(PLEASE NOTE! THIS PAGE WAS LAST EDITED 22 ARIL 2020. IT IS NO LONGER BEING ACTIVELY UPDATED).
There are a number of ways you can support Cardiff’s frontline staff. This page covers a number of FUNDRAISING INITIATIVES where you can donate money to help NHS staff, plus a list of locations where you can directly donate supplies.
This is the main charity that supports the departments and staff across the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Their Spread the Love campaign has just had large donations from Aaron Ramsey! The money raised through this appeal will go directly to Cardiff & Vale Health Charity’s Make It Better Fund. The doctors and nurses – local professionals who understand what is most needed for our local communities, and who are aware of what the NHS is already doing – will decide how the money raised will be used to best benefit the most vulnerable.
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board covers Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport, Torfaen and South Powys. As I know a lot of you will be living / working / have family in these places, or have family in these places, I’ve included info here on how you can support them.
The Aneurin Bevan GoFundMe page is collecting donations directly from the public to be placed into a specific fund for the COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic. From their page: “The Health Board is currently committing resources on a range of things in response to COVID-19 including PPE, ventilators, beds, drugs, consumables, additional staff, etc. all of which we hope to be funded by Welsh Government. We do not yet fully know how we will utilise your donations as none of us have been in this situation before. Staff well-being, essential supplies for patients and increasing volunteer activity are some of the things we are currently looking at.”
We’re animal lovers here at We Are Cardiff. (Yes, my dog Zelda has her own Instagram, don’t judge me, I’m a DOG PERSON). And you can’t be a Cardiff-based animal lover on Instagram without following Alex – aka therescuehotelcdh. She devotes all her spare time (and her entire IG account!) to helping the abandoned poochies at Cardiff Dogs Home. So I decided to spend some of my spare time talking to her about her passion for those pooches. So here she is – meet Alex!
I started volunteering at Cardiff Dogs Home in 2016. I’m originally from Pontypridd but moved to Cardiff just before that. I always loved dogs, and all animals. My parents had an English bull terrier called Dylan, and I loved him so much. But they split up and my dad took the dog with him, I didn’t really speak to my dad so that meant I didn’t see Dylan, which made me sad, every single day. So I think i needed to give my attention and love to some other puppers, who are desperately in need. That’s how I started out helping at Cardiff Dog’s Home.
I’d love to see my Dylan and I think about him all the time, but I don’t think I ever will. That’s why I have a soft spot for bull breeds, especially English bull terriers. I think they have a bad reputation with a lot of people – I think people think they look so scary, with their long piggy nose and eyes. They’re also very stubborn, so I suppose if you don’t know the breed you would feel very unsure of them.
We used to get a lot of Staffordshire Bull Terriers being turned into Cardiff Dogs Home, but not so much anymore. There are still a lot of staffies, and most bull breeds. At the moment we seem to be getting a lot of French bulldogs in. As the craze for a frenchie is ending, there seems to be a lot of them dumped at the home (most have been used to breed, which is sad).
We also get a lot of greyhounds and lurchers. Most of them have been ex-racers and when they’re no longer wanted to race, they end up with us.
The best thing about helping out at the home is seeing dogs go to their forever homes. Especially the long termers (ones that have been with us for a long time), and the ones that struggle with being in the kennels.
Agnes was a lovely dog who came through the home, and when I think of her it’s bitter sweet – I loved her so much, and I regularly took her home on respite to give her a little break from the kennels. I knew that someone else could give her a great home, and now she’s living the high life in England. She has a house in England and France, and her parents are home all day so she’ll always have someone around. I miss her!
Then there was Peter, who constantly got over looked, a lady from Devon drove all the way to meet him and it was love at first sight. Then there’s Oggy, bless his little heart. He’s with the most lovely couple, he’s in the most perfect home for him and you can see how much both of them dote on each other. Then, there’s Roxy. She went on a home trial today, seeing her drive off in the back of the car with her teddy in her mouth was the sweetest thing. We’re all hoping that it’s going to be her forever home. We have a feeling that they’re going to keep her, they were such lovely people just what she’s been waiting all this time for.
It does happen that someone takes a dog with them and it doesn’t work out. When people adopt a rescue, most people know that it will take time for the dog to settle into their routine. You have no idea what that poor dog has gone through, so they need more time and patience. On some occasions (not a lot), some dogs get brought back as the people who adopted did not realise what having a rescue dog entails. I mean, it’s great that more and more people are choosing rescues now instead of going to breeders, but I think you definitely need to do your research on rescue dogs.
Rescue dogs are not your typical dog. I think they know they have been given a second, third or maybe fourth chance in a new home (depending on how many times they have been passed about before arriving at the home!) but it will on occasions take them longer to come out of their shell.
For the dogs that have been brought back to us, they always go on to find a better home for them. I always think I’m glad they’ve got brought back because it was a reason for this. Their new family was mean to have them, and the pups are so much happier. It’s like they know this. So it’s sad when they come back, but then when you see them with a new family/individual you see that they were always meant to be with these individuals instead. Everything happens for a reason, as they say.
If you’re looking for a way to feel good about yourself or to socialise or learn new skills, there’s no better way to spend your time that volunteering at Cardiff Dogs Home. If ever you’re feeling down, or need a little bit of a pick-me-up, volunteering at the home will always put a smile on your face. The dogs are sooo happy to go out on their walks, and despite that they are homeless with nothing, they have so much joy and love to give. It also really puts things in perspective.
I spend all my weekends down the dogs home, and if I have some time off from work I’m usually down there!
If you’re thinking about adopting a dog but worried about getting an older dog, please, PLEASE don’t get put off! In regard to the older dogs, these are the ones who need homes the most. They’ve spent most of their life with the people they class as family, to only find themselves at Cardiff Dogs Home at some point, bewildered, and confused. It’s no place for an older dog to be (or any dog). When the older pups get adopted it’s like they are smiling when they are leaving, they know that they can now live their last few years in a home environment on warmth and comfort.
Adopting a rescue dog will change your life, for the better. You’ll get to see how loving and forging they are, after they have endured so much. It really does put things in perspective. It’s like they know they have a second chance and they will do anything for you, they are so loyal and loving. It makes you appreciate the little things more, and not worry about mundane trivial things you may have been stressing about.
If you are thinking about adopting a rescue dog, do it. Their lives matter, they’re just a bit less energetic than a puppy. But in my opinion, they’re much better! They’re usually already house trained, the older ones generally need less exercise than the very young ones. They just want to be loved, and to love in return. If you’re interested, please have a look at my @therescuehotelcdh instagram or check info about Dogs Looking for Homes.
Cardiff Dogs Home really relies on volunteers. You’ve got to think without volunteers, some dogs may not get the much needed walks they need. Staff at home will walk the dogs but because they have so many other things to do, it can be very limited. But volunteers can walk the dogs for however long they want, some volunteers also adopt that one dog that they bond with. Which is great. It also gives the opportunity for the dogs to get used to different people. All of this helps them getting rehomed, and them ending up with their perfect homes.
So if you just think ‘I’m just a volunteer’, you’re not – you are so much more than that! If this sounds good to you, register to become a dog walker at Cardiff Dogs Home.
