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move into spring with vitality

Moving into spring with vitality and balance

Nicole Mackintosh van Dyk is an experienced yoga teacher, mother and eternal student, passionate about living life to its fullest in the most holistic way. Today is the first of a series of blogs from Nicole – particularly well-timed to help you find some joy in the return of spring, even at this difficult time. 

We all felt it, the first glimpses of springtime, teased with a smattering of sunshine, the daffodils are on sale and the magnolia trees are beginning to bloom, hello Spring… we have missed you.

Never a lover of the post-Christmas winter months, the dark days seem to drag on, the grey skies are never-ending and the rain, oh the rain! Whilst each season has its gifts, the winter months can be tough. With the continual dark and cold weather, we can often be left feeling sluggish, lethargic and generally depleted.

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth, planting seeds for the future and shaking off that winter feeling as the temperature starts to rise. It marks the time of transformation and with the start of 2020 being pretty tumultuous so far, never before has it been more important to see springtime in with vitality, a renewed energy and balance.

Rethink intentions

Intentions, resolutions whatever they mean to you and whether or not you set them at the beginning of the year, now is a good time to take stock of what is important to you in 2020. What do you want to do more of and what might be holding you back? Perhaps you are reinforcing old intentions or establishing new patterns – either way, take time to give this some thought. Keep it simple, don’t overwhelm yourself with a long list of unrealistic expectations, just cherry-pick the one that resonates the most and make it your mantra.

Shake it off

Most of us tend to hibernate a little in the latter part of the winter months, subconsciously waiting for the longer days to arrive. Now the Coronavirus is forcing us to distance ourselves from our usual social interactions, many of us will feel isolated. During this time, it’s quite typical to accumulate negative energy which weighs us down and, as a consequence, makes us feel heavy and lethargic. Take some time to physically shake off stale, negative energy, using hands to brush away from the body, starting from the crown of the head moving down to the tips of toes in an outward action. Better still, put on some music, jump around. You might feel silly, but I guarantee you will feel lighter and invigorated.

Take off the winter coat

On a more physical level, adopt an ancient Ayurvedic ritual called ‘dry brushing’ or ‘garshana’ (translated it means friction by rubbing). A technique, as its name suggests, that uses a natural brush to massage the entire body from the feet upwards with long strokes moving in the direction of the heart. Ideally performed daily in the morning before showering. This self-care practice helps stimulate the lymphatic system, eliminate toxins, improve immunity, exfoliate dead skin cells and promote healthy skin – all of which are particularly important when heading out of the winter months.

Sit still

As soon as the longer days arrive, we tend to find ourselves doing more and more – rapidly moving into a state of overdrive. If this sounds familiar, take the time to find a moment of stillness every day, however short, you will be amazed at how effective this can be at recharging the batteries. Just stopping for five minutes, sitting silently or meditating, lighting a candle and moving inwards, resetting your intentions or just simply shutting your eyes. Be still, this time is yours and it’s golden.

sit still

Eat light

When the warmer weather starts to arrive, our cravings for the heavier foods of winter tends to dissipate. Fill your diet with a variety of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables. Decrease your intake of heavy, oily, cold, fatty foods and increase vitamin, nutrient and chlorophyll-dense foods such as dark, green vegetables and sprouts, strawberries, and blueberries. In short, eat light, eat seasonal, eat local.

eat light

Notice

Be mindful. It’s easy to have adopted a hazy view of the world whilst wandering through winter. The weight of the cold weather dampening our perspective. Start to open your eyes again to what’s around you and really notice the beauty of spring. It is a period of rebirth and transformation for the earth – try to find a connection with this amazing process. Connect with nature’s beauty whenever you can, take a moment of silence, breathe in its beauty, pull the weeds apart and see what’s going on down there, hug a tree! Anything that allows you to witness this beautiful transformation, to be inspired and to find new energy and light.

notice

Twist and flow

In Ayurvedic tradition, the late winter and first part of spring is known as ‘Kapha’ season, which is governed by the elements of earth and water. This part of year is characterised by heavy, cold and wet qualities which can manifest into feelings of sluggishness, a lower-rate metabolism and weakened immunity, as well as a general lack of motivation and low mood.

