Lisa and Gail

I’m An Event Planner Get Me Out Of Here!

So no, I’m not writing from the jungle and thank goodness not drinking or eating revolting animal parts or freaking out with Huntsman spiders and snakes! However, I’m a big fan of the show and the title got me thinking about my job as an Event Manager. The Confessions and trials of being an Event Planner is to be kept for a book another time, but it has made me reflect my career with a theme of being in the jungle! Oh and a plug, we offer a homage of I’m a Celebrity in our events folio!

Events/Hospitality – a fabulous industry where so many people and even some of the students that I meet under another hat, say “oh it must be so glamorous, fun and exciting!”

Of course, my peers will know that yes, it has its moments of sheer joy and can be very glamorous but in the most, it’s hard work, long hours, time-consuming, thought-provoking, can be small margins and leaves you constantly spinning saucers and keeping a firm and pleasant “Event Smile” even when you feel like bursting into tears or telling someone exactly what you think of them!

When I look back over the years the negatives and stories are far too long to put in one blog but from having fingers snapped at me for attention, clearing up sick, stopping drunken fall outs, mopping up tears, dealing with tantrums, terror attack threats on the Thames, running out last minute to buy 20 tracksuits despite telling and writing joining instructions to clients that they will need them but they forgot or didn’t read it, suppliers not turning up, flight delays, snowstorms, motorways being shut, staff being sick, coaches full of clients that are delayed for hours and turn up tipsy for their event and upsetting Chef, 500 table centres that keep changing colour from what they are set at are just a small list of things that spring to mind.

As event managers you learn all the time, there are many things you can plan for, have backs ups, reserves, be the biggest control freak, work with the best of the best but weather and forces of nature and everyday things do happen completely out of your control and you often have to have a plan B C D and just get on with things whilst staying calm and smiling. In early meetings with clients, it’s always something we like to emphasise and guide them with. The “What ifs to worry about” or learning the polite “no” that won’t work because……

In a market that is so competitive, although I always believe there is space for everyone, you realise there are still underhand practices sadly, even in this day and age but again resilience and integrity is key. I have always wanted to put my head on the pillow at night knowing I’m genuine, rather than be involved in foul play or bribery. Emails where your clients have forgotten to edit the loop and you read “whatever they offer take 15% off”, or “we can match that proposal ours won’t be any different so we will just give you the price” to name but a few things I have seen glaring back at me on my screen! Trying to avoid the snakes and nasty stinging beasties in the corporate world, you would think that you were back in the 1980s but obviously it isn’t. Even when employed and having the comfort of a monthly salary never did I resort to these tactics. Just the same as not using a venue over commission wars, vouchers or a nice weekend away. Your reputation and clients come first right? Working with a team that are the same way minded, let alone suppliers, venues and clients is key for us at Magnifisense. When writing our business plan and setting agendas and mission statements this was very high up. I recently had been approached by another larger agency that was interested in working with us but only if I was willing to pass on information on a previous job role I had to give their clients/inside knowledge. Yuck! Here comes the slime again from the jungle!

So, turning the big 50 last year and reflecting on my life, work and of late answering questions about my career as a volunteer/facilitator for Worktree. They provide charity career workout for schools and rely on workers of all careers Blue Chip/SME/Freelances, all ages, retired, all trades and industries to give an hour a month to sit in a facilitated carousel with other volunteers whilst the students that move around for 6-minute intervals to ask you questions. Picture it as speed networking! These are some of the of the questions:

  • Q: What did you want to do when left school? A: Nurse in the RAF or Midwife or wasn’t really sure.
  • Q:What was your first job, how did you apply and are you doing the same job? A: Receptionist after leaving college, an advert said Receptionist no experience required in the newspaper, as there was no internet! I had done 2 years at college NNEB and wanted to earn money to go skiing! I sheepishly said “average” on the typewriter and got the job. It was a commercial photographers, I still went skiing but instead of having a gap year I stayed nearly 3 years and fell in love with marketing/advertising and then my career went from sales/marketing/management/ with 5 redundancies thrown in and taking all sorts of jobs quickly to pay the mortgage! I’ve become quite resourceful, humble, learned different skills before getting into full Event Management years ago. The best of the best jobs by far!

