Liv Magazine May 2018

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MAY 2018 | l i v - m a g a z i n e . c o m LIV MAGAZINE

Different Strokes The swim charity making a splash

The Future of Food

The Impossible Burger hits Hong Kong

Make Shroom

Magical mushrooms for energy and focus

Little Kingdom

Trekking in Bhutan

THE MINIMAL MOVEMENT How to declutter for a simpler, happier life WIN deluxe bed linens, headphones a natural home care starter kit on p.22!

DECEMBER MAY 05 Editor’s Letter



06 Wishlist

26 Meet the Minimalists

08 It’s a Date

32 Fungi Facts

Lovely things we want right now

Events for your diary

12 Hot Right Now

New happenings on the wellness scene

16 Fresh Cuts

Dining news that’s good for you

18 Cheat Day

Because #YOLO

20 Reviews

Veggie box from Homegrown Foods, and an organic facial from Grown Alchemist

How decluttering your life can improve your happiness

Mushrooms for stress, sleep and optimal performance

36 Charity Spotlight Splash Foundation


LIV | MORE 40 Recipe

Rainbow rolls with Gado-Gado peanut sauce by Priscilla Soglio from Fit Food Fast Feel

42 Pamper

Our beauty picks for this month

44 Travel

A four-day trekking adventure through Bhutan


50 Macau

Dispatches from our sister SAR


58 Can’t Liv Without

This month’s cover star, Alexia Rautter


Sponsored Feature



PHUKET & KOH SAMUI A mere stone’s throw from Hong Kong, Thailand remains one of our favourite wellness destinations, with amazing food, stunning beaches and great vibes.


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VILLAS IN KOH SAMUI Located in the Chumphon Archipelago on Thailand’s Eastern coast, Koh Samui is known for its spectacular shoreline, proximity to fantastic dive sites, and quality yoga and Muay Thai centres. The Luxury Signature’s portfolio in Koh Samui includes Villa Akatsuki, a beachfront villa with a three-tier pool, fully-equipped gym, and a spa room with its own private onsen and garden. If you’re planning a wellness retreat, Villa Praanasa, perched high in the hills and surrounded by rainforests, comes with a dedicated Muay Thai ring, gymnasium and spa room with sauna and steam facilities. Furthermore, the 20 staff on hand include personal trainers and massage therapists, ready to help your guests achieve optimum wellness. Villa Akatsuki, Koh Samui

VILLAS IN PHUKET While Phuket is a longstanding favourite for a short holiday from Hong Kong, booking a villa with The Luxury Signature will reveal a side of the island that you will never have seen before. The nine-room Villa Sawarin, a mere 20-minute drive from the airport, enjoys uninterrupted views of Phang Na Bay. With an enormous infinity pool, dedicated spa room and a 7,000 square-metre lawn, there’s plenty of room for outdoor activities, from yoga to HIIT. If you’re looking for a beachfront property, Villa Analaya is a rare find, with its quiet environment that offers plenty of room for fitness, yoga and meditation.

Villa Analaya, Phuket

Want to learn more? Check out their impressive portfolio to find the right property for you. The best available rate for these properties is guaranteed when booking through


MINIMAL EFFORT With a toddler at home and a propensity for hoarding pens, notebooks and beauty products, I am, sadly, far from becoming a die-hard minimalist. But like many people, the thought of clean lines, simple silhouettes and zero clutter is seriously alluring. With the growing conversation about what waste and consumerism is doing to our planet, it’s no surprise that minimalism is having a moment. Not only do they save money, minimalists often find themselves more productive and less stressed as their priorities in life fall into place. Read all about Hong Kong’s own minimalism movement on p.26. By now you’ve probably heard of adaptogenic mushrooms - blends such as chaga, reishi and cordyceps that promise to improve your productivity and alertness, boost your energy, de-stress and aid sleep. We speak to local mushroom purveyors on this trend and find out how to shop for shrooms. Learn more on p.32 Bhutan is a bucket-list destination for many, but with limited tourism, irregular flights and high costs of visiting, it can be a challenging place to visit. We find out, however, that it’s well worth the effort. Read our report on a four-day trekking holiday, with a hefty dose of culture thrown in, on p.44. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to curate my 11-piece capsule wardrobe. Ha.

MEET OUR CONTRIBUTORS For this month’s cover story, Zoe Belhomme meets the people trying to live minimalist in Hong Kong, and learns their secrets, p.26. Pregnant, or planning to be? Kate Farr discovers a book that demystifies the maternity process in Hong Kong, p.52.

Our resident travel expert Kate Springer spills the beans on a spa in Jaipur that’s fit for a king, p.48.

In addition to Charlotte Tilbury’s Hong Kong launch, Rachel Read has the scoop on some fab weekday spa packages, p.42. Our photographer for this month’s cover shoot, Toronto-born Paul S has shot campaigns for Nike Hong Kong, Tom Ford and Dior, to name just a few.

ON THE COVER Photographer: Paul S Model: Alexia R, Primo Model Makeup: Jaime Smith Hair: Danielle Abbotts Clothing: Club Monaco/ Andrew Kayla


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Send invites and info to: Makerhive, 10/F, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town PUBLISHER SARAH FUNG SENIOR SALES MANAGER ANSHU RIJHWANI SALES MANAGER AILEEN CHAN WRITER ZOE BELHOMME SOCIAL MEDIA STACEY MARCELO ADMINISTRATOR JASMIN BLUNCK GRAPHIC DESIGN TAMMY TAN CONTRIBUTORS KATE FARR, KATE SPRINGER, RACHEL READ, DEIRDRE GRIFFIN, SALLY VICTORIA BENSON, CHAANAH CHRICTON PRINTED BY GEAR PRINTING LIMITED, ROOM B, 3/F, DERRICK INDUSTRIAL BUILDING, 49-51 WONG CHUK HANG ROAD, ABERDEEN ‘‘Liv Magazine’’ Copyright 2018 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



The first yoga collection from madein-Hong Kong brand Descente, this full coverage sports bra offer serious support and a stylish neckline to boot. $890 from Descente.

Add a bit of green to your life with this unusual brass plant pot. $669 from Bo Concept.


As summer approaches, stay fresh naturally with this effective, chemical-free deodorant made with activated charcoal, magnesium and other natural ingredients. $58-$108 from 6


Embrace the rainy season and pull on these biker-chic wellington boots that’ll keep your feet dry AND stylish. $1,480 from Aigle.

Retail Therapy


Thank mum this Mother’s Day with this swirly, pearly “Mother of Pearl” bubble bath bar, scented with jasmine and orange flower. $85 from Lush.


Made from natural raw materials such as upcycled oyster shells, this choker from niin’s Ikigai collection is an eco-friendly statement piece. $2,800 from


These truly wireless headphones from Sudio Nivå keep their Bluetooth connection for up to 10 metres away, meaning you can put your phone down as you work out. $749 from Fortress outlets citywide.


Is birch sap the new coconut water? We love the rhubarb-infused Sip Sap from Lithuania for lowsugar hydration. $33 from




JUN 7-10

FLEXY TIME Yogis of all levels and backgrounds will be coming together for the 11th edition of the Evolution Asia Yoga Conference to learn, explore and meet other like minded practitioners. Aside from the traditional yoga practices, this year’s edition delves deeper into other wellness and healing topics including chakras, meditation, astrology, aura reading, energy and sound healing, and life coaching. You’ll also have the chance to browse the latest yoga gadgets and apparel. Open to the public, the conference is free to attend but paid tickets are required if you want to attend one or more of the 180+ workshops on offer, run by an impressive lineup of international teachers. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai,

MAY 13


Brand new to Hong Kong, The District Race is an urban adventure team race with a twist. With innovative technology and 80 virtual checkpoints, this event will challenge your brain as well as your brawn. There is no set course or distance; racers need to figure out themselves how to explore the city and collect points within a two-hour time limit. Starting point: Central Harbourfront. 8




MAY 18-20


Join Liv Magazine at Cordis, Hong Kong for our first "Wellness Evening at Cordis"! Exclusively for Liv Magazine readers, we are hosting a one-hour Piloxing class at the hotel’s outdoor Garage Bar, followed by a chill-out session with craft beer and snacks. Plus, there’ll be a chance to swim in the hotel’s outdoor rooftop pool, try their yoga and fitness rooms, and use the gym before class. The event is just $150 before May 20 and $200 thereafter, which includes a facilities pass from 4pm onwards and deluxe goodie bag filled with healthy treats from our partners. Space is limited, so be sure to book ASAP!

