On this page we have published a few letters for you to read from former au-pairs who have used Peek-a-boo
Thanks Peek-a-boo. I've had THE best year of my life as au pair in London with you. I will miss everything. XX
4 July 2013
Dear Peekaboo Crew,
My short au-pair summer stay is almost over, so I wanted to thank you for placing me in such a wonderful family. I really enjoyed it there!
21 March 2009
One mild February afternoon 2009 at Arlanda airport where I was in the line to the check-in, still hoping for him to get there running, screaming, just like in movies: Karolina, please stay. I love you! He never did, and now I’m glad for it.
I went on the plane, crying over saying goodbye to my family, who I haven’t been away from for longer than three days before. Thoughts like ‘What have I done? How will this end? I can’t speak English, I don’t know anybody. I want to go home!’ were spinning around in my head. Everything felt so new, scary and lonely and I had no one to share it with. Now, two months later am I lying here in my bed in London, alone but stronger, much stronger. I ended up with a wonderful family with three kids, twins who now are eight months, a three year old boy and a dog (who's my most faithful friend). I have a big room and my own bathroom, a big wardrobe, a laptop and two doors out to a really nice terrace.
Now it seems like I put London and my life here on a pedestal, I don’t. London is a wonderful place but some days are good, some days bad. It’s the journey I put on a pedestal. You are going to grow as a person and you are going to discover sides about you, you didn’t know you had.
I have managed to make some friends as well, it goes faster than you could believe. Just be social and believe in yourself. I met mine on Facebook and in a store! There’s a lot of other Swedish people here who loves meeting new friends. I've heard that London is Sweden’s 7th biggest city, just because there are so many Swedish people staying here.
I often sit and admire others for being so strong individuals like ‘Oh she's so cool because she went there, and she's so good because she did this and that.’ But then I realize something, I wonder if there maybe someone home in Sweden, or out there, thinking like that about me and admires me for going alone to another country. I will never forget what my mother said to me one day when I felt bad, she said: Karolina, don’t live your life through others. Start living your own, you only have one life. So go out there, start to live your life and experience new things and meet new people. You only have one life and I’d rather say ‘Yes’ to life than regret that you said ‘No’!
Whoever you are, wherever you are and wherever you are going, I wish you good luck and have the time of your life because that's what I am going to have.
1st July 2008
My year as an au-pair.
My name is Silvia and I've lived in London for 14 month as an au-pair. I started straight after my A-levels without hardly any life experience or household skills. Yet this nice family was kind enough to give me this life changing opportunity. I've looked after two girls aged 11 and 13 at the beginning of my year and I've had a dog to care for as well. The girls are really fantastic. They are lovely and understanding and try to be helpful wherever they can. Of course from time to time they can be a handful when they are in sulk or fight with each other, but generally this isn't causing any inconveniences. The parents both work full time and coming back in the late evening. Nevertheless they've been a great help for me. They explained how I had to cook things and how to use all the labour-saving devices in the right way. Besides, whenever I made a mistake and unfortunately there were several little slip-ups from my side they never screamed at me but talked in a calm way to me and suggested how I could improve things. They've made my stay as comfortable as possible.
During my stay things have changed a lot. Not only has my English improved, but I have also changed in my personality. I have become more open and adventurous as London offers a wide range of activities. The number of museums, parks, shopping streets and clubs gives you hardly any time to be bored. I can say for myself that I've seen so many things from castles to English towns and landscape to museums and musicals that I could have never seen somewhere else. I've also heard a lot of stories about au-pairs who are really unlucky with their family. Then I always thought of how fortunate I've been to have found this family who has enabled me to have one of the best years in my life! For nothing in the world would I have missed that experience and I am very sad that it's already over now. I know it's going to be a very emotional farewell from the family as well as from my friends who I have made within this year. I want to say thank you to Peek-a-boo who showed so much effort to place me with the right family.
I can truly say you did an amazing job!
Dear Silvia, thank you so much for your superb letter. It’s a true inspiration to read about your experience. We wish you best of luck in your future endeavours and ask you to keep in touch. Have a great summer. Love, Lina & Sara
London, 26th June 2008
My time as an Au Pair!!
