What To See and Do in Atlanta When You Don't Have a Lot of Time


Growing up, I went to Atlanta almost every summer to visit my grandparents from my hometown in the Bay Area in California. In 2008, after my brother and I had already flown the nest, my parents decided to move to the Greater Atlanta area to retire. Although I was a frequent visitor, and lived there with my parents for a little over a year before grad school, I never really thought about the hot touristy spots or places to take someone on vacation there until my boyfriend and I went last week to visit my parents.

Although we didn't do all of these things, here is my guide for the best things to do in Atlanta if you've only got a couple of days (as we only had two full ones!).

Things to Do

The Fox Theatre

Okay, this is already a cheat since we didn't go there this trip. But I have been there a few times AND my grandma took me to see Titanic there back in the day during a visit to her house. Built in 1929, it was one of the country's grandest movie palaces. Now a performing arts venue, it hosts mainly touring Broadway shows, but also has special events, like the aforementioned Titanic. You can even take a tour if you're just interested in the old time-y architecture.

Foxtheatre.org
600 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

Take a peek at the inside.

Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War History Museum

Another cheat since this attraction is closed for renovation. Cyclorama features a 360 degree painting of the Battle of Atlanta, complete with life-like figures and rotating seats. For those who love fun facts, the actors in Gone with the Wind actually toured it during the premiere for the film (which was at, surprise, The Fox!). There is an accompanying museum all about the Civil War, complete with real artifacts including uniforms and a train. Although it's closed until late 2016, if you've visiting Atlanta during that time, I'd highly recommend it.

Atlanta History Center

The World of Coca-Cola

Since Luke and I are HUGE Diet Coke addicts, and I hadn't been there since I was about 10, this was for sure on the menu for our trip. You may or may not be aware, but Atlanta is the birthplace of Coca Cola and the "museum" takes you on an interactive trip through the story, history and tons and tons of memorabilia. At the end of the tour, you even get to taste Coke products from around the world at no extra cost, in addition to all of the syrup flavors (such as raspberry Diet Coke, etc.). There's also a gift shop where you can get a wide variety of really cute stuff...and I may or may not have purchased Diet Coke pajamas? I dunno...

The World of Coca Cola houses the Olympic Torches!  

Old fashioned vending machines!



The World of Coca-Cola 
121 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30313

The King Center and the Ebenezer Baptist Church

If you're at all interested in history and/or the Civil Rights Movement, The King Center is your stop for an interesting (and free!) afternoon. As Dr. Martin Luther King, jr was raised in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood of Atlanta, the King Center is located in its heart. This massive complex has a museum, free films on King's life and houses a library which has the largest source materials on King's life and the Civil Rights Movement in the world. You can also pay your respects to him and his wife by visiting their graves. Next to their tombs is the original Ebenezer Baptist Church, where MLK preached. A more modern reconstruction of the church is on the grounds, but as it is in use, it is not part of the tour. You can also visit the birth home of MLK, jr.





The King Center
449 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30312

Eats

I confess, I don't know a TON about restaurants in Atlanta, but I do have my two favorites.

Mary Mac's Tea Room

One of the most famous restaurants in Atlanta, Mary Mac's presents Southern soul food in a home dining atmosphere. If you're not from the south or from overseas, this is a must visit.  To eat there, you'll need to put on your eatin' dress, because everything from dumplings to biscuits to mac and cheese, to peanut butter pie to fried chicken is on the menu. Even though I'm not a big meat eater, I can still find things to eat here, and always take out of town guests.

Mary Mac's Tea Room
224 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

Brick Store Pub

Brick Store is a casual pub on the edge of town in Decatur, but sells some delicious food. Although it has a "local pub" flavor, it serves up some pretty delicious things like raclette, Bavarian pretzels, steak, fish and pot pies. But it also has pub favorites like fish n' chips, burgers and fries. And of course, there is LOTS of beer on tap and they specialize in Belgian brews.

Brick Store Pub
125 E. Court Square
Decatur, GA 30030

Where to Stay

I've only ever stayed in a hotel in Atlanta about three times in the last several years. As such, I've found I've gotten the most reasonably priced hotels via Priceline.com or Hotwire.com and mostly located in Buckhead. Although Buckhead is a bit of trek from most of the attractions, you can drive there in less than 20 minutes and many of the hotels are well connected to the MARTA through the stations outside or Lennox Square Mall.

Honorable Mentions

If you're in Atlanta with kids, check out Zoo Atlanta or the Georgia Aquarium. Kids will also love the Center for Puppetry Arts, which produces some amazing puppet theater and an attached museum.


