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8 Things Expats Should Know Before Moving To Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a beautiful city with amazing architecture and serene canals. If you’re planning to move to Amsterdam, here are a few things you should know and some tip to prepare yourself.

8 Thins Expats Should Know Before Moving To Amsterdam

  • It rains A LOT 

The weather in Amsterdam is dull most of the time and the sun rarely comes out. So be prepared for regular gloomy weather consisting of rainy days and wind. It’s best to always bring around an umbrella to prepare for unexpected rain.

Don’t let the weather stop your plans though. One thing for sure is that the rain doesn’t stop locals from biking around, as long as they have a raincoat or umbrella, they’re good to go.

  • Get used to cycling!

There are more bikes in Amsterdam than there are people! Cycling is the main form of transportation. You’ll notice that although there are cars to be found, the city is not entirely car-friendly. Besides everyone uses a bike to get from point A to B, no matter what the occasion is.

  • Beware of bike thieves

The crime rate is very low in Amsterdam, except for bike theft. It’s common to be in a situation where you will own a few bikes in a year because your bikes get stolen, just ask the locals! Thieves will also steal just your bike wheel or bike seat. So, it’s best not to own such an expensive bike and make sure you have good bike locks. 

  • Housing isn’t the best

Living in Amsterdam is very pricey due to the growing population of expats and because of this, it can be difficult to find a place to rent. With such a big population for a small city, chances are you might find a place you actually like, only to find out that many other people are interested in it too and have given in their documents. In addition, housing properties will come unfurnished and you should expect to buy all the appliances you need, including the floor!

  • Credit cards aren’t well supported

Just know that credit cards are useless in Amsterdam (or in the Netherlands in general) when going to local supermarkets, museums or eateries. You can use debit cards that use the Maestro, Cirrus or Plus system. Otherwise, you must always carry around either cash or use a dutch maestro card.

  • Learn some Dutch

Most locals speak fluent English, but it isn’t their native language. The TV channels, signs, everything, is in Dutch. Although it can be easy to communicate by speaking English, you’ll feel more a part of the local community if you learned how to speak Dutch. It will help expand your social circle with the locals, rather than other expats or foreigners.

  • Work life balance is important

Dutch people value their personal time and so the work culture is incredibly healthy and balances out well with personal life. It’s normal for parents to take a day off work to focus on quality time with their families or work part-time. Companies are also flexible in terms of letting you work from home because of family obligations or commute problems.

  • Shops close early

In general, most shops close by 5 and supermarkets by 9pm, so you’ll have to run errands between 9-5 during workdays and 11-3 during the weekend. If you need to go to the bank or you have government appointments, you’ll have to go between 9-5. This is isn’t so much of a big deal since you can take a day off from work to run errands.

These are only some things to be prepared for when moving to Amsterdam. Despite a few negatives, there many more positive aspects to living in Amsterdam.

If you’re in need of a reliable laundry and dry cleaning service in Amsterdam, Laundryheap will happily collect, clean and deliver your clothes within 24 hours.

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Laundry Tips For New Parents

You thought doing laundry for yourself was challenging enough, but now with the little one, it’s become a completely different story.

Your days have become even more hectic and you find yourself having to adjust your time to match your baby’s schedule. That means constantly having to clean baby mess and wash baby clothes. The only alone time you get is when the baby is sleeping and that’s when you’re most likely catching up on sleep too.

We understand that life becomes more challenging when you’re a new parent, especially when it comes to laundry, as babies tend to need a change of clothes every so often a day. Their clothes also require extra care and time to clean.

Here are some quick tips to conquer laundry as a new parent:

1. Always wash newly bought baby clothes/blankets

Your baby’s skin is delicate, so you want to wash away any harsh production chemicals and germs trapped on clothing and blankets before they are used. 

