#atinylife holidays

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for all the views, follows, likes and comments this year. I’ve really hit my stride with this blog and for that I have you to thank.

Summer Break

I’ll be back with more posts in September – I hope you all have a peaceful, restful summer. We have a couple of weeks camping booked in Norfolk this year, and some time in Glasgow while the kids take part in a Drama Course. I’m also hoping to start eating mindfully, and finally get round to starting ‘The Artist’s Way.’

If there’s anything you think would be a good topic for #atinylife in 2018/19 please do comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Also, if anyone out there would like to write a guest post – I’d love that too! Here are the guidelines.

Keep life tiny!

Stella Hervey Birrell x


#atinylife aspirational

AspirationA few weeks ago, I spent the day with my husband’s daughter from his first marriage. If you’re trying to work out the short way of writing this down, see my piece here. Of course I jumped at the chance – she is, and has always been, an amazing young lady.

She wanted me to come to a University Open Day with her.

I can just about remember going to Open Days for myself: as I recall I made a friend and skipped off for a drink halfway through. Typical behaviour for someone like me, who took further education for granted.

But it’s not the same for everyone: and for some, an Open Day can clarify where you want to be, and how to get there.

Can’t wait to cheer her on in this next part of her journey.

Dream Big!

#atinylife Friends

The best kind of friends:

pick up after a long time of not chatting as if no time has gone by

allow you to invite yourself for tea

get it

turn up

tell you when you are being a total idiot

continue to like you anyway

help you to choose an outfit/updo/set of accesories


talk to your kids as if they are people

take you for coffee

recommend books that they think you’d like

pass on the link to the great deal

support your work – especially your side hustle

forward opportunities in your field (if they are in a place to see them)

compliment you on the morning school run even though you look a mess

tell you it will be OK

do hugs (if/when you want them)

let you cry

let you be angry

stay late

laugh with you.




#atinylife route

Up the track, uneven stones wobbling under my wheels,

past the Maltings, chaff on the air, rumbles within,tinylife Route

hawthorn like popcorn made with the lid off,

open field to forest (keep an eye out for raptors),

downhill to the bench, gravel crunching,

birds flying out from one side to the other,

flat hedgerow to the tiny road, over the road, through the gate

one foot on the ground to steady me in the curved gap.


Cows on the right, cockerel crowing somewhere,

over the main road, listening hard for traffic,

braking at the combination of a turn and downhill

then flying, no pedaling until the bridge,

past the tree where we saw the white squirrel,

magpies riding on the mixers at the water treatment plant,

village on the left, field path on the right –

halfway there, halfway done, halfway home.



#atinylife poetry inspiration

Things I have written poems about,

an incomplete list:

My stretch marks

My grey hair

The incompatibility between birdwatching/cycling, and being a parent/creative

My nephew’s shoelaces

A bird I didn’t see

The village I live in

Batman’s Hot Pants

Art by Kirsty Whiten

A window

Mental health recovery

Food banks

My house

My partner


Domestic drudgery

Men sewing

Walking on a beach with Jesus

Washing up with Jesus

Being a jumped up little madam

Eavesdropping in a coffee shop and judging the people around me

An official council planning meeting

Michael Rosen (in the style of Michael Rosen)

Radio 4 (in the style of Hollie McNish)

Parenting (in the style of Helen Fielding)

Reading (in the style of Vicki Feaver)

Playing cards

tinylife Poem


A tent

Metaphor, via the vehicle of paper aeroplanes







What’s on your list?




#atinylife140 desk

tinylife deskSitting in front of the computer trying to write the great British novel, or an entire spoken word set, or at least redraft that story I thought was good but ‘needs more work.’ I am so fortunate to be at home while the children are at school. I am so lucky to have the tools I need. I even tidied my work space this morning, shoved printed poems into the recycling. I write a To Do list.

I got nothing.

At 11ish, I give up and go for a cycle. I am so distracted by the amazing weather that I forget to put my helmet on. It’s like a pastoral symphony out there: butterflies and everything.

If you write, you’ll know how this story ends. I got home with two ideas for poems and wrote one in the garden’s sun.

#atinylife HIVstories

Myths and stigma around HIV abound. No, you can’t get HIV from kissing. No, you can’t get HIV from sharing cutlery. Yes, people living with HIV on effective treatment don’t pass the virus onto their sexual partners.

The myths behind these facts might seem harmless, but they perpetuate HIV stigma – which seriously affects people’s day-to-day lives.Twitter Subs Open

The Positive Stories Project aims to use the power of creative writing and expression to challenge HIV stigma. Run by HIV Scotland throughout Summer 2018, the project will consist of a series of creative writing workshops for people living with HIV, a mentorship programme that pairs people living with HIV with professional writers, and a published anthology so that those living with and affected by HIV can share their stories with the world.

Let’s write to end HIV stigma.