Liv Magazine September 2021

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

THE PANDEMIC-PRENEURS Meet the visionaries navigating their new businesses through the COVID crisis WIN: luxury spa treatments and a self-care gift box on page 15!

FALL IN LOVE with the September JENG! Box

$1,500 of goodies for

ONLY $480

Order now at

@ myj en gbox

SEPTEMBER 05 Editor’s Letter



30 Recipe

06 Wishlist

Lovely things we want right now

08 Hot Right Now

New happenings on the wellness scene

10 Fresh Cuts

Healthy all-day breakfast joints

15 Review

Deluxe CBD facial at Balance Health

Flourless pecan cranberry brownie

32 Pamper

Black and Afro hair stylists in Hong Kong

34 Home

Discussing dream bedrooms with a local homewares brand

36 Family


How to survive hotel quarantine with small children in tow

LIV | STORIES 18 Sink or Swim

Wellness brands and businesses that launched during the pandemic

26 Tread On Me

Everything you need to know about buying hiking boots





Sponsored Feature

LUNAR LANDING A new yoga center, Studio La Lune, is opening in the heart of Central to offer a sacred space for women's wellness. We catch up with founder Anna Cabannes to learn more about the launch. Q Why did you feel it was important to have a wellness studio catering exclusively to women? A In recent years, we’ve seen women realizing that their body is unique and their capabilities are limitless. We also witnessed the rise of sisterhood and how women are starting to help and lift each other up. To me, it was obvious that I wanted to create a unique space where women can take care of themselves while connecting to others. Q What kinds of yoga classes will you offer? A We will offer a wide range of yoga classes revolving around the key phases of a woman’s life: yoga for menstrual health, preand post-natal yoga, and yoga for menopause. Beyond that, there will be more holistic practices such as breathwork, movement and energy healing, meditation and reiki, and so much more. Q What do you hope to achieve with Studio La Lune? A My main goal is to bring people together, creating a community of like-minded women to share their successes and challenges on and off the mat. I want to create a safe space that will become a one-stop studio for all things women need to enhance their wellbeing. Q What else do you have planned? A We plan on hosting talks and workshops on various topics such as sexuality, mindful parenting or how to be confident in the way you dress… Those precious moments will be the perfect occasion to meet each other and raise awareness on certain topics around a casual drink. Studio La Lune is at 4/F Kai Kwong House 13 Wyndham St., Central, 9226-8464,



hen the pandemic brought the world to a standstill just over a year and a half ago, many of us had no idea what the future would hold. As time passed and the situation worsened, then improved, then worsened again (and so on and so forth), I noticed that people shifted from living in a state of suspension, idly waiting for normal life to resume, and moved instead towards adaptability, expecting and planning for things to change at any minute. We might not be able to get back to normal life anytime soon, but we’re moving on nonetheless and we’re probably more resilient for it. To that end, we decided to do an issue that celebrates pandemicpreneurs: people who chose to launch businesses in the last year, COVID-19 be damned! Find out who these brave souls are, what their stories are, and what they’ve learned along the way, in our cover story on p.18. With flights grounded and travel still largely restricted, Hongkongers have been embracing hiking like it’s no one’s business in the past 18 months. With so many of us hitting the trails, it might be time to finally invest in a proper pair of boots so you can level up your hiking game. We spoke to our local hiking experts Get High HK for their recommendations, and which trails to hit up on p.26. We also scoped out the best all-day breakfast spots on p.32, and learned how to survive a three-week hotel quarantine with kids on p.36. Here’s to getting through our second pandemic summer - let’s hope it’s the last!


Facing quarantine with the little ones? Zoe Belhomme sends word from inside her hotel suite, with her best advice for surviving the ordeal on p.36.

Kate Springer learns all about the art of sleep sanctuaries and bedtime rituals from local homewares brand Baea on p.34.

Tanya Parmanand sits down with outdoor enthusiasts Get High HK to get hiking boot recommendations on p.26.


Photographer: Ike Li


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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 MANAGER 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, TANYA PARMANAND 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


This eyeshadow palette by Dear Dahlia is giving us all the feels! We recommend embracing the green colour trend that’s everywhere right now by doing a smoky, forest green eye on your next night out. $355 from Sephora


Park yourself in one of these gorgeous bistro chairs, made with eco-friendly materials and 100 percent recycled plastics. Scandinavian sophistication meets sustainable design! $1,890-$3,890 from Normann Copenhagen



This scrub doesn’t play favourites when it comes to physical exfoliants, blending sugar, salt and ultrafine sand for a gentle yet effective body buff that leaves skin silky smooth. $275 from Fenty Skin


This sugar cane sorbet is a fun spin on an old summer classic, with fresh, frozen sugar cane juice swirled into a bamboo container and topped with a chocolate bamboo leaf. $56 from Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel (Harbour City and H Queen’s only)

Retail Therapy


We’re actually obsessed with everything local brand Antonia Y Jewelry does, including this gorgeous gold bracelet inset with iolite, a violet-blue semi-precious stone that’s said to stimulate imagination and intuition. $850 from


These Hong Kong handbags promote tourism on your home turf! Simply scan the QR codes to learn more about places of interest in your hood (including the best selfie spots) and also receive a short guided exercise on mindfulness and positivity. $800 from Blind by JW



We are obsessed with British active brand Sweaty Betty, and this pink longline yoga bra and tie-dye leggings combo combines high-performance fabrics and fashun. Bra $475 and leggings $860 from Sweaty Betty

Step into fall in style! Add some autumnal tones to your wardrobe this month with these cherry red flats, made with soft, supple sheepskin leather for maximum comfort. $990 from


Cool Stuff


Water Wonderful World

Yes!! the day has finally arrived. Government restrictions on recreational pools have eased (at time of writing, at least), and Water World is - cross fingers - opening on September 21! Old-school Hongkongers will have fond memories of the original Water World with its famous high-speed rainbow slides, and will be glad to learn that the new park has brought them back, along with no fewer than 27 indoor and outdoor attractions for a splashing good time all year round. For thrill-seekers, you’ll find the Thunder Loop, Daredevil Drop and Bravery Cliffs, or else take it down a notch with the Lazy Cruise or kid-friendly Whiskers Splash zone. Book now and be the first to experience this exciting new attraction - we’ve got our goggles on already!


