Category Archives: advice

New Laws

I’m not sure exactly why (I sense Brexit has something to do with it) but the British government has just finishing codifying some interesting new laws. The police officer in the featured image may be smiling, but she’s ready to bop you on the head with her truncheon should you infringe any of them in front of her.

Not sure if “to codify laws” is a phrase, but it sounds about right.

You might be scratching your head, wondering what on earth I could be talking about. “But, Ro,” you might be saying, “I am a British citizen. I think I’d know if we had a spate of new laws coming in. I think I’d have seen it on Twitter.”

Yeah, you’d think. The sneaky, sneaky government has purposefully made sure no one knows about this new legislation by posting it exclusively to Google+. And why don’t they want anyone to know about these laws? Because their infringement incurs a hefty fine – money which goes straight into Johnny Westminster’s pockets.

Luckily for you, Google+ is the only social medium I use. I prefer it because I can post sarcastic comments about my loved ones without them ever finding out. Also I can slag off Love Island without anyone thinking I’m just doing it for the attention.

For that reason, I’m abreast of the upcoming laws, and I’m more than happy to share them with you. Be careful: you don’t want to get caught out!


person pouring seasonings on raw meatsNo fish on Tuesdays.

This one’s as simple as it sounds: from October 2018, absolutely no fish are allowed in the United Kingdom on Tuesdays. Persons found to be infringing this law will be subject to immediate arrest and a fine of up to £200. Fish found to be infringing this law will be eaten by the local constable.

That picture is actually a little misleading, so let me clarify: it’s not that you’re not allowed to eat fish on Tuesdays, but rather that fish generally are not allowed. It’s expected that police officers will be SCUBA trained as standard in order to enforce this. If you have a pet fish, make sure to hide both it and any paraphanalia (eg fish tank, model castle etc) related to it on Tuesdays.


person holding drafting paper

All drivers must wear high-viz.

If you’re getting behind the wheel after the 1st of March 2019, please, please make sure you’re wearing a high-visibility jacket that conforms to government standards. If you don’t, you’re liable to pay an on-the-spot fine of up to £70, and, if what you’re wearing is particularly subdued, your licence may be revoked.


black and white business chart computer

No more saying, “I rate it.”

I know what you’re thinking: “It’s the bloody thought police!” No, it’s not. It’s the speech police, so reign in your disapproval, George Orwell. Jesus.

Anyway, the police are cracking down on increasing numbers of people saying, “I rate it,” to express approval. After December this year, those heard saying this will be put under house arrest.


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Pick up after your dog.

You might say, “But, Rodge! Leaving dog poos around is already a crime.” Yes, true. But this law goes one step further: in an effort to combat declining standards of tidiness in the canine community, dog owners will have to pick up any and all toys the dog carries around the house and place them in a designated dog box.

If a homeowner is seen to be remiss in this duty, whether because toys are outside of the dog box, or because the dog box is incorrectly labelled, they will be sent to prison for a maximum of 35 days, during which the dog will be cared for either by the police constable (if it’s a cute one) or a nominated relative (if it’s gross).


document id uk driving license driving licence

All citizens must carry ID cards.

I don’t know if you remember, but there was actually a move to introduce a similar law not so long ago.

However, under this legislation, set to come into effect from November 2019, citizens must carry the ID card belonging to the last person they shared a pizza with. Those carrying their own ID cards will be subject to serious scrutiny, since they’ve either never shared a pizza with anyone, or shared pizza with a chain of people until their own ID card ended up back in their pocket.

Those with missing or irregular documents will be forced to either pay a £17 fine or present the local police constable with £15 worth of pizza. It’s not clear whether this act will constitute giving or sharing a pizza, so no one yet knows whether the buyer of the pizza will have to swap ID cards with the police constable. I’ll let you know more when I do.


Mrs Brown’s Boys is outlawed.

I can’t argue with this. It’s for the good of the nation.

I can’t even bring myself to find a relevant picture.


The more you know.

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Interview Tips

businesswomen businesswoman interview meeting

Thanks to my recent post, your CV is as fine-tuned as a good-looking fish. By this time, no doubt, you’ll be practically wading through interview offers; employers, seeing your paperless/pictorial/well-fonted resume will have been falling over themselves to get hold of you and invite you for a coffee and a chat.

Incidentally, conceptualising interviews as nothing more than a chill cup of tea and conversation with your mates is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you. See below for details.

