Tag Archives: we are cardiff portrait of a city

We Are Cardiff: Portrait of a City film screening at Made In Roath festival!

Right then you horrible lot – you might remember that earlier on this year we had a couple of screenings of the documentary film we made about Cardiff based on the We Are Cardiff blog. The lovely folks at the Made In Roath festival are doing another screening of the film, so you get the chance to see it again!

Get this in your diaries:

We Are Cardiff: Portrait of a City documentary film screening
Made In Roath Festival
Wednesday 23rd October 2013
8:30pm (following the Roathbud shorts screening) at G39, Oxford Road, Roath

oh – and it’s TOTALLY FREE TO SEE! So get your butts down there, you hear?

visit the Made In Roath website
want to know more about the We Are Cardiff film? Read all about it on the We Are Cardiff: Portrait of a City project blog

We’ll post up another reminder nearer the time. Until then, as Jerry Springer would say … take care of yourselves, and each other.

Helia x

Check out the AMAZING print that Adam Chard aka Croatoan Design made for the film. BUY IT FROM HIS WEBSITE! Perfect for the Cardiff lover in your life


How things change … and plans for a second screening!


Three years ago we launched this blog.

Last year we won Best Blog in Wales.

And yesterday, we premiered the documentary we made about Cardiff at Chapter Arts Centre.

It was a brilliant day and a great event – thanks to everyone who came along and also to: Claire and all at Chapter for supporting our event, Cardiff Uni for sponsoring the film, Tom Betts for being on  hilarious compere duties, everyone who helped out on the day (Adam / Alice / Simon / Leanne).

Adam and his pretty posters at the launch yesterday….

Adam at the launch

Cinema One – from the rear!

Cinema one - from the rear!

I did a little Q and A with Tom Betts (who very ably introduced the film and facilitated afterwards….). Director Dave (who made an AMAZING film) hid at the back, but I still forced him to stand up and wave. He made a great film!

We Are Cardiff - Helia Q and A

A photo of the crowd! (sorry to everyone who was missed off the edges!)

Audience in cinema one



(sorry for the lo-fi photos, they were all off our phones!)

We really hope everyone who came along enjoyed themselves. If you have any comments about the film, please feel free to leave them in the comments space below.

Due to the number of folk who couldn’t make it yesterday, we’re doing another screening! This Thursday night (11 July), 7.30pm at Porter’s (on Bute Terrace, next to the Big Sleep Hotel and opposite the CIA). No tickets necessary – just turn up and roll into their cinema room!

We Are Cardiff – Thursday 11 July screening Facebook  event 

Thanks again for making the event something really special – and hopefully see some of you on Thursday night!


Limited edition poster prints available at our film premiere Sunday 7 July…

It’s just a few days to go now until the premiere of the We Are Cardiff: Portrait of a City documentary! Haven’t got a ticket yet? You can book one here!

Our AMAZING designer Adam Chard (aka Croatoan Design) will be manning a stall at the premiere at Chapter. He’ll be selling a brand-new limited edition print of our pretty city of Cardiff!

The design will be revealed at the weekend but it’s going to become clearer throughout the week – think you can work out what’s on there? Have a look at Adam’s blog!

It’s an edition of 50, all hand-numbered and signed. The 420x297mm print will be available at the bargaintastic price of £10 to anyone who goes to see the WAC movie – after next Sunday any remaining prints will be priced at £15. Want to reserve one in advance? Drop Adam a line at adam@croatoandesign.co.uk

There will also be We Are Cardiff t-shirts and prints of the movie poster available on the day.

We all hope to see you there!

We Are Cardiff


“That neighbourly feeling is what I love about Cardiff” – Helia


I’ve thought about writing a We Are Cardiff story since I set up the site back in 2010, but could never decide on an angle. What to write about? What to focus on? Cardiff has been so many things to me, been the backdrop to so many events and decisions and happenings and versions and re-versions of myself. How can I pick one, two, a dozen from the swirling pool? And yet that’s what I expected from other people – and everyone else who has written for the site so far has managed rather splendidly. So perhaps it’s high time I stopped whining and did the same.

