I have either bought these things for myself or others, have had them bought for me, or have them on my wishlist for Christmas- and upcoming birthday (friends and husband take note!).
Was there ever a more gorgeous addition to your home than the heavenly limited-edition lamps from Ginger Jar Lamp Company? I virtually moved house ONLY to be able to have enough room to fit one on either side of my bed. I have the vintage Fat Lady base and my husband has the Warrior (eye roll please) but we do at least have matching divine mustard-coloured Ikat shades. I’ve chipped in for a friend as a housewarming gift, for a buddy’s 40th, and a pair of their signature Double Happiness lamps for a wedding- what a special gift to be treasured for a lifetime! They’ve just today launched a mix and match tool on their website so I will no doubt be losing hours of my life to that! Get on their IG account for unadulterated home decor design porn.
I’m absolutely mad about tea towels… everyone needs them, right? I would actually love to make them at The Lion Rock Press if it wasn’t for the fact that other people have done such a brilliant job already! My favourites are from ByMamaLaterre (HK postboxes), eco-friendly Paper Roses (Dumplings), Zest of Asia (Chinese Thermos Flasks), Liz Fry Design (High Rise which is also a wicked cushion cover) and Pinyin Press (Noodles and Chicken Feet). Pinyin Press also do brilliant Lucky Cat oven gloves– I’ve got one red and one blue! I am constantly buying tea towels for hostess gifts, and they’re great because they’re completely ageless… you need them whether you’re 28 or 88! I can’t seem to leave Thorn & Burrow (fave shop for gifts in Sai Ying Pun AND stockist of myriad HK-themed gifts including LRP) without another of the wretched things! I’m addicted!
There was a time when every male in my life connected with the 852 got a pair of cufflinks for their birthdays. There’s something about those gorgeous frilly Elizabeth II twenty cent coins from Patinova that I just could not resist, but I’m actually recently favouring their Qing Dynasty styles- check out their Longevity Cufflinks. I’m a long-term fan of Carey Ip at Dee Gogh too- SO creative and can be made completely custom with the year of their birth or to mark a wedding year, for example. Everyone who wears them say what a great talking point they are- especially for old HK friends and family who are now living overseas. Perfect leavers gifts too.
I wear my Simon Robin Hong Kong Heartbeat necklace almost every day- it goes with pretty much everything. My bestie bought it for me at a fair knowing I’d love it, but selflessly passed it to my hubby for him to give it to me as an anniversary gift. Clearly I smelt a rat straight away! Ha! Since then, I’ve bought several of them for friends and they all love them- the rose gold version is on my Christmas list!
Like me, Louise Hill is mad about vintage Chinese thermos flasks, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy her Old Town print which is an explosion of colour and nostalgia! I bought my mother-in-law her China White print last year which has pride of place in her new dining room and I’ve also clubbed together with others to buy leaving friends her iconic WE LOVE HONG KONG on canvas. Meanwhile, I’ve also got my eye on the talented Belinda Bath’s China Doll Tryptych for my daughter’s room but it would look just as good in my electric blue kitchen (Yatesie! Are you reading this?!).
Another of my obsessions is old Chinese doors, so I was thrilled to see China ABCs incredible collage of them which I have been coveting this year- I need to make some wall space for that beauty or her “Natural Circles” collage. I must say though, if I was leaving HK, I would for sure ask my buddies for “TEAM YATES” in her Alphabet Art to have in my kitchen- I know it would make me smile every time I looked at it.
Although better known for her Zodiac Collection, I am absolutely gagging to get a set of Eleanor McColl’s HK PEOPLE collages. Like us at LRP, Eleanor ‘celebrates the ordinary’ and we share a love for the overlooked icons of the city like the “cardboard grannies” and street sweepers. In a simple black- or bold bright coloured frames- these would make a killer gift.
I bought this print from Ciaolink from the Conrad Fair a couple of years ago and it hangs in my bathroom. I look at it closely every day without fail because I just adore it and, coming from a family besotted by paper, I’m crazy about the Japanese “Pachika” it’s printed on. It shows the steps between Bridges Street and Man Mo Temple from Hollywood Road- which is my daily commute- and I am constantly inspired by that area. I know I will treasure it forever, so I recently bought their Percival Street one to hang next to it.
Do you love maps? I do. I found this cool little shop in Sheung Wan called Tiny Island Maps near my office and they make the most awesome presents! The prints are 70x50cm (13 districts to choose from including Happy Valley and and Discovery Bay) and if you order online you also get free delivery. Paired with a good-old Ikea frame in black or natural wood, they are a cracking, reasonably priced gift. Check them out!
In the spirit of full disclosure, Evolving Patina is my youngest brother John’s passion project, but I love his stuff SO much and I sure you all will too. His photos are composed of abstract patterns from distressed surfaces, and many of them were taken right here in HK on days out we took together. One of them actually features on our new LRP 1000 piece puzzle called “Celebrating Hong Kong”. My particular favourites are the ones he shot on a trip to Tai O with me last year and I have a huge 2 metre wide one hanging in my home. They somehow manage to be striking and colourful, yet neutral enough to look good with all your furnishings. I think they’d make an awesome gift for someone’s special birthday… or just a treat for yourself #YOLO.
I cannot be the only one obsessed with King & Country. Founded in the early 80s by two Scottish expats, their solid metal miniatures are a guaranteed winner in the gift stakes. Of course my favourites are their best-selling range “Streets of Old Hong Kong”- a colourful and dynamic series of Chinese figurines and buildings depicting street life in-turn-of-the century Colonial Hong Kong. Go and take a look- you’ll be spoilt for choice!
I’m a complete sucker for coffee table books about Hong Kong, and the lovely Arti from Bookazine sent me a copy of Sunset Survivors last year when I was spending a lot of time with my Nan in hospital. It tells the story of Hong Kong’s traditional tradesmen and women with interviews and absolutely stunning photos. I read it cover to cover several times over and still often go back to it- all my house guests pick it up to look at. I joined the walking tour a few months ago which the author hosts and I was in HEAVEN! Right up my street! I urge you to book the tour to accompany the book… I took my book along and had fangirl moments when the craftsmen featured kindly signed it. Lindsay, the author, is divine and she signed the front for me too- will always treasure it.
Since finding out about our growing Craft Beer market here in HK, I’m now obsessed with buying cases of that rather than a crate of Asahi cans from Park n Shop when we go round to friends… and wow it’s always so well received and a great conversation starter. With names like “Big Wave Bay” and “Dragon’s Back”, the Hong Kong Beer Company has nailed the fun local names although, naturally, I find it more fun to take a mixed case of Lion Rock Brewery beers and try and pass it off as my new line- the Pale Ale always goes down a treat. From an aesthetic POV, my favourite is Young Master Ales whose labels are to-die-for and, being teetotal myself, this is of extreme importance! They’ve got an big range of beers and I buy their gift vouchers for those hard-to-buy-for HK boys! There’s also Black Kite Brewery , Gweilo (check out their SKYLINE cans!) and- the ultimate in design porn for me- Moonzen– the boxes they come in are incredibly beautiful- we keep them all to send our LRP orders!! Check out these stunning Moonzen gift sets– amazing value for HK$200 IMO since we’d usually spend that one a bottle of nice wine to take over which has got like a hundred zillion air miles… so much better to support our local micro breweries!
If you’re still reading, THANK YOU for taking the time to hopefully learn about some local independent companies who rely on your patronage- especially during these uncertain times. We have SO much talent, and SO many passionate and creative people right here on our doorstep- let’s show them our support!