2inn1 Kensington Boutique Hotel – Absolute Bliss


View from the jacuzzi

View from the jacuzzi

I took The Boy on a surprise birthday holiday to Cape Town in November 2011 – yes I’m only just writing about it now but I dream of 2inn1 on a regular basis. I stumbled across the hotel on Tripadvisor and was so impressed with the reviews that I booked it immediately even though it was out of my price range – I was lucky enough to be offered the last luxury room. (And once there I could see that the demand for rooms was not exaggerated).

The staff made some recommendations and organised a taxi to pick us up from the airport.  When we arrived we were greeted at the door by Klaus who took our bags and showed us around. We met and were introduced to the other members of the team later – around 16 of them – all extremely friendly and helpful.
They helped me to organise surprise excursions in advance (like Table Mountain & Robben Island tickets and Cage Shark Diving), recommended excellent restaurants – which included Steffi getting us into the fully booked and much sought after Test Kitchen which I had tried to book previously with no success – Omg it was ridiculously good and Carne – meat heaven.  They also sorted out our car rental and made sure we were happy with everything, and I mean everything.
On the morning of The Boys birthday, the staff brought a bottle champagne and a little cake with a candle to our breakfast table and sang happy birthday, it was so sweet and The Boy turned all shades of red.
The guest house is in a beautiful area – Oranjezicht, with an awesome view of Table mountain in the background.  The rooms and grounds were meticulous at all times. We took advantage of the complimentary drinks by the jacuzzi and the hot stone massage was just what we needed after our long flight. The breakfast was soooo good and we often ate so much that we could not manage lunch (especially if you want to wear a bikini by the pool!).  Many of the people staying there had been to Cape Town before and were not new to the 2inn1, it was obvious why they kept returning.
We were welcomed like family and left knowing that we could return at any time.   Which we did in 2012.  I was working in Cape Town and dropped Klaus a line, he invited us back.  We went for breakfast and were welcomed with open arms.
The staff go out of their way to make sure you have an amazing time, I’ve never come across anything like it, our experience was so important to them.  We could not have had a better holiday and I can not recommend the 2inn1 enough. It was our best getaway ever and so hard to return home.

Liston

 

It was Liston – another member of staff that prompted me to add this section to my blog.  He still contacts us every now and then to say hi!  We will definitely be returning, though It has just occurred to me that sharing this may mean there will be no room available when I next visit…
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Gaucho Canary Wharf, London


**2 Stars**
Forgettable
I was quite excited to take my mother to Gaucho along with my brother but it was crap.  The service and food were seriously lacking.
We arrived early to have cocktails at the bar, but after being directed to a table we were abandoned and had to ask for menus.  When our orders arrived I was happy as Larry, the Giovannoni cocktail was goooood.  Too strong for mum so I happily drank hers.
After drinks we asked to be seated at our table as we had been forgotten again.  We then had to ask for dinner menus as the waiter that seated us forgot them. Later, we had to ask for napkins. It was a bit annoying as it was mothers day and I wanted the staff to be a bit more attentive.
The food was not tasty.
  • We started of with Chorizo sausage – which my bro said was tasteless and could have been any sausage from Tesco.
  • Shrimp Causita – which my mother ordered but I had to eat as they hadn’t warned her about the chilli and my mum is intolerant to the fiery stuff.  I couldn’t finish them because they were a bit gross and the prawns were half raw and slimy.
  • Shrimp Agua Chilli which didn’t seem to have any chilli in it at all.  It did occur to me later that the chef may have gotten the two prawn starters mixed up and put the quail egg meant for my mum’s dish on mine… hence the chilli being served to my mother.  Hmmm.
Big bro wanted a big juicy steak but chose Lomoa La Milanesa which was described as a fillet steak in breadcrumbs.  When it arrived me and my mum had a good laugh.  It was 2 measly thin crusty escalope type things which my brother chewed for quite a while.  Should have served it with hedge trimmers.  I chose the Burrata – not great and Scamorza and Potato Ravioli – big mistake.  I sent that ish straight back to the kitchen.  It was over salted and hard, under a non-specific yellow sauce.  The hostess turned waitress asked if I would like it redone and I told her no because it wasn’t going to taste any better.  Side dishes of Sautéed Oyster Mushrooms with garlic which I love normally, were limp and tasteless.  The sweet potato chips were good though and mother liked her Patagonian Grilled Lamb Cutlets – though the cocktail may have gone to her head…
There is an outside dining area with a great view of the Docklands and the place is nicely furnished but it was a big disappointment considering that the Gaucho in Dubai has a great reputation.
Price around £40 per head.
Gaucho, 29 Westferry Circus, London, E14 8RR
Visited March 2014
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Ceviche, London


