[English Idioms] Cost me an arm and a leg?

[English Idioms] Cost me an arm and a leg?

Hello guys, do you know we start a new section on English Tips? We upload the idioms twice a week. You can check the hash tag #SpeakUpLondonChannel both on Facebook and Instagram to find out more English tips.

Do you know what idioms are? An idiom is a group of words with a particular meaning which does not relate to the literal meanings of the words.





Whatever floats your boat

: Do whatever makes you happy or stimulates you, do what brings you joy.

For example

It’s your birthday, choose a restaurant or anything, do whatever floats your boat.

She is not in a good mood today, so let her do whatever floats her boat.   

BBC –Whatever floats your boat.






An arm and a leg

: Very expensive or costly, a large amount of money.   

For example

I bought a new computer, the new Mac book cost me an arm and a leg.

Don’t pay an arm and a leg for your new bag.






Don’t put your eggs in one basket.

: Do not put all your resources in one possibility; don’t pull all the risk into one thing.

For example

Balance your investment; don’t put all your eggs in one basket, spared it into stocks, mutual funds and bonds.






Cut a long story short.

: Get to the point, leave out details.

For example

To cut the long story short, we didn’t go to the party last night.

Anyway, to cut the long story short, we need your help now for our event.






The ball is in your court.

: It is up to you to make the next decision or step; to be someone else’s move, play or turn.

For example

We gave him a reasonable offer, so the ball is in his court now.



Do you guys like to use idioms when you speak English? Using idioms will make you sounds more like native speaker; and sometimes you can express your thoughts clearly by using idioms.


You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.





[vc_facebook type=”standard”]


[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”true” color=”#393836″ size=”14″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]Read More[/mk_fancy_title]




[Travel in London] Tap Coffee No.193



“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”

– Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes


Guys, fancy a cup of coffee? One of London’s features is that there are many nice coffee shops.

Apart from the chain coffee stores, there are many charming coffee shops with amazing coffee, special desserts and a lovely atmosphere.

For me, I need to have coffee every day in the morning, or I will feel tired all day, I might be kind of addicted to coffee. Therefore, I like to explore different coffee shops in London.

Have you guys ever been to “Tap Coffee”?


There are three coffee shops in London

No. 26 Rathbone Place

No. 114 Tottenham Court Road

No.193  Wardour Street




Today we are going to introduce Tap Coffee No.193, the one on Wardour Street. A lovely coffee shop, it is a nice place for you to take a rest in the afternoon at the weekend, with the warmth of the yellow light bulbs and the sunshine spreads into the shop.




In the coffee shop, the sound of the making of the coffee and the smell of the coffee are totally perfect for a relaxing moment, just chilling and without doing anything; it will make your day.  I like the wood table and floor of this coffee shop, the texture looks beautiful and warm, and it also matches the wall which is light yellow.

Some customers are using their laptop, some reading books or just chatting with friends. A coffee shop is always an inspiring place for me to think about your weekdays or just refresh your mind.  It is always good to sit down and do nothing, don’t you think?




From Tap coffee   #Setting

To us, a shop is more than just four walls. It’s a social context, a set in which people make things happens, and London has never failed to provide the script.




You can have your coffee inside the shop or take it away; also they do serve sandwiches, salad and cakes at reasonable prices.

When you order coffee inside the shop, they will give you a small bottle with a card inside, and they will serve your coffee later. They also serve bread and cakes as well, and they are totally perfect for the coffee.




What is your favourite coffee? We ordered a latte and a flat white; it was great with the apple croissant and chocolate brownie, the apple croissant had crunchy pastry and with diced apples inside. What a wonderful Saturday afternoon teatime!




Tap coffee also sell coffee and coffee pots in the store or online, you can make nice coffee at home and there is a variety of coffee flavour for you to choose and enjoy.




Do you guys want to try “Tap coffee”? I would like to go to their other two stores; my friend said it was nice as well with the different decorating of the stores.  Why don’t we explore London’s coffee shops together?


“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.” 

– Louisa May Alcott, Little Women    

[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”true” color=”#393836″ size=”14″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”] More Information [/mk_fancy_title]

Tap Coffee No.193 

Wardour Street, W1F 8ZF

Mon-Fri: 8 am-7 pm / Sat: 10 am-6 pm / Sun: 11 am-6 pm


Tap Coffee Twitter

Tap Coffee Instagram


Finally, their Instagram is something you should check out as the photos make their coffee look so adorable.



