Why there's no place like home this holiday season

Holidays are a time to kick back, relax and put your feet up, to slip on the swimsuit, crack open a beer and chill out with your favourite book. Right?

Sunday, 8 July, 2012, 12:00am

When baby finally sleeps through the night, it's time for a French toast

I wish I were French. It's not the first time, either. I had the same strong urge when I was at university, struggling with when to use the hideously complicated French verb mood, the subjunctive.

10 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

The squeal thing: how a little stimulation can go a long way

I've taken our baby, Tom, to a new playgroup. To say he loves it is an understatement. He's never been so vocal in all of his short life.

'What a responsive baby,' one woman says, which clearly translates to 'noisy little thing'.

27 May 2012 - 12:00am

Plot a course through the great carrier conundrum

Since Tom's birth 10 months ago, we have been through an array of baby carriers. The search for the right one has consumed considerable time and energy. If you are mulling over this same problem, let me save you some drama and expense.

13 May 2012 - 12:00am

I've lost it!

Last week, three of your friends, Penny, Tom and George, phoned you with a problem. They had each lost something important and needed someone to talk to.


1 What has Penny lost?

a. an item of jewellery

b. her engagement ring

c. her mum's wedding ring

2 How many owners has the object had?

a. two

3 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

How to get your tiddler into the swim of things

I love swimming. One of the very first things I want to teach my son is how to swim.

When the pool's open, I swim at least three times a week. Before my son was born, I was in our local pool for half an hour every day.

I am convinced my birth was made easier by all the swimming I did over the whole nine months.

25 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

A long story

'It takes a long time to become young.'

Pablo Picasso - Spanish artist (1881-1973)

Enjoy your long weekend

What is ...?

1 a long weekend

a. a weekend when you stay at home

b. a weekend extended by including Friday and/or Monday

2 a long-lost relative

21 Sep 2011 - 12:00am



A group of friends who work together in an office are having a night out. The conversation gets round to the topic of boyfriends. One of the girls says she has just dumped her boyfriend and this starts the rest of them off talking about recently-dumped boyfriends.

Question 1

15 May 2009 - 12:00am


Question 1 Alvin chooses a watch

1) Ruby wants to buy her brother Alvin a watch for his birthday. Listen to their conversation as they look at watches in a shop window.

Draw a circle around the illustration showing the watch that Alvin eventually chooses for his birthday present.

Question 2 Lily's fitness programme

24 Oct 2008 - 12:00am

Talk before you leap

The proposal has been made, the answer is yes and now you're both eagerly planning the big day. But before you take that journey down the aisle, consider the statistics: divorce is on the rise in Hong Kong, increasing to 14,873 in 2005 from 9,404 in 1995. One in every three marriages will end in divorce.

14 Jul 2007 - 12:00am

Word Power

Match the following words with their meanings on the right.

1. epic

2. genocide

3. malicious

4. whitewash

5. unprecedented

6. besieged

a. grand; magnificent

b. surrounded

c. mass killing (of an ethnic, religious or political group)

d. for the first time

4 Jun 2007 - 12:00am

Sleeping in class

Language points

1. go off

This is an informal term, meaning someone is angry and shouting at somebody.

Eg. Kelvin was rude to Lisa, so she went off at him.

2. not get a wink of sleep

a complete lack of sleep

Eg. I didn't get a wink of sleep last night because my neighbours were playing loud music.

4 Apr 2006 - 12:00am

Language point

I watch people in airports sitting and multi-tasking and eating.

'And' is a simple word we use all the time, to link subjects (Tom, Peter and Mary are all coming to dinner), objects (We'll serve duck breast, fish and vegetables), verbs (see example above), etc.

14 Apr 2005 - 12:00am

The dating game

Dating is a strange game. Within the first five minutes, you can usually tell whether the evening is going to be a success.

I once went on a blind date arranged by colleagues who thought they had found the perfect man for me. 'Oh, he's tall, dark, handsome, rich and charming?' I asked, agreeing to go on the basis that he was apparently a great laugh.

30 Jul 1997 - 12:00am