A slight change to the scheduled post tonight. due to unforeseen circumstances, but I am delighted to welcome to Friday Night Drinks – a few weeks earlier than planned – Jo who runs one of my favourite blogs, Tea & Cake For The Soul. Jo’s blog is a lovely mix of book reviews, travel, music, lifestyle, recipes, health and lots more, so there is always something interesting to read.
Jo, thank you so much for stepping in at the last minute and joining me for drinks this evening, I hate to drink alone! First things first, what are you drinking?
Vodka and coke, although to be honest I’d rather have a mug of tea!
Sometimes I’d just rather have tea too. My friends and I have been known to order cups of tea in my local! If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
We would be going to a gig, just a small club gig nothing big. Music of choice would be rockabilly, psychobilly, ska or ska/punk.
If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
If we’re out drinking then I’d choose Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, they just always seem to have a laugh don’t they?
That’s very true. I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve corpsed on This Morning. I thought Holly did a great job standing in for Ant on I’m A Celebrity, too. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
At the time of writing, I’m busy giving my blog a huge overhaul. Although I’ve been blogging for 3 years, I’ve only been doing it seriously in the last 8 months or so and there’s more to it than just typing something and hitting publish isn’t there?
I’ve learnt so much recently that I thought before I go any further I’d go back through my old posts and try to bring them all up to scratch. It’s quite a mammoth task now that I realise I’ve already written 180 posts! So maybe not all of them, but I’d like to get some of my core content up to date and SEO optimized.
Why did I start it? I’m asking myself the same question hahaha! I currently run my blog as a hobby so I don’t NEED to do it for business but unfortunately, once I get an idea in my head I have to see it through.
While I’m doing all the above, I’m also continuing to keep the gig guide and all the band pages that I run, up to date at the same time. And doing my usual paid work, running a house and looking after my family. I think I need a holiday very soon!
I’ve always written and run websites for as long as I can remember. I have recently been offered a regular freelance writing job and I’d certainly like to do more of that if the right opportunities come along.
Ultimately though I just want my writing to be useful and enjoyable, and want to get the word out to as many people as possible.
That is a great ambition, Jo. What has been your proudest moment since you started blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?
Blogtober and Blogtober. 31 posts in 31 days. I tried to write interesting and varied content that still fit in with the themes of my blog so travel, music, recipes, book recommendations, health, eco issues, etc. I found that the whole process taught me that I had skills I’d forgotten I had, it certainly took some planning.
I managed to get most of it written and scheduled throughout September so I was feeling pretty confident about it and thought I’d get a bit of a rest in October! Promoting the posts turned out to be as time consuming as writing them.
And one big part of Blogtober is to interact and support other bloggers. I joined a great Facebook group so lots of time was spent reading and commenting on their posts too. It was a full-time job for September and October. But one I’m glad I did. I picked up new followers and I’ve found some great new blogs to read too.
What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!
Well, I’m driven more by the simple pleasures in life of just being happy rather than having ambitions, but for the sake of our night out, and presuming that the vodka has made me a bit silly, I will choose to interview Robbie Williams. Did you see my post earlier in the year The Day I Met Robbie Williams? Well yes, I’m still kinda hankering over meeting him and getting to ask him some down to earth questions.
The Day I Met Robbie Williams
What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
I’ve got lots of great new musical articles coming. I’ve been running music-based websites and writing for books and magazines since 2002. It really is a huge passion of mine so I’m pleased to be bringing more of that to my blog.
Even if you don’t like the style of music, I hope that every music lover out there will be able to identify with the stories. They are all approached from a personal angle. I will be featuring fans, promoters, and DJs, as well as musicians, and everyone has an interesting story to tell, they just need someone to prise it out of them.
That sounds really exciting, I will look forward to reading those posts. I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
My favourite place is Seal Beach in California. We try to go over to the US once or twice a year. We always go somewhere new on each trip but have a couple of days in Seal Beach too if we can. We’d like to spend much longer there when we retire.
Bucket list at the moment is Monument Valley in Sedona/Utah which I am going to tick off in 2019 but then after that, I think it will be New York and Canada. I’m not a city girl but I think it has to be done once doesn’t it?
I love the USA too. I’m not a city girl either but I love New York, I’ve been four times and I would still go back. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.
I once cut the hair of an 80’s popstar. He’d been on Top Of The Pops and in National Press too. 😉
Oh, you are mean keeping his name to yourself! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
There have been two stand out books for me this year so it’s a hard decision but I think for a universal appeal it has to be Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood. If you just look at the book blurb, I’m not sure everyone’s going to want to read it, but it’s probably the best book I’ve ever read, a real rollercoaster read full of laughs and warmth.
Jo’s review of Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood
So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
Well if you’d stuck with me and drunk tea you’d be fine! 😉 But if you’re feeling rough, there’s no other way than to spend the morning in bed feeling sorry for yourself being served copious amounts of chilled water, hot tea and biscuits.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
My perfect day would be at the beach, a really quiet flat sandy beach so I could walk along the water’s edge chatting then just sit and look out to sea and let my mind go blank for a while. I love being by the ocean, it instantly calms me.
I love the beach too, it has a certain way of putting things in to perspective. Jo, thank you so much for joining me on the blog this evening, it has been a huge pleasure and I look forward to seeing the developments on your blog as it grows.
If you would like to get to know Jo better, please make sure you visit her blog, Tea & Cake For The Soul or catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Please join me back here next week when I will be having Friday Night Drinks with author, Rachel Dove.