Gary Pepper A fashion, travel and lifestyle site dedicated to capturing beauty from the simple to the serene, Gary Pepper is the ultimate day dream. Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:39:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hong Kong Insider Diary Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:06:25 +0000 Ever since I shared our visit to Hong Kong on Instagram I've had many requests to post about our itinerary. ]]>

I always find visual diary posts a little overwhelming – half because there’s so much content to curate and the other half because I want to make sure we deliver the highest quality imagery and information for you all. Is this photo good enough? How many photos are too many photos? God, what was the price of the dim sum we completely fumbled over? I often sit on these photo diaries for days which quickly turn into weeks, and then into months. I guess you could I say I tend to overthink (nearly every aspect of my life…) the situation rather than just sharing it with you all, so here goes!

Ever since I shared our visit to Hong Kong on Instagram I’ve had many requests to post about our itinerary. This was our second time working on a travel project with the Hong Kong Tourism Board, which is why we wanted to visit places from a local’s perspective as well as re-visiting some highlights from our last trip here. So, as a result, our itinerary is quite different to a normal Hong Kong guide (which usually just consist of shopping and eating), so please keep that in mind when reading. If it’s your first time to Hong Kong it might be best to mix and match places from both posts - there’s a little bit of everything for everyone now.


1 – 2 & 25 / Sham Shu Po: This working class neighbourhood is home to electronic stores, clothing stores and countless fabric and accessories stores. If you’re like me and love DIY projects then this is the area for you. I came home with scraps of beautiful embossed leather (four pieces for only $40 AUD) that I plan on making into notebooks or clutches. If you’ve lost the remote to your air conditioner – I kid you not – then here you’ll find a whole stall dedicated to air conditioner remotes. The walls of fabric swatches and ribbons make it an easy place for DIY projects or creative inspiration.

3 – 4 / Wong Tai Sing Temple: I already wrote about Wong Tai Sing Temple in my last post here but make sure you join the locals and take time to say thank you and pray. The detail in the temple is incredibly impressive and you can escape the crowds and visit the little courtyards within the grounds.

5 – 7 / The Blue House: This four-storey historic site is a mixture of Chinese and Western architecture built in the 1920′s. It was recommended by a friend who thought we’d enjoy seeing the colourful street The Blue House belongs to. A lovely site to visit if you would like to see Hong Kong’s architecture and history rather than its shopping aspect.

8 – 11 / Lockcha Tea House: This was a personal favourite of ours, but it seems the places we really love are all places with something edible! The cosy ambience in this tea house made it feel like Hong Kong’s version of a cafe you’d see on Sex & the City – just swap the cosmopolitans for pots of tea and vegetarian dim sum. Even though there’s over a hundred teas to choose from I highly suggest trying the blossoming flower tea (pictured above). It’s so soothing watching it bloom in your teapot and the perfect way to escape the heat and crowds outside.

12 – 13 / Ocean Park: This was a last minute decision for us. We had planned on visiting the 1600 Pandas Exhibition but a down pour of rain quickly became an obstacle. Instead, we thought we’d visit a real panda or two at Ocean Park. This is a huge amusement park that blends entertainment with education and conservation, so it’s a great place to take the kids. We only popped in quickly for the pandas and after seeing one in real life for the first time I couldn’t recommend it more. They are one of my favourite animals so I may be biased.

14 – 16 & 30 / PMQ: This is the one place I wish we had more time to explore. The PMQ is a newly renovated hub for Hong Kong’s creative industries. Home to up-coming designers, artists, homewards and stationary divided into two large buildings across several levels, this felt like the Surry Hill Markets of Hong Kong. Unfortunately we were a few days early for the grand opening of the PMQ so half the stores were still being completed, but from the stores and window shopping we did see it looked really impressive. I think the majority of you all would absolutely love this place.

17 – 19 / Stanley Market and Blake Pier: Last time we were in Hong Kong we didn’t get a chance to visit the beaches so I had no idea what to expect. We explored Hong Kong island’s south coast at Stanley Beach and Blake Pier, which was a nice change to escape the bustling city center. I was wearing a T by Alexander Wang Singlet / Spell Shorts / Acne Studios Sandals / Roberto Cavalli Bag.

