Wednesday, 31 August 2011

An Interview with...A Daisy Chain Dream

(I know, aren't I good to you - two interviews in the space of a few days!)


The next blogger to be put in the 'hot seat' is the lovely Laura from
A Daisy Chain Dream (hence the pic above, geddit?)

Laura was actually one of the first people who introduced me to the world of blogging, as I ended up following her blog after finding it through one of the Money Saving Expert forums!

Expect to find A Daisy Chain Dream updated daily with new posts, mostly show casing Laura's lovely clothes (and her cat, Flash!) through OOTD's, although she often throws in recipes on how to make all manner of scrummy baking, such as cupcakes!

I'd like to thank Laura for taking time to do this 'interview', and if you're not already a follower, make sure you have a wee look at her blog, and talk to her on Twitter

1. Blogging

What inspired you to start your blog?
When I first started blogging it was a fairly new thing; or if not new, certainly less popular than it is now, I started because I was curious about how it all worked.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about starting their own blog and/or channel?
Don’t blog to receive. There seems to be an up-surge in bloggers out to score as much free stuff as possible…that’s not what it’s about.

If you could choose one celebrity to guest edit your blog for a day who would you choose and why?
Michael Mcintyre just because he is funny and I am not.

2. Make-up/skincare/haircare

Which celebrity do you think has the best overall make-up/hair style?
I’m going to be a cliché and say Alexa Chung, she never get her hair or makeup wrong.

What one item (cosmetic or otherwise!) could you not leave the house without?
Mascara! I feel so naked without it.

Do you ever go out without make-up on?
I have on occasion, I feel more comfortable with it on but wouldn’t refuse to leave the house without it.

3. Style

How would you describe your style?
I don’t think there is a way to describe it, I’m just me and I wear what I feel like.

Who's your biggest style influence/where do you draw inspiration from?
I don’t really have an influence, I probably get most inspiration from other bloggers or from walking down the street.

Favourite place to shop?
I seem to spend the most money in New Look, or on ASOS.

Highstreet or designer?
Highstreet, always.

Best fashion buy
A pale lavender mac in TK Maxx years ago. It’s lasted so well and served many seasons.

What would you consider wardrobe essentials?
Converse. Essential. Also good quality basics; jeans, tees, jersey pieces.

Fashion "do's and don'ts"?
DO what makes you feel at ease, DON’T do camel toe. [Melanie Edit: this literally made me laugh out loud!]

Any last parting words of wisdom?
That would be a rarity…

Melanie x

Monday, 29 August 2011

Style crush of the week...Sarah Jessica Parker

I feel like I haven't done one of these posts for a while (probably because you haven't Melanie!)

I'd forgotten how much I like doing these posts as a kind of look-book compilation of all my favourite celebrity styles and outfits that I like to try and take inspiration from.

My 'crush' this week is everybody's favourite style icon: Sarah Jessica Parker.

I -like most women in the world with access to a tv - fell in love with this tiny lady and her kooky style from the very first episode of Sex and the City, and still admire her to this day.
She's someone my mum would call 'attractive': not necessarily conventionally gorgeous, but there's something unique and beautiful about her.
She also has the most toned stomach/arms I have ever seen. I want!

As a busy mum of three, she tends to go for laid-back style during the day, but for events and nights out, she often brings back some of the Carrie style we all came to know and love, combining designer with funky vintage pieces.

I'm obsessed with her hair. I heat-styled my hair into oblivion trying to copy the straight-haired look she wore in one of the series of Sex and the City!


Not sure about the shoes, but the rest of the outfit = love

Doesn't everyone love this outfit?!

Juicy Couture did a hoodie very similar to this...

Very eclectic...yet it works

I'm off to do some (baked bean tin) weights...