Cool Stuff



After over three years of construction and no small amount of anticipation, the new Central Market is finally open for business, baby! With over 100 different retail and F&B spaces, the revived market (which shut down 18 years ago) promises to be a platform for local brands and startups, giving lesser-known names a welcome spotlight in this enviable downtown location. The historic building from 1939 occupies an entire city block between Des Voeux Road and Queen’s Road Central, covering a staggering 122,000 square feet. Some of the retailers already setting up shop there include Slowood, Bathe to Basics, and vegan dessert purveyor So Coco. There’s also an atrium designed for community events, complete with sound systems, projector and seating, and (restrictions permitting) plans to host plenty of exhibitions, tours and workshops throughout the year.


Sound baths are the ultimate meditative experience, harnessing the soothing power of gongs, singing bowls, chimes, tuning forks, and anything else you can imagine, to calm the nervous system. Yin-Ki Wellness is a new studio on Gage Street in Central that specialises in sound healing experiences, as well as personalised wellness coaching. Owner Yinki is certified in a wide range of disciplines including meditation, yoga, plant-based nutrition, crystal therapy and singing bowls, to name just a few. She blends meditation with different sound modalities to help “align vibrations and each person’s unique bio-energy field” - sounds good to us! We personally love the extra touches at this studio, including lavender eye masks, plush blankets, and foam pillows for extra comfort during the sessions. Trial sessions start from $410.

With local COVID cases down, our social calendar is finally filling up after 18 months of tumbleweeds. Praise be!

The CBD Bubble Much like the froyo bubble, the burger bubble and the bubble tea bubble, is Hong Kong’s CBD market finally at saturation point?

Midday Outdoor Workouts Heat exhaustion is not cute. We’re sticking to early morning and evening classes.

COVID Limbo Here we are with our borders still closed, watching as the rest of the world slowly gets back to normal with no end in sight for our travel restrictions. Sigh.



THE BREAKFAST CLUB Healthy all-day breakfast spots to get your most important meal of the day at any hour. By Tanya Parmanand

GRAIN OF SALT Registered dietician Tiffany Shek put together the healthy, well-balanced menu at this Soho cafe, with morning staples like avocado toast, yoghurt bowls, and chia pudding. Most dishes are plant-based and they also do keto-friendly options. TOP DISH: Green, Eggs and No Ham serves up poached eggs, broccolini, spinach and carrot hummus on toasted sourdough for a filling breakfast-inspired dish. Open until 7pm. G/F, 47 Gough St., Sheung Wan, 2968-1083,

CLASSIFIED This beloved cafe chain operates locations across the city, and consistently serves up top-notch salads, hot mains, pastries, coffees, cocktails - you name it! We also highly recommend Rise by Classified, a sister brand located in Exchange Square. TOP DISH: Absolutely do not, we repeat DO NOT, miss the Tofu Florentine, a vegan spin on the OG featuring marinated tofu, spinach, homemade dairy-free hollandaise sauce and sourdough bread. Open until 11pm. 108 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, 2525-3454,

COSHA Newly opened in July, this Aussie brunch spot has an all-day breakfast menu with tons of healthy bites. At night, this bright and welcoming space makes a full transformation into a shisha lounge. TOP DISH: Try their beetroot hummus on sourdough bread, with mashed avocado, cherry tomatoes, poached egg and sweet potato chips. Open until 6pm. G/F, 61 Elgin St., Central, 6765-0435,

14 SOUTH LANE We have long been obsessed with this plant-forward café near HKU, with an 80 percent vegetarian menu that puts whole foods front and centre. They also offer a light breakfast set until 10:30am, with a tofu and sweetcorn scramble that’s simply *chef’s kiss*. TOP DISH: Get your daily dose of antioxidants in with breakfast options like the beets borani toast or sweet potato coconut pancakes. Open until 5pm. G/F, 14A South Lane, Shek Tong Tsui, 5744-8390,



OPENDOOR CAFE + COURTYARD Eggs are on the menu all day here, with omelettes and egg white scrambles made from fresh, organic eggs. They also do lovely smoothies, like the Lean & Green super-smoothie with pineapple, spinach, matcha, flax seeds and coconut water. TOP DISH: Egg white scrambles are delicious, but we also recommend their Super Cup, a blend of overnight oats, almond milk, hemp seeds, goji berries and bananas. Open until 5pm. 120 Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, 34603880,

NOOD FOOD Quintessential and ubiquitous, PURE fitness and yoga studios make it easy to grab a quick and healthy bite at their in-house wellness cafe, nood food. They do several breakfast snacks and wraps that are available throughout the day. TOP DISH: The coconut yoghurt with quinoa puff granola seriously slaps here, or opt for a proteinpacked smoothie, like the Breakfast Buff with banana, oats, and strawberry protein powder. Open until 9pm. Locations citywide, including 2/F, Kinwick Centre, 32 Hollywood Rd., Central, 3691-3271,


GREEN COMMON One part grocery store, one part plant-based kitchen, Green Common has always been on the forefront of healthier, more sustainable diets in Hong Kong. They do an all-day breakfast menu with vegan spins on classics, like a Beyond sausage breakfast muffin, avocado toast, or muesli. You can also hit up Kind Kitchen by Green Common, which doesn’t offer breakfast but still does a killer vegan lunch and dinner menu. TOP DISH: We always opt for the Avocado Tartine, which uses a dark malt flaxseed sourdough toast for all that buttery rich avo. Open until 6pm. Shop B2, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Rd., Central, 3582-4463,

This tucked-away South African bakery cafe is renowned for its sourdough but also does a mean all-day brekky that’s stacked with fresh, high-quality ingredients. TOP DISH: Get into their Yogivasana, a housemade pita with egg whites, harissa hummus, avocado, red bean salsa and baby spinach. Open until 5pm. 14D, Elgin St., Central, 2885-2121,

TOP FIX The sister brand of Top Fit, this in-house cafe serves up oat bowls, protein pancakes, and other healthy brekky bites. They also do Buddha bowls and salads. TOP DISH: Build your own Oat Bowl, filled with fruit, nuts, seeds and a dressing of your choice, like peanut or almond butter. Open until 8pm. 6/F, Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 28779988, 11


FRESH CUTS Here’s where to nourish yourself this month

PLANT-BASED POWER LUNCH There’s a new hotspot for conscious dining in the heart of Central! Led by chef Shane Osborne from the Arcane Group, Moxie is a plant-forward 42-seater in Alexandra House, making it a perfect spot for the working lunch crowd. It is committed to sourcing its ingredients ethically from small growers and suppliers both locally and internationally to create mouthwatering favourites such as ruby beetroot salad with Taiwanese mango, feta and jalapeño dressing; three-grain mapo tofu; and seared octopus with broccolini, fresh burrata and salsa verde. Opens from 8am for breakfast. Shop 203, 2/F Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Rd., Central,


