Liv Magazine August 2021

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AUGUST 2021 | l i v - m a g a z i n e . co m LIV MAGAZINE

Ferry Me Away Make your escape to these Hong Kong islands

All Gassed Up The awful truth about bloating

The Big Short

Inside a personal quest for comfort over hair length

SUMMER OF SELF-CARE A day-by-day guide to prioritising your wellbeing this month WIN: a sterilising wand, free-flow brunch and a one-month fitness studio pass on page 14!

AUGUST 05 Editor’s Letter



30 Recipe

06 Wishlist

32 Pamper

Lovely things we want right now

08 Hot Right Now

New happenings on the wellness scene

10 Fresh Cuts

How to fix stomach bloating

15 Review

Kung pao tofu quinoa bowl

Short haircuts make a comeback this summer

34 Home

Autumn homeware trends

36 Family

Get your kids gardening with these fun tips and tricks


Touch therapy and a women's-only workout programme at URSUS

LIV | STORIES 18 31 Days of Self-Care

A whole month of creative ways to practice loving yourself 12

26 Isle Be There

Three island destinations to explore







ow do you practice self-care? Do you sleep in and enjoy a leisurely coffee while you scroll through Instagram? Are you more of a morning person, getting up at the crack of dawn to meditate with sunrise birdsong? You might even be the type who loves to just take the piss out of something or someone with a trusted cynic in your social circle - it just feels so good to complain sometimes! Truth be told, I’m all of the above. There’s a million different ways to show yourself love, and they don’t all have to involve a sheet mask and a smouldering sage stick (which I maintain smells rank anyway.) This month at Liv HQ, we put our heads together to come up with a whole month of selfcare ideas, from easy wins to bigger, more worthwhile tasks that you’ll thank yourself for later. Think of it as a self-care calendar: 31 days of ways to love yourself more and prioritise your wellbeing all throughout August! Start ticking your way through the month over on p.18. If you’re reading this, chances are that you too are stuck in Hong Kong for the summer - why not use the opportunity to hit up an island paradise! Did you know there are over 250 islands, most of them uninhabited, to explore in our fair city? We ventured out to three of them to see what’s worth checking out on p.26. We also learned about the importance of not normalising bloating (p.10), which homeware trends are hot for fall (p.34), and reviewed a new femaleforward fitness programme that’s all about building gym confidence (p.15). Hope you all have a restful summer, and make August a month-long opportunity to turn up for yourself in the best way possible - whatever that looks like to you.


Zoe Belhomme taps urban farming organisation Rooftop Republic for kidfriendly gardening advice on p.36.

Kate Springer finds out which homeware styles are trending this autumn on p.34.

Julia Marino reviews a holistic body work therapy session with local practitioner Rahul Kaira on p.15.

Bell Chan discovers history, hikes and more on Hong Kong’s lesser-known islands on p.26.

Kirsteen Thain explains why a bloated tummy can be cause for concern on p.10.


Model: Tasha Cotton Featured brands: Casa Luna, Aanya, Mer Culture


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Send invites and info to: Makerhive, 10/F, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town PUBLISHER SARAH FUNG HEAD OF PARTNERSHIPS ANSHU RIJHWANI PARTNERSHIPS MANAGERS TERRY HU, MANDY CHAN EDITOR CARLA THOMAS SOCIAL MEDIA JO ROBINSON SPECIAL PROJECTS STACEY MARCELO ADMINISTRATOR JASMIN BLUNCK GRAPHIC DESIGN TAMMY TAN CONTRIBUTORS KATE SPRINGER, ZOE BELHOMME, JULIA MARINO, BELL CHAN PRINTED BY GEAR PRINTING LIMITED, ROOM B, 3/F, DERRICK INDUSTRIAL BUILDING, 49-51 WONG CHUK HANG ROAD, ABERDEEN ‘‘Liv Magazine’’ Copyright 2021 Liv Media Limited. The content provided here is the property of Liv Media Limited and may not be reproduced in any part without the written permission of the Publisher. The information provided by Liv Media Limited’s contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or the company. The information provided by Liv Media Limited, or its staff, advertisers and contributors is given in good faith; readers should gather more information before making the decision to purchase any goods or services highlighted here. Liv Media Limited will not be held responsible for any action, omission or error resulting from actions taken on the basis of the information provided here. Please seek the approval of a doctor before following any health advice.


Retail Therapy


Here's what we're crushing on this month



With notes of rose centifolia, violet, peony and sandalwood, this collector’s edition of Blanche by Stockholm-based fragrance house BYREDO is our top pick for an easy-to-wear summer scent. $2,200 from BYREDO


Ditch the dangling pine tree! These new car perfumes from Rituals are activated by the flow of air from your vehicle’s fan, and come in more sophisticated scents like Wild Fig or Orris Mimosa. $170 from Rituals 6

The limited edition MAC lipstick collection pays homage to Asian cities and hotspots, including Bali, Singapore, Hanoi and Harajuku. Naturally, our favourite is the Hong Kong “Milk Tea”, a dusky pink shade with a semi-matte finish. $175 from MAC


Brew a perfect cuppa every time just by popping a pod into this tea machine. We love that you can choose from 13 different varieties and flavours, running the gamut from traditional Chinese teas to wellness-inspired blends. $1,399 from Tea Château

Retail Therapy



These one-piece swimsuits from Aerie, American Eagle’s intimate apparel sub-brand, are so chic we might just forego our bikinis entirely for the rest of summer. $440-$490 from Aerie


Made with just two ingredients - cucumber and carrageenan seaweed - these new simple yet effective eye pads are just the ticket for soothing sore or puffy peepers. $45 from Lush

What’s better than one puzzle? This 1,000-piece, double-sided jigsaw puzzle features a pandemicinspired illustration on one side, and an iconic photo of the Star Ferry on the other, for two wholesome activities in one! $280 from Lion Rock Press


These sneakers are totally plant-based, using materials like algae, castor bean, and tree bark from a sustainably managed forest, to produce a pair of truly green kicks! $760 from 7

Cool Stuff


Athleisure brand lululemon recently announced that they plan to launch a vegan leather goods line, made with Mylo, a mushroom-based (yes, really!) material. Made from mycelium, the underground fibers of mushrooms and other fungi, this crueltyfree alternative to leather rivals the look and feel of the real stuff. But, it also emits fewer greenhouse gases, while using less water and land required in traditional livestock farming. It’s no secret that we’re heading towards a vegan future, and that means changing more than just our diets; switching to animal-free materials is just another essential step to reducing our carbon footprint! The three-item collection, which includes a yoga mat and two bags, will launch in early 2022.


