When I moved to the U.K., I didn’t realize how hard it would be to go without my favorite snacks. Don’t get me wrong, you can find a lot of US snacks in the U.K.-they even have American food sections in grocery stores! Over time, you do start to forget about your old favorite snacks. You do your shopping and you’ll find things that you really like! These are some things I’ve found in the last year that I absolutely love! If I live in America again, I would honestly miss these things.
1. Percy Pigs——freakin’ Percy Pigs, man!
If you have a sweet tooth and love gummy candies, this is the snack for you! These can be found at Marks and Spencer! They regular Percy Pigs, but they also have a Veggie Percy Pig that’s gelatin-free! They also have holiday-themed Percy Pigs for like Halloween or Easter and they’re so cute hahaha😂. The previous ward I worked on, we were so obsessed with Percy Pigs that we would take turns buying them every day haha. (I’m obsessed with the Veggie Percy Pigs btw😉😉) .
Don’t they look fab?
2. Cheese Tasters and Wotsits!!
You can find Cheetos puffs here, but they’re really small! I was missing the real deal. I went to Marks and Spencer and found Cheese Tasters and decided to try them! At first they didn’t quite taste like Cheetos puffs, but over time they grew on me and now I think I prefer them! Wotsits are really good too, but I think I prefer the Cheese Tasters! 😂 Wotsits you can find anywhere too!
3. Digestive biscuits
The Brits love dunking biscuits in their tea! I thought it was a strange concept, until I tried it one day! We bought some digestive biscuits one day and had some hot tea and now it’s a regular thing with me. The brand in particular is McVitie’s !😉You’ll never go back.
4. Salt and Vinegar Pringles
Brits are obsessed with salt and vinegar things! They put it in their chips (thick fries). We have Pringles in the US, but we have pizza and other random flavors! I tried the salt and vinegar flavor and now I’m obsessed. You can also find these at any store you go to!!
So addicting lol
5. Pot Noodle
If you’re missing Ramen Noodles, I highly suggest Pot Noodle (chicken and mushroom flavor is the best). They are £1 and a decent size! Just boil some water and pour it in the cup and it’s good to go! It comes with a little sachet of soy sauce! They have other flavors to pick from—-curry, beef & tomato, Bombay Bad Boy, chow mein , and others ! The most popular by far is chicken and mushroom 😍
These are just a few things I love here! I will come out with other things I enjoy and things that I really hate 😂 feel free to let me know what U.K. foods you like!
I have been meaning to write this, but I have observed a few things while living in the U.K.. some good and some..strange?😂
1.There are SO many KFC’s and barely any Taco Bells😂
I find it amazing what fast food chains have taken off in the UK. The US has so many popular fast food chains (Arby’s, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen), but somehow KFC has spread like wildfire in the U.K.! 😂. It is everywhere! I was quite surprised by that because it’s not as popular of a place in the US! As far as Taco Bell’s go, you they’re quite rare in London, and quite popular in northern England! It really sucks when you get an intense Taco Bell craving and there are none in your area ….😅. Their menu is also quite smaller and no cinnamon twists!😭
2. Ranchdressing does not exist here
Yep, I said it. A land where you can’t find any ranch dressing. You also see a lot of people eating salads without ANY dressing 😂. To satisfy my salad dressing needs, I am able to use Caesar dressing! I have introduced my boyfriend, Chris, to ranch and now he’s obsessed! We love to dip broccoli and carrots in it, even chicken nuggets! If you’re moving to the U.K., buy ranch packets, you can make your own.
3. Daydrinking is not a popular thing
Americans love a warm summer day surrounded by family and friends drinking a cold beer in the afternoon and then continuing to drink in moderation all day 😂! If you ask a Brit if they want to have a pint of beer or some wine in the early afternoon, they might look a bit puzzled! Like you might be an alcoholic? They love to drink, but they tend to wait until the evenings to hit up the pub or have a good house party. 🍻 Don’t get me wrong, not every Brit is this way, but this is what I have observed since I have moved here! 😂 I remember when I lived in the US, I went to a winery with my mom in the summer and had wine slushies in the afternoon and I texted my British boyfriend what I was doing and it was like I had committed some sort of sin 😂
4. Unreliable trains
I was amazing at how many people in the U.K. don’t drive! In London a lot of people rely on the tube or walk everywhere and don’t have cars-I don’t blame them because the traffic looks horrendous in some parts! Even outside of London though in more rural areas where I thought more people would drive-they rely on their trains and bus services. The trains are good for the most part- not the cheapest, but they do get you around! I take the train to and from work every day, but some days your train will have signal failures so it is either extremely slow or just terminates there and you’re screwed. You must find a new way to your destination. There was a time I took a train to view a house and I thought I would take an earlier train so I could look around the town-my train had massive signal failures and I almost arrive to my viewing late… An hour delay I want to say? It’s nuts! At the moment, my train is hourly instead of 3-4 times an hour due to Covid-19! I’m so ready to drive 😅.
