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the really useful magazine

Kung Hei Fat Choy! February 2018

How to celebrate the Year of the Dog

Bliss oeuwt inter blues with Escape th ong spa guide our Hong K


in town s e h c n lu y a d Best Sun



Editor’s letter

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

4 Contributors


ISSUE 046 31

School news

Fashion shows and info nights


Open day

Meet the team

East-meets-west at VSA


What’s on


Life & style

Busy times in the 852!

Hong Kong spa guide


Things you should know

42 Dining

Lai see lai see!

Get roasted

14 News

47 Travel

Happenings this month

Danish delights

16 Giveaways


Flailing spouse

Be lucky

Middle-aged meltdowns


Debate of the month

Dear heart


Me & my big idea

Dressed for success


My Hong Kong

The fashion designer


Book review

Kids reads for CNY


Cover story

How to ‘do’ the year of the dog


Big Interview

School lunches






Scan and visit our website 1

editor’s message

who’s in charge? Editorial Editor Carolynne Dear

Managing Editor Eric Ho

Media Trainee Gemma Shaw

Design Design Manager Cindy Suen

Graphic Designer Anna Schulteisz

Sales & Marketing Sales Director Hilda Chan

Sales and Marketing Executive Kiran Hiranandani

Sales and Marketing Executive Isamonia Chui

Sales and Marketing Executive Corrie Tang

Sales and Marketing Executive Johnny Wong



nd another year comes to an end - as the rooster makes way for the dog, Hong Kong gears up for Chinese New Year 2018. It seems like I only just got the kids back to school and suddenly we’re looking at another holiday. While I’m hoping the recent pollution clears so we can hit the trails for some decent family hiking before the heat closes in again, I’m also keen to check out the new year events happening across town. We’ve compiled a heap of ideas to keep you busy over the festive period on page 26, from checking out the decorations in the city’s malls, to catching the numerous lion dances across town, and just being able to take time out as a family for a few days. And if you’re new Hong Kong, don’t miss our lai see ‘how to’ guide on page 12. Apart from Chinese New Year, I must admit that foggy February is not my favourite time of year. But I’m hoping to cheer myself up with an indulgent spa day as recommended by our intrepid freelancers, Kate and Rachel, on page 38. They’ve scoured the city for the most relaxing treatments and discovered you don’t have to board a plane for some decent R&R. And if that fails, I might just tuck into to one of the glorious roast dinners featured on page 42! So Kung Hei Fat Choy and enjoy your month!

Digital Co-ordinator Cora Chan

Accounting Management Trainee Charles Lau

Publisher Tom Hilditch

Contact us Admin: 3568 3722 | Editorial: 2776 2773 | Advertising: 2776 2772 Published by Hong Kong Living Ltd, L1 Kai Wong Commercial Building, 222 Queens Road Central, Hong Kong Printer Apex Print Limited, 11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong

about the cover Our thanks to Wayne Wong of Evoke Kids for our fabulous cover image of our model-of-the-month wearing a Chinadoll Kids qipao. The beautiful dresses are hand-stitched by local fashion designer, Amy Djokovic. Her creations are one-off pieces, individually tailored and hand-made. To see more of her work, turn to page 22, or see

HONG KONG Expat Parent is published by Hong Kong Living Ltd. This magazine is published on the understanding that the publishers, advertisers, contributors and their employees are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors and omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication. The publisher, advertisers, contributors and their employees expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, whether a reader of this publication or not, in respect of any action or omission by this publication. Expat Parent cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies provided by advertisers or contributors. The views herein are not necessarily shared by the staff or publishers. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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Rebecca Simpson

Adele Brunner

Rachel Read & Kate Farr

After reconnecting with family at ‘home’ in Australia over the new year, Rebecca is now back to real life editing Mid-levels magazine. This month she took time out to revisit Aberdeen-based Victoria Shanghai Academy and enjoy the school’s stellar views on page 34.

This month Adele chatted with Catherine Lessler, a local mum who, fed up with what was on offer at her childrens’ school, has set up a healthy school lunch company. With brilliant insight, the lunches are healthy, tasty and delivered right to your door. Find out more on page 28.

And breathe. This month our pair of roving reporters took time out to sample some of Hong Kong’s best spa treatments. Find out what they thought on page 38. They also taste tested a heap of roast dinners, just what the doctor ordered at this cooler, gloomier time of year.

Want to write for Expat Parent Magazine? Contact

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what’s on

Diary dates

FEB 17 Harbour City will be hosting its first ever firework display. Plus look out for the Junior Lion Dance Trial Classes throughout February, 7

what’s on

Fun and games at the ATOM Academy Chinese New Year camp, Feb 12-23


Mademoiselle Privé Chanel is hosting a four week exhibition showcasing classic Chanel pieces including Karl Lagerfeld’s Haute Couture, the Chanel No. 5 fragrance and a re-edition of Gabrielle Chanel’s 1932 Bijoux de Diamants jewellery collection. Free admission, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central.


Let the Children Bloom Charity Concert Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) and Mayaa Hong Kong, two child-focused organisations providing charity work in Cambodia and Nepal,

are joining hands for this charity concert. Let the Children Bloom will feature choral music as well as instrumental duos. 7pm, St. Margaret’s Concert Hall, 2A Broadwood Road, Leighton Hill, Happy Valley, tickets from $280 at

UNTIL FEB 11 KidsFest 2018

The kids extravaganza continues into its final month with prehistoric spectacle Earth’s Dinosaur Zoo, the heartwarming Lost and Found, upbeat and colourful What the Ladybird Heard and Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns. The festival’s productions mainly feature energetic casts from the UK, and also involve an Australian cast and crew. Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, tickets from $195, or call 3128 8288.

FEB 2-9

India by the Bay

KidsFest 2018, until Feb 11


A week-long event including a talk with Victoria and Abdul author Shrabani Basu, a Parsi wedding dinner paired with a history talk on the community’s legacy in Hong Kong, and a

what’s on

Photo by Ines Laimins

mum about town

Faust performs Shakespeare, Feb 8-11

‘Family Day’ aimed at parents and children. Plus music, art and theatre. Asia Society, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty,

FEB 2-4

Ballet Classics for Children: Swan Lake This rendition of the ballet classic was specially re-created just for children and lasts for just an hour. The Hong Kong Ballet will dance out and narrate this famous love story, while also introducing basic ballet concepts to the audience. Shows are narrated in either English or Chinese, please note when booking. Suitable for children aged five years and over. Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre, 10 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui East, tickets from $200 at

The Sound of Chocolate, until Feb 25

Drink up


Malvern College Pre-School Hong Kong Open House The preschool provides different curriculums for children aged from two to five years and follows the Reggio Emilia educational method. Prospective parents will be able to meet with the founding principal, Jacqueline McNalty, and find out more. Registration is based on a first-come, first-serve basis,

FEB 8-11

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Faust International presents a jazz-scored reimagining of one of Shakespeare’s finest comedies. Follow the adventures of four lovers in a forest chase, two fairy royals in a battle of wills, and one playful sprite up to no good. 7:30pm (Thursday to Saturday), 2:30pm (Saturday), 11am and 2:30pm (Sunday), Shouson Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, tickets from $225 at

I’ve recently been introduced to Drink for Justice, which not only sounds very inviting but has been set up to make a difference to the lives of Hong Kong’s refugee population. The idea is to enjoy a relaxed drink or two and some food and profits go towards helping this often overlooked sector of our society. For $250, you can expect free-flow wine and craft beer and nibbles at seafood specialist Fishteria. The event has been organised by a network of professionals and refugees who are part of Refugee Union, Hong Kong’s first refugee-led society. This month’s event takes place 6.30-8.30pm, Feb 8, Fishteria, 111 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, see, tickets from

Choc fest I know, all those new year’s resolutions to eat healthier are on their way out the window as I have just discovered that Harbour City will be hosting a mega chocolate event this month. It includes the intriguing The Sound of Chocolate Art Exhibition which welcomes French Australian artist Julia Drouhin from Tasmania who will be presenting vinyl records that are made out of chocolate (pictured above). Somehow, she will be adding Cantonese pop songs to her art pieces. There will also be a miniature chocolate exhibition by Japanese miniature artist Tatsuya Tanaka as well as a Chocolate Trail around the mall and a Chocolate Tasting Bar. The exhibitions run until Feb 25, Harbour City, TST, 9

what’s on FEB 9-11

Longines Masters of Hong Kong

The world’s ‘grand slam indoor of showjumping’ returns for its sixth year bringing the best and brightest in the equestrian world to Hong Kong. Asia World Expo is the second stop in this three-part masters series, after Paris and before New York. AsiaWorld-Expo, Lantau, tickets from $250,

FEB 10

South Island Art Discovery Walk A two-and-a-half hour, monthly walk led by Accidental Art centres around Wong Chuk Hang. Includes art galleries, artist studios and sites of notable street art. Note that there are two time slots every month - the 2pm session is usually in English. Tickets from $400, or book at Barefoot for charity, Feb 24

FEB 16, 17 & 19

FEB 24

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Public holiday on all three days. Welcome in the Year of the Dog - find out how on page 26.

A 4km barefoot walk in support of the people of South Sudan, with booths and activities to learn about the South Sudanese and “immersion” workshops building makeshift tents and latrines. 10am-3pm, Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, minimum fundraising amount for a family (two adults and two children) is $1000 for the barefoot walk and $1800 for the walk plus activities, register before Feb 2 at

Chinese New Year

FEB 20-25

Hong Kong Race Week

FEB 10

Forest Therapy Walk for Resilience and Trust

Forest therapy originated in Japan and can have positive effects on both mental and physical health. Kembali organises therapy walks once or twice a month, this month the walk places emphasis on trust-building and will finish with a tea ceremony with tea picked straight from the wild. 8:30am-12pm, meeting point at Wong Chuk Hang MTR Station Exit A1 (next to Circle K), tickets from $364,

FEB 12-23

ATOM Academy CNY Camp

The Wong Chuk Hang based children’s learning centre will be running camps during Chinese New Year for children aged from two to eight years. Activities include gymnastics, taekwondo, art & design, jazz, Chinese dance and more. Each session lasts two days. $900/ session for two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half years, $1260 for three-and-a-half to eight year olds. Call 2295 6066 or email

FEB 14

Valentine’s Day Hearts, cards and over-priced roses abound. 10

Organised by the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the event will see sailors of all ages racing around Deep Water Bay, Repulse Bay, Stanley Bay and Tai Tam Bay. The event is currently looking for volunteers, so if you have a passion for water sports and you’re interested in helping out, fill out the registration form at

FEB 22 - APRIL 11

Harbour Arts Sculpture Park Hong Kong’s first international sculpture park brings museum-quality works to the Central and Wan Chai Harbourfront. Presented by Hong Kong Arts Centre the free event features 18 emerging and renowned local and international contemporary artists, plus workshops for all ages,


The 46th HK Arts Festival This year’s Arts Festival features 1,700 local and international artists from the worlds of dance, opera, theatre, music and more. Highlights include the National Theatre of Great Britain’s performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Ballet Zürich’s Anna Karenina and the famous Cantonese opera piece Farewell My Concubine. Various locations, tickets from $140,

Spring Charity Barefoot Walk


The November Project is a fitness movement born in Boston, the idea is to provide free, regular workout meetups. On Mondays at 6:30am, participants meet at the fountain in Sun Yat Sun Memorial Park for a 6km run. On Wednesdays at 7am at the same venue, the group leads a full body workout. Fridays offer a 7am stair workout on Tai Ping Shan Street. All you have to do is show up. See NovemberProjectHongKong/.


