Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day? Let’s Explore Some Summer Vocabulary

"Photo taken from by Martin Eayrs, used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license,"
“Photo taken from by Martin Eayrs, used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license.

The blog title comes from a line from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. In the sonnet, the speaker compares his beloved to the season of summer and says that she is better.

The beloved is both “more lovely and more temperate” than a summer’s day. The speaker lists some negative things about summer: it is short—“summer’s lease hath all too short a date”—and sometimes the sun is too hot—“Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines.” However, the beloved has beauty that will last forever, unlike the fleeting beauty of a summer’s day. By putting his love’s beauty into the form of poetry, the poet is preserving it forever. “So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.” The lover’s beauty will live on, through the poem which will last as long as it can be read. (Taken from Wikipedia)

Incidentally, if you want to hear a musical version of Shakespeare’s sonnet, listen to this beautiful rendition by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. Thanks to my fellow teacher, Helen Waldron for sharing the link with me. Click here for the words.


Summer has finally arrived in the UK. When I say summer, I mean, sun, blue skies and heat. For those of you who live in countries that enjoy proper summers, you will not understand what all the fuss is about. However, for us living in the UK, a prolonged spell of hot weather is to be celebrated and written about. When I say ‘a prolonged spell’, I mean up to a week, not more than that! That’s why we have to grab whatever sun rays we can get before the clouds, rain and cooler temperatures take over.

So what happens in the UK when the sun shines? Well, for starters, waking up to blue skies immediately puts a smile on your face. You feel energised, there is a spring in your step and you can’t wait to get out there and bask in the sunshine. You can finally wear that floaty, summery dress or skirt that you bought over a year ago and have never worn until now. The sandals come out and with a bit of luck, you’ve had a pedicure and your toenails are painted in bright summer colours.

You make plans to meet up with some friends for a light lunch or picnic in the park or lunch outdoors (or alfresco as we say in English) in a restaurant or cafe. If you’re working, you will take advantage of your lunch break to sit in a park and soak up the sun. Many people will sit in the sun regardless of what they are wearing (for example, their office suits) and if they have suncream or sunblock on or not. Very few people will look for some shade under a tree, for example, which often means that they will end up looking as red as a lobster by the end of the day. I don’t like to sit in the sun for long periods of time so you will always find me under a tree or in a shaded area.

If I am in a park on a warm, sunny day, I like nothing more than to remove my shoes and feel the cool grass under my feet and toes. There is something luxurious about that feeling. I will find a big tree with plenty of shade, sit against its trunk with a good book or simply watch the world around me go by.There is nothing better than people watching, is there?

We are in the UK so the art of drinking is never far. Summer drinking has its own attractions. Most people will drink beer, cider or a white wine spritzer. I love the European habit of drinking aperol spritzers in the summer. Unfortunately, we don’t have this drink in the UK.

Summer days equal barbecues. The smell or aroma of barbecue food is never too far and wafts into our garden from all directions on a hot summer evening. If we’re lucky we get invited to a barbecue by one of our lovely, friendly neighbours!


Hot, summer days also mean our gardens need to be watered more regularly. The British are proud of their gardens and you will often see water sprinklers on their front lawns watering the grass and flower beds in the early morning or late evening. The other plants are watered with a water hose.

Summer sun and warmth puts everyone in a good mood. The feeling of the sun on your skin is simply wonderful. That much-needed Vitamin D and heat make you feel that anything is possible. May it last as long as possible. I’m off to sit in my garden and sunbathe for a while.

Is it summer where you are or are you in the Southern Hemisphere where it’s winter? Do you have the change of seasons where you live? What does summer mean to you?

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Ciao for now


4 More Tips On How To Learn English Everywhere and Anywhere

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I shared this poster prepared by American English at State on my Facebook Page the other day. The words expressed by Sarah Caldwell apply to everything we do in life, but I’d like to apply them here to learning the English Language.

My husband and I have just returned from a 6-day trip to Budapest. During our trip, we went on a guided walking tour around the Jewish quarter of the city. The tour was in English as, alas we don’t speak Hungarian. Our guide, Petra was a delightful Hungarian who made our tour particularly memorable. She was extremely knowledgeable and we came away far more informed about Jewish traditions and the history of Jewry in Hungary over the centuries than when we started.