International seven-a-side football tournament, the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, is back for its 19th edition. The event features a record 10 professional teams from Europe and around the world, including last year’s tournament winners, Leicester City, and runners-up Aston Villa. Expect top-class competition and fun for the whole family. Hong Kong Football Club, Sports Road, Happy Valley. Free entry on Friday. Saturday and Sunday tickets $160 per day or $300 for both days. Free for under16s.

Cordis, Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai St., Mong Kok. Tickets $150-$200 from

MAY 18-20


Photo: RTSports

MAY 12


The Swim Run: Sai Kung is a competitive but fun 13k duathlon that kicks off from Sai Sha Road in the New Territories and takes participants in and out of the water several times before reaching the finish line at Pak Tam Chung. It’s Ideal triathlon training ahead of the start of the racing season. $320. Details:


Didn’t quite have the budget to play with the big boys during Art Week? Fear not, the Affordable Art Fair is back this month, with more than 115 galleries and 1,000 local and international artists priced between $1,000 and $100,000. Whether you’re an avid art collector, or just need a new piece for your wall at home, the Affordable Art fair is bound to whet your appetite. Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai. $120 (advance), $165 (on the door).

Cool Stuff

HOT RIGHT NOW News from the wellness scene


Big news for vegans and anyone interested in the future of food: Silicon Valley food tech brand Impossible Foods has launched in Hong Kong, marking the company’s debut outside of the US. They’ve designed an innovative plant-based patty that tastes - and bleeds! - just like a real burger. The brand has teamed up with two leading local chefs, who will be the first to serve the Impossible Burger in Hong Kong: May Chow of Little Bao has created a Hong Kong-inspired Impossible Bao (HK$118), made with Impossible meat, black pepper teriyaki sauce, salted lemon kombu salad and fermented tofu sauce. At Beef & Liberty, Executive Chef Uwe Opocensky has brought together the fresh and aromatic flavours of Thailand in the Impossible Thai Burger ($135) with chilli, coriander, mint, basil, spring onion, soya mayonnaise, crispy shallots and garlic. Expect to see the Impossible burger at more outlets soon.


Cool Stuff


If you run, hike or play sport, you’ll already know the importance of wearing well fitting, supportive trainers. But misalignment in the feet, arch problems and issues such as overpronation can often lead to ailments felt throughout the body such as muscle aches and joint pain. And at worst, repetitive activity can cause serious injury and reduced performance. FootBalance has already established itself as a global leader in foot analysis and custom-made insoles and now the service is available in Hong Kong at their new store on D’Aguilar Street. Customers are given a thorough in-store consultation and foot analysis to identify their foot type and its impact on their overall health. From this, custom orthotics are moulded within minutes to ensure proper alignment and shoe fit. The entire service starts from as little as $640 - a great investment for healthy feet. 54 D’Aguilar St., Central, 2618-6281,


Pure Yoga is set to expand its already impressive studio lineup later this year with a new outpost on the vibrant Star Street Precinct in Wan Chai. This will be the first Pure location to have an open rooftop space for regular outdoor yoga and community events. Members can also relax there before or after their class. Designed to feel like a natural oasis, the 20,000 square-foot space will feature Pure Yoga’s signature light wood furnishings, with plenty of lush greenery to promote a sense of calm and wellbeing. Inside there will be four yoga studios offering Pure’s signature classes, an area for Pure Apparel and a dine-in nood food café. We can’t wait until it’s ready!


Cool Stuff


Feel like your pasty bod needs a bit of a pick-me-up before you can put your bikini on? Instead of booking a week in Thailand, cheat and get the same natural glow in just 20 minutes with the organic Vani-T spray tan, available at Glow Spa in Central. Brought over from Australia, the Vani-T has been a favourite among celebrities and provides a natural and even finish for almost any skin tone. The Vani-T spray tan is $580 per session and results last between 7 and 10 days. 9/F, Parker House, 72 Queen’s Road Central, 9680-2017,


Taking up the space where Home Essentials used to be, True Beauty is the latest wellness destination to hit Lyndhurst Terrace. Promising to be a onestop shop for spa, beauty and workouts, this all-inone location offers results-driven facials and skin treatments, relaxing massage therapies and manipedis, as well as a lineup of yoga, HIIT, Pilates, TRX and other training modalities. Decor-wise, True wants its guests to linger, with comfy seats and a chill-out area with a light and healthy snack menu - think sleek grey marble with hints of rose gold, and soft, plush sofas throughout. Shop D, G/F & 1/F, Lyndhurst Building, 23-39 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 3705-5183,


Fed up of unhealthy convenience foods Nosh has created fresh instant noodles with a healthy twist! Just add water to a cardboard bowl that’s packed with fresh julienned veggies and quality protein, and you’ll have a nourishing, low-sodium noodle broth in mere minutes. Shelf-stable for three days, you can buy in advance and have them ready in your office fridge for a healthy al desko lunch. Right now the noodles are available in beef pho and chicken laksa flavours and can be found at Just Green, at Nosh’s main kitchen in the Mid-Levels, and on Deliveroo for $38, with more outlets coming soon.



FRESH CUTS Dining news that’s good for you

THE GREAT OUTDOORS Located within H Queen’s, Central’s newly minted art and lifestyle building, is Arbor, a French fine-dining restaurant with Michelinstarred chefs Nicolas Boutin and Eric Räty at the helm. Inspired by the natural flavours of the forest, Arbor’s set lunch and dinner menus pay homage to nature and the four seasons with premium ingredients, innovative preparation techniques and creative presentation. The result is a menu full of light and fresh dishes that pack a punch when it comes to flavour. Inside, Arbor’s design and decor also reflects elements of of the great outdoors through warm, soft textures, botanical tones, and rustic furniture. It also boasts a cool bar for post-work cocktails and a gorgeous outdoor terrace. 3185-8388, 25/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central,

LET’S AVO PARTY Authentic Mexican food can be hard to find in Hong Kong, but Wan Chai’s Verde Mar is doing a pretty good job of giving us some real Latin flavours. With a Mexican head chef who uses innovative techniques to cook fresh seasonal ingredients from Mexico (Verde Mar is the only place in Hong Kong where you can try whole grilled cactus!), we just had to try their new plantbased menu that pays homage to the mexican staple (and hipster toast topping of choice): the avocado. From a veggie ceviche made with avocado, to a homemade corn tostada covered in generous helping of guac, and a green smoothie with - you’ve guessed it - avocado as the key ingredient, this menu is the greenest in town. 24 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai, 2810-0888, 16


GOING UP Junk season It’s officially time to hit the high seas again! Don’t forget to take your trash home with you, and pick up any litter you see for extra eco points.

SALAD DAYS Decent salad bars are often hard to come by, so we were excited to hear about a new one at J’s Bar Bistro at The Royal Garden. If you work (or play!) in TST and struggle to find healthy options for a sit-down lunch at a reasonable price then this salad buffet is well worth a try. Diners can help themselves to an unlimited supply of fresh greens, a range of nutritious toppings, and cold cuts, fish, fruits and cheeses. Great for vegetarians, the buffet offers an extensive range of of grains and beans, including quinoa, linseed, black chia seeds, wheat berries, brown rice, edamame and black beans. A hearty daily soup and a range of tempting breads are included in the standard buffet. And after all that, if you’re still hungry, you can add a main course of grilled salmon steak or roasted french spring chicken for just $50. The salad bar is priced at $148 and available from noon to 2:30pm, Monday to Friday. 2/F, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui East, 2733-2088,

Mental health We’re a bit late to the party, but Hong Kong is finally bringing mental wellness to the forefront, with stress and resilience being key topics of interest.

Plastic bags in bakeries Thousands of tiny plastic bags are being wasted each day when we could easily be using paper instead.

Overdoing the aircon Summer means the malls and offices are setting the thermostat to 12 degrees. Hands up if you need a Gore-tex jacket just to sit at your desk.




