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Royal Ascot & Beyond: Iconic, stylish and special all year round

SUMMER IS COMING! Head outdoors for your upcoming events TEAM BUILDING Top picks for motivating and incentivising your staff ACADEMIC VENUES The venues that are top of the class for conferences and more PLUS… Behind the scenes with PAs working with celebrities A new spotlight on the projects YOU are managing

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WELCOME... With a passion for fashion, I am delighted to bring you a front cover from the official 2019 Royal Ascot Style Guide – whilst traditionally known for the Royal Meeting, the world-renowned racecourse is also recognised for the style and elegance it attracts. As we officially move in to spring, I am sure you’ll agree that the backdrop to this issue is a very fitting nod to the season. Royal Ascot joins us, with many others in this edition, to showcase their opportunities, features and facilities for those looking ahead to the year’s all important annual office team building excursion. Head to page 23 for a rundown of some of the most exciting opportunities out there. While a day out with the team is highly important to motivate, keep morale high and reward hard work, we must take heed and focus on staff as individuals too. In the pages ahead, PA Life address issues relating to mental health. And, given that we are in Stress Awareness Month, we take a look at the importance of one’s self-care but also how you, our readers and the ones closest to the boss, can increase awareness and education in your company. Page 6 is where our core focus begins. Now then, back to the season – the traditional time in most of our calendars when the annual and very thorough ‘spring clean’ commences. And, one of the most ambitious

“We have introduced a new series in which we talk to our readers about the projects they are tackling as part of the day-to-day” ‘cleans’ of this year has to be a whole office move. We meet Nathalie Gregory from Liquidnet who is in the midst of relocating 105 staff members to a new home. This feature, on page 20, forms part of a new series for PA Life in which we speak to our readers about the projects they are tackling as part of the day-to-day. As I write my letter to you here, I look outside to see bright blue skies, trees in bud and flowers in bloom; the weather is on the turn and just maybe it is time to think about the summer. Therefore, from page 31, we have outdoor, as well as academic venues, for you to consider for your summer soirée – plus some very enticing PA Life Club events in the great outdoors. Members can look forward to a drinks reception and tour aboard HMS Belfast, in addition to a night on the decks with Thames Luxury Charter. Head to the PA Life Club zone from page 47 for more information. Finally, I want to draw on the fact that this issue is one adorned with celebrity. Not only did we have the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Monica Lien, PA to husband Pat Sharp at their beautiful home (with their gorgeous dog, Buster) from page 11, we also carried out a quick-fire Q&A with Helen Hodgson, EA to a very VIP – so VIP in fact that we can’t even mention their name! See if you can guess who they are on page 50. Here’s to celebrating spring and all it has to offer. Join us, it is going to be fun. Katy Phillips, Publisher



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Tackling mental health Safeguarding the mental health of your staff is as important as keeping them safe physically, says our resident columnist, Declan Halton-Woodward.


PA Profile Monica Lien, PA to Pat Sharp – also wife of the celebrity and broadcaster – talks about the peculiarities of working with a celebrity and a spouse. And of the advantages of working from home.


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Tackling stress Our Face The Facts section is dedicated to Stress Awareness Month, with observations, advice, caution and top tips for combating stress curated, by Amy Gallagher of Tula Wellness.


PA Projects: The office move We kick off a new regular feature highlighting the projects our readers are tackling. This issue Nathalie Gregory from Liquidnet discusses moving 100+ staff to a new office.


Team building From Ascot to escape rooms, motor racing to treasure hunts, PA Life rounds up some of the best activities to help motivate your staff and encourage better communication between teams.


Academic venues Once a more niche area of the venues landscape, universities and colleges are now extremely popular with event organisers. We look at some of the best in class.

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Outdoor spaces Summer really is just around the corner so it’s time to step outside and source venues appropriate for sunnier days – whether they’re outdoor spaces or venues which let the sunshine in. We take a look at some of the options available. Q&A: Thames Luxury Charters Keep your audience captive by hosting your meetings, awards and other events aboard a luxury boat. Thames Luxury Charters has been around since 1710 so they know a thing or two about boating!

EVEN MORE ON THE WEBSITE Check out all the latest news online via our social channels All the Club news and upcoming events, including nautical trips with both HMS Belfast and Thames Luxury Charters. Don’t miss out!

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Face the facts: Stress awareness & self care April is National Stress Awareness Month, with leading experts using the initiative to highlight the dangers of stress in the workplace. PA Life’s Face The Facts section is devoted to this important area, courtesy of Amy Gallagher of Tula Wellness

15.4 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2017/18 – Labour Force Survey (LFS)

There are many different styles of yoga on offer these days. One of the more passive and gentle styles is restorative yoga. A restorative practice encourages us to slow down and take the body into a state that allows for renewal and rejuvenation. We move away from being in a state of “fight or flight” and many practitioners report better quality of sleep. Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep as it’s commonly known, is a form of guided meditation. It promotes deep rest and relaxation that isn’t found in your average meditation practice. The stages of body scan and breath awareness help to calm the nervous system and move our bodies into our rest and restore response where our healing takes place. Sound healing as a concept has been used for thousands of years in some cultures, yet we are only just beginning to embrace the idea here in the Western world. The healing frequencies of therapeutic instruments, such as Tibetan singing bowls and gongs, are used to bring our bodies back into balance and are known to help relieve stress and bring about a deep sense of peace and calm.


of adults are experiencing stress regularly according to a survey by Forth with Life (2018). The most common cause of stress is money followed by work, health concerns, lack of sleep and household chores.


There were 595,000 workers suffering from workrelated stress, depression or anxiety (new or longstanding) in 2017/18 – Labour Force Survey (LFS)


Stress reduction is one of the most popular reasons why people try meditation. There are studies that show meditation has even more benefits: Better quality of sleep

Can decrease blood pressure

Helps to fight addictions

Promotes emotional health

Enhances self awareness

In 2017/18 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all workrelated ill health cases and 57% of all working days lost due to ill health (LFS) Women suffer from stress for three more days per month than men (Forth with Life 2018)

Numerous studies have shown that yoga can decrease the levels of cortisol produced in the body, the primary stress hormone. One particular study followed 24 women who described themselves as emotionally distressed. After a three-month yoga programme, the women had significanlty lower levels of cortisol and lower levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression. One of the most powerful tools we all possess to help us release toxins is our breath. Yet most of us are breathing ineffectively. Our bodies are designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not effectively ridding your body of its toxins i.e. other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness.


of millennial women are moving away from physical and financial goals to make self-care and mental health their priority. A survey by wellness tech company Shine revealed that women planned to improve their mental health by living an overall healthier lifestyle as well as saving money, getting organised, travelling more, reading more, spending more time with friends and family, and finding a new hobby.


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to turn British springtime into Balearic high summer. Accommodating up to 850 guests, 4 self-service restaurants and 2 bars, this is the perfect venue for your next summer soirée.

