Sense Of Touch Sai Ying Pun Spa review – good morning Vietnam!

sense of touch hong kong massage

Soho – say whaaat? Poho – pah! These days, Hong Kong’s hottest area is strictly Westside, with more hipsters heading there than a gallery opening serving craft beers and burger sliders.

So far, most of the buzz has been around Western District’s new bars and restaurants, but now there’s something to make us beauty geeks sit up and take notice too – Sense Of Touch Sai Ying Pun.

I’m a big fan of Sense Of Touch, a homegrown spa chain that has now grown to eight locations in Hong Kong, as I think that they deliver quality and consistency across all the venues I’ve visited. The Sai Ying Pun Sense Of Touch is a little smaller than most of their other spas (i.e. the Tseung Kwan O branch) with only around five treatment rooms, but it’s still just as stylishly decked out as all its bigger sisters. I loved the colourful armchairs and Vietnamese-style white latticework screens in the foyer, where manicures, pedicures and foot massages take place. Meanwhile, the treatment rooms are simple and small – but they certainly don’t feel cramped or bare either.

sense of touch sai ying pun

I was booked in for Good Morning Vietnam – an exfoliation, steam shower and massage treatment that’s only available at Sense Of Touch Sai Ying Pun. Your 105 minutes of pure pampering bliss begins with an Elemis ginger and lime scrub, which is every bit as invigorating and defiantly un-abrasive as only the best scrubs can be.

Continue reading

Grand Hyatt Hong Kong afternoon tea – a work of art

grand hyatt hong kong cake painting afternoon tea

Forget March Madness, the Mad March Hare or even the March winds and April showers that bring forth May flowers – March in Hong Kong means art mania… also known as any party/event/celebrity visit that-can-vaguely-be-connected-to-art mania.

Sadly I’m not really into art – or parties – but what I can get on-board with is another opportunity to stuff my face. Enter the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong’s Cake Painting Afternoon Tea, a fun collaboration with British/Japanese artist Peter McDonald. Consisting of edible treats inspired by McDonald’s art, plus several of his original works on display too (including some created especially in honour of the tea), this is probably the closest I’ll get to embracing my artistic side this March!

grand hyatt afternoon tea peter mcdonald

In what will go down in history as The Day Of Two Afternoon Teas, I actually ended up eating the Cake Painting Afternoon Tea for ummm… breakfast (I know, I know) – but what a wonderful way to start the day it was! I’m not going to be giving Brian Sewell a run for his money anytime soon, but I can tell you that Peter McDonald’s art is eye-catchingly bright, vibrant and imaginative, abstract but not in that “well now I feel stupid” pretentious way, and with a tangible sense of fun and playfulness. The Grand Hyatt’s Executive Pastry Chef David White has done a great job of translating all this to the afternoon tea, creating colourful edible creations that still taste good too. Now that’s the kind of work of art I can truly appreciate!

Continue reading

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong afternoon tea – a right bobby dazzler

island shangri-la hong kong best of london afternoon tea

I’ve had a stressful couple of weeks recently – so of course, the best way to combat this was to have two afternoon teas in one day. Obvious really, isn’t it? (Note: here‘s the one I had for breakfast!)

As luck would have it, our trip to the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong happened just in time to catch their Best Of London Afternoon Tea – a collaboration with Chef Nicholas Patterson, award-winning pastry chef from the Shangri-La at The Shard, London.

island shangri-la hong kong lobby lounge

I love the Island Shangri-La for its old-school glamour (who can resist the plush carpets in their lifts, which are changed every 24 hours to feature each day of the week?) and their Lobby Lounge is no exception – plump sateen armchairs, marble tables, sparkling chandeliers and a live pianist tinkling away in the corner. The room feels like something out of the castle in Disney’s Beauty & The Beast… no doubt helped by the fact that said pianist was playing Tale As Old As Time when I walked in!

