Her Guide To Life

An Unofficial Guide to Staying Sane(ish) in your 20s

Sunday, 7 May 2017

BEDIM 6: Her Guide To... Writing A Professional Email

I recently ran a competition at work for art students to win a load of practical art books and money for themselves and their university. This meant that a LOT of the past two months have been emailing students, and let me tell you - students do NOT know how to email. And it's actually, definitely not their fault. Yes, you can analyse the main themes of The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock until you go to bed dreaming of T.S. Eliot's raspy voice, but you never, ever get lessons in uni on how to do something... useful. Like send a professional email and not make a tit of yourself. From signing off with 'Yours sincerely', not using paragraph breaks and starting with 'To Whomever It May Concern', I'm here to be the patronizing adult that I sadly am nowadays and outline How To Do An Email.

Keep it short, sharp and simple

The point of a email is that - that there's a point. You're either asking for something, or delivering something. Stick to short sentences, with simple language - nobody wants to read three paragraphs of your waffle about how you found this email address before you get to the point.
Picture credit: @charlubby

'Yours sincerely/faithfully' is for a letter

Signing off. Should be simple, is often over complicated. Stick to three phrases: 'Thanks, Hannah', 'Best, Hannah', or 'Kind regards, Hannah'. If you think you've come to the end of your correspondence, 'Best wishes' is nice, too.

Turn your CV and covering letter into a PDF

There is nothing worse than opening a CV to find half of it underlined in red or green. Turn it from a Word document into a PDF so that it isn't blindingly obvious by the red underline where the row of 'aaaaaaaaa' in white is that you inserted to make your address all line up. You know what I'm talking about.

Add your attachments first

Nothing, NOTHING worse than the split second after you press 'send', realising that you haven't attached the CV that you slaved over for five hours for your dream job. Especially if you spent half your personal profile going on about how great your attention to detail is.

Picture credit: @charlubby

Read it back, then cut it down 20%

Your first draft of an email is going to contain some drivel whilst you're working through your train of thought. That's fine - but read it back afterwards, work out the point of each sentence, and redraft. Stephen King says in On Writing that your second draft of a novel should be 20% shorter than the first - this totally works for emails too. Stick to what you need to say and make sure your tone is polite.

Always, always say thank you

'Thanks for getting in touch.' 'Thanks for your quick reply.' 'Thanks for this'. It doesn't matter if it's your millionth speculative email you've received about work experience, always, ALWAYS say thanks. And if the shoe's on the other foot and you're the one asking for work experience, 'thanks for your time' before signing off will always go down well.

Go forth and smash that professional correspondence!

Feature image © Her Guide To Life

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Friday, 5 May 2017

BEDIM 5: MAY WISHLIST // 20 under £20.

My wardrobe is distinctly un-springlike at the moment, consisting mainly of black tights, black skirts, and ... black and white tops. The weather's been weird so far this year, but spring/summer is definitely starting now (FINALLY), and I'm ready to stock up on light jackets, dresses and teeshirts. I've included no. 10 in this, because despite moving into a new flat nearly two months ago, I still haven't got round to finding a solution to my necklaces-shoved-in-drawers-and-randomly-trod-on solution. I've heard so, so many people talk about no. 15, including my flatmate, and I'm really in the mood for a big long (and it is - 720 pages in fact) fiction read, and no. 7 and no. 20... well, they just seem pretty appropriate for right now. Happy Friday!

1) Primark denim jacket, £12

Oversized Denim Jacket
Buy it here.

2) MUA loose setting powder, £4

Image result for mua loose powder
Buy it here.

3) Silver mules, £19.99

Buy it here.

4) Ramen: Japanese Noodles and Small Dishes by Tove Nilsson, £13.48

Buy it here.

5) 'Wander Often' print, £4.50

Wander Often A4 Glossy Leaf Print

Buy it here.

6) Blue Marble A4 Quarterbound Notebook, £7.95

Buy it here.

7) Vote for Pedro T Shirt, £16.99

Buy it here.

8) Men without Women by Haruki Murakami, £16.99

Men Without Women: Stories (Hardback)

Buy it here.

9) Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog, £9.99

Image result for mac demarco this old dog

Buy it here.

10) Bendi Copper Jewellery Organiser, £16 

Image result for bendi copper jewellery organiser

Buy it here.

12) Gold Pliss Cami Dress, £10

Gold Plisse Cami Dress
Buy it here.

13) Rustic Wooden Coasters, £15

Buy it here.

14) Seed Pantry Cactus Easy Grow Kit, £10

Image result for Seed Pantry Cactus Mix Easy Grow Kit

Buy it here.

15) A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, £7.99

A Little Life (Paperback)

Buy it here.

16) Valby Ruta rug, £20

Buy it here.

17) Garnier Moisture Bomb Camomile Tissue Mask, £1.99

Buy it here.

18) Adventure Fund Piggy Bank, £7.99

Buy it here.

19) Bourbon and Rich Tea Phone Case, £15

Buy it here.

20) Votes for Women teeshirt, £15

Buy it here.

Feature image © Her Guide To Life


BEDIM 4: May The Fourth Be With You. #StarWarsDay

So BEDIM 4 is a tad late, if you didn't notice, because I fell asleep at 8.30pm last night and blissfully snoozed until 7.30 this morning. Today's post is a tribute to one of the most inspiring, funny and clever women that I WISH I'd got the chance to meet. Carrie Fisher was a mental health advocate, an ardent feminist, a really, really good writer, and an inspiration to thousands of women worldwide. Five months after her death in December 2016, the world is still celebrating her. I love Carrie Fisher. I love that she wasn't afraid to say what she was thinking. I love that she took everything so lightly, even though a LOT of things in her life weren't light. I LOVE that she told the press about her affair with Harrison Ford on the set of A New Hope, despite him telling her not to. I miss Carrie Fisher. So here's a little scrapbook of pictures, tweets, and quotes, just to remind you how great she is.

