Quick Gourmet Meals

When I was just started working right out of university, I remembered feeling really excited about the new life and the freedom it brought. It was the first time I truly lived on my own away from my family, the first time I made my own money and the first time I spent my own money too. It was liberating to say the least. After a couple of years, I then started to get bored with my mundane lifestyle and began to envy people who didn’t have to go to work, namely stay-at-home-moms. I’ll be the first to admit that I used to think SAHMs have the best jobs – they didn’t have to wake up with an alarm clock, didn’t have to endure peak hour traffic, could run their errands (banks, groceries, etc) when everyone else was working and best of all, could have their hair/nails done on weekdays.

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Gourmet dessert at home

So, when I got married, I told Saucer that one day, I’d want to be a SAHM too. And guess what? I had a taste of that after Little J was born, and boy, oh boy, was I wrong! On so many accounts I was wrong. Yes, I wasn’t awaken by an alarm clock anymore, but I was awaken by a human clock who blared at random times of the night or the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t have to drive but that’s because I was too busy/tired to get out of house! Groceries were done during the weekend when Saucer was around, so there was at least someone was looking after the baby when the other was pushing the trolley. And manicure? What manicure?

One of the hardest things that I had to accept was that my life was never going to be the same anymore. I used to love cooking very much, and found passion in trying new dishes every once in a while. As with any other hobbies, it requires time and dedication to make it work, both of which have been given to Little J. So I was a bit upset that while I was (trying to be) a good mom, I sort of neglected my duties to provide great meals to the family. I wanted to prepare delicious and healthy meals for the hubby who’s hungry after a hard day’s work but I could only manage sub-par dishes with the limited time and energy I had.

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Next day delivery

Recently, someone told me about dish’d! It’s a site that was just launched this year, and create delicious frozen meals with the best ingredients. Of course, I was all up to try them out. Ordering from the website was easy, and best of all, delivery was done the very next day! Frankly I was a little skeptical with the next day delivery, but true enough, a big box of goodies was waiting in front of my door when I got home from work the next day. Very impressive!

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Frozen meals with dry ice

 

Since they’re all frozen meals, they’re packed with dry ice to keep them frozen. I received a text message saying the box was delivered at 12.30pm that day, but I only reached home before 6pm. And the boxes were still nicely frozen with plenty of dry ice intact! I ordered plenty of items so I’m going to go through some of my favourite ones that were tried and tested here.

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Seafood Bouillabaisse

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12 GIANT SQUID SKEWERS

I loved the Seafood Bouillabaisse! It was really easy to prepare too – just a few minutes in the microwave is all you need. There were several thickly cut fish fillets, prawns, mussel and vegetables in the soup, making it a complete and wholesome meal on its own. I can definitely eat this on a cold winter night as comfort food! For something that will appeal to both the adults and kids, the Giant Squid Skewers would be a hit. You just need to pop them into the oven, take a nice shower, and come out to a gorgeous smelling kitchen. :)

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BASIL & PINE NUT MEDAGLIONI

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RICOTTA, SPINACH AND LEMON ZEST MEZZELUNE

For pasta lovers, there’s a great deal to be chosen from – from pappardelle, mezzelune, canneloni, medaglioni or tagliolini just to name a few! We tried the Ricotta, Spinach and Lemon Zest Mezzelune and the Basil and Pine Nut Medaglioni. Between the two, I enjoyed the latter more because I love anything with basil, and this combination was really like pesto pasta. Yum!

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MARINATED SCALLOPS

Apart from complete meals, dish’d also sells frozen seafood items on its own. For example, I ordered the Marinated Scallops because I know how expensive scallops can be and the price at dish’d was really reasonable. Add to the fact that they’re marinated and ready to go, so I was sold! From the freezer straight to the pan, I just needed to sear them for a few minutes while my pasta was cooking. I then mixed the scallops with other seafood and vegetables I had and came up with my delicious version of scallop linguine!

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Scallops and prawns linguine

Apart from that, we also had a go at the Cod en Papillote and Squid en Papillote, where the latter had squid rings mixed with tasty vegetables in an equally tasty gravy. We ate this with rice and loved how the gravy complimented the rice so well. Again, they were really easy to prepare too – just place the pouch on a baking tray and place it in the oven. I was really pleased with how the usually busy dinner hours were transformed into a relaxed affair.

