22 December 2015


How to change negative things into positive ones this Christmas. This amazing new Scrabble film will warm your heart and improve your vocabulary.

16 December 2015

Who's Still Standing?

Who's Still Standing? was the American adaptation of the Israeli game show Lauf al Hamiliyon, (Hebrew: לעוף על המיליון), which offers contestants the opportunity to win up to US$1 million while competing in head-to-head trivia battles.
On May 13, 2012, it was announced that the show would not be renewed for a second season due to high production costs, despite having acceptable ratings.

3 December 2015


Planning a holiday: Text with interesting vocabulary
A listening on Ecotourism
Listening on Bournemouth
Listening on Ethical travel
Videos and listenings on different British towns
Listenings on travelling
Difference between hiking and trekking
Thank you Ruth for sharing your pictures. 
This is the blog where you can get more information about this activity: suwanneethaicookingclasschiangrai.blogspot.com.es 
The kitchen
Tom Yum Kung
Enjoying cooking
Papaya Salad
Papaya Salad
Steam Banana

Tom yun kung


This video has been created for and by HomeForExchange.com, the leading home exchange agency. It's a tutorial for newcomers who are not familiar with home exchange or house swap yet.

26 November 2015

10 unusual expressions in English and where they come from

expressions in English - Pearson ELT

Part of the fun of learning a language is getting to know its idioms and expressions, but there are many whose meaning is far from clear and whose origins are obscure. Today we look at 10 unusual expressions in English and where they come from.

1. to kick the bucket

A euphemism for ‘to die’. One theory suggests it comes from the days when prisoners were executed by hanging. An upturned bucket, or some other kind of pedestal, would be placed under their feet as they were strung up to the gallows and then kicked away to make them drop. More likely, however, it comes from an old secondary meaning of ‘bucket’, which was the beam used to hang animals up for slaughter in a farm. The dying animals would spasm as they struggled, hence ‘kicking the bucket’.

A: I’d love to travel around the world one day.
B: So would I. There’s loads of places I want to see before I kick the bucket.

2. Break a leg!

It might surprise you, but this expression is used to wish someone good luck. It comes from the world of the theatre, where superstition has it that wishing someone good luck will bring them disaster, whereas cursing them will have the opposite result.

A: Ready for your presentation?
B: I guess so. I just get really nervous speaking in public.
A: You’ll be fine. Break a leg!

3. to have two left feet
The meaning of this expression is fairly transparent. It describes a person who is hopeless at dancing. The reason for two left feet as opposed to two right feet probably has to do with the age-old stigmatisation of left-ness.

It’s really embarrassing at parties when my boyfriend hits the dance floor. He’s got two left feet.

4. to make a (right) pig’s ear of something
Poor old pigs – they’re not renowned for their good looks. Their ears are especially unattractive, and this expression means to make a complete mess of something. It comes from a very old proverb ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s (a female pig) ear’.

I knew I shouldn’t have tried mending my jacket myself. Look at this – I’ve made a right pig’s ear of it.

5. to have a butcher’s
This strange expression is short for ‘have a butcher’s hook’, and means ‘to have a look’. It’s an example of Cockney rhyming slang, in which certain words or expressions are replaced by words they rhyme with. Other examples are ‘apples and pears’ for ‘stairs’, ‘brown bread’ for ‘dead’ and ‘dog and bone’ for ‘phone’. Cockney rhyming slang was originally a cryptolect (a kind of code) used by market traders and criminals in the East End of London when they didn’t want the locals (or the police) to understand them.

A: I don’t think I can finish this Sudoku puzzle. It’s way too hard.
B: Let’s have a butcher’s. Maybe I can do it.

6. under the weather

To feel unwell. This was originally a nautical expression. Sick sailors would be sent to recover below decks, where they would literally be ‘under the weather’.

A: You coming out tonight?
B: I don’t think so. I’m feeling a bit under the weather.

7. to play it by ear

Another one of our unusual expressions in English that features a part of the body, this one means to deal with a situation as it develops, without making any concrete decisions or plans beforehand. It comes from the ability to play music without having to read a score.

A: Should we book a taxi for tomorrow night?
B: No, we don’t know how many of us there’ll be yet. Let’s just play it by ear.

8. the bee’s knees

If something is the bee’s knees, then it’s excellent. Some say it goes back to Jazz Age, and was used to express the feeling of being so excited that your legs shook rapidly, like the twitching legs of a bee. Another theory says it comes from ‘the be-all and end-all’, which was corrupted to ‘the B’s ‘n’ the E’s’, and that it was originally used sarcastically of someone with a very high opinion of themselves. ‘Who does he think he is, showing off like that? Thinks he’s the B’s ‘n’ E’s!’ These days it can be used, if somewhat quaintly, in praise of anything.

