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Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness



Apple Upside-Down Cake

Apple Upside-Down Cake

After baking this fragrant Apple & Walnut Loaf, I still have three apples left in the fridge. So, I turned them into this beautiful cake which I have always wanted to bake - Apple Upside-Down Cake - again, with the help of my mini future Masterchef, my three-year old son. :D


Recipe slightly adapted from here.

(Serves 8)

For the caramel:
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
3 apples, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cake:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

How to:

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Spray a 9-inch spring form pan with baking spray.

2. To make the caramel, heat up sugar and water over medium-low heat in a sauce pan. Swirl the pan continuously to prevent the mixture from burning. Remove from heat when the caramel turns golden brown and continue swirling until bubbling stops.

3. Pour the caramel to the bottom of the prepared pan and spread evenly. Arrange apple slices on top of caramel in a circular pattern. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Set aside.

4. In a mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

5. Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. Add to the batter gradually, beating until just moistened.


6. Gently spread the batter over the apples and caramel.

7. Bake at 170°C for about 50 minutes or until golden and a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes. Invert onto serving tray. Serve warm.

Freshly baked from the oven and before inverting.

Tada! Look at that layer of caramel and apples.


Warm heavenly crumbs.

I can eat many slices!

Bon appétit!


I breastfed my baby 3 years and beyond

Yes, I breastfed my baby 3+ years. I couldn't believe it. I started off giving myself a timeline of six months. Then, six months became one year. By 18 months, he was still pretty much a boob monster, so I stopped setting a deadline and changed my approach to toddler-led weaning. I believe one day, he will wean off nursing completely.

So, here we are, still breastfeeding at 38 months plus, i.e. three years and two months plus. Our journey started off pretty rocky. In fact, as natural as breastfeeding was supposed to be and I did attend breastfeeding classes, I was so taken aback by the challenges that I had to face. Never in my dear life would I imagine that I had to deal with tongue-tie, prolonged jaundice (with highest bilirubin reading at 395.2), and mastitis. If you want to know about the details, you can read the blog post here.

 When he was about 28 months, I was pregnant but it ended with an early miscarriage. It was breastfeeding that saved me from prolonged grief. Quoting myself: "As I'm still breastfeeding my 28-month toddler, I find myself healing emotionally as he breastfeeds. I have a renewed sense of gratitude and love for my little toddler. Luckily I didn't force him to wean off when I found out I was pregnant. If not, I'd have lost both my new baby and my good breastfeeding relationship with my firstborn."

To date, we have weaned off day-time nursing. But what I really want to share is how do I manage to breastfeed a toddler while being pregnant. Is it yay or nay? :D

Before I continue with that, let's take a look at my cute three-year old. Hahaha!

Kid-friendly cafes/restaurants with a generous play-area for kids are the best gift for us parents! This is at Goodness Greens Cafe @ Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, TTDI, KL.

Bedtime routine includes story-telling.....

.....and playing with his Lego pieces. He looks up to his father a lot and he always say, "Papa, you are my hero. You are my best friend in the whole wide world." So cute!

Okay, let's get back to the main topic: Breastfeeding while being pregnant - yay or nay?

Here are five tips that I have done up based on my experience of handling this matter at hand which will last for nine months.

#1 - Check with your healthcare provider

Generally speaking, breastfeeding during pregnancy is not an issue. However, in certain situations, e.g. carrying multiples, history of premature births caused by early cervix dilation, signs of preterm labor or unusual bleeding and the likes, weaning might be necessary. Always seek professional opinion. [Source]

#2 - Ask yourself what do you want

In one study of La Leche League mothers breastfeeding during pregnancy, 26% of children self-weaned, 28% of the mothers led weaning, and the other 46% went on to tandem nurse. [Source]

So, the question is, what do you want? I know some mothers prefer to have individual breastfeeding relationship with each of her child, so tandem nursing is out of the equation. Some mothers are okay with tandem nursing. For myself, I'm looking forward to tandem nursing. So, from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I didn't wean off my toddler intentionally.

#3 - Know your body

Some mothers have very bad morning sickness that might be aggravated by nursing to the extent that they need to stop completely. I was one of the lucky ones who didn't have morning sickness, so I could continue nursing my toddler with no issue.

However, having sore nipples (due to hormonal changes during pregnancy) was very challenging for me. I kept nursing sessions shorter than usual to minimize agitation (I felt extremely bothered) when he wanted to nurse for comfort and to sleep. It was particularly challenging during the fourth and fifth month because my milk supply decreased (normal part of pregnancy) and his nursing pattern seemed to regress to that of a younger toddler's.

