People buy experiences – The story behind my connection to Castle Quarter, Norwich.

By Melissa Compton.

People buy experiences and from people they feel a connection too (something in common), it’s said often enough in business mentoring, marketing and sales etc…

There’s truth in the statement so, I decided to tell the story of my personal connection to Castle Quarter, firstly I have lived and shopped all over the place including, most of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, various parts of America and most of Europe. I have 3 favourite shopping centre Liffey Valley, Dublin, St Davids Shopping Centre, Cardiff and Castle Quarter, Norwich having said that my personal connection to Castle Quarter is unique.

I been drawn to Castle Quarter for a while, I began following their twitter account before I ever stepped foot in Norwich in fact from before their re-branding in 2019, no surprise that on my first visit Castle Quarter was high on my to-do list. I found one of my favourite perfumes that day Britney Spear’s Fantasy. But that’s was just the beginning.

Every time I came to Norwich a trip to Castle Quarter was usually made, the real connection started after I had been living in Norwich for only a month, back in February the week I launched the first issue of Norwich Nights Magazine – I was going through a break-up, this one was a little different – yes I was heartbroken and struggling. But I quickly realised I had been following this man around love struck and blindly ever since I had first stepped foot in Norwich, he was happy enough to play tour guide for a while and I happily followed but now I was not only getting over a relationship, I was starting again because outside of Riverside I had no idea how to get to anywhere, I knew where things were but not how to get there. so, when I finally stopped crying, I took a walk to see what I could find briefly remembering that if I walked in a straight line from Riverside I would find town somehow. Castle Quarter was the first place I found and therefore the perfect place to stop for a drink.

I remember making my way up to B B Muffins, ordering a sticky toffee muffin and a latte and took a seat in the back, and sat there scrolling through my email on my phone, the realisation hit me, I could do this, that I didn’t need anyone but myself, I just had to start again and rediscover my Norwich and the places and things that were important to me. It may sound unimportant and simple but for me it was life changing the days that follows found me rediscovering Norwich and all the reasons why I loved it.

Without that day, that realisation my life and Norwich Nights Magazine may not be what they are now!

Thank you Castle Quarter.

Time To Transform Our Media.

Melissa Compton.

I woke up this morning to an email, showing me a retweet from an ex lecturer of mine, it was someone questioning the values of the staff at a certain publication because of an article, and it got me all fired up here’s why.

These are challenging times to be sure and while drive and ambition are valuable assets, working in media is as competitive and tough as it’s ever been and I don’t think it matters whether we are talking about racism, domestic violence, or any of the other hot topic right now, I am a strong believer that education or in some cases re-education is the key to transforming our world for the better.

Here’s the problem with our media universe, I honestly believe this is a worldwide issue and it is in no way restricted to British media, currently we teach media students to aspire to and seek out fame and glory over all else, then we rightfully complain and challenge professional that put out stories that lack values at their core or in someway give a platform to someone with flawed values. We can not have both ways, if we teach that fame and glory are the goal we always run the risk of reduced values and lack of integrity. One of the first thing that was presented to me during my journalism education was the National Union of Journalists Code of Conduct – I was in university and failing to keep to it was automatic failure. It was a defining moment for my career because now that Code of Conduct is the framework for all I do and honestly I think it should be adapted as a framework for all journalism – most of it is common sense, but it does teach accountability and honestly with some media causes barely covering journalism it can be a vital tool.

But here’s the thing imagine the difference we could make if we just taught media students to aim for better values, to write honest, straight-forward work, to remove the element of fame and popularity and to write and publish journalism, that represents honesty whatever the topic happens to be articles that show both sides of a story instead of a single angle. Holistic journalism is the way forward, when you think of all negative coverage publications and media in general receives if we were presenting a balanced view we could avoid it. That starts with how we teach our students, with the publications we start, with the publications we support for instance I have never brought any other paper than The Guardian – because generally I like their approach and some of their opinion pieces, but if they covered a story that conflicted with a value of mine I wouldn’t buy that copy.

Change start with small steps, I believe that the power of education is not being tapped into enough, we are still teaching outdated attitudes and structures, the hunt for fame and glory worked well during bloom periods like the 90’s but we are in a new world a new time and it’s time the media industry as a whole transformed to better represent that time – after all any media is simply a re-representation of something.

