Liam J Havard

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Monday, 28 August 2017

Zizzi Restaurants l Review l Liam Havard

It was last year when I first discovered the one, the only, Zizzi Restaurants. I always used to read about the food that they did all the time and always used to salivate over the images of it. I always wanted to go there because 1. they did vegan food HELLO and 2. their vegan food looked good so when I went I was pretty happy. I first went to Zizzi on a trip to London with my cousin and since then have gone to the Zizzi in Cardiff. For a while I've been meaning to do a post about my experience with them so here I am living up to my word.

Double sauce.
Single sauce.
My order

I always get three courses when I'm there because I'm a fat bastard, don't judge me. I start off with the garlic bread. You get quite a lot with whole cloves on it which is different. I'll be honest, it's good but I would advise you get some garlic oil for dipping or to pour over. Sure it's garlicky but I think you can handle it. I think without the garlic oil it can be a bit bland apart from the whole cloves you munch on. That's probably personal opinion though.

Now onto the main. Sure Zizzi do other foods like pastas but come on, PIZZA. Let's be real, of course I order their pizza, I'm only human. How can I resist it? It's rarely you find places that do good vegan food but it's even rarer to find places that do vegan pizza so Zizzi already gets a star for being so creative and hospitable for pizza lovers like me.

Started out with a bite and it was a delight, had to go back for more. 

I order the vegan rustica pizza which is a thin pizza base with all the toppings. I'm talking the tomato sauce (which I order double of because it is life) along with vegan cheese which they make themselves and some fresh basil leaves. Plus you get to order three other toppings of your choice as part of the price. There's a nice variety to choose from but what I usually get is fire roasted peppers, sweet balsamic onions and either butternut squash (it's not as weird as it sounds) - or oven roasted garlic cloves (I know I know more garlic, whoever sits next to me is a lucky person LOL). Overall the pizza is kind of sweet but has so much flavour to it, honestly. The only thing to prepare yourself for if you order it is that it can be a little bit sloppy - especially the cheese and sauce. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe you'll want to use a knife and fork instead of your hands.

And last but not least, DESSERT. YAS. They offer one dessert for us vegans and don't quote me on this but I think they have a backup dessert which isn't on the menu. The one that is on the menu is a chocolate and date torte with a walnut base. What can I say about this? Well I have one word for you and it's moist. The dessert is rich in chocolate and is incredibly tasty. Tastes similar to a Ferrero Rocher except it's vegan. I wouldn't say it has much of a base though. It's pretty much just chocolate but I'm not complaining. It also comes with vegan honeycomb and coconut ice cream. Delish.

As for the other dessert they offer (MAY offer. I've had it a few times, once as a backup when they run out of the torte and at that time it wasn't advertised on the menu) - it was a blueberry and banana calzone with chocolate drizzle and coconut ice cream. I hate to say this because I do honestly love Zizzi but this dessert was highly disappointing. The calzone was barely filled with food so it was basically like eating pastry. I'm talking one or two slices of banana and one or two blueberries. The ice cream was good though but the main attraction was a let down. I would advice against ordering it if you are offered. 100% go for the torte if you can.

And that's what I order. Yes it's a truck load of food but it is heavenly. But aside from the food the service is also top notch. The guys and gals are very hospitable and really down to earth. I don't have a bad word to say about them. I definitely recommend going to Zizzi. They're fab.

Restaurant rating: 
What do you think of Zizzis?


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Happy birthday! Why I do what I do.

Sound the alarm because it's my birthday. Well it's the birthday of, but same thing. Either way I think I deserve a birthday present and cake, don't you think? Anyway, happy frikin' bday to you, Blog.

Source: here.
I started blogging over a year ago. That's mad to think. I always said I would start at some point and although it was a while before I plucked up the courage to post anything, I finally got there. One year ago today I took the first steps. One year ago today I did my first post. One year ago today I found a new passion. It's been a joy with lots of ups and downs as you'd expect but mainly ups.

I've really enjoyed the experience blogging offers me and boy does it offer me a lot. For one it's an outlet I get to escape to. Whatever I'm feeling I can always rely on blogging to fulfil me somehow and make me feel accomplished. And I like that feeling of accomplishment so why would I not do it? But it also clears my head since I'm someone who always has so many ideas and thoughts floating around in my head that it gives me a place to share them. Blogging gives me a safe place to creatively express myself, it's a dream. It's like a diary and a magazine all in one. Pretty fucking snazzy.

But not only that, I love love loveeee creating new content whether that's writing something up or whether it's publishing a few images. I've always been drawn to this act of creating things. I think it was in uni a few years ago when I studied a media and journalism degree that I first thought creating content was something I wanted to do. Instagram was my 'go to' for creating content but after a while I knew I wanted something more and Blogger offered me that.

