Aum Ganesha

Ganeshaone of the most worshipped deities in Hinduism. Ganesha – widely revered as the remover of obstacles and the bestower of spiritual gifts such as intellect, knowledge and wisdom. Ganesha – the God of beginnings.

The Royal arcade is famed for it’s curious little shops and quirky cafes, but it is also known for a little boutique that houses all things Ganesha.

Aptly named Ganesha Handicrafts, after the majestic elephant God, this colourful multi-level store houses a wide selection of ethnic clothing, jewellery and Eastern inspired handicrafts. What’s special about their products is that they are ethically sourced from India and Nepal, ensuring that the craftsmen and women who hand make the store’s product range receive a fair wage for their skilled work.

If you’re hunting for a gift out of the mundane selection found elsewhere, then this shop doesn’t disappoint. Items like cloth messenger bags and backpacks for example retail for just £10 upwards. These bags come heavily embroidered in bright colours, are soft to touch and easy to sling on your shoulder or back. Choose from mirror work, patch work, tassels or simple knits, depending on how subtle or flamboyant your style is.

If traditional jewellery is more up your alley, the store has a wide collection of rings, pendants and necklaces, studded with vibrant gem stones from the Far East. Some of the natural stones used in the jewellery pieces include blue turquoise, Indian ruby, Japanese opal and black onyx. Though the jewellery is simple, it’s timeless and elegant, and makes the perfect accessory to complement any spring or summer outfit.

 

And speaking of outfits, the store is stocked with ethnic wear for both men and women. The boho gypsy skirts, are sure to catch your eye as they glisten in the sunlight, almost as if they are showing off their pretty shades and mirrors.

The shop smells as fragrant as oriental Jasmine flowers thanks to the aroma released from burning incense sticks, which are also available to purchase.

Kelly who loves shopping here says excitedly, “I cannot wait for pay day! I’m heading straight to Ganesha Cardiff!”

However, even if you were to leave without buying anything, just the experience of visiting the shop will leave you with a sense of calm and well being.

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Thank you, Ganesha – the God of good fortune and success.

 

 

 

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Meet me at the Wyndham

It stands alone. But it stands proud. The Wyndham Arcade is the oldest of the city’s arcades. Perhaps not as flamboyant as the other arcades, perhaps not as loud, yet every inch as grand.

It’s Edwardian architecture sets it apart from the crowd. Currently home to 10 independent retailers, if you’re looking to rent a commercial space or be a part of the arcade family, then hurry, there are two units currently available for leasing.

Wyndham Arcade

Space to let

 

Rick, the co-owner of Rebel Rebel, a body piercing an alternative living store in the court, shares his story: “This store has been around for 28 years, in three locations in the arcade. We love our customers. Some of our regular customers happen to be family members of our original customers, while we also have some tourists returning to the store after an year or more.”

Rebel Rebel smells of insense sent down by the Gods, and is a myriad of colour, and other quirky and eclectic finds. The owners will gladly spare some time to chat and share their exotic tales.

Bellisimos role in the arcade, is to make clients look and feel beautiful. Just as its name suggests. Sparkling white interiors and dazzling chandeliers whisk you away to cleansing rituals, skin care routines and treatments, designed to make you feel Hollywood good. Kiera from Bellisimos Aesthetics says, “The arcades should definitely be the ‘go to’ place in Cardiff even though they are currently not, because they are a part of the city’s soul – quaint and charming.”

Foodies have lots of options to choose from at the Wyndham – be it Ask Italian, Bills family restaurant, Servini’s café or the Waterloo teahouse.

The Hilton Hotels often boast that their slogan “Take me to the Hilton” is so well-known that it has been used by travellers for well over a century.

But when in Wales, opt for local culture and heritage. Besides, “Meet me at the Wyndham” has far more finesse, wouldn’t you agree?

Dear Santa, let me explain…

Yes the Cardiff arcades are quaint and charming. Yes they date back over a hundred years and each one of the courts is filled with their share of history.

But, that doesn’t mean they are traditional or boring. Au contraire, the arcades can also be a lot of fun!

Take for example the Morgan Quarter and the #MQNaughtyorNice promotion that’s currently buzzing in the arcade’s corridors.

Post a selfie on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MQNaughtyorNice while shopping or sipping coffee at either Morgan Arcade or Royal Arcade. A winner will be picked each day and announced on the Morgan Quarters social media channels. And the best part is, you can enter the promotion as many times as you like until 8 December!

Here’s a sneak peak at some of the fab gifts on offer:

christmasgifts

“We know Christmas shopping can get stressful, so this year we’ve launched the ‘naughty or nice’ list as a bit of light hearted, festive fun,” says Rory Fleming, the Centre Manager at Morgan Quarter.

“It’s a great opportunity for shoppers to win a treat for themselves, and our range of exclusive prizes show the variety of gifts available in the quarter,” Rory explains.

If you’ve only been good for a couple of months this year, that’s alright. Focus on that and mention that you have been nice. Either way, Santa’s pretty cool. He won’t mind.

