New zero-waste store aims to make ripples in Cardiff

You might have spotted the super exciting Kickstarter campaign for a new zero-waste store in Cardiff called rippleAs you know, we LOVE small actions that turn into big changes. So today, Sophie Rae – the kick-ass woman behind the idea – tells us all about her amazing concept…

Sophie Rae KickstarterRipple, Cardiff’s first not-for-profit zero-waste store, has launched a Kickstarter to bring the shop to the city in time for a new wave of conscious consumers.

Inspired by the independent community of Cardiff, ripple founder and Cardiff native, Sophie Rae, launched the crowd funding campaign on 16th July at fellow not-for-profit business Big Mooose Coffee.

Pledgers have shown their support in vast numbers, with the campaign reaching 25% of its target within 72 hours! Here’s why you should back the project too:

So, what’s ripple about?

It’s simple really. Ripple is all about conscious consuming; from food to fashion choices. We think everyone deserves the chance to shop more ethically. When one person makes a change, everyone else pays attention, because ripples create waves. That, and you know… plastic.

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What’s wrong with plastic?

Don’t misunderstand us, we’re not anti-plastic. It’s a material that’s saving lives and has a much-needed purpose worldwide.

But single-use plastics? Yeah, they suck. BIG TIME. Plastic bags, water bottles, coffee cups, straws, packaging, wet wipes, sanitary products… the list is endless and it’s getting longer.

The ugly truth

By 2050, it’s estimated there will be more plastic than fish, in our world ocean. Studies estimate that 8 million tonnes of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean each year and by 2025, that’s set to double.

Worried yet? Us too. Plastic packaging accounts for an eye-watering fifth of the cost of your weekly shop. What if you could shop package free? Well, we’d all be saving a lot of money and precious resources.

refillable containers at ripple

So what is a zero-waste store?

To help the people of Cardiff pass on plastic, ripple will offer over 120 bulk wholefoods and encourage customers to bring their own containers, jars, tubs and bags to refill every time they shop. And because the team believe in treating every creature with kindness, they’ll be be stocking the best natural and cruelty-free home and beauty products too, from eco laundry detergent to shampoo, soap and washing-up liquid.

There’s even going to be some sustainable homeware and ethical fashion thrown in for good measure. Think bamboo socks and organic cotton underwear!

Sophie tell us:

I watched Blue Planet II in 2017 and was deeply shocked to see the devastating harm humans are having on our planet. Since then, I’ve felt pretty ethically queasy. My zero-waste journey started not long after, I’ve been making small changes to help lighten my personal plastic footprint.

The campaign is helping create sustainable foundations for ripple, so our impact can be bigger and bolder than we could have ever imagined on our own. It really is a  community project, led by the people of the city.

I hope ripple will change the way Cardiff consumes, so that we can turn Wales’ capital into a true green city. That’s what ripple is all about:making small, sustainable changes to help create a bigger impact.

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Ripple’s Kickstarter campaign will close at 11:59pm on Sunday 29th July, when the target of £30,000 must be reached or no funding will be released.

To help entice supporters to pledge, ripple has collaborated with local independent businesses to offer rewards, including zero-waste starter kits, Hot Pod Yoga class passes and ethical accessories from Cardiff-based fashion brand Maykher.

To support the campaign, find the pledge page here or follow ripple’s
journey across social media at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Meet Flameholder, aka Ruffstylz, aka Dan Lloyd – hip hop pioneer, emcee, activist

Today we have the pleasure of chatting with Flameholder, aka Ruffstylz, aka Dan Lloyd – Cardiff based hip hop pioneer, emcee, activist. 

I grew up in London until I was about seven or eight years old, enough to get the London attitude towards life into me but not long enough so it consumed me; making a three year detour through living in Kent to coming to Cardiff was great for me I think in that it gave me the best of both worlds – that big city energy mixed with some breathing space.