It’s been a hard couple of years for everyone, but Hong Kong’s F&B workers have been among the worst hit by the pandemic’s effects. F&B Run Club is a new initiative with a two-pronged effect: bring hospitality workers together to participate in shared, healthy lifestyles, and raise money for charity. Here’s how it works: industry workers can sign up to the Strava F&B Run Club group to start logging their miles, and receive notices about meet-ups and other updates. The more you run (or walk or hike, no judgment), the more money you raise for charity. To sweeten the pot, you can also snag awesome prizes, like dining experiences, vouchers, staycations, even a one-year membership to PURE. Anyone who’s part of the city’s F&B ecosystem is welcome to join, so get involved if that sounds like you! 8

Cool Stuff


Beach, please! Head up to the New Territories to check out Hong Kong’s newest sandy oasis: Tai Po’s Lung Mei Beach. Newly opened in June, the new gazetted beach has everything you need to enjoy a day of fun and sun, including changing rooms, shower facilities and toilets, not to mention some stunning surrounding mountain landscape. Make a day of it by renting bikes at nearby Tai Mei Tuk, one of the city’s most popular cycling trails. 168 Ting Kok Rd., Tai Po

High Neck, One-Piece Swimsuits Bikini tyranny is over! Stores are now offering swimsuits that you can actually swim in without them coming off, and we are so here for it!

Fencing Appreciation Let’s hear it for Olympic gold medalist Edgar Cheung! Is fencing about to have a moment in Hong Kong?

Spider Season


Buh-bye, Blue Bar, and hello, Argo! The Four Seasons made the bold move of closing their iconic Blue Bar, and in its place is a brand new drinking den that we absolutely love - in no small part due to its mission of highlighting niche ingredients that may soon be threatened due to climate change in its debut cocktail menu. Titled “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,” the menu highlights ingredients such as honey, cacao, vanilla, coffee, rice and apple. For instance, their negroni is matured in a cocoa pod from a sustainable cocoa farm in Malaysia, lending it a deliciously chocolatey bitterness. Or try the Bark, Leaf & Love, a cognac-based cocktail that showcases honey from Argo’s very own hive in Mai Po, with locally sourced longnan shell, split cream and sandalwood. Masterful cocktails, supporting ethical supply chains and an absolutely gorgeous location? Sign us up! Lobby, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance St., Central, 3196-8888,

The golden orb weavers are out along the hiking trails. We love to admire from a distance, but running face-first into a web? Not so much.

Quarantine Flip-Flopping We feel nothing but sympathy for folks facing a three-week stint in Dubai after last month’s sudden quarantine reversal.




We’ve all been there. After too much sugar or a big meal, we find our bellies expanding to uncomfortable extremes, with embarrassing gas to boot. What’s a bloater to do about it? According to Kirsteen Thain, a personal trainer and fitness guru, bloating is actually not a normal bodily function, and she strongly suggests taking certain preventative measures to help stop the problem in its (digestive) tracts. Here’s what she had to say:

Q What causes bloating? Kirsteen Thain: A few common causes can include things like a food intolerance, which can create gas or irritation in the gut; an imbalance in the gut flora, such as excess bacteria or a fungal issue such as candida (much more common in women than men); and of course menstruation, which is to be expected, and is not cause for concern unless it’s unfeasibly uncomfortable. That doesn’t apply to severe cases of bloating obviously if someone has a medical issue that causes severe swelling and pain they need to see a medical doctor ASAP. Q Is bloating normal, or a sign of something else? KT: Bloating is common, but not normal unless it is related to menstruation (and even then if bloating seems very dramatic or painful during your period, I advise seeing a gynaecologist). My biggest pet peeve are influencers who believe they are promoting body positivity, but are actually 10

encouraging poor health with “bloating is normal” social media posts. When you bloat, it’s a sign that your digestive tract is not operating optimally and worst case scenario, there is an issue. Most people accept bloating, and feeling swollen and heavy as their status quo. They have accepted feeling crappy as what their body is like. What’s sad to me is that they have no idea how good they could feel. Q What helps to relieve bloating? KT: This depends on the issue! If you are suffering from bloating, then there is typically no magic fix at that very moment. I’d suggest drinking a digestive tea, such as ginger or peppermint, and moving (going for a walk, for example) just to alleviate symptoms. Q What steps can someone take to prevent bloating? KT: Preventing bloating is simple but most people don’t want to do it as it involves a little sacrifice!


Reduce or cut refined sugar, reduce or cut processed foods (anything that comes packaged), eat meals made from fresh and whole ingredients, reduce or cut alcohol (this ones a game changer!), increase green leafy vegetables in your meals to at least twice a day, take omega 3 supplements, and stay hydrated as hell! If this doesn’t work then I suggest probiotics, digestive enzymes, and perhaps even a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with water in the mornings about 30 minutes before you eat. If there is no benefit after four weeks, I suggest going to a medical doctor. I know one girl who kept telling herself to love her bloated belly, and it turned out she had massive fibroids in her uterus. Another person I know found out after much pain and time, like a decade of pain, that her bloated tummy was because she had celiac disease. Q How does proper gut health affect our overall well being? KT: Besides the obvious (not feeling bloated and uncomfortable, constipation, loose stool), there is growing evidence that gut health is linked to not just our mood and serotonin levels, but actual mental disorders like depression. Our gut plays a much larger role in our physical AND mental health than we think. At the end of the day we do not pay our digestive tract enough credit - it works tirelessly to process the fuel we give it. And too often, we give it some pretty terrible quality fuel. Don’t accept feeling mediocre as normal. You aren’t supposed to feel sub-standard. You’re supposed to feel strong, capable and energetic. Q Any parting words? KT: Do not normalise bloating. Ignoring symptoms of poor health can be dangerous, so if you see an influencer normalising it - unfollow them!

