How I wrote Amazingly Easy Phrasal Verbs

Well, it wasn't easy, but it was quite ambitious. Having taught phrasal verbs successfully to people who'd previously hated them, I was confident that my method worked and that I could put it into book form. Put simply, I don't split the stem verb and particle or provide a list of alternatives, as other books tend to. E.g. put - off, up, out, back etc. This seems only to maximise confusion. I present them just like any other verb.

The next question was how to organise them in a way that would be memorable - a list maybe? No, too obvious and rather unengaging. The inspiration arose from when I wrote English for Human Resources for Cambridge University Press. This book was divided into 10 topic areas with vocabulary, templates, tasks and dialogues. I had this crazy idea that the dialogues should be authentic and that each chapter would fit together like a mini-soap, in a company. In fact, I wanted to follow one set of characters in one company throughout the book but CUP rejected that idea. I can understand this because my HR book was part of a series and they needed it to be the same as the other titles on marketing etc, but in itself, I think the idea was sound.

Liberated by self-publishing, I could use the narrative approach for Amazingly Easy Phrasal Verbs. It would be a story, a love story or romantic comedy set in a company. The book would feature our accident prone and hapless hero, Alan, and an office romance, not without its problems.

I storyboarded the whole book and then divided it into chapters, each featuring six phrasal verbs, presented in 6 or so paragraphs. I got a big list of phrasal verbs and started to write the story. At first, it was easy because there was every phrasal verb to choose from but as the book went on, it got trickier to find the right match for the scenario. Two hundred and ten phrasal verbs later, the book was completed and published. It's been on the market for a little over two years and is still selling well. It's had great reviews and people kindly say that it really is amazing and has helped them to learn phrasal verbs easily.

I'm starting work on the next volume that tracks the progress of our characters through the use of more phrasal verbs. It won't be easy but I'm sure I'll pull through. Look out for progress reports in which I'll keep you filled in.

If you'd like to buy it, you can get it on all Amazon sites.

40 Taboos for English Learners and Teachers with Tests and Activities

This is the ebook that I'm working on right now, which should be in the Amazon store in the second week of February 2015.

Who is this book for?

This book is for English teachers and students. For teachers, it is a resource of materials and taboo topics for classroom discussion and writing exercises. For students, it provides topics to write about and discuss, as well as providing debating techniques and useful phrases. It is suitable for upper-intermediate level and above.

How does the book work?

The book is designed to provide a basis for English lessons or homework. It provides a context for the subject, examples of debating techniques, the language of agreement and disagreement, ice-breaking activities, 40 controversial subjects with for and against statements, as well as exercises covering comprehension, vocabulary and grammar and lesson ideas for teachers. It is suitable for class work or self-study.

Here's a sample chapter

Taboo 4:  Body piercing


Which parts of the body to people typically pierce? Why do you think some parts seem more socially acceptable than others? Do you know anybody with a lot of piercings? How do people react to them or how do you react when you see somebody with a lot of piercings?

Position 1

Body piercing is one of the worst modern fashions, it turns my stomach. Earrings are fine but when somebody has them through their nose, mouth, cheeks and tongue, it’s just totally gross. It’s scary for children and old people and most ‘normal’ people don’t like it either.

Position 2

Forms of body adornment have always been used and can be found in ancient societies and tribes throughout the world so it’s nothing new. People should have the right to decorate their bodies as they choose and if other people don’t like it’s tough. It’s their problem for being so narrow-minded.


to pierce - to make a hole through with a sharp instrument
to turn your stomach -to make you feel sick
gross - here: disgusting, revolting
adornment - decoration, usually with colour
ancient - belonging to historical times
tough - here: unfortunate, bad luck
narrow-minded - intolerant, not open to unconventional ideas

Language Test Questions

1) Which phrase uses the present perfect tense to describe something that started in the past and still in effect now?
2) Which modal verb is used to state a belief?
3) Which word is used judgementally as an unqualified statement of fact?
4) Which statements uses a zero conditional to describe direct cause and effect?
5) Which phrase uses the passive voice?
6) Why might a debater choose to use passive voice?

Keep a look out for updates on the release of the book!

How to remember names and numbers

Are you Mr or Mrs Forgetful? Do you have embarrassing moments when somebody bumps into you in the street and you can’t for the life of you remember what their name is or where you know them from?

Or maybe your Achilles’ heel is remembering, or rather forgetting numbers such as PIN numbers and security door codes.

Don’t worry if that is the case because help is at hand with How to Remember Names and Numbers. It’s packed full of clever but easy to use techniques for making information memorable and importantly, retrievable.

Now if you can’t remember where you put your keys - that’s another matter!

Let's Talk About Camels

What a fascinating and unusual animal the camel is. This ebook will satisfy the natural curiosity of children, aged 7 - 11, who love animals and want to find out more about them.

Discover where camels live, how long they can go without water and what’s kept in those funny humps. Learn too about camel racing and the wild camel population of Australia.

With illustrations and simple but informative explanations, this book is both fun and educational. So what are you waiting for? Climb on board and buy your copy of Let’s Talk About Camels - one hump or two?

Praski’s Guide to the Western Algarve - Burgau to Aljezur

Praski’s Guide to the Western Algarve - Burgau to Aljezur is the second in the series written by Jan Sandford who formerly lived there. As well as getting the inside track on cheap, authentic restaurants in one horse towns, you’ll also get to know about the whereabouts of some of Europe’s most beautiful and undiscovered beaches. For sun lovers, surfers and people looking beyond the ordinary tourist holiday and guide book, this is informative, entertaining and essential reading.

Should I move to France?

Should I Move to France? is a short, fun book written by Praski author and resident of France, Christopher Chartwell. Inspired by the books of Peter Mayle, a whole generation of Brits followed in his footsteps to chase the dream of a place in the sun and to enjoy the entente cordial but is that simple?

Chris tells it how it is, warts and all in a light and entertaining manner. You’ll get ten damn good reasons to move to France followed by ten reasons to think again. If the thought of moving to France is on your agenda, then this book should be too.

Bon Chance!

Praski’s Mini-Guide to Catalan Food

If you’re a bit of a foodie and like to try out different cuisines, here’s something a bit less obvious that you may not have thought of - Catalan Food.

Praski’s Mini-Guide to Catalan Food by Jan Sandford tells a little bit about the nature of this region's cooking and introduces you to some typical, mouth watering recipes. Here are few extracts form the book.

Having already written three books in my Praski Mini Food Guide Series I decided I would like to include a book covering Spanish cooking. I spent a lot of time travelling through Spain every year for ten years on my way to Portugal. The journeys were long, taking in many regions of this fascinating country. The problem is that Spain is a large country and doesn’t have one cuisine; I would say that there are six different culinary regions, consisting of AndalucĂ­a, Central Spain, Catalunya, the eastern region including Valencia, Galicia and Asturias (north of Spain) and the Pyrenees. As my books are only mini-guides I have decided to write a short book on each cuisine starting with the food of Cataluya.

For most Catalans, weekends and holidays are times when families get together for lunch. This is generally a lengthy meal lasting 2-3 hours, eaten outdoors, weather permitting. Barbecues in the garden are popular, on the beach and also in the countryside.

The feeling of being outdoors is prolonged and appreciated by collecting food that comes free, for example, wild asparagus, picked from the hedge grow in spring, mussels boiled on the craggy rocks in utensils filled with sea water in summer, mushrooms gathered from the forest floor in autumn, snails tenderly tweaked from blades of glass in the fields after rain has fallen, all the year round. Adding to this list there are delicacies that can be caught like fish on the line, partridge or quail from the hills. Catalans have a name for this regional style of food, Mar i Muntanya, which when translated means food from the mountains and the sea.

To find out more, you can buy the book at a very affordable price from Amazon.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Mr Bongo-Jongo

Oh Bongo-Jongo, here’s a book you mustn’t miss. It’s Praski’s first children’s book written by George and Jan Sandford, with funny text and simple and charming illustrations. It can be used as a book to read with mum and dad or as an enjoyable classroom read.

It’s suitable for younger children from three to six and follows the day of the unlucky Mr Bongo-Jongo. Every time something goes wrong, he exclaims, ‘Oh Bongo-Jongo!’

The book has already been enjoyed by children in the UK, Spain, Lebanon and South America so join in the fun by sharing in the life of this loveable hero and your kids will soon be saying - ‘Oh Bongo-Jongo!’

English for Interviews

English for Interviews is designed for non-native English speakers who want to prepare for a job interview in English. The book includes practical advice on types of interviews, typical interview questions and responses, as well as useful vocabulary and phrases. There is also a self-assessment quiz and questions and answers to test your knowledge.

Here’s an extract:

1) Did you find us alright?

This is just a polite, ice-breaking question and the model answer is something like, ‘yes, the map was very clear and helpful.’ Whatever you do, even if it’s true, do not go into a lengthy tale of missing your bus, getting soaked and struggling to find the place; you won’t get the job that way!

2) Tell me about something about yourself

Don’t turn your answer into a three hour life story. You should be able to run through it in a minute. Cover key milestones such as education, key positions and only if you wish: a little about your circumstances or interests - e.g. ‘I’m a sporty, family man.’

3) What does your current job involve?

Limit your answer to main activities and not every detail. However, give examples of very general terms, like ‘administration’ by adding an example statement, ‘such as ….’

4) Why do you want to leave your current employer? (Why did you leave your last employer?)

Here’s the first of the potential trap questions. Avoid saying anything negative, particularly about your boss or colleagues, although it is OK to say that your current employer is unable to offer you the career development that you are looking for. Also, try to focus on the job you are applying for and what attracted you to it.

5) What do you know about our company?

The interviewer wants to test your level of commitment. If you don’t know anything then it shows it’s not very high. You won’t be expected to know everything but you should be able to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. Look at the company’s website and note a few main facts such as products, markets, locations and number of employees.

So, if you expect to be interviewed in English, be prepared by buying this useful guide.

Should I move to the Algarve?

Ever get that stuck in a rut feeling and dream of escaping to a place in the sun? Maybe you have thought about selling up, buying somewhere in the Algarve and starting a new life - is it a good idea?

In order to find out, first you need to read ‘Should I move to the Algarve?’ It takes a light-hearted but practical look at pros and cons of moving to Portugal’s sunniest region. It’s written by someone who’s done it so it’s an honest and realistic account of what to expect - oh yes, it’s fun to read too!

Praski's Guide to Warsaw Old Town

If you are thinking of about coming to Warsaw, you must visit the Old Town and if you are thinking about visiting the Old Town, then must read Praski’s Guide!

Praski's Guide to Warsaw Old Town takes you on a wonderful journey around Warsaw’s rebuilt, historic centre. Written by local resident Jan Sandford, the guide includes practical, local inside knowledge, beautiful photographs combined with Jan’s usual sensitivity and aesthetic observation; here’s an extract from the introduction.

The Old Town and Market Square in Warsaw is somewhere every tourist should visit and probably has top billing on most itineraries. The location of the Old Town is easy to find and only a few tram stops away from the centre of Warsaw. The original town was built at the end of the 13th century and beginning of the 14th century.

Here you will find a complex of buildings that have been rebuilt in the original style due to the devastation caused in the time of the Warsaw Uprising when the occupying German soldiers destroyed most of the buildings with their weapons and tanks.

The Old Town is one of my favourite places to visit, especially in winter as it is very quiet and peaceful. I don’t have to travel very far and can catch a tram at the bottom of my flat block. I often go out at weekends with my camera to take photographs. The winter sun on the snowy rooftops can sometimes be exquisite.

I have tried to put this guide together in a simple format where readers will be able to follow each attraction in order of place in the Old Town rather than in alphabetical order.

I have introduced a rating system of stars based on the attractiveness, history and popularity of each attraction.

Interesting to read; informative, enjoyable, useful.

 Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Go Gorillas

With a foreword by comedian and environmentalist Bill Oddie, this ebook tells of the remarkable hitchhiking journey in a gorilla suit made by Daniel Sandford from Warsaw, Poland to Gorilla Mountain in Greece to raise awareness and funds to fight illegal poaching of gorillas.

It’s a serious and worthwhile cause but there are many hilarious, bizarre and frustrating events along the way. A few extracts from the introduction explain a little more. 

I was first inspired to create such an odd event after my participation in the Great Gorilla Run 2010. I would like to thank all of my sponsors, the people that stopped for us, fellow hitchhikers Pablo and Heather and my family who made it possible for me to take time off day to day chores. I would also like to thank the buyers of this ebook and assure them that 50% of earnings will be donated to the extremely worthwhile cause of Gorilla Organisation that you can find out more about below.

Originally set up in 1989 in the form of Digit Fund UK that sought to continue the dedicated work of Dian Fossey. The Gorilla Organisation has evolved from a charity run from a living room to a powerful charity helping men nature reserves to protect the remaining 800 mountain gorillas by the Congo / Uganda borders and the lowland gorillas of West Africa. They run community projects in war-torn African villages to help create employment and give access to clean water and education. They are entangled in a complex battle to protect an animal that is our closest relative from illegally operating poachers who are the end of a lucrative trade in illegal bushmeat and trophy killings.

If you would like to donate further, please visit

Hitchhiking to a mountain called Gorillas in Greece and then ascending it dressed in a gorilla costume always seemed to me like a perfectly natural thing to do. Having taken part in the Great Gorilla Run in London in 2010, it seemed a natural step. I was fond of the costume and a pro hitchhiker. The response I received from the people I brought the subject up with suggested that it wasn’t at all that normal. Instead, raised eyebrows and general looks of bemusement appeared to be the norm.

It’s a highly entertaining read and helps raise money for a very worthy cause and for a small cost, you can make a big difference.

. The Films of Johnny Depp - 1984 -1994

Do you love Johnny Depp? We do at Praski and Jan Sandford has been a lifelong fan. The Films of Johnny Depp - 1984-1994, is the first in a series which gives detailed reviews of his films, each including an informative and entertaining text and fact sheet featuring details such as release date, box office takings and cast.

84 - 94 covers, what to some people may be, his lesser known films such as Private Resort and Slow Burn, the deliciously kitsch Cry Baby, directed by John Waters as well as the career changing Edward Scissorhands and moves onto What’s Eating Gilbert Grape which features a stunning performance from a young Leonardo DiCaprio. That’s not to mention a Chaplinesque performance in Benny and Joon and wonderful chemistry with the legendary Marlon Brando in the unashamedly romantic, Don Juan DeMarco.

Just writing this book summary made me want to read it again! -I hope you will; it’s a must for any Depp fan.

Praski’s Guide to the Western Algarve - from Ferragudo to Praia da Luz

Having spent ten years living the Algarve, we can say that it wasn’t always the bed of roses that people imagine it to be however, on balance it was a fantastic experience and one that has given Praski firsthand knowledge of the delights on offer.

This has been put to good use on the first of a series of comprehensive regional guides, Praski’s Guide to the Western Algarve - from Ferragudo to Praia da Luz. It’s packed full of useful information and we hope, written in a more personal and interesting manner than the standard guidebook format.

If you’re considering a holiday or visit to Portugal’s beautiful Algarve region, this book will certainly give you an insight into where to go and what to do and will have you heading off to the travel agent straight away!

Here’s a review of the book on Amazon.

This guide to the Western Algarve is extremely clear and informative, the places come alive ,helped by the lovely photographs. It makes you really want to visit the places mentioned and the travel information is very helpful. I wish I had such a guide when I visited a while ago and am now ruing the places and experiences I missed. After reading this I intend to visit again, but not in high summer. Many thanks to the Author for this knowledgeable and easy to read guide. i would recommend it to anyone visiting the Algarve whether for the first time or a repeat trip. A well worth while buy.

Crazy English 2 - Intermediate - Upper-intermediate

Crazy English 2 - Intermediate - Upper-intermediate is the first book in the second series. Whereas the first series introduced bizarre and typically English, this one explains all about everyday life such as finding accommodation, going to the doctor and how to greet a neighbour in the lift.

The idea for the book came to me when arriving to teach at 4pm and a guy on a company reception desk with excellent English said, ‘in England you would be drinking tea now.’ I realised that many foreign language students believe that Britain is as it was in the days of Miss Marple.

Crazy English 2 dispels this myth and gives an honest account of modern British life but still has lots of fun along the way covering English humour, drinking and hangovers, mealtimes and motoring.

It follows the effective 300 word text and question format of the first series and is ideal for students and teachers alike.

The A - Z of Vegetable Healing

The A - Z of Vegetable Healing draws upon Jan Sandford’s knowledge as a nutritionist.  From artichokes to watercress, the book gives an insight into the surprising healing properties of many well known and lesser known vegetables.

