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? ~

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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? ~

 

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 ? ~

Measuring ROI as an Event Organiser

It’s quite difficult for event organisers to establish a concrete Return on Investment (ROI) from an event as, apart from ticket sells, (which is a joint effort with marketing and sales), there are not very many logistical elements that are measurable for us. I always say that as long as no one died and nothing was accidentally set on fire then it was a success!

With the rapid increase in Digital Marketing awareness and use, comes a different future. One where people can and will tell you exactly how they felt about an event; what went wrong, what went right and what they would like to see next without having to wade through a survey or endure a post event call.

Never before have we had such unadulterated access to customer insight. I know I’m not the only event professional who will say that the highlight of an event is seeing the happy look on their visitors/delegate’s faces, but if you’re rushing around behind the scenes when do you get the chance to sit and take in everyone’s facial expression? So having this access is invaluable!

Therefore, encouraging social media use can help to not only drive sales, but to also set the tone of your post show evaluation meetings; social media isn’t just for the Marketing team! People may not bother telling you about their gripes and grievances at the event itself but more often than not they will take to Twitter or Facebook to voice their opinions. From there being no directional sign for the toilet to the Wi-Fi dropping out; these are things you won’t necessarily pick up on unless people actually take the time to tell you. And if you don’t know, how can you give your suppliers feedback/improve things for the next event.

That’s where hashtags come into play. One way to keep track of your event’s social media activity is through creating and monitoring a hashtag, which can be used on both Twitter and Instagram. Your typical twitter user may not consider that the event organizer will wade through all of the hashtag posts; but it is in your best interest to do so! Don’t just come up with random words and post it on twitter one time; really consider your hashtag and promote it in all of your marketing efforts. A couple of tips:

~ How do you measure your event’s success? ~

A Night of Sparkle

On Tuesday 9th February 2016, the 15 mentees from the Fast Forward 15 programme hosted an event to raise money for 3 amazing charities: New Life, The Clink and The Prince’s Trust.

What started off as a competition set by FF15 Founder, Fay Sharpe soon became a struggle to pull off! Due to work commitments and the myriad of Christmas parties taking over the suitable venues in London, the event was pushed back from its original date of December. We all soon realised that we would have to change strategy and being event managers we all know what it is to have a Plan B, and C and D…..

In January we decided to come together as one big team to lessen the pressure on everyone and to guarantee a much bigger event, resulting in more money to donate to the charities!

Countless conference calls and meetings later: A Night of Sparkle was born! We wanted to give everyone a chance to come along and let their hair down after work. We called on our event industry contacts and secured 13 amazing raffle prizes from Tea for Two at The Savoy to a £500 voucher from All About Flights, an incredible Ice Sculpture from Ice Box London and a ridiculously talented band from ContraBand: Brand New Groove, who kept the crowd dancing until the bitter end!

It was an amazing success! Keep an eye on our Twitter account for news of how much we raised!

It was an incredible experience working with 14 other talented event organisers; challenging at times…it always is when so many opinions come together but overall a brilliant project!

We’ll be sharing official pictures and videos soon, but for now check out a couple below 🙂

(As promised here is the link to the official event photos, see if you can find yourself! http://darrenbandoo.com/client-pages/fast-forward-15-a-night-of-sparkle/ and the official event video.)

This is not the last you’ve seen of us!

– The Collective

 

Applications are being accepted for the next intake of event professionals to join Fast Forward 15! I’m coming to the end of my time in this programme and it has all been so beneficial, I would highly recommend you check it out: http://www.fastforward15.co.uk/

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~ Are you in the events industry? What has been your most challenging event and why? ~

Black & White Themed Sleepover

Paris

If you happen to be in Paris and need to stay by the airport for whatever reason, make sure you check out the cute little village they have. In October I stayed at the Marriot Charles de Gaulle Airport hotel for a conference I was organising (Aero Engines Europe) and I absolutely loved it!

I make it no secret that I am not the biggest fan of Paris, which is purely down to the awful experience I had when I went in April 2014 to see Justin Timberlake in concert. After the hotel drama, terrible concert seats and twisting my ankle on the way to the airport, we decided that we hated the city of love. However, in hindsight Paris is not to blame for any of the things we went through during our trip so I brushed off my prejudice and opened my mind up for enjoying my trip this year.

The Marriot was lovely, with great staff and nice rooms but what really stole the show for me was the cute little Brasserie Le Village restaurant. The village is a small area near the airport with restaurants, shops, apartments and a park, which my colleagues and I decided to take a stroll through one evening after the conference. We found the Brasserie Le Village and fell in love immediately. It’s a pub-esque restaurant with tables and chairs crammed into every nook and cranny! In the summer they open out the front and you can dine overlooking the park!

I decided to try all new things for my meal so I tried the snails, duck with orange sauce and profiteroles, also known as:

 

Escargots façon Bourgogne

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Magrets de Canard à l’orange et ses pommes Grenaille

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Profiteroles au Chocolat ‘Maison

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The escargots were fabulous! I really didn’t know what to expect and as I absolutely hate insects I expected the worst (lol) but they were so good! Unfortunately the profiteroles weren’t to my taste as they were smothered in dark chocolate but I can see how they would be excellent.

It’s very easy to stick to what I know, especially when I travel with work as the hotels are usually International chains which offer Western meals. My new thing of 2016 will be to make sure I eat a traditional meal in each country I go to.

~ What is your favourite cuisine? ~

New Year’s Eve

What do you have planned for New Year’s Eve?

