The Alphabet Game Summary

¿Habéis seguido el Alphabet Game de junio? Aquí tenéis todas las preguntas:

The Best Guidebooks for Travelling Abroad

I love to travel, and for me there is nothing more exciting than buying a new travel book before a trip. I spend hours reading the book and learning all about the new place: it’s an excellent way to get really excited for a trip and familiarize yourself with somewhere new! The following are some of the best guidebooks (and corresponding websites) for travelling abroad.


  • In print: Fodor’s is the largest publisher of English-language travel and guide books in the world. The company is over 80 years old and is known as one of the authorities on travel writing and tips. Fodor’s guide books are excellent because they also provide a history of the region, suggestions for ‘free and cheap’ activities, activities for kids, and information on sporting events.
  • Online: The Fodor’s website has extensive information on travels throughout the world and includes trip itinerary suggestions, hotel discounts, cruises, and a forum where travellers can ask questions. Check it out!



  • In print: Rather than focusing on entire countries, Time Out guides are focused more on specific cities that you are traveling to. The guidebooks are great resources for the city’s nightlife, foods and drinks, and entertainment. They’re also compact and easy to carry.
  • Online: Time Out’s website provides great lists of ‘101 Things to Do’ in many cities as well as ‘weekend guides’ for short trips. Read these lists here:



  • In print: Fodor’s is the largest English-language publishing company, but Lonely Planet earns the title of the world’s largest travel and guidebook publisher. Local writers create the content for Lonely Planet’s guidebooks, which are not only very informational, but also very well written articles that read more like travel stories.
  • Online: The Lonely Planet website provides information for bookings (insurance, hotels, car rentals, etc.). It also allows you to search for travel ideas using interesting categories, such as ‘Adventure travel’ or ‘Explore every day.‘ Lonely Planet has teamed up with GoPro to produce incredible videos that highlight destinations. See the world from all angles (and even underwater!) on their website.


  • In print: Frommer’s began in the 1950’s when Arthur Frommer published “Europe on $5 a Day.” Since then, the company has continued to publish guidebooks that are based on budgeting. Travelers who need specific information on the prices of hotels, restaurants, and attractions will enjoy the detailed pricing included in Frommer’s guidebooks.
  • Online: The Frommer’s website is an impressive compilation of articles, a forum, videos, and travel news.


Have you used an exceptionally useful guidebook on your travels?

Leave your suggestion in the comments!

By Amanda Jones @Sedimentality 

Highlights of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival

Are you a movie buff?* If so, you might be excited for the 2017 Cannes Film Festival! The international film festival, which is currently taking place in the French Riviera, is known as the best place to learn about the most exciting new movies from around the world.

If you are not familiar with Cannes, check out our article about this international film festival and its history before learning about this year’s celebration.

*movie buff = a person who likes movies

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70th Anniversary
This year is the 70th anniversary of the festival. The Jury for the main competition includes American actors Jessica Chastain and Will Smith, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, French-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared, and film directors Paolo Sorrentino (Italian), Maren Ade (German), Agnes Jaoui (French), and Park Chan-wook (South Korean). The Jury President is Spanish director and screenwriter Pedro Almodovar. The Jury will award films in many categories: check out our previous article for information regarding these main awards.


Monica Belluci

A few other important names and faces of 2017 Cannes include Italian actress Monica Bellucci, who will be hosting the opening and closing ceremonies. The film Ismael’s Ghosts by Arnaud Desplechin was chosen as the film to open the festival and a beautiful photo of Italian actress Claudia Cardinale was chosen as the film’s official poster.

Golden Palm films
The most prestigious award for Cannes is the Golden Palm. The following films are competing for the award. Have you heard of any of them? Film lovers should check these works out: they are considered some of the best new movies of the year.

