The Confucius Institute at Leeds’ profile of my Chinese skills

“As a Chinese speaker, Babette is able to research a subject more thoroughly – which can also help her to find a different angle on a story. This makes her well-placed to do writing and consultancy work that meets the demand for information about Chinese consumers coming from English-language publications and brands entering China….Babette is currently working towards a PhD at the London College of Fashion, writing her dissertation on fashion, gender and identity in China. Her Mandarin skills enable her to use first-hand sources in her research and gain a more nuanced view of her subject.”

Read the full article here

Guest Lecture at Antwerp Management School

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my fashion and beauty industry experiences in China and Hong Kong with Masters of China-Europe business students at Antwerp Management School, University of Antwerp over Teams 🖥💄

Some of the students are keen to intern in Shanghai next year in a wide range of industries so if you have any opportunities open do let them know!

My Hong Kong tips

I’m often asked what tailor I use or where I get my hair done in HK. So I thought I would put all this info into one post 🙂 just in case it helps! This is no way meant as a definitive list just some insights.


Fashion Alterating & Tailor Company, 2nd floor, Melbourne Plaza, Central. This place has altered soo many items of clothing for me, from vintage jumpsuits to tailored trousers to flowing ball gowns. I would bring anything here. See my Insta post here for a photo of the store and the jumpsuit I recently altered.

Cobblers/shoe repair in HK:

The best cobblers by far is Shing Do Shoe Repair, No.6 Pedder Lane in Central. They have fixed my heels, loafers, even hand-embroidered flats from an ancient Chinese town. Open 10:00-7:30pm Mon-Fri, so really convenient if you’re in Central.

Hair dresser in Hong Kong for curly hair:

More recently I have been visiting the Firm in Central. Before this I went to Ivy at Upper Room in Causeway Bay. I would be so wary of hair salons saying they can cut curly hair. Paul Gerrard did an amazing cut but I paid nearly 5,000HKD for a cut and highlights once.

I buy curl cream from Sasa or from The Firm, but mostly I buy in bulk during a trip to London.

Facial bleaching cream:

Fanda Pharmacy, Worldwide House, Central

Best spot for a wax in HK:

Nude waxing, locations in Causeway Bay and Central.

Dim Sum spots:

Dim Sum in Happy Valley. I would also take guests to Maxim’s Palace in City Hall (but avoiding for the moment – google for Maxim’s Group and HK protests for why).

Nice restaurants with great service and vibe:

Personally, I like any restaurant from the Pirata Group. I loved Chifa Dumpling House and Madame Ching but both have shut down recently – I like Pici for pasta feasts. For Chinese food definitely The Monogamous Chinese (very reasonable and filling lunch sets and great for a statement dinner). I also like Maison Libonaise, Le Souk and Olive.


I really recommend signing up to the HK public library. Its super easy, and they have an amazing collection of books.

Where to drop clothes for charity stores:

If I can’t re-gift clothes or books I no longer want, I drop them off at the Salvation Army Wan Chai drop off point just off Woods Road.

Cantonese classes:

I took some great classes at VTC, 20 hours for only 1,000HKD, and if you pass you get a rebate so it worked out approx 600HKD in total! I took the course in Survival Cantonese.

Where to live in HK:

My top advice is to find out where most expats live now / think is trendy and avoid it. Eg Kennedy Town rental prices went really high after expats saw it as trendy. You can get cheaper rents if you live in a walk-up apartment (no lifts, only stairs). But normally the ones on the market for cheaper rents are 4 floors and up. I lived on a seven floor walk-up for a few years. It depends what you want, what your mood is, and where you work, but I would recommend Tin Hau / Tai Hang area for space, very convenient location but not too expensive rents. I would suggest the real estate agent Winnie at Landworld Property Agency for aparments in Tin Hau/Causeway Bay (office at 66 Tung Lo Wan Rd), often old buildings so they have some character but new bathrooms/kitchens.

Public walking / running track with a great view:

I used to jog at Happy Valley public running track – the track follows the horse racing track and you run inside the stadium which is fun. Free public entry. The entrances are a bit tricky to find – one is on Wong Nai Chung Road next to the public toilets, and some subway steps will lead you there.

E-waste recycling spots:

I drop off my old broken laptops at the government recycling scheme in Southorn Centre Building, after I pay someone to delete all the files off of it at the Wanchai Computer Centre. I drop off headphones/CDs at the local point – which for me is now in Tin Hau. If you google for community recycling spots you can drop off e-waste goods at these places.

Second hand furniture in HK:

I got all of my furniture secondhand, and I used several Facebook groups including Facebook marketplace: Swap-it-Furnitures Hong Kong HK home furniture and appliances sale swap-it-hk

I also used Asia Expat classified listings for a few products. I then used Go-Go Van to help me pick up the furniture, and often asked the driver to help dismantle it too if need be.

