Tag Archives: personality

I’ll leave you to it / I’ll let you get on with it

leave you to it phrase

Photo credit: © H. Armstrong Roberts/CORBIS

We have a very friendly lady who lives in the same building and, considering I go out for a walk with Alisa at least twice a day, we bump into her quite often. She always stops to chat to us (unless I look too busy / too stressed / about to burst into tears) and she loves to talk to Alisa in the hope that she’ll give her a smile (which she does most of the time). I’ve noticed that the lady quite often says ‘I’ll leave you to it‘ or “I’ll let you get on with it” when she feels she’s been chatting long enough, and I think these two phrases are very useful. And very British!

If you want to know a bit more about it, here’s a great link!

P.S. The picture reminded me of my brother, who was very independent and rather advanced for his age as a child. According to the family legend, he used to finish telephone conversations with our mum by saying very matter-of-factly, ‘Is that everything? I’m putting down the receiver’.

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To wrap someone in cotton wool

to wrap somebody in cotton wool

Photo credit: uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com

I know my posts are becoming more and more spaced out, but I’m not giving up on this blog! So here’s a quick post on a new phrase that I heard on the radio. I teach on Saturday mornings and on my way there and back I like to listen to BBC Radio 4, so last week I caught Desert Island Disks with Warwick Davis. He talked about his rare genetic disorder, but said that despite his ill health his parents never wrapped him in cotton wool. This means to be overprotective towards someone (usually a child, I would assume).

Here are some more examples:

  • Wrapping your children in cotton wool and living every day as if a multitude of dangers were each crowding out the other to get their fangs into them still seems to me an unhealthy message to broadcast. If your parents allow you to climb trees, sometimes you will fall off them. If you’re allowed to go wandering alone in a wood, sometimes you’re going to get lost (The Guardian).
  • Constantly wrapping children in cotton wool can leave them ill equipped to deal with stressful or challenging situations they might encounter later in life… Cotton-wool parenting is taxing for the parent; wearing for the child. And it’s unnecessary (Bikehub.co.uk)

I wonder if I am a cotton-wool parent? At times I think I am rather irresponsible, but not unreasonably so.

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Diary-intolerant

diary-intolerant

Photo credit: oldragbaggers.com

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, at some point in the morning I usually listen to Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show on BBC 6 Music, which never fails to cheer me up.

Today he mentioned he had so many things to do this week (just like me!) that he was struggling to fit in a lunch with a friend, who was also very busy. In fact, that friend of Shaun’s has developed ‘a condition’, which manifests itself in high blood pressure, increased heart beat, etc. whenever the guy tries to write up his to-do list for the coming week. The condition is called ‘diary-intolerance‘. At this point I nearly choked on my muesli! What an excellent pun!

I won’t bother with examples this time – I don’t think there would be many – and I really need to get back to my work. I also need to make sure I don’t look into my diary too often – it’s becoming too scary!

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Gobby, continued

I often have this with new words – I come across one and think, hm, maybe it’s not that common, maybe I’ll hardly ever hear it again and I almost don’t write it down. But being the nerdy type that I am, most of the time I do. And a few days (sometimes even hours) later this word appears out of nowhere again.

Next day after I heard ‘gobby‘ at a meet-up with colleagues, I was reading Londoners by Craig Taylor in bed, and, sure enough, there was the word ‘gobby‘ staring at me from the page: ‘And we were both precocious and gobby and forthright, very opinionated’.

This book is a brilliant collection of stories of and interviews with Londoners – a truly enjoyable read whether you love London, hate London or cannot quite make up your mind.

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Toe-curling

toe-curling phrase

Photo credit: baby.about.com

Yesterday I got a text message from my friend to say that she has had a baby and I was welcome to visit her at the hospital. I popped in during the visiting hours (rushed in, really, after a trip to Bath) and spent at least half an hour admiring her and her newborn daughter – they both looked amazing! It turned out they were about to be discharged and a nurse came by to go through some important information and as I missed my chance to say goodbye before that I was hanging around and overheard their conversation about breastfeeding. The nurse said it could be ‘toe-curling‘ in the beginning, but then new mothers get used to it.

This was a genuinely new word for me, which means ‘very embarrassing or excessively sentimental’ (Oxford Dictionaries).

Here are some examples:

– The self-satisfaction and smugness of the text is toe-curling and its frequent sickening doses of sentimentality are like being forced-fed chopped liver with chicken fat (Oxford Dictionaries).

-I am sitting across a table from my sister-in-law, outside a small Italian restaurant, reading her a letter. As experiences go, it’s toe-curling. I am telling her everything I’m grateful to her for. It’s like a bad episode of Oprah. Surely us Brits aren’t built for this stuff? But according to Action for Happiness, little things like this can really improve our lives (The Guardian).

– More toe-curling attempts to make opera ‘cool’? Stop it, pleads Tom Service – it’s doing just fine as it is (The Guardian).

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To jinx

Today I had a super-exciting activity planned in the morning – standup paddleboard yoga! Basically, it looks like this:

sup yoga

Photo credit: Brad Fyffe

(No, I didn’t attempt anything like this – I haven’t quite mastered those poses on land).

