Tag Archives: canton

Introducing TEDxCanton: the tiny event with BIG ideas

On Saturday 19 May, a specially curated event will bring inspirational speakers and performers to the heart of Canton to share exciting new ideas and discussion.

Speakers include a firefighter who changed the way emergency services make decisions, and a man who believes trees can solve social problems. The talks aim to challenge, inspire and motivate the audience, and give them ideas to improve their lives and the world they live in.

Only 30 tickets will be available for the main event in local micropub St Canna’s, and there will be a viewing party down the road in the Printhaus with some extra community-led events. The talks will also be streamed online.

Event organiser James Karran said:

I opened St Canna’s to help create a place where people could meet, talk and drink great beer. Running an event licensed by the world-famous TED conferences is a fantastic way of bringing new ideas to our little community.

The three organisers and our team of volunteers have worked really hard to find the most inspiring speakers and amazing performers, and we can’t wait to reveal our full plans for the afternoon’s event!

Tickets will be released at midday on Tuesday 3 April. The price is £15, which includes four talks, two performances, two videos, a goody bag and a snack. Follow @tedx_canton for updates on ticket sales, speaker announcements and more exciting news!

About us

TEDxCanton is being organised by James, Hannah and Sara.

James Karran 
is the owner of St Canna’s and the holder of the TEDx license. He is a Baptist minister with a history of arranging unusual events, once running a ‘pub church’ project around Cardiff city centre. He opened St Canna’s in April 2017 with the intention of creating a space for the local community to meet, chat and drink great beer.

Hannah Johnson co-runs We Are Cardiff, an award winning volunteer-run blog that celebrates Cardiff’s alternative culture, arts scene and diverse communities. In her day job she’s a parliamentary researcher specialising in equality, human rights and poverty. She also writes for a human rights public education project, and works as a consultant for the UN Development Programme.

Sara Williams has managed corporate partnerships between businesses and the third sector for six years. She is incredibly passionate about bring local community and businesses together, and has led on sponsorship for the TEDxCanton.

About TEDx

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organised events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organised TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organised.


TEDxCanton is kindly supported by the Waterloo Foundation, and sponsored by a range of very generous local businesses and organisations:

Notes for editors

For more information about the event, contact tedxcantoncf@gmail.com.

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish,” or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED or Instagram at https://instagram.com/ted.


Meet Charlotte: teacher, tailor, sewer, superfly

Have you ever wanted to learn to make your own clothes? Do you want to embroider swear words or cross stitch your wifi password? Fancy making gorgeous, unique home furnishings?

Well, we have found the woman for you. Twin Made (aka Charlotte) is quickly becoming our favourite creative micro-business in Cardiff. Operating out of a shipping container at the Bone Yard in Canton, she runs INCREDIBLE creative workshops to help you make anything from retro skirts to lampshades – no experience (or common sense, in our case) necessary. T

We were lucky enough to experience her circle skirt workshop this weekend and were so impressed that we asked her to tell us a little bit about her recent journey from secondary school teacher to full time creative queen!

Hi, I’m Charlotte. I have just left my day job to see if I can make my craft business in Cardiff into my full time job! Current feelings: scared, excited, worried, elated, overwhelmed, underwhelmed, a whole mixed bag of emotions! 

I am the Boss Lady at Twin Made. I often rope my husband in – have two colourful creative containers at The Bone Yard in Cardiff, slightly hidden but conveniently located in the heart of Canton. We run creative workshops, sell craft supplies, and rent sewing equipment.

It all started about 13 years ago, when doing a standard 9-5 job in a library. I got royally dumped by someone I thought, but definitely was not, THE ONE; he just happened to be the one who was still in the pub at the end of the night. About a month after our split, when he was off with his new fiancee,, I decided that I really needed to get a hobby that wasn’t just drinking two bottles of wine for a fiver ( or at least something I could do while drinking this admittedly questionable wine).

I had always been creative and had been to art college. I moved to Cardiff because I loved the band Mclusky, but also to study Graphic Communication at what was then UWIC. I dusted off my art supplies and started painting and knitting and making all manner of creations. My bedroom in a crappy shared house, in Roath, soon became the creative haven for a business I proudly called Boozy Floozy Designs. I would sell my makes on Etsy and Folksy and at local markets.t was great fun and I got to meet lots of Creative Cardiff types. Later on my twin sister Kathryn got involved and we rebranded and relaunched as Twin Made.

About five years ago I did a Design Technology PGCE at the Cardiff Met and became a qualified teacher. This was a really steep learning curve but I realised I was able to transfer my skills in a more creative way and at weekends I began to run workshops in Cardiff and London with my twin sister, teaching people how to create lampshades and embroidery.

During this time I met my now husband (out mutual likes were gin and embroidery). He was my dream man *insert emoji heart eyes* and he encouraged me to go ahead and find a more permanent home for Twin Made. And so it was that two years ago we moved in to the Bone Yard and set up a colourful new home.

Look! It’s Helia and Hana from We Are Cardiff after making their circle skirts! No sewing experience necessary, just lots of lolz

We run a wide range of creative workshops, such as lampshade making, modern embroidery, macrame and our very popular dungaree dress class. All our workshops are designed so that in 2-3 hours you can come to Twin Made, learn a new craft, and create an item to take home having gained the confidence to make more. The workshops are always very creative, relaxed, and are a great opportunity for people to forget their worries and, without too many distractions, engage in a new skill or refresh an old hobby. We also host craft parties, one-to-one sessions, and corporate events.

This year we are looking to increase our craft supplies and our range of equipment hire, as well as teaming up with lots of local makers to create more excellent workshops. I love reusing any leftover fabrics and am currently working on a exciting range of colourful collars and capes, all created from leftover textiles from our workshops.

In short, then: come and visit us in our colourful containers, support your local creatives, and even if you buy just a card we really appreciate it all. I’m looking forward to making Twin Made bigger, brighter, and giving it my all as my full time job!

Give us a follow to see what we are up to next! You can find us on Twitter, or if there’s something in particular you’d like to make/do email twinmadethings@gmail.com .


We love Canton – our fave spots for food, drinks, arts, fitness and shopping

UPDATED 31st AUGUST! While one half of We Are Cardiff is a proud Cardiff Bay-er, the other half lives in Canton. As Cardiff is so small, we always take it for granted that everyone knows all the nice places to eat and drink. But we met someone the other day who didn’t know Canton beyond Chapter, so we thought we’d do a little round of our favourite spots in Canton (and slightly beyond) that you may not know about.
We’re assuming here that everyone knows the well-established big hitters of Chapter, Bangkok Cafe, CalabrisellaIchiban, Got Beef, Kimchi, Chai StreetTime and Beef and The Lansdowne. Have we missed any off this list?

