February - March 2017
HOMES • FAMILY • ARTS • FOOD • TRAVEL • FASHION • HEALTH • BEAUTY
SINGAPORE HONG K NG
Romantic Gifts Parenting &You
2017 YOUR STARS Fabulous, Fit &Firm Howtobe ART GUIDE
Apartments to Let
One of the best movies I’ve seen recently is Bad Moms . I watched it one night as I sat amongst piles of laundry and toys, worn out from trying to “do it all” – so the film was a welcome reminder that I don’t have to! As I write this, my boys are in the middle of school holidays, and we’ve done something different every day. As I was contemplating what we would do today, I realised that I can’t remember my parents ever working this hard to entertain us as kids; we were pretty much left to our own devices during the holidays. These days, some would consider that bad parenting, while others would argue that being a little less hands-on is essential for building a child’s resilience, and your own sanity… One thing that has become abundantly clear to me as a parent is that everyone has a different way of doing things, and even though, at the end of the day, we all love our kids the same, it’s so easy to get caught up in the opinions of others. Parenting in an age when we have so much access to information can be a double-edged sword (online forums and Dr Google have a lot to answer for!); wading through all that information and ignoring those who make you feel like a “bad mom” can be one of parenting’s greatest challenges. A few years ago I wrote a piece on parenting advice, because unless you parent under a rock, you’re bound to get it from everyone you know. I sought advice from mums and aunties who had come through the parenting years and were now on the other side. They all said the same things: Enjoy it while it lasts; this too shall pass; don’t be afraid to ask for help; and don’t listen to anyone who tells you you’re doing it wrong – find your own way. Here at Expat Living , we’re all parents ourselves so we get it, and we’ve tried hard this issue to bring you information that we hope you’ll find really useful – however you choose to parent. And when all else fails, there’s always my number one piece of advice, which comes from another favourite movie in our family: just keep swimming! Until next time …
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Cover: Altfield Interiors (altfield.com.hk)
UPFRONT 12 What’s New 14 What’s On
25 Exploring a Repulse Bay home
Calendar of upcoming events
16 Follow Us!
HOME & PROPERTY 20 News 22 Wall Candy: We preview the Asia Contemporary Art Show 25 * Showcase:
Elice Park’s Repulse Bay retreat
34 * Showcase:
Kate Crofton-Atkins’ home at The Peak
42 Shopping Ideas:
Fab finds for your living room
47 At Home With:
Penny Seymour in her Sheung Wan apartment
LIFE & FAMILY 60 News 61 Rated PG: Our regular parenting column 63 Book Previews JAZZY JEWELLERY 64 Gleaming gifts for Valentine’s Day 66 Finding your fashion Zen
52 Street Talk: Living in Tai Po 54 On The Market:
Properties for sale and lease
Ideas for your
Unique Valentine’s Day gifts
69 Special Event:
Children’s health and parenting
70 Mums & Dads:
The challenges facing expat parents
82 Chinese Zodiac:
72 Boarding Schools
Whether you’re a Rat or Rooster, find out what’s in store this year
Options in Asia and beyond
79 Health Insurance: The right advice for 2017 80 Tax Tips
86 Social Pages:
Photos from recent parties and openings
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 email@example.com.
BODY & MIND 96 News 98 Super Food:
Three ways to a more nutritious year
101 Homeopathy 101 102 Fitness Solutions:
Innovative ways to get in shape
104 Anxiety in Kids: How parents can help WINE & DINE
112 News 113 Wine 114 Taste Test:
New restaurants reviewed
116 The AGA Oven 117 Behind the Scenes: We meet Chef Michael White 118 Recipe Corner:
A cookbook aimed at domestic helpers
TRAVEL 124 News 126 Latin America: 10 reasons to visit 128 Bali Weekender 134 City Focus:
What to do, buy and try in Havana
136 Singapore Stopover: Revisiting a hotel favourite
126 Why Latin America is a travel hotspot
Thai treats and other eats
10 reasons tovisit LatinAmerica in
REGULARS 138 Important Numbers to Keep Handy 139 Our Advertisers 140 Parting Shot: The heart of the matter
#5Adventure Combined with Luxury
Ifyou’vedecided that2017 is the time for an epic travel adventure, there’s nothing more epic than Latin America! Whether you have three weeks to exploremultiple countries or seven days to visit just one, there are countless reasons tomake this your nextdestination.Weasked the experts at Lightfoot Travel togiveus ten.
tropicalbeaches inMexicoand thedense jungleof theAmazon. There’s something for everyone, and it is this that helpsmake LatinAmerica such adiverse and exciting continent.
Colombia is the place tobe thisyear.Findeverything fromcrystal-clearCaribbean beaches to incrediblepre-Columbianhistory,wildlife and culture.Cartagena is oneof the great SouthAmerican cities, and ithas a slewofnewhotelsopening up in2017.Visitnowbefore the secret gets out and the crowds arrive!