Because life’s too short to always order the salad

SOME LIKE IT HOT Here’s one for spice-lovers. To celebrate Tabasco’s 150th anniversary, modern Korean restaurant Jinjuu is serving up innovative Korean dishes, spiced up with various types of Tabasco sauce. Think Tteok Bokki with gochujang and Tabasco Chipolte sauce; Sauteed king prawns with kimchi and Tabasco habanero sauce; and Korean fried chicken with red cabbage coleslaw and Tabasco green sauce. The menu is only available from May 7-21, so get in there, set your mouth on fire and weep happy tears while you can. UG/F, 32 D’Aguilar St., Central, 3755-4868,



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



Homegrown Foods Organic Veggie Box Delivery Service The Buzz: Homegrown Foods has been delivering fresh

and organic produce to both restaurants and homes in Hong Kong since 2010. Farmed in Fanling, Yuen Long and Kunming in China, Homegrown Foods has partnered with local family farms to be able to deliver a wide range of seasonal vegetables directly to customers. The Product: You order your box through the Homegrown Foods website and it’s delivered within two working days. Our huge box of goodies contained knobbly heritage carrots, bright red beets, purple cauliflower, large field mushrooms and a colourful range of tomatoes, as well as a bunch of of dark green leaves and salad items. Everything was beautifully assembled in a reusable wooden crate and wrapped in paper rather than plastic. The Verdict: We loved the selection of hearty veggies and got very excited about getting into the kitchen to whip up some tasty dishes. From just one box, we made several meals so there is plenty to feed a family for a few days. We also noticed that the leafy greens lasted far longer than expected, which meant overall we threw less in the bin! It might not be the cheapest option out there, but sometimes it’s worth spending that little bit extra on quality. Price: $3,700 for 12 boxes (2.5kg each)

Grown Alchemist Facial at 10/10 Space The Buzz: Tucked away in Causeway Bay’s Fashion

Walk, 10/10 Space is a sleek, minimalist spa that serves as a product showcase for 10/10, a beauty distribution company that carries natural, chemical-free brands. We were keen to try the facial by Grown Alchemist, an Aussie brand that has the scientific chops to back up its organic formulations. The Treatment: The 90-minute facial began with a welcome back massage to help us de-stress. Then a facial analysis followed, with the experienced therapist advising on the best course of action for our skin that was dehydrated and a little dull, but otherwise in good condition. We were given a fruit enzyme peel to gently slough away dead skin, followed by a mask and hyaluronic acid serum to give our skin a shot of moisture. We were told to avoid abrasive scrubs as they can scratch skin, causing damage in the long-run. Grown Alchemist is well suited to pollution-heavy environments, with its cleaning and detoxifying properties. The Verdict: This is a fab treatment if you’re looking

for an organic skincare routine that delivers results. We loved the take-home advice that we’ve been incorporating into our skincare routine, and our skin has been noticeably fresher and hydrated. We can’t wait to return for a top-up. Price: $1,280 for 90 minutes or $980 for 60 minutes. Flat B, 1/F Fairview Mansion, 51 Paterson St., Causeway Bay, 3595-1152, 20


Hypnotherapy to the rescue! Are we doomed to live the rest of our lives in fear and anxiety? Before you pop that Xanax, there is a way to live a fulfilling life without having these issues take over! Fear and anxiety are the results of beliefs you’ve accumulated in your subconscious mind. Once these beliefs get triggered, it can make a work presentation feel like an attack on your life! This is where hypnotherapy comes in; it puts you into a relaxed, meditative state and rewires your beliefs so you can overcome your anxiety and live the life you want. All About You teaches hypnotherapy and offers private sessions too! / / 2992 0828


Eco-friendly cleaning products Proudly made in New Zealand from sustainably sourced plant- and mineralbased ingredients, ecostore household cleaning, personal care and baby care products make it easy for you to create a healthier and safer home. Our powerful dishwash liquid formulation cuts through even the toughest grease easily, while being kinder to your skin and to our environment. It is SLS-free and pH balanced which makes it especially suitable for those with sensitive skin or allergies. ecostore Dishwash liquid was awarded a 4-star rating by the HK Consumer Council this month. Find out more about our products Where to buy in Hong Kong Contact us at


Specialty Coffee - the next big thing for work-out smoothie! Did you know coffee contains lots of antioxidants which slow signs of aging on your skin, joints, heart and brain? It is Colombian offers only the best quality Specialty Coffee beans, which contain much more antioxidants than mass-produced coffees. Only the ripe beans are selected, by hand, medium-roasted to preserve the nutrients. Cold brew your coffee and mix it in your coffee-tini smoothie before your daily workout! Sign up now for a free coffee sample and recipe on Free Delivery in Hong Kong

ST FR U EE FF ! WIN: a Sensate Vagus Nerve Stimulator

GIVEAWAYS visit for a chance to win!

This clever little wearable device is making headlines in the UK, with editors from major publications praising the Sensate’s ability to calm the body and mind through stimulation of the Vagus nerve, interrupting the flight or flight response that comes from external stressors. Just place it below your breast bone and allow the pleasurable pulsations calm you down. We have two Sensates, each worth £199, up for grabs! Right now they are only available in limited quantities through pre-order at, so enter to win with us and be the very first in Hong Kong to be part of the calm-tech revolution.

WIN: a bedding set from Sleep Wooven

Made of the same materials used in five-star hotels, Sleep Wooven offers the softest, supplest bed linens for an amazing night’s sleep. We’ve got a 400-thread count set to give away, including one fitted sheet, one flat sheet and two pillowcases, up for grabs. The set is worth $1,800.

WIN: an Ecostore Healthy Home Care Kit

WIN: a set of Bluetooth in-ear headphones from Sudio Nivå With a range of 10 metres, these Bluetooth headphones from Sudio Nivå are the latest in hands-free technology. Perfect for HIIT drills at home or in the park, you can enjoy music and movement together. Plus, the carrying case doubles as a charging station, bringing your total play time to 17.5 hours. We have one set of each colour to give away, each worth $749.

Want to overhaul your cleaning cabinet for a chemical-free home? Courtesy of Shawganic, this Ecostore starter kit has everything you need for a naturally clean home. The set contains laundry powder and liquid, stain remover, dishwashing liquid and dishwash machine tablets, a liquid scourer, Ultra Sensitive hand wash and refill, natural bristle dish brush and veggie brush, all bundled inside a jute shopping bag. The entire set is worth $870 and we have one to give away. w


Enter at before May 28 to win!

NATURAL JOINT AND MUSCLE RELIEF FOR ATHLETES The all-natural healthcare line by GLOHS soothes aching joints and muscles Occasional joint aches, injuries and stiff muscles are all but inevitable for fitness fanatics and athletes, but how can you soothe discomfort while avoiding synthetic chemicals? GLOHS offers a carefully curated line of joint- and muscle-relief products that use only natural formulations to soothe aches and pains.

DMSO GEL Naturally derived from wood, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is used for relieving pain and reducing inflammation. It can also be applied to wounds to speed up healing.

MSM LINE Naturally occurring in the body, methyl sulfonyl methane, or MSM, is commonly used to alleviate pain associated with cramps, headaches and overtaxed muscles, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Available in spray or gel.


JOINT RELIEF Aching and stiff? This joint relief gel contains capsicum, eucalyptus blue mallee, tea tree essential oils and glucosamine to soothe and relieve stiffness.

MUSCLE RELIEF Whether you’ve spent too long at your desk or you hit it too hard at the gym, this muscle relief gel will soothe aches and pains. Contains lavender, hemp seed oil, arnica oil, glucosamine and moringa seed oil to ease muscular aches and pains.

Base Camp Sessions

@ Kerry Hotel Hong Kong

MARCH 13 AND APRIL 10, 2018

Post Event

Liv Magazine readers loved the Base Camp Sessions event series, produced in partnership with Kerry Hotel Hong Kong. Taking place on March 13 and April 10, guests were granted half-day access to Base Camp Kerry Sports, Kerry Hotel’s five-star fitness facility, to swim, gym and relax. As evening fell, gourmet healthy canapes and juices were served on the hotel’s outdoor terrace, followed by an invigorating workout: the March event featured an Introduction to Movement class with SharedSpace, while April’s was a Hula-Hoop Masterclass with Turning Circles.



After the event, guests got to cool down with a delicious salad, before going home with a luxurious goodie bag stuffed with treats from John Masters Organics, Aromatherapy Associates, Quo Kefir Believers, The Store, GLOHS, Nature’s Twist, Cabanee, Mind Beauty App, The Entertainer, Prolom Water, Moover Organics, and It Is Colombian. KaChick, our photography partner, took these fantastic snaps. Thanks to all who attended, and keep reading and following Liv Magazine to be the first to know about our upcoming events!

