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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10 life lessons everyone deserves to know 🎉 

Hi everyone! In case you didn’t know already know, ITS MY BIRTHDAY and naturally me being me, thought well, then there’s no better time than now to reflect on what I’ve learnt so far in life. So here I am, sharing it all with you! Enjoy. 

Let’s kick it off; 

1. Celebrate yourself. It’s good to feel proud of the amazing things that you do. Self love is something I didn’t learn until far too late in my life. You need to notice when you have done something incredible and give yourself a pat on the back. 

2. Travel as much as possible. Things are nice but memories are so much more! You need to see that famous landmark more than you need that new iPhone. Embrace new experiences. 

3. It’s ok to feel sad, it is ok to feel down, it’s ok to feel lost. Believe it or not, everyone has these days. Sometimes it can be feel impossible to move on, how you deal with this is up to you. If you want to talk then do, if you don’t want to talk then you don’t have to. Take some time, put yourself in a safe and nurturing environment. Keep yourself loved.

4. Friends may not be around forever, so make as many memories as you can with all of them when you’re there. It’s normal to make new friends and drift apart from others, everyone is growing up and changing, embrace this and don’t be afraid to let them go. New friendships are on the horizon. 

5. Help others, be kind, be considerate and generous. It will only create good karma, it’s something that builds character and will make you a much better person.

6. You are going to lose very important people in your life so hold onto them as tightly as possible whilst they are around. Be sure to tell the people you love, that you love them constantly. Shower them in appreciation. Take no one for granted.

7. Don’t shoot other people’s ideas and opinions down instantly. Debate them, trial them. You may just discover another way of looking at the same old. 

8. Nothing is lame or uncool. Don’t quit or change because of others words. NOTHING makes you a loser. All those clubs you are joining, your music choice, your fashion sense, your sexuality. It’s not lame it’s who you are and you shouldn’t feel like you have to be put down because of it. 

9. Break ups and make ups. It’s just the way of the world. Don’t base your relationships on the ideals of others. Find someone who loves you for being you and live each day one step at a time. Don’t plan ahead too much, the person who expects the most from you should only be you. Side note: if a friends going through a break up…YOU TOO ARE GOING THROUGH A BREAK UP. Friends stick together. 

10. Don’t let your dreams die. As children we can create dreams, hopes and ambitions bigger than space. As adults we can lose sight of this and shrink ourselves with notions of ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I don’t have time for this’. It’s important to keep your mind open. Keep those dreams at the front and centre of your mind. It’s gonna take more work than you imagined as a child but now it’s up to you, a grown up…go make it happen!! 

Have a happy my birthday everyone ✌🏻️😘

How to survive working a job you hate. 

Lets throw it back to three months ago. I’m here Danielle, complaining to my housemates about how much i dislike working as a waitress in central London. I’ve lost sight of why i even wanted live in London anymore, I’d become one of those people who works purely to pay the rent. Then one day. I woke up. Not physically, i mean, i obviously did wake up that morning but i kind of emotionally woke up, if you get me? Let me explain, when i woke up, I said no more. No longer can i stay in this repetitive job, no longer can i stand being on the tube to work and already counting down how long it will be until I’m back home with my cat. I’d lost all of my creativity, all of my confidence and all of my want to give myself the future i deserve. Sounds very big-headed right? The future i deserve. Well, id now argue that no. No, that does not sound big headed. It sounds motivating and my goodness did i need motivation right now.

I think that sometimes it is very easy to get caught up in what is easy. I’d found a job quickly when i moved to London, i was in a new surrounding, living with my two best friends and i was making enough money to live happily. I was happy. I didn’t know however that i was in the honeymoon phase of living in London. See, skip forward about 6 months and i was becoming bored of my job already. I was stressed with working in such a huge shopping centre. I was missing out on social events because of my work hours. Ask anyone that’s ever worked as a waitress or bar tender the hours are definitely not why you choose to work there. I started looking for other work, more theatre based. Going back to what i had just trained in. I had interviews at theatres, casting agencies, local performing arts groups but nothing ever worked out. I did often hear that i wasn’t experienced enough for the job and to come back in a few years and try again with more material/experience. Ok i thought, i guess I’m a waitress then.
Feeling low whilst working in a job you don’t enjoy going to is hard. If you haven’t experienced that then, i would say you’re very lucky indeed. It’s not fun. It’s not fun at all. It’s hard enough going to work when you feel like you could be doing more. It’s even harder when you just got turned down from an interview you really wanted and you’re back to serving stubborn teenagers. Rejection really does suck. This took me a while to get over. Luckily i had started to make some pretty incredible friends whilst working as a waitress. I had met people who were in the same position as i was, others who were local students trying to pay for their degrees, many who had come to England to learn English and head back home with more languages in their vocabulary and others who too were just a little bit lost right now. I noticed, very few people here want to actually be in the catering industry. Yet we all leant on each other for support and above all FUN.
Work was made bearable by my colleagues. As time went on and people came and went at work i stayed for nearly two (long) years. I lasted that long because of the people. I had made a solid friendship group and above all that i had met some of my best friends even to this day.For example, Scott and I went over to visit our friend we made at work Flor in Ibiza. You know what, In all honestly without my bestie Scott by my side I don’t think I’d have stayed half as long, or at least stayed sane this long.

