Outside and warm

There’s something to be said

For sitting on rattan chairs and looking up

At a tie dyed sky

The same inky blue I saw in a dress earlier

The one I added to basket but never checked out

This is a sky of another era, a time

When we rode like ghosts on American highways

Legs pressed up against the dashboard

Podcast blaring nonsense

Gently slipping into sleep

Half expecting to hit a deer

That fear every time we rounded a bend

Or you vroomed a little too callously

A cacophony of screeching, and my brain doing somersaults

Playing out the poor deer’s death

And this balmy air also smacks of times in Spain

By the sea where we built our lives

And had a fridge full of food

And money in the bank

Dusted pink sunsets trickling down to the seafront

Paellas baked fresh, inches from the seabed

Tummies content and hankering for margaritas on Friday nights

Warm all the time

Flip flops flung over shoulders

Walks down to the beach and then back to Lidl

For a feast

Work was still a drag, head filled with dread

Every fucking Sunday night

Like some stupidly mundane weekly ritual

The brain bashing, self inflicted fear and loathing in Las Palmas

I was still afflicted like I am now

But those balmy sun dappled evenings

Grinning on terraces

Stuck like insects in a treacly loveless web

Boy was it good sometimes.

Florida dreams

Driving around Florida was perhaps the happiest I’ve been.

This was back in June when responsibilities were low and expectations were high

when the orange-clad Disney-donning streets always led us to Chick-fil-a or Moe’s at the height of hunger

stomachs beaten by pangs, the allure of burrito bowls and buttery milkshake broths awaiting.

We stopped in at all the parks and scaled iron-fisted fortresses and dropped

down vicious clanging paths

took oodles of pictures for the ‘gram and drank pint after pint of poisonous soda

to ward off the southern sun, bleeding onto our skin…

while fabric Mickeys and Minnies gasped for air

through the winter-laced fibres of their bulbous heads

probably paid a pittance

to stand in the sun and boil like broccoli

skin wretched and pasty at the end of the day; ours firetruck-red.

We went to Medieval Times because you said I ought to get a taste

of American pastimes

there we watched horses charge up and down with stout little fellows on their backs

wielding sticks and swords

jousting like they might have done back in the day

while we hunkered down over a medieval meal

turkey leg, garlic bread, tomato soup and enough Coke refills

to disintegrate a steak, and rot my molars.

6 interesting foreign phrases to describe your lockdown life

Last month, nobody could stop talking about the Finnish concept of Kalsarikännit, “the feeling when you are going to get drunk home alone in your underwear – with no intention of going out.”

It summed up lockdown perfectly, all the while showcasing the beauty of the Finnish language and making Friday evenings getting peacefully sozzled all the more appealing and accepted.

But the Finns aren’t the only ones with quirky, quarantine-appropriate concepts. The Italians, for example, refer to rekindling an old flame as ‘reheating cabbage’ – not exactly the image you had in mind when contemplating sliding into your ex’s DMs, eh?

And in Hungary, a nagging spouse is, somewhat colourfully, an ‘indoor dragon’. How many of you have your own ‘indoor dragon’ to contend with at the moment?

I can’t guarantee these will come in handy on future backpacking adventures or city breaks, but here are six foreign terms that aptly describe the #lockdownlife.

For when you’re feeling lazy

It’s totally fine to not be doing a lot at the moment. Remember, there is a pandemic going on – so even if you feel like you should be baking enough banana bread to feed the whole of Yorkshire or running a half marathon every day, it’s also fine to be a couch potato – or ‘pantofolaio.’

  1. Pantofolaio

You can use the Italian term ‘pantofolaio’ to describe a couch potato or homebody. A noun first used in the 19th century, it comes from the word ‘pantofola’ meaning ‘slipper’.

An example in action:

“Ho provato a farlo uscire, ma è diventato un tale pantofolaio.”

“I tried to make him come out, but he’s become such a homebody!”

It’s difficult to be anything but a couch potato at the moment – so why not look the part? If you do fancy upping your slipper game in true ‘pantofolaio’ style, apparently >slider slippers are all the rage right now.


