Category Archives: The Arts

Introducing – the Welsh Music Podcast!

Happy New January! This post is dedicated to a new podcast you NEED to be listening to. This is the Welsh Music Podcast, hosted by James Cuff (We Are Cardiff fans may remember James for helping out on the We Are Cardiff documentary that we made a few years back) and Neil Collins, both avid music fans.

They set the podcast up in 2019 to celebrate Welsh music and culture, past and present, and the people who helped shape it.

Welsh Music Podcast logo

Here’s more about them: “From Anhrefn to Zabrinski we’ll cover it all, including obscure, emerging and established artists, across the Welsh and English language spectrum.

“Each episode will feature a music obsessive guest who has, in some way, helped shape Welsh music and culture. They’ll be talking about their careers and giving an in-depth analysis of their favourite Welsh album.”

Their most recent episode of the podcast features me! (Helia Phoenix, helllooooo). I chat about various things on my musical journey through life in Cardiff, including Catapult Records, Kruger Magazine, Lady Gaga, club nights in Cardiff through the 1990s and 2000s. SO much to chat about. Thanks so much to the Welsh Music Podcast for inviting me on, it was such a lovely chance to reminisce and celebrate!

My nomination for best Welsh album of all time is High Contrast‘s True Colours. I don’t think the electronic scene in Wales gets anywhere near enough coverage or kudos for how diverse and wonderful it is, so this is my attempt to correct that. Also if you think about global impact, Lincoln (High Contrast) is a producer who is leading his field. He worked on the music for the Olympics opening ceremony, he’s a Grammy nominee. This will date this piece, but check the High Contrast Spotify profile and you’ll see his top 10 tracks have had 47 MILLION LISTENS. That’s big time.

Anyway, that’s today. Back to True Colours. It’s a wonderful album, and I mention in the podcast that I did a pre-interview with Lincoln to refresh my memory. We ended up chatting for nearly an hour and there was a lot of interesting stuff in that, so look forward to a post about that in the future.

Listen below:

Here’s the beef:

We talk to music journalist and Cardiff Music Board member Lalovely Phoenix about DJing, working on Kruger Magazine and writing Lady Gaga’s biography.

She also chose the Grammy-nominated High Contrast’s debut as her favourite Welsh album.

Earlier episodes of the podcast so far feature discussions with Dave Owens, Patrick Jones, Huw Stephens, John Rostron, Matt Durbridge, Keri Collins, and they’ve got a lot more guests to come (more about Welsh Music Podcast guests).

Two other Welsh electronic artists I wanted to give a special shout out to:

LINKS TO MORE STUFF:

Follow the Welsh Music Podcast…

LINKS TO EVEN MORE STUFF:

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Support the Creative Republic of Cardiff – become a patron of The Moon!

Creative Republic of Cardiff is a non-profit organisation that plans to rejuvenate Cardiff’s live music and creative culture. It was been set up by former staff & friends of The Full Moon, which closed in April 2017.

The Full Moon doorway, Cardiff

They set up an Indiegogo campaign which raised £14,000 in two weeks, which helped them to take on the building’s lease and open at the end of April 2017 as a new community-led, non-profit venue & arts space called THE MOON.

THEY ARE NOW SEEKING YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT! They’ve been busy getting the venue ready, which includes all sorts of things:

eg – securing the lease; licenses; insurance; tills; stock; accounting; legal; security; design & signage; plumbing & electrics; continuing refurbishment – painting, carpentry, tiling, loads of odd jobs and fixing stuff, lights replaced, little cloakroom/space for band gear; & everything else associated with maintaining a fully functioning venue!

Additional funds will allow us to improve the venue, carry out maintenance and provide them with basic working capital.

Creative Republic of Cardiff will use the venue to establish an environment of collaboration, networking and knowledge sharing. It will nurture, develop, organise and showcase talent from Cardiff and beyond.

The Moon has been an powerhouse for supporting grassroots artists, and supporting them is support for our independent music scene!

They’re currently offering two levels of support: £7.50 per month, or £20 per month. Here’s how they break down:

$10 (£7.50) or more per month:
  • Moon ‘Saviour’ T-Shirt
  • 10% discount at the bar FOR LIFE any time you come in wearing your Saviour t-shirt
  • Your name will also be placed on the wall plaque of saviours
$25 (£20) or more per month:
  • Saviour t-shirt
  • 10% off at the bar for life when wearing Saviour t-shirt
  • 1 free gig per month at The Moon of your choice (subject to ticket availability)

Crazy good options! Head over to the Creative Republic of Cardiff’s Patreon page and get supporting.

