Tag Archives: cardiff indoor market

Cardiff Indoor Market – the Christmas gift buying challenge!

The challenge: 32 people to buy Christmas gifts for on a £300 budget! Can it be done? Cardiff Indoor Market enthusiast Jade Tambini tells us that yes, it can! 

cardiff indoor market by jeremy rees

This blog is all about my experience challenging myself to do a full Christmas shop at Cardiff Market with just £300 to spend.

The first thing that struck me about my decision to do my full Christmas shop at Cardiff Market this year, was the absence of stress and overwhelming panic that usually consumes me in the lead up. I’ve always been one to plan our day out in order to do the full shop in one day (much to my husband Paul’s terror). So the thought of getting it all done in one go at the market felt just wonderful!

I’ve spent a lot more time at the market recently buying lunch, fresh produce and more and have been won over by the variety of stalls there, fallen in love with the atmosphere and I’ve gotten to know loads of the amazing traders during my visits too. If you’ve not been to the market before, it’s hard to put into words how it feels to spend an afternoon browsing, bantering and buying, all I can say to describe it is that it’s a little bit like being transported to another time and place, sheltered from the world outside, like a safe haven almost to give you space to think, be and enjoy shopping.

In preparation for the shopping trip, I pled with my Facebook friends to let me borrow a ‘grannie trolley’ to make the day a more comfortable experience. Since we’ve got 32 loved ones on our huge Italian/ Irish direct family list, I couldn’t think of any other way. Amidst the mocking of my apparently ‘uncool’ idea, I managed to get hold of a shopping bag on wheels ready for a knockout day of shopping!

Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of some of the gifts I picked up during my four-hour shopping session, to get Christmas all wrapped up for under £300. I was joined by my mum and our family friend’s daughter, Heidi 12, who was super cute running around talking to all the traders, we were also later joined by Paul, my hubby!

cardiff indoor market
Mum and Heidi at Lovely Crockery

Note; if you are in my family please stop reading since you will likely find out what we’ve bought you for Christmas! That includes you, Paul!

  1. Bath bombs, soaps and candle sets from Luvely Bubbly

Julie is the loveliest lady you’ll meet, she has so much knowledge on the different products available at the stall and will talk to you about the person you’re buying for, suggesting recommended products to suit their personality and what they like.

For my brothers’ girlfriends I picked out raspberry swirl bath bombs and fruity glitter hand soaps. For my sister-in-law and my dad’s girlfriend the bath bomb, candle and soap boxes were perfect and at just £10 and £12.50 depending on which one you choose, were great value for a lovely gift! The candle and mini soap bag pictured is just £5!

cardiff indoor market

I also picked up some soaps for my mother in law. The stall has so many different types of soap whether it’s funky jelly baby flavour, parma violets, rhubarb and custard (they all literally smell like the sweets!) or natural more earthy organic smells that suited my mother-in-law’s taste really well.

  1. Asian delights from Lovely Crockery

I spent just over £60 in Lovely Crockery but I can’t begin to tell you how incredible Su’s products are and I got so much for my money. First, I bought these adorable bunny feet egg cups for my two nieces, they were only £3 each, can you believe?

Bunny feet egg cup
This bunny feet egg cup was just £3

I also picked out this gorgeous Japanese rice pattern tea pot for my mum which was only £13 and a pack of traditional teas.

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I bought my nana these super cute compact mirrors and lipstick holders, she’s always loved things like this so I thought they were perfect.

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I also bought her this lovely ‘cwtch’ mug! Since my family are all up north in Leeds and Pontefract I thought it was a nice choice to remind her of me in Wales.

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I also picked out bits and pieces for various little additional gifts for my my sister, mum, mother-in-law and sister-in-law which varied from under £1 to a few quid.

Browse Lovely Crockery’s range.

  1. Christmas Cards and wrap from JC Morgan cards

What I love most about JC Morgan’s card stall is the variety. I’ve always loved sending cards that match my family set. It’s hard to find cards like ‘Nana and Grandad’ and ‘to mum and her boyfriend’ and I always enjoyed receiving very specific cards like ‘to my granddaughter and her boyfriend’ before me and Paul got married, it just feels so much more personal. You just can’t get these old classics with the stunning verses inside in many place anymore either, and the prices are incredible here! Lots of people don’t like cards but my mum and nana especially always revel in reading the verses so it’s nice to pick some special ones!

