Link love

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This week has been long and hard, despite being short. Lulu hasn't slept well due to illness, I'm fighting a sinus infection, washing is everywhere due to post camping extreme washing piles and winter has returned with a vengeance. I am so looking forward to staying in this weekend and getting on top of everything. My camping rule is that everything has to be away within the week of our return. We'll get there. Here's hoping your weekend is a little more fun filled!

Catching my eye on the internet this week:

The Ripple - how you can influence whether or not cute local stores thrive or die

5 Things I Learned as a Beauty Editor

Peter Alexander has Muppet Pjs!

Heartbreak of Premature Labour 

Disneyland has revealed a representation of the new Star Wars themed land

You may have missed:
5 Best Hand Creams for Winter
Advice for a C-Section
Playground Politics

Happy weekend xx

A day trip to Rainbow Valley

A Day Trip to Rainbow Valley | Girl in the Pjs

During the school holidays we headed out to Rainbow Valley for the day. Believe it or not but after 14 years in the Territory, I had never been to Rainbow Valley. I've been to the community that sits to the south of Rainbow Valley for work but you can't see Rainbow Valley from there. Turns out Rainbow Valley isn't very far at all from Alice Springs. It is a quite easy day trip and I was so impressed. The scenery is spectacular! This certainly will not be the last time I head out to Rainbow Valley.

A Day Trip to Rainbow Valley | Girl in the Pjs
A Day Trip to Rainbow Valley | Girl in the Pjs

Getting there

Rainbow Valley is approximately 75km to the south east of Alice Springs, at the end of a 22km stretch of dirt road after the Stuart Highway turn off. The corrugation on this road is something else. Ensure that all things are extra secure as it feels as though the whole car might fall apart! It is best navigated in a 4-wheel drive.

A Day Trip to Rainbow Valley | Girl in the Pjs

Picnic Lunch

Lulu is obsessed with picnics so she was very happy to know that we were having a picnic lunch.  I've learned to gather and pack this lunch quite quickly from purchasing it for big lunches at work. The ingredients are a roast chook, a lettuce, tomatoes and bread rolls. Optional extras are butter, avocado and salt. Chuck it all into a big bag with some plates, a knife and a chopping board for quick sandwich production while you are out bush and there you have it. An easy lunch. I guess you could also just pack sandwich meat instead of the chook, but a roast chook is always a nice treat. There are BBQs in the shaded picnic areas so next time we come we can bring sausages.

A Day Trip to Rainbow Valley | Girl in the Pjs
A Day Trip to Rainbow Valley | Girl in the Pjs

Amenities

NT Parks have really put a lot of work into this park. It has new covered picnic tables, BBQs and toilets (as always, bring hand sanitiser). There are camping spaces too, as well as room to park a caravan or camper van. There is a walking track that goes behind the big rock feature and there is a path to walk on. The paths are made out of recycled tires. The paths sit lightly on the land and are removable. If you took them away today, in a month you wouldn't even know they are there. Parks have worked with Traditional Owners to create signs explaining the traditional significance of the area. These signs are dotted along the path. I was carrying Zelda and Lulu was complaining far to much about the heat (it wasn't hot) and the lack of water (yes, we left the water in the car as we weren't going far) so we didn't do the full walk. There's alway next time!

A Day Trip to Rainbow Valley | Girl in the Pjs

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A Day Trip to Rainbow Valley | Girl in the Pjs

A day at Glen Helen Gorge

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My brother visited us back in November and one of the things on his list to do while he was in the Centre was to head out to Glen Helen. We, of course, obliged.

Glen Helen Homestead Lodge is an easy day trip from Alice Springs. There is a permanent waterhole a short distance from the lodge, known as Glen Helen Gorge. It's quite deep and it seems the water never gets stagnant. The water tends to be cool because of the great depth of the gorge. 

