365 days in Vietnam

Hello everyone, today marks our one year anniversary in Vietnam or as we are choosing to call it our Vietnamaversary And what a ride it has been. So i’m going to share with you some of our highlights of this past year.


We’ve travelled to Hoi An , Ninh Binh, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai, Koh Phangan, Ho Chi Minh and other wonderful places.


We’ve made some wonderful friends here.



(Spoiler two of these humans don’t live in Hanoi but hey, enjoy a group shot that makes me look like I have friends all the same)

We have both been promoted to headteachers at our English Centres and now have centres of our own.

We’ve started to speak the language. We take Vietnamese classes and actually understand how to have conversations now with the locals.

We have learnt how to drive scooters and brave the traffic of Hanoi.


(Naomi is way better than me and has a cooler helmet)

We’ve tried more new food dishes than i can even explain. The food here is so good.


I’ve learnt to love the ocean this past trip to Hoi An. I even woke up super early to go in and play with the waves.


My fear of thunder is slowly disappearing. The constant storms in Hanoi have somehow given me no choice but to learn to love the lightning and thunder.


At least once a week Naomi and I will find ourselves saying ‘We Live Here’ in awe of Hanoi. My happiness is higher than ever before and i wake up every day more excited.

 

Thanks for reading,

Danielle x

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Long Journeys? You NEED to check out these podcasts ✈️ 

Ok so, whilst travelling around, i’ve become quite obsessed with Podcasts.

From Long-haul flights to short uber trips to work or even walking down the street.
Here’s a list of my favourite podcasts, that you need to check out:

LIGHT HEARTED FUN ;

  • Not Too Deep With Grace Helbig. (Now if you don’t know who Grace Helbig is, then do you even internet? ) This podcast is full of fun and nonsense. With some incredible guests it’s now hit 100 episodes. So check it out! (Roughly 1hour long)
  • My Dad wrote a porno ; Pretty self explanatory this one. A guys dad wrote a porno and now himself and two of his friends are going to read it out for our entertainment. It’s incredibly funny. (Usually 40 mins an episode)
  • Anna Faris is Unqualified . Now i must start this off by saying im obsessed with Anna Faris’s voice so this is perfect. The guests on this show are so good! Check out the Rachel Bloom and Aubrey Plaza ones for joke after joke. A fun podcast of interviews, story sharing and experience exchanging. Getting to hear from celebrities and questions that are more than ‘who are you wearing’ and without having a promo agenda, to me is so interesting and Anna has the perfect balance of nonsense to getting new and interesting content whilst keeping real AF.  (Roughly 30 mins long)


  • SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE:

    Love and Radio ;
    Disclaimer: Im obsessed with this whole podcast series. They do a lot of interesting 30minute real-life stories and i cannot help but get attached to these peoples lives.

  • Episode – Deep Stealth Mode. The story of how a 3 year old boy asked to go back into his mommy’s tummy and come out a girl. Inspiring, brave and an honest outlook from the parent and 3 year old. This one ‘gave me all the feels. (30 Mins Long)
  • Episode – The living room. A story of how a woman’s neighbors who never closed their curtains make their way into her life. Well, kind of. It’s a very one sided yet very intimate relationship. As she observes this new young couple she becomes attached to their life without them even knowing. (25mins long)

A LITTLE INTENSE ;
Serial ; 

  • This podcast though guys… The whole series tells us about how a girl in high-school disappears, and her ex-boyfriend is convicted for her murder. He says he is innocent. Or he claims to remember that he is unsure of where he was during the incident of her death. We follow this case with the now podcast/investigator as they chat to him inside the prison and try to find new evidence on a case that seems anything but simple. (S1 30-45mins long an episode)

Ted Talks ; 

  • I’ll end with this one. I can’t pick my favourites and actually i don’t think TED TALKS are the kind of podcasts you need to choose a favourite. They alter based on my mood of the day and also, what i find exciting may not be the same. Yet, i encourage you to go onto the TED TALKS section of Podcasts. Find a topic you ARE interested in and educate yourself, open your mind and Listen. I promise you’ll not regret it. (Vary from 10 – 40 minutes long)Anyway, i hope you enjoy these podcasts!
    Please let me know your favourites in the comment so i can expand my current collection.

