Sunday, 31 May 2009

An all day battle

Something I really, really appreciate with my life here in Brunei, is that I have so much time, to do really fun stuff! I don't have to cook, clean or do the washing (and in all honestly, I don't believe anyone enjoys doing that?! It's just a necessary evil, for most). I have the real luxury (and trust me, I'm aware of that!) that I can spend all my time while the kids are at school f.e, doing the things I really enjoy.
At the moment, it's learning new stuff.

For quite a while now I have been into learning more about Photoshop (PS). Since I'm interested in photography in general, I thought I needed some more skills in the PS department too. I have read books, done small classes over the internet, signed up for a University course; I follow tutorials on YouTube, read instructions on blogs and seek information about how to do the things I want to do a little bit everywhere.

Today, I had my first attempt on simple digital scrapbooking. The idea is to send in these pages to be printed into photo books when I'm done. Because, to be honest, no matter how hard I try - I will never be able to 'keep up' and scrap all our photos properly.
This is really the second best alternative, to showcase photos, since I do believe that just keeping thousands and thousands of photos in folders on your computer is not much fun.

Here is a little taster, of what I've accomplished today:

I can tell you though, it hasn't been easy... All this is very new to me, PS on the whole is still a jungle for me; and trying to find out how to work the different digital templates and overlays has taken me all day. (I bought these Ali Edwards templates here.)
But I'm only getting started, with time, I will get better on this too! And it sure is fun!

{365:151} Together

Every now and then, the kids create their own little world and immerse themselves totally in their imagination. Today they were playing little families with all their teddies, forever and ever, and they were having such a good time. I'm pleased to see not only that they can invent their own games, but that they love doing it together.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

{365:150} Sleepover

The kids are enjoying the continuing holidays, school is not on again until Tuesday. So tonight, they got to have a sleepover together, in Lucas' room. It took quite a bit longer than normal to fall asleep, cause they were "reading books very quietly"... to each other forever - but finally, I could get this peaceful picture.

Weather and weather

I was thinking a bit about sunshine today, and when I was going to title this post and started typing 'Sunshine and...' I realized I had already had a bit of the same thoughts before, and written about them here.

I just Skyped with a friend back home, who was about to set off on a two-day hiking trip, in the absolutely gorgeous sunshine. Even though it's sunny here too (duh), I got so jealous and really, really started missing the sunshine back home. It's just not the same.
Even though we are on our way down to the lush Empire hotel for an afternoon swim, in the sun, I miss Thailand and the sunshine there. It's just not the same.

Luxury problems I guess.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Our new neighbour

May I present the newest addition to our neighbourhood, Oliver Matthew Dennis Rose, who lives in the house opposite ours.

He was born on Wednesday and we got to meet him for the first time today, shortly after the little family got home from the hospital. He was very, very cute and both the kids got totally smitten. Lucas thought his hair was very soft (he had lots of it!) and Linnea was a bit upset he didn't play with the toy we brought him...
I'm happy to now be a simpang auntie, it'll be lovely having a baby around!

More pictures from Koh Samet

I went over to Anne earlier today to swap photos with her, from our Thai holiday. I have a slight suspicion I will be going on and on about this trip for a while yet - it was just sooo lovely!
I don't know if you can imagine, or have ever been to such a place, but the sand was so white and clean it actually scrunched when you walked in it; the fruit we ate was so juicy and fresh, and the water was as warm as in a bath tub. Aaahhh...

Here is another slide show, of our time in Koh Samet. This time it's with some of Anne's photos. So, same holiday - slightly different perspective!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Koh Samet

We are back home again, after some absolutely fantastic days out on a beautiful little Thai island called Koh Samet. It was recommended to us by some friends here, and we went together with our Danish friends the Dehlis.
Koh Samet is located about 200 km east of Bangkok and it's a popular holiday destination for the Thais themselves, many come out there for the weekends.
We got picked up at the airport, and then we had a two-hour drive in a minibus down to the little coastal village from where we would board the speedboat. Another 20 minutes, and we arrived at our paradise!

