Saturday, 12 January 2013

Reflect her perfect.......

Sometimes finding random designer bargains is the easy part- it's putting them together to make paparazzi-snap-worthy outfit that is the issue! Copying a celebrity look needn't be too difficult though; all you need it the right mix of high-street and high-end discounts..........Today's style inspiration comes from the ethereal Olivia Palermo. 

Let's face it, this model and fashion expert  could make a bin bag look like a YSL gown , but  her simple  approach to looking fabulous means that the human among us can at least give it a go!

a. This Pepe Jeans India black coat is on sale at under £95 at the moment. Black faux fur like this never goes out of style and proves that black doesn't have to be boring. 

b. The coat is expensive, so save on the leggings by picking up this panelled topshop pair, £22

c. Nude pumps are essential. They just are. Don't question me on this one. Aldo's Ostlie nude flats are down to £24.95 at the moment too, what more do you want?!

d. I think bags are THE accessory to invest in- a cheap looking bag can ruin an entire outfit and won't last long. It's false economy. This gorgeous House of Harlow 1960 Lara Clutch certainly won't let you down. Tan is really versatile and the simple, clean lines would look fantastic tucked under your furry arm! It's £140. That is a lot, I get that - but one beautifully craft piece is far better than ten awful Primark creations. 

e. I genuinely think Olivia would wear these Diane Von Furstenberg sunglasses. Very Jackie O and, again, tortoiseshell will go with most of your existing wardrobe! At a mere £24.99 they are my pick of the day! 

Finish with a slick of pillar box red nail varnish and a couple of gold bracelets .......and you have an outfit fit for the front row. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tuesday's pick......

Today's pick is a total no brainer. I always go on about silk scarves being one of the quickest, easiest and cheapest ways to get a lux look - and here is an absolute winner. 
This silk scarf is Valentino yet - and I can hardly believe I'm about to write this - is available at T K Maxx for just £34.99! These retails at £179; something tells me somethings gone wrong with the pricing machine, but shhhhh don't tell them! 

They have other designs if this isn't to your taste, but I think this floral black number is just the thing to upgrade any high-street outfit. 100% silk, this bargain is already guaranteed to feel great on your skin (which will be glowing with pride anyway!) and has so many options for its use. Tie it around your neck, as a rockabilly head scarf or in a big bow around the handle of your favourite plain leather handbag to show it off, just as it deserves. 

Now, why are you still here?! There's Valentino to be bought! 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Pick Of The Day

I'm getting serious about this bloggin' malarky, so let's get down to business! Last night my pick of discount Agent Provocateur underwear went down well on Twitter so I'm going to keep my daily discount selections coming for the next couple of weeks in an effort to brighten the blogsphere even more! 

Yesterday was all about concealing your purchases- and there's no doubt that hiding some hand stitched satin or barely-there lace under your blouse can be a really empowering, but there are times when, frankly, you want people to see your stash. 

My Wardrobe has a tantalizing sale on at the moment, and here's a couple of my favourite items that you can whip out without the fear of being arrested:

 - Protecting your favourite gadgets from the wear and tear of your handbag is a very necessary step; why shell out hundreds of pounds, only to scratch the beautiful screen within days of unwrapping it?!

This Marc by Marc Jacobs iPad case it garish,  OTT, blindingly bright and...I LOVE IT! There is something so fabulous about an accessory that isn't afraid to be loud. I'm not a fan of items with designer names printed all over them, like some walking billboard for overpriced cotton threads, but I am a great advocate of those that grab a stranger's attention and force her to squeal "Ooooooooo where is it from?! It's amazing!"

This little treat is down to £36 and is the cheapest piece of Jacobs I've seen in a long time! 

If flash-trash isn't your thing, then go for a bold but chic print like this Diane Von Furstenberg Saffiano blue iPhone cover for £24. The vintage print will still attract plenty of inquisitive admirers  - and they won't need sunglasses if they get too close! 


Thanks to a kick from the fantastic Julie at I'm joining BlogLovin today, so just ignore the code below. All the cool kids have one..... 
<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Here goes! 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

What's in my bag......

I'm forever tweeting (@mySmokeMirrors) about how to get the designer beauty and fashion you love without having to forgo other rent or food. As it turns out, I kinda like them too.  So, I thought I'd better show you all that I really do practice what I preach - and here is what was in my bag today; just a selection of my guilt free stash!

