Tag Archives: cardiff

We love Cathays! Our favourite spots for food, drink, art, fitness and shopping!

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.

Cardiff University’s Student Union, 45 Park Place

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.

Rose Street Flea Market, 37 Rose Street

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.

The Early Bird, 38 Woodville Rd, @theearlybird_uk

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, 83 Crwys Rd, @StagCoffee

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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’s, 39-41 Salisbury Rd, @Gassy’s

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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 Hellenic Eatery, 100 Crwys Rd, @TheHellenicEatery

The Hellenic Eatery is a family-run Greek restaurant with ingredients imported from Greece with traditional dishes and music. On most Sundays, they invite you to come try Greek dancing.

The Woodville, 1-5 Woodville Rd, @TheWoodvillePub

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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!

Locos, 7-9 Miskin Street

Similar to and overlooking Gassy Jack’s, Locos is another very busy pub with great food and cheap drinks. It’s very spacious and at night shifts to a darker scene with great music.

The Vulcan Lounge, 2 Wyverne Rd, @TheVulcanCdf

Another great pub with a friendly atmosphere and affordable food and drink. It’s mainly known for the pizza and is very wallet-friendly.

Sherman Theatre, Senghennydd Road, @ShermanTheatre

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.

National Museum, Cathays Park, @Museum_Cardiff

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.

Adventure Rooms, 47 Newport Rd

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 Go Karting, 11 Dominion Way, Newport Rd

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.

Stretchy Suzie’s, 99 Woodville Road, @StretchySuzies

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Along Woodville Road, Stretchy Suzie’s is a yoga studio and therapy room. It offers massages and retreats as well as fitness classes. It also hosts workshops and events.

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This piece was by Beth Girdler-Maslen – Beth is an English Literature and Journalism graduate, with a love of books, running and pugs. An aspiring author and journalist, you’ll mostly find her compulsively writing or with her nose in a book. Follow Beth’s Instagram: @bethgirdlerm / Follow Beth’s Blog – Reading On The Treadmill

Sŵn Festival 2018 – full line up announced!

With the news earlier this year than Sŵn Festival had changed hands, we were excited to hear about the line up announcement … and it’s finally here!

The final wave of Sŵn bands have been announced for this iconic Cardiff city festival, taking place Wednesday 17 – 20 October 2018. WHOOP!

Previous announcements already brought you Gaz Coombes, Boy Azooga, Drenge, Gwenno, 77:78 and Queen Zee – and now there are 30 more awesome acts …

Heavenly’s The Orielles will open Thursday’s mammoth gig at The Great Hall alongside grunge rock brothers Drenge and Melbourne’s tough surf pop outfit, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever.

Jacob’s Market on Friday will be a massive night, with Cardiff homegrown Darkhouse Family curating a night of hypnotic, jazz and dance tunes with Bugz in the Attic performing live, alongside Esther and Andromeda Jones.

Cardiff-based Estrons are one of our favourites (they’ve just released their debut album You Say I’m Too Much , get yours now!) have a reputation for their bold, electrifying gigs, which means they’re certainly not one to miss this year – they’re playing on the Saturday. Joining them is Canadian artist Boniface, who unites 80s synth-pop with contemporary 21st century indie-pop to create a rare and electrifying performance.

Sŵn Festival takes place over four days (17-20 October) and 17 venues: Buffalo Bar, Clwb Ifor Bach, Fuel, Gwdihw Café Bar, Kongs, Nos Da, O’Neills, Off Track Café, The Big Top, The Blue Night Café, The Great Hall, The Moon, The Old Market Tavern, Tiny Rebel, Tramshed and Undertone.

Adam Williams, Live Manager at Clwb Ifor Bach (who are now managing the festival) said: “We’re over the moon to announce the final wave of artists for Swn Festival 2019. It’s been six months since we were asked to take on running and booking the festival and we’re super happy with what we’ve produced. Now all we have left is to deliver it!

“Sŵn Festival has been a vital part of the Cardiff music calendar for the last 12 years and it’s been really exciting for us at Clwb to build on that success – we hope we’ve created something special and that people continue to enjoy this festival for many more years to come.”

Wristbands for Sŵn are on sale now. For more information and to get your tickets, go to swnfest.com. Follow @swnissound on Twitter. or join the party with Sŵn on Facebook or Sŵn Instagram.

