Life in London and tips for moving there

266 posts in this topic

 

Everyone seems to be a big TESCO fan (actually sounds quite industrial to me). In Munich we buy 85% of our food at BASIC (the large organic food store). Anyone know what the organic food options are? Is is very popular in London? May seem silly to some, but it is actually a big quality of life issue for us.

Well, to be frank, if it's quality of life you're after then you're moving to the wrong country. The British do seem particularly keen on Tesco, which is why most independent food shops have now closed down. The British supermarkets have a huge selection compared to those in Germany, including extensive organic ranges. However there aren't really any independent organic food stores that I know of, or indeed any independent food stores at all any more. The last greengrocers in my neck of the woods closed down over the summer; we used to have five or six. In central London there are some (Fresh & Wild, for example, or Borough Market), but I grimace at the thought of their prices.

 

This is one of the reasons I mentioned Winchester; the people there actually still shop at the local market and the fortnightly farmers market; they actually still have butchers and bakers and possibly even candlestick-makers. I don't know much about Guildford, but I am pretty sure that they will all have sold their soul to Tesco or Asda.

 

As for the rental market; I'm not sure which direction you're approaching this from. My understanding is that so many people have been buying to let that prices have stopped rising, but rent is already very high and you shouldn't have a problem finding a tenant, if you want to do the renting yourselves. If you're looking for a place to rent, that's not a problem; the price will still be an issue though.

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Gemini, organics will be easy to track down. Most of the big grocery stores carry at least a part range in organic food. I've found the regular fruit, veg and eggs, plus more complicated things like organic tikka masala sauce. The tikka sauce was at Asda, the UK Walmart. We have an organic butcher Fri-Sun in the little village where we live (who also has frozen meats in some of the other small shops around) and there is a company that delivers organic produce straight to your door, Abel & Cole. You would have to see if they cover the area where you live, but it's likely. If you need more details, PM me, as I've already checked a lot of the same things you are wondering about out for myself.

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Thanks Showem. I am currently in the U.K. looking. We walked 8 miles yesterday, and 6 today, but it is really the only way to really know the area.

 

Think we have narrowed it down to Teddington or Hampton. Actually have decided to stay to the West of the Thames, due to the bottlenecking at the bridges going into Richmond and Kingston.

 

For others info, there appears to only be an actual organic foodstore in Wimbleton, but we haven't checked it out yet.

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Gemini,

 

For your organic groceries, you might consider also home-delivery. Though not strictly a supplier of organic produce, one company I can recommend is Natoora. I used them more for the French cheeses and stuff, but they have an organic section.

 

But there were at least a couple of organic coops (at least one of which wasn't exactly local) that kept pushing their leaflets through my letterbox back in Wimbledon, chasing my custom, offering to drop off boxes of fruit and veg (or half a lamb) by my front door, so once you're settled in an area, if you ask around, I'm sure you could get a line on a couple of suppliers who'd deliver to your doorstep.

 

Hope that helps.

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For others info, there appears to only be an actual organic foodstore in Wimbleton, but we haven't checked it out yet.

You should be able to find a lot more than just one.

When in Richmond I used to drive to Oliver's, which was directly next to Kew Gardens Tube station.

I was looking online for it, and found this list of organic places, so you should be set, if you are in the south-west.

Otherwise, I used to prefer Waitrose to Sainbury's and Tesco's. Waitrose is one of the more expensive, but frankly Tesco's gave me the shits, and not that it was my really my bag, but Waitrose had a much better organic selection, marked by a big "O" next to the price label. They even have organic beer. Top stuff, really.

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I don't know much about Guildford, but I am pretty sure that they will all have sold their soul to Tesco or Asda.

Clearly. Local well priced supplier called Hortihalcyon, about 3 miles outside Guildford. Secretts Farm Shop, a little south of Guildford, but stunning quality - not only veg, but fish, meat, etc. Guildford Farmers Market on the first Tuesday of every month on the cobbled streets of Guildford High Street. Oh, and Sainsburys, Waitrose etc. if you need them.

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*update on our mission*

 

Thanks again to eveyone who wrote helpful info/tips, it was invaluable.

 

Well I think you never really know a place until you are there and see for yourself what the neighborhoods are like, proximity to parks, cafes, pubs, and transportation, and most importantly where the bottlenecks for traffic are.