Despite lacking 100% accuracy, Petra managed to convey her ideas and information with enthusiasm and she was a joy to listen to.
We all congratulated her on her English and when asked where she’d learned the language, her response was astonishing. She learned English through watching TV programmes like Dr Who, Sherlock and Game of Thrones!

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Petra enjoys watching TV programmes in English and decided to use that medium to learn English. By doing something she enjoys, she motivated herself to study.

And that is what learning a language should be all aboutFUN.

My Tips
I wrote a post about two years ago where I shared 5 Tips On How To Immerse Yourself in English Every Day. In that post I emphasised the need to make your learning fun, practical and convenient.

Other Teachers’ Tips
A similar discussion is going on in a Facebook Group to which I belong called English Students. A number of teachers have offered ways on how learners can study effectively. Here are some of their tips:

1. Get comfy
“My advice for studying is to make a fun thing to do. Get comfy, relax, get all your things organized around you and then go to it. If you make studying a happy experience, it will go faster, easier and you will learn and retain more.” Rob Howard

2. Set the time aside in your diary
“Setting aside a certain time each day or week for online learning is essential”. Stephen Greene

3. Give yourself a daily dose of English
“Make studying a part of your daily habit. Read blogs, watch TV/Movies and listen to podcasts. (Pick topics of your interest or that are important to you) Take advantage of the Internet! Using social media is a fun way to practice your English. You can practice the English words that you’ve learned by commenting on posts.” English Teacher Anne

4. Watch movies or TV programmes in English
“Watch movies in English, with or without subtitles. If you’ve already seen it and know the story well, try to watch without subtitles. And try to get different pronunciations: American, British, Australian, ghetto, slangs, whatever. Train your ears!” Renata Costa Silva


A Fellow Learner’s Tips
And here is a post by a client of mine, Alessandra, who shared her 3 Tips To Practise and Improve Your English. 

I hope this post has given you some useful tips that will help you on your journey. Please share any others that have worked for you. My readers and I would love to hear from you.

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Ciao for now


Magna Carta – 800 Years Later. What Is Its Legacy To The World? Let’s Explore Some Vocabulary

Blog_Magna Carta

Sealing the Magna Carta

On this day,15 June, in 1215, King John 1 of England signed and sealed the document that would over the years come to symbolise freedom, justice, equality under the law and democracy for billions of people around the world – Magna Carta or ‘The Great Charter’. It is one of the most famous documents in British history.

Many of the rights which we take for granted today were first enshrined in Magna Carta. The Charter’s main principle was that everyone is equal under the law and, more importantly, no one is above the law.

It is that idea that gave birth  to so many of our rights and freedoms, to parliamentary democracy, the right to a fair trial, and a series of controls on the abuse of arbitrary power.

Over the centuries, Magna Carta has provided the inspiration for key moments in British and world history like the US Declaration of Independence and has had influence over the United Nations.

Blog_Magna Carta 2

The significance of what Magna Carta stands for has always been challenged, but never more so than in today’s world where basic human rights and basic freedoms are under threat in many parts of the world. Indeed, I sometimes feel that we are going backwards and not forwards which is a real tragedy.

The ideas of Magna Carta – equality under the law, no one is above the law – together with the subsequent rights and freedoms of society have always been principles close to my heart. And for that, I have my father to thank.

A lawyer by profession, my father has dedicated his life to human rights and to ensuring the rights and freedoms of any man, woman and child are protected by the rule of law. He has fought tirelessly for the independence of the judiciary because he says that without an independent judiciary no country can call itself a democracy and claim that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law.
He was a Special Rapporteur for the United Nations for nine years, during which time he travelled around the world investigating and reporting on abuses of executive (government) power. He got into trouble in his own country for the work he did.

It is through my father that I became a member of Amnesty International and continue to be so. He is an inspiration to my siblings and me.

I am very fortunate to live in a country where the rule of law is upheld and where the citizen does have basic rights and freedoms. I live in a country where women have the right to study, work and be treated equally to men. It’s not perfect and there are many things that need to be addressed but it could be a lot, lot worse.

