Monday, October 21, 2013

Landed in London

We started down this path to living in London back in March, and it is hard to believe that we actually made it here nearly six months later. We landed in London last Monday with 7 bags and one box to our names. It figures that all three of Brett's checked bags were exactly 50 lbs (the weight limit), and all three of my bags were overweight. When we arrived in London, we had a private car service waiting to pick us up from the airport. He drove us around the city for what seemed like an hour, giving us the tour of London and then finally dropping us off at our temporary housing in the West End, or how I like to describe it- tourist hell! It's very close to Regents square, Buckingham palace and Westminster, which explains the massive amounts of people.

Brett thankfully was given last week off as a transition week, therefore we used this time to really try and get to know our new home. It however did not feel like a vacation, I felt like we were on an African Safari... we were constantly in  search of food and shelter. Food being that we kept accidentally ordering this thing called rillette, which is the preparation of meat similar to pate and served as a spoonful on your plate that looks and smells strikingly like cat food. But for fear of offending the chef, I made sure to eat at least half of that Fancy Feast dinner. After ordering rillettes two times last week, we decided to start googling menu items to be sure of our order.

And shelter being that we were constantly exploring new neighborhoods to determine which area would suit our lifestyle best. We were between West Hampstead and Clapham Common, both zone 2 locations, only about 3-4 miles away from the city center and both only about 30 minutes from work. We ended up choosing a place in Clapham Old Town. We found an apartment complex right in the center of a bunch of restaurants, bars and cute little shops, plus the tube stop and a gigantic park are very close by as well! Our apartment does not have a dishwasher, something I had been preparing for the last few months but does have a "full sized" refrigerator, meaning it is tall and has a separate freezer. Most of the places we were looking at only have those mini refrigerators you take to college.

The most interesting thing about Flat searching in London is that most of the places available for let are furnished, the price is determined per week and it is all negotiable. The place we ended up signing was newly refurbished and the only piece of furniture was a kitchen table. The place was listed for 350 GBP/week and we put an offer in at 340 GBP/ week plus furniture: king size bed (equivalent to a queen in the states), bed side tables, 2 chest of drawers, coffee table, ANNNNDDD I asked them to buy this specific couch frmo IKEA that I am obsessed with, and it seems like they are going to get the one I asked! My friends in Brooklyn own this couch and it is perfect for lounging on a Sunday but has extra storage and turns into a double bed (instead of a pull out mattress)! Perfect for visitors! Link here!

The ironic thing is that our apartment in London could very well be bigger than our apartment in Chicago! I can't wait to get settled instead of living out of our exploding suitcases!

I'll post more this week about our adventures thus far, but here are a few pictures to get you by...
First dinner in London- Barrafina, Soho

Regents square

Entrance to the Mall
Buckingham Palace
St. Paul's Cathedral


<3 Mary