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Cibo, Caffè e Spritz.

Italy is the nation of incredible food, coffee and wine. Naples is the capital of pizza. I’m very happy here. Molto bene.

Naples is awash with caffès, trattorias, pizzerias, food stands, pasticceria and more. In the short time we’ve lived here, I’ve eaten very well. A little too well. Below are my highlights and I’ll be adding to these as we go along.

 

Pizzas: expect to queue for all of the below…

Sorbillo: Via dei Tribunali. The most famous of the Sorbillo family pizzerias. It’s not my favourite,  but it’s good.

Zia Esterina: Try Sorbillo’s Pizza Fritte. I love the Provola e Pepe, which is smoked cheese and pepper. Wash down with a Nastro in Piazza Plebiscito.

Di Matteo: Forever in my heart as it’s the first Neapolitan pizza I tried. Don’t expect silver service, but do try the Arancino. The Salsiccia e Friarielli pizza is A+++.

Da Michele: You’ll see a few pics of Julia Roberts, she visited this pizzeria in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. A Neapolitan institution. You can order a Margherita or Marinara here. Nothing else. It’s worth the wait.

La Notizia: Of all the pizzas I’ve had in Naples, La Notizia took me by total surprise. I wasn’t quite expecting the incredible flavour combination of the Santa Lucia. Anchovies, black olives and tomatoes. Utterly delicious. We also may have tried the dessert pizza – dark chocolate melted in a folded pizza base. Oh wow.

50 Kalo: Oh yes. A carbonara pizza. Incredible.

Concettina ai Tre Santi: The yellow tomato pizza is unreal. Oh, try the Genovese Frittatine too.

Da Attilio: The star-shaped ricotta stuffed crust pizzas are exceptional, this place isn’t nearly famous enough.

Attanasio: If you’ve never heard of a Tronchetto pizza, I urge you to go here and try it.

 

Restaurants.

Da Nennella: utterly frenetic, the food is very rustic, but its really good fun and costs very little.

Nanni: a wee gem we found on a Sunday. Most places were closed, but this place was full of Italian families having a Sunday get together. Beautiful food, fantastic service and super prices.

Trattoria Medina: Scarpetta, Mozzarella, Arancino… Pasta, provola e patate… Wow. Service is world class too.

La Taverna di Santa Chiara: a gem in the Historic Centre. Beautiful little place, delicious slow food. Incredible meatballs.

Tandem: THE place to get Ragu or Pasta alla Genovese.

Puok: Tommi’s in Copenhagen is absolutely superb, but I don’t think the Django will ever be beaten in my best burger books.

Prosciutteria: From Tagliere to Paninis, really delicious, simple food with an excellent wine list.

A Figlia da Maruzzara: Spaghetti Vongole and superb service. Not to mention perfect Pastiera.

Pescheria Azzurra: A fish stall in Pignasecca market with a small restaurant attached. Fresh seafood and perfectly al dente pasta. An absolute bargain.

 

Coffee.

The Neapolitans are particular about coffee. Preferably no sugar (amaro), definitely no milk, and the cup must be hot.

Passalacqua is my favourite brand, served in Mexico Coffee Bars around the city.

 

Sweet Treats.

Pintauro: The home of exceptional Sfogliatelle. I prefer frolla (shortcrust pastry), while others prefer the riche variety (filo).

Mary’s: In Galleria Umberto you’ll find Mary’s. Always with a substantial queue and for good reason. Their Zeppole (the ridged fried donut with creme pat) are fantastic. Zeppole are traditionally given and eaten on Father’s Day.

Poppella: Fiocco di Neve ‘til I die. The most heavenly little cream bun. Try the original flavour, a very light donut filled with sweet ricotta and cream.

Menella: In my opinion, the best gelato in Napoli.

Casa Infante: A close second to Menella, particularly the Fondente.

 

Aperitivo.

Enoteca Belladonne: Fantastic wine bar in Chiaia with hot and cold bites.

Gran Bar Riviera: Truly quaint cafe bar and fantastic value for money. 

Barril: An outdoor / indoor sort of set up. Delicious (and generous) aperitivo. 

Intra Moenia: A Parisian feeling to this Piazza Bellini based bar/publishers. 

Ceraldi Caffe: Pop in for a Spritz post Via Toledo shopping and be spoiled by the plate of bites.

 

Bars.

