Friday, December 18, 2009

Two kids are harder than one

Finally I have a moment to myself to blog. Hooray for me. X is now two and a half weeks old and I'm managing on about 4-6 broken hours of sleep a night. Totally worth it. Cate has been adorable in her acceptance of her brother. She thinks we brought X  home exclusively for her. She says he is her baby. It's very cute.

Now that the baby has arrived I've turned my focus on our move. the first thing I've been doing is slowly going through my books to get rid of them and box them for London. I have about 1,500-2,000 books so it's taking me a little bit a day to chip away at them.

Now that the move is just over a month away, I'm freaking out a little. What are we thinking? Can I handle London and the move? It's all so overwhelming. But we'll get through it. I just did a search for flats again - we're definitely going to be living in a tent on the outskirts of town from the looks of it! Good thing I'm handy with a hot plate and open fire camping!

Oy - more later when I have five more minutes to myself!

Anyone have a good idea of child friendly neighborhoods?

4 comments:

  1. Hi Cross the Pond,

    My name is Ann, and I've posted here before. I'm the American teacher that has taught in London before, and I'm returning in January (can't wait!) to teach again after the completion of a M.Ed.

    I can suggest two great resources. First; check out http://canadiansintheuk.wordpress.com/ it is a blog devoted to helping Americans and Canadians moving over to London and has advice about bank accounts, flats, etc. (If you don't have a UK bank account already, it can take a couple of months, so I'd recommend getting it before you leave). I know the author, Victoria, and if you mention your situation and my name, I'm sure she'd be very helpful.

    The second is: http://www.londonrelocationservices.com/ which is owned and run by an American in the UK. He finds a flat within 24 hour of you landing in the UK, and shows 15 flats in a day with your specifications/price range. Worth looking at for your time, peace of mind, etc! Especially with young ones...I know that even if your company is doing this for you, it can take weeks.

    As for neighborhoods, I've heard that Fulham, Hammersmith, Earl's Court, Wimbledon, etc. are all great for families. I myself will be living in Hammersmith with friends and can say it is one of the better places in London to live!

    I truly hope for your peace of mind that you have a smooth transition to London, which I find to be a wonderful city! Do check out the blog especially and email Victoria. She is wonderful, and I'm sure she'd be happy to help!

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  2. Hi!

    Victoria's lovely - I can vouch for her even though I've never met her (she's a fellow Canadian).

    A few areas that I think are child-friendly are Battersea, Clapham, Chelsea, Kensington, Holland Park (although the latter three are expensive). Try Gumtree for flats, too. I do think that in London, you pretty much have to be on the ground as things move fast and it's good to see what you're committing to...

    Good luck! I'm sure you'll love it over here.

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  3. Thanks for the info - much appreciated. Ann, email me if you can: jollyoldengland@gmail.com I'd love to ask a few questions if you don't mind. We have our eye on Hampstead, Finchley, Golders Green, Camden (where my husband's office is), Islington, Highgate, etc. But it seems awfully pricey in those areas. Is that right?

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  4. Hi there! I'm a Kiwi too, and moved to London 9 years ago. The south-west 'burbs are fantastic for families - Putney, Wimbledon, Fulham, Southfields, but are a bit of a pain for your hubby to get to Camden (although I used to travel from Fulham to Camden every day - takes about an hour on the tube, door to door.) I don't know so much about living in North London (where you're currently looking) but I know from working there for four years that Camden is very arty and alternative (full of character, but perhaps not your typical young family area). Hampstead is considered quite nice - anywhere that's worth living in London will be pricey. PS: Ann is completely right - getting a bank account is a bureaucratic nightmare, and much MUCH easier to sort out before you leave. I did it once I got here - big mistake! It was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. UK service workers, you'll quickly realise, are a heavy on the attitude, and a light on the actual service - especially compared to the States! But you do get used it. Keep in touch - my email is: featureswrite@btinternet.com. If you're at a loose end when you get here, and need a break from the hassles of moving, drop me an email and we can meet up for coffee and cake. (Or even better, just cake...)

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