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Big Meal Scene 2

Stephen works hard to make sure everything is perfect for Ashlie's birthday meal.

Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video. Next go to Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Before you watch

Think about the following questions:

  • Do you like surprises?
  • What is the best surprise you have ever had?
  • Have you ever had a bad experience when cooking? What happened?

Now, watch Stephen and Ashlie to find out how the birthday meal turned out.



Stephen: Ashlie’s going to the hairdresser's to get her hair done before tonight, which leaves me just enough time to sort out dessert. It’s a bit of a surprise for Ashlie. I thought I might get her a nice cake.

Stephen: Hello there.

Woman: How are you, sir? How can I help you?

Stephen: I’m looking for a cake for my sister’s birthday. Do you have any birthday cakes?

Woman: Yes, of course we do. We have a selection in here. If you’d like to choose one?

Stephen: I like the look of that one. What kind is that?

Woman: It’s a chocolate mousse.

Stephen: Can I write a message on it?

Woman: Yes of course. I’ll just get the chef for you.

Stephen: Thank you very much indeed.

Woman: You’re welcome. Thank you.


Stephen: Can I have a go? I’ll try and do a flower.

Stephen: Right. That’s pudding sorted – I need to get home. I’m running a bit late. So I’d better hurry!


Stephen thinks: "This is a disaster! I'm glad I've got a back up plan."

Stephen: Great! See you in a bit. This isn’t going well. My food looks terrible. I don’t think any of this is edible.

Ashlie: Hi Stephen.

Stephen: Oh no, Ashlie’s here.

Ashlie: Hi!

Stephen: Oh Happy Birthday Ash!

Ashlie: Thank you.

Stephen: Come in. Hi guys, you alright?

Ashlie: How’s it going? How are my tasty Dim Sums coming along?

Stephen: The food’s going... err… Well, it’s been hard work, but it’s looking, OK.

Ashlie: Good, well, I'll just pop this in the fridge, then...

Stephen: No! Don’t go in there....

Ashlie: What? Why not?

Stephen: Because I don’t like anyone watching me when I’m cooking. And it’s a complete mess in there.

Ashlie: Er... OK!

Stephen: I’ll get that!

Ashlie: Well who’s that? Everybody’s here already.

Stephen: That... That is your surprise.

Ashlie: My surprise?

Stephen: Yes, your surprise.

Ashlie: I’ve got a surprise guys. I wonder what it is. Shall we sit and have some food then…


Stephen: Thank you. You’ve saved my life.


Ashlie: Wow! Stephen. That was really amazing. That tasted almost as good as the food we had in that restaurant earlier.

Stephen: Er... yeah.

Ashlie: Haven’t I seen this somewhere before, though?

Stephen: The guys in the restaurant were really helpful. I followed the recipe and I’m glad you like it.

Ashlie: So, what’s my surprise?

Stephen: Er... well, I made you a birthday cake!

Ashlie: Wow Stephen, that’s amazing! You have been busy, haven’t you?

Stephen: Nothing’s too good for my sister.

Ashlie: Did you say that you made this cake?

Stephen: Yeah, why?

Ashlie: Well it just... it seems to have a label saying, ‘Hand-made in London'... it's the thought that counts.


Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


Hi teacher,
I would like to know why Stephen says "Ashlie's going to the hairdressers" and not "Ashlie's going to the hairdresser's" with apostrofe....Is the meaning different?
Thank you very much for your reply

Hi Isabella19,

I'm afraid this is a typo! We try hard to catch any such mistakes before material is published but sometimes they creep through, unfortunately. When that happens we rely on our users to spot them for us - thank you for being so observant!

I've corrected the page now and you should see an apostrophe.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for your reply!

I like surprise they are always exciting! I remember one day my girlfriend gave to me a small book containing our picture from the beginning. I was really surprised and amazed and obviously delighted! It has been the best present that I've received so far. I hope to receive a really exciting surprise as soon as possible!