LatinAmerica is one of those placeswhere you can be totally roughing it during the day in themost remote of locales, and then retreat back to your luxury lodge in the evening. These exquisite lodges are amongst the finest in the world, and knowing that you’re in themiddle of absolutely nowhere is a novelty.
Lightfoot Travel is a Hong Kong-based travel agency specialising in luxury tailor-made itineraries to destinations around theworld.Call28150068 tospeak toaLatinAmerica specialistor visit lightfoottravel.com formore information. Definitely one of those “must visit before they changeplaces”, Cuba saw a huge influx of visits in 2016, set to increase exponentially in 2017. Havana is among themost evocative of cities, still capital of one of the last remaining communist counties. It oozes character, with the crumbling colonial architecture,brightlycolouredclassicAmericancars,old ladies puffing homemade cigars, and livley bars serving ice-cold mojitos. The people youwillmeet on a Latin America trip are a huge part of thewhole experience. Chat to the locals as youwalk through the enormousmarkets inOtavalo,Ecuador; staywith a remote Amazonian tribe; visit weaving cooperatives in the Peruvian Andes; or ride across the Pampas with Argentine gauchos , or cowboys. #10 Cuba
LatinAmericaprovidesmemorablehoneymoonoptions thatcombineadventure, luxury hotels, beach and culture – the ultimate splurgewhen travelling from Asia. Popular combinations includeArgentina andChile,Galapagos and Peru, andGuatemalaandBelize, thoughyoucanmixandmatchanywayyouchoose.
The Incans, Aztecs,Mayans and RapaNui all come tomind, as do their spectacular sites. There is also the opportunity to experience the relics of lesser known pre-Columbian civilisations across the region. It’s ahistorybuff’sdream!
This is a hugely rewarding part of theworld for family holidays thanks to the array of experiences that really educate children and get them outdoors and active.Learnaboutwildlife in theGalapagos Islands, trace thestepsof theancient Incas in Peru, learn to snorkel and dive inMexico or Belize, or experience the benefits of eco-tourism first-hand inCostaRica. Latin America is verymuch on themap as a true foodie destination, with a number of restaurants rated amongst theworld’s top 50. Feast on enormous beef steaks in Argentina, sip on some fine NewWorld wines in Chile, dare to sample the traditional dish of guinea pig in Peru, or kick backwith a few caipirinhas inBrazil. #4 Food& Drink
TheAmazon, theGalapagos Islands and thePantanal are iconic wildlifedestinationswhere visitorshave theprivilege to see the likes of jaguars, giant anteaters, penguins and iguanas, along withahugediversityofbirdandmarine life.For thosewho love wildlife and photography, these destinations are truly up there alongsideanAfricasafari in termsofultimatewildlifeexperiences.
Expect incredible contrasts in natural vistas, fromwindswept Patagonia and the vast Salar deUyuni salt pans in Bolivia, to
French linen house Blanc des Vosges has launched in Hong Kong, bringing its range of carefully crafted, high-quality linens and stylish home accessories to SOGO Department Store in Causeway Bay. A family run company, it has been manufacturinghighly coveted 100percent combed cotton linens since 1843. The hand-cut and finely stitched linens are available in classic and bold designs with colours to suit every décor and taste. In addition to bed linens, customers in Hong Kong will also be able to choose from stylish cushions and throws, chic kimonos and bathrobes, and table linen. Sogo Shop 33, 9/F, 555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay. 2521 2728 | blancdesvosges.com CLASSIC & COVETED
Chow’s a Champ The respected May Chow , chef and owner of Little Bao in Hong Kong and Bangkok, has been named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2017. Chow is set to collect her gong at the fifth annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony on 21 February. The prestigious award is part of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants programme, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. More than 300 industry leaders from across the region voted for the best female chef award; Hong Kong chef Vicky Lau won the award in 2015. theworlds50best.com
Harbour Crossing Kids’ clothing line Cigogne Bébé , renowned for using organic, naturally coloured cotton, has moved locations after two years at Tsim Sha Tsui. It has now set up shop at Wan Chai, with a ground-
floor store making the shopping experience more convenient for customers. To celebrate the move, new promotions and sales are available on the store’s range of comfortable, safe and stylish baby clothing. G/F, 69 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai. 2345 6164 cigognebebe.com
Gem of a Partnership Duddell’s is launching its first afternoon tea, in collaboration with Monica Vinader, a leading British luxury jewellery brand. Starting on Valentine’s Day, the Duddell’s x Monica Vinader afternoon tea will see guests enjoy Cantonese delicacies, as well as receive a coral Monica Vinader Fiji Friendship Bracelet symbolising luck, worth HK$1,400. The tea set includes tasty bites such as lobster dumplings with scallop, and egg tarts with bird’s nest and gold leaf, and is priced at $900 per person. Guests can also enjoy the tea offering at $238 with a voucher for a 15 percent discount at Monica Vinader in place of the bracelet. Weekdays from 14 February. 2525 9191 | duddells.co
KidsFest (UNTIL FEB 12)
