Liv Magazine December 2019

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Waste-free gift ideas for kids

Bali’n Out

Bespoke retreat in Canggu, Bali

Santa’s Little Helpers Local charities needing hands-on help

RE-USE ME Your green guide to a sustainable Christmas

WIN Luxury skincare, a sweat-proof yoga mat and tickets to Disneyland on page 17!


Babes in Toyland





DECEMBER 2019 | l i v - m a g a z i n e . co m LIV MAGAZINE

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DECEMBER 05 Editor’s Letter

LIV | NEWS 06 Wishlist

Spectacular Christmas gifts, presented with our partners

08 It’s a Date

Events for your diary

10 Hot Right Now

New happenings on the wellness scene

12 Fresh Cuts

Vegetarian holiday dinner options

14 Cheat Day

Because #YOLO

16 Reviews

Japanese hair treatment at W52 and a staycation at The Upper House

30 You're a Green One

Keep eco-Xmas fun for kids with waste-free gift ideas

36 Charity 365

Local charities to support even after the season of cheer

LIV | MORE 40 Recipe

Coconut sugar shortbread


42 Pamper

Festive spa packages

44 Bali Bliss

A tailored wellness retreat package in Canggu

48 Travel

Gifts for the traveller in your life


52 Family

Breastfeeding awareness in HK

LIV | STORIES 20 Green Christmas Guide Thirty-five ways to have a sustainable Christmas season

44 52




nd just like that, it’s the festive season again! The past twelve months have been memorable to say the least, and it’s passed by in what feels like the blink of an eye. From financial wellness to eco-friendly fall fashion to our firstever maternity issue, we’ve broken a lot of new ground this year. We’re keeping that tradition going with this December’s issue - a green guide to having a more sustainable Christmas! We all love the holiday season, but the environmental footprint it causes is undeniable. From plastic stocking stuffers to wrapping paper to food waste - there’s a lot of ways we can all improve when it comes to being more conscientious merrymakers. Check out some of the ways you and yours can be more eco-friendly this December with our cover story on p.20, and our kidfriendly follow-up on p.30. We’ve also done a round-up of our favourite local charities to support on p.36, and the best part is, no Chinese language skills needed! These Englishspeaking friendly causes all need help year-round, so get involved now and keep the good vibes going into the new year. It’s been a crazy year, to be sure, and I hope that Liv has been able to support its readers in some way, whether that’s through health and fitness news, practicing self-care, or just by imbuing a sense of dependability with our monthly musings on wellness. It’s been a pleasure, and I hope that all of your holiday seasons are filled with loved ones, happy memories, and some muchneeded rest and relaxation. See you in 2020!

MEET OUR CONTRIBUTORS No Canto? No problem! Zoe Belhomme rounds up local charities where Chinese skills aren’t a requirement to volunteer on p.36.

Kate Springer dishes on her Christmas list, with gifts that make travelling easier on p.48.

Certified mum Sarah Fung shares her best tips for keeping Xmas fun for kids while reducing waste on p.30. Sally Victoria Benson gives us the inside scoop on Christmas tree and light displays in Macau worth checking out this month on p.50.


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Send invites and info to: Makerhive, 10/F, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town PUBLISHER SARAH FUNG DIRECTOR OF PARTNERSHIPS JO ROBINSON SENIOR SALES MANAGER ANSHU RIJHWANI SALES MANAGER AILEEN CHAN EDITOR CARLA THOMAS WRITER ZOE BELHOMME SOCIAL MEDIA STACEY MARCELO ADMINISTRATOR JASMIN BLUNCK GRAPHIC DESIGN TAMMY TAN CONTRIBUTORS KATE SPRINGER, JO ROBINSON, SALLY VICTORIA BENSON PRINTED BY GEAR PRINTING LIMITED, ROOM B, 3/F, DERRICK INDUSTRIAL BUILDING, 49-51 WONG CHUK HANG ROAD, ABERDEEN ‘‘Liv Magazine’’ Copyright 2019 Liv Media Limited. The content provided here is the property of Liv Media Limited and may not be reproduced in any part without the written permission of the Publisher. The information provided by Liv Media Limited’s contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or the company. The information provided by Liv Media Limited, or its staff, advertisers and contributors is given in good faith; readers should gather more information before making the decision to purchase any goods or services highlighted here. Liv Media Limited will not be held responsible for any action, omission or error resulting from actions taken on the basis of the information provided here. Please seek the approval of a doctor before following any health advice.


Retail Therapy

The best

Christmas gift ideas p r e s e n t e d b y o u r pa r t n e r s


This gifting company delivers thoughtfully-curated gift boxes filled with natural treats from local makers. With eco-friendly packaging and a focus on supporting small local businesses, this gifting company ticks all our boxes. Prices start at $498 from



Get the best skin of your life with RARE SkinFuel’s Restoring Australian clay mask. For an effective at-home facial, mix the Australian pink clay with the activator for a live mask that calms stressed skin, boosts hydration and imparts a natural glow. Once activated, it can be stored in the fridge for up to a month. $2,050 from

Specialising in ornate statement jewellery pieces, Austy Lee’s white gold band is set in red rubies and diamonds for a touch of festive sparkle. Price on request from Austy Lee, Shop A, GF, Kam On Building, 176 Queen's Road Central, 2388-0212, 6

Retail Therapy


Get your hair into the best shape of its life with this Deluxe Hair Care set. Perfect for dry and damaged hair, the honey & hibiscus shampoo, conditioner and hair mask work together to restore your mane to its former glory. $1,500 from John Masters Organics stores citywide, including 3005A, L3, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St., Central.


Mindful jewellery brand FLO JEWELLERY offers affordable luxury and ethically produced pieces designed to provide grounding, balance and meaning in our busy lives. We particularly love the geometry-inspired Chakra collection, which makes for a beautiful, meaningful gift for the wellness warrior in your life. Add $250 for a personalised chakra reading to help you set your intentions for 2020. Plus, use the code “LIVXMAS” for 20% off before Dec 25. The Chakra collection costs $450-$780.


Naturally grown and produced in Morocco, all of Armara Glow’s products are certified organic. Rather than containing a complex blends of ingredients, this beauty brand extracts the purest prickly pear oil ($330) and argan oil ($120) to moisturise and soothe your face in the most natural way possible - and the price is unbeatable too! We love the organic rose water ($140) for its cooling and face-toning properties.




LAMMA LOVE Lamma Fun Day returns to the shores of Power Station Beach this month. Hop a ferry and join the fun with live music shows, market stalls, face painting, beach volleyball, a bake sale, yoga - the list literally goes on and on. There’s also two island-wide trail runs, 8K and 14K, so runners can “come for the run, and stay for the fun” all in the name of a good cause; proceeds raised go towards educational and vocational training projects in Nepal. This is HK’s longest running free outdoor music festival, so support the good vibes at this local pillar of the cultural calendar. Free to attend. 11am-11pm, Power Station Beach,

JAN 12


Head off that bout of January blues by booking tickets for Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi. Capaldi made a big splash at his debut Hong Kong performance at Clockenflap 2017, and his return should be a welcome consolation for anyone still in mourning over the cancellation of Clockenflap last month. Tickets start at $490 from Ticketflap. 7:30pm. MacPherson Stadium, 38 Nelson St., Mong Kok. 8

DEC 12-FEB 16


It’s not winter in Hong Kong until the annual AIA Carnival takes over the Central Harbourfront. This year the Carnival is bringing with it some new rides, games and activities, as well as food booths for the whole family to enjoy. The ever-popular Great Circus of Europe is also back for another year, with two shows a day and an exciting lineup of international acts. Adults tickets are $130 including 10 tokens while kids are $90 with seven tokens. 11am-11pm daily,


Christmas calendar

Get in the festive vibe with these carol services and Christmas concerts.



Navigating Hong Kong’s garden centres and nurseries can seem daunting to novices, like what to look for in healthy plants and how much water they need. The Hong Kong Gardening Society Xmas Trawl is a great way to learn the basics, linking you up with other avid gardeners as you do a tour of the local offerings. Participants are picked up from Central by bus, and taken to three wholesale nurseries in the New Territories for guided workshops and shopping. This is followed by a vegan lunch at Ivy’s Private Farm and Kitchen, an outdoor private kitchen set on an idyllic hillside in the Lam Tsuen Valley, adjacent to Kadoorie Farm. Costs $450 members of the HKGS; non-members $550. Email to book your spot.

DEC 11 From traditional carols to modern Christmas favourites, the Cecilian Singers will appeal to all musical tastes. Proceeds benefit Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre. Tickets $250 via Ticketflap. St. Stephen’s Chapel, Stanley. DEC 3 The Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir will perform their 29th annual charity Christmas concert. 7:30-9pm at St. John’s Cathedral. Tickets $250 with proceeds benefiting the Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care. DEC 4-7 An adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic Christmas tale, full of comedy, drama, songs and the joy of Christmas. Fringe Club Underground Theatre, Central. DEC 15 The Hong Kong Oratorio Society presents Handel’s Messiah in this family-friendly Christmas concert. Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Tickets from $120

DEC 14-15 DEC 14


Fitness collective Midnight Runners are swapping their nocturnal fitness routine for an action-packed day in Sai Kung Country Park this month. The volunteer team behind the global fitness initiative will be leading a three-hour trail run (or hike) from Sai Wan Pavilion around Stage One of the MacLehose Trail to beautiful Tai Long Wan. Once you make it to Hong Kong’s famed beach, chill out with a drink or join the Run Captain for a 30-minute beach yoga practice. Before you head home by foot (or speedboat if you’re too knackered), enjoy a BBQ on beautiful Ham Tin Beach for $250.

FESTIVE EATINGS Foodies welcomed the first ever Feast of Hong Kong dining festival earlier this year, and now the concept is back for a special Christmas edition. For $680, your ticket to Feast for Christmas allows you to scoff as many portions of savoury festive classics and sweet treats as your belly can handle. Of course, an obligatory mulled wine or eggnog will keep the party going through the afternoon.

12:30-4:30pm, AIA Observation Wheel. More info at 9

Cool Stuff

HOT RIGHT NOW News from the wellness scene


Premium activewear label Sweaty Betty has just made its Asian debut with the opening of its swanky new home in Central’s IFC mall. The British darling was founded by Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton and quickly won the hearts of athleisureembracing women in the UK. You’ll find the brand’s entire range of multisport apparel, including their famously flattering leggings, in addition to some unique add-on services popular at the London flagship, like monogramming, free-flow kombucha, personal shopping and yoga sessions.