FRESH CUTS Dining news that’s good for you STEAK KING LAUNCHES IN HONG KONG From the entrepreneur behind The Butcher’s Club and Pacific Gourmet, Steak King is set to be your new favourite place to buy meat and seafood! With physical outlets in Mui Wo and Sai Kung, plus an online store, Steak King is all about sourcing top quality products from responsible suppliers. Think freerange pork, hormone- and antibioticfree chicken, MSC-certified sustainable seafood, Australian black Angus and Wagyu beef and New Zealand lamb from small suppliers. Too busy to prep? You can also purchase sous-vide meats and ready meals. And if you need one more reason to shop with them, Steak King is committed to reducing single-use plastic, and is striving to be a fully plastic-free enterprise by the end of 2021.

NORDIC CAFE HJEM OPENS New healthy cafe alert! Hjem is a Nordic cafe across from Man Mo Temple, with plenty of authentic Scandinavian bites on the menu. Get into their selection of smørrebrød - open-faced rye sandwiches that are piled high with fresh, wholefood ingredients - or one of their yummy salads, like pickled beetroot and apple tossed in a creamy dressing. We also clocked some signature drinks like fennel and dill soda, a full espresso machine set-up, and cocktails. Something for everyone at this adorable new addition to the neighbourhood. 161 Hollywood Rd 11



Because life’s too short to always order the salad

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LIMONCELLO Fancy a trip to the Amalfi coast? Assuming that’s not on the cards anytime soon, we might know of a place that’s the next best thing. CRUST Italian is a new all-day pasticceria (that’s a pastry and coffee shop, to you non-Italianos) in Wan Chai, that doubles as a takeaway and restaurant. Taking up the airy ground floor spot in the historic Woo Cheong Pawn Shop on Johnston Road, this place has no shortage of charm and convivial atmosphere. Stroll up to the display counter, where you can find flaky pastries, citrus-infused desserts, and an assortment of scuscia (street food snacks), best enjoyed standing up with a freshly made espresso. Or indulge in a little aperitivo culture, when Italians traditionally gather for drinks and small plates of food (available from a complimentary bar-top buffet) before dinner. The a-la-carte menu in the dining room is replete with southern Italian specialties that we’d recommend, like a walnut and endive salad with cheese soaked in wine mash (right), and a Positano-style scialatielli, laden with fresh shellfish. We’re already planning our next visit… 60A-66 Johnston Rd., Wan Chai,


Sponsored Feature


AT NATURE’S VILLAGE A One Stop Health Food & Sport Supplements Store in Hong Kong


ooking to stock up on high-quality nutrition and healthy snacks from the US? Nature’s Village, one of Hong Kong’s best-known health food stores, is celebrating healthy treats from America at its Tsim Sha Tsui outlet, which also happens to be the largest health food and sports supplements store in Hong Kong. Organized by Food Export, the promotion will be held until August 23. Here, you will find an enormous range of health-conscious products, across five key categories: sports nutrition and supplements, vitamins, health food, body care products and chilled and frozen products. You’ll also find the largest and most diverse collection of top-quality US products in Hong Kong, including a fantastic collection of keto products, including granola bars, meal replacements, pancake mix and even ice cream, to help you keep on top of your health goals.

23A Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2770-5098, #productofusa #foodexportusa

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GIVEAWAYS Visit for a chance to win!

Free stuff!

WIN: a one-month unlimited pass to IKIGAI Causeway Bay Looking for a yoga and movement studio unlike any other in Hong Kong? Ikigai, named after a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being,” offers immersive fitness, movement, yoga and meditation classes that encourage both a physical and mental transformation. To celebrate the launch of their new studio, we have an all-access pass to the new space up for grabs, valued at $1,890.

WIN: a free-flow brunch for two at Pirata!

WIN: a WandGlow UV-C sterilising wand

Craving some top-notch Italian cuisine over bubbles? We have a free-flow brunch for two up for grabs at Pirata Group’s flagship namesake in Wan Chai. Start with an antipasti platter to share, followed by your choice of main, from fresh pasta to grilled meats. Finish with your choice of a classic Italian dessert. The brunch for two, plus free-flow Champagne is $1,192 and we have a voucher for one lucky winner up for grabs.

In these pandemic-stricken times, portable sanitation is a great way to maintain peace of mind. British brand WandGlow has just launched a UV-C sterilising wand. At just 98 grams, you can pop it in your bag for effective sterilisation on the go. Whether it’s a door handle, a keyboard or a tabletop, the WandGlow kills 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses, thanks to its UV light sterilisation. It can even be used as a power bank and charge your phone on the go! Courtesy of WandGlow, we have one wand up for grabs, valued at $599.

Enter at before August 30 to win! 14


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



URSUS Women’s Programme Holistic Bodywork Therapy with Rahul Kaira The Buzz: Touch therapy is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on fixing the body’s natural energy flow through healing touch. The idea has always intrigued us, so we booked a session with Hong Kong-based therapist Rahul Kaira. A 16-year-veteran, he integrates his physical work with other spiritual practices, such as “de-armouring” - the art of releasing blocked energy, emotions and tension from the body. The Session: We arrive at Rahul’s home studio in Shek Tong Tsui. Inside, ferns frame a mural of a lush forest, and we relax on a comfy mat, letting the stress of the outside world melt away. He starts by accessing our akashic records, a cosmic database of events, emotions and words of the past, present and future, and says a blessing. Then he gives us a dynamic Thai therapeutic massage, gently rocking and stretching each limb. He also massages our abdomen using an ancient practice called Chi Nei Tsang, while guiding us through a visualisation and breathwork. We close the session with a prayer beside an altar made up of candles, crystals and spirit animals. The Verdict: The nature of touch therapy may sound prohibitively intimate, but Rahul establishes trust by always asking for permission before initiating any form of touch. We find out that he’s also highly empathic, taking the time to understand our unique physical and emotional needs. Following the session, we have a strong sense of catharsis. We feel seen. Cost: $1,500 per hour for the initial session; subsequent sessions cost $1,400 per hour.