In Kent I was there when hip-hop started to blossom, me and my friends were actually out there dragging our lino round to different places, breakdancing on the streets and seeing the early hip-hop classic films when they came out. It was Michael Jackson’s Thriller era too, it was a blessing to be there around the start of these huge cultural phenomenons.

We came to Cardiff and I became a right little nerd (there’s a family video of me that might make you want to end my life). I went from being the sort of kid who wouldn’t be scared to get in a fight to a shy and vulnerable type. I went through the typical growing up process and after years of introspection, curiously questioning everything about life and learning individuality I reconnected with my early hip-hop roots when I tried writing lyrics. I instantly came out with something that had talent in it but I was really aware of the corny bits. I definitely didn’t want to let it go though, I had a spark and I knew that if I kept changing what I didn’t like about it I’d be left with what I did like. Hip-hop was a huge part of the development of my confidence.

It was in Cardiff I became fully fascinated with music, always listening for what was new and interesting. In particular I’d become fixated on remixes; if something was a remix I had to hear it. I loved Shep Pettibone, he was a producer who did remixes for everyone up to Madonna and the way he sampled and played with people’s vocals was a whole new world to me. I started using a mechanical double tape deck to make remixes of tracks using the pause button. I got really good at it and pushed the boundaries of the equipment I was using beyond what it was meant for but people never really heard them, I didn’t push my talent out there enough. Part of me thinks if I was focused enough with what I was doing then I could have been a nationally recognised Radio 1 DJ today or something similar. I think it’s good to tell people thoughts like that about what we feel we haven’t achieved, we all probably have them in our head to some degree.

I periodically kept up the writing, called myself Ruffstylz and became really focused on the strength of maximising the power of words – the same principle behind what poets like Saul Williams and Buddy Wakefield do. I sharpened it and sharpened it until I felt I got rid of the weak spots. Ultimately though the Cardiff music scene was still apathetic at the time, before the 2000 mark. I was passionate about getting things going with emceeing or DJing but I could barely find anyone with the same enthusiasm.

I moved back to London for two years and started to make some sort of name for myself. I was received there in the way I’d always wanted. I also got myself into music journalism, I wrote for Ministry (Of Sound) magazine, Music Week and Hip-Hop Connection. The biggest thing I did was being sent to review Eminem’s show by his record company. A big part of my passion was in wanting urban music to be treated with the same respect as all the jangly indie stuff that was celebrated by the radio and I tried to bring more light to the talent in the UK that I felt was unfairly overlooked.

I came back to Cardiff when I’d ran out of money and the time was right for me and two friends Dregz and Kaptin (now head of music at Boomtown Fair) to start a night called Higher Learning at The Toucan Club (the best club in Cardiff hands down if you ask me).

Boom, that was it, as soon as we provided a stage for local talent all that untapped energy I knew was in Cardiff exploded and I lost count of the amount of classic nights we had. We brought everyone from Task Force to Rahzel and Arrested Development there. People loved it, it was amazing. Also my friend Dan came up with the idea of starting a label called Associated Minds. We did it, grew to a team of eight and put out loads of great material. I never felt the press in the area ever really recognised us or supported us but we played all over the UK. Me and Beatbox Fozzy had a really special and innovative show that killed it everywhere we went. Fozzy’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever met, he’s never stopped blowing my mind.

We once supported Rhys Ifans’ group The Peth, they nearly took us on tour with them. I also went to work for and then be tour manager for Killa Kela, a beatboxer who’s performed with Prince, Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake. It was an honour to be around his talent and his whole team Spit Kingdom operated properly to a world class standard, it was highly inspiring.

A number of years back I went to a theatre audition in London my friend Jason Camilleri (the aforementioned Dregz) at Sherman Theatre/Welsh Millennium Centre referred me to. As a result of getting it I got trained in acting, improvisational skills and physical theatre. We then put together a show called Freestyle Forums with the directors Kwesi Johnson (someone who’s addicted to always trying something new) and Felix Cross from Nitro Theatre where we performed a 20 minute play about a young person getting involved in a gang and getting stabbed, then we’d say to the audience we’d perform it again and this time at any point they could put their hand up, say “Freeze”, we would freeze still, then they could come down and take the place of the main character, make different decisions and see if they could make the story have a different outcome while we improvised the rest of the play around them in freestyle rap.