Hi, my name is Linda and I've been working as an Au Pair for 10 months in London. I've been very lucky with my family, I'm sure you've heard scary stories just like me, but I've been super-lucky I must say.
I've been looking after an 11 year old girl, Katie, she is an only child. She is very sweet, but of course she can be grumpy sometimes, like if she's tired or stressed, but she is very caring and understanding.
The parents work very hard. The dad is away during the week but usually comes home for the weekend. The mother works full time as well, sometimes from home, but they are always very busy and do a lot of travelling as well. That's why they need someone who can look after Katie, which I've been very happy to do.
As I've already told you she's a very sweet little girl, loves dancing and singing and know a lot of musical theatre songs now.
Working for this family has been an amazing experience for me, I've learnt so much about everything; about myself, about people and different lifestyles, about London and I've really improved my English. Becoming an Au Pair is definitely one of the best things I've done in my life - getting away from home and becoming more independent. It's been a magic journey and I'm really going to miss them, and Richmond Park. That's where I've spent most of my spare time. Lovely, absolutely lovely, like a paradise. London is a lovely and very charming city, I'm definitely coming back.
Hopefully those who read this will have a great time becoming an Au Pair or if you're a family looking for one. Whoever you are, I wish you the best of luck in the future.
A BIG thanks to Peek-a-boo, especially Lina, who has been very kind and helpful.
Thanks for reading my letter!!
Lots of love from Linda.
Thank you so much Linda for the lovely letter. We are really happy you have enjoyed yourself this much. Please stay in touch in the future and let us know if you have any friends that want to be au pairs too.
Farnham Royal, May 2008
For the past 8 months I've been living in the UK as an au pair. Just a year ago I decided to stop studying linguistics because it was just the wrong choice for me. However, I didn't really know what to do next, and after thinking about it for a long time I decided not to go back to university but to take a year off, go abroad and work as an au pair. I had bought a book about au pairing and one of the agencies mentioned in this book was Peekaboo. I liked what I read, so I called them and from then on I was really impressed with how well they helped me. They responded to my emails very fast, and started looking for a host family for me even before I had completed my file (some things can take a while to arrange, so my advice to future au pairs is to start early).
Before a week had passed, two families had called me, and I decided to accept the offer of the second family. They live about thirty minutes from London by train in a beautiful green area (best of both worlds). They have three kids and a very large (and very lovely) dog. I work about thirty hours a week, three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. I used to have to entire days off, Fridays and Sundays, but now I work Friday mornings instead of Saturday afternoons, which is great. Most of the work is looking after the kids, tidying, walking the dog and other general help around the house. My host family has been on holidays a few times, and during that time I looked after the dog and the house. When I first arrived, there was a letter waiting for me from Peekaboo, with advice, telephone numbers for emergencies and addresses of other au pairs in the area. I found some English friends in the area quite soon so I didn't contact any of the other au pairs, but it would have been a big help if I hadn't made any other friends.
Being an au pair is really great! It's great to improve your English, you make new friends, and you learn a lot about the country you go to and the country you come from.
I want to thank Peekaboo for all the help they gave me, especially Lisa Carlsson, who found me a host family!
Thank you Hanneke for the lovely letter you wrote us! Please stay in touch in the future.
My name is Kasia and I have been working as a nanny in the UK for the past 7 years. I am really happy to have the opportunity to tell you my story. It started in 1996 when I was on the 3rd year of my university and me and my friends visited England for the first time. I studied agriculture in Olsztyn and our school together with the farm near Ely-Buckinghamshire gave as the chance to work during our students practice on that farm. Although we worked very hard all weekends we were visiting a lot of the English cities having great time.
We all thought we could speak English but the unfortunately the reality was different, we understood a lot but when we spoke almost no one understood us. I really admire English people for trying very hard :-). It was the time when I realised that my English is not as good as I thought, especially my pronunciation. Decision was made, when I finish university I will go to London and learn English. Everything happened according to my plan, got the Master degree and travelled to London. I always wanted to work with children as I had teaching qualification but at the beginning was hard, to attend to school every day and to be flexible with time I couldn't apply for any other job than cleaning for example. My friends were asking me what I was doing, studied for 5 years in Poland and cleaning in London. But I knew that I had to sacrifice something to achieve my goal. After few months’ time I was offered my first nanny job. I was really happy to get it because at that time I didn't have any experience as a nanny in the UK.
