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the really useful magazine

Movember 2018 s t missive ’ n o D xclu our estive fair fe uide! g

We’ve got

gift-buying in the bag!

The scoop on Hong Kong’s best independent retailers



Editor’s letter

Hello from the hot desk



4 Contributors

Meet this month’s team


What’s on

November happenings


Christmas fairs

Expat Parent’s exclusive guide


Things you should know

Rockin’ the mo!

16 News

Baby boutiques and Beckham


Book review

Murder in mind


My Hong Kong

Made-up in Discovery Bay


Modern Family

Family support


Cover story

Gift guide extravaganza




41 Schools

Montessori meanderings on Lantau


Life & style

On top of the world with Annabelle Bond

56 Dining

What’s new on the brunch scene

61 Travel

Wonderful Western Australia


Flailing spouse

Rubbish times

Scan and visit our website


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editor’s message

who’s in charge? Editorial Editor Carolynne Dear

Managing Editor Gemma Shaw

Contributing Editor Nicole Slater

Editorial Assistant Becky Love

Digital Editor Apple Lee

Design Graphic Designer Anna Schulteisz

Graphic Designer Sonia Khatwani

Sales & Marketing Sales Director Hilda Chan

Sales and Marketing Executive Isamonia Chui

Sales and Marketing Executive Corrie Tang

Sales and Marketing Executive Johnny Wong

Accounting Assistant Operations Manager Charles Lau

Publisher Tom Hilditch


hat’s rocking my boat this month? Well, the gradual move towards flexible working hours. Global ‘flex appeal’ campaigns seem to be gaining momentum - and not just to suit us mums. According to research, workers cite general convenience, ability to study more or quite simply being able to live a better life above child-care or general caring responsibilities. Basically, we are fast falling out of love with the nine-to-five grind. I was cheered to hear that the husband of a friend in the finance industry had just been offered a new position with a limitless holiday allowance. That’s right, as many holidays as he likes. Because the company reasons that a responsible employee who wants to get the job done, and done well, is also quite capable of managing their own time. He doesn’t need HR to tell him he can’t watch his son in a nativity play on a Monday afternoon when he’s quite capable of shuffling his diary accordingly and making up for any lost time outside of traditional ‘office hours’. In fact, some believe the opposite may result - employees taking too little holiday. The push to find a more family-friendly timetable has also had the huge benefit of pushing many of us mums into starting our own businesses. Side hustles, main hustles and passion projects are mushrooming all over the place. So I was really pleased this month to be able to highlight some of Hong Kong’s best independent retailers. Turn to page 32 to find out who’s rocking the creative startup world. And don’t forget November is Movember, the month to focus on men’s health. There’s plenty of ways to get involved, turn to page 14 for some ideas. Have a great month! @beyondthehighrise


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

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. 3


Becky Love

Anna Schulteisz

Amelia Sewell

Expat Parent’s editorial assistant ensured our November issue went to press on time and with the best possible images.

Contributed to this month’s Book review, as well as laying out another bumper issue.

Took a look around Discovery Montessori Academy on Lantau.

The best party I ever attended… in 2008 at Balaton Sound music festival in Hungary. Went for one evening, but stayed for three days.

The best party I ever attended… was my 21st. We danced until dawn, there was a semi-naked rugby match and everyone slept in the garden.

When I want to escape Hong Kong’s crowds… I hike up the Morning Trail and back down to Pok Fu Lam reservoir - it’s Hong Kong’s least crowded trail (I shouldn’t be telling you this!). @designgirl852

When I want to escape Hong Kong’s crowds… I go to Hong Kong Cricket Club. Sitting on the pitch on a Sunday afternoon you can almost forget there’s a city behind you.

The best party I ever attended… was New Year’s Eve 1999-2000 when everyone thought the world was going to end. It didn’t, but we partied like it was going to. When I want to escape Hong Kong’s crowds… I jump on a ferry and go home to Discovery Bay. @heyheyitsbeckyj


Want to write for Expat Parent Magazine? Contact

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what’s on Face the fear

Youngsters aged eight to 18 years will be running, cycling, coasteering, abseiling, swimming, canoeing and rock-scrambling their way around Discovery Bay this month. It’s all for charity - the event raises $100,000 annually for Youth Outreach Hong Kong.

Photo courtesy Col Sim, Team Fear

Diary dates

NOV 25 7

what’s on UNTIL NOV 4 Giselle

Revisit one of the greatest romantic ballets of all time with Giselle, a passionate tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness. Presented by Hong Kong Ballet. $140. Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Grand Theatre, Tsim Sha Tsui.


Sai Kung Montessori Information Session Learn more about the Montessori philosophy created over 100 years ago by Dr. Maria Montessori, and its teachings. Free. 6.30pm. To RSVP, email


PathFinders 10th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner To celebrate local charity PathFinders’ 10th Anniversary Book tables of 12. Goldfinger Table $50,000 with premium position and bubbles on ice, Octopussy Table $38,888. 7pm. The American Club, Vista Ballroom, Floors 48-49, Two Exchange Square, Central.

Melbourne Cup Luncheon, Nov 6

through the vast collection of work by Keith Macgregor. A throw-back to Hong Kong in the ‘70s and ‘80s. 11am - 7pm daily, until 9pm on Fridays. Free admission. Usagi, G/F, Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central.

worth of prizes to be won. From 10am. $1,250. Aberdeen Marina Club, 8 Shum Wan Road, Aberdeen.

NOV 9-11

Clockenflap Grab your tickets to Hong Kong’s biggest music and arts festival. The three-day festival will feature big names, including The Vaccines and Peking Duk. Tickets from $820. Central Harbourfront Event Space.

NOV 10

Chinese Academy Family Fun Day Participate in activities for parents and kids, including football, arts and crafts, face painting, cricket, fencing and more. Free admission. 9 - 11am. 77 Caroline Hill Road, Causeway Bay.

NOV 2 - 11

Hong Kong International Literary Festival A 10-day programme of readings, workshops and panel discussions. Prices vary. Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central. Find the full event programme at

NOV 3-11

Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival Asia’s flagship Jewish festival is back, and will feature the best Jewish-themed films from all around the world. Times and prices vary. Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty.

NOV 3-18

The Way We Were - A Solo Exhibition A photographic journey down memory lane 8

NOV 10 NOV 4

The Great Relay The Great Relay is a team trail running event held in a relay style format, where teams collectively complete 3 hours (only 11-17 year old), 5 hours or 10 hours on a 5.5km trail loop. 8am. Team prices start at $1000. Aberdeen Country Park, Aberdeen Reservoir Road, Aberdeen.


Melbourne Cup Luncheon Don’t miss ‘the race that stops a nation’. With free flow drinks from 10am-2pm, canapes, a three-course lunch and over $100,000 dollars

Hong Kong Spartan Race Test your endurance in the World’s biggest obstacle course race. Expect to run, climb, push, pull, throw and crawl through mud and barbed wire. Registration is now open for adults and kids. 7am. Prices vary. Kam Tin Country Club, Shui Mei Tsuen, New Territories.

tell me more NOV 10

Poppy Appeal Poppies can be obtained on the streets of Hong Kong Island, 9am-12.15pm. There will also be a charity booth inside Pacific Place opposite the walkway to Queensway. Proceeds to the Royal British Legion Hong Kong & China Branch.


NOV 10 & 11

Greenfest by Hysan - Rethink our Food! The inaugural GreenFest by Hysan and Rooftop Republic aims to engage and inspire the next generation to take positive action towards a more sustainable future. Aimed at students and kids, with loads of hands-on and interactive workshops. 9am-4.30pm, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay.

NOV 11

Remembrance Sunday Lest we forget. A Remembrance Day Ceremony will be held at 10.45am, Cenotaph, Statue Square, Central.

NOV 15

Hong Kong Academy Community Showcase HKA welcomes parents of children of all ages to hear technology and education expert Dr Ruben Puentedura speak about supporting children to use technology in positive ways. Free for HKA families, $150/person for nonHKA parents, 6.30pm, 33 Wai Man Road, Sai Kung.

NOV 16

Yamuna Body Rolling for Pelvic Floor Prolapse This workshop will focus on developing strength and tone to all the support muscles of the hips and pelvis. 11am - 1pm. $480 before October 2, $550 thereafter. Flex Studio, Shops 308-310, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang.

NOV 16-18

They’re behind you! Snow White, Nov-Dec

It’s panto time! Oh yes it is! For the uninitiated, British pantomimes are slapstick, dodgy innuendo-laden affairs with dad-jokes a-plenty, lavish costumes and a bloke playing the dame (and a girl playing the principal boy). I know, it’s complicated, but uniquely British. So if you’re up for a fun-filled, family afternoon, buy yourself a ticket for the Hong Kong Players’ version of Snow White. Despite the crossdressing and the terrible jokes, it’s suitable for tiny tots to great grannies and everyone in between, just bring yourself, your ticket and a sense of humour. Nov 30-Dec 2 & Dec 6-9.

Oxfam Trailwalker

Trunk show

Hong Kong’s toughest charity race as teams of four battle it out over 100kms of MacLehose Trail in Hong Kong’s New Territories.

An elephant is killed every fifteen minutes. With a remaining population of fewer than 415,000, time is rapidly running out for these magnificent creatures. Hong Kong’s Colin Dawson is cofounder of The Elephant Society and founder of The Elephant Foundation and this month he will be raising awareness as part of Elephant Week. Guest speakers will be touring Hong Kong’s schools to speak with students and the week culminates with a gala dinner on Nov 16. Elephant Week is Nov 12-16. Get involved at

NOV 29 - DEC 1 Father Christmas

Join Father Christmas as he gets ready for his busiest day of the year, Christmas Eve. The play is in English and 55 minutes long. Various times. From $329. The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai.

NOV 30

TEDxTinHauWomen presents Showing Up Now Celebrating the global movement of women who are breaking out of the current status quo to drive meaningful change. Speakers include pioneers from business, technology, art, science and politics. Tickets in advance from, 1pm, Sky100, ICC, 1 Austin Road, West Kowloon. 9


per person. carolconcert2018

Yoga Flash Mob: Operation Santa Claus Join in the flash mob of 108 sun salutations, each one led and counted by The Yoga House. All funds raised go to Operation Santa Claus. 11am-12.30pm, $250 per person, Sai Kung Square, 23 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung.

DEC 6 - 9

Nutcracker - The Play


Carols by Candlelight Five Christmas choirs, Father Christmas and a host of snowmen will star in the Carols by Candlelight event at the Matilda International Hospital next month. The heritage hospital will be transformed into a twinkling Christmas wonderland, with carols singers from German Swiss International


Join the festive fun at Matilda Hospital, Dec 4

School, Hong Kong Academy, Youth New World Children’s & Youth Choir and SWAN Academy. Enjoy a Christmas market and festive refreshments - all proceeds will be donated to the Matilda Children’s Foundation.Free, 6-8pm, Dec 4, 41 Mount Kellett Road, The Peak.


Christmas Carol Concert Appeal Join the Helena May for its seventh annual Christmas Concert Appeal. Enjoy free flow food and wine and raise money for the Society for Community Organization. 6:30-8:30pm $600

Faust International Youth Theatre proudly presents Nutcracker - The Play. This unique version of captures the magic and fantasy of the original story through movement and music with an unexpected twist. Suitable for ages 4 and up. Various times. From $210. McAulay Arts Studio, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. 11

what’s on

ChristmasfairsinNovember Fun and games - and a whole lot of stocking stuffing! NOV 1

AWA Charity Bazaar The American Women's Association (AWA) will be holding its 31st Annual Charity Bazaar with 80 vendors selling a range of items from jewellery to Christmas decor. And don’t forget the silent auction and lucky draw. 11.30am-7.30pm, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan.


The Big Picnic Festival Discovery Bay will be hosting Hong Kong’s largest annual community music and dance festival, come rain or shine. Enjoy live performances, market stalls and food and drink. The event takes place at Tai Pak Beach and across D-Deck and the main plaza. 10am10pm, Tai Pak Beach, Discovery Bay, Lantau.


Sandy Bay Charity Fair The Society for the Relief of Disabled Children will be hosting a charity fair to raise funds to upgrade medical equipment. 10am 5pm. Free admission. 12 Sandy Bay Road, Pokfulam.

NOV 5-11

Mamma and Me Pop-Up Shop Bringing Hong Kong’s mumtrepreneurs under the same roof - children’s clothing, resort wear, stationery, accessories, toys, books and more. 9am-8pm, UG/F & G/F, 33 Wellington Street, Central.

NOV 9-10

St John’s Cathedral Charity Christmas Card & Handicraft Fair Get into the spirit of Christmas and share the love at this charity event. Shop a plethora of local arts and crafts with all proceeds going towards a variety of Hong Kong charities. 10am-5pm, Li Hall, St John’s Cathedral, 4-8 Garden Road, Central.

NOV 11, 25 & DEC 9

Handmade Hong Kong at Discovery Bay With over 120 of Hong Kong’s finest indie-craft talents in one place, holiday shoppers are 12

Don’t miss Hong Kong’s fabulous Christmas markets

sure to find something unique for everyone. Pick up oodles of stocking stuffers and one-of-a-kind gifts. 11am - 6pm. Discovery Bay South Plaza, Discovery Bay.

NOV 12

Prestige Gift & Lifestyle Fair Browse hundreds of stalls selling gifts and lifestyle products - perfect if you’re hunting for last minute Christmas goodies. Free admission. 10am-8pm, Grand Ballroom, Conrad Hotel, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty.

