Meet the Creatives





We all enjoy new things. My neighbours just bought a new table tennis table for their kids and they’re obviously loving it because they play on it for about six hours a day. I’d like a new thing, too: new neighbours. No, it’s fine. I’m okay with the constant “pinging” and “ponging”. It’s sport, after all, and I’m as sport-obsessed as the next Aussie. In fact, I’m a hypocrite complaining about table tennis in view of how much of it I watched during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. That includes the Egyptian Paralympian who plays the sport at an elite level despite having no arms. Did you see him? Astonishing and inspirational. While I’m on the topic, congrats to TeamHK for their performances in Tokyo, including some unprecedented results. It was great to cheer them on from home. If you’re into new things and sport, perhaps you’d like to give wing foiling a go. It’s a trendy activity on water that’s making waves around the world; find out more on page 104. And before you dry off, have a peek at Hong Kong’s brand new watery wonderland, Ocean Park’s Water World (page 50). We’ve also started a new school year, and we have all the latest insights and updates from classrooms around Hong Kong, starting on page 60. Plus, there are stories on new restaurants, bars, beauty treatments, bedroom décor and more. Finally, it’s a new season: autumn – that time when leaves around the world start to brown. Of course, I can make leaves turn brown in any season. Even the hardy ones we recommend on page 40 would die swiftly on my watch. I’m certainly no candidate for the world’s most Instagrammed garden; turn to page 108 to find out who is! Thank goodness for newness. Across the world, we might be feeling a little like it’s Groundhog Day right now, but there’s always a new thing to provide a sense of discovery and difference. Right, I’m off. The neighbours have just invited me over for a hit of table tennis. (If you can’t stand listening to ’em, join ’em!)

Shamus Sillar

Have an awesome autumn.

Table tennis not your thing? Try this!



Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET Group Editor


Sales & Marketing KATE WOODBURY Chief Operations Officer COLIN PURCHASE Contributing Writers NEIL ARMSTRONG



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EL Updates: Our upcoming events and new releases

A colouful corner in Mui Wo

Hong Kong News

10 14

Win… A bedroom set worth $32,000! HOME & LIFE 18

Home Showcase: Inside a comfy duplex in Stanley How a bedding upgrade can improve your sleep The benefits of bringing bamboo into your home Our buying guide for bedroom furniture and accessories Home Showcase: A peek at these party parents’ Mui Wo home Expert advice on plants for your outdoor spaces Street Talk: A guide to living on Lamma Island




What to watch and read this month Pro party planners who up the fun for all ages Get first in line as Ocean Park’s Water World opens! Hong Kong Pages: Facts, trivia, history and more Interviews: We meet three people from HK’s arts scene Latest news and views from the classroom Stamford American School Hong Kong turns five! A confident cohort that’s bound for IB success Is there a right time to start tutoring? How prioritising wellbeing is a key for this school One teacher’s take on the importance of learning a new language










28 Furniture finds for your sleep space


A legal look into relocating kids during a pandemic The implications of spying on your spouse A financial advisor’s five tips for dealing with financial stress Looking to secure a mortgage for property in Australia?










Artist profiles




How scalp micropigmentation can tackle thinning locks Lash and brow treatments that will frame your pretty peepers!


Women’s health checks – common myths, debunked! What is venous thromboembolism and are you at risk? A look into preventative measures for cardiovascular disease Reassessing medical coverage in the light of uncertain times When should you start your egg-freezing journey? The mental impact of isolation and what you can do Hiring a fitness coach to help with menopause



We put the latest home spa products to the test Be the first to try these new bars and bites around the city We talk quality grapes with a French sommelier






New tasty spots to try


100 Four Thai restaurants


REGULARS 112 Puzzle Pages 114 Important Numbers 115 Our Advertisers 116

that will take you back to Bangkok

104 Discover the latest


adrenaline craze of wing foiling!

108 10 gorgeous gardens around the world

Parting Shot: Returning Serve



A wet n' wild weekend awaits!

7 SEP-NOV2021


EL EVENTS Get access to our online workshops. Each month, we bring you experts to share tips on fitness, wellbeing, home décor, digital marketing andmore! Visit

Are you looking tomake the most out of living in Hong Kong, or do you know someone new in town who needs a helping hand? Whether you’ve just arrived o r you ’ ve be e n h e r e a wh i l e , o u r b r a n d n ew City Guide for 2021/22 offers loads of tips and advice on neighbourhoods to l ive in, property, education, health, dining out and more!

