Monday, 29 September 2014

Book Reviews feat. Becky Masterman

What a shitty reading month! Unfortunately, September was another of those months where I only got round to reading one book in four weeks and annoyingly it wasn't even a particularly good one. I feel quite disappointed in myself because it was the last month for a while where I could really enjoy reading for pleasure but what's done is done. I'm not entirely sure what these review posts will look like over the next few months as university will be dictating what I read but I'm sure I'll continue to document my reading regardless. You'll just probably see a lot of different texts to what you usually would so it can only be a good thing, I guess! If you're at school, college or uni, feel free to let me know what's on your TBR for the next few months. Alternatively, let me know what your favourite book you've ever studied was. 

lifestyle book blogger vivatramp uk mini book reviews rage against the dying becky masterman

rage against the dying by becky masterman (2012)
fiNISHED: 08/O9/14 | ISBN: 1409126935 PAGES: 400
Remains found. Confession secured. Case closed. Or at least that's what the FBI believe. But Brigid Quinn - a retired agent with a bloody secret of her own - doesn't think so. They've got the wrong man. Which leaves only one question: what would make you confess to a murder you didn't commit?  

Friday, 26 September 2014

On My Shelf 5

vivatramp on my shelf tag book blogger uk book blog lifestyle

Hello fellow planet dwellers! Thanks for all your messages of good luck with regards to my move - you guys are awesome. I've been here nearly a week now and, admittedly, I'm fricking exhausted but I'm hoping I'll feel a bit better soon. However, I'm settling in well and my room is looking ridiculously homely and cosy. Gotta love those high Victorian ceilings! I'm sure I'll show you around it at some point. Alas, for now, here's my latest installment in my On My Shelf series - the feature that gives you the opportunity to snoop around my bookshelves. Let me know in the comments if you've read any of these books as I'd love to know what you thought of them...


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

University Q & A

vivatramp university q and a lifestyle book blogger studying a creative course going to university with an illness

Hello fellow planet dwellers! Believe it or not, I am all moved in and ready for my third year of university. Crazy! A few weeks ago, I asked you guys whether or not you had any questions about my university experience and I got a handful of interesting ones so, now that I'm settled in, I thought I would get round to answering them for you! If you've got anything else to ask, feel free to do so in the comments below! 


Thursday, 18 September 2014

How To Write Book Spine Poetry

vivatramp how to write book spine poetry uk lifestyle book blog

Book Spine Poetry came about following Nina Katchadourian's Sorted Books project, in which she gathered people's books and stacked them on top of one another to consequently turn book titles into lines of poetry. Not only is spine poetry cheap and inventive, it's also an interesting way to share the books that you enjoy or can relate to creatively. The composition process can be a little lengthy but it's more than worth it once you're sat with a poetic stack of books in front of you. I promise. Okay pals, switch your 'reading poetry' heads on because I'm about to share the results of my very first go with you! Stick around for my tips on how to write book spine poetry too!


Monday, 15 September 2014

How To Make A Reading Challenge Jar

1 book blog post ideas vivatramp lifestyle blog uk

If you cast your minds back to January of this year, you may remember that I shared my TBR jar with you and showed you how you could make your very own. The TBR jar is a jar full of all the titles on your shelves that you have yet to read, meaning you can pick a name out of your jar and merrily sit down and read that title. However, we all know reading isn't necessarily as easy as that. If you're like me, you need to be in the mood to read something to fully enjoy it. With that in mind, I racked my brains and decided to create *big echoey voice* The Reading Challenge Jar. Huzzah! Please excuse the low-fi quality of the snaps - I went to Ikea and forgot about my snap happy duties until the evening. I am incredibly shit. 

The Reading Challenge Jar runs along the same lines as the TBR jar but instead of  being full of TBR titles it's, wait for it, full of reading challenges. Science. The premise is that you pop your hand into the jar and pull out prompts to read books that fit different challenges, giving you more choice when it comes to your future reads. You get the picture? Still not great at writing to explain am I?! The DIY aspect of the jar is pretty self explanatory so I won't bore you to tears with a pointless tutorial - just print the challenges and pop them into your jar. Throw them in your TBR jar or create two separate glass entities, it's up to you! I've decided to share 40 reading challenges with you to help you along. Don't say I don't try...

vivatramp book blogger uk lifestyle blog reading challenge book blog post ideas

a translation 

an underhyped read 
a book that reminds you of home 
a book from someone else's shelves 
your favourite book
a library book 
the book that makes you laugh the most
the book that makes you cry the most 
a classic 
a modern classic

2 reading challenge jar vivatramp lifestyle book blog uk

a book you want to hand down to someone 

a book you got as a gift 
a charity shop purchase
a childhood favourite
a book you pretend you've read 
a book over 500 pages 
a novella 
a book you bought for study but never read
a book someone else picks out for you 
a book with a cover in your favourite colour

