an English Learning Podcast, episode 12

An English Learning Podcast, Episode 12

In this month of an English Learning Podcast, off the cuff, episode 12, Clare and Annie talk about the rat race. Find out what it is and listen to us discussing how to get off of it and if its ever too late to change your life.

Vocabulary Episode 12

A pause for thought

  • to stop and think about something carefully
    • The news about the volcano has given us all a pause for thought about what is important in our lives.

Dermot Bolger

  • Dermot Bolger is an Irish author. Find out more about him here.
  • The book Clare mentions in the podcast by this author is called An ark of light. Click here to read more about the book.


  • People that make up the high social class. Learn more here.
    • The book explains the intimate life of the gentry at the beginning of Vitoria-Gasteiz


  • Learn more about Nomadland, the film that Annie mentioned in the podcast by clicking here.


  • The strength to overcome adversity
  • Learn more here.
    • The best way to build resilience in children is to have at least one adult who loves them no matter what they do or say.

The rat race

  • a way of life in which people are running to compete with each other for wealth and or power without really getting anywhere.
  • Watch this animated short film by Steve Cutts which depicts the rat race by clicking here.
    • Sometimes I would like to quit this rat race and live a relaxing life in the countryside.

The bandwagon

  • To get involved in an activity that will be successful and receive the benefits.
    • All the actors are trying to get on the TV series bandwagon.


  • Something that makes you feel good. If a movie is uplifting, it usually gives some kind of positive message or happy ending.
    • In the movie Nomadland, although at times it was quite sad to see people’s struggles, it had a quite uplifting ending and message.


  • In an ironic situation, the opposite of what you expect occurs.
    • It’s a bit ironic that she’s the one who got sick since she has gone to such long lengths to stay healthy.


  • an aspiration is something that you hope to achieve or become
    • He aspires to be a surgeon some day.

the height of ones career

  • Height in this context means the highest point, so that the height of one’s career means they are at the apex or the highest place possible in the work life.
    • She is at the height of her career and at such a young age.
  • Remember career is English is a false friend. It does not mean what you are studying at school. It means your professional work.
    • I have had a long career teaching English.


  • Resounding can have two meanings. Firstly, it can mean loud. In the podcast, Annie used it to say something that is unmistakable, something she is very sure about.
    • The audience gave the singer a resounding applause.
    • The party was a resounding success.


  • something that is astonishing is very surprising.
    • To my astonishment, the house was already completed just after one month.
    • Their accomplishments are astonishing.

to run rings around someone

  • this is an idiom that means someone does something way better than someone else.
    • Jim runs rings around his classmates in Math class.

Now that you have learned all the vocabulary from An English Podcast, Episode 12, have a listen to our previous podcasts and pick up on some more new vocabulary. Episode 11 Episode 10

B2 C1 C2 Expressions Sessions about food

B2 C1 C2 expressions about food

If you are studying for your B2 C1 or C2 level or are simply an English language learner, you know there are tons of expressions to learn. Here we offer you some B2 C1 C2 expressions about food. Let’s face it, expressions about food are the best sort of expressions!

A piece of cake

  • Everyone likes cake. It’s easy to like cake. So, if something is a piece of cake, it means that it is easy to do. It comes from the same meaning of ‘easy as pie’ referring to how easy it is to eat a sweat dessert.
    • Click here to learn how to make carrot cake! It’s as easy as pie.
    • Learning English is a piece of cake with Bloglish!

Spill the beans

  • If you spill the beans, you have said something you shouldn’t have. This is usually when there is a surprise party and you accidently mention it in front of the person whose party it is or if you intentionally tell a secret that someone asked you not to tell.
    • Henry spilled the beans to my mom and now I am grounded for two days.

Go bananas

  • Go bananas or ‘Go ape’ (a less commonly used expression) refer to someone acting in a wild or crazy way. So, it comes from the idea of monkeys (or apes) jumping or swinging around and eating bananas. Sometimes it is difficult to know if the expression means someone is very happy or over-reacting to a situation. It depends on the tone of voice used to say the expression. 
    • They bought a new house and they are just going bananas about it.

There’s no use crying over spilled milk

  • This probably depends on what your parents were like when you were a child. If they yelled at you when you spilled milk, then this expression doesn’t work. The idea is that kids knock over their milk quite often due to being clumsy and since crying won’t bring the milk back, they should just clean it up and get another one. Parents literally would say, there’s no use crying over spilled milk. However, you can apply this to any situation where someone is upset about a past mistake or situation to tell them, it can’t be changed so they just need to accept the consequence and move on.  
    • You lost your keys. There’s no use crying over spilled milk. Get them replaced and move on.

Take it with a grain of salt

  • If someone tells you to take it with a grain of salt, it is a small warning that maybe it’s not 100% true what they are telling you or what they heard. This could be for a number of reasons:
    • They don’t have all the information,
    • Someone is giving you their opinion, not facts,
    • He or she does not think they got it from a reliable source, or
    • maybe they don’t remember all the details.
    • Kelly told me that she is going to make the team, but take it with a grain of salt (because Kelly sometimes lies or exaggerated the truth).

Bring home the bacon

  • This is one of my favorites, simply because it says bacon. Mmm. To bring home the bacon means that you earn money and therefore your house (or home) has money to buy such things as food (bacon). It used to be used mainly in a sexist way, saying women work at home and men bring home the bacon, but this has changed and is now used for anyone who is earning a wage.
    • I got a new job! I’ll finally be able to bring home the bacon.