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Does your employer support staff living with mental health issues? Tweet us @PALifeMag

Tackling mental health Safeguarding the mental health of your staff is as important as ensuring they are safe physically. Declan Halton-Woodward, EA to the CEO at Handelsbanken Wealth/Heartwood offers some advice

Symptons of mental ill-health are vast, but learning what they are and recognising how others are feeling is a good start. Declan Halton-Woodward


Mental health is as important as physical health. I could argue it is more important given symptoms of mental ill-health can often go unnoticed. One in four people will experience mental health issues; so why do we still find it hard to open up and talk about these issues, and how can we make it easier? Many employers are putting on mental health workshops and training programmes to increase awareness and education. There are charities who can help with this and, with our backing, we can approach execs and HR teams to request further training on these subjects if required. Language can often be a barrier to discussion. It can feel like the ‘right’ language to use is frequently changing and so we don’t talk for fear of saying the wrong thing and causing offence. Lots of material can be found online to educate oneself. For example, don’t equate the person and the illness; rather, put the person first (Sally has bipolar disorder, not Sally is bipolar). Don’t use terms that suggest pity like ‘suffering from’ or ‘victim of’; instead use ‘has’ or ‘lives with’. The best way to learn is by asking. People will have their own preference of how they would like their health issues referred to and, by asking, you show that you are an ally who cares. Symptoms of mental ill-health are vast but learning what these are and taking time to recognise how we and others are feeling is a good start. We must take seriously any concerns, not pass things off as a ‘negative mind-set’ or ‘just a little stress’. Before we know it, things can get out of hand. It is very powerful when individuals share their own experiences; it helps break down barriers and perceptions. This can be with one other person to make them feel comfortable or, if you are able, with a wider audience. It also shows that these issues are widespread, and in some cases they can be overcome. Individuals with mental health issues look just like us; they might be us now or in the future. These people do and can go on to contribute and live healthy lives. It is only by talking that we can make a difference, end the stigma and facilitate an environment which allows acceptance and healing.



Monica Lien Monica Lien is the PA for the broadcaster Pat Sharp. Under her married name of Monica Sharp, she’s also his wife. PA Life speaks to her about the peculiarities of working for a man within the media industry – who is also her spouse… Photography: Dave Willis




Every day is different for us. It’s all about contracts, diary management, negotiating and more. You never know what’s coming up. But we work from home which means we can EHÁH[LEOHZLWKRXUWLPH Monica Lien, PA to, and wife of, Pat Sharp How did you meet Pat? It was at a nightclub in Norway, I was visiting a friend who worked there and Pat had been doing a guest DJ set. I didn’t know who he was because I didn’t watch TV. He was hosting music videos on Sky Channel across Europe. I was just 18 and in those days there were obviously no mobile phones or email, so he started writing letters to me. That was in 1984 and we married in ‘86. When I moved over here his career was starting to take off – he signed to Capital FM in ‘87 and then there was Funhouse, which started in ‘89. He was really busy – and has been ever since. We’ve now been married for 33 years. In the early days, did you work with Pat at all? No, I was very lucky that I was able to be a full-time mum. I had three children in five years, so I was very busy myself, particularly having one at school, one at nursery and one at home. I loved being a mum and to be honest, it was good training for being a PA – managing three small people’s diaries; being organised. You’re always busy as a mum! How did you get involved in the business with Pat? I had obviously always been around the business, although I didn’t really go along to Pat’s gigs, as it wasn’t really my thing and I didn’t think it was right for Pat to have his wife hanging around! That’s not me. Pat had a manager for 30 years, but technology – particularly his website – means that’s not as necessary for him nowadays. People find us via our website and contact us regarding events, festivals, after-dinner speaking, tv appearances and so on. I now manage all those bookings for Pat. I speak to people about what they want from him and sometimes get involved in how they’re organising their events because we’re very experienced in that world. We can offer advice because we know what works and what doesn’t.

great and means we can be flexible with our time. But one thing I’m really strict on is getting up, getting showered, dressing for ‘work’ and putting on make-up. I may be working from home, but it helps me get into the right frame of mind. What are the pros and cons of working with your husband? I think Pat and I work really well together. He is very organised and on-the-ball, so he doesn’t need much ‘managing’. And generally, we’re pretty well co-ordinated on things. The downside is that you’re together pretty much all of the time. But we make sure we go out of the house and do fun things together too. How do you stop being Pat’s PA at the end of the day? I don’t! [laughs]. I can be speaking to clients at 10pm at night and if Pat is working, I could still be organising the final details. But we can still be husband and wife, absolutely. We’re a pretty solid team. What are the peculiarities of working within the media world, as opposed to working in the commercial world? To be honest, I’ve never known anything else; I’ve always been around celebrities because of Pat – since I was 18. So I’m not fazed by it; I never really think about it. It’s just what we do. So, who are the most famous people you have in your contacts book? I guess Chris Tarrant would be high on the list, with Pat having worked alongside him at Capital for many years. Chris Moyles remains a good friend too. I guess you need to be called Chris, right?! And then, of course, there are the acts we work with at all the Let’s Rock festivals, such as Tony Hadley and Jason Donovan. They’re lovely people who we still enjoy working with to this day.

What’s the biggest part of your job? Without a doubt, it’s negotiating his personal appearances. I have always worked with people in my career, but negotiating is not something I’d done previously. It was a challenge at first, because it can appear a little intimidating. But then I thought ‘you know, they’re just ordinary people at the end of the phone’. They want something, I want something. I’m very lucky because most people are really nice to deal with. I find out what people want, what their budget is, get a feel for the event, etc. And we have people coming back to us to book Pat time and again, so I guess that shows he’s doing a good job. And he’s started doing more ‘corporate’ events recently too, so that’s an interesting new element of the business.

You were pushed into the spotlight a little when Pat was in the jungle – how did that feel, and how did you cope with it? Well, when he went into the jungle, we knew there would be some controversies that the media would try and create – as that’s the game! When I landed in Australia the press was waiting for me at the airport to ask me what I thought about Pat flirting. I just thought ‘are you for real?’. They were trying to make something out of nothing, but I guess that’s their job! You just have to take things in your stride. But it was great in Australia! We got to know some great people and made some lifelong friends who we still see regularly. Pat’s thing was being in the jungle, but for me it was a fantastic experience of being amongst new friends.

Describe a typical day for you. There isn’t one. Every day is different for us. It’s all about contracts, diary management, negotiating and more. You never know what’s coming up. But we work from home, which is

We’re talking about relieving stress, and wellness elsewhere in the magazine. How do you relax at the end of a busy day? Oh, a glass of red wine or two, definitely. If you can’t have wine, what’s the point? [laughs]



Monica is brilliant at what she does, because she knows me so well. She manages everything for me – ZKHUH,¡PJRLQJZKDW,¡PGRLQJHYHQP\RXWÀWV Pat Sharp, Broadcaster

STAYING SHARP Pat Sharp began his radio career in 1982 at Radio 1 and he also hosted Top of the Pops, before kicking off a decade-long stint at Capital FM followed by Heart & Smooth. On TV he also gained cult status as the host of ITV’s Funhouse. In 2011, Pat headed into the jungle for I’m A Celebrity, along with Stefanie Powers, Mark Wright, Willie Carson and Fatima Whitbread. Today, he remains behind the mic, presenting shows for the Bauer Media national station Greatest Hits Radio. He comperes the ‘Let’s Rock’ ‘80s summer festivals and is in demand as an event host and after-dinner speaker. “Monica is brilliant at what she does, because she knows me so well. That’s a big advantage of her working with me – she knows what I will and won’t do for an event. And she manages everything for me – where I’m going, what I’m doing, even my outďŹ ts! I guess the downside is that we don’t come home from work and ask each other about our day, because we’ve often been together all day. But I think that probably shows what a good team we are. Many couples wouldn’t be able to do that without driving each other crazy.â€? www.patsharp.co.uk


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Planning a party for the office? Tweet us @PALifeMag

Whether your event is corporate, casual or somewhere inbetween, the way you dress the room is key. Helen Lowe, Europa International