The Buzz: Gyms can be intimidating environments for women. To remedy that problem, two fierce female fitness gurus, Santina Philips of URSUS Fitness and PT Kirsteen Thain, have teamed up, launching a new summer programme. The goal? To help women feel confident enough to walk into any gym and get an effective workout. We signed up for the four-week pilot, here’s how it all went down! The Programme: We meet on Sunday morning for orientation, where we set goals and test performance. Bam and Kirsteen outline what to expect: on Tuesdays and Sundays, we focus on strength training for our legs and glutes, while on Thursdays, it’s maximum calorie burn through metabolic conditioning. The hour-long workouts incorporate a mix of barbells, free weights, cardio, even some strongman training! They also explain how women need to train differently to men, thanks to factors like hormones, and give us some diet guidelines to follow for optimal results. The Verdict: If you’re looking to kickstart your fitness routine, look no further! This is a great introduction to learning how to train safely, while pushing yourself to your limits. Santina and Kirsteen are constantly on hand to support and challenge everyone, and with a capped class size of 15 women, there’s also a ton of group morale. Not only do we smash our initial performance indicators, we feel like we’ve got a great fitness foundation moving forward! Cost: $4,200. The next series starts August 16, and runs for six weeks on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings at 8am. 15

Retreat L

ast month, 20 Liv Magazine readers

Jasmin Liu of HYGGEWellbeing, a rose quartz

participated in our first ever Liv Well Retreat,

facial workshop by Evolcare, and an invigorating

held at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin. After an intimate opening ceremony by


JULY 19, 20, HYATT REGENCY HONG KONG SHA TIN yoga flow by Sarah Kalmeta of Pivot Point. After a delicious health-conscious Chinese

co-host, spiritual healer Coco Alexandra, guest

meal, guests were treated to a relaxing crystal

were treated to a packed schedule of activities,

singing bowl meditation by Yinki Wong of Yin-Ki

including a matcha ceremony demonstration by

Wellness & Coaching before retiring for the night.

The guests were also welcome to browse the

and a bento lunch to go.

wellness market, featuring brands such as Soapnut

All the facilitators were dressed in Sweaty

Republic, Okooko by European Bedding, Evolcare,

Betty activewear, and all participants received a

Avetia Limited and HYGGEWellbeing, held in the

voucher for a Sweaty Betty yoga mat to pick up

lobby of the hotel.

in-store. The spectacular welcome gift basket also

The next morning, all the guests were up

contained gifts from Soapnut Republic, Okooko

early to join in an invigorating Qigong session by

by European Bedding, OMSA, Evolcare, Spicebox

Nicholas Moutafis of Luminal Space. After a hearty

Organics, Millpond CBD and Aveita Limited.

buffet breakfast, they had a few hours of free time

A huge thank you to all the event participants

for spa treatments or swimming, before closing

who made the retreat such a success! We can’t

the retreat with another sacred circle ceremony

wait for the next one.


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Self-care is so important, we think it needs a whole month dedicated to it. This August, try and tick off as many of these self-care activities as possible, from small tasks that make a big difference to tackling life’s bigger challenges. By Sarah Fung and Carla Thomas 18



CLEAN YOUR SCREEN Start your month of self-care off nice and easy by giving your computer screen a good cleaning! We’re all guilty of letting gross smudges and fingerprints fester for longer than they need to - you don’t have to live like this! Pick up a handy cleaning kit with spray, microfiber cloth and keyboard brush at any local computer store, and go to town! Finish up with a coating of some antibacterial spray, like Raze, to keep your tech cleaner for longer. For extra self-care gold stars, clean your smartphone, tablet, and any other devices you’ve been neglecting.

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PLAN YOUR PROFESSIONAL MONTH It’s the first workday of the month, so seize the opportunity to think about your work timelines for the next four weeks! Pull up your calendar and have a look at anything that’s upcoming this month, from meetings and projects to invoices and administrative work due. Taking even as little as five minutes to familiarise yourself and get a bird’s eye view of the month is proven to massively reduce stress and improve time management. Do future you a favour today, so you’re not scrambling at the end of the month.


Simple, concise, and oh-so manageable when you’re just getting into the swing of a new week.

TAKE CARE OF HAIR REMOVAL NEEDS It’s best to tackle this specific beauty task mid-week, rather than leaving it to the weekend, because you’re actually not supposed to go swimming for at least 24 hours after a wax. This is because your hair follicles are still open, and it’s easy for them to become irritated and possibly even infected. If you’ve got beach or hot tub plans for the weekend ahead... do your waxing on a Wednesday just to play it safe.

Studies have shown that this simple win sets us up for an early sense of accomplishment, and increased productivity throughout the day. Try making a habit out of it!

PRACTICE MINDFUL DRINKING Get more out of your next bottle of wine (because it’s Friday, and chances are you’re drinking) by investing more into your wine collection. We love Toasst, a local monthly subscription box that focuses on smaller, more sustainable wine producers, lesser-known varietals, and woman-run vineyards. Not only do you receive new and interesting wines to try, you also get information about each bottle and winery, tasting notes and food pairings, so you can really geek out and savour your drink more meaningfully. 19

Cover Story



PIMP YOUR BRUNCH Sure, it’s nice to head out on a Saturday to hit up one of Hong Kong’s many, MANY popular brunch hotspots. But you can save yourself time and money - not to mention the possible irritation of queueing up and waiting - by just trying to recreate your fave restaurant brunch dish at home. Hollandaise is actually ridiculously easy to make (spoiler alert: it’s mostly butter), and you can splurge on whatever else you need to make a next-level home brunch.





WORSHIP THE MOON It’s a new moon tonight, baby! That means it’s a perfect opportunity for setting new goals and thinking about your future self. Who do you want to be in six months? What about in a year? Consider these questions and plan actionable steps to help get you there. Then, seal the whole experience with a new moon ritual! You can pick up a Magic Moon Ritual Set ($295) from OMSA, which has all the goods you’ll need.

Start the new week by reducing your time spent mindlessly scrolling. Apps like Moment help you to reduce your screen time through daily challenges that make you more aware of your phone usage.



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If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of sexual wellness and self-pleasure to our physical and mental wellbeing. If you’re too stressed and busy to find time for a little “self-care” - make some time today.

Yes, eating healthily is important, but sometimes you just gotta scratch that itch, ya feel? So today, just eat your favourite thing, but mindfully and without guilt.

