Ginny & Gordan Domlija Pick Their Shanghai Family Favorites

By Ned Kelly, October 15, 2021

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Ginny is from Dallas, TX but grew up internationally as an expat kid. She was instantly drawn to Shanghai during a university trip, and upon graduation, found a job here to act as a liaison between Chinese manufacturing and US women's wear fashion brands, helping to source fabrications and develop styles. 

She worked for several years in textiles and furniture based both in Shanghai and Hong Kong, before settling down with Gordan and starting their family.

Gordan is from London, “capital city of an increasingly small and isolated country called England.” [Ed – his words, not ours] He is from the west part of London, which is the best part; home to the best food, pubs, entertainment and football team on the planet.

He moved to Shanghai in 2008 with the intention of staying for just a year, adding a career-boosting ‘year in China’ section to his CV. Inexplicably, he is still here and has somehow accumulated a wife, two children, an insane Chinese street dog called Harvey and a rescue fish called Ken.

Jobs: Ginny now spends her time activating cores and transforming lives at G Pilates, while Gordan pretends to work in advertising…

Arrived in Shanghai: 2007 (Ginny, young, fresh-faced and full of the joys of life); 2008 (Gordan, not so young, not so fresh-faced and a bit cynical).

How did you meet?
A very typical Shanghai love story of a Londoner and a Texan, being introduced to each other by an Estonian at an American Thanksgiving dinner hosted by a Brit and a Kiwi at a Russian restaurant. It was “G Love” at first sight, and two years later, we were married and started our “G Team.”

Kids Names & Ages: Grace Kathryn, 5 (and a half, the half being VERY important) years & Gabriel, 3 years.


Favorite Restaurant in ShanghaI?
Tai'an Table, off the scale fantastic. But if we have to take the children, it’s Beef & Liberty or Din Tai Fung so they can stuff their faces without ruining dad. Plus, they wouldn’t appreciate the wine pairing at Tai'an Table.

Favorite Date Night Spot for Mom and Dad?
Italo, neighborhood fun night out with our favorite Italian Chef/Tattoo Artist Lucky Lasagna, which can save us a journey on an evening; Hiya, the Edition, the view, the ‘Temacos’; Pass Residence, that pasta, with the meatballs, insane.

Favorite Family Activity in Shanghai?
Staycations at the W Shanghai & W Suzhou... all the fun of going on holiday without having to endure the torture of domestic or international air travel with two children.

W Shanghai is a home away from home, fantastic rooms, great pools, tasty food, brilliant service, exceptional tolerance levels of staff, and a really very well stocked bar for mum. Grace and Gabriel especially like wearing their W slippers and dressing gowns to breakfast. Shanghairen, for sure.

Although we have lived in Shanghai for over a decade, we still discover hidden treasures in our neighborhood. Gabriel (equally fluent in Mandarin, English and Shanghainese) is on the constant hunt for local delights like xiaolongbao, jiaozi, mantou and jian bing, so we are often out along Yingqing Lu. He’s an eating machine.

If we are not out eating, then we head over to Wulumuqi Lu for shopping for fresh ingredients because the kids love to bake healthy muffins, cookies and cakes to share with their neighbors and classmates.

And of course, we must not forget celebrating birthdays at Awesome Kids Club, a unique venue that effectively segregates children’s play area from adult bar zone. Genuinely fun for the whole family.

Favorite Spot to De-Stress?
We love to stay active as a family to relax after our busy weeks. You will often find our kids learning new moves at DanceBox with Dominica or fine tuning their football skills on the pitch with LittleKickers. Mom and Dad prefer to take out their stress in the boxing ring with our favorite all-around trainer Jierui, or at G Pilates

Favorite Family Movie?
Wish Dragon, Incredibles, Guardians of the Galaxy

Latest Family Activity Discovery?
The 7th floor at Reel Mall is perfect for a rainy day; the kids love the baking classes at Cook & Book or diving into their creative talents with the many activities found overlooking Jing'an Temple. They also love to get messy with Flavia at O Space, the most brilliant art studio in town!  

For more Family Favorites, click here.

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