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Meiji Run 2017

Meiji Run 2017 is coming! The World’s Most Delicious Race, is back to bring you more fun and healthy activities in a full-day event! There will be a 800m Kids Dash, 5km Fun Run, 10km Competitive Cash-back run and Meiji Yoga. Meiji Run features delicious snacks and drinks. Finishers from both the 5km/10km run categories will receive delicious treats in the Meiji Snack Hamper (worth $20) and the customary Finisher medal when they complete their run. There will also be a Mini Japanese F&B Fair, Movie Screening & Other Fringe Activities on the day itself.

Date: 20th May 2017 (Saturday)
Time: 3:00pm – 8:00pm
Venue: Sentosa (Palawan Green)
Early Bird Tickets (Before 14th April 2017):
5km Fun Run – $45/Pax
10km Competitive Cashback Run – $55/Pax
800m Kids Dash – $35.90/Pax

Get 5% off by using this code: MEIJIXBEAUTIFULCHAOS

For more details and for registration, visitwww.meijirun.sg today!

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Earn Cashback when you shop at Honestbee with ShopBack

We were invited to try out and review ShopBack and here is our experience with them!

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What is Shopback? ShopBack is the region’s top cashback website. When you spend online through ShopBack, we are given a portion of our purchase back as Cashback, in cash!This means extra, unlimited savings whenever we shop online! Perfect for an aunty like me, who always seeks for cheapest deals around!

Here’s a youtube video to see how Shopback works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiefeRdoKwk

Online Shopping

To start off, you will have to register for an account at Shopback. Click HERE to sign up and get a $5 cash immediately, and another $5 cashback on top of your cashback for your first purchase! Free $10 just to sign up and buy something!

Shopback is really useful when you are doing online shopping. There is cashback when you buy groceries from Honestbee, buy clothes for your children from Carters, buy various items from marketplaces like AliExpress, or book hotels for a holiday from Booking.com. All you have to do is go to these websites via the links given after you log into your Shopback account, purchase the items, and the Cashback will be automatically credited into your Shopback account!

To view more stores and products that are related to Mothers and children, you can look at the section for Kids, Babies and Mothers.

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Coupons

Not only Shopback gives you cashback, they also give discount codes for many of the online shopping websites. An example is that you can buy tickets with Expedia discount codes.

So remember, all you have to do is register for an account at Shopback. Sign up and get a $5 cash immediately, and another $5 cashback on top of your cashback for your first purchase! Free $10 just to sign up and buy something!

Have fun shopping! 🙂

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Breastfeeding Woes (Or Not!)

Before I start on this post, I have to say, YES!, I am an ardent supporter that all mummies should at least try to breastfeed their babies, and that all mummies have sufficient breastmilk for their kids (provided they latch fully or pump regularly day AND night, and drink 4-6litres of water a day). However, that being said, many do not realise that breastfeeding is NOT easy. We always highlight all the good things about breastfeeding like free milk, bonding with child, full of nutrients and antibodies, etc. But we always neglect the fact that it could be a difficult (but worthwhile) journey, especially to first time mummies. So, kudos to all mummies who have breastfed their babies, whether it is weeks or months or years! And kudos also to all their colleagues/bosses and friends/families for understanding our desire to provide for our babies.

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Just some background information, I have breastfed all my 3 babies. (Currently feeding my #3 who is 1 month old.) For these 3, I have had countless times of engorgement, milk blisters, mastitis, sore nipples, stinging pain, just to name a few. I had to pay to see the LC and the Massage Aunty. (So actually Breastmilk is not free). I have struggled to pump during work. Woken up to latch every hour etc.

What I have learnt though, is that all these are problems that CAN be solved or even, prevented, and your supply can go back to normal again, your breast will feel normal again. So I will try my best to offer remedies to 10 (selected) difficulties that you might be facing for breastfeeding and hopefully it will make your journey an easier one than mine.

