Liv Magazine April 2017

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APRIL 2017 | l i v - m a g a z i n e . c o m LIV MAGAZINE

Save Yourself

Free (or at least, really cheap) workouts

Wong Chuk Hangouts The healthiest spots on the Southside

Time for An Adventure?

Veggie Breakfast, Review

No bacon here!

Help Your Helper

Classes and resources

Eat Eco

Dining deals that fight food waste

Take the road less traveled with these up-and-coming wellness destinations WIN an all-inclusive two-night stay at The Farm San Benito on page 16!

The Premium Air Purifier from Sweden The Livsdal is one of the world’s most efficient air purifiers. By capturing pollen, viruses, bacteria, toxic gases, and other harmful particles, the Livsdal helps relieve symptoms of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The Livsdal air purifiers help you live, and breathe, in style. Our 7-filter technology is the first to capture nitrogen dioxide NO2 , sulfur dioxide SO2 , ozone O3, formaldehyde CH2O, PM10 , PM2.5 , PM1, as well as ultrafine particles PM 0.3.

APRIL 05 Editor’s Letter

LIV | NEWS 06 It’s a Date

Events for your diary

08 Hot Right Now

New happenings on the wellness scene

10 Fresh Cuts

Dining news that’s good for you

12 Cheat Day

Because #YOLO

14 Reviews

Riding high at TORQ, and Grassroots Pantry’s vegetarian breakfast

LIV | STORIES 20 The New Wellness Hotspots

Here’s where you need to book for your next wellness vacation

30 Run! Be Free!

Workouts that are free (or pay-as-you-wish)

LIV | MORE 34 Wong Chuk Hangouts The healthy spots on our radar in Wong Chuk Hang

38 Recipe


Halloumi and grain salad from Catch

40 Pamper

Our beauty picks for this month

42 Travel

Whet your wanderlust with our travel roundup

44 Family

Resources for domestic helpers


50 How I Liv

Peter Bennett, Mission Possible




ROADS LESS TRAVELLED If you don’t have your summer holidays planned yet, don’t book anything before you read this month’s cover story. We’ve painstakingly researched the world’s up-and-coming wellness travel destinations that will give you once-in-alifetime experiences to nourish your body and soul (p.20). From horseback riding through the Atacama Desert in Chile to trekking in Kazakhstan; yoga retreats in Pune to eco-tourism in Pokhara, you need to check them out before the masses descend. They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but a free workout? Totally! We’ve got a roundup of free-of-charge (or donation-based) workouts on p.30. Whether it’s HIIT, yoga, trail running or road racing, we’ve got something to suit your style. With the arrival of the MTR, Wong Chuk Hang has become the Southside’s trendiest neighbourhood, and - surprise surprise there are a ton of health-conscious offerings springing up all over. Find a few of our favourites on p.34. April seems to be the month of new gyms opening in town, with Trybe, Gymbox24, Phoenix Fight Club and Valley Fit all on our radar. Read more on p.8 and 17.


Our new writer Jacquelyn Tryde rounds up the best free workouts in Hong Kong, p.30; and finds out what’s happening in Wong Chuk Hang, p.34.

Looking for travel inspo? Kate Springer gets the lowdown on the world’s most inspiring travel destinations, p.20.

Andrea Lo speaks to Catch to bring you their famous halloumi grain salad recipe, check it out on p.38

Go for a ride with Kate Turbett, who reviews the new TORQ indoor cycling studio on p.14.


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Send invites and info to: Makerhive, 10/F, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town PUBLISHER SARAH FUNG SALES MANAGER AILEEN CHAN WRITER JACQUELYN TRYDE SOCIAL MEDIA STACEY MARCELO ADMINISTRATOR JASMIN BLUNCK GRAPHIC DESIGN TAMMY TAN, CONTRIBUTORS KATE FARR, KATE SPRINGER, RACHEL READ, ANDREA LO, KATE TURBETT, DEIRDRE GRIFFIN PRINTED BY GEAR PRINTING LIMITED, ROOM B, 3/F, DERRICK INDUSTRIAL BUILDING, 49-51 WONG CHUK HANG ROAD, ABERDEEN ‘‘Liv Magazine’’ Copyright 2017 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.






Spartan Race returns to Hong Kong with even tougher obstacles to conquer. Prepare to scale walls, throw spears and get drenched in mud, warrior-style. Got kids? Get them involved in the first Spartan Junior Race (ages 4-13) you can’t put an age on the Spartan spirit. Entry ranges from $1,190 for the Elite category, down to $890 for regular entry. Spartan Junior $490 (competitive); $230 (open). Spectators $50.



Head to the Discovery Bay Sunday Market for gifts and crafts galore. Lovingly handmade by Hong Kong’s finest makers and sellers, the market is all about self-designed indie goodies, with a selection of baked items, clothing, jewelry and home accessories. 11am-6pm, Discovery Bay Main Plaza. 6

April 22 is Earth Day, so show some love for our planet!


APRIL 12-16


The UCI Track Cycling Championships is one of the highestlevel international track cycling events in the world. This year it’s being held in Hong Kong - the second time the thrilling event has been hosted in Asia. Head down and cheer on some of the world's top riders.



Come armed with your fluffiest pillow for Hong Kong’s seventh International Pillow Fight Day. Gather at Chater Garden with your fellow pillow warriors and wait for the signal to go off, before letting the feathery frenzy take over! Free. 11am, Chater Garden. BYOP(illow).

April 12-16, Hong Kong Velodrome, 105-107 Po Hong Rd., Tseung Kwan O. Tickets $160-$120 from and more info at




Mark the start of junk season by joining expat networking club J Link’s mega junk and beach party, accompanied by free-flow drinks, a live DJ and dinner on the beach. 10am, Central Pier 9. Tickets $980 from

Forget fancy spa treats and designer athletic wear - real luxury in Hong Kong is a day of total quiet. Get some at the Silence at Sea day retreat. Organised by new wellness events company The Whale Life, the aim of the retreat - which takes place on a junk - is to tune in and deepen one’s sense of mindfulness, with a healthy lunch and guided meditation led by Dr. Monica Borschel. Bring sun protection, swimwear and a bath towel. 10am Central Pier 9. Tickets $650 from 7

Cool Stuff

HOT RIGHT NOW News from the wellness scene

Air and Graces

In this polluted city, can you put a price on fresh air? Swedish air purifier brand Livsdal reckons it can, with its top-of-the-line air purifier that offers heavy-duty air filtering for your home. Energy efficient and quiet, it is made with seven filters, including a pre-filter, HEPA particle filter, four carbon molecule filters and a post-filter by Camfil, a company that specialises in purifying air in hospitals and nuclear facilities. With all this power, the Livsdal can remove hazardous ultrafine molecules proven to cause and exacerbate asthma, allergies, headaches and more, resulting in the cleanest air you’ll ever breathe in Hong Kong. And even though it possesses industriallevel filtration power, Livsdal comes in a range of sleek finishes, meaning it will fit into your home like a handsome piece of furniture. $66,000, including worldwide shipping with DHL. Delivery time: 8-10 weeks.

