E E K M TA H O E
A Fi rs t T i m e r ’ s G u i d e t o A
Hong Kong Christmas WIN: Bang & Olufsen earphones and luxury eye pillows on page 13!
! EE FR
FITN E SS NU T RIT ION WELLBEING T RAV EL ECO S PA
DECEMBER 2020 | l i v - m a g a z i n e . co m LIV MAGAZINE
WELLNESS Stuck for gifting inspiration? We’d love nothing more in our Christmas stocking this year than a PURE Power Pack SUPERCHARGED. This month-long all-access pass lets you kick-start your fitness journey, sampling a little bit of everything PURE has to offer. New this year is an exclusive 30-day FREE access to the PURECAST live-streamed classes, so you can still work out if you’re staying at home. Here’s everything that comes with the PURE Power Pack SUPERCHARGED: • 1-month pass to 22 PURE locations • 1-month access to PURECAST live-streamed classes • HK$200 worth of nood food vouchers • HK$200 worth of PURE Apparel vouchers • 2 x 7-day Guest Passes for friends
Get your PURE Power Pack SUPERCHARGED NOW! Purchase early for a better rate! Early bird:
$1,388 on or before December 21 Regular price: $1,588 from December 22
Visit pure-fitness.com/powerpack to learn more!
WHY WE LOVE PURE’S POWER PACK SUPERCHARGED WASTE-FREE: Let’s face it, with small Hong Kong apartments and overflowing landfills, we don’t always need more stuff. An experience gift will always be gratefully received by the minimalists in your life. THE GIFT OF SELF-CARE: By gifting a Power Pack, you’re encouraging your loved ones (or even yourself!) to make time to look after their bodies. Regular exercise reduces stress, improves your mood and boosts your immunity - and let’s face it, that’s something we all need right now! FLEXIBILITY: With access to all of PURE’s 22 fitness and yoga studios across Hong Kong, there really is something for everyone. From yoga to meditation, HIIT classes to cardio, you can try everything and discover what kind of fitness programs work best for you. PERKS: Feeling motivated? There are fantastic opportunities to upgrade your package, with exclusive discounts on private training and yoga, smoothie packs and nutrition consults for a total lifestyle transformation.
DECEMBER 05 Editorâ€™s Letter
LIV | MORE
LIV | NEWS
Lovely things we want right now
08 Hot Right Now
New happenings on the wellness scene
10 Fresh Cuts
Make healthier holiday food choices
The Reboot & Reset Diet Plan with Beth Wright
Fennel and feta-stuffed trout
All-natural gift sets for the clean beauty buff on your list
Go abroad in spirit with a destination-themed wishlist
How to cut your family's Christmas waste
LIV | STORIES 16 A Festive First
Can't go home for the holidays? Here's your newbie's guide to a Hong Kong Christmas!
30 Final Countdown
How to prep your mind, body, and soul for the new year 38 16
TIRED OF TRAINING WITH NO RESULTS?
TRIED WORKOUT PROGRAMS THAT LED TO NOWHERE? OUR PROGRAMS KEEP YOU CONNECTED TO OUR WORLD-CLASS COACHES AND WITHIN A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY VIA OUR APP-BASED PROGRAM. WEâ€™VE TRAINED ELITE AND NOVICE ATHLETES ALIKE FOR OVER 10 YEARS, SO WE KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO GET YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.
YOUR PERSONAL STRENGTH COACH
THE FIRST (HK) NOEL H
ere we are in December, and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that I never expected the past year to unfold the way it did. If I had a dollar for every time I encountered the phrase “in these unprecedented times” in my emails, I’d be able to afford the two-week hotel stay now required in Hong Kong when returning from abroad - a expense that’s just prohibitive enough that I wasn’t able to go home and see my family for Christmas this year. That was a tough pill to swallow, harder still for my family as it’s normally the only time of year we see each other. But then again, it’s very on brand for a year that has put “social responsibility” at the forefront of everyday life. After nearly a year of making sacrifices for the greater good, we’re still being asked to make them - and that’s just how the Christmas cookie crumbles on this occasion, I suppose! To that end, we felt inspired to cater to some of our readers who might also find themselves in a similar situation of being stuck away from home for the holidays, unsure of what to do or how to stoke that festive feeling! For all the noobs out there, you can check out our First-Timer’s Guide to a Hong Kong Christmas on p.16, for tips on where to eat, shop, and merrymake to your heart’s content. Looking beyond 2020 (and really, aren’t we all just ready to put it behind us?), New Year’s is just around the corner! If you’re anything like me, January 1st always comes as a surprise, as I emerge from my turkey and eggnog holiday hibernation and find myself on the backfoot with a new year in swing. This year, get prepped and ready to start 2021 right with a list of ways to refresh your mind, body, and soul before the clock turns over. Read more on p.30. We also have gift ideas galore! From all-natural gift sets for clean beauty buffs (p.36) to travel-themed presents to transport you abroad (p.38), to our absolutely packed-to-the-rafters Ultimate Gift Guide (p.24), you won’t be short on ways to give generously this holiday season. Thanks for reading this year! Our entire Liv team wishes you and yours a very merry Hong Kong Christmas!
MEET OUR CONTRIBUTORS
Zoe Belhomme goes red, white and very green, with ecofriendly ways to cut waste this Christmas on p.40.
For the stuck-at-home traveller, Kate Springer gives us her best travel-inspired gift ideas on p.38.
Nutritionist Chrissy Denton explains how to stay on track with healthy eating habits over the holidays on p.10.
Sarah Highfield prepares for a fresh start, with helpful tips to reset yourself ahead of the new year on p.30.
CARLA THOMAS EDITOR
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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 PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER ANSHU RIJHWANI DIGITAL & PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER TERRY HU EDITOR CARLA THOMAS SOCIAL MEDIA STACEY MARCELO ADMINISTRATOR JASMIN BLUNCK GRAPHIC DESIGN TAMMY TAN CONTRIBUTORS KATE SPRINGER, ZOE BELHOMME PRINTED BY GEAR PRINTING LIMITED, ROOM B, 3/F, DERRICK INDUSTRIAL BUILDING, 49-51 WONG CHUK HANG ROAD, ABERDEEN ‘‘Liv Magazine’’ Copyright 2020 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.
Here's what we're crushing on this month
CAFE ALL DAY
Get in the festive mood with this Christmas coffee range from Nespresso, which includes two flavours inspired by traditional Italian desserts: hazelnut cake and rich amaretti. Belissima! $67 for 10 capsules from Nespresso
BABY ITâ€™S COLD
Feeling that December chill? Fill up one of these hot water bottles nestled in a quirky knit sleeve to keep you warm and toasty during cold spells. 20.50CAD from pinyinpress.com
PUTTIN' ON THE SPRITZ
Banish bad vibes with a spray of this all-natural perfume, infused with black tourmaline crystal to counter negativity, as well as woody notes of sandalwood and oud.
Chess gets a pop art makeover with this set inspired by artist and social activist Keith Haringâ€™s iconic chalk outline figures. Even if you suck at playing, your friends will still love the cool, artsy reference.
$250 from omsa.world
$388 from MoMA Design Store
Entertain your guests in style over the holidays with this bone china teapot with hand-painted gold accents. Look closely, and youâ€™ll see the lattice is actually cross sections of bamboo! $1,980 from Shanghai Tang
MMGOI TO THE WORLD
Infuse your holiday greetings with a little hometown pride, with Christmas cards inspired by everyday Hong Kong things like dingdings and aggressive temperature checks. $39 per card from 852prints.com
Give your immune system a fighting chance over cold and flu season with some ready-toserve medicinal drink pouches, containing TCM heavyweights like Korean red ginseng, jujube, honey, and grapefruit seed extract.
We love this delicate porcelain trinket dish from sustainable homewares brand Baea. Not only is it pretty to look at, you can personalise the underside with initials, making it a more thoughtful gift idea.