CITY GUIDE 2021/22 Annual $28



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9 SEP-NOV2021


Making a Splash The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has partnered with the non-profit Splash Foundation to fund a project that gives free learn-to-swim and water safety coaching to special needs children and young adults in HK. The three-year Splash Jockey Club SwimABLE Programme provides 20 hours of group coaching with a certified instructor with special needs support experience. Lessons focus on water safety skills, buoyancy, basic freestyle and more. | splashfoundation


E.Bon, a high-end supplier of kitchen cabinets and wardrobes in Hong Kong, is now offering a new VP01 collection by Vespa. The affordable new collection is designed by Tracy Lai and includes a kitchen cabinet, wardrobe and furniture. There’s a refreshing new colour scheme, too, and all the items are made from certified safe materials, with European hardware and storage systems. Plus, the entire process of design and installation is managed by the experienced E.Bon team. Too easy! G/F, 62 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay. 3188 0659 |

Networking & Support July saw the launch of Women of Hong Kong’s digital platform, which aims to be a bridge to connect women of every kind of background and career with the common bel ief that we are stronger together. Services on the platform will allow members to add their own events, classes and courses, with membership providing access to women-led business di rector ies, tai lor-made groups and forums, job listings, social chats and more.

Save the Date! Every event hosted by Hong Kong Charity Bazaar is a win-win, as you get to shop for all kinds of fab products while helping some wonderful local organisations in HK at the same time. The next Bazaar is on the weekend of 18 and 19 September, from 11am to 6pm on both days, and the charity

beneficiary in this instance is Feeding Hong Kong. Register as a vendor at 15/F, Sino Cheer Plaza, 23 Jordan Road (Jordan MTR Exat A).



Upcoming Eats Not ones to let a pandemic get in the way of expansion, Pirata Group is undergoing what you might call a growth spurt, with a whole batch of new dining venues opening in the back end of 2021. One major highlight will be The Sixteenth in Quarry Bay – an 18,000-square- foot area with four dining concepts: Sicilian eats at La Favorita, outdoor bar and garden Tempo Tempo, temakeria offerings at TMK Funk & Rolls, and the sushi-focused Honjokko. The group is also adding a new Pici Pasta Bar, this time in Tseung Kwan O, among other roll- outs.

Clever Cooking If you love grilling, check out the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub (HK$1,549), a step-by-step grilling assistant that sends notifications directly to your smartphone on everything from a food readiness countdown, to when it’s time to flip and serve. The brand’s latest smart gadget addition is linked to the Weber Connect phone application,

compatible with iPhones on iOS 12.1 or later, and most smartphones on Android 7.0 or later. All it takes is a glance at your phone to know that everything is on track and grilling to perfection!

at TheAubrey

A More Modern Market Hong Kong’s original wet market, which has been in its same spot on Des Voeux Road since 1895, has finally reopened after a HK$500 million revitalisation project. The 1930s Bauhaus-style building has been given a new lease of life, with dining and retail outlets and cultural corners sitting amidst a sleek new space. There’s lots happening on the events calendar already, and we’re looking forward to trying Singaporean fare at Pulau, Japanese at Wako Sake, and a few cold ones at Mak’s Beer.

The new Champagne and Sake Bar located within the Curio Lounge of Japanese izakaya The Aubrey is currently hosting Champagne Masterclasses every Saturday, from 3pm. The Mandarin Oriental venue is offering each guest five glasses of bubbles from a curated selection from leading Maisons, with different themes that change every two weeks. It promises to be a fun and educational frolic through France’s Champagne region. 2825 4001 | mohkg-

Turn to page 94 for our scoop on all the latest F&B openings, from casual seaside eateries to sophisticated city bars.

11 SEP-NOV2021

Wellness Spot

Goodbye, Summer! Now that the summer months have come to an end, we have our eye on some closet staples to help ease our transition. Kate Spade New York captures the last vestiges of the season with its line of fall- appropriate maxi dresses you can layer with and deceptively roomy bags for that jacket or umbrella.

We’ve featured wellness solutions based on CBD (cannabidiol) several times recently, and they’re continuing to create a buzz. The benefits of this natural substance derived mainly from herbal extracts from the hemp plant – for example, in improving sleep and relieving anxiety – has inspired Bio-Swisse certified CBD brand SWISS FX to open its first physical HK boutique, at Lab Concept in Admiralty. You’ll find a wide variety of products, including a new skincare range, plus CBD oils, CBD pod system kits and pet formulations. Shop D06, Lab Concept Facesss, 1/F, Queensway Plaza, 93 Queensway, Admiralty. @swissfxhkg |

Building on the brand’s long-standing commi tment to create products responsibly, Timberland has introduced its Eco-Ready Collection for Fall/Winter 2021. These lightweight yet functional pieces are made using recycled and responsibly sourced materials. The range of apparel and footwear combines modern design and bold colours to help city dwel lers roam the urban landscape in style! Avai lable at al l Timberland speciality stores in Hong Kong.

Taking Travel Back If you’re feeling slightly cheated at the lack of travel opportunities over the past year and a half, here’s one way of making amends. Bookings are now open for Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ “2024 World Cruise”, an incredible 132-night voyage that spans 34,500 nautical miles, and 66 ports of call across 31 countries and four continents, including 61 UNESCOWorld Heritage Sites. The nearly-five-month trip offers – wait for it – 442 different free shore excursions. That should get the travel juices flowing again!



