Beardism 101

Time for a long-overdue personal blog update. As ever, the topics I chose to discuss are entirely random. I can almost guarantee the spelling and punctuation will be amateurish at best.

All Things Beard-ish


Recently I’ve been asked, on three separate occasions, my advice about beards. In each case, once I got over the initial shock that anyone considered me even remotely expert on anything, I dutifully answered the questions to the best of my ability. These terribly manly encounters made me ponder facial hair in all its hirsute glory. I look like Sasquatch on a good day so here, without any further pointless waffling, is my guide to all things beardy.

Points to consider before growing a beard

  • Contrary to what you might have heard it is not the lazy man’s get out clause to avoid shaving. Turns out cultivating a beard takes as much time, if not more, than being clean-shaven.
  • Are you a patient soul? Giving yourself over to the lords of the gruff is not quick. Even if you’re naturally hairy (*holds up hand*) the process takes time. My advice is sit back and enjoy.
  • There will be a point where you experience the dreaded itch. It is going to happen. You cannot avoid it. I’d imagine a whole lot of potentially epic beards fall by the wayside at this point. Don’t give up, keep going!! As with all things the itchiness will soon pass. You just need to power through.

So, you’re growing a beard…


  • In my experience, facial hair is profoundly different to the hair on the top of your head. Do not expect it to behave in the same way. For example, the hair on my chin is far more wavy than the hair on the top of my noggin.

  • Find your style – This is the fun part, you get to experiment. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for pirate, Viking, gunslinger, wizard (my current style of choice), Amish carpenter or 18th century Russian Orthodox rabbi just enjoy yourself. I could wang on about how some people think different shaped faces lend themselves better to specific styles but I think that is a load of old tosh. If you are going to rock a beard, OWN IT! To hell with what anyone else thinks.


  • I’ve spoken to different beardists about this one and the jury is still out. The best way to look after your face based security blanket is entirely up to you.
  • Try to get into a routine. I normally wash my beard a couple of times a week using a beard shampoo. Other days it just gets a rinse while I am in the shower. There is something wonderfully soothing about a good old clean.
  • The one thing I am not going to do in this post is recommend one brand of beard products over another. There are tons to chose from. Find the ones you like. The various oils, lotions and potions I’ve tried do tend to make my bristles a little softer and, usually for around twenty seconds every morning, smell absolutely amazing. It’s a nice process, I always feel like I am pampering myself. It’s a pleasant why to start any day.
  • Too blow dry or not to blow dry? – Once again I have heard conflicting opinions about this. Most mornings when I get out of the shower, after applying my product of choice, I do blow dry my beard so I can give it a brush. My only advice is use a cool setting so the hair doesn’t get too damaged.
  • Go to a barbers once in a while – After having a full beard for quite a few years I finally plucked up the courage to go and see a barber*. I really should have done it so much sooner. My local barber enjoys a natter and is licensed so will happily provide a bottle of beer during a trim. Its all terribly civilised. The most important thing I’ve learned is that a good barber will be able to tidy up your facial topiary without diminishing your impressive growth.
  • I’ll admit I did spend a little cash to get a quality boar’s hair brush. Trust me, its worth it. Giving the old beard a good brush from time to time is an absolute joy. It reduces a condition I like to call “Kinky Beard” quite dramatically.
  • A word of caution, you may need to modify your eating behaviour. Going full Hagrid has meant I’ve had to pay more attention when putting things like soup in my mouth. Dairy products are also a group that you need to watch out for. You do not want an errant crumb of cheese or a splash of milk find its way into the depths of your face maze. The stink of stale foodstuffs under your nose all day ain’t much fun.

General Tips

  • Get a cat or dog so you came blame them when you shed hair. You will definitely shed.
  • Choose your hat wisely.

I appreciate beards aren’t for everyone but I just thought I would offer a little advice. Chances are I’m stuck with this for life now. My better half thinks I look like Peter Griffin when I am without it so the face rug stays.

Till next time ya filthy animals!

Pablo Beard-cake

*I was genuinely concerned I would be mocked for poor beard maintenance.

The Cheesecake Strikes Back…

Can you believe I haven’t written a personal blog post since May 2015. There are multiple reasons why. I wont bore you with all the details. The quick answer is that in a nutshell real life has been the top priority (more on that in second). Recently though I’ve had a ponder and I’ve decided to try and start posting again. For how long this lasts or about what topics I’ll post I have little to no idea. Please remember as with my previous attempts at personal blog posts this is stream of consciousness type stuff. There will be typos, there will be swearing. It is unlikely there will be any insights into the human condition. You get the idea.

Pablo and The Brain

After much investigation it was determined that not only do I have  a dodgy thyroid (i’ve know about that for years) but I am also epileptic. It took me awhile to actually accept this but I’ve got there now. The good news, if there is any, is that I only appear to be prone to nocturnal seizures. This is good news because when the fits do occur I tend to be in bed. Probably the safest place to have a fit if you’re going to have one. brain

Herself and I have discussed it at some length and I previously agreed that if I had another seizure I would start taking medication. Another seizure happened so meds it was. At the beginning of September I started taking a drug called Lamotrigine. It takes a couple of months to work up to a full dose, I’ll be there as of next Monday. Interestingly this wonder drug is also used to treat bi-polar disorder. The things is I’m still not entirely sure about this medication. Obviously I don’t want to ever have another fit, recovery is bloody hard work and its traumatic for both me and MadNad, but the list of potential side effects contain some real doozies. My personal favourites are increased seizures or increased symptoms of bipolar disorder. My worry is that I’m not sure I would spot a side effect if there was one. Things like a sore throat or itchiness can be relatively common indications of something completely different. Other more serious side effects like depression I think would be far tricker to pick up on. I mean everyone has a low day now and again. If I started to feel that way how would I know? Happy days eh. Time will tell I suppose.

