8 Christmas Party Ideas

From scavenger hunts and mulled wine to a Harry Potter themed do, if you’re looking for something different we’ve put together eight cracking party ideas to ensure your end of year celebrations amaze and show your appreciation for colleagues and guests…(and steer Sandra from Accounts away from ordering that vodka ice-luge in the shape of a teeny Gino D’Acampo).

Scavenger Hunt:
Whether you’re planning your own adventure, or buying an affordable pre-planned guide from Treasure Trails scavenger hunts are a surprisingly fun way to spend an afternoon – especially when they finish at the pub. We’d recommend they start at a pub too, and maybe visit one and/or a Greggs for a festive bake in the middle.

Ugly Sweater Party:
Celebrate the awful with an annual turkey curry buffet and horrific sweaters! Everyone is instructed to wear their ugly sweater – prizes for the most impressive. If you’ve got a Scrooge in the office you might want to procure some back up hideous sweaters and other embarrassing props for good measure. The Chronicle Sunshine Fund are in the middle of their Christmas appeal which aims to raise much needed funds to buy specialist equipment for children in the North East – we’ll be supporting on 14th December. Make like Mark Darcy and pull out that seasonal sweater with the office team for a good cause. Text ‘KNIT18 £2’ to 70070 to donate.

Apres Ski:
Winter is the season to be jolly (tra la la la la), but it isn’t easy to keep jolly when there’s a gale battering your every whim. Perhaps a cosy mountain retreat would provide welcome respite, how handy that there is one on Swan House roundabout. Antler the Alpine haven promises mulled wine, a hearty menu of schnitzel and currywursts. Treat your colleagues to Alpine luxury in the heart of Newcastle, think traditional ski lifts in the heated outdoor garden, wintry ferns and hot chocolate. A winter wonderland and a magical dining experience for those who have embarked on the mountainous excursion of 2018.

Let’s Get Mulled:
Not one to mull over…a mulled party! Mulled wine, mulled cider…what else can you mull? Shortlist have handily mulled every kind of alcohol and can recommend Jagerbombs, Guinness, prosecco and strangely WKD Blue.

Harry Potter:
Everyone loves the schoolboy wizard, right? Let the excitement build as your guests receive their ‘letter from Hogwarts’ inviting them to the Banquet in the Grand Hall. The ‘Grand Hall’ can be full of props, the Sorting Hat, relevant house ties, cauldrons, and owls (if you dare to work with live animals)! You can provide cloaks for your muggle colleagues to be Yule Ball ready. Your guests will thank you after delicious roast beef, buttery mashed potato, topped off with treacle tart. Round the night off with coffees and chocolate frogs. Accio butterbeer…NOW!

Food Truck Rodeo:
The North East is full of insane food specialists so if you’ve got a big audience to please, why not have a food truck rally. Work out a coupon system and get trucks that cater for even the fussiest of pots. Some of our favourites are Scream for Pizza, Chuchos, Meat:Stack, Acropolis, Little FishySimply Cheesecake and Fizzy Tap (yep, drinks too)! Book a band and you’ve got a festiv(e)al vibe with none of the wellies and rancid portaloos.

Christmas around the World:
Apart from playing Féliz Navidad on repeat there are some lovely traditions around the world you could incorporate into your party. Assign each staff member a country to research and they can bring in a Christmas treat from the country. Bagsie ‘Bûche de Noël’, what a centrepiece! Or in Japan fried chicken is THE meal to eat at Christmas. Oh I feel a Christmas quiz coming on! The slightly stranger tradition we’d like to see in action is the Catalan tradition of caga tió or “defecating log”, a grinning creature is carved out of a small log and placed on the dining table, you feed the log fruit, nuts, and sweets, you then beat the log until it excretes goodies…

A personal favourite of ours, we rang in Christmas 2017 with an enchanting wreath making class with Bels Flowers. Beautiful bows, sumptuous greens – Instagram perfection! But there are so many options for a real crafty time – a #GBBO Gingerbread decorating competition, get in teams to decorate Gingerbread homes or blow-your-own glass bauble at the National Glass Centre.

Consider us your BeaconHouse elves, working hard behind the scenes, under the big guy’s shadow (HI SANTA!), talk to us about your dream Christmas party. We can either help you plan or just give you an outlet for festive excitement….call the party hotline anytime!

Our Top 13 Haunting Locations for an Event


  1. Castle Keep, Newcastle
    Reports of ghostly chanting of unseen monks and disembodied screams heard coming from the gallery are enough to set the scene.
  2. Lumley Castle, Durham
    Famously haunted by the ghost of Lily of Lumley. Reportedly her lifeless body was thrown down the well, it’s said she comes up out of the well each night to walk the castle. Fantastic restaurant too…could murder one of their suppers.
  3. Town Moor, Newcastle
    Once the site of Newcastle’s gallows, all you need is the weather to play ball and blanket the moor in a ghostly mist and you might hear the bloodcurdling screams.
  4. Crook Hall, Durham
    One of Durham’s best-known ghosts, the White Lady of Crook Hall will surely RSVP if you invite her to a ball at her own manor. What a VVIP.
  5. Marsden Grotto, South Shields
    Your event can occur in the pub carved into the cliffs but if that isn’t enough Marsden Bay itself has its very own sea monster – Shoney.
  6. Holy Island, Lindisfarne
    What is spookier than being cut off from the mainland, especially when the causeway is ravaged by ferocious tides.
  7. Tyne Theatre, Newcastle
    The ghost of Bob Crowther a stagehand, sadly killed by a stage prop travelling at high velocity. Bob reportedly pushes past patrons. Make sure you don’t sit in his favourite seat in the stalls.
  8. Hancock Museum, Newcastle
    Apparently a mummy wanders the exhibits at night. And it’s not the comforting mother type…
  9. Lit and Phil Society, Newcastle
    Recent video footage showed a fire door opening on its own accord now some will say this is all hot air…or just a blast of air, but it’s a beautiful venue of its own accord so makes the list.
  10. Tynemouth Priory, Tynemouth
    Expect phantom monks praying at a stone in the graveyard. Towards the cliffs this location also offers extremely vintage air raid shelters, double fright for you to get your fangs into.
  11. Victoria Tunnel, Newcastle
    The picture says it all. Let’s hope your guests don’t suffer with claustrophobia.
  12. Newcastle Cathedral, Newcastle
    With not one but two ghosts, you’ll have enough entertainment for guests.
  13. The Mining Institute, Newcastle
    All dark wood and moody lighting, this is one mysterious venue currently closed for refurbishment. Sure the odd ghoul could float through the walls mind.

