Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jungle Jeanne of Chateau Mango and the Tropics


Bike love around the corner from Chateau Mango...

Good afternoon my travelling friends...how are we all today? May I first say...you were all so thoughtful to bolster my spirits in my last post. An avalanche of boxes has a way of making one feel a bit down trodden. I thank you kindly for your encouragement, it worked!

Yours truly has managed to get her head out of the boxes and is starting to feel a calm aura about her. Well..kind of...it might be the heat and humidity. My family would most likely giggle at the thought of me having a calm aura. Mr. H referred to me as 'Jungle Jeanne of Chateau Mango' this morning. I am still thinking on that one. Perhaps this tropical life is affecting me, it has a way of making you think and move differently...

I have come to several conclusions in the five weeks that I have been living in Vietnam...basic ones.

What to wear in the tropics? One thing is for sure, it is not the clothes I wore for an English summer. Tried that here...and nearly died. I have one rule... I do not wear shorts and I won't budge on that one. I look tragic and a woman has her standards...even in the tropics! I  have grown partial to linen and more linen... pants, loose tops, dresses, skirts...all the things I did not wear in England. I am still working on this one with a bit of trial and error. Today I am wearing a silk top I bought in Beijing ten years ago. I have had only one occasion to wear it over that time and now I am thinking it will be a regular in my wardrobe...light and breezy. I have a feeling silk and I will get along just fine in Vietnam. I have decided to think summer, think Eileen Fisher...all year long.

via

How to catch a breeze... Don't move...sit still and think about it. If you are lucky, it will magically appear. The other alternative is to whip out your trusty handheld battery operated fan ( and embarrass your family)...I just love this little device. Thank you Marks and Spencer!




Make-up...no, no, no. Unless you plan to fly from one air conditioned environment to another...I say good luck. I have learned to leave the primers, foundations etc...for another climate and now keep it simple. In the mornings I manage a whish of Guerlain bronzing powder, a dab of Laura Mercier lip gloss, a whizz of the Bobbie Brown Eyebrow Shaper and a light touch of the best product going...Laura Mericer Tightline Eye Liner...followed by Bobbie Brown Extreme Party Mascara on the top lashes only. Laura and Bobbie are smart women in my books. Less is more in the tropics...I am sure Meryl would agree...

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Hair...up, up and away. There was a time when I thought I would have my hair cut into layers for Vietnam and now I think I must have been delusional. I would look like Little Miss Muffet who stuck her finger in a socket if I had. I find may hair going up on most days just to escape the heat. It is not my first choice of looks but in the tropics...a woman has to do what a woman has to do. I have a feeling Katharine would say the same...

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Food....now we are talking. This has to be one of the best things about moving to Vietnam. The choice of fresh fruit, fish and vegetables with the delicate flavours to compliment, just keeps me in awe day in, day out. Ok...having someone cook all of this for us is pretty special too. We have started taking note of our favourite Vietnamese recipes and I plan to share them all. Many are from books that I bought before leaving England. I thought of Julia Child and her search for French recipes written in English and decided I would do the same. So glad that I did as it makes life so much easier. If you are interested in Vietnamese cooking...

Start with Luke Nguyen here and here....and Bill Granger here....





Sample fruit plate from the southern region of Vietnam
with a lime and chili salt dip.
It's all in the flavours and it was delicious!

That's a quick update from my side of the world. The basics...beauty and food. One has to start somewhere. :)

I am still thinking on Jungle Jeanne...I fear Tarzan is swinging on a vine not far off from Chateau Mango and there is no way I am going to start calling Mr. H 'Tarzan'!

Until next time my friends....keep smiling, make every day count and do what you love!

Jeanne xx




46 comments:

  1. Now we're talking the same language. My wardrobe has NO SHORTS. Let's just say I am the "pear" shape and leave it at that. Skirts, skirts, skirts! with light linen or cotton tops line my closet. For shoes...TEVA sandals with a little cork wedge heel (that don't look like hiker shoes...there are a few) are my mainstay and then lots of cute slide on sandals. I do wear a foundation b/c of the SPF (I am VERY fair) need but minimal on everything else. I won't leave the house however w/o my water proof mascara. You know what...if you are in the NE (of the US) during the Fall, we should meet up so I can escape here and get a dose of beautiful New England fall foliage. How I miss living in NY!!

