August-September 2019





How to Get Dreamy Hair


with a Village View Villa

udoirs CRIBS & BEDS


It’s been a busy summer at Expat Living – and a bold summer for all of Hong Kong. As we witness the city’s current struggles, we’re hoping for the safety of everyone involved. What’s kept us so busy? For one thing, we released our annual City Guide. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone who is new here. In fact, I learnt a few tips from our panel of contributors and I’ve been here 10 years! That’s the great – and sometimes frustrating – thing about Hong Kong: it’s ever-evolving. If you’d like a copy of the City Guide, or know someone who could use one, see page 11 for details. Last month, we lent in to Plastic Free July and it’s made a lasting impression. It’s such a worthwhile exercise. Personally, I found committing to being conscious of how much plastic I encounter every day a real eye-opener. As a city, we have a long way to go when it comes to waste reduction. Our lovely intern Holly did a great job capturing tips for plastic-free living in Hong Kong; turn to the back page to consider them. This issue, I also devoured Melinda Murphy’s story, “Tracing Roots” (page 46). This piece has inspired me to delve into my own family history, although I doubt it will prove as interesting as Melinda’s – the way she weaves genealogy into her travels is fascinating. Speaking of travel, I’m glad to say that my home country of Australia plays a starring role in this issue. Last year, we spent January in Tasmania and it was the best family holiday we’ve ever had – hands down. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The kids had a ball, and we ate, drank and were merry. Tassie is just the start; there are so many great places to discover in Australia. If you have an interesting story to share from Australia or anywhere else in the world – including, of course, Hong Kong! – please do get in touch.


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Bicheno was a feast of stunning views and the cutest wildlife.




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TheNautilusMaldives Image courtesy of Lightfoot Travel (




A touch of luxury in the Maldives

BODY & MIND 64 News

PREGNANCY SPECIAL 66 Mental Health & Motherhood 68 Nursery Checklist 70 Pregnancy & Exercise

72 Au Naturel:

Two chemical-free products we love

74 Hair Heroes:

Tips on extensions and top treatments

TRAVEL 90 News 92 Cruise Control: The ultimate onboard entertainment 94 Maldivian Magic: 96 Destination Focus: Australia insights and reader recommendations 100 Margaret River with Kids: Adventures for all the family 104 Plan for Christmas: Travel ideas for the festive season REGULARS 106 Important Numbers 107 Our Advertisers 108 Parting Shot:

WINE & DINE 80 News 82 Taste Test: Two spots with a killer view 84 Lunch Locations:


Check out this new cruise ship

Six deluxe resorts to swoon over

15 great venues for daytime grub

86 Recipe Corner:

Fail-safe favourites for your repertoire

84 Lunch spots we love


8 tips for going plastic-free in HK

7 AUG-SEP2019


68 How to set up a nursery


Calendar of Upcoming Events

10 Follow Us Online

HOME & PROPERTY 14 News 16 * Showcase:

The Maddrens and their friendly Po Toi O neighbourhood

24 Home Sweet Home:

A frequent traveller’s dream bed

26 Compact Comfort: A mattress in a box! 28 Buying Guide: Ideas for your bedroom 32 Street Talk: What it’s like living in Pui O village


A deep-sleep guarantee

LIFE & FAMILY 36 News 38 On the Page: We preview the latest great reads 40 On the Screen: Our Netflix and podcast recommendations 42 Mid-Autumn Festivals: Where to go to celebrate 44 Little Ones & Languages: Start them early! 46 Tracing Roots: 50 People Profile: An architect’s journey 52 Banning the Bag: Visiting an ancestral home

28 Funky finds for your bedroom

Our favourites fragrances 70

57 Workplace Wellness: Is your office healthy? 58 Money Matters: Making your life plan

The truth behind our use of plastic

54 Splash Spots:

15 public pools to beat the heat

Showcase Features: Each issue, our home showcase features provide a through-the-keyhole look into some of our readers’ lifestyles and their interior design decisions. If you’d like us to profile your own home – whether it’s beautiful, quirky, historic or modern – and you’re willing to be interviewed and photographed, drop us a line at




Maldivian luxury at its best

BODY & MIND 64 News

PREGNANCY SPECIAL 66 Mental Health & Motherhood 68 Nursery Checklist 70 Pregnancy & Exercise

72 Au Naturel:

Two chemical-free products we love

74 Hair Heroes:

Tips on extensions and top treatments

TRAVEL 90 News 92 Cruise Control: The ultimate onboard entertainment 94 Maldivian Magic: 96 Destination Focus: Australia insights and reader recommendations 100 Margaret River with Kids: Adventures for all the family 104 Plan for Christmas: Travel ideas for the festive season REGULARS 106 Important Numbers 107 Our Advertisers 108 Parting Shot:

WINE & DINE 80 News 82 Taste Test: Two spots with a killer view 84 Lunch Locations:


Check out this new cruise ship

Six deluxe resorts to swoon over

15 great venues for daytime grub

86 Recipe Corner:

Fail-safe favourites for your repertoire

84 Lunch spots we love


8 tips for going plastic-free in HK

7 AUG-SEP2019


Angels Zumbathon 2019 (31 AUG)

EL Workshop

Home Styling Tips (29 AUG)

Angels Zumbathon returns this year for four hours of dance energy and fitness fundraising fun. The annual charity event started back in 2012 with only 70 participants; now in its seventh year, it’s expecting close to 500. All the best Zumba instructors will be there, including George Iu and Rachel Fok, and proceeds raised will benefit two after-school and counselling programmes for the children of Po Leung Kuk. zumbathon-2019 Mental Health First Aid Course (28-29 SEP) Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help given to someone who is developing or experiencing a mental health crisis before he or she can obtain professional treatment. Join this two-day MHFA training course conducted by accredited professionals.

“Your home should tell the story of who you are and be a collection of what you love,” says the team from The Home Stylist ( If you’re having a challenge telling the right kind of story in your own home, then join us for a morning of makeover tips. This fun, interactive talk will be packed full of trend advice and ideas to help you refresh your Hong Kong home. Join Expat Living and The Home Stylist amid the visual delights of the Altfield Interiors Showroom. See you there! Mandarin Oriental Wedding Fair (3-4 AUG) Head to this fair in the Mandarin Oriental to see the hotel’s banquet venues with picture-perfect settings and learn about its award-winning culinary offerings for your big day. Also on offer are beauty and grooming tips for brides, while a range of luxury brands will offer exclusive experiences to assist couples in planning their happily-ever-after. Charity Book Sale (UNTIL 31 AUG) Bookazine has launched its first-ever charity book sale in Hong Kong. The sale is on until 31 August, with proceeds going towards Room to Read, a leading global non-profit that has transformed the lives of over 16.8 million children. Swing by Bookazine Exchange Square, Bookazine Times Square and Bookazine Festival Walk to buy books at up to 70 percent off.

Mandarin Oriental Wedding Fair


Roméo et Juliette (9-11 AUG)

After performing in 18 countries across the world, the original French musical Roméo et Juliette: les enfants de Vérone , based on the iconic romantic classic by William Shakespeare, comes to Hong Kong for the first time in August as part of its Asia tour. Don’t miss the show when it arrives at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre for four performances.




International Arts Carnival

Theatre Bites (8 AUG – 28 SEP)

ArtisTree in Taikoo Place invites audiences to explore controversial social topics with ArtisTree Selects, a series of artistic programmes running until September. Moving Pieces will run from 8 August to 28 September with dance productions that each carry a unique narrative.


French Cuisine Collaboration (12 AUG) Le Comptoir’s two- Michelin-starred

Photo Credit: Kevin Parry

International Arts Carnival (UNTIL 18 AUG)

contemporary French restaurant Écriture will host award-winning chef Vincent Thierry of Chef’s Table, The Dome at Lebua for a special collaboration dinner. He’ll join forces with Écriture’s own Maxime Gilbert. Together, the two pioneering chefs will present an exclusive nine-course joint menu featuring creative French cuisine, for one night only. Hungry Ghost Festival (15 AUG)

If your family loves the performing arts, then this carnival offers a whole bunch of fun shows to attend together over the Summer. There’s everything from a stage adaption of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to a STEM show of Four Great Inventions and even a musical treasure hunt. Wonders of the Ocean (UNTIL 18 AUG) Experience the Wonders of the Ocean exhibition at IFC Mall, which allows you to walk underneath the largest creature to have ever lived: a 20-metre-long blue whale replica named Cherish. The exhibition includes rare fossils of early ocean life and specimens of curious creatures, a hyper-realistic 3D model and immersive whale augmented reality experience, and lots more. Trevor Noah Loud and Clear Tour (21 AUG) Trevor Noah, host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning programme The Daily Show in the US, is coming to Asia for the first time and bringing his new stand-up show, Loud and Clear . He toured his first one-man show in 2009, and his second show The Racist was a sold-out run at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe and one of the most talked- about shows at the Festival that year. Noah now sells out arenas around the world and is one of the most successful comedians in the world. Matilda The Musical (20 SEP – 6 OCT) Matilda The Musical will be making its debut in Hong Kong from 20 September at The Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Inspired by the beloved Roald Dahl book, the award-winning musical has been shown on London’s West End and Broadway and received five-star reviews. Having toured Australia and New Zealand from 2015 to 2017, it has now ventured into Asia, debuting in Singapore in early 2019.

According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the origin of the Hungry Ghost Festival is not unlike Halloween in Europe – it’s also intrinsically linked to the Chinese practice of ancestor worship. They add: “For visitors, it’s the perfect opportunity to see some of the city’s living culture in action, with many people tending to roadside fires and burning faux money and other offerings for ghosts and ancestors to use in the afterlife.” Mid-Autumn Festival (13 SEP) It will probably still feel like the peak of summer, but on 13 September we will celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival, with mooncakes and plenty of time spent with family! Mooncakes have an interesting history; they date back to the Yuan Dynasty when they were alleged to have been used to pass secrets between revolutionaries.

