Cats in Cardiff

Clothes and cats
cardiff cat clothesCrown arcade

Dress – £5, Daisy Street (sale). Shoes – £6, New Look (sale). Cat face bag – £3, Camden Market. Bandana – £3, Hobo’s Vintage. Cardigan – £28, Rokit.

I had such an awesome time in Cardiff wandering around the cute shops and trying out all the local bars with my friends. I had to include a picture of the stunning arcade rooftop (above) and this beautiful light which reminded me of antlers (below). It was actually in the local Revolutions which if you don’t know is a chain of bars in the UK. The Revs in Clapham is quite grim but this one was so pretty inside, I was in complete shock!


Here I am with my cat face bag, aka the bag that everyone has! I bought this bag about two years ago in Camden Market and over the last year or so I have seen it all over London and on a number of blogs also! I always feel a bit weird putting stuff in as you’re literally placing items in the cat’s head. I’m wearing a gold brooch from Vintage Zizou and a pink bandana from Hobo’s Vintage, both bought earlier that day! I rarely buy anything on impulse (unless it’s my shift at the charity shop…) but it’s always nice to get a souvenir or two from a trip away, right?

P.S. I’ve made a Facebook page for my blog! If you’d like to, please head over and give it a like :)
Cat face bag
Deer antler lantern
gold dress

Mini-guide: Cardiff

Crown arcade roof detail interior cardiff

I’ve only been to Cardiff a handful of times but I thought I’d create this little guide of our favourite shops and cafes I discovered on my most recent visit there. We spent our days in Cardiff shopping for vintage clothes, admiring the adorable arcades and eating wonderful food. I highly recommend a trip to Cardiff if you can get there; it’s beautiful!
Be warned, there are a lot of photos in this post – everything was so pretty I just wanted to document it all! I’ve written about the place underneath the photos and I’ve put links in all the headings if you want to find out more.

Vintage zizou front
Vintage Zizou display cardiffVintage zizou layouts


(16 Crown Arcade, CF10 1BU)

Vintage Zizou is a clothes and accessories shop for women; for a relatively small premises they have a very varied stock with vintage and contemporary clothes, bags, jewellery, vintage accessories and some gorgeous bridal wear. My friends were quick to drag me away from the wedding dresses before I could spend another half an hour dressed in tulle. Prices were fairly reasonable; I got a beautiful costume jewellery for £6 and one of my friends took home a stunning sequinned top for £25 which was in mint condition.

Childrens books lined up on a wallsecond hand book store sign


(39-43 Castle Arcade)

Troutmark Books is an absolute must-visit if you’re a bookworm like I am. The shop appears deceptively small from outside but once you get set foot inside you’re confronted with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. The shop spans 3 floors and has a huge selection of genres available. The shop owner is very friendly and we spent a long time poring over various titles in this shop. Being the kid I am, I especially loved these old children’s books with beautifully coloured spines and the impressive comics collection.

Sophies cafe in Cardiff


(16 High Street Arcade)

There are a huge number of cafes around Cardiff and I won’t lie, we chose to go in to Sophie’s purely because we had a Sophie in our group. Sophie’s specialise in crepes and galettes and although there were no vegan options listed they were happy to accommodate and create something new for me. Again this cafe was deceptively small; however downstairs there was a spacious seating area where we occupied the sofa for a good hour or so.


Hubbards Cupboard interior
Cushions in Hubbards Cupboard
Hubbards Cupboard front window display
Hubbards Cupboard dress window


(35 Castle Arcade)

This shop was so beautiful! Light, airy and very well-presented; we spent a long time in here as it was also one of the first places we found with a decent mens section. The shop was split into two sections; vintage on one side (with a great selection of dresses ranging from medium to high prices) and crafts, stationary and wedding bits and pieces on the other side, all laid out impeccably. I’d recommend this shop to seasoned vintage shoppers or crafty people with an interest in aesthetically pleasing displays!

Barkers afternoon tea
Barkers Tea interior
Barkers Tea Danilo reading


(High Street Arcade)
I’m genuinely upset I don’t live closer to this place as I have been telling everybody about Barker Tea House since I got back to London. I am a prolific tea drinker and the mate infused with mint that I tried at Barker Tea House was exquisite! This was the last “meal” we had in Cardiff; the mini afternoon tea for one came with scones and chocolate brownies that were extremely rich and shared between three people we had more than enough. The upstairs area has a lovely interior which kind of reminded me of an updated country house or old-school british library; I loved the floral tiles that were used as accents and the stripped wood everywhere. I can imagine whiling away a lot of afternoons chatting with friends in this place. (Side note: doesn’t Danilo look like an advert for beards?)

