Tag: Speak Up London

Cultural Beliefs in Britain: Strange Superstitions

In honor of Halloween next week, we have dedicated this blog to superstitions; everyone has them but we don’t always know where they come from.

Every culture has their particular superstitions: don’t walk under ladders or scaffolding, black cats are unlucky, 13 is an unlucky number, seeing ravens means someone you know will die soon, horseshoes bring luck, etc. There are also certain groups of people that are more superstitious than others, for example, actors, sailors, and athletes. Actors can never whistle backstage, or say the name Macbeth – you must always call it the Scottish play. Sailors believed that an albatross was a sign of hope and killing one would bring bad luck.

The list of strange superstitions is long, and there are some strange ones.

Come and have a look at the weirdness of British culture:

General Superstitions

  1. If the ravens of the Tower of London leave, then the Crown will be lost.
  2. Black rabbits have human souls and white ones used to be witches.
  3. You will have bad luck if you spill salt. You must throw salt over your back to counteract the effect.
  4. For luck, brides must wear something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new
  5. If you say ‘white rabbit’ three times on the first day of the month, it will bring you luck for the rest of the month.
  6. Don’t eat lettuce if you want to have children.
  7. Magpies are a bird that you have to greet every time you see it; when you see a magpie say “Hello Mr Magpie, how is your lady wife today?”. There was also a children’s rhyme written about them:

One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret never to be told.


  1. Cutting off the end of a loaf of bread makes the devil fly over your house.
  2. Bread will not rise if there is a dead body nearby.
  3. If you visit a newborn child, put a silver coin in its hands.

Somerset & Dorset

  1. A double-yolked egg means that you will have twins. It used to mean that someone would get married quickly due to a pregnancy.
  2. A slow boiling kettle will have a toad inside of
  3. Stirring food in the opposite direction of the sun will ruin it.

Did you find any of these strange or weird? Do you want to share any strange superstitions that you believe in? Let us know about them!

World Nutella Day

Hi Speak Up London friends, we are delighted to inform you that this is a special blog post to celebrate tastiness. Today, February 5th,we are happy to celebrate World Nutella Day with you!

Before talking about the way we celebrated, we should probably explain some of the reasons why it is important to celebrate this event. Dear friends, take a seat, grab a jar of Nutella and read about why we should celebrate World Nutella Day.


Reason 1 

The first reason we should celebrate World Nutella Day stems from the fact that Nutella is a symbol of comfort. Yes, you read it correctly. You might not know it but the forerunner to Nutella was invented by an Italian pastry chef (Pietro Ferrero), who wanted to create a sweet pastry made up with hazelnut and just a bit of cocoa, because there was a scarcity of cocoa following WWII. Therefore, Nutella is a symbol of hope, since with the creation of its forerunner (Giandujot) it helped to restore a feeling of comfort.


Reason 2

Among the reasons that it’s important to celebrate World Nutella Day, is Nutella’s association with the concept of union. An example of how Nutella is able to unify people can be found in an event happened in 2005, when 27,854 people gathered at Gelserkirchen to have a “Nutella breakfast” together. This massive event is a clear example of how the love of Nutella was able to mobilise people, in an era when individualism seems to prevail. It was a record breaking event that even entered the Guinness Book of Records!


Reason 3

Nutella is for most people a synonym for joy. This stems from both its unmistakable flavour and the memories it is able to evoke in us. Did you know that Sara Rosso decided to create World Nutella Day years after her first joyful taste of Nutella to spread that joy in the world? World Nutella Day was launched in 2007 and it has generated a great response around the world. Since that date, thousands of people have regularly shared on social media their happy Nutella moments, making February 5th not only a celebration of the most famous chocolate spread in the world, but also a festivity in honour of its lovers.


Speak Up London Celebration 

In light of what Nutella stands for, the Speak Up London family has decided to take part in World Nutella Day celebrations. To be more specific, some of our students decided to join thousands of other people around the world celebrating Nutella by enjoying Nutella in Soho Square. Our students embody the values that Nutella spreads, and on this note, today we are sharing a picture to show how they feel when they eat Nutella. Spoiler alert: there’s lots of Nutella and, of course, a lot of joy. Happy World Nutella Day to everyone from our Speak Up London family, always ready to spread happiness… this time helped by a sweet friend.


Maria Chiara Strano


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Sometimes all we need is a little inspiration to push us forward. 

#SpeakUpLondonBlog #SpeakUpLondon

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2013 file photo, American actor Leonardo DiCaprio poses for a portrait, in New York. The United Nations has named Leonardo DiCaprio a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made the announcement Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, calling DiCaprio “a credible voice in the environmental movement.” He also invited the actor to the upcoming UN Climate Summit planned for September 23. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)



Language is an amazing form of communication. Especially when you are multilingual or bilingual. This skill helps you communicate better with people when you’re in foreign lands. With language, you can connect with the culture even better and understand it without getting lost in translation.

With all of the fun and excitement that comes from learning a new language, there are times when it can be strenuous and hard, especially when trying to remember certain words and phrases.

So, the team here at Speak Up London, thought it best to show you people that you can aspire to. We will be introducing you to 7 Inspirational Multilingual people.

You can and will learn the language you’re set on learning, and these inspirational people are proof of this. Don’t give up, when you’re so close to reaching your goal.




1.) Leonardo DiCaprio

Languages: English and German


Leonardo DiCaprio was born in Los Angeles to an Italian/German father and a German mother. Leonardo often visited his maternal grandmother in Germany, where he was able to learn and practice his German.




2.) Johnny Depp

Languages: English and French


Johnny Depp was born and raised in was born in Owensboro, Kentucky. Depp is of mostly English ancestry, with some ancestors from elsewhere in Europe. He is descended from a French Huguenot immigrant, Pierre Dieppe.




3.) Natalie Portman

Languages: English, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Japanese, German, Sign Language.

Natalie was born in Jerusalem to an Israeli father and American mother. She grew up speaking Hebrew and English, but also knows conversational French, Japanese, German, and Spanish.



4.) Raden Mas Panji Sosrokartono

Languages: 24 languages and 10 Indonesian tribal languages.

Sosrokartono is considered the most genius man in Indonesia, beside President Habibie. He mastered 24 languages and 10 Indonesian tribal languages. After the first world war ended, he became head of translator for League of Nations.




5.) Dikembe Mutombo

Languages: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Tshiluba, Swahili, Lingala, and two other central African languages.

Mutombo is a former NBA player and is able to speak English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Tshiluba, Swahili, Lingala, and two other central African languages.




6.) Timothy Doner

Languages: English, French, Hausa, Wolof, Russian, German, Yiddish, Hebrew, Arabic, Pashto, Persian, Mandarin, Italian, Turkish, Indonesian, Dutch, Xhosa, Kiswahili, Hindi, Ojibwe, Kinyarwanda, and Creole.

Timothy was only 17 years old when he was featured in the New York Times for his ability to speak over twenty languages to various levels,




7.) Elizabeth I

Languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Latin, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish and Irish.


Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, his second wife, who was executed two and a half years after Elizabeth’s birth.




We hope that you get some inspiration from these people, and that their linguistic skills push you further to learn a new language.





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#SpeakUpLondon #MannequinChallenge




The Internet is a great place to explore; communities are formed, friends are made and crazy challenges are created. In the wave of new internet fads, Speak Up London thought it best to hop on board and take part in the Mannequin Challenge.

Speak Up London is filled with over 400 students and 50 staff members, so as you can imagine, this would be an enormous task. We couldn’t wait to conquer the Mannequin Challenge.


11 of our morning English classes (9am- 12pm), took time out of their day to participate in this quirky challenge. Imagine not moving for minutes on end; it was definitely interesting and funny to see.


Each floor was posed in different positions and presented different situations. The first floor presented people paused in time whilst playing clapping games. Another situation showed people about to jump out of the window, throwing plants at each other, and even balancing plants on their heads.


One of the best parts of our Mannequin Challenge would be the marriage proposal taking place in a classroom. As well as a proposal, there were people sleeping on the ground and other students were watching youtube videos on their phones.


The Speak Up London team would like to give a big thank you to the students, teachers and team members that participated in this challenge. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.


Speak Up London enjoyed seeing everyone’s Mannequin Challenge videos. We love seeing the creative minds of people around the world and, to be honest, we believe that Speak Up London holds the crown for the greatest Mannequin Challenge ever!





There is no need for us to explain any further. Why not click on the video and take a look at the full extended version of Speak Up London’s Mannequin Challenge.







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Canary Wharf Ice Skating Rink


Speak Up London Recommends suggests cool places and events to attend in London. So grab a friend and your bag.

There is fun to be had out there!


Tickets: £9.95 for one hour and includes skate hire.

Location: Located in the centre of Canary Wharf

Goodness me, where did the year go? It is already time to prepare for Christmas, and to be honest… we couldn’t be happier here at Speak Up London!

Can you believe that the Christmas season is already here? Yes, we know that it is only November, but we can’t help it if we are excited. Living in London, there is a high possibility that it won’t snow. So, why not pretend by Ice Skating?

Canary Wharf is one of the sleekest and coolest places to be in London. Add Christmas festivities to this beautiful location, and you’ve got something magical.

On 4th November the Canary Wharf Ice Skating Rink will be open to all! Grab a friend or two, put on something warm (don’t forget your gloves), and get skating! Music will be playing, so be careful not to fall over when your favourite song comes on. Even if you do fall over, laugh and ask your friend to lift you up.

‘LuminoCity’ is the theme this year, which means… lights, lights, lights! There will be over 8,000 LED lights shining underneath the ice and on the trees.

There will be a bar serving drinks of all kinds and there is no need to be worried about snacks either, as festive snacks will be served.

If you’re tired of skating on the ice and want to rest your feet, you can sit down at the outdoor viewing terrace which also has heaters, no need to worry about the cold.

Here at Speak Up London, we love to see our students experiencing the vibrancy and fun that London has to offer.

Whenever you see a Speak Up London Recommends Blog post, and you do end up going to the place we have suggested, take pictures of yourself there. Tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #SULRecommends. If your picture is cool, we may even repost it.

Have a blast Speak Up London peeps.