Happy Blogiversary – We Are 2 Today!

BLOG Image_2 Years

And that makes two wonderful years of blogging and sharing with you, my readers.

Two years on and this is what we have achieved together:

  • 178 posts
  • 3064 subscribers (plus 972 on Networked Blog)
  • over 1.7million total views on the blog
  • the most successful post in the last year has been viewed over 96,000 times
  • this blog was chosen as runner up for the second year running for the Macmillan Love English Award for Best Blog about the English Language

Once again, through this blog, I’ve met some wonderful people who have been generous enough to read and comment on my blog posts. I have met some more lovely new clients who I consider friends. I have been introduced to more amazing fellow teachers who have taught and inspired me and continue to do so.

My love for writing and for the English Language and English literature hasn’t diminished. On the contrary, it has grown The discipline of writing has made me appreciate far more the language and allowed me to analyse more deeply the way I teach and to make adjustments where necessary.

I continue to have the time of my life and it’s all thanks to your encouragement, your readership and enthusiasm for my posts. I love the comments I receive from you. Please keep them coming. Thank you all so much for sharing my posts and spreading the word. This blog wouldn’t be the success it is without YOU.

If you’d like me to address any particular aspects of the English Language and literature or anything else associated with the English Language culture, you only have to drop me a line and I will see what I can do.

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all your support and I am looking forward to continuing this journey with you for many more years to come.

I am taking a week’s break from blogging starting tomorrow. My husband and I are going on a canal boat holiday in Wales. It’s going to be just the two of us and our dog, Buster. I have never been on such a holiday and I am looking forward to steering the boat, opening those locks and visiting another beautiful part of the British Isles. I’ll tell you all about it in my next post.

I will be back at the beginning of April.

Have a good week, everyone.

Ciao for now


Let’s Talk Theatre – Some Vocabulary and Expressions to Talk About the Theatre

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

I love the theatre. Whenever there is a good play on in London, I try my best to go and see it. Of course, living near London and with 241 professional theatres in the city I am spoilt for choice.

On Saturday night, my husband and I went to the Old Vic to see Kevin Spacey in a one-man play, Clarence Darrow. It was a first-class performance given by an astounding actor. He had so much energy on stage and such a presence that he kept you hooked throughout the performance.

This is what one newspaper review had to say: “… Spacey is captivating throughout. He prowls around the small stage, and out into the audience, addressing small sections as the jurors in whatever case he’s recollecting. And wherever he might be — right in front of you or with his back turned on the other side of the theatre — you can’t take your eyes off him, and hang on his every word. That’s the mark of an acting legend, and one whose presence will be greatly missed from the London stage.”

The play was first shown last year but because of its huge sell-out success, the Old Vic decided to stage the play one more time for a limited period. It’s particularly special as Kevin Spacey ends his 10-year stint as the Old Vic’s artistic director this autumn. The entire season is sold out – a testament to how well-regarded he is as an actor (or thespian).

The Old Vic’s stage is in the centre of the theatre and the audience is on all sides of it. It’s what is known as a ” theatre in the round”. The idea is to make the audience feel more involved with what is happening on stage.


Booking Tickets
I booked the tickets a month or so ago online. You can book tickets by telephone or in person at the box office of the theatre. I always book online and collect my tickets from the box office on the day of the performance.

The Seating Plan
Most theatres are divided into different sections. The section that is on the same level as the stage is known as the stalls. The next level is sometimes known as the Royal or Grand Circle. Depending on the size of the theatre, you can have between three to five levels. Stalls, Royal/Grand Circle, Dress Circle, Upper Circle and Balcony. The prices vary according to what seats you choose. The Front Stalls, Front Royal Circle and Front Upper Circles are normally the  most expensive with the Balcony seats being the cheapest as well as seats with a restricted view. I’ve never understood why anyone would choose, let alone, pay for a seat with a restricted view!

The seats in a lot of the older theatres in London have limited legroom which can be extremely uncomfortable for a tall person. In fact, my husband who is tall really struggles and Saturday night was unfortunately excruciating for him. By the interval, he couldn’t feel his feet!

Theatre_Old Vic

Types of Theatre
When tourists visit London and decide to take in a show, they normally opt for one of the West End musicals. Shows such as Mamma Mia, Les Miserables, Cats, Phantom of the Opera and so on have been playing for years in the West End and are a hugely popular with foreign tourists. However, West End theatres don’t only show musicals but also non-musical productions. These productions often start in regional or smaller theatres and depending on its success, they move to the West End.

