This week we welcome our new Sassy Mama editor, Kat Lau!
No stranger to Sassy Mama, Kat has been a part of our community for the last few years as one of our contributors. Find out more about this mama and all the tips she has for thriving as a parent in the 852!
Tell us a bit about yourself. We’re nosy here at Sassy Mama HQ and want to know anything you’re willing to tell us!
When people ask me where I grew up, I always have trouble telling them where “home” really is. I’ve spent half my life in North America and the other half in Hong Kong. My family has been in Canada for decades between Vancouver, which was where I was born (aka the “best coast”) and Toronto, where I grew up (aka #the6ix and the land of Bieber). My family moved to Hong Kong when I was in elementary school but then 6 years later, we moved back to T.dot which is where I met my future hubby, Mike, in a church basement (a story for another time!). After the both of us graduated from university, we packed up our bags and headed back to the 852…! I guess you could call me a Van-Tor-Konger!
Having come to HK to teach at an international school, I was often mistakenly called “mum” by my students long before I had my own kiddos. Mike and I definitely wanted to see the world before we had our own mini-me’s so we caught the wanderlust bug hard. From watching the northern lights in a glass igloo to dodging flying husky poop in a dog sled to riding camels along the Great Pyramids of Giza – trying new things while traveling the world was our jam.
Three years into our marriage and many Asia Miles later, Aiden was born. I never knew how much I could love a little human as much as I did! I also never knew how I could survive on 3ish hours of sleep for the first few months. Those bags under my eyes? Oh, they’re designer. Having been an avid Sassy reader, it was only natural for me to turn to Sassy Mama for all the info I needed to keep my sanity and my tiny human alive! A few years down the road, our second little came and Aiden finally had a sister, Everly. Often mistaken for a chubby cherub or anime character, Everly has brought so much added joy into our lives!
You experienced both of your pregnancies here in Hong Kong. Can you share with us a little bit about your experiences while rocking a bump around town?
Both pregnancies were pretty different from cravings to labours to even my post-baby rituals. I’ve shared my Birth Story, along with other Sassy Mama’s here, so if you’re into amniotic fluid and epidurals go ahead!
The biggest thing I learned from both pregnancies was not to sweat the small stuff and by small stuff, I mean the unwarranted (although well meaning) advice from strangers that often came with awkward belly rubs. Everyone will always have an opinion on what’s best for you, smile, nod your head and take it with a grain of salt.
That being said, I still followed a lot of traditional Chinese advice when it came to what to eat (which was actually more of a list of what not to eat) and even opting for a confinement nanny, like many are doing now post-birth, too.
I found all I needed to know about public versus private hospitals, what to pack in my hospital bag, and everything post-baby on Sassy Mama.
And the big question on many a HK mama’s mind… Schools! Can you share any wisdom that has helped you navigate the whole education process for your little ones?
I’ve been on both sides of the school spectrum from understanding the admissions and interview processes as a teacher to researching and applying for schools as a parent and I definitely still find it a tricky thing to navigate through!
The reality of schooling and teaching philosophies in Hong Kong are very different from other places around the world (especially the ones I’m most familiar with!). Regardless of your take on when it’s a good time for your toddler to begin formal education or what school you should apply to or even how to balance extra curricular activities with having a childhood, I definitely found helpful tips here.
We’ll be getting a lot more expert advice on how to navigate the school systems from the application process, to varying educational methodologies to even tips for that daunting school interview.
At the end of the day, finding the best fit for your child is top priority, and I hope you’ll be able to find some clarity in that here!
We are a big group of foodies here at Sassy Mama HQ so we know you will fit right in with us! Can you let us in on some of your favourite places around town to grab a bite?
If there’s one thing everyone knows about me, it’s that I love to eat. #fatkidatheart
Here are a few of my favourite (tried and true!) places to go grab a bite with the family, a romantic night out with the hubby, or a brunch and cocktails with girlfriends.
You can never go wrong with good ol’ Pizza Express with the kiddos. However, my personal favourite is definitely Dan Ryan’s (literally an institution for Hong Kongers!). DR’s was definitely THE place to be while I was growing up here which makes me incredibly nostalgic and sad that the Pacific Place location will be closing. I’m so happy to be sharing that tradition with my kids now. For special occasions, we love going to Zuma for their Sunday brunches (Aiden’s a huge fan of their egg rice!) Free flow bubbly AND a kid’s play area? What’s not to like? There are so many other family friendly places that we’ve gone to that are also listed here.
Date Night Jaunts:
Mike and I are creatures of habit when it comes to certain cuisines, however, we do not discriminate when it comes to trying all the new spots that are popping up all over the city! We love La Vache for a good steak-frites. The lobster bisque at the Lobster Bar & Grill in the Shangri La Hotel is in our humble opinion, hands down the best in all the land! You also can’t go wrong when it comes to a good pasta at Linguini Fini or 208. We also love those restaurants that are off the beaten path of Soho, like Etsu for Japanese. Serge et le Phoque, Café Grey and The Beef Bar are also good ones to check out for a romantic night out! If you’re looking for new places to go with your partner, check out these places!
Girls Night Out:
When it comes to gathering the girlfriends, we love catching up over brunch, a fancy night out and usually a drink or two (or three…!). A few favourite brunch places for me and my gals are usually at Grassroots Pantry, The Continental and Cocotte. You may also find us on Gough Street sipping a cappuccino from Elephant Grounds while chowing down on a maple walnut donut from Munchies. If we’re feeling like hitting the clubs in LKF (and reliving our 20’s), we’ll grab a bite from a fab new Korean place, Jinjuu or Fish & Meat. A new watering hole that we’ve been frequenting is the classy and sophisticated Foxglove for some unique cocktails and live music.
What do you do when you need to have some “me time”?
On the occasion that I get to have some alone time (usually when the kiddos are finally in bed!), I love to indulge in some “quality” reality TV while munching on Sote’s addictive popcorn. Some may say my taste in television is an acquired one, but I truly have to say I LOVE the Kardashians (a polarising topic at the Sassy HQ!). I could honestly go on and on about why I think they’re misunderstood by the media and how I think they’re truly a solid good family with an awesome support system! But that may come later in another article down the line…!
What are your favourite things to do with your kids in Hong Kong?
We love spending quality time with our kiddos outdoors especially if the weather is great! You will typically find us building sand castles and swimming at Big Wave Bay, scootering down Bowen Path, hiking up to the Peak or chowing down on weekly dim sum on Sunday. Another favourite for us is definitely going out to Disneyland (check out our awesome Disney survival guide here!) as well as taking advantage of the beautiful grounds at Inspiration Lake.
What do you plan to bring to Sassy Mama in your new role as Editor?
My hope is that this place will be one that continues to foster encouraging and informative conversations on topics that matter to us mamas (all those trending and at times “controversial” ones too!). Our commitment at Sassy Mama is to help make our large community more intimate and personal through our engaging content and Mama Meet Ups as we tackle those topics together.
Watch this space for new monthly columns, Mama Hacks that make your life easier, expert advice on everything mama related, incredible giveaways and of course all the fun round ups of the best of the best!
I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that I get to be part of an incredible group of women that is our mama community! If you’d like to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you from one mum to another mum. We are always open to new ideas and feedback as well. If you’d like to write for Sassy Mama or contribute in any way, please email me at: [email protected].