Don’t miss the final shows of KidsFest at the start of February. ABA Productions launched the festival in 2012, with the aim of bringing world-class theatre to young people in Hong Kong. The last shows of the season include Julia Donaldson’s The Snail and the Whale , a fun twist on Shakespeare with Romeo and Juliet Untold and Michael Morpurgo’s Why the Whales Came . Drama Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai. kidsfest.com.hk
CONCERTS & SHOWS
James Taylor (23 FEB)
Dragonland Music Festival (26 FEB)
He has sold more than 100 million albums since 1968, won five Grammys and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now James Taylor, the hit- maker behind classics such as “You’ve Got a Friend”, “Wind and Fire” and “Carolina in my Mind”, is coming to HK. One of the best-selling artists of all time, Taylor will perform with his All-Star Band for one show only. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai. hkticketing.com Tom Jones Live (25 FEB) Who hasn’t sung along to “It’s Not Unusual”, “Delilah” or “What’s New Pussycat” at karaoke or on a night out? The appeal of Tom Jones’ hits spans the generations, and now the Welsh singing superstar returns with his rescheduled
Bringing together the genres of electronic dance music and pop, the Dragonland Music Festival offer four outdoor concerts over three days. Featuring artists such as local favourite Leon Lai, the Black Eyed Peas, Iggy Azalea and Carly Rae Jepsen among many others, it’s sure to be a big weekend. Central Harbourfront Event Space. hotdogtix.com
SPORT Longines Masters of Hong Kong (10-12 FEB)
This international indoor showjumping competition finishes its journey in HK with a three-day event featuring some of the world’s best horses and riders. Organised by the Hong Kong Equestrian Foundation and the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Masters includes social events and activities at the Prestige Village. AsiaWorld-Expo, Cheong Wing Road, Chek Lap Kok. longinesmasters.com Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon (12 FEB) The Standard Chartered Marathon is one of the signature sporting events in HK and a Gold Label Road Race event, which means it’s one of the leading road races in the world. Organised by the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association, it drew 74,000 participants last year. Participants can take part in the full or half marathon, or a 10km race. There’s also a 3km and 10km wheelchair race. From Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui to Victoria Park, Causeway Bay. hkmarathon.com
show at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition
Centre. Don’t miss the Godfather of Modern Soul
in an intimate setting for one very special evening.
WINE & DINE
Beerfest Asia Hong Kong (2-5 MAR)
The growing number of fans of craft beer in HK will be pleased to hear Beerfest is back, offering four days of brews, food and entertainment. Along with world- class craft beers, more than 20 live bands and DJs will perform. There will also be food, and games and challenges to take part in. West Kowloon Cultural District, Tsim Sha Tsui. beerfestasiahk.com Taste of Hong Kong (16-19 MAR) Central Harbourfront is playing host again to Asia’s premier restaurant festival. Visitors can see top chefs such as Michelin-starred Paul Lau from The Ritz-Carlton and Arcane’s Shane Osborne in action. You can also sample dishes from some of HK’s best restaurants, as well as enjoy wine tastings and live entertainment, and pick up premium food and drink from artisan producers in the Gourmet Market. Central Harbourfront Event Space. hongkong.tastefestivals.com
Hong Kong Arts Festival
Hong Kong Arts Festival (16 FEB – 18 MAR)
Hong Kong’s major performing arts festival brings together leading local and international artists in all genres including opera, dance, theatre, multimedia and installation. “Festival PLUS” activities will include lectures, masterclasses, workshops, backstage visits, exhibitions and educational events. Various locations. hk.artsfestival.org Asia Contemporary Art Show (17-20 MAR) Whether you’re after original paintings, limited editions, sculpture or photography, you’ll be able to browse and buy thousands of artworks from both established and emerging artists at the show. The tenth edition of the event has several new features, including a section dedicated to contemporary Chinese art, called China Perspectives. Conrad Hong Kong, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong. asiacontemporaryart.com
Art Central (21-25 MAR) Art Central showcases 100 contemporary galleries with a dynamic programme that includes installations, panel discussions and short films. Tours are also on offer for those interested in contemporary art and collecting. Now in its third year, Art Central has attracted international attention, with about 30,000 visitors last year. 9 Lung Wo Road, Central (opposite Hong Kong City Hall). artcentralhongkong.com Art Basel (23-25 MAR)
Art Basel is an international art fair staged in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong that aims to connect galleries and their patrons. Works from both established and emerging contemporary artists from 242 galleries and 34 countries will be exhibited. The establishment of Art Basel in HK has led to a number of satellite events, and to March being considered as the city’s “Art Month”. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Road, Wan Chai. artbasel.com
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Showcase: Elice Park’s Repulse Bay retreat
22 Wall Candy: We preview the Asia Contemporary Art Show
42 Furniture Finds: Great ideas for decking out your living room
52 Street Talk: An insider’s look at living in Tai Po
HOME & PROPERTY