How to dress a room So you want to add some flourishes to your event? Europa International’s Events & Marketing Manager Helen Lowe offers some advice


You’ve chosen the venue, finalised the guest list and decided on just the right kind of grub for the upcoming ‘do’ you’ve been tasked with overseeing. You’ve got a vision in mind and this is going to be THE event of the season! But later that evening – say, mid-bus ride home, or in the shower – it hits you… ‘How on earth am I going to make this a reality?!’ You’re not alone! We’ve all been there, having realised that we’ve thrown ourselves into the deep end without a rubber ring, before splashing furiously to stay afloat and getting all panicky about whether the event is going to sink or, um, swim! Well, PA professionals, first things first – take a deep breath and concentrate on what you can control. In my experience if your guests like what they see, the rest will naturally fall into place. Whether it’s a smart drinks reception, conference or otherwise, top of your list of

‘things to consider’ should first be ‘how much furniture do I need and where am I going to put it?’. Once you’ve figured out your ‘bum to seat ratio’ (ie. do all of your guests need to be seated or are you aiming for less seating and more mingling?), you can start to consider the all-important accessories – AKA, knickknacks, ‘bits and bobs’, things that make your event relevant to you, your business, and the people you’ve invited along. A top trick is to add a splash of corporate colour to proceedings. Perhaps alternate red and blue seating pads, or popping pink party bar tables, or classic black and white sofas for your guests to chill on. Ultimately, whether your event is corporate, casual or somewhere inbetween, the way in which you dress the room is key – consider the venue a blank canvas on which you can bring your masterpiece to fruition. Once you have the look just right, the ‘feel’ will inevitably follow and everyone will have a marvellous time. Promise.


Ever had an event moved by the great British weather? Tweet us @PALifeMag

The one thing you can’t organise is the weather, so make sure you have a backup plan in the event of a downpour Nicky Brown, Arctic Fox Events

How to host an outdoor event The sun is starting to poke through the clouds, so now’s the time to start thinking about your summer events. Nicky Brown, Director at Arctic Fox, offers a guide

After 2018’s long hot summer, more clients are looking to take their events outside and explore ways in which they can make the most of the open space on their doorstep. Planning and organising your summer event doesn’t need to be stressful - there are just a few things you need to think about to ensure you have all bases covered. Expect the unexpected: We all know that the one thing you can’t organise is the weather… even in the height of the summer a true British downpour can disrupt even the best laid plans. Make sure you have a back-up plan. If you are booking a summer event at a venue, ask what their rainy-day alternative is (or even for when the sun is too hot!). Ensure your event kit has something for everyone: As the organiser, all eyes are on you to provide for those attending and you can never be too well prepared. Don’t forget sunscreen, umbrellas, portable phone chargers, plus plenty of food, drink and water. Branded goody bags containing essentials are perfect for outdoor events and can contain snacks, water and even branded rain ponchos.

Packing essentials such as a first aid kit, wipes and even bin bags are also useful if your event is not attached to a venue. Keep it simple with your timetable: Don’t overcomplicate your day - if you are hosting outside and are looking at team-building, strip back the activities to make sure everyone gets involved and enjoys themselves. A rounders tournament or old fashioned sports day activities are perfect. Get creative with your food and drink: BBQs, street food and sharing food help to keep your event more relaxed. Lunch boxes are also a great option and many catering companies can now help facilitate if you are planning on an action-packed day or have a treasure hunt around the city in mind. Ice cream van hire is also a great way of offering a different meeting break treat and keeping your guests cool if the weather is warm. Ask the experts: Whether it’s health and safety, planning activities or finding the right location or venue, there are specialist companies who can help. Outsourcing elements of your summer or outdoor event can help alleviate some of the stress of booking and ensure you have the best options at your fingertips.



Don’t organise paintballing, pit staff against one another and expect it to create better communication Amy Gallagher, Tula Wellness

How to create a great team-building day Off-site team-building days can be great for staff morale. But they can also have the opposite effect. Amy Gallagher, mind & body therapist and founder of Tula Wellness, offers some sound advice

It’s easy to think you’re being motivational, inspiring and considerate when you pop that invitation to your staff about a team-building day. These events often trigger a variety of responses though, which include: 1. “Yay! A day out of the office doing something fun PLUS I get to know my colleagues a bit better.” 2. “Arrrrggggh. Not more forced fun.” 3. “I’m definitely pulling a sickie. These things terrify me.” I’ve experienced my fair share of teambuilding events with varying degrees of success. Here’s how to get your team to buy into the idea rather than running for the hills. 1. DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN TEAMBUILDING AND SOCIALISING: DON’T confuse it with socialising. Many leaders will resort to taking their demotivated team out for dinner and drinks in the hope it will incentivise them. Some employees find this patronising – a bit of grub and getting tipsy with the boss is rarely the sweetener that’s needed.


DO create regular social events for the team where they are paid for by the company, they are optional and on offer regardless of levels of motivation. 2. DETERMINE THE PURPOSE OF YOUR TEAMBUILDING EVENT: DO listen to your team to understand where they are not being effective or where the common frustrations are. DON’T organise paintballing, split staff into groups, pit them against one another and expect it to create better communication, a shared vision and a unified team. 3. ENSURE TEAMBUILDING IS A REGULAR ON THE AGENDA: DO follow up regularly on the actions and outcomes of any teambuilding events. Put quarterly events in the diary so your team feels like it’s a priority, that you value them and their performance. DON’T organise a one-off event, get everyone excited and then fail to follow up on the event and agreed actions. This is a common mistake that many managers make and can easily turn a positive into a negative.


Dine in royal splendour at Kew Palace A hidden gem nestled within the heart of the spectacular Kew Gardens, this picturesque palace is an ideal location for meetings, dinners and receptions that require a hint of royal splendour... Kew may be a royal palace, but it was also once a family home. King George III, Queen Charlotte and their children all left an indelible mark on this amazing building during their time here, and the atmosphere remains equal parts regal and intimate. Today, you and your guests can experience the unique ambience of this small but perfectly formed royal palace ďŹ rst hand. Dine like royalty in the King’s dining room or host a reception to remember in the wonderfully atmospheric Royal Kitchens. Whatever your event requirements,

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The office move PA Life kicks off a new series of features taking a look at the projects that PAs and EAs are tackling as part of their day-to-day work. We start by talking to Nathalie Gregory, PA & Office Administrator at Liquidnet Europe about the office move she is currently managing