I set up my Instagram account @therescuehotelcdh in 2016. I hated all social media! I know you wouldn’t think it now from looking at how much I post on there. I remember asking my friend what Instagram is, and how it is different to Facebook, because I had no clue or no interest. But I did want to start up something that would show people these dogs were lovely pets waiting for their homes. I wanted to do something different rather than just say the same generic thing that others post up, such as the basics like breed, age, name etc – I wanted to show their personality (because they all have different personalities, that you totally see when you spend time with them!) So that’s why when I write the posts I wrote it as if the dog is talking, just so it gives people more of an insight into them. I hope it helps!
The next steps for Cardiff Dogs Home are exciting. We’re setting up a charity which will be such a game changer. We have had so much interest social media wise, we should be up and running with charity status soon, which is so exciting.
This means that it will be much easier for people to donate money, and all of the money will be used for the pups and whatever they need. We’ve also got Sam Warburton on board as an ambassador which is amazing.
So this year will definitely be one of my highlights and it hasn’t even really started yet!
Alex Milakovic is a dog lover, originally from Pontypridd. She runs @therescuehotelcdh Instagram account, where you can get up close and personal with all the lovely dogs that have ended up in Cardiff Dogs Home. Alex remains dog mad, and currently lives in Cardiff.
Last year’s Bite! food festival was one of the highlights of our calendar. This year they’re returning, but with a new aim – sharing great food while reducing single-use plastics. Specially designed reusable cups will be available to buy at the bar (or order in advance)!
And now THIRTY incredible chefs are returning – bringing pop-up food at a street food price to the beautiful surroundings of Insole Court. They’ll all be creating a single dish each for just THREE POUNDS! Which means you can sweep the site and try loads of different dishes without busting the bank or your belt.
BITE! FOOD FESTIVAL – INSOLE COURT, CARDIFF – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Gareth Daw, Henry Webb’s Restaurant at St Mellon’s Hotel
Laurian Veaudour, Cocorico Patisserie
Vicky Crabtree, Shawarmarama
Stephen Terry, The Hardwick
Montserrat Prat, La Cuina
Antonio Simone, The Humble Onion
Nick Spann, Bao Selecta
Leyli Homayoonfar, Leyli Joon & Co.
Rob Haswell, Ceridwen Centre
Simmie Vedi, The Warden’s House
Sam Speller, Lazy Leek
Rhodri Evans, Pieporium
Lali Suto, Hoof
Debs Lewis, Dusty Knuckle
AND WHAT WILL BE AVAILABLE TO DRINK?
The 30 chefs and producers are joined by five great drinks providers. This year, Bite Cardiff has partnered with Freedom Brewery, a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).
Wrights Wines will also be serving a range of natural wines, and Skyborry will be offering a selection of Cider and Perry.
Both Little Man Coffee Co and The Handlebar Barista will be serving coffee – so don’t forget your re-usable mugs / flasks!
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE REUSABLE CUPS?
In an effort to cut down on waste this year and also avoid single use plastics, Bite are selling reusable cups for use at the bar. These will be on sale on the day for £3.50, or you can buy one in advance, for £3, by clicking here.
Buying a cup helps Bite to cover the costs of putting on the event, ensuring that it can be kept *free entry* for years to come. Purchasing one in advance will help speed up and lessen the queues at the bar on the day and mean you can fast track your way into the event. The cups can also be taken away as a memento and are dishwasher safe on the top shelf.
CAN I BRING BLANKETS ETC?
People are encouraged to take picnic blankets, and also, their own picnic crockery and cutlery if possible, as well as refillable water bottles.
IS THE EVENT CASH-ONLY?
Yes – you will need cash to buy tokens (stickers) which can be exchanged for food. £3 = one token = one dish. This is to prevent chefs from having to handle cash on the day. The bars will run as normal (you won’t need tokens) but the whole event will be cash only.
WHERE CAN I BUY THE FOOD TOKENS?
These can be bought from token stalls dotted throughout the festival. You can also pre-purchase these, on any day in the week before the festival, at the Insole Court visitor centre.
ARE DOGS ALLOWED?
Yes, well behaved dogs on a lead.
IS THERE PARKING ON SITE?
Parking at Insole Court is reserved for festival staff and disabled drivers only. There will be a limited amount of Bite festival parking available at Rookwood Hospital, at Fairwater Road Llandaff Cardiff CF5 2YN.
Though some parking is available at Rookwood, we are encouraging people to use public transport to access the festival as much as possible. The nearest buses that operate between Cardiff city centre and Insole Court are the 66, 25, 62 or 63 (operated by Cardiff Bus) and the 122 or 124 (operated by Stagecoach).
Insole Court is approximately a 25-minute bus ride from Cardiff city centre, and a 10-minute walk from Victoria Park.
Alternatively, the nearest train station is Fairwater. Insole Court is 500m from the Fairwater Road exit.
The main cycle routes to Insole Court are:
· From Cardiff Bay via the Ely Trail.
· From Cardiff city centre via the Taff Trail.
Bike parking is located near the Visitors’ Centre / in the car park.
Creative Republic of Cardiff is a non-profit organisation that plans to rejuvenate Cardiff’s live music and creative culture. It was been set up by former staff & friends of The Full Moon, which closed in April 2017.
They set up an Indiegogo campaign which raised £14,000 in two weeks, which helped them to take on the building’s lease and open at the end of April 2017 as a new community-led, non-profit venue & arts space called THE MOON.
eg – securing the lease; licenses; insurance; tills; stock; accounting; legal; security; design & signage; plumbing & electrics; continuing refurbishment – painting, carpentry, tiling, loads of odd jobs and fixing stuff, lights replaced, little cloakroom/space for band gear; & everything else associated with maintaining a fully functioning venue!
Additional funds will allow us to improve the venue, carry out maintenance and provide them with basic working capital.
Creative Republic of Cardiff will use the venue to establish an environment of collaboration, networking and knowledge sharing. It will nurture, develop, organise and showcase talent from Cardiff and beyond.
The Moon has been an powerhouse for supporting grassroots artists, and supporting them is support for our independent music scene!
They’re currently offering two levels of support: £7.50 per month, or £20 per month. Here’s how they break down:
$10 (£7.50) or more per month:
Moon ‘Saviour’ T-Shirt
10% discount at the bar FOR LIFE any time you come in wearing your Saviour t-shirt
Your name will also be placed on the wall plaque of saviours
$25 (£20) or more per month:
10% off at the bar for life when wearing Saviour t-shirt
1 free gig per month at The Moon of your choice (subject to ticket availability)
In today’s interview, we meet Patrick Steed, the Musical Director for Technicolour – a new, inclusive choir that practises every week in Chapter Arts Centre. And they have a concert on Friday 28 June! If you’re into musicals and pop mashups, get along to their concert this Friday!
Q. Hello Patrick! So tell us – what’s your story?
A. Cardiff has been my home since 2005 when I came here for Uni. I live here with my amazing fiancé – Matt – and after being in Wales for 14 years now, I feel I’m a Welshman! I’m a musician with a massive passion for musical theatre and choirs. I’ve been leading choirs here for 11 years. I’ve worked as a composer and lyricist for musicals such as Stalking John Barrowman, Blink! and I’ve been composer in residence for Hello Cabaret for the past three years! Musical theatre songs have the capacity for such emotional depth and invite the audience to step into a moment with a character. That’s why I love what I do!