Butter someone up

  • If you are buttering someone up, it means you are flattering them or saying nice things to them because you need something in return from them. You may tell your teacher she is your favorite teacher before telling her you didn’t do your homework. You may offer to help your boss as much as possible saying you enjoy working for him or her so you can later ask for a raise. Maybe you tell your dad how wonderful his cooking is before asking permission to go to a concert. Either way, you are buttering someone up so they are more likely to give you what you want. Naturally, everything is better with butter.
    • Are you buttering me up? What do you want?

That’s the way the cookie crumbles

  • If you eat a good cookie, it should crumble a bit because that’s just what happens when you eat a cookie. This is a metaphor for life, sometimes things just happen and there’s not much we can do about it. Sometimes things will go in your favor and other times they won’t. Your team played the best they could but they lost the game. You had a great interview but they gave the job to someone else. You like a boy but he likes your best friend. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes and there’s not much we can do about it.
  • I’m really sorry to hear that you didn’t make the team. That’s just the way the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

Now that you’ve learned these B2 C1 C2 Expressions about food, learn more from other Expressions Sessions

Certifica tu nivel de inglés

Certifica tu nivel de inglés

Certifica tu nivel de inglés supone un requisito imprescindible a la hora de solicitar becas, presentarse a oposiciones, ir al extranjero con Erasmus o realizar un máster.

Existen varias instituciones que certifican tu nivel de inglés oficialmente. No solo es importante tener una certificación de inglés, sino tener la correcta.

La Cámara de Comercio en Álava

Nosotros, en la escuela de idiomas de la Cámara de Comercio de Álava, además de impartir  clases de preparación para certificar tu nivel de inglés, también ofrecemos asesoramiento sobre el certificado que mejor te convenga para tus objetivos.

Una vez definido conjuntamente el mejor certificado para tu situación comienza la preparación.

Nuestros cursos de preparación – Intensivos y Cursos Anuales

Cursos Anuales

  • Los Cursos anuales te preparan para el nivel A2, B1, B2, C1 y C2.
  • En estas clases aprenderás a:
    • Trabajar las diferentes partes del examen: Reading, writing, listening y speaking.
    • Adquirir la gramática y vocabulario del nivel
    • Aumentar la escucha a través de actividades parecidos al examen, videos, conversación, etc.
    • Mejorar tu fluidez hablando utilizando vocabulario adecuado para cada nivel
    • Desarrollar tus habilidades de escritura
  • Cuando son las clases?
    • Dos veces a la semana en sesiones de 1 hora y media.
    • Pinchar AQUÍ para ver el listado completo de cursos anuales

Cursos Intensivos

  • Los cursos intensivos pueden ser tanto online (Oxford Test of English) como presenciales (F.C.E., C.A.E., C.P.E., I.E.L.T.S., T.O.E.F.L., B.E.C.). Certifica tu nivel de inglés con nosotros.
  • En estas clases aprendarás a:
    • familiarizarte con las diferentes partes del examen: reading, writing, listening y speaking.
    • desarrollar  técnicas y pautas necesarias para obtener el mejor resultado posible.
    • manejar los tiempos de cada sección, imprescindible dado que todos los exámenes tienen un límite de tiempo.
    • adquirir  la gramática y vocabulario claves
    • desarrollar tus habilidades de escritura de manera personalizada
    • participar en debates, charlas para mejorar tu fluidez en la comunicación

Clases de preparación para los siguientes examenes de nivel

Oxford Test of English

  • En un mismo examen puedes certificar tu nivel de inglés, ya sea  A2, B1 o B2
  • La Cámara te ofrece un curso intensivo de preparación de 8 días (16 horas de clases de preparación  más  4 sesiones de 1/2 hora de speaking individualizado).
  • Una vez realizado el curso, puedes presentarte al examen en nuestras instalaciones ya que somos un centro certificado de Oxford.

Cambridge FIRST (F.C.E.), Advanced (C.A.E.) y Proficiency (C.P.E.)

  • Cada trimestre ofrecemos un curso de preparación de 1 día a la semana, 3 horas de clases con material adicional para continuar la preparación de forma autónoma entre clases.

Cambridge Business English Certificate B.E.C.

  • Ofrecemos cursos de 2 días a la semana a lo largo del año académico.
  • Como su nombre indica, este curso está especializado en la lengua a utilizar específicamente en el ámbito de los negocios y la administración de empresas.  


  • Es un certificado muy utilizado por instituciones de migración, empresas transnacionales y cientos de universidades como comprobante del nivel de idioma.
  • Ofrecemos cursos de preparación cada trimestre, un día a la semana.


  • Es el homólogo estadounidense del IELTS y está especializado en evaluar el nivel general del inglés americano en hablantes no nativos.
  • Ofrecemos cursos de preparación cada trimestre, un día a la semana.

Pinchar AQUÍ para ver todos los cursos tenemos en el curso 2021/2022

En estas clase aprenderás a:

Cursos de Business English

Cursos de Business English

La Cámara de Álava tiene una larga historia preparando a profesionales que necesitan Cursos de Business English para hacer negocios con otras empresas del extranjero. Pero hoy más que nunca, un mundo globalizado nos exige un nivel de inglés muy elevado y especializado. Much@s alumno@s que obtuvieron un certificado de inglés  B2 o C1  vuelvan a nosotros al incorporarse al mundo laboral para actualizar, adaptar y mejorar su nivel de inglés a su situación profesional. Los aprendizajes obtenidos para conseguir un certificado no son suficientes para enfrentarse con confianza a unas conferencias telefónicas o unas reuniones de equipo en inglés.