DEEP DIVING While Dubai is hardly a destination that comes to mind for diving, the city’s newest attraction will allow you to plunge into the depths of a mysterious sunken city. DeepDive Dubai’s 60-metre pool is the world's deepest underwater attraction, with experiences for divers of all ages and skill levels. Its discovery packages for snorkelling, freediving and scuba diving are excellent for first- timers who want to learn in a warm, controlled environment. More advanced divers, meanwhile, can explore the deepest reaches of the submerged city.

On theMove Asian TigersGroupprovides international relocation solutions for more than 16,000 families each year, with offices in 14 different territories. In this regular column, they provide advice for expats arriving and leaving Hong Kong. “What are some good souvenirs for remembering our expat experience?” We asked a group of returned expats around the world for the best souvenirs to capture life in a foreign country, and their answers ranged from the practical to the extravagant. A simple river rock can be as meaningful to one person as a framed art piece by a local artist to another. Many respondents regretted not buying a particular item that caught their eye because they were worried about shipping fragile goods. (Read our blog at category/media/blog for tips on this!) Experiences, friendships and new traditions are arguably the most remarkable treasures, but what are about more tangible reminders to spark conversations? Here are some ideas beyond the standard souvenir. Local cuisine & kitchenware: Sharing meals by using local kitchenware – think a Japanese kitchen knife, a Moroccan clay tagine or a French crepe pan – is a fantastic way to help friends and family get a “taste” of your life abroad. In this vein, cookbooks and kitchen gadgets unique to that country can be great souvenirs. Furniture: This is a big one for many (in both senses of the word!) in recreating the look and feel of their lives abroad. Furniture can be both practical and aesthetically pleasing and can keep your memories alive through daily use – it could be anything from a grandfather clock to a Korean medicine chest. Artwork: Pieces by local artists capturing a familiar scene are common, but a significant example mentioned by one person in our survey was artwork they commissioned to capture their foreign homes, incorporating their family into the scenes.

If you have any questions about shipping memories of your adventures, contact your local Asian Tigers office or reach out via

13 SEP-NOV2021


Enter our competition and you'll stand the chance to win a queen-size Heveya Organic Latex Mattress II (worth HK$26,500), two organic latex pillows (worth HK$3,000) and a queen-size bamboo sheets bundle (worth HK$2,776)! About the company Okooko by European Bedding is a one-stop bedding store that carries natural organic latex mattresses, adjustable slatted bed bases and accessories, all made of natural and sustainable materials. The brand provides a customisable sleeping system whereby bed base, mattress and pillow work together to provide excellent back support for all builds, sleeping positions and personal preference. Find out more about their offerings on page 25!

... a mattress, pillows and bedsheet set fromOkooko, worth over HK$32,000!




About the mattress Natural latex’s elasticity provides excellent sleeping comfort, as it moulds to the contour of your body; it also ensures proper spinal alignment for a restful sleep. Okooko uses only 100 percent certified natural organic latex in its Heveya mattress – no pesticides, fertilisers, heavy metals, VOCs or other chemicals. The mattress is naturally anti-mould and dust mite-resistant, and comes with a removable and cleanable cover of luxurious and soft bamboo fibre. About the sheets The store’s 100 percent bamboo lyocell sheets in the Heveya organic range feature a silky smooth and soft feathery texture. The bamboo fibre is naturally anti-microbial and hypoallergenic, while also being breathable and temperature regulating. So, they’ll cool you down in summer and keep you cosy in winter – perfect for Hong Kong!

The Plaza LKF 13/F, 21 D’Aguilar Street 6286 1132 |

1. Go to and let us know why you think an organic latex mattress will help you sleep and live better. 2. Follow @okookobyeb and @expatlivinghk on Instagram. Entries close on 30 November.

15 SEP-NOV2021

Bedroom Boost: Give your sleep space an upgrade

Blanc des Vosges



We get a glimpse inside an interior designer’s home that’s close to the markets and sea in Stanley.


B orn and raised mostly in the United States (with a few years here and there in Germany), BRITTA BUTLER has been living in Hong Kong for 15 years. She left a design position at an architecture firm in Boston to move here in 2007, after a job opportunity arose for her spouse. But Britta wasn’t done with the career path she’d embarked on. In 2014, she founded interior design studio B Squared Design after seeing a gap in the market for a full-service, boutique, residential firm that could handle an entire project from conceptual design through to construction administration. The notable thing about B Squared, according to Britta, is that it offers not only interior design services but architectural services as well. “We are truly a ‘one-stop shop’ – and I think we stand out from other companies in the industry for that reason.”




