Simple English ~ Nicola Prentis

Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head

11 Things – Blog Challenge

Rachael Roberts from ELT-Resourceful set me a piece of homework for the Christmas Holidays which consists of:

  • Acknowledging the nominating blogger.
  • Sharing 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answering the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • Inviting 11 more bloggers to take up the challenge and setting 11 questions for them to answer. ( letting all the bloggers know they have been nominated and not nominating a blogger who has nominated you.)


11 Random facts about me

1 I’m addicted to jigsaw puzzles. 1000 piece ones which I can do in two days provided I barely stop to eat, sleep, get the crick out of my neck or work. I hate ones with a lot of sky and can’t see the point in those ones that are a pile of baked beans or other impossible but, crucially, not fun.

2 In 2014 I’ll have two books out with Harper Collins but in totally unconnected divisions. One is Collins English for Life: Speaking B2 for the education division and the other is…too hot for this blog but is with Harper Impulse, the digital romance imprint.

3 When I was a kid I had a magical ability to weigh pick ‘n’ mix in my hands and get the price right to within 2p.

4 Possibly as a result of the latter, I have a sugar addiction that would merit a 12 step program to get over. Every year, I give it all up for Lent as it’s the only part of the year I can be free of the evil white powder.

5 I have unashamedly terrible taste in music and the best night out in the world for me is an 80s night in Prague at Lucerna which climaxes in Life is Life by Opus and The Final Countdown by Europe. Those two are nowhere near the worst songs on my Spotify.

6 I met Take That when I was 16 after winning a competition in a teen magazine. The band were going to answer reader questions as if they were being Agony Uncles for the day. My winning question was  “Why are there no boys as nice as my best friend?” On the day, Jason Orange took it on himself to come and sit with his arm round me to answer the question, and told me he’d be my best friend. I looked terrified and Gary told him to go back and sat with the others again. Jason – I am all grown up now!

7 At university in Manchester I was a very average Philosophy student until it came to dissertation time when I beat everyone else in the department with a first class dissertation about the first two Superman films. Even the lecturer that helped me was surprised!

8 I like ironing and regularly offer to do it if I have a  boyfriend or when I used to have male housemates. I find it therapeutic and wish I had more of my own clothes that required it.

9 I used to like cooking but now I really couldn’t care less and actually feel a bit pressured by a full fridge so never have much more than nail varnish and butter in it. That doesn’t stop me cursing it for not holding magically self producing meals though. Next year I am either going to pay someone to cook for me or use a meal replacement drink in the week and just eat as a hobby at weekends.

10 I recently made a list of things that genuinely make me happy. They were: Writing, my adorable nieces, wearing skirts, being under 8 stone (needs work), Spotify. That’s good to realise, completely within my ability to make happen and easy to pare down anything not on the list.

11 I’m still upset about The Red Wedding.

Rachael’s 11 Questions

1 Why did you start blogging and how has differed from your expectations?

My agent, Nick Robinson advised me to but actually I had had a restaurant review blog when I lived in Istanbul so knew I enjoyed it. I now have 4 blogs (although one is not really more than a host for a book I wrote parodying Fifty Shades of Grey) and am about to be involved in a 5th joint blog. I knew what blogging was like but I hadn’t experienced interacting with other people through it and their blogs. It has spurred me to write a lot of things that might just have passed through my head as partially formed thoughts. I just love to write and amuse myself no end. I don’t really need anyone to read it to get that from it but readers is nice too!

2 What’s your earliest childhood memory?

I don’t really have any that I can sequence accurately enough to say earliest.

3 Tell us about someone you admire, and say why.

I can’t think of someone specific. People who have ideas and then act on them are people I look up to and try to emulate.

4 What was the last book you read and what did you think of it?

Well the last one was one my publishers sent me as they were hoping their authors would get involved with promoting it. But I hated it so don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it.

5 Do you prefer walking or running? Why?

Cycling. I loathe running and walking is boring. Cycling is like meditation.

6 What was your first paid job?

The first few were packing jobs in warehouses at 16. Dirty, low paid, cold work that makes me extremely unsympathetic to spoiled rich teens that live off their parents.

7 What five famous people would you invite to a dinner party, and why?

Elvis because there have been so few people as magnetic since; Russell Brand because I wonder if I’d fancy him or find him a bit much or be fascinated – all three probably; Stephen King to get advice on writing even though I’ve read On Writing and there can’t be any more to say…Honestly no idea, even these three would likely not get on so I’d rather have one on ones anyway!

8 What’s the first website you check/go on each day? Why?

Although I didn’t have Facebook for about a year when I deleted my account, I pretty much live on it since getting back into it 18 months ago. It’s on my phone so I’m not really ever not on it.

9 What can you remember about the first class you ever taught?

The first one that counted was in Prague with very unwilling students who too against the whole communicative, student centred approach and didn’t see the point of talking to each other because they wouldn’t learn anything. In the 2 True, 2 False game on of them wrote “I want a new teacher, I want a new classroom, I want a new class philosophy.” I brave faced it and just asked which one was false.

10 Flowers or chocolates?

I’ve got no self control so giving me chocolates is a mistake. Flowers I’ve only been bought twice so you’d be in a small enough group to stand out.

11 How do you feel about reality TV shows?

I’ll watch any of them, with relish, if I’m in the UK but the interest level leaves me as soon as I get back abroad. If I was on one, I’d get voted off early as I’m not good enough at hiding my contempt for people.

11 bloggers who I am tagging (not all EFL) because I like the way they write, whatever their subject matter.


Andre Farant



Irrelevant irreverence:The chap on the Street

Hugh Dellar

Nick Robinson but these days appearing more often on

Evidence Based EFL

Cassandra Parkin


The Secret DoS

My 11 questions  (if they want to take part/have not already)

  1. Regardless of why you started blogging, what do you get out of it now?
  2. What app do you use first in the morning (excluding websites eg Facebook)?
  3. Sweet or savoury?
  4. What’s the most annoying thing about where you live now?
  5. If you could change some historical event what would it be and why?
  6. Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions? What?
  7. Are you going to see Fifty Shades of Grey when it comes out?
  8. What didn’t you know this time last year that you would like someone else to learn/benefit from knowing?
  9. If there was a Fly On The Wall reality style show being filmed at your workplace or about people like you, would you be in it if asked?
  10. What do you cook when you can’t be bothered to cook?
  11. What was the last thing that surpassed your expectations?

4 comments on “11 Things – Blog Challenge

  1. strangequark0
    December 29, 2013

    I am about to do this, but only see one question from you.. am I missing something?

    • Nicola
      December 29, 2013

      There was some weird issue when i posted it….let me see

    • Nicola
      December 29, 2013

      How annoying, they are not in any earlier revisions either so I have to remember/redo them!

  2. Pingback: Blog Challenge! | AngieKozBlogs

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This entry was posted on December 23, 2013 by in Thoughts and tagged , , .
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