So the charity has made me and others reflect on our career paths, again how you plan, get disappointed, how you recover from things out of your control, find out your dream job isn’t, retrain or end up being in jobs that pay well but hate every minute of it or love a job but it doesn’t pay well……………….the list is endless! Another trip through the jungle of unknown territory, bullying bosses, falling from great heights or having to hit the ground running or overcoming challenges and insecurities for your dingo dollars!

I know in the programme they say they love the experience, some got bored, some wouldn’t repeat it, or others would. Some get over phobias and challenged themselves, grew in confidence, found a new person. Again, I relate this to the career path I have led. But now the pure joy of the events industry, the creativity, the challenges, meeting wonderful people in general and now running our own business is the best of the best to date!

SO I AM an Event Planner and I DON’T want out of here!



New Term Blues

Beat those new term blues

Like the rest of this year, the summer holidays have gone super-fast; suddenly we are in September. Unsure whether its psychological; but there appears to be an autumnal chill to the air too.

Irrespective of whether you have had the opportunity to go away or had time off, it can be difficult to get back into a work routine.

As business partners and sisters, Lisa and I have spent August at a slower pace. Visiting hotels, decorating, and organising a family member’s 21st birthday party. Not forgetting the all-important spending time with family and friends. A ‘change is as good as a rest’ and we were glad to slow down for a few weeks. Feeling refreshed, we are now chomping at the bit to refocus on our event business Magnifisense.

Did you know that a shocking two in three people still work whilst on holiday? We have been guilty of that on more than one occasion – not clever!

Taking a break from work can allow you to think about issues that are usually in the back of your mind in everyday life. For instance, worries about an overwhelming workload or which career path to take. A problematic relationship with a colleague could be hindering productivity or a generally feeling of not being valued at work? These factors amongst others can contribute to that sinking feeling of not wanting to return to work. Especially after a break or holiday.

If you are feeling low or anxious about returning to work, here are a few tips to help:

1) When returning to work try not to focus on the negative despite a full inbox! Or a meeting which was postponed until your return. Think about those elements within your job which you do enjoy. New project, catching up with a colleague or visiting your favourite cafe for lunch.

2) Change your workday up a little. Sit in a new place within the office, have lunch with colleagues, learn new skills or help train new colleagues.

3) Bring a little bit of home to your office. According to the Association for Psychological Science; a tidy and more personal work space can improve your mood. Place a photo of your recent holiday on your desk. Position a plant on your desk or move (if possible) so that your desk is near to natural daylight.

4) Avoid a hectic schedule when returning to work. No doubt your inbox will be full; allow time to sort through. Colleagues will want to hear all about your holiday or time off.

5) Focus on small steps, small changes and don’t look too far ahead.

6) Write a list of priorities of jobs you need to complete first.

The above tips are good to put into practice. However, there might be deep-rooted problems which need a different stance. For example problematic relationships with colleagues, or unhappiness at home.

Lisa and I have both worked in jobs where after holidays or on a Sunday night we would dread returning to work. Due to a colleagues selfish actions, general demeanour or not fitting in due to cliques (we know hard to believe!) but makes you feel lonely. Luckily now being directors of our own business; we are grateful for running a business that we love! Knowledge is power and establishing and maintaining our relationships with venue and suppliers takes time. We are grateful for the fabulous people we work with and the different personalities and skills they possess. This allows Magnifisense to deliver events with impact and heart; to us its personal! No client is the same so its important to understand them, and their requirements. Listening is key. Some workplaces are more volatile than others. Most of us will experience friction at some point at work. Even the most patient and conscientious group of colleagues (which we are!) can get upset and frustrated with one another (yes, even as sisters!)

