5 Alternative Venues for #Eventprofs Obsessed with La La Land

For those of you that haven’t heard of La La Land, how on earth have you missed it? It’s the Hollywood blockbuster that harps back to the golden age of musicals, pitching a perfect balance between old-school movie magic and modern-day LA life. It’s Mia and Seb’s story of unavoidable knock-backs and self-determination set in some of the quirkiest Hollywood venues. Director Damien Chazelle and his production team worked hard to make sure that the film had a truly unique aesthetic; the story, the colours, the characters, the score, the songs; it’s what can only be described as a little bit dreamy. Sigh! If like me, you left the cinema wanting to tap dance your way to the nearest jazz club, via a vintage cinema, whilst singing your heart out and twirling under the stars, then these North West venue alternatives may quench your Hollywood thirst a little.

While the North West of England does not always have the sunshine of Los Angeles, here’s how #eventprofs could bring a little La La Land sparkle to your next event with some unique venues.

1. Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles vs. Jodrell Bank Observatory, Macclesfield.

In the film, Seb and Mia pay homage to the Hollywood classic ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ with a trip to the Griffith Observatory, Los Angles. The North West of England’s version may not quite have the glamour of the LA venue, but if its stargazing you’re after, the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Macclesfield, Cheshire is the place to go.

Jodrell Bank is part of the Centre of Astrophysics at the University of Manchester and home to the Lovell Telescope, the world’s third-largest steerable radio telescope. This makes it a truly unique venue for your event.

There are two different spaces available to hire for private events, The Star Pavilion and the Jodrell Bank Café. Private Hire of spaces includes access to all exhibitions, grounds and gardens for delegates whilst on site and availability depends on the calendar of educational events that the Centre already has pre-planned.

To find out more about venue hire, go here: http://www.jodrellbank.net/visit/whats-here/venue-hire/

Follow Jodrell Bank Observatory on Twitter @jodrellbank


2. Warner Bros Studio Lot Coffee Shop, Burbank vs. ProperTea, Manchester

La La Land does nothing to dispel the myth that every coffee shop, restaurant and bar is staffed by a wannabe creative on the edge of their big break. While the coffee shop that Mia worked in on the Warner Brothers Studio Lot was in fact fictional, Manchester is brimming with creative outlets.

Taking a step away from the notoriously trendy Northern Quarter (which is overflowing with ‘creatives’), ProperTea at Manchester Cathedral is equally cool. Whether you just want to pop in for a Tea (We are talking about t’up North you know!) while you’re working on your latest screen play or if you would prefer to hire the whole venue, the space is bright, airy and welcoming.

Full venue hire can cater for up 50 delegates and catering services can be entirely flexible depending on each unique event.

To find out more about ProperTea, go here: http://properteadeveloper.com/venue-hire/

Follow ProperTea on Twitter @ProperTeaRooms


3. Warner Brothers Studios, Burbank vs. Granada Studios, Manchester

Mia’s dreams of being a modern-day Hollywood starlet are heightened as her day job sees her located on the well-known Warner Brothers Studio lot. Home to cinema classics like Casablanca and The Music Man, and more modern hits such as Friends and Ellen the studios have more than earned their iconic status.

While you may not be able to get access to a working studio set for your latest event, you can hire out Manchester’s equally iconic Old Granada Studios. Since the relocation of ITV to MediaCity, Salford, the Old Granada is now a new cultural destination in the City. The previous home to British TV classics like Coronation Street now has a whole host of spaces available to hire out for a huge array of events. It’s already played host to food and drink markets, indoor music festivals and club nights.

To find out more about Old Granada Studios, go here: http://oldgranadastudios.com/

Follow Old Granada Studios on Twitter @OldGranadaMCR


4. The Lighthouse Café, Hermosa Beach vs. Matt & Phreds, NQ, Manchester.

The Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach is a long-standing jazz venue, and it is where Seb takes Mia on their first date, in an attempt to convert her hate for jazz. If you crave the ‘small neighbourhood joint’ vibe after seeing La La Land, then Matt & Phreds in Manchester’s effortlessly cool Northern Quarter should be high on your list.

It is most notably known for showcasing some of the best musicians in both local and international jazz, with it more recently spreading its wings into different genres. You can now expect to see an eclectic mixture of Jazz, Swing, Folk, Gypsy, Electro, Salsa and Ska on the ‘What’s On’ calendar.

They recommend that booking is essential at weekends to guarantee a table.

