Cardiff Life - Issue 177

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Food/Arts/Entertainment/Shopping/Property ISSUE 177 / CHRISTMAS 2017 / £3













IT’S C-H-R-I-I-I-S-T-M-A-A-A-S! Yep, it’s Cardiff Life’s annual Christmas gift guide – what goodies will you find in the stocking this year?

Custommade Christmas is a time for traditions. Whether it’s the ubiquitous trees, wreaths, carols and sprouts, or customs that are specific to your family alone – yes, we do let the dog join us at the table on the 25th, on a chair, with a paper crown on his head. We make no excuses, it’s just how we do it – the whole performance can be rewarding and restricting in equal measure. And the tradition of traditions has been a tradition for centuries – in Wales, anyway. There’s Plygain, twilight carols held at 3-6am on 25 December and popular in the 19th century; Wren Day, from a similar time, which involved men capturing the tiny bird on the twelfth night and carrying it through the neighbourhood in a wooden box; Calennig, a new year’s tradition which sees kids go door to door, singing and collecting pocket money; and never forget ‘holming’, the harsh habit of beating the family member caught languishing in bed the longest with a holly branch. But my favourite – for weirdness alone – is Mari Lwyd, particularly popular in the 19th century (those people had too much time on their hands) and very prevalent in south Wales. Mari was a horse’s skull decorated with bells, draped in a white sheet and placed on top of a wooden pole. The figure would then be carried from door to door by a group challenging others to a battle of Welsh verse. Let’s see what new customs we can create this year. Nadolig Llawen, everyone!

Traddodiadau’r tymor Adeg i gynnal traddodiadau yw’r Nadolig, boed yn draddodiadau sy’n ymwneud â’r coed, y torchau, y carolau a’r sbrowts sydd i’w gweld ym mhob man neu’n draddodiadau sy’n benodol i’ch teulu chi – ydym, rydym yn gadael i’r ci ymuno â ni wrth y bwrdd ar y 25ain, ar gadair, gyda choron bapur ar ei ben. Peidiwch â gofyn pam, ond dyna yw’r arfer yn ein ty ni – gall fod yn destun rhialtwch ac yn destun rhwystredigaeth hefyd. Ac mae’r holl arfer o gynnal traddodiadau’n digwydd ers canrifoedd – yng Nghymru, beth bynnag. Meddyliwch am y Plygain, sef y gwasanaeth carolau a gâi ei gynnal yn blygeiniol rhwng 3am a 6am ar 25 Rhagfyr, a oedd yn boblogaidd yn ystod y 19eg ganrif; Hela’r Dryw Bach, sef traddodiad o’r un cyfnod lle byddai dynion yn dal dryw bach ar Nos Ystwyll ac yn ei gario drwy’r gymdogaeth mewn blwch pren; Hela Calennig, sef traddodiad Dydd Calan pan fyddai plant yn mynd o ddrws i ddrws yn canu am arian poced; a’r arfer annymunol o ddefnyddio celyn i guro’r aelod o’r teulu a fyddai’n codi olaf o’i wely. Ond fy hoff draddodiad i – oherwydd ei hynodrwydd yn fwy na dim – yw’r Fari Lwyd, a oedd yn draddodiad amlwg yn y de ac yn boblogaidd iawn yn ystod y 19eg ganrif (roedd gan bobl yr oes honno ormod o amser hamdden!). Penglog ceffyl oedd Mari, a gâi ei haddurno â chlychau, ei gorchuddio â lliain gwyn a’i gosod ar bolyn pren. Yna, byddai’r Fari yn cael ei chludo o ddrws i ddrws gan griw a fyddai’n herio’r preswylwyr mewn ymryson o ganu Cymraeg. Gadewch i ni weld pa draddodiadau newydd y gallwn eu creu eleni. Nadolig Llawen i bob un ohonoch chi! RACHEL IFANS Acting Editor Follow us on Twitter: @CardiffLifeMag


LOCAL STUDENTS GET GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES WESTBOURNE SCHOOL promotes academic excellence for the modern world


rom 2019-20, Westbourne students will be able to spend part of their Sixth Form in Sydney, Australia. In subsequent years they will also be able to study in Singapore, New York, Frankfurt and Hong Kong. Let’s find out more from the leaders of the school.


“After 43 years at Westbourne and the last 15 as Principal, I am delighted to be taking on a broader role for Westbourne, launching Sixth Form colleges in Sydney in 2019-20, Singapore in 2020-21, and then one or two further schools a year thereafter. New York, Frankfurt and Hong Kong are the next candidates. “This enormously exciting development will provide the opportunity for all of our local Sixth Form students to spend a term or two studying the same curriculum at an international sister school, in the same highly-supportive environment and with the same standards of academic excellence. In an increasingly global economy, the opportunity for our local students to expand their horizons is unparalleled. “To enable this to happen, I am delighted to announce the promotion of Dr Gerard Griffiths to Principal of Westbourne.” Westbourne’s new Principal, Dr Griffiths, has over 30 years’ teaching experience in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, having held senior leadership positions for the last 15 years. Dr Griffiths is passionate about his Welsh roots. He holds a PhD in Chemistry, was educated at Imperial College and is fluent in both Welsh and French. Most recently Academic Deputy of Westbourne Senior School and previously Head of Westbourne Prep School, Dr Griffiths believes Westbourne achieves outstanding results at every stage of the curriculum and provides the best all-round education in the Vale, for those aged three-to-18 years.


“This is my proudest moment professionally. Fantastic pupils, outstanding staff and incredible support from parents, I’m delighted to be taking Westbourne forwards. “Literacy and numeracy attainment throughout the school is extremely high and still rising, GCSE results are second to none and our Sixth Form has been top of the UK league tables for three years in a row! “I understand fully that key to Westbourne’s success – past and future – is engagement with our local community. While Mr Underhill progresses the school’s international development, I will remain firmly focused on the local community. “Over the coming issues of Cardiff Life, we will have a regular article discussing key educational issues that affect us all: ourselves as professionals, you as parents and, above all else, our children and their futures. “If you would like to discuss any of these topics – or indeed any other educational matter – please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.”

02920 705 705 I CARDIFF LIFE I 7





Cardiff Lives

Laser treatments, hair removal, fat freezing and more – beauty is power!

Poet and writer Susie Wild is in the Q&A chair this month


Scott Wroe Hearing & Ear Care Clinic | 10 Royal Buildings, Penarth CF64 3ED | Telephone 02920 707760 Open: 09:00 - 17:00 Monday to Friday, Saturday 9:30 - 12:30. Visit our website for more information -

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MAIN FEATURES 18 Christmas Gift Guide Our bumper gift special, with a bit of something for everyone

40 Home Tech A selection of some of the best smart – and stylish – home appliances on the market


M EET T H E T EAM Acting editor Rachel Ifans Managing editor Deri Robins Senior art editor Andrew Richmond Graphic design Megan Allison Cover design Trevor Gilham Contributors: Emma Clegg, Katie Kissoon, Steve Jarrett Advertising manager Mark George Deputy advertising manager Kate Butterfield Account manager Lorena Cussens

THE ARTS 49 Intro

Production and distribution manager Sarah Kingston Deputy production manager and production designer Kirstie Howe

Gareth Thomas is The Henchman..

52 What’s On Arts, plays, gigs etc – time to update your diary

59 Film

Chief executive Jane Ingham Chief executive Greg Ingham

Festive treats to look forward to


Cardiff Life, MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW; 01225 475800,, @The MediaClash

64 Fashion Sequins, jewels and metallics – Christmas partywear with a sparkle

© All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash.

FOOD 70 Restaurant Rachel Ifans samples a spot of Australasian cuisine at the Admiral St David, at Cardiff’s swanky St David’s Hotel

74 Recipes Quick, simple and moreish Christmas nibbles, courtesy of Bar 44 and Penylan Pantry



81 Cheese, Please!

101 Business Insider

12 Spotlight

The latest good news biz stories

Our pick of what to see and do in Cardiff this Christmas, folk singer Kate Rusby’s Seven Deadly Sins, and more

Cheese Pantry’s Owen Davies on Stilton, the king of English cheeses

HEALTH & BEAUT Y 84 Try 5... Beauty clinics. You want to look your best for party season, right?

PROPERT Y 108 Property Showcase Katie Kissoon has a nose around a six-bedroomed beauty in Lisvane

88 Snapped! Cardiff Life’s tenth anniversary party – ten years! – and more of the city’s party adventures

About MediaClash We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrate the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter and Salisbury. We also publish foodie mag Crumbs. (, @ CrumbsMag) and wedding title Vow (@VowMag). Agency From the design and build of websites to digital marketing and creating company magazines, we can help. Events We create, market, promote and operate a wide variety of events both for MediaClash and our clients Contact:

On the cover Huge thanks to Brød Danish Bakery for this issue’s festive cover – they’re in our Christmas gift guide, too; turn to page 18 for more

C A R D I F F: I T S L I F E A N D T I M E S


STEP INTO CHRISTMAS Whether you’re shopping or celebrating or just doing a lot of ice skating, Cardiff has a lot to offer at Christmas. Here are our five festive favourites... ETSY MADE LOCAL – CARDIFF AND VALLEYS Real-life shopping events take place across the country at the start of advent, organised by the online kings of creativity. The only one in Wales takes place 3 December, in the Cardiff Bierkeller on Wood Street – it’s a mecca for Welsh art, craft and music.

throw off any social convention, sharpen your elbows and get down there as soon as possible. It’s rolling stock but the best piece will sell out first!

CHRISTMAS MAKERS’ MARKET AND OPEN STUDIOS Held at The Sustainable Studio on Curran Road on 2 December, it’s free to park and free to enter, and we’re expecting some excellent stalls to rock up this year. Try Single Malt Teapot, Adventures with Doris, Lynda Shell Textiles, Claire Cawte, Line and Leaf, Stone Hens Ceramics, Rebecca Burt Jewellery for starters and, talking of rock, there will be music from Jukebox Collective Studios.

CHRISTMAS AT THE ROYAL WELSH COLLEGE It’s Christmas all month at the RWC. For jazz fans, the College’s Big Band kicks off celebrations with a Duke Ellington concert on 1 December and there’s also a Winter Jazz Special in the foyer from 5.15pm on 8 December. Family-favourite Cinderella is on 3 December and Christmas on Broadway on 7 and 8 December. For those who want to escape rather than embrace it, there are three productions that have nothing to do with Christmas: Simon Stephen’s Punk Rock, Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel and the first ever English performance of Lope de Vega’s The Agony and the Style.

WEST WHARF GALLERY’S AFFORDABLE ART CHRISTMAS EXHIBITION Every Thursday through to Saturday this December, you can enjoy wall after wall of highly original prints from artists like Bev Morgans, Sarah Featherstone, Lou Thornton, Pete Williams, Billie Blue Williams, Bill Chambers and Jackie Shackson. Note:

MINTY’S MAP If you fancy a bit of live music over the festive season, get your hands on Daniel Minty and FOR Cardiff’s map of 30 live music venues in the city. With hand-drawn illustrations of the venues, it includes everything from the Wales Millennium Centre and St. David’s Hall to Tramshed and The Gate Arts Centre.



ART IS FOR EVERYONE For the first time, National Museum Cardiff has invited a charity to help curate a major exhibition. Now open, Who Decides? is a contemporary art exhibition which has been curated by service users from The Wallich, a charity that supports homeless people in Wales. Featured artists include Anthony Caro, Olga Chernysheva, Richard Deacon, Laura Ford, Richard Long, Paula Rego, Clare Woods and Bedwyr Williams. The exhibition also features an installation of over 70 ceramic works from the private

collection of gallery owner, Anita Besson (1933-2015). The individuals have been part of the whole exhibition process from start to finish; selecting and interpreting their own exhibition of modern and contemporary art. The participants have been involved in all aspects of putting on an exhibition such as design, installation, public events, a programme for schools, marketing and more. Nick Thornton, Head of Fine & Contemporary Art, Amgueddfa Cymru,

National Museum Wales, said: “It’s been a fascinating journey for all of us and underlines the huge benefits that can be had from creating opportunities for all parts of our community to contribute to the work of cultural organisations.” Michael Pugh, one of The Wallich group curators, said: “I wouldn’t have come into the museum before but now I’m here and I’ve loved it all – I’m no longer afraid to come here by myself!” For more:

SEVEN DEADLY SINS In our regular mini Q&A with visiting and local performers, folk star KATE RUSBY bares her wicked soul

top-quality olive oil, with crusty bread to dip and red wine on tap. Mmmm… Really hungry now.

