An Afternoon of Tea and Cake for the Soul is a new weekly feature where I chat to a variety of other bloggers to find out their thoughts and experiences on all the subjects that I cover on my blog. Although I have shared with you some of my own thoughts, I’m delighted to kick off the series properly with Ali Richards from Diary Of A Detour. Ali pretty much echoes my passion for many of the things I write about with the exception of tea!
Let’s get the important stuff out the way first. You don’t like tea?
I don’t like tea! I was never introduced to it as a child and when I did try it as an adult I really didn’t like the taste. It may be a taste you can acquire but I didn’t see the point in trying. I don’t drink coffee either, for the same reason. I’ve mainly drunk water all my life, even when it was unfashionable (you couldn’t buy bottled water in the 70s or 80s except on a Spanish holiday), which is an easy option as it’s cheap and available anywhere. The only downside is that I don’t automatically offer people a hot drink when they visit, which is so unsociable!
What about cake?
I have a very sweet tooth and am trying to limit sugar which makes it very difficult. I have a massive weakness for cookies, and have a great recipe for the kind of soft ones which are available at Millie’s Cookies. It’s from the BBC website and these turn out really well and are super-easy for people like me who aren’t exactly a Mary Berry baker.
If you could have a celebrity afternoon tea, who would you invite?
Emily Dean, Claudia Winkleman, and Sara Cox. All intelligent, witty, funny women and we’d have a real laugh! Emily is Frank Skinner’s sidekick on his Saturday morning radio show but also has her own podcast which is really entertaining and funny. She walks her dog with various celebs for an interview, and they bring their own pup (or borrow one from a shelter!) and have an in-depth chat. Claudia is just so deadpan on Strictly, and completely steals the show in my opinion. Sara is so warm and self deprecating on the radio, and I hope she takes over from Chris Evans, although I’m a Radio X girl these days except for the odd Pop Master challenge with my friend Stacey if I’m off work.
What do you do to soothe or lift your soul?
I love walking, running or riding my scooter to completely switch off and let my mind drift. I can work through problems and get brilliant ideas for my website when I’m out and about! I love dancing and there’s nothing better than having a boogie with your mates to your favourite records. That’s why I love DJing as it’s a great feeling to play something which gets everyone on the dancefloor. The best thing though, when I’m feeling down, is a good hug. My younger son is a brilliant hugger, and my older one is too, when he’s had a few drinks, and isn’t embarrassed to hug his elderly mum!
Do you like crafts, upcycling or DIY?
I’ve been through so many crafting fads. In no particular order, they include cardmaking, jewellery making, felt accessories, crochet, beauty products including moisturisers and lip balms, sewing and magnets. What’s great is that if my younger son has a school project then I’ve usually got all the glue, paper, card and other bits he might need for it.
One project which continues to get great feedback is my fabric headphone holders. They are perfect for keeping earphones in a safe place, without getting tangled when travelling or in your handbag. They are easier to make than you’d think and I’ve given them to so many friends and family. I’ve had so many positive comments about them. I sent one to a lovely friend who was going through breast cancer treatment as I thought it would be ideal for hospital visits. She got through it and has recovered now, but recently sent me a photo of herself in hospital after being admitted for breathing problems. She was showing me how she still carries the case with her all the time in case of an emergency like this and the photo was taken of her in bed listening to music with her earphone case in her hand!
I find people love my home or garden tips, do you have any of your own that you can pass on?
I’m really not a Good Housekeeping housewife at all, but I have a woodburning stove and have a tip to clean the glass on the front – you use the ash from inside! Fold a couple of thick kitchen towels into quarters and wet them, then dab it in the ash and then use it to clean the inside of the door when it gets all sooty.
Where is your favourite travel destination and why?
I’ve been on two amazing holidays with my family in the last year, both of which I would love to do again and explore the places further. The first was to Toronto, Niagara and New York on a road/train trip. Then we did a California road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco at Easter. I love making memories and these were great adventures that I’m so grateful I could share with my family. The look on my children’s faces when they saw the spectacular view from our 49th floor Niagara Falls hotel room will stay with me forever! If I’m staying closer to home then my favourite place is the Isle of Wight. I had many happy holidays there as a child, and have been going on my scooter there pretty much every August bank holiday since the early 1980s. I met my husband in Ryde, got married there, and love nothing more than riding my scooter along the country lanes on the island.
What sort of books or mags do you read?
I mainly read thrillers although I do try other genres. I love Lee Child but have to admit that his more recent books are very predictable. Peter James is brilliant and I love the fact that his stories are set in Brighton so I know the streets and locations he talks about. His main character, Roy Grace, lived with his ex-wife in a road very close to where I lived in Hove in the early 90s, so it’s very relatable for me. The most recent book which I’d recommend is yet another thriller called Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler. It’s only 98p for the Kindle edition and is extremely gripping, set in a hospital.
What are your short or long-term blogging goals?
My blog is fairly new as I only started it this year and is a mixture of scooters, street art and travel. I love taking nice photos, writing about places I’ve visited and things I’ve done so the blog is an ideal way of sharing tips for my readers. I’m organised and a planner by nature so if I can use these skills to help others plan their own adventures then that’s great.
I would love to turn it into a meaningful income to give me a flexible job which allows me to spend more time with my family and work around them rather than my current 9-5 office job. I don’t think people realise how much time and effort goes into a blog, but I’m prepared to work really hard at it to make it a success. I’ve had fantastic feedback so far and hope to continue to give people useful articles that they like to read.
Update: Ali has managed to achieve her dream of a flexible job but it wasn’t directly through the blog like she’d hoped. Instead, she started building websites for other businesses and in February this year ditched her day job and started a new freelance career. As well as web design Ali writes content and provides SEO consultancy. I’ve also been involved in Ali’s new business, providing social media consultancy for Ali’s clients. If you want to find out more then here is a link to Ali’s business website, Summerley Digital.
Thanks so much Ali. I’ve loved witnessing your many crafting hobbies over the years and the earbud case is still much used in our household too. As for your blog Diary of a Detour, it is certainly one of my favourites and even though I’ve been to California many times I still visit your blog to find things that I haven’t visited before.
Ali also kindly wrote a guest post for me last year for my mental health series entitled:
Running for the Soul.
You can read my answers to the above in An Afternoon of Tea & Cake for the Soul and find out what other bloggers have taken part during the series.