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F ITN E SS N U TRIT ION WELLBEING T RAVEL ECO S PA
MARCH 2020 | l i v - m a g a z i n e . co m LIV MAGAZINE
HONG KONG’S WELLNESS MAGAZINE
Home dining ideas to keep cabin fever at bay
Exploring the crystals trend
Gentle hand sanitisers to try
SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS: THE RISE OF HONG KONG ROCK CLIMBING WIN a two-night stay in Siem Reap and next-gen home hygiene spray on p.4!
DO YOU NEED A HEALTH COACH? Jasmin Blunck, Qualified Functional Medicine Health Coach at IMI, talks us through the many reasons why getting a health coach could be the best investment you ever make.
Call for a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn how I can help you stick to those wellness goals, and make changes to long-term habits that’ll serve you for a lifetime. Jasmin Blunck is a certified Functional Medicine Health Coach, a qualified nurse and has a Diploma in Applied Nutrition. She practices at IMI. Drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or 2523-7121. 2
o you want more energy, or to feel a little healthier? Maybe you’ve been to the doctor and have been told to watch what you eat, exercise more and reduce your stress levels. Maybe your blood sugar, cholesterol or weight is a little high. Maybe you’ve tried to diet or start a new exercise routine but gave up after a few weeks. People often experience a gap between what they know they need to do, and actually doing it. They feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. It’s totally normal and you’re not alone! That’s where a health coach comes in. We start by finding out all about you. What do you want to achieve? What’s holding you back? Once we know what the goal is, we can work together on a holistic plan to get you there, and then we hold you accountable the whole way there. Got a question about nutrition? Experienced a setback? We’re here to provide rational, actionable and supportive advice to get you back on the right track.
MARCH 05 Editorâ€™s Letter
LIV | NEWS 06 Wishlist
Lovely things we want right now
08 Itâ€™s a Date
Events for your diary
10 Hot Right Now
New happenings on the wellness scene
12 Fresh Cuts
Keeping meals creative at home
14 Cheat Day
26 New Stone Age
Crystals go mainstream
LIV | MORE 30 Recipe
Ayurvedic spice blend for boosting immunity
Hydrating hand sanitisers to keep skin supple
The value of meaningful travel
Fixed price birth packages at private hospitals
Next-gen home hygiene, and a Wim Hof ice bath & breath workshop
LIV | STORIES
20 Get a Grip
Why rock climbing has taken hold across Hong Kong
GIVEAWAYS Visit liv-magazine.com/giveaways for a chance to win!
WIN: a two-night stay at Navutu Dreams, Siem Reap! Located a stoneâ€™s throw from Angkor Wat, Navutu Dreams is an affordable yet luxurious wellness retreat and resort in Cambodia, one of Asiaâ€™s upand-coming wellness destinations. With just 33 rooms, this eco-retreat is a perfect weekend away from Hong Kong. In celebration of our new Wellness Retreats Guide launching this month, we are offering a twonight, three day stay, including breakfast, worth US$250. navutudreams.com
WIN: a home sanitising Starter Set from Raze! The latest development in home sanitising technology, Hong Kong-based startup, Raze, uses photocatalyst technology to create a self-sanitising room spray that neutralises germs and odours for up to three months. Courtesy of Raze, we have five starter sets to give away, each worth $340. Each set includes two sets of Raze original spray, and a UV LED activation base. nanoraze.com
Enter at liv-magazine.com/giveaways before February 24 to win! 4
ow are you holding up? It feels like I’ve been asking that of so many people for far too many months now, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary. It’s been a trying year in this wonderful city, and it’s been hard on just about everyone I can think of. How can we look after each other, and ourselves, during this challenging time? There’s no easy answer to that question (including masks and sanitisers), but I think a great start is allowing yourself to feel what you feel. Check in with yourself, and those around you, and just listen to one another. I think slowly, we’ll start to feel some semblance of normality again; the resilience of Hongkongers is a powerful thing. As much as I’d like to, I can’t individually check in with every single Liv reader out there to see how they’re holding up. But we can keep bringing you our best health and wellness news, and hope it makes your life better in some small way. For our cover story, we headed for the hills (mountains, actually) to find out more about Hong Kong’s climbing community. These days, it’s easier than ever to get started in rock climbing, and I spoke to some of the city’s pioneers of the sport to find out why it’s catching on en masse. Read more on p.20. Hand sanitiser has become a hot commodity in Hong Kong, but all that hand-wringing can leave your hands dry and irritated. We rounded up our fave germ-free cleansers that are gentle enough to use throughout the day on p.32. And if you’re spending more time at home lately, we’ve also come up with a few ideas on how to eat well from the comfort of your own kitchen; check that out on p.12. Here’s to a restful (and hopefully uneventful) March for us all!
MEET OUR CONTRIBUTORS Giving birth this spring? Zoe Belhomme shares fixed price birth packages for mums-to-be considering going private on p.36.
Kate Springer talks to a travel expert about the importance of meaningful on p.34.
She’s got one hand in her pocket...Sarah Fung knows the best hydrating hand sanitisers to carry with you on p.32.
Jo Robinson gets crystal clear on healing crystals and how to use them on p.26.
ON THE COVER
Model: Chris Tang Photographer: Karen Photography
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Send invites and info to: Makerhive, 10/F, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town PUBLISHER SARAH FUNG DIRECTOR OF PARTNERSHIPS JO ROBINSON SENIOR SALES MANAGER EDITOR CARLA THOMAS WRITER ZOE BELHOMME SOCIAL MEDIA STACEY MARCELO ADMINISTRATOR GRAPHIC DESIGN TAMMY TAN CONTRIBUTORS KATE SPRINGER, JO ROBINSON, OLIVIA LAI PRINTED BY GEAR ROOM B, 3/F, DERRICK INDUSTRIAL BUILDING, 49-51 WONG CHUK HANG ROAD, ABERDEEN
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‘‘Liv Magazine’’ Copyright 2020 Liv Media Limited. The content provided here is the property of Liv Media Limited and may not be reproduced in any part without the written permission of the Publisher. The information provided by Liv Media Limited’s contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or the company. The information provided by Liv Media Limited, or its staff, advertisers and contributors is given in good faith; readers should gather more information before making the decision to purchase any goods or services highlighted here. Liv Media Limited will not be held responsible for any action, omission or error resulting from actions taken on the basis of the information provided here. Please seek the approval of a doctor before following any health advice.