SAKTI TO YA Sakti Elixir Bar at Fivelements Habitat is one of our favourite farm-to-table, plant-based kitchens, and we couldn’t be more stoked about their latest seasonal menu. Highlights include the chilled lemongrass coconut soup - a perfect light meal in this sweltering heat, or the warm sweet corn millet salad. For something heartier, the brown rice penne “A la Norma” comes with tomato coulis, eggplant, almond curd basil and pine nuts. We love it! 13A, Tower 1, Times Square, 1 Matheson St., Causeway Bay, 3106-2112,


Calling all homesick Brits! 1908BC has arrived to make all your English-style Chinese takeaway dreams come true. This Sheung Wan spot was conceived by the former owners of the popular Dynasty restaurant in Bristol, who saw a gap in the market here for British-style Chinese food, catering to curious Hongkongers, BBCs and British people nostalgic for the UK’s interpretation of Chinese cuisine. Think crispy aromatic duck, chicken balls in sweet and sour sauce, sesame prawn toast and even chips with curry sauce, to name just a few. 5/F, The Pemberton, 22-26 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, 2116-4668,

ROCK THE BOX THe September JENG! self-care box has officially dropped! Here are all the goodies you'll find inside:




This protein bar from Women’s Best is one of the tastiest we’ve tried - perfect for stashing in your gym bag! Plus, the choc n dip snack pack is an innovative “whey” to get your protein in.

Bandit Coffee, a new coffee bean subscription service, has launched to help you level up your morning cuppa. Give them a go with this portion of coffee beans, housed in an elegant glass bottle.

Slip, slap slop on the Supergoop! This broad-spectrum sunscreen has won rave reviews for its lightweight texture and skin-friendly formula.




We are digging on these travelsized bottles from eco-friendly hair care brand KMS. With a shampoo, conditioner and anti-breakage spray, this kit contains all you need to keep your hair looking gorgeous.

Clean, vegan skincare brand Evolcare is taking Hong Kong by storm with its effective formulations that nurture your skin. This welcome pack is worth $420 and includes masks and serums in ampoule form.

Got a top or cute dress you love to wear, but don’t have the right bra? YOOBTAPE takes the stress out of dressing by providing stylish support no matter how crazy your cutouts or how sassy your straps. Simply apply to where it’s needed and let the tape do the rest.



How sweet are these bracelets from Black Coral? Wear alone for a subtle look, or layer for more of a statement.

Recommit to your wellness regime with a free class at Flex, one of Hong Kong’s top boutique Pilates studios. You can keep it up at home with a resistance band too!

Love everything you see here?

Everything on this page can be found in our September edition JENG! Box for just $480! Order now and score an additional $50 off your order using the code LIVJENG at checkout. Order online at


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


Deluxe CBD Facial at Balance Health The Buzz: The CBD trend shows no sign of slowing, and now the supplement is finding its way into our spa treatments! Balance Health has launched a 100-minute, two-part facial treatment that combines facial acupuncture, guasha, singing bowls and reiki. The Treatment: the procedure is carried out by not one, but two specialists: TCM practitioner Michelle Zhang and bodywork therapist Hafsa Khan. Their respective modalities work together to help deeply relax facial muscles, provide lymphatic drainage and boost that inner glow. First, we underwent a 15-minute consultation with Michelle, who examined our tongue and pulse, before asking us questions about our lifestyle - whether we suffered from bloating, tiredness, menstrual cramps or other common complaints. We were then led to the treatment room for acupuncture, mostly on our face but also on our ankles to help release blocked energy and address digestive issues. The facial acupuncture is designed to lift, brighten, improve circulation and release tension. After the needles are removed, Hafsa begins her work, using guasha tools to improve lymphatic drainage, before applying the CBD serums while using her hands to 14

perform an intense but relaxing face massage, together with energy work for a deeply healing experience. The Verdict: Don’t expect any exfoliation or steaming of serums here: this treatment is all about working on the muscles in the face to release tension and impart a natural lift and glow. The TCM aspect also looks at your wellbeing as a whole, and you may find that the acupuncture improves your sleep quality, relieves stress and leaves you feeling relaxed from the inside out. We loved how the treatment blended various modalities in a way that gave us a taste of many wellness disciplines; they worked amazingly well together and the singing bowls were a nice touch. We definitely left feeling deeply relaxed - the improvements in our face were an added bonus! Cost: $1,900 (until September 30) or $2,400 thereafter Balance Health, 27/F, Universal Trade Center, 3 Arbuthnot Rd., Central, 2530-3315,


Free stuff!

Visit for a chance to win!

WIN: a luxe spa treatment from The Chaless Inspired by the warmth and hospitality of the chalets dotting the mountains of Europe and Japan, The Chaless Wellness and Beauty is a cabin of tranquility in the heart of Central. To celebrate the launch of their brand new spa on Aberdeen Street, they’re giving away two treatments: a Thalgo Purete Marine Facial, and a CBD mood-boosting massage. The treatments are valued at $880 each and we are giving them to two lucky winners.

WIN: a September JENG! Box September’s JENG! Box has dropped and it is filled with all sorts of self-care treats from local and international brands, including SUPERGOOP!, Evolcare, Women’s Best, Black Coral and more. The products inside are worth a combined total of more than $1,500, and we have a box up for grabs for one lucky winner.

Enter at before September 27 to win! 15

Sponsored Feature



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Cover Story

NOTHING VENTURED, NOTHING GAINED The ongoing pandemic has presented a huge challenge for Hong Kong’s startups and SMEs. But amid the difficulties, an enterprising cohort of new business owners have discovered that even in difficult circumstances, there are opportunities for the bold. We speak to six local founders that have either launched or expanded their operations during the pandemic to get their insights. By Sarah Fung and Carla Thomas. 18

Cover Story

Just keep trying, persevering and pushing, but have a lot of patience. And always have a plan B, C, D and E!

Q Any upsides? A sense of community - both personally and professionally. Before the pandemic we were hardly in Hong Kong as we traveled so much, but now that we’ve been grounded we’ve had this amazing opportunity to meet like-minded entrepreneurs working in health and wellness, as well as get to know potential customers and understand what they want. It’s helped us to create balance in our lives. Orka is all about community, and now that we have built good relationships with our suppliers we hope to be able to get quality raw materials for young entrepreneurs and start-ups, without having to worry about minimum order quantities.