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    1. I would love that Sarah...meeting up in the midst of a New England autumn. I can't imagine living without the four seasons to carry me through the year. This may be my greatest challenge yet! Forgot to mention the Teva's...I could not live without them...Teva and Ecco...two brands that go hand in hand...foot on foot. :)

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  2. What a fun post, Jeanne. You and I have clearly different concerns as I am now contemplating excavating my "cozy wardrobe" to deal with the impending Pacific Northwest fall weather. No linen for me, non Madame! I am thinking more along the lines of fleece, Frye boots, and in lieu of the battery-operated fan, a mini-umbrella or a plastic bag (to hide my face once the monsoon-like rain has caused havoc on my hair.) Glad you are staying on top of things in your corner of the world. Bonne semaine. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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    1. Thinking of you in your corner of the world Veronique...I think we must be sharing that monsoon! :)

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  3. Dear Jungle Jeanne,

    I don't know how you do it. I have difficulties coping with the Danish summer- I'm not sure I would survive Vietnam for long. However, the food sounds lovely...

    And the bike made me happy.

    Take care:-)

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    1. I thought of you when I saw that bike Carina...I had a feeling you would find your way to this post. :)

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  4. I love your spirit Jeanne - despite the heat and humidity it is shining through. I can definitely agree with your hair and beauty tips. And, of course, linen and silk sound perfect too.

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    1. I think we must share similar weather Loree...yours may be on the drier side. Either way..you definitely have to pace yourself and most importantly ( I forgot this one)...lots of sunscreen! :)

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  5. Hi Jeanne. Beauty and food. Good topics for the tropics.
    Glad to hear you are well. xo Carole

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    1. Hanging in their Carole...art comes next..something your blog inpsires me to do every time I visit. :)

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  6. As I was reading through your list, I kept nodding as I remembered exactly the same thing when living in Darwin. I started off with makeup and business suits, then quickly learned to adapt. The makeup simply disappeared by 10 am (goodness knows what that did to my skin - it had to go somewhere and I guess it just got absorbed) and my style of dressing had to adapt. For me, it was long linen dresses and fabulously strappy high heels, with hair always in a chignon (up high, so much cooler than at the nape of the neck). Chanel was the only lipstick which didn't melt. And shorts...ugh... no thank you. Too hot, strangely. But a long dress felt cool and elegant. And oh, the food! That's the flip side of the tropics, isn't it? yum, yum, yum! x

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    1. This is great to know GD. My son lives in Darwin and I have yet to visit. Sounds like I will be able to make the transition from Ho Chi Minh City to Darwin quite easily. Thanks for the tip on Chanel...I will be sure to check that one out! :)

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  7. "Keep smiling, make every day count and do what you love!" Your words are so timely and so full of wisdom - just what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

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    1. Emily...it has become my mantra..some days you just need to hear it and say it, over and over again. So glad it resonated with you! :)

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  8. You are rising to the occasion. it just took a tiny bit of adjustment. Am sure things will look better and better. You're right about shorts. At some point they have to go! I have passed that point, too. Glad things are beginning to settle around Chateau Mango. Can't wait to see the gardens. Keep in truckin'!

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  9. Thanks Webb...I have been taking lots of photos of gardens and plants...now I just have to identify the plants. Must make a note to find a Vietnamese garden book in English. Off to Amazon to do just that...thx for the reminder! :)

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  10. Hello Reine Jeanne,
    Chatelaine,
    Chateau Mango
    Vietnam

    So nice to hear from you. Your wardrobe of silk and linen sound exactly the materials you need for such a hot climate. Eileen Fisher line is stylish and timeless. Catherine deneuve looked beautiful in her choice of wardrobe in Indochine. I will be interested to hear of your recipes.

    Continued joy and exploring

    Helen xx

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    1. Many thanks Helen...I agree, I think the Catherine Deneuve looked sensational in the film....it is one that I could easily watch again and again. Fab film! :)

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    2. I have to "barge in" here. Love "Indochine" too. One of the great Catherine's most memorable roles! I may be getting ahead of myself here, but she looked so flawless in the movie, I bet she, too, was wearing the long-lasting Chanel lipstick mentioned by GD above. :-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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    3. I am sure she was Veronique...I am going to move 'Indochine' to the top of my movie pile this weekend! :)

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  11. You are one cool customer - every pun intended!!!
    Millie xx

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  12. I savor every word - it makes me wonder what words I would write if I lived there. I pictured you dressed from the film, The English Patient. I lived in Costa Rica, so I understand some of your struggle. Footwear was tricky as Wellies were too hot but flip flops unclean for the unexpected rains.

    Wishing you could join us for 'Blogger's Tea' on Oct 2nd :) XOL

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    1. Laura...you have me intrigued, it has been years since I watched The English Patient...I will have to watch it again (that is if I can make it through the cave scene)...I am flattered that you even think of me when speaking of the film! Yes..I wish oh how I wish I could join your for the 'Blogger's Tea' in London...such a wonderful idea! Enjoy... :)

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  13. Ah, you got the My Vietnam book ... cool.

