Life in the UK

If you are new to the country or if you have moved here from elsewhere in the UK, London can be somewhat overwhelming.

For those coming from overseas, it can be particularly daunting. Research has shown that the UK ranks very low compared to many other countries with regards to relocation. Even if English is your native language, Britain may still feel like quite a foreign place.

Employers confirm that the number one reason for employees not accepting an international assignment in the 1st place is the potential disruption to the career of their relocating partner. Today’s mobile employees are no longer interested exclusively in the financial aspect of their international assignment package – they are extremely concerned about the fate of their partners while abroad, and the most common reason for a failed expat assignment (71% of corporations) is an unhappy and unintegrated partner in the host location.

Supporting the expat partner brings significant benefits for the company, including assignment acceptance & job performance. Language & intercultural training are the 2 top benefits that are offered by companies as part of the package for expat partners. **

** Information & Data Sources: 2018 Internations Expat Insider Survey, 2018 EY & NetExpat Relocating Partner Survey

Once couples have settled somewhat, research shows that is often when the person who has tagged along (and most often that is the wife) is struggling with finding something meaningful to do having often left behind a career back home.

Culture Cuppa, Runneth London, Cigal Kaplan Interiors & Magus Education are experts helping expats with their relocation needs from creating a home, career coaching, help with language and cultural aspects, and schools.

The below questions and worries Karin gets from many parents and in particular from those who are brand new to the UK. Some of these questions also relate to those who are already settled and find themselves going through a difficult life situation (like divorce or separation):

  • Do I need to register with a GP?
  • How does the healthcare system work?
  • What are the emergency numbers?
  • How does the educational system work?
  • How can I understand British culture better?
  • My partner is physically hurting me, but I am scared that our children will be taken away if I report it.
  • How does it work if I find myself wanting or needing to separate or divorce from my partner?
  • I am having issues with my landlord and am not sure where to turn to.
  • Now that we have children, we need to organise a will, but we are from different countries and are not sure what to do or how to do it.
  • I would like to set up my own business, however I am unsure as to where to start.
  • I am pregnant and have no idea how the antenatal services work here.

There are of course many more questions, but those are some that Karin has come across the most over many years.

Karin can help signpost you by putting you in touch with experts that are known to her personally, so please don’t hesitate to be in touch on and she will do her best to help you.

Healthcare & Emergency Numbers

Emergency numbers: 112, 999

Non-Emergency numbers: 101, 111, 0300 123 1212

Yes, you do need to register with a GP even if you have private health insurance. Please click HERE to take you to the page with links to GP surgeries and other local hospitals, dentists and much more.

If you are pregnant and would like to understand what the first steps are, please click HERE to take you to the page on pregnancy and ante-natal services.

General Help

Your local council can help with a number of things as can the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Magnus Mill who is a partner at Alexiou Fisher Philipps in nearby Marylebone can help with issues relating to family law.

Priya Dhokia is a family lawyer and partner at Freedman Green Dhokia based in St John’s Wood who can also help with family law matters.

We run a support group for those NW8-mums who are undergoing separation or divorce. Magnus has done talks for us where he goes through the process and answers individual questions. Should you need to and like to join the support group, please email us on hello@nw8mums-com. Everything that is disclosed in the support group and during talks is confidential.

Citizenship and visa issuesSamar Shams at Changes Immigration helped Karin personally with her British Citizenship application process and she has since helped many of Karin’s friends and several in the group.

For help related to real estate, Karin has used Kay Evans of Cripps on a few occasions.

Attwells Solicitors on St John’s Wood High Street can also help with a number of legal aspects as well as witness documents.

Organising a will, setting up life insurance and various other things, can be quite daunting and it is easy to put it off simply because you have no idea of where to start.

There are many Americans in the area and for those who need a specialist in UK/US matters, Lawrence (Larry) Gilberti, a partner at Reed Smith, regularly comes over to London to meet his UK based clients helping them with wills.

Kevin Rex of Summit Financial helps US citizens with life insurance, estate and financial planning.

Setting Up a Business

For the latest information, it is best to go straight to HMRC where you can read all about it as well as get going.

Karin’s accountant, Gregg Pilcher, has been instrumental in helping her not just with accounting as self-employed, but also when she set up NW8-mums and her educational consultancy Magus Education as limited companies. He helped set it all up with HMRC and he also does the accounting.

Kath Sloggett is a local mother and career coach. Her company Runneth can help with anything business related from starting a business to changing careers. She and her team help men and women at all different parts of their working life from working with grad students to those nearing retirement. She has helped many NW8-mums and dads.

kath sloggett of runneth

Geeta Dashwani is a business law specialist and founder of DLC and she can help with aspects related to business, starting a business and more.

British Culture & British English

Who doesn’t want to understand the British better? As a student, it took Karin a while to realise that ‘See you later!’ was not an invitation to see her later, but is an expression.

Victoria Rennoldson of Culture Cuppa can help you with all things British. She organises many things from talks, workshops, walks, individual sessions on different topics, communication sessions and much more.


Education is one of the most commonly talked about topics. To learn more about the educational system here in the UK, please click HERE to go to the page on schools and nurseries.

Magus Education, co-founded by Karin, regularly offers workshops on understanding the education system as well as private consultations.

Setting Up a Home

Should you need help setting up a home, or need help with anything related to interiors, Cigal Kaplan is the person to go to. She has also helped Karin personally when she did a big renovation job during 2020. She works on small to massive projects including rental properties.

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

If you would like to keep in touch with NW8-mums and receive newsletters, please fill in your details below.