Running Cardiff Is Yours in the First Week of 2016…

I’ve been following @cardiffisyours pretty much since it started and have always thought: “I’d like to have a go with that.” The reason it took me so long to apply was that I was waiting for a good week to do it. But you know what? It hit me: there’ll never be a perfect week – a week where I fully have the time to fully commit to it and/or where I’m spending a lot of time in the city centre or down the Bay – so I thought “screw it” and applied in December. I was given the keys for the first full week of 2016.

…Given that I considered having a New Year’s resolution that was to spend less time on Twitter, I was pretty much doing the exact opposite by proceeding with this. It’s a good thing I didn’t commit to the resolution eh?

I made a rough plan of some of the things that I’d talk about during my time at the helm: music, gluten-free living, freelancing/self-employment, being a dad, Dry January (ugh)… I ended up sort of covering a different topic daily, while offering seven of my favourite bands – one per day – throughout the week.

I was surprised with the level of engagement: I had a lot of people @mention me – some people I already knew (which was cool) but also a lot of people new to me, which was a good way to chat to random folk dotted around Cardiff and the South Wales area. Saturday and Sunday towards the end were a little quieter, but I tend to use Twitter less at the weekends anyway, so I welcomed that.

The only problem was that I didn’t think I was worthy enough. I felt like my account of the week was probably pretty boring for people. Admittedly some interesting things happened (I discovered that I’d broken my elbow and not realised,* and I won a competition to donate £250 to the charity of my choice), but I didn’t exactly do much ‘Cardiff’ stuff: I live in North Cardiff and commute to Caerphilly – in fact the closest I got to the city centre was East Tyndall Street. I would’ve travelled around a bit more, including going to my favourite place (Roath Park Lake), but the weather didn’t exactly help.

Anyway… If you’re thinking of giving Cardiff Is Yours a go, do it. It’s a lot of fun. Don’t get caught up waiting for the perfect week to do it – it’s good if it corresponds with something Cardiff-y that you’re doing (e.g. if you’re running an event in Cardiff), but you don’t want to end up like me and pointlessly delaying for weeks and months. Just do it!

* I’m currently typing this on an iPad in a Heath Hospital waiting room. Fitting, no? 🙂

Steve is a freelance SEO consultant (Morgan Online Marketing) who blogs on the side (SEOno). Follow Steve on Twitter: @steviephil

Why not having a plan, turned out to be the best plan ever!

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@JadeTambini shares insights from her week!

It was 6pm Sunday before last. I was eating cake (made by the amazing Zucchero Patisserie, running around after my nieces and drinking champagne at my mother-in-law’s big Italian 70th birthday celebrations.

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I fatefully happened to check my emails (this never happens on Sunday) to find an email with the ‘keys to Cardiff’.

Overwhelming panic set in.

I’d forgotten! Or at least, I had put it in my diary for the following week. As someone who can be a bit of a nightmare for planning finding out I’d missed the chance to plan my Cardiff week was an off the scale brain frazzle.

I work in marketing so my whole world is planned, themed, structured and if I lose that, I fail. But what was so refreshing about my ‘Cardiff is Yours’ week was that by not having a plan, not thinking it through, not having a theme or direction, I was left with the thing I only truly really authentically have anyway.

Me.

You lucky things!

So, here are the 5 things I learnt from not having a plan, living with no boundaries and holding the keys to Cardiff for a week!

  1. Be yourself, everyone else is taken!

One of my favourite quotes in the world. But it’s so much easier said than done! I found myself scrolling through the historic twitter feed of the Cardiff Is Yours account to construct how to be and what to say. But after a couple of tweets I got into the swing of it.

Every now and then during the week I’d think ‘eek, don’t press tweet, what will people think of me?!’ but I made a commitment to myself to do it anyway!

Quotes have always given me comfort and have somehow made sense of the world to me for forever. You might remember my little tweet about trees. Random, but so lush. This was one of those examples!

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  1. Feel the fear and do it anyway

As I walked through the doors of Café Atma to try out Urban Meditation for the first time I felt timid, self-conscious but at the same time intrigued and excited.

What’s interesting is that because it’s sometimes scary to try new things, we tend to put them off. I’d been meaning to try out different meditation classes for about two years and somehow managing the ‘Cardiff Is Yours’ account pushed me to go for it!

The experience turned out to be gorgeous. The group session started with a soothing but invigorating ten minute meditation session with singing, drums and other instruments. Megan, who is only 21 but super wise and lovely then ran a 30 minute discussion around the topic of ‘duality’. What I took from the session was that we should treat both happiness and despair in the same way – temporary!

We got spoilt at the end of the session too with delicious vegan curries, cake and chatting!