Q. What’s your favourite musical?
A. It changes on a fairly regular basis – there are so many fantastic musicals to choose from! I absolutely love ‘Hamilton’ and it’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda is an absolute genius. Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Legally Blonde, The Last Five Years, Wicked and anything Disney also hold a special place in my heart.
Q. Why did you create Technicolour?
A. I love musicals. I love epic harmonies. I love festivals. I love clubbing. I love glitter. And I thought, wouldn’t it amazing if I could turn everything I love into a choir? Our tagline is #musicalsremixed – and we love putting a twist on conventional ideas. That’s why we mix up Chicago with Dua Lipa and Wicked with Ella Eyre. And that’s why our gigs feel more like club nights that concerts! We’ve got 90 members in less than a year and more joining next season – which makes me think I’m not the only person to love musicals, epic harmonies, festivals, clubbing and glitter!!!
Q. What’s next for Technicolour?
A. ‘Life in Technicolour’ – our summer gig – is fast approaching! It’s all inspired by The Wizard of Oz and uses music from an eclectic range of musicals – everything from West Side Story, to RENT to The Lion King to reimagine the classic tale. We’re taking over Tramshed and turning it into an Oz inspired wonderland! And the amazing Disco Motel will be getting us dancing until the early hours! It’s all happening on Friday 28th June from 8pm at Tramshed – there’s still some tickets available @ www.tramshedcardiff.com
Today, we welcome Millennial Mother over to We Are Cardiff to give us some insights into the top things to do in Cardiff with your kids – when the weather sucks! Welcome, Millennial Mother!
The colder months are tough in our household. My three year old is one of those children who gets cabin fever after 9am. In the warmer months we can explore an array of countryside walks, beaches and parks around Cardiff. But in the winter months, with frost, rain and wind it is hard to get the motivation to change out of my loungewear and into 10 layers of waterproofs.
We have found some great indoor activities for children in Cardiff that have saved our skin more than once. This is a list of my top five. I hope you find them useful!
This was where I could usually be found on a Saturday as a child. I watched Jurassic Park about age six, and after that just wanted to be an archaeologist. I would spend days wandering around the dinosaur exhibition, pretending I was on an excavation! Now, I play the same games with my little one. After delighting in the dinosaur exhibition, you can enjoy the whale in the sky, and an intriguing creepy crawly section. Upstairs holds some beautiful pieces of art from Impressionist to Modernist, which are great to relax even the most busy of minds. I would recommend holding onto toddlers extra tightly to avoid orange crisp fingers staining 500 year old paintings though!
This swimming pool is a wonderful rainy day activity. The facilities are excellent, there are three large slides for older children and adults and a smaller slide for smaller children. The swimming pool doesn’t have a deep end, which is fabulous for someone like me (5 foot 3). It also has a small paddling area for younger children. The changing area is communal, which is ideal for families, as parents can swap and change to help out with kids there. On a rainy day there is nothing better than a family trip to the swimming pool. As my Nanna would say though ‘make sure you dry your hair probably before you go out in the cold as you don’t want to catch a cold!’
This is where science comes to life through interactive engagement. Children can learn how water currents are created in the water works, watch balls shoot up in the air, play on a giant piano and learn about all sorts of science. The museum is an excellent visit for children of all ages and the venue provides Toddler Days, Theatre Shows, and more. The museum is based in Cardiff Bay, so after you can enjoy a nice spot of lunch at one of the many cafes and bars.
P.S. I recommend a trip to Quantum Coffee because their coffee is insanely good, and friends have spotted A List celebs enjoying an Americano there!
This is my husband’s favourite place to take Nancy. As the name suggests, it tells the story of Cardiff’s rich history, and how it evolved from a small market town to the capital city we know and love. My daughter’s favourite part is the reconstruction of a house on Cathedral Road. It shows changes in these houses, and showcases how differently we live in comparison to our ancestors over one hundred years ago. There is also a variety of interactive resources that show the different people living in the Cardiff Docklands.
There is also a wonderful restaurant on the top floor that caters for children and adults alike. Milk and Sugar have a small but area with enough toys to keep your little occupied while you drink your latte. I would recommend keeping an eye on the Cardiff Story website as they often run special events called ‘Dinky Dragons’ which is a Rhyme and Story Time.
This is a hidden gem, right in the heart of Canton. Your little one can explore what it is like to be a doctor, a postman, a barista, a hairdresser, and even to do their own food shop! This imaginative playtown is a fantastic opportunity for your little one to develop their role-playing skills and to enhance their vocabulary as they come across new items. I always love to make up games and watch Nancy pretend to be me as she wanders around the shop. The centre opens in slots to allow the staff to tidy the rooms before new arrivals, I would therefore make sure you check the opening times to avoid disappointment There is also a family room for snacks and drinks, which is ideal, especially if you have more than one child and one needs feeding while the other needs entertaining.
Thanks to Millennial Mother for dropping by! You can catch Kelly on any of her channels:
Today we welcome Hannah Weiss to introduce the Ladies of Rage, a new Cardiff musical collective. All images here by Aiyush Pachnanda. Enjoy!
The Cardiff collective Ladies of Rage (LOR) was established by radio DJ Ffion Wyn Morris, to unite women in the Welsh music scene. The group is 80 members strong, the group welcomes anyone interested in learning to mix tracks or take their turn on the mic. Whether you’re into D’n’B or old-skool hip hop, writing lyrics or beatboxing, there’s a place for you here.
The LOR had a showcase at The Moon in December, which was a real success. The ladies had honed their skills through a series of monthly jam sessions and workshops, ready to take the stage for the first showcase.
The Moon is Cardiff’s prime space for up-and-coming indie acts and the perfect place for the Ladies of Rage to make their debut: large enough to pack a solid audience, small enough to allow each performer to connect with the crowd. There was a mix of men and women; a healthy cross-section of supporters in the scene, people looking for a good show and a handful who wander in throughout the night, drawn by the music to find out more.
Stella Marie and Trishna Jaikara Shan kick-start the showcase. Both DJs are here to demonstrate their skill on the decks, and each brings her own flair to the hip hop mixes they’ve come to play. People drift from the bar to the stage, as the hype builds for the first emcee.
First on the mic is Becky Cee, a new rapper who found performing through poetry. This is evidenced by the compelling lyricism of her words, as she explores anger and anxiety. At times her delivery is backed by music, at others she lets the timbre of her voice fill the space. Each of the trio of tracks is deeply personal, a timely reminder of the purpose of the night: enabling women in music to make their voices heard.
Following her is Judy Price, the leading lady on tech for the night, who blends her words with a self-composed mix that gives her set a smooth, bluesy vibe. There’s a steady confidence in her delivery that matches the evocative self-awareness of her lyrics.
Amelia Unity is up next, an OG in Cardiff’s hip hop scene. The spoken word poet, graffiti artist and B-girl takes the stage to give The Moon a taste of the talent that won her first place at the Swansea Poetry Slam last year. She’s ready with an arsenal of talking points, from the personal to the political. Quoting the ‘colour war on the high street’ and ‘a gambler who couldn’t play her game’, Unity flips from uncovering cracks in Cardiff’s hip hop community to smoking public discourse on beauty standards and aging, taking her audience on a vivid ride through her experiences of life and art.