Ever wanted to volunteer but weren’t sure where to start? Newly launched LocalMotion is a platform where charities and social enterprises can connect with skilled professionals who are willing to donate their time. Founded by Belinda Poole and Sarah Fowler, a former lawyer and a marketing professional respectively, the pair understood the inefficiencies and unique business challenges that charities face, and set out to make skills-based volunteering more useful and ultimately scaleable. The platform pairs skilled professionals with charities and social enterprises for short term projects that take between 10 and 30 hours to complete. If you’d like to make a difference, LocalMotion is a great place to start your search. 10

Cool Stuff

GOING UP Crafty Christmas


Working on reducing your meat intake? Insects are a great source of protein, B12 and iron, with a small environmental footprint that makes large scale food production a non-issue. Grazing is Hong Kong’s first online retailer specialising in edible insect-based delicacies, and they’re bringing in some of the best producers from around the world to challenge less eco-viable Asian mainstays, like pork and fish. They carry bug-based pastas, protein bars and flours, as well as ready-to-eat snacks like BBQ grasshoppers or salt & vinegar crickets. Did we mention they’re low in calories and fat, too? Hopefully this is one sustainable food trend that isn’t met with, ahem, crickets.

Nothing says “thoughtful” like a hand-made gift - and you don’t have to be an expert crafter! From cookies to hot chocolate kits, even the craftily-untalented *raises hand* can make something memorable.

Eco Secret Santa Why not challenge your friends or colleagues to a Secret Santa gift that’s plastic-free? Share your efforts with us on IG @liv.magazine!

Christmas Tree Guilt Feeling bad about your real tree? Why not downgrade to a wreath for that pine-fresh scent, or even a potted tree that you can keep all year?

Excess Gift Wrap


Chinese tea is a fascinating subject for tea lovers, but one that’s made somewhat less accessible due to language barriers. Tea is for Everyone is a beautifully designed hardcover book by local publisher Man Mo Media that delves deep into the complex history of Chinese tea. From its origins to unique flavour profiles found in different regions, the book unpacks everything you could ever hope to know about the oldest beverage in the world. Perfect as a coffee table book or gift for a tea enthusiast, you’ll find this read available in bookstores around Hong Kong for $​ 180,​ as well as on Amazon.

Folded in tissue... in a box... wrapped in plastic... in a bag... And that’s just one present! Let’s encourage businesses to keep it simple this year with minimal packaging.



Roast IS Clear


WIth its focus on turkey, stuffing and meat-heavy sides, herbivores historically miss out during the festive season, confined to a sad bowl of Brussels sprouts. But not anymore! Carla Thomas rounds up the finest plant-based festive menus in town.

BEET WELLINGTON, HABITU VEGAN MEATLOAF SET, NOOD FOOD Made with plant-based Impossible meat, this vegan meatloaf set ($133) is a hearty substitute for the traditional beef and pork. Pair with your fave carb or veggies for a perfectly balanced meal. Available at Kinwick and Starstreet Precinct branches from December 11-25. Kinwick Centre, 32 Hollywood Rd., Central, 8199-8189; Starstreet, 3 Wing Fung St., Wan Chai, 2298-5310. 12

OK, so it’s another beet dish - but with a name that adorable, how could we skip it? For festive feasts in your home or office, Habitu’s catering options serve up a plantbased take on Beef Wellington, wrapping juicy beetroot in buttery pastry puff then baking until it’s golden and flaky. Order on its own for $550 or go for one of their festive set meals, which come with sides like pastas and kale avocado tahini salad. For catering inquiries, please contact 35500023 or email


CHRISTMAS (VEGAN) ROAST, THE GLOBE More than just its impressive selection of beers and sports, this popular traditional British pub in SoHo also serves up some mean vegan recipes to please its plant-based punter. Their Christmas lunch menu this year includes a roasted mushroom and puy lentil pate, followed by a plant-based roast made from tempeh and beans, and served with all the trimmings like potatoes, parsnips and Brussels sprouts. $420. Available from December 3-25. 45-52 Graham St., Central, 2543-1941,

BAKED ALOO GOBI, VEDA For something a little more exotic, you could also opt for some South Asian fare. This vegetarian/vegan restaurant tucked away in the Ovolo Hotel in Central does wonders with its plant-based menu, and the Baked Aloo Gobi ($130) is a showstopper. A whole head of cauliflower is baked until it’s meltingly tender and served with crispy potatoes and curry sauce. 2 Arbuthnot Rd., Central, 3755-3067,


FESTIVE MENU, NECTAR Undisputed leaders when it comes to the city’s plant-based cuisine movement, head chef Peggy Chan has concocted a festive menu that skips the meat without sacrificing on decadence. Christmas Dinner Pie made with braised cabbage and tofu sausage stuffing ($208) goes down a treat, as does the bai ling mushroom cutlet and gravy, served with sweet potato mash, beetroot slaw, and peas n’ beans ($258). A five-course Christmas menu is available on Christmas Eve from 6-10pm for $758. Festive menu available from December 20-26. 108 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, 2873-3353,

Haute cuisine meets rustic charm at this succinctly-named restaurant that emphasises seasonal and locally sourced ingredients on its ever-changing menu. Their Seasonal Vegetarian Tasting Menu is a sumptuous feast fit for the holidays, and includes a baked beetroot with ricotta (or cashew, for vegans) that’s made with golden beets that are poached in homemade kombucha, beetroot vinegar and dressed with a blend of local herbs and gooseberry vinegar. $780. 6 Kau U Fong, Central, 2824-3898, 13



Because life’s too short to always order the salad

FRITTERS AWAY The latest addition to Peel Street’s respectable roster of trendy eateries is JALAN. This modern Malaysian restaurant pulls its inspiration from hawker halls and mamak stalls, serving up stylised takes on Malay street food culture in a stylish dining room that’s a throwback to 70’s Borneo chic. With influences from Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisines, you’ll find some serious fusion here, with dishes like Beef Rendang Samosas, a hybrid of a Malaysian curry puff with Indonesian coconut beef stew, or the Laksa Fried Chicken. While everything is worth sampling, especially the elevated vegetarian options like the Black Pepper Eggplant, it’s the desserts that deserve special mention. Banana fritters are fried to perfection, topped with a vibrant pandan and coconut ice cream, and drizzled in caramel and crushed peanuts - what’s not to love? Definitely one to check out before word gets around and the line to get in is around the block. 42 Peel St., Central, 2386-2216,


Sponsored Feature

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acked with powerful active ingredients and absolutely no nasties, RARE SkinFuel harnesses the power of nature to deliver perfect skin. This Christmas, RARE SkinFuel founder Michelle Chen is releasing four sumptuous sets to get your skin in tiptop condition in time for the holidays. Don’t see the perfect gift below? RARE SkinFuel is offering festive wrapping on all of its products through December, allowing you to spread the festive joy far and wide.

Top of our Christmas wish list this year? A naturally healthy, glowing complexion courtesy of RARE SkinFuel.

Perfect Home Spa Kit $3,120 Eye Kick Kit $3,050 Feeling tired? Same, girl. Keep your eyes sparkling with this two-piece set containing a serum and cream specially formulated for the eye and lip area. The Illuminating serum lifts sagging eyes, reduces circles and eliminates puffiness, while the contouring cream firms the skin and smoothes fine lines around the eye and mouth area, locking in moisture for 72 hours.

We all love a clay masque, and when used in tandem, these two products are like a having a pro facial at home. First, apply the Detoxifying Australian Clay Masque to draw out impurities. Then follow with the Restoring Australian Clay Masque to impart moisture, soothe stressed skin and enhance radiance. Both masques need to be freshly mixed, combining the clay and activator, after which they can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.

Glorifying Kit $11,500

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If you want a beautiful complexion like Michelle, this complete skincare kit has everything you need to adopt her home care routine, including two masques, creams and serums for face, eyes and lips, a face mist and an effective cream cleanser to swipe away the grime of city living.

Completely overhaul your daily routine with this lineup of six simple but oh-so effective products. First, cleanse and tone with the revitalizing cream cleanser and activating mist, before applying two serums and two creams for your eyes, lips and face. 15



What Are You Doing in 2020?

Practitioner Training courses

Is overcoming a fear or negative thinking pattern a part of your vision for next year? Or taking a course and getting a qualification, whether it’s NLP, Healing, Hypnotherapy, or learning Tarot? We often set goals and don’t achieve them because we’ve not put it in our schedule. All About You has already planned their event calendar for 2020, so make it happen by blocking your dates now and planning it for yourself! You can choose from: Hypnotherapy Training | NeuroLinguistic Programming | Fast Track Technique | Manifestation | Understanding Your Chakras | Healing your Inner Child To find out more and register, please visit | Call: 2992 0828 | Whatsapp: 5435 8119

Practitioner Training courses


From Morocco to Hong Kong Originally from Spain, I moved to Hong Kong in 2005 and had my first child in 2011, which made me go through some unexpected changes in skin, hair and face. Being a mom was taking its toll on me. After trying many beauty products and even after attempting some DIY home remedies, nothing seemed to be helping. I eventually came across 100% pure and organic cosmetic oils, from Morocco, where women have been using them for centuries. Since then, I’ve always wanted to launch this company and make these products affordable for everyone in the city. All our products are organic, natural, pure and USDA certified. For more information please visit: IG: ArmaraGlow FB: Armara Contact number: +85297505752 Office: 10/F, Park Hovan Commercial Building, 18, Hillwood Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong


Sustainable Beauty for Christmas 2019! Say bye-bye to cruelty cosmetics and hair products, not only does it harm animals and the environment, it’s also toxic for our skin through everyday use. We care for you, your health and your image, so come before your Christmas Party and enjoy a certified organic Evening Makeup for only 500HKD, originally 800HKD, on the same day as your Shampoo & Blowdry!



30 Festive Wines, Please! Tick tock, tick tock...the clock’s ticking down on 2019! With not so many days remaining until the big 2020, we need to make sure we send our current year off in style! That’s where our “30 Festive Wines, Please!” comes in handy. A carefully curated list of delightful treats for your Thanksgiving, Christmas celebrations, office parties, or Netflix movie nights, Wine Please! makes sure you’re covered until the ball drops on NYE. A special ode to our mothership, Kedington Wines who turned 30 earlier this year, we are featuring our top 30 bestsellers (sprinkled with lots of festive offers) to tickle your fancy!


