Monday, 27 October 2014

Things That Make Me Happy 57

h is for happy list                                                            
lyzi the comfort cat 
studying english
cacti
jessie the pup
running up that hill (a deal with god) by kate bush
settling into new places
family gatherings



I have been sharing things that make me happy lists for years. If you'd like to read some more, you can scroll through the archive.


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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Tips For Buying Books In Charity Shops

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The majority of the books that I own come from charity shops because they make book buying affordable and accessible to me and there are around 10 shops to choose from in my hometown. I also really like that I can support local charities in a pressure-free environment, donating a few pounds as and when I can.

People often ask me how I find so many books at such good prices and, honestly, I'm pretty sure it's just a case of being in the right place at the right time. However, I've strung together a few tips on buying books in charity shops to help you along: 

CONSIDER your LOCATION
I find that more affluent areas have poor selections.

plan your route 
Note which shops are best for particular genres - do any do specific deals

visit regularly
Charity shops rotate their stock and get regular deliveries so visit on a regular basis 

COMMUNICATE - get to know the staff as they may be able to keep a look out for certain titles
do your research - know what titles you want and are looking out for and consider keeping a list
read lots of reviews - know what titles are worth picking up before you go
don't lose your head over the price - is it in good enough nick? Is it a decent edition? do you really want to read it?
take advantage of post-holiday unwanted gifts - new year is a great time to buy new books in charity shops!
donate books yourself give a little bit back to the shops. re-donate the books you probably won't re-read.
be patient - be prepared to sift and visit other places!
Do you buy books in charity shops? If so, what are your top tips? Also, what's your favourite charity shop book purchase? 

If you'd like to scroll through all of my advice posts then you can do so.


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Monday, 20 October 2014

Sea Fever by John Masefield

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I love to read poetry. However, I've not shared any of my favourites until now! I thought I'd share one of my favourite poems: Sea Fever by John Masefield. Sit back, relax and put your poetry heads on. 

sea fever john masefield poetry vivatramp book blogger lifestyle blog uk

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; 
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking. 

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, 
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying. 

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, 
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife; 
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over. 

maggi hambling art lifestyle blog uk poetry sea fever john masefield vivatramp                                                                                                                                    Credit: Maggi Hambling
I take enormous amounts of strength and comfort from this poem, with its seascape imagery and rhyming couplets. There is something incredibly comforting in being afforded peace once we have weathered the most horrifying of storms and something ridiculously beautiful in the idea of sending stars to steer loved ones by in their time of need. I think it's quite an accessible poem, due to its form, so even if you aren't much of a poetry reader, I hope you can find something to like about it.


vivatramp lifestyle book blog uk sea fever john masefield
And now, I want to know what your favourite poem is! If you're want more, check out my very own poetry
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Thursday, 16 October 2014

On My Shelf 6

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Hai! Before I get started, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone that read, shared and interacted with my last post. It was so nice to see people engaging with a topic that means a lot to me and I really hope it helped people on both sides. You guys are the best! Anyway, onto today's post...Here's the latest installment in my On My Shelf series - the feature that gives you the opportunity to snoop around my bookshelves. Each month you guys give me some numbers that correspond with where my books sit on my shelves and I then tell you a bit about that particular book, the story behind its purchase and, if I've read it, what I thought about it. This tag was created by Iain BroomeLet me know in the comments if you've read any of these books as I'd love to know what you thought of them...

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Monday, 13 October 2014

How To Be A Good Friend To Someone With A Disability or Illness

vivatramp how to be a good friend to some with an illness friendship advice lifestyle book blog uk

Being diagnosed with Crohns Disease, and my subsequent health problems since, has had a huge impact on my friendships. In most cases, it strengthened them. In others, not so much. 


Illnesses aren't nice for anyone and I'm guilty of sometimes ignoring the impact that mine has on my loved ones. It's not always black and white and it can be scary to support someone that is ill. However, I'm here today to share some thoughts with you and share a few tips on how to be a good friend to someone with an illness. I hope you find this post useful.  Obviously, I'm only one person with one condition so I cannot speak for everyone but this should be pretty universal.

support your friend
Support your friend as you would any. If you're able to, offer to help them out a bit. They may need lifts to pick up prescriptions or to attend hospital appointments, or they may have some shopping that needs doing or whatever. They may just need someone to chat to. You don't have to bombard them with reminders but just make sure they know that you're there for them and will support them where you can. 

stay educated and ask questions where appropriate 
Not everyone will like talking about their illness, so only broach the subject if it is something that your friend is comfortable with. I personally like it when my loved ones register an interest and ask me about my condition because it gives me a chance to talk about my illness and educate them. You could also do your own research if you don't feel comfortable asking your friend or if they don't wish to talk about it with you. However, don't fall into the trap of believing everything you read and remember that a lot of illnesses are very specific to the individual. Furthermore, don't make presumptions and assume you know it all, but I'll come back to that in a bit. 