 

  1. Use it as an opportunity to make new friends

My absolute favourite experience of the week was hanging out with a fellow Yolk Recruitment pal, Laura, who is an accountant by profession but also a crazily talented body painter! We decided to paint Cardiff on, well, me, launching the #FaceofCardiff project which loads of you got involved in, giving us ideas and suggestions – thanks! It tooks us one large pizza, three music playlists and four hours of me ‘sitting still’ and Laura doing her magic! Hope you love the results!

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Check out the time lapse video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhAaZpHmgOM

  1. Eat alone once a week

During the week I ate at a tonne of great places including my very favourite Italian restaurant, Café Citta on Church Street where I tried their butternut squash and ricotta cannelloni from the specials board.

Later in the week the fabulous Elf chef at Milk & Sugar on Windsor Place made maple syrup French toast with bacon for me and some of the crew at Yolk and I really loved eating a lovely ‘locally sourced’ lunch at The Plan in Morgan Arcade (I really recommend their banana and ice-cream pancakes!).

On all of these occasions I ate socially with others as I often do but my favourite food related experience of the week was brekkie for one at Servini’s café. I hopped off the train from Barry at 8.03am just it got light and headed over to Wyndham Arcade. I had a mini English breakfast and a latte and sat in the quiet with nowhere to be, no one to talk to and it was really nice. Starting the morning that little bit earlier with a fuller breakfast and some me time meant I had a great day and felt really happy and chilled!

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I decided there and then to eat out alone at least once a week going forward!

 

  1. Live every week like its being broadcasted!

My usual weeks generally consist of Yoga and I loved sharing my experience at Yoga Fever’s hot yoga studio on Broadway. It such a cool place if you fancy trying out yoga – check out my best move! My teacher Mark always goes at the right pace for all abilities and if you’re new and unsure he will always suggest alternative postures if you hit a bit of a wall!

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I also go to Warrior Yoga at Cardiff Marine Village on Penarth Road, this is such a gorgeous meditative session with low lights, music that feels like it’s from a faraway land and incense. Alan is a funky and dynamic teacher and if you want to tackle your body fitness, mental wellbeing and generally feel like a rejuvenated warrior in your own life, you should try his Thursday class!

What I learnt from the week was that while my life is pretty action filled and fun anyway there is so much in this amazing city for us to explore, try and enjoy. I went out of my way to be interesting and cultural in a bid to entertain and excite fellow Cardiffians and in the process I feel more and more in love with our fabulous city.

I’ll finish with my very favourite thing about Cardiff.

My absolute legend of a husband, Paul. I first laid eyes on him at Conti’s on Mill Lane eight years ago and was smitten right from that very second. Before meeting him, Cardiff was just the big city miles and miles away from my little hometown, Porthcawl. I want to thank him for the best, worst and everything in between moments we’ve shared running around this beautiful city!

paul

Thank you Cardiff Is Yours, one of the best experiences of my life!

 

Want to have the keys for a week? Head here.

Crash bang wallop what a week!

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Here’s a look at a week on @cardiffisyours with @louisateaches…

I must admit I never thought of twitter as my forte, when it comes to work or personal social media accounts, I find it much easier to throw up a picture to show what I’m up to or express how I’m feeling (you may have noticed that during my time over at @cardiffisyous!) so this was a big step for me – to tweet for such a large audience as well as on an established platform and many good tweeters came before me – no pressure!

I stumbled across @cardiffisyours and had never heard of #rocur before (remember that time I told you Twitter wasn’t my forte?) So as soon as I saw the bio “Let us into your city & tell us about your week…Want the keys for 7 days?” I was intrigued!!!

….and then the reply came…the keys were mine.  Like Smeagol with his ring it was mine, precious!

I think my fiancé @samuel_mallett was more excited than me the few days before I started tweeted.  Why’s that? You ask.  Well it means that with everything we had planned for the week I couldn’t possibly get out of by having a nap or staying in binging on Netflix because I had a duty to Cardiff!  (at least that’s what it felt like anyway, haha) side note: the entire time we have been together, I have never seen that man nap, WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?!

I adore this City. I hail from a tiny village called Rothbury in Northumberland, so Cardiff is a wonderland of activities and opportunity for me.  Not everyone may see it this way but I feel so lucky to have such a vibrant city, diverse culture, with free activities, wonderful food and retail therapy right on my doorstep.  Made in Roath, Diffusion, Blas, Ffoton events, our wonderful local independent retailers, to name but a food….oops I mean few….I ate a lot this week! Support this city tweeps, as the rugby has shown, we are one of the best and we should definitely brag about it!