St Cannas, 42 Llandaff Road @stcannas

This place has quickly become our new local since it opened in April. Run by the lovely James, he keeps us busy between free beer Fridays, delicious local ale, food popups from the likes of Pettigrew Bakery, Bearded Tacos and Great Eggspectations, pianos, games, dogs, babies, artwork and general warm, friendly lovely amazingness. We have SO MUCH love for this tiny micropub! (photos from @stcannas/@sarahchew1/ @pettigrewbakes)

Clwb Iechyd Da gym, 317 Cowbridge Road East http://www.iechyd-da.net/  @gampfaiechydda

Hidden away beside a mobile phone shop opposite Peacocks, we stumbled upon this place after moving to Canton. For £25 a month (no contract), you get access to a super friendly gym (run by the wonderful Mered), with a great selection of weights and cardio equipment and a fantastic selection of classes (no extra cost). From fitness pilates to to circuits, they also run socials and competitions. AND Mered let me rig my trapeze in the studio! What a hero.

Vivo Latino, 147 Cowbridge Road East www.vivolatino.co.uk@vivolatinocdf

It’s easy to miss Vivo Latino at the city end of Cowbridge Road, but it’s a great spot for big groups or a quick cocktail. When it first opened, we decided that their nachos are THE BEST in Cardiff. The staff are super lovely, the decor is cool and the drinks are great.

Crafty Devil Brewing, 16 Llandaff Road @craftdevilbrew

This place is a three-in-one: brewery, bottle shop and bar! The CD boyz make their own beer in Canton (I’m reliable informed it’s cracking stuff, especially the Mikey Rayer) the bar has a great atmosphere and they now have a big screen and Sky Sports out the back for SPORTZ. (photo from @craftdevilbrew)

Dusty Knuckle pizza, 70 Llandaff Road (inside Printhaus) @dusty_knuckle

Again, another hidden gem! If you wander through the Printhaus gate on Llandaff Road of an evening, you’ll find this oasis of tasty food and booze. Since they moved here about a year ago, it’s hard to get a table in the semi-outdoor restuarant. The pizzas are spectacular, with adventurous combinations and perfect dough. The environment is so special, and the staff are banging too.

Printhaus, 70 Llandaff Road, @ThePrinthaus

Speaking of Printhaus, we couldn’t miss those guys off our list. Printhaus is an independent creative community based in Cardiff, offering artists’ studios, screenprinting workshops and event space. We’ve all taken workshops here, from bookbinding to screenprinting, and their frequent artists’ markets are ideal for presents, interior decor and art. Super friendly classes are a great way to try out different skills for a day, You can see their upcoming courses here. (photo from @ThePrinthaus)

The Bone Yard, Rear of 35a Romilly Crescent http://www.theboneyardcardiff.co.uk/  @boneyardcardiff

The Bone Yard is a collection of fitted-out shipping containers in an old scaffolders yard at the back of the Printhaus. These colourful little boxes are home to myriad of creative, wonderful people and businesses including: Therapy at the Bone Yard, Free Range Frames, Twin Made, England Designs, Ffwrnes Pizza, Yurt in the City and Magpie Gallery among MANY more. So if you’re looking for a therapist, handmade books, galleries, craft classes, pizza, frames or regular markets and events – GO FIND IT!

Manglas Spice of Life, 587 Cowbridge Road East, @manglasspice

We were lucky enough to check Mangla’s out in the first week of trading, and since then she has brought a burst of spice and happiness to the top of Cowbridge Road (opposite Victoria Park). Her exceptional skills as a cook are matched by her hosting and effervescent personality. It’s an Indian vegetarian restuarant, but also has great reviews on the vegan site HappyCow.net. Read Mangla’s story on WalesOnline!

The Dough Thrower, 591 Cowbridge Road East @thedoughthrower

We literally only tried this place out yesterday, after hearing our buddies RAVE about it. It DID NOT disappoint! It’s just a few doors up from Mangla’s, and sports a fresh and modern interior that overlooks Vicky Park. Bedecked with houseplants and trendy lighting, the open kitchen churns out incredible pizzas with unusual toppings like cashew cream with spinach, and tasty-ass starters like dough sticks with a tomato dip and HUGE green, lemon infused olives. Smashing staff, great Poretti beer on tap and kid-friendly. They are planning to expand the menu to include meatballs, and are starting Prosecco Sundays…. I don’t know that it involves, but I’m in.

Pettigrew Bakery, 595 Cowbridge Road East @pettigrewbakes

YOU LIKE BREAD AND CAKES AND MERINGUES THE SIZE OF A CHILD’S SKULL? Yep, us too. The Pettigrew tea gang have built a baked empire of tastiness and long may it spread! Their innovative pop-ups (like pinxtos at St Cannas) are a fantastic way to sample their goods if you’re too lazy to walk up Cowbridge Road.

Falafel Wales, 122 Cowbridge Road East @falafelwales

It maybe not the trendiest, newest place on Cowbridge Road, but if you want super fresh, really cheap, tasty Middle Eastern food, this is the place.

Thompson’s Park, Romilly Road

We are always surprised how many people don’t know about this beautiful park that sits quietly between Canton, Victoria Park and Pontcanna. The beautifully kept lawns, gardens and trees are set across a gentle hill, and the field at the top has a great view across the city.

Canton Cobbler, 236 Cowbridge Road East http://www.cantoncobbler.co.uk/

And so, to end, a classic. If your heels break 5 minutes before leaving for a party- they’re there. If you need a new key cut after an scuffle with a metal-eating wolf- they’re there. If you’ve realised that you don’t have anything but Converse to get married in- they’re there. Cheap, reliable, excellent quality, AND they have a great logo.

ADDITIONS – 31st August

We had lots of suggestions for additions to this list, so here goes:

The Bee & Honey, 63 Clive Road http://www.thebeeandhoney.co.uk/ @thebeeandhoney

Image courtest of http://sswales.com/

This place only recently opened and we haven’t had the chance to visit yet. But, judging by the people who recommended it, we should head over soon! It’s a deli and cafe, and sells a wide range of goodies from freshly baked artisan breads and marinated olives to Welsh cheeses and homemade jams and pickles. The cafe menu looks fab too, we can’t wait to check it out!