Most of the cards I picked up were less than £1.50, the price they should be. I do love Marks & Spencer cards too, I’ll be honest, but they carry a big price tag for a card and supporting a local independent feels really nice. They are so helpful there, I couldn’t find a card I wanted and the guys there were going through all the drawers and finding me everything I needed. I also picked up wrapping paper, cellotape and gift tags.

cardiff indoor market xmas gifts

Half way through the trip my lovely husband popped in and took trolley responsibility – as you can imagine, he was delighted to be dragged around for the last hour of shopping!

  1. Festive boxes from Cheese Pantry

My favourite thing about the new Cheese Pantry stall that’s opened at the market, aside from Melissa and Jo the lovely gals working there, oh and the daisy bell, is the delicious cheese samples always available to try on the counter! My husband picked out three festive cheese boxes for our aunty and uncle and a couple of his closest cousins.

With delicious cheeses, hot Christmas chutney’s made locally by Penylan Pantry, and some crackers to compliment, we’re sure our relatives will be really pleased with their gifts!

On Melissa’s advice, we popped the cheeses in a tupperware to go in the fridge and have kept the boxes aside ready to prepare with some lovely ribbon we were given to gift wrap them! The gang there are so helpful, really worth a visit either for gifts or for a Christmas day cheese board!

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  1. Healing stones from Rocks and Clocks

My dad’s mum Grandma Angela is the sweetest, kindest lady you’ll ever meet. She’s very spiritual and has always prayed every night for everyone in our family, 30 direct cousins strong, as well as lighting candles in church for people when they need extra support. She’s had a difficult year with her mobility and some setbacks in her health and while she’s back on top form I wanted to pick out some healing crystals for her from Rocks and Clocks.

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I also picked up an incense set and a stress busting crystal for my friend who has a very busy job! The lady who works there consults on the different healing crystals and it’s really interesting to look at them and see which one’s you’re drawn to. She even cleanses them of other energy so they are brand new for you, in a special bowl before you take them away.

Cardiff Indoor Market

Lucky for us we have Christmas dinner all cooked and prepared for us, since my mother-in-law is the best you can get! If I wasn’t I’d have certainly been back this week to the butchers, fruit and veg stalls and fishmongers for my meats, vegetables and smoked salmon! Bakestones are selling gorgeous freshly baked Christmas cakes too which smell make the market smell like Christmas day even now!

All in all, a fantastic and stress free experience. My trolley was packed full when I got home ready to wrap and pop under the tree! I was on budget too with change for a Welsh Cake from Bakestones!

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As I left, I had been so in my own world that I hadn’t realised it had been pouring it down ALL day, so I even picked up a brolly for my walk back to the train!

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!

Follow Jade on Twitter @jadetambini

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A Welsh food safari through Cardiff

Last week, I took part in my first ever food tour of Cardiff – a food safari, no less, taking in some sights, history, and a lot of tastes of the fair capital. Having lived here for as long as I have, I sort of presumed I had explored all of the culinary boltholes in the centre of it. How wrong I was!

We met Sian (who was leading the tour) along with fellow tour-attendees, Doug and Val in the cafe at the castle. Doug and Val had lived here between 1985 to 1990, then moved away. You can imagine how different the city is today to when they’d been here originally.

Cardiff Castle

Although we didn’t eat anything at the castle, Sian gave us a potted history of the castle through the ages. One of my favourite anecdotes was about how it used to be the Royal College of Music and Drama (as the council initially didn’t know what to do with it when it was handed over by the Butes) – Sian had music lessons there as a child. Imagine having music lessons in a castle!

Anyway, this was our first stop: bara brith and tea at Pettigrew Tea Rooms.

Pettigrew Tea Rooms
Pettigrew Tea Rooms

Andrew Pettigrew was Head Gardner for the Third Marquis of Bute , and the tea room is named in his honour. I am ashamed to say we ate the bara brith so quickly I didn’t manage to get a photo … (that’s the sign of some good cake!). It was really good too – super moist!

We then wandered through Castle Arcade. Although I must have walked through here hundreds of times, it was the first time I ever noticed the stag in the mirror (above the exit that goes out onto High Street – see below!)