I always struggle with this day; do I go out and brave the cold to see the Mayor’s Fireworks at the London Eye (which is already fully booked), do I go to one of the many overpriced and underwhelming club nights in Central London or do I find a local house party? Every year that I have attempted to go out I have ended up missing the countdown due to some frustrating reason or another and then had to deal with the ever dreadful journey home! But even still I try, every year, to do something, because if I don’t I feel like I’m setting the tone for the year.

I’ve often wanted to throw a New Year’s Eve house party; however the idea of having to worry if everyone’s enjoying themselves, nothing has broken and drinks are still flowing when I want to enjoy my night does not appeal to me. But if this doesn’t put you off and you still want to throw your own kick ass party in 17 days time here are some themes to consider:

 Red Cup Party

Why not have an ‘American frat house party’ theme?! It’s simple, get some red cups, a whole load of alcohol, snacks and make sure the music is pumping all night long. The key to this theme is simplicity; no need for loads of decorations or forced party games; it’s all about a chilled vibe! If you really want to add some entertainment get a table, a ping pong ball and your red cups; beer pong. You can use beer or any kind of alcohol really; it’s guaranteed to get you in the party spirit!

red cup party 2

Tip: have spare ping pong balls on standby for when one rolls under the table; nobody wants that in their drink!

Black, Gold and White

If the simple theme isn’t for you why not go for elegance with a black, gold  and white party? Pinterest has endless decoration ideas such as these ridiculously cute (and useless) feathers dipped in gold glitter:

gold dipped feathers

Or this gold dipped balloon:

gold dipped balloons

Why not add a sparkle to some champagne bottles and flutes for the countdown moment?

sparkly bottles

Get all of your guests to wear something elegant, put on a nice spread of gold, black and white snacks such as these gold glitter dipped oreos and some black and gold cupcakes and you’re good to go!

Tip: Don’t overdo the black; you don’t want your guests to feel like they’re at a funeral. Make sure there’s lots of gold to compliment it and don’t feel shy about throwing some white in there too!

Balloons

balloons

 

I love balloons! I just think they are such an easy way to make a space look really fun and cute!

On the ceiling

On the floor

Stuck to the wall

With glitter

With confetti

With glow sticks

There is so much you can do with the simple balloon!

Tip: Buy more balloons than you anticipate needing for when some inevitably pop during set up

 

Throw it Back

Celebrate the new year by reminiscing on the old! You can have anything from old video games, movies and cheesy 80s music for this theme. Either select a decade or tell people to come from their childhood era; 80s babies will be decked out in off the shoulder tops, lace gloves and big hair, 90s babies can bring out the double denim, crop tops and neon windbreakers!

Don’t forget to pay homage with a Polaroid camera/photobooth and some themed snacks like these pac man cookies:

pacman

Or these neon cupcakes:

neon cupcakes

And some old skool games like twister, jenga and hopscotch!

hopscotch

Tip: Pre-write some paper fortune teller’s  with truth or dare questions!

 

Whatever you decide to do, however you decide to celebrate have fun! Laugh until your stomach hurts and your eyes tear up!

What will you be getting up to on December 31st?

Oxjam Brixton

Back in July I decided that enough was enough. It’s constantly in the back of my mind that I want to organise live music events and I have all of the means, ability and resources to do it, but for some reason I’ve been dragging my heels! So I contacted Oxjam who put me in touch with my local Oxjam team leader and we set up a meeting. Fast forward to October and we have been working hard organising this 6 venue music festival that will take place on Saturday 17th of October in Brixton.

My role has been venue coordinator. I was tasked with securing live music venues across Brixton (FOC as we had no budget at all) and making the arrangements for the day. It has been tough, especially as I have a full time event management job, which has me travelling to different countries at least once a Month. But I have loved every second of it; from working with a new team to negotiating hard with venues on freebies.

Over the weekend we met with some of the volunteers who will be helping us out on the day and it was incredible to see how many people are willing to give up their time to help us with this event and therefore helping Oxjam with their fundraising.

Saturday 17th October will see some of Brixton’s best local talent performing at 6 awesome venues! We will be taking over: The WindmillUpstairs at The Ritzy, long-standing music venue Club 414The White HorseMarkethouse and the newly opened, Blues Kitchen.

As can be expected, some venues were a lot easier to work with than others in Brixton and this project has opened my eyes to a lot of the politics that surround bars and clubs. There has been a lot of press lately about the gentrification of Brixton and what this means for local venues. After speaking to a couple of the venue owners and seeing various places close down in the past few months as well as hearing of more foreseeing closure, I wonder what will come of Brixton.

I’ve grown up in South London and seen the drastic change in appearance and attitude toward Brixton. It used to be a place one feared to go to or even go through and now it seems like the hottest destination. That is certainly not a bad thing but what of the venues and residents being pushed out by rising rent prices?

With long-standing clubs such as Fridge Bar closing their doors  and the looming closure of Club 414 I think we are in for a big change from the Brixton I once knew.

In the meantime lets enjoy all of the awesome music Brixton offers. Genres of music performed will cover everything from rock, indie, folk and blues, to house, dance and electronic music. Different to other Oxjam’s across the country, at Oxjam Brixton there will also be live comedy acts taking place on the day, one of which is the winner of the stand-up competition, Comedy Virgins at The Cavendish Arms – Jamie Oliphant.

The event is just £10 entrance, to be paid on the door or online at http://www.wegottickets.com/event/331599, with all proceeds going towards Oxfam’s work fighting global poverty.

More information on Oxjam can be found at:

Oxjam: www.oxfam.org.uk/oxjam

Oxjam Brixton: https://www.oxjambrixton.org  

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/oxjambrixton?fref=ts

Tickets can be bought here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/331599