Hobos in CardiffHobos vintage shop in CardiffFriends outside Hobos


(26 High Street Arcade)

Cardiff is well-known as a vintage destination and I don’t know if Hobos is the oldest vintage shop there but it certainly seems to be one of the most iconic. The stock isn’t hugely varied, instead focusing more on popular vintage items (such as silk blouses and varsity jackets). You’re unlikely to stumble across a sequinned ballgown but the items they are all in excellent condition and available in a good selection of colours and prints. For people who take a more streamlined approach to vintage shopping or those who have a more classic style I’d recommend Hobos. They also had a great selection of upcycled vintage items and retro inspired clothes (including the Northern Soul dress I wore in this post!).

Barkers Coffee


(13 Castle Arcade)
On my previous trip to Cardiff with James we had an idyllic meal here; I can’t remember what I ordered but I can remember both James and I talking about how great the food was on the train home. Another gorgeous cafe where I could happily spend a few hours if there weren’t so many other things to go and see! The interior has a kind of New York coffee bar feel to it, with squishy brown sofas and lots of cute metal signs.

Garlands Cafe


 (4 Duke Street Arcade)
A couple of locals recommended their Garlands so we headed there on our final (hungover) morning. The vegetarian/vegan breakfast was so filling and although quite a small and busy place the staff let us sit around for a while which made us feel very at home. Prices were great and the plates were so large it was really good value for money. I also recommend their juice; it was amazing!

Claire Grove Buttons displayClaire Grove buttons shop


(45 Castle Arcade)

This shop was about to close by the time we got there but a quick look around confirmed that they have a HUGE selection of buttons and beads from all over the world. The shop has been there for over 30 years and they also have a selection of quirky cards and prints. If there was a specific button or bead you were after I imagine you’d be able to find it here but it’s a great place just to browse as well – the shop is quite small but beautifully laid out.

Cardiff Fashion Quarter outside colourful entrance
Cardiff Fashion Quarter mural
Cute displays at Cardiff fashion quarter
Retro kitsch designs at Cardiff fashion quarter
Interior layout of top part of CFQ
Vintage clothes at Cardiff fashion quarter
Colourful displays at Cardiff Fashion Quarter
Cute paper flower display
Rhinestone cowbosys


(Womanby Street)

Cardiff Fashion Quarter is almost a miniature shopping mall of independent traders selling a combination of vintage and contemporary clothes, books, jewellery and furniture. It’s based inside a converted cinema and is spread across two floors. Some of our favourite shops were Rhinestone Cowboy, Nelly’s Treasures, Rock-Ola Reborn, Bada Peng and Freak Unique Boutique. The whole space was beautifully decorated with fairy lights, bunting, paper flowers and pretty wallpapers covering the space and each stall had cute displays, we spent such a long time just wandering around and browsing all the cute retro toys!


Other places I would recommend based on my previous visits to Cardiff:

Chapter Arts

One of my favourite arts centres with a really good programme of events, also the cafe is absolutely amazing!

Spillers Records

Obviously I collect records so I’m always biased towards record shops anyway but even if you’re not a vinyl owner this shop is worth a visit anyway – it’s the oldest record shop in the world.

Natural History Museum of St Fagans

The Gate Arts Centre

Bute Park



So there we go, a few of my suggestions for Cardiff! I’ve not really written any city guides like this before so let me know if it’s useful or if you’d like to see more. If you have any favourite places in Cardiff pop them in the comments so other people can go there too!


Dress of dreams

dress selfieoh my skirtbehind curtain looking outsmiley!
straightening up
We were wandering around Cardiff when one of my friends noticed a shop selling brightly coloured sequin maxi dresses and said “Laila, your dream shop is here!”. I ran inside only to discover the most BEAUTIFUL dress I have ever seen nestled on the back wall. Peachy satin corset, sequinned lace flowers, frilly bows and diamnate ruffles leading into a lengthy feathered train; what more could any self-respecting fairy princess want?! The very friendly shop assistant told us it was the only one of it’s kind and had never been tried on. I pretty much leapt into it when I found out it was in my size and she kindly let me cavort around in it long enough for all the boys to get bored and head to the bike shop next door.

