Base + Barley (and shopping…)

I ♡ Cardiff shopping.  I loved it back when Queen Street was where things were happening (and when the Capitol wasn’t a wasteland of empty shops and shutters – can’t someone do something about that?  It’s looking so sad!) and I love it even more nowadays.  Sure there are all the High Street names you’d expect to see – but it’s the huge variety of independent shops and the gorgeous Victorian Arcades that really set my heart purse a-flutter… *ahem*

Before my reusable bags could be filled with shopping swag though, I met up with Sunny for lunch and we tried out Base + Barley which recently opened up at the bottom end of Queen Street (a couple of doors down from Office – *ahem* more on that later…) – home of glorious sourdough pizzas which I’ve been craving like crazy since leaving London and my BAE Franco Manca.
We were not disappointed.  Their lunch menu is seriously good, and reasonable too – a great spot for a shopping pit-stop.  We both ordered one of their sourdough pizzas; I went for No.3 – Prosciutto Ham and Portobello Mushrooms, while my lovely, bearded lunch date went for No.6 – fiery ‘nduja sausage paste, salami + roquito peppers.  Both were the perfect size for lunch and even came with a cute lil’ salad bowl.  We polished off the whole thing and left with the sort of sloppy, satisfied smirk you only get after scoffing really good pizza.

Also on the lunch menu were sourdough sandwiches, which caught our eye when they were delivered to a couple sitting opposite us.  They were thick, door-stopper style sandwiches with plenty of filling.  But there’s more than just sandwiches and pizzas; they also do handmade gourmet burgers and have a great drinks menu full of cocktails and craft beer.

Stomach filled, I went for a wander through the Arcades… If the numerous Victorian Arcades dotted around the Hayes and St Mary’s Street aren’t part of your usual shopping strategy, then you’re missing out!  Just look at Coffee Barker looking all beautiful and spring-like 🙂
I dropped in on Miss Patisserie to pick up a little something to enjoy later, once my feet and legs were limp from wandering…

Yr Hen Lyfrgell (the old library) has had a bit of work done and reopened a couple of weeks ago.  It’s so lovely inside now – and there’s plenty to do and see.  Operating as a Cultural Centre you can learn about the history of Cardiff and take lessons in Welsh (ardderchog!), there’s even a Cafe upstairs, I’m told… but, you know me, I got snared by the shop on the ground floor didn’t I?  Shelves full of Welsh-made products, from Welsh language cards, to paintings, to love spoons and kitchenware 🙂 In a separate room there’s even quirky women’s boutique, LAN LLOFFT.

Managed to track down a copy of this month’s CDF; my snap of Penarth Pier made the #CDFviews page!
I only bought three things; a love spoon for an English family friend who loved the ones we gave out at our wedding and was curious to learn more, a calming bath bomb from Miss P and a new pair of flats that were on sale in Office.  I have size 7 feet, finding shoes in my size on sale is the shopping alternative to finding Bigfoot (…which I get called by Sunny anyway, pfft!).

Where are your favourite places to shop in Cardiff?

The Pumping Station

I love old.

I love old jokes, I love old films (if you haven’t seen Some Like it Hot then we can’t be friends!), old cars, old furniture.  I love old books (I’m one of those weirdos who wedges her nose between the pages and inhales that lovely musty scent)… My father’s pretty old and I love him too – mostly because he shares my fascination with all things antique and he’s always up for a trip down to places like the old Pumping Station to go all American Pickers and hunt for some rusty, dusty treasure. 🙂

These days when you’re looking for a new bit of furniture, it’s so easy to take a trip down to IKEA and bring back a bookcase in a brown box – bish, bash, bosh – the same bookcase that everyone else has got and that’s completely disposable two years down the line.  Now I’m not trying to go all Phoebe Buffay verses Pottery Barn here, but if you’re like me and you’d much rather something a bit different, a piece with a past, a fixer-upper or a quirky bit of retro to liven up your shelf then you need to get down to the Pumping Station because it’s (yep, I’m going to say it) an Aladdin’s Cave full of the old and unusual! 🙂
The problem with the Pumping Station is that ideally, you’ve got to drive to get there (not that it’s that out the way, it’s just at the end of Penarth Road) – it’s not easily stumbled upon – but once you know it’s there it’s absolutely worth the trip because there’s a bit of everything there; antique furniture, collectibles, instruments, vintage clothing and toys, ornaments, magazines, lighting, mirrors, paintings, vinyl… those old suitcases all the hipsters are turning into coffee tables, mannequins…
If you’re down there, pop up to the second floor and say hi to Harry at the Trading Post, who’s selling a great collection of acoustic guitars, violins, skulls, native American decor and some quirky animal taxidermy all created by none other than himself that are looking for a good home.  Check out the squirrels inside!  🙂

These days, the Pumping Station seems to bring in a lot of browsers but not enough buyers – so this #SmallBusinessSaturday why not take a trip down to the old Pumping Station to hunt for a bit of treasure?

January Lush List

You know the drill; here comes my list of everything I’ve been lusting after this month 🙂

Top of the list is this Hiraeth Cushion from Cardiff-based artist Cathryn Weatherhead. Hiraeth is another Welsh word that’s difficult to translate, but basically means homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed. It is a mix of longing and nostalgia, or an earnest desire for the Wales of the past. I could have done with one of these to cuddle when I was living in London!


I love a good pussy bow blouse, and this one from ASOS is on sale!


January Lush List - theCardiffCwtch
Quartz necklaces are lovely – carefree classy over plain tops and my favourite style of minimalist jewellery. Seasalt & Quinn have a lovely selection 🙂


I want to try and wear more skirts this year and get out of my jeans and t shirt funk! This one from ASOS is on sale and I love the grid pattern.


January Lush List - theCardiffCwtch
This rope bracelet by AME Jewels over on Etsy is lovely.


January Lush List - theCardiffCwtch
The hubs and I are moving into our first house this year which means a whole new space to decorate! This mirror by Flux Glass would look great over a makeup table 🙂


January Lush List - theCardiffCwtch
I was never really bothered about wearing rings, but since getting married I go out with a knuckle duster on each hand! I’ve been eyeing up (badum ha!) this ring from Blue Button Boho recently.


January Lush List - theCardiffCwtch
These Pegzini Family clothespins are too nice to use for laundry! But stick some magnets on the back and I bet they’d look great on the fridge or on an office magnet board.


January Lush List - theCardiffCwtch
Boring round cookies no more! I’m loving these mermaid tail ones by OneSweetChick.


Because sometimes I need reminding – by Farmhouse Printables on Etsy 🙂


What have you been lusting after this month?