****4 stars ****

ceviche

Super Peruvian kitchen in Soho, trendy crowd and a queue out of the door!!

This was my first Peruvian meal and it was absolutely delicious.  I went here with the boy for dinner and really enjoyed everything presented to me.  The waitress was lovely and recommended most of the dishes we chose.  The food is presented tapas style and so they recommend around 3 dishes per person – this was not enough for me, I had 4 plus dessert and still had space for more, but I have been accused of having worms.

We had:

  • Cancha – dry crunchy corn, strangely addictive bar snack.  Not particularly flavoursome.
  • Ceviche De Alcachofa – artichoke dish that made my mouth water for  more. Gave the boy dark looks for eating more of it than he should have.
  • Don Ceviche – seabass ceviche in amarillo chili tiger’s milk that has nothing to do with actual tigers milk thankfully.
  • Choclo Corn Cake – a vegetarian cake, the only thing I didn’t like very much because it was un peu sweet.
  • Amor Amar – king scallops cooked to perfection.
  • Red Mullet – grilled, a bit bland compared to everything we had eaten beforehand but still nice.
  • And a meat dish for the boy which I don’t remember. He said it was good…

Some of the dishes were quite acidic, if you have a stomach ulcer this is not for you.  I love lemon and lime so it was great for me but my boyfriend kept doing the squeezed lemon face in between bites though it did not stop him from eating everything lol.

Beware – it can get pricey, we spent around £110 before we knew it, but it was so good we just kept ordering!  The cocktails were delicious, in particular the Pasión de Ceviche if you like tropical flavours.  We had a nice little buzz going by the time we left an hour and a half later.  This could be one of my favourites…

Loved the super Mario track in the bathroom.

Only con – it’s a little squished.  Book in advance!!!

Ceviche, 17 Frith Street , London, W1D 4RG, 020 7292 2040

Visited April 2014

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Sharp ObjectsSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I figured out whodunit on page 190 and raced through to confirm I was right.  I was hooked and read my kindle walking down the street – hey it’s not Paris so it’s ok.

I really enjoyed this book even though it is disturbing and twisted and some parts just plain gross – as it would be for anyone who is not comfortable with children and sex being mentioned in the same sentence.  But she does highlight some important issues that people are not comfortable discussing.  That’s the problem I guess.

Gillian, you create interesting but warped characters and I think there is something wrong with you.

What’s next!!

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Oil Pulling Trial


A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that she was trying oil pulling. Everyone started raving about it so I thought I would look it up too.

Now there is lots of information and blogs etc on the subject so I won’t bother rehashing what they’re all saying but basically oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practise where you swish oil about in your mouth for 15-20 minutes preferably in the morning on an empty stomach when your mouth is most rancid and the oil pulls nasty toxins out of your dirty gums. It is said to have a whole heap of benefits:
Whiten teeth
Clears acne
Healing properties
Eliminates harmful toxins
And the list goes on.

What’s the harm? None, it’s oil.  Unless you swallow it.  Gross.  No real harm.  Just gentle gagging.

Day 1
So I started my new practise on Sunday 23rd March 2014. Morning after a hen weekend. Perfect timing!!  I chose seasame oil – cold pressed.  The smell and texture of it made me want to vomit initially but alcohol filled nights can do that to you.  After 7 minutes my cheeks were fatigued and I thought “bloody hell this is horrid”.  I continued to my full 20 minutes and was very proud, spat the milky gunk out and immediately looked to see if the spot on my forehead had disappeared.  It hadn’t surprisingly.  I have taken a before picture of my teeth. Not sure if I want to share it lol.

