Thursday, March 25, 2010

Getting settled

For the past few days I've been trying to get into a rhythm with our new home and life. So far - so good. Our stuff arrives in exactly 15 days - enough time for me to pore over the list of things coming to decide what they are taking away immediately - we don't even want a few large items unloaded off the truck!

However, even though there are loads of things en route, I'm having to buy a lot of new things! The most frustrating thing is paying for everything. We don't qualify for a UK credit card yet so I'm having to use my US ones. The problem with them is they charge a fee for international use! In another five months I will be able to open my own bank account, be added to my husbands checking account, and apply for my very own United Kingdom credit card ! I can hardly wait - the exchange rate I'm paying for buying things is killing me, I'm sure of it. This may seem petty, but I just want to be a UK citizen with all the rights and privileges (minus voting). However, until this sorts itself out I may have to take up juggling in the tube stations - if you see me please toss me a pound or two!

Meanwhile, I need advice - what is the best laundry detergent in the UK? I've noticed that our clothes are looking aged and I can't have that! Also, any suggestions on the best dish soap, cleaning supplies, etc? I'm finding myself reading labels and scratching my head.

This weekend we are heading out to Essex for lunch with George's Mum and family - we can't wait. I've been to the UK dozens and dozens of times but never outside of London - ever! We're driving out and are planning to stop and do a big shop at Sainsburys,Tesco,  Homebase, etc - what's the best place to buy house stuff - like soaps, etc. I need all the help I can get (so I can use my US credit card and grumble about it here!)

Any and all advice is welcome on shopping and procuring a UK credit card or bank account!


  1. To be honest there isn't a huge amount of difference in the supermarkets (people might argue with me on that) so you might want to try ASDA (owned by WalMart) as it's a little kinder to your credit card.

    As for the best cleaning brands- Ariel is a good brand and I stick to their washing detergent- I tried some of the eco alternatives but they didnt seem as good for that but we use Ecover washing up liquid (not sure how much difference it makes though??)

    I have 'Flash' for our surfaces (the yellow one- 'one for all surfaces' its called- I just checked) and it's even good for getting dried on readybrek off highchairs!!(thats a pretty good test by my standards!)

    There's a big homebase just round the corner from us so thats easy to pop into while you're here.

    Are the brands really different here then???

    we're really excited about seeing you! Also, I noticed you added the CyberMummy button- I just can't decide whether to go or not!! Are you fully booked up to go?? Anna x

  2. I use Persil non-bio in the gel thingies. Hubby gets a rash from clothes washed in bio-detergents. Im really happy with the Ecover dish soap, but I didnt like the results of the Ecover dishwasher tablets. I use Oxy (in a bright pink bottle) for stains. I use Ecover toilet cleaner, and as a surface cleaner the Ecover spray is quite good. Flash is good for floors, but I haven't tried the Ecover one. Andrex with Aloe is the loo roll of choice in our house. Simple hand soap in a pump is also a favourite.

    Neals Yard and Lush are great for extra lovely face and body products. Im addicted to Burts Bees body lotion.

    Try a few to see what smells/feels/works best!!

    I'd suggest B&Q as well as Homebase--in fact I prefer it in my area. Tesco and Asda are cheaper than Sainsbury's and Waitrose. Ive noticed that the presentation of the shops varies wildly from location to location. I get groceries delivered from Ocado (Waitrose) but I prefer our local Tescos, or the Sainsbury's thats next tomy daughter's school.

    John Lewis and Ikea are really good shops for home supplies (glasses, pillows, rugs, plant pots, curtains, whatever!). You'll pass by both on your way towards George's Mum's.

    Hope this helps a bit!

    Enjoy your Essex lunch! x

  3. I use Fairy Liquid for the washing up, but don't tell anybody. Hope you enjoy the countryside.

  4. Thanks for the tips, folks - most appreciated. Incidentally, I did a load of laundry last night and the machine broke down. All the clothes have been sitting in water since 7pm last night. The drama with this flat is never going to end!

  5. I like Surf for laundry detergent and then buy lenor (purple) for fabric softener. It took me a while to find the right detergent but now I have to say I prefer these two over the US smells! I found it to be fun to try new products but also a bit brand preference which can be great and bad all at the same time. Well to life across the pond! :)

  6. Wow, there really is so much involved with living abroad. I haven't even begun to think about different products and brands and whatnot. I think I'm just solely focusing on applying for my UK Settlement Visa at the moment. Haha.

  7. The water in London is extremely hard. You should use a water softener in the washing machine. I still think dark clothes fade more quickly. The new washing machines are better now and how cold and low temperature washes. If you buy one of your own go to John Lewis to look at different types. They also sell their own which has a long guarantee. Bosch and Miele are also good brands. Waitrose sell their own brand of softener in liquid form which is cheaper than Calgon. I use different brands depending on which is on sale but usually use the coloured liquid for that kind of load. Also, make sure that you wipe out the inside of the rubber seal and leave the door open to dry, otherwise mold gets in there!

    Re cleaning products, you need different ones for different types of baths for example acrylic vs. cast iron/enamel. I like Star Drops for certain things. It also depends on whether or you are into chemicals or not. Cilit Bang is powerful stuff, for kitchen and bathrooms.


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