What is the measure of a place? How can you distil that essence into a single piece of writing? Memories, tissue thin, layers of a skin laid over and over the streets and alleys and roads and the same cracks in the pavement you avoid, day after day, year after year. From a new-born to a toddler through to university student to working stiff. Cardiff has been a lot of things to me. It’s where I was born. My earliest memories are dark and fuzzy – my tiny hands, pulling at the thick velvet curtains in my room on Pen y Wain Road. Running a stick along the railings in Roath’s flower gardens. Carrying water in my hands from the fountains outside City Hall to a puddle nearby where some ill-navigating frogs had abandoned their spawn. I was worried the tadpoles would die in there without the extra liquid.

Cardiff housed me during my student years. It was the comforting bubble that enclosed me as I stayed up too late, spent too much time in pubs and clubs and at house parties. It was the wall I banged my head against, trying to work out ‘what I wanted to do when I grew up’. It gave me answers.  (Sort of.)

And surely this is the measure of a city – a place that can transform and mutate and mould itself around you, no matter what stage of life you are at. Nearly all my university friends have moved away, and I’m asked on a regular basis how I can stay in the same city I’ve been in for so long. I try and explain, but I never seem to nail the answer. It’s not the same city it was when I was a student, or even when I was in my mid or late twenties. There are enough opportunities and diversity and change here to accommodate you, no matter what stage of life you’re at. It’s a different place now. It looks after me differently. I’ve found different things in it, and it’s brought out different things in me.

One of my favourite things about the city is how connected everyone is. New people you meet have random connections with people that you already know. They are someone’s ex-housemate, friends with someone’s brother, or they worked in Fopp together years ago. Although there’s a lot on here, the offerings pale in comparison to a larger city – our neighbouring Bristol, or a little further afield to London. But because our scene is smaller, it’s friendlier. You see the same faces over and over again, whether you’re at a metal gig, a film festival, a circus performance, a street fair, a club night, or an organic food market. And I like that. I heard someone describe Cardiff as Britain’s biggest village, and it’s that neighbourly, close feeling that I love about it.

Cardiff’s an amazing place to come back to. Of course, I get frustrated with it and I get tired of it and sometimes the smallness annoys me and my favourite bands don’t gig here and I want to leave it and move somewhere more romantic or exciting like San Francisco or the moon, of course. But when I get back here, I’m always filled with that intense sensation of how nice it is to be back. To return home.

I thought I’d finish with a list of my favourite things to do in the city. Who knows how long it’ll be possible to do any of these for. But if you get the chance, you should.

–          Visit all of Cardiff’s parks. We have some amazing and diverse open public spaces (Cardiff Council – list of parks). I still haven’t been to them all. Roath Park is obviously lovely, but there are some undiscovered treasures just a little way out of the centre. Try Cefn Onn, or the Wenalt.

–          Wander around the indoor market. Get a cup of tea and bacon sandwich (or vegetarian equivalent) from the greasy spoon upstairs, watch the people bustling around below.

–          Fossil hunt. Wait for low tide then walk from the Custom House in Penarth around to the pier, looking for fossils. Once at the pier, consume ice cream.

–          Car booting. In the summer, visit Sully car boot sale (Sundays only).

–          More car booting. All year round – visit Splott market on a Saturday. Fruit, veg, baked goods, car booters. All of humanity are here.

–          Run. Do a 10k run to raise money for charity. There are a few races that take place throughout the year, most of them either taking in the lovely scenery around Cardiff Bay or Bute Park. (My favourite running route is the 10k Cardiff Bay trail, by the way).

–          Music. Buy records from Catapult and Spillers, ask the music junkies working in both places for recommendations. Ask about local bands and artists. Ask about what gigs are on. Buy music. Buy tickets for gigs.