Customers clearly agree; the B Squared Design team is – in her own words – “extremely busy” at the moment. “It’s a blessing, as COVID really took its toll on the industry. I suppose a silver lining with everyone spending so much time at home over the past two years is that people are ready and willing now to renovate their spaces.” Britta’s own home has had the renovation treatment (of course!), and – as she explains here – the result is a calm and comfy duplex with sea views and plenty of charm in a location that would be the envy of every market- shopping enthusiast. Tell us a bit about your little patch of Hong Kong. I’ve been in Stanley now for the past five years (albeit in three different flats!). I first moved here to be close to my kids’ school, but I’ve stayed because of the ease of being able to walk to restaurants, shops and grocery stores, and also because of the surrounding natural beauty and proximity to the water. This current flat is also great because it has room for all of us: my two kids Didi (16) and Gavin (12), my helper Leah and my dogs Simba and Nala.

19 SEP-NOV2021


What’s best about the location? The thing that’s really wonderful about my location is that I am literally in Stanley Market. I feel like my place is a hidden jewel – you would never know it was there unless you knew exactly where to go; the door is nestled amongst the stalls and shops. I love that I know all my downstairs “neighbours” at the frame shop, the local grocery and so on; we stop and chat with each other. It actually feels like a little community, which you don’t always find in Hong Kong. Stanley Market has gone through a downturn due to the pandemic and lack of tourists, but it appears to be having a bit of a rebirth in the past few months. New coffee and gelato shops have opened, as well as several fresh fruit and vegetable stands. There are good restaurants in Stanley now as well – many more than when I first moved in, which is nice. You don’t have to travel to Central every time anymore for a delicious meal. It’s a duplex, which makes it feel larger than it really is. It’s approximately 650 square feet, so if it were all on one level it would have the potential to feel quite tight with two teenagers, two adults and two dogs; however, because we have two floors, everyone can spread out and feel relaxed. It has fabulous views of the water as well, which helps to increase the feeling of openness; I spend a lot of my time sitting on the sofa reading and looking out at the ocean. Has the area changed since you first moved in? What are some of the key features of the home?

Is there a spot in the home that you enjoy the most? My favourite spot in the home is definitely the spiral staircase. When I was a child, a good friend of mine had one in her house, and I promised myself that “when I grow up” I would have one too. I’ve made it a focal point of the apartment by removing the fussy details and painting it a bold pink shade. It’s fun and makes me smile every day. Tell us about the recent renovations you’ve done. When I first saw the apartment, it was extremely dark and cluttered, with a very old kitchen and no character to speak of. Underneath it all, however, I could tell that it had real potential and that space-wise (with a few tweaks) it could work for my family. So I decided to take the plunge and renovate. I’m lucky that residential design is my specialty, and I also have a fabulous construction manager (Tina Mak from Beehive) who kept everything on track and on budget. I only had one month to do the renovation before I had to move in with the kids, so this had to be a simple new layout, and the materials all needed to be in stock and available in Hong Kong. I also try to upcycle as much as I can in all my projects at B Squared Design, and this one was not an exception: I took the existing lower cabinets (that I removed from one Because we have two floors, everyone can spread out and feel relaxed.




area of the kitchen to create a helper’s room) and reused them as the base for the new kitchen island. I refurbished and painted it, and chose a beautiful piece of stone for the countertop. The island is such a useful spot now for cooking and is a wonderful zone for hanging out and eating as a family. Do you have a particular home décor style? My style varies according to my clients’ needs and dreams, but in general I prefer clean lines, no clutter and lots of layering of materials such as stone, leather and fur (faux, of course). This is what gives a space dimension and character. For my current home, I also experimented with more pops of colour than I typically have in the past in my own spaces; I wasn’t afraid to try something new, and I wanted my home to feel vibrant and happy.

21 SEP-NOV2021


Tell us about a particular item in your home that has an interesting background or story behind it? One of my favourite art pieces is in my bedroom. Entitled “Love”, it’s by a Vietnamese artist and it reminds me of spending time with my children when they were little and also when we used to travel to so many wonderful places together. I like to be surrounded by artwork; especially images of strong women and women of colour. I don’t have to drive anywhere to get everything that I need. I love that my kids can walk to meet their friends, and I really enjoy sitting at a coffee shop or restaurant and watching the world go by. After a busy day at work in the city, it truly feels like an oasis of calm. What’s your favourite thing about living where you do?

Home Décor Ovo G/F, 1 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai 2527 6088 | Altfield Gallery 2/F, Landmark Prince’s Building, Central 2537 6370 | Organic Modernism #803-4, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau 2556 9499 |

Others Henry’s Restaurant 64 Stanley Main Street, Stanley 2813 9055 Bubbles & Wines 26 Stanley Main Street, Stanley 5721 6161 Le Petit Salon 78 Stanley Market Road 2892 3398 |