So, first we needed to get to grips with paddleboarding kneeling, then standing up (it was very wobbly!) and then we attached kettlebells to the boards and dropped them down (which I thought was very clever) to prevent the boards from moving around (they still did). It was an amazing experience, and the weather was just perfect! Then we had to fish the kettlebells out of the water and paddle back to the pontoon, and at some point one of my fellow paddleboarders ‘lost’ her kettlebell and summoned her boyfriend to help her find it. She said ‘I think our instructor jinxed it by saying they never lost a kettlebell’. Luckly, they did find it… and I found such a useful phrase to write about!

Here are a few more examples of how to jinx, meaning ‘to bring bad luck’, can be used:

– There were moments where we felt like we were jinxing the whole thing, pushing our luck, but we decided to test fate and stock up anyhow (Oxford Dictionaries).

– He hadnt got a bad grade all year, but by mentioning that to his friend he jinxed it (Urban Dictionary).

– Don’t jinx it by talking about it (Wordreference.com).

P.S. I have heard this expression a few times, but I think that in general the English are not a particularly superstitious bunch (unlike Russians!).

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Fair-weather runners (and friends)

fair-weather runner meaning usage

Photo credit: fb.com/lifeinadayofarunner

I have to admit that every spring as I see more and more people running I decide to take up running myself. Now that I live close to the Downs, which is a relatively large and flat (which is uncommon in the hilly Bristol) green area, there are even more people out running and I am even more tempted. It’s not that I cannot make myself exercise – I do manage to do yoga at home fairly regularly, but with running it’s a different story.

Since I only run sporadically every run is a challenge, and also my back hurts if I run on tarmac, so I have to run on the grass, which – you’ve guessed – is wet about 70% of the time. So I end up running only on glorious sunny days, and they are few and far between. And then the autumn comes and I pretty much shelve all my running plans. That said, I do love the idea of running and determination that comes with it and I admire those who do it on a regular basis.

My only consolation is that yesterday I heard the word which describes me perfectly – ‘a fair-weather runner‘!

Here’re are a few examples:

– Recently, I seem to have been a bit of a fair-weather runner. Do you know that feeling? You look out of the window at the dark skies and the rain, and decide that you could just as well go running tomorrow, when it might be nicer. If, like me, you live in England, you’ll already have spotted the problem here. In the last year, the chances of tomorrow being nicer have been pretty low (mattgetsrunning.com).

– I am a Fair Weather Runner. I am going to let you all in on a little secret. I am not a hardcore runner. I would like to say I am, I really do try to be (runforfun-stephanie.blogspot.com).

P.S. There’s also an expression ‘a fair-weather friend‘, i.e. someone who only wants to be your friend when things are going well for you (MacMillan Dictionary).

Some examples of this phrase:

– Britain is an all-weather, not a fair-weather, friend to Afghanistan (The Guardian)

– But he was no fair weather friend. He was loyal and generous to his family and his friends (The Guardian).

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What kind of person are you?

a ... kind of person phrase usage

Photo credit: netural.com

On Sunday I went to a staff summer party to catch up with colleagues at a language school where I… don’t teach yet, but I’m there to cover for the regular teacher should anything happen. At some point I overheard somebody saying ‘I’m not really a satchel kind of person‘, while pointing at his bag. This reminded me of the funny phrase that I’ve heard on many occasions – not necessarily with ‘satchel’ though.

A few years ago I was watching The Spooks, a British TV drama series about MI-5. One of the best phrases I learnt from this series was ‘I’m not really a cat person‘. I thought it was a great way of talking about things you like or don’t like.

So, what kind of person can you be?

– There’s nothing new in the notion that time can be a tyrant. But that’s generally held to mean that modern life moves too fast; in reality, if you’re a 200bpm kind of person, constant exhortations to slow down can be just as potentially tyrannical. Sometimes what’s more important is to know your tempo, and those of the people with whom you’re trying to sync (The Guardian).

– For most people, having this prominent book on their table will be a badge of brand loyalty. It says: ‘I’m a Python (as in Month Pythonkind of person‘. Quite right too. The Life of Brian is simply the best British comedy film ever made (The Guardian).

– The Mercury nomination still hasn’t had any major impact on me or my career. I’ve actually been quite surprised by how little it’s changed anything. But I have been worrying about what to wear to the ceremony. Apparently it’s quite posh, but I’m really not a dress kind of person, so I think I’ll stick to jeans and a smart top (The Guardian).

– He later suggested to Ferlisi that she join him but, she says, looking down a little embarrassed, she declined because “I’m more of a casual clothes kind of person, so that wasn’t really me.” (The Guardian).

– Maybe if you were a glass half-full kind of person you’d figure that you were unlucky – you caught them on a bad night (The Guardian).

– I have developed the habit of always looking down to the third or fourth response in a google search. Works for me but I have always been a road less travelled kind of person (The Economist).

P.S. I am definitely a cat person, by the way!

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