I always loved fairies and princesses and the bigger and more whimsical the better! My Pinterest board of dreamy clothes has a lot of frilly fantasy items and my love for princess clothing has led me to amass quite the collection of second hand wedding dresses over the years (sadly no groom in sight) and probably a few more tiaras than is necessary for a freelance musician and volunteer charity worker. Sadly I didn’t have a spare £365 to add this particular number to my collection, but rest assured as soon as I can I’ll be back to snap it up for future gigs, carnival parades and midnight dances with charming members of fairy royalty… well, I can dream right?

Facebook/Twitter/Bloglovin/LookBook/Pinterest/Flickr/Soundcloudappearingwearing the dressstanding at front in dressback of dress bending over


aIMG_9lego men home interiors fighting on a candelabra lamp lego men chess board bommyknocker on desk by egg sign and lamp

My first year of university was one of the best years of my life and a large part of that was my housemate Josh. We hosted insane parties, made up drinking games, learned Beirut songs in the kitchen, had pillow fights, joked about the landlord and fell asleep facing the wrong way whilst watching Arrested Development. I’d not seen him for a shamefully long time, and visiting him a couple weeks ago was a magical mix of catching up on “the lost years” and feeling like an 18 year old again.

I’m sharing some photos of his house. I often see images of home interiors and I feel like it’s a very homogenised realm, although maybe it’s just the things I read. I see a lot of cute cushions, floral throws and whimsical kitchenalia, partnered with framed prints from etsy and colour-pop floor rugs. That’s all well and good, but I’d like a house with more personality. I always notice how houses feel, whether it’s warm and inviting or mysterious and secretive. J’s house had it’s own unique kind of character; humorous and a bit off the wall. Lego men fought amongst the lights, bommyknocker death balls perched precariously in unlikely rooms and a melancholy little man hung from the lighting cord. It felt like the house had been decorated with the same childlike enthusiasm and adult black comedy that I associate with J. It felt like the house was an animated, living realm one could be creative and alive in. It felt like playtime turned into full-time lifetime. How does your house feel?

lego men home interiors fighting on a candelabra lamp blue man dies by bathroom cord death ball on bath lego men home interiors fighting on a candelabra lamp lego remote control holder death ball on oven christmas tree with bread and shoe


laila close-up girl face mixed crescent moon face necklace smile face thing black velvet pinafore dungaree dress black leggings fake white converse gold luna tatty devine moon nektage floral dress dark hair ponytail tape parade

Happy New Year everyone! I came back to London on the 2nd and have been “back at work” since then. I’ve not really documented anything as I’ve been working hard on my upcoming WOLF PACK concerts, hence the lack of posts. These photos are really just to show you my new favourite necklace, and were taken during my “lunch hour” (25 minutes).

I’m wary of expensive jewellery as I imagine I’d forget I was wearing it and then climb a tree or something and break it, but this necklace was a Christmas present in the sales (thanks Dad) and I like it so much. The moon has long been my favourite satellite, entirely due to Sailor Moon. Obviously where there is moon, there are stars; and lo, I chose to wear these socks today. The tiny flowers on this 70s blouse are so sweet and embroidered by hand and lastly, my pinafore was the stupidest choice ever as the charity shop where I volunteer has three very fluffy cats. Let me tell you, cat hair and velvet are NOT a winning combination. How is your 2014 going so far?
P.S. I recently did an interview with fellow blogger Christina of Kimi and Me, which you can read here. I was incredibly honoured to be featured. Thank you Christina, I’m so proud!

collar blouse detail flowers floral mouse ring silv gold luna lune moon tatty devine sailor moon necklace crescent moon face white shoes black and gold starry socks black velvet dress dungaree pinafore floral blouse vintage smiley smile happy girl tape parade laila happy face floral flower collar collar tips vintage collar blouse detail

Blouse – vintage, £3.50. Necklace – Tatty Devine, gift. Dungaree pinafore dress thing – vintage, £17. Trainers – New Look, £6 (sale). Mouse ring – Camden Market, £2. Socks – ???, christmas present.



