- My friend K suggests the island of Cheung Chau as a great, local place to get away from it all. When the city is getting you down or you simply need a change of scene, jump on a ferry and take some time out on this quaint, but surprisingly well established little island. The food is great, and cheap, the views from the hills are spectacular and the beaches (while they have nothing on Lantau's beaches) are quite nice too. There are no cars on Cheung Chau so it's also a great place for walking around and sneaking a peek at the homes and lives of the locals.
- When your little ones start walking you suddenly find yourself preoccupied by tiny shoes. Where to buy them? What sort to buy? How much to spend? What I have learned is this - they outgrow them faster than you can blink so don't spend a fortune. However, you don't want them wearing ill-fitting shoes or anything that's going to hinder their growth or walking development, so choose cheaply but wisely. Stride Rite in Harbour City and Causeway Bay have a great selection of shoes and will measure your child's feet, as will the staff at Bumps to Babes. Once you get the size right and know what's appropriate for your child's age and ability, head to the little shops on Jubilee Street, Central, where according to G, you'll find the top brands of kid's shoes at very good prices. There are also a number of little shops in the lanes (Li Yuen St East and West, among others) that sell cheap kid's clothes and shoes.
- On the subject of clothes, my friend H recommends Togs Unlimited, in Central and Discovery Bay. They sell end-of-season clothes and seconds for much less than you would pay somewhere like Mothercare or B to B.
- A local Lantau secret that I mentioned briefly in my last Tuesday post, is the soft playroom at the Regal hotel at the airport. Unlike the soft playroom in the municipal building in Tung Chung, not many people know about the one at the hotel, and it's generally not the kind of place where your little kids will be knocked down by older kids running riot unsupervised. It's well-equipped, safe and much-loved by J and his buddies, and there's a cafe upstairs for mummies to have a coffee if they're smart enough to take their helpers with them too.
I'm afraid that's all I have today. But, just in case you're feeling a bit ripped off at the lack of really useful information presented here today, here's something I just learned about. Playtimes magazine, HK's parenting bible, now has a website where you can read back issues. This is great for those of us who live in the sticks and can't always get our hands on a copy, and especially great for those of you who may have missed the article written by yours truly in the March issue. Look out for more by me in September and October (now you know why I don't always have time to blog...). Check them out here: http://ppp.com.hk/www/playtimes.html#