Creative Republic of Cardiff Facebook

Creative Republic of Cardiff Instagram

Creative Republic of Cardiff Twitter

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Invitation to the FCI 2 listening party!

USW’s School of Music and Sound have a listening launch party for this year’s Create Sampler, FCI 2 on 14th May from 3.30pm, and they want you to go along! 

Following steep competition and over 40 entries, a staff panel selected the final tracks to represent the School and release on vinyl, complete with cover artwork from The Wild Midnight. 

FCI 2 contains 13 eclectic tracks ranging from rock to folk to electro house, collaborations and an exclusive track recorded at Rockfield Studios. The creative standard this year is exceptional and they can’t wait to share the finished product with you. Finished copies will be available on the day and also on the shelves of Spillers Records.

Join us in the Theatre to listen to the album and hear the stories behind the tracks from the artists themselves TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE

Theatre listening party 3.30pm-5pm

Zen Bar Social, DJ & Buffet 5pm – 7pm

Get yourself along and support tomorrow’s musical stars!

Side A

“Y Diweddaraf” – Adwaith

“Zen Me Kan Dao Zi” – Min & Hui

“Curves and Lines” – Suleiman Atta

“Nowhere’s Ark” – Jacob Haslam & 3rd Year BMus Contemporary Music Performance

“Platform 10” – Ste Powell

“Flying Kites” – Chloe Ferguson

Side B

“Advantages” – Bloom!

“Venn Diagram” – Carlen Williams

“Everything is Happening” – Jacob Haslam

“Work Hard” – Dan Ham

“Love International” – Girl International

“My Dear and Me” – Alan’s Bank

“Matulu Moja” – Klementyna Wasiewska & Alastair Evans

Last year’s Sampler, FCI 1 gained critical acclaim in the industry receiving radio airplay and was championed by BBC Producers Huw Stephens, Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn. It is also stocked in Spillers Records and will be available for this year’s Record Store Day. Featured bands MelltThe Kelly Line and Naomi Rae have continued to gain attention in the business and we anticipate big things for this year’s artist rostra.

Join us in the Atrium theatre to listen to the album and hear the stories behind the tracks from the artists themselves.

Theatre listening party 3.30pm-5pm

Zen Bar Social from 5pm

Bought to you by the School of Music and Sound this event is free, open to students & the wider music community, please tell your friends. If you are looking to get into the industry or advance your business within it these talks are for you.

Instagram usw_music

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Introducing the Ladies of Rage

Today we welcome Hannah Weiss to introduce the Ladies of Rage, a new Cardiff musical collective. All images here by Aiyush Pachnanda. Enjoy!

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The Cardiff collective Ladies of Rage (LOR) was established by radio DJ Ffion Wyn Morris, to unite women in the Welsh music scene. The group is 80 members strong, the group welcomes anyone interested in learning to mix tracks or take their turn on the mic. Whether you’re into D’n’B or old-skool hip hop, writing lyrics or beatboxing, there’s a place for you here.

There’s a LOR showcase for International Women’s Day in March – it will be held on 9 March at The Moon, and we’d love to see you there!

The LOR had a showcase at The Moon in December, which was a real success. The ladies had honed their skills through a series of monthly jam sessions and workshops, ready to take the stage for the first showcase.

The Moon is Cardiff’s prime space for up-and-coming indie acts and the perfect place for the Ladies of Rage to make their debut: large enough to pack a solid audience, small enough to allow each performer to connect with the crowd. There was a mix of men and women; a healthy cross-section of supporters in the scene, people looking for a good show and a handful who wander in throughout the night, drawn by the music to find out more.

Stella Marie and Trishna Jaikara Shan kick-start the showcase. Both DJs are here to demonstrate their skill on the decks, and each brings her own flair to the hip hop mixes they’ve come to play. People drift from the bar to the stage, as the hype builds for the first emcee.

First on the mic is Becky Cee, a new rapper who found performing through poetry. This is evidenced by the compelling lyricism of her words, as she explores anger and anxiety. At times her delivery is backed by music, at others she lets the timbre of her voice fill the space. Each of the trio of tracks is deeply personal, a timely reminder of the purpose of the night: enabling women in music to make their voices heard.

Following her is Judy Price, the leading lady on tech for the night, who blends her words with a self-composed mix that gives her set a smooth, bluesy vibe. There’s a steady confidence in her delivery that matches the evocative self-awareness of her lyrics.