Martial Art x Movement Practice: White Crane Silat Want to start a new workout routine? How about one that unites mobility, movement, connection and mindfulness? Enter: White Crane Silat. Building upon yogic foundations, Silat takes the mind-bodyspirit connection even further, featuring a dynamic and powerful movement practice (think floor work, striking and kicking combos, and flowing whole-body movements) complete with partner exercises and meditation. It’s an ancient, holistic lineage taught in a contemporary way, with individual attention, and a chill community vibe, including free tea after class as part of each session. Classes on Tue & Sat in Central, Hong Kong. Find out more: | Instagram: @pgbhk


Kick Your Unhealthy Drinking Habits Struggling with alcohol? Messing up your otherwise healthy lifestyle with too many drinks? It may seem impossible to move from heavy drinker to happily alcohol-free in just a few months, but it can happen! And, best of all, you won’t miss drinking at all. Wise Rebel Coaching provides confidential coaching, tactics and a personalised transformation plan so you can get back to what really matters. Wise Rebel Coaching is headed by a long-time expat professional (and former big drinker), who also happens to be Asia’s only “This Naked Mind” certified life coach. Help yourself find real freedom and true wellness. Learn more at and schedule a chat if it seems right for you. Or just email:


Cover Story





Love the holiday season, but not so much the mass consumerism and wanton wasteful practices that tend to come with it? Make your Christmas a more sustainable one this year with some (or all!) of these handy, eco-friendly festive ideas! By Sarah Fung and Carla Thomas

Cover Story

Eco Festive Decorations This year, rather than splashing the cash on plastic decorations, fill your home with greener options instead.


A popular German tradition, spiced cookies look great hanging from your tree, and also serve as a tasty snack in the lead-up to Christmas. Or, thinly slice some citrus fruits and either bake on a low heat or run them through a dehydrator for some quick and effective ornaments.


Mix flour, salt and water to create the dough, and then use cookie cutters to make cute, rustic decorations. A great one to do with kids. Make sure to keep these away from pets that might eat them, as salt dough can be dangerous when ingested.


A traditional English Christmas decoration, a pomander will fill your home with a festive aroma. Simply pierce an orange with cloves in your desired pattern, add a sprig of rosemary if you have one, and leave out, allowing the clovey, orangey aromas to fill your flat.


Got some old newspapers, gift wrap (or Liv Magazines!) lying around? Hit up Pinterest for some ideas on how to upcycle them into new and beautiful decorations. From origami stars to paper lanterns, the possibilities are endless.


Don’t want to drop a ton of cash on a festive wreath? Head down to the Mong Kok flower market and ask for some offcuts or stray sprigs. Those old bits of tree that would have otherwise been discarded can find a new life as a festive wreath, bouquet or table display.


On your next hike, pick up a few handfuls of old twigs, which can be refashioned into rustic stars or reindeer ornaments for your tree. You can also get creative with ribbon offcuts, dried flowers and fallen leaves.

REMEMBER: give the glitter a miss! It’s made from tiny pieces of plastic, so while it might look pretty, it’s a nightmare for the environment. 21

Cover Story

Tree Alternatives Short on space? These alternatives to real or plastic Christmas trees will let you bring a festive feeling into your home.


Pick up some festive Washi tape and use it to create a tree silhouette on a wall or door.


If floor space is a struggle, it’s time to think vertically! A sprig of artfully arranged branches can also make for a striking tree substitute when hung from the ceiling with a piece of fishing wire.


A simple triangular wooden frame strung with fairy lights gives a pleasingly minimalist aesthetic.

Got a Christmassy tablecloth? Using some wooden poles (and some inspo from Pinterest!) drape it like a teepee for a tree surrogate that doubles as a hidey hole for excited kids. Just slip your gifts under the tent for a perfect present stash.

Green Gifting 101 From making your own presents to earth-friendly gift-wrap, here are a few sneaky ideas to make your giving more sustainable.


Ditch the glittery and metallic gift wraps that contain plastics, and reach for some sturdy recycled brown paper from your local post office. Give it a bespoke touch by decorating it with some personalised artwork or ink stamps.


Who said presents need to be wrapped? Slip those gifts into a reusable fabric bag, which you can either take back for your own re-use, or let the giftee keep if you’re feeling extra generous.



We’ve said it before (see Eco Festive Decoration ideas) but we’ll say it again - old magazines and newspapers are great materials to have on-hand during the holidays - see our jolly holiday cover for inspo!

Cover Story


Head to Kowloon’s Shanghai Street, an entire area devoted to selling restaurant goods - like cardboard food packaging. Buy a stack of takeaway cardboard boxes for next to nothing; these handy flat-pack gift boxes are more widely recycled than lots of other more traditional options out there, and can be used time and time again.


Skip the wrap entirely and change up the reveal, by hiding gifts and getting your loved ones to go hunting for the goods instead with a Christmas morning scavenger hunt.


Join a local crafting group and make something totally unique. The Crafties is a crafting co-working space in Sheung Wan that offers fun holiday-themed workshops like hand-sewn Christmas charms or crochet Santa hats.


Get your hands dirty with a pottery workshop, where you’ll produce ceramics that you can personalise. The Pottery Workshop is a longstanding local non-profit that offers seven-week courses for $2,900.


Grab a DIY knit kit from The Knitting Room; it comes with all the materials and detailed instructions you’ll need to make your own scarf, baby blanket or other yarn-based project. 23

Cover Story


Experience Gifts Looking to think outside the gift box? Try giving someone the gift of an experience. Experience gifts (as opposed to material ones, like your standard socks, for example) are all the rage right now, and we’re seriously here for it. Not only does it avoid any wasteful packaging, it promotes emotional connection over material consumption. What could be better than that? Here are some of our favourite experience gifts to try out on your shopping list this Christmas.

What do you get the person who already has everything? There’s an app for that. Insight Timer is the most active online meditation community in the world. Offers tons of guided meditations for free, but the in-app subscription unlocks extras like full courses, offline downloads and advanced player functions. US59.99 ClassPass changes up your fitness routine to keep you on your toes by partnering with some of HK’s most popular studios, like Flex or Torq, with monthly plans that start at $158. They handily offer online gift cards where you can choose an amount to give to your fave gym bunny. SWEAT With Kayla is an uber-popular fitness app for women, helmed by fitness juggernaut Kayla Itsines. Gives access to 28-minute workouts every week, with monthly (US19.99) or annual (US119.94) subscriptions. Know someone who loves a bargain? Discount app the ENTERTAINER hooks up its user base with deals on everything from hotel discounts to 2-for-1 dinners. Sign up for the app before Dec. 30 and lock in the early bird price of $288.


Hitting the gym doesn’t have to wait until the new year! Pure is offering its “Pure Power Pack” which includes a one-month pass for all Pure Fitness and Pure Yoga locations for $1,588. It also comes with vouchers for food and apparel, and day passes for two friends. Escape reality by picking up a virtual reality gaming package for the whole fam. Zero Latency offers multiplayer VR games at its sizeable space in Kwun Tong, starting from $300 per player for one hour. 24

Hong Kong Rock Climbing Adventure offers guided forays into the world of extreme sports with day tours that get you ziplining, abseiling and rock climbing. Some outings are suitable for total beginners, like a canyoning outing to Ping Nam Stream ($680 per person). Sea Kayak Hong Kong provides half and full day kayaking tours around some of HK’s most untouched islands and coastlines, starting from $450. Also offers many multi-day camping expeditions, like a two-day tour of the UNESCO Geopark ($2,400).

Sponsored Feature

SURF AND EARTH Get inspired with ceramic artworks, paintings and prints from Hong Kong-based artist and sculptor, Amelia Sidwell.

 Chefchaouen Blush: Prismatic and one-ofa-kind, this canvas painting evokes the pink beaches of Morocco and Indonesia. US$1000


melia Sidwell Art pulls inspiration from the sights, sounds and colours of the ocean to produce breathtakingly beautiful and unique artworks, perfect for any space in need of a colour pop. Rustic, natural and affordable, these locally-made handicrafts make a special gift this holiday season.

 Onwood: Go coastal chic with this modest resin on wood piece. US$260

 Silver Surfer Framed Print: A splash of turquoise brings the seaside to your living room. US$100

 Still Sisters: Inspired by the female form, this set of curvaceous vases are perfect for florals. US$90

 Sea Foam Plate Set: Each hand-built and glazed uniquely, this set of seafoam-inspired plates are also food-safe and dishwasher-safe. US$80 and/or IG @ameliasidwell

Cover Story


Netflix and chill? Don’t mind if we do. This pioneer of online streaming offers subscriptions from $63/month. Sure, you can use music-streaming platform Spotify for free. But upgrade to their premium subscription for $58/month and your loved one will never have to hear another annoying ad mid-Ariana Grande album again. Amazon Prime gives its users access to original series like Boardwalk Empire and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, as well as movies, TV series, live events, songs, online books & magazines, and quicker delivery when you order off Amazon. US12.99/month

Give the gift of Olivia Colman with a Netflix subscription


These one-stop shop online platforms have done the legwork for you, with a wide range of experiences from gourmet dinners to flight simulations. Gift Something is a premium online retailer with an impressive inventory of experience gifts. From cake-making courses ($669) to a dinner cruise for two ($11,390), there’s an experience for most shoppers’ budgets here.


Not your standard lai see, Red Packet specialises in experience gifts. For $799, choose from a list of experiences like a massage, a 45-minute makeup lesson, or dinner for two and a salsa dance class.

Make your next holiday gathering a little greener, with these eco-friendly celebration alternatives.


Instead of joining the masses for Boxing Day sales, head for the hills and go hiking instead. Less consumerism and you’ll work off some of that Christmas dinner from the night before!


Nothing feels better than giving back! Consider swapping your standard office Christmas do with a team outing to volunteer at one of Hong Kong’s many charitable organisations (see page 36 for more ideas!) 26


Or, if your Christmas do is a must-have with your colleagues, try going green by choosing a vegetarian restaurant or caterer - every little bit of carbon offset helps!


