Asda’s fabulous new Bloom fragrance

Sometimes you pay for what you get and there are moments when I wish I’d dug a little deeper and paid a bit more. Sometimes you come across a product which is simply stands alone as a great quality budget product. Not a passable imitation or a ‘not bad’ reserve when you’re skint. I’ve been using a new fragrance which falls right into this category – it’s simply gorgeous!

Asda has teamed up with NSPA to produce a great range of fragrances and I was lucky enough to try Bloom. They are exclusive to Asda and come in at a purse-friendly £8.

Bloom is described as a ‘floral scent of blissful bouquets and pretty petals with feminine tones of Rose, Jasmine and Tuberrose. It’s not over-powering as some cheaper fragrances can be and I instantly fell in love with it.

Perfume is a very personal thing, we have our ’signature scent’, you might have a day perfume and a going out perfume. But whatever your relationship with it, it has to make you feel good.

Bloom does just that – I didn’t just quite like the smell but really loved it. I was surprised just how lovely it was, gentle, easy to wear and lasts all day. In fact I’m writing this at 5pm and can still smell the light floral smell I sprayed this morning.

The packaging is pretty and classy and stands up against my other far more expensive perfumes so I’ve happily displayed it on my dressing table. Even my lovely other half said: “ Oooh, you smell like summer – delicious” . Now that’s not bad for £8.

I’ve been wearing it everyday and when it runs out I won’t be sad. I’ll just pop down to Asda and pick up another one for the princely sum of £8 – now that’s the kind of bargain I like.

Our potty training journey – odd damp patch but not as rocky as first feared

So, a few weeks ago I took a deep breath, gathered my self together and began potty training.

It’s a phrase that strikes terror into many parents, that moment you know you’ll be at the mercy  of ‘accidents’ both big and small and the very worst – in public! I decided to take the plunge after our holiday in France where Arthur had run around without a nappy and started to use the potty. Carpe Diem – so to speak.

I decided not to use pull-ups and instead just embrace the idea of accidents without a safety net. Besides, it seemed to be more likely he would pick it up quicker if he felt what it was like to have wet pants. First up the equipment, we were lucky enough to try the Pourty potty and Flexi-Fit toilet trainer seat which have been fantastic. I also invested in lots and lots of pairs of pants.

Just chillin on my Pourty Potty!

If I have one piece of advice it’s to bulk buy cheap pants – buy more than you think and keep them in every bag possible. Then, if as was the case one morning, you have a rather massive, frighteningly defiant  ‘accident’ you can just wrap it up and throw the whole lot away!

The Pourty potty was great to use because it meant you could quickly and easily pour out the contents without getting it all over the potty. It’s also nice and high so easy to sit on and we had no problems with dribbles over the edge. You can get a two-piece potty but having just the one piece makes it even easier and practical to use. Some pottys are a little more tricky for boys to use and bits don’t always go were they are supposed to but the Pourty minimises this as it has a nice wide seat. Loving my Flexi-seat

Better still was the Pouty Flexi-Fit toilet trainer seat. Arthur loves it because it makes him feel all grown-up and he often asks to sit on it even if there’s nothing coming out! It’s easy to fit and works on all the toilets I’ve tried. It also has splash guard above and below so feels a bit more hygienic too.  I like the fact it feels so stable and I think that played an important role in Arthur feeling confident – there was no wobble so he felt secure and safe and not like he was going to fall down the big toilet. I’m no expert but judging by how much he likes sitting on it I’m guessing it’s pretty comfy too!

All in all potty training has not been as terrifying as I first thought. I guess it’s as much about us as parents being able to let go. Not only of our babies and allow them to grow but also a little of the control we have over every situation. Once I’d realised this it became easier and the more relaxed I was the easier it became.

There have been a few accidents along the way and a lot of me saying : “ Are you sure, do you want to just try”. But we got there and now Arthur asks to go to the toilet or on the potty and wears his big boy pants with pride.

 My potty training top tips

  • Buy lots of pants – bulk buy ones you won’t mind throwing away
  • Let go a little – I really think the odd accident spurs them on and means they are actually being potty training and not relying on you to keep asking
  • Really can’t recommend the Pourty potty and Flexi-seat trainer enough, simple, practical and easy to use. No fuss, no complicated bits and comfortable for little bottoms too
  • Remember to pack spare trousers and pants. Might seem obvious but after years of remembering nappies I did forget a couple of times
  • Save pull-ups for night time and naps – again a personal preference but removing that safety net worked for us.
  • Loads of praise – again seems obvious but Arthur was so proud when he’d been that it definitely encouraged him to keep going
  • Ignore accidents – don’t focus on them or fuss, even if it’s to comfort them. I found it made Arthur concerned and worried, just brush it off (or scrub it off!) and move on quickly.

Good Night Anti-Snoring Ring

Normally I hear my friends moaning about their partners and how they keep them awake snoring.

Well, confession time. In my house it’s me who keeps everyone awake. I know it’s been a bad night when I see his groggy-eyed looks of disgust in the morning.