¿Qué puedo aprender en un curso de Business English?

Business English B2

El curso de Business English B2 consiste de clases divididas en dos sesiones de 1 hora y media. En cada una hay tiempo para repasar las cuatro áreas del idioma:  Listening, Speaking, Reading y Writing. En nuestras clases hay oportunidad para dar presentaciones, negociar precios de productos, contestar y hacer llamadas telefónicas así como para practicar “small talk”, hablar sobre el tiempo, preferencias, viajes, etc.


  • Mejorar tus habilidades para la escucha a través de Listenings reales
  • Listenings sobre:
    • la promocionan  de los productos de una empresa,
    • Como llevarse a cabo negociaciones en una feria comercial
    • La realización de presentaciones en público, etc.  


  • Ganar confianza a la hora de hablar sobre los temas previamente mencionados,
  • Dominar la conversación de networking
  • Aprender tratarse en inglés con clientes difíciles, etc.


  • Perfeccionar la escritura que utilizas en tu entorno laboral al elaborar correos electrónicos, promociones, informes, propuestas, etc.

Gramática y Vocabulario

  • Consolidar una base gramatical y de vocabulario que te permita seguir mejorando tu nivel de inglés incluso de forma autónoma.
  • Ejemplos de situaciones en los que es necesario:
    • el uso de condicionales en escenarios hipotéticos,
    • manejo de “phrasal verbs” para conversaciones telefónicas o teleconferencias, (hang up, call back, put me through),
    • extender el lenguaje específico de reuniones, Marketing, Finanzas, etc.

Business English C1

El Curso de Business English Advanced es una clase única a la semana de 3 horas los viernes por la tarde de nivel avanzado. Está enfocada al lenguaje utilizado en entornos laborales en temas como imagen corporativa, cadena de distribución, gestión de conflictos, marketing y ventas, inversiones, etc.

La mejora de tu Business English tendrá un impacto positivo en tu negocio y en tu desarrollo profesional.


  • Todas las sesiones incluyen videos auténticos sobre el tema que se esté tratando en esa clase, por ejemplo liderazgo, negociaciones, reuniones, marketing, etc.
  • También se incluirán listenings de nivel avanzados sobre estos mismos temas.


  • Se dedica gran parte de la clase a la comunicación que es el fundamento de los negocios. Incorporamos conversaciones en grupos pequeños y grandes y utilizamos “role plays”.


  • Perfeccionamos la escritura para poder comunicarse de forma clara y con un lenguaje adaptado a las necesidades de cada contexto

¿Qué nos diferencia?

  • El profesorado de la Cámara de Comercio cuenta con años de experiencia trabajando muy de cerca con las empresas de Álava, sus trabajadores y sus necesidades.
  • Las clases se adaptan a las situaciones particulares de cada profesional y/o empresa
  • Profesorado en continuo desarrollo para mantenerse al día sobre tecnologías y tendencias.
  • La satisfacción de nuestro alumnado se refleja en que la gran mayoría prolonga su aprendizaje con nosotros durante años

Puedes ver todos los cursos pinchando aquí
Puedes incribirse en nuestros cursos pinchando aquí

off the cuff Episode 11

A learning English podcast: off the cuff

In this month’s episode of #offthecuff we talk about experiences from #Vitoria #Madrid #Mexico where we thought people should have spoken up about what they saw instead of just being a #bystander. This July 2021 episode is full of vocabulary so check it with subtitles.

Vocabulary and Phrases from the first 3 minutes

  • Cat fight – an intense argument or physical fight usually between two women.
    • Yesterday two young girls for into a cat fight right in front of my house and I tried to stop them.
  • Shame on you – used to tell someone that they should be ashamed (embarrassed) of their behavior.
    • Shame on you for not helping that older woman with her groceries when her bad broke.
  • Two steps forward one leap back – used to express that we are evolving by moving forward in society but then we go backward and seem to lose some things that we have learned.
    • I feel like I took two giant steps forward with my English but then COVID hit and not I have taken a leap back.
  • Build up – a gradual increase of something
    • I haven’t told her how I feel yet, so my anger seems to just be building up and I am worried I may explode.
  • Excuse – A reason you give to explain why you have done something wrong.
    • They decided to fire him because he kept giving them one excuse after another and were fed up.
  • Peer pressure – a strong influence of a group of people who are similar to you in age or social circle, who want everyone to act as they do.
    • There is too much peer pressure on young girls to have the same hair style, clothes and body that many of them end up having some real problems with self-esteem.
  • Bullying – the behavior of a person who hurts or frightens someone smaller or less powerful, often making them do something they do not want to do.
    • Bullying has always been a problem but today kids also have to deal with online bullying which adds even more pressure.
  • Bully – the person who does the bullying
    • In many cases, the kids who are the bullies often come from unstable situations at home.