LUÜNA NATURALS: CHANGING ASIA’S APPROACH TO PERIODS Olivia Cotes-James is founder and CEO of LUÜNA naturals, Asia’s first 100% female-led period care company. Her and her team are “making periods better – for our bodies, our planet and our sisters in need.”


arlier this year, they launched an organic cotton period care subscription service and the LUÜNA Period Cup in Hong Kong. “This isn’t just about creating convenient access to period products - though that’s important in a city where many women still have to ‘mule’ them from abroad,” says Olivia. “Every purchase of our products is an investment in the future of feminine care; in a company that puts health and sustainability before profit.” With offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, CotesJames and her team have spoken to thousands of women across Asia about menstruation, advocating for education, awareness and smashing global taboos that persist around female health. “We’ve sent human beings into space, yet when it comes to menstrual innovation, we still have pads and tampons made from synthetics and chemicals dominating the market. As soon as I stopped using these products, the irritations I’d blamed on my body for over a decade stopped. Moreover, no one knows the true long-term health consequences of exposing our vaginas to these materials, though increasing research suggests they can be dangerous,” says Olivia.

On an environmental level, says Olivia, the situation is also critical. “Over 90% of women in Asia use non-degradable period products, most believing they’re made from cotton. When you consider we use around 11,000 during our lives, the environmental impact is staggering.” Olivia points out that LUÜNA organic cotton products, while keeping the users body free from synthetics, are not 100% plastic-free yet. For hygiene reasons, they come in thin plastic wraps. “We’re committed to our sustainability goals and are currently testing our plastic-free next generation products which we will bring to market next year,” she adds. We’re also combatting plastic waste through social initiatives, donating a LUÜNA Period Cup for every subscription or cup sold. It takes work to safely educate communities about this product, but it’s worth it when you consider the environmental and health benefits of doing so.” The team have big goals for next year. “We’ll use a portion of profits from corporate partnerships to donate 5,000 cups and run educational workshops for low-income women and girls by Women’s Day 2020,” says Olivia. This initiative allows companies,

as well as customers, to invest in the future of ethical feminine care. In tackling menstrual taboos at all levels, we can advance gender equality, reduce plastic period waste and ensure health & wellbeing for women and girls across Asia. Olivia’s determination and excitement about this next phase is palpable. “It’s long overdue but we believe a new era is dawning in the field of menstrual care in Asia. Make no mistake, LUÜNA are going to be leading the way.” Visit to get your organic cotton subscription, or LUUNA Period Cup. Follow them on Instagram @luuna.naturals. If you’re a company or organization that wants to take part in LUUNA’s ‘A New Normal’ initiative, message

in collaboration with LUÜNA naturals. Get 20% off your order with the code “LivMagLuuna”


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IN THE SUN This winter, whisk the family away to sunny Singapore on a vacation that sparks joy for all ages.


isitors to the Lion City know all about its amazing food and cultural heritage, but did you know that Singapore is one of Asia’s most kid-friendly cities? From the worldrenowned Singapore Zoo to the action-packed resorts on Sentosa, There’s so much family fun to be had on your next vacation!

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT If you find Singapore too hot during the day, wait until the sun goes down for the real fun to begin! Singapore’s famous Night Safari is when all the nocturnal animals come out to play. Meet tigers, lions, flying squirrels, tapirs, deer and all kinds of creatures at this modern enclosure that puts conservation front and centre. Increase the fun factor by bundling your visit with a visit to all of the facilities under the Wildlife Reserves Singapore umbrella, including Singapore Zoo, the Jurong Bird Park and the River Safari.

SPECTACULAR SENTOSA Located on the southernmost tip of Singapore, Sentosa island is connected via bridge to the mainland, and is a hotspot of family-friendly entertainment. Though it’s best known as the home of Universal Studios Singapore, there’s so


much more to this island! Younger kids will love the S.E.A Aquarium and the Adventure Cove waterpark for an afternoon of aquatic fun. Older kids and teens, meanwhile, should check out the Skyline Luge, where you can whizz down the hillside on four exciting tracks. Not enough adrenaline? Visit the Mega Adventure Park, where you can fly along a 450-metre zipline, try a parachute simulator or soar through the sky on a bungee-assisted trampoline. Then head to Siloso Beach to leap off the 50-metre AJ Hackett bungee tower for an added thrill.

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THE PERFECT PIT-STOP Sounds like the perfect family vacation? We think so too! That’s why the upcoming sailings of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, deparating Singapore between November and April 2020, combine the best of both worlds. Start or end your vacation with an action-packed land tour discovering the best of Singapore’s spendours, followed by an invigorating voyage at sea on one of the world’s most technologically-advanced cruise ships.

SET SAIL WITH THE FAMILY ABOARD QUANTUM OF THE SEAS Part of Royal Caribbean’s fleet of high-tech, entertainment-packed vessels, Quantum of the Seas offers an unparallelled cruising experience. Set sail on a luxury cruise experience, featuring 16 decks, 18 restaurants, and plenty of entertainment to keep the young (and young at heart!) entertained.

THE PERFECT FAMILY VACATION With all the guesswork taken out of your holiday, Royal Caribbean lets you focus on the important things: making memories with loved ones. With 2,090 large, tasteful and luxuriously appointed staterooms, you can be assured of relaxing surroundings in a safe and luxurious environment. Foodies will find plenty to tempt the palate at the 18 restaurants onboard, including partnerships with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. For families with young children, the WindJammer restaurant is a casual all-day buffet that offers something to please even the pickiest of eaters. On the entertainment front, prepare to be amazed as you take your seat inside state-of-the-art performance venue,TwoSeventy, which offers a fully immersive experience, combining high-tech digital displays with live performance, music and special effects to create shows that are out-of-this-world. The four-night Malaysia cruise starts at just $3,655 per head.

ADVENTURE AWAITS Jam-packed with exciting amenities for adventureseekers, Quantum of the Seas is the perfect pick for a family-friendly getaway. For older kids, you’ll find an impressive rock-climbing wall, Ripcord by iFly indoor skydiving experience, Flowrider surf simulator, and Seaplex indoor arena, where you’ll find bumper cars, gaming consoles and indoor activities galore. Kids of all ages, from tots to pre-teens, will love the gaming arcade as well as the “Adventure Ocean” children’s playroom, with its impressive indoor play area and scheduled entertainment. Don’t miss curling up under the stars for an outdoor movie screening on the deck before heading back to your family-friendly suite, which offers interconnecting rooms that are perfect for larger family groups, as well as baby amenities for the littlest explorers.

5-Night Spice of Southeast Asia Cruise Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Penang – Phuket – Singapore Departure dates: Dec 9, 14, 23 (Christmas), 28 (New Year), Jan 28 (CNY), Feb 2, Mar 8, 13, Apr 4, 17 4-Night Malaysia Cruise Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Penang – Singapore Departure dates: Dec 19, Jan 16, 24 (CNY), Feb 7, Mar 18, 27, Apr 9 (Easter), 22

EXCLUSIVE OFFER! Book now to get 30% off, and kids under 12 sail free! Booking hotline: 3018-3464 Booking center: Suite 2006, Tower 1, The Gateway, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui Website Or contact your travel agents


Kids Xmas


Ultimate Guide


Just because you’re trying to be greener doesn’t mean you have to be a grinch! Keep your kids happy with these fun waste-free gift ideas that are seriously sustainable. By Sarah Fung.

PLASTIC-FREE STOCKING STUFFERS We get it. It’s probably unrealistic to expect your kid to be totally fine with having NOTHING to open on Christmas morning! But with a little careful curation you can put together a delightful stocking filled with tasty, practical and - yes - fun gifts, with zero plastic packaging in sight!


BAKE YOUR OWN COOKIES Rather than reaching for pre-packaged snacks as stocking-fillers, bake your own festive cookies. They look delicious wrapped up in greaseproof paper and tied with a (recycled) festive bow. No oven? There are plenty of bake-free recipes to follow online.


HOT CHOCOLATE KIT What could be lovelier on Christmas morning than a steaming cup of hot chocolate? Layer cocoa powder, milk powder, sugar, marshmallows and anything else you want to add in a glass mug with a lid, and when you’re ready, just add water for a rich cocoa drink.


Kids Xmas


HOMEMADE PLAYDOUGH Ditch the endless tiny plastic tubs and make your own playdough with salt, flour and food colouring. Add stainless-steel cookie cutters for extra fun.


A CRAFTING KIT Knitting, crochet and cross-stitch are great mindful activities and often become lifelong hobbies. Knitting needles and a ball of yarn, a cross-stitch hoop and patterns, or a sewing kit with fabric and instructions on how to make a simple item (such as a drawstring bag) provides hours of diversion and paves the way for a lifetime of upcycling projects.


SEEDS AND SOIL Children love growing their own plants. Head down to the flower market and pick up some seeds and soil, and use old yoghurt pots to grow a miniature garden.


ECO-PENCILS AND NOTEBOOKS Give the scented gel pens a miss and instead go the eco route with this 12-pack of colour pencils made from upcycled newspapers. $40 from the WWF Panda Shop.


BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH The easiest plastic-free change for kids is to swap out their plastic toothbrush with one made of bamboo. 31

Kids Xmas

EXPERIENCE GIFTS While kids love unboxing a shiny new gift, they’re often played with and then tossed aside. Gift them an experience instead for a day they’ll never forget.

PLAYROOM PASSES Epicland Located in Discovery Bay’s North Plaza, this 14,000-squarefoot indoor playroom has huge slides, obstacle courses, climbing walls, ball pits and so much more. Ideal for ages 5 and up. Weekend prices start at $208 for one child under 8 and one adult.

Funzone Conveniently located in Kennedy Town, Funzone is perfect for kids aged up to around 9. It also has a great area designed for babies and toddlers. Weekend entry is $180 for one child and an accompanying adult.

Ryze Trampoline Park The two-storey Ryze park offers trampolines and a ninja course on one floor, with a newer obstacle course on the lower level. Think ziplines, high jumps, swings and more. Prices start at $160 for a 1-hour sesson for kids aged 7 and over on weekends.

