Cardiff Life - Issue 239

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ISSUE 239 / JULY 2021 / £3


ISSUE 239 / JULY 2021 / PARTY ON










Turn to page 9 for the sparkliest micro wedding


irstly, I’d just like to say a huge congratulations to all of our Cardiff Life Awards 2021 finalists who’ve been shortlisted from hundreds of nominations! Flip to page 58 for the full announcement of brilliant businesses, charities and individuals who all deserve standing ovations, and who are now all in the running to take home a coveted award at our glittering red-carpet celebration at City Hall on 30 September. We’re beyond excited to see everyone there, especially after the year we’ve all had. Our social lives and event diaries are all starting to fill up now, and things are starting to feel much freer and much more energised. As well as parties, special occasions and friend-filled gatherings, weddings are slowly coming back to the fore. Yes, they look a little different, and probably will for a while, but couples are not just making do, they are making the best of the situation. Take a look at page 9 for wild, fun and unlimited micro weddings to inspire, plus gorgeous gowns (or all-white jumpsuits if that’s more your thing), and local-brand makeup for men. In this issue, you’ll also find our behind-the-scenes chat with the sustainable makers at Lil & Co, who are creating conscious, natural alternatives for those looking to explore new ways of living a cleaner, greener life. They colour their items with hues from their own dye garden and use solar and wind power as their making process. You don’t get a lot more eco than that (page 33). There’s plenty more for you, too, from floralthemed shopping (page 30) and a luxe travel review to Laugharne (page 64) to a five-star experience at voco st David’s (page 46) and a packed food and drink section (page 39). See you soon #CardiffTogether, always


n gyntaf, hoffwn longyfarch yn fawr bawb sydd wedi cyrraedd y rhestr fer ar gyfer Gwobrau Cardiff Life 2021, o blith cannoedd o enwebiadau! Trowch i dudalen 58 i weld yr holl fusnesau, elusennau ac unigolion gwych sydd i gyd yn haeddu cymeradwyaeth ac sydd i gyd â gobaith yn awr o droedio’r carped coch a chipio gwobr o fri yn ein dathliad yn Neuadd y Ddinas ar 30 Medi. Rydym yn edrych ymlaen yn eiddgar tu hwnt at weld pawb yno, yn enwedig ar ôl y flwyddyn y mae pob un ohonom wedi’i chael. Mae ein bywydau cymdeithasol a’n dyddiaduron yn dechrau prysuro, ac mae popeth yn dechrau teimlo’n fwy rhydd ac yn fwy egnïol o lawer. Yn ogystal â phartïon, achlysuron arbennig ac aduniadau â llawer o ffrindiau, mae priodasau’n dychwelyd yn araf bach ac yn cael eu trefnu’n awr yn y gobaith y byddant yn gallu digwydd unwaith eto. Wrth gwrs, maent yn edrych ychydig yn wahanol, ac mae’n siŵr mai felly y byddant am gyfnod eto. Ond yn hytrach na gwneud y tro â’r sefyllfa, mae cyplau’n gwneud y gorau ohoni. Mae syniadau am briodasau micro dyfeisgar, difyr a diderfyn i’w gweld ar dudalen 9. Yn y rhifyn hwn, rydym hefyd yn sgwrsio y tu ôl i’r llenni â chrefftwyr cynaliadwy Lil & Co, sy’n creu dewisiadau amgen naturiol, ymwybodol ar gyfer pobl sydd am archwilio ffyrdd newydd o fyw bywyd sy’n lanach ac yn fwy gwyrdd. Maent yn llifo eu heitemau ag arlliwiau o’u gardd liwiau eu hunain ac maent yn defnyddio ynni’r haul ac ynni gwynt wrth greu. Chewch chi ddim byd mwy cyfeillgar na hynny i’r amgylchedd (trowch i dudalen 33). Mae yna ddigon o bethau eraill ar eich cyfer hefyd, o siopa am bethau blodeuog (ar dudalen 30) ac adolygiad o lety moethus yn Nhalacharn (ar dudalen 64) i brofiad pum seren yn voco St David’s (ar dudalen 46) ac adran lawn am fwyd a diod (ar dudalen 39). Tan y tro nesaf #CaerdyddYnghyd, bob amser

LISA EVANS Follow us on Twitter @CardiffLifeMag Instagram @cardifflifemag I CARDIFF LIFE I 3

Issue 239 / July 2021 COVER Photograph by Pix by Vix, @_pixbyvix,; turn to page 9 for more


9 I HOPE KNOT Unlimited, fun and wild weddings

are here, hopefully to stay

33 MEET THE MAKER Behind the scenes at Lil &

Co, where life is cleaner and greener


21 ARTS INTRO Art royalty Nathan Wyburn has a new

exhibition in Morgan Arcade

22 WHAT’S ON Arts, shows and upcoming events, it’s

all going on in Cardiff




29 WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE Exploring the plant

paradise that is Tropigaz

30 EDITOR’S CHOICE The sunny florals trend isn’t

going anywhere


39 FOOD NEWS Tasty morsels for you to chew on 43 AND I’LL RISE UP The Friends in Knead bakers

are bringing something new to the table

44 MILKING IT We pore over Caerphilly plant milk

brand Gut Instinct

46 RESTAURANT REVIEW Five-star service and

panoramic views at The Admiral

48 LUNCH OUT The Cardiff Food Queen shares her

favourite lunchtime hangouts


51 CARDIFF WORKS News and views and pretty

awesome businesses


This year’s shortlist has been announced!


63 PROPERTY NEWS The Cardiff Property Awards

are back!

64 TRAVEL Discovering the Laugharne-based Dylan

Coastal Resort



6 SPOTLIGHT A handful of feel-good stories 25 WYBURN AND WAYNE Guess who’s back,

back again

66 CARDIFF LIVES Poet Taylor Edmonds is building

something special

Editor Lisa Evans Managing editor Deri Robins Senior art editor Andrew Richmond Graphic design Megan Allison Cover design Trevor Gilham Contributors Nathan Wyburn, Wayne Courtney, Jane Cook and Polly Angelova Advertising manager Mark George Account manager Claire Hawkins Production/Distribution manager Sarah Kingston Deputy production manager Kirstie Howe Production designer Gemma Scrine Chief executive Jane Ingham Chief executive Greg Ingham Cardiff Life MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. 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: I CARDIFF LIFE I 5

New business


Ever googled ‘instagrammable places in Cardiff?’ If so, then new pop up The Content Hub, which has just launched in St David’s Shopping Centre, is for you. In a concept unique to Wales, it’s an immersive experience with 15 different zones to get lost in – from a pearl ball bit and floral rainbow arrangements to dazzling neon backdrops and pink pianos, offering pretty settings for keen Instagrammers or business owners to get that ready-to-go-viral shot or video. Have your own mini shoot and get your content sorted. For more:


A DOG’S TRAIL Glitter balls, pink pianos and pearl ball pits will all be part of the immersive experience



In June, Mike Peters, frontman of legendary Welsh rock band The Alarm, and his wife and fellow band member Jules – who have in the past been diagnosed with leukaemia and breast cancer respectively – hiked the length of Wales (from Prestatyn to Chepstow) to fundraise for cancer patients. The musicians had planned to take on the 177-mile, 12-day challenge with a group of hikers, but Covid restrictions squashed that plan. The dynamic duo went it alone, and invited the others to join them virtually; as a group, they collectively walked 10 million steps. The challenge raised over £20,000 for the charity Mike and Jules co-founded, the Love Hope Strength Foundation.


The Alarm has announced their 40th Anniversary Tour, and will be coming to Cardiff’s St David’s Hall on 21 January, 2022! For more:

Legends Jules and Mike


Dog lovers from across Cardiff made their mark on a super-sized Snoopy sculpture at Cardiff Castle at the start of June, as part of an event hosted by Dogs Trust which is building anticipation for next year’s art trail across South Wales. Alison Howard, an illustration student at the University of South Wales saw Members of the public across Cardiff her design feature on the giant Snoopy help decorate Alison’s Snoopy design sculpture after submitting the winning design for the A Dog’s Trail with Snoopy art event, which was held at the castle from 1 - 4 June. The event saw people booking a slot to colour in a section of the blank-canvas Snoopy sculptures with acrylic paint pens. The charity is bringing a new rehoming centre to Cardiff Bay later this summer, and will celebrate by launching A Dog’s Trail with Snoopy in spring next year. The 10-week free public art trail, featuring more snoopys that you can shake a bone at, aims to showcase South Wales as a place to visit, live, work and play, and will promote health and wellbeing. For more:



PALLET is a team of Cardiff curators who bring exciting opportunities to local creatives to express themselves through, and for the public to experience. Their current pilot project, Guerrilla Galleries, running until 1 July, amplifies Cardiff’s creative community in an uncertain post-pandemic environment. While empty shop fronts are becoming an unfortunate expectation of city centres, PALLET sees this as an opportunity to bring art to the public. Throughout the arcades of Cardiff, the public will find PALLET boards showcasing work from a variety of local artists; from photography and portraits, to abstract and sculpture. Who knows where the next Guerrilla Gallery will appear? They may pop up on any unrented unit within the arcades in the city, so take a look around, explore, and who knows which artist you might see next. For more:

Find the artworks in Cardiff arcades’ empty shops



Ahead of their biggest ever home city headline show in Cardiff, local band Himalayas tell us about going global...


Louis, James, Mike and Joe spent their lockdowns in Cardiff, writing and recording new material for release later this year


ardiff rock band Himalayas have gone global having just smashed through 25 million online streams with their international hit Thank God I’m Not You and are celebrating ahead of their new music release later this year. The song has become a huge worldwide streaming smash, and in the USA it’s become a favourite with American rock playlister, DJs and radio stations. “We honestly can’t believe that we’ve reached over 25 million streams for a song that we’ve written and that started in our bedrooms,” says Joe Williams who’s on guitar and vocals. “We’re sure that the new music we’re about to share will be loved by all of ours fans across every continent and we can’t wait to come and play it all live for everyone.” The Himalayas spent their lockdowns in Cardiff, writing developing and recording new material for release later this year. This, coupled with a UK headline tour in September and various festival performances, means 2021 is proving to be a busy, exciting year for the band. “We’ve been so lucky to receive such amazing support from all over the world but it’s in Cardiff where it all started,” says Joe. “Before we even released music, the process all started here. We’ve been lucky enough to work with such great people and build such a loyal fan base in Wales, and Cardiff in particular. We’re playing our biggest ever home city headline show at The Globe in Cardiff on the 7 September and would love for everyone to be there to celebrate reaching 25 Million and hear the new songs.” See Himalayas at The Globe, Cardiff, 7 September; I CARDIFF LIFE I 7


New chapter: Cyncoed Dental have relocated to a new premise across the road from their existing practice, continuing to operate in Cyncoed Village as they have done for the past 30 years.

White here, white now Looking to brighten up your smile for your wedding day? Dr Zena Aseeley and Dr Jane Hendly from CYNCOED DENTAL CLINIC are here to share their knowledge around tooth whitening and reveal how they can transform your smile


ocial events and celebrations, such as weddings, are finally on their way back, and teeth whitening is a popular post-lockdown treatment being sought after right now. And sparkling smiles are one of Cyncoed Dental & Skin Clinic’s mainstays. The General Dental Council in the UK has deemed that tooth whitening is the “practice of dentistry” and therefore it should only be carried out by appropriately trained and registered dental professionals – anything else is illegal. So tip number one from us is, when it comes to whitening your teeth, always start with a consultation with your dentist! Do over-the-counter whitening toothpastes actually work? A lot of the supposed whitening toothpastes, such as activated charcoal etc, have very abrasive substances added to them which may remove some surface stains but can actually abrade the enamel surface over the long term, which in turn can end up yellowing the teeth as, once enamel is worn away, the layer underneath, which is called dentine, becomes exposed, and dentine is darker and yellower in colour than the outer enamel. At Cyncoed Dental our professional teeth whitening safely and gently whitens your teeth without wearing them away. Can I just use at-home whitening? It is acceptable to use at-home treatments as long as a dentist who prescribes you the 8 I CARDIFF LIFE I

appropriate trays and whitening gel oversees the process. These can be very effective and convenient if used properly. The most important factor for take-home treatment is the fit and quality of the custom-made whitening trays you are provided with by your dentist. We have tried and tested many and only use two laboratories in the UK for our patients’ bespoke trays and always fit the trays and check them ourselves. So tip number two from us is to ensure your dentist checks that your whitening trays are excellent quality and fitting. Is teeth whitening safe? Our whitening systems comply to EU regulations and the peroxide concentrations we provide are very safe. Tip number 3 is ensure you are using regulated whitening products provided by a dental professional. ■

Before ‘Enlighten Smiles®’ B1 shade guaranteed whitening

After ‘Enlighten Smiles®’

DID YOU KNOW? Our air polishing Diamond clean with our hygienist Sarah Lau is amazing for getting teeth and gums healthy as well as removing day-to-day stains to brighten teeth. Patients do not need to be registered and can see Sarah on a direct access basis.

