Sunday, 31 January 2010

Can you see what's new?

Or rather - can you see what's not there..?
No training wheels!!!

Yes, we knew she had it in her, but we have been a bit reluctant to letting her try before. Her bike is actually probably a size too big to learn how to bike on (she can't reach down to the ground properly when she falls to the side), but we wanted to get her this size bike to last her for a bit.
Today we went to some friends for an afternoon BBQ, and she wanted to try her little friend's bike, which was slightly smaller. And all of a sudden - off she goes! Oaw!
Look at her somewhat surprised but happy face!

So after that, we took the training wheels off her own bike too - and she was gone! Nathan did have to run beside though for a while, just in case, she was still swirling a bit... but she picked up speed and technique really fast!

Tomorrow I'll see if I can film her as I didn't have my big camera with me today. These photos are just taken with my phone.
Clever girl!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Looking pretty

School photos are scheduled for next week, so this morning I took the kids to the hairdresser to clean up their look a little bit.
Lucas just needed some very little trimming around the ears because he wants his top hair to be long, so he can have it spiky for the photo... Linnea got a short fringe, because she doesn't like it when it goes into her eyes. She looks really cute with it I think:

Me, a runner?

I've followed some quite interesting discussions on different running websites lately, about the difference between being a runner and a jogger.
It's interesting to see what different criteria people put up as definition to separate the two. Some say it's down to how fast you run, it's all about the pace you can keep; some say it's about how frequently you exercise or how many kilometers you run a week. Some say it's all about what kind of gear you use - and some only qualify people who participate in organized races runners.

I don't know.
I sure ain't fast and I don't know if I'll ever be. Most people would probably call my trotting along 'jogging' rather than 'running. I do exercise a lot though, but don't go very far every time, as of yet. I haven't done an organized race yet either, but I can soon tick that box I guess!
I don't know much about differences in shoe brands and models, what kind of energy gels that are the best or if the use of compression socks will help your recovery etc. I do have a Garmin yes (!), but that's mostly just because I like gadgets!

But for sure - I run.
So I'm a runner.

On a different note, or actually kind of the same obviously, as it has to do with running - I did a "form check" yesterday afternoon, and ran 10k around the track, to check my time as it is now, a month before my first race.

It was nice and overcast already from 4 o'clock and since I was prepared it would take me about 1h20 or so, I thought it was a good day to give it a go. As I've mentioned before, my starting group in HongKong is for people who can complete the 10k in between 1h10-1h20.
Yesterday I ran it in 1h06! Not shabby at all - for being me that is! Probably slowmotion tempo for some, but speedy-speedy for being me! I'm happy.

Friday, 29 January 2010

20 at 6

I did this little questionnaire with Lucas last year for his birthday, and since I like traditions - here comes this years answers. Quite a few answers were quite similar to last years, actually.

1. What's your name? Lucas... (getting prompted "what else?") Lucas William Watson!
2. Where do you live? Jalan Muara in Brunei
3. How old are you? Six
4. Really? Yes...
5. Why is it good to be six? Because I got nice birthday presents, I like being six.
6. What do you like to do? Wii and PSP and... all my new toys!
7. What don't you like? I don't like... watching scary movies.
8. Why do you have to sleep at night? Because you're tired.
9. What are you going to be when you grow up? I want to be a mountain bike rider.
10. What does a mountain bike rider do? You ride mountain bikes up the mountain (*Duh* Mummy!).
11. Where does babies come from? Mummy's tummy
12. Have I been a baby? Yes.
13. Which are your favourite clothes? Superhero ones.
14. What would you like for your next present? I would like a Woody toy.
15. Where does Santa live? North Pole.
16. Who is your best friends? Daniel, Malthe, Adam, Mick, Jayden... (When asked about Linnea) Not Linnea, she's my sister!
17. Which is the most beautiful word you know? Ninja Storm.
18. What are you good at? Learning stuff, riding my bike.
19. When does mummy and daddy get angry with you? Some days, when it's bedtime and when I'm naughty.
20. What are you going to do now? Watch TV.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Trusting the program

There is but a month to go to the Hong Kong 10k race now, and I'm steadily following my program. It's a program from the Swedish running book I bought last summer, and seems to be a quite a general way of building up your training since I've found versions of it on several running sites on the internet.
In short, you do two runs a week, with short walking breaks included in them - and one long, continuous run that gets longer for each week.

It's going well. I guess.
I've no trouble with the endurance, I really like running. I'm not very fast though, actually not fast at all... I'm picking up just a little bit every week in pace, but not much to be able to do any great time at all. So even though I'm doing really good, it doesn't feel like it's good enough.

Nathan keeps telling me to "Trust the program!". So I do, sooner or later something might click. Until then, I just enjoy myself.
And keep running.

