Category Archives: Language Learning Tips

Byte Sized language learning tricks and tips to try today, these are easy to do and should take no longer than 10 minutes max – unless you get carried away in a frenzy

Rain Idioms to describe your project

As I sit here pondering on the sanity of going camping in the pouring rain, I started chuckling about one of those crazy conversations that I had with my students not so long ago.

You see on a rainy day, on the corporate English circuit as language trainers grab their brollies (umbrellas) to make it across the city for the next group or one to one coaching session, I as a Brit couldn’t help but cringe as I walked in the door to be greeted to some groan inducing remark about ‘typical English weather’. Now being a Brit “Stiff Upper Lip” and all that, I was raised to smile and ignore and don’t get me wrong, I am all for small talk, in fact my students know that I insist on it, and have even been known to walk out of the room for absence of it, but my mid afternoon, the joke’s wearing pretty thin and the need for a coffee is stronger than ever.


So one day in Munich, my last teaching gig of the day was at Roland Berger and I make no qualms about it, these were my favourite students at the time, I used to really enjoy this lesson! It was my favourite afternoon but I was determined to fast track past the ‘typical English weather’ comments, so before anybody could say anything, I said,

“Oh my goodness! It’s raining cats and dogs out there!” to which the mog (affectionate name for cat) loving secretary, whose English wasn’t at it’s best, looked horrified. Now of course there weren’t really cats and dogs falling out of the sky, but the drops were mighty big, like they can be in Munich.

The head of department did me proud and without a bat of an eyelid (without even thinking) said “It never rains, it pours!”, now this was fabulous, I desperately searched my human hard drive for more rain idioms to fuel our silly dialogue and came up with “But, it’s ok, don’t worry about me…”, with a theatrical attempt to get my frizzcharged curls under control, “I’m as right as rain” (meaning I am perfectly fine).

Now, the timing couldn’t have been better, but in came a consultant and said without even realising that we were having a rain idiom banter, “Think we need a rain check on the beer garden idea!” to which I asked, egging him on to go along with our impromptu sketch “But you will let Walther know when you’ll meet, won’t you?” with eyebrows in a frenzy “Come Rain or Shine!” (no matter what, come what may, in any case).

I thought I had escaped but then just as the consultant left, in came another colleague I used to teach and said “Perfect weather for you Corinne!” Agggghhhh. But the tears of laughter mixed with the splashes I had yet to control minimised the groan factor and we went on to talk about other idioms

It turned out that the youngest girl on the team hadn’t saved for a rainy day and was in a fix after her car had failed the MOT or regular safety checks. That tied in perfectly with my topic of the day, conditionals.

In terms of technology it might feel odd using idioms yourself when you are originally introduced to them, I feel the same with German ones, particularly as I don’t want to get the prepositions wrong but as you become more familiar with them and hear them being used more frequently, they won’t sound so unfamiliar and you can have a lot of fun with idioms.

Technology project tasks sometimes have to be ‘put on the back burner’ or put on hold whilst another part of the project takes priority and that is when we are likely to say that we’ll have to take a rain check on going out for a drink after work.


If you want to start using your English more actively without having to join a regular evening class, or ask for training at work, then why not try out an online chat/discussion forum like the one that we have in our facebook group. Even though you are not actually ‘speaking’ English, as you post more often, you’ll automatically start to type faster so you’ll start using a more authentic writing style that makes speaking a lot easier because it is very similar, but you still have the ‘safe haven’ of being to able to go back and edit anything before you post if you want to.

The FB Byte Sized English Bar is a great way to boost confidence in your language skills without anybody at work having to know that you are getting help with your English, so if you want to ask whether the way you have written something is correct, then share it with us and we’ll help you get it right before you send out the email, we’ll find a diplomatic way for you to explain for instance that the project is to far down the line to accept new change requests or that the fees involved are not negotiable. You can also work on your grammar through the regular quizzes and other activities or join in on the career specific discussions that come up.

A lot of the time we are there without an agenda or purpose, it is more like a girlie tech zone for us to be ourselves, communicating and helping each other in English at a time and space to suit us. Why not try it out for just €1 by filling in the form below

If you don’t take a chance, you don’t stand a chance!