Lyrical depth is a clear strength these women share. Leah Hutchinson shifts into a more introspective tone with her mix of singing and spoken word, showcasing her flair for flow and a unique vocal tone. She welcomes the audience into her world through four tracks that unfold in a gorgeous string of metaphors referencing nature, poetry and religion. Framing both her fellow performers and the audience in the statement ‘we are all an expression of infinite art’, she encapsulates the purpose of the night in one beautiful turn of phrase.
Building on Leah’s tentative step through the divide between poetry and music, singer-songwriter Asha Jane dives into a soaring R&B set of self-penned tracks. ‘If you fall in love with a storyteller, you might be in love with the stories’, is the haunting refrain of stand-out track ‘Oyster’. Asha spins a soulful tale of love and loss, while the hype of the audience around her stills to rapt attention.
Asha stays on stage to collab with battle rapper Shawgz, who transforms the crowd’s focus into a flare of energy with a rapid-fire salvo of tracks from her new BLK Tape EP. The pair play off each other’s strengths, letting the tempo rise and fall as they shift flow in perfect sync. Shawgz owns the stage with flair, demonstrating her freestyle chops as she ribs with the audience.
The vibe stays at a simmering high as Lady SP hits the stage with a flow so fast it ricochets around the venue like gunfire. If the first half of this showcase drew the audience in through the ladies’ lyricism and exchange of shared experiences, the latter sets are a performance of sheer power.
The strength of the collective really hits home when Tasha, better known by her moniker TT, rallies for her first time on stage. The other women gather, ready at her back, while the crowd before her chants their collective support to welcome her onto the scene.
The full roster of emcees, singers and DJs share the stage to swap verses in a friendly-fire cypher that rounds out the night with a display of unity and mutual respect. Every women takes her turn on the mic, the hype of the others around her never letting up.
Lubi J and Stella shift the showcase from performance to party, taking turns on the decks to play some D’n’B, with emcee Missy G stepping up to the mic to freestyle over the mix. Before the night comes to a close, the ladies present founder Ffion with a birthday present as she thanks the audience for their support, giving a shout out to each performer’s tenacity and talent, and a nod to Amy Farrah’s photo exhibition. Headshots of the performers line the walls, accompanied by words, as each gives her voice to the need for this new era in music.
The Ladies of Rage showcase is a clear demonstration of the treasure-trove of talent among women emcees, DJs and musicians in Wales. It’s not just a performance, but a call to arms. This is the first time several performers stepped from the edges of the underground scene to go onstage. How many women in the audience, you wonder, might be inspired to pen lyrics and experiment with mixes after watching the skill on show that night?
It’s those women in the crowd the Ladies of Rage came for. The ones who haven’t yet dared to test their skills. Now when they do, there’s a full collective of women ready to share their experiences and stand alongside them.
A couple of months ago I got an email from Irina and Silviu, asking if I would be free to answer some questions and be featured on their website. I do get asked relatively frequently to do things like this, but I’ve only got limited time available to me so I usually turn the offers down.
However, I had a look at the website for this project that they are running – Together and Sunspell – and got back in touch with them to say yes. Have a look at it and you’ll see why. The photography is just wonderful, and they’ve got an interesting mixture of interviews with people doing creative jobs or creative work across different industries, and also across their local area – they live in Usk, so their project spans Cardiff, Bristol and Bath. I asked them a few questions about Together and Sunspell. Enjoy!
Please introduce yourselves.
We are Irina & Silviu and we do everything together. We met at Uni in Transylvania where we were both studying Philosophy and a few years down the line we’ve decided to call Wales home.
Tell us a little bit about your project ‒ where did the idea come from? Why did you decide to do it?
Together & Sunspell was born out of our innate curiosity and inquisitive openness towards the Other and the way they interact with their environment. As foreigners we found this to be a good way of getting to know people and feeling less isolated. We also felt that by creating an online collection of these encounters we would support and promote local and regional talent and raise awareness of the creative richness surrounding us.
What has your experience been of meeting people and taking the photos? Have you enjoyed it?
T&S started without us really knowing it and this randomness helped us ease into what the project was going to become. We went from almost zero interaction to having covered over 120 stories in the span of two years; the whole process has been exhilarating, draining at times and paired with our innate need to permanently question and analyse everything, the journey has been anything but boring. Have we enjoyed it? We’ve absolutely loved it. It taught us things about ourselves that we might have never learned otherwise and it offered us a plethora of firsthand insights into so many different stories topped up with being able to share all this richness with everyone.
Are there any memorable photoshoots you have done?
They are all unique, thus all memorable. They all taught us something different, things you can only perceive in the company of people who open their hearts and homes and share their inspiring stories with us. At the end of the day, our project is not about photography as such, but about meaningful connections, genuine interactions, openness and inclusiveness.
What’s been your favourite location to take pictures so far?
The favourite location is always the one we are in at the time of conversing and being with the other. We can’t separate the person from the location or vice versa, they both complement each other creating a meaningful story.
And finally, what are your hopes and dreams for 2019?
We’d love to continue doing what we are doing: making more handmade collages, documenting more stories, collaborating with other creatives, developing more personal projects and enjoying our being together.
Are you a fan of trip-hop? Dense lyricism? Modern gothic aesthetics? Have you spun Mezzanine by Massive Attack a bit too many times? Then check out Agiris, the musical project of poet turned musician and Cardiff resident Ryan Draper. His sound skirts the border between poetry and trip-hop, delivering a sound that pushes electronic music to catharsis. Ben Newman sat down with the songwriter to discuss all things music, poetry, lyrics and metropolitan life.
Agiris is a collaborative project, correct? How did this collaboration with Sunbane come about?
You’re partially right. Agiris is the solo manifestation of my artistry as a writer and performer. You could say it’s a sort of character for me to explore my creativity, but it also allows me to exhibit an artform that I wouldn’t necessarily express as just Ryan. As Agiris I’ve been working towards the completion of my first mixtape, ‘Anima’ and a lot of the work produced for this project has been a collaborative effort. I’ve worked with a range of producers including Sunbane, Jonatan Bäckelie and Bexxo, composer/pianist Ezra Nixon, photographer/videographer Seanen Middleton, make-up artist Lauren Labram and iron-cast melder Ashleigh Harrold. Sunbane has contributed a significant amount to my work and we’ve got a pretty co-operative partnership going on. As well as helping me to enhance some demos and producing some of the tracks for my mixtape, I’ve performed alongside him at this year’s HUB fest and supplied vocals for a track on his upcoming Alchemist EP (out Dec 14th), which will be my very first release to hit all the streaming platforms. Synergistic vibes all round.
Q. Do you tend to write lyrics after listening to his production or does lyric writing come first?
My mixtape has been written for a long time now. I revealed Agiris back in May of this year and the time since has been about finding the right music to dissolve the words in. There was one production that I received from Jonatan where I wrote a completely original track over it, but everything else has been lyrics first.
Q. You’ve defined your music as “poetrip” which indicates a fusion between trip-hop’s aesthetics and poetic lyrics. Aside from this genre-lyric relationship, what else does poetrip stand for?
It’s mainly that the focus is on the words. As mentioned before, most of the tracks were written and performed as poems or spoken word pieces before having the music to accompany them. The mixtape itself flows between very structured and rhythmic verses and fluid, soft spoken interludes with a more poetic delivery. I’d like to think that the reader could delve into the lyricism of any of my tracks and extract the messages or the emotions of what I’m trying to say from just reading or listening to the words alone. I suppose the music is there to enhance the experience but also act as a gateway to the lyrics. I’ve also found it uncomfortable to express what I do as rap. Rap brings to mind very specific connotations which I feel I don’t quite fit into. Poetrip, to me, suggests a more image invoking or story-telling genre and one that allows for a bit more flexibility.