9 AUG-SEP2019

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August/September 2019 Issue48


BECOMING A How togetDreamyHair Mum




Christmas Breaks

witha Village View Villa



Boudoirs CRIBS & BEDS

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Our upcoming event! Visit to register.

DATES: 29 August 2019 26 September 2019 TIME: 10am — 12pm PLACE: Altfield Interiors Showroom PRICE: $680, includes refreshments and goodie bag THE HOME STYLIST HOME MAKEOVER EL WORKSHOP



Are you looking to make the most out of living in Hong Kong or know someone new in town who needs a helping hand? Whether you’ve just arrived or have been here a while, you’ll find loads of handy tips and advice on neighbourhoods to live in, property, education, health and more in the 2019/20 edition.

A L L Y O U N E E D T O N A V I G A T E L I F E I N T H E 8 5 2



Scan the QR code or visit:

*Free copy of our City Guide is while stocks last and limited to one copy per person, and valid only for Hong Kong addresses.

11 AUG-SEP2019


28 Buying Guide:

Furniture and décor ideas for the bedroom

Tequila Kola

16 Home Showcase: Inside a village house in Po Toi O

24 Mattress Matters: How to improve your sleep

32 Street Talk: Life in South Lantau


WHAT’S NEW Fa b u l o u s f a b r i c l engths f rom top decorative brands will be on sale in the Central showroom of Altfield Interiors from 12 to 22 August. Freshen up your look with a dash of colour, pattern and texture, and enjoy 50 percent off retail pr i ces on brands including Rubel l i , J i m T h omp s o n , Pierre Frey, Donghia, Pollack andmore! 1101 Nine Queen’s Road, Central. 2525 2738 |

Fabric Pop-up SALE!

Top Tiles Tile enthusiasts and home renovators will be excited to hear that Mosa has a new showroom in Hong Kong. The Dutch company has been making tiles for over 130 years, and the showroom features a complete tile collection for walls, floors and facades. You can obtain samples, chat to specialists and get inspired for your next project, whether it’s an entire building or just a bathroom.

Music Equals Happiness

A global survey by audio brand Sonos has revealed how music transforms people’s lives. Listening to music can reduce stress, increase productivity and improve health. The Hong Kong- based results showed that listening is essential to human culture, progress and happiness. A timely find! So, what are you waiting for? Put a record on and get back to work!

Black Out It seems black is the new black when it comes to interior design. At TREE, new collection “Graphic” features pieces crafted from sustainably sourced solid European oak stained in black. The details and motifs of intricately arranged triangles will deliver an impact in any room. Look out for slim-line legs that add a lifted look and feel. | @treehk_official


TIPS for Home Styling

In this fun, interactive session with The Home Stylist team, you’ll learn how to transform your rented apartment’s boring walls and adapt the latest interior trends to suit Hong Kong’s smaller spaces. Get lost in the visual delights of the Altfield Interiors Showroom and find inspiration to update your colour scheme! 29 August and 26 September, 10am-12pm; tickets available at



A village house that offers specular views, gorgeous entertaining spaces and a sense of community.





I f you believe that buying into a nice neighbourhood is important, then this village house at Po Toi Omight be your dream home. ALISONMADDREN and her family have lived in this village for a decade and, according to Alison, the Po Toi O community is one of the property’s most attractive qualities. It sounds like a lovely place to live, but the inside-to-outside living area on the bottom floor gets our vote. It’s the type of lifestyle space many of us dream of in Hong Kong. Here, Alison shares her insights into what makes this renovated family home and the Po Toi O neighbourhood so special. When did you move to Hong Kong and what brought you here? We came over 13 years ago, in January 2006 – a company relocation brought us here. Before that, we’d been living in New Zealand for three and a half years.

17 AUG-SEP2019

What’s the size and style of the home? This is a village house and it’s 2,100 square feet in size, which is the typical size for this kind of house in Hong Kong. Is it your first place in Hong Kong? Where else have you lived? We bought this house a couple of years into our time in Hong Kong; so, around 11 years ago. For the first two years, we were in Redhill Peninsula. Looking back, it feels like we were on a very typical “expat assignment” path before localising and buying in Po Toi O. What do you love about the area? Po Toi O is a hidden gem in Clearwater Bay, just before the Golf & Country Club. It’s still an original fishing village with seafood restaurants along the waterfront. The upper village has two small developments of 12 houses, with mostly expats living there.




What’s unusual about our village is the community. We get together with our neighbours at certain times of the year in the communal areas of either Seacrest Villas or Fairway Vista. We come together at Christmas, Halloween, or just for drinks and nibbles before everyone heads off for the summer. We also have a unique relationship with the local villagers and have meetings a few times a year just to discuss village issues. It’s a very harmonious relationship – we all care about the village. The villagers who own the seafood restaurants and live in the original village invite us to their festivals and come to our annual barbecue on the green. It’s a great community to live in. What drew you to this property? We have a spectacular view as you enter the village. There’s

a feeling of being in a quiet, remote place, yet we’re only a 10-minute drive to the nearest MTR and shops. There’s a large green area opposite our house where the kids can play. Plus, there’s no through-traffic on this street so it’s quiet and safe for the kids to be outside.

