When Anastasiya moved to London a few years ago from Ukraine, not only was she always freezing but she found out she was pregnant with her first child. Now, she’s coping with the weather just fine, has a baby son and runs the social networking site London Parents to help others make sense of it all and find connections. Read on to find out a bit more about her business, her favourite London discovery and what she’d do with a Saturday night, no kids or husband in sight.
LLO: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Where are you from originally, how long have you been in London and what brought you here?
AL: Originally, I’m from Ukraine. It’s a former USSR republic in Eastern Europe. I’ve been in London for about three years. My husband brought me here. He is a website developer. He got a job here and we moved. We plan on staying, but currently we do not know for sure where life will bring us when his contract ends.
LLO: With your husband, you started the website Londonparents.co.uk. Why did you set up your business? What was your motivation?
AL: When we just moved to London, we found out I was pregnant. With it being my first pregnancy and in a foreign country, I was quite lost. I didn’t know where to go and what to do… As it turned out, to find any info I had to browse a lot of websites. I complained to my husband and we got an idea to create a website for parents specifically in London. Creating LondonParents was a hobby for my husband. He got to play with it quite a bit. When he finished it, he gave it to me and told me to do whatever I want with it. So now it is my project.
LLO: What is London Parents it all about and when did you launch?
AL: LondonParents is aimed to be the ultimate source for most useful and interesting information for London parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, godparents and pretty much every Londoner. We dreamt it to be a social network where one can discuss birthing centres, nurseries, parks and activity centres, pretty much everything related to pregnancy and children, and London of course. We launched a couple of months ago. The website is just a newborn, but we hope it will continue to grow and become a useful place for all London parents.
LLO: Do you think London is a kid-friendly city? Why or why not?
AL: Compared to our home-town in Ukraine, London is really kid-friendly with all the museums, parks and theatres, and hundreds of nurseries and good schools. There is always something good going on for kids here. I especially love the children’s theatres in London. I can’t wait for my son to grow up a little bit more so we could enjoy it together.
LLO: What has been your biggest challenge and most rewarding moment since moving to London?
AL: My biggest challenge is definitely the weather. I grew up in the Southern part of Ukraine. It is really hot there in summer and it does not rain so much. When we first moved to London I was always cold, even in summer. I’m getting better now. The most rewarding moment was when my parents came to visit and I got to show them the view from the London Eye. My mom was really impressed.
LLO: What’s the best part about living in your postcode and why?
AL: We live in Shepherds Bush, W12. And the best part about it is Westfield of course! I am a bit of a shopaholic.
LLO: Did you always get a seat on the tube when you were pregnant? Any advice for pregnant women in London in general?
AL: I didn’t have much of a bump to be frank, so it was not really obvious I was pregnant until I was about seven months along the way. So no, I didn’t always get a seat, but it was never a big problem for me really. My advice for pregnant women everywhere is to enjoy your surroundings, take care of yourself and be happy!
LLO: Give us your recommendations for London’s best kid-friendly restaurants that still serve up delicious food.
AL: I would recommend the Giraffe in Southbank. Mainly because of it’s location – it is near the London Eye and Aquarium, a good place to have a meal after a family day out. And the food is great.
LLO: Favourite London discovery?
AL: I am still discovering the city. I think one can never stop finding amazing things here, especially the architecture. My latest discovery though was the sci-fi costume parade. I didn’t know it existed, shame on me. We will definitely go next year all dressed up!
LLO: Best way to spend a Saturday in London, no children in sight?
AL: If there were no children and no husband to consider, I would go to the opera. I hope one day I will do it.