Twenty ten or two thousand and ten?


All over the native English speaking world there is a huge debate going on.

The big question is: How do we say 2010?

I've looked at sites and blogs from the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and it seems that the younger generation want to say "twenty-ten", whereas some older people want to continue with "two thousand and ten". The Americans say "two thousand ten" (no "and") just to add to the confusion.

But, on the whole, when I have seen opinion polls, every one of them prefers to say: TWENTY TEN!

This could be because the younger generation are more likely to use the internet to state their preference. Perhaps an opinion poll held in a shopping centre and asking a wider range of ages would give a different result.

But I feel that "twenty ten" will eventually become the most popular choice.

So, in British English, we write the date like this: 2nd January 2010 ( or 2/1/10)

And we say:

It's Saturday the second of January, twenty-ten.

What's more, people are already saying that the London Olympics will take place in "twenty twelve" (2012).

However, there is another problem. Perhaps you've noticed it as you' ve been reading. Should that be twenty twelve (no hyphen) or twenty-twelve (with a hyphen)?

Again, at the moment, I just don't know. (But with a hyphen looks better to me.)

Plus facile à dire "deux mille dix", n'est- ce pas?

I think this is an interesting example of how the English language changes and develops according to popular opinion.

We will, of course, continue to watch and listen to see the correct way of pronouncing the date, and we will keep you informed.


Where to eat in Lyon

Restaurant review by Igor (studying at level B2)


Those two words are truly right because "La Divina" is divine. Indeed, you can find it in the ninth "arrondissement" of the city.

I was in Lyon last June to listen to pupils from the CNSM (conservatoire national supérieur de musique).

It is an Italian restaurant and obviously, you'll find pizzas, but unique pizzas.
Why unique? Perhaps it’s because the cook is Italian.

Unfortunately, when I was over there, the street was a building site, so the atmosphere was not as good as it could be. However, we feel a very nice atmosphere of the south as the decoration, which is typical Italian, is like a small Italian village with green plants and a false orange wall.

Well, I was with my mum and I went twice actually due to such delicious food. We can eat outside or inside, everybody can afford a "Divina" dinner.

I made a special order as usual because I'm vegetarian. I ordered a complete salad with their lovely olive oil from Italia, a pizza (anchovies) and a Tiramisu combined with a very fine fizzy Italian wine (shared with my mother of course ;-)).

To be honest, I can't recommend a menu which is better than another because everything is wonderful!
I think we paid 20 Euros more or less for each person.

It is not necessary to book for, just maybe only the week-end, it could be busy. Animals are allowed, there is an access for disabled people and children's menus as well.

So, don't forget this restaurant if you go to Lyon, it is the best restaurant I've ever eaten in!

They don't have website but have a look on the following link:

Restaurant La Divina, 21 Rue Fraternelle - 69009 Lyon 9th

Where to eat in Rennes

A restaurant review by A.L studying at level C1


When Bronwen asked us to do a review on a restaurant, I knew exactly and directly which restaurant I was going to describe: Laëtitia and Stéphane’s restaurant, my friends who run an excellent fusion restaurant in Rennes.

They have called it “l’eau à la bouche”, you know what it means…when you smell or hear about a nice meal and that makes you hungry. That’s what I might do with this review….

As I said they merge food and especially the European and Asian cuisine. It’s Stéphane who cooks and Laëtitia who welcomes you with her natural big smile. It’s quite a small room, 20 tables, but very charming and calm with a fireplace, white beams and with these original tables which are tear shaped.

It’s a restaurant where the cuisine is truly honoured. Each dish is cooked precisely to give full flavour and mix well with the other dishes.

Also, the products come from the market or bio distributors, which add a lot to the taste sensations. Stéphane knows, just right, the mix of quality ingredients for innovative flavours! The pan fried duck breast is delicious and the home-made foie gras makes you ask for more and more of it! Plus, the menu is constantly renewed … “L’eau à la bouche” is creativity with no limits!! You can indulge in the chef's surprise, Stéphane chooses for you!

Moreover, the presentations of the dishes are original and neat.