Liquid Spirits: Charming bar just off the madness of Piazza San Domenica Maggiore. Downstairs is a fantastic event space with a view of Roman walls. 

Libreria Bresario: 5€ Amaretto Sour – best I’ve ever tasted. Cocktail bar in a book shop. Thursday is jazz night.

Cammarota Spritz: Not for the faint-hearted. 1€ Spritz, not of high quality, but it’s all good fun and next door to Nennella.

Spuzzule: Great wine bar off Via Toledo. 

Oak: A plethora of beers, board games AND free clementines. 

 

 

“Vedi Napoli e poi muori”

I’ve lived in Napoli since January 2018. I’ve tried to explore as much of the city as possible, but I think you could live a lifetime here and never see it all. You can read my love letter here.

It goes without saying that the food is unreal. There’s a list of favoured places here. I’ve put on a few pounds since I moved here, any regrets? Nope.

The quote is “See Naples and die” so I’ve compiled a few places that I love.

 

Views

It is essential that you view Napoli from a good vantage point. Here are a few good places.

  • Certosa di San Martino: 6
  • Castel Sant Elmo: 5
  • Scale del Petraio: Free
  • Parco Floridiana: Free
  • Parco Virgiliano: Free
  • Capodimonte: Free
  • Lungomare

 

Churches & Resting Places

The Duomo – A must see. Try to go during a service, but respect the silence. You can’t walk around the outside of the Duomo, you can only see the facade. Visit the crypt under the altar. 

Gesu Nuovo – Don’t judge a book by its cover. A behemoth of a church, brutal from the outside, opulent as anything on the inside. 

Santa Chiara – Modern church built within the ruins of an ancient church. Beautiful cloisters with original Majolica tiles and access to the remains of a Roman Bath.  

Sansevero Capella – The most incredible sculptures you’ll ever see. Book tickets in advance to beat the queues. 

Cimitero delle Fontanelle – Bones. Piles upon piles of bones. Read the history before visiting. 

San Gaudioso Catacombs – You must do the guided tour, the story of the preparation of the bodies is pretty intense. 

 

Piazzas

Plebiscito – a beautiful, expansive Piazza, the church in the centre of the curved columns is stunning.

San Domenico Maggiore and Piazetta Nilo – where the students hang out. Lots of bars and places to sit and take a pause.

Piazza Bellini – another favourite with students.

 

Markets

Porta Nolana Market – vibrant food market!

Pignasecca Market – fruit, fish, clothes… it’s full of hustle and bustle. 

 

Instagram Spots

Doll Hospital 

Santi Marcellino e Festo 

Palazzo della Borsa 

Palazzo dello Spagnuolo 

Metro stations!

 

Museums and Buildings

MANN – Archeological Museum, lots to see. 

Madre – Modern Art Museum, can easily be seen in around 1.5 hours, but worth a trip. 

San Carlo – If you can’t see a show here, make sure you do one of the guided tours. It’s the oldest theatre in the world.

Palazzo Reale – The staircase in the Royal Palace is incredible, as is the private theatre. 

Castel del’Ovo – The ‘Egg Castle’ in the sea is a beautiful 

 

Napoli Tips

  • Scooters – Don’t jump out of the way of scooters. They’ll go around you. 
  • Crossing the road – You must be brave and simply walk out on the road, otherwise you’ll be standing there forever. 
  • Metro – It’s useful for long distances, but it’s often quicker to walk. 
  • Coffee – At the bar is cheaper than at the table. Amaro = no sugar. The cup will be v hot. 
  • Taxis – They are incredibly expensive. Always check the price against the chart on the back of the Driver’s chair. 
  • Language – A little ‘grazie’, ‘buongiorno’ and ‘buonasera’ will get you a long way. Neapolitans are incredibly friendly and fiercely proud of their culture. 

Questions and Expectations

“Ooh Paris, is he going to propose??”. A question asked by a woman, around the same age as me, who I’d met a mere half hour previously. I’d been with my boyfriend for four years and I hadn’t really thought about marriage and kids. Yes, it’s something I wanted, but I was a couple of years into my career and only mid-20s.

This was just the start of seven years of questions. It’s intensified somewhat the past year or two. I attribute this to moving abroad together, and because my sister (younger) had a baby last year.

“Now it’s your turn…”

“When are you going to get married?”

“Karen’s made you an Auntie…”

“Have you spoken about it?”

