It’s been a long year at ELC, but we have enjoyed every minute: catching up with our regular students and meeting new ones. In June this year, we created our highly acclaimed (ahem) Youtube channel and sent the ELC message to the whole world and beyond. In December, we had our 2nd Qualiopi audit and were validated to carry on training for another 18 months! Youpee! There will be a new website in the New Year, thanks to our fabulous communications agency, L’Esperluette and more madness on the social networks for you to follow, but for now, it is time for the whole team to hibernate for 2 weeks and re-energise to be on top form for the challenges and the excitement of the New Year.


Good day to you
My name is Gully. As you can see, I am a yellow-legged seagull. I was born in 2020 in a colony on the back side of the Cercle des Nageurs in Marseille.

My hobbies are fishing, oenology, doing sudoku, sight-seeing and European history.

As I am sure you already know, gulls are extremely romantic creatures and stay with the same mate for life. However, since a very scary episode with the dating application “Mouettic” during which my date ate a whole bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, including the bucket, I have decided to look for love outside Marseille.


And now here I am in London, having flown all the way from the Catalan beach, ready to study the behaviour of my cousins in Britain and who knows … maybe even find love!

You can follow me on ELC’s Instagram. I will be posting photos of my adventures. Will you be able to guess where I am? How well do you know London?

ELC uses a bit of elbow grease

This month Katie and I had the opportunity to take part in an annual charity event with our friends at #Onet. The objective was for a group to spend the day repainting a women’s shelter.

For me, this meant 8 hours of spilling paint on the floor and on myself while trying to get a minimum on a wall or two. As surprising as this may sound, I had never actually painted a wall before, so it was a great learning experience as well. Some people may say that I still haven’t painted a wall, but at least now I have some experience trying.

Apart from my questionable painting skills, doing something to aid others is a rewarding exercise. There are so many different ways that we can help in the community. I must admit that I don’t help as much as I should, and so having this opportunity was a chance to reflect on the positives of charity work, and how a little effort for us can translate into making the experiences of others a little better. I had a great day, especially as it had three great aspects—I was able to do something helpful, I got the day off work, and I got a free t-shirt. You can’t get much better than that!


Top Trumps

New terms begin with introductions: Hello! How do you do? We’re delighted to meet you! Did you have any trouble finding us? What lovely weather we’re having for the season!

For those of you who don’t know us already, we are ELC: the Dream Team for your English project: be it general English, banking English, legal English or learning enough English to ask a dolphin for directions as you cross the Atlantic.

We’re a small team, but as we say in English, “small is beautiful”. What? You want to know more? Well, here is all you need to know ….

Postcards from the edge of sanity

Ouf! It is getting dangerously hot, isn’t it? And these new spicy hot temperatures are not adapted for our bodies and minds. We have read studies which suggest that in Mexico, there is a 1.5% increase in the number of murders for every degree that the temperature rises! Now, this kind of madness is not something that would affect your favourite English team of course, but on the hottest of days, we have been known (dare I say it) to honk our horn (klaxonner) at a particularly naughty motorist or even …. say a rude word to a bee if we swallow it whilst eating a jam sandwich. And this is why, as France hits its meltiest period, we turn off our smart phones and computers and put ourselves on holiday to recharge. ‘But where are you going?’ we hear you cry! ‘What if we have a particularly sticky present perfect question for you?’



The Results of the Great ELC Bake-off

DANIEL // Bake Off – The Finale

About my ‘competitor’

At the end of a competition, we should be gracious. We should be respectful. We should be a good sport, no matter whether we have won or lost. We should be an example to those that follow in our footsteps. It’s not always easy to be that gracious, respectful good sport – especially if our competitor wasn’t very good (mine wasn’t), or if our competitor was terrible at trash talking (mine was), or even if our competitor’s cooking made you wonder if they have ever seen a recipe before (I did wonder!). Regardless of these problems with my competitor, I’m a picture of restraint and respect.