5. So many vacation days!
When I started my nursing job in the U.K., I started out with five weeks of vacation days! I was so surprised by that! They encourage you to take time off-it’s so great! I felt like I was pulling teeth just to get some time off in the US! Plus it’s so cheap to fly anywhere in Europe-you can take just a couple of days off and fly anywhere ! (Ryanair is a cheap airline that many people use-I recommend!).
I’ve been living in England for just over a year now-hard to believe! Living with my boyfriend and our new puppy, Ellie, has been such a joy! I was about to get a U.K. driving license so I could drive our new car and stop relying on trains! I had flights booked to the US so I could see my parents!Life was going so well, and then Covid-19 decided to show up.
While at work in January, my colleague was on break with me and she was reading the newspaper. She knows like everything that’s going on in the world, I swear! Haha She asked if I had heard about the strange new virus going around China that came from bats. I told her I hadn’t. I assumed they would have gotten it under control quickly, nothing to worry about-we have so much technology in the world! Haha
I remember a couple of weeks later, the first case popped up in the U.K.! It was in the Yorkshire area! That’s when it started feeling real to me. It was scary. Over the next few weeks, I could see the numbers rising all around me-we were trapped.
My boyfriend, Chris, worked his last day in the office. He’s been home for two months now and he has no idea when he will be working in an office again. Will people even be working in offices in the future? I’ll admit, I do enjoy him working from home because he is like the best cook and he’s always making something awesome hahaha😂😂. Since he doesn’t have to go to the office in London, he is saving so much on train tickets!
I’m really lucky to be working for the NHS. My hospital has been giving free taxis for staff that have issues getting to and from work-it has been such a blessing! In the past I would take a train and then a bus to work. They’ve really reduced the train and bus services. My train is hourly now, instead of 3 times an hour to Cambridge! We’ve also been given free hot meals at work!
We had plans of going to the US to see my family, but unfortunately we’ve had to refund our tickets. Chris isn’t even allowed into the US because he’s British and I would be risking getting and spreading Covid to my loved ones-that’s not a present they would want haha. Luckily, I was able to see my family right before Christmas, so it wasn’t that long ago. Chris hasn’t seen my family since last summer! It has been so hard not knowing when I’ll be able to go home next. The U.K. seems to be reopening slowly and the U.S. varies depending on what state you’re from! I know I’ll see them eventually though. Such strange times we’re living in. The world is like completely shut down. Never in a million years would I have thought something like this would happen.
It’s easy to get down about everything going on, I try to look at the positives of this lockdown. I’m such a homebody! I love canceled plans and staying at home. It’s not that I hate going out and seeing people, but I do love cuddling up with my dog and Netflixing with a cup of tea. 😂😂We’ve been watching so much Hell’s Kitchen 😂😂😂. I’ve been able to read so many books and catch up with family on video chats! We’ve been doing a lot of video chat quizzes with friends! Some weekends we have so many video chats, that actually feel like we’ve had a busy week!!😂😂
Chris and I are finally dog parents!! We have had Ellie for just over a month now and we have learned so much from being dog parents. We don’t have human kids, but it sort of feels like we do, honestly haha.
I’ve been in the UK for just over a year now and was really missing my American Bulldog, Reese, so much. She lives with my mom in the US, so it has been so hard not seeing her. I’ve also had a dog around my entire life, so part of me felt empty inside. We decided to get a French Bulldog puppy- we love their personalities and the perfect size for the type of home we live in.
We found a French Bulldog ad online and got to see the puppies. We fell in love with Ellie straight away, but had to wait two weeks to bring her home. I remember our first evening with her, it seemed rather daunting haha. This tiny little dog in our home- depending on us for everything she could ever need haha. In the past, our parents had always done the training and feeding- now we were in charge of that. What if she was a little terror that never learned haha
The First Few Nights With Our Puppy
During our first night, Ellie slept downstairs in her crate with a pad. We live in a semi-detached (duplex) home, so we have neighbors all around, so we slept in the living room to keep her quiet that first night. She woke up at 5 am and howled. Chris and I were so exhausted haha. The next night we tried to sneak away after putting her in the crate, but she started to howl, so we gave in and slept downstairs haha. The nights following, she slept in her crate and maybe howled for a couple of minutes. She is now three months old and sleeps in a playpen and sleeps straight away. We have a pet camera, I really recommend one! If we wake up in the night, we can casually see if she’s awake or howling– it does hurt to see them cry, but good to see if they’re adjusting with being away from you. You can also talk to them from the camera/hear them! We got ours on Amazon- we didn’t realize how how affordable they can be!