Canton Grows Wild community garden, Lansdowne Road @cantongrowswild

Since its establishment up a few years ago (we covered it here), this beautiful little patch of life has matured into something fabulous. They throw garden parties and gives Canton and Riverside residents a chance to get their hands dirty by volunteering.

Park View Cafe, 571 Cowbridge Rd http://parkviewcafe.org.uk/ @parkviewcafe

Another recommendation from a lovely reader: Park View Cafe is just opposite Victoria Park, run by “lovely people and good food and very affordable prices” in the words of Aivi! We were sold already, but the cafe is also a social enterprise- it supports trainees with learning disabilities, who may struggle to find regular employment, to give them the confidence and skills to find work.

Cardiff Print Workshop, Market Road (opposite Chapter) 

Sally Williams left us a comment about the print workshop (unfortunately we couldn’t find a working website or Twitter account). She said “Cardiff print Workshop has a gallery and small workshop [..]  It’s open every Saturday from 10.00 to 3.00. They sell original prints, handmade books, cards etc. All of the work is made by members and are original prints that have been either etched, embossed, litho or relief printed. The work is really high quality and they do classes! Watch for the latest dates and times pinned up on the front window.”

I’ve never been in there even though I live on the next street – one to put on the list!

La Creperie De Claudie, 1 Victoria Park Road West https://www.facebook.com/lacreperiedeclaudie/

Image: tripadvisor

How could we miss this out?! Beautiful crepes and waffles, in a stunning location. Amazing service too! We’ve been reliably informed that the milkshakes are banging.

Fair Dos, 10 Llandaff Rd https://www.fairdos.com/ @fairdoscardiff

Image: http://peartreelife.blogspot.co.uk/

Lovely little Fairtrade shop- selling everything from food to candles!


Rhithganfyddiad: the art and poetry project that maps Cardiff like never before

We spotted these gorgeous illustrations of Cardiff a few months back and decided to investigate who was behind them and their accompanying poetry: meet Efa Lois and Morgan Owen! 

Gwelsom ni’r darluniadau hyfryd hyn hyn o Gaerdydd rhai misoedd yn ôl a phenderfynu ymchwilio i bwy oedd wedi’u creu yn ogystal â’r barddoniaeth sy’n cydfynd â hwy. Dyma gyflwyno Efa Lois a Morgan Owen!

Rhithganfyddiad is a collaborative project between Morgan Owen, a young poet and MA student at Cardiff University, and Efa Lois, an illustrator and Architectural Assistant currently based in Cardiff. They told us:

“We started Rhithganfyddiad because we wanted to document the city as it currently is. Cities are constantly evolving, especially Cardiff, and we hoped to capture what the city is currently like, whilst reflecting on its past.

The end result is a poem and an illustration – a chronicle of each place.”

Mae Rhithganfyddiad yn brosiect ar y cyd rhwng Morgan Owen, bardd ifanc a myfyriwr MA ym Mhrifysgol Caerdydd, ac Efa Lois, sy’n arlunydd ac yn Gynorthwyydd Pensaernïol. Dywedodd Morgan ac Efa wrthom:

“Dechreuodd Rhithganfyddiad am ein bod am adlewyrchu’r ddinas fel y mae hi ar hyn o bryd. Mae dinasoedd yn datblygu drwy’r amser, yn enwedig Caerdydd, ac rydym am ddal naws y ddinas fel ag y mae hi, tra’n ystyried ei gorffennol.  Cynnyrch ein hymwneud â’r gwahanol ardaloedd yr ydym yn ymweld â nhw yw cerdd a darlun.”

They are gradually filling in their map of Cardiff with their gorgeous work – we can’t wait to see the full set!

Maent yn raddol yn llenwi eu map o Gaerdydd gyda’u gwaith hyfryd – ‘da ni’n methu ag aros i weld y casgliad yn ei gyfanrwydd!

Here’s a selection of their images and poetry- you can see more of their work on their website, or in store at Cant a Mil Vintage on Whitchurch Road. You can also buy prints online.

Dyma ddetholiad o’u darluniadau a’u barddoniaeth – gallwch weld mwy o’u gwaith ar eu gwefan, neu yn siop Cant a Mil Vintage ar Heol yr Eglwys Newydd. Gallwch hefyd brynu printiau arlein.

Heol y Gadeirlan | Cathedral Road

Mae’r hewl hon yn bont annisgwyl
o’r canol i’r cyrion,
un stryd sy’n rhychwantu
dinas benbwygilydd.

O unpen i’r llall mae bywyd
yn arafu a’r ddinas
yn ymbentrefoli
nes dy fod mewn byr o dro

yn bell bell o’r dwndwr
heb ymgydnabod â’r rhyngdir.


Cydgymysgwn – nid goddef
ond parchu gwead
ein cydblethiad;
ymhyfrydwn yn y cymhlethdod
cain lle gwêl
y culion ddryswch.

Treganna | CantonMewn dinas o’r iawn ryw mae’r
strydoedd yn gyfrodedd
heb arwain at unlle’n benodol.
Dryswch dymunol yw ei nod amgen,
ei chyfiawnhad a’i gogoniant.
Mae’r hewlydd oll yn rhan o’r cyfanwaith,
a phob un, eto i gyd, yn torsythu
yn ei hannibyniaeth.
Y daith ei hun yw’r unig resymeg.
Wrth hyntio’n ymwybodol o’r cymysgedd
awn i wledydd dirifedi
heb adael am eiliad ein dinas ni.


Ni fu realiti erioed mor hurt
â tharfu ar y cyfeddach
a’r delfrydu, ac amheuthun 
yw tario yn y tir neb 
rhwng rhyddid a chyfrifoldeb.

Dychweli’n ddoethach
yn ddieithryn. Fe weli,
a thithau’n lwcus, fod bellach
sylwedd am yr hen haniaethau
a’r breuddwydion liw dydd.

Fe weli, a thithau’n eithriad,
nad ildiaist i’r sadrwydd
mae’r lle hwn yn brotest yn ei erbyn.

Heol y Fuwch Goch | Womanby St

Fin nos yn feddw nadredda
gwyntoedd ffrwythlonder a phydredd
i gyfeiliant diotwyr a gwylanod.
Yn ddeuparth bywyd ac unparth marwolaeth,  
cerdda ffantasmagoria y strydoedd
sydd bob un yn arwain at ruddin y gân
a’r golau. Annedd frwysg rhwng gwyll
a gwawr yw’r noswaith lân sy’n darfod yn yr oriau mân.