Tiredness was quite an issue as well because I wanted to rest/sleep and he wanted to nurse. I couldn't remember how, but we managed to continue nursing till now. Haha.

#4 - Talk to your toddler

Talking to my three-year old about current challenges and upcoming changes is pretty easy. He understands very well as long as I explain to him in a calm and collected manner. Sometimes when I lost it and got angry with him for nursing a tad too long, he would throw a tantrum too. That wasn't nice for both us.

When my belly starts to grow bigger, my toddler will sit or kneel or even stand beside me to nurse. At night, side-lying is his preferred position to nurse to sleep.

#5 - Manage expectations from yourself and your toddler

To be honest, I don't know what to expect yet. Quoting "Your older child may experience a range of emotions, from fear of displacement to anger at you to delight in the new baby. And remember that sibling relationships tend to have their own rhythms of bonding and fighting, and both can happen at your breast! Realistic expectations, lots of mama love, open communication, and a sense of humor will help you move through any challenges that arise."

From "Remember most toddlers feel some jealousy towards the new baby and may regress in behavior (acting like babies themselves) or show anger by acting up, complaining or being aggressive to the new baby. So if your toddler is doing this (or worse!), it's not because he's still nursing — it's because having a new sibling is stressful."

I know the benefits of tandem nursing. With my firstborn, I had unfavorable milk supply and that's exactly why I want to tandem nurse. I believe my toddler will be a great helper if there's issue with breastfeeding the new baby.

If I face overactive letdown or too much milk, my toddler can drink up that fast flow first so that it becomes easier for the baby to latch. A toddler's sucking reflex is much stronger than a baby's so when my milk kicks in and my breasts are engorged or if I have blocked ducts, he can help to suck to get the milk flowing again.

Most importantly, I believe by allowing him to nurse, it gives me an extra tool to calm and reassure him that he's forever my baby!

Wish me luck!


Apple & Walnut Loaf

Apple & Walnut Loaf

After a super long hiatus from baking and cobweb has started appearing on my faithful oven, it's time to do some baking with the help of my mini future Masterchef, my three-year old son. :D

Recipe slightly adapted from here.

(Serves 8)

125g butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium granny smith apple, cored, grated
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

How to:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 9" x 5" x 2 1/2" loaf pan (standard loaf pan). Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing overhang at both long ends. 

2. In a mixing bowl, add melted butter, light brown sugar, flour, eggs, apple, vanilla extract, milk, ground cinnamon, and three-quarters of the walnuts. Mix until combined. Don't over-mix. Spread into greased loaf pan. Top with remaining chopped walnuts. 

3. Bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into thick slices and serve with your favorite beverage.

About to go into the oven.

Cut into thick slices to eat with my favorite cup of hot tea with fresh milk.

I love the crunch from the walnuts. My son loves this cake and he has it for breakfast for the next two days.

Simply divine!

Serving this cake with yogurt or ice cream brings tea time to another level!


Star Wars Rebels Season 3 premiere on 15 October, 8am, Disney XD (Astro Ch 617 & 637)

The Star Wars Saga Continues with Star Wars Rebels Season 3

Here's a quick catch-up before you watch the new season premiere on Saturday, 15 October, 8am on Disney XD (Astro Ch 617 & 637), with 5 things you need to know and a handy timeline to keep you on track!

Star Wars Rebels – the animated series by Lucasfilm Animation on Disney XD, covers the events that take place fourteen years after Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and five years before Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.

At this time, the Galactic Empire is securing its control on the galaxy, while the last of the Jedi Knights are being tracked down by Darth Vader's Imperial army. However, hope remains as the fledgling Rebel force takes form against the Empire.

Before you pop any popcorn and wield your lightsaber, get ready for a BRAND NEW Season of Star Wars Rebels by first catching up on the full Star Wars saga as shown in the movies and on Disney XD!


STAR WARS: EPISODE I - The Phantom Menace

A trade dispute, sparked by an illegal blockade to the planet Naboo by the Trade Federation, is revealed to be a plot by Darth Sidious. With Queen Amidala of Naboo held hostage, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi attempt a daring rescue. Along the way, they encounter a young slave named Anakin Skywalker who later begins Jedi training.

STAR WARS: EPISODE II - Attack of The Clones

Ten years on, Obi-Wan is a general; with Anakin at his side, they help to defend the Galactic Republic from attacks led by former Jedi Master Count Dooku. Anakin is assigned to protect the influential senator Padmé Amidala; their romance leads to a secret wedding. Meanwhile, Dooku delivers the Death Star blueprints to his Sith master, Darth Sidious, marking the beginning of the Clone wars.

