January’s ETC. Round Up

Hello! Here’s the first update for 2020, posted right on time! Is this #newyearnewme? Will these posts always come on the final day of the month, or will I leave you waiting days, weeks…? Only time will tell.

My parents came out to visit for 3 weeks of January, so it’s been a month of re-visiting favourite eateries to share a bit of my home away from home with them. We’ve also done lots of exploring, thanks to the Lunar New Year and my accompanying days off work.


As I say, I’ve been enjoying taking my family to some of my favourite foodie spots in the city, such as Bao Wow and Hanoi Taco Bar. But our trips away have brought some great food too… (I’ve been rushing to eat too quickly so am lacking in pics of the places I’m actually recommending here, soz).

Nita by Vo was a wonderful hotel in Siem Reap that I’d found on Secret Escapes. Included in our stay was a 5 course set Khmer dinner, which was lovely. I’d recommend staying at the hotel, too. The personal service was fantastic.

The Sailing Club in Kep lies right on the sea. A large open terrace, the lapping waves accompany your meal. The food is a mix of Khmer and western, and you can enjoy happy hour cocktails as you watch the sun goes down over Phu Quoc island across the sea.

In Phnom Penh, I loved Lot369, an Aussie brunch style cafe. Buddha bowls, burrito bowls, breakfast bowls, falafel bowls… whatever kind of bowl you want, you can get it here! Better still, it’s environmentally friendly and is one of the only spots in Cambodia where they didn’t use plastic bottles for water, straws etc. 

Sunset in Kep


We spent a weekend in Tam Coc, Ninh Binh, which is possibly my number one place in Vietnam. Surprisingly my parents were actually willing to ride around on mopeds, so we rented a couple and enjoyed driving round the country roads… until we hit a dirt track so muddy and wet that the bikes just couldn’t get over them. This resulted in laughs, curses and a few minutes of wheeling the bikes through the dirt as mud splattered over our jeans. Certainly not something I thought I’d ever do with my parents, but a really wonderful day.

During my half term break we headed up to the mountains in Sapa on the night train, something which was all fun and games until I was still awake at 2:30am. The scenery in Sapa was absolutely beautiful, but I can’t say I fell in love with the place.

Next up, we all headed to Cambodia, where we explored the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, enjoyed some R&R days in Kep and then visited Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. I’ll post more about Cambodia soon!

Angkor Wat


This month, I’ve been using Procreate a bit more and designing some pictures on there. A couple were for @onrshop’s #oneaweek2020 but, unsurprisingly, I haven’t kept up. Maybe I’ll catch up at some point.

Week One’s prompt was ‘Mountains’. I drew this, inspired by the sunset we watched over Lake Pukaki in NZ.

I struggle with sharing my digital artwork online, and sometimes even doing it, because I look at other people’s work and see mine as completely inferior. No where near as good. Probably, those people have been doing it for a lot longer than me. In fact, loads of them create and design for a living! It’s not surprising I’m not ‘as good’, and I know that I need to recognise that and still keep trying. It’s one of my 2020 goals to develop my own style a bit more, so I’ll keep at it, and try to stop comparing myself to others.

I hope January has been good to you!

Niobe x

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