Llandaf | Llandaff

Yng ngogysgod y ddinas
mae hendref greiriog
sy’n edliw i’r concrit
ei lesgedd.

Ar ei ynys grebachlyd
mae’n mesur y llanw
di-drai sy’n difa

Lle cedwid gynt rin
rhyw genedl a gwagle
i freuddwydio ceir heddiw
grawcwellt yn ymborth.

Eilbeth yw iaith a llên
a myfyrdodau
lle mae arian
yn llywio meddyliau.

Deled y byd i weld
tomen o garegos
pan nad yw llwydni
Llanbobman yn ddigon.

Y Sblot | Splott

Dur yw iaith absenoldeb;
dur sy’n rhydu yn y dociau dof
yw pont dwy genhedlaeth;
dur sy’n fy nghludo i gartref
na ddychwelaf iddo eto.

Dau le a unwyd gan un enw
a dynghedwyd i gyd-ddioddef –
dau le sy’n gorwedd
dan lwch hen luniau
sy’n stwyrian wedi sôn am Ddowlais.

Dowlais yw enw colled
yn y blaendir a’r ddinas
fel ei gilydd lle mae’r dur
yn rhydu o hyd.

Mynydd Bychan | The Heath

Nid angof fydd y fan hon
sydd rhwng dau le o hyd –
tramwyfa aml daith,
ond cyrchfan anfynych.

Pan fo’r cyrion yn crwydro a’r ddinas
yn glastwreiddio’i chalon,
rhinwedd yw rhyngedd
y lle sy’n aros yn yr unfan.

Illustrations/Darluniadau: Efa Loi, poetry/barddoniaeth: Morgan Owen


Can you dig it? Canton community garden opening party!

The bees were partying this morning at the official opening of Canton’s community garden! Canton Grows Wild are a group of residents who are turning various plots around Canton into community gardens, with the permission of the council.

Seed bombs, bee hotels and cake were the order of buzzness (sorry, couldn’t resist)this morning, and the garden is already looking great. If you’d like to get muddy, get yourself down to Lansdowne Road, just near the pub, at 10am every Saturday.

Check out Canton Grows Wild’s Facebook page or Twitter to keep up to date with how the garden grows. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with community environmental activist and all-round local hero Gareth Sims garethcsims@gmail.com.




DSC_0001 DSC_0006

Photos by Hana & James

“Cardiff will always be synonymous with friendships, good music, and unlimited fun” – Gwen

Today’s We Are Cardiff piece goes back in time … and visits a lively gal by the name of Gwen Love, who – in 1996 – is enjoying her 20s in the city of ‘cool Cymru’. Read on to find out what she’s been up to!

gwen love


I cannot imagine being anywhere more exciting than Cardiff in 1996. I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing city at such a buzzing time. Right now, Cardiff is at the heart of the Cool Cymru movement. It has been amazing to witness the explosion of the Welsh music scene before our very eyes – watching our home-grown talent become part of the Britpop brigade has made us all proud of our heritage and roots. I have been lucky enough to see Catatonia and Super Furry Animals morph from obscure Welsh language bands to being on Top of the Pops and playing with some of the biggest bands of our time. I love the fact that I have seen these bands live several times at venues around the city – and that they just get bigger and better.

I knew I wanted to study in Cardiff as soon as I set down my country-bumpkin-North-Walian feet in the bus station in 1993 – three years ago. An excited gaggle of us were here for the university open day and it was as though we had found utopia. Cool people, friendly bars, and live music. This was what I had yearned for throughout my awkward, frustrated teenage years. I’m ashamed to admit that I paid a lot less attention to the details of my course of study than I did to the events calendar.

It’s not just live music that Cardiff excels at either. The variety of night life is endless. As students we are spoiled with our fantastic Student’s Union and we have all enthusiastically taken part in Fun Factory, Jive Hive, or Cloud 9 at some point in time. The town centre offers everything from the sterility of Zeus (RIP Cocos) to the dirty, dingy yet delightful Metros. At the moment my favourite venue and night out is Clwb Ifor Bach’s newly opened Popscene. A fantastic indie club upstairs playing everything from Oasis to Puressence, where the DJ will kindly oblige to the musical whims of most indie kids. Then, downstairs, for a change of tempo is the Cheesy Club; funk, disco and cheese. It is impossible to dance without a smile. It’s the happiest dance floor in town.

Downtime, when I’m not studying hard, can be spent idling in the beautiful parks with friends after a magnificent breakfast from Ramones. What better way to cure a hangover than by watching the beautiful people play baseball, turning slowly pink in the sun amidst the sleepy floral scents.

When the student loan has been freshly deposited in my bank account my other method of relaxing is to shop, shop, shop. I love Cardiff for its independent shops. I love exploring the arcades to find an elusive vinyl, that perfect 70s shirt to emulate Jarvis, or some beautiful, hand crafted jewellery. It is so easy to buy retro in Cardiff and develop your own sense of style.

I hope to graduate this summer but have no plans to leave Cardiff just yet. I love this city and feel very proud to be studying and partying here. Whatever the future holds, whereever I will be in 20 years time, Cardiff will hold a very special place in my heart and will always be synonymous with friendships, good music and unlimited fun.


Having graduated from Cardiff University in 1996, Gwen Love then moved to Bristol and spent many years in marketing until she retrained as a primary school teacher. She has been teaching for 10 years and is a mother of two young children. Her retroblog came about through her love of music and through a selfish need to do something creative for herself. She always wanted to write and, as she was still in possession of her eventful diary from ’96, she was inspired to write a blog set in that year. During ’96 she left her long term boyfriend, reached the grand old age of 21, and graduated with a respectful drinker’s degree – all to a thoroughly researched Britpop soundtrack. Follow Gwen on Twitter @GwenLove3 and on her blog site www.gwenlove76.wordpress.com. She hopes to publish as a novel in the near future. During 1996 Gwen lived in Cathays. She currently lives in Canton.


Snapped Up Market – Furry Little Creatures at the Printhaus

Contributing writer Jodie Ashdown popped along to the Snapped Up Market at the Printhaus to have a go at some activities. Here’s what she got up to!