I can remember attending a meeting for a MA in Journalism course, and being told things like we’ll teach you to write for a big London magazine 99% of our students go on to write in London, we’ll teach you to walk away from publications and companies that don’t pay you the going rate which they considered to be £250.00 per article (why then does every journalist I know have a second job?) We’ll teach you what you can and can’t say, ask, print. It’s not hard to understand why I decided to walk away and start a my own publication with my own values, none of the above was of interest to me, firstly there’s no point demanding a fee people can’t afford to pay but essentially what as a student I wanted to hear was how they were going to help me develop my talent, would they teach me to pitch articles, or manage a freelancer business, or find publications whose values matched my own. Honestly London wasn’t a draw for me, big and glossy wasn’t where my intentions were set, quality of my work, integrity, accountability writing in a way that enhanced the experience of people where I lived these were my values. I left that meeting with the opinion that if I studied there, they would destroy all that I held dear about myself and turn me into another one of those fame-hunter types that I was encountering everyday.

For me it’s always been about the quality of the writing, one of the reasons I always say if I could write anywhere it would be Norwich is because the city fosters a creative freedom that is hard to find else where. So in a world where everyone is starting to question everything let’s write in a way that provides the answers without losing our values.

The Future of Norwich Nights Magazine?

Hey everyone,

I hate to be writing this post but in the interest of being honest and upfront with everyone who supports us. At a time when all businesses are struggling, I have had to be constantly reassessing the viability as a business and the ability to survive the current economic climate.

As a business I am not entitled to any of the support the government or banks offer to small businesses and the self-employed during this time, and for the first month since I started our sales were unable to cover our production costs which I have battled to keep as low as possible even when that meant printing our magazine outside of Norwich when I would love nothing more than to make Norwich Nights magazine inside of Norfolk, I also do not take any money from the business and rely on other means to support myself.

Although I am continuing to fight to keep Norwich Nights Magazine active in very uncertain times, June’s issue was the first issue that the business could not afford to print. I personally funded the print of this months issue: which is the only reason it went to print. As I have previously said July’s issue is a joint issue and we will then return in September, I will be taking a rest week then decisions will need to made as to the future direction of the magazine there are options such as online-only, are only streams of income are advertising and subscriptions. There is also the decision of whether to close the magazine, I am giving a deadline of 30 November 2020 to make the decision on whether or not to close the business if things haven’t improved.

Although our advertising sales and subscriptions currently come from outside of Norfolk. There are local individuals and businesses who have supported the magazine from the very beginning and I would like to say a heartfelt thank you, I will continue to work to keep the magazine open for as long as possible.

In the meantime if you get value from the magazine I would love to hear from you, as it helps inform decisions.

I will post another update in August 2020.

All the Best Melissa xx

Starting a blog – our advice…

So, we have had quite a few comments on our blog asking for tips on how to start a blog, so here are our best tips:

So, you have a blog idea and you’re eager to get started, now you can jump straight in and learn as you go along and hope for the best (I did that with my first blog) or you can plan for it here’s some suggestions.

First, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What is my theme/subject matter?

The answer to this question will help you answer the following how regularly do I need to be posting and more importantly can I produce that much content by myself and do I need any software – we’ll get to software later.

Not all blogs are updated at the same frequencies and while businesses will aim for somewhere around 3 times a week at least. If you are a news blog that is more likely to be several times a day whereas a food or theatre blog will post less often.

  • Do I intend to monetize my blog?

Is your blog a hobby or is it a money-making venture? It is more important to know the answer before you do anything than you realise, there platforms that provide a free or low cost platform for your blog but like the basic free version of WordPress most don’t have the facility to host affiliate marketing banners and donate buttons and an cash outlay to upgrade is required to host monetizing features. It is important to know how you plan for your blog to operate before building it.

  • How do you want your blog to perform?

This is along similar lines of the above question, features like SEO’s that help search engines find your blog usually come at a price that price varies with each provided for example Squarespace include it as standard on their plans (Square space has a free trial not a free plan) while others include it in their premium plans. How much traffic do you want to drive to the blog and how is the real question, because of course if you are wildly popular on social media maybe SEO’s are less of a concern however if you are a business they are always a concern.

