The urbanist’s guide to Cardiff – blogger of the week on the Guardian!

Well well, eh? I pack my bags and head off to Glastonbury for a couple of days and what happens? BLOGGER OF THE WEEK ON THE GUARDIAN HAPPENS, that’s what!

helia guardian cities featured blogger june 2014

click the picture or this link to go read the article: The urbanist’s guide to Cardiff: ‘the UK’s most sociable city’

I got a bit of shit in the comments for being too generic and not listing enough specific independent bars / cafes / shops etc etc in the city – also there were comments saying that there actually aren’t many independents, which I know to be A LIE. There are OODLES of amazing independent businesses in the city, many that I frequent, and I wanted to give a list of my favourites below. This is by no means exhaustive, and if you’re reading this and think I’ve missed one out in your area, PLEASE ADD IT IN THE COMMENTS!

Also I have to give props to Walt Jabsco for fire-fighting in the comments (who knew Guardian readers could be so contrary, eh??) and also to Simon Ayre for taking that lovely photo of me hanging out under the A4232 in Butetown.

NOW THEN …. my list of some independent businesses in Cardiff. Some really good ones. Add your own in the comments. DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a foodie or a fashion person, in any way, so if you’re after restaurant recommendations you’re probably better off to go to the Gourmet Gorro blog and see what he’s got to say over there.

The below are in absolutely no order other than what my brain has just thrown up all over the keyboard, and will probably tell you that my priorities in life mostly revolve around car boot sales and markets, drinking gin, drinking coffee, buying records and eating cake. And if you’ve got a problem with that, well let’s face it, you’re probably on the wrong blog.


Catapult Records (I used to be the Saturday girl here, so it’s got to go top!)
Spillers Records

Sho Gallery
Kellys Records

MADE Gallery / cafe
Jacobs Market
Cardiff Fashion Quarter
The Pumping Station (lovely to look around but REALLY PRICEY)
Rose Street Flea Market


Penylan Pantry (great local food from lovely ladies in this local deli)
Pettigrew Tea Rooms
Waterloo Tea (Roath, Penarth and soon to be opened city centre tea rooms)
The Secret Garden cafe in Bute Park (next to the Education Centre)
Shot in the Dark cafe (one of my favourite places to grab coffee and work)
Bombay Cafe (most amazing Indian street food!)
Cafe Barker
The Pot
Lia’s Kitchen (a no-fixed-abode supper club that pops up everywhere and is very tasty!)
The New York Deli
Madame Fromage
The Norwegian Church
Penarth Pier Pavilion (newly renovate with exhibition space, a lovely cafe AND a cinema! definitely worth a visit)


The Globe
The Moon
Clwb Ifor Bach
Urban Tap House
Pipes Brewery
The Gate
Dempseys (okay it’s Brains, but they’re Welsh!)
Cafe Jazz (they do a great deal on dinner and jazz on Friday nights)


Riverside Market (also the sister Roath Market and Rhiwbina Markets)
Splott Market (seriously, until you’ve been there, you haven’t lived)
The Printhaus (artist workshops, classes, event venue…)


Well, that’s all from me for today. I’m going to go lie on my sofa with a cold compress on my head and watch the Glasto highlights on TV until I can function again.




100 days in Cardiff – St John’s Church from afar

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

St John’s Church from afar 

st johns church

“Aside from the castle, this is the oldest building in Cardiff I’m told. Or at least bits of it are, the Victorians added a few Gothic flourishes, but the Church itself harks back to medieval times. It looks quite sombre today in the overcast light, but still beautiful. Volunteers run a wonderful cafe there too – great for tea & cake served on bone china. No cake for Jezza at the moment of course, but I can still look…”

Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…