Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: MSL

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from student, MSL. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Lockdown week one: “All exams cancelled!? 6 months holiday oh what freedom this will be. No responsibilities sounds good eh?”.

Lockdown week 5: “I’m starting to get quite bored…. I’ve already done a full clean out of my room, read and watched the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy, tried to learn guitar and piano again but to no avail….”

Lockdown week 10: “What am I doing…? I miss my friends. All I do is watch endless streams of YouTube videos and play Candy Crush all day.”

Lockdown has turned me into a potato.

The song “Mayday” voices the feelings of many:
“Awake or asleep
Drowning in my own thoughts
It’s alright, it’s not too bad…
I need some excitement
Everything’s so frustrating
I just want to be comfortable
But it’s harder than it should be
Nothing’s wrong
You know, the stress
What’s wrong with me
I did absolutely nothing today but I’m exhausted
Why is it so hard to just relax, mayday
Somebody help me, mayday”

Everything seems to be disconnected nowadays. I’m no longer living my life but simply waiting, killing time. Just a couple months ago time was all I needed but now there’s too much of it. It seems to go so slow, yet I look back and already 12 weeks have passed, and what have I done? I should have gotten my driving licence by now, I should have been able to earn money for university with my part time job, I should have gone to theatres, concerts, gone on holiday with my friends. But I couldn’t. It is so frustrating to see myself trapped at home watching time slip through my hands when I should be living out the prime time of my youth! It shouldn’t have been like this…

Relationships with others seem to be slowly deteriorating. Friends that I used to see every day, our busy lives in high school cut short, making rushed goodbyes. No high school graduation celebration, no prom, that’s just how it all ended. A flashback to when we made false promises to call every day; we barely call once a month. We should call more. Can’t blame anyone. I do really miss them, but just never quite reach out.

In terms of academics, should I still be studying? Theoretically yes, in practice no. With no incentive, there is no motivation and studying drops far down my list of things I could do. Every day I go without opening my books neatly piled in the corner of my room, all the knowledge I crammed into my brain over the past year fades away one by one. It is a constant internal fight between my laziness and the fear that by the time university comes around, I will be the one unable to adapt to the high-tension learning environment. Feelings of my lack of purpose also chase me. Has the goal of my life really just been studying? I’m sure other students will be experiencing similar feelings of uncertainty and stress during this time particularly regarding exam results and university. Yet again all we can do is wait.

I know that I shouldn’t be complaining. I’m blessed with a good house, good family and good health. For some that is all they would wish for. I know there are people out there that are really struggling physically, mentally and financially. I should be grateful, and I am, but I still find myself stuck at home doing nothing. All I can do is pray for them and volunteer where I can.

It hasn’t all been bad. Taking my “Daily Walk” as a means of exercise as well as a reason to escape the house and refresh my mind from all the stress and worrying news in the media. I’ve done a bit of gardening, baking, lots of scrolling on Instagram and Twitter (not helpful but kills time).

It’s quite sad that my past 3 months can be summarised in less than a page and a half but hopefully things will get better. Perhaps my 2021 will be a bit longer….

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Grace and Paul

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Grace and Paul, who almost ended up on lockdown in Lisbon. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Lockdown happened on my Birthday.

My boyfriend and I had just returned from a five day trip in Lisbon which had been planned for months; Portugal and all other parts of Europe had started their lockdown before the UK and we were well aware we were lucky to have been even able to fly at all. On the first night we arrived, we heard about all bars and restaurants being closed in neighbouring Spain and, sure enough, the following day Portugal followed suit. Don’t get me wrong, we still had a lovely time away, but we spent the vast majority of it walking up and down deserted streets, and with a curfew of 9pm in place we spent most evenings in our airbnb drinking cheap sangria and eating crisps.

Without the insight of seeing what lockdown actually looked like, I don’t think we would have believed it; police enforcing the curfew and breaking up large crowds of people, long queues outside supermarkets and an eerie atmosphere surrounding the local areas.

Of course, whilst all this was happening in other parts of Europe, the UK were more or less carrying on as usual, except for panic buying a years supply of toilet roll.

We flew home on the 18th March, the whole time wondering what lay in store for us when we returned home, all whilst being very grateful that we were able to get home before all the borders shut. It seemed a lot had changed in those five days away, and it was very strange to return home and for everything to feel unfamiliar and alien. Despite not landing in Bristol airport until the late evening, we drove home via a 24 hour supermarket to stock up, following the advice of our friends and family that the shelves would be bare. In actual fact, we actually bought a four pack of loo rolls home with us from Portugal – the most bizarre souvenir of a romantic break away and a definite bumpy landing back to reality.

The following days were all a bit of a blur; we had intended to go out for the evening for my Birthday with some friends, however this was the day Boris said all pubs and bars would shut and before we had all become more accustomed to keeping in touch with people via Zoom quizzes and “Houseparty” booze-ups. My boyfriend and I had discussed moving in together whilst away on our trip however this became more of a necessity with the announcement that two households were unable to mix, and with all “Man with Vans” also on lockdown, I moved the majority of my worldly possessions (and a highly strung cat) in the back of my Mini from Cardiff to Caerphilly.

Whilst moving in together was most definitely the best decision we both made, the impact lockdown has had has been challenging to say the least. We are both sociable characters; regularly meeting up with friends and family after work and at the weekends, going to the gym 3-4 times a week and usually love nothing more than going out for dinner a couple of times a week with a few G and T’s.

However, without all of those usual activities, and with the added bonus of entertaining a very energetic four year old in the confines of four walls, home schooling and home working it has definitely been tough on occasions.

I have never been more grateful for my job as a nurse and being physically unable to work from home; continuing to attend my shifts on a regular basis has been the only slice of “normality” I have been able to enjoy over the past three months, and as you can imagine, it has been anything less than normal.

I cannot take any credit for caring for those desperately unwell with Covid, however, the whole hospital has been shuffled around and has borne the brunt of this virus. My colleagues and I spent the initial few weeks discussing on a frequent basis the general feeling of “impending doom” and our workload changed massively. I work as a Mental Health Nurse in the Emergency Department and for the first few weeks the A&E department was like a ghost town. It was a very surreal situation to log in to the system at work and see ZERO patients in the unit.

It was eye opening to see exactly how mis-used A&E is on the whole; people with stubbed toes can miraculously manage at home on their own when there’s a global pandemic to contend with who would usually demand an ambulance and an X-Ray.