 

We walked, and walked and walked, and finally settled on the Teddington area (right off the West side of the Thames, directly below Twickenham/Strawberry hill-3 mi walk from Richmond). What sold us was the relative closeness of both Richmond and Bushy Park, as well as the Thames walk, which can bring us to Richmond or Kingston within 30-40 min. Also it has a really attractive, and neighborly feel, as well as a lot of 30 something families with small kids. Also close to the German Kindergarden/backeri and butcher in Ham. We are in negotiation for a 3 BR there, just awaiting clarifications on some points with the landlord. Would be nice if it went through now and we didn't have to go back again in Jan. Based on what we saw, I think we were able to at least not get totally robbed. Even got him to cme down 50 PPM on rent.

 

By the way, Guildford has a lot to offer, but is definately the country, not the city, and we are city folk.

 

Also found the organic delivery services and small and limited organic shops. There is a Marks & Spencer in town that carried a number of items.

 

So if this negotiation doesn't fall flat, we are Londoners come January (or March for me).

 

Anyone else planning a move to the Richmond area, feel free to PM me, as I think we learned a ton.

 

Also can recommend the Petersham Hotel, to anyone staying in the Richmond area. NOT cheap, but great location and very attractive.

 

**The house doesn't have an alarm system. Do you think they are mandatory in London? Anyone have info on costs to have them placed?*

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we are Londoners come come January (or March for me).

Congrats gemini - you are where I wish I was... is it possible to be an ex-Londoner?

Alarms are not mandatory, depends on your household insurance policy.

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Thanks Ham. Of course you are a Londoner...not ex.

 

Once a NYer, always a NYer...and I an only assume that applies to Londoners too, if that is where your heart is. My heart literally lifts up when I see the NYC skyline.

 

I will have to look into apartment insurance for our "stuff", but I am more interested in our personal safety. I was always in apartments in NY and felt quite safe behind a deadbolt lock. This is my first "house" experience in a city and it has a different vulnerability feel to it, due to the greater access to windows and doors.

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I would ask your soon to be neighbours their opinion. Good way to get to know them too.

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You will be fine as long as you use common sense... no need for multiple deadlocks on the door a la NY! If you are out of the house you need to ensure all possible entrances are locked i.e. doors and windows (depending on insurance provider you may need specific window/door locks). Security lighting and movement detectors are the norm but do not mean that you are any more vulnerable than the next person.

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An alarm isn't mandatory, but it should lower the cost of your insurance. Also, you should feel safe in your own home (an Englishman's home and all that), so, if an alarm is what it takes to make you feel safe, then an alarm is what you should get.

 

Just my 2d though.

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I agree admentus, and barring it being really expensive, it is probably what we will do.

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Hi all,

 

A fellow aupair and me have finally decided to get out so are heading off on an escape root to London mid January and shall hopefully not be camping out at her bfs place for too long. Right well what I want to know is what areas should us nice young girls avoid living/working in? and also what places would we want to live in (don`t want to end up somewhere dull) :D

 

Thanks

 

CF

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Stanford is the dude to ask, as he is right in the scene B)

 

I am moving to London, and will be looking to get an au pair, but not till next fall..and they have to speak fluent German, as we are going for that bilingual factor.

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we are running away from aupairing and never looking back!!! :P

 

well I come from NZ so london is a mighty big place for me. No idea about it at all really! Should be an interesting move.

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Depending on your budget, and if it is more rather than less, then consider areas like Primrose Hill, Kentish town, Tufnell Park. You get some really nice flats. I knew a few Ozzies and French au pairs who stayed there. There is plenty to do and loads of cafes clubs catering for all tastes...Camden Town is a must to visit/hang out in, but not many actually like living there...you will no doubt find out why!! Nice during the day and plenty risky during the nights.

However the thing with being near centre of London is that the 'nice safe' areas are not really far from the 'bad unsafe' places...but thats Landan for ya.

 

Good luck

 

No doubt the disagreers will come fourth on the above though!! ;)

 

If you dont really mind, a cheap area would be Turnpike lane, north london, A.K.A Little Turkey!! If you like kebabs!!

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why London? if you are escaping with no money and no jobs then why choose one of the most expensive places in the UK?

 

was just a thought... I am sure you have your reasons!

 

London is big and scary and I have been there a millions times :(

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big and scary...all in the perspective I guess. I think it is exciting and a great place to be a yound single person.

 

Though I totally agree with you on the $$ thing. Without the money, life there could be very hard.

 

Though I would also think Dublin would be a great choice, and a lot cheaper.

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A fellow aupair and me have finally decided to get out so are heading off on an escape root to London mid January

 

well I come from NZ

I guess "root" is only a bit of Aussie slang then, eh?

 

No advice to offer, but good luck with it all!

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