INBOX ZERO Getting snowed under by your email inbox? Time to declutter your messages, delete what you don’t need and say goodbye to that little red “unread messages” bubble once and for all. While you’re at it, why not unsubscribe to the mailing lists you don’t open anymore?

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REVEL IN DARKNESS Traditionally an unlucky day - so go ahead and indulge your inner goth by tuning into Catching Worms, Hong Kong’s new true crime podcast.









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TAKE THE PLUNGE Whether it’s in the sea or at your nearest pool, swimming is a fantastic, meditative exercise that forces you to get off your devices. Enjoy the lack of distractions and the feeling of weightlessness as you swim a few laps.


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REFLECT AND RE-ALIGN It’s half way through the month, so make time to check in with yourself. What have you been spending your time on? Is there anything you’d like to accomplish before the month is over, maybe an errand you keep forgetting or a passion project you keep neglecting? Set a date in your planner or phone to get it done before the end of the month.

Throw a mask on! Whether it’s your hair, hands, feet or even a simple homemade face mask (we personally love mashing up an overripe banana with honey and baking soda), today is all about giving your dermis what it needs.

Is there someone or something in your life that’s causing you stress? Perhaps your mental health would benefit from setting a boundary with them! Whether it’s excessive overtime at work or an overbearing relative, why don’t you spend today thinking about what a healthy boundary looks like to you? And then, do your best to implement it.

Science says that spending time in the company of animals can help to reduce stress and anxiety, boost serotonin and even lower your blood pressure. If you love animals but can’t commit to a pet, try a cat cafe for a feline fix. Our favourite is Cats Tea Room in Tsim Sha Tsui, which houses rescue animals, some of which are up for adoption. Capacity is strictly controlled and the animals’ welfare is prioritised over revenue - they even raise money to buy cat food for charity each month.


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A simple ritual is a great way to start your day with good intentions. What can you incorporate into your morning routine this morning? Try meditating for five minutes, or mindfully savouring a cup of coffee or tea in silence. If it works for you, keep at it and make it a ritual.

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REMOVE FRICTION FROM YOUR LIFE Are you always struggling to find your keys, keep your Octopus topped up, remember appointments or stock your fridge? With your spare time this morning, set up some systems so your life runs more smoothly. Here are a few ideas: • Put your Octopus card on your phone and never rummage around for a $100 note when you’re running late again! • Organise your paperwork. Purchase a few files and put all your important papers in one place so you can place your hands on them at a moment’s notice. • Plan your living spaces so that the things you use daily are right where you need them.

Easier said than done, but if you have a habit that’s no longer serving you, why not try to cut it out of your life? If you’re struggling to do it alone, hypnotherapy is a proven method of kicking bad habits to the curb, from smoking to nail-biting. Try Mind Your Brain, a Hong Kongbased hypnotherapy clinic.

Said to be the day when the Gates of Hell open up and flood the streets with spirits for a month, Hungry Ghost Festival is a time of remembrance and community. Do as the locals do, and appease any ghosts in your life by leaving a food offering, burning small paper gifts, and remembering family members that have passed away. You can also check out live performances of Chinese opera, social gathering restrictions permitting.

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SPARK JOY AT WORK Happy Monday! Any and all workplaces could use a little more joy, from C-suite to a simple home office. Whether it’s a feng shui-boosting plant for your desk, some treats for your colleagues or an aromatherapy diffuser, think of something you can do to make your workspace more positive for you.

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DRINK MORE WATER The easiest way to boost your wellbeing - but hardly any of us are drinking enough water! See if you can drink two litres today.


26 THU

WATCH A MOVIE FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD Get your nostalgia flowing by re-watching a film you loved growing up. It could be anything from a black and white classic, Disney or Pixar kids’ movie, or a super cheesy romcom, like 500 Days of Summer (which we definitely have not repurposed for our own editorial objectives here.)

It’s easy to rely on cursory likes and comments on social media as a poor substitute for meaningful communication with friends and family who live in different timezones. Today, give someone a call (not a text!) and spend at least 10 minutes catching up. Bonus points if you get on video call and use a ridiculous filter.


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Tonight, instead of heading out to Peel Street or collapsing on your couch with Netflix after work, find a recipe that you’re dying to make (try @NYTCooking on Instagram for some serious inspiration.) You’ll learn some new kitchen skills, and feel that much more accomplished by pulling it off. And if you burn it all to a crisp...there’s always Deliveroo or Food Panda. No shame!






Nothing feels better than a cosy home! Check out the Affordable Art Fair at HKCEC this weekend, and pick up some artwork that makes you feel happy to look at.

We are incredibly lucky to have heaps of natural beauty here in Hong Kong. Harness the healing power of nature by heading out into the great outdoors. Check out a hike that you’ve never done before, or make a trip to one of the city’s lesser-known islands (we’ve rounded up three of them for you on p.26!)

Research backs this up: it is actually really good for our wellbeing to practice acts of kindness! Give someone in need your spare change, treat your coworkers to coffee or snacks, or send your mum some surprise flowers - there’s a million little ways to brighten someone else’s day.


Feeling stuck and looking for some guidance? Oracle cards are a fun way to encourage introspection, talk through issues and get clarity on issues that are bothering you.

Cover Story

ASK THE INFLUENCERS We asked some of our fave health and wellness influencers how they practice self-care. Here’s what they said: “I stop and take a few long deep breaths.”

“I love to get outside and be in nature, so sometimes I’ll take myself on a date paddleboarding.”

“I play my singing bowls and tuning fork when I need a deep relaxation.”

“A massage is always a good shout when you need to take care of yourself.” SANTINA PHILIPS URSUS Fitness

“I struggle to relax and switch off, so trying new and novel things really works for me. I just tried my first gong bath, which was lovely!”

MALBERT LEE Sound Alchemist

“I practice gratitude and forgiveness meditation, because I find it improves my sleep quality.”

“I eat my favourite dessert (frozen yoghurt, brownies, and cookies) because I have a massive sweet tooth, and those make me smile!”