The day we went was a really hot day so swimming was high on the agenda, but not before we had a huge burger at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge. One of the great things about Glen Helen is that there is food for sale there. It's rare that you can head out bush for the day and not have to pack food. We are always incredibly last minute in our plans so being able to purchase lunch means that we can just take off to Glen Helen for the day without much preparation. The food there is great and yes, we waited the obligatory time after eating before swimming, the time was mostly taken up with sunscreening and then walking to the waterhole. It's about a 10 minute walk from the Lodge. Which doesn't sound far, but in the heat, with a three year old, I can tell you, it is far. It was worth it though! The scenery is beautiful and the water was just perfect. Plus there were hardly any other people there. Our own little oasis!

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Ps Top Half Folk Festival, Top Half Folk Festival, Our Day in the West Macs

Podcasts I'm loving

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Do you listen to an iPod when you workout? When we lived in Melbourne I'd use my commute time to listen to podcasts, but in Alice Springs, the commute here is non-existant (lucky us!) and I have to find other times to listen to podcasts. I've found that when I run or workout is the perfect time. This year I've added a few more awesome podcasts to my rotation, so I am going to have to increase the amount of time I spend working out to ensure that I have time to listen to them! 

Podcasts I'm loving include:
TOFOP has been a favourite for a long time. It was Will Anderson and Charlie Clauson just shooting the shit, but then Charlie got a paying job that didn't approve of the podcast and it is now Wil Anderson chatting with other comedians. It gives insight into the working lives of comedians and is pretty funny. 

Something Wonkey is a political podcast from Jeremy Sear and Dave Gaukroger that also touches on news and Australian Media. The guys are based in Albury-Wadonga and it is great to have perspective from people outside of the capital cities. While their politics are similar to mine, it gives me greater argument for why I believe what I believe and is a great way to catch up on the political goings on of the week.

Chat 10 Looks 3 with Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb - Here they talk books, cooking, tv, movies. Just like having a chat with your best friend. Oh I wish these ladies were my best friends. 

Wilosophy - a new podcast from Wil Anderson. He talks to friends and colleagues about their life philosophy. I started with the episode here he spoke to Judith Lucy, who has always been a bit of a hero of mine. It was gold.

I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman - Jen Kirkman was on Wilosophy and from there I became hooked on her podcast. She talks to herself, alone in her room. The podcast is about everything and nothing in particular all at the same time. Kirkman has an awesome attitude to life and the right mix of wit and smarts. She is a staunch feminist and is also socially awkward. My kind of lady.

Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin - My sister-in-law put me onto this one. Alec Baldwin talks to policy makers, artists and performers about many random things, including their big breaks, relationships, what keeps them going etc. His talk with Julie Andrews was mostly biographical and so interesting.

Please leave me a comment and tell me what podcasts you love. I need more motivation to get to the gym!

Henbury Meteorite Craters

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The Henbury Meteorite Craters are on the road back from Kings Canyon (If you take the Ernest Giles Road). We normally speed right past, keen to arrive home quickly. But this time we had a toddler with us who was getting fidgety and as we were a fair way from the next stop, we pulled in at the Henbury Meteorite Craters to have a closer look and let Lulu have a run around.

The reserve contains 12 craters which were formed when a meteor hit. The walk around the edge of the first crater is fairly easy, perfect for stretching your legs after driving. Lulu even walked some of it. Nick & I were both too tired & wanted to get home quickly so we didn't walk around the other craters. The flowers on the craters were beautiful. We were there late in the day so the lighting was just perfect. No need for photo editing filters!

You can also camp overnight there for a small fee that you drop into an honesty box. There is a long drop toilet and a few campfire pits. A great location if you like to camp in peace and quiet. As I said, we didn't stay too long, but it was definitely worth pulling off the main road and taking a look.

Toddler Dinner Battles

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'Away'
I made Lulu dinner, green beans blanched a little softer than I'd like with fetta and dressing of natural yoghurt, flaxseed and lemon juice. I added a few pieces of ham to the bowel and announced that dinner was ready. Lulu came running into the room up to her new table, took one bite and said 'yuck' and spat the bite out. By this stage I was putting away dishes and wasn't quite sure what I heard. She had never said 'yuck' before. I explained that she should eat her dinner, I had a bite of beans and said 'yum' and then when I couldn't convince her to have any beans I offered her a bite of just the meat and cheese. She took it in her mouth and then spat it out saying 'yuck' again. THEN she picked up her bowl and said 'away', 'away' as she walked to the pantry and tried to shut her food into it!