To combat these feelings and to counter the downward pull of kapha energy, practice a cleansing and energising yoga sequence with a focus on detoxing the liver and gall bladder – both of which tend to get overworked doing the winter months.

Twist and flow yoga

A sequence that incorporates a variety of nourishing twists, energising heart openers and juicy side bends are particularly effective at this time of year. Asanaa (postures) that focus on the inner and outer line of the legs are particularly good at targeting the liver and the gall bladders which is where the meridian lines reside for these organs. Take your practice slowly, work into your alignment, hold each pose for a minimum of five breaths and close with a seated meditation and savasana.

For more guidance on spring yoga sequences contact me by email: hello@wanderingwarrior.co.uk

Cultivate a new ritual

Encourage yourself to create space for those simple rituals that honour who you are and revitalise you on a physical, energetic and emotional level. Whatever it is, be present with it, whether it’s a daily walk in nature, a moment’s meditation, dry brushing or journalling, create a space for something new in your life that cultivates a feeling of wellbeing.

Embrace this beautiful new season with energy and vitality, be present, connect, notice the beauty unfolding around you, take time, nurture yourself, reset and welcome spring with a smile.

be kind to yourself

Love and sunshine

Nicole x

Check out Nicole’s services on Instagram or visit her website.

luxury incentive trip to Prague's evening tour

Top Luxury Incentive Trips for 2020

Have you been looking for luxury incentive location ideas for 2020? Do you want to get your teams motivated after the Christmas break and create some excitement in the office? Well look no further. We have compiled our top 3 locations that will be sure to have a little something to get everyone focused for the new year – and all within a short flight form the UK!

Tenerife, Spain

Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands and only a 4-hour flight from London or a 2-hour flight from Madrid. This gorgeous island is known for its sandy beaches, clear waters, an active volcano and colourful coastal towns – the perfect location to be as active or relaxed as you want to be.

With luxury hotels on the beach and old villages with renowned architecture to explore throughout the island, there are endless sightseeing opportunities for all kinds of travellers.

luxury incentive kayaking with dolphins in Tenerife

Top Activities 
  • Private whale-watching tour – spend the day watching pods of whales and dolphins in the wild with a Marine Biologist guide whilst also listening to these beautiful creatures through a hydrophone
  • Volcanic sunset and stargazing picnic – spend an incredible evening watching the sunset on top of Mount Teide Volcano, followed by a private stargazing picnic with Spanish cheese, fruits, meats and wine
  • Snorkelling with dolphins and turtles – take a kayak tour along the Guaza Cliffs with spectacular views of the island and volcano. Along the tour get the opportunity to snorkel in the crystal clear waters.

Lake Como, Italy 

Surrounded by mountains and incredible local culture, Lake Como is known as one of Italy’s most picturesque natural destinations. The scenic towns surrounding the lake are known for their Instagram-quality views, exquisite villas, historic churches, museums and fun lake activities.

Whether you’re looking for a quieter adventure or to have an active holiday, Lake Como has so much to offer for everyone. Lake Como will definitely leave you with that “wow” factor if you’re looking to spoil your top performers.

luxury incentive trip sailing on Lake Como

Top Activities
  • Day tour of Bellagio and Varenna towns – explore the photogenic streets, historic cathedrals, unique shops, magnificent restaurants and different views of the lake
  • Take an Italian cooking class – learn from the masters of pasta with a local cooking class, teaching you to prepare traditional Italian dishes while sipping on wine
  • Boat tour of Lake Como – spend your day in true style with a private sightseeing tour of the lake, discovering unique parts only accessible by boat.

Prague, Czech Republic 

Known best for its bridges and castles, Prague is one of the most intact cities from WWII. With cobbled streets and medieval architecture, Prague will have you feeling as though you have stepped back in time. The historical Old Town Square is filled with colourful architecture, the famous Astronomical clock and places to sample the delicious local cuisine.

luxury incentive trip to Prague

Top Activities  
  • Private day tour of the city – explore everything Prague has to offer from Prague Castle to the Charles Bridge on a private city tour with a local guide
  • Villa Ritcher – dine in style with panoramic views over the city in this restored vineyard and villa
  • Prague Beer and Czech Tapas tour – known for having great nightlife but also famous for their beer, explore local beer halls, microbreweries and the best local restaurants in town.

