Thursday, 14 December 2017

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

tuesday tunes - five songs I listen to on repeat right now

This is how I listen to music: I hear a song I like somewhere, search for it on Spotify, or use Soundhound to figure out what song it is, then I add it to my "favorites" playlist on Spotify. I don't really create different playlists with different themes - only a few, but I rarely listen to the - I just keep adding to this one, long, ongoing playlist, and then every time I listen to music I just start from the top, with the latest added song. This means I listen to the same music A LOT, especially if I haven't added anything new for a while. It also means that I listen to a lot of very varied stuff, from vastly different artists, never in any real or logical order. Here are five songs that I've added lately, which means they are what I listen to most right now:




Monday, 11 December 2017

a back-on-the-horse monday

I'm not literary on a horse today - that will have to wait until Wednesday - but I have this feeling of retribution today. Last week was very meh. Veeerrry meh. I felt low, sensitive and useless most of the time. I did all of the important things I had on my to-do list, but stayed far away from physical and "extra curricular" activities and instead spent a lot of time in the couch eating candy. I'm not saying this is bad, no, for some reason that what was I needed last week, and I'm pretty good at allowing myself things I need, but now I just want to get back on track and find my energy again.



I'm doing that by means of coffee and another weekly to-do list!

Monday
Nothing big today, just sorting out some bank stuff, buying some Christmas gifts, going through a video lecture, doing some drawing... I'm joining some friends for this years final Piloxing session tonight, other than that I have nothing in my calendar.

Tuesday
It's cardio day! Running in the morning - I still can't do yoga because my bad knee (only hurts when I touch it, not when I run) - and swimming in the evening. I also have a lunch meeting with the club refurbishment project and  need to start working on the final assignment in one of my courses: re-branding of Calvin Klein! Strange assignment...

Wednesday
I begin the day as usual with a riding lesson. The rest of this day is dedicated to writing an application to a course and assembling illustrations that will accompany the application. 

Thursday
Coffee morning with Outpost - to do some socializing before the holidays, and then another project meeting, plus a financial planning meeting with Outpost in the late afternoon. Will probably not get much of my own work done that day. But on...

Friday
... I'll get back in to my own little bubble and can continue working on the branding assignment. Plus do some online lectures.

Saturday
No plans. Maybe bake gingerbread?

Sunday
No plans! But probably start packing and preparing for our trip back home to Sweden. 

One thing that I actually did last week was to finally start a separate Instagram account for illustrations and graphic design-stuff. So I don't flood my private account with that. It is a part of my plan to slowly but surely try to professionalize all of the creative work I do, and if you are interested in checking out what I'm up to, follow me! Search for Naikas_Sketchbook and you'll find most of my little monsters, portraits and general doodles. 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

a weekend in the jungle

Last weekend Andreas and I explored "the other part" of Brunei, the part that is divided from the main part by a small strip of Malaysia. This part consists mostly of rain forest and especially of the Temburong national park. To get there we first had to go to the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, where we were picked up, taken to a jetty where a speed boat "bus" took us to the small town Bangar. There the next mode of transportation waited for us - a van - that drove of for about half an hour to the Temburong river. Here we got in to a traditional long-boat (but with a motor) and driven for half an hour to the Ulu Ulu resort where we were staying.



We had a pretty good weekend, I must say. The rain forest is a weird, beautiful and terrifying place. The whole experience where colored by the fact that we - on our very first nature walk - ran in to a 6 meter python, while walking in a river. If we had had a more experienced guide this encounter might not have turned into so much of an ordeal, but as we pretty much stumbled in to mr Snake (it as two meters away from us, slithering over a rock in the small waterfall we were walking up) our guide stopped, yelled "snake" and "go" and I panicked. Pretty much. So I turned, slid down the little waterfall on my but, dragging Andreas with me and hit my knee when landing. And then I was pretty shaky and just wanted to get out of there. So, well, that put a bit of a damper on the trip. 




The rest of the weekend was way calmer, and we had some real fun, going tubing along the river, kayaing and hiking up a smaller river to a little waterfall where fish nibbled on our feet. We saw hornbills, butterflies and fruitbats and mostly just enjoyed ourselves being in the jungle. I still feel a bit stressed when walking in the jungle, but at least now I have my first snake encounter...



Friday, 8 December 2017

my christmas wishlist

People! Its only 16 days left until Christmas! High time for me to publish this years wishlist, to make sure that I'll get any gifts this year... And maybe to inspire someone else?

