Friday, 29 July 2016

Good Things For Mums and Bubs

After writing this post about my pregnancy essentials, I started thinking about what a list should include were I to write an 'Essentials for a Hospital Bag' or a 'Newborn Necessities' list.

After a bit of research, I came to realise that one person's absolute essentials are very different from another's. I found some items that others swear by that, personally, I think are a complete waste of money. So, instead, I've come up with a list of things that I have used/found with some or all of my babies that I love and those things I've found this time around that I really wish I'd had before.

So if you're a new mum, a mum-to-be or needing a gift for one, I hope you find this list useful...

1. Solly Baby Wrap
I had a more structured baby carrier with Liam but it wasn't great for a newborn - too much head movement. This Solly Baby Wrap (I've got it in this gorgeous colour called Blush Swiss Dot) is just magic. Baby is held snug and I find Miss Evie falls asleep within minutes. There are a lot of wraps out there - and a fierce group of women who are passionate about baby wearing - but I liked the look of this one and can now highly recommend it.

2. Bonds Zip Wondersuits
The two-way zip makes these so much easier than snap jumpsuits in the middle of the night! I'm also a big fan of the fold over mittens and build-in feet covers. They also come in some pretty cool patterns and stripes.

3. Noc Noc Wooden Toys
These beautiful wooden toys are hand-crafted and can also be personalised. I got the mini rattle and standing rabbit for Evangeline.

4. Nappy Bin or Diaper Genie
How have I survived without one of these before?!? Especially in our hot weather! Our is by Angelcare and was $40 at Big W. The refills are $20 or four for $64. For me, life changing.

5. SRC Recovery Shorts
I've recently purchased a pair of these to help my recovery. I'm finding the additional abdominal support is helping ease the strain on my back.

6. Lactation Cookies
These pictured are from Franjos Kitchen but there are heaps of recipes online. I found a gluten-free, sugar-free one and made a big batch before baby was due. I took half with me and had hubby bring me the rest which I'd frozen a few days into my hospital stay. Compared to my other experiences nursing my babies, I think these (along with the tea - see number 8 - and the occasional bowl of porridge) really helped to bring in and sustain my supply.

7. Comfy Pyjama Pants
Comfortable, stretchy clothes are absolutely essential post-baby and it's always nice to feel pretty and stylish. Nobody does pjs like Peter Alexander. These are my favourite and were from his Mother's Day collection. They are so soft and silky - I'm living in them!

8. Lactation Tea
I'm sipping a cup of this nearly every day. Fortunately, it tastes nice cold too!
9. Night Shift Mode
Because everyone uses their phone as a clock now, right? Did you know the iPhone has a night shift mode? My phone automatically dims the screen after 9pm so that I'm not blinded during those middle of the night Pinterest sessions feeds.

10. Water Wipes
Big thanks to my Instagram friend, Lisa for putting me onto these. Chemical free and super effective. They don't dry out, either. Now available at Coles and Woolworths.

11. My Breast Friend
There are a few nursing support cushions on the market but I had one of these for Hamish and Rohan and got a new one for Evangeline too. Helped me enormously having baby up off my scar in the beginning and I just find it much more comfortable to feed with it. 

12. Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs
If you've got a regurgitator like me these burpy bibs are fantastic to throw over your shoulder. Made of the gorgeously soft muslin that Aden + Anais are famous for.

13. Baby Bee Nourishing Bath Oil
This oil from Burt's Bees makes Evie smell divine! It's hypoallergenic and just beautiful on her skin too.

14. Shea Butter Shower Cream
My sweet sister-in-law sent me a gift pack of The Body Shop's Shea Butter goodies (not knowing the shea is my absolute favourite). The travel-sized shower cream and body butter were perfect to pack in my hospital kit and the shea butter is just so lovely and nourishing. They made that first, post-cesarean, hot shower on my poor, exhausted body absolute bliss.

15. Plum Pod
The kind folks at Plum sent me one of these to try out and I just love it. I was never able to swaddle my babies properly and I'd had friends recommend 'Woombies' and other swaddle sleeping bags. 

What I like about the Plum Pod is the super soft bamboo, the two way zip and the extra room in hips (which is the current criticism about swaddling babies ans is what is found with the Woombie). Evie seems to have plenty of room to move her arms around but it's snug enough that the startle reflex doesn't wake her, nor can the fabric go over her head (which blanket wraps always did with my other bubs). 

My only complaint is that they take forever to dry - even in our heat - and they can't be tumble dried (I was naughty and tried it and there's a bit of pilling between the layers now - oops). For this reason I bought a second one, but then I think that's a pretty good rule with all baby bedding: Have at least two of everything!  

