very, very, very specific advice

“The secret to my success?” asks the lottery winner, fanning himself with wads of cash. “Just keep buying scratchcards. You can withdraw £200 a day. Put it all on the tickets. That’s how I got where I am today.” The tech billionaire tells you to drop out of secondary school and pour all of your attention into coding. The band selling out Wembley tells you to sack off your A-Levels and get high in your mate’s garage. Elon Musk sagely advises you be born the son of a Canadian model and dietitian and a South African electromechanical engineer, pilot and sailor. You nod and politely make notes.

I hate self-help books so much, especially ones that are centred around attaining wealth and fame. I find it disconcerting when people turn to famous millionaires for advice, since so often these people’s success seems based on a combination of luck and privilege. Like, it might have worked reasonably well for Pete Doherty, but generally turning down an offer to study at Oxford so you can pursue grungy aesthetics and heroin isn’t a wholesome five year plan. Bill Gates might have dropped out of Harvard to make his fortune, but that doesn’t mean you should, too. There’s a huge bias to these success stories in that we only ever hear about the dropouts who made trillions of dollars and founded anti-malaria charities. You only hear about the people who spend their entire wages on lottery tickets if they end up winning the jackpot.

As you know, reader, I am a wildly successful entrepreneur in my own right. I have one and a half articles published in a Prague-based zine, I have my own .com url, and I’m about to launch a line of upcycled tote bags. I have only suffered from crippling depression for two thirds of my adult life. My parents still pay for my therapy and my dentist appointments. I’m pretty much living the dream.

You wanna follow in my footsteps? Follow these universally applicable pieces of advice. If you follow these iron-clad rules to the letter, you could end up like me – a mediocre barista with an unfinished degree.

Fail To Gain A PLace At Oxbridge

Just like Bill Gates before me, I don’t have a degree. The university I don’t have a degree from is the University of Sheffield, a mid-table establishment that doesn’t pour enough funding into modern languages. However, I came rather close to not having a degree from Oxford University, a top-tier establishment that would’ve fulfilled my childhood dream to attend Hogwarts, in aesthetics if not in subject matter.

I interviewed at Oxford at the age of 18, as is traditional. Looking back on my final year at school, I’m not even slightly surprised that The Powers That Be (TPTB) took one look at my general self and politely requested that I get to fuck.

It’s hard to talk about getting rejected from Oxford without sounding bitter, but – reader, I swear – I’m genuinely at peace. If I’d got an offer from Oxford and matriculated there, my life would be immeasurably different. I would have studied Czech and English, rather than my current degree of RussianAndSlavonicStudiesWithCzechAndPolish. I would not have had the pleasure of feuding with a member of the Sheffield faculty, a bitter experience which probably foreshadowed my love of coffee, a uniquely bitter delicacy. If not for the bad feeling between myself and TPTB at Sheffield, I would not have made the ill-thought out decision to take a leave of absence. If not for my leave of absence, I would be a graduate now, applying for e.g. the civil service or marketing positions.

In short, my advice is that you genuinely try to get into a world-class university, fail and go to one with a great Czech syllabus but a terrifying Russian teaching staff, take a year out, and leave the country. This is the only way you can hope to end up like me, mostly unemployed and very unqualified. Hope this helps.

Never Quite Learn To Froth Milk

I can froth milk ish. On a good day, it’s beautiful. Creamy. Micro foam. Everything you could want from a drink. On a bad day, it’s overfrothed, lumpy and fuzzy, with big, big bubbles.

And yet, my failure to do this simple task right may be the secret to my success. After all, as I am sure you’re aware, dear reader, I love my job. I love serving coffee and I love the cafe I do it in. I can’t imagine anywhere with better vibes. I fear that my unabashed opportunism would propel me to a better regarded but less nice job if I were a better barista. Sometimes your limitations are a blessing.

Play With Every Dog

Have you ever heard of ‘networking’? Networking is a fancy way of saying making relationships with people so they feel guilty for not hiring you at their start up. If, like me, you find the idea of talking to humans disgusting, set your sights on our furry friends, the humble dog.

