Random Things You'll Buy After Moving to England.

Friday, February 6, 2015

1. A onesie.

(This was a photo I sent to my mom when I was ill a few weeks ago, in case you're wondering what the pouty face is all about...does any else communicate with their mom via pictures?)

But yes, a onesie. Primark in particular specializes in these bad boys, and laugh all you want - there is nothing better than coming home on a chilly night and immediately putting this on. Add in a good book or movie and a cup of tea, I won't move for hours. It's like wearing a marshmallow.

2. A metal disc weighted like a pound coin (mine's attached to my keyring).

Much to many American's surprise, when you go to the grocery store and want to use a trolley or want to use a locker at a gym, you are required to pay for it...but not really. The first week at my gym, I was flabbergasted to see that I had to insert a single pound coin in order to use a locker. "I paid for a membership and now they want an additional pound every time I come here?!" Upon unlocking the locker or returning a grocery trolley, your coin is returned to you through a slot, so you are essentially ensuring that you won't steal the trolley or the key to a locker. This took me an embarrassing number of times to notice and I won't confess how many pounds I left for some lucky person to scoop up upon opening a locker and seeing that some idiot didn't take their coin back. Oops. Since then, I bough a handy key ring for £1.50 that has a disc attached weighted exactly as a pound, so I'm never without one. 

3. Approximately 10 umbrellas a year.

...if you keep buying the £4 ones from Primark. I went through five before I finally gave in and bought a nicer one. Five! Shell out a few more pounds and buy an umbrella that won't break because you decided to open it.

4. An electric kettle.

You won't find a home here sans-electric kettle. Not a stovetop one that looks cute and hip on your counter - a plastic, "this'll do the trick" kettle. I strayed away from this mysterious machine the first few weeks when I lived here; "Why not just boil water on the stove or in the microwave? A machine JUST for tea?". Now I use it for tea, coffee, cooking, my hot water bottle, you name it. It's the swiss knife of the kitchen!

5. So many socks your drawer might explode.

I've mentioned this in a previous Foreign Flubs, but wow. Back in the states I had tons of athletic/running socks, a handful of fuzzy socks for hanging around the house, and even less socks for boots. You can get away with wearing sandals or flip flops in Texas nearly year round, but my toes have yet to feel a breeze of English air because I wear closed toed boots pretty much every single day.

6. An army green coat with a furry hood.

Why are these so popular? I have no idea. Did I snigger at the fact that every female owns one of these when I first moved here? Yes. How did I feel handing over my card at Topshop and buying one of my own? Pretty great, actually. This thing is warm.

7. New pants/trousers, because yours will no longer fit after trekking up and down hills.

I walk up the lovely mountain that is Park Street multiple times a day. You can hear the engines of cars squeaking and groaning as they make their way up, and nearly crash into each other on the way down when their brakes begin to whine. It's steep enough that the city shut down traffic and turned it into a water slide last year.

...and what you SHOULD buy

1. A Railcard.

With 5 different options to qualify for, this one-time payment of £20 or £30 per year is crucial for anyone who takes the train on a regular basis. Giving you a 1/3 discount on every ticket, mine paid itself off in 3 trips. Easy application, quick turnaround, don't miss out on it!

2. A pass case, so you can feel cool while quickly whipping out your Railcard or oyster card instead of fumbling through your wallet or purse trying to find it. You can find these just about anywhere and they're cheap.

3. A non-crappy umbrella.

See above.

4. Wellies, or "rain boots" as we say back in the states.

I was gifted these bright purple Hunter Tour Wellington Boots after I dotted the i's and crossed the t's for my move to England. The lighter, more flexible version of the infamous original Hunter's, these never feel heavy yet can withstand trudging through thick mud in the countryside. Although the price tag may not be suitable for those who live somewhere dry, I had a pair of cheap rain boots from Target in college that would rub my heels and calves sore within an hour, and have never had a problem like that with these - I even wore them on the plane over here in September!

Did you purchase any odd or unexpected things after moving somewhere new that you can't live without now? 

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