A: How was that concert you went to?
B: Oh, it was the bee’s knees. I loved it.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to sound too old-fashioned, I suggest using a different expression with the same meaning; just swap the bee for a dog and the knees for another part of the creature’s anatomy.

9. to drive someone up the wall

If you drive someone up the wall, you drive them so crazy they end up wanting to climb out of wherever they are and escape.

I wish my neighbours wouldn’t play reggaeton all day and night. It’s driving me up the wall.

10. to go cold turkey

To quit something addictive completely and without any preparation, rather than reducing it gradually. Although it is often used to talk about quitting alcohol, tobacco or drugs, its usage has widened to include stopping any addictive behaviour abruptly. One theory says it comes from the goose-bumped skin and cold sweats that a person recovering from alcohol or drug addiction suffers. Another suggests it developed from an old American expression ‘to talk cold turkey’, meaning to speak plainly and directly, hence the idea of getting straight down to the business of quitting.

A: I think I’m spending too much time on social media these days. I might need to cut down a bit. It’s not healthy.
B: Cutting down never works. Just delete your accounts and go cold turkey.

31 August 2015

Mt McKinley will now be called by its traditional Alaskan name, Denali

White House announces that the country's highest peak, Mount McKinley, will now be called by its Alaskan name, Denali
President Barack Obama will change the name of Mount McKinley, the top of which is the country's highest point, back to its traditional Alaskan title, Denali.
His administration announced the name change on Sunday, citing the authority of the Department of the Interior, ahead of a trip to Alaska on Monday that will see him become the first sitting president to visit the state's Arctic.
Alaskans have long called the 20,320-foot mountain Denali, though pushes by its politicians to have the name changed have met with opposition from those in Ohio, the home state of the 25th president.
 He was assassinated early in his second term in 1901.

31 July 2015


The Blue Moon of July 31 marks the second full moon of the month. For our latest on the lunar event, read: Blue Moon Full Moon Rises Tonight: What to Expect
On Friday, much of the world will have the opportunity to observe a Blue Moon: A somewhat rare occurrence that doesn't have anything to do with the moon's color.
During most years, the Earth experiences 12 full moons, one in each month. But some years, such as 2015, have 13 full moons, and one of those "extra" lunar displays gets the label of Blue Moon.

6 July 2015


Last summer I was reading El diario montañés and I came across the following article about HABLAMOS, an agreement between the UIMP and our EOI to promote conversation exchanges among students. I immediately recognized one of my Avanzado 2 students. I emailed her asking for an article about her experience because I thought it might encourage other students to take part in the programme. So, read both articles and take the plunge!

¿Qué te parece si ‘Hablamos’?

El primer jueves de cada mes, más de un centenar de estudiantes extranjeros de la UIMP y españoles de la Escuela Oficial de Idiomas se reúnen para intercambiar conversación. READ MORE...
  • This is the link to the school's website where you can find further information and sign up if you are interested: http://www.eoisantander.org/noticia-2/  
  • This is Cintia's article:
  • I decided to join in because I love learning English. I really enjoy the moment in which I manage to talk about issues concerning Santander and Spain. And doing it in English is an actual aim. Going to this kind of meetings is the easiest way to, in the summer, get to know students like us who are willing to learn a language and get by with a conversation. The best thing to do it is face to face.

    You have to enrol for the meeting through the website and decide in which month you want to attend. Then, the organization invites you to a welcome party that it happens on the first Thursday afternoon of the month you’ll attend.
    When I went there, organization asked me for my name to check it in a list and even they could tell to show them the email of confirmation just in case. The heads of both schools, that from Santander and from UIMP, said some words to thank us for attending the meeting and the profits of doing activities like these in our city, with no many chances during the winter. After the speech, I led to a group of girls who were also looking for a first contact in Spanish.
    I introduced myself in English, I told one of the girls I have taken lessons in the school and why I have learnt English. And I like helping people who learn Spanish when they want more details about daily conversation. So she thought it was a good idea to meet each other somewhere around the city to go for a walk in the streets, to show the most interesting places of the city where locals do everyday life, to chat about things in common, and stuff. To sum up, to do a conversation exchange taking advantage the good weather and staying both in Santander where you can go on foot easily.

    The first time we have known each other, we swapped our email addresses and we decided to arrange by mail as students’ phones don’t work properly and are out of range sometimes.
    So we agreed to meet at a day and a place that fitted for both. Also, the place to meet is important because they usually stay in the UIMP’s hall of residence or at family homes close to the university and ‘Sardinero’, so it is not easy for them to get to the city centre at first if they aren’t used to it.
    Well, we met some days around ‘Sardinero’ to go to the beach or to the city centre and we walked by the landmarks explaining about them and talking about topics in common. We talked for a while all in English and then we switched to Spanish. We talked about slang, sayings, words meaning …everything about students can learn about. Sometimes, when a native speaker and a local are in person is the best way to highlight the useful things of the language.