Here goes:


  1. bed-set from h&m home
  2. another bed-set from h&m home
  3. Wonder Woman on DVD
  4. any of Simon Stålenhags art books
  5. nail polish, pinks and neutrals, please
  6. new wristband for my watch
  7. headphones, these are pretty
  8. light pad for tracing sketches
  9. season 1 of Westworld on dvd
  10. wall planter from Lagerhaus
  11. big, sparkly and pink earrings
  12. wide, green trousers from h&m
  13. overnight-bag from Ted Baker
  14. wall hung candle holder



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

looking for new glasses

I need new glasses. Not so much because I don't like the ones I have, but because they are losing the protective coating, leaving them scratched and cloudy. It's caused by a fault in the production, so it's not me being reckless, btw! Very annoying. I need a new pair, ASAP, and just to make things simple I'm buying a pair from extraoptical.se (not sponsored) where I've bough glasses before. It really is a gamble when it comes to fit - and in some ways also function - but as the glasses comes pretty cheap I'm willing to gamble every now and again. I will probably try to find an optician here in Brunei soon, but until then this will have to suffice. 

Here are the ones I've been looking at this time.


  1. Maccles, retro style, similar to a pair I already have, but with an old prescription
  2. Barnsley, I've never had a pair as round and speckled as these, might be fun
  3. Artesia, classic black ones, feels like a safe bet, but might feel too dark for summer climate
  4. Barnsley, same as 2 but black. Safer, but again, maybe too dark
  5. Scarbor, rounded and two-colored, I've never had anything like this
  6. Kerman, more square, similar to ones I've had before
  7. Sweetn, big, black and square. I'm used to this. But dark...

I've seen a lot of pretty ladies wearing very big, round frames, but I'm guessing it's not really the glasses but the faces they are placed on that results in the prettiness... I'm currently very bored with the lack of contrast in my face, which becomes even more apparent as I so rarely put makeup on, this might be why I'm drawn to bigger, darker frames again. Even though I know it might not feel right for the climate and how I dress for it here... While I'm waiting to decide which pair to actually buy, let's have a look at my previous eye-wear-styles. Nostalgic...






these are actually not mine, but Alison's, but I wonder if I could ever pull off a cat-eyed style...

Monday, 4 December 2017

a monday in december

Good morning! I've been out of sync with blogging lately. Every time I've sat down in front of the computer I've had other more pressing things to do, and the updates I do on Instagram (my name there is holly_hawkeyes just fyi) feel like they cover most of what goes on in my life anyway. And as I  think most of you who read this follows me on Insta too, I don't want to repeat too much. But. Now I've had two large cups of coffee and am riding the lovely vibrating energy that comes with it, so why not use that for a blog post!



The best way to start a new week is to get an overview of what's to come, so here's my schedule for the next 7 days (just writing this list makes me feel so productive!):

Monday
Due to a little ...eh ...accident over the weekend I wont be doing any physical activities today, but let my blue knee rest another day. But that's all well and good as I have plenty to do anyway. I have a course assignment due tomorrow - further developing a brand profile that I began with a few weeks ago, this time with a color scheme, typography and patterns. Fun! I'm also working on a logotype for my friend Tuulikki, and I have to find a suitable script-font for her. Other than that I'm going to try to finish this years photo-book so I can send it off to be printed ASAP. I'm also planning to buy some Christmas gifts (online) and a new pair of glasses for me (also online, always a gamble).

Tuesday
I'll spend this day mostly on course work and handing in the above mentioned assignment. I also want to try out my new watercolor pencils that I bought last week, hopefully I have an hour or two to just sit and sketch with them. I'll try swimming tomorrow evening, I'm pretty sure me knee will like that.

Wednesday
The big meeting day! And the big "I'm an expat housewife"-day, too... The morning starts with the final monthly meeting of the year with my team from Outpost, the expat organization I'm part of. After that I have another meeting, with the Arts & Craft section of the local social club, I'm pitching an idea that involves me hosting a couple of workshops together with them next year. We'll see what they think. I hope to spend the afternoon working on an application letter for a course I want to take next year.

Thursday
Another meeting in the morning, this time with the architects that will hopefully do the work in the remodeling project I've mentioned before. After that I have a year-end-lunch with Outpost and then I'm done with all of the activities involving other people for the week. So nice... I know it's important and good for me to meet people, practice being a grown up and work in the real world for a bit, but how I just love hanging out in my own office just working on my own stuff... Anyway. Hopefully my knee is back to its normal shape and color by today so I can go work out with my friends Rachel and Morgane.

Friday
I set aside Fridays for architecture related work, and I have a few things on my list - like finding a Revit course for next year and updating the drawings for my brothers summer house, so I guess I'll be doing that, if nothing else comes up. In the evening I'll either go to the gym with Andreas, or we'll go to the boot camp workout at the crossfit box.