$298 for 10 pouches from Wai Yuen Tong
$1,800 from baea.com 7
HOT RIGHT NOW With Jo Robinson
A CHEEKY BAKE AWAY
Pastry lovers, rejoice! Bakehouse has launched its second location in the heart of Soho. Unlike the Wan Chai flagship, it is takeaway only here, with a dazzling display of handcrafted breads and pastries that are easy to grab’n’go. Crowd favourites like the sourdough egg tarts are still on the menu, along with new additions like matcha cream doughnuts, beef rendang pie, and our favourite Cheat Day treat, the brisket sandwich with beef broth. Festive treats are also due for December, and we’ll be first in line to snap up mince pies and mini panettones fresh out of the oven. Open from 7am-7pm daily. 5 Staunton St., Central, bakehouse.hk
Paying homage to the children’s classic “Where The Wild Things Are,” The Wild Lot is Hong Kong’s newest pop-up space where anything goes. The uniquely designed space covers two floors, with a bright, spacious and airy vibe that feels homey. It’s the brainchild of Elaine Chen-Fernandez, a former impact investor, who noticed an absence of comfortable spaces in the city where creativity and experimentation could flourish in the form of events, special occasions, community activities - you name it! The space has already hosted an art gallery launch, a vegan pop-up market, and a live mural painting session, with future events planned if and when it is socially responsible to do so. Watch this (pop-up) space! thewildlot.co 8
From pop star to “Chief Liberation Officer” at global sexual wellness brand Womanizer, Lily Allen just launched her very own vibrator, leading the charge on their #IMasturbate campaign. This selfpleasure positive campaign aims to raise awareness around sex positivity and female masturbation, removing the taboo around sexuality in women and encouraging more open discussions about our pleasure. The Liberty vibrator is a sleek and discreet hot pink and red device, which uses Womanizer’s signature air wave technology to breathe new life into tired old self-pleasure routines. The Liberty costs $780, available to order from HKTV Mall. hktvmall.com
GOING UP A Very Hong Kong Christmas Since we’re all grounded, we may as well make the most of it! Turn to p.16 for our guide to a happy Hong Kong Christmas.
Winter Beach Trips Barred from the beach this summer, we’re hitting the beach over winter instead. Bring a flask of hot chocolate to stay warm!
Black Friday The annual postThanksgiving splurge always leaves us feeling hollow. Support local, and choose meaningful gifts instead.
If you’re looking for a more meaningful gift idea this Christmas, we recommend taking a peek at Charitable Choice Gift Cards. Their objective is simple: provide an altruistic alternative to traditional presents, and prevent unwanted gifts from ending up in the landfill. So you give back to the community while avoiding unnecessary waste, feeding two birds with one scone! Each gift card has a unique code that can be redeemed online, allowing the recipient to browse over 45 local partner charities and choose the cause closest to their heart. Gift cards start at $100 and are available in both printed and digital form, and you even have the option to design and customise your own gift card. Sustainable Secret Santa, anyone? charitablechoice.org.hk
A lover of all things wellness, Jo is an NASM-certified personal trainer and Liv’s Director of Partnerships. She loves nothing more than discovering the latest wellness news in Hong Kong. Got a tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Festive and Frazzled Rushing around town with a million items on your to-do list? It might be time to simplify, delegate or just go and grab a coffee. It is Christmas after all!
GOING DOWN 9
SEASON’S EATINGS Hong Kong nutritionist Chrissy Denton shares her top tips on how to eat healthier and fight the bloat this festive season.
Q What's the one misstep most healthy eaters make over the holidays that sets them back come January? Portion control! Before loading up your plate, scan the table and decide what you really need. To help with that, try choosing a smaller plate or bowl so you avoid piling the plate up high; studies show an average of 30 percent less food consumption this way. Q What are some easy, healthy substitutions we can make at Christmas dinner? Rather than load up on high-calorie foods every chance that we get, there are some simple swaps we can make that won’t leave us feeling deprived. Try swapping: Creamy dips for: homemade guacamole Mashed potatoes for: roasted herbed sweet potatoes Traditional stuffing for: homemade stuffing with apple, oats and hazelnuts Canapes like chips, sausage rolls, and rich cheeses for: a platter of veggie sticks, hummus, berries and raw nuts Christmas pudding with custard and cream for: homemade fruit crumble with Greek or coconut yoghurt and dark chocolate dipped strawberries
Q Your three best tips to stop from overeating? 1. Eat normally throughout the day! When we deprive ourselves of meals or food during the daytime we often play catch up or overeat at night. Try to eat normally and have an afternoon snack before dinner. 2. Pace yourself! It takes around 20 minutes for the brain to tell the body you’re full. Most of us tend to inhale our food and move onto the next course or beverage. Try to chew your food 20-30 times before swallowing, put your fork down between bites, and sit down at the table to really focus on what you’re doing. Christmas is all about celebrating with family and friends so enjoy the moment! 3. Skip the seconds. One of the highlights of Christmas is the leftovers the next day, right? So try to resist the temptation of going back for seconds... or thirds or fourths, for that matter. Your future self will thank you when you’ve got turkey sandwiches for days! Q What's the best way to prevent or fix bloating? Bloating can be due to a number of reasons. Some common reasons include eating too fast or on the go, stress, consuming too much caffeine, or something as simple as not chewing your food properly. Sit down and enjoy your meal mindfully - without any distractions or devices - to ensure you’re chewing your food enough and not overdoing it. Remember to drink between meals; water and other liquids help dilute our stomach acid, which can disrupt the body’s ability to break down food (i.e. bloating). Taking some natural digestive aids like
lemon juice and water or apple cider vinegar before a meal can also help stimulate our digestive enzymes and help relieve symptoms of indigestion or bloating. Q What are some foods that we should be eating lots of over the festive season? Remember to load up on veggies! If you’re hosting a dinner, try to include a rainbow of different vegetable options for your guests. Embrace seasonal produce with leafy green salads, roast pumpkin, sweet potato mash (without the cheese), asparagus, beetroot and pomegranates. Some of my favourite snack options are: • cucumber, celery and carrot sticks with hummus or fresh salsa • homemade guacamole & rice crackers • oven baked pita chips • fruit kebabs (festive berries & cherries) • vegetable and Christmas ham mini quiches • mixed raw nuts & fresh cranberries
Q Can we really not have any stuffing, gravy, mince pies, sausage rolls, etc. without being totally unhealthy and indulgent?! Have a heart, it’s Christmas! Of course, it IS Christmas, so we do want to include a few treats on the day! Try to use the 80:20 rule: 80 percent of the time, choose whole, real, nutritious foods and 20 percent of the time choose for pleasure. When you do indulge, homemade dishes are always a better option.
CHRISSY DENTON is a Hong Kong-based nutritionist and NASMcertified personal trainer. Get more nutritional tips from her health and wellness blog at chrissydentonhealthfitness.com.
FRESH CUTS Dining news that’s good for you TEA ACADEMICS OPENS IN CENTRAL From the same team that brought you The Coffee Academics comes this tea-based outpost! Located on Queen’s Road Central, Tea Academics is a modern tea cafe serving up artisanal brews from across the globe, as well as a healthy food menu that’s mostly vegan. 1/F, LHT Tower, 31 Queen’s Road Central, 3187-7303
CHRISTMAS AT THE CAKERY Looking for vegan, gluten-free, or low-sugar festive dessert options? Health-conscious bakery The Cakery is all over it, with their newly launched Christmas collection. Check out the all-vegan Christmas Cookie Box ($398), a bundle of soft-baked cookies including chocolate peanut butter, raspberry white chocolate, and chocolate chip pecan. thecakery.com
NEW MOMO TAKEAWAY IN KENNEDY TOWN Blink and you’ll miss it, Momo Moment is a tiny takeaway serving up the dumplings that are their namesake. The restaurant is the passion project of a Hongkonger who learned to make authentic momos from her Nepalese mother-in-law. We love the vegan spiced potato momos, and at just $45 for 10 it’s a steal of a deal, too! G/F, 34 Forbes St., Kennedy Town 11
TEST-DRIVE Liv checks out the newest workouts and wellness trends
Reboot & Reset Diet Plan with Beth Wright The Buzz: It can be hard to get our nutritional choices right, between a fast-paced lifestyle and information overload. Local fitness and nutrition coach Beth Wright helps people struggling to establish a healthy routine by demystifying food choices and tailoring her diet plans to the individual, based on their own metabolic needs. Her new Health Reboot & Metabolism Reset programme is designed to target a range of health goals, including weight loss, reduced inflammation, and improved digestion and gut health, in a manageable two- to fourweek timeframe. Here’s how it works. The Programme: The programme is broken down into three stages, with clients able to opt for one, two or all three sections. Part one, “The Reboot,” is a two-week elimination diet where alcohol, dairy, gluten, wheat and sugar are stripped out. The focus is on proteins, fats and greens, in order to give the body a break from burning its preferred energy source of carbohydrates and tap into our fat reserves. At week three, we then reintroduce carbohydrates (the good kind, no sticky rice or cinnamon 12
buns here), specifically timed around workouts so they are optimally used as fuel. Fasting windows may also be introduced here, depending on the individual, to give the digestive system a break and allow the body a mini-cleanse. Finally, week four slowly adds what was removed at the start, bringing our food intake up to a healthy, varied and nutritious eating plan. Beth’s aim is to build sustainable health and vitality through metabolic flexibility, meaning the body becomes adept at burning both carbs and fat for fuel, rather than simply using up the carbs and leaving fat to be...well, fat. The Verdict: We’re not gonna lie: the first four days of the elimination phase were tough. We were tired and hungry as we navigated the absence of carbs. But from the fifth day, the hunger pangs and tiredness disappeared. By two weeks, we’d shifted a few kilos, lost a few centimetres off our waist (see pics if you don’t believe us!), and noticed our energy levels remained stable from morning till night. We learned how and when certain food groups should be optimally eaten for specific health goals, and more importantly, realised how much lifestyle and stress can play a part in weight loss. Beth checked in daily to see how we were adjusting to the plan, and adapted it as and when needed based on our needs and bodily responses. One of Beth’s mottos is that the best diet is the one that actually works for you, and armed with better knowledge about our specific food and nutritional needs, we’re that much closer to nailing it down! Cost: from $3,500, plus $1,750 for the initial consultation bfit-thewrightway.com
GIVEAWAYS Visit liv-magazine.com/giveaways for a chance to win!