New Tech Event for the NE…Loading…


Well let us tell you…it’s time for a conference. When arranging meetings, you create memorable experiences, there is nothing that can be compared. With a unique atmosphere, a crowd passionate about the same subject, you learn, meet old friends and make new pals. Delegates leave conferences feeling energised and full of new ideas, with a new tote, t-shirt and stickers for the laptop in tow.

So we were thrilled to be asked by experts in the field, Opencast Software, to bring together like-minded talented specialists in the software industry to deliver the first ‘Build IT Right’.

Build IT Right Conference 2019 aims to showcase the very best that the industry has to offer, highlight trends, expand knowledge and inspire delegates.

Here at BeaconHouse Events we have a proven track record delivering a wide range of events regionally and across the UK, including the Northern Powerhouse Business Summit, BIM Show Live and Dynamo North East events, so we are well placed to create an interesting and informative event for professionals in specialist fields.

What is in store?

  • Inspirational keynotes from high-profile speakers. We have secured broadcaster and author Timandra Harkness as compere and gurus Simon Brown,  creator of C4 software architecture model, and founder of Structurizr,  plus Dave Farley the co-author of Continuous Delivery.
  • There’s also a call for papers open currently if you’ve got an idea we’d love to hear about it Submit Here.
  • Delegates will be able to ‘sharpen the saw’. Everyone needs a break from work to hone their skills and advance learning with new tips and tactics.
  • There is the opportunity to meet people FACE to FACE, the room will be full of experts looking to network, maybe you’ll get a selfie with your business idol, you certainly can’t do that online.
  • It will be fun (well-organised fun we promise!)

Who’s going to be there?

Built IT Right welcomes delegates who speak HTML, CSS, SQL, Java, Bash/Shell, Python, C#, PHP and Klingon.  The audience will be made up of Software Developers, Software Testers, UX Design, Agile Practitioners, Solutions Architects, Software Development Manager / Team Leaders / Development Head, plus aspiring software development professionals.

When attending conferences, you sacrifice money and time, so you need to know it’s right for you. If you have an opinion on How to ‘Build IT Right’, this cool-sounding event has cool people going, that you’ll definitely want to meet.

Are you ready to Build IT Right in Newcastle?

Build IT Right
Crowne Plaza, Stephenson Quarter, Newcastle upon Tyne
Thursday 4th April, 2019.

A – Z of Events

This year, with a summer of long nights, an unexpected heatwave, extended stays in the local beer garden and a string of World Cup successes September has arrived with a jolt. Back to routine it is. The lure of the beer garden diminished, desire to exercise outdoors evaporated, we have the ‘new academic year, new me’ mentality. Swathed in knitwear, armed with a fresh set of stationery (naturally), it’s a new term. As the leaves fall and the slow-cooked Sunday roasts beckon we are re-doing the A-Z the Event Managers way…

A is for AV. Technically, your best friends on-site. Making the lights brighter, the sound clearer and your set look fantastic. NOTE: They can normally be bribed with sweet goods.
B is for BeaconHouse Events. The go to event management agency.
C is for Canapés. Big ones, small ones, fishy ones and vol au vents. They’re our tasty, bite sized fuel source.
D is for ‘Day Delegate Rate’. A package to include all your room hire, food, refreshments and AV (we prefer the DDR with continuous coffee and Fox’s mints).
E is for ETA. We live for schedules with accurately estimated arrival times. Cue hilarity when we also had a conference that was shortened to ETA. What is the ETA of ETA…ETA? ETA? What?!
F is for Festive Soirées. The Christmas Party beckons, you’re sick of trying to please everyone “no, Sharon we can’t have an ice-luge and free-flow Grey Goose”. Remove the stress, let us put the HO HO HO in your holiday season.
G is for Green. Events can produce a lot of waste, we constantly work to reduce ‘one use’ products and seek green alternates as part of our environmental promise to our clients.
H is for Hospitality. Trust us to ensure your guests are wowed and welcomed. We know the best locations, food, drink and entertainment on the market and we always deliver the information with a smile.
I is for Initiative. We have it in spades. Why not have Amazon Alexa’s on hand to give delegates key information, directions to conference rooms and other FAQ’s.
J is for Joy. We go above and beyond to make all the “I’s” are dotted and all the “t’s” are crossed, delegates, sponsors, guests and clients all leave our events with a smile on their face and a ticket for next year.
K is for Keynote. The experts everyone wants to see and hear. We’ve had the pleasure of working with inspirational names such as, Bank of England’s Mark Carney, the infamous Wayne Hemmingway, Tim Smit from The Eden Project, Julian Leighton of Orangebus, Dame Stephanie Shirley, Sir John Thompson, and Snapchat’s Nick Bell to name a few.
L is for Lanyards. They adorn our necks, they become collectors items, colourful, recyclable, sponsorable…they’re great. But, keeping 1,000 lanyards from getting in a knot – that mystery is yet to be solved.
M is for MC. A master of ceremonies, a voice of God, an emcee or compere. Some of the best have an extensive Rolodex of jokes and of source are on our speed dial.
N is for Name Badges. We are exploring some inventive badging solutions at BHE HQ currently. Expect high quality, eco friendly badges at an event near you soon.
O is for Open Bar. A rare species, not often spotted in the wild and close to becoming extinct. Note to self: Plan fundraiser for dwindling open bar numbers, perhaps with an event with an open bar…
P is for Poseur Table. A tall table exclusively for posing on. However, we’re extremely flexible and always allow chatting and drinks resting. We are nice like that.
Q is for Queue. Well versed in queues and crowds, we manage 24,000 guests through the Great North Pasta Party queue annually. Helping the Great North Runners carb load for over 12 years.
R is for Risk Assessment. It’s not always sexy (although we do look good in hard hats), but we are dedicated to Health & Safety across our portfolio.
S is for Solving. Solving problems clients didn’t know they had. It’s one of our superpowers.
T is for Tall Boys, a cost-effective type of banner used at events to maximise branding. It’s cheaper than a pop up banner and more effective. You are welcome.
U is for Umbrellas. Branded umbrellas are a great idea for a multi site or outdoor event. You’ll probably see us in a poncho though, got to have them hands free for the clipboard.
V is for VIPs. We’ve hosted so many we’d love to tell the tales, but then we’d have to kill you.
W is for White Tie. The attire you’d wear to the Embassy and then exclaim, ‘Ambassador with these Rocher you are really spoiling us!’
X is for X-traordinary. We specialise in creating an event experience that is absolutely extraordinary for our clients. We call it ‘standard’.
Y is for YES! We make it happen. Can find a flying pig for your festival? Yes. Can we jump in to help deliver the event in a week? Yes.
Z is for Zoo. A potential venue for your event. Plenary with the platypuses, break out session with the baboons and cocktails with the camels. A perfect day.

