10 Sleepy Idioms for World Sleep Day

I don’t know about where you live, but recently here in the UK there have been lots of illnesses going around and a lot of people, including me, have been feeling under the weather (ill).

We have therefore been really appreciative of the topic of this week’s blog… sleep! There is nothing like a good sleep to make you feel better when you’re not feeling great!

So, as the 15th of March is World Sleep Day, here are 10 idioms related to sleep to help you talk about one of our favourite pastimes…


1. Hit the sack/hay

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To hit the sack or hit the hay basically means to go to bed (for sleep).

Example: “Well guys, I’m really enjoying this chat but I think I’d better hit the sack. I’ve got to be up early in the morning.”


2. to be out like a light

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To be out like a light means that when you hit the sack, you are able to fall asleep straightaway.

Example: “I was so tired when I went to bed last night… as soon as my head hit the pillow I was out like a light!”


3. Sleep like a log

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To sleep like a log means that you are in a really deep sleep.

Example: “Your bed’s so comfy – I slept like a log!”


4. Not sleep a wink

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So sleeping like a log is what we would all like to do – sleep deeply –  whereas not sleeping a wink means the opposite. This means being unable to sleep at all… not so fun!

Example: “I’m exhausted this morning. I was so stressed about today’s job interview that I couldn’t sleep a wink all night!”


5. forty winks

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So if no winks means no sleep, then what does forty winks mean? Forty winks actually means a short sleep in the day, like a nap.

Example: “I enjoy having forty winks on the sofa before the kids get home from school.”


6. to drop/nod off

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Whereas forty winks is an intentional kind of sleep (you want to have a nap and so you have a nap), dropping off or nodding off means to start sleeping unintentionally. So you drop off when you were supposed to be awake – ooops!

Example: “Charlotte, are you listening to me?

“Oh sorry, I must have nodded off there for a second! What did you say?”


7. burn the candle at both ends

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If you regularly nod off in public, it could be because you are burning the candle at both ends. To burn the candle at both ends means you are getting up early in the morning and going to bed late at night, so not getting enough sleep.

Example: “You need to start taking care of yourself. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends for weeks, studying for this exam. You need a proper night’s sleep or you won’t be healthy enough to take the exam at all!”


8. Night owl

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Of course, nobody really suits burning the candle at both ends, but some people are happier going to bed late and being up for some of the night. These people are called night owls.

Example: “I prefer to get up early and do yoga before having a nice big breakfast, but my boyfriend’s more of a night owl. He usually stays in bed in the morning and prefers to have his big meal late at night.”


9. early bird

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The opposite of a night owl is an early bird – someone who is happier going to bed in the evening and getting up early in the morning.

Example: “Your grandad was always an early bird – he got up every day at 5am and prepared the breakfast for the rest of the family.”


10. To get out of bed on the wrong side

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Our final idiom relates to what happens when you start your day badly. If you are in a bad mood in the morning, it could be because you got up on the wrong side of bed.

Example: “Morning Charlotte!”


“Oh dear, someone got out of the wrong side of bed this morning!”

*Now you try: Try to make some sentences using each of the above idioms. Are you an early bird or a night owl? How was your sleep last night?

Good luck and I hope you find these idioms useful!


As always, any comments on this week’s blog post or any requests for next week’s post, please write a reply below or email me at charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com. I love hearing from you!

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Charlotte XX





10 Bookish Idioms for World Book Day

On Thursday the 7th of March 2019 it is World Book Day. I don’t know about you, but I love books! I read at least a few pages of a book every single day. What about you? Do you love reading in your language?

Something we do in the UK to celebrate World Book Day is dress our children up as characters from their favourite book. I had lots of lovely ideas for my three year-old daughter, but she decided she wanted to dress up as… Peppa Pig!

Anyway, to celebrate this day of books I have made a list of 10 idioms that feature the word ‘book’… I hope they’re useful!


1. in my book

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‘In my book’ means ‘in my opinion’.

For example, ‘A man who hits a woman isn’t a man, in my book.’


2. hit the books

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To ‘hit the books’ means ‘to study’, especially to study really hard.

Example: ‘I’ve got an exam tomorrow so I’m hitting the books this evening.’


3. a bookworm

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A ‘bookworm’ is someone who loves reading/studying.

Example: ‘I was a bit of a bookworm when I was a kid.’


4. an open book

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An ‘open book’ is a person who is easy to understand, a very honest person.

Example: ‘I have no secrets; I’m an open book.’

The opposite of this is a closed book.

Example: ‘I just can’t understand him. He’s such a closed book.’


5. don’t judge a book by its cover

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Not being able to ‘judge a book by its cover’ means that you can’t guess what a person is like from their appearance.

Example: ‘I thought that Sarah was really quiet – she looks like a real bookworm. But when we went out the other night she was so loud! I was shocked! I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover.’