    I have very good memories of the time we spent together. It was nearly four weeks and it was rewarding. It is really nice to get to know her because she was really interested in knowing more about Spain and Cantabria’s history. She enjoyed, in fact, her stay in the city. Although she had a lot of homework to do, she knew how to find time to sunbathe, since the beaches were very close to her residence, and have fun with her friends.
    She asked me to do a small interview for one of her lessons what it was such a fantastic idea because I haven’t ever been interviewed and I was delighted with the experience. And so was she. It was very good indeed.
    For me, I am pleased with this kind of events. I reckon when you learn a language and you have the chance to practise it with a native speaker, it is an asset. After a year studying hard, doing writings, speaking topics with your classmates and teachers, this opportunity is as a breath of fresh air to keep up with your studies. You can feel relaxed in the way you speak, you are not being assessed and it is the first step to speak more fluently. Your language partner is a student like you, so you both are even going to make any mistakes but don’t worry, he or she is going to understand you. Feel free to have a go, because I can assure you if you want to speak, you will achieve it and people you will meet along the way are going to be very kind with loads of talks to share with you.
    I also have to say that as there are many people who want to go to these meetings and depending on the amount of foreigners speakers come to Santander, there are sometimes few people to talk with so the organization can inform that the meeting is cancelled. In any case, every Wednesday people also meet at the UIMP’s café in the event ‘Café de las Lenguas’ to chat with the students can attend after their lessons while there is a performance art, poetry, music, etc.
    So, don’t miss the chance if you happen to be in Santander next summer and want to speak for a while with a native speaker. Not also it is worth it but you will definitely see an improvement in all your skills and have fun. Happy learning!

    Remember enrol the meetings as soon as possible. At the end of May or at the beginnings of June the form to fill in will be available in the EOI website. Have an amusing experience!

  • H/T to Cintia.

2 July 2015


What does this term refer to? Watch the first part of the video and find out. The other stories are also interesting: Radio La Colifata in Argentina, Surveillance and Privacy

16 June 2015


Nestled in northern Mexico and the canyons of the Sierra Madre Occidental is a small tribe of indigenous people known as the Tarahumara. They call themselves Rarámuri, loosely translated as "running people," "foot-runner," "swift of foot," or "he who walks well." They are known for evading the Spanish conquerors in the sixteenth century and keeping their cave-dwelling culture alive and secluded. They are also known for their long distance running and their superior health, not displaying the common health issues of "modern" societies.
So what is the Tarahumara story and what can we learn from them? How can we use their history as an example for our own primal living? For some they may not be an example of what is considered primal, but they are one of the closest we can find in today's world

20 May 2015

6 May 2015

Waitress Gets $3000 Tip On $43 Dollar Meal!

A waitress in New York City was in for a huge shock when she received an extraordinary tip from a patron. Unlike other recent “tips” for hard working wait staff that have been going viral, this tip was actually positive. Positive, as in $3000 dollars’ worth of positivity!
Now that’s service with a smile.
A man only identified as Mike left the three thousand dollar tip on $43.50 worth of food. He performed this act of kindness after the waitress told him that she had recently been served an eviction notice from her apartment. Aside from the generous %6800 percent tip for her service he left for her, the man had another tip for the waitress; “Don’t let pay it forward end with you.”
Mike was inspired by a middle school teacher of his named Rich Specht who dealt with a personal tragedy by creating a pay it forward foundation. After their 22 month old son drowned in a pond as the family prepared for Hurricane Sandy in 2012 Specht started ReesSpechtLife.com –to encourage acts of kindness.

Mike says “I just had also been constantly thinking about for quite some time my teacher’s project and this foundation, and I thought it was an appropriate time.” 

2 May 2015


Dear Georgia,
Good teachers as you are a rare breed. Thank you for you knowledge, patience, enthusiasm and kindness. 
Your Avanzado 2 students have left some messages for you. (Click on Comments.)

27 April 2015

Ruth Chang: How to make hard choices

Here's a talk that could literally change your life. Which career should I pursue? Should I break up — or get married?! Where should I live? Big decisions like these can be agonizingly difficult. But that's because we think about them the wrong way, says philosopher Ruth Chang. She offers a powerful new framework for shaping who we truly are.


23 April 2015

St George's Day: As Google Doodle marks England's patron saint, here are some facts that may surprise you

With his trusty white steed and dense suit of armour, St George is - along with tea and rain - one the most recognisable symbols of England. 
And to mark St George’s Day, Google has featured an illustrated Doodle of England's patron saint battling a dragon on its homepage.
Here are some facts about the Patron Saint of England that might surprise you...
Saint George isn’t English
While St George’s exact birthdate remains unclear but is likely to be 270 AD, we know that he was born in Cappadocia, part of modern day Turkey.  