Nobin K. John and Aswini Rachel ORKA WELLNESS A board-certified functional medicine coach and a culinary nutritionist by training, Nobin and Aswini are creators of multiple award-winning fitness and wellness cafe projects overseas. Their initial focus was to grow the Orka brand in India, but when COVID closed borders and left them stranded in Hong Kong, they moved their dream of launching Orka in Hong Kong forward.

Q Why did you decide to launch Orka during the pandemic? Bringing Orka to Hong Kong was the big dream even before COVID struck, but we had it as our 5 year plan starting 2020. At the beginning of the pandemic there was a lot of uncertainty and anxiety, and we decided to channel our worry into something productive - bringing our brand ‘Orka’ to Hong Kong even quicker. Since we couldn’t get back to India, we fast-tracked the process and now what we were planning on doing in five years’ time, we are doing now. Q What have been some of the challenges of launching during this time? Logistics has been a huge issue. We used to travel and meet directly with suppliers. It’s important to us that our products are genuine, and something we truly believe in. As a result we’ve had to rely a lot on Fedex and DHL. Waiting for consignments to arrive has led to delays in our R&D process. But we got there!

Q We talk a lot in the media about the struggles of entrepreneurs, but has the pandemic been good for business at all? More people are becoming aware that they need to take care of their health and wellbeing. Pre-COVID, I think if we had launched at this time people wouldn’t care as much as they don’t understand why they need to change their habits. But now in terms of improving your diet that will safeguard your health. Q What sets Orka apart from other health food brands? We have always envisioned Orka as a wellness hub. We have started with products but there is so much more to come, including our two-time award-winning concept, Orka Cafe, which we are aiming to open in Hong Kong by the end of the year. More than anything we put sustainability first. There is so much waste in the supply chain so we sought to streamline the process and reduce waste. As a result our products have one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world. From packing our products onsite to working on a fixed-batch monthly production so we don’t over-produce, Our beverages come in glass bottles and our dry foods are packed in plant-based pouches that can be composted at home. Q What have you learned about business in the past 12 months? Just keep trying, persevering and pushing, but have a lot of patience. And always have a plan B, C, D and E! Q Any advice for a budding entrepreneur? Do the maths. Dreaming is great, but make sure your numbers make sense. And don’t be afraid to reach out to people who have been on this journey. You’d be surprised at how many people are ready to help.


Cover Story

Listen to others, but always stay true to your core purpose and don’t follow trends.

What ultimately made us decide to go for it was our core mission, which is to change the way the world eats. We want to offer plant-based alternatives to people who might typically find it hard to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Being driven by purpose over profits helped keep us on our path despite all the circumstantial challenges.

Zacki Hamid BIG DILL One of the most exciting additions to the city’s plant-based dining scene this year, vegan bar and restaurant Big Dill serves up mouthwatering comfort food - think burgers, fried chicken and milkshakes - that’s made entirely from homemade (not lab-grown) plant-based protein.

Q How did you come to launch Big Dill during the pandemic? Big Dill started off as an events brand, after I launched the Vegan Block Parties in 2019. I could see a strong appetite for plant-based food, so my current business partner Chris Growney joined me and we developed a pop-up concept where we would take over the food service in other bars. When one of the bars that we were working out of left the space suddenly, we had the opportunity to create our first flagship store. Q Did you have any reservations? Yes of course! The main reservation was how we will survive if dine-in restrictions continue or worsen. The Hong Kong food scene is already an extremely competitive market and when you add the difficulties the pandemic has on the service industry it was a risk. 20

Q What do you think sets you apart from other restaurants? What really sets us apart is that we make all our plant-based proteins in-house out of real ingredients you’ve known and heard of. This isn’t lab-grown food, it’s kitchen made. Also, we offer a 100 percent plant-based food and drinks menu. For example, our Whiskey Sour cocktail uses a vegan egg substitute. I think we are the only ones on Hong Kong Island who can say that. Q Why are you so passionate about veganism? Where do we start?! Whether it’s from the perspective of personal health, environmental sustainability or animal welfare, adopting a more plant-based lifestyle has a significant positive effect on your health but also the longterm sustainability of the planet. I’ve been vegan for five years now, and I was frustrated by the lack of choices I had when dining out. You could say my passion was borne from that personal experience. Q What lessons have you learned so far? Listen to others, but always stay true to your core purpose and don’t follow trends. The pandemic required business operations to be agile, and you need to be able to stay on top of constantly changing requirements and conditions to make sure everyone stays safe. Finally, plant-based eating can be fun! Q How has business been going? Any plans to expand? Since we’ve opened our own restaurant, things have been very positive. We are happy with the direction of the brand but also recognise it’s only been five months so we have a lot more learning and growing to do! And yes of course, we’d like a Big Dill on every corner!

Cover Story

Success to me is being happy doing what I love every single day. a network and rely on them to do their job. I’ve also learned to be tougher. Once, we had a huge corporate order come through. We were working with a new supplier and they held up our order and were refusing to release it, and because of the pandemic I couldn’t fly down and sort it out in person. It was a dark and scary time but a huge lesson in not taking slack from anyone. I was a bit of a pushover before but I certainly am not anymore!

Simran Mohinani MOHLIA Inspired by the infinity roses that filled her apartment when studying in Boston, Simran Mohinani decided to bring the concept to Asia, offering long-lasting naturally preserved floral arrangements that last up to two years. Simran was blown away by the positive response and decided to work on MOHLIA full time just days after her official launch. In addition to the infinity roses, MOHLIA offers sustainable luxury gifting and has just launched a physical presence in K11 MUSEA.

Q Was launching during COVID part of your plan? Not at all! I had always planned on going into the family business, and set up MOHLIA expecting to make a couple of sales a week. Within five days I realised that I had to take it up full time to keep up with demand. I was overwhelmed by demand for customised pieces and ideas for different designs, and we were selling out quickly. Q What lessons have you learnt during the pandemic? To find a good team, and to trust them. I’m a perfectionist and was always more comfortable doing things on my own. But I realised that in order to be successful, you need to build

Q What other challenges have you faced? Some, mostly related to logistics and not being able to visit suppliers in person. Because borders have been closed, we also haven’t been able to establish a bigger presence in some other markets and expand the way we would have liked in those locations. But challenges are good, because every time you pick yourself up you know what you need to do to improve. We also had an issue where another company tried to replicate our brand name and identity and launched the same concept in the US. It was tough as we were trying to investigate them remotely, and eventually it became a legal issue. Fortunately it has been resolved and they’ve backed off now, but trying to find out what’s going on halfway across the world was definitely a challenge. Q Has the pandemic been good for business in any way? I think people would have loved the product regardless of whether there was a pandemic, but at this period of time, when borders are closed and loved ones are far away, sending gifts is one way for people to make a connection. We are very grateful to be a part of something that allows us to share the love between friends, family and significant others, no matter how many miles keeps them apart. Q Any advice for entrepreneurs just starting up? Follow your dreams and don’t pay too much attention to opinions of others, particularly if it’s not coming from someone who has your best interests at heart. I had people tell me that they hate the brand name, that I wasn’t really working hard and that MOHLIA is only successful because of my family’s support, when in truth I work on it non-stop. Their comments just make me want to prove to them that I am hungry and I am building my success on my own terms. Success to me is being happy doing what I love every single day.