Yim Tin Tsai

Tung Lung Chau

Peng Chau

Islands In The Sun

Pack your bags and head for the pier! Hong Kong has over 250 islands - many of which are uninhabited and full of cool historical artefacts - and we’ve outlined three of our favourites for you to check out this month. By Bell Chan 26


Yim Tin Tsai AT A GLANCE: An abandoned Hakka village just 15 minutes boat ride from Sai Kung, Yim Tin Tsai is a fascinating glimpse into the past. THE BACK STORY: The history of Yim Tin Tsai can be traced back three centuries. In the 1740s, the island was first inhabited by the Hakkas of the Chan family. Their descendants then developed salt fields on the island, and made their living by producing and selling salt. This explains where Yim Tin Tsai - which translates to “small salt field” in Cantonese - gets its name from! This island thrived for several decades, expanding to over 1,000 residents during its most prosperous period in the 1940s. But urbanisation had a significant impact on the population, and by the following decade, villagers had gradually started to move off the island for good, eventually leaving the island completely deserted. Today, Yim Tin Tsai is a mostly uninhabited island, with one semi-permanent resident. After a resurgence of public interest in the island in the 2000s, today Yim Tin Tsai is popular with daytrippers looking for an island escape. WHAT TO SEE: Yim Tin Tsai was once heavily Catholic, and influences of the Church still remain. Be sure to make a visit to St Joseph’s Chapel, a Romanesque-style structure built in 1890 that is still operating and open to worshippers. Another place to check out is the Yim Tin Tsai Village Heritage Exhibition, which was formerly the village schoolhouse, Ching Po School. You can browse a collection of cultural relics here, which embodies the local customs and heritage. Nearby, you can also find abandoned village houses, which still contain remnants from past residents, from kitchen utensils to old bed frames. In recent years, former villagers have become actively involved in the conservation of cultural preservation on Yim Tin Tsai, even receiving the Award of Distinction from the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. HOW TO GET THERE: From Sai Kung Public Pier, boats to Yim Tin Tsai operate from 10am till 3pm on weekends and public holidays only. It costs $50 roundtrip for adults, and $35 for children and senior citizens.



Tung Lung Chau AT A GLANCE: Tung Lung Chau has something for everyone, from family-friendly hiking to exciting rock climbing activities, ancient stone carvings, forts, and breathtaking natural landscape. THE BACK STORY: Tung Lung Chau officially dates back to the Kangxi era (1662-1722), when Tung Lung Fort was built to protect the city from pirates. Enclosed by a three-metre high wall, the fort consisted of fifteen guardhouses and was armed with eight cannons, and visitors can still tour its ruins. The fort was largely abandoned in favour of Kowloon Fort (later the site of Kowloon Walled City) in 1810. WHAT TO SEE: Besides the aforementioned fort, you’ll also find the Tung Lung Chau ancient rock carving - the largest, oldest, and biggest prehistoric rock carving that has even been found in Hong Kong. It was declared as a

Peng Chau AT A GLANCE: At just under one square kilometer, Peng Chau is a small island community that’s home to around 6,500 residents. More lively and easy to access than Yim Tin Tsai and Tung Lung Chau, this is a convenient and less time-intensive trip that you can easily do any day of the week. THE BACK STORY: In the past, Peng Chau was little more than a small fishing village. By the 1960s, however, this tiny island was a surprisingly industrious hub, with factories producing matches, steel pipes, leather and light bulbs. At the end of the 1970s, many factories closed down to relocate. Despite the closures, today you’ll find plenty of charming shops, restaurants and friendly locals. WHAT TO SEE: Wing On Street is the busiest street in Peng Chau. As you stroll along it, you’ll spot the entrance to My Secret Garden, an old leather factory that was built in the 1930s. After it went out of business in 1975, it was transformed into an art village, where you can find disused materials repurposed into stunning works of art.


On the other side of the street is Chiu Kee Porcelain, one of the few local workshops still operating today. In business for more than 40 years, visitors can enrol in workshops here to make their own painted porcelain. The 2.5-hour workshops are held irregularly; if you’re planning on visiting and want to give it a go, remember to call and make an appointment. Make a visit to Tin Hau Temple, a shoebox-sized temple that was built in 1792, and the Dragon Mother Temple (also known as Lung Mo Temple), a stunning red and gold building. It also just happens to overlook the main beach, a perfect spot to spend an afternoon sunning yourself and cooling off in the water. HOW TO GET THERE: Head to Central Ferry Pier 6, where you’ll find ferries that leave every 30 to 45 minutes. For the fast ferry (a 30-minute trip), it costs $31 per adult and $15.50 for children and senior citizens. For ordinary ferry service (40 minutes), it’s $16.60 per adult and $8.30 for concessions.

A Functional Approach to Improving Sleep and Stress protected monument in 1979, and is estimated to be as old as 3,000 years old. From there, walk along the paved path to Luk Keng Wan, where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the sea and crashing waves on jagged cliffs. Next, check out the lighthouse, which is one of the few surviving pre-war lighthouses in Hong Kong. Surrounded by the sea on all sides, it’s a dramatic and scenic place to relax and enjoy the view, as well as a popular spot to go camping (pro tip: get there early to snag tent space!). HOW TO GET THERE: The ferry to Tung Lung Chau is limited to weekends and public holidays. You can take a ferry from Kowloon, at the Sam Ka Tsuen Ferry Pier in Lei Yue Mun ($45 for a round-trip), or from Hong Kong Island at Shau Kei Wan Typhoon Shelter in Sai Wan Ho ($55 round-trip).

If you’ve been trying to improve your sleep and stress through supplementation and are not seeing results, it may be time to review the type, quality and dosage of your supplements.

Dr Laurena Law is a General Practitioner with an interest in nutritional and lifestyle medicine. She is one of the team of international Medical Doctors at LifeClinic practicing a Functional and Swiss Biological approach to treating ageing, persistent health issues and chronic conditions from the root cause.

Q: I have been taking melatonin for sleep but I get a headache the following day, could I be taking too much? Melatonin is important in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. Supplementing melatonin may help reset the sleep-wake cycle in individuals that travel or work in jobs that require shift-work. Supplements containing high doses of melatonin can increase side effects of daytime drowsiness, headaches and dizziness. It is best to start on a low dose and use it for a short period of time. It is also important to choose a quality source of melatonin since a high number of supplements do not have the listed correct dose and can lead to side effects and an impact on their effectiveness. Q. I have heard about magnesium as a sleep aid? How does it work? Magnesium is an essential mineral that regulates muscle and nerve function, ensures a steady blood pressure and helps manage blood sugar levels. Migraine sufferers benefit from magnesium supplements and those who suffer from nocturnal leg cramps and restlessness may benefit also. However, it is important to choose the correct type of magnesium to supplement with as the incorrect type and too much can lead to side effects such as diarrhea, nausea and cramps. If you suspect you are at risk of magnesium insufficiency, make sure you seek the advice of a health professional prior to supplementing. At LifeClinic, we work on maintaining metabolic, hormone and gut balance to achieve optimal health.