I think as a person i like to learn about people. I’ve always had a constant curiosity bubbling inside me. Always full of questions, buts and what if’s. I like to listen to people, i like to learn about people and i like to help people. I admired like-minded people and i adored people with different opinions to mine. I lived to hear stories of people’s upbringing, their relationships, their culture and their passions. For example; I adored how Grace spoke so passionately about things she stood for. I loved watching Maria and Yoli chat to each other in Spanish. I loved knowing that Flor was probably thinking the exact same thing I was at any given moment.I found nothing funnier than when Scott would roll his eyes at some dumb question a customer asked, Joni would know all the gossip and Laura would have a hilarious story ready to lighten the mood at work!.  I think when you’re working in an environment you’re not completely happy with, keeping the mind simulated and intrigued works wonders. This helped within our work environment, especially when english isn’t everyone’s first language. I’d often find myself playing google translate to everyone in the workplace. Though my outcome of spanish is pretty poor to say how many spanish people i worked with ‘estoy borracha’ was the best phrase i learnt so thanks for that Yoli. I’m drunk did actually come in very handy when i went to Ibiza. Without the love of some wonderful people, i wouldn’t have lasted that long.


Now this isn’t an all sunshine and rainbows post. Don’t get me wrong. This job was the first place i had someone tell me to my face that they hated me. It felt horrible. Why did they hate me? My opinion, because they are an asshole. Their opinion, i think im better than them. Truth be told, he was right. I mean i never said it out loud, but i absolutely thought it. He was horrible so i at least hoped i was better than that. In most workplaces there’s probably someone who doesn’t like you, or you don’t like them. Learning how to overcome that (even if you’re like me and the only way you can do this is by completely avoiding the fact you see them as a human) you have got to just suck it up and get on with them whilst you’re there.
I battled with how people in higher authority than myself organised shifts, spoke to staff, reacted to customers and the all round lack of respect from one or two that popped up often. Now, how did i survive this? I used my voice. Sometimes i should have kept it shut, but i can’t. I feel like I’m always the voice of reason in a group. I always take every opportunity to voice the people. This time, a bunch of overworked and underpaid sleepy waiters who just want some praise. Alongside this i often found myself taking the blame for more errors than were my own. Why you ask? My heart wasn’t in this job, i don’t think saying sorry is a way of losing rank or being made to feel small. In fact i always think it’s the opposite, i couldn’t stand to see my peers feel so nervous about errors so I’d simply say it was me first. This soon began to spread around the workplace and everyone became more constant on having the other persons back. Survival of the fittest was no longer a thing and the team was closer than ever.Always keep in mind however, that this person is still your manager they can literally fire you at any point. So don’t push it too far. It’s not worth it.

I had my fair few moments at work where I cried and this really was the final straw. I don’t think anyone should be put in a position where they feel so low in their workplace and that is when I said enough is enough and we made the choice to pack up and leave.

Now, another way to survive working a job you hate?
Go out with the people you do like! Some of my most fond memories of living in london are going on nights out with my work friends. Taking us all out of the work environment and having fun was the best! It also made work more bearable when you’re all hungover together. Or if you’re Hannah and I, there’s nothing a good brunch can’t sort out!


You have to remember that this job is just temporary, keep hitting refresh on those google searches, keep reaching out to employers who you truly want to work for, keep the faith and know that an opportunity is out there for you!

Anyway, here’s how I survived a job I wasn’t completely happy in. I hope you find this useful.