GET HYPED FOR THE FESTIVAL WITH THE PLAYLIST:

TICKET INFO:

Wednesday, Tramshed, £15

Thursday, The Great Hall, £16

Friday, various city centre venues, £20 (general release)

Saturday, various city centre venues, £25 (general release)

Weekend, across the city, £35 (2nd release)

4 Day Golden Ticket, £60 (second release)

Full line-up (we’ve highlighted out picks in bold, in case you give a fork …)

77:78; ACCÜ; Adwaith; Al Moses; Andromeda Jones; Annabel Allum; Another Sky; Argrph; Bandicoot; Bitw; Bo Ningen; Boniface; Boy Azooga; Breichiau Hir; Bugz In The Attic; Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard; Carolines; Carw; Cassia; Castorp; Chartreuse; Christian Punter; Cosmo Sheldrake; Cousin Kula; Cowtown; Cpt. Smith; CVC; Dead Method; Dream Wife; Drenge; Drunk Yoga DJs; Ed The Dog; Esther; Estrons; Farm Hand; Fling; Frown Upon; Gaz Coombes; Giant Party; Goat Girl; Great News; Greta Isaac; Grey Hairs; Griff Lynch; GRLTLK; Gwenno; Halo Maud; Hana2k; Heavy Rapids; HMS Morris; Ivan Moult; I See Rivers; Keeva; Keir; Knowbetter; L.A. Salami; Lewys; Los Blancos; Low Island; Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard; Marged; Martha; Mellow Gang; Mellt; MRPHY; My Name Is Ian; Night Flight; Oh Peas!; Perfect Body; Pizzagirl; Private World; Queen Zee; Quiet Marauder; Rascalton; Red Telephone; RedFaces; Right Hand Left Hand; Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever; RYD; Sam Evian; Scott Xylo; Silent Forum; Snapped Ankles; Sock; Spinning Coin; Suuns; Talkshow; Tamu Massif; Teddy Hunter; The Blinders; The Death of Money; The Effect; The Gentle Good; The Go! Team; The Mysterines; The Orielles; The Pitchforks; The Witching Hour; Tigress; Tracy Island; Vive La Void; Wasuremono; Wild Cat Strike; XY&O; Y Sybs; Ya Yonder; Yassassin; Yves; Zabrinski; Zac White

Have a scroll through We Are Cardiff’s previous Sŵn content

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

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

Twin Made

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

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

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

Home by Kirsty

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

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

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

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

KA Graphic Design

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

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

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

PIPES Beer

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

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

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

Not Socks Again

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

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

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

Baked by Lou

Lou designs and makes handmade jewellery and accessories

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

Where to buy: www.bakedbylou.etsy.com

Flamingos Vintage

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

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

Where to buy: Capitol Shopping Centre, Cardiff

Nelly’s Treasures

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

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

Where to buy:  www.nellystreasures.com

GeetLush

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

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

Where to buy: geetlush.com

Fizz Goes Pop

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

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

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

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Dog friendly Cardiff Bay – Zelda’s guide to great places for hanging with your pup

We told you before Christmas that We Are Cardiff had a mascot – a rescue greyhound called Zelda. Well, she’s not really been pulling her weight in terms of blog posts, so we’ve managed to pry her off the sofa for long enough to give us her recommendations. (If any of you have ever met a greyhound, you’ll know what we’re talking about. All she wants to do is sleep!). So anyway … here it is!

Zelda’s guide to dog friendly Cardiff Bay

Before we begin, you should just remind yourself of how adorable Zelda is.

 

To start off with, we’re going to focus on the places you can take your dog inside (because let’s face it, weather …). There’s a list of recommended outdoors places too, at the bottom of the post.

Coffee, snacks, and ice cream!

Coffi Co: Cardiff Bay and Mermaid Quay

There are two Coffi Cos in Cardiff Bay – one by the Wetherspoons and Carluccios (in the old Bosphorus unit) and one just over the water as you head towards the barrage. Both are dog friendly, though the Mermaid Quay one is our regular. Staff are all super lovely and very fond of dogs. The place is very popular. Beware if you have a silly long-legged dog like a greyhound though – there are lots of big stools that they might get enmeshed in, as per below. (I know, what is she like). Coffi Co FacebookCoffi Co TwitterCoffi Co IG.

Cadwaladers, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff

Although Cadwaladers is best known for its incredible ice cream, the Mermaid Quay branch also serves great coffee and snacks. It’s a good place for brunch, has views of the bay, and best of all, your dog is allowed inside! Cadwaladers FacebookCadwaladers TwitterCadwaladers IG

Octavo’s Book Cafe and Wine Bar, West Bute Street, Cardiff

If your dog is of the literary persuasion, she will love Octavo’s: Cardiff’s only book cafe, located just a couple of minutes from Cardiff Bay train station and Mermaid Quay. Octavo’s serve food and drinks all day, and have a great selection of general fiction and local interest books. There are also author events, book clubs and all sorts of meet ups held there. Support independent local businesses and get thee down to Octavo’s! Octavo’s FacebookOctavo’s TwitterOctavo’s IG.

