Naked feature – Guide to Sardinia in Italy
You’d be forgiven for thinking my experience in Sardinia was based entirely on Aperol Spritz. But you’d be wrong. There’s also the lesser known Campari Spritz and the even better tasting Hugo Spritz with Sambuca and Elderflower which is simply delicious. Here’s my little guide to this stunning destination:
Sardinia is superrrr close and is just two hours flight from London which is basically only enough time to get the drinks trolley out before you’re coming in for landing.
Where to stay
We stayed at Hotel Carlos in Alghero which was amazing. We had air con which is crucial in the 34 degree heat, an amazing gigantic pool which is literally the best for swimming in plus the hotel served up the most comprehensive breakfast on earth. Yes we’re talking fruit including pineapple and melon, bread so you can toast it to go with everything from jam to marmalade or Nutella, croissants galore, cooked breakfast or even an omelette to order. It was about ten minutes walk from the Old Town, the harbour and the Lido.
What to eat
Alghero is positioned next to a harbour so pick out seafood dishes and roam the back streets for the best choices at better prices. Also check out the pizzas, we went to a bar called Pa’Oli to watch the World Cup (England played twice when we were there) and ordered a fabulous salad and shared a vegetarian pizza.
Let’s be honest, no trip to Italy is complete without a visit to the gelaterie. We tried three but our favourite has to be Igloo which was hidden beneath the street along the harbour. I went with chocolate and niccola.
Where to visit
The old town of Alghero is a must – so cute, busy and buzzing with a relaxed vibe where you can stroll along the harbour. The Lido is a nice local beach which bars along it playing chilled out tunes in the evening.
We hired a car and drove to Costa Smerelda which was around 2 and half hours away on an easy dual carriage way across the island. This is the famous destination for the rich and famous with super yachts galore. You can park up and wander down to see the beautiful boats. We also visited a beautiful beach in this area and enjoyed all the bright flowers along the way.
On our second day we travelled to Bosa, the quaint little market town with colourful rooftops and adorable backstreets. This was an hour drive from Alghero and again the roads were straight forward but a little like a racetrack high up in the mountains.
Sardinia is definitely a dream designation and there’s plenty more beaches to see which we didn’t get time to. I would recommend the car as a great way to get around and maybe splitting your time between different locations would be the best way.
Celebrity brain coach Jim Kwik is world famous for his incredible techniques which help his army of fans to improve their reading speeds and learn faster. As a freelancer and entrepreneur, I’ve been listening to his Kwik Learning Podcasts, following along with his Facebook group and reading his book recommendations check here for my review of Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. When I revealed on my Instagram page how much Jim had been helping me from afar with his techniques, I was super surprised when I received a DM from him telling me that he was visiting the UK on Thursday that week and looking to organise a London meet-up.
With JUST 48 hours to arrange a meet-up, I used my Time Out London Tastemaker network where my friend Michael Ratcliffe (check out his blog here) hooked me up with the fantastic team at Funzing WHO FOUND us a venue at the incredible Beach Blanket Babylon in Shoreditch! So I have to say, it was high praise indeed when Jim said; “Wow, you’re quick and connected.” Sooooo here we are, there is the background and that’s why I ended up hosting Jim Kwik’s London meet-up and on stage interviewing him last week. Here’s a snippet from the interview:
NakedPRGirl: How did you take it from learning brain training techniques to being a proper career?
Jim Kwik: I learned how to fix myself when I was 18 years old and I couldn’t help but want to help other people. I started tutoring people but I didn’t know how to get more students. When I was at university, I saw a classroom that wasn’t being used and I thought I would start a club. I thought next Thursday, I’ll just put five or ten people in a room and just teach them. I thought if I could find one or two people, I would be set and make some money.
I go back to my room and here’s my first piece of marketing ever so I took out this piece of paper and I wrote: ‘Free speed reading memory tips, get better grades in less time classroom 7 o clock next Thursday.’
The next day I make some photocopies and I just hope five people turn up. Fast forward to Thursday, I turn the corner and there’s a crowd of people outside the classroom. I kid you not, this is how slow I am, I think ‘wow whatever is happening in there ends soon so I can get in’. I can’t get in and this really tall guy is like; “there’s a speed reading class.” And I’m like, ‘wow what a coincidence, the same day and same time, there’s another speed reading class’. So I push my way in and this room is packed, but low and behold no one is teaching. This is how slow I am because seeing is believing right? It’s not like you’ll believe it when you see it, it’s like, you’ll see it and you’ll believe it, and I didn’t believe it.
Why are these people here? They’re here for me. I do a headcount and instead of five or ten people, there’s 120 people.
I have a phobia of public speaking because I am the boy with the broken brain. I would do a school book report but when the teacher would ask me to talk about it I would lie and say I hadn’t done it and throw it out after two months work. That’s how terrified I was of public speaking. I associated the fear of public speaking so I was freaking out in that class. So I would love to say I stepped up but I didn’t.
I have a phobia of public speaking because I am the boy with the broken brain.
I started doing a walking meditating back to my dorm room and I hear my mum’s voice talking to me and in essence she said: “It’s a 100 people. You promised you were going to help them. You’re disappointing people, you’re disappointing me.” I never want to disappoint my parents. I’m back at my dorm and I stop and I put one step back to the classroom.
Isn’t it interesting that one step in another direction can completely change your destination or your destiny?