To find out more, please go here: http://www.mattandphreds.com/content/bookings

Follow Matt & Phreds on Twitter here @MattandPhreds


5. Rialto Theatre, South Pasadena vs. Hebden Bridge Picture House, Hedben Bridge

The Rialto Theatre scene is another reference to classic Hollywood; the old-school movie theatre, the old-school screening of Rebel Without a Cause, the old-school tradition of ‘dressing up’ for a first date. Sadly, the Rialto Theatre, which was built in 1925 and is on the US National Register of Historic Places, closed in 2007, and now only opens for special occasions. Independent film and cinemas themselves are undergoing somewhat of a resurgence in the UK, and a perfect example of this is the Hedben Bridge Picture House.

This independent cinema with daily screenings is undergoing continued restoration to take it back to its prime. The picture house can seat up 510 delegates across both the stalls and balcony, and can play host to live events, private screenings or conferences on private hire.

To find out more details on venue hire, click here: http://www.hebdenbridgepicturehouse.co.uk/venue-hire/

Follow Hebden Bridge Picture House on Twitter @hbpicturehouse


(Please note all images are stills from the film La La Land or have been taken direct from the venue websites. Events Northern have not used any of the venues listed in a professional capacity and therefore cannot comment on the products and services provided by them.)

Event Trends for 2017 [Panel Discussion]

EventMB – the number one blog for event professionals – recently launched their latest free report: 10 Event Trends for 2017.

Covering event technology, meeting design, venues & destinations and marketing & social media it is essential and recommended reading for everyone that works in the event industry. Written by Julius Solaris, Ruud Janssen, Padraic Gilligan and Nick Borelli it is full of inspiration and examples to inspire you.

At ibtm world in Barcelona I moderated an hour-long panel discussion with Julius, Nick and Padraic, which is definitely worth a watch to learn from these event legends. Click here to watch the recording.

Download the full Trends Report for free via this link: http://eventmb.com/10Et2017

Here are some pictures from the panel (with thanks to ibtm for sharing). As you can see it was standing room only, with nearly 200 people coming along for the session. Thank you to everyone that took the time to come along!


Blog On MSI September 2016

Freshly back from #BlogonMSI, a blogging conference in Manchester, here are my event highlights in terms of conversation, brands and learning.

This was my third Blog On event, and the biggest attendance by far, selling out in just three weeks. It is always a real luxury to spend a whole day dedicated to talking to fantastic bloggers and discussing a whole variety of blog-related topics and I really savour every minute!


Blogger Highlights

As always I chatted to lots of lovely blogging folk throughout the day – too many to list. Some stand out event and business related conversations came from:

Vicky Flip Flop –  it was great to hear how well the UK festival scene compares to the rest of the world, top festivals and cashless wristbands/payments.

Digital Witch North – good to get an insight into the BBC and talk about event planning (my favourite subject!) and blogging networks.



Some big brands such as Jet2, Matalan and Carnival Cruise lines were present.

I also got to meet the Digital Kids Show creators, an exhibition which takes place at Event City, Manchester on 29th and 30th October. This show takes place alongside the Muslim Lifestyle Expo, which Events Northern are organizing for the 2nd year (first event in Manchester).


Top Tips and Learning

Some quick learning points I got from the day are:

Don’t lose your blog focus
Re-evaluate constantly and make sure you stay true to your aims and strengths.

Set more goals
Set weekly, monthly and quarterly goals.

Micro blogging
Instagram micro blogging is an interesting strategy, discussed by two bloggers who are huge on Instagram.

Think yourself happy
Thinking is a habit. Don’t wish your life away. Be brilliant. Be positive. Be grateful.

Photo editing
Photoshop elements is a good investment (around £60).

Blue is the colour
Blue photos perform better apparently! 24% more likes. Green and red are the worst colours for engagement.

Look into mobile phone camera lenses
I didn’t even know these existed!


Thanks to Laura Seaton for organising another great event. Looking forward to next year!


Kendal Calling Festival 2016 Review

As a dedicated #eventprof that is always looking to better herself, learn from others and up my industry game, I only thought it was right and proper that I attend one of the North West’s most popular music festivals to fully immerse myself in the outdoor events experience. Kendal Calling (KC) has been up and running since 2006, and has grown so much, it’s not even officially in Kendal any more! With the line-up, and more importantly the weather forecast, looking better than ever, I thought I’d go down again for my third weekend in the fields. (Purely for research purposes, obviously!)

As a previous winner of the UK Festival Award for Best Small Festival in 2010 and then UK Festival Award for Best Medium Festival in 2013, when I heard the numbers had increased again since my last visit, I will admit I was slightly concerned that KC might have been a victim of its own success.