know what's acceptable to discuss or make light of 
Moving on from the idea of communication, don't take advantage of the information that you may have been given. It's confidential and they're more than likely to have told you in confidence so don't be a dick. If the sufferer wants to make light of their illness, it's fine and they're more than allowed to do so. However, that doesn't mean it's necessarily okay for you to join in or joke about it yourself. Fatigue sufferers, surprise surprise, don't find 'lazy' jokes funny. Common sense, really. 

involve your friend
This is a huge one to remember! I think a lot of the time people don't really know how to react so they shy away from the sufferer and try and ignore the situation. Surprisingly enough, this makes the sufferer feel quite crap! Invite them to gatherings and such! Even if the answer is no, it feels incredible to even be considered. There's nothing more embarrassing and hurtful than seeing pictures of your closest friends spending time together when they hadn't even messaged you. If your friend can't get out anywhere, or you suspect they're anxious to leave the house, why not ask them if they'd like you to go over to theirs for a little bit? 

be patient and flexible
It's not always easy to plan things with a friend who has an illness because their symptoms can flare up at any time. Whilst it's annoying to have to reschedule plans, it may be necessary. Be patient and strop in secret if needs be! 

restore their pep if needs be 
Having a condition puts a massive strain on your mental health. I would say I'm aware of my anxiety every single day and aware of my depression at least three times a week, if not more. Don't forget to communicate with your friend and let them know how much they mean to you as a person. Don't lay it on thick, of course, because that's incredibly patronising but a message here or a care package there wouldn't go amiss and could help your friend immensely. 

don't 'envy them'
Do not ever say that you envy someone with an illness or are jealous of their lifestyle. It's incredibly disrespectful and shows a clear lack of understanding and empathy. Would you seriously like to be chronically ill for the rest of your life? Would you seriously like to undergo multiple surgeries and diagnostic tests and take multiple tablets and feel hugely isolated and misunderstood every single day of your life? No, you wouldn't. 'Oh, I'd love to not have to go to work'. No. No. No. You're idealising their lifestyle and completely undermining the things that they go through on a daily basis.

don't make presumptions or be patronising
No, I didn't read the article about the latest superfood that 'cures' my illness. No, I didn't eat lots of fast food as a child. No, my bowel disease isn't like your stomach ache. Your friend is the only individual who truly knows how they feel so don't presume you know otherwise. There's an incredible amount of people who try to tell me how I feel and it gets right on my tits. Never talk down to sufferers, you will come away looking like a tit. 


RESPECT THEM AS A WHOLE BEING
Your friend, ill or not, is still a human being. A lot of the aforementioned points are basically about holding certain levels of respect and courtesy for a fellow human being so just be a good friend in a wider sense and you're more than halfway there. You don't always have to acknowledge their illness. They'd be more than grateful to forget about it for an afternoon! Like this post or leave a comment *wink*, click off the Internet and phone up your mate for a chat. Do it now! 

I really hope this proves to be useful to you in one way or another, whether you are a friend or someone with an illness or even if you're neither of those things, in which case this post must have been really irrelevant. I apologise if I came across a little bit irate. I'm fully aware that I need to be more mindful myself, so I wasn't in any way trying to put myself on a pedestal and shout at you all. We are all a bit shit from time to time. What do you think? Do you have anything else to add? 


If you'd like to scroll through all of my advice posts then you can do so.


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Thursday, 9 October 2014

10 Things I Like About Bookshops

vivatramp books are my bag survival kit

Christmas has come a little early in the Vivatramp household! The wonderful people over at Books Are My Bag  know just how much I love talking about books so they dropped me an email a while ago asking if I would like a 'survival kit' to delve into to promote this year's campaign. After picking myself up off the floor, I replied with Justin Timberlake lyrics (true story!) and awaited its arrival. I actually missed said arrival but, after answering a million questions, I managed to coax it off our next door neighbour who seemed rather intrigued by the size of the box. Hands off, Mr Buchanan! 
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Monday, 6 October 2014

Sea Creatures, The Seafood Market & Curios, Plymouth

Feeling a bit homesick and uncertain, Claire and I decided to make the most of our weekend and head out for food and fun to cheer ourselves up. Thankfully, our little day out worked and we ended up feeling a whole lot better. Luckily enough for you, I decided to take you along with us! Don't say I don't treat you! We decided to make our first stop Rockfish, one of the local seafood places that's ~interestingly~ situated next to the aquarium. Claire went for chips, mushy peas and garlic mayo and I went for the crab roll. The food was really good - we'd definitely recommend! 


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