Fast-forward twelve weeks and it is most definitely no longer a ghost town. The impact of lockdown on Mental Health is now clearly rearing its ugly head and my fellow mental health colleagues and I will be fighting this virus for a while to come, even when the number of reported cases continue to fall. An increase in alcohol and substance use and a decrease in social contact and support is a recipe for disaster when it comes to your mental health and the number of people we are seeing who are seriously unwell when they have previously had no issues with their mental health is astonishing.

On a more positive note, the virus seems to have made everyone pull together and I have never previously felt such a strong sense of community spirit and gratitude for working in the NHS. Socially distanced street parties, exchanging puzzles, toys and DIY items that are no longer needed amongst other local residents have become the norm. Not to mention the “Clap for Carers” and the sheer volume of donations of PPE, Scrub Bags and food from local hotels and restaurants has been astounding.

If we can take anything away from the devastating impact that lockdown and the pandemic has had on both our physical and mental health, it’s that we are all in this together and will hopefully make us all appreciate the little things when normality returns. Whenever that may be.

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Sara Williams

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Sara Williams. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Lockdown life for me has been full of contradiction. The very nature of quarantining is a contradiction. There is a global pandemic (one which the world has not seen the likes of since the Spanish flu) people are dying, the economy is in turmoil; but unless you are classified as a key worker the most useful thing you can do is stay in and sit on your arse?! It’s a world of anxiety and fear versus the boring and mundane.

The first six weeks went fairly well. I work for an international development charity and our chief exec had been proactive around preparing the organisation for the impact of COVID-19. We shut our Cardiff office before lockdown was announced and decamped to work from home from the 16th March. It was a busy time – my role is focussed on managing partnerships and also fundraising; so I was focussed on disseminating information to the partners we work with in other countries on how we as an organisation were adapting to the pandemic and asking corporates and previous donors for funds towards our COVID relief fund.

But after a month of working from home; it suddenly felt not so busy. Our partners and country programmes were now in lockdown themselves and all the donors that were going to give to international rather than domestic causes at this time had given. I began to think furlough was inevitable – the not-for-profit sector is always at risk in these situations and our organisation runs to a very tight budget so it seemed like the right step to take for the long term future. Sure enough I with the majority of staff (leaving 6 out of 19 behind) were placed on furlough for May; this has now been extended into June.

It has been a humbling experience, to realise that the most value you can bring to your job right now is to just not work.

I definitely agree it was the right thing to do and will give the organisation (along with many others) some breathing room around its reserves and long term survival. But all the same it’s a dent to the ego! My partner is still working from home as are a lot of our friends and when I announced I was joining the nine million on furlough – there were a lot of questions about what I was going to do with that time and I felt a lot of pressure to fill the time wisely…even though it wasn’t a planned sabbatical but rather an enforced paid leave of absence(!).

So I did fill the time. I got in touch with my old work; another charity that supports unpaid carers across Wales and offered myself as a volunteer. They were happy to have me; carers are put under even more strain than normal at the moment as loved ones are being discharged from the hospital sooner that they would be usually due to the risks of being in hospital and transmitting COVID. I am a qualified yoga teacher so I have put together yoga videos for carers as well as running interviews with individual carers about their experiences as part of a Carer Aware project – again that has been humbling. In our home it is just myself and my partner, we have no children or family members to care for and with me taking home 80% pay and my partner still working we are comfortable financially.

I decided to use my buying power to help in this situation too, it started off with supporting local businesses; suddenly ordering a takeaway felt like a civic duty rather than being self-indulgent!

It expanded to donations towards women’s refuges upon reading about the increase in domestic abuse and how lockdown isn’t a safe haven for a lot of people. And in the last week my focus has been donations to the George Floyd memorial fund and the Minnesota bail out for protestors; to be in solidarity with the black lives matter movement.

It has made me realise that even on lockdown we are so connected – with our neighbours, with people in Cardiff, with people across the UK and then globally. My partner has long been involved with Extinction Rebellion and has used lockdown time to support their call for a citizens assembly and run a local save the northern meadows campaign.

If we can be this united around coronavirus, can we become this united around climate change?

I took a flight free pledge for 2020 and weirdly this has become the year for the majority of flights to be grounded; but will we take this behaviour change with us after lockdown easing? Will we still stand in solidarity over racism when normal everyday life takes hold? I hope so.

The final contradiction of my own personal lockdown experience has been health and I am fighting opposing forces here! I mentioned I practice yoga regularly as a teacher, but my cardio is sincerely lacking so I decided to get into running – I have just finished the couch to 5k and intend to carry on to 10k. I have also been taking part in an online yoga nidra (guided mediation course). So feel I am covering physical and emotional wellbeing….

But then on the other side there has been a big upswing in the drinking and the baking. I have definitely been partaking in the ‘furlough merlot’ (a “quarantism” that I love) and I have never baked as much in my life as I have in the last 10 weeks. I haven’t got into the banana bread or sourdough starter phase (yet – there is still time), but I am all over peanut butter chip cookies, courgette and beetroot cakes! The cakes and biscuits themselves are definitely a comfort but I think there is something soothing about following recipes too? There must be considering the national shortage of flour going on?

I am looking forward to seeing my nanny and grampy from a distance this week with the news we can see one other household in Wales.

I am also looking forward to the five miles limit eventually being lifted as I have to say I am sick of the sight of Bute Park and the Bay. It is interesting how such small things like these can be so exciting. I hope that I take that appreciation back out of lockdown with me but perhaps leave the over enthusiastic appreciation of merlot behind …

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Lee Marshall

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from musician and producer Lee Marshall. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in Lockdown

I’ve always been someone with a sense of inherent contrariness hard wired inside me, something I think is common to most. The moment I sit down in a plane seat, is the moment I desperately want a cigarette, when the lights dim in the cinema is the time I suddenly need the toilet. When you are told you can’t do something, suddenly you are far more interested in it than you conceivably would have been at any other time. I’ve found myself wondering, how much of missing the outside world is my genuine desire to sit in a coffee shop with my kindle, just letting myself exist in a space with people around me, or be in a club, dancing and letting myself go, is just a factor of knowing these are things I can’t currently do, as lockdown has put out the lights in the communal spaces we shared.

I have a fragmentary relationship with the outside world at the best of times. As someone who lives with bi-polar disorder, and anxiety, I can go through extended periods where being in an outside space, or being in a social situation is something that seems overwhelmingly difficult.