Here's what we're crushing on this month
We are loving these statement bright-red aviators that add a dose of attitude to any outfit. $1,450 from Ray Ban
If, like us, youâ€™re washing your hands 20 times a day, at least make it a pleasurable experience. We Aesopâ€™s Reverence Aromatique hand soap, which comes in a no-messing-around 500ml bottle, with pumice for extra exfoliation. $260 from Aesop
Thank heavens - low chunky heels are in! These cheery yellow sandals will put a spring in your step and will save your soles on your next jaunt around town. $1,390 from Pedder Red 6
HEMP HEMP HOORAY
Hongkongers have latched onto the CBD trend in a big way - something to do with its ability to boost emotional wellbeing, perhaps? Have a go, and see what you think. $800 from wild12.com
Bring some colour back into your cheeks with this limited edition four-shade blush and highlighter palette. $440 from NARS
NEW GREEN BILL
This lightweight bomber is from eco-friendly Italian brand Save the Duck. The jacket is in Save the Duck’s Recycled line, meaning it’s made from plastic bottles for a greener fashion choice. $1,800 from savetheduck.it
DE-STRESSED DENIM Welcome the return of warm weather and get some sun on your legs with these vintage-style shorts. $390 from American Eagle
Foldable, washable and anti-slip, throw this travel yoga mat in your carry-on for a practice you can take anywhere. We love that it’s available in a variety of stunning prints. $400 from flowfactoryco.com 7
IT’S A DATE MAR 22
RUNNING MAN It might feel like every race has been cancelled, but at least one is going ahead! Bonaqua HILX Action Sprint Sai Kung is a 12 km run that starts and finishes at Pak Tam Chung, with runners challenged to race across a combination of country park roads, dirt trails and stone stairs. Take in the lush mountain greenery while enjoying a killer cardio workout. Fans of this race can also look forward to two other events in this sprint series, which will take place in Repulse Bay and Discovery Bay later this year. $348. Starts at 9am, Pak Tam Chung, Sai Kung, register at actionasiaevents.com.
LIKE A GIRL Fivelements Habitat is celebrating International Women’s Day with this all-day event that brings together some of the city’s leading female entrepreneurs, artists and sustainability experts. With a lineup of specialised sessions, ranging from 30 minutes to two hours, women from all walks will share their insights on topics ranging from tea ceremony meditations to clothes-free photoshoots to laughter yoga. Best of all, part of the proceeds will go towards HER Fund, a non-profit working to advance gender equality by mobilising resources for female empowerment. $688 through Eventbrite. 7am-8:30pm. Level 13A, Tower 1, Times Square, Causeway Bay. 8
HOLI MOLY Get ready to paint the town red - and every other colour you can think of - at Holi Fest 2020. This traditional and popular Hindu festival is literally bursting with colour, as participants lob multicoloured powder and water at each other in a massive, goodnatured battle of the brights! Organisers provide eco-friendly colours, with South Asian food stalls on hand to serve up hungry Holi-rollers. There’s a bouncy area just for little ones, too. Ticket prices include a pack of colours, bottle of water, and round-trip bus from locations including Central and Tsim Sha Tsui. $250 (adults), $150 (aged 6-12). 11am-6pm, Whitehead Barbecue Beach, Ma On Shan. Email email@example.com for more info.
LEAVE NO TRACE The Hive's Sustainability Matters Panel & Fair is back for another edition! This event brings together Hong Kong’s community of eco-warriors and creatives under one roof to share ideas about sustainable development, hoping to inspire and empower people with environmentally friendly tips and habits. Hear from local business leaders like zero-waste shop Slowood and veggie eatery MANA! about their sustainability culture, roll up your sleeves in a workshop, or just shop some ecofriendly products to take home with you. Free to attend, register through Eventbrite. 6:30-9:30pm, The Hive, 21/F, Phoenix Building, 23 Luard Rd., Wan Chai, 3568-6343.
KEEP CALM & OMM What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than with free yoga surrounded by your fellow ladies! Yoga apparel brand Flow Factory Co. is hosting a complimentary outdoor yoga class in Tamar Park - just show up Sunday morning with your mat, a towel, plenty of water and some good vibes. Some added incentive: Flow Factory is also offering 30 percent off their apparel for anyone who attends! Free to attend. 11:30am-12:30pm, Tamar Park, Admiralty. For event info, see shorturl.at/elvT0.
Discover the wonderful world of plant-based cuisine, as Ovolo Central’s VEDA joins forces with Sydney plant-based hotspot Alibi Bar & Kitchen in the dinner series Veg Off: Alibi X VEDA. The four-night event sees head chefs Matthew Kenney and Jordan Brogan battle their culinary skills and creativity to present a four-course menu based entirely around four seasonal ingredients. Surprises await as every evening guarantees a different bespoke menu that features signature and speciality dishes. Vegan wine pairing options are also available, with two seatings every night to choose from. $500 per person, $750 with wine pairing, available through Ticketflap. Choose from 6-8:15pm or 8:1511:30pm seating, VEDA, 2 Arbuthnot Rd., Central.
HOT RIGHT NOW News from the wellness scene
The benefits of yoga go beyond stress reduction and mindfulness - it can also help your menstrual cycle and boost fertility. HER Yoga Practice is the first in the city to offer fertility and hormone yoga therapy. These specialised, and often personalised, classes guide yogis through gentle movements and hatha postures that focus on stimulation of the endocrine glands as a way to help balance hormones. Perfect for anyone experiencing irregular periods, PMS, fertility challenges, or if youâ€™re just looking to reconnect your body with its cycles. HER Yoga is currently offering a 12-class package at $2,280 for any first-time students. heryogapractice.com.
Fast fashion? We donâ€™t know her. Fashionable Futures is a newly launched online programme based in Hong Kong working to educate new and seasoned professionals alike about fashion sustainability. Founded by industry professionals Kate PadgetKoh and Kanch Porta Panjabi, this seven-week programme gives anyone from aspiring designers to business leaders an intro to best sustainable practices. The course costs US$2,000, and teaches key skills and strategies like how to create a sustainable supply chain, monitor your environmental impacts, and build a roadmap for your green fashion brand. Looks like green is on trend for 2020! fashionablefutures.com 10
GOING UP Healthy Vacations
Hate to chuck out barely used foundations and lipsticks? Looking for cosmetics and beauty products at lower prices without adding more waste to the environment? Glambot is here to solve those problems by breathing new life into previously loved beauty products. The US-based online platform pays people for their new or used, non-expired products, which are put through a thorough cleaning process involving alcohol and light therapy in their lab, then resold on the website. There’s a wide variety of beauty brands, everything from Anastasia to YSL, and Glambot offers free shipping to Hong Kong for orders over US$100. glambot.com
City life grinding you down? Put your health front and centre at a wellness retreat we’ve rounded up our faves in our first ever Wellness Retreat Guide!