I don’t care who you are or how great your interpersonal skills are: interviews are emotionally draining for everyone. And since it’s because of me and my great advice that you’re faced with the prospect of so many interviews, I thought it’d be wrong of me to let you go into that situation without a few handy tips.


Wear clothes

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Originally, I wrote, “Dress for the job you want,” but that advice is so open to abuse (e.g. turning up to an interview for an HR position dressed as a fireman) that I decided to simplify it.

Friends, you absolutely must wear clothes when you go to interview. Very, very few employers look kindly upon naked candidates. (Classic exceptions include when applying to work as a topless model, lifeguard at a nude beach, or accountant in a large multi-national.)

What kind of clothes you should wear does, of course, depend on the position in question. Hope this helps.


Chill out

Just calm down!! Like, seriously, if you can’t keep your nerves under control, there’s no way you’ll get this job. You’ll have to move out of your flat and live under a pile of newspapers on the corner of the street. You’ll have to sell your plasma. So, you must relax. I can’t stress that enough. Hope this helps.

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One thing that always chills me out is the thought that, even if I don’t get the job, at least I’ll have a free cup of instant coffee and excuse to talk about myself for a couple of hours. Free substandard coffee and Rosie-centric chat are amongst my favourite things. “I guess it all started when I was eight…”

I think it’s a good idea, to sedate the butterflies in your stomach, to imagine that you’re heading to a mediocre, somewhat sterile business-themed caf to have a chat with a friend of yours. Don’t think about it as a job interview: think about it as a conversation with a mate who always insists you wear suits whenever you meet.

Sure, this falls down because very few friends are quite that interested in your employment history, and you probably shouldn’t swear quite that much at a potential boss, but it will give you a certain joviality and cheeriness. Those are qualities, as we all know, which are valued extremely highly by businesses.


Prepare answers for predictable questions

No two interviews are exactly alike, but most employers are bound to ask similar sort of things – why do you want this job, what experience do you have, why have you brought a wasp nest to a business park. That kind of thing. It’s worth scripting answers for some of the more common questions so you can reel them off fluently. Here are a couple of examples; feel free to use them, although I fear they’re not as universal as I’d like so you may have to adapt them.

Tell me about yourself.

Here’s something I really should’ve been prepared for. In the heat of the moment, I think I described myself as “rather reliable and quite hardworking,” but I wish I’d had this to say:

Switch out “Louella” for “Rodge” and “thirty-seven years of age” for “a legal adult, I can show you ID”. Apart from that, this is spot on.

The important bit runs from 00:08 to 00:37; I included the whole clip partly because it’s a banger and partly because I dunno how to crop videos.

What makes you want to work as a breakfast waitress?

This question genuinely did stump me for a couple of seconds because the honest answer was that I really didn’t. I managed to cobble together the following, though:

We have a phrase in English: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I completely agree with that. I think there’s something really special about how that first coffee of the morning can change your mood: it’s almost magical seeing how a person changes after drinking a coffee.

Of course, my Czech isn’t that good. Here’s what I actually said. (Imagine it with lots of pauses and flamboyant hand gestures.)

In English at home we have a certain expression: breakfast – it’s the most important food in the daytime. I agree, yes. To me I’d say there’s something very unusual about when you drink coffee for the first time. You feel better. It’s nearly bewitched when you watch a man drink his coffee.

What are your biggest flaws?

It’s a classic. I started off bullshitting, talking about how I’m too much of a perfectionist and other lies, but I’ve changed my perspective. I reckon honesty is the best policy.

For a start, I’m pretty underqualified for this position and I really don’t have any relevant experience. I’d always much rather be writing my blog than stocktaking and I’ll never value efficiency over having a nice sit down. My sense of humour is pretty childish – I’ll struggle not to laugh if a customer falls over in front of me. I don’t know how to iron shirts so my blouses are always creased, and, anyway, I think spending a long time ironing clothes you’re gonna put on is pointless. My time management skills are appalling; I’m often late for things because I get distracted on the metro and miss my spot. I don’t proofread very well and stuff I write often has anagrams of the words I meant to say. I’ll definitely steal toilet paper from the office; you might as well factor it into my pay.

Workplace flaws aside, I’d rather listen to the same album a million times than branch out and try something new. I’m uncomfortable at sea. I dislike my own first name. I take wasps wherever I go; I don’t know why. Sometimes even I don’t know if I’m joking.