All photos are mine, with the exception of the Atlanta Skyline image which is credited to Terence S. Jones under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.



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Jamberry Nails Review


If you're American and you don't know what Jamberry nails are, then you've been asleep at the wheel on your Facebook feed since it is guaranteed that at least three people you knew in high school sell them. If you're British and unsure of them, I give you a pass as they are just about to debut in the UK.

Since so many people I've known have started selling these wraps since I moved to the UK, I've always been curious about trying them. As you guys know, I'll do anything to have chip free, no-hassle manis and pedis. So when a  Jamberry consultant on Facebook named Christine wanted to send some for free to women in the UK, I said I would love to have a chance to try some out. Regardless of my feelings for the product, I have to say thank you to Christine for sending them out

They arrived whilst we were away in the US. After a few stressful days with my dog's health and major jetlag, I decided I might give them a try. I was sent a random pack, so they weren't really my style, but I really wanted to see what the fuss was about.

Firstly, it does take a while to get the hang of putting the nails on. The first one I did looked horrendous and took much longer than the "quick mani" Jamberry promised. But I stuck with it. I kept doing the recommended task of applying heat from a blow dryer and pressure until they "bonded." As I kept going, they started to look much better, though I do have to admit that it is difficult getting the tops to look round and on the same "wavelength" as your nail.

But just as I thought I might actually be liking this Jamberry thing, after all of the heat (and basically burning my fingers) and pressure, they still weren't bonding to my nails very well--despite them being clean beforehand. Since Jamberry gives you so many wraps in one kit, I tried to pull one off to see how difficult it would be to remove. To my surprise, it peeled right off like a sticker. Then, the next one, then the next one. I tried it again by cleaning a test nail with acetone beforehand, even though that wasn't in the instructions. It worked a little bit better but still didn't stick in a way that I'd imagine they'd actually last.

It is possible that I did it wrong, but I did follow the instructions to a T, even looking them up online. They were cute, but how are you meant to do daily activities if they're ready to peel off so quickly and easily? And although a quick manicure was promised, it took me over half an hour just to get one hand done...and even then wraps didn't bond well. I'd be open to trying them again just to make sure (since they have so many cute designs!), but all in all, it seems like it's not going to work out. Reviews online seem to be very mixed, with lots of people in my camp.

Unfortunately, my "jams" went straight in the bin afterward, as I just don't see them being a practical addition to my life. They're $15 a pop in the US and I can only imagine they'll be in the £10-£18 range in the UK. For five minutes of wear, I think I'll pass.

Photo above from the official Jamberry site. I elected not to show you mine as I had already peeled them off before I wrote the review! 





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The Worst Day--Coping with a Critically Ill Pet


I'm sorry things have been a little quiet over here and on my social media.

If you follow me on social media, you may already know that my beloved dog, Eugene, took a turn for the worse while we were gone visiting family in the United States. I had already been very reluctant to leave him as he was having problems collapsing--which I now know had to do with his heart being pretty weak.

Last Monday, we left him with one of Luke's friends who is also a vet nurse. I kissed him goodbye with tears in my eyes and we were off to America. We got lots of updates from her saying he was doing fine and settling in well.

Then, this Monday, I got a text saying he was having trouble breathing and had been taken into the hospital. Frantically, I called the vet, to find that he was in heart failure and was sitting in a doggie oxygen tank on diuretics. Knowing how attached he is to me and how he always cuddles against me at the vet, I knew he was so, so scared. I spent the whole day with my phone at my side, waiting for more news and doing lots of Farrah-style ugly crying.

We were due to come home on Tuesday, and by then, he was out of the oxygen chamber and discharged from dog intensive care to regular dog care. They reported he had gone to the bathroom outside and was eating. We arrived back in the UK Wednesday morning, where the vet told me he would probably get to come home in the afternoon. Having been so concerned about him, we wanted to rush to him immediately, but they told us they wanted to do some tests.

Finally, around 7:30pm that night, we were told we could come collect him. He had suffered from heart failure on both sides of his heart and had almost a pint of fluid drained from his chest and lungs. He came back with a huge bag full of medication and was pretty doped up from everything he was on.

We're attempting to keep him quiet for the next week until he can get a recheck at the vet, giving him several pills a day. He's very tired, but acting a bit more of himself...especially when there is food involved.

Although he's only 9, we don't know how long we will have with him now. If he does extremely well, 2-3 years. If he takes a turn for the worse again and the meds stop working, 3-6 months. At any rate, we will continue to treasure him as much as we can!

