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The ultimate guide for moving to London

London is a cosmopolitan metropolis, home to 8.9 million people, who speak over 300 different languages. If you’re considering moving to one of the 32 boroughs that make up The Big Smoke, here is your ultimate guide. 

  • Housing 
  • Employment 
  • Education 
  • Cost of Living 
  • Transport
  • Health Care 
  • Language
  • Weather 
  • Making Friends

Housing 

London is one of the most sought after places to live; unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive. On average, a one-bedroom flat will cost you £900 a month, utilities not included. If you want to make the move, but can’t afford the astronomical price of housing, don’t worry there are alternatives.

House-shares are a very popular, cheaper, alternative way to live in the city. A group of people live in a shared household, each person having a private bedroom, but sharing communal spaces.

If you don’t fancy sharing a house with people you may not know, consider the benefits of moving to outer London. Boroughs, such as Bexley, Havering, and Croydon have cheaper rent prices and are often quieter than the inner city.

Photo by Stephen Colebourne

Employment

London has a thriving economy that is helped by the countless employable industries accessible throughout the capital. If you are making your move before finding a job, it’s always best to look online to see what’s available. There are countless job sites, including London specific sites, that advertise available jobs in the city and it’s surrounding areas. 

Finance, fashion, technology, media, and manufacturing have always been thriving industries in London. If you specialise in one of these areas, then work may be easier to find in the Big Smoke. 

Education

In the UK education is mandatory for any child between the ages of five and eighteen. There are two school systems in the UK- state and independent. State schools are funded by the government and are regulated by local education authorities. They are free to attend and will often accept any child regardless of their intelligence level. Alternatively, independent schools are private and therefore cost money to attend. They are often very selective when choosing the children they want to join.

London is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world, including Imperial College London and UCL. These universities accept students from across the globe to study specialist subjects and gain an education beyond the statutory requirement.

Photo by David Hawgood 

Cost of Living 

Living in London is expensive. On average, half of your salary will be spent on rent and utilities. A further £150 can be spent on travel and an additional £200 on groceries. Any spare money can be used for additional expenses and leisure activities, such as attending theatre shows or grabbing a drink at a classic London pub. 

Transport 

There are many amazing ways to travel around the 50 miles that make up London. Travel options include the underground (otherwise known as the tube), the overground, buses and, in some areas of London, trams. As previously mentioned, travel around London can cost upwards of £150 a month. There are several methods available to try and control the cost of travel, such as getting a travel card or using an Oyster. 

Travel cards can be bought on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis. Depending on how much you travel, and which of the 1-6 zones of London you travel between, depends on which type of travel card will be most effective for you. For the best information, check out the TFL website. 

Alternatively, you can buy an Oyster card and top it up whenever you need to travel. Oyster cards can be topped up from all tube and train stations across London or online. For the best management, top up your card at the beginning of the month.

Healthcare

The UK uses the National Health Service (NHS), which is completely free. Depending on where in the world you are moving from depends on whether you will have access to the NHS on immediate arrival to London. It’s always best to check this before making your move. Alternatively, there are private doctors surgeries and hospitals that you can pay to attend. 

Photo by EDDIE

Language

The most spoken language in London is English, however, over 300 languages are spoken in England’s capital city. The top languages spoken are Bengali, Polish, Turkish and French. If you really want to delve into London culture, you can try Cockney rhyming slang, an early 19th-century slang language. 

Weather

If you’re looking to move to a sunny paradise, London may not be the destination for you. On average it rains 11 days out of the month, so make sure you pack your umbrella. However, throughout the year the temperature remains somewhat mild, with snow very rarely falling. In the summer, temperatures average out at a balmy 18 degrees- perfect for exploring the serene parks that can be found across the city. 

Making Friends 

Making friends can be hard when you move to a new place, and can seem harder when moving to a city. One of the easiest ways to make friends is by moving into a house share. Sharing communal spaces with strangers may seem daunting at first, but the more time you spend with your housemates the more you may find you have in common.