We’ll see you soon for your next lesson…

Oot and aboot

When did that happen?  Well, since ‘The Meetings Show’ identified BeaconHouse Events as an organiser of meetings, events, conferences or incentives based in the UK or Europe.

We didn’t think that made us particularly special, but as soon as they confirmed that we met their strict qualification criteria we were quickly whisked into a world of VIP and given access to a premium attendance option to ensure we got all there was to offer at the show.

The Meetings Show’ is the premier event for the inbound and outbound meetings and event industry in the UK, taking place on 27-28 June 2018 at Olympia London.

Since its launch in 2012, The Meetings Show (TMS) has become a must-attend exhibition for event, meeting, conference and incentive planners from the UK and Europe. We’re still quite a young company, only four years in operation and going through a period of ‘scaling up’ TMS was the perfect opportunity to focus on future developments for our ever-growing portfolio (100+ events annually).

NewcastleGateshead Initiative had previously encouraged us to attend through our partnership with them. This year we took the plunge to connect with thousands of industry professionals, to source new suppliers, discover the latest innovations and build new networks.

This is my take on what it meant to my business and myself to be a hosted buyer. Hoping that this post might go some way to influencing you to attend that next “will I – won’t I? “ event.

I live my life by targets, and with having two and half days out of the office I set myself a substantial ‘tick list’ to make the most of my time at the show.

Some of the perks of being a hosted buyer included:

  • Access to a personalised online diary where you can organise your attendance in advance by choosing who you want to meet at times that suit you
  • Complimentary return travel (Newcastle – London), coach transfers in London and accommodation (4* Novotel London West)
  • Exclusive access to onsite lounges with lunch and refreshments throughout the event
  • The opportunity to attend exclusive hosted buyer events and network with 1,000 fellow professionals (including a Welcome Buyer Reception at the Science Museum, London)
  • Access to some VERY attractive post-event fam trips / educational tours – which unfortunately I didn’t have availability to attend.

I hopped off the train at Kings Cross, jumped on the tube and arrived in good time at my hotel. Enough time to freshen up then make way to the ‘Hosted Buyers Reception’ at the Science Museum.

Welcomed by smiling staff and the sultry sounds of a saxophonist we were ushered through a very efficient bag search and registration service. My never-ending glass of prosecco joined me as I explored the history of space travel with Buzz Aldrin and the rest of the hosted buyers. Dubai Business Events, sponsors of TMS made sure no one got peckish with tasty canapés circulating throughout the networking drinks reception. The smart casual crowd were in good spirits as we were whisked upwards to take advantage of some exclusive viewings at the Museum. All whilst enjoying yet more food and drink with a very creative and well-staged ‘street food’ style dining experience. By the time the generous cocktails stopped and the last lobster tail was swept away, I was suitably content and well networked – ready to hop on my chauffeured coach with new friends, back to my temporary London pad next to Hammersmith.

Part of being a hosted buyer means you have an obligation to meet at least 16 exhibitors at the event for a series of 20 minute meetings. This is by no means a small feat – with over 700 of the destinations, hotels, venues, DMC’s and technology providers from the UK and around the world showcasing, you need to choose wisely!

So, up early, quick gym sesh to clear the fuzz from the night before (must’ve been something I ate….). This may not be ‘mention worthy’ to many readers, but my hotel room had two hair dryers, I mean that just NEVER happens, both of which were located…Next. To. Mirrors. I’d been in London for 14 hours and I was already starting to feel like I might move here – I was in some kind of wine me, dine me, hair drying paradise.

Bacon sandwich to-go from the too-much-to-choose-from breakfast buffet, back on my carriage and straight to my oh-so-VIP hosted buyers entrance, again very efficient bag search and registration (is the coach needed? I like walking, gives me a chance to explore and up my step count, my hotel was an 8minute walk from the venue and very easy to navigate).