Melanie x

Flash Review: Rimmel Vinyl Lipgloss

I would like to say there was some inspired story behind this particular purchase of Rimmel Lipgloss, but alas not: I was at the airport, realised I had forgotten my in-bag makeup (along with all my 15-million lipglosses) and had to make a mad-dash to Boots to stock up on vital supplies for my weekend away.

The Rimmel Vinyl Lipglosses were on special offer for around £4.50ish (...I've just realised everything I buy and blog about usually starts with 'it was on special offer'...!), and I thought this shade looked particularly plumpcious. So I 'took a chance' (har har) and bought it.

There was quite an array of pretty nudes/pinks available, but I opted for this peachy/pinky-toned gloss which has a shot of gold through it, making for nicely-natural lips with one coat.

It does take quite a few coats to make it particularly noticeable on the lips, possibly as a result of it being quite thin in consistency.

As a result. the staying power of this gloss is TERRIBLE (it literally takes one drink for it to wipe off completely on the glass), and does leave me feeling a bit disappointed in this as a Rimmel product.

I wouldn't recommend you buy this at full price - you can get glosses with far better staying power for a cheaper price from the likes of E.L.F. for example - but I did notice that the Vinyl Lipglosses (in the old-design packaging) were in stock at Poundland!

As a sidenote, I used this lipgloss as part of the Mila Kunis-inspired look I was going for the other day...

What lipglosses would you recommend?
I'm always on the lookout for more!

Melanie x

Mini Mixed Haul

Hello my lovely, lovely people, hope you're all well

If you've already seen my YouTube video for this you might not want to read any further (you could find yourself experiencing a certain sense of deja vu), but if not then please don't let me stop you!

I've been picking up various bits and bobs over the past week or so, and thought i'd let you have a little peek..

Babyliss Turbo Power 2200 Hairdryer, £15 from Tesco
I'm not sure if it's nationwide (the price isn't reflected online sadly), but my local Tesco seemed to have some sort of in-store promotion on their hair care electricals, and given that my previous hairdryer had just convieniently blown up very recently, I decided to treat myself to a new one!

Revlon Colorstay in 110 Ivory, £12.99 from Boots
I was originally intent on picking up the Vichy Dermablend, but wasn't sure the colours were a good match for my (very) pale skin, so I decided to opt for an old reliable in the form of Colorstay!
I've tried Estee Lauder Double Wear before and i'm interested to see if this is a good high street dupe.

Boots Smooth Skin System Activation Gel, £3.05 from Boots
(To be used in conjuction with the Boots Smooth Skin IPL system)
I've actually had the smooth skin system since it was first launched, and have only recently ran out of the gel (I have only been treating small areas). Given the price of the original kit, thankfully the gel is a bargain!

Bic 3-blade razors (pack of 6), £1.99 Savers
Self-explanatory really!

Rimmel Lycra Pro Nail Varnish in 420 Aqua Cool, £3.59 Savers
I had actually been eyeing this beautiful cornflower shade of blue polish for some time in Boots/Superdrug, but decided to pick one up in Savers as it was a whole pound cheaper in here than elsewhere!

Naked Soothing Eye Gel, £3.74 (on sale from £7.49), Superdrug
Superdrug currently have a half-price promotion on most of the skincare ranges available in their stores, and as I am nearly out of my Boots eye cream, I decided to try this gel from the Naked company.
They aim to make their products as natural as possible, and I LOVE the funny little sayings on their packaging (such as above: We don't belive in testing our ingredients on Bambi, Lassie or Skippy), which are quite much similar to those of Soap & Glory - nothing like a bit of humour to go with skincare!

Naked Perfect Getaway Cream Cleanser, £2.24 (on sale from £4.49) from Superdrug
I thought this was a bit of a bargain for 200ml; especially so if it works!
I like the idea of using products which are not tested on animals, and which have nearly-all natural ingredients.

Naked Up Tone Girl toner, £2.24 (on sale from £4.49) from Superdrug (no website link!)
I like the idea of using a toner after cleansing to ensure i've removed every trace of make-up/grime before moisturising, but it was one step i've been missing from my night-time routine for some time.