We checked into our sea view bungalows on the beach, and went straight out for dinner. Found a restaurant with a TV and a DVD player - super! The kids watched a movie, and we could have lovely dinner (and beer!) in peace.

The next few days were spent in a very relaxing mode down at that beach. Us adults on sunbeds, with drinks and fresh fruit almost free-flowing (well, from the bar, and the beach vendors..!) and the kids in the sand: digging holes, chasing each other around, swimming, throwing a frisbee, kicking a ball, building sand castles, collecting shells etc. They couldn't have been happier - and neither could we!

I took long walks down the beach and Nathan managed to finish his Stieg Larsson book (yes, finishing a book for the first time in I-don't-know-when!).
One afternoon we rented a speedboat to take us around the island, and to do some snorkeling, but that was a bit of a flop. The visibility was near to zero, so we didn't see any fish at all, and the fumes from the motor made us all a bit sea sick. Plus, four out of the five kids fell asleep...
But we finished the trip on a fish farm, and that was really cool! (Worth the whole trip!) The kids got to feed the fish and the turtles, and I can tell you - they were h-u-n-g-r-y! Lucas has been talking about sharks ever since!

The island was really quiet, at least compared to Phuket which is the only other side of Thailand I've seen - not too many people at all, mainly Thais. It was the perfect family location. At the same hotel as us were a couple of other Swedish families, so the kids quickly made some new friends - and I managed to score some books they had finished reading!
We were off line for the whole week, and even though it really did us good it felt a bit weird not even being up to date with the news. Very relaxing though, we were really just there and then. Some well needed family time.

All in all, superb holiday - we will definitely go back! It was so lovely!
Here are some pics:

One night in Bangkok

... or rather two nights in Bangkok. That was how we finished off our little getaway for this time. We came into town from Koh Samet around lunch time on Tuesday, and since it was raining cats and dogs we decided to do a little bit of shopping after having checked in at our hotel.
We took a cab to Siam Center to have lunch at McDonalds (on Lucas' request) and browsed the shops for the afternoon. We had dinner in an Irish pub, and went back to our room to make plans for the next day.
I wanted to see the Grand Palace, Wat Po, take a river trip on a klong around the water markets and maybe do High Tea at the famous Oriental Hotel.

Unfortunately, none of that happened...
That night we fell really sick, all of us but Lucas. We were in a really sad state, and had to spend the whole next day in bed, not to far away from the toilet... Luckily we do have kids that are easily entertained with their game consoles, and kids TV. So the day passed rather peacefully. Nathan managed to get down to the lobby to get the kids some breakfast, and the rest of the meals were thanks to room service...

A real bugger, but what can you do. We just had to wait it out and thankfully we felt good enough this morning to get on the plane back home.
Looking on the bright side - we will have to go back some day!

We're back!

We are back home after a fab week in Thailand! Being totally and utterly off line has done us all good - family time is lovely.

I'm about to go through the photos and will blog all about it later!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Grattis kära Mamma!

Grattis på födelsedagen Mamma - denna är till dig:

Hoppas att du får dig en fin dag i Danmark!
Födelsedagskramar från oss alla

(Since Mormor is away in Denmark over her birthday, and we are in Thailand without computers - we probably wont be able to get in touch to sing "Happy Birthday", so here's a little cake for her on her day!)

Friday, 22 May 2009

Thailaaaaaaaand, here we come!

Well, NO ONE has even asked where we are going... regarding this post almost a week ago... Come on people!!!

If anyone would be interested at all... we are off to Koh Samet tomorrow (jubi!) and then Bangkok for a few days! The kids are having midterm holidays, so better enjoy it!
I won't be bringing the computer, so don't expect any updates for a few days... sorry! I will post lots of pics when we get back, I hope!

See you later, alligator! Xx

As you do!

This morning, we dropped off the kids at school and went to some friends - to watch the American Idol Finale (transmitted live, via satellite!) at 08.00 a.m. together with a whole bunch of people.

Not only was it a super duper show for two hours, with all the best stars in the world (Rod Stewart, Kiss, Queen, Jason Mraz, Cyndi Lauper, Fergie, Lionel Richie and many more), there was also fruit salad, bacon, eggs and champagne (!) served - can it get any better?!

