Monday, 17 July 2017

Will You Be My Bridesmaid? Boxes + Meet My Bridesmaids!

bridesmaid proposal ideas vivatramp blog

This weekend just gone, I held a little belated birthday party that, luckily, all of the women that I wanted to be in my bridal party happened to be attending. Realising how unheard of that is, as they're from different friendship groups, I decided to jump the gun a bit with wedding planning and go straight to the part where I get to propose with a cute box of gifts to my desired bridesmaids!

I kept it a secret for them all so when they opened their boxes they had no idea what they were going to be faced with. It was excellent!

bridesmaid boxes vivatramp lifestyle blog uk

bff mug, asos 
true love pin, asos 
rifle paper co. cards, the paper parlour & paperchase
ban. do pencils, the paper parlour
kraft boxes, paperchase 
IRIDESCENT heart confetti, paperchase 

Luke and I haven't even thought about a wedding, let alone made any concrete plans, so this was the first step. I decided to keep the contents of the boxes completely the same. I also kept the items £5 and under because lord knows I am not made of money and, to be honest, I don't think you need to spend much more than that.

I love putting pins on my jackets so I thought it'd be cool to include one in the box for my bridesmaids to wear at their leisure or bring along to the big day in some way. The true love pin from Skinny Dip fit the bill perfectly. All of the girls are partial to a good hot drink, or the occasional spot of wine in a mug, so when I saw the BFF mugs I thought they'd make the perfect addition. Sticking with, I saw their complimentary pencils and thought that they would make a cute addition to the box too. I had fun assigning the pencils to each person and I think I did a pretty good job with allocating them appropriate slogans. Buying things as a pack and then splitting them down is also a great way to keep costs down if you are, like me, on a budget.

I have been a big fan of Rifle Paper Co. for many years now and I knew that their Will You Be My Bridesmaid / Maid of Honour cards would look really cute in the box and would be the best way to surprise the girls when they opened their boxes. They are pricey for cards, sure, but I made it worth my while by filling the card with lots of soppy stuff for each of them to read and keep. I went for simple Kraft boxes because I wasn't looking for anything particularly busy. You could keep the costs down further by recycling gift bags of yore (we all have a selection) or by tying everything together with ribbon or string instead. The iridescent heart confetti, which is impossible to photograph, the gold glitter letters and the shredded tissue paper were all just ways of making it look a little more cute but they weren't at all essential. 

will you be my bridesmaid box ideas vivatramp lifestyle blog

more bridesmaid box ideas!
Of course, there are many different things that you could put in your bridesmaid proposal boxes. You can tailor them to your bridesmaid's taste, making different boxes for each, or you could keep them uniform like I decided to. Here are a few other things you could include in your 'will you be my bridesmaid' box:

1. photographs of the two of you 
2. an item that corresponds to your chosen WEDDING theme 
3. little notebooks, perhaps personalised, to fill with ideas 
4. a little something for them to wear on the day, be it accessories or a make-up item
5. write them something, A POEM OR WHATEVER
6. a mood board for your wedding 
7. a mixtape or some form of modern EQUIVALENT
8. a small bottle of their favourite tipple
9. one of those fancy personalised coat hangers for their dress
10. if you're creative, make them something
11. an item relating to an in joke that you share
12. pamper items 
13. love heart sweets or heart-shaped chocolate
14. if you like a gimmick, pop a ringpop in a box as a take on a proposal 
15. fresh flowers, or fake, that you hope to have on the big day 

You don't need to create a box, or even give a card, at all. Asking them face-to-face, or via technology, is totally fine. I decided to be a little extra with my bridesmaid proposals because, like a true Cancerian, I will always be driven to go a bit EXTRA where my best friends are concerned. 

their reaction
None of them had a clue what was going on because I sneakily spontaneously told them I had just bought them little gifts because I was so grateful for their friendship and support. I decided to host the moment upstairs at my Grandma's as I wanted to keep the moment between us all and I'm so glad I did. It made it all the more special that it was just us. There were a lot of squeals, a lot of tears, and a lot of wide grins. I'm so glad I got to share that special moment with them. Each and every one of them has experienced hardship this year and I wanted to earmark that ten minutes or so just for us to celebrate friendship. It was perfect. I managed to capture a few reactions in photograph form so here's a small selection!