1. Sore Nipples

This is the first thing that you will have once you start to latch at the hospital. To help to lessen it, pack along in your hospital bag a tube of nipple cream, and apply after every single time the baby latches. My favourite brand is Medela Purelan. It is very thick and works well for me. If you already have sore nipples, after latch slab on the nipple cream and air the nipples. Yes, air meaning go completely topless to air. No bra no t-shirt. If there is a need to be modest because there are other people in the house, buy breast shields. (I use the avent breastshields). Breast shields and nipple cream are God-sent for sore nipples. Just for info, i had sore nipples for the first 3 weeks after birth and had to apply nipple cream after every latch. They only toughened up after that!

2. Engorgement

Most likely you will get this when your colostrum is converting into milk. And countless times later when you skip a latch/pump (please try not to do this), or when you wear wired bra (don’t do this too), or just have no idea how but it just happens. Tell tale signs are when part of your breast still feels hard even after pumping or latching, or it hurts when you press it. You can try to clear it by taking a warm shower. Whilst in the shower, soap the engorged area and use a large teeth comb to comb towards the nipple. You will have to apply some pressure. After bath, pump as much as possible to empty. Latch baby after that. If by doing this it doesn’t clear, it is time to call in the massage lady or LC to help you with it. Do not delay or it could end up being infected, leading to Mastitis, or even worse, having to have the blocked and solidified infected milk removed via surgery. Certain foods may also cause engorgement. For me, avocado and durian thickens my milk, which is not a good thing because apparently my milk ducts are very narrow. So if i eat those foods, I will get blocked ducts. If I want to eat, I will have to take Lecithin too, to thin the milk!

3. Mastitis

Mastitis starts off as an engorgement. But if the engorgement is either not noticed or not cleared fast, it will lead up to Mastitis. Mastitis comes like a viral fever, where you feel achy all over and weak. Fever can go up to 39+ degrees Celcius. Your breasts may or may not feel hard (because the blocked duct could be very deep inside) and there may or may not have red patches on them (maybe due to the same reason too). The question when I first got mastitis was, who do I see? LC or Gynae or GP? Well I decided to go to the Gynae as I was totally clueless. She did give me antibiotics for the mastitis, but was unable to clear it for me and so I had to visit the LC anyway. Gynae charged quite high for the consultation and LC was of course not cheap as well. (I like to go to the LC at Mount Alvernia. $80+ if you did not deliver there, and $60+ if you did). Subsequently when I got mastitis, I would go to the GP to get the anti-inflammatory pills and paracetamol (for the fever and pain), and call the Massage Aunty in to massage for me at $50-60 per session. Tip: take a dose of Panadol 1 hour before the breast massage.

4. Milk Blister

Once I got an engorgement that I was unable to clear using the methods I shared above. I then realised there was a white dot on my nipple and when I squeezed the engorged portion, the white spot seemed to grow bigger. On closer inspection, I realised then it was a piece of skin that grew over a milk “pore”, which was preventing all the milk from that duct to be expressed out. That was a milk blister. You can use a sterile needle (run hot water over a needle) to poke a little hole in the blister, and the problem is solved. Pump the milk out after that and then apply nipple cream. Some massage ladies told me that you can also use a cloth to rub the blister until it burst. But to me, that sounds more painful than the needle.

5. Falling Sick

If you fall sick, yes you can continue to breastfeed. Latch would be even better. When the baby sucks, and the saliva is in contact with the nipple, we will produce the appropriate antibodies in the milk for the babies to drink. So amazing right? If you do go to the GP for medication, do let the doctor know that you are breastfeeding so they will prescribe medication suitable for breastfeeding. The only illness when I think you should not latch is if you have contagious by contact illnesses eg HFMD, Chickenpox.

6. Baby doesn’t want to latch

I always advice my first time mum friends to make sure baby can latch before getting discharged from the hospital. Ask the LCs at the hospitals to help you with breastfeeding as much as possible. A good latch will kick start your journey in breastfeeding. A bad latch will make it more difficult. There is help for inverted nipples or short nipples. For inverted, there is a tool which you can use to correct the nipple. It can be worn everyday under your bra. Ask the LCs about it when you go to the hospital for your pre-natal lessons or gynae visits or scans. For some with short nipple, nipple shields can help also. My friends have used the nipple shields at the start and transited to direct latching later on. In any case, if there is a problem latching, go and visit a Lactation Consultant. I highly recommend Mount Alvernia’s LCs. You can call up their Parentcraft Centre to book appointments. If you gave birth there, the fees are about $60+. If not, it would be $80+. House visits will be about $150-160+.