19 AUG-SEP2019

Have you renovated or modified any parts of the house?

Yes, we completely renovated the whole house. We did this in three stages while we lived here, so we didn’t have to move out. We started on the ground floor and did one floor at a time over three years. What’s your favourite room and why? The living room with open-plan kitchen is the heart of the house; that’s my favourite place. We renovated and installed sliding doors so the whole space can be opened. This means the liveable area continues from the kitchen, through the lounge and out on to the terrace. It’s provided us with a beautiful indoor/outdoor living room. Do you use the outdoor areas a lot? How do you cope with Hong Kong’s tough climate in these areas? Yes, we use our two outdoor spaces – in fact, all the time! To cope with the heat, we installed outdoor fans on the canopy and sitting-out area. We use our roof particularly in the evening. In this covered outdoor space, we have a pool table so the teens have somewhere to chill with their friends too. Outdoor lighting and speakers make it a fun adult or teen place to be.




We completely renovated the whole house in three stages while living here, so we didn’t have to move out.

21 AUG-SEP2019

How would you describe your interior design style? In this house, my style has been quite contemporary – or eclectic, even. There are some Asian influences in the interiors, but when it comes to the outdoor spaces, there’s probably more specifically a Balinese influence. Have you styled and designed the place yourself or used a professional? I did the styling, but the modifications made during the renovation were designed by our contractor Ray Lam (now of Fu May Decoration Works, previously Choi Design). Name a couple of your favourite pieces of furniture? An old Indonesian bench that we now keep outside, and my very comfortable bed! Are there any parts of the house you’d like to change? One of our neighbours raised their deck on the roof to include storage underneath and elevate their sitting area. They did this using reinforced glass as a barrier, which is a really cool thing to do. I would probably do that if I were to stay here longer. What’s your advice to those who have just landed in Hong Kong and are designing their first Hong Kong home? Don’t try and change everything at once – do it gradually. Your tastes will change, and when they do, take influence from something simple like a cushion or a picture, so use a variety of stores to buy things gradually. Also, stick to a neutral colour palette and perhaps have one feature wall with soft furnishings to match – all of which can be easily changed as and when your taste evolves.

Alison’s tips for renovating in Hong Kong #1 Get recommendations Get word-of-mouth advice from others on which contractors and designers to use. #2 Take control Keep good control of your timeline by project-managing things yourself. #3 Quality is key Try not to be tempted to buy the cheaper materials available frommainland China, especially for plumbing and windows. Save money on items like tiles instead; it’s possible to source good quality tiles locally. #4 Be neighbourly Pre-warn neighbours of any drilling or noisy construction work that might go on. #5 Take refuge Get a membership at a club so you can spend time away from the house if you’re living through a renovation.



D ream bed A Frequent Flyer’s

There’s no place like home – especially for someone who is constantly away on work trips. Business travellers need more sleep than non-travellers to stay healthy, which makes creating the perfect bedroom even more crucial!




A 2018 travel industry report revealed that more than two thirds of frequent work travellers agree that sleep quality just before and during a business trip is important to that trip’s success. Sadly, nearly one in six reported that they are presently or nearly “burnt out” on travel and considering changing to a role that involves less travel. The main cause of this burnout is nights away from home, followed by lack of sleep. So, how can we support the frequent travellers in our household? The answer is to help them get better sleep before and after their work trips. Finding the right bed makes home all the sweeter for Shawn, an expat executive now based in Hong Kong with his family, who travels about six months of the year. Shawn made a commitment to find a bed for their Hong Kong residence that would help him rest better when at home with his family. “I was planning to spend more time with my family in Hong Kong this year in any case, so we decided we needed a high-quality bed for our apartment,” Shawn explains. “For us, high quality means made with organic materials – organic is our preference.” After researching online and visiting the store, Shawn ordered both a frame and mattress from Okooko by European Bedding . He chose an Ergonomic Slatted Bed Base, which is made from FSC-certified beech wood. This bed can

We needed our mattress to be custom-made as we brought our king-bed frame across from Canada. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find a mattress that would fit the frame properly here. We also wanted a mattress that was made from latex, which we’d heard was eco-friendly. We ordered an organic latex mattress made by Heveya, along with two latex pillows. We chose medium firmness for the mattress that felt just right for both of us. We were also given the option to split the mattress vertically and have two different densities if Divya and I had different preferences. We’re extremely happy with our mattress and the experience with European Bedding. They know their product very well and provide a very personalised service. We also felt we received great value for the price we paid. Having experienced poor quality of sleep on our previous mattress, we now realise we should have made the change sooner. We’re very happy we can finally get a restful night of sleep! be customised with sliders and tailored to personal needs and sleeping positions. To go with it, he purchased a Heveya Natural Organic Latex Mattress II, made from two layers of natural organic latex, which contains no harsh chemicals or glues. We asked Shawn what he enjoys most about the new bed: “The Heveya is much more comfortable than my previous mattresses! I can tell you, as a man who travels a lot and who sits more than nine hours a day either on a plane or at my desk, this bed is really awesome.” So, what’s his advice to other frequent travellers looking for a good night’s sleep? “If time allows, I highly recommend you research online and visit the mattress shop you’re interested in. This was a success for me; I made the right choice. I hope anyone reading this will buy a mattress that improves their quality of sleep like I did.”