Do you have any questions for us?

This might seem like a simple concession to your lack of knowledge about the workplace, but don’t be fooled. It’s actually a key part of the interview process, and you will be graded on your response.

What’s your policy on pets at the office?

How’s things? Really, though. How are you?

What’s your policy on employees crying in the stationery cabinet?


No wasps

This is a piece of advice quite often left out, but I do find it crucial. Absolutely do not take wasps into the office with you – it really is frowned on.

gravid yellow jacket wasp close up photography
Just leave him at home for the afternoon.

I know what you’re saying, “No wasps at all?”

None. No wasps.

Hope this helps.


Leave the interviewer wanting more

As in, literally take some of their stuff.

Kind-Hearted People Told Me More Stuff

For more advice – from both myself and the general public – click  h e r e.

Don’t bother buying a ticket if you’re traveling between Sheffield and Macclesfield.

train rails photography

…Because neither station have ticket barriers and the train’s always too full for the inspector to sidle down.

However, this advice doesn’t account for Sod’s Law AKA my bad luck; I know, with 100% certainty, that the day I chance it and jump on the train without a valid ticket will be the day Sheffield invest in automated ticket gates and a shark tank for those trying to sneak into Yorkshire without proper documentation.

It may be ridiculous to have to pay £14 for a 38 mile journey, but whenever I start to get grouchy about the cost of riding the rails, I comfort myself by imagining that the alternative is getting devoured by hungry fish when I set foot in Sheff. It really does make the ticket feel worth it.

Don’t split infinitives.

Also, don’t end sentences with prepositions.

This is a tricky one, because when I’m writing I consider rigid grammar conventions stuffy and unnecessary; but when I’m reading and I spot even a slight stylistic whoopsie, I’m scandalised.

One rule for me, one for everyone else, I reckon.

Curricula Vitae

Yeah, I did just use the incredibly pretentious, “technically correct” plural form of Curriculum. Fight me.

So, as I might have mentioned once, twice, or a whole pile of times, I recently moved to Prague to give myself a taste of adult life. As a sheltered student never having had to earn my own way before, this has been a terrifying and emotionally scarring experience. I’ve only got through it with the help of beer, chocolate, and long international calls to my family.

grayscale photo of religious statue

At the time of writing, I’m in the process of applying to every job I’m qualified for, and quite a few that I’m not. As such, my CV has undergone a lot of strain recently – before this summer, I hadn’t updated it since Sixth Form, at which point my greatest achievement was playing Mary in my Year Two school play.

The first step in my journey to making myself look employable was deleting every reference to the flash poetry mob I’d tried to start in school. After that, the document was a lot smaller.

Partly motivated by a desire to build a life for myself in Czechia, and partly just because it felt easier than actually applying to any jobs, I dedicated myself to perfecting the art of CVistry. Through a combination of research, instinct and graft, I’ve compiled this list of tips to make your Curriculum Vitae sparkle.

Thank me when you’ve got more interviews than you can shake a stick at.

Do your research

Companies like it when it’s clear you’ve looked into their organisation a bit. Achieve this by, for example, changing your font colour to match their logo, or stealing answers from their FAQ page. Employers will appreciate your attention to detail and readiness to plagiarise.

Become an accredited organisation

That way, you can provide yourself with extra-curricular seminars and classes. If you get a printer, you can even do yourself some charming certificates to show off at interview.

Here’s an excerpt from the “Further Qualifications” section of my own CV (notice my daring experimentation with font & intriguing slogan):

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[For those wondering, First Aid is ambulances; Second Aid is the doctor at the hospital; Third Aid is the cup of tea your mum makes when you get home; Fourth Aid is sympathy from your friends; and Fifth Aid occurs at the moment your friends judge it appropriate to start taking the piss out of you. I’ve heard rumours of a so-called Sixth Aid, but I don’t know what it entails. I reckon it might be made up.]

Include a picture

This helps let employers know that you’re presentable and outgoing. Stick a little thumbnail of you doing your best “please hire me” smile on every printout.

In fact, include two pictures.

Hell, why stop there? Delete all the words. If you can’t tell the story of your employment history pictorially, what’s the point? Your future boss will love your brevity and creativity.

