Guilt free shopping, concrete tropical forests and Japan

Yesterday was one of those perfect rainy lazy days for guilt free shopping.

What is guilt free shopping?

That's when you are going shopping for a gift for your girlfriend, it's the so called altruistic shopping. I mean if it wasn't for her birthday you would never be spending all this time in a store ("Yeah right"). Yesterday was the birthday of one my really good girlfriends: a crazy, beautiful French girl - a hairdresser/model/party girl, full of life and energy, tough and street smart and with a heart of gold. What better gift to give her than a pair bright red Louboutins(yum!). In Hong Kong our group of Friends (my second family) have come up with the best way to give gifts - we all put money together and get the person something really special as opposed to everyone giving a small individual gift.

Red shoes have an absolutely magnetic effect on boys. You should have seen their faces when the box was opened at the birthday party. I have to say there was as much desire on their faces as on the faces of the girls. (More about the party in tomorrow's post).

I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Hong Kong. I have fallen in love with this city in the rain. There is something so mystical in the combination of trees, skyscrapers and the mist in the air. My favourite time of the day is definitely twilight. The blue and pinks and greys of the sky, the car lights blinking on the winding paths up to the Peak, the white mist covering the skyscrapers, changing their forms, wrapping them into the cocoons of mystery. One of my most cherished places in central, is the Hong Kong park, especially in the rain. It's not really a park like Hyde Park in London, or Central Park in NYC, instead it is an agglomeration of tropical trees, concrete pathways and a beautiful Avery, the latter one a magical place where the long vines and lianas hang down from the trees and the sound of the birds in the background transports you far far away. I can stay here for hours, when it rains there are no people so you feel like you are alone in a tropical forest.

As I was daydreaming in the park and admiring the beauty of nature, my mind turned to Japan, unless you have been in winter hibernation caved up in a hole in Alaska, you would have heard and read about the devastating aftermath of the earthquake. The might of our planet is humbling and scary at the same time.  We complain, we party, we shop, we take everything we can from life, we think that we have conquered it all advanced through our science, computers, nuclear technology and then the planet just reminds how small and insignificant we are.

My heart goes out to all those people in Japan, and it is weeks like this that I miss my family and friends back at home and realize how far far away they are from me. My mom always says that you have to be remember and respect the memory of those who died but you also have to be kind and respectful to those who are still alive. It's so important to appreciate every day of your life, your family and your loved one.

Photos courtesy of my friend Peggy an amazing photographer, fantastic interior designer, a super chic dresser and a caring mother of two beautiful baby girls. Thank you Peg!

Trench (always on a lookout for that perfect trench, this one is almost there) - Massimo Dutti, Belt/Scarf Topshop, jumper H&M men, jeans Kate Moss for Topshop form her first collection, glasses ASOS

Wallet/Clutch ZARA, Brown Boots Massimo Dutti (I liked them so much I bought them a size smaller because my size sold out, and now I have permanent blisters on my pinkies)

P.S. Check out the illustration of Alexander McQueen's S/S 2011 collection by Tanya Bennett
on the window displays at Lane Crawford - this is part of their new marketing initiative this year named 'Create & Inspire' where they have teamed up with a bunch of locally based artists for various projects.