  1. Fiaca

‘Fiaca’ comes from Lunfardo, a slang that originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s used to talk about “the feeling or state of being bored, idle, slothful of unmotivated” and when we use it to describe a person, we’d translate it as lazybones, layabout or bum.

An example in action:

“Qué fiaca que tengo!”

“Man, I feel like a slug today!”

This is something we’re all experiencing: trudging from bed to desk to fridge and back to desk, flicking through Netflix to find something binge-worthy, all the while ignoring the towering inferno of work, emails and deadlines piling up. ‘Fiaca’ is the ultimate killer of productivity.

For describing relationships

It’s a weird time for relationships – both romantic and non-romantic alike. Some haven’t seen their parents or partners or friends in months; others might find themselves house-sharing with an ‘indoor dragon.’

  1. Házisárkány

This is a Hungarian word literally meaning ‘indoor dragon’ and used to refer to a nagging, restless spouse. If you’re not used to sharing a house with your significant other, tensions might be high during this period. It may be you find yourself (or your partner) morphing into a mythical beast, breathing fire upon seeing plates piling up in the sink or socks strewn across the floor.

An example in action:

“A házisárkány soha nincs megelégedve.”

“A domestic dragon is never satisfied.”

Catch Budapest describes it as “a harmless joke” and strongly recommend that we keep treating it as such.

  1. Cavoli Riscaldati

The Italians use ‘cavoli riscaldati’ (literally meaning reheated cabbage) to talk about “a pointless attempt to revive a former love affair”. According to Christopher Moore, author of In Other Words, it comes from a proverb:

“Cavoli riscaldati né amore ritornato non fu mai buono.”

“Neither reheated cabbage nor revived love is ever any good.”

Interestingly, some parts of Italy use ‘minestra riscaldata’ or ‘zuppa riscaldata’ (reheated soup) instead of ‘cavoli riscaldati’.

Essentially, the idea is that nothing will ever taste as good when reheated. How many of you have thought about reaching out to your exes during lockdown? Snap. But now all I can think about is how I deserve much more than just reheated cabbage. Maybe some Waitrose kale or pretty pink lettuce from Harrods instead.


For those early mornings and late nights

Arguably, we’re probably saving a lot more money by not buying as much coffee during lockdown – but that doesn’t mean to say we’re drinking any less.

  1. Tretår

‘Tretår’ comes from Swedish, literally meaning a ‘threefill’ – a second refill of a cup of coffee. Hardly surprising the Swedes have a word for this – according to the Telegraph, they were the sixth biggest coffee drinkers in the world in 2017.

Language Insight says ‘tretår’ is likely to be used on a Monday morning to help kick off the working week.

Despite no longer needing to get up at 6am and commute for two hours, my caffeine intake has sky-rocketed during lockdown. I’ve upped my daily dosage from one to two and sometimes three cups to get me through the day.

This is down to a mixture of boredom, comfort (everything just feels cosier when you’re clutching a hot brew, doesn’t it?) and also because it’s from my own stash and therefore free. Knowing how much I must have saved by not forking out on overpriced lattes on Tottenham Court Road makes my Nescafe taste just that little bit better.


  1. Nedoperepil (недоперепил)

‘Nedoperepil’ is a past tense verb used by the Russians “to say that someone has drunk more than they should have, but still less than they could have (or wanted to)”, according to Lingua Lift.

Searching for further clarity, I also consulted Wiktionary: “to have too much to drink, but to be unsatisfied and want to drink more; to be drunk, but not blacked out (literally, ‘to underoverdrink’)”.

If you’re out in a bar and the barista refuses to serve you, you can say:

“Но я же недоперепил!”

“But I haven’t yet drunk as much as I can!”

Seems like the perfect balance, right? Merrily sozzled but not sozzled enough to pass out and not remember anything – plus, it doesn’t always result in a hangover. ‘Underoverdrinking’ could very well become the nation’s new pastime.

The fact Russia has a word for this is mind-blowing – and to be honest, not totally surprising.

