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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!

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

 

Christmas in Copenhagen

Did you think Christmas was far behind us? Well, we have one last opportunity to reminisce! It’s no secret that no one does Christmas quite like the Scandinavians. Our marketing and events coordinator, Izzie, was lucky enough to experience a taste of Danish Christmas and the cosiness concept of ‘Hygge’. We caught up with her to get the lowdown on all things Copenhagen!

When I received an exciting invite from the Copenhagen Convention Bureau to fly to Copenhagen for an educational trip, I was practically jumping with excitement. I’d never been to the Danish capital before but had always wanted to visit as I had heard it’s a beautiful fairytale-like city with amazing food and traditions – especially at Christmas.

Nyhavn’s classic example of Copenhagen colour

On the 12th December, I made my way to a private lounge at Heathrow, where I met the other lovely #eventprofs I would be spending the next couple of days with. After a short and comfortable flight, we landed in Copenhagen and were whisked straight away to the jaw-dropping AC Hotel Bella Sky – which is an incredible event space to say the least. We were treated to a beautiful dinner at the rooftop restaurant Sukaiba – the food there is a Danish-Japanese fusion and just to die for! We then headed back to our hotel – the Marriott, which had gorgeous views of Copenhagen across the water.

After a restful night’s sleep, we enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast before embarking on our extremely well-organised, action-packed day. We were led to a heated boat for a peaceful canal tour, complete with fairy lights and hot chocolate. This included a visit to the iconic Little Mermaid, before eventually stopping at the breathtaking Copenhagen Opera House.This is a beautiful event space and we were treated to an exclusive private performance by Gert Henning Jensen.

Copenhagen Opera House

Next, we were led through the city to Hotel Phoenix, where we had a great time decorating Christmas cookies, before feasting on an exquisite Danish Christmas dinner at the Michelin Star restaurant The Standard. Thankfully, we then had an opportunity to walk off all the food with a charming walking tour through the city courtesy of Hadler DMC, stopping at Amalienborg (the Royal residence), the famous colourful street Nyhavn and other landmarks, before being taken to yet another exciting Christmas craft activity of paper heart making, alongside a warming cup of tea and cookies. A minibus awaited us to whisk us to our final christmas craft activity of the day – candle making at the event venue Oksnehallen which was not just educational; it provided me with a nice homemade christmas present for my mum!

Hotel Phoenix

After some chill time (and a nap) at the hotel, we all got dressed up and headed to the most beautiful Christmas display I have ever seen at Tivoli Gardens. We were served a wonderful traditional Danish dinner here (with lots of wine to boot!) and then left to our own devices to enjoy the park in all its dazzling glory – this took the form of drinking lots of mulled wine (or, as it’s locally known, Glogg) and going on all the rides. Tivoli Gardens should seriously be on everyone’s bucket list – it was absolutely stunning and an evening to remember.

Tivoli Gardens

The following day, we all woke up and walked off the (slightly) fuzzy heads with another walking tour, this time by Copenhagen This Way. This led us to our next site visit at the Skt Petri hotel, which taught us how to make Danish doughnuts, before we then visited one of the most unique hotels I have ever seen – a meat-themed hotel in the meat-packing district. This hotel was actually very beautifully designed and had some great meeting spaces. We were treated to yet more Danish sweet treats here before enjoying some lunch and beers at a local brewery. Our last site visit was the Park Inn Radisson, which has a handy airport location, and involved a mulled wine making activity and treasure hunt.

Park Inn Radisson

One of the things that struck me about this trip is how welcoming everyone was and how much they want to show you their traditions and love of making things cosy, or ‘hygge’. In fact, on arrival at the hotel on the first night, we were presented with our very own ‘Christmas Hygge Kit’, which we added to as we gathered things during the trip. I ended up flying home with everything from tea to a beautiful christmas tree decoration and, of course, lots of treats; thankfully we were given a 23kg baggage allowance! The flight home left me feeling like I wanted to move to Copenhagen – it is without a doubt one of my new favourite cities. It was a simply magical trip and I will most definitely be returning, be it for business or pleasure.

Hadler DMC Cruise

To find out more about destinations for incentives, click through to our incentives page or contact us.

posibilities saying

Infinity thinking – a world of possibilities

In this month’s blog our resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, guides us how to begin our own journey to a world of infinite possibilities.

What are you choosing to see? What are you choosing to hear? What are you choosing to commit to?