Superpark Originating in Finland, this multi-sport arena has dozens of stations, all designed to get kids moving. From dodgeball to trampolining, slides to car racing tracks, Superpark has it all. Baumhaus Best suited to smaller kids aged 3-6, Wan Chai’s Baumhaus costs $100 per child, and $60 per additional sibling. Inside you’ll find an attractive treehouse-inspired area that’s perfect for imaginative play, plus (mercifully) a cafe where you can relax with a coffee. 32

Big Days Out

DISNEYLAND The original maker of childhood memories, Disneyland is a clear contender for a special day out. Its Christmas programme runs until Jan. 1, and includes a snow-dusted Main Street USA, festive-themed performances and - for Elsa fanatics out there - a Frozen Garden Village and Frozen-themed performances in celebration of the new film. Make a weekend of it and book a staycation in one of the three Disneyland hotels connected to the park, complete with character dining, free kids’ activities and movie screenings. DOLPHIN WATCHING As the population of Chinese White Dolphins continues to dwindle, it’s time to take the kids out on an HK Dolphinwatch eco-tour for an unforgettable day out. Tours run every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and cost $460 for adults and $230 for kids aged 3-11. The trip includes roughly 3-4 hours on a boat, as well as pickup either from Tsim Sha Tsui or Tung Chung.

ARK EDEN An eco-education centre on Lantau, Ark Eden runs regular holiday camps for children aged 5-11. Primarily day camps (though overnight options are available), these outdoorsy, activity-filled days aim to build skills such as cooperation and problem-solving via a full immersion in the natural world. The upcoming Christmas camps cost between $680 and $750 per day - expect them to come home mucky and tired, but exhilarated. Also offers private camps for larger groups, as well as overnight family camping opportunities.

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LifeHub CHRISTMAS CLEANSE Mulled wine, minced pies, and chocolates oh my! Don’t let Christmas sabotage your health journey this year. Treat yourself to a full-body Christmas Cleanse to keep your body working in top condition over the holidays. Or better yet, skip the material gift-giving and gift this healthful experience instead. SET ASIDE 3 HOURS FOR SOME MUCH NEEDED SELF-CARE

DETOX BOOST IV DRIP - 30 MINS IVs deliver ingredients straight into your bloodstream. You’ll receive potent antioxidizing ingredients along with a comprehensive vitamin complex, and a big boost of hydration. Enjoy with a detoxifying shot or tea of your choice.

BIORESONANCE - 30 MINS (WITH IV DRIP) While you’re sitting down for your IV, we’ll have you on our bioresonance mat. It’s a non-invasive therapy that uses electromagnetic waves to assist the body’s ability to selfregulate and self-heal from our daily stressors.

OXYGEN THERAPY WITH AROMATHERAPY 30 MINS (WITH IV DRIP) Also done while you’re having your IV, oxygen is delivered through a nose tube. This increases oxygen delivered to our blood to restore normal levels of blood gases and tissue function, promoting healing and fighting infection.

COLONIC HYDROTHERAPY - 60 MINS Also known as colon cleansing or colonic irrigation, it functions to circulate water into your bowels, physically removing waste products and toxins. You may see benefits in energy, bowel movements, mood, immune system and even weight loss.

INFRARED WRAP - 45 MINS Infrared light therapy delivers safe, concentrated wavelengths of natural light to your cells. Vibrations from light frequency help to push waste out of the cells for whole-body detoxification.

DETOX SUPPLEMENTS - 3 DAYS SUPPLY These come in the cute daily take-home packs and are designed to soothe, nourish and encourage continuous removal of toxins from your system for days after your experience at LifeHub has ended.

$2980 (ORIGINAL PRICE $3500)

1/F, The Loop, 33 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong +852 3622 3452 WhatsApp: +852 6115 2094

Kids Xmas

SMALLER EXCURSIONS Cinema Gift Card Catch a family flick with the little ones. Enquire at your nearest cinema box office. Apple Store Gift card Go digital with spending credit to splash out on apps or movies. Available at 7-Eleven. AIA Carnival Hong Kong’s annual funfair rolls into town this December and stays through February. Pick up tickets to the carnival and circus for a festive treat. LCSD Museum Pass For just $100 for a family pass, you can get unlimited access to all 14 government-run museums (including paid exhibits) all year long.


GO SECOND-HAND Yes, kids love waking up on Christmas morning to a stocking full of new toys to play with, but who says they have to come straight from the store? Green parents (and aunties/ uncles) can hunt down pre-loved toys, books and clothes instead. CAROUSELL This second-hand selling site does a brisk trade in child and baby gear. Its easy interface allows you to filter by category, age group and price range. It’s a veritable pre-loved paradise, with mint-condition scooters, doll houses, lego sets play kitchens and more.

Also try: Facebook Marketplace, Facebook groups like Baby Swap-it 34

RETYKLE Looking for some designer threads? Retykle is a second-hand buy and sell platform for children’s clothes up to age 12. In addition, it has a great section for new mums and mums to be, with second-hand nursery furniture, toys, prams and other essential gear. Shop online or visit their showroom in Wong Chuk Hang.

Also try: Green Little, Kids Dress Smart REBOOKED Books are perfect gifts and kids never care if they’re not brandn ew from the store. ReBooked is a Hong Kong-based startup that sells second-hand children’s books, from baby board books to young adult fiction, and everything in-between. Prices ring in at around $10-$20 for board, picture and chapter books aimed at younger kids. Want to donate? For every 10 books you donate to ReBooked, you can receive one free.



Christmas is touted as the season of goodwill but charities depend on volunteer support year-round. Here’s our pick of local charities in need of a helping hand, now and after the festive season has passed - all of which welcome non-Chinese speakers too. By Zoe Belhomme

PATH FI NDERS WHAT THEY DO: Local charity Pathfinders works with pregnant foreign domestic workers (FDWs), helping some of the city’s most vulnerable residents to access prenatal care and support for their family needs. HOW YOU CAN HELP: The charity needs committed volunteers to help run their programmes by delivering workshops to clients or sorting through through clothes at their Lai Chi Kok facility. They’re also actively looking for business support from professionals including accountants, strategists, and those with backgrounds in communications, technology, governance and law. ANYTHING ELSE? The charity has helped over 6,000 domestic workers, and over 2,600 babies and children, since 2008. CONTACT: Visit

C L EAN U P HO NG KO NG WHAT THEY DO: For those who like to get their hands dirty in the great outdoors, cleaning Hong Kong’s beaches is a fun and rewarding way to spend a few hours at the weekend. Clean Up Hong Kong organises the year-round Hong Kong Cleanup Challenge, and also works with communities, schools, government and businesses to provide practical solutions to waste problems. 36

HOW YOU CAN HELP: In addition to public cleanups, HK Cleanup also works with corporate partners to run events for employees. If you’re in charge of a team or work in HR, make your next social about giving back - that cold beer on the beach will taste even better after working up a sweat. CONTACT: Email info@


RED R ES S WHAT THEY DO: You’ve probably heard about Redress through their super popular pre-loved pop-ups but they have a much bigger remit as an environmental NGO working to reduce waste in the textile industry. HOW YOU CAN HELP: Redress frequently runs campaigns such as clothing drives, sort-a-thons and pop-up shops for which they need volunteer support. They also need skill-specific support for their annual flagship event, the Redress Design Awards. For those just starting out in their career, the NGO offers unpaid internships (three-week minimum commitment).

ANYTHING ELSE? Redress partners with over 120 universities and provides them with Educator Packs to teach people about textile waste. These are available in four languages

and provide critical content to empower emerging designers and fashion educators. CONTACT: Apply for positions via



A R T IN H OSPI TAL WHAT THEY DO: This organisation uses the power of art to aid patient recovery in hospital or provide some respite to those suffering with terminal illness. Art in Hospital not only arranges colourful and fun creative murals to brighten the hospital environment but also hosts art workshops with the help of crafty volunteers.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Experienced artists are invited to help design murals while those with a passion for art therapy can help host sessions and workshops with patients. Anything else? You don’t have to be the world’s most talented artist to add value to this organisation; passion and a willingness to facilitate creativity in others qualifies you as a

volunteer at this NGO. CONTACT: Visit and register your interest by downloading the form online. Art in Hospital will add you to their mailing list to advise on upcoming opportunities.

H ONG KO NG DOG RES C U E WHAT THEY DO: HKDR cares for the welfare of unwanted and mistreated pups and finds them both suitable foster carers and forever homes. HOW YOU CAN HELP: Volunteers are primarily dog walkers but the organisation is also looking for help with professional photography, graphic design and web skills to keep their site up to date, as well as event planning and fundraising. ANYTHING ELSE? HKDR believes that education is the key to helping dogs. In 2013 they opened a small venue for workshops and classes to help owners better understand their new pets, and reduce the number of animals being abandoned. CONTACT: Visit

I MPAC TH K WHAT THEY DO: ImpactHK was founded four years ago by Jeff Rotmeyer, a Canadian teacher with a passion for helping Hong Kong’s homeless. The charity provides people sleeping rough with food, clothing and shelter. What began as a bunch of friends coming together to give food out to the homeless has become a huge support system for people in need, running almost nightly “Kindness Walks” in areas such as Tai Kok Tsui, Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po, with a newly opened day centre for people to eat and shower. HOW YOU CAN HELP: Organise a Kindness Walk to give out food to those in need; there’s also a


minimum suggested donation so you’ll raise some much needed funds for the charity to operate. If you have specific skills in areas such as music or art, the charity also welcomes volunteers to teach classes at their new facility. ANYTHING ELSE? To date, 4,000 volunteers have helped Impact Hong Kong with their mission. The charity serves 1,500 meals weekly, in addition to the food given out on the streets, and since they began they’ve helped 85 people into homes of their own. CONTACT: Jeff at

P h oCt oo m g rmaupnhiet ry

RI DI NG F O R TH E DI S A BL ED AS S OC I AT I O N ( R D A ) WHAT THEY DO: Founded in 1975, RDA provides free riding lessons for mentally and physically handicapped children and adults. Horse riding offers many therapeutic benefits, including improved concentration, muscle control, and emotional wellbeing from bonding with animals. RDA runs classes at Pok Fu Lam and Tuen Mun Public Riding Schools. HOW YOU CAN HELP: RDA runs more than 4,000 rides per year and are always looking for volunteers to help lead horses and riders in the paddock and facilitate horse/rider interactions. ANYTHING ELSE? Experience with horses is not a must! All training will be provided by the experienced instructors. CONTACT: For more info see

FEEDI NG H ONG KONG WHAT THEY DO: In Hong Kong, more than 70,000 local households don’t have enough food to eat and survive on less than $15 per person per day. Feeding Hong Kong redirects surplus food from farms, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, to local charities who can help redistribute it. HOW YOU CAN HELP: Aside from financial donations, Feeding Hong Kong is always looking for more volunteers. From bread runs and managing deliveries to support in the warehouse, the

charity keeps an updated calendar of volunteer opportunities on its website. ANYTHING ELSE? While the main focus of Feeding Hong Kong is getting food to those in need, they also help reduce food waste that otherwise ends up in landfills. CONTACT: Volunteer information can be found at

BRINGING PEACE & COMFORT AT X’MAS BY LETIZIA With a flattering four-way stretch, sexy mesh panels and excellent absorbency, Letizia leggings combine high-performing fabrics with Korean style for the perfect pair of workout leggings. What’s more, the fabrics are certified non-toxic, UPF50+ and made to the highest standards of product quality and safety, making them the perfect gift for a loved one - or a treat for yourself. Where to buy HKTV mall : LETIZIA letizia_yoga | | Tel:+82-32-322-7509 | wecaht: sunrise0147 | +82-10-5500-0147 WE’RE LOOKING FOR SALES PARTNERS IN HK AND SINGAPORE.