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SQUID EN PAPILLOTE

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COD EN PAPILLOTE

Last but not least, to cap off a great meal, we always leave room for desserts. I had a go at the 2 Love Apples and the Heritage Raspberry and Pistachio Frangipane Tart. The love apples looked really gorgeous! I loved the combination of different textures in this dessert – smooth creamy mousse, juicy poached apple in the middle and crumbly biscuit base at the bottom. Decadent! Saucer, on the other hand, absolutely adored the raspberry tart. Just look at the tart – it’s almost crowded with raspberries on top, giving it a sweet and tart burst of flavour that complemented the pistachio base very well. He finished more than 3/4 of this tart on his own!

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2 LOVE APPLES

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HERITAGE RASPBERRY AND PISTACHIO FRANGIPANE TART

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Lots of raspberries!

I have to say, after trying out the meals from dish’d, my perception towards frozen meals has changed. I’ve always thought that frozen meals are filled with preservatives, unhealthy and do not taste good. dish’d frozen meals have indeed set the bar high with good quality dishes created by reputable chefs from around the work. With ‘delicious food, ready when you are’ as their campaign message, I am now a happy mom who can devote most of her time to her baby without compromising her duties to provide delicious, healthy food to the family.

If you would like to try out dish’d, check out the awesome introductory offers that are currently running on their website!

Only currently delivering to metro VIC and NSW

  • Introductory offer $30 free plus free delivery (when you spend $50) on your first order
  • Value for money bundle offers for as little as $30

GIVEAWAY!

The team at dish’d loves their frozen meals so much that they’d like you to have a chance to try them out for FREE! One lucky winner will get a 1 x $50 dish’d voucher to try out these great dish’d meals in the comfort of his/her own home. Just comment below if you want to win!

*Terms and Conditions apply. Open to NSW and VIC residents only. Giveaway ends 9pm 24 December AEDT”

Claypot Crab Noodles

I was going through the photos in my phone the other day and spotted this group of pictures that I took a while ago. Claypot crab noodles! How could I have forgotten about this? We had this once a couple of years back when we had just arrived in Sydney. Ever since then, we would sometimes reminisce about how delicious the crab noodles were and how nice it would be to have that again. With Little J in tow, it wasn’t that convenient to go Chinatown in the city often, but I found out that a suburb close by sells that as well! So for Saucer’s birthday, I decided to surprise him. :) I told him that we would be going for a delicious lunch that he would love, and he kept guessing and guessing but didn’t manage to get it correct. Since I was the one driving, he had no idea where we were heading to, until we reached King Fook Seafood Restaurant in Carlingford.

Claypot Crab Noodles

Claypot Crab Noodles

Even when we’re there, Saucer thought we were going to have dim sum since we went during lunch time. I told him that he was still wrong. Eventually, I had to let the cat out of the bag when the captain came to ask for our order and I asked him if they were serving the claypot crab noodles for lunch (of course I knew they were). About 20 minutes later, a huge claypot was placed on our table, turning heads from neighbouring tables. They must be wondering, how could 2 persons with 1 baby finish up that massive claypot of noodles? I must admit I was surprised with the portion too, but the aroma was just titillating! I was practically salivating when the captain was busy serving the noodles to us. I could tell that Saucer was pleased too from his beaming face. Mission accomplished. :)

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Waiting for noodles to be served

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Strands of awesome and delicious noodles

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After 2 servings each, still more to go!

Since they’re served on a claypot, the noodles were maintained warm throughout lunch, which kept us wanting for more. The noodles used were the glass vermicelli/cellophane noodles type, which appeared to be transparent – also known as toong fun or tang hoon. In my opinion, these glass noodles are the best for crab noodles, since they can absorb the delicious gravy and juices from the crab and are silky smooth, perfect for slurping them in. To be honest, I actually enjoyed the noodles a lot, perhaps a little more than the crabs themselves, simply because they were just bursting with flavour (especially the ones at the bottom of the claypot). All the gravy and fragrant juices were soaked, making them absolutely addictive. Also, slurping noodles didn’t require the effort of peeling crab shells, that could sway my preference a little bit. :)

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Awesome glass noodles

Since we didn’t know the size and portion of the claypot crab noodles when we ordered, we actually ordered an accompanying dish of Signature Home Made Tofu recommended by the captain. Obviously, when we saw the size of the claypot, we regretted ordering this because there was no way we would be able to finish everything on the table! On the bright side, the tofu/bean curd was delicious too. They were topped with spinach and deep fried before they were topped with scallops and mushrooms on top. What a nice combination.