Opt in to using hypoallergenic or non-bio laundry detergents that is great for sensitive skin to avoid unwanted allergic reactions.

baby clothes laundry tip

2. Avoid using fabric softener

Whilst fabric conditioner is made to leave clothes feeling soft, you should avoid using it on baby clothes! Baby clothes are designed to be flame resistant and coating it with softener will only strip it of it’s properties, not to mention it can cause a likely chance of irritation to the skin.

laundry tips fabric conditioner

3. Spot clean on the go

Babies create MESS and that’s OK! Whether you’re out or even just lounging at home, it’s a good idea to have baby wipes with you at all times to immediately spot clean any small ‘accidents’ your baby has made. This method will save you time pre-treating stains and will add just a bit more extra time until the baby has to change clothes again.

laundry tip baby wipes

4. Instantly rinse out poop/vomit stains

To avoid poop and vomit stains leaving what will appear to be a faint yellow-ish mark, rinse the stain out as quickly as the stain was created. You’ll still need to pre-treat but at least it will be easy and less time consuming.

laundry tip

We at Laundryheap can take care of cleaning your baby’s clothes should the load be too much for you to handle. We take utmost care in dealing with clothes for sensitive skin. You can have the option to choose between bio or non bio and let us know of any other special requirements.

Have any tips for dealing with laundry as a new parent? Share them in the comments section. 🙂

work office productivity


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How To Increase Productivity At Work

Do you feel, on some days, that you haven’t been able to accomplish everything you needed to do at work because you’ve just felt unproductive?

Here are some effective ways to increase productivity at work:

Take regular breaks: Working longer hours (or straight hours) won’t help you get more work done. In fact, it only drains our energy more because we’re forcing ourselves to get the job done! This ironically decreases our productivity levels, making us believe that we need more time to complete tasks.

Taking regular breaks will help refresh our concentration levels. Take a 5-10 mins break  every few hours or so. Use it to take a walk around the office or to stretch! This will help boost your mood and energy levels.

Work smart: Being productive doesn’t mean you have to work hard; you need to work smart. By working smart, I mean, get your tasks done faster at a shorter time rather than dedicating more than enough time necessary into one specific task. If you want your job to be completed quicker, the trick is to find the easiest possible way to do it and in good time. Here are several ways you can work smart:

  • Mange your time well:

Track and limit how much time you’re spending on tasks. Apply the ‘two minute rule’ when necessary. This in basic terms is: if you can do that task or action within two minutes then do it now! This will create more time for the more important tasks.

Split your more time consuming work into batches and give yourself less time than you actually need to complete work (you’ll be able to complete it faster that way!). Try 90 minute intervals for example.

Tackle the heavier tasks when you’re most alert, don’t force yourself to do them when you’ve just started your shift. Get yourself settled on simpler tasks at the start of your day before going into the bigger tasks. 

  • Stop multi-tasking:

We think by multitasking, we’ll be able to get more things done, but the reality is, we’re actually left with trying to juggle and divide our attention into multiple tasks. This habit makes us work slower because we’re doubling and even tripling up our time. Just focus on one task at a time and manage your time well in doing so.

  • Keep notes to yourself:

Noting down tasks you need to do is one way to work smart. Avoid uncompleted small areas of work and the question of ‘Wasn’t there something else I had to do?!’ by jotting down your upcoming tasks, especially if you have so many to keep track of.

This method will keep your mind prepared for the workload you’ll be dealing with, as well as, knowing how to go about organising your day properly to complete those tasks. It will also help prepare yourself for the next working day! You don’t need to go home thinking about what you have to do tomorrow when you’ve already written it down.

Keep notes to yourself in a notebook, diary or even on apps! Getting yourself organised ahead of time will help you to work faster and will create more time for you to work at a calm pace. If it’s easier for you, you can also leave sticky notes at your desk or use the sticky notes app.

  • Reduce distractions:

Keep casual conversations to a minimum especially when you have a lot to do. Avoid using your personal social media (unless it’s a part of your job!). Keep phones on silent and away from your desk if possible. Most importantly, avoid thinking about non-related work things like what you’re going to eat later or what you need to do at home after work, like laundry. You can schedule a laundry collection anyway!