Rohan and Divya Singh, Canadian

Visit the Okooko by European Bedding showroom at 13/F, The Plaza LKF, 21 D’Aguilar Street, Central. 2870 1132 |

25 AUG-SEP2019


Wrangling a tiny lift or a walk-up? You need a mattress in a box!


Bonus discount for readers Expat Living readers can enjoy a 10 percent discount on top of the Emma website discount. Just use the code “EXPLIV19”. You can now order an Emma mattress online and have it delivered to your door for a 100-day trial. That’s more than three months to work out if you’ve chosen the right product. #3 It provides a calm sleeping experience, even if your bed mate is a restless sleeper.  Small spaces can mean no more king-sized bed. This is devastating news for anyone who shares a bed with an active sleeper. The good news is that Emma’s 3cm-thick Airgocell foammeans the restless sleeper can move the whole night and their partner won’t feel a thing. 3 reasons why the #1 It breathes.  The special foam and climate-regulating top cover allow air to flow through the mattress, keeping you cool at night. #2 It’s a natural remedy against allergens.  The Purotex technology is especially useful for people who suffer from House Dust Mite Allergy (HDMA). This means one less allergen to fight in our polluted environment. Emma Original mattress works for Hong Kong homes

Ask any expat and they’ll share a horror story of new furniture or a favourite piece brought from their home country that hasn’t made it past the lobby because it wouldn’t fit in the lift. Many of those tales are about king-size beds – they’re simply too big for some Hong Kong elevators. When it comes to buying a mattress here, this is no longer a problem. Modern mattresses offer a whole new experience; they can be delivered to your door in a more compact format – a box! It’s almost as if they’re made for our high-rise apartments with tiny lifts. Hong Kong presents another unique challenge when it comes to bedding and mattresses: our hot nights mean sweaty times for those of us who don’t like to sleep in air-conditioning. We also don’t have the space to air our mattresses like we would back home. As a result, we need to choose a mattress with protection and an option that allows for easy cleaning. Clean mattresses are especially relevant when kids are small. One customer of the popular mattress retailer Emma shares her story: “I’m a new mum, and it’s hard work. My friends and I are always talking about our kids, and how we miss sleep! I have an Emma mattress, and it’s made a big difference. I fall asleep faster and my back and shoulders feel great. The Emma has a removable cover that has made life so much easier. It’s easy to clean… let me tell you, when you have a baby, there are lots of spills and accidents, so get ready!”




A bedroom is one of the rooms in your home that you really need to love being in – and it needs to be both pretty and practical. Here are some ideas to help you get yours into a more lovable shape! 1 Affair Cosmopolitan bed, customisable to any size and in any fabric, from HK$19,000, Tequila Kola








1 San Diego rose armchair with velvet and gold-finish stainless steel legs, $9,980, Tequila Kola 2 Teak bedframe, from $16,950, TREE 3 Bedroom wallpaper and upholstery fabric, price on request, Altfield Interiors 4 Pure silk carpets and designer rugs, price on request, CarpetBuyer 5 Eloise fabric collection from Colefax & Fowler, from $840 per metre, Altfield Interiors

29 AUG-SEP2019



7 8


6 Heveya Bamboo Sheet Set, inclusive of fitted sheet, duvet cover and two pillowcases, from $2,280, Okooko by European Bedding 7 Weitzner wallpaper, $600 per yard, Altfield Interiors 8 Oak wardrobe with sliding doors, $34,450, TREE 9 Mini Puricatione Vertico table lampstand, $2,350, TREE





10 Heveya Natural Organic Latex Mattress III, encased in bamboo fibre removable cover; available in various sizes and levels of firmness,

from $18,500 (single), Okooko by European Bedding 11 Milano


trimmings collection from Samuel & Sons, from $250 per yard, Altfield Interiors 12 Velvet check bedspread, $2,950, TREE 13 Sweet Home chest-of-drawers in carved solid wood, $8,980, Tequila Kola



Altfield Interiors 2525 2738 | CarpetBuyer 2850 5508 | Okooko by European Bedding 2870 1132 | Tequila Kola 2877 3295 | Directory

TREE 2870 1582 |

31 AUG-SEP2019


Born in Liverpool in the UK, artist and creative director MARTIN LEVER has lived in Hong Kong since he was nine. Here, he takes us for a spin around his Lantau village.

Where do you live? Pui O Village, South Lantau.

How long have you been here? Four years in Pui O; Hong Kong since 1979.