vivatramp lifestyle blog uk bridesmaid proposal

This was G's perfect reaction face when she realised what was happening. 

vivatramp blog lifestyle best friends

Sophieanne pulled off some perfect Sinead O'Connor-esque singular tears. 

will you be my bridesmaid proposal ideas

Lyzi was grinning, and also gurning, from ear to ear. 

vivatramp lifestyle blog wedding ideas

Even Amy had tears in her eyes and that is unheard of!

bridesmaid proposal ideas blog uk

Claire was effectively wagging her entire body like a little puppy because she has been waiting for this moment for about 5 or so years. The scamp!

will you be my bridesmaid proposal uk lifestyle blog vivatramp

meet my maid of honour & bridesmaids
I'm not really one for big things about me but I absolutely loved having the opportunity to make this all about my favourite people instead! In terms of choosing bridesmaids, I opted for my best friends and my sister. I have four bridesmaids and one Maid of Honour. In true 90's game show style, I'll introduce them all now...from left to right: 

I met Sophie-Anne when she came to our Sixth Form after years of homeschooling. At first, I didn't know what to think of her. She waltzed into our English class and was giving all these really insightful answers to the teacher's questions and we were like, hang on a minute who the hell are you? However, a few hours down the line, and after carefully observing her, I asked her if she wanted to chat and the rest, they say, is history. Sophie-Anne is one of the best people on this planet and I feel so indebted to whoever made our meeting happen because I wouldn't have got through half of the stuff I have gone through without her. 

She is my role model. You lot always say I'm so strong to deal with all of my health stuff head on but, honestly, I wouldn't be half as strong without her. I love you, Soph.

Georgia and I first met in a Facebook group for the people on our university course back in August 2011. We met up as soon as we started lectures and, thankfully, got on straight away. Georgia is the friend you turn to when you're in desperate need of some self-care or self-reflection. A bulk of our shared memories involve treating ourselves right after tough times and I appreciate having someone to remind me to take care when times are tough. 

She has the most perfect grin and I was so happy to squeeze her to death after a year and a half apart! I love you, G.

Amy, if you can't already tell, is my younger sister. She also happens to be excellent at organising and currently works in event planning so she is the one in charge of sailing the ship! She is essentially Leslie Knope, complete with love of sweet food. Whilst we are very different people at times, we are also pretty similar. You will often find us giggling at things whilst other people around us wonder what the hell is up. We are part of a two girl gang, in a way.

We have been through a lot together and I can always count on her to have my back. I love you, Cub.

Before I started university in 2011, I joined a Facebook group to try and meet people who were going to be living in the same building as me. I got chatting to a girl who said she'd come and meet me on our first morning and she'd be bringing someone else, who was also on our course, in tow. Little did the girl in tow and I know that we would soon become inseparable. 

Claire is so inherently Claire, and so unlike most other beings on this planet, and that's what I love about her. Within a week or so of knowing me, she turns and says, 'Shall we be each other's bridesmaid?' and, as weird as I found it, I was so happy to make part of that a reality. I love you, Claire.  

I met Lyzi online via the blogosophere back in 2010 after I saw a post of hers where she was wearing a Backstreet Boys t-shirt. I'm pretty sure that, in a way, it was fate because we now talk every single day and can't really function without spouting crap at one another. 

Lyzi is the person I turn to for basically everything, be it emotional chats or rants or really weird niche conversations that would probably creep everyone out. I feel so lucky to be in a weird 'little and large' double act with her and it makes all of this blogging stuff feel worth it knowing that without it I wouldn't have one of my best friends. I love you, Todd.

I wouldn't have changed a thing about my bridesmaid proposal. It was perfect and I took so much from being able to see such big grins on their faces. I love them all so dearly. Thank you so much, pals. I wouldn't be half as happy without you all. 

I hope you have managed to find some inspiration for asking: 'Will you be my bridesmaid?'. What do you think? If you're married, how did you propose to your bridesmaids? If you aren't, how would you?