LUST: Who or what do you find yourself lusting after today? For it to be May again, with the promise of summer stretching out ahead of us. I can’t believe it’s the end of September already – how the heck did that happen? Although the autumn brings such beauty, and I just picked a load of sloes yesterday to make gin, so actually I can reconcile the loss of summer. Ooh thanks, this is like therapy!

SLOTH: What should you be really putting your back into just now? The allotment! We have had an allotment for two years now. My dad is the one with the knowledge and he does most of the work in there; myself and husband Damien get stuck in whenever we can. I know there is some digging over that needs doing, and it’s a lovely day so I should be out there.

GREED: What should you really be cutting down on? Lovely big glasses of red wine! Eek. It’s just too delicious. GLUTTONY: What one thing could you happily eat or drink until you burst? Home-grown tomatoes with fresh basil and

WRATH: What/who makes you angry? Bullies. Anyone who knowingly controls others through fear makes me want to smash them up! I’m not a violent person, of course, but bullying makes my blood boil. ENVY: Who are you jealous of? Anyone who is getting a good night’s sleep!

I’m going through a rubbish time sleeping at the moment. I’ve always been the same, as I am a worrier, so it comes and goes, but just now I’m getting through a lot of books in the middle of the night. So I suppose there’s a silver lining to that cloud! PRIDE: Proudest achievement? Apart from growing my two gorgeous girls in my belly (still can’t believe I grew them!), it has to be that I am celebrating 25 years of touring this year. I still feel like I’m learning so it’s surreal. We have our own family-run record company, so all the family have been involved for many years. So thank you so much to all the lovely people who come out to support my gigs and buy my music – we truly are in your debt. Kate Rusby: A Special 25 Year Celebration is at St David’s Hall on 12 December; I CARDIFF LIFE I 13



Big-money bauble, £270 Give cash in style! Origami banknotes come in baubles, stars and trees and at various prices From Money Kissed;

Now what have we got in the Cardiff Life stocking this year? Baubles, balls of foam, beatles (made of silver), beard trimmers, bird boxes, bath robes, books, bags, biscuits, bath products and boxes of cheese. And these are only the things that begin with a ‘B’



Santa baby… £110 …stick a ball pit under the tree - for me! A modern-day playpen with 200 foam balls From Barney and Beau;

A2 landmarks poster, £14.99 From the new Iconic Cardiff range, you can also buy it framed and mounted for £50 From I Loves The Diff;

Stag beetle in solid silver, £250 From Lucy Sylvester’s collection, inspired by a love of the great British countryside From Anne Morgan Jewellery;

Cashmere scarf, £70 For the first Christmas in years, we’re not going to make the woolly jumper joke* From John Lewis; St David’s, Cardiff; (*because it’s a SCARF!)

Manicure set, £34.99 Serve up the perfect festive finger food with Ted Baker’s Got It Nailed set From Hamptons;

Beard kit, £26.99 Banish stubble trouble for good with this soap, balm and oil kit. Handmade in Wales by billy goats. From Gruff Beard;

Watch, £5,400 This Ballon Bleu de Cartier beauty is too good for us, so you can have it From Laing The Jeweller; I CARDIFF LIFE I 19


Navy bath robe, £83.20 Terry’s dressing gown was threadbare so a nice man called Calvin made him a new one From Calvin Klein, St David’s;

A book of Welsh wit, £9.99 A bestseller at this year’s Hay Festival, Clare gives traditional tales his modern – and witty – treatment in this book From Graffeg;

Star pendant, £350 Starry, starry night: brilliant-cut diamond set in a 9ct rose gold star From Laing The Jeweller;

DIY bird box, £18.99 A cute kit for kids of all ages. Create a unique home for the birds in your garden From Wonderlings;

Concrete-effect, resin-top sideboard, £1,200 This isn’t something you wrap up and bung in the post – so why not treat yourself instead? From Jewels Canley interiors;

ghd Nocturne kit, £175 Legend has it that no-one can resist the lure of a ghd straightener, not even Santa. Wrap securely and hide under the tree. From Goji Hair;

Melin Tregwynt cushion, £55, and throw, £145 Vintage reversible design in 100% lambswool From Home By Kirsty; I CARDIFF LIFE I 21


Mono alphabet rug, £132 Wonderful and washable, and money from each purchase goes to disadvantaged kids in India From Pea(style);

Bose noise-cancelling headphones, £329.99 If anyone goes AWOL on Boxing Day, you’ll find them curled up with a smile on their face and these on their ears. From John Lewis, St David’s;

Hinterland book and calendar, £20 Ceredigion has the best countryside ever. A fact proved time and again in the coffeetable book and accompanying calendar. From Graffeg;

Big Green Egg, prices start at £599 Delicious turkey cooked on a Big Green Egg is a real Christmas treat! This famous outdoor cooker is great to use all year round. Stocked at Topstak, Cowbridge; I CARDIFF LIFE I 23

XMAS SHOPPING GUIDE Go Kart, £98.99 Build your own box cart and then welly it down the drive into the wall and, erm… uh oh From Wonderlings;

Marine mirror, £120 Ideal in the hall for last-minute glance before leaving. Hair, check. Food in teeth, check. Lipstick smudge, check. Good to go! From Jewels Canley interiors;

Gold satchel bag, £100 Floppy leather, made in Morocco and with brownie points written all over it. A crowd-pleaser of a bag. From Pea(style);

Hoop earrings Ruth Hollywood’s Iso hex hoops are colourful and vibrant, almost – dare we say it – spring-like? From Anne Morgan Jewellery;


Dyson hairdryer, £299.99 Supersonic and space-age-looking, it’s fast but not too hot. Treat your tresses. From John Lewis, St David’s;

XMAS SHOPPING GUIDE DIY biscuits, £10 Bake Off in a bottle. A sweet gift for bakers of all abilities, they’re a doddle to make and taste fab. From Brød – The Danish Bakery; I CARDIFF LIFE I 25


Mugs, from £12 each Love these artisan-style mugs. So contemporary and feminine From Oliver Bonas;

Bath products, £9.99–£29.99 Scrub-a-dub-dub in a tub with Seascape eucalyptus, lavender and lime products. From Shore;

Perfect picnic blanket, £119 This lambswool’s strong point is its size. Enough room – at 190x150com – for a whole tribe of hungry people From Wonderlings;

P-P-Pick up a penguin pyjamas, £30 Fleecey and fun, cosy and cute, practical and penguin-y. However you describe them, they’re a winner all round. From Marks and Spencer, St David’s; I CARDIFF LIFE I 27

XMAS SHOPPING GUIDE Sausage dog print, £33 A stunner in A2, this is part of a series called Different Breeds. From Matt Needle

Slurp mug, £6 Drink up the comic-strip vibe. Add whisky. Why not? It’s time to indulge. From The SHO Gallerey and Shop;

Cotton oven mitt, £12.99 Treat the one who’s responsible for the turkey-in-and-out-of-oven action on the big day. From Sian Elin;

A box of cheese, prices from £15–£45 Christmas is a time for cheese and Cardiff has some expert fromagers – a match made in hamper heaven From The Cheese Pantry, Cardiff Market;

Apple iPad Mini 4, £549 This one in Space Grey has a capacity of 128GB. This is a perennial on my kids’ lists, along with cold, hard cash and a bunny rabbit. Hmmm… From Apple Store, St David’s; I CARDIFF LIFE I 29


Cheese knives, £22 You’ve only made it in life when you have a set of cheese knives, so get these for your nearest and dearest this year From Oliver Bonas;



Tea and coffee hamper, £35 Alchemy single origin coffee, Coaltown black gold blend, speciality teas, Welsh toffee waffles, luxury biscuits, locally made Italian bites From the Cheese Factory, Cardiff Market;

Elegant fan earrings, £18 Lace fan-style with dyed blue Jasper, these are a great stocking filler and will probably become an everyday favourite From Claire HIll Designs;

Cardiff Castle Lion print, £60 A new range of pictures – called Small Prints – make heroes of iconic architectural features around the city From Screamprint;

Silver snowflake jewellery, prices from £57 Available individually or together From Neil Rayment I CARDIFF LIFE I 33

WE’RE CELEBRATING We’re excited to offer you an exclusive deal of 50% off various treatments to celebrate the launch of our new premises in Morgan Arcade* *T&C’s Apply

02920 529 552


MEET THE JEWELLER If you love things that sparkle, or have a specific jewellery commission in mind, here are six inspiring creatives – when it comes to jewellery design, this lot know what they’re talking about...


Anne Morgan Jewellery 02920 711036 Tell us a bit about your background I have been making jewellery for over 20 years, and two years ago I opened Anne Morgan Jewellery in Penarth, an independent boutique specialising in handmade contemporary jewellery. What sets you apart from your competitors? As well as my own collections we showcase jewellery from over 40 independent makers, and regularly host exhibitions. We strive to source original handmade pieces, offering contemporary jewellery in precious metals and stones, alongside non-traditional materials and processes. We have a workshop on the premises, so customers can see us working at the bench and know the provenance of all our collections. We are also Fairtrade Foundation registered, and look forward to developing more of our ranges in Fairtrade gold. Describe the best client/ project you ever had? That’s a hard one as we have some many lovely customers. Jesse was approaching a significant birthday and wanted a bespoke ring. We were able to melt and refine and cast his gold into a beautifully designed 18ct ring. He was so pleased with it!


MATT MULLOOLY Northern Star Bespoke Jewellery 029 2070 9707 www.northernstarjewellery.

Tell us a bit about your background I’ve always been more creative than academic. I studied multi media/animation at Leeds College of Art and Design – this was way back now! I didn’t realise at the time, but the 3D animation that I did there was a great foundation for the CAD program which I now use for jewellery design. Following this I worked for the UK’s largest jewellery manufacturer for over five years. This was a fantastic learning curve, during which I developed my jewellery-making bench skills. Then I was ready to set up Northern Star! What bespoke services do you offer your clients? We have a fabulous team of goldsmiths, gem setters and designers who will help to create your perfect piece. Northern Star offer a range of services. We can supply a selection of diamonds and gemstones for our customers to choose from. We also use the latest jewellery-based CAD software which creates photo-quality images and, most impressively, a 3D wax model of the design so our customers can see their piece of jewellery in physical form before we cast


Barr & Co Jewellery 01558 822927 it in the metal of their choice. We also specialise in reworking old jewellery into imaginative new designs. What sets you apart from your competitors? We combine traditional techniques with state-of-the-art technology – balancing these in a sensitive combination is the key to creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind bespoke jewellery. The 3D printer is a big part of why we’re special. Actually seeing the dimensions and proportions of a ring before it is made was an amazing technolgical move. This, combined with our creative artistry allows us to produce stunning jewellery – which we are proud of as a company and which our customers absolutely love too! Unusual fact about you not many people know? I’m shy.

Tell us a bit about your background I have been in the trade now for 30 years, but my apprenticeship started in a jewellery workshop in New Bond Street, London, where I learnt a lot of the traditional skills I still use in my everyday work. What sets you apart? I think my traditional skills and training set me apart from my competitors. I’ve been lucky enough to have been taught by some extremely talented goldsmiths, and I try to include these skills in everything I make, however modern the design is. Describe the best project you ever had One of my favourite commissions was redesigning an old Victorian diamond bird brooch. This had been in the customer’s family for years, but was no longer worn. It was a beautiful piece and beautifully made, and I felt it wasn’t right to break it up. So I wanted to find a design that did the piece justice. My customer was a fan of art deco-style jewellery, so we designed a cuff bangle together. We used all the diamonds and incorporated a bird into the design too – it was a stunning piece and one that I am really proud of.



Emma-Kate Jewellery 02920 344715 Tell us a bit about your background Originally from Brighton, I’m a classically trained silversmith. I studied for a masters at the Royal College of Art, London, and then did an exchange to Hildesheim Art School, Germany. I fell in love with a Welshman and decided to move to Cardiff to set up my jewellery business back in 2008. Describe the best project you ever had I worked with the Victoria & Albert Museum to design a range of tableware. This was a big achievement as it has always been my dream to exhibit or sell there. The designs were based on Archibald Knox’s work – he designed for Liberty and I greatly admire his work. What bespoke services do you offer your clients? I love designing and creating pieces and turning my clients’ ideas into reality. I provide a really hands-on approach from start to finish. I specialise in wedding jewellery, anything from engagement and wedding rings in silver, gold, platinum or palladium to pearl bridal jewellery and anniversary gifts. What has been your biggest achievement to date? Having a baby and running my business this year. I’ve learnt I’m not superwoman but I love them both!


