Wednesday, 27 September 2017

How To Survive A Book Buying Ban

I have been on a book buying ban since July and it has taught me some things. It can, at times, be quite hard to uphold. However, it can also be quite rewarding. 

So, in the interests of helping you guys out with your prospective bans,  I'm here to share some advice on how to survive a book buying ban. 

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Set a workable timeline and you're one step closer to success! Set it for the end of that week, that month, or that year, and watch as it gets easier to follow by the day! Plan a small purchase at the end, if that's what you need to make it work, but it's better to reward yourself with something else if you're wanting to get out of the habit. I'm personally on a book buying ban til the beginning of next year and I'm planning to pick a couple of books off of my wishlist to see myself into 2018 with. I do have, however, a small stash of bookish gift cards to use up so I may use those before the year is through. 

Gather together the books that you own but haven't read yet. Curate a small pile, or shelf, of the ones that you're most excited to read. Pop them on your nightstand. Keep them close. Enjoy reaching for one before bed and you'll soon find your focus turns to reading rather than buying books. 

Who's to say you can't do a Mary Poppins and turn the job into a game?! Turn your book buying ban into a 'read your shelves' type of readathon and you'll find it a whole lot easier to stay motivated. With each book read, you're closer to completing your readathon. 

You could, of course, encourage others to join your readathon too! Set up a group chat, on Goodreads or Whatsapp or a Twitter hashtag, for those of you that are getting involved and motivate one another to stay on track and away from the tills. 

Reap the rewards of your ban by popping the money you've saved into your savings account. It'll probably make you feel less bitter about the whole sorry thing. 

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Focus on reading instead of buying and set yourself some goals for the rest of your ban. Read through an entire shelf, or read all the books you've bought in the past six months, or you could even aim to read every unread book that you own. Set yourself a challenge and you'll have too much on your hands to even worry about adding to your bookshelves. 

Set up a book wishlist online, or on paper, to make it less tempting to make purchases. That way you can still look at a list of books you're interested in without the temptation. Come the end of the ban, if you've decided to treat yourself, you could pick a few books off the list to reward yourself with for all your hard work. 

Know what encourages your book buying habits and look at ways of minimizing the temptation. End up buying a book every time you watch your favourite booktuber? Maybe pool their videos together and watch them at a later date. Got your favourite bookshops pinned to your browser? Consider unpinning them for a while so you aren't tempted to follow through with a sneaky purchase. 

Utilize your local library, if it still exists, or raid the bookshelves of your loved ones. Books bans don't have to be entirely miserable! You never know, you may find some of the books that are tempting you on their shelves. 

If you can't or don't want to go on a complete ban, you could set yourself a specific rule to follow that slows your purchases down a little. For example, you could read 5 books before you buy. That way you're still getting through more books than you are buying them! 

Aaaaand those my 10 tips for how to survive a book buying ban. I'm hoping to hold out until the start of 2018 with regards to books bought out of my own pocket. We'll see how that goes!

 Are you currently on a book buying ban? Good luck, pals! If you're after some more book-related posts, you can find a ton in my archives!


Sunday, 24 September 2017

50 Creative Writing Prompts (feat. Words & Images)

50 creative writing prompts vivatramp blog
(photo credit)

At some point in our writing lives, we all turn to creative writing prompts for salvation. In the interests of being everyone's knight in shining armour, I'm back with 50 creative writing prompts to see you through your latest projects. With both word and image prompts, there's something to inspire everyone. You could, of course, use them for whatever creative outlet you see fit - for art, photography, blog posts, essays, you name it. If you've been wanting to get creative but you haven't known where to start, this is for you!

creative writing prompts: words
Sometimes, all it takes is a word and then you're off. Not all creative prompts are complex, pals! Use these words in whatever way you see fit - as titles, subjects of your work, passing bits of dialogue, it's up to you.

1. public house 
2. happy hour 
3. amusement 
4. beams 
5. arcade 
6. bewildered 
7. pixels 
8. pecan pie 
9. restful 
10. pierce film 
11. western 
12. cabaret 
13. treehouse 
14. the invitation 
15. reflective 
16. dormitory 
17. goodnight 
18. toyshop 
19. ajar 
20. hot dog 

Visual prompts can oftentimes be all the more evocative. In this edition, I've selected 20 images to inspire the setting of your creative pieces. From perilous heights to your apartment postbox, I'm hoping that these images inspire you to step out of your comfort zone a little. Creative writing prompts give you an excellent excuse to let someone outside of your wheelhouse to take the reigns a little! 

