Living like a local in London... 21 things I’ve learned.

London was calling for us for years.  Dave and I often would muse about what life would be like living here and even made a visit when I was pregnant with Bonnie-Blue.  After just over six months of living in London with my family, I’m getting up to speed on how things are done here.  If you’re an expatriate or planning on visiting, these little tips & tricks may help you get acclimated to the culture.  


Here’s a quick guide:


1.  “That’s alright” means “You’re welcome” ...


2.  Tea time is for real.  And the biscuit selection at the grocery store is off the charts.


3.  “Bits” is my new favorite saying and applies to so much ... random things on the floor, sprinkles on top of ice cream.  I love it.  Just like the faux rock band in the fun TV series, Vinyl.  The “Nasty Bits” were the best.  


4.  Crisps = potato chips.  Pick a flavor, any flavor.  The Brits like their crisps.  


5.  Chips = french fries.  


6.  When writing out the date, the day and date are reversed here.  Date/month/year.  June 26th is 26/6/17, not 6/26/17.  I make it easy for myself and just spell out the dates.  


7.  I triple check when crossing the street.  Right, left, right.  


8.  I still get in the wrong side of the car when I take an Uber.


9.  Letting agent offices are everywhere.  If you’re looking to rent a place in London,  it’s part of the deal.  First they’ll show you a crappy place, then a fancy place to get you to go higher on your monthly budget.  It’s a big ‘ol game and we all know it.  


10.  People are polite.  Even when they’re upset or complaining, it rarely feels hostile.  


11.  The letter “Z” is said like “Zed” and “H” is said like the beginning of the word “Hot”... breathy and all.  Herbs are said with the “H” at the beginning.  Tomato is said with a soft “a”.  Let’s just say that I’ll be speaking like a California girl most of my life, but my daughter is adopting to the lingo pretty well.  


12.  Queues are a serious thing.  There’s no confusion on who is next in line.  Even swimming at the pool during lap time is organized, thank goodness.  


13.  I still don’t know what side of the sidewalk to walk on.  


14.  Living in the city, we don’t have a car.  Overground trains, buses, and grocery deliveries to our front door all rock.


15.  It’s truly a melting pot of cultures, I love it.


16.  The NHS (National Health Service) is easy and fuss free.  And I don’t have to deal with nasty co-pays or the craziness of health insurance and all of the headaches that go with it.  


17.  Mud larking, or digging for treasures on the Thames River is one of my favorite surprises of life here.  


18.  There are 4 seasons in one day.  Prepare for it.


19.  The subway is the “Tube” and the “Overground” sometimes goes underground.  


20.  “Mind the Gap” is for real.  Sometimes there’s a big gap and you’d better be careful.


21.  The red phone booths are so cute from the outside, but oh-so-stinky on the inside.   


Thanks for reading...I’ll be back soon with more info on London.  Please let me know in the comments if there’s anything that I missed.  XO, M.E. 










  • Love your post! Brings back memories of the occasions to that been there. I don’t know if I could live there. I love the culture and the differences and the people but everything seems to be just a bit tinier and was less convenient and a bit more compressed. I guess I’m too Americanized. Still it’s great for a week or two for me. I hope we get over there while you’re still there.
    Tom ster
  • some great tips here for my coming trip :)

    Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd
  • Love your blog M.E. it made me smile!!

  • My first 4 seasons in a day of London life overwhelmed me ?

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