    You are a quick learner ... loved your thoughts on living in the tropics. I remember we took several cool showers every day during the hottest season.

    I love the way you embrace life ... even in a totally different culture.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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    1. Thank you kindly Glenda...you are right, I forgot about the showers. There are times when I think it would be better to just stay in there. I missed the hottest season...we have moved into the rainy season, just wish it was a tad cooler when it rained. :)

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  14. Hello Jungle Jeanne! Although I do prefer Helen's title of chatelaine...who wouldn't? :) It is always so good to hear how you are doing. I think of you often, so far away and in such a new culture! It sounds like you are enjoying the discovery process. How fun to rethink it all, down to what fabrics we wear and what new tastes to embrace. Speaking of, I don't want to beg but I am really, really looking forward to hearing about the food!! I think that I have already mentioned this but the best eats I have ever had were in Vietnam. What an incredible variety and interplay. Loved it.
    Sending lots of Love your way,
    Heather

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    1. Yes..I agree Heather, Chatelaine has a much nicer ring to it..I will pass that onto Mr. H. As for food...I most certainly will pass along as many as possible...it has been a fascinating food journey so far. I can only imagine what the upcoming months will bring. You will have to tell me your favourite foods when you were here and I will find the perfect recipes for you... :)

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  15. So glad to hear a little fashion advice shades of cashmere jeans. As I sit here in the Dallas heat and humidity I can only imagine what it must be like there. We are eased on the central coast. I sure enjoy the adventures of jungle Jeanne and chateau mango. Can't wait for the recipes

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    1. Coming soon Cindy...Texas seems to be a popular spot these days, everyone I have met recently seems to be in or from Texas. You must be looking forward to getting back to more temperate CA.. :)

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  16. I so enjoyed reading this Jeanne - I was sad that you left your corner of Surrey (and slightly in awe) but can see now you will fit in wonderfully in Vietnam. Love the clothes description. Just think natural fibres and no wool! Less Cashmere and Jeans - more Linen and Silk! It sounds like you are settling in well - and it's lovely to hear! Lou x

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    1. Linen and Silk...Lou, if I was of a mind to start another blog, that would be it! I am missing my little spot in Surrey too...I will just have to come back one day... :)

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  17. Sounds like a dream...loose clothing, no hair styling or make-up, vegetables, fruit and fish!

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    1. Becky..I think you need to come check it out one day, in person! :)

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  18. Thanks all...this has been fun, feels like old times! :)

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  19. Jungle Jeanne - what a hoot! After the hot and humid summer we had here in the Northeast, we don't know how or if we'd survive living in more tropical climes. But we don't wear much makeup and look pretty good in linen so it couldn't be all bad. Love reading your updates and living vicariously through you. Happy September!
    xxoo
    C + C

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    1. Thank you C& C...I imagine you both look wonderful in linen and without makeup! :)

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  20. As I went through all the glamour girls in your photos
    I wondered which one you identified with - but then I
    got to that plate of food - and that drove all such thoughts
    out of my head!

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  21. Ah, the adjustments one has to make in life ,but isn't that what makes it and us interesting?

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  22. It sounds like you are finding your feet and your style quite nicely. I love breezey summer clothes, make-free days and uncovered toes. Looking forward to hearing all your fave recipes and the unusual ingredients you must be coming across now.

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  23. Jungle Jeanne.. that is a good one. ):
    Life in Vietnam certainly does not sound boring at all Jeanne.
    living in hot countries most of my life, during the long summer months I use soft long cotton dresses. Most of the time, I am in my swim costume. It gets up to 43 44º on a very hot day here in Alentejo. Thank god for aircon and the shade of the olive trees. So I can imagine what it must be like in Vietnam.. humid i should think.
    I have never worn shorts in my life. Love the images you have shown.. simple yet elegant.
    Vietnamese food, I have not a clue about. What you have shown on your photo looks and sounds delicious. So I could imagine i would love to try some.
    wishing you happy days Jeanne.
    best wishes from val in Portugal

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  24. And I think living in North East Ohio is humid and hot! Fun to read how you are coping. I feel the same about shorts, hair and make-up.
    The fr\uit looks delicious enough to makeup for it all!!!

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  25. Adjusting to a new climate/life takes time and you certainly seem to be doing wonderfully. I smiled when I read the paragraph about make up. When I visit my parents in Argentina, my foundation stays for about 2 hours and then it starts disappearing with the high humidity.
    As for shorts, I have never wore them either, mostly because I don't have the legs for them. :-) Keep on enjoying the adjustment. What a great experience you are going through. Cheers.

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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