Boozers

The Waterguard, Harbour Drive, Cardiff

This place is one of the best summertime drinking spots in the Bay due to its waterside location and lovely green lawn out the back. Dogs are allowed inside (at the entrance and also in a room towards the back). It’s very lacking in atmosphere inside and usually takes about five years to be served (they only ever seem to have one member of bar staff working whenever I go in), but hey, it’s the only dog-friendly boozer in the bay. Waterguard Facebook

Also, it’s not a boozer, but Pavers Shoes in the bay has a dogs welcome sign in the window (in case your pooch needs new pumps)

Nearby gems:

There’s one real dog-friendly gem within a ten minute drive of Cardiff Bay, where you can take your dog inside and the place is really something special – so it’s included (just in case your dog has wheels). Well worth heading for.

The Grange, 134 Penarth Road, Cardiff: lovely pub with a skittles alley and large beer garden. Great atmosphere, good food and super friendly staff. This place gets five bones out of five!

CARDIFF BAY – OUTDOORS PLACES TO VISIT WITH YOUR DOG

  • Cardiff Bay barrage (nice for a walk over to Penarth)
  • World of Boats (sit outside for a great view of the bay)
  • Mermaid Quay bars (The Dock, Wetherspoons, Las Iguanas etc … they all have outdoor seating areas where you and your dog can sit)

Zelda approves of all these places. She encourages you to take your pups to visit, then let us know how you get on!

Phew! We’re all tuckered out. Zelda’s off for a nap. So we’ll see you soon! Don’t forget you can follow her adventures on Instagram – @ZeldaPooch

Zzzz ….

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Early morning raving – a pre-work party with Leah Sian Davies of Soulful Sunrise

You’ve got to be a very specific type of person to think that straight-edge raving from 6am to 9am (before work!) is a good idea … luckily for all the early birds out there, Leah Sian Davies was so into the idea that she’s set up Cardiff’s very own pre-work party sesh events (minus the alcohol and other bad stuff). So meet Leah for this little chat about her Soulful Sunrise events – where you hit the dancefloor and get set up for the day before most people are even awake!

Tell us about the Soulful Sunrise morning events – what can people expect?

At a Soulful Sunrise morning experience, people can expect uplifting, soulful tunes from our DJ, yoga classes, meditation sessions, a great breakfast, limbo dancing, the conga and general fun and silliness. We usually have a special act, for example we had stand up comedian Lorna Pritchard at our last party, and in September we have Sparkles hoop troupe doing a ‘Hip hop hoop’ set for us. Each party has a theme and in September it’s ‘Harvest Festival’, so we will be going old school and inviting everyone to bring a tin/item of food that we can donate to food banks in Cardiff. So really Soulful Sunrise is a party with a purpose. I believe that life is too short to postpone fun, play and happiness until the weekend or the holidays, so that’s why we have a party on a weekday morning – to remind us that life is happening right now. There are also lots of young people now who don’t drink and are looking for an alternative way to party, so it’s great for Cardiff to be able to offer that too. So if all this sounds right up your street, then come and join us at our next event at Bigmoose on Wednesday 19 September.

Where did you get the idea for the Soulful Sunrise mornings? 

I was chatting to a friend about how I would love to be able to go partying in the daytime like you do on holidays, there’s something a bit naughty about partying when it’s still daylight. I am also pushing 40 and not great at staying out til 5am, and the hangovers  – don’t even go there. She mentioned that she had heard about some early morning raves happening in London called Morning Gloryville, so I took a look online. I’m not really a morning person, but it looked so fun and exciting I booked tickets for me and my partner (who is also a house music fan) straight away. We went up to Notting Hill on a Friday night ready for the 7am party on Saturday morning. From the moment I was greeted at the door by a man in a white coat, with a giant inflatable syringe, wanting to inject my heart with a dose of love, I knew this was going to be something special and I was hooked.

That was back in 2016 and since then, me and several of my friends have been to Morning Gloryville parties at the Ministry of Sound, The top of The Shard and Brixton Rooftop beach. The parties are alcohol and drug free, are open to all ages and have some pretty way out themes. People can dress as flamboyant or casual as they like, and it really is a special vibe. The first time I went, I felt so uplifted and it made me feel like anything was possible – if people were prepared to get up at the crack of dawn get all dressed up and be joyful and silly then what a way to start the day! I just knew we had to bring this to Cardiff, and so I pursued MGV and met with Samantha Moyo the founder to find out how we could make this happen. At that time they were not looking to take it to any new cities, so I decided to create my own morning party for Cardiff – and in a nutshell that’s how Soulful Sunrise was born.

