How I Kept It Welsh

For so long it was my dream to move to Cardiff and 2 years ago I achieved that dream and made the move from Reading to start my new job here. It’s been the best couple of years of my whole life and I have made the most amazing friends who I am going to be very sad to say goodbye to when I start my new job in Reading in a couple of weeks.

When I started looking back at the things I’ve had the chance to do since living here it made me realise just how lucky I have been to have so many opportunities to get involved in exciting things.

So these are the highlights of my time in Cardiff…this is how I spent my time… Keeping It Welsh!

Welsh Flag

Welsh Varsity is a grudge match of epic proportions. Cardiff vs Swansea it’s all or nothing!

Varsity 2013 was the night I met the beautiful Ieva! On a night out a couple of months after I moved to Cardiff, Ieva was bartending at what used to be Pica Pica. I stayed until closing and she came out partying with me for the rest of the night. We ended up in Live Lounge and I acquired a Varsity t-shirt from a random man in the street!

This year Sarah and I actually went to watch the match at the Millennium Stadium. There was such an electrifying atmosphere with all the rivalry banter and drunken shouting. As it’s typically a student event we thought we would feel a bit out of place but there were plenty of other ‘gatecrashers’ and we drank so much cider that we just made friends with everyone there.

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Cardiff Retail Awards 2013 was the professional highlight of my career. With the awards ceremony taking place on my birthday I was excited to say the least and knew there was some really stiff competition in our category. We had a champagne reception and a beautifully cooked dinner and then as the awards came around it was my turn to go on stage and find out my fate. Beating out several other retailers including John Lewis; they announced that my store had won Best Customer Service in Cardiff which was an absolute dream come true and was so rewarding after all the hard work myself and my team had put in.

Retail Awards

St David’s Shopping Centre put a call out for entries for their new blogging team in early 2013 and having just started up my own blog properly I jumped at the chance to get involved. I sent off a mock post to them and got an email the following week saying I had been chosen to be their resident Food & Drinks Blogger. I’ve been to so many amazing restaurants and met some outstanding people including some of my fellow resident bloggers Steph, Joshwa and Eve.

Blog Events

Photography was always something I’d been interested in but always felt unless I really knew what I was doing and had a top-notch camera that I had no business trying to showcase my photos. Over the last year however I have posted many of them on Twitter and had so much positive feedback that it’s really encouraged me to keep going.

Photography

In May this year I was given the massive responsibility of holding the ‘keys’ to Cardiff on the ‘Cardiff Is Yours’ Twitter account. I spent a week tweeting about where I liked going and what I was doing and essentially shared ‘My Cardiff’ with everyone. It was a pleasure to have the chance to get to know so many people through it and I was able to write a blog post for the masterminds behind ‘Cardiff Is Yours’  and also one for Citysocializer.

The one and only Jamie Laing…

Back in October last year I attended the Student Lock-In where I interviewed the one and only Jamie Laing from Made In Chelsea. As a die-hard fan of the show I was pretty much incapable of shaking while I was talking to him but he put me at ease and answered the questions I had for him. We didn’t talk for very long as he had a queue of people waiting to meet him but it was still amazing fun and he’s such a great guy!

Jamie

When I first moved to Cardiff I was finding it difficult to meet people outside of work so I joined Citysocializer which is essentially a local social networking group. Throughout my time with them I became a Community Host and helped to build up the Cardiff base to a team of almost 15 hosts with on average 4 socials every day. Some of the highlights for me were hosting the Halloween party last year, Mexican Night at the flat which I share with my flatmate (who I met through CS) & the Valentines Mingle at Vodka Revs which saw over 30 single Citysocializers descend for cocktails.

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I’ve been to some amazing gigs since living in Cardiff but my favourites have to be Our Last Night (Clwb Ifor Bach), Daytona Lights (Buffalo Bar) & Young Kato (Clwb Ifor Bach). They are both great venues and I had the chance to mix with all of the bands once they had finished. I ended up doing shots with the lead guitarist from Daytona Lights…Total hottie!

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I have made some of the most exceptional people living in Cardiff and have friends for life in them! Whether it’s a been a fellow blogger, people I’ve dated or my flatmate they have each contributed to making me the person I am today.

I have to say though, the biggest achievement for me has been this… my own blog. Something I started as more of a journal when I first moved here has now become an outlet for my passions. A place for people to read what’s hot and what’s not and actually want to know my opinion. It’s amazing to have such an influence and I have been presented with exceptional opportunities to attend events which has helped me grow my blog and develop my writing style. What began as a humble WordPress page is now a fully fledged ‘.com’ and my reviews can be found on sites all over the internet which I never thought would happen.

Cardiff…you have been amazing!

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Making Friends In A New City and The Big Apple Competition

The end of December officially marked 1 year in Cardiff for me, which is insane because it feels like only yesterday that I packed up my life and moved here with 3 weeks notice before opening my own store. At the same time, though, it feels like a lifetime ago that I was living in Reading with my mum and sister. So, so many things in my life have changed. My life in Cardiff is a world away now from the one I used to lead. 

Since moving here, I’ve had a lot of requests for a post on how to make friends in a new city. And while I, by no means, consider myself a pro, I thought I might as well share what I have learnt.

Now don’t get me wrong… I wasn’t trying to replace the friends I already had.

The problem when you move is that you begin to realise that we’re not all the same. When you’re not living the same life as you did with your friends [wake up, go to work, go to the gym, dating, eat, go out.], priorities become very real.

There are people that will still go out every night, rolling into work hungover but somehow magically presentable.

There are people that get married and have babies right away.