“Give your wee Nephew a cousin…”

Just a few things I’ve heard. Then there are the unspoken prompts. The look of pity, confusion, when you tell say that you’re not married, but you’ve been with your partner for ten years. It’s painful and leaves me in an unfavourable mood.

The pressure of pregnancy is real. Magazines, served ads, questions from friends, relatives, and strangers… It’s without malice but leaves a sour taste. Getting pregnant isn’t an easy thing. It’s not something we’ve tried personally but from knowledge from friends and friends of friends, it’s not a certainty.

Every proposal that’s come round has been a celebratory moment, but I’d be lying if I said that there haven’t been waves of deep pain, jealousy, and frustration. This invariably leads to me giving my Boyfriend the cold shoulder, without him knowing why. We’ve spoken about it and he is of the opinion that we’ve missed our moment and he finds the process very old-fashioned.

As a woman with feminist values, I should take the bull by the horns and do it myself. As someone with anxiety, poor self-esteem and a deep need for external approval, this is something I just can’t bring myself to do.

Then I think… Is this something that I want, or is it something that I think I want because it’s expected?

Do questions make me feel awful? Yes.

Are we happy? Yes.

If anyone reads this and empathises, please know that you’re not alone.

If anyone reads this and ever asks questions like those above… Stop and think before you ask because you never really know what people are going through, or how it will make the individual feel.

 

 

 

Look at Lucca

Lucca was an unexpected gem on our trip to Italy. A walled city in Tuscany, a short train journey from Pisa and Florence, full of charm and history. We jumped on two wheels (sans motor) and started exploring.

Our first stop was for a Marmalade Cornetto and Macchiato on the corner of the Piazza Napoleone en route to pick up some lunch supplies. I bumbled through ordering focaccia before a cycle around the 4.2km city walls. Cycling within the walls is a bit tricky due to pedestrians, Vespas and small dogs, so watch out!

Lucca isn’t very big, it’s a chilled out city with peaceful piazzas and shaded alleyways. We cycled around the walls for around 2 hours, before despatching our bikes and making our way to our hotel. We didn’t stay within the walls, a short ten-minute walk in a stunning small hotel, complete with grand bed, balcony and ornate cornicing.

We ventured back into the city walls where we enjoyed Aperitivo in the Piazza dell’Antiteatro, before having dinner at the Local Food Market in a beautiful courtyard. The food was spectacular, local cheeses and honey, pasta, followed by perfect pannacotta.

The next day we climbed the Torre Guinigi to take in the beautiful red roofs and Tuscan hills in the distance.

We were there for only one night and two days, and I’m looking forward to returning at some point in the future.

 

 

 

 

Intriguing Iceland

Iceland is one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever visited. The air envelops you with a calming embrace, meanwhile, the scenery induces oohs and ahhs. It’s been over six years since I set foot on the island that caused travel chaos around the world, and I’ve not been able to shake it from my mind since.

Over two trips, I’ve spent a total of eight days visiting, I’ve only seen the South West pocket of the country. However, I’ve waxed lyrical about its beauty and encouraged many friends to visit.

So. What makes Iceland so special? It’s otherworldly. An isolated place, with incredible history, culture and open people. The moon-like, Volcanic terrain and unpredictable geysers stop you in your tracks, visually. The epic landscape has featured in Game of Thrones, and thus increased the country’s popularity amongst tourists.

If you have a limited time, I’d recommend hiring a car. We took the Golden Circle tour with Reykjavik Excursions and while it was really interesting (the tour guide gave us a brief history of Iceland), the freedom to move about more and travel further afield would have been good. Gulfoss, the Geysir field, and the stunning Pingvellir Lake were included in the round trip. We visited the Blue Lagoon (obvs) and it was a relaxing experience if a little pricey. There are many alternatives – less touristy hot springs you can visit – the Blue Lagoon gets a lot of flak, but I liked it.

My friend is a whale fanatic, so we donned full body cozy overalls and ventured out on a whale watching excursion. The whales weren’t playing ball and we only saw them briefly, but it was a pretty special experience. If you’d like to see Reykjavik from the sea, experience some of the coast and drink the best hot chocolate, book yourself on. It’s around 3 hours and it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Post whale watching, we had lunch in the harbour. I had fish soup and it was a euphoric experience. Hofnin is a smart restaurant overlooking the small boat harbour, quaintly decorated, serving traditional and fusion dishes. The fish soup was a rich, glossy, brown broth with tender langoustines and shavings of fennel. The bread… Crispy sourdough with smoked salt butter. Six years on and I can still taste the first spoonful.

