October 30, 2019

Book review: Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

“There used to be a kind of unspoken nobility about living in Britain.” [253]

When I started reading the book, I knew I would laugh unstoppably, enjoy the off-track travel stories & sentimental retrospective mentions. But in this publication, I feel I discovered more; a land that the author calls home. His sentiment for the past times and warmth for the hidden paths & forgotten towns makes you want to immediately visit the exact same locations. And the fact that he travelled by public transport makes me want to hug him (yes, I’m a huge advocate for using public transport, bikes or your own legs)!

I found it extremely interesting that the book, which was written in the nighties, is so up-to-date today. The issues regarding conservation, heritage, nature, community, and public transport still need our voice and understanding.

I hope you enjoyed my short introduction to this fascinating read by Bill Bryson. What in Notes from a Small Island stroke your attention most? Do let me know in the comments below.

Kinga Macalla

October 23, 2019

Travelling corner: Bristol by bike (part 2)

In my humble opinion, Bristol is not the easiest place to cycle, as it’s quite hilly, but the bike trips I want to recommend today are not too challenging, they’re definitely family-friendly 🙂 I usually cycle with my family at weekends and we use a bike trailer for our two daughters who enjoy observing the world from there (or have a short nap, why not?!). My previous blog post on bike trips can be read here and today is part 2. OK, off we go! 3 bike trips are coming:

Shirehampton-Severn Beach (route no 41)

It’s a fairly easy ride, not too long. However, I highly recommended going on this bike trip on Sunday, as otherwise many lorries cross the route. It is always (at least in my case) windy in Severn Beach, so be prepared to have a break with your hair everywhere. Having said this, I do enjoy this cycling route, especially two moments; when you’re going among the trees and then the bridge view.

Shirehampton-Pill-Bristol Centre (route no 26)

I so wanted to go cycling on the other side of the river Avon (as I had looked at it many times from the train window) and this summer I finally fulfilled this desire! The cycling route is beautiful and it’s not very difficult, but I think it takes a bit longer to reach the centre than on the previous route. You will meet many cyclists, runners and walkers on the way, as it’s a popular way to enjoy one’s weekend, with the views of Clifton Suspension Bridge or the River Avon.

Shirehampton-Bristol Centre-Bedminster/Southville (Portway Road)

The cycling route goes along Portway Road which runs from Shirehapton to Bristol centre. There is a pavement, so the ride is comfortable, however, it’s sinusoidally up and down, so it takes some stamina to get to the centre. If you wish to go to Bedminster/Southville, then turn right on the small bridge, which I think it’s called Plimsoll Bridge. I usually go this way if I quickly need to reach the above destinations.

These are my favourite, most-used bike trips. Do let me know which cycling routes are your favourites. Leave your comment down below.

Kinga Macalla

October 16, 2019

Learning a language: Learn Polish with BLS online & FREE!

As you remember, we introduced a new series of blog posts (see Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin ChineseArabic) where we teach you some useful phrases in different languages. Sounds amazing? And it’s POLISH today!

Do you want to be able to talk with your Polish family? Do you travel frequently to Warszawa, Kraków or Wrocław? Are you planning your summer holiday in Hel or Zakopane? Do you dream of exploring the Polish countryside? If so, we would like you to taste & learn some essential Polish first. Below you’ll find a list of useful phrases in Polish (greetings, polite phrases, closed question words, numerals and simple questions & sentences). We also video recorded Lucja, our Polish tutor, to help you with reading, pronunciation and accent (also available on YouTube). We hope you enjoy this series and that you’ll come and learn Polish with us! Good luck!

Which language would like you like to learn next? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Kinga Macalla

October 2, 2019

Series review: Better Than Us (Russian: Лучше, чем люди), Netflix

Better Than Us is set in Russia, in the near-future, where humanoid robots are being used to serve humans as cleaners and manual workers. A Chinese company creates a “bot” called Arisa (played by Paulina Andreeva), a bot which can understand human emotion – but also doesn’t follow the Three Laws of Robotics. In short, she can kill.


Russian robotics manufacturer Viktor Toropov buys the prototype Arisa, and intends to use it to cement his company’s place at the top of the robotics industry. There’s only one problem – Arisa escapes and bonds with a young girl, Sonya. Then follows a roller-coaster of a ride as Toropov tries to reclaim the fugitive bot, by any means necessary. Throw into the mix a group of anti-A.I. extremists, Arisa’s evolution as she starts to experience emotions of her own, and Sonya’s family’s private drama, and you have a series which stands head-and-shoulders above your standard sci-fi fare.
I personally give it a 9/10!

Darren Cameron