Thought I was clever and efficient booking all my meetings in the morning – giving me the afternoon to explore sessions and outstanding exhibitors. WRONG. TMS is large. It’s not easy to navigate upon initial arrival (and I did my Duke of Edinburgh…GOLD Award), 15 minutes to get what you need from a meeting and 5 minutes to get to your next appointment is not easy, it’s possible, but by lunch time your mouth is cotton and you’re glazing over giving your elevator pitch. Regardless, this blog post is written retrospectively so (spoiler alert) I survived. Pros, I did indeed have the afternoon to network in the endless opportunities to meet and greet, bask in the balmy VIP aura of the Hosted Buyers Lounge and enjoy a delicious lunch whilst reflecting on what I’d learned that morning.

Part of my tick list was to discover ‘alternate’ venues across the UK and identify new trends in technology to help future proof our event planning. These aims stem from what our clients want, why they stick with us and why we retain our position as event creators and leaders. Exploration, discovery and adoption.

Meeting highlights, starting with a nautical theme…interesting and contender hotels and venue spaces, Liverpool’s ‘Rum Warehouse and Titanic Hotel’ and event space and hotel ‘Titanic Belfast’ – I’m bias being home-grown, but Belfast has LOADS to offer these days, hotels galore and some impressive event space to boot. Watch this space for a Belfast focused post soon…

Learning more about badges, smart wearables and printing tech than I ever thought possible in a few hours, I felt like I’d done a crash course and come out an expert. Thanks to a focused morning I already felt like I had new solutions to offer clients, better systems to introduce to our teams and a great new lease of life on how we can modernise and reduce waste on our events. I felt like Richard Ayoade and Captain Planet at the same time. To pre-emptively celebrate my ecological learning I joined the Titanic Belfast team again for a G&T tipple on their stand advertising favourite street scenes from the Big Smoke (Belfast).

Exhibitors are at TMS to impress. There are so many networking events and hosted dinners that you’re never going to feel at a loose end! Choose wisely and try and get in with a host that you’ll learn something from (new destination, hotel group etc) or forge a meaningful long-term relationship with (national and international DMCs, PCOs, etc).

A full English on day two set me up for more chauffeuring and more meetings. Lots of people seem to only attend one day at TMS but I have no idea how they manage to get everything they want from it in only eight hours. I had another full morning of meetings and was transported from the wonders of Leeds with ‘Conference Leeds’ to the hidden gems of Manchester with ‘Marketing Manager’ planning with their helpful teams on how we could expand many of our events into their impressive city offerings. More badge-making tech and a fantastic chat with our faves at ‘Eventbrite’ set the scene for more back office developments to be established when back in the Toon.

Grabbed a quick lunch in the Hosted Buyers Lounge, took advantage of the chilled out furnishings to catch up on some emails then off to learn about ‘the Death of Traditional Conferences’ at just one of the stages at TMS. Then the end of the show, I couldn’t leave without a friendly catch up with NewcastleGateshead Initiative hosting the giant yellow stand with Sage Gateshead and Hilton NewcastleGateshead  – nor am I sure could anyone who attended TMS! I strolled to collect my luggage from the Buyers Lounge (free of charge cloakroom of course), jumped on my coach to St Pancreas with ample time to catch my scheduled train back to Newcastle.

After 50,000 steps and 28 degree heat I feel like I haven’t touched on even half of the experience that was my first hosted buyer adventure. What I can honestly say was that I had a great time, felt well looked after, learned A LOT and definitely mean to return. Really do your research next time you’re off to an event like TMS; you can’t get the most out of an event unless you read all the information available. Ask questions and take the time to soak up the experience. I’m writing this blog on the way back from the event, sitting in my sun drenched carriage I feel fulfilled and excited about the developments that attending TMS has introduced to BeaconHouse Events.

Thanks TMS!


This month marks the 4th Birthday, we are done being a three-nager, and looking forward to getting into our stride with the feisty four’s.

Make a brew, and join us as we look back at the events and experiences that shaped four extraordinary years, with each team members highlights… (it’s worth it just to see the picture of us in high-vis at the end!)

Sarah Thackray, Director

Dynamo North East was one of our first client events. Dynamo started as a two man volunteer committee with an idea to find out who worked in the IT & tech sector in the NE. From the seed idea, we now deliver an annual events programme for the network including a conference for over 300, an awards ceremony for over 350, a senior leaders dinner and monthly networking and panel events. We also led the development of a membership model for the network and we now manage, administer and oversee this, as well as advising on the financial strategy for the CIC. A brilliant example of growing with one of our clients!

We started the company with only two event contracts. Today we deliver over 100 events and services annually and work with many regional, national and international clients including The Planet Mark, an environmental standard mark; The European Thyroid Association; The Great Run Company; Dynamo North East; Space Group architects; the University Technical College and many others. Perhaps the pinnacle of our growth to date has been the sheer pride we felt when our small team were selected in a competitive tender process to deliver the design and production for the upcoming Great Exhibition of the North’s Business Summit in July 2018. This contract should propel us into the limelight across the North, not just the North East, bringing us more possibility and opportunities in the future.

We are proud to support the event delivery for such a brilliant North East charity as the Chronicle’s Sunshine Fund. Funding essential equipment for some of the North East’s disabled children is such an amazing cause and one that we are delighted to be able to support.  Simply put, our team has become an extension of the charity’s own team. We have adopted their values, mission and culture and continue to support the growth of the charity through the delivery of an exceptional annual events programme.

The future is bright…the future is BeaconHouse Events orange. We have great hopes, and solid plans, to firmly root the company into the fabric of the North East business community. And we are proud that we are already becoming a key part of the region’s ecosystem. We are excited about what is possible, and the organisations – that we are yet to meet – who we can help through the delivery of exceptional events. Our vision has no ceiling, but as we are planners at heart we make sure that our excitement has realistic plans behind it to make sure that our growth will happen.

Catherine Coulter, Director

FOUR YEARS! Wow, well it definitely wouldn’t be the same place to work if a year didn’t go by without us putting the party in pasta as part of the Great North Run weekend. It’s just so amazing for us to be part of an event that brings so much regional pride.

