Yearly Archives: 2013

Merry Christmas

This is a quick message to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. This will be our last post for 2013, so we wanted to thank you for your wonderful feedback and messages over the last six months. We hope you have enjoyed reading our stories as much as we have enjoyed writing, styling and photographing them for you. Thank you all for your support and for coming back post after post. We will be back on Monday the 6th of January 2014 with lots more stories, places, recipes and people to meet.  

Belinda & Ingrid 

Stylebrief- Xmas thank you




Flower Market

The Flower Market in Mongkok, Kowloon, is definitely one of our favourite places in Hong Kong. There are small boutiques opening up, and right now the markets are overflowing with Christmas trees, hyacinth buds, poinsettia, ivy, Christmas bush and bright, inexpensive Christmas ornaments. If your Christmas table is in need of a makeover, this should be your first point of call. Sum Kee Yuen has super stylish mini pine trees that would look beautiful on a table. Create bunting, or make your own stars for each little tree as perfect place settings for your Xmas day guests.  

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Latitude 22N

The showroom and studio of Latitude 22N is housed in a 1970’s warehouse in Chai Wan. Here Hong Kong born and bred Julie Progin and her American born husband Jesse McLin work and showcase their varied collections. This clever duo not only create and design but also work with artisans in Jingdezhen province in China, the home of porcelain, to produce a modern yet quirky take on ceramics. You will find it hard to leave Latitude 22N without something. Their suspension lights come in a multitude of colours; their ‘Ding’ light, in white or black, is a delicate yet striking modern take on the hanging light. Their basic porcelain bowls, plates and cups are produced in beautiful hues, and their collections, The Night Market, Song and Waves are unique and refreshing. Everything is done with precision and thought. It makes me think that ceramics/porcelain is definitely coming back in a big way.  After graduating with a Bachelor in Fine Arts at Kansas City Art Institute and then a Masters degree at The Alfred State School of Ceramics Arts Jesse McLin went to New York and taught at Parsons School of Design where he met Julie Progin. Jesse works with many different materials: metal, paper, ceramics, glass, and the incredible wooden tree installations could be used as a room divider or just to just simply have in a space gives a sense of calm. Jesse’s childhood growing up exploring the redwoods of Northern California perhaps gave him an eye to hand carve these beautiful wooden sculptures. Julie studied textiles at Duperré in Paris and ended up exploring product design at Parsons in New York, but her Hong Kong roots brought them back to launch their own design studio. 

What made you start Latitude 22N?

Our wedding was the starting point. We wanted to share our appetite for ceramics and design with our loved ones. Next thing you know, we pulled up our sleeves and set out to create our wedding decor out of ceramic from lights to candle holders down to dinner plates. This is when our Song dinnerware collection came to be. We were inspired by the delicate, simple and nature influenced patterns of the Song era that were made in Jingdezhen, porcelain capital city of China, that we had seen at the Metropolitan in New York where we lived at the time. The designs we came up with had such good responses that we decided we had to find a way to make more pieces and what better place to make them then to go back where the source of our inspiration came from. So we packed our bags and headed off to explore the know hows of Jingdezhen’s craftsmen, dropping off suitcases in Hong Kong along the way. What we found there was breathtaking. Amazing white porcelain and skills that we had not encountered before. Naturally we started exchanging ideas with the artisans there and drew up more and more collections back in our studio in Hong Kong. The name Latitude 22N was then decided – 22N for the terrestrial coordinates of the city of Hong Kong. Latitude as a reflection of our diverse skills, backgrounds and that of all the people involved in the making of our collections. 

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Wooden cutting boards are so great for styling and a can’t-live-without kitchen aid ( the ease of a well-crafted one is a relief when chopping vegetables). A great shop in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon Woodwork Professor, G/F 335-339 Shanghai Street. Tel: +852 2332 2443 specialises in all kinds: square shaped, pizza tray ones to large circular styles. They also have a large stack of camphor boards out the front of the shop. No good for cooking but a lifesaver, when hung in the wardrobe, from moth attacks on precious clothes. Just across the road is Man Kee Chopping Board, G/F 340-342 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei. Tel:+852 2332 2784 they also have a good selection of wooden boards. 