Not just in it giving me a sense of terror from no real source, just rushing adrenalin and your heart struggling in your chest,
constantly expecting some disaster that has no basis in reality, but also living with the fear that you are presenting as manic, speaking out of turn, or coming across as “weird”.

You start planting judgements on yourself, whether or not they have any basis in the responses of those around you. The trouble for me with anxiety and social phobia, is that it feeds on itself.

The more you avoid the situations that cause you that fear, the worse they get, until just making it to the local shop to pick up basics seems like a herculean task.

I sincerely hope that those who live with mental health problems have been finding ways to put joy into their days, getting out, even just for a walk, finding ways to chat digitally, play games with friends, just to not let that connection to the outside slip away. You’re not wrong for hurting, and you’re not ever the only one.

Being under lockdown has taken any decision making about going outside or socialising out of my hands, and when you live with generalised fear anyway, the idea of a killer virus taking lives is easy to turn into something that occupies half your waking thoughts. The minutia of daily life has a soothing quality. Keeping busy, or just travelling to work, grabbing some food, meeting a friend, all of the things that we never give a second thought normally, take up space in our heads. Locked up at home, staring at the walls, it’s easy to let your thoughts turn completely inward, especially if you are prone to introspection and self analysis. I’ve found myself turning back to events from years ago, wishing I’d made different decisions, said different things. I’ve watched my usual level of self criticism soar.

The silence of your own thoughts can be a terrible place, and it’s been photos or videos from friends, webcam calls, a card in the post or an email that have kept me holding on.

Bikes have always been a lifeline for me, even as a kid, just heading out the front gate and riding as far as I could, sitting in sun drenched fields far away from everything that left me upset or confused.
I’ve always felt so grateful to live in a city where we have so much green space, Whether it’s Castle Grounds and Pontcanna Fields giving us a swathe of nature that allows you to walk or ride across a lot of the city without ever having to see a road, the Taff Trail winding through the trees, or the fact that you’re never far from the countryside, the woods or the mountains. Where I live in the North of the city, it’s only half an hour walk to be in the hills, and looking down over the city to the bay.

Cycling is one of those private things, where you are in constant motion and it feels like nothing around you can touch you, leaving your thoughts behind, until you just feel like a being of pure movement, where the only thing that matters is going faster and taking turns better. It’s been great to cruise down quiet roads, cars few and far between, idling down the Taff Trail, watching the shadow of your wheels spinning in the seemingly endless sunshine, the sound of the birds seeming so much louder with the usual din of the city dimmed.

I’ve found myself wondering what the lack of planes, the reduced traffic and the limits on industry have been doing to our planet, actually letting the air clear, hoping against hope that perhaps businesses, governments and councils can find ways to keep some of the reduction.

Even simple things like watching the grass verges get overgrown, and nature start to creep in where corners are untended has given me a little internal joy. I know it’s madness to hope that human beings will sacrifice convenience over the long term health of our spherical home, but you can dream when you look down on an empty motorway.

I feel like we all have memories of childhood, of summer days that seemed to never end, holidays from school that went on and on. I wonder if the young people of today will remember this as a time of fear and paranoia, or just the sun drenched days of no school. It’s hard to not fear what the long term affect of closures will be on independent businesses in our fair city. We’ve already seen small shops, restaurants, bars and venues closing, or struggling to remain above water over the last few years, even vital music spaces having to transition to non profit enterprises, and I dearly hope that enforced shutdown doesn’t see us return to a city that has lost vital parts of its creative heart and emotional identity. It’s been heartening to see a lot of small businesses working hard making essential deliveries, and making meals for the vulnerable. Maybe people will think a bit better about where they spend and vote with their wallets in future for the local shops and services that give our home real value and diversity.

If there is one thing I’d like to take from this period, it’s that I don’t want my life to go back to “normal”, or to what it was, but to actually look at what I’d like my life to be going forward, not just in what I choose to do with my time, but in how I treat the people around me, and in my attitude to what I see and how my behaviour affects those around me. I’d like to put more of my time onto learning, and studying. Making my future better than the present, instead of being complacent. More time into making connections to make up for the burnt bridges of the past. I hope that the sense of fragility that covid has lent our lives isn’t completely erased as shops re-open, and bars, clubs and social spaces return. Many of us are so used to the people we have around us, I hope that this time away from loved ones and friends allows us to truly treasure how important those relationships are to us, and maybe we will be a little kinder, a little more patient with people when we need to be, and to maybe think of those friends who we haven’t heard from for a while, who have become left behind and find time for them. It might be that just a text or an email could make a massive difference to their day.

Check out Lee’s new musical release as Falltider on bandcamp

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Support Cardiff’s independent businesses – open for deliveries and takeaway during COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown

(Page last updated 12 June 2020, HP)

CARDIFF’S INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES – OPEN FOR DELIVERIES AND TAKEAWAYS!

We love independent businesses here at We Are Cardiff. They make up the soul of the city.  At the moment loads of these businesses are super vulnerable, so below is a list of ways you can support some of the city’s indies!

This page will be updated regularly and things are changing every minute (!) so please comment on this post if you think something needs to be added or removed.

LOCAL BUSINESSES – HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT!

The tech whiz that is Matthew Passmore has made a SEARCHABLE LIST OF CARDIFF SHOPS DOING DELIVERIES! Check out Cardiff Delivers

First up: we asked Twitter: How can we support local businesses? Full thread here

Outside of Cardiff, FIND MY DINE have this great list of eateries doing takeaway / delivery / gift vouchers across Wales

Also Hungry City Hippy has put together this list of how to shop local during the Coronavirus Crisis

INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES – BY LOCATION

I’ve done this list by location just to make it easier for you to see who’s local to you. Some businesses are delivering across the city, some only within a small radius, some are streaming services online. Please check with the businesses for full deets.

