Quick Rant: This sh** is not easy!

I run a website. An event promotion website. I am an events manager. Not a tech person. Hence my frustration.

Starting up any kind of business is hard; it has its challenges and bad days. But starting a business on a platform you have no experience in brings its own special brand of headache.

Every day I’m faced with problems that are so foreign to me I have to clutch my head in my hands and pray I don’t get another migraine! I want to say it’s worth it but to be honest I don’t know yet. It seems like it will be in the long run but who knows. For now, all I know is there’s so much more to this entrepreneur thing than anyone can ever prepare you for. A good idea is not enough; you need will-power, strength, determination and an ability to bounce back from setbacks (something I am working on).

I knew I would need to know the basics of running a website. I knew marketing was more than just scheduling a couple of tweets and hoping for the best. But who knew the true depth that is SEO Optimisation (well true Marketers of course!), who could have even prepared me for receiving warning emails from Google about something called an SSL Certificate?

I’m going to handle it, learn it and thrive of course because I truly want and believe in this, but what I’m trying to say is; being an entrepreneur is not easy. If you chose to embark on this journey please do it with your eyes wide open and preferably a strong support system; because it’s really easy to break!

~T

 

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New Year New Me

Over the past few days all I’ve seen is people berating others for wanting to make the New Year a new chance for them. Why is it so annoying for you if someone else wants to use the New Year, New Month, New Week as a catalyst for change? If it helps you to make necessary improvements to your life, don’t be afraid to say that this New Year will bring a New You! Do whatever it is you need to get your shit together!

So, in that vein, here are my vows to myself for this year in no particular order:

More visits with my grandparents

More exercise

More veg

More frequent blog posts

More risks

More books

More savings

More photos

More laughter

More water

I don’t believe in making resolutions but I do believe in making changes to my lifestyle when necessary and I was definitely due!

~ What are your vows for the year? ~

Palacio del Negralejo – Madrid

Last Month (June), I spent a couple of days in Madrid for work. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to explore very much but on our last night we went to Palacio del Negralejo for a networking dinner. Sadly, a lot of my pictures were deleted but here are a couple and check out Tripadvisor for more.

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Venue Forecourt
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Outdoor bar area

 

The venue was gorgeous, an excellent event and wedding venue. It was the epitome of Old Spanish elegance. Lovely scattered buildings, lots of greenery, a beautiful view and great décor. As it was a lovely evening they had us outside with a tapas buffet, Basque cuisine and barbecues. It was a great selection of food, all of which was average to good.

The ambience and entertainment heightened the experience for me. There was constant background music from the moment we arrived with people scattered on the roof tops playing guitars and gently singing.

After a couple of hours the stage lit up and we had flamingo dancers and various bands. It was a lovely evening and I would highly recommend this place for a romantic dinner, corporate event or wedding.

Madrid – NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding Review

I was invited along to a business trip in Madrid to check out a few hotels and we were booked into the NH Eurobuilding Hotel for 2 nights.

The hotel is roughly a half an hour journey from the airport and has good transport links. It is about a 10 minute car journey into the city centre and it is right next to Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

From the outside, the hotel looks ok but once you go in it’s very lovely; modern decor, lots of stunning chandeliers and overall it has a lovely clean feel to it.

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The rooms are nice, very big and decorated in all whites and chrome, which makes it seem even roomier. Large windows, but unfortunately not a great view of anything due to the location. The bed was very comfortable and the room comes equipped with full tea and coffee facilities and a stocked mini bar.

The bathroom was nice too, spacious with a huge shower. The wardrobe is within the bathroom, which leaves more space in the bedroom which I thought was a nice touch.

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Bathroom
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Wardrobe within the 1st section of the bathroom
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Shower with heated towel rail
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Desk
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Bedroom with under bed lighting

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As I was there on business I was able to check out the conference facilities which were in keeping with the rest of the hotel; neutral decor, very airy with lots of windows. The only let down was the low ceilings, but I think that’s quite typical of Madrid.

The biggest let down for me was the service. The hotel is large, sleeping 412 maximum, but they didn’t seem prepared to deal with it. We were a large group; around 200 of us, plus the hotel’s other guests meant that it was almost full (if not completely sold out). On my first night, I spent an hour waiting for an iron, which made me late to an appointment. I met up with some colleagues later who told me they had the exact same issue, among others. On my last night, before departing for the airport, we waited 20 minutes to be served a glass of champagne in a nearly empty bar. It was very disappointing.

In addition, either they don’t have enough lifts or the ones they do have are incredibly slow because on average it took me 10 minutes to catch a lift and another 10 to actually get to the lobby from the 13th floor; this was very very frustrating.