Amelia Unity is up next, an OG in Cardiff’s hip hop scene. The spoken word poet, graffiti artist and B-girl takes the stage to give The Moon a taste of the talent that won her first place at the Swansea Poetry Slam last year. She’s ready with an arsenal of talking points, from the personal to the political.  Quoting the ‘colour war on the high street’ and ‘a gambler who couldn’t play her game’, Unity flips from uncovering cracks in Cardiff’s hip hop community to smoking public discourse on beauty standards and aging, taking her audience on a vivid ride through her experiences of life and art.

Lyrical depth is a clear strength these women share. Leah Hutchinson shifts into a more introspective tone with her mix of singing and spoken word, showcasing her flair for flow and a unique vocal tone. She welcomes the audience into her world through four tracks that unfold in a gorgeous string of metaphors referencing nature, poetry and religion. Framing both her fellow performers and the audience in the statement ‘we are all an expression of infinite art’, she encapsulates the purpose of the night in one beautiful turn of phrase.

Building on Leah’s tentative step through the divide between poetry and music, singer-songwriter Asha Jane dives into a soaring R&B set of self-penned tracks. ‘If you fall in love with a storyteller, you might be in love with the stories’, is the haunting refrain of stand-out track ‘Oyster’. Asha spins a soulful tale of love and loss, while the hype of the audience around her stills to rapt attention.

Asha stays on stage to collab with battle rapper Shawgz, who transforms the crowd’s focus into a flare of energy with a rapid-fire salvo of tracks from her new BLK Tape EP. The pair play off each other’s strengths, letting the tempo rise and fall as they shift flow in perfect sync. Shawgz owns the stage with flair, demonstrating her freestyle chops as she ribs with the audience.

The vibe stays at a simmering high as Lady SP hits the stage with a flow so fast it ricochets around the venue like gunfire. If the first half of this showcase drew the audience in through the ladies’ lyricism and exchange of shared experiences, the latter sets are a performance of sheer power.

The strength of the collective really hits home when Tasha, better known by her moniker TT, rallies for her first time on stage. The other women gather, ready at her back, while the crowd before her chants their collective support to welcome her onto the scene.

The full roster of emcees, singers and DJs share the stage to swap verses in a friendly-fire cypher that rounds out the night with a display of unity and mutual respect. Every women takes her turn on the mic, the hype of the others around her never letting up.

Lubi J and Stella shift the showcase from performance to party, taking turns on the decks to play some D’n’B, with emcee Missy G stepping up to the mic to freestyle over the mix. Before the night comes to a close, the ladies present founder Ffion with a birthday present as she thanks the audience for their support, giving a shout out to each performer’s tenacity and talent, and a nod to Amy Farrah’s photo exhibition. Headshots of the performers line the walls, accompanied by words, as each gives her voice to the need for this new era in music.

The Ladies of Rage showcase is a clear demonstration of the treasure-trove of talent among women emcees, DJs and musicians in Wales. It’s not just a performance, but a call to arms. This is the first time several performers stepped from the edges of the underground scene to go onstage. How many women in the audience, you wonder, might be inspired to pen lyrics and experiment with mixes after watching the skill on show that night?

It’s those women in the crowd the Ladies of Rage came for. The ones who haven’t yet dared to test their skills. Now when they do, there’s a full collective of women ready to share their experiences and stand alongside them.

This is just the first step.

JOIN THE LADIES OF RAGE!

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Meet Irina and Silviu – documenting local creatives

A couple of months ago I got an email from Irina and Silviu, asking if I would be free to answer some questions and be featured on their website. I do get asked relatively frequently to do things like this, but I’ve only got limited time available to me so I usually turn the offers down.

However, I had a look at the website for this project that they are running – Together and Sunspell – and got back in touch with them to say yes. Have a look at it and you’ll see why. The photography is just wonderful, and they’ve got an interesting mixture of interviews with people doing creative jobs or creative work across different industries, and also across their local area – they live in Usk, so their project spans Cardiff, Bristol and Bath. I asked them a few questions about Together and Sunspell. Enjoy!

Please introduce yourselves.

We are Irina & Silviu and we do everything together. We met at Uni in Transylvania where we were both studying Philosophy and a few years down the line we’ve decided to call Wales home.

Tell us a little bit about your project ‒ where did the idea come from? Why did you decide to do it?

Together & Sunspell was born out of our innate curiosity and inquisitive openness towards the Other and the way they interact with their environment. As foreigners we found this to be a good way of getting to know people and feeling less isolated. We also felt that by creating an online collection of these encounters we would support and promote local and regional talent and raise awareness of the creative richness surrounding us.

What has your experience been of meeting people and taking the photos? Have you enjoyed it?

