Sunday, 31 October 2010

Wishful thinking

As I've mentioned before, shopping isn't great here in Brunei. There is hardly any of the big chains here at all. If you're not lucky to get away on holiday to stock up on your shopping, the nearest place to go for some serious shopping would be Singapore.
I tend to go over there just for the day every now and then, to browse around and get what I need. There is only one major flaw with Singapore - they don't have H&M! (Closest H&M is in Hong Kong.)

So guess if I was surprised when I discovered these in the budget supermarket Giant today:

L.O.G.G t-shirts!? From H&M!? (For the fab price of $5.99 each!)

I wonder if it was all my wishful thinking that made them materialize here in Brunei..?

Halloween 2010 ✔

Ok, we can now officially put a tick next to 'Halloween 2010' - it's been thoroughly celebrated this weekend!
Today it was the Kids Hash, in Halloween theme of course! We did the run first, Linnea and I the shorter and Lucas and Nathan the longer; then it was time to change into the Halloween outfits and they both opted for this years costumes, again.

They had set up so you could try some apple bobbing, Lucas was a bit hesitant at first, but then he gave it a go:

Succeeded on first try!

And with the wet face, he went to try and find jelly babies in the flour..:

Jemimah kindly gave him a helping hand!

The dusty result:

There was also prizes for nice costumes and luckily both kids got a prize, a big spooky goodie bag each!

Another great afternoon!

An award!

I got an email today that I'd received an award from a website called Expat Focus. I went to check it out, and it seems to be a really useful page for expats anywhere in the world - but so far, I'm sort of the only source of information listed regarding Brunei..!

I'm still happy about my award though! I've put it in my right column to enjoy. Thank You Expat Focus - Nice to be noticed!

Here is the info about the award taken from the web page:

The Expat Focus Recommended Website Award is given to outstanding expat websites which meet the following criteria:
- Usefulness: Whether it's a fact packed, well known expat portal or a small personal blog, the website provides information which others moving to or living in a foreign country would find useful.
- Integrity: We only recommend honest, responsible sites.
- Activity: Sites which are updated frequently.
- Free: We do not recommend sites which require paid subscriptions or membership fees.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Halloween Party 2010

We had a busy day today, there was sleepovers going on from last night, and Lucas had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon, before the Halloween Party! This birthday party was a "Hawaiian Pool Party", but Lucas came straight in his swimmers so wasn't really wearing any dress-up. When I came to pick him up, they were busy doing the limbo! :)

Linnea had got ready at home, this year she was a little Devil Princess in a glossy red dress and with horns and a spear and everything. She was most happy she was allowed some of my make-up though, we tried to make her look extra scary!

I ended up leaving the birthday party with one extra child. One of Linnea's little friends, Judie, wanted to come with us rather than stay at the Hawaiian party (not so many girls there...). She wasn't too bothered she didn't really have the right dress-up on, ha ha - I guess luau girls can be scary too?

There was lots of great costumes, this was one of my favourites:

Lucas was a werewolf:

At the Yacht Club the Halloween Party was in full swing. The kids were separated in year groups, and went around to different "stations" and did lots of scary stuff. Here the 5-7 year group is in the Crazy Professor's Laboratory:

Linnea wasn't convinced, she dug into her 'trick or treat' stash instead:

Lucas and the Crazy Professor "Igor":

Trying touching different gooey stuff: assorted eyeballs, guts, finger jelly, ear soup etc... Iach!

The pumpkin carving competition:

Costume parade:

They also went treasure hunting, looking for clues all over the Yacht Club - great fun! Here they are in full pursuit, from one clue to another:

And when they finally found the treasure - it was a big bag of goodies for each child, yum!

It was a great afternoon, a fabulously well organized event! The kids had a great time and really got into the Halloween feeling!


We are probably on our last few Christmases trying to keep the illusion of Santa going for the kids. It's hard work making up believable stories and it's not really helping either when you give yourself away without thinking about it...
We had the following conversation with Linnea the other day when she was thinking about her list for Santa:

- I'm writing I want a kitten for Christmas! *Thinking*... No! Actually I want a dragon!
- That's nice Linnea, but where is Mummy and Daddy going to get a dragon from?
- Aaaahhh silly, you're not - Santa will bring it!