If you are going into these stores, remember – only shop for essentials, don’t stockpile, don’t be a dick, PLEASE RESPECT GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES ON SAFE INTERACTIONS IN RETAIL ENVIRONMENTS. KEEP 2 METRES AWAY FROM OTHER PEOPLE, USE CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS IF YOU CAN ETC. AND WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

Multiple locations / delivery only

MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE CARDIFF DELIVERS WEBSITE FOR A FULL LIST OF BUSINESSES DELIVERING ACROSS THE CITY

Beanfreaks – organic / health food shop, store locations are city centre (St Mary Street) / Canton / Roath. Check for opening hours. Call 029 2025 1071 or Beanfreaks Facebook

Bruton’s Bakery – this AMAZING local bakery delivered free goodies up to the Heath hospital this week for the staff there. SHOP LOCAL AND SUPPORT THEM. Shops in Grangetown / Fairwater / Canton / Splott / Penarth. They have a website but are more active on Facebook: Bruton’s website | Bruton’s Facebook

Cardiff Quarantine Delivery – person on bike offering pick up and delivery of whatever you need –  for those who can’t get out and about! Cardiff Quarantine Delivery Facebook

Curado Bar – if you simply must get that bottle of dessert wine and mojama to try and get through the week, Curado got your back! The shop is doing deliveries across the city, see their Facebook for full list of items. Curado Bar Facebook | Curado Bar Twitter

Daisy & Belle Ice Cream – dairy and vegan ice cream deliveries across Cardiff. Daisy and Belle website | Daisy and Belle Instagram

Dusty Knuckle Pizza – delicious pizzas available for delivery! You can find them through Uber Eats and Deliveroo. Dusty Knuckle Twitter

Greazy Vegan – offering deliveries across the city through Uber Eats, every day! Greazy Vegan website | Greazy Vegan Twitter

Hard Lines Coffee – how you gonna get through the lockdown without dat caffeine zing?? Support this Cardiff indie through their online shop. Deliveries across Cardiff. Hard Lines website | Hard Lines Twitter

Holy Yolks – AMAZING HOLY YOLKS are doing Scotch Eggs AND ALSO co-ordinating food deliveries up to the Heath hospital for health care workers! PLEASE BUY THEIR EGGS AND DONATE TO THE NHS FUNDRAISER. Holy Yolks Twitter | NHS FUNDRAISER

Keralan Karavan – our FAVOURITE INDIAN TAKEAWAY! Their burgers and fries are out of this world. Support them and stuff your face. Keralan Karavan Twitter

Little Man Coffee – our favourite coffee house are doing specialty milk and coffee deliveries across the city! They’ve got a ton of stuff they can deliver, check out their Instagram for the full list. Little Man Coffee Instagram | Little Man Coffee Facebook | Little Man Coffee Twitter

The Med Shed – family run kitchen offering an authentic taste of the Med! Deliveries can be booked on weekends, menu changes weekly. Email The Med Shed | The Med Shed Facebook | The Med Shed Twitter

Naked Vegan – baked goods (the brownies – oh my!) – doing deliveries across Cardiff. Email for more info: sarah@thenakedvegan.co.uk. Naked Vegan website

Pop’n’Hops – BEERS! WONDERFUL BEERS! Help keep yourself nicely tippled and these dudes in business. They offer delivery across Cardiff, with a wide selection of ales / craft beers etc from all over the place. Pop’n’Hops Twitter

The Parsnipship – you usually see these dudes feeding the masses at festivals or at markets – now they are delivering their frozen delights across south Wales. Lucky us! Parsnipship websiteParsnipship Twitter

Riverside Markets – Rhiwbina, Roath and Riverside are reopening! Re-opening info as follows:

  • Rhiwbina – Friday June 12th 10am – 1pm
  • Roath: Sat June 13th 9:30am – 1pm
  • Riverside: Sun June 21st 10am – 2pm

Riverside Markets have updated their website with info about social distancing and other hygiene steps – please visit to find out more before visiting any of the location. Riverside Markets website | Riverside Markets Twitter | Riverside Markets Facebook | Riverside Markets Instagram

Totally Welsh – GET YOURSELF A MILK DELIVERY LIKE FROM BACK IN THE 80S! They also do juices, eggs, cheese, bread and other essentials. Direct to the doorstep, plus the bottles can go back to be cleaned and refilled. Totally Welsh website

Ty Caws – Formerly the Cheese Pantry in Cardiff Indoor Market, now delivering delicious cheese direct to your door across the city! Ty Caws Twitter | Ty Caws Instagram

Quantum Coffee – based in Cardiff Bay, they are still roasting, and doing deliveries across Cardiff AND THERE IS 20% OFF EVERYTHING ONLINE!  Quantum Coffee Twitter | Quantum Coffee Instagram | Quantum Coffee website

City centre

Cardiff Indoor Market – the indoor market has the following stalls are offering home deliveries:

K. Blackmore & Son Butchers – (Cardiff Indoor Market). if your supermarket has run out of meat, luckily for you these guys are rolling in steaks. K. Blackmore & Son Butchers Facebook page

Sullivans Fruit and Veg – (Cardiff Indoor Market) now doing fruit and veg box deliveries across Cardiff, Penarth, Barry, Sully, Dinas Powys. Call them on 0771012816 or for veg box orders visit their website. Sullivans Fruit and Veg website | Sullivans Fruit and Veg on Twitter | Sullivans Fruit and Veg Instagram

Brodie’s Coffee – you can find Brodie’s in the lovely little wooden hut in Gorsedd Gardens (in front of the museum). They’ve just reopened! Go pay them a visit and pick up a tasty treat for yourself. Brodie’s Coffee Twitter

La Pantera – margaritas, mezcal, tacos – all open for takeaway! La Pantera website | La Pantera Instagram | La Pantera Facebook

Chronic Fried Chicken – order in advance for tasty fried chicken – pick up or delivery within 1.5 miles of Sully’s Cafe.  Chronic Fried Chicken Facebook | Chronic Fried Chicken Instagram

Butetown / Cardiff Bay

Spokesperson – (Williams Way) bicycle upkeep and repair, offering online classes in how to maintain your bike and also emergency repairs. Spokesperson Facebook

Canton / Pontcanna

Cardiff Salad Garden – (Bute Park) growing delicious salad leaves and delivering them to your door, if you’re local (Pontcanna, Llandaff North and Taffs Well areas). Contact them 07715388771 or cardiffsalad@gmail.com. Cardiff Salad Garden Twitter

Crafty Devil Brewing – (Llandaff Road) beer! beer! beer! Collection from Canton or delivery. Crafty Devil Brewing website | Crafty Devil Brewing Facebook | Crafty Devil Brewing Twitter | Crafty Devil Brewing Instagram

Chapter Arts Centre – although the Centre is closed, there are still some businesses operating inside (like our buddies The Printhaus) – see this Chapter Tweet for more info

Kemi’s – (King’s Road) DELICIOUS food in Pontcanna still open for takeaway and deliveries! Peep the menu and order now! Kemi’s website | Kemi’s Facebook | Kemi’s Twitter | Kemi’s Instagram

