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Living in London made easier

Photo by Mike from Pexels

Living in London can be hard. It’s expensive, people can be rude, and the tube system is a labyrinth that not even the most seasoned Londoner can understand. But, it is also a multicultural metropolis, overflowing with amazing things to see and adventures to have. There are an abundance of ways that can make living in London less stressful, less costly, and, overall, easier. 

  • Oyster cards
  • Railcard
  • Maps
  • Savings websites
  • Banking
  • Weather 
  • Theatre 
  • Food
  • The Residence
  • Laundryheap 

Oyster cards

Whether you prefer taking the bus, tube, or train, there is no escaping public transport in London. You can pay for public transport via contactless or card payment, however, the best way is via an Oyster card. An Oyster card is a reusable card that can be used on all forms of public transport across London. You can top up your card at most London tube stations or online whenever you are running low on funds, and use it the very same day. What is more, Oyster cards have a cap on how much you can spend in one day, meaning that you will never be charged more than £13.50.

Image by Rachel Lovinger

Railcard 

A Railcard is incredibly handy to have for travelling both within and outside of London. There are several different types of Railcard that you can purchase, however they are all priced between £20 and £30. With a Railcard, you can get one third off of your train fares and, if you link it to your Oyster card, one third off of off-peak rail fares, including the tube and DLR. 

Photo by Paul IJsendoorn from Pexels

Maps

London is a big city. So big, in fact, that it would be preposterous to even imagine navigating it without using a map. Luckily, there are several useful apps that can help you to not only navigate the city, but also plan public transport journeys. These apps mean that you will never get lost in London again, and that you will always be able to find public transport to aid you on your journey. 

Photo by Ingo Joseph from Pexels

Savings websites

Living in London can be incredibly expensive. Bills, food shopping, transport, the cost of living, it all adds up. Luckily, there are several savings websites that offer discounts on all manner of items, including everyday essentials and nights out. Simply head to these discount websites and search for items you are looking for discounts on. If you find a website in particular that offers good deals, subscribing to their newsletter will often give you a first-look at what discounts are available and/or coming up. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Banking 

With so much to do, see, and experience in London, it can be very easy to let your money get away from you. The majority of banks now have apps that can help you access your bank account faster. They will often send notifications directly to your phone when money is coming out of your account or when you are running out of funds. If you are looking for an alternative way to manage your money, Monzo is an online bank whose app helps to break down exactly where your money is being spent. This helps to identify what areas you are spending the most money on, and perhaps where you could save. 

Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

Weather

UK weather is unpredictable. The sun could be shining brightly in the morning but by the evening you could be stuck in torrential rain. Most phones now come with a weather app pre-downloaded, however, if you don’t have one, it’s best to download one ASAP. It will help you to plan your day around changes in the weather, meaning you will never be caught in the rain without an umbrella again. 

Photo by S Migaj from Pexels

Theatre 

One of the many joys of living in London is the glorious West End, where there is no end to the wonderful musicals and plays that are performed every day. If you enjoy a trip to the theatre, then you will want to download Stagedoor. It can be hard to narrow down what to see on the West End, but Stagedoor can make your choice easier with reviews from both theatre critics and previous audience members. On the app you can also book tickets and access offers for discounted meals and even discounted tickets. The wonders of the West End awaits. 

Photo by Monica Silvestre from Pexels

Food

London is a multicultural hub and, as such, there are an abundance of restaurants to try. Eating at different restaurants guarantees that you will always be treated to amazing food, however can be incredibly expensive. Luckily, apps, such as OpenTable, offer huge discounts on some of the top restaurants in London. Simply see what reservations they have open, and book as soon as possible. Be quick though, because there will be other eagle eyed people waiting for a top reservation at a low price, so you have to act fast. 

Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography from Pexels

The Residence 

One of the most difficult parts of living in London is finding the perfect home. You want to find somewhere that is within your budget, with good transport links, and plenty of local amenities- which is easier said than done. Luckily, The Residence offers the perfect solution. Whilst you find your dream home, you can stay in one of The Residence luxury apartments, located specifically for ease of commute, accessibility of services, and transport links. The contemporary design of each apartment offers a relaxing oasis from the hustle and bustle of city living, whilst also creating the perfect environment for finding your dream home. What is more, all guests of The Residence can enjoy 20% off of their first Laundryheap order using the code RD20. 

Image courtesy of The Residence website

Laundryheap 

We all detest doing laundry, and when you live in the city it seems like there are never enough hours in the day to get it done. Luckily, Laundryheap is here to help. We pick up your dirty laundry, wash it, and re-deliver it to you, all in as little as 24 hours. All you have to do is head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app to make your booking today. At least that’s one thing ticked off of your to-do list.


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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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Celebrating bonfire night

Image by Roy Costello

Bonfire night 2020 will not be the same. Due to COVID19 restrictions, many firework displays across the UK have been cancelled. That does not mean that you have to miss out on the firework fun. 

  • What is bonfire night?
  • How to stay safe on bonfire night
  • Light a bonfire 
  • Play bonfire games
  • Throw a firework display 
  • Light some sparklers 
  • Make marshmallow rockets

What is bonfire night? 

Every year, on the 5th of November, people across the UK celebrate bonfire night by lighting fireworks, sparklers, and, of course, bonfires. This is done to remember The Gunpowder Plot, a plan by Guy Fawks to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Many towns and cities in the UK host mass firework displays and light big bonfires to remember the occasion, whereas others decide to host smaller, more private, firework displays. 

How to stay safe on bonfire night 

Bonfire night is a lot of fun, however, there are a lot of dangers. Some general bonfire night safety tips are:

  • Children should be supervised at all times.
  • If you are setting off fireworks, assign one person to set them off to limit the number of potential injuries.
  • If there are several people attending the firework display, make sure that they are a safe distance away from where the fireworks are being set off. 
  • Keep pets indoors to avoid them becoming scared.
  • Do not set off fireworks after midnight. 

Light a bonfire 

Light a bonfire, gather, up to 6, of your friends and family, and warm yourself by the fire. It is the best way to celebrate the occasion. 

It is important to remember that you can only light a bonfire in a clear and safe space, away from fences, sheds, bushes, trees, and roads. You should also check with your local fire department whether it is legal to light a bonfire in your area. If it is safe to light a bonfire in your area, make your neighbours aware that you will be lighting it.  

To build your bonfire begin by creating a circle from bricks or stones, this will help contain the fire. Next, stand your tinder in a tepee shape in the centre of your circle. Place a couple of fuel logs parallel to each other on two sides of your tepee structure. Repeat this process up to five times to build up your bonfire. When you’re happy with your structure, drop a match in the centre of your tepee to start the fire. 

If you are lighting a bonfire, make sure that you have plenty of water at hand to put it out before it gets too large.

Play bonfire games 

Once your bonfire is lit, it’s time to play some games. Gather around your guests, play some music, and start by playing Hot Potato. Stand in a circle, a safe distance away from the bonfire, and throw a potato from one person to the next. Whoever is left with the potato when the music stops is holding the ‘hot potato’ and is therefore out. Keep going until there is one victorious player remaining. 

After you’ve warmed everyone up with Hot Potato, next is In the Bonfire. There are four phrases to learn for In the Bonfire-

1. In the Bonfire- everyone put their hands out to warm on a bonfire,

2. Out of the Bonfire- everyone puts their hands high in the air,

3. On the Logs- everyone put their hands on their knees,

4. Sparklers- everyone put their hands in the air and shake them around.

Nominate one person to shout out the phrases in any order. If anyone does the wrong movement they are out, as is the slowest person to complete the movement. 

To end your night of games, why not indulge in a singalong. Choose your favourite songs, gather everyone around the bonfire and sing the night to a close. 

If you haven’t got the space to light a bonfire, don’t worry, you can have just as much fun playing these games indoors.