6. to read someone like a book

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‘To read someone like a book’ means that you know somebody so well that you know what they are thinking or what they are going to do without being told.

Example: ‘You don’t like her, do you? I can tell just by looking at you – I can read you like a book!’


7. in someone’s good books

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To be ‘in someone’s good books’ mean that the person is happy with you.

Example: ‘I’m in my mother-in-law’s good books at the moment. I helped her out with some things around the house and now she’ll do anything for me!’

The opposite of this is to be ‘in someone’s bad books’.


8. to take a leaf out of someone’s book

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‘Taking a leaf out of someone’s books’ means to act like another person.

Example: ‘You’re so organised! I’ve decided to take a leaf out of your book and buy a diary to write everything down.’


9. by the book

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To do things ‘by the book’ means to do things properly, in the correct way; to follow the rules exactly.

Example: ‘You should go with this lawyer – she always does everything by the book so you know there’ll be no problems in court.’


10. to throw the book at

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People who do not do things by the book might have the book ‘thrown at’ them! To ‘throw the book at someone’ means to punish them in the worst, harshest way.

Example: ‘Alex got arrested for speeding last night. The police threw the book at him as he’d been caught before so he has to go to court and he might even have to go to prison!’

*Now you try: try to make ten sentences about you or people you know using the above idioms. Good luck!

I hope that these bookish idioms were useful for you!

For World Book Day, tell me your favourite book and/or favourite book character. I hope you have a better favourite character than Peppa Pig!

To let me know, just write a reply below or email me at charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you!

If you enjoyed these idioms, then come back next week when I will be giving you 10 idioms related to sleep for Sleep Awareness Week!

See you then!

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Charlotte XX


How to Write a Recipe in English

Pancake Day!

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I don’t know if you know this already, but on Tuesday the 5th of March 2019 it will be Pancake Day in the UK.

We celebrate the day before Lent starts by eating pancakes – yum!

Lent is the 40 day period before Easter.

So, as Pancake Day will be here soon, here is a recipe so that you can start practising making pancakes the British way…

And below is the language you need to write your own recipe in English…


Pancake Recipe


First, you will need your ingredients.

A good way to remember your pancake ingredients is to remember 1, 2, 3!


1. 100g (grams) of plain flour

2. 2 large eggs

3. 300ml (millilitres) of milk


A little oil for frying

Some lemon wedges and caster sugar to serve


1. Put the flour, eggs and milk into a large bowl and whisk until smooth.

2. Add a pinch of salt if you wish.

3. Leave the mixture to stand for about 30 minutes.

4. Grease a frying pan with the oil.

5. Heat the pan for about 1 minute.

6. Add the pancake mixture little by little until it makes a circle in the pan.

7. Fry for one minute.

8. Turn over the pancake.

9. Fry on the other side for one minute.

10. Keep going until you have made all the pancakes.

11. Serve with the lemon and sugar.

12. Eat and enjoy!!!


Language for writing a recipe

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  1. Ingredients    =   the food needed
  2. Grams             =   a measurement for solid food
  3. Millilitres       =   a measurement for liquids
  4. Method           =   what you have to do
  5. Whisk             =    stir fast
  6. A pinch of      =   a little
  7. Fry                  =  cook in oil in a frying pan
  8. Roast              =   cook in the oven
  9. Bake               =   cook in the oven
  10. Boil                 =  cook (in) liquid on a high heat
  11. Simmer          =  cook (in) liquid on a low heat

*Now you try: Write a recipe for something traditional from your country using some of the language above. If you like, you can send it to me at charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com and I will send you some feedback on your writing!

I hope you try to make pancakes the British way this week, ready for Pancake Day!

Enjoy your cooking!

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The story of love in 10 idioms

1. Puppy Love

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To begin with, you might start your romantic relationships with puppy love.

Puppy love is love that you feel when you are young, usually when you are a teenager. This kind of love often goes away as you get older.

Example: “She thinks that it’s really serious between them, but I’m pretty sure it’s just puppy love.”

Song: ‘Puppy Love’ by Donny Osmond on YouTube


2. To have a crush on somebody

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As well as experiencing puppy love, teenagers often develop crushes on other people.

A crush is having really strong feelings for somebody, usually somebody who isn’t interested in you. Crushes don’t usually last for long, but they can be intense!

Example: “I’ve got a crush on my maths teacher – I can’t stop thinking about him!”

Song: ‘Crush’ by Jennifer Paige on YouTube


3. My heart skipped a beat

bursting with love

If you have a crush on someone, or just have feelings for somebody, then when you see them your heart might skip a beat.

Your heart skipping a beat means the feeling that you get when you are excited or nervous about something.

Example: “She came over to me and my heart skipped a beat.”