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Hello! I have just got back from holiday so apologies if you were wondering where regular posts had gone! I tend to blog about things a day or two after they happen; I know some bloggers save photos up for weeks but I find it feels really irrelevant to do so. Something else is bound to happen and I’d rather live in the moment! However, these photos deserved to go up as I keep promising more food posts about my strange diet.

These are actually at Camden “Night Market”: essentially just Camden Market open a bit later on a Thursday, with a slight variation on stalls and a Backyard Cinema residency (including an amazing screening of one of my favourite film, Almost Famous). I don’t follow any listings or event mail outs because in my experience anything advertised or listed as “the place to be” is never the place to be (also who has the time to trawl through all the events in London?!), but presumably Night Market was quite heavily promoted as it was heaving!

So, FOOD. I’m completely obsessed with Chin Chin Labs as you can tell from my hilarious ice-cream face; the staff always have the best recommendations and flavours change every week. I was sampling Walnut Whip ice-cream with peanut brittle in the above photos.  Later on we “shared” Dutch Pancakes from this adorable stall I’ve not seen before. Fresh strawberries and warm baked goods is so good! I’ve not had such tiny pancakes before; they were almost like waffles in texture. I also left with a massive bag from Cupcakes and Shhht who make the best crumbly cookies (treat breakfast).

P.S. I’m wearing the mythical cardigan of the sub header and also this new skirt – it doesn’t go but it arrived in the post this morning and I whipped off my other skirt and threw it on. As if I have the time or inclination to change clothes when I’m already wearing them! skirt – Modcloth, gift. Spiked lion cuff – Stella & Dot Limited Edition (similar), gift.

Danilo camden lock market camden night market food indie boys hipster exterior street london Laila mixed race girl camden lock market camden night market food indie hipster exterior street london friends Camden lock yard stables market nightmarket night market clothes yellow skirt vintage cardigan denim cobbled brick street cobbles hanging out exterior londonfriends Camden lock yard stables market nightmarket night market clothes yellow skirt vintage cardigan denim cobbled brick street cobbles hanging out exterior london nutella dutch pancakes camden market lock night food eating exterior stall nutella dutch pancakes camden market lock night food eating exterior stall friends Camden lock yard stables market nightmarket night market clothes yellow skirt vintage cardigan denim cobbled brick street cobbles hanging out exterior london dutch pancakes food eating

Camden Day

aIMG_7248ImageImageLast Friday was James And Laila Day! Regular readers will probably have read about James before as we spend so much time together. In the absence of any kind of formal anniversary we decided to start James and Laila Day – one day per month devoted to not working together and instead hanging out and having fun. As it was my turn to plan James and Laila Day I decided to share some of my regular haunts with James. I live and work in Camden and it’s always been this bit of London that feels most like home to me, despite being born and raised in the south. I go for a daily walk around the markets and often stop in after work on my way home as well.

We started off the day with an amazing breakfast and then wandered down to the market stopping at all my favourite food shops on the way, including my favourite ice-cream shop. I follow a very weird diet and it can be hard to find foods I can eat, so I’m very lucky we live by some awesome health food shops.  The first couple of pictures are taken down this little road with brightly painted houses. There’s about five of these pretty coloured streets on the route from James’ house to the market, in my head I call them rainbow roads and they remind me of the town in Edward Scissorhands.ImageImageImageThe rest of these photos are from Camden Market! Camden is divided into about 6 different markets and once upon a time each bit of market had it’s own specific focus; these days they do broadly stock variations of the same thing but there’s still some individual flavour between them. The three biggest markets are Camden Locks (arts and crafts), Stables Market (subcultures and imported fashions) and Horse Tunnel Market (vintage and antiques). It was such a gorgeous sunny day and even though I visit the same places every other day, it was fun sharing that part of my day with James. I should be employed as a tour guide as I know the whole layout so well by now.

After the market we went to Honest Burgers for dinner (no photos!) and whilst the chips and drinks were amazing the no-meat option was essentially a vegetable pakora in a bap; definitely not recommended. We also went to our favourite pub and the cinema, needless to say we were pretty tired when we traipsed home later but happy and content. It’s so important to spend quality time with your friends, especially if (like me) most of your close friends also double as artistic colleagues. It’s easy to fall into the habit of just hanging out post-rehearsal and never doing activities purely for fun so I’m so glad we started this tradition. Here’s to the next James and Laila Day!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage