Get to Know Us – Shanghai Mamas Coffee Morning Hosts

If you’re hoping to meet some new mamas in your area, you may already know that checking out our Shanghai Mamas Coffee Mornings is the thing to do. But do you know who hosts these Coffee Mornings, ensuring that everything runs smoothly behind the scenes?

In this article, we introduce you to our intrepid team of volunteer Coffee Morning hosts. Since Krystal, host of the Hongqiao group (and author of this article) is known as our resident Taobao Queen, we’ve asked her and our other featured hosts to not only introduce themselves, but also introduce us to their favorite kid-themed Taobao buys of the month. Enjoy!

Krystal, ShMamas Hongqiao Coffee Morning Host

Hi everyone, my name is Krystal and I am from the beautiful islands of The Bahamas. I have been involved with Shanghai Mamas since 2019 helping to run the Hongqiao Coffee Mornings, amongst other little things. I have lived in Shanghai from a young age, and in total have spent almost 20 years in this great city. I have two kids, 2 and 4 years old, and am currently a stay-at-home-everything because, let’s be honest, “mum” is an all-encompassing role.

If I manage to gather enough remaining brain cells at the end of a long day/week/month, you may find a new article written by the Taobao Queen, a series🔗 where I recommend a handful of good finds on Taobao or other online shopping apps.

Some of you may also know me as one of the admins of the Leaving Shanghai groups that were started during the lockdown, which aimed to help both expats and locals navigate the red tape involved in the process of leaving Shanghai during those dark few weeks and which are still being used today.

Kids’ ages: 2 and 4 years old

Year arrived in Shanghai: Almost 20 years in Shanghai!

Top purchases for the month:

Whether it’s playroom discounts, events and activities, or navigating an escape; I am always out there hunting for a good deal and new information, and happy to share with the community.

Here are some of my favorite online purchases from July!

1. Bubble maker

This bubble maker is INSANE! Comes with two small bottles of solution so I do recommend purchasing a large refill as it runs out fast from the excitement and craziness it creates. I got the one with a rechargeable battery to save my own sanity. Produces a thick curtain of small lightweight bubbles. We had the entire park going wild.

The following items were actually purchased on Pinduoduo 拼多多, a group buy app. Normally, I don’t go too crazy with all the apps, but I have found things on here for much cheaper than on Taobao so it has become a go-to recently.

2. Inflatable pool

Water play…need I say more? We have been setting this bad boy up at our HQ coffee morning. Be sure to swing by to cool off if you’re in the neighborhood!

3. Educational Materials

The books in this set are clear, concise and simple enough for young children, but with enough detail to go deeper if you want.

4. Build Your Own Garden

Kids had a great time building bouquets and giving them to each other. You can even take this a step further and create your own flash cards of sequences for kids to build, or create something and then sketch it.

Note: The brown base is a bit light, so if your kids like building mega flower towers it may tip over.

5. Construction Paper

Comes in a variety of sizes and thickness, perfect for crafting.

6. Educational Blocks

Just discovered these recently, a fun and colorful way to teach math skills, shapes, and structures.

Lisa, ShMamas Jing’an Coffee Morning Host

My name is Lisa, and I’m a Swiss-American mom of two boys living in Shanghai. My family and I have lived in Shanghai for 3 years now and have enjoyed the city a lot (give or take a few lockdowns). Having spent time living in 10 countries, I can say Shanghai is one of my favorites!

Through Shanghai Mamas you can usually find me hosting the Jing’an Coffee Morning on Thursdays or see my WeChat name as one of the admins on several of our Shanghai Mama WeChat groups including our Spa Event Group, Little Ones, Primary School Children and Shanghai Mama Volunteers. More recently, I’ve become known among some of you (and my husband) as the “overpacker of kids quarantine items” (Check out my Quarantine Packing List here🔗).

If you have ever thought about wanting to volunteer for Shanghai Mamas, please get in touch with me- I’d love to find a way to get you involved in whatever way we can!

Kid’s ages: 8 years old and 2 years old

Year arrived in Shanghai: Summer 2019, a glorious 6 months before COVID entered our worlds.

Top purchases for the month:

Having experienced 4 compound lockdowns (before and after the real Shanghai Lockdowns) and following my 10-day hotel quarantine from abroad, I am always searching for new things to keep my kids occupied ahead of the next one (our compound is extremely ‘lucky’). I’ve also been buying home organization things to at least get some organizing done while stuck at home. One 7-day lockdown this month found me tackling my jewelry drawer and organizing my handbags!

