Friday, 20 February 2015

Secondhand Book Haul | Books

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It has only been a month since my last secondhand book haul but after hitting up the secondhand warehouse again, this time with a list of books to hunt down, I have 12 more books to share with you. It could be argued that I'm trying to compensate for a difficult start to the year and, to be honest, that's probably accurate but god book shopping is so therapeutic! Also, who the hell turns down books for £1 each?! Onto the books...

vivatramp book blog uk lifestyle blogger uk secondhand book haul black beauty anna sewell

1| black beauty by anna sewell 
Black Beauty tells the story of a horse's long and varied life, from a well-born colt in a pleasant meadow, to an elegant carriage horse for a gentleman, to a painfully overworked cab horse. 

I already own a copy of this book, and I read it just last year, but I couldn't bring myself to leave this gorgeous edition behind. It is now sat upon my chest of drawers, among fellow books and candles and such, looking rather beautiful. I was  actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this read!

Set in the American South in the 1960s, this novel follows Meridian Hill, a courageous young woman who dedicates herself, her heart and soul, to her civil rights work, touching the lives of those around her even as her own health begins to deteriorate. Hers is a lonely battle, but it is one she will not abandon, whatever the costs. 

I'm steadily working my way through everything Alice Walker has written and I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. If you have never read anything by her, do it! The Colour Purple would be an excellent place to start. Walker is one of those writers that puts her all into her characters and, as such, everything she writes is just absolutely incredible. I'm not sure when I'll pick this up, but I'm hoping I'll get a chance to before the year is out. 

Set in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France...Another Country is a novel of passions...that is stunning for its emotional intensity and haunting sensuality, depicting men and women, blacks and whites, stripped of their masks of gender and race by love and hatred at the most elemental and sublime. 

I have been meaning to read Baldwin's works for a while now and luckily enough I've heard that Another Country is a good place to start. The dichotomy between love and hate is so incredibly broad, and I'm looking forward to seeing where Baldwin takes it. 

One day...Elizabeth Smart chanced upon a slim volume of poetry by George Barker and fell passionately in love with him through the printed word. Eventually they communicated directly and, as a result of Barker's impecunious circumstances, Elizabeth Smart flew both him and his wife from Japan to join her...Thus began one of the most extraordinary, intense and ultimately tragic love affairs of our time...

Both Jason and Zoe have been singing Smart's praises of late so I'm really glad I stumbled across this beauty. I'm not particularly well versed when it comes to prose poetry, but it's something I write and really want to explore in greater detail so this seems like a good enough place to start! I've got a feeling this will be one of those stories that I try and savor for as long as possible, so I may read it alongside something else. 

vivatramp homemade love j california cooper book bloggers lifestyle uk

5| homemade love by j. california cooper 
J. California Cooper tells exuberant tales full of wonder at the mystery of life and the hardness of fate. Awed, bedeviled, bemused, all of Cooper's characters are borne up by the sheer power of life itself. 

J. California Cooper is a writer that I have only discovered very recently but, again, I have heard some really great things. The premise alone, with characters 'borne up by the sheer power of life itself', sounds pretty awe inspiring so I've got high hopes. 

vivatramp book blogger uk d h lawrence poetry lifestyle blog

6| selected poetry by d. h. lawrence 

I've just finished studying D. H. Lawrence but I thought I'd delve a bit further and try out some of his poetry as I have yet to do so. This edition is so beautiful, and it's made even better thanks to the little inscription on the inside sharing birthday wishes from November 1965! 

vivatramp joan didion the white album second hand book haul book review uk

7| the white album by joan didion 
The White Album is a mosaic of the late 60's and 70's. It includes the dark journeys and impulses of the Manson family, a Black Panther Party press conferences...and the swirl and confusion of the 60's. With commanding sureness of mood and language, Joan Didion exposes the realities and dreams of that age of self-discovery whose spiritual centre was California. 

I love me some Didion, it's no secret. I read A Year Of Magical Thinking towards the end of 2014, and I definitely want to read more of her work throughout this year.  I was extremely happy when I saw this 70's hardback beauty sitting on the shelf, as I stupidly left it behind last time!  

