Olivia Crooke

Where were you born? In New Zealand. A kiwi through and through! I grew up in Christchurch.

Where else have you lived? After university I moved to rural Japan for two years, teaching English, and then like nearly everyone I knew in New Zealand, I moved to London. I arrived with no plan, no money, but managed to start dating a man who is now my lovely husband!

How long have you been in Hong Kong? We have been here for 14 years — and counting!

Which part of Hong Kong do you live in? Sai Kung, for 12 of those years. We could never move to another part of HK. It is our community here and we love it.

Children and ages? We have adopted our two beautiful kids over the last three-and-a-half years. We adopted our gorgeous son from Russia in late 2012. The process was long, complex and extremely difficult. Then just five months ago, and very suddenly, our amazing little girl came to us and she is from HK. By coincidence, they were both 16 months old when they came home to us. So far in our family we are covering the UK (husband), New Zealand, Russia and HK! That’s our favorite thing about our little family! We have somehow managed to adopt the two most gorgeous, funny and amazing kids on the planet (sorry, other Hong Kong Moms, haha) and there may be a third in the not too distant future!

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Are you working in Hong Kong and what do you do?  I own Smallprint (silver fingerprint, hand/footprint jewelry). I am also vice president of our charity, Missione Possibile HK, which is really close to my heart. We are 100% volunteers but we go about four times a year to our school in Cambodia, where we have over 400 kids. We support them and the families in the surrounding remote villages and provide education and mobile medical clinics. I love it. I also work with Angels For Orphans here in HK and we support orphanages and underprivileged kids locally and Cambodia and Bali. So, I am BUSY!

I love my business, Smallprint. My customers are all so nice and everything is very personal — I make everything by hand myself. I originally chose to do this because under HK law you cannot get any maternity leave for adoption. With our son coming from an orphanage in Russia there was no way I was going to go back and leave him, so we made the bold move in HK to scrap one income and radically change our lifestyle! A year later, I found my beloved Smallprint!

What work did you do in your past lives? I spent 10 years in law firms and as a business development manager covering Asia Pacific. It was very challenging and exciting — but I don’t miss it. I love the creative work I do now.

What brought you to Hong Kong and why have you stayed? Well, after dating my now husband in London for the last two months of my two-year stay, I up and left to backpack through Europe and the Middle East all by myself, while he moved out here for work. I thought it would be another fizzled out romance but when my father fell ill and passed away, I returned to New Zealand. I then came out here to visit my then “boyfriend” — got offered a job, and hey presto! A husband, two dogs and two kids later here I am!

The main reason we stayed though is summed up in two stages. In the first few years (mid twenties) — just pure excitement and great party life. I remember when I first arrived thinking ‘Wow! There is an excalator that takes us from the bar up to my my mid-levels apartment door!’ But really, when we moved out to Sai Kung and got a bit older, it is the friendships and the entrepreneurial spirit of HK that has drawn us in. The attitude that you can do anything, and there is AWLAYS a contact you’ll know when you need one. People like seeing other people do well here. It is fantastic.

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What time of day do you check Hong Kong Moms?  Usually in mid-afternoon. That’s the time where I can get really tired so, I take a break and allow myself to scroll and look!

What posts do you comment on and why?  I used to post more than I do now, but I have always made sure I don’t get involved in anything that is too emotional or controversial. I truly love the posts that help and support moms in terms of issues relating to our kids health and development. That can be so useful and comforting.

What is the best thing you have learned from Hong Kong Moms?  A lot about different schools — that has helped. And a great deal about what to do with kids that you don’t really find by Google searching.

What is your favorite Hong Kong Moms post?  Just one example is the power of Hong Kong Moms, when a lady found someone’s wallet in a taxi and managed to get it back to another lady who was also posting about losing it. It was awesome!

What do you ask Hong Kong Moms?  Questions on schooling have been helpful — and advice on sleeping and the odd medical drama! It is also wonderful to gain support for our charity work — we are a generous bunch!

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What is your biggest Hong Kong fave?  Sai Kung — hands down. I love the community and the beaches. We are definitely Sai Kungers!

And frustration?  Traffic and pollution are the obvious ones. But I have to say my BIGGEST frustration is the seemingly endless supply of money that people seem to have, and what that means for bringing up our children. We live on a careful budget and the words ‘Mummy can’t afford it’ are very clear in our children’s lives. I think HK is, in general, very affluent for foreigners — which is great. But I think we need to reign it in with our kids sometimes.

What is your craziest Hong Kong experience?  Too many to count — but last week the “electrician” turned up to rewire our house. It was 2pm and when I opend the door he was shirtless, smoking and gulping down a massive can of Blue Girl. Needless to say, I cancelled the appointment!

Does anyone ever recognize you or your name from Hong Kong Moms?  Yes, for Smallprint, which is really great! I love that people are supportive of other businesses and can give recommendations. I know there are other people who do what I do, and they run great businesses and have really lovely products, and I like that we all get mentioned now and then!

What kind of friendships have you made through Hong Kong Moms?  Quite a lot with moms who have become Smallprint customers and we hit it off — all from Hong Kong Moms!

Which Hong Kong Mom would you like you to see featured next?  Ali Oliver, who runs Integrate HK.

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