Throw a firework display 

There is no better way to bring the night to an end then by throwing a personal firework display. Stock up on your fireworks, and stand in awe as a kaleidoscope of colourful flames light up the nights sky. 

If you are hosting your own firework display, make sure that you only buy your fireworks from a reputable shop. To ensure that your fireworks are legal, make sure that they have CE and BS 7114 on the lid of the box. 

Before setting your fireworks off, make sure that you read the instructions of each firework and fully understand them. When you are ready to set your firework off, aim it away from any buildings or stand buyers, light the firework at arms length, and stand well back from it as it explodes in the sky. 

It’s important to stay safe around fireworks and when setting fireworks off. Make sure that you have read up on your local areas firework safety guidance prior to setting any off. 

Light some sparklers 

Sparklers are a magical bonfire night treat for all. Unlike with bonfires and firework displays, you do not need to have a large open space to light a sparkler, however, you do need to light them outside and a good distance away from others. 

Light your sparklers outside, and observe the way they sparkle at arms length. Once the sparkler has burnt out, or if you want to put it out, put it in a bucket of water and leave the flames to completely extinguish. 

Make marshmallow rockets 

Marshmallow rockets are a simple, yet delicious, bonfire night treat. 

All you need for your marshmallow rockets is 

  • Wooden skewers
  • Marshmallows 
  • Chocoalte of your choice 
  • Sprinkles 

To make your marshmallow rockets, begin by piercing your marshmallows on the end of your wooden skewers. Next, melt down the chocolate of your choice either by microwaving or melting it on the hob. Once your chocolate is melted, dip your marshmallows into the chocolate until they are three quarters covered. After your marshmallows are covered, sprinkle a handful of sprinkles on the top of each marshmallow, and leave them to stand until they are set. As soon as they are set, share them amongst your friends and family, and enjoy your bonfire night. 

Don’t let laundry ruin your bonfire night, let us pick up your laundry, dry clean it, and redeliver it back to you, completely contactless. To book your Laundryheap service head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app. 

Laundryheap is operational across the UK in London, Birmingham, Coventry, and Manchester.


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Coronavirus advice for London

Photo by fsse8info

These are precarious times that we are living in. Coronavirus has gripped the world and doesn’t seem to be letting go. Everyone’s lives are drastically changing on a daily basis and we are being required to adapt as and when those changes come. 8.9 million people are currently living in London, so maintaing hygiene is essential to ensuring the population stays safe. For those living in London, these are some simple steps to help you stay safe.

  • Stay indoors
  • Only go out when it is ABSOLUTELY necessary
  • Stockpile- but don’t be selfish
  • Use your local park
  • Avoid public transport
  • Build a Whatsapp community
  • Call 111
  • Laundryheap services

Stay indoors   

One of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus is to stay indoors. If you don’t leave your home you can’t risk potentially spreading the virus to those more vulnerable than yourself. If you have a job that allows you to work from home do so. Only go outside when it is absolutely necessary. That is not to say that you should restrict the amount of fresh air that you get. If you have a garden, make sure you take regular breaks and have a walk, run or even just a sit down outside. Alternatively, open the windows in your home to allow fresh air to circulate your room. This will help eliminate that claustrophobic feeling you can get when you spend too much time indoors.

Only go out when it is ABSOLUTELY necessary 

Limiting the amount of time you spend outside is essential for eliminating the spread of coronavirus. That is not to say that you can’t venture outside when it is absolutely necessary. If you are running low on food you can still visit your local store, however, try and take some precautions. Only visit your local stores and try and avoid supermarkets. Try and go shopping after peak times. Alternatively, if it’s toiletry essentials that you are in need of, order an Essentials Pack and we will deliver it directly to your home. Remember, the less people you come into contact with the better.

Other than shopping, you can leave you home to pick up prescriptions you need to take. A quick trip to your local pharmacy is not going to be detrimental to your health, however, to avoid any risks, look up whether you can get your prescription sent to you instead. Alternatively, if you are elderly, have underlying health issues, or are considered a high risk, get a family member, friend or neighbour to pick up your prescription for you and leave it outside your door. You do not want to take any risks.