Ecotools 6-piece eye brush set, £7.50 (plus 0.75p P&P), from this Ebay seller
I have been thinking about starting a 'proper' collection of make-up brushes for some time (rather than the various odds and sods I currently use!), and decided that these were a good place to start.
I've got a review of this particular little set in the pipeline, so i'll not say too much, other than I do love them!

Have you picked up any beauty bargains recently?

Melanie x

Sunday, 28 August 2011

An Interview With...Spinkle of Glitter!

I thought this pic was particularly apt!

I'm rather excited with today's An Interview With... mostly because the fabulous interviewee is one of my favourite Bloggers/YouTubers: Louise from Sprinkle of Glitter (who very patiently put up with and answered the series of emails I fired at her about this post!)

I can imagine many, if not most, of you are already familar with this lovely lady, but if not Louise is a blogger, YouTuber, Twitterer and member of the Glitter Family (as she calls it) - including Mum to the cutest, mooshiest little Baby Glitter ever!

If you ever need cheering up I thoroughly recommend you check out her YouTube videos, particularly the Vlogs (which she often makes with Zoe from Zoella.)

What inspired you to start your blog and YouTube channel?
I bought my first house 2 years ago and at the time, I was reading a lot of homey/interior type blogs. I decided I wanted a piece of the action so set up my own little place on the interweb. After about 6 months, things just progressed more towards beauty that interiors (I love both you see) and then YouTube seemed like the next step to take. I love YouTube for the increased interaction but my blog will always be my baby.

(Other than your own of course) what blogs/channels do you recommend?
That's a big question because I read and watch so many! Have a little looksie at who I subscribe to on YT. I don't tend to subscribe to people I don't watch. As for blogs, I'm currently loving Zoella (of course), Bubblegarm and Sofia's Journal.

If you could choose one celebrity to guest edit your blog for a day who would you choose and why?
Hhhmmmm. I'm not really into guest posts but if I had to pick somebody I would pick JK Rowling because she has a magical mind.

What one item (cosmetic or otherwise!) could you not leave the house without? 
Moisturiser. I can't bare dry feeling skin. Bleaugh!

Any make-up/haircare/skincare tips?

That's a rather big question! Haha! I have lots and lots of tips that I have accumulated over the years, too many to put in here! You'll have to have a look at my blog! Haha cop out!

Favourite place to shop?
Liverpool One.

Highstreet or designer?
Highstreet everytime.

Best fashion buy?
Little blue bandeau dress from Primark 2 years ago- it's love.

Any last parting words of wisdom?!

If something is worth doing, it is worth doing with a smile.

Thank you so much again to Louise for doing this interview, and make sure you follow/subscribe to her blog, YouTube and Twitter if you haven't already.

Melanie x

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The A-Z of Me

(That's me, if you haven't guessed. Show-casing an Ant from Ant-and-Dec forehead. hmmm)

I like these getting-to-know-you/being a bit nosy posts (this particular one I found on Sprinkle of Glitter's page). Whether or not you, my fabulous readers, do too you'll have to let me know, but in the mean time, let's get started...

Age: 23. Do not feel mature enough!

Bed Size: Single, but with a double duvet. I'm as snug as a bug in a rug!

Chore you hate: washing up. I have a slight phobia of wet food!

Dogs: Pugs. Although my favourite is Holly (Lee's mum's dog) and she's a mongrel

Essential start to your day: Glass of water & all my vitamins, then a shower. Then breakfast. In that order!

Favourite colour: pink of course!

Gold or Silver: Gold probably. My lovely engagement ring is gold.

Height: 5'8 and a half!

Instruments I play: none sadly. I was very gifted at the triangle at primary school...

Job Title: Technical Records Officer (god I sound geeky)

Kids: none at the mo. I'm trying to persuade Lee to call our first boy-child Optimus Prime Edwards (hehe)

Lives: Ayrshire

Mum's Name: Aileen Collins Blane. I like to call her Moo.

