Lessons in the "Lifestyle" Category

Easter Traditions

Today let’s talk about Easter traditions. Every Christian country and region has its own. In this lesson we will look at a few of them.

Most people associate Easter with Easter eggs, Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts. Easter though is about Christ. Many Christians celebrate Easter to commemorate the resurrection of Christ. For this reason they go to church over this period.

Easter traditions do vary depending on where you live and what religion you have. A favourite Easter game is egg tossing or egg throwing. Why? Because the egg is a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in Pagan celebrations of spring and was adopted by early Christians as a symbol of the rebirth of man at Easter.

Valentine’s Day!

Today let’s talk about Valentine’s Day! In case you didn’t know it is on February 14th. It is celebrated in many countries around the world. These days it is pretty commercial. Known also as St Valentine’s Day it is associated with love! Valentine’s Day symbols include heart shapes, doves and the figure of a winged cupid.

In Britain in the 18th century handwritten greeting cards were sent. Lovers also expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, and confectionary. By 1900 handwritten cards had given way to mass-produced greeting cards; all these traditions still continue. Nowadays lovers also send SMS messages and email cards. A dozen red roses remain a popular gift to send your lover.

Where to retire?

Today, let’s talk about where we might like to retire to. There are many thoughts on this subject, which this lesson will hopefully explore.

Most of us look forward to the day when we can sit back and retire. However, where should you retire to? Will it be a place by the sea? Perhaps you might like to live in a country cottage or in a house up a mountain.

Years ago many Brits living in cities favoured retiring to places like Bognor Regis, Margate or Blackpool because a place by the sea is what many dreamed of. Over the last 30 years or so many Brits retired to Spain. The weather is good - with 300 days of sunshine.

Remembering David Bowie

Today let’s talk about music legend David Bowie. The singer died in New York on the 10th January 2016 at the age of 69 following an 18 month battle with liver cancer.

Bowie had kept his illness a secret from his fans; only his family and a few close friends actually knew. He told them that he wanted to be remembered for the good times and his music. Shortly after his death he was secretly cremated in New York without any of his family or friends present ‘without fuss’ – no big show, no fan-fare.

Office Attire

Today, let’s talk about office attire. What should we wear in an office that is suitable? In today’s world there are several possible answers.

Men are normally expected to wear a suit, a shirt, a tie, and polished black shoes. Women should wear a blouse, a skirt and smart office shoes. However, office attire in some countries does vary, probably because of the climate.

If staff deal with customers and are front office they will usually need to wear a suit or company office uniform. If they are back office they might not need to wear a formal suit. This though will depend on company policy.

Remembering 2015

In today’s English lesson we will look back at 2015. We will talk about some of the things that happened in the world during 2015.

The ongoing war in Syria dominated the news headlines in 2015. That aside, perhaps the biggest event to happen in Europe in 2015 was the great migration crisis. When the German Chancellor Mrs Merkel said ‘All migrants are welcome’ the floodgates were opened. Only Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán challenged her with his fence.

In the States Donald Trump was big news. He’s got a big mouth and wasn’t afraid to use it. Sadly, more people were killed by guns in the USA but as usual nothing was done about it.

Climate Change

Recently in Paris UN negotiators met to discuss climate change. Delegates wanted to discuss policies to keep a global temperature rise to below 2°C.

Is such a meeting just a lot of hot air and false promises? The last such meeting two years ago in Warsaw proved to be exactly this! Will the UN negotiators actually negotiate a meaningful policy this time round that all nations in the world will keep? Judge for yourself on this point.

Scientists have warned us that temperatures could rise by 5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. The meeting of world leaders in Paris hopes to contain this to below 2°C. They pledged to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.

Christmas Markets in Europe

Today, let’s talk about Christmas markets in Europe. Probably the most popular destination for tourists seeking Christmas markets is Germany. Cities hosting them include Cologne, Nuremburg and Trier. Here visitors can sample the local bratwurst and gingerbread, as well as tasting the local beers and hot mulled wine – Glühwein.

Central Europe offers visitors some wonderful Christmas markets. These include Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Prague. Each offers some wonderful locally-made Christmas gifts. In the week before Christmas check out the locals buying carp from carp tanks!

English Words of the Year 2015

Today we will look at the English words of the year 2015, as noted by the Collins English Dictionary. These are the words and phrases in the UK that Lexicographers have noticed a significant rise in their usage over the last year.

We’ll start with the ‘word of the year’ that according to Collins is Binge-watching. This is where we stay in to watch more than three episodes of a series in a day. Apparently, 90% of Brits now do this!

Paris horror – Islamic State claim responsibility – on Friday 13th

France was in a nationwide state of emergency on Saturday following Friday night’s attack in Paris from Islamic State. It comes just 10 months after the Charlie Hebdo magazine attack where 12 people were killed.

The latest terrorist incident was the worst such attack Paris has experienced since World War II. The French President Monsieur Hollande called the coordinated attacks “an act of war.”

ISIS has claimed responsibility. They said eight ISIS militants wearing explosives belts and armed with machine guns attacked precisely selected targets in Paris.