Day 3
Last night I put the oil by my bed so that I could take it first thing when I wake up, I like to lay in bed for 10 minutes to let my body wake up so thought it would be a good idea to start then.  Some people meditate.  I watched ufc.

Week 2
Can it be a coincidence that I am sleeping better?

I’ve been having trouble sleeping since I returned to London 3 months ago, to the point where I was using my Fit Bit to track my sleep – I woke up a minimum 6 times a night, the worst being 17 times!!! Yeah, miserable mornings. Last week I slept well and on the 2 occasions that I did wake up, I fell to sleep again without trouble.

I had a tooth removed this week, the dentist had never heard of oil pulling which didn’t surprise me, but said I can continue after 24 hours.

My first bottle of oil is running low, which should I try next…

Month 2

Sunflower Oil
This month I thought I would try Sunflower oil.  Gross.  It’s quite strong and I can’t wait for the bottle to finish.  I’ve convinced my mum to start too so I can get rid of this bottle quicker.

I haven’t noticed any more changes yet. My teeth are the same colour. My skin and nails are the same….

Month 3
My mum stopped the trial because she broke out in a rash all around her mouth. She slathered honey all over it and gave up, unconvinced when I told her that that was all the toxins coming out. Of her face. 😏

photo 3

The nasty sunflower oil is finished and I’ve decided to try coconut oil – known for it’s antibacterial effect and general goodness. I don’t like coconuts much but found this the most pleasant of the 3 oils tried so far, although my mouth didn’t know what to do with it (it’s solid and feels very wrong).  At first I couldn’t help chewing it and not knowing how much to put in my mouth I shoved in 2 huge teaspoons full which turned out to be too much.  I started to foam and oil was oozing down my chin, onto my clean duvet and new rug. I now know that one heaped teaspoon is sufficient.

I have noticed a change, but not the change I was hoping for.  I have spots.  Not rash like bumps around the mouth like my mum, but big puss filled gross spots on one side of my face… Is there anything in that – spots in certain places meaning something… Anyway, not too happy about those but if I’m getting rid of toxins, yay.

I took a comparison photo of my teeth and they do a appear to be an incy wincy teeny bit whiter. Or that could just be the lighting… Lol

One other thing – my scalp isn’t so dry, I have less dandruff – but then again my scalp does tend to go crazy every time the seasons change…

Ugh! How will I know that it’s working?

Month 4
 A few weeks ago I had to stop using coconut oil.  My front bottom teeth had become really sensitive and  tartar had started to build up behind my teeth worrying my tongue.  I know it was the coconut oil unfortunately because the pain stopped when I stopped using it!  I switched back to sunflower oil – which doesn’t taste so disgusting anymore and a couple of days later the pain was gone.  I suspect this has to do with sugar in the coconut oil… I guess the original oil pulling programme only suggests sunflower or sesame oil for a reason…

I now pull without thinking and it doesn’t bother me time-wise like it used to.  One big difference – I don’t get midday bad breath anymore – you know in between breakfast and lunch when your mouth starts to go sour… or is that just me – whatever, no more of that which is great.  No more big spots either – phew!

Year 2

I have one important update. Within the first year I let the oil run out, I went on holiday and then just forgot about it. During this time, I saw a consultant about getting braces and was surprised to hear I had a little gum disease.  Grossed out, I saw a hygienist and started oil pulling again immediately, it cleared up and has stayed away since.  I won’t be stopping again!  I do get less spots and I generally sleep better, but I think it is a combination of my change of diet and the pulling. 

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To the Woman Behind Me in Line at the Grocery Store


What will you do today to make someone happy?

True Stories of a Midwest Yankee

Dear woman behind me in line at the grocery store,

You don’t know me. You have no clue what my life has been like since October 1, 2013. You have no clue that my family has gone through the wringer. You have no clue that we have faced unbelievable hardship. You have no clue we have been humiliated, humbled, destitute.
You have no clue I have cried more days than not; that I fight against bitterness taking control of my heart. You have no clue that my husband’s pride was shattered. You have no clue my kids have had the worries of an adult on their shoulders. You have no clue their innocence was snatched from them for no good reason. You know none of this.

