My perfect day – bagels, Colin Firth, and a distinct lack of imagination

I’ve started playing this game with Belle, as we walk to school, where we imagine and describe our perfect days. It began one morning as a distraction from one of her ‘tummy aches’ – the kind that come on mysteriously at about 8am on weekday mornings. Sometimes, like this morning, I am given a theme – ‘your perfect day at Centreparcs Mummy’ – other mornings my imagination is allowed to run wild.

The trouble is, I’m not sure my imagination IS actually very wild at all. Theme or no theme, I find the game quite tricky. I can’t decide whether I am terribly dull, or just very easy to please – I am the type of person who derives hours of fun from alphabetising my books, or from shredding old credit card bills.

Most of my imaginary perfect days start with me waking up to sunshine, often with some kind of warm, tropical breeze blowing gently through some open patio doors. This morning, I included waking up to find Colin Firth next to me in bed. Belle looked slightly shocked. “I hope you’re wearing something!” she said.

“Oh yes”, I reassured her, “I’ll have my best pyjamas on.”

“And what about Colin?”

“Of course, he’ll definitely have pyjamas on too. He’s really only there to bring me coffee and smoked salmon bagels.”

Belle looked relieved.

Belle’s perfect days are fairly predictable, and revolve mainly around watching a bit of TV and having pizza for tea, but I find mine harder to imagine. Maybe it’s because the whole of my adult life has been spent as a parent, but the littlest things for me are often the ones I enjoy most. Coffee and the papers in bed, nice things to eat, or just half an hour on my own in the sunshine. It honestly is the simple things in live that give me pleasure.

So I need some inspiration – what would be your perfect day? Is it something terribly glamorous and exciting, or is it something as simple as going to the toilet without interruptions from an insistent toddler? Being a parent definitely makes you appreciate the little joys…



  1. 19 March, 2010 / 9:27 pm

    That’s a great idea, I’m going to try this with the kiddo tomorrow!
    My perfect day would be quite boring I think… like you, sunshine streaming in, maybe a lie-in, then being brought breakfast in bed and then the husband telling me to go shopping (and giving me money!) while he looks after the kiddo for the day :) Gonna happen? Never in a million years!

  2. Sally Guyer
    19 March, 2010 / 9:46 pm

    A long time ago, I used to think that happiness was big, dramatic things but over time I came to realise it was the accummulation of little things – seeing the sun rise or set, the birds singing, seeds you planted growing into meaningful plants, your children surprising you with an unprompted act of affection or thoughtfulness, a relaxed coffee with a cherished friend – you get the picture.

    My perfect day would be the house made mysteriously pristine while I toiled in my garden in the spring sunshine! Followed by a delightful meal and glass of wine shared with my children and friends as we watched the sun go down.

    • 19 March, 2010 / 10:21 pm

      Ooh that would be amazing! A magic cleaning fairy who tidied up after you and cleaned the toilet while you weren’t looking. Heaven!

  3. 19 March, 2010 / 9:52 pm

    Love how you sidestepped the potentially awkward Colin Firth naked issue. What did you think of A Single Man?

    Yes my perfect day would be quite non eventful too, comprised of little things. Coffee (a latte made just the way I like it), fresh orange juice and pastries in bed, with a pile of Sunday papers. Walk down the seafront with the family, lunch at a pub, more lazing, maybe a little siesta, nice bottle of wine.


    • 19 March, 2010 / 10:22 pm

      I haven’t seen A Single Man yet, but I really want to, as the reviews I’ve read are fantastic – have you seen it? Is it fabulous?

      • soupy
        20 March, 2010 / 4:48 am

        I haven’t seen it myself (and I don’t think I will just on the principle that some of the fantasy of Colin Firth being a husband is somewhat diminished by the theme of the movie/book) BUT I’ve heard that he’s fantastic in it. Look out for the phonecall seen – I’ve seen a very small clip of it and, in just that little time, it brought me to tears.
        I think he’s one of the greatest actors of our time personally – definitely way underrated (can’t understand why Matt Damon gets more attention than Colin Firth when (1) Firth is way better looking and (2) he’s a much better actor). Good choice for the perfect guy bringing you breakfast…especially serving salmon spread on bagels – YUM!

        • 20 March, 2010 / 8:15 am

          I feel the same dilemma. I prefer watching him in things like Nanny McPhee where I can imagine moving into that lovely big house with him and living a blissfully eccentric live together with a gang of amazing kids and a magical nanny :-)

      • 20 March, 2010 / 9:01 pm

        Yes – and he was great. Should have got the Oscar.

