#atinylife Summer


I made it.

One more week of school –

I started singing the kids a song along these lines every morning

at this time of year.


I’ve downloaded YouTube kids to the TV in preparation…

I mean – we’ll be going for lots of healthy walks

and learning a language over the holidays of course.


It’s been lovely to have you along with me.

Thank you for liking, sharing, and commenting

on my tinylife posts.

You guys make me so happy. Thank you.


I’m going to take a few weeks away.

Summer Break

For some of them I’ll be under canvas (!)

it seems a good idea to take a break.


I hope you have a tiny summer:

that is, not a short one,

but one filled with tiny moments

you can hold onto, and appreciate.


Love, Stella.

Tinylife will be back in September.

#tinylife Merle

Book 2 has been delivered and what a difficult ‘birth’ that was!

My central character and crime investigator, Jacques Forêt, delves into the murky world of commercial sabotage for his next case. This is a place where people lie and misrepresent, where information is traded and used as a threat.


In Mende, in south west France, my fictional business, the Vaux Group, are losing contracts and money and Jacques is  the go-to man to work through the complex web of the evidence. He finds more than he bargained for and his life is threatened.  When the body of a woman is found, it appears to be suicide.  But Jacques suspects there is more to it.

Who is behind it all…and why? Will Jacques find the answer before another person ends up dead?


Merle is published on July 5th.  Read on…


























#atinylife140 Clothes Shopping²

Clothes Shopping (1)‘So the deal is, if I like it and you like it, it’s a possible, OK?’

M&S: a long look in the so-called ‘girls’ section, and a quick sweep of the so-called ‘boys’ section.

My oldest is displaying a pathological fear of the colour blue. It reminds me of how my husband’s son used to feel about pink.

‘What about this one?’

‘It’s blue.’

‘It’s blue and white striped! It’s a girl’s top.’

‘I don’t like it. It’s too plain.’ What, it’s a top in good taste? I thought. ‘You said …’

‘OK, OK.’

‘What about this one? This one is nice.’

‘Yes, but I don’t like it.’ I say.

We cross to another shop. I’m beginning to lose hope again.

‘I like this one,’ my oldest says. And so do I. ‘And this one.’ Me too.

Thank you, Next.

#atinylife summerrain

Ten things I love about summer rainfall

OK, for some of us, it’s been hot and sultry. But for others, it’s been a damp summer so far. So why’s that automatically a problem?Summer Rain

  • It gets the birds singing! (OK, they’re being territorial.)
  • It gets the earthworms wiggling – pink and naked – on the green, green grass…
  • Elderflower blossom – any blossom – smells much more intense.
  • It frightens away bite-y insects. Except for midges. Nothing scares off midges!
  • The ‘sturm and drang’ of an electric thunderstorm. Bring on the forked lightning!
  • Watching sparrows queue to fluff their feathers in a fresh flowing puddle of water.
  • A summer soaking is really revitalising. Especially after a long run.
  • It showers sticky city pavements to carefree cleanliness.
  • Rainwater tastes fantastic (watch the animals head for it).
  • It’s free… as in ‘the best things in life are’.


#atinylife light

*having a carry on: Scottish for misbehaving, being giddy.


It is an hour and a half since I put the oldest to bed, and here I am climbing the stairs again.

It’s my turn, as Mr HB went up half an hour ago.

‘Why won’t you go to sleep? You are both grumpy all day, and then when we put you to bed, you have a carry on* for hours.’

‘Mummy, it’s too light.’

‘It is not. You’re not even trying to sleep. Go to bed. And no more nonsense!’

I went to bed early, as I usually do, and a grey light came through the curtains, even at half ten when I put my light off.

5am, and I’m up again. The sun is already up, the sky is blue. I realise the kids were right:


it’s too light.

#atinylife140 Sunny

Oh, I can’t complain.

I mean,

I try not to complain.


When it’s sunny.

And it’s so sunny –

it’s great,

cheered us all right up.



In Scotland, you

get this, some years.

Some years, I don’t need

to wear sandals

at any time.


(Which is OK,

as it means I don’t

have to paint my toenails, either.)


It’s such a cliché

to be one of those serial


that complain

when it’s sunny

and when it’s raining

and when it’s cold

and when it’s windy.



I’m not great in the sunshine.

If I don’t wear a hat

I get a headache.

If it’s super hot

I get panicky

if we run low on ice cubes.


So I live

in the right country,

because as I said,

this is lovely.


But a summer like this is rare.


And that’s OK.

#atinylife140 CoffeeShops

On the radio, the man says

‘You’ve just had a baby,

so you’ll be in loads of coffee shops



‘I’m back at work like you!’ she says.


She’s owning him, on the radio.

He thinks

motherhood is easy,

and coffee shops are full of easy woman and their babies.



the man says

‘You told me

you’d had an NCT coffee



The audience laugh.


You could’ve let her be right.

How hard it is:

having a baby, being freelance.

Women wanting to work,

men ripped from their babies,

two weeks later.

Everyone’s guilt.


None of it is any good.


You know –

it’s no fun in a coffee shop

with a tiny baby.Coffee Shops

Getting half a conversation. At best.

But we’re sitting about,

having lovely coffees all day.


You could’ve left it.

We get enough of all that.