You can also find Speak Up London on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.





[vc_facebook type=”standard”]


[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”true” color=”#393836″ size=”14″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”] Read More [/mk_fancy_title]




[mk_blog_carousel view_all=”*” count=”10″ enable_excerpt=”false” offset=”0″ order=”ASC” orderby=”menu_order”]


[Speak Up LIVE] Friday Picnic In Soho Square

Hi guys, have you seen our Facebook Live on our Facebook page?

This show includes the activities inside the classroom and outside the classroom, you can see how our students learn English and enjoy the courses at Speak Up London.

You can find more videos on Facebook by using hashtag #SpeakUpLiveatfirstsight, come and have fun with us.

Can you guys feel the summer breeze in London? Linda’s upper intermediate class had a lovely picnic in Soho square.  Linda’s student shared their feelings about Speak Up London, they enjoyed the sunshine, food in and the chilled out vibes.

Check our Live video and enjoy the time with us.

Linda and students chatted and played games and had lots of fun together in Soho square, the weather was perfect for a picnic.

Hey, guys do you see the picture, the cute girl with big eyes in the middle; she is our student- Saya. Saya is from Japan and she was with us for almost a year, when she finished her course and she shared her feeling of Speak Up London with us.

Saya ‘It’s my last day but I still can’t believe it, I spent my time almost a year for this school. At first, I planned only 3 months to study but I’ve extended 2 or 3 times because I love Speak Up London “too much”, everyone is friendly, thoughtful, helpful and so sweet.’

Saya you are so sweet, it was a pleasure to have you as our student at Speak Up London, we hope to see you soon, thanks for your gifts and we wish you all the best.

If you are interested in our English courses and want to join the Speak Up Family, please check our website and feel free to contact us.

[Photo Competition] #SpeakUpLandmark


Hello, how’s your life in London, have you guys visited all the landmarks?

Big Ben, London Bridge, The London Eye and Trafalgar square, etc.  Where is your favourite spot to take photos?
Speak Up London’s photo competition #SpeakUpLandmark has now finished, but our students needed to take a photo with our school logo with a London landmark, and they needed to interactive with the landmark – for e.g. eat it, pinch it or anything you can think of.


These are our amazing teachers, Adam with Big Ben and Billie with The Shard.




Are you guys ready for our students’ photos?  They are super cool and full of creativity. They also shared their feelings with us about their picture and Speak Up London English School.


Suu FevzioğLu




Çağlayan Atasoy

At first I didn’t want to join the competition because I knew that I would win!! (Kidding of course) I’m a very humble person. But when I was out and about with a friend of mine, Patricia convinced me to join the competition. So, I agreed and started taking pictures. I know my picture is not the best, but it is not the point. The main thing is that I got involved and it got very competitive and with the help of my Turkish connections, their support and solidarity, I have well and truly WON it!




Ilaria De Cocinis


Bruno Ramos


Supanuch Rojpanyayingyuen

Big Ben is my dream place; Speak Up London is my fantastic school as well. So I took a picture with a logo of my school over there!



Claudia Vieira



Aissa lcaid


Birhan Boris Trz

It is a great contest, thank you very much for everything. The best English school is Speak up London!



Sophie Pletz

I wish I could pick up Big Ben and take it with me to my country, because every time I hear the sound of the bell I have a feeling that I’m in the right place, I’m in London where I feel good. And it’s such a beautiful icon.



Yahya Rabouhat

I just wanted to take a very different picture to the others because I knew that everyone one was going to take a picture with big Ben or The London Eye, so I was thinking about something different like the red double-decker bus for example. It is one of my craziest pictures ever and I’ll never forget when I was in front of the bus. People were watching me and thinking that I’m weird or crazy, but life is too short so I’m enjoying it in many different ways, that’s it.


Photo competition #SpeakUpLandmark album

Check out who get the most LIKE.




A big thank you to our amazing students and their cool pictures, which one is your favourite? Do you guys like this photo competition? All of you that are looking forward to the next competition, we will have different topic for the next one, so keep posted!


You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.





[vc_facebook type=”standard”]


[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”true” color=”#393836″ size=”14″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]Read More[/mk_fancy_title]




[Travel in London] Charles Dickens Museum

Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.  – Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewist

Hello my friends, have you ever been to the Charles Dickens museum or ever read his novels? I spent last weekend visiting the museum and it was amazing and definitely worth it!