Vocabulary and phrases from the minute 3 – 5

  • To stand up to someone – to deal with someone in an effective manner.
    • They are trying to teach young kids to stand up to bullies.
  • Lynching – the act of killing someone without a legal trial, usually by hanging them. In the context of the podcast. Clare was using this expression to say that people publicly attack people for no reason.
    • They gave him a real lynching even though they weren’t sure he was the one who committed the crime.
  • Clip on the ear – a quick hit on the side of one’s head.
    • In the past, it was quite normal for a parent to give their children a clip on the ear. Today it is not so common.
  • Instilling values –to put a value or principle gradually into someone’s mind, so that it has a strong influence on the way that person thinks or behaves.
    • We try to instill values such as community and bonds between people in our children instead of technology.
  • Name and shame – a phrase used to say that someone should be called out for what they are doing and shamed for their bad behavior.
    • I saw someone stealing a wallet so I said in a loud voice, ‘That man is stealing your wallet’ . That way we could name and shame for doing it.

Vocabulary and phrases from minute 5 – the end

  • Bystanders/Onlookers – someone who is standing by watching something take place but does not take part in it.
    • As the police began to hit the man on the ground the bystanders just watched or took videos.
    • There were many onlookers for the street performers, but in the end no one gave them any money.
  • Calling someone out – when someone says out loud that someone is doing something wrong.
    • Janet and her boyfriend were fighting and she called him out about every lie he ever told her.
  • One bad apple spoils the bunch – people use this to refer to a situation where they believe one person’s negative demeanor or bad behavior can affect a whole group of people, influencing them to have a similar negative attitude or to engage in the same bad behavior.
    • Everything was fine until Jimmy came and then everyone was running around screaming. Well, you know what they say, one bad apple spoils the bunch.  
  • Down with …! – something you say, write or shout to show your opposition to someone or something.
    • Jenny always used to say ‘Down with love!’ but now she’s about to be married and is as happy as ever.
  • Feeble – weak, without energy, strength or power
    • I think the opposition party needs a stronger response to the new amendment than the feeble one they gave last night. 


Expressions Sessions - Opinions

Mejorar tu Speaking en el examen

¿Siempre dices lo mismo para dar tu opinión en inglés? Para mejorar tu puntuación en el examen, deja de usar ‘I think’ y empieza a usar estas frases.

Mejorar tu puntuación en el Speaking

Lo difícil de los exámenes de inglés es que tienes muy poco tiempo para mostrar tu nivel. En el Oxford Test of English por ejemplo, tienes entre 20 y 30 segundos para dar tu opinión y tienes que contestar varias preguntas. Así que no puedes utilizar ‘I think…‘ una y otra vez porque no te van a otorgar un B2 si repites siempre lo mismo.

Tampoco es recomendable memorizar lo que vas a decir ya que no sabes exactamente lo que te van a preguntar, pero lo que si puedes hacer es empezar a utilizar con naturalidad las frases que te mostramos a continuación para decir tu opinión. Estas frases te pueden ayudar tanto en el Speaking como en el Writing.

Como prepararse para el examen

Hay 3 claves en las que debes centrarte:

  1. Fluidez
  2. Uso de gramática / vocabulario
  3. El tiempo

Así que cuando practiques,

  1. algunas veces debes intentar hablar con fluidez sin preocuparte por los fallos gramaticales.
  2. Otras veces, céntrate en hablar sin errores sin prestar demasiada atención a la fluidez. En ambas situaciones, te vendría muy bien grabarlo para luego escucharte.   
  3. Y por último, intenta hablar con fluidez, utilizando la gramática adecuada y un vocabulario variado dentro de los límites del tiempo exigidos por cada examen. Es importante acostumbrarte a estos tiempos para medir que y cuanto decir. Es muy probable que así también estés menos nervios@ a la hora del examen ya que habrás preparado todos estos aspectos.

Cada examen tiene su parte en la que tendrás que expresar tus opiniones:

  • Oxford Test of English/A2-B2: En el parte 1 (20 segundos x 6 preguntas) y en el parte 4 (30 segundos x 6 preguntas)
  • FCE/B2: En el parte 3, tendrás que hablar en pareja durante 4 minutos
  • CAE/C1: En el parte 3 (4 minutos) y el parte 4 (5 minutos).

Temas habituales en los exámenes

Hay muchos temas que con frecuencia aparecen en los diferentes exámenes. Es bueno pensar en lo que dirías sobre estos temas. Como dije anteriormente nunca vas a poder saber exactamente lo que te van a preguntar, pero tener unas ideas sobre estos temas puede ser de gran ayuda. Haz un listado de posibles preguntas sobre los siguientes temas:

  • Health/exercise
  • Leisure/Free time
  • Shopping/Fashion
  • Sports
  • Books
  • Buildings
  • Environment
  • Travel
  • Work/Education
  • Movies/TV

Ahora que has escrito algunas preguntas y sabes cuánto tiempo vas a tener para hablar sobre ellos, es una buena idea utilizar un reloj y practicar ajustándose al tiempo fijado.


How can exercise have an impact on someone’s quality of life?

In my opinion, exercise can only improve your quality of life since you will feel better and sleep better. It’s important that everyone does some exercise every day in order to stay fit and healthy. Otherwise, we may see an increase in health problems in the future, which will have a negative impact on one’s quality of life.

Do you believe you have more or less free time than your parent’s generation?

It seems to me that we have much more free time than when our parents were younger. We tend to go to the gym or do exercise outdoors and even go to the bar for a coffee whereas my parents never really had time or even thought about doing these types of things.

Do you think fashion is something that is always changing?