We are now able to take her for walks!! Ellie LOVES people and dogs. She will stop whenever she sees someone on the path, even if they aren’t interested. She gets really sad when joggers don’t stop for her haha. Kids, oh my gosh, she LOVES kids and kids really love her too. She gets them giggling until it’s full on belly laughing. I have never had a dog that just wants to meet everyone. Giant dogs approach her at the park and she gladly plays with them haha. It is great to have such a chill dog. It is so important to start them young with socializing- it can do wonders for you and your dog. Our local vet sends out letters for a montly puppy socialization evening. We will take Ellie at some point for sure!
Pet Insurance in the UK
I’m from the US and hadn’t heard of getting pet insurance until I moved to England. I’ve learned that it can be really costly- especially if you have more expensive breed! You can pay monthly or a year at once. The vet said if Ellie were to break a leg- we could be spending thousands. Needless to say, we are reading up on our options haha.
They Have So Much Love to Give
We want them to grow up so fast, so they stop biting and are potting trained, but they will get there in the end. Some days it might seem like you are taking two steps forward and fifteen steps back haha. Just be patient. Each dog is different and they’re trying their hardest. They love you and look forward to seeing you each day. Enjoy your time with your new buddy.
For two years, we wanted nothing more than to have casual nights of watching tv together -not stressing about the day one of us has to fly home. We wanted to be like a “normal couple”.
In the beginning of a long distance relationship, people don’t always take you seriously, especially if one lives across the pond. People just kind of give you a fake laugh, like “good luck with that!”, after you tell them your story- I hated that. Then, they proceed to tell you how they couldn’t do long distance or they tell you all sorts of statistics. Over the years, I learned how to just smile and nod. I learned that everyone has an opinion, and long distance isn’t for everyone.
How Did We Meet?
Well, I am from St. Louis, Missouri and my boyfriend, Chris, is from London. We met in 2017 on an online dating site. I had just graduated from nursing school and wanted to become a nurse in the U.K. I didn’t realize how long it would take to get my nursing license in the U.K.. I thought maybe a few months. I thought it would be fun to create an account on a dating site and set my location for London, just see what was out there (stupid of me, I know haha). I didn’t expect to start a relationship of any sort. Guys did message me, but I wasn’t interested. And then it happened…. haha, Chris messaged me. I really loved his profile. I told him I wasn’t in London yet, but that I would be in a few months (I was just guessing). We decided to message on Whatsapp because we really enjoyed talking to each other.
We constantly messaged on Whatsapp for weeks, and then we decided to Skype a few weeks later. Right before we Skyped, I was a bundle of nerves- I was so nervous and so excited at the same time. I thought I was nuts for doing this, there is no way we could ever make something like this work! He’s 4,000 miles away from me. We finally Skyped…I had never laughed so hard before- the hours flew by. We had the best conversations! We could have talked hours and hours. I was so happy. Despite how happy I was, I kept it all quiet from my family, because I didn’t think they would take me seriously. Around three months later, he flew to St.Louis for a WEEKEND to see me! I didn’t tell anyone because I wanted to get to know him. It was so hard to say goodbye. We didn’t even know when we would see each other next.
Not long after we met up in St. Louis, I registered with a nursing agency and they said I needed a year of experience before I could be a nurse in the U.K.. I was so devastated. I didn’t think Chris would want to do long distance, because it would probably take more than a year. We decided to make it work and that we would need to see each other throughout this long distance period.
We did distance for two years and we got quite used to it actually. We made little holidays out of it! We went to Toronto, Miami, Boston, Cardiff, he stayed with my family and I stayed with him in London- even met his Family in Wales. For every trip, we would make a fancy spreadsheet with all the things we would do on each holiday- it was really fun!
Our first trip together was in Toronto, which was 5 months after we first met in St. Louis. That was our longest wait. I had just started my first nursing job and couldn’t use annual leave for a bit. Looking back, going to Toronto together for a few days and not really knowing each other all that well was a RISKY thing. What if we decided we actually hated each other after the first day together?? Luckily, we realized how much we loved each other. As each day passed, I would get a little depressed- I didn’t want us to say goodbye. I didn’t realize how hard saying goodbye would be in a long distance relationship!
Every 6-7 weeks was how often we met up! And I know what you’re thinking- how the heck could you afford that?? It wasn’t easy. Luckily, I lived at home so I didn’t pay rent. We often found flight deals and were pretty thrifty. We learned how to plan trips really well. I think we would make a good travel agency haha.
Whatsapp and Skype were blessings during our long distance. We would watch The Apprentice over Skype, or a random Netflix movie. He was six hours ahead of me, so we had to make sure we made time for each other every day. We had to learn to be really good communicators. If something was bothering one of us, we had to talk about it, not get angry and hang up. Also, days after getting back from one of our holidays, I would often be sad at home, I had to learn to stay busy and just remember we would see each other again soon. I found that it was easier to say goodbye when we knew the exact date we would see each other again.