Cover Story



We meet the new tribe of Minimalists - Hongkongers obsessed with stripping back to the bare essentials - and find that there’s freedom in owning less stuff. By Zoe Belhomme.


umans are compelled to buy, own and hoard. While many of us think that the latest gadget, cool jacket or new face cream will make us happier and more fulfilled, the reverse can end up being true - rather than owning our possessions, our possessions start owning us. A reaction against waste, materialism and our society’s obsession with “stuff,” The Minimalist movement has officially arrived. Brought into the mainstream by the likes of Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo and “The Minimalists,” a popular documentary on Netflix, Minimalism enthusiasts say that getting rid of all but the most essential of your possessions will make you more content, reduce your stress and anxiety levels, and help make room in your life for the things that really matter.

Cover Story

Local Minimalists Fiona Wong (top) and Erica Ip (bottom)

LESS STUFF, LESS STRESS Fiona Wong, Managing Director of boutique media agency WOW THINGS HK, started documenting her experiences when making the shift to a minimal lifestyle. “I had always been a shopaholic but it wasn’t until I had to move apartment that I suddenly realised just how much stuff I’d accumulated. At about the same time, I heard about the minimalism movement and realised that few places in the world lend themselves better to this lifestyle than space-starved Hong Kong,” she says. Rather than trying to cram everything into her new space, Wong decided to take a careful inventory of her possessions and throw away anything she didn’t really need. Wong immediately noticed an increase in productivity. “If your workspace is clearer, so is your mind, you get things done quicker and make better decisions. It also enables you to communicate better with the people around you,” she adds.

HOW TO MINIMISE Minimalism also has the benefit of making you a more mindful consumer. Though you may feel wasteful as you carry bags of unwanted possessions out of your house, in the long run you will find yourself possessing only truly essential items that make a positive impact in your life. “You don’t need to stop shopping completely when you choose this lifestyle; just be more mindful about the purchases you make,” says Erica Ip, founder of the blog Minimalist HK. “Is this item essential? Does it make me really happy? Have I not already got something similar? If the answer really is yes, then it’s OK to buy, but I always recommend buying quality items that you’ll love and that will last the test of time. 27

Cover Story


Cover Story

Get Minimal Today Boxful and Clutter to Cash share their tips for starting on your minimalist journey • Review your life holistically and think carefully about what your need and what you don’t. Really can’t face the landfill? Get creative. Ayeesha Shahani hosts regular clothes swap parties for up to 20 women at a time. “Clothes swaps are not just a great way to declutter, they help reduce clothing waste and you get to save money at the same time. Something that’s one woman’s trash is another’s treasure,” she says. There are plenty of charities in Hong Kong that gratefully accept donations of clothing, food and even furniture and electronics, including The Samaritans, Mothers Choice, St. James Settlement, The Po Leung Kuk Orphanage, The Crossroads Foundation and Oxfam. Otherwise, swap-it sites on Facebook are a great way to find a new home for an unwanted possession.

MENTAL MINIMALISM Minimalists also recommend reducing the “social noise” that inevitably comes with Hong Kong life. Decluttering your social circle - spending less time with people you want to impress, or don’t even really like - enables you to spend more quality time with the people who really matter, and many report that deleting their social media accounts has led to improved productivity and wellbeing. “I initially just deleted my Instagram and Facebook apps from my phone so I would avoid mindlessly scrolling, but I soon realised I felt so much better for not checking my feeds all the time. Soon after that, I took the plunge and deleted my accounts completely”, says British expat Melissa Weeks. “Not only do I live more in the moment, but not having social media so prevalent in my life has helped with with depression and the natural FOMO that many of us experience.”

• Be mindful of every purchase you make. Think quality over quantity. • Don’t buy in bulk or multiple items, especially if you don’t have much storage. • Declutter your digital and physical social circle and enjoy the freedom of a pareddown social calendar. • Learn to love empty spaces - create a haven in your home. • Find out the best places to take your unwanted clothes, furniture and electricals. If in good condition, consider selling items online. • Understand your style. When shopping for new items, only buy things that you know will suit you. • If you can’t be minimalist anywhere else, keep your workspace and bedroom clutter-free. You’ll sleep better and be more productive. • Unless essential, only buy items that make you happy and bring you joy. • Take it slow. Give yourself time to change your mindset.


Cover Story

MINIMALISM, OUTSOURCED Interestingly, more and more businesses are getting in on the minimalist movement. Stanley Lau founded Clutter to Cash to help people clear out their homes and offices, either selling items on their behalf to make additional cash, or donating items to charitable causes. “At the beginning, most of our business was commercial and consignment, but recently there has been a huge increase in personal projects. People want to quickly minimise the clutter in their lives, and potentially make some extra money in the process,” says Lau. If you’re looking for that minimalist aesthetic but really can’t bear to part with certain items, storage is another solution. Boxful is the leading on-demand valet storage provider in Hong Kong, delivering packing materials and durable storage boxes to customers before collecting and storing them in their secure facilities. Instead of renting an individual unit, users only pay for what they store. True Minimalists might find this slightly outside the rule book, but users often find that the process of sorting through their belongings gives them the opportunity to be mindful about what they should keep and what they should throw away.

EXTREME MINIMALISM? About a month before I started writing this story, I met a pair of digital nomads - professionals who work remotely while exploring the world - while on holiday in Bali. Having watched “Minimalism,” a documentary on Netflix, they had decided to take the concept to its extreme and shed almost everything they owned, keeping just a few key items in a backpack. As a result, they They felt free, less stressed and more grounded. As they became less attached to material possessions, they cared less about what others thought, and spent more time enjoying life rather than working to afford things they didn’t really need. While a backpack’s worth of stuff might not be for everyone, a similar shift in perspective could lead us all to a happier life.

Minimal Media Stories to get you started

“MINIMALISM” Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, also known as The Minimalists, explore the various benefits of choosing a clutter-free lifestyle. Available on Netflix.

“THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP” BY MARIE KONDO An international bestseller, Marie Kondo’s book turns the idea of decluttering on its head. Rather than telling you what to throw away, Kondo instead asks you to consider what to keep, and to keep only items that spark joy. No number of plastic storage boxes will keep your home looking organised if you have too much stuff, she argues.

“THE MORE OF LESS” BY JOSHUA BECKER Delving into the history of consumerism and generational attitudes towards material wealth, “The More of Less” will help you understand why humans are wired to accumulate. It also offers plenty of practical tips and advice on how to live more intentionally and generously.

“MEET THE FRUGALWOODS” BY ELIZABETH WILLARD THAMES Elizabeth Willard Thames and her family retired in their early thirties and now live a thrifty lifestyle in a forest in Vermont. Following on from the success of her blog (, her first book was published back in March. Their lifestyle might be a bit extreme for most Hongkongers, but the themes the book explores include simple living, frugality and money management.



SHROOM for Improvement

Medicinal mushrooms have enjoyed a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and now a new generation is waking up up to their purported health-boosting properties. By Sarah Fung.



ushrooms are having a moment. While they’ve been prized in Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years, they’ve recently found a new, younger fanbase in millenials and athletes, both here in Hong Kong and in the west. Mushrooms such as Reishi and Cordyceps are often referred to as adaptogens, meaning that they are consumed to restore the body to its optimal state. Benefits include reduced stress, improved immunity, or enhanced focus and energy. “There’s been a growing interest in medicinal mushrooms in the last few years, and we’ve seen medicinal mushrooms being included in many products from bottled beverages to skincare products,” says Wong Kwok-wing, Product Trainer Manager of Chinese herbal supplement brand, Eu Yang Sang. Shelley Lee-Davies is the co-founder of, a health food and supplements platform. The Store is the exclusive distributor of Four Sigmatic, a Finnish company that produces medicinal mushroom blends for the Western market. They first brought the mushroom blends to Hong Kong about five months ago and sold out of their first batch within two weeks. “We get a lot of athletes coming in to purchase the Cordyceps blend to help enhance their performance,” says Lee-Davies. “They want to improve their energy and stamina and they trust the brand, which is USDA certified organic and sourced in Asia under strict guidelines,” she adds. Improved convenience and flavour are both major factors in mushrooms’ increased popularity. Traditional preparation methods include steeping in tea or soup, but the flavour was something to be endured, rather than relished. New formulas now mask the mushrooms’ challenging taste, while still allowing for maximum health benefits. For instance, Eu Yang Sang offers certified organic Lingzhi spores - the most potent part of the mushroom - in capsule form, while Four Sigmatic has various powdered blends such as coffee or cacao for a pleasant drink. Meanwhile, Alpha Dynamics, an Australia-based mushroom company that was conceived in Hong Kong, offers “Activate” and “Regenerate” blends in single-serve packets for extra convenience.