The book covers vitamin content, minerals, health benefits, shopping and storage as well as culinary tips. Not only is the book useful but it makes a very interesting reference book.

If you are interested in healthy eating, this is well worth adding to your shopping basket!

Purrfect Poems

Writing is so much part of the Sandford family way of life that even the cat wanted to get in on the act.

After blogging for a while, Harvey the Cat decided to go the whole hog and release his first collection of poems. He’s already getting rave reviews and selling in America and the UK.

Harvey has a great understanding of poetry- for a cat ; p
Seriuosly. I loved it. This Poet really understands what it
must be like to be a cat. or the cats thoughts. I loved the
addition of the pictures. I bet I would love Harvey the Cat ;D

If you love cats and their quirky ways, you’ll love Harvey the Cat’s Purrfect Poems.

Praski's Guide to Warsaw Parks and Monuments

This book is particularly special to us here at Praski because of the assistance in its creation of our youngest assistant, Alicja who accompanied her ‘Baba Meow’ on her photographic journey around the parks and monuments of Warsaw during the hot summer of 2011.

Warsaw is vastly underrated, (perhaps undersold) as a tourist destination and is blessed with an abundance of very beautiful parks. There are also many interesting monuments and sculptures.

As always with Jan’s work, practical information is adorned with feeling and personal accounts and in this case, the magical friendship and trust between a grandmother and her granddaughter.

It takes you on a unique and inviting travel experience.

Algarve - Medronho Story

You’ve maybe never heard of Medronho but it is Portuguese firewater. It is sold commercially but in the hidden folds of the eucalyptus blanketed foothills of Monchique, the old, time honoured traditions of distilling the clandestine spirit form the Arbutus Unedo Tree remains, or did up to the end of the last century.

This is a unique account of those valley secrets from someone who has lived amongst the old time hill people. Here’s the opening of the book:

For many years my husband’s mother has owned land situated in the foothills of Monchique in the Algarve region of Portugal. Even when they lived on the land full time it was a difficult job to keep the area looking tidy and well kept.  When I use the word, land, I don't mean acres and acres of beautifully tilled fields or manicured lawns with colourful borders. This 8 hectares of land is arid, rocky and a nightmare to look after. Part of the land is situated half way up a mountain and the other half is in terraces that have been cut out of the earth. The transformation of the land in the beginning was challenging to say the least and took many long days and nights digging and cutting out terraces, making stone walls, cutting back orange and lemon trees.  Some of the work was carried out by hand using a humble implement called an enchada, which is the Portuguese name for a kind of long handled hoe. The more difficult areas had to be cleared by using motorised technology such as a bulldozer and JCB. In this part of the Algarve the mountainous valleys start to heat up after lunch time and do reach high temperatures in the mid-afternoon making work impossible. The only thing to do at this time is to sit in the shade and relax. Work can commence after 6pm when the sun goes down behind the clouds.

However, there is one part of the land that my in-laws have never really had to maintain, a huge area which leads from the house up to the top of the mountain. In November and December the mountain turns into a cloud of white bell-shaped flowers, sometimes turning pale pink and is very pretty to look at. When visitors come to the land they are always amazed by the whiteness of the mountain and the buzzing noise made by the swarms of bees that pollinate the flowers. These flowers belong to the Arbutus Unedo Tree, otherwise known as strawberry tree or as we call it the Medronho tree.

101 English Idioms Explained - Volume 1

As an English teacher, I used to think that learning idioms was not the best use of a student’s time as they are not always used and may not be accessible to other non-native speakers. However, I changed my view when learning Polish and the teacher introduced me to some Polish animal idioms such as dumny jak paw - which in English, means as proud as a peacock.

I learnt it straight away and remembered it without revision. In so doing, I learnt a useful character word and the construction ‘as something as,’ all in a simple three word idiom.

I then revised my opinion of the usefulness of idioms and decided to put some together in a book. I’ve aimed to focus on those that are used regularly and given simple examples of each so that people know where to use them.

It’s fun, low stress learning where you can enjoy the idioms without really thinking too much about it - my kind of learning!

We also have a regular idiom blog that you might like.

