Liz Gooster’s Day Off*

Marianne Cantwell, author of Be a Free Range Human, is never short of fun, creative, freedom-enhancing ideas. One of her recent Friday emails (what she calls her Friday love letter) invited her readers to imagine what they’d do with an unexpected day off. She encouraged us to give ourselves free rein, to dream big, or small, just as it suited us, and to free ourselves from any barriers of cost or possibility. I felt inspired to give it a go, so here, in no particular order, are my top 10 ideas.

1) Be a tourist in London. Find somewhere I’ve never been, read about it online or in a guidebook, and then go there. I’d be aiming to see the city with fresh eyes – and I’d make sure to send myself a postcard.

2) Spend the day reading for pleasure. In a comfy coffee shop with plenty of skinny lattes and some great chocolate. In bed. On my sofa. In the bath. If it’s warm and sunny, outside: in my garden, the park, or by the sea.

3) Go to a spa for some pampering, a massage and lots of lazing in steam rooms, saunas and swimming pools. My sister is my usual spa companion so I’d take her with me, perhaps to Babington House in Somerset, where we had a lovely indulgent stay for her birthday last year.

4) Make a surprise visit to friends or family.

5) Have a glass of champagne at St Pancras and then jump on the Eurostar for a spontaneous trip to Paris. I’d have lunch with a glass of crisp Chablis or Sancerre, take in a gallery or museum and browse the shops in the Marais before stocking up with French cheese and croissants to bring home. If we’re flexing time as well as the imagination and I can go for longer than a day, I’d take a spur-of-the-moment trip to somewhere on my hitlist. Maybe St Petersburg to see the Hermitage, or a hike through the Darien Gap from Panama to Colombia or a ride on the Glacier Express in Switzerland.

6) Bake some scones and cakes and have friends over for afternoon tea.

7) Go to a matinee or two and eat ice cream while kicking back and seeing some great movies.

8) Go on a day out to Margate (where I’ve never been) to visit the Turner Contemporary Gallery and stroll along the prom breathing in some sea air.

9) Take a sleeper up to Scotland and take a hearty tramp along the edge of gorgeous loch somewhere in the Highlands.

10) Go to an intensive dance workshop, learn the rudiments of salsa, and pretend I’m on Strictly Come Dancing.

11) At this point, I’m on a roll and 10 doesn’t seem enough. Go up in a hot air balloon and then have a champagne picnic from a posh wicker hamper.

I could go on, but I’ll call a halt here. So what’s stopping me doing any of these things in reality? Well, for most of them nothing: really! Makes you think, doesn’t it? Thanks Marianne!

If you liked this …

You might be interested in signing up for Marianne’s Friday love letter yourself. You can do this on her website.

*With apologies to Ferris Bueller

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