To all the people I’ve met in Cardiff.

Meeting people is one of my top reasons to travel. I will do another post on why I am going away, right now, when on the surface it seems so illogical; I have a decent footing in my job, I’ve built up connections in the creative community and a knowledge of the studios here, the work being done to promote creativity in the city, a strong, growing, amazing relationship with my boyfriend… Why on earth would I leave now and disrupt this comfortable environment I’ve worked so hard to build? As I said, it’s for another post. For now I would just like to show my appreciation of every one of the connections I have made while living in Cardiff. Obviously I can’t name every single one of them, I was going to take photos and write a proper, more impartial post on ‘The People of Cardiff’ but I am not entirely sure approaching people in the city for a selfie is the best idea, and I don’t know if my confidence level would allow it either.

Firstly, there are the people in the umbrella of ‘Creative Cardiff’; people who I am just a passing face to, an acquaintance of an acquaintance, no-one of particular value; or so my overly critical subconscious tells me. To me, they are all a part of a bigger picture, all trying to make Cardiff a better place for creative people and they have all taught me something about myself, about my environment and my place in it and I have an odd sense of gratitude towards them for simply existing, and for allowing me into that existence, even if only for a second.

If you are a creative person in Cardiff I would strongly recommend at least visiting some of the events happening, including:

Check out the studio spaces as well, they’ve always got open days. Just a few I’ve been to and tried to support are:

I hope that when I return to Cardiff I can create my own space here and support those already existing even more. Stalefish is on its way!

Also, the substitute studio spaces for us artists, designers, writers, when we’re running short on cash and need some good, tasty caffeine and a more relaxed atmosphere, Cardiff’s ever expanding collection of coffee shops. Coffee #1 especially got me through the cold winters at my Metro job. Karen & Co. at the branch on Newport Road have always been there for a chat and a friendly face, I think a more recent employee of theirs is Nathan (?) who has never failed to throw me a friendly smile and asked how I’ve been. Even such small pleasantries can make a huge change to a rubbish day. The guys up at Albany road as well, have been lovely; Payton and *oh God I am so bad at names*, are always so friendly; Paul, sometimes a little too much but I’m sure beneath his (maybe quite inappropriate) flirting and cheeky comments, he has good intentions.

The staff at the more up-market coffee shops like 200 Degrees, Joe with his consistently cheerful aura, the barista with the butterfly tattoos, the girl with the dreadlocks, the pretty blonde with the perfectly applied winged eyeliner, always make time for some friendly chit-chat, and the complimentary coffee in exchange for some newspapers each morning doesn’t go amiss. I’d also recommend heading to Uncommon Ground if you’re looking for good coffee and conversation, with it’s quirky, certainly unique but very pleasing interior. Or even Kin + Ilk; despite my somewhat negative experience with job applications, they do serve a good cuppa and provide a bright, chilled environment to have an executive meeting or crack on with some last minute design work.

Thanks also to the tattoo artists in Cardiff who have drawn all over me… Chris Morris at Frontier for my hourglass and little letter tattoos, Paul Crowther for my flowers and even though she’s not from Cardiff, Ali Burke for my wonderful kitsune tattoo, I love them all.

Thanks also to all my regulars at Metro. I know I am just the annoying paper girl who stands on the street, under that bridge, shouting out the same two phrases at you each morning but each person who stops for a quick chat or even just smiles and says good morning to me really make a difference and I’d probably have left a long time ago if it wasn’t for these encounters and brief pockets of connection. So thanks Kayleigh for the little birthday treats, the tattoo talks, the long conversations we used to have about hair dye and unicorn clothes, and Nick, for putting up with me forgetting his name and humouring my ‘first thing in the morning’ muddled together conversations. I hope he finds a job that makes him happy.

Thanks to the builder who has never told me his name in three years of seeing him pretty much every day, Callie Cupcake who I never did find on Twitter, the man who had brain surgery who still has my thank you card on his mantelpiece, John who brings his dog Buster to see me and his other ‘girl friends’ who bring him treats, Steve, my boss, who always managed to be cheerful and friendly despite people being rude and the weather never being enjoyable. Thanks to the girl with the really curly red hair who always smiles at me on her way past, the overly cheerful girl who always wishes me a wonderful day with a big grin, the Winchester girl, even the homeless people can be nice; I hope George, Dai and the girl who’s sat across from me the last few months somehow work their way back up society’s ladder and find themselves living in a nice warm home one day soon. I wish there was more I could do to help.

And lastly, to all the amazingly talented, lovely people I have met at uni. Honestly university was an expensive, messy, misjudged decision and I didn’t learn as much about the industry as I’d have liked but the people I met and the connections I made, made all the difference, and overall it was definitely worthwhile. Some of the best new designers,  who I wish all the best to, and hope to keep in touch with (and if you’re after a designer, photographer, illustrator, for a project you’re working on you should definitely drop them a message) are Natasha Seawood, Callum Richards, Jasmine Tilly, Jessica Zshorn, Zarna Hart and Izzy Walker. They’re all brilliant and deserve all the good things!

Also all my friends who I’ve met through work, ALL the houses I’ve lived in, even just random encounters, the bands I’ve photographed, people I’ve met at festivals, at live music events, I can’t name everyone but you all mean a lot to me. My journey into becoming comfortable in Cardiff has been a long and bumpy one but meeting people and forming meaningful connections has made it all worthwhile. Cardiff has been really fun and I cannot wait to meet lots more people on my travels. I hope when I get back not too many people have forgotten all about me!

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