Wednesday, 6 December 2017

My Favourite Things 11

monthly favourites lifestyle blog vivatramp

November. Another month down. 

Here's a selection of things that I have found joy in over the past four weeks, whatever the weather. 

lifestyle blogs vivatramp uk

Sometimes the difference between a good or bad morning is waking up to a letter from a friend on your doorstep and last month I woke up to an excellent one. Lyzi, I love you. Thank you for being everything. 

Send surprise mail, pals. It's the best.

mindhunter netflix

Luke and I were looking for a new Netflix series and I'd heard a few things about Mindhunter, one of the new Netflix originals, so we gave it a little go. It's based on a true crime book of the same name and it follows two FBI agents in the '70s as they look at the psychology behind serial murder in order to expand their knowledge of criminal science. 

If you're looking for tons of action, this isn't for you. If you're interested in criminology and the extremes of human nature, then try the first episode out. 

vivatramp blog colourpop cruelty free makeup

After very much enjoying eyelids slicked with Sequin in October, I decided to take advantage of the free shipping offer and place my annual Colourpop order. I went for a selection of their excellent eyeshadows, a couple of lip products and a highlighter. I've opted for a mix of metallic and berry tones this time and I'm very excited by the whole thing. I'm looking forward to experimenting! 

I'm sure you'll see more of the shades in the future so watch this space. 

monthly favourites lifestyle blog vivatramp uk

Bit of a weird one to add to my monthly favourites, granted, but last month I went for my first cervical screening and I'm happy about that. In the UK, you receive an invitation to have your cervix spring cleaned when you are around 24-25. However, I had yet to receive mine, despite being 25 for quite a while, so I made a call and requested one. 

A few weeks down the line and I was on a bed at the doctor's surgery doing a yoga pose with a speculum in my vagina. Everyone's experience is personal to them, of course, but mine went well. I didn't experience any pain, just slight discomfort, and it was over in a flash. It would've been over even sooner if my cervix wasn't showing only half of her face. Get it together, babe. 

I understand, however, that the process isn't always as easy for other people and it is anxiety-inducing. Here are my tips, based on years of being put in difficult medical situations, for how to make the appointment easier if you're extremely nervous: 

1. Book in an initial consultation to meet the nurse who does the screenings. Introduce yourself, let them know what anxieties you have and maybe specify things that would make you feel more comfortable during the screening | 2. Take someone who you trust with you |  3. Make sure you have something good planned for after your appointment so you have something exciting to focus on | 4. Tell them that you're nervous and they'll be extra attentive to your needs | 5. Remember that it's your body and you can ask to stop whenever you may need to.

Lastly, My Body Back Project offer cervical screenings to people in the UK with cervixes who have experienced sexual violence.  They take things slowly and run everything by you to make the experience less uncomfortable. They also offer a wide range of clinics and services that are inclusive so if you're looking for such a space, head to their website. 

Cervical screenings are so worthwhile so if you're reading this knowing full well that you're putting your screening off, think on and reach out for help if you need it. 

shopping in york blog

I have a wonderful support network around me and every year I look forward to buying them little gifts to reiterate just how thankful I am. I like giving gifts even more than receiving them so I start getting the itch from early November. As such, I'm now pretty much done besides a gift for my Mum and a couple for little Poppy. 

Everyone has got little things but I think I've picked them well. Fingers crossed! 


Speaking of gift giving, this is what I've got my Dad for Christmas! Two pen portraits of me and my sister by my hugely talented pal, Ella Masters. You will not find anyone more hardworking and committed to their craft than her and it pays off in spades. 

I love these little portraits - Ella totally captured our personalities and I can't wait to see them hung on my Dad's wall. Head over to Ella's shop to see what's on offer. 

declutter books book unhaul book blog vivatramp

I was extremely ruthless when it came to unhauling books last month, as featured in my Book Unhaul post, because I wanted to make a little bit of money and save space. 

I feel pretty smug about it, not gonna lie. If you're looking for some tips, I have a post on 10 Books to Unhaul to help you along.

essence makeup cruelty free blog vivatramp lifestyle blog

I shared my favourite Essence mascara, the Princess Lash, in my April Favourites but I've since purchased a couple more items from the brand that I wanted to share with you. 