I know if I sleep on my back I snore like a trooper – so much so that I can sometimes wake myself up. I blame my dad, I’m sure it’s genetic! For the last few weeks I’ve been trying out the Good Night Anti-Snoring Ring. It’s a small ring you wear on your little finger when you go to bed. It works on the principles of acupressure on two points of your finger.

 I will admit I was sceptical. How can a ring actually help me stop snoring when someone elbowing me and holding my nose literally has no effect? I’ve been hugely surprised. It’s so simple, you just choose your ring size online and it arrived in a little pouch all ready for you to drift off in to a somewhat more silent night’s sleep.

Night one: Me: “So did it work? Did I snore last night?” Him: “ Not sure, ask me again tomorrow.” This was a good sign that continued through the next few days.

After a week. Me: “So, do you think the ring is helping me to stop snoring?” Him “Umm, yes, I’ve been sleeping through so it must be”.

Finally last week. Me: “I might stop wearing the ring to see if it’s working. Him: “No! Don’t! I’ve realised you’re not snoring”.

He did qualify it by saying when he comes to bed he can hear a light snore but in his own words “nothing I can’t deal with”. ’ I’ve tried loads of sprays and mouth things before but nothing ever made a difference and I’ve always steered clear of things like this thinking logically they can’t work.   

 It’s discreet, easy to wear and now just forms part of my night time routine. Shower, teeth, ring – it’s that easy. On a serious note, snoring can be awful for those kept awake and I’m so pleased to have found something that, so far, makes night times a little easier for everyone. When you buy you also get a 30-day money back guarantee which shows just how confident they are it will work.

Pensthorpe – a fantastic family day out.

At the weekend we jumped in the car and trundled off to Pensthorpe. A beautiful nature reserve set in the tranquil Wensum Valley, just outside Fakenham. I wasn’t sure what to expect, would it simply be walks around wetland and spotting some pretty birds and butterflies?

I was hugely impressed, I mean really impressed with the place. Not only is it beautiful but it’s interesting, fun and interactive all at the same time – without relying on huge rides and lurid lighting. It’s nature at it’s best, with a few ma nmade additions which sit respectfully alongside and only add to a magical experience.  We walked through the gift shop, got our badges and maps from the friendly, helpful staff and off we went on an adventure.

Pensthorpe is a wonderful natural playground and we explored most of it. We did the bug walk and Arthur spotted centipedes and butterflies. We wandered up to the bird hide and later Arthur saw his first red squirrels - a testament to the conservation work happening all around the reserve. The wildflower meadow is just beautiful and all around there are places to sit, picnic and take in the views. It’s extremely well thought out and catered for everyone with really good wheelchair access and clear sign-posting throughout.

Didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to Pensthorpe

Our walk was punctuated with I-spy moments were tiny natural treaures had been placed under a magnifying glass for children to wonder at. I say children, but we were looking too. When else do you get the chance to slow down and really see what’s around you. I absolutely loved watching his face when he saw a dragonfly or watched a swan in the water – he was amazed and what more can you ask from a day out!

It’s utterly stunning and the sunshine helped oil the wheels of our walk – with stops for lunch and a few other things we managed to while away five hours and that’s with a toddler walking most of the time too. Arthur loved it because we could let him run around and enjoy being free.

He built dens with daddy, went pond dipping with the nets provided searching for tadpoles and Boatman. We found a lot of slimey grass and not many insects but he was very happy! He was fascinated by the cranes which stood back from the main path and just kept shouting,’mummy, let’s see big birds!’.

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Geese wander freely and you can buy special feed for the numerous wildlife swimming in the water and enjoyig the sun. It was clear it appeals to all ages and we saw lots of older people, wheelchairs and large families all enjoying the day.

Pensthorpe also run their own Wensum Discovery tours which you can book when you arrive and is a chance to see some of the areas you might have missed during a walk.

The amazing new Wild Rootz adventure Playground was a huge hit with Arthur and is really worth a visit – although take a towel and some spare clothes because the little stream is a hugely inviting for small people! Arthur and his dad spent ages on the fantastic twisting slides and we all loved crawling through the rabbit and mole tunnels.

The sandy area is great and Arthur loved sitting on the digger and making piles of sand. I really enjoyed the musical area with a vertical xylophone, jingly jangly triangles to play and a fantastically addictive seesaw board which plays notes when you stand on it. We could ahve spent a lot more time there but I wanted to make sure we saw as much as possible.

Wild Rootz was great for Arthur at two and a half and works for all ages with ropes to climb, zip wires, and the wonderful sandy stream which surrounds the area. It’s beautifully done and even the benches and tables are carved wood with owls and other creatures carved into them – attention to detail is second to none and really adds to the experience.

No day is complete without trying the cafe and we were not disappointed. It’s all locally sourced and fresh with specials ranging from local sausage baguettes to creamy mushrooms on toast and delicious looking cakes and scones, We wanted to sit outside but sadly the wasps had had the nod it was busy so we made an escape indoors where it’s spacious and bright. Well worth a visit.

I would go back in a heart beat. There are few places you can go where you have a genuinely fantastic day but also know you’re helping to keep the natural world alive and healthy. Pensthorpe surprised me and I can’t recommend it highly enough.