Laura Carter

Il matrimonio in Italia

Italian wedding scalesWeddings in Italy

La stagione dei matrimoni è arrivato (wedding season is upon us) so I thought I would talk about how they do things in Italy. Il matrimonio in Italia is quite a different esperienza to what we’re used to in the UK. In la bella Italia marriage is still sacro (sacred) and very tradizionale. I have been to a few now and there is definitely a common theme; il cibo e’ la cosa piu’ importante! (food is the most important thing!) Continue reading

Buona Pasqua!

pasquaPasqua is a Catholic celebration of the resurrection of Christ and a very important date in the Italian calendar. In many towns and cities festive traditions still followed such as; processioni per i loro santi (processions for the Saints), rappresentazioni che rimettono in atto le ultime ore della Passione di Cristo (plays that re-enact the last hours of the Passion of Christ) e riti pagani che si legano al solstizio di primavera (Pagan rituals tied to the Springtime solstice). If you ever find yourself in one of these places around Easter time, watch out for these traditions; Continue reading

It was hilariously, unbelievably, ridiculously funny!

weddingIntensifying and emphasising adverbs

There are a lot of great ways to make English more interesting. Intensifying and emphasising adverbs are two of my favourite. You can make any story sound more interesting by using them. These are my favourites:

absolutely – simply – utterly – totally – completely – perfectly – bitterly – intensely – unbelievably – thoroughly – incredibly – awfully

Compare the stories see for yourself which has a greater impact in each case, the first or the second?

1. I went to the worst conference last week. The speakers were boring, the food was served late and was poor when it came. The venue was miserable and everyone left feeling demotivated.

2. I went to the worst conference last week. The speakers were thoroughly boring, the food was served incredibly late and was awfully poor when it came. The venue was utterly miserable and everyone left feeling completely demotivated. Continue reading

That’s Amore!

ValentinesSome tips to impress Mr/Mrs Right on Valentine’s Day

In Italy, as in most of the rest of the western world, Valentine’s Day takes over every year on 14th February. Everywhere you look there are cuoricini (little love hearts) and pupazzi (teddy bears)! Italy has a reputation for beauty and charm, so maybe we should take a leaf out of their book and try some of the lingo. Here are my top tips for an Italian San Valentino pieno d’amore (Valentine’s Day full of love!); Continue reading

A typical Sicilian Christmas dish


Scacciata patate editedSchiacciata Siciliana con patate

In Italy there isn’t a national Christmas dish like we have in the UK and the USA with our turkey and roast potatoes and veg. Each region (ogni regione), each town (ogni paesino) and each family (ogni famiglia) has its own traditional dish. That’s why the country is famous for so many culinary delights! As we’re so close to Christmas I would like to share one of my favourite Christmas dishes with you, which is typical of Catania in Sicily.
Here are some key words to help you follow the recipe:

• circa (pron. CHEER-KA) – around/approximately
• aggiungere (pron. A-JOON-JEH-REH) – to add
• tagliare (pron. TA-LEE-ARE-EH) – to chop
• pelare (pron. PEL-ARE-EH) – to peel
• un pizzico (pron. PITS-EEK-OH) – a pinch Continue reading

Buon Natale!

buon nataleSome advice for a real Italian Christmas:

In Italy natale is a big deal. In the most Catholic country on earth, the celebration of Christ’s birth isn’t so much about Father Christmas (although Babbo Natale is becoming more prominent nowadays) or the Christmas tree (l’albero di natale), it’s more about bringing the family together to make and eat lots of different traditional dishes. In fact the Italians spend nearly a whole month celebrating. Here are some important dates in the Italian Christmas calendar:

• 6 Dicembre: La Festa di San NicolaThe festival in honour of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of shepherds, is celebrated in some towns with the lighting of fires under enormous cauldrons, in which fave (broad beans) are cooked, then eaten ceremoniously.

• 8 Dicembre: L’Immacolata Concezione – celebration of the Immaculate Conception Continue reading

‘Don’t have to’ vs ‘shouldn’t’

working remotelyYou don’t have to work such long hours, and you really shouldn’t

A couple of friends of mine both work remotely doing different jobs; one is a graphic designer and the other is a teacher. Their lifestyle is very flexible and works well for them as they manage their time according to their plans. However, sometimes they do seem like workaholics because their working hours can be late at night, meaning they miss out on plans we have together now and then. Our friend Jane said; “you don’t have to work such long hours you know, and you really shouldn’t!”

I thought that was a perfect sentence to help explain the difference between ‘don’t have to’ and ‘shouldn’t’, which are easily confused because ‘have to’ is the same as ‘must’. Unfortunately, ‘don’t have to’ is NOT the same as ‘must not’. Continue reading

And guess what happened in the end….?

In the end, At the end pic‘In the end’ vs ‘at the end’

I saw ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ for the first time recently. Have you seen it?  It’s a wonderful film, as the title suggests. It’s in black and white as it was made in 1946 and that adds to its charm. It’s a Christmas film really but for me it was heart-warming even with the 30 degree heat outside. It’s a story about the hardships of life and how the protagonist, George Bailey overcomes them. He gets the chance to see what life would be like if he had never existed and that gives him some perspective. The film highlights the importance of love in life, and despite all his problems, in the end everything turns out well for George.

Telling a friend about it yesterday made me think about the difference between ‘at the end’ and ‘in the end’ and how we use them in English. The two are easy to confuse and many learners do because the difference is subtle. I will do my best to make it simple. Continue reading

Choosing the right adjective

picBored v Boring

On Friday night I went to see a film at an open air cinema in London.  We started eating our picnic whilst we waited for the film to start. My friend Rob was telling a funny story when my sister Anna started yawning. Rob stopped mid-sentence and said; “I’m sorry Anna, am I boring?”

Anna was embarrassed and explained that she hadn’t slept the night before because of the thunder storms, so Rob forgave her.

That conversation reminded me of a common problem for English learners, and that is choosing the right adjective between those that end with ‘ing’ and those that end with ‘ed’. Continue reading

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