Laura’s Greengrocers – (Cowbridge Road East) delicious fresh produce, doing veg box deliveries – call 029 2022 8796. Laura’s Greengrocers website

Lufkin Coffee – serving coffee at two locations in Canton / Pontcanna. Lufkin Coffee Instagram | Lufkin Coffee website

Pettigrew Bakeries – (Cowbridge Road East) delicious baked goods! Shop open for contactless pick up, and they can organise deliveries. Breads, snacks, fruit, veg, CHEESE! Call them between 7-11am on 02921 321270 or 07897 995409, minimum order £10. Pettigrew website | Pettigrew Twitter | Pettigrew Instagram

Pipes – (Kings Road) local brewery offering pick up over the weekend or delivery! Pipes website | Pipes Twitter | Pipes Facebook

St Canna’s Ale House – (Llandaff Road) open for takeaway and deliveries! Text 07890106449 with your order. St Canna’s Ale House Twitter

Cathays

Katiwok – (Crwys Road) delicious Asian cuisine doing contactless deliveries and takeaways. They’ve got a £6 meal deal for all key workers. Katiwok website | Katiwok Facebook

Riverside Sourdough – (Cathays Youth & Community Centre) I once bought a loaf of their bread and ate the whole thing still warm in the car before I got home. Didn’t share with anyone. No regrets. These dudes are supplying local stores but also doing a pre-order local pick up Tuesday and Saturdays from Cathays. Riverside Sourdough Facebook

Llandaff

Caffé Fragolino – (Waungron Road) Selling eggs, pasta and other essentials alongside takeaway food from the cafe. Caffé Fragolino Facebook

Llanrumney

Countisbury Fruit Supply – (Countisbury Ave) fresh supply of veg, fruit and bread available daily and the WONDERFUL man that runs the stall is offering free deliveries for those in need who live local and can’t get out. Please give this man all your monies and call on 02920791101 (there’s an answering machine, please leave a message, 24/7).

Roath

Albany Road Fruit and Veg stand – (Albany Road) this is open, plus owner Sam is a legend! go by and pay him and visit and pick up some lovely produce.

Eartha – (City Road) Eartha has now taken over the entire of the Blue Honey Local site (I still think of it as Milgi, because I am OLD) – head here for plant shop, café and restaurant focusing on working with local producers, growers and enterprises. Eartha Facebook | Eartha Instagram

Ripple – ethical lifestyle and zero waste – a great place to pick up food and other bits!  Ripple Twitter / Ripple website

Spice of Life – (Inverness Place) health food store selling dried foods, organic cleaning products etc etc. They’re doing contactless Click and Collect. Spice of Life website | Spice of Life Facebook 

Waterloo Tea – (Waterloo Gardens) the best tea in the UK! Still doing home deliveries and also co-ordinating a wonderful fundraiser for a temporary pop-up cafe serving free meals and coffee at the Heath hospital. Show them some love. Waterloo Tea new volunteer cafe fundraiser | Waterloo Tea website | Waterloo Tea Facebook

Riverside

Twin Made – (Odan Nos da) these crafty devils are selling hand made goods online, as well as releasing free crafting patterns for you to do at home, plus vouchers for future sewing / crafting classes. Twin Made website | Twin Made Facebook | Twin Made Twitter | Twin Made Instagram

Rhiwbina

One Mile Bakery – delicious baked goods, delivering to addresses within a one mile radius. One Mile Bakery website | One Mile Bakery Twitter | One Mile Bakery Instagram | One Mile Bakery Facebook

Thornhill

Thornhill Farm Shop – (Capel Gwilym Road) these dudes have fresh local honey! As well as jams, marmalades, chutneys, pickles, fresh meats, fruit and veg. They’re open for collection or delivery. Call 029 2061 1707 or visit Thornhill Farm Shop Facebook.

Slightly further afield…

Penarth

AB Snell and Son – groceries, newspapers, all your bits and pieces – reduced opening hours but also offering local deliveries of some products. AB Snell and Son website | AB Snell and Son Facebook

Griffin Books – independent bookshop are still taking orders online and doing deliveries. Griffin Books Twitter | Griffin Books website

Pizza Pronto – local pizza pop up, still open on reduced hours (check the site for details). Pizza Pronto website | Pizza Pronto Twitter | Pizza Pronto Instagram

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Online services

Blackdog – wellbeing services, offering therapy and wellbeing services online through Zoom. Blackdog website

Lucent Dreaming – local creative mag, offering pay-what-you-can reading and entry fees to creative writing competitions. Lucent Dreaming website | Lucent Dreaming Twitter

Green Squirrel – greener living social enterprise are running online workshops, craft-alongs and storytelling in lieu of  public workshops. Also delivering seed sowing kits and other treats! People can still book onto workshops to transfer onto a future date or buy a gift voucher to support. Green Squirrel website | Green Squirrel Facebook

 

That’s all for now. Peas. WAC x

See also:

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Barbara Ann

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Barbara Ann. We’d like to give her an extra special thanks for sharing this with us. If it chimes with you, we urge you to contact Live Fear Free, or another of the organisations mentioned at the end of the post.

Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own home.

Lockdown may have eased slightly, but for many their situation is still one of fear and unease. Domestic abuse is suffered by many people, men and women, and their children too. My heart goes out to those whose situations have worsened because of being trapped with their abusers throughout these circumstances.

I grew up in a household of domestic abuse. My father was violent, abusive, a bully. We lived forever walking on eggshells never knowing what might set him off. Christmas and holidays especially were always a fraught time. I dread to think what me and my family’s experience would have been if we had had to go through these times living with him.I still remember walking in on my dad with his hands around my mum’s neck strangling her as, in between chokes, she begged me to call the police. I was ten.

He didn’t kill her that day, but it wasn’t the first or last time he put his hands on my mum like that. Nearly 30 years on I’m still haunted by those images and many others that I witnessed of the emotional and physical abuse towards my mum, and the mostly verbal wrath he exerted towards me and my brother and sister. He’s dead now, and my mum lives a very happy life as she moved on a long time ago, but the memories of the abuse lives on.

I am in a loving relationship with a very supportive and caring partner. I would say I’m very lucky to have someone who is not abusive, but I shouldn’t have to feel lucky because that is how things should be. But I am grateful for not having to go through an even worse situation right now because I don’t have to worry about the threat of domestic abuse.