KATIE KEEFE Laings 02920 660 890

What sets you apart from your competitors? Laings is set apart from other jewellers as we have a history that stretches back all the way to 1840 and we have 177 years of diamond and watch expertise to draw on. The business is now in the hands of the sixth-generation of the Laing family and everything we do has a personal touch. Many of our customers return time and time again and different generations of the same family have been known to shop with us. Describe your role? My role involves a variety of tasks. I like to keep the window displays clean and beautiful, staying on top of customer orders to ensure they get them on time, keeping up to date with the brands and knowing the stock and making sure that packaging is stocked up. We have a range of luxurious brands and I like to make sure I stay on top of all their new product releases so that I can give every customer all of the information that they need. Giving every customer the Laings experience is the most important part of my role! Whats the most difficult part of your job? The only hard part is working with such beautiful product and not being able to take it home with me! I really loved an emerald cut diamond ring that we had in stock. It was really easy to sell it to a young man who was planning a proposal in Venice, but it’s a shame I can’t gaze at the

Jonathan David Jewellers 02920 226875

glittering diamond anymore! Whats the best thing about working with jewellery? The best thing about working with jewellery is when you find the perfect piece for someone. Selling something like an engagement ring is always going to be an important moment and it’s such a privilege to be involved in this special purchase. It’s lovely during the sale to build up a relationship with the customer and afterwards hearing how they proposed and having a happy couple return for their wedding rings is always fantastic! What motivates you? Any purchase from Laings is bound to be a luxury one, so no matter the challenge, I always feel motivated to find the perfect piece. It’s satisfying for me to know that they’ve had the best experience in store and have left with something that will make either themselves or someone else very happy.

What sets you apart from your competitors? We pride ourselves on our heritage, traditional values and great customer service. We cater to all our customers’ requirements and, as we are situated within the historic arcades, we have a much smaller mark-up compared to the high street stores. We are therefore able to offer our customers excellent value for money. We have a large collection of new and preowned jewellery, an on-site goldsmith, a jewellery and watch repair workshop and we can also provide insurance and probate valuations in-store. Describe the best project you ever had One of the best projects we had recently was to source a 4 carat GIA certificated diamond that a client had seen in a high-street store. We were able to supply the same diamond at a fraction of the high street store’s price, as we are an independent so can provide our customers with value for money. What bespoke services do you offer your clients? We can provide almost any bespoke service. An extraspecial service is our on-site goldsmith. Our clients are offered consultations with our goldsmith and go through all aspects of their proposed design specification. Clients can also view the loose diamonds and gemstones before they are set. I CARDIFF LIFE I 37

Dreams&Wishes, is a wonderful, 100% volunteer based non-profit charity dedicated to helping seriously ill children and their families by making their dreams and wishes come true. Since they began in 2011, they have been working with families across the U.K. providing vital support throughout the child¹s illness as well as helping to build happy memories by granting lifelong wishes.

Wendy Hobbs is a lawyer and a children’s fantasy author of the ‘Claudia Quash Series.’ Her debut novel, ‘Claudia Quash : The Spell of Pencliff’ is the first in a series that follows thirteen-year- old, Claudia Quash on a magical adventure through time. Wendy is thrilled that the book won an award, and has received many amazing 5 star reviews on Amazon from children and adults who enjoy an original fantasy.

A Winter’s Dream Dinner The Dreams&Wishes charity is hosting ‘A Winter’s Dream Dinner’ a black tie event on the 16th December 2017, at the historic Exchange Hotel, Cardiff, a traditional 3 course Christmas dinner, fantastic entertainment and a West End Singer.

Wendy was invited by Mr Tony Curtis MBE, Dreams&Wishes, to write a book to inspire the children. Wendy wrote ‘Claudia’s Special Wish’ a beautifully illustrated Christmas story and she donates all of the profits to help grant wishes to seriously ill children and their families.

John Lewis Book Signing Event! Wendy will be hosting a ‘Claudia Quash Series’ book-signing event in John Lewis, Cardiff, on the 9th December to raise funds for Dreams&Wishes, and on the day a wonderful choir will be performing in the store.

The book was launched by the Secretary of State for Wales and Wendy has been invited back again this year to read the book in the House of Commons in December, on behalf of the charity.


Adventures for all ages!

Wendy was delighted to be interviewed on Made in Cardiff TV, about the ‘Claudia Quash Series’ and with the support that she has received from many local businesses who have placed orders and donated them to local schools in South Wales. So far, the books have raised thousands of pounds to help grant more special memories to the children and their families.

“One snowy night, Claudia Quash, makes a special wish on the brightest star in the sky. Later, that evening, she is woken by a jingling sound and soon finds herself stepping into a frozen forest. Whisked away by an elf in a magical sleigh, she flies through the sky, and embarks on an unforgettable adventure...”

AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE NOW ON AMAZON! Wendy wrote ‘Claudia’s Special Wish’ a beautifully illustrated Christmas story and she has donated all of the profits to help grant wishes to seriously ill children and their families. Claudia’s Special Wish and The Spell of Pencliff are available on Amazon.

For more information - | | Twitter @WendyfHobbs Or Dreams and Wishes - | Twitter @DreamsWishesOrg

Smart Home Products It’s not enough that your home is stylish; these days it has to be smart, too. By building up your domestic network with smartphone apps and clever devices, you can make you home more entertaining, more comfortable and even safer. To turn your house into a smart home, all you really need is the aforementioned property, a Wi-Fi network and some hardware. Here’s our selection of some of the best smart home appliances on the market…

Control4 EA-1 Controller £528, If you want to grasp the smart home concept with both hands, look at a complete installation such as those offered by Control4. In consultation with a local dealer, engineers will come and fit a bespoke ‘Pakedge’ network. In this way, rather than relying on your home Wi-Fi, you get an industrial strength system operated by the EA-1 Controller via a PC, remote control, smartphone app, and Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition or wall-mounted touch screen. Control4 is designed to connect all your hardware together – TV and home cinema, audio systems, security and lighting – into a powerful, integrated network.

40 I cardiff LIFE I

HOME TECHNOLOGY Amazon Echo £90, If you want to control your home with the power of your own voice, the best system at the moment is Amazon’s Echo, with its personal assistant Alexa. This home hub/smart speaker connects to the cloud and offers a range of services, playing your favourite tunes via Amazon Music, Spotify and TuneIn for example, and sending calls and messages to your Echo-owning friends. It can set alarms and timers, check your calendar and to-do lists, read out an audio book and provide weather, traffic and sports reports. Its voice recognition also lets you control a range of other smart home devices from the likes of Hive, Philips, Nest, Netatmo, WeMo and tado°.

Nest Protect £99, Nest doesn’t just do central heating; it also offers a line in home security. The Nest Protect is a combined smoke and carbon monoxide alarm – but with a twist. Rather than simply sound off when something’s wrong, this smart sensor verbally explains what the problem is and also sends a message to your smartphone. It works with the Nest thermostat, which will turn off the heating in an emergency, and has a motion-sensing night light if you need to investigate after dark. Other products in the Nest security range include indoor and outdoor cameras to keep an eye on your property remotely, and a doorbell that provides an image of the caller and two-way voice comms. w I CARDIFF LIFE I 41

Philips Hue White and Colour Ambience Starter Kit £170, Colour-changing light bulbs might seem like a gimmick, but because all Hue lights are connected to your Wi-Fi network, there is loads of potential. At a basic level, you can control the lights in your home from your smartphone or tablet. However, with an app like IFTTT (If That Then This), you can turn the lights on and off automatically, and even ask them to change colour when your Uber cab arrives or if it has started to rain. It’s a great way to add ambience when watching TV or create a party atmosphere when friends come round – and the LED bulbs are energy efficient too. (For alternatives check out Lifx bulbs and BeOn smart bulbs.)

Dyson 360 Eye £800, No-one likes doing the vacuuming, and – just like any arduous, repetitive task – this job is better off left to a robot. There are a few on the market, but Dyson’s is one of the best, promising twice the suction of competing products and 360-degree intelligent navigation. The 360 Eye can be controlled via an app, either with a regular schedule or using simple voice commands. The Eye monitors the state of its battery and automatically returns to its charging point when running low. If only Dyson can figure out how to get it to do the stairs as well, we’re sold…


Nest Learning Thermostat £279 (with installation), The Nest Thermostat lets you control the temperature of your house from your smartphone, either manually or using a schedule. However, over time it learns your routines and progammes itself to use energy more efficiently, cutting your heating bill. And using a technology called geofencing, it knows when you’re out of the house and automatically turns the heating off. The new third edition of the Nest thermostat can now control your hot water tank, if you have one. (We picked the Nest because of its sleek looks, but there are other smart thermostats available from Hive, Netatmo, tadoº Ecobee and Climote.)

HOME TECHNOLOGY Samsung SmartThings Starter Kit £199, For an instant smart home solution, this Samsung starter pack includes two multipurpose sensors, a motion sensor and a smart plug. These are linked via the hub, which can connect wirelessly to hundreds of compatible devices, such as Bose and Sonos speakers, Philips Hue bulbs, D-Link smart home accessories and Samsung’s own products. It also supports Amazon Alexa voice control. The bundled SmartThings app lets you control your devices remotely, monitor your home while you’re away and set up ‘recipes’ for automatically activating lights, alarms, speakers and so on.

Furbo £179, And, finally, one for the pet lovers. The Furbo treat-dispensing camera enables you to keep tabs on your pooch while you’re away from the home. The device features a 720p camera that you can connect with via your phone. The idea is that you place Furbo on a shelf so you can keep an eye on the dog’s activities, or communicate with it remotely via the built-in speaker. You can also swipe on your phone screen to dispense a treat if they’ve been good – or distract them from chewing the furniture, perhaps. w I CARDIFF LIFE I 43



People used to think that smart homes were a passing trend. And yet now the industry is stronger than ever, especially with the introduction of voice-activated devices and super-fast internet speeds.

Sonos One speaker system £199, Generally regarded as the best multi-room audio system on the market, the Sonos One has Amazon’s Alexa voice control built in, so to hear your favourite tracks or playlists, you just have to ask. It plays music from a range of sources, including Sonos, Deezer, Apple and Google Music, and to make it stereo, all you need to do is add another Sonos One and pair them for instant room-filling sound. But it doesn’t end there: you can add other Sonos speakers – including home cinema speakers and a subwoofer – and enjoy music around your home, all linked via your Wi-Fi network and easily controlled via the Sonos app.

What are the essentials for turning your home into a smart home? • A reliable Wi-Fi connection – the majority of smart home products today operate through an internet connection. But although they don’t require a lot of data, you do need to make sure you have good-quality connectivity from any point in your home. • What you want to control? Start off with a Sonos speaker with built-in Amazon Alexa for wireless music throughout your home, or systems including Nest for heating or Philips Hue for light control through separate apps. You can then move up to a Control4 full home automation system to control your whole home, including lighting, television and music, heating, blinds and more from a single app on your smart phone or tablet, from within your home or on the go! What is the best beginner kit? We offer a number of beginner smart home kits here at Hinchly’s including the Panasonic Home Monitoring Kit and the Samsung ‘Smart Things’ Home Monitoring Kit. Our favourite is the Samsung ‘Smart Things’ system. This is because of its budget price-tag and easy-to-use app, available on your smartphone or tablet. The system is also so easy to set up yourself! What is the best smart home speaker? We have seen a lot of change in the smart home industry over the last few years due to voice activated systems: the Google Home range, Amazon Alexa range and the newly released Sonos One speaker. Our number-one speaker, without a shadow of a doubt, is the new Sonos One. This is not only because it includes Amazon’s fantastic voice assistant ‘Alexa’ built-in, but the quality of the sound on the whole Sonos range is comparable to other high-end HiFi systems – with the added advantage of wireless technology, so no ugly cables.


Caci Facials, Hair Removal and Skin Rejuvenation now available!

