Vintage restyled: Cardiff’s Castle Emporium

Cardiff Castle Emporium general outside shotFor the past two years, the old converted cinema opposite Clwb Ifor Bach was home to Cardiff Fashion Quarter, the go-to place for vintage clothing and knick-knacks. While it had a lot to offer fashionistas, it was perhaps quite limited, both in its offering and the layout of the space.

Relaunched by new owner James Morgan-Rees, CFQ has transformed into The Castle Emporium. While some of the old traders remain (Rock-ola Reborn, Eagle Eye Vintage, AMARAS), there is a new range of stalls, i.e. a whole lot more vintage-gem-hunting to get excited about.

We took a walk around the Emporium, snapping some of the independent businesses that have set up shop.

Cardiff Castle Emporium aerialThe view from the first floor – the colourful stalls are a treat for the eyes

Cardiff Castle Emporium candle tinsRoughneck Candles recycle pocket sized tins by turning them into kitsch homeware

Cardiff Castle Emporium minotaur booksJust some of the bookshelves at Minotaur Books, who stock everything from popular poetry to obscure dystopian literature

Cardiff Castle Emporium Al's Musique BoutiqueCardiff Castle Emporium bow ties suitcase Cardiff Castle Emporium horse whiskyAl from Al’s Musique Boutique poses alongside vintage clothing and accessories for gentlemen

Cardiff Castle Emporium mario kart yoshi playstation 2Cardiff Geek Party‘s shop houses games memorabilia, retro consoles and stacks of bargain computer games

Cardiff Castle Emporium Super Mario Bros gaming stationWe’ll be heading back here for the Mario Tournament. There’s a different game leaderboard each month; Matt’s hoping he gets a chance to show off his Crash Team Racing expertise

Cardiff Castle Emporium vegan chocolate cake Cardiff Castle Emporium vegan snacks chocolateSo many yummy treats at Simply V, including marshmallows, wagon wheels and chocolates – and they’re all vegan!

Cardiff Castle Emporium vintage clothes Rock-olaCardiff Castle Emporium vintage jumpers Cardiff Castle Emprium shelves of bric a bracFor fans of upcycling and vintage fashion, there are stacks of menswear, womenswear and accessories to dig through

With the rejuvenated vintage haven sitting firmly at the top end of Womanby Street, it makes what is already a culturally busy passageway even more exciting. Take a stroll winding around the Emporium then down to Urban Tap House; you won’t be disappointed.

Know any other great spots in Cardiff for finding vintage treasures? Comment below or tweet your suggestions @Creative_Hacks.

Amy sig


Street food at The Depot, Cardiff

This time a year ago, street food in Cardiff was more likely to be a greasy kebab on Chippy Lane than gourmet grub made from local ingredients. Now it seems like you can’t go to any big event in town without a yummy mobile eatery being present too.

Something Creatives have jumped on the back of this popular pop-up trend in launching Street Food Cardiff in a disused warehouse on Dumballs Road – better known as The Depot. We took a trip down to the hippest foodie spot in town for their Thanksgiving themed evening. The queue was long – we waited over an hour to get in from the cold – but it was definitely worth the wait.

Hand-painted wooden signs, mismatched furniture, an abundance of fairy lights and sculptures of trees, along with hundreds of hungry people and 11 food stands, transformed the metal shell into a colourful street dining extravaganza. Follow our footsteps below!

All the cool kids in Cardiff have heard about SFC by now, so it was a bit of a wait to get in

Once inside it was difficult to miss all the street food stalls, but these signs pointed us in the right direction

These happy punters can vouch for that!

This boutique bar was serving up cocktails from a converted caravan

London restaurant Burger & Lobster made their Cardiff debut at the event ahead of their first Welsh restaurant opening

Bangkok Café‘s fragrant and creamy vegan Thai pumpkin curry. More please!

The Brûlée Bar proved pretty popular for its fancy blowtorched puddings

…and thank you, The Depot, for a fun and filling evening!

Amy sig

Craft comes to Cardiff at Made By Hand Wales

Scene 3 copyThe idea of a craft fair may conjure up childhood memories of being dragged around musty church halls commandeered by older generations’ knitting collections. While these village pop-ups still happen, the recession has left us with an appreciation of the artistry of homemade handcrafted goods. Contemporary craft fairs house locals’ labours of love that you would genuinely want to own and would happily display in your home.