Okay, so that's my list. I'd love to know if you've used/are using something that you'd consider to be absolutely essential. Share the love below, Mamas (and Papas)!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Red Centre - Our Top Ten Things To Do In Alice Springs

It's been a year since we had our epic road trip down to the red centre. Which makes me now officially the world's slackest blogger! I have had a lot of fun, however, sorting through all of our photos and reliving the wonderful memories we made.

We were in Alice Springs for about three weeks (hubby had a trial to run down there), so we had lots of time to explore and got the chance to revisit some of our favourite places. And then some days we just stayed in our pjs till noon and spent the afternoon at a park or kicking a soccer ball! We also loved the cold weather and getting the opportunity to rug up in jeans and jumpers - Bliss!

Here are our top ten, in no particular order... 

1. West MacDonnell Ranges
The top recommendation from all the local we spoke to was to explore the 'West Macs'. We decided to drive out to the furthest gorge we wanted to see first and then hop our way back. That way, if we missed any, we could just pop back out to the closest one later in the week! (Which we actually ended up doing.)

The boys had the most fun climbing and exploring. We did Glen Helen Gorge first...
Nice place for morning tea, huh?
The view of Mt. Sonder is just like it is in the paintings of Albert Namatjira. Those colours are so beautiful and totally unique to this part of the world...
Ormiston Gorge and Standley Chasm were magnificent too... 

2. Alice Springs Desert Park
The fauna (and flora) of central Australia are so unique and absolutely fascinating. The Alice Springs Desert Park has an amazing collection of birds, bats, bilbys, bettongs, bandicoots and endangered mala. We were lucky enough to get a Territorian pass and visited the park a few times. 

Highlights for us were seeing Thorny Devils (Rohan calls them Porny Devils - lol), the dingo sitting on Liam's feet and the bird show.

We even went on the nocturnal tour and got to see all those cute marsupials - and an echidna! - hopping around and/or having a snack. Lots of fun! 

3. Olive Pink Botanical Gardens
As well as having some pretty tasty food at the Bean Tree Cafe, the Olive Pink Botanical Gardens has some lovely walking trails. Our favourite was the big climb up the hill (which I somehow managed in high heeled boots!)
There are some stunning views of the town from the top...
More climbing fun for my little explorers.

4. Hermannsburg
Hermannsburg is the site of a Lutheran Mission that was established in 1877 and the birth place of Albert Namatjira. A lot of the original buildings have been preserved and it's fascinating to imagine what live would have been like back then. Such extreme conditions. Well worth the drive to see the collection of Namatjira family art and the watercolour paintings available for purchase too.

5. Royal Flying Doctor Service
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is an important part of Australia's history and continues to do amazing work for the people who live in the remote regions of this county. This tourist facility has a museum, cafe (with awesome gluten free cakes), an informative movie/hologram and a plane that you can climb through for a gold coin donation.

6. Museum and Art Gallery of Central Australia 
We had so much fun exploring the museum that I didn't take any photos! The highlights for us were the mega fauna and the super crocs display and movie.

We also loved the art gallery with more stunning Namatjira works, a great gift shop and the display from the annual beanie festival was incredible. So creative!
Also in this precinct is the Central Australian Aviation Museum and a cute little shop featuring artworks and craft from local artisans.

Could not get enough of the stunning wild flowers we saw everywhere around town, either. All the heart eyes for Sturt's Desert Peas...

7. Community Fun
When you're staying in a town for longer than two weeks I think it's essential to get involved in some of the local community events to really get a feel for the place. 

July in Alice features the Camel Cup and the Show. We also celebrated Territory Day with food, music and fireworks in the mall. 

You can see what's on in the Alice throughout the year here.

8. Cafe scene
Lots of time means lots of opportunities to explore the local cafes and restaurants. Our favourite was The Watertank Cafe. Quirky decor, awesome light fittings, great gluten free options and the best Chai Lattes in town.

9. Uncle Edy's Ice Cream
This is the only pic I could find (and it's a terribly unflattering and blurry shot) but we hit Uncle Edy's ice creamery a couple of times - even though the weather was freezing! Yummo!
The sweet shop two stores down was a favourite too!

10. Reptile Centre
Like the Desert Park, the Reptile Centre is home to some of the red centre's endemic species. They have a collection of some of the world's deadliest snakes and the massive Perentie. Rohan's fave? The Top End Saltwater Crocodile which are found here at home and not in central Australia and which he's seen SO many already! Ha! I love him waving to Terry in this pic. Didn't so much enjoy the massive tantrum when it was time for this tired three year old to say goodbye to Terry (they were closing and we had to drag him out!)

There are so many more things I could write about but I'm sticking to ten! We just loved Alice in winter and can't wait to go back!

Please note that Uluru, King's Canyon and the Devil's Marbles are located well out of Alice Springs and all deserve their own post because they were so incredibly amazing. Promise it won't be a year before I blog about them! ; )