Observations Of London From A Newly Arrived Mum


I’m Elke, and we recently moved to Lee, London with our family. Our family, that’s my husband Toon and our two boys Gust and Kamiel from almost 5 and 2 years old. In Belgium we both worked fulltime, had a house, family and friends. But we looked for an adventure and found it here.

On my blog newparentsintown.wordpress.com you can follow our adventure of this move to London (only in English since two weeks). For Mummy’s Gin Fund, I’m happy to share our first impressions in 12 remarkable London things.

  1. The people of London are rather strange swimmers. In the slow lanes you have to swim clockwise; in the other lanes anti-clockwise. And sometimes it’s the other way around. And they swim really slow. I’m the fastest. In the fast lane. Just saying.
  2. People are so welcoming and happy to get to know a total stranger. I’m very grateful for a couple of women who were happy to show me around.
  3. They have crèches at the swimming pool! One hour of swimming, just for myself.
  4. London is expensive. Over the top expensive. Like flats: too much money for too little space. But almost all of the museums are free. Free as in ‘you have some money left for a drink in the café’. And they are great as well. So far, the Science Museum, Museum of the Docklands and Mudchute Farm are our favourites. With many more to come.
  5. Children in London have more hobbies than numbers of age. ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’, and I subscribed Kamiel to an Art Class for 0 – 2 year olds. Baby’s from 5 months old ate paint, a lot of parents took pictures and I was happy not to have to clean this up myself. There are drama classes as well. Mmm, I don’t think he needs more drama. Is there a male word for diva?
  6. In the Sainsbury’s they have a lot of trolleys. In Belgium, most of the times you only have one. Too bad if you have two babies. Or are in a wheelchair.
  7. In Belgium I worked in communications. Now I’m a fulltime stay-at-home-mum. According to the bank ‘a homemaker’. I found working a lot easier. Thumbs up to all those parents at home. It’s remarkable how many mums don’t work in London. I blame the expensive nursery, four times as expensive as in Belgium. I love my children, but I loved my job too. Did I already tell you that the youngest one is a diva?
  8. Nobody knows the electric bike, nor a front bike seat. Such a pity, because Greenwich is so beautiful to cycle. Show some confident cyclists! And give us some cycle paths Greenwich and Lewisham! Only at the Art Class I saw a cargo bike once. I’ve an electric bike, with a seat in the back and the front. Kamiel is in the front seat for some time now, and he loves it. 
  9. I love Gust’s school. There are a lot of children with different backgrounds, religions or colours. With a lot of difficult names I can’t even pronounce. He went from a majority to a minority. And didn’t even notice it.
  10. Everything is for charity. There are shops for charity, runs for charity, art for charity, … On every corner someone in a dolphin/superman/dino costume is collecting money for charity. In a capital where money means a lot, it’s nice to see that there is plenty of room left for charity.
  11. Ready-to-eat avocadoes are always ready to eat. Never brown or not ready yet. Just perfect. Aargh, amazing!
  12. Culture starts here from year 0: from ‘baby to Bach’ until children’s ballet. Gust and myself enjoyed the last one. He was almost in tears because it was over, after two hours. Luckily for us there are some other theatres as well…

OMG. We are living in London. And despite or maybe thanks to all of these remarkable facts I’m loving every minute of it. And I might still be in the honeymoon phase yet, but: more, more, more!

Founder of MGF, Helen is a mum of four who spends way too much time on the interweb and not enough time in bed. She loves wearing her dressing gown, car boot sales and watching TV programmes featuring food. Her specialist subjects include 'how to overfill your car boot' and 'how to avoid dusting'. Follow her at Twitter: @Ginfund, Facebook: @MGFund, Instagram: @mummysginfund and online: www.mummysginfund.co.uk.