Rubbing a little sunflower oil or coconut oil all over the board around 3- 4 tablespoons with cloth gloves every few months will keep your board glossed and in prime condition. 


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Christmas is a go-go

Christmas is nearly here, so if you are looking for live trees and beautiful wreaths, head to Chung Hing Gardening & Landscaping, Chun Hing Garden, Wong Nai Chung Road, Happy Valley. Tel: +852 2573 5408. This incredible urban nursery is located in between Happy Valley racecourse and the historical cemeteries of Hong Kong which are a story in themselves. If you are Sai Kung side, talk to Pedro at KK Horituculture – this family run establishment always has lovely Christmas trees, wreaths and candle settings for the table. Tau Chung Hau Road, Sai Kung, Tel: +(852) 2792 7440.

Once you have a tree you will need some decorations. I recently supplied the lifestyle store Mirth in Hong Kong a bunch of my own – I add a touch of Liberty fabric to vintage bells and glass spheres – which will lend some seasonal dazzle to any home or apartment. 

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HK Honey/Shanghai Street Studios

When creative director of HK Honey Michael Leung moved into his apartment where he also runs Shanghai Street Studios in Yau Mai Tai, Kowloon, he embraced, rather than discarded, everything that was left from the previous tenant. For Michael, the detritus played a huge role in turning this three-stair walk-up into a constructive, warm and friendly space. Michael definitely lives with a “this is me and this is who I am” attitude, which is refreshing in a city of finance and newness. With a passion for bees and urban agriculture, Michael can take you through the first steps of making candles from natural beeswax at his classes. He will even take you on a guided tour of Yau Mai Tai ( his beehive is located on a nearby garden rooftop and that’s definitely impressive). The candles Michael crafts are available to buy at lifestyle store Kapok in Hong Kong as well. In the summer of 2011 Michael moved to New York for three months to work on the world’s largest rooftop farm Brooklyn Grange. His experience there inspired him to explore urban agriculture in a community-based way in Hong Kong hence his decision to start HK Farm. The first rooftop garden was created on an industrial building in Ngau Tau Kok, Kowloon. There they grow local and organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, do compost and harvest local honey.

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Pomegranate Gems

When Asma Chishty decided to leave the world of finance, where she worked as a corporate banker in the highly specialised field of ‘diamond financing’, it was little wonder she started designing her own boutique jewellery line – pomegranate gems. There was a great creative influence from her parents: her artist mother opened her eyes to form and proportion while her diplomat father instilled a love of travel and culture. Now based in Hong Kong and in just over one year Asma has designed a beautiful range of unique jewellery. After collaborating with artisans across Asia and Europe, the result is three collections with three different looks. Her Signature line is inspired by Asma’s birthplace Lahore; bold and striking sapphires, rubies and emeralds nestle in modern designs; Geneva – exquisite day-to-night pieces in 18 carat white, rose gold and diamonds – is an ode to Asma’s hometown, and Atelier – the bridal collection – is more classical and refined with bespoke designs. Asma’s jewellery definitely has that want-to-slip-that-on-and-wear-it-now allure but it’s also timeless so it will take you through all the seasons.

Some of the things you might do in a day?

I’m an early riser, as soon as the kids leave for school, I meet a group of friends at Starbucks for coffee and our daily walk around the Peak which I follow up with a session of yoga three times a week. I like being at my desk by 9:30 am to catch up on admin things and work in peace on my design work. The afternoon is often spent in meetings or at my Atelier in Hung Hom. 

Describe your style?

Clean, polished yet bold

Can you name three of your best traits?

Reliable, affectionate, creative

Who or what inspires you?

My mother who is an incredibly talented watercolorist and my husband, who is incredibly driven and all my girlfriends who are the fabric of my life. 