28 March 2015

Pocoyo is using his energy and creativity to support Earth Hour! 

Together with his friends, Elly the elephant and Pato the duck, the trio will use their power to take on the biggest environmental challenge facing our planet today - climate change. 
As 'Kids Ambassadors' for Earth Hour since 2010, Pocoyo, Elly and Pato have helped raise the profile of the Earth Hour movement by raising awareness on our planet among future generations and encouraging audiences to support the cause. 

8 March 2015


Americans must continue to embrace the message of the civil rights movement, President Obama told a crowd of thousands Saturday, speaking from a site he said symbolized "the daring of America's character."
 In a speech at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where 50 years ago, police beat and tear-gassed protesters, Obama issued his call to action. "Fifty years from 'Bloody Sunday,' our march is not yet finished. But we are getting closer," he said.
The March 7, 1965, violence against the peaceful civil rights advocates making the 50-mile march from Selma to Alabama's capital of Montgomery shocked the country and ramped up calls for equal rights for black voters.

18 February 2015


Today every company needs to advertise its product to inform the customers about the product, increase the sales, acquire market value, and gain reputation and name in the industry. Every business spends lot of money for advertising their products but the money spent will lead to success only when the best techniques of advertising are used for the product. So here are some very common and most used techniques used by the advertisers to get desired results.


16 February 2015

HSBC files whistleblower Hervé Falciani: 'This money comes from mafia & drug traffickers'

Hervé Falciani is a former HSBC Suisse bank employee responsible for one of the largest leaks of banking data in history.
Seen here speaking in February 2014, he tells film-maker Nick Francis why he became a whistleblower. As a result of his leaks, governments around the world have recovered billions of US dollars in unpaid tax.

9 February 2015


Ellen found some amazing kids with some very cool inventions. She's ready to try them all out... if she isn't upstaged by an adorable toddler!

7 February 2015


If you'd like to share your compositions with your classmates, please leave them as a comment. 
I'm sure your classmates will appreciate it.
Some people think women should be present in the same proportion as men in the army, managing positions in companies, political parties etc. To what extend do you agree or disagree?  (200 words)

You are a student at an English language school in Brighton and are living in private accommodation with other flat mates. You have not had hot water or heating for some time. The landlord’s workmen have tried to fix the problem but without success.
Write a letter to the landlord complaining about this situation (180 WORDS). In your letter:

· state your reason for writing.
· describe the problems and explain how you feel.
· propose a solution and ask the landlord to take action.

20 January 2015


We can use singular or plural verbs with many collective nouns. Singular and plural forms are often mixed as are the pronouns that refer back to the nouns in the previous sentence.

family / team / committee / firm

Collective nouns refer to groups of people usually. Our choice of singular or plural verb form often depends on whether we are thinking of the group as an impersonal unit (in which case we use thesingular verb - and relative pronoun which) or as a collection of individuals (in which case we use the plural verb form - and relative pronoun who). Compare the following:

My family, who have lived on this island all their lives, are determined to remain here.
The team who are playing this weekend includes neither of the new signings. The team which lies third from the bottom of the league will also be relegated this year.
The human resources committee is going to meet on Thursday. They will endorse all promotions from grade C to grade B for the coming year.
My firm, which was established in 1932, has been manufacturing motor mowers since the 1950s. They look after me very well and have an excellent pension scheme.

the UN / New Labour / the BBC 

Corporate bodies like those above also fall into the above category:

The UN says it has no plans to move a further detachment of troops to the war-torn area. But in effect they are in disagreement on this issue.
New Labour is holding its annual conference in Brighton this week. They plan to discuss international issues as well as local concerns.
The BBC has appointed Mark Damazer as its controller of Radio 4. Many staff were surprised by the appointment.

people / police / cattle

These collective nouns always take a plural verb. There is no singular form of these nouns:

People who have invested all their savings in shares are sure to lose out.
Police in this area are currently investigating 74 allegations of date rape.
All the cattle were moved to the fields lower down the valley as winter approached.

the rich / the poor / the homeless

Note that when adjectives are used as collective nouns they always accompanied by a plural verb form:

The rich tend to reside in the outer suburbs whilst the poor are confined to the inner city areas in this country.
The homeless are well looked after at Christmas in Britain when they are offered shelter, food and hot showers.

a / each / every / this / that team

Note that when collective nouns are used with singular determiners, such as those above, singular verbs and pronouns are the norm:

That team is capable of winning all the major trophies this year.
A team of inspectors from Scotland Yard is visiting the island this week.
Every family that receives income support will be means-tested.
A government which fails to honour its promises should not be re-elected.