T&S started without us really knowing it and this randomness helped us ease into what the project was going to become. We went from almost zero interaction to having covered over 120 stories in the span of two years; the whole process has been exhilarating, draining at times and paired with our innate need to permanently question and analyse everything, the journey has been anything but boring. Have we enjoyed it? We’ve absolutely loved it. It taught us things about ourselves that we might have never learned otherwise and it offered us a plethora of firsthand insights into so many different stories topped up with being able to share all this richness with everyone.

Are there any memorable photoshoots you have done?

They are all unique, thus all memorable. They all taught us something different, things you can only perceive in the company of people who open their hearts and homes and share their inspiring stories with us. At the end of the day, our project is not about photography as such, but about meaningful connections, genuine interactions, openness and inclusiveness.

What’s been your favourite location to take pictures so far?

The favourite location is always the one we are in at the time of conversing and being with the other. We can’t separate the person from the location or vice versa, they both complement each other creating a meaningful story.

And finally, what are your hopes and dreams for 2019?

We’d love to continue doing what we are doing: making more handmade collages, documenting more stories, collaborating with other creatives, developing more personal projects and enjoying our being together.

You can find Helia’s Together and Sunspell interview here:

Other lovely Cardiff people they have featured:

Find the full archive of Cardiff stories here: Together and Sunspell – Cardiff

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A guide to local Christmas shopping in Cardiff

Cardiff is a hot bed of creative craft folks and entrepreneurs who are making their hobbies their day job. Why not keep it local year and get your Christmas shopping from local friendly makers and creators. The lovely Twin Made have created a handy guide and list of local markets to help you Sleigh your Christmas Shopping!

Here are some upcoming Christmas craft markets happening in and around Cardiff:

The Christmas Makers Market at The Paget Room, Penarth – Sunday 11th November

Ichi Artisan Winter Market 2018 –  St Catherine’s Church Hall, King’s Road, Pontcanna – Saturday 17th November

Snapped Up at The Printhaus, Canton – Saturday 17th November, Saturday 8th – Sunday 9th December

Little Otter at The Paget Rooms, Penarth – Sunday 18th November

The Bone Yard, Canton Cardiff – Saturday 17th November, Saturday 8th – Sunday 9th December

WOW Women of the World Festival at Chapter Arts Saturday 24th November to Sunday 25th November

Rhiwbina’s Handmade Market – Rhiwbina Memorial Hall – Sunday 25th November

Xmas Market at The Sustainable Studio – Saturday 1st December

Etsy Made Local at The Tramshed – Sunday 2nd December

Oh So Festive at Chapter, Canton – Saturday 8th December

The Christmas Makers Market – Saturday 8th December at St Catherine’s Church Hall, King’s Road, Pontcanna

 For those that have everything

Gah, those tricky people who give you no hints and appear to have everything they need:

How about a gift voucher from Twin Made, this will also be perfect for anyone who is asking for a sewing machine, get them a gift voucher to attend a workshop and get crafty in the new year.

Twin Made are at The Bone Yard, in Canton, Cardiff.They host creative workshops, sell craft supplies and equipment hire and much, much more.

Follow @Twin_Made twitter, and Twin Made Instagram and Twin Made Cardiff Facebook.

Stitch City is run by Alex Hughes in Penarth. Stitch City makes a variety of recycled and stitched products including vintage map notebooks and badges, recycled fabric earrings and embroidered cushions.

Find them online: www.stitchcity.etsy.com or at the following markets this Winter: Ichi Artisan Market in St Catherine’s Church Hall, Rhiwbina’s Handmade Market in Rhiwbina Memorial Hall & Etsy Made Local in Tramshed

Go follow Stitch City- @Alex_stitchcity Twitter and @Alex_stitchcity Instagram

A perfect stocking filler from Stitch City

Alice Hawthorne located in Cardiff city centre is a designer and signwriter

Alice designs and creates: from gold leaf glass signs to posters to branding and graphic design.

Pieces are created in her Cardiff based studio and each of the signs painted and gold guided pieces and created from scratch and made to order. As a graphic designer her skills of type/layout/colour work perfectly in creating bespoke and unique items. The items in the store are a perfect reflection of her style and character from quirky posters for your home to hand crafted gold signs that are something completely different.

Online: www.aliceartwork.co.uk/shop or https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/aliceartworkdesign

Or in real life at Snapped up Market on Saturday 17th November and the Little Otter events in Penarth in November.

Go follow on Facebook aliceartworkdesign & Instagram:@aliceartwork

Stocking filler: A hand crafted gold leaf letter.