Tell us about the project and its objectives Over the last two to three years, the business has grown significantly. When I joined two years ago there were approximately 60 people, and now we are 105 and still growing! Our lease is due to expire in August this year, so we started planning for the move about 18 months ago, as we knew moving was our only option. Searching for the right location was tricky. We were slightly limited as staying in the City was one of our ‘must haves’. In the end, we were very fortunate as two floors in our current building became available. Having said that, despite only moving upstairs, the workload is as much as if it were moving a mile down the road. Taking over two floors is a major benefit to us as it allows


space for growth but also gives us critical requirements, such as more meetings rooms and more kitchen space. Once we had secured the space we started working with our Project Managers immediately. They took us through the tender process for all required teams – designers, architects, quantity surveyors, etc. Having a dedicated Project Manager on side has helped us immensely. Their knowledge and advice in the area has been critical to the process. We’re currently 12 weeks off from completion and so far, so good! What were the main challenges the project presented? There have been so many challenges with this move, ranging from budget to physical/design changes, to the deadline. I think with any big move, there are so many variables involved, it can

sometimes be tricky to keep on the pulse of every aspect. Communication is certainly key. There are eight teams involved so to ensure everyone is kept up to speed, there are weekly Design Team meetings and fortnightly Project Team meetings. Then there are ad hoc meetings with various teams. Another challenge, that you don’t really consider until it’s happening, is that all these meetings eat into your ‘normal’ working day. So, time management is definitely required. What solutions did you discover or learn during the course of the project? From day one, the entire project has been a real learning experience for me. I’ve been involved in office moves in previous roles, but this is on a whole other level. Budget has been critical to the move as when it comes to making

decisions, it always comes down to, can/ did we budget for that? I’ve also learned that for 99 per cent of problems encountered, there is a solution – as long as you have the right teams with the right attitude. Tell us a little about suppliers you worked with to get the job done. The suppliers and general teams that I’m working with have been amazing. I recently had the pleasure of viewing soft furnishing for our breakout area. After giving the design team a brief of style and colours, they produced a selection of furniture which fitted our needs perfectly. They even went as far as keeping an eye on costs so that we didn’t go over budget, which made my decisions even easier. Similarly, to our general Project Manager and the tech and build teams,

There have been so many challenges with this move, ranging from budget to physical/ design changes, to the deadline. Nathalie Gregory, PA & Office Administrator, Liquidnet

I’m fortunate to be able to say that we chose well. They’ve enabled me to understand the most intricate details, which I would have never even known about. All round, their involvement and advice have been invaluable. Plus, they’re a really nice bunch of people, which always helps. What are your top tips for other PAs with similar projects? If I could pass on any advice from my experience, it would be: Communication – keep everyone in the loop at all times, even if you think it’s not relevant to their part of the project. Also keep open communication with the business employees. I’ve found that giving staff regular updates and keeping them involved in the move is appreciated. For example, the coffee machine keeps our business functioning.

So, I arranged to have a new coffee machine on display for a day, for people to try out – they loved it! Change – be open to changes because they WILL happen. I’ve heard the words ‘final decision’ several times, and it rarely is. Keep calm – people get stressed when put under pressure. That’s a simple fact. Pressure also increases the risk of mistakes. So, when faced with a challenge, I take a step back, breath and assess. Sounds easy – it’s not! Be nice, but firm – if you’re an Office Manager, you’ll already be familiar with this technique. You can’t please all of the people all of the time so be prepared to push back. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be open to opinions, but keep the larger picture in mind. And don’t forget, every decision affects the budget.


GAMIFY YOUR TEAM BUILDING Better work through play with the award-winning Modern Fables If you’re looking for a team-building session with a difference, our game creation workshops are an innovative and effective way of building skills, in a London Zone 1 location. As one of London’s highest rated escape rooms, we love games. Who doesn’t, right? We’ve used our expertise to build a workshop that will help your team to work together better and develop skills in: • Creative and Lateral Thinking • Short project management • Creative problem solving • Getting the best out of work processes • Empathising with colleagues across departments No two workshops are the same - we work with you to adapt to your company needs. We’ll start with an introduction to modern board games and how they can help to develop core skills for your everyday work. The second part of the session splits into smaller groups to create a simple game. Games are a great way of simplifying chaotic or complex reallife concepts, by using a closed working system with simple rules. Understanding how they are built gives an insight into system and process design. Don’t take our word for it, here’s what one of the recent participants had to say about the experience:

workshop was very interactive and ” The thought- provoking. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it ”

Call, email or visit our website today to find out more and book your best team training session yet.

T: 0208 1917 547 E: mourad@modern-fables.com W: modern-fables.com


There’s no ‘I’ in team But there is an ‘I’ in ‘Team Building’. And if you want to motivate and encourage staff, as well as encourage better communication between teams, there’s no better way. From motor racing to indoor sky-diving; tennis to escape rooms, PA Life offers some suggestions >>> WILLIAMS F1 If you are thinking about planning a team away day or corporate event in a unique setting, the Williams Conference Centre might just provide the perfect location. Based at the home of ROKiT Williams Racing, the venue has 10 multi-purpose event rooms catering for up to 350 guests. Full support is provided, with in-house AV facilities, event managers and five-star catering and service all included. There are plenty of activities available to include as part of an events package. Take a walk through the Williams Heritage Collection, the largest privately owned collection of Formula One cars in the world. The exhibition charts the teams’ full 42-year history. Take part in a pit stop challenge using equipment used at Grand Prix events around the world by the race team. Or challenge your friends and colleagues to a race in any of the VR spec race simulators. williamsf1.com

<<< ASCOT RACECOURSE Royal Ascot will take place from June 18th to 22nd. With its five days of unparalleled racing, high fashion, fine dining and pageantry, the Royal Meeting is a whirlwind of excitement and colour, renowned across the globe for creating an unforgettable experience in a unique setting. Whilst eyes are firmly fixed on this week, Ascot Racecourse has much to offer on a year-round basis, maintaining its reputation for offering a true sense of occasion and exemplary service to guests. Set against the magnificent backdrop of Ascot Racecourse, Fine Dining at Royal Ascot – and at any of the other 21 annual racedays – is an occasion to savour. From à la carte menus in one of many restaurants to the exclusivity of a Private Box, it is an opportunity to socialise and entertain over the finest of dishes whilst enjoying worldclass racing. Annual raceday Fine Dining packages start from £142 + VAT or £107 + VAT in a Private Box, with Royal Ascot Fine Dining from £298 + VAT. 0344 346 3000





Based at the home of ROKiT Williams Racing, The Williams Conference Centre is set in rural Oxfordshire and offers a unique setting for business functions, events and team away days.


With 10 multi-purpose event rooms catering up to 350 guests, the venue offers full support in event planning and execution with in-house AV facilities, dedicated event managers and five-star catering and service.


A wide range of Formula One-themed activities are available at the Williams Conference Centre and can be used for team building and hospitality days, or to enhance your own unique events.



Created to replicate the excitement, adrenaline and pressure on an actual Formula One pitstop, the challenge uses the same equipment and tools used at Grand Prix around the world. Work together as a team to perform a full wheel change against the clock. How close can you get to one of the fastest pit crews in the business?

This is your opportunity to race head to head against friends and colleagues in a bank of four F1-style driving simulators. Force feedback steering wheels, virtual reality headsets and adjustable foot pedals allow guests to experience an authentic racing simulation.



A reaction test like no other, testing hand-eye coordination and stamina. Measure how your reaction speed compares to that of a Formula One driver and elite sports athletes from multiple disciplines.

The Williams VR5 simulator brings your racing experience to life through the combination of advanced virtual reality and motion simulation technology. As one of only four in the world, this simulator provides you with one of the most sophisticated life-like F1 experiences possible.