STAR WARS: EPISODE III - Revenge Of The Sith

Chancellor Palpatine's power and influence grows as the Clone Wars progresses, as well as suspicion among the Jedi Council regarding the Chancellor's allegiance. Anakin is then asked to spy on the chancellor but the Council's refusal to grant him the rank of Jedi Master leads to resentment. Anakin soon embraces the Dark Side, fuelled by bitterness and manipulated by the fear of losing his wife Padmé, who, unknown to him, gives birth to twins. A confrontation between Anakin and Obi-Wan leads to serious injuries; Darth Sidious saves his life, marking the 'birth' of the Sith Lord Darth Vader.


Fourteen years later, a young orphan named Ezra meets the captain of a ship called Ghost, Hera Syndulla, and her motley crew – Sabine Wren, Zeb Orrelios, Chopper the droid, and Kanan Jarrus who is an undercover Jedi. Together they traverse planet Lothal and the surrounding Outer Rim, learning about the growing rebellion and their role in resisting the Imperial army while Ezra is trained in the ways of The Force by Kanan.


The Rebels are adjusting to their new missions within a larger Rebellion taking place on planets like Garel and Lasat. They receive a call for help from Minister Maketh Tua, who convinces the Rebels to help her defect from the Galactic Empire in exchange for vital Imperial secrets. They return to Lothal only to find it under Imperial siege and soon have their first encounter with the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader.


Having established a secret base on planet Atollon, the Ghost crew, now led by a more powerful Ezra, strengthens the rebel fleet by acquiring new resources and recruits eager to stand against the Empire. However, Imperial efforts to eliminate the rebellion are now being led by the cold and analytical Grand Admiral Thrawn, whose strategic, tactical and cultural insights make him a threat unlike any they have ever faced before. Ezra and Sabine have to take on new roles and challenges as the rebels prepare for their biggest mission yet – a direct assault on the Empire.

If you're still unclear how things stand, here are 5 things you need to know before watching:

1. Lothal – where it all began

The Rebels started with Ezra Bridger, Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, Zeb Orrelios, Chopper the droid, and Kanan Jarrus. They met and began their mission against the Galactic Empire on a planet called Lothal, traveling on a ship known as the Ghost, as shown on Season 1.

2.  Ezra Bridger battles within

While the Rebels gear up for their biggest battle against the Empire in Season 3, the battle within Ezra rages on as he's torn between the light and dark side of the Force. The last episode of Season 2 showed him opening the Sith holocron that powered the Sith temple – something that can only be performed by someone who thinks like a Sith.

3. Darth Maul returns

Darth Maul is back since he was last seen in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, with an appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series. This time, his personal agenda to gain power continues in the third season of Star Wars Rebels, as he's made it clear he's neither with the Rebels nor with the Empire.

4. Kanan's new look

After being blinded by Darth Maul's lightsaber in the season finale of Season 2, Kanan Jarrus now sports a beard and wears a black mask. The experience has changed his perspective on life and he is made to rely more on the Force as a guide.

5. Say hello to new characters

In Season 3, the Imperial army is now led by the cold and analytical Grand Admiral Thrawn, who's strategic, tactical and cultural insights make him a threat unlike any the Rebels have ever faced before. Meanwhile, Kanan Jarrus will meet a Force-sensitive ancient being on planet Atollon called Bendu, who claims to represent the center of the Force.


Thirty-two years after Episode III - The Revenge of The Sith, Princess Leia leads the Rebel Alliance, hiding the Death Star blueprints in the astromech droid R2-D2 before being captured by Darth Vader. An adopted farmhand Luke Skywalker discovers the droid on Tatooine and embarks on a mission with Obi-Wan Kenobi to deliver the plans to the Rebels, hiring smuggler Han Solo and his ship the Millennium Falcon. The Rebels then identify a weakness in the Death Star, planning a successful assault and destroying the Death Star.

STAR WARS: EPISODE V - The Empire Strikes Back

Three years after the Death Star is destroyed, Darth Vader pursues Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance base on the ice planet Hoth. Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda but leaves to rescue Han Solo and Leia when they are captured by Vader. Luke then faces Vader, loses his hand and discovers that Vader is his father. Meanwhile, Han has been frozen in carbonite and surrendered to the bounty hunter Boba Fett, to be delivered to Jabba the Hutt.

STAR WARS: EPISODE VI - Return of The Jedi

Luke and Leia, assisted by local Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian, rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt while the Galactic Empire constructs a second Death Star in order to crush the Rebel Alliance once and for all. The Rebel Fleet launches a full-scale attack on the Death Star while Luke struggles to bring his father, Darth Vader, back from the Dark Side of the Force. In the fight, Vader chooses to save his son, killing the Emperor and dying from his wounds, bringing an end to the Empire's hold over the galaxy.