Thank you for reading. If you liked my post please share it. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog if you don’t want to miss out on my posts.

Ciao for now.


If you’d like to know more about Magna Carta, take a look at this BBC iWonder guide.

Visiting London Anytime Soon? You May Hear This British English Vocabulary On The Streets

I saw this entertaining infographic the other day and shared it on Facebook.

We’re coming to the time of year when many people will be visiting London as part of their holidays or English Language courses.

For those of you who plan to visit this wonderful city, you will inevitably come across a lot of the expressions highlighted below. You may hear them or see them written on signs in restaurants, cafes, shops or out and about. As for the insults, I hope you don’t hear them, but I’m afraid you may just be within earshot of an angry person or irate motorist, in which case you will hear some of them.
You will hear many of the slang terms as they are widely used. Remember though, that most of them are used in spoken English rather than in written form.

This infographic by Visually compares British and American words, and whilst the comparisons are accurate, I’d like to point out some discrepancies in usage and also to show you in what context you may hear some of them. I haven’t gone through ALL of them. I’ve picked the ones that you’re likely to hear.

May I also add that you don’t have to visit London the hear these terms. There are many British TV programmes and films where these words are used.

I am going to divide the sections in the same way as the infographic. So here goes.

You Sound Like You


The British do not refer to a sandwich as a “butty” unless they’re talking about a “chip butty”. A sandwich is a sandwich or maybe a “sarnie”.
A chip butty is simply two slices of buttered bread with potato chips in between. It originates from the North of England and is traditionally eaten with fish and chips. My husband ALWAYS has a chip butty when we have fish and chips. Like he doesn’t have enough carbs (carbohydrates) with all those chips! It makes me feel ill.

Cuppa (colloquial)
You will hear this word in this expression: “Fancy a cuppa?” You are not likely to hear it on its own. People refer to a cup of tea as a cup of tea unless they are offering you a cup.
More on ‘fancy’ later.

Fairy cake
Yes we use this but cup cake has become more common now.

“I am feeling rather peckish. I think I’ll get something to eat”. Peckish means a little hungry. If you are really hungry you would say ‘I’m starving or ravenous.


I have never heard this word used to describe a scarf, even though it is accurate. We say scarf. So don’t go into a clothes shop and ask for one as you will get blank stares from the assistants!
We use ‘muffler’ to describe the automotive device in an engine to silence the noise. We also call it a silencer.
We also call them “underpants“.
I want to point out that I don’t normally teach my clients insulting words, despite EVERY language learner wanting to learn them. However, you are going to come across them, so it’s worth knowing what they mean. You will hear them a lot on TV and films. 
*******A note of warning:  Insults are notoriously difficult to get right context-wise in a foreign language. USE them at your peril. You have been warned.

This word is used but you will also hear “dickhead”. ‘Knobanddick refer to the male reproductive anatomy.
Never heard of this. If anyone else has, please illuminate me.

Update: One of my readers, Louise Robertson has told me what “radge” means. Here is the explanation:
“The word radge is a Scottish slang word, so probably not commonly heard south of the border. It is, however, widely used up here!
It used to describe someone who is deemed to be a bit crazy or has done something that others consider to be crazy.
You’re a radge’ meaning you are a bit crazy is, while not a polite thing to say to anyone, very commonly used.”

Thank you very much, Louise. I have learned a new word and promise not to use it when next in Scotland!

Oh yes, this is quite commonly used to refer to someone who is not terribly clever. In other words, an “idiot”.


Sod Off
If you tell someone to sod off you are telling them to go away. You’re either angry with them or you are joking. The seriousness of the insult depends on the situation. Some people will say it jokingly and others will be very serious. It used to be a taboo insult. Over the years it has become more acceptable in spoken English (within reason).
The British also use ‘piss off’.

Both terms are extremely derogatory, insulting or disrespectful to describe a woman who is thought to be too easy. Please do NOT use them.