Stockpile- but don’t be selfish

As previously stated, you can still visit your local shop for food and necessities, however, try and avoid doing so as much as possible. When you do visit the shop, try and stock up on essentials that you can use to batch cook and freeze. It’s all about being thrifty and limiting your risk to others. Remember, don’t just think about food, think about essential toiletries such as hand wash and toilet paper. 

As useful as it is to stock up on the essentials, remain mindful of others. We are all experiencing this pandemic and we all need to buy the essentials. If you are already well stocked up on food, toilet roll and hand wash, leave what’s left in the shops for those who need it.

Use parks to get exercise 

Your availability to go outside is limited, however, if you aren’t in quarantine, you can venture outside for one hour a day to do some form of exercise. There are 3,000 parks across the 32 boroughs that make up London. Utilise the closest park to you and use it to stretch your legs and do some exercise in the fresh air. Exercise is essential at this time as it releases endorphins that can help improve your mental health. We all need to remain positive at this time and this is one way of doing so.

Note, some London parks have closed, so before venturing out check that your local park is still open and available for you to use.

Avoid using public transport 

Not everyone can work from home or take time off work at this time. To those of you who are key workers we thank you. Key workers, still need to travel to and from work, and are therefore using public transport. If you need to visit the shop or pharmacy, avoid using public transport at all costs. If your destination is within walking distance, take a walk to the shop and back again to stretch your legs. If not, use public transport when it is least likely for key workers to be doing the same. Regardless of how you travel, try and remain 2 metres away from any person you may come across.

If you are at a high-risk of contracting coronavirus, avoid leaving your house. Ask a friend, family member or neighbour to pick up whatever you need and drop it at your front door. 

Build a Whatsapp community 

During this time we need to be protecting those most vulnerable to coronavirus, whilst making sure that we keep ourselves sane. When we’re all self-isolating it’s easy to slip into feeling lonely and detached from the world. This is why building a Whatsapp community is helpful. Build communities of friends, family and neighbours so that you can stay in touch while your self isolating. Keep each other up to date on your health, both mental and physical. If you are able to go out, check in with others to see if you can get some shopping or pick up a prescription for anyone. Or, if you are vulnerable, ask your communities to help you out. We need to do our best to keep ourselves and others as safe as possible.

Call 111

If you are feeling unwell, or experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, call 111 immediately. In times like these we need to take every precaution possible to remain safe. 

Our services 

At Laundryheap, we are committed to ensuring that our customers remain as safe as possible. We are still fully operating, however, we are taking extra precautions. We are now offering a high wash service in a bid to completely eliminate bacteria from all the clothes we launder. In addition, we now run a contactless service to prevent you from coming into contact with our drivers.

Download the Laundryheap app now to book your slot. Stay safe.


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London: Fun Facts About The Capital

London is the capital of the United Kingdom and home to us here at Laundryheap. Above all, it is a city filled with history, culture, social diversity and unbelievable stories that go back as far as the Romans. 

The cities rich and enchanting past plays a pivotal role in drawing foreign tourists, students and prospective residents every year. As a result, London is now one of the most diverse cities on Earth and has evolved into a modern metropolis. 

  • 8.7 million people call the city home.
  • Over 300 languages spoken inside the city every day.
  • Most Billionaires in the world. 
  • The tallest building in the EU is in London. 
  • There were fewer deaths in the Great Fire of London than you might think. 
  • We’ve been calling Big Ben the wrong name all along.
  • London’s black cab drivers are some of the most knowledgeable in the world. 
  • London’s transport system is a story in itself.
  • There are over 170 museums in the city.
  • Some of the worlds most famous figures lived in London.

London has over 8.9 million people.

According to the latest reports, Greater London now hosts 8.9 million people that call the city home. Consequently, the city is now the 26th largest city in the world by population.

 The British capital has a higher population than any city in the US, with New York being its nearest competitor with 8.6 million people. The second-largest city in the UK is Birmingham, which has a population of 1.1 million.