Welsh Society Annual Ball The St David’s Society of Hong Kong will be pulling out all the stops at its annual black tie celebration, this year being held at the Kerry Hotel, Hung Hom. The evening will see special guest Joe Calzaghe take to the stage, while guests enjoy food and wine, a live auction, a live band and singing - naturally - by the Welsh Society Annual Ball. Tickets cost $1,600 and are available at

Years in Hong Kong’. The ladies will also be welcoming the group’s first chairlady, Jeanne Allingham, to join the celebrations, along with current president, Fiona Bulmer. Early bird tickets cost $1,200 until February 8, $1,400 thereafter, and are on sale now at

MAR 10

Malvern College Creative Arts Workshop The British international school will be hosting a storytelling-based arts workshop for children aged four to 11 years. Children will be split by age group (four to seven years

and eight to 11 years) with follow up activities aimed at sparking creativity and honing thinking skills. Each session lasts 75 minutes and is free of charge. Places are firstcome first-serve, Core Building 1E, Science Park, Sha Tin, reserve a spot at creative-arts-workshop.

MAR 24

Malvern College Rugby Experience Day An action-packed afternoon teaching kids the basics of this dynamic teamwork-oriented sport. Bring sportswear, trainers, water, and of course enthusiasm. Open to children aged five to 12 years. Admission is free but on a first-come first-serve basis, The Education University of Hong Kong, Shek Kok Sports Centre, Tai Po. Reserve a spot at rugby-experience-day.


Golden celebrations for Ladies Circle Hong Kong Ladies Circle will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in style next month with a black tie Gala Dinner and disco. The evening is being held at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel with guest after-dinner speaker local historian Jason Wordie reflecting on ‘50 Getting creative with Malvern, Mar 10 11

things to know

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Lai see, or little red envelopes of cash, are handed out during the first 15 days of the Lunar new year, so from Friday February 16 this year.

They are handed out from parent to child, boss to staff and to those who provide a service for us, including building concierge, cleaners, hairdressers, waiters, baristas and domestic helpers. Don’t let children hand lai see to older people, as this is considered rude.


It’s worth keeping a few envelopes to hand for the Chinese New Year period containing varying denominations. Lai see should be offered the first time that you see a person during the Chinese New Year period.

In ancient China, red strings of 100 copper coins were given, symbolising longevity. The idea is similar to the Western tradition of offering a bonus or tip in the lead up to Christmas.

firecrackers are a big part of the celebration

Things you need to know Lai see

What are the rules to giving and receiving these little packets of joy? Each envelope should contain just one, crisp, ideally unused banknote. The lai see packets should also be new. When giving or receiving lai see, use both hands as a demonstration of respect and wish the person a hearty ‘Kung hei fat Choi!’


Worried about how much to offer? Recommended amounts include $20 for building or service staff (concierge, waiters, etc.), $50-$100 for a regular hairdresser or manicurist, up to $500 for domestic helpers, and up to $1,000 for work staff if you’re the boss, depending on role and seniority. If you’re going to a Chinese New Year gathering, take packets containing a $20 note to hand out to any children.

Kun g he fat i choi ! 12

Photo by Tsanguyengtings via Wikimedia Commons



Lai see packets can be found all over town, including from stationery shops, banks and supermarkets. Often they are given away free - these are fine to use, too. 13


Doggies in the window Kids clothing label Seed Heritage has launched a special Chinese New Year collection featuring a heap of fun doggy patterns. Sizes range from 0 to 16 years,

M&S sells Hong Kong stores UK retail giant Marks & Spencer has confirmed the sale of its 27 stores in Hong Kong and Macau to its long-term franchise partner, AlFuttaim. Al-Futtaim, a global trading business headquartered in Dubai, has partnered with M&S since 1998 when it opened Dubai’s first Marks & Spencer store. This latest sale was completed last month for an undisclosed sum. The stores 14

will keep the M&S name under the franchise agreement and the sale means Al-Futtaim now operates 72 Marks & Spencer stores across 11 markets in Asia and the Middle East. The sale follows a strategic review of M&S’s international business in 2016 which has so far resulted in the shuttering of 53 loss-making outlets in markets including China and northern Europe. The UK retailer entered the Hong Kong

market in 1988, but following foreign business losses of $43 million last year, it now aims to place a greater focus on established franchise and joint venture partnerships and pull back from wholly-owned markets. This latest sale leaves overseas M&S wholly-owned stores in just Ireland and the Czech Republic.


Hanging out for charity

Green challenge

Viewing art ‘on the line’

The American Women’s Association is launching a charity women-only art exhibition and auction, Art On The Line. Over 200 artworks by professional, amateur and student artists from around the world will be displayed for one night only, hanging on a line. This year’s artistic line-up hails from countries including Germany, the US, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong, creating what is Hong Kong’s largest international art exhibit and sale featuring exclusively women artists. “It’s such a coup to have this collection of such great artists all in one place,” said co-chair J’nee Hilgers-Easter. “Not only to kick

off ‘Art Month’ in Hong Kong, but also raise the profile of these enormous talents right before International Women’s Day on March 8th. It’s an honor to be able to showcase these women and celebrate their achievements while doing good for the community.” All money raised from the event will go to charities and scholarships that serve Hong Kong’s community. Previous Art On The Line events have raised over $500,000. Art On The Line takes place 6-10pm, March 1, The Annex, Nan Fung Place, 2F-6, 173 Des Voeux Road, Central. Follow the event on Facebook or see

Step into spring US rapper Tyler the Creator has teamed up with sportswear brand Converse to launch a cute new collection of sneakers. Great for tweens and teens, the unisex GOLF le FLEUR range comes in three pastel colours, Geranium Pink, Bachelor Blue and Jade Lime, with a distinctive flower motif on the side. The footwear is available in sizes EU 36.5-45. The sneakers are complemented by Converse Essentials hoodies in Peach Pearl and Egret, and tees in Black, Peach Pearl and White. The sneakers and hoodies are priced from $759, the tees from $279, available

The new Converse collection

from this month at selected Converse stores including Shop 513 Hysan Place, Lvl 8 Langham Place and 62 Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok.

Two Clearwater Bay mums have launched The Green 52, an environmental initiative aimed at encouraging followers to make lasting changes to their everyday lives to help reduce environmental impact. “We will not preach, we will not make people feel guilty, rather we want to provide weekly, practical and manageable ideas on how to become more environmentallyfriendly,” said co-founder Zoe Stevenson. The pair, both British expats and Clearwater Bay residents, have five children under nine years between them and say the initiative was sparked by the worrying change in the environment that their kids are growing up in. “We are both lucky enough to live near the beach but over the past six years the amount of plastic washing ashore has increased dramatically,” explained fellow founder Laura Tyson. “It’s now easier for our children to collect bottle tops than shells.” Every Monday a green challenge will be posted on the blog and on Wednesday it will be explained how to achieve the challenge in Hong Kong. “We don’t expect people to do it all, although that of course would be fabulous,” said Stevenson. Sign up at

Escalator upgrade If you’re a regular user of the CentralMidlevels escalator, bear in mind the whole system is due for a four-year upgrade, beginning March 1. The first phase will cover the Conduit Road to Robinson Road section and will last approximately five months. It is expected the entire upgrade will be completed by 2022/3. Opened in 1993, the escalator and walkway system is the longest in the world and is used by around 85,000 people each day. According to the government’s Electrical & Mechanical Service Department, it has now exceeded its service life and a renovation is needed to replace ageing components. The upgrade is anticipated to cost $128 million. The new escalators will employ an energysaving function meaning they will only move when the sensors detect entry of people. 15

giveaways WIN HERE! Click the Giveaways tab on our website: little.P Madeleine Bettridge Made with New Zealand wool, little.P creates high quality rugs and textiles that are beautiful and functional. The soft, durable and hypo-allergenic fabric is environmentally friendly and great for children. A wool rug is perfect all year round keeping you warm in winter and balancing the humidity of Hong Kong summers. Visit for more information. We are happy to give away a lovely cloud rug, valued at $3,500.


Want fuller and healthier eyebrows and eyelashes? Sparadise’s Magic Eyelash & Eyebrow Boost Treatment might just be the answer. Using a trio of Le Mont Botanique’s purest botanical skin care products, the treatment is designed to help restore our eyebrows and eyelashes naturally. Visit to find out more about their wide selection of treatments. We have five treatments to give away, worth $1,400 in total.


Madeleine Bettridge is a British artist based in Hong Kong who creates unique, affordable artwork that brings to life the colours, sights and scenes of the city. ‘Wet Market’ is from her ‘Only in Hong Kong’ limited edition of signed prints featuring quintessential urban scenes using original photography, painting and collage. Find out more at We’re giving away a signed, limited edition print of “Wet Market”, valued at $1,500.

Russell Peters Deported World Tour

After two sold out tours around Asia in 2015 and 2016, Russell Peters is back with The Deported World Tour on March 13. Even if you haven’t been to one of his shows, you may recognise the Canadian comedian from his stand-up specials on Netflix . Featuring all new material, get ready for a night of Peters’ signature audience interaction and unique blend of humour. Tickets are available at We are giving away two pairs of tickets, valued at $1920 in total.

van der Bloom

Founded in 2017, van der Bloom has a comprehensive one-stop ordering website and next-day delivery service, making the purchase process simple and fuss-free. The Mid-levels flower boutique also has a flower subscription service designed to suit your hectic schedule. With a click of the button, you’ll have fresh flowers delivered to your office or apartment at your desired time. We will be giving away one small size flower subscription, valued at $1,500. The subscription comes with three deliveries of fresh blooms to your office or home. 17

debate of the month

From the heart How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? “My husband says it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for him to be romantic. I’m still waiting” Greta

“A friend’s husband used to buy her a white rose for every year they’d been married. He got to 19, but then they got divorced.” Joanna

We don’t. Ever. Lisa

I can barely open the front door for the deluge of cards every year. She says sarcastically. Kate

“I say I’m not bothered, but secretly I think it would be nice to receive something, even just a card. But we’ve both agreed it’s a silly waste of money.” Deb

“I don’t celebrate any other saint’s day, why should I start with St Valentine? The whole thing is weird.” Jo

“I was always ‘that’ kid at school who didn’t receive a card. Sometimes I used to bunk off I was so embarrassed.” Gill

“We used to make an effort when we were first married, but not anymore.” Ellen

“I like the idea, but it’s just so commercial. I really object to paying triple price in a restaurant or for a bunch of flowers just because it’s ‘Valentine’s’.” Rose

I do receive a card, which is nice. It’s important to keep the romance alive post-children! Claire

Ugh. A promotional day for Hallmark cards, nothing more. Zoe

We want to hear from you! Next month: Are you a sugar nazi or do you let them eat cake?

