I grew up in the Vale of Glamorgan, Penarth to be exact, and although it was a great place to grow up in, as I got older I started to feel disconnected, and longed to live somewhere else. When I finished school at sixteen, I decided to skip sixth form and head straight to Coleg Glan Hafren. I still – to this day – believe this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It got me out into the world and gave me a chance to make new friends. In fact, it was at Glan Hafren that I made friends for life. All my friends there grew up and lived in Cardiff, and most of them still do.
After college, many of them went off to university and I stayed around to work, do some travelling and generally trying to figure out what I wanted to do. At some point, I needed to start making some decisions and one I really needed to make was the choice to go to university. I knew that economically it would make sense to study in Cardiff, I had job security and all my friends were here, so I moved to Roath and went back to college. Then at the grand old age of 23 (believe me, when the majority of your classmates are 18, 23 feels really old) I started university and never looked back.
Now, I am about to embark on my third and final year, I had one more decision to make – do I stay here after university? Or do I sail off into the sunset and see where the wind takes me? It was a tough decision, but I have spent my first 25 years of life here, so I think it is time to sail for a bit. However, I needed to remind myself of what Cardiff has given me over the years, and I wanted to create something that could represent that.
So this led me to creating a project that I could really connect with. I spent a few weeks going over ideas and came up with the Cardiff Food Project. I wanted this to be a blog that offered people a chance to find a new market or a new little corner of Cardiff they may have never knew existed. Through the blog, I have found new places and opportunities, and it has changed the way I think about food, photography and of course, Cardiff.
I’ve learned so much in the two months I’ve been running it, and I know I still have a lot more to learn. It has provided me with the confidence to try my hand at new things. I have set up a supper club, and am working on a new photography and travel website, and I hope to continue my writing. I have also become more aware of what is going in and around Cardiff and my local area. It has opened up my world to new possibilities and new connections, and really the only thing I have to thank for that is Cardiff.
I still have plans to head off in other directions, plans to work and live in different parts of the world. However, no matter where I go, Cardiff will always be home.
Lauren Mahoney is currently an event management student, often dodging the ‘typical’ students of the Roath area on her way to work. When she is not doing any of those three things, Lauren is working hard on her blog cffoodproject.blogspot.co.uk and her new travel and photography website (not yet launched) and getting involved in as many food, travel and photography projects as she can.
Lauren was photographed at Gelynis Farm by Ffion Matthews
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