Song: ‘Heart Skips a Beat’ by Olly Murs feat. Rizzle Kicks on YouTube


4. Falling for somebody

falling for you

If your heart skips a beat when you see someone then it might mean that you are falling for them.

Falling for somebody means you are developing romantic feelings for them. It is usually how you feel at the beginning of a relationship, or before the relationship has even started.

Example: “I can’t stop thinking about you. I think I’m falling for you.”

Song: ‘Still Falling for You’ by Ellie Goulding on YouTube


5. To be mad about somebody

Crazy about you

After you have fallen for somebody, you might feel mad about them.

To be mad about somebody means you are in love with them, or you at least like them very very much.

Example: “How’s it going with Dylan?” “It’s going really well; I’m mad about him!”

Song: ‘Mad About the Boy’ by Dinah Washington on YouTube


6. The One

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If you are mad about somebody, then they might be the one for you!

The one means your ideal match – the person that you should be with.

Example: “How’s it going with Dylan?”   “It’s amazing, I think he might be the one!”

Song: ‘She’s the One’ by Robbie Williams on YouTube


7. Pop the Question

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Once you have met the one, you might want to pop the question!

To pop the question means to ask somebody to marry you. Things are getting serious now!

Example: “I really love her. I might pop the question soon!”

Song: ‘Pop the Question’ by Scotty Baker on YouTube


8. tie the knot

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After one of you has popped the question, then it is time to tie the knot!

To tie the knot means to get married.

Example: “We tied the knot last year.”

Song: ‘Tie the Knot’ by Digital Underground on YouTube


9. my other half

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Once you are married, then you can call your husband or wife your ‘other half’.

Your other half is usually your husband or wife but it can also mean your boyfriend or girlfriend if you have been together for a long time.

Example: “My other half is a doctor.”

Song: The Other Half of Me’ by Tiffany Alvord on YouTube


10. Break somebody’s heart

heart broken

Once you are married, then hopefully it is happy ever after without any heart break!

To break somebody’s heart means to make someone you love very sad. This usually means ending the relationship or hurting them badly.

Example: “He broke my heart with all the cheating and lying.”

Song: ‘Don’t Go Breaking my Heart’ by Elton John (with Kiki Dee) on YouTube

*Now you try: try to make sentences using each of the above idioms. Good luck!


Which is your favourite idiom? Which song do you like best? Can you think of any more idioms related to Valentine’s Day?

Leave a reply below or email me at charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com to give me your answer or comment!

I hope you enjoy your Valentine’s Day this year… even if you’re not celebrating! Have a great week!

Come back next week to read my next blog post on Pancake Day in the UK and to learn how to write a recipe in English.


How to improve your writing skills in English

I have written blog posts so far on improving our listening, reading and speaking skills and I have left until last the skill that most people seem to find the MOST DIFFICULT… writing! Eeeeeeek!

Do you think that your writing is terrible?

Most of my students say to me that they can’t write in English… this is not true! But a lot of students lack confidence in their writing.

So if this sounds like you, read on and I will try to help you with how you can feel more confident writing anything in English – emails, essays, reports – absolutely anything you need to write!


1. Read!

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In my last blog post, I wrote about how the perfect way to improve your speaking is to speak to native speakers. This is because you are not only speaking to them, but listening to how they speak.

In the same way, to improve your writing you need to not only work on the writing itself, but also you need to read how people with English as their first language write.

If you need to write emails, read emails that have been written by native English speakers. If you need to write essays, read essays that have been written by native English speakers. This will show you the style and a lot of the language that you will need to write in this way.

Also, as I wrote in my blog post about improving your reading skills, try to read something every day to increase your vocabulary. The bigger your vocabulary, the easier writing will be for you.


2. Write a diary

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This is something that I always tell my students to do if they are struggling with their writing. Writing a diary encourages you to write every day, which is really good practice.

Also, you will need to use a lot of language to write about yourself and your job/hobbies/daily life so you will learn vocabulary and phrases that will be useful for your speaking, too.

Bonus: Download my free ebook ‘5 Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills in English’ Click here to get it


3. Study grammar

Bitmoji Image Sorry, this probably isn’t what you want to hear! I know a lot of students find grammar boring and difficult, but to have good writing it is necessary to find your grammar mistakes and then learn from them.

A good way to do this is to ask a native speaker (or, even better, a teacher) to look at a piece of your writing for you. Ask them to show you all of your mistakes. Then, when you know what you are making mistakes with, you can look it up and practise that grammar point.

For example, if you are making mistakes with verb tenses – using past simple instead of present perfect, let’s say – then you can practise that and improve for next time.

If you would like me to look at your writing for you and send you back a report with your mistakes, I offer this as a service called a Level and Skills Check for Writing. Email me at charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com or click here for more information!

Bonus: Download my free ebook ‘5 Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills in English’ Click here to get it