In and Out

Night owls and shift workers, rejoice! The round-the-clock Gymbox24 has just opened its doors in a cool semi-outdoor workout space that makes fighting for equipment during the post-work rush a thing of the past. Run by the same people behind Gymbox - the protein-rich, PT-recommended takeaway meal boxes - this unusual space even comes with a small basketball court and lounge chairs where you can sit in the sun post-workout. There are some great opening rates available, including a fantastic deal of $599 per month if you commit to a 12-month membership. 4/F, 300 Des Voeux Rd., Sheung Wan, 2558-1288, 8

Cool Stuff

Flip Out

One of Wong Chuk Hang’s most exciting arrivals since the new MTR station opened, Trybe HK encourages you to unleash your inner acrobat with its movement and gymnastics-focused classes. From performance art to strength training to dance, circus and acrobatics, there’s something for everyone, no matter how much natural “bounce” (or lack thereof) you possess. Classes are taught by the five founders themselves so safe, top-notch training is assured as you learn how to master complex movements. You’ll be fulfilling all your Cirque du Soleil fantasies in no time. Classes start at $150-$250 (drop-in); monthly unlimited memberships start at $2,550 per month for six months. Shops 209-210, 2/F, 2 Heung Yip Rd., One Island South, Wong Chuk Hang, 5532-6571,

Berry Healthy

The much-loved Munch’n Kiwiberries are hitting Hong Kong shelves this spring. Grown in New Zealand, kiwiberries are considered a superfruit due to their generous levels of antioxidants, potassium, Vitamin E and C - in fact, one tiny kiwiberry has the same Vitamin C as two oranges! The best thing about these berries? They require no peeling at all, making them a delightfully hassle-free addition to your snack box. Snap them up in your nearest supermarket before they run out - harvest season doesn’t last long. Find Munch’n Kiwiberries in Aeon, Marketplace, Wellcome and ThreeSixty supermarkets for around $32 per box.

Rise Like a Phoenix

Rising from the ashes of the now-defunct Spark Fitness, the newly opened Phoenix Fight Club hits town to offer authentic Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA and Muay Thai training in Sheung Wan. It was set up by former Spark members as a way for them to continue their training with Spark’s quality instructors, all of whom are professional, award-winning MMA fighters with stints at Nova União - Brazil’s top-ranked MMA team - under their belts. Phoenix also offers personal training with nutrition support. Call for a free trial. 11/F, Fung Woo Building, 279 Des Voeux Rd., Sheung Wan, 9573-5128,



FRESH CUTS Dining news that’s good for you

HOW JARRING Sheung Wan may have hit peak hipster with the opening of Jar Jar Beam, a salad and juice spot that serves up goodness in - you guessed it - mason jars. Make your colleagues jealous by ordering one of their signature salads ($58-78). Nutrient-rich ingredients such as walnuts, quinoa, avocados, radishes, pomegranate and pumpkin come neatly layered, so all you have to do is shake and eat. Want something more substantial? The lunch sets (from $78) come with the pasta of the day, plus a jarred smoothie that’s sweetened with dates. It’s also worth mentioning that Jar Jar Beam’s dressings are all-natural and homemade with yoghurts, olive oil and mylks. G/F, 195 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, 9615-9246,

SAVE US A brilliant platform to tackle food waste has arrived in Hong Kong! Food Savior connects restaurants with excess food with people who love a bargain, allowing customers to pick up dishes that can’t be served the next day at a great price. Simply search for deals close to your location, place your order and pick it up at a designated time assigned by the restaurant, usually at the end of their sittings. The dishes come with a price tag that will make you swoon. For instance, this paleo cake from Spicebox Organics is a steal at $25 - almost half price. An idea that’s great for the planet and your wallet? We love it. Restaurant partners include Spicebox Organics, Gymbox, Jinjuu, Cali-Mex, Café Sausalito, La Cabane and more. 10



Kavita Khosa, founder, Purearth

Do you have a cheat day? What do you usually have for breakfast? Every day is cheat day! I indulge Avocado on multigrain toast with in chocolate cupcakes first egg and chia flax seed toppings. thing in the morning when my I wake up hungry for a good, metabolism is at its best. hearty breakfast. When were you at your least What’s your go-to for a healthy healthy? meal? Early last year. I crashed out Wholewheat organic roti on my personal health and smeared with organic A2 Gir wellness front. I started a Another trendy restaurant has jumped on the cow ghee and served with okra, skincare and wellness brand. Green Monday bandwagon, with expense cherry tomatoes and scallions Somewhere in the process account favourite Mercedes Me offering a sautéed in virgin coconut oil, I lost myself, neglecting my new vegetarian menu to kick-off the first with a “tadka” [dry-roasted own wellbeing - so my eating, day of the week. Drawing inspiration from spices] of cumin and sweet sleeping and wellness rituals Spanish, Japanese and Peruvian cuisines, neem leaf. I whip up a salad or somehow took a backseat. these creative dishes offer an unexpected accompaniment of homemade twist - think beetroot tartare with goat’s Have you ever done a cleanse? organic curd tossed in mustard cheese and “egg yolk” that’s actually orbs Yes. I’m from Pune, India, a city seed oil with raw sprouted lentils of mango puree ($180). For something renowned for its Ayurvedic and and baby spinach, all topped heartier, try the angel hair with sofrito naturopathy clinics, and so I’ve with aniseed, mustard seed, that comes baked in a mini paella pan for been doing Ayurvedic bastis and lemon zest, Malabar pepper and added crunch ($220). Looking for a kick? panchakarma cleansing rituals fresh chopped coriander. The skillet-grilled Padron peppers ($110) since I was a teenager. I do them come seasoned with coarse sea salt What do you eat before and almost every year. after working out? but be careful as one in 20 is extra hot. Last meal on earth: what I never go to the gym. I usually Available Mondays. G/F, would it be? drink a cup of cardamom chai Entertainment Building, 30 Queen’s A fabulous bottle of Amarone an hour before yoga practice. If Road Central, 2895-7398, www. red. Organic nuts, a simple aglio it’s an evening practice, I have linguine with olive oil, my dinner after and it’s usually me/store. fresh basil, Himalayan red rice with freshly cooked wild morels and white vegetables and a salad of fruits truffle shavings. Also, and nuts. the “Better Than What are your favourite Sex” chocolate cake restaurants in Hong Kong? at C’est La B. I’d die I love Grassroots Pantry for its super happy! honest, green cuisine, Pirata for its delicious Italian fare with attentive service, and Ye Shanghai for its delicate Shanghainese vegetarian food.





Because life’s too short to always order the salad

ONLY WAFER FINN How pretty is this platter of Scandinavian goodies from FINDS, Hong Kong’s original Scandinavian restaurant? This afternoon tea set ($356 for two) celebrates Finland’s centenery of independence, and features 10 quintessential Finnish dishes plated up on cute crockery by Finnish design brand Iittala. Each set comes with


savoury bites, including smoked trout roe toast, ice cellar salmon and air-dried beef on rye bread, while the sweets include lingonberry tart, cinnamon custard buns and milk chocolate mousse topped with sea buckthorn. It’s served with a rich coffee that’s been infused with Peruvian dark chocolate for a rich, warming drink. Now if only we had the Nordic weather to pair it with… 1/F, The Luxe Manor, 39 Kimberly Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2522-9318,

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ali and Phuket are well established destinations for seasoned Hong Kong travellers. But once you’ve been to a place half a dozen times, how do you keep things exciting? The Pavilions Phuket and The Pavilions Bali (Sanur) show you how to rediscover these tried-and-true holiday spots on your next long weekend.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Whether you want to escape the chaos of the usual Bali hot spots, carving out a secret spot is key to enjoying your getaway. While West Bali is enjoying a moment right now, those in the know are flocking to Sanur. Bali’s original tourist town, Sanur, is seeing return guests to soak up its low-key charm and Balinese authenticity. In Phuket, regular visitors keep coming back to The Pavilions because of its close proximity to the airport, meaning you can hop on an early morning flight and be in your private villa sipping cocktails by lunchtime. It’s just a few minutes from the secluded Layan beach, meaning you can get your much-needed beach vacation far away from the tourist hordes.

