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The best pieces of advice I've ever been given

When I was younger I honestly thought that at age 23 I would have gotten everything figured out. To be fair, I also thought by this point I'd be married to a rich man with several of my own published novels floating around in Waterstones. Lolll. Thinking about it now this was obviously quite an ambitious vision. The truth is, feeling a bit lost doesn't really stop - ever. Luckily I've grown up surrounded by people that also totally get it. Adulting is hard but I've been given a few great nuggets of advice from people along the way, so I thought I'd share them with you.

Always make time to do things you enjoy - I get massively stressed over the silliest things. I always have. That said, Mat has always pushed me to switch off and sit and do something I love for a bit to take my mind off of things. I used to think he was crazy - what could possibly be more important than completing/stressing over the task at hand? Turns out it's really helpful to take a step back and to give a bit of time just to yourself.

Only you can change something you're unhappy about - My mum has told me this on countless occasions. It definitely holds true. If you don't like your job, find a new one. If a friend is taking advantage, ditch them. If you feel like a slug, change your eating habits. Nobody is going to do it for you.

The important people in your life will always support you no matter what - My dad is like the human embodiment of this statement. I swear me and my sister could decide to go into the circus clown business and he'd still be there for us all the way. If someone is nay-saying about a decision you've made or a career path you've taken, then they don't understand what's important to you. Stuff 'em.

What are the best pieces of advice you've ever heard?

Why I'm addicted to Fallout 4

Usually I hate apology posts. You know the kind: "oh sorry I haven't been blogging I've just been super busy/mildly ill/lazy" (delete as appropriate). I don't feel like anyone should be such a slave to their blog and readers that they need to ask for forgiveness every time they opt to spend a week or so in the real world dealing with real issues. This is just a website guys.

This week however I do want to talk about the reason why I haven't posted anything for 5 days - I've gotten addicted to Fallout 4. Really badly. And I wasn't going to even acknowledge it but I know there's still a stigma around girls and gaming. This game really changes that. It's a game changer. Pun intended. I tried SO hard not to say that.

I've always played games of some description. From Gameboys (good old Mario Tennis) to PS1 to Sims and beyond. I wouldn't describe myself as a girl-gamer as such as I don't do it religiously, but I am definitely a girl who enjoys a game. In college I spent my evenings playing Call of Duty in the dark. 

Since uni though I've all but grown out of gaming. There's always dinner to be cooked, family to see, blog posts to be written, stuff to be tidied, gym classes to go to. I've also struggled to find a game that actually grabs my attention enough that I'll go back to it after all those real life adulty things get in the way. It's all war games and robots and macho-men - not that I turn my nose up at those things, but nothing felt like it was marketed towards me. 

I knew all about the previous Fallout games of course, having watched Mat play them through and having had a go myself. They always seemed interesting, and stylish. The latest installment breaks the mold and raises the bar set by other game franchises, because not only does it feature the option of playing as either a man or a woman, but the female character isn't a complete joke.

Yep, ya heard me. You control her looks and proportions, so there are no massive, sculpted butt cracks and boobs protruding into shot, and it's pretty clear from very early on that she's a strong, independent 200+ year old badass that don't need no man. Also both the man and woman wear identical tight blue suits (X-men styley) so there's nothing to complain about in terms of unfair representation in the fashion department.

Couple this with a really cool environment (set 200 years after a 1950s-retro-style America is devastated by nuclear war) and an awesome story development system that's just a little bit different to most open-world games, and I'm nothing short of hooked. It's beautiful and exciting and pretty addictive.

I know there are girls out there who might read this (most of my readers are ladies) and be baffled at the very idea of gaming. It's not everyone's cup of tea. That said I think more can still be done to make these big, blockbuster games more accessible to women. Too often we see them sexualised or presented as weak - Fallout 4 shows it doesn't have to be that way. 

So yeah, a game has totally taken over my life this week. Since Tuesday night I've literally just come through the door after work, fed myself as quickly as possible and then played until way past bedtime. The best thing? I don't regret it one bit. I'm sure normal service will resume as soon as I realise I haven't washed my hair for 5 days and should probably do something productive. 

Do any of you guys play games or are you put off by them?

The High Tea Club, Cambridge

Photography from The High Tea Club website as my camera and the evening mood lighting did not get on well!
On Thursday evening I made my way over to The High Tea Club, a brand new concept that's popped up on Mill Road, for their press launch. You can imagine my excitement to be invited along for an event just about tea! I met up with some of the girls from the Camb Meet Up blogger group, which was lovely, and we sat down to enjoy a gorgeous range of teas and cocktails as well as afternoon tea.

The Mill Road area in Cambridge is widely known as a sort of 'cultural quarter' of the city, with various restaurants and speciality supermarkets available. Hop over the bridge however and it's all a bit gentrified, with coffee houses galore and quirky names and store-fronts to boot. It was refreshing to see The High Tea Club pop up, as its simple sign and friendly (but beautiful) d├ęcor bridge the gap between Shoreditch-style swank and that famous cosy Cambridge feel. Owner Danielle Xiao created the relaxed, modern space with this in mind, with the Club being one of the only places in town to offer such a wide range of loose teas. Her family back in China has been in the tea business for centuries, so we felt sure her recommendations on what to choose from the 55 varieties on offer would be perfect.

The 'club' is part cafe, part bar, and the menu is a fusion of Chinese and British food and drink. This means that you can opt for your standard afternoon tea stack, or venture into the oriental with dim sum. As dim sum isn't something I'd ever tried before until this point I couldn't wait to get stuck in. The flavours were divine, with our favourites being the marshmallowy, custard-filled dumplings at the bottom. The standard afternoon tea was also not to be sniffed at with an unusual range of pastries and sweet macarons to indulge in. The pastries were from a local supplier, although much of the menu is made in-house. We were all pretty hungry so it didn't last long, but either stack would be the perfect size for sharing!

Something rather unusual about the Club is that it's open until 11pm, with plenty of cocktails on offer as well as an evening menu that offers nibbles and cheese boards in addition to the classic afternoon tea and dim sum, as well as desserts. The cocktail menu is reasonably priced for Cambridge, and there are some funky tea-based cocktails on offer that I'll definitely be going back to try. My favourite thing from the menu was the range of flowering teas. A small dried ball is dropped into the water and slowly unfolds into a beautiful floating flower as it infuses. Cool or what? I can't wait to go back for more.

The High Tea Club can be found at 160 Mill Road, Cambridge and is open 9am-11pm (10pm on Sundays).