Do you love your neighbours?

I’m one of the lucky ones – surrounded by great neighbours. Here are some reasons I ought to bake a massive cake to share with my neighbours this Valentine’s Day.  I’ve only picked out six great women, but have a hunch that those of you with small children or kind hearts may be  in a similarly loved up place?  If not here’s hoping you can find a way to make it so. Happy Valentine’s…  For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children see or my parenting book, Homemade Kids. More info at

1 PASSING ON OUTGROWN CLOTHES Last tuesday evening I popped over to Sara’s house with a wetsuit and a lovely warm coat that my kids have outgrown. Both had been donated to me by local families and used first by Lola, then by Nell. Now they are able to “enjoy” a third family using them. Literally 10 minutes later Sue rang the doorbell with a bag of clothes donated by her graduate daughter. Without this regular – and unplanned – swapping of clothes we’d all be a) poorer, and b) less well kitted out!

2 SHARING INFO Nicolette lives over the road and runs a regular emailed neighbourhood newsletter that lets 100s of us know what’s up locally. Nicolette has lived here for 17 years, written a biography of the man the street is named after (and at one time was also the name of the pub on the corner too). Here’s info about her book The Plimsoll Sensation: the great campaign to save lives at sea, and here’s an interview that star #4, Jo, did recently with Nicolette on Soundcloud.

3 CARING WITH CAKES AND GARDENING Naomi is a gardener and photographer. She’s got a blog,  Out of my Shed, with zillions of followers and a new book out in March 2013, Veg Street: growing dinner on your doorstep, about how her love of gardening has helped bring the neighbourhood together. I’m a particular fan of her activities not least because my tree pit (a project she encouraged and in summer especially makes the side streets locally look lovely) won a mini cup at last summer’s seed swap and cake tasting shindig.

4 THINKING BIG This is the role taken on by Jo who lives a couple of streets away. Recently her work at Finsbury Park Transition Town has been rewarded with a decent size grant and the opportunity to employ people on various volunteer co-ordinating, gardening and foraging projects close to Manor House tube.

5 LOOKING OUT FOR EACH OTHER When a man tried to break into our home earlier this year someone heard him, and called the police so potential burglary averted. Phew. Even better the next day Sai called round checking we were OK. How lovely. On a more pragmatic level about 12 households are members of a babysitting circle which means it’s possible to go out for an evening without wilting at the £8 an hour babysitting fee. Sorry about this local teenagers.

Here’s how to set up your own babysitting circle so you can go out – if you want – this Valentine’s Day.

Over to you
Besides that significant other who else would you like to say a lovely big thank you to for making life with your children easier and/or more fun?

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2 Comments on “Do you love your neighbours?”

  1. jlorenzo93 Says:

    Your neighbourhood sounds so much fun! I don’t even know who lives in the apartment next to mine! I guess that’s the disadvantage of moving in and out constantly… :/ Anyway, very amusing post.

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