Tell us a bit more about you, and your journey to Cardiff … 

I moved to Cardiff 6 years ago from Aberdare in the South Wales valleys. My partner and I quit our jobs in 2010 and went travelling for 8 months to South America, New Zealand and South East Asia. While we were away I really started to think about my future and what kind of work would make me happy. After experiencing different cultures and seeing that there were a million different ways to earn a living, it got me thinking about how I could work for myself and do something that could make a difference for other people too. At this point I didn’t know what that thing was, but after living out of a rucksack and having my eyes and my mind opened to big world, my partner and I thought city life was the next adventure for us. So we moved to Canton in 2012.

What parts of the city have you lived in? Which have been your favourites? 

We lived in the centre of Canton for three years and it was so lovely to have shops, cafes and parks on the doorstep, with town being in walking distance too. It’s also just a short walk from Pontcanna and Llandaff Fields, with plenty of places for a coffee and a walk with the dog. We are now a bit further out by Victoria Park and in the last year lots of great place to eat have popped up near us – The Dough Thrower pizza place, Pettigrew bakery, The Parc Deli and great fish and chips at Fintans. It’s really great to have Victoria park, The Insole court gardens and Thompson’s park so close to walk the dog too – he loves it!

What are your plans for Soulful Sunrise in the future?

We have hosted two parties this year so far, and our next one is at Bigmoose Coffee Co 6am-9am on Wednesday 19 September. My plan at the moment is to grow our Soulful Sunrise tribe and let the people of Cardiff know this is happening, so that more people can experience the magic. Bigmoose has been such a great host for us, as the work they do is so positive and in line with the vibe of Soulful Sunrise. I would like to be able to take Soulful Sunrise parties to workplaces and schools so that people can start their day in a positive, uplifting and soulful way. Maybe even a Soulful Sunrise bus that people could hop on and get a boost during their day!

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What’s the thing you hate most about Cardiff? The one thing you could fix if you could?

I think there should be more safe cycle lanes in Cardiff. It’s such a small city to get around that I would happily cycle more if I felt safer on the roads.

What’s your favourite thing about Cardiff? 

The parks. I love that you can walk into Bute Park in the centre of the city and the noise of the traffic goes quiet straight away. I love how green Cardiff is and that it doesn’t feel like a huge city. Also you can get to the beach and mountains in no time at all.

If you had friends visiting, what would you do with them? Like your ultimate Cardiff day and night out? 

We would start the day with a Soulful Sunrise of course! A walk through Pontcanna/Llandaff Fields into Bute Park and have afternoon tea in Pettigrew. A stroll around all the beautiful arcades in town. Get the boat down to the Bay and enjoy the views along the way. Have a look around the Wales Millennium Centre, the Senedd, and have drinks along the waterfront. Head back into town and grab some great Italian food in Café Cita, maybe check out what’s on at the Tramshed.

Thanks Leah! And don’t forget that the next Soulful Sunrise Morning party takes place at Bigmoose on Wednesday 19 September, and features a special hip hop hoop session from We Are Cardiff favourites, The Sparklettes! So go ahead and purchase tickets now!

Find out more:

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Cardiff in the Eighties – by Nick Sarebi

I recently spent a few hours lost in the internet when I came across Nick Sarebi’s wonderful photographs of Cardiff in the 1980s. I messaged Nick who kindly agreed to let us publish them, and even did a mini interview with me, which I present, here, for you. Do enjoy this wonderful dip into the archives, back into Cardiff in the late 1980s and very early 1990s. Over to Nick …

Nick: I originally came from London. I lived in between Grangetown 1988 – 95, although I was still working in London for much of that time. I always thought Cardiff was a lovely city.

I was doing a City and Guilds photography project at the time. I loved the sense of history that the Docks had, and obviously it was just on the cusp of change. I wish I took more photos back then, but it was before digital.

I lived in Pentrebane Street in Grangetown. I remember my neighbour saying that she knew Shirley Bassey and went on a works outing with her, where she sang, but then again everyone claimed to know her at that time! I think there were still close-knit families in Grangetown then, which was changing at that time. The neighbours were all very friendly. The house was covered inside with Artex when I bought it. It took ages to scrape off, I must have been mad!

The Docks

Cardiff docks, taken around 1990
Imperial House, which disappeared sometime in the 1990s
The dry dock, photographed in the 1980s. The dry dock is still there, but the shed has long since been demolished.
Cardiff Docks, taken in 1990

 

Nick: I loved wandering round the Docks at that time, before it was all developed. It was pretty much deserted at the time. I also remember visiting the Sea Lock and some other Docks pubs. I wanted to go into the clubs down there but was a bit wary as an outsider. The Sea Lock was definitely stepping into the past. The main bar was closed and they only had a tiny bar left open. They frowned on women going in there alone! It was demolished soon after, I think. The publicans were really friendly. I recommend Trezza Azzarardi’s The Hiding Place – it’s a brilliant take on Tiger Bay. It conjures up Tiger Bay so well for me I had to go back and take another look. It was criminal how the knocked the place down. It can still be seen in the classic film Tiger Bay, which you should watch if you haven’t seen already.

