Events bring sparkle and joy into my day-to-day life. They give me a reason to power through a morning workout and to work productively during the day, so I can finish work on time to go to my evening events. They make an ordinary day become extraordinary and, the best thing of all, is that all events I go to are free. So, in the rare occasions when I don't have an amazing experience, the only regret I have is that of the wasted time - but that doesn't happen very often and it is still a learning experience.
More than excitement, events bring structure into my life. As I book myself into a lot of events, spread across several months to come, I know what I am meant to be doing each and every day and, most importantly, how to make the most of my free time at weekends.
Before I started going to events I was stuck into the routine that the 9-to-5 workday brings: wake up, go to work, come home, have dinner, watch TV or surf the internet, sleep and repeat. I was bored and unproductive. I didn't have anything to look forward to at the end of my work day and, worse off, nothing to incentivise me to finish work on time (apart from getting home quicker). I was uninspired and uninterested. I didn't know what to do with myself at weekends, apart from working out, cooking and making myself busy with domestic chores. Shopping, running or, in the summer, sunbathing in the park were my main reasons to leave the house. But my life changed when I discovered the wonderful world of events.
My journey of going to events started with the Sweaty Betty in-store yoga classes in early 2016. I still remember how I was in the kitchen one Saturday afternoon and I recalled how one evening the year before I read an article that was promoting free workouts. The in-store classes at Sweaty Betty caught my attention, but I took my mind off it, as there were no Sweaty Betty stores close to me. However, one year later, when I moved house, the idea of working out with a fitness brand popped back into my mind, so I feverishly started researching Sweaty Betty in store classes. And I was so happy when I realised that the yoga classes in Sweaty Betty were still happening and that there was a store in Wimbledon, half an hour drive away from me that was hosting classes every Saturday at lunchtime.
Concomitantly with finding the Sweaty Betty in-store classes, I came across a flyer which was advertising various cultural events and activities in the City of London, near my workplace. They were all months away from the moment I was reading about them and I knew I needed to use a system to help me remember them. Google calendar seemed like the most effective tool for this purpose and this was a stepping stone in my event management pursuits.
After a while, I got a bit tired of the same Sweaty Betty yoga classes and my mind started thinking of different activities. At the same time I was inspired by an Australian fitness blogger who mentioned the brand "Lululemon" in one of her videos. I hadn't heard of this brand before, but I imagined that they must have a store in London and, further, that they must organise in-store classes – just like Sweaty Betty. It’s amazing what an imaginative thinker experience and motivation make you to be. However, my relationship with Lululemon was a bit bumpy at first. The first few times I went on their their website, I kept being redirected to their Canadian and Australian in-store events. Finally, after some digging and searching I managed to find their Sunday morning yoga classes in the Regent's Street store. The next Sunday I was there on the mat, doing yoga poses and already thinking of my next adventure.
One thing led to another and somehow I discovered Eventbrite where the majority of Lululemon stores post their events. My relationship with Eventbrite is a bit blurred, I can't remember when or how I started using it and for a long time I thought it was called “Eventbride”- which made perfect sense to me because brides are often heavily involved in organising the biggest event of their lives. However, now Eventbrite is such a big part of my life - I check it at least every other day and I love the excitement I get when I see a new event that I want to go to. Before Eventbrite, I was mainly relying on email newsletters to notify me of any interesting upcoming events.
Eventually, I took things up a notch and started using Eventbrite for all sort of event searching from free spa experiences and pampering sessions, to workouts and running races, all the way through to flower workshops and coffee tastings. My Google calendar is now full with daily events and activities that I so much look forward to. My weekends are always booked up with back-to-back and often concurrent events (where I am put in the difficult situation of choosing the best one - often a hard decision to make). There are days when I go to two or even three events, which makes it a juggling act. When I think about this, I realise how far I’ve become from being bored and uninspired to becoming quite creative with how I spend and use my time, to be able to get things done and quickly get from one place to another. For example, one day this week, I started the day with a breakfast networking event in the City, followed by a lunchtime facial at Space NK in Covent Garden and finished with an immersive sound and relaxation experience at the Sonos store.
And when I think of the eventful week I’ve had this week, I feel so accomplished. On Monday I went to an acro yoga class after work. Then on Tuesday morning I went to the 7 a.m. Fitstival in London Bridge followed by a flower workshop at Anthropologie in anticipation of Chelsea Flower Show. On Wednesday, I have two events to get to after work: Michael Kors store party on Regent's Street, followed by candlelight yoga with Prosecco and Khiel's pampering session on King's Road. Then on Thursday I started my day with a vigorous gym session, to power me through half of day of work, then I went to the E-commerce lunch club at Gordon Ramsay's Heddon Street Kitchen where I got to learn about how to use artificial intelligence to captivate and entertain customers via virtual retail theatre and ended the day with a running event at Asics where I got to run through the Royal Parks and listen to ultra runners talk about their running motivation and inspiration. I kept Friday relatively uneventful, to regain my energy for the big weekend to come. On Saturday, me and my partner went to Chelsea to join the Lululemon run club for a 10K around Hyde Park and the enjoyed the RHS Flower Show in full bloom. It was a delightful day with all shops displaying the most exquisite flower displays - a true art form. On Sunday, we started the day by going to the Bagel Breakfast Break pop-up in Shoreditch for blueberry cheesecake bagels and coffee followed by a buffet of workouts at the Adidas' House of SolarBoost where we got to do running drills, core work, pilates and yoga in the latest Solarboost trainers as well as to enjoy smoothies and energy balls.
This busy schedule and my determination to make it to all of these events I have in one day and to enjoy them fully bring in me the motivation to power through my workday to finish on time. Often, I do have to run from one place to another. A typical day for me starts with a run to the train station to catch the first train of the day, then a run from the train station to the gym or event venue, followed by a run to the office, followed by a run to my evening event. However, this is part of the fun for me, as I love living on the edge and squeezing in as much into my day as I can. This way of living inevitably brings in a bit of unscheduled workout (running), which gives me the energy that powers me through to the next activity. It is blissful and even though I feel tired at the end of the day, I go to bed feeling accomplished that I managed to organise myself and my time wisely, to be able to get to all the places and do all the things I want to do in that day. I love the feeling of exhaustion at the end of each day.
I hope that, with this article, I have inspired you to not fall for the ordinary. Seek out events and activities that bring bliss into your life. You might think it's a shallow pursuit, but, on second thought, you might appreciate that someone has put in the work and the effort to create an enjoyable way for you to spend your free time, to help you meet people, discover, learn and enjoy yourself. I am always grateful when I think about this, because I know how dull my life would be (and used to be) otherwise. Most of the the events I go to are fitness related, but that's because they make exercising, an otherwise boring and tedious chore, into a fun and social activity.
So, I will end this event memoir, by expressing my gratitude to the Eventbrite team, for having created a great platform that enables and encourages brands and companies to bring to our attention the most wonderful events. I would also like to thank event organisers, companies like Lululemon, Adidas, One Ldn, Third Space, Konditor & Cook, Oasis, Anthropologie, Clarins, Rituals and many others for opening their doors and making their events so accessible to everyone and for taking the time to publish them on Eventbrite so everyone can learn about them. Thank you for bringing a bit of magic into my life. I am forever grateful.