This week’s guest interview is with Hazel, blogger behind Tea & Cake For The Soul. She explains ‘“Tea & Cake for the Soul” is my way of trying to give a little something back by sharing my musings, travel stories, recommendations, tips, and recipes. I’m a busy, married, mum of two grown-up children, with a varied working background in education, admin, retail, hair and home care. My passions include music, travel, writing, reading, upcycling and spending time with friends and family. As I lead a fairly frugal lifestyle in most areas, I am able to indulge in my other passion Travel! It was the comments received from the holiday diary of my first road trip to America that made me decide to get my blog up and running. I had put so much time and effort into researching the trip that I thought it would be a shame to keep all that info to myself.’
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
Hazel and I live in the South of England
2. What sort of traveller are you?
Part-time leisure traveller. At the moment we have a couple of long holidays each year and are starting to have a weekend away each month to explore the UK and Europe, as well as day trips or just exploring new places close to home.
3. How do you fund your travelling?
Our children are adults now so not reliant on us. We both work, we fund first-class travel by making all our business purchases on a credit card linked to Airmiles, and apart from our travel indulgence, we live very frugally. In my blog I share many frugal and money saving tips and stories, and when we travel we seek out free and cheap things to do. People are always asking us “how can you afford to go away again?” This was the main reason for setting up my blog – so that I could show people how they could do it on a small budget too.
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
Orange County in Southern California because the weather is good, the beaches are flat and sandy and the landscape is ever-changing. You can go up a mountain in the morning, be on the beach in the afternoon then seek out City entertainment in the evening.
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
Sadly I have to say some parts of the same Southern California that we love so much because there is a huge homeless problem which is getting worse each year. Poverty lives side by side with affluence. I take out food parcels to the homeless even when we are on holiday but it breaks my heart to see such desperation.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
Not so much a bucket list but there are so many places in the world I’d like to see, even exploring more of the British Isles. I’ve travelled abroad but never been to Scotland or Ireland! But if I have to choose 3 off the top of my head I’d say:
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
Only 3 wow! I am the queen of lists and tend to travel equipped for every eventuality. I even have holiday storage boxes now, so it’s all good to go for each trip! As we tend to road trip, I have a small rucksack packed ready for picking up the hire car which I take in my hand luggage then it’s easy to access as soon as you pick up the car at the airport. In it will be a mobile phone holder, USB and aux cables, sunglasses, reading glasses, a notepad, pen, and small first aid kit that also contains tissues and wet wipes. We’ve learnt from experience that there’s nothing worse than trying to find everything you need in your luggage after a long flight. Then everything is in there for the whole trip, and of course, it’s easy to pack back up again when you return the car at the end.
8. What makes you happy and why?
Being on a sandy beach with my husband. Whether it is walking along the water’s edge on a sunny day, or just sitting watching the sunrise or sunset. I instantly feel calm and my shoulders just drop the second I’m there. People say that they can see the joy in my face as I step onto a beach. Simple things please me.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
Just under 3 years. As I said I started to record my first road trip in the USA and give people tips on how to do it on a budget. I still have masses of content to add particularly of other road trips that we have gone on recently. I really must get into the habit of writing it as I go along😉
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
As time has progressed my blog has become a real mixed bag, so there’s lots of varied content and hopefully something that will appeal to everyone. Even if it’s not remotely obvious, most categories will all interlink to travel.
I talk about where to stay and what to do – our accommodation tends to be of the higher quality which is funded by free or cheap activities. Even if your budget is small, you can experience some amazing places. I review travel activities that will take an hour, a day or several days. Even if they don’t like all my suggestions there should be something there that people can add into their itineraries. Lots of my suggestions will come from local people so not just things that are obvious in Top 5 things to do in …..
I share many ways to save and manage money in your daily lives with household tips and recipes, thus enabling you to have a budget for travel. I hate waste and love for things to be reused and repurposed rather than binned, so I share projects and new ideas for this too.
My guilty pleasure for holiday books is of the chic lit so there are some recommendations for hours of reading fun. I find many of them give you that escapism, even allowing you to travel to other places without leaving your armchair.
And last but not least, I do have a section for Mental Health. That is in no way linked with travel but having lived with Mental Illness most of my life, I felt I wanted to tell my story to help raise awareness and share self-help tips to help other sufferers cope.😊
I hope people will find something they enjoy on my blog and sign up to follow me.
From ESLT – thank you, Hazel, for taking the time to answer our questions. Safe Travels 🙂