This late afternoon, down the track:


I'm sorry to my Chinese friends for writing this, but going shopping these days - is pure horror... The supermarkets are ok still, but the malls and other shops... *shiver*! I just can't take it!
What's up?
Well, it's Chinese New Year coming up (14th of February) and everywhere they are playing this very intense Chinese music in the shops, with lots of high-pitch singing and bells ringing; and they have it so loud you can hardly think! Not for me, definitely not for me.

It's fun to look at the decorations though. All the shops are heavily decorated in red, and they have a massive amount of attributes ready for sale to prepare for the big event. There are lots of Chinese in Brunei you see.
I don't mind the decorations at all, they are (in their own way) beautiful - but the music... please, someone, turn down the music... just a little bit...

Edit: So, what do they sell in the shops? I took another photo today, to show you how it might look like. They sell Chinese lanterns, paper pineapples (?), fake flowers and fake oranges, ang pao-envelopes, prosperity cards, waving cats, Chinese lions, festive china etc, etc. See here:

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Beach hashing

Tonight we had another beach hash at the same place we did the Halloween Hash last year. I didn't exactly have good memories of that hash, maybe because we started that much later so it was pitch black when we got out... or I don't know.
This time we went the other way, and had a really pleasant jog along some well made tracks, finished off along the beach on the way back, enjoying the sunset. Lovely!

It was the Australia Day hash, so the tent was decorated accordingly and the Aussie hashers had put on some yummy tucker, mmm!
A very good hash!

I had looked forward to hashing, to be able to log something else on my watch than just the usual run around the track... This was our hash today, 3,5 km:

Monday, 25 January 2010


I've been to Malaysia today. Yes, did a quick little day trip together with my neighbour, down to Miri, a couple of hours away.
She has dental work done there as it's much cheaper, and today I had offered to come along as company - and she had promised to show me around some of the new shopping areas I hadn't seen.

We did the "big" mall, which is as close to a "real" mall you can get around here... It kind of has stuff, but still not really, if you understand what I mean?
They do have this though, something we don't have in Brunei, mmm!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Flying visit

We've had this season's first visitor today!
I say today, because he was actually just here one day; came in at midnight last night, and we dropped him off at the airport just before dinner time today..!
It was Uncle Kieran, who has spent the last three weeks out here in Asia on a big business trip. He managed to squeeze in a day with us in Brunei before continuing back home, and it was lovely to see him.

He had brought birthday presents for the birthday people, and even Linnea got a little something, a book with cut-out dolls - so she was happy too.

We've had quite a relaxing day: been playing a lot of fussball, playing with the remote controlled cars outside, been to town to buy DVDs, had sushi for lunch and just chilled. Now he's already on his (very long) way back to the snowy north in Aberdeen.
Safe trip Uncle Kieran - we will miss you!

07:50 on a Sunday morning

It's the weekend.
It's Sunday, 07:50 in the morning.
What do I do?
Instead of a sleep-in, I go running!
By myself.
No running partner. No pep coach.
Just me and my Garmin.
In the morning sun.


Saturday, 23 January 2010

Party on!

Lots of friends + party food + chocolate cake + water slide + some parents + party bags = Party on!

Yesterday Lucas had his birthday party here at home. We had the same setup as the last few birthdays: an afternoon of water sliding and play for the kids and some wino, snacks and chatting for the adults.
Lucas got really, really spoiled with lots of lovely pressies and he and his little friends had an absolute blast of a party! They were playing so well, all 32 of them..!

We had ordered a Swampfire (from Ben10) chocolate cake to go with the Superhero theme, and there wasn't a crumb left after the kids had got into that! Actually there wasn't any food left either, after I passed the 'left-overs' to the parents as snack to go with their drinks..!

As usual, a hard core group continued long into the evening, with good music, hot dogs and bubbles - a great day!

Friday, 22 January 2010

My new toy!

My new Garmin is so cool!

As those of you who know me in real life will know, I'm a number freak. I like excel sheets, tables, statistics etc; and of course - anything that will make it more fun to keep up the exercise is a good thing!
This is a good thing, and cool!

It's a GPS watch, so it'll tell you exactly where you have been running, can show you on Google maps, it'll be able to tell you the distance, your heart rate, calories you've burned etc etc. It's a rather sophisticated little gadget and will give you tons of info, displayed per lap, or per run or however you would like it of course.
It connects via wireless with the computer and puts all the data into a program for you, so you can keep track of all your exercise!
This one run, is just around "our" track, so not so exciting maybe - but I'm looking forward to map some of the hash runs we do - and also to use it for some heart rate based training etc in the future.

So cool!

In the news, again!