“The map is not the territory” has been one of my favourite subjects since I’ve started my new journey and it’s been a true eye-opening tool that can, if I let it, completely change the perspective of a situation, of a person, of a judgment and of life in general. This simple phrase means nothing more than it is the way we choose to interpret a certain set of information. The way is given by our map of the world… by the way our mind has been constructed, by our education, our teachers, our care givers, our friends, our enemies, by hurt and by joy.

Our maps are created little by little through our experiences and through our perception of our experiences. Whatever we experience becomes a meaning and by whatever meaning we choose to give it, becomes a piece of the world puzzle we construct in our minds. We interpret everything we experience through the pieces of the puzzle we have constructed and this puzzle determines how we think, act and react.

Possibility thinking

Do we ever doubt the accuracy of our maps? How could we? Most of us do not even know that we have our own unique map of the world!

To make it very simple this is how it works… an ACTION brings a REACTION. That reaction (thought, act, judgment, fear, doubt, anger, etc) is personal and unique to each of us and is dependent on our map of the world. This explains how a same action, can be seen in different ways by different people and when someone disagrees with what we see, as a reaction we may think that they are weird or unreasonable.

For most of us, our map of the world becomes the ONLY truth and we tend to protect it like it is the most important thing in the world… just as the Little Prince (by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) was protecting his rose. When conflicting opinions surround us, it can become a cause for extreme anxiety, anger and controlling behaviour.

The map of the world is what constructs our basic mind-set, where an action causes a reaction. Full stop.

What if I told you that by asking a simple question before you decide to give in to your reaction, you could change the whole perspective of what is happening to you?

What if by exploring “What else is possible?” you could shift to an infinite world of possibilities?

What if I told you that within our straight forward reaction are all of our limiting beliefs, fears, doubts, worries, anxieties and insecurities?

What if I told you that as soon as you can get your mind out of the picture, you can get to the energy of a situation and clear the limitations and barriers that keep you from expanding into a world infinite possibilities?

thomas edison possibilities quote

My journey into coaching has taught me to ask these questions:

  • What else is possible here?
  • How can I be more aware here?
  • How many more possibilities are there?
  • What else can I choose that I have not chosen yet?

When you ask yourself the first question, you choose something else than what your mind is suggesting you choose. When you try to look beyond what is, you can see a whole new world of what isn’t and what isn’t yet, can simply become a new perspective.

This is how you shift to infinity thinking. You move from a straight line into a world of beautiful, colourful curves.

Let’s take a very simple example. Action: someone upsets you. Reaction: you get really upset, sad and decide to stop talking to that person.

There. Straight line. One action brings one reaction.

healing is not linear

Let’s move towards these beautiful and colourful curves… Action: someone upsets you. Reaction: What else is possible here? Maybe he/she was hurt? Do you know that hurt people, hurt other people? What is my responsibility here? What else can I choose?

Have you dropped your judgments and your points of view yet?

The trees don’t say, “I’m not going to give you any oranges because you’re a jerk.” They say, “Okay, you’re a jerk. Here are some oranges. Maybe these will help you out.”

Gary Douglas, Access Consciousness (www.AccessConsciousness.com)

Become your own inspiration for a different reality. A new world is created one step at a time. One different decision at a time. You are the only person who can get over your own limitations and open up to a world where the word POSSIBLE becomes possible.

To end this blog, I would like to share with you of my favourite questions from Access Consciousness, that may, if you let it, open up space and allow you to continuously create something new:

What would you have to acknowledge about you, that you’ve never acknowledged about you that if you did, would give you the ability to commit to your own life and create infinite possibilities? Everything that is times a godzillion, will you destroy and uncreate it all?

With love and light,

Francesca

departures board

The roaming life of #eventprofs

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

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

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

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

  1. Plan your balance

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Plan your food

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

healthy lunch box

Prepare yourself a healthy lunchbox to keep your energy up

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

  1. Pack smart

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

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

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

  1. Making memories

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

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

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

  1. Sharing

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

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

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

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

With love and light,

Francesca xo

Stop whining, start smiling

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

Francesca Garola sat on steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. The 5 Minutes Rule

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

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

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

  1. What can we do to change the situation?

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

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

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

  1. Your voice can be heard

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

  1. Let go of the bitterness

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

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

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

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

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

How to introduce this within companies:

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

It is really SUPER SIMPLE!

With love and light,

Francesca xo

“Procrastinating?” “Me?!” “Never!”

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

What is procrastination?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overcome procrastination

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

  1. Back yourself into the space of uncertainty

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

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

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

  1. Set micro goals

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

  1. Hold yourself accountable

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

 

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

In light and love,

Francesca xo