Fungi Facts A field guide to mushrooms

Photo: Rafti Institute via Wikimedia Commons

Cordyceps Popular with athletes, it offers a boost of energy when taken just before a workout.

Photo: Melissa McMasters via Wikimedia Commons

Lions Mane Boosts creativity and focus. Take it when you need to concentrate at work.

Chaga Helps strengthen the body and improve immune function. Take in the morning.

Reishi (Lingzhi) De-stresses and aids sleep. Take it just before bed to relax. Four Sigmatic 33

P O hn ol itnoeg rS ah pohpepr i n g

So what does a newbie need to look out for when shopping for ‘shrooms? “The seeds, cultivation site and sowing method all contribute to the mushroom’s potency,” says Wong. “For example, the active ingredients are highest when the Lingzhi is grown slowly in a nutrient-dense environment, on natural wood rather than grain. You should also look for products made from the fruiting body or - even better - the spores of the mushroom,” he adds. If you want to boost up your blends even more, Lee-Davies recommends blending your mushrooms into your Bulletproof coffee for an even bigger natural energy boost. “Mixing it in a drink with coconut oil or cacao butter loads you up with good fats, increasing absorption and giving you a feel-good hit of focus and productivity to start your day.”


42 34

Pop a Cap The best mushroom products to get you started

Nutrigreen Pure Cordyceps Mycelium

Cracked Lingzhi Spores

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O n Pl ihnoet oS gh ro ap pphi en rg


Decaf Mushroom Coffee Mix $274 from

Activate/Regenerate Mushroom Blends

Organic Lingzhi Cracked Spores

US$49 each or US$92 for both from

$488 from Eu Yang Sang

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43 35



Splash Foundation With the belief that everyone should be able to move through water with confidence, local charity Splash Foundation has taught more than 1,200 people - from domestic helpers to underprivileged children - how to swim. With an ambitious goal to teach swimming to 5,000 individuals by 2020, we speak to co-founder Libby Alexander to learn more about their mission. 36


Why did you set up Splash Foundation? Splash was set up by a small group of swimmers with the very simple objective of teaching under-resourced communities - migrant domestic workers, refugees and local kids - how to swim. What we didn’t anticipate was how quickly Splash would become about so much more than just swimming. Our story now is more than learning a life-skill; it’s how that skill empowers and connects people. What does the programme involve? We run a free 12-week learn to swim programme designed for absolute beginners. Most of the classes take place on a Sunday at various international schools, but we are also expanding into Saturday lessons as well as employer-sponsored lessons during the week. The emphasis is on water safety - jumping in,

submerging, survival backstroke - and the introduction of basic freestyle. By the end of the course, about 80 percent of our participants can swim 25 metres unaided. Splash also teaches local kids aged 8-16 from low-income communities. We work with other NGOs and schools in under-resourced communities to deliver free swim lessons. With so many public pools and beaches in Hong Kong, why are there so many non-swimmers? During one of our youth classes, I asked the 10- and 12-yearolds if they had ever been in a swimming pool or in the sea. Not one said yes. That was heartbreaking - especially living on an island with amazing and affordable public pools! Many of us can’t imagine a childhood without swimming.


Community In developing countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, swimming is not part of the school curriculum. Even here in Hong Kong, not all schools have the resources to offer swimming. And if it’s not offered through schools? Let’s be honest - anyone who has kids knows swim lessons are expensive. It’s a very technical skill and requires a low student-to-coach ratio to be done safely and effectively. So many of our Splashers have simply never had the opportunity. If you miss the window of learning as a 4, 5 or 6-yearold, your chances of ever learning to swim are very slim. That is why we focus on slightly older kids as well as migrant workers. It is a critical life skill and everyone should have the chance to learn regardless of their socio-economic background. What kind of feedback do you get from people after they complete a course? They LOVE it! This is one hour per week where they can step out of their role as a domestic helper and do something for their own development and enjoyment. So many tell us how their confidence and self-esteem has improved. We have a strict attendance policy and maintain a 94 percent graduation rate which speaks volumes. Our Splashers realize this is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity and they take it seriously. Liv Magazine.pdf



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Do you have any particularly memorable cases? So many - everyone has a special story! We offer some intermediate and advanced classes, and many Splashers are now quite accomplished swimmers. One of our first graduates swam a 4K open water race in her hometown a year after she learned to swim. Many have joined the open water swim community here in Hong Kong, swimming every Sunday. However, it is our impact out of the water that really makes a difference. One Splasher texted me after graduating to tell me how Splash had changed her life. She was depressed and would stay in her room every Sunday as she didn’t like crowds and had nowhere to go. After discovering Splash, she said she met new friends and now had a focal point to her week. What kind of support do you need to keep Splash running? We need more volunteer coaches and more funding! We have received wonderful support from the Fu Tak Lam Foundation, which funds most of our programme costs. More and more international schools and private clubs are opening their doors so we can use their pools during off-peak times. But our programmes are in such demand and we could be doing so much more. While Splash has been nearly 100 percent volunteerrun for three years, our biggest setback is operational funding.


We need to invest in some staff to make Splash sustainable. We now run six-10 weekly classes, across four to five locations, with over 300 swimmers and 70 active volunteer coaches every term. And that’s just our migrant worker programme! We simply can’t manage this volume on a volunteer basis. How can Liv readers get involved? Pay it forward! If you were fortunate enough to have swim lessons once upon a time, why not make the investment for others? On average, it costs us about $2,000 to teach someone to swim and be water safe. You could also become a volunteer coach! You don’t need to be Michael Phelps; as long as you can swim a couple laps and understand the basics, Splash can train you. Third, Bring Splash to your private club or apartment building. Hong Kong is filled with under-utilized pools and Splash could be running classes during off-peak hours. Finally, get your kids involved in fundraising or awarenessbuilding. Recently at a public event, a 12-year-old boy came over to our booth by himself and put some money in our donation jar. He quietly told me “You taught my Auntie how to swim and I think that’s pretty cool”. Even kids understand the power of swimming. Learn more at



FOR LIV READERS Whether you’re a former dancer of you’ve never set foot in a studio, dance is a great way to improve your posture and core strength - and it’s fun too! Great value at $600 for 6 classes. It is never too late to take up ballet. Classes available at Defin8 Fitness, 6/F, 16 Wyndham Street. Central.

Want to give dance a go? Just mention Liv Magazine when contacting the studio and you’ll be eligible for a free trial in both our adult and kids classes.

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Rainbow Rolls with Gado Gado Sauce By Nutritionist & Chef Priscilla Soligo, Founder of Serves two

INGREDIENTS: For the Rolls •

• •

1 350g pack extra firm tofu, rinsed, sliced into strips and baked

2 medium mangos, skin and stone removed, thinly sliced

100g dried brown rice noodles • (or rice vermicelli), cooked •

2 medium portobello mushrooms, sliced, sautéed with salt and pepper, cooled

2 cups salad leaves, packed

½ cup fresh coriander, stems and leaves left whole

1 large carrot, peeled, julienned

¼ cup fresh basil leaves

¼ cup fresh mint leaves

1 large cucumber, julienned

1 pack rice paper sheets

1½ small red hot chilli, seeded (or to preferred taste)

6 tbsps filtered water

1 medium red bell pepper, seeds removed, julienned

For The Peanut Sauce • •

½ cup organic peanut butter (no added sugar)

2 tbsps maple syrup

2 fresh limes, juiced

4 tbsps tamari

2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled


Sauce will store in the fridge for up to five days. The rolls need to be consumed immediately.


In a high speed blender, blend all the sauce ingredients until creamy, smooth and well integrated. Set aside.

ASSEMBLY 1. In a prepared large bowl of filtered water, dip a rice paper sheet in and out (one or two seconds) and lay onto a plate. 2. Build your rolls with prepared fillings (don’t overfill, or the rice paper will break). Roll up the fillings inside the rice paper wrap and place onto a separate plate or tray, with the rice paper seal facing down. Be sure the rolls do not touch each other, or they will stick together. 3. Repeat until all of the rolls are done, or you have no more filling left. 4. Serve with the gado-gado peanut dipping sauce.