The False Lash mascara, as expected, gives a bigger fanned lash but isn't too much for daily wear. At £3 odd, it's a miracle worker. The bronzer is ridiculously pigmented so one quick dab is all that is needed before I'm ready to take on the day. I'm not wild about the fact that it's scented but I don't find it entirely off-putting. 

I would highly recommend Essence, based on the few products I have tried so far. They're affordable, cruelty free, and 100x better than some of the more expensive high street beauty products that I've used over the years. Chuffed. 

ikea candles blog vivatramp lifestyle

I was wandering through the Ikea furniture collection point when I spotted their Vinter 2017 candles in the reduced section. These smelt like jammy biscuits and fizzy sweets and, for some reason, in that moment, I couldn't stop myself from getting them. They smell so good, to me, though.

God bless self-restraint.
We are moving into a new place!  

Not content with just getting engaged this year, as well as becoming dog parents to Poppy, Luke now owns half a property in the village he used to live in. From 2018 onwards, we'll be living there together with little Poppy among the meadows. It's a do-er upper but I'm so excited for us to turn it into a proper home. 

 If you have any recommendations for homeware websites and shops, etc, then do send them my way. 

•  this 80s remix of New Rules which was SO GOOD they actually made it an official release
•  Shona is 50% of the way there with her fundraiser for a new powerchair. if you can donate, please do.
•  this oral history of one direction made me howl
•  creative truth telling from lorde
•  babely Jason has started a Carly Rae Jepsen cover cycle so everything else is cancelled
•  this video from dodie is so me
•  Rosie is forever writing wonderful posts & this time she's discussing why you need your friends
•  Florence Welch announced a poetry collection which is to be released in July!
•  Mercedes shared a couple of videos on falling out of love with reading & why she thinks that might be

•  monthly things that make me happy list
•  my October favourites 
 a collective book haul

An exciting month. A stressful month.

If  you're bored AF, or you can't get enough of me, there are ten other monthly favourites posts for you to scroll your way through. What a treat. 


Saturday, 2 December 2017

Things That Make Me Happy 77


visiting my aunt in scotland 
the xx at night
midnight inspiration
duck pancakes 

(photo credit: /@oy at unsplash)

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.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Decluttering Bookshelves: Book Unhaul

I'm forever nesting. I can't help myself. I'm the sort of person that gets jealous when I see people do big clear outs because I find the process extremely cathartic and, dare I say it, enjoyable. Livin da vida loca, me! I don't usually, however, share the results of said nesting and decluttering. 

And so, in the interests of sharing, I've decided to take a few moments away from sorting through my bookshelves to share a small selection of the 50+ books that aren't going to make the latest cull. If you're looking for some advice on the subject, I shared a post on 10 Books To Unhaul a little while ago. 

declutter books book unhaul book blog vivatramp

I found myself reluctant to donate books that I had read, even if I didn't enjoy them or want to re-read them, and that's something that I wanted to kick into shape with this particular unhaul. I have read all of the books featured in this group but, for multiple reasons, I don't feel drawn to them enough to keep them. I loved Under the Skin by Michel Faber so much that I added a couple of Faber's other books to my wishlist to try. His first collection of short stories, SOME RAIN MUST FALL (AND OTHER STORIES) (haul | review), was one of them. Whilst I liked a handful of the tales, I wasn't entirely enamored and I don't feel a deep need to keep this book as a result. Similarly, I read and adored Karen Russell's short story collection Lucy's Home For Girls Raised by Wolves and set out to read more of her work. I received VAMPIRES IN THE LEMON GROVE BY KAREN RUSSELL (haul | review) as a gift and read it soon after. However, for me, it didn't quite hit the same sweet spot and I found myself feeling a little fatigued by it. Off it goes to be enjoyed by someone else! 