BOOK YOUR NEXT EVENT AT WILLIAMS: Events@williamsf1.com | 01235 777 900 | www.williamsf1.com


>>> KEITH PROWSE For companies looking to impress clients with guaranteed tickets to The Championships, Wimbledon, Keith Prowse is on hand, as the exclusive hospitality partner to the event. As the UK’s leading provider of hospitality, guests can guarantee a seat on Centre Court or No.1 Court for any day at Wimbledon, including the finals. With a range of hospitality experiences to suit a variety of budgets, guests can enjoy a la carte menus from celebrity and award-winning chefs, afternoon tea, Champagne, cocktails and more. Launching this year, Rosewater Pavilion offers the first hospitality restaurant inside the Grounds with fast-track entrance, a serene and luxurious atmosphere, premium dining and a stunning outdoor terrace looking towards Centre Court. The Lawn offers a more informal setting, with a whisky and cigar bar, and garden with cooling foot-stream. Tickets are included for both Centre Court and No.1 Court, and once play begins, guests are driven by buggies to watch the action. 0208 003 4539

<<< ONE BIRDCAGE WALK Located within the heart of Westminster, One Birdcage Walk overlooks St James Park and is regarded as one of the finest examples of traditional architecture. A flexible venue with 15 versatile event spaces, One Birdcage Walk is an ideal location for your next Away Day or Team Building event. The venue’s dedicated team is always on hand to ensure that your event runs hassle-free from the moment you arrive. This includes award-winning caterers who can create and serve a delicious range of menus for your unique team day. 020 7973 1248



>>> LIVE THE CITY Live The City Treasure Hunts are a bit special, claims the company. These events combine clue solving and interactive challenges with a big screen quiz finale to deliver a completely unique team building experience. What’s more, every Live The City Treasure Hunt is tailored to reflect your own corporate goals. Using the treasure hunt as a framework, Live The City devises clues and challenges to support key learning objectives whilst giving your colleagues the chance to have some fun exploring your chosen location. 0333 939 8335

<<< TWINWOODS ADVENTURE Air, Water, Fire, Earth - combine the four elements of nature to motivate and inspire your teams at Twinwoods Adventure. Formerly a military research base used to design and test of the latest aircraft developments, Twinwoods Adventure is the perfect location for corporate events, team building or for sheer fun. Surrounded by Bedfordshire countryside, the facilities cover four natural elements of nature, creating a corporate event that provides exciting, mind challenging and grounding experiences that help businesses to improve and energise their teams, develop communication skills and reward delegates with an unforgettable experience of indoor sky diving, surfing, shooting and restore some rest and relaxation in our salt caves. All activities are expertly managed by a highly trained events team to ensure absolute safety. Coming soon… military themed escape room! 01234 816350





Super Se



Keeping the Focus, Adding the Fun! Adrenaline Fu

ellous Muddy Marv



Corporate Team Building Staff Days Out Driver Training Parties Castle Combe Circuit


w w w.drivetechltd.co.uk 01249 783010

Distinctly different! …Isn’t it time you did something different?

Combining clue solving, interactive challenges and a high energy big screen quiz finale, Live The City’s unique treasure hunt format is the perfect team building solution. All of our treasure hunts can be personalised with your chosen content, making sure that your key messages and objectives are front and centre throughout the experience. Available throughout the UK and beyond, we have a full range of treasure hunts to suit all budgets. Options include on-foot, self-drive, vintage vehicles, on-site activities and even spy themed packages.

Get in touch on 0333 939 8335 or visit www.livethecity.com to find out how a Live The City treasure hunt can be the perfect solution for your next team building event.


>>> MODERN FABLES Modern Fables runs one of the highestrated escape rooms in London and uses its expertise to provide teambuilding events with a difference. Using the principles of game creation, the Modern Fables team helps colleagues to work together better and develop some essential workplace skills. What’s more, they will have fun along the way. The thought provoking and interactive workshop will help them to develop creative and lateral thinking skills, better manage projects, solve problems and develop processes whilst helping them to empathise with colleagues across departments. Book today to get the best out of your team. modern-fables.com

<<< CASTLE COMBE CIRCUIT DRIVE-TECH Outdoor driving activity centre based at Castle Combe Circuit Drive-Tech offers exciting and fun driving experiences at any time of the year. Outdoor karting is perfect, with a thrill a minute as you race round the track, fighting for the best racing line and battling to be the first past the chequered flag. If you are good enough to make the podium then there is a trophy to take away. Super sensational skids! It’s all about the thrills and skills in this fantastic lifesaving experience on our unique wet Skid Pan. This is your chance to obtain safety driving skills and have great fun whilst learning. Muddy Marvellous 4x4 Adventure - this is the ultimate challenge to pit yourself against unforgiving terrain with mud and water in the mix. Have you got the bottle? 01249 783010


020 7594 9494 | imperialvenues.co.uk

Home to 100 flexible event spaces in South Kensington, Imperial provides all your conferencing needs in one central London location. ■

Full event management service available

In-house catering with breakout areas

State of the art AV

On-site accommodation from July to September

Centr al Lon d venue on s for up to 740


Top class

Once a more unusual choice for events, academic venues have gained in popularity for hosting meetings, conferences and more. PA Life looks at some of the UK’s leading options

>>> MANCHESTER METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY Manchester Metropolitan University is located in the city centre, providing excellent public transport links. Its diverse space can accommodate a range of activities from small meetings to international conferences and events. World class specialist facilities and academic expertise can add value to an event. The events team works with its academics, attracting business to the university and the city through their links with businesses and associations worldwide. Conference organisers are challenged increasingly to not only provide an exciting venue but a conference programme that is more interactive and engaging. Wherever possible, Manchester Metropolitan University will try to use its knowledge and influence to make a difference. 0161 247 1565

<<< CONFERENCE OXFORD As the home of the oldest university in the English-speaking world, the city of dreaming spires is as renowned for its historic architecture as for its brilliant alumni. So hosting an event in Oxford provides a unique experience, with an atmosphere like no other. Conference Oxford is the official conference and event marketing office for the University and its colleges. Representing 67 venues in Oxford – university buildings, colleges, museums and libraries of the university – the Conference Oxford team is dedicated to finding you the perfect venue for your event, offering a free venue search amongst its services. History and heritage surround you in Oxford, with almost 1,000 buildings of architectural interest within just one square mile. Conference Oxford’s venues provide great facilities for meetings, conferences, dinners, receptions and parties and are available throughout the year. Residential conferences may be booked during vacation periods, although some venues have bedrooms available all year round. Marie O’Connor, Head of Conference Oxford, says: “The enthusiasm for Oxford as a destination is something we embrace here at Conference Oxford and this, coupled with the first class facilities offered by all of our college and university venues, is part and parcel of what makes us so successful in finding the perfect venue for our clients.” 01865 276190




ROEHAMPTON Roehampton Venues SW15 is on the edge of Richmond Park, South of Hammersmith Bridge and with close links from London Waterloo. The company offers interchangeable conference space and a selection of modern and historic grade listed venues, as well as a 30 bedroom hotel on site. With such a varied portfolio, whatever the brief, the team believes it can tick all the boxes for venue finders and event bookers. 0208 392 3505

>>> IMPERIAL VENUES Imperial Venues, Imperial College London, offers more than 100 flexible event spaces in South Kensington. Spaces range from a Grade II listed townhouse with private courtyard garden, to modern meeting rooms, classrooms and lecture theatres. Event organisers can also take advantage of Imperial’s professional event services including in-house catering, superb audiovisual equipment, full event management and on-site accommodation during the summer. With such an array of venues in a superb central London location, Imperial is suitable for a range of events including meetings, conferences, symposiums, dinners, drinks receptions and more. 020 7594 9494




A cutting edge conference centre 31 guest bedrooms Open all year round


MODERN Two grade listed houses Stunning grounds and gardens For hire at weekends and summer months


HISTORIC www.roehamptonvenues.co.uk

020 8392 3505


Our stunning Brooks building has multiple meeting rooms and relaxed breakout areas with eco townhouses and Visit England 4 star campus accommodation close by.

We’re proud of our sustainability credentials ‘Best Sustainable Venue’ CHS Awards 2018

‘Best Sustainability’ Academic Venues Awards 2018

venues.mmu.ac.uk | 0161 247 1565 | venues@mmu.ac.uk


Go outdoors!

