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That Mama: Sabina Wong of Sabina Swims

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Sabina Wong is the talented mama-of-two behind one of Sassy’s favourite local fashion labels, Sabina Swims! We caught up with her to find out her time-saving tips, Hong Kong secrets and mama pearls of wisdom…

Where you do buy your clothes? How do you stay stylish as a mum?
I usually buy my clothes and accessories when I’m travelling, which is when I’m in the right frame of mind and have real time to enjoy the experience. I hate shopping for the sake of shopping. I also love to have outfits that you can’t get here in HK! In the US, I think J Crew is doing amazing stuff – I love their style! Mixing J Crew with haute and cheap finds always works perfectly. Lately I’ve started to really enjoy buying unique accessories-especially necklaces. These add a new dimension of fun and allow me to spruce up and individualize a boring t-shirt and shorts.

How did you set up Sabina Swims? What was the inspiration behind the brand?
I started in 2003 with my first collection launched at Seibu. The inspiration was that I couldn’t find anything that fit and flattered me and my more petite figure (specifically my chest!) and so I thought it would be a great aid for petite women who wanted fashion forward, well fitting and designed pieces. Of course since then the collection has grown to be inclusive of much more variable body types! I continue to design my own prints which I think is really the unique point of the brand.

How do you save time?
By shopping online for the kids, doing one huge shop per week for groceries, or buying online from all the fabulous online grocers available in Hong Kong now. Stable Trading are a favourite. They specialize in Italian goodies—blocks of Parmesan Cheese & Burrata are my vices! Also having my iPhone with my and syncing it with my home computer at ALL times and of course, help from my wonderful helper!

What are your organizational tricks and tips?
No secret—my iPhone! Otherwise, I’m pretty haphazard, I have to have scraps of paper with me at all time to jot down ideas, and reminders. I keep a Moleskin in my handbag at all times and one in my bedside table too. I’ve discovered that lists, lists and lists are an absolute must-have for me.

What do your kids snack on?
Fruits! My son is a self declared “Fruit Monster” and will really eat any kind of fruit, I’m very lucky. My daughter likes her milk, Chinese dumplings (that we make at home together with great organic ingredients) and home-baked goodies when we can. Otherwise, the odd Oreo or Chips Ahoy will have to do!

What is your beauty must-have product?
Blush. It really helps give me a healthy well-rested glow (well-rested being very key!). And when the weather cools off and gets a little dryer-I’m going to start using some concealer too!

How do you stay sane?
I practice yoga four times a week at 6.30am! I practice Mysore yoga at Pure (taught by Neil Barker), which is wonderfully mind-cleansing. I get my perspective and priorities back every time I’m on my mat.

Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
Date nights and stopping to really look at my husband and realize that he’s as wonderful as he was when we first met, just that we don’t have time to enjoy one another as much as we used to…

Can you tell us a bit about the Union Jacks that are scattered throughout your home? Do you have an English connection?
My husband is English and though  I would never say he is overtly patriotic type, we both think the Union Jack on a design level is really beautiful! And it so happens that it’s his nation’s flag! On top of that, I’m so into teaching my kids the Chinese culture that sometimes I feel my husband’s side is left out a little—and I give back via the flag designs sprinkled around the house!

What’s your favourite activity with the kids in Hong Kong?
Biking and swimming with the kids. I used to teach yoga to kids but then I think it’s best that someone else teach my children! Yoga for kids is fabulous. My kids both love crafts – especially my daughter who’s continually in the playroom cutting, colouring and taping away at some ‘project’. Her latest creation is a giant rain shaker which she painted and I helped construct, and both the kids are busy working on my surprise birthday present, which according to my husband promises to be awesome! I’m very excited. I was a Fine Arts Major in college with a focus on Painting, hence the artsy projects.

Can you recommend any fab kid-friendly restaurants in Hong Kong?
Shek O Chinese Thai restaurant in Shek O — we all love going there to eat delicious Thai food, then swim and play on the beach. Otherwise I’ll have to be boring here: Pizza Express & Dan Ryan’s!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
Remember that your husband should still come number one. Don’t demote him to two, three or four! And advice that I have learned through my own experience that I have found so important: that a parent’s love is the most important thing for your children. All the after school classes and activities will never teach as much as time and love spent with your kids can.

Check out Sabina’s store online or in real life at 99 Wellington Street, Central. Be warned, don’t bring the stroller as there’s a tall flight or stairs to get up before you get to the goodies!

Fabulous photos all by the very talented Ifat Kafry Hindes of newly-launched Hindesight Photography. We can’t recommend her highly enough! You can contact Ifat by emailing [email protected] or calling 6140 8181.

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