LIGHT BOXES BY SHANE JONES (review) and SCORCH ATLAS BY BLAKE BUTLER (review) are two books that are a little more out there that I read a few years ago. I didn't dislike them at the time but they haven't left much of an impression on me years down the line and I don't think I would read either of them again. Out. The next two have striking covers but that isn't enough reason to keep them. NOTHING IS EVER MISSING BY CATHERINE LACEY (haul | review) and HOW TO GET INTO THE TWIN PALMS BY KAROLINA WACLAWIAK (haul | reviewhave, therefore, been added to the pile. These were both three stars reads for me, which translates as 'I liked it', but, again, I don't feel an affinity for them. Goodbye, beautiful covers!

book unhaul booktube book blog vivatramp

THE DUMB HOUSE BY JOHN BURNSIDE (haul | review) was a book that I bought after mass hype in the Booktube community a couple of years back. Unfortunately, it wasn't to my taste. I didn't think it was as clever as it thought it was and I'm not sad to see it go. When I was first getting back into reading, about 6 or 7 years ago, I played around with books from different genres and, as a result, added books to my shelves that don't fit or reflect my reading tastes today. DEATHLESS BY CATHERYNNE M. VALENTE is one of the last standing books of that ilk. I'm just not one for folklore and such in literature so this has to go.  

For someone that writes poetry, I really struggle to find poets or poetry collections that I immediately respond to or wholeheartedly enjoy. MOTHERLAND, FATHERLAND, HOMELANDSEXUAL BY PATRICIA LOCKWOOD (haul | reviewand LET THEM EAT CHAOS BY KATE TEMPESt (haul | review) are two books that I read aloud to myself but just ended up feeling a little bit cold towards. Not for me, unfortunately, but most likely better suited to other people. I took a Short Story module whilst at university and found myself really enjoying studying Hemingway's efforts. I don't, however, seem to enjoy reading his work for pleasure so MEN WITHOUT WOMEN BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY needs to go to a better home. 

how to declutter your books blog

THE BOOK OF STRANGE NEW THINGS BY MICHEL FABER (haul | review) was the second Faber book that I bought after falling for Under the Skin. I found it disappointing. I felt like I was waiting for more and I think that's one of the perils of heaping expectation on an unread book from a beloved author. Don't do it, kids. BURIAL RITES BY HANNAH KENT (review) is a book that I enjoyed at the time but I haven't really given it a second thought in the years that have followed so that's going back to the charity shop it came from. N-W BY ZADIE SMITH is a book that I bought from a charity shop, many moons ago, because I had heard lots of people talk about her work. In all the years that it has been sat warming my shelves, I haven't found the will to pick it up and I don't know if I ever will. Off it goes! 

I bought THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS BY JOHN WYNDHAM (haul | review) on a bookshop crawl in Bristol and I read it not too long afterwards during a readathon. I'm not particularly wild for that sort of sci-fi writing so I'm more than happy to donate it. I had two copies of  MRS DALLOWAY BY VIRGINIA WOOLF, an author who I have yet to warm to, so that book was an easy one to pull from my shelves. I wrote a post-apocalyptic polyvocal collection for my dissertation and I bought a few books for research purposes and WASTELANDS BY VARIOUS AUTHORS (haul) was one of them. Naturally, I didn't read it as I had so much to write and I don't really have the will or need to flick through them all now. Goodbye, sweet end-of-worlds. 

I don't like that I've bought books and not read them before donating them again but I'm happy in the knowledge that my book buying habits have changed drastically over the years and I am now a lot more critical of what I buy and when. God bless aging. 

And those are a selection of the books that I'm donating and selling on! Some I have read, others I have not. Feel free to let me know what books you've let go of recently.

Or, if you'd like to, you could stick around and catch up on all of my book blog posts


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Book Haul feat. Ali Smith

book haul ali smith tom hanks yaa gyasi leila slimani keri smith blog

I have been on a book buying ban since August. It was quite impromptu, and the word 'ban' makes it sound way more serious than it actually is, but I decided to stop buying books for a while in order to save both money and space. I have been having one of the worst years for actually sitting down and reading books so it made sense to calm down my buying habits accordingly. 

I have, however, received a few books from publishers in those quiet months. And so, here I am sharing a concise book haul with you. These are the books that graced my doormat, from August to mid November.

autumn ali smith vivatramp book bloggers in the uk

autumn by ali smith* (2016) 
Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy and the colour-hit of Pop Art [...] Autumn is a witty excavation of the present by the past. The novel is a stripped-branches take on popular culture and a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. 

I haven't had many dealings with Ali Smith in my time as a reader. I have owned, and subsequently donated, The Accidental. Ironically, I accidentally donated it. I own How To Be Both, a book that I received as part of a Christmas gift from Penguin in December 2015, but I've yet to read it.  