According to CIPD survey Three in ten workers report at least one form of bullying or harassment in the last year. Surely this is the workplace and not being back at school? Not that we condone bullying or harassment and of course shouldn’t have a place anywhere!

Communication is important too in many factors of life. Sometimes we can simply shake hands and agree to disagree. Unfortunately if the situation can’t be resolved, a negative impact occurs.  Conflict can often be transferred to home, which effects personal relationships and family life.

Insights with Magnifisense

One solution to aid with communication is Team Building and Bonding with an added element of learning and development training. This helps both employers and employees understand more about themselves and how to respond to their colleagues.

Beginning with self-and-other-awareness, the training helps people understand why they choose to work the way they do, and why others work differently. Providing an indication of what it might mean for the overall effectiveness of the team. By being aware and applying this understanding, it helps people to build better relationships within work. Some knowledge can actually be utilised within personal lives too! When relationships improve, a domino effect occurs which is fundamental to team success. Which includes productivity, communication, clarity of role and purpose, and team effectiveness.

Team Building Magnifisense

Magnifisense have a list of fun and varied team build/bonding events. We are fortunate to work with a fantastic HR and Leadership Specialist who has over 20 years’ experience. Michelle is passionate about helping people to ‘develop’ themselves and their colleagues. Michelle also looks at ways to streamline work processes. Combining the two, results in growing your business. More importantly resulting in cohesive teams and a happy workplace.

A combination of having fun, learning and being away from the work environment; brings the company/team together. Investing in staff shows that a company cares about not only the company but the well being of its staff. This alone can cause an increase in productivity. 

To conclude if we try and help our own well being and share the benefits of listening, communication, learning and development; it will result in a happier workplace.  With happier staff the holiday blues are a lot less; and Sunday nights or the night before returning to work are enjoyable once again and not a restless night’s sleep. 

Sensory Workshops and Team Building

Sensory Workshops – Why?

Magnifisense’s unique take on the corporate retreat or workshop day led them to create their Sensory Workshops.  Engage your five senses in unique and challenging ways to re-ignite the power they hold.  Learn to Listen better and See clearer in a business environment by invoking your other senses and growing unity with team building.  

Move away from the stale role-play-orientated team building workshops you have used before and reignite the passion your team has for your business.  Delight them with exciting sensory courses and seminars designed to rejuvenate and reawaken their appetite for learning and experience.

Sensory Workshops – How?

Sensory Workshops challenge the delegates to retrain themselves to connect with their full sensory experience, bringing them in tune with themselves, and each other.  Whether that is learning to create a beautiful melodic sound as a team, creating a delicious feast of chocolates, or even creating, marketing and selling their own bespoke perfume or cologne – “Apprentice” Style.

Your team can learn to work together, connect together and grow together in an alternative team building environment which moves people from their comfort zone and into working together.

Sensory Workshops – What?

Covering Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste and Touch, Magnifisense provide something for everyone, and for all budgets.  Take a look at our team building workshops by selecting one of the five senses below.  Looking to cover all five senses in one day?  Why not speak with the team directly to create your own bespoke team building or training day.  


Hands-on workshops drawing on the imagination and building skills in innovation, productivity and resourcefulness.


Grow confidence in your team, encourage communication skills, develop presentation skills and team connection.


Invite non-creatives to move away from logic and into something wild and wonderful.  Build patience, perseverance and tolerance.


Learn to savour the moment. Learn how taste is directly linked to our sense of wellbeing, builds community and supports memory.


Get to know your teams on a personal level. Stimulate the senses, with fragrant workshops and learn how to create harmony with scent.

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Bespoke Fragrance Wedding Favours

Struggling to find wedding favours to suit you?

We are pleased to announce our fragrance wedding favours have been featured in go on take a peek.  Of course there are other businesses featured who are just as thrilled.

Hanami Dream Weddings and Special Occasions is a wedding blog that compiles creates and collates inspiration to celebrate wedding days and personal milestones in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside of the Cotswolds.

So what are wedding favours?