We get to work in the most fantastic venues across the nation but when a client comes to you with a challenge such as converting a modern office block into an exclusive club come cocktail bar come secret garden, well that’s the kind of challenge we thrive upon! Working with Arch Group Northumberland to convert Blyth Workspace for the Tall Ships event in 2016 was just incredible – we absolutely got the opportunity to shake our creative tail feathers and work with some of the most inspiring suppliers across the North East.

Employing staff meant upgrading from our home office and what a learning curve that was! A day spent in IKEA saw us purchase floral cushions and window seating solutions, an awkward office meeting with a tall chap, no place to set a cup of tea and knees up around our ear lobes quickly taught us that an office space needs to be fit for purpose and not an extension of your ‘House and Home’ subscription. Hoults Yard offers us the perfect balance – a cool, trendy establishment that strokes our creative ebb and a collaborative, professional community and suits our scale-up flow. Our first orange wall will always hold a personal point of pride in my heart.

People often ask us how we set up the company, it’s not a story full of drama and big dreams…Sarah and I set the company up because we loved managing events and we’d had feedback that we weren’t bad at doing it. Enter, ‘BeaconHouse Events’ – we stick to that mantra today, we still love managing events and we employ people that feel the same way, you’ll only ever be great at this job if you love it and we only tolerate greatness! We delivered our first couple of events and quickly got a couple more, soon our work continued to grow at pace and we had the confirmation that we were doing something right – the cherry on the cake was winning ‘New Business of the Year’ at the Newcastle Business Awards, recognising our achievements in our first year of business.

Clare Nicholson, Event Coordinator

I take great pride in our continued relationship with Dynamo and its members. It’s a great feeling to know I’ve played a part in growing their events from the Dynamites, to just a casual Monday trip to the House of Lords!

My two-year work anniversary was a real highlight, celebrating 730 glorious days as part of the BeaconHouse team. Excuse the cliché but time really does fly when you are having fun!

It’s a common misconception that event management is all tasting canapes and arranging flowers, and although it doesn’t make up the majority of my time, I’ve been privileged enough to be assisting with some pretty special events for clients including big birthdays and weddings that included lovely flowers and tasty samples. It’s such a pleasure to build a strong personal relationship with the client and there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you have played a part in helping their vision for a special celebration, come to life.

The awesome BeaconHouse crew continues to grow, and while these are four of my highlights, it was also fantastic to be able to welcome Bex, Sophie, Katie and Helen to the team, and of course teach them the ropes, i.e. try and incorporate orange in everything you do. #WeHeartOrange #TeamworkMakesTheDreamwork

Sophie Flanagan, Event and Marketing Manager

Start a new job, start working on an International Film Festival, get to meet mega talented film professionals (and the one and only Jools Holland!!), watch up and coming films, handling Box Office and tickets for over 200 events, manage six screening venues, award the Geordie ‘Oscars’ to the deserving filmmakers. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick and triple tick. Yep organising the first year of Newcastle International Film Festival was exhausting, but extremely rewarding!

My first event onsite with BHE was The Chronicle Sunshine Fund’s Sunflower Ball. Helping to deliver an unforgettable ‘Arabian Nights’ themed evening, providing unique experiences to guests and creating lasting impressions all whilst smashing the fundraising target was such a fantastic feeling.

As event professionals, we want everything to be beautiful. So the introduction of BHE Snap of the Month competition is a once-a-month highlight, I did win the first month, but I am yet to regain my crown, here’s hoping for May. *Quickly scrolls Beyonce’s feed for insta inspo*. Check us out

Putting my marketing geek hat on, a personal highlight has been tackling the beast that is GDPR. Data audits, opt in forms and cleansing data, oh my! It’s like a digital spring clean and it feels so good.

Katie Whitehouse, Event Coordinator

My first ever event with team BHE was the North East Futures UTC open evening held at the BOILER SHOP and hosted by Ubisoft. Over 200 people attended to learn more about this fantastic new school, there were great speeches, great food and lots of fun had by all on the Ubisoft live gaming stands. A perfect first milestone. I only wish I could give out Ubisoft games at every event – we didn’t have a single no-show on our attendance list!

One of our charity clients is The Chronicle Sunshine Fund, we produce an event called ‘The Glass Slipper Awards’ celebrating inspirational women across the North East. Wonderful lunch and delicious cupcakes were had by all but most importantly, we helped the charity raise a brilliant sum in 2018 which will change the lives of children with disabilities in the North East. Go team!!

Decamping to London for the Digital Agenda Impact Awards, held at the unique Oval Space, meant I got to assist delivering my first event outside of the toon! The awards celebrate all digital innovations that improve people’s lives and the world around us, and they certainly made an impact on me!

Newcastle International Film Festival brought cinema across the city, needing over 100 volunteers. No small task, but I recruited, trained and managed and kept 120 volunteers hydrated over the Easter weekend (hint: never under-estimate how much water you need onsite for an event of that scale!). It was fantastic to see the event run smoothly with their assistance, and a pleasure getting to know all the talented individuals.

Helen Barthorpe, Event Manager

BIM Show Live 2018 was the first large scale event I worked on at BHE. At the end of four busy, high energy, long, snow-filled days we got to the end of the conference. The client was so happy with the event that he personally thanked and hugged us all! We all then proceeded to the pub…well deserved beer always tastes better!

I’ve loved working on Wild at Kielder Festival. It’s been great to help pull together a full and exiting programme of activities. It was funny when my boyfriend asked me “How has your day been?” I said “Brilliant! The Alpaca walks are nearly sold out!” to which he replied “That’s a sentence I never thought you’d say..”

Being a part of the GEOTN pitch was a fantastic experience. Preparing the pitch with Cat, Sarah and Wayne Hemingway was exciting and bursting with ideas. The pitch itself was very serious and nerve wracking. We left the pitch feeling good but unsure who we’d be up against. To win the bid was a fantastic feeling!