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Book Reviews Feat. Meghan Hunter & A TBR

book reviews patricia lockwood emma jane unsworth meghan hunter book bloggers in the uk vivatramp

Summer is finally here in the UK which means it's time to buckle down and read in the sun before it disappears / attempt to read but ultimately fall asleep because you aren't sleeping much and everything is an extra effort. Anyway...

In June, I read three books: a stunning novella, a novel about a wayward friendship and a surreal poetry collection. 

the end we start from meghan hunter book blog vivatramp
FINISHED: 05/06/17 | PAGES: 160  | ISBN: 0802126898 
In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z's small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds. This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees.

A meditation on motherhood and making sense of that responsibility in a world with a looming expiration date, The End We Start From is a novella that deserves all of the praise it has been getting.  

Hunter offers up delicate vignettes that describe the smallest and most unassuming of things against a landscape and situation that is anything but isolated. The country is slowly being submerged. Home doesn't look the same anymore. She takes familiar post-apocalyptic themes, of loss and domesticity, responsibility and weathered determination, and makes them all the more haunting by setting them in a world that isn't too different from ours. If you like hulking great dystopias full of re-imagined worlds and new-world politics, this isn't for you. If you love careful poetic novellas, think Grief is The Thing with Feathers, then you need to pick this up immediately. 

A stunning novella, that is both sorrowful and hopeful, that you'll want to re-read straight away. Read it on a rainy afternoon before it hits the big screen. 


homeland fatherland homelandsexuals book blog vivatramp

FINISHED: 15/06/17 | PAGES: 80  | ISBN: 0143126520
Colloquial and incantatory, the poems in Patricia Lockwood’s second collection address the most urgent questions of our time, like: what if a deer did porn? Is America going down on Canada? What happens when Niagara Falls gets drunk at a wedding? Is it legal to marry a stuffed owl exhibit? What would Walt Whitman’s tit-pics look like? Why isn’t anyone named Gary anymore? Did the Hatfield and McCoy babies ever fall in love? The steep tilt of Lockwood’s lines sends the reader snowballing downhill, accumulating pieces of the scenery with every turn. The poems’ subject is the natural world, but their images would never occur in nature. 

This collection is wild! There's a man attempting to marry a stuffed owl exhibit, ffs. These poems, whilst out there, read like stoking fires rumbling into existence, with the more surreal elements alluding to very real societal issues, trauma and pressures. It reads like a transcript of 3am post-party conversations with your mate, full of bumbling questions that you pose in lulls of late night conversation such as: 'Why aren't babies called Gary anymore?'. 

Whilst this collection didn't burrow down deep into my mind, it was fun, delightfully messy and creative, and it inspired me to be a little more loose with my own poetry. Read some of her poems online to see whether this is a worthwhile purchase for you. Lockwood's newly-released memoir, Priestdaddy, sounds interesting so you may see her grace these book reviews again in the future.  


animals emma jane unsworth book blog vivatramp uk

FINISHED: 11/05/17 | PAGES: 256  | ISBN: 178211212x 

Laura and Tyler are two young women who have been tearing up the city streets for ten years, leaving a trail of angry drug dealers and spent men in their wake. Now Laura is engaged to be married and her teetotal classical pianist fiancĂ©, Jim, is always overseas. Tyler wants to keep the party going but Laura is torn between the constant temptations provided by her best friend and a calmer life with Jim on the horizon. As the wedding draws closer, the duo's limits are tested, along with their friendship. 

I was sat on my bed one afternoon in June and I suddenly got the urge to pull this book from my shelf, despite the fact that it had been on my shelves for several years. I love reading about women and their mates and all the bad and messed up decisions they make and this offered all of that in spades. Animals is brash, laugh out loud funny, heartfelt and exactly what I needed to read at the time. My heart was in it from the get go and that doesn't happen very often. It ebbed and flowed, ceaselessly, and never felt try-hard or too Skins season 1. The characters were messy, as were the situations they found themselves in, and I found that so vital. Laura and Tyler felt so real to me. 

One of my favourite things about it was how it explored the romance in friendships, the frantic highs and the awfully shit lows, the strained loyalty and the shy forgiveness. Unsworth took great time and care when highlighting  all the things that we do and say to one another in the pursuit of love or something better and it hit me hard.  