Cover Story

We’re in a transitional period and when the world recalibrates, that’s the time to start a business.

Q Did the gamble pay off? When we reopened on April 1, I had about three or four days when I thought, wow, it’s not going to work. But then footfall picked up, and within two months we had our best months ever since we opened, and it’s been going well ever since.

Damien Mouellic CENTRAL & STANLEY WELLNESS An integrative allied health practice in the heart of the city, Central Wellness was conceived during the 2019 protests. Then, just three months after its official opening, COVID-19 struck. Founder and osteopath Damien Mouellic tells us how he navigated these challenging times.

Q You already had a successful osteopathic practice in Stanley. Why did you make the leap to expand into Central? I first made the call in July 2019. At first I was thinking of joining another practice as a practitioner, but then I realised that I had everything in place to open my own clinic. It was in the middle of the protests, which presented some logistical challenges, but of course we never saw the pandemic coming. Q Tell us about the early days of the pandemic. We opened in September 2019 and by January 2020, COVID was in Hong Kong. We shut the clinic for two weeks in March to protect staff and figure out how to move forward. I had two options. Option one was to cut costs, reduce headcount and try to wait out the pandemic. Option two was to use the downtime to invest in getting our name out there, tune up our operations, optimise the website and be ready to go once restrictions were lifted. So I decided to double up and take the chance. We invested in marketing, PR, hiring new practitioners and advertising all the disciplines we offer. There’s no use in sitting back and hoping that word of mouth is going to be enough. 22

Q Why do you think that is? There are a few reasons. With borders closed, people have more time and they’re thinking about their health. Preventative health has thrived in the pandemic and it’s only getting bigger. Q Were there any upsides to the pandemic, expected or otherwise? The clinic closure allowed me to really develop a clearer vision. I am also a partner in IKIGAI, a movement studio located one floor above Central Wellness. As we move towards the functional medicine model, it became important to have a meditation and yoga centre to refer people to. When I suggested to my partners that we open a new studio they thought I was crazy. But why not? Rents are low and people aren’t going anywhere right now. We’re in a transitional period and when the world recalibrates, that’s the time to start a business. This is a town of entrepreneurs and you need to take the chance when you have power and momentum behind you. Q What advice would you give to an entrepreneur facing a crisis? First, don’t panic and don’t rush to get rid of your staff and downsize right away. Think about how you are going to use that moment to generate more business down the track. No knee-jerk reactions - it will backfire. If you’re a business owner who started in the pandemic, I think you will do well. If you can survive this, you’re invincible. Q How do you feel about the future? People are saying that the pandemic and the protests have killed Hong Kong. I think Hong Kong is about to explode. I see what’s happening in Kai Tak, in West Kowloon. The people with money have a vision and I think Hong Kong is going to the next stage. People wouldn’t invest if they didn’t believe in Hong Kong’s future.

Cover Story

When the pandemic happened I came to realise the importance of life and the need to value each day.

Q What have been some of the challenges of launching at this time? One of the biggest decisions we faced was whether or not to open a physical store. Ultimately, we decided against it as the risks were far too high for a start-up to take on. Instead we opted to put our resources into our digital platform and presence. However, we realised that some clients still prefer to see the product physically before purchasing, so we partnered up with various reputable veterinary clinics and our products are also available through them.

Susana Chan, LOP & LOA A newly-launched pet care brand, LOP & LOA centres around quality, design, sustainability and responsibility. Short for Love Our Planet and Love Our Animals, the brand’s first product is a high quality pet CBD formulated by CBDcertified veterinarians. Founder and CEO Susana Chan spent 16 years in the finance industry, until the pandemic made her shift her priorities and pursue her passion.

Q Tell us how you started LOP & LOA. I had been working in the finance industry for 16 years, and as much as I loved my work, my passion has always been animals. My ultimate dream is to open an animal sanctuary ,but for now I have launched a pet business that not only helps animals but offers well-designed, environmentally conscious products. We chose CBD as the initial product launch because I saw how much it has helped my own dog, who suffers from autoimmune disease. He was in constant pain and it broke my heart to see him suffer, but CBD has helped him immensely. When the pandemic happened I came to realise the importance of life and the need to value each day; it was the catalyst to push me to do something I’m truly passionate about. Working with veterinarians and a top production facility in the US, we now offer high quality CBD products including CBD oil, balm, isolate powder and dog treats.

Q Any upsides? Expected or otherwise? As COVID-19 still looms over us, people have found themselves at home a lot more and because of this a lot more pets have been adopted which is absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, the reality of adopted pets are that some have been abused or neglected in a previous life. Our CBD oils have shown amazing results with pets struggling with separation anxiety and overaggressiveness. We’re happy with the results our clients have been seeing and the feedback has been incredibly positive. It’s so rewarding when customers share their stories with us as our goal has always been to help animals. Q Has the pandemic been good for your business? The pandemic has undoubtedly benefited online retail, which we are happy to be a part of. Businesses and consumers alike have been turning to online platforms for their shopping needs. It has opened the general public’s eyes to the convenience of online shopping and even older consumers have gotten more tech-savvy. Be that as it may, a need for a strong online platform that’s user-friendly and engaging is definitely a must. Q What lessons have you learned since you launched? LOP & LOA opened its digital doors four months ago, and though this period has been short, there has been a lot to learn. We focus a lot on customer engagement, going as far as connecting them with our vets to answer and address any and all concerns regarding our products. We created in-depth pages for consumers who want to learn all there is about CBD. All in all, it’s been a rewarding experience and the greatest lesson I’ve taken away is to follow your passion and forge your own path because no matter how difficult it may seem, it all starts from a simple conversation and taking that first step.