Here’s an example:

This CV shows that Rosie Daniels is assiduous, creative, at home in a hard hat, studious, all round good egg, etc. etc. etc.

I don’t have a great deal of work experience so I’ve included some other people and stock photos in mine. I don’t think you can tell, though.

The one problem is providing contact details in pictorial form. You have to commit to the format though. Here’s an example of how you can spell out your phone number:

Honestly, if a potential employer can’t figure that out, do you really want to work for them?

Lie

Because no one’s gonna check if you’re actually the first person from your village to have been conceived through IVF, but it sure as shortbread sounds impressive.

Include hidden messages

Like this:

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Go paperless

Every good employer is as concerned about the environment as you are, and they’ll appreciate your thriftiness and commitment to frugality. Instead of printing off your CV, buy forty or fifty memory sticks and hand them to potential bosses. Not only does it take some of the pressure off the rainforest, it makes you look like highballer with millions of pen drives to spare.

 


 

Now, go forth into the workplace, my children! Stand by for my equally down-to-earth and level-headed interview tips (coming soon).

More Assorted Advice!

I posted a short compilation of some of the advice I’ve been given over the years, but if you’re anything like me, you need as much help as you can get. With that in mind, here’s a couple more tips for your assessment.

Go gluten free.

rice wheat field
I actually don’t really know what gluten is. This is a picture of wheat I found on the Internet.

A bunch of people, probably tired of hearing me complain about various gastrointestinal discomforts, have suggested I’d get tummy aches less often if I changed my diet. My generally haunted appearance does, I think, make people wonder what’s up with my nutrition – although, if I do say so, I reckon I eat pretty well.

As such, I’ve followed exactly none of the following guidelines, and, honestly, I think I’d die if I did.

As well as cutting out gluten, people have recommended that I

  • eat sixteen almonds every day;
  • increase my calcium intake;
  • stop eating meat;
  • only eat things of one colour at any one time;
  • liquidise all my food;
  • start eating meat (after I stopped);
  • only eat foods people are allergic to (jury is out on whether cat hair and pollen count as food – dust definitely doesn’t);
  • take every vitamin supplement under the sun;
  • only eat vegetables that are grown underground;
  • lay off the mashed potatoes;
  • drink a glass of lemon juice every day;
  • and, probably most weirdly, only eat naked. (Surely this just increases my risk of soup burns, though…?)

Never have sex on carpet.

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My friend, with a wide-eyed sincerity I’d never seen before, said this to me during a mostly unrelated conversation.

Never,” she said, “have sex on carpet.”

I looked up from my mug of Horlicks. “Yeah?” I said, a bit taken aback by her intensity.

She pulled up her shirt and showed me a shiny patch of skin on her back.

“Oof,” I said. It was a nasty burn.

“That’s from two years ago,” she said.

“Oof!”

The opportunity to take her advice hasn’t arisen yet, but I do remember it whenever I have sex or see a Carpet Right – that burn was pretty massive. Save a life; spread the word.

Miscellaneous Advice From the Well-Intentioned: Part One

I’m the kind of person that attracts unsolicited advice. Friends, acquaintances, sometimes even strangers on the bus – people of all walks of life take it upon themselves to bestow onto me all manner of pearls of wisdom, ranging from advice on how to find the best pub to stylistic writing conventions. It’s not uncommon for, when I’m sitting on a bench or low wall, a well-meaning passerby to approach me with thoughts on how I should lead my life.

[Sometimes they just want to tell me to get off their wall, though.]

I think it has something to do with my general air of incompetence. People don’t see me and think, “There’s a level-headed lass who’s got her shit together;” rather, they see a vitamin-deficient bed-headed waste who needs all the help she can get.

They’re not altogether wrong.

Anyway, I think it’s pretty selfish of me to hoard these nuggets, so, please, enjoy the following lil slices of wisdom.

[Don’t write me letters complaining about mixed metaphors. This blog is not a democracy.]

Gravitate towards pubs where they serve mash.

potatoes
Pre-mashed potatoes

Admittedly, this doesn’t really qualify as a piece of advice given directly to me. Rather, this is something I’ve picked up from my favourite podcast, the supposedly football-themed Athletico Mince.

Bob Mortimer, when touring with Vic Reeves at some point in the last century, would search the area around his venues for pubs which served mashed potatoes. Supposedly, only pubs with decent kitchens can offer mash, because (for some reason) it can’t be whipped up in a microwave by a teenager on their work experience.