He got his Pawsome Box (which had some really cool stuff in it) the day we (and he) arrived home, which was a huge help in getting him back and adjusted. He's now snoozing comfortably under his blanket.

Sorry for the lack of responses and other content this week. Back to regular stuff next week...and maybe even a video. Oooooh!





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Tips for Finding a Job After Uni


Finding a job immediately after uni, especially in the field you've just studied in, can sometimes be challenging. As someone who has already gone through it, I will give you some of my top tips for finding a job:

1. Look at job sites religiously

My favorites are indeed.co.uk , The Guardian's job section and Spotlight Recruitment (which is best for those who are looking for a job in marketing). Find specific key words you want for your job search like "entry level" or "full time" and keep checking to see if they have added anything you would be able to do.

2. Apply to most jobs that fit your criteria

Obviously, don't apply to a job that asks for 10+ years of experience if you only have 2, but if you think you can do the job, apply. The company will weed you out if they don't feel you are appropriate. And who knows? Someone might take a chance on you!

3. Don't waste down time

If you can't find a job right away that fits what you want to do, you can always take a job in a field closely related maybe one that's not related at all just to earn some money (such as working in a shop or restaurant). Continue looking for a new job during this time. If you're working a non-career job while looking for something that fits your degree, consider volunteering in your field to make connections and learn new skills.

4. See everything as an opportunity

If you're working a non-career job or outside your field while you are looking for something more appropriate, find ways to apply the skills you have learned in your degree to take initiative, be inventive and learn new skills that can be used in your next job. If you're having trouble finding a job and you're financially okay to wait until you can find one in your field, consider taking a class to add even more skills to your CV and to make connections with others doing the same thing you are.

5. Look as soon as possible

If you're graduating this summer, it's not too early to start looking for a job. If they love you enough and feel you fit the role well, some companies will wait for you to graduate. Other times, it may just take that long to find a suitable role.

6. Polish your CV/resume

Make sure your CV/resume accurately reflects you and allows you to put your best foot forward in the pre-interview process. Don't allow someone to write you off for a poor CV. Head to Spotlight Recruitment to learn more about how to make your CV look impressive and get tips on what to do once you land that interview.

7. Don't be afraid to try something new

Although it may be scary for some people, you may want to consider moving to another part of the country. This can open up opportunities you weren't expecting and can truly push you out of your comfort zone.


This post was generously sponsored by Spotlight Recruitment






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5 Tips for Finding Your Style Again After a Long Hiatus of Fashion



In life, sometimes there are times when you just can't be bothered to dress well. I've found that two periods often seem to correspond with these times: having a baby and being ill for long periods of time. Both see changes in your body and both mean that the clothes you were used to wearing just don't quite fit the way they did before. And in both circumstances, sometimes throwing on a pair of sweats and nixing the make-up seems far wiser than actually trying to do any of that crap.

Obviously, many of you know I've been ill for quite sometime. Having endometriosis means having significant belly bloat (two pairs of my pants were completely stretched out to the point that one of them actually fell down while I was taking out the trash).

But since I've had my surgery and am on treatment and don't feel ill as often, I'm challenging myself to start dressing the way I used to and caring more about my appearance. It isn't always easy, but here are some tips I have:

1. Buy some new clothes. This doesn't necessarily mean a huge splurge, maybe even a Target or Primark trip. But get something that actually fits and indulge in a few staple pieces like jeans or new bras.

2. Embrace being uncomfortable. It may feel weird to show off your body or wear clothes like you used to. You may want to be invisible if your body has changed a lot. But challenge yourself and allow yourself to be uncomfortable at least once a week.

3. Buy something you wouldn't wear before. Give your wardrobe an update with a print or cut you would have never been caught dead in before. You're finding a new style, so don't feel like you can't experiment.

4. Don't buy clothes that are too small or force yourself into a wardrobe that doesn't fit anymore. Whether some of your clothes are now too big or too small due to whatever circumstance, don't continue wearing them. Even if you're transitioning so that you're attempting to lose weight, don't throw the clothes out, but don't keep them lying around. If you squeeze yourself into something that doesn't fit, you'll feel worse about yourself and be less inclined dress well in the future.

5. Jeggings and stretchy pants are amazing. Especially if your body is changing. I've never found tight pants or tight non-stretchy jeans to be that comfortable....and even a little painful when I'm having a bout of endo. So I've invested in stretchy pants and jeggings, which can be dressed up with nice shoes and a dressy top. You look the part of being put together, but you feel like you're in you're sweats!







