Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Woods, Early Spring Sunshine & Chip Shop Chips

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After a busy week of writing and realising stuff, I headed out for an afternoon in the sunshine with my dog, Poppy, and my blissfully divorced parents. 

We last took a stroll through the woods back in the summer of 2013, as shared in my Country Pubs, Woodland Walks and Cherry Bakewell Gelato post, so we thought it'd be nice to return years down the line with little P in tow. Pals, she had a whale of a time! Who needs high octane adventure when you can pad through leaf-strewn dirt as fast as your paws will take you?! 

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As you can see, getting Poppy to sit for a photograph was nigh-on impossible because all she wanted to do was zig-zag from smell to smell. A photograph wouldn't have been able to capture the glee spread across her face as she met a dog round every turn, however, so I'm glad she was able to just scamper around and enjoy the moment. 

After a couple of hours of strolling, and dodging race runners, we went back to the car in search of lunch. There's nothing better on a sunny day than chip shop chips, so we stopped by Papa's on the boulevard before heading up to Prince Consort Gardens for a peaceful munch. If you're ever in Weston-super-Mare and find yourself looking for chips, that's your action plan. 

Salt and vinegar laden chips, a good view, and that sweet early spring sunshine. What more could you ask for from an afternoon?! 

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It was such a great way to wind down and free up some space in my head. My life has been full of change recently, and all of it good, for once, but I'm still definitely in need of little moments like these to really take stock of everything that is going on. 

 I wasn't sure whether this adventure was post-worthy or not, since it was so short and mostly off-camera, but then I remembered that sometimes the quieter adventures are the ones that we need most and are the ones that are the most worth sharing and celebrating. So, here we are. An afternoon outside of my head in a local seaside town.

black lab

For some of us, naming no names, that quiet adventure was much too fun, so much so that we begged to go back out again as soon as we'd arrived home..


I love looking back on all of my low-key adventure posts from years gone by so I'm going to try and share as many as possible in 2018. Keep those eyes peeled. You know the drill. 

Stick around and scroll through my past adventures, if you fancy it.


Thursday, 22 February 2018

50 Blog Post Ideas For Writers

50 blog post ideas for writers vivatramp

I have been waking up for an hour or so in the middle of the night. Every night. My brain keeps switching on with ideas: good ones, bad ones, somewhere-in-between ones. 

These ideas, whilst safe with me, will do more good if they aren't left to stagnate in a note on my phone, so here's a list of 50 blog post ideas for writers. 

If you use any of them, send me a link. I'd love to give them a read.

1.  Where do you like to write? The same constant space or elsewhere? Show us. 
2.  What tools do you use? Any fancy apps or just pen and paper? 
3.  Give us your own tips on how to get rid of creative anxiety
4.  Run us through your writing history. Have you always been a writer? 
5.  Share some of your work. I've shared a handful of my creative writing over the years. 
6.  Help new writers out by sharing tips on how to get started with creative writing.
7.  Creative writing prompts are always useful. List some. 
8.  Create some blog post ideas for writers!
9.  Tell us about your biggest supporters. How do they help your work? 
10.  Studied writing? Give us more info and maybe share some tips! (14 Tips for Studying a Creative Writing degree)

11.  Give your readers some advice on how to understand your particular area of expertise - like my How To Understand Poetry post
13.  Write a list of the things that inspire your writing
14.  Do the writer tag
15.  Tell us about the books that have inspired you to write or about the ones you turn to for guidance.
16.  Detail your writing process from beginning to end.
17.  How do you get ideas for your stories? Let us know. 
18.  What helps improve your writing? Classes? Writing a lot? 
19.  Dissect something you've written and tell us why you wrote it the way that you did 
20.  What obstacles or anxieties have you faced during your time as a writer and how did you overcome them? 