Over 300 languages spoken inside the city every day.

You would be stuck to find a city more diverse than London. Expats from every corner of the world move to the city each year and make up a significant proportion of the 8.9 million population. Due to this, the city boasts that a jaw-dropping 300 different languages are spoken inside it every day.

Besides English, Polish is the most common language spoken in the capital. Other languages like Bengali, Gujarati, French, Urdu and Arabic follow closely behind on the list. 

Most Billionaires in the world. 

London is home to at least 80 billionaires, making it the city with the highest number of billionaires living in it. Furthermore, London billionaires make up 80% of all billionaires living in the UK. 

As a result, the city can claim to have more billionaires than cities like New York, Moscow, Paris, Milan and Berlin. Most of these billionaires reside in the borough of Kensington in West London. 

The tallest building in the EU 

The Shard, located in the London borough of Southwark, is the tallest building in the European Union (for now). Once Britain leaves the European Union, it will be the fifth tallest building in the entire European continent. 

Erected in 2012, The Shard stands 1,016 feet high and has 72 floors. If you get a chance to visit London, you can visit the building and go to the top level where a restaurant and bar await you. As you can imagine, the views are stunning. 

There were fewer deaths in the Great Fire of London than you might think

If you have any interest in the history of London, then you surely have heard about the devasting Great Fire of London. The fire swept through London in 1666 and reduced most of the city to ash. 

Despite the mass destruction caused by the fire, the verified death toll was only six people. However, the real number is unknown, as it is impossible to know now how many people died from causes brought on from the fire. The Monument building was built in 1677 to commemorate the tragedy and still stands today. At the time it was the highest building in the city.  

We’ve been calling Big Ben the wrong name all this time.

Arguably London’s most recognisable landmark, Big Ben was completed in 1859. Most importantly though, it was initially named the Clock Tower and was later renamed Elizabeth Tower. 

So, how did the British cultural landmark come to be known as Big Ben, you ask? Well, the name Big Ben actually refers to the Great Bell of the striking clock at the North end of the Palace of Westminster. The Ben part of the nickname came from Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw the construction of the great bell. Now, next time you hear someone refer to the tower as Big Ben, you can correct them with your new-found London knowledge.

London’s black cab drivers are some of the most knowledgable in the world.

Black Cab drivers are recognised the world over thanks to countless depictions in film and TV. But, most people don’t know how hard it is to become a black cab driver in the capital. 

To become a black cab driver, you must first complete ‘The Knowledge’, a rigorous test where you have to memorise every single street in the city. Black cab drivers can spend years learning the roads before they can pass the test. Many of them use scooters or walk around the city to remember all the intricate back alleys and side streets. 

London’s transport system is a story in itself

There as so many fun facts about the London Underground that we could make a whole post dedicated solely to Tube facts. With eleven different lines and 270 stations, it should come as no surprise that there are some stories embedded underground. 

One example of a bonkers tube fact is that Aldgate Station has over 100 bodies buried underneath it. After the Great Plague the bodies were buried on mass. In the same vein, another London underground fact we found especially interesting is that American talk show host Jerry Springer is one of only three known people to be born on the London Underground. He was born at Highgate Underground Station.

There are over 170 museums in the city.

London’s reputation for being a city of culture isn’t just a result of its multiculturalism. The vast number of museums also add to the cultural identity of the capital. The city is home to over 170 different museums. 

Some of the most famous of these museums are The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, The Victoria & Albert, TATE Modern and The Imperial War Museum. What is the best part of all these great museums? They are all 100% free to enter with just a few exhibitions requiring a fee.

Some of the worlds most famous figures lived in London.

London has been a hub for the worlds most famous intellectuals, writers, musicians and cultural icons for centuries. Some of the capitals most famous residents over the years include Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, Ho Chi Minh, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and 100’s more. 

If you live in London or you are just visiting the famous capital, why not get Laundryheap to take care of all your laundry needs? We can help free up your time so you get to take in all the culture the city has to offer.