When we returned a couple of years later, I was saddened to see that the restaurant wasn’t open for lunch, so I ventured round the corner to the Sægreifinn round the corner where I ate another delicious, if less refined, bowl of fish soup. Low and behold, when I left, Hofnin was opening up. That was the day of two lunches and I don’t regret a single moment of it. 

Other things of note in Reykjavik… The church, Hallgrimskirkja is quite imposing on the outside, but warm on the inside. Take a trip up the tower to see a spectacular view of the city. The Opera house (Harpa) is amazing for a wander, even round the atrium.

Top Tips

  • Download the ‘Appy Hour’ app, it shows which bars are hosting happy hour and at what time.
  • You can only buy alcohol (stronger than 2% ABV) from the Government run alcohol store Vinbudin.
  • The Blue Lagoon is near the airport, so tie in a trip when you’re arriving or departing.
  • Bonus supermarkets are cheaper than 7/11 stores.

 

 

The Retail Landscape.

The myth that Shopper marketing is all shelf barkers and FSDUs is something that I (and the agency I work for) have been trying to bust for quite a while now.

It’s the elegant dance between TV or editorial campaign and getting the beanz in the trolley, or the gin in the basket. It goes beyond perishable goods and touches anything and everything that can be purchased. I wasn’t really aware of Shopper before I joined Multiply, but I and the team have helped a plethora of brands speak to their consumers it, we’ve got a pretty good grasp of trends that will only continue to gather speed, and one trend, in particular, is something I’ve spent a large portion of my career putting my energy behind.

Experiences in retail are essential – beyond mere commerce, there’s a requirement to build memorable customer experience. Reimagining retail has become more prevalent and crucial to attract consumers offline and instore.

TopShop was arguably ahead of the curve 25 years ago, opening the flagship store in London’s Oxford Circus. The store has food and drinks offerings, over 50 partner brands, personal shopping and a choice of hair, nail and brow bars. Add to this Selfridges offering skill-based classes, lectures, and talks, and Sweaty Betty providing in-store yoga classes – the UK has had experiences covered for a number of years.

It’s a tired fact, but Generations Y & Z really do value experiences over things. Therefore, brands must offer more to hook a purchase. We’ve seen swathes of brands offering memorable customer experiences, it’s crucial if the high street is to survive. Consumers want a mix of things; instagrammable content, sharable experiences, ways of personalisation, advice, new skills… The list is endless.

 

I’ve picked a few of my favourites, showcasing how brands are engaging with existing and new customers. While we’re here, engagement through experience doesn’t need to be flashy. As we’ll show below, it’s really not that new and can be super simple (and cheap) to execute…

Dr Martens – BOOT ROOM: An intimate music venue offering access to biggest acts across all genres. Tying the traditional cultural link between Dr Martens to music and modernising.

Nike’s New NYC Flagship Store – House of Innovation 000: A behemoth of a store with everything from personalisation to shop the mannequin functionality. Showcasing how ahead of the game the brand it.

Levi’s Tailor Shop: Embroidery, t-shirt printing, and alterations. Put your spin on a classic. Harking back to the hand-made craftsmanship of the product.

Apple: Genius bar, in-store lectures, and gigs, masterclasses. The tech equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Dispelling consumer concerns around switching from Microsoft to Apple.

Lush: Although the smell isn’t for everyone, the store is arguably very hands-on, oohing and aahing over the fizzing bath bombs, this is fun product testing. On-site spas and workshops provide additional experiences.

La Famiglia Rana: Only open for five weeks, the Rana pop up was a glimpse into the future of food retail. Instagrammable displays, workshops and meal box guidance proved very popular. Simple but effective.

IKEA: A creche, restaurant, furniture to try in real life, food shop, and styling advice. IKEA has long been a master in consumer experience.

Waterstones: Super simple activation from Waterstones, in-store signings and readings, picks of the month with short reviews from Waterstones employees and most stores have an on-site café.

Rapha: The Rapha Clubhouse has a real cult following. An aspirational place to pick up a coffee, watch the Tour de France or join the cycling club. You may not be able to afford the full kit, but by frequenting the clubhouse, you’re still an active consumer.