Q. Considering your background in writing poetry, how have you found the transition to writing lyrics? Do you tend to follow a similar writing style/method or is it a totally different thought process?
It’s odd. I’ve always written with the rhyme in mind so that hasn’t changed. With spoken word you can sort of take the structure any where but with music I’m very aware that I need to ride the instrumentation just right and allow for more constriction. I’m discovering the art of flow!
Q. Both lyrically and sonically, Agiris tends to delve into dark sounds and textures. Who are your major inspirations for this sound? Are there any lyric-writers/vocalists you tend to look to for inspiration?
For the past few years my favourite music to listen to has been dark electronic pop and alternative R&B (FKA twigs, Banks, Abra, James Blake, Sevdaliza, Kill J). My mixtape has been massively influenced by the likes of Portishead and Tricky, but particularly Massive Attack and their Mezzanine album. I’ve always wanted to re-create its deliciously atmospheric soundscape. Lyric wise- I love the way Bjork writes. She writes without any sort of conditioning. The freedom in her lyricism is tangible to me. Lorde is also a terrific writer. I could just read her album and feel the music in the words.
Q. Out of these inspirations, who would be your dream collaborator?
I’ve actually thought hard about this because I wouldn’t want to feel too intimidated if I were to work with someone I look up to. I’d get too nervous and make a t*t of myself. So bearing that in mind, I’d have to say NAO. Some of her darker tunes are my favourite songs and I LOVE her unusual, honey-sweet voice. Her lyrics are so poetic too: “You’re a holiday, a glass of ocean slipping down my throat and landed on my hopes”. I’ve actually met her and she was incredibly humble- it was like talking to an old friend, so I think we would actually write something great together.
Q. Do you view and evaluate music a little differently now that you’re making it?
Yeah, sadly it has sort of diminished its impact ever so slightly. Before, I would be mesmerised by music and wonder how the hell the artist could come up with something in bewilderment. I still get that! But now I’m working on the software and recording for hours at a time, I’ve started to view the whole concept of music in more technical terms. Sometimes I just need to be found in the right moment and the magic comes flooding back.
Q. Your last track, Monstratum, was sonically your most challenging song yet, nodding to genres such as drone and industrial. Where do you see your sound going in the long-term? Was this more left-field and confrontational sound an indication of your future work?
Monstratum’s concept is about the universal capacity for evil and so I wanted music that was aggressive and haunting to convey its idea. It’s probably the heaviest moment on the Anima track listing. Anima is a very conceptual project and my aim was always to tie it together with a cohesive sound. Before Anima and Agiris, I was making music as part of a duo that was very sarcastic and humorous with simple pop/hip-hop beats. Anima was born out of a need to want to be taken more seriously and to use Agiris as a vessel in which to challenge myself and my insecurities. I was sort of hiding behind the humour before because I was afraid to be sincere and declare myself as someone with true, artistic intentions. Now that I’m getting more comfortable with it, I’m excited to continue to use eclectic sounds and maintain an alternative aesthetic.
Q. Before releasing Monstratum, you released a quote from Carl Jung’s essay ‘On the Psychology of the Unconscious’ regarding the nature of evil. Do you derive a lot of intertextual inspiration from psychology and literature?
It’s funny, it’s kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy for me. I was trying to find a stage name for myself and I kept coming back to the colour silver, the moon and the soul. Eventually I decided upon “Agiris Anima” as a sort of indirect translation for “Silver eyes to the soul”. I cut it short with Agiris but I realised that most of what I was writing about fit with the Anima title. I knew it translated from Italian to ‘soul’ before I knew of the Jungian archetype. I’d also written the basis for Monstratum before I knew of Carl Jung and then I researched some of his quotes and particularly his concept of integrating the shadow. I noticed my poetry aligning with his philosophies and the notion of the Anima became the catalyst that sort of made everything slot into place as a project. I’ve also used a snippet of a philosophical conversation between Dr. Jordan Peterson and Russell Brand. I found the dichotomy of these two individuals, who are both viewed as radicals of the left/right paradigm, just calmly talking about philosophy together to be a notable anomaly in today’s divisive political climate. I took a snippet of where they mention Jung’s alchemical axiom ‘Insterquilnies invinetur” (that which you need will be found where you least want to look) and I used it to introduce a track called “Truth Is…Vacant” which talks about how, in my opinion, the ignorance of truth has been elevated in our culture.
Q. How was HUB Festival? You’ve got lots of experience performing poetry, but I imagine performing music live for the first time was nerve-wracking. Got any live dates planned soon?
For a first-time performance, I think it went well. But it’s that thing where you know you can give it so much more. It’s going to be a challenge to deliver on stage exactly what I have envisioned in my head, but I’m determined to get there. I’m hoping to secure a Mixtape Launch gig next year.
Q. For lack of a better term, your aesthetic is underpinned by something that’s distinctly urban. How does living in a city like Cardiff affect your writing and artistic approach?
I write a lot about mundanity, pessimism and feeling stagnated. I thought this derived from the isolation of the valleys, but I seemed to write more about those concepts living in Manchester and Cardiff. I lived right in the centre of both cities and could still feel intense isolation amongst the metropolitan buzz, perhaps more so than Tredegar. Despite that, I still get motivated living in the city to want to share my work and meet other creators. I like to use Cardiff’s locations for a lot of the scenes in my music videos too.
Q. Cheeky question: when is the mixtape dropping?
If all goes to plan, it’ll be an initial free download release on the 1st of March 2019. Hopefully with a full-platform distribution to follow.
If Agiris seems to hit the right note with you, then keep your ears primed for a new single that drops December 14. For more, check out his music and keep up with him on:
Geriatric club kid Helia Phoenix reminisces about the Emporium, a Cardiff night life institution from the 90s-00s. She has a little chat with the club’s old manager, Tim Corrigan, plus a cast of thousands (well, tens) who remember the club in all its glory. Also, you might wanna bookmark this page to come back to if you get reading fatigue – it is officially the longest thing we have ever published. Possibly. #Fakenews.
I don’t feel like me and the Emporium ever spent enough time together before it was time to say goodbye. I spent hours and hours and hours – weekend after weekend – cocooned in her hot, sweaty darkness: having philosophical breakthroughs in the toilets with strangers; cementing friendships with my gang – we became pals for LIFE, yeah; experiencing spiritual awakenings on the dancefloor; and whirling around and around and around to the music. Every night in the Emporium was an endless explosion of possibilities. You know like in Human Traffic, when Jip says ‘this could be the best night of my life?’. That was how it felt. ALL the time.
I do realise how cliche that sounds. Human Traffic was one of the DVDs on heavy rotation during my early 20s. I know how rose-tinted my glasses are. But I miss those days. I loved dancing. And especially, more than anything, I miss the Emporium. Speaking of Human Traffic, you can see the club in some external scenes of the film …
My main memories cluster around 2000-2001 – back in a time when clubs could easily charge you £15 on the door, and you’d queue around the block, even with a ticket, desperately waiting out the Welsh rain, hoping you were just the right side of drunk that they’d let you in and you could put your stuff in the cloakroom without missing too much dancing.