  4. 19 March, 2010 / 9:57 pm

    My ideal day would be waking up with a gorgeous man bringing me breakfast in bed with the Sunday times. Then hiring a beach hut at Wells Next the Sea and spending the whole day playing on the beach, collecting shells, more reading, maybe a glass of Champers and a couple of bacon butties and watching the Ocean with said gorgeous man and my beautiful Chick!!

    • 19 March, 2010 / 10:23 pm

      Men would do well to read this post and the comments – basically we’d all be happy with breakfast in bed and the papers. And people think women are hard to please – how wrong they are!

  5. 19 March, 2010 / 9:58 pm

    I’d quite like to sleep as late as I want, guilt free.

    Then I’d like to finish a book, along with breakfast in bed. After that it would be jolly nice to have a bath, followed by a facial of some description. After all that I really WOULD like to do some book alphabetising or actually sorting through the 15 years’ of photographs I have stored in some way or other…

    Then I’d like to meet my husband for lunch followed by a spot of shopping with infinite amounts of money that I could only spend on myself and not bills or baby things…. With lots of stop offs in coffee places and patisseries and oh my, if I leave this comment will you get it all for me??

    • 19 March, 2010 / 10:25 pm

      Can’t go wrong with a bit of alphabetising :-)

      My ideal shopping trips are those that stop off at a good selection of cafes – that’s the best bit isn’t it?

  6. Amanda
    19 March, 2010 / 10:01 pm

    I totally know where you’re coming from here. Although I wasn’t always like this but I fear I’ve been off work for too long and have watched one too many children’s cartoons which have sadly obliterated my imagination. Which is little worrying for me now that I’m trying to launch a career in design as its totally blank up there! But I have to say, just being able to have a cup of tea before it goes cold, a nice lie in, or a nice relaxing bubble bath with my 4 year old bursting in to use the loo! So yes, for me its also the simple things that I miss the most. Loving your blog by the way. I’m glad its not just me that feels like this!

    • 19 March, 2010 / 10:25 pm

      Well if it’s any comfort I didn’t even notice the typo, so my brain is clearly befuddled too :-)

  7. Amanda
    19 March, 2010 / 10:04 pm

    That should say “without” the bursting in! See, I can’t even type properly any more!

  8. 19 March, 2010 / 10:30 pm

    I’m reading this at 10.30pm and that salmon bagel has made me feel very hungry. I’m going to have to raid the fridge now!

    CJ xx

    • 20 March, 2010 / 8:05 am

      See now I’m reading your comment at the perfect time of day for Colin to bring me my coffee and bagels on a tray. Except I’m using the tray already upsidedown on my lap to put the laptop on. And I only have mouldy bread in the bread bin. Oh and I’m not married to Colin Firth… apart from that though the plan is FOOLPROOF!

  9. 19 March, 2010 / 10:37 pm

    I do a lot of running around after two little ones (20 months) and I sent the other half to shop last weekend, on my list was tea bags, he returned Ever So Excited with Morrisons Value Tea bags so amused he’d only spent 28p for them.
    I’ve never tasted a more disgusting tea in my life
    My perfect day has to start with a good cuppa. Tomorrrow I’ll have to do with shite but Sunday I will have a good cuppa to start my day.

    • 20 March, 2010 / 8:06 am

      28p for teabags?? That’s not something to be proud of is it! Even when you can’t afford much, good tea and coffee are essentials in my book. At least he tried though and I bet he was really proud of himself :-)

  10. 20 March, 2010 / 3:38 am

    Salmon bagels and tea go a long way toward making a perfect day! I’ll have mine served on the deck of a lovely bed-and-breakfast at the edge of a lake, please, where my sweetheart (oh, yes … there’d have to be a sweetheart in this “perfect day,” too, wouldn’t there?) and I could put our feet up on the railing and read the papers before taking a canoe out into the lake to paddle around and watch the wildlife and changing sky. After a picnic lunch under a little grove of trees, we’d go strolling in and out of little craft shops … then have a nice massage before dinner and soak in a hot tub on the deck overlooking the lake again as the sun set. By the time we got back home, the house would have been “made mysteriously pristine” by the little elves who had tidied up Sally’s house and then scurried over to take care of mine!

    • 20 March, 2010 / 8:13 am

      Sounds blissful! I think Sally’s elves would feature quite heavily in many people’s perfect days!