  • In the Fade (Aus dem Nichts) directed by Fatih Akin (Germany)
  • The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) directed by Noah Baumbach (USA)
  • Okja directed by Bong Joon-ho (South Korea and USA)
  • 120 Beats per Minute (120 battlements par minute) directed by Robin Campillo (France)
  • The Beguiled directed by Sofia Coppola (USA)
  • Rodin directed by Jacques Doillon (France, Belgium)
  • Happy End directed by Michael Haneke (France, Germany, Austria)
  • Wonderstruck directed by Todd Haynes (USA)
  • Redoubtable (Le Redoutable) directed by Michel Hazanavicius (France)
  • The Day After directed by Hong Sang-soo (South Korea)
  • Radiance directed by Naomi Kawase (Japan, France)
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (Ireland, UK, USA)
  • A Gentle Creature directed by Sergei Loznitsa (Ukraine, France)
  • Jupiter’s Moon (Jupiter holdja) directed by Kornel Mundrczo (Hungary)
  • The Square directed by Ruben Ostlund (Sweden, Denmark, USA, France)
  • L’Amant Double directed by Francois Ozon (France)
  • You Were Never Really Here directed by Lynne Ramsay (UK, USA, France)
  • Good Time directed by Joshua and Ben Safdie (USA)
  • Loveless directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia)

To learn more, visit the official Cannes Film Festival website.

Have you heard of any of these directors or movies? Do you think the jury and the films reflect the diversity of filmmaking? Give us your thoughts on the Ziggurat Facebook page!

By Amanda Jones @Sedimentality 

Cannes Film Festival

May is the time when the weather warms, the beaches become filled with people, and celebrities from around the world gather in the French Riviera. Why? It’s Cannes!

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What is Cannes?
“Cannes” is another name for the Cannes Film Festival. Until 2002, it was called the “International Film Festival.” The festival is in Cannes, France, each year in May (this year from May 17-28). The 2017 Cannes is special: this will be the festival’s 70th year.

Cannes is not like events such as the Academy Awards (also called the Oscars), which are only awards shows. Cannes is where new films from all over the world are previewed, and it provides great opportunities for European film makers: because many film producers and celebrities attend, the festival is an excellent place for filmmakers to sell their films. People attend Cannes by invitation only.

Cannes Jury
Cannes awards are chosen by the Cannes jury (the group of people who vote). Each year, these jury members, who are all people in the international film industry, are chosen by the Cannes board of directors. The board also chooses a jury president. For 2017, the president is Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar.

Cannes Awards
Cannes gives many awards at its competition. The names of the awards are in French; below we are also giving including an English translation of the names.


The main awards of the festival are the following:

  • Palme d’Or (Golden Palm). This award is for the best film of the year. The film is selected from 20 films.
  • Grand Prix (Grand Prize). This award is similar to “Second Place” for the festival’s films.
  • Prix du Jury (Jury Prize). This award is considered to be “Third Prize” at the festival.
  • Palme d’Or du court métrage (Best Short Film). This is the award for the best film in the category of short film.
  • Prix d’interprétation féminine (Best Actress)
  • Prix d’interprétation masculine (Best Actor)
  • Prix de la mise en scène (Best Director)
  • Prix du scenario (Best Screenplay)

There are other awards and categories, such as awards for student filmmakers, recognition for films about the environment, and a category for documentaries. One of the funniest is the award for the best performance… by a dog! Yes, a dog. The Palm Dog award is for the dog that “acted” the best in a movie.

Compared to shows such as the Oscars, many consider Cannes to be more “serious” festival that is an opportunity to learn about more artistic films.

What do you think? Have you seen some of the Golden Palm winners from previous years? Check out the list of previous winners and see.

By Amanda Jones @Sedimentality 

7 redes sociales para amantes de la lectura

raton_de_biblioteca.pngPara aprender idiomas es esencial leer y escribir. Os hemos dado sugerencias sobre cómo crear un Word bank para ampliar y recordar el vocabulario y consejos para ser un mejor escritor. Hoy, os traemos una lista de redes sociales específicas para el mundo de la lectura (algunas en inglés y otras en español).