Made by Hand Wales is the first of a number of creative events and opportunities sponsored by the Welsh Government. The government scheme supports small creative businesses across Wales, like the SME crafters at this event. Made by Hand Wales also gave attendees the chance to get closer to crafting through public workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations. Here, we round up five of the most eye-catching craft stalls of the fair.

Treefall Design

ARTIST Treefall Design 2 resize ARTIST Treefall Design 9 resize ARTIST Treefall Design 11 resizeTreefall Design, the creations of Manda McGrory, sells clothing, accessories and cuddly toys for little ones. With one of the best dressed stalls at the fair, their bold and unconventional wares were impossible to ignore.

EllyMental Jewellery

ARTIST EllyMental 2 resizeCardiff-based EllyMental Jewellery caught my eye with beautifully displayed pug and bear necklaces (oh, Santa…). Elly layers her illustrations (drawn on paper) onto shaped metal, then finishes them with resin to form brooches, pendants and other delicate jewellery.

Megan Alice England

ARTIST Megan Alice England 4 resizeCheltenham-based textile and screenprint wizard Megan Alice England makes cute, witty gifts and accessories. Her simplistic designs make an impact on the natural materials they are printed onto.

Print Garage

ARTIST Print Garage 1 resize
These prints by Iain Perry – a.k.a. Print Garage – are made by hand in Iain’s Stafford garage (hence the name). The pastel colours contrast with injections of neon, while the pop culture references push you to notice their understated appeal.

Samantha Bryan

ARTIST S Bryan 3 resizeSamantha Bryan crafts 3D mixed media fairies going about their everyday lives, each with their own back story.

The artists featured here are just five of the 130 companies that attended the Made by Hand Wales fair. It’s really promising to see such a wealth of talent coming from the UK, and even better to see hoards of visitors enthusiastically supporting the exhibitors. To find out more, visit the Made By Hand website.

Next time you see a pop up craft fair or stall, pop in and have a browse. You never know what you may find!

Amy sig

Sunday stroll at Riverside Market, Cardiff

MillStadSunday is the perfect day for hitting local markets. The fridge is empty, there’s nothing on telly worth watching and, as you’ve not got work to tend to, you may as well spend a few hours strolling outdoors.

Riverside Market in Cardiff has been operating since 1998, bringing fresh produce and exclusive local wares to visitors for over 15 years. It’s not just the goods on offer that make Riverside a treat – it’s the smells (mediterranean, Indian, sugary, earthy), the colours (vibrant organic veggies, deep amber spices, opaque ruby red jams) and the sounds (buskers, jolly traders, the occasional gossiper).

We went to Riverside Market on a chilled Sunday morning in September and took a few photos of the Cardiff landmark. We can’t promise that you won’t be tempted to attend (and hey, if you see us there, come say hello over a cronut!).

SceneTo set the scene: river (check), market stalls (check), punters (check)

PiesMr Nice Pie‘s offerings living up to the name

PastaSuper-bright and completely natural fresh pasta from Casa del Cymru – zingy!

FlowersA beautiful bunch of fresh flowers pulled together by The Flower Hive (these guys know how to match colours)

BriochePillowy, sticky brioche oozing with blueberry sweetness

MimimmmnomOh, and they are vegan! Happy Amy! (Thanks Wigmores of Monmouth bakery)

CronutTa-da: the mighty Cup and Cake cronut! So so sugary, so worth the wait…

Mattmarket…as that big grin confirms. The Caffeine Kid‘s coffee (washing the sweet beast down) is 100 times better than any high street cafe brew

BombsveganBig thumbs up to the amount of vegan produce on sale. These beetroot bombs from The Parsnipship are naturally neon

BreadIf you like speciality bread, you’ll love the San Francisco by Riverside Sourdough. Malty, edgy and robust

SpiceSpice of Life, one of the best spice shops in Cardiff, bring a mini version of their Roath spice and herb mecca to Riverside

OliveOlive Bar’s wooden buckets were bulging with plump goodies. If only you had smell-o-vision…

There is a real sense of community that buzzes through the bustling riverside street of stalls and marquees. If you go once and return again next time it’s in town, you’re bound to recognise someone or be recognised by somebody who was there the previous week. In cities, this is really hard to come by – yet another reason why Cardiff ticks our boxes.

Have you been to Riverside Market in Cardiff, or another market worth recommending? Get in touch @Creative_Hacks or leave us a comment below.