Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How to Achieve your New Year's Resolutions !

Have you made any New Year's resolutions ? Would you like to achieve them this time ? Watching the following video , in only 59 seconds , you will discover 5 key principles to help you achieve your New Year's resolutions .(Script below)

1- Break your goal into a  series of smaller steps.
2- Tell your  friends and family what you are trying to achieve.
3- Remind yourself regularly about the benefits of obtaining your goal.
4-Give yourself a  small reward each time you obtain one of the steps.
5- Map out your progress.

As a language learner, why not try these simple principles with your English?


I tracked the lives of 5,000 people as they attempted to keep their New Year's Resolutions.Now most of them failed but 10% did obtain their aims and ambitions.What were they doing that was so different ? It all came down to 5 simple principles:
First of all they broke their goal into a series of smaller steps.
Second they told their friends and family what they were trying to achieve so they elicited fear of failure but also a sense of support.
Third they regularly reminded themselves about the benefits of obtaining their goals.
Fourth they  gave themselves a small reward each time they obtained one of their small stepsand finally they mapped out their progress in a spread sheet on the fridge door or in a journal so they knew exactly where they were.
And those are the 5 key principles to actually achieving your  New Year's resolutions.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Icelandic Cuisine

Icelandic cuisine has evolved by adapting to an inhospitable climate and terrain. It is difficult to grow (cultivar) fruit or vegetable, and only animals like sheep and cows can survive the difficult conditions. Using the sea’s resources (recursos del mar) and ingenious methods of preserving food for the winter has created this unusual cuisine. A combination of greenhouses (invernaderos) and imported food have meant that now the Icelandic diet is more varied, but the essence of traditional cuisine, especially on special occasions, has not changed very much in centuries.

Fish and Sheep 
Fish is central to the culture and economy of Iceland, especially cod.(bacalao) Fishing rights provoked various “wars” with Great Britain in the 1950s and 1970s. Nobody was killed, but there was a lot of diplomatic tension. The majority of the cod, however, is for export, and locals prefer haddock (eglefino) or halibut. The most common way  to serve fish is boiling (hirviéndolo) it and serving it with potatoes. There are also many ways to preserve fish by drying,(secándolo) smoking (ahumándolo) or marinating it. Sild, marinated herring (arenque) in vinegar and onions, and hardfiskur, wind-dried (secado al viento) fish, are popular snacks.
Sheep is the principal animal in Iceland, and you can eat every part of the animal. Smoked lamb, hangikjöt, is a delicacy (exquisitez) that is served at Christmas. But sometimes it is best not to know what part is in some of the dishes! Do not be surprised to see boiled sheep’s heads at traditional feasts. If you do not want to have a head on your plate, the flesh (carne) is also made into a jam.(mermelada) And do not forget to have some hrútspungar before you leave – made from sheep’s testicles.
Christmas Celebrations
Icelanders will use any excuse to eat, drink and celebrate, and locals go to various Christmas Buffets, Jólahlaðborð, during December. It is not unusual to attend three: one with work colleagues, one with friends and one with the family. These include lots of Icelandic and imported delicacies. A typical family meal on Christmas Eve is roast (asado) lamb with cream sauce, caramelized potatoes, red cabbage (col roja) and laufabrauð,  a fried pastry. (pasta frita) For dessert there is a pudding made with rice, cream, raisins (pasas) and sugar. There is one almond (almendra) in the pudding, and the person who finds it gets a special present!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Home English wishes you a Merry Christmas 2013 and a Happy New Year 2014.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all
Your Christmases be white

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases
May all your Christmases
May all your Christmases
May all your Christmases be white

I'm dreaming of a white
Christmas with you
Jingle Bells
All the way, all the way

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Company Christmas Party

Imagine you are the PR Manager ( public relations manager) of an important company in London. This year you are in charge of ( a cargo de) planning your company’s Christmas Party. It can be a fun experience but also nerve racking ( destroza los nervios ). .

Bash, party, reception: whatever you call it , there’s no better way of impressing potential customers and showing staff and clients how important they are to the company.But it is easy to get it wrong. Organise the right event and your guests will remember it for years. Get it wrong and they will remember it too . But not in the way you want !
Start with a good location . It helps to create a positive atmosphere and gives a great impression of success.
Have a look at the ideas below and tell us which one you would choose !