As I’ve got older, I’ve become more attracted to the productions from smaller, local theatres. Not only are they smaller and offer a lot more intimate audience experience, they offer new playwrights and directors the opportunity to showcase their talents. These theatres commission new plays and encourage different and sometimes daring productions of old plays.

Smaller Theatres Take More Risk
They are prepared to take more risks than their West End counterparts and that is what I believe theatre is all about. Theatre should be a place where our (the audience) views and prejudices are challenged and where new ideas are introduced. It’s where actors and actresses have the opportunity to test their skills and try out different roles.

Theatre should be about encouraging playwrights, old and new, to try out fresh ideas on the audience. It should be a place of experiment, entertainment and education. It’s also a place where our minds can wander freely with our imagination.

My fellow theatre-goers
I have learnt so much about life over my theatre-going years. Not only from the play but also from watching my fellow theatre-goers. I often go to the theatre on my own. I love nothing more than going to a matinee performance (rather than an evening performance). When I go on my own, I am free to look and observe the people around me. And it’s fascinating just to watch how people interact with each other. There could be people milling in the bar drinking and ordering their drinks for the interval; there could be people catching up with each other’s news or reading the theatre programme and there could be people like me who are on their own and are observing others or simply reading a book. Nowadays, it’s more likely to be their smartphones, though!

A Night at the Theatre Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Night at the Theatre
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Turn off your phones, the performance is about to start
I love that moment when the lights dim, the audience is shushed into silence and the actors come onto the stage. I take a sharp intake of breath and almost burst with anticipation of what is to come next.

Do you like the theatre? Do you have a good choice of theatres where you live? Or perhaps you have more amateur dramatics theatre (AmDram) or fringe theatres near you?
I’d love you to share your theatrical experiences with me and to share what you love most about the theatre.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please share it. You may also like to subscribe to my blog to receive my posts automatically.

Ciao for now


10 Idioms About Books

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Last Thursday (5 March) was World Book Day. As the name suggests, the day is a celebration of everything that involves the world of books – authors, illustrators, books, publishers and above all, reading.

As part of their celebrations, Macmillan Publishers produced an infographic showing 10 idioms about books. You can see it on their website and download the infographic here as a PDF file.

As I haven’t published an “idioms” post in a long while, I thought that I would share these 10 idioms with you. The definitions used here are provided by Macmillan Dictionary, but the examples are mine.

1. A closed book 
(a) Something you accept has completely ended
“As far as I am concerned, that matter with the council is a closed book

(b) Someone or something that is difficult to understand
“I have never been able to work or communicate with John. He is a closed book


2. An open book
Someone that is easy to know about because they don’t keep any secrets.
“Julia’s life is like an open book. You always know what she’s up to”.

3. Read someone like a book
To understand easily what someone is thinking or feeling
“I can read Angela like a book. I always know what she’s thinking and what she’s about to say at meetings”

4. The oldest trick in the book
A dishonest method of doing something that you know about because it has been used many times before
“It was the oldest trick in the book – one man distracted me while another stole my wallet. I can’t believe I fell for it.”

5. In someone’s good/bad books
Used for saying when someone is pleased/annoyed with you.
“Tommy has been on his best behaviour today. After yesterday’s tantrums, he’s been doing his best to be in my good books all day.”



6. By the book
Someone who strictly follows all the rules when doing something
“We’re not going to leave things to chance.We’re going to run this company by the book.”


7. To bring someone to book
To punish someone when they’ve done something wrong
“I had to bring Tom to book after our meeting. He shouldn’t have lost his temper at Bridget”.


8. Take a leaf out of someone’s book
To copy what someone else does because they are successful at it
” You should take a leaf out of Keith’s book. He has achieved wonders with those children”.


9. Don’t judge a book by its cover
Don’t form an opinion of something or someone only from its appearance
” When I first met Charlotte she had had a really tough two weeks and wasn’t in the mood for chatting and appeared very moody and unsociable. She is not at all like that. One should never judge a book by its cover“.


10. Cook the books
To change accounts or figures dishonestly normally to make money
“It appears that Stanley had been cooking the books for years. He was finally caught last year.”


And there you have it. Do you have similar idioms about books in your native language?

And talking about books, what are you reading at the moment? Do you know how to talk about books in English? If you don’t, you may want to check out this post I wrote last year.

