My style icon is Audrey Hepburn, because I have always loved her simple elegance, gamine charm and great sense of fashion. I also greatly admire the amazing American soprano Renée Fleming, who exemplifies style.
The last thing I bought and loved was a wonderfully powerful oil painting by the talented young Chinese artist Chloe Ho. She has a remarkable sensibility and her work is an arresting expression of east and west. Alisan Fine Arts, Room 2305, Hing Wai Centre, 7 Tin Wan Praya Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong (+8522-2526 1091; www.alisan.com.hk).
And the thing I’m eyeing next is an ink painting by Beijing artist Wei Ligang. His brushwork is magnificent and combines the remarkable discipline of Chinese calligraphy and ink with bold natural forms. It’s my must-have from Pearl Lam, who has an unfailing eye for the best. 601-605 Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong (+852-2522 1428; www.pearllam.com).
The best gift I’ve given recently was a sable-lined jacket to a very good friend. She admired the one I was wearing, so I had a copy tailored for her. It was a gift straight from the heart, and she loved it.
An indulgence I would never forego is my bath. It’s really the only time of day when I can relax, play my favourite music and enjoy some quiet time away from phones and emails.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a beautiful antique French fan, which I use to shade my face from the sun. I collect fans, and I discovered this one at the Carré Rive Gauche area in Paris, one of my favourite places to find unique treasures.
A recent “find”is Ciak – In the Kitchen, a fabulous flowing space that is part trattoria and part mercato. It is casual and accessible yet it’s part of Michelin-starred chef Umburto Bombana’s empire, so it combines the best of all worlds. I’ll buy Valentino Ugolini’s handmade fettuccine with Italian king prawns and zucchini, and his Norcina pizza, made with fermented dough from an ancient family recipe, topped with sausage, mushrooms and mozzarella. Shop 327-333, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong (+852-2522 8869; www.landmark.hk).
The books on my bedside table are Moment in Peking by Lin Yutang, an engrossing historical novel set in China’s turbulent years from 1900 to 1938, and the entertaining Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death by Giles Brandreth, in which Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle work together to solve a mystery. The wonderful characters in Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy have also become my constant companions; I’m delighted I can spend 1,500 pages with them.
If I didn’t live in Hong Kong, the city I would live in is London. I have a townhouse in Knightsbridge, one of my children working in the city, and long-time favourite places. Harrods is within walking distance so it has become my canteen. I also make regular visits to Baker & Spice for the most delicious bread and pastries, and I love to wander through the galleries of the V&A, including the William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery for gem-gazing. I’ll also go to the charming Heywood Hill on Curzon Street for books. It stocks new titles and hard-to-find editions, and they always suggest the right read. For a taste of Hong Kong I’ll go to the Four Seasons in Bayswater, which is a great little Chinese restaurant that has all my favourite comfort dishes, including barbecued mince. Baker & Spice, 47 Denyer Street, SW3 (020-7225 3417; www.bakerandspice.uk.com). Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant, 84 Queensway, W2 (020-7229 4320; www.fs-restaurants.co.uk). Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1 (020-7730 1234; www.harrods.com). Heywood Hill, 10 Curzon Street, W1 (020-7629 0647; www.heywoodhill.com). V&A, Cromwell Road, SW7 (020-7942 2000; www.vam.ac.uk).
In my fridge you’ll always find frozen yogurt, fruit, a few decadent chocolates for a true dessert emergency, and bottles of Champagne Salon. www.salondelamotte.com.
My favourite room in my house is my media room. It is a gathering space for my family and the first place everyone congregates when we are all at home. It’s filled with comfortable seating, a bar and warm cashmere throws and is somewhere where we talk, listen to music and watch movies.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose The Landmark in Central, a haven of luxury in the heart of the city. It is “essential” Hong Kong, a destination in itself, and I am always sure to run into someone I know. I’ll visit all my fashion favourites: Dior for classic day and evening dresses, Manolo Blahnik for boots, and Armani for tailored trousers and jackets. I also always go to David Tang’s stylish China Tang restaurant for the best dim sum. 1 Exchange Square, Central, Hong Kong (www.landmark.hk).
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a restaurant critic, because I love good food and will relentlessly pursue a great meal. Most of my friends are foodies and some are Michelin-starred chefs and restaurateurs, which I think is a cosmic hint.