PREP TIME: 30 minutes



READY SET GLOW with Rachel Read

WHOLE LOTTIE LOVE It’s only May, but I’m calling this as the most exciting beauty launch of the year: British makeup and skincare brand Charlotte Tilbury has finally arrived in Hong Kong, with dedicated counters at Lane Crawford IFC and Harbour City. In case you aren’t familiar with this fabulous brand, it’s the creation of makeup artist extraordinaire Charlotte Tilbury; her work has graced just about every fashion magazine and designer runway on the planet, she counts the likes of Kate Moss, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman as clients, and her eponymous products have won rafts of awards ever since she founded the brand in 2015. In short, she’s the real deal. Plus, her whole 42

line is cruelty-free, and many products are veganfriendly and paraben-free too (find a full ingredient breakdown at What’s more, her products are exceptionally easy to use, with pointers to guide you through every step, and Face Kits that come loaded with every product you need to create a certain look, whether you’re a Rock Chick, Vintage Vamp or Ingénue. Makeup starts from $220. Available at Charlotte Tilbury counters in Lane Crawford IFC and Canton Road. Also available online at


KONJAC OF ALL TRADES Looks like vegetables are taking over our beauty cabinets as well as our kitchens. Not Just A’s recently relaunched line of face and body sponges are made from the freeze-dried roots of konjac, a fibrous plant native to Asia (which you might have seen in supermarkets as carb-free noodles). Whilst the sponge might seem alarmingly brittle on first touch, once wet it transforms to a bouncy, soft texture that makes it ideal for cleansing your face daily. It acts as a gentle exfoliator too, stimulating blood circulation and skin cell renewal, giving you babysoft skin. There are currently four types of sponge with subtly different benefits, including bamboo charcoal for deep-cleansing and volcanic rock for soothing sensitive skin. Each sponge is made from 100 per cent konjac, meaning they’re all-natural, biodegradable, free from synthetic ingredients and artificial colours, and pH balanced. Did we also mention that the heart-shaped sponge is incredibly cute too? $125-175 each. Available at A Beauty Bar locations citywide, including 15/F, Kin Tak Fung Commercial Building, 467-473 Hennessy Rd., Causeway Bay, 2295-6072. Also available online at

SUMMER LOVIN’ Well, they do say the best things come in threes, and Grand Hyatt Hong Kong’s Plateau Spa has a trio of fantastic summer pampering packages ready for you to test out that theory! Take your pick from “Detox Energiser,” an invigorating 90-minute body treatment designed to eliminate fluid retention with both a sea salt scrub and circulation-boosting essential oil massage; “Lift Hydrate Relax,” a 120-minute double dose of loveliness featuring a Target Release body massage and a Silicum Super Lift facial that lifts, contours and hydrates your complexion; and “Summer Splash,” a day of everything heavenly that includes a 90-minute massage, a poolside meal, and a day pass for the hotel’s heated outdoor pool, sauna and fitness centre. Given these packages are available until the end of August, we reckon that gives us time to road test all three. Detox Energiser: $1,518; Lift Hydrate Relax: $1,925; Summer Splash: $2,090. Available Monday to Thursday (excluding public holidays) until August 31. Plateau Spa, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Rd., Wan Chai, 2584-7688,

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



KINGDOM OF HEAVEN Bhutan is a travel destination that captures the imagination and invigorates the soul. Intrigued by this relatively untouched kingdom, Chaanah Crichton hiked through its snow-capped mountains and explored the country’s cultural highlights to unearth what it is that makes this kingdom the home of happiness.



Did you know that only eight pilots in the world are qualified to fly into Paro Airport?” This is something I had heard a number of times when planning my trip to Bhutan, sparking an intense curiosity as to why, exactly, so few pilots could land a plane there. After flying into this tiny kingdom country in March, it became apparent. Not only does Bhutan have a small number of visitors each year - just under 55,000 in 2016 - its location, nestled between India and Tibet and surrounded by rugged snowcapped mountains, also presents a challenge. To fly into Paro, pilots must fly past 5,500-metre Himalayan mountain peaks, then weave between lush green valleys before landing on a short runway at 2,200 metres above sea level. The thrill of flying over latticed farm fields with jaw-dropping whitetipped mountains on either side, gave me a sense of the kind of adventure we were in for over our week-long exploration of this magical and largely untouched slice of heaven. Unlike most countries, which measures development in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Bhutan believes that amassing material wealth does not necessarily lead to happiness. Instead, the government measures progress through Gross National Happiness. Based on four pillars national and local values, aesthetics, and spiritual traditions - the government and people of Bhutan all strive to live a way of life that prizes inner wellbeing over material gain. Tourist numbers are strictly controlled. Bhutan requires visitors to book through authorised travel agents and spend a minimum amount per

day - normally around US$250, though this varies depending on factors such as the size of your group. According to the Tourism Council of Bhutan, “by establishing a policy of ‘High Value, Low Impact’ tourism, the kingdom of Bhutan seeks to ensure that it attracts only the most discerning visitors with a deep respect for cultural values, traditions and the natural environment.” It sounds pricy, but when you consider that the cost includes a guide, vehicle, driver, meals and accommodation, the economics of it begins to make sense. On top of this, a large portion of your tourism spend goes towards community development projects, such as free schooling for children, free healthcare and career development initiatives. We were greeted at the airport by our guide Nono and driver Jigme, both dressed in a gho, the traditional Bhutanese robe. They gave us a whirlwind welcome, driving us straight to Rinpung Dzong, a fortress-monastery overlooking the Paro valley, before serving us a traditional (chilli-filled) lunch, followed by a game of archery, Bhutan’s national sport. On day two we visited the holy grail of Bhutanese culture, Paro Taktsang, otherwise known as Tiger’s Nest monastery. In an amazing feat of architecture, this cliff-hugging temple, a two-hour hike above Paro valley, was built in 1692 and is a pilgrimage site for the local Bhutanese as well as tourists. According to Bhutanese legend, Guru Rinpoche was carried from Tibet to this spot on the back of a tigress, resulting in the name “Tiger’s Nest.” The breathtaking setting of this temple makes the tale all the more believable. 45


WHERE TO STAY The COMO hotel group also has two properties in Bhutan. To properly experience the country, guests are encouraged to stay at both Uma Paro, located near some of Bhutan’s best-known sites such as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery; and Uma Punakha, a 10room retreat located in a spectacular remote valley some five hours from the capital.

ORGANIZING YOUR TRIP Chaanah booked her holiday with Bhutan Swallowtail. The top rated Bhutanese travel agency on Tripadvisor, it organises all kinds of programs according to your interests.

TREKKING IN BHUTAN For those looking for a more adventurous experience, Bhutan is home to some of the world’s best treks. While it is forbidden to climb above 6,000 metres (the Bhutanese believe that spirits live at the top of the mountains), Bhutan has a range of breathtaking routes that’ll satisfy any avid walker. The top three trekking routes are the Druk Path Trek, Bumdrak Trek and Snowman Trek, which are best visited from March to May or September to November. As we only had a short amount of time, we did the four-day Druk Path Trek, accompanied by nine mules, a cook and his assistant, a shepherd, a guide and a “lunch boy.” While this initially seemed like a comically large caravan of support, after hiking for six to eight hours a day, having a hot snack upon arrival into camp, followed by a three-course meal and a fully established campsite (including a hot water bottle in your sleeping bag), was a luxury we greatly appreciated. Despite the trek being physically challenging, reaching a height of 4,300 metres at the highest pass, the scenery is absolutely captivating, making all of the effort worthwhile. Prayer flags were draped across rocky outcrops, framing lush green forests and mountains that seem to be touching the stars. For those that feel the cold, try to visit later into the spring season, as the unexpected snow throughout our trek definitely made it a challenge. 46

COMO Hotels

FLIGHTS Drukair, Bhutan’s national carrier, flies into Paro via Bangkok, Singapore or a number of Indian cities.