  • Thanks for reading, Danielle x

Why you never stop ‘coming out’ as a LGBTQ+ individual.

Ok hello everyone, so I’m here to set one thing straight 🌈. Now contrary to popular belief you don’t just come out once. It’s not like you get to come out to everyone you know in one go. Nor is it assumed you’re gay until proved otherwise, oh no, you’re assumed to be straight until you come out. And I can tell you it never stops.

There comes a point in every relationship I’ve established with someone that I’ve had a coming out experience with. What I mean by this is I am forever having to say ‘oh I have a girlfriend’ or ‘I’m gay’ or ‘I like girls’ . It never stops because of the assumed straight notion.


Honestly sometimes it gets aggravating. One of the scariest things some LGBTQ+ people have to do is come out, and that’s something you have to do constantly. Sometimes it’s easier than others. They are the times I love. Times when I don’t even realise. Times when it’s not a big deal. Like meeting someone new for example. You know nothing about eachother, you have no judgements or connections yet. You just lay out who you are then and there. Take it or leave it.
Or times when it’s like ;

‘Ok do you have a boyfriend, no I have a girlfriend’ oh cool. Easy done, you just came out to a new friend. Sorted. 

Now those moments, they are the highlights, they make every other time that someone has cat-called you on the street. Tried to grind up on you in a club, without your permission. Or referred to your girlfriend as your sister, seem ok. 

Those easy coming out moments make the rest disappear. The memories of awkward family events when you’re in the closet or job interviews where they immediately ask about your significant other,  they disappear when someone makes it easy and safe to come out.


I think I’m quite lucky. I’ve come to a comfortable point in my life, where coming out rarely scares me anymore. Note, I say rarely. Ever since same sex marriage has been legalised in the UK I’ve felt this kind of power to unapologetically be myself. 

I’ve built a foundation of people around me who support me and I’ve been lucky enough to have only had a few negative comments (from people I care(d) about)

Yet I still get tired of constantly coming out.
So I just have to say to anyone out there deciding to come out or not, be prepared…. 

This adrenaline and fear you feel right now. This is the peak of how you feel when preparing to come out however this could continue later than you have ever imagined. You may have to come out throughout your whole life and as scary as it may be, It’s also exhilarating and exciting, its passionate and ITS YOU.


I hope you find your comfort in coming out, I hope you feel pride in coming out.

I hope above all you take your time and feel no pressure! 

You are loved, 🌈
Let me know in the comments how you felt coming out!

Danielle Jade x

Ninh Binh – Vietnam. What to do and where to go! 

Hello everyone, todays post is about the wonderfully peaceful Ninh Binh in Vietnam.

I recently just got back form an extended weekend there and i think that two nights is the perfect amount of time to spend there in this area of Vietnam.


Ninh Binh is very different to Hanoi in the respect that there isn’t as much to do just ready available for you on the streets. The food options are limited and nothing stays open too late.

So what should you do in Ninh Binh?
First up, grab yourself accommodation in either Ninh Binh itself or Tam Coc, we stayed in Loc Xuan guesthouse Ninh Binh itself , that weirdly all the rooms had at least two or even three beds in. Strange. That being said it was £10 per room per night so no need to complain over price! Especially if you put three in each room.

Next , hire bikes from your hotel. Don’t do what we did which was go by the newest blog post we could find who told us they were 100,000vnd dong and decide we would go find our own cheaper when the lady at the hotel said 160,000 .It’s not fun when you have to hang your head in shame and go back after sweating in the heat to take her up on her first option.

So you’ve put your bags down and got a bike, What Next?


If you arrive with enough time before sunset i suggest you go to the MUA Caves Viewpoint and watch the sun begin to step. Here there are 500 steps up the side of limestone cliffs/mountains to show the most beautiful view of Ninh Binh. (Or so i’ve heard, if you haven’t already read my post to explain why i only made it to step 165)
The caves are very easy to get to on bike and takes around 10-15minutes from the Loc Xuan Guesthouse.