So, those are our top 3 picks to kick-start your 2020 luxury incentive programme. Whether you want team incentive programmes or individual trips for your best performers, Tenerife, Lake Como and Prague can do it all without a long-distance flight!

We offer simple venue sourcing through to full trip management and even onsite support too. All you have to do is kick-back and enjoy yourself. For more on our bespoke luxury incentive packages, follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter or send us an email hello@sleekevents.co.uk

retreat sign in countryside

Wellness incentives: a must for corporates in today’s stressful work environments

As the new year gets underway, the annual flood of resolutions are doubtless being listed, vision-boarded and embarked upon. Top of the chart for most people will be things related to self-improvement: taking more exercise, eating more healthily and losing weight. But just behind those very common pledges will be ‘reduce stress’, according to the results of a YouGov poll published in December, with women being more likely than men to have it on their list (46% of female respondents versus 31% of males).

And that’s really not surprising. A survey of over 2,000 people commissioned by the mental health charity, Mind, found that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives, with a third of respondents saying their work life was either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ stressful, making it a bigger worry than financial problems and health.

Those working in large organisations (250+ employees) are almost twice as likely as those in small businesses (under 50 employees) to suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, according to the Health & Safety Executive’s most recent statistics. And, while the percentage of staff self-reporting stress-related conditions may be relatively low – 1% in small businesses, rising to 2% in large organisations – there will be many others who are suffering but don’t report it. So, it’s vital that you, as an employer, recognise this growing issue and make sure your staff know they are valued and appreciated and that there are opportunities for them to periodically decompress.

yoga by a lake

Wellness incentives: a growing trend

We’ve seen a big rise in the number of companies offering wellness incentives – in fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing areas of our business. While some companies already provide free or discounted gym memberships, have healthy snack and refreshment stations in offices and provide ‘chill out’ and creative thinking areas, more and more are also introducing trips and retreats to reward their staff.

These incentives are a mix of relaxation, activity, luxury and strategic sessions, giving employees the chance to socialise with both their peers and management. It gives them space to think creatively and perhaps gain a greater appreciation of those they work with, which tends to translate into better relationships back home in the office.

While wellness incentives can be overseas trips of a lifetime (and we love planning and managing those for our clients!) they don’t have to be that extravagant. Travelling abroad doesn’t have to cost a fortune and there are fantastic locations all across the UK that can host tailor-made experiences, like our team away day at the end of last year.

Sleek retreat

Retreating Sleek-style

In a 2019 survey by Career Cast, being an Events Coordinator was voted the sixth most stressful job, behind firefighter, military personnel, police officer, airline pilot and broadcaster. We know that giving your very best every day can take a lot out of you, mentally and physically, so we decided to recharge Sleek’s batteries by whisking the #dreamteam off to a manor house in Somerset for a long weekend of rural downtime mixed with creative planning and goal setting. Taking the time to relax and enjoy each other’s company away from the office – with plenty of fresh air and good food – gave us the chance to look at our business from a different angle and reward everyone with a few extra luxury treats. The result: we made some really exciting plans for 2020 and came home 100% refreshed. You can read more about what we got up to here.

So, as you make your business resolutions and finalise corporate goals for the year, make sure there’s some consideration of what incentives you can put in place to keep your staff motivated and healthy, with a focused and balanced approach to their work.

It’s not indulgence; it’s investment in your most valuable assets.

team wellness incentives retreat

Top tips for choosing an incentive trip

  1. Set a budget
  2. Decide what you want to achieve
  3. Think about the kind of environment that would help you achieve your desired outcome…

…then give us a call and pick our highly imaginative brains ;)  We’ll put together a few different tailor-made experiences, then all you have to do is choose your favourite!

sleek events luxury incentives

You can read more about our approach to bespoke incentive packages online, follow what we’re up to via Instagram and Twitter and, if you’d like to discuss anything, give us a call on 0208 939 1397 or email hello@sleekevents.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you.

