Rather than a lacklustre sprint to the nearest Tesco Express, why not mark your friends birthday as one you really should be remembering with a visit to one of Cardiff’s quirky little independents? Whether slotted in areas like Albany Road or Cowbridge Road East, or in the more central Arcades, you’re bound to find a unique gift whatever your budget or the personality of the lucky recipient.  

1.       Miss Patisserie

Miss Patisserie has made quite a splash. Founded in 2009 by Charlotte Ridgwell, this gorgeous boutique is nestled in the equally pretty High Street Arcade and is the perfect place to find a beautiful present, as well as picking one up for yourself (obviously).  Examples of what you can find include Bath Pastilles, Coffee Scrubs and Soy Candles – which I was lucky enough to sample at their Bloggers’ Event and haven’t looked back from since! The place and products hold an emphasis on Paris, pastels and florals (the P theme was good while it lasted), and although the only store is here in Cardiff, they’re such a success story they’re busy stocking to elsewhere around the UK. Their ethics are also a winner, with vegan, botanical and cruelty-free ingredients.

2. Scribbler

You don’t need to be an artist or writer to appreciate the beauty of Scribbler and, what’s more, it’s set up specifically for occasions like birthdays in mind! Their generous selection of witty greetings’ cards and colourful wrapping paper will make you almost forget you actually have to get something to give alongside the card, and wrap with the paper… Loud and proud slogans, intricate detailing, puns that really get the old brain matter whirring… it’s all enveloped here in Scribbler.

Scribbler – 48 Royal Arcade 

3. Home by Kirsty

There’s a bit of a trend emerging here – one that makes a solid argument that collectively the Arcades are where the best birthday buys hide and reside. This time around we’re in Castle Arcade, and that means stumbling across Home by Kirsty, a stunning and individual gift shop with a real focus on Welsh designs. Not only is the shop an Instagrammer’s paradise, but it compensates for its small size with an impressive range of thoughtful potential presents. From cushions adorned with zigzags to standout murals, initial-imprinted mugs to kooky cards, you’ll definitely find something to catch your eye.

Home by Kirsty – 16 Castle Arcade 

4. Hobo’s

It’s fair to say negative news seems to be churned out at alarming rates lately, so when 2017 seems a bit too much, why not zoom back to a bygone era? You don’t need a sophisticated time machine to do that in Cardiff – simply pop into Hobo’s. Its stock – mostly clothes and accessories – is colourful, hard to elsewhere track down and brings a hefty dose of vintage vibes – so go digging around and you’re sure to conjure up a hidden gem or two.

Hobo’s – 26 High Street Arcade

5. Castle Emporium

Why not kill two birds with one stone and get all your friends’ birthdays sorted in one fell swoop? Castle Emporium – alarmingly NOT in the Arcades – is so diverse it caters for every taste under the same roof. The days of peering into every shop window that calls St David’s Centre home are long gone… Admittedly, your student loan may be too, but it’s so worth it. Books, coffee, artwork, comics and skateboarding are just some of the specialities that make Castle Emporium what it is.

Castle Emporium – Womanby Street 

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