Autumn, the first of a seasonal quartet of books, found its way to me without my knowing several months back. The blurb doesn't give anything away so I don't know what to expect plot-wise However, I do know that the novel was met with critical acclaim, including being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and it has been hailed as 'the Brexit novel'. 

winter ali smith book bloggers in the uk vivatramp

winter by ali smith* (2017) 
Winter? Bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone, so the old song goes. The shortest days, the longest nights. The trees are bare and shivering. The summer's leaves? Dead litter. The world shrinks; the sap sinks. But winter makes things visible. And if there's ice, there will be fire. 

Winter, the second book in the quartet, also turned up on my doorstep. The blurb is, again, oblique. Perhaps even more so than the blurb for Autumn?! I mean...Ali...mate...

It'd be appropriate to read the books whilst they're seasonally relevant so I'm going to try my best to do so.

homegoing yaa gyasi book bloggers in the uk vivatramp

Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

The eagle-eyed among you will know that I already own a hardback edition of this book. However, as I much prefer paperbacks, I was more than happy to find this unsolicited copy on my doormat one morning. I'll send the hardback copy on to a good home, for sure. 

I'm hoping to get to this book sooner now that it's in a format that I find infinitely more comfortable to read.

lullaby leila slimani book blog vivatramp

lullaby by leila slimani * (2018) 
When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. They never dreamt they would find Louise: a quiet, polite and devoted woman who sings to their children, cleans the family's chic apartment in Paris's upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint and is able to host enviable birthday parties. The couple and nanny become more dependent on each other. But as jealousy, resentment and suspicions increase, Myriam and Paul's idyllic tableau is shattered...

Lullaby, despite its 2018 release date, has enveloped Book Twitter in recent weeks. This novel sounds incredibly dark but I'm intrigued, nonetheless. 

uncommon type tom hanks book blog vivatramp

uncommon type by tom hANKS* (2017) 
A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in NYC after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country's civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game - and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN's newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in the first collection of his short stories. 

I read one of Hanks' stories in the NY Times, many moons ago, but I've no real idea of what to expect from this collection. I find that I can be quite fussy when it comes to short stories so this could go one of two ways. I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt, mostly because I love David S. Pumpkins.

Any questions?!

book haul vivatramp book bloggers uk

Wreck This Journal had a simple premise: destroy the book in all the ways you can imagine. The Line is even simpler: find pencil, start a line. As you move through the pages of Keri Smith's newest book, you'll be asked to let your line meander, explore the book's gutter, and jump around the edges of the pages. You'll hide your line, cut your line and even let someone else take over your line for a bit. The farther you get into the book, however, the more you'll discover that maybe things aren't as simple as they first seemed. The line has a mind of its own, and it's up to you to discover what's at the end of the line (hint: it's just the beginning).

The Line isn't a book, per se, but I'm including it here because I have the power to do so. Suck it. 

I used to really enjoy working on my Wreck This Journal and I'm interested to see whether I get the same creative vibes from a workbook that is essentially telling me to draw a line! I think I'll dedicate a post to the experience. 

That's us caught up on all of the books that have graced the doormat over the past few months! Let me know what you've been buying recently and don't forget to subscribe via Bloglovin if you'd like to be notified of future posts. 

Catch up on my book blog posts. Or flick through just my book hauls instead. Or, if you're inspired by my ban, check out my post on how to survive a book buying ban.


The books marked with an (*) were sent to me by the publisher for consideration. 

Thursday, 9 November 2017

My Favourite Things 10

lifestyle blogs in the uk vivatramp monthly favourites

October was a month. Not the easiest, granted.

It did, however, still come with favourite moments and things. Small mercies.

cherry glazerr favourites blog vivatramp

Spotify informed me of Cherry Glazerr's latest album, Apocalipstick, a few months back and I'm glad it did. Apocalipstick sounds like Sleater-Kinney if they reincarnated into purveyors of guitar-based dream pop. Trash People is my go-to track.

A nice album to throw on in the background whilst you do the dishes or something equally monotonous. 

monthly favourites blog uk vivatramp thor ragnarok review

Here's the thing, I care very little for Thor and care even less about the first two Thor films. I do, however, absolutely adore Taika Waititi. When I heard that he had taken the reigns of the latest installment in the MCU, I decided I would pay the £4 cinema ticket. Ragnarok was colorful, infused with Waititi's trademark comedy, and injected some much-needed fun back into Thor's arc. Korg is life.