Often when women have children, they take one look at the little bubba and gush that they never knew they could love something so much....well, I do the same with my handbag. MY pride and joy. 

This is Michael Kors -but you can call him Michael. I love this as an every day bag- the mock-croc tanned leather is extremely durable and it has plenty of pocket space, with a middle zip compartment so nothing gets lost! And the best part? I picked this little guy from Bicester Village with a tidy saving - I think I paid around £200 after the discount, which has translated into about 0.5p per wear! 

Designer bags really do stand out among cheaper high street alternatives and will instantly elevate both your spirits and your look!   

Now for the contents. Like I said, this is just a selection that I happened to be carrying today, but it does show just how easy it is to save on your favourite products! 

Here we have my make-up pouch. I carry around a few essentials in a smaller pouch so I can top up throughout the day. From left to right I have:
- Nails inc and Mavala nail varnishes. I like to carry around the shade that I'm wearing so I can do a patch up job. I'm forever picking up Nails inc free with Glamour magazine and I highly recommend as a way to get your beauty fix on the cheap. 
- Mini Benefit products; highbeam and benetint are staple products for me and these free magazine samples are perfectly sized for my handbag. Not sure if it's the make-up or the savings that makes me feel so good....
- Both pallets are Topshop and my favourite products of the moment. The packaging is simple, cute and slimline, while the products inside, from the same folks who produce MAC, offer what I think is the most pigment for your pound. I've tweeted about these so check that out for more details. 
- Oh sweet, sweet Clarins. You are so good to me. I always come back to these guys for cleansers as nothing else melts away makeup so gently, yet thoroughly. Here I have the 'HydraQuench Intensive Syrum Bi-Phase' which I'm trying out as I find I need plenty of hydration in these winter months, when my skin becomes ravaged by wind and central heating! 
The Clarins and Burts Bees (Deep Cleansing Cream and Lavender Hand Salve) were both bought in sets. This is such a fantastic way to try out new products and satisfy your beauty cravings. The Clarins counter in your nearest department store invariably offers discounts on sets, as will the websites of your favourite brands, so keep checking to catch the offers. As for the Burts Bees, I picked up a 'Mini-Essentials' set from Ebay - undoubtedly an unwanted present from someone who doesn't appreciate the sheer brilliance of Burt and his hive. I paid less than £10 with postage; an utter bargain. 

Now for the extras that I'd stuffed in this morning. 

-Before you go shopping, have a flick through your magazines for vouchers. January's Glamour had a free Body Shop voucher. It's £3 for a store that is far from designer - but, hey, they are an ethical store with some sweet little items and IT'S FREE!

- I adore my black pony hair Osprey Purse. This retails for £110, but I nabbed it for a mere £24.99 in T K Maxx. 
Inside the purse I have loads of store cards- why not get rewarded for shopping? This Liberty one even landed me a £15 voucher. What more do you want?!

- I wish I'd have captured my gorgeous gloves better here as the picture just doesn't do them justice. They are leather and lined with inky blue rabbit fur (NB. the fur was a by-product, I do not support animals being killed just so we can look good) which means they are silky soft and warm. Black sells all sorts of luxury accessories and has a sale on at the moment, so why not treat yourself? 

Oh and one more product I can't do without - my trusty iPhone. Apps have revolutionised shopping for me as I have a constant stream of discount vouchers at my fingertips, and boy do I make the most of it. Half price on those cocktails? Great, I'll take two....
Make sure you subscribe to alerts for flash sales and pop-up outlet events as these caves of wonder are where you'll find the serious designer treasure. 

What are you most proud of in your handbag? Is there a bag you can't wait to get your hands on? 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

What a beauty.....

SOS. Send help. Mayday. 999. 

What's my emergency? Dry hair. Chipped nails. My lips don't even match my outfit for goodness sake! 

Ok, perhaps I am over-dramatising this a tad, but my point still stands; I've let things slip. A few weeks ago I had to reign in the spending. I had returned from a beauty product splurge and was busy preening myself when I heard a loud sobbing emitting from my handbag. Turns out the noise was coming from my bankcard. She was severely wounded- I'd made a serious hole in her overdraft and she needed time to heal. 