Keen to get a better night’s kip? Maybe it’s time to give your sleeping setup an overhaul. Sleep aids our physical and mental strength, supports our immune system and allows our bodies to reboot. If you’re cool and comfortable at night, you’ll sleep well – and the many benefits for body and mind will follow. With this in mind, you might be due a visit to Okooko by European Bedding , a regular award-winner in our Expat Living Readers’ Choice Awards. The one-stop store has widened its product range in recent years, so you can satisfy all your sleeping needs. Here are some highlights. Mattresses Okooko’s signature range of Heveya mattresses are made from 100 percent certified natural organic latex, with no pesticides, fertilisers, heavy metals, VOCs or other chemicals used in the manufacturing process. They’re ultra-comfortable, too, offering seven-

Bamboo and Linen Sheets Compl ement your ma t t ress wi th luxuriously soft and breathable Heveya bamboo lyocell sheets – duvet sheets, fitted sheets, flat sheets, pillow cases and more; you can buy them in bundles, and in white, grey and blush pink. Or, opt for the timeless appeal and rustic aesthetic of 100 percent European flax linen, in white and natural shades. Duvets The Heveya 100 percent organic cotton cover has bamboo lyocell padding and is a breathable, lightweight addition to a Hong Kong bed. It’s naturally anti- microbial and hypoallergenic, easily washable, and available in four sizes, from Super King to Single. Along with the above, the store also offers a Junior range for young sleepyheads, with a range of organic baby cot mattresses, baby pillows, toddler pillows and more. The Plaza LKF 13/F, 21 D’Aguilar Street 6286 1132 |

zone body support for perfect spinal al ignment . Var ious customi sat ion options are available – for example, you can choose different firmness (firm, medium and soft) for each side of a King mattress. The bamboo cover has organic cotton padding and is removable and dry-cleanable. Pillows The store has a range of Heveya pillows for finding the ideal support for your head and neck. Their 100 percent natural organic latex core means that they have excellent shape retention and are naturally anti-microbial, dust mite-resistant and hypoallergenic. The bamboo covers are removable and dry- cleanable too. Slatted Bed Bases The bed bases at Okooko feature high- quality slats and frames made from FSC- certified beech wood. The slats can be adapted to different body positions and support needs, including adjusting the firmness with 12 sliders in the lumbar and hip areas.

25 SEP-NOV2021


Since 2008, Bamboa has offered durable, eco- friendly home and lifestyle products made from bamboo. The brand was founded by British/ German expat JULIA WASHBOURNE, who tells us here about her long-standing interest in sustainability – and in this amazingly versatileplant. Julia’s Journey

When was the seed first planted (pardon the pun!) for the launch of Bamboa in Hong Kong? There have been a number “seeds”, in fact! After growing up in the UK, I lived in the German town of Freiburg from age 12. It’s an idyllic university town bordering France and Switzerland, and famous for its advanced environmental practices. Everyone rides bikes, the town is largely car free, there is solar energy and wind power (my parents installed solar panels in our home very early on), and mandatory recycling systems have been in full force since the 80s. These environmentally-friendly surrounds definitely shaped and defined me. I felt very strongly about later finding a profession where I could make a difference and be part of the solution. The first time I really became aware of bamboo was on a 2004 field trip in the Ivory Coast in West Africa. I was helping a friend with a sustainable coffee and cacao plantation at the time, and as we travelled along dirt roads, we passed through a “tunnel” of gigantic bamboo; it was kilometres and kilometres long, with bamboo reaching up from each side of the road and touching in the middle. I felt the majestic and protective power of these gigantic plants. Then, after arriving in Hong Kong in 2005, I was awed by the bamboo scaffolding encasing and enveloping so many skyscrapers. This is where bamboo shows off its many fantastic characteristics: it’s resilient (it can survive a typhoon!), harder than steel, yet flexible, light and durable – and, of course, wonderfully sustainable, unlike steel and aluminium with their wasteful and toxic production process. It’s also incredibly versatile, providing thousands of different uses, from housing (flooring, decking and furniture) to bicycles, baskets and sunglasses – and the bamboo fabrics that we specialise in. Finally, through my role as a purchasing manager that brought me to Hong Kong in the first place, I was in charge of over 5,000 different homeware and household appliances. This meant visiting factories all over Asia to inspect the production processes. It quickly became evident to me that the vast majority of the products are sadly not sustainable. And they’re leaving a huge impact and negative footprint on our planet. That’s why I decided to create the brand – to promote sustainable home and lifestyle products using one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet, and one that doesn’t require pesticides or irrigation to grow.