Once again, these terms are highly insulting and NOT to be used unless you want to be hit!
Dog’s Bollocks
Mmmm, yes…I’m afraid you will hear this when someone is describing how fantastic something is. “The new Maserati is the dog’s bollocks
You may also hear the word ‘bollocks’ in the following ways:
‘That’s just bollocks  meaning  That’s just rubbish”.
‘He got a bollocking from his boss” meaning “He got told off by his boss”
Both terms are vulgar and not to be repeated. You might hear them, though.

Fancy (not strictly slang)
The verb “to fancy” means to “like” or “desire”. It’s frequently used by the British. You will hear it everywhere.
Fancy a cuppa?”, “Do you fancy going to the cinema tonight?”, “Simon really fancies Greta”.
When someone say they are ‘gutted’ it means that they are disappointed or upset. This is often used.“He was really gutted he missed his uncle’s funeral”

Yes, this word is used to mean a nap (short sleep). I love my afternoon kips.

“You will feel so much better once you’ve had a good kip.”
If you’re knackered you are extremely tired. Zonked can be used although ‘knackered’ is more common.
Splash Out
“Tim loves to splash out when he is trying to impress Jane”.  
Another common expression. 

There is always one person who loves to waffle on in business meetings. It’s always so difficult to get them to stop.




Most of the words in this group are regularly used. Having said that,“dosh” is not that common.
Well, that’s it. If you’re interested in knowing more British Slang, check out these two posts that I’ve written: Part One and Part Two.

I hope you found the post interesting. If you did, please share it and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog if you want to receive my posts directly in your inbox.

Ciao for now


How To Answer Interview Questions In English? Use The STAR Technique, Of Course!


I’ve been to many interviews in my working life. Some of them have been successful and some have been complete disasters. I’m sure we all have colourful stories we could share with each other.

Let’s face it, interviews are always nerve-wracking. You want that dream job and you badly want to make a good impression. You arrive at the interview in plenty of time. You dress smartly and you think that you look the part. The initial questions about yourself go well and then we get to the competency-based (skills) questions. You know, those questions that start with:

  • “Tell me about the time when ….”*
  • “Describe a situation where you …..”*

This is when you have to give the interviewer real examples of situations and show them what you’re capable of. It’s your chance to shine through. Your response will be the deciding factor of whether you get the job or not.

This experience is challenging enough in your own language let alone in another language. Not only have you got to think on your feet,but you’ve also got to ensure that you don’t make too many language mistakes and sound eloquent. So, how do you prepare to answer competency-based questions for an interview in English?

Why, you use the STAR technique, of course!

And to introduce you to this, may I present you to my fellow trainer, Christina Rebuffet-Broadus’ excellent video? Christina is a freelance Business English trainer based in France. Her You Tube channel offers superb Business English tips ranging from “How to ask a Visitor if they need the toilet” to “Talking About Wine in English”. Her videos last 6 minutes each and she releases a video each week. Christina is American and she gives some excellent tips on American English and the requirements that American companies have of potential employees. I would encourage you to subscribe to her channel.

Christina released the video below last week and when I saw it I just knew I had to share it with you, my readers. In the video, she shows learners how to use the STAR technique to answer interview questions.

Step One: Watch the Video

Step Two: Let’s recap

This is what Christina says.

To avoid ‘losing your bearings’ and forgetting key details, use:

Situation – give the context of your story

Task – describe the action you needed to take or the solution you needed to find

Activity – describe the action you took

Result – What happened in the end as a result of your action

Christina gives an example of how to apply this technique by imagining that you have to answer the following interview question:

“Tell me about a time when you had to save a project that was going very badly?”

When using the STAR technique Christina adds that you need to:

a) Be specific
Talk about precise projects, give precise figures and successes. DON’T be vague.

b) Keep your answers short and straight to the point
She suggests one or two sentences per answer. Recruiters don’t have the time to listen to long drawn-out answers.

c) Create a stock of pre-prepared answers
Imagine probable questions you might be asked and prepare a list of answers. That way you will feel more confident answering in English.

I am really indebted to Christina for preparing this video and allowing me to share it with you here on English with a Twist. I, for one, know that my clients will find it invaluable. I can’t wait to use the technique with my next client who requires help with their interviewing skills.

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English Grammar Pill: When To Use Say or Tell?