Email your views to

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me & my big idea

Spare threads Want to get the kids involved in a good cause? Charity co-founder Aoife McGillion explains how So what’s the big idea? Suits for Success (S4S) is a charitable initiative that was set up by Women in Finance Asia (WiFA) as a tribute to International Women’s Day. Members of the public and our corporate partners are asked to donate men’s and women’s professional clothing and accessories which are then delivered to various Hong Kong non-government organisations (NGOs) to improve the social mobility of less privileged Hong Kongers. The smart clothing means beneficiaries can attend internships and education interviews, or it simply lifts their spirits whilst living in challenging environments. The clothing drive is an annual event, generally coinciding with International Women’s Day on March 8.

Through the S4S Junior Programme we’re inviting young people to get involved and create social impact And what’s your latest initiative, Suits for Success Junior? This was launched last June and targets beneficiaries of a younger age bracket. It has been a great success thanks to local student Siddharth Sengupta, who spearheaded the initiative. Sixteen-year-old Sid ran a clothing drive from scratch with friends from his scout group, Boy Scouts of America, and in conjunction with his school. The collection yielded 260kg of good quality clothing. Sid organised and marketed the event, collected, mended, washed and ironed the clothing, developing some great skills as well as gaining an understanding of less privileged Hong Kongers. Through the S4S Junior programme, we’re inviting young people to get involved in a similar way. The benefits of the programme 20

Sorting the donated suits

are endless, but mostly they are focused on building entrepreneurial skills at a school age and creating a sense of social impact.

How has S4S evolved? When we launched in 2014, the initiative collected 300kgs of clothing from four corporates, benefiting two NGOs. In 2017, we collected over 3,000kgs of clothing from over 50 corporates and involved over 101 volunteers, benefitting 29 NGOs. In 2018, we will be running the campaign over a much extended period, from Feb 12 to March 8. The next step for us is to incorporate the charitable initiative into a formal charity, which is underway, so that we can better manage the logistics and operations ourselves and ensure we’re able to meet all of our goals as well as manage the distribution channels to ensure that nothing ends up in landfill – which is one of the goals of the organisation.

So how can readers get involved? S4S will be collecting gently worn professional clothing from 12 Feb through 8 March through our network of corporate partners, and through all Pure Yoga and Pure Fitness locations. We accept good-quality clothing for both men and women including suits, trousers, skirts, dresses, shirts, blouses, jackets, ties, shoes, bags – basically anything that can be worn in a professional workplace. For any parents or school students who are hoping to get involved with the S4S Junior programme, they can contact Sid at and he will run through the outline of the programme, including providing the letters needed to seek approvals from the schools as well as offering advice drawn from his own experience. We are hoping to expand our coverage from two to eight schools this year, and engage as many young people as possible. To find our more, see suitsforsuccesshk. org or email Follow the initiative on Twitter @suits4successHK, Instagram @suits4successhk, Facebook S4SHK and Linkedin at Suits for Success (Group). 21

Photos by Wayne Wong, Evoke Kids


‘My husband patiently puts up with a house scattered with sequins and beads’, says Amy Djokovic

My Hong Kong the fashion designer

Mum-of-one Amy Djokovic has just launched her latest collection of children’s qipao dresses. She tells Expat Parent how her fashion house has evolved When I first arrived in Hong Kong, my daughter Bella was two years old and loved everything frilly and pretty. But she hated the scratchy materials. As a fashion designer I had just discovered the heaven that is “Sham Shui Po”, so I decided to design my own tutu dresses for her using better cotton and softer tulle. I also wanted to make something of quality that would last two to three years and would grow with her. And that’s how My Little Princess, my first business here, came about. Sadly, just 22

after I’d set up the company, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I decided to sell the dresses to keep me busy and at the same time raise money and awareness for cancer research. All the money from my first two year of business went to the Cancer Fund HK. This is also when I started to get involved in charity work and I still continue to support whenever I can. Currently I am supporting the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation.

Before Hong Kong, I lived in Australia, New Zealand, Miami and Shanghai. I studied Arts/Law but then decided to venture into marketing and fashion as an events manager and fashion designer. The creative world is my passion. I had to adapt as we moved around so much due to my husband’s job. As a creative, you can work pretty much anywhere. My husband is very supportive and puts up with all the fabric, sequins and beads scattered throughout the house.

PEOPLE My neighbours are my best friends. I have coffee with them nearly every day. I live in Happy Valley along with our fabulous auntie Tess and a floppy-eared bunny called Archie. This part of town has a fantastic community. I love that it feels far enough away from the hustle and bustle but is also close to everything at the same time. A mere ten minute walk brings me to Times Square, yet Happy Valley is relatively quiet. After a couple of years in Hong Kong, I couldn’t help but be influenced by Asian inspired fabrics, brocade silks and qipaos. I wanted to evolve my brand and create something very Hong Kong. And so China Doll Kids was born. It’s my take on the cheongsam, that’s easy and comfortable to wear, has the influence of a tutu and twirls like a dream, with all the elegance of a traditional qipao. I try to use as many cut off materials as possible from other design houses. I only make one or two dresses from that leftover fabric. Each dress has hand embroidered beading work on the collar and is tailor and handmade. I only have time to make about 100 dresses a year and I launch one collection per year just before Chinese New Year. So all the dresses are limited edition. I would love to do more on the sustainability side. So much fabric gets wasted in the fashion industry, I try and recycle material as much as I can. I am currently working on a range of hair accessories and children’s handbags made from cut-offs that I can’t use for the dresses.

All of Djokovic’s qipaos are tailored and handmade

I try and recycle material as much as I can - so much fabric gets wasted in the fashion industry

When I’m not sewing, I love getting out on the water or over to a beach in summer. It’s the Aussie in me. Tai Long Wan is a favourite. As a family, we love being around friends, having a BBQ or catching up on the weekend over brunch. But I also love those occasional lazy Sundays where you stay in PJs until midday with no plans but to stay home. Those are the days when we bake and Daddy turns into masterchef with Bella as sous-chef - and Mummy is the kitchen hand. Bella loves eating Peking Duck, or ‘duck roll roll’ as she calls it. I think she likes the idea of playing with her food. Our favourite duck is at Ting Lung Heen at the Ritz Carlton. Motorino is a favourite for pizza and Pici is a must for family pasta cravings. I love that Hong Kong is so safe. I feel comfortable walking home at night with Bella or taking the MTR at any time of the day or night. What drives me nuts here is the ‘close’ button in the lifts. And the need for everybody to push it because they can’t possibly wait another second. But the scary thing is that after five years here I now catch myself hitting the button on occasion. It’s contagious behaviour!

With daughter Bella

The new China Doll Kids collection currently retails through Partytime (, or see 23

book review

Out this month

The Widows of Malabar Sujata Massey Rewind to 1920s India and Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female lawyer, is investigating a suspicious will on behalf of three Muslim widows. Mistry smells a rat when she discovers all three women have signed their inheritance over to a charity - when tensions escalate to murder she realises her suspicions that the women are being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian could be correct.

Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Knitting Book

10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know

The editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine

Parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson shares the ten things every parent needs to know to raise their children positively and to make parenting easier. It provides simple and effective strategies for the main issues faced by parents of two to 12 year olds in everyday family life. There are tips on how to manage sibling conflict, chores and screen-time in a positive way. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just need a bit of guidance, 10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know is a must-read.

Get those needles clacking, this is the ultimate knitting reference. This year it gets an update with revised features, fresh material, 65 additional pages and more than 1,600 photos of hand-drawn, step-by-step illustrations. There are comprehensive chapters on lace and cabling, information on knitters’ tools, garment care and more. Perfect for hand-crafters everywhere.

Dr Justin Coulson

365 Days of Art Lorna Scobie An inspiring journal designed with arty tasks and activities for every day of the year. These include simple tasks like drawing shapes and lines, to more mindful exercises like coloringin, painting with primary colors and drawing what you see. With beautiful, vibrant hand-lettering and watercolor illustrations, the book pairs inspiring quotes with supportive prompts and exercises to spark reflection through your drawing, writing and painting.

Canine capers Hong Kong-based children’s author Sarah Brennan has completed her latest book, The Tale of Desmond Dog, in time for Chinese New Year. As usual, it’s full of fun rhymes and exciting plotlines, and is great for primary kids wanting to expand their vocabulary - not to mention learn a little more about Chinese history. “It’s 1810, and infamous pirate queen Ching Shih and her Red Flags are terrorizing the South China Sea. Enter Desmond Dog, hero of the fishing village of Hong Kong! He’s noble, honest and kind, and loves to help others. But he’s also strong, daring and brave, with an excellent nose… In fact he has the makings of an excellent pirate! Will Desmond 24

be lured into a life of crime? And what will become of Ching Shih and her crew? Find out in this exciting tale of trickery, temptation… and treasure!” To complement the publication of The Tale of Desmond Dog, Brennan has also launched The Dashing Dog story-writing competition. Primary students are invited to write a story about a brave, kind, honourable and dashing dog, all typical traits of a Chinese zodiac dog. Brennan will be launching The Tale of Desmond Dog at Bookazine, Prince’s Building at 2pm on February 10. For more details about the competition and to buy a copy of the book, see

book review

Women’s work British author Sarah Franklin introduces her latest novel, Shelter I’ve got two small-ish kids and a day job so this book got written everywhere - at music practice, at football practice, in bed at midnight. There wasn’t much rhythm and it was massively scrappy but it was what worked for me and our lives. The hardest part was endlessly wrestling with the idea of the book in my head and what was actually coming out on paper. I was inspired to write Shelter following a controversial government proposal in 2010 to sell off Britain’s woodlands. I grew up in the Forest of Dean and it was inconceivable that this land, in my eyes entirely entwined with the people who lived and worked there, could ever be sold. It seemed as weird as trying to sell off the coast, or the air. I wrote about it for national newspaper The Guardian but it still niggled and I wanted to fictionalise my concerns. I wanted to write about what it felt like to have the very foundations of the place you live in entirely turned upside down by the decisions of bureaucrats working for what they would see as ‘the greater good’. It’s such a brilliant, strange, unique place - much of my family still lives there.

The hardest part was endlessly wrestling with the idea of the book in my head

The Forest of Dean saw huge change during World War 2. There was enormous demand for wood at this time, for replacing ships’ masts, as pit props so that the much needed domestic coal production could happen safely and to ensure homes could be rebuilt quickly after the blitzes of London and Coventry. And all this wood being felled meant that the character of the Forest of Dean, and other forests like it, was being completely changed. Timber production still happens all across the UK - in fact, we can’t produce as much as we need. Lumberjills still

Shelter by Sarah Franklin After her house and family is raized to the ground during a bombing raid in Britain in 1944, Connie Granger finds work as a ‘lumberjill’ for the Women’s Timber Corps in the forests of western England, providing desperately needed timber for the war effort. Here she meets Seppe, an Italian prisoner of war.


exist, too, though I don’t think they use handsaws like Connie had to any more. It was really important to me that Connie came from Coventry rather than London. We hear so much about the London Blitz that readers would have with preconceived notions. Plus, from Coventry, it just seemed a more natural route that she’d end up in Gloucestershire. (Coventry is an industrial city in the British Midlands. It was bombed continuously during the war, the worst raid destroying thousands of homes and damaging two thirds of the city’s buildings in one night).