Credit: Inverse
Credit: Chicago Tribune

Credit: Buzzfeed

Credit: Reddit

Credit: Brainy Quotes

Image result for carrie fisher
Credit: SWTOR

Credit: Inverse

Credit: Brainy Quotes

Image result for carrie and gary
Credit: Bailwick Express
Credit: Brainy Quotes

Image result for carrie fisher behind the scenes
Credit: Inktank

Credit: Goodreads

Image result for carrie fisher star wars behind the scenes
Credit: RSVLTS.com
Credit: Goodreads
Credit: SWTOR

Image result for sex weird no carrie fisher
Credit: Sizzle
Credit: Mirror
Credit: Scoopnest
RIP Carrie.

Feature image © Her Guide To Life

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

BEDIM 3: Are 'male' and 'female' brains real?

I just want to start this by saying, straight away (spoiler alert)... I don't know. I do not know the answer to this question. I am not a science person, I don't know much about brains, I know a bit about gender theory, and that's about it. Enjoy!

There's this bit in (500) Days of Summer where they're at a karaoke bar, and Summer's trying to explain why she doesn't want a boyfriend. Her reasons? 'Relationships are messy, people's feeling get hurt, and we might as well have fun whilst we're young.' The reaction to this? She gets told that she's a dude.

And that's a good example of what I want to talk about today.

The human brain is still relatively uncharted territory. Sure, we know shitloads more now than we did in, say, the 1800s, but that's nothing compared to what we'll find out in the next, say, 100 years. So much of what goes on in our bodies and our brains is still pretty much unexplained, and one of these grey-ish areas is the relationship between gender and our brains. As in, how our brains are wired up.

Countless pop culture references will tell you that you men and women fundamentally think differently. That bit in When Harry Met Sally. The WHOLE of Men are from Mars, Women and From Venus (if you've never read this and you were umm-ing and ahh-ing about starting it - don't. You'll thank me one day).

But is it true? Are there 'male' and 'female' brains? Like, if somebody showed you a scan of a male brain, could they point to parts of it - an enlarged frontal lobe, or a elongated medulla oblongata - that showed up differently on a 'female' brain?

Image result for when harry met sally cafe
Harry DEFINITELY thinks that women and men are fundamentally different
Picture credit: On The Set Of New York
I, personally, think that's a load of shit. I think. If I hadn't done some reading about this, I would've said that it's a load of rubbish - that little girls (but not all) gravitate towards pink clothes because they're used to their Mums putting them in pink clothes and seeing girls wear pink clothes on TV - not that they're hard-wired to prefer the colour pink.

What I would've said is that actually the 'male' brain is just the 'human' brain, and the way women behave has resulted from pressure from males (f u patriarchy) to act someway different from men. Because otherwise, how are men supposed to feel 'manly'?

But apparently there are actually some physical differences between male and female brains. There have been studies about this  idea of 'male' and 'female' brains and most conclude that some personality traits can be linked to specific parts of the brain, and that these, on average (but definitely not in all cases) are more common in either males or females.

And then how does the transgender community fit into all of this? What about brain differences between who identify as heterosexual vs. homosexual?

There's a book called The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks where (*spoiler alert*) the main character goes the whole story believing that they are a boy who was castrated in an accident when he was younger. Turns out, she's actually a girl. Throughout the story she displays typically 'male' traits (aggression, physical violence). Her voice is low. She has, by loose definition, a 'male brain'. But then when she finds out her real sex (her pjysical sex i.e., female), her behaviour doesn't change. Does she have a male brain because she grew up thinking she was male? Or does she have a 'male brain' physically, even though her sex is female? OR does she still identify as a male, even though she has now found out she's female?

Image result for are men and women different
Picture credit: Medical Daily
Like I said, I am definitely not  a doctor. Or a physician. Or a general science person. But I am interested in gender theory and psychology and exploring a bit more what makes us, us. So think of today's BEDIM as a more of starting point for a discussion than something which resembles anything near to intelligent thoughts or a well-thought out argument. What do you think? Do we act 'male' or 'female' because of physical brain differences, or because of societal cues? Do 'male' and 'female' brains exist? Do we have physical sexes, a typically 'male' or 'female' brain, and then our gender? Are you confused? Because I sure know I am! Brb, going to make a pizza and lie down in a dark room.

Feature image © Her Guide To Life


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

BEDIM 2: Five films every film-hater should watch.

I am not, by nature, a film person. I've always preferred reading a book because I have a seriously short attention span and it always felt more... immersive. And as you tend to watch films more with friends than you read books with them, I was never very good at pretending to enjoy a film if I was hating it. A film has to really grip me in the first 15 minutes if I'm going to continue with it, and a lot of the time... it just didn't. So I got bored.

But over the years of Christmases, family get-together, sleepovers, and Friday night wine dates with friends, I have been forced to sit through a few that I will now completely admit that I love. And I am SO thankful to each and every person to locked me into my seat (not literally) and made me watch them. I seriously love each and every one of these films and I could watch all five of them over and over and over again.

I'm definitely not a film hater, but I do still hate the idea of committing myself to two hours of potential boredom. And if you ARE a film hater... I think you'll like these five. I hope so.
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