I wanted to promote

products that use one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet

What are your key products? Bamboa offers 100 percent sustainable bamboo lyocell bed sheet sets, fitted sheets, flat sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases. We can also tailor-make bed sheets according to particular dimensions. In addition, we stock bamboo sleep masks, bath robes and camisole sets. We’re the first to develop pillows and duvets using 100 percent bamboo fibres for the filling and covers. We’re still testing the pillows, but it’s very exciting as we’ll be able to offer a high-quality, cruelty-free, vegan, sustainable option for people buying these items. Until now, you’ve only been able to get animal-based products (made from duck feathers, for example) or synthetic fibres, such as polyester duvets and pillows; these aren’t just bad for the environment but they also lack breathability so they’re not nice against the skin on a nightly basis. Absolutely. It’s not only as soft as silk, but also thermo-regulating – it naturally adapts to your body temperature, cooling you when you’re too hot and warming you when you’re too cold. Furthermore, due to its natural anti-bacterial properties, the bamboo bed sheets stay fresh longer; you only need to change and wash them once or twice a month, saving energy in the process. Bamboo is also hypoallergenic, Tell us about the new items you’ve added to the range. Are there sleep benefits in using bamboo bedding?

meaning it calms the skin, and helps prevent dust mites and allergies. Is it easy to care for? Very easy! You can machine wash it at 40 degrees. We do advise to hang-dry the sheets, as it will emphasise their long- lasting qualities. I founded this initiative with forest and climate specialist Dr Shyam Paudel in September 2020. We have one main mission: to promote bamboo plantations globally in order to fight climate change and empower local communities and economies. Our first community project is a hectare of bamboo planted in Nepal’s Kavre District, supporting a dozen local families from Dhaneshowri village. We’ve just completed another project along the Bagmati River, which is prone to flooding. With its intricate rhizome root system, bamboo is ideal for preventing soil erosion and floods. Also, after three or four years, villagers can harvest the Tell us a bit about The Grow Bamboo Initiative.

bamboo and sell it locally, or it can be woven and crafted into daily practical items that are eco-friendly. What do you like to do in Hong Kong when you’re not working? I live in Stanley, so I usually go for a swim every morning with my dog. I also spend time at Victoria Recreation Club at Deep Water Bay, where I do ocean sports such as surf skiing, SUP’ing and outrigger canoeing. In winter, I love to hike in Hong Kong’s beautiful nature. What are you most looking forward to in 2022? Travel! – especially a visit to our bamboo planting projects in Nepal. I would love to arrange a bamboo-planting field trip for friends. Fingers crossed we can do this next year!

Look out for the new Bamboa boutique at The Oriental Spa at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental from September.

27 SEP-NOV2021


From heavenly mattresses to luxury linen, we round up the latest finds in bedroom furniture so you can make the most of your boudoir.






1 Jane Churchill spring collection fabric, price on request, Altfield Interiors 2 Ravello bedside table, designed by Morten Georgsen, HK$4,980, Tequila Kola 3 FES Safran bedding in 100 percent cotton percale, 80 threads, from $1,650 (single), Blanc Des Vosges 4 Heveya 100 percent natural organic latex pillows, available in four models with different shapes and firmness, $1,100, and Heveya organic duvet in organic cotton and bamboo lyocell fibre, from $1,988 (single), Okooko by European Bedding 5 City ladder in sustainably sourced solid European white oak wood, $4,950, TREE 6 Paradise chest of drawers in solid wood, $10,980, Tequila Kola




29 SEP-NOV2021



7 Teak bedframe, $14,950, TREE 8 Antique cabinet,

$16,800, Oriental Home 9 Muskat bedframe with hand-carved details, $19,890, Tequila Kola








10 Monkey Business fabric collection by Thomson, price on request, Altfield Interiors 11 Silky Bliss eye mask, $280, Bamboa 12 Silky Bliss duvet sheet set, from $1,600 (single), Bamboa

31 SEP-NOV2021




13 Forever Blue cabinet in birch wood and stainless steel, $16,990, Indigo Living 14 Carlton storage bed, $19,990 (king), Indigo Living 15 Sculpted root table lamp, $695, TREE 16 Bedside table, $4,600, Oriental Home 17 Heveya bamboo lyocell sheet bundle in all-natural bamboo fibre, from $1,988 (single), Okooko by European Bedding 18 Plaisance bathrobe in 100 percent micro cotton, Blanc Des Vosges






Directory Altfield Interiors 2525 2738 | Bamboa 2291 0285 | Blanc Des Vosges 3904 1153 | Indigo Living 2555 0540 | Okooko by European Bedding 6286 1132 | Oriental Home 3542 5336 | Tequila Kola 2877 3295 | TREE 2870 1582 |


33 SEP-NOV2021


Moving to Mui Wo proved something of a masterstroke for RACHEL ALI and husband Lorne, founders of kids’ party-planning company The Tepee Tribe. We visit their home and find out more. Life ASlice of Lantau PHOTOGRAPHY COL SIM




W hile Rachel and Lorne Ali are both from the UK – they lived and worked as teachers in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, before making the move to Hong Kong – Rachel was actually born in Zambia. Her parents worked there in the 1960s and early 70s; it explains why African artworks can be spotted in different corners of their house on Lantau. Lorne’s father, meanwhile, was born in India and moved to Pakistan in the partition of 1947, arriving in the UK in the 1950s. The pair arrived in HK in 2001. Lorne had secured a job working at Kellett School in Pok Fu Lam (where he stayed for 16 years); Rachel was initially at KGV, before shifting to South Island School – she’s taught science there ever since. They also run a couple of interesting businesses: one is Discovery Dome Mobi le Planetarium, an inf latable immersive teaching space that travels around schools teaching about astronomy, space exploration and climate change; the other will be familiar to many EL readers, The Tepee Tribe, which puts together a wide variety of unique themed sleepover parties for girls and boys of all ages, from princesses to pirates.