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

Sitting just off the main street, nestled in between closed hairdressers and Sunday drinkers is a special little place. A place that throws open its doors to the public so that they can print, shop, sew, hammer and drink craft beer to their heart’s content.

And this place is called the Snapped-Up Market.

Occurring quarterly, the Snapped-Up Market is a hands-on experience with activities suitable for adults and children and an overarching theme unique to that particular market. This time the market, which took place on the 6 April 2014, was focused around the theme ‘Furry Little Creatures’. Previous themes have included ‘Heroes & Comix’ and ‘Circus’.

Taking place in the Printhaus workshop on Llandaff Road, the market is a chance for local artists, artisans and generally artistic people to come along and show their wares, as well as giving us less-creative folk the chance to try our hand at making something awesome.

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

We are Cardiff headed down on the day to try out a few of the crafts and sample one, maybe two, of the beers.

Snapped Up Market

The atmosphere is immediately uplifting, even in the dreary rainfall of a cloudy April Sunday. Everyone is friendly and relaxed, not just the stallholders and artists but also the customers who meander, coffee in hand, through the workshop under crisscrossed bunting surrounded by original art. The graffiti artwork adorning the outer walls is an accurate indication of the creative hub inside. We decided to have a go at a few of the activities on offer.

First up was Alys from www.thepocketpirate.com. Aside from selling, among other things, handmade cushions, fabric purses and bags, Alys provides you with the opportunity to make a leather purse. The procedure is pretty simple: you choose your leather, cut, mark, stick, sew, chat and then you’re done. A simple but effective project, all for £7.

Jodie at the Printhaus

Next was Lydia who will guide you through making your own silver ring. It’s a satisfying process involving a hammer, acid and a blow torch. For obvious reasons, you have to be over 16 years old but it’s a pretty unique way of hammering out your frustrations and turning them into something beautiful. Lydia also has an array of silver jewellery on sale at the market and also does bespoke designs. Here’s her website: www.niziblian.com.


The printing part of the market came next. The Printhaus ( www.theprinthaus.org ) have a good stock of printing equipment which the team (Nigel, Tom, Jude and Rob) bought after some pretty solid fundraising, which can be used to put designs on all manner of things including t-shirts, tote bags and tea towels. They run courses on site and there’s an option to become a member, meaning that after training and induction you can use the facilities whenever you want for a small fee. They’re a not-for-profit organisation who want to help bridge the gap between school or college to starting a business by providing an art space and all the necessary equipment.


I began my printing escapades with Helen of www.nellystreasures.com who took me through putting a design onto a tea towel. Helen also had a clothing rail and other pretty special knitted items for sale as well as being a dab hand at screen printing. Next to Helen is the kids table where the little ‘uns can get in on the action, I don’t know what they were doing but it definitely sounded like fun.

Snapped Up Market teatowel

Furnished with my special new tea towel, I headed over to the Print Haus guys to pick out a design for my t-shirt and tote bag. The guys will guide you through everything, even the oddly satisfying act of seeing your newly printed t-shirt drop all nice and warm out of the end of the tunnel dryer, it’s slightly akin to freshly baked bread. T-shirts are just £10 including printing and the tote bags are £5.

Snapped Up Market

And there were other activities I didn’t even get round to, not to mention the many stalls and craft tables set up. It is a creative and friendly environment with a real sense of community with an admirable ethos; provide an accessible and open environment in which anyone can learn everything about printing and create one off designs. And not only that, the opportunity is offered to become a member and then display your wares at the Snapped-Up Market. The project is a breath of fresh air from the big brand, high street take over and is one which definitely deserves to be supported.


Run by locals, for locals, supporting locals and good fun for kids and adults. It’s a sweet initiative and something which Cardiff could really do with more of.

The next market is on 6 July – keep an eye on the Printhaus Facebook page for updates – and the theme is Wrestling. I’ll see you there.

Printhaus outside

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

For more information about The Printhaus and all the excellent things they do there…

The Printhaus website

Printhaus Facebook

Snapped Up Market Facebook page – next event 6 July for a wrestling-themed day!


“Cardiff has a heart and a bruised beauty which makes it a wonderful place to be” – Richard


I guess Cardiff has always felt like a city that I always knew through association. Kind of a like a friend of a friend. I come from Cornwall and have always felt a bond and a close affinity with my group of friends. We aren’t a big bunch, but we are a tight bunch, friends for life, that kind of thing. When I left Cornwall in 2002 to go to university, I chose to study Fine Art at Bristol. Far away enough to be far away but close enough to be close. Painting and photographing things from my home and creating work which revolved around displacement and memory. Cornwall was always my muse.

I was lucky though that my best friend Jon had moved just over the Severn, a 40 minute train ride away. Cardiff, a city in Wales; a city in another country! Memories of the times visiting Jon in Cardiff revolve around the studenty side of things. His house in Cathays, Chippy-alley, endless queues waiting to get into the CIA, St. Mary’s Street and the big cinemas, the tunnel under the Severn. The usual sort of things. But I remember it well and always thought that it seemed like a great place.

After uni, Bristol stayed as my base and I stayed on after I finished university. Jon moved to Bristol and other friends (Dave, Alan, Becky, Lauren and Ruth) all ended up in the city at some time or another. It was like a little Cornish ex-pat community! This didn’t last forever, as the call of the motherland, home, took hold and most of them moved back down to Cornwall.

Now, I fast forward a few years to Feb 2011 and my next liaison with Cardiff takes place. I had grown up, I had got a job, and I had got a girlfriend! A sort of serious one. I was still in Bristol, but said girlfriend was working in Cardiff at a new museum (The Cardiff Story) that had just opened. Both of us working away from the city that we lived in led to lots of money being spent, lots of arguments and tiredness and meant that really, only one thing had to happen. We had to move to Cardiff. Something I never thought would happen. This place that I kind of remember from drunken shenanigans and fun years before had never had ‘home’ written on it for me, but the things you do for love eh?

But moving to Cardiff still didn’t mean that it would become more than an acquaintance. It was still nothing more than something which I knew, but only a little bit. I was driving out of the city every morning to go to my job in Weston-super-Mare, and driving back in the evening, knackered and not wanting or feeling like exploring this city that has so much to do. I felt, again, that I was in Cardiff for somebody else, not for myself. Not for my own reasons.