Cover Story

No one’s going anywhere, so now’s a great time to knuckle down, work hard, and focus!

Rachel Haslam and Jimmy Pang,


Tidal Weightlifting is a new strength training gym on Arbuthnot Road. Opened just last month, it was founded by PTs Rachel Haslam and Jimmy Pang after increasing demand from their regular clients.

Q How did you get started? Jimmy and I were freelance PTs and were running Olympic Weightlifting classes at gyms all over Hong Kong. We reached a point where our community grew so large that we could barely accommodate all of our weightlifting clients in classes, and renting gym spaces became unsustainable. Expanding was a no-brainer! And it just so happened that when Covid-19 hit hardest, it brought some commercial rental prices down. That’s when we seized the opportunity. 24

Q Was it tough to launch mid-pandemic? The pandemic was both an obstacle and an opportunity for us. With gym closures we weren’t able to work at our usual capacity, particularly as some clients were understandably nervous about seeing other people and being in a gym. Luckily for us, we still had a large number of clients that insisted on training and braved all circumstances (parks, living rooms, rooftop workouts with minimal equipment) just to get themselves moving! We even hosted weightlifting classes in my living room to my parents’ dismay (luckily we didn’t drop anything!), and it was a whole lot of fun and the clients loved it. We were posting about it on social media and unexpectedly grabbed a lot of positive attention: supporters, admirers, and even new clients! Q What have you learned about business since launching? We’re a brand new business and we’ve only been soft-opened for a month so we’ve still a lot to learn. However, so far we’ve learnt that hard work definitely pays off; no matter how small your business, as long as the clients appreciate you, you will thrive; time management is key… and always remember to take payments! Q Any advice for budding entrepreneurs? The best advice I can give during this time is to seize any opportunity if it comes to you. COVID-19 is merely an obstacle and can even sometimes be surprisingly beneficial toward new endeavours. No one’s going anywhere, so now’s a great time to knuckle down, work hard, and focus!

Cover Story

MEET MORE PANDEMIC-PRENEURS ON PAPER LAB Founded by two local artists, Elsa Jeandedieu and Carol Choi, On Paper Lab offers creative and quirky art prints and postcards. Best known for their vibrant murals, which you can find all over Hong Kong, On Paper Lab is pandemic-born project that came about when the artists realised that the pandemic had led to a heightened interest in interior decor and a more widespread adoption of online shopping. Their mission is to bring affordable design to Hong Kong.

PIVOT POINT Perfect for these trying times, Pivot Point is run by Sarah Kalmeta, a former corporate high-flier, who has “pivoted” and reinvented herself as a success coach, yoga instructor and reiki practitioner. Whether the pandemic is threatening your job or you’ve started to notice your priorities shifting, Sarah can help guide you through the process, redefining what success means to you, and helping to create a life that you’re excited to live whatever that looks like.

QURIOUS Serving up quirky, fun homewares with a sustainable bent, Qurious was founded in 2020 by entrepreneurs Rowena Hoy and Cheryl Wilson, who wanted to create a lifestyle, homeware and gift e-retailer with a focus on wellness and positivity. Stocking more than 20 niche brands, you’re bound to find something you love.

MABEL LAU CALLIGRAPHY Newly launched last year, Mabel Au launched her eponymous Chinese calligraphy studio in order to promote positive thinking and mental health through creative activities during these challenging times. In addition to classes and workshops, she also offers on-site calligraphy services, original artwork and commissions. Despite the challenges of the past year, she has been able to connect with other creatives and clients looking for meaningful, one-of-a-kind artworks.






Exploring the picturesque hiking trails of Hong Kong is a staple activity in the 852, but you won’t get very far without the right equipment! Tanya Parmanand speaks with Hong Kong-based adventure guide Get High HK ( to learn more about how to choose the right hiking boots, and which are the best trails to break them in on.


Beginners For anyone just starting out who is unlikely to be tackling rugged terrains, a pair of generic running shoes will probably do you just fine! Jhalak Shah of GetHigh HK recommends the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35. “They’re extremely comfortable, have a good grip, and the water-repellent upper and sealed seams help keep your feet dry should you find yourself trekking through puddles or in the rain,” says Shah. “There are also reflective elements on these shoes that pop in low light, so you’re more visible on trails during night hikes.”

Try these trails: DEVIL’S PEAK, KOWLOON: While relatively easy, this trail is unique as it passes through military stations and two gun batteries built by the British in 1898. It’s only about an hour long, but offers captivating views of the Hong Kong skyline. PINEAPPLE DAM, SHA TIN: A roughly two-hour hike, this trek is tailored for those who want to exercise while soaking up the scenery. Relatively flat and shaded, you’ll most likely be sharing the path with local monkeys.

Intermediate If you’re leveling up and into more challenging hikes, you’ll need shoes with a better grip capable of scaling rocks safely. Shah suggests looking for more abrasionresistant rubber for the outer soles, and shoes with a clear break between the heel and the arch/front of the foot. This reduces any possibility of sliding during the steep descents. “The shoes should fit snugly, but there should be enough room to wiggle your toes as the last thing you want is having your toes crushed against the front of the shoe when making a steep descent down,” says Trisha Daswani, co-founder of GetHigh HK. She suggests trail running shoes like the Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Gore, or the Nike Wildhorse 6, which features a voluminous heel for increased stability, responsive foam midsole, and an integrated gaiter that keeps out debris.They’re both wellsuited for moderate rolling terrain.

Nike Wildhorse 6

Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Gore

Try these trails: AP LEI CHAU TRAIL: The Ap Lei Chau trail to Ap Lei Pai is an adventurous one that will see you climbing over mountains and trekking over sandbars to reach Ap Lei Pai Island. There’s a steep descent, but there are several ropes on hand to hold on to as you make your way up and down. If you’re not feeling like making the climb back up, hop on a sampan from Ap Lei Pai island, which ferries you back to Aberdeen. NG TUNG CHAI WATERFALL: This hike lies in the foothills of Hong Kong’s tallest peak, Tai Mo Shan. It requires some scaling, but hikers will be greeted by four different waterfalls along the way. Bring along bathers if you’re keen to cool off with a dip in the natural pools. 27


Experienced For more advanced alpinists looking for ankle support, GetHigh HK recommends shoes that have rubber soles with “lugs” - basically, traction-building bumps. Deeper lugs are often used on backpacking and mountaineering boots to improve grip, while widely spaced lugs shed mud more easily. The Merrell Women’s Moab 2 WP Shoe is embedded with 5mm lug depth and an air cushion that absorbs shock and adds stability. You can also try the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 6 that’s designed for versatile traction and transitions between different surfaces. Daswani advises that no matter which boot you buy, they all require maintenance. “Before and after each hike, remember to clean the underside of your shoes,” says Daswani. “The dirt lodged in the grooves can ruin your grip.”