WIN: a set of Beoplay E8 Sport earphones from Bang & Olufsen It’s not a workout without some serious sweat beats to keep you going! These Bang & Olufsen earphones are the luxury lifestyle brand’s first foray into sports audio equipment, and are designed to improve your performance through pristine sound and music. We’ve long loved B&O for their in-home and portable speakers, so we’re thrilled to say the least to hear that these pioneers of audio technology are getting into the fitness game! The Beoplay E8 Sport has IP57 certifications that protects them from dust, sweat, and water intrusion up to one meter for 30 minutes, so they’re built to last all styles and intensities of outdoor workouts. We’ve got one set of these first-of-their-kind earphones, worth $3,250.
WIN: a stylish wheat eye pillow from Qurious! Get those spa vibes at home with these stunning eye pillows from newly launched lifestyle brand, Qurious. Handmade in Australia, these beautiful wheat-filled pillows feature a stunning print on one side and soft, soothing cotton on the other. Available either in relaxing lavender or dreamy rose, these eye pillows are perfect gifts too. They’re valued at $220 and we have ten up for grabs.
Enter at liv-magazine.com/giveaways before December 29 to win! 13
RECONNECT WITH NATURE Sick of the urban jungle? Make a break for the real deal, with a sweet escape to Yanbaru National Park in Okinawa! Just a short flight from Hong Kong to Okinawa, this undiscovered gem is a nature lover’s paradise, with lush forests, rare wildlife, and ample outdoor activities to keep you active. Here’s what to expect when you visit Yanbaru.
JAPAN’S SOUTHERN JEWEL
Located about 1,500km south of Tokyo, Okinawa is about as far from the hustle and bustle of city life as you can get. This scenic southernmost island of Japan boasts some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes, with coral reefs, crystal clear blue waters and white sand beaches, as well as plenty of luxury seaside hotels and resorts. More than just a beautiful place, Okinawa also embraces a slower pace of living, giving visitors the chance to truly unwind with unique Ryukyu culture and food traditions that are steeped in history.
WILD AT HEART: YANBARU Although Okinawa has plenty of charming towns and beachside destinations for you to explore, if you’re after something a little off the beaten path, head for the lush mountainous region of Yanbaru National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee is the largest subtropical evergreen forest in Japan, bursting with untouched nature and wildlife. Think sweeping mangrove forests, dramatic karst limestone formations, enchanting waterfalls, and exotic fauna. You can spend an entire holiday here simply exploring and reconnecting with nature, as you trek, kayak, and animal-watch to your heart’s content. Yanbaru, which literally means “mountains and fields,” might feel like a world away from the popular beaches in the central and southern parts of Okinawa, but it’s actually only a short two-hour drive from the Okinawan capital, Naha, making it an easy trip to plan.
For more information on planning your next holiday to this exciting destination, check out Visit Okinawa Japan at www.visitokinawa.jp.
Although trees cover around 80 percent of the park, Yanbaru still has its fair share of pristine waterways that are also abundant in plants and wildlife, and what better way to get up close and personal than with a kayaking trip of the mangroves. On the Gesashi River, its calm, placid waters are easy for even beginners to navigate and soak up the passing forests, as well as enjoy a vibrant ecosystem of plants and animals that are able to thrive in a mix of freshwater and seawater tidal flows.
Once you’re done with the water, set your sights to the skies; Yanbaru has several rare bird species, and birdwatchers from around the world flock to the park to check them off their list. About half of Japan’s bird species are found here, and eagle-eyed birders should be able to spot rare species like the Okinawan rail, Okinawa woodpecker, and Ryukyu robin.
After the sun sets, it’s time to check out the nocturnal nature that takes over the night shift in Yanbaru! Many of the park’s animals are active at night, making it the perfect time of day for an after-hours hike. Imagine perfect silence and darkness; no traffic, no car alarms or sirens, no street lights or neon signs - just the calming sounds of the jungle at night. Hire a knowledgeable nature guide who will take you to the best spots, regaling you with fascinating stories about the park’s indigenous residents like owls, frogs, lizards, and venomous pit vipers!
No trip to Okinawa is complete without sampling some of the delicious local fare. This island is famous for its food products and unique food culture, which are said to play a part in Okinawans having some of the longest life expectancies of anywhere in the world. While you’re in Yanbaru, go where the locals go and tuck into a platter of sashimi from famed eatery Kunigami-Minato-Shokudo (“Fisherman’s Diner”). This family-run restaurant uses locally caught tropical fish. As chefs prepare and serve up tuna, octopus, snapper, and other locally caught fish against the backdrop of the nearby ocean, it’s a complete feast for the senses that shouldn’t be missed.
MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Dying to check out Yanbaru National Park? Only a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Hong Kong, it’s easy to make happen! Once you’re in Okinawa, head to the northern part of the island and book your accommodation there, giving you easier access to all that Yanbaru has to offer. Bring your binoculars and a sense of adventure, and you’re good to go! Yanbaru offers visitors an opportunity to interact with tremendous natural beauty, making it the perfect destination for nature nuts and anyone looking for an escape into the wild.
O h, Th ere's N o Place Li ke
HOME KONG Fo r Th e H o li days!
Lots of us have made the decision (or been forced) to stay put over the holidays this year, which means a first Christmas in Hong Kong for many! Here’s what you need to know about making your first festive season in Hong Kong a happy and healthy one. By Carla Thomas and Sarah Fung
Five things to know about Christmas in Hong Kong
If you write a letter to Santa, Hongkong Post will reply!
For the best-priced turkey in Hong Kong, order from Maxims
Kids (or grown-ups, we’re not judging) will get a kick out of a Christmas card from Hongkong Post! Just pop a letter to Santa (with your return address on the back) and you’ll get a festive greeting from our very own postal service. Cute!
That’s right! The quintessential Hong Kong caterer does a 10-12 pound turkey for just $498! Order online from the slightly challenging website at maximsmx.com.hk.
Shop for toys in Sham Shui Po All those nieces and nephews burning a hole in your wallet? Hop on the MTR to Sham Shui Po, where you’ll find Fuk Wing Street and more than two dozen shops stuffed to the gunnels with all kinds of toys, gifts and festive decorations, all going for a song.
The Prince Edward Flower Market will always have trees
On Boxing Day, we hike!
If you ran out of time to buy a real Christmas tree (they’ve been snapped up fast this year!), head down to the Flower Market in Prince Edward, where there are trees of all shapes and sizes, as well as festive wreaths, poinsettias and more.
After all the indulgence of Christmas, Boxing Day is traditionally the time to hit the trails, soak up some of that glorious winter sun and walk off that second serving of Christmas pudding.