NOV 12-13

The Feel Good Fair The Resurrection Church presents their annual Feel Good Fair. Their growing list of vendors includes handcrafted stationery, eco candles, bags, accessories and more. Nov 12 (6-9pm), Nov 13 (9am-12pm). Resurrection Church, 1/F Pak Sha Wan Centre, Lot 523 DD210, Hiram’s Highway, Pak Sha Wan, Sai Kung.

NOV 13-19

La French Touch Concept Store Pop-up shop that brings together fashion and lifestyle designers to create an exciting edit of local talent. The theme this time is French design and the event will showcase French designers, or designs with a French accent. And don’t forget the launch party on 6-9pm on Tuesday. Mon-Fri, 10.30am-7.30pm; Sat & Sun, 11.30am-6pm, G/F The Loop, 33 Wellington Street, Central.

NOV 16-17

Sip & Shop Christmas Bazaar The Fringe Club is partnering with ShoppingHongKong for a fun Christmas shopping event for customers who are looking for niche clothing, lifestyle products and gift ideas. 11am-8pm, The Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central.

NOV 17

Scandinavian Christmas Bazaar Give your Christmas a Scandi twist with food, decorations, clothing and games, plus live music and drinks by the pool. 10am - 7pm. $50 on the door, 10am-7pm, Danish Room, Mariners' Club, 3/F, 2 Container Port Road, Kwai Chung.

NOV 18

Momentai Pop-Up Head up to Sai Kung for shopping with a water view on the town’s seafront. Momentai is a favourite local restaurant and every third Sunday of each month it welcomes Sai Kung’s local businesses to set up shop. 12-5pm, Kiosk 1, Sai Kung Waterfront, Wai Man Road, Sai Kung.

North Pole

what’s on NOV 20-21

Four Seasons Trunk Show Browse jewellery and other giftware at this city centre location over two days. 11am-5pm, 5th Floor, Board Room 2, Four Seasons Hotel, Two International Finance Centre, Finance Street, Central.

NOV 21

Prestige Pre-Christmas Gift Parade The Prestige Christmas market juggernaut rolls on and into its third shopping event of the season. If you haven’t found it all up to now, try again - from jewellery and gourmet food to homewares, clothing, babywear, toys and more. 10am-8pm, Grand Ballroom, Conrad Hotel, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty.

NOV 23 - 25

Swire Properties White Christmas Street Fair One It’ll be all fun and games once again at Star Street Precinct during the Swire Properties

annual White Christmas Street Fair. 128pm, Nov 23; 1-7pm, Nov 24 & 25. Star Street, Wan Chai. SwirePropertiesWhiteChristmasStreetFair

NOV 24

Highgate House Christmas Fair Enjoy fun seasonal festivities including a variety of children’s crafts, games, food and drinks, puppet shows, face painting and more. 10am - 2.30pm, Highgate House School, The Peak, 100 Peak Road, Central. Register for your free tickets at

NOV 25

CISPA Wild West Fun Fest Enjoy western-themed games and prizes, giant inflatables, arts and crafts, street market, line dancing, live entertainment and international food fair. 11am-4pm, advance ticket sales $130 until 5pm, Nov 23 or $150 on the door, Canadian International School of Hong Kong, 36 Nam Long Shan Road, Aberdeen.

NOV 25

The Repulse Bay Christmas Fair Browse Christmas decorations, children’s items, gifts, paintings, handicrafts, jewellery, home accessories and much more. Plus, live music and kids activities. 11am-6pm. 109 Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay.

NOV 26

Prestige Christmas Showcase Another chance to grab some gifts. 10am8pm. Grand Ballroom, Conrad Hotel, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty.

NOV 29 - DEC 1

Swire Properties White Christmas Street Fair Two All aboard! Come and join the Chrissy fun, this time at Tai Koo Place. 12-6pm, Nov 30; 12-8pm, Dec 1; 1-7pm, Dec 2. Tong Chung Street, Quarry Bay. SwirePropertiesWhiteChristmasStreetFair 13

things to know




Movember began back in 2003 when two Aussie mates, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, were having a joke about bringing back the ‘mo’ (moustache). Inspired by a friend’s mum who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to create a campaign in support of men’s health, and more specifically, prostate cancer.

In 2007 the campaign went global. Today there are official campaigns in 21 countries that have raised more than AUD 730 million to fund over 1,000 men’s health programmes, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

The original rules remain unchanged today - men can grow a ‘mo’ throughout the month of November and get friends to donate cash for their effort.


Since 2012, the Movember Foundation in Hong Kong has raised a total of more $16.8 million to support men’s health issues.


In Hong Kong, last year nearly 800 Mo Bros and Sistas across the country raised more than $1.75 million.

Things you need to know Movember Here’s how to show your support


Movember Foundation is a proud partner of the Hong Kong Cancer Foundation. It also funds the ‘Going Through’ programme, providing prostate cancer sufferers and their families with symptom management information, a nutrition program, health education, peer support, relationship assistance, sex therapy and nursing consultations.

ditch the razor for good caus a e November in 14



There will be a heap of events around the city throughout the month, to find out more, donate or participate, see

During Movember, sign up for 'Move' and commit to walking or running 60km over the month. This figure represents the 60 men that are lost each hour globally to suicide. Or host a 'Mo-ment' - anything from a dinner party to a sports match, running a baking competition of holding a shave down to kick the month off.

Running out of ideas? No matter the occasion, discover your unique celebration | In collaboration with Grand Hyatt Hong Kong


elebrations are more than just venues. That’s why Grand Hyatt Hong Kong – the city’s preferred destination for celebrations big and small, is offering not only transformative event spaces, but also heart-warming menus and service to match. Be it a birthday, bar mitzvah, graduation or going away party before attending uni abroad, the hotel’s Event Specialists may have just the plan you need.

Themed goodies and treats Wow your guests (and your kids’ guests) with a dashing display of rainbow cakes, unicorn cookies, mini donuts, Noah’s Ark cake, colourful macaron tower, complete with homemade yoghurt and chocolate pudding. Better yet, share your own ideas with the hotel’s Executive Pastry Chef Smita Grosse, and create a signature item for your celebration.

belonging, the stylishly furbished Residence with Art Deco fireplaces is perfect to bring out the richness of Chinese culture and traditions. Think cute little Cheongsams and mandarin collars!

Blue sky & fresh air Looking for a getaway from the urban jungle? Designed with sliding glass doors, The Poolhouse can easily be turned into a semi-outdoor greenhouse, and is the perfect venue to celebrate the seasons. Themed cocktails (or mocktails) and menus, as well as matching tabletop decorations, will leave your guests extremely impressed.

Future CEO?

Chinese celebrations

1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, 2588 1234

For those who prefer to induce a sense of 48

Never miss a moment to inspire kids with a vision. Host a party at the newly renovated Chief Executive Suites with a unique panoramic view of Victoria Harbour and the buzzing city, from floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the entire venue. Teach them to dream big! 15


Lion City beats Hong Kong for liveability Singapore remains the preferred place to live for expatriates, despite Hong Kong ranking highest for take-home pay. The Expat Explorer survey, which is conducted annually by HSBC, found that while Hong Kongers take home on average a whopping US$72,000 more than the average expat globally, the Lion City ranked top of the table for liveability. Marianne Rogerson is an expat mum-of-two and has spent several years living in both Hong Kong and Singapore. “I have to say, I agree with this outcome,” she says. “As a parent, Singapore is much more set up for life with kids than Hong Kong.” And crucially, housing is more affordable. Over 22,000 expatriates took part in the survey, from home countries including the UK, mainland China, the US, Australia, Canada, India, France, Singapore and Germany.

Child-friendly directory launch

Home-style tips

Local company Little Monkey has developed Hong Kong’s first directory of child-friendly facilities. From nursing rooms and restaurants to parks and playgrounds, littlemonkey. hk hosts information on over 380 facilities for parents and carers. The directory is continually added to on a weekly basis. “As a parent, I understand how daunting it can be to go out with a newborn baby or a fussy toddler,” says Chhin Lee, founder of Little Monkey. “I want to make it easier

Hong Kong interiors specialist The Home Stylist (THS) is offering Shenzhen homewares tours and table styling workshops in the lead-up to Christmas. It’s a full day packed with home styling advice led by THS’s Shenzhen expert. Table Styling for Seasonal Celebrations Workshop offers top tips for party styling and a floral workshop led by Wanda Lim. Shenzhen Homewares Tour, 9.30am6.30pm, Nov 7 & 21, $2,500; Table Styling for Seasonal Celebrations Workshop, Nov 22 & 30 and Dec 7 & 11, $880.


for parents to enjoy hassle-free outings with their little ones and help Hong Kong become a more child-friendly city.” Parents can search for places and decide where to take their kids based on reviews. The site will shortly be launching a mobile app and a baby products shopping category. All members are free to write a review and Little Monkey will be hosting quarterly offline events for members to meet each other.


Baby Basics fills market gap

Mingle and jingle at our charity Christmas lunch

Sisters Arati Limbu and Anuradha Limbu Chettri have founded a new baby boutique

Brand new parenting boutique Baby Basics has been launched by two former Bumps to Babes employees. Arati Limbu joined Bumps to Babes in 2002 and managed its Central store for fifteen years until the business folded in March 2018. Her sister, Anuradha Limbu Chettri, had spearheaded the brand’s online business. “When Bumps to Babes closed, we both felt a bit lost and sad as we’d given the best of our years to the company,” says Limbu. Not wanting to let their experience go to waste, the idea for Baby Basics was born. Bumps to Babes was a Hong Kong institution, selling a huge range of baby and toddler products under one roof, as well as offering advice to parents. After its closure, former customers approached the sisters to admit they were struggling to find the products they needed in other stores. “Our core idea for Baby Basics is the same as Bumps to Babes - we are here to provide solutions for parents who need a one-stop shop

for their needs,” says Limbu. “But due to our years of experience, we can refine strategies and bring better solutions and better products to market for our customers.” As well as providing an online shopping service, the sisters have opened a bricks and mortar shop to continue to offer help and advice and provide a ‘community’ for parents. The store boasts a breastfeeding facility and they welcome nearby working mums who may want to drop in to ‘pump’ in private. “Our core business model is to be a onestop-shop solutions provider,” says Limbu. “We have maintained relationships with previous overseas suppliers ensuring we can stock trusted and well-loved brand names from the UK and Europe.” Baby Basics is a Hong Kong startup with no affiliation to the owners of Bumps 2 Babes. Baby Basics is located at Unit 01-03, 7th Floor, Lansing House, 41-47 Queen’s Road Central.

Expat Parent’s sister publication, Southside Magazine, will be throwing a festive Christmas lunch next month. Come along and meet the editorial team and enjoy a three-course meal, free-flow wine plus bubbles. This event will be supporting local charities, Adoptive Families of Hong Kong and Box of Hope, with fun games and a raffle - fabulous prizes include dinner at Petrus at Four Seasons, dinner at Lobster Bar and Grill and cafe TOO at Island ShangriLa, plus goodie bags for all guests. There’ll also be the chance to get a bit of Christmas shopping done with a specially curated pop-up shop. $550 per person, or $500 per person if booking a table of six to eight, 11am-3pm, Dec 5, EL Charro, Cyberport, 100 Cyberport Road, Pok Fu Lam.

Fishy business Sustainable Seafood Week returns this month with tours of Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market and a Lamma Fisherfolk’s Village Tour, as well as a Kwun Tong-based market featuring local sustainable seafood. This is World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong’s third annual Sustainable Seafood Week - throughout the week dining outlets across the city will offer ocean friendly menus and two major school caterers will be offering sustainable seafood choices to over half of Hong Kong’s primary schools. The event takes place Nov 10-18. Join Sustainable Seafood Week this month 17


Beckham boosts healthy living initiative David Beckham was in town last month to launch ‘Healthier, Longer, Better Lives’, a week-long ‘health-fest’ initiative in the territory led by pan-Asia life insurers AIA. Beckham spent time at AIA Vitality Park on Central Harbourfront with local children from Baptist Rainbow Primary School, before facing assembled media at an official launch at the Four Seasons Hotel, Central. “Asia is getting wealthier but it is not getting healthier, given the rapid rise of lifestyle-related diseases across our region,” said Stuart Spencer, AIA’s group chief marketing officer. AIA is hoping to play a proactive role in addressing this trend with projects like AIA Vitality Park. According to the company, there has been a surge in non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, heart attacks, stroke and cancer, which has been most noticeable in Asia. The company now wants to encourage those striving to live healthier lives with rewards such as lower premiums. “We want to be proactive in promoting healthier living at an early age,” said Spencer.

,David Beckham gets down with Hong Kong kids

Beckham said he was motivated to act as brand ambassador for the initiative because of his own children. “They take notice of everything - what I eat, how many times I work out, what I’m drinking, how

often I’m on my phone. I want to set the best lifestyle example possible for them,” he said. “And it’s not just how you feel physically,” he continued. “Living well has just as much impact on your mental well-being.”