About the competition

It appears I lost. I know, and I agree with you – it’s unjust. It’s unthinkable. It’s illogical. It’s simply…impossible. Now, I’m not saying that it was because the judge and my competitor are related. It may possibly be because I’m not as good a baker as I think I am. No, I agree with you again – that’s not feasible. Well, either way, I say congratulations to Katie. Well done, good job, a fine effort on your part. We both made an apple crumble last week, and actually, I must admit, her crumble has been amazing – I’ve been using hers as a doorstop. It works great.  

Gracious: Courtois, digne // Respectful: respectueux // A good sport: beau joueur // No matter whether: peu importe si // Wonder: se demander // Regardless: quoi qu’il en soit // Restraint: retenue // Appear: apparaître // Unjust: unjuste // Unthinkable: impensable // Related: lié (à) // Feasible: faisable // Apple crumble: crumble aux pommes // Doorstop: cale-porte

KATIE // Bake Off – Another one bites the crust!


About my competitor:

He gave it his best effort but unfortunately my opponent’s best just didn’t cut the mustard. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I won the bake off and I will never let Daniel forget it! Despite his attempts, we didn’t all come down with food poisoning but I did appreciate his hot cross buns which I keep in my kitchen as a knife sharpener.

About the competition:

I thoroughly enjoyed the competition and the banter with Daniel, it was a wonderful team building exercise. I think we’ve both learnt a little from the experience: I have learnt that the simplest approach is often the best, that I am much more competitive than I thought and Daniel has learnt to stay out of the kitchen.

We’ve all had lots of fun but now, as the summer approaches, it’s time to set aside our dessert spoons and pick up our salad forks. The diet starts tomorrow!

crust = la croûte // cut the mustard = être à la hauteur // come down with food poisoning = souffrir d’une intoxication alimentaire // knife sharpener = aiguisoir à couteaux // banter = se charrier //put aside = mettre de côté



Bake Off – Hot Cross Buns

Bake Off – Hot Cross Buns / DANIEL

Non-fighting words

Competition is a healthy activity. It pushes us to be better, and can test our limits. And what better type of competition than a cooking one! However, every competition needs a winner and a loser. Lucky for me, for this particular competition my opponent is Katie, so this will be an easy win for me.

No good competition is complete without some good trash talk, in order to demoralize your opponent. So please sit back and enjoy the reasons why I’m not concerned about my chances of winning.

  • Someone once said that British food is bland. I don’t think that’s true – I think they just had dinner at Katie’s house.
  • I heard that Katie once dropped a loaf of her bread and it broke her foot.
  • I’m not saying the Taste Tester is in danger because Katie is baking, but I did hear that they took out extra insurance.
  • I’m not saying Katie’s bread would make a good paperweight, but the evidence shows that they do.
  • I heard that last year a local builder ran out of bricks when building a house, so Katie donated a batch of her bread rolls as a substitute. I don’t think that house will ever fall down.


Bland: sans gout, insipide / Trash talk: échanges verbaux / Loaf (of bread): miche (de pain) / Taste tester: goûteur / Paperweight: presse-papiers / Evidence: indice / Builder: maçon / Donate: donner, faire un don / Batch: fournée / Bread roll: petit pain

Bake Off – Hot Cross Buns / KATIE


There’s nothing better for team building than a little friendly competition. This month, Daniel and Katie have decided to have a bake off; England vs Australia, and their first challenge is The Hot Cross Bun. Amy will be the judge and we’ll share our winning recipes with you. So, Daniel and Katie, on your marks, get bready and go!


All my family know their way around the kitchen. My mother and father have always enjoyed cooking (and eating), my brother is a chef and has worked in many different restaurants around the world and my sister is always inspiring me with new healthy recipes.

One of my very fondest memories is of baking with my Grandma who was famous at her church’s bake sale for “Amy’s boring buns” which were simple but always the first to be sold out!