I also recommend you wake up early the next day and head to Trang An, this was perhaps the highlight of our trip. Here you will need to pay 200,000vnd for your ticket and join what looks like the most chaotic disneyland ride queue ever. However, it was only 45 minutes wait right from the back on a public holiday when even the locals were out to go around Trang An. Warning, tread carefully when getting onto the boat they are not sturdy and you may or may not fall over!


All that aside, this is where the true beauty of Ninh Binh becomes apparent. A two hour journey around Trang An, in a little paddle boat is mesmerising, ducking through caves and exploring the Kong- Skull island set. I was fascinated. It became apparent why they call Ninh Binh the Halong bay on land. It was wonderful. There are even pagoda’s you can stop at throughout the journey, and keep an eye out for birds amongst the trees.

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Next up, head to Tam Coc. Tam Coc has pretty much the same to offer you in terms of boat tours but with more places around for you to drive to on bike and eat at. Save yourself the time though, don’t eat at Lion King restaurant. The food is below poor. Just wait until you’re back in Ninh Bin and at Chookies.


Head to Bich Dong Pagoda and spend time there, its a short scooter ride to here and worth every second. There are more steps for you to climb, temples and a place for you to sit and have a drink at. After that i suggest you take time to simply ride around this area on your hired scooter which yes, in Tam Coc you can get them for 100,000vnd and just admire the beautiful landscapes you can go through.


Perhaps one of the best things about Ninh Binh is that this is a place you can go to to switch off, to be tranquil and still at. So embrace that.
Thanks for reading,

Danielle

x

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon.

Hello everyone i’m here to tell you about what to do during short weekend in Ho Chi Minh.

Ok what to do:

Bitexco Financial tower. Go to the observation sky deck. It’s an incredible view. I loved being up there and seeing all of the city. You have 360degree view out over Saigon and you can even look through telescopes to zoom in different areas you want to explore.

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Get yourself a hotel with a pool to catch that early morning sun. We went to the rooftop of out hotel Sunland every morning to set ourselves up for the day. It can get pretty hot in Ho Chi Minh so having a place to dip in and cool off was perfect.

Go to the War remnants museum. Though this can get a little tough at points the war museum is a good way to get to know what the Vietnamese have been though. It’s all obviously very biased and full of propaganda but, it does give you an insight.

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Marvel at the Saigon Notre-Dame , it’s hard to believe this is in Vietnam really, the Notre Dame is bigger than i expected and equally as beautiful. Well worth a stroll to see. I recommend getting an ice-cream from the shop on the corner before hand too.

Visit the Post Office, which by the way is HUGE! Just over the road from the Notre Dame, the central post office is more than your regular old post office. Look up high to see the fantastic murals.

Walk around the markets, Ben Thanh market in particular really shows off Ho Chi Minh as a city. The front is full of stalls, beautiful fabrics, intricate trinkets, handmade items as far as the eye can see, from models of boats, to great big fans and rip-off designer clothing. It is a bustling room of everything you could every hoard. At the back there is a small food section also, probably not the most clean of areas to eat in, we gave it a miss but it smelt delicious.

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Visit Tao Dan park, this park is incredibly picturesque. Spend time strolling around here. It’s the perfect spot to take a packed lunch to also. Sit amongst the flowers, cactus, pagodas and lakes for an easy afternoon.

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Head to the Jazz Cafe in the evening, the music is incredible. Be aware though they add a cover fee of 100,000vnd PER PERSON to the bill for the artists and a further 15% tip. So you need to be loaded to enjoy more than one drink here. We had one drink each and between three of us it was around 900,000vnd.

What/Where to eat?
Bun Cha – Just north of the Tao Dan park there is an amazing Bun Cha place you cant miss it
Pizza 4ps – There are two in HCM and it’s the best pizza in Vietnam
Cuba La Casa Del Mojito – Tapas and incredible cocktails paired with a free salsa lesson. Dance and drink you night away!
Sancho Cantina – Mexican . Need i say anymore.

