Paper, pens and poetry

They say love is a letter written on pink stationery. Well, what about letters written on other sheets of coloured paper? What do they represent?

Walk into the Pen and Paper in the Royal Arcade, the largest stationary retailer here in Cardiff, and you may be able to find out.

This store is a haven for those with a penchant for paper in all shapes, sizes and forms.

From diaries and Filofax’s for the super organized souls to journals and notebooks for those who only prefer the occasional scribble.

Paperblanks are beautiful writing books renowned for their intricately designed covers. The covers depict anything from traditional 17th century motifs to art nouveau inspired elements, such as the one pictured in the photograph below.

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In a mood to share your deepest thoughts and secrets with someone? Then forget instant messaging, the writing sets and notecard collections with floral emblems could turn out to be your new best friend. Coupled with matching envelopes for a cohesive touch, the sets scream elegance and sophistication for just under £5.

However, vintage and art deco postcards are also on hand should you opt to pen a quick ‘hello’ to someone faraway..

There are also greeting cards, retro themed calendars, gifts in a tin and plenty more trinkets to surprise a family member, a lover, a colleague or a friend. They are as quirky as ‘sock monkey in a tin’, affordable and fun.

 

The list goes on. What you write says a lot about you. But what you write on may convey a whole lot more. So forget writing texts for now. Go on a little paper chase and choose to write some poetry instead.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Christmas wish…

Sara Halewood

A special message from Jackie, who works at Sara Halewood, Royal Arcade, Morgan Quarter

“I want to wish a happy Christmas to everyone in Cardiff, to all religions and all cultures and I hope that everyone has a happy and healthy 2017!”

Love, Mrs Clause

The recent Marks & Spencer television advertisement is probably one of the better commercials released this year.In the on-screen advert, unknown to Mr Clause, Mrs Clause travels by helicopter to procure a pair of red trainers for little Jake. This is just so he can lovingly surprise his elder sister Anna, come Christmas morning.

This video touches almost everyone who watches it because it shines a spotlight on a different Christmas icon than one the world is used to. Plus, the dazzling red trainers are just a really cool gift for a 12 year old.

If it’s zany, quirky or cool gifts you are looking out for to fill those stockings in time for 25 December, your prayers to Mr and Mrs Clause, have just been answered.

With only a week left to go to complete that Christmas shopping gift list, note that while the following gifts easy on the eye, they are also easy on your wallet!

Bricks at Home is the world’s first LEGO inspired designed store, and until 11 January 2017, Cardiff folk will have a chance to visit their pop up shop in the Morgan Arcade.

‘Coffee Chain’ travel mugs, LEGO clocks and LEGO storage bricks are some of the fascinating and playful gifts on offer in the store.

Andrew Morris, of Bricks at Home says, “These gifts are good because they are colourful, reasonably priced and everybody has a fun connection to Lego.”

Scribbler is a busy little greeting card store, also located in the Morgan Arcade. Renowned for edgy, and humorous greeting cards, they have added a range of upbeat gifts to their repertoire this month.

Much loved Enid Blyton and Lady Bird short story books, Christmas games in a tin, and snow man and robin lip balms all retail for under £10 and their compact size makes renders them the ideal stocking filler.

If it’s foodie gifts you are after, mangia bene, Wally’s deli will come to the rescue with all good things Italian.Smoked cheeses, Panettone, chocolate and biscuit tins will no doubt make gifting or house visits a breeze since these goodies are already beautifully designed and pre-packaged. Just pop them in a bag and off you go! No further bows or gift wrapping is necessary.

Panettone, which literally translates to ‘big bread’, is a sweet bread loaf laced with raisins and candied fruits. It is of Milanese origin and traditionally enjoyed after meals, during the festive season. The Panettone at Wally’s is available in various sizes, with the smallest weighing 100 grams and merely costing £2.95.

Trysori, a pop up shop in the Royal Arcade is famed for clutch bags and jewellery. Until Christmas eve, they will also sell Welsh made fabric and knitted toys from Ellie Sew. These charming soft toys are made by hand, crafted with love and the furthest from a commercial doll you will find elsewhere on the market.

Elina Zvereva from Cardiff, the name behind the Ellie Sew brand, reveals: “Sewing and making dolls, toys, and stuffed animals is my greatest passion. Every doll and toy is special and I’m able to share the warmth of my hands and heart with you when you take them home.”

Ann George from Port Talbot who has caught a glimpse of Ellie’s creations online adds, “I really like these knitted toys.”

“Christmas is a magnificent time of the year and I hope my toys could bring happiness to many kids as well as adults. If you’re tired of mass produced gifts, please visit the Trysori Christmas pop up shop to find heirloom gifts for your friends and family,” requests Elina.

With the weather being as cold as it is, how about some cozy booties to keep your feet warm? At Sara Halewood cute and quirky moshulu slip on’s are just the love your feet will crave this season.

Shoes that make you smile

Cozy and comfy from £35 upwards

 Jackie, who has been with Sara Halewood for almost 5 years, explains the concept of  gift shopping in the arcades: “What I like about the arcades is that they are unique, independent shops. It’s a very special place to come and shop for people.

“I think they should be looked after very well and promoted more than the larger shops, which are okay but quite normal.”

Jackie, is passionate about customer service and adds, “In the independent shops you will be well looked after.

“We have novel things to offer and share a special relationship with the customers which we have developed over the years. They have become friends as well as customers.”

Mrs Clause might think so too, Jackie.

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:

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“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.

 

 

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.