Our first BHE team building evening is definitely one of my highlights. The Escape Room was a great way to see everyone’s true personalities. We all came together and succeeded as a great (and very competitive) team! Afterwards, we proceeded to eat all of the tapas and drink most of the drinks in Newcastle.

Proof of our victory at the escape room:

Here are BHE HQ we are looking forward to another year of highlights, thanks to all our clients and supporters, we couldn’t have done it without you. We will see you for (orange) jelly and ice cream on the 5th Birthday!

Decoding The Dress Code

The invites for Windsor Castle have a strict code ‘Dress: uniform, morning coat or lounge suit / day dress with hat’ but what do those options actually mean?

Heavily decorated and in the military? Polish those medals and you’re good to go.

Standard for most formal British weddings. Morning coats with tails are always a dapper option for gents.

Don’t get too comfortable, lounge does not mean casual, but dark business suit according to the authority on etiquette, Debrett’s. A full cashmere tracksuit or god forbid, a velour Juicy Couture number would have her Majesty banishing you from the Palace.

If you don’t have a hat, you are not getting in. Go big or go home, fascinators need not apply. I’d take inspiration from Princess Eugenie and Beatrice, as they’ve proved at previous occasions, they have a keen eye for striking design.

And for all your non-royal invites…

Perhaps the most popular dress code for formal events in the social calendar. For men, a tuxedo, complete with bow tie. For women, it is slightly more vague. A full-length dress is normally preferred over a short cocktail dress although generally speaking any respectable, formal dress will do in these modern times. And we are all for the tailored jumpsuit option à la Bianca Jagger.

Cocktail dresses are usually more vivid in colour and have a more ‘interesting’ design for the ladies, and gents are stuck with a dark suit and tie again. There are some jazzy ties out there…

When the Ambassador invites you to a reception this means full evening dress. The most formal evening dress code with women expected to wear a floor length dress and gloves for shaking hands and dancing only removed for eating, and Tiaras (yes, really) are only acceptable for married women. After all that effort let’s hope you get a chance to exclaim ‘Ambassador, with these Rocher you are really spoiling us!’

Arguably most common for formal day time events, such as conferences. These occasions are often more work than social and therefore you are representing yourself and your business. Suit and tie is normal for men, and for women, a tailored dress, skirt or trousers and blazer are perfect.

For a more relaxed event, some organisers will opt for a business casual dress code. For ladies no jeans or trainers – simple as, or if you must, balance out denim with a tailored jacket. For males this could be trousers and collared shirt, but you can leave your tie at home (saves you from tying it on your head later if there are too many complimentary beverages).

This is not what it says on the tin, unless of course your fancy dress is mimicking Little Bo Peep or Marie Antoinette. Fancy dress can always be amusing. However, if you have to hire something we advise you learn from Prince Harry’s mistakes and avoid the Nazi uniform and ALWAYS opt for the head of the panto horse.

Women Who Inspire Us


It is 100 years since women (over 30 and ‘of property’) were given the right to vote in the UK, and a little more since suffragette Emily Wilding Davison threw herself in front of the King’s horse to fight for this right, we celebrate the current trailblazers making a difference in our world.

Sherry Coutu CBE
Sherry has been instrumental in the exceptional growth of the digital economy in the North of England and Scotland.  A serial investor, entrepreneur and non-executive director, she also chairs Founders4Schools, a project which brings female founders into schools, an initiative we are very passionate about, and thrilled to be involved with.

Irene Dorner & Jayne Anne Gadhia
Virgin Money has become the only FTSE 350-listed company with women in top two positions, making waves for gender equality in leading roles, with Jayne passionate about harnessing the talents of women in finance. Two women at the helm…we might be bias, but we’d say it’s a winning combination.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
As a Paralympic athlete she won medals at five successive Paralympic Games but currently her work as a patron for numerous charities lands her on our list.

Lauren Laverne
Lauren Laverne is a multi-award winning broadcaster. Alongside her work on BBC Radio Laverne is also co-founder of women’s online magazine The Pool, producing ‘interesting, inspiring and original content for busy women.’ Currently curating Great Northern Soundtrack gigs at Sage Gateshead for #getnorth2018, we can’t wait to see what she is working on next.

Rose McGowan
As one of the first women to speak out about Harvey Weinstein, she has helped to ignite a revolution in Hollywood, which is being felt across the globe with the #MeToo campaign.

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman is an Oscar winning actress and Harvard graduate who tirelessly campaigns for women’s and girl’s rights to education, along with being an Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International. It’s not hard to see why she is an inspiration.

Giselle Stewart OBE
Giselle is blazing a trail in a traditionally male dominated industry, with her role at Ubisoft. Passionate about the links between education and industry, she is a trustee of North East Futures, the UTC college, dedicated to the creative, digital, IT, and health sciences sectors, opening this September in the Stephenson Quarter.

Serena Williams
At just 35 years old, Serena Williams has achieved phenomenal success winning 39 grand slam titles during her career. A remarkable athlete who has spoke out about the gender pay gap. In Porter Magazine she wrote ‘I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Nor would you’.

Celebrate women in style, at the Ladies Who Mean Business Lunch on the 28th March at the Assembly Rooms as Newcastle International Film Festival host a lunch celebrating the incredible women who have helped shape history and inspire millions over the past century. The luncheon will host a panel discussion with influential women from all industries discussing a series of topics. The event will feature a Wonder Woman Wall, highlighting 100 inspiring women, 100 years on, for information on sponsoring a woman on the wall or tickets for the event please contact sophie@newcastlefestival.co.uk. There are limited women left to sponsor and we’ve just nabbed Natalie Portman and Serena Williams!


6 Great Reasons to Volunteer in 2018

What’s that? You just heard about this great new series to watch…here’s why you should give up your time instead…



Your employment prospects will immediately improve, FACT.