Es uno de los sitios más conocidos en cuanto al mundo de la lectura. Actualmente tiene más de 75.000 usuarios registrados, más de 97.000 libros y alrededor de 22.000 autores. En ella encontrarás recomendaciones, novedades sobre el mundo literario y una tienda para adquirir eBooks.

Entre lectores
Novedades literarias y editoriales es lo que encontrarás. También podrás gestionar tus recomendaciones y libros leídos, igual que en otras redes sociales. Entre los usuarios encontrarás lectores, autores, libreros y editores.

Sopa de Libros
Es fácil de usar, se pueden buscar novedades, libros más leídos, reseñas, crear listas de libros que queremos leer, etc.

Library Thing
Como ellos dicen, una comunidad con 2 millones de apasionados de la lectura. En esta plataforma, podrás unirte a grupos, conversar, crear listas personales y gestionar tu propia biblioteca.

Tú que Lees
Funciona de la misma manera que el resto, donde se pueden crear listados de lecturas, hacer recomendaciones, consultar próximas novedades y dispone de accesos directos para comprar los libros en Amazon y Casa del Libro.

El Club Literario
Más que una red social, es un foro donde los “socios” del club, mediante votación conjunta, deciden qué leer para, posteriormente, comentarlo.

GoodReads (en inglés)
Por último, una red social para lectores en inglés. Te recomienda libros basados en tus gustos y te ayuda a encontrar a lectores con gustos afines. Podrás hacer búsquedas, realizar listados, puntuar, etc. Además, también tiene una app para smartphones.

A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter (Mark Bezos)

Aquí tenéis un nuevo pack de actividades TED. Esta vez, Mark Bezos, bombero, nos da una lección de vida. Si queréis practicar vuestras habilidades de listening mientras escucháis su historia en menos de 5 minutos, visionad su vídeo y después, ¡a poner a prueba vuestra capacidad de comprensión auditiva! Descargar actividades

Volunteer firefighter Mark Bezos tells a story of an act of heroism that didn’t go quite as expected — but that taught him a big lesson: Don’t wait to be a hero.

Trekking to the South Pole (Ray Zahab)

Aquí tenéis un nuevo pack de actividades TED. Esta vez, Ray Zahab nos habla de su travesía de 33 días por el Polo Sur. Si queréis practicar vuestras habilidades de listening mientras escucháis su historia en menos de 5 minutos, visionad su vídeo y después, ¡a poner a prueba vuestra capacidad de comprensión auditiva! Descargar actividades aquí

Extreme runner Ray Zahab shares an enthusiastic account of his record-breaking trek on foot to the South Pole — a 33-day sprint through the snow.

7 Ways to Learn Languages Online

The Internet is an incredible tool for language learning, but sometimes we have so many options that we don’t know where to begin! Check out these 7 ways to learn languages online for some creative and fun ways to learn a new language.

With, you listen to songs while reading the lyrics and complete the missing words. The site offers songs in dozens of languages and offers classics and current hits. The site offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced options for all songs, so it’s great for all levels!

Listen and read at the same time with an audiobook! Short stories, novellas, classic novels, and even speeches are all available in written and audio form on many sites. For English learners, we recommend ESL Bits.

3. TED
Perhaps one of the most popular sites for learning a language is TED: the videos come with transcripts and well-written subtitles in many languages. With so many topics, you are sure to find a TED Talk that fits your interests.

Practise with our TED Activity Packs. Check them out here!

Sites such as Instagram are excellent for learning a language through context: by seeing the photo, you will better understand its caption. After reading the caption in your new language, click on “translate” to see if you understood.

Google has created an extension called Language Immersion that allows you to learn new words while you are reading online. The extension translates some of the words of any site into the language you choose (currently there are 64 languages offered). If you don’t understand the word, simply click on it and Google changes the word back to your native language.

Teachers have been using Quizlet for years, and it’s a great tool if you’re looking for some vocabulary practice!

The world of podcasts is large: find one you love! Podcasts are great while commuting, cleaning the house, or just relaxing. If you’re not at the level where you can listen without a transcript, check to see if the podcast has one: many do.

By Amanda Jones @Sedimentality