289 Cyncoed Road, Cardiff CF23 6PA; 029 2075 4073;; Scan this code to visit our website and get in touch with us to see how we can help transform your smile!



Yes, weddings look a little different, and probably will for a while, but couples are not just making do, they are making the best of it


ith post-vaccination wedding season hopefully around the corner, couples are booking their big venues in readiness, but many others are opting for more intimate microceremonies, ‘pandemic weddings’ if you like, and wasting no time. Whatever your nuptial style, here’s our pick of local inspo to help with your planning...

See more of this gorgeous local micro wedding on the next two pages I CARDIFF LIFE I 9



What happens when a team of local creatives collaborate on wedding shoot? A disco day of dreams, that’s what. “Alex [at Wilde Posies, a florist in Ynysybwl] and I had a vision of bringing back 70s disco vibes but into a natural environment to show that small micro weddings can be fun and wild and don’t have to be limited in any way,” says local photographer Vix, at Pix by Vix. “We wanted to ensure there were pops of colour; we went with blue and orange, showing that you don’t have to use the continuous palettes you see used for weddings.”


THE TEAM The couple: Soph and Phil The venue: A private location near Cardiff; the couples’ own home Photography: Pix by Vix, @_pixbyvix; Florist: Wilde Posies, @wildeposies; Styling: Lisa & Mark; @champagnetiaras; Makeup: Jules; @Julesrhodes_mua Film: Steve, @naturesedgefilms; Grazing board: Hayley; @grazingbrewbox; Sequin capes: Jess; @w_collective; Celebrant: Lisa; @nellythecelebrant Tableware: Tim, @tipplesbarandhire; Headwear: @honey_and_ember; honeyandember Bow tie: @mrsbowtieuk;


left: K Room at Fairyhill;

inset: Fairyhill by Oldwalls; middle: St Tewdrics House; bottom: Hensol Castle


Whether you’re waiting for an all-out celebration, or you’re keen for a more intimate do, here’s our pick of Welsh venues...

Fairyhill by Oldwalls It’s a Grade-II listed Georgian house set in 24 acres of glorious gardens and based in Britain’s first designated area of outstanding natural beauty. In 2017, the grand property reopened its old doors to unveil its extension and renovation, adding the ultimate pinch of 21st-century cool to the celebrated Gower landmark; The K Room is a state-of-theart glass space with panoramic views of the venue’s listed heritage grounds. Gower, Hensol Castle Situated within a magnificent estate, accompanied by a 15-acre serpentine lake, the Grade I-listed Hensol Castle is a gorgeous setting for anyone who ever dreamt of a fairy tale wedding. This spectacular setting, with its majestic turrets and sweeping staircases, surrounded by Welsh countryside, provides the perfect backdrop for your wedding photographs. Vale of Glamorgan;



St Tewdrics House It’s a 19th Century Italianate villa nestled in 10 acres of idyllic Monmouthshire countryside, with picturesque views and fantastic backdrops. Ceremonies can either be held in The Courtyard with its glass skylight and twinkly chandeliers or outside in Ty Haf, the pergola, surrounded by the beautiful seasonal wildflower meadow. The venue can be hired exclusively for the day or you can extend your stay for two or three nights. Chepstow;




Amber and Stef were originally due to get married last December but, like most couples, had postponed due to Covid. In the end, they didn’t want to wait and decided to scrap all their original plans and just crack on at Cardiff City Hall. “I genuinely applaud these two for going ahead as I think the alcohol ban and not being able to toast the marriage would have sent me over the edge,” say their photographer Francesca at Francesca Hill Photography, Cardiff. “Anyway, they cracked on; Amber even changed her dress to be more in keeping with the new style of the wedding and we had an amazing few hours searching out quirky backdrops in Cardiff City Centre. The moral of the story is, micro weddings are pretty cool.” The couple spent hours searching out quirky backdrops in Cardiff City Centre, including Cardiff Market’s doors and Metros club

“The moral of the story is, micro weddings are pretty cool” I CARDIFF LIFE I 13

Separates from E&W Couture, Cardiff



“We believe in a bridal revolution”




All dresses pictured are from E&W Couture, Cardiff


Glowing skin, a camera-ready smile, hair to wow, glossy nails, and that’s not to mention finding ‘the’ dress. Feeling and looking confident for the big day is on most brides’ agendas, here are a few tips from the experts… BESPOKE BEAUTY Breaking bridal stereotypes since 2014, Cardiff-based brand E&W Couture is, says its creative director Sophie Creed, for badass babes who want to do it differently. Top tips on selecting a dress?

We believe in a bridal revolution; we don’t think bridal should kept in a box, and we don’t think you should be pressured into not feeling like yourself. Our dresses, all designed and made in Wales, are unusual, figure flattering and comfortable. We’re seeing such a huge rise in brides wanting something a little more relaxed and comfortable for their weddings throughout Covid. Our separates have been such a massive hit as not only can they be worn in many different ways, but they can be repurposed after the wedding too. Brides are wanting a more fun, less structured wedding and we’re totally here for it!


What’s popular right now?

WEDDINGS HIRE ENERGY Something Borrowed is a South Wales-based business offering wedding fashion rental across the UK; founder Christie Doyle-John tells us why rental business is booming... Why do you think dress rental growing in popularity?

Brides are starting to become a lot more conscious and aware of not only the cost but environmental impact of buying their dresses for one-time use. Renting means that they can put money towards something else or even have two dresses for their day. We’re also offering madeto-order rental at a slightly higher price which is proving popular. Has the pandemic played a part in this?

I do think the pandemic has really given people a lot of time to reflect and think about how and where they spend their money and also their time, and rental is becoming more popular as something that can save people both of these things. I predict that rental will be more normalised in a post-Covid world. Anything else we should know?

‘Luna’ Oui The Label rental dress from Something Borrowed


‘Shiloh’ by Oui The Label at Something Borrowed, which is the exclusive rental stockist for the brand in the UK



Grant Bignell, business manager at Pontcanna Dental Care in Cardiff tells us about the most popular pre-wedding smile treatments – whether the ceremony is days or months away Whitening The treatment takes up to four weeks and is a cost-effective way to improve the appearance of your teeth. Composite veneers or dental bonding We can close small gaps or make crooked teeth look straighter simply by bonding filling material to the existing teeth. This straightforward treatment can often be completed in a single visit to the practice and often involves no loss of tooth structure. Porcelain veneers, crowns or bridges We have a range of treatments available to close larger gaps and replace broken-down teeth. These treatments take up to three weeks.


We accept donations of bridal, bridesmaid and mother of the bride outfits which is proving popular; this is a great way to increase the lifecycle of garments and we’re starting to support charities as part of this service.

Another fresh frock from E&W Couture, Cardiff

“We like questioning the conventional styles”



It’s not only women who want to look their best, obviously. Carl Gough founded Cwmbranbased BUG for Men, a ‘Shameless Perfection makeup range’ formulated specifically for the physiology and demands of male skin. “Our hero ingredients include oats and hops, same as what you would find in your favourite ale,” he says. “These ingredients improve overall skin health as well as helping combat common male skin complaints such as redness and irritation from shaving, and greasy skin from excess oil production. “Our range is designed to give you a fit, fresh and healthy appearance in the most naturallooking way for those moments you need to look your best. From our mattifying serum and our subtle tinted moisturiser, to our concealer, we’ve got you covered, correcting imperfections and giving you the confidence you deserve.” Over the past few years, Carl has been working with leading experts to create his range, which has been driven by a passion to create a quality and relatable collection of everyday makeup and cosmetics for everyday men. No stereotypes, no stigma and no gimmicks. Just a simple solution to a common problem – men wanting to improve their looks. I CARDIFF LIFE I 17

SMILE WITH CONFIDENCE ON YOUR SPECIAL DAY DID YOU KNOW? We can improve smiles quicker than you may think (often in just one visit)! Contact us to see how we can help you...


102 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9LP Tel: 02920 387683 Email: Charlie Stephanakis BDS (GDC 60470) Alyn Humphreys BDS (GDC 61029)


A handful of engagement and wedding-day adornments for the bride and bridesmaids 2


Laings, St David’s, Cardiff; 3

1. Brilliant cut diamond ring in platinum, £12,460 2. Brilliant cut diamond stud earrings in 18ct white gold, £1,820 3. Aquamarine and diamond ring in 18ct white gold, £3,650




Tiafi, Cardiff;

4. Friendship gold ‘You’ charm bracelet, from £65 5. Friendship silver ‘Me’ charm necklace, from £59 6. Friendship gold ‘You’ ring, £95

“We love to source more unusual stone cuts”


People often go for a particular style of ring for an engagement, but here we ask Anne at Anne Morgan Jewellery, in Penarth if she thinks there are any rules when it comes to what to choose “There are no rules! But there are definitely some factors to consider, such as the wearability of a ring. It needs to be comfortable enough to be worn every day, and durable enough to last a lifetime. “Go for hardwearing stones; a stone such as quartz wouldn’t be suitable for an engagement ring as its too soft and would end up scratching. Sapphires and diamonds are traditionally considered to be good stones for engagement rings, but we love to break convention and source more unusual stone cuts such as rose-cut, antique-cut and freeform. There is definitely a strong drive for bespoke rings too.”

8 7

Anne Morgan Jewellery, Penarth;


7. Rose cut diamond ring collection, from £1,715 8. Moonscape white pearl drop earrings, £75 9. Ami Pepper multi stone ring, £3,650. I CARDIFF LIFE I 19

Reach the best in the west Affluent, active and influential and just a call away

Cardiff Life team 01225 475800



AMAZING SPACE Art royalty Nathan Wyburn (who we’re proud to call a regular Cardiff Life columnist) has a new exhibition in Morgan Arcade. Nathan, who’s known for using unusual mediums – from pizzas to motor oil – rose to fame on Britain’s Got Talent in 2011, has created portraits for many big names, including HRH Prince Charles and Mariah Carey, and has made a huge impact throughout the pandemic due to his NHS murals and artworks. The two-month exhibition showcases a lot of his most recent work and provides the opportunity to meet the talent himself and watch him live in action if you arrive at the right time. There’s also a chance to pick up signed copies of his two most recent artwork books POP tART, and 2020 Diary of An Artist: Nathan Wyburn. Nathan Wyburn The Exhibition runs until the end of July, 10am – 5pm daily, 1 Barry Lane, The Morgan

Quarter, Morgan Arcade, CF10 1AF I CARDIFF LIFE I 21

Street Food Teras at Cardiff Bay, where al fresco bites are king

WHAT’S ON from 26 June onwards

PLAYS / SHOWS / PERFORMANCES Ongoing for the rest of the year

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT COMEDY Treat yourself to an evening of award-winning comedy with four superb stand-up comedians that will keep you laughing until Monday. For 18+ only. The Glee Club;

Selected weekends in June and July

ROOFTOP CINEMA The rooftop cinema on top of Jacobs Antiques in the middle of Cardiff opened at the start of June with a showing of Dirty Dancing, and is screening films across selected weekends in June and July. Run by Lost Lands Cinema, you can watch classic and new films under the stars as food and drinks are brought to your table. Lost Lands Cinema; lostlandsCinemas

Until 3 July

ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND The Welsh National Opera has announced their return to live performance with family opera Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. WNO


celebrated its 75th birthday this year and will begin live performance and the start of its 75th celebratory season with a colourful production of Lewis Carroll’s famous tale in an opera commissioned and originally produced by Opera Holland Park. National Trust’s Dyffryn Gardens;