Free Range Frames is a one woman show with Kath making bespoke picture frames. The frames are made from bare wood with an added finish. This can be painted, wood stained, gilded and customisable to the client’s specifications.

Shop online and find out more about Free Range Frames – www.freerangeframes.co.uk, Stocking filler: A gift voucher, pop in to see Kath to get yourself one.

What a 2018! Why not treat the stressed out person in your life to a relaxing massage! Yurt in the City is a calm oasis run by Marcos Martin-Suarez. Yurt in the City offer a range of holistic therapies including: massage and Reiki from their beautiful yurt in the heart of the city. They also provide all manner of interesting workshops including yoga, meditation classes, mother and baby massage and gong baths to name some.

Find Yurt in the City at the The Bone Yard, Cardiff

Online at: www.yurtinthecity.co.uk and www.wildwoodtherapies.com

Go follow Yurt in the City on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/yurtinthecity/

https://www.facebook.com/WildWoodTherapies/

Instagram yurt_in_the_city

A perfect stocking filler would be – A gift voucher available from: http://yurtinthecity.co.uk/marcos-suarez/

We all could do with being a little fitter, right? RIGHT? Why not head to Accomplish Fitness Studio – Wellbeing and fitness studios. Run by Natt Summers, the multi hyphenated:

Author, Mindset Coach and Founder of Accomplish Fitness Studio

Find Accomplish Fitness at The Bone Yard and online at www.accomplish-fitness.co.uk

Go follow: @accomplishfitness_cardiff and @natt_summers

Stocking filler: Millie and Pink hairbands.

All that glitters and shines is probably made by these excellent folk:

 Lesley Peate of Lesley Jane Jewellery is based at The Bone Yard, Canton, Cardiff.

Lesley make and sell copper, silver & enamel jewellery and small copperware items. She also run beginners enamelling and metal jewellery workshops in her shipping container studio.

Find Lesley online: folksy.com/shops/LesleyJaneJewellery or at her studio at The Bone Yard, on first Saturday of the month and at the Bone Yard Christmas.

Follow Lesley Jane jewellery: www.facebook.com/LesleyJaneJewellery

Stocking filler: Cherry Red Enamel Heart Earrings: https://folksy.com/items/5954181-Cherry-Red-Enamelled-Heart-Earrings

Lydia Niziblian is a resident at The Printhaus in Canton, where she deisgns and makes bespoke and one of a kind pieces of jewellery in gold and silver.

You can find her online at: www.niziblian.com or in real life at the Snapped Up Market at The Printhaus and the Rhiwbina Handmade Market. Or visit her studio by appointment – email lydia@niziblian.com to arrange.

Follow Lydia and her jaw dropping work on: www.facebook.com/niziblian or @lydianiziblian on instagram

A perfect stocking filler – Gift voucher; can be used against ready-made and bespoke items and start at £10

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/577541867/lydia-niziblian-jewellery-gift-voucher

Rhian Kate Makes works in the centre of Cardiff, designing and making handmade contemporary Jewellery, using a range of different materials to make unique jewellery inspired by the moon the solar system and geometric shapes.

Find Rhian Kate Makes online: https://www.rhiankate.co.uk

Or at the following markets: The Makers Market, Penarth Paget Rooms, Penarth’s Handmade Market, The Paget Rooms, Penarth, Rhwbina’s Handmade Market, the memorial Hall, Etsy Made Local, The Tramshed, The Local Artisan Pop Up, High Street Arcade, Cardiff.

The Makers Market, Pontcanna, St Catherine’s Church Hall.

Stocking filler; Tinymoon earrings £15: https://www.rhiankate.co.uk/product-page/tinymoon-earrings

Fizz Goes Pop works from The Printhaus in Canton creating the most beautiful laser cut and resin cast jewellery.

Go shop the Fizz Goes Pop collection at: www.etsy.com/fizzgoespop,

Or go visit Fizz Goes Pop at Frome Independent Market, The Makers Market in Penarth, Paper Dolls in Birmingham, Sustainable Studio Market, The Printhaus Snapped Up Markets and Native Makers Plymouth.

Go give Fizz Goes Pop a follow on Instagram: instagram.com/fizzgoespop, facebook.com/fizzgoespop

A great stocking filler would be these beautiful stud earrings: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/640659517/geometric-earrings-stud-earring?ref=shop_home_active_25

Baked By Lou makes beautiful handmade small batch jewellery and ceramics in Cardiff.