Why this suburb? Space. Trees. Beaches. And a real sense of community. What transport is available in your suburb? Buses and ferries and taxis. Planes and trains are a short drive away.




Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joint is:

For watching the footy: JK Club. For talking nonsense: Tap Tap. For watching the sun go down: Treasure Island. For craft ale: The Water Buffalo. For beef in black bean sauce with ho fan noodles: Mau Kee. You won’t find better local food than: Home-made linguine vongole with clams plucked from the beach. Not always as sediment-free as you’d hope for! The strangest thing you’ll ever see in your neighbourhood is: Campers with wheely-suitcases. What is that all about? The best bargains in the neighbourhood are: The hills, the sea and the sky. It’s all free.

When you’re in need of a dose of culture you: Anyone for Chinese opera? A mandatory stop for taking out of town guests is: Tai O fishing village. Sat literally in the sea and seemingly constructed from old sticks and cast-off corrugated iron, its longevity is nothing short of miraculous. A common myth about your area is: It’s a long way away. (Ssshhh, don’t tell anyone!)

When you walk out of your house, what’s the first thing you see? Quite often, a large and generally friendly buffalo. What’s the closest store to your front door? If you’re in the market for cooking oil, instant noodles or sugary Filipino snacks, there’s a family-run village shop five minutes’ walk away. If your needs are more diverse, Mui Wo has all the usual suspects. The unofficial uniform of your suburb is: Sartorial elegance is at a premium. If a celebrity moves in, he or she would likely be: Ignored.

The guiltiest local pleasure is: Shouldn’t all pleasure be guilt-free?

One thing you’d never change is: The buffaloes.

If you wake up at night it’s usually because of: A toad chorus.

If the city gave you HK$5M to soup up your area, what would you do? No upgrading required. Just removal of all abandoned cars, rusting shipping containers and illegally dumped construction waste. I’m happy to pocket any change.

A massive late-night rager in your suburb involves: Sitting in the pub. There are no bright lights and velvet ropes.

DO YOU LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD? Share it with others – just email us at with “Street Talk” in the subject line. Include your name and street, and we’ll be in touch.

33 AUG-SEP2019


Petit Tippi

38 Views & Reviews: New books, Netflix shows and more

46 Family Trees: Exploring an ancestral home

54 Pool Power: Our roundup of some great swimming spots



Brisbane’s premier co-educational day and boarding school, St Peters Lutheran College, is holding information sessions in Hong Kong on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 August. Located in the Queensland capital, St Peters is a Prep to Year 12 College with a 75-year history. It offers multiple educational pathways including ATAR, International Baccalaureate and Vocational Education in the Senior years, with comprehensive cultural, sporting, co-curricular and pastoral care programmes. To attend a session, contact the Director of Community Engagement, Ross Thomson, at to register your interest. +61 7 3377 6580 | INFO SESSIONS FOR AN AUSSIE SCHOOL

Finding Balance Do you find Hong Kong’s attitude to work-life balance a struggle? You’re not alone. Aetna International surveyed 2,000 expat employees across the globe, to find out which aspects of international relocation affect their health and wellbeing the most. The result is the International WorkforceWell-Being Survey 2019, and it revealed that half of the expats in Hong Kong felt the city’s attitude towards achieving work-life balance was negative. It’s a sad statistic, and one that we all hope can turn around in the future.

Blooming Beauty Receiving the gift of flowers is one of life’s great joys. Sending them also makes us feel pretty good. If you have a flower enthusiast in your life, try treating them to something special from The Mandarin Flower Shop. There are no excuses now, because you can order online and easily send that special someone a distinctive floral bouquet or exclusive Mandarin Oriental gift. French designer Cedric Amani creates stylish bouquets by adding a personal touch to each piece while using only quality fresh flowers from around the globe. Beautiful.





Hong Kong students excelled in their IB results again for the academic year 2018-2019. The Expat Living team sends our heart-feltcongratulations toall the city’s hard-working graduating students this summer. We also acknowledge their supportive parents and familymembers, and, of course, the incredible teachers who guide our kids through this very rigorous experience. Pictured: French International School students Cloe C ( left ) and Layla S ( right ), who both achieved perfect IB scores. Well done, ladies!

Birthday Bash Island Dance celebrated 26 years of teaching dance in Hong Kong with Dance Evolution!, a series of sensational annual shows performed at Y-Theatre in June. The company’s motto, “Turning passion into performance”, was well and truly on display, with over 200 children performing at each show to sold out audiences of parents and friends. Island Dance offers Disco Freestyle, Hip Hop, Ballet and Tap classes at 16 venues around Hong Kong, Kowloon and Lantau. The new term starts on 19 August for dancers aged 18 months to 18 years. 2987 1571 |

Asian Tigers Mobility provides international relocation solutions for more than 16,000 families each year, with offices in 14 different territories. In this regular column, they provide a range of different moving advice for anyone who is coming to Hong Kong or heading off on a new assignment. “Where can I make new friends?” Moving to a new country is never an easy decision to make, as the things and people around you are likely to be entirely different to what you’re used to. Making new friends can be a comfort; the question is, how to meet them? Joining an association is one good idea. There are associations in Hong Kong that are run specifically by expats, and others that openly welcome expats to join. They can be helpful in many ways; aside from giving you the chance to meet like-minded people, some of them hold city tours to help you find your feet; others offer volunteering opportunities that can be a great way to feel fulfilled in your new home.

