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Showing posts from June, 2017

The Italian Job II

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My foray into the delectable language of Italy continues apace.  After months of staying at 34% I suddenly had a dramatic leap to 40%.  The main reason for this is that I adjusted the way in which I use the app.
Every day it sends me an email reminding me to do my daily practice. This email presents me a topic to move on to.  Like every good student I obeyed my teacher and did this.  However, I would be in the midst of a revision exercise and come to a complete stop because I couldn’t remember vocabulary. So I decided to trust my instincts and redo units the app told me I’d already completed. 
Now I ignore the instructions from the app’s emails and redo a unit until I’m confident I’ve retained both the vocabulary and the grammar.  If you think about it logically this makes absolute sense. In order for something to go from short term memory it has to be revisited and repeated so it can be stored in the long term.
I find it incredibly easy to read and translate – especially from Italian …

#Review: A Dance With Dragons (After The Feast)

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A Dance with Dragons (After The Feast) by George R R Martin



This book was as exasperating for me as the Dreams & Dust instalment, primarily because I knew much of the events from the TV series albeit in a truncated and slightly altered version. The name listing akin to the begats of the Bible was equally trying and pulled me away from the story far too many times for my liking. I wouldn’t have minded too much if it had been an isolated incidence, but it seemed to be almost everywhere.
There were some lovely moments when characters voiced realisations about situations or their own flaws but in general I was a little under whelmed by this book.  I found myself eager to get to bits I was as yet unaware of. And while there were such moments, they were far too rare.
It was pretty obvious that everyone who was anyone was gathering their forces as there are a few almighty battles in the offing. I did not find this section stirring or entertaining. My main thought was – “Well, let’s get on w…

Injecting Fun Into Your Routine: Step 3

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So this is the final instalment of how I inject FUN into my routine. By the way, I’m not advocating that you do the exact same things I do to get your writing brain to peak performance. What I’m advising is that you find those pass times which serve to reinvigorate you best.



I love nothing more than heading off to the cinema to watch a great film on the big screen. Unfortunately I don’t have the time I had when I was at university. Back then I’d treat myself to a visit to The Cornerhouse after a session of research or revision at Manchester Central Library.  Now I’m restricted to unexpected free evenings or the weekend.  I’m more than happy to go to the cinema on my own but am always delighted when I can share the experience with a friend or two.
My love of cinema stems from childhood. My parents were avid film goers and I was dragged along even before I was potty trained. There is a rumour going round that once this event took place my knighted throne travelled with us to the cinema. B…

#Review: A Dance With Dragons (Dreams & Dust)

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A Dance with Dragons (Dreams & Dust) by George R R Martin



In this 5th book in the series, I was very pleased to note that John Snow shares my frustrations about Samwell Tarly.  I loved how Martin shows John’s internal struggles with the hard choices forced upon his very young shoulders. I think the thing which the books remind us of very clearly is how young so many of the protagonists are. The TV series can often make them seem a lot older. What makes this aspect of the books particularly poignant for me is that the youth of so many of the characters is a constant reminder of how a world at war forces our children to grow up much too quickly.
For me, the most frustrating thing about this book was that there is so much of it I already know from the television series. I kept reading on in the hopes I was going to get to something new. This is because the books do not stick to a specific chronology in the way the series does.
The other aspect which annoyed me a little was that there w…

Injecting Fun Into Your Routine: Step 2

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So now we’re onto step two of how to inject fun into your routine. I suspect you’ll be pretty unsurprised that I’m a little partial to this next activity. Any guesses?  Here’s a picture clue.



I often read 2 or 3 books simultaneously. Usually there's one in my bag in case I get a spare moment to read. Surreptitious reading moments feel so totally decadent.  Sometimes I accidentally-on-purpose factor in early arrival time to tutoring venues just so I can sit in the car for 10 minutes or so and read.  I often have 2 books in my bag because I might just finish the one that’s already there. It’s always good to have a spare to hand.
There’s also a book by my pillow because I’ve found they make the most magnificent bedfellows. Sometimes I need to read a book because one of my students is studying it for exams. It used to be they studied what are considered classics and then I was covered as I’ve read a fair few of those. But these days other books are creeping into the syllabus which means…