2020

20 things to prepare you for a healthy and productive 2020

New Year’s resolutions abound once the Christmas feasting is over but in the lead up to a new decade, the goals and dreams of the general public really move up a notch. We’re here to remind you that in a busy profession like events, setting yourself up for failure with extreme targets or lifestyle changes can be more destructive than not bothering to set yourself objectives at all.

This article by Time magazine shows the change in approaches to what is considered healthy choices from back in 2010 when people were making plans for leaving the noughties. When you look at these few examples, you realise that having an open mind and the flexibility to embrace fresh thinking is just as important as sticking to resolutions.

We polled our office this week and prepared our top 20 list of recommendations for preparing yourself for a happy, healthy and productive 2020…

1. Set goals and ambitions for the year – keep them realistic as many people drop their New Year’s resolutions by about midday on 2nd January!

2. Declutter – whether at home, work or both, start the year off without the mess.

3. Practise what we preach – we talk about personal and professional development as a way to stay ahead of the game and an easy way to do that is to watch inspirational speakers via TED Talks. Try setting yourself a minimum of one a week.

4. Manage stressStress Matters is an organisation specifically for the events industry who have a fantastic programme for employers to sign up to for their employees. Why not make the pledge? And we’ve also had the team in from POINT3 Wellbeing who have helped us embed wellbeing into our workplace culture – stress less and smile more!

5. Dry January – it’s a busy time of year so why not attack it with a clear head and a smug, hangover-free smile. We could list the benefits of a month off the booze but you all know the score.

6. Start something new – get out of the rutt and try a new hobby or activity. You can meet new people, do it with your family or set out on a different route for your dog walks. Whether it’s baking or downloading a mindfulness app, changing it up can bring fantastic rewards.

7. Give back – you know the random acts of kindness you hear about on social media? Something as simple as putting your name down for a charity event, donating blood, or buying one extra food item for your local food bank can get the ball rolling.

8. Enjoy what the Arts have to offer – there are lots of new shows opening next year and some great ones continuing or if the theatre isn’t your bag, what about the band you always promised you’d see live?

9. Want to get fit but not sure where to start? Join ClassPass – it gives you the variety and flexibility to work out at many different venues.

10. Carry a reusable water bottle – you can stay hydrated and reduce your plastic waste footprint. We have our new Sleek branded bottles or you could try a Chillys bottle – these guys were no.1 on The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 where we were thrilled to be placed at no. 19 in Britain’s list of fastest-growing companies.

11. Start your day earlierread the Miracle Morning to find out why getting up just 15 minutes earlier can make a huge difference to your day and life.

Still with us? Keep reading on – we promise it’s worth it!

12. Shop local – we like to support small businesses (just like us!) and shopping local is one way to help your community thrive and make personal and professional connections at the same time.

13. Car-free weekends – or could that be carefree weekends? Try to avoid using the car at the weekend as much as possible – walk, cycle or take the bus instead. It’s a good habit to form, reducing CO2 emissions and keeps you fit!

14. Write a to-do list – if you find it hard to drop off to sleep at night, write your list before going to bed to avoid waking up at 3am with random thoughts running your head. Or prepare a next day priority list for work before you leave the office each evening so you don’t drag work home with you.

15. Meatless Mondays – get on board with the campaign that encourages people to improve their health and that of the planet. You don’t have to become vegetarian but plenty of us are flexitarian without even knowing it.

16. Get creative in the kitchen – if you find yourself on a food delivery app because you’re too tired to cook or don’t fancy the same old spag bol, add some pzazz to your mealtimes with a new cookbook. To help with Meatless Mondays, we tried the River Cottage veg recipe book and loved it so much that we’re going to set up a recipe book swap station in our office kitchen.

17. Enjoy work travel – we’re on the go with events further afield every year. To balance the environmental impact of essential travel with our own wellbeing, we recommend taking time out from every work trip to explore. If the world is your oyster, you need to dip your toe in the water from time to time!

18. Reduce your screen time – we know you have work to do and you can’t just close your laptop in the middle of a task BUT you can schedule in periods of downtime. Take a coffee outside, arrange a catch-up with colleagues or go for a walk at lunch. The important thing is to feel comfortable with your mobile out of your hand and your computer turned off – especially when you’re at home.