This was very difficult for me to write as it’s not something I’ve ever really spoken out about before except in counselling, it was always kept hidden and secret in the family, but I feel it is so important to highlight such a major issue.

I was also going to send this in anonymously, but then I thought twice: I haven’t done anything wrong, and there is nothing to be ashamed of, and I certainly didn’t want it to come across that way to others who may be going or have been through something similar.

If you are a child or young person, or an adult experiencing domestic abuse in your household, you are not alone. There is help out there for you. You do not have to stay silent. Organisations such as Women’s Aid, RISE and Refuge are available. Please get in touch. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own home.

Barbara Ann.

Follow Barbara Ann on Instagram @littlewelshveggie.

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Live Fear Free can provide help and advice to:

  • anyone experiencing domestic abuse
  • anyone who knows someone who needs help. For example, a friend, family member or colleague
  • practitioners seeking professional advice.

All conversations with Live Fear Free are confidential and are taken by staff that are highly experienced and fully trained.

Call: 0808 80 10 800

Text: 07860077333

Email: info@livefearfreehelpline.wales

Live chat service

All available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Want to write for Letters from Cardiff in lockdown? Find out how here…

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Nadia Ali

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from writer, blogger and storyteller, Nadia Ali. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown.

I’ve always thought of you
As a quiet city,
One that is quiet enough
For a quiet person
Like me.

It’s exactly what I need.

But, now, in the quiet of lockdown
I realise that
You aren’t so quiet at all.

And I miss the noise of it all.

Of the crowd chanting cheering roaring
Singing the anthem with pride,
“Gwlad!”
“GWLAD!”
Representing the flag
Through the good times
And the bad.

A sweet symphony of music;
Sounds being plucked on multiple strings
Footsteps and raindrops
Seagulls swarming for food scraps
From the bins.

The familiar smell of fish and chips down chippy lane
Or alley? Doesn’t matter really
What you call it
Because the chips still taste the same:
Legit.

A market filled with wafts of fragrances
You can’t decipher
Because they’re all merged together,
And winding arcades full of vibrant shops
And vacant windows to check out your reflection
A change in direction and shortcut towards
Your next destination.

#cardiffcastle.

It beats at the heart of the city
Pulsating with tourists
Burning holes in their pockets.

A snapshot of our history
Reduced down to a photo and hashtag
On Instagram.

You keep scrolling.

The buses line up on Westgate Street
Crowdedovercrowdedovercrowded
Busy buses over
Crowded trains
Rumbling screeching whistling to a stop.
It’s always the same.

The next stop is
Cardiff.

But I call it home.

I’ve always thought of home
As a quiet place,
One that is quiet enough
For a quiet person
Like me.

But it’s not quiet,
And it never has been.

Even though the streets are much
Quieter now than they were
Before
They still remain full of colour
Full of community and
Full of life.

And that’s exactly what I need.

Nadia is a Cardiff-based writer, blogger and storyteller. Having lived in the same district of Cardiff her entire life, she practically lives and breathes this city. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2018 and now works full-time at Cowshed, an integrated communications agency based in the city centre. Follow Nadia on Twitter @scorpioreads.

Want to write for Letters from Cardiff in lockdown? Find out how here…

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Briony Goffin

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from writer, tutor and mentor Briony Goffin. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

On the 22 December 2019, I sent out a tweet. “To whoever decorates this tree every year, I love it! Thank you for all your efforts and the daily delight you bring Roath dwellers, particularly me and my family.”

In just a few hours, this tweet had gained 295 likes. A community converged in expressing its reverence for this annual ceremony, for this Ninian Road spectacle, for this beautiful twisted hazel, dripping with its coloured orbs.

Several months on, and I’ve been thinking again about ‘ceremony’. Ceremony as a comforter and as a unifying force. When time has felt blurry and boundaryless, save for the CBEEBIES schedule (our house), and minds have been consumed with death, statistics and when we’ll have chocolate back in the cupboard (my mind), it’s in the little domestic ceremonies that we find joy and security.

In our family, during these last few weeks, we’ve really honed the second breakfast, the afternoon tea, the choc-ice on the front wall (yes, much of our rituals are food-based) and, recently, the early morning walk around the back alleys of Roath, swooning in the scent of jasmine and pale apricot roses tumbling over red brick garden walls.

Some rituals have evolved, some have fizzled out; some have been deliberately cultivated and some have been discarded. For all those rituals those that have persisted, it seems the essential ingredients are pleasure and predictability.

A week before lockdown, I had already decided to place a pause on the Sunday Writing Sessions. These creative workshops, held in Chapter and MADE, had been running on the second and fourth Sunday of every month, since 2012. These workshops are built around a kind of warmth and comfort that is intended to encourage writers to take creative risks; to produce new writing that is raw and truthful; to share this writing aloud, before their fellow writers; and to have a whole lot of fun along the way. A sense of safety and security is everything in this process and, in the current circumstances, I no longer felt I could offer that.

In the gap that the workshops left behind was born a new weekly newsletter. I wanted to offer my students continuity and connection – a way of keeping up the writing but, most importantly, a way of keeping up the contact. Each Sunday, I would pull out nine words from my ‘word bag’, a handmade-for-purpose (by my mum) drawstring bag, containing around eight hundred laminated words, and place these words amongst our family treasure (mainly seashells and small plastic toys) in an old wall-mounted printer’s tray.

The invitation would be to choose a row of three words from the nine word grid (either side-to-side, up or down, or diagonally) and let these words inspire a piece of writing, which could be poetry or prose, fiction or autobiography, or a mixture of any of these things. For those writers who wanted to, they could send me their writing and a week later I would compile an anthology and send it back out. To date, these anthologies have amassed 78,568 words, 247 pieces and included 76 contributors, with many more joining in behind the scenes at home.

I cannot speak on behalf of my students but, for me, these weekly newsletters have become one of the most joyful ceremonies of lockdown. I revel in the planning, the choreographing and the curating. I photograph the whole process, from picking out the words, to assembling them on the printer’s tray. We have a ‘photoshoot morning’ in our house, I dress mindfully for the occasion (lots of colour and a big bow in my hair), I wear makeup (the only time in the week), and I might even take off my slippers, which is quite the gesture, given I’ve even been wearing them for my daily exercise around Roath. I tidy up a small corner of our terrace house, sweeping toys, half-baked craft projects and empty amazon boxes out the way. In general, I try to make things look as pretty as possible.

