Category Archives: Free TV

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…

… with a little understanding. Actually, we’ve required a lot of understand from the very start, when J was six months old for example, with reflux, and screaming morning, noon and night…

When you’re budgetting, though, you suddenly find it’s even more important. J’s two and a half now and we’ve never, once, paid for a babysitter. It’s partly down to our routines, I guess. Being a bit broke means we don’t go out to restaurants, we go to friends’ houses for supper instead, driving there with J and slinging him into their bed till we’re ready to lift him out and drive him home. But at around once a fortnight we go Out-Out: to the pub for a drink or, gasp, to the cinema perhaps. And that’s when we call on the services our amazing, baby-sitting co-operative.

It’s an incredibly sophisticated and complicated system and it works like this: around five local families with kids pool together and regularly sit for each other for free. So one night, I’ll go round to the Millings, who live a couple of roads away, while Tom stays here with Johnny. The parents-Milling go out, I sit on their sofa, enjoying their tea and biscuits and nice clean house, till they get home. A couple of weeks later, one of them come round here – to our slightly grubbier house and lower-grade biscuits – ¬†and tom and I paint the town red (or, at least, pale pink).

Since we’ve been trying to live more ‘freely’, the system’s expanded enormously. The pool’s got wider, we’ve made lots of new friends and the swapping’s extended from babysitting services to include toys, clothes and play dates when the numerous ¬†freelance mums in our neighbourhood need to grab an hour for a meeting in the middle of the day.

Continue reading

We made a film!

Okay, so it’s a very short one… But still. We’re movie stars! Hollywood, we’re waiting for your call…

Free Our Kids – Why Hattie isn’t spending anything on her son from Kieron Bryan on Vimeo.

We made it with our friend, the uber talented Kieron Bryan, and even did some stealthy filming in Westfield. Basically, we risked an embarrassing scene with security for you guys.

We’re on holiday all week in sunny Wales, so we’ll leave you with this for a while. The next pictures you see of us will be impossibly glamorous and sun drenched, I am sure…

Viva la cardboard revolution!

“Parents of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your plastic crap and credit card bills!” as Marx might, I suppose, have said, had he lived in the time of Toys R Us and the Tweenies.

I hadn’t even seen part 2 of Caine’s Arcade when I posted the first video about Caine on Friday. But then Alison pointed it out, saying she’d found it after crying over the Part 1 video that I’d embedded so I went to seek it out and… well… my eyes may have moistened a little.

I’m taking that as a sign that spring and hay fever are finally on their way and not as evidence that I cry at everything since becoming a mother, a bloody car commercial can set me off these days (why do they always have to bring in the string section and the kids in their little car seats looking all small and sweet and OH GOD they’re going to grow up so fast and become vile and after that probably move to the other side of the Earth and forget to even send their loving parents Christmas cards.)

Anyway. Alison was right. This one IS amazing and not just because Jack Black is in it. It’s the grainy home video of all the other kids around the world. Their goofy, gappy-toothed pride as they grin over their wonky cardboard creations, inspired by Caine.

So whether Marx is actually spinning in his leafy Highgate grave over the Tweenies or not, I’m saying it to you now: comrades, parents, carers… lend me your ears (bit Julius Caesar, I know, but since we’re plagarising)

Let’s throw down our plastic shackles (even if you only want to do it for the day) and join the cardboard revolution. The second Global Cardboard Challenge is happening on October 5 this year. Last year, there were over 270 events in 41 countries celebrating children’s creativity and the spirit of community.

Our community might be based around IP addresses rather than postcodes, but so what? It’s still pretty strong. Let’s do something.

Maybe we can get together in ‘real life’ and build a massive cardboard city with all our kids. Or maybe we can plot a way to join our efforts together online. We’ve got plenty of time to think about it. But put the date in your diary. Drop me a line with suggestions or some signal of general enthusiasm. And I’ll plot something around everyone’s availability.

VIVA LA CARDBOARD REVOLUTION!