Go shop online at Etsy.com/Bakedbylou notonthehighstreet.com/Bakedbylou Or go say Hi to Lou at Snapped Up Market and Oh Sew Festive at Chapter..

To keep up with all these beautiful creations go Follow BBL on: Instagram is @baked.by.lou and Twitter is @bakedbylou

Stocking filler: Lucky dip dangles for £15! https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/560227130/lucky-dip-dangles-statement-baked-by-lou

For the bearded one in your life:

Old Faithful run by Gareth Daniels in Merthyr/Penylan, make and sell Unisex & Men’s Organic, Natural Skincare. Gareth is qualified aromatherapist and his products are made from organic oils, butters, essential oils & herbal extracts. The Old Faithful brand is developing in a masculine unisex direction and this gentle masculinity matches the natural scents to their products.

Find Old Faithful on line: www.oldfaithful.co

Twitter and Go follow Old Faithful on Instagram – @oldfaithfulco

Facebook www.facebook/oldfaithfulco

Purchase a perfect stocking filler right here :

Old Faithful Gift Boxes – https://oldfaithful.co/collections/all/products/gift-boxes

Shopping for Kids

Having Children around at Christmas really does make it more magical and fun, so why treat them this year to some beautiful and unique gifts:

Hayley McGhan is creator of the brand Zac & Bella, Handmade Children’s clothing and accessories. They also have a full family range of Christmas pjs on sale (includes the dog!)

Shop online at www.zacandbella.com use code FSP17 for free collection from Barry.

Or Shop at: Annie & Lolo, High Street, Barry. The Local Artisan Pop Up, High Street Arcade, Cardiff.

Find them at these local markets: The Makers Market in Pontcanna and Penarth.

Rhwbina’s Handmade Market and Etsy Made Local at The Tramshed

Follow Zac and Bella:

Https://instagram.com/zac_and_bella

Https://facebook.com/zacandbella

Stocking filler

Personalised hair bows, 2 pack £5.75.

https://www.zacandbella.com/product-page/christmas-bow-clip-set

You can find Little People Store in Rhiwbina Village they stock clothing, toys & gifts for 0-4 year olds, most of which are organic and fair trade.

Shop online at: www.littlepeoplestore.co.uk

Or pop to the shop: 14a Beulah Road, Rhiwbina Village CF14 6LX 10-4pm, Thursday to Saturday or The Makers Market in Penarth

Go follow them on Instagram: @littlepeoplestoreuk, Facebook facebook.com/littlepeoplestoreuk, twitter @little_peopleuk

A perfect Stocking filler from Little People Store is:

Santa Claus is coming to Cardiff £3.99

https://littlepeoplestore.co.uk/collections/christmas/products/santa-claus-is-coming-to-cardiff

In Rainbows is the colourful creations on Becci Booker, created in her home studio in Barry, Wales

In Rainbows designs and makes kids home decor and other quirky pieces for the home, from: faux animal heads, cushions, banners and plant pot holders. All inspired by animals, colour and 80s patterns.

You can go shop at: Etsy Bristol, Made in Bristol and The Cardiff Artisian pop up shop

Pick from these grat Stocking Fillers from In Rainbows:

Narwal: https://www.etsy.com/listing/592187399/felt-narwhal-narwhal-head-animal-mount?ref=shop_home_active_33

Mountain Garland https://www.etsy.com/listing/593573487/mountain-garland-bunting-wall-art?ref=shop_home_active_22

Shop online: https://etsy.me/2DWFFoPKathy Clark makes Hand Made Costumes in Rhiwbina. They are beautiful costumes designed for kids, made for parents.

Christmas market: Etsy Made Local Cardiff, at Tramshed.

Follow us: @handmadecostumeshop

A great stocking filler – Personalised Kids Rhino Costume https://etsy.me/2L2QkAi

Helen Smith aka Nellys Treasures is a colourful resident of The Printhaus in Canton. Making, and designing interior decor and gifts for children

Go shop online: www.nellystreasuresuk.etsy.com,

Ot head to the following markets to check out her beautiful work: Snapped Up and Etsy Made Local

After purchasing all these great stocking fillers, we need to get a stocking to put it all in and Nellys Treasures make the most beautiful and fun animal faces and character stockings that children will cherish. Get them here:

https://etsy.me/2NOXQQE

Barney & Beau in Pontcanna is a kids lifestyle boutique.

They stock design led modern products for kids and the home. Stocking majority female/women indie brands, sustainable products, the greenest toy companies and children’s book offering promotes female empowerment, kindness and diversity.

Visit their shop in Pontcanna or at these markets: The Makers Markets in Pontcanna & Penarth.