I wanted the newsletter to feel like a weekly treat in the inbox of my students, visually appealing, familiar and, hopefully, inspiring. Across the weeks, it has become more eccentric and more theatrical. I wanted the word bag to feel like an object of desire, with its own stage sets and photoshoot, building anticipation for the ‘big reveal’. My lipstick has got brighter, there has been the odd wide-brimmed hat, and my children have started to wander in and out of frame to ‘help’ mummy with her ‘work’.

Despite a slight air of daftness, the intention remains a serious and heartfelt one. The process has given me a sense of purpose and hopefulness at a time when I could have easily felt lost and low. Like all ceremonies, those properties of beauty and predictability are a sincere expression of love and commitment to my friends, students, colleagues and community. As of 1 June, the newsletter will be going to a fortnightly edition, to keep the format fresh and sustainable in the longer term.But my dedication is unwavering and I know that original frisson of pleasure will still be aglow as I press, ‘Send to Audience’, every other Sunday morning, for as long as we all need this in place.

A link to the latest newsletter is here, where you can also subscribe to future newsletters, as well as reading back copies. Everyone is welcome, the more the merrier! The Sunday Writing Sessions – newsletter.

Have a look at Briony’s other project, in association with Cardiff and Vale Health Charity: Things I have been doing in lockdown

Follow Briony on Twitter @brionygoffin

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Mags

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Mags, aged 70. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Before I sleep at night I often stand with my head and shoulders out of the skylight in the top bedroom. I look out over the very heart of the city, the city where I was born, where my father was born as was my grandfather and my great grandfather too.

I am a Cardiff girl to the core and I feel it.

At the tender age of 70 I went into isolation with my husband and cat and here we have stayed.

My husband is an architect and since I retired I have been his right hand woman, running errands, filing paperwork and all the other vital things a Girl Friday is required to do.

We live and work in one of those inner city Victorian shops with living accommodation above and a large (for inner city) garden. In fact from top to bottom it goes like this:-
Cellar,
Office, shower room, and large room leading to the garden.
Kitchen/dining room (with stair case to garden), living room, bedroom, bathroom.
Attic bedroom and bathroom.

It is a cosy arrangement and we love it and as you see we never have an excuse for being dirty.

Work has never stopped for us. It has been easier, it’s true. No sudden phone calls from builders and smaller jobs which call for close contact have been shelved and although not furiously busy, work has been steady.

It has been hard to see those around us, neighbours, friends etc ., with no work and no immediate prospect of it. Rents and mortgages to be paid, food to be put on the table, nothing in the bank. That is hard.

Initially I volunteered to help out in the community, ok I’m 70 and should stay in but I don’t feel 70 and am fit and didn’t tell anyone my age. It seems to be quite common that people volunteer and never hear again and so it has been with me.

Thank goodness for tech. Social media has been great for keeping in touch. Saturday mornings have been our morning for elevenses with our youngest son and his wife…video link obviously though you soon forget that as the chat starts to flow.

My eldest son has also kept us in touch with our toddler aged grandchildren and we often get to ‘virtually’ bath them of an evening or at least chat with them while they splash and sing songs. When the video calls with the tinies are over, o/h and I high five one another and sink into the relative peace of our own home with a cup of tea.

Walking and standing is a problem for my husband at the moment. He has a back problem and would have had corrective surgery by now had it not been for lockdown.

So for exercise he makes do with the green house and has heard this week that his surgery has been rescheduled for September all being well. I have my fingers crossed. I do the shopping, I do anything that needs walking and standing and it’s been fine.

Like many others I have been catching up, not just with people but with things.

I have painted a wall, I have darned socks, I have made bread of course and I have a sourdough starter in the fridge. In my defence I did harvest the yeast for the starter from an apple that was sitting in the kitchen so it’s an apple yeast sourdough starter and my goodness has it got a lot of go in it!

My brother who lives in the Australian outback, totally off road and miles from anywhere and doesn’t usually call or move from his normal position of dog at his feet, gun on his lap and whiskey at his elbow has been moved to message me to find out how I am. It has been fun trying to find out what he’s up to, but he’s very closed and gives very little away.

It’s a start though and he was worried that this virus was about to carry me off so how cool is that?

Before I sleep at night I often stand with my head and shoulders out of the skylight in the top bedroom. I look out over the very heart of the city, the city where I was born, where my father was born as was my grandfather and my great grandfather too.

I am a Cardiff girl to the core and I feel it.

Watching the ISS appear west of the moon these last few nights and spin eastwards until it leaves what I can see of the sky takes me out of the city too, but I always want to come back again. I am never really isolated.

I don’t believe any other city or place would have made me feel quite so lockdown contented.

Love Mags.

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#blacklivesmatter Cardiff resources and round up

So. There’s a lot going on. (I feel like I’ve said that multiple times, like way more times than I should have said it, since the start of this year?? Anyway.) Just wanted to round up some resources and events taking place that might be of interest at the mo.

BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS

You may have noticed a couple of #BlackLivesMatter protests taking place in Cardiff this week. If you are attending a protest, please remember to keep socially distanced, wear a mask, and take sunblock and water to keep hydrated. Follow Black Lives Matter Cardiff on Facebook for more information.

Also be careful when taking photos of participants at protests –  try and respect people who don’t want to be in photos or filmed. VICE US have a good article about protecting your digital privacy while protesting (but remember it’s written for an American audience).

This public Google Doc – How to support black lives in the UK – was made by @perkin_amalaraj specifically for a British audience, and has a useful list of online resources for learning about the history of slavery, colonialism and racism – including a number of free online courses.

If you’d like to undertake more reading, try this: Anti-racism resources for white allies (compiled by one of the BLM organisers – info ranges from articles to read, to anti-racism books for children, to anti-racism film recommendations).

BLACK MUSIC WALES PLAYLIST

Something nice to listen to: this Black Music Wales playlist on Spotify. TASTY! Featuring tunes from Aleighcia Scott, Eadyth, Wibidi, DJ Jaffa, and more!

LISTEN TO SHREDS

This is the second time in a week we’re mentioning the BBC Sounds podcast Shreds by Ceri Jackson. But we really, really, REALLY recommend it. It’s an upsetting but vital listen about systemic police racism and corruption in Cardiff over the Lynette White case, which sparked off one of the biggest overhauls of the justice system in the UK. And it happened not far from where you live. Educate yourself and give it a listen.