I went back to the classroom and I said “I will be in the student centre tomorrow if you’re interested at 12 o clock. I swear to you guys, 100 people got up and they left. Nobody engaged with me, nothing. I feel two things, totally confused, like what just happened, and totally spent, meaning exhausted. You know whenever you have a fear like sky diving and it builds up for your whole life and then you do it? I was emotionally and mentally spent. I was so tired I fell asleep right on the floor and I have the worst sleep issues ever but I had the deepest sleep ever. I
was woken up by the class the next morning so I freak out. I run back, I shower, have breakfast, get dressed and go to class, then 12 o clock comes and I realise I need to go to the student centre to answer questions. I hope one person shows up but I get there and that same group of people are there.
In an hour 71 of the 100 people signed up for a programme that didn’t even exist.
At $300 per person, I’m not even 19 years old, and I’ve got $21,000 cash in my bag.
Now that’s a lot of money, and it’s a lot of money when you’ve not even seen $200 and you’re 18 years old. Back to one of my mentors used the Mark Twain quote, ‘Don’t let school get in the way of an education,’ and I used the money to feed my body as I was underweight, but I used the money to re-invest in a real education, I would buy every book, cassette, I travelled the world to learn my craft. Figuring out this riddle.
Quincy Jones once came to an event and I asked him: “Everyone always talks about their successes but I want to know about your problems?” Quincy says; “I didn’t have problems, I had puzzles.” He looked at every single one of his problems as a puzzle. Every puzzle has a solution, it’s fun, its a game.
My whole life since then I’ve been figure out this puzzle, this riddle, about how our brains work.
People tell us it’s a super computer, but why can’t you find your phone or your remote control or your keys? You go to the store for that one thing and you come back with two bags of stuff, apart from the one thing you went for. How can you reconcile the two? My theory is that we just weren’t taught how to use the super computer. It doesn’t come with instruction manuel.
That’s what I want to build with this Podcast, I want to give people really easy tips and usable tricks that are fun, that you can use to impress yourselves and impress other people. And mostly get a result and make your life easier. Because I don’t want you to suffer and struggle the way I did. Whether it’s a book or a Podcast, no and make that transformation.
Our job is really about transcending – ending the trance by media and marketing that we’re not good enough. We just weren’t shown how to use this incredible gift that’s inside of us.
So then it took off with these kids, and then I started in universities where these students started getting straight A’s and after that I went into companies after that.
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Guide to Royal Ascot – Royal Enclosure
I would be very happy if it was Royal Ascot every single day. I love the elegance, I like the rush of excitement when I see the races, I love the outfits, I love the names of the horses, the colours the jockeys wear, I love the fact that men have top hats and I even like the slightly crazy dress code. In PR & Marketing terms, it is a surefire winner with The Queen attending, and this time for the first time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Plus we have the most ostentatious, headline grabbing hats and fab-u-lous outfits that secure column inches and social media squares for the whole week!
I first went to Royal Ascot when I first moved to London and I made a fatal error of leaving my jacket at home. Out in the countryside, an hours train ride from Waterloo, the temperature can be a few degrees cooler and on chilly days, it turns the area into a giant wind tunnel! Brrrr. So this time, when I was invited to Royal Ascot by The Nth Degree Club, I took my flat shoes for the train and took a chic white jacket as a cover-up.
I will be honest and say things were a little last minute so I loaned a neutral hat from my friend Fatinah which she picked up from Fenwicks to team with a little black dress I got from French Connection. Hats in the Royal Enclosure have to have a solid base of 10cm (say what? *gets tape measure out) and dresses must have straps (no strapless/one shoulder or strappy (eek) AND they have to be of an elegant below the knee length (I know right) so here I am, in regulation Royal Ascot dress. Has to be said, not all the enclosures are not this strict – so check before you travel 😉 I finished off with Valentino sandals as they are super comfortable for a long day with a medium block heel which will not sink into the grass (CRUCIAL) and my Lulu Guinness pearl handbag which has been to every wedding I’ve attended in the last few years. The hat thankfully had a headband so it didn’t completely antahiliate my hair like a full on hat would.
I arrived at 10.30am and we were served Champagne in the car park – which is apparently a big tradition -who knew? I can get on board with that though! Our home for the day was the Wyndham Club where we were served Champagne and a three course lunch with the most beautiful seafood and strawberry dessert before heading to see The Queen arrive sharp at 2pm.
I love that she goes everyday – thats four amazing outfits and hat combinations every day! I managed to snap the Royal family arriving from the stands as everyone sung God Save the Queen. There are 6 races throughout the day and by a stroke of luck I managed to get into the pre-race paddock to see the horses going out and coming back for their races where I spotted Frankie Dettori just coming back.
After the racing which finishes at 5.30pm, there’s singing in the bandstand to finish the day off. I can’t wait to go back next year!
For more visit The Nth Degree Club
For more on Ascot https://www.ascot.co.uk
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“Claire was my PR and Marketing Manager for four years at Donna Ida so we worked closely together to build a marketing strategy for the Ultimate Denim Destination. Claire’s PR experience led to an increase in press coverage 30% year-on-year with a focus on luxury titles and targeting key editors"Read The Full Testimonial
Claire was very well liked by the press and they felt very happy and comfortable with her, so much so that they were just as happy going to Claire as they were coming to me. We developed a press strategy of one-to-one appointments and special evening press dinners to encourage exclusivity with exceptional results.
She worked closely with our in-house creative team to build the brand and my personal profile within the fashion and business sectors, managing photo shoots and Look Books. Claire is loyal, entrepreneurial and strategic so when presented with a challenge she sees it as an opportunity.
DONNA IDA THORNTON, www.donnaida.com