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.




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?

What am I doing?

I’ve talked about starting a blog to pop my thoughts for a while now. Everything from where I’ve been, what I’m doing, food, podcasts, music… The whole shebang.

Why little shambles? It started a little under a year ago when a trip to York had me wandering through the world famous Shambles. Then I turned a corner, saw a sign for the ‘Little Shambles’ and promptly took a picture. It’s a nickname that was adopted at work and has stuck. I think it has something to do with a 3am taxi journey back from an awards do in Glasgow, when I fell asleep clutching a half-eaten cheese and onion sandwich.

So this is my first post. More to follow…