But I should have known better!

Kendal has always had independency, originality and home grown charm at its core. It’s what makes it special, and it knows it! Despite the fact that this year you were camping with 22,999 other people, there is a sense that everyone on site is a ‘local’ and to be perfectly honest, just bloomin’ lovely! As I said, this was my third trip to the fields and every time I’ve gone, other festival go-ers have been a treat. Irrelevant as to whether it’s the people we’ve camped next to, the guy stood next to you at the bar or the lady and her children you use as middle-marker for finding your way back to your group, everyone on site seems to keep an eye on each other and is just there to have a really great time.

Kendal Calling 2

The older I’m getting (mid to late twenties now, cringe!) the more weight I put behind the importance of festival facilities. Pleasant toilets, a wide range of food options and reasonable priced drinks are all an absolute must! And KC ticks all the boxes here.

Its toilet facilities are award winning (Best Festival Toilets, UK Festival Awards, 2015) and seem to be getting cleaner every year. I mean, they aren’t going to rival your bathroom at home but restocked toilet paper, plentiful hand sanitiser and air freshener in abundance across the weekend was a winner.

Food vendors were vast and catered to all tastes and diets. The Hip Hop Chip Shop, PieMinster, and Texas Smoker all based within the arena proved popular with my group. However I’m not sure anything could get higher praise than a couple of vendors based in the Village Green camp area. Toastie Heaven has been a morning lifesaver in the past, and the marvellous wood fired, handmade pizzas from Pizza Peddlers were so good that my friends are thinking about booking them for their wedding reception! Can you get higher praise than that?!

Kendal’s independent roots have also benefitted the bar situation at the festival. The opportunity to fully sell out to a huge name sponsor is, I’m sure tempting, and no doubt the offers are plentiful. However, KC’s refusal to do this means there is a decent selection of drinks available on site at all the normal bars, alongside real ale tents offering local brews and ciders, and a pleasant surprise this year was the added addition of a gin emporium. Prices aren’t cheap but also aren’t half as extortionate as they could be, so although you don’t feel like you’re getting a bargain when it’s your turn to get a round in, you don’t feel overly ripped off either.

Kendal Calling 3

Another part of KC’s un-ignorable charm is its eclectic line ups that seem to get better and better every year. There is always something for everyone; a fantastically quirky mix of new and old music, bands, artists, genres, relatively unknowns to the big hitters that end the nights!

Some bands have become part and parcel of the Kendal Calling experience, and for me, it wouldn’t be the same without them. Riot Jazz, who have proved so popular in the past, they now curate their own stage, and the local delicacy that is the Lancashire Hotpots, are both KC regulars now and always get the crowds going.

Another artist that absolutely wowed the crowds at this year’s event was 90’s Garage superstar, Craig David. His much talked about TS5 set was scheduled for the Glow Tent on Saturday evening and under the canvas it was packed to the rafters! The full hour set saw live performances of all his 90’s classics we know and love, combined with fresh remixes of more recent club tunes. I’ll be honest, normally I’m a dedicated indie kid that listens to bands that play guitars, but curiosity got the better of me. And I’m so glad it did, what a set! The crowd went wild for a full hour and I think if they wanted him back next year, Craig could more than do justice to a main stage slot.

Kendal Calling 4

The smaller stages and tents throughout the site aren’t overlooked at the expense of the bigger names either. It’s clear that thought and planning have gone in to all running orders. Soapbox has top headline comedy acts, which this year included Jason Manford, the Woodlands Stage is usually a showcase for local NW bands that all seem to have a loyal following and new for 2016 was The Lost Disco and Carvetti stage hidden at the back of the site, in amongst light sculptures, sound installations and interactive art that brought the woodlands to life for late night revellers. In a post-Craig David-search for more music so the dancing didn’t have to end, we ended up in front of the TwoGood DJ’s on the Carvetti stage, and they were absolutely smashing out the tunes. Rest assured, the dancing continued.

Kendal Calling 5

This year’s headline acts on the main stage were also a weird and wonderful mixture of crowd pleasers, with Rudimental, Madness and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds all on the bill. I saw all three, and all three were ACE! Rudimental for the huge party tunes to get you ramped up for the weekend, Madness for the pure nostalgia and silliness, and Noel Gallagher’s anthemic hits (Both HF Birds material and Oasis hits!) were exactly what you wanted to hear to round off your weekend. I’m not sure anything can beat the feeling of standing in the sunset, in the glorious Lake District, with a drink in hand, absolutely belting out Champagne Supernova with your friends. Wonderful!!