When I’m not writing, I work as an academic at Oxford Brookes University, so research is something I’m comfortable with and enjoy. I was helped enormously by both the Imperial War Museum, which has brilliant oral histories of the Women’s Timber Corps and Italian Prisoners of War, and by the Dean Heritage Museum in the Forest of Dean. The curator at the latter was kind enough to pass on to me two self-published memoirs about real-life prisoners in the camp in the heart of the Forest - I tried really hard to make sure that everything was based in fact. Years ago I’d done an O-level History project about the Home Front in the Second World War and collected questionnaires from lots of people who’d lived in the Forest of Dean during the war. These recollections were hugely helpful as well. Inspiration came from the novels of Lissa Evans, who I adore. She writes books that are funny and poignant all at once, just spot on. I also kept thinking of Goodnight, Mr Tom, which I read as a kid and still absolutely love. Anthony Doerr wrote the best book about unusual aspects of the Second World War that I think anyone will ever write. I’m working on my second novel right now. It’s set in the Forest of Dean again, but is contemporary rather than historical and has completely different characters in it. Shelter is available from

Sarah Franlklin is now working on a second novel 25


Look out for lion dancers across town

Red letter days How to get the most out of the Year of the Dog


appy Chinese New Year, or Kung Hey Fat Choy! This year we will be welcoming in the Year of the Dog, the eleventh animal in the Chinese zodiac. The dog represents loyalty and honesty. It’s said that people born in the Year of the Dog are honest, faithful, loyal and smart. Those born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 and 2018 are all born under this animal. Not only the Year of the Dog, 2018 is an ‘earth’ dog year. Each Chinese zodiac sign is also associated with one of five elements - metal, wood, water, fire and earth. An Earth Dog (1958 and 2018) is communicative, serious and responsible.


Lucky numbers for ‘dog’ babies include the numbers 3, 4 and 9; lucky colours are red, green and purple; and lucky flowers are the rose and cymbidium orchids.

How to celebrate Chinese New Year Visit family and friends to wish them good fortune and prosperity. Everyone tries to go home for New Year’s Eve to pay respects to their parents and elders. This prompts the largest human migration in the world ...a billion people in China travelling at the same time.


Famous ‘Earth Dogs’ Madonna - August 16, 1958 Michael Jackson - August 29, 1958


Spring clean. Before the new year we clean the house thoroughly to sweep away the old and welcome the good and the prosperous. It’s a great excuse for a good clear out, have a good riffle through your wardrobe and buy some new clothes.



Decorate the house. Red and gold are lucky colours. Red symbolises the vitality of life and happiness, gold represents wealth and prosperity. Hang a red lantern at the door to drive away bad luck, and put living plants such as orchids and peonies around the house to symbolise growth and rebirth.


Feast with family and friends. Lucky foods include fish (for surplus), dumplings and spring rolls (wealth), noodles (longevity), sweet rice balls (family togetherness) and rice cakes (improvement).


6 7 8

Give red envelopes of money, or lai see. Adults give them to children to wish them good luck, health and good studies in the coming year. Always give and receive a red packet with two hands. Children should never present lai see to adults - it’s a sign of disrespect. And never hand out packets containing $40 as 4 is very unlucky - instead present two envelopes containing a $20 bill each. Set off firecrackers. They are lit in front of the houses so the evil spirits are scared away by the loud noise. Wear new clothes, and wear red for joy and happiness (except if you’re a rooster - red is your unlucky colour). Watch dragon boat races, or see a dragon or lion dance, to start the year with strength and energy. Dragons and lions are powerful and can scare off the bad evil. You will see dragon dances across town throughout this time as they bless buildings, offices and shops.


Stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve to watch over the arrival of the new year. Open the doors and windows at midnight to send out the old year and welcome the new.


While it’s great to have a clear out beforehand, don’t sweep the house or throw out rubbish on New Year’s Day, or good luck will be swept away.

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What’s on Chinese New Year’s Day Parade

Expect to see colourful floats, marching bands, acrobats, dragon dancers and drummers as the parade wends its way through TST. The parade lasts for around one-and-a-half hours, but come early to bag a viewing point. Celebrations and performances begin from 6pm onwards, although the official parade doesn’t start until 8pm. The route starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza and travels along Canton Road, Haiphony Road, Nathan Road, Salisbury Road and finishes in front of the Sheraton Hotel. 8pm, February 16

Fireworks Magnificent displays on Victoria Harbour. 8pm, February 17

Chinese New Year’s Parade in TST

Flower Markets Hong Kong’s flower markets begin to get busy a couple of weeks before Chinese New Year as people grab blooms to decorate homes or give to family and friends. The biggest market takes place in Victoria Park and runs until New Year’s Day. On Kowloonside, a market will be set up at Fa Hui Park, Mong Kok. February 10-16.

make a wish

Lantern Carnival This is held on the fifteenth day of Chinese New Year and marks the official end of festivities (no more lai see after this day). Expect musical performances, Kung Fu demonstrations, acrobatic displays, dragon parades and lion dances. Head to Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza. March 2, and lanterns will be on display here from Chinese New Year until March 2

Don’t let the rice barrel get empty - it symbolises starvation.

Wishing Trees

Avoid getting your haircut over the new year period. Sharp objects including knives, scissors, needles should also be avoided for the first three days or so of the new year, as you could cut off good fortune.

A well-wishing festival is held every year at Lam Tsuen, New Territories. Write your wish and toss it into the tree, watch as wishing lanterns are released, and check out the New Year’s Day floats which will also be displayed here, along with performances from the parade. February 16 - March 4

The Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree 27

THE big interview

Lunch worth the munch Mum-of-two Catherine Lesselin tells Adele Brunner how she’s putting the yum into school lunches


chools have come a long way since most of us parents were there but school “dinners” have barely moved with the times. Parents of a certain age (particularly if they’re British) might recall lumpy mash potato, soggy greens and stodgy puddings but today’s children are being served equally unappetising meals, with the added disadvantage that most of the food is processed and fried. Mother-of-two Catherine Lesselin, however, is out to change all that. Her company The New Luncher is aiming to create an awareness of good food and provide children with delicious healthy 28

lunches during the school day. Although she started up in Singapore, where she lives, she recently launched its services for schools in Hong Kong. “The school meals that my sons were being served were not what I wanted them to be eating so I decided to get up every morning at 6am to do their lunches myself,” says Lesselin. “I believe in the power of good food and the joy of sharing a good meal. I grew up in the countryside and I still remember the taste and smell of homemade meals I used to get as a child. Nowadays, everyone is talking about children’s illnesses

like diabetes or obesity due to poor quality and processed food. I strongly believe that we can change this by introducing real cooked food everyday for them. Eating well should also be part of their education.” Wondering how to go about that for her children snowballed into ideas for doing it on a larger scale for other kids too. And so, in March 2017, The New Luncher was born to give to both parents and children the best option for their lunch at school. With a little magic, she got to meet Emmanuel Stroobant, a Singapore-based Michelin-starred chef, who volunteered to be

THE big interview

the chef for The New Luncher. He creates all the recipes; they are cooked to order on the day they are needed and are delivered to schools hot, fresh and on time. The food is all nut and shellfish free; it has no MSG, preservatives, artificial colouring or flavouring and there isn’t a fried or processed ingredient in sight. The kitchen doesn’t even have a freezer, only chillers, because suppliers deliver fresh food two days before cooking. “Children are getting the dedication of a Michelin-starred chef for the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee,” says Lesselin.

The New Luncher offers sixty different dishes per month with three gourmet main choices per day – Western, Asian and Vegetarian – and the option of adding a starter, dessert and/or afternoon snack. Everything is homemade. Parents create an account on and can set up a meal plan for the whole month based on their child’s preferences. And we’re not just talking meat and two veg here. Think mouthwatering grilled salmon teryaki, homemade minced lamb kebabs on a bed of couscous, edamame beans for starters and chia seed fresh fruit pudding for dessert.

Lunches cost HK$47 for a small box of the main meal, HK$52 for a larger portion, with each extra (starter, dessert and snack) priced at HK$15. The lunches come in eco friendly packaging and children need only to bring in their own cutlery or have it provided by school. “When we say healthy, it’s not simply steamed vegetables put on a plate. Kids won’t eat that – and nor would a lot of adults. We want to make their lunchtimes perfect and help them to discover the pleasure of eating. All our food tastes amazing and we give the children the chance to try different things. Our goal is to introduce new flavours and ingredients to educate their palate, ” says Lesselin. “My job is to find the best produce. We only work with trusted farms and the best food suppliers, and we are very transparent about where everything comes from. I want to build parents’ trust because we are feeding their children. We consider that a big responsibility.” What’s also so brilliant about The New Luncher is its deliberate flexibility. Children can flit between food category and hop between exactly when and how many days per week they want a New Luncher lunch. Parents can change or cancel meals up to four days in advance of delivery without charge. Thanks to Johan Lorrain, who convinced Lesselin that there was a huge need for healthy school lunches in Hong Kong and is now a company director, The New Luncher is up and running here. The Hong Kong model works exactly the same as in Singapore, with a kitchen in Chai Wan that is run by Chef Mitchell (also trained by Stroobant), using the same recipes. Almost 10 schools have signed up so far including ESF Clearwater Bay, where the response has been very positive. “The vision of The New Luncher is to promote healthy eating habits that children will keep for life and and build a community of parents who believe in what we do, who share our values and who understand the urgent need of providing good food for our children,” she says. “People can feel the passion put into our lunches. Nothing beats fresh, healthy food and we hope that our kids will enjoy their culinary journey with us and get a lifelong appreciation of what really good food is like.” For more information, visit Schools need a minimum of 20 orders to join The New Luncher programme. 29



School news

THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION? The Canadian International School has been getting busy with virtual reality and 3D printing at its Aberdeen-based campus this month. 31


School news

Cruising the runway at the annual SCAD Fashion Showcase

Fashion moment ESF info nights for parents Fashion students from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) hit the runway last month at the fourth annual SCAD Hong Kong Fashion Showcase. The event featured designs from 25 senior students and alumni and was held at the university’s historic Kowloon campus and was watched by special guests Chinese couturiere Guo Pei and various government and industry representatives.

English Schools Foundation (ESF) will be holding a series of information seminars this spring. The impetus is to help parents better understand the different curricula across ESF schools. Kindergarten educators will walk parents through ESF kindergarten and primary level learning, including a look at the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and how it is implemented across ESF schools.