You slipped through this discreet doorway next to the trendy student clothing shop – possibly it was called Westworld, but I forget – then you walked up those deadly stairs – no grip, wet with sweat from the hot gurners inside. It was like a slippery doorway into Narnia. I don’t even remember if there was a sign, but when doing my research to write this, I spend a bit of time Googling it, and there’s a story that comes up on the BBC about clubbers collapsing in there from dodgy drugs. I don’t remember that, but the photo does remind me of the very classy astroturf sign …
Back then, you could still drive up and down St Mary Street. I even remember one time the weather was so bad we drove there (from Roath … I know … we were lazy!). I loved dancing so much I would regularly go clubbing sober (who needs drink when the beats are good?), so I was always the designated driver – and I managed to get a parking space right outside the club, waited in the car until the queue was small and then we joined it at the back, holding plastic bags above our heads, trying to keep our spandex bodysuits / fluffy boots / massively flared trousers (delete as appropriate) dry. We were soaking when we got inside – but then once inside, the beat started beating, I ordered a Red Bull – and then … the music took over.
By some weird quirk of fate, David Owens of WalesOnline was in the club exploring it the week this piece was being finalised for publication, so there are a couple of brand spanking new photos of the flyer wall inside for you to enjoy …
One of my favourite things about Cardiff is how small it is. That hasn’t changed. It’s really too small to have scenes big enough to sustain their own discrete followings – where as in Bristol, you might have liked psytrance, there would be enough nights on that you’d never go to anything else. But in Cardiff, if you liked going out, chances are you’d try a techno night, you’d maybe try a drum and bass night. You might even go to the reggae parties down the bay, or a garage night (before everyone got stabbed and the parties got banned). And you’d see the same people – people who also loved going out, and were listening to all sorts of different music. The Emporium was a place where lots of these nights were held. Lots of friends made. Lots of hours danced well away. People I still see out and about to this day.
Tim Corrigan is better known these days as the boss of the Milk and Sugar chain. He used to run the Emporium and was kind enough to answer some of my questions about the club, when I told him I was writing an article about it. The office in Human Traffic was filmed on set, but was actually based on Tim’s office in the club.
“In the beginning, the club struggled. But when Lucy and the Catapult crew started a house music night there, it slowly started to pick up pace with people like LTJ Bukem doing nights there, along with huge residencies from every genre of music like Time Flies, Bulletproof, LAMERICA which started there, as well as as the infamous p’tangyangkipperbang…yeah with Jon Rostron, Neil Hinchley and Matt Jarvis.
“To this day, one of my biggest regrets is moving that from its original Saturday to Fridays to make room for more house orientated nights, I think that night could have gone on to huge things as it was the most innovative, random night we had and people loved it! The music was incredibly eclectic. Then there was Funkin Marvellous, National Anthems, Bionic and far too many others to name. There was a time where nearly every big promoter in Cardiff was under one roof. It was a great club to be in as well as giving people the chance to launch nights and try out random things, it was a club that really could cope with most things and it gained a great reputation for it.”
One of the reasons I guess I am so melancholic for the Emporium is because of the time it existed: straddling the 1990s – 2000s, pre-digital cameras, pre-mobiles (well, they were around, but definitely not as pervasive as they are now). Photos from nights went up on clubbing websites at the time – all of which have disappeared.
Because we tended to spend the nights in there fuelled on a deadly vodka-Red Bull mixture, my memories of the place are ambiguous and pixelated. I remember a deadly slippery flight of stairs, a cloakroom, the leathery sofas that some of my friends got sucked into one night when they thought a fistful of mushrooms would be a great enhancement to a house night (it wasn’t – I spent about half an hour trying to get them to stand up then just abandoned them to go and dance instead), the main room – long and thin, with raised stages on either side and the pit in the middle, a bar at the back, and a toilet where I met a girl who had spent an hour in there just staring at a film poster after taking some pills that were laced with acid.
Then there was the second flight of stairs – deadly and slippy, again – and then the upstairs room, which was hot and sweaty and always rammed. The upstairs ladies toilets had very harsh and unforgiving strip lighting and an aggressive ambience – always better to go to the loo downstairs, if you were female. I remember drum and bass and breaks upstairs, everyone crammed in, jumping up and down as one amalgamated lump of squashy humanity.
It was the Emporium that brought Tim Corrigan to Cardiff in the first place (where he’s stayed ever since). “I was running the Emporium in Kingly St in London and the owners bought a club in Cardiff and during the refurbishment of the London club, I was sent to Cardiff to help get it up and running and somehow managed to stay here!” he says. “It was a struggle at first as the Emporium was a very luxurious club when it first opened, it struggled to find its feet really until Catapult Records did a night there called 110%. Lucy and her team brought in people like Fruity Antics from Bristol (amongst others) and introduced the Emporium to house music.”
These very grainy photos give you an idea of the sort of japes that went on in those nights …
Nostalgic raver N told me about those nights:
“The Emporium in the ’90s – always a beautiful bunch! Catapult, Fruity Antics – the big-eyed, smiley people danced like their lives depended on it. Who needed Ibiza when we had our own kind of sunshine like this every weekend in Cardiff? Deep house, funky house and strictly for groovers. Moving up, getting down and letting that backbone slide! Elastic legs and hands in the air at the end of the night singing our hearts out with grins like Cheshire cats and eyes like saucers. One night a guy approached a group of us and said he’d never seen people genuinely having so much fun. He was serious! So were we – we loved it! Living for the weekend, butterflies in our tummies in anticipation of the night ahead, throwing shapes on the dance floor without a care in the world apart from the tunes of course! Absolutely Loved It!! Fond memories forever.”
It wasn’t just the punters who loved it. Henry Blunt of Time Flies moved his night there in 1997. “It was a fantastic venue to promote in,” he says. “The perfect blend of an underground party vibe with a touch of class, alongside professional management and staff plus a strong door team, Emporium soon became the central focus for Cardiff’s thriving dance music scene. Time Flies events there were some of the best we have ever done, and will live long in the memory.”
Another of Cardiff’s longest enduring house nights was actually birthed in the Emporium (does that sound gross? I don’t mean it in a gross way). Although LAMERICA has held parties in nearly every other venue in Cardiff now, Craig Bartlett still has fond memories of the Emporium. “It was the beginning – the place where we started LAMERICA. We put on some of the world’s best DJs there. It was the best and the worst club, for lots of reasons! I would love to do another party in there – Louie Vega’s first ever appearance in 2000 was one of the best nights ever. Also Dimitri from Paris and Danny Krivit playing back to back, and the Todd Terry / CJ Mackintosh Woody Records party in ’94 were big highlights.”
Not everyone loved the place so much. R used to work behind the bar there, and has less fond memories. “Always thought it was overrated as a punter,” he says. “Shit layout, shit soundsystem, not the best vibe. I worked there when it was The Loop. Was shit to work for.”
In its previous incarnations, the unit was The Loop, and before that, it was Tom Toms (the legendary rave club they actually reminisce about in Human Traffic). David tells me “Tom Toms was the heart of the Cardiff rave scene for a couple of years. I think it closed in December 1991, and reopened as The Loop, which was more a normal drinking club. It was that for a few years, then became the Emporium. I loved that club – the last tune every Friday after a night of hardcore was Zoe “Sunshine on a rainy day” – and then the lights would come on! Good times!”