~ Where are your favourite places to stay in Madrid? ~

Dublin – Blooms Hotel Review

My cousins and I decided to take a quick trip to Dublin for a concert (Chris Brown – One Hell of a Nite Tour) in June. The two days were filled with shopping and the concert so unfortunately, we didn’t get to do any sightseeing. I’ll definitely be going back to check out the sights and bars so watch this space!

In the meantime here is a review of the hotel we stayed in and would highly recommend!

Hotel: Blooms Hotel

Website: http://www.blooms.ie/

The location of this hotel is perfect; you can’t beat it. It is in Temple Bar right in the thick of things surrounded by bars, restaurants and shopping centres. It was also only a 15-minute walk to the 3Arena!

The front desk staff were really helpful and the check in process was quick and easy.

There were 3 of us and they gave us a 4 person room. Really big, clean room with a balcony. The room had tea and coffee facilities, two hairdryers, two TVs and large mirrors, perfect for when we were getting ready to go out! You have to request an iron upon check in and there isn’t a good surface to iron on but we made do.

Even though we were in a central location we had a great sleep; it wasn’t very noisy at all. The thing that woke us up was the noise of the cleaners in the corridor and nearby room who were annoyingly loud!

The room has a pub just off the lobby and they give you vouchers for a free drink. The bartender was very nice and helpful; explaining different beers and helping with our decisions.

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Blooms Hotel – Exterior

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Blooms Hotel – Exterior
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Blooms Hotel – Reception
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Blooms Hotel – Lobby
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Blooms Hotel – Lobby/Pub
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Blooms Hotel – 4 person bedroom
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Blooms Hotel – 4 person bedroom
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Blooms Hotel – Bathroom
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Blooms Hotel – Private Balcony
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View from Ha’penny Bridge

 

~ Where are your favourite places to stay in Dublin? ~

Amsterdam

There’s just something about Amsterdam.

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After countless (and I mean countless) trips to Amsterdam I finally decided to take a few snaps of my 2nd favourite place!

The architecture, the vibe. The art. The freedom. I mean taking an early afternoon stroll along the canal and casually seeing a man sitting on the floor sketching the view right next to sex workers in their windows. Open for business.

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Red Light District during the day

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And of course the marijuana (weed, ganja, grass, pot…whatever you want to call it, Amsterdam has it all – mostly -). Their rules are quite different to the UK’s so keep an eye out for the signs. In coffeeshops it is legal to smoke weed, but cigarettes are only allowed in designated areas. It is unusual to see weed and alcohol sold in the same place. You can consume both but often you would have to buy your weed somewhere else and go to a bar or pub to smoke it. There are a few places that do both http://www.hightimes.com/read/4-amsterdam-bars-you-can-drink-smoke-weed.

Coffeeshops are essentially bars but for smoking. There’s such a variety, from multi-storey ones with music and comfortable seating (like my favourite Prix d’Ami) to little nondescript ones such as Voyagers Hotel Coffeeshop opposite Central Station. Most Coffeeshops insist you buy from them (food and drinks) as you don’t have to buy weed from them so they have to make their money somehow!

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Dam Square

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Main High Road

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The last time I went to Amsterdam we found a festival (Encore Festival), which was one of the best times I’ve ever had! So we did a bit of research and found out that they have a weekly club night on a Saturday at Melkweg, a 15-minute drive from Dam Square. Highly recommended if you like hip hop, rnb, bashment etc.

 

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Excuse the poor quality..it was raining!

 

Unfortunately, it’s getting more and more expensive to go to Dam but there are still a few hotel gems if you can find them and of course, AirBnB has many options. One of my favourite places to stay when I go is the STAR Houseboat http://www.myhouseboatamsterdam.com/, great location, friendly hosts and clean, roomy boat.

~ Where are your favourite places to stay in Dam? ~

My Exhibition News Piece

A few weeks ago I was approached by the Editor of leading event industry magazine Exhibition News to write an opinion piece. The brief was: “700 words on anything you face within your job. Oh and it’s needed within the next 5 hours”

The race was on and although it was a lot of pressure, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me of an event in a way; a short time frame to get it perfect. Once it’s published, that’s it, eyes are on it; especially as this was to be the print issue that was handed out at International Confex 2016.

The end result: http://exhibitionnews.co.uk/opinions/expert-opinions/tanya-dennis-stand-up-and-be-accountable

For me this was a bit more than just writing a piece as a favour for the Editor of a popular magazine. This was also a test for me. I typically HATE being centre of attention or even just off-centre! My comfort zone lies behind the scenes, quietly making magic (events). But this was my chance to put my name out into the world a little more. It’s becoming more and more important for event professionals to become known. To network, to build contacts, to have a social presence. This is a challenge for me, as I know it’s a challenge for others. I picked this career because I enjoy being involved in something bigger than myself; creating memorable experiences for people. However I also chose it because I like to be an integral cog in a mostly silent team. I like to be invisible, stealthy. An omniscient magic maker.