Considering a career change? Or perhaps you have an interest in home decorating that you want to develop? Insight School of Interior Design has courses to suit. Its next Introduction to Interior Design course starts on 2 March and gives an overview of interior design in eight weekly lessons. The Residential Interiors Certificate offers a more in-depth curriculum covering the architectural and decorative aspects of interior design. Enrol full-time over three months from 20 February or part-time over a year, starting in September. Short courses are also available with topics such as feng shui and the history of 20th century furniture. And mention this article for a 10 percent discount! 2114 2021 insightschoolhk.com CLASS ACTION
Wooden it be Nice? Stockroom has built a reputation for offering affordable furniture without skimping on design and quality. It’s now expanding its popular wood collection with new offerings including the Elroy table, made of recycled solid elm wood, and the solid oak Shelly bookshelf, which comes in various sizes. It’s also tapping into the trend for dark finishes, with new pieces in an elegant smoke espresso finish, such as the chic oak Chanda chest of drawers, the Bonham tall cabinet with a retro two-toned finish, and the Liora solid oak TV cabinet. Shoppers can enjoy up to 30 percent off these new products, too. stockroom.com.hk
Colour My World Looking to brighten up your home with a fresh look? Iqbal Carpets has taken delivery of its new collection of amazing Persian and Pakistani Afghanistan rugs in vibrant colours and designs. Check out the wide range in the Sai Kung store, or else give them a call and they can visit you at home. They are currently offering up to 50 percent off carpets and rugs, and 25 per cent off professional rug and carpet cleaning services. Mention this article to get a free carpet cleaning when you buy a rug. Shop B, G/F, 21 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung. 9018 0897 | iqbalcarpets.hk
in the City Some exciting art events are hitting town in March, with galleries and artists from near and far converging on Hong Kong to showcase some of the world’s best contemporary art. A stalwart on the scene, the Asia Contemporary Art Show (ACAS) is back for its tenth edition, from 17 to 20 March. We chatted with three of themany artists who can be found at the show.
Jeff Murray, United Kingdom
What are you exhibiting? Pen and Ink on Canvas: inspiration taken from travel, culture, architecture and nature to create intricate pieces that capture your imagination.
How many years have you been exhibiting at ACAS? Since October 2015. I’ve attended three Hong Kong shows and two Singapore shows, and will be showing my works again with them in HK in March and September this year. Why do you like exhibiting at the show? ACAS provides the opportunity for my art to be seen on a much larger scale than ever before and it brings the right people together to view and appreciate my works. It also allows me to continually travel with my art.
Describe the HK art scene in three words: Professional, pioneering, big!
HOME & PROPERTY
Lydia Moawad, Lebanon
What are you exhibiting? The true beauty of a painting lies in its individuality. This exhibition focuses on memories, on emotions and on the occasional escape from a busy schedule. The
goal in my paintings is to show that even in repetition we achieve unique situations. For me, creation is, at the same time, meditation and revelation: that of unity – unity between the body and the spirit, between dream and reality. Shapes and landscapes are found as a reminder of times of serenity and relaxation, and are thus a recurring theme in the artworks in this exhibition as a linkage in our daily lives. How many years have you been exhibiting at ACAS? I’ve participated in many art fairs and biennales – the Tokyo Art Fair in Omotesando Hills, the Florence Biennale at Fortezza da Basso, and the Europe Art Fair in Rotterdam – and now I’m pleased to participate in the Asia Contemporary Art Show in Hong Kong for the first time, and I’m delighted to share my art. What are you most looking forward to about ACAS? I’m very excited to exhibit in the show because even if I’m known as an established artist and painter in different countries, I feel that being in Hong Kong and sharing my artistic vision with this place adds a special touch and opens all the doors of opportunity in this world.
Kos Cos, Sri Lanka
What are you exhibiting? My latest collection is a thought-provoking body of work that challenges you to consider how the introduction of a single and simple new element – a circle – alters your
perception of the subject. The circle is a universal symbol with numerous long-established meanings: unity, infinity, the sun and moon, the sacred. I am trying to break these established views by juxtaposing halo-like circles that traditionally suggest a sense of virtue with contrasting elements such as bared bodies that confront notions of piety. In my paintings, the circles have no pre-determined or prescribed meaning. They are mere shapes. Their addition to layered abstract portraits that employ a vivid palette and dynamic gestural brush strokes invites a new dimension of interpretation.
Describe the HK art scene in three words: Essence of inspiration.
How many years have you been exhibiting at ACAS? Two years.
Why do you like exhibiting at the show? ACAS is ideal for getting my work in front of a wider audience. It’s also a great opportunity to meet and exchange cross-cultural experiences with international and local sellers, buyers, collectors, critics, gallery owners and museum curators. And hopefully there’ll be some decent sales as well!
Describe the HK art scene in three words: Massive, global, hub.
For more information on any of the artists and galleries that will be at ACAS this year, visit asiacontemporaryart.com.
