24 August 2009

A Romantic Proposal in Italy!

Hello girls! I have returned from holiday, it feels strange writing a blog post again after 10 days with no internet! A few of you who I spoke to at The Body Shop event already know the good news, but for those who don't, I'm engaged!

I shall start at the very beginning, when I received a mysterious package whilst staying at my parents home, containing a bikini I'd been wanting for a long time and could never find in the shops. It was from my boyfriend Matt and I thought he was just being lovely and surprising me with it, but there was more to come and I was soon to discover it was part of a bigger plan! He joined me at my parents house on the weekend, and upon arrival he brought my post with him. As he went to fetch it, I called "Is there something exciting?!" as I didn't know why else he would've brought the post with him. After glancing through some boring mail I got to a letter, which was from Matt;

Dear Amy,
I hope you like your new bikini, it may be useful next weekend!
I may have told you a little white lie surrounding our holiday plans for this year, we shall be leaving on Thursday 13th August! Please pack a bag for 10 days and ensure you have your passport.
You may now be thinking to yourself: "10 days, oh no what about The Body Shop event, I’ll miss out on it!!"
Have no fear, you will still be able to attend this event and I have taken steps to arrange a different train ticket for you!
This is all the information you need right now, and I shall remain tight lipped, with further details released on a need to know basis!

All my Love,


After reading this I was squealing excitedly and asking lots of questions, although Matt did very well and didn't reveal anything (except later that night when he accidentally blurted out in his excitement that we were going abroad!) So we returned home Monday where my preparations and packing began!

The Setting:
We arrived at Heathrow on Friday morning with me still in the dark about where we were going. I soon discovered we were flying to Rome, Italy, and assuming that's where we were going, got very excited as I've been longing to got to Italy for quite some time. About 10 minutes before we landed in Rome, Matt announced our journey was not yet over, and we were still to catch another plane. I was completely baffled and began guessing at places we were going, but my geography being terrible there weren't many attempts! It turned out we were flying to Brindisi, a more southerly part of Italy, where we then would be driving to Ostuni in the region of Puglia.
After picking up the rental car (and Matt feeling very apprehensive about sitting on the wrong side of the car and driving on the wrong side of the road) we set off to find our accommodation. After travelling for quite some time down a dusty, windy road with no signs of life except ancient olive trees, we began to wonder if we were heading in the right direction. But we kept going, and eventually came across the white pillared driveway and arrived here...

As soon as I saw the pool I realised it was
Il Collegio from Grand Designs Abroad which we'd watched over a year ago. I remember seeing this place and we both said how lovely it looked. Matt remembered how I loved it and arranged back at the beginning of the year to take us there on holiday for the proposal. The couple who own it were really lovely and friendly, and the accomodation itself was very small and private, catering for up to only 8 people, so it felt more like a private villa as there were very rarely other people around.

The Proposal:
On Saturday afternoon we returned from the beach to find an envelope slipped under our door. Inside was a seafood 'picnic' menu, which Matt revealed he had also planned months beforehand! As it is a B&B, they don't usually do food in the evening, but Matt had been in contact with them for months, explained how he wanted to propose and managed to persuade them to arrange a meal in the gardens.

Just before we made our way to dinner

The food had been set out down in the gardens in the pergola. It looked beautiful, there were fairy lights wrapped around the top of the pergola and candles added to the romantic feeling. A number of seafood dishes awaited us along with champagne and a bottle of wine. What I especially loved about the setting was how private and idyllic it felt. Sat under the stars with only the sound of crickets, it was blissfully romantic.

After dinner Matt excused himself to get a jumper, because as I later discovered, the box the ring came in was mahoosive! It was far too large to be concealed in his pocket so he had to wrap it up in his jumper! There are photo's of us after the proposal, but because I cried from all the lovely things Matt said, all my mascara ran and I don't like anyone seeing them except Matt! It was a perfect proposal and everything I'd ever dreamt of. After Matt telling me how he had planned everything over the last few months, I rang my parents (who knew Matt was proposing and were waiting with baited breath for the phone call!) and got excited with my mum about how romantic it all was!
A day time shot of the pergola where Matt proposed

The Ring:

The beautiful ring was designed by Matt himself. We'd been to try on styles I liked back at the beginning of the year so he knew I liked the three stone look so that's what he based it on. I couldn't be more pleased with it and I still can't stop looking at it!

A collection of my favourite photo's from Italy:

My yummy fiance! I love how I can call him that now!
Our first night in Italy
Daisy, the lovely dog that kept us company at breakfast each morning. We assumed the couple who owned the place had always had her, but they told us she was actually a stray that had wandered up the driveway only 3 weeks previously on her last legs, and they nurtured her back to health! I love how her one ear flopped over.

The beautiful old town where we had dinner each night

A huge olive tree in the garden that is hundreds of years old

Matt looking lovely!

Me trying to do some arty photography!

Italy was so lovely. It was so refreshing to go on a holiday that wasn't touristy. For us there is nothing worse than going abroad and finding it is basically England (McDonalds, British food, British magazines and newspapers, bars, clubs, chavs looking to get drunk on cheap drinks etc) just with sun and a beach. Italy is so full of beautiful architecture, history and culture, and best of all, nobody spoke English so we had to take along our little dictionary and manage that way! We ate a traditional Italian breakfast every morning which consisted of salami, meats, cheese, rolls, focaccia bread (the most delicious thing I have ever tasted!), fresh tomatoes with basil, fruit and yogurt. A bowl of bran flakes in the morning now seems so inadequate!

There is such a lovely family-orientated atmosphere in Italy, at night you see these big families all out for dinner. It was wonderful to see three generations all together enjoying themselves, often with a table of adults and then a table for the children. Everyone was so friendly and there was a general laid-back ambiance to life. For anyone who hasn't already been I definitely recommend it.

Now we've returned I am still in a little happy bubble, reminiscing on what a perfect and magical time it was. I shall always treasure the memories and look back fondly on how thoughtfully and carefully Matt planned the fairytale proposal. I love you Matt, my wonderful fiance!