Who do you think is getting an interview for that job? Elmo with a one page CV, no experience but ‘likes socialising’ or Anita with volunteering experience at three high profile events including the UK’s LARGEST Pasta Party?

“Oh hello Anita, what’s that? Strong with two sugars…no problem” *Anita settling into her new job.



You will learn new skills working on events. If you like filing that’s fine, but you could be honing your customer service skills on registration, greeting international speakers with a winning smile, making a dent in your 10,000 steps doing stage management, access to restricted events, learning how backstage events operate or gaining knowledge from inspirational industry speakers…for free.



Trying something new by taking on an event volunteer role will expand your horizons, give you a sense of pride and identity, and leave you beaming, glowing or perhaps perspiring after a shift with a great event team.



We hire friendly. We are a friendly bunch and so are the rest of our recruits it’s a prerequisite. You’ll meet likeminded people and bond over shared experiences. Unless your middle name is ‘Lazy’, we know you’ll fit in.



We event hard and party (eat left over conference buffet) harder.



No, seriously! Research has found that volunteering can boost your immune system and help you sleep better (not just from exhaustion)!

It can be hard to know where to begin if you’ve never volunteered for an event.

Fortunately, we can steer you in the right direction. We offer opportunities to work on a wide range of events from glittering VIP dinners, conferences, exhibitions, festivals (film to wildlife!) and everything in between. We’ll be able to match you with an event that suits your availability and interest area. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment; the odd shift when you are available really makes a difference.

Sign up to hear about our opportunities here:

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At BeaconHouse Events we take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to administer your account for volunteering opportunities. Your details will not be shared for marketing purposes.

The BeaconHouse Guide to Making Newcastle Your (event) Home…

We love organising events in and around this beautiful city but if you are contemplating Newcastle as a location for your conference, meeting, AGM or event our city guide has everything you need to know to affirm the ‘toon’ is the perfect backdrop for your event. Let us guide you…

Seven bridges connect Newcastle and neighbouring Gateshead, offering people a great place to live, work and visit. The birthplace of Byker Grove and Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner (whom non-Geordies may know better as Sting) to the world-famous Greggs pasties, you simply can’t say no to the welcoming native accent. Along with a rich heritage of industry and innovation all whilst being passionate about the future, it is obvious why so many want to ‘gan yem’ to the toon.

With the likes of Sage Gateshead, The Boiler Shop, an array of hotels and other unique venues there are plenty of options to choose from. The fantastic transport links by road, rail and air allows easy access into the city so we are ready to welcome everyone flocking up the A1. You’ll see, it ‘aint grim up North.

NEWCASTLE CASTLE is a must see steeped in 800 years of history (don’t forget to exit via the gift shop).

If you fancy donning a hard hat and travelling beneath the city, book THE VICTORIA TUNNEL tour, a mineshaft-cum air raid shelter is truly extraordinary, but not for the faint of heart.

GRAINGER MARKET covers all your shopping needs, butchers, bakers, a Marks & Spencer Penny Bazaar, patisseries, florists, delicatessens and street food galore.

If you have a thing for tile floors the CENTRAL ARCADE is an Instagram worthy stop off.

WYLAM BREWERY or its full title The Palace of Arts, is a microbrewery hosting gigs, food fests and tours, don’t miss.

The reet canny TYNESIDE CINEMA is unique in the UK, with free Newsreel screenings every day at 11:15 and delicious popcorn to boot.

THE LIT AND PHIL is the perfect spot to take a moment and settle into a book, be inspired by their collection of over 150,000 works of literature in beautifully historic surroundings.

No trip to the North East would be complete without a photo at THE ANGEL OF THE NORTH, spread your wings and #Selfie.

Take a route straight through what is known as parklife…or JESMOND DENE, Lord William Armstrong a Victorian manufacturer kindly diverted a river through the valley and planted the gardens, so we could have a place of outstanding natural beauty in the city.

We love stotties and Broon Ale, but we have so much more to offer in terms of bait. At the COOK HOUSE, you can have lunch in a shipping container which comes with the seal of approval from Michel Roux Jr. Or if you fancy dining in the banqueting hall where Edward III received John Balliol in 1334 then BLACKFRIARS is perfect for locally sourced fare. We have a Michelin starred restaurant (yeah you heard Manchester!), the fantastic HOUSE OF TIDES serves delectable tasting menus on the quayside. PEACE & LOAF gets a mention thanks to the plethora of snacks served along with your meal, mini loaves, amuse bouche, canapés, and palate cleansers, this is fine dining just a little bit cooler and chilled out. And for views we can’t miss out SIX, see the Tyne in its full glory from the sixth floor of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. We have the best burgers at MEAT:STACK, sensational Chinese at HEI HEI and authentic Neapolitan pizzas at CAL’S OWN. Pack your stretchy trousers.

Radio 4 listeners applaud our beautiful Georgian GREY STREET as the most beautiful in the UK crowned at the top with Grey’s Monument. It is full of restaurants and bars, most notably you can become a gin connoisseur with a visit to DECANTUS and PLEASED TO MEET YOU just off Grey Street, two bars dedicated to the distilled tipple and a great start to any neet out on the toon.

Dates for your Diary

Rolling out the red carpet NEWCASTLE FILM FESTIVAL is set to be a blockbuster of an event this Easter 29 March – 1 April.

If you fancy a day trip, or want to have a wild weekend travel further afield and get WILD AT KIELDER 6 – 7 May

With just a few tit bits having been released, we can’t wait for the full programme of GREAT EXHIBITION OF THE NORTH, 22 June – 9 September.

Start training now and get your place in the world famous GREAT NORTH RUN, Sunday 9 September.

Need to know

Climate: Cold* with a warm welcome
Currency: Pund
Religion: Majority worship at the Church of Shearer
Language: Geordie
When to visit: Any day of the year, we are always open!

*A coat is never required and will culturally be better accepted.

