Monday, November 30, 2015

An exclusive insight into the brilliant Billy Elliot

By Beth Hepple; Here at our English Centre in Greenwich, we have an active social programme and there is always an array of things for our students to do, from theatre trips to walking tours and museum trips. At Twin HQ, some of our staff were lucky enough to attend a screening of Billy Elliot the Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

Located just a stone’s throw away from Victoria station, the Victoria palace was opened in 1911 and its exterior is the epitome of regal London. At twin, we are often able to secure tickets at a discounted rate for students and candidates on any course within Twin Group, meaning that they have the opportunity to experience theatre in London’s famous West End.

Billy Elliot is one of the most fun musicals currently being shown in the London at the moment, with some of the Staff at Twin HQ referring to it as ‘an absolute must-see’. Our very own Internet genius, David, shared some of his thoughts: “What a fantastic show with such a great cast, the young lad playing Billy (Euan Garrett) was outstanding and so very talented.  Ruthie Henshall, with her usual high standard of acting, was great in her role of Mrs. Wilkinson the dance teacher.

“The show was very funny in parts, especially the character of Grandma, and sad at times such as when Billy was talking to his mum. Overall, it was a very uplifting and inspiring performance.”

Visiting the theatre is just one of the many things that you are able to do when studying, working or travelling within London. For students currently at Twin, the school office can provide further details of all of the social activities that are available. For those of you thinking of studying, undertaking work experience or using any of Twin’s services, now is your chance to experience more of London. Have you already seen Billy Elliot? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Whimsical Winter Wonderland

By Jake Taylor; Last Thursday I was lucky enough to attend the press opening of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. For anyone who doesn’t know what Winter Wonderland is, it is a fun fair/ theme park with Bavarian style food and drink. The attraction has a lot of things to do, such as, fun houses, slides, ice skating, a giant Ferris wheel, a magical ice kingdom and more!

Winter Wonderland is free to enter (a cheap day out, I know!) however you can pay for food, drink and attractions inside the venue. If you would like to ice skate around the Ski Zillertal ice rink, tickets starts from as little as £9.50 for students and you can book your slot in advance.

Having gone to Winter Wonderland in previous years, I recommend that you go in the evening when it is dark; that way, you can walk around when all the lights are on and it is a lot more Christmassy and prettier.

When you walk up to the entrance of Winter Wonderland you are greeted by an abundance of shops that sell Christmas themed gifts such as scented candles, woolly hats, stuffed animals and more. It is nice to browse the stores and see what they have to offer, you may see a lot of things you like for a decent price. All of the shops look like wood cabins so it keeps to the theme of winter and gives you that warm, cosy feeling.  

The food and drinks at Winter Wonderland are very good; there are many places to buy from, such as; The Famous Bavarian Village, Bar Ice, Mr Fogg’s Cocktail Bar and Grizzly Inn. When I was ready to eat I chose to go to The Famous Bavarian Village as there was the most choice there. My personal favourite is the Pork Roll because it is very tasty and you get a choice of more than just pork, you get the choice of having the traditional scratchings with it as well as apple sauce. Get both toppings! You won’t regret it because they are absolutely excellent. You can also buy tasty treats such as churros which are also very good.

What is a churro I hear you ask? Well, it is almost like a donut with sprinkled sugar and/or cinnamon on top, it’s all very good. With drinks you have a lot of choice, Bavarian style beers, different types of mulled wine, mulled cider, soft drinks and much more line the shelves of the various drink huts that are scattered around the park.

If you’re looking for a quirkier form of entertainment, all you need to do is hop into the fun house. The fun house is great for all of the family and gives everyone a smile on their face; it is well worth parting with the extra cash. If you’re not feeling the fun house then there is also a big Ferris wheel where you can chill and observe all of the scenery.

Overall, Winter Wonderland is well worth a visit and should definitely be kept in mind when choosing what to do in London.  Hyde Park is just a hop, skip and a jump away from our English Centre in Greenwich via the Jubilee Line (North Greenwich to Bond Street). Have you been to Winter Wonderland yet? Share your pictures and thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Trip review: London bike tour with Brakeaway Tours

One of the main benefits of our English Centre in Greenwich is the location; being just minutes from Central London means that our students are able to explore the capital city with ease. Some of our English students recently went on a bike trip around the city with Brakeaway Tours.

Student, Simon Freier, shared some of his experience with us. He said: "The bike trip started at the Waterloo station. Each of us was given a bike and then we started riding to several sights of London. We visited, for example, the tower bridge, the Piccadilly Circus and some interesting skyscrapers.

"The group consisted of ca. 10 people and a guide, who was very nice. The guide gave some information about the buildings which you might not hear in the everyday life of London. So if you want more information about London than you find in your guidebook and the weather is good, you could give this bike tour a try."

The bike tour is one of many trips that are available to Twin students and it is a great way to spend an afternoon, socializing with the many people of various nationalities that study at our centres and enjoying a break from classes. Simon concluded: "The tour lasts approximately 3 hours including half an hour break to eat something or to take a coffee."

As well as the range English Courses that we have at our English Centre in London, Twin also offer a range of trips and tours to our students at a discounted rate with the bike tour being one of many opportunities that we can provide. This not only gives students the chance to see all of the sights and attractions of London and to explore the capital city, it allows our students to truly experience life in the UK and to practice their English skills in social situations. To study at one of Twin’s English Centres, please visit our homepage for further information.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Twin's top 10 weird and wonderful Oxford English Dictionary entries

By Beth Hepple; News broke today that an emoji was crowned ‘word of the year 2015’ by the Oxford Dictionary. Unfortunately, this is not something that we can say we agree with and there is uproar online with Twitter and Facebook users letting their opinions be heard. This isn’t the first time the dictionary gods have had us all discussing the ins and outs of the English Language though. Remember that time they added the word ‘chav’ and there was a national uproar in the UK? Even last year, the word of the year was ‘vape’ to coincide with the popularity of E-Cigarettes and who could forget 2013’s entry? Yes, that’s right, ‘selfie’ was the word we were all saying back in 2013 and this is one that has stuck around, with many Instagram feeds clogged with make-up selfies, funny selfies, dog selfies and such like.

One thing can be said for those guys over at the Oxford Dictionary, they like to get us talking about language. We took a look at some of the entries in the weird and wonderful section of their website and, for your amusement; we bring to you, our top 10 entries and their meanings.

10.Skycap – A porter at an airport.
9. Noctambulist – A sleepwalker.

8. Netizen - A habitual or keen user of the Internet.
7. Floccinaucinihilipilification - The action or habit of estimating something as worthless (a word generally only quoted as a curiosity)
6. Hoddy-noddy – A foolish person.
5. Absquatulate - To leave somewhere abruptly.
4. Cybersquatting - The practice of registering well-known names as Internet domain names, in the hope of reselling them at a profit.

3. Blatherskite - A person who talks at great length without making much sense.
2. Puddle jumper – A small, light aircraft which is fast and highly manoeuvrable and used for short trips.
1. Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis - An invented term said to mean ‘a lung disease caused by inhaling very fine ash and sand dust’, but rarely used except for its curiosity value.

We have to say, we can’t think of many times that these would be dropped into conversation. It would be much easier to call a sleepwalker, well, just that. Who’s ever heard of a Noctambulist anyway?

Have you used any of the words on our list? Or do you have a favourite word of your own that you would like to share? We would love to hear your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.