Coffee and a Catch Up 05 @ KOTO

Coffee and a catch up: a laid back series of life updates from me, written over a coffee in a favourite Hanoi cafe. Grab yourself a cup too, and get comfy!

It’s been a little while since a Coffee & a Catch Up post. March has been full on for a number of reasons, so I’m enjoying the slow indulgence of a frothy cappuccino as I tap away on my laptop after an IRL coffee and catch up with friends this morning in a Hanoi cafe I’m only just getting round to trying.

This Coffee & A Catch Up comes from KOTO villa (22G Lane 31/46 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho). All photos on this post are from there, taken by me on a rainy morning when the colourful coffee cups brightened the day.

KOTO Villa is a restaurant and cafe which opened late last year, and today is the first time I’ve come. It’s a beautiful setting across two floors with a plant filled terrace and patio area and several little corners. This Hanoi cafe is nestled between alleys, it’s peaceful too. Road traffic is minimal, so the noise comes from the clattering of plates and pans, cheeping and chirping through the open windows and the chatting and laughter of friends getting together.

Not only is the setting lovely, KOTO’s story is too. KOTO stands for ‘know one, teach one,’ and it’s a social enterprise set up to help disadvantaged youth in Vietnam gain employment in hospitality. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in Tay Ho, to support the cause and to indulge in some delicious Western or Vietnamese food and drinks.


What’s been going on?

I was in self-isolation when I wrote my most recent C&ACU post, exactly a month ago. I’m pleased to say my quarantine ended and we’re back to normal life here again. What a relief that is too, as the weeks are quickly disappearing and it will soon be time to return back home. Waves of excitement to go and disappointment to leave are coming on thick and fast, and my I plan on filling my remaining months here with (hopefully) weekends away, Hanoi wanderings and gatherings with my friends at our favourite places. 

That’s the plan, and yet life’s getting busy. This month, I’ve started a diploma in Subediting and Design as well as a couple of part time voluntary comms roles, alongside my full time teaching job too! It’s busy and full on, but will hopefully be worth the effort. I just hope I can still find balance between work and play! It sounds a lot I know, but I’ve always been someone who takes a lot on. I had really been starting to embrace a slower style of living – at the weekends at least – so I’m keen to not lose all of that. But also, this is about setting myself up for a change in a few months, so my intention is to have just a few full on months, not do this long term.

Still, any tips for time management and staying organised are gratefully received! And perhaps my blog posts may be a little more sporadic as I get stuck into my other roles. 

Two weeks ago, we celebrated my birthday on what seems to have been the only sunny day of March so far. I had a wonderful couple of days surrounded by some of my favourite people this side of the world and feeling the love from back home too.

5 Things I’m Grateful For

  • The chance to have lived in this city for the last few years and the opportunities I’ve had since being here
  • The huge range of coffee shops here. Honestly, the coffee shop culture is one of my favourite things about Hanoi! I hated coffee before I moved here and now I look forward to a weekend cup as a real treat
  • The love I’ve been feeling from friends and family back home, this month and every month, and the shared excitement to be back with them this summer
  • Opportunities and time to grow my hobbies into something I could potentially do as a career moving forward
  • Upcoming exciting plans and ideas getting me through the busier days

I’ve been reading

  • I finished R. O. Kwon’s The Incendiaries earlier in the month and really enjoyed it. I don’t know much about cults at all, and found the three perspectives given in this book interesting. 
  • Now I’m reading American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. I’m only a few chapters in but straight from the first few pages I knew this would be a gripping read. 

See more posts about books I’ve loved here.

I’ve been listening to

  • Ziggy Alberts’ brand new album ‘Searching for Freedom’ has been filling my ears these last couple of days. Some of those lyrics just speak to me! I haven’t got a favourite track just yet, but it’s pending. 
  • I’ve spoken before about my unparalleled love for Dermot Kennedy. I make sure I listen to his collab with Meduza ‘Paradise’ and his cover of Van Morrison’s ‘Days Like This’ on my commute every morning. The songs are very different but they both put me in a feel good mood!

I’ve been watching

We’ve recently started watching The Crown, a show I’d heard so many good things about but really wasn’t that bothered to watch. Actually, I’m really enjoying it. Having relied on Netflix for several years, without having an actual TV to just switch on and flick through, I find I often go weeks without watching anything. Once I do break through that again and get into a series, I always love it. 

Have you watched, read or listened to anything worth recommending lately? Let me know in the comments! 

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Have a lovely week,

Niobe xx

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