In my view, fashion trends always come back at some point. They may not be exactly the same, but some part of them return. For example, high-rise jeans were in fashion in the 80s and now we see girls wearing them again. They may not have the same hairstyles or the bright colors, but the jeans are the same.

Do you think sports players earn too much money?

As I see it, football players earn way too much money. I know that they get a lot of their money from advertisements, but I still don’t think justifies them making so much, especially when the country is not doing so well economically. Surely sports clubs can reinvest some of that money into their communities.

Will e-books eventually replace printed books?

I would say that although e-books are really popular, printed books will always be around. You made a good point about how printing less books is good for the environment but I just love the experience of opening up a good book and feeling the pages. I think most people would say the same.

Should copy-cat architecture be banned?

Personally, I don’t believe it should be illegal for people to make copy-cat architecture, but I don’t really like it. But all forms of art today are a mix of someone else’s ideas, so why should architecture be any different? What do you feel about it?

Should individuals or the government be responsible for lowering the effects of climate change?

As far as I’m concerned, we do not do enough as a country to take care of the environment. I know that every person needs to do what they can but without policies governing the big corporations, we will never lower the amount of pollution in the air.

What are more important to know when visiting another country, the language or the culture?

It seems to me that cultural differences are often more important to learn than the language when you are in a foreign country. It’s good to know the language to be able to communicate with the people but being respectful and knowing how to act can make a bigger difference. We all know the importance body language has on communication.

Is working from home common in your country? What do you prefer?

As I see it, in Spain people will work from home more often in the future. In many countries they have been doing it for years, and it really cuts down on costs for the company. Personally, I would prefer to work from home at least two days a week so I can get paperwork done without any distractions.

People are going less and less to the cinema these days. Why do you think that is?

Most people would agree that they prefer to watch movies and TV series at home instead of going to the theatre. For the price of four tickets to the cinema, you can get a yearly subscription to an on-demand streaming service. Having said that, I still enjoy seeing an action film on a big screen, but I only go maybe once a year because it’s cheaper and more comfortable watching it from home.

Off the cuff, Episode 10: a Carp load of football

Learn English Podcast : Off the Cuff : A crap load of football

In Episode 10 of off the cuff Clare and Annie talk about #Ronaldo #UEFA #football #CocaCola and the topic of influencers. How much influence should they really have on us and on things like #LGBTQ rights? Find vocabulary and transcripts below.

Vocabulary from Episode 10

  • What’s on the menu today – this is a fun way of asking what the topic of the show is today. You can use it in any situation where there is a planned schedule, although it may not always be appropriate for work settings. In the example below, we want to know what the activities for the day are.
    • I know you’ve been planning this trip for months, so what’s on the menu today?
  • Obscure – not known by many people. In this case, Annie is being sarcastic, since football is well-known all over the world, particularly in Spain, where they currently reside.
    • I forgot the name of the island they are visiting. It’s some obscure place off the coast.
  • To be glued to your television – If someone is glued to their television, it means that they are very attentive to what is happening on TV.
    • I don’t watch much TV, but when the Olympics are on, I am just glued to the TV.
  • Crap load – this is a way to express a large quantity of something but in a way that shows your disapproval of the amount.
    • Those kids have a crap load of toys and yet they’re always bored.
  • 31 million – 31,000,000
    • I do not make 31 million euros a year.
  • to get/take a hit from something – this is used to say that you will be negatively impacted by what happened.
    • The economy took a huge hit from COVID.
  • to be down something, usually money – having less than you expected or usually have.
    • I lost a bet and now I’m down 100 euros.
  • to get wind of a something – to find out about something, especially a secret.
    • I don’t want my boss to get wind of my new job.
  • LGBTQ – Acronym used for referring to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer people.
    • Pride month is celebrated in order to acknowledge and support the LGBTQ community.
  • Paedophiles – people who are sexually attracted to pre-pubescent children.
    • There is a controversial online website where you can see if there is a registered paedophile living near your home.
  • God forbid – This expression is usually used to show sarcasm as Clare is doing here in the podcast. We usually use this expression to show that we think the other person is overreacting or wrong.
    • God forbid I come into work 2 minutes late because I was stuck in traffic!
  • UEFA – acronym for Union of European Football Association.
    • UEFA decided not to punish the German player who showed his support for the LGBTQ community.
  • get down on two knees – here Clare is referencing the players who supported Black Lives Matter by kneeling down on one knee. Since players may not be able to wear any kind of arm bands for Gay Pride, getting down on two knees could be an alternative. She is showing irony that one thing is ok, but not the other.

To find out more about the topics discussed today, you can find them at the following links:
NYT: Munich Wanted to Light Its Stadium in a Pride Rainbow. European Soccer Said No.
The Guardian: Hungary passes law banning LGBT content in schools or kids’ TV
Business Standard: Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo knocks off $4 billion from Coca-Cola’s value