For secondary level, seminars focus on personalised learning and how this can help pave the way for tertiary education, as well as looking at IGCSE, IB Diploma and Applied Learning programmes. Kindergarten seminars will be held on Feb 6, March 13 and May 16; secondary information seminars will be held on March 14 and May 9, ESF Centre, 25/F 1063 King’s Road, Quarry Bay, register at

Carmel School teams up with GreenStart Israel Carmel School Hong Kong hosted GreenStart Academy at their campus in Shau Kei Wan as part of an initiative designed to teach the children tech-based skills and encourage innovation amongst the students. GreenStart Academy is an Israeli-based initiative which operates in the fields of robotics and start-ups. GreenStart students visited Hong Kong with the company’s founder, Yehuda Or, and spent five days at Carmel School running workshops in coding 32

and programming, including mechanical modelling. It is hoped that the relationship between the school and the academy in Israel will continue to flourish. “This is just the beginning, we will continue the programme with Carmel School through a Skype-based mentorship programme,” said Or. “Education is undergoing a huge change… with more project-based learning,” said principal Rachel Friedmann. 33


All in the mind

VSA offers PYP in English and Chinese

Rebecca Simpson finds out how one school has been embracing emotional intellect


ictoria Shanghai Academy (VSA) offers an east-meets-west proposition for parents in Hong Kong. It’s the only school that offers a bi-lingual Primary Years Programme (PYP an educational programme managed by the International Baccalaureate for three to 12 year olds), where both English and Chinese (Putonghua) are given equal emphasis in the classroom. This is a popular and forwardthinking international through school where, although the medium of instruction for high school is English, each student is fluent in Chinese. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a school where students experience the rigours of harsh Chinese academic approaches you 34

As children get older, life does get more stressful

read about on forums. VSA is a school where mindfulness leads the day and students are supported by a faculty passionate about coaching psychology, the IB philosophy, and Chinese culture.

I recently sat down with Dr. Judith Guy, head of academy & secondary principal, and Ross Dawson, primary principal to hear about the latest developments at VSA. VSA has had an active wellness program for some time, with Dawson establishing initiatives back in 2016 to support students’ mental health and wellbeing. In 2018 this remains focus for VSA. “It’s one of our big foci of the strategic plan, inspiring and supporting every student to be happy, healthy and accomplished,” says Dawon. “‘Happy, healthy and accomplished’ has really resonated with parents and students.” Dr. Guy clarifies that while the programme aims to help arm students with the tools to deal with the stresses of life, “it doesn’t mean

schools networks quite markedly. If we get this bit right – identifying kids that need support, getting them the right support and giving them strategies - then we can support them through to the end of their formal academic schooling,” explains Guy. Dawson adds, “It’s also about building that grit and resilience, a lot of the time people have thought saving the children from these situations will help them. But we’re actually guiding them through and giving them the tools to navigate these things themselves as well.” The teaching body at VSA are committed to teaching their students that school is a

Dr Judith Guy heads up the academy

being happy all the time, nobody’s going to be happy all the time. It’s about not reaching that level of stress. And having strategies to deal with stress,” she says. All VSA students now follow mindfulness lessons once a week where they learn about the brain and how the brain works. “All the children can tell you about the parts of the brain and how they work,” says Dawson. “And we do mindful breathing three times a day - we’ve been doing that all year. We’ve had really great feedback from the students, it’s been wonderful.” One young student recently used this breathing strategy at a ballet recital to calm her nerves. “We’ve had parent workshops too, so our parents have experienced this. Some have even shared with me that they’ve used it at work,” Dawson says. Through this programme, VSA families are tackling

the stresses of everyday life, together, by identifying their emotions and dealing with them using strategies like breathing. It’s been a great success for students, parents, and VSA teachers alike. “The parents and kids are talking about it. They’re talking about the importance of looking after yourself physically and mentally, which is good.” This is the discourse VSA leadership has promoted and the school is in a constant state of growth in this area, with mentoring systems in place for coaching both students and teachers, all of which creates a positive and open culture. “Students are more able to step forward and say I need help,” explains Dawson. “As the children get older, life does become more stressful because there are more challenges academically and socially. And I think we’ve really built up our support

Language learning through a hobby is a powerful support for non-native speakers

safe place to make a mistake. The school’s actively promoting a culture that tells students, if they do make a mistake, they’re to confront it and deal with it. It’s an understatement to say this is an interesting time to be a student of Chinese culture and Chinese language. We’ve all got a front-row seat on China’s rising position as a world power. This historical moment is being acknowledged by VSA who have ensured the school’s Chinese programme is a strategic foci.

The school embraces technology and independent thought 35

schools Along with reviewing VSA’s Chinese language programme to ensure all students are as supported as much as possible, the school is also working to create a discourse about China’s position in the world. “(We are) raising the students’ critical awareness of Chinese heritage and also China in the world today,” says Guy. “This includes Chinese international relations and China’s economic development and growth.”

Students are supported by a faculty passionate about coaching psychology, the IB philosophy and Chinese culture

Enjoying a song and a dance

This is being executed in a variety of ways, including a China Lecture series for both students and parents with keynote speakers such as Dr. Yvonne Chu who specializes in Politics and International Relations at HKU. Dr. Chu’s been exploring the question, Will China Become a Super Power? with the students at VSA. Students are also experiencing China first-hand, with every VSA student in Year 7 joining a week-long trip to the mainland. Students can choose from a range of experiences that include a city trip to Shanghai through to outdoor adventures. The school has put a lot of effort into these

Getting to grips with a school project


experiences, creating a range of options to suit different needs. The VSA Chinese debate team also have the chance to experience travelling up north. “Our Chinese debate team has been doing brilliantly,” says Guy. On a practical level, VSA supports singlelanguage families through access to multiple literacy coaches and a robust after-school activities club. These activities offer students the chance to socialise and learn a passion – such as Wushu, an instrument, or dance - in Putonghua or English. This socialisation and language-learning through a hobby is a powerful support for those non-native speakers. The community is another pillar of the school’s strategic plan. The school has been

Sponsored Column

Inspirational learning spaces at schools By Anne Murphy, Director, ITS Education Asia (School Advisory Services) International schools in Hong Kong are setting new standards for their architectural designs, focusing on the best learning environments for students. Some schools now have spaces that promote cooperation and inspire students to become more engaged in particular subjects. For example, Harbour School have a Marine Wet Lab complete with a touch tank for younger students to interact with marine animals. This allows students to create or participate in scientific experiments related to the ocean. “By taking the learning experience out of the classroom, we encourage students to think differently, take risks, persevere through a problem and work with others in ways that create lasting memories and love for learning”, says, Jadis Blurton, Director at The Harbour School. At Yew Chung International School, the recent campus renovation incorporates flexible and collaborative learning. The open-air podium space offers non-classroom environment and an openness to inspire. These areas lend support to multiple types of learning: observational, information-based, projectbased, spontaneous, peer and individual. With a range of seating and gathering options,

students have the ability to select the most optimum and beneficial way for themselves. Karrie Dietz, Head of Stamford American School, says, “Inspiring students to be innovative, collaborate and develop a love for learning is important. We believe the learning environment plays an important role towards this inspiration and therefore we have been purposeful in the design of our new learning spaces. We also believe it is important to provide easy access to innovative resources to promote exploration, therefore technology tools are available in our well-resourced STEMInn lab and also in classrooms.” The Chinese Cultural Centre (CCC) at Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS) includes a Chinese library, a large multi-functional open area for performances and four classrooms named after Chinese dynasties. The space features Chinese lattice windows and bright red pillars, but also cutting-edge technology such as interactive smart projectors. Considered a “smart centre”, the CCC features moveable walls, allowing the space to be opened up for collaborative teaching and learning or larger scale events. An adaptable environment to suit different

learning scenarios is at the heart of the new Shrewsbury International School interior space. Principal, Ben Keeling, explained: “Careful consideration of communal spaces will encourage discussion and provide staff with the opportunity to build interconnected learning communities.” Classrooms will be equipped with the latest technology to further enhance collaborative opportunities. From observing the majority of international schools, students are learning in studentcentered environments—where learning is individualised and personalised to suit the needs of a child. When students are engaged in their activity and they feel comfortable in their space, that is when deeper learning happens. ITS Education Asia ITS Education Asia provides an education consulting service that works with families and employers to find the right schools for individual children in Hong Kong, from nursery to secondary schools. ITS also offers research, policy and advisory services for corporations. For more details, contact, 3188 3940 or

The Chinese Debating Team heads to Beijing

using the United Nations Global Goals to inspire students right through primary and secondary. Dawson says, “Our kids are really getting know those global goals and focus their learning around them, they’re important issues for the world.” These international issues are being debated and explored right through the school. “They need to be aware of these issues,” Guy adds. “Year 4 were talking to me this morning about the Paris Accord, and

whether we need legislation for micro-beads.” These complex international issue aren’t merely discussed as theory, the concepts of service and action are front and centre at VSA. Students have identified issues within the community and worked to create action plans to help create a positive impact. This action ensures VSA students are growing into empathetic, international citizens. Dawson notes that the school has a responsibility to ensure their students

understand the world at large and the impact they can have, adding that VSA students, because of their social situation, are going to be people who may have influence later on in the world. “It’s important that they develop the right values of empathy and being of service to other people. To think out of their own bubbles. Action has been a big part of what we’re doing this year.” 37

life & style

So near, so spa You don’t have to travel far for a mid-winter pick-me-up. Kate Farr and Rachel Read bliss out with some of Hong Kong’s most relaxing treatments

Get with the beat The Grand Hyatt’s serene, Scandi-chic Plateau Spa has partnered with high-end French speaker brand Devialet to create a oneof-a-kind treatment that combines massage with a unique soundtrack, recorded all around Hong Kong. Arriving at the spa, my treatment began with a warming cup of ginger tea and a quick questionnaire to complete. The friendly therapist asked me about any specific areas of concern, and helped me to select a relaxing aromatherapy oil blend for my massage. During our chat, I became aware of a pair of glossy white speakers, softly omitting low background sounds that are unmistakably Hong Kong – the buzz of traffic, the “tick” of a pedestrian crossing and the sound of a metal trolley rattling along the pavement. As I was led to the heated bed, the city noise gradually subsided into seagull calls and the whisper of a breeze over lapping waves, which was definitely more relaxing! The soundtrack continued to seamlessly evolve as the treatment progressed –­ into the light patter 38

of rain on leaves, the gentle chime of monastery gongs, the soft melody of an erhu playing over birdsong… even a gale-force wind. With a perfect medium-pressure massage carefully choreographed to the recording, I soon drifted into a deeply meditative state. After what seemed like minutes, I was gently brought back to reality by the delicate clinking of china cups on saucers, as my therapist poured me another steaming brew, and left me to slowly come round, feeling lighter and completely relaxed. As someone whose mind tends to wander during a massage, I found that focusing on the soundtrack really helped me to stay in the

moment and fully appreciate the experience. I also loved the way in which Hong Kong’s familiar sounds are isolated and presented – not just as daily background noise, but as the real star of the show. (Kate) Devialet Voyage des Sens experience is available until the end of March 2018. Price: $1,300 (plus 10% service charge) Duration: 60 minutes Plateau Spa, 11/F Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, 2584 7688

life & style Oil toil A pretty, unashamedly chintzy space, Spa BPZ was founded in 1975 by Nigar Qureshi, who has remained ahead of the curve in innovative therapies ever since. Over a cup of herbal tea, Qureshi explained that the ancient Ayurvedic Shirodhara treatment focuses a steady stream of oil onto the “third eye” area, just above the eyebrows in the centre of the forehead, and that, in combination with the OxyEssential – when pure essential oils are diffused and inhaled with oxygen – I should experience a deep sense of relaxation. Leading me to the treatment room, my therapist instructed me to lie back on the massage bed, and helped position my head on a padded cushion suspended at a slight

recline over a small sink. Above my head was what appeared to be a brass lamp, narrowing to a small opening at its base, containing oil. After positioning the OxyEssential nozzle near my face, I was instructed to breathe deeply and enjoy a gentle head, neck and shoulder massage. After around ten minutes, the oil was released, slowly dripping onto my forehead before running over my hair into the sink below. The sensation felt like a gentle massage in itself and, coupled with my therapist’s continued focus on my neck and shoulders, soon left me in a light doze. As the treatment came to an end, the remaining oil was combed through my hair to evenly distribute it – I chose to leave this on until later in the evening for deep conditioning