 

 

Did you hear about the Morgans?

You may be forgiven if your initial thoughts triggered memories of Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant escaping wild bears or riding bulls and horses at the rodeo.

In Cardiff, merely whisper the word ‘Morgan’, and you will be pointed in the direction of the best preserved of arcades – the magical Morgan Quarter, sparkling with Christmas lights right about now.

The Morgan Arcade and the Royal Arcade interconnect to form this upscale shopping destination. With over 50 boutiques, galleries, gourmet delis and cafes, it delights visitors every day of the week.

Ever wonder what it’s like working in a Victorian era building filled with so much history and charm?

Andrew, from Spillers Records, the world’s oldest record shop, describes the experience as working in a “micro climate.”

“All the shops know each other and everyone helps each other. Since it’s away from the hub of the main district, it’s peaceful as well,” Andrew describes.

Located in an avenue just off the Hayes, the arcade has managed to carve a name for itself as being chic and upscale. It’s unique boutiques are brimming with hidden gems.

Eva Morgan who has worked in the arcades for three years, gets it bang on target when she says: “I enjoy my job and enjoy being in the arcades. Our shops are quite niche.”

Quite rightly so.

Meet the Arcadians – Part 1

Just like a business couldn’t be successful without employees or a school wouldn’t be able to function as a centre of education without teachers and students, an arcade cannot exist  without Arcadians.

Arcadians, (another invented word) are the backbone of the arcades. They feel the arcade’s pulse, they monitor its’ beats and their roles – be it sales, marketing or customer service – is what makes the arcades’s cafes and boutiques pop to life!

Introducing a few Arcadians, (in no particular order):

Clive Ranger

Jessica Fisher, Clive Ranger, High Street Arcade

The Boardroom Coffee Shop

Caroline Nieuwenhuis & Michael Wright, The Boardroom Coffee Shop, Duke Street Arcade

Spit & Sawdust

George Manson, Duke Street Arcade

City Surf Cardiff

Guto Williams, City Surf Cardiff, High Street Arcade

3B's

Sakshi Adkar & Oscar Rodriquez, Bwyta Bwyd Bombai 3B’s, High Street Arcade

Miss Patisserie

Talisa, Miss Patisserie, High Street Arcade

Thank you for scrolling – stay tuned for more…

What is Arcadism?

Arcadism is an invented word. And it is defined as enhancing the viability of the glorious Victorian and Edwardian arcades dotted around Cardiff’s Castle Quarter and the Hayes. The arcades are a rich part of Cardiff’s heritage and collectively date back 148 years.

To understand the concept of ‘arcadism’, it is important to first know a little about each of the arcades. There are six of them to be precise.

Meet the arcades:
First, there is Castle Arcade, a multi storied architectural gem overlooking Cardiff Castle. It began commercial operations in 1887.

High Street Arcade follows suit and interconnects to Castle Arcade via a maze of beauty bars, hobby stores, artisan galleries, even an authentic Big Apple deli.

Duke Street Arcade is a corridor of secrets, and coffee shops waiting to be explored. It also interconnects the first two arcades to form the trio – Castle Quarter Arcades.

Round the corner, by the Cariff Central Library is the Royal Arcade. The oldest of the courts, but boasts of many gourmet cafes and quirky pen and paper stores.

The Morgan Arcade is described as being the most preserved of all the arcades and is also located on St Mary street, linking it to the Hayes.

Together, Royal Arcade and Morgan Arcade form the quintissential Morgan Quarter.

Wyndham Arcade, unlike the rest was built in the Edwardian era and is an alleyway of quaint shops. It runs parallel to Cardiff’s Cafe Quarter, Mill Lane, cutting through to the bottom of St Mary Street. It is popular for afternoon tea.

People’s verdict:
Almost everyone would agree that the arcades hold charm and character, and give Cardiff a certain ‘je ne sais quoi.’ Catherine Woods, the owner of Green Valley Moves and a long time resident of Cardiff says, “I think there is something quintessentially Cardiff about the arcades which show off the beautiful Victorian architecture in the vicinity.”

According to Catherine there is something really unique about having a compact city that has wonderful arcades threaded through. “It’s intimacy also allows independent specialist shops to survive which is great for the local economy,” Catherine explains further.

Larissa Camargo, a visitor from Brazil echoes Catherine in her sentiments by adding:”I think it makes Cardiff unique, as you don’t go around seeing the same shops you would in every other city.”

Cardiff Arcades

Empty chairs need to be filled

Word in the corridor:
Independent businessmen and women in the arcades all share a common view. That business in the arcades isn’t what it used to be. Partly due to newer shopping malls like St.David’s Shopping Centre promoting the opening of mega chain stores. The shopping mall is taking all the glory (along with all the customers). Take for example the fact that the arcades close shop by 6pm. St.David’s is open till 8pm on weekdays.

The core objective of arcadism thus becomes clearer in this context. It’s to rally around the arcades and increase footfall and customer visits via social media. The most powerful of voices.