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A private retreat at The Pavilions Phuket

Pool villa at The Pavilions Bali



Don’t want to sit elbow-to-elbow at the buffet breakfast each morning? We feel you. At The Pavilions, privacy is paramount. In Phuket, accommodations range from enormous onebedroom suites with two (yes two!) baths, to private pool villas for romantic weekends or getaways with friends. Meanwhile, in Bali, each villa is totally unique. You are led straight to your villa to check in for an utterly private experience. Breakfast is served straight to your villa, and each unit, aside from the garden villas, come with their own pool.

What’s a holiday without someone to take care of you the entire time? Both of The Pavilions Resorts pride themselves on personalised service, with the staff in Phuket able to book and organise activities and retreats taking place in or out of the hotel. Think spa treatments, beach trips and yoga. In Bali this personalised service is taken up a notch, with a butler on call to cater to your every need, spa treatments galore and an alfresco yoga pavilion that allows you to reconnect with nature.

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



Breakfast at Grassroots Pantry vegan, gluten-free, Buddhistfriendly French toast really hit the spot? The Experience: We are so

The Buzz: Did you know that

Grassroots Pantry, Hong Kong’s only vegetarian fine dine, also does breakfast? Having not been to the restaurant since its Sai Ying Pun days, we were eager to check it out. The Food : Grassroots Pantry’s menu reads like a vegetarian version of a hotel breakfast menu, with Asian dishes such as miso ramen, and baked eggs and mushoom “steak” served with dhal and Indian spices sitting alongside Western breakfasts such as crepes, pancakes, porridge and parfaits. As non-vegetarians we were apprehensive. How could cashew hollandaise taste as good as the real thing? And honestly, could a 14

glad we gave this breakfast a go. We shared everything, ordering every variety of scrambled eggs on offer: sauteed spinach and mushroom, zucchini carrot slaw, cilantro, and pickled kohlrabi (a cabbage-like vegetable). Each serving comes with toast and browned cashew butter, and if you’re vegan, you can order tofu scramble instead of eggs. We also tried the carrot and walnut French toast, and the poached eggs with avocado. Everything was absolutely delicious. We ran out of room for dessert but the matcha chia seed pancake with raspberry compote our neighbour was having looked amazing. The Cost: Mains are $85$145. The breakfast menu is available from 9-11am on weekdays, and brunch is served until 4pm on weekends. 108 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, 2873-3353,

Indoor Cycling at TORQ The Buzz: Having recently relocated from The Lanes to Stanley Street, indoor cycling studio TORQ has used the move as an opportunity for an overhaul, with shiny new bikes, double the space and a lineup of classes that offer more than just your standard indoor cycling sessions. As with the old space, each rider’s performance is measured and displayed on the wall in real time, so you can see how you’re doing compared to your fellow riders, and also track your progress over time. The Classes: in addition to your regular rides,

TORQ also offers Release, Power, Switch and Turbo classes, offering everything from a 30-minute ride followed by a foam roller class, to a ride followed by a high-intensity circuit class. If you’re starved for time, there’s an intense 30-minute class. Off-bike HIIT and stretch classes are also available. The Verdict: We love the classic Cycle class, which is 50 minutes of sweat as you’re pushed to your limits by the passionate instructors. Using the performance trackers, the instructors set little challenges throughout the class (such as the furthest distance) that help maintain your focus and fuel a little healthy competition. The Cost: Prices start

at $280 for a drop-in, with various packages available. For instance, a three-month unlimited package is $6,900. Location: 3/F, Abdoolally House, 20 Stanley St., Central, 2677-8623,

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GIVEAWAYS visit for a chance to win!

WIN: An all-inclusive two-night stay in a Narra Pool Villa for two at The Farm San Benito The only holistic wellness destination of its kind in The Philippines, The Farm San Benito is an internationally lauded retreat that any self-respecting wellness junkie needs to put on their travel bucket list. Sitting on fifty hectares of lush tropical jungle just 90 minutes from Manila, this unique East-meets-West resort combines nature with science, and ancient healing traditions with technology for an allencompassing experience to heal mind, body and spirit. Courtesy of The Farm San Benito, we have a two night stay for two people in one of The Farm’s Narra Pool Villas up for grabs! These spectacular villas come with an 8- by 3-metre private pool, private gardens, a palatial bathroom, covered and outdoor terraces, and


breathtaking views of the San Benito Ridge and the surrounding jungle. The prize also includes full board with gourmet vegan meals every day, daily wellness activities such as yoga, fitness walks and core training, use of the gym, yoga studio, meditation lounge and yoga pavilions, a 60-minute massage, welcome drinks and wifi. Please note that the prize does not include flights. WANT TO ENTER? Log onto to learn more! Winners will be announced in May.

Enter at by April 28 to win!

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ValleyFit Studio ValleyFIT Studio offers a full range of fitness options at the center of Causeway Bay. Awarded “The Best View of Training Studio in China” by Men's Health magazine, the studio overlooks the spectacular Happy Valley Racecourse. Newly renovated and specialized in personal training, ValleyFIT Studio provides state-of-the-art cardio and strength training equipment along with dynamic exercise programs, including martial arts, muscle endurance training and mat work Pilates. Special offer to Liv readers: First PT session at the trial rate of $500 (value at $900). Call 3595 0139 to make your booking!

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Meditation for the busy mind and body Hersha Yoga is a Hong Kong-based school of yoga teacher training and accessible yoga. The upcoming “Meditation for Beginners” course is designed for people who have always wanted to give meditation a go. The course explains the difference between meditation and mindfulness, and teaches you how to work with (rather than against) the mind. This course runs over two sessions: Part 1: April 18 2017 and Part 2: April 25 2017 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. Venue: Platform Events Space, 120 Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun. Visit: for details or contact:

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The Health Club with the Best View in Hong Kong Located on the 41st floor, the newly revamped wellness space at Cordis, Hong Kong offers the latest technology alongside spectacular city views.

For most of us living in Hong Kong, a trip to the gym means battling for limited treadmill spots and sharing a humid changing room with way too many sweaty people. But if a personal and luxurious workout space is what you are seeking, and Kowloon is your turf, then this gym might just be your perfect match. Aside from providing in-house guests with full complimentary access to its facilities, the newly refurbished Health Club at Cordis, Hong Kong also offers membership schemes to the public. Directly linked to the Langham Place shopping mall, the Health Club is directly accessible via MTR, making it one of the most accessible five-star hotel gyms in the city.

The Health Club is everything that a 5-star hotel gym should be, and more. A gym membership here comes with brand new training studios and equipment, attentive staff who will remember your name, great privileges covering dining and spa, and a highly sought-after rooftop swimming pool (quite the rarity in this city!) The following is what you can expect at the Health Club: GROUP EXERCISE STUDIO Group classes such as Pilates, TRX, modern dance and yoga are regularly held at the studio. But if you are not one to stick to schedules, you

Sponsored Feature

an interactive flooring aimed to maximize the fun and effectiveness of your training. The studio can be used independently when it is not engaged. FITNESS STUDIO The modern gym offers a range of over 25 cardio and strength equipment, including treadmills, cross trainers, power plate machines, press machines and a weight lifting area. The highly private and sparsely populated studio means none of your workouts will end abruptly because someone else needs the machine. HEATED ROOFTOP POOL Few gyms can boast an outdoor pool in Kowloon, let alone a 20-meter heated swimming pool that comes with underwater music and unsurpassed views of the bustling cityscape. Perched on the 41st floor, you can spend the afternoon cocooning in one of the rooftop cabanas, take a leisurely dip or marvel at the skyline views from the wraparound terrace. CHANGING ROOM FACILITIES The best part of a grueling work out is the freshening up afterwards. The squeaky clean changing room offers a sauna, steam room and an onsen-inspired Japanese shower guaranteed to wash your fatigue away. are encouraged to try out the amazing Fitness on Demand system, which holds a library of more than 600 video courses ranging from Insanity workouts to yoga, spinning and many more. You can adjust the length of the classes, and the screen in the studio will start playing your selected program – it’s like having a coach right there with you! FUNCTIONAL TRAINING STUDIO For those who are more comfortable with a tailored work out and close supervision, the Health Club has a team of professional fitness trainers who can help you reach your goals safely and effectively. One-on-one sessions take place at the functional training studio, which is equipped with

PRIVILEGES A membership at the Health Club allows you access to all the above-mentioned facilities (fitness studios, swimming pool, sauna, steam and changing room). It also comes with unrivalled privileges such as • Complimentary 3-hour valet parking • Complimentary initial fitness appraisal, testing and program design • 30% discount on spa treatments • 10% discount on spa retail products and Health Club merchandise • Complimentary membership in the Langham Supper Club which offers 15% discount in all restaurant outlets under Langham Hospitality Group.

