Have I had the perfect city day today?  If I was reviewing today on Amazon, it would receive a glowing and strong four out of five stars.  Let me explain…

I found myself this morning in the luxurious position of being completely up to date with all my work and chores.  A free day – how wonderful!  I decided that it was only right not just to burble around doing ordinary things at home, but to take myself out and make the most of this opportunity.

Since leaving full time, office-bound work about a year ago, it has taken me a long time to get used to the fact that I can (mostly) organize my time how I wish, and that it is not naughtily playing truant to head out for some fun and enjoyment during the week.  I am gradually finding my feet in this regard, and coming to terms with the fact that I can allow myself to do whatever I like, by organising my time to suit me.

So, with all this in mind, I set off for a late breakfast at La Barantine – one of my favourite local cafes.  It is French and has the most delightful cosy atmosphere.


I took with me a couple of books to keep me company.


Ethan Frome is this month’s ModernMrsDarcy Reading Challenge book.  It comes under the ‘a book you can read in a day’ category, so I decided it would be the perfect material for out-and-about reading.

Steal Like An Artist is a brilliant journal which invites you to dive in and do something creative in response to the various prompts throughout the pages.

While in La Barantine, I completed a couple of creativity ‘exercises’ and fell in love with Ethan Frome – more of this in a later post.

When I had finished, I set off walking into the centre of Edinburgh.  I took this opportunity to catch up with a couple of podcasts.  I am subscribed to loads of different podcasts, but there are a small number to which I regularly turn, including:

  • Books on the Nightstand – a very engaging listen based about all things reading, with book reviews thrown in.  I really like picking up with this from time to time – the only problem is that it generates yet more candidates for my ever-growing and never-diminishing reading lists;
  • Bookclub – the podcast of the BBC 4 radio programme, where authors are invited to talk with the host and an audience about a particular book;
  • World Book Club – similar to the entry above, this podcast is from the BBC World Service Programme, again where authors talk about their books – this time it is on an international basis;
  • Music Matters – BBC Radio 3’s classical music review programme, with interviews, debate – oh and music of course;
  • Boston Calling – another BBC World Service podcast, with insights as to how the rest of the world views and influences America;
  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin – a compulsory listen, my sister and I are both addicted to this great podcast (not least because we identify with Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth, who co-present!).  It is all based around Gretchen’s research into how to live a happier life.

In town, I decided to pop into the Scottish National Gallery.  They currently have two small exhibitions which I wanted to see and very much enjoyed:



I also took the opportunity to catch up with the beguiling Lady Agnew who has recently returned from her travels abroad, along with the Gallery’s impressionist collection, and their Dutch art collection – two of my favourite painting genres.


Before leaving, I took the fatal but compulsory step of visiting the Gallery’s wonderful shop.  I could not resist buying these two gorgeous notebooks.  I have absolutely no need for notebooks – in fact I could stock that shop with my own current collection of notebooks and Hub will probably go mad when he learns that I have added a couple more, but hey, what could I do…?


Afterwards, I dropped in to the Old Waverly Hotel for a cup of earl grey tea and some more Ethan Frome.  This hotel has a great lounge area, which looks out over the Scott Memorial and the Princes Street Gardens.


I had come through the gardens on my way to the Gallery – as usual they are looking splendid:

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So why only 4 stars when I so obviously had a brilliant time?  Well, it is certainly very nice to be able to do all of this, and I am fine in my own company.  But of course the cherry on the top of everything would have been for Hub to be along with me.  He was at work, earning money to allow me not to have to work full time, so I guess it is worth a dropped star overall. 🙂

What about you?  What would your idea of a perfect city day be?