Saturday, 10 October 2015

Graduation, Sunshine & The Stable, Plymouth | Adventures with Bee

1 vivatramp lifestyle blog top uk book blogsvivatramp instax fujifilm

A few weeks ago, I finally graduated from my BA (hons) undergraduate degree in English with Creative Writing. 

Although, Little Cub seems to think she did too...

1 vivatramp lifestyle blog

And Mum too...


I didn't think I'd ever get round to graduating due to my illness, etc, but I did and I have to say it's a really weird feeling. 

1 vivatramp graduation plymouth the stable uk lifestyle blog1 graduation1 vivatramp graduation lifestyle blog

The graduation day itself was a weird one. I'm really not comfortable with big ceremonies or high emotion so I felt extremely out of place and, to be honest with you, I didn't enjoy it. I was in pain and the day felt a little bit redundant because all of my classmates and loved ones had graduated ages ago. I did, however, enjoy having my best friend there for the day. Sophieanne may not be someone I have discussed in great detail on Vivatramp before but she is one of the people that ensures I stay on this earth. I love her and I'm so glad she was with me to see me through and to check on my fringe, as photographed above. 

vivatramp the stable plymouth
vivatramp places to eat in plymouth devon the stable adventures with bee
the stable plymouthfood where to eat in plymouth

After stopping off at a pub on the Barbican to talk Don't Tell The Bride with one of Mum's best mates and his new husband, a highlight of the day, we strolled along to The Stable to celebrate with good food. This was the part of the day that I wholeheartedly enjoyed!
 The Stable is a new addition to the Barbican which I'm more than a little bit gutted about because I'm sure my housemates and I would've loved to work our way through the menu.  I'll just have to get myself to the Bristol branch instead now that I'm back in Somerset! They serve pizzas, pies and cider. The three food groups. 

The interior was wonderful, very blogger-friendly if you catch my drift, and the staff were more than attentive. I loved that the Plymouth branch had two outdoor terraces, one upstairs and own downstairs, because the Barbican area in general is really lovely to gaze out at of an evening. One of the things I liked about the service at the restaurant was the fact that you write your order down. As someone with a lot of dietary requirements it made the process a lot easier! The menu was really refreshing and full of flavours that you wouldn't normally see at your average restaurant so we took our time choosing. We, eventually, picked out the following:  

vivatramp pizza plymouth the stablevivatramp places to eat in plymouth the stablevivatramp lifestyle blog uk uk

Look at those babes!

Mum and I went for the Lamb Roast pizza - marinated local lamb, mint, marinated Norsworthy Gunstone goats' cheese, thyme roasted sweet potato, roast onions, tomato sauce and mozzarella. It was full of flavour and, in our opinion, even better heated up for lunch the next day! 

vivatramp pizzabff

Sophieanne went for The King Crabber - handpicked white and brown crab meat, lightly infused with red chilli, garlic and lemon with roasted red peppers, fresh basil leaves and topped with mozzarella, finished with creme fraiche, parsley and a lemon wedge. Soph absolutely loves seafood and, as a coeliac, she was really chuffed that they offer gluten free bases for all their pizzas. 

pie the stable what to eat in plymouthlifestyle blogplymouth

Little Cub opted for the Squish Squash pie - spiced butternut squash, sweet potato, goats' cheese, spinach and plum chutney. From what I gather, it was really really good.

Dad went for the Steak Out pie - beef, stout and horseradish - but inhaled the thing so fast that there is no photographic evidence. Typical. Dad really enjoyed it and even went as far as saying that it was good value for money. My Dad's a Scotsman so that's a really big deal! 

top uk lifestyle blog

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience at The Stable. The restaurant was clean, had a great atmosphere and the staff were both accommodating and attentive. I would recommend it to everyone. Whilst it's mainly a South West chain, they're branching out to cities like Birmingham and Cardiff soon so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Thank you to everyone that has supported me throughout my long university experience, whether you helped me get through the dark days of my gap year, the horrendous days of my second gap year or through the late nights working away on essays. Your care and support was much needed and much appreciated. 

how to survive university with an illness
uni q and a
20 things to do before i leave university