Grammar OwlSay or Tell?

These two ‘little’ verbs cause so much confusion to English Language learners. I had been thinking for a while to write a post to provide some clarity for learners until lo and behold, the excellent Vicki Hollett and her husband, Jay produced a video precisely on this subject.

I had the privilege of meeting Vicki at the IATEFL conference in Manchester having followed her for over a year before then (on social media, not in person!).
Vicki and Jay’s company Simply English Videos is a wonderfully innovative and excellent language resource. They create engaging and fun videos to teach vocabulary, idioms, grammar and much more. I recommend that you take a look at their You Tube Channel and subscribe to get their latest videos. You’ll love them.

As I watched the video I knew  I had to share it with you, my readers. The grammar points are clearly explained by Vicki. However, I thought I would summarise the content so that you have the main points ready to hand. I have added some more examples to each point.

Step One: Watch the video

Step Two: Now let’s recap

1. Say and Tell have no difference in meaning in this context except for the structure of the sentence.

You SAY something 
“He said that he would be back at 3pm”.

You TELL someone something
“He told me that he would be back at 3pm”.


2. Use SAY when you’re quoting someone or with ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’ and ‘hi’.

“Johnny, say thank you to the lady for giving you the ice cream”.

Say hi to Tom when you see him later”.

“Silvia says sorry for not getting back to you earlier. She has been so busy with work”


Use TELL when giving/asking for information or asking for instructions

“Could you tell me the time?” ( information)

“Can you tell me the quickest way to the railway station?” (instructions)

“Could you tell me when the next sales meeting will be?” (information)

“Hold on, I need to tell you something (information)

“Can you tell me how to work this computer?” (instructions)


4. We use TELL when we recognise signs

A: “You’ve been in the sun, haven’t you?
B:  How did you know?
A:  I can tell by your tan.

A: You’re from the UK, aren’t you?
B: How can you tell?
A: I can tell by your accent.

A: How can you tell you’re in love?
B: Mmm, let me think about that.


5. TELLSpecial Expressions
We normally tell someone something. However, there are special expressions where we don’t have to tell someone. Here they are:

a. Tell a story or tell a joke  
You can tell a story (or you can tell me a story)

“I love telling jokes with my friends”
“Tell me a story”
“My family always tell stories around dinner table”. 

b. Tell the truth or a lie
You can tell the truth and the whole truth (or you can tell me the truth and the whole truth)

“He has told so many lies in his career”
“I want you to tell me the truth for once”.

c. Tell Secrets
You can tell someone a secret or you can tell secrets

“He loves telling secrets”
“Can I tell you secret?

d. Tell the difference or tell things apart
You can tell someone the difference but you cannot tell someone things apart

“Can you tell me the difference between these two shirts?”
“Can you tell the difference between these two shirts?”
“I can’t tell the twins apart


I hope that between Vicki’s video and my post, how to use say or tell is clearer.

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Ciao for now


A Birthday Thought to Myself – Reflections on a Decade

BLO_Birthday Cake

Today is my birthday. Believe it or not, I am 49 years old!!!

49?!! Whenever I have seen the number written down as someone’s age (in an article for example) I have often thought, ‘Wow, that’s quite an age’. Then it would dawn on me, Hang on, I am nearly the same age! No, it can’t be. I am much too young to be nearly 49. I don’t feel 49′.

What does feeling 49 mean, though? I have no idea. All I know is how I feel. I feel better now than I did in my twenties. I am fitter, slimmer and healthier. I am so much happier in my personal and professional life. I feel positive about life and my future.

My forties started with the happiest event (my second marriage to my soul mate) and the biggest challenge (my cancer diagnosis) of my life. However, as I embark upon the last year of my forties, I can safely say that my forties have proven to be the most fulfilling, enriching, meaningful and life-enhancing decade of my life. Not only did I find happiness and serenity in my personal and emotional life, I also found the courage to change careers and start a brand new journey that has completely rejuvenated me.

As Mark Twain said: “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”.
(Thank you to my lovely sister, Debbie for sharing this quote with me)
And I don’t mind, because my life has only improved with age. I am one very lucky lady and I thank the stars above for my good luck.