I felt isolated, lost and a little demoralised. I didn’t really like it here (if I am honest, I cried the first night I was here. But keep that to yourself!). We moved to Adamsdown; to a sweet little two bedroomed house with a little garden and a toilet beyond the kitchen! We had paper-thin walls and everything that went on either side of the house was heard with excruciating honesty and intimacy! It was a kind of baptism of fire. I missed my peaceful existence in Cornwall. The sea and the light. All I thought Cardiff existed of was seagulls and bin bags. And neighbours who made too much noise and didn’t walk their dogs. Their dogs liked to bark!

But through this, friendship came from unlikely places and my horrendous commute found other poor souls who were doing the same thing. We ended up lift sharing and my soul began to settle. Home is where the heart is? Home began to become Cardiff.

I am a photography lecturer and jobs are always a little hard to come by so the commute existed for nearly 18 months. It was intense and insane. 550 miles a week and £450 a month. This couldn’t go on. I prayed for (not religious!), wished for (pennies in wishing wells) and trawled the job sites for new jobs in Wales. There must be something. Eventually, there was something. I got a job. And another bonus, it was on the right side of the bridge. A job and a sort of promotion! I am half way through my second year teaching at this college and life is looking up. Friendship has been a constant fuel for me, and in my new college I am blessed with a multitude of friends. Barmy, warm, generous, wickedly funny, kind and lovely!

Cardiff has become my home. Said girlfriend and I were engaged, but have parted ways. We had bought a house. In Roath. Near the park. I ran around it and tried to get fit. We went to galleries, gigs, exhibitions and we took in the beautiful country around us. Garth Mountain was a particular favourite. Things change and life moves on. We are now friends, but Cardiff remains a constant. I am still here and I am still enjoying it. The future hints at excitement and intrigue, and things to be happy about, but also lots of things to think about and work out.

Canton is now ‘home’ and Chapter has become a favourite haunt. Makes me feel involved and connected. Instead of running around the park, I have joined a gym and am getting fitter!

Home is supposed to be where the heart is, but my heart will always remain in Cornwall. For me, now, home is where the soul is. And my soul is happy here. Cardiff has the city element which is important for all of the things that it brings, but it is also always near to the country. I make my artwork here and feel confident and inspired. Wales, and in particular Cardiff, has a heart and a bruised beauty which makes it a wonderful place to be. Perhaps I have found my new muse.

Richard Shaffner is a lecturer in photography. He was born in Maidenhead, grew up in St. Ives, and currently lives in Canton.

Richard was photographed in Chapter Arts Centre by Joe Singh.



From Now On Festival – review and interview with Shape Records

So, at the weekend I went along to From Now On Festival, a two day event held over in Chapter Arts Centre and curated by Mark Thomas from Shape Records.

Mark is one of those people who I’ve known for years, and has fingers in pretty much all local musical pies. He runs a label, his band Islet are Pitchfork approved, and this weekend he picked out a load of crazy noisemakers for people to listen to. Mark has been playing in bands since he was a teenager, though his main one is Islet, and his old one with his two brothers was called Attack + Defend. They set up Shape Records together back in 2007, and have released a fair bit since then, mainly limited edition vinyl pressings. With Islet, Mark has been lucky enough to play festivals and gigs all over the world – “it’s a very fun thing to be a part of”, as he tells me.

This is Mark (or Sparky, as I like to call him. I’m unsure as to whether he likes it, but there you go). This was taken at Swn Festival. Doesn’t he cut a dashing figure?

mark thomas shape records by adam chard

Anyway. I had a spiffing time at From Now On. Friday night was a total mess of weird noises made with harps, guitars, synths and god knows what else, bookended with the superbly crafted tunes of Gwenno (at the start) and Richard Dawson (at the end).

Gwenno (you know her, she was in the Pipettes, right?)


(apologies for the crap pic, you can blame my camera phone)

Then there was Rhodri Davies. I walked in and saw a man with a harp. Ah, this will be nice and mellow, I thought. NOT SO. Never thought the musical boundaries of distorted drone would be pushed – by a harp.

Rhodri Davies by Adam Chard

Trwbador (this pair are from Carmarthenshire, and they played right lovely twinkly electro-pop)

Trwbador by Adam Chard

Bridget Hayden – slow paced distorted guitar and vocals – reminiscent of early PJ Harvey (though I would have liked to have heard more of her voice)

Bridget Hayden

Lucky Dragons got everyone to put their hands together to make music, beautiful music!

Lucky Dragons by Adam Chard

Lucky Dragons by Adam Chard

Lucky Dragons by Adam Chard

Richard Dawson closed off the first night. He sings traditional-style English ballads with a massive voice and his tiny guitar – interspersed by breaking into Abba, Journey, and various other pop hits. Brilliant.

Richard Dawson by Adam Chard

Day Two consisted of more excellent music, ales, cups of tea, and sweet potato fries. Which is why Chapter is such a great venue for watching bands!

First up was Tender Prey, aka Laura Bryon, featuring two members of Islet on drums and bass, yeah?

Tender Prey by Adam Chard

Tender Prey by Helia Phoenix

After that was Hail! The Planes. I don’t have much luck with their gigs. I’ve seen them three times before – once my friend’s bag got stolen, the other time we had been out drinking the night before and got there in time for the last song, and then a few years back at Swn Festival, they were on on the Sunday after a very long weekend of boozing and not sleeping, me and two friends sat at the back of their set in Undertone on a sofa, then got the giggles so badly that we were massively shushed by everyone at the back of the room and in the end had to leave. Anyway, I managed to see the whole set, and it was great!

Hail! The Planes by Adam Chard

Hail! The Planes by Adam Chard

Hail! The Planes by Adam Chard

Hail! The Planes by Adam Chard

After that I went to listen to Aidan Richard Taylor and Kim Da Costa weave together some music and visuals – bended by lights …

Aiden Richard Taylor by Adam Chard

Aiden Richard Taylor 03

Then it was time for some melodic, dreamy stoner rock from R. Seiliog. It was HEAVY and it was GREAT.

R. Seiliog by Adam Chard

R. Seiliog by Adam Chard

Then came my undoubted highlight of the night – which was the Peski Records Silent Disco – by far the weirdest silent disco I’ve ever been to. One channel had a DJ playing some deadly beats, another was soundtracking the screen in the middle of the room (playing old disco records and various other random things), and then another – well, I’ve no idea how to describe it, other than it sounded like a man doing the shipping forecast over members of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop trying out sounds for a new sci-fi programme. It was brilliant!

DSC_0144 DSC_0147 Micro Peski Nacht by Adam Chard

The festival was closed off by Euros Childs! Isn’t it a lovely day, eh?