For more details, please contact +852 3552 3510, via email at Level 41, The Health Club, Cordis Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok

Cover Story

New green scenes Explore the next wellness hotspots before the rest of the world catches on. By Kate Springer


rom yoga retreats to boot camps, sustainable spas and farm-to-table meals, wellness travel has expanded to include mindful experiences in the most unlikely of places. It is one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors expected to exceed $800 billion by 2020, according to a 2016 study by the Global Wellness Institute. Of course, destinations like Thailand and Indonesia are way ahead of the curve when it comes to wellness travel, but the options for a restorative getaway are no longer limited to nearby Asian destinations. And while it has largely been pioneered by brands like Six Senses and COMO Hotels, other hospitality brands are catching up. Traditionally business-focused brands such as Rosewood, Shangri-La and St. Regis have heeded the call for eco- and health-conscious travel, and pivoted accordingly, introducing fresh new concepts at properties all over the world. So where in the world is wellness travel sprouting? We’re already seeing new hotspots emerging in far-flung destinations such as Kazakhstan, Nepal, India, Chile, Sri Lanka and Dubai. Stargazing in the Atacama Desert (photo: Tierra Atacama)

India’s new wellness hub

Atmantan Wellness Resort 20

Why go? About three hours southeast of Mumbai, Pune is fast-becoming India’s new wellness playground. Outside the sprawling city, travellers enjoy lush landscapes and spiritual adventures, such as the ancient Pataleshwar Cave Temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Throughout the area, there’s no shortage of fresh-air activities,

with hikes, gardens and temples galore to explore. Hot spots: The best-known wellness getaway in the area is 40-acre Atmantan Wellness Resort, overlooking Mulshi Lake. It’s a favourite for a reason - starting with the spa. The offerings are endless, including homemade masks and oils, healthy cuisine, infra-red saunas and a salt water pool - not to mention aromatherapy and

Cover Story

Chile’s most peaceful province Why go? In the northern corner of Chile, near the Andes Mountains, is the world’s driest desert. The Atacama is known for its starry nights, salt flats, pink flamingos, steaming geysers, hot springs and canyons. It’s an ideal getaway for those who relish in the vast nothingness of the desert. At 14,000 feet above sea level, the desert’s “El Tatio” geysers are a sight to behold, while the geothermal baths are said to have

healing powers. From the dramatic sunset over Moon Valley to the red stones of the Valley of Death, days are filled with an endless array of natural wonders to explore. Hot spots: The go-to wellness retreat in the desert is Tierra Atacama, just outside of San Pedro de Atacama village - the usual home base for travellers. Built within a former cattle corral, the adobe-walled hotel echoes the desert’s stark vibe, with minimalist interiors, warm wood and stone details. As for food, the menu caters to gluten-free diets and offers healthy options - complemented by locally foraged herbs and fruits. With all the outdoor activities,

Tierra Atacama

you’ll earn your downtime at the hotel’s spa where, drawing inspiration from the natural surrounds, guests are treated to salt scrubs and clay body masks, hot stone massages, facials, and goat’s milk baths. Coming soon: Wellness retreat website Turasoir highlights an upcoming fitness getaway in the Atacama Desert, scheduled for November. Run by Escape to Shape wellness travel specialists, the seven-day retreat will do it all - yoga on the salt flats with pink flamingos as spectators, hiking, biking, horseback riding and more.

Tierra Atacama

traditional abhyanga massage. When you’re not at the spa, there’s yoga, Pilates, spinning, Bollywood dance, meditation and much more. Coming soon: Pune caught the eye of Six Senses, which is opening its Evason Lodha Belmondo Pune this August. The new spa will come complete with a yoga studio and pool, outdoor lounges and an enormous Hammam steam bath.

Atmantan Wellness Resort 21

Cover Story

Sustainable escapes in Sri Lanka Why go? Whether it’s a beach retreat or mountainous tea plantations, Sri Lanka has an experience for everyone. Home to endless rice paddies, seaside yoga retreats and ancient forts, the country offers wellness and sustainability in spades. Andrea Oschetti - founder of Hong Kong-based travel specialist Blueflower Travel - suggests a wellness itinerary for eco-conscious types. He recommends the 147-acre Peradeniya Botanical Gardens of Kandy, the central heritage tea highlands, and the immaculate Hikkaduwa Beach, home to coral reefs, stilt fisherman, jungles and nesting turtle sanctuaries.

Hot spots: Located in Thirappane village in Anuradhapura, Ulagalla Resort is housed in a 150-year-old mansion with 20 eco-friendly villas that have been purposely built to reduce energy consumption. Spread across 58 acres of gardens and greenery, the hotel has its own solar and organic farms, including a rice paddy field. Another eco-conscious property is hidden down south, in the hills east of Galle. With just 11 suites, Tri Lanka resort sits on a 6-acre plot on the edge of Koggala Lake. Built to be completely sustainable, the resort features aquaponic

Tri Lanka

Ulagalla Resort

gardens, solar panels, open-plan architecture, harvested rainwater and villas made from local materials such as recycled local Jak wood and local granite. Creature comforts abound too, thanks to a 21-meter pool, easy access to Kabalana Beach via tuk-tuk, and a treetop yoga pavilion. There’s also trekking, whale watching and temple outings - not to mention personalized yoga and ayurvedic programmes. Tri Lanka 22

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Outdoorsy adventures in Kazakhstan

Rixos Kazakhstan

Zen dens in Dubai Why go? What, Dubai? You better believe it. The city is fast becoming a wellness getaway with new island resorts, desert escapes, yoga retreats and an insane lineup of spa treatments. Hot spots: Built on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah - an artificial archipelago off the coast of the city - Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort offers a selection of Signature wellness journeys. Guests can tap into fitness and wellbeing expertise from an on-site ayurvedic doctor or a personal fitness trainer. The hotel is all about Arabian and Asian traditions, so guests can expect an elaborate Turkish Hammam bath complete with heated marble, a cocoon room, facial therapies using seawater pearls and crystal steam rooms. Coming soon: Dubai is just warming up its wellness offerings. SHA Wellness Clinic is opening a Dubai address this year and Six Senses Spa Dubai has announced plans to open in September. There’s also a weekend-long YogaFest coming up this November.