19. Reconnect with people – make time for family or old friends. Pick up the phone rather than sending a text. We all know that Christmas heightens feelings of loneliness – you can make the difference to someone’s day with a quick call or dropping round with some cake!

20. Appreciate what you’ve got

Finally, we all agreed that we don’t really stop and take stock of what is already working well in our lives. We’re all going to list 20 things we love about our lives to remind ourselves of the people and things we care about, our achievements and how those will affect our happiness, health and productivity throughout 2020 and beyond.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our friends from the team at Sleek Events!

For more advice for #eventprofs, follow us: Instagram LinkedIn Twitter

a view of the Northern Lights

Go North for a Luxury Incentive Trip

With Christmas preparations starting to come to the forefront of everyone’s minds, we’re also starting to turn our thoughts to hot new locations for our clients’ next luxury incentive trips. If all your planning of where and how you’ll be rocking around the Christmas tree has left you at a loss for inspiration, fear not! With most choosing to get some winter sun at this time of year (or maybe a countryside adventure if you read our last blog), we instead want to paint a beautiful starry picture of a destination for you to consider this month.

Tromsø, often dubbed as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ and the largest city in Northern Norway, has caught our attention for one awe-inspiring reason – The Northern Lights. Created from a collision between electrically-charged particles from the sun that enter the atmosphere of the earth, the dazzling Northern Lights, or Aurora borealis, are at the top of most people’s bucket lists and are truly a once in a lifetime experience.

luxury incentive trip to see the northern lights

When To Go 

It is said that your best chances to see the Northern Lights are from late September until late March, between 6pm and 4am, with around 10pm being the peak time. This means that you could take your group to do other activities during the day, or even squeeze in a half-day meeting before enjoying a delicious dinner of traditional Norwegian cuisine and heading out on a tour later in the evening.

How To Get There

The best way to get to picturesque Tromsø is by plane directly from London. However, if your guests are flying in from all over it may be easier (and cheaper) to fly to Oslo and then hop on a plane to Tromsø from there, as flights to Oslo are more regular. The plane ride to Tromsø from Oslo is just under 2 hours – so you’ll be there in no time. If you fly at night, you may even see the Northern Lights dancing around you in the sky!

See the Northern Lights as you fly to your luxury incentive trip

Where To Stay

As Tromsø is a city, there is no shortage of luxury accommodation options. Try these options below if you’re looking for true high-end Norwegian hospitality.

Clarion Hotel The Edge

Sommarøy Arctic Hotel

Scandic Ishavshotel

Tromso hotels

What To Do

As well as the Northern Lights, there is a plethora of activities you can treat your group to. These are our top 3 activities to whet your appetite for the Great Outdoors!

Husky Sledding – Drive your own team of dogs across the Arctic plains!

Husky sledding

Whale Watching – Jump on a boat with your team and find yourself some Orcas and dolphins

Visit the famous Tromsø Ice Domesvisit (or stay) at the incredible Ice Domes – a hotel made entirely of ice! Even if you don’t stay here, it is open to visitors to have a look around the bedrooms, marvel at the ice sculptures and enjoy a shot or two in the ice bar!

What To Pack

Camera – but don’t focus too much on trying to get the perfect shot. Live in the moment!

Winter warmers – bring your thermals, it’s going to be nippy.

Patience – as it is a natural phenomenon, sometimes it may take a little while for the Aurora borealis to show itself. Be patient – it will be worth the wait!

Positive attitude – be open minded to all the fun activities you can get up to in this snowy paradise and enjoy spending time with your colleagues experiencing a once in a lifetime occurrence. Talk about team building!

team huddle on the ice

So, if you’re looking for an extremely unique, special and high-end trip to ‘wow’ your top performers or favourite clients, then nothing beats the Northern Lights in Tromsø. Let the incredible natural displays speak for themselves and leave your guests feeling inspired, relaxed and ready for Christmas.

We are more than happy to arrange the whole trip for your group from start to finish, and we even offer onsite support too, so you won’t have to worry about a thing. (Plus it means we get to see the Northern Lights too!). For more information on our bespoke luxury incentives packages, get in touch on our social channels or send us an email at hello@sleekevents.co.uk

Happy star-gazing!