HOME & PROPERTY
Beyond The Sea BY RACHEL READ PHOTOGRAPHY MICHELLE PROCTOR Life’s a beach for ELICE PARK and her family in their Repulse Bay retreat.
HOME & PROPERTY
L ight, airy and elegant probably aren’t the first words that come to mind when you think of beach living. Elice Park’s 2,500 square- foot home in Repulse Bay, which she shares with husband John Lee, daughter Vivian and their three dogs, offers just that. The home gives the family the best of both worlds – a serene and sophisticated retreat from hectic Hong Kong that’s only a stone’s throw from the sand and sea. “There are so many things we love about Repulse Bay,” Elice says. “My husband and I grew up near the sea, and heading to one of the nearby beaches in Repulse Bay, South Bay, Deepwater Bay or Stanley is our main weekend ritual. We love the fact that we can enjoy a beach lifestyle but also be in Central in 20 minutes.” Nevertheless, their choice of apartment was still something of a leap of a faith. “It was undergoing renovation and there wasn’t much to look at,” Elice remembers, “as all the floors, cupboards, toilets and the kitchen had been ripped out. But as soon as we saw it, we knew it was for us! We’re huge fans of its high ceilings and full brickwork – something you just can’t get from new developments – and we also loved the view, with large windows that overlook the trees and sky, giving the apartment a tranquil touch. It feels a world away from the bustle of Central.” The focal point of their home is the living and dining room, a breezy open area that comprises almost half the space of their apartment. “I love to mesh a variety of styles, and our mix of East and West, and classic and modern, is best encapsulated by this room,” Elice says. “When mixing styles, I pay particular attention to colours to make sure they blend in a harmonious way. I also believe you can decorate a house elegantly on a reasonable budget, so I love mixing expensive pieces with items from markets.” Although the apartment was quite spartan when they moved in, it wasn’t long before the family started injecting their own personality. “The first thing we did was hang chandeliers and lamps – the soft lighting automatically changed the vibe of the house,” Elice recalls. “For our curtains, I directly purchased materials and had them fitted at World Wide House in Central, which was extremely
HOME & PROPERTY
economical.” Furniture and artwork completed the décor. “We love going to art fairs; our tip would be to buy in the last few hours as you can get some amazing discounts,” she adds. Elise says that the home reflects their love of travel – she and John once spent 80 days travelling around 26 countries. Mementos from their explorations can be found throughout the space, including one of the key pieces that visitors often notice first – a striking set of memory block plaques mounted on the wall facing the apartment’s entrance. “We purchased these on our honeymoon in Nice so they’re quite sentimental to us; they’re extremely heavy and we had to carry them throughout our Europe trip, making sure not to damage them. This is the first time we’ve actually displayed them, though, as they just didn’t suit our previous homes, so we were extremely excited to hang them here.” As the owners of three adorable Yorkshire Terriers – named Napoleon, Jessica Alba and Kim Tae-Hee (the latter two after the American and South Korean actresses!) – it’s unsurprising that the family’s love of animals shines through their décor, with colourful dog cushion covers, an ornamental birdcage and other pictures and souvenirs of rabbits and horses all on show. “I grew up having dogs in the house and I’ve also ridden horses for many years, so I’d like to give the same exposure to animals to our daughter Vivian,” Elice explains. There are more animals in Vivian’s room itself, which is themed around Alice In Wonderland . “As Vivian has so many brightly coloured toys, we decided to decorate the furnishings mostly in white, which I think gives a less cluttered look.” Elice also wanted the room to be playful; “We have a large picture
HOME & PROPERTY
of a rabbit, and some cloud- and moon- shaped items to further enhance the dreamlike theme.” In contrast, the apartment’s study is a tribute to her husband’s passion for rock music. “We packed this room with a study table, television, book shelves, and an electric guitar and amp. To match the guitar, we purchased a sofa from UK brand Timothy Oulton, which gives the room a British rock feel.” As with many Hong Kong homes, however, storage did prove to be an issue. “While we thought the apartment was quite spacious when we first looked at it, later we found there was a lack of built-in storage space. I think you just have to be very economical and efficient; we purchased lots of boxes for storage and also donated a lot of our clothes.” For those facing similar problems, Elice recommends calling the Salvation Army, who can help pick up clothes for donation in large quantities. So how does Hong Kong compare to the couple’s previous homes in Seoul and Sydney? “I think it’s a very special place,” Elice says. “One of my hobbies is taking photos and, although Hong Kong is very small, the diversity in landscape offers so many opportunities, from its urban lifestyle to its beaches and islands. In Repulse Bay, we hear so many languages – not just English and Cantonese, but French, Italian, Japanese and Korean! I think Hong Kong welcomes expats with open arms; it is definitely the most cosmopolitan and sophisticated city we’ve lived in.” And now it looks like they have the perfect home to match.