If anything I really hope that during my time tweeting this week I have given people a positive insight into my love of teaching, art, culture and local business that maybe they hadn’t heard of or tired out before. (I’m too stingy to pay for a TV license because I only watch the Bake Off round mates houses so you’d never get any Corrie updates from me!…no we do not watch it illegally, we literally never watch telly!)

Truly grateful for the opportunity and really hope I didn’t put people off in their droves!

Would love to come back and let myself in some time.  Though for now, I’m happy to put my phone down and give my thumbs a rest and maybe give other humans some eye contact for a while.

Want to have the keys for a week? Head here.

CARDIFF WAS MINE, OH YES IT WAS

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Here’s a look at a week in the life of @CathTwo – and what a week it was.

I’ll be honest – I’d fancied giving @cardiffisyours a go since it had first become ‘a thing’. I’m a big tweeter (or ‘twit’, as my husband, @KevTWondersheep, so lovingly puts it… ) and I mostly wanted to do it just because it looked like a really fun thing to do, but there was also a little bit of me that wanted to give it a go because I don’t live in Cardiff and therefore knew I couldn’t. The Twitter equivalent of a Big Red Button with ‘DON’T PUSH’ written on it? Of course I wanted a go!

Thus it was that I was a very happy bunny when the mysterious group known as @cardiffisyours [ADMIN] relaxed the rules a bit to include people who ‘live or work in Cardiff’, although even then I felt a teensy bit like I was trying to muscle in on something that wasn’t really mine when writing my application. Was living in Bridgend, working in Sully and choiring/tapping in Cardiff every week really enough to qualify me as a ‘Cardiffian’ worthy of looking after the virtual keys for a week? Yes, apparently!

I don’t know if other keyholders have experienced this, but the big thing I found after being given access to the account was how important it suddenly seemed to be interesting, entertaining and informative at all times, and how much thought I started giving to what I was tweeting. I’d followed @cardiffisyours and now here I was BEING it – pressure!! I was pretty lucky with my week timing-wise and had a fuller-than-normal schedule planned but this didn’t stop my brain from going into overdrive. Was I tweeting too much? Should I be tweeting more? Should I tweet something about the rugby even though I’m not a fan because that’s what a non-defective Welsh person would do? Should I NOT tweet about singing with Daleks with one charity because I work for another and people might think I was being disloyal? Should I tweet about work at all or would that be seen as pushy? Don’t even get me started on what I went through when I realized the @The_CDF kickstarter deadline was smack bang at the end of my week – how could I possibly face Twitter again if that didn’t hit its target on my watch?? You get the idea…

After the first day or so I started to relax a bit and decided to just be myself and enjoy getting to run a different account for the week and it turns out I’d been spot on with my earlier expectations – @cardiffisyours IS a really fun thing to do! I really enjoyed ‘meeting’ and interacting with people I’d never come across before, lots of whom I’m now following on my own account. I LOVED retweeting Cardiffians-in-need and seeing the responses come in from those wanting to help, and tried to do this as often as I could – sorry if you tweeted during my week and I didn’t see you!

By the time my week came to an end, I was having such a good time that I even felt a tiny bit emotional about the prospect of giving the keys back – a bit like that feeling you get when you’ve had a really lovely holiday and you’re not quite ready to go home yet and get back to normal. I would DEFINITELY recommend keyholding to any other Twitter-loving Cardiffians out there, semi-fake like me or otherwise. I loved it!

Still quite glad that kickstarter met its target though…

 

Fancy the keys yourself? Head over here.

Forget #GBBO – the #SandwichWorldCup returns

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Return of the Jedi Mack SANDWICH.

Ok, so maybe we got a bit overexcited, Cardiff. Don’t forget Bake Off, we know from our timeline that you love it, so please continue. However, please be equally excited for a week of hunting out the best sandwiches that Cardiff has to offer.

The #SandwichWorldCup is not the only returning fixture. We also have our first ever returning Cardiffian, @DuncPowell25, who brought the idea to the account in 2014 and crowned our first ever #SandwichWorldCup winner as @freshbaguette1 based in Royal Arcade, (they still have the sign up in their window, go and check it out – and the sandwiches, obviously).

So what can you expect?

You can expect group stages, quarter finals, semi finals and the big one: the #sandwichworldcup final. You can expect 16 of the best sandwiches from in and around Cardiff and you can expect to be feeling very hungry at the end of every day if you’re going to be following along.

HUNGRY?

Want to get involved? Fancy a bit of tasting? Want to get your chops around some tasty bread? That’s great. Duncan and the team @Yolk_Recruit will be looking for willing volunteers to come and do their best John and Greg/Mary and Paul and judge the crusts of the feasts in front of you.

Got a suggestion of a brilliant sandwich that we simply can’t miss? Brilliant. We need your help. Tweet @cardiffisyours with the Twitter handle of the sandwich shop they should be paying a visit to during the week.