2/F-3/F, The Loop, 33 Wellington St, Central Tel: 2881 8131 |




Kung Pao Tofu Quinoa Bowl BY CALI FIT This recipe kicks it up a notch with homemade kung pao sauce, and swaps rice for protein-rich quinoa. A great way to eat the rainbow with maximum flavour!



30 minutes


1 cup quinoa boiled

1 tbsp crushed peanuts

¼ cup chopped mix vegetables (carrots, corn, cauliflower and green peas)

½ block of hard tofu, cut into 6 squares

1 tbsp sesame oil

½ bell pepper

½ red onion, chopped

2 tbsp kung pao sauce (use a store-bought variety or try the DIY version included!)

1 tbsp chopped green onions



Mix ingredients in a wok or pan with oil until fragrant.

1. 2. 3. 4.

1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp salt


1 tbsp corn starch

Press your tofu for at least 20 minutes beforehand so it loses water and picks up flavour easier.

1 tbsp vinegar

½ inch ginger grated

2 cloves garlic grated

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp water

½ red dried chilli (optional)


Rinse quinoa, then boil in salt and water. Strain quinoa and set aside. Sauté vegetables and boiled quinoa together. Place in a bowl. Sauté tofu in sesame oil until it’s golden brown, then add bell pepper, onion, peanuts and half of the green onions. 5. Sauté everything until slightly softened, then add the kung pao sauce and let it thicken in the pan. 6. Add on top of the quinoa mixture. 7. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve hot.

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THE GLOW UP News from the beauty aisle



With her shoulder-length hair starting to feel like a drag, Sarah Fung waxes lyrical about the benefits of a short hairstyle for the summer.


fter 10 years of wearing my hair shoulder-length, it’s time for a change. After having my second child, hormonal changes led to my hair falling out in handfuls, and it never quite regained its former thickness. Constant ponytails have taken their toll, leading to thinning and breakages. I have masses of flyaway baby hairs and my locks look limp, flat and lifeless. And then one day it dawns on me: It’s time to go for the chop. Dramatic hair changes call for expert stylists, so I reached out to Emmanuel Faipoux, owner and creative director of Emmanuel F, an organic hair salon in Sheung Wan. We discussed my reasons for going for the chop and went through some references, before landing on a textured pixie cut. “Summer is a great time for a new, short hairstyle,” Emmanuel says as he snips away. “Especially if you’ve had a major life change; cutting your hair can symbolise a fresh start.” However, Emmanuel notes that a short crop isn’t for everyone. “Not everyone will suit very short hair,


and a good hairdresser will advise on the right length and style for the client’s face and personal style, rather than simply following the customer’s reference.” My main reservation with short hair was accidentally ending up with the dreaded “Karen” – that infamous, aggressively-angled short hairstyle that screams: “I want to speak to the manager.” I ask Emmanuel about the phenomenon and he laughs. “We have an equivalent in French too,” he says. “You need to make sure that the style you choose isn’t dated. Make sure that your hair has movement, that you can run your fingers through your hair, rough it up and play with it. That way, it’s still feminine and stylish without being stiff.” After a little over an hour in the chair, my new look is ready. It’s textured, a little scruffy in the chicest possible way, and extremely freeing. “The more you play with it, the better it will look,” advises Emmanuel. I can’t help but agree. I feel light. My scalp is no longer pulled by the weight of a ponytail, and the relentless

humidity actually improves my hairstyle. Win! Emmanuel advises that although shorter hair requires less day-to-day maintenance, more salon trips will be required to maintain it. It’s a trade-off I’m more than happy to make.




At Liv, we are total suckers for a gorgeous hand wash that transforms the act of washing your hands into a luxe ritual that you don't mind repeating 50 times a day! We were recently introduced to Bathing Shed, a new personal care brand developed here, made in Japan, and inspired by Melbourne's beachside bathing houses. Right now they have just two products: Clean Hands No. 1 and Soft Hands No. 1. Clean Hands is - you guessed it - a hand wash containing Tasmanian cold-pressed hemp seed oil, which contains antioxidants, antibacterial and hydrating properties. Soft Hands is a gel moisturiser that absorbs almost instantly and contains silver ions to eliminate bacteria and viruses. Both products contain Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender and Peppermint essential oils for a gorgeous but not-overpowering scent. Our favourite part? The price! a 300ml hand wash comes in at $125, and the moisturiser is $155 - half the price of comparable products from other premium skincare brands. Available online from this month onwards.



Hong Kong’s first CBD spa has just opened in Sheung Wan! Cannable offers a treatment menu using CBDinfused oils in its aromatherapy, Thai and muscle release massages. They also have a store selling CBD lifestyle products, from skincare and tinctures to snacks and beer. Why CBD in spas? Studies suggest that CBD may actually have anti-inflammatory properties, making it great for things like muscle pain, swelling and other irritations. If you’ve been curious about this trend but unsure how to get into it, there are worse ways to take the plunge than a soothing massage! Prices range from $580 for a 60-minute Thai massage up to $980 for aromatherapy or muscle release treatments. Open from 11am-8pm daily. G/F, On Tung Mansion, 34 New Market St., Sheung Wan



RIGHT AT HOME with Kate Springer


t’s hard to believe it’s already August. But you know what they say: Time flies when you’re having fun... or stuck in a pandemic. With a new season right around the corner, I’m looking forward to cooler temperatures, autumn festivities and, of course, new interior design inspiration. To stay on top of the trends, we caught up with Cher Liu at TRIBE by Indigo (the more affordable, trendy offshoot of interior decor boutique, Indigo Living). Liu, who oversees upcoming designs as the Senior Interior Design Manager, has her eye on four trends that will fill your flat with good vibes only this autumn. We caught up with the Hong Kong-born designer to hear more about each trend - and why it’s the perfect fit for autumn in Hong Kong:


“As its name suggests, Belissima Italia has a warm, sophisticated mood that’s brought to life with really deep, rich tones, metallic finishes and supple materials think leather ottomans, slate grey swivel chairs, upholstered headboards, dark wood bookcases, and organic cotton throws,” says Liu. “This cosy and convivial trend will make your home feel like a warm Italian embrace this autumn - something we all need right now as many of us are missing family abroad and dreaming of travel.”

