Hobbies and Interests

hobbies iconsWhen we are not working, studying, cleaning, washing up, paying bills and food shopping we should be having a ball. Obviously, I’m not saying that working and studying can’t be fun, but for most people, the aforementioned are more or less obligations, and from my point of view, a hobby, or the things we do when we have free time or leisure time, is a choice not a necessity. In a nutshell, the definition of a hobby is something that you do in your spare time to chill out , and something which you are not paid to do.

So, when you’ve got time off work, or you’re sick to the back teeth of studying, what do you get up to?

Like me, are you nuts about listening to music?  Or, perhaps you’re an adrenaline junkie , like my friend, who straps on a harness and spends every weekend trying to defy gravity by climbing rocks like Spiderman. Maybe you’re keen on doing physical activities in teams, or perhaps individual activities, like reading and yoga, are more your cup of tea.


VOCABULARY ACTIVITY ONE: Hobbies for friends
It is said that there are an uncountable number of hobbies and leisure time activities that you can take up. It has also been suggested that to keep a healthy body and mind it is best to participate in a physical hobby as well as an activity that engages the brain.  So, out of the following activities which two would you recommend to your friends? Hobbies vocabulary

VOCABULARY ACTIVITY TWO: From Board Games to Barbie: The Rich and Famous are just Nutjobs!

Ok, generally speaking the rich and famous are always a little eccentric. After surfing on the net I found out that their hobbies range from synchronized swimming to collecting daggers; from sky diving to butt implants and Botox. With this in mind, can you match the celebrity, oh, and my mother, to their favourite hobbies? celebrity hobbies




Want to learn more vocabulary connected to hobbies and leisure time? Yes, sure, why not? Ok, check out the DOWNLOADS section.

hobby descriptionWhat are the hobbies that the following four people are describing? Perhaps: gardening, playing board games, windsurfing, train spotting, rock climbing, knitting, Scottish dancing, playing chess, making models, stamp collecting, bird watching, scuba diving, wine tasting, mountaineering. taking photos, basket weaving?


READING CHALLENGE ONE: Hobbies and Health Benefits!
mind bodyDo you want to keep your body and mind in synch? If so, then you had better get an enjoyable hobby. Recent research has alleged that taking up and taking part in a hobby can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and sharpen the mind.

Many people think of hobbies as a diversion to help pass the time, however according to this research, hobbies also play an important role in the health and well-being of an individual, particularly the elderly, by reducing the risk of depression and dementia. Hobbies can be an effective tool in reducing stress and lowering blood pressure, and hobbies that engage the brain, puzzles for example, have been found to be effective in delaying the onset of Alzheimers.

OMG, I’m having palpitations and I’m about to self-combust because I don’t have any hobbies that engage my brain. Quickly Janette, think of something: jigsaws – no – dull as dishwater, crossword puzzles, no – too difficult (you actually need to know stuff to do them), memorizing all the capital cities in the world, no – that’s just too nerdy.

Help me, help me NOW. No, seriously, you could be the savior of my future mental health. Please comment and give me some ideas. However, if your idea involves a WhatsApp application, you can forget it! I’ve just spent the weekend with a WhatsApp fanatic and it’s like talking to someone from another planet.

 READING CHALLENGE TWO: Janette says: Chess and Croquet
chessAs I’ve just started playing chess, I’d recommend playing chess to enhance strategic thinking (not that I do any thinking when I play, I just attack, attack and attack)It’s cheap as chips and you can play it face to face or online as I am doing with my 9 year old nephew who lives in the UK.

It takes 5 minutes to learn the rules and then you can start the ATTACK. And, although you might sound more intelligent if you know the accurate names of the pieces it doesn’t bother me and I call them as follows: the cavalry, the horsey, the castle, the man with the pointy hat, and the King and the Queen.

Croque on the lawn
Janette and her brother rolling around on the lawn

Furthermore, I’d suggest playing croquet because it’s physical, (well, you do a bit of walking and lots of whacking things with a big stick) you compete against others teams which is always exciting; also, personally speaking, doing things with other people is always more fun than when you do things by yourself, and finally and most importantly, it’s easy to play this outdoor game while getting drunk, fighting with your team mate, falling over and still WINNING.

Yes, despite the fact that my brother and I are always blind drunk when we play (in the photo that’s me and my brother on the lawn laughing our pants off while other members of the family are strategizing about the next move), we have been the reigning champions of the O’Carroll Family Annual Croquet Tournament for the last 10 years. Our team name is called: The Blue Rollers and if you fancy challenging us then BRING IT ON! And, if you’ve never played croquet before, you really must have a go!

READING CHALLENGE THREE: Hobbies that pay: Dog Walking
dogwalkingIf you mental enough to like dogs you could make some spare cash by walking them. I know, definitely not my cup of tea. But hey, don’t mock it, it’s a full time profession in countries like the USA and it’s becoming more popular in the UK.
Lots of people want to have little and big pooches to cuddle, to act as chick and guy magnets in the park, and to talk to when nobody else can be bothered to listen to them. However, in our increasingly busy lives, nobody has the time to take their four-legged pets for regular walks. Most dog walkers charge between $10 and $18 per walk, depending on location and number of dogs, and overnight dog sitting can cost an arm and a leg. So, why not try and start this enterprise in Málaga?