Christmas displays revealed Hong Kong’s ifc mall has revealed it will be unveiling a Santa-oriented Christmas installation this year. The Santa Academy invites children to take part in an ‘interactive training programme’ to graduate as a santa. Activities include creating your own digital postcard and mastering the classic “ho, ho, ho!” belly laugh. Inevitably participants will also be invited to share their experience on social media. Meanwhile, Landmark will be hosting a family of ‘cocoa monsters’ for a choctastic display. The installation will feature a cocoa forest, tumbling chocolate river and the chocolate factory will burst into life every 30 minutes with singing and dancing from the monster family as they collect the cocoa beans. Launch dates had not been released at time of going to press. Santa Academy at ifc mall opens on Nov 15 and runs until Jan 1, free entry, 10am to 9pm daily, ifc mall, First Floor, 8 Finance Street, Central. ifc mall is opening a Santa Academy this festive season



Thanksgiving treats

Knitting news If you’re a crafter, you’ll be pleased to know that local wool boutique Yarn In The Works is reopening following the closure of its Pound Lane-based store last month. The new store will be located at 20 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sai Ying Pun, Nov 1, and will stock a wide range of yarns from around the world, plus haberdashery items.

Tuck-in for Thanksgiving at Jamie’s Italian

Jamie’s Italian has launched festive menus to celebrate Thanksgiving. The three familystyle menus at the Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui-based restaurant feature 100% American-blooded organic turkey raised gluten-free and hormone-free on American farms.

Fall-inspired dishes include roasted pumpkin panzerotti, turkey plates of sliced roast turkey, glazed carrots, potato gratin, stuffing and gravy and sweet treats pumpkin & pecan crumble and pumpkin & cardamom pie. Yarn In The Works founder Nicola Robb 19

giveaways WIN HERE! Click the WIN tab on our website:

Win a Three-Night Stay at Hakuba Springs Hotel Hakuba Springs Hotel is a boutique winter accommodation just steps away from the largest ski resort of the region. The hotel offers a variety of furnished rooms with private en-suites, catering to single travellers, couples and families alike. After a long day of hitting the slopes, guests can wind down and soak in the natural hot springs back at the lodge. For dinner, head downstairs to Sharaku, a cosy izakaya serving sushi, hot pot and other seasonal fare. We’re partnering with Hakuba Springs Hotel to send you (and your friend) to enjoy three nights at its superior or standard twin room this winter. Breakfast is included with the stay.

20 21

book review

Out this month Pick a Pine Tree, Patricia Toht Patricia Toht From the winner of London’s ‘V&A Best Illustrated Book’ awards 2017 comes a rhyming gift book all about picking a pine tree for Christmas. From selecting the tree to digging out the decorations and turning on the lights, all the familiar rituals are covered. This readaloud book is accompanied by gorgeous artwork.

Usborne Peep Inside Secret Science: The Amazing World a Fairy Tale - The Nutcracker Beyond Your Eyes Dara O’Briain

Anna Milbourne

Irish comedian Dara O’Briain publishes his second curious kids book. As he explains, science is going on non-stop all around us, it’s everywhere. O’Briain has a knack of connecting with kids to ignite a deeper interest in all things science-y, investigating video games, ‘planes, GPS and more.

One magical Christmas night, a little girl’s Nutcracker doll comes to life. Her adventures are brought to life through the pages of this beautifully designed book, with cutaways, flaps to lift and stunning illustrations from Karl James Mountford. A beautiful way to introduce children to the classic Christmas-time fairytale.

Family-friendly Singapore Singapore with Kids by travel blogger Marianne Rogerson has launched on Amazon, with a print-run to follow. The book includes a kids’ bucket list with all the must-do activities; an in-depth look at Sentosa Island; step-by-step child-friendly city walks; family-friendly guides to Singapore Zoo, Universal Studios and Pulau Ubin; child-friendly restaurant and hotel recommendations; the

city’s best parks, museums and indoor playrooms; a food and drink guide covering local specialities and hawker centres; and a fun, Singapore scavenger hunt. Singapore with Kids is available from


Expat Parent ’s designer, Anna Schulteisz, reveals what she’s into this month What I’m reading I’m catching up on the classics I never get around to reading, so right now I’m in the middle of The Beautiful and Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald. For something a little more light-hearted, I’m reading Less by Andrew Sean Greer. It’s brilliantly funny and Greer makes you care about his characters, so it’s hard to put down.

What I’m listening to I have to admit, I’ve already begun listening to a bit of Christmas music to get me in a festive mood. It’s my favourite time of year so Coldplay’s Christmas Lights and Eartha Kitt’s Santa Baby is on a continuous loop.

What I’m plugging into As an ultimate QI fan, I love No Such Thing As A Fish, which follows the same plot as the TV show - the presenters tell us little-known facts about everyday things which is often weird or funny but always interesting. When I want a good laugh I go to David Mitchell’s Soapbox. His observational comedy and angry logic make him one of the funniest British comedians.

Hong Kong launches Children’s author Matt Cooper will be unveiling his latest publication at Bookazine this month. Our Hong Kong is a humorous look at some of the best - and some of the worst - that the city has to offer. With beautiful illustrations by Margaux Destremau, it’s a treat for the whole family. 6-8pm, Nov 7, Bookazine Exchange Square, Shop 305, One Exchange Square, Central. Bhakti Mathur will be launching her two latest children’s books, also at a Bookazine event. Amma Tell Me About Raksha Bandhan explains the origins of the Indian tradition of the Thread of Rakhi and is suitable for three to eight year olds. Amma Take Me To The Dargah of Salim Chisthti is for older children and tells the tale of Mughal emperor Akbar. Enjoy

My October

What’s in my diary

Author Bhakti Mathur

storytime with the author, face painting and tea, 11am-12.30pm, Nov 18, Bookazine Exchange Square, Shop 305, One Exchange Square, Central.

I’m very much looking forward to Clockenflap. I love discovering new artists and feeling the festival vibe. And of course you will probably find me at various Christmas markets all over the city, shopping for gifts and eating gingerbread cookies. 23

book review

Murderous musings Trailing Spouse is a tense thriller set in Singapore. Carolynne Dear catches up with author and former expat, Jo Furniss How did you come up with the story idea? The central concept dropped into my head one day like an Alka Seltzer pill fizzing in a glass of water. I could see an expat wife worrying about what her husband was getting up to on his business trips, only to discover that it’s much worse than she imagined. It occurred to me that a frequent business traveller could quite easily get away with murder. A writer friend who also works for Interpol told me that, indeed, murders carried out in different countries are almost impossible to connect. I also wanted to explore the concept of one spouse being overly dependant on the other and the subsequent power imbalance within a marriage - so my main character, Amanda Bonham, gets pushed to her limit in that respect.

The plot twists and turns. Did you have it all planned out? This was a tricky novel to control because there are two separate narrators - Amanda and another character called Camille Kemble, who has returned to Singapore to resolve a family mystery. Both stories weave around Amanda’s husband, Edward. The plot had to work like a zip with the two sides lining up and interlocking perfectly. I always knew the ending and planned the plotting to about half way, but then started to wing it and it took a lot of drafting to put right. I think the characters and their world became richer with every draft.

You make some sharp observations about expat wives and the use of social media. Did you find chat groups helpful or confonting as an expat? I began my expat life in 2002 and joined Facebook in 2007, so I had five years ‘in the wilderness’ during which time I lost touch with people and I was glad to get them back in my life via social media. In that respect, I’m a vocal defender of Facebook and happy to sign away my soul (or at least my data) in return for my friends. However, as we all know, online discussion forums are a total bear pit. There are several for expats in Singapore, some with thousands of members, and I confess I had a love/hate 24

relationship with them. On the one hand, the ‘hive mind’ is a tremendous resource and these communities offer solidarity and sisterhood. But on the other hand, some people’s behaviour online is shocking. Apart from the judgementtrolling and maid-slagging and humblebragging, there is the tendency to overshare personal information. I used to be half-appalled and half-entertained by these forums. (And yet I never actually left them - way too much good material for a book!) Seriously, though, I tried in The Trailing Spouse to be even-handed and to show the best and the worst of these communities.

life - the camaraderie, the plane-hopping, the joy of seeing an exotic (to me) landscape every day. And I miss the food. But it’s also an adventure to reconnect with the motherland, so I’m enjoying that right now.

Any advice for newbie expats or wannabe writers? My advice is more or less the same for both: it’ll take a while to find your feet, but you’ll get there; you’ll feel like an outsider until you find your clan, so get out (or online) and find your people; and don’t give up! The Trailing Spouse is available from amazon. com and

Some people’s behaviour online is shocking. I was halfappalled and halfentertained by expat chat forums. Author Jo Furniss

How disciplined are you with your writing? I started scribbling for a Masters degree in 2012, when my children were very young. I mainly worked in the evenings and while sitting in the noisy cafe of soft-play centres. As a writer friend recently described it, “you write in the gaps of your days”. It’s not ideal, but you can write a book like that if you want it enough. Now my kids are at school and my working hours are the same as if I had an office job. I don’t really see writing as discipline, it’s just doing my job.

Do you hope to ‘expat’ again? Nine months after a relocation from Singapore to England and I’m determined not to go anywhere else. But that will change… I’m a very antsy person. I miss expat 25


My Hong Kong -thecosmeticsentrepreneur

Renu Malani (centre) with family in Hong Kong

When beauty company Avon came calling for Discovery Bay resident Renu Malani, she grabbed the opportunity with both hands. She tells Carolynne Dear her story I grew up in Happy Valley until I was ten. I went to Kennedy Road Junior School back in the day when it was still on Kennedy Road. My mum used to pick me up each afternoon. The best part of every day was that half hour we had together before meeting my older brother and sister from Island School.

from what I remember as a child. The harbour used to come up just in front of the GPO and City Hall, but all of that area is built up now with reclaimed land. Hong Kong was quieter and full of ‘mom and pop’ style local shops that were so much fun to shop in. Now it’s all glossy, highend malls which don’t interest me.

My parents moved to Hong Kong in the 1950s from Mumbai. They lived here for 50 years until they retired back to Pune in the west of India. I have lived here all my life, apart from a year in Dubai and four years in London in my late 30s. Hong Kong’s skyline has exploded

For the last nine years I’ve lived in Discovery Bay. I needed a fresh start after London. I’d always lived Island-side - Happy Valley, then Jardine’s Lookout, Stubbs Road, Old Peak Road and finally Pok Fu Lam - but I’ve since fallen in love with DB. It’s clean and green with


a sun, sand and sea environment that I love. It’s also provided me with a ready-made client base for my role as Avon’s Hong Kong agent. I’ve made some wonderful friends here who have been a lifeline in the absence of family. Building the business has been a rollercoaster. I began slowly; selling Avon beauty products was a side hustle to my ‘real’ job as a relocation consultant. I loved my main job but in the end I loved the Avon business more. So after four years, I gave up relocation work and went all guns blazing with Avon.

PEOPLE My business is my passion. I have had a lifelong love affair with cosmetics and beauty products. I love how a great hair and make-up day can make you carry yourself with more confidence. I bought a ton of Avon products in London and ended up as a UK agent for them. When I arrived in DB, I moved with a boxful of products and friends wanted to try them, too.

and fully engaged with customers. In return, people have been incredibly loyal and kind.

Skin So Soft and Tangle Teezer hair brushes, so I guess I’m catching up with a client as well.

My father was a self-made businessman who worked hard his whole life. He taught me never to compromise your integrity. He was such a good and decent man and I knew I wanted people to think of me the same way they thought of him.

Hong Kong is an incredible opportunity if you choose to get involved. My advice to newbies would be to say ‘yes!’ to everything. I love how easy it is to make friends - people are generous with their time, resources and contacts here.

It was Discovery Bay’s terrible sandfly and mosquito that took my business to the next level. I was told that Avon’s Skin So Soft Dry Oil Spray product could be a solution and as I was still a UK agent, I ordered some bottles. It altered my entire experience of DB - I was finally bite and DEET free. It’s my favourite Avon product and it’s the product that quite literally changed my life.

I have a core group of extremely smart and hard-working girlfriends. We look out for each other and have each other’s back. So much business is done through Facebook these days and we all watch for opportunities to promote each other. I’m a big believer in raising others up; there’s enough business for all of us.

To begin with my entire stock covered just half of my small dining table. Within four years it had taken over my spare room and a fair bit of my lounge, too. I have worked pretty much every day for the last nine years - marketing, taking orders, advising clients. I pride myself on being contactable, responsive

I find it hard to relax. I work long hours because I’m building something that’s mine. Every person I meet is a potential client, so it’s hard to switch off. Having said that, my big indulgence is a weekly appointment with Glow in Central for a manicure, pedicure, a root colour or a facial. It’s also a lovely place to get chatting with other ladies. Glow also sells my

Home for me is anywhere I have my people. The rest is geography. I don’t have a lot of family left; my late sister’s four children are like my own and I am incredibly grateful for them. The oldest is a teacher in Hong Kong, two live in the UK and one in California. I’m incredibly proud of them all. I’m checking out retirement properties in Penang. My niece got married there last year and I fell in love with the place. Everyone spoke English, things were affordable and there were some great restaurants, shops and hotels. I’m popping back at Christmas to investigate further. I’m nowhere near done with Hong Kong, but it’s good to have a ‘plan B’ in your back pocket. 27

Modern family

Family feelings

Chloe and Nick with their “incredible” boy

New parenting workshop Surviving & Thriving supports families in challenging situations. Expat Parent speaks to two families who have adopted Lizzie and Ben’s story We’d talked about adoption for a while but decided in September 2016 it was definitely something we wanted to pursue. We contacted the Social Welfare Department who were very helpful and told us our first step was to attend a briefing held at their offices. The process in Hong Kong is relatively straightforward - we went through the Social Welfare Department directly rather than use an agency. We attended joint and individual interviews, provided references, had a home visit and background checks and attended 28

some briefing sessions on what adoption entails. And there was a lot of paperwork! Our son was born in Hong Kong and was just over nine months when he came home with us. To be honest, the whole process was very fast. We attended our first briefing session in September and started the process immediately afterwards. We were approved to adopt the following February which meant we were then part of the social workers’ matching sessions. These happen every three weeks and we were matched at the second session.