Although it doesn’t have the grandiose cityscape views of other afternoon teas in town, the Lobby Lounge’s enormous windows offer a different but equally lovely panorama – of the Island Shangri-La’s gorgeous tropical garden and giant Banyan Tree. It’s a view totally different to any other I can think of in Hong Kong, and further adds to the place’s quiet and relaxed charm.

Continue reading

Shu Uemura Laque Supreme in Chu Chu Coral and Wild Rose review – baby got laque!

shu uemura laque supreme

The arrival of Shu Uemura’s latest lip product = this baby’s got laque!

Oh come on, you know I can never resist a good pun… and nor can I resist a good lippie. Shu Uemura’s Laque Supreme is a gorgeous halfway house between a lipstick and a lip gloss – but there certainly isn’t anything half-hearted about the final results!

Inspired by the high shine and rich colours of Japanese lacquerware, Laque Supreme essentially marries the consistency of a lip gloss with the intense pigmentation of a lipstick. But actually, it’s even better than that.

shu uemura laque supreme swatches wn02 cr01Top to bottom: Wild Rose/Wild Fuchsia (WN02), Chu Chu Coral (CR01)

Continue reading

Arcane restaurant review – can you keep a secret?

arcane hong kong suckling pig

Arcane /ɑːˈkeɪn/ adjective
Understood by few; mysterious or secret

Despite the dictionary definition, I promise that you won’t need a degree from Hogwarts to understand the food at Shane Osborn’s new restaurant, Arcane. It’s simple – it’s stunning.

Having fallen head over taste buds in love with Osborn’s cooking, I was absolutely gutted to hear that he had left St Betty, the restaurant that brought him to Hong Kong following his award-winning stint at London’s Pied a Terre. But that sadness quickly turned into elation when I discovered that Osbourn was in fact opening his own restaurant in Central.

Arcane Hong Kong

Located on the third floor of a brand new building on On Lan Street, the interior of Arcane is pretty unassuming – the décor is nothing exciting (although there is a lovely terrace garden where Shane grows fruit, veggies and herbs for the kitchen) – but frankly, you don’t need design tricks and kicks when your food is this good.

Continue reading

Benefit Roller Lash mascara review – curl power

benefit roller lash

Beauty confessions: I hate mascara.

I know, I know… mascara is like, everyone else’s desert island essential. But with crazy-sensitive eyes that tear up at the merest suggestion of the music from Up (the other day I even cried about how cute a dog on Instagram was), I very rarely wear the stuff. In general, I find mascara heavy, that it irritates my eyes, that it’s a pain to remove… and for all that, it doesn’t even make that much of a difference to how my face looks. [Note: I opt for lashings of eyeliner instead.]

benefit roller lash mascara brush

BUT if I did wear mascara often, then Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara would probably be high on my list.

Continue reading

Rose Bakery café review – every rose has its thorn…

rose bakery hong kong marbled chocolate loaf

Not much beats curling up with a good book and a piece of cake… so I think it’s pretty clever for Hong Kong bookshop Page One to have stuck a café in their recently renovated Harbour City store – the Parisian import Rose Bakery, to be exact.

rose bakery hong kong

That said, I don’t think Rose Bakery’s décor is the most welcoming. It’s the same signature look in every city (London, New York, Tokyo and counting) but I found its stark industrial design rather chilly, and somewhat at odds with the traditional dark wood bookshelves lining the walls at Page One. With a bare cement floor, cold glass tables and stainless steel surfaces, it feels like a cross between a disused aircraft hangar and the Industrial Zone on The Crystal Maze (and yes, I know I seem to reference The Crystal Maze way more than the average person!).

Come 4pm and my mind immediately turns to cake… hell, who am I fooling, my mind is usually fixated on cake at all times of the day! So on our visit, afternoon tea partner-in-crime Mirander and I decided to bypass Rose Bakery’s savoury offerings of salads and quiches for cake, cake and more cake; a balanced diet means that not all the cakes we chose are chocolate ones, right?

rose bakery hk carrot cake

Continue reading