Travel and shopping tips from a stylish mama

Charmaine Seah-Ong, co-founder of Elementary Co. – Roomorama blog


Charmaine runs a marketing and branding collective called Elementary Co. with her husband. Outside of work, Charmaine is also the proud new mama of a bubbly baby girl, so weekends see her spending a lot of time with her family and their dogs.

You run a designer dress loan service called RMBR the Dress! You probably have some fabulous shopping tips - where are your favourite boutiques in Singapore?

Many people are surprised when I tell them this but in Singapore, my best fashion finds are from random little hole in the wall shops at Far East Plaza and City Plaza! I love taking my time to trawl through these ancient shopping centres and their hidden gems. I also love local label In Good Company which can be found at C.K. Tangs as well as Still and Cruise, two other local labels that are carried by Robinsons at The Heeren.

What are some of your favourite boutiques around the world?

I love Dover Street Market in NY, Lane Crawford and Joyce in Hong Kong. Mostly for their amazing visual merchandising which really transforms your whole shopping experience. I've never been to the latest offshoot of the H&M group, & Other Stories, but I follow them on Instagram and absolutely love the content that they post. I imagine that their stores would be just as well curated.

Lane Crawford in Hong Kong & Other Stories

Pictured above: Lane Crawford in Hong Kong (credit: Lane Crawford, & Other Stories (credit: Ratu Rima Novia Rahma)

What city do you love shopping in most, and can you share how you'd spend an afternoon there?

I love shopping in Hong Kong because you can find everything from the flagship stores of high end brands to the little boutiques of local labels, all within a stone's throw of each other. I'd happily spend an afternoon perusing the wares at designer home decor and furniture store, Homeless before heading across the road to Visionaire, a lifestyle store that stocks my favourite hand embroidered accessory brand, Macon et Lesquoy. There's also TIKKA boutique, a multi-label store that carries brands like Loeffler Randall, Meli Melo and Doris Q - whose designer also happens to be the shop's chief buyer, and if all that shopping makes me hungry, I can always have Kau Kee's famous Beef Brisket Noodles! The Prada and Joyce warehouse are just a short taxi ride away at Ap Lei Chau too and I can't tell you how many amazing buys I've scored from those places.


Pictured above: Homeless (credit: bdeblanch)

Are you a light or heavy packer?

I'm a pretty efficient packer but that's probably because I always pack so that I've enough space to shop! I usually decide before hand on a colour theme for my vacation and only pack pieces in those colours so that it's easier for me to mix & match. This usually means that I stick to neutral colours for the most part - that goes for the shoes I pack too, with one or two statement pieces in a bright colour for dressier occasions.

I always wear sneakers on the plane, but I'll pack a pair of pretty flats as well as heels so that I'm well prepared for any sort of activity. I also make sure that I pack a gold necklace, a gold bangle and a pair of dressy earrings so that I can dress up any outfit if the need arises.

Charmaine Seah-Ong – Roomorama blog

We all want to stay stylish when we're traveling. Tips for looking good while on the go (and now with baby in tow too!)?

A well cut jacket and a long shawl are my style essentials when I go on flights. Not only do they keep me warm and comfy on the plane, but they help to hide crumpled clothes and now that I'm a mom, baby stains too! A pair of sunglasses to hold back unruly hair + mask eye bags is a must, as is budge proof red lipstick and dry shampoo - all of which go into a large leather carryall (which also holds all my baby things!)

Do you have any travel beauty tips?

Fresh Beauty's Rose line of products is great for keeping my skin hydrated when I travel and the lightweight packaging makes it easy for me to carry them around in my bag. Their Rose floral toner keeps me cool when it's hot and prevents my skin from getting tight when it's cold. Hand balm from Aesop and lip balm from Kiehl's are 2 new additions to my bag because my skin dries up really easily in cold countries.

What are some of your must do's when you travel?

I must:

  • Try the local cuisine and eat where the locals eat
  • Explore the neighbourhood around where I'm staying on foot
  • Try a mode of public transportation other than a taxi
  • Visit a museum or attend an exhibition
  • Watch a concert or a play

What are your 5 travel essentials?

  • My Kindle
  • My iPhone - for navigation and photo taking purposes
  • My weather beaten Panama Hat
  • My worn to death Converse sneakers
  • My husband

Charmaine Seah-Ong – Roomorama blog

Have you ever stayed in a non-hotel accommodation on any of your trips?

Yes. We've stayed in a gorgeous loft in downtown LA that was formerly home to a biscuit factory, and have rented a room in a mid-century modern bungalow in Palm Springs. We really enjoyed both experiences because it made us feel more at home in both cities, as if we were living like the locals did.

If you could stay in a celebrity's vacation home for a week, which celebrity's home would it be, and why?

I'm going to have to go with Johnny Depp's Private Island getaway in the Bahamas. Why? Johnny Depp, Private Island, The Bahamas. Need I really say more??

Want more tips from Charmaine? Follow her as she eats and shops her way through Los Angeles!

Stylish places to stay in Hongkong

Located in trendy Sheung Wan, this modern luxury serviced apartment puts you just steps away from Hong Kong’s best dining, entertainment, shopping and central transport connections.

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This pet-friendly serviced apartment is in a quiet mid-levels location which is mere minutes from Hong Kong University.

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Going to Hongkong? Check out more places to stay in Hongkong on Roomorama.