Five weeks later we were approved and our son came home with us in March 2017. In terms of emotional backup, there is always more that can be done to support adopters, particularly when dealing with difficult circumstances. But having said that Adoptive Families of Hong Kong does a great job providing support and practical advice. There are also lots of relevant Facebook groups and the fact that Hong Kong is so small means it’s much easier to get to know other adopters. We already know quite a few other families here who have adopted or who

modern family families, read books and blogs, did some marriage counselling and shared with family and friends early in the process so they could support us. The process would have been infinitely harder if we had been less prepared. We are very thankful that Hong Kong has a thriving adoption community with adoptive families or all shapes and sizes, as well as experts and counsellors. When we got the phone call to say we had been matched with out son, we rushed to our social worker’s office to find out all about him. It’s really hard to say “yes” to a child based on pages of paperwork - as the system is anonymous you can’t meet the child first, or even see a photo. There were parts of his paperwork that were a bit scary, but we knew in our hearts that he was our son. We met him three days after we were matched and brought him home a few weeks after that. Six months later we went to the Family Court and legally became his parents. Both of our companies gave us adoption leave so we could bond as a family. Welcoming a child into your home is a huge transition for everyone and the best thing we did was to spend three months together as a family, getting to know one another and keeping our world very small. In the process of falling in love with him, everything we worried about seems so small now. We can’t imagine life without our incredible boy. We love watching him grow, play, learn and love and we couldn’t be prouder of him. Lizzie and Ben are enjoying life with their two-year-old adopted son

are in the process of doing so. Luckily for us we have a strong support network both in Hong Kong and on the end of the phone back in the UK, so didn’t really look for additional support outside of these networks. In retrospect we probably should have prepared ourselves better for being matched so quickly, we really thought we would be waiting for months. But everything went so smoothly and we now have a gorgeous two-year-old son. We couldn’t imagine life without him.

Chloe and Nick’s story We were involved in foster care after we first got married and spent a lot of time with children without families, many of whom had special needs. It was clear to us that no matter what special need each child had, their primary need was a family. We were both certain that one day we would grow our family through adoption. We chose to do a local adoption, which is a domestic adoption process for Hong

Kong residents and Hong Kong children. We filled in a Child Preference form which helped us to think about what characteristics of a child, including age, gender, ethnicity, medical history, family background and special needs. The reality of adoption is that most of the children who are waiting for a family have ‘needs’, ranging from minor to serious - these could include medical conditions, exposure to drugs or alcohol in utero, or a family history of mental illness. They could be toddlers, teens or hoping to be matched with their sibling. Even a baby adopted at birth has had a difficult start in life. Making these decisions was difficult and we really valued the support of Adoptive Families of Hong Kong, Special Needs Network and Mother’s Choice, all of whom made us aware of the resources available to support our family after adoption. You can’t rely on your social worker and the pre-adoption training provided to tell you everything, but they do help to get you thinking. We spoke with other adoptive

Workshop details Parenting workshop Surviving & Thriving: Maintaining a healthy, resilient relationship in the midst of parenting challenges is hosted by Adoptive Families of Hong Kong (AFHK) and Special Needs Network Hong Kong (SNNHK). It will address adoptive and foster parenting and parenting of children who have special needs or who have experienced trauma, psychiatric or behavioral issues. It will be led by Dr Erica Liu Wollin, a registered clinical psychologist (HK) and a licensed psychologist (US), with a private practice in Sheung Wan specializing in trauma therapy for adults, adolescents, children, couples and families. $170 for AFHK & SNNHK members; $270 for non-members, 7-9pm, Nov 15, HKSKH Ming Hua College Glenealy, Central. 29

Step into luxury at The Parisian Macao this winter

Ten experiences to excite your senses. | In collaboration with The Parisian Macao


aris holds a special place in the heart of many travellers. Praised as the City of Lights, romance and elegance permeates everywhere. But you don’t have to fly all the way to Paris to feel the beauty of France - simply visit The Parisian Macao - the latest landmark of Sands Resort Macao. Sweep up the family for your next holiday, and indulge in the charm of Paris. Not only that, you can also explore all the faces Macao has to offer such as The Venetian Macao, under one integrated resort destination. To help you prepare for your next unforgettable trip, we’ve shared out our top ten must try experiences at The Parisian Macao.

1. Capture beautiful moments Enter the main lobby of The Parisian Macao, and be greeted by French art and culture Apollo, heroically charging on his four-horse chariot; surreal Napoleon-themed hand paintings, just like what you would see along the corridors of the Louvre Museum…

3. Enjoy French Streetmosphere

The Parisian Macao

Experience the culture of French art by walking around The Parisian Macao - you might get to meet street performers, such as opera singers, caricaturists and mimes!

4. Enjoy the kaleidoscopic light performance

Main Lobby

2. Peruse the Shoppes at Parisian Shoppes at Parisian has over 170 duty free shops, bringing you the latest fashion and products from all around the world. Together with the neighbouring Sands Shoppes, more than 850 duty free outlets bring the world’s top fashion to one place for your shopping convenience.

Visiting the Shoppes at Parisian feels just like going through five of Paris’ most stylish precincts: Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Galerie Vivienne, Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, and more! Stop by Place Vendôme and be captivated by the kaleidoscopic light performance projected onto the ceiling, as they shift magically from dawn to day, and dusk to night.

here p s o m t e Streerformance p

Ka Perfleoirdoscope mance

5. Sample afternoon tea the French way

Ave des Cha mps E’lyse’es

Want to take a break from your shopping spree? Stop by at Brasserie. Their delicacies are sumptuous, especially the season-limited afternoon Afternoon tea

24 30

tea! La Seine salon de thé is another great choice for an authentic Parisian experience.

6. Relish the city views and the Grand Illumination Show from Eiffel Tower A trip to The Parisian Macao is not complete unless you visit the Eiffel Tower. Take in breathtaking views of astounding architecture and the bustling scenery of the Cotai Strip at the observatory deck at level 7 and 37. At dusk, turn your eyes to the spellbinding Grand Illumination Show. The best place to look at and capture the Eiffel Tower, is from Le Jardin, a mere 3 minutes away from the hotel.

7. Family fun! Activities for adults and kids

Le Jardin

The Parisian Macao has a wide range of entertainment for the whole family. Qube Kingdom has an indoor and outdoor play area of over 1,800sqm, including castle-themed climbs, slides and carousels. Want to recharge afterwards? Le SPA’tique can help you relax and rejuvenate. Book with the hotel concierge to enjoy special discounts and offers!

8. Feast on culinary delights from around the world

Qube Kingdom

Lotus Palace Lotus Palace offers quality Cantonese dishes and local delicacies from different Chinese regions. Delight your taste buds inside a wide and open, classy environment.

Le Buffet

Le Buffet Le Buffet provides buffet from morning till night, with chefs cooking up dishes right in front of you. Savour dishes from different places in an elegant and casual environment. La Chine Located in the Eiffel Tower, La Chine offers distinctive French-Chinese cuisine with a chic design. With a 360 degrees view of the Cotai Strip, your dining experience will no doubt be unforgettable.

9. Lay your eyes on sensory stimulating performances

After dinner, head to the Parisian Theatre to watch the popular French musical, “La Parisienne Cabaret Francais”. Experience the French atmosphere through rich lifereal images of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre and Notre-Dame de Paris. The performance team of an international level includes stunts, magicians, world level skating champions, international models, and award-winning dancers and artists. Sit back and watch how they surprise you with tricks in a 65 minute performance.

10. Experience “Winter in Paris” themed celebrations presented by The Parisian Macao During this winter, the Eiffel Tower features the Grand Illumination Christmas Show and the spectacular Christmas 3D projection show at the Place Vendôme. With themed light shows and festive music, The Parisian Macao will surely become the most dazzling spot in the city that never sleeps. On the 7th floor of the Eiffel Tower,

you can also immerse yourself in a unique white Christmas experience filled with seasonal delicacies, live entertainment and skating on real ice. Don’t miss the countdown party on New Year’s Eve at The Parisian Macao to ring in 2019 with your friends and family!


in Par is

The Parisian Macao Package • Accommodation for two in a Deluxe Room • Daily buffet breakfast or lunch • Eiffel Tower experience • A delightful souvenir Stay two nights and enjoy extra benefits (choose 1 out of 3): • One-way Cotai Water Jet tickets for two • Entry to Qube Kingdom Kids’ Play Zone for two • MOP200 Shopping & Dining Dollars For more information, please call (+853 2882 8833)

La Chine 25 31


Your ultimate gift guide Keep it local this Christmas. We’ve scoured Hong Kong for the territory’s most entrepreneurial independent retailers

Lion Rock Press co-founders Simon Fung and Claire Yates



Stationery and cards

French International School Market, Nov 30.


The Lion Rock Press

Emma Bradstreet Illustrations


Founder Claire Yates has been keeping Hong Kong’s print industry en pointe with gorgeously illustrated stationery since 2013. Her designs are cleverly Hong Kong-themed, with annually changing Christmas card and wrap illustrations featuring trams, taxis and Star ferries. Her products are stocked throughout the year by Bookazine and this festive season you can also find her at the AWA Christmas Fair, Nov 1; St John’s Cathedral Charity Christmas Card & Handicraft Fair, Nov 9-10; and Prestige Pre-Christmas Gift Parade, Nov 21.

Born and brought up in Hong Kong, Emma Bradstreet began her small business in 2012 after years of painting and illustrating cards for friends and family. She draws her inspiration from local Hong Kong and all its character with a slightly tongue-in-cheek approach - “I want to make people smile,” she says. All of her work is hand-illustrated using pencil, pen and watercolours. It is stocked across Hong Kong by Bookazine, GOD and Kelly and Walsh, or online.

Sai Kung’s favourite bookseller, Kidnapped was founded by local lady Ursula Huber. originally a Dymocks franchise, the business these days operates as an independent store with a huge range of titles, as well as giftware and sweet treats, a wide range of Christmas cards, advent calendars and other festive items. Rumour has it Santa could also be making an appearance next month…

Bookwise HK An online book store founded by mum-oftwo Sara Young specialising in affordable children’s books and toys. Stocking a wide range of titles for children from tots to teens, she endeavours to have all the latest titles ready for shoppers. Young also offers ready-to-go party bags and wooden toys. She will be attending Handmade Hong Kong in Discovery Bay, Nov 11 & 25 and Dec 11; Prestige Gift and Lifestyle Fair, Nov 12; Citykids School Fair, Nov 17; Prestige Pre-Christmas Gift Parade, Nov 21; Glenealy School Fair, Nov 23; Prestige Christmas Gift Showcase, Nov 26; and Bradbury School Fair, Nov 30.

Biscuitmoon Designs Local mum Ellie Rampton created the delicious Biscuitmoon Designs in 2012. She produces a quirky and fun range of greetings cards, personalised stationery, gifts, prints and canvases with a special emphasis on babies, kids and families. In 2016 she opened an online store - everything is made in small batches or printed on demand to ensure a personal touch. Her extensive range of personalised Christmas cards is now available online, she will be at ESF Clearwater Bay Fair, Nov 3.

Al wrapped up wit h Lion Rock Press

Aoyama Notebooks Parisian expat Alice Miquel founded her stationery brand inspired by Japan - where she spent ten years - and Hong Kong, where she now calls home. The range of notebooks and notecards pay homage to Hong Kong’s aesthetics as well as the art of travel. Ideal stocking fillers, the pieces are available from Bookazine, Mandarin Oriental Book Kiosk and can also be found this season at Prestige Christmas Showcase, Nov 26; and 33


Giftware Mirth Entrepreneurial mum-of-two Kylie Platt opened her boutique a decade ago and it remains a go-to favourite for Southside’s stylish mammas. Located in trendy Wong Chuk Hang, the boutique is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of gift and homeware treasures as well as Hong Kong-themed items. Platt is constantly sourcing new collections, this month sees the addition of a cute collection of Christmas-themed baby onesies. From books to games, clothing, craft items and more, a browse around Mirth will have your gift-list ticked off in no time.

Annie Gurumi dolls Annie Gurumi crochets dolls that have stories to bring a little magic to those who hear them. She says her son is the inspiration behind all her creations. The dolls are made using premium yarns from Europe and they are sold online through

Mirth’s Kylie Platt sitting pretty in her eclectic Wong Chuk Hang-based store

season you can find her at Handmade Hong Kong in Discovery Bay, Nov 11 & 25.

and frames. “Our in-house designers can create exclusive designs for clients. If there’s a particular design of product wwwhich can’t be found on out site, we are always willing to put forward ideas at no extra cost,” says Sherina.