–          Get cultured. Go to the museum and art gallery. Entry is free! My favourite room is the room in the museum with all the crystals and minerals and rock formations. Beautiful.

Helia Phoenix set up We Are Cardiff in 2010. In 2012 the site won Best Blog at the Wales Blog Awards, and in 2013 she produced a documentary based on the site called We Are Cardiff: Portrait of a City, premiering at Chapter Arts Centre on 7 July 2013. She’s written a biography about Lady Gaga and entertains notions of writing a novel one day. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, listening to music, and long walks in the rain. Twitter @phoenixlily tumblr an antisocial experiment web heliaphoenix.com instagram @_phoenixlily_. She currently lives in Butetown.

Helia was photographed in Hamadryad Park, underneath the A4232 by Simon Ayre


We Are Cardiff shortlisted for the Wales Blog Awards 2012

Wooh! yes, you heard right. We’ve been nominated for the Wales Blog Awards 2012, in two categories: Best Community Blog and Best Multimedia Blog. Woo yeah!

This is our third year of making it to the shortlist for Best Community blog, and this year there are only two finalists – us and the excellent  Cwmbran Life (my favourite part of the site is the Characters section. Who’d have thought you’d find so many different folk over by there, eh?).

We’ve also made it as a finalist into the new Multimedia category, which basically covers everything that isn’t just writing on a blog. Part of what makes We Are Cardiff such a wonderful project is the amazing photography that appears on the site courtesy of great local photographers who volunteer their time to take portraits of the good people of Cardiff. So: a big thank you to all those photographers: Adam Chard, Ffion Matthews, Simon Ayre, Amy Davies, Lann Niziblian, Doug Nicholls, Kayleigh Ancrum, Jon Pountney, Robert Bell and Geraint Griffiths.

In the Multimedia category we’re up against a blog I hadn’t come across before, The Watchers Film Show Blog, as well as being up against the Cardiff Before Cardiff blog run by Jon Pountney (who recently made his debut as a We Are Cardiff photographer with this amazing portrait of James Nee in Roath Recreation Ground).

We’re honoured to have made it through to the final stages of both these categories in the Wales Blog Awards 2012. There are a lot of great Welsh blogs out there, and you should take some time to investigate some of the others.

As well as the above mentioned blogs, we’re also big fans of Matt Appleby’s Easy Teas (read Matt’s We Are Cardiff story here), the ever-reliable Pint of 45, Emily Bater’s Lights, Camera, Cardiff (Emily has been very kindly covering our documentary film project We Are Cardiff: Portrait of a City) and the Cardiff Food Project (we’re looking forward to featuring Cardiff Food Project’s Lauren on We Are Cardiff very soon).

As it’s payday tomorrow, some of you might want to wear your love of the city and your support for our project on your chests, with our lovely We Are Cardiff t shirts! They’re only a tenner, and every penny goes towards making our documentary film about Cardiff in 2012. If you’ve yet more cash burning a hole in your pocket, you can also invest in our film through our Indiegogo campaign. You get great rewards for your cash, including film posters, t-shirts and a free invitation to our launch party next year. Invest in the We Are Cardiff film here.

Oh yeah – we’re also on Facebook and Twitter, if you’re into that sort of thing.

If you or someone you know are interested in being featured on the We Are Cardiff site, please email us on wearecardiff at gmail.com. The only requirement is that you are a Cardiff (or nearby!) resident.

tata for now!

we are cardiff

We Are Cardiff invites you to Roath Rocks – 4 May, The Gower Pub Roath

Wouldn’t you know it. Our wonderful friend Wayne Courtney is throwing us a fundraiser to try and raise some cash for the We Are Cardiff: Portrait of A City film that we’re making! The party is taking place at the Gower Pub in Roath as part of the Roath Rocks Weekend. It’s on Friday 4th May – there’s a raffle with some amazing prizes – and YOU are all invited!