There’s a nice interview with Neil Sinclair here, talking about the story of the place that inspired the Tiger Bay musical that was out year  …

I remember meeting Neil Sinclair, who is at the start of Tiger Bay talking with Hayley Mills. We met at a nice pub which was on the Bay front and was very isolated, out on the way to Penarth. This was before they built that flyover. I forget its name, I think it must have gone now.

Butetown, Cardiff 1991. This building is now home to Octavo’s bookshop and cafe
The Dockland Mini-Market – which can still be seen on James Street today
This building was preserved in the Docks redevelopment – you can now see it as the entrance to the Waterguard pub
The famous clock from the famous Coal Exchange – which, after years in disrepair, is now the Exchange Hotel
The infamous Casablanca Club, long since demolished
Cardiff docks … taken in 1991
The Norwegian Church, 1990
Windsor Esplanade, early 1990s
Cardiff Bay redevelopment, early 1990s

Cardiff – the city

Nick: Why did I move to Cardiff in the first place? That’s a good question. I wanted to move out of London, as it was expensive to buy a house there (even then!) and it was so big. Of course, no one could imagine that house prices would rise to the crazy levels they are now…

I couldn’t decide on Bristol or Cardiff. My girlfriend at the time lived in Bristol, but we split up just before I moved, so I chose Cardiff. In retrospect, what was mad was not looking for work in Cardiff. So I just travelled thousands of miles up and down the M4!

Eventually after Cardiff I moved to Bristol and I worked there for a couple of years, but was offered a part-time job in London, which went from two to four days, so I started commuting again, from 1997 right through to 2013.

I now look back and wonder why I did that! I spent seven years in Cardiff, but somehow it doesn’t feel that long – it flew by. I arrived in Cardiff only a few months after Lynette White was murdered. Someone wrote a book on it called Bloody Valentine, but it had to be pulped for libel reasons.

Tremorfa, around 1991
Seriously – whatever happened to Mr Sandwich?

Nick: It was a bit ridiculous travelling backwards and forwards to London for all those years I lived in Cardiff. Cardiff was all changing at that time. I studied at the Arts Centre – I can’t remember what it was called now.

I have visited Cardiff a few times since I lived there, walking all round the barrage with my son, and have been to watch my team, Fulham, play Cardiff. It always brings back memories. I’m glad I lived there when I did, and saw the bay before it became “the Bay”.

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Thank you so much Nick! He has a couple of really great albums of 1980s photography. We particularly love these albums:

Miners strike 1984 (photographs of mining families on holiday in London during the strike)

St Pancras Station 1980-1 (some great portraits of rail workers as well as general shots from around the station)

London Docks (images from the 1980s to now)

And of course, his Cardiff in the Eighties album in full.

To see more of his photography, visit Nick’s Flickr page.

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New zero-waste store aims to make ripples in Cardiff

You might have spotted the super exciting Kickstarter campaign for a new zero-waste store in Cardiff called rippleAs you know, we LOVE small actions that turn into big changes. So today, Sophie Rae – the kick-ass woman behind the idea – tells us all about her amazing concept…

Sophie Rae KickstarterRipple, Cardiff’s first not-for-profit zero-waste store, has launched a Kickstarter to bring the shop to the city in time for a new wave of conscious consumers.

Inspired by the independent community of Cardiff, ripple founder and Cardiff native, Sophie Rae, launched the crowd funding campaign on 16th July at fellow not-for-profit business Big Mooose Coffee.

Pledgers have shown their support in vast numbers, with the campaign reaching 25% of its target within 72 hours! Here’s why you should back the project too:

So, what’s ripple about?

It’s simple really. Ripple is all about conscious consuming; from food to fashion choices. We think everyone deserves the chance to shop more ethically. When one person makes a change, everyone else pays attention, because ripples create waves. That, and you know… plastic.

Ripple_KickstarterCampaign_09 (1)

What’s wrong with plastic?

Don’t misunderstand us, we’re not anti-plastic. It’s a material that’s saving lives and has a much-needed purpose worldwide.

But single-use plastics? Yeah, they suck. BIG TIME. Plastic bags, water bottles, coffee cups, straws, packaging, wet wipes, sanitary products… the list is endless and it’s getting longer.

The ugly truth

By 2050, it’s estimated there will be more plastic than fish, in our world ocean. Studies estimate that 8 million tonnes of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean each year and by 2025, that’s set to double.

Worried yet? Us too. Plastic packaging accounts for an eye-watering fifth of the cost of your weekly shop. What if you could shop package free? Well, we’d all be saving a lot of money and precious resources.

refillable containers at ripple

So what is a zero-waste store?