I have to admit I was trying not to laugh. Maybe the dinner was a bit rich? She likes all of those things separately, well, I've never tried flaxseed oil with her before or beans, but the rest she has had. In fact this morning she was running around sucking half a lemon. What do you do when your two year old won't eat dinner? When she was younger we just gave her something else because we knew she must be hungry and we could choose that something else. I kind of don't what to that now she's bigger as she'll just learn that she can refuse what I give her and then insist on something else. This time, after checking with her Grandma that Lulu hadn't just eaten something at her place before I picked her up (she hadn't), Lulu ended up having a piece of plain bread. The bread was of her choosing (she'd tried to get the bag open while I was on the phone to her Grandma) but it wasn't the icy pole she had wanted or her special cheese (Babybel).

To top the night off, Nick came home from mountain biking with this....
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A few stitches later and he's all better. Hopefully he won't bleed all over the white sheets..... and thank goodness it wasn't worse, as he was riding alone today!

Link Love

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The big wet has arrived. After a few days of 40 plus last week and over the weekend, the temperature has dropped right off here and the rain has begun. Yesterday was one of those days where it just drizzled on and off all day. Rather nice, especially when it happens maybe once or twice a year!

Links for your Saturday:
A reminder of how easy viruses spread over on My Yellow Heart - if you're sick, stay home. Carla from My Yellow Heart also has lovely beach shots in that post. I sure am missing the beach.

When I read the title of this post I wondered what on earth needed making over in Ronnie's life, she & her little family always seem so perfect in her blog. But we all tend to hide the bad & only show the good. It seems like the end of 2013 hit everyone for a six. Here's to better eating, early bedtimes, early rising, more exercise and just taking better care of ourselves in general so that we can take care of those around us.

A list of inside activities on Love Taza for all those in the souther and eastern states where the heatwave has yet to break.

I'll leave you with a few more photos of our soggy town. Happy Weekend!
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Out of town - Our day in the West Macs

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My brother & his girlfriend were visiting us from Adelaide last week and on Friday we took the opportunity to get out of town and show them a little taste of the West MacDonnell Ranges.

Our first stop was Ellery Creek Big Hole. Ellery Creek Big Hole is the closest waterhole to Alice Springs that always has water and with it's 'sandy beach' and no crocodiles (they're only in the Top End) it's a great place to go swimming. After waking from her nap at Ellery, Lulu refused to leave my side so I could only dip my toes in while holding her. The water was freezing, but refreshing on a 30 degree day.

We had our picnic lunch of roast chicken and salad rolls at Ellery (the constant effort to keep the flies off our food does not make for good lunchtime photos!) and then continued onto Glen Helen for another swim and an ice-cream. Lulu loved sitting at the bar in the Glen Helen Resort, telling her tales.

The ride home was marred by a huge spew from a tiny gal (a little too much ice cream I think) who then promptly passed out. It really was lovely getting out of town for a little bit. We need to do this more often!

Essentials for camping with a baby

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The weekend before last we went camping with Lulu and friends of ours who also had small children. We'd never been camping before with Lulu but with a little preparation on Nick's behalf, we managed to be quite well set up. Here is our list of essentials:

- Our friends brought a kids camping chair (1.). Lulu could not fathom how to get out of it and stayed sitting in it for a really long time. Bring one. Kids like having something especially for them that looks exactly like what the adults are using.
- A tent (2. ). No longer can just a swag (3.) do for camping. Kids need to be contained at nighttime. Nick bought one that not only fit a double & single swag but also Lulu's pram!
- A camping light (4.). The number of times we have gone camping without one cannot be counted. A light is a must for late night feedings inside that tent.
- Extra sheets for when the baby vomits in her swag (5.). I did not bring any extra sheets so she ended up sleeping in our swag & then the pram for most of the night.

Do you have anything to add to the list?