If you liked this post please share it and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog if you’d like to receive my posts as and when they are published.

Ciao for now


Farewell My Friend – A Poem To A Cherished Friend

Photo Credit: Flickr/Rejik

Fresh Memories Photo Credit: Flickr/Rejik

Last week, my husband and I attended the funeral and memorial of our neighbours’ daughter. She was only 23. I don’t have to tell you how devastated the parents feel at losing their only child.

The funeral/memorial was attended by well over 300 people, mostly by Christina’s friends from school and university. David and I, together with her parents’ friends, were the oldest in this congregation. It felt so wrong to see so many young people gathered on this sad occasion.

Around 10 of her friends, including her boyfriend shared their memories of her. There was much laughter and also many tears as we reflected on a life taken away far too soon.

Apart from the poignancy and sadness of the occasion, what struck me was how articulate and eloquent these young people were. They all spoke so beautifully, but above all the words and phrases they chose to describe this larger than life young woman and to express their feelings for her astounded me. There has been so much talk recently in the media about how inarticulate this generation of young people are. With their incessant use of  text messaging, snapchat, What’s App and so on, they have forgotten the art of expression either in verbal or written form.

Well, this group of young people proved just how wrong the media are. I was astounded by what I heard. One particular person who stood out for me was a young man who quickly penned a poem to Christina whilst waiting for his flight on his way to the UK from Australia.

This is Adam Greaves’s poem to Christina.

There’s a place between here and forever
Where a lilac shadows the Grove
Where junipers blossom and flourish
And beauty never fades or grows old

It’s a land of ever summer
Where rainfall never goes
And the trees are as old as the stars
Where beauty never fades or grows old

Now when the moon fades to black
And the sun falls out of the sky
And the birds fly East in the winter
And the rivers all run dry

I hope you’ve found peace in this grotto
Where you travelled tenacious and bold
Where some day I’ll come and meet you
Where beauty never fades or grows old

I don’t think that as a 23-year old I would have had the maturity or the eloquence to write such a poem in haste or at leisure. The words are simple and yet so powerful and poignant. I don’t have to tell you that many tears were shed after listening to that poem.

Christina, you got more mileage out of your young Life than Life could ever have got out of you. Life had no choice but to make a quiet exit. You are a remarkable woman and will never be forgotten. It was a pleasure to have known you albeit for all too brief a time.

Thank you for reading.

Ciao for now


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Time is Money: 12 Time Metaphors We Use in Our Daily Lives

Photo: Pixabay

Photo: Pixabay

It’s already 1 March!!! Where has the time gone?! One minute I was bringing the Christmas tree down, the next minute I’m making preparations for spring and Easter.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, time seems to be flying by a bit too quickly for my liking. In this day and age of instant communication where the need to respond to email, What’s App messages, Snapchat, Facebook and text messages is no longer an option but an absolute requirement. This expectation to respond immediately has meant that our days have become busier and busier so much so that 24 hours in a day are often not enough to accomplish all that we want to achieve.

Time has become a precious commodity or a limited resource both in our personal and working lives. There are in fact a lot of metaphorical expressions in English that show how valuable time is.

In this post, I’ve selected 12 expressions related to time that I found in Ian McKenzie’s book “Financial English” that are frequently used in English. I have used a business context for the examples.

1. Take time
Don’t worry. I know things haven’t been easy and that it will take a little more time for things to pick up, but things will turn around.

2. Time left
How much time have we got left to present our findings to the board?

3. Run out of time
We need a decision from the bank. We’re running out of time.

4. Spare the time
I really cannot spare more time on this project.

5. Worth the time
I don’t think this account is worth the time we’re going to need to make it viable.


6. Save time
It will save us a huge amount of time if we were to forewarn our suppliers of the changes ahead of the meeting.

7. Waste of time
We’ve had to input all the data again onto the system. It’s been a such a waste of time.

8. Spend time
Look, we’ve spent a great deal of time on this tender. We cannot afford to lose it now.

9. Allocate time
We need to allocate sufficient time on this task to ensure it gets done properly.

10. Lose time
There’s no time to lose. We need to head to the airport now.

11. Invest time
We’ve invested a lot of time on cultivating this connection. We cannot abandon it now.

12. Give time
If you could just give me more time, I promise I’ll get the figures to you by tomorrow.


Thank you for taking the time to read this post! If you liked it, please share it. And if you’d like to receive my posts automatically into your inbox, why not subscribe to my blog?