16 July

BURLESQUE: FREEDOM Curated by Foo Foo Labelle, the Cardiff Cabaret club presents Burlesque: Freedom where chains will be broken, masks will be bejazzled and acts will certainly not be sanitised as they step out of their isolation and into the light. Wales Millennium Centre;

24 July

ED BYRNE + GUESTS Just The Tonic comedy club are bringing a stellar line up to the Tramshed, Cardiff. Mock The Week’s Ed Byrne will headline and is bringing along acclaimed comics Glenn Wool (Frankie Boyle’s New World Order), Jarred Christmas (Chortle Award Winner) and Robin Morgan (Relocation BBC Radio Wales). Tramshed;

Always check Covid-19 restrictions and instructions with venues before your visit

25 July

Y GIG GIGLS! This brand-new Welsh language comedy show offers big jokes for little people, curated by Sarah Breeze. With some of Wales’ funniest and silliest comedians, Y Gig Gigls is an event for all children who love a good laugh, and parents are welcome too, if they can behave themselves. Wales Millennium Centre;


GUERRILLA GALLERIES PALLET is a team of Cardiff curators, and their current pilot project, Guerrilla Galleries, is bringing art to the public via empty shop windows. Throughout the arcades of Cardiff, the public will find PALLET boards showcasing work from a variety of local artists; from photography and portraits, to abstract and sculpture. Cardiff’s arcades;

Until the end of July


EXHIBITION Our Cardiff Life columnist and worldrenowned artist Nathan Wyburn has a new exhibition in Morgan Arcade which showcases his viral pop culture artworks made from unusual mediums such as fake tan and peri peri sauce. You may also get to see him creating art live while you’re there too. For more, see page 21. Morgan Arcade,

Until 5 September

ARTES MUNDI 9 Artes Mundi, the flagship visual arts organisation in Wales, is presented across Cardiff and you can view the events at the National Museum Cardiff, Chapter and g39.

Until Jan 2022

THE FUTURE HAS A PAST This new multidisciplinary exhibition has been co-curated with Amgueddfa Cymru Producers and artist Henry Alles, and explores the past as a means of discovering the future. St Fagans National Museum of History;

1 July – 14 August

SUMMER SHOW The different-to-usual show will be an exciting opportunity to revisit

WHAT’S ON place at Cardiff Castle this summer and will be their biggest event to date. Full line-up coming soon. Cardiff Castle; @shangagram

2 and 3 October

INSIDE OUT FESTIVAL Be enveloped by sights and sounds that will stimulate all of your senses. Inside Out brings the best of the outside world, in to the festival. Welcome. To. Utopia. Bute Park;


Until 18 July

YARN BOMBING As part of Your Voice, Wales Millennium Centre’s opening exhibition, a giant crochet tree will be created with Cardiff-based artists. Consider this an open call for all yarn bombers or newbies, WMC wants you! Wales Millennium Centre;

Until the end of August


THE QUEER EMPORIUM The UK’s first ever queer emporium opened in Cardiff for Pride Month (June). The pop-up will feature around 15 LGBT+ makers and independent businesses, and, they will also be hosting a series of events in the Royal Arcade, including live comedy nights and workshops as well as supporting the city’s hospitality sector with a ‘Queer Out to Help Out’ scheme at LGBTQ+ hospitality venues. St Mary’s Street; @thequeeremporium

24 July, 31 July, & 7 August If flower garden rooftop cinemas are your thing, then Lost Lands Cinema is the one for you

some of the artistic work previously only available online, including Sarah Carvell's Tenby Houses, Gerald Green's subtle interiors and impressions of Venice and Paris, John Lines’ nostalgic allotment antics, and Nick Pritchard’s landscapes of South Wales. The Albany Gallery;

traders in an all-new outdoor seating space, open daily for your lunchtime bites and fuelling your summer evenings with drinks and local foodie favourites. Next to Wales Millennium Centre;


CARDIFF OPEN AIR THEATRE FESTIVAL EVERYMAN ’21 This year’s festival includes theatrical events such as E Nesbit’s The Railway Children, Shakespeare’s Richard III, and The Rose and Crown by JP Priestley. Insole Court;

Until October

STREET FOOD TERAS Wales Millennium Centre have announced their partnership with street food connoisseurs Street Food Warehouse to launch an epic new foodie venture in the heart of Cardiff Bay. The Street Food Teras will host some of Cardiff’s best independent

FESTIVALS 6 – 9 July

14 August


This event has been rescheduled, and organisers have also added a new act, with Tom Grennan confirmed to support Kaiser Chiefs. Cardiff Castle;


14 August

GLITTER PRIDE Glitter Cymru, a Cardiff-based global community group dedicated to LGBTQ+ ethnic minority individuals, will host Glitter Pride online. Expect: dating and companionship in a post-Covid world; show and tell; self-care strategies; and a segment on working with allies.

21 August

BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS TOUR All three test matches will be shown live at Depot Cardiff. Depot; n

30 September

SHANGRI-LA The open-air dance festival will take

CARDIFF LIFE AWARDS The grand reveal of who made our Cardiff Life Awards 2021 shortlist is on page 58! Now all we’ve got to do is crown the winners at out glitzy ceremony later this year. See you there, yes? It’s always a sell-out, so grab your tickets toot sweet from our website! City Hall; I CARDIFF LIFE I 23


SUMMER EXHIBITION 1 July - 14 August 2021 A changing exhibition of work by more than 30 artists View the exhibition on our website 74b Albany Road, Cardiff, CF24 3RS | T: 029 2048 7158 | E: Gallery open: Mon-Wed by appointment only, Thurs-Sat 10am - 5pm, Sun 11am - 4pm


WYBURN & WAYNE Move over Ant & Dec. Make way Edina & Patsy. Stand aside Batman & Robin. Our dynamic duo are in town and they’re here to give us the low down on the Cardiff high life


alfway through 2021 already... it’s hard to believe that isn’t it? It’s been incredibly exciting to see businesses start to open up again around the city, and to hear the positive stories all over social media about how the public are adhering to the rules and adaptations within various venues. We’re all aware this is the only way forward and it’s a positive few months ahead, we’re sure. We’ve attended a few venues ourselves in recent weeks, one of which was the opening of The Grand Bar & Kitchen on Westgate Street. It’s beautiful! We

thought either of the two rooms would be awesome for private parties due to their layouts, and the food was lovely. Can’t beat a beautiful Scotch egg. There’s also the perfect photo opportunity against a gorgeous hand-painted peacock wall. Obviously we had a few boomerangs for our social media against that. We also helped our buddy Agit relaunch his involvement owning Anatoni’s pizzeria on Wellfield Road. Nathan made Agit’s portrait on a pizza, as you do, and we enjoyed some delicious stone baked pizzas. They’ve even now launched half a metre pizza on Fridays and Saturdays... it looks epic! Agit also owns Saraztro Greek Bar & Restaurant, which

“We had two break ins, but the community got behind us”

Nathan (left) created a portrait pizza for Agit (centre) at Anatoni’s pizzerera

Their coffee court has had two break ins, but locals have rallied around to help

The instagrammable mural at The Grand Bar & Kitchen

we shout about all the time. We can often be found enjoying ourselves on the roof balcony of the venue, overlooking the street and our own charitable coffee court venture over the road at St Andrew’s United Reformed Church. Our caffeine-fuelled venture is going going super well – we’d love to shout to our incredible volunteers too. Sam, Ivan, Alex, Luke, Verity and Zoe, you’re all stars! We’ve got a good solid team working alongside us to serve refreshments to the community and helping to keep the gorgeous building open. We’ve noticed people from the local care homes bringing their elderly families there, as their first outing, which is heart-warming. Also, people who we know wouldn’t have maybe sparked up a conversation pre pandemic, now do! And friendships are being made there; it’s incredibly beautiful to witness, and all for a great cause. We did however

sadly have two break ins, but that didn’t stop us. The amazing community then got behind us, and we secured enough donations to help us get a locksmith out and continue our work. Looking forward, we are seeing event advertisements cropping up all over Cardiff, billboards and posters appearing on the sides of the roads, outside the theatres and pubs; it’s extremely exciting and we can’t wait to be back out there enjoying life with you all. Stay positive and cautious and let’s go forward into a much better world. Much love. Wyburn & Wayne. About our columnists: Nathan Wyburn is a pop culture artist who uses nontraditional mediums such as Marmite, beans, soil and fake tan; and Wayne Courtney is a healthcare support worker at University Hospital of Wales. They are also Radio Cardiff DJs with their own show, and basically know everything and everyone in the city. Follow them on social: @wyburnandwayne / @wyburnwayne I CARDIFF LIFE I 25

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ISSUE 237 / SPRING 2021 / £3






“Overwatering is by far the most common issue I see,” says Gaz. “Despite originating from the rainforest, most houseplants will die if left in wet soil. While the loose, airy ground of the forest floor allows water to drain from roots, these conditions can be challenging to replicate in a pot. Most plants would benefit from a short dry period between gentle waterings, and a special houseplant soil.”

Gaz and his babies

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE Colourful Cardiff plant paradise Tropigaz is an oasis hidden in The Castle Emporium The houseplant boom in the past year has seen many people turning to greenfingered pastimes as a way to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Gary Blackburn opened his plant shop Tropigaz right on the heels of the first national lockdown having always dreamed about running one. “It’s a dense, misty neon jungle hiding one of the most diverse ranges of tropical plants for sale anywhere in Wales,” he says. “There’s a separate, drier environment filled with a wide variety of cacti and succulents too. It’s been a joy to share my love of plants and give advice to more customers than ever.” Find Tropigaz at The Castle Emporium on Womanby Street; www. I CARDIFF LIFE I 29

DRIED FLOWER BUNCHES, £14 EACH Striking and maintenance free. What’s not to love? From Wilde Posies, Ynysybwl;

A PEONY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS The sunny florals trend isn’t going anywhere. Here are some of our favourite pretty purchases from local shops and makers

ROSE WREATH, £20 Who said door decorations are just for Christmas? From Athena Interiors, Cwmbran;


VIYELLOW BLOUSE, £38 Pretty as a picture, and look at that collar detailing. From Box Edit Boutique, Goodsheds, Barry;

GREETINGS CARD, £2.85 Complete with abstract polka dot posies and the words You are Magic, to make someone feel special. From The Sho Gallery & Shop, Womanby Street;

TRINKET TRAY, £23 Featuring real flowers encased in pink resin, this jewellery tray is a blooming lovely bedroom accessory. From Ameow Designs, Roath;

ED’S CHOICE ENAMEL FLOWERS IN VASE, £75 Handmade faux flowers in the signature Buddug style. From Buddug, Warwick Studios, Cardiff;

AU NATUREL CUSHION, £15 Perfect for mixing and matching. From Fussy, Goodsheds, Barry;

PEONY EARRINGS, £55 Light and bright laser-cut earrings made from gloss, glitter and mirror acrylic. From Fizz Goes Pop, Roath;

STATEMENT EARRINGS, FROM £22 Beautiful jewellery for a beautiful cause, as all profits go towards funding a school in Ghana. From Matico Studio, Whitchurch; www. CAMELIA MAXI DRESS, £151 Bring some exotic Flamenco vibes to your summer wardrobe with this botanical number. From Kiti, Pontcanna;

FLORAL HEADBANDS, £7.50 EACH Vintage-style hair accessories to add that final flourish to your outfit. From Stwff-Stuff, Cowbridge; I CARDIFF LIFE I 31

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT US ONLINE AT: WWW.VALEVETCENTRE.CO.UK Cardiff: 233 Cathedral Road, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9PP. E-mail: | Phone: 02920 004007


Barry: 7/8 Ty Verlon Ind Est, Cardiff Rd, Vale of Glamorgan, CF63 2BE. E-mail: | Phone: 01446 739739


£1,599 0% finance available

LIVE AND LET DYE We were invited to peep behind the scenes at Lil & Collective, a group of Cardiff-based makers creating sustainable clothing and homeware using natural dyes and solar power Words by Lisa Evans Pictures by Carla Anne Photography

Sara founded Lil & Co with the aim to offer alternative ways for people to incorporate ecofriendly living into their busy lives I CARDIFF LIFE I 33

MEET THE MAKER would also like to promote and empower other makers by spotlighting their work, so if you’re a creative reading this then please get in touch!