21.  Share some advice on how to get out of a writing slump.
22.  Tell us your favourite thing about working on a project - the conception? the finished product? 
23.  What's the best advice you've been given by a fellow writer? 
24.  Try and take on a different genre or form and share the results.
25.  Give some advice to new writers.
26.  Tell us about what projects you're currently working on.
27.  What's your endgame? When your life is through, what writing do you want to have to show for it? 
28.  Do a Q & A about writing.
29.  Share a day in the life style post of your creativity.
30. What's your editing process? Let us in.

31.  Delve into your childhood & teen writing!  
33.  Tell us about your bad writing days. Are they important to you? 
34.  Go on an adventure to a location that is relevant to writing.
35.  Tell us how you deal with criticism as a writer.
36.  Share some of your favourite writing exercises.
37.  List your favourite writers and maybe tell us how they've inspired you.
38.  Give us some insight into how you create your characters. 
39.  Tell us about one of your pieces and how it changed as you worked on it.

40.  How do you work efficiently when you're writing? Give us some tips! 
41.  Do you listen to music whilst you write? If so, share your playlist.
42.  Give us some general writing advice.
43.  Take an old piece of your writing and re-do it now that time has gone by.
44.  What would you like people to take from your writing? 
45.  Get your readers to give you some writing prompts and see what you come up with! 
46.  Tell us about the stories that didn't exactly work...regardless of how horrendous they are. 
47.  Create an inspiration journal - fill it with things that you find inspiring and share the results.
48.  Change up your writing routine and let us know what you learnt from doing that.  
49.  Give your readers some advice on how to be more creative.
Nearly a year of weekly blog posts to help you reflect on writing as a craft. Enjoy the fruits of my rampant insomnia with these 50 blog post ideas for writers. Like I said if you use any of them, send me a link. 

If you're looking for further ideas, I've also got 10 lifestyle blog ideas, 100 book blog post ideas and 100 more book blog post ideas for you to look through. Thank me later! 


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Things That Make Me Happy 79

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passing on no-longer-needed books to friends 
seeing people I love thrive
penpal letters
understanding business bits

(photo credit)

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.


Sunday, 4 February 2018

Book Haul feat. Call Me By Your Name

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January was very much a surprise book mail kinda month which, in my opinion, is an excellent way to start the year. I don't actually have a permanent new home for my books, since the house move, except for a row of stowaways resting next to Luke's middle grade collection. I want to have found a place for them all once we've done up the office. We haven't got too much floor space so I may need to get creative with wall shelves...but that's a different subject for a different day. 

For now, lets focus on the array of colourful books that I added to my collection during January. 

my first book purchase in six months 
I was in the middle of an awful reading year, mind and focus elsewhere, when I decided to go on an impromptu book buying ban. I  decided that there was no point purchasing more when I wasn't getting through the hundred or so that I already owned. So, last summer, I consciously stopped buying books and instead shared tips on how to survive a book buying ban

Six months have now passed and I have decided to allow myself a few bookish purchases here and there. Buying books, I found, inspired me to read more and I missed the buzz of searching for new voices and their stories. In short, my book ban taught me how much I actually love the act of taking new-to-me books home. If the local library was an accessible option to me, I would, of course, revel in taking books out but, for now, I'm back on my (mostly secondhand) book buying kick. 

call me by your name book blog haul vivatramp andre aciman

call me by your name by andré aciman (2007)
Andre Aciman's Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

As awards season reared its glitzy head, it seemed that day-by-day more and more people were professing their love for the film adaptation of Aciman's 2007 novel, Call Me By Your Name. The promise of a queer love story told over one long hot summer was enough to wake me from my hauling hibernation and I ended up purchasing the film edition in late January. 