It's been a great ride (what a lame thing to say, I know LOL) and I hope to continue the journey for a long time. I'm putting more time and effort into my blog now and am excited to see where it takes me. I have big plans so stay tuned and join me. And thanks for being a loyal reader. I really appreciate your readership and subscription to liamjhavard. You're an absolute doll!

Now to play Will.I.Am's 'It's my birthday' because cheeeeese!

What do you love about blogging?

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Hairspray The Musical, Cardiff

Hey Kids,

A show and a half, Hairspray Live is all fun and games. I was a lucky boy last week as I got the chance to see it in the Millennium Centre, Cardiff. It was a Christmas present from my cousin who I live with so a special shout-out and thanks to you, Lucy!

Source: here.
Hairspray being one of my favourite musicals you can only imagine how excited I was to see the musical live in show - but according to my cousin I showed no excitement in my facial expressions at all. Not before, or during the performance. Resting bitch face problems!

I've seen the DVD a dozen times over and I can honestly say it is a great watch. Lucy knew I loved it so couldn't resist treating me to the renowned show. It was on a Saturday afternoon that we went. We got up nice and early for the train ride by which I mean 9.30am (such a drama queen) and then ahead of the show we had a cheeky three course meal at Zizzi's which was fab-u-lous before heading to the centre for the matinee performance.

When we got to the centre it was packed, people were everywhere in site. I didn't realise how popular the show actually was. I was hoping to have the luxury of not having people sit around me because I'm anti-people and although that didn't happen the two seats in front of me were empty so I got to put my feet up. Was lovely.

The show did all the famous songs you'd expect from the film including my favourite 'Welcome to the 60s' amongst others like 'Good Morning Baltimore' and much more. They even included an extra song or two that I'd never heard; one being from an added scene where Traci went to jail. Bless her. Overall the music was great and featured a live band on stage so was as lively as it could have been. The singing by the cast was on point and really got the audience energised. You couldn't help but sing along. Well I mimed because I'm a shy little boy.

Amongst the singing there was also a lot of dancing as you'd expect. It was a big'ol gay fest, I was in my element. The dancing however wasn't the main focus of the musical unlike the dialogue and singing. The dancing was pretty basic apart from the occasional flip that they threw in to jazz things up - but still was thoroughly enjoyable. How would I describe the dancing? I'd say it was cute.

Any standout scenes you ask? WELL they did have one cheeky scene and when I say cheeky, it was naughty. So you know the bit in the film where Seaweed rescues Penny from being tied up at a home and then they go into the song 'Without Love' -  well Seaweed basically started humping Penny in bed during this song. Totally not as PG as the film but was pretty fun LOL.

Honestly it was a great watch and I highly recommend going to see it if you haven't booked already. They're not in theatres for long so grab tickets whilst you can...and if there's actually any left. Fingers crossed.

Have you seen Hairspray the Musical? Tell. Me. All.


Related links:

Monday, 21 August 2017

Body Image and Social Media

Hey Treacle,

It's been a while since we've last spoken. I know, I know I'm terrible. Life got in the way a little but hey I'm back in action now and for this post I wanted to talk about the relationship between body image and social media. It's something I'm quite passionate about and I can without a doubt say social media (SM) effects all of us in one way or another and when it comes to body image the results can be disastrous.

For many including myself SM creates pressure to look a certain way. It creates unrealistic expectations about body image. It's hard to not react negatively to SM at times when all you see is images of people with 'perfect' bodies. When you're scrolling through Insta and see post after post of guys and gals with ripped abs and a sexy booty you sometimes can't help but think 'I want that'. It's a normal reaction. The same goes for images seen on Twitter, Facebook and more.

It's tricky, right? You can't avoid it - unless you decide to delete all of your SM accounts and live under a rock. But for most of us, that's not an option. And really you shouldn't hide from it as there's no need. The goal here is to put things into perspective and think realistically. The images you're lusting over are not all black and white even though it seems like that. Let's break this down.

1. These people showing off their extreme bodies have gone through a lot to get them like that and maintaining them is just as hard as getting them to that extreme. If you haven't thought about this, think about how strict their diets are and how much they exercise. It's more stress than necessary but they do it for the purpose of looking 'good'. They don't eat doughnuts and their life is counting their steps. Where's the fun in that? Do you really think they're enjoying life to the full? Probably not. So although it seems like they have the perfect body it doesn't mean they have the perfect life. A well sculpted body doesn't = a happy life. Something to remember.