Skin-Friendly Hand Sanitisers Cleanliness is next to godliness, but dry skin isn’t cute. Check out our roundup of gentle germ-killers on p.32.
Stockpiling Supplies seem to have stabilised, and we’re crossing our fingers the Toilet Paper Panic of 2020 will subside, too.
Face Mask Breath
Vegan sex is now apparently a thing, thanks to eco-conscious brand Jonny and their all-natural latex condoms. Most prophylactics usually contain casein, which is derived from milk, as a way to keep the latex lubricated. Removing animal derivatives out of the equation, as well as minimising their eco-footprint, Jonny has designed a condom made up of natural rubber latex with cornstarch for dusting and silicone oil for lubricating. It’s kinder on our bodies and for the environment. Even the bags each Jonny pack comes with are biodegradable, with the exception of individual foil wrappers. These vegan rubbers ($40 for three) are available from local zero waste platform Live Zero. livezero.hk
There’s no masking this inconvenient truth. Stock up on breath mints to avoid your own stale coffee breath.
GOING DOWN 11
H O M E P L AT E -
EATING WELL WHEN YOU’RE STAYING IN Anxiety over coronavirus is keeping us all indoors more, for better or for worse (home schooling, anyone?). That doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself from the comfort of your kitchen and dining room, though! Here are some of our favourite ways to eat well at home. By Carla Thomas
ORDER YOUR GROCERIES ONLINE
For anyone trying to avoid the supermarket scrum, this Antipodean online store specialises in products sourced directly from New Zealand, a country famous for its unspoilt natural environment capable of producing high-quality, additive-free foods (as well as a kickass prime minister!). They work closely with local NZ farmers, only sourcing foods during peak season and from sustainable growers and producers. From artisanal dairy-free yoghurt and plant-based meat, to sustainably caught fish and chef-designed recipe kits, there’s over 300 premium ingredients to fill your coffers with. Free delivery on orders over $1,000. store.eatthekiwi.com 12
GET HEALTHY MEALS DELIVERED
Finding yourself out of the gym due to closures and class cancellations? Designed with gym bunnies in mind, this meal delivery service cooks up balanced, results-oriented meals that focus on your specific fitness goals. Whether you’re trying to burn fat, gain muscle or just maintain weight, the handy precooked meals give you a precise and planned meal regimen that keeps you on track between gym sessions. Choose from two plan types: Swallow, for anyone looking to burn fat and get lean; and Eagle, which serves up a heavy dose of protein and extra portions for anyone trying to build muscle and get ripped. Meals are easily tailored to specific dietary needs (vegan, low-carb, etc.) and are dropped off at your home twice throughout the week so you’re always eating fresh. Starting from $1,700 for 20 meals over two weeks (an average of two meals per weekday) with more extensive plans available. mealthy.com.hk
HIRE A PRIVATE CHEF
OK, so this isn’t exactly a long-term solution to eating at home more! But if you’ve got a special occasion you were hoping to celebrate in style, why not splash out while staying in? Tom Burney is the mind behind sustainable catering company Invisible Kitchen, as well as a formidable private chef in his own right. He’s cooked for stars like Keanu Reeves and Kylie Minogue, as well as kitchen stints in some of the world’s best restaurants. Whether it’s an important client dinner or a special anniversary just for two, Chef Tom will create a bespoke menu that serves up restaurant-quality standards from your very own kitchen, arriving an hour before mealtime to minimise the potential weirdness of having a stranger in your home. Dinner parties for six or more start at around $1,500 a head, including four courses, canapes, a waiter, cutlery and crockery, with an additional wine pairing option if you really want to make it a night to remember. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
TRY A JUICE CLEANSE
If you’re just hanging out at home anyway, what better time to try a juice cleanse? These daily detoxifying sets from 12NOON promise to reduce inflammation, boost energy, support digestion, cleanse your liver and promote healthy skin. Each raw juice cleanse is delivered to you with six bottles to last you the day, recommended to be drunk every two hours. Depending on how zealous a cleanser you are, you can opt for a milder option (with fruit blends and almond milk) or a more extreme, green juice-only set. Costs $399 for one day’s cleanse. twelvenoon.net
DIY CHINESE SOUP PACKS
Chinese grandmas have been saying it for donkey’s ears: good health starts with good soup. But don’t go bugging your poor old nainai to make you a bowl! These healthy soup packs from Soup4Health purport to cure just about every bodily complaint you can think of, from the general (“Body Strengthening & Cold Prevention”) to the oddly specific (“Nocturnal Enuresis”). Ingredients are picked up from the wholesale market first thing each morning, before being cleaned, cut and packed, then delivered to your door. Each soup recipe (and there are over 80, just FYI) is packed with nutrient-rich veggies, fruits and herbs that should keep your immune system in tiptop shape for the foreseeable future. Packs range from $75-$140, and make 5-7 bowls.
FRESH CUTS Dining news that’s good for you BAIN MARIE ZERO-WASTE LUNCH DELIVERY SERVICE LAUNCHES Love meal delivery but feel guilty about all that disposable packaging? New food delivery startup Bain Marie is looking to solve that diner’s dilemma with a new concept where they will deliver your lunch in glass jars, and pick them up again, saving unnecessary plastic and cardboard packaging from the landfill. Choose from a gourmet, vegetarian or low-carb plan, and you’ll be treated to a three-course meal for just $120. bainmariehk.com
NEW RESTAURANT HUE OFFERS HEALTHY DISHES AND EXPANDED VEGETARIAN MENU Located at the newly-reopened Museum of Art, the 5,000 square-foot Hue is committed to offering a healthy but gourmet dining experience on Kowloon side. Meals start with a complimentary immune-boosting ginger and beetroot shot, before opting for fresh, healthy dishes, such as Australian striploin with burnt carrot puree, trumpet mushrooms and fermented Shimeji mushrooms. The vegetarian dishes are as innovative as they come, like ricotta dumplings with toasted hazelnuts and broccolini. Save some room for dessert; we love the sound of the homemade fig leaf ice cream with rhubarb, fermented strawberry jelly and buckwheat crumble. 1/F, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 10 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 3500-5888, huedining.com.hk.