Option 1. Brilliant White Christmas Cruise. ( £115.00 +VAT per person, Savoy Pier) Enjoy a brilliant White Christmas party in London aboard the finest luxury river-yacht on the Thames.

Sparkling wine upon arrival
Three Course seated Christmas dinner
Unlimited beer, house wine & soft drinks
'Brilliant White Christmas' event styling
DJ & Disco
Itinerary7:00pm Guests embark
7:30pm Cruise begins
10:45pm Return
12:00am Guests disembark

Option 2 Casino Royale (£75.00 +VAT per person. WC1B Bloomsbury )
The James Bond festive event in London where the office Christmas party will have a licence to thrill. (ilusionar, emocionar)
Champagne reception
Themed decor
Themed Bond music played over dinner
Four course meal
James Bond laser shooting game
Roulette and blackjack tables
007 vodka ice sculpture
DJ and disco

Option 3. Diamonds in the sky.( £99.00 + VAT per person.Westminster)
Live the high life this Christmas and join a spectacular shared Christmas party at the top of the Millbank Tower in Westminster.

Delicious 3 course dinner
Coffee & chocolate truffles
Christmas crackers on the table
Disco & DJ

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wonderful and Terrible Christmas Presents

¿Cuántos regalos recibes en Navidad? Crees que es fácil encontrar el regalo perfecto para la familia o los amigos? ¿Sueles estar contento con los regalos que recibes en Navidad? En nuestro post de hoy veremos expresiones en inglés para decir lo contento o lo insatisfecho que estás con los regalos que has recibido.
Well, it’s time to open the Christmas presents for the Claus family and friends who live in Northern Lapland.(Laponia) There are dozens of presents around their Christmas tree, which is looking a bit sad as most of the needles (hojas en forma de aguja) have fallen off (han caído) it, although the Christmas lights and tinsel (espumillón) give the tree a festive look. In the following conversations we will find out if they like their presents or not. In Northern Lapland, they traditionally open the presents on Christmas Eve (24th December), while Christmas Day (25th December) is the day reserved for opening presents in the UK. Children in Spain have the double excitement of opening presents on Christmas Day and when The Three Kings arrive (6th January). 

Phrases for presents you don’t like
Spanish Translation
Oh you shouldn’t have got me a present.
Pero no deberías haberte molestado en comprarme un regalo.
You really shouldn’t have spent so much money on me.
No deberías haberte gastado tanto dinero.
I’ve still got the receipt.
Todavía tengo el recibo.
Get the money back.
Que te devuelvan el dinero.
You can use the money for something you really like.
Puedes gastar el dinero en algo que te guste mucho.
It’s the thought that counts.
Lo que importa es la intención.
Phrases for presents you like
Spanish translation
It’s just what the doctor ordered.
Justo lo que hacía falta.
It’s just want I always wanted.
Es precisamente lo que quería.
It’s prefect.
Es perfecto
I love it!
¡Me encanta!
Wow! This is so cool.
¡Ah! Está en la onda.
That’ll come in handy.
Le vino muy bien.
You’ve really made my day.
Me has alegrado el día.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What Shall I Write on my Christmas Cards This Year?

¡Algunas ideas y ayuda para escribir felicitaciones de navidad en inglés  !

When you write a Christmas card, you have to think carefully who you’re sending it to. Is it a customer?(cliente) Is it a colleague?(colega) Is it a close relative? (pariente cercano) Is it one of your best friends? The message you write will vary depending on how close your relationship is with that person.

For example, if you want to send a Christmas card to someone you don’t know very well, you may decide to write a typical formal message like :

Happy Holidays 
 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 
Sending you best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

These greetings might sound a bit too distant and cold for a close relative or friend of yours. In those cases, you may want to go for (escoger) something warmer, like:

May your Christmas be bright with joy and happiness
Thinking of you and wishing you the joys of this beautiful season
Wishing you a bright and beautiful Christmas
May this joyous season bring you peace, love and happiness throughout the coming year
May your Christmas holiday be the perfect Christmas
Wishing you a shiny and happy New Year

If you’re looking for something more informal, what about one of the following?

Have a wonderful Christmas!
Whoopee! It’s Christmas!
Hope your holidays are jolly (alegre ) days!
Hope all your wishes come true in 2014!

When you write an informal card, you can use the symbols that stand for “Hugs and kisses”,(abrazos y besos XOXO , where the Xs mean “kisses” and the Os are “hugs”.