100 creative writing prompts blog

creative prompts for art and writing and photography

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50 creative writing prompts words and images blog uk vivatramp

vivatramp creative lifestyle blog

vivatramp lifestyle blogs in the uk

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vivatramp blog creative writing prompts

creative lifestyle blog vivatramp

50 creative writing prompts

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Sometimes, of course, it isn't the words that are the problem. It's the entire concept. And so, I've scrambled together five basic creative writing prompt concepts to help you put pen to paper. Once you've found a thread or a character or a particular tone, you can run with it into your very own story. 

1.  it's your lunch break. today it looks a little different.
2.  a letter is being written, maybe years too late.
3.  same table. same person. a different set of circumstances. 
4.  spooky shit is going down. come on now, you know the drill. 
5. they never could keep their hands clean for too long. this time, they're roping everyone else in with them.

Sentences also make excellent creative writing prompts. They tell you more than a word could but they're oblique enough to encourage your brain to do some work. You may not want to use them in place of a killer first sentence but you could jump off from one, or more, of them.  

1.  she had something to declare.
2.  i sat, curbside, with all my worldly possessions in the plastic bag next to me.  
3.  we did as we were told back then.
4.  it was all scribbled down in that very same address book. 
5.  "why wait?" 

And there you have it, 50 creative writing prompts for you to use as you see fit! Use them as starting points or building blocks on your way to creativity. In need of some more creative writing prompts? Have a look through my archive of  creative prompts for further inspiration. You can also check out my other creative blog posts. Have fun!


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Book Reviews ft. Children's Books

odd bods puffin books childrens picture book reviews book blog uk vivatramp

I didn't read a lot in August, granted, but I did turn my attention to four newly-released picture books sent to me via Puffin Books by autumnal princess Sarah


goodnight spaceman book review childrens book gifts blog uk

FINISHED: 08/08/17 | PAGES: 32  | ISBN: 0141365625 
Two space-mad little boys get ready for bed and say goodnight to their toy rockets, launch pads and planet mobiles, before being whisked away into space on an adventure beyond their wildest dreams . . .

Capturing imaginations from the very first page, Goodnight Spaceman is the sort of bedtime read that then sparks whole worlds of creative thought. With a foreword by actual astronaut Tim Peake, this is the perfect read for both big and little aliens. The illustrations are wonderful and this story, on the whole, made me feel pretty capable of doing whatever I set my mind to.  

Great read.


the cow who fell to earth book blog book reviews vivatramp

FINISHED: 08/08/17 | PAGES: 32  | ISBN: 1780080670 
One night a star CRASH-LANDS right on top of a flock of bumbling sheep. But the star is not a star... It's a little lost cow. And all she can say is 'WOOOOOO'. How will she find her way home when nobody can understand a word she's saying?

I went into this picture book expecting to love it. I mean, space cows?! Yes please! However, for whatever reason, I felt that this story fell flat compared to the others that I immersed myself in that afternoon. It felt less impactful to me, plot-wise, but that's not to say that the intended readership wouldn't enjoy it more. 

I would, however, recommend the others before this one.  Personal preference.


odd bods steve tyler puffin books blog uk vivatramp

FINISHED: 08/08/17 | PAGES: 32  | ISBN: 0141365625 
Odd Bods is a celebration of every weird and wild child - a hilarious, raucous and occasionally bizarre romp through the quirks and habits of some seriously odd bods. 

As I said in my Favourites post, I wholeheartedly enjoyed Odd Bods. Fiction for the weird and wonderful is my sort of thing and this ticked all the boxes. 

Excellent illustrations, by Jarvis, and packed full of funny individuals, this is a definite must-read for your favourite little odd bods. 


book blog uk vivatramp puffin books

FINISHED: 08/08/17 | PAGES: 32  | ISBN: 0141365625 
This book is about worms. I can only draw worms. You might think worms are boring - but you'd be wrong. These worms have INCREDIBLE adventures! I can't draw those bits, though, so you'll have to imagine them.

I love a picture book that doesn't take itself seriously and wonderful nonsense is offered up in abundance in Mabbitt's latest offering. I Can Only Draw Worms is full of fun and, as such, I can imagine that it inspires quite the giggle out of its younger readers. 

I'm also a big fan of that cover.


And that's what I read in the month of August. A slow month, granted, but my mind has been on other things. If you want more bookish content, you can read through all of my other book blog posts. Or, you could scroll through my book reviews instead.

