“In Cardiff: from student, to teacher, to mother” – Laura

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I live in Cardiff with my husband and our little girl, Ada who will be turning two in October. I moved here in 1999 from Derbyshire to study at Cardiff University and have lived here ever since (if you overlook a short stay in Bristol while studying there in 2003). I studied for a Physics degree and then trained as a teacher (in Bristol). I chose to do my main teaching placement in Newport, to get back to Wales, which lead to my first job at the same school.

Cardiff is a city all of my own, which none of my family know. I first lived in Talybont halls of residence, then moved to Roath as a student, working in the Woodville (The Woody) and revising in Roath Park. Now I have moved over the river to Canton to escape my student roots and bring up a family.

I have studied here, worked here and met my best friends are here. I met my husband here and have had my first baby here (at home in our bathroom!) I proudly say I am from Cardiff where ever I go in the world, and tell people about this lovely little capital city.

As I mentioned, I got my first job in Newport, teaching, which proved to be too much for me as a shy 23 year old so I decided to give myself a break, handed in my notice and amazingly got the most perfect job at the University of Wales Newport. I ended up working with schools but not stuck in the classroom and it felt like a holiday for the first few weeks! After a year or so at UWN, I moved to the University of Glamorgan within the same project and am now the Science Co-ordinator for First Campus and still love every minute of it.

Because of the nature of my work, part of my experience of Cardiff and the surrounding area has been through working in the local schools and universities. I have visited the tiniest valleys schools, where Cardiff really is the ‘big city’, and also worked in inner city schools where the kids are far tougher than I will ever be. Nevertheless, I have found all of the people I meet to be totally welcoming, proud to be Welsh but happy to accept me as an honorary Welsh-woman.

Socially I have been lucky enough to fulfil the life long dream of singing in a band (or three). I paired up with an ex-boyfriend to become Silence at Sea – this is also how I met my husband, he was a groupie and then ended up joining the band! I was then invited to sing with the lovely Little My and also with the prolific Pagan Wanderer Lu. We performed in Dempsey’s, Barfly (RIP), Clwb Ifor Bach, Bar Europa (RIP), Toucan Club (when on Clifton Street), Chapter in Cardiff and many more places including Bristol and London. The music scene in Cardiff is just amazing and I am so happy to have been part of it…I have taken a little step back since having a baby…

Now that I am a mother, I have discovered another side to Cardiff; the abundance of activities, venues and child friendly places where a new, first time mum can go and sit, meet other new mums and feel supported, rather than totally lost and overwhelmed by your new situation. I met one of my closest mum-friends through ‘Buggy Fit’ an exercise class where you run around with your baby in their pushchair, getting lots of stares and confused looks from passers-by! Chapter has gone from an evening social hang-out to a great place to meet other mums for a drink and a chat about babies; Thompson Park is the best place for feeding ducks in Canton, and Victoria Park has swings and at least three slides for little ones to try out once they find their toddler feet. Not to leave out Roath, this is where you can find Cafe Junior, where it’s easy to hang out with friends while little ones run around, that is my life at the moment…from student, to teacher, to mother.

I am now learning Welsh (my first exam is this week) and my daughter will be attending a local Welsh language school. I am definitely not planning on leaving Cardiff any time soon…

Laura Roberts is 31, mother to Ada and wife to David. She has worked at Duffryn High School, Newport; University of Wales, Newport and is currently the STEM Coordinator for First Campus based at the University of Glamorgan. She lives in Canton where she has bought a house with her husband is currently trying to decorate it as well as look after Ada, their two cats and three chickens. Laura enjoys playing sudoku, reading science fiction novels, watching films, listening to music, sewing and baking.

Laura was photographed at Cardiff University’s Physics Department by Adam Chard

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