Citzz’ Travel Activity Books

Hong Kong art by Wander with Nicole Annie Gurumi’s knitted dolls

Wander with Nicole Photographer Nicole Bogart loves life behind the lens and has built up a business creating bespoke prints, picture frames, gifts and all occasion greetings cards. She aims for her work to capture the essence and intimate moments of Hong Kong life. This festive 34

Pop Pixel Prints Graphic designer Sherina Kirpalani founded Pop Pixel Prints in 2016 after many years of freelancing. She produces personalised gifts that tell a story. Her products include caricature, word art and doodle mugs, personalized stationery, wall-art, cushions

Belgian-born mum Cecile Pont is the brains behind Hong Kong-based book series Enjoy Citizz’. Aimed at kids aged four to ten years, the series hopes to ignite young travellers’ curiosity about their family holiday destination. The compact, 30-page books include illustrations, games, calligraphy challenges, brain-teasers and colouring activities and cover Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore, Siem Reap and Tokyo. Perfect stocking fillers for wanderlust children. Available from bookstores including Bookazine, Kidnapped and Kelly & Walsh and online.

Karen Aruba Art Illustrator Karen Cheung is the daughter of a former Mahjong carver. Cheung has mixed modern graphic design technology with her dad’s traditional skills to create beautiful Mahjong gift sets featuring Hong


Kong landmarks. The Travel Mahjong City sets include North Point, Tung Chung, Sai Kung, Southside and Central, and she has also developed a collection of Hong Kong-themed totes, homewares and wall art.

Bags Mary + Marie Former clothing designer Laila Taiper began designing bags in her native Australia when she couldn’t find a stylish-but-practical baby bag for her first-born. So she developed possibly the most useful zip-in, zip-out, washable lining ever, which led to a thriving business. A beach-loving Sydneysider, Taiper is now based in Hong Kong where she continues to develop her Mary + Marie collection of totes, handbags, clutches, beach bags and gym bags. Utterly practical and oozing casual Aussie style, they don’t sit around for long. See them at AWA Charity Bazaar, Nov 1.

recognisable ‘zigzag’ stripe are perfect for “multi-tasking women”, she says. Check out her designs at AWA Charity Bazaar, Nov 1; Prestige Git & Lifestyle Fairs Nov 12; La French Touch Concept Store, Nov 13-19 and Prestige Pre-Christmas Gift Parade Nov 21.

Design by Drake

Hand-carved Mahjong gift sets from Karen Aruba Art


Clever Angela Drake has built up an innovative boutique bag business, bringing bespoke creations to life. From totes to clutches and handbags to beach bags, all items are handmade using stunning handsourced fabrics and accessories. Drake lends huge attention to detail with tassels, ribbons and other accoutrements adorning her creations. She recently donated golden waist bags to ‘The Big Shave’ event raising money for childhood cancer research.

Chic ‘zigzag’ style by Makaron

Jewellery 5+2 Jewellery 5+2 is an experimental jewellery label launched by Janus Ng, a former senior jewellery designer for SWAROVSKI. Fusing eastern & western philosophies, Ng uses ‘uncommon natural materials’ like baroque pearl & porcelain in her fine and delicate jewellery pieces. “You’ll find a bit of the ‘out of the ordinary’ in a piece of 5+2 jewellery,” she says. Ng can be found at Prestige Gift & Lifestyle Fair, Nov 12; and Prestige PreChristmas Gift Parade, Nov 21.

Bella Blu Design Local Kiwi Jo Dixon launched her range of authentic men’s, ladies and children’s Panama hats to style-up Hong Kong beach trips and holidays. The collections are all sun-smart and are handwoven in Ecuador, official home of the Panama hat. She will be at AWA Charity Bazaar, Nov 1; Conrad Prestige Gift & Lifestyle Fair, Nov 12 and the Repulse Bay Christmas Fair, Nov 15.

Stockings handmade by Design by Drake

Makaron Inspired by the French Riviera, founder Charlotte de Caraman has been designing fine handbags and fashion accessories for the Hong Kong market since 2010. De Caraman was aiming for a casual yet chic beach lifestyle collection and appears to have achieved her aim. The sophisticated and colourful collections with their

Pearl pieces by 5+2 Jewellery 35

C ST OV O ER RY Freedom2Sparkle “I love jewels,” says Angela Chan. Wanting to share that love with others, she started her jewellery business Freedom2Sparkle just one year ago. As well as a ‘ready to wear’ collection, she also custom designs. “It’s a passion,” she says. “Everyone should have a versatile jewellery collection.” Happy her business is going so well, she will be available to meet face-to-face, along with her stunning pieces, at Four Seasons Trunk Show, Nov 20-21. Freedom2Sparkle

Boho Betty Cool jewels for stylish mammas, Boho Betty was started by Brit mums Betty and Tania in Hong Kong in 2012. Their fashion-forward necklaces, earrings and rings as well as their infamous leather wrap bracelets are now sold around the world. Check out their latest collection at various boutiques across the territory and online.

Homewares The Pink Lotus Indian-inspired The Pink Lotus aims to fill a gap in the market for good quality but price conscious home decor products. Founder Ameesha Kapadia works with manufacturers and artisans across India to deliver products tailored for the Hong Kong market. This winter’s glitzy collection will be showcased at AWA Christmas Fair, Nov 1; and Prestige Gift & Lifestyle Fair, Nov 12.

MINT founders Helen Vandeweghe and Amelie Lalos

The Spirit Haüs Lynnette Provost’s online store specialises in affordable home decor and gifts from around Asia. “Our goal is to find interesting items that start a conversation about the cultures they come from and the artists who make them,” she says. The Spirit Haüs also works with artists to create new items focusing on recycled and reused materials. Check out the range at the AWA Charity Bazaar, Nov 1; Handmade Sunday Market at Discovery Bay, Nov 11, 25 & Dec 9; and Prestige Gift & Lifestyle Fair, Nov 12.


Zest of Asia

Pink Lotus platters and plates

The homewares specialist ZEST was founded by Hong Kong-based Tatiana Boyer almost ten years ago. She sources her products from all over Asia, with certain items, like her tee-towel and napkin Icons collection, produced in Hong Kong. These are perfect gifts for those wanting to introduce a touch of Honkers into their home 36

MINT Hong Kong is a small business run by two imaginative mums, exploring their love for all things creative. MINT (Made In New Territories) - the tee-towels make fantastic hostess gifts at festive dinner parties. Tatiana will be available at the AWA Charity Bazaar, Nov 1; Prestige Gift & Lifestyle Fair, Nov 12; Prestige Pre-Christmas Gift Parade, Nov 21; Prestige Christmas Showcase, Nov 26; and Prestige Christmas Gift Festival, Dec 11.

Giftware from MINT


sells handmade, home decor items that capture the Hong Kong feel, creating unique keepsakes and gifts that are perfect for family and friends. You can find them at Glenealy School Fair, Nov 23.

The Ginger Jar Lamp Co Founder Kate Sbuttoni selects vintage ginger jars to create stunning lamps. The 80-year-old jars, originally used to transport Chinese spices to the Occident, are crafted following traditional Qing Dynasty methods and originate from Jingdezhen, the heartland of the blue and white porcelain industry. Sbuttoni then pairs them with colourful artisan lamp-shades in silks and cottons from around the world. “With over 40 individual designs, we believe we have the most extensive collection in Hong Kong,” she says.



CAYA An Indian Odyssey Charu Mehrotra launched her Indian clothing boutique last year after coming runner-up at a pitch night for small businesses. The ecofriendly, lifestyle brand promotes handmade, sustainable collections using cottons, silks and cashmere to create clothing, footwear and home furnishings. “Hand-stitching, fair wages and happy artisans make for colourful CAYA products,” says Mehrotra. She will be attending St John’s Cathedral Charity Christmas Card & Handicraft Fair, Nov 9-10; Handmaid Hong Kong in Discovery Bay, Nov 11; and Prestige Pre-Christmas Gift Parade, Nov 21.

Aussie founders Darelyn Phillis and Ingrid Keneally are rocking the world of brocade with their stunning jacket collections. Labrocade is all about silk brocades and soft cottons that can be dressed up, or worn lowstyle with jeans. “We spend hours choosing the brocades and linings for our jackets, and after two sell-out first collections we knew we were onto something,” admits Keneally. The pair are now moving into glam pouch and carpet bag territory.

Teresa’s Turkish Towels Teresa’s Turkish Towels is Hong Kong’s biggest importer of Turkish towels, with over 50 different colours and designs to choose from. Perfect for Chrissy stockings, the towels can be personalised with an embroidered name. Their lightweight material makes them ideal for sliding into beach totes for a day at the beach or a junk trip. The towels can be found at the Prestige Gift and Lifestyle Fair, Nov 12; the Prestige Pre-Christmas Gift Parade, Nov 21; Prestige Christmas Gift Showcase, Nov 26; and Prestige Christmas Gift Festival, Dec 11.

Charu Mehrotra launched her Indian clothing boutique after winning a small business award 37


Hand-sewn qipao dresses for kids by Amy Djokovic

Ladies Who Lunch

Chinadoll Kids

Sara Hopkirk and Dom McNeill launched their jaunty dress brand to style-up Hong Kong’s long lunch scene. The collections are versatile, fun, easy-to-wear and made from non-crease materials, making them ideal for scrunching into suitcases for international travel. They’re smart enough to wear to the office but work equally well with pumps or wedges for a casual evening out. Sizing is generous and the ladies can also make to order. They will be at Momentai Pop-Up, Nov 18.

The supremely talented Amy Djokovic combines stunning modern prints, tulle and brocade silks to create traditional qipao dress designs for children. The bespoke dresses are hand-crafted by Djokovic using locally sourced limited edition fabrics. Each piece is tailored and hand-finished with traditional beading and embellishments -

Summer Smart casuals for women and girls designed to make you feel stylish, comfortable and - most of all - happy. Using high quality, ‘breathable’ Indian cottons, these garments are perfect for Hong Kong’s hot-and-humid climate. The brand was founded by local mum Mehroo Turel who initially designed for friends and family - word spread and she now serves a long list of clients and has most recently started a line for boys. Turel will be at the Mamma & Me Pop-Up Shop, Nov 5-11.


Mehroo Turel uses hand-sourced Indian cottons for her collections

just 50 dresses are created each year. This month she launches an accessories range using leftover fabric scraps.

Kat J Weiss Illustration & Design Already creating something of a storm on Instagram, Weiss’ ‘BAO’ tee-shirts are hand-printed using Global Organic Textile Standard cotton. “I’m an illustrator born and raised in Hong Kong,” says Weiss, who started selling her products online through Etsy and at craft markets last year. The shirts come in adult and child sizes and can also be found at Handmade Hong Kong in Discovery Bay, Nov 11.













Discover the latest in designer fashion, accessories, jewellery, homewares, children's products, gourmet and artisanal food and drinks and much more, just in time to fulfill your festive shopping lists. 39



School news

HONG KONG ACADEMY OPEN HOUSE Sai Kung’s Hong Kong Academy (HKA) is inviting parents to find out more about the school at its upcoming open days. They will take place 9.30-11am, Nov 8 and Dec 6, contact admissions@ for details. 41


New playgroup for Sai Kung Hong Kong Academy (HKA) has launched a brand new playgroup for two to three year olds and accompanying adults. The school’s Early Childhood educators have adapted the International Baccalaureate framework to support children as ‘makers of their own meaning’. The playgroup sessions include Mandarin as a mirror language with activities led by specialist teachers. Children will have access to HKA campus resources, including the school’s library and outdoor play equipment. There will also be twice monthly learning opportunities for parents and carers led by HKA faculty and other experts. The first six weeks are free with rolling admissions.

Christmas camp fun

Keeping busy over the holidays

Hong Kong’s YWCA is offering over 90 Christmas camps this school holidays. From dance classes, to calligraphy, drawing, Chinese painting, ice skating and baking, there is a huge menu of activities to choose from. Brush up on your Mandarin, join in with some gymnastics or get up-to-speed with speech presentation and STEM-based learning, the classes are sure to keep kids busy over the holiday period. If you’re unsure, there are also a number of free and paid trial classes to keep your options open.

Expo entertainment Hong Kong will be leading the charge as a global capital of design next month. Designinspire, an exhibition organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), is being held concurrently with Business of Design Week to showcase global innovation and creativity. The exhibition welcomes families and boasts an array of interactive installations and design projects from all over the world. Also worth checking out is the ‘Urbanovation’ pavilion, highlighting how design can combine with technology to shape more efficient, user-friendly cities. STEM educational platform Makeblock will be hosting its ‘Inspiration Space’ showcasing STEM projects from local students. And there will even be a dance and acrobatic performance from a troop of humanoid robots courtesy of Leju. A host of STEAM-related workshops covering coding, robotics, virtual reality applications and architecture will also be available. The exhibition has partnered with a host of STEM education providers for a fun and interactive experience for exhibition visitors. Free, 9.30am-7pm, Dec 6-7; 9.30am6.30pm, Dec 8; Halls 3DE, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai.

Heritage project for SCAD Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) students have been invited to submit designs for the biannual street carnival, Heritage Vogue Hollywood Road, which returns this month. The event, this time entitled Nostalgia, commemorates the importance of childhood memories and Hong Kong history. It is hoped it will bring awareness of Hong Kong’s cultural landmarks and heritage buildings, including Tai Kwun, PMQ and Man Mo Temple. Four SCAD students - Carson Ho, Guen Alas, Mynah Bhattacharyya and Marco Choi - drew inspiration from traditional street food and toys to create the proposed event publicity, and have also drawn up an interactive ‘Health and Happiness’ treasure hunt map for the general public to enjoy 42

SCAD students will be performing at Tai Kwun as part of Heritage Vogue Hollywood Road

when walking Hollywood Road. At Tai Kwun, SCAD students have created a storytelling performance using painting and movement, with music played on a traditional Chinese Guzheng. Heritage Vogue Hollywood Road

is a celebration featuring guided tours, exhibitions, workshops, urban sketching activities and various performances and takes place on Nov 4.