Anantara Dubai 24

Why go? Kazakhstan may not be on the international radar quite yet, but it’s about to become the centre of attention. In June, the capital city of Astana is hosting EXPO 2017 - a global conference where NGOs, politicians and companies will come together to discuss the future of energy. Kazakhstan is also home to a growing number of wellness hotels that aim to take advantage of the natural surrounds. Outside the capital, the country boasts gorgeous lakes, national parks, mountains and ski resorts. Atop Khan Tengri - a snow-capped mountain on the southeastern border with China - adventure lovers can take advantage of mountain

Anantara Dubai

St. Regis Astana

climbing and trekking, while yoga enthusiasts will appreciate the mountain views and tranquility of nearby Almaty Province. About two hours outside of the capital is the Burabay (Borovoe) National Nature Park - home to diverse topography, including pine forests, craggy cliffs, beaches, campsites and beautiful lakes. Hot spots: For a luxurious getaway, try the Rixos Borovoe on Lake Shchuchye. Its Anjana Spa is where guests will find traditional Turkish Hammam rituals, unique Crimean baths, steam rooms - and even chocolate massages. Coming soon: The St. Regis Astana is opening this July with a slew of wellness offerings, including farm-to-table menus - think 10 types of raw honey and gemstone-fueled holistic treatments at Iridium Spa.

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Who Run the World? The travel experts at Flight Centre highlight four spectacular destination marathons to put on your radar this year. August 26

The Pavilions Pokhara

Pokhara’s spiritual sanctuaries Why go? Still healing from the devastating 2015 earthquake, Nepal is a spiritual destination with diverse landscapes, fresh air, ancient temples and healing health practices. Most travellers start off their trip in the Kathmandu Valley, but wellness travellers will find a haven for health and sustainability in Pokhara, at the foot of the Himalayas. On the way from Kathmandu Valley to Pokhara, nature lovers may want to stop at expansive Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park - home to rare orchids, birds, leopards and monkeys. Hot spots: Located 30 minutes outside of Pokhara city, The Pavilions Himalayas eco-friendly boutique resort makes the most of the peaceful atmosphere with programmes that include healthy meals, daily yoga, meditation and loads of relaxation in the middle of the mountains, rivers and valleys of Nepal. Elsewhere in Pokhara, Sadhana Yoga Retreat offers low-key wellness, where guests can fill their days with meditation, organic meals, reflexology and steam baths. The hilltop centre welcomes drop-ins for a day or two, and also offers month-long stays for those looking to overhaul unhealthy habits.

Petra Desert Marathon Marathons don't come much more magnificent than the Petra Desert Marathon, with the ancient city providing a stunning backdrop to your run. With full and half-marathon options, this challenging course is filled with steep ascents and descents, but you'll also have plenty of opportunity to admire the city's incredible ruins. Packages start from HK$16,599. September 24

Berlin Marathon Known as the world's fastest course, the Berlin Marathon draws both elite and amateur competitors all hoping to record a new best time. With around one million spectators lining the route to cheer racers on, the course begins and ends near the imposing Brandenburg Gate, looping through the city's boroughs along the way. Packages start from HK$12,659. November 5

The Pavilions Pokhara 26

TCS New York City Marathon Looking for the running

experience of a lifetime? Tick the largest marathon in the world off your bucket list with the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. Charting a course through New York's five boroughs, the marathon begins on Staten Island and ends in Central Park. Packages start from HK$18,299. November 25

Bagan Temple Marathon Home to more than 2,000 temples, Bagan's beauty and historical significance is unsurpassed. Sacred pagodas and beautiful temples are scattered across the plains of Bagan for this spectacular race in one of the world’s hottest travel destinations. Packages start from HK$11,099. Package rates are based on two people sharing a twin room, and include flights, race entry, accommodation and more. Book by calling Flight Centre’s Active Travel hotline on 2830-2818 or emailing activetravel@

IRIS: YourEscape Hong Kong’s largest health and wellness festival hits West Kowloon on May 13-14.


ark your calendar: IRIS: Your Escape returns to Hong Kong this May on Mother’s Day Weekend. Taking place on the cusp of spring and summer, IRIS promises to breathe some new life into us after months of work, giving Hong Kong a much-needed feel-good festival to brush off the negative and bring on the positive vibes. Have kids? Get them involved! Cultivate some mindfulness in your tiny yogis and celebrate Mother’s Day together. Thanks to the brand-new Family Zone, this year’s IRIS is more kid-friendly than ever. Lauded as the most all-inclusive IRIS event to date, come prepared for yoga, meditation, motivational talks, live performances, prizes, games and some seriously breath-taking harbour views. Grab your mat, and you’re all set to go!

Sponsored Feature

*Exclusive for Liv Readers: Get a two-day pass for the price of one using the promo code LIVATIRIS when booking online. Valid April 1-30.

IRIS: Your Escape features: The Yoga Main Stage

Feel as one with others as you reach for the sky or plow down to the earth - yoga has been the core of IRIS since the beginning. This year, IRIS continues to offer a roster of classes throughout the two-day event, led by the best talents in the region.

The Meditation Garden

An intimate space to learn and grow, teachers, healers and motivational speakers will share their wisdom at the Meditation Garden.

Family Zone

The spirit of wellness has no age limit. Build a connection with your kids through family style yoga workshops, or keep them busy with

Health and Wellness Marketplace

Find your favourite local Health and Wellness brands and their booths at IRIS Marketplace. Over 60 vendors will be jumping on board this year to showcase their awesome products, be it fitness apparel or protein-packed snacks.

The Discovery Zone

The Discovery Zone is not for the faint-hearted. Drop by if you wish to ramp up your heart rate with high-octane classes in capoeira, kickboxing or circuit training, all guided by expert instructors.

Make sure you take advantage of the early ticket booking for special prices

AT DOOR: Adults - $200 per day. Children (12 and under) $100 per day.

Ticket Price:

Event Date: May 13-14 2017

ADVANCE: Adults: $100 per day or $150 for the weekend. Children (12 and under) $50 per day or $75 for the weekend. Tickets can be purchased at

Venue: Nursery Park, West Kowloon Cultural District. Website: www.irishkg. com Facebook: www.

Free Workouts

Get Shredded What better way to turbocharge your Sunday Funday than with an endorphin-boosting workout? As its name suggests, Sunday Shred is a weekly bootcamp held every Sunday at Tamar Park. Taught by former Pure Instructor Jason Sinarwi, Sunday Shred’s efficient high intensity workouts last just 45 minutes and cater to all levels of fitness and ability. If shredded biceps and abs are what you’re after, this is a weekly commitment you’ll want to stick to. PERFECT FOR: City slickers looking to start Sunday on a healthy note.






DETAILS: Sundays, 10:30am, Tamar Park, Admiralty. Classes are donation-based. sundayshredhk.

FREE YOURSELF Want to break a sweat but not your piggy bank? Jacquelyn Tryde discovers the city’s FOC (and donation-based) fitness classes.


Free Workouts

Happy Trails

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To keep things interesting, the organisers of the HK Trail Runners Meetup group pick a new route each time. The different trails are designed to offer a varied workout and keep things fresh. One week, you might find yourself on a drawn-out endurance run, while another event might bring you up a steep slope, setting those thigh muscles on fire. Though this group is not for the fainthearted, many will testify to the marvelous feeling of connecting to Hong Kong’s great outdoors.


PERFECT FOR: Outdoor buffs looking for a challenge. DETAILS:

Pop Goes the Yoga You might recognise yoga instructor May Nogoy from her powerful classes in front of large crowds at events such as IRIS. May aims to spread inner peace, love and joy through her free Sunday classes. The POP in YogaPOP stands for “People of the Public”, and these yoga flow classes are meant for people of all backgrounds and levels. Domestic helpers are encouraged to practice for free, while everyone else simply pays as they wish.