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CALLING IT QUITS What you think you know about ending a marriage and divorce could be wrong, especially if the information came on the grapevine. CJCH SOLICITORS FAMILY LAW TEAM explains...


uch like politics, the topic of divorce is often widely discussed but not always fully understood. As specialists in family law, the CJCH team of expert solicitors are often faced with the many myths and misconceptions surrounding matters of relationship breakdown and divorce. Jodi Winter (Family Law Partner) and Sarah Perkins (Family Law Solicitor) address some of the common issues raised by new clients, issues that could have been avoided if they’d had the right information at the outset.. Jodi: People sometimes assume that what they see on TV or in the news is how things actually work. It is important to note that media representations are often dramatised. For example, there is no such thing as a “quickie” separation or divorce. In noncontentious divorces, the judge’s ruling and the Court process might be concluded quickly, but there is a requirement for specific criteria and processes to be satisfied and completed before it gets to that point. On the other hand, some people assume a divorce will take years and be ridiculously expensive so are put off starting the process. A divorce could be processed in as little as four months, but it will often take far longer to negotiate, agree and conclude the financial settlements. You need to consider a divorce from two perspectives, the first being the legal attachment to one another, and the second being the financial attachment. Sarah: Aside from the timeline, there are other questions raised which can be misunderstood. Who gets the house? Who gets the kids? What if my spouse won’t agree to a divorce? Can’t we just list ‘irreconcilable difference’ as our reason? The short answer to these questions are that they are case specific. The best way to ensure you have the correct information is to seek advice at the earliest opportunity and give your solicitor all the information they need. You will then receive expert advice on your own particular circumstances. The notion of irreconcilable differences (i.e. no-fault) is not currently part of the law in England and Wales. You would need to show that your relationship has irretrievably broken down, and provide specific facts to prove it.


Jodi Winter (left) and Sarah Perkins (right), the Family Law team at CJCH Solicitors

Jodi: The financial aspects of the matter are what often take the most time to negotiate, which is often why it is best to get advice on a pre-nuptial agreement before you get married. Again, pre-nuptial agreements can be misconstrued but they provide a fair and considered starting point which is often upheld by the court if constructed properly. The same goes for agreeing child contact once the divorce is underway. Address the matter as early as possible and come to an agreement that you are both happy with, otherwise the Court will decide for you. The CJCH Solicitors Family Law team specialises in supporting and navigating the difficult situations that arise at the end of a relationship. You’re not alone: Jodi and Sarah are here to provide support and advice.

Jodi Winter & Sarah Perkins, CJCH Solicitors Offices at: Cardiff, Barry, Bridgend, Blackwood 033 3231 6405



THE DARK SIDE OF GARETH THOMAS It’s a star-studded Snow White affair at the New Theatre with Samantha Womack, Tam Ryan and rugby maestro Gareth Thomas as the Henchman. We asked Gareth the difference between doing panto and playing rugby, among other things... What role do you play in the panto? This year I’m playing the Henchman. It’s the first time I’ve played the baddie character – I’m already looking forward to hearing all that booing from the audiences! What’s it like playing a baddie? Well it’s definitely new for me, but I’ve been practising my snarling, obviously, and I get to wear a tight black leather outfit which, with my frame, certainly makes me look the part. So I’m definitely going to enjoy playing the role – I’m just not sure I’ll be able to keep a straight face for long. The script is so funny and the rest of the cast will do all they can to make me giggle.

Have you performed with any of the other cast before? Oh yes I have! Mike Doyle and I have been in a few pantos at the New Theatre now (he’s the one that gets us laughing when we shouldn’t be), and Stephanie Webber who plays Snow White this year was in Peter Pan with us last year and has just finished in Tiger Bay at WMC. I can’t wait to work with them again along with Samantha Womack, Chico and Tam Ryan – they’re all panto legends. How does panto differ from playing international rugby? Other than the footwear and costume

changes, not a lot to be honest. You need energy and stamina to give a great performance at every show, twice a day for SIX WEEKS! And it’s a team effort, you know – everyone needs to play their part. Plus you need the energy coming back from the huge audiences who are, unnervingly, just like a rugby crowd – cheering us on, and laughing (or booing) at us, but of course for the right reasons! What does 2018 hold for you? I’ll need a break in January to work it out! Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, New Theatre, 9 December to 14 January I CARDIFF LIFE I 49



Now showing until 13th January A changing exhibition of paintings, ceramics and jewellery by more than 50 artists

View the exhibition on our website 74b Albany Road, Cardiff, CF24 3RS | T: 029 2048 7158 | E: Gallery open: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sundays and Bank Holidays 11am-4pm

1 December – 1 January

Wind in the Willows is at The Sherman Theatre; Cabaret-style theatre from Flossy and Boo at the Other Room Theatre; The Winter Show at Martin Tinney Gallery



THE MAGIC PORRIDGE POT A new version of the Brothers Grimm tale, featuring the pot that just can’t stop making porridge! Songs, music and fun for all the family (under-7s especially). Sherman Theatre;

WIND IN THE WILLOWS “Beyond the wild wood is the wild world”. Some quotes from Kenneth Grahame’s classic live with you for years and years. So take your kids along to the festive adaptation in the Sherman’s main house this year and introduce them to Ratty, Toad and Mole.




MISS SAIGON Cameron Mackintosh’s record-breaking West End extravaganza. The musical premiered at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1989 and has become one of the most successful musicals in history. The Wales Millennium Centre;

CINDERELLA The classic fairy tale is presented as a toe-tapping mixture of music, film and illustrations. A great introduction to orchestra for the whole family. Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama;



FLOSSY AND BOO: THE ALTERNATIVITY Cabaret-style theatre which sees the eponymous heroes delve into the festive season in all its messy glory, bringing something a little bit racy, cheeky and downright silly to The Other Room at Porter’s this December. It may sound child-friendly but this gift is for adults only. 8 DECEMBER

NATHAN PALMER The Penarth designer launches his AW2018 collection, with Ian Wright MBE as the master of ceremonies, and Ministry of sound DJ Colin Francis playing at the after party. National Museum of Wales;

12 – 31 DECEMBER

THE BEAR Ever wondered what it would be like to sit on a polar bear’s lap? Or ride on its back? Follow Tilly on her furry adventure in Raymond Briggs’ much-loved story. The Wales Millennium Centre; 21 – 24 DECEMBER

THE NUTCRACKER When midnight strikes on Christmas Eve the audience are swept away to a fairytale world where toy dolls spring to life and magic is all around. Performed by the Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia. St David’s Hall; 27 – 31 DECEMBER

SWAN LAKE Again performed by The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia,

W H AT ’ S O N


Miss Saigon at the Wales Millennium Centre

Tchaikovsky’s haunting and unforgettable score mixed with the duality of Odette and Odile make this one of ballet’s most unmissable productions. St David’s Hall; UNTIL 14 JANUARY

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS Go classic with your panto this year. Stars include Samantha Womack, Mike Doyle, Chico, Tam Ryan, Stephanie Webber and none other than Gareth Thomas. New Theatre;


firmly established as one of the best comedians in Britain – and he loves the live shows. Motorpoint Arena Cardiff; 13 DECEMBER

PAUL CHOWDHRY: LIVE INNIT The Lafta funniest stand-up award winner of 2013, star of Taskmaster, Live at The Apollo and Stand Up for the Week is doing his observational thing in Cardiff this Christmas. For one night only, innit. The Glee;


CHRISTMAS COMEDY PARTY Christmas at The Glee means a hot festive meal alongside comedy from the likes of Jarred Christmas, Andy Robinson, Jimmy McGhie and John Fothergill, followed by a let your hair down after party with a live DJ. The Glee;

DUKE ELLINGTON’S NUTCRACKER SUITE More nuts to crack! American pianist, composer and bandleader Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s jazz interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite in the Dora Stoutzker Hall. Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama;




JOHN BISHOP: WINGING IT His long-awaited fifth live tour returns to Cardiff. Bishop is now


RIDERS SOUL REVUE WITH SPECIAL GUEST GERAINT WATKINS Cardiff-born Andy Fairweather Low is the guitarist and vocalist of choice for a phenomenal cast list of musical luminaries, including music from Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Phil Collins. A one-night-only performance. New Theatre; 8 DECEMBER

CHRISTMAS WITH THE ROYAL WELSH COLLEGE BAND Popular lunchtime family concert (kicks off at 1pm) with carols and festive favourites, sure to have you singing along. St David’s Hall; 8 DECEMBER

GOLDIE LOOKING CHAIN It’s a Goldie Looking Christmas this year for the comedic rappers from Newport. Tramshed; 12 DECEMBER

KATE RUSBY Kate’s Christmas tour is as much a part of the festivities as Christmas pud, Rudolph and sprouts! Funny and fabulously

talented – and joined by a sublime brass quintet – as feel-good as it gets! St David’s Hall; 13 DECEMBER

THE DARKNESS As any fool (or Darkness fan) will tell you, this show is a place where believers come together, where fluids are shared, and dreams are built. But most importantly, where rock and roll is crowned king every night! St David’s Hall;


JACQUELINE ALKEMA, MABLI JEN EUSTACE & LLINOS THOMAS An exhibition of figurative, abstract and expressionist work. BayArt Gallery, 54 Bute Street, Cardiff UNTIL 9 DECEMBER

LAND/SEA Artist Mike Perry’s hardedged environmental narrative, combining photography and painterly aesthetics. Ffotogallery; w I CARDIFF LIFE I 53


W H AT ’ S O N


THE WINTER SHOW Always a winner, this show features much work by Wales’ leading artists and as work is sold it is replaced immediately. Martin Tinney Gallery; UNTIL 31 JANUARY 2018

BACON TO DOIG: MODERN MASTERPIECES FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION Prominent 20th-century British artists and sculptors, including Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Grayson Perry and more. National Museum Cardiff; Designer Nathan Palmer launches his AW2018 collection at the National Museum of Wales UNTIL 22 DECEMBER

KEVIN SINNOTT 70TH BIRTHDAY EXHIBITION Contemporary and Welsh artist with an international appeal. This latest show at Martin Tinney Gallery celebrates Kevin’s 70th birthday with an exhibition of new paintings which show his continuing concern with the tenderness and complexity of human relationships. Martin Tinney Gallery; UNTIL 13 JANUARY

WINTER EXHIBITION An exhibition of beautiful paintings, sculpture, ceramics and jewellery from over 50 artists. Albany Gallery; UNTIL 14 JANUARY 2018

IN THE FUTURE THEY ATE FROM THE FINEST PORCELAIN Major touring exhibition of work by interdisciplinary Palestinian artist, Larissa Sansour. Chapter; UNTIL 14 JANUARY 2018

AFFORDABLE ART WALL EXHIBITION & MARKET The annual art wall opens for Christmas (6-9pm), showcasing more than 40 local artists, plus a range of handmade goods, from jewellery to textiles. Cardiff MADE gallery, 41 Lochaber St, Roath, Cardiff


SWAPS Work by leading 20th and 21st century photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Bill Brandt and more, from the collection of documentary photographer, David Hurn. National Museum Cardiff;


AUTUMN INTERNATIONALS WALES V SOUTH AFRICA The final game of the internationals and the Springboks play Wales at home. Let’s wrap it up with a win, eh? Principality Stadium; 10 DECEMBER

LOGLIFT AND DEADLIFT CHAMPIONSHIP See raw power on display, and support strongman Tyron Jones in his run up to the World’s Strongest Man competition. Synergi Weightlifting Club; Colchester Avenue Industrial Estate, Cardiff


WINTER WONDERLAND Ice skating, food, merriment and much much more. Set on City Hall Lawn this has become one of the most popular of the city’s festive diary dates.