Well, another lush morning in Brunei, having champagne at 08 am - as you do..!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

{365:138} Favourite snack

Favourite snack.
This is my absolute favourite snack at the moment. I eat a whole package of these almost every day, they are so yummy! It's rambutans, or lytchees (litchie?). Really nice fruit from Thailand!
Makes me feel healthy and fresh! (They look great as decorations too, as long as they last and not get eaten!)

Monday, 18 May 2009

Sport jock or glamazon?

I went to a farewell party on Saturday night, for our lovely friends Claudia & Fredrik who are heading back to Germany this summer. All their friends were there, and quite a few of those people I know myself from other contexts.

I was talking to a friend when one of my fellow hashing ladies came over, said hello to my friend and then turned around to me to shake my hand, introduced herself and said "- So, are you German too?"

I looked at her to try and figure out if she was joking, but I had to quickly acknowledge that she wasn't! So I explained to her that we have been hashing together every Tuesday for over a year... and after quite a moment the penny dropped for her.

The whole situation made me a bit sad, and I really felt like a little, grey insignificant mouse.
It also made me wonder why she didn't recognize me; either I'm looking really scruffy and worse for wear at the Hash, or I was looking incredibly gorgeous and glam at the party! I choose to believe the latter of course!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

{365:137} Mud

The Kids Hash today was really, really muddy. It had been a while since I'd had a muddy hash like that, but it had rained quite a bit this afternoon actually, hence the slippery conditions.
The kids love it though, and some parents too I think! You can get as dirty as you wish - and it doesn't matter!
It started raining just as we had finished our hot dogs, so I decided we wouldn't stay (and get even muddier...) but left before the little shout-up.
Finished off the day as usual after Kids Hash, with pizza delivery for dinner. Mmm!

The missy-cat show

One thing I do miss here in Brunei is 'selection'. There is not really much variety - whether it is about where to go for lunch, what bread to buy or what to do in your spare time. Brunei is a small country, so the range/choice is small too.
Especially when it comes to cultural events.

You kind of have to jump on the opportunities that come along, whether they are in your area of interest or not. Next month for example, the kids and I will be going to see this, together with some of the kids' class mates.

Lucas calls it "The missy-cat show", and even though none of us are really mad fans of Hello Kitty, I'm sure it will be a great afternoon together with some friends, doing something different!

Package at the post office

Lucas always lights up when there is a package to pick up at the post office, and says in anticipation:

- For ME..??!

And this time it was!
Mormor and Morfar had sent some little Transformer-toys for him, and a bling-bling phone for Linnea:

Tack så mycket!!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

This time next week...

... we will be enjoying the white sands and clear, blue water here:

Friday, 15 May 2009

Linnea på Bråkmakargatan

Linnea's absolute favourite movie at the moment (and for quite a while now), is yet another Astrid Lindgren creation "Lotta på Bråkmakargatan" (= Lotta on Troublemaker Street). It's about this cute 5-year old little sister who has a temper as few, and always ends up in trouble. Most of the trouble she creates herself of course.

I don't know if Linnea has got ideas and inspiration from her, or if they are just the same kind - cause man is she trouble at the moment! She's got such a temper and gets so angry and grumpy, she really is no fun to be around at all.

And then we have the issue about putting everything in the pockets... Every day when picking her up from school we have to fleece her to make sure the school things stay at school. Today she had a big blob of BlueTak in her pocket, yesterday a handful of chalk. Totally random things.

The other day we went for dinner at a Chinese restaurant with goldfish in a little pond outside. I saw Linnea putting her hand down in the water, and thought she was trying to touch the fish - but nooo, she was trying to get her little fingers on the coins laying on the bottom... *Sigh*

Thursday, 14 May 2009

{365:134} On my way

On my way.
I'm on my way to a healthier me. One step on the treadmill at a time (and up and down those hills in Bukit Shabandar on every other day...). Feels good again.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Noisy neighbours

I was making myself some lunch today and heard this very strange, very loud noise coming from the bushes on the other side of the road at the back of our house. At first I thought it was some kind of bird, but when I went to spy for it - I saw a big troupe of monkeys!
They were sitting in the trees "talking" to the cats, and our dogs who were barking back at them from inside the garden.