FURNITURE & ART Tequila Kola 1/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau 2877 3295 | tequilakola.com Indigo Living 6/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau 2555 0540 | indigo-living.com Lane Crawford Level 1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty 2118 2288 | lanecrawford.com.hk Antiques Shops Hollywood Road, Central Lighting Shops Morrison Hill Road, Wan Chai Puerta Roja 1/F, Soho 189 Art Lane, 189 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan 2803 0332 | puerta-roja.com Ben Brown Fine Arts 303 Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central 2522 9600 | benbrownfinearts.com Connoisseur Art Gallery G3, Chinachem Hollywood Centre, 1 Hollywood Road, Central 2868 5358 | connoisseur-art.com Opera Gallery W Place, 52 Wyndham Street, Central 2810 1208 | operagallery.com White Cube 50 Connaught Road, Central 2592 2000 | whitecube.com FOOD Amalfitana Shop 105, Level 1, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay 2388 7787 | amalfitana.hk Chicken on the Run Shop 112B, Level 1, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay 2537 4563 Pang’s Kitchen 25 Yik Yam Street, Happy Valley 2838 5462 Kaya 9/F, Midtown Soundwill Plaza II, 1-29 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay 2838 9550 Sumac 8 Glenealy, Central 2147 9191 | sumac.com.hk Qi – House of Sichuan Shop 12, 2/F, J Senses, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai 2527 7117 | qi-sichuan.hk Carbone 9/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central 2593 2593 | carbone.com.hk
TheScent of BY TARA JENKINS PHOTOGRAPHY ZZZOOM PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE As the founder of home fragrance brand Cochine , KATE CROFTON-ATKINS knows a thing or two about balance, and her home on The Peak is as elegant and sophisticated as you would expect. There isn’t much that fazes Kate Crofton-Atkins. Serene, understated and softly- spoken, she’s equally unruffled comforting her crying child, or managing a press interviewwith British Vogue (she’s literally just flown back to Hong Kong from the UK). So when you learn she arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in 2006 with next to no experience in the fragrance market, and calmly set about establishing a luxury brand that has gone from strength to strength, you simply nod your head. Today, her elegant Indochine label, Cochine, is quietly poised on the brink of international success: as well as multiple outlets in Asia, the delicately scented candles, diffusers and body lotions are now stocked in major stores in London and New York. The burgeoning business supports a staff of ten and requires a hectic international schedule, but Kate is never anything but calm and composed. So how does she do it? Saigon Style “I’m pretty laidback, and I try to keep everything in perspective,” laughs Kate. Still, she’s quick to point out that developing those all-important first products wasn’t exactly plain sailing. “In Saigon, I used to cycle to the local boulangerie to get bread for breakfast, and was struck by the beautiful scent of champa jasmine in the air,” she remembers. “It’s indigenous to Vietnam, and is totally different to the jasmine in Bangkok or the UK. I had this idea to make unusual fragrances using the plants I’d found in Vietnam – champa jasmine, delentii orchid, water hyacinth and agarwood – and I knew there were local factories who could make products like candles and diffusers for me. So I read the books, purchased the kits and thought: if other people have done this at home, then so can I. Well, it was impossible! Nothing worked the way I expected it to – for a start, the champa jasmine oil didn’t smell anything like the plant! My main problem was that I didn’t want to create just any old fragrance; I wanted to produce beautiful eau de parfum , which would sell in Harrods alongside luxury brands like Roja Dove and Frederic Malle. I realised there was a big gap between what I could do, and where I wanted to be.” Fortuitously, help was at hand in the form of a chance lunch meeting with a New York-based perfumer, who was passing through Saigon. He loved Kate’s ideas, and so Cochine was born – on the back of a napkin in a French restaurant. Today, Kate sources the keynote oils for those beautiful scents from Vietnam, and works closely
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with her business partner in New York to blend the fragrances. These are then transported back to Southern Vietnam, so the products can be locally manufactured. Kate’s background is in finance and then in marketing – she used to work at L’Oréal – so she’s very comfortable with the process of brand development and promotion. In fact, when she first arrived in Vietnam she was all set to continue with her job at the French cosmetic house, but things changed quickly. “Saigon was unlike anything I had expected: a beautiful French gem in Asia,” she remembers. “Rather than working to bring a French brand like L’Oréal to the East, I felt there was an amazing opportunity to create a luxury Indochine brand, and take it to the rest of the world.” The expat experience Although the Crofton-Atkinses stayed in Saigon for only two years, it opened up a world of new possibilities for Kate. “Becoming an expatriate definitely widens your horizons,” she muses. “It breaks down barriers of age and type: in Saigon I had friends of many different ages, working in very different occupations. No one worked in finance; instead there was a large group of eclectic, creative people bent on making things: furniture, artworks, clothes. It was a fascinating and stimulating environment. It was also full of wonderfully glamorous, laid-back, chic French women in floating kaftans! I left L’Oréal on 225 Hammersmith Road, and suddenly there I was in this magical place. I didn’t wear a pair of heels for two years!” “Importantly, though,” she continues, “the expatriate experience broadens your mind when it comes to working; you become less restrained. If I was setting up a company like Cochine in London, I might have thought of all the reasons I couldn’t do it; here, I think of all the reasons I can. We’re all aware of that wonderful ‘can do’ attitude in Hong Kong, where everyone fits so much into their time, and everything is possible. That attitude is just the same in Vietnam, but what I particularly love is the incredible craftsmanship, the attention to detail.” Colonial elegance on The Peak Kate’s Hong Kong apartment is full of furniture she’s had made in Vietnam; when they arrived in Saigon, she and husband Charlie rented a beautiful old riverside villa with pale green shutters and a terrace, and she wanted to fill it with Vietnamese-made things. Her current apartment on The Peak is necessarily much more urban – despite the huge grassy garden and green views – but the Vietnamese pieces are totally at home with the other, more traditional furniture Kate’s brought from England. “We have a lot of British ‘brown’ pieces, but I think they