Healthy Christmas Lunch Options ASAYA KITCHEN This health-conscious kitchen at the Rosewood specialises in sustainably sourced seafood and top quality local produce. Over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they’ve put together a special festive offering, featuring Mediterranean pescatarian dishes and signature gastronomic delights. Relax with some of their sustainable cocktails, biodynamic wines, or go for a mocktail if you’re doing a dry December. rosewoodhotels.com/en/hong-kong/ dining/asaya-kitchen
MA...AND THE SEEDS OF LIFE Helmed by raw vegan chef Tina Barrat, this new harm-free fine dining concept in Soho breathes fresh life into Hong Kong’s vegan scene, with a surprisingly satisfying set menu over the holidays. Think apple crunch “faux-gras” served in a red wine reduction, King oyster scallop with truffled cauliflower mash and champagne foam, and a dark chocolate log with orange cream and ganache frosting - it’s enough to convert anyone to raw veganism! marestaurant.com.hk
THE GLOBE Looking for a proper traditional pub roast? The Globe is one of the city’s best spots, with plenty of options for veggies and vegans, plus a staggering selection of beers on tap to keep you feeling very merry indeed! This Christmas, in addition to the standard classic fare, they’re also serving up a meat-free option of artichoke and hazelnut roast option with roasted potatoes, braised red cabbage, and chestnut stuffing, as well as roasted celeriac soup with parsnip crisps and candied walnuts. For pudding, try their vegan Drunk Plum Crumble for some serious holiday indulgence. theglobe.com.hk
FUMI We love a good Christmas buffet, but we’re not so big on the inevitable bloat that comes afterwards! Skip the stodge this year with a lighter buffet option, like Japanese restaurant FUMI. Their festive holiday buffet serves up all you can eat sushi rolls, sashimi, grilled meats and sweet corn, Hokkaido king crab legs, smoked duck breast, plus a choice of main, like grilled miso cod or eel with sweet soy sauce. Go for gold with the additional free flow option ($228), which includes wine, prosecco, and sake. fumihk.com
BEDU Vegan-friendly and full of healthy fats, we love a little Mediterranean fare! Middle Eastern restaurant BEDU has crafted a special Christmas Day menu, packed with yummy vegan choices like crispy fried cauliflower, citrusy grapefruit tabouli, and their signature baba ganoush, a smoky roasted eggplant dip that’s perfect for cold weather. They’re also doing a lightly smoked kingfish served with homemade Turkish pancakes, pickles and a bed of sweet yoghurt, for all the pescatarians in the house. bedurestaurant.com
BEST IF YOU’RE HUNGRY: THE MURRAY If you’re all about the festive gastronomy, The Merry Murray December package serves up the goods. Starting at $2,800 per head and valid between December 1-23, perks include a festive afternoon tea with a bottle of prosecco for two; daily breakfast; a gourmet happy hour with evening canapes, house pours of wine, prosecco juices and canapes from 5:30-8pm, and complimentary parking for one car. If you’re staying between December 23-January 2, you can also book their festive dinner buffet at an exclusive supplementary price. bit.ly/MurrayMerryDecember
BEST FOR A FRIEND-CATION: JW MARRIOTT Get a group of friends together and take advantage of JW Marriot’s friend-focussed package! At $2,900 for two adjoining rooms, guests can enjoy flexible checkout (30 hours Sun-Thu, 24 hours on the weekend), with buffet breakfast for four, up to $1,500 dining credit, a bottle of wine in your room, and selected poolside drinks and refreshments. marriott.com/hotels/travel/hkgdt-jw-marriott-hotel-hong-kong/ 18
BEST FOR A SOLO STAYCAY: CORDIS HONG KONG If you don’t have the luxury of a bath at home, the Double Bubbles staycation package at Cordis is not to be missed. In partnership with Lush, the staycation includes a night’s stay in a room or suite, a complimentary bath bomb or bubble bar (they’re Christmas themed!), a bottle of prosecco, breakfast at The Place for two, and 30 percent off all spending at their restaurants and bars. Prices range from $1,188 to $2,088, depending on room category. cordishotels.com/en/hong-kong/
BEST FOR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING:
BEST FOR A HEALTHY HOLIDAY:
LANDMARK MANDARIN ORIENTAL
Located within a stone’s throw of Central’s major stores, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental is a great spot to recharge after a marathon gift-buying session. Available until December 31, the “Santa is Callin’” package includes a round-trip limo transfer, and spending credit at SOMM, Amber, MO Bar, the Spa or in-room dining ($1,000-$2,000, depending on room category), plus 20 percent off further spending at the above outlets. Available until Dec 31 (excluding December 24-31). Prices start at $3,900+10 percent per room per night, plus 50 percent off on subsequent nights and additional rooms. mandarinoriental.com/hong-kong/the-landmark
With Himalayan salt lamps in every room, Eaton is all about wellness, even during Christmas! Their Wellness Retreat Staycation starts at just $800 per night, and includes a night’s stay, buffet breakfast for two (with lots of healthy options!), and two 45-minute fitness classes - choose from circuit training or yoga. Don’t forget to check out the steal-worthy Grown Alchemist toiletries in every bathroom. eatonworkshop.com
What to do and see
ADMIRE THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ON THE AQUA LUNA
STAY SOCIAL BUT DISTANT AT THE GROUNDS
If you’re stuck in Hong Kong over the holidays, you may as well take advantage of that breathtaking skyline! The Aqua Luna is Hong Kong’s most iconic junk boat, and a perfect shout if you’re trying to find something special and uniquely Hong Kong for Christmas Day. Take a tour of Victoria Harbour and enjoy the city’s festive Christmas light displays from the water while you sip on a glass or two of complimentary Jingle Punch. Catch the 7:30pm departure if you want the full Symphony of Lights cruise ($345/adult, $240/child), or take an early or late evening ride. The Aqua Luna’s Christmas Cruise runs from December 23-26. aqualuna.com.hk
Concerned about corona? The Grounds is the ultimate socially distanced experience: an entertainment and large scale event space with 100 private group pods spaced safely apart and purpose-built for the era of COVID-19. The Grounds features a giant LED screen, state of the art sound system and stage, so you can enjoy outdoor cinema, live music, wellness classes and more without having to worry about gathering size. Each pod comes with either two or four large deck chairs and a picket fence that makes it easy to keep a safe distance. Tickets have been selling like hot cakes though, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for events over the Christmas period! zicket.co/the-grounds-hong-kong
...OR THE STAR FERRY HARBOUR TOUR Looking for something a little more wallet-friendly? It’s the same view on Star Ferry’s Harbour tour! starferry.com.hk
WATCH THE PANTOMIME If you’re British, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to the panto. If you’re not British, you’ll find this festive stage show - involving rude humour, cross-dressing and a pun-tastic take on current events - odd to say the least! The Hong Kong Players have staged a panto in Hong Kong every year since 1961, and they’re not letting anything as trifling as a global pandemic stop them now. The show this year will be broadcast live on December 10 and 13! Get your tickets (and support community theatre) at eventbrite.hk.
COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS IN LKF Not satisfied with merely a New Year countdown, if you’re out and about at midnight on Christmas Eve, you get to countdown to Christmas Day too! Head to LKF or TST for some (safe, socially distant) festive merrymaking.
CHECK OUT THE MALL DECORATIONS Hong Kong doesn’t do mall decorations by halves, and every year the shopping centres duke it out for the attention of your eyes and iPhones. This year, Pacific Place has built an enormous steam ship in its atrium, with adorable elves and arctic animals dotted at various photo-taking points around the mall. There are even games and activities to sign up for, not to mention the famous Santa photo. For COVID reasons, they couldn’t get the big man himself to fly over, but they’ve got an impressive AR substitute that more than does the job. Another adorable display can be found at The Landmark atrium, which is taken over this year by an intricate teddy bear village. This year you’ll find a charitable element among the teddies, with booths selling gifts, plushies, toys and festive snacks in aid of three local charities: Makea-Wish, Principal Chan and Youth Outreach. Proceeds from these booths will be donated to these worthy causes, so be sure to pop by during the festive period to check it out.