If you’re planning to move into a flat or house alone, there are plenty of alternative ways to make friends. Try joining your local gym or running club and begin conversing with the people you meet in the locker room. Alternatively, start exploring the city and its amazing restaurants, independent coffee shops and countless museums. Strike up conversations with people and see if you have anything in common. This can seem nerve-wracking, but is a great way to really delve head-first into the multiculturalism of the city and begin making friends.

Relocating is a massive step that requires adjusting. Give yourself optimal time to readjust to your new surroundings by ticking laundry off of your to-do list. Download the Laundryheap app and let us pick-up, wash and deliver your clothes to you within 24hrs. 


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Visiting Dubai: The Do’s and Do Not’s

Dubai is a city known for being technologically and architecturally advanced, yet it is incredibly traditional and religious. That is why we have made this guide of Do’s and Do Not’s for your visit to Dubai.

Do

  • Dress respectfully 
  • Take taxis
  • Drink tap water 
  • Leave the city 
  • See the Burj Khalifa

Dress respectfully

Dubai is a traditional Islamic city so dressing conservatively is highly advised. It’s suggested that women wear loose-fitting dresses and skirts, and men trousers and jeans coupled with long sleeve tops. However, just because you have to dress conservatively, it doesn’t mean you can’t dress fashionably. Dubai is one of the capital cities of fashion, where men and women alike love to experiment with colours, fabrics, and patterns. So, be fashion-forward with your conservative attire. 

Take taxis 

Taxi services in Dubai are reasonably priced and a great way to escape the heat and travel around the city. Additionally, if you are planning a wild Dubai night out, it’s best to plan to get to the club via taxi. It’s an offence in Dubai to be seen on the street intoxicated and could lead to a fine or even a month in prison. Better to be safe and book your taxi to and from the club than risk a prison sentence. 

Image by Fabio Achilli

Drink tap water 

Despite popular debate, it is safe to drink tap water in Dubai, so give it a taste. If you are still dubious, there are hotels that will import bottled water from Europe, however, due to the lack of environmental sustainability importation promotes, drinking imported water should be avoided. Instead, ask for locally sourced bottled water to avoid the harm to the environment and avoid the tap. 

Leave the city 

Dubai is a beautiful cosmopolitan city, but there is a lot to explore just outside the city walls. Take a trip to the desert one day and experience life beyond the city of Dubai. Desert safari experiences can be bought at a range of prices, and often involve a camel ride. Go wild for a day and return to the civilisation of the city later on. 

Image by alfonso venzuela

See the Burj Khalifa 

No Dubai trip is complete without seeing the Burj Kalifa. Standing 829 meters tall, the Burj Kalifa is the tallest building in the world and an architectural sight to behold. You can pay to see Dubai from the buildings viewing platform 555 meters up, or be shadowed by the building as you observe it, for free, from below. Either way, your trip to Dubai will not be complete without visiting this spectacular structure. 

Don’t

  • Wear swimwear away from the water
  • Take photos of government buildings 
  • Eat or drink in public during Ramadan 
  • Engage in PDA
  • Make big plans on a Friday

Wear swimwear away from the water 

As previously discussed, Dubai has a conservative dress code; this code also applies to swimwear. When at the beach or a pool it is completely acceptable to wear any form of swimwear that you desire. However, as soon as you step out of the water, you must be conscious of your clothing and consider throwing on a dress or shirt over your swimwear. 

Image by Sakena

Take photos of government buildings

Regardless of where you go on holiday you always want to take a few snaps for the memories. Dubai is home to some of the most extraordinary modern-day buildings that, undoubtedly, need to be caught on camera. This being said, be mindful not to capture any government buildings as, for security reasons, this is strictly prohibited.  