STAR WARS: The Force Awakens

Thirty years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the First Order rises from the fallen Galactic Empire with an even greater weapon – the Starkiller. Opposing them is the Resistance, led by General Leia who also searches for her brother Luke. Meanwhile a scavenger named Rey – who shows an ability to use the Force - encounters BB-8, a droid which holds a vital clue to Luke's location, and is taken captive. Former Stormtrooper Finn, Han Solo and Chewbacca attempt a rescue, with Han confronting his son, Kylo Ren, leader of the First Order. Han is killed and the Starkiller Base is destroyed; soon after, Rey follows the map hidden on BB-8 and R2-D2 to Luke's location on planet Ahch-To.

Now that you're all prepared, don't miss the premiere of STAR WARS REBELS Season 3 this Saturday, 15 October, 8am on Disney XD (Astro Ch 617 & 637)!


How to Maximize Your Grocery Shopping

We cannot escape grocery shopping. Agree? It is a necessity that Malaysians of all walks of life need to do. Let's not forget how our shopping list changes as we go through the different phases in life. A cart that would once be filled with snacks and food enough for a single couple, will expand to include diapers, baby milk, wet wipes, and the likes for young parents. Diapers alone can go up to RM130 for three packs. Goodness!

Since there is really no escaping it, we might as well make sure we get the best value out of our groceries every time. Right? If you want to save more ringgit and perfect the art of grocery shopping on a budget, here are some tips:

 #1 - Shop online

Believe it or not, online shopping actually saves you so much time and money. As a working mother with a three-year old toddler, I usually buy moms and kids stuff I need online. Believe me, it can be quite tiring negotiating with a toddler in a shopping mall. So, online shopping to the rescue!

My favorite go-to website for moms and babies/kids necessities is - just look at this:

NO queues, NO closing times, NO carrying heavy bags, NO traffic and parking hassle, NO wasting petrol, toll and time, NO over-crowded supermarkets. Fast delivery within 1-2 working days. FREE shipping on all orders above RM155 (West Malaysia).

YES to all of the above! If you stay in Klang Valley or any other busy cities, you know what I mean. So yes, I will just get my milk, diapers, baby bathcare, and so much more from Babydash. Oh, and I have joined as a member, so I can make use of member benefits such as collecting points from every purchase, doing reviews, and receiving special member discounts!
#2 - Use loyalty cards 

Apart from shopping online, it is highly likely that we still shop offline and we do have a preferred hypermarket or supermarket that we shop at, it could be your neighborhood mart or perhaps the one with the best offers. Either way, look out to see if they have a loyalty program.

With less than RM20 membership fees per annum, retailers or wholesalers like Tesco, Jusco, and Mydin offer their members cash rebates, vouchers, and other promotions via reward points accumulated from their purchases. This is particularly useful when I need to shop for fresh and frozen produce and other household stuff.

For some, we can even purchase three years of membership with the price of two and get discounts at other merchants or restaurants.

#3 - Get updates from newsletters 

If you are already a member, you will receive the latest updates and promotional activities from these retailers. You can then use these daily or weekly newsletters to check if the products you want to buy are currently being offered on discount. Alternatively, if you are not yet a member, you can sign-up for their newsletters via their websites.

#4 - Credit cards for more cash back! 

You can apply for a credit card that offers great cash back rewards for your retail shopping. It is important to take note that cash back, cash rebates, and reward points come with term and regulations by the issuing banks, such as the minimum amount spent to be eligible for cash back and valid period of reward points. Do make sure you read the terms and regulations before using the cards for your grocery shopping.

For instance, the Hong Leong Wise Gold Visa card offers up to 10% cashback capped at RM100 for every month.

#5 - Strategize your shopping list

You can also learn to identify and organize the products you use, then, categorize them according to the frequency or volume of usage. This way, you can plan your shopping list by monitoring the quantity of products you need and the ones which you don't use as much.

In fact, buying goods that have a longer expiry period such as diapers, tissues, multipurpose cleaners, shampoos, soaps, and detergents in bulk will help you save even more. Even better, buy them during promotional seasons, so you can save and use the items without having to worry about them going to waste.

#6 - Use recycle bags

Bring your own bag and save yourself the extra RM0.20 per plastic bag. You will be doing your part for the environment too! Go green!

Try putting these tips into a checklist every time you do your grocery shopping. Shop smarter and beat inflation!

On a side note, check out, a portal dedicated to raising financial literacy in our country and to helping everyday Malaysians make smarter and well-informed financial decisions in life.