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moving to UK....pls. help!!

  1. #1
    mushi's Avatar
    mushi is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    happy valley

    moving to UK....pls. help!!

    hi ladies,
    we would be moving to London soon ... early next month and i need all possible help and advice on this shift...some initial queries:
    1. i know helpers are not the norm out there so should we take one from here? how easy/difficult/advisable would that be? would i get part-time help out there?

    2. i believe london is very expensive compared with HK so do u advise that i buy clothes/shoes from here to start with? since winters are cold there should also buy jackets/boots/etc form here? i have 2 sons should i also buy kids's stuff from here?

    3. i need to get admission in a school for my 5-yr old son should i start this process?

    PLS ASVISE ASAP!! thanks

  2. #2
    Dink is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Hong Kong

    Hi Mushi

    I'm originally from the UK, I hope this helps a little:

    1. Can't help you there I'm afraid, I never had any domestic help in the UK (or here actually!) but I know its going to be more expensive for you. I'm sure someone else will know more about your options.

    2. London isn't actually more expensive than Hong Kong in many ways - things that are cheaper include supermarket shopping, housing, clothes - things that are more expensive include utilities, transport, eating out. I will actually be stocking up on children's clothes during my summer holiday in the UK because its better value than here and you get a greater choice.

    3. What type of schooling are you planning on finding for your son? If you plan on sending him to a government (they call them 'state') school (which is the norm) then you need to choose your home carefully as the choice of schools will be dictated by your proximity and some schools are better than others. The other option is a fee paying or private school and I'm afraid I don't know much about that. Whichever type of school you go for you can get reports on standards from this website Inspection Reports - Ofsted. I'm sure others will be able to help you with the enrollment process but your son will definitely get a place at a state school no matter what.

    Enjoy your stay in London.

  3. #3
    Ai li's Avatar
    Ai li is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    HI mushi,

    I agree with Dink.

    Supermarket shopping and clothes are much cheaper and better quality in the UK. I wont bother to stock clothes from HK.

    If would ever return to UK again, I will stock ''chinese Wok'' which i couldnt find a good one in the UK. I remember breaking 2 woks in a week :P I hate non- stick wok since then.

  4. #4
    Speculator is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Sai Kung/Ware, Herts, UK

    Clothing is much cheaper in the UK! Go to TKmaxx, cheap label clothing/handbags/toys etc. TK Maxx -

    There are two located in Croydon, one in Hammersmith, one in Wood Green, one in Harrow on the hill.

    Alternatively, buy online. Try Littlewoodsdirect
    La Redoute

    Also, check out HotUKDeals - Deals - All for the latest deals.

    Last edited by Speculator; 07-08-2009 at 05:59 PM.

  5. #5
    Speculator is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Sai Kung/Ware, Herts, UK

    Also, try Debenhams Online

    Vertbaudet for kids clothing

    The only things more expensive in the UK are eating out and Public Transport.

    Last edited by Speculator; 07-08-2009 at 06:04 PM.

  6. #6
    LilyBo is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Hey Mushi!

    We'll have done a swap as we've just moved here from the UK!

    1. Helpers: Definately not the norm in the UK, You may be able to take a helper with you from here, however, you will have to prove that she has worked for you exclusively for over a year - you will need to make a visa application for her and provide supporting contracts / documents / photos etc. This is about all I know but you will be able to find out more info on the british embassy website. I tried to get my helper back when I went back from Beijing but couldn't provide proper contracts and therefore they wouldn't touch her with a bargepole.
    You can certainly employ a nanny in London but that will be megabucks and she wont touch the housework, or just employ a cleaner (app. $120+per hour in London) but she won't be able to look after the kids!!

    2. The cost of living in the UK is certainly NOT more expensive than HK - London can be fairly comparable when eating out etc but it depends on what sort of lifestyle you intend to lead. Shop in Tesco / Asda / Sainsburys for your day-to-day groceries and they're loads cheaper than the parknshop etc here. The one thing I miss is the local farmers markets with the fresh organic assured meat / eggs / cheese - sausages with proper meat in them, venison, ostrich burgers - oooh lovely!!
    Save loads of money and buy your clothes in the UK - if you dont want designer gear then go to Primark / Next / H&M for all your families clothes - LOADS cheaper. I really wouldn't buy winter stuff here as the high street stores will have much more choice at much cheaper prices!
    Rental - you'll clearly get a much bigger place than in HK for your money - I have some friends that have just rented a 4bed house in Wimbledon for ?4500pm (Approx$just over $50000) and it's a buyers market out there at the mo.

    3. Schooling - we have a state run system and a private system (ironically called public school just to confuse!!) so it depends what you want for your kids. The state system runs on catchment and is free - local village and town schools are not usually full and I can only comment on both systems outside of London so not really any good to you - google again!! My advice would be to find out where you are staying and then google schools in that area. Private & boarding schools are usually more than willing to hand out prospectus's (not like here) and will welcome you to tour the school - all schools are governed by Ofsted and each school also gets a report - you are able to view any schools ofsted report to see how well it is doing. The cheaper private schools are around ESF prices. Boarding schools much more.
    It's also worth mentioning that there are many lovely places to live outside of London which offer a main train line into the centre - these places are MUCH cheaper places to live and sometimes with better schools so may be worth checking out. My house (Leicestershire) is 10 mins from a direct train line into St Pancras - My hubby used to commute 1.5 hours door to door but we had a much more relaxed lifestyle, village life and a MASSIVE garden!!!!.....sniff.

    4. Enjoy - England is a beautiful place to live with some awesome places and wonderful history to visit - namely the Southwest - Cornwall (The Minnack Theatre - outdoor theatre set into a cliff - just lovely among many others, Lost gardens of Heligan, Eden project - oh how the list goes on!), The Peak district, the Lake District, Bath, The Cotswolds - you get the pciture!! Get yourself a car as London is most certainly not the be all and end all!


  7. #7
    putput is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Hong Kong

    I agree with all of the above. If you need a helper, then take yours from here if she's been with you longer than a year. It's incredibly expensive to hire one in the UK and is certainly not the norm. Friends of ours who have moved back have all taken their helpers with them. Clothes wise, not only is it alot cheaper, but you get the most fantastic variety of really good quality clothing which I find lacking in HK. Absolutely no point in buying clothes here. Can't help with no. 3 as can't remember!!

  8. #8
    slamdunk is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    There are some DH in UK which have usually been brought over by returning expats from Asia. Beware issues with local law re. minimum pay & conditions/hours (the tax free$3600 monthly no longer holds and it's more likely to be over $10k pm - I think this can be off-set by accomm/food provided). There could also be the issue of local taxes... My DH has contacts in UK and said many choose to live out as it improves hours worked and controls pay.

    Another issue is once granted a visa to work as a DH (or Domestic Worker as they are called) - the visa is not linked to an employer (like HK) but job specific and therefore helpers can look for other employers easily for the same job without reapplication once they have a visa.

    Altho higher cost (similar to that of a western Nanny?) generally includes more duties (e.g. kids + housework) than a nanny and therefore are in high demand.

    Last edited by slamdunk; 07-09-2009 at 10:56 AM.

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