The expressions we have seen so far are standard, but remember that you can always personalise your messages a bit more by expanding your Christmas greeting with a short paragraph dedicated to the person you’re sending the Christmas card to. The personal touch ( toque personal) will surely be appreciated!

LANGUAGE NOTE : You will often find the word may in a message at Christmas time. Instead of using may to express possibility, here it’s a subjunctive, which expresses wish or desire. Note that in Spanish we use que with a similar function: “Que pases unas felices fiestas”, “Que se cumplan todos tus deseos en el 2014”.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Meat, mealies and Malay Curries

El Apartheid intentó separar a las gentes de diferentes países, pero las tradiciones culinarias de muchas de las culturas que forman Sudáfrica se ha mezclado durante siglos.  La nación del arco iris cuenta con una cocina que fusiona elementos Europeos, Africanos y Asiáticos. Por otro lado, la combinación de los climas Mediterraneos y subtropicales hace que cualquier cosa pueda crecer, desde limones y uvas a mangos y papayas. Veamos en este post las principales características de esta cocina tan colorida.


South African of all colours love meat more than anything else, and the braai (barbecue) is a sacred (sagrada) national institution. If you are invited to one in somebody’s garden you have to bring something, for example sosaties (meat kebabs) or boerewors sausages.(salchichas) For something more exotic, there is ostrich (avestruz) or crocodile. You eat these accompanied by delicious relishes (salsa de pepinillos) made with tomato, onion and chillies. And also by lots of ginger beer (cerveza de gengibre) or Castle lager.


For millions of South African living in poverty,(pobreza), maize (maíz) is the staple (alimento de primera necesidad) of their diet and grows all over (crece por todo) the country. But all South Africans love this versatile cereal. No braai is complete without some mealiepap, made from ground (molido) maize. You can buy green mealies, roasted on the cob (asados con mazorcas) from women at the side of the road, or eat porridge (avena) made from mealie-meal for breakfast.


Malay Curries

With people of Malay and Indian descent living in South Africa for hundreds of years, it is not surprising that curry and rice is a national dish. Curries here are equally hot (picantes) as Indian ones and the Tandoori restaurants are excellent. Bobotie is another Malay-influenced dish – a variation of beef (ternera) curry with fruits and nuts (frutos secos) and an egg sauce (salsa de huevos) on top. Every South African housewife (ama de casa) has her favourite version, which she loves to cook for any visitor.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Lemon Tree (with Subtitles)

When you wake up in the morning and get in the shower, start the day with a song.

Singing is good for you. In the current (actual ) economic climate, it offers an inexpensive way to get a natural high.(subidón natural) From spiritual choirs to karaoke bars, belting out ( cantar a grito pelado) a song  is a quick way to lift the spirits. Recent studies have shown singing to be beneficial not only to general health it can help combat depression, decrease stress and lead to ( llevar a) a longer life. The correct use of the diaphragm in order to sing correctly is a great cardiovascular workout. So forget the gym, and get down to your local choir or Karaoke night. Sing your way to better health ! Maybe you can practice singing in English too ! Why not start  with this animated version of  Fool's Garden's "Lemon Tree" ?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Explaining Hiccups

Maybe you've eaten your food too fast. Or perhaps you've had a fizzy drink (bebida gaseosa) and it's bubbling (burbujeando ) in your stomach. For whatever reason, you suddenly experience a strange gulping  sensation (sensación de tragar) as you breathe in. Congratulations, you have the hiccups! (tienes hipo!)

" Hic !"

Hiccups are a result of irritation of the diaphragmatic muscle that separates your chest (pecho ) from your abdomen. As you inhale, the diaphragm opens up, stretching (estirando) across your chest, and then relaxes as you exhale. When the diaphragm is irritated, the muscle goes into sudden spasms, known as hiccups, which usually last only a few minutes. If your hiccups last for longer, you should tell your doctor.

How do you get rid of (librarte de ) hiccups? Everybody has a cure, whether it's receiving a shock, swallowing a spoonful (cucharada) of sugar, or holding your nose while sipping ( sip=tomar a sorbos ) water. But do any of these cures work? Sure enough, scientists say that some will serve to interrupt the spasm of the muscle, but not in all people. So what works for one, may not work for the other. One man had hiccups for 69 years. However ( sin embargo) , it didn’t stop him from getting married twice and having eight children.
"Did it work ?"