February’s ETC. Round Up

What a funny old month February has been. On the 1st, my holiday in Cambodia with Oli and my parents came to an end, and I flew back to Hanoi. I wrote on that flight about how much I was looking forward to getting back to work, and having some routine. What I didn’t know, or expect, at that point, was for Vietnam’s efforts to limit the spread of corona virus would see schools closed for the whole of February, and going into March. I’ve been going to work, filming lessons and setting online learning. Decisions regarding the closure of schools are made weekly, so it’s been a month of confusion and uncertainty, both for me personally and for the wider world. I haven’t enjoyed February, but if that’s the worst way in which corona virus affects me, then I’m fortunate.

Anyway, here we are with February’s Eat, Travel Create round up…


It’s been a month of eating mostly at home in a bid to save a bit of money. Pancake Day was an important day on February’s calendar, obvs, and with it brought the start of Lent. I’m not especially religious, but every year I take part in Lent. This year, I’ve decided to go vegan for it, and I feel like if I can manage it for the next 40ish days then I’ll probably continue. It shouldn’t be too tricky, given I haven’t eaten eggs or drunk milk for several months anyway, and have been veggie for over 4 years. I have however been eating chocolate and cakes, and pizzas covered in cheese. So they’re the main things to work on…

Here are some vegan recipes I’ve loved this Feb:

  • This balsamic tofu is incredible
  • I loved the Miso Aubergine slices from Zanna Van Dijk’s book ‘Eat More Plants’

I did enjoy some wine and a nibbles board with the girls at 88 Lounge on Xuan Dieu, Hanoi. I also baked caramel shortbread for the first time in ages, one of my old hobbies which I’ve been missing lately!

We also took a trip to the newly opened Hanoi Cider House and enjoyed some chargrilled aubergine alongside various appetisers and this lovely little tasting trio.


With everything so up in the air at the minute, travel planning has been halted. We did go to Nha Trang, a city in southern Vietnam that’s on the coast. It was great to get some vitamin D and some R&R. Nha Trang itself isn’t my sort of holiday vibe personally, but lazing by the pool was a much-needed de-stress. I also enjoyed the vibe (and this vegan pizza) at The Sailing Club (very chilled during the day, turning into more of a restaurant-cum-nightclub in the evening).


My Apple Pencil is broken, and I’m struggling to get it fixed in Hanoi, but I did enjoy reverting back to actual paint and creating a canvas for my friend’s baby shower as a little memento. Regardless of how ‘good’ you are at art, I recommend buying some paints (and wine) and getting the girls together for an art night. It’s good for the soul.

So, it’s not been an exciting month, but that’s okay. Not every month can be. As much as I love going and exploring new places and eating at new restaurants, I enjoy home time too. Here’s some things I’ve loved this month:

  • Helping to organise a baby shower for a friend
  • Using lunch breaks to swim
  • Learning new things at work
  • Reading some great books
  • Listening to a podcast and feeling like they were talking about my life. I felt so understood!
  • Playing board games with friends
  • A pancake party
  • Having a week off instagram (so far) and realising I don’t actually miss it
  • Switching my phone off for several hours of a day
  • Warmer days in Hanoi
  • Putting together a photo book of our trip to NZ
  • Seeing this little mantra on the commute to work everyday

March brings my 27th birthday and more uncertainty about work and life as corona spreads round the world. I want to be more positive in March,  and will be trying to follow some of my own advice.

I miss the UK’s signs of spring popping up: daffodils lining the roads; grabbing a bunch of them from Tesco for a pound when doing the weekly shop and putting them in my kitchen and my classroom. Mini eggs, too, lunging the shelves. I guess now I’m vegan I can’t have them. Has anyone heard of a vegan alternative? This is a matter of urgency.

I hope the rest of March is kind to you. Stay safe & wash your hands!

Niobe x

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