Feel the Burn

On a far more upbeat note I have managed to improve my overall level of fitness. (Not going to let a dodgy brain slow me down). I go to the gym a couple of times a week and from time to time I go out running. I should stress I am not an Olympic athlete but I am enthusiastic. Over the list year may weight had started to creep up again so I decided to take steps. I have shifted 15lbs and I plan on loosing a bit more. I actually quite like going to the gym if I’m honest. I hate the thought of it beforehand but once I’m there I get the chance to just zone out and destress.

Its like looking in a mirror. Honestly!

Its like looking in a mirror. Honestly!

So basically after all this gym time I’m totally ripped (I’m totally not). What I actually am is healthier than I was before. You know what? that’ll do for me. On Thursday there were two separate incidents where I was told I was looking trim. I may have gone full smugface at one point. (You have to admit though Cavill looks pretty darned amazing doesn’t he? He is an impressive specimen. I remain somewhat jealous)

The Beard That Would Not Die

An admission. I grew a beard for two reasons (1) Clean shaven is not an option. I look like a mildly interesting King Edward potato (2) I am really quite lazy. Turns out reason 1 is 100% accurate, reason 2 not so much. Maintaining a beard is just as much work as bloomin’ shaving. You have to trim it regularly, oil it from time to time, keep it in direct sun light, don’t feed it after midnight, etc etc. The list is endless. I imagine the time I spend on my facial topiary is similar to the time one would spend trimming and shaping a bonsai.


“Why all the effort then Pablo?”, I hear none of you cry. It is just so damned comforting. It is like having a security blanket for your face. There is a wonderfully reassuring feeling that comes with my face fuzz. It does help that MadNad likes it as well I suppose. At some point I may even take a trip to one of those fancy barbers that are around now. I’ve heard you can get your beard professionally trimmed. Sounds jolly exciting. That said there is every chance I would be spectacularly intimidated by the whole thing and not even get passed the front door.

There, I feel better now that I have waffled on a bit. Cleared the cobwebs out of my brain. I was going to rant a bit about Trumpton, Fractured Europe et al but I might save that gem for later. Instead I’m going to go and get some soup ( Hell Yeah, I know how to live!)

Until next time (fuck knows when that will be) have a splendid existence, be kind to one another and ignore that haters.

Darth Cheesecake salutes you

Of Beards, Salsa and Other Random Gibberish

Currently my other half is somewhere across the other side of the Atlantic having a right proper American adventure. Seeing as I’ve got no one to chat to I thought it was about time I posted a new personal blog. That’ll two non book related blog posts this year, that must be some sort of record.

As usual its chock full of stuff and nonsense.

A Dedicated Un-Follower of Fashion

Those of you who know me will already appreciate that I have my own unique brand of style. What you may not know is that a change has been in the air for a while now. I’ve reached the point where I’m getting bored with dyeing  my hair bright red. Don’t get me wrong, its been great fun but the winter plumage is starting to make itself known and I feel the urge to embrace it and move on. I’ve always quite fancied growing my hair out a bit and having a full beard. I’ve seen pictures of my dad from the late 1970s and he looked like Cousin It from The Addams Family. I think I might give it a shot myself.

Honestly I’m hoping for something along these lines…


I fear however that particular ship may have sailed some time ago. I suspect I’ll get…


I’ll make sure and keep you all updated. I’m sure you’re all curious how my latest adventure in facial hair will pan out.

This week I have been mostly listening to…

Couldn’t get through the day with out music. (Spotify, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways). My fav tunes at the moment? The usual eclectic mixed bag. Including the following –

  • Royal Blood’s self titled debut album. It rocks my cotton socks.
  • Assassin’s Creed IV – Black Flag by Brian Tyler. This is some serious swashing and buckling right there my friend.
  • The soundtrack to Cuban Fury. Lets be honest, where would the world be without salsa music?

And inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy (and @MadNad) I’ve finally crafted my own attempt at an Awesome Mix Tape. Fuck it, why the hell not?

The Golden Age of Geekdom Continues…

At the tail end of last year I suggested that we geeks were living in a televisual golden age. It appears the bubble hasn’t burst yet and the trend seems set to continue. Put it this way, currently we’ve been watching Under the Dome, Gotham, The Walking Dead, Defiance, Wolfblood, The Strain, The Last Ship, Agents of SHIELD, The Blacklist, Doctor Who, Sleepy Hollow, Legends, Haven, Constantine and Forever*. Add to that The Flash and Dominion which are starting this week and Arrow also returns. The only casualty so far in this TV nirvana has been The Leftovers. I’m sad to say we just weren’t feeling the love. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re diggin it then good for you. Just not one for us.

Thanks for stopping by

Right I’m off. Have a good un’. Be excellent to each other and remember just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

* Chuffing Nora, thats a lot of hyperlinks innit.