Online at www.barneyandbeau.com

Follow them: @barney_and_beau

A perfect stocking filler would be this a Little Light Company Little Light Cloud.

https://www.barneyandbeau.com/product/a-little-lovely-company-little-light-cloud/

Spotted Peach is Katie Wilcox located in Cardiff Bay. Katie creates baby clothing, hair bows, felt ball garlands, Christmas wreaths and frames.

Shop online: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SpottedPeach

Go give Spotted Peach a follow here:

www.facebook.com/Spotted-Peach

www.instagram.com/spottedpeach

A perfect stocking filler from Spotted Peach: Christmas Hair Bows

 

For the homebody:

GeetLush is actually based outside of Cardiff, nestled in the Valleys… but travels well.

A fledgling small business, GeetLush creates Art, Interiors and Wearables. Expect handpainted delights, plenty of colour and something for everyone.

GeetLush joins her fellow crafty buddies at markets such as the monthly one at The Bone Yard, Canton.

Follow  www.etsy.com/uk/shop/GeetLush, www.instagram.com/geetlush/, www.facebook.com/geetlushshop/

A perfect GeetLush Stocking Filler: Cute little kawaii Christmas pots. https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/651306083/teeny-tiny-kawaii-cute-face-santa-father?ref=shop_home_active_2 or join GeetLush to create your own at The Etsy Made Local Christmas Market at The Tramshed.

Blasus Succulent Emporium is a Plant Shop and soon to be coffee shop, which you can find at The Bone Yard  Cardiff.

Blasus:grows and sells plants of all varieties and plant related gifts and homeware

Go find them on Instagram @blasus_succulent_emporium

A perfect stocking filler from Blasus would be a – Potted mini succulent or cactus

Kathy Clark makes handmade costumes in Rhiwbina. They are beautiful costumes designed for kids, made for parents.

Shop online: https://etsy.me/2DWFFoP

Christmas market: Etsy Made Local Cardiff, at Tramshed.

Follow you: @handmadecostumeshop on Facebook or Instagram

A great stocking filler – Personalised Kids Rhino Costume https://etsy.me/2L2QkAi

How about some wearable art?

Then go take a look at Jodie Johns’ work, hailing from Bridgend, creating body positive artwork with hand painted clothing and accessories. Jodie Johns regularly collaborates with other artists to create t-shirts.

Go shop online at: jodiejohns.com or in real life at The Bone Yard monthly market on Saturday the 3rd November.

Or go give them a follow on Instagram: @jodiejohn_s

Stocking Filler: Anything from their accessories page would make a cute little stocking filler, but what would really be a winner is the hand painted tote bags.

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‘Just a card’ can help keep Cardiff’s creative businesses alive

Running a business as a designer, maker, independent gallery or shop is really hard in any economic climate, but especially this one. The Just A Card campaign encourages people to support these creative enterprises by buying anything, however small- even ‘just a card’. The wonderful Charlotte from our favourite creative business Twin Made has written a quick round-up of Cardiff’s local creatives and their ‘Just a Card’ items.

Twin Made

Twin Made is a creative workshop that and sells crafts, supplies, clothing homeware and lots more.

Just A Card item: We have a range of postcards, which are scans of our original embroideries. These are just £1 each or 5 for £3. We do a happy dance everytime we sell something, however small!

Where to buy: The Bone Yard, Canton, Cardiff & www.twinmade.etsy.com

Home by Kirsty

Home by Kirsty is in a small but perfectly formed coach house in Roath. The shop brings you homeware by leading British and Welsh designer-makers who share a clean, contemporary aesthetic. From Tom Pigeon prints too Buddy & Bear’s amazing kids tableware.

I opened in 2014 in Cardiff City Centre, last summer I shock the businesses up due to massive over heads + changing shopping habits in Cardiff City Centre and relocating to the coach house in Roath. I run the business on my own being the shop assistant, visual merchandiser, Social Media the list is endless…. BUT I love it!! Shop in store (Thurs- Sat 10-6) + online.

Just A Card item: This Together Forever card (£3), and this beautiful magazine (£10).

Where to buy: 64a Glenroy St Roath  CF37 1SU OPEN Thurs- Sat 10-6 or homebykirsty.com 24/7

KA Graphic Design

Kirsty is a freelance designer that sells cards and prints. She also creates custom goodies, from wedding invites to season brochures.

Just a Card Item: You’re How Old?’ birthday card (£2.60).