Escape to the Country: Sleek luxury incentives edition!

Are you looking for a luxury countryside escape from the city for your clients or employees? Look no further! We have found the perfect incentives location, just a stone’s throw away from London.

Sleek Events hit the road on Friday 1st November (along with some cheesy car songs and lots of sweets) for the 2.5 hour drive to the picturesque village of Frome, Somerset. The purpose of the weekend was both work and play. Packed with strategic sessions, question time, updates from each department but also with plenty of time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. We decided to treat the weekend as if we were on an incentive, gaining insight into the kind of activities we can offer to clients wanting a countryside getaway! Here’s what we got up to…

Day 1 

At around 4pm, we pulled up (after a few minor wrong turns!) to the aptly named Manor, buried deep in country lanes with huge iron gates to welcome us in. As we crunched across the gravel we could only look up in awe at the mansion we would be calling home for the weekend.

luxury incentive location; the manor, frome

We stepped inside and headed into the heart of the house: the kitchen! Our lovely Finance Manager revealed her secret talent of food art – we were welcomed to a glorious spread of meats, cheeses and various other nibbles, alongside several chilled bottles of prosecco.

We spent the afternoon relaxing, exploring the 8-bedroom house (it was a day for getting lost!), unpacking and chatting by the fire about the structure of the weekend to come. We then enjoyed some dinner and spent the evening gin tasting and playing games.

Day 2

Saturday morning was spent in our comfy clothes (including the lovely arrival welcome gift of a cashmere jumper that was laid out on each of our beds) nibbling on croissants, drinking tea and getting stuck into the rugby!

We quickly recovered from the pain of England losing and headed off for showers and to get ready for the morning session. We transformed the Manor’s grand dining room into a fully-equipped meeting room. We began with a company update from our MD & Founder, Jennifer, on new business developments and strategy as well as a reminder of 12-month goals. After a quick break for lunch and a walk around the grounds (another opportunity to get lost!), we began our afternoon session with some department updates including the news of our recent rebrand.

Next was some schedule downtime. It may have been a rest for our brains but not our bodies as the Sleek bootcamp in the Mansion’s gym kicked off! Luckily, this was followed by some time in the hottub before enjoying a three-course meal courtesy of our very own private chefs from The French Kitchen. The meal was to die for and added a taste of luxury to the experience.

The French Kitchen meal

Day 3

As Sunday is traditionally a day of rest, Day 3 took us on an excursion – no lie in for us! We headed to the local market which visits Frome once a month, spending an hour or so browsing the stalls and sampling some of the delicious food on offer.

Sleek team walk in the country

We then drove to the next village of Mells and set off on a gorgeous autumnal walk through the fields, before rewarding all our efforts with an indulgent roast dinner by the fireplace in The Talbot Inn, a local pub. Feeling full and chilled, we headed back to the Manor and had a little more downtime, enjoying an informal fireside chat about our personal goals and reflections.

After a day of indulgence, all we needed were a few nibbles to accompany a film and everyone was ready for an early night – the fresh country air had beaten us all!

Day 4

Waking up on Monday morning was more luxurious than your average start to the week! After a gym session to liven us up, we packed, made some breakfast and then cracked on with our final workshop. We left for London around 12.30pm, making it back in plenty of time time for the school run.

It’s amazing what you can pack into a luxury incentive weekend. Our agenda and mix of activities might have given you an idea for your own getaway or we can create a completely bespoke itinerary to suit you and your clients. Fancy incorporating more outdoor activities? Remember, we say “how?” not “no” at Sleek Events – so we really can arrange the perfect trip for you.

For more information about our incentive packages, drop us an email at hello@sleekevents.co.uk and make sure you follow us on social media to see all the other exciting destinations we visit – it’s a hard job but someone has to do it!

Find us: Instagram LinkedIn Twitter

breathing in the fresh air - wellness

Sleek Events supports #EventWell19

If you’ve been following our Instagram posts this week (and if not, why not?!), you’ll have seen that we’ve been looking at wellbeing in honour of #EventWell19 – a week dedicated to raising awareness of wellbeing and ways to improve it. This year, Mind is the chosen charity for the #EventWell19 campaign, so we’ve been taking inspiration from their brilliant ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ initiative. 