For this reason, Mortimer reckons that the best pubs going are marked by a mash-heavy menu. Sure, it’s not a system without exceptions, but mash does give an indication of a certain level of culinary prowess.

Personally, I live for mashed potatoes. A tummy full of cheesy mash feels identical to happiness, and I’ll fight anyone who picks new potates over the clearly superior mashed variety.

That said, so-called gastropubs make me uneasy to my very core, so this is a piece of advice I’m still eyeing with suspicion.


Read ‘The Master and Margarita’.

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This happened to me in Year 11, when I was sixteen years old.

[If you want to know what I was like as a teenager, imagine me now but less well-adjusted and with longer hair.]

Back in the day, I had even fewer hobbies than I have now, and my favourite pastimes included Sitting, Looking At Walls, and Contemplating Death. Sometimes, when I was feeling particularly creative, I’d write existential poems and blu-tack them to shelves in the library when the woman behind the counter was busy helping someone check out a book on Macclesfield’s silk industry.

This was an unusually exciting day, because a friend and I had taken a break from the crushing ennui of GCSE revision to go to Waterstones. We were floating around the literary fiction section, considering buying yet another book by George Orwell, when a man came up to us.

He handed me a copy of ‘The Master and Margarita’, said, “If you want to read something really good, get this,” and left.

What a way to recommend a book!

I showed my friend. I honestly think the moment I realised I’d actually already read it is still the proudest I’ve ever felt about anything. “It is really good,” I said to my friend. “It’s esoteric.” (I didn’t, and still don’t, know what that means.)

As it happened, neither of us ended up buying the book; we were both absolutely skint and my friend’s mum had told him that if he brought another book into her house, she’d sell him to the circus. (This might sound like a disproportionate response, but he was buying books at the rate of one every two days and reading them at the rate of one every two and a half years.) Plus, as I did not fail to mention, I had already read it.

My life goal since that moment has to be recommend the very same book to someone in exactly the same way, but, unfortunately, I seem to have assimilated the book’s message more thoroughly than that gentleman in Waterstones:

Never talk to strangers.

After all, you never know, they could turn out to be literally the devil incarnate.

How to Stay Healthy When You Don’t Have Regular Access to Fresh Vegetables

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My First Three Months in Russia: a Culinary Journey

I just got home from the second leg of my year abroad, an invigorating semester-long stint in St Petersburg. Whilst I can honestly say the past four months have been the best of my life, winter in Russia wasn’t without its challenges – for example, the problem of not being able to go outside without feeling like your skin was being peeled off. I also spent a decent amount of time weighing up whether my eyeballs would ice over before the bus finally turned up.

Russia’s not exactly considered a culinary capital – and for good reason. In a place where the ground is frozen solid four months out of the year, access to fresh food is patchy at best and laughable at worst. There were times, in deepest March, when I would Google pictures of salad Niçoise to remind myself that green, leafy stuff did still exist. I still remember the first time I walked into a Dixies, the ubiquitous discount supermarket, and wondered why someone had left so many festering snakes where the courgettes should have been.

Consequently, not wishing to succumb to rickets like so many of my peers, I had to develop a few new habits. Every day is a learning day, as my French teacher used to say, and in Russia I had 125 days to learn how to photosynthesise for nutrition like an aspidistra.

Vitamin supplements

bunch of white oval medication tablets and white medication capsules
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This might seem obvious. If your diet isn’t providing you with enough of those oh-so-crucial letters, shop-bought alternatives can give your immune system a boost.

The one problem with this logical, well-thought-out scheme is that it didn’t occur to me until the 11th of June, exactly four days before I was due to return to Europe, land of plentiful vegetables. At that point it seemed like putting myself through a potentially harrowing experience – trying to negotiate a handover of Vitamin C at an аптека – would be needlessly degrading.

All in all, I have only two regrets about my stay in Petersburg: not getting my hands on industrially-produced wellbeing sooner, and cheerfully repeating swear words I’d heard in bars to my scandalised teachers.

 

Avoid Instagram

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Your friends are your enemies. Their over-edited pictures of a Thai raw salad will poison you with jealousy.

Lie in the sun

biology botanical canna lily close up
Photo by Marek Levak on Pexels.com

I wasn’t in Russia long enough for this to pay off, but I’m pretty sure photosynthesis is 80% persistence. What I’m saying is that I reckon if you lie in the grass long enough you’ll start converting sunlight into food. I’m not a scientist, though, so proceed with caution.

