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The month that was: January 2016

What happened:
We headed to Yorkshire to see my family and spent the weekend catching up, ice skating, bowling, playing board games and sorting out our trip to Disneyland Paris. Speaking of family, our new niece (on Olly's side of the family) was born. Welcome to the world, Esmé Florence!

We had to start flat-hunting pretty sharpish in January. We've found before that having a cat really limits our options: I rang one estate agent, mentioned the cat, and she arranged four viewings for us. At the end of the conversation I asked her to reconfirm that the landlords were definitely OK with the cat... four appointments became one. (And that flat was grim.) The whole situation has been very stressful, but we should be signing the contract for our lovely new home any day now. More next month when we've moved! (Fingers crossed!)

I finished listening to the Limetown podcast, which I didn't like, and the Adnan Syed episodes from Truth and Justice and Undisclosed (which I did). We bought a record player - cue buying all the vinyl - and I bought some running gear in the January sales. (Nope, not been for a run yet.) We also went to Bounce for a friend's birthday, but got there too late to play ping pong. Doh!

We headed to the theatre twice - to see Matilda which we saw the other year and really loved, and then to see The Play That Goes Wrong. Matilda was as awesome as it was in June 2014, and I really loved the Trunchbull (again). The part is so funny, and Craige Els did a marvellous job. As for The Play That Goes Wrong, it is absolutely hilarious, and I really recommend that you go and see it. Immediately. (You can read the rest of this post later.)

Finally, I finished my consulting work at the end of January* which means I can crack on with Found, the final book in the Arielle Lockley series. I'll have an update on the exact release date very soon (April/May), and will be revealing the cover. I know I said that Found would be out at the end of last year, and I'm so sorry it's been delayed, but life in London is expensive and sometimes I have to work even though I'd rather be writing. If you want to be an author purely for the money, pick another career!

*OK, I worked the first two days of February, too, but I'm *definitely* done for a while after today!

What I ate:
In Notting Hill I had lunches at Farm Girl Cafe (below right), Tem Tep and The Hillgate for the first time. Tem Tep was really disappointing, but I went to another Vietnamese restaurant in Covent Garden - Com Viet, where I've eaten before - and that was much tastier. We celebrated a friend's birthday at Flesh and Buns, and I can highly recommend their tasting menu. I don't like sushi but their fried squid was the best squid I've ever had in the UK. (Squid below is from The Hillgate - it was more colourful-looking than F&B's squid!)

We had a pretty indulgent weekend when we went to Hakkasan for dinner on Saturday night, then to Blacklock the next day for dinner. All the food at Hakkasan was beautifully done - truly scrumptious - but my favourite dishes were the roasted chicken in satay sauce and the roasted silver cod in a champagne and honey sauce. Full thoughts here.

As for Blacklock, it's my new favourite place for a Sunday roast. We went all-in, which is exceptional value: £20 each for a mountain of meat (lamb, pork and beef) with all the trimmings, plus additional sides of cauliflower cheese, minted peas with horseradish, and roots and gremolata. The bone marrow gravy was divine - lashings of it got poured all over my roast - and we left with very happy tummies.

What I watched:
Films watched: The Terminal, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The DUFF, Trainwreck, Get Hard, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Cake, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Wild and Unfinished Business.

TV-wise, we watched The Man in the High Castle, which I really loved, but I just want to know what's going on. Roll on season 2! The girls returned in Pretty Little Liars, so I had to resubscribe to Netflix immediately - they may be older, but they are still as troubled! (And the show is still as ridiculous, but who doesn't love a guilty pleasure?)

We watched Making a Murderer, which I found as gripping as the first season of Serial. Based on what we saw, whether they are guilty or not, the trial was seriously dodgy and there didn't seem to be enough *actual* evidence to convict. I appreciate though that we only saw a slither of the trials. Another food-for-thought documentary we watched was Going Clear, the documentary about Scientology. Anyone seen either of these?

What I read:
Book-wise, I read 6 books and started listening to The Churchill Factor by Boris Johnson. I wasn't really in the mood for reading this month, but The Girl with All the Gifts was my favourite.

How was your January? x

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