Four Canton businesses that give back

Journalist Ben Newman explores four sustainable businesses on the west side of town.

Cardiff, in our (sort of) biased view, is full of businesses that give back to the city, community, and the entire cultural fabric of the Welsh capital. From cafés to corner shops, many of the people and businesses of Cardiff are charitable and utilitarian, so to celebrate that, we’ve collated four Canton-based business that have been giving back in a big way recently.

Hey Clay! At Cardiff Pottery Workshops

Everyone, at some point in their lives, has said to themselves that they want to try pottery “one day”. Who knows what it is that attracts so many people to ceramics, but for some reason, the discipline feels oddly impenetrable, reserved for arty types and the creatively-inclined. However, Hey Clay!, an event at Cardiff Pottery Workshops, is an attempt to bridge the gap between ceramics and the people. Essentially, the event is a free lesson to allow anyone, especially those who are disabled, to have a chance at pottery and learn a thing or two. Hey Clay! is a Crafts Council national celebration of clay which aims to give people across the UK the chance to unleash their inner potter, so Cardiff Pottery Workshops deserve commendation for providing an insight into a tough industry that’s open for anyone.

Bee & Honey

Just off Cowbridge Road, in the heart of Canton, you’ll find Bee & Honey, a café that, on the surface, looks like a quaint place to eat. However, under the surface, Bee & Honey provides some of the best food in Cardiff, as well as acting as a support for other businesses in Cardiff. You’ll only find Bee & Honey goods here, but goods from other Cardiff-based businesses, including Canton Tea Co. and Riverside Sourdough. Additionally, the café has recently staged meditation lessons, diversifying its appeal beyond cuisine. Bee & Honey are an example that businesses in Cardiff, however small, do their best to support their neighbours financially and mindfully, as well as making a pretty banging dish along the way.

Lufkins Coffee

Lufkin Coffee is a little hard to find, located down a small alley near the Co-Op in Pontcanna (where they have the Pipes Beer Festival). It joins a cluster of local, wonderfully small business (Canna Deli, etc.) The owners along with the rest of the staff are always open for conversation, lending to the comfortable and pastoral feel of the entire business. After recently hosting a small ceramics exhibition for Frances Lufkin, a student at Cardiff Met, the business has showed that its small location has a wide reach. However, this is not the reason why this small café is on the list. Lufkin deserves this place, quite simply, because of the quality of its roasted coffee beans and product. It’s not the only the best quality coffee in Cardiff, but it’s also, according to Brian’s Coffee Spot, one of the best roasters in the entire United Kingdom. It may not be flashy, but Lufkin has all that’s needed to succeed as a community coffee shop: excellent coffee, even better conversation, and a cruelty-free product.

Green City Events/Green Squirrel

This one may be cheating (a little bit) as they’re not strictly Canton-based, but they deserve a mention anyway! Green Squirrel, as part of Green City Events, brings together a myriad of different practices underpinned by an environmentally-friendly ethos. Essentially, these events range from Wasteless Kitchens, which involves the cooking of food with no waste, to food foraging, to carpentry and yarn spinning. By bringing together the multiple skills of Cardiff-based professionals and tutors, the events help form links between vastly different businesses in the city. The skilled local tutors teach practical sustainable living skills that benefit people and communities, and bring rural and traditional skills to the heart of Cardiff. Loads more info can be found on the Green Squirrel workshops page, with events that span the entirety of the city. Green Squirrel not only give back to Cardiff communities, but to nature.


Cardiff events preview, Saturday 19 May: Publish Cardiff, TEDxCanton, The Offline Project Launch

There are three MASSIVE events taking place today in Cardiff for the alternative arts scene – Publish Cardiff (full preview below courtesy of Ben Newman), TEDxCanton which is being organised by our very own Hana, and “friend-of-the-blog” Dan Tyte having a launch party for his new novel, The Offline Project. Hopefully we’ll see you at one of these things!!


Follow @TEDx_Canton for updates throughout the day! You’ve got @HeliaPhoenix doing the social updates, so gawd knows what will pop up on there.


We published an interview with author Dan Tyte yesterday on the site – be sure to pop along to The Offline Project launch party for his new novel at the Transport Club TONIGHT from 7-10pm; plus music from John Mouse, Adwaith and Simon Love and The Old Romantics.