Anyway, there’s my quick easy summary of my highlights.

Thanks for reading

Danielle
X

 

 

165, Finding myself and continuing to climb. 

I write to you today sat on step number 164 of the mua caves viewpoint of Ninh Binh.Knowing I will not reach the top it’s hard not to feel defeated.

See I’m usually physically pretty fit. I can walk and hike and could handle 500 steps but a week ago I sprained my ankle and today my body says no more and it sucks.


As my five other friends continue to the top my FOMO kicks in. Ever since I was a child I’ve been in awe of things of great heights and extraordinary colours and here I am not being able to hike to the top and see the beautiful shades of Green Vietnam has to offer me.

This is my ‘this sucks ‘ situation.

I don’t know what’s worse, my one cankle or the fact that literally toddlers have gone past me able to get up these 500 steps and my cankle says no. I hear the people out of breath coming to the top of the 100th step and I envy them. I’ve taken to just telling them they can do it! If i can’t I’m sure gonna encourage others.


I’m usually someone who tries hard to overcome challenges and usually use the old think this is my Everest trick. You know the one, if I can get through this I can do anything but the truth is, this is out of my control. I can’t magically heal my ankle I can’t stop the throbbing and I can’t instantly make it better. I’m annoyed to say the least.

So I’m going to pretend now that this view only has 165 steps. I’m going to do ONE more step and I’ll make believe that I did it.


I’m going to breathe I’m going to stop and I’m going to take this time to reflect on other challenges.

Basically if you take anything away from this post just know. Not everyone is climbing up the same mountain, but everyone is climbing somehow.


Everyone has different limits and goals they can physically and mentally achieve mine today was 165.

 What’s yours?!
Thanks for reading

Danielle Jade x

Why last nights girl gang chat made me fall in love  the blogging community even more 🌈💕

Now if you don’t already know the wonderful @dorkfaceblog runs a twitter chat on behalf of the @Thegirlganghq and it’s pretty damn good.
This week the topic was LGBTQ+ something that is obviously near and dear to myself.

As an active member of the community I was hesitant at first to see what kind of responses this chat was going to bring, I now see that I had no need to worry.

You know why? Because everyone was so wonderful.

First up we were talking about the saga that is occurring with YouTube at the moment. This whole ‘restricting’ LGBTQ+ content ultimately making it unavailable to audiences, the same way it’s unavailable to freely search for someone performing and act of something actually worth being restricted like, oh I don’t know, people actively showing abusive cases of homophobia. Totally mind boggling that these two acts fall under the same restrictions one being love and one being the hatred towards two people in love.

You know what made me feel better about this whole shit situation though? Comments from all of you guys, supporting and celebrating LGBT+ community. I mean only one comment pissed me off a little buuuuuut, I soon got over it because of the overwhelming group hug I felt I was getting from literally EVERYONE ELSE!

Throughout the chat people were giving their opinions and views on how to keep progressing with LGBT rights. How to keep moving forward for a brighter more rainbow filled future.

More than anything I want in the world, i just want plain old Equality. Pure and simple, and it was so so refreshing to see how many others were too campaigning and striving for the same.

Throughout the chat I did some internal ‘YES GIRL’ and ‘hallalujah’ praises to some people’s answers; for instance…


Sarah Jane @sarahjdocker made an excellent point, you’re literally stripping away role models for youths. You claim restrictions are for protection. I’d sure as hell feel more protected having someone to relate to when I feel all alone wouldn’t you?

These lovely ladies also brought up valid points about progression in the LGBT+ community and how we can continue to improve!


@naomindoll @following_lisa @megsiobhan @beautycreep )
I think that Katie said it best though,

@whiteaesthetix

We are the voices of the future. You are so right. Together we make changes, and educating ourselves on what we are fighting for and aiming towards is key.

Anyway I know this is very different from my usual posts but I wanted to get this out there.

So from the bottom of my little gay heart, I just want to thank you all for speaking out and fighting for myself and others right to love.

You can’t even imagine how loud your 130character tweets sound to me right now!

Danielle Jade.

Please let me know if you joined in the chat and how you felt about it!