Bellissima Italia / Photo: Tribe


“A trend with lasting power, Scandinavian design is not exactly new, but it’s not going away either. It’s all about pure light colours, sleek lines and distinctive graphics, with an emphasis on simplicity and craftsmanship. The Scandi trend makes sense for these 34

Scandinavian Dreaming / Photo: Tribe


times since people are looking for calming and relaxing spaces to help clear their minds and focus on those meaningful moments with family and friends. You’ll see the trend come to life with Nordic-style wooden furniture, neutral-coloured walls, and sleek storage solutions to reduce clutter.”



“This minimalist trend combines Japanese and Scandinavian elements - function-driven spaces, rustic Nordic details, streamlined furniture, highly curated accents - for a heavenly east-meets-west hybrid that feels both contemporary and relaxed. Its growth in popularity stems from a collective need to find some zen during these difficult times and invest in our personal wellbeing. Our homes need to feel like a sanctuary since we spend so much more time in them and, given the small living spaces in Hong Kong, the functional nature of this trend makes perfect sense.”

4. ‘70S RETRO


“Another trend on our radar is ‘70s Retro. While we’re happy to leave shag carpets and wood-panelling in the rearview, prints and patterns are back in a big way. But this time, they’ve been reinterpreted with unique finishes, such as retro-patterned wallpaper or an upholstered statement chair. Colour-wise, keep your eyes out for mustards, moss greens and burnt orange hues. It’s all about contrast and standing out with this trend, which will take you back in time to an era where the world underwent so many changes - from the emergence of disco to technology, manufacturing booms and globalisation.”


‘70s Retro

“When it comes to any homeware trend, the best way to integrate elements into your space without breaking the bank is to update your soft furnishings,” suggests Liu. “You can incorporate elements of the trend - colours, textures, materials, patterns - through cushion covers, rugs or sheets. For something a bit bolder, consider adding some new artwork or wallpaper!”

Kate Springer is a Hong Kong-based lifestyle writer who contributes to Vogue, CNN, Home Journal, Tatler, BBC Travel, Forbes Travel Guide, Fodor’s, Vice, and more. You can follow her on Instagram @katespringer. Send news about exciting home and design stories to



FIT FAM with Zoe Belhomme

PLANTING THE SEED EARLY Tips for imbuing kids with green fingers in the midst of an urban jungle.


etting the kids into gardening is a win-win situation for everyone; they get to play in the dirt and stay busy, and as parents, we can subtly start implanting the idea that vegetables are, in fact, interesting and very cool. Michelle Hong, co-founder of Rooftop Republic, says that there’s also a myriad of benefits for children who pick up a hand trowel early on. “Nature is a wonderful teacher, and gardening provides an all-round learning experience from science, language, biology, even design.” If you’re keen to get the littles hooked on gardening, here are a few tips that Hong says help to keep kids engaged: • Start with plants from seed that have a short growing cycle, such as microgreens, that can be sprouted and harvested in 7-10 days. This helps young kids to focus on the reward of the harvest. Microgreens are also relatively low-maintenance, so you don't have to worry too much about them. Ask your child to dampen the soil daily with a spray bottle. • Grow things that your kids already enjoy eating. Some varieties such as carrots and broccoli take a long time to grow and require quite a bit of space, but leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce and herbs grow well in a pot


and will be perfect for compact spaces. • Experiment with cuttings, seeds and stones from the produce you buy in shops. Pineapple plants can grow from the top cutting of the fruit, while you can grow an avocado tree by sticking cocktail sticks in the sides of the stone and placing it over a jar of water. Be patient though - it can take a few weeks to sprout! • Do your research. Take time to learn about what conditions each plant needs to thrive. Engage older children to help with some online research. • Join a family planting workshop - kids will enjoy planting with new friends they make, and with extra games and support, it makes light work of time in the garden patch.


BRRRMM BRRUMM! This summer, let the kids take a whirl around the racetrack with the Junior Racing Academy at K11 MUSEA. Courtesy of online learning platform YUM ME PLAY, families can explore the world of formula racing through different interactive stations and experiences. From learning about the evolution and history of motorsports to designing their own race car, there’s a lot to keep kids occupied here, including a state-ofthe-art first-person race simulator. All the learning stations and activities are designed with STEAM in mind as well - so it’s not just an afternoon of glorified video games! Purchase an “Experience Pass” ($320) for entry and access to the site, or you can book specific workshops, which range in price, on the YUM ME PLAY website. The Junior Racing Academy runs until 12 September, you can find it located next to Avobar in the K11 MUSEA basement. Open everyday from 10am-7pm.

CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN Raise funds for the Love21 Foundation and get the whole fam moving with the Kidzilla Conquers Everest challenge! Get together in teams of no more than four, and run, walk, bike, jump, skip or do reps of your chosen activity, to see how far up Everest you can get! Mount Everest is 8,849 metres high so you can try and aim for that number - but if you have very little ones, it's fine to set a less ambitious goal too! Fundraising can take place on your own schedule, but at 10:30am on August 14 there will be multiple events taking place at various locations across Hong Kong - including The Mills, TKO Plaza and Asphodel - to get all participants moving together. Need more incentive? There will be prizes given for top fundraisers! Sign up and register now!

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


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NOMINATE YOUR FAVOURITE BRANDS for the Wellness & Lifestyle Awards 2021! It's time to celebrate the brightest names in wellness with the Wellness & Lifestyle Awards 2021! We want to know who YOU think deserves to be named the best of the best on Hong Kong's wellness scene.


From now until August 21, the public can nominate their favourite brands and individuals online at Winners will be announced in October's cover story, with a prize-giving ceremony held at the end of the month. Support your wellness community and honour the brands working to make Hong Kong a healthier, happier place! Scan the code to nominate your favourite brands now!