An Afternoon of Tea and Cake is a weekly feature where I will be chatting with a variety of people including bloggers, musicians, authors, artists, etc, to find out their thoughts and experiences on all the subjects that I cover on my blog.
Today we meet up with Julie from A Little Book Problem who shares her wonderful cake creations with us and explains her evergrowing TBR pile.
What is your favourite brand of tea and how do you take it?
This is an easy one. Being a Yorkshire lass through and through, it has to be Yorkshire Tea. I’ll have it builder’s strength with skimmed milk, please.
I love cake! A nice moist piece of carrot cake would be my first choice, or a delicious Malteaser cake maybe. This is a good one
If you could have a celebrity afternoon tea, who would you invite?
Do they have to be alive or can I pick dead people? My ideal guest would be Walt Disney, I think he was an amazing visionary and I would love to chat with him over tea and cake, with Emily Bronte and Victoria Wood. If it has to be a living person, I’d pick Julie Walters, Daniel Craig and Marian Keyes. I doubt Daniel would get a word in with us women, though!
What do you do to soothe or lift your soul?
I read, constantly, and I write. I also love walking my dog on the beach in North Wales when I can get away. I get a real sense of freedom and headspace there, I feel like I can breathe and think properly.
Do you like crafts, upcycling or DIY?
I don’t do much crafting now but I do like to put together photo albums and memory boxes for amazing trips that I have taken. Since I am a natural hoarder or ticket stubbs, photos, programmes etc., I am always looking for interesting ways to display them.
I also have made some very elaborate birthday cakes for my daughters and step-daughters as they were growing up. I have two daughters and three step-daughters who currently range in age from 10 to 15 and are all Harry Potter and pony crazy, so Harry Potter-themed and pony cakes have always been in high demand. The most elaborate ones – which were Hagrid’s Hut and Dumbledore – took me upwards of 10 hours each to make.
I find people love my home or garden tips, do you have any of your own that you can pass on?
I am a terrible, terrible gardener. I have killed every houseplant I ever owned bar one. My gardening tip would be – leave it alone and get someone else to do it! My favourite household hack that I didn’t realise that everyone didn’t know already until recently is that the plastic boxes that grapes, strawberries etc. come in have holes in the bottom so they act as a natural colander for rinsing the fruit prior to eating – no need to dirty an actual colander!
Where is your favourite travel destination and why?
I love the USA, particularly the Florida Keys. Key West is my absolute favourite place, with a stop as Islamorada on the way down for a real ‘castaway’ feel. I am desperate to visit Cambodia, Vietnam, and Canada.
What sort of books or mags do you read?
I read books in every genre, to be honest. I am a voracious reader and love to push the boundaries of my comfort zone so I’ll take on most things.
I’ve read a lot of fantastic books this year which you can see on my blog, but my favourite book of the year so far which has totally blown me away and I am recommending to everyone is The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper. It is out in e-book already and in paperback on 20 September and I think everyone should read it!
Do you have any health tips or experiences that you would like to share?
Make sure you get enough sleep, it really does make a massive difference to your quality of life and mood and to your physical wellbeing. Don’t look at screens before bed, just curl up in a dim room with a book instead (of course, I would say that!)
Can I ask what your favourite section of Tea & Cake for the Soul is please?
I like the Days Out & Travel category as I love travelling myself and I am really nosy as to where other people have been and what they recommend.
Finally please tell us about your blog.
My blog, A Little Book Problem consists mainly of book reviews. I started it in January 2017 when I realised my To Be Read (TBR) pile was out of control and I challenged myself not to buy any new books for a whole year but read only ones I already owned. The blog was started to keep track of the challenge but it has morphed into something else since, and I now do a lot of blog tours and book reviews. Ironically, the blog has led to recommendations and opportunities that mean I now have even more books on my TBR than when I started! I love it though and plan on continuing as long as it keeps being fun. I do intend to start doing more posts that are not book reviews, but will still be mostly book related, just to mix it up a bit.
Thanks so much for joining us today Julie, I know what you mean about the TBR pile. I am often wondering which to do first, write or read, both of which I enjoy. And I have to say your cakes are truly a work of art. Your daughters are very lucky.
I have lots more Afternoons with Tea & Cake for the Soul scheduled so do check back or read about some of my other guests.