Some year end review

 A few more days to go will end the year of 2022, usually it’s the best moment for us to review everything, including the content of this blog. 

We always wish we could concentrate into a specific genre of blog posts, so readers can search the content more easily and the  reading experience of this blog can be more unique & consistent, but unfortunately it‘s not the way we were. In reality, not all things are related to design : beautiful, attractive, creative, impressive…lots & lots of “pebble & stones” could ruin the scene (hopefully not :P).

Sometimes we did want to end this blog and start all over again but when we reconsider deeply, after years of building a whole new blog, the result may still be the same, because this is us,  the life of Cocoa, the implication of design, life of sweet & sour…as we shall say, what a complex but on the other hand fruitful. 

By trial & error, this is the 14 years since the first post was published in Coffeebreak, our former name…time flies. It seems we have to be truthful of what’s going on, but we are thinking of removing “Cocoa Fabric Store” “Cocoa Grocery” and “Bird Talk” ~ another way to simplify our “complicated life”, what do you think?


自由、平等、博愛~ Liberté , Égalité, Fraternité

Giggle girl fly to cut & release balloons


Liberté ~ 自由。是每個人都擁有的基本權利,如果各自運用得宜,天下太平;要是滲入了自私和霸氣,就在不知不覺間搶奪了他人的一份去成就自己的所謂自由。並非只有掌權的人才有機會妄用自由而誤置人民生死,即使是無權無勢的平民如我,也有可能在高唱“自由之歌”的同時影響到其他人,每當我想到這裏,心中不禁亮起紅燈。但為什麼原本是美善的質素卻可以變得“邪惡”呢?


Giggle girl with giant monster

Égalité ~ 平等。或許這就是自由與平等必須共存的其中之一個原因吧!要是世界上所有資源,包括機會也是較為平均分配的,只要每人再為自己的未來努力一點點,便可以安然居住,活在穩定及充足供應之下。但同樣地,要是有人被慾望和貪念所遮蓋,貧富懸殊隨即出現,因為有的想要更多,比基本需要的再多,即使佔據了其他人可得到的一份也在所不計,因為無止境的慾望得不到滿足~這,又何嘗不包含在我們想擁有的“自由”而言呢?!平等:讓每個人也可以有機會活下去、被尊重、被等同,享有生存的自由!

Giggle girl with cats

Fraternité ~ 博愛。要是能考慮到其他人,甘願放棄擁有更多,甚至保留比應有的更小,我想,沒可能沒有愛的成份在內。人性大多為自己的一生籌算,包括家人,特別是摯親;但除了在這個圈圈之內,會為著不認識甚至是本土以外的人,在各式各樣的事情上付上心神的…大有人在,也許就在你我的身邊。地球上有很多事情令人憤怒、無奈與歎息,唯有愛能化解一切,把不平衡和失去的挽回。在神人之間如是,在人與人之間也如是。自由、平等、博愛並非不可實現的空談,要是我們每一個肯付出一點點或更多,地球還是有希望的。


Drawing Giggle Girl

Hi. Hi,

I love drawing, painting, illustrating, sketching…whatever you call, it’s always a pleasure to escape the reality for a while and creating anything possible. Sometimes, I doubt whether anyone, especially for those who are talented or well trained in painting as an artist has the struggle using digital apps/ software to draw. I am neither talented nor an artist, I just love to draw but recently, I do have some thoughts about it.

The fact is, both techniques require a learning path and lots of practices which consume time, a lot of time…, for sure if you are serious enough. Although some basic theories may be the same, such as use of colour, layout, lighting, texture (brush stroke)…, etc; and most of the drawing apps can imitate all of these smooth and nicely; there are differences still, in my experience, when I hold a real paint brush vs an apple pen in hand, the control are so different as some of you may aware, too. 

Recently, I did try to use Fresco + iMovie to play with a “giggle girl series” , it’s easy to learn with fun; but I want more after all , then I may have to jump into GarageBand, Final Cut, Premiere, Lightroom….a never ending list in the digital world that could bring more satisfaction to my painting with motion in bonus. Then, how about my watercolour hand drawings ? I am lacking of the third & fourth hand…. :(

Digital drawing allows me to redraw and redraw until satisfy, whereas hand drawing is one off (mostly except oil painting may be a bit more flexible) but this is the exact challenge and goal for me to achieve, which also directly related to the effort of hard work that I’ve paid; a greater joy of satisfaction that I would assume if I draw a good piece one day.