Once again, Linnea and her little school friends made the newspaper - thanks to their little Royal class mate.
Today you can read all about our school trip in the Brunei Times (it's also published on the internet here and here, these below are just quick screen shots. Click on them to read the article.), and Mrs Boel Watson was even quoted at the end of the article! :)

There was a separate little article, about the old lady who's house we visited:

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Kampung Ayer school trip

Linnea had yet another school excursion today! Lucas was slightly jealous, one last week and one this week!
They are talking about "houses" at school, so we went to Kampung Ayer (the Water Village) to look at the houses on stilts, and even visit one of them to have a drink and take some photos. Luckily there were a few more parent helpers this time, because we had to cross one of the wooden walkways without hand rails to get to this house... a bit nerve wracking with 35 3 & 4-year olds...

We also walked from the beautiful Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque in town, down to the waterfront to have ice cream. Quite a hike for the little ones, especially in the blazing heat it was today - but they did sooo well, and really deserved their ice creams in the end!

Because of the little royal class mate, we were followed around by a bunch of photographers, a film crew (for the TV tonight!) and a journalist from the Brunei Times. I got interviewed, so I will have to buy the paper tomorrow I guess! Bless him, they keep those cameras in his face all the time, but he is doing so well the little Prince. I guess he is used to it.

We had a lovely morning, see for yourselves:

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Birthday celebrations

So, yesterday was our birthday! Lucas was very excited of course,; and he had the whole morning planned - we were to wake him up as usual, first, with his presents, and then I was to go back to bed and get "waken up" with my presents!
We actually managed to wake him, he was still fast asleep when we came in singing. He got some lovely things, Lego (of course), HotWheels and a fussball table!

After we had got the kids off to school, it was time for me to have my celebration! It's nice to get to celebrate my birthday too, and that it's not all about Lucas... even though it was no "even" number, it's still my day too.
I had a few friends come around for coffee and cake, and fruit salad for the health conscious (...) - we had a great morning catching up, chatting away and enjoying the yummy cake (thanks Matt!)!
And, I got some great gifts too! A glass candle light holder, a photo frame, a lamp, an inscense kit, flowers, some earrings and a necklace, a wallet, a beautiful evening bag, a crystal bowl, body glimmer, a vase and some Pandora charms. (But the best one must be the Garmin Forerunner 405cx my dear husband had so sneakily got for me..!)

At pickup, we brought a box of Superhero cupcakes in to Lucas' class. He got to sit in Mr Jolly's chair, he was sung to and he got six birthday tickles from Mr Jolly before he shared his cupcakes with his friends.
Then we got busy coming home from school, opening some more presents, building Lego and assembling HotWheels-tracks!

Lucas' big party is tomorrow afternoon, and he just can't wait! It's a Superhero party, so we are expecting to see one or two Batman-, Spiderman-, Ultraman-, Superman- and Ben10-outfits.

Well, here are some snapshots from yesterday:

It's our birthday!!

We have not just one but two birthday babes in the house today! I will upload some photos later, since we are still in the middle of all the celebrations and enjoying our day - but this is us this morning!

Monday, 18 January 2010


One of my many stops today (after manicure/pedicure, sushi lunch, bike shop for Nathan, sorting out the party bags for someones party this week and school run...) was the post office.
It had been a while so there was lots of mail waiting for us, including a couple of Christmas-cards (they just keep coming, thank you!) AND a parcel - for me!

A Christmas parcel actually, containing a little bit of heaven:

I received this package from a friend I have actually never met - but known for over 6 years..! She's part of the internet forum I've mentioned several times here on the blog. I've written about this Christmas gift exchange tradition too before, last year, you can find that post here.

This year I was so lucky as to get a Secret Santa living in Sweden, so apart from the 'Lakrisal' (that I nearly finished just on the way home from the post office...) it also contained 'Julskum', 'Däck' and the special edition 'Wunderbaum-Julgranar' by Ahlgrens Bilar, a beautiful woolen purse from Klippan's Yllefabrik and two glossy magazines for me and a magazine each for the kids!

Thank you Miqa!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Selective censorship

You know how sometimes when you buy a magazine, it comes with lots of flyers and commercial add-ins, and it's packaged in a plastic sleeve?
Well, yesterday I decided to treat myself to some inspiration and went to get a few magazines at the book shop. I picked up a copy of 'Shape', and inside the plastic sleeve was a big white paper. It covered most of the cover and since I wanted to read and see what this issue was about, I tried to shake the packaging a bit to get the white paper (which I thought had been put backside out by mistake) to move. It didn't, so I picked another copy, but that too had a white paper..?
Ah, now the coin dropped... It was censored!
This is how it looks if they think the cover girls are showing a bit too much:

And this is how she actually looked like, not porno in any way of course, just a healthy, well trained body - not too different from the girl on the 'Runner's World'-cover. I guess the one in the yellow bikini is just showing a little bit too much cleavage...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Excursion to the supermarket

Linnea went on the bus on a school excursion today, to the local supermarket. She has been so excited about this since they found out they were going and has been counting her sleeps, bless her!
I came along as parent helper, as you know I do enjoy the school trips - even though the supermarket might not have been the most exciting venture point, I spend enough time there every week as it is!

