Bouquets and Flowers
Considering a bouquet of carnations can easily cost $40 or more in the US, we’re lucky to have so many cheap florists and flower markets in Beijing. At Liangma Flower Market, for example, vendors can custom-make a bouquet with different cut flowers, leaves, sprigs, ribbons, baskets, and wrapping paper. Bouquets can cost anywhere between RMB 100 and 300 depending on the size, flower selection, and complexity of the arrangement. Alternatively, you can buy a potted flowering plant that will bloom throughout the summer. Good choices include African violets (紫罗兰, ziluo lan), geraniums (天竺葵, tianzhu kui), and chrysanthemums (菊花, juhua).
Liangma Flower Market 亮马花卉市场
Daily 8.30am-6.30pm. South bank of Liangma River, 758 Dongsanhuan Beilu, Chaoyang District (6504 2446) 朝阳区东三环北路758号亮马河南岸
As far as we’re concerned, everyone should have a pair of personalized leather shoes in their wardrobe. They’re sturdy, comfortable, and last for decades if cared for properly. Local cobbler Lao Yu makes beautiful, handmade leather shoes from his tiny workshop in Gulou. He only does flat, heel-less shoes made from cow leather and measures each customer’s feet to ensure the best fit. You can pick one of the styles displayed on the wall or bring a reference picture to emulate. A pair of women’s shoes starts at RMB 1,200 depending on color, size, style, and leather quality. It takes about a month to fill an order.
Lao Yu 老余手工鞋店
Daily 10am-9pm. 37 Gulou Dongdajie, Dongcheng District (6404 1406) 东城区鼓楼东大街37号
Made-to-Order Chocolate Cake
Every day is a good day for chocolate – who says sweets are only for kids? Treat Mom to a decadent, handcrafted creation such as the Ritz-Carlton Cake containing Valrhona dark chocolate from France, candied orange pieces, and Grand Marnier. This intense and multilayered cake weighs in at a dense 400g; you might want to cut it into smaller slices. Though preservative-free, it will keep for seven days at room temperature. But who are we kidding? It won’t last that long. The cake is available at any Ritz-Carlton branch and must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance.
Listen up, dads. Between pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, many new moms feel insecure about their bodies. Gift your partner quality lingerie – and not that tacky polyester stuff, either. Homegrown label Pillowbook specializes in handmade, custom-fitted silk lingerie with a Chinese twist. Founder Irene Lu recommends the capelet, bralet, and dudou from her Shhh… collection. The dudou (RMB 1,088) is a diamond-shaped chemise historically worn by Chinese women. “This is by far my most versatile piece,” she says. “Not only is it great and buttery soft as sleepwear, but once I slip into blazer or jacket it looks deceptively like a top.” She recommends the capelet (RMB 980) for women with wider, heavier shoulders and as a substitute for bulky shawls to dress up an outfit. Lastly, Lu suggests the underwire-free bralet (RMB 930, pictured above) for moms who put comfort first. “One of my seven-month pregnant clients only wears this now,” she says.
To find out more, visit www.love-pillowbook.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nothing says “I love you” quite like a personalized piece of jewelry. Beijing has no shortage of designers who can custom-make pieces with different metals and precious stones. Both Nicolas Favard – who, incidentally, appears in this issue with his son Amos on p42 – and Paloma Sanchez have their own shops in Sanlitun, where customers can browse their creations and get a free consultation. Prices vary widely depending on the materials used; Favard’s pieces range from RMB 300 to RMB 40,000 while Sanchez’s range from RMB 1,000 to RMB 150,000 (note that Sanchez only makes custom pieces for special occasions like Mother’s Day). Antonia Sampson also makes custom jewelry. She frequently has a booth at bazaars and school fairs, with pieces ranging from RMB 300 to RMB 2,000 each. Her ready-made jewelry can also be found at Biorck & Co at Tai Koo Li South and Indigo Mall.
Daily 11am-8pm. 28 Sanlitun Lu (in the alleyway just west of Tai Koo Li North), Chaoyang District (6413 0818) www.nicolasfavard.com 朝阳区三里屯路28号 (三里屯太古里北区西侧)
Daily 10.30am-9pm. Shop A115, Nali Patio, 85 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (5208 6050, 186 1227 2638) www.palomasanchez.com 朝阳区三里屯路81号那里花园A115店铺
Call 135 1100 4204 for a quote or consultation. To see her work, visit antoniasampsonjewellery.blogspot.com (VPN required).
Natural Skin and Hair Care
Beijing’s dry air, hard water, temperature extremes, and air pollution are tough on the skin. Irina Glushkova of Vedic Life Style uses Ayurvedic theory to design natural, organic skincare products tailored to her customers’ specific needs. After a free skin consultation and Ayurvedic reading by appointment, Glushkova creates a product range including face creams, toners, tonics, serums, shampoos and conditioners, hair masks, body creams – everything necessary for a complete beauty routine. The consultation takes around 20 minutes and all products are handmade from raw, unrefined ingredients sourced from all over the world. Glushkova hand carries many of the ingredients on frequent trips overseas. Because the ingredients are fresh and the products contain no additional stabilizers or preservatives, they must be refrigerated and have a shelf life of only three months. Prices range from RMB 100 for shampoos and conditioners to RMB 300 for face creams, though prices vary according to the specific oils and plant extracts used. Glushkova has been studying the Ayurvedic tradition for five years, and can also provide nutrition advice and life coaching.
For a free consultation, call 139 1180 9671 or email email@example.com.
Photos: Ronald Saunders(Flickr), Ritz-Carlton, Judy Zhou, Irene Lu and Antonia Sampson, and Irina Glushkova.
This article originally appeared on p24-25 of the beijingkids May 2014 issue. Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com