WANT MORE? Sign up now for the Cardiff Life newsletter... As editor of this fine mag, there’s nothing I enjoy more than drawing your attention to this buzzing city’s best events and happenings. To keep readers fully updated about what’s going on in Cardiff, we email out a free newsletter every Friday, packed with news, our essential ‘see and do’ picks of the week, tips and special offers. So, if you’d like a friendly ‘hello’ from us in your inbox as the weekend beckons, then sign up today*: (*Don’t *Don’t worry, we won’t share your data with any third parties – that’s just not our style)



White Christmas (left) and The Muppet Christmas Carol (below)

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION Get your favourite sparkly Christmas jumper on and make your way to Chapter for the most festive of films this December… By M EGA N PR IC E

It’s a Wonderful Life


his December it’s (fairly predictably!) all about Christmas in the Chapter cinemas! It’s hard to imagine the festive season without at least one viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol (U). Jim Henson’s beloved creations take on the classic Dickens’ tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, miser extraordinaire (played by Michael Caine), as he is held accountable for his dastardly ways during night-time visitations from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Another absolute Christmas classic being screened at Chapter this year is It’s A Wonderful Life (U). In Frank Capra’s enduring seasonal favourite, we join guardian angel Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers) as he is sent to help George Bailey (James Stewart) in his hour of need. Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and considered one of the most critically acclaimed

films ever made, this is the perfect break from the madness of Christmas shopping. On 15 December, there will be a special dementia-friendly screening of White Christmas (U), which stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. Chapter’s dementiafriendly screenings are a great opportunity for people living with dementia to enjoy a film in a relaxed, welcoming environment, with the screenings themselves being shown without adverts or trailers, and with slightly brighter lighting throughout the auditorium. Nicko and Joe are also back with a Bad Film Club Christmas Double Bill. This year’s offerings are as terrible as ever – The Christmas Candle (PG) (featuring the acting talents of none other than Susan Boyle!) and Black Christmas (18), a warming Christmas tale of an escaped maniac who breaks into a sorority house and kills them off one by one. Fa la la la la la la la la indeed – and a very happy Christmas from all at Chapter! For more: I CARDIFF LIFE I 59


BEAT THE WINTER BLUES The UK’s number-one kitchen retail specialist*, WREN KITCHENS has the biggest kitchen collection in the country


ophisticated, elegant and calming, embracing the winter blues at Wren Kitchens opens up a new world of colour for your home that will boost your mood for years to come. There are lots of ways to sing the blues at Wren with seven shades from playful Periwinkle and moody Midnight to beautiful bold Baltic. Mix and match with cool greys and crisp whites or team with bright primaries like Bumblebee yellow for a unique design statement. Wren’s bespoke-built Infinity Plus range offers a choice of 50 colours and finishes including seven blues and over a dozen shades of grey. Infinity Plus, designed and manufactured in the UK by Wren, gives you all the elements you need to create a bespoke kitchen at a price every homeowner can afford. With a choice of 15 frontal styles and thousands of unit sizes and special feature units, there are millions of potential combinations. It’s the next best thing to a handmade kitchen. Look out for the Infinity Plus Milano with matching or contrasting profiles, a sleek truly handleless style that’s normally only found in high-end studios. A Milano Contour island in Lagoon with gold profiles and a Shaker in Glacier and Gullwing make a stunning combination. New to the range is Milano Ultra - choose Dove and Cloud for a match made in heaven. At up to 80% less than other handleless kitchens in the UK, this is a designer-style kitchen that everyone can afford. Autograph Pacrylic in Ice Blue provides a touch of understated glamour with its super gloss finish, while Autograph Elements, from the Elements range which uses the textures and


There’s never a better time to get the kitchen of your dreams than during the Wren Winter Sale. As the UK’s number-one kitchen retail specialist* with the biggest kitchen collection in the country, we know you’ll find the kitchen you want at the price you can afford. There’s classic, modern and traditional kitchens on offer at half price plus an extra 25% off normal prices and that includes all kitchens in our top two ranges - Infinity Plus and Infinity.

patterns inspired by nature, in Concrete Oak teamed with Contour in China Blue, is perfect for a sophisticated room for all seasons. For a traditional look, there’s the classic Shaker and Country kitchens. They come with a range of feature units to enable you to personalise your design: cook’s tables, pet beds, dressers, overmantles and open shelves. Feature units come in 17 colours including Ice Blue and Slate. Infinity Plus Shaker in Midnight Blue and Winter White is a classic look while the subtle combination of Shaker in Cathedral and Slate gives this framed kitchen an added dimension that fits just right in homes of any era. Check out your local showroom – there are 68 nationwide – and come and talk to one of our Kitchen Designers. They’ll introduce our

popular factory-built Infinity and flat-pack Vogue ranges and help you get the most out of your space and your budget with a clever design. For more inspiration, ask for our new 268-page brochure - the biggest retail kitchen brochure in the UK - or check out your options online at I CARDIFF LIFE I 61

Visit us at: 1 Station Approach, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan CF64 3EE Telephone: 02920 705317



SHINE BRIGHT Sparkle and shimmer with sequins, metallics, jewels and velvets for this year’s festive elegance


his Christmas, spin through your festivities in a haze of jewel tones, dazzling sequins, luscious velvets and warming furs (faux of course!). We’ve teamed up with the style gurus at St David’s to make sure that, whether it’s your annual works do or Christmas cocktails with friends and family, you’ll be the star of the show. We say this season it’s all about the WOW factor. Glittering sequins of all hues and disco metallics are the key ingredients of the late shift this party season. Feeling confident? We LOVE this floor length number from Coast (right), perfect for those seeking to make a scene-stealing entrance and turn heads on the dancefloor. Throw on a pair of heels and some gold earrings and you’ll be all set. Alternatively, go for a jewel-toned metallic number, like the one from Karen Millen, or a metallic pleated skirt to add a modern edge to your look. For those colder evenings, throw an oversized faux fur shrug over your shoulders to keep the crisp winter nights at bay. Round off the look with some eye-catching jewellery, like those out-of-this world earrings from Vivienne Westwood.


Velvet is back and better than ever this season and we can see why. The warm, yet effortlessly elegant fabric can be worn in tons of different ways. Opt for a classic velveteen dress, like the adorable navy piece from Oliver Bonas, or an opulent ruby red number from Ted Baker at John Lewis. Another way to incorporate the luxurious material into your outfit is to dress it up by adding a velvet touch to your accessories. Add some luxe to your footwear too, we are lusting after these embellished, burgundy heels, also by Ted Baker at John Lewis, or some art deco style, with this boxy clutch bag from Reiss that we adore.

All items available at St David’s Dewi Sant in Cardiff at the time of writing. To keep up to date with the latest trends, news and offers, see St David’s on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (@StDavidsCardiff) or at 64 I CARDIFF LIFE I

Kadie Sequin Maxi Dress, £129, Coast


FA S H I O N 1 3







8 10

1. Oriental Embroidered Dress BlackMulti, £235, Karen Millen 2. Faux Fur Oversized Collar Scarf, £95, Reiss 3. Pleated Skirt Metallic Khaki, £149, Whistles 4. Wrap Neck Blouse Silver, £69, Somerset by Alice Temperley @ John Lewis 5. Velveteen Bow Sleeve Dress, £85, Oliver Bonas 6. Lullita Geo Lace Long Sleeve Dress Maroon, £189, Ted Baker 7. Unisex Gold Orb earrings, £170, Vivienne Westwood 8. Peetch Velvet Court Shoes Burgundy, £150, Ted Baker 9. Aleta Velvet Panelled Box Bag Black, £110, Reiss 10. Roxbury Embellished Pumps Black, £130, Sam Edelman @ John Lewis I CARDIFF LIFE I 65




The Admiral St David Its cuisine is Australasian and its décor is Roald Dahl. If these two sound like awkward bedmates for a hotel restaurant, prepare to be pleasantly surprised



he Admiral St David restaurant was refurbished just over three months ago, part of an ongoing programme which will see the spa and the bedrooms also given a facelift. The restaurant has been brightened and lightened and the overbearing booths that made it rather dark before – despite the circumferential windows – have been ripped out and jettisoned into the water. (Before you get distracted at lunch looking for soft furnishings floating along in front of you, I was lying about that last bit. Just checking you were reading properly.) The brand spanking new white of the reception and dining room contrasts a bit with the tired exterior of St David’s Hotel. The outside makes me feel a bit deflated on approach, but it’s warm and calm inside and the new interiors seem to bestow a certain glamour to Cardiff Bay that can be lacking on a dismal November lunchtime. I like the me that dined inside that lunchtime far more than the me I caught sight of in the bar windows as I stalked from Cardiff Central to my appointment, following the call of the seagulls. If I tell you that the recent refurb has taken inspiration from Roald Dahl, Australasia and Cardiff, you’ll think I’m up to my old lyingto-get-attention tricks again. But no, it’s true, and when I was there, the Christmas decs had just been unpacked and festooned to boot. The Dahl ingredient is obvious, sitting as I am looking out at the Norwegian Church where the author was christened: the Admiral has eye-catching Dahl-esque artwork on the walls, with quotes from the author and other touches like its George’s Marvellous Medicine cocktail. Maybe themes like these will carry through the hotel as its refurb continues and matures. The next ingredient is the cuisine itself. The Admiral St David is proudly – and perhaps not surprisingly – the only Australasian restaurant in Wales. Executive chef Martin Atkins has a broad menu on offer, with antipodean classics shoulder to shoulder with Asian flavours. The price is reasonable and, having dined on three courses, finding it easy to pick and enjoying the eating experience, I think it’s good value for money. The Welsh element comes from its location and the fact that, where possible, ingredients are sourced locally. So the identity is perhaps a little confused, and for those who like things to make sense and fit into neat little comprehensible boxes (ME!), it might make you scratch your head a bit and start to wonder at its integrity. Before, that is, you wallop


yourself over the head and resolve to enjoy it. Some things don’t have to make sense, as Dahl himself said: “A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men”. My window seat is perfect. Like sitting at the hull of the ship and looking out to sea, there’s always something to look at and hours can sail by in a slightly hypnotic fashion. Although it was fairly quiet when I visited, the atmosphere was warm and vibrant. A few business lunches made themselves felt with polite laughter and the restaurant just avoided the more-staff-than-customers problem. Recommendations came thick and fast from my enthusiastic waiting staff. The catch of the day was red mullet and the meat dish of the day, a steak, the details of which I barely registered as I’d promised myself I’d not go for a hunk of meat at lunchtime. For starters, the chicken satay with its “perfect peanut sauce” or the Welsh beef carpaccio served with beef bon bon were recommended. I chose the latter and I wasn’t disappointed. The balance of flavours was well-judged and the plate was tasty overall. What was slightly off balance was the emphasis given to each part of the dish. I had expected the carpaccio to play the principal role, but in fact it played second fiddle to the big bon bon. The carpaccio felt a bit mimsy in comparison – it was ever so thinly sliced and failed to deliver maximum punch because of that. The beef bon bon took centre stage, was well cooked and worked with the tomato and coriander salsa that encircled it. For my main, I went for the pan-fried sea bream because I can’t resist it if it’s on a menu. It was perfectly crispy on the skin and just-so inside. There were two fillets – too much for me despite best efforts – and they ate well with the Malaysian-spiced veggie rice and lime butter sauce. The fish perched on top of the rice accompanied by pak choi and sprinkled with a bunch of watercress. Again the flavours worked well together and my wonderful glass of Spee-Wah cabernet sauvignon was another well-placed piece of counsel. For pud, I again followed recommendation and went for the peach melba. Talk about a showstopper! Thin white chocolate formed a peach-coloured and peach-shaped shell – complete with leaf sprig on top – and inside was a parfait, in the centre of which lurked a raspberry sauce. If that sounds too much, it was actually all very subtle. The quality of the pudding really made me sit up and listen – and I begin to check my diary for potential windows as the waitress tells me about the restaurant’s Festive Afternoon Tea which starts on 1 Dec and runs through to 7 Jan. I’d recommend giving the new Admiral St David’s a go. It’s a welcome respite from the weather of the Bay in wintertime and, to be honest, it’s a bit of a crowdpleaser – whether you’re a Christmas shopper, a party-goer, on business, on holiday or treating the family.

DINING DETAILS Admiral St David’s, St David’s Hotel, Havannah St, Cardiff Bay,; 02920 454045; Open all day for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner Prices starters £6-9; main courses £15-25; puds £6-£10 Atmosphere friendly/corporate mix. Relaxing haven from the weather and the city. I CARDIFF LIFE I 71



EAT, DRINK and BE MERRY! The perfect antidote for post-roast hosts. These dishes are so fast, simple and overflowing with flavour, they’re just right for the Christmas lunch aftermath. Many thanks to PENYLAN PANTRY’s Melissa Boothman and BAR 44’s Tom and Owen Morgan for sharing them

ROASTED GARLIC, CREAM CHEESE & CHIVE MINI JACKET POTATOES Ingredients 1 bag of salad potatoes (organic if possible) A good extra virgin olive oil 1 bulb of garlic 250g organic, full-fat cream cheese Sea salt and cracked black pepper Lemon zest from 1 lemon 1 small packet of chives


Method 1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. 2. Coat the salad potatoes in olive oil, place on a roasting tray and sprinkle with sea salt. Put into the hot oven for 35 minutes, or until soft in the centre and the skin has browned. Test with a fork. 3. Now place the whole garlic bulb onto a small ovenproof tray and place into the same oven as the potatoes. Cook the garlic for 15 minutes, or until squidgy. 4. While the potatoes and garlic are in the oven, place the cream cheese, sea salt, cracked black pepper, lemon zest, and 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil into a bowl.

Now whisk together until smooth. 5. Remove the garlic and allow to cool. 6. Once cooled, squeeze each garlic clove into the cream cheese mix. Once the whole bulb has been squeezed out, whisk into the mix, until smooth. Taste, adding more seasoning if needed. 7. Once the potatoes are cooked, cut a cross into the top, squeeze each one slightly, and spoon a dollop of the cream cheese mix into the potatoes. 8. To finish, cut the chives over the filled mini potatoes with a pair of kitchen scissors, and sprinkle any leftover lemon zest you might have. Yummy.



