A couple of weekends ago, the Clever Boyfriend and I were both tired, run-down and in much need of a some quality relaxation. But given I had just returned from two weeks in New York (which immediately followed Fashion Week madness) and he is a mere month from finishing a PhD, a far-flung trip made no sense. And so, we indulged in perhaps the most decadent of all holidays: The Staycation.
The Staycation’s luxury derives from the fact that it is perhaps so unnecessary (after all, no one needs to stay in a hotel in their own city), but that is also precisely it’s charm. I’m not going to deny the fact that it was rather lovely to take a £5 cab ride to get to our destination (rather than the usual long-haul flight), but more than that, it is so wonderful to get a whole new outlook on your own city and see your home through the eyes of a tourist.
As we have now been living in Cambridge for nearly three years (my, how time has flown!), I was starting to get too used to the curiosities and sights I used to gape at in open-mouthed amazement (this really is one of the most wonderful places in the world, after all). And so on Saturday morning, we checked in to the hotel, went for brunch, then crammed in all our favourite Cambridge things. We went punting on the river (for the best views in all the city), sat on the banks of the Cam and happily people-watched as preppy students floated up the river, gazed at old Italian masterpieces in the Fitzwilliam Museum (an English treasure), kissed under falling autumn leaves, walked along the backs and wove through ancient colleges (remembered just how beautiful they are), rummaged in tiny second-hand bookstores up cobbled alleyways and had afternoon tea in a place we’d always been meaning to try. In the evening, we dressed up for dinner and went out for a proper date that lasted into the small hours.
The next day, we went for a long walk through the wild meadows beside the river to the tiny village of Granchester for tea in an apple orchard, a place so idyllic that Lord Byron composed poems about it, and Virginia Woolf would while away afternoons there during her Cambridge years. As we made our way back to the hotel, I caught the sounds of the Kings College choir floating on the Autumn breeze from the magnificent chapel building (King Henry VIII’s monument of love to Anne Boleyn). As I looked up at that wondrous sight, it was easy to remember just how much I love living in this place filled with so much special history and beauty.
- Treat it as you would a holiday in any other location. If you normally cram in as much sight-seeing as you can, then do this. If you normally lie around a spa and spend 5 hours reading in a bathrobe, do this instead.
- When out ‘exploring’ your city, do only fun, wonderful and luxurious things a visitor to your home might do. Do not get distracted by errands (ie. don’t pop to the chemist to pick up toothpaste ‘because you’re passing’), and see only those people you would want to take away on holiday with you.
- Pack your favourite things; clothes that make you feel fabulous, your most luxurious toiletries, a gorgeous scented candle, a book you’ve been dying to read, gorgeous lingerie, etc.
- Stay in the best accommodation (whether it be a charming B&B in the countryside, a palatial manner or a luxurious city hotel) you can afford. If you’re staying in a mouldy room with grey carpets, it won’t feel like a holiday and you might as well have stayed at home. This is about luxury.
Love, Miss B xx