Beatle mania Lush Spa – the creation of the renowned British eco beauty brand – offers a delightful change of scenery from anonymously-sleek spa spaces; filled with rustic wood furniture and vintage knick-knacks, it feels more like a charming English country cottage. After a thorough consultation where my therapist explained what lay ahead, I was led into my spacious treatment room to change into a pair of cosy, brushed cotton pyjamas (which had even been warmed by a hot water bottle in advance). You keep these on throughout the Hard Days Night treatment, which features a blend of full-body massage and passive stretching, all set to a dreamy mix of reworked Beatles tunes. If you have no idea what passive stretching is – don’t worry, nor did I. It’s

benefits, but you can also shower off there if you prefer not to rock the wet look in public! That night, I slept better than I have done in a long time, and woke early the next morning feeling refreshed – even skipping my morning coffee, proving that this ancientmeets-modern combination was just the re-set I needed. (Kate) Shirodhara and OxyEssential Price: Shirodhara $890; OxyEssential $480 Duration: Shirodhara 60 minutes; OxyEssential 20 minutes Spa Beaute Par Zai, 12/F Sea Bird House, 22-28 Wyndham Street, Central, 2524 1272

essentially yoga with someone doing all the hard work for you; my therapist managed to uncover muscles I didn’t even know existed by gently pulling, stretching and twisting my limbs. At one point, a silk ribbon was wrapped around my arms and legs pulley-style, helping to stretch those muscles even further – an unexpectedly serene experience that felt like floating weightlessly into the sky. This was interspersed with a mediumpressure massage that smoothly kneaded away all my aches and pains, with every stroke and stretch expertly choreographed to match the totally groovy Beatles soundtrack. Created by Lush especially for the treatment, a seamless mix of folksy versions of Ticket to Ride, Strawberry Fields Forever and Here Comes the Sun drifted by, helping to lull my body further into a state of total relaxation. 39

life & style After 75 minutes of bliss, the sound of a cockerel crowing signalled my return to reality, although the thoroughly British touch of a cup of tea and plate of Jammie Dodger biscuits waiting outside my room helped prolong the loveliness just that little bit longer. On leaving, I honestly felt looser and more limber than I had in years – this really is the perfect treatment to fine-tune your body from top-to-toe, with a dose of quirky Lush magic sprinkled over the entire experience. (Rachel) Hard Days Night Treatment Price: $1,550 Duration: 75 minutes, plus 15-minute consultation Lush Spa, Soho Square, 21 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 3915 0638

Tibetan fine-tuning If you’re looking for a treatment that nourishes your mind every bit as much as your body, a Vital Energy Crystal Healing session at the Four Seasons’ Spa might be just what you need for a spiritual awakening. Arriving in my light-filled, minimalist-chic treatment suite, I noticed a range of crystals placed around the room. Whilst giving me a relaxing foot bath, my therapist Shyju explained that these would help activate my energy flow, and would later be placed on my body during the treatment to enhance this further. This is just one aspect of a triple whammy of holistic elements – crystals, sound therapy and hands-on healing – designed to deliver total physical and mental relaxation. After lying on my heated bed, the next element came into play, with Shyju striking a series of Tibetan singing bowls around my head.


This ancient practice is believed to have profound healing properties; think of these as tuning forks for the soul, with deep gong-like vibrations that help clear your energy flow and settle your mind. Next was an incredible full-body oil massage, focusing on my nerves, muscles, lymphatic system and pressure points. Absolutely no part of my body was left neglected (even my ears got their own mini massage), with Shyju methodically working away at each muscle and joint with just the right level of pressure. As my body loosened and my tensions unfurled, I could practically feel my stresses melting away beneath his hands. The treatment ended with Shyju steadily placing his hands over various parts of my body, for a few minutes in each place. These prolonged moments of silence were almost

like aided meditation; Shyju explained that this was to open my chakras, using his “vital hand energy” to activate my energy flow. He mentioned that my mind was racing and particularly difficult to settle… must have been all those deadlines. It’s hard to explain how much calmer and more settled I felt after my treatment, with a deep sense of relaxation that encompassed both my body and mind – exactly the kind of total recharge I had needed for the new year ahead. (Rachel) Vital Energy Crystal Healing Price: $2,700 on Monday-Thursday, $3,180 on Friday-Sunday (plus 10% service charge) Duration: 120 minutes Spa, 6/F, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, 3196 8888

life & style What’s new? MiraSpa Romantic or platonic, it’s time to gather up your spa-rtner for a day of pampering à deux. MiraSpa’s Couples Package includes a bespoke 60-minute massage and 30-minute facial for both of you, 30 minutes’ use of the private steam shower and sunken whirlpool bath, a delicious three-course lunch with two glasses of wine at WHISK restaurant – and even a special mini spa gift to take home too. Available weekdays until the end of February 2018, $3,680 per couple on weekdays (except Public Holidays), $3,980 per couple on Valentine’s Day (plus 10% service charge), MiraSpa, B3, The Mira Hong Kong, 118 – 130 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2315 5500,

Glow Spa Packing a powerful punch of anti-ageing ingredients, Glow’s new 90-minute Timeless Prodigy facial delivers remarkable results. After a welcome ritual incorporating Thai and Shiatsu massage, a lymphatic facial massage and a purifying champagne jelly elixir, your face is treated to a potent concentrate of damask rose stem cells and natural growth factors, followed by a 3D collagen mesh mask, and the application of a rich white truffle extract cream – the perfect antidote to dry winter weather. $1,990, Glow Spa, 9/F Parker House, 72 Queen’s Road Central, 2525 5198

The Oriental Spa Did someone say spa day? The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong’s Oriental Spa has just launched a fantastic new Sense

of Balance treatment, which combines a powerful trio of TCM-inspired elements – a 30-minute ginseng body scrub, 60-minute Chinese meridian acupressure-point massage, and 30-minute cupping session (the traditional Asian therapy where circular glass jars are suctioned to various parts of your body) – all designed to enhance and invigorate your body’s qi energy flow. Remember to arrive an hour early to maximise your pampering time at the spa’s luxurious heat and water facilities too. $2,300 Monday-Thursday, $2,600 FridaySunday and Public Holidays (plus 10% service charge), The Oriental Spa, Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 15 Queen’s Road Central, 2132 0011, the-landmark/luxury-hotel

Flawless Can’t decide whether to indulge in a facial or a body treatment? Get the best of both worlds with Flawless’ February packages, which showcase a range of Medik8 and Aromatherapy Associates’ best hydrating, revitalising and rejuvenating products. The

Day Cleanse includes a 45-minute Superfacial and 45-minute Rose Body Hydrator (comprising a body scrub, wrap and Ayurveda scalp massage), whilst the Purify & Revitalise package features a 60-minute Purify Facial and 30-minute Body Scrub. Expat Parent readers can also bag an extra 30% off any face or body treatment between Monday-Wednesday; simply bring a friend who’s never visited Flawless before and show staff this article for both of you to receive the discount. Available 1-28 February 2018, the Day Cleanse costs $1,320, Purify & Revitalise $1,680, Flawless, 4/F, Sea Bird House, 22-28 Wyndham Street, Central, 2869 5868,

Expat Parent reader exclusive If your New Year’s resolutions include keeping a tighter hold on the purse strings, look no further than Sparadise for a fantastic discount deal, exclusive to Expat Parent readers. Just $1,800 buys you a 60-minute facial, 30-minute eye treatment, 45-minute body scrub, 60-minute body massage, and Shellac spa manicure and pedicure. Split the deal with a friend or better yet, keep it to yourself. We promise we won’t tell. Available until 5 March 2018. To redeem, quote ‘Expat Parent’ at time of booking, $1,800 for six treatments, Sparadise, 3/F, 60 Wellington Street, Central, 2997 2208, 41


Rib of beef at Hugo’s



Roasts with the most Warm up on a chilly weekend with all the trimmings. By Kate Farr and Rachel Read


hether you’re a homesick Brit craving comfort food or simply a committed carnivore in search of perfectly-done beef, there’s nothing quite like tucking into a hearty traditional roast dinner – Yorkshire pudding and all! We’ve rounded up ten of Hong Kong’s best Sunday (and a few other day) roasts to fuel you up for the week ahead.

Sunday best For a Sunday roast that’s truly decadent, head to Tsim Sha Tsui’s Hyatt Regency for Hugo’s sumptuous Sunday brunch – where you’ll have to save room for their signature roasted US rib of beef in the face of plenty of other showstopping culinary delights, including an incredible seafood-on-ice selection and an exquisite dessert buffet. The beef itself is served straight from the carving wagon, and comes with Yorkshire pudding, a baked potato, glazed green beans, carrots and lashings of gravy. If the spectacular Sunday brunch sounds a little too much food for your stomach to handle, never fear – the roast beef is also available as an a la carte option for both lunch and dinner throughout the rest of the week, alongside other equally wow-worthy roast options like roast French chicken breast and roast Welsh lamb rack. Brunch every Sunday, 11.30am-3pm; a la carte lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday 12-2.30pm and daily 6.30-11pm Price: $738 per person, $512 per child ($218 extra per person for free-flow red and white wines, $398 extra for free-flow champagne); $545 for roast beef, $488 for roast chicken and $545 for roast lamb a la carte Hugo’s, Lobby Level, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3721 7733

Tuck in at Bread Street Kitchen

Our daily bread We certainly wouldn’t expect Gordon Ramsay to do roast dinner by halves – and sure enough, the crowd-pleasing British spread at his LKF eatery Bread Street Kitchen should be enough to keep you going for the whole weekend and beyond! Alongside unlimited Yorkshire puddings and roasted seasonal vegetables, you can choose between either succulent roast beef or an alternating option of roast lamb or honey-roasted ham as your meat of the day. Factor in some extremely tempting free-flow offers, and this spacious

venue conveniently located in the heart of Central is a winner for the entire family. Every Saturday and Sunday, 12-3pm Price: $288 per person; $188 extra per person for two-hours of free-flow sparkling wine, Bloody Marys, Peroni and cocktail of the day Bread Street Kitchen, Mezzanine Level, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, 2230 1800, 43

Dining Out of this world If you’re a Brit in Hong Kong and haven’t heard of The Globe, where have you been hiding? This relaxed pub in Central is a tried-and-trusted favourite for unpretentious yet delicious British cuisine, and their two or three-course Sunday carvery lunch is no exception. Drop by any Sunday to tuck into their signature roast Ashdale rib eye beef, served with all-too-addictive Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, veggies, cauliflower cheese and gravy; they sometimes also have the option of a scrumptious Mid-White roast pork or Herdwick roast lamb, both served with all the trimmings too… and what better way to finish off your meal than with a homemade apple crumble and custard? We advise you head there early though – their roast often sells out by 1.30pm. Every Sunday, 12pm until it runs out! Price: $290 per person for two-courses; $310 per person for three-courses The Globe, Garley Building, 45-53 Graham Street, Central, 2543 1941,

Casual dining at The Globe

Friendly feasting

Classic cuts

If you’ve been meaning to schedule a catchup with friends, now’s your chance, as Frites’ fantastic weekend roast deal means that four people dine for the price of three! There’s no skimping on quality here either – we’re talking USDA 1855 Black Angus Beef (famed for its excellent marbling and so perfect for roasting) and Yorkshire pudding, plus two sides (choose traditional roasties and green beans, or opt for a lighter tomato and goat’s cheese salad with frites or mash). With a kids’ play area available every weekend, and special kids’ movie screenings taking place throughout January and February, you’re guaranteed some peace to explore that extensive craft beer menu.