Euros Childs by Adam Chard

Other shots, from around the festival over the weekend…



Kidder with noise blockers

I had a great time at the festival. One of my favourite things about things like this in Cardiff is the likelihood of bumping into everyone you know there, as I did. Lovely to catch up with people! In fact, there were so many ‘Cardiff band-scene’ people there that one of my companions wondered how many new bands were being formed right there, in the miasma of knitwear, beards and sparkly jumpers, outside the Theatre in Chapter, before our very eyes…

I guess we can look forward to seeing them all perform next year, eh!

from now on banner

Mark was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the festival. Overall, it was a great couple of days. Roll on the second one!

Have you ever run a festival before?

Mark: No, I’ve been putting on live events in Cardiff for years and always wanted to put on something more ambitious. When the opportunity came to work in collaboration with Chapter and the PRS For music Foundation it gave the platform to realise that.

How did you pick the line up?

Mark: Each of the acts has been chosen for their leftfield approach and individuality. There is a strong independent spirit to many of the acts in the sense that many operate without a record label or music industry representation. It’s music that challenges the boundaries and operates outside of the mainstream.

What local bands will be ruling the world soon?

Mark: On a world level Cate Le Bon is going from strength to strength at the moment and it’s brilliant to see her getting the recognition she deserves.

What bands generally are you excited by at the moment?

Mark: Well, we’re releasing a record by a band called from Wrexham called Mowbird so I’ve been listening to that almost constantly. I’m very excited about them!

How would you describe the music scene in Cardiff generally?

Mark: I love it, I’ve been involved with music in Cardiff for over 10 years now and people come and go (still miss Kruger) but there is a very supportive and strong backbone to the whole scene with places like Clwb Ifor Bach, Spillers Records and Music Box being particularly vital and good to know. It’s big enough that you can never know everyone involved but it’s small enough that you can feel comfortable & reasonably worthy!

If you had some friends visiting Cardiff for the weekend, what would you tell them they HAD to do to fully enjoy the city?

Mark: I’m pretty partial to a Frankies, which is a takeaway pizzeria on Mackintosh Place! Also a wander round Cardiff indoor market is a good way of getting a true Cardiffy flavour.

Thanks Mark! All photographs in this post were taken by Adam Chard and me, Helia Phoenix.

Speakers by Helia Phoenix


“Cardiff’s hockey community is rich and diverse” – Lucas


When it comes to sports, there’s a great deal out there for a person to get involved with. But like so many boys that went to school in the city, a strict diet of rugby or football in the winter and cricket or baseball in the summer was the menu for my sporting education. That said, it’s far from a secret that I have never been (and never will be, for that fact) any good at football. I remember the success of the men’s field hockey team at the 1984 Olympics fired a desire to play that sport, but with no opportunity to try the sport at school, the interest soon faded. So as a much younger Cardiff boy, rugby was my sole sport. I enjoyed it, as it seemed to be ‘for me’. A sport with a good mix of competitiveness and ‘physicality’. And if it wasn’t for a ‘seminal incident’ (aged 16 outside a Llandaff pub – that left me with a fractured jaw and a couple of weeks of soft foods) that knocked my confidence in the national sport I probably would have stuck with it.

The sport held onto me, post playing, as I got rigged into coaching juniors for a while. But for me, rugby was fast becoming a spectator sport. For years, a void steadily opened in my life, creating a space for a new sporting challenge. And a challenge did indeed coming knocking on my door. A challenge that would not only require the use of a stick, but also to learn a skill, which had resulted in so many cuts, bruises and broken lips, courtesy of the childhood walls and pavements of Canton. I had to learn to skate. Hockey was beginning to sneak into my life.

Progress was slow at first. Not least as I had to save for kit (no mean feat, when you’re a twenty something, with an almost religious attendance at the Philly!). First came the stick. A second hand lumber. But it meant I could join in, running around like a mad man, whilst my mates glided almost effortlessly around our training ground (read: the car park attached to a Llanishen office building).

Slowly, but surely, stick was joined by skates and then came my first pair of hockey gloves – a second hand pair of red leather gloves, that were far too big, seemingly manufactured for the Hulk.

The summer was good that year and a nightly pilgrimage to our ‘training ground’ was followed by a return trip, with bloodied knees from over-ambitious skating, or the odd errant stick. It was a tough apprenticeship, but one that was to lead to some great experiences and also some great friendships. Like many other sports, hockey isn’t just about the time on the court, but it’s more about the community. And Cardiff’s hockey community is rich and diverse.

In time, the guys playing in the car park moved indoors, as roller hockey started to experience a renaissance during the late 1990s and informal training sessions, lead to the formation of my first team. Around the same time, a team mate who had been playing on the ice, virtually since the old Welsh National Ice Rink had been opened, suggested that I might enjoy stepping on the ice. I never found the transition was a complete success, but as training sessions were generally followed (and sometimes preceded) by a couple of beers in Kiwis, I stuck with it!

And I’m glad I did. Playing both roller and ice hockey, I’ve been lucky enough to be stood on the blue line and hear Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau played at internationals in Deeside and also at the home of the New York Islanders, in the US.

After a few years, study and career somehow distracted my enjoyment of the sport I loved and I gave up ice hockey, followed soon after by roller hockey. Years passed. I got married, became a dad and the rink was knocked down for the mighty St David’s 2. Despite previous passion, I was blissfully unaware of the building that was to become affectionately known as the Big Blue Tent, being built as a temporary replacement home for the City’s ice sports. During physio for a slipped disc in my back, I was offered tickets to see a Devils game at the Big Blue Tent. Curiously, I accepted.

I hadn’t watched a match for years. The Cardiff greats of Lawless, Hope, McEwan & the Cooper brothers long gone. It was a new barn and it was Elite League hockey. It was all strangely different. But what surprised me, was that it also felt oh so familiar. It felt like home and an unexpected, long dormant feeling stirred in me, urging me to strap on my skates and get out on the ice pad of this unfinished looking building. An old, but familiar face suggested the urge could be fed, by getting touch with a guy who’s known as ‘Big’.

A trawl through the friend’s Facebook friends located the aforementioned ‘Big’ and with the niggling thought of ‘why do they call him Big’, I made it down to a Monday night training session. The 6ft7inch guy I met welcomed me to the team and over the coming weeks, the passion was well and truly re-born.

