Showing posts from 2016

Out of shape nation

Eight in 10 middle-aged Britons 'are overweight or exercise too little'
Public Health England launches campaign aimed at 40 to 60-year-olds, 83% of whom weigh too much or drink above guidelines
Eight out of 10 of middle-aged people in the UK weigh too much, drink too much or do not exercise enough, analysis from Public Health England (PHE) shows.

Modern life is harming the health of the nation, according to the organisation, which has launched a campaign, One You, aimed at the 83% of 40 to 60-year-olds – 87% of men and 79% of women in this age bracket –who are overweight or obese, exceed the chief medical officer’s alcohol guidelines or are physically inactive.

Source: Guardian 

Take theonline quiz "How are you?"

overweight (adj) -
aimed at sb -
guidelines (n) -
to harm -
according to -
age bracket -
to take its toll on stg -
to bury your head in the sand -
to lead to stg -
a heart attack -
a stroke -
a disease -
to seek stg -
to urge sb to do stg -
the run…

Got your lottery ticket yet?

The ultimate guide to 'El Gordo' - Spain's fat Christmas lottery 
If you're puzzled by all the long queues on streets around Spain in the lead-up to Christmas, then wonder no more. Welcome to Spain's unique 'El Gordo' (the Fat one) lottery, the richest in the world.

Every year at Christmas, Spaniards go lottery mad, queuing for hours to buy tickets for the famous Christmas lottery and this year it is bigger than ever.

The number of tickets on sale has risen by 5 million to 165 million meaning the 2016 prize money will total €2.31 billion ($2.46 billion), with the top individual prize, known as El Gordo (the Fat One), being €4 million.

With the odds of winning at least something put at one in six, no wonder the Christmas lottery has a whole nation gripped. According to the 2015 stats, some 73.1 percent of the 34 million Spanish residents aged between 18 and 75 play the Spanish Christmas lottery.

Spain's state lottery estimates that in 2016 each Spaniard…

Preposition Quiz

I am testing different ways of creating quizzes. Try this one out.

Review of Prepositions Choose the correct preposition (if one is needed).

It depends __ the weather.

She is married __ an Italian.

We arrived __ the hotel very late.

Don't worry __ me. I'll be OK.

I'm still waiting __ a reply.

He's really good __ languages.

She spends a lot of money __ clothes.

I dreamt __ you last night.

We are thinking __ our jobs.
to change
in changing
of changing

She married __ her English teacher.

Review of Prepositions 2 Choose the correct preposition (if one is needed). What are you looking __?

I asked __ her __ a cigarette.
- / for
to / for
- / -

He reminds me __ my brother.

I borrowed some money __ my colleague.

What are you thinking __?

Who? I have never heard __ that actor.

We complained __ the manager __ the service.
to / about
with / about
to / of

She was wearing the same colour __ me

Christmas advert time

Source: You Tube (Allegro) Key Words: Polish Christmas advert
Polish Christmas advert about grandfather who learns English touches hearts around the world 
Forget the John Lewis Christmas advert — this year's tear-jerker comes from Poland.

Two and a half million people from around the globe have watched this year's advertisement from Allegro, an online auction website.

It features a grandfather, who orders an "English for beginners" set from the website.

He then sets about becoming fluent, sticking Post-It notes around the house with English words on.

The elderly gentleman even practices loudly on the bus, bemusing those around him.

He seems particularly keen to learn how to introduce himself, and say "I love you" and "you are perfect".

For those wondering why he is putting so much effort into learning English, the reasoning soon becomes clear.

His son appeared to have moved to England, and married an English woman.

The two have a child together, …

Homeless invited to dine

Charge the 'rich' to feed the poor: Madrid's Robin Hood homeless cafe 
Charity restaurant makes money from customers by day to offer homeless people a dignified dining experience by night 
A little before nine o’clock on Tuesday night, Antonio Gutiérrez found himself facing a welcome dilemma. Might he, a waitress asked, have room for a second helping of pudding?

Gutiérrez, who had already seen off a plate of pasta, a fish stew and a slice of cake, gave it some thought. The option would have been unremarkable for most diners, but for him, it was entirely novel – as was the cafe in which he was eating.

By day, the Robin Hood restaurant, which sits on a side street near the centre of Madrid, is a typical Spanish bar: coffee and croquetas, a fruit machine, cigarette machine, and a leg of ham dozing under a tea towel on the counter.