Transcript of episode 10

Clare: Hi, Annie.
Annie: Hi, Clare. How are you?
Clare: Good, good.
Annie: Happy Pride Month.
Clare: Happy Pride Month. Yes. So what’s on the menu today? What are we going to talk about?
Annie: Anything but Coca Cola?
Clare: Why do you think it might influence people? Okay, Let’s talk about football. That doesn’t have any influence on people.
Annie: No, no. Football. Football’s, like this obscure thing that happens.
Clare: You mean you haven’t been glued to your television? You haven’t had two PCRs a day just to make sure that you can go to watch all these football matches and be there.
Annie: I mean, you know, I don’t even know if my television has football, and I’m okay with that.
Clare: Okay, so let’s take it back to football again. Okay?
Annie: Let’s talk about football. Okay.
Clare: Let’s talk about. Let’s talk about football and Coca Cola. Why would we talk about football and Coca Cola and influence? Because we’re talking about influence.
Annie: Yeah, Okay, so I don’t watch football as, as I just mentioned, but I do know what’s happening around the game of football.
Clare: Okay.
Annie: All right. So let me explain. There is this football player who makes what we would say a crap load of money, right?
Clare: And, does he play for Alaves?
Annie: No, no, he doesn’t. His name is Ronaldo. I think you might have heard of him, because even though I don’t know anything about football, I do know that there’s this man named Ronaldo who makes, like, 31 million a year and he was sitting down for a press conference with a can of Coca Cola in front of him or a bottle of Coca Cola, and he decided to move it and tell his audience to drink more water.
Clare: Okay, so that was his influence over his followers or whatever. What exactly did that influence do?
Annie: Well, there’s more to this story, right? So, not only does this man who makes crap loads of money tell everyone not to drink Coca Cola, but to drink more water, but then it has a 5 billion impact on Coca Cola.
Clare: Are you serious?
Annie: I am totally serious, Clare.
Clare: But surely those… Coca Cola  are his boss? No? because the sponsors are the people who pay this 31 million to all these players.
Annie: Surely. I mean, part of the money.
Clare: Were his friends annoyed? Were his fellow players annoyed? Were Coca Cola annoyed or just everybody’s just a… Who’s the bigger influencer here? Coca Cola? Ronaldo? It’s a bit…
Annie: Well, I’m sure his team. I don’t know enough about football or this story other than that, but I’m sure his team gets a hit from that. Or maybe if the Coca Cola decides not to sponsor them, I’m sure that would affect their whole team.
Clare: He might be down a few billion himself.
Annie: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well, I would kind of hope, I have to admit, because I think that the fact that he makes 31 million a year is a bit too much. But anyway, it’s interesting, the influence this man has and football.
Clare: Let’s go back to football again.
Annie: Okay. Okay, fine.
Clare: Because, you know, it’s important, influential. it’s happening this month like, Yeah. So as I said, I wasn’t watching matches either like. But again, the world around football, I do get wind of a few things. June, as you know, is LGBTQ month. And there was a match in between Germany and Hungary. And at the same time, the Prime Minister, a law has been or a decree has been passed where they’re not allowed to depict or promote homosexuality or anything homosexual onto under 18s. And as part of a law against paedophiles, you know you can connected.
Annie: What ?
Clare: Now, you cannot connect the two? Right?
Annie: I cannot connect the two. Wait, what?
Clare: In Hungry, it’s believed. And this is kind of the law, like, because of this, is that if two people meet, especially for the same sex, it’s not healthy.
Annie: Okay.
Clare: So they meet, you know, God forbid they fall in love.
Annie: Okay.
Clare: Set up a house and they might even adopt children.
Annie: Right. Right.
Clare: Okay. No. Because what they really are are Paedophiles.
Annie: Oh Clare.
Clare: That’s why I know. It’s just sad. Real. Anyway, back into football, it’s come.
Annie: No, I can’t even joke about that topic because it’s not funny.
Clare: It’s not funny.
Annie: It’s not.
Clare: So Let’s go back to football.
Annie: Okay. So go back to football because I prefer to talk about football than that conversation.
Clare: I know, but football influences things you see. So there was a match between Germany and Hungry around the same time with this crazy decree or whatever was passed. And the match was in Munich.
Annie: Right.
Clare: And they wanted to, like, they’ve done in another Stadium. I think they wanted to paint it pink or light it up pink.
Annie: Okay.
Clare: And UEFA said no, because it was kind of a political statement. Again, don’t hold me to that statement. But something along those lines…
Annie: yeah.
Clare: Because it was too political. Then there was a German goalkeeper, I think, who had a band on his arm again with the LBGTQ support or whatever. And they’re going to decide now whether that is too politically, yeah. So what do you do? Do you get down on two knees?
Annie: Well that’s interesting.
Clare: A knee for this, a knee for that
Annie: Yeah Exactly. We’re going to have to start doing, like, hand gestures.
Clare: It, it’s sad. It’s sad. It’s not funny. But it’s a sad reality no? And again. What are we talking about? We’re talking about football.

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off the cuff: episode 9

off the cuff: Episode 9 – MAY we talk about education?