*Part of the bill was paid for in return for an honest review. The rest was paid for by my Dad in return to just being a bloody fantastic daughter.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Books Are My Bag #desertislandreads | Books with Bee

vivatramp top uk lifestyle blogs

happy bamb 2015! Books Are My Bag is a nationwide campaign that celebrates bookshops. The campaigns are, essentially, a window of time where you're actively encouraged to go out and buy even more books in order to support your local bricks and mortar bookshop(s). The campaign runs from Thursday 8th October, also known as Super Thursday, to Saturday 10th October, a day where bookshops nationwide will be holding Big Bookshop Parties for all of their customers. If you'd like to get involved you can locate your local bookshops via the BAMB website before sharing your purchases online using the following hashtags  #booksaremybag #bamb and #lovebookslovebookshops. This will, hopefully, make everyone super jealous and encourage everyone else to head out and buy books of their own. 

8 # D E S E R T  I S L A N D  R E A D S

This year's theme is #desertislandreads and, consequently, BAMB have asked me to pick out 8 books that I would take with me to a desert island. 'Wow Bee, that must've been really fun to do!', I hear you say. False. It was really really horrible because it turns out it comes with many a dilemma. Do I take books that I have read and loved to remind me of home or do I take new reads that I've been meaning to get round to to inspire me?  There are pros and cons for both, naturally. If I take books I've already read, I know I love them. However, I won't ever get to experience new books and explore new worlds. If I take new books, I'll have the opportunity to have those new experiences but, of course, what if I don't like them?! After much deliberation, I have decided to pick a mixture -- 4 read and 4 unread. I'm going to take unread books too because I rarely re-read, love jumping into new stories and I can always set about re-writing the ones that I don't like as much! I'm not 100% about my choices but then again that's the story of my life so we'll just carry on...

vivatramp uk lifestyle blog book blogs

1| t h e s e c r e t h i s t o r y
 by donna tartt
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever. 

This is basically everyone's favourite book so it has to be good right?! The fifty or so pages that I have read so far have proved to be really interesting so I have high hopes. Failing everything, there's quite a few pages here to keep my fire burning for a reasonable amount of time... 

vivatramp rebecca daphne du maurier

2| r e b e c c a by daphne du maurier 
Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers. 

I could be wrong but I think du Maurier would make the perfect companion for storm-ridden nights on the island. Whilst I've not read Rebecca, everybody says it is her best work. I gave Jamaica Inn five stars so surely that means I'm going to really enjoy this novel?! 
vivatramp harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban uk lifestyle blog book blog

3| h a r r y  p o t t e r a n d  t h e  p o a by j. k. rowling 
Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can't wait to get back to school after the summer holidays...But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There's an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school.... 

I'm not going to apologise for taking a Harry Potter novel with me. If I'm going to be stuck on an island waiting for death, I'm going to do so with one of my favourite worlds neatly stacked at my side. Always.  This choice may be a little inspired by Dwight Schrute.

vivatramp just kids patti smith uk book blog

4| j u s t k i d s by patti smith 
The legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. 

Just Kids is one of my favourite books of all time so it would definitely be coming with me. Patti's anecdotes would be sure to keep me busy whilst I was stressing out about finding food and shitting in holes and such. 

vivatramp books are my bag sara waters the little stranger

5| 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 could be making a terrible decision taking a book which such a spoopy blurb with me to a solitary island but I'm not prepared to live out the rest of my days without reading a Sarah Waters novel. 

vivatramp desert island reads books are my bag campaign

6| f i v e  on  a  t r e a s u r e  i s l a n d by enid blyton
The very first Famous Five adventure, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy! There's a shipwreck off Kirrin Island! But where is the treasure? The Famous Five are on the trail - looking for clues - but they're not alone! Someone else has got the same idea. Time is running out for the Famous Five, who will follow the clues and get to the treasure first? 

I spent the majority of the 1990's and early 00's reading and re-reading a handful of the Famous Five books per day. They sparked off my love of reading and, whilst I haven't read any of them in years, I think this book would be a great choice for the island. Even though I'm still petrified of Uncle Quentin...

vivatramp the wind in the willows kenneth graeme desert island reads listography list

7| t h e w i n d i n t h e w i l l o w s by kenneth graeme 
The tales of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad. When Mole goes boating with the Water Rat instead of spring-cleaning, he discovers a new world. As well as the river and the Wild Wood, there is Toad's craze for fast travel which leads him and his friends on a whirl of trains, barges, gypsy caravans and motor cars and even into battle. 

