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.

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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




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