On a fresh air high The Peak Pre-School has received a makeover - both of its classrooms and its curriculum. The Peak Road-located school will continue to follow the British Early Years Foundation Stage, but with some new elements that work towards the school’s goal of becoming ecofriendly. ‘Woodland Wednesdays’ have now been introduced to the termly programme, with children spending the first Wednesday of every month in an outdoor classroom. The Peak School is working in collaboration with Backyard Gang to learn about earth, wind and water through exploration and discovery. Yoga and Mindfulness are also being launched to support a more holistic approach to learning. Fun in the great outdoors with Woodland Peak Preschool

School Christmas Fairs NOV 3

NOV 30

ESF Clearwater Bay ‘Think Green’ School Fair

French International School Winter Extravaganza

Roll up, roll up to the primary school’s annual event. Enjoy fun stalls and games, market stalls and a silent auction, plus lots of yummy food and drink. The theme this year is sustainability. 1-5pm, Lot 235, DD229, Clearwater Bay Road, Clearwater Bay,

This is to be the largest event ever held by the school and will be taking place at the FIS’s brand new Tseung Kwan O campus. Featuring a Christmas Market, three ‘fun zones’, a live concert, Christmas trees, fun games, seasonal delicacies, champagne and cocktails and manicures, 6-10pm, 28 Tong Yin Street, Tseung Kwan O.

NOV 10 AISHK School Fair

NOV 30

Follow the yellow brick road to this Wizard of Oz-themed biennial school fair at the Australian International School in Kowloon Tong. Loads of outdoor entertainment, bouncy castles, games stalls, market stalls and homemade and BBQ food - don’t miss the ‘Over the Rainbow’ cake shop, the Aussie lolly stall and the outdoor bar. 11am-5pm, 2 Norfolk Road, Kowloon Tong.

ESF Bradbury School Fair

NOV 17 City Kids Annual Christmas Fair Fun and games at non-profit playgroup and pre-school, City Kids’ annual Christmas Fair. Details and PIX to come. 10.30am-4pm. 12 Borrett Road, Mid-levels.

NOV 17 Fairchild Christmas Fair Enjoy science workshops for kids, live portrait drawing and shopping stalls during a fun-

filled afternoon at Fairchild Kindergarten. Part of the profits will be donated to Make A Wish Foundation. 2-6pm, G/F & 1/F Kong Chian Tower, Block 1, 351 Des Voeux Road, Sai Ying Pun.

NOV 23 ESF Glenealy School Fair

Pop in and enjoy local vendors, international food, discovery domes, arts and crafts, games, prizes, tombola, live music, books and more. There are free shuttle buses to the event from Hong Kong Cricket Club and Central Ferry Piers. Entry $20/person (free for under twos), 5.30-8.30pm, 43C Stubbs Road, Southside.

Festive fun, food and games in Mid-levels. 7 Hornsey Road, Mid-levels.

NOV 30

NOV 24

A ton of fun at the popular primary school, with a tombola, lucky draw, fun games, Santa’s Grotto, White Elephant stall, Christmas shopping and an international food stall. $10/ person, free for under threes, 5.30-8.30pm, 6 Hau Yuen Path, Braemar Hill, North Point.

CIS School Fair Chinese International School is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Come along and join the fun - there’ll be market stalls, games, food and a great afternoon for all. 10am-4pm, Chinese International School, 1 Hau Yuen Path, Braemar Hill, North Point.

ESF Quarry Bay School Christmas Fayre 43


Montessori-based learning in action

Journeys of discovery

Amelia Sewell checks out Discovery Montessori Academy on Lantau


hose who have only a surface knowledge of how Montessori schooling works are often scared off by the idea that the children choose what they work on each day. Presumably this is because they assume that if children are given such autonomy, then they do no work at all, all hell breaks loose and you are reduced to a rowdy cacophony of learning-less rebellion. This is, however, completely wrong. Because if you see a Montessori class in action, you witness something genuinely incredible happening; something which seems almost transcendental. What you will find is pockets of children all deeply engrossed in various tasks. Some will be sitting at desks, others on the floor; some will be sitting around a teacher, others working away independently. And aside from the fact


that they are all occupied by myriad different tasks in apparent harmony, the other thing that will strike you is the noise - or rather than lack of it. Because there is no rowdy cacophony. Despite the fact that most are working essentially unsupervised, they have not taken the chance to kick off a shouting match of excruciating decibels. Instead, there is an unbelievable calm, which I can only imagine must be the reassuring sound of young, content minds at work. A few weeks ago, I witnessed just this when I took a trip to Discovery Montessori Academy (DMA)n Discovery Bay. In the classrooms, there was just a lot of very diligent work going on under a gentle, harmonious hush. Those needing assistance would wait

quietly by their teachers’ side until she was finished with another pupil. No one shouted across the room or abandoned their tasks through disinterest. When, during circle time, one child was distracting another with an illicit toy, the teacher calmly asked for it to be handed over and seamlessly carried on with the book she

schools was reading aloud. No raised voices, no tones of frustration and no objections from the offender. If they’re putting something in the water at DMA, then they need to bottle it and sell it. As Tammy Chan, the DMA school principal, puts it – “At the elementary stage (ages six to 12), it should be realised that genuine interest in something cannot be forced.” The success of Montessori is therefore seen in allowing children to select what grabs – and therefore, hopefully, keeps – their attention. But the concept of choosing their own work is not a limitless, open-ended one: instead each child can choose from a selection of topics and decide in which order that day they will do them. Some topics it is compulsory to cover each day, others are open to their preference. At the end of each week, the teacher looks through the list of subjects covered and the work that has been achieved and will use this information to help guide each child in their sections the following week. The fact that the children can work so will without constant supervision is probably due in part to the fact that they

Fun with figures 45

schools have chosen what to study and in another part due to the style of learning. Montessori is a very demonstrative form of learning. Maths is done with an abacus or counters and checkers. English is aided by word type symbols and drawing pictures with annotations. The history of the earth is taught outside in the playground with a 50m roll of fabric and a teacher with a suitably dramatic voice. It is hands on and varied. No monotonous textbooks, no rote learning, no homework. Chan explains that another key element is allowing the children to learn at their own speed, instead of being dictated by the class as a whole. “This environment respects the children’s pace and desire to learn, so the teacher is able to engage and work alongside them, as a guide,” she says. “This encourages children to explore and gives opportunities to discover the knowledge for themselves. Additionally, this individualised, self-paced form of pedagogy comes from understanding, with encouragement, that every human is able to learn in a unique way.” At DMA, in each class the ratio is one teacher, or ‘guide’, to every 12 students. One of the teachers is native Mandarin speaking, meaning that Chinese is on offer throughout the day. Dr. Christie Leung, the school supervisor, explains the reasoning. “If you learn traditional, you learn the key to Chinese. You learn the family and the category, telling you what phonic sound is required. Once you have this, you can read almost anything.” For non-native families who worry that this will be too demanding for their child, they also teach pinyin, using books that show examples of both the traditional character and the phonetic pronunciation Another key teaching element at DMA is the idea of ‘cosmic education’ which is a dazzling term that no doubt appeals to the


Students are able to direct their own learning

I left DMA and its idyllic spot perched on the water feeling a little bit dazzled. Montessori is obviously an educational concept that is now over a hundred years old but it is one that is still entirely relevant to today’s world. Schools often talk about ‘nurturing the individual’ but it is rare to see it so thoroughly put into practice. It is also a real privilege; because to see a purebred Montessori school in action is like watching a bit of educational magic unfold. Discovery Montessori Academy is holding an Open Day, 10am-12pm, Nov 3, Block 1, 92 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay North, Lantau. young minds. This is the Montessori concept that all subjects are linked when looked at from the perspective of the universe as a whole. As Chan explains, “Cosmic education begins with the whole, (i.e. the universe), and works toward the parts. All the familiar subjects, such as languages, mathematics, sciences, history, geography, become interwoven and this provides a vehicle to capture a child’s interest. They also learn this in a unique sequence.” Interestingly, whilst the style of teaching is Montessori, the syllabus that DMA has chosen to follow is the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), seeing strong similarities in the ethos between the two. They have therefore set about finding ways to marry the two concepts together. The school is currently an IB candidate school and going through the steps to become an IB World School in the coming years.

School Report

Established: 2015 Number of students: 120 Curriculum: IB PYP & AMI Elementary Montessori Fees: $12,200 Lower Primary $13,580 Upper Primary Capital levy: $7000 Debenture: $25,000 Application period: all year round Age range: Three-12 years Grades: Pre-Primary to Grade 6 Address: Block 1, Discovery Bay North, HK Tel: 28129668

“Music might be a riskier industry to be involved in, but at the same time, if it’s something you love doing, it shouldn’t matter.” Dylan Halbroth, HKA Alumnus Class of 2018

Do What You Love HKA is an IB World School offering an exceptional self-directed education for all students ages 3-18. We invite you to take a personal tour of our campus located in the beautiful seaside village of Sai Kung. Contact our Admissions Team at to learn more and to arrange a visit!

Come for a visit and see what learning can be!

Visit to register online for one of our community events on campus.

Follow us. 47


Principal’s office Discovery Montessori Academy’s Tammy Chan takes the hot seat Tell us about your career in education? I have been working in education for 21 years; a teacher for nine years and 12 years as a principal in various kindergartens and elementary schools. I first trained as a teacher and obtained a B.Ed , then continued my studies for a fully qualified IB-PYP teacher for three to 12 year olds. I also hold a Master’s Degree specialising in School Improvement and Leadership. I’m currently busy with a Degree in Elementary Montessori Education in the USA.

For me, Montessori education is fascinating in so many ways

What attracted you to Montessori? For me, Montessori education is fascinating in so many ways. It is a holistic form of education and is paced to meet the developmental needs of children. The wellprepared learning environment is a treasure of experiences that inspire children to wonder, encourage their own creativity and builds the imagination. I relish this moment and it is wonderful to see the children learn with joyfulness. This environment respects the children’s pace and desire to learn. Children are encouraged to explore and discover knowledge for themselves. This individualized, self-paced form of pedagogy comes from understanding, with encouragement, that every human is able to learn in a unique way.

What is special about DMA? DMA is a multi-cultural international school. Our international curriculum sustains an inquiry-based, child-centred education which follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) 48

Tammy Chan has worked in education for 21 years

Which film should everyone see? Program and the International Montessori Elementary Educational Curriculum. We offer a strong bi-lingual (English & Putonghua) curriculum and we provide an enriched environment of Chinese activities. A Chinese teacher in all classes ensures that a robust traditional Chinese programme is delivered to all levels and abilities throughout each school day.

Before The Flood presented by National Geographic and featuring Leonardo DiCaprio on a journey as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, travelling to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand. I think it is very important for everyone to become more aware about the risk of climate change. We all have a vital role to play in taking care of the earth for the next generation.

Where’s your favourite place in Hong Kong?

Favourite city in the world?

Sai Kung - I spent my childhood living and growing up there. It is recognized as the ‘back garden of Hong Kong’. Its rich history and interesting geological features make it a valuable natural resource. I really enjoy revisiting the area, especially when I am able to leave the office and join the children in a perfect setting on school field trips!

There are so many beautiful cities, full of history and culture. Florence is one of the places I really love. I enjoy seeing so many of the great pieces of art whilst walking around the city. I often found myself ducking into a random church to escape the heat, only then to spend few hours admiring the many frescos 49

life & style

Annabelle Bond in her Peak home with Muskat the cat


Hong Kong’s Bond girl

life & style

Socialite, mountaineer, charity campaigner and mum-of-one, Annabelle Bond OBE tells Carolynne Dear why she’s always up for a challenge. Photography by Michelle Proctor


n hour before my interview and shoot with the socialite and glamour girl Annabelle Bond, an email comes through from her private account. Oh help, I think, she’s either cancelling or wants to lay down the law about my line of questioning. As it turns out, it’s neither. “I know it’s a cover story, but are jeans ok?” she asks. I mentally breathe a sigh of relief. “No problem, sounds good,” I type back. And this is exactly how she’s dressed when she opens the door of her Peak home to me later that afternoon - jeans-clad and casual, but incredibly stylish. You’ve either got it or you haven’t, as my mother would have said. And Bond definitely ‘has it’. “Come in, come in,” she enthuses, waving me through an outrageously glamorous house and ushering me to a comfy seat overlookng the backyard pool. “Coffee?” There are no airs and graces, no uncomfortable silences and certainly no flashy behaviour. Irreverent, fun and immensely likeable, Bond is easy to warm to. “I got knocked over by a car walking home the other night,” she casually interjects as we sip our lattes. Really, are you ok? I ask. “Yeah,” she laughs. “I told the guy no worries and it was lucky he’d knocked over a nice English girl who wouldn’t make a fuss!” This kind of throwaway response is classic Bond. “I do think people take life too seriously these days,” she adds. “I mean, sure, he was the one who reversed out, but I was looking at my phone… Life’s not some perfect Instagram feed. Things go wrong. You need to keep a sense of humour.” Maybe it’s down to this positive outlook, but over the last few decades Bond has achieved a series of feats that are nothing short of remarkable. She has climbed Everest, held the record as the fastest female climber in the world, raised millions for charity and received a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). And - the reason for today’s interview - she is currently ambassador for Laureus Sport for Good, a global movement that celebrates the power of sport ‘to bring

An “amazing” contractor transformed Bond’s home from empty building to luxe pad in just one month

people together as a force for good’. For Bond, sport is something that has dominated her life. These days, she can be found living with her daughter, fiancé Ken Hitchner, two cats and a dog, occupying a stunning home perched atop Victoria Peak with sweeping views over Central - as well as the roofs of her parents’ and sister’s homes in a neighbouring complex. “It’s great having family close by, especially being a single-parent,” she says. The father of Bond’s daughter, Isabella, is ex-fiancé billionaire banker Warren Lichtenstein who lives in the US. Columninches have already been devoted to their split in 2007. “My mum and dad are in Hong Kong for three months or so, they divide their year between the US, France and here, and my sister (Lucy Bond Marriott) is here most of the time, when she’s not zipping back to her children’s boarding school in the UK,” she says. Bond’s younger brother, Jon, also lives in Hong Kong. Despite her British passport, Bond considers Hong Kong to be home.