Order online at Jou Sun. 13
Because life’s too short to always order the salad
SHAKE YOUR BON-BON If there’s one opening this year worth ditching the diet for it’s Cinnabon. This American institution is known for its head-sized cinnamon rolls oozing with sticky-sweet frosting and cinnamon goo, and following an enthusiastic reception in Japan and Korea, the brand has now hit our shores. If the classic size is a little too American-portioned for you, there’s also the more manageable Minibon, or the BonBite, a bite-sized portion that’s a little kinder to your pancreas. G06, G/F, Olympian City 2, No.18 Hoi Ting Rd., West Kowloon. cinnabon.com
TEST-DRIVE Liv checks out the newest workouts and wellness trends
Wim Hof Method The Buzz: Referred to as “The Iceman” for his ability to withstand cold temperatures, extreme athlete Wim Hof attributes feats like running an Arctic halfmarathon barefoot to simple breathing, meditation and prolonged exposure to cold. We checked out a Wim Hof Method workshop and ice bath with Brian Lai, Hong Kong’s first and only Wim Hof certified instructor.
The Buzz: With all the COVID-19 panic of the past month, everyone is looking for the next big thing in home hygiene, and Raze Technologies, a Hong Kongbased tech startup, is here to deliver with their selfsanitising surface cleaner.
The Class: The workshop is broken down into two parts: breathing and ice. Beginning with partner work to understand the anatomy of breathing, Brian takes us through various techniques that engage our parasympathetic nervous system, the all-important control system which lowers heart rate and activates our body’s resting mode. After two hours of breathwork, it’s time to strip down and jump in (literally) to an ice-filled bath. We spend a full 90 seconds immersed in the ice, with an optional extra minute for the hardcore amongst us.
The Product: Forget hosing your house down with chemicals all day long; this gentle spray formula creates a self-sanitising film on all kinds of surfaces, from phones to countertops to yoga mats, giving you peace of mind and saving you from having to conduct daily wipe-downs. The spray uses photocatalyst technology, commonly found in water purification systems, to neutralise contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and VOCs, decomposing them into harmless carbon dioxide molecules. The spray is safe, sustainable and non-toxic, making it a great choice for your home.
The Verdict: Eyeing up the mountain of ice that awaited us, the temptation to make a sneaky exit was pretty strong! Within seconds of being shoulder-deep in the ice bath, however, our newly learned breathing techniques came into full force. With Brian guiding us through, 90 seconds actually flew past! The sense of achievement afterwards was incomparable, so much so that we jumped in again for round two! We left knowing that our bodies are capable of so much more than our minds may allow us to believe.
The Verdict: We are obsessed! We started by sanitising our phone. After a quick clean and dry, we sprayed Raze over it and left it to dry for around 30 minutes. The spray is barely discernible and will remain effective for around three months. Emboldened, we moved onto our laptop keyboard, our kitchen and bathroom surfaces, shoes, door handles and even baby toys. Check out the rest of the range online - there are special products for mold and mildew, wood, leather and ceramic.
Cost: $800 (or $700 for early bird.)
Raze Home Hygiene Spray
See more info about upcoming workshops at primalbw.com.
Cost: $150 from nanoraze.com. 15
The Upper House
Thank You! @detoxme.asia
Jo Robinson @ The Rooms
huge thank you to everyone who participated in Wellness Week Hong Kong! We were a little nervous to be launching amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but despite the challenging circumstances, we found Hongkongers to still be ready to get out, see friends and take part in the many events and special promotions we had on offer from more than 50 partner brands. A special thank you to all our partners, who put on such exciting deals and happenings for Hongkongers to enjoy. We couldnâ€™t have done it without you! -The Liv Media team
The Upper House
Add a touch of sparkle to your look with these dramatic pieces from couture jeweler, Austy Lee
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aUSTY LEE Art Jewellery Address: Shop A, G/F, Kam On Building, 176 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong Tel: +852 2388 0212 austy_lee
THE RISE OF HONG KONG’S CLIMBING CULTURE From a proliferation of indoor climbing walls to its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 later this year, climbing is fast becoming part of the mainstream. Carla Thomas talks to Hong Kong’s resident rock jocks to find out more. 20
Photo: Stuart Millis
hen personal trainer Chris Tang, 34, was introduced to climbing ten years ago by a flatmate in Sydney, it wasn’t exactly an easy lift for him. “I was playing rugby then and was a whopping 85 kilos, which is considered heavy for climbing,” he says with a laugh. “But I loved it and never looked back.” Since then, he’s travelled the world over (after dropping some kilos) to places like Hawaii, Vietnam and Italy, organising group trips with other climbing converts at considerable expense and time - all to pursue a passion that Tang says is highly addictive. If the number of climbing gyms in Hong Kong is anything to go by, it seems he may not be alone. Climbing is undeniably experiencing a global boom, with double digit growth in the sport reported in both America and Britain in recent years. And Hong Kong is fast on the trend, too; Tang says in the last two years, at least four new indoor climbing walls have opened here, a sure sign of local interest in the sport.
WHY HONG KONG ROCKS Climbing in Hong Kong has been around since the 1950’s, when members of the British army started exploring crags like Lion Rock and Kowloon Peak. It wasn’t until the last 20 years that it began to take hold in the city, thanks in large part to pioneers who literally laid the groundwork to make the sport safe and accessible to the masses.
