We live in the city of London, borough of Wandsworth, and the area is called Balham. I think Wandsworth is a wonderful borough to live in. Among the great things I’ve found are listed next. There are free playgroups, called “One O’clock Centres,” every week day from 1-4pm, for ages 0-5. There is usually both indoor and outdoor space, craft areas, playgrounds, complete with snacks and tea/coffee time for the adults. Wandsworth has the lowest council tax in the area. (Basically if you live here you have to pay a council tax, like property tax in the U.S. but it’s paid by the resident, whether that be a lessee or owner.) Each child by the age of three is guaranteed free preschool for three hours per day, five days a week, and there are about five preschools I can walk to from our house. I’ve visited about three of them and they all seem nice.
The grocery stores are stocked with healthy, fresh food. Don’t get me wrong, you can find your share of junk food, but there are healthy dinners, prepackaged in the refrigerated food section that you just cook or heat up. Compare this to the U.S.’ frozen food section, but because its fresh, its not full of preservatives. Local fruits and vegetables are the norm also. Nothing is boxed. Forget Kraft macaroni and cheese, the mac and cheese here is in the refrigerated section and was just made a few days prior. In fact, the boxed or frozen food sections are practically non-existent.
Our favorite take-out or “take away” as they call it here has become Indian food. We live close to an ethnic neighborhood and can get great Indian food for a pretty good value. My two year-old even likes it, and calls it the “chicky, rice and sauce.” If it’s ever too spicy she says “just mix it with more rice Mama.” Another favorite, the many Italian restaurants. And pizza delivery is also very popular. You can get typical Italian-American pizzas with traditional toppings, but why do that when you can get a Greek pizza with feta and garlic, or an Indian style pizza with tandoori, tikka or curry? The veggie pizza we ordered the other night was even a little different as it had corn on it. Yum! All brought to us by our local Domino’s Pizza. I’d love to say it is an exception rather than a rule but we probably get either Indian food or pizza delivery once a week.