Why Mui Wo? The couple was initially attracted to the area by the close proximity to the beach, the hill trails, and also the relatively close ferry. Today, the attraction extends to the neighbourhood’s sense of community, including the friends the family has made, and the freedom the kids have to roam and play.

“Mui Wo is a fantastic place to live,” says Rachel. “For day-to-day living and convenience, we have all the usual supermarket shops, but we also have some great coffee shops like Café Paradiso and Pause, an excellent artisanal baker, an Italian deli, a butcher and some good wine shops.” There’s plenty of choice when it comes to restaurants too. Favourites include the China Beach Club (“the best home fries in Hong Kong!”) and The Kitchen for delicious pizza. “We also have a quirky little bookstore called Vibe, a bicycle shop called Friendly, some great gyms and a lovely outdoor swimming pool.” If that’s ever not enough, Central is only 30 minutes away by fast ferry. Yet Rachel and Lorne are happy to stay put most of the time and soak up Lantau’s outdoorsy vibe. “Our beach is great for water sports and there are places to hire SUPs and kayaks,” says Rachel. “We love hiking and can often be found on the trails around our house. If we want to venture further afield, we can head to one of the other great Lantau beaches like Pui O or Cheung Sha.”

ABOUT THE HOME Location: Mui Wo, Lantau, in a village behind the beach Type of home: Three-storey village house Who lives here: Rachel and Lorne Ali and their three children, Jasmine (16) and twins Jemima and Felix (12) Length of time in the home: 16 years

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A family pad Rachel and Lorne bought their three- storey village house as a new build; initially, though, they only purchased the top floor – the idea was to use it as a weekender. When their Pok Fu Lam premises came up for redevelopment, forcing them to move, they decided to buy the ground and middle floor duplex too. “We have pretty much kept the original layout and just knocked a door through to link the spaces,” says Rachel. “Upstairs is a kitchen, a sitting room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms – that’s the grown- ups’ area. The children each have a bedroom on the middle floor and there are a further two bathrooms on this floor. Downstairs on the ground floor is the main family room and dining space, and another kitchen.” The couple deliberately avoided playing around too much with the configuration; this way, they have flexibility should they

wish to split the house up again in the future. In any case, there’s not a lot they would change for now. “We have superb views of Lin Fa Shan mountain from our front windows across a field that often has buffalo grazing; one of our favourite spots is sitting on the upstairs balcony with a cup of tea and a good book.” Recent renovations While structurally nothing much has changed, the increased time the family has been spending at home (sound familiar?) presented the perfect opportunity for a makeover. “We took a look at some of the rooms and decided to refresh them,” says Rachel. The first step was replacing the old cabinets in the downstairs kitchen with IKEA cabinets, and also replacing the floor tiles. “We finished off the new look with a granite worktop from a shop on Lockhart Road. We kept the existing

wall tiles, oven and fridge as these were relatively new.” Next in their sights was the downstairs bathroom. It was completely gutted, with wall and floor tiles replaced with new tiles from Lockhart Road. The toilet, basin and taps came from shops in Mong Kok. The upstairs kitchen had been serving as an office space for the couple’s two businesses; they decided to reclaim it and renovate. “Again, we used IKEA cabinets and replaced the wall and floor tiles, and we added a custom stone countertop. The built-in appliances are from another Mong Kok shop, Built In Pro.” IKEA’s Home and Kitchen Planner has come in handy more than once. “It lets you design and work out the cabinetry needed in each of the rooms,” says Rachel. “We played around with various layouts until we were happy; then we used a couple of different Lantau-based workmen to fit the cabinetry and do the painting, tiling and electrical work for us.”




Pieces from near and far The result of all this is a home with an eclectic mix of old and new, with different textures, patterns and textiles on display. It’s also a showcase for furniture, art and accessories they’ve inherited from family or picked up on their travels. “Among our oldest items are a drop-leaf table that my grandparents bought from an antiques shop in Cornwall in 1949, and a set of drawers they had during the war when they got married.” The couple’s sofas have some years under the belt too. “We bought them 26 years ago when we were still in the UK; they’re by an award-winning British furniture designer called Michael Tyler. We’ve recovered them once, but they’re ready to be done again. We love their shape, even after all these years – and the company still makes them!” Elsewhere, you’ll find large woven Zulu baskets from a South Africa trip; Zambian and Zimbabwean drums from Victoria Falls; Australian Aboriginal artworks from a shop in Port Douglas; cushions by CAM (Creatively Active Minds) in Singapore; and a Garuda bird from Bali. The TV cabinet is from closer to home – an antiques shop in Macau.