The weather is turning and we’re hoping for a summer that rivals that of 2018. It’s time to turn your attention to venue spaces that suit the warmer months. PA Life rounds up a selection >>> GLASS ROOM Explore London on the water with the capital’s leading restaurant experience on the Thames. Featuring luxurious interiors by Tom Dixon and spectacular views of the city’s iconic landmarks, Glass Room provides unique and stylish settings in which to enjoy elegant food, fine wine and live entertainment. The boat departs daily from Embankment Pier with a range of sails available for lunchtime, afternoon tea, dinner cruises and private dining options. Dine in the daytime as you sail past BigBen, the London Eye and the Tower of London, or admire the city illuminated at night whilst sipping on cocktails and listening to the onboard musicians. The modern British menus champion seasonality with all food prepared on board by the highly accomplished brigade of chefs. Expect made-to-order plates for lunch and dinner, try the afternoon tea complete with pianist or a traditional Sunday roast accompanied by the live jazz band. Bespoke arrangements can also be made for private charter or group bookings for a truly unique dining experience. www.bateauxlondon.com/restaurants/glass-room

<<< NECKER ISLAND The Great House on Richard Branson’s world famous Necker Island is the place where people come together and has a wraparound outdoor terrace with hammocks and sofas. The Beach House is located in the Main Beach area– here guests have access to two floodlit tennis courts and a viewing deck. The Beach House has a large communal area on the ground floor, with an impressive bar, lots of seating, space for game tables, and a huge sofa that is eight metres long. The upper floor is designed for communal dining, with a large table and some great views out onto the tennis courts on one side and out to sea on the other. The Pool Pavilion has one of the most stunning pools around. There is a swim-up bar off the freeform infinity pool complete with rocks in the pool where guests can sit and enjoy a drink plus a huge Jacuzzi right on the beach with space for more than 30 people. Within the pool complex is our thatched Crocodile Pavilion, complete with a large solid teak crocodile table where guests can be served fresh food from the Pavilion’s gourmet kitchen. Virginlimitededition.com




WELCOME TO ANOTHER LONDON Modern dining on the water. A new experience from Bateaux London.


43 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London E14 5NX T: 020 7418 2725 E: eastwintergarden@canarywharf.com W: canarywharf.com/eastwintergarden EWG_CanaryWharf



Welcoming back guests for Celebration Weeks in April over Easter weekend, July, August, September and October 2019 RESERVATIONS: +44 (0)208 600 0430 enquiries@virginlimitededition.com



>>> EAST WINTERGARDEN East Wintergarden is a blank canvas event space in the heart of Canary Wharf, featuring a spectacular 27m glass atrium flooding the space with natural daylight and summer rays. The Main Hall features 682m² of uninterrupted Italian marble floorspace which effortlessly hosts up to 500 banqueting guests or 800 - 1,000 guests for standing receptions, exhibitions, award ceremonies, experiential product launches, drinks receptions as well as being used as a filming location. The Promenade Room is a versatile space adjacent to The Main Hall and overlooks Canary Wharf’s dockside, proving most popular for workshop sessions, press conferences, meetings and small presentations. The Gallery, a mezzanine level suspended above The Main Hall, can be hired independently, offering an alternative choice for smaller, intimate events whilst still being immersed in the striking architecture and overlooking the capitals’ Jubilee Park – all combining to create a ‘wow factor’ without large guest numbers. The venue offers state-of-the-art AV technology, an exclusive catering partnership with Create Food teamed with impeccable customer service from a dedicated team in-house team. 020 7418 2000

<<< INCIPIO GROUP Since 2015, Incipio Group has been specialising in creating large, new and exciting social venues concentrated around food and drink. With its target demographic in mind, the company’s approach is to focus both on transforming temporary sites and permanent projects to provide fashionable and out-of-the ordinary dining experiences. Whether the site is built on a temporary or permanent basis, the company grants short leases within the venue to restaurants that are on trend and popular with its clientele. Incipio has two key outdoor spaces which are ideal for a range of events: Pergola Paddington is a secret alfresco hideaway in the heart of West London’s busiest district. Set over beautifully decorated and open air floors, it accommodates up to 850 guests and boasts four self-service restaurants and two bars. Pergola Olympia is a new botanical bolthole on the top of Olympia London. It mixes overgrown ivy and botanical planters with modern interior and rustic furniture. The venue accommodates up to 500 guests and boasts nine giant day beds, three self-service restaurants, one bar and floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Incipio-group.co.uk



Photography: ACT Studios

Checking in:

University Arms, Cambridge Just one hour from London, University Arms, Cambridge is a city-centre landmark hotel that is ideal for both business travellers and weekend explorers, as Hamish Kilburn discovers when checking in for the night… Life is about the journey and not necessarily just the destination. At University Arms, Cambridge, however, life inside the hotel is about both. The city’s narrative is referenced effortlessly throughout. In the corridors, for example, the carpet has been designed to reflect the same colours and patterns as that of the original Cambridge College tie. Meanwhile, the walls in the public area feature carefully curated artwork, such as The Man in the White Suit, highlighting modern life outside. While the destination is obvious, slap bang in the middle of Cambridge, the hotel’s journey has been less smooth. University Arms, Cambridge made the headlines in 2012 after a faulty air conditioning unit resulted in a fire. However devastating at the time, such a disaster is generally followed by great opportunities. The decision to close the


hotel in 2016 to undergo an £80m renovation, working with classical architect John Simpson, allowed Cambridge’s most historic hotel to rise from the ashes to become a superbly designed venue for business and pleasure. When checking in through the majestic portico entrance, first impressions are that of a perfectly placed city centre grand hotel – complete with oversized chandeliers that hang in the large lobby, and friendly, welcoming front-of-house staff. Considering the limited parking, which is quoted as £30 per night, my first recommendation would be to take the train if you or colleagues are travelling into the city, which then just leaves a seven-minute taxi ride (or 20-minute walk). Martin Brudnizki, who spectacularly recreated London Soho’s iconic The Ivy, spent two years working on the interior

design story for University Arms, Cambridge in order to bring to life a warm, residential and inviting mise en scène that also gives an appropriate nod to the heritage of Cambridge and its prestigious colleges. After connecting up to the strong wi-fi – without having to input a password – I was invited to experience Afternoon Tea in The Library at the hotel’s food and beverage offering, Parker’s Tavern. Ideal for day meetings, the quintessentially English brasserie is further enhanced by its unmatched perspective overlooking Parker’s Piece, a 25-acre flat plot of greenery that is regarded today as the birthplace of the rules of Association Football. As the name ‘The Library’ suggests, this area is adorned in Cambridge-themed classic books, such as Wind in the Willows and Porterhouse Blue.

Contact: 01223 606066 | universityarms.com Good for: Business Meetings | History Enthusiasts | City Breaks

Just past The Library, the bar, which was originally an old coaching inn, has an impressive signature cocktail menu that further gives reference to Cambridge’s historic moments in time. For example, the Bloomsbury Boozer commemorates the formidable group of writers, academics and intellectuals that made up The Bloomsbury Set and who met at the university. Elsewhere, in the basement, the hotel can cater up to 180 persons in the ballroom, which can be flexibly divided into two separate venue spaces. In this area of the hotel, as well as enjoying the private space for occasions or, in my case, a three-course dinner prepared by world-renowned head chef Tristan Welch, guests will also find original stained-glass windows that date back to the 1900s to represent the 31 original college crests.