Jimmy’s Kitchen has been feeding hungry Hong Kongers since 1928, so you’d expect them to know a little bit about beef! This colonial classic offers a three- or four-course Sunday roast, which includes either goat’s cheese salad or crostini to start, potato and leek or spiced Bloody Mary soup, the main event, and a choice of cheesecake or a traditional British Pimm’s trifle – if you can find space for dessert, that is. The meat itself is a bone-in USDA prime beef rib, served with roast potatoes, gravy and vegetables, and comes plated in your choice of 8oz British, 10oz Hong Kong or 12oz New Yorkstyle cuts, meaning there’s something here to satisfy even the biggest of appetites.

Every Saturday and Sunday, from 11.45am Price: $250 per person or $750 for four

Every Sunday, 12-3pm and 6-10.30pm Price: $378 per person for three courses; $398 per person for four courses

1/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central, 2217 6671 Shop 6, 1/F Causeway Centre, 28 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, 2877 2422 Shop 1, G/F, Park Haven, 38 Haven Street, Causeway Bay, 2142 5233 G/F, Oxford House, Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road, Quarry Bay, 2250 5188 *(Quarry Bay location will be closed for renovation until mid-February 2018) 44

lamb to choose from. As well as the musthave Yorkshire pud, you can also expect a selection of vegetables, crispy roast potatoes and homemade gravy – basically all the triedand-tested favourites you’ve been craving on one plate. Enjoy a post-lunch board game on one of the comfy leather sofas, or head out to the Beer Garden to enjoy the cooler weather. Every Sunday, from 12pm Price: $168 per person The Picture House, G/F, Shop 5, 66 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, 2792 6991

Jimmy’s Kitchen, G/F South China Building, 1-3 Wyndham Street, Central, 2526 5293,

Pretty as a picture Sai Kungers are spoilt for choice these days when it comes to weekend dining options! The Picture House dishes up a traditional spread every Sunday with perfectly cooked beef rib eye, along with either roast chicken or

Whet your appetite at The Picture House

Dining Canny cooking Hong Kong’s only authentic Scottish bar in the heart of Wan Chai, The Canny Man is famous for its classic Celtic specialities, including haggis, neeps and tatties and lamb stovies. What you may not know is that this old-school pub also serves a traditional roast every weekend, with a choice of lamb, beef or pork accompanied by steamed vegetables, mash and roast potatoes, along with lashings of gravy. The reasonably priced set lunch also includes a soft drink… although Scottish whisky aficionados may prefer to peruse the extensive menu of malts. Every Saturday and Sunday, from 12pm Price: $168 per person The Canny Man, B1, Wharney Guang Dong Hotel, 57-73 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, 2861 1935,

London lunching Head west for a taste of London’s East End! Kennedy Town’s Shoreditch has a classic UK gastro-pub atmosphere with excellent weekend roasts to match. Choose from lamb shank with rosemary gravy on a Saturday, rib

eye of beef with horseradish every Sunday, or spring chicken throughout the weekend – all paired with the classic accompaniments you’d expect from a proudly UK-centric eatery. With a large, informal space and a noteworthy beer menu that features exclusively British or local brews, Shoreditch is the ideal spot for Western District families looking for upscale pub grub. Every Saturday and Sunday, from 12pm Price: $198 per person for chicken; $248 for lamb or beef Shoreditch, 18 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town, 2242 3777,

Chin chin cher-ee If you find yourself craving Sunday roast in the middle of the week, The Chinnery has got you sorted. This cosy pub nestled inside The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong has been serving classic British fare for over 50 years – and their top-notch roast lunch menu will definitely have you loosening your belt buckle, whatever day of the week you visit. There’s a different roast meat available every weekday, including roast lamb leg with roast

potatoes and rosemary sauce on Mondays, roast pork rack with mashed potato and honey mustard sauce on Wednesdays, and roast Hereford Angus rib eye with roast potatoes and red wine sauce on Thursdays; the latter is such a favourite among regulars that it can often be ordered off-menu at other times during the week, so check with staff in advance for its availability. With its comfy leather seats and world-famous singlemalt whisky collection, The Chinnery is the perfect place to settle into a roast-induced food coma – just remember that 6-17 year olds are welcome for food and non-alcoholic beverages before 7pm only. Roast lunch menu every Monday-Friday, 11.30am-2.30pm; a la carte dinner MondaySaturday 6.30-10.30pm Price: $378-508 including coffee or tea; $528 for roast beef a la carte The Chinnery, 1/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Central, 2825 4009,

The long and winding Rhoda It’s time to go west in our quest for the perfect roast – all the way to chef Nathan Green’s sophisticated Sai Ying Pun restaurant Rhoda. The menu here is inspired by Green’s grandmother and the hearty family meals she prepared, with a focus on premium meats cooked over wood fire and charcoal, so it’s no surprise to see a sterling Sunday roast amongst their offerings. Their roast Wild Hereford striploin with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, carrots, peas with bacon, red cabbage and gravy galore is available every Sunday as both an individual dish for brunch, or as the main event in a three-course set dinner – so there’s no excuse not to get your fill of roast beef and all the trimmings. Every Sunday, 12-3pm and 6-10pm Price: $248 per person at brunch (plus an extra $238 per person for two-hours of freeflow wines and beer, or $298 per person for two-hours of “premium” free-flow); $350 per person for three-course set dinner Rhoda, G/F, Upton, 345 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Ying Pun, 2177 5050

Perfect Yorkies at Shoreditch

Note: All prices are subject to 10% service charge, except The Globe and Rhoda 45



Travel news

INTO THE BLUE The Jumeirah Vittaveli in the Maldives recently won best Luxury Family Beach Resort at the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2017. The resort boasts four restaurants, an over water spa, a yoga and meditation pavilion, beach and water villas with private pools, Kids Club with separate pool, kayaking, kite surfing, diving, deep sea fishing and snorkelling, 47


Travel news

Enjoy discounts all over Dubai with My Emirates Pass

Dubai discounts Emirates is extending its My Emirates Pass programme until March 31. Passengers flying to or through Dubai from Hong Kong can take advantage of discounts at over 250 restaurants and hotel dining outlets, as well as at theme parks and other leisure activity venues across the city with a flash of their boarding pass. Emirates flies four time a day from Hong Kong to Dubai. For more information see


Cathay set to expand routes to Cape Town Cathay Pacific is expected to announce a direct route from Hong Kong to Cape Town. Although there was no official confirmation from the airline at time of going to press, it is anticipated that the daily service will launch by the end of this year and would make Cathay the only Chinese airline that flies nonstop to the South African city. Singapore Airlines currently flies to Cape Town four times a week from Hong Kong via

Johannesburg and Cathay operates a daily flight to Johannesburg, with Cape Towndestined passengers transiting onto Kulala Airlines for the Johannesburg to Cape Town leg - a journey time of around 18 hours with two hours in transit. It is anticipated the direct flight will take around 14 hours. Cathay is also set to launch nonstop flights to Washington DC, Brussels, Copenhagen and Dublin later this year.


Emirates adds London route

Emirates now flies into London Stansted

Emirates is now flying daily into London Stansted from Dubai. Stansted is located in the north of the British capital and close to cities Cambridge and Peterborough. Emirates currently serves London-bound

Hong Kong passengers daily through its Dubai hub. The airline also flies into London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Glasgow.

Tailored tours expansion International tour operator Scott Dunn has bought Asia-based travel specialist Country Holidays. Scott Dunn has existing operations in London, Singapore and San Diego. The Hong Kong and Singapore-based Country Holidays travel team will be merged with Scott Dunn employees in Singapore. Scott Dunn was founded in 1986 and offers tailor-made holidays to 100 worldwide destinations. “We look forward to rapidly capitalising on our combined position as the largest luxury tailor-made travel business in Asia and continuing to offer our guests 24/7 service over the phone,” said Scott Dunn chief executive officer Simon Russell. Scott Dunn courts the family market with its Explorers kids clubs at selected resorts across the Mediterranean, the Alps and the Maldives for children aged four months to 11 years. It has recently launched Crew for the 11+ age bracket at properties in Greece and Croatia, offering a flexible 18hour programme of water and land-based activities split over six days for parent-weary teens,

Bahrain beginnings Luxury hotel operator Jumeirah Group is opening its first venue in Bahrain this month. The hotel - Jumeirah Royal Saray - is scheduled to open on February 27 and will be the first property the group has opened in the kingdom. The hotel occupies a beach front position on the Seef coast. Along with over 150 guest rooms and two Royal Suites, it will also offer a state-of-the-art health club & spa and private beach. Jumeirah currently operates 20 hotels in nine destinations, including neighbouring Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the Middle East. This latest acquisition is in line with the group’s expansion plans across the Gulf region. “The Bahraini tourism industry is increasingly growing, with rising levels of leisure travellers visiting the kingdom on an annual basis,” said a company spokesperson. The Jumeirah Group was recently named the Middle East’s Leading Luxury Hotel Brand 2017 at the World Travel Awards. Meanwhile, the group’s Dubai-based

Jumeirah Royal Saray opens this month

hotel, Jumeirah Beach, will be closing from May to October this year to complete a two-year renovation of the entire hotel. The hotel will relaunch in early October in time for its 21st anniversary celebrations in December. The work includes the renovation of over 400 guest rooms, public

spaces, beach and outdoor facilities, restaurants and dining outlets. Guests who already have reservations at the Jumeirah Beach during this period will be offered alternative accommodation in Dubai at one of the beachfront properties within Madinat Jumeirah resort, 49


All aglow Candle-lit Copenhagen had us enchanted, writes Carolynne Dear. Here’s to hygge...