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TRAVEL WELL with Kate Springer

COMING UP ROSES Sanya has been sprouting new hotels left and right, with openings from the likes of Atlantis, EDITION, and Rosewood - all lining Haitang Bay on the east coast. While the former two hotels have a larger-than-life vibe, the 246-room Rosewood goes the all-natural route with leafy alfresco corridors, pretty reflection pools, and a 110m infinity-edge “sky pool” on the roof. The food is another highlight: Culinary Director Richard Hilton makes his own charcuterie, dry-ages steak in-house, and works with a slew of local producers. For a hands-on culinary adventure, ask about the “Partners in Provenance” tours. Hilton will take you to pick fruit and enjoy an alfresco picnic at family-run Sanya Jia Cheng Farm or over to Bridge Cane Fishing Village for a tour followed by a seven-course meal with wine pairing. Rooms from $1,750 per night. Tours from $888 per person. 6 Haitang North Rd, Sanya 572000, Hainan, China, +86-898-8871-6666, PSST... Cathay Pacific is launching new direct routes to Dublin in June. Who’s in?



CARE PACKAGE Just in time for summer, COMO Hotels have announced a series of new workshops and retreats across Asia. The wellness lineup includes everything from sleep to energy healing, nutrition and Pilates - all taking place at COMO properties around the world. Coming up from May 11-15, there’s a “Sleep Awakening” retreat. The six-night workshop will be led by naturopath Tristian Kelly, who aims to help those suffering from sleep disorders with a holistic approach to nutrition, mindfulness and work-life balance. Another one for the calendar is the “Exploring Yoga” retreat from June 6-10. Taking place at COMO Maalifushi, Maldives, it shouldn’t be too hard to realign on this private island, especially given that your breakfast, dinner, and yoga sessions will be included. Prices vary. Check for schedules and details.

THE ROYAL TREATMENT It’s not every day you get to walk in the footsteps of the maharajas - that is, unless you’re staying at the 19th-century Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. This jewel of a heritage hotel was the home of the Maharaja of Jaipur in the 1900s, and was later refurbished as a hotel in 1957. Across the 47-acre grounds, you’ll find wandering peacocks and secret gardens, polo fields, and the Jiva Spa. Designed to recall royal caravans of the past - picture spa pavilions with billowing tented ceilings - this royal wellness sanctuary centres around ancient Indian rejuvenation traditions, such as aromatherapy and Ayurveda. After a relaxing champi (Indian head massage), a four-hands body massage, or an evening yoga session at the spa, glide over to Rajput Room restaurant for an organic, sustainably sourced meal from the wellness menu. Bhawani Singh Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302005, India, +91-141-238-5700, taj. 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




News and deals from our sister SAR

HAPPY TRAILS Coloane Island is mostly famous because of Fernando’s, but did you know some of the best hiking trails in Macau can be found here? While the southern part of the island is more remote, my favorite walking route is the 8k Coloane Trail. Not only because it starts and ends in the same location (making it easy for those who worry about getting lost) but it’s the most accessible by public transport, with the N3 bus (or taxi) at Seac Pai Van Road taking you to and from the starting point with ease. The trail isn’t particularly hard and the views and lush greenery are a much-needed break from the busy casino lights of the Cotai strip. If you’re hungry afterwards, it's a short walk to Fernando’s on Hac Sa beach, or else you can try out some BBQ pork buns from the stalls on the street. Then, you’re free to explore neighboring Coloane village or hop in a cab back to town.

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FEELING SOUPER Located in the heart of Macau’s central business district on Nam Van Lake, the new Sip Sop Soup café is a huge hit among the lunchtime crowds and those looking for a healthy on-the-go options. Their specialty, if you didn’t already guess, is their delicious and fresh soups. I love their hearty pumpkin, mushroom, and beetroot flavors. They also have lunchtime sets and a special afternoon cake for those who need a sweet treat. Prices are fair and the staff is friendly and accommodating. Located on the first floor, it takes a bit of looking to find it but well worth the detour from the main street. Avenida Panorâmica do Lago Nam Van, No 744F, Lake View Mansion (Block 1), 1 Andar, 6652-5849,

DISH THE DIRT Macau may not be the first destination you think of when it comes to healthy dining, but the Sands Resorts’ new summer promotion puts wellness front and centre, with a range of healthy menus that use seasonal vegetables sourced from organic farms in China. Available from now until June 30, not only are these menus offering a healthier and bettertasting dining experience; sourcing produce through organic farms in China also reduces the menus’ carbon footprint. The dishes will be available at selected restaurants including Dynasty 8, Rice Empire, North, Brasserie, Lotus Palace, Market Bistro, Café Express, Golden Court, Copa, Portofino, Canton and The Golden Peacock. For more information, visit

Sally Victoria Benson grew up in Macau and is the publisher of, the city's leading lifestyle platform. She's passionate about sharing Macau's hidden healthy side and everything happening in the city.

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+853 3705 4923




with Kate Farr

This month sees a curated clothing pop-up that’s good for your wallet and the environment; easy, breezy summer tees in colour-pop shades, and a book that lifts the lid on everything birth and babies in Hong Kong.

POP IT LIKE IT’S HOT Got kids' clothese to offload? Retykle is holding limited-time pop-up in Central. Offering a curated selection of gently-used kids’ designer clothes at up to 90 percent off retail price, the pop-up will also stock brand new, previous season bargains from local brands Atelier/Child, Oaks of Acorn and Tinybitz, to name a few. Plus, Retykle is offering anyone who brings in their own items for consignment an additional 10 percent off their purchases on the day. There's an interactive kids’ colouring station and $20 coffees from Interval Coffee Bar (bring your own cup for extra eco-points). Open daily until May 10 at 33 Wellington St., Central.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD Confused by Hong Kong’s myriad maternity options? Us too. Unravelling the knotty issues from pre-conception through to where to find a Pui Yuet (maternity nurse), The Hong Kong Maternity & Baby Book (香港媽寶大全) lays out everything bump and baby-related in a clear way that’s easy to reference. Offering both English and Chinese editions, find a breakdown of fertility services, private vs. public maternity options (with those all-important costs), breast and bottle feeding resources, and even complementary therapies, such as chiropractic, TCM and naturopathy. The book features tips and unbiased advice from some of Hong Kong’s leading doctors and healthcare specialists, making it an invaluable resource if you’re currently expecting - or expecting to expect.

WIGO OUT Speaking of stylish togs, brand new Hong Kong brand Wigo Wear has taken the humble t-shirt and created something that (from experience) you’ll have to wrestle off your kids at bathtime. Offering a small-butperfectly-formed selection of solid colour, contrast-trim tees that come with an easy-on envelope neck, Wigo Wear tees are made from Tencel or natural bamboo viscose fabrics, both of which are eco-friendly (the Tencel is actually 100 percent biodegradable, should your kiddo create sufficient food stains for you to want to compost it at a later date) and produced without the use of harmful chemicals. But there’s more to the tees than their environmentally-friendly credentials; incredibly stretchy, lightweight and soft to the touch, as well as moisturewicking and antibacterial, these reasonablypriced, unisex tees come in a rainbow of colours to suit every taste (Pickle, Apple or Snorkel, anyone?), and are perfect for Hong Kong’s upcoming sweaty summer months. Tees cost $108. Buy online at

$188. Buy online at Kate Farr is the co-founder of writing and editing agency Editors’ Ink ( She also blogs about Hong Kong family life at Accidental Tai-Tai ( Send your family health news to










The Guide WELLNESS CLINICS Balance Health

Teatments are divided into three streams: natural medicine, physical therapies and mind-body connection. With more than 30 types of treatment available, Balance Health’s specialties include chronic pain, stress, allergies, women’s health and digestive issues, to name a few. 27/F, Universal Trade,

to bring you the most innovative hypnosis and coaching techniques from Europe and the US and help you sharpen your edge and achieve wellbeing. Whether you want to enjoy pain relief, reduce stress and anxiety, increase confidence, manage anger, facilitate the grief process or get rid of the divorce blues, hypnosis can help you achieve your goals. 1/F, Shama Central, 26 Peel St., Central, 9884-8036,

Centre, 3-5 Arbuthnot Rd., Central, 2530-3315,

Byrne, Hickman & Partners

The Round Clinic

One of Hong Kong’s longestestablished physiotherapy practices. Offers treatment for sports injuries, post-operative rehabilitation and clinical Pilates, and can also help to treat chronic and posture-related pain.

This friendly clinic on the Southside offers a range of complementary healing modalities, from osteopathy and physiotherapy to naturopathy, kinesiology and acupuncture. It also sees a lot of pre-and post-natal clients, offering midwife services and Pilates.

Room 201, Dina House, Ruttonjee Centre,

1227-28, 12/F, One Island South, 2 Heung

11 Duddell St., Central, 2526-7533,

Yip Rd., Wong Chuk Hang, 2648-2612, Also has clinics in

TST, Repulse Bay and Sha Tin.