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Signature Home Made Tofu

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Crab meat Glass noodles

At the end of the long lunch, we (surprisingly) managed to finish everything on the table and stuffed ourselves silly. Luckily, Little J gave us a hand with the tofu too! It was overall a satisfying and enjoyable meal, except for having to handle an active baby who kept trying to climb out of the high chair with crab-stained hands. Shell-less crab noodles next time, anyone?

King Fook Seafood Restaurant
Carlingford Court
801 Pennant Hills Rd ,
Carlingford
NSW 2118

Australia
Phone: (02) 9873 6113
Lunch: Mon – Fri (11:00am – 3:00pm)  Sat – Sun (10:00am – 3:00pm)
Dinner: Mon – Fri (5:30pm – 10:00pm) Sat – Sun (5:30pm – 10:30pm)

King Fook Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

When The Lights Go Out

This happened more than a year ago, before Little J was born. Saucer and I were in the middle of our nightly TV date (something we do after dinner until now, just to have some adult couple time) and suddenly, the TV flickered and went off, followed by the lights. Within seconds, the whole street was dark! At least, we found comfort in knowing that we were not the only ones affected. It was rare that we would have power outage without any warnings but it happened and we were frantically looking for candles, torch light, lighter, matches, anything!

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Multi-coloured candles

We ended up using our trusty torch light to guide us through the house. We had no idea how long the outage was going to take and our torch light was slowly fading since we had not been charging the batteries. Obviously the torch light was not going to be able to last through the night, so we switched to candles. Thinking back, I wish we had these pretty Air Wick multicolour scented candles then. I just got these candles recently and they’re pretty cool. Not only do they emit a nice scent, they actually illuminate in rainbow colours! It was the first time I saw candles like this and I was literally mesmerized by them. Imagine how romantic it would be to have candlelit dinner with these candles that keep changing colours? In fact, I don’t need to wait until there’s power outage to use them anymore. I’m thinking of using them during dinner tonight just for fun. :)

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Air Wick multicolour silhouette candles

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Rainbow colours on the candle

Apart from these cool candles, I also got the Air Wick Filter & Fresh air freshener, except that it’s not just an air freshener. It is also an air filter! How good is that? We’re all used to the conventional air freshener that masks bad odours, but Filter & Fresh actually removes smells, delivering a cleaner, fresher fragrance . It’s like having 2 devices in 1 – I really love this product! Think about it, even when the fragrance oil is used up, this device will still be useful as an air filter to trap odours. :)

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Air Wick Filter & Fresh and Multicolour silhouette candle

This is how the Filter & Fresh works:

  1. Filter & Fresh breathes in bad odours via a powered fan
  2. The Odourtrap™ charcoal filter traps the bad odours
  3. The Filter & Fresh fan breathes out a signature Air Wick fragrance
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Inserting the fragrance oil

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Different intensity settings

Needless to say, our Air Wick Filter & Fresh now claims a permanent spot in our home, right next to the telephone. I now love coming home to a great-smelling sanctuary, and knowing that the air that my family breathes is also free from bad odours gives me a peace of mind.

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Air Wick in our home

CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY!!!

airwick

WIN these goodies!

Since this is the season of giving, why not try your luck at winning the Air Wick Filter & Fresh and Air Wick Silhouette Candles? Entering is easy. Just sign in with your name and email address and follow the instructions on Rafflecopter below. If you do both actions listed, you will get 2 entries! Entries close 19/12/2014.

*Note: Contest is open to Australia and New Zealand residents only.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Many Faces of Little J

Haven’t been updating on Little J much lately, so I thought I’d come up with a post of his recent antics and funny faces. He’s 16 months now, going on to 1.5 years old soon. How time flies, really! Every day, it is a such a joy driving back from work and picking him up from the day care. I just love sneaking in to the centre to take a sneak peek of what he’s doing before revealing myself. Most of the time, he’d be munching on a cookie. LOL! Here are some photos collected for the last couple of weeks at different times of the day. He’s happy and silly in most of the pictures, but there are also a few when he’s grumpy or moody.

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Still a little blur after waking up in the morning

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Playing with his new fire-engine

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Enjoying himself at the day care

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Feeding himself during lunch at day care

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Throwing tantrums in the morning

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Pitiful face after getting in the walker the wrong way

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Trying out the massage chair

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Love it when he smiles and you can’t see his eyes :P

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Mommy I’m driving!