1980s CHEESE & PINEAPPLE ON STICKS The success of this perfect-for-sharing recipe lies in assembling the ingredients and using superb-quality cheese Ingredients • A good-quality, handmade cheddar. I’ve used Quicke’s goat’s cheddar, made in Devon by Mary Quicke – this is the only cheddar made with goat’s milk you can buy, from the Cheese Pantry in Cardiff Indoor Market. You could also use up any leftover hard cheeses from the cheese board.

• A whole, fresh pineapple, organic if possible It’s really important that the pineapple is perfectly ripe. I recommend buying this a week before you use it. Leave it in the fruit bowl to ripen and don’t put it in the fridge. • Cocktail sticks. I’ve used bamboo ones – plastic not recommended. Method 1. Roughly cut your cheese into 2cm squares. (If some of the cheese crumbles into tiny bits, keep them, as they are perfect for sprinkling on top of pasta.)

2. Now slice your pineapple and cut the pineapple into 2cm squares – it doesn’t have to be perfect. 3. Now assemble the elements. I use pineapple as my base and then cheese on top, but do it in any order you like. You could even triple layer. Some yummy additions: • Drizzle some honey on the final sticks and sprinkle crushed walnuts on top. • Lime zest works well as a garnish. • Heat lovers will love a dusting of cayenne pepper. w I CARDIFF LIFE I 75



ROAST HERITAGE CARROTS, WATERCRESS AJO BLANCO & ALMOND PICADA Ingredients for the carrots: 2kg heritage carrots, peeled and oblique cut 1 x half lemon ( juice and zest) 20g caster sugar 20g salt

Method 1. Put the carrots in a pan and submerge them in water. 2. Add the lemon, sugar and salt to the pan and bring to the boil. 3. Remove the carrots once they are al dente (80 per cent cooked). 4. Separate the carrots into 2-litre containers and place them in the fridge. Ingredients for the watercress ajo blanco: 250g sliced white bread, crusts removed 900ml water 50ml chardonnay vinegar 100ml olive oil 5g Maldon sea salt 400g blanched almonds 30g garlic cloves 3 x punnets of watercress, blanched and refreshed Method 1. Combine the bread, water, vinegar, oil and salt, and leave for 10 minutes.

PAN CON TOMATE Ingredients: 1 x slice sourdough bread Garlic clove (for the rub) 1 dessertspoon of tomato pulp Olive oil, to drizzle Flat leaf parsley, chopped Maldon sea salt Method 1. Toast the bread and rub the garlic very lightly over it. 2. Spread the tomato pulp over the bread, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the parsley and a pinch of sea salt.

Bar 44, Tapas Y Copas, has branches in Cowbridge, Penarth and Cardiff 03333 444049 Penylan Pantry & Cheese Pantry;


2. Add the almonds, garlic and watercress and blend the soup mixture until smooth. Ingredients for the almond picada: 200g almonds, chopped 200g shallots, finely chopped 10g fresh parsley, chopped 5g Maldon sea salt Method Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Plating up Spoon the ajo blanco on to the bottom of a round bowl, arrange the carrots on the dish, sprinkle with the almond picada and garnish with green leaves. Dessert choice For a boozy dessert, top raisins (40g per person) with Pedro Ximenez sherry (50ml per person) and leave overnight. Pour this over portions of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy, with a glass on the side.

Stefano’s Ristorante Italiano Pontcanna welcomes you to celebrate the festive season in traditional Italian style! Featuring a delicious Italian menu crafted by a new head chef, Daniela, guests can enjoy wonderful dishes such as Seafood Spaghetti or Beef Medallions with Pepe Nero sauce, served in a beautiful family restaurant with great hospitality. Lunch - 2 courses £16.50 / 3 courses £19.95. Dinner - 2 courses £19.50 / 3 courses £22.95. All menus are served with complimentary Italian coffee and homemade biscuits.

14 Romilly Crescent, Pontcanna, Cardiff CF11 9NR Stefano’s Pontcanna is open throughout December for lunch and dinner for festive bookings. Book via the website or call Linda on 02920372768

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SINGING the BLUES OWEN DAVIES from the Cheese Pantry serenades us with all we need to know about the King of English Cheese – the Stilton


s we see the nights draw in and as we grab for those extra layers, so we see a change in our diet and in what we crave for. And as Christmas approaches we start fantasising about cheeseboards, chocolates and good cheer (by which we mean port, of course!) Blue cheese is back in the limelight at this time of the year and for our part it’s all about the King of English Cheese, AKA the Stilton. Stilton is a PDO cheese which means it’s protected and can only be made in the counties of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. It follows other regulations including that the cheese must be made in a cylinder shape and must be made with pasteurised milk. Stilton is said to date back as early as the 1700s and is now one of the most recognised blue cheese types around the word; it’s hard to believe that only seven dairies remain to make all that Stilton! Our favourite Stilton dairy at Cheese Pantry is Colston Bassett, one of the smaller Stilton makers, which remains in the hands of a farmer’s cooperative. Colston have been making Stilton for over 100 years and follow traditional cheesemaking methods, including

the important hand labelling of the curds – this gives Colston its distinct smooth and wonderful creamy texture.


• Look for a natural, crusty rind. • The interior should be well marbled from the interior to the outer rind. • It should never be too strong, dry or sharp – Stilton sold in supermarkets often tastes metallic, and this should never be the case. • Stilton should be moist, rich, with a meltin-the-mouth smoothness – sometimes with a hint of spice at the end… delicious!


Drink Port is the classic combination with Stilton – and it works! The rich sweetness of port pairs well with the saltiness and creaminess of Stilton. Alternatives include Ratafia de Champagne, which is slightly lighter than port and made with the same grapes used for Champagne. Stout is also a perfect companion; again, it’s the richness, sweetness and smooth finish that works so well with Stilton. The Cheese & Beer Club nights at Small Bar often have a Stilton-stout pairing! Last month we paired Stilton with Konrad’s Russian Imperial Stout. Crafty Devil, Pipes, Tiny Rebel & Lithian Welsh brewers all have


This is one of our favourite blues at Cheese Pantry, and it’s a winner too… it got a super gold at the World Cheese Awards. Made in Yorkshire from ewe’s milk, it’s a little bit nutty, with a wonderful sweetness which contrasts beautifully with the cheese’s inherent saltiness. PERL LAS

Our very own Blue King! Made in Ceredigion by Carwyn Adams, this is a rich, salty blue – surprisingly creamy with a hint of spice towards the end. This blue cheese never fails to impress. HARB OURNE BLU E

Perceptions can be deceiving! With hardly any blue veining, this cheese can often be mistaken for a weak link. How wrong! Made by Ben Harris at Ticklemore Dairy, Devon – this blue cheese packs a spicy and floral punch as it ages. BEAUVALE

Beauvale is our answer to gorgonzola! Made by Cropwell Bishop Creamery, which is also famed for making Stilton, this is their answer to a creamy, continental blue. Super soft and luxurious – just spread it on!

notable examples to play around with – so come grab some Stilton (on the last Sunday of each month). Cracker Fig & Spelt Crackers by Peter’s Yard Marmalade Yes, try it! We stock a blood orange marmalade with port, which is just divine with Stilton! Cheese Pantry is located at Cardiff Central Market. For more: @cheesepantry



beauty is power ... And a well-chosen laser treatment or cryogenic lipolysis is its sword. We’ve taken specialist advice from five beauty specialists in the ’Diff






1. Hair today, gone tomorrow For state-of-the-art hair removal, check out The ME Clinic in Cardiff. Providing the most advanced blended laser treatment available, it suits all skin types and is incredibly fast, releasing two wavelengths simultaneously and results in clients being hair-free in up to six sessions. The new treatment – exclusive to The ME Clinic – is safe, highly comfortable, effective and long-lasting. It is available for men and women with free patch-testing and consultations. Single-treatment sessions start from £45. The ME Clinic, 8 Churchill Way, Cardiff; CF10 2DX;; 02921 676672

3. Laser precision The Beauty Advance Laser Clinic specialises, as the name suggests, in laser treatment. So you’re in safe hands when it comes to hair removal, tattoo removal, and treating skin issues such as acne, fine lines, skin tags and much more. Looked after by Daniela and her knowledgable team, you will be offered a free consultation at the outset to get trustworthy advice. Beauty Advance Laser Clinic; The Coach House, Whitchurch Common, Cardiff CF14 1DW;; 029 2052 9552

2. Ice, ice baby Fat freezing is a great way to sculpt the body and permanently reduce stubborn fat. Based in central Cardiff, the Ice Body Sculpting clinic uses the latest cryogenic lipolysis. They claim to be the only clinic in the south west who can treat more than one area simultaneously. They also combine the treatment with complementary light therapy to tighten the skin. The treatment is an alternative to liposuction and is often used by celebrities. Results can be seen in as little as two weeks – so why not call to find out more?


Ice Body Sculpting; First Floor, Trelai Park Dental Clinic, 122 Cowbridge Road West, Cardiff, CF5 5BT;; 02921 202190

4. In the Vale The Vale Laser Clinic is a great place for all-round beauty treatments. Their laser technology attacks skin pigmentation issues as well as thread veins, ageing, general skin rejuvenation and unwanted hair and tattoo removal. You can have a chat with them first to get general advice. They also have the Tathan Beautique which offers a full range of beauty treatments.

5. On beauty duty Cardiff Life finalists, Cardiff Beauty Clinic prides itself on offering effective nonsurgical treatments in a relaxing environment that steer both women and men away from going under the knife. All treatments are FDA approved and are carried out by our highly qualified beauty practitioners. Call in or go online to find out more about individual services to suit you.

Vale Laser Clinic, 1A The Square, St Athan Village, Vale of Glamorgan CF62 4PF;; 01446 750 880

Cardiff Beauty Clinic; 866 Newport Road, Rumney, Cardiff CF3 4LJ;; 02920 364500


FANTASTIC OFFERS FOR DECEMBER Upper and Lower stomach fat freezing £150 instead of £200 10% OFF all IPL hair removal packages.

Dermal Fillers Lip Filler - 0.55ml - £150 1ml - £200

Beauty LVL Lashes plus Gelish nails - £55 Russian Lashes - £60

Now approved by the HIW for Super Hair Removal.

Gift Vouchers Available! Perfect for Christmas... CONTACT US: 866 Newport Road, Rumney, Cardiff CF3 4LJ. Tel: 029 2036 4500. Cardiff Beauty Online

Cardiff Beauy Clinic Email:

Open - Monday 10-6, Tuesday 10-8, Wednesday 10-6, Thursday 10-8, Friday 10-6, Saturday 10-6

For more information find us online at:

More adventures in party-going

Rufus Bowen and Grace Jones



Shelley Phillips, Megan Richardson and Grace Nelder

St David’s Hotel was the setting for Cardiff Life’s 10th Anniversary Reception on 20 November. Over 100 of Cardiff’s finest gathered to network over incredible canapés and wine. Thanks to The Dead Canary, Olsen Fitness, Illustrate Digital and Accent Press for the amazing prizes they donated! Photos by Eminent Photography

Vicky Williams and Andy Hall

Alastair and Susan Hoy

Adrian Harries and Jay Page

Sara Llewellyn, Richard Rees and Amanda Simisker


James Robinson, Gemma Simons and Emma Constantinou

Emma Thomas, Tracey Horrigan, Ann Tudball and Mike Walmsley

David Smith and Tom Davies

SOCIETY Anne Morgan and Lucy Thompson

Allison Bills, Melanie Squire and Kier Olsen

Eloise Staniforth, Peter Grzonka, Gwion Prydderch and Guto Evans

Miranda and Paul Thomas and Ben Roberts Emily Anthony, Grace Nelder and Elin Rees

Helen Meek and Keira Holmes Zoe Westerman and Steve Sulley

Sarah Clifford, Cassie Houghton and Peter Grzonka

Mark Hobbs, Mark George and Wendy Hobbs I CARDIFF LIFE I 89


RECORD CROWDS Introbiz celebrated the sixth consecutive year of the Introbiz Business Expo on 2 November at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff. With Moorhouse Group the headline sponsor, the event saw thousands of attendees networking and creating business opportunities with high-quality brands. Notable highlights were talks from worldrenowned speakers such as The Apprentice winners Alana Spencer and Mark Wright and (sold-out) seminars from Google. The network breakfast event had a record-breaking turnout with former Wales Captain Ryan Jones and Scrum V broadcaster Sean Holley opening the event. For more:

The Pitch winners with judges Lyndon Wood, Hayley Parsons OBE, Stifyn Parri, Ken Poole and Ashley Cooper Sean Holley and Ryan Jones opened Introbiz Expo

Thousands attended the event

The networking breakfast event saw a recordbreaking turnout

Tracey Smolinski, The Apprentice winner Alana Spencer and Paul Smolinski



BEAU TRADERS The Brogue Trader held Brogue Goes Beaujolais for the third time and raised a whopping ÂŁ48,000 for City Hospice and the city centre cathedral charity. Great food by Spiro, a celebrity Q&A and entertainment to boot. For more:

Chris Macnamara, Sam Wharburton, Spiro Borg and Tyler Morgan

Katie, Sam Wharburton, Jonathan and Gemma from Laing Jewellers

Rupert Moon

Spiro Borg


Chris Macnamara and Nicky Piper from City Hospice with the big cheque


THE GREAT AND THE GOOD The Gentle Good is the stage name of Gareth Bonello, a singer-songwriter and folk musician from Cardiff. The Gentle Good’s fourth album, Ruins/Adfeilion, was announced in October as the winner of the Welsh Music Prize 2017. Gareth accepted his gong at a ceremony at Milk&Sugar at the Old Library in Cardiff.