In addition to being really innovative it had a good social purpose of making young people think about how they have the option of making different decisions in bad situations. We did a few performances in schools. I was playing the leader of the gang and in a school in Bristol one of the boys who seemed like he was part of a little gang of troublemakers came up to me and said “Whoa, you’re evil” with wide eyes. It made me happy that I did it well enough that he wasn’t just laughing along with the badness. We also did a Whose Line Is It Anyway variation style of the show where we improvised freestyle along with video footage. All of this really used us to the full, it was super challenging and very satisfying when we succeeded.

I then got involved in a show called Serious Money with director Mathilde Lopez. She’s a genius, working with her is perfect. I had to convert two Ian Dury songs into rap versions for the cast to perform. The Guardian gave it 4 stars. Then I was in Praxis Makes Perfect by National Theatre Wales which was Gruff Rhys’ group Neon Neon’s album/theatre show combined into one. It was immersive theatre, where the set, the actors and the audience all move around each other all the time. The response was overwhelming, damn near everyone treated it like one of the biggest triumphs in theatre from this area. I’d always wondered to myself if I’d be able to act and I never guessed how all these things I got involved with would move me into new and uncharted territory each time.

Following that I was getting very dismayed with the state of the world and I really latched onto some of the internet documentaries that came out that decoded and explained how society actually works. I loved the Zeitgeist films and ended up supporting the Zeitgeist Movement heavily, just because it was so inspiring and the ultimate in open-mindedness. I suppose you’d call it activism. I also went and got involved with the Occupy Movement in London, Cardiff and Bristol and gave a talk about the idea of a resource-based economy at Occupy Bristol and also at Cardiff’s Philosophy Café (I’m actually the only person I’ve seen who’s been allowed to speak there who’s not an academic). Occupy was amazing as an open forum on the streets but the only thing they weren’t really willing to question was money itself. Zeitgeist has the best ideas I can find but I realised in the end it’s too intellectual for people, we need something that communicates the same messages that hits them in the heart. I think Russell Brand came really close.

I’m not a vocational person, I’m a leaf in the wind just trying to do good things. I’m allergic to settling for second best; I think I’m a visionary who can see the potential of society and I’ve done everything I can to try and contribute to its growth. I want an unprecedented, historic, life-changing, global spiritual evolution – the big one we’ve all been waiting for but have been made to feel too small to talk about or create. The removal of limits in our minds and the will to change our social system from a competitive to a cooperative one. The reclaiming of us living in a way where we’re hungry to dive into the mystery of life. Metaphysical thinking. The reduction of science to its appropriate size in the grand scheme of things and a humility for the sheer brain breaking, mind-boggling unknowable size of everything we don’t know, in line with the indescribably beautiful poetic way the whole of existence works in perfect harmony. Let’s go for Utopia. If anyone has the resources to go for the best meal/the best job/the best house/the best partner then we’re all over it. Apply the same thoughts to changing the social system and people go ‘Whoa…’ and say it’s not possible. All it is is fear and negativity and negativity is weak.

i don’t feel comfortable talking about myself, it makes me self-conscious straight away because with everything I do I want people to take away the meaning or inspiration of what I’m showcasing and do something with it themselves but I can say throughout all of this Cardiff has been a great base to do my thing in. There’s nothing specific I could say about why but it just continues to have this lovely extended circle of hundreds of really cool people who are interesting and interested in things, I feel you can talk to people here in Cardiff and they listen.

Dan Lloyd now performs and produces as Flameholder: find out more …

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Meet Cardiff band, Rainbow Maniac

Earlier this year we were on the panel helping choose the bands for this year’s BBC Gorwelion/Horizons project. We plan to do a post about all the bands participating very soon, but there were a couple of BRILLIANT, stand-out Cardiff bands that didn’t make the final 12, that we want to profile for you.