2. For some of the people in the images staying fit, healthy and lean is their life. Literally. They may be endorsed by companies or work with companies to look that way. Think fitness bloggers and athletes. Their job is to workout consistently and eat a certain way like their life depends on it because in a way it does. They have to look like that to make the dollar. You however don't. You shouldn't let the images bother you because hey your job isn't to look like that!

3. It doesn't take a genius to know that images aren't all what they seem. With photo editing tools readily available to all of the public from the likes of Instagram editing to Photoshop, free to paid for, anyone can get their hands on these tools. And with photo editing comes a layer of fakeness, right? Those photos you see everyday aren't all that they seem.

Those abs you see, well how do you know they weren't added in? That booty, how do you know it wasn't just expanded? Those biceps, how do you know a little lighting didn't make them pop. My point is you should take what you see with a pinch of salt because you don't know these people and what they are capable of. This stuff happens so don't let it get you down because what you're seeing might not be reality so don't wish for something that isn't real.

4. The images you see thrown at you from every angle is just one ideology. Just because the media is saying that type of body is the most beautiful doesn't mean it is. They're just one entity with that viewpoint; they don't define everyone else's interests and attractions.

What needs to change is how you see your body. You need to learn to love yourself because you are your own person and you should do you. And I'm not saying it's easy, heck I'm no expert in self-love but you've just got to remind yourself that you're beautiful because you are. We all have our insecurities so it's not easy but you should remember the divide between reality and social media images. Don't let it get you down because that shit ain't worth it. Now go flaunt it!

Liam x

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Headspace: Take 10. What I thought.

Mediation, we've all heard about it but do enough of us do it? The benefits of it are said to be amazing including lowered stress, better concentration and feeling happier. I decided I would test out these ideas by giving meditation a try. Headspace, an app that guides you into the practice offers what they call "Take 10", a 10 day guided meditation course for free. I took it for a whirl. Here's how I found it.

Source: here.
The goals:
  • To lessen my anxiety
  • To feel less stressed
  • To feel happier
  • To test meditation as a coping mechanism to calm me
The reality:

So I went into this whole thing with an open mind and not much expectation. I've done meditation once or twice before but that is literally all, I could never commit. This time round I was ready to take 10 minutes out of my day for 10 days and see what happened. 

I downloaded the app and did everything I was told to do by the man guiding me via voice through the Headspace app. His name was Andy. He was nice. He explained the process of meditation, how it would make me feel and how to get the most out of it. Good info needed for inexperienced meditators like me.

I took each day as it came starting with day 1 which was probably the hardest day. The first few days I was pretty distracted to be fair. I don't know if you're like me but my mind wanders off like no bloody tomorrow. PIZZA. FRIES. DISNEYLAND. PUGS. ZAC EFRON. You name it, I think it. You get where I'm going with this; I think...A LOT. But Andy assured me that if I was thinking a lot during my meditation time not to worry because each day I practice meditation it will lessen. Phew I thought. There was hope for me. But nevertheless the first few days were tricky.

The one thing I wasn't liking about meditation to start off with is how I was giving my mind time to think about my worries. If anything, I wanted to run away from them and not give myself time to think about them. Why in the heck would I want to do that? Are you crazy Andy?! But heck I soldiered on in the hope meditation would calm my fears.

As time went along and we moved onto day 5 I could see I was getting a little less distracted, not enormous amounts let's be realistic, but a little is better than none. I started to appreciate the practice of meditation more and taking time out for as little as 10 minutes a day to clear my mind. It was a good feeling. I did still occasionally get distracted during my zen time thinking about veggie dogs n'all sorts but the time I wasn't thinking about them I was calm. It was great. I was actually feeling calm, for real. This was a big deal as I am the least calm person you'll ever meet. Heck Andy was doing a good job.

In my final few days I realised meditation was really a skill to hone. It wasn't easy just sitting there for 10 minutes everyday trying to think about nothing, it really took patience. I did it though. By the end of the 10 days I enjoyed meditation and looked forward to my Take 10 sessions, it was great. I knew what I was doing towards the end and relied less on Andy's guidance because I knew what to expect and I brushed up on my meditation skills by then.

Remaining thoughts

Headspace was enjoyable and gave me some clarity and calm in my life, but I wouldn't say to a drastic measure. It offered me calm a few minutes out of the 10 minute session and a few minutes after the session, but that was about as far as it went. I think if I were to subscribe to the app and keep practicing meditation it would be more beneficial because I would have practiced how to meditation properly for the full benefit. Overall I found the whole process of meditation and using Headspace good but you need to have patience with the process because the benefits don't come into play overnight.

Have you used Headspace before?

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