After Long Distance
I finally moved to the U.K. in February 2019. I lived in Cambridge and worked at the hospital there, while he was living/working in London. Luckily, we saw each other all the time! Just an our train ride to get to London and a 30 minute tube journey. We lived apart for seven months, and then we officially closed the distance in September. We have a house halfway between London and Cambridge. It is the BEST. It was SO worth the long distance. All the planning we did, those tears shed at the airport, and weeks apart, it was finally over.
To those of you who are in an LDR, don’t listen to the negativity. If you really want it to work- you can make it work. It is so worth, believe me. Comment or send me stories of your long distance relationship stories- I would love to hear them. I am rooting for you!
When I was a senior in nursing school (January 2017), I decided that I definitely wanted to be a nurse in the UK. I had been toying with the idea of working in the UK, but I decided to go big and just do it. I have to make life a little difficult, right? haha. If i hated it, I could just go back home and work in pediatrics in St. Louis.
I googled how I could make my dream into a reality. An agency came up right away. I emailed them and asked how to get everything started. They were beyond friendly and eager to assist me. I was told that I needed at least a year of experience in the United States before I could apply. It wasn’t the agency’s requirement, but was the UK’s requirement. I was bummed I had to wait a year. I just thought as long as you had your license you could go anywhere. I was really clueless looking back haha.
I worked for a little over a year on an oncology ward in St.Louis, Missouri. My colleagues all knew I would be leaving to work in the UK and they were always so supportive. I was so lucky to have them. The agency would also get in touch with me every so often to see how I was doing, which was really nice.
I knew once my one year of experience arrived, I would take my computer-based theory exam. It was an exam required to work in the UK and you can take that in your home country. I started studying for that while I was getting my year of experience, so as soon as I got my experience in, I could just take it. I was so thrilled when I found out I passed it. I took that exam around August of 2018.
The agency told me that the UK requires you to fill out an application online. Basically this fancy application is to apply to work in the United Kingdom- not a particular hospital. It’s very lengthy and includes all background checks, references.. you know. Once you submit it, the UK might not start looking at it until 6 weeks later because so many people are sending in applications. It only took two months for mine to get approved, so I was pretty happy about that. The agency also sent an application I had filled out (a different one) to a hospital I picked, and they hired me!
I had to take one more exam in order to be an official nurse in the UK: the OSCE. It’s a 6 station practical that you take in the UK. Once you pass that, you are registered nurse in the UK! Woohoo!! You are considered a band 5 nurse- which is just like your basic registered nurse in the US.
I started working in March of 2019 and have really been enjoying Cambridge. It seems like it has been a long journey to get here, but it has been so worth it. You just have to be patient with all of the paperwork and it processing- I think that’s the worst part. Once you are offered the job, you get a visa and a biometric residence permit- you’re good to go!
Hiya! I’m Megan. I recently moved to Cambridge, United Kingdom of February 2019 and thought it would be really fun to talk about my experiences here so far.
I visited the UK in 2012 with the Illinois Ambassadors of Music. I was just 17 years old at the time. We performed all over Europe, and I just happened to fall in love with the UK. I only spent four days in London, but I just found it to be very similar to the US, and yet, so different. There are all of these nooks and crannies that I just want to explore. It’s so easy to stumble upon a really old pub that’s hundreds of years old and grab a pint. If you want that modern view, you don’t have to go very far, because Canary Wharf can give you that classy, modern London feel. I recently found out there is a bar that has a ball pit for adults… how cool is that? (still need to go there). Bottom line, there are so many things you can do in London- it’s a city that never sleeps.
When we weren’t performing in London, we were doing all of the touristy things! We went up in the London Eye and you could see the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben is the bell inside- news to me at the time lol!) AND it wasn’t in scaffolding at the time! (so bummed it won’t be uncovered until 2021!!). We had to see a musical, of course, duh! Soo, we saw Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre-so amazing!! I found it so fascinating that London has tons of theatres and you can see Wicked like any day of the week! In St.Louis, we have one beautiful theatre that will run a show for a couple of weeks and then it switches!
Also, we did not take the tube at all in London out of safety reasons. London was about to host the Olympics in a few days, so our group had to take a tour bus everywhere. I remember getting in a bus for the first, oh dear lol- I forgot about the whole left side of the road thing.
After four days in London, we took a bus to Dover to get to France! I continued my music journey for a few more weeks. I had an absolute blast. I remember getting off of my plane and hugging my parents and I think the first thing I said to my dad was “I’m gonna move to the UK someday, dad!” in a joking sort of way, but also sort of serious haha. He laughed and sort of rolled his eye and gave me a giant hug back. I was 17 at the time, but little did I know that I would end up making that crazy dream a reality.