Now, to the main event – a preview of the wonderful Publish Cardiff event at Little Man Coffee, 11am – 7pm. Take it away, Ben!

Publish Cardiff, NO LIVE SPORTS HERE

The forever hard working Publish Cardiff has arranged another series of talks following the group’s immensely popular events last year. Featuring 1-hour talks by industry experts and social stalwarts BRICKS Magazine, Polyester Zine, Gal-Dem, Cheer Up Luv, amongst others, the catalogue of speaking arrangements hopes to shed a light on magazine culture and the surrounding industry.

At its core, Publish Cardiff is a reaction against the lack of representation in the magazine industry. The group champion alternative education and support methods for creatives outside the London bubble, as well as shedding light on all degrees of societal inequality. The event is also a chance to network, communicate and share a drink or two with like-minded individuals.

The event opens with a talk by Polyester Zine editors Ione Gamble and Gina Tonic, who will discuss zine culture, the representation of marginalised bodies, as well as the feasibility of alternative publishing as a career. This talk is followed by Eliza Hatch, the creator of Cheer Up Luv, who retells the sociological normalisation of street harassment on women, as well as how Cheer Up Luv came to be.

Chief sub-editor of Gal-dem Kuba Shand-Baptiste will then provide an introduction to Gal-dem, as well as contextualising some of the challenges of working in media spaces. The talks themselves will end with Tori West of BRICKS magazine, which will be an unmissable primer on how to pitch, prepare and submit work to publications.

Afterwards, between 17:30 and 19:00, there will be an opportunity to have free drinks and a networking session, with tea and coffee provided throughout the day. Buy tickets for Publish Cardiff, or see a full timetable of the events below:

11:00 Polyester Zine Editors Ione Gamble and Gina Tonic

12:30 Creator of Cheer Up Luv, Eliza Hatch

14:30 Chief sub-editor of Gal-dem, Kuba Shand-Baptiste

16:00 How to Submit to Magazines by Tori West of BRICKS magazine

17:30 – 19:00 FREE drinks and networking session

The event will be taking place at Little Man Coffee, on Bridge Street (you know the place, near the Motorpoint, just opposite St. David’s, where all the cool kids skate).

More information, as well as pricing, can be found on the Publish Cardiff Eventbrite page. The networking session between 17:30 – 19:00 will be free, group and individual event tickets can be bought if you only want to attend one talk.


Cardiff author Dan Tyte unleashes new novel, The Offline Project

Today we speak to author Dan Tyte about his novel The Offline Project, OUT NOW!

My first novel, Half Plus Seven, was written, in the main, in Cardiff but its story took place on the streets and in the suburbs of an Everycity.  It was probably an unconscious homage to the director John Hughes, who set his films in the made-up town of Shermer, Illinois, but the reality was I felt like the issues of the book could and should resonate with people everywhere; Toronto, Tokyo; that setting a novel in Cardiff could have been a barrier to that.

Those feelings of universality are the same for this new novel, The Offline Project. It’s the story of Gerard, a millennial who moves back home to Cardiff from London. Perennially online and defined by those interactions, his sense of self-worth is inextricably linked to his online persona. Too much internet fries his brain and he leaves Wales and goes off-grid living in a community of former online addicts in the Danish woodland, where the new way of living might be more sinister than it first appears.  These themes and conflicts feel like a very real issue, for me at least, and perhaps a lot of others in society today, coming to terms with how to be good to our brains and bodies after collectively sleepwalking into relying on the internet for almost everything.

Despite the themes being broad-brush, and novel’s one’s location decision, it felt important to me to set the novel in Cardiff. There aren’t many books I can remember reading that have been set here: Dannie Abse’s Ash on a Young Man’s Sleeve, John Williams’ The Cardiff Trilogy, Roald Dahl’s Boy; and only one of them is purely fictional. The city continues to grow in stature and unless its artists are confident enough to use it as the backdrop for stories, why should the rest of the world care?

The Offline Project’s Cardiff is a modern Cardiff, the city of the here and now, looking towards the future but grounded in myth and mysticism. For Gerard, for lots of us, that’s a city of freelance creatives, of Welsh mams, of world class museums and minimum wage jobs, of craft ale bars and intercontinental visitors. A city hurtling towards tomorrow helped by a history of industry and internationalism. I hope you’ll like spending time there.