Photo: Stuart Millis
Photo: Stuart Millis
Stuart Millis started the website Hong Kong Climbing (hongkongclimbing.com) in 2000, documenting climbing areas in the territory after he says the only printed guidebook at the time was woefully inadequate. Millis, an engineering geologist who has been climbing for 27 years, was integral in developing the sport offline as well. He’s made several first ascents and routed new areas that have gone on to become popular climbing sites today, such as Monkey Buttress and Mount Parker. As a long-time fixture of the city’s climbing community, he says he’s definitely noticed a surge in popularity. “It’s grown hugely over the last 15 years, largely as a result of the growth in the number of climbing gyms and the accessibility this has given people to the sport.” Millis says by having low-risk indoor gyms available, novice climbers are able to build up their skills and strength in controlled environments before moving outdoors. 21
SOCIAL CLIMBER With no fewer than ten climbing gyms around Hong Kong right now, it’s certainly not difficult for newbies to get started in safe conditions. Climbing gyms have ample padding to cushion falls, easyto-grip holds for amateurs, as well as strict guidelines around elements like equipment, technique and spotters, to build up good habits before you get to grips with a crag outside. Francis Haden is the founder of the Hong Kong Bolt Fund, which replaces old bolts (used by climbers to clip into on rock faces) on outdoor climbing routes. A climber of over 31 years, he’s personally replaced thousands of old bolts locally, helping to minimise the risk of accidents during climbs. He stresses that there are always risks with outdoor climbing, and it’s important to get a good foundation first before trying to tackle anything too advanced. “Certainly, the outside environment is dynamic and broadens the risks involved,” says Haden. “Holds can break, whereas indoor holds generally do not - plus there’s a crash mat.” But it’s this element of risk that actually fosters the sense of community among Hong Kong’s climbers. Relying on fellow climbers, whether it’s someone
Photo: Stuart Millis 22
Photo: Stuart Millis
like Haden who has laid the boltwork to safely ascend, or literally putting your life in someone’s hands through belaying, requires trust and builds strong social bonds. It’s something that Chris Tang says has kept him climbing for over a decade. “First and foremost, it is the people that have kept me climbing. Going to the climbing gym or local crag and bumping into friends is like a social event for me,” says Tang.
TERMS Crag: a small cliff or climbing area Bolt: a fixed anchor point drilled into a rock face for climbers to clip into First ascent: the first to follow a specific climbing route, or first to summit a peak Bouldering: climbing without ropes or harnesses, using only hands, to a height of no more than 5-6m Belay: securing and controlling a partner climber with a rope to lessen the risk of falls Problem: a climbing route or a specific set of holds to reach the top
CRAG ADDICTS Studies have shown that feeling connected to others is a strong protective factor against anxiety and depression, as well as being generally good for our mental and physical wellbeing. So it’s no surprise why climbing is catching on as a sport; meeting new people and forming meaningful connections around a shared interest are positive outcomes that you won’t often get if you’re just tuning out on a treadmill. But there’s also a number of other things that make climbing an attractive prospect for anyone looking to get fit. Sure, it’s a full-body physical challenge, requiring both cardiovascular endurance and strength. But it’s also a mental pursuit that forces you to be fully present and in the moment, working to solve a route through strategy and problem-solving much like you would a puzzle. “Climbers understand there is no right answer to one problem,” says Tang. “We all have our own height, armspan and mobility differences, so we all solve a problem
slightly different to each other.” Then there’s the added benefit of being in nature. Hong Kong is uniquely gifted for its easy access to climbing areas; mountains here are accessible via public transport or relatively short cab rides, something you can’t readily find in many other international cities. Haden says it’s one of the reasons the city’s climbing scene is still so dynamic. “Climbing can be easily supplemented by other activities, like beaches or hikes, where other destinations in Asia do not have that combination.”
Photo: Stuart Millis 23
Photo: Stuart Millis
Photo: Stuart Millis 24
Whatever your motivation might be for giving it a go, itâ€™s clear that competitive climbing is catching on in a big way. In 2016, the International Olympic Committee formally announced that sport climbing would be included as a medal sport at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, dividing the category into three different disciplines of speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering. With the increased media fanfare this summer and gold medal glory bestowed on a handful of lucky Olympians, itâ€™s clear that public interest in this already burgeoning sport has yet to reach its apex.
CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN
Want to hit the rocks but don’t know where to start? Take it indoors with these climbing gyms. By Sarah Fung Keep Climbing Offering regular classes for both kids and adults, Keep Climbing is a bouldering and climbing gym conveniently located in Sheung Wan. A day pass to Keep Climbing is just $150, while a monthly pass is $800. Unit 6, 2/F, Wayson Commercial Building, 28 Connaught Road West, 3619-7167, Sheung Wan, keepclimbinggym.com.
Verm City It’s all about having fun at this North Point climbing gym. Their Clip n’ Climb open sessions are popular, as you independently traverse their Mario-like landscape - including a 6.5 metre slide! With 18,000 square feet of space, you’ll find something for every level.
Hong Kong Climbing Park Located in Sha Tin, Hong Kong Climbing Park has four activity zones: climbing, bouldering, training and a ninja warrior zone. There are varying rates, depending on the day you visit, how many zones you want to play in, and whether you want an hour-long or a day-long pass. For example, a one-day pass with access to all zones is $228 on weekdays and $268 on weekends and public holidays. Classes and courses also available, and there’s even a cafe area for long-suffering parents and partners. Level 2, Belair Garden Shopping Arcade Phase 2, 52 Tai Chung Kiu Rd., Sha Tin, New Territories, 3708-9075, hkclimbingpark.com.
4/F, Kodak House 1, 321 Java Rd., Quarry Bay, 25608128, vermcity.com. Attic V Specialising in bouldering, a low-to-the-ground climbing style that doesn’t require clips, Attic V offers more than 100 bouldering routes, as well as shoe rental if you don’t have your own. Has classes to suit all abilities as well as outdoor adventure days. Also welcomes team building and children’s birthday parties. Shop E, G/F, Derrick Industrial Building, 49 Wong Chuk Hang Rd., Wong Chuk Hang, 3101-2918, atticv.com.hk.
YMCA King’s Park Centenary Centre At 18 metres, this is the highest outdoor climbing wall in Hong Kong, with more than 30 climbing routes. Participants need to take a short assessment in order to give it a go. The YMCA runs regular climbing classes for children and adults alike throughout the week. Also has a mini indoor wall for children and beginners.
GoNature With more than 100 climbing routes and bouldering problems, GoNature has a huge climbing and bouldering gym in Kwun Tong. They’re all about getting out and enjoying Hong Kong’s natural beauty, with courses and training in abseiling and mountain craft as well as climbing. A day pass is $188 for adults and $148 for students.
22 Gascoigne Rd., Jordan, 2782-6682, ymcahk.org.hk/kpcc.
Unit C2, G/F, Wing Hing Industrial Building, 14 Hing Yip St., Kwun Tong, Kowloon, 3563-7156, gonaturehk.com
HOW TO GET YOUR CRYSTAL ON By Jo Robinson
ith celebs like Miranda Kerr, Adele, Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian professing their love for them, itâ€™s no surprise that crystals have come up as one of the hottest wellness trends in recent years. Around since literally the dawn of time, these age-old semiprecious stones were rumoured to possess magical properties, and have been used by healing practitioners since time immemorial to treat a number of physical and emotional issues. While it may sound a tad on the new age side, in the world of crystals, every gemstone has a specific frequency related to its unique molecular makeup. Harnessing the power of those individual frequency types can help encourage certain emotional or mental states. Whether youâ€™re a cautious skeptic or totally sold on the crystal trend, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start and how to integrate them into your daily life. So we asked Sonia Samtani, founder of alternative therapies clinic All About You Centre, for the lowdown on some of the best crystals to surround yourself with.