Where to shop
FOR WOMEN LANE CRAWFORD This legacy luxury fashion and beauty department store carries only the very best designers (Gucci, Prada, D&G... we could go on) plus some exclusive brands you won’t find anywhere else in Asia. And while gifts here don’t come cheap, it’s a great place to pick up a present for the fashionista on your list. Their beauty department is also well worth a visit, with top-quality natural beauty brands we love like Wildsmith Skin, Natureofthings, and Ayurvedainspired Purearth, based right here in Hong Kong! lanecrawford.com.hk
CULTURE COVE This bohemian boutique on Hollywood Road carries all manner of beachy vibes, from bikinis to breezy shirt dresses and kaftans, strappy leather sandals and canvas totes, yoga mats and microfiber towels - it’s like St. Tropez in a shop! We particularly love the jewellery here, with pretty sterling silver and 18K gold-plated earrings adorned with colourful gemstones that are quite reasonably priced. G/F, 67 Hollywood Rd., Central, merculture.com
FOR MEN MANDARIN BARBER Probably the most luxurious barbershop in Hong Kong, you can’t go wrong with a gift certificate to the Mandarin Barber. Treat the guy in your life to something simple like a shave or haircut, or go all out with the Gentlemen’s Grooming package ($1,870) which includes additional treatments like a Shanghainese pedicure. email@example.com
KAPOK Though it offers clothes for both men and women, Kapok is a great one-stop shop for the gents in your life, with its curated selection of smart-casual wear from niche designers, bags and accessories, and small homewares, skincare and design-y knick-knacks. Everything in store is Very Tasteful Indeed, and a lot is surprisingly affordable too, so you’re bound to find something he’ll appreciate. ka-pok.com
DON’T FORGET THE FURRY FRIENDS! WOOF TWISTERS
GOD Good ole GOD! This tongue-in-cheek lifestyle brand is a solid bet for Hong Kong-infused clothing, accessories, toys and homewares, plus an enormous variety of different face mask designs that will have you sporting a new, socially responsible accessory for every day of the month! Multiple store locations across the city, or order online. god.com.hk
GIFT SOMETHING This local gifting specialist caters to every person on your list, making it simple to do all your shopping in one foul swoop with an easy-tonavigate website that covers every category of giftee you can think of. Him or her? Check. Kids of all age ranges? Check. Random novelty gift for your sullen teenage cousin that you’re never sure what to get? Double check! giftsomething.com
These specially designed handmade dog treats are made with all-natural ingredients like pureed pumpkin and freshly roasted peanuts, so they go down easy even if your pup has a sensitive tummy. They’re for a good cause, too! Biscuits are made and sold by the newly launched social enterprise Cookie Smiles, which donates proceeds from “human” cookies sold in cafes around Hong Kong to help disadvantaged groups and those affected by the recent economic downturn. Sales from Woof Twisters go towards charitable enterprises, including the SPCA. You can find them at select cafés and pet stores throughout Hong Kong, including Fineprint, 14 South Lane, The Coffee Academics, Spicebox Organics, Whiskers N Paws, Valley Veterinary Centre and Sip Song. Costs $88 for a 200g pack.
PMQ First a school, then a police residence, PMQ was redeveloped into a commercial space in 2014 and is now one of the best places on Hong Kong Island for small, locally-made brands. Artisanal culture is at the forefront of this shopping hub, where you’ll find design studios, workshops, and loads of gift ideas, including fashion, accessories, homewares, and other lifestyle goods. pmq.org.hk
Christmas, wrapped up
Looking for some festive gift inspiration? Our fabulous partners offer something for everyone, no matter your price point.
BEAUTY ZeroYet100 Completely natural yet totally effective, ZeroYet100 is a proudly homegrown brand that’s won a devout following for its gorgeous deodorants, serums and masks. For the festive season, they’ve put together a gift set of pandemic essentials, including an Infused Revitalize Oil, a hand sanitizer and a Living Guard reusable Face Mask. The whole set is valued at $685, but they’re offering it at just $479 for Christmas. Order online at www. zeroyet100.com
Dolma Wax Boutique The gift of fuzz-free skin? For Christmas? Yes it’s a little unconventional, but hear us out. Dolma is the undisputed queen of waxing in Hong Kong, and if your giftee has a regular waxing schedule, a little bit of credit at Dolma’s boutique will be gratefully received. Got somewhere to be over the festive season? Get those eyebrows on fleek with Dolma’s expert threading service. 303, 3/F, Yu To Sang Building, 37 Queen’s Road Central, 6348-4452, brazilianwaxing. com.hk
Festive Gift Guide
KNESKO KNESKO offers a range of collagen face masks infused with precious gemstones and charged with loving, healing Reiki energy. Give yourself or someone you love the gift of a KNESKO Discovery Kit, featuring a selection of collagen masks and a handcrafted gemstone roller to enhance your ritual. Gently apply the roller over the mask and as you do so, breathe deeply as you rebalance your spirit, relax your mind, and rejuvenate your skin. Available in Nanogold, Diamond, Rose Quartz or Black Pearl. Reader Exclusive: Use LIVXMAS upon checkout to receive 20% discount plus a Nanogold Repair Eye Mask worth $180. knesko.hk
Kama Ayurveda 100 percent certified organic, Kama Ayurveda infuses ancient Ayurvedic wisdom into its skincare, with a range of active botanical extracts, from lotus to liquorice root, to name just a few. Beautifully packaged in vintage apothecary-style bottles and ornately patterned paper, choose from any of their thoughtfully curated gift boxes for a gift that’s sure to delight. For the festive season, the first 30 orders will get a free gift on purchase, so you can treat yourself too! Gift for her (pictured) contains five luxurious products and costs $800. Check out their other sets - there’s something for men too! Discover the range at www.kamaayurveda.com, and for Hong Kong orders, buy direct via www.espay.hk/kama. instagram.com/kamaayurveda
Natural Plus Ever tried enzymes in your skincare? Commonly found in fermented fruits, enzymes work to naturally remove dead skin and residue, revealing a fresh, glowing complexion that’s ready to absorb nutrients. Proudly made in Hong Kong, Natural Plus specialises in enzyme soaps, and for Christmas it’s released this adorable limited edition gift set, comprising a handmade enzyme soap, a rose hydration facial toner and a coral fleece face towel. Going back to basics has never felt so good! $328 from naturalplus.com.hk
GOUTAL Love wine? Love perfume? We have a unique experience gift for you! GOUTAL is one of France’s legendary perfume houses, with celeb fans ranging from Lady Di to Leonardo DiCaprio. Exclusively available in its Causeway Bay Asian flagship store, it offers a fascinating 45-minute wine and perfume pairing experience in its private Sensory Lounge, where you can learn more about the history and development of the perfumes and the wines that complement them. It’s a fantastic olfactory gift for fragrance enthusiasts and wine buffs alike, and the price of the experience can be redeemed against products afterwards. $498 per head. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. 25
LIFESTYLE FLO JEWELLERY We love FLO JEWELLERYâ€™s delicate, symbolic jewellery, inspired by ancient wisdom, from chakras to sacred geometry. Every piece is packaged with a card with the meaning of the jewellery to inspire and bring positivity to the wearer. New this year is the FLO DiffuserTM, a tiny aromatherapy diffuser that allows you to breathe in a refreshing, inspiring aroma, wherever you go. Simply add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the sustainable stone inside and clip to your mask or clothing with the magnet fastening. The diffuser has special meaning too, with the Flower of Life pattern symbolising harmony and oneness. Gift sets with 5ml Essential Oil and an extra diffuser stone and magnet start from $450. flojewellery.com. IG/FB: @flojewelleryofficial. Visit their pop-up at 36 Cochrane St., Central from Dec 3-23
Paper-Roses Capture all of your daily inspirations, ideas and dreams in style with this adorable notebook from Paper-Roses Designs. Small enough to fit in your handbag but big enough to let your thoughts flow, the dot-grid design of the pages in Paper-Rosesâ€™ recycled paper notebooks is perfect for notes, scribbles and doodles alike. $220 from paperrosesdesigns.com
Karma Links Jewellery Featured in Vogue and Glamour, Karma Links Jewellery is inspired by empowering gemstones and ancient symbols to offer mindful yet on-trend jewellery designed to celebrate the beauty of its wearer. Layer and stack necklaces and bracelets for a modern vibe, or wear them solo for a timeless look, and to benefit from their positive energy. karmalinksjewellery.com, IG: @karmalinksjewellery