First up, meet one of our new favourite bands, RAINBOW MANIAC!

As you can see, Rainbow Maniac are proper good times psychedelic rock’n’roll – plenty of energy and catchy tunes. What more could you ask of your new favourite band? Conor from the band was even kind enough to do a quick Q&A with us. 

WE ARE CARDIFF. Please introduce the band!

RAINBOW MANIAC. Well, my name is Conor, I sing and write the songs. Louis plays the guitar, Gavin plays the drums and Laura plays bass.

We’re all from different South Walian valleys/towns, We all met in Bridgend College, only me and Gavin knew each other beforehand. That’s where the band formed, as we were the only four people in the class who weren’t into metal!

WAC. How did you end up in Cardiff?

RM. I studied a sound tech degree in Cardiff and then we all gradually found work and moved here.

WAC. Give us some local bands you’re into.

RM. Well obviously there’s The Socks, The Buzzards and The CVCs, but we’ve also got into some of the newer bands coming through like Al Moses, The Rotanas, The Pitchforks, and Carolines.

WAC. What’s your favourite Cardiff venue?

RM. Cardiff University Great Hall. We’ve seen a lot of our favourite bands there. I remember seeing Pete Doherty and Babyshambles gigs there before Rainbow Maniac were even a thing, and it had a big effect on me. We’d love to play there one day in the not-too-distant future.

WAC. What’s your favourite Cardiff boozer?

RM. It’s a difficult question because there are so many Wetherspoons to choose from, but would have to say The Gatekeeper, next to Moon Club. It’s a great place to get drunk before you go in to watch a band and are forced to pay over £3 for a can of Red Stripe. Until we get a call from Rough Trade, I will not be able to afford those prices.

WAC. What’s next for the band?

RM. We’re currently sat on a bunch of new recordings, so next we’re gonna shoot and direct our own music video with help from our friends at Mono. After that we’re just gonna work on the release, and try and cause as much of a stir in the music industry as possible, play some more shows, build some more friends, and fans. And have fun!

Our next show is at Tramlines Fringe Fest – Sheffield, 20 July. We also return to HUB Fest in Cardiff 25 August for what should be a great night.

Thanks Conor! Make sure you get along to see Rainbow Maniac at one of their upcoming shows and follow them in all the usual places …

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Just 10 days left to vote for your favourite Cardiff arcade business!

Over the past couple of weeks, the City of Arcades campaign has been encouraging people across Cardiff to VOTE FOR THEIR FAVOURITE INDEPENDENT BUSINESS in any one of our wonderful arcades. THERE ARE ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT TO VOTE PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

HERE’S HOW TO VOTE:

Go to the City of Arcades website and click through to the arcade where your favourite shop is (you may need to explore the site first to work out which is which).

We voted for Spillers Records! Which you can find in the Morgan Arcade section, bbz. Although we’re not telling you how to vote, obvs.

When you find your store listed, CLICK THE HEART ICON (circled below). You can’t vote from the store’s actual information page (as they don’t all have them) – you can only vote in this list view.

The top 10 stores will be featured in an ad campaign in Cardiff, Bristol, and Bath, so it’s some great exposure for our lovely local independent businesses! ALSO anyone who votes will be entered into a draw to win a £100 FOR Cardiff Gift Card.

Voting is open until midnight on 22 July 2018. VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE ARCADE BUSINESS and help them get a spot in the City of Arcades Top 10! Go to thecityofarcades.com, follow the steps above, and KABOOM.

Once you’ve voted (or maybe before), do spend some time exploring the City of Arcades website. There are some lovely video interviews with different businesses –  this is the Spillers Records interview with Ashley …

Also we love this interview with Matthew Pritchard, owner of Sleep When You’re Dead in the High Street Arcade

Aaaaand this with lovely Kas from Waterloo Tea in the Wyndham Arcade

As Adrian Field, Executive Director of FOR Cardiff, says: “If you frequently visit a café or buy gifts from a certain shop, make sure you get behind the business to help them get on the top 10 list. Looking at the current top 20, it’s all still to play for!”