EventWell, founded by Helen Moon, is the event industry’s ‘first and only’ charitable organisation dedicated to giving people advice, knowledge and support on topics surrounding wellbeing and health in general. We as #eventprofs are constantly told how stressful our industry is, so it’s great to know that there’s a resource available to us!

In order to celebrate #EventWell19 and raise awareness, we challenged our followers to do one small thing a day in line with Mind’s 5 initiatives, whether that be giving someone a hug, taking the stairs rather than the lift or spending the day volunteering or fundraising for charity.

It’s easy to get lost in the ambiguous term that is ‘wellbeing’, so we find that when you break it down into smaller activities then it’s easy to introduce improvements to your life and to those of others.

Sleek’s Top Tips 

Our top three tips to improve your wellbeing (there really is no excuse!)

1. Communication is key

Talking is SO important. Reachout.com describes how talking to someone can release tension, put things in perspective and make you feel safe. Even just offloading to a friend or family member can help you feel as though a weight has been lifted, making you realise you’re not alone. Ask for help!

2. Treat yourself 

There’s so much pressure in our society and all professional industries, it’s no wonder we’re all so hard on ourselves. It’s important to reward ourselves for all our hard work – praise is not often a huge part of our professional adult lives, so by giving yourself some hard-earned praise in the form of treating yourself to a delicious meal or buying the dress you’ve had your eye on for a while, it can really help to just give you a bit of reassurance that you’re doing great and should believe in yourself more!

3. Exercise 

One bit of exercise everyday can make a world of difference. We all know what it’s like – trying to psych yourself up to go to the gym when all you want to do is snuggle up on the sofa. Well, even doing 10 minutes of yoga after work can help raise your mood, release endorphins and give you a sense of achievement – it’s all about little victories!

EventWell has recently launched Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses to educate people on mental health, signs and triggers of mental health issues, and the tools to be able to step in and support someone in need. Their first course was earlier this week, however they have more dates available in November and December, if this is something you feel could be valuable to you and your company.

We hope this gives you a little food for thought – take the time to stop and consider your wellbeing and mental health. It’s so easy to just brush it under the carpet and bottle everything up, so we’re strong supporters of the EventWell initiative. Remember – #ItsOKtonotbeOK!

If you’d like more of our wellbeing tips, follow us: Instagram LinkedIn Twitter

Croatia incentive destination

Incentive Ideas: An Adriatic Adventure

We’re all familiar with Spain, Portugal and France as holiday destinations – but have you considered Croatia for your next adventure? Croatia has grown hugely in popularity over the last 10 years and is now one of the top destinations for holiday-goers, and we think it’s a great location for incentives too. The crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, dramatic coastal backdrops, along with exhilarating waterfalls and beautiful architecture will be sure to impress any group whether you’re visiting with your family or work colleagues! We’ve created a handy little snapshot guide of some key Croatian hotspots to inspire you for your next incentive trip or mini break away with family.

Split

Split is the second largest city in Croatia (after Zagreb) and is a great place to start the trip, easily accessible links from all major European cities. Flights from London start from just £65 and take just over 2 hours – so you’ll be soaking up that Mediterannean sun in no time.

The Old Town is a magical maze full of little streets and squares to get lost in. With heavy Roman influences, the tall buildings and narrow walkways are enchanting and reminiscent of the white-washed streets of Italy. Split’s Old Town became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014 and it’s easy to see why – the streets and squares are religiously cleaned so they are beautifully preserved for all their visitors. The town is easily accessible by foot and just a stone’s throw away from the port, which backs onto The Riva – the main street packed with restaurants, bars and shops.

A view through the narrow streets of Split, Croatia for an incentive trip

What to see and do:
  • The Diocletian’s Palace
  • St Domnius Cathedral
  • Marjan Hill – for the best views in town!
  • Plitvice Lakes – a day trip a couple of hours outside Split, but you won’t be disappointed!
  • Bar crawls – Split has some great bars and clubs for those wanting to let their hair down.