Hm. Yes. Of course he will... or maybe not.


It's Halloween tomorrow and the kids and I are gearing up for the festivities at the Yacht Club later this afternoon.
I've got them some scary new outfits and of course decorated the house with the few Halloween decorations I have. The other day I got some lovely orchids in autumny colours, dark purple and orange, and the Cult is changed to Halloween colours too.

As you know, I like changing things around in the house and decorating for the different holidays. This becomes even more important here, where the climate is the same every single day of the year and you get no natural feel of the different seasons.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Athletics Day 2010/2011

Us parents got the short straw today. The program for the Athletics Day had been changed a bit, all for the better for the kids - but it meant that us parents (who had kids in more than one year group) had to spend 3 hours watching the same thing... Well, it didn't actually matter, it was so much more pleasant than last year.
They had separated the classes so that just Kindy and Reception went together first, and then the Year 1 and Year 2 classes. It meant there was half as many kids in the gym at once, and also half as many parents. Not so much noise, and not so much waiting around for the poor kids.

Nathan and I were a bit tense, considering last year's fiasco when both Lucas and Linnea were in tears and refused to participate, but there was no need to worry! This time they were both right into it and gave it their all! They had such a blast!
Lucas did tell us afterwards that he had been a bit worried about the sack-jumping. But he did it anyway, even while being worried, so big gold star for that!

It was the usual events, running (all the photos are mixed, they actually weren't in the gym at the same time):

Throwing a ball through a hoop:

Cheering on their friends:

Being happy!


Outside the gym was the Geckos (the JIS toddler group) bake sale, popular as ever! The sold all sorts of goodies:

I managed to get two of the popular gingerbread men for the kids. They were Halloween ones, really cool! Here's Linnea with hers, afterwards:

And Lucas, with his ribbons:

This was the last year Lucas will be inside the cool gym. Next year he will be participating outside, in the 'normal' events: long jump, 100m, high jump, javelin etc. That will be different - and exciting!

Go Yellow House!

Junior School Athletics Day today. Again. It really didn't feel all that long ago at all we spent all morning in the gym? Indeed, when I looked into it, last school year this day was in the last term of the year, and now in the first - hence the few months only in between.

Some snapshots before we left. I had sacrificed a bit of my scrap ribbon to make Linnea's pig tails extra yellow this year! She looked very cute:

Lucas ready to go:

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A first, a last and a casualty

Last night was hash night, as usual on a Tuesday, but it wasn't just any old hash, it was the spooky Halloween Run. That means that we started an hour later and did the whole hash in the dark!
It's always a bit creepy in the dark, even though everybody has flashlights, because it's totally pitch black in the jungle and it's hard to see where you put your feet.

It was a special run also for another reason - I finally managed to convince my Danish friend Anne to come along and try it out. It's taken me a couple of years and it was really the last chance, since she's leaving for good in three weeks. So this was her first and last hash all at once.
Good on her for braving it finally, and in the dark!

Here she is, just coming out (photos are not excellent, I forgot the snapshot camera so had to use my iPhone):

The after-the-run down-down for the first time guests:

Happy we made it!

I've been a bit unlucky at the hash these past few weeks. Last week a big tree branch fell right on my head, completely knocked me over and gave me a big bump on the head. Last night I managed to crash land in a drain, before the run; and I scraped my leg and hurt my hand pretty badly. (I still completed the run though, a hasher through and through!)
Luckily we have a few nurses on the hash and a big first aid kit, so I got taken care of properly afterward - here's my injury:

And my bandage!

Let's hope it's not 'all things come in three'... I better be careful on next weeks run!

If the shoe fits

We are going to a 'White Tie & Tiara Ball' in a couple of weeks time, and today I went looking for a simple tiara that might fit my head (I've realized the comb ones are not for me, my head has a funny shape!). I wanted one on an alice-band and finally I found one in one of the big department stores.
I tried it on quickly to make sure it would stay on my head, and then went to pay. As the shop assistant charged me she made me giggle as she asked:
- Do you want to wear it straight away?
- Ehm... no.