Practical Tips for New Writers

Have you often thought about writing a book but are not sure how to go about it? Then Practical Tips for New Writers could be the answer. Based on Praski’s experience, this short guide gives you inside knowledge on planning your book , managing your time, dealing with writer’s block, self-publishing on Amazon and the basics of copyright law.

It’s a practical starter pack that will get you on the right track. Get writing now!

PS – Do you know who’s on the cover picture? He wrote a book or two!

Amazingly Easy Phrasal Verbs

Amazingly Easy Phrasal Verbs is one of the most ambitious books that I (George) have written.

When teaching, I found that many students hated learning phrasal verbs and found them very difficult to remember and learn so I set about trying to understand why and to do something about it.

Firstly, the problems that I identified were:

Typically, phrasal verb books:

  • introduce a lot of phrasal verbs at one time
  • mix similar looking phrasal verbs with very different meanings - e.g. put off, put down etc.
  • separate the core verb from the particle - e.g. put __.
  • give only unconnected, single sentence examples of use
  • list hundreds, if not thousands of phrasal verbs

Amazingly Easy Phrasal Verbs does it differently by:

  • focussing on the most important, modern and used phrasal verbs
  • placing phrasal verbs within a single, ongoing story - one of the oldest and best learning techniques known to man! (and woman)
  • introduces one new phrasal verb per paragraph
  • repeats this showing its different uses and collocations
  • introduces just 5 -7 phrasal verbs per chapter (the optimum number of pieces of new information that can be learnt at once)
  • provides chapter by chapter tests to reinforce and check understanding

What’s more:

  • Phrasal verbs in this book are always shown in their complete form - e.g. run up, put down.
  • Never, ever mixed with other similar looking or sounding phrasal verbs that have totally different meanings and uses - what’s the sense in doing that?

  • Using the radical yet highly practical learning method provided in this book, you’ll learn like a native, remembering naturally and always use them correctly.

Here’s a sample:

Put up with - tolerate

Alan could put up with almost anything. He could put up with toothache. He could put up with the neighbour’s dog barking. He could put up with having no money or car; he could even put up with Terry’s awful jokes but he didn’t know for how long he would be able to put up with Demetrius. Well, thought Alan, no point getting stressed, I’ll just have to put up with him until I can create a plan to set him up and send him back.

Are you very tolerant? What things do you find it hard to put up with?

Business English Phrasebook

Business English Phrasebook holds a special place in Praski Publishing’s catalogue as our first publication. George wrote it in 2011, soon after finishing Cambridge (University Press) English for Human Resources and it has many similar features. These include Explanatory text, tables, question and answers and dialogues. From a design point of view it was quite complex and we were grateful for the help in ebook preparation of our account, text bender and good friend Piotrek Kolodziejczak.

The book is aimed at Intermediate - Advanced level students who want to improve their knowledge and understanding of Business English. All of the material was first used, tested and given feedback by the employees of a property valuation company in Warsaw called BDM Lege Artis, who also sponsored the book.

The book has proved to be an enduring success and has been particularly popular in Germany. Lately, as Amazon has expanded its coverage, it’s also selling well in Japan.

Here is a small sample:

For each aspect of a conference call, there are some useful phrases you can use.

Managing the process

OK - who wants to go first?
Right, let’s start with Warsaw and then hear from Prague
Perhaps you can all give a quick update, then we’ll move on to next month’s plan

Asking for information

I wonder if you could tell me ?
Could you say how much/how many…?
What’s the latest on …?
Could you update me regarding …?

Inviting contributions

Dave, what do you think?
Has anybody got any ideas/suggestions?
Who’d like to start?
What’s your opinion?
How do you see it?

Giving evasive answers

It’s possible, I suppose
Could be, maybe
I wouldn’t like to say
Well, yes and no


Yes, I see your point however/but ….
On the other hand ….
But to look at it another way
However, when you take into account ….


Positive Thoughts for Language Learners

Here at Praski, we certainly believe in the power of positive thinking. Like we believe that spring must surely come to Poland eventually this year!

Positive thinking is important to sportsmen and women, people in sales and people taking driving tests. It's also helpful for language learners and with that in mind, here's an Amazon ebook packed full of motivational affirmations to help learners of any language from Albanian to Zulu.

Available at Amazon.