Another way to find friends is through a social club. This is particularly useful if you have a specific interest or want to develop one. Meeting new friends and discovering new hobbies are both essential for expats, so it’s a brilliant idea to achieve both at once. Finally, it’s now so simple to connect with others via different online platforms – and Facebook is an obvious and helpful place to start. You’ll find a huge array of community-based expat groups with Facebook pages for discussing issues and dispensing tips about local services and more.

Find our more at

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10 new and notable books recommended by the team at Bookazine.



The Testaments Margaret Atwood

Guts Raina Telgemeier

In this long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale , fans will finally learn what happened to our heroine Offred. With The Testaments , readers will skip 15 years into Gilead’s future through the testaments of three female narrators.

After Raina and her mother wake up one night with terrible stomach aches, they assume it’s a bug that will pass in time. Raina returns to school, and while navigating her friendships and the school year, she begins to worry those aches aren’t just a bug. Frankly in Love David Yoon

Quichotte Salman Rushdie

Quichotte follows spy thriller writer Sam DuChamp as he pens the story of addled salesman Quichotto who’s on a cross-America quest to prove unrequited love. Meanwhile, in the real world, DuChamp faces a midlife crisis and challenges of his own. The Warehouse Rob Hart The American economy is dominated by Cloud, a giant tech company that mixes Big Brother and Big Business with a shiny façade. The Warehouse follows new employee Paxton, who is completely invested in the company lifestyle, and Zinnia, an undercover operator. The Girl at the Window Rowan Coleman Trudy has lost her beloved husband, wants to do the best for her young son in denial and is attempting to reconnect with her eccentric mother. She must now return to the home in the Yorkshire moors that she ran away from in her youth. During a difficult time in 2005, The Walt Disney Company welcomed CEO Robert Iger. Now, he’s recognised as one of the most successful CEOs of our era. In The Ride of a Lifetime , he reveals howhe reinvented one of the most beloved companies in the world. Talking to Strangers Malcolm Gladwell Gladwell takes us on an intellectual and challenging analysis of history and the evening news. Is there something wrong with howwe engage with each other? This is a guidebook for avoiding misunderstandings through the dissection of real life events. NON-FICTION The Ride of a Lifetime Robert Iger & Joel Lovell

Frankwas born and raised in Southern California by his traditionalist Korean parents, who want him to marry a nice Korean girl. But Frank’s in love with an American girl from school. He devises a plan to ease his parents’ worries while continuing his American teenage life. TheTrials of Apollo4: Tyrant’s Tomb Rick Riordan Apollo, now known as Lester Papadopoulos, is on the path to restoring five ancient oracles to reclaim his godly powers, taken when he was banished from Olympus and turned into a human. Join him as he tries to help old friends survive in the face of his worst foe yet. DogMan 7: ForWhom the Ball Rolls Dav Pilkey

The newest edition to this popular series sees Dog Man learning to overcome bad habits with the help of the Supa Buddies. At the same time, Petey the Cat is starting a new life with Lil’Petey, but needs to discover the difference between being good and doing good.

Find Bookazine outlets in various Hong Kong locations including Shop 326-328, Landmark Prince’s Building, Central, and Shop 3092C, IFC Mall, Central, or visit the e-shop at




Exhausted from racing around with the kids over the holidays? You all could use some downtime! Try these recommendations from readers and EL editors.


BEAT BUGS, SEASONS 1 TO 3 (Suitable for all ages)


Our kids, who are nearly five and three, have been obsessed with Beat Bugs for a little while now. Yes, it’s a cartoon, but you will love it too. Each episode follows the adventures of a group of cheerful garden animals and features a different song by The Beatles. The characters are endearing and there is always a lovely message or life lesson given. We love listening to the girls wandering around the house absentmindedly singing The Beatles, because, after all, all you really do need is love. – Kel Flanders, EL Editor and parent to Avery and Alexia

BLUE PLANET II (Suitable for all ages) This BBC series combines amazing cinematography with captivating insights into the animal world beneath the waves. Each episode shows a different aspect of ocean life, ranging from the biggest animal of all, the blue whale, to the smallest of all

BRAINCHILD (For ages 3 and up)

I really love this series. It’s funny and I always feel like I’ve learnt something. I like that it is made for children but covers some topics that not even Mum and Dad can answer for me! – Ashley (age 10)