Ciao for now



Source: Financial English (Second Edition 2012), Ian Mackenzie, Cengage Learning

Writing Tips: How to Write Better Academic Papers

Photo: Pixabay

Photo: Pixabay

Most of my clients are business people and more often than not need to work on their business writing, for example, emails, reports or proposals. However, I’ve had the occasional client who needed to work on their academic writing for their Master’s Degree or PhD. Business and academic writing have very different requirements and whilst I have more recent experience of business writing, I had to go back to my university days in order to help my clients with their academic writing needs. It was a most stimulating and challenging experience but one filled with trepidation as I wanted to make sure that I was giving my clients the best kind of support.

So, I was delighted when Robert Morris approached me recently with an offer to write for my blog and chose the subject of academic writing.  In his post, he shares some valuable online resources you could refer to as well as giving you some tips on how to write an excellent essay. I dare say that a lot of native speakers could do with following these suggestions, too. 

So without further ado, I present you Robert Morris.

There are tons of guides, manuals and instructions that ESL students can follow when they try to write essays, but they always struggle with the completion of academic content. The standardized format of academic writing and reference is not easy to master for a foreign student. Don’t worry; you can still write great papers if you use the right tools and follow specific steps that will guide you through the process.

The best essay writing online resources

Before you can start tackling the essay writing process, you should take a look at these online tools that will make the assignment simpler for you.

Rob Whyte, the founder of this website, is an English professor who teaches English conversation and composition. He is also a professional writer you can learn from. At ESLWriting.org, you’ll find useful articles and eBooks that will help you understand the concept of academic writing in English.

Explore Writing
Although this website is focused on all categories of writers, ESL students can still benefit from its resources. Besides the category of Essays, you can explore other sections of the website, such as: fiction, journalism, general writing hints, personal writing, poetry, script writing, and more.

The Easy Essay
This automated information organization program will help you create a solid base for your essay. As a result, you will create a logical piece of content based on strong arguments.

All you need to do is choose a word, and you’ll get a map of related words that will help you come up with genuine ideas on how to approach the topic. This is one of the most effective brainstorming tools you can use before starting the writing process.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

A guide to essay writing

Now that you have the right tools to support you through the process of academic writing, you can follow these tips and complete an outstanding paper:

Step 1: Think about the type of essay and choose a topic!
ESL students are usually confused by the different types of essays they have to write. Before you can start with the research process, you should understand what you are expected to write. After that, you can feel free to pick a topic that will inspire you to write the paper.

Step 2: Locate resources
Depending on the type of essay you are working on, you will need to look for resources to support the discussion. If you are writing a personal essay, you can feel free to skip this step. The discussion of all other types of academic content should be supported by relevant facts.

Step 3: Work on the structure
If you want to write a successful paper, you need to create an outline and stick to the planned structure. This step will help you move from one paragraph to another without trying to think of new arguments along the way.

Step 4: Start writing
Stick to the outline you’ve created and elaborate each point with clean, readable sentences. Don’t be afraid to reorganize the arguments if that would result with a better logical flow.

Step 5: Reference!
This is one of the hardest aspects of the academic writing process, mainly because it’s based on strict rules that don’t allow you to improvise.

Step 6: Bring it to perfection.
The spelling, grammar, and structure of your essay should be flawless. Make sure to check the content several times and correct all mistakes. This is an important step that will increase the overall quality of your essay.


The tools and tips listed above will help you tackle the challenge of academic writing with ease. As an ESL student, you are facing difficulties that require a more efficient approach. Don’t overlook the important stages of the process, and remember that you can surpass any obstacle when you rely on the right tool.


Robert is a professional essay writer at custom writing service NinjaEssays, loves reading, learning and painting. You can follow NinjaEssays on Twitter, Facebook and Google+

Thanks very much for this post, Robert. I hope you find the tips and suggestions Robert has shared here helpful. I will certainly be checking out the online tools.

If you found this post helpful, please share it and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to get my posts directly into your inbox.

Ciao for now


Gong Xi Fai Chai! Let’s Practise English Personality Adjectives with the Chinese Zodiac.

BLOG_New Year

First of all, I’d like to wish all my Chinese readers a warm Gong Xi Fai Chai /gong zee fah chai/ (Happy New Year). Listen to the correct pronunciation here.