Not quite sure what they came down for, have never seen them so close to our house before. We don't have any fruit trees in our garden, so maybe they were just having a look around - fruit is generally what they are looking for otherwise.

Anyway, it was a first for us, so close to our house. Hopefully we'll see them again and I'll have time to get my camera next time.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

It's just a phase

One disadvantage of having kids that are close in age, is that while you have just got the first one out of the not-so-charming phase of "no-s" and "I don't want to-s" etc... the second one will just be getting into it...

Linnea is a real little powerhouse at the moment, full of her own will. Of course, it rarely coincides that we actually want the same thing, mostly she only wants to do the opposite of what I tell her to do, of course. Oh, that's the joy of this phase!

I know it's a phase, because Lucas displayed the exact same behavior (just not with so much power and energy behind it...) for quite a while, and as I said, he is out of it.
So that's my mantra at the moment, whenever she is hard to handle (which is most of the time): "It's just a phase, it's just a phase"...

Monday, 11 May 2009

"When we get home I'm going to cry"

Bless our two little ones, they wanted to put their airplane clothes on too today to go and say goodbye to their cousins at the airport... This week has already gone by far too quickly.
Everybody got big hugs, and we sent them off with our neighbour and Daddy - so they should arrive in Singapore at least, safe and sound! (They have a big trip in front of them: Brunei-Singapore, Singapore-London, London-Aberdeen - glad it's not me for once!)

(This will probably be the "wall photo" actually.)

While driving home Linnea said "When we get home I'm going to cry", because she felt really sad that C-l-aitlin and Liam had gone. Lucas was just wondering if tomorrow he would get out early from school again...

We wish the Whites a safe trip, and a good start to their new life up north! Thanks for coming to see us on the way!

[365:131] Beep-beep m beep-beep yeah

Beep-beep m beep-beep yeah.
Of course, without a doubt, when Linnea can chose passengers for her car in school - it's Ben, Daniel and Adam. The Fab Four!

Saturday, 9 May 2009


Oaw, have we had a busy week with the family!
Although they are not really tourists (Nikki used to live here too, for 3 1/2 years, and taught at ISB back in the day), we have done the usual things with them: the Yacht Club, the fish market, the Empire, the Monkeyboat, Jerudong Park, the Regalia Building, the monkey spotting at SupaSave :) etc...

Yesterday Nathan went to Singapore to pick up Uncle Kieran, so we are now fully numbered.
Here are a few photos:

Thursday, 7 May 2009

On hold

I'm sorry that the blog has been a bit on hold for the last few days.
We got visitors on Monday who are here for a week, Nathan's sister Nikki and her two kids, and it's been full on! I will be sure to post some photos very soon.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Jumbo landing

This is hilarious! I just had to share it with you, today's laugh:

(The first part is the funny part. The message of course is serious.)

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Maximum sugar rush

A busy Saturday today - the kids had TWO birthday parties on the agenda, one early this morning for one of Linnea's class mates and a double one this afternoon for some little friends. Busy, busy, busy!

I can tell you, apart from a meatball or two and maybe a little sausage as well, they haven't eaten anything healthy or even anything remotely looking like proper food all day... Just cookies, chips, candy and other sugarfilled goodies - well, that's party time for you...
They were on such a sugar rush (and then low), it really wasn't funny for their poor mummy... (The father was at work, blissfully unaware of the eventful day back home) I was totally exhausted come the end of the afternoon - kids parties at this age (and out here, where they all are so big) are hard work!

Anyway - I'm sure the kids thought this was the best day ever! Sweets and party bags galore and play, play, play all day!

Here's a few shots from this morning's piñata bashing. As usual the kids were not really strong enough (the piñatas are always too well put together!) even though Linnea certainly gave it her best:

The birthday boy's mummy had to go to it:

And out came the goodies!