Why i love having so many brothers and sisters!

Now when ever i get the age old question tell us something interested about yourself i freeze. IM BORING AF, what makes me special. Then *POP* i remember i’m the oldest sibling of 6. Yep 6. I have three younger brothers and two younger sisters.

I share my mum and dad with my two eldest brothers.
Just my mum with my youngest brother
Just my dad with my sisters.

Confused yet?
Well that’s just the tip of the iceberg from that there are, parents, grandparents, my aunt & uncle and their two boys all the way over in the USA, there’s the mountain of fake family aunties i have, godparents, distant cousins and friends who are basically family too. It’s a big circle of family and i wouldn’t have it any other way.

Some of my most treasured memories. No wait i scratch that, most of my treasured memories are with my dumb brothers. Who will hate me for writing about them like they are angels. They aren’t don’t be fooled. I mean they are pretty good guys now, but growing up, im sure they must have had a dislike for how much i made them watch my dance performances in the living room, or hop the laptop we all shared. I GOTTA CHANGE MY MSN NAME SO LET ME ON . OMG MY FRIEND JUST GOT A WEBCAM I NEED TO GO ON.

My sisters, i remember when they were born. I was so excited…FINALLY sisters. Do you even know how long i have waited for this?! The fact they have always been so much younger than me too is my favourite thing. I’ve always been a mature kid, growing up, well i grew up pretty fast. However, i didn’t realise this until my oldest sister was born. I remember thinking she was a little angel. I have to make sure this human is always happy. I mean i was only 12 at the time. Not the thoughts of a genius but i still think the same now. So important none the less.

Growing up i cant remember arguing with my brothers or sisters. Mainly because mum wouldn’t let us, but also because we were genuinely happy. We all had hobbies, we all filled our time playing together. It’s so easy to spend 2 hours in the garden when there’s 4 of you. It is however annoying when your brother jumps off the top of the swing set and mum takes the whole thing down thinking we’ll hurt ourself. Or when you’re practising your violin outside because the family cant stand (how bad) you play in the house.

We used to live by a field so we would often go to the field to play football together. At one point we all played for a team, so this was fun. I’m not gonna say who but some members of the family were obviously better than others *cough* Jonny and Ash *cough* but thats fine, Ben and I could always just stand in the goal and let them take pride in constantly scoring.

Growing up the oldest really makes you aware of how to treat people i think. I became very protective of them all. I still am. I like to know what they are all doing, i like to know how school is, how their jobs are. I like to know where they are going at the weekend, heck we even share drunk stories and dating advice when needed. Well i mean not with my under18 year old sisters. That would be bad news.

Perhaps, this would be one of my favourite things about all my siblings, were not very secretive. Or at least, they aren’t to me. We pretty much always share our lives with each other. I know if the going gets tough for me i can call Jonny and he’ll tell me to shake it off, he’ll tell me to man up and get over it, Ashley will let me talk and talk and talk as he plays on the xbox and agree with how shit it is, and Ben, ben will offer solutions and try to make everything better. They are the perfect array of Good cop/Bad cop.

I know I don’t usually post like this but I’m just so excited to go home soon and see my family that I thought NOw was the perfect time to publish this.

Thanks for reading

Danielle x

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How moving to a foreign country helped my anxiety.

When I first realised I was moving to another country where I didn’t speak the language, know anyone, have a job, have a place to live or any general idea about the country. Yes I think it’s fair to say… I was perhaps the most anxious I’d ever been.

Anxiety : noun

1. a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Worried? Nervous? Uneasy?

CHECK CHECK CHECK.

Oh boy, I thought. Am I about to make a huge mistake?

Well…now here’s a little spoiler alert.

I didn’t.

See, here’s the section where I could ramble on about how I overcame challenges. How I put myself forward, I jumped into a new lifestyle and without realising, all of these little accomplishments shifted my thought pattern. But to summarise that I’ll just say; Day by day, I became a little more comfortable with handling tasks that others find simple.

Living in Vietnam for Over 1 Year I have become familiar to not understanding everything and eventually my shoulders began to relax when I walked amongst new surroundings, faces and smells.

I began to accept that I won’t understand everything and give myself the acceptance and patience to slowly stop being afraid.

My Social Anxiety.

I have had to socialise more than ever. Yes that’s right I say I have HAD to. Not that I don’t want to…because I do, but not ALL the time. However it’s fact here, if you don’t go out, you wont meet many other humans who are over the age of 15 Vietnamese and not students in your day to day life. Having to actively go out and throw myself into new situations has now become easier, and from doing this I have come to find that, I usually give off a first impression that doesn’t reflect my personality at all. *HIGH 5 to all my other resting bitch face owners out there* which is something I obviously want to change.I try harder to let people in and not be so closed off. I’m working on it.

My academic anxiety

I started taking Vietnamese classes, throwing myself into learning a new skill has helped me dramatically. Something about reshaping and adding another language to my brain, refocusing my energy when amongst a group of people who speak a different native language has helped social occasions to feel less intimidating and more like a challenge or test, where I can see how much I do understand or recognise.

My career anxiety.

I gave myself the ability to show how I can handle leadership. Having to be in charge and take responsibility for a team in my current head teaching role, again, has helped my self journey evolve. I can’t shy away from problems or take a back seat. I’m expected to lead the way, and to show others how to perform. This for me has changed my entire outlook on my career anxiety. I am capable. I am powerful. I am allowed to speak up and voice my opinion.

So there we have it.

I hope you can understand how moving to Vietnam has helped my anxiety, Socially, Academically and Career-wise.

I wrote this in hopes that someone out there who is scared about moving may take comfort from my personal experience, and though I cannot guarantee the same, I hope you get the same results and feel comfortable enough to say ‘I’m going to try’

Thanks for reading.

Danielle Jade x

Christmas movies to watch before this Christmas Day 🎄

So now it’s Christmas, well, it’s Christmas month! Though it sometimes doesn’t feel much like Christmas when you’re living in a country that may not necessarily celebrate Christmas and it isn’t drenched in obvious tokens honouring that holiday.

Sooooo what can you do in another country to make it feel like Christmas….

HELLO CHRISTMAS FILMS.

So here’s my favourite Christmas movies for you to watch (if you haven’t already)

1. Miracle on 34th Street : This film makes me feel like the most Christmassy person in the world, there’s something so beautiful about it that I just love.

2. Arthur Christmas : This animated movie is fun for the whole family! Now, I don’t even have children or any kids around me to pretend I’m watching this for, it’s just that good!

3. Home alone (First 3 ONLY) : A young boy left at home for Christmas,laying down traps to fight off burglars, I’m in…. The stunts in this movie make for good old slap-stick comedy and I for one WILL laugh every time. I will not however stand for any “home alones” after the 3rd one.

4. The grinch : Perhaps one of the funniest and most extravagant Christmas movies. The costumes, the rhyme, the sets…it’s such a great movie!

5. Meet me in st Louis : I don’t think I’ll ever get over how wonderful this movie is. I may be slightly biased because I’m such a Judy Garland fan but ‘boy next door’ is such a beautiful song.

Also honourable mentions go to: Edward Scossorhands, The Holiday & Love Actually though the list could go on and on and on…in fact, I’m going to go watch more now, and I’ll get back to you later in the month haha!

Leave a comment below with your favourite Christmas film🎄

Thanks for reading,

Danielle Jade

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

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 ✌🏻️😘

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.

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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.