You will understand the whole concept is of wellbeing ... even the CDs are specially selected for you to escape.

This is also valid for their dessert will melt for them, I’m sure you will sell your soul for this excellent “forêt noire, half cooked with Tanzanian chocolate.

I can recommend it a thousand times! Feel free to go there; you will leave it a changed person!

A word of advice: book your table before going!!!

And have a look at their website!

L'eau à la Bouche, 12 rue de l'Arsenal, 35000 Rennes tel: 02 23 40 27 95

Where to eat in Spain

A restaurant review by DR JJ, studying at level C1


If you ever go for a holiday in Spain on the Mediterranean coast near Valencia make sure you go to the restaurant called El Establiment.

It is located on the edge of a natural lagoon, La Albufera, which is about 30 ha large. La Albufera takes its name from the Arabic Al-Buhayra meaning « the little sea ». It’s a natural park dedicated to the cultivation of rice.

L’Establiment is about 10 km south of Valencia.To get there you must leave the bustling city and travel south through orange-groves and rice plantations. Here you will find some old « Baraquettas » (typical little houses with white walls and thatched roofs and a cross on the top).

The restaurant clientele is mostly represented by couples, families or business groups and you’d better book in advance.

It offers a large choice of typical Valencian food. First of all you can taste
« Tapas »: fried squid or cod, home-made bread with olive oil, mixed salad, but don’t eat too much of it! Later you can order all kind of rice preparations; of course « paella valenciana » but if you don’t like shell-fish you can order « arroz a banda », a sort of paella without fish.

The rice has a special flavour because it is cooked with local salt water. And don’t miss the delicious « cortados », coffee and milk served in a tiny glass.

If you can spend a few more hours of your time you must afterwards rent a little boat and row over the channels along La Albufera. You will not regret it!

How to write a ... Restaurant Review


When you write a restaurant review, think about the following elements:

1. Name & place of the restaurant
2. Type of food
3. Atmosphere/ decoration
4. When do you go there? Who with? Is it for special occasions only? Is it suitable for children?
5. Is there a special dish that you would recommend?
6. Do you need to book?
7. Price
8. Address, phone number, website address

Try to use a rich vocabulary to describe the restaurant and the food.

For example: mouth watering, delicious, exquisite, home-made, tempting, savoury, pricey, crowded, packed, in the middle of nowhere, good value for money…

I look forward to receiving your reviews and trying out your recommendations!

Where to eat in Vannes

(level C1)

BC wth Champers.jpg

Le Tournesol

The village of Meucon is only 6 kilometres north of Vannes, and it has one of the best restaurants in the area.
Le Tournesol is situated in an old stone farm building which has been beautifully renovated and decorated. There are two elegant dining rooms, a very nice garden and plenty of free parking.

Le Tournesol, Meucon

Richard and I first discovered this lovely restaurant six years ago when we were looking for a special place where we could celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary with some friends. Since then we have often celebrated birthdays and anniversaries there. We went there again a few weeks ago to celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary. It is a little bit pricey but it is the perfect place for a special meal or a celebration. The service is discreet and efficient and the food, fine French cuisine, is simply delicious.

We chose one of the fixed price menus. I had foie gras to start, followed by tournedos de boeuf with a grand marnier ice-cream and warm mandarins to finish.

This three course meal was made special by all sorts of unexpected little extras from the kitchen which the chef invited us to try.

As soon as we arrived we ordered the house cocktail, made with sparkling wine, which came with a plate of little pastries.

Next, a tiny pot of chestnut soup arrived. It was a lovely golden colour, very smooth and very tasty. Then came the foie gras with two small brioche rolls.

Next, our perfectly cooked steak was served with a small tower of potatoes and a delicious sauce. Then we were served with a freshly cooked, warm roll and some cheese and salad in a nutty oil dressing. This was followed by our dessert, which is an absolute favourite of mine, and I confess I order it every time I go to Le Tournesol.

Just when we thought that we couldn’t eat another thing, the chef sent out another of his little tasting pots, this time a fabulous light and fluffy raspberry mousse.