A collection of six stories interconnected to form a novel about the women who live in the community of Brewster Place, a poor neighbourhood on a dead-end street. 

This is another book that I've heard a lot about recently so, again, I quickly nabbed it off the shelf. I'm a fan of interconnected stories, and stories set in neighbourhoods, so I'm going to pick this up sooner rather than later. How great is this cover?! 

vivatramp lifestyle book blog uk georgian poetry book review secondhand book haul

9| georgian poetry 

John Masefield is one of my favourite poets, so this little volume should be right up my street. I'm currently studying contemporary poetry so I think part of me wanted to rebel and read this collection on the side. Anarchy lives on! I'll share any poems that I enjoy on here in the future, I'm sure.


I found this collection of T. S. Eliot's essays tucked alongside the poetry anthologies and thought I'd give it a go as I've just finished a Modernism module at university. I'm probably going to read this post-university when I'm feeling nostalgic for literary criticism because I'm kind of overloaded with it right now but I'm sure he's got some interesting things to say on writing and critiquing! 

vivatramp the little stranger sarah waters book lifestyle blog secondhand book haul

11| the little stranger by sarah waters 
One post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline. Its owners-mother, son, and daughter are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his. 

I've had my eye on Sarah Waters for a long time now but I'm only just starting to build up my collection. I was definitely inspired to do so by Mercedes over at MercysBookishMusings. If you haven't checked out her author spotlight on Waters, you need to go and do so now. It's really informative and great for Waters n00bs like myself! I don't know a lot regarding the plots of Waters' books but I really enjoy reading about Victorian culture and sexuality so I'm hoping they will be right up my street. I'll let you know how I get on. 

How To Get Into The Twin Palms is the story of Anya, a young woman living in a Russian neighbourhood in LA, who struggles between retaining her parents' Polish culture and trying to assimilate into her adopted community. She lusts after Lev, a Russian man who frequents the Twin Palms nightclub down the block from Anya's apartment. It is Anya's wish to gain entrance to this seemingly exclusive club. 

Okay, this isn't a secondhand purchase but I think I'd just include it anyway! Luke kindly bought this book for me for our anniversary and I'm really glad he did because it's quite different to anything I've read recently. If the story is anything like the production of the book, I should be in for a treat! You shouldn't judge a book by its cover but when it's covered in cute illustrations and has deckled edges, I'm sure as hell not going to judge you for doing so! You should check out all of Two Dollar Radio's titles. I'm definitely going to be purchasing some more later this year. 

I've got a few Christmas gift cards to use, so you may see some more new books next month, but otherwise I'm not going to be buying in bulk for a long while. As ever, I want to know what you think of my purchases in the comments below. Have you read any of these books before? What ones should I read first? Have you added any to your wishlist?

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Wicked, Theatre Royal: Watch A Play | Project Unplug

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At the start of this year, I decided to try and spend less of my time online in 2015. I don't necessarily want to escape from the internet for lengthy periods because, lets face it, that'd be an impossible task, but I do want to be more mindful of the things that I am spending my time on. This is where Project Unplug comes in! This series will hopefully focus on all of the things that I have managed to do in place of spending a billion hours endlessly browsing. It could be anything from doing some yoga, to going to the theatre to watch a play. Luckily enough for me, I had a little bit of help with the latter! 


vivatramp wicked the musical theatre royal lifestyle book blog uk


#1 watch a play 
I was lucky enough to be offered a couple of tickets to watch Wicked at the Theatre Royal and, naturally, I snapped them up. I'd seen Wicked on the West End so I had doubts as to how a touring version would compare but, honestly, it was just as incredible and I was in my element as soon as the first bars of No One Mourns The Wicked kicked in. Emily Tierney and Ashleigh Gray made for a superb Glinda and Elphaba pairing, with ridiculously stunning vocals and perfect comic timing. The entire ensemble, from the cast to the crew to the live orchestra, did an insanely fantastic job and I felt really lucky to be able to experience the magic of Wicked for a second time. If you happen to find yourself in Devon and suddenly hear someone screaming out Defying Gravity in the early hours of the morning, that's more than likely going to be me. I cannot help myself. Whilst I still have hang ups about the way Nessarose's character is presented, I would recommend the show to absolutely everyone. It's no wonder it's so popular...lar lar...lar lar. 