Charles Dickens is one of the greatest English novelists from the Victoria era.

Have you ever read his works? There are some well-known ones, such as “Oliver Twist”, “Bleak House”, “A Tale of Two Cities”, “A Christmas Carol”, “David Copperfield”, etc.

Robert William Buss was a Victoria artist, best known for painting “Dickens’s dream”.  This painting is exhibited in the Charles Dickens’s museum. I liked it and I bought a postcard to decorate my room.

Charles Dickens’s museum is on Doughty Street, where he lived. The museum opens Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 5 pm.

Charles Dickens Museum

Have you seen the BBC series “Dickensian”? It gathers some of the most iconic characters from Dickens’s novels, and the background is 19th century London. In the museum, they have the costumes and the screenplay of the series.

BBC – Dickensian

The shadow on the wall appears on each floor and it looks as if it was saying “Follow me!”, as a personal tour guide. When visiting the museum, you’ll get a handbook with a brief introduction to each room in this house. There are four floors and a basement. You can walk around the building, and see the kitchens, living room, reading room, and even Dickens’s bedroom.

First, you can visit the dining room on the ground floor. I found it interesting because you can imagine Charles Dickens sitting by the table having dinner with his friends. The plates with intricate blue patterns are delicate and pretty.  You can see drawings hanging around the room related to Dickens and his novels.

The staff is there to show you around – they’ll even show you the letters with Dickens’s signature; some of them are replicas and some are the authentic work. You can see the changes in Dickens’s fancy signature over time. This is a copy of Dickens’s signature; you can picture Dickens using his quill pen to sign the first edition of his book.

This is the kitchen in the basement where they prepare and cook food and where they get the water for the whole house.  You can see that they make their own butter and pies as well.

Look, there is a cute hedgehog!

In the early days, they used to feed small animals in the kitchen.  Another interesting fact is that they used black iron bars to heat their rooms.

There is also a scullery, where they did the laundry and boiled the water, and they have a nice wine cellar in the basement.

This is the traditional costume women wore in the Victoria era; most of them wore hats.

This is my favourite room in the house – Dickens’s reading room. It’s one of the biggest rooms in the house with lovely sunshine coming in through the window; you can see his writing desk and reading table.

If you want to find out more about Dickens’s former residence and his life, you can visit the museum. After visiting the museum, I really want to read his novels again.

You might have read Oliver Twist before. This novel reflects the society in the 19th century London, and the gap between the rich and the poor. In some ways, the story transmits that there is no one who is really good or bad. It makes us cherish our life more and be grateful for the things we have.

Another well-known story by Dickens is “A Christmas Carol”, you guys might have read it before; I read it when I was a child.  To put it briefly, the story wants to say that there are things that money can’t buy, people need to be kind-hearted, benevolent and concerned about people around them to be really happy.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. – A Tale of Two Cities

Dickens was good at writing about social phenomena and used a lot of irony in his writing. He described the aspects of the lower classes and how they saw the world.  Moreover, he created world’s best-known characters in his works; it’s easy for us to identify ourselves with his characters.

There are dark shadows on the earth, but its light are stronger in the contrast.

Charles Dickens

[British vs. American English] Jumper vs. Sweater

Do you know the difference between British and American English?

We compare British and American English every week for our #Speak Up London Channel. There are things with the same meaning but different words between British and American English; it’s interesting to learn those words as you need to know the difference to be understood. Have you ever said the right word but the person you were talking to had no idea what you were talking about? It might be your accent or the words that are different between British and American English.

1. Aubergine vs. Eggplant

I learned American English before I came to the UK, so I learned that eggplant is a purple vegetable, but when I came to England, people couldn’t understand what eggplant was. When I said “eggplant” to my friends, they looked confused. I figured out that people call this vegetable “aubergine” in England.

It’s pronounced: /ˈəʊbəʒiːn/

Runner bean vs. String bean  

This vegetable is sometimes served with a Sunday roast. It also has different names in the UK and the States.

It’s pronounced: /rʌnə ‘bi:n/

2. Jacket Potato vs. Baked potato

Jacket potato is a traditional British dish, often served with cheese and baked beans. Have you ever tried it? It’s one of my favourite lunches. People say “baked potato” in American English, not “jacket potato”.