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Tips for Dealing with Aging Pets and National Pet Show Giveaway


When you first get a pet, the last thing you think about is them getting old. With your new little fluffy ball of energy, it is actually almost impossible to imagine that this little creature is going to eventually slow down and decline.

Eugene (pictured left in the above photos) is now 9 and I've had him since he was a rambunctious teenage dog of a year. But in the past few weeks, he's started to show signs of his age, mainly his back legs giving way every now and then. The vet can't really figure out why, so he's on bed rest for a bit and seems to be doing better. And while this may just been a bump in the road for him, it could be signalling the beginning of his senior years. After lots of tears and stress, here's my advice for myself as Eugene ages:

1. Be a comfort to him

He loves to be around his people. So in these next few years, I will be around him as much as I can. I will take him anywhere with me I am allowed.

2. Be present

You never know how long you have with someone, pets included. I want to enjoy all the time I have with him.

3. Spoil him, but not too much

Give him treats and sticks every day, but not too many. Spoil him, but not to the point of making him ill.

4. Be vigilant of his pain

Know when to take him to the vet. Money is nothing compared to his comfort level.

5. Pet him as much as possible

6. Don't force him to do things if he doesn't want to do them

At this age, he probably is telling me he doesn't feel well rather than just being stubborn.

7. Be thankful for him

I don't know if I believe in any kind of divine providence, but I do know Eugene and I have been and will continue to be a great support to one another. I am continually thank for him entering my life, even though a lot of people said having him wasn't a good idea since I've moved around a lot.

What are your top tips for dealing with your aging pet?

Giveaway!

On a lighter note, I'm offering a giveaway in conjunction with The National Pet Show for pets and people of all ages.

From their press release:

Get up-close and personal to hundreds of different animals, from small furry creatures in the Burgess Small Furries Zone to aquatic wonders in the Fluval Aquatics Area, feathered friends in the Fluval Animal Zone, handsome stable yard members and exotic species, and not forgetting your favourite felines and four-legged friends in the popular Hill’s Cat and Royal Canin Dog Zones. 

Receive top tips and free pet care advice from a host of leading experts including trusted vets, nurses, trainers, behaviourists, breeders, animal associations and charities. Whether you own a pet already, or are deciding which one would best fit in with your lifestyle, find out all you need to know about your favourite animal and learn about each type of pet. 

Don’t leave empty handed, hit the aisles and shop ‘til you drop with stylish accessories, tasty treats and the latest gadgets on offer for your cherished pet. Witness must-see spectacles starring amazing animal action! 

The National Pet Show offers a weekend filled with an action-packed line up of features including the hilariously entertaining ‘Duck Herding’, back by popular demand, dog agility displays and much more.

If that sounds up your street, enter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules:
Entrants must be 18 to enter, 13 with parents' permission.
Winner has two weeks to claim tickets before they are released to someone else.

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Barry M Sunset Paint Nails Review


If you know me, you know one thing about me: I cannot stand chipped nail polish. It is literally the bane of my existence. I also hate waiting for nail polish to dry and because I'm not made of money, I rarely get gels. This means typically going quite a long time without having my nails done.

A few months ago, I found out about the Barry M Sunset Paint  which is meant to be a fast and easy alternative to gels. On that promise, of course I purchased it--firstly in the colors Dark Side of the Shroom and Vengence is Wine. Originally, I found the color to be ideal for a night out as you can gloss it on your nails, it looks great on and it dries completely within 10 minutes. However, the "gel" side of it didn't live up to its promise, as I found it chipped by the next day.

Because of its quick application, I ordered a new color to review here. I decided on Do You Pink I'm Sexy as I love a good neutral. Here's what it looked like after the initial application:


Full disclosure: I was never great at doing my nails/anything really that involves hand eye coordination.

And I am surprised to report that three days later, it actually looks pretty much the same. With the pink color, I found I needed three coats instead of two to actually give it the look I was after, so maybe that was the secret all along? Or maybe Do You Pink I'm Sexy is formulated better? At any rate, I give this one a rousing thumbs up. Now, to try three coats instead of two with the other colors....






