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The month that was: June

What happened:
We're halfway through the year, which is crazy! Olly and I celebrated our anniversary (we celebrate on two different dates - here's why), but we'll be heading to Duck & Waffle in July for our main celebration as we like to celebrate somewhere up high. (We couldn't get a reservation on our actual anniversary. And Paramount, where we had our first date, sadly closed down at the start of the year. Boooooo!) Isn't my anniversary card from Olly the cutest?

Other than that, I've had a pretty quiet month, to be honest. The glamour of being an author, huh? ;) I'm currently working on three different books, and I hope to have an update soon on when I expect Found to be released. (Definitely later this year.) Make sure you catch up with the first two books in the Arielle Lockley series before then!

What I ate:
At home I made buttermilk chicken (I cobbled together a recipe from three different recipes), prawn chowder, plus M&M and Oreo cookies (I used the cookie recipe in Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy cookbook but substituted the chocolate chips for Oreos and M&Ms). Of course, I cooked a lot more than this, but these were the most interesting dishes!

If you want steak in London and don't want to go to the tourist trap that is the Aberdeen Steak House (now called the Angus Steak House) - shudders - and Gaucho and Hawksmoor are a bit out of your budget, try Flat Iron. I ate there for the first time in June; for a tenner, you can't go wrong! (The Denmark Street Flat Iron tends to be quieter than Beak Street; there was no queue for a table there, whereas it was a 90 minute wait at Beak Street.)

Rabot 1745 is part of Hotel Chocolat so pretty much *everything* on the menu involves cacao. Whilst it was nice enough, it was definitely overpriced. The dishes do sound incredible, like the "Yorkshire pudding filled with cacao glazed pulled pork, white chocolate mash and cacao red wine jus", pictured below right, but the taste was disappointingly average.

I've eaten at Bukowski a few times before, and it's awesome BBQ food. See that silver bowl in-between our dishes? Those are puck nuggets - yep, delicious pork and duck nuggets - and the side you can see next to the burger are tobacco onions. I can highly recommend these, plus my ribs which were *insanely* smoky and tasty.

What I watched:
I finally watched the second half of season 4 of Homeland (it's been on our Sky+ HD box for months). It's lost some of its charm, and the same goes for season 3 of Orange is the New Black, which we binge-watched in less than a week. (Obviously.) Season 5 of Game of Thrones also finished in June and, again, I didn't like this season as much as previous ones. Is nothing sacred in GoT land?!

June also saw the return of Pretty Little Liars - those girls(!) - and I started watching Switched at Birth, which is the polar opposite to PLL. It's about two teenagers who find out they were switched at birth (duh!); American Sign Language is used throughout, which gives it a really interesting dynamic. I also started watching Humans - it's creepy, but oh-so-good!

Films watched: Grace of Monaco, Lucy, Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, We Need to Talk About Kevin (the book is *so* much better!), The Giver, Edward Scissorhands and Beauty and the Beast. We also headed to the cinema to see Jurassic World, which was cheesy but enjoyable. £30 for two tickets to the cinema though... ouch! 

What I read: 
In June I read 20 books, and I abandoned reading 7 books (sorry). My favourite reads of the month were Evil Games by Angela Marsons and The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson.

I also enjoyed The Martyr's Curse by Scott Mariani, Feed by Mira Grant, The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood, The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro, Whatever It Takes by Adele Parks and The One You Really Want by Jill Mansell.

How was your month? x

Beauty: Liz Earle haul and review

I've been using Liz Earle products for around five years now, and I absolutely love (the majority of) their products. Their famous Cleanse & Polish is my go-to daily cleanser, though I use the Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion to remove make-up fully - I don't find that Cleanse & Polish, despite its claims, fully removes waterproof mascara - and I also use the eye lotion as soon as I wake up. It refreshes my eyes, but also cleans away any night-time build-up.

I love the Instant Boost Skin Tonic, which I always use after cleansing, and I follow this up with the Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser. I'm also a big fan of the Superskin Concentrate for Night (not pictured) which has the most amazing and relaxing smell, though I find I use this more in the winter months.

One product I can't recommend though is the Daily Eye Repair eyecream, and I'm not overly impressed with the Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask either. The Gentle Face Exfoliator is another product that I probably wouldn't recommend. I'm not saying that any of these are bad products, but I don't find the eyecream hydrating enough for my eyes, and I think that there are better treatment masks and exfoliators out there.

Each month Liz Earle has an awesome bundle offer that saves you money *and* nets you free products. The picture above (minus the tube that's at the top, second from the left) shows what I received in June's bundle for £45. As well as a full-size cleanser, toner and moisturiser, I was also minis of these products -  perfect for long weekends away - plus a mini shampoo. In fact, the mini moisturiser was the Superskin moisturiser. Bonus! I also received a full-size bottle of the Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion - hel-lo!

Are you a fan of Liz Earle? x

Beauty: Glossybox UK review June 2015

June saw me receive my last Glossybox, and it's not surprising considering the contents of the box - most of it went straight in the bin.

I immediately discarded the Halo fragrance free facial wipes and the flash tattoos, though I did try the Essence gel nail polish before it went in the bin. It was an awful colour, and it was really thick. Pass!

(Oh, and it was *another* nail polish. Please stop it with the nail polishes already!)

That left me with the Kueshi anti cellulite moisturiser - it seems an OK moisturiser, though I can't really speak on whether it helps with cellulite - and the MONU Spa rosewood reviving mist. The mist is the only product I actually like from the box. It has a gorgeous smell, and it's good to get some moisture on your face when the weather is sunny... if, you know, we ever get some *properly* sunny weather. What's with all the grey clouds?!

All-in-all, I found it to be a very disappointing Glossybox in June 2015. Do you still subscribe to any beauty boxes? x

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