The naturally dyed products include bags, face masks and underwear

Do you all work in one space?

We have our own studios dotted across Cardiff but our main base is in the Sustainable Studio in Cardiff Bay. Where did the name Lil & Co come from?

It was important to choose something emotive that embodied the core values of the collective: gratitude and empowerment. Lil was my grandmother’s name. She has hugely influenced my life and paved the way for me to live a life that I love. So the name is a message that we believe in celebrating the people that came before us, the people we collaborate with, and those that will follow. What motto do you live by?


“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly” – Anne-Marie Bonneau, ZeroWaste Chef. This resonates as we offer alternative ways for people to incorporate eco-friendly living into their busy lives. We don’t preach, nobody’s perfect – including us – but we are offering ways in which people can embrace natural and conscious alternatives into their lives in a way that meets them where they’re at and in ways they may not expect. Little steps add up.


t Cardiff Bay-based Lil & Co you’ll find a collective of Wales-based makers who believe in creating and sharing conscious, eco, natural alternatives for those looking to explore new ways of living a cleaner, greener life. The offering – which is mostly based around naturally dyed products such as face masks, baby muslins, socks, underwear and T-shirts – is growing all the time as their community of customers expands. Their model is to only create where there is a demand, in small batches to reduce waste, and they grow and harvest the dyes from their own dye garden. Founder Sara Bower tells us more…

Tell us about the business…

We are a collective of makers who are making it easier for people to get their hands on eco-friendly, sustainable products, changing the market from exclusive to inclusive and those caring for the environment from outsiders to insiders. We are for those who want more choice when it comes to natural goods. Our current offering is mostly based around natural dyes because this is the area of greatest need. How many makers are in the collective? And can other makers get involved?

There are currently three makers – Amanda, Charlotte, and me. We work together and independently on various projects, bringing them to life. Amanda is my soon-to-be sister-in-law. Amanda and Charlotte studied fashion together and I begged them to work with me. My expertise is in dye and theirs in fashion design. The collective is open and we would love to welcome more makers to join us on projects. We


Stand-out, unusual bits?

We have our own dye garden where we grow and harvest our own natural dyes. This is one of many steps we take to be as eco-conscious as possible with our business processes. Where did the idea for the business come from?

The idea of starting it as a collective came from our belief that experiences are better shared and building a collective could create a safe and easily accessible space of ideas, diversity and creative shared expression. We weren’t aware of a space like this so we created our own. I was also conscious, as a natural dyer, that natural dyes were a great option for those looking to reduce their impact on the environment, reduce their exposure to toxins and repurpose/mend their old clothes. It felt like an important conversation to start having. Tell us more about the sustainability side…

We do everything we can to weave environmentally friendly practices into our products, from recycled packaging, electronic invoicing, digital planning rather than paper, minimising travel, growing our own natural dyes, and recycling our water waste and dyes. The list goes on. This also applies to our work with natural dyes. Natural dyes have been around for thousands of years but only more recently have they had a resurgence as an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic dyes as they are non-toxic, renewable sources of colour. Natural dyes are extracted from sources such as wood, roots, bark, leaves, flowers and berries. Compare this to the traditional synthetic dyes which are made from toxic chemicals that are harmful to the makers, environment and wearer. The natural dye process is a slow and mindful one. Fabric is washed, pre-treated and then dyed over a series of hours, days and sometimes weeks. Time is very much a key ingredient with natural dyes so we tend to allow as much time as possible to create the optimum results. Nature can’t be rushed! By the end of the creative process, each piece is unique and becomes its own work of art.

“We have our own dye garden where we grow and harvest our own natural dyes”

The natural dyes are extracted from sources such as wood, roots, bark, leaves, flowers and berries


above: The creation station; opposite page, clockwise: T-shirts are their most popular product right now; Sara hand-dying a bespoke product, petals are a perfect dye; zero-waste fashion; mixing things up

Aside from your dye garden, where else do you source your materials?

From a female cooperative based in India. The cooperative has ethical standards and fair wages. We believe in being kind and supporting other makers so we invest the time in ensuring that fair wages are paid to everyone in our supply chain. Most popular item at the moment?

Our new naturally dyed organic cotton T-shirts are proving to be very popular. They are made using solar and wind power, each is then hand dyed to make every shirt one-of-a-kind. They are also gender neutral with inclusive sizing. And you cater to weddings too?

We do a small-scale bespoke offering for weddings such as botanically dyed face masks, ribbons and napkins. The nature of Lil & Co means that we work closely with the couple to create one-of-a-kind natural products for their special day and take bookings well in advance to begin this collaborative process to complement their special day. What inspires you?

The majority of our product ideas are generated by our customer community. We are in constant dialogue with them, listening to their problems, picking out the common questions and using the key themes to create prototypes. This may involve reaching out to other makers to collaborate and support us. We get as many members of our customer community involved as possible, so, during product development, we like to ask our followers/customers who are particularly interested in the idea, to sign up to a dedicated mailing list. It brings them closer to us, enables collaboration and allows them to shape our offering to match their needs. We also accept custom orders. In the past we have


made naturally dyed bamboo and silk pillowcases, baby blankets and even breathed new life into old band T-shirts. What’s in the pipeline?

We are looking at ways of creating value while remaining environmentally sustainable. This involves bringing collaborations together – sharing natural dye with other small businesses and developing digital products. We are really passionate about this as it feels like we are creating a close community of collectors. How does being based in Cardiff benefit the work that you do?

It’s been hugely beneficial in terms of finding our main home in the Sustainable Studio, being surrounded by other ethical makers. It’s an inspiring space to inhabit. The city is also full to the brim of like-minded people looking to exist in a more eco-conscious way. We are grateful for the innovators opening outdoor markets, repurposing spaces and allowing small independent makers to thrive. Where do you sell your products?

We sell online only at the moment but we have been exploring opportunities to work with stockists and markets, and hope to begin this in the next six months or so. Surprise us…

Did you know that you can dye your clothes using your kitchen waste? Avocado pits and peels, onion skins and red cabbage all produce colour which can be used to give your old clothes a new life! We have more details on how you can use natural dyes over on our website. n

“Our products are made using solar and wind power” I CARDIFF LIFE I 37


Favela Bar on Paper Mill Road; fancy Spanish wines delivered to your door from the guys behind Curado Bar in the city centre?; a feast from Carnival Street Food; The Heathcock in Llandaff has opened its Oyster & Champagne Bar



Our columnist, good food fanatic and indie foodie PR consultant JANE COOK (there she is, left) has her finger on the pulse when it comes to what’s new in the city…

he sun has finally decided to show up here in Cardiff, and it feels so good. In preparation for a summer of BBQs, I’ve just signed up for a monthly wine subscription from the same guys behind Curado Bar in the city centre (www. Every month, they take £35 out of my account, and every three months they deliver 12 bottles of Spanish wine from small-scale producers – the very same wines that are stocked in the restaurant. Absolute bargain. Along with this new sunshine came some exciting new developments for those who love to eat and drink al fresco. On Canton’s Paper Mill Road, this includes the opening of Favela Bar, featuring authentic Brazilian street food

and caipirinhas from Carnival Street Food; and on the same strip, there's Ollie’s Bar, who have been doing takeaway tea coolers made in collaboration with Bird & Blend. Over in Roath, Tony Frawley (the founder of Anatoni’s Pizza) has opened up Scaramantica as part of a new business partnership with the team behind Saray Turkish restaurants. There’s plenty of pavement seating outside – perfect for soaking up that Cardiffornia sunshine. And The Heathcock in Llandaff (probably my favourite pub in Cardiff) has just opened its upstairs Oyster & Champagne Bar, offering Porlock Bay oysters, cheese and charcuterie every Thursday – Saturday evening. For more: | @janechicomendes I CARDIFF LIFE I 39



A handful of juicy food news morsels for you to chew on Dr Rosie Oretti

COMING SOON KEEP YOUR GIN UP A Welsh gin produced from recycled coffee grounds is the latest product from Grounds for Good, a Cardiff-based, lockdown-launched social enterprise, created by medical doctor turned beauty entrepreneur Dr Rosie Oretti and beauty expert Amy Adams. Their new coffee-based but caffeine-free spirit, GFG Dry London Gin No.1, is distilled at award-winning The Gower Gin Company, and the recycled coffee grounds are collected from local independent cafés, such as Brød and Foxy’s Deli in Penarth. “Going forward, in order to be part of the ‘GFG gang’, businesses will retail some or all of our products in return,” says Rosie. “I want to align more with coffee shops that have the same ethos for sustainability as GFG.”

The eco Welsh gin is distilled from recycled coffee grounds


Bacareto is inspired by the small bàcari of Venice

Late summer will see the opening of Bacareto on Church Street, Cardiff. The informal café bar is inspired by the small bàcari of Venice; the kitchen will be headed up by one of Cardiff’s finest chefs, Grady Atkins, and the space will be run by the team behind Spit & Sawdust (a café, skatepark and art space in the east of the city). Both organisations are set up as social enterprises and will be supporting creative projects, commissioning artists to make work for the bar, running a programme of DJs, music and live events and sharing the building with Cardiff Skateboard Club. During the day, they’ll be serving up coffee, pastries, tramezzini and paninis; drop by for aperitivo hour where you’ll find the bar bursting with cichéti to be washed down with an ombra or spritz; and stay for the evening and enjoy wines and beers in a lively atmosphere, with a menu served late into the night. A high percentage of the menu will be plant focused too.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX? Two brothers from Cardiff have set up an online doorstep delivery business, Boxini, giving their customers access to fresh, topquality groceries from independent local businesses in South Wales. Of Welsh Italian descent, the brothers, Dominic and Dan, come from a rich family history of butchers, bakers, green grocers, and restaurateurs. “We’ve always It has never been easier to support local thought that Cardiff in one convenient doorstep delivery has a very impressive independent food scene and a fantastic selection of independent producers. Having always shopped locally for groceries as much as we possibly could, we identified an opportunity that would allow customers to shop local in a much more convenient and sustainable way”. Their impressive list of suppliers includes Ashton Fishmongers, Bar 44, Pipes Beer, Hardlines, Sullivan’s Fruit and Veg, Oriel Jones and Alex Gooch Bakery.


WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU COCOA Just a few doors down from Cocoa Therapy’s main shop on Barry High Street, is their new opening, Chocolate Bar, a small hot chocolate bar serving a wide selection of speciality hot and cold chocolate drinks, cakes from independent baker Carrot Top Bakery, Coaltown coffee and Tea Lab teas. “It’s designed to be a smaller sibling to the original shop, after demand for drinks from customers increased,” says owner Vicky McDonald. “When the premises became available last year, it seemed like an impossible opportunity to turn down.” Two of everything please

Expect pure indulgence at the Chocolate Bar

BAKE ME CRAZY Cardiff-based company The Marine Group have welcomed their newest tenants, Tŷ Melin Bakery, at their Cardiff Marina site. The founders of the lockdown-born bakery, Lance and Angharad, have a wealth of baking experience spanning 17 years between them. Lance’s baking credentials include pastry chef at The Priory in Bath before moving to work under master baker Richard Bertinet. He was also head baker at Harrod’s food hall, and taught his baking prowess at Bread Ahead in Borough Market. Angharad worked for Rick Stein before studying an advanced diploma in bread and patisserie at the School of Artisan Food and then moving to France to run her own pastry section in a high-end hotel. |

left: Ty Melin is serving up the good in Cardiff; below: Lance and Angharad I CARDIFF LIFE I 41



CHRIS ANDERSON TED Conference owner

ANN HIATT Former Google chief of staff


Burges Salmon, University of Bath, Lombard Odier, Rocketmakers, Bevan Brittan and Bath Spa University

DALE VINCE Founder of Ecotricity CONFERENCE PASSES Free via site:

Plus: panel sessions, networking hubs and much more

The conference for entrepreneurs: join for inspiration, insights and connections on July 1 OUR SPONSORS, CURRENTLY:

ASSOCIATES AND PARTNERS: Bristol Creative Industries, Creative Bath, Digital Wonderlab, EIP, MediaClash, PG Owen and Storm Consultancy CONTENT: COMMERCIAL: SITE: Register now for July 1

FOOD & DRINK Ceri’s getting bready to open her new shops, it’s the yeast she could do

“This has actually been the least stressful year I’ve had in business”



Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been catching up with businesses and asking them how they’ve been adapting. Here, Ceri Bower, the owner of Friends in Knead, in Roath and Goodsheds, tells us about the changing the flavour of her bakeries, and the new shops coming soon...

riends in Knead had only been open for several months when the national lockdown sent everyone home. “There were a couple of scary weeks in March,” says owner Ceri Bower who, with many regulars asking about deliveries, had a tough decision to make. “Overnight, all of our wholesale clients closed, including our sister shop, The Early Bird [now open again]. We had no income, and lots of bakers to support. We had a lot of space in the giant bakery, and with hospitality not likely to reopen anytime soon, we decided retail was the way to go.” After procuring a giant fridge from Facebook marketplace, refurbishing and getting all their bakes in order, Friends in Knead reopened their shop on Moy Road, Roath, complete with a deli and bodega. “Before we opened on our first day back, we couldn’t see anyone through the crates, so we figured it would be quiet,” she says. It turns out, the queue, which reached all the way down to Albany Road, was just hidden from view. Regulars from The Early Bird, old wholesale clients, and people from the neighbourhood had all come to pay the bakers a visit. “We have lush neighbours.” Shifting the focus of Friends in Knead to retail ultimately meant dropping their wholesale partners, which was sad for everyone, but it also had a silver lining – the bakers now had more creative freedom to make whatever they wanted. And they wasted no time

WHAT’S NEW? Get excited because on the horizon is the opening of a new Friends in Knead shop and a new Grumpy’s Gelato Bar. Details TBC but it’ll be next year in a location that we have to keep quiet about for now!

WHAT’S THE MUSTTRY FRIENDS IN KNEAD SPECIAL? “It has to be the honey rye sourdough. When word got around that we were considering taking it off the menu, regulars all but showed up with pitchforks in protest.”

adding extra items on top of their core products. This newfound freedom has definitely been a highlight for the Friends in Knead team.Ceri’s favourite new bake is the Queen, a decadent croissant dough pastry lovingly laminated with butter and sugar to create a caramelized outer crust. Better yet, their recipe changes every month, there are Queen Eggs and Cookies n’ Queens. “The Queens always sell out really early,” says Ceri, who also runs a Friends in Knead and a Grumpy’s Gelato Bar in Goodsheds, Barry. “I’m really proud of those, I don’t know anyone else in the UK who is making this type of pastries.” All the disruption seems to have been worth it. On top of basking in the love from customers, Ceri has had the opportunity to hire more apprentices. “Retail means selling more, which means we can hire more staff,” she says. “We’re basically growing our own bakers. I’m so glad we’ve been able to provide training for artisan bakers, because there aren’t many opportunities to train properly in Wales. This has actually been the least stressful year I’ve had in business, which is mad, considering the situation. “We would never have been in this position had the pandemic not happened! We had the space and the opportunity to change our business model, and the risk paid off.” I CARDIFF LIFE I 43

The Caerphilly-based plant milk brand claims to have more nutrition per portion than any other on the market


Caerphilly-based Gut Instinct specialises in plant milk which has been developed to aid – you guessed it – gut health. We had a catch up with founder Chris Joll about the drinks, which have “more nutrition per portion than any other milk alternative on the market” By Polly Angelova

Chris Joll

You’ve been very forthcoming about your struggles with chronic fatigue syndrome and your recovery though good food. How did your illness inspire you to make Gut Instinct?

Since my mid-twenties, I’ve had an interest in gut health, which came after a long period of chronic fatigue and lots of digestive issues. Back then, there wasn’t the same awareness around gut health, you just found doing certain things made you feel better. Now we have all the data to back up what we’ve always known: a healthy gut is key for an overall good health. I came up with Gut Instinct to help people who are suffering unnecessarily. I believe with the right diet and nutrition they can go a long way to feeling much better. How do you think switching to a milk alternative helps with gut health?

Honestly, just taking dairy out


of your diet makes a massive difference. But we wanted to push this a step further by including the important ingredients for nutrition. It’s a balance between the elimination and fortification to give your body and brain everything that might be missing. Vitamin D, for instance, is very important. The brain and the gut are closely linked, which means there is a direct connection between gut health and mental health, and we need to approach it holistically. The same goes for our other ingredients. Giving up dairy means taking calcium out of your diet, so we need to give it to people with our product. We’re also the only oat milk brand that fortifies their recipe with folic acid, which is very important for pregnant women. What was the journey behind developing this product?

It took us nine months to develop

FOOD & DRINK It’s perfect for creamy cocktails too

“I came up with Gut Instinct to help people who are suffering unnecessarily” the oat milk; even when we went to market with it, I still wasn’t completely satisfied. But now we’re on the third edition, and after the tweaks we’ve made to the recipe, I’m really happy with it. We had a lot of help along the way. The folks at The Thirsty Elephant Coffee Company in Pontyclun are great coffee people, and we worked closely together to perfect the recipe. I’m also close friends with Laurian from Cocorico Patisserie on Whitchurch Road, who, as a pastry chef, has an amazing palate, so I had him taste testing the different versions, until we finally landed on one we were happy with. You’re a British-based plantbased milk brand, does that mean it’s made locally?

Yes, our product is produced in Somerset, but oats can currently

only be processed in Belgium, so we’ve decided on using Belgian oats to reduce the food miles. We try to be as ethical as possible in everything you do, so we wouldn’t compromise values to make money. Where can people buy Gut Instinct’s milk?

Our route to market is currently through coffee roasters and distributors who understand the importance of the right milk and coffee pairing. Basically, we work with local independent businesses to give people nice coffee. The Little Man Coffee Co are our main distributors in Cardiff, and Anna Loka, Wild Thing, Brodies Coffee Co and other vegan coffee shops also stock our product. What products do you currently offer?

We are very hospitality focused with our Barista range. We’ve got the barista oat milk, and we’ll be releasing soya, coconut and almond barista editions in the middle of 2021. Beyond milk alternatives, we’re working with the Welsh Government to develop plantbased kefir, because it’s currently exclusively made using dairy. We’re also looking at introducing things like kombucha and fibre-fix bars, which will contain a third of the daily required fibre. Why do you think so many people are making the switch to plant based?

Local cafés, such as The Little Man Coffee Co, Anna Loka, Wild Thing, and Brodies Coffee Co, serve Gut Instinct

Gen Z are generally more consumer conscious and aware. But they’re now educating their parents as well, so you see many older people, even grandparents, using milk alternatives. In fact, the cafés we supply tell me people are choosing plant-based more than dairy. I CARDIFF LIFE I 45

THE ADMIRAL AT VOCO ST DAVID’S Unrivalled views, elegant vibes and a celebrity hotspot, The Admiral is an all-day dining and drinking space you need to try By Lisa Evans


ere’s an amusing little set up for you: diners huddled on an al fresco waterfront balcony, all clutching their colourful brollies during intermittent gusty showers as they simultaneously tuck one-handedly into their charcuterie plates and pink champagne, giggling the whole way through. They could have easily opted to sprint inside, but The Admiral restaurant at voco St David’s has a view – frequently said to be the best for miles – that’s worth braving the Welsh weather for. On a sunny day, it’s an almost-tropical location, with unbelievable views of the Cardiff Bay waterfront, all its landmarks, and Penarth. Being the precipitation princess that I am, I was much happier seated inside, next to the window. Same sites, less fringe-frizzing potential. This place is frequented by celebrities too; we’re sworn


to secrecy about who they are, but they’re not wrong to make this a favourite haunt. Aside from that unrivalled vista, there’s a smart-casual and elegant vibe, a swanky bar area featuring crisp, nautical hues, and plenty of living greenery, and a window-lined dining space, all docked within an arresting sail-shaped structure in Cardiff Bay. Then there’s obviously the food; now, this review may not tell you too much about what to expect, because, although we relished in an enormously portioned, indulgent three-courser, a new head chef is due to take over at the end of June, who will inevitably have a renewed vision and fresh techniques; exciting things to come. We chose a sharer dish of sweet red pepper hummus with flatbreads to start, and our waiters – who all tell you their names and are keen for a chat and a laugh – enthusiastically recommended the chicken Kiev and the South Coast crab linguine for mains.



The silkily delicious linguine was a behemoth of a dish, which I was sad to see most of go to waste, despite me bragging that I could easily polish it off; the soft, flaked white crabmeat was punchily enhanced by chilli and lemon and the snowfall of parmesan atop it. The garlicky Kiev, an oozy-cored classic that took us back to simpler times, was crisp, plump and served with torched asparagus and watercress salad, and we added a side of triple-cooked chips, which is apparently a rule we abide by in every restaurant. We were tempted, too, by the Korean fried chicken burger in a pretzel bun with kimchi and gochujang mayo, and by the slow-roast lamb shawarma with pomegranate salad and harissa yoghurt. It’s an eclectic menu with worldwide influences and plenty of impressive seasonal à la carte dishes. Dessert was a delectable burnt Basque cheesecake with roasted rhubarb, and a super-rich melt-in-the-middle dark chocolate fondant with malted cream. The cocktail list was a corker too; it prioritised ingredients and simplicity, with all syrups, infusions and pre-batches made in-house to reflect the seasonality of the space. And their (free) still and sparkling water is filtered and bottled right on the premises as just one of the ways voco is helping to protect the environment. Attention to detail is everything here, and the service certainly stands up to St David’s five-star hotel standards. If you like being treated like a VIP, pay them a visit. ■

“Service certainly stands up to St David’s five-star standards”

DINING DETAILS The Admiral at voco St David’s, Havannah Street, Cardiff Bay, CF10 5SD; 029 2045 4045; We ate Red pepper hummus with flatbreads; chicken Kiev with chips; crab, chilli and lemon linguine; cheesecake with roasted rhubarb; dark chocolate fondant Vegetarian options? A good handful, including a plant-based burger and crispy tofu satay Prices Starters and sharers £3 – 18; mains £7 – £29; desserts £6 – £8 Drinks A wide selection of wines, beers and cocktails Service Supremely welcoming, attentive and fun Atmosphere Smart-casual and elegant I CARDIFF LIFE I 47



Love it or hate it, we live in a social media-fuelled world, and Instagram is stacked with seasoned Cardiff-based food bloggers. One in particular, who has a 10,000-strong following is @CardiffFoodQueen, AKA Olivia Scott, who lives in Birchgrove, who shares her favourite independent local lunch spots with us… Words and images by @CardiffFoodQueen


FFWRNES @ffwrnes First floor of Cardiff Market “Ffwrnes are local pizza heroes as well as stars of the screen having recently featured on their own TV show The Pizza Boys. Pizza is my favourite food and you can’t beat it straight out the wood-fired oven. Combining traditional Italian knowledge with the best local Welsh produce, this is a lunch winner.” Menu choice: Margherita, traditional Neapolitan dough, San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella.

SOCIAL EATS 2 @social_eats_cardiff 20 Salisbury Road, Cardiff

“Offering a healthier lunch/brunch alternative with locally sourced food and drink. A newbie to the Cardiff food scene, but one that’s already established itself as a fab lunchtime option. From Buddha bowls to a classic club sandwich, you won’t go hungry!” Menu choice: Poached eggs on sourdough toast, with avocado, crispy bacon, salmon and wild mushrooms.


WINGSTACK @wingstackuk 25 Clearwater Way, Cardiff “Doing exactly what their name says on the tin: serving up stacks of flavour, and, as well as chicken wings, they do burgers and vegan alternatives too. Located in the up-and-coming Clearwater Parade, this is an indie hotspot and one to get you drooling at lunchtime.” Menu choice: Wingstack Burger – buttermilk panko fried chicken with American cheese, sriracha mayo and zingy slaw in a brioche bun with rosemary and garlic salted chips.