Dyfed Bowen, General Manager of Rules of Play in Castle Arcade, says: “The support we’ve received since the campaign launched has been incredible. It makes us feel special to see that hundreds of people have voted for us so far, especially when you look at all the other well-known shops in the arcades such as Barkers Coffee and Science Cream.”

Aw. All the feels.

To make sure your favourite independent gets the recognition it deserves in the campaign later this year, MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!

There’s more about the City of Arcades on the socials …

Cardiff’s arcades form such an important part of the city centre’s identity. If you’re interested in learning more, see our other posts:

More about the City of Arcades

The campaign is being run by For Cardiff, an organisation that represents businesses in Cardiff’s city centre (known as the business improvement district, or BID). A BID is an arrangement where central businesses can make decisions about the improvements they want to make in their city centre, and have a say in the amount they think should be spent on these improvements. BIDs are usually run by not for profit companies,  controlled by the businesses that fund them. This post is kindly sponsored by the City of Arcades, helping us keep the social purpose at the heart of We Are Cardiff.

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We held a TEDx event in the smallest pub in Cardiff. Here’s what happened…

On a hot and sticky Saturday afternoon in May, the very first TEDxCanton event was held in our favourite micro-pub, St Canna’s! A tiny, very special audience attended the main event, and more watched through the day from the viewing party in the Printhaus, and even more caught the Facebook Live stream!

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We had SUCH an amazing day listening to incredible speakers with fascinating ideas. We also drank (a lot) of Pipe’s special ‘From Acorns’ IPA (inspirational pale ale…), ate delectable smoked aubergine canapes made from food waste, and were captivated by beautiful music.

And even on the day of the Royal Wedding AND the FA Cup Final, TEDxCanton was trending in Cardiff on Twitter! Over 600 people watched the live stream on Facebook too.

This week, TEDx have uploaded the talks to YouTube. Here’s a round-up of all the speakers so you can re-live the day all over again!

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton: Ordinary people who do extraordinary things

How do firefighters make decisions in emergency situations? Sabrina explores who protects the protectors, and how our brains work in high stress situations.

“Firefighters are the last thing standing between a dying breath and another day…. Whose job is it to prioritise firefighters’ safety, so they can prioritise yours?”

Follow her @sab_cohenhatton / sabrinacohenhatton.com

Stepheni Kays: Building cohesive communities, beyond the buzzwords

What do we mean by ’empowerment’, ‘citizenship’ and ‘cohesion’? Stepheni tells her story of being a refugee in Wales to explain why welcoming, inclusive communities are better for everyone.

Imagine if you had no alternative but to leave everything behind that is dear to you…. For people looking for a place of safety, citizenship means ‘my humanity is acknowledged’.

Follow her @madamekays

John Parker: Why trees are better than people

Did you know that trees in urban areas can improve child development, reduce violence and boost house prices? John tells us about ‘nature’s air-conditioners’, and why we shouldn’t take them for granted.

The benefits of trees to human health are massive. Pregnant women who spend time close to green infrastructure have bigger, healthier babies. Children exposed to green infrastructure at a young age show less signs of allergies. Patients in hospitals recover more quickly and are discharged faster if they have a view over green infrastructure than a hard landscape or no view at all.

Follow the London Tree Officers Association @LTOA33

Josh Doughty: From west Wales to west Africa

The kora is a 21-string lute-bridge-harp used extensively in West Africa, which Josh learned to play under the Master player Toumani Diabate. Hear his beautiful music and listen to the extraordinary story of how he came to play the instrument.

One of the rules of the kora is that you don’t play it at night by yourself, because the spirits come and listen and corrupt your soul. But if you don’t fear the spirits and you listen to them, they have things to teach you.