COME TO THE PRIVILEGE CAFE

If you’re after something practical you can dial into from home, check out the Privilege Cafe. This virtual cafe is a safe space created by Mymuna Soleman, to make a new inclusive environment! Be empowered, be confident and let’s talk privilege! Their next event takes place 5pm on Thursday 4 June: Labels, Language and Linguistics.

OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION / THINGS TO FOLLOW:

(not exhaustive obviously – please add more sources in the comments…)

Word from us here at WAC.

Remember we’re open to submissions about literally ANYTHING you want to write about – whether it’s just to talk to us about your community project, or write a poem about the city, or write us a Letter about being in Lockdown. We’re run on an entirely voluntary basis. What we are depends on what you want to write for us. So use that voice and send us your stuff.

Peas.

WAC
x

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Mark and Rachel, Treganna Gin

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Mark and Rachel of Treganna Gin, who have given us the first Lockdown Cocktail recipe of this series! We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

We are Mark and Rachel of Treganna Gin, a micro-gin distillery that started-up in Canton in 2019. We have been turning to nature in  lockdown to keep us sane.

We’re used to living a city life; spending time in the parks and museums, joining the crowds watching the rugby and eating as many Salkaara curries as we can get our hands on.

Lockdown has forced us to live very differently for the past few months. We have stayed close to home, only venturing out into the garden or the little lanes around our house.

Getting out into the countryside has given us the chance to grow an appreciation of nature, re-establishing a connection which is almost totally cut-off by modern urban life. We have watched the gentle progression of spring; the buds appearing on trees, wildflowers blooming in hedgerows and the arrival of the migrating swallows.

On the back lanes around Cardiff, nature has taken over whilst the cars and council lawnmowers have stayed home. Have you noticed the abundance of wildflowers this year? The charity PlantlifeUK estimates that there are only 85,000 hectares of species-rich grassland in the UK. When you compare that with the 238,000 hectares of roadside verges you start to see how important these little mini-meadows are.

Above all, getting out into nature has helped with our mental health.

Lockdown has been difficult in different ways for almost everyone. For us we have found the chaos of working and looking after three children the hardest; it is exhausting and relentless. We miss our friends and family, the ones who come around and bounce the baby for five minutes or share a drink and laugh with us on a Saturday afternoon. Getting out once a day into the countryside instantly quietens the noise; the shouting children, the emails and the pandemic news all disappear. For an hour everything is ok again.

Spurred on by the resilience nature around us, we have used lockdown to start to learn more about the different uses for the plants around us.

After only two months we have learnt so much. Even the children have shown an interest. Our two year old can already recognise stinging nettles, sticky-willies and wild garlic!

Us adults have taken an interest in the edible plants, taking advice from books and online advice to make sure we don’t poison anyone! The wild garlic down by the river smells fantastic and makes the best pesto. Nettles are surprisingly delicious when you sprinkle them with oil and roast them like crisps. The Ribwort Plantain that sprung up outside our house is edible, but mainly it’s a natural antihistamine and fantastic for nettle stings picked up during said crisp making!

En hommage to the nature which has kept us sane these past few months, we’ve used our gin in a ‘forager’ cocktail. The drink includes forget-me-not and lilac flowers which can easily be found in gardens and verges around Wales.

Please remember! When foraging, always make sure that you can identify the plant accurately. When in doubt, leave it out! Seek expert advice if you are unsure. Please use common sense when foraging for ingredients. Leave one third for wildlife, one third for sustainability and one third for foraging.

Cardiff Foragers Gin Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 50ml Treganna Gin
  • 100ml quality tonic (we used Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic)
  • 25ml fresh lemon juice
  • 20ml sugar syrup (we used Monin Lavender syrup)
  • Edible wild flowers for garnish (we used forget-me-not and lilac flowers)

Method

  1. Fill your glass of choice with crushed ice, Treganna gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup
  2. Stir and fill to the brim with tonic water (add more gin or ice if you prefer!)
  3. Gather your foraged and washed flowers or herbs and decorate
  4. Enjoy!

Why not treat yourself, go order some Treganna Gin today! We’ve just put our order in…

Follow Treganna Gin in the following places: Treganna Gin Twitter / Treganna Gin Instagram / Treganna Gin Facebook

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Justyna Wyszynska

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Justyna Wyszynska, owner of Cardiff Pilates Studio in Canton. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Looking back at the few weeks in the lockdown my main reflection has to be: ‘I’m so lucky’

Teaching classes – the ‘old’ way

My name is Justyna and I own Cardiff Pilates Studio in Canton. Before the lock down myself and a team of five teachers ran both mat and private classes at the studio, seven days a week. When we were told to ‘stay at home, unless you can’t do your job’ initially I had a million thoughts and questions running through my head. I think I was looking for a way to stay open. I felt that the lock down is one of those thighs that happens on the news and surely it won’t affect my business or my local pub, restaurant, gym or my friends. But we, as so many other local businesses have temporarily closed our doors.

Teaching classes the new way!

I’m definitely lucky that I don’t tend to dwell on things and after closing the studio on the Saturday, we ran our first online class on the Monday. I was both overwhelmed by support of our clients and surprised how well it worked. At present, myself and the studio’s teachers run a variety of classes and I think we all (including clients) had to take some time to get used to it and work out some technical issues. But, I also believe that each class gives us a little dose of positivity. I terribly miss being in the studio and interacting with the clients, especially a bit of banter that is the best way to try and avoid exercising (slightly more difficult when clients are muted but face expressions can speak thousands of words!).

Personally, I took this time to sign up to as many classes and workshops as I could myself. I thought since my holidays are postponed that will be my treat for this year! I asked my clients and friends for recommendations and ended up trying a few different classes that were run from different places in the UK, Europe and USA (which was an interesting experience, as I miscalculated time difference!).

Missing the studio space

And yet again I consider myself lucky that I could participate in workshops with people from Belfast, Kairo, Berlin and Paris as it was a fab experience and a good laugh. I’m regularly attending two classes run by Cardiff based Yoga Studio (Stretchy Suzie’s) and love every single class, especially on my ‘deflated days’.

On exactly those days I also try and remember that this won’t go on forever and that myself and so many other people around will probably see their families again at some point this year. And definitely, on those days I realise how lucky I am, as myself and all my loved ones are healthy and mostly in good spirits. And in the meantime, I will keep myself busy, thinking about ways how we can improve and diversify our online classes!”

Visit the Cardiff Pilates Studio website.

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A blog about Cardiff, its people, and the alternative arts and cultural scene!

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