Merrell Women’s Moab 2 WP Shoe

HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 6





Try these trails: SUNSET PEAK, LANTAU: Hong Kong’s third highest mountain is no walk in the park to summit. This trail involves an arduous, seemingly never-ending climb up stairs, and a steep descent. Hikers should aim to start this threehour hike by around 3:30pm to catch the momentous sunset views that give this peak its name. MAI DAI STREAM: This riveting hike will keep you on your toes, with rock scaling, rope climbing, canyoning and small waterfalls along the way. With several large, steep rocks, get ready to leap and stick the landing on the next boulder.


WHERE TO BUY HIKING BOOTS IN HONG KONG: APA OUTDOOR SHOP Every product at this sporting goods shop is tested by its inhouse team. Super knowledgeable staff who are happy to make recommendations if you’re unsure. 16A, Gee Chang Hong Centre, 65 Wong Chuk Hang Rd., Wong Chuk Hang, 3153-4091,

TRAILBLAZER SPORTS GEAR LTD An enormous outdoor concept store selling an extensive range of hiking products. They also organise workshops, seminars and events for hiking and trail-running,

inviting athletes and experts to speak. Unit 8, 3/F, Block B, Po Lung Centre, 11 Wang Chiu Road, Kowloon Bay, 3529-1408,

RC OUTFITTERS A Hong Kong-based chain offering a range of hiking-appropriate footwear, plus other essentials like cooling guard, water bottles, and sun gloves. Locations in Mong Kok, Sha Tin, Yuen Long, Causeway Bay, Kowloon Bay, and North Point.

CHAMONIX Founded by a local mountain climbing expert, this shop carries

various hiking gear from all over the world, including hiking boots and shoes, mountaineering and coasteering footwear and trail running shoes. 4-12, Prosperity Building, 6 Nelson St., Mong Kok, 2388-3626,

CAM2 Pick up your hiking gear and a camera to capture your adventures, at this one-stop shop carrying outdoors gear, action cameras, running watches, and other gadgets. 1006-1013, 10/F, Gala Place, 56 Dundas St., 2787-0173,







30 minutes

TIP: Want a fudgier brownie? Leave them in the fridge until the next day. Leftover brownies are easily stored in a sealed container within the fridge for a week.




• 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (this recipe uses NuZest Clean Lean Protein)

• 1/2 cup raw dark cacao powder • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

• 2 tbsp cashew nut butter

• 11/2 cups pumpkin puree

• 1/3 cup dehydrated cranberries

• 1 tsp of vanilla extract

• 1 cup smooth, runny hazelnut or almond butter (microwave for a few seconds if not runny enough)

• 2 tbsps Manuka honey (optional)

• 1/3 cup of melted cacao butter

• 1-2 tsp Erythritol, or sweetener of choice

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Preheat your oven to 180C. Grease a square pan with coconut oil and line with parchment paper. In a large blender, mix all the brownie ingredients together until smooth. Pour the brownie mix into the pan and allow to bake in the oven for 20 minutes. While the brownie base is baking you can make your chocolate drizzle. Melt the cacao at a low temperature and slowly add the other ingredients and mix until smooth. 5. As the brownies come out of the oven, allow them to cool on a rack and drizzle the chocolate over it. Put in the fridge to set.



THE GLOW UP News from the beauty aisle

BLACK HAIR STYLISTS IN HONG KONG It can be a challenge to know where to get your Afro hair needs looked after in Hong Kong (something more local salons should change, just saying). But we’ve got you covered this month! For all your twists, cornrows, dreadlocks, weaves, extensions, relaxing and creative braid needs, check out these awesome local stylists who specialise in Black and African hair types and textures. By Carla Thomas

CYNTHIA SARPOMAA, GLOW SPA Senior stylist and Afro specialist Cynthia Sarpomaa has been in the business since 2019 at this popular Central hair salon and spa. Glow offers the most comprehensive list of Black hair services that we know of, so you’re probably gonna spend a bit more here. But the service and quality are unrivalled, plus you’ll get a glass of bubbly (or two or three…) while you’re in the chair. 8/F Silver Fortune Plaza, 1 Wellington St., Central, 2525-5198,

MARIE For at-home Afro hair services, give Marie a call to set up an appointment right in the comfort of your own living space! She can handle most types of hair treatments in a 32

quick and efficient manner. She doesn’t actually charge anything, instead asking for suggested charity donations. Also speaks French. 9753-7397

SISTA PRECIOUS If you’re watching your budget but still want top-notch results, head to Mirador Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui. Nigerian stylist Sista Precious runs a small, no-frills salon that does braids, weaves, crochet braids, locs, and relaxer/texturizer touch-ups. This friendly hole-in-the-wall is more likely to offer you homecooked Nigerian food than prosecco, but that’s a big part of its charm. 1/F, Shop 18, Mirador Mansion, 54-58 Nathan Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 5181-5771




Luxury Hong Kong-based, Australian-made skincare brand, RARE Skinfuel, has just launched a new hand and body line - and we are so here for it! Comprising a hand cream and a body lotion, the two blends contain a potent cocktail of natural active ingredients for long-lasting moisturizing and detoxifying power. Think kakadu plum for a vitamin C hit, quandong and bladderwrack extract for antioxidants, green coffee to slow down signs of aging, and davidson plum for a collagen boost.

$580 for hand cream, $880 for body cream, $1,280 for the set from



RIGHT AT HOME with Kate Springer


e all know how important it is to get a good night's sleep. Clocking seven to nine hours a night on the regular can help boost your mood, sharpen brain power, regulate blood sugar, and improve physical performance - plus, it feels amazing, too. As a new mother, sleep has been very much on my mind lately. And given we’ve collectively been more stressed out than usual during the pandemic, it’s no wonder that people are investing in their bedrooms. The global bedroom furniture market is set to expand 30.4 percent from US$135 million to US$176.1 million by 2027, according to MarketWatch. But furniture is just the foundation - you’ll also need fluffy pillows, soft linens, soothing lighting, blankets, rugs and cosy accoutrements to create a slumber sanctuary where you can truly recharge your batteries. I caught up with Adah Chan, the founder of sustainable homeware brand Baea (, who knows a thing or two about bedroom essentials as a busy entrepreneur and mother of three. She tells me all about her homegrown Hong Kong brand, the most calming details in her home, and what her dream bedroom would look like.