athay has launched a raft of new routes recently, including a direct flight to Copenhagen. An avid fan of Scandi-style and hopeful of some snow without the drama of having to hit the ski slopes, I figured the Danish capital was the perfect post-Christmas destination for some family fun. Along for the ride (and the chocolate) were three of my children, aged from eight to 13 years, as well as a husband with more of an eye on what top Danish brewer Carlsberg might have to offer. And so it was that we landed in a fog of cloud on a freezing January day. To be honest, I knew very little about Denmark before this trip. Vikings, hygge and dark dramas (I was glued to The Killing for a 50

while back in 2010) were about the limit of my Danish know-how. We had booked into the waterside Admiral Hotel, which is handily located between The Nyhavn canal and royal residence Amalienborg Palace. The hotel building is a former grain warehouse, completed for a trading company in the 1780s. It was converted into a hotel in 1974, winning the European Architectural and Natural Heritage Award. For us it was perfectly located; walking distance from the major sites and the city centre and offering practical duplex junior suites which comfortably accommodated us for our three-night stay. Our first port of call was The Nyhavn, the classic Copenhagen picture postcard

waterfront, lined with brightly coloured seventeenth century townhouses which have these days mostly been converted into cosy restaurants and bars. Add a couple of waffle shops into the mix (don’t expect to come to Copenhagen and lose weight) and this was Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook heaven, but with the children’s education never far from my mind, I quickly hustled them onto one of the many riverboat tours. A cruise along the numerous waterways is a great way to soak up most of this compact city in one sitting. The one-and-a-half hour guided trip took us into the harbour and past the infamous Little Mermaid. She’s a tiny but tenacious statue, having been graffitied and even beheaded in the past in the name of

travel Copenhagen with kids The National Museum of Denmark Brush up on, or kick-start, your Danish knowledge with a wander around this fascinating museum. From Vikings to modern day, we walked away with all sorts of facts and figures. Did you know that the Danish flag is the oldest in the world? Or that Denmark used to rule over Norway, Sweden, Iceland and the Faroe Islands? It’s all fascinating stuff, richly depicted with stunning displays and succinct descriptions. If you have littlies in tow, head downstairs to the Children’s Museum, where the same subject areas are covered but with 100% hands-on displays and loads of fun activities. Our anklebiters particularly enjoyed clambering around on the Viking ship and the life-size armoured battle horse. 10am-5pm, Prince’s My Vestergade 10,

Tivoli Gardens Pedal power in the Danish capital

political point scoring. Despite this, she has maintained her spot in Langelinie since 1913. We travelled on past Amalienborg Palace, the current residence of the Danish royal family, The Copenhagen Opera House, Christiansborg Palace and the Royal Library. We squeezed our way up the narrow canals of Christianshavn, the boat barely scraping under the incredibly low bridges - my 6’4” husband regularly had to ‘duck’ as the eightyear-old experimentally implored him not to. A decapitated daddy? What fun! That afternoon, as the children rested back at the hotel with friends, we ambled over the bridge and back into Christianshavn. The cobbled roads were lined with welcoming candle-lit bars and restaurants (darkness descends around 3.30pm at this time of year) as Danes on bikes bumped along with small children bundled into baby-seats and groceries packed into bicycle baskets. Similar to Holland, two-wheeled transportation rules in this city, with wide cycle lanes running along most roads. On the second day we hired our own bikes through the hotel and spent a happy morning checking out the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Castle and lunching at the Torvehallerne open-air food market in Norreport. Copenhagen has long been a seafaring city, so it was only to be expected that we were blown away by the fish and

seafood offerings - the sushi was cut and rolled fresh as we stood and watched, the salmon options were endless, and of course there were plenty of beer and glogg (Danish mulled wine) stalls to wash it all down. Whilst on the subject of food, my top tip would to be to forego the breakfast option at your hotel and instead head out to the numerous bakeries. We merrily stuffed ourselves each morning with outrageously good Danish pastries and coffee (when in Rome), saved only by all the cycling and walking that we were doing. Talking of walking, if you have teens in tow, Copenhagen also boasts Stroget, Europe’s longest and oldest outdoor shopping street, which kept the 13-year-old more than happy one snowy afternoon. From big name fashion stores, to Lego (of course) and heaps of boutiques, it’s shopaholic heaven. Don’t forget to drop in at Royal Copenhagen for gorgeous homewares and stunning displays. We climbed back onto the plane exhausted but replete and slept our way back to Hong Kong.

This 175-year-old amusement park and pleasure gardens is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. It contains one of the world’s oldest wooden roller coasters still in operation, as well as more up-to-date rides including The Demon roller coaster, The Golden Tower turbo drop, The Mine and a virtual reality ride through ancient China. The relatively recently opened Star Flyer offers panoramic views over the city. Other, slightly tamer, entertainments include bumper cars, a Ferris Wheel, Classic Carousel and a wide variety of small child options including mini bumper cars and the Elf Train. 11am-9pm (weekdays), 11am-10pm (weekends), check website for seasonal opening, Vesterbrogade 3,

We travelled to Copenhagen via London Heathrow on Cathay Pacific. Cathay will launch direct flights between Hong Kong and Copenhagen from May 2, operating three flights per week, Torvehallerne open air market 51

travel Christiansborg Palace This former royal residence is now the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Danish Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court of Denmark. Several parts of the building are regularly used by the Danish Royal Family, including the Royal Reception Rooms, the Royal Chapel and the Royal Stables, all of which can be viewed. We were blown away by the stunning chandeliers, the gorgeous ornaments, the majestic tapestries and the sheer splendour of it all - Scandi-lust? Moi? The kids particularly enjoyed the Royal Stables which contain real royal horses and a host of royal carriages. 10am-5pm, Prins Jorgens Gard 1,

Carlsberg Visitor Centre A big hit with both dad and the kids, a visit includes a free horse-and-carriage tour of the Carlsberg District and old workers cottages, which of course is followed up with a beer tasting at the Old Carlsberg Brewery. There are also guided walking tours available. Carlsberg was founded in 1847 by JC Jacobsen, a Danish industrialist and philanthropist. Although he had no formal scientific training, he realised that the production of beer, until then carried out in numerous small breweries, had to be based on scientific method to be industrialised. The resultant Carlsberg brewery is named after his son, Carl Jacobsen, and remains on the same

The Nyhavn - it was so cold even the boats were wrapped up

site in Valby on the outskirts of the city today. A fun morning for all, particularly for those who don’t mind a drop or two of the amber nectar. 10am-5pm, Gamle Carlsberg Vej 11,


The magnificent Christiansborg Palace


Not strictly in Copenhagen, the world’s first and original Legoland is situated in Billund adjacent to the Lego factory. It was opened in 1968 and is Denmark’s biggest tourist attraction outside of the capital. The park was built by Lego founder Ole Kirk Christiansen’s son, Godtfred, who took over the family business in 1957 and constructed the 14-acre park to promote his toy business. It now sprawls over 45-acres with 50 rides spread across Duplo Land, Imagination Zone, LEGOREDO Town, Adventure Land, Lego City, Knight’s Kingdom, Mini Land, Pirate Land and Polar Land. The park operates from March to October and was unfortunately closed during our visit. If you’re travelling

from Copenhagen by public transport, it takes around three hours and it is recommended to stay overnight in Billund. Nordmarksvej 9, Billund,

The Round Tower Situated in the heart of Copenhagen, The Round Tower - or ‘Rundetaarn’ - was interestingly first built here in the 1600s as it was the geographical heart of Denmark. Indeed, until the 1700s when both Norway and Sweden fell under Danish sovereignty, downtown Copenhagen was the centre of Denmark - it now lies on the country’s far eastern edge. The Rundetaarn is also the oldest functioning observatory in Europe and is still used by amateur astrologers. To reach the viewing platform at the top, follow the wide, cobbled, spiral walkway 270m to the top. 10am-6pm, Kobmagergade 52A, 53




To advertise, email or call 2776 2772.


To advertise, email or call 2776 2772. 55

flailing spouse

When I’m 45...

Another year older but not quite losing her hair, our frazzled mum faces up to middle age


he Blonde Child wanted to talk about her birthday the other day - the birthday that occurs in December. No, I told her resolutely, I’m not even entering into a discussion about that until at least October. And then I realised by then I will have had another birthday myself and will be the ripe old age of 45. Yes, 2018 is the year I officially turn middle age - assuming of course that I last until 90, which I do hope will be the case, but I have my doubts. For me, I didn’t start feeling ‘40-ish’ until well into my 43rd or 44th year. I don’t think you really feel your decade until mid-way through it. The day I turned 40 I obviously made a big fuss about getting old, but really I spent a fabulous night at the Island Shangri-La and had a great big party the following weekend when I was, let’s face it, only a few days out of my 30s. I feel it has taken until now for the full day of middle age reckoning to arrive. And this is how things have changed… 1. I much prefer lunches to dinners. I am exhausted by 9pm and really can’t be doing with hanging around Soho when I could be tucked up on the couch with a boiled egg and Netflix. Neither my digestion nor my middle aged nocturnal sleeping patterns can cope with late night dinners and alcohol. Lunch, on the other hand, is immensely more do-able. Even - perhaps especially - when it’s French champagne-fuelled. 2. If I do end up with an evening dinner invitation, I have to download the menu beforehand to make my meal selection. That or drag out an industrial sized magnifying glass to study it in the inevitably dimly lit restaurant. Which is another reason I prefer heading over to our local Castelo than schlepping into town - it’s light and bright and I’ve pretty much memorised the food options over the years. 3. Comfort is the name of the game. I’ve never been great in a pair of heels, but these days I’m even less inclined to try - give me a pair of Old Skool Vans over Christian Laboutins any day. 56

5. I no longer ‘do’ my birthday. I have been excited about this one day of the year my whole life, but last year started to harbour doubts about the whole shebang. This year I think I might remove the date from my Facebook page altogether and retire to the couch (see point 1). 6. My leisure wear wardrobe is now bigger than my going out wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to dress up (especially if a lunch is involved, again, refer to point 1), but to be honest I’m only really starting to feel my best these days in a pair of trackie pants and an oversized hoodie. And an elasticated sports bra. 7. No matter how many HIIT sessions I go to, I’m unlikely to develop visible abs. Or biceps. Or any other kind of muscle definition. But I’m happy with that. These days, exercising is all about the post workout coffee and chat.

Our columnist is a long suffering expat wife, and mother to several energetic, third culture children. She lives in Hong Kong.

4. Which leads me onto swimwear. I have now officially given up on the two-piece. I have come close to the former glory of my pre-pregnancy days a couple of times, but to be honest it involved a huge amount of non-eating and general effort - and then last summer the Teen Child and friends accompanied us on a couple of junks and I threw in the towel completely. Even Cindy, Kate, Naomi et al would struggle to compete with a boatload of sprightly, taut, dewy-faced 15-year olds who can pack away a huge carb-laden buffet lunch and still remain breezily flat stomached. So it’s supportive one pieces all the way from now on - who am I trying to impress?

8. The addition of make-up only really perfects my skin if it’s being viewed in a dimly lit room, ideally by candlelight. I can no longer boast dewy skinned complexion perfection at any given moment with a slick of concealer and a blob of foundation. And I’m too scared to go under the needle. 9. I am unable to operate most household tech without the help of the Teen or the Tween Child, or even the Blonde or the Boy Child. Seventy billion remotes later and I still can’t figure out how to turn the TV up. 10. We have sold the convertible. And I don’t care. I’m much happier with the familyfriendly 4WD - it’s higher off the ground which means I don’t cripple my back crawling in and out of it. Some might call it giving up, but at 45 I’m older, wiser (and maybe even a little bit wealthier), so I like to call it ‘giving middle age my best shot’. Now would somebody please pass the Bolly? 57


Expat Parent Feb 2018  
Expat Parent Feb 2018