#atinylife Fall by Josie Hervey

Letting Go.

Control freak sister here. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. Anyone who knows us will tell you that we’re all control freaks.

I like to think of myself as pro-active, a fixer, and it’s true: I am. But recently I’ve been learning that this sense of control is actually an illusion, the product of a lucky, privileged life.

FallSooner or later, something will come along that you can’t control, manage or – my own personal favourite – fix.

Then what?

Well, I’m coming to realise that sometimes – without giving up, or even in – you just have to let go.

And yes, I know: if you let go you might fly… blah, blah, blah… you might fall, too.

Some things about letting go:

You might fall, but that doesn’t mean you failed.

You might fail, but so what? Let that go too.

#atinylife Listening

Today I have been thinking about … listening.

I listen to a whole lot of things I don’t want to hear these days.

The news is probably the worst. I yell at the radio while politicians make shopping list of guns in the same breath as they list thousands they will no longer help.Listening.JPG

I love my children, but in all their waking hours, it’s a constant torrent of ‘Mummy? Mummy?’

At church, sometimes the music is truly divine. Other times, not so much.

In the corner shop, I stand silent, shocked at the lack of compassion for people two streets away, two continents away.

Still, I would give you my eyes before I gave you my ears.

Music, spoken word, laughter, true conversation, ideas zinging around a room.

And sometimes, it is just as important to listen to the silence.

#atinylife Pals by Jim Fraser


Modern life, eh?

It’s just so fast moving, complicated and, quite frankly, confusing.

Which is why it’s important to have at least one constant friend we can Palsturn to, a touchstone in the turmoil.

You know the type of friend we’re talking about.

The one who helps us keep things in perspective.

The one who is always there when the really hard subjects need to be talked about.

The one who is prepared to say the things we know we really don’t want to hear.

The one with the uncanny ability to encourage us.

To make us think: “You know, maybe I’m not such a bad person after all!”

So in a turbulent world, where it’s so difficult to know the right way to think about things, one thought repeatedly comes to mind: what would we do without Katie Hopkins?

#atinylife Cat

Today I have been thinking about…my cat


My cat; black and shiny as lacquered wood

evenings, he’s in the lane yowling

every night, fighting too.

each injury a cool £60 at the vet,

early mornings, he wakes us from slumber,

eager for breakfast at half past five.

eating without competition after leaving the cat home

eked him out by a whole kilogram in a year:

entered our lives beautiful but shy, wouldn’t, couldn’t meet our

eyes, head down but purring, a vast purr, sitting just out of reach, his

eyes flashing, wanting, not wanting a stroke

easier now, he speaks to us in mrrps and ahoohs,

even sits on my knee some precious times,

entertainment bought by just a piece of string dragged slowly;

oh, how I love him, completing my house to a home,

wouldn’t be without him now. Cat



#atinylife Coins by Moira Cormack

‘Lets clean the house for Christmas! Where shall we start?’

The littlest says, ‘the money isn’t very clean.’

She empties her piggy bank over the kitchen table. Out tumbles a mountain of coppers. Soon a small bowl appears. It is filled with tuppenny pieces.

‘Can I have some vinegar?’Coins

‘Hmm, I need rubber gloves.’

‘Do you have an old toothbrush?’

‘I think I need some salt.’

Her sister joins her. The number of bowls grows. The scheme goes from small to grandiose and spreads over the entire table.

I go out. Come back in.

The house smells like a bad chippy. It is overpowering.

‘Can I show you the incident?’ She asks.

Vinegar ran down the table, down the chair legs to puddle on the floor.

‘Well I say, there we are, all clean and ready for Christmas. Thank you.’

#atinylife Shops

Today I have been thinking about…shops.


To be honest, this tinylifer doesn’t go to the shops that often full stop. At this time of year, I actively avoid their hugeness, their message of ‘Christmas IS Shopping’, crammed so full of people I feel as if the doors will burst, shoppers and merchandise floating into the car park and away.

So I buy online, or locally.

As for shopping for myself; my wardrobe is expanding as my waistline shrinks. Joy as things fit me. Some I hadn’t worn for years, but just couldn’t throw away.

But yesterday, I did go to the shops. The charity shops in Stockbridge, Edinburgh; every label and brand (including vintage). When I buy, it’s even a tiny way of helping a charity.

I got a hat, for next summer, and a pair of sparkly shoes.

#atinylife List by Tammy Hervey

If you celebrate Christmas, a Christmas list is a familiar notion. How else does Father Christmas learn of our desires?

Traditionally, in our family, lists, known to parents well in advance, include “a surprise”, and go up the chimney on Christmas Eve. (“Sock monkey” once appeared unexpectedly on Daughter No 2’s list, leading to frantic late night craft activity. But that’s another story.)

I’ve been thinking about other lists. I have daily, weekly, annual lists. Lists help. Without lists, stuff that matters gets missed. A dear friend wrote recently of that (elusive) feeling of satisfaction of a “to do” list, completed. She explained, however, that she meant a “short actual likely list, as opposed to the one that speaks of eternal hope”.


My #eternalhopelist – too private to share in its entirety – includes writing something startling, brave, discipline-changing.

What’s on yours?

#atinylife Laundry

Today I have been thinking about … laundry.


I know it’s a pair of pants short of the full load to be grateful for laundry: but it is (somewhat bizarrely) a recurring theme in my work. Write what you know, they said. So I do.

My band The Domestics’ tag line is ‘Songs of life, lost love, and the laundry.’ I write songs about pairing socks, or attacking an overflowing basket, or wearing something that’s still wet because nothing else is clean (or dry).

But even hated laundry, assumes the following:

clothes on your back,

a house,

a water AND electricity supply,

with space to hang things up.

Laundry is a constant spin, one of the many cyclical jobs that never ends. But unadulterated joy brought by crisp clothes DRIED OUTSIDE; surely one of the simplest pleasures of a tinylife.


#atinylife Huge by Becky Cunningham

Stella has a “tinylife”. Being the competitive older sister, mine is huge.


In 15 years, I’ve lived in Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Indonesia and Denmark. Huge cultural differences: the giant challenge of uprooting and restarting. Each time, appreciating tiny acts… the stranger’s offer of help, the smile on the street.


My spread of friends is huge: they circle the globe and I have ambitious plans to visit. For now, I simply share their Facebook lives, enjoying the tiny Like which says “we are on different continents now but I still care about you”.

Summers typically involve a huge UK trip: we search out tinyness, relishing the glorious sameness of family homes and traditions.

Every year offers huge challenges, tiny triumphs. Every day is spent hoping to make a huge difference through tiny actions.

My “huge” versus Stella’s “tiny”? Not so different after all.