COFFI CO @coffico_ Shipping Containers Harbour Drive, Cardiff Bay “Cardiff’s quirkiest coffee shop and the flagship store for Coffi Co, the shipping containers in Porth Teigr are a great place to grab a hot lunch.


You can pre-order using their app, and they have a variety of hot food to choose from including burgers and wood fired pizza.” Menu choice: Breaded halloumi dippers with salad, BBQ sauce and garlic mayo.


ATLANTIS DELI CO @atlantisdelico 23 Whitchurch Road, Cardiff “Another fairly new independent local eatery offering a great lunch menu inspired by traditional British light lunches. From baguettes to baked potatoes, you won’t be short of filling options here. Their meal deal offers are great value for money too.” Menu choice: Chicken tikka sandwich, and a meatless meatball sandwich with vegan cheese.

“You can’t be a true Cardiffian unless you’ve queued for one of these baguettes ” 6

FRESH @freshthebaguettebar 32 Royal Arcade, Cardiff “Local Cardiff lunch legends, you can’t be a true Cardiffian unless you’ve queued for a Fresh baguette from Sam and Gaz over the last 21 years. They have an extensive menu including weekday specials (Friday is the bestselling Indian Spiced Chicken with mango mayo and it’s always a sell out). They also make the best cakes and brownies too.” Menu choice: Chicken and chorizo baguette with roasted garlic lemon mayo, sundried tomato pesto, tomato, rocket and onion.


LA PANTERA @lapanteracardiff 5 Quay Street, Cardiff “Looking for a different kind of lunch? Here you

have it – ‘unauthentic tacos’ from La Pantera is what you need. These guys are creative geniuses and switch their taco menu up on a weekly basis. You will always find one meat, one fish and one vegan option. This is a perfect place for a lunch stop, and with frozen daytime margaritas too.” Menu choice: Honey and siracha chicken strips with toasted sesame, pickled celery and blue cheese sauce.


NEW YORK DELI @newyorkdelicardiff 19 High Street Arcade Cardiff “A key player in Cardiff’s lunch scene, serving up a taste of New York for over 30 years, this is the place to get your hoagies piled high with pastrami. Every option is fully customisable meaning you can add or remove as you please.” Menu choice: The Philadelphia, with ham, salami, Swiss cheese, salad, mayo and mustard.


TOAST @toastcardiff Pop-up currently at The Bone Yard, Paper Mill Road “Making pop-up cult brunch a thing, Toast is my go-to weekend lunch takeaway option. With a rotating menu, and the cutest van resembling a loaf of bread, there is nothing you won’t love about this option. The Harrisa butter is somewhat addictive though…” Menu choice: Poached eggs with avocado and grilled halloumi on sourdough toast with harissa butter, honeyed pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds.


SECRET GARDEN CAFÉ @secretgardencf Bute Park, North Road, Cardiff “Sometimes we just want a lighter lunch option, and what a perfect way to enjoy it while picnicking in Bute Park. The Secret Garden offers a range of homemade savoury and sweet treats to keep your energy levels up, think quiches, pies and salad.” Menu choice: Scotch egg and a mushroom, courgette and cheese quiche.

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It’s the city’s business


Gareth Woodfin, the studio director of HLM Architects



ardiff is one of the most innovative cities in the UK, and a major hub for start-ups. Stand by, then for EntreConf – a new virtual conference for local entrepreneurs, held on 1 July. The event seeks to inspire start-ups and scale-ups with some powerful insights, and to link them with key advisers and partners. There will be three stunning keynotes at the event too: Chris Anderson: Owner of world-renowned TED Conferences, telling his own remarkable entrepreneurial story. Ann Hiatt: Unrivalled top-level first-hand experience as a former business partner of Jeff


Bezos at Amazon and then on to chief of staff at Google. Dale Vince: Leading green energy entrepreneur and pioneer who was the executive producer of Seaspiracy, and also owns the eco-friendly Forest Green Rovers. EntreConf also features the EntreLeague – the top 50 of the coolest, brightest, most interesting entrepreneurial businesses in the region. It will be chosen by a panel of experts, themselves chosen for expertise across a wide variety of sectors and business types: entrepreneurs, advisors, financial companies, lawyers and academics.


The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama welcomes Maestro Xu Zhong – one of the most internationally renowned Chinese pianists and conductors – as its inaugural international chair in opera representing Asia. He has also recently been announced as the external expert observer of BBC’s Cardiff Singer of the World 2021. Maestro Xu Zhong

For more:

Virtual one hour sessions, all free to attend Search Cardiff Life on LinkedIn for upcoming dates and registration If you would like to get involved, please email


Calling all entrepreneurs

FROM LEFT: The guest speakers will be Chris Anderson, who owns TED Conferences; Ann Hiatt, former business partner of Jeff Bezos at Amazon; and Dale Vince, exec producer of Seaspiracy

HLM Architects – who are behind a number of projects in Cardiff, including the new extension to Techniquest – has been ranked as the third best architectural practice to work for in the UK, in the Best Companies ‘Top 100 Best Mid-Sized Companies to Work For’ 2021 list. The Cardiff team at HLM are also celebrating their 15th anniversary of being located in the Welsh capital.


FLOWER POWER A fresh start has been had at Flower Lodge in Rhiwbina as Rae John has taken over as owner alongside her ‘partner in crime/business/life’ Bert Jones. “I grew up just a few doors down from the Flower Lodge; Beulah Road has always felt like home and it feels great to be back.Tracy Bell has handed over the flower power to myself, and I’m so blessed to have spent time learning from the absolute best in the business. Tracy will be so missed in the village. For more:

THE BIG RETURN Our latest live Cardiff Life Business Club was held via zoom on 3 June and was an Events Special focusing on Cardiff’s long-awaited events gatherings that are being held after a year of postponing and cancelling. We heard from guest speakers including Rhys Blumberg (Cardiff Blues), Nick Saunders (Depot), Fern Morgan (Genero Group) and Jill Manley (ICC Wales & Celtic Manor) as they were prepping to head in to a hopeful second half of 2021. Rhys Blumberg “We’ve made the assumption that by September we’ll be able to have some sort of normality,” says Rhys at Cardiff Blues. “We’ve launched hospitality for next year and we’ve seen a huge uplift in interest in this. And we’re looking to run British Lions events in July and August in a marquee at The Arms Park too, and we’re really confident that, if the government lets us, we’ll be able to really benefit from the appetite for live sports and live events.” For more:


Tracy (left) has passed the flower power over to Rae (right)

PICK OF THE BUNCH Wales Millennium Centre has announced its first ever cohort of Creative Associates. This dynamic group of eight artists joins the organisation at a crucial stage in its story, as it emerges from the pandemic and rebuilds with a fresh new vision. Over 270 people applied for these newly created posts, working with WMC on two-year contracts. The successful candidates come from a rich and eclectic mix of creative backgrounds – from performance and music to storytelling and filmmaking. For more:

The Cardiff-based events company Genero Creative Group are bringing exciting events for rugby fans this summer in collaboration with the Cardiff Blues. Events include charity golf tournaments, networking Tom Shanklin (centre) will create events and award dinners, exciting events with his former rugby and money raised will team, the Cardiff Blues go to the Cardiff Blues Community Foundation. “I’m so proud of the relationship Genero has built with the Cardiff Blues,” says Genero Director Tom Shanklin, who played for the Cardiff Blues until 2011, “and that together we are able to provide these incredible events to engage the sporting community.” For more:

Martin and Tupac are two of the new trustees at The National Dance Company Wales


The Creative Associates were chosen out of hundreds of applicants

The National Dance Company Wales, in Cardiff, has appointed four new trustees: Cathryn Allen, Martin Hylton, Krystal S. Lowe and Tupac Martir have joined the board and will help guide the company as it emerges from the challenges of Covid 19. Cathryn brings 27 years’ experience from the BBC to the board and is a mentor for Women in Film & Television UK; Martin is high-profile leader in the dance community; Krystal has had an extensive career performing and touring with Ballet Cymru; and Tupac Martir is an artist and the founder of Satore Studio. Vogue has described him as ‘the visual designer and creative director behind some of the most important events in the world’. For more:



Emily says that people can struggle to visualise themselves in a home; that’s where she comes in

Key Home Staging Ltd

Key Home Staging’s checklist includes painting, styling and bringing in furniture and accessories

Here we chat to EMILY DAVIES, founder of Vale-based Key Home Staging – a business which preps on-the-market homes for viewing, making them look as appealing as possible to the future buyers Please tell us a little about your business…

Key Home Staging’s aim is to create a home that buyers will fall in love with – improving your marketing images, increasing viewings, reducing your time on the market and achieving the best possible price for your property. We do this by using our expert team of home stagers along with our furniture and accessory rental packages. Where did the idea for its creation come from?

It was created in 2019. Having worked in the property industry for near on 20 years, having renovated several properties of my own and with a huge passion for all things interiors, I decided it was time to help others maximize their property’s potential. I started to invest in an inventory, using the spare room as a storage space. Once we’d outgrown the spare room we moved into shipping containers. Home staging is a relatively new concept that we are bringing to Wales. It has proven itself to be successful. We’re excited for what the future holds. Talk us through examples that best illustrate the work you do…

Empty properties aren’t appealing to the eye. Buyers can struggle to visualise how the home can work for them. By adding key pieces of furniture and placing them well within the home it allows your buyers to feel relaxed and spend more time admiring the view from the kitchen table or knowing they can easily fit a chest of draws in the single bedroom. That’s why we highly recommend our furniture and accessory packages to clients with empty or partially furnished properties. What’s on your checklist when preparing a property?

It’s important to depersonalise and replace bright colours with a neutral colour palette when possible. Clutter can be extremely off putting, too. We recommend having a good old sort out before asking your local estate agent to value your property. Often the outside can be forgotten so ensure to put the bins away, tidy up the flower beds and give the lawn a cut. We have a detailed check list that we work through when advising our clients how to get their property market ready. Our consultation package is extremely popular. It can be an overwhelming and stressful time when you take that leap to getting your property ready for the market.

Do you do everything yourselves, or do the homeowners get involved too?

We will put together a package that works for our client and their property. Some like to be involved in the process from start to finish and others prefer to let us do the sorting, arrange the storage and cleaning etc.

Why do first impressions count?

Many properties on the market are not being fairly represented online. First impression is key. It’s what draws buyers in. With more and more estate agents and developers using social media platforms to advertise their homes, image is everything. We want to help our clients achieve the absolute best they can from their property. How does being based locally benefit the work you do?

We’re extremely lucky to be located within the Vale. The team get to work with such a variety of properties and clients – from penthouse apartments in Cardiff City Centre to farm houses in West Wales each with bespoke requirements yet all equally beautiful once we’ve worked our magic.

“FIRST IMPRESSION IS KEY. IT DRAWS BUYERS IN” Any moment you have been particularly proud of?

There’s not a day that goes by when I’m not proud of what we do. We work with clients in all different situations whether that be relocating, a separation, downsizing, upsizing, looking to buy or sell an investment, holiday homes; you name it we can help. Any immediate or long-term plans in the pipeline?

Key Home Staging is on the move. Our new warehouse and office space is currently being built and we should be in by the end of this year. We are rapidly growing as more and more people turn to us for advice, which in turn allows us to provide more jobs for the community, which is fantastic. For more: I CARDIFF LIFE I 53



Former basketball player for Wales, and ex-Scarlets rugby union physio Jo Perkins tells us about founding Mumma Physio, which won the Health & Wellbeing Award at the 2020 Cardiff Life Awards What prompted you to enter the Awards?

This was the first time I entered, and it was mainly to highlight what the business had achieved over the year since it was established and to try and continue to raise the awareness of women’s health issues. Tell us a little about Mumma Physio, what are its main aims and goals?

It supports women through all potential phases of life including pregnancy, postnatally and through the menopause as well as femalespecific sporting injuries. I used to work for mens’ professional rugby union side the Scarlets for eight years, where I specialised in injury prevention and rehabilitation, but it was only once I had my daughter in 2015 that I became acutely aware of the lack of specific support for women, with so many suffering in silence postnatally, with a variety of health issues. I developed a real passion for all things female health, and subsequently trained further in these areas and created Mumma Physio. It started as delivering classes for women pre and postnatally, and has now expanded to individual clinic work and online offerings, as well as consulting to the women’s WRU side.