What you do know is I tried to buy my kids some food and that the EBT machine was down so I couldn’t buy…

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Fifty Shades of Shite


Oh God.  This is awful.  I can’t.  I just can’t.  And then I did.

It took me 4 attempts and 9 months.  All that bloody hype – I was expecting a sexual revolution but all I got was a playroom, a bit of BDSM in a teenage novel with no plot.  Oh my.

I have so many issues:

* Why did she dress the characters so badly – flannel trousers, linen shirts, pinafore dresses and tankini’s … really?

* Saying medulla oblongata repeatedly does not make you an intelligent writer ELJ.

* The repetition.  Ugh the repetition.  The lip biting, the pigtails, the annoying phrases, Ana rolling her eyes or blushing on every facking page grrrrrrrrrrr.  Oh my.

* Did she really just orgasm after getting her nipples tweaked?

* ELJ’s use of adjectives. She manages to spoil the sex scenes. Geeze. I laughed out loud when Christian “clutched” Ana’s face.  In fact I’m going to clutch someone’s face right now for a good laugh.

* Inner goddess also made me laugh, she’s so dumb but very funny.  But THIS ISN’T A COMEDY.

* Stalking is not sexy ELJ what’s wrong with you?

* 21 year old virgin that has never masturbated but can orgasm on demand, again with a NIPPLE TWEAK, and goes all out deep throating, scoring an A.  No woman can like this character ELJ.

* Poor Ana doesn’t have to go through the average experience of her first sexual conquest being a crappy, painful fumble.  Her partner knows what he wants, knows what she needs, is good looking, wealthy, gives her multiple orgasms that put her to sleep better than a dose of night nurse.  Oh woe her.  Hey we love vanilla.

* As for the BDSM – it’s not that bad – from all the ‘debasing her’ talk I was expecting the play room antics to be degrading, like a particular story from John Yau’s Fetish, but spanking and belting aside I didn’t think it was as bad as some folks had made out. She had her safe words and she had choice, what’s the big deal? I understand from a feminist point of view that this is not very forward thinking, but she was not forced – she bloody enjoyed it until she asked for more than she could handle and ran off crying. Oh maybe it’s just because I dislike Ana’s self loathing, low self esteem, naive, stupid twat character so much.

* I’ve heard so many women say they would like men to read this book and I would like to say to them – you are not going to nipple orgasm, stalking is not cool and contracts are not sexy.

I am pissed off that I have helped to contribute to the success of this shite. I would like my money back please.
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Perfect Skin


Pretty women wonder , where my secret lies… *

What’s the secret to perfect skin?  I am often asked – what products I use… what’s my beauty regime… what kind of diet I follow…  what’s my secret…  If I had a quid for each time I was asked one of these questions, I would have enough to get rid of the stretch marks on my bum at one of those a nice clinics in Brazil.

I don’t have a big head.  I have amazing skin. It has a great tone – more so in the summer and it is smooth most of the time.  I only have pimples during witching season.

BezzieB-169

Test Shoot, Cape Town – Barry Bezuidenhout. No foundation.

So, how can I help you?  We all know what we should be doing – drinking lots of water, eating a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and veg, exercising regularly blah blah blah… I would suggest you find a beauty regime that works for you with the right products for your skin type.  If you don’t know your skin type, pop into a store – Boots for example and ask for advice from a brand you trust. Or do this Wiki Skin Type Test.

Don’t believe the hype – every brand ambassador is going to have a product that is made just for you, that is going to fix everything and make you look like a girl on a billboard.  Maybe ask for a sample before you dive in.  It was Lancome that trapped me in Selfridges – I changed my whole regime to include cleanser, toner, eye cream, moisturiser etc.  I had a pretty nasty reaction where my skin peeled off around my eyes and I looked like a panda.

I listen to advice, sometimes I try new things but more often that not, I go back to basics.  Sometimes I make my own face masks with left over banana or avocado, honey, brown sugar and a bit of argan oil.  I choose not to use anti ageing products, though they are promoted for women once they hit their early 20’s!!!  I dunno, maybe I’m in denial but I’m not ready to be shopping in the wrinkly section yet. At 35 I keep looking at the anti-aging products then putting them back because dammit I am not ready to go there. 

So here you go – my secrets revealed!!