Perfect gifts for the organised person in your life…

So, if you’re a disheveled friend, loved one or co-worker of a super deserving event organiser, here are some gift-giving ideas so you can channel Mr Claus rather than the forgetful Mr & Mrs McCallister in Home Alone.

BeaconHouse Christmas Gift Guide

Pact Coffee            3AM Journal                Hydration Dot
(l-r, An event organisers food groups are as follows; Caffeine, Carbs, Jelly Beans, Caffeine and Caffeine. Buy this subscription to their heart; Pact Coffee,
Sometimes the best ideas come in your dreams; 3am Journal, Racing about onsite means organisers sometimes need a little watering, keep your event organiser hydrated with this nifty gadget which logs water consumption; Joseph Joseph Dot Hydration)


Tom Dixon            Minimergency Kit            Diary 2018

(l-r, Stylish, organised, copper, tick tick tick; Tom Dixon Desk Organiser,  They are always prepared, but make sure they are always prepared in style; Minimergecny Kit, We are all for the cloud based diary management, but couldn’t resist this agenda; Sloane Stationary Diary)

Birchbox            Spa Vouchers             Granola For Gangsters

(l-r Travelling all over means a subscription to miniature beauty buys is a no-brainer: Birchbox Subscription, Hold the Sellotape, vouchers for a Spa would be the perfect retreat for a tired event organisers tootsies. Locally we recommend Seaham, Ramside and Rockliffe Hall: Spa Vouchers, And just because…Gangster Granola)

If all else fails, warm their hearts with a festive knit.

We’ll be supporting the local Christmas Jumper campaign from The Chronicle Sunshine Fund on 15th December. Make like Mark Darcy and pull out that seasonal sweater with the office team for a good cause. Text ‘SFCA17 £2’ TO 70070 to donate.

Our favourites:

Christmas is Coming              Feliz Navidog             The Boss of Christmas

Once you’ve tackled your shopping list, let the ‘wrapologists’ take care of the gift wrapping.

From 8th December to 24th December The Children’s Foundation will be wrapping busy shoppers presents in exchange for charitable donations in Eldon Square.

The Elves of BeaconHouse will be volunteering their nimble fingers on the 15th and 18th, so come along and have your presents beautifully wrapped.

Reader, I think you’ll find that is Christmas…done.

Event Management in Newcastle: A day in the life of an Event & Marketing Manager

Over the past month I have been planning for an international film festival, worked onsite at an #OfficeRocksNE networking event, overseen marketing activity for various charity events, as well as seeking out new venues. Venue finding is such an important element, the clients we work with expect the best and we deliver. If Carlsberg did venue searches…

My day usually starts at around 8.45am. I begin by checking through emails and tasks via our project management software Basecamp. I have quite a task list to get through today. Firstly, I need to send out some enquires to suppliers. I am researching award trophies for the aforementioned Newcastle Film Festival. It is a blockbuster of an event which was dreamed up a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away by the inspirational Jacqui Miller-Charlton, and trust me it’s going to be out of this world. The date for your diary is 29th March – 1st April 2018. I’m so excited for you to see what the team has been planning and you can find out more on the website.Once I find a supplier suitable for the job of creating awards to rival the Oscars, we’ll send a proposal to the client to choose from with our recommendations.

Next, I pop my marketing hat on (it’s sparkly – naturally). We are currently recruiting for a couple of new positions, Event Coordinator and a maternity cover Event Manager, so I’m making plans on how we will advertise. I take time to create content that can be used over social media and in a newsletter to the team of lovely volunteers and event staff we’ve worked with on previous events. (Deadline is Wednesday 8 November if you are on the hunt)


Morning over and it’s lunchtime. We are based at Hoult’s Yard, so enter – Yard Food. Their ‘sammiches’ and soups are the hearty fuel that fires the BeaconHouse team engines.

2pm: This afternoon I’m looking at a newsletter for a charity event we produce with The Chronicle Sunshine Fund, Celebrity Question of Sport,. It will be held at the Hilton NewcastleGateshead on the 30th November with some pretty special guests. I create some copy for the newsletter, edit a template that my colleague Bex, the Event Manager on that project had already started, then send over for final approval. We’ll schedule the newsletter to hit that afternoon or for mid-morning the following day as we are targeting a list of business emails.

Tonight we have the #Dynamites17 Award Dinner, my colleagues have been onsite at the venue all day. I’m heading over at 4pm to lend a hand. I’ll be taking over the client’s social media to live tweet the winners. Before leaving the office, I flag any emails that need a response tomorrow and update Basecamp, satisfyingly ticking off tasks completed, and updating any outstanding duties.

Upon arriving at Newcastle Civic Centre I get stuck in with the team, adding the finishing touches to the tables, making sure each setting is perfect. Then we take a moment check off all jobs on the event schedule led by Clare who is running this event. Next up it’s the ever-so-glamorous quick change in the loos to be ready to receive sponsors, award shortlistees and guests to the event.

Once the champagne reception is complete and guests are sitting, the first accolades are awarded. I observe the action in the room and provide commentary on twitter and engage with conversations occurring on the event hashtag. Twitter is excitingly busy with chat regarding the hosts spectacular on-brand orange suit! Being super organised, I have all sponsor and potential winner tags ready to go as it’s essential we tag the correct accounts in a timely manner. Dinner is served to the guests and the events team re-group upstairs for some slightly less fancy fare. At this point I’m able to excuse myself, while my colleagues continue providing onsite management and merriment until the early hours.

Working in events isn’t for everyone. You need to gear up for seriously hard work, have a level head, expect the unexpected, don some comfy heels…but wow… it also has its perks, seeing your client smile after a year of preparation, working in amazing spaces, learning new skills every day, being part of a team that really cares about what they do, NEVER having the Sunday blues, and the FREE food helps! It certainly is the job of a lifetime for a to do list loving type like me.