7. Nipple confusion

Nipple confusion can happen if you give the bottle to the baby too early on. (before about 3-4 weeks old). Babies tend to prefer drinking from the bottle as they do not have to wait for the letdown for milk to come and also it takes less effort to suck from the bottle. Sometimes though, the baby needs to be supplemented with fm due to jaundice or breastmilk not coming in yet. The hospitals can do cup feeding. I had to supplement a feed during my stay at the hospital. And the nurse asked me if I wanted cup feed or bottle feed. I chose cup of course. There is a special cup (by Medela) that can be bought to feed babies before starting on bottle later on. So if you intend to feed at home, you can buy the cup. It costs less than $5.

8. Rejecting the bottle

This can be prevented by starting the fully breastfed baby on a bottle feed daily from about 3-4 weeks old. Remember to give frozen breastmilk once in a while too if not that could be another thing that the baby might reject. After all, fresh ebm taste much better than fbm! If baby has already rejected the bottle, read a full post on how to get the baby to drink the bottle HERE.

9. Weaning off the breast

Making the baby take the bottle is one thing. Stopping the baby from latching is another. Babies do not only latch for food. They latch for comfort as well, which is why it is so difficult to wean from the breast. You will have to decide when to do it. When baby is older, you can pre-warn the toddler that when he/she turns 2 years old, that he cannot drink from mummy anymore. If baby is younger, the cold turkey method works the best. However, replace the boob with lots of hugs and cuddles instead. When I weaned our #1 off the breast, we converted to co-sleeping so he could still feel the closeness then.

10. Low supply

I believe that all of us are able to sufficiently feed our babies, provided we are hardworking about it. If you have what you think is low supply, check on the following. Is baby only a few days old? Maybe you are still producing colostrum. Most PDs will tell you that there is no need to supplement baby with fm. However, if you really want to do so, latch first, then supplement with about 10ml of fm. Use cup feeding to prevent nipple confusion. Your gynae can also prescribe you with Motilium. This would help you start producing milk sooner. Also, are you drinking enough? A breastfeeding mummy should be drinking 4-6 litres of fluids a day as breastmilk is made up of mainly water. Fluids can be in the form of water, red date longan tea, soups, milo, juice, etc. Plenty of rest and as little stress as possible is important too. That’s why it is good to get a confinement nanny to take care of all your needs while you rest (and produce milk). Some milk boosters for foods are fish(eg. salmon, threadfin, cod), spinach, black fungus, jin zhen cai, oats, brewers yeast, flaxseed, avocado, durian. Some milk killers and foods that might cause baby to be gassy are caffeine, chocolates, brocolli, alcohol. So try to have as much of milk boosters in your foods every meal and as little of milk killers as possible. Supplements like fenugreek can also help with milk supply. That said, it is very important to latch and pump regularly to build up the supply. If you are fully pumping, then pump every 2-3 hours day and night. If latching, latch on demand day and night. Latch even if baby ask you for milk every hour, because that might be a growth spurt which helps you to increase your milk supply. You are advised to only latch one side per feed to ensure baby gets to the hind milk. To increase supply, you can also pump after every latch. Or pump in between latching if your baby latches at a very regular interval. Or use haakaa to pump one side while you latch the other.

Breastfeeding might not be the easiest thing to do, but it is definitely very fulfilling. Let’s all press on together to give the best to our babies! 🙂

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The Story Behind Fion Boon Photography

