Friday, 20 April 2018

The Future of Vivatramp

lifestyle blogs in the uk book bloggers poets vivatramp bee stevenson

I have been swung a life's worth of curve-balls since I shared my first ever post back in June 2010. I had no idea that over the course of the next 8 years, I would live through multiple surgeries, lose my hair and grow it back, lose a belly button and not grow it back, and somehow graduate from university whilst fires burned in my belly. 

At the start of this year, I promised that I would start giving myself a chance. Years of ill health had trained my mind to believe that I wasn't worthy of going after what it was that I really wanted. I was so sure that things would always be pulled out from under me, and I'd once again find myself stuck to a hospital bed, so I shouldn't expect anything good to happen. I shouldn't dare to dream. I shouldn't try.

I'm now 25 years old, 26 in a matter of months, and I've realised that I don't want to live in fear anymore. I want to throw caution to the wind and try. I want to write and share and create and support people. I want to make people feel as if they're being heard and celebrated. I want to celebrate myself. 


Back in February, I took the first big step in realising my dreams when I started my new creative business. I'm now a freelance copywriter and blogger, at Vivatramp Creatives, helping small businesses and creative individuals reach their potential. You can see my work over on the We Are Mobile First blog. Even two months in, my business has taught me so much about myself and my abilities. I've realised what I'm capable of and what I enjoy. I can see my ability for the first time in years. It has been transformative. 

Starting my own business has given me the confidence to assess my online presence as a whole. Where does it all fit into my goals? What would I love to start doing? What can I create? What do I have to offer people? And pals, I have decided, with mass encouragement from people close to me, to start a Patreon page. 


What is it? 
Patreon is, essentially, an online tip jar where you can support creators that you admire and want to see get bigger and better. It gives creators the opportunity to build stronger relationships with their audience through more personal interaction and exclusive perks. 

What can patrons expect? 
I miss the golden age of blogging, when communities found one another in comment sections and friendships were forged over shared interests, and I'd love to bring that community spirit back via my Patreon page. I want to try and create a page that is, hopefully, just as much about supporting and sharing my creative endeavors with you as it is forming a like-minded and inclusive community. You, of course, don't need to consider yourself to be creative in order to join in. Everyone is welcome! 

You can subscribe on a per-month basis, from £3.50 a month upwards, and you're able to unsubscribe at any time. No questions asked and no hard feelings!  

What will I do with your support? 

It's my dream to be able to support myself by sharing what I love and what I know with like-minded people, especially as my aching body is no longer compatible with the average 9-5. It has taken me a long time to realise that I am worthy of trying to fulfill that dream.

With your support, I'll be able to focus more of my time and energy on sharing fun creative projects with you guys and, in turn, I'll be able to create bigger and better work. Think Art Attack's 'Big Art Attack'...and then minus Neil Buchanan and lower your expectations slightly...

What's in it for my patrons? 
I'm offering three reward tiers that patrons can subscribe to on a per-month basis: The Honeybees (£3.50/$5 a month), The Bumblebees (£4.93/$7 a month) and The Queen Bees (£6.33/$9 a month).

The Honeybees tier includes access to all of my lifestyle and book content on Patreon, as well as any personal updates, essays and polls

The Bumblebees tier includes access to everything from the above tier, as well as access to my private Instagram account full of behind the scenes content. There will be days in the life of my creativity, mini vlogs of my adventures, bookshelf tours...You will be able to dictate what it is you'd like to see! This tier also gives you access to a monthly downloadable creative guide, full of inspiration and exercises. 

The Queen Bees get everything from the above tiers, alongside all of my exclusive creative writing content - from tailored advice posts to extensive writing prompts, from writing exercises to updates on my first poetry collection. Patrons will have access to my projects as-and-when they happen! The Queen Bees also gain access to my new and exclusive BOOK CLUB! I'm so excited about this perk.We'll pick a book from a poll and read and discuss it as a community over the course of two months. 

For more detailed information, head to my Patreon and check out the 'Rewards' section on the right. 

I'm still going to be here! 
Fear not, however. I am still going to be posting here. Patreon is a neat little side hustle that will run in conjunction with this ol' girl. I'm not abandoning her. 

