Month: April 2017

Time for the truth

Do you remember when you were a child and you used to lie about the jam you swore you didn’t eat, but, in truth, you ate? Do you remember what used to happen then? Yes, your mother used to speak to you about the importance of telling the truth. Although it might sound unnecessary; this article is about the same topic. We don’t ignore the irony of writing an article about the importance of telling the truth after having written deeply about the fact that sometimes it is ok to tell a lie. So, dear Speak Up London students, just to specify our intention, we are not denying what we said before…just showing you the other side of the same coin.


There’s a reason why everybody in the play “The Importance of Being Earnest” was so attached to the idea of honesty. Well, through this article we’d like to delineate some of the plausible reasons why today, this practice helps its practitioners more than lying does. Keep reading peeps!


The first reason that we would like to point out is the fact that by always telling the truth, the people around us will more easily consider us trustworthy… which will make it easier for us to influence their opinion on any topic.


The second reason is related to stress. Telling lies is stressful. Just think about it. Even just the idea of having to remember the lies you told in order to be consistent with the stories you made up is stressful. Let alone the actual doing of it! So, telling the truth helps you avoid unnecessary stress.


Let’s now speak about the deeper benefits that telling the truth brings to your life, in particular to your social relationships. When you open yourself up by telling the truth, the people around you might be pushed to do the same. This can have the positive effect of creating “a chain of truth” – due to the way you might have helped inspire the others – and of improving bonds with the people around you.


Even though these are just a few of the reasons why it should be better to tell the truth, we believe you’ve got the important message we wanted to share: telling the truth is good for you, it can help you in your personal life and in your work life, so there’s no need to learn it the hard way (like Pinocchio did), tell the truth!


Maria Chiara Strano


Don’t feel too guilty when you eat your jelly beans!

Eating is one of the best things in life. We know it, and we are pretty sure you know it too. It is not just about tasting those delicious portions of food in our mouths, it is also about the experience of eating. We are pretty sure that the joy of eating comes from what it represents, a break. A moment of rest from all the work, a moment when we can just enjoy some time, not doing other tasks. It’s also a moment linked to a reward, since most of the time, after we have achieved our goal, we tend to go and celebrate with dinner in a nice restaurant.


When eaten in moderation, treats are important parts of our lives, representing more than just a guilty pleasure, but also a moment of indulgence from the strict rules we need to respect. Therefore, nobody will judge you if you end up eating some chocolate while you are on diet (well…maybe your dietician). Let us share a secret with you… everyone has their own guilty pleasure. Yeah, you probably knew that already. What you might not know is that Ronald Reagan was addicted to sweets, in particular Jelly Beans!


Apparently, he started eating Jelly Beans after quitting smoking, and developed a real addiction to them. It is said there was always a jar of jelly beans on his desk, and a special ‘Jelly Bean Machine’ was also installed on the presidential jet! Since then, the popularity of jelly beans has continued to increase, becoming an addiction for a lot of people. The reason this particular sweet is widely appreciated among sweet-eaters might stem from its variety of tastes, and, as many of us know, there is nothing better than having a wider variety of guilty pleasures to indulge in away from our strict diet!


In conclusion, Speak Up London students, whether it’s going to be jelly beans or a chocolate fudge cake, don’t feel too sorry for cheating on your dietician. Once in a while, it is good to reward yourself… and if Ronald Reagan used to be addicted to jelly beans, is it so wrong if you eat some of them after having met that deadline? Indulge and reward yourself peeps, you deserve it!


Maria Chiara Strano


Scrabble: more than fun

Hey there, Speak Up London folks. Let’s try to picture an image. Let’s imagine a Sunday afternoon. Outside it’s raining. You are with your friends or your family. You don’t feel like going out, instead you would really like to have a cosy afternoon at home. What could you do? Our guess is that you’d play Scrabble!

As today is Scrabble Day, we don’t see a better time to let you know about this incredible board game that saved us from countless empty afternoons. Why do we love it so much? Well… the rules to play aren’t too complicated, even though it’s one of those board games that your smart cousin with impressive vocabulary skills is really good at.

As a matter of fact, scrabble is a game based on ones ability to solve anagrams… or, in other words, to be able to create meaningful and existing words from the bunch of letters chosen randomly. However, this board game, created in 1938, is more than a game. Several pieces of research have in fact shown that there are many benefits of playing around with words.

One of the most obvious benefits is related to how it can benefit you socially. Indeed, people play Scrabble with others, and in doing so they can improve their social skills.

Also, it has been proven that Scrabble enhances young players’ vocabulary skills and their critical and creative thinking. These elements make this game the perfect way to spend your free time with company, and they provide you with the opportunity to think logically. The reason for this is that just thinking about the same letters and how they can create different words can lead to you having different scores just from the position on the board where you place your letters. While you’re doing this, it of course encourages a lot of thinking, which is positive for your brain!

Finally, we have left the most important reason to play this board game to last: Scrabble is incredibly fun. It’s one of the best ways to push yourself to improve while being in a comfortable environment.

Therefore, Don’t miss out on the chance to play this game and to do something good for your brain and for yourself! =) Play Scrabble and become a master of making new words.



Maria Chiara Strano



Lying. Avoid it, but not always.

Have you ever been in that awkward situation when a person you know but don’t really like asks you out? In that situation there are only two ways to behave:


–       You go out with them and pretend to enjoy it…or if you are lucky you just enjoy it.

–       You invent an excuse, or you postpone, making this invitation become one of those coffees that you promise to have with someone but, in truth, never have.


As you can see from this pretty clear image, in situations like these, there are few ways to handle the issue…and, despite this not being exactly ideal, most people, most of the time tend to lie. Not for the sake of not telling the truth, mainly for the desire of not hurting anybody and to escape potentially (and let’s say socially) dangerous situations. So, these so-called “white lies” are what we usually consider essential compromises we make with our conscience to make other people’s life easier…and ours. Of course, our dear Speak Up London friends, this is not an article endorsing lies. This is, instead, an article aiming to state the truth about how this practice represents an aspect present in our lives.


Sometimes, in fact, there are people who lie to make their stories more entertaining, there are people who lie because they want to get away with something they did, and there are people that are so used to lying that they do it for no apparent reason. We don’t intend to point the fingers but we also don’t want to condone this.


You will find researchers stating that lying is good, others stating that lying is bad, and it is not our job to define what is true or not. Though, what we would like to do is to make you aware of the realistic advantages of telling a white lie in a difficult situation and how it could rescue you from something uncomfortable and make you be able to overcome issues. Most importantly we would like to warn you about the negative impact of lying (If you need an example think about what happened to the boy who cried wolf).


If it is true that ‘in medio stat virtus’, the benefits of white lies are very rare. Think about it for a second, if everybody lied all the time, would they be credible for you? We don’t think so. Therefore, dear Speak Up London friends, try to always be honest, but don’t feel uncomfortable if sometimes a little, innocent lie is required. Ironically, the deceiving practice of lying – usually despised by our society -, is sometimes needed.


Maria Chiara Strano