Getting an article published in print is by far my greatest achievement and I am unreservedly proud of it. I wish I could say I got this break in journalism through sheer, rudy talent and honest graft, but it was very much a ‘who you know’ situation. I was chatting to a local at the caf who happened to work for OKO!, strongarmed her into giving me her contact details, and then just happened to send her a message on the very day that their fiction piece fell through.

The reason I was chatting to this lady, though, was not just her magnetic and charismatic personality. If I’m honest, it was mostly because she has the two cutest dogs in the world. Chopper is the size of a small bear and has the most chill personality ever. Biscuit, as her name suggests, is a treat fiend. She sneaks behind the bar to play with me and I give her secret biscuits whilst Chopper and his owner are distracted by carrot cake.

So, yeah, here’s my advice for anyone looking to get their writing published: it’s all about relationships. It’s about who you know. And I happened to know Chopper and Biscuit.

By following this very simple advice, you can be like me! Best of luck, chin up.


I’m tired. Not in the sense that I had a late night and not enough coffee and now I’m feeling drowsy – I’m permanently tired to my very bones. Sometimes I feel like I spend my whole waking life figuring out when I can next have a nap and doing whatever I can to bring that moment closer.

Here are my top tips for dealing with those days when responsibilities and adulthood prevent you from dipping in and out of consciousness. Today’s unsolicited advice is accompanied by some sweet rain pictures I took sitting on my windowsill, because – well – because no one can hold me down.


Have you ever wondered where the phrase “full of beans” (meaning perky, lively, energetic) comes from? Well, wonder no longer!

Coffee beans are the classic, of course, but even the humble haricot, lovingly prepared, can give you a cheeky buzz. Beans of all kinds are so densely packed with energy that they give you a natural high. I think it has something to do with photosynthesis, but I’m not sure about that because in secondary school we were too busy burning holes in each other’s exercise books and blazers to absorb any useful information.


If you don’t have access to nature’s cocaine (the humble bean), you can make do with leaf-based alternatives. Tea is the typical remedy of choice, but I’m a big fan of rubbing stinging nettles behind my ears when I’m feeling a bit drowsy.

Hope this helps!

remember nightmares

You’re never more wide awake than when you surface, sweating, from a particularly nasty night terror. If you feel yourself dropping off at work, simply recall the most terrifying manifestations of your psyche. I’m not sure how it could backfire. All the best.


Drink water, sure, but don’t stop there. When I’m feeling the sheep encroaching, I tend to immerse myself as fully as possible in water. I jump in lakes, run about in the rain without a brolly, sit fully clothed in the shower. Sometimes such dramatic water-based relief is not possible, and so I’m resigned to e.g. vigorously rinsing my hands, splashing my face, doing the washing up etc etc etc.

Being thirsty contributes to feeling tired, but so does (in my opinion, at least) being dry. The human being’s natural state is damp, so grab a hose and let’s get moist!

don’t think about sleep

Even though it’s all you want and the weight of tiredness drags on your bones, DON’T THINK ABOUT IT.

Hope this helps.

Featured: good boye likes the rain

look at yourself in a mirror and pull all your face skin as far back as it can go

This has the added benefit of being very, very attractive.

Soul Healing

Yesterday, the person I’d been seeing ended things with me in a very respectful, understandable way that didn’t make me feel like I was to blame. But no matter how respectful, understandable, notmakingmefeelatfault it is, getting dumped by someone you care about still hurts.

I’ve decided that I’m going to dedicate myself to healing my soul today, to pursuing things that make me feel like a person. Everyone’s way of doing this is different, and I thought I’d take the time out to share my personal methods here. The classic, of course, is to get a new look, but since I got a brutal haircut moments before the aforementioned heartbreak, I’ve been forced to go down different avenues.

If you want to find me today, this is what I’ll be up to.

Throwing rocks at culturally significant buildings.

watch yer back, building

E.g. places of worship, castles, museums, government offices, large Tescos, and so on.