Cocktails/ Happy Hours in HK:

Here’s a list that was shared with me a couple of years ago (so double check a few of these before going)

208 3-7pm 2 for 1 house wines, espresso martini, Aperol spritz
Blue Bar – canapés 5:30-7:30pm
Iberico & Co, Peak Cafe 3-8pm
SNT 5-7pm
Gaia HK$198 w food
Cicada daily 3pm-7:30pm
Pastis 4-7pm HK$40
Posto free flow red
The Optimist 3pm-7:30pm every day
Aberdeen St Social Mon-Fri 5-7pm HK$50 wines, HK$68 cocktails
Jinjuu everyday 5pm-8pm up to HK$50
Commissary 4:30pm-8pm Mon-Fri
Mezcalito 6-8pm Mon-Fri, ladies night free flow rose 6-10pm Thursday’s
Le Garçon Saigon 4-7pm HK$98 all you can drink Mon-Fri, 3-6pm Sat-Sun free flow rose HK$198
URA Japanese 5:30-7:30pm HK$180 free flow
Amazake Mon-Thurs 7pm-9pm HK$200 free flow house wine, beers, sake
Bizou 4-8pm buy 1 get 1 and free canapés
Plat du Jour 3-8pm
HQ 5-6pm HK$5, 6-8pm HK$20, 8-9pm HK$50
Beef & Liberty LKF / Star Street HK$33 up Tuesday to Sunday 6-8pm
Dragon-I Wed-Fri 5-9pm HK$328 Moet, oysters, caviar
Ciao Chow Mon-Fri 3-6pm
China Tang TST 3-6pm everyday buy 1 get 1, free buffet style snacks
Motorino Mon-Fri 3-6pm HK$198 for 4 beers and a pizza
Marriott Q88 2 for 1
Mercato 5:30-7:30pm buy 1 get 1 every day
Tokyo Lima 5-7pm every day HK$48/68
Beefbar free flow on terrace every Thursday 5-8pm HK$390, daily HH 5-8pm
Mr. Wolf 3pm-8pm every day HK$40
ON Dining ladies night Wednesday 6-10pm champagne bellinis rose snacks


Moving a dog or pet to or from Hong Kong:

I would really suggest george at internationalpettravel dot com. Really great service, helped me move a ferret from Tokyo to Hong Kong which is really complex!




Hong Kong Vogue August Issue

The August edition of Hong Kong Vogue is really interesting in regards to gender constructions and representations (a topic I’m analysing for my PhD). There are several shoots using androgynous models, informative articles talking about androgyny, makeup shoots based on drag queen makeup, and female cover star Angela Baby is styled with short hair, wearing oversized silhouettes. This is an encouraging step in a city which suffers from a lot of gender discrimination, however I find it interesting that the models seen and constructed as androgynous were used for this special themed issue, rather than used in say, the May issue, without comment or accompanying articles – reminds me slightly of the Vogue Italia all black issue.

Redress Design Award 2019

maddie williams redress

Last night I attended Redress Asia Design Award fashion show at Centrestage and wanted to share some thoughts. Firstly, the show was really well produced, edited, choreographed and presented, it ran very smoothly and felt very natural and friendly (very different ambiance to usual fashion shows in a really good way) and showcased some great commercially-savvy collections as well as some items that would be great for fashion editorial.

The show started with an intro by the fab founder of Redress Dr Christina Dean who spoke about Redress & the need for sustainable fashion globally, and the need to support young emerging designers. Next the judging panel were introduced and answered 2 questions all while being projected onto the screen. It was the perfect length of time. Next each finalist shared their collection but first there was a short film of the designer introducing their work and collection shot at the beautiful Kerry Hotel which was a really great way to provide context – also this film was so well shot and edited. So then the finalists showed their collections. Maddie Williams won with her fab collection – as you can see in the image below, really fun use of prints, colour and textiles. Also great catwalk styling too. I love the skeleton print trousers. Another favourite of mine was Carina Roca Portella – this collection was super fun and very cohesive and tight, it would make for a great fashion editorial – I would love to shoot this collection! The two Hong Kong designers Keith Chan and Chan Meiyan also had pieces that would be very commercial eg neon light prints, as well as white lace diaphanous pieces. The model catwalk styling was fun – oversized, colour beehives as well as wet look hair, and there were a few extremely stunning models too. 

WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.03WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.00WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.02 (5)WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.02 (4)WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.03 (2)WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.04WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.05WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.00 (1)WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.00 (2)WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.02WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 20.24.02 (1)