Dan Tyte’s second novel The Offline Project is out now on Graffeg Books and available from the Graffeg website and from Amazon. He’s on Twitter @dantyte.


Jannat’s Lucent Dreaming – a new Cardiff-based creative writing magazine

In today’s profile, we meet Jannat Ahmed, founder and editor-in-chief of Lucent Dreaming – a new creative writing magazine coming straight out of Cardiff!

I’m Jannat, founder and editor-in-chief at Lucent Dreaming. The LD team and I have officially just launched our debut issue from Rabble Studio. I’m a 22-year-old MA English Literature graduate from Cardiff University, born and bred in South Wales and ever since I could read, I’ve wanted to write. Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling have been the cornerstones of my imaginative life since I started school and they continue to inform what I do today. I dabbled, about 11-ish years ago when I was in my final year of primary school with a little thing called J Club. It was a club I made up where I asked for the email addresses of anyone who visited our house and sent them a ‘magazine’, i.e. a word document that comprised exclusively of wordart, clipart and rhyming poetry about flowers written by me.

At 10 or 11 years of age I had a club that sent a magazine every month (for only about two months), that also sold stationery I’d bought from Woolworths, and even had its own paperclip collection bought by my dad. Looking back, I think I was ridiculous but onto something. Just over a decade later and it seems I’m kind of doing the same thing but better (I hope!)

Lucent Dreaming is my childhood dream come true: it’s a new independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, strange and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our first issue even has poetry about flowers! This is the story of how it started.

It was during my MA, this time last year, that I happened to be working on a parody creative writing magazine for one of my modules. After having too much fun making parody adverts for Cardiff University’s new revolving doors and Arriva Trains Wales’ delayed transport, I thought it would be a great idea to make a real creative writing magazine. I was talking to my friend Jess—now also one of Lucent Dreaming’s editors—about her experience of trying to get a job in publishing. She told me she’d exhausted her savings going to publishing internships and still didn’t have enough experience to get a job. It was then I asked if she’d be willing to donate her time to my as-yet-unnamed ‘real’ creative writing magazine and she said yes! Jo and Jonas—my two other editors—also, surprisingly, said yes. And so it began.

The idea was put on hold over the summer while I was working on my dissertation but come September it was back on. We had a name and a logo and we launched our website for submissions on Halloween last year. We planned on being an online-only creative writing magazine but that soon changed.

In November last year I applied for the pilot Ymlaen placement and got it! The placement is for six months and gives me desk space and business mentoring at Rabble Studio as a collaboration between Creative Cardiff, Cardiff University’s Enterprise and Start-up Team and Rabble Studio. Since January I’ve been working from Rabble, a coworking space for freelancers, small businesses and remote workers, and it’s been fantastic. I’ve been around freelance writers and designers and a bunch of other wonderful humans who have set up businesses before, worked with printers before and know what it’s like to work in creative industries. Everyone is so friendly, helpful and incredible at what they do; it’s been invaluable to me to be around them.

Working at Rabble has morphed Lucent Dreaming from an online-only to an also-print magazine. Last Saturday saw the launch of our debut issue and we’re so proud of how far it has come in such a short space of time. We sold half our magazine print run as well as our hand-designed notebooks and we can’t wait for issue 2! (We’re currently accepting short story and poetry submissions by the way!)

As far as the future is concerned, we hope to continue LD in print. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication. However, we’re not just a publisher, we see ourselves as a springboard. We offer feedback on all qualifying submissions so that writers aren’t left in the dark about why their work might be rejected. We give our writers feedback so they have constructive ways to improve for their next submission. And, for everyday creatives, writers and doodlers, we’ve also set up a notebook subscription because we know that creativity rarely concludes with publication in day-to-day life (and it’s the other half of my childhood dream to sell stationery!). Whether or not you’re interested in publishing your work, we want to encourage you to be creative. A haiku, a doodle, a list of important memories—they are all produced from a feeling that cannot always be pinned down, but it’s that beautiful, strange, surreal feeling that we want to inspire both through our magazine and everything else we may create in the future. I hope we never lose sight of that dream!

Visit the Lucent Dreaming site – they’re currently open for submissions and preorders of Issue 2.

Jannat Ahmed is a recent English Literature graduate and expert project-starter. She enjoys anything she is capable of envying and secretly compares LD to Lovegood’s The Quibbler with confessedly more fiction. She is editor-in-chief at Lucent Dreaming.