Thanks for reading Danielle Jade x


How to survive moving to a new place in 5 steps! 

Ok hello again everyone!

I’ve just recently moved to Hanoi and don’t get me wrong as amazing as it feels now…adjusting was harder than I imagined it was going to be. 

That’s why I’m here to give you all an insight to how I’ve dealt with moving and share some tips on how to make it easier for all of you with my 5 little hints! 

  1. Don’t hide your emotions. Now is not the time to put on a brave face. Being emotional does not make you vulnerable, being emotional makes you a person. You have to be prepared to not find everything easy right now. Moving to a new place is going to send your emotions crazy, and be prepared these emotions will hit you very easily every, day, hour,minute and if you’re like me…second.You are taking yourself away from your natural habitat, stripping yourself of your comforts and jumping into a whole new lifestyle so if you want to go ahead and cry. CRY.  Let it out- it’s justified.
  2. Take it one day at a time. STOP, thinking about 6 months from now because i will guarantee your immediate emotions and feelings to your new surroundings are going to change six months down the line. As humans we can instantly pick up and focus on the negatives so you know what, go ahead list all the things you don’t like about this new place! It smells weird, say it. It sounds different, say it. You don’t speak the language, say it. Get it out. Now think, what did you expect?. Moving to a new place is going to bring different smells,sounds & sights. Now look around, what do you like? What has made you smile, what has made you curious, what has made you feel comfortable? Hold on to those thoughts! Keep them. These are your new comforts.
  3. Explore. Go out, go look around. Go and say hello to some people, go and indulge in the culture, go and walk around where the locals are. Find areas you like, parks, lakes, rivers, museums, bars, restaurants. Explore different locations, different areas at different times of the day. Find a place that you feel comfortable in, and settle there for a while. This will instantly put you at ease, setting up at a hostel, hotel or apartment you can see yourself enjoying will make a world of difference. This is where you will retreat to. This is your sanctuary so make sure you’re comfortable.
  4. Language. If you’re moving to a new county then you should try and learn some of the basic phrases used there. You’re going to feel incredibly small landing in a country that is speaking a different language, so learn thank-you, learn hello, learn phrases that show gratitude. This will make you look polite and also like you are at least attempting to fit in in your new place. Something that will be highly respected by the locals. The last thing you want is to look like you have moved to a new country with an idea that the world owes you something. Universally, manners cost nothing. 
  5. Travel. Now immediately stop stressing because google maps has got us all sorted here. So the age old, i don’t know where i’m going, is a thing of the past. You can literally get from A-B with ease now, it’s all right there. Another incredible app (but limited to certain places) is Citymapper, now i even used to use this in my home country, from bus times, to tube times, to walking directions, ordering an uber and fin be out in real time how long it takes to get from place to place city mapper has you covered. Uber again is a key app to have downloaded! It really does work globally! Here in Vietnam you can get uber bike, you will literally be on the back of someone’s motorbike. 

I hope this helps you all! I think it has really helped me in the long run.
Stay beautiful, 

Danielle Jade x 

What’s top of the playlist this month?

Hello everyone, It’s back, it’s been quite a while now since i last did this kind of post because admittedly i’ve been listening to more podcasts than Spotify but i thought i’d give you a quick update of what’s on my latest playlist.

1. SIA.
Again, like every other playlist post i do, i will start with Sia.
Taken from her This is Acting album is my new favourite; Cheap Thrills.
Favourite Lyric; ‘baby i don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight’
I just love this song. It’s guranteed to make you dance, as with all Sia songs i instantly fell in love with the lyrics, her voice, EVERYTHING. Sia never fails to make incredible music i’m always obsessed with at least one/two/three songs on her new albums and this time, it’s Cheap Thrills.

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2.DIE ANTWOORD.
I’m here again obsessed with the weird and wonderful sounds from Die Antwoord.
in particular; I Fink U Freeky / Baby’s on Fire.
Favourite Lyric:I fink u freeky and I like you a lot /Don’t worry ’bout it, just blow a kiss to me. I like danger, romance and mystery. I’m a lucky ducky, get mad shit for free. I rock more bling than Mr. T.
There is something about these two songs that make me want to go to the nearest party available and dance. It’s the kind of music you can release your inner bitch out of, get weird and let go.

