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Holiday at home: How to channel that vacation vibe without leaving your house


The Durrells will help whisk you away to the Greek Islands — all you’ll need is a cocktail with an umbrella in it

The Durrells will help whisk you away to the Greek Islands — all you’ll need is a cocktail with an umbrella in it

The Durrells will help whisk you away to the Greek Islands — all you’ll need is a cocktail with an umbrella in it

Currently my husband and I are locked in a battle of wills that will be familiar to all Irish people who cohabit, whether with their parents or partners or friends - the (bloody) heating.

During lockdown, I kept trying to slip it on and my husband kept losing the plot every time he strayed past the rads humming away merrily. And lately he's become even more enraged about the heating given I'm working a sartorial look I've dubbed "leisure island", which is essentially tropical-flavoured leisurewear to watch the tv shows and movies with which I am deluding myself into feeling like I'm on holiday.

Last night, as I watched The Durrells in a vest and shorts with heating on full blast, all I was missing was a fancy drink with an umbrella and perhaps a sarong to complete the look.

With our holiday funds decimated by the financial hit of the last four months, by lack of work for some and comfort shopping online for others, we need a new plan regarding the summer getaway. For many of us, even the staycation is out of the question and so it will be a holiday in the home this year.

Apart from our essential workers, Covid has given us new perspective on the importance of books, tv and films. As such, for the 'summer from home' stage of post-pandemic life, it's the arts that'll come to our rescue and transport us.

So here is my ultimate list of 'I Can't Believe I'm Not On Holidays Right Now' for your reading and watching pleasure.


The Durrells (Netflix)

The Durrells is based on the real life follie of matriarch Louisa Durrell and her four children who struck out for the Greek island of Corfu in the 1930s. It is an escapist joy and has inspired me to knit a bikini a la the stroppy 16-year-old Margot Durrell as she lies around the cliffs and scandalises puritanical Greek monks.


The Talented Mr Ripley (Amazon)

While identity theft and murder does not feature on most of our ideal holidays, the film adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel is still utterly captivating and will definitely scratch the Italy itch, especially if you watch while sauntering about in crisp linen shirts in the mode of Gwynnie in the film.

Mamma Mia (Netflix)

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If the weather isn't playing ball, the Disney-esque technicolour version of the Greek islands portrayed in the film adaptation of Mamma Mia will shock you into the festive holiday mood. Singing along is mandatory, which will give proceedings that very specific package holiday talent-night vibe and leave none of your cohabitants in any doubt of exactly who is the dancing queen in your house.

Stealing Beauty (Amazon)

Young Liv Tyler is an ingenue in Tuscany in this sensual summer classic. It's light on plot and heavy on sun-drenched shots of Liv gathering wild flowers, swimming in the pool and generally entrancing all who come across her. Including us.


Villa America by Liza Klaussmann

Ever fancied going on a group holiday with F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald? Of course you have. In this sumptuous historical fiction by Liza Klaussmann, you can do just that. Spend the days with the rich and idle crew of ex-pats Gerald and Sara Murphy in the French Riviera.

White Villa by Emily Hourican

Another group holiday is the subject of White Villa, only this time it is the rich and idle graduates in Ibiza embarking on the customary post-college piss-up. Days crisping by the pool and drug-fuelled nights of illicit romances will make you forget that the closest you'll get to such debauchery is a few Solpadeines by the kids' paddling pool out back.


The episode of Absolutely Fabulous where Eddie and Pats go to France is a must-watch if your holiday from home is not the paradise you were aiming for. Watching Eddie and Pat chasing cockroaches around their rustic French abode will cheer you right up. Who can forget Eddie's "A cockroach! A cockroach! A dead cockroach! No don't kill it, darling! I'm a Buddhist, I could come back as one of those".

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