What does winning a Cardiff Life Award mean to you?

It was such a boost after all the hard work of establishing the business. It has further helped to spread the word that there is credible female support and that there is help for women who need it. Any collaborations with other local businesses?

Tell us about yourself outside of work...

I’m a mum of two very large babies, I’m a keen runner, having completed three marathons, and used to play basketball for Wales. I am married to Dot Perkins who is also a physiotherapist and competed in and captained the 2017 and 2018 Invictus Games.


I have collaborated with women’s health personal trainer Betsan deRenesse to create an online female-specific rehab and fitness programme (www. as well as running live classes from the lovely Insole Court, supporting women through pregnancy and the postpartum period. I have also teamed up with women’s health physio Gillian McCabe, providing clinics for women returning to exercise post baby. How might you describe your key clientele?

Any woman! It is important to acknowledge that we have different anatomy, menstrual cycles, potentially go through pregnancy, a postnatal recovery and the menopause, and each of those phases can predispose us to different

physical and emotional challenges which are important to address and to understand. What are the highs and the lows you’ve experienced in business?

My main advice would be to not be afraid of change and a new challenge. It was really daunting taking the leap from men’s professional sport and I very much underestimated what starting up a business would entail, but it has grown organically and it is important to trust word of mouth and the support in Cardiff among other services who share the passion for supporting females. Any plans in the pipeline?

I am very excited to be constantly evolving the business including collaborations with ultra runner and running coach Lowri Morgan, delivering running coaching and physiotherapy packages for both men and women (www. I am continuing to consult for the WRU and excited to be involved in more research in regards to female rugby and postnatal running. For more: I CARDIFF LIFE I 55


L-R: Debora Farrell, Kristian Sultana, Alexandra Wood, Simon Fox, Mark Saunders, Ella Johnston

THE PROFESSIONALS Local property law firm INSIGHT LAW continues to experience a period of growth despite economic uncertainties in the wake of Covid


nsight Law, a specialist property law firm with offices in Bristol and Cardiff have welcomed five new members of staff to their team since the beginning of the year, in the first step of the firm’s ambitious plans for 2021. These professionals have been brought in to assist the ever-growing workload across the three separate and specialist property teams, aiming to keep their client service levels high and turnaround time swift, especially in light of the SDLT incentive deadline coming to an end in June 2021. The firm, which was founded in 2012, operates as a specialist property only law firm, meaning their sole focus is on the legal aspect of property transactions, making them true experts in the field. They provide expert property advice in three niche areas within this market, namely in residential property, commercial property and buy-to-let/investment property, with a dedicated team of professionals for each. The firm’s slogan – ‘We talk property’ – serves as a constant reminder of how the firm is operated: client-centric with an emphasis on providing exceptional communication with clients, agents, brokers and other third parties. 2020 was turbulent and challenging in many ways, however, where many businesses initially struggled to cope with the changes forced 56 I CARDIFF LIFE I

upon businesses by the Covid pandemic and consequent government regulations, Insight Law was already well prepared and was able to quickly adapt to the new circumstances and continue operating. Like most businesses, Insight Law’s staff had to adjust to working from home as offices were forced to shut. The firm’s management acted quickly, investing in new telephone systems, case management software and offering its staff a work-from-home allowance. After a productive end to 2020 and an excellent first quarter in 2021, Insight Law looks forward to the challenges and opportunities that will present themselves in the coming months and believes with the new staff that have joined the firm and the continued dedication, resilience and commitment of the firm’s existing staff members, they are well placed for a productive and profitable year ahead. ”The management team at Insight Law and I have been absolutely delighted by the response of the staff to the difficulties we all experienced in 2020,” said Managing Director Simon Fox. “Throughout various lockdowns and restrictions, the staff showed great resilience and dedication to cope with the situation and to ensure that clients’ transactions continued uninterrupted. Everyone really pulled together, so credit where it’s due! We have had an extremely busy start to 2021 and that seems to be continuing

at the moment. As a result, we are hopeful of a profitable year of trading despite the uncertainties that still exist. I have no doubt the new staff that have joined the firm will continue the good work looking after our clients and seeing their transactions through to the end.” ■

Why should you appoint Insight Law to work on your property transaction? Insight Law’s specialist property teams based in Bristol & Cardiff are part of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, so you can rest assured the teams are highly-skilled and focussed on client care. - Experienced & fully-qualified staff - Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority - Accredited by The Law Society - Bespoke service - Fixed-fee with no hidden extras 0117 925 6257 (Bristol) 02920 093 600 (Cardiff)


Glam dresses at the ready it’s happening!



Let’s hear it for our finalists!



The Cardiff Life Awards 2021 shortlist has been revealed…

That Award-winning feeling can’t be beaten…

Congratulations, Finalists! We can’t wait to see you in all your finery on 30 September at City Hall. Nothing beats being there!


“Last year’s Cardiff Life Awards were so great and we loved being a part of it. When we heard our name called as winner, we couldn’t believe it! There were so many amazing businesses in our category so we were truly honoured to win.” Chloe Smith at bigmoose

ardiff, you’re amazing. We know it’s been an incredibly busy past few months, but that didn’t stop nominations for the Cardiff Life Awards 2021 from flooding in; in fact, hundreds of businesses entered, from sectors right across the city – from retailers to restaurants, culture to charity, health to hospitality, legal to leisure and tourism. A veritable snapshot of working Cardiff, from the smallest of the indies to the largest of the corporates. Each nomination was carefully read, reread and read again. If we’re being honest, tears were shed as many of the entries were so heartfelt, emotional and personal. In-depth discussions were held, and decisions were reached. On 17 June we held our Grand Reveal Day over Zoom – a live event, in which the business community discovered for the first time who had made it onto this year’s shortlist. From this point onwards it’s over to our impeccably impartial panel of judges, who will choose the outright winners. These, as ever, will be announced at the big Awards ceremony – held this year on 30 September at City Hall. It’s the first time we’ve been able to stage the Awards in person since 2019, and we absolutely cannot wait to welcome you in all your finery and bling to the most hotly anticipated and most glamorous Awards

ceremony in the city. Having said that, last year’s virtual Awards had a charm all of their own, and we loved seeing our winners in their own homes, surrounding by ecstatic partners/kids/cats etc. “For my family, this was the ultimate in excitement,” says Beth Morris, whose business, Beth Morris Workshops, won a 2020 Award in our ceremony hosted via Zoom. “They planned all day as it meant they could watch the awards too. They created Cardiff Life banners and took my photo. My husband filled the wine glass and set the TV to record. The creative category winner was announced first and I heard my daughters cheering before I heard my name! There was a slight delay on my Zoom call so they were jumping around the living room in delight as I sat in shock. My husband recorded their lovey reaction and it has been viewed over 10,000 times on Twitter. To know my girls are so proud of their mum is so heartwarming. They would never have been able to be part of the experience had the awards not been virtual. I am so grateful I was able to share it with them.” It’s always a sell-out event, so we strongly suggest you head to the website pronto for tickets, on sale now. Oh, and some sponsorships are still available; details below. Turn the page to see the Finalists! For more:; @CardiffLifeAwards

ABOUT The Cardiff Life Awards are the business highlight of the city. They are the most prestigious, most tightly contested Awards with the greatest number of local companies involved

FINALISTS Turn over the page for the full list. Congrats, all!

SPONSORSHIPS For remaining options, contact or

WHEN The ceremony will be held on 30 September at City Hall. Nothing beats being there…

TICKETS On sale now! Go go go! We sell out every year

SOCIAL MEDIA Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter for all updates @cardifflifeawards SPONSORS We thank our Sponsors so far: Platinum Sponsor Marsh Commercial, plus Cardiff Life, 13Fields, Genero Productions, Lexus Cardiff, Park Plaza, Regus and WSET I CARDIFF LIFE I 57




Leanne Eustace, Co-founder and Operations Director Tell us a little about your business?

We started out as a family run business and have grown to a small team that provide award-winning accountancy solutions to help entrepreneurs thrive. How have the last 12 months been for you?

Responding to the demands of a global pandemic this past year has required us to be proactive leaders, providing vital support to navigate our clients through a changing and precarious business landscape. While some have found new opportunities for growth expansion, other clients have been on an emotional rollercoaster and have required our assistance with tough decisions to secure the future of their livelihoods. We are grateful to have such a resilient and caring team who have been the strength behind our services this past year. What sets you apart from others in your sector?

We are a small and friendly team who pride ourselves on having strong and personable relationships with our clients. We invest time in getting to know our clients and their business so that we can offer them the most effective solutions. Our wide range of inclusive accountancy packages are tailored to suit businesses of all sizes and stages and ultimately allow us to provide a complete outsourced solution. Did You Know?

Our 15th Anniversary is coming up this year. We are proud to have been providing outstanding accountancy services to companies in Cardiff and around the UK for 15 years now and are excited to continue our plans for expansion. For more: Unit 1A Palmersvale, Barry, Cardiff CF63 2XA 02920 498 800;



With flexible packages it’s the best place to start or scale your business. Located in the heart of Cardiff, Meetspace is the hub for entrepreneurs, business start-ups and creatives changing the world, looking for space to reside long term or to just drop in. Need a safe, stylish space to work, meet and connect? From hot desks, co-working spaces and event spaces to comfy chairs, room to brainstorm and meeting pods, our space is flexible to create an inspiring workspace. Our meeting room boasts a modern design with everything you need to connect, deliver and impress. Whether you need a desk for a day, an office to grow your team or a space to launch your next project, our space is flexible to create an inspiring workspace. What makes working in Cardiff special?

Over the past decade Cardiff has been completely rejuvenated, building on its history to become the dynamic capital of Wales. Cardiff is a city on the move and is home to some great tech and creative industry firms but also very successful local independent businesses. The culture is very much about creating a spirit of collaboration which makes it exciting! What sets you apart from others in your sector?

You have to see our space! Enjoy heaps of natural day light and views of green spaces with the added bonus of staying the night in one of our boutique apartments within the development! It is located right in the heart of the city, we have created a space which is comfortable and flexible, so whether you are looking for a space to start or scale your business, bored of your home office or simply space to catch-up on emails between meetings you’ll find it with us. We will tailor a package for your needs. Our team have a wealth of experience within hospitality, we DID YOU KNOW? understand what is important, and we put Meetspace forms our heart into every step of the way. part of Park Lane For more: 23/24 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3BA;; 02920 029959;

Aparthotel which is the first aparthotel for Cardiff!


Jonathan Smart, Director & Head of Buy-To-Let Tell us a little about your business

We are a property only law firm specialising in Residential, BuyTo-Let and Commercial properties. We have a dedicated, client focused team of property experts, and we strive to offer our clients a personable and professional service. We have grown in recent years and now have offices in Cardiff and Bristol servicing clients all over England and Wales. What benefits do you offer employees?

We have been working from home since the first lockdown in March 2020. This time has allowed us to introduce a flexible ‘work from home policy’, we have also provided all members of staff with a financial contribution towards creating a better work from home environment. This year we have also introduced a bonus scheme for all staff members. What plans do you have for 2021 and beyond?

Despite the challenges we faced in 2020, we have been able to continue to grow our business and recruited more lawyers and support staff throughout the firm. We are proud to have grown our Cardiff and Bristol teams. Our Buy-To-Let team has seen a huge increase of instructions. What started as a team of two people in 2018 is now an expanding team with currently ten members and continued growth expected in 2021 to meet our clients’ requirements. Did you know?

We have recently nominated Mind and JDRF (Type 1 Diabetes research) charities as our charities for the year. We currently have a number of events planned (Covid permitting) in order to support our charity partners for 2021. For more: Second Floor, Unit G, Copse Walk, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff, CF23 8RB; 02920 093 600;



Tell us a little about your business

Martyn Prowel Solicitors is an established, dynamic and modern firm of solicitors based in the heart of Cardiff. Over the years our firms have developed into a size which is large enough to provide high quality specialist legal services, but one that retains the ability to be friendly and approachable to clients. We regularly have outstanding solicitors recommended in the “Legal 500” and other independent publications and our expertise has been recognised by the Legal Services Commission which has granted legal aid franchises, which are a mark of quality in the provision of publicly funded legal services. What areas do you specialise in?

