#atinylife muddle-through

Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow…

My sister Becky quoted this line (on Zoom, of course. Where else do we talk these days?) as ‘very Christmas 2020.’

Some of us muddled-through before this year: I myself started muddling-through around 2004.

The festive season can become rigid: we always go to this house, we always eat this meal with these people, we watch this film, listen to this music. I’m so sorry if your set pieces are not possible this year.

Maybe we can use this time to think about our Christmas days. Perhaps we’ll go back to our set pieces next year, joyfully. Perhaps we’ll make new traditions that serve us better.

Meanwhile, as an official muddle-representative, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all new muddlers, est. 2020.

tinylife will be back on 17 January.

#atinylife bubble

Bubbles used to be such a happy word. I remember (being far too old for them, but still) blowing hundreds down the streets of St Andrews as a teenager, watching the smiles of baffled shoppers as they floated past, light on the wind and rainbow-sphered.

Later, it was all about how terrible it is to be in our very own social media bubbles, our echo chambers. I’ve always been a big fan of them, myself. I feel no need to emerge from my social media comfort zone and listen to the views of people who say my children don’t exist.

Now it’s bubbles again for Christmas: three families for five days. Who gets to be in your bubble? Who needs to be kept outside for their own safety?

I never thought of a bubble as something with a lock.

#atinylife CovidCarols

Happy Covid Christmas Carols

In the bleak mid-winter, I just want to moan –

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day: when this is all over I’m out every night

O little town of tie-e-e-er 4: who knows when shops will open?

While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all stood two metres apart

I saw three ships come sailing in, with PPE, with PPE

O Come all ye faithful, recorded services on-ly, (no-o-o-o-o-o-o singing allowed).

Good King Wenceslas looked out, he was quarantine-ed.

See amid the winter’s snow, facemask dropped in gutter low

Ding dong merrily on high, I got Tesco deliv’ry!

Away in a manger, already dressed for bed

Deck the halls with ‘I’m not listening’ lalalalalalalalala

Silent night, no one is out, pubs are shut, this is … really very annoying…

Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the three-family-bubble!

#atinylife your annual reminder

Dear tinylifers,

This is your annual reminder to make time for yourself over Christmas.

It is a great time of year (for many, not for everyone) to see friends and family, buy thoughtful gifts, decorate your house top to toe in tinsel or greenery: wrap, post, socialise, and eat, eat, eat.

It is a great time to stretch yourself to breaking and end up exhausted.

If you can, plan some days that are empty. Or some hours. Or some minutes. Force yourself to sit down. Or go to sleep. Or breathe.

It is OK to not have a wonderful time every moment of every day over Christmas. It is OK if your children do not have a wonderful time every moment of their school holiday. You get to be a person too.

tiny love

Stay tiny!

tinylife will return on 12th January.

#atinylife tinyAdvent

Hi all,

December again, and lots of us are in the middle of an insane whirl of activities that come with having school-aged children: nativity-lyrics-tickets this, shopping-bankruptcy that, tinsel-candy-cane this, special-magical-day-out that.

The pressure to remain joyful is intense: and the calendar looks like a story that’s been edited by three different people in four colours of pen. Of course we want to spend time with friends and family, find perfect gifts, wrap them beautifully, reach out to old friends with a card.

But please do remember to look after yourselves too.

Seasons Greetings

And for those of you who won’t be as busy, for whatever reason, special tiny hugs to you. Yuletide can be difficult in lots of ways.

I wish you all a joyful and peaceful festive season. Looking forward to 2019 and more tinylife adventures.

tinylife will be back mid-January.

#atinylife twinkle

It’s Christmas in tinylife land: I wonder how you are? Perhaps you’re a Christmas person, perhaps you aren’t.

I don’t mean a ‘Christmas person,’ as in someone who enjoys Christmas and all its trimmings, I mean that I’ve been trying to remind myself that not everyone on this little planet actually celebrates either the coming of Jesus or the turning of the year from shorter and shorter days to longer and longer ones (especially if you’re in a different hemisphere!).

tinylife twinkle

I wondered how I could write something that didn’t assume Christmas was central to you, a kind of inclusive good wish.

Here goes:

however, and wherever you are – I wish you a twinkle. Not from that specific stable-based star, just a glimmer from everywhere. A twinkle to light your path, and lift your spirits.

tinylife will be back in January.


#atinylife Approved

You do not need permission –


if you feel you need permission, you have mine:


to write expensive Christmas cards and buy stamps

to not write any Christmas cards

tinylife Approved

to get drunk every day over the festive period

to not drink at all

to eat yourself silly

to take it easy and eat fruit every day.


To change your mind.


To spend your time with family and friends

to spend time with your family of choice


to cry when children sing ‘Away in a Manger’

to think it’s lame when children sing ‘Away in a Manger.’


To sleep.


To wake up at 5am to write

to wake at 5am and watch crap TV


to sing

to be silent


to have a magical Christmas

to have a rotten season


to look after yourself because you are precious:

know that you are.

#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 TinyChristmas

Tiny lovely things about Christmas


The Christmas Tree ornaments you’d forgotten about.

Chipolata sausages wrapped in fiddly bacon.

Falling asleep in daylight hours.

The Snowman, The Bear and The Gruffalo.

Stocking fillers (but only after you have bought and wrapped them.)

Pine needles in March.

The children trying to avoid the mistletoe at all costs.

Mulled Wine and that mulled wine juice from IKEA.

Transforming a pile of ‘things’ (gifts) into a much more pleasing pile of wrapped presents.

Christmas Songs on the radio.

Any 9 Lessons and Carols in any format.tiny-christmas

The sense of achievement when you find the Santa Hats.

Edwin Morgan’s Poem ‘Trio.’

Carols for Choirs 1,2 and 3.

Driving home for Christmas, with ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ at full volume in the car.

And the little bits of paper on the floor, after a session of cutting out snowflakes.



#atinylife Christmas?!

‘We need to start thinking about Christmas.’

It is the 22nd of October, but I nod. The September weekend (the middle of September) used to be our starter’s pistol, guaranteeing a December of smugly saying ‘We’re pretty much done.’

But that was BC, and we all know what BC stands for – Before Children.

I’m not even ready for Hallowe’en, but, hey! we need to start thinking about Christmas. It’s a full on free fall between now and December 25thchristmas

HalloweenBonfireNightMartinmasFairNiece’sSchoolShowWinterFairSchoolNativityChurchNativityPubSingalongChurchChurchFamilyVisit –

all rolled in tinsel, wrapped in snowman paper. The idea of fitting in thoughtful gift buying, alongside these extras, and maintaining the tinylife, AND keeping school uniforms clean, in twenty-five December days … that’s why we start in October.

Now it is December. The kids are wound to a tight Christmas sprig.

Just don’t ask me if I’m feeling smug yet.