Back to basics

My original motivation for starting this blog was to keep family and friends updated (and keep mum sane) as I wander about in whichever random place I find myself in.

To put it simply Misshelen is first and foremost about family and friends.

As I’m not on facebook (I know, I know, I must be the only person in the whole world!) I thought this week’s blog would be a good way to send home some funny pics from my short and sweet last visit…

Much to his father’s disgust Baby Jay – the bottomless pit – steals toast crumbs                         from his daddy’s plate. I think your son is hungry bro!

Looby and Grandma practice their balancing act just in case they ever decide to run away with the circus!


.              Looby the cat…a right little show off (but only when it suits HER!)

Thumbs up for good old fashioned fun cutting snowflakes out of scrap paper which Grandma cleverly made into a placemat!


No one likes a bragger

So I won’t labour the point but….I have just returned from an absolutely fabulous holiday back in the UK.

In brief…

Family fun in Wales to celebrate dad’s birthday…mountain biking, bbq’s, kayaking and good old fashioned British beach time (ie huddling on windy beaches wrapped in towels sipping disgraceful coffee from polystyrene cups!)

Even Looby got in on the bike riding expedition!

Celebrating Pops being 21 again! Realising how much I miss reading a real newspaper on a Sunday, and a Saturday, Monday, Tuesday…

Camping out in a wendy house with Ankles, mastering the art of surfing (well mastering the basics!) with lots of obligatory’ new surfer’ face planting into the ocean!

Getting lost in a rather wonderful way on a longer-than-planned coastal walk.

‘Al fresco’ camping (yes, as in camping without a tent!) – thank goodness for boy making ability to light a good fire!

Being tourists for a day and nosing round Agatha Christie’s house (I think I am the only person in the world who didn’t know this famous lady was also an archaeologist!).

Then trying to explain the basics of mineclearance on a beach with a pint of Devon’s finest cider in hand!

Ice-cream and a catch-up (read; gossip!) down by the river with my ole pal duggas then on to a highly entertaining lecture by no other than Sir Ranulph Fiennes – a man with a bone dry sense of humour and more lives than your average cat!

A sunshine day for the christening of my beautiful nephew…with hotdogs and cake to celebrate!

Lunch in the quietest cafe ever being probably the only people in the world not be at home watching the football. Great service though – thanks England!

Jingle bells, how rubbish is Hels…?

I have single handedly failed to send Christmas cards this year. I apologise.

However, in my defense…1). I have been living in Africa until a few days ago and 2). I was banking on cards, stamps and a post box in Heathrow..1 of which failed to materialise so it was either postcards from London for everyone or….

a blogged best wishes so here I go…

Wishing you a very merry Christmas! I am very impressed you have managed to have a word with the man upstairs and make it feel very Christmassy for us returning Brits…very festive! Thank you!

I hope this year has been good to you. I have felt incredibly lucky this year and had some truly amazing experiences.

So I raise a glass (of mum’s mulled wine if you want to know!) to a fabulous Christmas and a truly smashing 2010.

See you next year!

p.s and lets face it THIS is what a family Christmas is all about…(and yes that IS the chef still wearing his cooking apron!)

“Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…”

Beach huts

Being what they call an ‘expat’ (basically a Brit living abroad) I take my summer holidays in the UK…and that’s exactly what I’m doing at the moment. I have abandoned the troops over in Moz and am on my summer holidays…in Britain! 

Apparently with this credit crunch I’m not the only Brit holidaying in Britain, the difference for me being that in a week I go ‘home’ to Mozambique!

My holidays this year were timed to celebrate my Mama’s milestone birthday except my homecoming was a surprise visit so for my first few days back in Blighty I was “in hiding” down on the south coast with Ankles until it was time to journey north for the big birthday surprise.

What a great way to start my holidays…long walks down blustery beaches, surfing in chilly breath-snatching waters and a plentiful supply of white wine! As ever we had our usual Ankles & Bells eccletic mix of music to accompany us on our escapades and I sit and write this blog listening to Eddie Vedder’s beautiful songs from the movie “Into the Wild” from my ‘Soundtrack to Summer 09’ CD (thanks Ankles!)

Between myself and the sisters we somehow managed to keep my surprise arrival a secret until the big day when we celebrated Mama’s big day with a retro tennis themed afternoon tea party (hence the outfits!).

Tbuck lawn tennis

Obviously no visit home would be complete without a trip into the hills so after a quick pitstop in Edinburgh it was off for a few days tramping round the slightly soggy and wonderfully deserted Glencoe highlands with a quick detour via Wales to climb the busy little anthill of Snowdon.

With my much needed  ‘fix’ of hills to keep me going for the next wee while it was back home for shopping, brunching and generally just hanging out for my last few days of summer holiday.

So donning my fabulous new biker boots (it’s ALL about looking good in the minefield darling!) I head back out to Moz musing over just what chaos and confusao I was about to walk back into!

Pesky parasites

So I’ve been a little incommunicado recently…I have good reason!

Having left South Africa full of the joys of soon to be seeing the family plus absolutely convinced that now I had cracked sandboarding that snowboarding would be a breeze (!), I arrived in France feeling rough.

The next day I felt even more rough and the next day I announced I was officially dying. Something was wrong.

So without having even stepped foot inside the ski hire shop I headed back off the mountain and down to the doctors.

4 hours later this was to be my home for my weeks skiing holiday…


I was admitted into Grenoble hospital with a pretty rough case of malaria. I’m not sure they get many cases of malaria 1000m up in the french mountains!

Apparently the family had a jolly nice holiday skiing and I met them at the airport to fly home without so much as even dipping my toe in the snowy waters of Oz en Oisans finest blues and reds!

I remember once half-joking with a fellow aid worker that you’re not a proper aid worker until you’ve had malaria…apparently I need to be more careful what I say!


Am back in the UK and shivering! But just a quick post to wish you a very merry Christmas and a fabulous new year!

More stories from the minefields next year but for now I am off on a family ‘expedition’ to the forest to find the perfect Christmas tree (final decision to be made by mother-dear so this could take some time!) swiftly followed mince pies and mulled wine.

extended family Christmas tree buying

Here comes the bride…

Its been 3 weeks since my latest adventure began and now its time for a little ‘rice-respite’ so I’m en route back to England for 4 days!

Admittedly there’s a pretty darn good reason for such a short visit…my wee sis is to be wed!

So after a bit of a monster journey home (bumpy 4×4 road trip, plane, bus, plane, couple of trains and a car ride) I arrived home and straight into wedding-mania!

And so tha mania continued until 8pm saturday morning – when I think we hit the eye of the storm and had a very lovely calm and relaxed bucks fizz brunch (thanks Dad!)…then 11am hit and we heading straight back into mania!

Needless to say the bride looked absolutely stunning (well – she is from T’buckle stock!), the sun shone, the champagne flowed and we danced til dawn. Well – actually, some of the wedding party partied til dawn – those of us with confused body clocks went to bed slightly earlier than dawn!

It was all over far too quickly and before i knew it I was back in terminal 2 of Manchester airport waiting to board my first of 3 flights back to rice heaven.