Amethyst “This purple stone is associated with the crown chakra. The amethyst encourages spiritual connection, and is ideal for those wanting to connect to their life purpose and looking for the deeper meaning of life. The stone has a calming effect and strengthens tranquility.”
Black Tourmaline “This is a shamanic stone used for protection. Most healers have this stone on their altar and use it to ward off negative energies. This stone is good for people who tend to be overly critical, or feel like they take on the negative energies of other people.”
“This is a red stone and associated with the root chakra, which is about grounding and stabilising. This is good for people who are anxious, or have a tendency to go into flight mode and flee when dealing with difficult situations. Carnelian improves motivation, and brings back presence so you are more focused.”
Tiger’s Eye Rose Quartz “This stone is associated with love and relationships. The rose quartz is connected to the heart chakra, and is useful in opening up the heart to love and trust. It’s a great stone to assist in healing trauma from relationships, and neutralising past pain. The stone is said to represent unconditional love and puts people in a space of more peace and acceptance.”
“This is a beautiful stone that combines yellow and brown, literally resembling the eye of a tiger. This stone is great for giving you power and energy to move forward. It helps to bring together parts of you that are scattered so you can move forward towards a goal. It’s good for people who tend to procrastinate and find it difficult to take action.” 27
HAVING A CRYSTAL BALL Once you’ve picked out your crystals, it’s time to put them into action! Here’s how to get your rocks off throughout your daily routine, and hopefully reap their healing potential.
DURING MEDITATION: Supercharge your crystals with an intention and use them in your meditation practice, if you have one. Not sure how to do that? Sonia recommends wetting your crystals under a running tap while you visualise your intention, then place them in the sunlight for 20 minutes. INCORPORATE THEM INTO YOUR BEAUTY ROUTINE: From rose quartz face rollers to skincare with finely crushed crystals, you can find gemstones in just about everything in the beauty aisle these days! This gorgeous highlighter from Kora Organics by Miranda Kerr mixes in your choice of amethyst, rose or clear quartz microparticles.
CARRY A TALISMAN OR AMULET: Keep a personal stone or crystal on you as you go about your day. To notch it up a level, some people have even been known to keep their crystals tucked into their bra or chest pocket to keep them close to their heart.
WEAR THEM: For a subtle intro to crystals, try picking up some gemstone jewellery like this amber baltic necklace from Flo Jewellery, which helps to alleviate stress and absorb negative energy.
CREATE YOUR OWN ALTAR: Carve out a small sanctuary in your home: a place to reflect, meditate and just be. Even if it’s a small corner of your bedroom, place a few crystals along with some photos, a scented candle, your journal - whatever helps you feel balanced and harmonious.
Clear Quartz Citrine “This is a yellow stone associated with our solar plexus chakra, which is about power. The stone is great for manifestation, and attracting power, success and money.”
Selenite “This is a white crystal, and probably one of the softest stones. Selenite has an ethereal quality and is used to connect us to our intuition. It is also useful to calm us and aids in meditation.”
“This is a clear, transparent crystal excellent for bringing clarity and focus. This crystal can also behave like other crystals, based on the intention that you put towards it energising it.”
H E A LT H Y, H A P P Y H O M E S In order to keep you safe and healthy, Slowood, Hong Kong’s zero-waste and natural living store, is offering special offers on home cleaning and immunity products. Here are a few of our favourites.
30 times more powerful than tea tree, manuka oil is a potent, powerful disinfectant that inhibits the growth of viruses, bacteria and fungi. Aotea Manuka oil is sustainably made in New Zealand using solar energy.
Straight out of New York, Fresh Eir is a multitasking hand sanitiser, odoureliminator and gear-freshener. Spray onto your hands or your equipment for an antibacterial and antiviral effect.
$196 (original price $280)
$168 (original price $240)
GERM DEFENSE CREAM
Feeling run-down and low on energy? Do you seem to catch every cough and sniffle? Harker Herbals Immune Boost contains Astragalus, Echinacea and Siberian Ginseng to help keep your immune system in tiptop condition.
With rave reviews online, The Herb Farm’s Germ Defense Cream has won legions of fans, who rub it under their nose or on their temples to help guard against germs. Popular with people who work with children, in medical clinics, or those
Need a natural pick-me-up? Love Tea’s VItality blend is packed with energy-boosting ingredients, including Siberian ginseng, rhodiola, and astragalus for a sweet and tangy brew.
$191 (original price $272)
$84 (original price $120)
$105 (original price $150) Shop 1-3, G/F, The Hudson, 11 Davis St., Kennedy Town, 2762-0770, slowood.hk.
Immunity Boosting Spice Blend Recipe Trying to stay healthy? Eating nutritious whole foods that are easy to digest (good health starts with gut health!) is one of the simplest and most natural ways to keep you healthy during flu season. For an added boost of vitamins and minerals to your balanced diet, this Ayurvedic recipe does wonders for the immune system. Try this spice blend from integrative nutrition specialist, Nomita Hathiramani. Follow her on Instagram@coco_glo or online at cocoglo.co.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: EASY
• 6 parts turmeric
1. Roast, or dry-fry, whole cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and black pepper. 2. Grind the mixture into a powder using a mortar & pestle, or a rolling pin. Add turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. 3. Mix all the powdered spices well and store in an airtight container in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
• 3 parts cumin seeds • 3 parts coriander seeds • 6 parts fennel seeds • 1 part powdered dry ginger • 1 part black pepper
TIP: For a tonic, add ¼ tsp. to a cup of hot water. Let steep for 10 min before straining and drinking. 30
• ¼ part ground cinnamon
4. For daily use, sauté one teaspoon of spice mixture in a small amount of ghee or vegan substitute like olive or coconut oil. Heat until you smell the aroma. Immediately remove the pan from the heat to avoid burning the spices. 5. Use spiced oil to cook vegetables, rice or other grains. Can also be sprinkled directly onto food if eating out.
Know Your Crystals WITH FLO JEWELLERY
Crystals have been used for thousands of years as a source of healing power. Ancient cultures such as Egyptians and Sumerians used and wore healing crystals and stones to align, clear and transform their energy and ward off negativity.