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entrance hall, and a large Buddha head in the living room. Most of the Asian pieces belong to Charlie – he lived in Hong Kong for 15 years before he met Kate in London, and was constantly angling for them to return. “When we lived in London I said I’d never move to Hong Kong; I’d been here once on holiday for a couple of days, en route to Thailand, and I think I came at the wrong time of year,” says Kate. “It was hot and sweaty and grey, and I just didn’t understand what was special about the city. Then when I agreed to move to Vietnam, we’d always travel via Hong Kong, and I realised pretty quickly there was an amazing side to the city. Now I’ve had my children here, my business is here, and it’s definitely home. Of course, there’s always a pull back to England, but it’s going to be hard to get me out of here! With a young family and a small business, there’s actually nowhere better to live than Hong Kong.” Another bonus is the easy proximity to both city and greenery. “If I was in England I’d be torn between London and the country; in Hong Kong, though, you can live in the city, but be on the water or on the hiking trails in twenty minutes,” says Kate. “Until last year, we rented a house in South Lantau and used to go there every weekend, it was a fantastic balance. I want the children to be outside, on the beach, running around and getting messy. I worry about the pollution, of course, but I love the variety there is for them here.” Planning for the future With the young family obviously happy and settled in Hong Kong, what’s next for Kate? As you’d imagine, she’s full of plans for Cochine’s future. There’s a brand new fragrance (Tuberose and Wild Fig), a new website, and – for the first time – a fine fragrance collection. “When we first launched in Vietnam it was impossible to buy beautiful candles, so that’s what we provided; but now I’ve gone full circle and come back into fine fragrances for the body,” explains Kate. Cochine is launching a gift set of three floral fragrances for Christmas, in 8ml bottles. “What I’ve learnt from retailers is that how we shop now is similar to how we absorb media: we flit, and don’t necessarily want to buy a 100ml bottle of a new scent,” she explains. “People want smaller sizes they can try out.” There are also new products in the pipeline: “I’m very excited because I’m going back to my skincare roots, developing new textures and formulations for our hand and body lotions,” enthuses Kate. “Since I worked at L’Oréal, things have really moved on in the skincare market – now everything is about paraben-free, silicon-free and sulphate-free – and there are amazing alternatives in formulation, where you don’t have to compromise on quality or longevity. The new hand creams, for example, are incredible – they just melt onto your skin. I’m looking at producing bath oils and shower gels now, but I want them to have not only a beautiful fragrance, but to have a standout texture. It’s all about using something that gives you a beautiful experience.” We can’t wait to try.
can work very nicely if you have pale floors, contemporary art and other bits of furniture in different colours and styles. If everything was white, for example, I think it would be too much. I don’t think I have necessarily always chosen my style; I’ve had to work with everything I’ve got!” Whether that’s true or not, Kate has managed to create an elegant and soothing space on Mount Kellett Road, which is filled with largely contemporary artworks collected from galleries around the world (the Cat Street Gallery in Hong Kong is a particular favourite of hers), and cleverly accessorised with pieces from shops such as Indigo, Bowerbird and Inside. The spare bedroom and living room have a Turkish accent; “We went to Istanbul last year and I bought all this fabric from the Grand Bazaar, and now suddenly every cushion and curtain in the house is a different ikat print!” The master bedroom is a riot of botanical-inspired prints. Kate is friends with Jane Bonsor, who set up interiors company Korla Home. “Jane came to stay with me when I was pregnant, and said I had to get some Korla. She made these prints in a sea-green colourway and said they had my name on it; I put them everywhere – it was like a jungle in here! It was a case of ‘more is more’ – I blame it on pregnancy hormones,” laughs Kate. There’s also a good number of Asian-inspired pieces dotted around the apartment, such as the Chinese silk lamps in the
Indigo Living 216-218 Prince’s Building, Chater Road, Central indigo-living.com.hk Yuet Tung China Works Unit 1-2, 3/F, Kowloon Bay Industrial Centre 15 Wang Hoi Road, Kowloon Bay porcelainware.com.hk
10 Chancery Lane Gallery 10 Chancery Lane, Central 10chancerylanegallery.com
Cat Street Gallery 50 Tung Street, Tai Ping Shan, Sheung Wan thecatstreetgallery.com Blindspot Gallery 28 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang blindspotgallery.com
Cocotte 9 Shin Hing Street, Central cocotte.hk Chom Chom 58 Peel Street, Central chomchom.hk
Carbone 9/F, 33 Wyndham Street, Central carbone.com.hk
Blindspot Gallery 28 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang blindspotgallery.com
ROOMS Get inspired and find the perfect piece for your living room, whether you’re on the hunt for a stylish statement sofa or an accent piece to complete your look.