Here's the tour video to give you a bit more of a taste of it!


I'm definitely going to have to return to the Emerald City in the future - let me know if you've watched it or are planning to below. Book yourself some tickets! You won't see The Wizard of Oz in the same light again! Feel free to leave some ideas for future Project Unplug posts in the comments if you so fancy it. I'll be back soon once I've got this mammoth
 poetry assignment done. Heaven help me... 

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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Thank You.



The world has lost an incredible human being. 

I hadn't known her for long, a few years at most, but all that I knew of her was good. 

I knew that she cared, really really cared, for other people and would always be there for them in their time of need. I knew that she had a wicked sense of humour and was also a great entertainer, lighting up rooms with witty comments and laughter. I knew she had a great perspective on everything, and would be someone that you could definitely turn to if you needed help or advice or some good cheese and wine. I also knew that she was a great mother, always ensuring that her children were happy in what they were doing, in turn creating two beings that I am lucky enough to call friends and one day family.

She was an extension of my family - sending me well wishes when I was in hospital, always checking up on how I was doing and occasionally reading Vivatramp to keep up with my latest rambles. 

I'm very lucky to have known her in any capacity. 

Thank you, Moira  

Monday, 19 January 2015

20 Ways To Pratice Self Care & Why It Is So Important | My Life in Lists

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tray & pretty bowls, the other duckling*

One of the most important things that I have learnt over the last few years is the importance of self-care. Living with physical and mental illness can be a strain, particularly when I'm also living independently, so I have had to make a conscious effort to allocate time in my schedule for me. Whilst self-care should be something that we do naturally, it's not always that easy due to a multitude of constraints. However, I am here to remind you to factor in a little time in your day / week / month to just taking a step back, even if it's just for five or ten minutes. I'm taking the rest of the evening off to eat a nice meal and watch some television and I can't wait. 


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 take five minutes out to browse THE OTHER DUCKLING* because browsing pretty homeware = self care

Self-care, funnily enough, is a highly personal thing and it really comes down to the things that you enjoy doing. If you want to create your own list, think about all the things that you would like to do to unwind, and then work on fitting them in somewhere. For me, it can sometimes be about doing specific things and sometimes it can be about avoiding certain situations or groups of people. Here are a few of the things that I like to do when practicing self-care!


1| listen to a playlist of my favourite songs  
2| take a day off from going outdoors & nest & organise my things
3| take a long scolding hot bath
4| go second hand or charity shopping 
5| write twitterfiction
6| marathon a show on netflix
7| take selfies or photographs {trust me, they're a great self-care tool!}
8| plan projects that i want to find time for in the near future 
9| have an indoor picnic of sorts, aka cuddle up in my armchair and eat snacks
10| write letters to loved ones 
11| read quietly 
12| make myself a tall drink and some food that i fancy
13| take a little nap 
14| write some lists
15| move around: stretch or meditate or go for a little walk into town
16| put really comfy clothes on
17| sit by my window and let the sunshine hit my skin
18| take time to appreciate the positive things i have been doing lately 
19| read through @here2pep's timeline  
20| mute or unfollow social media accounts that make me feel bad or anxious and completely avoid clickbait articles and my facebook feed


vivatramp lifestyle book blog uk homeware haul self care

How do you feel about self care? Do you dedicate enough time to yourself? If you would like someone to talk to, don't be afraid to email me. I have lots of email pals that I chat to and it's so nice to be part of such a supportive community. If  you feel like you need to reach out to a professional, please don't feel anxious to do so. I'm off to eat snacks and watch re-runs of shows that I've seen a billion times! 

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pretty homeware sent to me for consideration. everything else in this post is my own.