Welsh Music Prize nominee, HMS Morris

Welsh Music Prize nominee, Kelly Lee Owens

Rich Chitty (Bubblewrap records), Gareth Bonello (the Gentle Good), Llion Robertson and Seb Goldfinch (Cotton Wolf) Bethan Elfyn (BBC), Daniel Minty (Minty’s Gig Guide to Cardiff), Romesh Dodangoda (record producer) and Darren Broom (Lost Agency PR)

BOOK LAUNCH Eddie Butler’s new novel The Asparagus Thieves spans the era from the First World War to the present day, with settings ranging from the suburbs of Cardiff and rural Pembrokeshire to Mallorca and Mametz Wood. It’s a new departure for the multi-talented author, rugby commentator and former Welsh international, whose previous two novels on the mythical Gonzo Davies explored the South Wales hinterland of Welsh rugby. The book was launched in October at La Cuina restaurant in Cardiff at the start of a signing tour around Wales. Forthcoming dates include Chepstow bookshop on 6 December and the Victoria Bookshop in Haverfordwest on 9 December. The Asparagus Thieves is published by Gomer Press at £8.99.

Eddie Butler with journalist Carolyn Hitt and guest Eddie Butler with the Chepstow Books team I CARDIFF LIFE I 93

SOCIETY Guests enjoy delicious cocktails on arrival provided by Dead Canary Cardiff

AFTER PART Y The Introbiz Expo VIP After Party 2017 at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff welcomed guests including businesses, world class speakers and television personalities. Sponsored by Laing Jewellers, Cardiff, drinks were flowing, connections were made and thousands of pounds were raised for Ty Hafan and Snowdogs Wales: Tails in Wales.

A packed out room at the Motorpoint Arena in aid of Ty Hafan

For more:

Tracey and Paul Smolinski with the Eventagious team The Apprentice winners Alanah Spencer and Mark Wright enjoy the party

BEAUJOLAIS DAY Introbiz’s prestigious Beaujolais Day event at The Madeira Restaurant and Chapel Bar 1877 saw a record-breaking turnout. In its ninth consecutive year, the event saw hundreds of businesses enjoy a delicious two-course meal, consume copious glasses of Beaujolais Nouveau and demonstrated the power of great networking. Introbiz raised over £6,000 for The Pituitary Foundation, and are proud to have hosted this event for the Welsh business community.

Beaujolais Day successfully raised over £6,000 for The Pituitary Foundation Introbiz’s Beaujolais Day had a record-breaking turnout

For more:

Guests enjoyed networking at The Madeira Restaurant, Cardiff


The Blake Morgan team on Beaujolais Day


GETTING MARRIED ABROAD? Do you need expert legal help with family matters? BERRY SMITH LAWYERS in Cardiff and Bridgend, who are experts in this field, can help...


have recently got engaged and my fiancée wants us to get married abroad. My friends were telling me horror stories about marriages abroad, even saying that the wedding may not be recognised when I return to Wales. It's got me worried but am I being over anxious?

A: While reported cases continue to make the headlines every now and again, if you do your homework, and plan your wedding carefully, there should be little need for concern about planning a wedding abroad. The general rule for couples marrying overseas is that the marriage is valid as long as the ceremony is carried out in accordance

with laws of the country stipulating how the ceremony should be performed, and as long as the paperwork required is provided in advance. There are exceptions to this general rule so it is essential that you research and contact local authorities in the country in which you plan to get married, prior to making any travel plans. If you are aware of, and comply with, all relevant formalities in advance of the wedding you can then move onto worrying about more important things (like the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses!). You can find contact details and other information on the government’s website at, which is an excellent resource to start with. CL

Katie McColgan, Partner (Family Department) at Berry Smith

For more information, please call us on: 029 2034 5511 or 01656 645 525;






IT’S A PEOPLE THING: CIPD WALES AWARDS WINNERS Two individuals and eight teams were honoured at the National Museum Cardiff The winners of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in Wales People Management Awards 2017 represent the very best in HR, learning and people management. “We have been delighted by the enthusiasm shown, the number of entries, and the outstanding quality of the work showcased”, said Lesley Richards, Head of CIPD Wales. Emerging Practitioner of the Year, sponsored by LHH Penna, was Catrin Masling, of Cardiff-based Circle IT. The judges said: “Catrin immediately impressed with her energy, enthusiasm and confidence.” Winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Profession in Wales, sponsored by Hugh James solicitors, was Jon Bridge of Brains

Brewery, who has played a key part in establishing a strong relationship with Cardiff and Vale College. The eight team winners also won praise from the judges for their group ethic, impact, hard work, people development, change management and collaborative efforts. The winners were: Wales & West Utilities Apprenticeship Programme (Best Apprenticeship Scheme), sponsored by Welsh Government; Trivallis (Best Change Management Initiative), sponsored by Reed HR; Hafod (Outstanding Creativity & Innovation in People Management), sponsored by Coastal Housing Group; Welsh Government (Best Diversity and Inclusion Initiative), sponsored

by University of South Wales; Cardiff Council (Best Employee Engagement Initiative), sponsored by Sitka Recruitment; City and County of Swansea (Best Health and Wellbeing Initiative), sponsored by RW Learning; Insight HRC (Best HR/L&D Consultancy), sponsored by Human Resourcing; Wales & West Utilities (Best In-house Team), sponsored by HR Spectrum. “It was a tight-run thing, and the winners are truly deserving of the accolades they have been handed”, said Lesley Richards, Head of CIPD Wales. For more: wales

Who’s going to live in Borneo? Find out on page 103…


That’s how much seed funding Jenny Evans has received from her Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Award For more

Got a business news story for us? Email I CARDIFF LIFE I 101



JESSICA DRAWS Creative winner of the 2017 Cardiff Life Awards, Jessica Draws gives us a low-down on the buzz of the award, why she is saving a bottle of champagne and why she loves running a business in Cardiff So… how did it feel to win a Cardiff Life Award? I was completely convinced I had no chance at all, the category was insane! I was so convinced, I had taken my shoes off and was lounging about in my chair, ready to demonstrate my gracious loser face! When my name was announced, my husband and I stared at each other for what felt like 10 minutes before I moved to get up. I didn’t get a chance to put my shoes back on though so I collected it barefoot. What did you enjoy most about Awards night? It’s so sociable and there was such a great atmosphere of encouragement and support I can’t say I wouldn’t have enjoyed it a little more if I’d had the chance to enjoy some champagne, but as I was about five months pregnant at the time I had to give that a miss! Where is your Award now? That beautifully crafted award is sitting proudly on a shelf in my home office. It always makes me smile and gives me a little pick-me-up when I’m having a challenging day. What was it about your year that made you stand out, do you think? I have genuinely been trying to figure that one out since the night. There were much bigger, more prolific companies in the category. But I guess it’s not all about size. If I had to, I’d say it’s the personality that comes through in the work, the cheerful marketing and the journey of the last five to six years of running the business. You’re an award-winning designer and illustrator – what sets you apart? I always tell people that I offer marketing materials for businesses who definitely don’t want to look corporate. In fact, the strapline is ‘strictly not for corporate wallflowers’. I specialise in transforming data into digestible, attractive and effective communications. I always get a thrill in transforming reams of excel data into 102 I CARDIFF LIFE I

an informative animated video or a printed informational booklet. The best way to hook eyeballs is to design your data, not just declare it. What’s new and exciting in your world? It’s been a very exciting time recently! 12 weeks ago we welcomed our son Maximus into the world. Our second child in two years. My husband and I had a grand total of about three weeks off. We are working strange hours and balancing work and family life is super-difficult. But we love a challenge! We’re also looking forward to attending the Great British Entrepreneur Awards where I’m a finalist in the Creative category. As a business, what advantages does Cardiff offer you? It’s small enough that you tend to meet the same businesses at different events, from corporate networking dos to casual creative meet-ups. And then the city is large enough that there’s always plenty going on. It’s also a beautiful city and I feel proud when I get to show clients around. Which other businesses do you admire? I really admire Matt Jones and his agency S3 Advertising. That agency is the kind of agency I always wanted to work for when I was doing my degree and starting out freelancing. Super creative, innovative and based in Cardiff. When I was in university we were constantly being told that if we wanted to make it as successful designers then London was the only place to be. London wasn’t for me, so I decided to stay put and build something myself. But if I hadn’t, I’d really hope Matt would have given me a job by now. Finally, tell us a secret or little-known fact about yourself… I actually have a pretty serious collection of tattoos. All by a selection of my favourite artists and illustrators. They’re not on show a lot but if you ask to see them, I’d definitely be able to show you without making you blush. For more:

HAPPY HALLOWEEN AT CARDIFF CARE HOME Staff from a Cardiff care home and their children had a spooky time with residents celebrating Halloween in front of the TV cameras. Ty Llandaff, a private nursing, residential and respite care home in Pontcann which opened in January, organised the event after being inspired by Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, which recently aired on Channel 4 in which pensioners and children interacted. This resulted in some substantial improvements in the pensioners’ mental and physical health, while the children also showed benefits including language development and increased confidence. Janice Evans explained: “We were so inspired by the show that we wanted to do something similar.” Twelve of the staff’s children, from one year to nine-year-old, dressed up in Halloween costumes and took part in joint activities with the residents including reading story books, playing games, singing and dancing. A TV company got wind of the story and sent a film crew who captured a series of extraordinary and moving scenes on camera. Janice said: “Residents benefited enormously from the children’s visit, while the youngsters mutually also had a lot of fun. “We work tirelessly to make our care home a wonderful place to be. Anything that positively impacts the lives of our residents is a great result for us and this was very success. There was lots of laughter and fun. We saw endearing relationships forged between some of our residents and the children which was wonderful to witness.” For more:


TOP PRIZE FOR CARDIFF TEXTILES STUDENT Jenny Evans, a Cardiff School of Art and Design student, was declared winner of the 2017 Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards in London in October. Jenny will receive £25,000 of seed funding, a funded intern and a package of mentoring and support services. Jenny said: “My tutors in the textiles department, staff at the Centre for Entrepreneurship and the Santander team at Cardiff Met have all offered their time, support and advice. This experience has been fantastic and I am beyond excited for the future. I intend to launch a brand-new fabric and wallpaper line, which I will develop throughout my final year”.

The Chief Executive of Santander UK, Nathan Bostock, offered his congratulations and purchased Jenny’s portfolio to display in his office. Jenny’s artwork is heavily influenced by nature and is designed to be beautiful and scientifically accurate. Jenny will soon link up with the John England Irish Linen group in County Down, Ireland to share knowledge. Then, as part of a Santander-funded mobility project, she will spend 2.5 weeks living with a tribe in Borneo, to learn more about a specialist type of weaving practised in the rainforests. For more:


2018 CARDIFF LIFE AWARDS’ JUDGES REVEALED The line-up of judges is confirmed. Nominations are open. Tickets are on sale. Another new sponsor has joined. The momentum builds with barely three months to go until the uberglam night for the 2018 Cardiff Life Awards on March 15. A panel of impeccably independent judges will assess the nominations and meet to discuss the possible winners. They are chosen from disparate areas of Cardiff’s business world, to reflect the diversity of the Awards. The line-up this year looks particularly strong and eclectic: Jessica Shipman (NatWest Cardiff ), Adrian Field (For Cardiff – the Cardiff BID), Emma Leeke (Leekes), Pete Grzonka (Cardiff FC), Simon Rogers (Nuffield Cardiff & Vale), Carmela Carrubba (RealSFX), Natasha Williams (Brains), Karl Baranski (Geldards), Victoria Rees-Price (Motonovo) and Mike James (Cardiff & Vale College). “We’re thrilled to welcome our panel of judges to the Cardiff Life Awards,” said Steph Dodd, event manager at MediaClash, which publishes Cardiff Life. “Choosing the Award winners will be a tough task – but we’re confident that our judges from all parts of the Cardiff business community will make excellent decisions.” The Awards sold out in 2017 and demand is already running ahead this time. “Our aim is clear: to have the most prestigious, credible Awards across the full spectrum of Cardiff businesses and organisations – from the coolest indie to the largest of corporates.” The latest Sponsor on board is Robertsons Solicitors, taking the Charity category. Nominations are already flowing in. New this year: companies are asked to elaborate on what they have done for Cardiff and their teams, such as charity work, partnerships and other civic engagements. “Companies are so proud of what they do for their city and this gives them a chance to highlight their own good work,” Steph added. The Cardiff Life Awards take place on March 15 at the beautiful City Hall. Any company or organisation in the area can nominate themselves for an Award, free of charge. Entries can be made in more than one category and cover the year of 2017.