If you have any tips to being productive at work, please let us know in the comments sections! 🙂

outsource life through digital apps


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How To Outsource Your Life

In this day and age, there are so many ways to outsource tasks you do in everyday life. It has become so easy to find individuals who can do almost any task for you, at a reasonable fee.

Through the convenient accessibility of an app or through the click of a mouse, you can outsource either your least favourite chores, tasks you find difficulty in doing or tasks that you need to stay on top of.

Let’s take a look at some ways you can outsource your life:

Preparing Food

For the days where you don’t have time to physically go out to shop for groceries (or you’re just feeling a bit lazy), major supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda have delivery services to save you the time. You can also use online supermarket services like Ocado.

If you can’t quite decide what meal to cook let alone what ingredients you’ll need, Hellofresh let’s you choose what meals you’d fancy eating and sends you the recipe with fresh ingredients! You can choose how many people you’re cooking for (2-4) and how many recipes you’d like per week (3-5), it’s also great for vegetarians.

Finally, if you don’t want to do any cooking at all or just can’t, numerous services such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat will deliver restaurant food straight to your door!

outsource preparing food

Household Chores

For daunting chores that nobody likes doing but has to be done, there are services that provide help with laundry, general cleaning and handyman work.

Who best to go to for your laundry except for Laundryheap! If you’re new to our services, we collect and deliver your laundry (or dry cleaning) to your door within 24 hours, for free!. We also offer Ironing services. That’s laundry day done!

For cleaning tasks, and I mean any household cleaning tasks (even the cleaning of household appliances) you can book services like HelplingHandy, Bizzby or Taskrabbit. They’ll take care of all that dirt for you.

Handy and Taskrabbit can also take care of general house tasks like housekeeping or assembling furniture. For more handyman kind of tasks, Bizzby specialises in helping you with plumbing, electrical, appliance issues and all that stuff that causes inconvenience.

outsource cleaning

Travel

Your general taxis and cabs have been around for a long time, but now with taxi apps like Uber, it’s become more convenient than trying to find a number to call. Just pin point your location and where you want to go and a driver will be there in a few minutes!

If you need or prefer to travel by yourself, digital guide maps such as Citymapper help you get around via public transport and can also gives you directions for if you wish to travel by uber. Waze is an app that navigates you whilst you’re driving and takes you on the best route. Both of these apps gives you an ETA and warns you of any real-time traffic.

Buying tickets to go abroad for a cheap price just got easier with hopper. This service finds the best dates to fly out for a cheap ticket price. It also tells you when to wait for both hotel and flight ticket purchases to make the most of a bargain.

For a more personalised trip, Skyscanner compares multiple airlines, hotels and car rental services to help you get the best prices.

outsource travel

Work

Maybe your work load is getting a little too hectic and you think there are just some small tasks that can easily be completed by someone else. Services such as Fiverrr and Upwork provide a variety of experienced freelancers to get your business tasks done. 

If you procrastinate a little too much or you’re one who gets easily distracted, RescueTime will help you get productive again. This service monitors your daily digital habits and gives you a detailed report on your activities. This should help you to manage your time and minimise spending time on things that need less of your attention

If you need an extra day-to-day helping hand, Zirtual gives you your own personal assistant! It’s basically a real person but helping you digitally.

outsource work

Well-Being

You probably don’t realise, but the most important thing above everything is your health- mind and body! But sometimes work life balance gets a bit difficult and other priorities come first that we forget to look after ourselves. 

Exercising can become easy without going to the gym. Apps like Keep trainer, Sworkit, and Zova give you short but effective workout videos that you can try anywhere and helps you keep track of how many calories you’re burning, as well as showing you your exercise duration. 

If you find yourself stressing, feeling a little emotional or overwhelmed with troubled thoughts, apps such as HeadspaceWysa and Calm will give you guided mindful and meditation exercises to keep you at ease. You can also talk to an AI bot on the Wysa app if you feel the need to vent, work through an issue or if you simply need cheering up!

outsourcelife

Let us know in the comment section what other ways you can do to outsource your life!