I do the following:

  • Use simple products
  • Cleanse my skin every morning and every night
  • Moisturise after cleansing
  • Wear uva/uvb protection daily, all year round
  • Exfoliate my face once a week, twice in the summer
  • INCLUDE MY NECK. How many women have you seen with young face and old necks…
  • Exfoliate my body once a week – especially if I have bothered to shave
  • Carry a hand cream in my bag!! Moisturise after each wash.  See Dr Organic below. 
  • Eat a lot of fruit and veg
  • I’m lucky enough to not need to wear foundation but never go to sleep with make up on (your skin is doing a big fixer at night)
  • Sleep.  Lots.
  • Sweat it out – physical activity or steam
  • The occasional blackheads are pulled out with Bioré Strips – though not when my skin is sensitive – they can take a layer off!
  • Wear shades in the summer – they stop you from squinting!!
  • When I was unfortunate enough to be in the path of a cigarette wielding lady and she burnt my face, I applied Bio Oil to it as soon as it healed.  Et Voila!  No scar.

Here’s what I don’t do:

  • Wash my face (I have normal/dry skin)
  • Pick at spots

I’m embarrassed to say that I drink little water.  I hardly ever feel thirsty, it’s bizarre.  I do however, drink herbal teas  (Dr Stuart do a skin purify) and I like to make my own smoothies.

I recently downloaded a free app that reminded me to drink water, I was constantly pissing, it got on my nerves and I deleted it.  Surely all that pissing flushes out stuff the body needs too… I recently spoke to a dermatologist who told me there is nothing in the 8 glasses a day recommended. So I’m back to drinking when I want to. 

My Favourite Products.  When I originally did this post. I was using (and had been doing so for more than 10 years):

  • Bioderma Solution Micellaire really gentle,  removes make up, no rinsing necessary
  • Body Shop Vitamin C Daily Moisturiser SPF 30, so I don’t have to think about sun protection
  • Body Shop Vitamin E Nourishing Night Cream
  • Body Shop Tea Tree Blemish Gel for the occasional pimple
  • Chanel Gommage Microperlé Éclat for exfoliation

As part of my Endo change I have swapped out a few things, moving closer to natural products:

  • Dr Organic products have replaced my night moisturiser.  I change between the Vitamin E, Olive Oil and Argan oil.  I also use their hand creams; hemp and rose. 
  •  Green People’s Day Moisturiser with SPF 15
  • Green People’s Fruit Face Scrub 

Yes, yes, I know I’m not a professional skin care analysing dermatologist so I could be talking crap.  I did see a beautician once though, after she finished complimenting me and I’d told her my routine she was horrified that I did not cleanse AND tone and that I sometimes use my night cream in the day during winter.  I gave her sulky sideways glances for the rest of the session.

One thing I cannot help you with is your genes.  My mother has wonderful skin and I am very grateful that she has given it to me.  Mumma does not use anti ageing creams yet, I cannot reveal her age for fear of a reprimand but she has no wrinkles. 

So there you are, no big secrets really.  You could copy my regime and have an awful time or maybe some of my tips will help.  It’s about finding what’s good for you and giving your skin a good chance to look its best.

*Phenomenal Woman, Dr Maya Angelou

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An English Girl in Paris


Le Jardins Des Plantes,  October 2012

Le Jardins Des Plantes, October 2012

I lived in Paris for just over 3 years.  Born and raised in London I went there to woo a boy.  He is mine.  I was successful.  Hurrah.  However, I did not love living there.  Hence why I ran away several times and am now living in Dubai.

I have always been the type of person to get up and go, try new things, take an opportunity when it pops up.  I have the f!*^k it attitude – adapted from a friend, that leads me to living quite a fortunate life.  Until I moved to Paris and it turned a little bit shit. (I do equate Paris with shit.  There is a phenomenal amount of it on the streets).

