England Calling

London Calling by Dear Stella

Summer vacation is officially underway at the Smart house. And so far, so good. (It’s only day 2.) Summer and I usually have a complex relationship. So much to love – warm weather, relaxed schedules, sleeping past 7:00 in the morning, no homework to keep track of – and yet I miss the structure (and let’s be honest) and the “me” time of the school year and I sometimes start to feel exhausted and overwhelmed by the chaos that can unfold. But this summer is going to be a special one. I’m beyond excited actually.

I know I’ve mentioned previously that I am going to be attending the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London. Augh, I get giddy every time I think about it! For so many reasons. First, London (hello!) is my favorite city in the world. I lived there as a student (a few ahem years ago) when I was in college and fell in love. (Who wouldn’t?) Second, I’m so excited to get to sew and meet new stitchy friends across the pond. A few spaces are still available if you can come! Jen Kingwell will be there!! (Reason number 3 I can’t wait!) Here are some of my Liberty english-paper-pieced stars for the EPP class I’ll be teaching. (Liberty! Reason number 4!)
My husband and I both lived in north-western England as Mormon missionaries 21 years and 19 years ago respectively. We visited together in 2008 and loved going back to see places and people that we loved. Since that time we have dreamed of taking our children to England. A few months ago we decided, this is the year. We’re finally going to do it. We both turned 40 this year and talked about doing something special and this is it. Getting invited to teach in London was the final kicker that made us just go for it.
Our kids are at great ages but our oldest starts high school and summers will just get more complex from here on out. So this is it! I’m still pinching myself that this long-held dream is really going to happen! It will be an adventure. We’ll be staying in the northwest of England for the first few weeks and then travel south to London.
Blogging will be different this summer. I’ll definitely share some of our adventures – but hopefully not enough to make you feel like you’re sitting in on someone’s long-winded travel-slides…
Right now I’m trying to get the kids as prepared and anglophiled as possible before we go. The youngest have pretty much have Harry Potter and Mr. Bean as their main cultural references. Time to inject some Chariots of Fire and Shakespeare into their vocabulary. Off to the library…
If you’re looking to add a little bit of British to your life, the adorable British magazine Mollie Makes now has a US Edition! AND a great subscription offer right now. I’m so excited – I’ve been a huge Mollie Makes fan for a few years – it’s so fun to get it faster and at a lower price.
Cheers my dears!

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  • Reply
    June 4, 2014 at 6:54 am

    Oh, I'm SOOOO happy for you Amy! You're going to have the best time ever — what an exciting summer for you and your little family. I can't wait to hear more about it — and long-winded travel posts about England could never be long enough or boring for me!!!

  • Reply
    Karen - Quilts...etc.
    June 4, 2014 at 7:08 am

    that sounds like a wonderful summer for you – you & your family will have a blast!

  • Reply
    Funky Kim
    June 4, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I'm so thrilled for you guys! And I love travel slides, so carry on!

  • Reply
    cockney blonde
    June 4, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Enjoy your trip over here. I grew up in South East London but have lived in the North West of England for over 24 years, now in a beautiful part of Cheshire. I'm sure your children will enjoy all the many attractions there are to see, x

  • Reply
    Kathelle MacLeod
    June 4, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I've never been and I live in Scotland so I'm much closer than you and have less of an excuse! I hope you have a great time 😀 (P.S. Up here's a great place to visit too 😉 ) Looking forward to your pics 🙂 x x x

  • Reply
    June 4, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Wow! You are going to have such a fabulous time! I do hope you blog and instagram the heck out of it!! How special that it will be a family affair, too. Have a great trip!

  • Reply
    A.J. Dub. (Amy)
    June 4, 2014 at 10:12 am

    How fun! A friend of ours served in London in 1994 (I think). He loved it too. I look forward to hearing about your trip! <br />And yes, once the kids hit high school, the schedules get crazy! If your kids have released time seminary, that helps a bunch. Ours has early morning and then in the fall, band after school from 4-9, and in the spring, sectionals and tutoring. Then concerts, tournaments,

  • Reply
    Katy Cameron
    June 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I&#39;m not sure I&#39;d describe Mr Bean as culture ;o) I&#39;m sure you&#39;ll all have a fab time!