To help the people of Cardiff pass on plastic, ripple will offer over 120 bulk wholefoods and encourage customers to bring their own containers, jars, tubs and bags to refill every time they shop. And because the team believe in treating every creature with kindness, they’ll be be stocking the best natural and cruelty-free home and beauty products too, from eco laundry detergent to shampoo, soap and washing-up liquid.

There’s even going to be some sustainable homeware and ethical fashion thrown in for good measure. Think bamboo socks and organic cotton underwear!

Sophie tell us:

I watched Blue Planet II in 2017 and was deeply shocked to see the devastating harm humans are having on our planet. Since then, I’ve felt pretty ethically queasy. My zero-waste journey started not long after, I’ve been making small changes to help lighten my personal plastic footprint.

The campaign is helping create sustainable foundations for ripple, so our impact can be bigger and bolder than we could have ever imagined on our own. It really is a  community project, led by the people of the city.

I hope ripple will change the way Cardiff consumes, so that we can turn Wales’ capital into a true green city. That’s what ripple is all about:making small, sustainable changes to help create a bigger impact.

Ripple_ToteBag-Kickstarter (1)

Ripple’s Kickstarter campaign will close at 11:59pm on Sunday 29th July, when the target of £30,000 must be reached or no funding will be released.

To help entice supporters to pledge, ripple has collaborated with local independent businesses to offer rewards, including zero-waste starter kits, Hot Pod Yoga class passes and ethical accessories from Cardiff-based fashion brand Maykher.

To support the campaign, find the pledge page here or follow ripple’s
journey across social media at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

kickstarter tickets (1)

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Just 10 days left to vote for your favourite Cardiff arcade business!

Over the past couple of weeks, the City of Arcades campaign has been encouraging people across Cardiff to VOTE FOR THEIR FAVOURITE INDEPENDENT BUSINESS in any one of our wonderful arcades. THERE ARE ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT TO VOTE PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

HERE’S HOW TO VOTE:

Go to the City of Arcades website and click through to the arcade where your favourite shop is (you may need to explore the site first to work out which is which).

We voted for Spillers Records! Which you can find in the Morgan Arcade section, bbz. Although we’re not telling you how to vote, obvs.

When you find your store listed, CLICK THE HEART ICON (circled below). You can’t vote from the store’s actual information page (as they don’t all have them) – you can only vote in this list view.

The top 10 stores will be featured in an ad campaign in Cardiff, Bristol, and Bath, so it’s some great exposure for our lovely local independent businesses! ALSO anyone who votes will be entered into a draw to win a £100 FOR Cardiff Gift Card.

Voting is open until midnight on 22 July 2018. VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE ARCADE BUSINESS and help them get a spot in the City of Arcades Top 10! Go to thecityofarcades.com, follow the steps above, and KABOOM.

Once you’ve voted (or maybe before), do spend some time exploring the City of Arcades website. There are some lovely video interviews with different businesses –  this is the Spillers Records interview with Ashley …

Also we love this interview with Matthew Pritchard, owner of Sleep When You’re Dead in the High Street Arcade

Aaaaand this with lovely Kas from Waterloo Tea in the Wyndham Arcade

As Adrian Field, Executive Director of FOR Cardiff, says: “If you frequently visit a café or buy gifts from a certain shop, make sure you get behind the business to help them get on the top 10 list. Looking at the current top 20, it’s all still to play for!”

Dyfed Bowen, General Manager of Rules of Play in Castle Arcade, says: “The support we’ve received since the campaign launched has been incredible. It makes us feel special to see that hundreds of people have voted for us so far, especially when you look at all the other well-known shops in the arcades such as Barkers Coffee and Science Cream.”

Aw. All the feels.

To make sure your favourite independent gets the recognition it deserves in the campaign later this year, MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!

There’s more about the City of Arcades on the socials …

Cardiff’s arcades form such an important part of the city centre’s identity. If you’re interested in learning more, see our other posts:

More about the City of Arcades

The campaign is being run by For Cardiff, an organisation that represents businesses in Cardiff’s city centre (known as the business improvement district, or BID). A BID is an arrangement where central businesses can make decisions about the improvements they want to make in their city centre, and have a say in the amount they think should be spent on these improvements. BIDs are usually run by not for profit companies,  controlled by the businesses that fund them. This post is kindly sponsored by the City of Arcades, helping us keep the social purpose at the heart of We Are Cardiff.

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Take a BITE! New pop-up food festival at Insole Court, Saturday 14 July 2018

Nothing goes better with this glorious weather we’ve been having than stuffing your face with good food, eh? Luckily enough, a new food festival entitled BITE will be coming to Cardiff on the Saturday 14 July 2018. It will take place at the gardens of Insole Court to celebrate all things food-related and local. Also – and this is most exciting of all – it is DOG FRIENDLY, so our resident super-pup Zelda will be coming along for a sausage or two.

