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  • Writer's pictureHayley

So how did he do it? My Engagement weekend away in the Cotswolds

Since so many people have asked, how did he do it? Here is a little insight into our engagement and our few days away!

We booked a cute little Shepherd's Hut in the Cotswolds for our mid-week get-away with me having no idea a proposal would be taking place. We were desperate to have a few days away together and frequently take country or city breaks when we find time to explore and see the beauty in the world. The Cotswold had been on our list for a long time, so it seemed as good a time as any. It's always quieter to go during the week than at the weekends, and neither of us is good with the hustle and bustle of busy streets and stumbling over people. We love calm, space and moving at our leisure.

We had been checking the weather leading up to our mini-break. Of course. rain was predicted for the foreseeable future, and it wasn't about to change any time soon. We packed our bags into the car along with wellies and raincoats prepared for the wet and rainy walks, but we were not as prepared for how much rain had fallen up there.

We have a blast on our road trips. They alone are absolutely hilarious. We end up with our faces hurting from so much laughter, singing out of tune ( tone death! ) and chatting all the way to our destination. We set off and left Essex behind. It rained for the whole 3-hour journey until we turned into the driveway and pulled up to our location. It stopped for just about long enough for us to unpack our bags into the Shepherd's Hut before it gave out again.

The Hut was cute, immaculate, and exceptionally clean. It felt cosy, and it was our home for a few days.

After a quick unload and freshen up, we headed back into the rain to a cute little town called Malmesbury.

It was a lovely little town, but due to the bad weather, we were only able to have a quick run around to get our bearings before heading into a quirky coffee shop. It looked small from the outside but opened up at the back as you walked through. It even had a little gift and home shop attached to the side and up the stairs. Once fuelled with coffee and cake, we headed back out to mooch around the shops, which is pretty much my favourite thing to do to relax these days.

Us mid-30-somethings stumbled over the 'coolest' toy shop. I mean an actual independent toy shop. It was full of toys, from cabinets of Lego Men to bouncy balls, hundreds of marble choices to pick from and cards from every Pokémon collection. When I was growing up, we had a toy shop in our little town called Humpty Dumpty's. Inside you could not move for toys, it was any little kid's dream. The memories came flooding back.

Heading back out to the miserable weather, we mooched around a few more shops, then called it a day and drove back to our Airbnb.

I had booked dinner for the evenings we were staying in as the reviews had said to book in advance, even mid-week. I guess as there are very few places to eat with a little town of hungry people to feed, they get busy and booked up. Early evening, we popped into a bar for a quick glass of wine before heading out to dinner. That first night, we dined and drank in The Horse & Groom. We spent the evening talking about our plans for the future. Our friends were due to get married in September, so we were excitedly talking about their wedding plans. Naturally, we discussed where we would like our future to head and what our wedding could be like confirming that we were both on the same page.

Dinner was amazing and the chat never stopped. We headed back to the Airbnb as the rain had calmed, and we had already had an eventful day. Unbeknownst to me, the events were just the beginning. The evening was stunning, not a cloud in sight. Our AirBnB was in the middle of nowhere with fields around us, so imagine the setting. Fairy lights lit up the night, there were nothing but stars in the sky. It was a perfect evening. Without sharing all the precious moments, J decided to propose a day early, unexpected for both of us, I think. He had the ring and rushed to the designers to collect it, but I think the proposal coming a day early was a surprise to J as much as it was to me.

The second day was a dream calling each other fiance and fianceé and finding the world felt so different. We had the best day getting lost, sinking in the mud and dredging through marshland as Google Maps kept trying to direct us to swim through lakes. We spent 5 hours lost in the Cotswolds National Park. Giggling like teenagers and covered head to toe in mud. So much so that I had to shower in my clothes to get the mud off my leggings. It was the most fun I have ever had. I couldn't think of anyone more entertaining to be lost, filthy and quite literally stuck in the mud with. We were totally in our engagement bubble. No amount of mud, rain or falling in puddles would ever put a downer on our time. Who cares when all you can think about is the fact that " We are getting married!!!"

As we were staying in the middle of nowhere, it was time to celebrate the evening in another cosy country pub a walk away from our Airbnb called 'The Potting Shed'. We had earned our pub grub with over 5 hours of walking lost in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside. After a tasty 'engagement posh pub grub', we toasted the evening in The Rectory Hotel for celebratory cocktails and more laughter.

Our weekend passed in a blur of bubbles, walking and making the most amazing memories we will cherish forever. We kept our engagement secret except for the family who knew about J's plans and the Airbnb hosts who knew (we had to tell someone! They left the cutest card and a bottle of wine on the doorstep to toast our future.

Our last day arrived so quickly. We packed up the car, headed out for breakfast and enjoyed a walk through Cirencester before heading home.

Deciding to keep our engagement quiet until we could see people personally to spread the news was the best decision we made. Seeing the reaction on so many faces was absolutely priceless. We would never have seen the shock, happiness and joy people had for us had we spread the news another way. I am a private person in some respects. I might write these blogs with intimate details of my health and life, but I keep my relationships and family close to my heart, so six months on, word has been spreading, and social media posts were circulating. We decided that we were ready to share it with the world before someone announced our excitement for us.

If you ever fancy a shepherd hut in the Cotswolds and make memories to last a lifetime, please visit Meadow view Hut, and I am sure William will look after you.

It will always be in our hearts, and I am sure we will be spending many anniversaries and making more memories there for years to come.

Thank you for all your well wishes and congratulations, your cards and champagne, it has been overwhelming and heartwarming to see the happiness that we have shared.

Now it is time to get down to the wedding planning at our next favourite place beginning with C.

Cambridge, 2024

Here we come!

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