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A Note About The Remnants

Some of my readers have been complaining about The Remnants, saying it is not "historically accurate" and that I need to spend more time researching the Holocaust (and if you know me, you know that's a crazy statement, since that's what I do for a living!).  In order to address that, I have made a note at the beginning for the novel and will direct others to this:

Please also be aware that this story is alternative history and not meant as factual. As a historian, I recognize the limitations of conjecture. Many have complained that this story is not “factually correct,” however the story is based on conjecture and imagination after a lifetime of studying the Holocaust and WWII. We cannot know what it would be like if the Nazis had won, and thankfully we don’t have to. Some aspects of this story are deliberately manipulated and not what I, as a historian, believe would have happened had the Nazis won. They have been manipulated to craft a better alternative history story. This is not a non-fiction book discussing what might have happened if the Nazis had won based on actual historical facts and writings. This book is also set at least 70 years after the Nazis have “won” the war, meaning life would have changed dramatically.


Please note, this is not meant to be a factual account of life in Nazi Germany, but rather a very imagined account of what might have happened if they had won. If you are expecting a historical account of what life was like under Nazi Germany, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for historically accurate fiction about WWII or the Holocaust, I suggest you read my novel Unravelled.



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Lifeline Skincare Review


I've recently tested out two of Lifeline's signature products: the Molecular Renewal Serum and the Dual Action Exfoliator. I will say, in my own humble brag way, that I am aware that my skin is rather young looking for my age. It's not because I'm healthy, we all know I'm NOT, but more because I am blessed with parents and grandparents who look and looked super young. My dad, who is pushing 70, literally doesn't have wrinkles, which is kind of weird for a white person, I will admit. But I'll take it.

Even though I don't actively have wrinkles or many fine lines, as I'm in my early 30s, I do understand that now is the time to take better care of your skin. Of course, there's no way to totally prevent them, but you also don't have to resign yourself to your fate. So, enter Lifeline.

I was given this product by the company itself to review and I absolutely have not been disappointed. Let's start with the Dual Action Exfoliator:




This guy has earned a permanent place in my shower. And while it is pricey ($65 USD), it's a product that is going to last you months. You can get it autoshipped every 30 days, but you only use a dab 2-3 times a week, so it seems like it would be cheaper to buy as you go. Because my skin can be a bit sensitive to anti-ageing serums, I decided to only use the product where I have started to develop fine lines: my forehead. And although I did feel a bit of stinging afterward (I also use acne medication daily, which probably contributes to my skin's sensitivity...the perils of being in your 30s!), it was nowhere near as bad as I anticipated. My forehead felt incredibly soft afterward and I could tell the dead skin had been sloughed off with only a little dab.




 I was also given this nightcream to try, which is a lot pricier than the exfoliator. At $210 a pop, it isn't cheap, but if you suffer from discoloration or dull skin, it actually works quite well. And like the exfoliator, you really only use a tiny bit at a time. The bottle suggests one to two pumps per day and you can really feel your skin tightening once its applied. It also has a great cucumber scent to it that I found pretty relaxing. I used this product on my forehead and underneath my eyes, as I sometimes experience discoloration there and I do have a few fine lines appearing. I even got some in my eye accidentally, and it wasn't a huge hairy deal, which is always a plus!

If you've got the scratch to spend on Lifeline's products, I would say they're definitely worth it!






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We Have a Makeover


What do you think? I had been looking for a new blog design for a while, and after I accidentally deleted the other one, I knew it was a sign. I'm really pleased with how this one looks! x



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Blogging Smarter, Not Harder


In 2015, I watched my blog stats grow. By a lot. I increased my follower count to a level that even I was shocked by, worked with amazing brands and got some incredible opportunities.

But by the end of December last year, I felt burnt out. When I first started blogging and heard seasoned vets talk about blog burn out, I naively thought I could never be one of those people who found blogging tedious. I loved sharing my thoughts, my photographs and learning new things.

Blogging had become a crazy numbers game. I was propelling toward making it my full-time thing and stressing myself out to produce content four times a week, working with almost every single company that asked me.

Then I just stopped. I took a break from blogging for about a month and let my stats fall. I lost some Instagram followers by not posting as often. I stopped accepting things from most companies. A lot of this had to do with moving and dealing with a 3 week long sinus infection, but some of it just involved me needing a breather.

I've gotten rid of a lot of negativity in my life in the past couple of months and it took until very recently to sink in. And to be honest, I think pushing myself to meet these crazy blogging goals and produce content all the time made everything worse.

So now, I blog smarter and not harder. After this year of pushing myself, I've found what really works for me in terms of advertising and have stopped wasted my time with things that don't bring in traffic. I've stopped accepting offers from companies I'm not interested in and I've stopped pushing myself to get content out just to get it out there. I think my readers would appreciate better content less often than forced content everyday?