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3.ELLIE GOULDING.
Ok so quite the opposite to my other choices this one is
Devotion – Acoustic Version.
Favourite Lyric:Cause this is devotion, I am lost, You’re the only one I see, Our bodies in motion, I am caught, Floating in your gravity
I recently saw Ellie Goulding in concert and was blown away by the acoustic version of this that she performed. It’s incredibly beautiful and 1000%better than the version released on her Delirium album. Such an honest raw and emotional song with beautiful lyrics.

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4.ARIANA GRANDE
Ariana is back and this is a killer song.
Dangerous Woman.
Favourite Lyric: Somethin’ ’bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman.
Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout you.
Ariana i love this song. Now correct me if i’m wrong but doesn’t it make you feel empowered when you listen to this. Ready to conquer the world? It definitely does for me. It has the same vibe as what Bad Blood gives off, only with Ariana’s insane vocals. That girl can saaaaaaaang.

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5.ZARA LARSSON.
This may just be my new getting ready song, it’s so damn catchy.
Lush Life.
Favourite lyric:Yeah Imma dance my heart out ’til the dawn, But I won’t be done when morning comes, Doin’ it all night, all summer, Gonna spend it like no other
Ok so it’s not the most genius of songs, but it’s got the perfect summer vibe to it, it’s so catchy and i just love this girls voice. It makes me want to grab a bag and pop off on holiday. Yes Please.

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6. BEYONCÉ / LEMONADE.

Now let’s be real there is no way this album wasn’t going to be on here! It’s beyond incredible. I don’t think I can pick just one favourite song never mind one line of lyrics.
Also a video…A VIDEO. SLAY BEYONCE SLAYYYYYYYYY.

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What’s on your latest playlist?
Let me know in the comments.
Thanks, Danielle Jade
X

3 Powerful films you need to see!

So we all have them, some old some new, we all have those films that after you watch them this wave of emotion comes over you and your whole body is filled with what has colloquially been named ‘all the feels’. I love theatre, i love cinema and i love tv. I sometimes however find it hard to connect to what i see on screen. I feel because of my actor training and performing upbringing i find i place myself in either the actor or directors shoes and 99% of the time i can guess the ending before it has happened. That brings me onto these three films. I pretty much knew what to expect with the films below yet i couldn’t  help but surrender to the emotional reactions they caused. That’s what i believe makes these films – special.

First up;

Suffragette

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If you have seen this film I’m sure you are not surprised to see this on my list. Like any other woman, I am proud to say I am a feminist, and even knowing (because it’s right there in our history) what’s going to happen with this film, I think the acting, the cinematography and the angle they attacked this story created such an outstanding film from all perspectives.

Whilst I obviously enjoyed the performances of the extremely talented cast, it’s the raw elements of the film that got my emotions running wild. The simplicity of it being a film outlining our history, our struggle and our progression with getting women the right to vote paired with it’s truth outlining the extreme lengths that were taken just to have a voice as a woman that left me speechless. This film proved to me that there really is a difference between reading and watching something, for myself it was arguably much easier to feel connected to this film rather than the cold facts i read in a history class as a teenager. I say this as reading about the suffragettes when I was younger, I read it, I accepted it in our history and I was outraged about it, but I moved away from that. Is this selfish of me? No I’d say it’s not, as I have grown up I have become more of a woman and have learnt more about the world and obtained my own voice, I’m more aware an appreciate of the uphill battle women have progressively fought. When it came to the films climax scenes and more specifically the Derby, there was that striking, almost heart beat rhythm that scored under the race and as she held the flag up to the cameras, my whole body came over cold. I knew what was going to happen but something over took my emotions. I think it was a combination of fear, dread, sympathy, anger but most of all hurt. I couldn’t speak after the film ended. It was a film based on our history but i have never thought about my reality more. My friends and I sat around each other in silence for quite some time before we could even begin to talk about what we had just watched.

Next;

Spotlight.

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When I heard about spotlight I immediately wanted to see it, how is this going to be portrayed I wonder? The answer to that…perfectly. Again credit must immediately go to the wonderful team of actors who immerse themselves in their roles of reporters at The Boston Globe newspaper. The movie which is again based on true stories and actual facts, is one that will make you feel sadness in the pit of your stomach. How did the churches get away with this for so long? What I admired about this film was that it felt long, that’s right. This film felt like it went on for a lot longer than it did, because it had so much intricate  detail in it. They left no corners unturned, every single piece of the story you could have wanted, every twist, every turn, every presumption and every question you asked yourself throughout the duration of this film was covered. All whilst maintaining this hope of how they would shut down this despicable cycle hidden amongst the churches. The film has segments where they talk to survivors of the abuse, personal experiences and stories are explored and some scenes are a little hard to watch. This is entirely because of the sensitivity of the topic they are covering. The core sadness of this film is rooted in the question of how much sooner could this have been recognised, acknowledged and stopped?. These three actions paired with the incredibly long list of places where epic counts of child molesting by the church has been accounted for makes one of the hardest to watch but most appreciated by myself films I have seen, period.