Hearts Racing Harbour Runners is a creative running community that appreciates the beauty of the city. The urban routes take runners to starting points all over Hong Kong, and are designed to help you explore the city with like-minded fitness enthusiasts. Fancy joining after work but worried about your bags? There is a free bag drop service available so all you need to do is show up and run.

PERFECT FOR: Yogis who prefer the lawn to the studio. DETAILS: Sundays, 3.30pm, Tamar Park.

PERFECT FOR: Fun-loving runners who want to explore different neighbourhoods. DETAILS: Wednesday, 7:45pm. Locations

Ac ad em ing sT rai n ida Ad

Since the Adidas flagship store opened in Causeway Bay last year, the sports giant has been offering free workouts to Hongkongers. At the ATA, or “Adidas Training Academy” located in Lai Chi Kok’s D2 Place, you’ll find classes categorized as “Cardio,” “Flexibility” and “Power.” Organisers hope that participants will tackle all three disciplines to address every aspect of their fitness. The weekly sessions cater to a primarily Cantonese-speaking clientele.


You Got Schooled

PERFECT FOR: Kowloon-siders seeking an allrounded training experience. DETAILS: Build your “ATA” profile and book classes at (site in Chinese only).


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Free Workouts

Join the Club Running apps are all the rage, but what’s even cooler is an app that unites an entire community who run side by side and motivate each other to go further and faster. Nike+ Run Club events are so popular that hundreds of people attend, giving it a festival atmosphere. Relay events are organized from time to time, with Nike prizes awarded to the winning teams. All events are free; just download the app to find out when the next event is taking place. PERFECT FOR: Runners who love a bit of healthy competition. DETAILS: Available on iOS and Android. Nike+ Run Club

Remember November The November Project was originally started in the US to motivate people to get off their couches in the winter months by offering free communal workouts. Now currently in 31 cities around the world, sessions in Hong Kong are held every Wednesday morning at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park, and Fridays for a workout challenge using staircases all over the city. Formerly known as #justshowup, the social element is a huge part of the November Project and it’s a great way of meeting new people and making friends - members often meet up after class for a well deserved dim sum date. PERFECT FOR: New arrivals who want to feel part of a larger community. DETAILS: 7am Wednesdays (Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park) and Fridays (locations vary). #JustShowUp, NovemberProjectHongKong.

Lululemon Community Events The OG of the athleisure movement, Lululemon knows a thing or two about connecting to their local communities and letting the good times roll with fun and unique events. Besides yoga, you can sign up for hikes, circuit training, dance and all kinds of activities; follow them on Facebook to find out what new events are coming up. PERFECT FOR: Fitness aficionados with a broad range of interests. DETAILS: lululemonHongKong.


The November Project

Wan Chai shop G/F, No. 223 Queen’s Road East, HK Tel: 2185 7825



We discover the healthy happenings in Wong Chuk Hang, the so-hotright-now Southside neighbourhood. By Jacquelyn Tryde.


hanks to the new South Island MTR line, the industrial area of Wong Chuk Hang has been put firmly on the map. Just a six-minute ride from Admiralty, the past couple of years have seen brand-new gyms, coffee shops and

healthy restaurants springing up in the in the area's many spacious industrial buildings, ready to take advantage of its new-found accessibility. Ahead of your next visit, here are some of our faves.

1 WO








Get a Life

Fitness equipment giant Life Fitness chose Wong Chuk Hang as the site to open its regional headquarters. This spectacular spot serves multiple purposes: training facility, office, lounge and showroom space. The HQ not only comes furnished with the latest Life Fitness and Hammer Strength equipment but also boasts Brunswick Billiards tables, Sit-to-Stand Workstations and interactive flooring designs, making it hands-down one of the coolest offices in Hong Kong. Strictly by appointment only. 32/F, Global Trade Square, 21 Wong Chuk Hang Rd., Wong Chuk Hang, 34










Find Your Trybe

Calling all would-be gymnasts! The brand new Trybe gym is the eagerly awaited answer to Hong Kong’s desperate need for a gymnastics and movement art space. Trybe’s biggest strength lies in its high ceiling and spacious interior, a prerequisite for performing a full range of acrobatic body movements. Make sure to pop by the QUOfeteria for a healthy snack after your workout. It's in the same building as Southside stalwart Flex, making One Island South quite the wellness destination. Shop 209-210, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Rd., Wong Chuk Hang, 5532-6571,


Love You Mum

Located within the glossy One Island South office complex is Mum, a sweet little eatery that specializes in homely vegetarian dishes. Plus, each set meal comes with a bowl of slowcooked Cantonese soup. If you are looking for a little indulgence, Mum also offers a tantalizing selection of healthy desserts, and be sure to follow them as the restaurant hosts community yoga classes from time to time. G07, G/F, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Rd., Wong Chuk Hang, 2115-3348,











Rule of Three

Hidden in an old factory building is 3/3rds, a gem of a café that has attracted a robust lunchtime following. Customers just can’t get enough of the industrial-chic decor, penthouse vistas, signature thin-crust pizzas and ample salad boxes - their classic grilled aubergine with saffron yoghurt dish is a perennial favourite. You can also dine alfresco in the rooftop garden for a dose of sunshine during the day. Unit D, 22/F, Yally Industrial Building, 6 Yip Fat St., Wong Chuk Hang, 3462-2951,


Get Pumped

Pumped CrossFit Gear was started by three CrossFitters who wanted the best apparel to complement their frequent workouts. The result was a range of cute workout shirts made with 100 percent organic cotton. Unlike synthetic fibres, organic cotton washes clean, does not hold odor and encourages sustainable harvesting practices. In fact, Pumped works with a farmers’ association in Shanxi Province to promote rural development. Unit B1, 1/F Block B, Vita Tower, 29 Wong Chuk Hang Rd., Wong Chuk Hang,



A Spring in your Step

A non-profit arts space that also serves as a curatorial residency, Spring Workshop is a platform for exhibitions, music, film screening, dinner gatherings and talks. Experimental, community based workshops make this space stand out among other art galleries, and have earned them numerous accolades in the past. Stay connected on their Facebook page to see more of these multi-faceted events. 3/F, Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Rd., Wong Chuk Hang, 2110-4370, www.facebook. com/springhongkong/ 7

Hey Good Cookin'

Pomegranate Kitchen is the brainchild of Mediterranean Chef Maria Bizri, whose eclectic travels have inspired her to bring the world’s best flavours to Hong Kong. The space is bright, airy and completely decked out in white, making it a perfect blank canvas for private events. It also has a rooftop space where tipples can be served before dinner. Skilled in preparing vegetarian dishes, expect to find hints of delightful Mediterranean spices and top-notch produce on the menu. 4B, 44 Wong Chuk Hang Rd., Wong Chuk Hang, 2580-0663, 37



HALLOUMI AND QUINOA SALAD By Catch (serves one) This salad is a satisfying mix of hearty superfoods, including quinoa and barley, which complements the rich flavours of the halloumi cheese.