Fion Boon Photography specialise in photographing babies around 6 – 14 days old. Fion is personally mentored by one of Melbourne’s top Newborn photographers (Lorna Kirkby). She uses only natural light, and her photography style focus on neutral coloured props and materials for the sets, creating simple and organic feel to the photographs. All of her woolen materials / props are 100% sheep wool from various farms in Australia.
Here’s the story behind Fion Boon Photography, written by Fion herself.
I moved to Melbourne and lived there for about 3 years, working a corporate job in an MNC. However, climbing the corporate ladder has never been what I wanted to do and I didn’t enjoy it.
I’ve always loved the arts – especially painting & taking abstract photos. Before I moved to Melbourne, I dreamt of doing something that is related to photography and kids in Australia. When I was in Melbourne, I was exposed to the Australian style of Newborn Photography and was immediately drawn to the beauty of it. I never knew that infant photography could be so creative! I began to be obsessed in researching for various Newborn Photography styles and photos. I also tried looking for newborn photography specific courses / mentors and zeroed down to Lorna Kirkby, a well experienced Newborn Photographer who lives in Melbourne too. Initially, Lorna rejected my request for a mentorship 2.5 years ago because I was not well equipped with technical knowledge in handling a DSLR in manual mode. So I spent about half a year figuring out how to handle a DSLR manually, trying out different settings and shots before going back to her again. The course was an intensive one which focuses on handling an infant (8 to 14 days), posing the baby in various set-ups safely, styling a photo shoot, business aspect in baby photography, etc.
I brought what I had learnt from her back to Singapore in May 2016 and started exploring ways to market my service. I’m very thankful for helpful friends and family, my works began to slowly spread through word of mouth. A significant rise in bookings came through after I spoke to John if I could advertise in the 2016 SG Mummies and Daddies group. He was kind enough to help me with a kick- start without charging me by sharing my work in the group. I’m very thankful that it really helped to create awareness of my works within the mummy group.

I hope to set my photography style apart from the rest of the photographers in Singapore by creating one that is uniquely mine. I tend to gravitate towards a more natural / rustic looking style that can be evergreen. I do not do overly vibrant colors on newborns or dress the babies up into cute characters/animals or insects. My signature style will always include lustrous natural English Leicester sheep fleece in various colors which are 100% natural wool from a small sheep farm in Victoria, Australia.
My husband, Elmer, is very into photography and had just recently moved back to SG from Melbourne to join me. We decided to give the husband & wife tag team a go and it has been great so far. We’re moving to our new home at Seng Kang in March and will be converting the living area into a home studio.
If you want to find out more about them and their rates, you can contact them via facebook messsage at https://www.facebook.com/fionboonphotography. You can also check out their website at http://www.fionboon.com/
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Helper’s Urgent Home Leave Procedures

So, our helper (transferred) has been with us for 4 days (with one day off already, so technically worked for 3 days) and she suddenly told us her mother has passed away and wanted to go back for a week. If you were in our shoes what would you do?

No qualms about it, Hubby and I wanted to send her back. After all, her mother had passed away! Yes, many around us were asking whether this was true or not. But we had to give her the benefit of doubt. It helped that we knew that her mother was ill before we employed her as her previous employer had told us about it before.

The question now, was, how?

It was a Tuesday morning when she told us about it. The funeral was that very Saturday.

We called up a few agencies. Some did not want to do the procedure for us at all. Some did but said that procedure can only be completed in 6 days. SIX DAYS??!!? And one, who quoted us $285 for the procedure said we can send her back first, they will process documents for us (6 working days), and we will have to courier to her (another $50 and another 5 days or so) the documents so she can come back. This was actually our best bet at that point in time. 3pm on Tuesday.

We posted queries for help on Facebook groups and on our Facebook timelines. Most comments were not useful and most just said we should not be sending her back or she will not come back already. Some even told us to get a replacement immediately and she was not worth the trouble. However some kind angels were really helpful. Many gave us drips and draps of information, and told us it was possible for THE EMBASSY to expedite the procedure.

We called the embassy and got most of our answers. So basically, we needed to make something called the OEC, which costs only $3 at the Embassy. The problem was that documents were needed and you also need to make an appointment to have it made at the embassy.

Making appointment at the Embassy to make the OEC
You will have to create an account with your helper’s name and information HERE. You will need her details like name, address, mother’s name, child’s name etc. So it would be good if you have her passport and herself planted next to you to do this directly at your computer.Only after you have filled in all the details will the button pop up to allow you to make the appointment. We made the appointment for the very next day, Wednesday 9am.