Books marked with an * were sent to me by the publisher for consideration. 


Saturday, 16 September 2017

My Favourite Things 8

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August was a bumper month for life stuff, from big personal news to slip-ups to not so nice news, it was all happening last month. Whilst all of that was going on, I was coveting comfort food, some gifts and our little city break! 

As always, you're welcome to leave your own favourites in the comments. It's a great place to get recommendations when everybody shares.

vivatramp stationery blog uk lifestyle blogger

Over the past few weeks, I have been taking steps to start my freelance business. As 'Vivatramp Creatives', I'm going to be offering creative writing, copywriting and proofreading services to anyone that may need them - be it brands or individuals. I'm also going to be offering up a couple of creative writing packages for people that want their own slice of my original poetry. 

I'm nervous but so excited to see where this goes and I'm doing it for all of the passionate disabled women out there. I'm hoping to have it all set up soon. Wish me luck! 

guide to barcelona things to do in barcelona city guide uk blog vivatramp

As you may have seen, if you read my 'Guide to Barcelona' post, Luke and I took a trip to the beautiful city last month! It was kind of impromptu but everything we needed it to be. We ate good food, saw the sights, and caught up with family. We're going back next year so do send me some recommendations of things to do or places to eat if you have any!

odd bods steven butler blog

I mentioned this super cool picture book in my last book haul but I just had to feature it in my Favourites because I enjoyed it so much. I'm all for fiction that champions the weird and wonderful and this picture book does just that. Highly recommended reading for littles and bigger humans alike!

cat bag vivatramp uk

Luke gifted me this gloriously fun bag for my birthday back in July and I have worn it constantly since. It's a great size and works with pretty much everything that I wear. I love it and if you do too it's still available on ASOS. 

lifestyle blogger vivatramp uk monthly favourites

Speaking of my birthday, Lyzi gifted me this BFF mug that I gave to all of my bridesmaids in my bridesmaid proposal boxes so that I didn't feel left out. Soooo cool and so appreciated! It's from, in case you were wondering. 

vivatramp blog uk favourites
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We had some happy family baby news last month and I'm still so excited about it! We've all been throwing around baby names, both serious and ridiculous, and I can't wait to meet the little arrival. I have already been tasked with the important role of Bookish Aunty, ensuring that this little one has all the books it could want or need. I'm going to take my job verrrrrry seriously.  

flying tiger blog vivatramp

I popped to a local town to buy some shoes for my Barcelona holiday and I accidentally wandered into Flying Tiger. Naturally, I came away with nautical floppy notebooks, cards and washi tape. All the essentials. It's impossible to walk by one of these shops. It's like a cult.

vivatramp pinterest home boards uk blog

I have been preening my home boards on Pinterest of late. They're now separated by rooms, making them really easy to navigate. If you've seen a pin you think I'd be interested in, based on these boards, then do send it my way! Or, alternatively, let me know what shops or websites do excellent homewares for low prices. 

I'm hoping to put these pin boards in action before the year is through...

10 tips for car boot sale success money saving blog uk vivatramp

I'm back on my de-cluttering game - selling things online and at the local car boot sale. I shared 10 tips for car boot sale success earlier this month and 10 books to unhaul early last year, so peruse those posts if you too are in need of a little de-clutter yourself. I've still got a way to go but I'll get there. 

vivatramp favourites blog somerset copywriter

I'm so into making comfort food for myself and my family. One tray roast dinners, pan-cooked salmon and carbonara are some of my favourites at the moment. Carbonara top tips: add basil, garlic butter as well as garlic, and always add an extra couple of eggs or so. An excellent supper. 

•  Vanessa wrote a piece on how we treat physical illness vs. mental illness
•  ...and she has also started an excellent tinyletter 
•  Bethany shared an important thread r:e relationships
•  the ridiculously talented Maddy is looking for new projects
•  Gem is back with her incredible recipes. Her food photography is stunning!
•  Win Butler shared his songwriting process with ClickHole, lol
  If you're into gaming videos, you should definitely watch Zoe's
  my home boards on Pinterest have been topped up a lot recently
  Gillian shared a hugely useful post on freelance finances
  been singing Elliot's 'More Than Just Memes' for a week straight, not gonna lie

•  monthly things that make me happy list
•  a birthday book haul ft. lots of du Maurier 
•  more book reviews ft 2 bits of queer lit and a TBR
•  guide to barcelona: things to do

A month of varied favourite things. What was on your list for August? If you're wanting more, I've got seven more months of  favourites for you to scroll through!

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