Dusty Knuckle pizza-maestro Phill Lewis and ex-Street Food Circus Simon Thomas founded the festival with the goal of providing varied, locally-sourced, and affordable dishes at a good price. The festival will be doing away with the usual array of over-the-top marketing, food trucks, and entrance fees; each selected business will provide a single, specially-created dish, for only £3!

A lot of businesses have decided to take part, with dishes coming from across the whole of Cardiff’s community. A full list of businesses can be found below (and they’re some really, REALLY great people!):

The above list satisfies just about any palette, so there will be something there for everyone. Phil spoke on how each business is excited about the festival:

“All of the chefs have been hard at work recipe testing and coming up with their own unique dishes for the festival – it’s getting a little bit competitive which is great to see as it shows all the chefs are giving it their all. There should be some really creative and exciting food on offer on the day. We’ll be revealing the full menus in the next week or so, so stay tuned!”

By limiting each chef to one dish, the festival is looking to show the best of each business. Food will not be the only thing on offer, with drinks provided by Wrights Wines, Skyborry Cider, and Lufkin coffee. Lufkin was recently featured on We Are Cardiff’s ‘Four Canton Businesses That Give Back’, with the coffee spot being the best roaster in town. Local craft beers will be on sale, too.

Whether you’re looking to fill your belly or get on a small drinking session, head on down to BITE. The festival is here to discuss what makes up “real food”, and to help facilitate that discussion between local people. For more information about BITE, keep an eye on the BITE Facebook event page.

Insole Court

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Shahina was intimidated by mainstream gyms – so she set up a ladies-only gym in Canton

This week we want to introduce you to a superpowered small business owner … who set up her own gym in Canton. Meet Shahina, and welcome to Haya Fitness!

So my name is Shahina Ahmed and I am originally from London, Westminster where I worked in retail. I was manager of Tie Rack, which sadly closed down not long after I left to move to Cardiff. I am not saying there is a connection … but it is a coincidence.

I had never come to Cardiff before meeting and marrying my proud Welsh husband Mo. We met online and hit it off straight away. After marrying I decided to move to Cardiff, at the time Mo had just started a graduate job and couldn’t move to London.

That was 13 years ago. My first memories of Cardiff were all how green it was and how much more space there was compared to London. The first place I visited was Tesco Western Avenue because that’s how lame Mo is (talk about romance!).

I moved to Mynachdy and have stayed put here. We love being amongst the community of the place. I have also done so much sightseeing I could be a tour guide but having kids you have to find ways to keep them entertained.

My favourite places in Cardiff differ depending on what I am doing, if it’s hanging out with Mo then it has to be City Road. It’s vibrant and energetic. Mo and I are both Muslim, and City Road offers loads of Halal and Muslim friendly places (plus Mo seems to know every restaurant and shop owner so they give us the VIP treatment wherever we go). With the kids I love St Fagans, the Museum and Cardiff Story Museum – they keep the kids entertained but  are so educational – so they are always learning. I also think it’s really important the kids build their Welsh identity, and these places help with this.

About a year ago, I opened Haya Fitness Ladies Only Gym. I was a gym novice but wanted to get fit and healthy again after I had had kids. I wanted to be a strong, confident and healthy mum and I knew fitness would lead to a generally healthier lifestyle. I was pretty intimated by mainstream gyms, I had no idea what to do and having loads of men around made it that much more scary.

I also thought how great it would be if I could just take the kids with me instead of arranging babysitting. This is the niche for Haya Fitness  – it is run by women for women, it’s welcoming and inclusive for all ladies. It’s aimed at offering women both a place to get fit and is an easily accessible gym venue with classes. We have two hours free parking in the car park opposite, there is a buggy parking zone for mums and a wide enough variety of equipment and classes to keep everyone zoned in.

We are open 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday (we close a bit earlier on weekends), I have created 6 new part time jobs for mums and students and have 6 freelance gym instructors and PT’s working out of the gym. We have classes running daily which includes HiiTs training, Legs, Bums and Tums, Dance, Zumba and different types of workshops.

Many people think I am a gym fanatic and that is why I opened up the gym, Im not, I am a busy mum of 3 who wanted to easily get into a gym to lead a healthier lifestyle without feeling self conscious about myself. Now its great, I can go to work, take my baby Esa who is 6 months old, attend classes and feel good that Im allowing other women to exercise.

I searched high and low for a location but everything was either too expensive or not located in a place where women would want to go to – especially in the winter when it becomes dark early. A space came up in Canton off Cowbridge Road East opposite a Tesco Metro, it used to be a snooker hall and it was perfect. A busy high street, safe to attend at anytime of the day, big enough to accommodate my grand plans of a proper gym, studio for classes, a kids zone and I even threw in a Sauna for good measure. In fact the place is so big I have also added a Hair Salon.