Read this in the space of a day and thank me. I'm kicking myself that I let this sit unread for so long. A new favourite!


to be read pile sylvia brownrigg sarah stovell book blog

to be READ.
This month, I'm in the mood for two books that are so new to my collection that I haven't actually shared them with you yet. Scandalous!
I'm in the mood for reading about a queer romance to ease myself back in and this book, newly re-published with a much better cover, promises just that. There has been a lot of positive buzz for Pages for You, and its follow up Pages for Her, so I think I will try and read this in as few reads as possible.

My reading has been extremely slow this year and that's something I want to rectify. I think I may be able to kickstart it a little with a well-written thriller and Exquisite sounds like the perfect fit. 

Both of these books will feature in my next book haul, so stay tuned if you want to find out more about them! 

If you aren't bored to tears, you can read all of my other book blog posts. Or, scroll through my book reviews instead. 

Links to books are affiliate links. If you don't fancy any of these books but would still like to use my link to purchase some books with, please use my general Book Depository link. Thanks, pals! 


Monday, 3 July 2017

Book Haul feat. Sarah Perry

vivatramp book haul the essex serpent paulina and fran the end we start from i love dick blog

I got some rare goodish health news last month so, in true Bee fashion, I bought some secondhand books. You probably shouldn't reward yourself with stuff but sometimes it feels good to be like, 'Hey, things could have been a lot worse so here are some cheap books to celebrate!'. 

In June, I bought a secondhand selection of recommendations and received a couple of books too.

paulina and fran rachel b glaser book haul book blog in the uk vivatramp

paulina and fran by rachel b. glaser (2015)
A story of friendship, art, sex, and curly hair: an audaciously witty debut tracing the pas de deux of lust and love between two young, uncertain, conflicted art students. At their New England art school, Paulina and Fran both stand apart from the crowd. Paulina is striking and sexually adventurous—a self-proclaimed queen bee with a devastating mean-girl streak. With her gorgeous untamed head of curly hair, Fran is quirky, sweet, and sexually innocent. An aspiring painter whose potential outstrips her confidence, she floats dreamily through criticisms and dance floors alike. On a school trip to Norway, the girls are drawn together, each disarmed by the other’s charisma. Though their bond is instant and powerful, it’s also wracked by complications. When Fran winds up dating one of Paulina’s ex-boyfriends, an incensed Paulina becomes determined to destroy the couple, creating a rift that will shape their lives well past the halcyon days of art school. 

Paulina and Fran had been sat on my 'to buy' list since before its release into the wild as I am all for stories written by women about girlhood and intense friendships/relationships. It sat about for a while never really getting enough attention but it recently returned to my radar, thanks to Twitter, and I've decided that now is the perfect time to delve into a story about youth. I'm turning 25 today so I'm desperately trying to claw myself back to my school years...

I had seen mixed reviews so, before buying, I read a couple of little excerpts just to see whether it was my sort of thing or not. I ended up cackling out loud on multiple occasions so I figured it was worth the purchase. This cover alone is worth it. God bless beautiful American editions! I'm going to try and read this during the Summer months because I'm getting sunny sort of vibes from it. 

i love dick book haul book blog vivatramp

i love dick by chris kraus (1997)
When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy.

I Love Dick was everywhere on social media when it was re-released a couple of years back. With a title like that, it's bound to get your attention. However, despite being well aware of it, I didn't really check it out. I was listening to the Hello Friend podcast recently, however, and both Bethany and Alice, two people I trust when it comes to books, recommended it so I metaphorically got off my ass and did some research on it. 

Having realised that it sounded like something I would like, I searched for an 'as new' secondhand copy and vowed to place it near the top of my 'to be read' list. It, again, taps into weird and intense relationships and that's something I've been really enjoying in books over the past couple of years.

motherland fatherland homelandsexuals book blog vivatramp

motherland fatherland homelandsexuals by patricia lockwood (2014)

Colloquial and incantatory, the poems in Patricia Lockwood’s second collection address the most urgent questions of our time, like: what if a deer did porn? Is America going down on Canada? What happens when Niagara Falls gets drunk at a wedding? Is it legal to marry a stuffed owl exhibit? What would Walt Whitman’s tit-pics look like? Why isn’t anyone named Gary anymore? Did the Hatfield and McCoy babies ever fall in love? The steep tilt of Lockwood’s lines sends the reader snowballing downhill, accumulating pieces of the scenery with every turn. The poems’ subject is the natural world, but their images would never occur in nature. This book is serious and funny at the same time, like a big grave with a clown lying in it.

