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

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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!

Two thousand and something else… 

So that’s it 2016 came and went in a flash.Well that’s how it felt most of the time.

Am i happy with how the universe played out this year? Well no not completely, i am not however i would like to say it has definitely been one year that i will not forget.

Now, i am not going to join in by saying GOOD RIDDANCE 2016 or THANK GOD 2016 IS GONE  because i cannot see the future i don’t know if i’m leaving behind the terrible things 2016 threw at me or if i am now walking head first into the mess that started in 2016 only for it to continue into 2017, but i sure as hell am not going to waste my time dwelling on negativity and what ifs. I highly recommend you try not to either.

2016 gave me both ups and downs, i felt every emotion on the spectrum, i visited new places around the world, i had my first christmas away from home, i realised how horrible it feels when your vote doesn’t win (cough Brexit cough) and i learned to say ‘ahhh FUCK IT’

Within the year of 2016 i found my sunshine and rainbows in the form of;

New Friends- I met so many beautiful people in 2016. Mainly from my old workplace, i have met some of the most wonderful souls and cannot begin to thank 2016 enough for that. Also my beautiful best friend asked her girlfriend to marry her in 2016, not only am i happy that they will be getting married now but even the fact that LGBT couples CAN get married still makes me happy.

Travels – In 2016 alone, i went to Ibiza, Bangkok, Koh Phangan, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Guernsey and Cornwall. I saw more beautiful places around this silly little world. I realised i’m a teeny-tiny little part of beautiful big world and it’s actually incredibly fascinating.

Music – I managed to attend my first festival this year Lovebox , I saw Queen Beyonce and as always Ellie Goulding was incredible. I listened to so much more music this year and expanded my outlook on what i like and don’t like. I listened to everything and anything spotify gave me.

Days Out – Perhaps some of my favourite days in 2016 were day trips, Kew Gardens in London is so beautiful and walking amongst the tree tops was so beautiful. Harry Potter world at the Warner brothers studios was so much fun! The Eden project is something i recommend everyone goes to and try the zip line. PRIDE in London, a day full of glitter and cans of alcohol, people line the streets even in the rain to celebrate who they are and support others. Even though it was a crowded mess of rainbows i wouldn’t change it for the world!

Nights Out – London has some incredible places for drinks and i feel that in 2016 i really managed to take advantage of that. Great nights out with good friends and loud music can really be just the perfect way to let go and have some fun! Same as, getting together with the girls for cocktails and leaving drinks can be the perfect farewell, especially when there is gin involved.

As always 2017 had its negatives, i lost someone very important to my family, i moved over 5000 miles away from home and i changed my career goals but you know what?

I grew up.

Im not sure theres much more to say on that matter, i opened my mind, i said yes to more things i would usually say no to. I stopped being as afraid of everything i found too hard to comprehend. I trusted my heart more than my head. I fell hard and i got back up. I spiralled down and bounced back up like a firework. I exploded with anger and i sunk with sadness, i found happiness in the small things, and i laughed harder than i ever imagined but above all of this, i gave myself the time, respect and courage to carry on and accept all these feelings are justified , they are important and they are to be encouraged. They are me and i am ok with that.

Ok, so i know this was a short post for me but with the new year having been and gone,  i thought it was something that i should share with you all.

Thanks for reading

Danielle Jade

x

 

Top 5 dishes you must eat in Hanoi (Vietnam) and where to find them! 

First of all, Hello welcome to Vietnam, or xin chao as we say over here.

Now, I must tell you Vietnam has some of the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted and that’s probably the biggest understatement. With its complete freshness and wonderful diversity the food is not only incredibly cheap but incredibly yummy!
First up;

BUN CHA.

Now for those of you who may be unfamiliar with Bun Cha let me explain what this dish consists of. Bun Cha is essentially Grilled Pork and noodles, but it’s the extra components that really makes this dish so delicious. The fatty pork also known as (Cha) is served with white noodles (Bun) a basket of fresh mixed greens and herbs usually but not limited to coriander, lettuce, mint and a dipping sauce of fish sauce, carrot and papaya.

Now don’t be confused there is only ONE real way to eat bun Cha, you take a small amount of each mix it together in the dipping sauce like a soup and tuck in.


COST?: Bun Cha typically costs around 30,000-45,000VND £1.61
WHERE?: This one is from Quan an Ngon

Next;

BUN BO NAM BO

Bun BO nam BO not only looks but tastes delicious. (Or so I’m told) Now I must say I don’t even eat beef but it’s hard not to feel good envy just looking at this dish. White noodles (Bun) make the base of this dish, mixed with green leaves, beef (BO) crispy shallots and crushed peanuts. This is more than the ordinary beef salad just look at it.


COST? 40,000-50,000VND £1.70
WHERE? 67 Hang Dieu

NEXT;

BAHN MI

Banh Mi is where you really get to see how the French have influenced food here in Hanoi. This baguette though, is more than just another sandwich. Usually given the choice of pork, pate, chicken or egg, you add cucumber coriander carrot and ‘spicy’ sauce to make the ultimate lunch snack. It’s the perfect fusion of Vietnamese and French food in one carbohydrate canoe. My personal favourite is honey chicken!


COST? 20,000VND -25,000VND £0.91

WHERE? 25 Hang Ca Street
Next;

FRESH SPRING ROLLS.

Now, i’d had the usual fried spring rolls way before i arrived in Vietnam, however i’d never had fresh spring rolls. I must admit that i now prefer the un fried version. I first learnt how to make these at my Hidden Hanoi cooking class . It’s a process where you take Rice paper rolls, and fill them with Vermicelli noodles, fresh green leaves, herbs, pineapple, carrot, chilli and crushed peanuts. You can also add in whatever meat/seafood base you prefer. I love this dish as it tastes super fresh and you can make it as adventurous or safe as you feel that day.


