Lake Windermere Pt 2: Celebrating

If you didn’t read my proposal story Part 1, it is right here!

We decided pretty much straight away that we didn’t want to update statuses on Facebook or text family members, but rather visit them in person so agreed not to tell anybody before both sets of parents knew, although I did post a picture of my ring on Twitter, knowing that nobody I know in real life reads my blog/follows me on Twitter.

We decided to go to the hotel restaurant for dinner and get a bottle of wine with our meals.  What do you do after getting engaged?…CELEBRATE THE ENGAGEMENT!!!

I wasn’t overly hungry so ordered a small mediterranean starter salad, while Dan ordered a steak and we split a garlic bread between us.  I also ate his onion rings, tomato and mushrooms as he is a major salad dodger.  This is the first time when I have ordered a starter as my meal and the waitress that brought my meal out has said “Were you just really not hungry tonight?!”  I probably ended up with a larger meal than Dan despite my dish costing £14 less!  We also split a bottle of White Zinfandel wine…my favourite!

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The next morning we lazed around first thing (despite me being awake from 4am…there was just too much to think about!) – enjoying not having to get up at any certain time.  When we headed down for breakfast I was really craving a Full English, so made the most of the buffet and added some baked beans, a sausage, mushrooms, hash brown and some scrambled egg to my plate.

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I had planned on wearing dresses and straightening my hair most of the weekend but we woke to this…

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Grey skies, lots of rain, and a deserted lakeside!  So I got lazy with my hair and threw it into a wet french plait.  This is often how I wear my hair for school as it doesn’t take long to do and I can let it dry throughout the morning like this.  I’d never seen my hair from the back so Dan offered to take a picture of it…I was impressed with myself!

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To stay active, and away from the constant rain, we headed to the hotel pool for a few hours and alternated between swimming, splashing each other, relaxing in the jacuzzi and sweltering in the sauna.

On the way to the restaurant on the first day I had spotted a cute little Tapas bar, Bodega, a few roads away that I wanted to try out.  I love tapas and the idea of choosing lots of little dishes and sharing mini meals when you’re not necessarily very hungry suits my style of eating just fine!

We each chose one main dish and then between us shared three little ones.  Dan chose Croquetas Lightly breaded chicken croquettes.  I chose Pisto Mediterranean vegetables in a tomato sauce served with slices of toasted baguette.  Between us we shared Pan al la Catalana – Plain toasted bread with Catalan tomato and garlic dipping sauce, Atatas Alioli – Potato wedges served with garlic mayo, and Alitas de Pollo – Cajun spiced chicken wings.  We also each grabbed a pint along with our meal.  There was a great choice on the menu, all dishes we tried were lovely, we were served incredibly quickly and the bar-staff were great, very friendly and helpful, clearing our plates as we went along.

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For dessert we tested out the shop which sold 36 flavours of icecream!

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I went for Tiramisu…Dan went for Caramel Crunch!

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After heading back to our hotelwe lazed around a little for the rest of the afternoon, channel surfing and chatting vague wedding plans.  I like that Dan has lots of ideas in mind.  So many of my friends partners proposed and then let the bride do it all, with no input about what they would like.  Dan and I discussed ideas and luckily we’re on the same thoughtwave with regards to style/choices.

We wanted to go out for dinner but neither of us fancied very much food after the large tapas meal we had had at lunchtime so we left it quite late before heading out.  I pulled my hair out of the plait just before leaving, which gave it this smooth wavy effect.  It was still a little damp but dried quickly before we left.

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Dan got this really weird ale that I’d not seen before.  It came on a little wooden platter with a spot for the ale bottle, a hole for the ale glass and a hole for a smaller glass.  You were supposed to pour the ale really slowly into the glass until you reached the bottom 10% of the bottle, which you poured into the smaller glass.  This was mainly concentrated yeast, which you could then either shot on it’s own, leave entirely, or add to your pint.  Dan chose to add it to his pint.

IMG_20130527_202956After some deliberation, we both chose from the starter menu and Dan chose some spicy cajun wedges, which were EXTREMELY spicy!  They came with a gorgeous garlic mayo dip.  I plumped for the goats cheese and caramelised onion salad with a slice of bread (I can not get enough bread this week!)  Both meals were the perfect size for our hunger!

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Our food choices prompted lots of talk over wedding meals…Dan would like steak, but knows I can’t stand it!  I would be happy with a hog roast, or smaller sized meals.  I hate when you go to a wedding but are too sleepy after the meal to dance properly!  We also came up with the idea of offering a choice for each course of a Dan-inspired dish and a Mary-inspired dish!  This could work!

We didn’t even need to ask each other where we wanted to head for cocktails this evening…back to Bodega!  The bartender advised us to head for the Latin Rhythm cocktail as soon as we reached the bar, announcing that it contained the best value for money – with the most alcohol for the price.  Should we be offended that we look like the sort of people that are after high alcohol content?!  They were good cocktails though, containing Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Midori and Blue Bols.