But I'm in mourning. I miss my splurges. There is something so glorious about strolling through the beauty aisles of Selfridges- a spritz here, a slick of liner there- and then the joy of tipping out your canary yellow bags on to the floor and trying out your new paintpots! Suddenly your eyelashes become ten times thicker, you have cheekbones that weren't there before and you no longer need to hide your hands in your pockets because they are so dry and gnarled! 

So, when I caught sight of myself in the mirror yesterday I was determined I needed to find a compromise. It may not be feasible to spend my Saturday afternoons in salons, but that doesn't mean I need to look like an extra from Les Miserables. 

Right we are then, let's get shopping....
L'eau Ambree EDP Spray
  •  Once again, I'm extolling the virtues of T K Maxx on this one. They are selling Prada L'eau Ambree EDP (that's right, the perfume, not the watered down toilette) for just £39.99, nearly half the price of every other highstreet store. Amber, lemon and rose notes make it easy to wear and any discerning nose nearby will instantly recognise it as a fashion house product. 
  • Or, if fragrance isn't the top of your list, they have OPI nail sets with the same 50% off discount. That means I'll have two.

  • Estee Lauder is one of those trusted brands, like Olay or L'Occitane; the kind of product your Mother and Grandmother have used with consistent success and that you know won't let you down. For a product that works, I'm willing to shell out- but why buy just the mascara, when you can buy the set for less? In some fabulosuly twisted world of mathematics, Boots are giving us a full size Estee Lauder mascara for just £19.50- and throwing in a mini Advanced Night Repair Eye and Gentle Make-Up Remover pot too! Maybe their computers are broken, maybe their sales people failed their maths GCSE, or perhaps they are on some philanthropic mission to bring peace to the world, one beautiful eye at a time. All I know is that it's a bargain.

  •  For those of you whom haven't heard, Topshop and MAC makeup is produced the same manufacturer. I say manufacturer, I mean magician. Angel. Rosy cheeked Elves.....whoever they are, they must be something special anyway. I'm a big fan Topshop's kohl eyeliner which has a deep, rich pigment and refuses to budge, no matter how sweaty the  tube carriage! With pencils starting at just £4 you really can build a guilt free collection. I suppose this one has to be tried to be believed, so next time you stop by, slick on their delicious berry lipstick or sample a 'painted' matte eye pot which gives a pop of colour that will turn your peepers in to a canvas. 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Bossing it

Dressing for the office can be a real struggle at times. We all dreamt of channelling 'The Devil Wears Prada' when we first started, swearing you'd only ever see us in perfectly tailored blazers, razor sharp stilettos and silk blouses that we'd never spill coffee on. It rarely happens. After a week you forgo outfit planning in favour of an early night and the first pay packet just won't cover the Stella McCartney suit you had circled in last month's Vogue.

Who is this tax man and why doesn't he care how great I'd look in a boyfriend blazer?

Not only are designer pieces pretty, but they achieve an illusion that some highstreet knock-offs simply can't. The effect of laser-cut tailoring in luxe fabrics prove that 'power dressing' is a real thing. These garments give you a confidence that an ill-fitting H&M basic never could. You walk taller and make eye contact- frankly, you know you look good. 

When you get the promotion you may think nothing of strolling in to Lanvin on your lunch break and picking up a leather pencil skirt that wouldn't look out of place on the front row at London Fashion Week- but until then, you need a much cheaper alternative.

Well, here are some key pieces that will upgrade your work wardrobe without requiring you to get a second job. I've focused on tailoring and shoes as they can have the biggest impact on your overall look.

  • (the outlet sister of Net a Porter) offers fantastic discounts on your favourite designers. How about this Twenty8Twelve by Sienna Miller blazer? The contrast satin lapel is just the sort of detailing you need to stand out. Or for a shot of colour to catch your boss' eye (in a work context, of course) invest in this Helene Berman tweed jacket. Team them with cigarette pants and a chunky cuff for a modern twist on classic pieces. They are both just over £100- that's both a HUGE saving and smart investment.

  •  French Connection may not be a designer label, but I've included it here because eBay has an excellent FC outlet store selling dresses that would work perfectly with your new wardrobe. These two are both under £50 and will hug you in all the right places.

  • At I waded through piles of last season's cork wedges and patterned pumps you can't quite believe were ever commissioned to find these Sam Edelman croc- effect heels. The £182 price tag has been dropped to just £54.60 so they really are affordable- and with sleek lines and managable heel, your prospects will be as lifted as your feet!