#KC17 #seeyouinthefields


Behind the Scenes of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony

As the Olympics in Rio are about to get underway it is hard to believe that it is four whole years since London hosted the Games in 2012, which kicked off with an epic Opening Ceremony.

Recently I watched a fantastic documentary “One Night in 2012 – An Imagine Special” which delved behind the scenes in the lead up to the opening event. It is well worth a watch and was touching, awe-inspiring and amusing in equal measure. It reminded me of what a fantastic spectacle to Opening Ceremony was, with lots of extra insight into the making of it.

As an event planner I have great appreciation of the enormity of what was achieved by Danny Boyle and his team, particularly after watching this programme. Here are the things that really stood out for me.

Events Can Inspire

Expectations of what to expect from the Opening Ceremony were rock bottom. There was no optimism, the media was full of negative stories. The Games came at a time of austerity, the UK was deep in recession, times were hard. People were ready to write off the Games as a disaster. Instead the ceremony won over the 1 billion viewers and truly presented “a love story to the UK” bringing the vision of Danny Boyle to life. The Olympic Games was uplifting and inspiring for the UK. It made us proud of our small but mighty nation.

The most touching and amazing story came from one of the volunteers who explained that her husband had a brain tumour and had been given a limited time to live. He was so excited about his wife being chosen as one of the performers and desperate to see the ceremony through. Unbelievably for the duration of the rehearsals, the performance and a short time afterwards the tumour completely disappeared. A true miracle.

Think Creatively to Meet Your Event Budget

The Opening Ceremony may have cost £27 million but even this event had its financial limits. There were numerous drummers in the ceremony but they couldn’t afford to buy drums for them. Instead they played dustbins!

Don’t Imitate, Innovate

The London Opening Ceremony came after Beijing, which had been described as “unfollowable”. Instead of trying to follow the pageantry Danny wanted to create something completely original and unique and push the boundaries in different ways.

Look at Things from a Different Angle

To get the footage and angles of the spectacular some of the volunteers wore cameras, otherwise the shots the creative team wanted would not have been possible through only static, flying or hung cameras. The creative team also kept control of all of the cameras and editing themselves, instead of giving control to the BBC as requested.

In terms of effects and visual trickery it is also important to think differently. For instance the towers for the industrial revolution scene were inflatables, which gave the same effect but enabled the quick turnaround required.

Volunteers are Legendary

Of the 10k performers in the ceremony 9k were volunteers, giving up hours of their time to rehearse. Rehearsals took place in all weathers in an open air car park. The commitment shown by every one of them, as well as the secrecy about the show was amazing. Of course most events don’t have the same allure as the Olympic Games but volunteers often play an invaluable role and should always be appreciated for their contribution.

It’s All in the Detail

Danny Boyle and his team had fantastic attention to detail, which is vital for any event but particularly one of this magnitude. 64k pieces of clothing alone were needed for the extravaganza!

Don’t Compromise

Danny was under strong political pressure to cut out one of the scenes from the show. This would have meant volunteers that had given up months to rehearse would have been cut out entirely. Danny was not willing to compromise his vision or disappoint those that had worked so hard in preparation so he stood firm and the NHS scene remained.

Things Go Wrong

The documentary shows a pyrotechnic firing late, delaying the switch to another camera and scene, which meant that the suffragettes were missed and not shown on television. Things will and do go wrong in live events. The important thing is to keep a clear head under the pressure and get back on track. And often people won’t even notice, or won’t care! And I was glad it wasn’t me doing that highly pressured job. Give me event management over TV production any day!


The programme is available on BBC iplayer for a short while longer and really worth a watch.

I can’t wait to see what the Rio Opening Ceremony has in store! How will it follow and compare to London 2012?

Event Recap – PENNA 2015

Who: Patient Experience Network
What: The Patient Experience Network National Awards 2015 (PENNA)
Where: The Repertory Theatre, Birmingham (@BirminghamRep)
When: Wednesday 2nd March 2016
Why: To celebrate the delivery of outstanding patient experience by those involved in the health and social care industry.

Joan Saddler Keynote

The Event:
The Patient Experience Network National Awards is an opportunity for anyone working on innovative projects or offering original services that deliver fantastic patient experience, to share and celebrate their work. There are 14 main categories, covering all aspects of patient experience from ‘Access to Information’ to ‘Turning it Around When Things Go Wrong.’