A nod to travel

Thoughts of lemon groves and clifftop towns

Come flooding in like siren calls

Music to my ears, anguish to my mother’s

The word interrailing instils a jolt of excitement

A pang of yearning

It shocks me on this tube

And I sizzle under it’s electrical wave

Sicilian lemons and towns perched atop cliffs

Inked a teal blue

Etched in a haze of mythology

Parting the blue with our flippers

(There’s an “our” in this solo travel tale?)

There’s rusty coral smirking at the bottom

Fish wide eyed and grinning from fin to fin

I’m poised on the edge of adventure

And every reminder of Europe

Every soot saddled tunnelled journey

Makes me long for it even more

Those Sicilian lemons

That castle in Ischia.


I thought of that cup

The one I bought from Ikea, all greenly gold and new

The one I drank my morning brew in

The one that saw coffee swish within its China skeleton

Like a dinghy at water park.

My lips fat and swallowing, teeth chinking against the sides

It took us months to get through that giant bag of Costco coffee

The beans floated to the top, never ending

And everyday I’d start my morning with that pastel green cup

Finger my iPad

And wriggle my way into consciousness.

Planes, trains and automobiles

People rush to shove their bags overhead Like a herd of wildebeest and you’re mufasa.

They prance and prowl about in this tiny aisle, knocking you sideways.

Before reaching far-flung corners of the world,

They’ll fling their luggage tags at you,

Run over your big toe

And elbow you in the cheek, arm or collar bone

Without any sort of apology.

Overhead space is like prime real estate

Because we’ve got so much stuff,

So many creams, so many serums,

So many outfits and hair products

A ball of mad capitalism.

Tall, quick-footed parents step over you to claim their space,

Older lemon-faced ladies moan at the lack of legroom,

Children sit scared in their seats and tap away on their Samsungs.

And the stuff piles up, high above our heads,

Weighing us down both here and there.

A winter weekend last year

We cosied up to eachother in

European buses and craft beer bars.

We took snow-freckled paths around

the city, and the rain spat its lovely

juices at us in Barcelona – wet and

wintery, I hoped it would never end.

Then we sidled up to one another

within the chalk-coloured walls of a

boutique b&b. They threw in a hot tub

and we threw off our clothes.

Dancing streets, bustling beer bars

and the dimlit lights of taxis and

tourists swarm around us. Protests

were staged, and I felt awkward

watching… I’ve never fought for

anything before and I guess that’s a

good thing.

New Orleans

We plodded down south in his red little car, the sun spewing its rays onto the chipped windscreen and me with my knees bent, resting against the dashboard, inches from my eye sockets.
Rolling into New Orleans listening to a mind-bogglingly awful podcast about American diabetes, we took shelter in somebody’s shed at the bottom of somebody’s garden. We were greeted by air conditioning units (thank Christ), a fluffy queen-size mattress and a bathroom whose toilet hung onto the wall by a thread. The previous guest, a beastly cockroach perched in one of the shower creases, had to be escorted out somewhat forcefully.
Beads of sweat covered me during those first few days in New Orleans. A boozy tapestry of dim-lit bars, brightly-coloured beads and dirt-ridden vagabonds met us at the entrance to Bourbon Street. Locals and party-goers chugged slimy-looking cocktails out of red plastic cups and then tossed them into the gutter, narrowly missing the little black boys’ feet.
They banged on upturned buckets and cones in a bid to hustle a few cents and I myself stopped alongside them a number of times, watching the sweat pouring from their brows to their noses and soaking their lips.
As we meandered down this hellish time capsule where street boozing and pissing in alleyways is par for the course, somebody hurled a load of beads at me from a raucous balcony and Boyfriend went berserk.
When the fire in his eyes finally died down, we sipped Amaretto sours in a quieter pub and watched a jazz ensemble empty their lungs into the pores of their instruments. We stumbled across voodoo stores with eerie dolls peering from the windows and great big sinister lettering plastered around the walls. We didn’t go in, I was a bit too afraid.
And then we capped our nights with feasts of authentic Jambalaya, orgasmic and unparalleled. Rice flooded the plate, shrimps tossed and turned beneath a sea of salty veg and silky meat. We made our way home, bellies full and lips moist, and then headed to Nashville.