Today marks the beginning of the new lunar year in the Chinese calendar. Over the next few days, Chinese around the world will be celebrating with their families with sumptuous feasts and events like the dragon or lion dance. In fact, the great migration has already started with millions travelling back to their families.

It is also the Year of the Goat or Sheep. The Chinese Zodiac has always been a source of fascination for me. Growing up in Malaysia where the second largest ethnic group is Chinese we took part in Chinese New Year festivities with great enthusiasm.

We also took our zodiacal signs and their associated personality traits very seriously. As I was thinking about the year of the goat and the other zodiacal signs, I thought that the personality traits would be a great way of introducing you to English personality adjectives whilst at the same time introducing you to the Chinese zodiac.

So, without further ado, let’s start. There are 12 zodiac signs in the Chinese horoscope. Each sign relates to an animal and to the lunar year in which you were born. The Chinese believe the animal ruling your birth year has a profound influence on your personality and destiny.

The 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac are in the following order Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep/Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar/Pig. Each sign corresponds to a year and is repeated in 12-year cycles.

You can determine your sign by referring to the year of your birth and matching it to the chart below:

BLOG_Chinese Zodiac years

Each sign has positive and negative traits.

RAT - Intelligent, adaptable, quick-witted, charming, artistic, sociable. Can be selfish, ruthless, controlling, scheming

OX –  Loyal, reliable, thorough, strong, reasonable, steady, determined. Can be stubborn, narrow-minded, demanding, rigid

TIGER – Enthusiastic, courageous, ambitious, leadership, confidence, charismatic. Can be restless, clumsy, hot-tempered, impatient.

RABBIT -Trustworthy, empathic, modest, diplomatic, sincere, sociable, caretakers. Can be moody, shy, lazy, opportunistic.

DRAGON – Lucky, flexible, eccentric, imaginative, artistic, spiritual, charismatic. Can be arrogant, violent, brash,controlling.

SNAKE Philosophical, organized, intelligent, intuitive, elegant, attentive, decisive. Can be a loner, bad communicator, possessive, distrustful.

Photo: Wikipedia

HORSE – Adaptable, loyal, courageous, ambitious, intelligent, adventurous, strong. Can be fickle, rude, gullible, stubborn.

SHEEP/GOAT -Tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm. Can be moody, a worrier (noun), a complainer (noun), and or too soft.

MONKEY Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart. Can be vain, clumsy, trickster, snobbish.

ROOSTER – Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident. Can be critical, egotistical, rough, opinionated. 

DOG – Loyal, sociable, courageous, diligent, steady, lively, adaptable, smart. Can be lazy, cold, stubborn, quarrelsome.

BOAR/PIG – Honourable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable. Can be naive, gullible, materialistic, clingy.

So there you have it. Do you recognise these personality traits in yourself? More importantly, can you think of other adjectives, both positive and negative, that would describe yourself that aren’t mentioned above?

If you’d like more information on the Chinese Zodiac signs, take a look at this source.

That’s all folks. I hope you have fun exploring the Chinese zodiac and studying the above adjectives.

Ciao for now.


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After Mardis Gras (Shrove Tuesday) It’s Time For Reflection During Lent – Some Vocabulary

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

I am in Milan, Italy at the moment. My trip was a last minute arrangement. My mother fell and broke her wrist – ouch! After a 10-day stay in hospital ( a rather fraught (tense) experience) which included an operation to have a titanium plate inserted, she returned home late last week. I decided to fly over so that I could help my mother as and when she needed. I am glad that I am a teacher as my nursing skills are severely lacking!! Luckily, my mother is extremely independent and is recovering remarkably well.

The remarkable patient

The remarkable patient

Mum's bionic hand

Mum’s bionic hand

Yesterday, we went to the hospital to have her dressing changed. I got to see the metal stitches that she was given.She looks like she has a bionic arm!

Despite her broken wrist, my mother and I have been to the cinema and even the theatre. As I write this post, she’s taking her English class at the centre where she volunteers as an English Language teacher! What a Mum!


Whilst in Milan, I am also taking the opportunity to catch up with some clients, friends and to visit some new places. The city has been very busy getting ready for the Expo which will take place between May and October this year. There has been a lot of building work around certain key areas.

Yesterday I visited Eataly which is an organisation that celebrates all the food that Italy has to offer the world. It was a real feast for the eyes.


This week is also the end of carnival week that culminated yesterday with Mardis Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Shrove Tuesday as it’s known in the UK. To Christians around the world, Mardis Gras represents the last chance for a great show of colour, raucous behaviour and excess of food and wine before the start of the 40-day abstinence for Lent.