Friday 4 May
The Gower Pub, Roath
6pm til late

Line up for the night:
– Hullaballo
– The Fflip Fflops
– Calum Ross & The Scarlets.
Also making special appearances that night will be Hobo Bogweed and comic duo The Chicago Boys.


We also have a pretty amazing raffle as part of our fundraising … check out the list of prizes below!

A bottle of champagne (courtesy of EstatesDirect Cardiff)
A 60 minute treatment + spa voucher (value £50) (courtesy of City Marshall Massage Therapy)
A rare first issue of Blown magazine (courtesy of Blown)
Five free zumba classes (courtesy of Sarah Sen)
Two amazing plush toy robots from Milkwood gallery (courtesy of Milkwood Gallery)
Photography session and stills (courtesy of Pontcanna Photo)
2 tickets to any Indigo Live event (shows listed below, courtesy of Indigo Live)

So get yourselves down to the Gower Pub in Roath on Friday 4 May, and have yourselves a fun evening – win some prizes – and help us raise money to make our film!

The Gower Pub, 29 Gwennyth Street, Roath (click here for the map)

Join the Facebook event for the night here


Indigo Live are passionate music fans first, and promoters second. As Indigo Live is not a commercial venture, but a labour of love, it enables us to have a diverse booking policy so that we are not limited by genre, venue, or demographic. Cardiff has a very vibrant and diverse music scene which is seeing a resurgence in local Welsh talent. Where possible we always seek to add local supports to touring artists/bands in order to generate exposure or introduce the band/s to a new audience. There will always be a place for live music in Cardiff, and Indigo Live in its small way is looking forward to playing a part in promoting the city, its culture and music.
Indigo Live is offering 2 free tickets to one show of their choice from the following:
An Audience with Howard Marks | The Gate, Cardiff | 12 May | 16+ show
Keep it Cash w/Rusty Shackle | The Globe, Cardiff | 12 May | 14+ show
Said The Whale | Buffalo Bar, Cardiff | 20 May | 18+ show
Mark Morriss/Chris Helme | Clwb Ifor Bach | 24 May | 14+ Show
The Christians | The Globe, Cardiff | 25 May | 14+ show
Fossil Collective w/Paper Aeroplanes | Clwb Ifor Bach | 6 June | 14+ show

ESTATES DIRECT – the 0% Commission Agent
At EstatesDirect we charge a fair fixed fee to sell or let your property.  To see how much you could save and find out more please visit our website.
EstatesDirect Cardiff is owned and run by Paul and Helen Walters. We pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service throughout your property sale or let, from the initial FREE valuation, through to viewings and finally the sale or let of your property. We are local to Cardiff, and will offer expert advice on marketing your property to its greatest potential and to as many targeted buyers and tenants as possible.

blown magazine is cultural intelligence from Wales, wrapped in a super glossy format full of pictures to make your jaw drop and writing from established heavyweights and emerging new talent: Art, performance, literature, music, fashion and photography. It’s distributed to Tooting, Toronto and Tokyo; Newport to New York and Sydney and Swansea. Produced with passion and sheer derring-so from the blown  Bunker (aka Chapter). Issue two has sold out but we have a few rare copies of issue one and issue three is on its way. Find us on facebook and on our (soon to be redeveloped) web site www.blownmag.com.

City Marshall
is located in the heart of Queen St and has been voted by Wahanda as the Best Therapeutic Massage practice in Wales. It offers 18 therapies and every session is individually tailor made. Enjoy free use of their luxury spa and gym facilities with every treatment. City Marshall is located on the First Floor of Vitality Health Club
8-16 Park Place, Opposite The Parc Hotel and next to Henry’s Bar – Cardiff City Centre CF10 3DN. Call or Text: 07502 104 339. City Marshall website  Find City Marshall on Face Book
see a detailed street map here

Sarah Sen – Zumba!