INGREDIENTS: • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 25g quinoa (dry)

• 25g pomegranate seeds

• 50g hummus

• Juice from 1/2 lemon

• 1/2 tbsp raw hazelnuts

• 50g halloumi (sliced into two pieces)

• 100ml red wine vinegar • 300ml extra virgin olive oil

• 1/2 tbsp raw shaved almonds

• 25g barley (dry)

• 1/2 tbsp dried currants



COOKING TIME: 20 minutes


Keep in fridge for two days 38

1. Make your dressing by combining the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and oil. Whisk, add salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

5. Toss the barley, quinoa, currants and watercress together with the prepared dressing.

2. Prepare the barley and quinoa according to the cooking instructions on the packet. Allow to cool to room temperature.

6. Spoon the hummus onto the base of the plate, creating a crater in which to arrange the salad ingredients.

3. Meanwhile, lightly toast the shaved almonds and hazelnuts in a dry pan. Set to one side.

7. Top the salad with the halloumi before garnishing with the toasted nuts and pomegranate seeds.

4. Next, pan-fry the halloumi until golden.


READY SET GLOW with Rachel Read

FROM MONGOLIA WITH LOVE The contents of my cosmetics cabinet are probably better travelled than I am - and the latest destination is Mongolia, thanks to Lhamour. The first organic skincare brand to be exported from the country, all its products are made in Mongolia and proudly showcase traditional local ingredients like yak’s milk, rock salt and sea buckthorn, with zero additives, perfumes, colourings or preservatives. Given Mongolia’s famously harsh climate, Lhamour certainly knows a thing or two about combatting dry skin, so if they say we need some sheep tail oil in our lives, I'm all for it! They’ve recently launched a dedicated Hong Kong online store selling their signature handmade soaps, face and body oils, bath bombs and body butters, meaning you can take advantage of free shipping within the city on orders over $500… what’s a few extra lip balms in your basket between friends, hey? Prices range from $40-260.

ROCK THE RED CARPET If you’re desperately seeking that all-important Hollywood glow, Flawless’ latest Red Carpet Facial treatment is a real skincare saviour. This exclusive treatment from celeb fave skincare brand Intraceuticals (Miranda Kerr, Jessica Biel and Katy Perry are all fans) delivers a super-powered blast of hyaluronic acid, oxygen, vitamins and other anti-aging ingredients to your skin - giving you a brighter, firmer and younger-looking complexion as a result. Factor in a pick-me-up lip and eye treatment, relaxing head massage and one of the comfiest spa beds in the city and you’ve got a pampering session fit for any A-lister. The Red Carpet Facial costs $1,680 for 75 minutes; first-time Flawless customers can get 15 percent off this treatment until the end of April 2017 by mentioning LIV when booking. You’re welcome! Flawless, 4/F, Sea Bird House, 22-28 Wyndham St., Central, 2869-5868, 40

ASK THE EXPERT Ines De Beer Osteopath,

The Round Clinic

Can you explain the difference between a Flat Head

ANIMAL INSTINCT Many makeup companies pay lip service to their charitable efforts these days, but philanthropy has been part of family-run luxury beauty brand Chantecaille’s DNA from the start - and their latest Spring 2017 Collection is no different. Their Mermaid Matte Eye Trio is inspired by three of Africa’s leading female animal conservationists, and feature three beautifully silky eyeshadows in shades of creamy vanilla, smoky grey and deep brown. The eyeshadows are named Lion, Elephant and Bee after the animals that the women work so passionately to protect. Needless to say, all Chantecaille’s makeup is crueltyfree and never tested on animals, and 5 percent of the proceeds from the trio will be donated to the Elephants & Bees Foundation, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Lion Guardians charities. Finish off your look with one of Chantecaille’s new spring lip colours (I’m loving the bright pops of their Tuberose and Petunia Lip Chic lightweight lipsticks) and you’re ready to roar. The Mermaid Matte Eye Trio costs $880, Lip Chic lipsticks cost $350. Available at Harvey Nichols Pacific Place and Lane Crawford IFC, Harbour City and Times Square.

Syndrome and Torticollis in a newborn baby? Positional plagiocephaly is where a baby's head is found to have a flat spot on one side or at the back of the head. It typically develops after birth when babies spend a lot of time in a position that puts pressure on one part of the head. Occasionally the flat spot is caused in utero during which the baby’s head can be wedged under the mothers ribs or restricted in movement in the pelvis creating a cranial asymmetry. Torticollis on the other hand occurs when the head is tilted a little to one side with the chin turned to the opposite side due to a tight or shortened muscle in the neck. This usually develops in the womb after getting stuck in one position for too long.

How can osteopathy help infants with either of these conditions? In case of head asymmetry, start with alternating sides when you (bottle) feed your baby, which is done automatically when you breastfeed. Adjusting your baby's position during feeding and sleep will avoid pressure on the flat spot and help with the torticollis.

Rachel Read is a freelance writer, editor and cofounder of writing agency Editors’ Ink (; she also has her own lifestyle blog, Through The Looking Glass ( where she reviews beauty, food and whatever else she can think of. Follow her on Instagram too @rachttlg.

Osteopathic consultations - where gentle soft tissue techniques are used - will release tension in the neck muscles and spine, freeing up your baby’s movements. Your osteopath will also show you some moves and stretches that will help, and advise on beneficial handling and positioning techniques at home during carrying and feeding.

Information presented by The Round Clinic


TRAVEL WELL with Kate Springer

THE JOY OF FLEX Ready to get down? Hong Kong’s very own Flex pilates and yoga studio is hosting a wellness retreat this May in collaboration with co-founder Heather Thomas Shalabi and Flex instructor Michelle Ricaille. The gurus will be on hand to lead participants through five days of relaxation at all-inclusive Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary in Koh Samui, Thailand. The programme includes daily spa treatments, but it won’t be all lounging and leisure. Get ready for a detox nutrition plan, meditation, daily yoga and Pilates, and easy access to kayaking and watersports - all in a gorgeous tropical setting. May 4-9. From $29,990, including accommodation, roundtrip transfers, individual analysis and consult, daily programme activities, and meals;

CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE Bangkok isn’t usually the first place that jumps to mind for a wellness holiday, but COMO Metropolitan Bangkok makes the case. Home to award-winning Nahm restaurant by Australian chef David Thompson, the newly renovated hotel aims to offer a calming urban retreat for city slickers. At the hand of Singaporean designer Kathryn Kng, the rooms feel almost Japanese in their Zen, minimalist look. Meanwhile, the COMO Shambhala Urban Escape has been updated to include a teak pool deck, lap pool, new gym, yoga studio and relaxing hydropools. To mark the revamp, the hotel just launched a new “Wellness a La Carte,” which is pretty much what it sounds like: a two-night DIY wellness retreat where travelers can choose from a long list of spa and health sessions (including Thai boxing!) to suit their personal needs. From $4,771, including breakfast, wellness activities, cookbook and yoga mat. 27 S Sathorn Rd, Sathorn Bangkok 10120, Thailand, +66-2-625-3333,



NEW TRAVEL BITES Hong Kong-based Blueflower travel concierge has just launched a new Wanderer Club, aimed at passionate travellers. Each month, founder and chef Andrea Oschetti hosts four-course dinners on a travel topic - think family-friendly inspiration or environmentally conscious travel. Each talk features insights from a mix of experts, from artists and activists to family gurus and filmmakers. It all goes down in a loftlike salon that doubles as a private kitchen in Wong Chuk Hang where members are welcome to stop in for a spot of travel planning over a bottle of wine (just be sure to BYOB). Coming up next is “Trips That Make an Impact: Conservation & Wildlife” on April 10, where a safari specialist will give you the lowdown on how you can make a difference on your next trip to Africa. From $450 per person for dinner. $280 for Wanderer Club Members. Blueflower’s Travel Salon, 20D, Yally Industrial Building, 6 Yip Fat St., Wong Chuk Hang, Kate Springer is an Asia travel expert who contributes to CNN, BBC Travel, Forbes Travel Guide, Fodor’s, Vice, and more. Follow her travels on Instagram @katespringer.




Awesome resources for Hong Kong's hardworkig aunties. By Kate Farr.


ith around one in three Hong Kong families employing a Foreign Domestic Worker, it’s fair to say that this city relies heavily on its aunties. We take a look at some of the resources available to helpers in Hong Kong, enabling them to thrive at work while making the most of their precious downtime.