I saw this poetry collection pop up on Jennifer's instagram and was immediately intrigued by the beautiful cover. I'm trying to read more contemporary poetry collections, since I write poetry myself, and this seemed like a good shout. I'm all for a bit of weird and wonderful and the blurb promised just that. I had also seen Lockwood retweeted onto my Twitter timeline a handful of times and she always seemed like she had something funny to say so that sealed the deal. 

I read it as soon as it arrived, over the space of a couple of days, so look out for it in my book reviews this month.

the end we start from megan hunter book lifestyle blog vivatramp

the end we start from by megan hunter (2017)
In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z's small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds. This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. 

The End We Start From was another book that seemed to take the internet by storm. I love stunning little novellas with poetic prose, think Grief is the Thing with Feathers, and this appeared to follow suit so it instantly found its way into my shopping basket. 

I read it as soon as it arrived and it comes highly recommended, as mentioned in my latest Favourites post.

the essex serpent sarah perry book haul vivatramp book blog

the essex serpent by sarah perry (2016)
Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890's, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery which defined the era, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way. They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners' agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.

The Essex Serpent sounded like the perfect book to settle down with on a cold rainy night and so I waited patiently for its paperback release. I'm not much of a hardback reader, me. This book has been shortlisted for, and has won, multiple awards so I have quite high expectations. I love fiction that has a rather gothic sense of unease and that's the vibe I'm getting from this book.

I'm going to save this for the colder months. She says as she wraps a blanket around her and turns to the rain running down the window pane.

the poison tree erin kelly book blog vivatramp uk

It is the sweltering summer of 1997, and Karen is a straight-laced, straight-A university student. When she meets the impossibly glamorous Biba, a bohemian orphan who lives in a crumbling old mansion in Highgate with her enigmatic brother Rex, she is soon drawn into their world -- but something terrible is about to happen, and someone's going to end up dead. 

The Poison Tree is another book that both Bethany and Alice were raving about on the podcast so that also found its way into my shopping basket. I really enjoy thrillers written by women and that's an area of my reading taste that I have neglected over the past year or two so it'll be nice to jump back into it. When thrillers are done well, they can be absolutely stunning. 

As you can see, Poppy bit a hole in the front cover. She also bit a hole in the back cover, too. Is that an omen? 

harry potter and the philosophers stone anniversary blog post book bloggers in the uk vivatramp

When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he's the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord's curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous – or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

This year's Independent Bookshop Week coincided with the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and to celebrate I  was sent a little HP-related package that featured this beautiful Ravenclaw edition. This is now the third edition of this book that I own but I figured they're all different so it's totally justified. The new house editions feature the house crest on the front cover and the house colours sprayed onto the edges of the pages. They also include brand new line illustrations, fact files and profiles on relevant characters. 

They would make excellent (and easy) gifts for fans of the series. I imagine I'll be buying one or two for friends come Christmas. Shit, I just said the C word in June...

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve to ever feel good again. But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head. But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing. What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone - even a 100% bad person - deserve a chance to be good? 

Every now and again, a book turns up from a publisher that is unsolicited. This is such a book. However, in this case, the story sounds like something I might enjoy reading and the PR sold it to me with her enthusiasm so I will pop this on my shelves and come to it when I fancy something judicial. 

Sometimes, you just have to celebrate good news with books. And so, I did. What books have you bought or rented from the library recently? If you'd like to scroll through all of my book blog posts then you can. Or, alternatively, you could just flick through my book hauls instead.


This post features affiliate links. If you buy the books through the links I've provided  I'll receive a 5% commission to put back into the blog. The Harry Potter book, marked with an *, was sent to me by the Booksellers Association to celebrate 20 years of Harry Potter and Independent Book Week. Head to your local indies and show them your support. The other book marked with an * was sent to me unsolicited by the publisher for consideration.
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