Now you are armed with all that knowledge you let us get to it.

Top Tips:

  • Search all providers my top ones would be WordPress, Bluehost, Fast Host, Squarespace, Wix as well as searching plans and costs check out templates for instance you can google WordPress’s top ten free template.
  • The software is easy enough to use and contains access to some images, but it does not take care of branding, so we recommend the following design or get someone to design a logo. You can use Canva to do this they have a free plan, their Pro plan though contains branding tools like saving your colour scheme it is priced at £10.99 which is reasonable and gives you access to better images. Keep your sign off consistent and use the same branding across all social media and Pinterest (we don’t consider Pinterest a form of social media, more of a pre-buying platform) using banners and logo’s design with the same colour scheme, font all helps to define your brand.
  • Take your time designing your new blog and support with social media channels
  • Check comments and feedback, WordPress for example spams a lot of posts also watch out because the higher the package the higher the risk of you may not see all your comments/feedback.
  • Plan to run your blog for 6 months before you assess its success, it takes this long to know for sure.
  • As we got a question this morning about copyright violation, I will say this educate your self on the ‘Fair Use’ rule, if you are concerned about copyright infringement you can simply add a copyright notice to the bottom of your page you blog will automatically date and sometimes time your posts. You can register your articles with the Copyright agency but that’s more for books and only really useful if you intend to take legal action if and when an infringement occurs which is costly and even registering only gives you a legal record of when you published it.

University, me and Norwich as the birthplace of ambition.

By Melissa Compton.

So, back in 2017 I enrolled on a English and Creative Writing degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University, having a disabled child still at home, the option of searching the country for the best university for me wasn’t an option. I applied to a few local ones and was impressed with the personal service from the admissions team. Here’s the thing so this is the summer I should have submitted that dissertation and graduated but instead earlier this year I put those studies on hold.

What I learned from University wasn’t what I thought I would, in fact I had no idea exactly how much it would shape my future and my attitudes. I have also been a great fan of education and felt like not going to university earlier had been I missed opportunity. Here’s what I learned though, you can change you mind – I changed my degree to English and Media in my second year and honestly if I have not I wouldn’t be sat here writing this, I learned everything I didn’t want to be, I learned media wasn’t an easy option. Most of all I learned that all the support fantastic teaching in the world did not mean a thing if you were in the wrong environment learning things that are just not important to you. Around the middle of second year I began visiting Norwich every opportunity I got, but I also began asking this question:

What does this degree mean to me?

What would it change? enable me to do in my life what difference will that qualification really do for me?

In Norwich there was a sense of peace, I love Riverside and I have done from the very first time I stayed there. It didn’t take long to figure out if I was going to write I wanted to do that here, Norwich is not the graveyard of ambition its the birthplace. There’s a magic to Norwich and the magic takes that creative spark and amplifies it until you dream so big you just have to get started. Norwich Nights Magazine and lots of other businesses in Norwich are simply by products of that magical effect.

Luckily Norwich is also England’s hidden gem otherwise every creative would be flocking here and we’d quickly run out so space. For me this is where I found the answers, the best people, creative businesses and the support to do what I love without having to sacrifice my values.

During the current health crisis, the creativity of many businesses across Norwich and Norfolk in general has been proudly on display and continues to flourish, as I am writing this I have to say I am slightly intrigued to try the new ice-cream from Gonzo’s Tearoom which has candied bacon bits in it. Gonzo’s The creative genius that never disappoints.

In Norwich I managed to embrace my No1 trait which is just jump straight into things and learn to fly as you go.

Coffee and Cake, Norwich past-time or does Norwich just do this exceptionally well?

We’ve been thinking a lot about desserts this month at Norwich Nights Magazine. Norwich’s food scene is both vibrant and varied not to mention vast. We think a huge part of that success is the way small independent businesses support one another and flourish. A short walk around any part of our fine city will demonstrate that coffee and cake are not hard to find, in fact whatever you’re in the mood for you are likely to be able to find and Norwich residents can be found enjoying the delights that morning coffee and cake can bring. From Muffin Break in Castle Quarter to The speciality delights of Figbar and everything you can imagine in between.