William Shakespeare said: “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
(Thank you, Alessandra Binucci for sharing this quote with me) And with his quote, I plan to enjoy the last year of my forties and forget about those wrinkles.

I hope you will join me in the celebrations. Cin, cin!


Ciao for now


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8 Phrasal Verbs of Movement – An Infographic

I am in Milan this week visiting my mother and showing the city to my stepmother. So, this is a quick post before we head off to the Pinacoteca of Brera.

Happiness is an Italian gelato

Happiness is an Italian gelato

I found this infographic on phrasal verbs of movement by Grammar Net and thought to myself that the theme perfectly mirrored my day of activity.

The infographic gives you clear examples how to use these phrasal verbs so there’s no need for me to elaborate on them.

However, there is one thing I want to point out. Under “take out”, one example uses the verb as a noun rather than a verb “I don’t want to cook; let’s go get take out. (noun)” ‘Takeout’ is American English.
In British English, a takeout is known as a takeaway. If you have ever been to the UK and bought a coffee or a sandwich from a cafe or sandwich bar, you would have been asked if your order was “eat in” or “takeaway”. The price is different because in the UK, bars have to charge VAT (Value Added Tax) if you eat on their premises.
[Infographic provided by]

I hope you enjoyed this infographic and have a wonderful weekend. I am now off to get some movement!

If you liked this post please share it and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog if you’d like to receive more posts directly to your inbox.

Ciao for now.


10 Royal Idioms you can use in English

You may have heard on the news that a baby girl was born to a rather well-known couple on Saturday here in the UK. It was their second child. Not only was she introduced to the world by her parents when she was just 10 hours old, but various gun salutes were held in her honour two days later.

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I am, of course, referring to Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, also known as William and Catherine (Kate).
Nobody does royal as magnificently nor is quite as obsessed with their Royal Family as the British.

As someone who has lived here for nearly thirty years, I feel compelled to join in this love affair for all things royal. So, it wasn’t too difficult for me to interrupt my preparation for an upcoming business writing course this afternoon to share this cheerful infographic by Macmillan Education of 10 Royal idioms found in the English Language.

Macmillan_Royal Idioms


Some of these idioms are used more than the others in the list. You’ve got the definitions here so let’s take a look at how they would be used in sentences.

1. Queen Bee
She is not known as the queen bee of the publishing world for nothing. She has single-handedly launched the careers of dozens of authors.

2. Crown jewels
These products are the crown jewels of this company.

3. Prince Charming
She really thinks that if she waits around long enough Prince Charming will come knocking at the door.

4. A Royal Pain (informal)
He can be a royal pain if he wants to be.

5. Drama Queen
She really is not the right person for the job. She is such a drama queen when it comes to having to deal with any situation however small it is.

6. Live like a king
In some countries, your salary would allow you to live like a king.

7. King’s ransom
We had to pay what felt like a king’s ransom for that property.
(NB: This idiom is not commonly used).

8. Build castles in the air
You cannot grow a successful business by building castles in the air.

9. Hold court
The chairman loves holding court at our shareholders’ evening receptions.

10. To be king of something
Paul is the king of barbecues. Nobody does them better than him.
(NB: We also say ‘queen of something’)

Are you the king of something? Do you know anyone who can be a real drama queen? Do you live like a king? Let me know.

Well, I hope you liked this quick post. I had better get back to my writing course and finish up those materials.

Ciao for now.


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An Appointment With Your Hairdresser – Let’s Talk Hair in English

Image Credit: Pixabay

Image Credit: Pixabay

I was asked a few weeks ago by a reader if I could write a post about hair, hairdressers and hairstyles. She needed to see her hairdresser and wanted to know how to explain what she wanted doing to her hair. So I thought to myself what better time to write about hair than when I’m at the hairdresser’s!

As I write this post, I am at my hairdresser’s having my hair done. When I say having my hair done, I mean that I am having my roots coloured (to hide the grey hair!) and putting in some reddish flashlights to give my otherwise dark-brown hair some vivid colour. I am also having my hair cut. I have a 45-minute wait whilst the colour takes before I can have my hair shampooed and rinsed thoroughly. So I have my laptop on my lap and I am tapping away at the keyboard

Me having my flashlights and roots done!