Although David has fond memories of the Emporium, for him, nothing will beat Tom Toms. “There was a real lack of venues mid/late 90s in Cardiff. I had some good nights in the Emporium, but nowhere near as good as when it was Tom Toms! There was something missing I can’t put my finger on it, think it was the vibe as it wasn’t as underground as the Hippo, and not as cool as the City Hall but had some decent nights in there!”
Back to reality. The here and now. You might be wondering – why now? What’s the point of writing about a Cardiff club that’s been and gone, for so long? There have been so many others. The Hippo has Facebook group dedicated to it, while the Emporium has nothing like that.
I walk past the club’s boarded up front and wonder about it sometimes. Recently a note has been painted on the entrance, saying planning has been granted for flats.
It’s difficult to do that with other clubs. They’ve been taken over or knocked down, and new layers of memories have plastered on over the old ones. I can barely remember exactly where the Hippo was anymore, and I’ve forgotten the layout of Vision 2k. I remember that the Toucan was on Womanby Street – where the Bootlegger is now – but it’s really hard for me to visualise it. The city has appropriated all those spaces, absorbed them, and turned them into other things.
Not the Emporium. It’s stuck in this weird, in-between state. I actually started writing this piece back in 2011 (!), which was the first time I saw an image like this posted by someone who had been inside the building on Facebook …
That is an empty shell of a club. A shock when compared to the technicolour, fuzzy blur of memories I have of the place. It’s not quite an abandoned building in the traditional sense: the roof is still on, and it’s has neither humans nor pigeons squatting in it. But it’s also not a club anymore, that’s for sure.
There’s a psychological term that’s used in literature sometimes to describe characters (or situations) that are at an in-between point in a story. It’s usually the space in between key things happening right in the middle of a narrative journey (it’s the bit between when Bruce Wayne’s parents are killed and then when he decides to be Batman). You get the idea. It’s called liminality.
But a liminal space can also exist in the physical sense. It’s a place that has no fixed purpose. If the club was abandoned, it would have transformed into something else. But it’s not. So it’s waiting, empty, with no stamping feet to keep the floor down, and no heat from the wriggling, joyful bodies to give it life.
Without the people, what is this place now?
One of the most shocking things about seeing the photos for me – once I got over the emptiness of the place – was that the main dance floor had a glass ceiling?! Yep – there was a period of a year where I was probably in that club every other weekend at least. Who knows how many hours spent in there. And yet I had no idea about the glass roof until I saw these photos. I consulted with friends I used to go to the club with – they were all just as shocked as me.
Some of Tim’s favourite memories of the club revolve around that glass ceiling (even though I can’t remember it at all). “One of my most memorable nights was watching Louie Vega play a huge set. What a lot of people didn’t know was that the ceiling above the dance floor was glass, so when the sun came up it would suddenly be daylight. We had Louie Vega playing the most amazing deep house set and it was sunrise and he turned to me and said: ‘I fucking love this club’ … I mean, it was 6am, the club was rammed, everyone was really appreciating everything he was playing for them. That was pretty memorable!”
I asked Tim about whether he felt like clubbing had changed much since the days that the Emporium was open. “I don’t think there are any clubs that could ever conjure the same affection that the Emporium did for its clientele,” says Tim. “I don’t see the same response to nights out that people put on now as there used to be in the past. People just don’t seem that bothered about big nights out anymore, it always feels a little too edgy as well, the change in the licensing laws in Wales pretty much killed off the special nights in clubs as people were happy to stay in the bars later and later. Bars can now compete with clubs on a whole new level with regards to sound, design, and music.”
We chat about Cardiff’s current club scene. For me, Clwb is still a place that I feel guaranteed of a good night, and Tim agrees.
“I think the Welsh Club has stuck to its roots – it seems to have survived anything that being thrown at it. It’s such an institution. Hopefully that will never face the day when it needs to close its doors as I imagine that will be a loss to a lot of people. The world’s too clean a place with its health and safety and all its laws to ever let a club like the Emporium through the net again! The Hippo is another one I don’t think either would survive very long these days in the environment that the law makers have created for us. Ha, is that subtle enough!?!”
I wonder if Cardiff is missing an Emporium, or another Hippo. I guess the Full Moon is somewhere in the anything-goes vibe of the club, though obviously world’s apart in execution.
“I don’t think Cardiff is missing a place like the Emporium. I just don’t think it would happen again,” says Tim. “The original Sodabar that I owned was an upmarket version of it, and the new one was when it opened. But it’s a standard, run-of-the-mill place now. I wasn’t there when the Emporium closed, as I had opened Sodabar by then but I just think perhaps it had just had its day. The management had changed and perhaps they didn’t enjoy the music as much as I did. I also think it was just too run down at that point. Newer, cleaner clubs were popping up. Maybe people were starting to expect more for their money!? It was a shame that it closed but the capacity would have always been an issue for that venue, as we could never get it extended to let more people in.”
Even to this day, capacity or not, no one seems to have found a use for the venue, which is still an empty unit, albeit with planning permission for flats now.
Helia Phoenix is a geriatric raver who has long since exchanged her glo sticks for knitting needles. Just kidding. She’s still well up for a dance, if anyone wants to put on a rave that would finish a little earlier …? She lives in Butetown and her current most favourite place to go in the evenings these days is the Blue Honey Night Cafe. She also started writing this article in 2011 … in the future, she wants to be better at wrapping things up a little quicker.
Big thanks to all the geriatric ravers who contributed to this article. In no order, because we like to mix things up: Tim Corrigan, Neil Cocker, Matt Jarvis who provided the flyers, Henry Blunt, James Drop for many fun nights dancing downstairs in Las Iguanas, Rick Latham for all those hours listening to funky house in Catapult, Tyrone Rose, Lucy Thomas, Simon Thomas, Doug Nicholls, Carl Morris, Twm Owen, Lubi J, Dean Thomas, Matthew Miles, Gareth Coates, Craig Bartlett, Tony Davidson, David Tumulty, Jon Rostron, Rhys Thompson, Tony Davidson, Nadia, Lawrence, Stig, Luke, Nat, Gav, Eleri, Pam, Kaptin, plus all those I met on the way, whose names I can’t remember, but who shared warm embraces, warm beers, and a warm dancefloor with me over all those late nights, all that time ago. Also anyone else who talked to me about the Emporium, who I’ve forgotten to mention.
It’s hard to find photos of the place (maybe mercifully so), although some questions to a nostalgic Facebook group surfaced a lot more pictures than I was anticipating – and it’s their photos you can see throughout this piece. Big thanks to all of them for helping bring my ramblings to life.
Also RIP Ian Dundgey, who played many sets in the Emporium, and passed away 10 years ago.
Cardiff is a hot bed of creative craft folks and entrepreneurs who are making their hobbies their day job. Why not keep it local year and get your Christmas shopping from local friendly makers and creators. The lovely Twin Made have created a handy guide and list of local markets to help you Sleigh your Christmas Shopping!
Here are some upcoming Christmas craft markets happening in and around Cardiff:
Stitch City is run by Alex Hughes in Penarth. Stitch City makes a variety of recycled and stitched products including vintage map notebooks and badges, recycled fabric earrings and embroidered cushions.