Upstairs, the hotel’s 192 guest rooms and suites start at £160 per night* and are divided into four categories; Cosys, Classics, Superiors and Suites. I was checked in to the Franklin Suite, which starts from £460 per night*. With a large bed complete with linen of 300 thread

The ‘do not disturb’ signs are bookmarks while the writing desks have been made deliberately to look like traditional student desks. Sheltering the same luxury of a London five-star hotel, but with arguably larger interiors, University Arms,

An £80m renovation in 2016 allowed University Arms, Cambridge to rise from the ashes to become a superbly designed venue for business and pleasure.

count for maximum comfort, books curated around Franklin D. Roosevelt and underfloor heating in the expansive bathroom, the front-facing suite is sumptuous, spacious and one of the top rooms the hotel offers. In regards to its design, attention to detail is immediately evident in all rooms.

Cambridge is a modern classic. The hotel has had its fair share of drama during its journey. But after an extensive renovation and sensitive reconstruction, it is now resettling in as one of Cambridge’s most iconic destination hotels for business and leisure. *room rates subject to change


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Ready for some ‘me time’? More spa venues are offering ‘out of hours’ opening times to cater for corporate guests. Founder of Spabreaks.com Abi Wright looks at how this can help you and your team de-stress At a time when the wellness industry has never been more relevant, owing to an increase in awareness around stress, mental health and mindfulness, corporate hotels and venues are catching up with the trend. The spa sector is ensuring that time poor, stressed-out executives can have access to a host of treatments and specialist care from dawn til dusk. Venues have responded to this by offering ‘out of hours’ packages to corporate and time poor guests. Here are some of the best spas and packages for corporate guests... Crowne Plaza Battersea has become a favourite of corporate guests. Its Spa Verta Twilight Package is an exclusive offering of one 25-minute treatment plus a sharing platter and a cocktail. Prices start from £75pp and the package is available daily between 4pm and 8pm. Guests can also enjoy use of the other facilities including a sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy pool, relaxation room and ‘experience’ showers.

Macdonald Manchester Hotel and Spa is located in the heart of the city and also offers a Twilight Spa Experience. From as little as £39pp, spa-goers can enjoy a 25-minute treatment with a glass of prosecco, this affordable package would suit most budgets. The Twilight Spa package is available every day between 4pm and 8pm.

Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel & Spa on the outskirts of Chester specialises in team building activities. This can be added to an overnight stay with spa treatments included. The basic overnight spa breaks cost from £64.50 (based on two sharing) and include overnight accommodation with breakfast, plus a choice of three 25-minute spa treatments.

The spa sector is ensuring that time poor, stressed-out executives can have access to a host of treatments and specialist care from dawn till dusk.

Third Space at The Marylebone Hotel This venue lends itself particularly well to meetings and events, where participants can add a spa package to their overall booking. Its group package is designed as a pre- or post-meeting offering. Available for groups of three or more, the package costs from £88.50pp and includes a choice of 25-minute treatment each, plus afternoon tea.

Celtic Manor near Cardiff is a worldfamous hotel thanks to its extensive facilities and golf courses. Anyone having a meeting in the convention centre can arrange for spa treatments during lunch or other breaks. Or they can take advantage of the Sunset Spa Experience, priced from £49pp. Available from 3pm onwards, it offers a choice of a massage or facial.



Shake up your meetings & events The Meetings Show returns with its flexible hosted buyer programme for busy schedules The Meetings Show, the premier event for the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry, returns to Olympia London on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 June where more than 4,500 industry professionals are expected to attend and benefit from education, inspiration and networking opportunities galore. The show’s popular hosted buyer programme is also back, offering buyers an unrivalled flexibility to help them use their time as efficiently as possible while giving a new perspective to their event planning process. Unlike other shows, The Meetings Show’s hosted buyer programme does not make appointment matches, so buyers can decide who they want to meet with and when, ensuring everyone gets the most out of their meetings. The


only requirement is to attend six 15-minute appointments per day. Hosted buyers also have the option of attending the show for one, two, or three days (including attendance of the Pre-Show Conference on Tuesday 25 June) meaning attendance can fit around their own busy schedules and optimises time spent out of the office. Such is the flexible nature of The Meetings Show’s hosted buyer programme that should buyers sign up to three days and their plans change, they are able to drop to one day without losing their place or increase to more days if only one has been booked. Whether attendance is for one day or three, all hosted buyers benefit from a dedicated appointment diary to book pre-scheduled meetings with exhibitors,

access to the Hosted Buyers Lounge and receive support with travel and accommodation should they need it. Hosted buyers also get an exclusive invite to the Pre-Show Conference on Tuesday 25 June where talks are designed to inform and engage delegates before the show officially starts. Alongside the perks of the dedicated programme, hosted buyers can access The Meeting Show’s main features, including educational sessions around this year’s theme of the event planning journey, 600 suppliers and networking events. Registration is now open for The Meetings Show 2019’s hosted buyer programme. For more information and to apply, visit www.themeetingsshow.co.uk


Luxury charters ahoy! The family behind Thames Luxury Charters has a history in fleet dating back to 1710. PA Life talks to the company offering grand corporate hospitality on the River Thames Tell us about the corporate hospitality packages that you offer We’re different to most venues, in that we don’t really offer set packages. Instead, we place a real emphasis on creating completely unique events from the ground up, built around clients’ specific needs. We combine your chosen vessel with our wide range of bespoke services, which includes award-winning cuisine, first class hospitality and top entertainment. No two events are ever the same. What are the most popular? Thanks to the versatility of the fleet, virtually any type of corporate event can be hosted. Most commonly, corporate clients such as BP, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Rolex, Virgin and many others host meetings, conferences, product launches, dinners and staff parties all year round. However, we are also regularly tasked with bringing larger scale events such as award ceremonies, exhibitions and product launches to life in the heart of London.

What are the benefits of hosting an event on a boat on the Thames? A unique, memorable location will leave a hugely positive impression of your company on guests. Hosting an event on one of our vessels does exactly that. From the moment you come on board, it feels like you’re transported to a quiet sanctuary away from the noise and

We’re so proud to have been involved in some of the River Thames’ biggest moments over the past quarter of a century. In 2012, our vessels featured in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant and were used during the London Olympics Opening Ceremony. They’ve also featured in many TV and film productions.

A unique, memorable location will leave a hugely positive impression on your guests. And hosting your event on the water ensures full attendance throughout.

stresses of the city. There’s a practical benefit too, as hosting your event on the water ensures full attendance throughout, rather than guests coming and going as they may on dry land. It really is a captivating experience! Tell us about some of the more unusual or prestigious events you’ve hosted aboard your fleet.

You are hosting a PA Life Meet Up... We’re really excited to welcome everyone on board the fleet on 8 May so they can experience what the River Thames has to offer for virtually any occasion. During the course of the Meet Up, we’ll be offering guided tours of our wonderful fleet, before we set sail for an evening cruise through the heart of London.

To register your interest in attending, email meetup@palife.co.uk


WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF EVENTS? If you organise or direct meetings and events for your company, no matter how big or small, then you need to be at Exclusively Corporate at IMEX, 20 May 2019 - a first-class, expert-led education and networking event designed for professionals like you. Meet and exchange ideas with senior speakers from influential brands including Microsoft, Cisco, Barclays, KPMG and the International Olympic Committee who will share their own experiences of innovation, creativity, experiential marketing, intelligent automation and much more. Don’t miss this free-of-charge learning and networking opportunity.