Festive Gift Guide
Charitable Choice What to get the person that has everything? How about a donation made in their name from Charitable Choice? This Hong Kongbased organisation offers a unique take on this charitable tradition: the giftee decides where their money goes! Once you get your Charitable Choice gift card, log onto the website, where you will find more than 45 local partner charities to choose from, so you can donate to the cause that’s closest to your heart. Gift cards start at $100 and are available in both physical and digital formats, with options to customize your own card for extra festive cheer. charitablechoice.org.hk
Aveita and Dx Sportswear Aveita and DxSportswear are two new Hong Kong brands that focus on comfort, simplicity, sustainability, shopping local, conscious consumption and community. Aevita has designed antimicrobial face masks that are washable, breathable and super comfy on your skin, while Dx has a line of minimalist yet highperformance sweat-wicking tops featuring a flattering four-way stretch. These make for ultra-practical yet thoughtful gifts for anyone who wants to up their comfort levels when working out during pandemic times. Use code LIVAD10 for 10 percent off orders online. aveita.com, IG: @aveitalimited dxsportswear.com, IG: @dxsportswear
Womanizer In the year 2020, it’s time to stop denying yourself pleasure, and practice self-love instead! This new Liberty model from Womanizer was designed in partnership with Lily Allen, who wrote in her memoir about how learning to orgasm in her twenties - with the help of a Womanizer - helped change her life. This cute hot pink and red vibe uses Pleasure Air technology to deliver unprecedented sensations. Give it a go, you’ll thank us later! $780 from HKTVmall.com
FOOD AND DRINK YoKitchen Gluten-free, vegan, free from refined sugar and mostly organic, Yokitchen creates delicious cakes and pastries that are almost too pretty to eat! Whether your loved ones are vegans, have allergies, sensitive tummies, food intolerances, or simply prefer to avoid refined sugar, these desserts show that you can still indulge this festive season. We love their totally addictive homemade almond butter, which is a perfect base for your own healthy baking. instagram: @yokitchen. touchofearth
Bauhinia Gin Practical, stylish and oh-so drinkable, any self-respecting gin enthusiast would be thrilled to get a bottle of Bauhinia Gin for their liquor cabinet. Sold at some of the city’s best bars, this multi-award-winning, artisanal small-batch gin is infused with actual bauhinia flowers - as well as juniper berries, ginger, lemon peel and jasmine. Pair it with a twist of orange peel for a zesty festive tipple. Exclusively for Christmas, online wine merchant Wine Moments has a limited-edition Bauhinia Gin gift set featuring six premium tonics and two stainless steel tumblers that’s shot to the top of our Christmas list. Gift set: $580 from winemoments.com
COCOBOP This female-founded wine company sources organic, natural and biodynamic wines from artisan vineyards around the world. For Christmas, COCOBOP is offering a COCOBOP Cheers gift set: purchase any two bottles of wine before December 16, and pay just $388 to add on a premium wine bottle opener, a wine tasting journal and a tote bag. Then you can add $390 for a beautiful preserved or dried flower bouquet. In partnership with a local non-profit organisation, the tote bags are produced by a group of volunteers. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the local community. Check their Christmas gift guide online for more details. cocoboplifestyle.com/christmas-gift-set
Classiﬁed Can’t decide between an indulgent Christmas hamper and something a little healthier? Classified has a new selection of hampers designed to fill your Christmas table with indulgent treats and keep your cupboard stocked with healthier options into the new year. Working with local brands, you’ll find items like pumpkin spiced granola from Pura Vida, vegan cream cheese from Alive Food, and hazelnut chocolate from The Nutter Company, to name just a few. But don’t worry, you’ll still find the usual indulgent cheeses, hams and champagne - it is Christmas after all! The Jolly HollyDay hamper is priced at $1,488 and the Santa’s Naughty or Nice List hamper is $2,088 from classifiedfood.com.
Eat the Kiwi Hopeless at cooking? Not to worry - elevate your festive potluck with this amazing grazing board from Eat the Kiwi. In this bundle, you’ll find everything to need to put together a wow-worthy platter, including three carefully selected cheeses, olives, crackers, quince jam, cured meats and more. The platter feeds six to eight and costs $379. store.eatthekiwi.com
Festive Gift Guide
HOME Breathe 2020 has been tough enough, so treat yourself to something cozy! Upgrade your loungewear game with Breathe, a mentalhealth conscious brand designed with the softest, silkiest fabrics so you can stay home in luxurious comfort and style. We love the Juliette Chemise, a sexy silk slip with lace detailing and a bodycon fit to show off your curves. Style tip: Pair with a bottle of vino and your favourite Netflix show! www.breatheloungewear.com. Instagram: @breatheloungewear
Hush Home Upgrade your bedroom into a five-star sanctuary! Started by local entrepreneurs, Hush Home is a one-stop sleep store. Take advantage of their 100-night trial offer to snooze on their famous Hush Mattress. Not in the market for a new mattress? You can also transform your sleep nook with their super soft Egyptian cotton bedding and their beautiful bed frames. Shop online or book a private visit to their Sheung Wan showroom to see their full collection and experience their mattresses for yourself. Available at hushhome.com and 2/F, Wayson Commercial Building, 28 Connaught Road West, Sheung Wan. 3500-9475.
Okooko Silky-soft and sustainably manufactured, Okooko’s Heveya luxe bamboo bed sheets are the perfect gift for someone who’s got it all. After all, who couldn’t do with an upgrade to their sleep experience? Their sheets really are next-level, with breathable, hypoallergenic properties to ensure a comfortable night’s rest. A queen-size fitted sheet, pillowcase and duvet cover set costs $2,388, with larger and smaller sets priced accordingly. Trust us - this is one investment you won’t regret! 13F The Plaza LKF, 21 D’Aguilar Street, Central. Hong Kong.
Qurious An Aladdin’s Cave of eclectic homewares, we have fallen in love with newly launched lifestyle brand Qurious and its curated selection of gifts. With an eye for design and a flair for the unusual, pick from minimalist reed diffusers and retro-chic solid perfumes by L’Ascari, vibrant mirror wall decorations in the form of brightly coloured ice creams lightning bolts and rainbows, or woven bowls in an array of colours to add warmth and texture to your home. For gifting, you can’t go wrong with the beautiful silk printed wheat bags and eye pillows, ranging from $220 to $360. qurious.life 29
WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR MIND, BODY & SOUL FOR A NEW YEAR As 2020 draws to a close, it feels like it probably couldn’t come quick enough. Let’s put this telenovela of a year behind us, and get prepped for a new start with (hopefully) a bit less drama! Here’s how you can set your sights on 2021 with some easy ways to refresh your mind, body, and soul. By Sarah Highfield and Carla Thomas
APOWERFUL MIND SHIFT YOUR PERCEPTION: If you are stuck with a fixed mindset, your response to challenges will often be “I can’t do XYZ.” Embrace a growth mindset, and you will respond to challenges with “I can do XYZ if I try another approach.” Try writing something down that has been challenging you this year, then breaking it down into small and manageable steps that could help you get there, with timed parameters. For example: looking for a new job? Spend 30 minutes a day searching online. Apply for at least one job a week, even if you don’t think you’ll get it. Research whether there’s a new skill or field that you could be learning about in the meantime to broaden your horizons and open new opportunities, then sign up for an online course or workshop in it.
PRACTICE PRESENCE: While we can all learn from the past, we shouldn’t live there; it’s the present where life exists! Make yourself more aware of how present you are by honing a “presence” window every day. Set a timer on your phone, sit down somewhere quiet and comfortable, and close your eyes as you observe yourself breathing. Don’t think about it; just feel it. Try doing this for five minutes at first, and observe when your mind drifts out of the present moment. After a while, it becomes a lot easier to establish presence throughout the day, even during a stressful situation or boring errands.