Im located on 1a Leckwith Road and it seems the place has so much local history, builders were coming in saying remember it as Bills Snooker Hall  or remember drinking in it when it was the City Sports Bar. I remember on Contractor who came to price up a new ceiling, he was an older gentleman and said he remembered it when it used to be dance hall and he had his first dance with a girl there, so sweet. Canton is such an amazing place too there is a real sense of community there. I shop local and its great to see other businesses thriving. Everyone was so helpful too from City Print who helped do our sign and staff t shirts to Toolbox who seemed to have everything we needed when we were kitting the place out too. I cant forget Brian and Tracey Landlord from the Canton Cross Vaults next door who are the loveliest people in the world.

I dislike the reputation it has, Canton is a thriving place and more people should know about it.

When I am not working I love taking my family out around the city. I have compiled a “busy mums top list of things to do with the kids in Cardiff”:

  • Museum
  • Cardiff Story Museum
  • Cardiff Castle especially when they have events on
  • Taff Trail on the bikes or scooters
  • Cardiff Bay Barrage park for the skate park, the sand park, ice-cream and walk along the barrage itself
  • Cardiff Bay Boat Trip – £10 gets you onto a boat with the family
  • Victoria Park especially in the summer as they have the wet play
  • Thompson park for a nature orientated day out
  • St Fagans – just amazing
  • St David Shopping Centre, build a bear and the lego shop give hours of entertainment
  • All the Libraries and Hubs across Cardiff

Any We Are Cardiff readers can try out the gym using the code WRC2018 and if they quote We Are Cardiff will receive 10% off prices.

FOLLOW HAYA FITNESS ONLINE:

Haya Fitness website

Haya Fitness Facebook

Haya Fitness Twitter

(That’s Shahina on the left)

Big thanks Shahina! Til next time …

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FREE! USW Music and Sound end of year showcase, Tramshed 7 June 2018

MASSIVE EVENT KLAXON! So those wonderfully talented folks at USW School of Music and Sound are putting on an event at the Tramshed on 7 June to celebrate the students and their musical talent.

The University of South Wales School of Music and Sound invites the city’s music lovers to an end of year festival showcase at the Tramshed!

FREE TICKETS AVAILABLE

On Thursday 7 June, come listen to 14 live new acts, enjoy the street food courtyard, a music-themed photobooth, DJ compere and glitter bar. Free entry from 4pm till late.

There are some crazy talented cats going through the school at the moment, and as well as playing LIVE for you, they’ve even pressed an album!

Featuring:

Eleri Angharad
Carolines
Lost Come Sunday
Jack Hughes
The Kelly Line
Naomi Rae
Mellt
Where’s Ed?
The Rotanas
Glass Jackets
Ravenbreed
Lead Coloured River
Knowhere
Alumni

Entry is free but booking is essential. Open to students, non students, friends, family & anyone who wants to hear Cardiff’s freshest live acts.

Book a free ticket

View the Facebook event

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Festival of Voice 2018, Cardiff – preview!

Journalist Ben Newman gives us his lowdown on the wonderful Festival of Voice 2018 – taking over the streets of Cardiff for a fortnight, from the 7 – 17 June …

The Festival of Voice, following the event’s enormously successful Welsh-centric event last year, has returned, promising a line-up that balances pastoral Welsh treats with internationally-renowned performances. At its core, the festival is all about celebrating what makes Wales tick, along with appreciating the power our collective voices have, whether that be artistically or otherwise.

The festival lasts from June 7 – 17, with events running throughout each day across several locations. Most of the festival will take place within the Wales Millennium Centre, but other venues around Cardiff are hosting some events, including Chapter, Clwb Ifor Bach, New Theatre, and so on. The timetable for the festival can be found on the Festival of Voice website, along with a full description of the acts on show.

Highlights, with the obvious show stoppers Patti Smith and Elvis Costello aside, include Gwenno, the Welsh-Cornish alt-pop sensation, Billy Bragg in a special “Voices of Protest” performance, Laura Marling’s and Mike Lindsay’s LUMP, the wonderful one-woman stage performance Lovecraft (Not The Sex Shop In Cardiff), the Charlotte Church curated Utopia – which includes Ionalle of iamamiwhoami fame – and all of the smaller, local performances.

We also recommend following checking out @DTACardiff for a very special and secret pop-up with a difference taking place throughout FOV …

Tickets for each individual event can be found on SeeTickets, with prices varying depending on the act.

Festival of Voice website

Festival of Voice Facebook

Festival of Voice Twitter

Festival of Voice Instagram

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