It’s pronounced: /ˈdʒakɪt pəˈteɪtəʊ/

Courgette vs. Zucchini

This green vegetable is called courgette or zucchini.

The British word has been borrowed from French and is hard to pronounce: /kʊəˈʒɛt/

3. Bill vs. Check

You must have heard “Waiter! Check please!” in American movies. A British person is more likely to say: “May I have the bill, please?” when they’re ready to pay. On the other hand, when you order coffee or take away food, the clerk will ask you if you want to keep your receipt or not.

“Receipt” if hard to pronounce: /rɪˈsiːt/  

Holiday vs. Vacation

In the UK, people will say “holiday”, for example, bank holiday and Easter holiday. It means ‘a day off work’.  On the other hand, in American English, people go on ‘vacation’ when they head to the beach or mountains.

4. Jumper vs. Sweater

In winter, we wear jumpers in the UK while in America, they wear sweaters. For example, in the UK people say “Christmas jumper”, but not Christmas sweater.

A sweater can be tricky to pronounce: /ˈswɛtə/

Toilet/Loo vs. Restroom

In the UK, London for example, we can find a “toilet” or “loo” in public places, not a “restroom”.  In American spoken English, the word bathroom for boys is “John”, and for girls “Jane”. In the UK, we go to the “Ladies” and “Gents” instead.  A more formal word for a toilet is “lavatory”.

“Loo” is quite easy to pronounce: /luː/

[Travel in London] Tips when coming to London



Interested in coming to London?  Here are some tips from our students to tell you what to do when you come to London for the first time.

Ernest Hemingway said that “Paris is a moveable feast”. For us, London is more than a feast; it is a place full of unexpected treasures where you must speed up your pace to keep up with the city. London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and almost half of the residents are non-native people who came here to seek their dreams or to improve their English.




Our students came to London to study English and they give you some tips below for you first visit, taking the tube and also some places to visit.


Holly’s Pre-Intermediate – Tips when coming to London



These are my 5 top tips to people who come to London for the 1st time

  1.  Get an oyster card and make your life easier to get from one place to another.
  2.  Make sure you visit the main landmarks of the city such as the British Museum, Big Ben, London  Eye, and Buckingham Palace.
  3.  Oxford Street is great for shopping and entertaining places.
  4.  For upmarket shopping and dining experiences, go to Knightsbridge and explore Harrods and  surrounding sophisticated restaurants.
  5.  Last but not least, make sure you visit London Zoo.c6f753c1-019b-4d8e-83ce-0943e834bd68


These are my top tips

  1.  The weather in London is unpredictable and you will need to have an umbrella with you at all  times.
  2.  If you want to save money on travel, make sure you buy a travel card, rather than buying tickets  every time you travel.




TOP TIPS – how to survive on London transport

  1.  Buy an Oyster card because travelling in London is very expensive.
  2.  Don’t wear a lot of clothes because the tube is hot and crowded.
  3.  Move fast, people are always in a rush and make sure you are not in their way.
  4.  Remember to stay on the right side of the escalator on the tube, because the left hand side is for  people who want to walk down the stairs.
  5. Make sure you hold on to the rail when travelling by tube.



  1.  You have to get an Oyster card to save money on transport.
  2.  You have to stay on the right side of the escalator when travelling by tube.
  3.  You mustn’t stay between sliding doors on the carriage.
  4.  You must give up your seat for elderly and disabled people.
  5.  You should hold on to the rail if you are standing during your journey.



Thanks to our students for sharing their tips and experiences with us, now we know that getting an oyster card might be the first thing you should do in London!




Want to find out more about our students or school? Go to our website or contact us by email to find out more about Speak Up London.

You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.





[vc_facebook type=”standard”]


[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”true” color=”#393836″ size=”14″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]Read More[/mk_fancy_title]


[Speak Up Life] My Life at Speak Up London

” The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice. ” – Brian Herbert


How’s London treating you today?

Want to make new friends with people from other countries?

Want to improve your English?

Want to brush up on your professional English to get a job in London?

Speak Up London can help you achieve your goal.

Wondering what it’s like to study at Speak Up London?

Check out this video – our students will tell you what they think.

Student’s Testimonial

A big thank you to Yahya, Diana and Roberson for sharing their experiences. You all did a great job!

Are you interested in our school and courses?

We’re a big happy family and our teachers are super cool, so what are you waiting for?

Go to our website or contact us by email to find out more about Speak Up London.

You can also go on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out more.