Perfect for: Groups who love wandering around discovering tiny little shops and restaurants in a magical maze of historical streets. A true explorer’s paradise!

Hvar

Next on our list is the beautiful coastal port city of Hvar. Easily accessible from Split (a 45-minute catamaran trip costing around £10), the harbour is packed full of luxurious superyachts. This is certainly a place for the rich and famous to park up for a few nights!

The islands surrounding Hvar are equally as beautiful and well worth a visit – but don’t worry if a superyacht is slightly over budget; there are boat tour companies everywhere you turn, so you won’t struggle to find an amazing island tour for your group! A route we would recommend is taking a tour to the Blue Caves (an incredible illuminated cave), Vis, and the Pakleni Islands. These islands are awash with striking coves and hidden beaches with relaxing turquoise water to enjoy a cooling dip. Be careful – you’re not going to want to leave!

A view of some of the smaller boats in Hvar, Croatia for a luxury incentive

What to see and do:
  • The old fort – a leisurely uphill stroll to the top of the historic fort rewards you with the best views across the harbour and islands!
  • Hvar Cathedral
  • Hula Hula Beach – a relaxed beach bar is the perfect place to spend an afternoon soaking up the sun (and maybe a cocktail or two!)
  • Sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, jet skiing and any type of water sport you can imagine! Perfect activities for those seeking a little adrenaline fix.
  • Carpe Diem – for the party animals among the group, this club is on its own island and is a rite of passage for any worthy Hvar traveller!

View of Hvar's port from the fort during a luxury incentive trip

Perfect for: Groups who want to get out on the water and spend a day sailing around some beautiful islands where you can swim and explore some of the most beautiful caves the Adriatic has to offer! Also great for groups who like to have a drink or two and hit the clubs.

Dubrovnik

Last but not least on our whistle-stop tour of Dalmatia, is the beautiful fairytale town of Dubrovnik. Calling all Game of Thrones fans – the old town of Dubrovnik was used as a filming location for many episodes. It’s not hard to see why – as soon as you step inside the city gates you’ll feel like you’ve dropped into a medieval illustration! Similar to Split, Dubrovnik has enchanting narrow streets to get lost in, as well as a square with a fountain, and a picturesque port where you can book tours and boat trips or sample some delicious seafood at one of the waterfront restaurants.

What to see and do:
  • Head to the Buza Bar for sunset – this bar is set dramatically on the side of a cliff and will be one of the best sunsets you’ve ever seen!
  • Hit the Game of Thrones fan pages and find out where it was filmed! There are lots of organised tours and merchandise shops, but if you’re on a budget you could find out where the scenes were filmed and head there on your own steam!
  • Walk around the city walls – for a small charge you can walk around the entire city on the old walls. The walk takes around 2 hours and offers some breathtaking views of the city. Great at to experience as the sun goes down!
  • Visit the beautiful Banje Beach – think sensational cliff scenes with white sand and turquoise water – dreamy!

Perfect for: Game of Thrones fans, city walkers, any group who enjoys wandering around the shops in the morning then relaxing on gorgeous beaches in the afternoon.

Key Croatian facts:

Currency: Kuna (1 GBP = 8.11 HRK)

Typical Cuisine: Grilled fish, meat and vegetables… plus wine!!! Croatia is famous for its delicious wines. There are lots of wine tasting tours – you might even want to take some home with you!

Accessibility: Direct flights available from all major airports to Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Zagreb and Pula

Visit their Tourism Board website by clicking here.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the amazing places to visit in Croatia – or all the beaches and activities the Dalmatian country has to offer. We think it’s the perfect place to explore, eat, drink and get a great tan – and it’s extremely instagrammable! Whether it’s for a luxury group incentive trip, a fun trip for your employees or simply a minibreak away with friends or family, Croatia has it all. We can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!

If you need any help planning your next incentive trip, we can help! From venue sourcing to full trip management, we can take the pressure off so all you need to worry about is what you’re going to pack. And if this whistle-stop tour of Croatia whet your appetite, why not read some of our other incentives blogs – the English seaside or lively Berlin.

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:

Instagram

LinkedIn

Twitter

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

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!