DECLUTTER YOUR PHONE: Reassess how much time you spend mindlessly scrolling through your phone. Look at your apps and ask yourself if you really need them, or as Marie Kondo would ask: “Does it spark joy?”. Challenge yourself to get all your apps onto one page (no folders!). Turn off notifications for all non-essential apps (we see you, Instagram) and try downloading a screen-time monitoring app like Moment; it might seem counterintuitive to fight apps with another app, but they really do help bring mindfulness to your mobile use! app.inthemoment.io
AHEALTHY BODY SPEND TIME OUTDOORS: Being outdoors boosts the body’s circadian rhythm, which is the internal clock that controls alertness, mood, physical strength and when we need to sleep. While Hong Kong has plenty of nature to take advantage of, do you ever find yourself going back to the same spots again and again? Expand your horizons by signing up for a community beach cleanup with the Clean Shorelines project, a government-backed initiative that is running regular coastal cleanups throughout the month of December. epd.gov.hk/epd/clean_shorelines
The KARA Mirror
GET MOVING: If you’re looking to up your workout game at home, check out KARA Smart Fitness, a Hong Kong-based fitness app that uses an interactive smart mirror to guide you through different workouts like HIIT, core, Pilates and yoga. The KARA mirror uses AI to monitor and analyse your movements in real-time, actually correcting your form during the workout. Every mirror purchase ($12,500) comes with a year-long subscription to a wide range of workouts led by professional trainers - think Peloton, but swap the clunky bike for a sleek piece of homeware better suited to Hong Kong’s space-starved flats. karasmartfitness.com
MAKE CONSCIOUS FOOD CHOICES: Try to eat fresh, in-season and varied produce. Shop your local farmer’s market, or use an online farm-to-kitchen delivery service such as Jou Sun, which delivers straight to your door from local farms all over Hong Kong. jousun.com
COMMIT TO A PLAN: Even if you’re trying to eat more consciously, you’d be forgiven for letting it slide over Christmas! One way to pull yourself back from the delicious abyss of festive overeating is locking yourself into a nutrition or training programme now for once the holidays have passed, so there’s no excuses or procrastination come January. Try booking on to the Health Reboot & Metabolism Reset programme by local health coach Beth Wright (see review on p.12), a month-long plan which helps with weight loss, digestion and gut health. bfit-thewrightway.com
GET AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE: Start your own daily gratitude practice with a gratitude journal! Write down three things you’re grateful for at the end of each day, adding more as you get into the swing of it. Psychology researchers have found that practicing gratitude not only helps to highlight the good stuff in your life, it also lowers blood pressure, improves immune function and facilitates more efficient sleep. Motivate yourself to get into the habit with a canvas you’ll want to pick up and use, like these lovely diaries from local stationery brand Modena. modena-stationery.com
CLEAR OUT NEGATIVE ENERGY: Smoke out any negative or stale energy by burning some smudge sticks and wafting it throughout your home or workspace. California White Sage is known for its purifying and cleansing properties, plus it’s got a nice earthy smell to it that will make a space feel grounded and more rooted. You can pick up some sage smudge sticks ($70-$220) from sustainable lifestyle shop and zero-waste grocer Live Zero. livezero.hk BE SOCIAL: Research shows that we are happier when being social and interacting with people we know and like. Make an effort to prioritise people this month, whether it’s putting your phone away during dinner, reconnecting with an old friend, or scheduling some Zoom time with family abroad. Make distractions like Netflix a low priority; while it’s tempting to spend the weekend catching up on the latest season of “The Crown,” check in with your family and friends first because it always leads to a more meaningful day!
Fennel and Feta-Stuffed Whole Trout By Singita It might be the season of turkey, but this recipe (which calls for whole trout and fennel bulbs) is a lighter option for anyone looking to dodge the stodge over the holidays. Serves 12.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Medium
• 6 whole fresh trout
1. Clean the fresh trout by cutting down the centre of the stomach and removing the insides, and rinsing the stomach under running water. Using a scaling knife or butter knife, scrape from the tail to the head in fluid strokes to scale the fish. Rinse it again and pat it dry. 2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and saute fennel and onion until translucent. Remove from the heat and mix in feta, breadcrumbs, egg and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. 3. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Divide the mixture into six portions and stuff each trout gently. Place fish in an oven tray, drizzle with oil and finish with a squeeze of lime. Place lime halves in the tray to bake with the fish. 4. Bake fish for 20 minutes or until the flesh is firm to the touch. Serve whole on a platter with lime halves.
• 1½ tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling • 3 young fennel bulbs with some leaves, thinly sliced • 2 white onions, thinly sliced • 250g feta cheese, crumbled
TIP: Enjoy with some leftover roasted potatoes and veg from Christmas lunch!
• 100g breadcrumbs • 2 eggs, lightly beaten • bunch of fresh thyme, finely chopped salt and pepper • 4 limes, halved
THE GLOW UP News from the beauty aisle
SET IT UP
These gift sets are all certifably au naturel, tying up clean beauty brands and wellness into one tidy package that’s perfect for stocking stuffers, Secret Santa gifts, or just a cheeky little treat for yourself. By Jo Robinson
JOHN MASTERS ORGANICS HAND CREAM SET
A year of excessive hand sanitiser use means a strong hand cream is in order! This Holiday Hand Cream Set from John Masters Organics ($330) delivers a dose of much-needed hydration with added sunflower seed oil to soothe and soften. The duo comes with a Lemon & Ginger and Orange & Rose cream, so you’ve always got at least one on hand (pun intended) to put a little moisture back into your mitts. johnmasters.com.hk
AMAN PROTECT & PURIFY SET
This gift set from luxury hotel chain Aman gives a glow-up from the inside-out, pairing their own-brand SVA supplements with products from their all-natural skincare collection, Aman Skincare. We like the Protect & Purify Set ($366), which comes with Purifying Quartz Scrub and Soak, Body Mist, and one micronutrient supplement and herbal formula each to support better immune system function - everything you’ll need to foster the body’s natural defences, gain clarity of mind, and look radiant! shop.aman.com
OMSA NATURAL BEAUTY GIFT SET
Treat someone to some glowing skin this festive season with a Natural Beauty Gift Set ($700) from alternative wellness brand OMSA. Each set comes with one of these kaleidoscopic eyeshadow palettes made from organic ingredients like shea butter and rosehip oil, as well as a crystal gua sha face roller set for tackling post-holiday season puffiness. omsa.world
OTO CBD MINDFUL CHRISTMAS CALENDAR
Fancy a daily stress release? CBD beauty brand OTO is doing a limited edition Mindful Christmas Calendar ($3,298), a 12-day advent calendar filled with luxury CBD products including a pillow mist, sleep drops and, in true advent calendar custom, a secret gift on the final day. Valued at over $5,000, it’s packed with full-size and miniature products to calm the mind and encourage relaxation. hk.otocbd.com 36
LIV LOVES… CHRISTMAS ST UFF! JASMIN BLUNCK, Administrator
Origins Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream ($340 for 200ml) “I love applying this rich gingery cream after a hot bath on a wintry night. It’s decadent, moisturising, and leaves me feeling happy.”
SMOOTH AS SILK
Silk scrunchies, eye masks and pillow cases have been all over our Instagram feed recently. But why has the trend for silk everything suddenly exploded? The benefits are two-fold. The smooth, slippery texture of silk is believed to reduce creasing in older skin, hence the popularity of silk pillowcases and eye masks. Recently though, consumers are finding that silk is much gentler on your hair, too. Silk scrunchies and hair bands lead to less snagging and breakage. If you want to look especially extra while you sleep, silk turbans protect your hair from moisture-wicking pillowcases, which lead to dryness, frizz and split ends. Want in on the silk trend? Here's where to buy: ANAPHE This Hong Kong-based silk accessories company offers mulberry silk pillowcases, eye pillows, turbans, scrunchies and headbands in an array of chic colours. anapheonline.com LA BLONDE GITANE A French-run online store with a small but beautiful selection of silk pillows and eye masks. lablondegitanehk.com LANE CRAWFORD & SEPHORA Both stores stock Slip silk accessories, including eye masks and scrunchies.
CARLA THOMAS, Editor
Carroll & Chan Hong Kong Christmas Beeswax Votive Candle ($89) “These give my flat a nice festive feel - very important over the holidays! Bonus: burning beeswax is a nice and natural way to cleanse and purify the air in your home.”
