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August 10, 2018
by Bloomsbury International
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Weathering the Summer Weather

The British do like to talk about the weather, a lot. There’s a good reason for this; they don’t get much weather. Well, much good weather. Enjoying their crisp Autumns and chilly Winters, the British are just waiting for the glorious sunshine to fill the sky. Unfortunately the British Summer is just two weeks of sunshine, spread out over three months. When the sun does come out, close your eyes (blink) and you’ll miss it, is the fear lived by the British.

The moment the sun is out, any moment between March & October, out come the sandals, three quarter length trousers and vest tops. The usually reserved British character is overturned, replaced with a race for the Sun! No ray of sunshine will be wasted. Any outside space that can take a sunbathing body will be taken advantage of. Anywhere can be a beach!

A strange thing happens to the British in the summer. A low whispering can be heard throughout the train carriages and upper decks of buses, at the bars in pubs up and down the country – people are talking to each other! Half naked and exasperated, people use the free newspaper to fan themselves, leaning over to enjoy the breeze from someone else’s if you don’t have one. The UK’s buses, trains and tubes are a great way to find out which of your fellow commuters enjoys the luxury of a shower AND deodorant in the morning. The perfect preparation for the working day ahead is to have a sauna, on your way to work, fully dressed and shared with a carriage full of complete strangers. Embarrassment about sweat patches on clothes or bare flesh is a thing of the past, everyone is in the same boat. Arriving at your place of work dripping in your own sweat and the perspiration of others at least gives you something to talk about other than the weather. Hopefully the air-conditioning is working and someone has set it at a reasonable temperature for everyone in the office.

The midday sun, is accompanied by summer beats from car radios and smart phones, BBQs, and the sweet smell of last night’s alcohol consumption. The sunshine may not last very long, but every moment is thoroughly enjoyed. The lunchtime sandwich eaten over a keyboard is now carried to the closest park as it tastes so much better in the sun! The occasional sound of sunscreen being rubbed onto our red British sunburnt skin can be heard echoing across the cities. But, once lunchtime is over, it’s back to work, to endure the broken air conditioning, the strict dress code of the British workplace and to complain about the heat!

July 5, 2018
by Bloomsbury International
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Are you a foodie?

Are you a foodie?

Foodies are passionate about food and consider it a real privilege to experiment and try different cuisines. Whilst strolling along London pavements, you’re sure to see Indian curry houses, sushi bars, American diners, Turkish kebab shops and many other diverse foods.

London is a cosmopolitan city, rich with various cultures and traditions. Since the second world war, Great Britain has been home to all sorts of people, from across the globe. The Indian community has graced this island with cumin, turmeric and parathas which can be eaten with various hearty curries. The Turks boast baklava, a pastry-based treat that is enjoyed throughout the city. The East Africans brought injera with them, a tasty savoury pancake eaten as an accompaniment with main meals. Finally, where would we be without pizza? It has become part of our 5- a- day and we owe our Italian friends for introducing it to our grateful palates.

Summer is the perfect time to wander and have a gander, at the many cuisines London has to offer. The east end of London is a perfect place to start on your adventure. From Brick Lane to Upton Park, not forgetting the coveted hipster Shoreditch, you’re bound to find a dish which tickles your taste buds.

The upcoming Noting Hill carnival has been taking place since 1966. It is a celebration of Caribbean culture and identity, but it’s also ma chance for people to sample and experience the world-famous jerk chicken, with rice and peas. The Carnival runs through the west end and stretches to Ladbroke Grove. It’s a great opportunity to capture London’s diversity and put your foodie expertise to the test. Go along to the carnival this month, which starts on the 25th August – 27th August. Can you believe this extraordinary event is FREE? It doesn’t get more London than the Notting Hill carnival. Trust your inner foodie and see if you can list all the ingredients used to make jerk chicken.
If carnivals aren’t your thing, maybe food festivals are. London is always hosting various foodie events where the centre of attention is on flavour, spices and ingredients. In East London, a fairly new festival is coming to town with a special focus – all things halal! Halal is word used to describe food, which has been prepared in a special way. For meat, the blood is drained, and a special prayer is read on the meat prior to slaughter. For other foods such as cookies and desserts, it can’t contain any animal produce. It’s a way of ensuring the food Muslims eat is clean and free of impurities. If you fancy trying halal food, there’s a Halal food festival coming to the Docklands. There’ll be many stalls and markets, full of delicious and exciting food. Come and have a look, explore your inner foodie!

June 21, 2018
by Bloomsbury International
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English Clichés and Their Meanings

What are clichés?

This week’s topic is about English clichés and their Meanings.

In English we use the French word Cliché to describe phrases or expressions that have been so overused and become so common that they have lost their original meaning.

Cliché, girl hanging from a clock - losing track of time

Clichés were once expressions that were new, interesting and fresh, and which were liked and adopted by the public to the point of rolling off the tongue without even noticing. Some are used in specific contexts, whilst others are just repeated parrot-fashion, leading to boredom or mild irritation.  For example, the expression giving 110%  (is that even possible?) or at the end of the day (to mean taking everything  into consideration). These expressions have become some of the most repeated clichés in recent years. Turn on the telly and see how many times you hear them in interviews. You will be surprised!

Clichés can be divided into different groups:

To express time:

  • In the nick of time – just in time.
  • Only time will tell – something will become clear over time.
  • A matter of time – something will happen sooner or later.
  • Lose track of time – to not pay attention to time and as a result be late for something because of it.

English Clichés  and their meanings, Don't cry over spilt milk

To describe situations:

  • Scared out of one’s wits – to be extremely frightened.
  • All is fair in love and war to go to any extent to claim somebody’s love.
  • All is well that ends well a happy ending that compensated for the difficulty you had to endure.
  • The calm before the storm a quiet or peaceful period before a period of difficulty.
  • What goes around comes around – used to say that if you treat someone badly you will eventually be treated badly by someone else.
  • If life gives you lemons, make lemonade – Make something good out of a bad situation.
  • Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed – to be in a bad mood when you wake up.

When life gives you lemons make lemonade graphic

To describe love:

  • Opposites attract – used to say that people who are very different from each other are often attracted to each other.
  • Don’t cry over spilt milk upset over something that has already happened and cannot be changed.
  • Fall head over heels in love – to be madly in love with someone.
  • Laughter is the best medicine – to mean that trying to be happy is a good way to stop worrying.
  • Kiss and make up – to forgive each other and be friends again.

Other common clichés:

  • All that glitters isn’t gold –  everything that looks precious or true, turns out to be so.
  • Don’t get your knickers in a twist – don’t get angry or annoyed about silly stuff.
  • All for one, and one for all – we are all in it together.
  • He has his tail between his legs – being embarrassed, especially after losing or having to admit that one was wrong.