You know what, it is easy to do what you have always done.

It is convenient to do things the way you always do them and if you want to try something new, there are always people out there, some of whom will consider themselves to be friends, that seem intent on putting a spanner in the works (to do something that prevents a plan or activity from succeeding). 

But we are all individuals in our own right and can find the energy and determination to do things if we want something badly enough.

When I was too blobby to fit into the wedding dress of my dreams I decided to lose weight – nothing new there I hear you cry, but for me this was the first time ever that I had ever even thought about my ‘diet’ so for me it was a big deal.  A first ever and a tough thing to do when your future husband is away from home and you are planning a wedding at the same time as starting a business. People said I was crazy, but actually, I would have been crazy not to – after all, if fitting into a wonderful wedding dress isn’t a great source of motivation, what is? I knew that I would never get this incentive to do something about my weight again and frankly it was about time.

I went to Finland and learned their language within 9 months because I didn’t want to be floating around like some bubble waiting to burst – there is nothing beautiful about a woman that is silienced into not being herself, chatting, learning, smiling and flourishing. I am proud to say that I was one of painfully few that bothered to learn Finnish, because I wanted to experience everything as close up as possible.

So if you are reading this blog because you know you ought to do something about your English, to give it a bit of sparkle, then think about whether you are ready to take the next step, the step into the byte sized english club, where you can ask any question, resolve any queries, run a sentence past me to see if it is grammatically correct, because you are paying €9,99 a month to do so.


if you don’t take a chance
you don’t stand a chance!

Just go to the Byte Sized English and request access, then I’ll send you payment details by email. Easy.

Undercover English – Learning Vocab on the go

Undercover English >>> Try this language learning game…next time you are out and about – either on your own or with friends that are telling a story that you have already heard – go undercover.

REMEMBER You need to resist staring at the people in question – not good for street cred.

Now, look for people engrossed in conversation and try to work out what they might be saying to each other and see if you can interpret in your head. (in English of course!)

You can take it seriously or be a little far fetched and dramatic or just plain silly and rediculous.

Now I know that this isn’t rocket science, but that is exactly the point, learning a language can be a lot of fun. This is just one of many time effective ways of revising without any paper, pen or solitude that will point out your weaknesses.

AND ACTION …. Try it out and report back on our facebook page at
for more tips and tricks  … for the techie chicks (just had to add that because it rhymes)

Language Learning Games

Freaking out about your English exam for your ABI 2014?

Well you are not alone! It feels like though, doesn’t it? Chances are that everyone’s saying that they haven’t started revising yet, but how can you be sure?  You realise that you should have started revising already but the moment you pick up your English stuff you sink your head in your hands, not knowing where on earth to start. Right?

Hey listen, you don’t have to do this on your own. You don’t need to be cooped up in your room like billy no mates, with just dictionaries and grammar rules for company.  Just log in to facebook. Yes, it’s as easy as that, just log in and chat in English, I’ll give language feedback kindly and discretely, either individually in a private message or if I think everybody can learn something from it I’ll write a blog entry about it instead – no finger pointing, just constructive learning.

It costs just 99 cent to try it out for a month, then it’s €9.99 a month. We’ll break up that revision into byte sized chunks with discussions, quizzes, activities, Google Hangouts and much much more. What you really need is practice and you’re not going to get that couped up in your room feeling fed up are you?

Byte Sized English Club – Abi Englisch to the rescue!

No need to sigh, just log in and check out the tasks and activities all neatly bundled into byte sized chunks, making it more manageable, more doable, more fun. Remember though that this is just for techie chicks that need to get a decent grade in English but don’t seem to be able to get started.

It’s a closed group because going forward, this won’t just be about getting you through your ABI exam, but will be THE place to check in if you are worried about the English you will need for entrance exams, job interviews, team management skills and perhaps in the not to distant future, emigrating to work abroad.

This is your network, for IT chicks with the ambition to get on in their career but without the ego that makes people squirm. After all you can be brilliant without shouting from the rooftops right?

It costs €1 to try, €9,99 after that. The great thing is that you get a free month’s membership if you join by February 4th 2014 and a surprise in the post for each friend that joins up by that time too.