Here in Italy, the Venice Carnival is world-famous. However there are also lesser known carnivals like the one in Rome. In terms of food, we eat “chiacchiere” which are delicious, crunchy and positively moreish. We also eat “tortelli” although I prefer the former. In the UK,  Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day.

Le Chiacchiere - crunchy and so moreish!!

Le Chiacchiere – crunchy and so moreish!!

From today (Ash Wednesday), all excesses are put to one side and we begin the 40-day abstinence for Lent. “The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial.” (Wikipedia).  In the Christian world, this takes on many forms such as fasting on certain days, avoiding certain food types like dairy products, meat and alcohol. In today’s more secular society, some people choose to give up a luxury product or favourite item like chocolate or alcohol.

Me? I haven’t decided yet. In Milan, we follow the Ambrosian Rite after St Ambrose (the patron saint of Milan) and that means that carnival ends four days later on Fat Saturday (sabato grasso). This also means that I have four more days to enjoy all the goodies on offer and have more time to decide what to give up for Lent. For as the saying goes….when in Rome (Milan), do as the Romans (Milanese) do!

So cheers!

For the Christians among you, practising or non-practising, are you giving anything up for Lent?

If you liked this post please share it. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out on my posts.

Ciao for now


Shakespeare in Love – 14 Love Quotes from Shakespeare that you could use for Valentine’s Day

Photo: Pixabay

Juliet’s Balcony in Verona Photo: Pixabay

We’re less than a week away from Valentine’s Day and love it or loathe (hate) it, many couples and would be couples will be celebrating the day in some form or other. (My next post will talk about these different ways).

Last year I shared 10 love idioms that you could use with your loved ones. This year I’d like to share with you 14 (for 14 February!) love quotes that Shakespeare penned (wrote) in his plays. Shakespeare is the most quoted English writer and many of his quotes have become part of the English Language. In fact, I shared some of those expressions in this post.



I found the following quotes from this wonderful site called No Sweat Shakespeare. They shared 50 Shakespeare Love Quotes and I’ve chosen 14 of my favourite.
I love the words used not only for the emotion expressed but also because the words can be easily translated into modern English.

Let me know if you agree with me.

1.“If music be the food of love, play on”
Twelfth Night – Act 1, Scene 1


2. “The course of true love never did run smooth”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Act 1, Scene 2


3. “She’s beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; She is woman, and therefore to be won”
Henry VI Part 1 – Act 5, Scene 2


4. “I love you more than words can wield the matter, Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty”
King Lear – Act 1, scene 1

5. “The sight of lovers feedeth those in love”
As You Like It – Act 3, Scene 4

6“I would not wish any companion in the world but you”
The Tempest – Act 3, Scene 1


7. “For where thou art, there is the world itself, And where thou art not, desolation”
Henry IV Part 2 – Act 3, Scene 2


8. “I humbly do beseech of your pardon, For too much loving you”
Othello – Act 3, Scene 3


9. “Speak low if you speak love”
Much Ado About Nothing – Act 2, Scene 1


10. “Hear my soul speak. Of the very instant that I saw you, Did my heart fly at your service”
The Tempest – Act 3, Scene 1


11. “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?”
As You Like It – Act 3, Scene 5


12. “Love is a smoke and is made with the fume of sighs”
Romeo & Juliet – Act 1, Scene 1


13. “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better”
Twelfth night – Act 3, Scene 1

14. “Her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love”
Antony & Cleopatra – Act 3, Scene 5

Have these quotes inspired you to write your own message of love for your loved one? I hope so!

If you liked this post please share it. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out on my posts.

Ciao for now


My Journey So Far -“What’s Your Story” Blog Challenge with a Human Touch

Vicky Loras is an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) educator whom I hold in the highest esteem. Not only is she an excellent teacher, she is extremely generous with her time   and takes huge pleasure in sharing her knowledge with her colleagues in the ELT (English Language Teaching) community.

In 2011, she launched the “What’s Your Story” Blog Challenge where she encouraged her colleagues to write and share their story. We could write aboutanything you consider important in your life or career, that has helped shape you as a person or educator.” The challenge is up and running again, and I’ve decided to rise to this challenge and share with you my story of how I became an English Language Teacher. So here goes.