Become a Cardiffian for the week.

COME AND GIVE US THE BIRTHDAY BUMPS?

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Did you know we’re almost 1 year old? Our birthday is at the end of March, and to celebrate, we’re having a few drinks…and we’d love you to be there. What better way to celebrate 52 weeks in the life of Cardiff than to frequent some of the finest watering holes this city has to offer?

Over the last couple of weeks, you’ve been tweeting your favourite pubs in the city centre; the top 3 make up our small pub crawl route.

WHEN: Friday 20 March, starting at 9pm
WHERE: 3 of the best watering holes in the city centre: Porter’s, The Goat Major and Urban Tap House.

PLAN OF ACTION & THE ROUTE

1. Join the event, get a ticket, invite and bring your friends (the tickets are just so we can see what sort of numbers we are expecting). TICKETS HERE.

2. Arrive promptly at Porter’s for 9pm – where you’ll be greeted by familiar Cardiff faces from the world of Twitter, some you’ll know, and others you’ll get to know (we might even be there). With a great array of beer and music, Porter’s is the perfect place to start this pub crawl.

3. This is where it gets a little blurry.

4. The Goat Major is our next stop – we’re hoping a leader will emerge from the pack and make the first move, but if not, we’ll be heading there about 10.15

5. Final stop on the crawl is Urban Tap House – aim is to get there for about 11.15, but we’re in no rush. By this point, we’re hoping everyone will be having a lovely time.

6. Dancing (not compulsary) – in a place of your choice, somewhere close, we hope.

TICKETS HERE.

We’ve had a brilliant first year, all thanks to you, so won’t you come and celebrate with us? Hope to see you there.

cardiffisyours x

Learning more about my fellow ‘Diff residents

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Here’s what Cardiffian @acrispix had to say about his week with the keys…

Last week Cardiff was mine. Or so I thought.

I’m not gonna lie. When I originally applied to be the keyholder to @cardiffisyours for a week, my motives were largely selfish. Think of how much everyone will love hearing about my week. Just think of all the extra followers I’ll get. I can show people how funny I am.

I can say with confidence that none of those three things happened. Instead, I had my eyes opened to this wonderful, diverse and surprising city of ours.

I’m very much of the mind that social media is about engaging with people, preaching to my clients about it on an almost daily basis. The first thing I loved about having the keys was just how many opportunities for engagement there were. I shared details of auditions, upcoming events, lost things, found things and needed things. I replied to people I found funny, people who I related to, and some I probably didn’t. I tried to make the account matter to people.

The crucial thing about the people and groups that I engaged with was that they were a million miles away from my usual weekly cast of tweeters. I attended a conference a few months ago where the speaker claimed that the growing ability to filter what we see through social media poses a danger in only exposing us to people who hold the same views as ourselves. It risks making us narrow minded, and closes our eyes to anything that an algorithm decides is not ‘our dap’. Yet last week I saw new accounts, heard about different parts of Cardiff, learned of groups who were enjoying all sorts of things in their daily lives, and shared the day-to-day dilemmas of Cardiffians who were previously unknown to me.

Before last week I’d become a bit stale on the Twitter front. Sharing boring observations about football (according to my wife!), the odd comment on Radio 4 and that was about it. Last week opened my eyes to what social media should be about – being social. It sounds stupid, but instead of benefitting everyone else with my week of wisdom it was me who ended up benefitting.

@cardiffisyours is a superb idea, and a great way to learn more about your fellow ‘Diff residents by following the account. But I’d strongly recommend to anyone that a week with the keys is the real way to get under the skin of the city. And I challenge anyone not to end up better off for it.

I hereby pledge to stop boring @ruthwalters with tweets about football, and to make the time to engage with future key holders of @cardiffisyours to help make their week as memorable as mine was.

Enjoy our week with @acrispix? Go and give him a follow.

WHAT.THE.CDF?

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We’re really excited about something that’s happening over the next few months.

The lovely folk @The_CDF will be featuring some of our words in their paper every month. You can expect a round up of what our Cardiffians have been tweeting about, as well as a few other bits and bobs that we can’t tell you about (haven’t thought of) yet.

The team @The_CDF (headed up by our first ever keyholder @Captain_Gareth) are also looking for your views – specifically your #CDFViews. They are asking you to whip your phone out and snap a picture of Cardiff that is pretty, or that means something to you and tweet it to @The_CDF using #CDFViews. If it’s any good (and we know it will be) they might put it in their next edition – what have you got to lose?

Like the sound of @The_CDF? Find out where you can pick one up for yourself by tweeting them.

Want the kets to @cardiffisyours for the week? We’d love to have you. Find out how to get them here.