  • ....Finally, no self-respecting future Forbes 100 star would be seen dead without a killer handbag. T K Maxx are constantly updating their website with some real gems- today you can pick up this red leather Osprey tote for £48- you'll find it for £245 elsewhere. No wonder their stock sells so quickly! It's another reptile effect though, so don't pair it with the heels above or you'll look like Mrs Crocodile Dundee. Go for the black version if red isn't your thing.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Best of friends.....

Whether you are broke, saving or just don't want to part with your hard earned cash, friend's birthday are often enough to bring on palpitations. Actually, it's not just birthdays any more. Suddenly we've gone all LA with our celebrations; hampers for baby showers, personalised stationary for a new job, bespoke perfume for a promotion...Cartier to get her through that time of the month. Too far? Well you get the idea. No one but no one wants to look cheap to their friends and this can leave us feeling the pressure to splurge.
Don't get me wrong, I adore spoiling the girls, seeing their face light up when they unwrap my carefully chosen gift. But you can't get the same joy out of it when you know it means you will be walking home for the next week. Luckily though, a little planning  means neither of you have to compromise.

The general idea is to give yourself time. Rocking up to a department store a few days before the celebration will invariably result in you handing over a day's wages for a gift box of her favourite smellies. She will like it, but it wasn't worth the money- and you know it. It's simple, get online a couple of weeks before. You may even find the online price is cheaper or a that there is a free gift promotion on. 

Here are some ideas to get you started:
    nails inc 'Glitterati' gift set
  • If you have two 'X' chromosomes then you love nails inc. It's not your fault, I'm pretty sure we are genetically programmed that way. It's a quality product that any girl will recognise and want to use again and again. At £11 a pop though, buying her one for each mood will soon mount up. The solution? These glam gift sets. 'Glitterati' contains a delectable trio of shimmering shades, while 'Get Cracking' ( has an on-trend collection of crackle effect polishes to keep the most demanding of birthday girls happy. The best part? Each set is a mere £18! That saves you £15!
  • There is something so secretly thrilling about being the guest who turns up to the party with a bottle of bubbly to crack open. Of course, Champagne hasn't earned its luxury status by being cheap and in the past the host has been more likely to find you walking through the door with a bottle of own-brand wine tucked under your arm than anything with bubbles. I know it isn't customary to buy your best friend a present from Tesco but when it comes with a black label, this convention can be easily ignored. Until 2nd October, the supermarket have reduced their Lanson Black Label Champagne to just £22.99- and if you spend £50 or more online as a  new customer you will get £10 off! That means 2 bottles of champers and some nice choccies (or even bread and milk for you) for just £40. Alternatively, Waitrose currently has  Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut NV for only £31.99 (  It's all about creating an illusion. People presume you nipped to the nearest off license and forked out £50 so the party could go down in style- only you and your bank manager know any different.
    Raspberry mini Finsbury
    Picture taken from the link below
  • A good diary can be the epitome of style. It's like a LBD or string of pearls....the slender stiletto of stationery. The weapon of choice for powerful, intellectual women the world over, these leather bound beauties don't come cheap. At least in the shops they don't. A filofax may not be Gucci, but as far as organisers go, they are a quality brand. The 'Finsbury' is my favourite in the current range and I was delighted to find a seller on eBay asking only £15 for the mini Finsbury. It's around £40 over the counter. They are available in a range of colours and each one is crafted in sumptuous grained leather. I plan to pick it up in raspberry...but I can't pretend it'll be a present. Go to to see for yourself!
 (NB. Be very careful on eBay. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is. If you hand over a Montblanc pen to a friend who knows you are a waitress she will think you bought her a cheap fake (which you did) or start hounding you for money, thinking you've won the lottery. NEVER buy fakes. Why would you when you can get deals like this on the real stuff?

  • Unless you've been under a rock for the past couple of years, you'll know about the fantastic range that ASOS has to offer. I find that their designer outlet is often full of overpriced plain cotton t-shirts from brands I've never heard of- but I do find the occasional gem! This luv AJ ring has a massive saving of nearly £90. It'll set you back just £21.50 at the moment, but still has all the allure and impressive label you think she deserves!

Remember, none of these images are mine, they are taken from the websites mentioned in the respective captions. Happy saving!