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


How to make vegan wild fruit crumble for less than a quid

Autumn is here. Coats are being worn, cups of spiced coffee are being cuddled and tummies are craving hot food. Our antidote to wintery chills? Homemade fruit crumble, warm from the oven and oozing with sweet berry juice.

This crumble is super cheap to make – less than 30p a serving – and it tastes like home. We saved money by foraging for our own blackberries (which, as it turned out, were yummy – thanks, nature). The recipe is below, and it is really simple. Plus, it’s vegan friendly and pretty healthy for a desert as it has no junky additives or processed ingredients. Enjoy!


(makes four servings)
70g porridge oats
40g margarine/sunflower spread/soya spread
40g plain flour (gluten free and wheat free versions work, by the way)
35g Demerara sugar/8g of sweetener (truvia-based is better for you)
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
Golden syrup/honey (optional)
Your choice of fruit – enough to fill half of the ovenproof dish (we chose berries, but apples, pears or peaches work well too)

Before you start, preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade and lightly grease an ovenproof dish. If you are using frozen fruit, defrost it before starting the method.


1. Melt the spread by microwaving on a high setting for thirty seconds, stopping to stir it halfway.

2. Pour the melted spread into a large bowl, then sieve in the flour and add the dry ingredients (oats, sweetener, cinnamon). If you wish, you can add a good squeeze of syrup or honey at this point for added sweetness. Mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula.

crumblehands3. Once the mixture is combined, put down your stirrer: it’s crumbling time. Put both hands into the bowl and pick up a handful of the mixture with each hand. Allow the mixture to slowly fall through your fingers back into the bowl, crumbling it and breaking up the mixture as it falls. If this seems too messy, you can pinch big clods of the mixture and sprinkle it back into the bowl by rubbing your fingers together.

4. Now you have crumbled the crumble mix, you can build your oaty monster. Pour your berries or other fruit into the ovenproof dish, making sure that there are no gaps where you can see the bottom of the dish. Pick up your bowl of crumble topping, hold it above the ovenproof dish and pour the crumble topping evenly – you want to build an equal layer of crumbly mix on top of the fruit.

crumblemix5. With your spatula or wooden spoon, smooth over the top of the crumble to pack the oaty topping tight into the ovenproof dish. Once it’s looking even and tightly packed, put the dish into the oven and allow to cook for ten minutes. Give it a check once this time has passed, as you don’t want it to burn. If the topping is still light, leave it in for an extra couple of minutes until it’s turning golden brown. Then, remove it from the oven and rest it for five minutes. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, thick custard or ice cream (find our recipe for delicious homemade ice cream here).

We hope you enjoy the making, baking and eating of your crumble. Ours faced the wrath of two spoon-wielding twenty-somethings and it was berry nice (hehe). Share your crumble success story with us on Twitter or in the comments below.

Amy sig

How to make protein packed vegan bean burgers with spicy sweet potato wedges

It’s National Burger Day, wahoo! What’s that you say? “I can’t join in because I don’t like greasy meat patties in sugary white buns?” Worry not, friends. We have a recipe for you that is so tasty, it blows the beef out of those minced slabs.

What’s more, it’s super healthy. Behold: low fat, low calorie, high protein, vegan, kosher, nut free, clean eating glory.


(makes four burgers and two servings of wedges)
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 carrots, grated
Sunflower oil (we use the spray kind for minimum greasiness)
1 vegetable stock cube
Cumin seeds
Smoked paprika
Ground coriander
1 small tin of sweetcorn
1 small pepper, diced
Garam masala
Dried mixed herbs
Plain or wholewheat flour
Soy sauce
Tomato puree
Chilli puree (optional)
1 tin of kidney beans
1 large sweet potato
Ground black pepper

Before you start, preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. As with all cooking, times and temperatures may vary, so keep an eye on anything that you are heating up so that it doesn’t burn.


For the bean burgers
1. Fry the onion, garlic and half of the grated carrots in a drizzle of sunflower oil over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.

2. After about five minutes, crumble half of the stock cube over the pan then add a teaspoon of cumin seeds, a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a teaspoon of coriander. Fry for a further three minutes then take the pan off the heat.

3. Take a large mixing bowl. Add the fried onion mixture, sweetcorn, diced pepper, remaining grated carrots, two teaspoons of garam masala, a shake of dried mixed herbs, three tablespoons of flour, two tablespoons of soy sauce, the remaining half of the stock cube and two tablespoons of tomato puree. If you like things spicy, add a few squirts of chilli puree too. Mix the contents of the bowl together with a wooden spoon, then give it a taste. Season as desired.

4. Drain almost all of the water from the can of kidney beans, then transfer the beans and remaining water to a separate bowl. Put the bowl in a microwave for one minute, then roughly crush the beans before adding them to the large mixing bowl and combining.

5. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of flour onto a plate. Divide the contents of the mixing bowl into four using the spoon, then get stuck in: one quarter at a time, use your hands to scoop out some of the mixture and shape into patties. Use the flour on the plate to lightly coat the patties and help them hold together.

6. Put a little bit more oil in the pan, add the four patties and put onto a medium-high heat. As a guide, our hob has nine heat options, so we turned the dial to seven.

7. Allow the patties to cook for a few minutes, then take off the heat and flip using a spatula. Continue this process of cooking and flipping for a further twelve minutes, or a little longer if you want the outside of the burgers to be more dry and crispy. Serve with fresh iceberg lettuce in a wholegrain roll.

For the spiced sweet potato wedges
1. Wash the potato under running water and remove any nasty looking bits. Cut the potato into wedges. Don’t worry if they are uneven – call it the rustic effect.

2. Parboil the wedges by putting them in a microwavable bowl with enough water to cover half of the height of the contents and microwaving them for four minutes. This lessens the time they will need in the oven (and the time you have to wait before eating them).

3. Drain the wedges, then scatter them onto a baking tray that has been lightly sprinkled with smoked paprika, ground pepper and cumin seeds. If you want crispy wedges, you can add a little bit of oil here. Rub the spices into the wedges then put in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove when they are golden brown with a subtly smoky aroma.

We hope you enjoy National Burger Day. Fun fact: any day can be a burger day when you cook these guys. Please leave us a comment if you like what you see/taste, and feel free to share the fun in a bun!