Saturday
No plans. Maybe go to the movies with Andreas and eat dinner out.

Sunday
My new friend Valerie is hosing a watercolor workshop at the Arts & Craft section I mentioned above, and I'm taking part in it! I'm really looking forward to this, as watercolor is my weakest media and I'd love some useful tips and inspiration.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

things I think about today


I want to cut or color my hair. But how? Nothing too complicated. 
And not short, that will end up being too sweaty. Also, no bangs, for the same reason :(

I'm currently working on this year's photo-book and we have taken too many photos
But I'm still glad I'm doing this so at least some of them ends up being useful. 
A lot of work though

Today two meetings that I had in my calendar got rescheduled. 
People, check your calendar before booking a meeting! 
And realize that if you cancel or reschedule you are going to make
 the people involved feel like you are not prioritizing them

Should I even continue blogging? It feels like Instagram is just so much more accessible and relaxed.
Although I like this place too.

What should I name my company?! If I ever decide to start one (freelance designer) 
I want a catchy name

All of a sudden, because of reasons, it seems I will only take one course next year. 
If I don't apply for a course via a private school, that is. Which I am considering

It's not possible to get in to any kind of Christmas feeling when you live a 
billion miles away from your family, cold weather or all of the traditions you are used to. 
December begins in a few days? You have to be kidding me

Sorry for a very negative post today. I'm cranky and for some reason a bit sad. 
Probably homesick. 

Monday, 20 November 2017

last week in OOTDs

Hey peeps, it's a new week! I have a reasonably normal week ahead of me: I'll attend a few meetings, workout a bit and then mostly work on my various projects. I'll try to write a few blog posts too, but lately I've been a little uninspired, so we'll see. 

Here's what i did last week, told with outfit photos taken in our hallway mirror:

Skirt and top: h&m, cardigan: asos
On Monday I began the day with a meeting and spent the rest of the day catching up with my courses and watching video lectures. 

t-shirt: Muji, trousers: h&m. cup: orla kiely
Tuesday was spent at home, I only left the house to go swimming in the evening. I got some course work done and plenty sketching and drawing!

top: åhléns, trousers: uniqlo, earrings: lindex
On Thursday I was a bit low and tired after a night where the cats didn't want to sleep. I had a project meeting before lunch and then I did laundry and studied. 

top: monki, trousers: warehouse
When Andreas came home from work on Friday we drove over the border to Malaysia, to spend the weekend at Marriott hotel and attending the Kuala Belait Scottish Society's St Andrew's ball!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

the past week

So I have been traveling again. My brother and his partner visited us so we first spent some time together here in Brunei, then we went to a rain-forest resort near Lambir national park in Miri (about 2 hours away from here by car) and finally I went with them to Hua Hin in Thailand for a few days. So that's why it's been a bit quiet here, lately.

As usual, I'm not a huge fan of writing travel-posts, but here are a few photos to summarize the highlights of the past week.

the mosque in central Bandar Seri Begawan (capital of Brunei)

Raniforest waterfall in Malaysian nature reserve

Our hotel in Hua Hin, Thailand. 

Caves with hidden buddah statues, Thailand

Palace an hour away from Hua Hin

Palace in Thailand
Trainstation in Hua Hin

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

a corner



it's almost always a bit dark in our bedroom. We have big windows but the curtains are always drawn, they function as wallpaper and privacy screen. Plus our roof has massive overhang so even though we have plenty of windows in all rooms, the sunlight only reaches the rooms in the mornings and afternoons. It's ok though, I don't mind.

What's more than ok is that I finally hung the beautiful print by Vee Speers that my mum gave me as a belated birthday gift when I was in Sweden this summer and we visited Fotografiska together. It's perfect.

Monday, 6 November 2017

I bought stuff

So it seems I will fail my "no shopping for 90 days in a row" goal for 2017.

Here are a few items that I could pick up from the post office here in Brunei, two weeks after I ordered them from ASOS. The themes are a continuing fascination for tropicana patterns and an attempt on adding a bit more pink to my otherwise so black, blue and green closet. So, how did they all fit?


I was already a bit skeptical about the green of this skirt from Warehouse, and it ended up being maybe five shades more bright (neon) green than I thought from the photos online, but hey, there are pretty tigers and trees on it, sooo... I have already cut off ca 4 inches from the length you see in this photo since it was way too long, but the fabric is nice and light and the fit in the waist perfect.


This knee length caftan from Monki was really hard to shoot but it's pretty, trust me. Beige palm leaf print on a thin (not super comfortable) fabric. It has a few buttons in the front so it can be worn as a cardigan or some kind of  dress is you wear tights and a top under.