Finally ;

Still Alice.

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First let me set one thing straight, I’m not a crier. What I mean by that is until this film I have only ever cried at two maybe three other films; Titanic, Beaches and The Lost Valentine, however I have never cried at a film like I did with Still Alice. There is no one else who could have played this role, Julianne Moore exceeded all possible expectations I had set. She captured the essence, the stability, the strength, the weakness the highs and the lows of this woman’s life with ease. She built a woman, Alice, with such a charming nature that created one of the best character portrayals I’ve seen in a movie. Bold statement? Probably, but undeniably true. The story itself is heartbreakingly sad and without giving too much away the deterioration of Alice’s life with Alzheimer’s really does tug at the heart strings. Watching her slowly fade into someone she doesn’t even recognise, pulled emotions out of myself I didn’t even know I had. I sobbed. Really sobbed. I couldn’t form words, perhaps because there isn’t too much separating this film to personal issues but also because it’s just a situation I dread. I was moved by Julianne Moore’s performance so much I found myself asking, what if I was her? What would I do? I put myself into her fragile shoes and that’s when the weeping began. The cinematography of this film is fuelled by the delicate and fragile nature of Alice, the lonely mirror shots, the fading blurred memories, the stillness and the silence create atmosphere and depth of which i couldn’t begin to comprehend. I think what i really took away from this film was that we are all capable of being torn down, even those who appear to be the strongest of us all are able to succumb to greater weaknesses.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, i hope i didn’t give too many spoilers away. (Though most of you will already know what’s going to happen, because it’s right their in our history) These are just my opinions on the films and how they made me feel.

Let me know in the comments if you have seen these movies and what you thought about them.

Thanks for reading,

Danielle Jade.

Things you can relate to if you grew up going to dance class.

You could never go to weekend birthday parties because you had ballet.

You took every opportunity to choreograph new dances for assembly.

You had more hair grips on your bedroom floor than anything else.

 

You had a box full of  stage make up your friends used to come round to play with.

You always got the lead in the primary school nativities because you were ‘an outgoing child’

 

For days after a competition you still sparkled like a star from the spray on glitter you covered yourself in for your modern.

 

You could never quite explain what a National dance was to anyone who didn’t do competitions.

You would NEVER be seen on your own at a festival, where are my girls at?!

 

You family and friends were very lucky to sit through your made up plays/routines.

You wanted a karaoke machine for xmas.

You secretly loved High School Musical

You plastered on eyeshadow like it was going out of fashion.

 

You got excited when split sole tap shoes were a thing.

You always loved the overpowering smell of hairspray at a festival

You kept your trophies on the same shelf in your house and your family were always super proud of them.

  

You practiced wherever and whenever you could.

You wore Pineapple logo’d everything! Shoes, bag, crop top. You name it, if Pineapple dance studio’s had it. You were wearing it.

You have photo’s like these

  

and so do your siblings.

You met some of your best friends in the world at these competitions.

You don’t say 1-2-3-4 you say a 5-6-7-8 before starting an activity.

Using props were essential to improve any dance, the bigger the better! 

 

You learnt more french at dance than you did in your GCSE french classes.

You willingly wore weights on your ankles to help you stretch

You body ached pretty much all your teenage life, but you could do the splits so it’s fine.

You became competitive at a super early age because of your competitions.


You always had that one group dance you hated. (For me this was anything hip hop.)

 

You went to class, got put on the back row of the new routine and instantly wished you had gone out that night.   

You can’t wear red lipstick now without wanting to grin like a Cheshire Cat

You at least once, clapped and stood there completely unaware as you won your section only to have the adjudicator have to repeat herself. Yes you number 12.

Coming joint 4th in a section of 5 was always hilarious

You can get ready for any social event in 15 minutes given the right comb and space for a quick change.

You have more memories that make you smile from your dancing days and you would never change them.



Thanks for reading!

Danielle Jade X