Listening to the teacher before going in, getting to know the dos and donts:

They got split in smaller groups, and got shopping "lists" and money, and then we set off to find our things. We had carrots, potatoe and onion on our "list". Looking:


Then to pay... the poor cashiers didn't know what hit them! 38 children who all wanted to pay for their potatoe, their pineapple, their apple etc..!

Then they got a little treat each from the SupaSave ladies for having been so good shoppers; a drink, an apple and a sausage roll:

And after the shopping, we all went next door to have a drink before going back to school. The children used their best restaurant manners, and got to order with the waiter themselves:

Boel vs wind & rain 1-0

It's honestly been raining all day today, all day.
I still decided to take the chance and go running this afternoon when it stopped for a minute earlier. I was fooled though, because 10 minutes into my run, it started again...
It wasn't quite the heavy torrential rain from earlier today, but it was still raining pretty much sideways and quite intensely. The steady wind didn't make it any more pleasant either...
Did I give up though and go home?? No!!! I kept going and finished off today's scheduled run. A little bit wet yes, but who cares? Maybe I even got a little bit of determination in me after all...

Wet, wet, wet

The wet season is here again. It has rained non-stop now for two full days, and I'm sure we're in for quite a long period of it still. This is just the beginning.
I remember last year's January floods and hope it wont be as bad this year though... It's bad enough to have to drive through it several times a day to get to school, and to get wet (and then cold!) whatever you do.

This is how "chilly" it was at pickup today:

I don't mind the slightly cooler temperatures, but all this rain is messing with my running schedule!!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Setting goals

It's taken me a while, but I've finally set myself a goal (which I've learned is important) for the Hong Kong race next month:
I want to be able to run the whole way.

People have been pushing me to set a time goal, and I've heard more than once: "Come on, you can do it under an hour!!" and so on. But to be honest, I don't think I can. Maybe I'm selling myself short, maybe it's just a big lack in self confidence - but I just don't feel that a time under an hour is an achievable goal, for me.
The starting group Vicky and me are in, is the group where you've estimated you can finish in between 1h10 and 1h20, which sounds very reasonable. Maybe, if I push myself, I will be able to get in under 1h10 - maybe not, but at least that feels like a goal that would be realistic. If I do - I'll be very proud of myself, but the time is not the important goal, the endurance is. (I've decided to do it this way, and then work on the time for the race in Stockholm in March!)

So, as long as I run the whole ten kilometers, I've met my goal!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Some DIY shopping

This afternoon I took Misuzu with me into town, to do some DIY shopping. With this I don't mean shopping for DIY stuff as screwdrivers and hammers etc, no, I mean DIY shopping as in "you-have-to-do-it-all-yourself"-kind of shopping!

I've been thinking for a while that we are in desperate need of plates in this house. Not only does it happen quite a bit that we are actually more than 12 people having dinner at the same time, but the amah has also done her bit reducing the number of plates I had from the beginning to only eight - and reducing that number again by chipping most of them, so there are not really many plates that are usable for when we have guests...
Ah well, as much as I really enjoy having one, the downsides to an amah is a story for another blog post some day.

Back to the plates!
So, we went to a shop here in town where they sell all sorts of plates, branded, non-branded - even some from IKEA! I wanted 12 big and 12 small plates, but that wasn't an easy task. We had to go through every pile of plates to try and sort out some that were good enough, without chips or marks and bubbles... We had to borrow a cloth, to clean off the dirt to be able make difference between the dust and the marks. Of course, we did all this ourselves because the shop assistants there seemed to be kind of only for show? Good thing it was Misuzu and not Nathan helping me, I don't think he would have been just as patient...

Finally, after half an hour of DIY going through their plate stock later, we finally had compiled two piles of pretty much flawless plates, wee-ha!

Now I'm ready for all my friends to come and have cake next week!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

It's the weekend!

We're having a lovely, relaxing weekend. Really felt the need for that, after a somewhat slightly tiring first week back at school.
Yesterday we took the kids to have their favourite lunch, sushi, together with some friends. Then we took them up to Muara Beach so they could ride their bikes for a bit. It's very nice up there, with lots of little paths to ride/walk on, picnic areas and a big playground. Even though we were there in the middle of the afternoon it wasn't too hot as the breeze is lovely just by the beach.

After their ride we went to the Yacht Club for a quick swim and some dinner, and in the evening Nathan and I decided it was time to go and see 'Avatar'. Oaw... I've been dreaming about blue creatures and glowing landscapes all night..!

All in all, a very lovely Saturday, and Sunday is still an unwritten story. We are waiting for Nathan to come back from his morning bike ride before we get on with the day.