Столовая, столовая, столовая

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Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Those runes are the Russian word for dining room. Cities and towns across Russia are full of these – the format is pretty much the same as school canteens, with dinner ladies, sneeze guards, and certain disappointment if you arrive after the lunch rush. The main difference between a столовая and the refectory at my secondary school is that the former requires slightly more apologetic pointing and a lot more unrecognisable dishes.

It’s not fine dining, sure, but there aren’t many other places you can go fill your tummy for under 200 roubles (~£2). What’s more, whilst you may not always love what you’re eating, a столовая is bound to have, as well as the obligatory buckwheat and cutlet, some vegetable dishes on offer – most commonly, vinaigrette, Greek salad, and a bunch of different kinds of coleslaw.

Plus, if you happen to be able to find, as I did, a vegetarian столовая, your vegetable intake is bound to increase tenfold. I lost a lot of weight when I first came to Petersburg (mostly through shivering and mistrusting meat products) but when I found Samadeva, the so-called philosophical cafe on Kazanskaya, I gained it all back and then some. When it’s -25° out, you really can’t beat a plate of beans, spinach and mash.

Tinned peas are your friend

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Tinned peas never look this good.

Up to now, you thought tin peas were what children were given as a punishment. These days you see them as the heroes they are.

The most dismal meal I ever made was half a tin of peas, boiled in their own juice, with one potato thrown in for bulk. I had no other food in and, looking outside, I knew I would perish before I reached the nearest supermarket, so I made do, hunkering over my ersatz soup and wishing I’d chosen a degree that would’ve meant me spending summers in France.

Redefine your conception of fruit

abundance agriculture bananas batch
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Last resort, OK, but if you really, really concentrate and try very hard, you can just about trick yourself into believing that green tea counts as one of your five-a-day.

If you’re dedicated enough, you can convince yourself that beer counts too.

How to cope with the grossest season of them all

When you start learning a language, the first two years of oral lessons are spent responding to surprisingly formulaic questions about your opinion – they’re always to do with some inoffensive, general topic that everyone relates to somehow. At school it was usually about uniform or homework; in first year we graduated to the lofty heights of “Do you prefer living in the countryside or the city?

The idea is that this helps you start forming full sentences and expressing yourself in your target language. The content of your reply is irrelevant; it’s about responding using new language structures or vocab, and, of course, understanding the question in the first place.

The reason I bring this up is that a decade of language tuition has exposed me to dangerously high levels of this kind of opinion question. As a result, I’ve spent more time than the average person seriously considering whether, for example, I prefer walking or going on the bus, or if I believe homework should be outlawed.

So far no one outside of the classroom has bothered to ask me about my thoughts on E-readers, but you can be sure that I’ll be prepared when they do; my Spanish A-Level speaking exam means I’ve memorised an entire speil weighing up the environmental benefits vs the smell of real paper.

Basically I’m trying to justify why I’m so opinionated about so much pointless bullshit. It’s not [just] that I’m an arsehole, it’s for my degree.

What’s your favourite time of year,” asked my Russian teacher at the start of my first year oral, “and why?

I didn’t even hesitate. “Winter!” I said. I mispronounced the word, but she got what I meant.

You don’t like summer?” she asked.

No!” I replied. Had my language skills been better, I would’ve gone into a whole thing about how I hate bright lights and hot weather and how I’m most comfortable bundled up in acres of woolly jumper, but I’d only been doing Russian for a semester so I was constrained to stumble through, “I do not like summer at all.”

Summer is bullshit. It’s a struggle every single year.

It’s weird, considering how much I moan about it, that I always seem to forget how it grim it is over winter. Every May I’m surprised again by how gross room temperature feels, how much it unnerves me when the air doesn’t hurt your face a little.

In my twenty-one summer-hating years, I’ve developed a few strategies to get through this, the worst period of the year. I know it’s a little late, but hopefully this will help make the remaining terrible months at least somewhat bearable.

Drink hot drinks

If you think this sounds like bullshit, you’d be right – but it’s true. Drinking a hot drink when you’re already overheating helps encourage your body to cool itself down. Somewhat counter-intuitively, a tall glass of ice water is one of the worst things you could pick to cool you down on a hot day.*

*The number one worst thing is boiling oil. That crosses the line into too hot.