We specialise in Family Law, Personal Injury & Medical Negligence, Civil Dispute Resolution, Criminal Law, Residential Conveyancing and Wills and Probate. Legal advice can often be extremely expensive. At Martyn Prowel, we offer our clients an initial consultation with one of our specialist solicitors in return for a small fee to help the clients understand their options before pursuing a case. When was your firm founded and who by?

Martyn Prowel Solicitors was formed in 1996 by Martyn Prowel, Bob Edwards and Hywel Davies who had previously been Partners in the long-standing Cardiff firm of Hallinans Solicitors. They had many years of experience in legal practice in their specialist areas assisting individuals DID YOU KNOW? and businesses in Cardiff and the South Martyn Prowel Solicitors were Wales area. For more: The Aspect, 140 Queen St, Cardiff CF10 2GL; 029 2047 5155;;

winners of the Cardiff Life Awards 2020 for the Legal & Financial category! I CARDIFF LIFE I 61



NOW: Sponsorships available, please get in touch with or for more information 28 JUNE: Launch Event, register at 28 JUNE: Nominations open 14 OCTOBER: Grand Reveal Day 19 NOVEMBER: Official Preview in Cardiff Life 26 NOVEMBER: Cardiff Property Awards

Initial Sponsors:





The Cardiff Property Awards are back, and nominations open in June An event that is now firmly embedded in the local calendar is the Cardiff Property Awards, which is back on 26 November 2021 at The Coal Exchange Hotel. Don’t miss the live virtual Launch Event on 28 June, and that’s when the nominations are officially open too. Cardiff teems with clever property companies shaping the city’s destiny. Designed to celebrate this dynamic sector, the Awards cover every aspect of property, from residential to commercial, from lettings to new builds, civic buildings to bold reimaginings. Here’s what Leader of the Council, Councillor Huw Thomas had to say when the Cardiff Property Awards launched in 2019, “I’m delighted to see the new Cardiff Property Awards, which will celebrate

Vicky Kells at Clarke Willmott

the success of our city’s property sector. Innovation in property can have a big role in shaping our economy, our communities, as well as contributing towards sustainable growth, and it’s gratifying to see that this is reflected in the Awards, which include categories relating to issues such as social housing and the environment. “Cardiff is the fastest growing UK city, and it is excellent to have our built environment highlighted in these Awards from the team behind Cardiff Life.” The Cardiff Property Awards is the largest gathering of property professionals in the city. To discuss how sponsorship might benefit your business, talk to annie.kelly@mediaclash. or For more

Councillor Huw Thomas

KEY DETAILS • The live virtual Launch Event is happening on 28 June, register for free at • Nominations open on 28 June, which are free to enter via the website • Sponsorships available, please contact for more info • The Awards will be held on 26 November 2021 at The Coal Exchange Hotel.


The Cardiff office of national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP has acted for housing association Melin Homes to secure a £150m funding package. The financing from Macquarie Asset Management will support the delivery of 1,000 more affordable homes in South East Wales by 2025 and represents the first social housing investment made by the Macquarie Group in Wales. “We are delighted to have helped our long-standing client Melin Homes with this impressive package,” says Vicky Kells, joint lead of the social housing sector at Clarke Willmott and head of the Cardiff office. “This deal, coming hot on the heels of our Valleys to Coast work, highlights what our sector-focused teams can achieve and we’re pleased to have worked on two such ground-breaking deals in the region.” I CARDIFF LIFE I 63


We were invited to visit a luxury lodge at Laugharne’s Dylan Coastal Resort which has just had a £20 million revamp. Here’s what we thought… By Lisa Evans

“Waking up to panoramic sunrise vistas above the house that Dylan Thomas called home is pretty poetic”



TRAVEL DETAILS • The starting price for a Dylan Lodge is £1,300 for a four-night stay. • Holiday providers Luxury Lodges have launched their ‘Residences’ range at the resort. Priced from £295,000, the 1,100 sq. ft fully furnished lodges are available as two or three beds, each with two bathrooms, walk-in wardrobes and fitted kitchen. The Residences benefit from a designated concierge service as well as 24-hour security and owner discounts across the resort. Owners can exclusively retain their property or sublet it through the resort’s letting programme.

he pandemic may have halted overseas breaks for many of us, and there still seems to be a lot of stickiness around the topic, but there’s a particular staycation destination that could easily be mistaken for a far-flung holiday favourite. Its name is Dylan Coastal Resort, and it’s a jaw dropper. No one can doubt the beauty of Wales, and it’s not hard to discover a view that makes you gasp, but waking up in crisp white bedding to panoramic sunrise vistas from a luxury cliffside lodge above the waterfront house that Dylan Thomas called home is pretty poetic. During lockdown, the resort, in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, had an epic spruce up, £20M worth of refurbishments to be exact, which led to hotel-quality self-catering lodges being built. Holiday providers Luxury Lodges launched their ‘Residences’ range at the five-star resort, destined for people to purchase and enjoy time and time again, without trying to secure availability. And owners have the opportunity to exclusively retain their property or to sublet it through the resort’s letting programme. Lions legend, and the world’s most capped player, Alun Wyn Jones has become one of the first lodge owners. My rugby-mad husband kept obsessively checking Instagram to see if it was in fact Alun’s lodge we were renting, but he wasn’t able to put his finger on it. Although we didn’t get a chance to enjoy it due to tighter Covid measures at the time of our visit, the recently launched state-of-the-art £7.5M Milk Wood House Spa in the resort offers a herbal steam room, treatment rooms, themed showers, a tepidarium and infinity pools overlooking the mesmerising, shifting seascape. The mezzanine Milk Wood Bar & Kitchen, focused on locally sourced ingredients, was a highlight that we were really looking forward to, but downpours on the evening of our al fresco booking sank our plans. Thankfully, the restaurant kindly delivered our food to the room, so we ate delicately crispy fish and chips and rustic, fresh pizza, while snuggled under a blanket watching a Netflix film (they have streaming services in the rooms). What a night in. Our high-end lodge, which didn’t for a second compromise on comfort and luxury, was beautifully furnished and I couldn’t stop taking pictures inside for cool, Scandi décor inspiration

for my new house. There was a huge open-plan living room with windows taking up almost the whole sea view wall, two bedrooms – the master having yet more floor-to-ceiling windows – two bathrooms, a high-spec fitted kitchen, and, most importantly, a hot tub and sweeping balcony to take in those incredible sights. During our stay we had plenty of balmy sunshine and we drank Taittinger – just one of our welcome gifts waiting for us in the room along with a whole array of Welsh foodie treats – while submerged in the warm, bubbling tub overlooking the Tâf Estuary and the Gower beyond, the estuary’s waters gently ebbing away to reveal unspoilt golden sands and artistic snaking channels. I stared for so long (I think we spent around six consecutive hours in that hot tub) that it was like watching a timelapse video. I can’t remember the last time I had nothing to do all day other than watch the world go by. It brought several tears to the eye. The pretty township of Laugharne is an easy drive to beaches and other seaside resorts such as Pembrokeshire, the Gower Peninsula, and the Brecon Beacons, but we stayed local and chose the on-foot method, meandering around pretty lanes, plush green areas and visiting local bars. We peered through the window of Dylan Thomas’s Writing Shed, teetering on the cliff edge, where he worked, which was preserved and staged as if it was in use, complete with pencil pots on the table, a tweed blazer slung over the back of the chair, empty beer bottles and crumpled papers. And his boathouse, where he lived for the last four years of his life, was a little stroll away, which Covid measures at the time sadly denied us public access to. Our long ambles along coastal paths and winding tracks took us past castles, marshlands, quaint ice cream shops and street food vendors, and featured a dramatic outdoor lunch at The Fountain Inn, where a sparrow was hanging from the roof after getting its leg caught in wire. We all watched on as a brave staff member tried to free it while leaning perilously out of an upper floor window, until finally one of the diners’ friends, a hero in floral harem pants and a bandana, came along to save the day carrying a 10-foot ladder. We all cheered when the bird fluttered away, and faith in humanity was restored. I always try to think of a not-so-great point whenever I do a review, just to keep things balanced and honest, and the only memory that comes to mind is the extremely steep incline we had to trudge up to get back to our lodge. While cursing the trek and stopping around 11 times for breathers and a quick downward dog, a staffdriven buggy shot past us carrying guests, and that’s when we realised you can just hitch a ride up the hill. My poor calves wish we’d found that out sooner. So, I guess that means there are no negatives to note. You know that blissful, floating-on-a-cloud, feeling you get after visiting a spa? Well, I didn’t even get to visit the spa and yet the feeling was the strongest I’ve ever felt it. I needed it. Every muscle in my body felt limber, and I’m now recharged, reset and unwound. What a heavenly escape. I CARDIFF LIFE I 65

CARDIFF LIVES Taylor in Grangetown

Monknash and Southerndown, as well as the peaks and woodland of the Brecon Beacons, or kayak down the River Wye. You’ve said your work explores themes including womanhood, queerness and magic. Can you go into more detail?

I’ve always been fascinated by folktales and legends that are passed down generations through storytelling, how they take on new life and meaning while the world changes. I’ve created poems around things I was told as a child, such as the tale that if you swallow the pip of an apple then an apple tree will grow inside you. I enjoy experimenting with surreal and dream-like images to build worlds in my writing and take the reader to new places. I’m also inspired by my identity and experiences, and queerness is part of who I am. Writing has been an important part exploring who I am and what I have to give to the world. n

TAYLOR EDMONDS Taylor Edmonds, from Penarth, is the new poet-in-residence for the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. Here she tells us what exactly that means and what she’ll be doing... The power of poetry as a driver of change has possibly never been more relevant. Taylor Edmonds has recently been announced as the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales’ new poet-in-residence. Taylor, who studied creative writing at Cardiff University, has been tasked with bringing to life Wales’ Wellbeing of Future Generations Act – which puts a responsibility on public bodies, including the Welsh Government, to help prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change – and she says she wants to bring hope and inspire joy. The legislation made Wales the first country in the world to include culture in its definition of sustainable development, placing value on the power of art to improve well-being. Taylor’s year-long collaboration will see

her finding new ways to communicate the well-being goals of the Act, which aims to help create a Wales that we all want to live in, now and in the future. Using poetry, how do you intend to communicate the goals of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act?

I’m really excited to take on the challenge of communicating the brilliant work of the Act and its causes creatively. I’d like to have joy, empowerment and collaboration at the core of my work and explore the ways grassroots initiatives are leading the way. I’m keen to hear about people’s hopes, dreams and concerns for the future and work towards how we can collectively use creativity to build something special. Looking back, when did you first get into poetry?

I was the child curled up in


the corner reading at family gatherings, and sharing early poems on Tumblr. Writing has helped me navigate challenging times in life and has given me the confidence to be secure in my voice and identity. How does being based in Penarth (and growing up in Barry) inspire your work?

I feel really lucky to have grown up by, and to live by, the sea, which I feel deeply connected to. A lot of my treasured memories come from days at Jackson’s Bay, Barry Island or The Knap. Whenever I’m stressed out or need to clear my head I always want to be near the water, I never get tired of it! What are your favourite spots around Cardiff?

The beautiful thing about Wales is that you can experience so many different kinds of areas of nature in a short distance; from the coast, to the woods, to the mountains. I lived in Riverside in Cardiff for years and my daily commute would be through Bute Park, where I’d love to see the change in seasons, especially when the blossom and magnolia trees bloomed in spring. Then a short drive from Cardiff you can reach stunning coastal spots like

FUTURE GENERATIONS COMMISSIONER FOR WALES With a remit set out in law, Sophie Howe, based in Whitchurch, Cardiff, is the world’s first Future Generations Commissioner. She took on the role after Wales introduced the Well-being of Future Generations Act in 2015. Her job as the ‘guardian of the interests of future generations’ is to advise and challenge the Government and other public bodies on delivering lasting social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being. “The Act offers a huge opportunity for long-lasting, positive change in Wales, and one of those ways is through using culture as a driver for change,” she says. “Poetry has a power to make people listen and we think Taylor’s is the perfect voice to communicate with empathy and urgency, some of the issues facing people in Wales.”

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