There are those that fly through work, pouring themselves into everything, climbing and climbing… This is the category I fall into at the moment!

Then there are those who are slowly trying to figure it out – manage a balance of work life and  enjoying adulthood.

My life in Cardiff really began though, when I discovered Citysocializer…

When I first moved here, my life was so busy that I couldn’t always rely on my friends being free to visit and to do what I wanted with, when I wanted. So often I found myself missing out and staying in when all I wanted to do was go out and let my hair down.

Whether you’re new in town, or your friends are out of town, Citysocializer lets you enjoy a great social life without the pain of organizing one. An easy way to fill in those last minute moments when you feel like going out.

Members are fun-loving and sociable people…like me… who organize cool nights out and activities for the rest of us to join in with- from after-work drinks and checking out the latest pop-up restaurants, to running groups, book clubs, festivals, holidays and everything in between.

Once you’ve been to a few you’re encouraged to host your own social to pay back to your local community… I’m now an official host and regularly host socials each month, including my regular Tapas Tuesday night and Breakfast Club.

Citysocializer is a subscription-based social networking website. The mobile and web-based service helps you tap into local social scenes and has now announced that it’s going freemium as it looks to drive growth in cities across the UK.

Founded in 2007 as Citysocialising by former BBC producer Sanchita Saha, the app rebranded as Citysocializer back in June just as it rolled out its first native mobile app (iOS). Though it’s currently very UK-centric, Citysocializer has been looking to push into the broader social sphere with a subscription-based approach to finding new friends anywhere in the world. Citysocializer’s app even plots social gatherings on a map to let you see local activities at a glance.

To announce the exciting launch of Citysocializer being launched in New York you can join Citysocializer using my unique link below which will give you 10 free credits when you sign up, giving you the chance to join a social for free and see what it’s all about.

To make this launch even more exciting, if you join using the link below you will be entered into a fantastic competition…

Citysocializer are giving you and a friend a chance the chance to discover The Big Apple in 5*style!

Win a 3 night break* including return flights and…

  • – 3 nights at 5* Soho Grand Hotel
  • – A helicopter tour of NYC
  • – Tickets to the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty
  • – Tickets to top of the world famous Rockafeller Centre
  • – Hop on Hop off Buss Passes for 3 days
  • – Return private car transfers

https://www.citysocializer.com/invite/237087

Getting Cosy Up In Here…

Wednesday evening and it was my turn to host ‘Wine Night’ for the Citysocializer gang…

For any of you who aren’t already familiar with ‘Citysocializer’…it’s kind of like a dating site, but just for meeting people and making friends…I’ll talk more about that in a future post though!

When it came to choosing my venue there was nowhere else I’d rather spend an evening than Cosy Club!

In their own words…Cosy Club is quirky, eccentric, playful and offers casual dining, drinking and lounging in a homely and family-friendly environment…”Think Gents Club meets Village Hall meets Cricket Pavilion”.

If you are lucky enough to get a window seat, you can see all the way up and down The Hayes, the architectural detail of the buildings you can’t usually see from the ground. This in itself is a huge positive – in the day time, it’s light and bright, at night there is a romance of light reflection on the glass…both from the vintage tassle lampshades inside and the gentle fairy and street lamps on the out… This is a first floor, lofty seclusion, which I just haven’t experienced elsewhere in Cardiff.

As it happens, most of us ended up having varieties of cocktails or craft beer instead of wine…But hey, Wednesday Wine Night just has ring to it!

We also had some gorgeous tapas and garlic bread smothered in cheese with oils and balsamic which went down a treat.

We all decided to have a little dessert too and these guys know how to rock a dessert! I had the Salted Caramel chocolate pot which came in a cute little teapot with fruit on the saucer. If you ever referred to this as a ‘chocolate mousse’ you should be kicked down the rather grand Cosy staircase! It is essentially a pot of molten chocolate which has been chilled and in the middle alternate pieces of gooey and crunchy salted caramel which tantalizes every taste bud going!

If you haven’t been, get yourself a good book and pull up a sofa and get cosy…!

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Revolucion de Cuba- Cardiff

Out with the Citysocializers the other week and we found ourselves in Revolucion de Cuba…who were great hosts arranging a seating area for us and giving us the VIP treatment!

For anyone unfamiliar…this is the sort of place you need to go to wind a night up. It’s loud, crowded with drunken dancing people and you need to be one of them to properly appreciate it…All of these are good things, by the way!

Luckily, they do excellent cocktails, so there’s a very good chance that if you’re not already a bit happy they’ll get you there! I tried a rum-based cocktail first, which was great except it made me forget the name of it so I had no choice but to go back and try to order it again. This would have happened had I not been sidetracked by a Zombie, which is another type of incredibly delicious cocktail.

Before I had the chance to order another drink which would surely involve me losing even more of my short term memory, a charming gentleman came over with some complementary shots for all of us!

At this point I decided it might be time for a bit of dancing. Now I am rather uncoordinated after a few so seeing me dance especially in a slightly well-lit place would normally empty out most establishments. However, in this case, I felt welcomed and a couple of guys even offered to buy me drinks. No doubt they too were victims of The Zombie!

I left Revolucion de Cuba at about 2 AM after more dancing, some dramatic moments with the friends I came with… don’t ask – if there ever is a downside to drinking alcohol, I’ve seen it… but it was a great evening and I can definitely recommend it for the sort of experience I had. Be warned, though. This is NOT the sort of place you would bring someone for a romantic first date or a business meeting. This is a let-your-hair-down place, so make sure you don’t wear it up!

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