23 39


TEST-DRIVE Liv checks out the newest workouts and wellness trends



Japanese 3.1 Conditioning Treatment at W52 Hair & Nails The Buzz: As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, everyone’s skin and hair could use a little extra love. Sensing that our tresses were feeling decidedly crunchier than we’d like, we decided to check out a deep conditioning hair treatment at W52 Hair & Nails to see if it could carry us through the dry winter season. The Treatment: Our stylist Sinead recommends the Japanese 3.1 Conditioning Treatment, a threestep treatment which promises to add moisture and protein to the hair. We start with a shampoo and towel dry. This is followed up with the first application of the treatment, which is left for 15 minutes then rinsed. The second and third applications are layered over one another, then we’re left under a heater which will open the hair cuticle and allow deeper penetration of the treatment. After that, it’s a quick rinse, followed by a blowdry. The three-step process takes about 90 minutes, plus an extra 30 minutes for cut and blowdry. The Verdict: Call us deep conditioning converts! True to our stylist’s word, our strands feel silky, soft, and noticeably healthier than before. Hair is much more manageable with a serious reduction in frizz, and we’re told the results will last for an entire month! For results that last that long, this quick and easy treatment is a perfect option for anyone looking for an instant fix for hair damaged by bleach, heat or harsh city conditions. 4/F, W Place, 52 Wyndham St., Central, 2217-0644,


Bamford Wellness Retreat at The Upper House The Buzz: Five-star luxury hotel The Upper House has teamed up with British skincare brand Bamford to offer one- and two-night wellness-inspired staycations that are perfect for anyone looking to go solo and reset for a night or two. We check in to check out the experience. The Stay: We’re picked up from our door by one of The Upper House’s resident chauffeurs. Upon arrival, we’re whisked upstairs to our Peak-view suite, and ease into a hot bubble bath. A two-night stay comes with a complimentary in-room treatment with a Bamford therapist, and we enjoy an hour-long massage in the comfort of our room. We finish with an early dinner from the Revitalising Menu, a selection of light and nutritious dishes without potential allergens such as gluten and lactose. We rise early the next morning for an indulgent breakfast of fluffy pancakes and fruit, before joining a yoga class in the hotel garden. The Verdict: Pure bliss! The Bamford massage is beyond soothing, and our therapist couldn’t have done more to make us feel relaxed. This is a pricer staycation to be sure; however if you can justify it, buying some time for yourself can be a worthwhile investment. The Cost: $4,800 per night based on single occupancy. Two-night stays receive complimentary breakfast and dinner, a Bamford welcome gift, and 60-minute treatment. Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty,



GIVEAWAYS Visit for a chance to win!

WIN: a pair of tickets to Hong Kong Disneyland! Have a magical day at Hong Kong Disneyland, which has pulled out all the stops for its Christmas celebrations. In addition to Mickey and the gang all decked out in their festive finery, Frozen II fever is officially in full swing, with the newly launched Frozen Fantasy Gardens Village as well as a royal winter procession featuring Anna and Elsa. Where better place to head to get into the festive spirit? Courtesy of Hong Kong Disneyland, we have nine pairs of tickets up for grabs; each pair is valued at $1,287.

WIN: a yoga mat from Melt Yoga!

WIN: skincare set from Vinoble! Luxury Austrian skincare brand Vinoble is all about its eco-friendly creds, like vegan formulations, sourcing regionally and packaging made entirely from glass, wood and textile. But this line of grapebased, all-natural products is also amazing for the skin, and it’s become a fast favourite in spas all across Europe. This skincare set includes some of their signature products, including a cleansing gel, lifting mask and regenerating cream in a reusable wooden box for a total value of $2,120.

Sick of your downward dog slipping all the time? Get a grip with this slip-proof yoga mat from Melt Yoga. The microfibre suede tops on these mats are sweatabsorbent, so your palms and feet will stick when and where you need them to. They’re also made from recycled plastic bottles and natural rubber, making them eco-friendly, too. We have a standard Citylights yoga mat, valued at $950, for one lucky, sweaty yogi.

Enter at before Dec 23 to win!




Coconut Sugar Shortbread Cookies By Divya Hiranandani, @theveggiewifey Butterfly pea flowers, found at Hong Kong Organic Farm in Fanling, give these shortbread cookies a gorgeous splash of colour. Use Christmas-themed cookie cutters to make them festive! Serves 4-6


TIME 1 hour

TIP: Dust with confectioners’ sugar for an extra Christmassy finish




• 1 cup of unsalted butter

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

• ½ cup of organic coconut palm sugar (or more if you prefer sweeter) • 2 cups of self-rising flour • 2-3 butterfly pea flowers petals, picked • 1 egg white

Preheat oven to 180°C. Mix butter and sugar together, until soft. Add the flour and mix it all together. Roll the dough into a cylinder, about 1.5 inches in diameter Wrap with beeswax wrap, or another eco-friendly alternative, and allow to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. 6. Remove the cylinder of dough, and slice into 1cm rounds. 7. Place one petal on each circle of dough, and brush with egg white. 8. Place on a baking tray sprinkled with flour. 9. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. 10. Remove and let cool for 10-20 minutes before serving.

HOLIDAY REBOOT PLUS SPECIAL OFFER Get yourself in shape for 2020 or purchase this perfect Xmas gift for a loved one!

One month membership + personal training program INCLUDES: • 4 x 1:1 Personal Training Sessions • Ad hoc assistance when working out alone • Customized workout program • Full use of gym equipment • Guidance on equipment use • Access to small group classes • Fitness assessment • Body composition analysis • Nutrition mini-consultation HK$4,998 only

FACILITIES INCLUDE: Unique heated Himalayan pink salt stretch floor Full body power shower X6 Deluxe high-pressure tanning solarium (separate fees apply) Rehab specialist for injuries or postural issues (separate fees apply)

Terms and conditions and apply Contact: or call James on 6689 3996. UG/F Hang Tak Building, 1 Electric Street, Wanchai, HK. ozonefitnesshongkong


THE GLOW UP News from the beauty aisle



pice things up over the holiday season with these fab spa promotions that make for perfect gifts - or a treat for yourself. Chuan Spa


If you can’t get enough of that Christmasssy aroma, head to Chuan Spa, which is offering a 90-minute “Merry Spa-radise” package. It starts with a 30-minute scrub made with cinnamon, clove, walnut powder, cranberry and bergamot-scented sea salt. Then, ease your tired muscles with a massage using a blend of sandalwood, cedar and patchouli oils. Relax after your treatment with a warming cup of ginger, honey and cinnamon tea. Add on another $200 for a 30-minute foot treatment, or hit up the gym, outdoor heated pool and fitness studio for a full day of pampering. $1,008, available until December 31. 41/F, Cordis Hotel, 555 Shanghai St., Mong Kok, 3552-3510,



Winter weather brings rough, scaly skin, so treat your feet with a spa pedicure at Flawless. Start with a warm, essential oilinfused foot soak, followed by an olive grain scrub and a warming paraffin treatment that leaves your skin soft and nourished. A coat of festive nail polish leaves you ready to put your best foot forward at your next Christmas gathering. $550 for 75 minutes until January 31. 4/F, Sea Bird House, 2228 Wyndham St., Central, 2869-5868,


One for the gents, The Mandarin Barber offers “A Gentleman’s Experience” for the holiday season. The treatment includes a 30-minute back massage or express facial, followed by a haircut and shampoo service in elegant art deco surrounds. Even better, 3% will be donated to the Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association. How's that for a feel-good treatment? $1,080. Available until December 31. 5 Connaught Rd. Central, 2522-0111, 42




Feeling the cooler weather? MiraSpa has a 90-minute treatment, comprising a 30-minute deep heat body wrap, followed by a 60-minute hot stone massage to leave your muscles feeling deeply relaxed. Start your treatment with a gym session and a dip in the heated indoor pool, before rounding off with a warm cup of Winter Detox tea. Bonus: three hours free parking and 20 percent off products at the spa store. $1,100 (weekdays), $1,200 (weekends and public holidays). 118-130 Nathan Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 23155500,


Known as a stimulating and warming ingredient, this ginger-themed treatment at Plateau Spa will leave you warmed up and ready to go over the chilly winter months. The 90-minute “Winter Sensory” massage treatment uses ginger massage oil to invigorate and boost circulation, while a hydrating hand and foot massage looks after the skin on your extremities during these drying times. Round off the ritual with a cup of hot honey ginger tea, served in your spa suite. Want to make a day of it? Get 30 percent off any other 60- or 90-minute treatments booked on the day. $1,580 for one, $2,980 for two. Available until March 15, 2020. 11/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Rd., Wan Chai, 2584-7688.

Few countries do natural skincare like Italy does, thanks to its sizeable homegrown harvests of crops like olive oil, pomegranates and lemons. Sicilian-based beauty line Irene Forte Skincare is keeping those credentials in check, with its collection of all-natural, nutrient-rich skincare that’s now available on Net-a-Porter. Developed by Irene Forte, the daughter of Sir Rocco Forte and Wellness Director of Rocco Forte Hotels, the products are handmade and sourced entirely from the family’s organic farm in Verdura, making this skincare a cut above the rest for transparency and sustainability. We’ve fallen hard for the Almond Cleansing Milk ($745), which deeply nourishes skin with organic almond oil that’s perfect for the harsh winter weather.