Explore the full programme and register your interest today. imex-frankfurt.com/whats-on/ exclusively-corporate


GO AL FRESCO! With the weather warming up, it’s time to head outside for lunches and relaxed evening entertainment. PA Life offers some suggestions for hot spots in the capital

NOBU SHOREDITCH Nobu Hotel Shoreditch and The House of Suntory have launched ‘Hanami’, an outdoor celebration of Japanese craftmanship and the Sakura bloom. Having opened earlier this month, the terrace at Nobu has been transformed into a cherry blossom-covered paradise, providing a tranquil escape in the bustling heart of East London.

DUKES LONDON Dukes London recently launched a new initiative with Remy Martin, introducing the Cognac & Cigar Garden. Open every evening, guests can indulge in an experience of carefully crafted pairings between cognacs, cigars, food and cocktails. The aim is to provide a sensory experience as the two brands connect.

JIN BO LAW One of East London’s hottest rooftop bars, Jin Bo Law is on the 14th floor of the Dorsett City Hotel and boasts panoramic views of London’s skyline. Aligning with the bar’s Chinese heritage and influences, a new cocktail menu has just been launched, offering a selection of Asian-inspired, sweet and sour flavours.

OMERA LONDON While Omera London offers a cool gig venue, as well as a Mexican cantina, the Terrace is worth a visit in itself. It’s billed as a ‘hidden gem’ and boasts breathtaking views of Southwark Cathedral and The Shard. The space is also available for private hire from Sunday to Thursday and would suit a variety of informal events.

BARGE EAST One of London’s top rated restaurants on TripAdvisor, Barge East in Hackney Wick is a relatively new bar and kitchen based on board a historic Dutch barge. The 114 year-old barge has been beautifully restored, and boasts the sunniest terrace in London, according to the team behind it. The kitchen uses local suppliers, with even the beer made in Hackney Wick.

BLIXEN Located on the edge of Spitalfields Market, Blixen is a restaurant in the style of the European grand cafés. Its stunning conservatory, filled with plants, is an unexpected escape from the buzz of the city, while the garden area has been celebrated for being one of the best restaurant outdoor spaces in the city.

DARWIN BRASSERIE Overlooking the Thames on Level 36 of the Sky Garden is Darwin, an all-day brasserie. It boasts a laid-back atmosphere with food inspired by the ‘Best of British’ and is suitable for brisk brunches through to working lunches and lively dinners. The Chef’s Table, in the centre of the restaurant seats up to 20 people.

THE IVY CHELSEA GARDEN Part of the iconic Ivy Group, the Chelsea Garden site is located on King’s Road. It comprises a main restaurant, extensive terrace and garden, orangery and a private dining room. The terrace and garden have been recommended by Time Out and more, and offer a tranquil al fresco dining experience all year round.


All the latest member news and gossip

PA Life Club heads into spring with networking in mind Proudly sponsored by



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WELCOME TO THE CLUB This issue we’d like to welcome Elizabeth Lock and Portland Goszka from Legal & General, Julia Barrière from Bonsoir of London, Mellisa Jollife from Mark Warner, Sonia Chopra from CSI Ltd, Yvonne Bradshaw from RWS, Chala Campbell from Weber Shandwick and Tracy Gabriel from Crossrail Ltd.

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Experience an evening of Thames Luxury Charters hospitality

London Venues Summit

PA Life are delighted to announce a fun-filled Meet Up event with Thames Luxury Charters on the evening of May 8th. Guests will be able to admire London’s skyline and landmarks as they enjoy a full vessel viewing, a cruise on the Thames, food, drink and entertainment! More at palifeclub.co.uk.

The London Venues Summit on July 8th is a ‘must attend’ event for senior PAs, event organisers and venue bookers who want to find inspirational new venues. Meet with the capital’s most iconic venues and learn via educational seminars. Find out more at londonvenuessummit.co.uk.

FIVE THINGS TO DO Networking, learning and things to keep in mind

2 HMS Belfast HMS Belfast, part of Lime Venue Portfolio, is moored next to the iconic Tower Bridge, protecting the quality of our nation’s events. And it’s the location of a PA Life Meet Up on Monday, May 13th 2019. As the last surviving example of 20th century Royal Navy warships, she is a truly unique venue for meetings, conferences, summer parties, Christmas parties... every type of event! Find out more at palifeclub.co.uk.

4 London Christmas Party Show PA Life is a Media Partner for the London Christmas Party Show, a boutique exhibition that brings together a mix of the best Christmas venues and suppliers with hundreds of top event buyers. Join us on our stand on May 14th & 15th at Plaisterers’ Hall – for more information and to register, visit londonchristmaspartyshow.com.


Conference & Hospitality Show

2019 is CHS’s fourth year at the First Direct Arena in Leeds and PA Life is a proud Media Partner. This venue is a world famous music venue and has hosted some of the biggest names in rock; fitting for rockstar event organisers. In its 10th year, CHS attracts exhibitors from across the UK, made up of venues, hotels and other suppliers, and includes numerous education sessions and networking events. To register visit chs19.co.uk.




Work & life Helen Hodgson is the Executive Assistant for a VIP & public figure. A Very VIP, in fact – although sadly we can’t reveal who. Our PA Life Club member talks to us about her worklife and career to date What inspired you to start a career as an assistant? I worked as a School Secretary at a preparatory school for seven years where I was front of house. I loved my role, however I wanted to develop my admin skills and thought I would make a good PA, organising someone’s life at a top level. How did you get to your current job? I had been for a few interviews, but my current role came through word-ofmouth. A VIP parent from the school heard I was looking to become a PA and his current assistant had left so he asked

partnerships across different industries, I have been lucky enough to meet and work with some incredibly high-skilled people. Being able to learn and grow from these experiences has been truly rewarding. The opportunity to visit so many amazing places around the world has been a huge highlight and I know I am very lucky, no matter how stressful it may seem at times! And the most challenging? I had to hit the ground running in a completely different industry and there was no margin for error in such a fast-paced environment. Over time, I

As the role of the PA/EA is constantly evolving, I think we need to continue sharing knowledge and insights so we can all continue to develop as individuals whilst we support each other.

if I was keen on applying. It was a case of right place, right time! The VIP also saw that I had the potential to become a great assistant and I’d built up a certain level of trust with the parents and family already, which is obviously paramount in a role such as that. What’s the best thing about your job? Working with a VIP who has a number of sponsorship deals and brand

have implemented systems that work for me, and built a great relationship with the boss and internal teams, but it took time getting to a point when I felt confident in my position. Working across different time zones, whilst on multipartner, often multi-country business trips has also been challenging. What does the PA/EA community need to change, in your opinion?

I’m not a traditional PA but am lucky to be part of a fantastic network of men and women in PA roles across all different industries who are constantly sharing knowledge, information and suggestions. I don’t think anything needs changing but as the role of the PA/EA is constantly evolving I think we need to continue sharing knowledge and insights so we can all continue to develop as individuals whilst we support each other. What is having the biggest impact on your job, or on PAs/EAs in general? I couldn’t live without some of the amazing apps that are now available at our fingertips and constantly being developed, as they enable me to become ever more efficient across different areas. ApprovalMax and Expensify for Finance, Tripcase and BA for travel/trips, Evernote and Wunderlist for admin plus Headspace and podcasts for my own personal ‘me time’, are all invaluable resources for me and have made a huge impact to how I manage my workload.

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Profile for PA Life

PA Life; March/April 2019  

PA Life; March/April 2019