Image by Michael Theis

Eat or drink in public during Ramadan 

During the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims will take part in Ramadan where they will fast during daylight hours. If you are visiting Dubai during Ramadan the locals won’t expect you to take part in the festival, however, you must be respectful towards those who are. If you want to eat and drink during daylight hours there are a handful of cafes and restaurants that stay open, however, you’re options will be limited. Alternatively, you can eat and drink in your room until the sun goes down. 

Image by George Shahda

Engage in PDA 

Public Displays of Affection (PDA) are a strong offense in Dubai. Everything from a kiss on the cheek to hugging in public is considered indecent. At a push, a married couple may hold hands, but even that is pushing the boundaries of acceptability. To avoid causing offense, it’s best to save showering your other half in affection until you return to your hotel room.  

Make big plans on a Friday 

Friday is considered a holy day in Dubai and is therefore not for working. Don’t worry, the whole city doesn’t grind to a halt, but you should expect there to be a limited number of amenities open. Bear this in mind when planning your Dubai trip and consider having a beach day on Friday. 

Image by Dr. Norbert Heidenbluth

Whatever you’re plans are in Dubai, do make sure that you use Laundryheap for all your holiday laundering needs and do not miss out on the opportunity to enjoy your trip in the freshest smelling clothes. 

laundry routine


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Laundry Routines Around The World

Laundry is a household chore that most of us complain about without even realising how easy we have it. We’re fortunate enough to have washing machines and tumble dryers (for some), as a resource to help us do our laundry.

Individuals from western countries within Europe and North America, are very well accustomed to using a domestic washing machine for their laundry routine, even some countries in the Middle East and parts of Asia too.

However, many regions and countries in the world still use the original laundry method of washing by hand, in a river! Simply because of the countries economic inability to have a proper source of water supply to their homes, let alone technology.

Let’s take a look at how some laundry routines and styles are done around the world, starting with the more economically developed going down to the less economically developed:

China

China uses laundry machines, but the top loader ones. One very particular laundry rule in their routine is they NEVER wash socks and underwear together and if you were to take your underwear to get washed in a laundromat, be ready for rejection. Also, they prefer washing underwear by hand to prevent ‘contamination’ from other garments. They’re all about good hygiene there, which is a good thing!

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Though they use washing machines, they don’t have tumble dryers, especially because places in China are too compact. They stick with the traditional air drying method.

Philippines

Most Filipinos in the provinces are accustomed to the traditional hand washing at home method. Routine includes filing water in a big basin from any filtered water source and scrubbing clothes by hand. Drying is done by your typical air dry method, hanging on a clothes line.

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Top loader washing machines are available for purchase in the Philippines but for some, it is unaffordable. 

One thing you’ll find is that laundry detergents are popularly sold in sachets, as a cheaper option to buying a bottled one.

Mumbai, India

If you haven’t heard already, Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai is the ‘worlds largest laundry’ with around 800 wash stations where local workers hand wash clothes for schools, hotels, hospitals and any one needing their laundry done.

The method to hand washing here is, clothes are dunked in water and then beaten against a rock surface (to loosen up soil), scrubbed and hung up to naturally air dry.

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Guatemala, South America

Many parts of Guatemala wash the ancient way…  scrubbing by hand with a rock, in a lake or river. Some communities have to walk a distance to their nearest river/lake in order for them to do laundry. After washing, they pack their wet clothes, bundled in a blanket or in a basket and carry it back home where they can hang it to dry.

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Now, with recent water projects, wash stations have been put into place in areas such as Antigua, where filtered river water will fill up standing open wash basins for locales to do their laundry in.

Niger, Africa

Like in most less economically developed counties, when it’s laundry day in Niger, some locales gather to hand wash their laundry in the Niger river, and once done, leave the garments to dry on the ground. Families take this opportunity to have conversations and a good time. Locales use the river to wash anything, even themselves.

Embed from Getty Images

There are still many regions around the world, even more places in Asia, Africa and South America, where hand washing is their laundry routine and sometimes in a dirty, polluted river.

So, the next time you complain about laundry day, just remember, at least a machine does it for you.