Where to buy: www.kagraphicdesign.co.uk or in Not Socks again (Penarth) / Quirkey HQ (Pontypool)

PIPES Beer

PIPES makes and sells awesome craft beer. They specialise in their unique take on classic and contemporary styles from around the globe.

Just A Card item: Bottles of beer for take away (£3-£3.80 each. 5% discount on 6 bottles. 10% discount on 12 beers). Or £4 pints to drink in!

Where to buy: 183A Kings Road, Pontcanna and pipesbeers.co.uk

Not Socks Again

We sell quirky gifts, bespoke gift hampers and locally made gifts and cards.

Just A Card item: Cwtch/Bear Hug greeting cards by Folio (a Cardiff based company). £2.99 each.

Where to buy: 1 Windsor Terrace, Penarth or  www.notsocksagain.com

Baked by Lou

Lou designs and makes handmade jewellery and accessories

Just A Card item: I have a colourful range of A5 Giclée Art Prints from £6.

Where to buy: www.bakedbylou.etsy.com

Flamingos Vintage

We are a weigh and pay kilo store with branded concessions and also a functioning gallery and workshop space that we use for hosting events. Our goal is to offer accessible, sustainable and stylish clothing and accessories that we have carefully selected from all over the world.

Just A Card item: Any of our lightweight items… a blouse, t-shirt, hat or belt! They’re around £3 each!

Where to buy: Capitol Shopping Centre, Cardiff

Nelly’s Treasures

I design and make interior items for children’s rooms. I’m a textile designer/illustrator/ printmaker – lots of different things! I love creating illustrations I can make into cushions and art prints alike. All a bit cute and a bit quirky generally with lots of colour!

Just A Card item: I make cards with some of my favourite illustrations including this ‘go get em tiger’ design(£9), which is one of my favourites.

Where to buy:  www.nellystreasures.com

GeetLush

I paint anything I can get my hands on… canvases, plant pots and items I make from air drying clay. I make art, interiors and wearables.

Just A Card item: These A6 abstract prints – just £1.50!

Where to buy: geetlush.com

Fizz Goes Pop

I make colourful and fun jewellery out of laser cut plastic and plywood. I base my designs around floral and folk patterns but take a lot of inspiration from geometry.

Just A Card item: These geometric earrings (£11).

Where to buy: Fizz Goes Pop The PrintHaus, 70a Llandaff Road, Canton, Cardiff, CF11 9NL, instagram.com/fizzgoespopwww.fizzgoespop.etsy.com

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Celebrating Kathleen Thomas – the first person to swim the Bristol Channel

NINETY ONE YEARS AGO TODAY, a scrappy lady named Kathleen Thomas became the first person to swim the Bristol Channel between Wales and England. She set off from Penarth at 4.15am, and the crossing took her 7 hours and 20 minutes. Although the distance is 11 miles, it’s actually calculated to be 22.5 once you factor in the brutal currents.

Kathleen Thomas Penarth swimmer climbing into a boat

(Photo from History of Wales)

Plenty of men had tried and failed before her, but Kathleen wasn’t bothered by that, saying: ‘The Suffragettes were campaigning for women’s rights, but nobody thought a girl could cross to the other side – many men had tried and failed.’

It wasn’t a thing anyone thought a woman could do – or should do. The South Wales Echo had to print a clarification because no one believed the original article: ‘Miss Kathleen Thomas, the Penarth lady swimmer, whose decision to attempt the Bristol Channel was exclusively reported in yesterday’s South Wales Echo, reaffirmed in an interview today that our report was correct in its entirety.’

The story reads:

‘Crowds lined the beach to watch Kathleen wade into the chill grey waters, accompanied by a launch containing representatives from the Welsh Amateur Swimming Association and a rowing boat carrying her uncle Jack in a bowler hat. After the swim she was taken to a hotel where she had a warm and cold bath, a half-hour rest in bed, and a good fish lunch before returning to Wales a celebrity.

‘Seven hours and 20 minutes later she reached the shores of Somerset; fortified by beef tea and chocolate, Thomas received a rapturous welcome from the West Country. She was the first person, as well as the first woman, to swim the Bristol Channel. Compelling images from newspapers of the time show her exhausted, slumped in a boat, before she was taken to a hotel where she had a warm and cold bath, a half-hour rest in bed, and a good fish lunch before returning to Wales a celebrity.’

(Portrait of Kathleen Thomas)

You can see a plaque commemorating her achievement on Penarth Pier.

The second person to swim across the channel was another woman – named Edith Parnell, aged 16. She completed the swim across two years later.

So today, we celebrate our women swimmers!

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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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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!

IMG_7523

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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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.

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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.

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