinion, to express your needs, to tell your story, to try something new, to wear red, to sing in the shower, to say hello to a stranger, to smile for no reason, to cry for no reason. When the expression of self is done naturally, it will also be perceived naturally.
  5. Question and challenge the standards, the tribal assumption, the social media shining on society, the beliefs you no longer believe but you are holding on to anyway. Be true to yourself and only believe what feels expansive, growing and light.
  6. Take risks, step out of your comfort zone, do a small thing every day that will challenge your ego-based fears, talk to your fears, question them, what’s beneath it?
  7. Tell yourself every day that you are OK just the way you are and in your journey of evolution. You might change your mind and choose differently because this quest is yours and you have the freedom to choose differently as that choice is expanding and evolving.

When you allow yourself the freedom to just be, you come back home to yourself.

Where else would you rather be?

With love and light,

Francesca