Again, I'm taking another book that sparked off my love of literature many moons ago. I love everything about this novel, from its whimsical almost ethereal side, to its serious critique of Edwardian industrialisation. It's so good. 

vivatramp the name of the wind patrick rothfuss

8| the name of the wind by patrick rothfuss 
This is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of travelling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story. 

Whilst I don't usually tend to gravitate towards fantasy novels, I feel like I'm going to need to read a sizeable chunk of high fantasy if I'm going to be waiting around on an island without the internet. I'm going to have to devote my time to worlds far from my own if I'm to survive a situation like that, right?! Also, like with The Secret History, there are a ton of pages to burn here if I really don't like it. Practical. 

And that's my lot! I would love it if you went ahead and shared your very own selection of Books Are My Bag #desertislandreads on your blog or social media channels. Don't forget to link / tag me into your picks so I can see them all! Also, don't forget to get involved with the Books Are My Bag campaign and head out to your favourite bookshops to buy up some reads to see you through the rest of the year. The people at BAMB also sent me a box of goodies to unbox to further inspire some bookshop purchases and I'll be sharing photographs of the contents over on my Instagram in due course so keep your eyes peeled for those. 

What books will you be buying in bookshops this weekend? Alternatively, tell me some of your own #desertislandreads -- would you take a selection of read titles or would you switch it up like I did? 


*I was contacted by the people at BAMB to help promote the campaign and I also received a box of goodies to inspire my list of #desertislandreads but I wasn't paid for this promotion. I just love books, bookshops and...did I say books?! 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

20 Creative Prompts for creative writing, photography, art & blog posts: October 2015 | Creativity with Bee

vivatramp lifestyle blog creative prompts for creative writing blog post ideas photography and art prompts

I'm back this month with another round of creative prompts to help inspire your future creative works. These prompts are extremely vague for a reason; I want you to be able to use them for whatever you see fit: for stories, pieces of art, a series of photographs, ideas for blog posts, whatever takes your fancy! Take them literally or have a bit of fun with them. It's up to you. 

I'd love to know what creative projects you have been undertaking of late, so let me know. Admittedly, my own endeavors have been thin on the ground these past couple of months. I think I just needed to take a step back following my creative dissertation but I'm hoping to throw myself back into things as soon as possible using the following prompts. 

20 CREATIVE PROMPTS  for creative writing, blog posts, photography & art 

1  howl                                                                                          11•  fry
2•  hopskotch                                                                                12•  sparrow 
3•  four walls                                                                                 13   market
4  accident                                                                                  14   clean 
5  false                                                                                         15•  doll
6  curse                                                                                        16•  fragile 
7•  room                                                                                         17•  genetic
8•  apprehensive                                                                         18•  ceramic
9•  diagonal                                                                                   19•  orchard
10•  guide                                                                                      20•  opal 

Do you think you'll be using this month's prompts? Is there anything you'd like me to do differently with them? 

Why not check out my other posts on creativity.


Friday, 2 October 2015

H is for Happy: Things That Make Me Happy | Listography

vivatramp h is for happy gratitude list things that make me happy listography depression how to ease depression

Today was 'one of those days'. These things, no matter how small, made it easier: 

1. a text message from my mum that just read 'I completely understand you' 
2. the promise of a weekend at the cottage 
3. taking an hour out of the morning to just read in complete silence 
4. the fresh air that the short walk to the post box affords me 
5. doodles that the doodler deems so bad they label them 

6. bookish mail from women writers 
7. small daily rituals
8. the excitement of picking out a new book to read 
9. the way the dogs love me unconditionally, regardless of how horrible I feel 
 10. the feel of paper with my biro carved into it  (a lot of people seem to also enjoy this) 

H is for Happy is my longest running blog series that houses list upon list of the things that make me happy. I am making a conscious effort this October to share as many of these lists as and when I can. I would love it if you joined me, be it through leaving your very own list in the comments below or via social media platforms such as Instagram. If you do write your own lists elsewhere, tag me in them or @ me them or use #hisforhappy so I can peruse them all. I'm trying to top up my happy in any way I can!

What things made you happy, or happier, today? 

Check out my H is for Happy archive.