At Norwich Nights Magazine we hate to assume anything, and we think that you the Norwich public are best placed to assess whether coffee and cake is a Norwich past-time or not, it is however my favourite past-time in Norwich and not everywhere has outlets that make it as tempting as it is here.

Shortly before lockdown was in place, I was treated to a Orange Jaffa Cake from Figbar, having never tried anything in Figbar before I sat there looking at this seemingly small cake and thinking yes, I can get through that even with the searing pain throbbing from the right side of my mouth (I had a dental infection at t he time) despite its small appearance it was mouth-watering delicous and extremely filling to idea of leaving any just seemed like such a waste so I fought back the pain and the tears the pain were trying to cause to finish. That’s the thing about Norwich no matter what you food your eating it this city, its just all too good!

My coffee and cake routine pre-lockdown was stopping by Castle Quarter and frequenting either BB Muffins or Muffin Break, That Cafe also have a great range of cake and I love their coffee and they are always experimenting with new ideas, but it’s a little of the beaten track for me on a regular basis.

So where’s your favourite place for coffee and cake?

Figbar is located at:

23 St John’s Maddermarket and is currently providing a delivery service in the form of a cake box please see their website for details:

Writing for Magazines: our advice and guidance.

Following a comment I received yesterday I decided to put out an advice blog about writing today.

Here’s the thing, I here the words “I have no experience” too often. Some of the best journalists I’ve met had little to no experience, I started with no experience. Every writer out there regardless of what they write started because someone liked something they wrote and gave them an opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong if you want a job as a journalist with a newspaper or magazine that accredited qualification is essential and invaluable if you work in news journalism it teaches you the legal framework what can and cannot be done as well as how the world and journalism works. But let’s take blog writing for instance every business has a blog these days it’s basically a conversation, the blog is a conversation you have with your public, your supporters much like this conversation I am having with you right now. Reviews contain certain elements but can be learned quite quickly by reading reviews by other journalists brings me to my number one tip.

1. Read as much as possible i.e if you want to write for a local community magazine read all their articles.

Before I wrote my first review I read every article Carl Marsh – Cardiff Times/Buzz Magazine had written to date, then I read articles from the two other journalists at Cardiff Times. (I tend to extremes, but you get the idea.).

2. Develop your own style, people are likely to remember you for the things you write. There’s no right or wrong here just be you. I was called “you wrote that “Hair” review” for months in Cardiff. (Hair the musical, I am rubbish at hairdressing.)

3. There are straightforward book that teach you the basis on writing reviews, features etc I will put recommendations at the end. At my very first interview for a job in a media office at Journal Publishing Plc in West Midlands, the manager interviewing me said “I give everyone a chance, but you never know who’s going to be good at this job” and it’s true, it stayed with me through the years and I adopted it as a sort of mantra in the end.

4. You will learn more from practical experience and colleagues, than you will from a book. Honestly I am starting to practice things now a colleague suggested a year ago. and I constantly and annoyingly picking Rob Turner’s (Reynard City) brain on stuff.

5. Write about what you know, start with something your confident with you may just fall in love with the theme.

6. It’s about trying, editors tend to be busy people and therefore are quite straightforward: they will let you know politely (hopefully) if they think its not for you. and if you’re lucky enough to work in a media office, remember not all media offices are the same, I can remember walking out on one media office declaring I would only write freelance from then onwards only to walk into another one 2 weeks later and love it.

Oh if you should write and love it and decide to do a qualification research the accreditations each section of journalism has there own body for accreditation.


Feature Writing for Journalists by Sharon Wheeler –

Available from £10.71

Writing for Journalists by Hicks Wynford , Sally Adams et al –

Available from £15.21

National Union of Journalists Code of Conduct available here: – I use this as a guideline its mainly common sense. – read magazines for free.

You can read the Norwich Nights Magazine blog regularly.

The message of this is if you want to write just go for it.

P.S and just ask, have fun. The best journalists have a natural curiosity about everything around them.

Melissa Compton (Editor)

Me and Self-isolation: How I am managing the virus.