This year’s event saw us take over the management and operation of the entire entry submission process, as well as event management of the event. Building upon the awards growing success and popularity, we saw the highest number of original entry submissions and over 65 different projects shortlisted as finalists.

We provided full registration management and check in services on the day of the event, ensuring all delegates were greeted and welcomed by a member of our team, before being signed in and receiving all the relevant information and brochure.


For the first time, we even had a brand new member of the team on site to help out on registration and ensure everything was running smoothly!

Reg Help

On the day of the awards, PENNA takes over The Rep’s entrance and mezzanine level, with each shortlisted finalist presenting their project on display boards, creating a busy and vibrant exhibitor marketplace for guests to network and enjoy.

The day is split into two halves, with the first batch of category winners being announced in the morning, and the second batch in the afternoon. Following these announcements, each winner is then given a 15 minute opportunity to present their winning project and share their ideas with their peers. The audience is encouraged to split into two streams, and go and choose to watch the winner’s presentations that are most relevant to their line of work.


We also heard key note speeches from Joan Saddler, Associate Director of Patients and Communities, NHS Confederation, and last year’s PENNA Overall Winner, Jimmy Endicott (@jimmyendicott), who spoke passionately about how his success at last year’s awards gave him and his team the platform that they needed to continue their project, secure further funding and expand his service, ChatHealth (@ChatHealthNHS), out to a wider, nationwide audience.

Jimmy and Ruth

PENNA 2015 was absolutely chock-a- block full of fascinating content and dedicated staff, volunteers and practioners. The day was full of good humour, music and quirky original touches that made it special for all those involved. Our client wanted to ensure that the day was wholly focused on the good work of those involved, and that everyone was made to feel honoured and recognised for the work they do. For example, on arrival, all delegates received a branded pin badge along with their conference badge and detailed event brochure, to take away with them at the end of the day. We also had wristbands printed up to add another element of uniqueness to the day.

PENNA Wristbands

This year we also added in additional ‘fun’ award categories at the end of the day for ‘Best Tweeter’, ‘Best Networker’ and similar, who received a branded rosette that they all wore with pride.

It only seemed right and proper that at the end of this day of celebration and success, we invited all delegates to a closing drinks reception. This gave all attendees a final chance to network, swap stories and connect with other like-minded professionals before they headed back to their teams with certificates and awards safely in hand!

Drinks Reception

After some AV technical issues at The Rep in 2015, we were in two minds about whether or not to make a repeat booking for 2016. However, after a thorough de-brief following the initial event discussing all the problems and issues, and then a further in-depth site visit with the venue team just after Christmas, we felt we had enough reassurance to go ahead for a second year. The venue had noted the issues and problems from 2015, and used these as a springboard to make some major changes to their team, venue and way of operating, and I can honestly say we saw a huge improvement. Every single person working on our event, from AV Technicians, to Venue Event Managers, to Ushers, could not have been more helpful during set up the evening prior and on the day.


We used The Studio and The Suites for PENNA this year and the spaces worked brilliantly but there is also the larger, main theatre space available to book so the venue offers plenty of room for us to continue to grow.

The Suites


We were joined at PENNA by two trusted suppliers that are often key members of our extended team. Event photography was provided by the marvellous Andy Whitehead (@johnnysnapshot) who made sure every winner was captured so they can remember their winning moment!

To see all of the official photos from the event, please go the PEN Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/patientexperiencenetwork

Roland Turner from RTP Films (@RTProductions1) was also on hand with his colleague Paul to make sure we didn’t miss a single moment of the day, with all award presentations, speeches and key moments throughout the day being captured. Here is a short highlight video of the day:

Watch all the winning presentations and key note speeches here: http://patientexperiencenetwork.org/penna15presentations

Find out more:
Website: http://patientexperiencenetwork.org/
Twitter: @PEN_News

2017 Event:
The PENNA 2016 Awards Event will be held on Tuesday 21st March 2017

Entries for 2016 are now open!

To enter the Awards please use the following link: www.regonline.co.uk/PENNA2016Registration


Strong Woman – Karren Brady [Book Review]

I have always had a lot of respect for business woman Karren Brady CBE, and this has only increased now I have read her autobiography “Strong Woman – The Truth About Getting To The Top“.

For anyone who isn’t familiar, Karren Brady is now CEO of West Ham United Football Club. Her career in football started in 1993 when, at the age of 23. she became the MD of Birmingham City Football Club and turned the club around. Alongside Nick Hewer, she is also adviser to Lord Sugar on The Apprentice.

I enjoyed reading more about her life and career and her no nonsense, practical approach and outlook, even when faced with a life threatening condition.