*Smile* Well, she must have thought I looked like a princess!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Take 2

No, I'm still not ready with my gecko-bowl (and even if I was I'm not too sure I'll show it to you...). It really takes time sometimes with all the different steps of the mosaics. (Especially if you haven't done it properly from the beginning... hrm, hrm)
I've had to re-grout quite a few of the tiles off the top of the bowl that kept falling off because they weren't glued properly. Every time I re-grout, I have to wait at least 24 hours for it to dry again, and before everything is properly stuck down, I can't paint nor varnish it so it'll take a while yet before it's all done.

So, in the meantime, I've started a new project!
Here's the beginning of Mark Two:

I've learned a few lessons from the other bowl. This time I'm sticking with tiles all the same thickness; I've planned my colours so that my little fishies will really 'pop'; I'm spacing evenly for the grouting and I'm using ALL Paula's glue to make the tiles all stick PROPERLY!
This one will be a masterpiece!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

A day to remember

As I said, yesterday we ended up staying all day at the Yacht Club; and even though we tend to hang there most weekends, yesterday will be one of those days to remember.

It was just such a perfect afternoon... The kids spent over six hours (!) just playing, fishing, digging for crabs, chasing each other around, swimming, climbing etc. They all stuck together and got along, kids of all ages; just came up to see us to get fed every now and then!
I love the life the kids have here, enjoying the simple pleasures: the sun, the sand, the water - and each other.

Linnea tried out kayaking for the first time:

The boys fishing of the jetty:

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Such a hard life

I'm reading in the online Swedish newspapers about the recent snowfalls and how they are anticipating the coldest winter in thousand years (brrrr!) back home, crazy!
Meanwhile we are having a totally relaxed afternoon at the Yacht Club; bobbing around in the pool, digging for crabs on the beach and enjoying fresh orange juice and just chilling.
What a hard life!

(Edit at 19:37 - Ended up being an all-day-stay! Back home, 6 1/2 hours later after two meals, a few drinks and endless hours of chatting while the kids spent all day playing and swimming. Best way to spend an October day!)

20 at 5

Luckily I remembered our birthday tradition today, so I could start it with Linnea too: 20 questions to be asked upon every birthday.

1. What's your name? Linnea... (getting prompted "what else?")... Linnea Marie Watson
2. Where do you live? Here (getting prompted again) In Brunei
3. How old are you? Five
4. Really? *Nodding*
5. Why is it good to be five? Because I like that
6. What do you like to do? Sewing
7. What do don't like? Fighting, and goodies - they're not good for your teeth!
8. Why do you have to sleep at night? Otherwise you'll be tired
9. What are you going to be when you grow up? A mummy! (Prompted "what else?") And a zoo-keeper.
10. What does a police man do? Catch robbers
11. Where does babies come from? Tummies
12. Have I been a baby? *Nodding*
13. Which are your favourite clothes? My princess dresses and my new blue dress
14. What would you like Santa to bring? Kittens... or I mean, a dragon! And stickers
15. Where does Santa live? North Pole
16. Who is your best friends? Keira, Ben, Daniel, Ashley, Gemma
17. Which is the most beautiful word you know? Beautiful
18. What are you good at? Sewing, putting stickers on paper
19. When does mummy and daddy get angry with you? When I'm being mean to my friends
20. What are you going to do now? Play

(You can see what Lucas said at 5 here, and at 6 here.)

Friday, 22 October 2010

Busy day

This week has passed way too fast - we're already at the weekend again!
It's funny, these holidays that you decide to spend staying put, they always seem so looong that first weekend; then the days just roll past and before you know it - the holidays are nearly over already!

I've had an extremely busy day today. Played an hour explosive squash this morning, then back home for a quick shower and a snack before I helped Nicole out with a photo shoot of her kids for their Christmas cards.
Time for a quick coffee and another change of clothes and off to Radisson for a birthday lunch for Misuzu.

Really lush and lovely, gorgeous food...

... in nice company:

Since she lost her whole Pandora bracelet a while back (with last years' birthday bead from us...), we got her a new bead to put on her new bracelet (that her husband had got her) - made her happy!

Home again, twenty minutes to jump into hash clothes and meet Anna in the jungle for a near 2 hour hash rekkie. It's our turn to lay the hash again in a couple of weeks time. It all went really well, just a bit of tweaking on our out trail but apart from that I think we got it at this first attempt.

Now - I'm t-i-r-e-d...