This life isn’t for everyone, but it’s the right life for us!

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Rachel loves adding pops of colour where she can. In particular, she has used Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan to transform much of the upstairs furniture in eye-catching shades. “I painted an old brown Tequila Kola cabinet a bright blue – that set the scene for the rest of the room. The Louise Hill prints are also favourites for the colour they bring. I’m a keen collector of textiles and I love the bright kanthas from Jaipur and Jodhpur, the ikat throws from Indonesia and the Thai rice pots from Chiang Mai.” Final word Outside their four walls, Rachel and Lorne love the neighbourhood’s mix of interesting locals and expats, who hail from all walks of life. “Mui Wo was different when we first moved here; more and more families are choosing to live here now, so there are more home-grown businesses, for instance. And people have really discovered the great outdoors in this part of Hong Kong, from the amazing trails to the new mountain bike park that’s very popular. Speaking of which, bikes come in very handy for the Ali family – they cycle or walk just about everywhere from home. “We can’t drive our car right up to the door, so we do have to get inventive when we want to move large items or lots of shopping. We use our three- wheeler bike and we also have hand trolleys. When we get heavy rain, we pull on a variety of ponchos to stay dry on the cycle ride to the ferry pier.” Some might see all that as a bit of a nuisance, but not Rachel and her family. “This life isn’t for everyone,” she says, “but it’s the right life for us!”

Thorn and Burrow (“for Moroccan rugs and Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan”) Inside (“for beautiful throws, glassware and candle holders”) Zara Home (“for cups, glassware and linens”) Lion Rock Press (“for amazing cards and wrapping paper”) Indigo Living (“for candles, lamps and picture frames”) Candy in Shenzhen (“for anything to do with fabric”) Shanghai Tang (“for room fragrance”) IKEA (”for a little bit of everything!”) Bombay Dreams (“for a great curry on Hong Kong island”) Branto (”for a great vegetarian curry in TST”) The Chinnery (“for comfort food”) Caprice, Four Seasons Hotel (“to be wowed!”) Rachel’s Recommendations




4Plants for

TheteamfromGreenItUpHK recommends a fewfabplants for specific outdoor spots. BALCONY Balconies tend to have full-sun or half-sun conditions, but it’s important to consider air circulation too. We do see cases of poor air circulation on balconies, which can cause many plants to struggle.

product. Keep in mind, too, that fertilisers can be overused. This can cause yellow leaves or brown tips, and will potentially burn the roots. #3 Commitment Know how committed you are to taking care of your plants. Rooftop or balcony plants will be part of your regular routine. With indoor plants, certain types of “lazy” plants are available, so even people with the busiest schedule can handle themwell. We’re currently offering maintenance to offices and personal gardens to help keep plants in good condition. If you’re short on time, contact us.

Heliconia This is a beautiful green- leaf plant with orange or yellow flowers. It’s easy to care for, and perfect for a spot with ample sunlight. If you’re looking for adding a colourful touch to your rooftop, this is the plant you can’t miss.

Sago palm If you want a strong, wind- resistant plant, sago palms are a good easy- ca re cho i ce . They require

Dracaena Cochinchinensis

Also called the dragon tree, this is one of the most easy-care and popular houseplants or outdoor plants around. It can survive well from indoors to full sun conditions, and comes in a range of different styles and shapes. An ideal choice for a unique ornamental plant. Ficus Microcarpa A beautiful tree-shaped p l an t t ha t make s a dramatic statement on a balcony. It’s hardy and easy to look after, and suitable for shaded half- sun to full-sun conditions.

About Green It Up HK The company offers everything from small, medium and large green plants, flowering plants and fruit trees, to soil, pots, fertilisers and gardening tools, with delivery all over HongKong (excluding outlying islands) and Macau. It also provides landscape design, maintenance and repotting services to both residential, retail and corporate customers. Get in touch for a free plant consultation for getting the right plants for your environment.

ample sunlight, but they can’t tolerate too much moisture. We can add a treatment to the soil to ensure the plant survives well, even through rainy days. Three maintenance tips #1 Air, sunlight and Soil Air and sunlight are external factors that depend on the conditions you provide. Soil is something we can help with. Different plants have different soil requirements, but in general we use good-quality soil with balanced NPK to provide enough nutrients to the plant and support growth. Most importantly, our soil is steamed and therefore less unlikely to carry insect eggs. #2 Fertilising Different plants have different fertilising requirements, especially when you want them to flower and bear fruit. We suggest customers check with us before just randomly purchasing a fertilising

ROOFTOP Rooftops usually have lots of direct sunlight and heat during the HK summer. These are perfect conditions for most tropical plants to thrive and flourish. Don’t worry too much about sunburn, or issues with under- or over-watering; rooftop-suitable plants are generally much easier than indoor plants.

Browse these plants and many others at the website; order online by 3pm, and your plants will be delivered at the earliest opportunity the next day. You’ll also get an email from the team about how to handle your particular purchases.



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