Rose Quartz and Amethyst Aroma diffuser necklaces and bottles - carry your favourite essential oil and crystals, doubling healing effect!
s different crystals possess properties that vibrate at certain frequencies, they intermingle with our
body energy system and raise vibration to facilitate emotional, mental, spiritual and physical healing. Here are our tips to choose crystals and stones by knowing your Chakras: As each of our energy centres vibrates at a frequency with a color, corresponding crystals can be used to balance the specific chakra. The crystals can be worn or placed on the body for healing. Healing crystals are also powerful for chanting and meditation to help balance the chakras. Some sample chakra healing crystals:
ROOT CHAKRA： Rose quartz is known
Black Obsidian, Garnet, Smoky Quartz
SACRAL CHAKRA： Orange carnelian, Orange-Red Agate, Tiger Eye
for opening heart chakra with vibration of unconditional love. It can be used to attract love
Amethyst is a natural
and balance emotions.
tranquilliser that relieves stress. It can also be used
Citrine, Amber, Yellow Agate
HEART CHAKRA :
Rose quartz, Aventurune, Tourmaline
to enhance intuition and
THROAT CHAKRA： Lapis lazuli, Sodalite, Turquoise
protect from negativity.
Amethyst, Purple Fluorite, Sugilite
CROWN CHAKRA： Quartz, Moonstone, Pear
Date: March 29, 2020 (Sunday) Time: 2-6pm Investment: $850-$1500 depending on the chosen crystals (tools will be provided) RSVP at email@example.com
Want to learn more about crystals and chakras
Use the discount code ‘LIVCRYSTALS’ for 10% off our limited Crystals Aroma Diffuser Collection.
which Chakra(s) you need to focus on balancing. You
and how we can use these to manifest your dream life? Join Flo Jewellery’s ‘Create your own Magic Crystal Mala Necklace’ Workshop. With this workshop, you will get a Chakra reading in advance and gain insights into can then set the intention and make a 108 beads mala necklace with your favourite healing crystal beads. The personalised mala can then aid your transformation.
THE GLOW UP News from the beauty aisle
OPTIMISE, SANITISE An uptick in hand sanitiser usage has our hands feeling rough, dry and cracked. But fear not: these brands are offering products that keep your hands germ-free, while nourishing ingredients save your skin. By Sarah Fung
JOSEE BEAUTY GROWN ALCHEMIST
Just launched this month, Grown Alchemist’s hand sanitiser is made with ethyl alcohol derived from cane sugar, with hyaluronan, sweet almond oil and cold-pressed sweet orange oil to keep skin moisturised and calm. Triglycerides from coconut oil and fennel remove grime. $120 for 50ml from 10/10 Hope counters citywide. 1010hope.com
BATHE TO BASICS
Local soap and skincare company Bathe to Basics has a natural hand sanitiser made with a base of naturally derived ethanol, with aloe vera, Vitamin B5 and glycerin to keep your skin soft. It’s delicately scented with B2B’s signature RAIN scent, a blend of eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove lemon and rosemary. $68 for 50ml from bathetobasics.com. 32
A homegrown brand, Josee Beauty creates fine fragrances and natural, organic skincare, and has recently branched into home and hygiene products. Containing just three ingredients: ethanol, purified water and glycerin, Josee Beauty’s simple but effective formula keeps germs at bay. $100 for a pack of three.
One for the truly fancy, Buly 1803 has a rich, nourishing antibacterial hand and foot pomade that uses a blend of essential oils - including tea tree, manuka, lemongrass and eucalyptus for a cream with powerful antibacterial and fungicidal properties. Do note however that this product does not market itself as a hand sanitizer $390 from Officine Universelle Buly G/F, 20 Wyndham St., Central, 2191-9005, buly1803.com
LIV LOVES… MAKEUP REMOVER SARAH FUNG, PUBLISHER The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser ($180 for 150ml)
THANN WELLNESS ZONE
There's a new relaxation haven in town and we can't wait to go and check it out! Thann Wellness Zone at K11 Musea is the second location for the Thai skincare brand's spa concept in Hong Kong, and this one comes with a newlyminted salt room, where you can sit and enjoy the therapeutic atmosphere of a salt cave, which are touted for their ability to treat skin conditions and improve your respiratory health. They're also deeply relaxing and are said to improve your sleep. While you're in there, go for a 45-minute foot massage that combines a sea salt exfoliation with aromatic massage oils to get your feet in the best shape ever. Shop 209, Level 2, K11 Musea, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 3188-0403, thann.com.hk.
“If I'm wearing a full face of makeup, this cleanser gets everything off and is gentle enough to use on eye makeup. Once you've massaged it in for a few seconds it changes from a thick cream to an oil as the product starts to lift off makeup and dirt. Once rinsed, I follow with a swipe of Bioderma cleansing water to remove the last few traces of grime.”
Feeling fruity? We’re feeling our oats over Nana, a dreamy new shower gel from Lush. A brightly coloured mashup of bananas, oats and wheat germ oil, this pudding-scented gel goes down a treat with natural soothing and strengthening properties. Originally a special edition release, it made such a splash with customers earlier this year that it’s now available yearround - very a-peeling indeed! The gel is also made with a new sulphate- and palm-free formula that’s eco-friendly, or opt for the naked option: a solid shower bar that skips the plastic packaging entirely.
CARLA THOMAS, EDITOR Eau Thermale Avene Micellar Lotion ($296 for 400ml) “I don’t like to use anything too strong on my skin. This is made for sensitive skin so it’s not drying or irritating, and still gets everything off in one pass.”
$110 from hk.lush.com.