Hey Everyone,

So, on Sunday I developed the high-temperature that confirmed my other symptoms were most likely the virus. Just in case you stop reading here the most useful tip is Lie on your back (if you get this thing or breathing issues), I have asthma anyway and no-one has ever mentioned this before but you’re lungs are mainly in your back so when you lie on your back you interrupt the oxygen supply. I tried this last night and the chest pains and wheezing I have been experiencing was greatly improved. So far I have most of the mild symptoms in waves, which is the thing I dislike the most because you start to feel a little better and then something new kicks in, the fatigue is extreme, I generally just pass-out with periods of energy in between usually in the morning. So my self-care right now is:

  • Multi-Vitamins – 1 a day, because my diet is not healthy.
  • Vitamin C – 1 in morning and 1 in the evening, Vitamin C is said to help your body make antibodies which your immune system can use to fight of infections ( I take it because it helps me manage stress)
  • Vitamin D – 1 in the morning, two close family members have Vitamin D deficiency so I take in at a low dose everyday. Note: Vitamin D can help kickstart your immune system but also is one on a few vitamins that builds in your body therefore can be toxic if levels can be too high and isn’t compatible with certain medicines so always check with your doctor if you feel you need too. Also Vitamin D doesn’t really have an effect useless you take it regularly.
  • Paracetamol – when the fever gets too high or pain is getting to uncomfortable.
  • Anti-histamine’s – 1 a day as recommended for people with asthma during the pandemic.
  • Preventive inhaler 2 a day My doctors recommendations.
  • Vicks Vapour Rub – this one might sound strange but it works I rub vapour rub not only on my chest, but on my head for headaches, and on my nose (the bottom part) to ease congestion – like I said it works FYI works on muscle pain too.
  • Water – I sip water constantly I have a bottle by the bed for during the night.

It sounds like a lot but honestly it helps me cope and stay sane, YouTube on my phone also keeps me sane I have been watching M.A.D Gaming Channel and TMG gaming channel as well as music and news updates.

I still encourage everyone to stay in, I think I got this at the supermarket because I have only been going out for food and to the doctors for some essential blood tests.

My routine isn’t medical advice and please seek out professional assistance if you need too. I studied nutrition, so have a decent understanding of what the vitamins uses and the contridictations etc.

Stay In, Stay Safe, We Can Beat This Thing Together, See you soon.

Melissa Compton S.N.H.S. Dip. (Nutrition)



GIVE US SOME BEANS – Norwich. Still offering online ordering and delivery for your coffee needs during this crisis.

The Tea Junction – Castle Quarter, Norwich. Are still operating via their online shop offering delivery. See the website for details:

We have been admiring Sam’s Cafeteria Instagram feed for a little. We’re between the hours of 10 – 4pm anything from their menu can be ordered for home delivery in addition to this they also offer fruit, vegetables, salad, and fresh bread and granary baps Tel: 07985504466 to order.

Delivery fee applies:

£1.00 within 3 miles of Suffolk Square NR2 2AA

£3.00 over 3 miles.

The One Food Company – Norwich, provides a chef focused meal delivery service call Chef Ben on 07590561919 or see their Facebook page for details:

Off Seasons – are offering a Sunday roast delivery service and are now adding Thursdays too, booking in advance is essential. 07539 393445 See their Facebook Page for details:

The Fish & Chip Shop Norwich based in Magdalen Street Norwich, have altered their opening hours to 4.30 – 9.30 pm are providing online ordering for collection or delivery. All deliveries are contact-less and for collection they request no more than two customers enter the shop at a time. See their website for details:

Dominos North – 29 Augustine’s Way, Waterloo Road are still taking online orders for contactless delivery.

The Norfolk Deli continue to sell a selection of products including fruit and vegetables to wine, provide online ordering and delivery see their website for details.

As you know we don’t do huge listings here at Norwich Nights but in order to give you a few options we put together this list both EDP and Love Norwich Food have both compiled longer lists should you require them. We will just finish by saying, stay positive, stay healthy stay indoors.

Should you need to go out for shopping, The CO-OP in the train station is open and well stocked, as is Tesco on Prince of Wales Road, Anglia Square has some shops open such as Iceland etc although one of the Fruit and Vegetable stores is only opening on the weekend. Check out your local Farm Shops such as Blofield Farm Shop, 58 Yarmouth Road, NR13 4LQ Tel: 01603715232 who also offer delivery.

See you all soon xx