#atinylife the greatest of these is

I may speak in the tongues of yoga and of cycling for miles, but if I still love food, I will become neither svelte nor sinuous. And if I have fast days, or avoid dairy or meat, or if I have all faith, and chunter on about my heart health and how weight is just a number, but still love food, I am not, and will never be thin. If I give away all my Dairy Milks, and hand over my cola bottles, I may kid myself on I’m being ‘good,’ but if I still love food, I gain, um, everything …the greatest of these is


Food is patient; food is kind; food does not insist on its own way; it is not as irritable or resentful as I am about societal beauty standards; it rejoices in my ‘wrong’doings.

It rejoices … in my fat rolls.

#atinylife Fridge

When I started this blog, one of my main inspirations was a thought for the day I’d heard on the radio. A list of things, all set up like this: ‘thank you for paying taxes, because  I have my rubbish picked up and my kids go to school for free.’

Of course I couldn’t think of examples of this every week. A few of my early blogs refer: this one, and this one. And today, another one happened.

The fridge broke.



We have savings which paid for another one, even at the end of the month. My next door neighbour offered us freezer space to house our rapidly defrosting chicken nuggets. I had delivery of the new fridge and disposal of the broken one sorted and paid for by 9:15am this morning.

I am so very lucky. And thankful.

#tinylife Domestic Delights – a Guest Post by Penny Hext

The Delights of Domesticity

There ARE actually one or two things that I appreciate about working from home. They include:

  1. Following the sunlight around from room to room as the sun arcs in the sky.
  2. Lavender dead-heading. It’s aromatic, repetitive and curiously calming.
  3. Pumelling the pillows when I’m angry. Plus the duvets too, Domestic Delightfor good measure!
  4. Drying the washing outside in the wind. It smells so much fresher than airing it on the radiators…
  5. Inviting friends around for dinner. The simpler the cuisine the better – so that I can keep my focus on the sizzling conversations we have.
  6. When Beloved cleans up uninvited. (Hmm. What’s his angle?)
  7. Having my own chair, which is MINE.
  8. Creating Penny’s Ironing Rules. Minimal ironing. Period.
  9. Nurturing next door’s cat. He’s Nero to me…
  10. Tracking the bats that flit about in the streets at moonrise.

#atinylife Tuna

The tuna steaks were a bit over done.

I don’t eat tuna anyway, but I was on a fast day, so hadn’t even been responsible. It’s not like Mr HB. Slap dash is how we refer to my cooking, not his.

But as I scrubbed out the tuna pan, I remembered. He’d come to help me bring in the laundry. The smell of tuna had filled the house once we returned. It was why I put thTunae clean clothes into the hall, not the kitchen.

I’m keeping this memory as proof. It’s not that I am not good at cooking, or couldn’t be, if I wasn’t doing 100 other things at the same time. If the actual labour doesn’t distract me, the emotional labour does.

This isn’t a ‘women’s’ thing. If you are distracted, then the tuna will be over done.


#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 America

Meeting Americans and wondering why the Scottish are renowned for being friendly.

Eating tacos with hot sauce for breakfast.

Dancing to James McMurtry singing ‘Red Dress.’

Being offered a seat on the veranda at John Floores Country Store because my husband ‘was wearing a cool T Shirt.’ Becoming lifelong friends with those people.

Grackles, Vultures, Red-tailed Hawk.

Drinking alcoholic milkshakes in a Diner where the waiters and waitresses get up on tables and sing.usa

Walking the Highline and bathing my feet in the water.

Meeting someone who is related to Emily Dickinson and immediately being invited to visit.

Actually, being invited to visit by almost every American who has ever befriended me on Twitter or Facebook.

The people I love, who choose to call it home.

And the autumn leaves of Massachusetts – which I have never seen in real life.




#atinylife littlethings

Simple pleasures

a fallen leaf,

the hand of a child in mine,

real butter on real bread.

A hot shower,

the feeling of cleanliness,

a crisp, dry towel.

The warmth of a fire after a walk in the wind and rain,

dry clothes.


A conversation that winds around us,

a perfect idea

discovered at its heart.

The clarity and space of a day of fasting;

the joy of a day of eating.



spoken word,

and the written word.

Stories and sounds that enter into your soul and reside.

Being able to see the stars.

A harvest moon.

A sunrise.


Clean, safe water in every tap in the house.


A door that closes and locks,

but also opens readily

for a welcome.

Friends that are nearby,

friends far away,

family right here,

family over the phone.


Deep, peaceful, healing sleep.


#atinylife Pizza

I had pizza for lunch.

An exquisite chopping board, one of the pre-sliced pieces lifted. A perfect, crisped base, not too much ‘edge’ and in no way too dry or too wet in the middle.fullsizerender-31

Caramelised Onions

Blue Cheese

and Rocket.

To say it was delicious would be an understatement. I savoured each mouthful, marvelling not only at the wonder of the recipe, but also the joy of not having to cook. The café was beautifully turned out, the company close and familiar. There was even a cool light fitting made of milk bottles.


I had pizza for tea.

Deep-fried half pizza supper.

To say it was delicious would be an understatement. I savoured each mouthful of one of Scotland’s more eccentric national dishes. Chips warm and mushed, salt and sauce…


Two pizzas, both alike in their dignity.

#atinylife Hungry

You’d think I’d be hungry by now.

Two days: total calories less than a thousand.

You’d think I’d be hungry by now.

Straight to the bread bin, or the cereal cupboard, even the fruit bowl.

You’d think I’d be hungry by now.

My stomach empty and growling. My mouth empty, and growling, snapping.

You’d think I’d be hungry by now.

But it reminds me – in this country, this social class, and this life of privilege,

I don’t know what hunger is. IMG_8382

Not being able to feed your child as much as they want, as much as they need. Not even five miles away from here, I know there are mothers, deciding between their breakfast, and their children’s breakfast.


And just how much does this need to change?

You’d think I’d be hungry by now.



tinylife will be away until August.

#atinylife Rain

Today I have been thinking about…rain.

It would have been hard to think about anything else, from half past two the skies were full, water bouncing off the pavements, the roof of the car. We stood like livestock in the playground, trying not to move from under umbrellas, hoods firmly up, wellies shining black slugs, getting wetter and wetter as we waited for the bell to ring.

Normally we walk but we got just as wet getting into the car, and out again. Everything went on radiators Rainas soon as the back door was safely closed. Fire on, thermostat turned up.

Then I remembered I needed something from the outside freezer.

But as I splashed through the waterlogged grass, the scent of blossom came through the rain. A salve on this miserable day, a reminder of beauty on earth.