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Having a go at the slide (the wrong way)

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Chilling at the playground

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Swinging away…

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First encounter with a water fountain

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Cheeky baby having Nutella toast

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Having a little snooze

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Oh his cute little belly!!!

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Finally going down the slide the right way

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Mom, what’s that on my head?

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After a hair cut

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Trying out his new trike – early Christmas present :)

He is such an active kid that even we can’t keep up with him some times. It really drains us physically, especially during the weekends. But we love that he seems to have interest in almost everything around the house – cooking appliances, utensils, laundry basket, unfolded laundry, cupboards, sliding doors, window blinds, TV remotes, speakers, you name it! It’s a full-time job just ensuring that he’s not playing with something that could endanger him at home. But it’s entertaining nonetheless. We miss him being a baby, but we thoroughly enjoy his mobile, interactive and joyful self right now. Here’s to more happy toddler moments in the near future!

Easy KL Hokkien Mee

For the longest time, I had been craving for the authentic KL version of hawker-style Fried Hokkien Mee – thick, dark, slippery, sticky noodles with lots of gooey, caramelized gravy and a breath of wok. If you recall, my previous encounter with Hokkien Mee was at Temasek restaurant, which did a terrible job at promoting our Malaysian food. I remember telling myself at that time that I would take it upon myself to cook this dish to my own liking, just so that I did not have to endure second class Malaysian food there again. So when I finally had the time to cook and experiment, I was quite amazed at how easy it was to cook this dish! Don’t get me wrong, of course there are many ways one can cook this dish or even make this dish even better, but if you are a full-time working mother like me, this would be a good recipe as it doesn’t involve much prep work and it really does taste good!

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KL Fried Hokkien Mee / Hokkien Char

I actually looked up quite a few recipes online and found that most of them require flounder powder and pork lard. I can’t find flounder/flatfish powder in groceries here, so my recipe had to make do without. As for pork lard, I know it’s an essential item for Hokkien char but it does take time and focus to slowly fry those fatty pork layers so my recipe doesn’t have that too. So, here goes my easy peasy Hokkien Mee recipe, perfect for busy working moms! :)

Ingredients:

  • 500g Hokkien noodles (I used the Hakka brand noodles)
  • 8-10 pcs of medium sized prawns
  • 1 pc of fish cake sliced thinly
  • Asian greens – choy sum or bok choy or even lettuce
  • 100g of pork or chicken sliced thinly
  • 2 tbs of cooking oil
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
  • 3 tbs of cooking caramel (I used Cheong Chan – refer picture)
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 250ml of chicken stock
  • 1 tbs corn starch mixed with 2 tbs water
Cheong Chan Cooking caramel

Cheong Chan Cooking caramel

Hokkien Noodles

Hokkien Noodles

Steps:

1. Blanch the noodles by pouring hot water onto them and draining it away after one minute. This is so that the noodles would be loose and easy to handle when you cook them later.

2. Heat up wok/pan with oil at medium heat.

3. Add in garlic and fry for about 30 seconds until golden and fragrant.

4. Add in prawns, sliced meat, fish cake and fry for 2 minutes at high heat.

5. Add in vegetables and fry for another half minute.

6. Add in the noodles, then the cooking caramel, oyster sauce and soy sauce.

7. Add in chicken stock and mix well, then reduce heat.

8. Simmer for about 10 minutes until sauce slightly thickens. (You can add water here if you prefer more runny gravy)

9. Finally, add in corn starch + water mixture into the noodles and give it a good final stir. You should see the gravy thicken up and noodles start sticking together.

10. Serve while it’s hot!

Thick and caramelized sauce - slurp!

Thick and caramelized sauce – slurp!

All gone in a matter of minutes!

All gone in a matter of minutes!