My stats fell during my absence, but they are slowly rising and I'm really happy with them. My DA score has gone up and I'm still getting some really cool opportunities (even though I'm still sitting a lot out due to still not feeling 100%).

My YouTube hasn't gone as well as I'd like and I wonder if it is because I enjoy it less than I thought I would/have just felt too crummy to film recently. At any rate, I will be pushing forward with it still as it is a great way to reach out to others.

I am so glad I took the time off, because now I can focus on blogging as I enjoy it. But I'm also glad I pushed myself in 2015 because now I know what works and what doesn't.

So expect content three times a week instead of four.

What is one thing you've learned from your time blogging?



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The £100 Living Room Makeover


Luke and I moved into our new flat a little over a month ago. And I willingly took on the task of trying to make our new little one bedroom a home--and on a pretty tight budget, and I love the way it turned out. Although we were already stuck with this odd colored couch and coffee table that is very precariously placed, I still think everything came together quite well.

So what did we purchase and how much was spent overall to make this little lounge nook look less dreary? Let's go over it!

White shelves- Ikea £17 
Pink pillows- H&M £12.99 x 2 plus the inner cushion £4.99 x 2
Blanket- Primark £5
Initial pillows- ASDA £5 each, one was gifted to me by ASDA over Christmas.
Throw rug- H&M £19.99 
Babushka coasters- Marks and Spencer No longer available, but I believe about £9
Votive holder- ASDA £3
Pineapple candle-  H&M £9.99
TV stand- Ikea £9 

TOTAL SPENT- £114. Not bad for a full room makeover!








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My Books Are Free Again!



I love rewarding my readers with extra little gifts and incentives. So today I'm again offering my books for free for the next 5 days. These are free on any electronic device where you can download the Kindle app. Happy reading!

Grab Unravelled here (US) or here (UK)


Get Children of the Most High here (US) or here (UK)


Get your copy of The Remnants here (US) or here (UK)





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The Maids by Jean Genet Starring Uzo Aduba



On Monday night, I was graciously invited to the press night of The Maids by Jean Genet and starring Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eye from Orange is the New Black in case you didn't recognize her by her name). Although I hadn't heard of the play, any time someone gives me a pair of tickets to a West End show, I'm totally on it.

Going into the play, neither I, nor my plus one (who happened to be my old housemate from Leicester) really knew what to expect. I had briefly read that the show was written postwar France, but clearly it has had a modern facelift.

The plot of the play is simple, but the nuances and layers are not. It is based loosely on the 1933 case of Christine and Lea Papin, a pair of sisters who worked as maids in a French village. One evening, the "man of the house" came home to find his wife and daughter, their employers, hacked to death on the ground, the sisters confessing to their murder.

While The Maids doesn't deal with gruesome violence, the entire show is like a rehearsal for the murder they are waiting to commit. The sisters struggle with their lot in life as domestics, their hatred for their employer and their fantasies of both killing their mistress and overcoming their station.

This version, at the Jamie Lloyd Theatre Company, is a 2013 translation of the original. Because of the casting of two black women in the role of the maids (Uzo in the role of Solange, the older sister, and Zawe Ashton as her younger sister, Claire) and their assumed American accents, I thought the play might take a turn on the pre-Civil Rights era American class and race system. Then, most black women lived their lives as domestics, and since the play seems to be devoid of any specific mention of time or place, it made sense. However, when the Mistress entered with her decidedly American, but not southern accent, costumed in an outfit reminiscent of the upper class of the 1990s, I realized that wasn't the case.

But that doesn't mean the piece doesn't leave a lot for one to think about, particularly without a time and place, it means it can be set anywhere at any time, which can truly be the scary part.

The triumph of the piece was the acting, with all three women (Laura Carmichael of Downton Abbey starred as the Mistress) taking on their roles with force, showing their extreme talents. However, it is of course Uzo that really won me over (not that I needed much convincing). She is truly one of the most talented actresses I have ever had the pleasure to see perform.

And when the Orange is the New Black comes back, I'll be bragging that I sat two feet away from her, as we were placed in the front row of the audience!

Although I was encouraged to take pictures before the show, there wasn't much light around the theatre, so I decided against it. We were generously invited to an after-party with the cast and crew, but as I'm still grappling with my health and my plus one has a baby at home, we decided to go home after the show, both still thinking about the play well after it was over.

The Maids runs a limited engagement until May 21 at Tralfagar Studios in London. Tickets £15-£70. More information about tickets here. 





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