ESCAPE ARTIST Seeking a retreat experience that offers a more tailored experience? Carla Thomas checks out an inspiring wellness destination that lets you pick and choose from a menu that includes sweat, surf, yoga, mindfulness and more.


h, Bali. Island of the Gods, the Last Paradise, Island of a Thousand Temples - call it what you will, it’s the very definition of idyll. For decades, wellness-seekers have been flocking to this magical destination in search of something, whether that’s spiritual enlightenment or simply learning how to stand up on a surfboard. It’s rare, however, to find everything you’re after under one roof. Escape Rituals, newly opened earlier this year just outside of Canggu, is trying to do things a bit differently when it comes to its retreats. Rather than sticking to one specialty programme, it offers several different wellness streams that cater to different interests and needs, running the spectrum between the spiritual to the physical. That kind of flexibility comes in handy more than you’d think. Couples or groups travelling together might not all want to subscribe to the same standard


yoga or wellness regimen during their Bali retreat, for example. Or if you’re anything like me, someone who believes firmly that variety is the spice of life, you appreciate some diversity when it comes to your daily pursuits. It was in this spirit of the plenty that I boarded a flight from Hong Kong to Denpasar for a retreat with Escape Rituals. After being met by my private driver at the airport, we headed northwest, escaping the chaotic, overcrowded frenzy of Kuta for the greener pastures of Canggu. Canggu isn’t exactly an undiscovered gem to anyone familiar with Bali; it’s a popular surf spot with a lively beach bar scene to go with it. But it remains a more chilled-out option to anyone turned off by overdeveloped Seminyak, which can swell with tourists thanks to its relative proximity to the airport and famous hotspots like Potato Head Beach Club.


We finally arrived at the villa, after several twists and turns that took us well off the main road - a good sign for anyone in desperate need of a break from Hong Kong’s merciless traffic noise. Forget ticking lights and angry taxis honking - all I could hear this far out were frogs and a light breeze flowing through the nearby rice paddies. I was welcomed into the villa by owner Sherina, a former entrepreneur who decided to get into the retreat game after a mind-altering experience of her own in Bali that challenged her outlook on life. She relocated to Bali, opening Escape Rituals with a vision of helping others like her who had long neglected their own self-care needs in the pursuit of helping everyone around them. For Sherina, escaping should be a ritual - not a guilty indulgence. The villa itself is magical. Built along the slope of a hill, it backs onto an expanse of lush, jungle

greenery, offering total privacy for guests. The house is modern and new, built in a Mediterranean style that feels more Los Angeles than rural Bali. My room is decidedly spacious and beautifully decorated with local artisans’ handicrafts, with floor-to-ceiling windows that give a panoramic view of the property, wilderness and the infinity pool. Speaking of that infinity pool - it’s a stunner. Bordering the grassy courtyard, this 21-metre pool backs off into the natural, jungle-filled gully, with a dramatic extension on one end that overhangs the ravine below. In short it’s the stuff Instagram was made for. The programmes here are designed for a wide range of wellness-seekers, and appropriately named to align with the surrounding nature. The Air Retreat offers an exploration of breath and self, with guided meditation and pranayama (breathing) exercises and low-impact walks and hikes. The Earth Retreat 45


grounds guests, with a programme of yoga classes that range from challenging to chilled-out, as well as meditation, pranayama, and Tibetan sound bowl healing. The Fire Retreat aims to build confidence and instil energy, with customised fitness sessions held on the villa grounds by personal trainers. And the Water Retreat is suited for anyone looking to learn or improve their surfing, with daily private surf lessons, capped off with specialised Yin or Restorative yoga that’s designed to soothe muscles sore from the surf. As a self-confessed sampler of all things, I decide to dabble. Rising early with the yogis, I’m led in a beautifully harmonious sunrise yoga session that sets a perfect and revitalised tone for my day. After that, we’re treated to an organic and homemade breakfast prepared by the in-house chef, which is followed by some sunbathing and a sorely needed massage after my flight. This is capped off with sunset yoga, pranayama and the practice of Trataka, a yoga purification method that involves staring at a candle flame, which is believed to bring energy to your third eye. Over the following four days, I change things up 46

by sweating it out at a HIIT class that nearly breaks my bum muscles (or so I’m convinced), challenging myself with my first ever surf lesson (I stand up!) and clearing my mind with meditation workshops and Balinese healing rituals. It’s a lot, but I love every minute of the experiences - and I’m glad I stayed true to my fickle nature rather than run the risk of FOMO. Perfect for anyone looking for a more bespoke and attentive retreat experience, Escape Rituals is purposefully small and attentive to retreaters’ every need. Passionate about holistic self-care and wellness, there’s literally nothing that Sherina won’t do to ensure that you leave her home feeling reborn, and it’s this hands-on attention that truly sets it apart from the larger, more faceless retreat experience. Starting from USD2,200, packages include six nights’ accommodation, three meals daily (prepared in-house and capable of accommodating any kind of request), and airport pickup and dropoff, as well as all of the fantastic health and wellness activities that you can squeeze in. Non-stop flights from Hong Kong to Bali are available through Cathay Pacific, starting from $3,500.


TRAVEL WELL with Kate Springer


he festive season is finally here! In feverish anticipation, I’ve been sprucing up my Christmas lists with gift ideas that make travelling easier, greener, and infinitely more stylish. Here’s some inspiration to get you in the holiday spirit.

FOR THE ASPIRING ROCK STAR: If a plain old suitcase just isn’t going to cut it, check out Ookonn. Inspired by rock music and guitar silhouettes, the homegrown Hong Kong brand has designed quirky, unconventionally shaped bags that you can personalise with a monogram or meaningful song lyrics.

FOR THE PERPETUAL SUNSEEKER: Based in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong brand SORA recently launched a new line of ecofriendly beach towels that are made from recycled postconsumer plastic. They’re green and gorgeous, featuring soothing designs by female artists around the globe. Best part: These beauties are light, easy to pack, and double as yoga mats so you can practice your asanas anywhere.

FOR THE BEAUTY BUFF: At LUSH, find all kinds of solid, package-free products that keep you feeling fly on and off the road. After a long flight, hydrate skin with the ultra-slim Goddess Wash Card and tame tresses with the lemon-scented Flyway Hair Shampoo Bar. Meanwhile, solid foundation Slap Stick provides buildable coverage and much-needed moisture. 48


FOR THE GUY WHO HAS EVERYTHING: In collaboration with Chris Patt, TUMI recently launched a nine-piece Recycled Capsule collection made from nylon and recycled PET. Particularly handy is the 2-in-1 Backpack Duffel, which includes a USB port as well as waterproof-lined pockets for shoes or wet clothes - perfect for a weekend getaway or just a trip to the gym.

FOR THE FASHION MAVEN: Founded by two Italian designers who are passionate about travel, Hong Kong-based fashion brand The Tangerine Road aims to capture destinations in its contemporary designs by collaborating with local artisans and adapting heritage textiles. For instance, the Singapore silk dress pays tribute to the city’s botanical gardens with its vibrant print, while the Kyoto silk blouse features a green jade button and elegant puff sleeves.


FOR THE HOMEBODY: Hygge enthusiasts can travel without leaving the couch with Cochine’s limited-edition Orange Amere & Star Anise Christmas candle. The Ho Chi Minh City-based fragrance specialist has bottled up the warm scents of Vietnamese markets layered with subtle festive notes - think bitter orange, cinnamon, vanilla, and smoky guaiac wood. Plus, the chic orange and silver design by British fashion illustrator Susannah Garrod makes this gift feel extra luxurious.

Help frequent travellers eschew plastic and stay hydrated with a Que travel bottle. Lightweight and 100 percent plastic-free, the smart spiral design collapses when empty for easy packing. They also come in a rainbow of colours to suit every style. Available at MoMA Design Store, Shop 135, 1/F, K11 MUSEA, Victoria Dockside.

Kate Springer is an Asia travel expert who contributes to Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, CNN, BBC Travel, Forbes Travel Guide, Fodor’s, Vice, and more. Follow her travels on Instagram @katespringer. Send travel news to




News and deals from our sister SAR

THE MAC PARADE December is just buzzing with events in Macau, and one of the highlights is the 2019 Macao International Parade. Held on December 8, this parade features an estimated 1,800 artists from 61 local groups, plus 19 groups hailing from five continents! The parade starts at the Ruins of St. Paul and winds its way through the city streets, finishing at Nam Van Lake, filling the entire area with a riot of music and colour. Alongside the carnival, there’ll be plenty to keep you entertained, from game booths to giant inflatable puppets and much more. Find more info at

BUILD YOUR OWN SCRUB If you’ve ever wondered what goes in to your beauty products, why not try making your own? The Iridium Spa at The St. Regis Macao is currently offering up a Curated Aromatherapy workshop + massage package where guests can create their own bespoke diffusers and body scrubs, with an optional 45-minute massage add-on. Guided by the spa’s wellness experts to create the diffuser and scrub most fitting to you, opt for your favourite scent as well as level of coarseness for exfoliation. Choose from blends designed to recharge, de-stress or release muscle tension, amongst many others. Priced starting at MOP 780+. Contact +853-81134949 or email

A COTAI CHRISTMAS The festive lights of the Cotai Strip are the definition of extra, with everyone battling it out for the best Christmas tree and light display. For me, the Sands shines every year with its wonderful Winter Wonderland decorations and holiday events. Check out La Magie de Noel, the Eiffel Tower’s Grand Illumination Show at The Parisan Macao, which runs every 30 minutes. Then, a few minutes down the road, marvel at the Venetian Macao’s 43,000-square-foot facade with stateof-the-art visual projections (until Jan 2). For the little ones, they’ll be delighted to take photos with Santa (until Dec 25) and send a Christmas greeting through the “Venice Post.” The Parisian Macao, Estrada do Istmo, Lote 3, Cotai and The Venetian Macao, Estrada da Baía de Nossa Senhora da Esperança, Cotai

Sally Victoria Benson grew up in Macau and is the publisher of, the city's leading lifestyle platform. She's passionate about sharing Macau's hidden healthy side and everything happening in the city. 50



with Zoe Belhomme

PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF LACTATION Headed by journalist and mum Liz Thomas, #ItTastesLikeLove is a Hong Kong-based social campaign that aims to help our society shift perceptions of breastfeeding in public.


tatistics show that less than 30 percent of women in Hong Kong reach the minimum six-month exclusive breastfeeding milestone recommended by the World Health Organisation. For me, once I got into the swing of things and my supply levelled off (and my nipples stopped being red raw), breastfeeding was my saviour. I found it quick and convenient and a great opportunity to bond with my baby. I noticed feeding in public was often met with disapproval. According to UNICEF, 40 percent of women who breastfeed in public have endured complaints or unpleasant experiences in Hong Kong. Many have been asked to cover up, are directed to the washroom or are told to move somewhere more discreet. How can we normalise the stigma of nursing in public? Journalist and breastfeeding advocate Liz Thomas aims to tackle this issue by creating a network of feeding-friendly safe commercial spaces in her campaign #ItTastesLikeLove. “Mothers should feel empowered and emboldened to breastfeed however, wherever, and whenever they need to,”

says Thomas. “For that to happen, they need support: not just from their partners, but from their friends, employers and the community as a whole. No one should face discrimination or harassment for meeting their child's basic needs.” From hugely popular chains such as Pret, Frites, and Caffe Habitu, to global restaurant groups including Maximal Concepts and Black Sheep Restaurants, to hip lifestyle brands such as Kapuhala Space, Glow Spa and Baumhaus, more than 100 Hong Kong businesses are signing on to show their support for nursing mums. Check out their Facebook page for more info, and how you can sign up your business to join the mammary movement.


