“Those who live with passion and find joy in life tend to cherish the things they use, including tablewares. Wares, to some extent, reflect an individual’s perspective on life and their attitude towards appreciating the intricate details encountered in daily experiences. This sentiment is similar to the sense of ritual found at the dining table.” Most people have come to know Helen through her Instagram account, @f.o.v_ where she curates a delightful collection of posts on local specialty coffee shops, gourmet delights, travel experiences, interior design, architecture, and the beauty of natural landscapes. Her meticulously composed and aesthetically pleasing photos have captivated a dedicated following. According to Helen, it all began with a humble desire to share her love for food and her favorite spots. When the pandemic struck, she started sharing her experiences while traveling locally. As someone who enjoys baking, she began capturing moments at the dining table and developed a love for collecting meaningful objects.
“I was hoping to increase the beauty of my photos, so I invested in a cake plate specifically designed for afternoon tea. As someone who enjoys taking food photos at home, I quickly realized the crucial role that tablewares play in photography. I am particularly fond of cake stands; they make cakes look absolutely stunning. Vases are also a wonderful choice as they can be seamlessly integrated into the composition.” Helen carefully places a small cake on a high-footed cup from the OBSCURA x TOKI NASHIKI collection. Next to it sits a plate adorned with delicate floral patterns along the rim; a recent purchase from her trip to Japan. Together, these wares create a distinctive and beautiful scene on the dining table.
「美好的器物能提升生活質素，我很喜歡在旅行時買器物，在家裡使用它們時，也會把旅行的回憶一併帶回來，讓我更珍惜這些器物，這也是我開設網上商店的原因。」疫情時，Helen和朋友開設了At Home Journey，把外國的各種器物帶回來，藉著用餐的時光，在家裡來一趟旅行。
“Beautiful wares can enrich our lives. I really enjoy seeking out these treasures during my travels, and when I use them at home, they bring back memories of my journeys, deepening my appreciation for them. This is also the reason why I started an online store.” During the pandemic, Helen and her friend started At Home Journey, offering a diverse range of tablewares and utensils sourced from around the world. Even while seated at the dining table, one can embark on a journey through the use of these meaningful items.
漸漸地，Helen用餐時也希望使用漂亮又耐用的餐具，不限於拍照，日常生活裡也能用到才是最重要。喜歡在家沖咖啡的她，對咖啡杯也有一番研究。「添置了咖啡機後，咖啡拉花成為了我的興趣。我留意到杯口偏闊和杯身較大的杯比較易拉花，做mixing的效果較好。有杯耳的話，拉花時手便不易被杯身熱到。」說到喜歡的杯子，也是與它的設計有關。「有次到巴黎旅遊，買了ASTIER de VILLATTE的杯子，它在杯耳上方有一個凸起的位置，拿起時手指會卡住，方便拿著喝東西，感覺很優雅。這品牌會把巴黎建築物上的細節放到器皿上，如人頭雕像、花草浮雕等，反映著當地文化與城市面貌，所以很喜歡。後來在日本買了一隻杯耳較闊、偏闊口的杯子，我的丈夫很喜歡，他認為拿上手很舒適，既美觀又實用。我覺得很有趣，原來不同的杯子，如何拿最好，每個人也會有不同的看法。」
Over time, Helen gradually integrated these exquisite and durable wares into her daily life. As a coffee enthusiast who enjoys brewing her own coffee at home, she also delved into the world of coffee cups. “Ever since I got my own coffee machine, latte art has become a hobby of mine. I’ve noticed that cups with wider mouths and larger bodies make it easier to create latte art. If the cup has a handle, it prevents my hand from getting too hot while I’m working on my latte art.” When it comes to her favorite cup, design takes center stage. “During a trip to Paris, I bought a cup from ASTIER de VILLATTE. It features a subtle hump on top of its handle, allowing my fingers to securely grip it. Not only is it practical, it’s also remarkably elegant. This brand incorporates elements of Parisian architecture into their products, such as sculpted heads and floral reliefs. I appreciate how they reflect the local culture and cityscape. Later on, I bought another cup in Japan with a wider handle and a broader mouth. My husband particularly enjoys this cup as he finds it comfortable to hold, apart from being aesthetically pleasing and functional. It’s fascinating to see how everyone may have different preferences when it comes to holding a cup.”
As an architect by profession, Helen thinks that the taste of coffee is not the only thing worth discussing when talking about a coffee shop. The shop’s architecture, design, and the utensils they use can be equally fascinating, and every detail impacts our experience and perception. “During a recent trip to Tokyo, I visited a bakery called Chigaya Kuramae in Tsukiji. The curtains and plates were red and white checkered, and the wooden interior design created a cute and cozy atmosphere that left a great impression on me. In Hong Kong, Halfway Coffee has certain distinctive local characteristics. The owner, Tommy, is particularly fond of vintage cups and saucers local to Hong Kong. Besides those being used for serving at the coffee shop, Tommy also has a private collection of wares. Rather than selling his collectibles, he is more interested in sharing his joy. Therefore, he opened the Halfway Museum on Upper Lascar Row in Sheung Wan. It is a truly unique existence.” Using these much cherished wares is like traveling through time. That’s the magic of objects, even on busy days, they can lead us and allow us to enjoy a delightful and delicious journey without leaving the dining table.