Follow him @joshdoughtykora / joshdoughtykora.co.uk

Becca Clark and Lia Moutselou: How we turned a city’s food waste into a supper club

How much food do you put in the bin? Becca and Lia are community food waste trailblazers. Together they run Wasteless Suppers, which bring together local food businesses, food lovers and passionate people to create positive change and reduce food waste.

Our Wasteless Suppers are a collaborative platform of local food businesses to create a food surplus feast. We collect food surplus and our chefs create beautiful dishes from food that otherwise would have been wasted.

Follow them: @greencityevents @liaskitchen @moutselia

Matt Callanan: How to change the world with £10

What would you do if you found a £10 on the floor? Matt introduces us to the We Make Good Happen project, a movement that promotes everyday good deeds.

On Groundhog Day, I hid a number of £10 notes around the city and put photos of their location on social media. It turned into a good deed treasure hunt.

Follow him @matt_4_good / @wemakegoodhappn / mattcallanan.co.uk

Keep up to date with future events on tedxcanton.co.uk and @tedx_canton!

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Take a BITE! New pop-up food festival at Insole Court, Saturday 14 July 2018

Nothing goes better with this glorious weather we’ve been having than stuffing your face with good food, eh? Luckily enough, a new food festival entitled BITE will be coming to Cardiff on the Saturday 14 July 2018. It will take place at the gardens of Insole Court to celebrate all things food-related and local. Also – and this is most exciting of all – it is DOG FRIENDLY, so our resident super-pup Zelda will be coming along for a sausage or two.

Dusty Knuckle pizza-maestro Phill Lewis and ex-Street Food Circus Simon Thomas founded the festival with the goal of providing varied, locally-sourced, and affordable dishes at a good price. The festival will be doing away with the usual array of over-the-top marketing, food trucks, and entrance fees; each selected business will provide a single, specially-created dish, for only £3!

A lot of businesses have decided to take part, with dishes coming from across the whole of Cardiff’s community. A full list of businesses can be found below (and they’re some really, REALLY great people!):

The above list satisfies just about any palette, so there will be something there for everyone. Phil spoke on how each business is excited about the festival:

“All of the chefs have been hard at work recipe testing and coming up with their own unique dishes for the festival – it’s getting a little bit competitive which is great to see as it shows all the chefs are giving it their all. There should be some really creative and exciting food on offer on the day. We’ll be revealing the full menus in the next week or so, so stay tuned!”

By limiting each chef to one dish, the festival is looking to show the best of each business. Food will not be the only thing on offer, with drinks provided by Wrights Wines, Skyborry Cider, and Lufkin coffee. Lufkin was recently featured on We Are Cardiff’s ‘Four Canton Businesses That Give Back’, with the coffee spot being the best roaster in town. Local craft beers will be on sale, too.

Whether you’re looking to fill your belly or get on a small drinking session, head on down to BITE. The festival is here to discuss what makes up “real food”, and to help facilitate that discussion between local people. For more information about BITE, keep an eye on the BITE Facebook event page.

Insole Court

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Shahina was intimidated by mainstream gyms – so she set up a ladies-only gym in Canton

This week we want to introduce you to a superpowered small business owner … who set up her own gym in Canton. Meet Shahina, and welcome to Haya Fitness!

So my name is Shahina Ahmed and I am originally from London, Westminster where I worked in retail. I was manager of Tie Rack, which sadly closed down not long after I left to move to Cardiff. I am not saying there is a connection … but it is a coincidence.

I had never come to Cardiff before meeting and marrying my proud Welsh husband Mo. We met online and hit it off straight away. After marrying I decided to move to Cardiff, at the time Mo had just started a graduate job and couldn’t move to London.

That was 13 years ago. My first memories of Cardiff were all how green it was and how much more space there was compared to London. The first place I visited was Tesco Western Avenue because that’s how lame Mo is (talk about romance!).

I moved to Mynachdy and have stayed put here. We love being amongst the community of the place. I have also done so much sightseeing I could be a tour guide but having kids you have to find ways to keep them entertained.