  • to come from the perspective – to have a point of view
    • She comes from the perspective that the world is changing and so must we.
  • old habits die hard – an expression to say that it is very difficult to break habits.
    • He has been trying to quit smoking for years, but as they say, old habits die hard.
  • in a heartbeat – to do something as fast as the time it takes for your heart to beat.
    • Children learn languages in a heartbeat when they are taught in a fun and dynamic way.
  • to be zooming – the very of zoom (the popular program used for video conferencing)
    • I can’t talk to Sara right now because she is zooming with her class.
  • to google – to look something up on google.
    • I didn’t have the address so I googled it.
  • to be worth something – to not be important or interesting enough to receive a particular action.
    • I don’t think it’s worth talking to him about what happened because he is very angry.
  • antiquated language – old-fashioned or unsuitable language for modern society.
    • Many teachers teach antiquated language that is not very useful in the real world.
  • How’s it goin’? – an informal way to say hello to someone.
    • Hey Mark. It’s nice to see you. How’s it goin’?
  • Wa’s up? – an informal way to ask someone how they are doing. Short for “what is up”?
    • Hey man, wa’s up?
    • Nothing, wa’s up with you?
  • to grow as a person – to mature and learn from experience.
    • Learning a language helps you grow as a person because you learn to listen.
  • hence – the reason or explanation for something.
    • We needed a name that was easy to say in Spanish and English, hence we chose Lucia.
  • to change the chip – to change one idea or way of thinking for a different one.
    • We need to change the chip on how we learn languages.
  • mere – used to emphasize how strongly someone feels about something or how extreme a situation is.
  • The mere fact that you asked me that question means you were listening to me at all!
  • hot-desking – a way of saving office space in which workers do not have their own desk and are only given a desk when they need it.
    • By hot-desking we are able to save a lot of money on rent space.
  • a shift – when something moves or changes from one position or direction to another
    • There needs to be a shift in the way we think about learning and education.
  • something doesn’t sit right – when something feels uncomfortable or incorrect.
    • There is something about this situation that doesn’t sit right with me.
  • to be open to criticism – able and willing to accept negative feedback about yourself or your work without reacting overly emotionally.
    • Please let us know what you think about the podcast. We are open to criticism.
  • utility – the usefulness of something, especially in a practical way.
    • We are discussing the utility of learning such things as names of rivers or specific dates now that information is readily available on the internet.

Vocab Rehab – Common Problems in meetings

There are lots of reasons why we all hate meetings. But by avoiding some of these common traps, you can have meetings that are efficient and effective. Don’t forget to read the definitions and examples below the post!

  • Late starts – when the meeting begins after the scheduled time.
    • Looks like it’s going to be another late start for today’s meeting. Joe is still not here!
  • Over-runs – when the meeting fails to finish at the scheduled time.
    • We can’t have another over-run at tomorrow’s meeting because I have to leave at the scheduled time.
  • Groupthink – the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group, resulting typically in unchallenged, poor-quality decision-making
    • Hiring a more diverse staff is a great way for our company to shy away from this model of groupthink that is halting our innovation.
  • Hidden agenda – when someone has a secret agenda or intentions
    • I feel like there is a lack of transparency occurring. He always seems like he has a hidden agenda and it makes me not trust him.
  • Inadequate preparation – attending a meeting without preparing beforehand the necessary information to discuss the topic at hand.
    • It’s clear that there was a level of inadequate preparation that took place and that’s why we were unable to reach any real decisions on the day of the meeting.
  • Communication barriers – things that make people reluctant to share and/or talk
    • There is a clear communication barrier taking place between the manager and his team. I think they are afraid to say anything in case of getting fired.
    • We need to find a good translator or hire someone who speaks fluent German in order to get past the communication barriers we are facing with our international partners.
  • Communication breakdowns – misunderstandings
    • Knowing the language but not understanding the culture and the meanings behind that language can cause some severe communication breakdowns that can lead to real disputes in meetings.
    • We are having some real communication breakdowns because the employee job descriptions are not clearly outlined.
  • Point-scoring – when there is competition between colleagues for attention, a new job, recognition, etc.
    • I’m so annoyed with Janet and Dave continuously trying to point-score with the boss during the meeting. I don’t know why they can’t share the success of their work.
  • Pulling rank – when someone uses their status to get what they want
    • Although most of us voted to move the deadline back a week, the boss pulled-rank and said that we needed to maintain the original date.
  • Time wasting – causing someone to spend time doing something that is unnecessary or does not produce any benefit.
    • Reviewing information in a meeting that could be given in an email is a time wasting method of information sharing.

off the cuff episode 8: spring has sprung

off the cuff: Episode 8: Spring has sprung

The spring has come
The flowers’s ris
I wonder where the birdies is
The people say they’re on the wing
But that’s absurd
I always thought the wing was always on the bird.


  • On the wing – migrating
  • Sesame StreetBarrio Sesamo
  • Calving  – referring to spring time when cows give birth to
  • Lambing  –  the time in spring when sheep give birth to lambs calves.
  • Kooky – Strange
  • To set on fire – to cause something or someone to start burning
  • Fatalities –  a death caused by accident or on purpose
  • Sechseläuten (Switzerland Spring festival)  – a Swiss spring festival where they burn a stuffed snowman to highlight the beginning of spring. Learn more here:
  • Hollowed out – to make an empty apace inside something
  • Polish decorative eggs
  • Mass – a religious ceremony that often takes place in a church.
  • The Stations of the Cross – a series of 14 pictures showing the last days of the life of Jesus Christ which are put up on the walls inside many Roman Catholic Churches. To do the Stations of the Cross, the story about the 14 pictures was told during a mass.
  • Good Friday –  The Friday before Easter Sunday
  • Black Friday – In Ireland, people would call Good Friday, ‘Black Friday’ since they were not allowed to drink and bars were closed.  
  • Nonsensical  –  an action or behavior that is not logical 
  • Take precedent over – to be more important than something else
  • Economically sound – to not waste money, to be economically good for someone or something
  • To have a black cloud over your head – an idiom to express irritation, disturbance or feelings of misfortune
  • Guilt – a feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong
  • Easter lily – a flower (cala in Spanish) that was worn on Easter day to commemorate those that died during the 1916 uprising in Ireland. Learn more here:
  • Stickies – people who wore stickers (pegatinas) to represent themselves as part of the Sinn Féin political party. Learn more here
  • Sinn Féin – In Irish, Sinn Féin means ‘We Ourselves’ or ‘Ourselves Alone’. They are a left wing political party in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland who strive to end the political partition of the island of Ireland. Learn more here:,of%20Ireland%20and%20Northern%20Ireland.
  • In favor of – in support of
  • Pin – a small thin piece of metal with a point at one end, especially used to hold something temporarily in place
  • 1916 uprising – Also known as the Easter Rising or Easter Rebellion – a six day battle where the Irish Republicans aimed to establish an independent Irish Republic against the British rule. Learn more here  
  • Politicized – to make something or someone political
  • Explicit – clear and exact
  • Cimburijada – Bosnian spring celebration – Bosnians in Zeneca share scrambled eggs by the river to celebrate new life. Learn more here:  
  • That wraps it up – to finish something successfully
Expression Sessions - Time