COST? 35,000-50,000VND £1.81
WHERE? 147 Nghi Tam Road (Hidden Hanoi)
PHO

Now I don’t think it would be possible to write a post on what to eat in Hanoi and not eat pho, its a must try. The amount of time that goes into this dish is what makes it so perfect. The broth is always left for the right amount of time to make the perfect base. Throw in the noodles, the chilli, the herbs and a squeeze of lime, wait hold that thought i gotta go, time for Pho.


COST? Around 35,000VND £2.00
WHERE? LITERALLY EVERY CORNER IN HANOI

Ok, now there are my top 5 dishes to eat in Vietnam! (Hanoi)

There are so many more I want to share with you so please comment below if that’s something you’d be interested in!

Thanks for reading,  Danielle Jade x

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


Hanoi (Vietnam) First Impressions. Get to know all about it!

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Hello everyone!
Im back today with another Travel/Lifestyle post, this one’s all about my first impressions of Hanoi Vietnam.

Travel:

Think of the busiest place you know, Westfield shopping centre, being at the front of your favourite festival, leaving the stadium after the match finishes. There, Hanoi. Put all those people on bikes and take away most of the rules when it comes to driving and you can fully understand how it feels to be on a scooter in the middle of the Old Quarter. It is mayhem to a new driver. Everyone needs to get somewhere and an inch of space is the perfect opportunity for someone to sneak by you and disappear up the road. I think the only way i can describe how it feels to be on a bike in the middle of Hanoi is, it’s like being in a real life Crash Bandicoot game, anyone could swerve around and in front of you at any minute, there may be someones cardigan dropped ahead that you need to swerve from and U-turns are a given here, so watch out for those bikes coming towards you down that ‘one way’ street.
That being said, after you get used to the mindset, being a driver in Hanoi is actually quite enjoyable. It’s always fascinating to see new places, as you drive around. There’s a sense of accomplishment too, like YEAH, i CAN do it. I CAN drive here!

Food:

Oh my, now the food here. Hanoi is overwhelmed with smells. Both good and bad but find a good place and the food is just incredible!
We have eaten at so many different places here in Hanoi both traditional and Western. Moving to Hanoi i was originally very nervous about what i would find to eat. This is because i am somewhat  picky with food to start with. I don’t eat red meat, i barely like any spices, i don’t really like dressings or sauces. I’m a foodies worst nightmare. So you can imagine when i see ‘mixed meat’ on the menu i am less than excited to know what they class as mixed meat, however I’m currently trying to live with a ‘well you only live once’ outlook on life, so you know what i ordered? That mixed meat rice. It was delicious. I did only notice tofu and chicken in it (which was lucky) but it was truly yummy. Naomi has taken to eating Pho at any opportunity and for only 30,000vnd a bowl (that’s £1.09) it’s more than incredible value.
One day after work we went to a Vietnamese place with work friends and i suddenly realised i am actually no where neat as adventurous as i first thought. As they brought out Goat, baby birds, stingray and other impressive and petrifying foods. I felt myself coward back to the comfort of my tiger beer and rice paper rolls. I tried some of the sting ray and i must say it was tasty!

Sights:

Hanoi is rich in culture. It’s such a beautiful place to explore. I love our journey to work because we travel about half an hour away from our little Tay Ho bubble and in that journey i notice new sights every trip. If you have a bike take some time to go explore. There’s so many wonderful places to seek out. Including but not limited to the museums. Within our first week in Hanoi we had done three museums, in particular i enjoyed the Women’s Museum. Learning about the history of the Vietnamese housewife, the mother, the dress makers and the women who served in the Army. I felt incredibly emotional come the end of the museum. I really recommend going to this museum when you are in Hanoi.
I must also point out one of my favourite ‘sites’ to enjoy en route to work are other people’s bikes! It’s amazing how much people load onto two wheels.

I wanted to share with you some of my other favourite sights below;

The Districts:

Within Hanoi the city is broken down into smaller chunks, these chunks are known as districts. The most popular two you may know about before arriving at The Old Quarter and Tay Ho. The old quarter is what you want to explore if you’re travelling here. The old quarter is home to Lake Hoan Kiem aka ‘lake of the returned sword’.

Here is where you can sit and watch the traffic zoom around whilst having a beer up on the rooftops. You can wander for hours down the different themed streets that are adjacent to Hoan Kiem. You can watch the  water puppet theatre shows, get your hands on the best kinds of souvenirs and find some incredible places to eat. Perhaps what I love the most about the Old Quarter is the people, Vietnamese run businesses are the only kind here. Very traditional.

Tay ho on the other hand is quite the opposite. It’s known as the bubble here because of the ability to live in Hanoi without leaving Tay Ho. Here is home to most of the expats. It’s full of teachers, i say this as i too a new teacher now live amongst all my colleagues here in the Tay Ho bubble. Around here you are likely to hear more American, English, and South African accents than anything else. Unless you meet our door man, he speaks no english and our conversations are beautiful engagements of us nodding and pretending to understand each other. Tay ho has some amazing bakeries, inspired by the french, there’s a few places i have come to love along To Ngoc Van.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-15-38-24

I could honestly go on forever about how i feel living in Hanoi but i will leave you here for now. If you would like to hear more about my life here, do leave a comment and don’t forget to follow me on Youtube! because that’s a thing I’m doing now.

Thanks for reading

Danielle Jade.