#atinylife stayhome

It’s Saturday night,

and I’m in.

I’m usually in, on a Saturday.


I saw friends and family today,

in little boxes on the computer –

it’s so much better than nothing.


I keep watching something

or reading something,

and forgetting.


And then I think ‘oh, yes.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic.

The last one was about a hundred years ago.’ stay home


I’m not even following the news much,

it feels irresponsible, but I just can’t

listen to the same story, but with bigger numbers, every day.


And I think, ‘I’m not

doing anything. Do I have anything

to write about?


There are stories out there

that are much more pertinent,

than a person who sat at home on Zoom during the pandemic, and found it quite difficult to write her weekly blog, all of a sudden,

but was basically fine.





#atinylife andanotherthing…

You know when you think you just have a bit of a weird habit and then, 40 years later, you find out it’s a recognised syndrome?

Just me?

I’m not going to talk about it in detail, but if you want to look it up, it’s called excoriation disorder. And I’ve not been diagnosed with it officially, it would be classed as ‘mild’ I think. There’s a test to do with ‘interfering with your daily life,’ and I don’t think I’m there, most days (thank goodness!).Who Knew

What’s interesting is to observe my reaction to this new knowledge. I’ve been under a bit of stress these last few months and I’m adding in these behaviours as evidence of how I’ve been feeling. I’m using some of the advice online to manage the symptoms. But they haven’t stopped.

Knowledge is not always power.

#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 blogger

I’m attending a conference in my capacity as a blogger next week, so I’m giving myself 280 words for the first time in this extended post on blogging.

I found it easier to write about reasons why other people blog! Like:

To make money

Some people apparently make a good deal of profit from monetising (ug, what a word) their blogs. To be honest, I have not even looked into how one might achieve this.

To write on a particular theme

I blog about lots of different things, because the blog is called tinylife, and life is lots of different things.

To bitch about other people/be deliberately polemic

I get in enough trouble already! Which is not to say that I don’t put my opinions in my blog, but there are ways of doing so respectfully. And if you find out what they are, please let me know…


Here are some reason why blog.

I wanted to commit to writing something every week


I think it’s important to prove, as a writer, that you can turn up every week and be consistent.

I wanted to put writing out for free

The places I submit to are often pay to view, and lots of pieces are yet to place anywhere. But in order to showcase my work, I wanted to put writing online in the public domain.

I wanted to build a community

And yay, I did! I’ve got some lovely readers who comment often (yes, you Jena, Joanne, Ann), and many more people who read and enjoy my posts. My favourite bit? When a conversation about a post leads all the way to another, guest post – like here and here.



#atinylife 140…280?

tinylife 140 280This post is long overdue.

I am the sort of vague that doesn’t necessarily connect the increased word limit of a social network that I based my blog design on, with said blog’s design post length.

So: to 140, not not to 140? That is the question.

Will the significance of the number 140 fade into obscurity? Should I allow myself the number of words per blog post to always match the equivalent number of characters in the modern Tweet? What even is that, these days? I’m just getting a circle – my tweets are somewhere between a half and a waxing moon.

After two full years of blogging, I’m starting to feel connected to my tinylifers (thanks guys!). Something is beginning here.

140 it is then, for now, perhaps forever. I can cope with the number obscurity. I hope it keeps me from rambling.


#atinylife Yuletide

Christmas anxiety. A wash of feelings, pulling and pushing in opposite directions. I’m a sociable person, I love my friends. Now it’s December yuletideand I’m all ‘hopefully we can catch up before Christmas?’

I invite, or accept invitations, with joy, and then approach the days themselves with dread. Will I spend hours on my return, mulling over a throwaway comment I made, seeking malevolence in words that were not meant to hurt? Deliberately sabotaging my own friendships, and my own fragile resilience?

So last year, I stopped saying ‘let’s meet up before Christmas’ and started saying ‘have a lovely Christmas! See you next year.’

To anyone reading this who feels anxious around Christmas, I just want to say: you don’t have to see anyone, if you don’t feel like it. Look after yourself, OK? And I’ll see you next year.


#atinylife BookFest

Yesterday, I made my first appearance at a Book Festival. I’ve not managed to visit many, even as a punter, but every time I have made it along to one, I’ve felt like I was among ‘my people.’

Our event, Books, Blogs and a Blether, comprised of myself, Joanne, who runs Portobello Book Blog, and fellow writer Natalie Fergie chatting blogs and writing. how-many-wrongsMy favourite moment?When we asked everyone to share what they were reading with the person next to them, and the room exploded into a cacophony of book enthusiasm.

The idea of writing being a lonely profession isn’t new. But events like yesterday don’t just help me feel less alone. They make me feel supported by my network, new friends and readers. I even got some great feedback on the first Chapter of lucky draft 13 of Novel number 2.


#atinylife shoes – a guest post by Joanne Baird, Portobello Book Blog

There’s been a lot of debate about girls’ shoes lately.

The stereotypical names – “Dance Honey”, “Dolly Babe”

Their impractical flimsy nature which doesn’t allow for splashing, running, playing

Unlike the corresponding boys’ styles – “Long Jump”, “Harlem Racer”

Does it get better with ladies’ shoes?

I don’t want fashionable. tinylife-shoes.jpg

I want shoes I can wear for more than one season.

I don’t do heels. Ever. I want practical not painful.

I don’t want to pay £70 or more for something that falls apart after one summer.

I want shoes that don’t look like my granny’s, without costing a fortune.

Too much to ask? It seems so.

Men have it easy. Everything is strong, practical, functional.

There’s too much choice, yet not enough.

I don’t fit the stereotype – and I hate shoe shopping!

While we’re on the subject, I don’t do handbags either…..


#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…