LISTENING ACTIVITY ONE: Popular Hobbies in the Past and New Ones to Try
hobbies past and presentThere is nothing better than spending a little time doing things that make you feel over the moon. Listen to popular British presenter, Zoe Salmon, talk about how incredibly beneficial hobbies are, she explains how they are a fantastic way to unwind and how they can even boost your creativity. However, please take some of what she says with a pinch of salt as she does suggest that baking is therapeutic and obviously that’s just nonsense!

Click here to listen to Zoe

LISTENING ACTIVITY TWO: Train Spotting as a hobby?
train spottingTRAIN SPOTTING, TRAIN SPOTTING, Train Spotting – someone is seriously pulling my leg.

What is it?

And, ( shut up!) is it a hobby?
Well, I’ve just watched the video and it isn’t surprising to me that train spotting is mostly an activity taken up by men. Basically, train spotting is a hobby where you do nothing for long periods of time. Train Spotting isn’t a hobby, it’s a way of getting out of doing the cooking, the cleaning and the shopping. I say, lazy, lazy, LAZY!
Oh, I know – please start complaining about my shameless stereotyping. However, I’m not the only one that thinks it’s weird. If you watch the video you are going to hear the following phrases:

  1.  It’s a bit of an anorak hobby
  2. It’s a bit geeky
  3. As a hobby I think that’s quite disgusting actually
  4. I think it’s highly popular, if I had the time I might even do it myself although it does belong to a certain part of the anorak community
  5. I haven’t got the faintest idea what it is?

Animal soundsTruth be told, I’m really keen on bizarre people. My favourite participant on the reality TV show, Big Brother, was a Welsh woman who said her favourite hobby was ‘blinking’. I mean – BLINKING, BLINKING, it’s a biological impossibility not to blink, how can that be a hobby?

And then, in Vietnam I met a British guy who told me his favourite pastime was to make animal sounds, so he spent the next 3 hours entertaining me with a lot of woof woofs, cluck, clucks, eeaw eeaws, and a cock a doodle do or two. It was hilarious, but not as hilarious as the next night when I hooked up with him and some other people from different nationalities and I found out that animals don’t make the same noises in different countries. OMG – I kid you not!
Don’t believe me?  Well, check out this video

SPEAKING CHALLENGEhobbies pictures ONE: Interesting Hobbies
Imagine you are the TV Producer and you are creating a documentary about people who have interesting hobbies.  First, talk about each hobby and then decide which two should be featured on the programme.

SPEAKING CHALLENGE TWO: Hobbies and Personalities
hobbies personalitiesMost people believe that the hobbies you take up and keep up are a reflection of your personality and that they also give an indication of your skills and abilities. So, what types of personalities and which skills and abilities do you think match the hobbies?

formula 1For most of us money and time prevent us from trying new activities and exploring different things.

So, imagine that money and time weren’t problems, what five things would you most like to have a go at and why? My top five would be:

  1. Formula 1 driving
  2. Collecting cinema posters
  3. Play mahjong
  4. Learn how to sing or play a musical instrument
  5. Play hockey

agony auntWRITING ACTIVITY ONE: Agony Aunt says take up a hobby
Imagine you have just read the Agony Aunt Advice section of your local tabloid newspaper. A woman in her mid thirties wrote in moaning about how boring her life is. She said she used to be a friendly outgoing person but after a series of tragic events she lost her self-confidence, never went out and didn’t keep in touch with friends.

If you want to help this woman get her life back on track then please send us a postcard suggesting 3 different hobbies she could take up and then explain why these would help her with her problem. If I were in her shoes, I would do these three things:

  1. Join a social activity club
  2. Take up wine tasting
  3. Set up a book club


WRITING ACTIVITY TWO: Hobbies past and present
scottish dancingMy mother was very keen on exposing me and my siblings to lots of different hobbies and experiences. Unfortunately, her idea of having fun, for example: boiled egg painting, playing the violin, stamp collecting and learning Scottish dancing (by the way, you can tell from this photo that not only did I feel like a complete moron but I obviously didn’t know what the heck I was doing) was not the same as mine. Indeed, none of my mother’s ideas were close to my top two million favourite pastimes. Yep, we are like chalk and cheese. So, after years of doing what she wanted me to do I decided to put my foot down and I begged her to allow me to take up disco dancing. She said that despite the fact that disco dancing was vulgar she would permit me to do it if I paid for the classes. So, first I learnt how to make jewelry and then I sold it and then I started my life-long love affair with disco.

So, what 3 hobbies did you do when you were a kid and what 3 hobbies do you do now if you have time? Write your list and post it quick.

wierd hobbiesImagine you have seen this announcement in a national lifestyle magazine
‘Some hobbies are physical, some challenge our mental capabilities but some are just bonkers. We recently interviewed 100 people about their hobbies and we think Planking, Cosplay and Gongoozling are three of the most wacky and insane hobbies we’ve ever heard of’

To win a 4 day City Break to a European destination of your choice please write about the strangest hobby you have ever heard of. Keep it short, no more than 150 words please. To give you some inspiration here are 3 hobbies that I think are wacky.

Hobbies for lazy people Hobby and Costumes Water hobby

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