SARAH FUANG, Publisher
Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oil ($130 for 9ml) "I have a collection of Aromatherapy Associate's Bath & Shower oils and they always boost my mood when I'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Just add a capful to your bath or rub on before a shower and let festive frazzlement wash away." 37
TRAVEL WELL with Kate Springer
very Christmas, my husband and I usually surprise each other with plane tickets. But since Singapore is the only declared travel bubble for the time being, we’ll have to get more creative. Ahead of the holidays, I’ve been brainstorming gift ideas for my travel-obsessed husband, friends and family this festive season - not to mention what to put on my own Christmas list! For those who are missing the road, here are a few gift ideas for travellers who can’t travel right now. This holiday season, transport your loved ones to...
a THE HIMALAYAS
Known for its ethically produced botanical skincare and women’s empowerment projects in the Himalayas, Purearth is my go-to for facial oils and mists, body butters and soaps. The aromas of mandarin, apricot, honey, turmeric, saffron and wild rose will immerse you in the mountains and forests of the Himalayas. purearth.asia B ISRAEL
If your loved one’s a bit of a book worm with a penchant for history, surprise them with "The Land Beyond: A Thousand Miles on Foot Through the Heart of the Middle East." Author Leon McCarron explores ancient trade and pilgrimage routes, meeting fascinating people along the way. leonmccarron.com
Très chic and timeless, MISCHA’s weatherproof Overnighter canvas duffles make for a great gift. Go for the Hong Kong designer’s classic monochrome or rose-gold styles for a bag that won’t go out of style before flights finally resume. mischadesigns.com D BALI
Eco-friendly, anti-slip, and easy to carry, Sugarmat Travel Yoga Mats ensure the yogi in your life is already ready for his or her next adventure. Choose from gloriously tropical prints, abstract art and serene marbled designs - all of which fold up to fit inside a portable pouch. caelumgreene.com E SHANGRI-LA
If your partner’s idea of the perfect vacation is a spa, robe, and total relaxation, then why not recreate the experience with a Spa Luxury Bathrobe from Shangri-La Hotels. Available in rose, aqua and cream, these luxuriously fluffy “lotus plush” robes will keep you warm all winter long. shangri-la.com 38
There is nothing I wouldn’t give right now to be soaking in a steamy, volcanic Japanese onsen (hot spring bath) this holiday. Start planning your next soak with "The Onsen Experience: A Guide to Japan’s Hot Spring Sanctuaries." Intrepid author Iris Law crisscrosses Japan, dipping a toe into the history, traditions and beauty of onsen baths. manmomedia.com G ARIZONA
Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright created “Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers", a geometric stained glass mural for the Arizona Biltmore Resort in the 1970s. Replicas now grace everything from puzzles to travel journals, just like this one. Whether jotting down quarantine chronicles or post-pandemic plans, journalers will find inspiration in every entry when they write in this vegan-leather notebook. momastore.hk H KYOTO
Homegrown Hong Kong brand Matchali is devoted to all things matcha. The company sources its delicate tea powder from Uji, an ancient town south of Kyoto that just so happens to be the birthplace of matcha. Invest in the full matcha-making kit - tea powder, whisk and gorgeous ceramics - for a taste of Kyoto without leaving home. matchali.com I MIAMI
For those who love to control the playlist, a Wonderboom 2 should keep the party going all holiday long. Best part? This mini speaker is water- and dust-proof, and has an “Outdoor Boost” mode for boat trips or beach parties. In other words: it’s ready to travel as soon as you are. ultimateears.com J WINE COUNTRY
Hong Kong wine subscription service Toasst brings oenophiles hard-to-find boutique bottles from all over the world. This Christmas, unwrap the Adventure Toasst Pack, which features six bottles - two each of a French sparkling, South African Chenin Blanc and Australian Mataro - for a tasty trip around the world’s best wine countries. toasst.co
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 email@example.com
FIT FAM with Zoe Belhomme
A VERY CONSCIOUS
Christmas is the season for giving and receiving, but it can also mean excess consumerism. The yuletide period usually results in huge amounts of waste in Hong Kong, either in discarded Christmas trees, mounds of leftover food or unloved presents that are promptly thrown away after they’re received. A great way of keeping Christmas fun and low-waste, while saving a few dollars, is to get crafty! Here are five simple festive activities that will help reduce your family’s environmental footprint this year.
We all love to adorn our home with festive decorations, but most of them get thrown away afterwards. To prevent the habitual discarding of cheap plastic decorations, create homemade ones with your children instead! Try simple snowflakes made from lolly sticks and some offcuts of tinsel, or use old wrapping paper backed by card to make baubles for the tree. For older children, take some felt and thread, then sew together and stuff to make a cute Santa or snowman!
WRAP IT LIKE IT’S HOT
Ditch the commercial gift wrap and grab whatever’s on hand in your home. Old newspapers, sheet music or pages from old books can be upcycled with ribbons or lace to make surprisingly pretty wrapping paper. Paper cups can be decorated with festive flare to hold edible treats while an old shirt and some simple stitching makes an ideal bag for wine. Brown paper packages tied up with string…. and adorned with holly or dried oranges and cinnamon, makes for a packaging that fills your home with the smell of Christmas.
Christmas is for snackers, so edible gifts especially homemade ones - are always going to go down well! Think iced gingerbread in festive shapes, dried fruit covered in dark chocolate, or mince pies for easy, fuss-free baking that everyone, including the kids, will love.
BUY A REUSABLE ADVENT CALENDAR
Rather than buying an expensive plastic and cardboard advent calendar every year, invest in a reusable version that can become a family tradition in and of itself. Whether you choose a wooden version with little drawers, or a material one with pockets, a reusable advent calendar also allows you to control what your child is opening each morning. You can find lovely wooden ones on Etsy or Amazon.
Nothing’s more welcoming to carollers and merrymakers alike than a beautiful wreath on your front door during December. Rather than buying new, make your own using a hanger wrapped with green foliage that you can pick up on your next hike. Kids of all ages will love decorating the wreath with dried berries, ribbons and spray-painted holly.
TEXTILES FOR TOTS If you’d like to introduce your child to sustainability issues in a fun and engaging way, local environmental NGO, Redress, has launched a bilingual, educational toolkit for parents and teachers. Explore the issues around how we make, buy, use and dispose of our clothing in an easy and kid-friendly way. Available for free, the online toolkit comes with practical information, data and exercises that can be adapted and made relevant for 6-18 year olds. The materials aim to ignite critical thinking around textile and fashion waste, and drive behavioural change in the next generation of humans who will be the future stewards of our planet. redress.com.hk/ecf/home
NORTH POLE POSITION With COVID-19 affecting almost everyone’s travel plans this year, we could all use a little festive injection from abroad. That’s why the elf management team from Santa’s workshop in the North Pole have arranged for the main man himself to broadcast Christmas tales live from Lapland, with Bedtime Stories with Santa! Snuggle down with your little ones at home to hear charming Christmas stories read aloud. The series will air every Friday evening in December before Christmas (that’s the 4th, 11th and 18th of the month) between 6-6:30pm for ages 3-6 years, and 6:30-7pm for ages 7-10. Hosted by events organiser Glitter and Gore, tickets cost $200 per session (two stories included) and only one ticket is required per family screen. eventbrite.hk
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In your calm, is your strength. - German proverb
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THE GIFT OF
If you’re shy or easily embarrassed, look away now - we are talking about sex toys! One of the biggest trends of 2020 has been dismantling the taboo around sexual health and wellbeing. An orgasm triggers a rush of feel-good hormones, gets your heart pumping and leaves you feeling amazing - whether you’re alone or with a partner. So if you know someone who deserves more pleasure in their life, these toys are ideal gifts. WOMANIZER LIBERTY BY LILY ALLEN SPECIAL EDITION: $780 British pop star Lily Allen named Womanizer as her go-to sex toy brand in her memoir, and since then has signed up as the brand’s ambassador, launching the Womanizer Liberty by Lily Allen last month. This chic hot pink and red toy uses Womanizer’s signature air wave technology to stimulate the clitoris and deliver a whole new sensation.
GOLDEN MOMENTS GIFT SET: $2,300 This luxe gift set offers the two best-selling toys from Womanizer and We-Vibe in one box. The Womanizer Premium promises multiple orgasms, while the WeVibe Chorus combines g-spot and clitoral stimulation in a hands-free toy that adapts to your body, with an app and a remote control to keep things interesting.
Want to treat yourself? All these toys - and more! - are available at HKTVMall. In Partnership with WOW Tech
WOMANIZER DUO: $1,710 Combining Pleasure Air technology and g-spot stimulation, the Womanizer Duo gives you the best of both worlds. WIth 12 intensity levels and 10 vibration modes, get ready for the ride of your life.
ARCWAVE ION: $1,560 Gents: have you ever wondered what a woman’s orgasm feels like? Wonder no more!! The Pleasure Air Technology so famous amongst females arrives for the first time to a male toy, which they say accurately simulates what women experience when they climax. Totally noiseless, easy to clean and waterproof, this sleek toy takes your O-game to the next level.
WE-VIBE NOVA 2: $1,170 The traditional “Rabbit”-style vibrator gets a sleek makeover, with 10 vibration modes, simultaneous g-spot and clitoral stimulation, an ergonomic handle and app for remote fun.