My favourite places in Cardiff differ depending on what I am doing, if it’s hanging out with Mo then it has to be City Road. It’s vibrant and energetic. Mo and I are both Muslim, and City Road offers loads of Halal and Muslim friendly places (plus Mo seems to know every restaurant and shop owner so they give us the VIP treatment wherever we go). With the kids I love St Fagans, the Museum and Cardiff Story Museum – they keep the kids entertained but  are so educational – so they are always learning. I also think it’s really important the kids build their Welsh identity, and these places help with this.

About a year ago, I opened Haya Fitness Ladies Only Gym. I was a gym novice but wanted to get fit and healthy again after I had had kids. I wanted to be a strong, confident and healthy mum and I knew fitness would lead to a generally healthier lifestyle. I was pretty intimated by mainstream gyms, I had no idea what to do and having loads of men around made it that much more scary.

I also thought how great it would be if I could just take the kids with me instead of arranging babysitting. This is the niche for Haya Fitness  – it is run by women for women, it’s welcoming and inclusive for all ladies. It’s aimed at offering women both a place to get fit and is an easily accessible gym venue with classes. We have two hours free parking in the car park opposite, there is a buggy parking zone for mums and a wide enough variety of equipment and classes to keep everyone zoned in.

We are open 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday (we close a bit earlier on weekends), I have created 6 new part time jobs for mums and students and have 6 freelance gym instructors and PT’s working out of the gym. We have classes running daily which includes HiiTs training, Legs, Bums and Tums, Dance, Zumba and different types of workshops.

Many people think I am a gym fanatic and that is why I opened up the gym, Im not, I am a busy mum of 3 who wanted to easily get into a gym to lead a healthier lifestyle without feeling self conscious about myself. Now its great, I can go to work, take my baby Esa who is 6 months old, attend classes and feel good that Im allowing other women to exercise.

I searched high and low for a location but everything was either too expensive or not located in a place where women would want to go to – especially in the winter when it becomes dark early. A space came up in Canton off Cowbridge Road East opposite a Tesco Metro, it used to be a snooker hall and it was perfect. A busy high street, safe to attend at anytime of the day, big enough to accommodate my grand plans of a proper gym, studio for classes, a kids zone and I even threw in a Sauna for good measure. In fact the place is so big I have also added a Hair Salon.

Im located on 1a Leckwith Road and it seems the place has so much local history, builders were coming in saying remember it as Bills Snooker Hall  or remember drinking in it when it was the City Sports Bar. I remember on Contractor who came to price up a new ceiling, he was an older gentleman and said he remembered it when it used to be dance hall and he had his first dance with a girl there, so sweet. Canton is such an amazing place too there is a real sense of community there. I shop local and its great to see other businesses thriving. Everyone was so helpful too from City Print who helped do our sign and staff t shirts to Toolbox who seemed to have everything we needed when we were kitting the place out too. I cant forget Brian and Tracey Landlord from the Canton Cross Vaults next door who are the loveliest people in the world.

I dislike the reputation it has, Canton is a thriving place and more people should know about it.

When I am not working I love taking my family out around the city. I have compiled a “busy mums top list of things to do with the kids in Cardiff”:

  • Museum
  • Cardiff Story Museum
  • Cardiff Castle especially when they have events on
  • Taff Trail on the bikes or scooters
  • Cardiff Bay Barrage park for the skate park, the sand park, ice-cream and walk along the barrage itself
  • Cardiff Bay Boat Trip – £10 gets you onto a boat with the family
  • Victoria Park especially in the summer as they have the wet play
  • Thompson park for a nature orientated day out
  • St Fagans – just amazing
  • St David Shopping Centre, build a bear and the lego shop give hours of entertainment
  • All the Libraries and Hubs across Cardiff

Any We Are Cardiff readers can try out the gym using the code WRC2018 and if they quote We Are Cardiff will receive 10% off prices.

FOLLOW HAYA FITNESS ONLINE:

Haya Fitness website

Haya Fitness Facebook

Haya Fitness Twitter

(That’s Shahina on the left)

Big thanks Shahina! Til next time …

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