Katie: “Knead it and weep

This is going to be an easy one and I plan to make like bread and rise to the challenge. Daniel, prepare to go home because you’re going down…under! If I may misquote The Beatles: “all you knead is love” and there’s nobody who loves Hot Cross Buns more than me! I’m confident I’ll be taking home the gold and Daniel will be taking home his buns that nobody wants. I hope Amy has the number of a good dentist because she’ll need one after tasting Daniel’s baking!   

Pun Glossary:

-On your marks, Get Ready and Go! = À vos marques, prêts, partez

-Read it and weep = quand tu verras ça, tu auras envie de pleurer.

-make like bread and rise to the challenge = faites comme le pain et relevez le défi!

-The Beatle’s song: All you need is love (knead = pétrir)


What I have learnt on maternity leave.

On Monday I returned to work after 12 wonderful weeks with my new daughter Stella. The time had flown by so quickly, and I couldn’t believe that she was already 3 months old.

I was nervous. I was used to my new routine and was worried I had forgotten how to speak to adults, but I was equally excited to see my lovely colleagues and students again.

So, what have I learnt?

  • Team work. Whatever you do, it’s always helpful to know that you’re not alone and to have a strong support system. As a parent, I know I have family and friends to turn to if ever I feel overwhelmed. As an employee, surrounded by caring, dynamic and inspirational people motivates me to do my best.
  • There’s no shame in needing and asking for help. As a working mother especially, I feel there is a lot of pressure to manage my home and work life simultaneously and it’s difficult. Nobody is perfect but asking for and accepting help can only make me stronger.
  • Take your time. Progress is still progress, and with patience you can achieve many things. You don’t become bilingual in one day and you don’t suddenly become the world’s greatest parent as soon as your baby is born. I am proud of every achievement, big or small and working hard for something only makes the result more satisfying.
  • Self-worth. It was only when my older daughter pointed out my roots were showing that I realised I had not thought about myself as a person for the past year. I had been an oven for 9 months and a milk dispenser for the next 3. After taking a little time for myself, I felt less stressed, more confident, and ready to face the world.

It’s for that reason that I plan on taking any training opportunity I have this year, to improve my skills and make me a better-rounded person (but with a flatter tummy!).

ELC Finds a New Home!

Since its creation in 2004, ELC’s headquarters have been a closely guarded secret and the team has managed this because we have always made it a point to go to see our students in their own companies …. Whether it be a lovely village setting at the entrance to the calanques, a chic financial hub in the centre of town, a place where ladies still design underpants for gentlemen in the northern suburbs or a trendy hangout surrounded by vegan restaurants …. We love coming to you, because it helps us know you even better when you are surrounded by your natural environment.

However, ELC is now blooming and growing and adapting to new post-pandemic ways of working. We are becoming ELC 2.0 ….. Basically, we’re down with the kids!

Since February this year, we have joined the NOW co-working community on the Vieux Port of Marseille and we are loving it! The atmosphere is great thanks to Laurie, Andréa and Vanina at reception, the other co-workers are from so many different professions that we are bursting with curiosity and …. We are even training some of the most fabulous members in business English so as to make them even more fabulous internationally.

Check out our new group in the brainstorming room with Stéphane from Easiware, Andréa from Now, Anne-Laurence from Attention Fragile, Félix the graphic designer and Matt from Le Petit Ballon!

If things continue to be this good, we might even have to give up our secret office in that undersea volcano ….!

Big Fat quiz

ELC has a tradition every year to put together a quiz containing what we view as the most interesting news events of the year. Now, the events in question might not be the ones that made the headlines. Arguably, they may not figure on your list of top 50 events. It’s quite possible, even that they slipped your attention completely. But they caught our attention while we were skipping through the press daily, seeking the best articles for our dear students. Some of them made us gasp, some made us smile. Some even made us reach for the gin bottle. There are 28 questions, a few traps, three mad billionaires, some big business, a secret crush and a prize for the first person to send back a test with all the right answers…