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We sat at a booth upstairs, sipping a few cocktails as downstairs was quite crowded.  It was great to relax, knowing that we didn’t have to be at work the next day, that somebody hadn’t just emailed us to update a website or ask for some help with their computers or to not feel guilty for a pile of marking cast into the corner of the room!

The next morning we headed down to breakfast as soon as it opened at 7:30am.  I was boring and had exactly the same as I had the day before!  The intial plan for the day had been to hike up Scafell Pike, one of the peaks from the Three Peaks Challenge.  This had actually been where Dan had planned to propose to me but on checking the weather (frequently!) in the lead up to the weekend he had made impromptu changes to his plan, figuring (correctly) that I probably wouldn’t be up for a romantic picnic in the rain and fog on the side of the peak whilst covered in mud and blisters from the water in my boots!  We left it until the morning to decide our plan of action, as the fog had settled over the lake and we could barely see anything at all even at close distance by this point.  The rain still hadn’t stopped after breakfast, although by now it was a slow drizzle more than anything else, so instead we adapted our plan and dressed in our waterproofs before heading on a two mile trek around the lake instead!

IMG_7640This is one of the boats I thought was rather cool whilst on our walk…the boat was called ‘Mustard’, the owner was called ‘John’, with a little arrow to where he would stand when on board!  I want this boat!

This was the Perfect proposal weekend!  :)

Lake Windermere Pt 1: The Proposal

So yesterday I finished with this picture…

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…and no details!  Here we go as I attempt to recall every bit of Sunday afternoon…!

On Sunday morning we woke up bright and early (although not as early as planned!)  We are Tesco points crazy and each year we try to go away for free by using our Tesco points to exchange them for hotel vouchers.  This year Dan had suggested Lake Windermere, although we were desperate to go back to Rutland Water, where we went last year but they didn’t have any availability.

Dan had agreed to drive us, as it was about a four hour drive and I’m not a massive fan of long drives.  We stopped off at services along the way to grab some drinks.  I grabbed a ‘Blue Machine’ Naked smoothie which was really nice and fruity and Dan finally found a bottle of Diet Coke with his name on!

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When we arrived, the weather was beautiful.  We had been expecting drizzly weather over most of the weekend but the forecast changed at the last minute.  Our hotel was picturesque and sat on the top of a hill which gave us a good workout each morning.

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The second we arrived we wanted to head straight out and make the most of the nice weather as it was already 3pm and when we checked the forecast on arrival it looked like each day was going to get progressively worse weather-wise ending in Tuesday tipping it down!

Dan suggested we check out the boat hire as it was something we both said we had wanted to do and it was something we should probably do in nice weather.  I didn’t expect to get a boat with that little notice as the whole town looked so busy with it being a bank holiday weekend, but we were told that ‘Kate’ the boat would be available in an hour and a half’s time.  We nipped back to the hotel so that I could change, as I was wearing a maxi dress and didn’t know how easy it would be for me to get in and out of the boat.

Whilst I was changing Dan headed into the bathroom to find water spilling all over the floor from the bottom of the sink.  Freakily, at the exact same moment, reception rang to find out how our room was so I mentioned the water and they sent a handyman up to take a look.  We were desperate to get back out in the nice weather so gave him permission to go into the room to fix the problem whilst we were out.

Whilst we were waiting for our boat rental time of 5pm to roll round we mooched around some of the touristy shops in town and checked out the 36 flavours of ice-cream the town boasted to try and decide which we would like the following day.

I had thrown on three layers – a strappy top, thin tee and a jumper but still ended up wearing Dan’s hoodie when we went out on the lake as I get cold quite easily and the breeze was just enough to need a hoodie despite the strong sun.

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Dan started out in charge of the boat and I was happy taking pictures as passenger.  We got right out into the middle of the lake and Dan put the boat into neutral and suggested we go and take some pictures out of the back of the boat.  Me being the gullible person that I am agreed and clambered through to take pictures.  When I turned back around to see where he had gotten to he was down on one knee and asking me to marry him!  My initial response was “Are you serious?!”  Before obviously saying “YES!”  We have been together more than six years and I actually didn’t think it would end up happening for several more years yet!

On the way back we took it in turns to drive the boat and I couldn’t stop smiling!

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We nipped into a pub with a beer garden afterwards so I could ask Dan questions like “How long ago did you start looking for a ring?” (since before Christmas)  “When did you pick up the ring?” (The day before)  “When did you buy the ring?” (Several weeks earlier)  “Who had you told?”  (Nobody!)

We agreed to drop by his parents on the way back on Tuesday afternoon and tell them, and we had planned to see my parents on Wednesday/Thursday anyway so we could let them know then.  Until both sets of parents were told we agreed to tell nobody else.