Thank you! 
Minutes, hours, days of my life have been spent wondering if my creativity is valid, or as good as X, or even good enough full stop. Your support, be it via Patreon or by sharing my page on social media, reminds me that I deserve this space. I'll use your support to share content that strives to remind others that their creativity, however new or low-fi or niche, is just as important too. 

I've felt sick to my stomach with nerves about sharing my Patreon page with you guys but I've come to realise lately that if I don't try I'll never know. I don't want you to see this as me using you or getting ideas above my station. I want you to see this as me recognising my worth and wanting to step outside of my fears for the first time in a long time. 

There is going to be at least one person reading this who found their own fears put to the page in this post and to you I want to say: write down what it is that you want and then note down the steps you can take in order to achieve it. You're worthy. Go for it!

I can't wait to see where these latest adventures take me. Stick around to find out! Head on over to my Patreon page and tell me what you think.


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Book Haul feat. Sally Rooney

book haul vivatramp blog uk

I'm being a lot more intentional with my book buying this year, thanks to my book buying ban of 2017, so despite wandering around a fair few charity shops over the past two months I haven't acquired any new books out of my own pocket. I'm also skint and, funnily enough, that helps too!

I have, however, received a trade paperback as a gift and been sent a few books from publishers in that time so I thought I'd hop on and share a book haul because I know that you guys enjoy them. 

an anniversary gift 

saga brian k vaughan trade paperback vivatramp book blog uk

After the traumatic events of the War for Phang, Hazel, her parents, and their surviving companions embark on a life-changing adventure at the westernmost edge of the universe.

Luke and I had our 8th anniversary back in February and to celebrate he bought me the latest volume of Saga and acquired a horrific bout of food poisoning following our anniversary meal out

I've been invested in the horrifically messy world of Saga since 2015 and I'm not about to jump ship just yet. I set aside one hour per year to read the latest volume when its released and I always look forward to it. (Spoiler alert: I read and really enjoyed volume 8 but I'll save my thoughts for a different day).


vivatramp blog uk

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

Penguin have been very good to me this year, as far as unexpected book mail goes, and back in February I received two books by Mohsin Hamid to celebrate the paperback release of the Man Booker nominated Exit West. 

Exit West did the rounds online last year but I only realised what it was all about when it turned up on my doorstep. I'm really into stories of displacement and the concept of home so I'm definitely intrigued. 

It's a slim volume so I imagine I could read it one evening over the next couple of months. 

book blog vivatramp booktube uk

At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful encounter. Changez is living an immigrant's dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by an elite valuation firm. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore. But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned and his relationship with Erica shifting. And Changez's own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.

Penguin also chucked in Hamid's most renowned novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, for good measure! 

I'd definitely heard of this novel but, again, I didn't know what it was about until it arrived. I want to read more stories about immigration and this seems like a good enough place to start?! 

My Goodreads friends have rated it from 3 to 5 stars so I'm feeling hopeful. 

conversations with friends sally rooney book blog vivatramp

Conversations with Friends is about Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa, four characters who ask each other endless questions. As their relationships unfold, in person and online, they discuss sex and friendship, art and literature, politics and gender, and, of course, one another. Twenty-one-year-old Frances is at the heart of it all, bringing us this tale of a complex menage-a-quatre and her affair with Nick, an older married man. You can read Conversations with Friends as a romantic comedy, or you can read it as a feminist text. You can read it as a book about infidelity, about the pleasures and difficulties of intimacy, or about how our minds think about our bodies. However you choose to read it, it is an unforgettable novel about the possibility of love.

I also received the new paperback edition of Conversations with Friends, from Faber, another excellent publisher, which I'll pass on to a friend as I already own a copy. 

Complicated relationships, secret trysts, and worlds of possibility, what's not to like?! 

(Spoiler alert: I read this a few weeks ago and completely fell for it but, again, more on that to come).

vivatramp book haul uk blog book bloggers booktube

Death in Spring is a dark and dream-like tale of a teenage boy's coming of age in a remote village in the Catalan mountains; a place cut off from the outside world, where cruel customs are blindly followed, and attempts at rebellion swiftly crushed. When his father dies, he must navigate this oppressive society alone, and learn how to live in a place of crippling conformity.