“Everything here is so efficient and safe, I really appreciate what a well-run city it is,” she says. Isabella has just switched to Harrow Hong Kong after completing primary at ESF Peak School down the road. “So now we’re out catching the school bus at 6.40am,” she 51

life & style smiles. In true, sporting Bond style, once Isabella is safely on the bus, she sets off on her daily two-hour trail run. A peripatetic family life is the outcome of a peripatetic childhood. Bond was born in Singapore, the daughter of former HSBC chairman Sir John Bond, who was knighted in 1999 for his services to banking. The family moved to Jakarta when Bond was a young child, where she attended the British School, and then it was onto Hong Kong. She was sent to boarding school at Riddlesworth Hall in the UK at the age of eight. “Yes, eight was young,” she acknowledges. “But we were sent to board because dad’s job moved around so much, so it was a practical decision. It really was a different era. Hong Kong to London in those days involved four transfers; we used to stop in Thailand, India, Muscat or Bahrain and Frankfurt, unaccompanied, so once we were in school, we were there for the term. There was no skipping back for half terms and exeats.” Mostly good memories, she remembers missing home at one point and penning a letter to her parents about having no friends. “And one of the teachers came over and said, ‘now, your mother’s not going to be very happy receiving that, is she?’ So she tore it up and I wrote another one telling her what a great time I was having instead,” she laughs. “Oh my god, different times! Although we did all come out with very good manners.” She excelled at sport from an early age (“I was on every team - netball, rounders, swimming, hockey, cross country - and my parents made sure we were proficient at all the things that would be useful socially later in life, like golf, sailing, skiing, tennis and horse riding, which I’m really glad about”. These days Bond

Chilling out in the TV room - much of Bond’s wall-art is from friend Mandy D’abo at Cat Street Gallery

still manages to hold her own at Shek O golf club and, at her parents’ bequest, skis every winter with the family in Austria), but admits to being “quite naughty” at school and she never made it to university. So she “mucked around in London for a bit”, driving the chief executive of Trafalgar House “mad” in her first paid job and then working with a concert promoter and getting to hang out with ‘80s teen heartthrobs A-ha. (As likeable as Bond is, I do admit to a slight stab of jealousy at this point in the interview - hanging out with Morten Harket? Some girls really do have all the luck). “And then I think dad felt I needed to do something a bit more serious, so at 21 I came back to Hong Kong and worked for

Elegant lights sourced on Queens Road East hang over the entrance hall


Savills for ten years.” She found a pad on Bonham Road and had an amazing time. “When you come back as a worker as opposed to a banking kid, things are very different. No more fancy club memberships and upmarket housing and now I was paying for my own holidays. But it was great fun. When I’d reached all my targets at work, I could devote the rest of my time to running.” In 1996 she joined the Goldman Sachs trail running team and signed up for the infamous Oxfam Trailwalker event, a 100km hike across some of Hong Kong’s most challenging terrain. She went on to run it three more times, in ‘97, ‘98 and ‘99, and says it taught her a lot. She goes as far as crediting Trailwalker with her mountaineering success. “Knowing I could run for 16 hours straight helped me to push through the barriers when summiting a mountain. “It was brutal, six months worth of training followed by a gruelling trail run. One year I came back with three toenails missing.” A cheeky request at a nail bar in town for a discounted pedicure the following week was - rather disappointingly - turned down. She then got engaged, gave up her job and moved to Idaho, which she found desperately slow compared to Hong Kong. Together, she and her finace hiked through New Zealand and ran the Inca trail in Peru. At that point they parted ways and she went on to Bolivia, climbed three more peaks and travelled extensively around South America. She ended up on the Chilean team training to climb Everest by pure chance when the expedition leader got chatting with Bond’s 53

life & style

Much of Bond’s home decor pieces were found in Horizons Plaza; favourite homewares stores include Indigo and La Maison HK

mother at a party in 2003. “Mum was bragging about this one climb I’d done which was really quite underwhelming, but anyway she must have sounded convincing because in the next sentence he asked if I would be interested in climbing Everest. And my mum, without a moment’s hesitation or even thinking about asking me first, says oh yes, I’m sure she’d love to. So the next thing I know I’m travelling out to Ecuador to start training with the Chilean team.” On May 15 2004 she became the fourth woman in the world to summit Mount Everest. “On the final day of the ascent when I realised I was going to make it, I cried all the way up. The adrenalin that day made me feel stronger than I’ve ever felt. But I didn’t feel I could celebrate properly until I’d made it back down again. Then I phoned home.” Ever the glamour girl, she was credited in the press for having her lipstick with her at the summit. “I’m not sure about that,” she laughs. “But I definitely had it at Base Camp. We had a great after-party.” Once safely back at sea-level, she went on to climb the other six peaks that, along with Everest, form the Seven Summits, the highest mountain peaks on each of the seven continents. She completed them in just 360 days, earning herself the title of fastest woman climber in the world, a record that she held for eight years. Having had an ovarian tumour removed shortly before her attempt on Everest, Bond raised a massive US$1.5 million during her climb for the Eve Appeal, a charity supporting ovarian cancer sufferers. In 2006 she received her OBE from Prince Charles for services 54

to mountaineering and to charity. Further accreditations include being made an honorary colonel of the Chilean Army along with the rest of the Everest team, and a member of the Royal Council of Ingxotha by his Majesty King Zwelithini Goodwill KaBhekuzulu of KwaZulu for her work with the Thanda Private Game Reserve in South Africa. “Yes, I’m an honorary princess in Zululand! King Goodwill presented me with a royal necklace at a rather beautiful ceremony,” she says. Ever the go-getter, that same year she joined Prince Albert of Monaco no less on a seven-person expedition to the North Pole to raise awareness of global warming. The training included her having to live in the kennels with the dogs for four days. “One was pregnant so there’s this litter of huskies in the North Pole called ‘Anna’ and ‘Belle’ and other derivations,” she says cheerfully. In 2007 she gave birth to her daughter Isabella and now dedicates her time to raising her as well as supporting various charities, although motherhood hasn’t slowed her down in the sporting arena. In 2009 she ran 250 kilometres a-piece across the Sahara and Namibian deserts for the Eve Appeal and in 2016 completed her first triathlon in Phuket. “The cycling was a bit of a challenge,” she laughs. “The last time I’d ridden a bike it had a bell and a basket.” She now cycles regularly and was most recently in the US riding in Aspen. But her current passion project is Laureus Sport for Good, the charity of which she is ambassador. Together with Just Challenge, a Hong Kong-based company that organises

custom adventures for executives, Laureus will be leading its annual fund-raising expedition to Africa in May 2019. The event will be led by Brian O’Driscoll, the former Irish rugby union captain. “I just think sport is so important,” says Bond. “Nelson Mandela was the first patron of Laureus and I think his quote says it all ‘Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite.’.” 55


Sunday style Where to take the tribe maze Grill British chef Gordon Ramsay was in town last month to open “family-oriented” maze Grill in Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui. This is Ramsay’s third partnership with Hong Kong’s Dining Concepts restaurant group and the first time the steakhouse has opened outside of London. Ramsay currently manages three maze Grills in the British capital. He described the restaurant as a “modern steakhouse with a huge Asian influence in one of Hong Kong’s best locations.” The venue cannot be faulted for wow factor, with a large outdoor patio boasting views over the harbour and to Hong Kong Island. Reserve a table at sunset and you will be rewarded with tip-top views as the sun sets over Lantau. It occupies a corner of the new Ocean Terminal glasshouse extension and there doesn’t appear to be a ‘dud’ table in the space – even the bathroom has a view. The menu features Ramsay’s signature dish, Beef Wellington, plus charcoal-grilled steaks, rare breed cuts, fish and poultry dishes. Our tiny tasters, aged nine and eleven, highly rated the British beef (we tried the rib-eye steak, the chateaubriand sharing plate and the burger - 80% of the beef on the menu is grass-fed British, the rest Japanese Wagyu) which was

Best of British at maze Grill - Expat Parent’s official taster tucks in

all cooked to perfection and incredibly tender. Sadly Ramsay’s signature dish, Beef Wellington, was unavailable - something to try another day, perhaps. Another highlight was the chef’s pork pie, which is freshly baked each day and carved at your table together with a selection of cheeses, mustards and pickled condiments. The puddings disappeared without trace the flaky apple pie and creamy vanilla custard,

Enjoy the sunset views at maze Grill


delivered with great ceremony under a silver tureen, was a particular success; a little more custard and it would have been perfect. The sticky toffee pudding was also attacked with gusto. Asked how he hopes to prevent maze becoming little more than a ‘concept’ restaurant while he is based in London, Ramsay admitted that it was all down to good infrastructure, with staff shuttling back and forth. “Look, we’re not a fine dining place and we’re not aiming for three Michelin stars. I make sure I’m up-to-date with how my venues are performing via social media - I read all the negative comments because that’s how you improve. I love how social media keeps chefs like me accountable. Long may food bloggers continue.” The space is to be helmed by head chef Gareth Packham, who has worked with the Gordon Ramsay Group for over seven years. Ramsay has also announced that he will be opening a second Bread Street Kitchen in the new year, this time on Victoria Peak. The British chef indefinitely closed his inaugural Bread Street Kitchen eatery in Lan Kwai Fong earlier this year citing building refurbishment issues. Lvl 4, Ocean Terminal Deck, Ocean Terminal, Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui. dining 57

dining The Farmhouse at Hotel Vic North Point’s brand new resident, Hotel Vic, is now up-and-running and offering a fabulous brunch venue for families. The Farmhouse is located atop the podium and boasts a spacious interior as well as substantial terrace overlooking - you guessed it - the harbour (hence the name, Hotel Vic, Victoria Harbour). The brunch offering is extensive with lots of features to keep littlies happy, including a grab-your-own ice cream chiller. All the usual western and Asian-style dishes are available and the venue offers two brunch seatings throughout the week, plus the Charcoal Grill Lunch Buffet on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays which runs 12-2.30pm. A brand new shopping mall is under construction around the hotel, so expect further waterside dining spots to open up in this area in the new year. 2/F West Tower, Hotel Vic, 1 North Point Estate Lane, North Point.

Hutong Following a month-long refurb, Hutong at One Peking has reopened with a stylish Chineseinspired interior – think birdcage bar, traditional stone ‘Moon Gate’ framing the lounge area, colourful Lai See tree and 70-year old handcrafted wooden ceiling lovingly transported to Hong Kong from a heritage Shanxi house. Happily, the restaurant’s Feng Wei Brunch is still running, with plenty of impress-theguests food and drink, sexy harbour views and fun entertainment. The brunch is inspired by Northern China’s dining customs and includes 18 sharing dishes - appetisers, dim sum, Northern Chinese mains and desserts - served

Cooking up a feast at The Farmhouse

to the table. And when you’re not gazing at your plate or soaking up some of the best views in town, each weekend there is a different live performance, from Sichuan face changing, to bird fortune tellers and noodle pulling. But perhaps the best news of all is that under 12s are free. $428/person, +$200/person free-flow Veuve Clicquot and tea-infused cocktails.

Fishteria Relaxed seaside eatery Fishteria has opened on Kennedy Town’s New Praya. The restaurant is positioning itself as a laidback venue for weekend brunches or casual family dinners, with sharing-style plates and a foosball table. Boasting a menu stuffed with seafood delights – think lobster rolls, tuna poke focaccia, lean tuna and creamy burrata, scallops and apple ceviche and dover sole – the venue has maximised its waterside location with floor-toceiling glass windows along the length of the dining area. Fishteria Waterside is now open for weekend and public holiday brunching. New Fortune House, Shop 3 G/F, 2-5A New Praya, Kennedy Town.