WHAT/IF (SEASON 1) Okay, so the first thing you will notice is that Renée Zellweger has had work done. A lot of work. But once you accept that Bridget Jones has disappeared forever, she is actually terrific in this series. She is calculating, clever and terrifying. Zellweger plays Anne Montgomer y, a wealthy venture capitalist with a dark past. She sets her sights on young couple Lisa and Sean Ruiz, and uses manipulative tactics, intimidation and money to get what she wants. It’s a bit raunchy at times and the twists and turns will have you saying “I didn’t see that coming” during every episode. The haunting sub- plots and the brilliantly cold performance of Zellweger will have you binge-watching the 10 episodes over a few days! – Kel Flanders

sea creatures. I found the episode about deep-sea animals the most fascinating but highly recommend the whole series. With the incredible voice talents of narrator David Attenborough complementing the already spectacular programme, this documentary is definitely worth watching. – Nikita (age 13)

ASK THE STORYBOTS, SEASONS 1 & 2 (For ages 3 and up) Any series that is educational, engaging and guest-stars Snoop Dogg and a host of other Hollywood names is always going to be popular in my house! It tackles those annoying – I mean wonderful – questions that children ask, like “Why do I have to brush my teeth?”, “How do computers work?” and “What is electricity?” It’s easy to watch, using animation and real life. Each programme lasts just over 20 minutes and will keep the kids’ attention the whole time.

– Justine Milard, reader and parent to Lucy and James





OVER MY DEAD BODY This podcast isn’t as captivating as Dirty John , but it’s still very intriguing. It chronicles the love story, which turned deadly, of lawyers Dan Markel and Wendi Adelson, a successful and attractive couple in Tallahassee, US. It focuses on Dan’s death, when he’s gunned down in the driveway of his home, after a very drawn-out and hostile divorce. The investigative reporting focuses on the whodunnit and the lengths a family will go to in order to find peace and answers. There are seven episodes lasting about 35 to 40minutes each, so it’s easy to listen to without a huge time commitment. – Jenny Morrison, reader



TALES FROM THE LILYPAD My two girls love this podcast! It’s a series of stories for young children that are about 15 to 20 minutes long. It’s narrated by Lily, a frog, and it’s perfect for bedtime. We listen with the lights out after we’ve read a real book. It makes my girls look forward to bedtime –

This isn’t a new podcast by any means, but it’s a recent discovery for me. I’m now hooked. It’s the eclectic mix of interesting guests who Brand interviews that makes

it so worth listening to – fromdoctors and scholars, random celebrities, spiritual healers to former US Vice President Al Gore. I’m not really a big Russell Brand fan, but I always feel like I’m learning something new and fascinating each episode! – Sarah Law, reader

winning! A new story is uploaded most months and they also create themed stories for Easter, Halloween and other holidays. – Rebecca Simpson, Expat Living Hong Kong Editor



HEADSPACE APP We l o v e He a d s p a c e ! It’s an app to assist with mindfulness andmeditation. Our Mum and Dad have the app on their phones, and they let us use it when we can’t fall asleep or we have lots of thoughts that keep us awake!

We chose the kids exercises; you can select them by age group. Most sessions take around five to 10 minutes; the older you are the longer they go. We listen to Headspace once or twice a week. Sadie: “I like listening to Andy; he helps me fall asleep by relaxing me and making me feel calm.” Róisín: “I tell my friends to listen to Andy when they’ve had a busy day and can’t relax. It’s also good when you are feeling upset or worried.” – Sadie and Róisín (age 8)

ALEX RIDER, ANTHONY HOROWITZ (11 BOOKS, WITH TWOMORE TO BE RELEASED) If you’re looking for something to keep your kids entertained for the whole summer, try the Alex Rider series of books. The audio books kept us sane last year! Alex is a young spy and each book tackles a mission for him to solve – usually saving the world in the process. Our 10- and 14-year-olds loved them, and they kept the adults engaged too! – Rachel Croft, reader and parent to Libbie and Finlay

41 AUG-SEP2019

M id-Autumn Festival will soon be upon us, which means it’s time to break out the lanterns to honour the long-time tradition of families giving thanks for the harvest. Held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month in the Chinese calendar – which, this year, is Friday 13 September – the festival historically marks and celebrates the end of the autumn period of harvesting crops. During this thanksgiving celebration, families would traditionally gather to eat mooncakes and admire the full moon. Moon worship also played a part; food was offered to the moon, and lanterns were carried to symbolise its light. Halfway through September this year marks the time to embrace one of Hong Kong’s more colourful celebrations.

Modern Celebrations So, how do people recognise Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong these days? Well, we still come together to celebrate with family – and, for many expats, that can mean being with our close friends because we’re away from family back in our home countries. A must-see event over the course of the festival period is the enormous fire dragon dance in Tai Hang. At this event, a Chinese dragon constructed with 70,000 glowing incense sticks winds through the streets down to Tin Hau, behind Causeway Bay. It’s quite a sight! This year, the spectacle will be held for three nights, from 12 to 14 September, starting at around 8.15pm each evening. (For details, visit If you can’t make it to Tai Hang, the good news is that there are local gatherings held all over the city. Here’s our guide to some of the best places for enjoying the festivities.



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