3 vivatramp lifestyle book blog uk reading challenge jar book blog post ideas

a recent purchase 
a book you bought due to a book blogger or booktuber
a book from your favourite genre
a book from a genre you haven't really explored yet 
a book with a beautiful spine
a book that has a movie adaptation
a book that reminds you of a song
a book with the ugliest cover you own 
a book with the oldest publication date 

4 vivatramp lifestyle book blog uk reading challenge jar tbr jar

a book that features illustrations or pictures
A book that you believe should be on the curriculum
a book set the most locally to you 
a book you can't remember much about 
a book with a colour in the title 
a book with a strong female lead 
a hardcover 
a collection of stories 
a book you've started but not finished 

5 vivatramp lifestyle uk book blogger the reading challenge jar readathon book blog post ideas

If you'd like to, you could leave some more reading challenge inspiration in the comments. If you'd like me to do some challenge posts in the future, let me know! What challenges would you like to do or see? Do you think you'll make a reading challenge jar? These challenges could also be translated into bookish blog post ideas  so get thinking and leave links below if you make your very own jar or use these ideas as blog prompts.

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


Thursday, 11 September 2014

How To Reduce Illness Related Anxiety

vivatramp lifestyle book blogger uk how to reduce illness related anxiety chronic illness advice anxiety

Over four years ago, I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease and whilst it's a very physical disease it also has a huge psychological impact with sufferers often balancing physical symptoms with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. I have always dealt with anxiety in one way or another. However, since my diagnosis, I have seen it adapt and intensify due to the strain that Crohns puts on my body. I thought I'd share my top tips on how to reduce illness related anxiety. My tips are aimed towards people whose anxiety is triggered or worsened by their condition but I am in no way a professional. I am just an individual with a chronic condition who only has their own individual experience to go on so don't take my words as gospel. I'm sharing this post in the hope that it'll help at least one person reading it. If you feel like this is something you need help with, please speak to someone about it. Furthermore, if you feel like your anxiety could be triggered by reading this post, please click off and read something else instead!

talk to someone
I find speaking openly and honestly about my condition to be incredibly useful. Once I began to open up a bit more to the people around me, I found that I started to feel less anxious and less embarrassed because it was no longer a 'big deal'. This can be a double edged sword because I no longer have a filter when it comes to inappropriate conversation! I think sometimes the more you educate the people around you, the more they will begin to understand and the less anxiety you'll feel about your body and its functions, or lack thereof. Each case is different though, of course. 

I also find that it helps to talk to other people with conditions because they're usually on my wavelength and totally get what I'm going through, or can at least empathise on a level that isn't patronising. Just a couple of years ago, I didn't have any friends with Crohns. However, after reaching out on Twitter and speaking about my illness, I've since made some really great friendships with others online. I'm not saying you have to tell everyone your business though. You can be as honest as you see fit. If you don't want to speak to loved ones or colleagues, etc, try and create a good relationship with your specialist or the specialist nurses. I phone my nurses up whenever I have a problem, no matter how embarrassing, and they can usually calm me down and talk me through it. They're trained to help so they're a great resource to refer to if that's something that's available to you! 

create a kit 
You will never see me without my trusty backpack. It carries all my secrets and provisions. I find that my anxiety calms down a bit if I plan ahead and keep a kit of essentials with me just in case. Its contents depend on the things that are most important to you and your condition. For example, I tend to carry around a backpack that contains medication, painkillers, spare clothes, toiletries, sugary food and drink. My kit also includes a mental copy of the toilets in the area and rest points where I can sit down. If you're going to a new area, I recommend printing off a map of accessible toilets, restaurants that meet your dietary requirements and other helpful information in case you feel a bit panicked. A ridiculous amount of planning goes into even the smallest of trips for me but it gives me a little peace of mind. 

find your calm 
When I feel anxious, I try and take myself out of the situation, find some calm and situate myself in it. I find reading, listening to music and writing to be extremely therapeutic. It's different for everyone, of course, and it's also easier said than done. Sometimes it can be useful to have a calming routine that you follow whenever you feel anxious, such as listening to a particular song or thinking of a particular thing, 'cause your brain can often feel soothed by it. I don't know if that's ~science~ though - it could just be me! I tend to listen to Keep The Car Running or recite my favourite poem in my head whenever I feel something looming. I also tend to speak to Lyzi too because she gets me and will just listen until I've calmed down which is great.

create a goal orientated schedule 
As you can probably tell, I'm quite the list writer and over planner. When I feel up to it, I try to pop a few things into my monthly schedule that will test my anxiety. It doesn't have to be anything grand. Sometimes it's just walking around the shops alone or visiting a friend in their hometown. I'll then surround these busier days with rest days where I can just stay indoors and re-cooperate. Make sure you listen to your body. Don't push yourself too much if you feel particularly vulnerable or exhausted as that will not help you. This won't work for everyone but I find it works for me. 