Momentum is building – have you nominated your company yet?

The categories are: Arts, Bar, Business Services, Café/Coffee Shop, Charity, Creative, Education, Event, Gastropub, Hair & Beauty, Health & Wellbeing, Homes & Interiors, Legal & Financial, Leisure & Tourism, New Business, Property, Restaurant and Retailer. A Platinum Award will also be awarded on the night to celebrate the best of the Winners. Businesses can also get involved with the Awards through Sponsorship. For details, contact Mark George: The burgeoning sponsor roster is led by Headline Sponsor Cardiff Airport, and then Savills, Cardiff BID, WSET, Genero, Chapel 1877, Capital FM – and now Robertsons Solicitors For more: @CardiffLifeAwds I CARDIFF LIFE I 103

The Grange The Vale The Grange is a 17th century five bedroom stone built barn conversion, completed in 1990 to a high specification, tucked away in a select and quiet close, within the idyllic village of Penmark. This truly capacious residence of character offers many special features including a large and level private southerly facing garden, extensive private parking with two driveways providing space for several vehicles, an extra-large detached double garage and wonderful views directly on to open green fields adjacent to the property. The extensive living space provides approximately 4,000 sq. ft., an exceptional figure for many homes, ideal for a large growing family or potential for two generation living accommodation. Charming period features include wonderful exposed stone walls, flagstone floors, solid stone open fireplaces, exposed beamed ceilings and farmhouse style pine panelled doors with characteristic handles. The property also benefits gas fired central heating (LPG), sealed double glazed pretty small pane timber casement windows and a magnificent central entrance reception hall with a hardwood spindle balustrade staircase leading to an open gallery landing. This bright and capacious family home provides exceptional accommodation including an open plan lounge and sitting room with French doors that open on to a private paved sun terrace, a large formal dining room, a magnificent open plan fitted kitchen breakfast room and family room, a downstairs cloakroom with a period suite, a large utility room, a versatile snug/office and a separate independent boot room/ cloak room off the main hall. There are five bedrooms - four being exceptionally large doubles, the master bedroom is a generous size (18’ 10” x 16’ 7”), and is equipped with a spacious ensuite dressing room (12’ 5” x 9’ 2”), and a stylish and contemporary ensuite bathroom with both a bath and separate shower. The guest bedroom includes a further modern contemporary and stylish ensuite shower room, whilst a large family bathroom serves the remaining three bedrooms. Many of the bedrooms have built out double wardrobes enclosed by farmhouse pine panelled doors, and the three front main double bedrooms which include the master enjoy wonderful panoramic views across the extensive garden and directly on to open green fields. There are also two Juliet balconies to the front approached via double doors and the wonderful location this substantial home boasts is reflective of the select community driven village of Penmark, with just 63 properties together with a highly popular public house and restaurant, The Six Bells Inn, a local Anglican church (St Mary’s Church) and a village hall with a thriving community activity base. Within a short driving distance is Rhoose Airport enabling fast access to international travel, and a little further within the Vale is both Cowbridge market town, Barry and Culverhouse Cross, whilst within immediate driving distance are a high variety of local character.

For sale with PA Black Cowbridge Branch 01446 772857

£750,000 - £775,000

Ridgeway Lisvane A capacious detached double fronted five bedroom family house, occupying a fine position with a particularly large corner garden, and fronting a quiet residential road, away from busy passing traffic. Built in 1970, this substantial property benefits from an attached double garage, PVC double glazed replacement windows, cavity wall insulation and gas heating with panel radiators. This well designed versatile residence is one of only a small number of similar designed houses available in this location and would prove ideal for a growing family or possible two generation living. The extensive surrounding gardens command a high level of privacy by means of a mature well-manicured screen of conifer trees, whilst the main garden is laid to lawn beyond a paved sun terrace. In recent years the space between the double garage has been converted into a large store room/ utility room (15’9 x 1010), and a new white Roca ensuite contemporary shower room has been re-modelled. This spacious home comprises a central entrance reception hall (11’5 x 10’8), a super-sized lounge (27’0 x 13’9) into a circular shaped bay, a large formal dining room (11’10 x 10’7), a kitchen/breakfast room (13’5 x 10’10), a downstairs cloak room and a separate snug/study. The first floor comprises five good sized bedrooms and two bathrooms, one ensuite. A double width 3/4 car entrance drive leads to a double garage (16’9 x 16’2), and the garage is positioned alongside the property, with room to extend! Only a small number of five bedroom purpose built houses were built in Ridgeway, and many of those have been extended right across the double garage to allow for a further master suite which could provide an ensuite dressing room, a large master bedroom and an ensuite bathroom. In other cases many owners have converted both the kitchen and dining room into a super-sized open plan living and kitchen area which would be approximately 21’5 in length. In order to complete these extensions full planning and building regulation approval would be required.

For sale with PA Black Llanishen Branch 02920 618552




KNOCK ON WOOD Come on in and bag a sofa – we’ve found the perfect family home in Lisvane By K AT I E K I SSOON







nglewood has many strengths on first glance: it is being sold with no chain; it is located in a gorgeous village under five miles from the centre of Cardiff; it is set back from the road in mature grounds; and it is in good repair, quite perfect as it is, but also somewhat of a blank canvas if you’re wanting to adorn it a little, splash a bit of flamboyance here and there. Historians think that Lisvane probably got its name during the 8th or 9th century as Welsh administration grew and developed; the Welsh name Llysfaen, or Llys Faen, meaning ‘stone court’ (llys – stone and faen/maen – court) and pertaining to the place where taxes were taken. There’s no sign of a stone court now but today the semi-rural village of Lisvane is an affluent suburb in the north of Cardiff. Popular with families, there is a village shop, a couple of pubs (The Black Griffin and the Ty Mawr) a primary school and a church. Inglewood was built in the late 1930s and combines the charms of a mid-century build with modern renovation styles and techniques. Its age also secures it a considerable plot. There’s a pleasing layout to Inglewood. Its central hallway – with the limestone flooring which, incidentally, runs through much of the ground floor – fans out to the main living rooms. Behind oak doors you’ll find the sitting room, study and dining room, all with neutral tones on walls and floors and begging for finishing touches from the new owner. The lounge is big enough to accommodate a feature fireplace, French doors and three – yes, three – big sofas. One for me, one for you, one more to spare… The big open-plan kitchen and living room is an example of how to blend new with old. It’s big, light and modern and has been made with quality at the top of the agenda – high-gloss black units and solid walnut worktops with a host of integrated stainless steel Bosch 110 I CARDIFF LIFE I

The light bounces around the bright, minimal interiors of this 1930s home – all it needs is a family to give it some lived-in character





miles from Cardiff centre


and Siemens appliances. Double doors lead through to a cosy family room. On the first floor, there are six bedrooms, one of which has an en-suite bathroom. Separately, there is a beautifully fitted family bathroom with a freestanding tub bath and a large walk-in shower. Outside, the delightful rear garden is well maintained with a good size lawn, shrub borders and a wood-decked seating area. To the front are mature trees and hedging, a lawned area and a roomy driveway too.

sq ft

£1,250,000 price

For more info please contact Savills, 12 Windsor Place, Cardiff, CF10 3BY. Tel 02920 368930, savills.couk




illian Clarke says writer Susie Wild’s poems are ‘“spells that bewitch the ordinary”, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch says she casts “a benevolent spell over her reader” and Susie herself says she is “descended from white witches.” Let’s meet her... Where’s home in Cardiff? I rent a house in Splott with my partner Torben and our cat Hooper. They both make it special, as does a room of my own in which to write. It is our third place together, and a bit of an identikit house to our last. Some friends didn’t realise we’d moved as the layout is the same. This one doesn’t have a studio in the garden, although it does now have a shed. It also came without bookshelves which had to be remedied quickly with a run to IKEA. We both read a lot. I love the original black and red tiles in the kitchen. My partner is a prop maker for WNO, so as well as books, there are interesting objects and artefacts that he has made or collected on display. Your first poetry collection, Better Houses, has just been published – what inspired it? I’ve moved a lot, both in my early childhood and in my adult life. In a state of constant displacement, the poems in Better Houses flit from tents and gypsy caravans to boarding school, to lodgings and house sitting. The collection offers a half-remembered, half-invented life of pub crawl dates and doors slamming, as the narrators fall in and out of love and spend a life packing and unpacking boxes. But the book isn’t only about moving house; the poems also hunt fossils and comets, escape fires and great white sharks and consider life on other planets. There is humour, some silliness and some sadness. Torben designed the wonderful cover too. As a writer/poet, who are your influences? Gin and tonic. What are you working on at the moment? Remembering to go to the gym. Do you have a soundtrack for your book? If I was richer, I would have quoted from the Talking Heads song This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) at the front of the book. I’ve listened to it a lot while thinking about the collection. It is and isn’t a classic love song. There is a lot of anxiety under the surface. Proudest moment so far? Pride always comes before a fall, or so I’ve heard. Your most embarrassing thing? Would be all the more embarrassing by reliving it. If you could get up on your soapbox about a particular issue, what would it be? Brexit. My partner is German. Dream dinner party guests? The ones who remember to bring a bottle and don’t steal my books when I’m not looking. The ones who know not to talk to me when I am cooking. The ones I don’t need to impress.



With a good G&T as her muse, the Cardiffbased poet’s bewitching verse flits between humour, silliness and sadness How would your loved ones describe you? Difficult. Funny and difficult.

Best thing about Cardiff? Bute Park. I never tire of walking through it.

Who would play you in a film about your life? I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

Favourite shops in Cardiff? The Carnival pop up bookshop, when we are open. We may pop up again for the festive season. All the bookshops, in fact. And Beanfreaks, Wally’s and Jacob’s Market.

Guiltiest pleasure? I don’t do guilt, I apologise. What’s the most important lesson in your life? Sometimes you have to do exactly what you want. Karaoke choice? I choose no karaoke, thanks. When did you last cry? Yesterday. I’m emotional. What’s on your bookshelf at the moment? Oh, to only have one bookshelf! The house is full of books, and book submissions to read for my editing day job. I just finished reading Maggie O’Farrell’s new essay collection on near-death experiences, I Am, I Am, I Am,though. This also made me cry. Helen Dunmore’s last novel, a thoughtful gift, is also sat on the coffee table waiting for me. I almost have the headspace for fiction again now. Must-watch television programme? The Handmaid’s Tale gripped me lately. I’d prefer to watch less television really – I used to live without it. If you had a superpower, what would it be? Perfect memory. An invisibility cloak. Or the ability to make decisions.

Cardiff Life is ten this year – where were you and what were you doing ten years ago? I was making mistakes in Bristol and Swansea. Locally, where do you like to eat and drink? I like BrewDog, because I can have a decent gluten-free pint of beer there. I also like a good cocktail, which you can get in Pennyroyal. Food is more complicated these days but Milgi, Wahaca, Vegetarian Food Studio, The Stable, The Plan, Curado and Cosy Club all serve me well. Favourite Cardiff spot? I love walking, foraging and exploring. The coastal walk from the Bay to Sully is a favourite. I also like to head out to the Lambies, the Garth and Castell Coch. Or a little further, out into the Vale. I am a big fan of picnics too, but summer wasn’t kind to us this year. Finally, surprise us with a little-known fact about yourself… I am descended from white witches. Better Houses (£8.99) is published by Parthian Books. For more: - 02921 202 190. 122 Cowbridge Road West, Cardiff, CF5 5BT

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