TRAVEL: HONG KONG’S BEST MARKETS

If there’s one thing you must do when you visit Hong Kong it’s visit the markets. Although the city is most well known for glittering sky scrapers and the harbour, it’s the tiny stalls and people going about their everyday lives that always interests me the most. If you like colour and vitality, don’t confine your trip to the malls – explore a bit to see the parts of Hong Kong you’ll remember the most.

It would totally be possible to spend a week visiting every market in the city, and trust me you wouldn’t get bored. But if you’re short on time and want see the best of the best in a day, then this is the itinerary for you. Conveniently located around the Prince Edward and Yau Mae Tei in Kowloon, start in the morning and keep walking til your feet fall off – or you hail a cab!

Hong Kong's best markets in one day

The perfect market day…

10 am Flower Markets

Start at Prince Edward station and head over to the Flower Markets. If you arrive in the late morning you’ll be able to watch the sellers set up.  Walk the whole block, and enjoy the hectic nature of the street, the succulents (this is where I get mine!) and the gorgeous hanging plants. Grab a coffee at Cafe Hay Fever if you’re in need of a pick me up.  Flower Market Road, Prince Edward Station Exit B1.

11 am Yuen Po Bird Garden

At the end of Flower Market Road, you’ll find the Yuen Po Bird Garden – a market slash garden where people come to buy pet birds as well as feed, cages, live insects and all manner of other bird related paraphernalia. The Chinese style cages make this garden feel like a throw back to a bygone era, and the men that bring their cages down from their houses to talk birds will keep you entertained for hours.  Yuen Po Street, Prince Edward (the end of Flower Market Road)

12.30 pm Goldfish Street

Once you’ve finished at the Bird Garden, head back towards the station and take a left onto Tung Choi St, otherwise known as Goldfish Street. This street isn’t quite a market but makes the cut – shop after shop selling pet goldfish in bags, and boxes full of turtles. Naturally it smells strongly of fish food but I’m sure you can handle it.  Tung Choi Street North, Mong Kong

1.30 Cafe Mido

Jump into a taxi and head to this very atmospheric Hong Kong style tea house. I love this place! Wes Anderson would be proud of the throwback 50’s tiles and furniture, and the gorgeous green antique windows that look down onto the local temple. The menu is Hong Kong cafe food which can be a tad odd for the uninitiated – noodles and condensed milk on toast anyone? – but don’t let that stop you. 63 Temple St, Yau Ma Tei

2.30pm Jade Markets

Jade has long been associated with long life and prosperity in China, so you can understand why there’s whole markets dedicated to the stone. I love this market for its colour and stall holders, and for jewellery lovers – there are lots of other stones as well as Jade and it’s a great place to pick up presents.  Junction of Kansu Street and Battery Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon

Top off your day with either a pit stop at the Ladies Markets if you’re in the mood for a few fake handbags clothes, or nip into Din Tai Fung in TST to weigh yourself down with Dim Sum!

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We took these photos over the course of a few days, but you only need one day to do it!

LINK FAVES #7

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Cambodia for a few days – a quick stop in Phnom Penh and then a few days in the serene and beautiful seaside village of Kep. It was amazing to get some downtime and do a bit of island hopping.. Particualy given winter is beginning to arrive in Hong Kong and swimming is (almost) out of the question now. It was so laid back that I got to forget about work and deadlines for a few hours – just what I needed prior to the crazy holiday season. I’m looking forward to sharing a few of my favourite things to do there with you, and also getting back there next year to check out Siem Reap!

Taking a dip in Cambodia
Swimsuit by Her The Label – on that note this is my first foray into high waisted bikinis and surprisingly I like them! What are your thoughts on the high waisted?

A few links I enjoyed over the weekend and wanted to share with you:

‘Not wearing a bra is my favourite pastime’. True that! NY women drawn their boobs.

Globe makers (insert love heart face emojis here).

Garza Marfa – I want everything now.

I love staying in people’s houses when I travel, here’s a few perfect ones for when you visit London.

The new Ace Hotel in LA is on my hit list, could it beeeee more pretty?

On friendship breakups

Ps… I’ve joined the Conde Nast Traveller team, head over to read my first guide about Shopping in Hanoi.

BEFORE & AFTER: OUR STUDIO

You’ll probably remember that a while ago we moved into our new studio, and in that time so much has happened that I can’t believe it’s only been a bit more than 6 months! The days when I used to work (with my boyfriend) in our tiny spare room seem like a millennium ago, now that we’ve got space to stretch out and (for me) experiment with crafts and projects. Paying rent every month is the obvious downside to this scenario, but because we’ve been able to share the space it’s worked out well for us (for now anyway).

Being an interior designer ( I’m so proud of all the projects he’s done since we’ve been in HK!), it was pretty straight forward for Ben to put together the designs before we first moved in – working with a few surly contractors to turn it from a warehouse into something you would want to work in. Although we wanted to keep it as raw as possible with the original, imperfect walls and the bare cement floors, in true Hong Kong fashion the contractors took it upon themselves to perfect the walls with plaster and paint. You can’t always get what you want (but you get what you need :)).

The studio is divided into two rooms, which works perfectly for us, as Ben and his team sit on one side, and we sit on the other side  – free to be as messy and chatty as we like! I’ve really enjoyed the hands on nature of creating shelves, tables and all the bits and pieces that went into the space – plenty more to come believe me.

Geneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

Check out the studio in more depth in the video below! And see just how much of a disaster the construction site was…

a pair and a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.comGeneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.comGeneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

The nook is my favourite place in the studio!

Geneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

We made the desks out of bricks and plywood, we’re all about saving the $$$. :)

Geneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

Ben came up with the idea of a floating shelf above the main desks which we’ve stacked with plants and vines – in  chaotic and built up city like Hong Kong, this green feature really made all the difference to the space.

Geneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

Over on the other side of the office, we decided to make the space a little more girly, and naturally we needed a big table to do our projects on. We’ve got a series of background we use to get different effects, so it’s made the space quite versatile.

a pair and a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.coma pair and a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

Naturally we’ve got a few quotes from lovely Jasmine Dowling to remind us of what’s important.

a pair and a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.coma pair and a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.comGeneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

You can find all the DIYs shown in the office below:

DIY Hanging Rope Shelves

DIY Rolling Note Board

DIY Round Hanging Shelves

DIY Net Inspiration Board

DIY Easy Throw Cushions

DIY Hanging Basket Mirror

DIY Hanging Baskets

 Studio Design: Charlie & Rose

Furniture Design: Charlie & Rose

Colourful rug via Mister Zimi, Black and White Rug via Kahoko

Video credits: Luke Casey & Kai Von Carnap