But times are changing, and we must change with it. I embrace the change, although it scares me from time to time.

~ Let’s Connect – What Are Your Twitter Handles? ~

 

Before I Die

On a random afternoon in London I came across a chalkboard wall in Borough titled Before I die…

The idea was for people to take a piece of chalk and write a few words declaring one thing they wish to achieve before they die.

There was everything on there, both tangible and abstract such as ‘happiness’ and ‘own my own home’

Its difficult to pick just one top thing you would like to achieve in your lifetime but I would like to pick one milestone; something monumental to me, to achieve this year, and see where that takes me.

So, my goal for this year is to save enough for a deposit on a house. Even if that’s not what I use it for; I’m still undecided but I want the option.

It will take a lot of sacrifice, and that’s part of the challenge. My self discipline needs work so this will be my way of exercising that. Through denying my immediate gratification (shopping) I hope to strengthen the chances of achieving my long term goals.

~ What is one thing that you would like to achieve this year ? ~

 

Kuala Lumpur

Last year I spent 24 hours in KL, Malaysia on a venue finding mission. It was awesome to see Malaysia for the first time, even if it was just a quick trip!

The contrast to Singapore (where I was hosting an event when I was asked to make the quick trip over to KL) is astonishing. Where Singapore is clean, ordered and perfectly put together, KL is unapologetically messy (in the nicest possible way). I loved it and can’t wait to head back over there!

I flew Malaysian Airlines (on the anniversary of the MH370 missing plane saga…eek!) which was lovely and quick! I then took a cab into the city centre where I was staying (Doubletree by Hilton).

Most of my time was spent venue hunting but I managed to steal an hour or two to meet up with a colleague and have a look around! I went to see the Petronas Towers (the tallest twin towers in the world) as well as a few shopping malls and a lovely food market!

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Arriving into KL
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Petronas Towers
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Doubletree by Hilton pool
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Gridlock

The traffic on the way back was something special! After the trip to the airport I have a new found respect for the UK’s road rules!

 

TED2016 – Dream

My ‘thing’ for this year is doing more activities by myself; not waiting for other’s before I can see a movie, try a restaurant, go to an event. I have gone on solo cinema trips before, but that’s as far as it has gone.

So with that in mind, on Tuesday 16th Feb I went to the Ted Talks 2016 launch viewing at the Curzon in Bloomsbury. It was such a good event; I wish I could have been at the live showing in Vancouver!

10 year old Ishita Katyal opened the event after the introduction from Chris Anderson, Curator of Ted. “Instead of asking a child what they want to be when they’re older, we should ask what they want to be now” Katyal is a well-spoken, confident, intelligent young lady who spoke of her parents, dreams and achievements with such grace and humility it left me awe-inspired!

Next up was Astro Teller who oversees X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory. The moonshot factory is where dreams go to either come true or die a quick death. Teller spoke of how they have some of the greatest minds in the world working hard on trying to break their visions in order to come to a quick conclusion over whether the idea is feasible or not. He told us about a huge project they are working on now to get the 4.5 billion people still not connected to the Internet, online using balloons…yes balloons: Loon Project.

The highlight of the evening for me was the speech by Shonda Rhimes, where she spoke passionately about her love; work. “I work a lot. Too much — much too much. And I love it…” And why wouldn’t you when you work on such shows as Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy? But Rhimes spoke about how she lost her mojo at one point and deciding on a rule of saying yes to everything helped her to get it back. She spoke of playing with her kids and how much she dislikes playing; but for those 15 minutes, and it’s never really more than 15 minutes, she gets to switch off.

What I took from her presentation was that no matter what you choose to say yes to; playing with your kids, meditating, exercising, reading, whatever it is, it is important that you do it. Take 15 minutes out every day to just stop. Stop thinking, stop planning, stop worrying and dream!

To check out the other speakers on the night and during the launch week which is coming to a close tomorrow, see here.

“You don’t come out of the TED theatre back into the mundane world. The world just beyond the doors is super-charged with potential, significance, serendipity. In a way, it’s radically energizing.” Marcus Wohlsen from Wired.com

Even though I wasn’t directly in the TED theatre the atmosphere was electric, and I left feeling inspired; as I always knew I would be!

~ My dream is to work on the organising team of Ted Talks. What is your big dream ? ~