Friday, August 29, 2014

Things to do in London in September

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that September 2014 in London is going to be just as exciting as every month is in the capital. Visiting England now summer is drawing to a close might not seem very appealing, but aside from the fact that with the leaves on the trees turning golden and orange London can be just as beautiful at this time of year as any other, there are plenty of indoor activities if you want to avoid getting wet! In between attending classes at our English Centre in London, we definitely recommend checking some of these events out.

Firstly, one for you music lovers. On 13th and 14th September, just a short journey away from our English school, a music festival that is promising great things is being held. ‘OnBlackheath’ is taking place for the first time ever, and there’s going to be plenty of great music, food and entertainment for all ages. Famous names at the festival include Frank Turner and Aloe Black, and there will also be some acts you may not have heard of – but perhaps you’ll discover your new favourite band! The entire area surrounding Blackheath Common over this weekend is sure to have a great atmosphere, so even if you can’t get a ticket, check out some of the chilled bars and pubs in the local area and enjoy the lively vibe.

Into art? Between 13th and 21st September the 12th annual London Design Festival is being hosted, which means that design-focussed events will be taking place all over the capital. Top attractions include temporary features at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and ‘A Place Called Home’ feature in Trafalgar Square, where ‘homes’ will be set up in the square showcasing top designers’ interior design skills. Also, look out for some unusual windows on Regent Street between these dates…

For the duration of September, a number of events are scheduled centred around the River Thames, for the Totally Thames Festival 2014. From 5th to 9th September, discover some magnificent vessels gathered in Greenwich, for a Tall Ships Festival. Here, you can admire the amazing ships for free, or take a voyage on one on a Thames cruise. We’d highly recommend heading to Greenwich on the evening of 5th September for a spectacular fireworks display, (if you can’t make this there’s also a display the following evening at Royal Arsenal Woolwich!), with the wonderful backdrop of the ships, for free! Another event worth visiting the river for is on 27th September, when the Great River Race will happen and over 2000 competitors take part in a boating marathon.

The last event we want to recommend, (we really didn’t plan it this way, but apparently September is a great month for festival fans – there are festivals for every interest though!), is Merge Festival 2014. This festival is all about contemporary culture, in the form of music, performance and art. Between 18th September and 19th October, the area around the Tate Modern and Borough Market will be alive with music and pop-up exhibitions, which will mostly be free to attend. 

So there you have it, a month full of festivals and plenty of free things to do that sound amazing; September is looking like a pretty good month for a trip to the capital…

Friday, August 22, 2014

Improve your reading in English

Reading is one of the hardest skills to master when learning the English language, as often words are not spelt the way that they are pronounced. You should always be 100% focused when reading because of this. Sometimes people like to push themselves too much and while it’s great to have that confidence, the outcome isn’t always satisfactory. You should start with reading at the level you’re at; if you’re a beginner, don’t buy an advanced book, as you will just get frustrated. This could have a negative effect on your enthusiasm and you may even start to question your ability, which you should never do! It will of course take a little effort to achieve, but Twin’s English Centres are here to support you, and their professional, friendly and qualified teachers will guide you all the way and provide you with all the resources and help you will ever need.

When you’re out and about or watching TV or listening to the radio, have a notepad handy to write words down so you can search for them online or in a dictionary later and look up their definitions. This is a great way to extend your vocabulary, as we all know that the same word could have different meanings or uses. As we are on the topic of watching TV, it’s very useful to put on subtitles when watching the news, documentaries, soaps and other programmes. That way you are hearing the correct pronunciation and you can check the spelling at the same time. Making notes like that and matching words and spellings will help speed up the process of your learning immensely.

It’s essential that you read a lot; it is very useful to read out loud, this way you will get to practise pronouncing words correctly. Also, there’s no doubt that new words will come up all the time which you can look up in a dictionary, so you’ll increase your vocabulary. The more you read the quicker the progress. Set yourself goals, use a timetable showing all the free time you have and use some of that spare time for reading. It doesn’t have to be hours, it could be just 15 minutes or half an hour a day, as much as you’re comfortable with. You could also take a book or magazine with you on the train, especially if you have a long journey; it will keep you entertained and you will be learning at the same time.

Doing quizzes with your friends can also help; memory tests such as writing words down, covering them up and trying to spell the words is a fun and easy way to learn, too.

Make sure you read something you enjoy and are interested in, be it fact, fiction, or magazines. As I mentioned before, do not forget , read at your own level until you feel you’re ready and feel confident about moving on to the stage. You could also try and read to someone else so that the can give you feedback; feedback and constructive criticism help you to learn, as people will praise the things you’re doing well already and can help you with the aspects you still need to work on.