That was the perfect time to prove how good I was with children. The best way to get some experience is to become an au-pair first, which has a lot advantages like living with the family so you don't have to worry about renting, working part time and going to school. In my first job as a nanny I was looking after a lovely girl Maya who was 6 months when I started. After 3 years they moved to Scotland and asked me to go with them but I couldn't – I had too many friends in London.
After working as a nanny for the past 7 years the great thing about that job is that Maya, the girl who I stopped looking after 4 years ago still comes to London to visit me or just call me to tell me about her new friend at school. Isn't that great? Unfortunately I have been ill for the past two months and I am in Poland but I felt much better when I got the pictures of all the children I was looking after for the past 7 years and each family called me wishing me the best. That is the best reward for my job as a nanny. One more thing, I don't have to tell you how great it is to live in such a wonderful city as London…
If you have the opportunity to work in England as an au-pair or nanny try it, if you don't you will never know how your life could have changed.
Thank you for your time and effort Kasia
Dear candidate, my name is Lisa Braun and I have just returned from London after one year there as an au-pair. I am not really sure where to start and what to say. I have only been home for a week and I haven't really gathered my thoughts yet. I have had a wonderful year in London and I have made so many new wonderful friends from all over the world. Sara at Peek-a-boo helped me find my host family who lived in Fulham, London.
We talked on the phone a few times and I liked Tina - the mother from the first minute. We decided that we liked each other and I was really glad they chose me as their au-pair. I came over to work for them last year in August and it didn't take me long before I had been introduced to at least 10 other au-pairs in the area. The agency sent me a list of other girls near where I lived and I went to the Peek-a-boo meetings in town to find new friends. Most of these girls were Swedish but a lot of them were from Australia, Eastern Europe and England. We met every day in a little playgroup for toddlers just down the road from the house and we started going out at weekends too. I have never been a very homesick person and I had spent a lot of time away from home before I went to England so I settled in within a week.
The family was fantastic and I really miss them, I am going to make sure I keep in touch and to go over and visit them again soon. David, the only child who is now 3 is such a cute and lovely little boy who really enjoyed my company and I think he had a lot to do with the fact that I enjoyed my stay so very much. OK, before I spend all night writing this letter I will stop. I do recommend anyone to go to England and be an au-pair, you will hopefully enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you Peek-a-boo for all your help!
Thanks Lisa! I'm glad you had a great time in London and hope you will contact us again if you are ever to return to London.
Take care, Sara
Sara asked me to write a letter about what it's like being a mothers' help in London. I had been working in a Swedish Childcare centre for two years and had a few friends who lived here in London. I really wanted to go and work abroad for a year and I decided to take the step and go to London. It's far away but not too far away, I thought. I applied to be an au-pair and I spoke to the Agency's office in London. They told me that with more than 2 years’ experience with kids I could be a nanny or a mothers' help. That meant more responsibilities but also more money. I decided to take a job with a family in Richmond, London to work as a mothers' help so I could still get some time off to study English during the day.
I was very lucky to find out that there was a family with two Children - Sue and Isabelle and that they were looking for a Swedish girl. I was really, really nervous at first when I met them at Heathrow airport but after a week or so everything was fine. I get along well with the two girls who are at school and nursery during the day and Eve and Steven (the parents) too. I have met some new great friends that I will miss so much when I decide to leave from here.
Twice a week I attend an English college in Barnes nearby and on weekends I go to the pub or nice clubs with my old and new friends. The Agency put me on a mailing list with invitations to really fun clubs around London so I can go and take my friends for free. I never knew there was so much fun in this city. I love it here and I would recommend any one to go. Speak to Sara at the agency if you are Swedish. She is really friendly and is an ex au-pair and nanny herself.
Thanks so much Maria for the letter, we really appreciate it. Glad to hear you are enjoying yourself as much as you say you are.
All the best, Sara