20 / Tim Ho Wan: My number one place to visit in Hong Kong – I can’t get enough of this Michelin Star restaurant!

21 – 22 / Hong Kong’s Trams: The iconic Hong Kong trams are visually fun to look at, although we didn’t have time to actually catch one. I guess they’re like the red public phone booths in London, just a lot more dangerous so be careful when crossing the streets.

23 / Aqua Luna

24 / View from our hotel

25 – 28 / Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge: In conjunction with the Hong Kong Tourism Board we were invited to experience Cathay Pacific’s First Class Lounge. As someone who appreciates how rare it is to fly business class, especially on long haul flights, I was in awe (and slightly depressed) of just how luxurious your flying experience can be. If you’re flying from Hong Kong you’ll find the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge here, and if you arrive early enough you can access their cabanas - a room with a shower, bath, lounge, kitchen and computer desk to bask in while you wait for your flight. It was a first come first served term, so we enjoyed a sit down dinner while we crossed our fingers for a villa to become available. Be warned: after experiencing this you may not want to come back to reality. It is, without a doubt, a once in a lifetime experience. I’ve never felt so fresh boarding a flight, perhaps it was because I could apply a face mask in complete privacy for once without the fear of scaring onlookers.

30 / Hello Kitty Secret Garden Cafe: I couldn’t contain my excitement when I found out their was a Hello Kitty Cafe in Hong Kong – the ultimate place for cute instagrams and all things Hello Kitty. Unfortunately the cafe is quite small so there’s always about a one hour wait for a table here, but the hot chocolate and macaroon desserts are well worth wait. Just practice explaining that to your boyfriend though…

My friends often visit Hong Kong as a shopping stop over (the Lane Crawford and Joyce warehouses are dangerously good!), but if you can spare one day to see other parts of the city then I would definitely suggest visiting the PMQ for shopping, Tim Ho Wan for lunch, The Peak for spectacular views of Hong Kong, the Hello Kitty Secret Garden Cafe or Lockha Tea House for afternoon tea, and then finish the day by sailing across the harbour on the Aqua Luna. You would be able to fit that all into a full day.

I hope that gives you an in-depth look into our few days spent in Hong Kong. I’m not going to share how long this has taken me to compile but I honestly hope you enjoy the post!

Photographer: Luke Shadbolt

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Wong Tai Sing Temple Sat, 16 Aug 2014 21:30:21 +0000 A temple as colourful, ornamented and detailed as Wong Tai Sing Temple deserves its own dedicated post.]]>

H&M Dress / Mulberry Bayswater Bag / J Crew Sandals

A temple as colourful, ornamented and detailed as Wong Tai Sing Temple deserves its own dedicated post. A place of prayer, this temple is home to three religions (Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism) and is frequented by tourists and locals alike. Some pass through its grounds to worship, others (like me) come to immerse ourselves in an experience rich in culture and information. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time here before the heat wave, mixed with the overpowering scent of incense, became too overwhelming.

One thing to note about Hong Kong: pack the thinnest,  breeziest and most comfortable pieces you own. This $40 slip-on dress was a random purchase from H&M and its oversize shape made it one of the only appropriate pieces to wear on a day as hot as this. And my thoughts on sandal slides? My god, I finally get it. Comfort and efficiency just got taken to a whole new level…

Photographer: Luke Shadbolt

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1600 Pandas for WWF Thu, 14 Aug 2014 21:30:52 +0000 Visually, it's incredibly engaging. Conceptually, it's a work of art. ]]>

Vivienne Tam Dress / Acne Studios Sandals

After supporting WWF back in Australia (you can still show your on-going support for #fightforthereef to help save The Great Barrier Reef!), I was thrilled to be in Hong Kong when the ’1600 Pandas World Tour: Creativity meets Conservation Exhibition’ was making its way through the city.

