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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Looking ahead to the 2014 madness…

As promised, here is my list of things I would like to do in 2014.

This works so much better for me than a New Year’s Resolution as it’s much more specific than simply ‘Go travelling’ or ‘Lose weight’

I’ve already had some great help and suggestions from people on Twitter and Facebook on how I can accomplish most of these.

If you have any suggestions or recommendations be sure to email them to me… likewise if you’d to come with me or offer to help that’s even better!

You’ll notice that the list doesn’t contain any crazy travel plans… at the moment I’m not in the position to go very far. I have a demanding job and am currently paying off my last holiday so would rather get the things closer to home done this year so that I can go all out next year!

– Make Keeping It Welsh a dot.com    DONE

– Learn to play the piano

– Take the next step in my career

– Move back into a flat on my own

– Get a cover up tattoo on my wrist + one new tattoo

– Become a British Heart Foundation volunteer

– Run the Cardiff Half Marathon

– Go to the MTV EMAs 2014 in Glasgow

– Learn sign language

– Go camping (I’ve never been…)

– Give blood

– Fall in love

– Go to 10 gigs/concerts/shows

Jan 2nd- Smokin Aces    DONE

Feb 3rd- Our Last Night

Feb 16th- George Ezra

March 26th- Josh Widdicombe

– Eat at 20 new places

– Bake at least once a month

– Visit 5 places on my UK list

Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye ( Scotland)

Whitby, North Yorkshire (England)

Clovelly, Devon (England)

Giants Causeway (Northern Ireland)

Fingals Cave (Scotland)

– Try a new sport

Learning to surf in August

– Do something that scares me

Learning how to crew a hot air balloon in March

 

 

 

2013 in a nutshell…

Yes I realise this is probably way overdue…

I had no intention of writing about 2013 to begin with, in a way it’s a year I could probably have forgotten all about for all the drama that I went through… the stress of packing up my whole life and moving here, a failed relationship, and the realisation that I was drinking far too much alcohol in order to cope with the way I was feeling. 

I could have quite happily left it all there in 2013…

I do however want to write about my exciting plans for 2014 but feel I can’t do this until I explain where I’m already at.

I will post later about my list for this year, but for now you can enjoy the things that I am happy that I achieved last year:

– This blog was born…my baby!

– Moved in with my new flatmate

– Won a retail award

– Learnt to kayak

– Held a wine tasting session

– Became a Citysocializer host

– Started learning Welsh

– Aced my fear of dogs!

– Dyed my hair red… for about 4 months

– Went Geo-Caching

– Became the resident Food & Drink blogger for St David’s Shopping Centre

– Learnt to Salsa dance

– Hosted a cocktail masterclass

– Volunteered as a Childline schools service counsellor

– Went to see Young Kato at Clwb Ifor Bach and Daytona Lights at Buffalo Bar

– Now refer to myself Half-English instead of Half-Welsh