Starbucks: The Roastery in Milan is a sight to behold. Onsite roastery, cocktail bar, AR experience, a handpicked store featuring everything from clothes to accessories, and events.

 

Are there any brands you’d like to see providing a more engaging experience?

It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.

IMG_6710.jpgIn my personal life, 2019 is the year of getting sh*t done. I’ve signed up for my second half marathon, getting my backside into gear (and trying to shift the pizza weight). I’m going to tend to my much-neglected blog, learn how to use a D-SLR properly, actually use the big ol’ box of craft supplies I schlepped over from the UK, and finally, read all of the books I’ve had lying next to my bed for months.

When I was back in the office after Christmas, I had a look through the agency library for some inspiration. I read a lot of blog posts and industry news sites, but I’m pretty poor at reading industry books. I flicked through Paul Arden’s ‘It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.’ and decided it was a good place to start. I devoured it in one evening. I’ve subsequently gone back to pages to remind myself of the guru-like advice printed on them. Here are some of my favourite parts with my own spin on the advice.

1. Begin thinking and behaving like a winner. It’s easy as a Scot (or British person) to be apologetic about success. Not a culture to generally ‘big ourselves up’ we often shrug off compliments. However, businesses need winners to succeed. I’ve been guilty of thinking about low-level achievement in the past, rather than reaching for the big guns.

2. Do not seek praise. Seek criticism. A contrast to the last point, but as an industry, we generally don’t like being told what’s wrong. Some of the best people in the industry have come from the ranks of the toughest people. In the past, I’ve been guilty of seeking praise versus criticism. However, in my teaching role, we are given constructive criticism and I believe this has improved my skills immensely.

3. Don’t be afraid of silly ideas. Silly ideas provide the perfect antidote to the seriousness of the industry. They can sometimes provide the best solution to the brief too. #Fanny

4. Get out of advertising (adaptable for other industries). Sort of linked to the last point, talk to people not in the industry (you work in) about a brief or project you’re working on for external perspective. Read a book, listen to a podcast or watch a series that’s popular amongst your target audience.

5. Rough layouts. We’re obsessed with the finished product. Something polished and perfect. However, if it’s finished, you can’t provide any input. I’ve taken this advice and applied it to docs, placing what I want to say on each page then go back and polish. The amount of time I’ve spent stuck on one page, rather than focusing on the flow of a presentation, is ridiculous.

So, why is this helpful to 2019 being the year of getting sh*t done, I hear you ask?

  1. No longer worrying about status, concerned that I can’t do it. I can do it. I’m talented, I have experience, energy, and I’m a nice person.
  2. With everything I do in 2019, I’ll be asking for constructive criticism. Both in my personal and professional life.
  3. We’ve all had silly ideas that we’ve shrugged off in the past. Well, no more! Silly ideas will be shared, and we’ll see if there’s scope to turn them into success.
  4. This goes for any industry, not just advertising. I’m applying to both teaching and brand development.
  5. I’ve already vastly cut down the time I spend building presentations (or fretting over projects). The quality hasn’t reduced, only the time spent.

Paul Arden’s book is not new. It was first published over 15 years ago. The man knew what he was talking about and it remains just as relevant now. I encourage you to buy (other good bookshops are available) or borrow a copy and read it.

 

 

Leave the woman alone!

First of all, Holly Willoughby was deemed to be ‘abandoning’ her children by going to Oz to co-host ‘I’m a Celeb’. Now there’s outcry as she’s informed the press that she’s taking her children out of school for the duration, so they can live with her in the land Down Under. The woman can’t win! I believe the kids will, though, and here’s why…

 

For around 10 weeks every Autumn my Dad worked as a Sheep-Shearer in Norway. From the ages of 0 – 10, we went with him. Mum home-schooled us and when we returned to school in November we were always ahead of our classmates.

 

Mum made sure we had a mixed curriculum. We’d cycle into the local town, a 5-mile round trip, every day. We weren’t short of arts and crafts materials and Mum taught us how to cook and bake. We’d go out for walks in the evenings and weekends and Dad would tell us about different types of trees and we’d collect Blueberries amongst other things as we went.

 

At no point did I ever feel like I was missing out. Quite the opposite. I believe our time in Norway and what could be considered an ‘unconventional’ childhood/approach, has helped shape who I am today. From a young age, I communicated with peers without a shared language. I was surrounded by a different culture. Encouraged to try new foods.

 

I loved it.

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