I hope these tips will help you improve your reading and pronunciation, and soon reach the level of English you are aiming for. And don’t forget, Twin’s English Centres are here to help, so give it some thought and maybe join one of our courses!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Things to do in London in August

August is upon us and to be honest, a lot of you guys will probably be wondering where 2014 has gone! Instead of worrying about where the last 7 months have gone though, how about making sure you make the most of the rest of the year and attend as many events as possible this month in London. This article will outline the highlights of what’s going on in London this month, and where you can go to feel the summer party vibe – perfect for filling your free time while you’re studying English with Twin!

Firstly, we have the perfect place for an evening out, and it’s just a short walk from our London English school, so you should definitely check it out after class! Lewisham’s Model Market opened at the beginning of summer, and has a really unique atmosphere. There are a variety of food stalls serving delicious treats from hotdogs to brownies, and the unusual bars, (for example, there’s a ‘Vinyl’ bar, where you can pick a wine based on a genre of music), serve a wide variety of delicious drinks. As it gets later, open fires for roasting marshmallows over really bring the market to life; make sure you make time to visit one Friday or Saturday soon!

We also have to mention one of the most famous festivals in the world, Europe’s biggest street festival – Notting Hill Carnival. This year, the festival that originated in 1964 and was designed for Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their culture and traditions, is taking place on 24th August and 25th August. You can experience the lively atmosphere with the exciting parade accompanied by uplifting beats ranging from Reggae, R&B and Salsa to Funk. There’s no need to eat beforehand, either, since you will be surrounded by the aromas of traditional Caribbean food coming from stalls serving a variety of delicious food such as jerk chicken, patties and curries and many more.

Our final recommendation for August is one for film fans. Open-air cinemas have been more popular than ever in the capital this summer, so while the evenings are still pleasantly warm, we definitely think you should check one of them out. One of our favourites is the Hot Tub Cinema. Sitting in a hot tub watching a classic movie with your friends will certainly be a unique experience you won’t forget. Hurry before the current season of showings ends!

We hope you enjoyed the article and manage to visit some of these awesome happenings in August, especially Notting Hill Carnival, which never disappoints. Hopefully you have a great August in London, and check back soon if you’re planning on visiting in September, we’ll be sure to let you know about more great things to do!

Friday, August 01, 2014

Lewisham’s Food Hotspots

Whether you are a student at Twin’s Lewisham English Centre or you just live around the area, you guys will definitely find these pointers to great food hotspots in Lewisham useful. After all, while you’re studying here you won’t just want to head to fast food chains all the time, (you know which ones I’m hinting at!).

Starting the day with a satisfying traditional English breakfast is always a great way to go, and for this, Maggie’s restaurant is the one to visit. Maggie’s is a family run business and has been around since 1983, and since then word of mouth has provided it with a lot of customers and a great reputation. It’s easy to find, too, just a few minutes away from Lewisham Station. You can even invent your very own Full English Breakfast here! For just £6 you can choose from 20 items to create a breakfast consisting of all your favourite things, such as poached eggs, hash browns and black pudding. They also offer bottomless tea and coffee, and if you fancy a refill you won’t have to worry about getting up as the friendly staff come round regularly to see if you need a top up.

 Up for something different? Meze Mangal, a Turkish restaurant tucked away on Lewisham Way, is definitely the place to visit with family and friends. Meze Mangal is well-known for serving authentic traditional Turkish cuisine combined with Mediterranean flavours and great ambience, as well as its welcoming and attentive staff. Whether or not you are into healthy eating, Meze Mangal never disappoints. The tarama salad made with fresh seasoned vegetables is an ideal dish for those who fancy a light lunch, or, if you want a real taste of Turkish cuisine, tavuk beyti and chicken kofta is the one to go for. The prices are reasonable, too; for £4 you can choose a selection of hot and cold starters, and the majority of main courses are under £10.

The Big Red Pizza Bus on Deptford Church Street should also be on your list of places to visit. Since opening in 2011 it has attracted many hungry customers with its eye-catching red bus appearance and its legendary pizzas made with fine ingredients. We’d also recommend you try the recently introduced handmade Italian egg pasta. At The Big Red Pizza Bus, you might also be treated to one of the exciting events the restaurant regularly hosts, such as live band performances and comedy nights. This restaurant is lively and a great place to have a catch-up dinner with some friends, and, what’s more, it’s highly affordable, (most dishes are under £10), so you won’t need to fork out too much money! Some popular signature dishes include freshly made ravioli, fiorentina pizza, and to complete your night you should definitely finish your meal with a Knickerbocker Glory.

There are plenty of hidden gems in Lewisham, you just need to take some time to discover them, and once you do you won’t regret it, you might even become an expert in finding hidden food treasure! Some other food hotspots in the local area include CafĂ© Rhubarb and Custard in Manor Lane, or if you fancy something a little spicy, Babur, an Indian restaurant in Brockley Rise, is the one for you.