But at night, it transforms itself into a pioneering place where homeless people such as Gutiérrez, 40, from Extremadura, can dine, free of charge…

Turkeys and Thanksgiving Day

Why Turkeys And Other Birds Make Great Therapy Animals 
The woman who made headlines after bringing her pet turkey on a plane shares her side of the story.
Most mornings start the same for Jodie Smalley. She wakes up, gets ready for the day, kisses her 25-pound Wild Turkey goodbye, and drives to work. Like any loyal pet owner, it’s not easy for her to leave her animal alone for the entire day. But what makes it more challenging is that the turkey, a female named Easter, is Smalley’s emotional support animal, or ESA. “It must be how parents feel leaving their kids home with a babysitter,” she says.



to make headlines -

to share your side of the story -

challenging (adj) -

a support animal -

a babysitter -

to fall into your lap -

here's the short of it (inf) -

a chick -

love at first sight -

the timing could not have been more perfect -

to go through (a separation) -

comfort (n) -

to grieve -

invaluable (adj) -

to realize -

to cuddle sb -

unlike (prep) -

to board -

The original Monkey Christ

Painting matching fresco that became 'Monkey Christ' resurfaces 
Woman whose restoration attempt went badly awry may attendunveiling of Elías García Martínez painting in Zaragoza 
Four years ago, 81-year-old Cecilia Giménez noticed that the fresco of a scourged Christ that adorned the wall of the Santuario de la Misericordia in the Spanish city of Borja was looking a little tired, and she decided to do something about it.

Her decision to reach for her paintbrushes was well intentioned but spectacularly misguided. Giménez’s less than expert efforts ruined Elías García Martínez’s fresco, transforming his Ecce Homo into a work dubbed the “Monkey Christ”, unleashing countless memes and setting a new global standard for botched restorations.

However, fears that the divine countenance had been obliterated forever appear to have been premature.

This week the original painting that García is thought to have used as the model for the fresco resurfaced in Zaragoza.

Ricardo Ostalé, an a…

Time running out for humans on planet Earth

Professor Stephen Hawking says humans will be WIPED OUT in 1,000 years unless we find new planet
The world's most influential scientist says humans must continue to go into space to find a new place to live or otherwiseface mass extinction
Professor Stephen Hawking says humans have less than 1,000 years on Earth before we are wiped out by extinction.

The celebrated physicist said humans will only survive if another planet was found to live on.

The 74-year-old said unless this happens then humans will be wiped out in a mass extinction. 

Speaking at the Oxford Union, he said: “We must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity.

"I don’t think we will survive another 1000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”

Hawking has previously warned that humans survival is at risk from nuclear war, genetically engineered viruses and global warming, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Speaking recently, Hawking said our future would be a robot world where our chil…

CAE formal letter - (Wise Owls group)

Here are some sentences from the formal letters that you wrote for homework. Can you spot the mistakes? Is the register formal enough? Make any appropriate improvements.

In addition, he was the responsible of the trainees.He has a deep experience in teaching.When it comes to teach young people, he manages to keep students motivated.Furthermore. he is a really good public speaker.She uses to spend a month each year in an English speaking country.That's one aspect that I think it would be recommendable to take into account.I have known Sergio for eight years, more or less.I think that students will not get bored in his classes, it is more, they will find them very enjoyable.In my personal opinion, he is a very close person.This openness to new places and cultures might come very useful.He is a self-reliant character who is used to face multiple challenges.... so he would be capable to control different groups of I consider I know her pretty well.Whatever the child want…

CAE formal letter - (LOL group)

Here are some sentences from the formal letters that you wrote for homework. Can you spot the mistakes? Is the vocabulary formal enough? Make any appropriate improvements.

He has asked me to write a recommendation's letter.I have known Mateo since ten years old when he began to work at Pullmantur as holiday representative.He was the responsable of hotels and clients in Asia.... which I consider very important, specially when dealing with large groups.To finish, I just would like to add that Andrés is eloquent and charismatic.When it comes to deal with teenagers, he is supportive and empathetic.She is extremely used to be in touch with her pupils.She showed good skills for languages like French and English.She always has been good considered by her classmates.I am sure that she will make an excellent work.I know her for ages.She has a friendly character which makes her get on with people.Along these years she has developed many social skill as good planning and organizing.She knows …

Do Spanish kids get too much homework?

Spain parents urged to put children on weekend homework strike
Parents associations group calls for month-long boycott by state schools pupils in protest against "unacceptable" workload
Parents in Spain are being urged to go on a weekend homework strike this month in protest against the “unacceptable” amount of after-school tasks their children are given.

The homework load of Spanish children has long been a sore point with some parents, who argue that the burden is too great, places too much pressure on pupils and eats into family time.

According to a 2012 study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Spanish 15-year-olds have 6.5 hours of homework a week compared with an average of 4.9 across the 38 OECD countries.

The Spanish Confederation of Associations of Mothers and Fathers of Students (Ceapa) has decided that enough is enough and is calling on parents whose children attend Spanish state schools to boycott weekend homework in November.