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Re-loving our handbags

Over the years, I’ve acquired quite a collection of designer handbags and as I like to look after them I tracked down an expert repair man in Tsim Sha Tsui, his name is Peter Tsang and he owns SmithShop, Room 605/6/F Rise Commercial Building, 5-11 Granville Circuit, Kowloon. Tel: +852 3483 4243. Peter is great at making stressed bags look adored again. Anyone can appreciate the quick cheap bag fix readily available here but there’s a lot of beauty to be found in a sophisticated designer bag. And they can last the distance, often resulting in a chic worn look I really like plus our bags hold a lot of stories and eventually history, too when they are passed on to new carers. Hope you agree and see what good re-polishing/lining/ handling Peter can do at his little hole-in-the-wall workshop. If you are looking for a vintage bag check out Love Tata


Time for Tea

The handcrafted Chinese tea and tea wares at Vivian Mak’s Ming Cha, Shipyard Lane, Taikoo, is definitely having it’s hot-right-now moment. After studying fine arts at Chicago School of Art Institute in the late 80’s, Ms Mak set out to build her knowledge of tea. She has imbued her steeped specialities with gorgeously fragrant and delicate aromas that hint at history and conjure up sensory intrigue. You need to participate in a private tea tasting class or workshop at her studio and store in Taikoo, Hong Kong Island where you can savour several varieties of tea, from Red, Green, White and Black to Oolong – flavours include Mandarin Orchid and Red Plum Classic. Vivian will take you through the history of tea and help figure out the right blend for you. Her current fave is Red tea – Tanyang Golden Rim. Watching Vivian prepare and pour the tea tasting is a lesson in how to be seamlessly elegant. I love Silver Needle Supreme which is apparently good for reducing inflammation, and boasts anti-ageing properties such as antioxidants. The brand’s rosebud teabags, which I stumbled upon in Great some years ago, are said to aid digestion and circulation, and I love this tea in particular – I drink it slightly warm. Ming Cha has everything you need to spice up Christmas gifts, too. Their white and blue tea bowls are dreamy, as are the bamboo spatulas and vintage teacups. Add a pot of Vivan’s rose honey to your bag of goodies on your way out. Vivian suggests using it in salad dressings or on ice-cream. We’ve baked a batch of biscuits with it. Check out the pictures below and don’t forget to click on the recipe card for baking instructions.



















































If you are wandering near the Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, visit Ch’ang tea shop, G/F 122 Temple Street, Kowloon. Tel: +852 2384 2197, it’s been running for years and is well known for its pottery tea wares and fine teas. The owner pours tea for you in a traditional setting. Every flavour of tea is available here  – our pick is the floral and fruity tasting Autumn Showers which is actually the osmanthus flower. Osmanthus tea is apparently good for moisturising your skin and enhancing your eye-sight. Choose Christmas gifts from a colorful array of delicate teapots and teacups. The owner will happily let you road test, too.


































































We decided to bake some biscuits with our favourite teas, pure rose petals, jasmine and osmanthus plus a few pots of Vivian’s Ming Cha Rose Honey. Belinda came up with three flavours for the biscuits – Rose Honey, Jasmine with Vanilla and Osmanthus with Palm Sugar. Check them out on our recipe cards. 













Jasmine Tea and Vanilla Flower Biscuits

Jasmine Tea and Vanilla Flower Biscuits
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  1. 1 1/4 cup plain flour
  2. 1/4 cup icing sugar
  3. 2 Jasmine Tea bags (whole pure tea leaves), cut open and use contents.
  4. 1 Vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  5. 2 tbsp stylebriefhongkong's vanilla essence
  6. 100g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  1. Turn on the oven to 180 degrees celsius
  2. Add the flour, butter, sugar and Jasmine tea leaves in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for about two minutes to combine and tea is pulverised.
  3. Then add vanilla seeds and vanilla essence and pulse several times, until a dough forms.
  4. Turn dough onto a very lightly floured surface, gather it together and kneed until it all comes together and a soft dough has formed, then roll it into a ball.
  5. Wrap dough in cling film or wax paper and transfer to the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill.
  6. When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  7. Remove dough from fridge and roll out until about 1/2cm thick, using a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
  8. Transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between each.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until biscuits are just starting to brown.
  10. Leave on the baking tray to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks.
  1. Dust with icing sugar.
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