Many helpers find themselves subject to punitive, often illegal agency fees, leaving them no choice but to borrow large sums of money in order to secure a job. Trapped in a cycle of repayment, many become vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. The non-profit Fair Employment Agency is working to break this cycle by ensuring that, as with most other professions, it is the employers rather than the helpers who are liable for agency fees. Its newly launched FAIR Hong Kong app (available on both Android and iOS) enables both helpers and employers to understand their legal obligations and entitlements, calculate benefits such as annual leave and termination pay, and check statutory holidays. For more information see

My Little Hong Kong Kitchen Andiappan Yoga Community

LEARN There is an increasing number of fun group activities, many free of charge, that are exclusively for helpers. For Instagram-worthy family meals, look no further than Hong Kong food blogger Laura Williams’ cooking classes. Williams, who runs the My Little Hong Kong Kitchen blog, hosts weekly classes focusing on nutritious, wholesome and tasty dishes that the whole family will love. Classes cost $450 including take-home recipe cards. For more information search “My Little Hong Kong Kitchen Helper Cooking Classes” on Facebook.


Island School’s Helpers’ School is an initiative in partnership with the non-profit advice and education service Helpers for Domestic Helpers. Offering a wide range of fun and educational sessions ranging from business management to Zumba, these free classes are facilitated by Island School students and take place at St John’s Cathedral in Central. For more information search “Helpers' School at Island” on Facebook. Splash offers free 12-week beginner-level swimming programmes for helpers on Sunday afternoons in Tai Tam and Braemar Hill, with a Discovery Bay programme in the works.


Another free-for-helpers ethical employment platform is HelperChoice, which has an extensive candidate database, as well as matching and shortlisting tools that allow both parties to find their perfect match. For more information see Enrich is a charity that helps migrant workers become financially secure. It offers financial advice and training courses that focus on budgeting, saving and investment. Employers can sponsor a helper’s financial education, while the MoneyWise app (Android and iOS) supports longer-term goal-setting and planning.

The brainchild of Singaporean writer Frog Michaels, “A Helping Hand” is a bilingual English-Tagalog cookbook, packed full of easy-to-follow Western and Asian recipes. As well as being an ingenious idea that eliminates cross-cultural kitchen confusion, proceeds from the book’s sale in Hong Kong are donated to Pathfinders, a local charity supporting vulnerable migrant women and their children. Available from Bookazine and via

For more information see



A Helping Hand


Sharing the benefits of Yoga, the Andiappan Yoga Community offers free weekly helpers’ classes at convenient locations in Central, Stanley and Discovery Bay.

Another fee-free fitness option is Pherform’s twice-weekly “Dream Team” outdoor sessions at Tamar Park. With around 40-60 women joining each session, this is a great social workout. To support those who want to get serious about their fitness, Pherform is launching a new online coaching programme in Tagalog, led by trainers Alex de Fina and Leslie Evangelista. There’s an initial seven-day free trial, with subsequent subscription costing US$9.95 per week, making this a great gift. For more information search “Pherform Dream Team” on Facebook.

AJ Fitness is a Tung Chung-based personal trainer who puts on free Sunday morning outdoor workout sessions for helpers. And finally, share your love for your family’s own superhero with a “Super Aunty” tee from local lifestyle website Lantau Ren. Every tee sold includes a HK$40 donation to financial literacy charity, Enrich. Available from



FIT FAM with Kate Farr

There’s so much more to April than Mum and Dad’s secret stash of chocolate eggs. This month, we’re tackling seasonal sore throats, repairing abdominal muscles overworked by baby bumps, and taking a trip out to Lantau to tend trees in honour of Earth Day.

SEE THE WOODS FROM THE TREES April 22 is Earth Day, and to mark the event, Ark Eden is hosting a tree care workshop on South Lantau, giving families the opportunity to be hands-on horticulturalists for the day. Participants will be divided up into small groups and will dig, water and tend to trees and saplings at Ark Eden’s forest research and monitoring station in Mui Wo, all the while learning about the importance of trees in nature and wider conservation issues. If your little one is happiest with a little dirt under their fingernails, then this is the workshop for them. Workshop costs $600 per adult and $250 per child (minimum age five), with all proceeds supporting Ark Eden’s forest restoration work. For more information visit

A TASTE OF HONEY A coughing kid means sleepless nights all round, and the lingering sore throats that follow can be pretty frustrating for little chatterboxes with lots to say. Little Remedies’ Sore Throat Pops are lollipops with added soothing properties, meaning no wrestling required to get them to take their medicine. Made from honey - a proven natural cough suppressant - the lollies are free from artificial flavours, colours and sweeteners and taste like a treat too. Costs $57 for 10. Available online at

QUIT THE SPLIT With around 60 percent of women experiencing some degree of abdominal muscle separation during pregnancy, it’s surprising that few actually realise that this is often the root cause of the dreaded “mum tum.” Flex is helping post-partum mothers bid bye-bye to splitsville with their “Repairing The Diastasis” workshop, taking place at their Wyndham Street studio on April 26. Offering an assessment of the abdominal muscles plus guided core exercises to repair and restore core strength, this one is a must for new mums. Workshop costs $390. For more information visit

Kate Farr is the co-founder of writing and editing agency Editors’ Ink ( She also blogs about Hong Kong family life at Accidental Tai-Tai ( Send your family health news to


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Back Page

Mission Possible came about because it seemed to me that many local Hongkongers did not know that Hong Kong is the host of the world’s most famous Sevens tournament. The local coverage was limited and there were some negative feelings about the number of tourists and traffic congestion caused by the event. I felt that there should be a way for the Hong Kong Sevens to benefit the local community too. We wanted to enhance a great weekend by raising funds for mid-sized local charities tackling poverty in Hong Kong. To date we have raised more than $15 million for charity. Just as importantly, our guests at the box come away feeling as though they have learnt something from the charities. We invite representatives to the box to explain their work. The reach of Mission Possible stretches far beyond Sevens weekend. We are uniquely positioned to grab the attention of key decision makers in the corporate world, many of whom are in a position to give back in a meaningful way, both personally and through their companies’ CSR programs. This year, AIG, JP Morgan, UBS, Credit Suisse and KPMG will be hosting parties for disadvantaged children from our beneficiary charities in their boxes - how cool is that?

We have been overwhelmed with support from the start. The Hong Kong Rugby Union were very generous in donating a box to us for the first three years, and this year the government has given us one of their boxes together with the Commission on Poverty. The Chief Secretary or the Financial Secretary has stopped by the box every year to show their support. We have a different theme each year. This year we are supporting children and teens. We perform our own due diligence on each charity to ensure that they are effective and efficient with donations. We have partnered with Principal Chan, which offers free learning support to underprivileged youths; IBET, which empowers ethnic minority children; Summerbridge, a students-helpingstudents organization that offers skills training to underprivileged kids; and J Life, which works to alleviate poverty in Sham Shui Po. One year the Village People, who were the headline act at the tournament, came to our box and hung out for over an hour - they even hid when their manager told them it was time to go! This year’s theme is “Neon Wan Chai” and GOD [Goods of Desire] has designed the box and the volunteers’ costumes. Keep an eye out for us; Mission Possible will be the loudest box in the stadium.



Local charitable initiative Mission Possible has so far raised $15 million to alleviate poverty in Hong Kong. By selling tickets to an executive-level box at the Hong Kong Sevens for a minimum donation of $20,000, founder Peter Bennett has used the tournament as a platform for good. The Hong Kong-born exfinancier talks to Liv about the initiative, which this year will be working with the Commission on Poverty for the first time. 50