There’s something extremely cleansing about railing against society in such a large and stupid way. Prague is the perfect city do this in, especially in comparison to Macclesfield, because of the density of culturally significant buildings, and also because the pavements are made from loose cobbles absolutely perfect for launching through a hallowed window. In Macclesfield, you’d be lucky to be able to flick a pebble at a Costa Coffee.

I’m told that this is illegal in the Czech Republic. I’ve yet to face any comeuppance for my regular acts of rock hurling and am forced to conclude that’s illegal in the same way that weed is – in letter only.

Buy sushi, remove the fish element, flick it at passersby.

This works best with the kind of sushi that’s just a bed of rice with a fillet of fish on top. I don’t enjoy gouging fish from the centre of California rolls, but if that’s all the shop has, then needs must.

I think this is pretty self-explanatory as far as its soul healing capacities go. It’s especially satisfying from some kind of a vantage point e.g. rooftop, tree, tall friend’s shoulders.

OK, buying fish-based sushi is pretty iffy for a vegetarian, but I’ve tried it with plant-based equivalents and it just doesn’t have the same satisfying schlop.

Insist everything is fine, you’re fine, not even bothered, didn’t even like them anyway.

[Despite what I’ve been telling everyone who would listen.]

Jump in a lake.

Since I had that wonderful lake jumping experience on Monday, I’ve accepted this as my go-to soul healing technique. Whenever I’m undergoing any kind of mild to severe malaise, from hangovers to heartbreak, I shall simply leap into a body of water and let the creatures lurking in the depths do their worst.

I fear that this particular mechanism will only work during the summer months. Even though I insist I prefer cold weather, I’m far too nesh to dive into literally freezing water.

Eat everything.

I will take any excuse to do this. I’m going to eat my feelings, and let me tell you – I’m feeling a lot.

Love, kisses,


Stuff I know now that I didn’t know a year ago

It’s good to recognise personal development. Most of my growth over the last year has been in the ‘coffee’ and ‘general waster’ spheres, but this is, in my opinion, still valid. I’ve completed this short – but still comprehensive – list of the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired since the first of June, 2018.

  • Coffee vocab
The author hopes this image will convey the concept of working in a cafe.

(Mostly Czech vocab, of course, like káva and hrnek. Sure, it’s insane that I accepted a job in a cafe without being totally clear on such fundamental words as coffee and mug, but life’s a journey. Weirdly, though, I’ve learnt loads of coffee vocab in English, simply because I’d never been exposed to this particular area of jargon. For example, I had no idea what we call that lever you put the coffee in and stick in the coffee machine; my best guess, based on my love of using anthropomorphisms to make work responsibilities more interesting, was coffee arm. It turns out it’s actually portafilter. Man, who knew?)

  • How to deal with hangovers.
The author hopes this image will convey the sensation of deep malaise.

(I think I do drink less now than I did in my heady ‘study abroad’ days, but mornings after have been hitting me harder. Whilst a year ago I could bounce out of bed after a night of revelry ready for the day, it’s getting really difficult to force myself to rise and shine.

I feel like this might have something to do with my body prematurely ageing, i.e. I’m convinced I have the physical form of a woman in her mid- to late-thirties, despite my passport’s insistence that I’m still some ways away from twenty three. Still, it’s not all bad – sure, I might have killer hangovers, but (if we assume the corollary to be true), I’m probably slightly less likely to get pregnant. (Best not to test this theory.)

OK, and sure, my way of dealing with hangovers is to hide from sunlight and loudly insist I’m never drinking again, but it’s a system of sorts, and I’m proud of it.)

  • That, if you’re trying to shoot film, it’s really, really important that you load the film correctly.
The author hopes that the expression on this dog’s face will convey the sensation of embarrassment in the face of one’s own stupidity.

(You’d think that this would be obvious; but I am a semi-professional idiot.)

  • If you don’t know a word in Czech, sometimes you can just say the word in English and everyone will nod.
The author hopes this image will convey the effect of the language barrier.

(Czech people who’ve never studied English still have better passive comprehension of my language than I have of theirs. I will never bother to learn the actual, pure Czech word for fancy; why bother, when you can just say fency and everyone gets what you’re on about?)