French artist Paulo Grangeon created 1,600 paper mach pandas made from recycled materials to represent the 1,600 real pandas left in the world today. Described as “an interactive, imaginative and sustainable environment where humans and nature coexist.”, the 1600 Pandas Exhibition visited famous Hong Kong landmarks with an aim to encourage awareness, support and funds towards nature conservation and sustainable development with WWF Hong Kong. Visually, it’s incredibly engaging. Conceptually, it’s a work of art.

It seems Luke and I weren’t the only ones who were incredibly excited to catch 1,600 paper mach pandas leaving their footprints around the city. We were merely two people in a sea of hundreds (and I mean hundreds!) who were all lining up just to get a glimpse of these adorable pandas. It was, as they’re saying, pandamonium… But we were lucky enough to meet 16 of these little pandas, and the precious cargo was even escorted by two official personnels. Why? Each panda needed to be accounted for as they were all up for ‘adoption’, with the proceeds of each sale going towards WWF Hong Kong.

I’m not sure if there’s any left but if you’d like to adopt one of these pandas you’ll find all the information here. Prices for each panda vary from $200 – $400 depending on size.

You can also show your support by following @1600pandas #1600pandas, but be prepared for soul crushing cuteness.

Here’s to hoping the exhibition makes its way to our Australian shores…

Photographer: Luke Shadbolt
Images: 1600 Pandas

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Vivienne Wed, 13 Aug 2014 21:30:31 +0000 Although I wouldn't have imagined we would end up here, floating through this water fountain at Hong Kong Park in an attempt to cool down in an outfit that's equally just as pretty. ]]>

Vivienne Tam Top and Skirt / J Crew Sandals / Mulberry Lily Bag / Ryan Storer Pearl Earrings

I was grateful to have some time to discover a few Hong Kong designers. The first to catch my eye was Vivienne Tam, a Hong Kong native who is now based in New York. I wouldn’t have imagined we would end up here, floating through this water fountain at Hong Kong Park in an attempt to cool down in an outfit that’s equally just as pretty. The illusion of melting toffee was enough to entice Luke and I for at least 20 minutes…

Photographer: Luke Shadbolt

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Postcards from Hong Kong Tue, 12 Aug 2014 21:30:40 +0000 Sending a few postcards from the bustling city of Hong Kong.]]>

1. Sham Shui Po wearing ASOS Bandeau Dress / Mulberry Bayswater Bag / J Crew Sandals
2. Dim Sum Lunch @Tim Ho Wan Restaurant
3. Colourful buildings along the city landscape
4. Moments of prayer @ Wong Tai Sing Temple  wearing H&M Dress
5. A peeking perspective of the Aqua Luna @ Blake Pier
6. Waiting to board the Aqua Luna 
7. Hiding from the rain @ the Blue House in Wanchai wearing ASOS Bandeau Dress / J Crew Sandals
8. A city best viewed at night
9. The colours of Hong Kong’s food markets wearing ASOS Swing Dress
10. The view of dusk approaching @ The Peak
11. Getting lost in Central Hong Kong wearing Vivienne Tam
12. Finding colour and shimmers of gold late at night
13. Morning light as we check-in to The Renaissance Harbour View Hotel 

Sending a few postcards from the bustling city of Hong Kong. To me, this is a city that completely immerses you in a new culture as soon as you land. The buildings, the streets, the signs, the sounds, and even the smells are different. It’s humid, it’s busy, but at the same time the people are calm and always polite. Depending on where you travel in Hong Kong there’s usually no sign of language barriers and once your body adjusts to the climate you instantly start to enjoy everything this city has to offer, specifically the shopping, food and nightlife.

Perhaps our favourite highlight of the trip was visiting Tim Ho Wan – the cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant in the world. A table full of Dim Sum for four people was a mere $25 AUD and the food seemed to never end. My suggestion? Make sure you order the pork buns (I preferred to have 1-2 as a substitute for dessert as they’re quite sweet) and rice paper rolls. Mouth-watering good.

Photographer: Luke Shadbolt

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