Me having my flashlights and roots done!

I get my hair coloured and cut every five weeks and have the flashlights every ten weeks. My hair grows very fast (showing the grey hair far quicker than I like!), and as it is also very thick, it needs to be tamed regularly – hence an appointment every 5 weeks!

So as my hairdresser put the gown over my clothes as protection, I told her that I was going to ask her a number of questions about hair and hairstyles. I also wanted to understand all the different treatments you can have on your hair. Armed with pen and paper I started the interview.

First of all, I asked her about all the different colouring treatments you can have. As I mentioned before, every ten weeks I have flashlights put into my hair. I asked her what the difference was between those and highlights and lowlights. She said that with flashlights you only have small pieces (random pieces) coloured. This is different from highlights/lowlights where you have larger areas coloured. As the names suggest, ‘highlights’ tend to be the blonde and lighter colours whilst the ‘lowlights’ would use colours such as the coppers, browns, reds and caramels

For those of us who want to cover our grey hair, we have the option of either a semi-permanent or permanent colour. The colour used will match our own hair colour. The difference between a semi-permanent is that the colour covers up to 40% of the white/grey hair and doesn’t last as long. A permanent covers 100%. I have my roots done every five weeks or when my husband starts telling me that I’ve got that badger look!

After all that colouring, it’s always a relief to have my hair thoroughly washed or shampooed. I especially like it when the conditioner is massaged into my hair. Some women have a masque treatment applied to their hair to have intense conditioning. This is particularly helpful for women who have very dry hair.


The short, graduated bob

The short, graduated bob

When it comes to cutting, you have a choice depending on the length of your hair. If you have long hair, you can choose to have it cut one length or have layers. Layers can add volume to your hair. If you’re like me and have short hair,you can have your hair graduated into the neck. This means that the hair is cut into your neck. If you have a bob, the choice is wider as it depends on what sort of bob you have – a basic bob with one length, a graduated bob, a long bob or a layered bob!

I know…this is getting very technical, isn’t it?Please bear with me.


I asked my hairdresser what shapes we have and she told me that hair shapes come in three basic forms – one length (long). bob and short hair. The different hairstyles are basically down to the cut – layered, graduated, one length. And let’s not forget the fringe which can be  full, side or choppy.

If you have thick hair like me, you might want to get some of the weight off so texturizing will help change the texture of your hair from thick to thin. I get that done every time because my hair gets extremely heavy especially on the top of my head.

We then moved on to styling. Now I have short, thick and coarse hair. I always go for a wet cut. This basically means that I have my hair cut and the hair is left to dry naturally. In reality though, my hairdresser often blow dries my hair with a hairdryer. Most women have a cut and blow dry.

Now that's what I call straight and one length.

Now that’s what I call straight and one length.

There are also women who visit their hairdresser’s once a week. They don’t have their hair cut, but they will go in for a wash and blow dry. Some women prefer their hairdresser to blow dry their hair as they are better at giving them the style they want. Apparently, the fashion now is to have wavy, bouncy and voluminous hair. Hair straightening and using hair straighteners are out. Not having long hair, I’ve not had to worry about that and wasn’t aware of this change in fashion.

Before blow drying your hair, your hairdresser might apply a mousse, serum, smoothing cream or a balm to your hair. Which one will all depend on whether your hair is frizzy, coarse or thin.

After blow drying, you can have hairspray, wax or a paste applied. I normally have  wax although at home I use argan oil. I find that helps reduce the coarseness of my hair.

And there you have it. That’s all the information I managed to get from my hairdresser today. If I have missed out any vocabulary please let me know and I will add it to the post.

For more information take a look at these sites for:
 An activity on hair vocabulary
 The names of different hairstyles in English

My gentlemen readers, if you’re feeling left out and would like me to write about a visit to the barber’s and what that involves please let me know and I will send my husband out on a fact-finding mission at his barber’s. I will then report back with my findings.

Finally, a big thank you to my hairdresser, Donna, who patiently allowed me to grill (question) her about hair and for giving me a splendid haircut today.

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Ciao for now


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