Kagan Fabric feather-down sofa, $15,900 (usually $38,900), Stockroom Furniture Outlet , 2817 0999, stockroom.com.hk
Isabelle industrial bookshelves in reclaimed solid elm, $5,490 (usually $13,999), Stockroom Furniture Outlet , 2817 0999, stockroom.com.hk
Great Featherston-style contour lounge chair, $3,629 (usually $7,290), Stockroom Furniture
Outlet , 2817 0999, stockroom.com.hk
Paddington sectional L-sofa, from $31,700, Tequila Kola , 2877 3295, tequilakola.com
Aquarius fabric sofa, $5,090 (usually $14,999), Stockroom Furniture Outlet , 2817 0999, stockroom.com.hk
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Customised coffee table in old elm wood, Oriental Home , 3542 5336, firstname.lastname@example.org
Delabole shelf, $5,400, INSIDE , 2873 1795, inside.com.hk
Delabole rocking chair, $4,900, INSIDE , 2873 1795, inside.com.hk
Semi-antique Tabriz rug in wool with silk highlights, Carpet Buyer , 2850 5508, carpetbuyer.com
Zentique side-table in solid oak, $1,650 (usually $2,450) Stockroom Furniture Outlet , 2817 0999, stockroom.com.hk
Tibetan console in spruce wood, Oriental Home , 3542 5336, email@example.com
Alexander Lamont linear console table, $14,800, Altfield Interiors , 2525 2738, altfield.com.hk
Pierre Frey “Tiago” sofa fabric in Meringue, and cushions in various designs and fabrics, prices on request, Altfield Interiors , 2525 2738, altfield.com.hk
Porta Romana Honeycomb console, Altfield Interiors , 2525 2738, altfield.com.hk
Bleu Nature end-table made of driftwood branches and acrylic glass, $21,800, Tequila Kola , 2877 3295, tequilakola.com
Alexander Lamont coffee table in gold shagreen, $26,000, Altfield Interiors , 2525 2738, altfield.com.hk
Old tribal carpet in plush wool, Carpet Buyer , 2850 5508, carpetbuyer.com
Authentico shelving unit in lacquered solid wood, $5,980, Tequila Kola , 2877 3295, tequilakola.com
Galaxy wall mirror with light, $23,500, Tequila Kola , 2877 3295, tequilakola.com
DropDown sofa bed, $7,400, Tequila Kola , 2877 3295, tequilakola.com
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AtHomeWith … Penny Seymour
We sit down with the British expat in her Sheung Wan apartment to discuss everything from cooking in castles to celebrity antics at parties.
As an event management specialist, you’re in the right place: this city has a reputation for hosting great parties. Is that why you originally came? I’d reached a crossroads in 2011, and a friend suggested I rent out my house in Sussex and go travelling. So I put my UK party-planning business on hold, bought an airline ticket, and pitched up to stay with a friend in Hong Kong. Two weeks in, I thought: this is amazing! There’s something special about this city that makes you feel alive, and the expat community is so friendly and eager to help in every way. I explored several job avenues, but in the end decided to open a HK branch of my company, Gusto Events. How did it go? It was quite tricky negotiating the administration, but in the end the visa came through, and I was in business. Lots of people told me it was a brave thing to do, but actually it didn’t feel courageous, just like I was having a lot of fun – and working at the same time, of course! I do remember being nervous at the beginning, though: if someone asked me about venues, I’d have no idea. But then a client engaged me to organise a wedding at the Hong Kong Club and One Thirty-One in Sai Kung; I researched the best florists in the city, and my knowledge base grew and expanded from there. Four years ago, I began working as a consultant to Ironmonger Events for the Rugby Sevens, and I ended up working for them full time for a while. It was great fun, although dealing with drunk rugby fans was quite a change from the upscale celebrity events I organised in London! Celebrities, you say? Tell us more! I worked in London for 15 years for The Admirable Crichton, organising smart corporate dinners, award ceremonies and a lot of private work. The company had a royal warrant, so we arranged Prince William’s 21st! We also organised high-profile events for fashion houses; one was a glamorous Versace event, where I was in charge of the VIP area on the top floor. At the time I had a bashed-up Mini Metro, and I was driving it down Bond Street on my way to the event, thinking, there’s something
BY TARA JENKINS PHOTOGRAPHY MICHELLE PROCTOR
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