I used to lie about how I felt regarding living in Paris.  But now when people ask me “Did you like living there?”  I simply say “no”.  Here’s why:

  • As I have already mentioned – shit.  The stuff freaks me out and it’s bloody everywhere, even on the metro.  And the worst part – it’s not always the dog variety.  A guy squatted in front of me and did a poo by a tree on Boulevard Saint Marcel in broad daylight. Right by the Institut de Paléontologie.  Yeah!  Gross.
  • Doors will literally close in your face, you will be pushed out of the way, when queuing people will cut in front of you BUT all you have to do is call them out on it and an apology will follow with a surprised look like they didn’t feel your weight when they pushed you in the road.
  • Ego. There is a huge sense of ego and what I perceive as selfishness.  Everybody is out for themselves because no one is looking out for each other.
  • Drooling men.  These are legs.  In tights.  Get over it.  I think it’s supposed to be flattering but I find the constant attention directed at women primitive and offensive.  And, it is not only the men that offend – I had a girl pull down the back of my jeans and stick her tongue in my bum crack.
  • The number of women that I personally know who have been sexually assaulted, followed home or attacked is sickening.
  • Stop judging meeeeeeeeee.  People walk around dishing out their opinions like you asked for them.
  • Quite hard to make female french friends.  Ok, actually I have not made any.  After THREE years I do not have a single french female friend.  AND NOOOO it’s not me.  I have lived in a few cities – Cape Town, New York, Barcelona where you can pick up friends like vintage scarves.  In Paris, girls just don’t want to know.  I feel like you have to be invited into their circles and someone on the inside has to know you.  And the school you went to must fit. They will not trust you and it doesn’t help to be different… i.e. to wear colours other than black, navy and grey.
  • Everybody looks the same.  What happened to Paris being a fashion capital?… My wardrobe is not limited to  the above colours so I stand out like a sore thumb, especially in winter.
  • I don’t like having to explain who Alexander Wang is.
  • I’ve never felt so lonely in my life.  Surrounded by people who just do not care if you are there or not because you don’t speak French.  I admit, I am not gifted with languages and it took me a really long time to become comfortable speaking but to make a grammatical error in front of some people – it was like I’d entered their house on Bastille Day and pissed on their kids.  Such ridiculous reactions to me not speaking perfectly when I knew full well that I had been understood.  That attitude does not go down too well with my East London self.
  • Land of the lonely…  People are so miserable here, never ending complaints and the highest suicide rates in Europe.  Very sad fact.
  • “Where are you from? No, where are YOU from?” conversations.  I had way too many of these.  However I responded there was nearly always a negative reply.  It was quite a shock to hear “non c’est pas possible…” To a lot of people I could not be English because I’m black or I could not be Jamaican because I am too well spoken, I don’t say bloodclart, wasn’t wearing batty riders and so on.   Upon hearing that my mother is Jamaican I have been asked to do the dutty whine too many times.
  • I have had numerous fights.  With men.  Twice, I was touched inappropriately.  One, I started after being provoked and I am not proud of my behaviour but I found it hard not to spend half of my day angry.  I found people aggressive – on the roads, on the metro, in Monoprix and it made me more aggressive – I’m not the type to be pushed around.  I tried yoga and meditating but you can’t do that all day.

I could go on but that’s enough of a bashing and it’s  not all doom and gloom.  Paris is beautiful and there is always somewhere to explore.  Romance is everywhere and I never felt more in love than when I was there.  I had the pleasure of living in the bourgeois 5eme by the Jardin des Plantes and the Mosquee de Paris.  Two of my favourite restaurants in the world are there and erm.  Well.  I can’t run away forever, my husband is still there after all.

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Allah is Not ObligedAllah is Not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a horrific story. The violence is told in a matter of fact way with no apologies and little sympathy.

But you cannot ignore the fact that this book is simply not well written, on account of it being written by a 10 year old that may actually be 11…

The story is told by this supposed child “on account that i’m only a kid” he makes a few mistakes and uses a dictionary, a lot. One minute he is explaining what single file is and pooh pooh pee peeing and then he is talking about indigenes and their entrenched camp and recording politic events with ease. It’s simply inconsistent.

There are parts that are funny, at times the book is witty and insensitive and other times sarcastic and cynical, ingredients I usually appreciate. But this is one for the recycling bin. In comparison to Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone this book is a bit shite and a big let down.

View all my reviews ” title=”Allah Is Not Obliged, Ahmadou Kourouma “>Allah Is Not Obliged, Ahmadou Kourouma

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