I found myself nodding and smiling throughout the book but there were 6 thoughts which resonated with me particularly strongly, which I have quoted below.

The Qualities of Entrepreneurs

“Becoming an entrepreneur is nothing to do with your education. It’s about your spirit. It’s about your desire. A burning spark inside you that’s your pride. If you have an idea, and the energy to see it into a business, you’re an entrepreneur.”

Karren Brady makes this point to protest about the expectation and requirement that you need a degree to get ahead, and that you must go to the right university to secure a job at some of the most prestigious companies. Having not gone to university she passionately makes the point that this route isn’t for everyone and that go-getters like her benefit more from starting work and climbing the ladder, rather than losing 3 years or more studying. Particularly with the high fees of studying nowadays these are great words of encouragement for anyone who doesn’t feel that attending lectures is for them.

This resonated with me for a different reason though. At a business event many years ago there was a heated discussion when someone commented that only those from privileged backgrounds can set up in business. I wholeheartedly disagreed with this statement, believing that the important thing is the vision and determination of the individual. Michelle Mone and Alan Sugar are testament to this. It is your spirit and spark that makes the difference and determines whether you go for it or not.

The Importance of Small Business

“I think it is really important to create respect for business and entrepreneurs among a new generation. It is crucial that we create an environment in which budding businesspeople can thrive. I still don’t think enough is being done to champion small and medium-sized businesses, or to really argue on their behalf and articulate what it is that they need to be successful.”

Children and young people need to realize that setting up a business is an option for them. They need to hear inspiring stories from people like Karren Brady to expand their horizons. Karren Brady was 23 when she became Managing Director of a Football Club. I was 23 when I set up my small business. How many other 23 year olds realize that it could be an option for them too?

In my opinion the Government do not understand small business. Furthermore, they particularly do not understand small businesses located outside of London! It is refreshing to hear someone cherishing the important contribution SMEs make to the UK economy and championing us. Thank you!

The Recipe for Success

“With energy, determination and hard work you can achieve. You can build a career, a life, that both challenges and rewards you. That exhilarates and fulfils you… Have confidence. Walk tall. Be direct… And at the root of it all, have faith – in yourself.”

These are wise words for anyone, with regards to their career or starting out in business. I don’t like dwelling on whether you are male or female. In my opinion you can do the job. Or you can’t. End of story. At the same time though, we are not the same and for whatever reason (or a whole host of reasons!) it is often women that have more crises of confidence. Karren Brady is a great role model to EVERYONE.

The Importance of Hard Work

“Success is about the relentless pursuit of what you want… You need to accept that hard work is going to be a vital ingredient… This take self-discipline and energy, and you’ll not meet anyone successful who doesn’t have both.”

I don’t buy into the 4-hour work week mentality – the thinking that you can be amazingly successful without putting the hours in. It frustrates me that so many people (in particular public sector workers) think that it is easy to make money in the private sector (please try it yourself before commenting!) and that private business is bad. Karren makes the point that perhaps the banking crisis has fueled this mistrust of the private sector. Maybe it has, but this unhealthy opinion, sometimes bordering on hatred, of business needs to be addressed.

The reality is that to have any chance of succeeding in life or in business you need to work your socks off. If you are not a “grafter” you won’t last long on my team. Fact.

At the same time this book also made me think that maybe it is actually OK to be a workaholic?!

Think Like a Small Business

“The best businesses, whatever their size, have a small-business mentality. People who work there know what things are costing, they understand the difference small margins can make to the bottom line.”

It was fantastic to hear that no matter what the size of the company, you still need to look after the pennies and have a small business mindset in terms of cost savings. Karren has cost saving committees looking at where money can be saved and a purchase order system to approve any expenditure.

A Lesson to Event Managers

“It led to an understanding that not every detail can be controlled at all times – even though I’d like it to be!”

All OCD Event Managers, and business owners, will identify with this. Although we try to plan for every eventuality, sometimes things happen outside our control. It is important to accept this and to be confident that you can deal with the unexpected, when necessary. You cannot be everywhere at once but be assured that you can make the right decisions and take action, as demanded by the situation.


I devoured this book in a couple of nights and recommend it to anyone in business (or aspiring to be), regardless of whether you are male or female!

I would love to hear what really stands out for you after reading the book, in the comments below.

2016 Events Northern Recap

The clocks have gone back, the nights have started getting longer and the sun has started making the view from our office window that little bit more lovely…

Office Sunset

Can you believe it is Mid-April already?! Where does the time go? The old saying says ‘that time flies when you’re having fun’, and that has certainly been the case for us here at Events Northern. The first few months of 2016 have gone by in a flash, and since the well-deserved Christmas and New Year break we have not stopped!

