Tuesday, October 28, 2014


It doesn't take much to figure out what allergia translates as.

So those delicious more I ate over the weekend? Well, it turns out I'm allergic.

Yesterday I woke up with a rash, nausea, and a headache. More than anything, I was amazed at the rash, it had shown up overnight and it wasn't even itchy. And it wasn't all over my body either, just my stomach and chest. Nowhere else. I wasn't overly worried, I have sensitive skin and have had reactions to allsorts over the years - but even so, this was on a whole other level. I couldn't ignore it and went to the doctor's in the afternoon.

My GP's pretty cool, he's got the biggest CD collection I've ever seen, and he's always got something like Pink Floyd playing in his surgery. Monday afternoon is the only session he has when you don't have to make an appointment, and I was amazed to only find one person in the waiting room when I arrived!

So after being prodded and examined and having my lungs listened to, the doctor's diagnosis confirmed my doubts, I was allergic to blackberries. I also have to avoid raspberries - which is no problem as I very rarely eat them - and strawberries! Strawberries! I love strawberries. But I had been lucky, the reaction hadn't spread to my lungs or liver.

Today I've still got the angry red rash, but overall I'm feeling better. I've got my medicine that I was prescribed, tablets (compresse) for about a week, and drops (gocce) for two weeks (which taste disgusting!).

Is this what happens when a country girl moves to a big city in a foreign country?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Classic

I heard this song on the radio a few days ago, it's La stagione dell'amore by Franco Battiato from 1983.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Word of The Week

le more (feminine plural) - blackberries

Don't get confused, more has nothing to do with the word amore, unless you have a particular love for the fruit that is...

I can't remember the last time I had some blackberries, but seeing as I'm on a mission to eat more fruit and veg I picked up a box at the supermarket yesterday, and they're very delicious!

In a completely different context more could also mean 'brunettes', and if you had dark hair you could say you were mora without meaning that you're a blackberry!

Friday, October 24, 2014

My (belated) sixth Italianniversary

October 22nd marked six years since my arrival in Italy. It was a Wednesday like it was back in 2008, when I arrived in Milan Malpensa to be picked up by my friend Roby, with only my case and battered secondary school backpack. I didn't feel much like celebrating this year, I've been feeling a bit stuck in a rut recently. The most exciting thing I did was treat myself to some sushi, Japanese beer, and krapfen (pack of two and damn right did I eat both the same evening); which seeing as I've been on a diet since July (over 7kg lost!) was actually pretty damn special.

Today I'm on another planet after finally falling asleep around 5am, only to then be wide awake around 9.15. Late last night I was back at Radio Deejay visiting nightowls Mauro and Andrea, who have a show from 1-4am (if your Italian's up to scratch and you find yourself awake at the time I highly recommend tuning in, the show always makes for entertaining listening!). It was the positive experience that I so badly needed to feel better. I was chatting away with the boys on-air, at 3am, after having had a couple of glasses of the prosecco I'd bought along. The boys and the listeners showered me with compliments for my Italian, and also for what they called a perfect radio voice when I spoke in English. At that time I have no idea how I even managed to string together coherent sentences in Italian!

So my 7th year in Italy's started off very well. For some reason my odd-numbered years here have been much better than the even-numbered ones, and I'm really hoping that will be the case this year.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Classic

Here's another proper classic of Italian music. Per Elisa (which my slightly rusty German skillz tell me is the Italian translation of 'Für Elise') is by Alice from 1981.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Word of The Week

Il riscaldamento - heating

By law in Italy you're only allowed to use central heating between October 15th and April 15th. But if you're lucky enough to be able to control it yourself there's nothing physically stopping you from turning it on before or after those dates. As it happened this year the heating came on during a period of unseasonably warm weather, in Milan it's been warmer these last few days than it was for parts of August! And that was after a rainy weekend where I tried unsuccessfully to dry my washing...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Nerys's Guide to Italian Music - Fabi Silvestri Gazzè

One of the most interesting things in Italian music for me this year is the collaboration between singer-songwriters and friends Niccolò Fabi, Daniele Silvestri, and Max Gazzè. Their first single together, Life is sweet, is one of my favourites from this year.

All three were born in Rome, Niccolò Fabi in 1968. His first single Dica, is one of my favourites of his, and a song I've been listening to a lot recently.

My favourite song of his is also one of my absolute favourite Italian songs of all time. It's Lasciarsi un giorno a Roma from 1998.

Daniele Silvestri was also born in 1968, and his first single was released in 1994. My favourite song of his earlier years is Le cose in comune, his third single which was released in 1995

A song of his I listen to a lot is Salirò. As it's from 2002 - before I even started studying Italian - I have no idea how I got to know it though! The video's fantastic!

All three had previously worked together on various occassions before this year. The beautiful Sornione from Silvestri's 2011 album S.C.O.T.C.H and features Fabi.

Max Gazzè was born Massimiliano Gazzè in 1967, and I must admit that he's my least favourite of the three. Even so, there are a few songs of his that I really like, such as Una musica può fare from 1999.

There's also A cuore scalzo from 2010, which was one of my favourite Italian songs that year.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

365 Days of Happy - Days 61 to 90

It's time for another recap! (Yes, I'm late again.)

Day 61: A bright and breezy lunchtime.

Day 62: Chocolate & orange biscuits for breakfast.

Day 63: It's not too warm for some hot blackcurrant!

Day 64: I can fit into my size 8 jeans again!!

Day 65: A relaxing Friday night...

Day 66: Watch ALL the shows!

Day 67: Breakfaaaaast

Day 68: Booking another trip!

Day 69: Some feel-good music.

Day 70: A well-deserved day off from my diet.

Day 71: New book!

Day 72: Favourite dress!

Day 73: Another spotty dress - this time one that finally fits!

Day 74: Everybody's got a novel inside them waiting to come out...

Day 75: Boots international delivery FTW!

Day 76: Stocked up on Nespresso capsules.

Day 77: And I tried out the limited edition capsule.

Day 78: After a loong day I can finally relax.

Day 79: Zombies!

Day 80: The return of the onesie!!

Day 81: New Murakami!

Day 82: A cuppa tea always helps, even if the doctor orders you off dairy...

Day 83: Omnomnom.

Day 84: I was very excited about reading this book!

Day 85: Hopefully the stomach bug's now gone, so I'm risking a proper breakfast...

Day 86: Oooh shiny new radio!

Day 87: Early morning in Piazza Duomo.

Day 88: Sunday night treat - pasta & salmon.

Day 89: Where I wanted to be all day...

Day 90: Il desiderio di essere come tutti

Sunday Classic

Non sono una signora really is a classic of Italian music. It's by Loredana Berté from 1982.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Word of The Week

Il latte - Milk

Skimmed milk isn't popular in Italy, which can be annoying when you're on a diet. This skimmed milk however, is new, and there was even a billboard advertising it on my street until a few days ago. It's senza lattosio, without lactose (I'm slightly intollerant), and as you would expect for latte scremato (skimmed milk), it's senza grassi (literally 'without fats'). It's a dinky little 500ml bottle as I've yet to find a litre bottle, and yes, it's a fair bit more expensive than full-fat or semi-skimmed milk!