When we returned to our hotel the water was spilling out of the bathroom into the bedroom area so we were moved to a different room.  This one had a terrace which overlooked the gardens and was even nicer!  We took the opportunity to take a few pictures as a newly-engaged couple!

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Fiancee is still a very strange word to use!

An active hendo

I’d been looking forward to Jenny’s hendo and wedding for a while now.  I haven’t known my friend Jenny for very long.  I actually met her in my first year working at the school I’m at now.  Half way through the year we were asked to share a year 11 Personal Development class.  They weren’t the easiest class!  Then when starting up a school Riding Club was suggested, we both jumped forward and I ended up often going over to ride her horse.  Then she got engaged and wanted to lose weight for her wedding so I introduced her to the Beginners group at my running club and she’s been running ever since!

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I knew I wouldn’t know anyone else at the hendo on Saturday, but that I would recognise one of Jenny’s friends from the yard, Lucy.  It didn’t worry me too much though.  The plan for the day went like this…meet at Wimpole Estate for their Parkrun at 9am…Head back to Jenny’s parents who lived nearby to group up with those that hadn’t run…head out for brunch…go into Cambridge and head out on the punts, where a Treasure Hunt race had been booked…head into town for dinner…then onto some bars for drinks.

Up until the morning I had planned on running the Parkrun but then on the morning I decided against it.  I wasn’t really sure whether or not I would be able to shower afterwards, and I know that I would have been extremely competitive with myself and then disappointed with my finish time (Wimpole Estate course having a reputation for a large hill en route!) which would leave me stressing over my ultra on Sunday.  I wasn’t sure if we were to run as a group of ‘hens’ or if it was a race between us from the beginning.  I had also run a lovely 8+ miles the night before.  I still intended on heading down to take photos of the others though!

Unfortunately as soon as I arrived I wished I was running the course (KNEW this would happen!)  It was a lovely day, so sunny and the Estate looked beautiful.  It didn’t help that when I arrived I listened to the race briefing, no sign of Jenny & co, followed the runners to the start line, still no sign of Jenny & co, and it wasn’t until literally just before the gun I saw them legging it over from the carpark!  I quickly said “Hi!” but did not recognise the other three runners after the initial meeting to take photos of them as they came past later in the race.

Turns out, everybody ran for themselves on the day.IMG_7509  And then they all headed back to Jenny’s parents for a drink and shower where we met three other hens.

Everybody was really friendly and I felt like I’d known them all forever by the end of the day.

At about 11 a few of us headed over to a little quirky cafe over the road to decorate the table for brunch where I had a lovely hummus and roasted veg wrap followed by a slice of chocolate cake.

The teapots were really pretty and fit in the top of the cups for the tea!

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After leaving the cafe we headed up the road to view the spot for Jen’s reception.  It’s in a neighbour’s garden where they will be putting up a marquee on the day.  It is a beautiful garden!  We tried to take a picture of us all in it by hanging my camera in the tree, but unfortunately it didn’t quite work…!

IMG_7513SOME of me made it in on the left hand side!…

After quickly dumping some bits back at Jen’s Mums we headed in two cars into Cambridge.  I offered to drive a car as Dan and I were heading away early for our Lake Windermere trip the next morning.  Lucy, one of the bridesmaids had booked punting with a treasure hunt so we quickly sorted ourselves into two teams of four and were passed a clipboard of clues where we could find the answers along the river, and also some on shore.  We had brought along party hats and a bottle of champagne, which was quickly opened whilst we were on board.  Jen was the only one with any punting experience, so she took off with the punting.

IMG_7515The clues were really fun.  There were some serious ones, but also some fun ones (“There are four letters on the ****** building, we know what they actually stand for, what else could they stand for?”…), some cryptic ones and some creative ones (“Design a new version of *****”).

IMAG0812We ended up being out on the punts for about 90mins and all took a go punting on the back.  It’s pretty fair to say all of us, bar Jen, were completely rubbish at it!

At the turn around point we heard shouts of “Miss Hildrew!” and turned to see a bunch of year 9 girls from school.  You can literally go NOWHERE without bumping into students from school!  The river was 35 miles from school!  Luckily, I think they only spotted Jen, and not me!

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We then headed for dinner where I shared a bread starter with Jenny and just had a leek and potato soup for my mains before we all headed upstairs to take some ‘pose-y’ pics…

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I really enjoyed the hendo and told Dan so when I got home at 1:00am Sunday morning.

Which was coincidence as the next day this happened…

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…more to come…  :)

Lack of blogging

If you follow me on Twitter you will know why the last few days of the bank holiday weekend have been blogless…Unfortunately my phone will not upload pictures to the blog and I have a lot to share from the past few days, starting with pictures of Jen’s hendo in Cambridge on Saturday then a trip to Lake Windermere with Dan and the renting of a boat…Expect a LONG post when we get back either tonight or first thing tomorrow morning!!! :) And check me out on Twitter if you don’t already follow me!