Soholistic Wellness Centre

City Osteopathy

Besides osteopathy, this multidisciplinary clinic offers several pain-relief modalities, including clinical massage, physiotherapy, acupuncture, sophrology and Pilates. The dedicated health practitioners look at the body as a whole, treat the root cause of health problems and prevent them from returning. Suite 1401, Century Square, 1 D’Aguilar St., Central, 2151-4795, city

Renewed Edge

This practice, founded by master hypnotist Christine Deschemim, aims

Formerly the New Age Shop, Soholistic offers various alternative therapies, including kinesiology, health coaching and hypnotherapy. If you’re into more fringe therapies, it also offers tarot reading, past life regression and chakra therapy. 1/F, 7 Old Bailey St., Central, 2810-8694,

Sports and Spinal

A physiotherapy clinic with two outlets in Central, Sports and Spinal specialises in back pain and spinal complaints, though it offers treatments for all kinds of physiological issues, from massage to

post-op rehabilitation. For children, its sister theraputic centre, SPOT ( offer assessment and early intervention for kids facing developmental or physical challenges. 15/F, Winway Building, 50 Wellington St., Central, 2530-0073,

Stanley Wellness Centre

This friendly integrated wellness clinic in Stanley Village offers a host of treatments, including osteopathy, naturopathy, homeopathy, sports massage, mindfulness and counselling, to name just a few. ​G/F 120 Stanley Main St.,​​Stanley Market, 2372​-​9700​,

UP! Health

This friendly, newish clinic offers chiropractic and myofascial release in a fun, bright and welcoming space that’s a mile away from a stuffy doctor’s office. Room 1102, Wellington Place 2-8 Wellington St., Central, 2110-1674,


This massive online store divides into several categories, including health supplements, groceries, personal care products, household cleaners and babies and kids. On the groceries side, it has an entire section dedicated to specialist diets, whether you’re vegan, paleo, dairy- or gluten-free, or raw.

Lotus Mart

Specialising in natural soaps, personal care product and household cleaners, Lotus Mart is a great place to pick up toiletries and bigger items such as laundry detergent and eco-friendly paints. Also has a kids’ section with eco-friendly disposable nappies and wipes from Seventh Generation. Check out the “Deals” section, which has monthly specials on selected products.


This gourmet online store is an Aladdin’s cave of small-batch artisanal products. There’s a large selection of healthy goods, including energy bars, organic dressings, dips and sauces (some of which are vegan or vegetarian) and other treats. Highlights include the Thai Mekhala brand of sauces, which are vegan and made in Chiang Mai.

One Vegan Shop

For an impressive range of veganfriendly food and lifestyle products, any budding herbivore needs to check out One Vegan Shop. There’s a huge selection of milk alternatives, baking supplies, dairy-free cheese, meat substitutes, snacks and more - a hugely helpful resource for vegans, food allergy sufferers and health fanatics alike. Delivery is free for orders of $300 or more, but there are a few far-flung spots they won’t go to; check the website for details.

Nutri Alley

A new online store catering specifically to people with allergies, Nutri Alley carefully sources each of its products – from snacks, condiments and drinks to day-to-day groceries – and provides a handy key so shoppers know at a glance when an item is suitable for them. The goods are categorized into nut-, dairy-, egg- and caffeine-free, and it’s also noted if they’re kosher or vegan.

CROSSFIT Coastal Fitness

Founded by former Hong Kong rugby star Ed Haynes, Coastal Fitness takes a community-driven approach to health and fitness. The gym’s Energy System Training program aims to equip you with long-term fitness development through mobility drills, running, squatting, kettlebells, Olympic weightlifting and a battery of tests to ensure continued progress. 3/F, Block C, Sea View Estate, 8 Watson Rd., North Point, 2512-2262,

CrossFit 852

One of the largest CrossFit gyms in Hong Kong, this two-storey complex is all about community and high-octane workouts. In addition to CrossFit classes, the skilled coaches offer a diverse range of specialty disciplines, such as power lifting, mobility, gymnastics and more. 1/F, Li Dong Building, 9 Li Yuen Street East, Central, 2205-0338,

CrossFit Typhoon

An authentic garage-like box, CrossFit Typhoon is tucked away up in Sai Ying Pun. The narrow but energetic gym leads a butt-kicking WOD that’s full of squats, pull-ups, jumping, pushing, throwing and sprinting. 38-40 Third St., Sai Ying Pun, 2858-8864,

Fitness Academy

A group of CrossFit friends turned business partners are behind this box in Quarry Bay. Fitness Academy champions everyday athletes who want to perform better in various sports, improve their metabolic conditioning, or just get in shape. Shop D, 901-907 King’s Rd., Quarry Bay, 3708-8190,

LRCF Fitness Box

Situated between Mong Kok and Olympic, LRCF is currently Kowloon side’s only box. Its primary focus is on offering one-on-one conditioning programs that address your needs and help to improve your CrossFit technique. 25 Tong Mi Rd., Mong Kok, 2658-6218,

Reebok CrossFit Asphodel

Back in 2010, Reebok Crossfit Asphodel was the very first CrossFit box to open up in Hong Kong. What started as a relatively bare-bones club has evolved into a powerful community of experienced strength training and functional movement specialists. GF, Fook Hing Factory Building, 33 Lee Chung St., Chai Wan, 3568-7719,

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Sense of Touch LKF

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Central Health


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The Right Spot

Crafty Cow


Cafe Polygon Feather & Bone

Chuan Spa Dr. Reborn Feather & Bone Goji Studio Megabox Goji Studio Mong Kok Goji Studio TST

Crossfit 852

Ultimate Performance

Garage Collective

Goji Studio Whampoa

Dr. Sue Jamieson

UP! Health

High Street Bar & Grill

Little Cove Espresso

Dr. Lauren Bramley & Partners Essensuals Salon

Urban Bakery van der Bloom


Optimum Performance Studio TST

Just Green

RC Outfitters Mong Kok


Thann Spa TST

Mana! Cafe

United Services Recreation Club

Fast Beauty Feather & Bone Feel Good Factor Fete Up

SoHolistic Wellness Centre



Opendoor Cafe The Winery Ursus Fitness Utime

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Butcher & Baker Cafe


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Glow Goji Studio Central

Emmanuel F Salon Eric Kayser Elephant Grounds

Jaspas Just Green

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The Hive

Naked Hub Organic Oasis Organic Plus Oolaa

Utime Waffling Beans Warrior Academy

H-Kore Health Concept Healthy Chicken Hit 45 I-Detox Immortal Fitness Impakt MMA Infiniti Fit International Fitness Studio Iyara

OVO Cafe Poke World Queen’s Garden

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 One thing I always have in my gym bag: For sure my headphones! I love music and my Bose headphones make all the difference during a workout.

 Where I work out: I usually go for hot yoga at YogaUnion, or I practice Pilates (I'm training to become a teacher) at IsoFit.

 What I'm listening to: My favourites now are FKJ, The Internet, H.E.R. and a Brazilian band called 3030. I'm also getting more into techno, thanks to my new roommate.

 Last plane trip I took: Brazil. I went to my twin brother's wedding.

 My favourite workout gear: HugMe leggings from Rising Lotus.

 What I'm reading right now: I always keep “Getting More” by Stuart Diamond on my Kindle. It provides tips on how to become a more persuasive person.

 My beauty essential:

Alexia Rautter

Advanced Night Repair serum from Estée Lauder.

this month’s cover model and Pilates instructor in training.

 Where I go to get pampered: I'm pretty low maintenance, but I go for a massage every now and then. I’ve also been meaning to try FloatOn.

 Number-one item on my bucket list: Skydiving.

 What I always have in my fridge: I'd love to be able to say something healthy here, but to be 100 percent honest... beer!

 What I'm watching on TV: “The End of the F***ing World" on Netflix. Everything in this series - the cinematography, soundtrack, cast, plot - is on point! Sadly there's only one season released so far. But be warned: it's a little dark. I'm also watching this Brazilian netflix series called “The 3%.”


 I was at my least healthy when: When I lived in Shanghai a few years back. I used to DJ full-time so I lived for the nightlife. I was really lazy with my health back then.

 My favourite workout song: H.O.R.T.A. by Matuê ft. Menestrel, a Brazilian group.

 My guilty pleasure: Emack & Bolio’s! More specifically, their Deep Purple Cow ice cream: black raspberry with white and dark chocolate chips.

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