Photo: BAEA

Tell us about your family's sleep routine - any rituals you follow? Adah Chan: I have three boys, so after usually a busy day of school, homework, running around, bedtime is about winding down and taking a moment to reflect on the day together. After a story or two, I love spending a few minutes to share what we’re each looking forward to the next day. They are usually the most relaxed once they are in bed and all tucked in. What do you do to get a better night’s sleep? AC After putting my boys to bed, I like to finish my day by reading to break from the day. I always put my phone outside of the bedroom and switch it to airplane mode which gives me a sense of closure to the day. Before lights-out, I put a few drops of lavender oil on my pillow, which my boys are now asking for too.

Photo: BAEA 34

What kinds of materials do you use for Baea’s bed linens and cushions? AC Some things were obvious - of course, the cotton has to be organic - and then we asked: what


about the buttons on the duvet cover? What are the biodegradable options available to us? Our research led to an ingenious material called Corozo made from the nuts of the tagua palm. Interestingly, it’s not a new material and was actually known as “vegetable ivory” for decades. Our accessories - throws and cushions are hand-felted in small patches made from naturally harvested and naturally dyed silk and wool. And all our packaging is made from biodegradable sources.

Photo: BAEA

How do you make your home feel more soothing? AC Over the years, I’ve come to realise that the things bringing calm and a sense of peace into our home are those gathered in nature. On a windowsill, I keep things like a beautiful stone that reminds me of a perfect day spent at the river with my family. Or sometimes, a simple arrangement of dried grasses foraged in late summer will cause me to stop and reflect on the tranquillity I felt in that moment. To me, these are some of the most precious things I have in my home. What would your ideal bedroom look like? AC My dream bedroom would have a view of nature: a body of water and a forest or an open meadow would be ideal. Large windows, textured white walls, a couple of favourite art pieces that bring in natural shapes and colours... plus a comfy upholstered lounge chair from modern solid wood furniture designers, De La Espada, alongside a couple of small ottomans or stools to place personal items. I’d prefer to have only lamps and floor lamps - no ceiling lights - for a cosier atmosphere. And on my bedside table? A small clock, some lavender oil and a handful of books.

COLOUR CODE You’ve got a big cosy bed, soft sheets and natural accents - and for a finishing touch? Don’t underestimate a fresh coat of paint. According to British papermaker G.F. Smith’s 2019 ‘The World’s Favourite Colour Project’, which surveyed thousands of people worldwide, navy blue is hands-down the most relaxing colour for a bedroom because the rich hue recalls the tranquillity of water. Sweet dreams!

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

JAILHOUSE ROCK In early July I bit the bullet and went to visit my family in the UK with my two girls - aged one and three. During my time in the UK - and the 21-day washout in Portugal - I spent a huge amount of time preparing for our hotel confinement when we returned. Here’s some of my best advice for surviving and thriving when you’re facing quarantine with little ones.

BE PREPARED It might sound obvious, but proper preparation will make all the difference. One friend prepared a “magic bag” with a different activity or game for each day of her quarantine. Kids will look forward to opening the bag of toys/craft materials/books for the day, and the routine of it all is grounding for them. We also prepared a daily learning outcome for our three-year-old which we found particularly beneficial. For example, one day we recited the days of the week, while another we practiced the alphabet.

STICK TO A ROUTINE Parents who had gone before me - and done much longer stints - all said that their best piece of advice was to stick to a routine or schedule. Divide awake periods into hour-long slots and allocate an activity to each. It could be breakfast, screen time or arts and crafts but having a set schedule, which includes meal times, makes time pass much faster.

GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS Use a simple tent, or just a sheet with some fairy lights, to create an exciting new bedtime space for your toddler or young child.

DO PHYSICAL EXERCISE EVERY DAY Space is certainly limited in Hong Kong hotel rooms, but it’s important to keep children moving each day. Aside from 36

burning off energy, a little physical activity helps to release endorphins that keep children’s moods happy and upbeat (and less prone to meltdowns). Try a child-friendly fitness video or play hide-and-seek around the room.

CREATE A REWARDS SYSTEM We created a reward system for both children with a sticker chart. We gave stickers out that they could save up to redeem for rewards such as small toys, their favourite foods, or a TV show or movie. While screen time is definitely an important part of survival, try and keep it structured so that kids know that it’s a privilege.

IT’S GOOD TO TALK Believe it or not, there are some positives about being stuck in a room with your loved ones! You get to spend quality time with them in a way that isn’t possible in the outside world. Ask each other questions, remember to laugh, and be silly with each other - because it’s an experience that you’ll probably never forget. We also bought a Facebook Portal so we could speak to the grandparents on a daily basis, which I highly recommend.


BABY BOUTIQUE We all know the struggles of trying to get nice children’s clothing and toys in Hong Kong at prices that don’t make your eyes water. Enter Ari and Eve, a brand new online baby shop created by stellar mama duo Kathryn and Annabel. The two mums were avid online shoppers, but found they were constantly paying high delivery fees and long lead times to get the items they wanted from abroad. Fed up with the lack of choice available locally, they set about curating a collection for Hong Kong parents that wouldn’t break the bank or take a year to arrive. Currently the collection includes a highquality range of cotton and linen clothing for newborns to fiveyear-olds, nursery décor, wooden toys and some great accessories such as jelly shoes, sunglasses, a canvas teepee, silicone snack cups, and bowls, and beach buckets and toys. Best of all, when you get to checkout you won’t be stung with additional fees - Ari and Eve offer free shipping on all Hong Kong orders.

TALL STORIES The Gruffalo is a popular book in our household. Most nights my three-year-old plucks it off her book shelf to revisit Mouse’s adventures in the deep, dark wood - I’ve read it out loud so many times I can probably recount the words off by heart! So I was excited to hear that this tale will come to life on stage in Hong Kong in October. The Gruffalo Live on Stage is a magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and has already proved a huge hit with little ones around the world. The production features three cast members who each take turns in playing the various animals and storyteller. There is lots of music and singing throughout to keep the 55-minute performance engaging and interesting for even the littlest of viewers. Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment! Three performances a day across five dates: October 1-3 and 8-9. Drama Theatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Wan Chai. Tickets $225-$435 from HKTicketing.

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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BEHIND THE SCENES A few outtakes from our cover shoot. Thanks to our amazing photographer Ike Li!

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