We came back to the office fresh faced in January with an already busy diary for the start of 2016. Since then we have been working hard for a whole host of different clients on a variety of different events and projects. We love the diversity that each client specification brings and it is always great to work with different venues both here in the North West and up and down the country.

The beginning of March saw us go down to Central Birmingham to work with the great team at The Rep Theatre (@BirminghamRep) on the Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA).
PENNA - Set Up

Following on from the run of Children and Young People events we ran in late 2015 across the country, we once again worked with the Patient Experience Network (@PEN_News) on some more localised Focus Groups. These were run in conjunction with the West Midlands Strategic Clinical Network (@WMSCN), more specifically the Transition team. These focus groups were a chance to bring together both service users and professionals in a more intimate environment, to discuss the ‘Transition’ process, from child to adult services within the healthcare system.

The outcomes and feedback from these focus groups was then used to feed into a larger ‘Transition into Adulthood’ event, again commissioned by the West Midlands Strategic Clinical network in conjunction with PEN. This event took place at the unique venue of Spring Grove House situated in the middle of West Midlands Safari Park (@WestMidSafari), and was the perfect setting for us to get on the road again!

Lion and Zebra

The conference saw over 100 professionals and young people come together to share best practice, ideas, suggestions and feedback on how to make the process more streamlined and successful for patients.

Finally, bringing us nicely into the beginning of April was the business-to-business event hosted by another of our repeat clients, the Muslim Lifestyle Expo (@MLExpo) team. MLE Connect saw over 150 entrepreneurial business men and women come together at the Central London venue, Grand Connaught Rooms (@GrandConnaught) in Covent Garden. This conference was a fantastic opportunity for business professionals focusing on the Muslim Lifestyle Sectors.

GCR Outside

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll release a series of blog posts recapping in more detail some these great events we’ve worked on so far in 2016! And of course continue to work hard behind the scenes on even more innovative ideas and proposals from new and existing clients that will be keeping us busy for the rest of the year!

Please don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @eventsnorthern for the latest news, photos and Events Northern happenings! You can catch up with Becki Cross, our Managing Director on Twitter (@beckitrain) and Instagram (@beckicross) and check out my thoughts, musings and general comings and goings on Twitter (@helengardenst) and Instagram (@helengardenst)


Helen Brady, Event Manager, Events Northern Ltd

Helen Brady

Blogging Goals for 2016

As 2016 dawns I have been reflecting on my personal, business and blogging goals for the coming year, as is the tradition.

Inspired by this New Years Resolution post I wrote for EventMB and this post by Sir Richard Branson I decided not only to write down my blogging aims but also to share them publicly via my blog to ensure I have the best chance of achieving them and holding myself accountable! Here are my 10 goals for 2016….

Blogging Goals 2016

1. Write More

Objective number 1 is to write more as this is what I love doing, but is also what often gets neglected when business and life in general gets busy.  I am a contributor to EventMB and pledge to write at least 2 creative posts per month, in addition to the reviews, general posts and report content I create for the site.

This blog is my hobby and although it is written purely for my own enjoyment I also want to ensure I post more regularly here too – a minimum of 1 post every 2 weeks, perhaps building to a post a week by the end of the year. This blog was neglected in 2015 so 2016 is the year I take it more seriously!

2. Read More Blogs

I love reading blogs on varied topics including event planning, business, social media, marketing, photography, tech, blogging, tourism, etc. Twitter largely dictates the posts that come to my attention but this year I will pay closer attention and start monitoring the blogs I most enjoy through Feedly, also continuing to save favourite articles or posts to read later to Pocket (great app).

3. Improve My Photography Skills

Earlier this year I invested in a decent entry level DSLR camera – the Canon EOS 700d. I have enjoyed testing the different basic settings and taking lots of experimental pictures but I have no idea how to get the most out of the camera yet. I am looking forward to having some training and to taking more pictures which can be used on this blog. Eventually I would like to have a weekly photograph posted on the blog in a ‘silent’ post.

4. Focus on Social Media Platforms that Work

Events Northern Ltd have a good Twitter following but a very weak presence on Facebook. This doesn’t worry us at all as we are primarily focused on B2B events so Facebook isn’t the right platform for us. In essence our Facebook page is predominantly to keep friends and family updated with some of the things we are up to. We also decided not to invest too much time into Google+ in light of the rumours and indicators that it will soon cease to exist. LinkedIn is worthwhile to continue with as it is the business and professional contacts that we want to attract and keep informed. We feel Instagram and Pinterest are worth keeping an eye on and developing too.