For more family dining ideas, check out the Hong Kong Living Dining Guide, published this month. Order your free copy now. The new-look Hutong

58 59



Travel news

NEW OPENING UNDER CHINA’S GREAT WALL Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts has opened its first Dhawa-branded hotel. The property is located at the foot of China’s Great Wall in Jinshanling, 90-minutes from Beijing international airport. Facilities include a Dhawa spa and photo gallery with interactive selfie wall. 61


The Pier Hotel in Sai Kung enjoys spectacular views over Hebe Haven Yacht Club

Sai Kung opens new hotel

Blog team launches online city guide for kids

The Pier Hotel has opened in Sai Kung, located on the Pak Sha Wan waterfront and with sweeping ocean views. The hotel is conveniently positioned for a staycation in the ‘country’; it offers a free shuttle bus to Sai Kung Town which is just a five-minute drive away and also to the nearest MTR station, Hang Hau, which is approximately 15 minutes away. Planning for the hotel began in 2013. “The Pier is the perfect place for a staycation for locals or overseas guests experiencing Hong Kong for the first time,” said Crystal Choi, vice chairman of The Pier Hotel. Steve Leung Design Group had led the interior design, taking inspiration from nature and focusing on the main spectacle - the uninterrupted views over Pak Sha Wan marina. Guests in the east-facing bedrooms can enjoy instagram-perfect views of the sunrise over the ocean from their private balcony. There is also a rooftop swimming pool and bar. The forty guest rooms and suites include a kitchen area with hob, kettle and fridge. Premium rooms and suites come with a parking space and can be booked on both a nightly and monthly rate. If you book 21 days in advance during November, you can receive an exclusive package deal.

A team of travel bloggers has banded together to launch family-friendly website, While there is an abundance of family travel blogs online, the team-of-three discovered there is no ‘goto’ website for parents attempting to plan a city trip with children in tow. “We all write content for our own blogs based on our personal experiences of the places we have travelled to,” says Marianne Rogerson, one of the founding editors of Little City Trips. “Sometimes we’ll cover hotels or some of the things we have done. But we realized there was no one website where you could find all the information you need for a family city trip all in one place.” The team also realized that reading so many personal blog posts can be overwhelming for parents who are short of time. The website aims to provide at-aglance information for each city: where to stay, what to do and what to pack, in addition to useful information such as getting around and the best time to visit. The Little City Trips team is keen to emphasise to parents that city trips with kids can be fun. “Many parents feel overwhelmed at the thought of a city break with kids,” continues Rogerson. “But cities can be loads of fun as a family. You


City travel with kids made easy

just need to be a bit organized and plan ahead.” Little City Trips has launched with 18 of the most popular cities across the world and the team plans to add to this over the coming months. The team behind Little City Trips includes Keri Hedrick from, Marta Correale from and Marianne Rogerson from



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New online travel agency Luxury Escapes launched in Hong Kong last month, offering flash deals on five-star holiday breaks. The site is already live in Australia and has so far enjoyed a footfall of over one million clients. Hong Konger Rajah Chaudhry is head of Asia and says the site offers more than just a bed, in a room, in a hotel. “Unbelievable prices coupled with amazing free inclusions help to round off a perfect vacation experience,”

he says. Bonus extras can include sunset cocktails, daily meals, spa treatments, lounge access and airport transfers. Luxury Escapes negotiates deals directly with the hotel and new deals are added to the site daily. Travellers have the flexibility to book their holiday instantly, or buy the deal and book the dates for travel later. Validity of the travel period typically ranges at around nine to 12 months after purchase. Any peak period

Luxury Escapes offers flash deals all over the world

surcharges or blackout dates are transparent and upfront. “By bundling our offers, we are able to negotiate thousands of dollars of value-added extras, making it a classic win, win, win. The customer wins by getting the world’s best holiday at the best price, the property drives profit and we get to sit in the middle as the facilitator,” says Chaudhry.

Cambodian eco-reserve on the cards The owners of Song Saa Private Island have announced the launch of a new environmental tourism-based project in the Cambodian province of Siem Reap. Hong Kong’s Rory and Melita Hunter are creating the Reserve based on their knowledge and success of running Song Saa, an eco-resort in the Koh Rong archipelago, to create a “commercially viable, ethically led, integrated resort”. The site includes a 35-hectare lake as its central feature and the project will include hotel and villa residences as well as a hospitality training centre, a ‘green school’, rainforest nursery, permaculture gardens and a solar farm. 64

Song Saa Foundation is now seeking investors with whom it will work in tandem to ensure Song Saa Reserve fulfills its sustainability aims. Over 120 hectares of land is available with landscape and urban design company Coopers Hill responsible for the master planning of the site and the design and environmental codes. CBRE Cambodia are working as sole agents for the project. “Since arriving in Cambodia in 2005, I’ve felt a deep sense of commitment to developing the country in a way that’s inclusive and aligns all stakeholder interests while showing the world just how special this country is,” said Rory Hunter, CEO

and co-founder of the Song Saa Collective. “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Song Saa Private island and the work of the Song Saa Foundation. This new project scales up our ethos and approach and allows Cambodia to show the world how tourism, done right, is a powerful means for lifting people out of poverty and protecting the environment, while delivering… attractive returns for our shareholders.” Tourist numbers to Siem Reap are expected to increase beyond the three million mark by 2020 and a new airport with a capacity for ten million travellers per year is planned. 65


Rocking the quokka Carolynne Dear and friends head south for a wild ride on Rottnest Island in Western Australia

There’s a quokka in the kitchen!” comes the excited cry from my nine-year-old son early one morning. Blearily, I scramble out of bed to find not one, but two, of the friendly marsupials quietly sitting under the dining table eating a stray Dorito. Better two quokkas than a rat, perhaps. Yes, they are adorably cute, but no, I didn’t want one as a pet, so we hastily shoo them into the yard where they obliging hop off into the bush. Welcome to Rottnest Island - or ‘Rotto’ as it’s affectionately known locally - home to the quokka, long stretches of golden sand and kilometres of of bike-friendly, car-free tracks. We’d flown down from Hong Kong to Perth, an ‘easy’ seven hours with no time change. A half-hour cross-town taxi ride has us at the Boatshed Marina in Fremantle and ready to jump on the 40-minute ferry ride over to Rotto. Brekkie sausage sandwiches in hand, we climb aboard.

These days Rotto’s all about fresh air, fun and fabulous pies

The island is a protected nature reserve that sits a mere 18 kilometres west of Fremantle. It covers just 19 square kilometres and houses a permanent population of around 300 - but it receives an additional 500,000 visiting tourists each year, some as daytrippers and some (like us) to stay in the island’s ‘villas’ and ‘cabins’. 66

BMX bandits on the trail


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Views over the Indian Ocean (left); a quokka (right); empty beaches and breathtaking views (above)

We were visiting during the Easter break, although we had cleverly missed the Western Australian school holidays, so while the island was busy at the weekend, it was reasonably quiet during the week. Temperatures were pleasant - a beach-friendly high 20s during the day but dropping to hoodie territory at dusk. Shoulder season - October or Easter is probably the most reasonable time of year to enjoy Rotto, the summer rush in December and January pushes the island’s population to its limits and the heat can be brutal (the cabins have no air conditioning). The island enjoys a brisk history. Its unusual name came about in the seventeenth century when Dutch sailors, mistaking the quokkas for rats, christened the island Rottnest, or ‘Rats’ Nest’. After the Brits arrived Perth in 1829, Rotto variously hosted a penal colony, military installations and internment camps for enemy aliens. But these days it’s all about fresh air, fun and fabulous pies (more about them later). Accommodation is basic - I can’t dress it up any more than that - but adequately serves its purpose as a base for a family-friendly, outdoorsy kind of break. Comfortable beds with clean linen, a lounge area, bathroom and kitchen plus a yard with a BBQ are really all you need. We’re booked into the main settlement 68

of Thomson Bay which means we are just a few minutes walk from the island’s supermarket, coffee shops and restaurants. Accommodation can also be found further afield at Geordie Bay and Longreach Bay. While there is a local bus service, the roads are gloriously car-free and our first point of call is the bike hire shop. Suitably kitted out with helmets (‘crash lids’ are mandatory for cyclists in Australia) and wheels, we speed off to explore. With four other families joining us for our week of off-roading fun, the kids soon organise themselves into friendship groups. Off they set each morning, lunch money tucked into their pockets, to return later in the afternoon after a day of adventuring. If they tire of cycling, there are beaches to play on, adventure playgrounds to conquer and the ocean to snorkel. One afternoon we pack them off to the heritage cinema on the island to watch Peter Rabbit. On another we set off en masse to cycle up steep Oliver Hill to have a look at the battery, with armoury dating back to World War II. On another, we pedal the length of the island to Cathedral Rocks and the far western point, stopping for a dip on deserted Catherine Bay Beach on the way home. We dine each evening on BBQ prawns and steaks (when in Rome), watching a

blazing sun drift down over the Indian Ocean. One night we cycle over to Geordie’s restaurant for supper in Geordie Bay. After stuffing ourselves with more fresh seafood and local wine (Aussie burgers all round for the kids), it’s a hair-raising spin home in the black of night, swerving both hopping quokkas and rocks strewn over the path. One afternoon the kids go fishing and on another they fling themselves around on the giant ocean inflatable at Thomsons Settlement. Another morning they spend their entire day’s pocket money on Fluffy Koala ‘shakes at the Milk Bar. There’s nothing like fresh air and a bicycle to fuel little appetites. And the pies are incredible, too - the steak and pepper offering at Rottnest Bakery is not to be missed. And The Lane does a fine line in coffees and midmorning muffins. As adults, when we weren’t cycling or nursing sore backsides, we could be found chatting over a chilled glass of Savvy B, reading and generally relaxing in an old fashioned, wholesome kind of way. Rotto was a blast. We flew back to Hong Kong, lungs filled with glorious fresh air and excited to plan our next trip back to the Golden State.


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flailing spouse

Cut the cr*p Our mum has reached social media overload


can reveal that the ‘gender reveal’ party is now a ‘thing’. Not content with a baby shower, loved-up couples are now forcing their nearest and dearest to endure cutsie pink or blue tiered cakes, ‘boy or girl?’ napkins (seriously, there’s an entire ‘gender reveal’ drop-down product menu on the Duchess of Cambridge’s mother’s party website) and copious amounts of theme-coloured confetti. For a planet that’s attempting to reduce waste, we seem to be remarkably intent on creating yet more rubbish. But pity the American called Dennis who earlier this year was fined US$8 million for a gender reveal event gone wrong. He’d planned to announce the sex with explosive powder that he would fire for guests in a national forest - and would naturally be either blue or pink. Unfortunately for Dennis, he shot the target but it triggered an explosion - and set fire to 47,000 acres of Arizona. What’s wrong with a simple but traditional baby naming event or 100 day ceremony? Of course these days a lot of it is down to pumping up social media accounts. A friend recently returned from a holiday in Bali where she witnessed a group of women (possibly on a hen-do) sitting patiently on the pool deck dressed in towelling head-wraps and dressing gowns while they were professionally snapped - presumably for a #postspa grid image. Although they never actually made it to the treatment rooms. They were then photographed smiling over a delicious-looking plant-based breakfast that nobody ate. And then on the beach with surf boards that never touched the water. Gone are the days when such a do involved a Kodak roll of 24 photos on a disposable camera (23 of which came back over-exposed or blurred) and everyone staggered back to the hotel in the early hours, appallingly drunk on flaming sambucas and clutching a kebab. The list of ‘special’ events we are now expected to celebrate is reaching epic proportions. I don’t want to sound curmudgeonly but I do struggle with the need to commercialise practically every aspect of our lives. I’ll go with Mothering Sunday as it is an historic and religious occasion. But Father’s Day? Most men I know are ambivalent about their own birthday, so a day celebrating their


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

Gone are the days when everyone staggered back appallingly drunk on flaming sambucas and clutching a kebab

abilities - to be a dad? - always seems a bit of an effort for all concerned. And the Blonde Child has taken part in no less than three graduation ceremonies (nursery, kindie and early primary) and we’re still not sure if she’ll ever reach university.

Back in our Australian days, I was once invited to a baby shower. As an English girl of a 1980s and ‘90s sort of vintage, I’d never actually been asked to such a thing before, but it was a long-term friend expecting her first child. So, despite the two-hour drive and my misgivings about spending an afternoon cooing over baby photos with a bunch of women I didn’t know, I felt I should go and support her. My husband was already committed to a charity soccer match that afternoon so I packed the two-yearold Teen Child and the six-month-old Tween Child into the car and set off. Babies at a baby shower? Surely that was the done thing? “Oh! You brought the kids!” exclaimed the mother-to-be with a stiff smile as I staggered through the front door heaving nappy bags, potties, portacots and toys. I’m not sure where she had expected me to have hidden them. With grandparents 17,000 kilometres away in London the babysitting options were limited. I’d tried bunging the cleaner an unspecified wad of cash the previous Thursday, but she had smiled sympathetically and assured me she had ‘plans’ for the weekend. Fair enough. The afternoon progressed predictably enough. There were some pretty cringeworthy ‘games’ involving ‘dirty’ nappies and baby photos, some champagne (“You’re not drinking?” simpered a godmother-to-be. “Why didn’t you book to stay over so you wouldn’t have to drive home?” Because I’d actually rather stick nappy pins in my eyes than juggle a toddler and a baby on my own overnight in the Avoca Beach Hotel, but hey). None of the guests had children and all looked suitably appalled when the toddler had a meltdown when she wasn’t allowed to play with the tray of expensively-decorated cupcakes and the baby started smelling rather fruity. “Gosh, I’d forgotten what a handful children can be!” the grandmother-to-be murmured diplomatically as I made my excuses to depart, no doubt regretting the unlimited babysitting and daycare support she’d magnanimously offered her daughter previously that afternoon. But then again, ten years on and there are even business opportunities for ‘influencer’ grandparents. So throw the party, upload it to social media, keep the economy rolling. Sadly the only event I have on my iCal this weekend is for a beach clean-up. 73


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