      • 20 March, 2010 / 11:23 pm

        Now, as far as a perfect day in my “actual life,” it would probably include a leisurely breakfast at Indian Road Cafe in Inwood, a long bike ride down along the Hudson River from 218th Street to 131st Street for lunch at Dinosaur Barbecue (eaten on a picnic table out front or taken over to a park bench along the river), then biking back uptown to prepare a lovely collaborative picnic dinner to share with friends on Abby’s Lawn in Ft. Tryon Park (not far from the Cloisters), watching the sun go down over the river.

        Another perfect day (which I actually had) consisted of running into friends at a Pete Seeger concert outdoors in the plaza at Lincoln Center, going for lunch, kayaking on the Hudson, and walking back home through Riverside Park.

        • 22 March, 2010 / 7:27 am

          You see now you’re in a different country, which automatically makes your actual perfect day sound so much mroe exciting and glamorous to me :-)

  11. 20 March, 2010 / 1:43 pm

    Hhhmmmm…Colin Firth…that sounds very nice indeed! :-) My perfect day right now would be one in which I didn’t have any back or body pain and not a financial worry in the world. Add a vacation with a great friend to a destination on my bucket list and I’d be in heaven.

    • 22 March, 2010 / 7:25 am

      What’s a ‘bucket list’? I’ve never heard that expression before – am I missing something interesting?!

      • 22 March, 2010 / 12:57 pm

        Jo, a “bucket list” is a list of everything you want to do before you die, or “kick the bucket” (do Brits use the same expression?) …

        • 22 March, 2010 / 2:05 pm

          I’ve never heard it, but then I don’t get out much :-)

          I like the idea though, in fact I feel a bucket list post coming on…

  12. 20 March, 2010 / 2:12 pm

    Ah, there is nothing dull about a perfect day involving Colin Firth and bagels! I think no matter how wild I let my imagination run, I will still pick something quite simple, involving my family, home and lots of smiles (and cake) x

    • 22 March, 2010 / 7:26 am

      This is all very comforting – glas it’s not just me being dull and just wanting food and family. In that order…

  13. veryanniemary
    21 March, 2010 / 2:34 am

    Waking up to a mysteriously clean house, finding a pool in the back yard for splashing about in with the girl’s, climbing Stone Mountain, eating BBQ on a deck overlooking a bay, and then to bed. Sigh.

    • 22 March, 2010 / 7:29 am

      I’d have to wake up to find my back yard has increased in size about tenfold before there would be room to discover a pool! How cool would that be though to wake up and go downstairs and find every room mysteriously spotless – heaven!

  14. 21 March, 2010 / 8:51 pm

    I have thought waaaayyyy to long about this one Jo. But I still can’t put my finger on it. But I do know it would involve utter peace and solitude, a massage and facial leaving me smelling of lovely oils, all plump. It would involve French Martinis and shopping for me me me. It would involve nice time with my boy and just a little sex followed by a snoozy sleep on cotton sheets and lots of pillows. It would involve the beach and being with all my friends and our kids and boys playing well together. It would involve someone magically removing the lingering feeling that I should be doing something else, usually for someone else !

    • 22 March, 2010 / 7:31 am

      I can see you’ve been giving this some serious thought – that’s quite a lot to cram in. Maybe I should allow you a perfect week, else you are going to have trouble balancing the utter peace and solitude one minute with all your friends and family the next! I think your last sentence sums it up though – my best days are when I manage to temporarily silence that voice in the back of my head telling me I should be doing something more useful, something more important, something more serious….

  15. 22 March, 2010 / 1:25 pm

    Well all I can say is it would involve a breakfast of eggs benedict and mimosas eaten on a sunny terrace maybe in Cannes with a gorgeous hunk – probably my husband!! and then the rest is XXX rated. It might also involve Colin Firth but I am loathe to put people in my fantasies that i have not slept with and cannot be sure about their talents in the sack.

    • 22 March, 2010 / 2:04 pm

      Oooh I love eggs benedict. Do you know there is NOWHERE in my town where you can go for eggs benedict for breakfast – how sad is that? You’re probably right not to take the chance in real life – I met someone the other day who has met CF and says he is actually very dull – but it is a fantasy day after all, so obviously he’d know exactly what to do :-)

  16. 25 March, 2010 / 1:35 pm

    Bahahaha, you should totally read madnessmomandme. I feel like you guys have a similar sense of humor. Keep up the good work!

  17. cherishedbyme
    30 March, 2010 / 10:58 pm

    Haha, Love it. Funny I just wrote about My Perfect Day on my blog too. :0)

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