I'm packing both of the next two pieces for my Thailand trip... I use thin open cardigans a lot here, it's great to wear indoors over a dress when the air is cool from the AC. The dress is a bit shapeless in the upper body and looks better with a belt, but I do love the print. 


Another pink little thing! I wore this last week on our team building day and it was quite comfortable, except the fabric got a bit clammy when it got hot. But it has a nice fit in the body and lovely butterfly sleeves that feels like the perfect style for when you want to dress modest enough for a Muslim country but airy enough for a tropic country. 


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

october resolution check

Hi November! The months pass by here in Brunei without much difference. Well, it's been raining a lot in October, but otherwise it's been same old, same old. One way for me to mark the passage of time is to look back on the month that was and see how I have done with my long lists of goals for 2017. So, here's how I did during October:


  • Start scuba diving again
    still no news here. Meh. :(
  • Become a person that runs
    Since the 1st of October I've been running 4 times. Not too bad!
  • Paint my fingernails with fun designs more often
    Getting better here, best of this months was my Dalmatian nails matching my top one day. 
  • Try galloping at least once
    I've started doing this slowly but surely, even though my last two lessons have been less than satisfactory from my part. But I now consider this item as completed!
  • "Read" five of my architect-books
    I have read 1/4 of one and 1/3 of another...
  • Go 90 days straight without shopping clothes
    It's been a few weeks since I bought anything now, but I don't think I'll manage 90. There isn't even 90 days left of this year... :(
  • Eat vegetarian at least two days per week
    11 of 31 days in October was vego-days!
  • Post three blog posts per week
    This month has been so-so here on the blog. 1-3 posts per week, ok but not what I want.
  • Complete at least one project for my portfolio
    Nope. But at least I'm trying to get a better overview of what I want to do, plus updated my software... 
  • Take 90 kg in dead-lift and 60 kg in deep squats
    Two new PB's this month! Not in dead-lifts, but in squats (55 kg) and 52,5 kg in bench, closing in! Weird that those two are so close...

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

This week's busy schedule


This will be a strange and unusually active week for me! I'm only two days in and I've done more than I usually do for a whole week. Yesterday I had to work hard to complete tasks for my two most "work like" projects, and today I've been away for the whole day on a team-building event in the capital, Bandar. Tomorrow I'm in meetings all day and then I have to prepare the house for our guests that will arrive in the middle of the night! My brother and his partner will visit until Sunday, and then I'll then join them for a five day vacation in Thailand. And before leaving we will manage to squeeze in (yet another ) visit to the capital plus two nights in a hotel in the rain-forest in Malaysia. Oh, and the day after I come back from Thailand there's a giant latino-themed party here.

I tell you, it's crazy. But great. Except for all the driving I will have to do for the next few days. i hate driving.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

I've read: the bone clocks

by David Mitchell


This is the third book I've read by David Mitchell, the second in a row. I found out about this one after reading The bleak house a year ago, and since I liked that one and supposedly this one would take place in the same universe I was curious to read it too. 


In the first part of the book we are introduced to Holly Sykes, a young English girl that one day decides to run away from home after an argument with her mum. After leaving her small town in search for a job and somewhere to stay she first runs in to an old lady called Esther Little, who gives her a cup of tea and ask if Holly will grant her asylum if Esther will need it in the future. Holly doesn't understand what that means, but says yes. After leaving Esther she runs in to Ed, a boy from her school, who gives her a ride on the back of his bike and suggests a strawberry farm nearby as a good place to find a job. This all seems like a quite normal story, but slowly but surely strange people start showing up, and horrible things happen. Without really understanding the forces behind these weird things, only getting glimpses of characters that seem to be able to change bodies, and an ongoing secret war, the story jump forwards a couple of years, and is now told from another persons perspective - this time a young, posh man called Hugo Lamb. 


The rest of the book continues in the same way. We get to know a new character, we learn a little bit more about the secret war between these strange body-changing people and then the story switch perspective again. The same characters return, but in a new context, and older. We'll meet Holly again, a young adult, a grown up, and so on. In many ways I think this book is a mix between the two other Mitchell books I've read, the fragmented story telling, starting in the past, passing the present and ending up in the future, and taking place in a universe where most people live life just like ours, but there are some supernatural elements and a secret world only a small group of people know about.