Expressions Sessions – Time

Expressions sessions - Time

The CAE, C1 exam is full of expressions. Here are just a few that are important, not just for the exam, but because we use them all the time!

  • play for time – delay something until you are ready
    • The actors aren’t ready yet. You’ll have to play for time with the audience for at least another 15 minutes.
  • take your time – spend the time you need to complete something OR – slow down.
    • Stop rushing! Take your time. We still have another hour before they arrive.
  • have a great time – Used to tell someone to enjoy themselves OR to express that you enjoyed yourself. It can also be used with other adjectives: bad time, good time, an ok time.
    • Have a great time at the wedding. I’m sure it will be fun!
    • We had such a good time going through the old photos.
  • do something to pass the time – To do something to keep busy while you are waiting.
    • How about we play a game to pass the time while we wait for the food to be ready?
  • make up for lost time – to enjoy something as much as possible now because you didn’t have the opportunity or didn’t want to do it before.
    • Every time I go to the US, I make up for lost time with my best friends and we talk for hours about everything that has happened since we last saw each other.
  • arrive in good time – finish a journey faster than expected.
    • Although there was some construction on the road, they made it in good time to the party.
  • be on time – to arrive somewhere at the exact time or earlier than the time that was arranged.
    • I have to leave now if I want to be on time for the theatre.
  • make time for something – to block off or organize some time to complete something or to be with someone.
    • She had a really busy morning but she made some time for us to have a coffee.
  • did something in no time – to do something in very little time or very quickly.
    • The shipment will be ready to go in no time.
    • The children finished their homework in no time and went to the patio to play.
  • did something time after time – to do the same thing over and over again, repeatedly.
    • I have to tell me children to pick up their wet towel off the floor time and time again.
  • time flies – used to say that the time spent doing something has gone by very quickly.
    • I can’t believe it’s already 7:30! It’s true that time flies when you’re having fun.
  • ran out of time – To have no more time to finish something or to get somewhere.
    • We are running out of time. The deadline for the tenner is this Friday.
Amanda Gordan reading poem

#Amandagorman – The hill we climb

#Amandagorman became famous over night after reading her poem #thehillweclimb at the #Biden #inauguration. She makes reference to the turmoil at the #capital uprising but also looks toward a positive future with #Kamalaharris as the first multi-racial female vice president.

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promised glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

off the cuff: episode 5

off the cuff: Merry Covid Christmas

In this fifth episode, we discuss what Covid Christmas is like and how immigrants often have to be away from their families. We also discuss what we want the new year to look like. Don’t forget to check out the vocabulary listed below and Enjoy!

  • Shadenfreude- pleasure derived by someone from someone else’s misfortune
  • Pleasure- enjoyment, happiness, satisfaction
  • Pain- a physical or emotional discomfort
  • I must admit- I have to say  
  • Taken aback- surprised  
  • Been there, done that- this is not new to me
  • Life goes on- life continues
  • Rearrange- to change the order, position or time of something already arranged.
  • To go down in history – to be recorded or remembered in history
  • D, all of the above- reference to multiple choice tests when you want all the options offered to you
  • Running after your tail – to be busy doing a lot of things and not accomplishing much
    Burnout – extreme tiredness or a feeling of not being able to work anymore, caused by working too hard
  • Have a laugh – have a good time

off the cuff – Thanksgiving and Black Friday

We are back! Last week we talked about Halloween and today we talk about some myths about Thanksgiving and the origins of Black Friday. Listen, check the vocabulary below and enjoy!


Thanksgiving – Día de Acción de Gracias Fast forward – move forward quickly
Myth – something that people say but may not be true Crashing stock market – the value of the all tradable investments fail
pilgrims – the first people from England
to move to the US
Change the narrative- change the story that people know and hear
Mayflower- the name of the boat the
pilgrims came on
Black Friday – The day after Thanksgiving when all the Christmas sales begin
harvest- the time to collect food from the
Christmas season- The time dedicated to celebrating Christmas
whitewashing – an attempt to stop people finding out the true facts about a situation Stuff your face – eat too much
in any way, shape or form – in any way at all Retail – the act of selling goods to the public
disease – and illness caused by infection or
failure of health
Retail therapy – the act of buying things for yourself in order to feel better when you areunhappy