Penguin are releasing a new series to celebrate forgotten classics by European writers, each to be introduced by contemporary authors, the Penguin European Writers collection kicks off with Death in Spring. An allegory for life under a dictatorship, Rodoreda wrote this coming of age tale upon her return to Barcelona in the 1960s following her exile to France during the Spanish Civil War. 

I don't think I've read any literature from the Catalan region so I'm excited to delve in, especially as a small part of my family now lives there. (Side note: you can check out my guide to Barcelona whilst you're here). 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Penguin absolutely ace their collections. The production is always second-to-none, with consideration for what not only looks great but feels great too. I can't wait to receive  the rest of the collection throughout the year. 

book blog vivatramp uk booktube

Problems introduces us to Maya, a young woman with a smart mouth, time to kill, and a heroin hobby that isn't much fun anymore. Maya's been able to get by in New York on her wits and a dead-end bookstore job for years, but when her husband leaves her and her favorite professor ends their affair, her barely-calibrated life descends into chaos, and she has to make some choices. Maya's struggle to be alone, to be a woman, and to be thoughtful and imperfect and alive in a world that doesn't really care what happens to her is rendered with dead-eyed clarity and unnerving charm. This book takes every tired trope about addiction and recovery, "likeable" characters, and redemption narratives, and blows them to pieces.

I'm really into books that chart chaotic and difficult lives, for whatever reason, and this book promises that in spades. 

I don't often accept books pitched to me but this one sounded interesting, especially as it promises to stray from the typical tropes often found in tales of addiction and recovery. 

things bright and beautiful book blog vivatramp book haul

Mission House was not built for three people. Especially when one of them won't stop humming. 1954, the South Pacific islands. When Beatriz Hanlon agreed to accompany her missionary husband Max to a remote island, she knew there would be challenges. But it isn't just the heat and the damp and the dirt. There are more insects than she could ever have imagined, and the islanders are strangely hostile. And then there are the awful noises coming from the church at night. Yet as the months go by, Bea slowly grows accustomed to life on the island. That is until an unexpected and interminably humming guest arrives, and the couple's claustrophobic existence is stretched to breaking point. Events draw to a terrible climax, and Bea watches helplessly as her husband's guilt drives him into madness. It's not long before Bea finds herself fighting for her freedom and her life.

This was another unsolicited arrival that struck a chord with me. My only worry is that this novel will feed into the age-old trope of islanders as savages or 'other' so, hopefully, I'll be proved wrong. 

This sounds like an intense read fit for long summer afternoons so I'm going to set it aside ready for some sunshine. Talk about wishful thinking! 

book bloggers in the uk vivatramp


If you could share one lesson from your life with every woman, what would it be? Stylist magazine has asked that question of remarkable women from the worlds of entertainment, politics, sport and fashion. With honesty, wit and serious no BS attitude, their lessons address the challenges every woman faces today, from climbing the career ladder and finding inner fulfilment, to forging authentic relationships and overcoming life's setbacks. These are life lessons for women, by women. 

Lastly, I received a copy of Stylist's Magazine's Life Lessons From Remarkable Women. 

This volume is full of musings on a variety of subjects, from nervous breakdowns to unpopularity, from saying 'no' to grief. I imagine it'll be a good book to pick up as-and-when I fancy reading some mini essays. 

Essay collections are also great sources of inspiration so, who knows, I could end up sharing some life lessons of my very own in the near future! 

And those are all the books I added to my book nook last month! I'm going to work hard over the next couple of months to get my reading back to what it used to be. I've already got a few reviews up my sleeve so stick around for those. 

If you want to be notified of when I post, subscribe via Bloglovin or find me on various social media platforms. If you've not got anywhere else to be, stick around and catch up on my book blog posts. Or just flick through just my book hauls instead.

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


Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Things That Make Me Happy 81

vivatramp blog gratitude

baking afternoons 
getting fresh air following cabin fever
jackets with lapels covered in pins 
to do list free days 

(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.

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