What to bring for the OEC appointment

  1. Helper’s Passport
  2. Employer’s IC
  3. Work Permit (The card. Not the temporary letter. The problem with ours was that her work permit was still not ready. We had to long in with our Singpass on MOM website, WPOL to check when it would be ready. And it stated Wednesday 1-6pm.)
  4. Standard Employment Contract and Undertaking of Employer (Download and fill in the forms from HERE)
  5. Foreign Maid Insurance (Cheapest was from NTUC at about $70. You can just call them to make. It is instant.)
  6. Your Helper

What is done at the Embassy
At the embassy, they will help you to apply for 2 things before applying for the OEC. OWWA membership and authenticating the Contract. You will also have to show them all the documents mentioned earlier. And say that you need the OEC immediately. We even got a copy of our helper’s mother’s death certificate thinking they might need proof to expedite the procedures but they simply did so without asking for it. Our work permit was only ready that very afternoon so we were unable to collect the OEC on the spot though normally you could collect it within an hour or so. Thus we had to wait until the work permit was ready, collected it, and went back to the Embassy to collect the OEC. Your helper need not go back with you for the collection.

Total Cost of all Procedures = $269.19 

  1. Foreign Maid Insurance ($71.69)
  2. Authentication of Contract ($59.50)
  3. OWWA Membership ($35)
  4. OEC Processing Fee ($3)
  5. POEA BM Processing Fee ($100)

 

Once the OEC was collected, we proceeded with the booking of air tickets.

Most of the helpers from Philippines do not stay at very big cities. Thus not many airlines fly to their hometowns. For ours, only Cebu Airlines fly to her hometown. We managed to get her a flight that very night at 3am. Air tickets cost about $460 for a 2-way flight. She had to change flights at either Cebu Airport or Manila Airport. 

Yes, we were uncertain when we sent her off. She did tell us she will come back and that we shouldn’t worry. But how not to? But one thing we were certain of. We wanted her, a daughter, to attend her mother’s funeral.

Yes, one week later, she came back. 🙂

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Invitation to En Sakaba

Thank you En Sakaba at Orchard Central for hosting us last week.

En Sakaba opened on 15 June 2016 at Orchard Central (#01-16) and 28 July 2016 at JEM (#01-04). Sakaba means “bar” in Japanese. The new concept emulate En’s motto to be the gathering place where people meet and bond through gourmet food in perfect harmony. Its aim is to create a cosmopolitan space where patrons can enjoy great food and tipple in a convivial, relaxed atmosphere.

En Sakaba blur the lines between tachinomiya (standing bar) and izakaya (bar with seats), which is now popular among trendy bar hoppers in Japan’s major cities. Set in a chic but casual bistro bar setting, En Sakaba will focus on offering a variety of Japanese influenced tapas that are best paired with sake and beer.

Nestled in between Cold Stone and Levi’s, it is a small cosy place in Orchard Central’s Level 1. It is fully packed at dinner time though so remember to call to make your reservations.


They have a grill Chef who does all the grilling at the shop such that you can see your orders being cooked. This was the highlight for my kids as we say right in front of the grilling corner!

We got to try a few recommended dishes and they were all mouth watering delicious and cooked with effort for each individual dish!

Beef Truffle Carpaccio (Thinly sliced sirloin beef drizzled with truffle citrus soy sauce) was a yummy start. The beef was medium rare and the truffle taste was strong. A small salad came with it and my hubby loved the sauce so much he used it as a salad dressing.


Kurobuta Niku No Hoho (Grilled black pork cheek with wafu sauce) was my kids’ Favourite. We tasted a bit but they finished most of it. The meat was so tender that my 18month old who didn’t have any molars yet could easily chew it.

Zuwai Kani Miso Kourayaki (Crabmeat with roe and gut grilled in the shell) is not suitable for me as it has a raw quail’s egg in it and is grilled with Sakae. This fact delighted the hubby a lot and he savoured the entire thing by himself and I can only drool watching him.


Lucky for me I heard the next dish has relatively similar taste to it. Jumbo Hotate Yaki with Mentaiko Cheese (grilled jumbo scallop with spicy cod roe cheese topping) is really not spicy at all. Not even pepper spicy. The scallop is very soft and they pre cut it so it is bite sized and easily removed to be eaten. Like the previous dish, you will end up drinking all the remaining gravy from the shell itself.


Kurobuta Niku No Hoho Don (grilled braised black pork cheek on rice) is a very suitable dish for kids if you are bringing them. It had a half cooked egg at the top though. So if it’s for the kids, you can let them know to fully cook it or not include it at all.