YOU’VE GOT SOME FRONT While we’re on the subject of breastfeeding, we recently discovered Milki Train, a new line of breastfeeding clothes made with an eco-friendly ethos. Their first collection, made from 100 percent organic cotton, includes six relaxed but stylish T-shirts with poppers down the side (rather than on the shoulder) and fun prints on the front. If you want to support this fledgling brand, their Kickstarter campaign has just gone live and they’re hoping to launch online in February 2020.




PARENT AND BABY CLASS AT THE LITTLE GYM We've been wanting to try a "Bird" class at The Little Gym for ages now. Designed for new walkers aged 10 to 19 months, this 45-minute class lets babies explore their locomotion skills in a safe, secure environment, with apparatus and crash mats galore. Once we warmed up with some conditioning exercises, we had a chance to explore the space, with extra support on equipment like balance beams, which encourage walking and are a ton of fun to boot. Orla, our junior reviewer, couldn’t get enough... so much so that she cried when she finished her turn. Once free play was over, we headed back onto the floor to experiment with the colourful fabric parachute. Both mum and baby thoroughly enjoyed the session, further confirmed by that contented silence in the car home as Orla slept off her exertion. Got older children? No worries. The Little Gym offers a range of classes for children of all ages, including gymnastics for the older ones. Suite 601, 6F, World Commerce Centre, Harbour City, 11 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui,


A PEACOCKING GOOD TIME Introduce a little culture into your playtime at the K11 Musea playground. Rather than opting for the usual swings and slides, this artsy playground is a vibrant outdoor space with a giant ninemeter high peacock as its focal point. The art installation-cum-playpark is complete with a sixmeter spiral slide amid a lush garden, perfect for exploration and adventure in the heart of TST. Do note however that while most of the playground is open to all, you must spend $300 or more in the mall to gain access to the big slide. K11 Musea, 18 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui.

Zoe Belhomme is our resident fitness writer and new mum. She loves working out, eco-friendly parenting, and partnering with her husband to produce some of the region’s biggest sports events at MBS Concepts. Reach out to her directly with your healthy family news at


THE GUIDE GYMS CROSSFIT ASPHODEL Ccomes equipped with the latest Rogue equipment, four lifting platforms, an ice bath and spacious changing facilities. There’s also a healthy cafe for some post-workout grub. G/F, 22 Praya, Kennedy Town, 3568-7719, FLEX Flex is a high-end studio popular with the city’s fitness fans. With a full menu of group disciplines including classic Pilates and yoga, as well as classes for kids and teens, the schedule is packed with options. 3/F, Man Cheung Building, 15-17 Wyndham St., Central, 28132399; 308-310, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Rd., Wong Chuk Hang, 2813-2212, GOJI ELITE Focuses on strength & conditioning training and martial arts but also offers more specialised classes including Olympic lifting, yoga and pre- and post-natal fitness. First timers visitors enjoy a free trial class. 1/F, Hong Kong Plaza, 188 Connaught Road West, Shek Tong Tsui, 2838-3878, HAPPY KID-ULT YOGA With two premium locations in Kowloon, Happy Kid-ult Yoga provides a relaxing and welcoming environment to practice yoga and Pilates. Aside from traditional Hatha classes, the studios also run Yoga Basics classes, mellow Yin Yang, and family-friendly sessions. 19A, The Lamma City, 761 Nathan Rd., Prince Edward; Room 1018, 10/F, Hollywood Plaza, 610 Nathan Rd., Mongkok, 9765-3592, HYBRID MMA & FITNESS Hybrid’s facility in the heart of Central is a cut above lots of other MMA gyms out there, offering skills training and sport-specific conditioning, DNA-testing and tailored nutrition planning that uses the latest data-driven technology. 13/F, Entertainment Building, 30 Queens Road Central, 3468-7702, MADERA Opened just two months ago, the sparkling new studio is bright and


airy, specialising in a wide range of relaxation practices, from yoga to singing bowls. $200 drop-in. 1F, Madera Residences, 19 Cheong Lok St., Jordan, 3190-9988, yoga. OPTIONS PILATES With over 30 classes per week, it’s no surprise where Options Pilates gets its name from. Classes are smaller and more personalised, easily adapted to suit the needs of each guest. The studio also offers preand post-natal classes for new and expecting mothers to stay active. 12/F, 16 Wyndham St., 3188-8112, O:RIN Located in Quarry Bay, right near the TaiKoo office complex, this relaxed and spacious studio is kitted out with a huge range of equipment. And at a stone’s throw from TaiKoo Place, it’s a perfect lunchtime or post-work pitstop to squeeze in a workout. Unit 6, 19F Westlands Centre, 20 Westlands Rd., Quarry Bay, 5726-1669, OZONE This premium gym takes a hybrid approach to PT within its open plan space, so even when you work out on your own, trainers are on hand to advise on techniques and training methods without paying for a oneon-one session. UG/F, Hang Tak Building, 1 Electric St., Wan Chai, SANTI SPACE A friendly boutique yoga studio with a relaxed and earthy vibe. Disciplines such as flow, yin, alignment and aerial are practiced in front of the studio’s vertical garden for added serenity. 5A, Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Rd., Wan Chai, 9602-8864, SHAN STUDIOS Shan Studios is a yoga and meditation studio in Wong Chuk Hang. They offer yoga and meditation classes for all levels, as well as workshops to deepen your practice. 902 Sun Hing Industrial Building, 46 Wong Chuk Hang Rd., Wong Chuk Hang, 9306-6788,

WELLNESS CENTRES ALL ABOUT YOU CENTRE Launched by hypnotherapist Sonia Samtani, All About You specialises in mental wellness with services in hypnotherapy, coaching, healing and counseling to help alleviate limiting beliefs, habits, phobias, anxieties, depression and other roadblocks that prevent you from functioning at your best. 10A Wing Cheong Commercial Building, 19-25 Jervois St., Sheung Wan, 2992-0828, BYRNE, HICKMAN & PARTNERS One of Hong Kong’s longestestablished physiotherapy practices. Offers treatment for sports injuries, post-operative rehabilitation and clinical Pilates, and can also help to treat chronic and posture-related pain. Room 201, Dina House, Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell St., Central, 2526-7533. Also has clinics in TST, Repulse Bay, Yuen Long and Sha Tin. FIVELEMENTS This 15,000-square-foot wellness haven brings the spirit of Fivelements Retreat in Bali to support wellness seekers of all stripes. There’s a wide variety of programmes available, including yoga, movement, martial arts and dance but the urban retreat is best known for its mindfulness and holistic wellbeing sessions. L13A, Times Square, 1 Matheson St., Causeway Bay, habitat.fivelements. com. LIFEHUB Through diagnostic tests that explore areas like your gut biome analysis, heavy metals and food intolerances, practitioners at LifeHub gain a better understanding of your overall health to treat potential problems before they arise. 1/F, The Loop, 33 Wellington St., Central, 3622-3452, UP!HEALTH This friendly multidisciplinary clinic offers a variety of health services including chiropractic, sports massage therapy, clinical Pilates, TCM herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping, kinesiology and counselling in a fun, bright and welcoming space that is miles away from a stuffy doctor’s office.

WESTRETCH Specialising in the art of stretch therapy, the clinic’s signature 50-minute session works through the front and back of the body, as well as the limbs, to ease tightness, release localised tension and increase range of motion in the body. Wong Chung Ming Commercial House, 13/F, 16 Wyndham St., 2328-7000, 11/F, Wellington Place, 2-8 Wellington St., Central, THE BODY GROUP This physiotherapy clinic also has a huge range of complementary therapies to help you take charge of your health. Offers several disciplines of bodywork, including fascia release, cranio-sacral therapy, Chi Nei Tseng, sports rehab and relaxation massage. 14/F, Prosperous Building, 48-52 Des Voeux Road Central, 2167-7305,

PAMPER DOLMA WAXING BOUTIQUE Quick and efficient, this clean, waxingonly salon is conveniently located in Central, and the quickest route to your hair removal needs. With over a decade of experience in high-end salons, the eponymous Dolma treats every client herself, with a strict, no double-dipping spatula policy. Yu To Sang Building, Unit 303, 3/F, 37 Queen’s Road Central, Central; EMMANUEL F In addition to its full organic salon with natural hair dye services, emmanuel f has a whole spa area dedicated to delivering natural face, body, hand, foot and waxing treatments - all using certified organic products from French brand Phyt’s. U/G, The Pemberton, 22-26 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, 2167-8280, FLAWLESS This stylish urban day spa has been specialising in manicures, facials and makeup for eons, much to the delight of HK’s beauty fanatics. For facial treatments, the spa uses celeb fav cosmeceutical line Ultraceuticals, as well as botanical brand Aromatherapy Associates. 4/F, Seabird House, 22-28 Wyndham St., Central, 2869-5868, flawless.

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