NICKY KINNAIRD, owner and founder of the Space NK beauty emporiums is one of those lucky folk whose "local high street" consists of the best boutiques in New York, Paris and Milan. She tends to shop abroad when she's searching for brands to stock in her seven UK outlets. Practicality as well as privilege plays a part in this. "Things are much cheaper if you buy them in the country of origin, so I tend to get my bags in Italy. It's the cheapest place for a number of things you wouldn't think of buying at UK prices. I buy my JP Tod's in Milan (00 392 772251 in Milan, 0171 235 1321 in London) because comfort is paramount when you're pounding the pavements on store visits. And I buy tons of CDs in America because they're cheaper there."

Kinnaird buys "easy classics" as she describes them. "I end up buying basics from Emporio Armani, Agnes b and APC." Bits and pieces from these shops tend to be black and white or "versions thereof". From American chain Banana Republic (00 1 888 277895) Nicky has about a dozen white T-shirts, all the same but of "different vintages". From London-based leather expert Bill Amberg (0171 727 3560) Kinnaird has a large "Escalator" bag for travel, and several pairs of Emma Hope's (0171 259 9566) mules fill her wardrobe. One place Kinnaird shops which is not cited as a classic stop-off is the Lloyd Davies store in Manchester (14 John Dalton Street, tel: 0161 832 3700) which has the "most amazing" own-label bed linen.

As for beauty products Nicky admits that she's, "well, spoilt for choice really. It's nice to try out treatments all over the place." She has a "special arrangement" with Eve Lom (0171 935 9988) whom she goes to for facials. Naturally, as one of the few Lom stockists Nicky gets to the front of the three-month waiting list. Friends receive Space NK presents, often Diptyque candles. Her brother is most likely to receive fun, impulse buys from Paul Smith (0171 836 7828).

If Nicky fancies a treat where does she look? "Connolly [32 Grosvenor Crescent Mews, London SW1, tel: 0171 235 3883] have amazing things. Their Jayne Mansfield cashmere sweater is gorgeous, and their leather gloves - not that I'd wear them - are beautiful." Simple jewellery, "gorgeous rings, wonderful pendants", designed by New York-based Temple St Clair Carr (available from Bergdorf Goodman, Fifth Avenue, tel: 00 1 212 7537300) is also a Kinnaird treat. It has to be gold because silver turns black on her skin.

Kinnaird works hard and takes her stationery seriously. Muji pens (0171 323 2208) gain approval, but the "best stationery" is from Marie Papier (00 331 34264644) in Paris. "There's another shop called Calligrane (00 331 48043189); it's on the right bank just over the bridge with all the artists on it, there's a little street selling art supplies. You can spend ages shopping for the most amazing hand-crafted paper but it's far too beautiful to write on."

In London it's the book shop, Daunts (83 Marylebone High Street, London W1, tel: 0171 224 2295), that she has to remove herself forcibly from. "I spend hours in the place. I love the way they arrange the guidebooks of particular countries, and next to them the literature that relates to it. So if you're visiting South Africa or somewhere you can read a novel set in the area. I buy tons of books to relax with when I'm working and travelling."

Space NK enquiries/mail order: 0870 607 7060