Cafe Barker, Castle Arcade
Castle Arcade
Castle Arcade
Castle Arcade

It was then into Cardiff Indoor Market, taking a leisurely look around the stalls (I spotted some very tasty faggots and peas in a tupperware box that took my fancy!), but we stopped outside Ashton’s. You’ll know it as the fishmonger that’s at the entrance to the market from the Hayes side. Ashton’s is also the oldest limited company in Cardiff (fact!), and you can buy laverbread and cockles from them to eat there. Sian had baked some oatcakes and brought them with her, to make us small ‘tapas’ style morsels. They were absolutely delicious!

Ashton's at the market
Ashton’s at the market
Sian preparing our tasters
Sian preparing our tasters
Fish faces
Fish faces

We then went on to try some cawl and Welsh ciders! This was a definite high point. (My favourite cider was the Gwynt Y Ddraig medium dry, in case you ever want to take me out for a drink).

A bowl of cawl!
Cawl at Yr Hen Llyfrgell

From there, we went down to the bay. Doug and Val were most excited about this part of the tour, as the bay had been in its very early re-development when they left. No Millennium Centre, no Senedd, no barrage.

To give you some perspective, this is what it would have looked like when they left …

cardiff_bay_prior_to_the_building_of_the_cardiff_bay_barrage

This is what it looks like now (!)

Big wheel and Pierhead building, Cardiff Bay

(obviously the locations are slightly different, but you get the idea)

We wandered around the bay a bit, and Sian imparted more historical knowledge. I live in Butetown but rarely spend time just wandering around, chewing the fat. In this case, chewing on the amazing Welsh cakes from Fabulous …

Millennium Centre
Millennium Centre
Fabulous Welsh Cakes
Fabulous Welsh Cakes
Sian outside Fabulous Welsh Cakes
Sian outside Fabulous

Our final course was in Ffresh. They’ve recently refurbished the inside with a load of copper coloured trees – beautiful!

Also the food. OMG the food. We stuck to deserts – I had a very nice and light iced pear, followed by this amazing shared cheese board. Per las … my downfall …

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Iced pear
Iced pear
Food tourists!
Food tourists!

After dessert, I was so full I pretty much rolled down towards the water and into the Princess Katherine, one of the water taxis that runs between town and the bay. There’s actually an onboard audio guide that gives you information about the places you’re going past as you chug past them.

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Sailors
Sailors
Aboard the Princess Katherine
Aboard the Princess Katherine

“We have many spectacular mountains, a stunning coastline and a little rain – that all helps to create an ideal environment for growing produce which results in award-winning food and drink!” says Sian, who’s been running food tours for a few years now (she also reads the news and used to present the weather, so gets recognised occasionally while you’re walking around with her!). She’s also fluent in French, Italian, Spanish and German as well as English and Welsh (feel like you messed around too much in school?? Me too!).

It was wonderful having Sian to guide us – she is incredibly knowledgeable about Cardiff and so passionate about food – she told us about everything from Welsh vineyards to the history of Italian food in Cardiff. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our food safari – and ended up discovering some proper hidden Cardiff food gems. Cockles in the market will be on the itinerary for every trip we ever make to town, forever!

Find out more about Loving Welsh Food

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Milgi Market – grand opening and FREE lunches, Thursday December 1st

Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch?? Roath-based good food institution Milgi are opening a new branch in Cardiff Indoor Market, and to celebrate they are giving away 50 free lunches on Thursday 1st December from 11am – first come, first served!

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The MILGI MARKET menu will consist of seasonally inspired – wholefood bowls, one pots, sushi wraps, hot and cold elixirs and conscientious sweet treats – you’ll even be able to add extra superfoods.

You will also be able to pick up everyday essentials, dry store goods and Christmas stocking fillers to kickstart your plant based living at home. Bespoke small batch food and lifestyle products will be coming in the new year.

Gabrielle Kelly Milgi Market owner says: “Our ambition is to become the go-to option for anyone looking for a quick bite in the city centre. We’ll be serving a range of delicious seasonal and natural fast food all lovingly made at the kiosk. We’re all about making everyday delicious, wholesome food that makes you feel great inside and out.”

Where
The kiosk is number 15-16 and used to be a butcher’s shop, opposite the new Penylan Pantry Cheese counter!

Delivery
If you can’t make into the market you can use Deliveroo for all office lunchtime deliveries within Cardiff region.

Find out more:

MILGI Market Grand Opening Facebook event

MILGI Facebook page

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