We ordered coffee, and it came with a small jug of hot milk and a plate of tiny cakes and biscuits.

Because we were driving we had only a half bottle of red wine, a dry Pomerol.

There is only one thing about Le Tournesol which I would criticise, and that is the music. Although it isn’t loud, it is very tinny and annoying and sounds like a radio playing in the kitchen. I’m sure the majority of people don’t even notice it, but I think it would be much nicer if there was some jazz or classical music playing on a better sound system.

However, all in all, going to Le Tournesol is a wonderful dining experience and I would certainly recommend it without hesitation.
Expect to pay about 90€ for two for a truly excellent meal.

LE TOURNESOL, 20 route de Vannes, Meucon tel: 02 97 44 50 50

How to write... A book review

1. Have a clear plan for each paragraph and do not repeat yourself.

2. Try to use a rich vocabulary. Level B1 & B2: keep the grammatical structure simple.
Level C1: More complicated structures such as “fronting” should be attempted.

3. Use the following plan as a model.

Plan for the review of “French Kiss”

Title & Author

Paragraph 1: Overall short summary of the story, without giving away the ending.

Paragraph 2: Genre – autobiography

Paragraph 3: Writing style

Paragraph 4: Personal opinion

Date of publication, Language, Publisher, Where to buy the book.

Now read the review. There is also an interview with the author which follows the review.

What books are you reading at the moment?

I look forward to receiving your reviews! Send them to me at

Going Nuts! 2

Nutty Recipe 2

If you made the banana & walnut cake successfully, perhaps you would like to try this next recipe:

Nut Tart (Gâteau au noix)

It’s slightly more difficult than the cake, but well worth it. I often make this as a dessert when people come to dinner. You can make it in advance, even the day before, and everyone loves it. However, it does contain alcohol, so this dessert is strictly for grown-ups!

gâteau au noix

For the pastry:
250g flour
100g butter
25g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt

For the filling:
300ml cream (crème liquide douce – NOT crème fraiche.)
2 egg whites – beaten until stiff
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
Packet of powdered almonds (125g)
100g caster sugar

For the topping:
100g Icing sugar
50ml Cognac or Armagnac
12 perfect walnut halves

slice of nut tart

Mix all the pastry ingredients together into a firm ball. Butter & flour a pie dish, then roll out the pastry & place it in the dish. Put it into the oven at 180° for 10 minutes. It should NOT go brown at all.
Meanwhile, mix the cream, vanilla essence, sugar, salt & powdered almonds together. Then carefully fold in the stiff egg whites.
Take the pie out of the oven & fill it with this mixture. Put it back into the oven & cook for another 30 -35 minutes until it is a golden colour.
When the pie has cooled a little, mix the icing sugar with the Armagnac & pour it all over the top of the tart. Decorate with the walnut halves.

Then sit back and wait for the complements!

baskets of walnuts

Going Nuts!

There is a walnut tree in our garden which is probably about 40 years old. This year, it has produced a bumper crop*.

A bumper crop of walnuts

So what can we do with so many walnuts?


Easy Banana & Walnut Cake

75g semi-salted butter
110g caster sugar
1 large, beaten egg
Grated rind of 1 lemon
225g flour + raising agent
4 ripe bananas
75g chopped walnuts

Pre- heat your oven to 180°. Put buttered, greaseproof paper into a deep cake tin.
Put butter, sugar, beaten egg, flour & raising agent in a large bowl.
Slice & mash* bananas with a fork in a smaller bowl.
Mix the sugar, butter & flour using an electric whisk. (Don’t worry if it looks dry at this stage.)
Add the lemon rind, the mashed bananas & the walnuts. Mix together with a fork.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin.
Bake in the centre of the oven at 180° for 45 minutes, until golden.

This cake is delicious warm or cold, with a cup of coffee or a cup of English tea!

Banana and walnut cake

*a bumper crop = more fruit or vegetables than usual.
* to mash = to crush fruit or vegetables, eg:mashed potatoes
*"going nuts" = (idiomatic expression) to become mad or crazy