Disclaimer: This post does not contain a recipe. I was going to post one, but in light of recent personal events, this post makes much more sense…

About a month ago, my boss told me I would be traveling to London for a week on our work exchange program. I was SO excited: the shopping, the food, the sightseeing! Naturally, I told Darrell. He came back to me a few days later and said that his company was also starting a work exchange program, and he was looking into participating. I was hoping that his company would let him go; that way, we could coordinate our trips to be there at the same time. Long story short, it worked out…he was able to go, and we booked our flights. I never thought twice about it after that.

Fast forward to last Friday, September 17. Darrell and I arrive at London Heathrow, take the Heathrow Express, check-in to our hotel, change, and head off to lunch. Darrell is acting weird. Although, not any weirder than he’s been acting for the last four months. (Apparently, the four months where he was trying to get my ring in order…the four months where he decided it would be safer to basically just not carry on a conversation with me.) I chocked it up to jet lag and moved on.

After lunch, we decided to walk through Green Park to see Buckingham Palace. (Side note: leading up to the trip, Darrell kept asking me about my favorite thing in London. I told him the parks. I LOVE the parks.) As we’re strolling through the park, Darrell begins to direct me off the path, into the middle of this grassy area, lined with huge, old, trees. Gorgeous.

Darrell: I can’t wait until we can do these kinds of things together all the time, for the rest of our lives.

Me: Ummhmm. Me either. (Joking now. Seriously, completely joking.) Do you have my ring in your pocket?

[I felt Darrell tense up, and then the rest of the details are a little fuzzy for me. I think I went into shock.]

Darrell: Nooooo…well…(pulling away from me)…I was actually thinking we could start the rest of our lives right now. (Down on one knee now.) Ellen, will you marry me?

Me: Are you serious?! Are you kidding me?! (Crying.) YES!! Are you serious?! Are you kidding me?! (Still crying.)

It was the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me. I’m still in awe of the planning that went into this proposal, and the number of people who kept it a secret from me. I will absolutely remember it forever. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so special or so loved.

We spent the rest of the weekend sightseeing. (There was never any work exchange program for Darrell, so he left on Monday morning.)

At the Globe…

…and on the London Eye…

…and in front of Tower Bridge.

I’ll close by leaving you with two places that you absolutely MUST visit the next time you’re in London: Ben’s Cookies and Hotel Chocolat. (Someone in our London office is laughing at me right now because I probably picked out two tourist traps.) Either way, I LOVE these places.

Ben’s Cookies – big, dense, rich, warm. Doesn’t get any better than that. It was a regular stop for me on my way home from work during the summer I studied abroad. Try the triple chocolate with nuts. Heaven.

Hotel Chocolat is a British chocolatier and cocoa grower. I discovered the shop on my first trip to High Street three summers ago, and I went back every Sunday to stock up as part of my weekly grocery shopping. This time: cocoa penne. You’re welcome, mom!

This post is already MUCH too long, but I’ve been dying to share. If you played any part at all in this story (even just keeping the secret from me) thank you SO much. I really couldn’t be any happier. I am so excited for this next chapter of my life, and I’m even more excited to start it with my fiancé. (EEK!)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! xoxo