5. Increase Followers

My aim is to increase posts and followers on Instagram (both for BeckiCross and EventsNorthern), Pinterest, our LinkedIn company page and my personal Twitter account (@beckitrain). One way I will be doing this is posting a different photograph every day on my Instagram personal account to document my year in pictures.

6. Attend More Events

I want to attend more events organised by other people, particularly conferences and seminars focused on events, blogging, social media, marketing and business. Through this blog I want to be able to report back my learning and document my thoughts and observations.

As a Blogger I have attended IMEX Frankfurt 2015 with a Press Pass and hope to be able to do so at other relevant events too. I am really interested in attending the ISES Accelerate conference on 13th May for example.

7. Blogging Challenge

During January I am taking part in a blogging challenge to Build a Better Business Blog which is based on the workbook written by Darren Rowse of Problogger and facilitated by UK small business owner Jan Kearney. Unlike other challenges it doesn’t require you to blog on a daily basis and can be done at your own pace and it looks at improving different areas of your blog. I urge you to join me and sign up and take part! Later in the year I may however consider a “Blog Every Day in….” style challenge too as I have noticed before that posting every day makes a huge difference in terms of traffic.

8. Invest in a New Laptop

Although my laptop isn’t even that old I am noticing an increasing amount of crashes and slow running speeds and the lure of a shiny brand new machine is very appealing! We are updating the business PCs this year so there is a good chance I may invest in a suitable new laptop too.

9. Blogging Reading List

Top of my blogging reading list is “Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less” by Joe Pulizzi. As I mentioned through the blogging challenge I am also working through “31 Days to Build a Better Business Blog” by Darren Rowse which is a workbook rather than a true book. I have lots of business and marketing books on my reading wish list too which I will share in another post, but these are the blogging specific books I will be reading soon.

10. Be More Current

One of the joys of this blog is that I have freedom to write about local or UK national issues and to comment swiftly on any news that catches my eye. This is one of my aims going forward. The UK Government doesn’t always seem to understand small businesses, and particularly SMEs based outside the capital in the North of England, so this is my chance to respond to plans and legislation when appropriate.

What are your personal, business and blogging goals for the year ahead? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

25 Eventprofs You Need to Follow on Instagram

Instagram is the most recent social media phenomenon. The photo sharing tool has 300 million monthly active users worldwide, with 14 million of those from the UK (as at July 2015). Now owned by Facebook, it’s visual nature has made it a huge hit, particularly with millennials.

In this post we explore 25 of the most exciting Instagram accounts all #eventprofs will want to follow. The list is a mix of event planners, movers and shakers, industry suppliers, caterers, publications and inspiration which I enjoy following. We would love to hear about your own favourite event related Instagram accounts and where we can follow you too in the comments section at the end of the post.


For opulent event design and great use of height this New Orleans based company specialise in weddings and corporate events and make it easy to understand how they have amassed nearly 50k instagram followers.


Yummy food and drink from iconic UK venues.


Movers and shakers in the world of events!


Captures the spirit of the Glastonbury Festival.


The account for George P Johnson (UK) – the worlds leading event and experience marketing agency.


Inspiring creative spaces.


Food lovers heaven from the UKs leading guide to restaurants and bars. Will make you feel hungry!


Editor of EventMB and international speaker. Follow Julius for updates from some of the top industry events worldwide.


These Australian wedding and event planners post scrumptious pictures of life’s beautiful moments which can’t help but make you smile.


This account gives firm proof of what a difference good lighting makes to your overall event effect.


Follow and be inspired by this event rental company.


Cool AV installations at worldwide events.


Beautiful venues and catering pictures.


Fantastic temporary structures. Have you ever seen a double decker marquee?


Event design and inspiration.


A glorious mish mash of pictures of venues, events and inspiration.


Event planning royalty!


Beautiful pictures from the best small UK Festival.


“Places, spaces and faces” behind the UK’s lively entertainment and hospitality businesses.


Irina Trofimovskaya shares picture of UK (mainly London) and European events and fam trips she has attended.


Be inspired by beautiful event catering!


Instagram account for the award winning British wedding blog.


Awesome prop hire for the event industry.


Fairly new to Instagram and still learning the ropes but I would love to have a follow!




Are you an #eventprof on Instagram? If so let us know how to follow you and who your favourite event related accounts are in the comments below!