Find them online: www.stitchcity.etsy.com or at the following markets this Winter: Ichi Artisan Market in St Catherine’s Church Hall, Rhiwbina’s Handmade Market in Rhiwbina Memorial Hall & Etsy Made Local in Tramshed
Alice Hawthorne located in Cardiff city centre is a designer and signwriter
Alice designs and creates: from gold leaf glass signs to posters to branding and graphic design.
Pieces are created in her Cardiff based studio and each of the signs painted and gold guided pieces and created from scratch and made to order. As a graphic designer her skills of type/layout/colour work perfectly in creating bespoke and unique items. The items in the store are a perfect reflection of her style and character from quirky posters for your home to hand crafted gold signs that are something completely different.
Free Range Frames is a one woman show with Kath making bespoke picture frames. The frames are made from bare wood with an added finish. This can be painted, wood stained, gilded and customisable to the client’s specifications.
Shop online and find out more about Free Range Frames – www.freerangeframes.co.uk, Stocking filler: A gift voucher, pop in to see Kath to get yourself one.
What a 2018! Why not treat the stressed out person in your life to a relaxing massage! Yurt in the City is a calm oasis run by Marcos Martin-Suarez. Yurt in the City offer a range of holistic therapies including: massage and Reiki from their beautiful yurt in the heart of the city. They also provide all manner of interesting workshops including yoga, meditation classes, mother and baby massage and gong baths to name some.
Find Yurt in the City at the The Bone Yard, Cardiff
Lydia Niziblian is a resident at The Printhaus in Canton, where she deisgns and makes bespoke and one of a kind pieces of jewellery in gold and silver.
You can find her online at: www.niziblian.com or in real life at the Snapped Up Market at The Printhaus and the Rhiwbina Handmade Market. Or visit her studio by appointment – email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange.
Rhian Kate Makes works in the centre of Cardiff, designing and making handmade contemporary Jewellery, using a range of different materials to make unique jewellery inspired by the moon the solar system and geometric shapes.
Or at the following markets: The Makers Market, Penarth Paget Rooms, Penarth’s Handmade Market, The Paget Rooms, Penarth, Rhwbina’s Handmade Market, the memorial Hall, Etsy Made Local, The Tramshed, The Local Artisan Pop Up, High Street Arcade, Cardiff.
The Makers Market, Pontcanna, St Catherine’s Church Hall.
Old Faithful run by Gareth Daniels in Merthyr/Penylan, make and sell Unisex & Men’s Organic, Natural Skincare. Gareth is qualified aromatherapist and his products are made from organic oils, butters, essential oils & herbal extracts. The Old Faithful brand is developing in a masculine unisex direction and this gentle masculinity matches the natural scents to their products.
Ot head to the following markets to check out her beautiful work: Snapped Up and Etsy Made Local
After purchasing all these great stocking fillers, we need to get a stocking to put it all in and Nellys Treasures make the most beautiful and fun animal faces and character stockings that children will cherish. Get them here:
Barney & Beau in Pontcanna is a kids lifestyle boutique.
They stock design led modern products for kids and the home. Stocking majority female/women indie brands, sustainable products, the greenest toy companies and children’s book offering promotes female empowerment, kindness and diversity.
Visit their shop in Pontcanna or at these markets: The Makers Markets in Pontcanna & Penarth.
Then go take a look at Jodie Johns’ work, hailing from Bridgend, creating body positive artwork with hand painted clothing and accessories. Jodie Johns regularly collaborates with other artists to create t-shirts.
Go shop online at: jodiejohns.com or in real life at The Bone Yard monthly market on Saturday the 3rd November.
Today, we’re taking a tour of Cathays, aka student-land – with local Beth Girdler-Maslen. So for today – We Love Cathays – our favourite spots for food, drink, art, fitness and shopping!
Cathays is right in the centre of Cardiff and full of vibrant and exciting places to eat, drink, shop and workout. However, being known as ‘Student Central’, it is overlooked due to its drunk and stressed inhabitants. Having lived in Cathays for the best three years of student hood, I’ve compiled a list of the best spots in Cathays that you may not know about.
Besides being a place for lectures and where students escape to after a busy day, Cardiff University’s Student Union has so many events over the year. Club nights aside, it has live music and concerts with the likes of George Ezra and Youmeatsix having performed there. The Great Hall also hosts many sales, like posters, plants and clothes. Events like these are open to everyone and a great spot to find bargains.
Nearer Roath but still close to Cathays, this market is a hidden in what looks like a garage but is filled with classic and vintage treasures. Rose Street Flea Market is full of antiques, pictures, instruments, books and much more. Virtually unadvertised, the market is known about through word of mouth and only open on weekends. It may look like a junk shop from the outside, but the two-storey house is full of collections and great bargains.
Right in the middle of Cathays, The Early Bird has everyone flocking to its yellow bakery/café. Open in 2015, The Early Bird has become a staple for brunch with amazing food and homely and rustic furniture. It uses local suppliers and businesses for their produce and makes fresh bread and sweet treats everyday as well as roasting their own coffee.
Stag Coffee is a unique independent restaurant, offering coffee, brunch, burgers and cakes. Their menu is full of comfort food as well as new and exciting vegetarian and vegan options. To try to keep things exciting and different from other restaurants, Stag hits at the Instagram obsessed side of people, by serving their meals in creative ways. Jam jars/mason jars full of milkshakes and coffees, chopping boards for burgers and cups for chips are served to keep with Stag’s effort to keep your visit memorable.
Gassy Jacks or ‘Gassy’s’ as it is lovingly called is a brilliant bar full of food and drink as well as great activities all year round. It has a sporty vibe to it, with football and pingpong tables as well as TVs and projectors for the big games. They have weekly events, like Monday Quiz nights, open mic nights, cocktail nights on Fridays and karaoke on Thursdays.
The Woody is right in the heart of Cathays and its student area. It’s a good old-fashioned pub with two makeshift beer gardens which are jampacked during the warmer months. It’s a famous spot for students and a pub crawl destination. It has an upstairs and a downstairs as well as a pool table. Their cocktails are definitely something to shout about with a classics cocktails as well as ‘hardshakes’ and summery cocktails served in cans with sweets on the side. Also, it’s dog friendly!
Right in the middle of Cathays, the Sherman Theatre develops work from Welsh writers and artists for its audience. This year it won an Olivier Award for its production of Killology, as well as the award of Regional Theatre of the Year, the first Welsh theatre to win. It hosts a range of comedy stand-ups, plays and musicals.
The National Museum is right in the heart of Cathays and inside it is full of exciting exhibitions. It has a big section on natural history with dinosaur bones and animals, art work and ancient Wales. It regularly has special exhibitions, including The First World War collections, specific artists collections and most recently, women in photography and a Remembrance Day exhibition.
For those who like to be more active and adventurous, Adventure Rooms is the place to go. It’s a live escape room, where you and your team are locked in a room and you must solve the clues to escape the room. There is a 60-minute time limit and different themed rooms ranging in difficulty, like The Mad Scientist, The Black Queen and Mafia. Prices depend on the size of teams but range from £15-25.
TeamSport is a multilevel go kart track that is a regular attraction for people of all ages. Upon entry, you are given a motocross suit, helmet, gloves and all the right clothes for go karting. After 20 minutes of being taught how to work the car and the track, you can race around the track as fast as you like, trying to beat the record for the day that has been set by others. You’re also given your statistics of how you did in the race to take home.