Photo: Long Journey Home by Phil Richards/Flickr

Photo: Long Journey Home by Phil Richards/Flickr

A long time ago in another universe….
When I graduated from Southampton University with a degree in Politics and International Studies, I stumbled into the world of insurance and financial services. I’d like to say that it had always been my ambition to be a life assurance salesperson (!) but I would be lying. The truth is, it was the first job I secured and not really knowing what I wanted to do I thought I’d give things a go.

Well, this “let’s give it a go” attitude lasted 20 years. During that time, I changed sectors within the financial services industry from insurance, private client stockbroking, investment management and wealth management. It was a good career in that it allowed me to earn some good money, go on lovely holidays, live well and be financially independent – the latter being important to me.

However, throughout that time I lacked the motivation to develop professionally. I didn’t want to learn more. For me, my career was a job – a means to a good lifestyle. Nothing more. Deep down , I had no passion, motivation or ambition to do better. In a nutshell, I was BORED, but unwilling, or perhaps lacked the courage, to change.

The life-changing event…
Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2007. After eighteen months of various operations, a gruelling course of chemotherapy and suffering various complications, I returned to work in February 2009. By then, the credit crunch had taken its hold of the financial markets and the atmosphere back at work was extremely tense. We knew we were going to lose our jobs. We all sat around and started discussing our options.

I remember one of my colleagues asking me what I might do if we were made redundant. My immediate response without thinking was: “Oh, I’ll just go off and teach Italian!”. Where on earth did that come from?! I had never ever thought of being a teacher, so why now? To this day, I still don’t know what made me say that.

All I knew for sure was that I did NOT want to remain in the world of finance. I had had enough of the people, the industry and the way companies treated you.The problem was that I couldn’t picture myself in another role.

After 18 months of ill health, I knew EXACTLY what I did NOT want. It’s a cliché, but when you’ve been through a serious illness you realise how precious time is and the idea of wasting it becomes unbearable.
However, the challenge was deciding what I did want to do. After 20 years doing the same thing, what are you good for? You are that much older. It will be difficult to learn something new and who would employ you at the tender age of 40 something?

Anyway back to teaching Italian. I started looking into this and soon realised that the market for Italian Language teachers was rather limited and to be honest, my level of Italian wasn’t good enough (in my opinion) to teach higher level learners.

I went on holiday and met a lady – a university professor of Linguistics- who suggested that with my background in business and finance, I would be a good fit as a Business English teacher. She said that the EFL market was huge and that there was always demand for teachers. She recommended that I take the necessary qualifications and explore this possible career.

The Decision
So following my usual “let’s give it a go” approach, I decided to embark on this career. I researched the schools where to take my CELTA and opted for International House in London. I must have been one of the oldest students there! Everyone was fresh out of university, with great plans to travel and with fresh, young minds. I felt OLD! Nevertheless, I persevered and qualified.

I decided very quickly what I wanted to do. Contrary to what all my tutors advised me, I decided to go straight into 1-1 teaching (no group classes for me!), teach adults and concentrate on Business English. I didn’t want to lose 20 years of whatever experience I’d gained. After all, I did enjoy the world of business and meeting different people. The freelance option was far more attractive than being employed by a school. My need to be independent  and free to do what I wanted and when I wanted was too strong to be ignored. If my illness had taught me anything it was that if I couldn’t control what happened to my body, I was going to do my utmost to control this new career.

I am now into my sixth year as an English Language Trainer and what can I say about this career other than I simply LOVE it! I have never lived so keenly and passionately as I have done these last five years. Every new experience is different and exciting. I have learned more in these five years than I ever did in finance. I have met the most wonderful  and amazing clients, some of whom have become lifelong friends. They have taught me so much more than I could ever teach them. I have created a special and invaluable Personal Learning Network (PLN) with my EFL colleagues around the world through social media and through whom I have learned and continue to learn incredible things. I’ve discovered the wonders of blogging through which I have also met new clients and teachers. Through blogging I have discovered my passion for writing which I didn’t know I possessed. Through teaching I have rediscovered my love for learning.

Notwithstanding the incredible things that my career change and teaching have given me, I couldn’t have achieved any of it without my husband’s love and support. My husband was my rock during my illness and gave me the self confidence I’d always lacked before meeting him to believe in myself and my ability to do anything. Thank you, sweetheart.

So there you have it. My story so far. With a bit of luck, I will keep going, keep developing professionally and fingers crossed, keep living this life as passionately and keenly as I do now.

Thank you for reading.


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