  • That, if you’ve taken lots of pictures on your digital camera, you shouldn’t delete them all before you’ve made any kind of back up.
The author hopes that this self portrait will convey the sensation of embarrassment in the face of one’s own stupidity – a sensation she finds herself trying to convey often.

(Me: presses ‘Delete All’.
Camera: Are you sure?
Me: I definitely do not want to delete all of these photos. I am certain of this. So, in answer to your question, yes, I’m sure.
Me: presses ‘Yes’)

How many people can fit in stuff?

A post for your entertainment and education.

Sometimes, you really need to know exactly how many people will fit in a washing machine. This blog is for those times.

How many people can fit in the Sun (centre of our solar system)?
33,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 people
How many people can fit in the gap between the train and the platform edge?Untold thousands of people.
How many people can fit in the largest stadium in Wales?74,500 people
Source: Principality Stadium promotional material
How many people can fit in the entire Harry Potter canon?772 people
Source: reddit
How many people can fit in the mouth of a blue whale?100 people
Source: I asked Siri
How many people can fit in an Uber XL?6 people
Source: Google search
How many people can fit in a washing machine?1 small person
Source: personal experience
How many people can fit in the Sun (tabloid newspaper)?<1 person
Source: estimation by Ro
How many people can fit in this picture of me outside St Basil’s?

The more you know.


Teaching Pronunciation

As those of you who obsessively note down details about me will know, I’m living in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, at the moment. In order to make money and fill my days, I’m splitting my time between teaching English, working on a reception, translating, and (this is what eats up the most hours but brings in the least $) Sitting and Looking at Walls.

(Sometimes I wonder whether I publish too many personal details about myself on the Internet, but then I remember that a) most of my readers are related to me and b) no one cares.) 

(this is where I live)
Possibly not Prague’s most famous sight, but my favourite.

Whilst all of my different occupations are challenging in their own way, teaching English is certainly the hardest. For one thing, I never realised how much I rely on idiom and cultural reference to get my point across; for another, although I consider myself relatively fluent in English, being considered an expert on it is a bit of a stretch. Here’s an example: I just spent a few minutes saying 

“Expert on English? Expert in English?”

out loud, trying to decide which one sounded more natural. 

(Eventually, frustrated and exhausted, I googled it. According to a site called Learner’s Dictionary, they’re interchangeable, so all that vacillation was time well spent.)

To give you an example of my dubious English expertise, let me tell you about an advanced class I taught last week: we were talking about spelling, and we did a spelling test with some of those bastardish English words. The words were played on an audio track, so I decided to throw my hat into the ring and try my hand at spelling alongside the students. The results were… not ideal.

delicious and nutritious, but hard to spell

OK, I did do better than anyone in the class, but I didn’t get them all right. And, like, I’m a teacher. An English teacher.

But I digress.

Even though I do think I’m not the sharpest tutor in the mixed metaphor about tutors, I will say this for myself: I try really hard. As I would say to my mother, “I’m really trying.” And as she would hilariously reply, “Yes, you are very trying.”

One of the things I find most rewarding is when I bring something to classes that I think most other teachers wouldn’t have thought of – when I spice up the classroom with a little of my signature blandness, as it were. 

Here’s an example: last week my advanced classes were looking at San Junipero, the episode of Black Mirror. The episode (spoilers ahead) deals heavily with the topic of euthanasia, a term I assumed my students wouldn’t know because I myself didn’t learn it until I was in Sixth Form, and it’s not usually included in language syllabuses. 

To my surprise, however, the meaning of the word didn’t bother anyone: it turns out that the Czech translation is a cognate, both words having come from the same root.

What did flummox my students, though, was the pronunciation. After all, it doesn’t really sound a lot like it looks.

Then I remembered: youth in Asia.

but… mainly young people in Asia?

Thanks, Ali G. Just another victory for Sacha Baron Cohen.

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.

light golden retriever puppy close up photography

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.

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


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.


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):


[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?


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:

super grape.PNG

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).