#atinylife FiveTwo

Today I have been thinking about…five/two. 

Not as in: adds up to seven, as in 500 calories per day, two days a week. Swept the country in 2013, was it? But in my tinylife I’m often late to the party. five two

Anyway, I did finally make it along, since the Spring of 2015 I’ve been a committed partygoer/convert.

My weight has gone up, down, up, down, since 1990: what a ride! Lots of things worked but never for a particularly long time. Unless you count psychosis. Which I don’t, by the way.

Brainwashed health-kick bore alert: I love it. It works. In case no one has ever told you before:


Not temporary ones anyway. But five/two is not only effective, it’s sustainable. Just keep to your fast days.

And if that’s not enough, on those days I’m more productive and energetic.

#atinylife Stars by John Donoghue

Cigarettes and Stars

When I’m smoking in the garden, I often look at the night sky. I draw on my cigarette and I gaze at the stars. Stars

Smoking and stargazing give me so much pleasure, separately or together.  The stars seem small, but of course, they’re not. The cigarette is relaxing and the stars make me dwell for a few minutes on their eternal beauty.

In those few moments, the ordinariness of life is suspended and I am left with thoughts of the distant past and the distant future.  It’s a comforting, spiritual feeling.

I’d like to know more about the life of stars: how, where and when to find them, without becoming an astronomer, but I don’t suppose I ever will.

So I will content myself in the night garden with a cigarette and the wonder of it all.

#atinylife Soup

Today I have been thinking about … soup.

Lentil Soup

Ingredients: Onion, Carrot, Lentils (the right amount normally eludes me), Oil (I use rapeseed) and Stock (I like the Vegan Marigold Bouillon).

Method: Fry the finely chopped onion and carrot gently together, add lentils and coat with the vegetable mixture. Then cover with the stock, bring to the boil, and simmer until the lentils are soft.


Chop, glug, click, swooosh.Soup

Scrape. Stir, leave. Peel, rinse.

Quarter. Quarter, quarter, quarter. Pile.

Stir, check, add. Leave.

Fill, click, Ssssssssh.

Sprinkle, check, sprinkle, how much, sprinkle, risk, sprinkle, too much sprinkle, stop.

Stir, coat sizzle. Waft.

Locate, open, teaspoon, add, close, return.

Sssssh, click. Lift, pour, stir, turn up.


Sit. Write.

Bubble, stick.

Stir, turn down.








Steam. Breathe; Good.

Slurp. Guzzle. Cut, Dip. Lift. Fill, refill. Refill.


#tinylife Facers by Stuart Blair


FacersWell, I’ve went and done it, completed my first New Year’s resolution and joined Face Book. I feel I’ve entered a Tardis with the pictures of many faces pinned to the walls (my sister in-law has a picture of a cyberman as her front page so this is not merely illusion). My self-esteem has blossomed- I don’t think I’ve been rejected by anyone yet (not sure how I’ll know or not), there are people asking to be my friends and I’ve not a scooby who they are, people like what I’ve posted (is it a good thing when people like your date of birth?) and being able to peer over walls and spy on other people without being arrested … but best of all my wife and children have accepted me as their friends. I think I’ll give it a month.

#atinylife Frost

As berries ripen, the world turns away from the sun, snubbing its warmth, tilting away. Distant, silent, like a haughty person at a party.Frost

After weeks of rain, a sharp frost etched the earth, beautifying mud, and puddle, the metal and daub of our modern world transformed. A silvery crust coated even the most mundane of the outdoor; a tin can decorated inside and out with sparkling, tiny white fire.

We wrap up, enveloped in cosiness. Our worst selves hidden under layers of wool and felt; hair hidden by hats, throats disguised by scarves. Even our hands are covered by elegant gloves; aged fingers usually impossible to disguise are concealed, cocooned.

The cleansing cold air draws breath in. Refreshing as a bucket of ice shaken into a delicate sinus, which snaps into ear and throat.

Then, we wait for snow.


#atinylife List² by Penny Hext

‘To Do’ Lists.Lists

Don’t you just love ‘em?

For me it means I can:

1)            Pretend to be organised.

2)            Enjoy the illusion of being in control.

3)            Promote the idea of being coolly rational.

4)            Daydream…. whilst looking as though I’m organised.

5)            Doodle… whilst stalking my creativity. Naturally!

6)            Budget. More importantly: look as if I’m balancing said budget.

7)            Come up with all sorts of Bucket Lists. I mean ideas.

8)            Defer. Procrastinate… Endlessly.

9)            Blame The List – if something’s not on it.

10)          Blame The List – if something IS on it. It’s my Alter Ego. Honest.

11)          Look serious.

12)          Look as if I’m working.

13)          Surf. I mean research. You know? On the Internet.

14)          Shop quicker. In theory. (You’re shopping from the list, right?) So what happens when you find something you want which isn’t on The List. Hmmm?

15)          Over to you now. Do you get the idea?

#atinylife Recycling

Today I have been thinking about … recycling.

There are no gendered jobs in this house; I take out the rubbish, Mr HB loads the washing machine. As gusts wheeze through the door, I wonder if the recycling boxes will blow over tonight, scattering a peek into our lives across the main road, creating mess instead of improving the environment, an anti-recycling.  Recycling

Cycling, perhaps.

This –  a token, collecting our multiple beer bottles and all my first drafts tattooed with red pen, keeping them out of landfill, a tiny gesture to the huge mess that we’ve made of the earth.

We are committed to it though.

We drank the beer, printed the drafts, guzzled the wine and enjoyed the Amazon deliveries in now-folded cardboard boxes.

It’s good to know they won’t be bulldozed into a mire of gulls, rot, heat and stench.

#atinylife Dehumidifier

Today I have been thinking about … the dehumidifier.


The most romantic of household appliances,

rumbling through the day in our damp bedroom,

keeping the mould back like the sentry at the gates.

But it isn’t the job that it does, that brings it into my mind,

but the noise that it makes.

Sometimes when I go to bed

I haven’t realised it’s still on,

but in the silence after I put out my light

it gutters, drips and coughs, then sets up a deep purring.


And I am catapulted to the summers of my childhood,

on the Aberdeen-Shetland ferry,

full of fine food from the Viking Restaurant,

filo-ed in crisp white duvet sheets on bunks,

dizzy from the pitch and roll

and the dancing earlier to the band,


as I am rocked gently or not so gently to sleep.