So, what to do?  I have my answer in my mind when I come to the end of this post, but let’s have fun with giggle girl for a minute, why not?

Remember to turn on the speaker, one more for you, enjoy!


Forgotten Chap 02

Buildings in shadow highlight

Come, dramatically  
without a sign 
rejoicing…before thee

Vanish, instantly 
not for another second 
mourning…in front of me


Oiseau Distrait 
Autumn 2022 Hong Kong

















Café de Flore

Watercolour of Café De Flore in the book of Dream a little Dream
Click to enlarge

Café de Flore has always been famous since 1885, even there was one located in Omotesando in Japan (not sure whether they are from the same organisation). The name came from a sculpture of the goddess of flowers - Flora (Flore in French), and the season of spring in Roman mythology.  

Delicious hot chocolate and elegant Art Deco interior design may be some reasons why people loves to visit Café de Flore, but most of all are due to the attraction by it’s history, a hub where the intelligence gathered around  in the 1920s. Even though we may not know the story of each of them, at least, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso were the well known. 

In my previous blog post introducing the book ‘Left Bank- by Agnés Poirier’ , Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus were the names among those that frequently appeared, as what they called French intellectuals who really acted as the icons here.

 Café de Flore was a place for them to hang around, expressing their thoughts, ideas, awareness of the world issues (political & culture) , especially for France & America; or in person (Female & Male, You & I) that matters, then transformed their avant-garde thinking into plays, writings, journals, music, poem…,etc; even though they might not be acceptable in those days. It became a place that dreams could be made, no matter what the reality might be in chaos.

So I put this into the center page of my book, as a symbolic of the belief that any of us can embrace. We can have numerous dream, great or humble, global or for one’s own; provided the motivation is not evil, there is always a path to reach the success, nothing to do with the rocket sciences but keep trying and move on. 

Whether you like to stay in Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots; you are in Hong Kong, France or elsewhere; you are a teenager or old guy, male or female, rich or poor…, dream is no boundary once you act. 


Left Bank & Dream a Little Dream


Paris never fails us of her attractions, especially for those who love shopping. Whether the  prosperity impression, luxurious living or the Bohemia life style , what people used to call; are actually a very different scenario of what Paris was experienced & had been transformed after WWII.

While writing this series, I was accidentally found a book “Left Bank - Art, Passion and the Rebirth of Paris 1940-1950” by Agnés Poirier. A book that opens my eyes wide and solve some of the queries inside me during the trip. 

During the WWII, the third republic lead French into a shameful act, allow the occupied of the Nazis without defense, it might prevent major casualties as they originally thought but in fact, not to the Jews here, as mentioned in the book, over 13000 Parisian Jews (one third are children) were sent to death in Poland in 1942 & 80000 Jews were sent from France to concentration camps…this is still an ached in some of the Parisians nowadays. That explains to me why so many Jewish memorial museum were built in Paris. I feel sad, too. 

The intellectuals, how they survived to face the lost of their Jewish friends each day but couldn’t say, would there be any hope to dream for their future? To continue their philosophic expression? Publication? Playwright? Artistic life? simply to live or left?

Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Sylvia Beach, Albert Camus, Ernest Hemingway, Jacques Jaujard, Pablo Picasso, Henri cartier-bressan…some of the characters in the book, the intellectuals who were there…their dreams didn’t vanish but transformed and camouflaged in another way to preserve the seed of hope. What they had been struggling, physically, mentally & emotionally (whether succeeded or failure) left a trace in the Café de Flore, café des Deus Magots, the Louvre and many other places in Paris. 

The huge impact in the field of their specialties & their “third way” are still influencing a lot of us in the modern age.  Café de Flore may be famous of it’s hot cocoa, but in depth, there’s always been the stories behind like Hôtel La Louisiane, the Shakespeare & Co., Le Tabou…that flourished.

Dream a little Dream book cover
Click to enlarge

Dream a little Dream is the second last book of Petit Paris Series, my first draft was finished in February 2022, the moment of the 5th wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong, should I still bring out this message to my reader? absolutely Yes, without any hesitation! the hope to end this pandemic as same as the hope to end war. If they could survive in their own ways and achieved even more in 10 years, we can, it's not only a dream!