I liked this book. I din't love it. Some times I felt it was just too long, and after reading tow other books where the story all of a sudden take a jump a few - or many - and a new protagonist is introduced I was a bit fed up with it. But it is still - at least by the last third of the book - really exciting. Now I want to read a nice long series where I get to follow the same person for a nice long while.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

dysfunctional devises

Hello, and happy Thursday!

selfie of the day

I had planned to write a nice little post about some pretty clothes that I just recieved from an online shopping spree at ASOS a few weeks back, but I can't edit the photos in Photoshop because apparently I don't have enough space on my C-drive... maaaan... so annoying. And, as if that wasn't enough my phone, a three year old iPhone 6, behaves like a three year old child that doesn't want to do anything that I do, but just wander of by itself opening random apps and writing random sh*t. It's been behaving like this on and off since May, but today it's been so bad I can hardly use it at all, so I guess I just have to bite the really expensive bullet and buy myself a new one. I'm thinking an 8, not a X.

OK, so that was all of the annoying things for today. I'm generally in quite a good mood today, actually, I've slept really well lately, I'm back on my normal, good routines and I have lots of fun things going on the upcoming weeks. Plus, this morning I went for a jog and surprised/was surprised by a monitor lizard - something I count as a preeeeeetty fun way to start a day with. Not so much the jogging part, I really don't like that, but you should see a monitor lizard running, it's hillarious! Wait, I'll find a YouTube video of it for you...  There we are!  Look at him go! Aaaahahahaha!

Monday, 23 October 2017

weekend summary and a home project

Hello friends!

It's Monday again, and I'm back in front of the computer after what feels like a long weekend. At this very moment I'm listening to a country song (!) Friends in low places, performed by Home Free. Not my usual kind of tune, but I came across it for some reason a while back and I just thought it was entertaining. I think it's important to go outside your comfort zone every now and then... plus it's a pretty good song to start your Monday with.

I've just gone through my schedule for this week and it looks like it might be a pretty nice one. I've been a bit disappointed with my courses this semester and felt the need to fill my days with other meaningful activities as well, and on Friday I sat down and took note of everything I want/need to do in order for next year to be a bit more productive. It was a good exercise and I ended up installing a "project management" app on my phone to keep track on my plans and tasks. I plan to write a proper post on this sometime soon, but I need to think a bit more about this first.



This weekend was really nice, in many ways as great as a weekend at home can be! I spent Friday night first taking a salsa rueda class and then relaxing in the sofa with Andreas, watching Mission Impossible 5 on Netflix and eating home-made halloumi burgers and Swedish candy. On Saturday we drove to Kuala Belait, had lunch at Marilyn Café and and bought some new furniture for our guestroom. Then I went to my friend Jenni's hen-night party and celebrated all night long with a bunch of cool people. Yesterday we spent most of the day sorting out various small projects around the house, like hanging up mirrors, fixing a hole in a wall, hanging up a curtain rod and some shelves for the kitchen. All small things, but things that have been on our to do list for ever and now it's all done! Very satisfying.

furnishing a decorating a house here in Brunei is a bit of a challenge, considering what's trendy here isn't really my style...

Today the furniture for the guestroom will (hopefully) be delivered, so I can start cleaning up and putting stuff back in to place. Our goal has been to make this room look less like a storage room/gym and more like an actual room you want to be in.

Friday, 20 October 2017

retro/bollywood/disco party

It's Friday and what is better on a Friday than some party-party? Well, a lot of things, I guess, but no matter, here are a few photos from last weekend when I went to a big party. 

Every year there are a few "community-events" here where we live, arranged by some of the larger social communities in the area. There's the Highland Games organized by the Scottish community, a fair hosted by the Brunei Brits, the Latino Night (coming up in a few weeks) by the South Americans and now the Bollywood night, organized by the Indian community. Many of the parties have themes and you are encouraged to dress accordingly. I had originally planned to stay home this night, and only bought my ticket the day before, so my costume was a bit hastily assembled. The theme for the night was retro (specified as styles from the 60's-90's) combined with Bollywood, and I decided to just pick one of my vintage pieces from my closet and go from there.


I chose from these four, a pale mint-colored 50's dress with beads, and three dresses from the early 60's, one in floral cotton, an beige wriggle dress and one in luxurious thick fabric and autumn colors. 



I ended up going for the beige one, mostly because the fabric is lightweight and I thought it would look good with a beehive up-do... 


Not my usual silhouette! I styled it with white heels, a vintage bag, my most retro-looking glasses and some pearls. My goal was to look like a 60's housewife and I'm pretty happy with the outcome.






Most other people went for hippie costumes, 60's OP clothing or saris, so I guess I stood out a bit! It was a fun night, even though it started pouring rain at about ten, so we all got pretty soaked while dancing. Luckily it was still warm enough not to bother us too much.