“We’ve lo…

Fathers to get equal rights

Parity in paternity and maternity leave approved by Spanish parliament 
People’s party, expected to form a minority government soon, opposes the measure saying it will significantly increase costs 
Paid paternity leave in Spain is to be increased to 16 weeks to give men parity with women, under new measures agreed by parliament.

Fathers are currentlyentitled to 13 consecutive days off work, starting two days prior to the birth, adoption or fostering of a child. This increases to 20 days if the family is large – with three or more children – or if the child is born with a disability.

Under existing arrangements, 10 weeks of maternity leave can be transferred to the father, an option taken up by less than 2% of men. Under the new law, maternity and paternity leave will not be transferable.

The proposal was put forward by the anti-austerity Podemos party on the grounds that both the Spanish constitution and European law prohibit discrimination on grounds of gender. It was passed with 173…

Ikea spoils the fun for Shanghai pensioners

Ikea bans 'illegal' blind-dating group from store cafeteria in Shanghai 
Many are divorcees or people living alone after the death of a partner 
Ikea has banned an elderlymatchmaking group from one of its restaurants in China unless it agrees to start paying up.

The Swedish retailer has told its cafeteria in Shanghai tostop anyone having a seat unless they buy food.

Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon for years, hundreds of elderly people have flooded into the restaurant to meet friends and potential partners, according to China Daily.

Many are divorcees or people living alone after the death of a partner and the café gave them a chance to meet peersfree of charge.

Despite a 700-seat capacity the venue was often overcapacity, but since the change crowds have shrunk by as much as half.

The “no food, no seat” rule came into force following complaints that paying customers were unable to sit at a table themselves.

A noticeboard put up at the café entrance states the “illegal bli…

Spanish wife almost changed World War II plans

World War Two spy's row with wife 'almost ruined D-Day'
A row between a spy and his wife almost compromised World War Two D-Day operations, secret MI5 files show.

Juan Pujol, who was codenamed Agent Garbo, had helped to convince the Nazis the landings would not take place in Normandy but in the Pas-de-Calais.

But after being confined to their London house to protect his identity, his wife threatenedto go to the Spanish embassy in a row in June 1943.

She said she would tell all unless she was allowedto visit her mother.


The family was based in Harrow, north-west London, where Agent Garbo had a network of sub-agents sending false intelligence reports to his German spymasters.

His feedback of false information to the Nazis diverted them away from the scene of the actual D-Day landings on 6 June 1944.

Mrs Pujol not onlystruggledtocope with the pressure of the family's double life but also became homesick.

She was missing Spanish food and became upsetat her husband …

Brangelina - the divorce of the year

Angelina Jolie to divorce Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, the actress's lawyer has confirmed.

Robert Offer said she filed for "dissolution of marriage" on Monday, adding the "decision was made for the health of the family".

"She will not be commenting, and asks that the family be given its privacy at this time," Offer added in the statement.

The couple have been together since 2004 but only married in August 2014.

It was Pitt's second marriage, having previously wed Friends star Jennifer Aniston, and Jolie's third after Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller.

According to US entertainment website TMZ, Jolie cited "irreconcilable differences" in the divorce papers and listed the date of separation of 15 September.

It is understood she is asking for physical custody of the couple's six children and is asking the judge to give Pitt visitation rights.

The couple have six children together - Maddox, Pax…

Come on, YOLO!

Moobs and YOLO among new words in Oxford English Dictionary 
Moobs and YOLO are among hundreds of new words to be added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Moobs earns its listing as a slang term for a man's prominent breasts, and YOLO is an acronym for "you only live once".

New words and phrases are usually added to the dictionary once editors have enough evidence to demonstrate continued historical use.

Other entries focus on the centenary of Roald Dahl's birth, with additions such as Oompa Loompa and witching hour.

Words related to food, speech, media and retail also feature.

The OED is a historical dictionary and a definitive guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of almost 830,000 past and present words, senses, and compounds from across the English-speaking world.

It differs from the online Oxford dictionary, which lists current definitions of English words, and has a lower threshold for accepting new entries to its list of words.

New additions

Some of …

Hope for animals in Spain

Has the time come for animal rights politics in Spain?
Growing support for the Pacma party could reflect greater awareness about plight of fauna
Spain's burgeoning animal rights movement staged an impressive display of force on Saturday, when thousands of people filled Madrid’s Puerta del Sol central square to demand an end to all fiestas that goad or kill bulls.

The demonstrators were also celebrating their recent victory over the so-called Toro de la Vega, a controversial bull run held for centuries in the woodlands outside the town of Tordesillas, and which, yeilding tomounting public pressure and hostile international media coverage, the regional government of Castilla y León has banned this year.

“The past is Tordesillas. The future belongs to all of you who defend animals rights!” said Silvia Barquero, president of the animal rights party Pacma, addressing the crowd.

She then laid out her party's next set of goals following the Tordesillas victory: “To end the becerrada…