TRAVEL WELL with Kate Springer
n these turbulent times, I’ve actually been travelling more than usual because it helps reset my mind, mood and perspective. And while it’s not a silver bullet (and certainly not the most cost-effective solution), several studies have shown that travel can boost creativity, reduce stress and make you happier. I caught up with Andrea Oschetti, a Hong Kongbased explorer who specialises in meaningful travel at his agency Blueflower, to hear his take on the topic. q A lot of Hongkongers have put life on hold during the protests and virus scare. What’s your approach? Andrea Oschetti: I personally won’t stop travelling, and I intend to enjoy every minute of it. Striving for happiness in a time of crisis is not frivolous. Quite the contrary, it brings balance. There is a lot outside our control, but this doesn’t mean we have to put life on hold. The best we can do is adapt and move forward. q In your experience, how can travel impact mental health? AO: Travel done right is an antidote against anxiety. Stress has a harder time thriving in your mind
when you are on holiday and it is hard to work on your emotions when you are immersed in stressful, everyday routines. With travel comes perspective and calm. Whether you go to a remote destination that inspires awe, or you interact with people that lead a life completely unlike your own, the effect is the same: a realisation that the universe is more extensive than our troubles.
q How can I improve my mental health while travelling? AO: To reap all the benefits of travel, your emotional needs should be in harmony with your destination and your programme. Travel is not just physically going to a place; it also implies a movement of the psyche. Why do you want to go away? Is it to challenge yourself, to devote time to your deepest needs, to recharge or to bond with your loved ones? Or perhaps you're travelling to check an item off your bucket list and get a great selfie. All reasons are valid, but if you don't plan with purpose, you run the risk of travelling thousands of miles to end up in an extension of daily life, just with a better view. q How have your travels transformed you? AO: I hiked in the valleys of Upper Dolpo in the Himalayas to strengthen the virtue of patience, which I needed at the time. I found benevolence towards others amongst the rural communities of the Silk Road. I learned to take myself less seriously by learning the story of the Holy Fool in Bhutan, a saint whose penis is drawn on the door of many homes. I have always found Japan inspiring for its cultural values: appreciating simplicity, such as wabi-sabi in traditional architecture; finding beauty in imperfection in practices like kintsugi, the art of repairing pottery; appreciating nature with shinrinyoku, the practice of forest bathing; the search for harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity during chano-yu, a Japanese tea ceremony….
q How can reconnecting with nature help? AO: Nature puts life into perspective. Perhaps you're admiring the endless desert landscape of the Taklamakan in northwestern China, and you feel small and humbled. This might sound like a negative emotion, but it is in fact a relief; you can't, and you don't have to, carry the world on your shoulders. The sensation of being a small part of nature is liberating. We can also take comfort in the fact that nature can accommodate our gloominess, pessimism and melancholy. Nature doesn’t push us to be cheerful and happy all the time, because it’s indifferent to us. On a rainy day, I visited the thousand-year-old cedars, moss-covered floors and babbling streams of Shiratani Unsuikyo nature park on the little island of Yakushima, Japan. It’s one of my favourite experiences in Japan. q Any other advice for stressed-out Hongkongers? AO: When we travel, it's not easy to leave our bad habits, worries and anxieties behind… These are insidious stowaways. The best way to prevent them from ruining a trip is to invite them on vacation with you. As it turns out, travel does wonders at improving our relationship with ourselves. Learn more about Blueflower: blueflower.la
Kate Springer is an Asia travel expert who contributes to Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, CNN, BBC Travel, Forbes Travel Guide, Fodor’s, Vice, and more. Follow her travels on Instagram @katespringer. Send travel news to firstname.lastname@example.org
with Zoe Belhomme
Labour Pains F
or women nearing the end of their pregnancies this spring, the coronavirus outbreak may have added further considerations to their birth plan. The Hong Kong Hospital Authority has put in place temporary measures that some families may not be fully comfortable with in order to reduce the infection risk for mother and baby. Precautions include partners not being allowed in the birthing suite, a reduction or cancellation of visitation hours and potential isolation of the baby straight after delivery. As a response, two of the city’s leading medical clinics have teamed up with private international hospitals to offer fixed price packages to women who were planning to give birth in the public system but are now reconsidering their options. These packages don’t just provide a lower price point for private obstetric care, they also cap the cost of vaginal and cesarean deliveries (ensuring that costs don’t spiral out of control) giving new parents peace of mind during these unsettled times.
OT&P & ANNERLEY WITH GLENEAGLES HOSPITAL
CENTRAL HEALTH & MATILDA INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL Central Health and Matilda International Hospital have teamed up to provide their own package. Costs are clearly broken down for clarity and include a Central Health obstetrician for delivery, a paediatrician and two to five nights in a shared room (max. 4 mums). A separate fee is charged for induction and additional overnight stays but this is capped. Currently available until 30 April 2020. Vaginal deliveries from $71,350 including epidural anaesthesia, up to $112,800 for emergency cesarean. centralhealth.com.hk 36
Costs for vaginal birth (spontaneous or assisted), epidural anaesthetic, elective cesarean section and emergency cesarean section are transparent and fixed. Packages include between two to four nights in a standard room (sharing with one other mother) at Gleneagles Hospital, and the delivery will be attended by the on-call OT&P obstetrician and paediatrician - no choosing your OBGYN, unfortunately. Also included is a postnatal visit by one of the Annerley midwives for added reassurance. Currently available until May 30, 2020. Vaginal deliveries from $60,300 excluding epidural anaesthesia, up to $102,700 for an emergency cesarean. otandp.com
CRATE ESCAPE We all worry about our kids getting the right balance of fun, education and stimulation, especially when they’re spending more time at home nowadays. KiwiCo is a company out of the US that delivers the goods needed to stimulate your child's development from birth right up through those challenging teenage years. This subscription service comes with a box of toys, games, crafts and exercises every two months that have been specifically selected to challenge, but not frustrate, your child. The bimonthly kits are divided into age-appropriate crates, starting with younger levels like Panda (0-24 months), Koala (2-4 years) and Kiwi (5-8 years). Older kids can dig into STEM projects or art & design materials with kits that get you making your own ukulele or macrame plant holder. Even if you don’t have kids yourself, this is a great gift idea for an upcoming baby shower, giving a new mum some sensory-rich toys for her newborn. Subscriptions start from $155 per month, or commit to 12 crates over 24 months and the price comes down to $120 per month less than the cost of one playgroup session! kiwico.com
TAKE A BREAK, MAMA! Before becoming a mum, mindfulness was something I knew I should make more time for. Now I’ve got a toddler on my hands, a full-time job, and another baby on the way, my mind, body and soul have quickly tumbled down the priority list. Something that’s helped me make room for the zen these days has been “Mindfulness of Mums”. This helpful hardback by British mum Izzy Judd is a collection of simple exercises to help restore calm in the chaos of motherhood. It’s a book to dip in and out of, and includes activities and exercises not only for you, but also your whole family. What I love most about it is that Judd affirms that mindfulness doesn’t need to take all day - just a few minutes of inner calm and reflection is enough to improve your mood, reduce anxiety and ease tension and worries. Costs $118 from blackwells.co.uk, including delivery to Hong Kong.
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 email@example.com.
The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members. @sarabond27
- Coretta Scott King
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