Fried Hokkien Mee / Hokkien Char
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Malaysian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500g Hokkien noodles (I used the Hakka brand noodles)
  • 8-10 pcs of medium sized prawns
  • 1 pc of fish cake sliced thinly
  • Asian greens - choy sum or bok choy or even lettuce
  • 100g of pork or chicken sliced thinly
  • 2 tbs of cooking oil
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
  • 3 tbs of cooking caramel (I used Cheong Chan - refer picture)
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 250ml of chicken stock
  • 1 tbs corn starch mixed with 2 tbs water
Instructions
  1. Blanch the noodles by pouring hot water onto them and draining it away after one minute. This is so that the noodles would be loose and easy to handle when you cook them later.
  2. Heat up wok/pan with oil at medium heat.
  3. Add in garlic and fry for about 30 seconds until golden and fragrant.
  4. Add in prawns, sliced meat, fish cake and fry for 2 minutes at high heat.
  5. Add in vegetables and fry for another half minute.
  6. Add in the noodles, then the cooking caramel, oyster sauce and soy sauce.
  7. Add in chicken stock and mix well, then reduce heat.
  8. Simmer for about 10 minutes until sauce slightly thickens. (You can add water here if you prefer more runny gravy)
  9. Finally, add in corn starch + water mixture into the noodles and give it a good final stir. You should see the gravy thicken up and noodles start sticking together.
  10. Serve while it's hot!

Neglected Feet

I love shoes! Well, who doesn’t? But after having Little J in our lives, I find that I don’t have time to go out anymore, not to mention shoe-shopping. So, my only other resort was online shopping. The drawback with online shopping is that you can’t see the actual product before buying, and when it comes to shoes, you can’t try them out either. And we all know how important it is to try out shoes before buying to make sure it’s the correct fit and comfortable.  So the other day, I bought this pair of Hush Puppies online because I was attracted to the pretty flowers on the soles.

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New shoes

I was really excited to try them out during my weekend outing with the family, but after about an hour of wearing, I was starting to get blisters on my feet. :( But because we were out, I had to endure the pain until we were done with lunch/shopping/etc before I could go home to remove my shoes. At that point, I was upset thinking that I had wasted my money buying a pair of shoes that were not comfortable and that I wouldn’t probably wear again.

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 Blister

Until a few days later, I was sent a love package from Scholl! They seemed to know exactly my problem and had all the right products! First, I took out a couple of the Blister Shield plasters for instant relief of my blisters. Even though I wasn’t going to wear my new shoes again, I still had to endure the pain of my blisters when I wore other shoes. So these plasters were great to provide relief and protection for that. Otherwise, I would have to be wearing slippers to work!

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 Care package from Scholl

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Blister Shield Plasters

Next, I saw the Heel Shields and thought that maybe, just maybe, there’s light at the end of the tunnel for my new shoes! I quickly removed the packaging and pasted the gel shields at the back of my shoes. To be honest, I was quite skeptical that a pair of gel pads would make a big difference to the shoes, but I tried them on anyway. And what do you know? I didn’t feel any more pain or have any more blisters on my feet! It was quite incredible. I was so glad that my new pair of shoes did not have to go to waste now. :)

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Heel Shields

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Invisible gel shields on my new shoes

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I can finally wear them again!

While we’re on the topic of feet, I find that we neglect our feet all too often, especially me. I spend time on my face, my hair, and even an occasional massage on my body, but feet? Who cares. I take them for granted, I do. But we actually rely on and use our feet the most to get from one place to another. These poor babies suffer the most pressure, wear and tear, and bear the most weight being at the bottom of the chain. So it is no surprise that my feet were in a bad condition – dry, almost cracked heels with wrinkly skin. I felt really guilty looking at the state of my feet that I immediately slathered on the Scholl Eulactol Heel Balm Gold on them right after shower. According to the box, I would see results in 3 days. But I didn’t have to wait 3 days! I saw results just after 1 day! Look at how my heel is now so moisturized and smooth. :) I have to get Saucer to start using this too. LOL

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Before and after using Scholl Eulactol Heel Gold

Last but not least, I must not forget about the little one. Since he started walking, he was always happily putting his new skills into good use. We live just a few doors away from a park, so that’s his favourite hangout place every weekend. To keep his feet dry and his shoes smelling fresh after every use, I used the Scholl Fresh Step Foot Spray on his little pair of shoes. It’s anti-perspirant so it helps to keep the shoes dry even when he’s actively playing, which also keeps him comfortable. Of course, it smells wonderful too! Every time after I spray his shoes, even the whole living room would smell nice. :)

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My little man at the playground

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Giving his shoes a whiff of freshness

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Little J playing with the water fountain

Needless to say, I was pretty happy to discover these new products from Scholl, and you bet that from now on, I would slather on the Heel balm religiously to have beautiful feet that are soft, smooth and moisturized just like a baby’s. :)