Get your hands on sunglasses

The bigger the better. I’m a firm believer that with sunglasses, acreage is the most important thing. Take a look at these bad boys:

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When I’m wearing these the sun doesn’t even come close to touching me.

Think like a bat

If the daytime is too hot, do the logical thing and avoid the sun at all costs. Become a night watchman, set your alarm for 6pm, reject sunlight. This strategy does mean you’ll lose most of your friends and have to spend a decent chunk of your salary on vitamin D supplements, but at least you’ll retain your ghostly, white pallour.

Incidentally, in St Petersburg, where I’m based at the time of writing, this isn’t such a ludicrous idea. I mean, it’s still pretty stupid, but at least we have White Nights here, which is when the sun never really sets and you get insane scenes like the one below. This picture was taken at midnight.

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Ignore the fireworks

Be creative

If you’re anything like me, your two favourite hobbies are eating and complaining.

The trouble with being in physical discomfort for a quarter of the year is that people start tuning out your grievances – there’s only so many times you can flop down next to your mate and moan, “It’s too hot,” before they’ll stop hearing you. As far as I see it, there’s only one way to avoid this – and that’s to graft. Get yourself to a desk, a pad of paper and a biro and brainstorm new, improved ways to express the idea that it’s warm and you’re angry about it.

With this specific kind of complaining, there’s a delicate balance to be struck: you need to convey the deterioration of your body without being so graphic and making people think about your sweaty pits in too much detail.

One of my current favourites is to say that my organs are sweating. It’s pretty grim; it tells the listener how fed up I am; and you don’t imagine anything too offensively awful when I roll up and skrike, “Maaaaaaaaaate, my brain is sweating.”

Beauty Regime

“Rosie,” they say in awe, “your skin is so grainy. Your hair defies all known laws of physics. Did you know irons exist?”

I’m used to the public’s veneration by now; I nod modestly and try and change the subject, but my admirers are unstoppable.

“You look like an extra in a film about rickets,” they say, “Have you put eyeshadow under your eyes or have you not slept for twenty years?”

I smile a Mona Lisa smile, sip my Horlicks.

“Tell us your secret,” they beg. “Tell us how we, too, can look like a background actor in Peaky Blinders.”

Up to now, I’ve always brushed off requests to share my beauty regime, but the time has come to tell all. In this, a bland-blog exclusive, you can find out how to achieve my sought-after look.

Cucumber

Throw it out. You’re in Russia now; the only vitamins you’re allowed are from the piles of dill added to every dish. Don’t worry, though – this monochrome diet will give you the wide eyes and pallor of a Victorian urchin. Very chic.

Shave ur head

More specifically, have a friend of a friend do it for you.

Sick of my fringe getting in my eyes, I let my most stylish friend drag me to a part of the city I’d never visited before. We ducked into his mate’s barbers: “Do exactly what you want,” I said to her, more proud of the fact that I’d formed the imperative correctly than actually wanting a haircut.

“Exactly what I want,” she said thoughtfully, and whipped out the scissors. A couple of minutes later, she said, “I’m going to use the машинки, are you ready?”

I’ve got used to having no clue what people are saying to me. “Yep, ready,” I said. Turns out машинки are hair clippers.

 

 

Sounds stupid but I really didn’t expect my ears to look like that.

In other news, it turns out having a cool haircut doesn’t make your selfie game any stronger – I don’t know why I didn’t take the fucking toothbrush out of my mouth.

Stay humble

Sure, you look incredible, but keep in mind the envy you’re bound to be inspiring in everyone who sees you. Drop in the odd self-deprecating comment (or, if you’re feeling extra, full-length blog) to keep yourself grounded.

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Humility’s a virtue

 

Cats

Here’s a secret: when you’re having a bad hair/face/overall appearance day, use cats to distract people. They’ll look at your adorable furry friend and your bedhead will be overlooked.

Case in point:

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Bet you didn’t even notice I’m in that.

Mate with massive camera

It turns out a talented photographer can make anyone look cool as fuck, even me.

 

Side note – on the day we took those pictures, I was hungover as shit and wearing yesterday’s clothes.

“Shouldn’t we wait til I’m having a good face day?” I asked.

“This is your look,” he replied. “Now go stand by that wall and look miserable.”

Go figure.