Watch 'What We Do In The Shadows', 'Hunt For The Wilderpeople' and then head out to the cinema to catch Ragnarok. 

monthly beauty favourites blog uk vivatrampcolourpop sequin autumn beauty essentials lifestyle bloggers in the uk vivatramp

Autumn is well and truly here so I've cracked out the seasonal depression and my favourite Colourpop eyeshadow. Cruelty free, highly pigmented, and a big statement, Sequin is an essential in my make-up bag. It's stunning! 

I'm hoping Colourpop treat us to another free international shipping code soon because I'm going to need some more shadows to see me through this cold spell.

stranger things 2 review blog favourites vivatramp

Holy shit, pals! That is how you up your game. From vengeful city gangs to unexpected partnerships, from Lucas' amazing little sister to the new mullet in town, the latest season delivered in spades.

We binged it in the space of two evenings. Roll on season 3...

vivatramp blog ukthings to do in somerset coastal walks uk visit britain blog

This particular Sunday was all about coastal woodland walks, visiting the sea, Poppy photoshoots, and chip shop chips in the park. 

It was much-needed even though I was absolutely exhausted by the end of it. 

Two of my Twitter pals, Bethany and Alice, started a bookish podcast called What Page Are You On? earlier this year. They've covered books with fat protagonists, contemporary true crime, adaptations, and last month they tackled ghost stories! I could listen to them discuss books for eternity. This episode is worth it solely for the sound effects...

Pop the podcast on in the background but make sure you have a notepad and pen at the ready. You're bound to purchase at least one book post-listen. 

super mariokart 8 blog uk vivatramp monthly favourites video games

Mariokart is a true blessing! A gift from the heavens. It was fun back then and it is still fun now. 

The cause of many a screaming match in this house on a Friday evening, we adore this game. We just need to save up for two more Switch controllers and then all four of us can battle it out.

monthly favourites blog vivatramp
As I alluded to in the introduction, I found October really hard. 

I'm more than thankful for finding the other side, however gradual. 

landscape artist of the year creative bloggers vivatramp

Bake Off but with art, Lanscape Artist of the Year, on Sky Arts channel, is like visual morphine to me. Each week, a different set of competitors have four or so hours to capture a landscape and we get to watch the process. 

I love listening to people discuss their creative process and I also love listening to people pull different things from one piece of work so this is totally my bag. I love how diverse the styles and artists are too! If you have access to Sky Arts, I highly recommend giving it a watch. 


Nu-rave, and the psychedelic indie that was born from that era, has been over for around a decade so, naturally, I've decided to regress back into it. A few weeks ago, I got the urge to listen to the Holy Ghost remix of Of Moons, Birds and Monsters, and since then I've had Oracular Spectacular on repeat. This is a hugely nostalgic album for me, to the point where I can't hear the opening bars of Kids without kind of wanting to cry?! Goodbye, youth.

A great album that still sounds relevant a decade later. Perfect nostalgia listening. 

•  these photographs 
•  Paige did craftober for the whole of October - there are loads of DIYs to check out
•  my bff Lyzi shared a guide to Manchester
•  Dan's video on his experience with depression was informative and v helpful to the youth
•  to celebrate Downs Syndrome Awareness Month, Angela & CR shared a Q & A on adopting a child with DS
•  Alex & Gorka's jive was incredibleeeeeeeeeeee
•  Ingrid's 28 things I'd tell my younger self were interesting
•  Sarah's acoustic version of Only You has been on repeat for a week or more
•  an ode to broken spines by Ariel
•  Toni has recently started a bookstagram account. she goes to lots of book events, etc. check it out!
•  Rosie wrote about being newly single in her 30's
•  Kathleen wrote a post in response to the men that message her telling her it isn't ladylike to discuss bowels...
•  loving these nano ponds
•  i sent shittyflute a request on twitter and they made it for me!
go and fund shona's new powerchair so she isn't housebound. thank you!

•  my September favourites 
•  monthly things that make me happy list

Onwards and upwards, Beeble. November will be better.

I've been sharing my monthly favourites since the beginning of the year and you can flick back through them if you so wish.

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