1. Beat the heat, but make it eco-friendly

How did I not know about these reusable water balloons during all those hours I’ve spent bent over picking up pieces of popped, formerly water-filled balloons?!? Self sealing, magnetic, reusable water balloons for this season’s water fights and for bathtime!

2. Buildable Straws

The perfect lockdown activity (and also a good one for a scorching hot day inside). Also, perfectly portable for, dare I say, my next hotel quarantine.

3. Gem Mining Kits

Time to get my older son off his devices and focused on something else, anything else. I’ll forgive the dust because of the massive amount of time my son spent obsessing over digging out these “priceless” gemstones.

4. Handbag Protectors

This heat had me worried about protecting my bags, so I found some dust and moisture-proof transparent covers that also let in some air.

5. Jewelry Organization – I’m so over untangling necklaces!

Erica, ShMamas Downtown Coffee Morning Host

Hi, I’m Erica from Canton in China. I moved to Shanghai 5 years ago and when we moved, I initially felt kind of isolated. The Shanghai Mamas community is great. It’s full of multiple cultures and lots of positive energy, so it is a really nice and supportive group to be part of. The moms in this community always amaze me.

I enjoy helping with Tuesday’s meetup group and I hope more moms can get to know this amazing community. Let’s share.

Kid’s age: 5

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2017

Top purchases for the month:

1. Throw and catch

I got this because I was trying to get my daughter to exercise during lockdown. It turned out great, even though it ending up dropping in my food a few times while I was eating.

2. DIY pumpkin carriage night light

This kit allows kids to design their own unique carriage. It ends up looking pretty no matter what, and they really enjoy it. The only drawback is that the glue that comes with the kit is not so sticky.

3. Plaster doll painting kit

Kids love painting this and will sit and work on it quietly for some time. Get it! Paint it!

Hannah, ShMamas Lujiazui Coffee Morning Host

I’m from the UK, and arrived in Shanghai just after CNY 2013 with a one-year-old in tow. I joined Shanghai Mamas before we moved here, and it made our arrival so much easier. We joined a Coffee Morning and playdate within a few days of landing. My daughter was born here in 2014, and Shanghai is the only place my children remember living (thanks to COVID we haven’t been home to the UK since 2019).

I’ve served on the Executive Committee of Shanghai Mamas in the past, acting as a behind-the-scenes guru whilst also writing our email newsletters (remember those?!). I’ve been running the Lujiazui Friday Coffee Morning for a few years now, and have been a member of the Book Club since I arrived.

Kids’ ages: 10 and 7

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2013

Top purchases for the month:

1. Pool torpedoes

These torpedoes make pool time fun for everyone, and they really fly far underwater. There’s also a shark version complete with fins and teeth. Hours of fun!

2. Dried mango

The best dried mango I’ve ever had – pure, natural and unsweetened. The link was shared in the Taobao Mamas group recently, and it was a lifesaver on a recent hiking trip.

3.  Ribena

If you grew up drinking Ribena, this is a MUST in order to pass your addiction on to the next generation. Skip the overly sweet strawberry version and stay with classic blackcurrant goodness. 😋

Bernice, ShMamas Jinqiao Coffee Morning Host

I was born and raised in Malaysia but ‘grew up’ (hello, adulting) in Australia, where I attended university, and subsequently lived for 13 years. My very dubious ‘claim to fame’ is having a baby during the great Shanghai lockdown. Thankfully, I was able to do this in a hospital and not by the side of the road…

I arrived in Shanghai in October 2020 and have been organising the Jinqiao coffee meetups for the past year. An activity that combines my love for coffee and meeting/connecting people? Sign me up!

Kids’ ages: 4 years and 3 months

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2020

Top purchases for the month:

I love to cook and bake (well, I love eating in general), support small/independent businesses, and have tree-hugging tendencies. Here are some things I’m loving this summer:

1.Pizza stone

Pizza making became one of our favourite activities to do as a family during the lockdown. Our 4 -year-old loves rolling out the dough for his own pizzas and putting the toppings on.

2.Stojo coffee cups

I love exploring Shanghai’s many coffee shops, but feel guilty about the waste generated by disposable cups, so I often have one of these collapsible cups in my bag. The larger ones are great for iced coffees or bubble tea; the smaller ones for hot coffees when the mercury drops.

3. Drawing pads

My son is really into drawing at the moment, so a drawing pad goes almost everywhere with us. Slim, lightweight, and versatile , it’s perfect for practicing handwriting, playing tic tac toe, writing shopping/to-do lists… and all without the need for paper.