I can’t even hazard a guess at how long I’ve been back playing – is it four years, five years? Who knows!? – because it feels like I’ve never been away. Sure, I’m older, no doubt much slower (maybe a little wiser!?), and less skilful, but hockey is still my passion. It’s my release from every day stresses. It’s the place I go to be ribbed. It’s the place I go to rib others. It’s my sport.

And what makes ice hockey special is that I play for the Cardiff Ice Hounds. Sure there are other teams playing out of the Big Blue Tent – some bigger, some more established, more successful – but at the end of the day, we play a sport that forces us out of our own city, to play away matches, pulling on our jerseys, representing our home City.

I play for the team, I’ve captained the team, I’ve coached the team and I’ve helped run the club at committee level. We’ve tried to establish the team to offer so much more than just a place for people to get involved in playing competitive ice hockey, but to also provide an opportunity for people to get involved in hockey as a spectator sport – for free. We’ve worked to put Cardiff’s amateur ice hockey on the map.

The City is the home to the sport that we love. We are the Cardiff Ice Hounds and Cardiff is us. And in return, at home and on the road, we are Cardiff.

Lucas Howell currently plays for the Cardiff Ice Hounds as one of their ‘veteran’ defencemen. As far as the old grey matter will allow, he’s been playing hockey (ice and roller), on and off for about 15 years and in that time he’s toured to New York with the Cardiff Titans, represented Wales in roller hockey, captained the Bridgend Bullfrogs & Cardiff Ice Hounds and coached just about every age group in roller hockey, from tiny kids, through to adults. He still misses his two front teeth – lost to hockey. Whilst now living in Splott, his ‘official’ roots make him a passionate Canton boy.

Lucas was photographed in the Big Blue Tent in Cardiff Bay by Doug Nicholls


“floorboards creak out a secret or two” – Ivy




worms drill, silent in the wood
floorboards creak out a secret or two

this bench needs another polish
a neighbour exchanges a pointed word
to the woman next to her
who smoothes her old wool skirt and nods

at the couple glimpsed in the lower floor—
the wife goes through the little door
her husband holds open for her
her new hat trembles as she sits
he slips the latch closed behind them

when the priest speaks, the shuffles hush
everyone’s here for the word of God
he rests his Bible on a cushion
it’s still all true, last year’s sermon

out the windows, houses climb the hill
rooves of soot, limned with sunset

Ivy Alvarez is the author of Mortal (Red Morning Press, 2006), her first book of poems. While finishing her second book, she wrote poems at St Fagans National History Museum, which will be included in her third book (thanks to a bursary from Academi). She arrived in Cardiff in 2004 and, after jumping the appropriate hoops, swore allegiance to the Queen a second time and became a British citizen in 2010. She lives in Canton.

Ivy was photographed at St Fagans by Robert Bell



“In Cardiff: from student, to teacher, to mother” – Laura


I live in Cardiff with my husband and our little girl, Ada who will be turning two in October. I moved here in 1999 from Derbyshire to study at Cardiff University and have lived here ever since (if you overlook a short stay in Bristol while studying there in 2003). I studied for a Physics degree and then trained as a teacher (in Bristol). I chose to do my main teaching placement in Newport, to get back to Wales, which lead to my first job at the same school.

Cardiff is a city all of my own, which none of my family know. I first lived in Talybont halls of residence, then moved to Roath as a student, working in the Woodville (The Woody) and revising in Roath Park. Now I have moved over the river to Canton to escape my student roots and bring up a family.

I have studied here, worked here and met my best friends are here. I met my husband here and have had my first baby here (at home in our bathroom!) I proudly say I am from Cardiff where ever I go in the world, and tell people about this lovely little capital city.

As I mentioned, I got my first job in Newport, teaching, which proved to be too much for me as a shy 23 year old so I decided to give myself a break, handed in my notice and amazingly got the most perfect job at the University of Wales Newport. I ended up working with schools but not stuck in the classroom and it felt like a holiday for the first few weeks! After a year or so at UWN, I moved to the University of Glamorgan within the same project and am now the Science Co-ordinator for First Campus and still love every minute of it.

Because of the nature of my work, part of my experience of Cardiff and the surrounding area has been through working in the local schools and universities. I have visited the tiniest valleys schools, where Cardiff really is the ‘big city’, and also worked in inner city schools where the kids are far tougher than I will ever be. Nevertheless, I have found all of the people I meet to be totally welcoming, proud to be Welsh but happy to accept me as an honorary Welsh-woman.

Socially I have been lucky enough to fulfil the life long dream of singing in a band (or three). I paired up with an ex-boyfriend to become Silence at Sea – this is also how I met my husband, he was a groupie and then ended up joining the band! I was then invited to sing with the lovely Little My and also with the prolific Pagan Wanderer Lu. We performed in Dempsey’s, Barfly (RIP), Clwb Ifor Bach, Bar Europa (RIP), Toucan Club (when on Clifton Street), Chapter in Cardiff and many more places including Bristol and London. The music scene in Cardiff is just amazing and I am so happy to have been part of it…I have taken a little step back since having a baby…

Now that I am a mother, I have discovered another side to Cardiff; the abundance of activities, venues and child friendly places where a new, first time mum can go and sit, meet other new mums and feel supported, rather than totally lost and overwhelmed by your new situation. I met one of my closest mum-friends through ‘Buggy Fit’ an exercise class where you run around with your baby in their pushchair, getting lots of stares and confused looks from passers-by! Chapter has gone from an evening social hang-out to a great place to meet other mums for a drink and a chat about babies; Thompson Park is the best place for feeding ducks in Canton, and Victoria Park has swings and at least three slides for little ones to try out once they find their toddler feet. Not to leave out Roath, this is where you can find Cafe Junior, where it’s easy to hang out with friends while little ones run around, that is my life at the moment…from student, to teacher, to mother.

I am now learning Welsh (my first exam is this week) and my daughter will be attending a local Welsh language school. I am definitely not planning on leaving Cardiff any time soon…

Laura Roberts is 31, mother to Ada and wife to David. She has worked at Duffryn High School, Newport; University of Wales, Newport and is currently the STEM Coordinator for First Campus based at the University of Glamorgan. She lives in Canton where she has bought a house with her husband is currently trying to decorate it as well as look after Ada, their two cats and three chickens. Laura enjoys playing sudoku, reading science fiction novels, watching films, listening to music, sewing and baking.

Laura was photographed at Cardiff University’s Physics Department by Adam Chard