  • Reply
    Lisa E
    June 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Very excited for you. We took our teens to France and Spain last summer. They were the perfect ages. Have a wonderful time!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Yep, yep, yep…a perfect time to go….just remember….don&#39;t pack as much as you think you need!!:)<br />Thanks for a heads up on the magazine….I&#39;m heading over there next!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    My kids absolutely adored the Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4&#39;s experience at Kings Cross Station. It&#39;s run by the bookshop there (a 1/2 a trolley built into the wall). There&#39;s no obligation to buy the shots, but how can you not? The guys running it on the day we went were so much fun and allowed our two kids (then 16 and 12) to be in the one shot. They could also tell how into HP the

  • Reply
    Alicia Key
    June 4, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    you mean you&#39;re going to stay for WEEKS????? OMG! I just can&#39;t imagine it! Have a GREAT trip! Be careful….all that stuff!

  • Reply
    Lisa in Port Hope
    June 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Get the National Trust membership, it includes entry into most of the sites (except the super popular ones) and it&#39;s amazing how awesome some of the teeny tiny museums can be!

  • Reply
    Sigi G
    June 4, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Amy – I am sooooo excited for you and your whole family. ENJOY!!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    My Grandfather served his Mission in England back in the 1900&#39;s and after he came home he sent for my Grandma to immigrate. She was disowned by her family after he baptized her. Someday I will go there…

  • Reply
    Mary on Lake Pulaski
    June 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    What a fabulous adventure for you and your family Amy!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Yay! That&#39;s so exciting. I have one child obsessed with Sherlock and the other obsessed with Doctor Who. We are seriously considering a family trip in 2016. It will be a 20th anniversary/graduation trip. Please post TONS of photos and info or I may have to stalk you

  • Reply
    Just Sew Sue
    June 4, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I will see you there. One of your classes is my number 1 pick so I hope I get it.

  • Reply
    Christals Creations
    June 5, 2014 at 2:10 am

    Have a wonderful time. We are currently in Germany, returning to Englad later this year but my husband has family in Florida and we would love to take the children there. It is on our list of things to do when the youngest is older for the travelling. 17mths wouldn&#39;t be fair to take her on a plane for that long just yet. :)<br />

  • Reply
    Blue Moth
    June 5, 2014 at 2:19 am

    Make sure you visit this place http://www.shaukat.co.uk/ while you are here – the basement is Liberty Heaven. Get yourself an Oyster card for transport. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Kristyn @ Melon Patch Quilts
    June 5, 2014 at 5:12 am

    Enjoy your family trip! My daughter was in England this Spring Break on a Mission trip and loved it! So good you can take your children with you.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2014 at 6:18 am

    Hi Amy, I found your link through my blog friend Kevin. Can&#39;t wait to relive my England days through your blog posts and I definitely will checkout Mollie Makes. It would be fun to make sassy sisters for my twin and I.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I hope you do blog about your adventures, the more, the better!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Amy! I signed up for the retreat because of this post. I&#39;m Air Force stationed in Hungary and have been wanting to attend a retreat….lo and behold your post came at a perfect time. My husband and I were stationed in England for 8 years. I&#39;m so happy to return to my old stomping ground and meet some quilty friends!!! mommajaehn@gmail.com

  • Reply
    June 7, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Have a wonderful trip to England with your husband and family. Blessings Sandra

  • Reply
    June 11, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Sounds really great hope you have a wonderful time in England have a safe trip.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Just signed up for your class at FQR!! You will have such a fantastic time in England, so much to see and do, the kids will love it!! I&#39;m hoping the weather will be on your side, fingers crossed…

  • Reply
    Denise in PA
    June 21, 2014 at 5:52 am

    What a wonderful summer you will have! I adore England too! Please, please post as many travel pics, stories as you want for those of us who would love to vicariously go along with you!! o:)

  • Reply
    June 23, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Completely agree with your thoughts on summer holidays. I experience the same feelings. Add that Christmas and New Year are in ours too in Australia and it makes them seem that bit more stressy. Hope you have a great holiday with your family.

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