Traditionally given from the bride and groom to the wedding guests to say thank you providing a keepsake of their special day for guests to cherish. The origins came from France in the 16th century; where the aristocracy would give delicate jewel encrusted boxes (bonbonnières) containing sugared almonds or sweets, at their opulent parties and weddings.

Why Sugared almonds?

It was thought that the bitterness of the almonds and the sweetness of the sugar symbolised the bitter-sweetness of marriage. Since then there has been question as to whether it is necessary to have wedding favours.  There is so much choice  but ultimately the decision of course is down to the couples preference taste and budget.

Its important to note that the 5 sweet almonds reflected a thought behind marriage and whilst not as popular now they carry sentiment of Health, Happiness, Wealth, Fertility and Long Life. Wedding favours should reflect the couple getting married and their personality.  Guests want to feel as if they are in a world of the bride and grooms creation.

Our Fragrance Favours

Our fragrance work shop has all always worked well for corporates and stag/hen parties, but we realised there was a gap in the market to turn these into favours for wedding guests or special occasions as table presents.

We talk about the fragrance the couple would like to create, whether it be unisex or a distinct aftershave or perfume and then take them through our 18 blends from Grasse in France (the home of perfume).

We create the fragrances with their choices, sorting out the measurements of each blend. They then have a 30ml atomiser (or larger in their chosen style) or choose either 5ml or 10 ml bottles as the wedding favours. This can also be made into scented candles, room sprays or even scented love hearts or ornaments.

Needless to say the packaging and colours can tie up with their desired coloured scheme. The fragrance then has a certificate and kept on our database if they would like refills or their guests. We work Nationwide and can work in their homes, or hotels or wherever they choose. We are also developing a do it yourself kit for lower budgets, where the couple can receive all the instructions and  equipment and make them themselves.

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Team Away Days – Appreciation Goes A Long Way

Over the weekend whilst in the garden and feeling the warmth of the sun, my mind wanders off to Barbecues.
Here at Magnifisense we like to involve the 5 senses; Barbecues excite our sense of smell, and smell evokes memories.
What memories do you conjure up when you think of barbecues?  I wonder how many would connect the memory to work…an Away Day perhaps?

Taste of Freedom event, held away from your usual work environment allows you to interact with your colleagues in completely different surroundings. This allows you to think differently which can help you tap into your team’s potential.

One business Dean Group understand the benefits of having an Away Day read the benefits here;

So why have an Away Day?  There are many reasons and here are just a few: 

  • It’s a great way to reward your staff
  • Celebrate the launch of a new product
  • Help ease the transition during a company merger
  • Help a new team to come together
  • Help a jaded team rekindle the fire

You can run an event for your smaller team, or even go company wide.  As they say, ‘together everyone achieves more!’

We teamed up with Angela Jowitt of Dolphin Team Development to help you plan a great event with these top tips:

  • Be clear about what you want the event to achieve and keep this as the main point of focus in all your communications
  • Involve the team; what would they like the event to achieve?
  • Are there any issues that need to be addressed?  The event can be a great vehicle to get you talking about them.
  • Allow equal time between talking about the business, the process and having some fun and be clear about where the focus is at each part of the day.

The weather is now perfect for giving the team a little time out which will lead to: 

  • A boost in staff morale
  • A team who feels appreciated and valued for their efforts
  • Increased creativity and innovation, less stagnation within the team/company

Variety is the spice of life; why not consider: 

  • Activity day – with barbecue lunch
  • Canape making
  • Ready Steady ‘There Is No I’ In Team Cooking Frenzy
  • Chocolate Making
  • Sweet Trees
  • Traditional Teambuild
  • Fragrance Making
  • Segway Challenge
  • Form a Rock Band
  • Drum Jamming
  • Traditional Pub Games/outdoor games
  • Quiz
  • Treasure Hunt

Away Days reward your workers for their efforts, sending a clear signal that their work really is valued and appreciated.  ‘After all a person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected’

> Learn more about our Smell Workshops.

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