*Sponsored content. When my daughter was just a bubba at one year old, we made a huge decision to move back to the UK from Singapore. The truth is, I don’t think I realised just how huge a decision moving back to the UK with a family would be at the time. Oh, the cruelty of hindsight. With that said I wanted to share some things I took for granted on one of the biggest moves we have made in our lives.
Finding somewhere to live
The truth is, we didn’t really know where we wanted to live when we moved back. We had a temporary base for a bit. However one minute we thought we might go and live up North, the next in Hertfordshire, and the next in Surrey. Our ideas about where we wanted to live changed more often than we changed our underwear.
The security of owning a home
While we had been away, the property market had exploded, and everyone around us had seemingly already bought a property. We had totally missed the opportunity to get our foot on the property market ladder. We had shipped our adopted dog over. But nobody would let us rent a property with him.
We were rudely reminded of the huge element of compromise that always comes with renting a property in the UK. In the end, we had to send our beloved dog up North with Mr C’s family while we rented a home without a soul – sob!
Stuff, stuff and more stuff
We realised that all our stuff wasn’t going to really cut it in our rented home. There just wasn’t enough space. In hindsight, we should have put a lot of our stuff directly into a Shurgard storage facility until we were truly settled in the place we wanted to be.
Self-storage facilities can be very cost-effective and convenient and are a great option if the family’s garage or spare rooms are off-limits. I think in retrospect we could have done with putting some of our furniture into storage, as well as all those old photo albums, books and personal keepsakes we kept carting around the world with us. Ideally, you need to have enough time before moving back to the UK to truly get organised and decide what items you’ll be sending off to a self-storage facility and how you’ll go about creating an organized self-storage unit with ease of access.
Location is everything
I politely nodded when my father’s advice was to find a property that was as close as possible to a good school. I now realise just how right he was. Thankfully, we ended up basing ourselves literally down the road from a fantastic local school, in a really family-friendly neighbourhood in the London Borough of Richmond. It truly was the best decision in moving back we had ever made.
..As is your network
When moving back to the UK with a family, here’s the harsh reality of it all – everyone and everything has moved on without you. I tried to rekindle old relationships, but nothing was the same. I headed out to local playgrounds with my one-year-old to forge new relationships and found it all thoroughly depressing. I felt terribly isolated.
It was only when I set up my blog, and my daughter started nursery that things started to change on that front. I had to build a new network from the ground up and it was slow and hard work. Five years down the line I am truly lucky to have an amazing network around me – but it’s not something that just happens overnight.
The cost of childcare
Wowzers this one was a total shock to the system! Dealing with the reality of the cost of private nurseries and childcare when you are trying to re-establish yourself can be pretty painful. We didn’t have grandparents who were willing or able to help support us on the childcare front like many of our friends. Let’s just say that you can’t get much done in 15 hours of free childcare per week!
Actually this was a massive positive in moving back. Lots of people moan about the NHS. But having come back from Singapore where you have to dip into your own pocket for healthcare, I really had taken for granted just how fantastic it is to have a genuinely free health care system.
Sure, it may not be perfect and it can be very slow and yes they make mistakes. But still, I would have had a huge health bill by now with all the health problems I’ve had since moving back to the UK with a family.
So these are just some of the things I took for granted when moving back to the UK with a family. If you have found this because you are moving back to the UK with a family soon what do you think about my experiences above? Do leave a comment and share.