do not torture yourself!
When you're feeling ill or experiencing new symptoms, it can be easy to frantically type things into Google or trawl forums for advice. I urge you to not do it. Don't get me wrong, some of the forums can be really helpful and can make you feel a little less alone. However, they can also be full of things that you just do not want to read. I still need to get out of this habit. Make sure you don't picture the worst case scenario where your illness is concerned too. This is something I do all the time and it makes me panic to the point where I feel incredibly sick. My doctor was pretty accurate when he suggested that I always expect the worst so I'll feel prepared if it does go wrong and, in turn, I'll feel a lot better if it's actually a better outcome. This is actually a huge hinderance to my wellbeing so I'm trying to stop it. You're under enough strain without stupidly torturing yourself so don't do it! 

give yourself more credit 
A lot of my illness related anxiety comes from a fear of what my mind and body can't take. I often let negative thoughts drown out all the good and I end up forgetting what I've already overcome and accomplished. I think you just have to sit down and give your body some more credit. It's something that we, as individuals and as a society, don't do anywhere near enough. I applaud all my fellow ill babes who wake up every day and give it their best shot regardless. You guys are doing great. My body does a remarkable job and I should probably big it up more than I do and remember that it has got me this far. Well done body! 

If illness related anxiety is something you're struggling with, give these tips a go and let me know how you get on. If you feel like you can, please chat to someone you know about how you feel. I'm more than happy to chat to you in emails if you'd like! Even if you don't have illness related anxiety yourself, you could use these tips to help with loved ones who may be suffering. Feel free to add your own advice below because it'll all go towards helping the people that may need it most.

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


Monday, 8 September 2014

20 #underhypedreads On My Shelf

Last month, Charlotte from RamblingsOfAnElfpire organised the #underhypedreads readathon to celebrate the books that don't get talked about a lot online. Tons of bookish people got involved and created lots of inspiring content on the subject but, unfortunately, I wasn't able to participate due to prior commitments. However, I thought the readathon was a really good idea as it's so easy to jump on bookish bandwagons and share thoughts on books that have been well-documented. I thought I'd share some of the #underhypedreads that I have on my bookshelves - some I have read, others I haven't. I determined books under 5,000 ratings on Goodreads to be underhyped. You can see which books on your shelves meet that quality by clicking 'Settings' on your desired shelf and selecting 'num. ratings'. This way, you'll be able to see the amount of ratings each book has without clicking on each one individually. Handy! Leave me some of your favourite underhyped reads in the comments below so everyone can check them out. 

the unloved deborah levy #underhypedreads book blogger uk lifestyle blog vivatramp

I got this at the Penguin blogger event that I attended towards the start of the year but I've still not read it. The Unloved follows a group of tourists that have gathered to celebrate Christmas in a remote French chateau. Lots of stuff ensues and a woman is found murdered. The reviews I've read for it so far haven't been great but I'll reserve judgement for now! 


Thursday, 4 September 2014

10 Songs To Listen To: The Cure

the cure music songs lifestyle book blogger uk vivatramp

If you cast your minds back a couple of months, you'll remember that I shared 12 Arcade Fire Songs To Listen To and had a bloody whale of a time so I thought I'd return to that idea and share some of my favourite songs by another of my favourite bands, The Cure. Luckily enough for you, I'm going to keep this one a lot shorter and less academic essay-like. You can all breathe a sigh of relief! Interestingly, I have no idea when or how I got into The Cure. It feels like they've always been a band that I've listened to and enjoyed due to their incredible depth of sound, mesmerizing lyrics and iconic look. If you're a fan, let me know what your favourite songs are in the comments. If not, let me know what songs and albums mean a great deal to you!

just like heaven {kiss me, kiss me, kiss me - 1987}
Where do you even begin with a song like Just Like Heaven? With poetic melodies aplenty and Smith's own lyrical brand of melancholic whimsy, it's the sort of song that makes you feel like you're flying through space or lying deep in the ocean. Whilst some listeners have suggested that this song is about reaching orgasm, ooh err, Robert Smith himself has said that it's about completely falling head over heels in love. The process of falling in love isn't one of the easiest things to verbalise but Smith captures it perfectly in the image of spinning on that dizzy edge. A song about the intensity that comes with romantic love, he actually wrote this about his wife, Mary, who features in the video with him. Smith once told a magazine that this song embodies the idea that 'one night like that is worth 1,000 hours of drudgery'. Yup, my heart just melted. It could probably stay in my top 3 favourite songs of all time on that sentiment alone. A must listen. 

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