Foie Gras Yakiniku Onsen Tamago Don (premium beef tataki and foie gras with Onsen egg on rice). The foie gras was very tasty as usual. And went well with the entire combination of beef and rice, Jap style.


Finally we had En Kaisen Chirashi (15 kinds of Chef selection sashimi on En’s pink sushi rice: Zuwai Kani, Uni, caviar, negitoro, ikura, aka ebi, Hotate, unagi, anago, hamachi, Maguro, aburi salmon, salmon, tobiko, Tamago Yaki). This dish is really for sashimi lovers where you get the all in one! As I can’t eat this as well, my hubs (who does not usually eat sashimi) finished the entire thing!


We enjoyed our meal at En Sakaba. And hope you will too! They also have an outlet at JEM which has more seating space.

Thank you once again for the invite! 🙂

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Confinement Tingkat Trial Review – Natal Kitchen

Giveaway Alert! (Ends 6th Jan 2017):

Natal Kitchen, though new in the market, have many good reviews that I have heard from other mummies which is why I chose to try them out! They offer trial sets too and sometimes you can get a discount on it at baby fairs! 🙂 (Note: Scroll down for a promo code!)

The Natal Kitchen uses zero MSG in all their cooking. Which is a plus point for me! And ensure a healthy balanced meal for all mummies.They have over 24 types of nourishing soup they also change their dishes every week! On top of that, they provide delicious confinement dessert every Friday.

Food delivery, the lady told me, for my house area would be at about 11:30am-12nn. And it did come at about 11:45am! The food was in a warmer bag and still relatively warm so I did not bother heating it up.


The contents were all in plastic containers with plastic covers on them.

You are able to put all that in the microwave oven to warm your food up if there’s a need to. Just remember to peel of the plastic film.


The packaging was very good such that all the contents will not spill and they will also not mix with each other.


The menu for the day was :

木瓜魚湯,papaya fish soup

泰式炸雞,Thai style fried chicken

姜汁帝王苗,emperor vegetables in ginger sauce

And Sesame oil fried rice (their Wednesday specialty)

I also added on one more dish to try out.

另外豬腳醋 pig trotter vinegar

Overall the serving was very big. I couldn’t finish my meal and kept half of it for my lunch the next day. However it might be just alright for me during confinement when I’m breastfeeding maybe? However I would say it would not be enough for 2 persons to share in case you were thinking of sharing with your hubby. Assuming your hubby is a normal big eater kind of guy.

The food does not contain MSG and has less salt and oil. So do not expect everything to be Super flavourful like those you eat at the Food courts. The papaya fish soup was tasty but not oily and salty. Nicer when it is heated up to be warmer though.

Their chicken and vegetables were tasty but not that special so I won’t dwell too much on them. The emperor vegetables were usually less common though. So it’s a good variety from normal veg!

Here’s a closer pic of their pigs trotter vinegar. Don’t expect a very traditional thick kind of dish. It was still very tasty though. And there was a good mixture of lean and fat meat inside with large slices of ginger for those who like to eat.

This is their Wednesday special sesame rice. The rice itself is flavourful with sesame oil and ginger in it. Upon eating then I realised there were shreds of ginger within the rice! I picked some of them out as I wasn’t a big fan or ginger though it is very good for confinement (unless your baby has jaundice). I shall keep all the ginger eating for my confinement.


Their meals come with 2 servings of longan red date tea. The tea was very yummy and there were dates and longan in the drink itself. I didn’t need to drink so much in a day so I left the other portion in the fridge. Really yummy to have it chilled too! But shouldn’t do that during confinement!

Promo Code time!

Quote: TNK2016 (expires 31 Dec 2016) for the following discounts and free gifts!

1. Receive 8% discount for 21/28 days meal plan, and

2. Bonus for parents-to-be , if you order dual (lunch and dinner) , you can enjoy free la gourmet 1.8l food jar.

For 2017 mummies, you can use this code instead for the following discounts:

Code: TNKJOY

21 / 28days single meal: $50 discount + 1 x 1.8L La Gourmet food jar free

21 / 28days double meal: $80 discount + 1x 2L La Gourmet thermal cooker free