Sarah’s Zumba classes have been running for over two years, and are a great deal of fun whilst also gaining fitness benefits. Zumba is a Latin inspired dance fitness regime and takes flavours from all kinds of music internationally. It is exercise in disguise which is why many people have joined the classes whom may never have done fitness previously. And more importantly, they keep coming back for more. Classes in Cardiff are Monday and Thursday 7.45-8.45pm and Tuesday 7-8pm in Roath Park Primary. For more information, call Sarah on 07545 326650 or email her.


WATCH: We Are Cardiff – mini promo!

The awesome folks at Dangerous Doug Films have put together another little promo for our film! Aren’t they clever? They came to my house and did a mini interview with me about being the ‘mum’ of the project. There’s also some lovely music too from local artists Pagan Wanderer Lu and Ryland Evans.


Also we make mention of the fact that we are still fundraising for the film – so if you could spare some pennies to help us make it, we’d be TRULY AND FOREVERLY GRATEFUL! You can invest anything from £3 upwards – and of course you’ll get a reward for your money, from posters to few entry to our launch party! So head over to our Indiegogo fundraising page and donate!

Help us make We Are Cardiff: the documentary!

Very very exciting news… we have decided to move our project on to the next level, and make We Are Cardiff: Portrait of a City!

It’s a documentary about our fair city. Basically think about how great our website is – and then imagine how amazing it would be on screen!

We’re trying to raise the sum of $4500 – please help us by donating anything you can afford to our IndieGogo campaign!

Here’s some background to the film, and to the whole project.

Our Story

Two years ago, a group of friends got annoyed with all the negative stuff they kept reading about Cardiff in the national newspapers (like it’s the capital of drunk and debauched Britannia, etc etc).

So they created a website called We Are Cardiff, designed to give a more authentic account of the lives of ordinary people who live in our ordinary little city.

We’ve always said we wanted to give a balanced version of the kind of city we live, in rather than the one dimension (drunks/chavs/benefit scroungers/hen parties) you get from most national media.

But if you look at the We Are Cardiff website, you’ll see we’ve still not really achieved that. We have a collection of lovely stories from lovely people, but there are parts of the city that we don’t have any stories from, and countless minorities and community groups who deserve to be featured.

We haven’t had any funding and have been running the project in our spare time, just because we felt like it should be done. But because of the limited time and resource, we haven’t managed to be as comprehensive in our city coverage as we wanted.

So what better way to get the balance right than in a film? “We Are Cardiff: Portrait of A City”?

We feel passionately that we live in a great city that has a lot to offer, and has some really amazing people living in it. We want to document that – as a snapshot of a place in time.We aren’t film makers. (not at all). We have our strengths – mine is writing, Adam’s is designing, and Simon’s is all things web. We’ll be planning the film, interviewing our people, and doing any graphic design and web building ourselves (as those are things that we can do).

BUT we need to rope in the talents of film types to help us film the interviews and sequences for the film, and edit the whole thing together so it looks good and is a joy to watch. Hiring equipment and doing post-production work all cost money, and we have no skills to do that stuff.

So we’re looking for a little cash to help us get this thing shot, edited together, looking lovely, and ready to view! DONATE TO OUR CAMPAIGN HERE

Once the film has been created, it will be put online on a website where it can be streamed live and watched by anyone, anywhere, anytime, though we’re also planning to have a screening and launch party in Cardiff before the film goes online. We want to have the film completed by the end of 2012.

If You Are Cardiff – if you live here, or love the place, or are just interested in helping some struggling artists try and put something that might be quite lovely together about this wonderful capital of Wales – then we need your help!

In return, we can offer a variety of exciting bits and pieces in reward for your support. And our gratitude. Our eternal gratitude.

Other Ways You Can Help

If you can’t afford to spare any cash (we understand, times are hard) – please support us by posting links to our IndieGoGo campaign on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else online (and please tell people in the real world too!).

Also please join our Facebook group for the campaign.

Also if you can donate any time or skills to the project (anything technical OR perhaps you could suggest potential people for us to feature) we really need that too!