I don't imagine I'll wait until the sunnier months to immerse myself in the story of Elio and Oliver, but stranger things have happened. I can't wait to know this story inside out...and by that I mean I can't wait to know more of it than the peach scene. I'm putting this on my virtual 'read-soon' shelf. An excellent first purchase. 

sent by faber

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the blinds by adam sternbergh* (2017)
Imagine a place populated by criminals - people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who've been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits who don't know if they've perpetrated a crime or just witnessed one. All they do know is that they opted into the programme and that if they try to leave, they will end up dead. For eight years, Sheriff Calvin Cooper has kept an uneasy peace - but after a suicide and a murder in quick succession, the town's residents revolt. Cooper has his own secrets to protect, so when his new deputy starts digging, he needs to keep one step ahead of her - and the mysterious outsiders who threaten to tear the whole place down. The more he learns, the more the hard truth is revealed: The Blinds is no sleepy hideaway, it's simmering with violence and deception, heartbreak and betrayal, and it's fit to burst. 

I could be mistaken but I'm pretty sure I first read about this book when I was pawing through Faber's catalogue one afternoon. The blurb, with its promise of a weirdly isolated and somewhat dystopian community, sucked me in and I really hope it delivers on the page-turning front. 

It sounds like something I could easily sink my teeth into on the weekend. We shall wait and see...

penguin women writers book blog vivatramp book haul blogbook bloggers in the uk vivatramp penguin women writers haul

SENT BY penguin
In celebration of the centenary of women (over the age of 30 who met strict property regulations) getting the vote, Penguin have released a series of books, under the title Penguin Women Writers, that champions four so-called 'forgotten classics' by female authors. The series was curated by author Penelope Lively and Royal Society of Literature fellow Kamila Shamsie and the stunning covers were designed by American artist Martha Rich. 

These books are full of meditations on womanhood, in its richness and diversity, with tales of misadventure and independence filling the pages. I think I will start with the following book. Although, granted, I could be being swayed by the millennial pink...

the lark e nesbit penguin women writers book haul vivatramp

the lark by e. nesbit* (1922)
It's 1919 and Jane and her cousin Lucilla leave school to find that their guardian has gambled away their money, leaving them with only a small cottage in the English countryside. In an attempt to earn their living, the orphaned cousins embark on a series of misadventures - cutting flowers from their front garden and selling them to passers-by, inviting paying guests who disappear without paying - all the while endeavouring to stave off the attentions of male admirers, in a bid to secure their independence. 

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birds of america by mary mccarthy* (1965)
Peter Levi, a shy and sensitive American teenager, moves to Paris to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, where he is determined to live a life in harmony with his own idealistic views. But the world is changing at breakneck pace, with nuclear war looming abroad and racial tensions simmering at home. Before long, Peter's naïve illusions are shattered, as he finds himself an unwilling participant in an era of extraordinary change.

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lifting the veil by ismat chughtai* (2001)
Lifting the Veil is a bold and irreverent collection of writing from India's most controversial feminist writer. These stories celebrate life in all its complexities: from a woman who refuses marriage to a man she loves to preserve her freedom, to a Hindu and a Muslim teenager pulled apart by societal pressures, to eye-opening personal accounts of the charges of obscenity the author faced in court for stories found in this book. Wickedly funny and unflinchingly honest, Lifting the Veil explores the power of female sexuality while slyly mocking the subtle tyrannies of middle-class life. In 1940s India, an unlikely setting for female rebellion, Ismat Chughtai was a rare and radical storyteller born years ahead of her time.

vivatramp book blog uk

meatless days  by sara suleri* (1989)
Meatless Days is a searing memoir of life in the newly-created country of Pakistan. When sudden and shocking tragedies hit the author's family two years apart, her personal crisis spirals into a wider meditation on universal questions: about being a woman when you're too busy being a mother or a sister or a wife to consider your own womanhood; about how it feels to begin life in a new language; about how our lives are changed by the people that leave them. 

And those were the books I added to my shelves in January. A whole host of beautiful books to help kick start a much better year of reading. Fingers crossed! Did you buy or borrow or get anything out from the library last month? 

If you want to be notified of when I post, subscribe via Bloglovin or find me on various social media platforms. If you aren't quite ready to leave just yet, stick around and catch up on my book blog posts. Or flick through just my book hauls instead. 


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