Nickname: Melz (family), Boo (Lee), Frenchie/Choccy/Marina (work. They're crazy cats my work folk)

Quote from a movie: Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Right or left handed: Left. Makes me more intelligent apparently. Also more likely to smudge my writing!

Siblings: 'little' sister called Nicola. Student, Semi Chem worker, part-time foghorn

Time you wake up: usually about 7 for work

Underwear: fetching cotton M&S numbers

Vegetables you dislike: Parsnips (UGH), brussel sprouts

What makes you run late: me. Usually faffing about trying to find something to wear

X-rays you've had done: teeth, knee, arm, possibly head when I was wee..?

Yummy food you make: Generally I can't cook. At all. Although I love to make pasta with condensed tomato soup as the sauce, with tuna and grated cheese mixed in!

Zoo Animal: Giraffes. Or Lions. only because i'm obsessed with Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia!

So there we have it, that's me in the space of the alphabet!
Please let me know if you do this post on your blog - i'd love a nosy!

Melanie x

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Review: Cosmopolitan Blend Perfection Sponge

As you may have guessed by now, I (like most of womankind) am constantly on a quest to not only find the perfect foundation, but also the best application method to achieve a flawless finish.

Whilst the search for my 'Holy Grail' foundation still continues (I plan on trying Vichy Dermablend next), I believe i've found the perfect tool to assist me on my mission:
Cosmopolitan Beauty Expert Blend Pefection Sponge

After watching Marlena at Makeup Geek's video on the Beauty Blender and Sonia Kashuk Blending Sponge, I considered investing in it, but at around £14.00 and £10.00 respectively for just one egg-shaped piece of (what is essentially) sponge, I sought a cheaper alternative which could work just as well.

Further to reading fabulous reviews from Holly and Fee, I decided to opt for the Cosmopolitan Blend Perfection Sponge, which at an RRP of £4.95 is a more pocket-friendly option than the other blending sponges.
It's also a lot more accessible in terms of where you can buy it: Superdrug, Boots, some Supermarkets and online (Fragrance Direct currently have it on offer for £3.99 here); I got mine on Amazon.

The  fabulous Barbie-pink sponge comes in a kind of foil packaging (it instantly reminded me of astronaut food packaging. Don't ask me why!) which can be resealed at the top (ideal for travel), along with a little plastic 'stand' to sit the sponge in when it's drying. Althought to be honest i'll probably lose it in no time.

The sponge itself is latex-free, hypoallergenic and about the size of an average egg, and is not unlike a stress ball in texture (indeed when squeezed tightly the shape springs back immediately), rather than a traditional 'open pored' sponge (which could be more likely to disintegrate/flake/break off over time), which helps give an airbrushed effect to foundation application.

As you can see from the pics, this easy to hold sponge is rounder at the bottom (ideal for applying foundation to the entire face) and pointed at the top, which makes getting into the 'nooks and crannies' of your face (round the nose, inner corner of the eye, etc) a breeze.
It has been designed mainly for foundation application, but, as with most beauty tools, the sky is the limit in terms of what you might personally want to use it for: I've used mine to 'set' concealer too, and also plan on buying another one to apply cream blush and highlighter with.

Similarly, how you use the sponge technique-wise is down to personal preference - Holly says in her post that she uses the sponge dry as the last step in her foundation routine, whereas I have been dampening mine first (it literally blows up to about twice the size when wet!) to give a dewy finish to my foundation (it also prevents the sponge soaking up too much product).

However you use it, wet or dry, the secret is to bounce, bounce, bounce the sponge across your face; the motion of which means you're not dragging your skin.

Doing it this way means you don't get any harsh lines of colour or uneven application, and allows you to apply your foundation as lightly or intensely as you like.

It washes well (simply wash with soap and leave to dry) and stays lovely and soft.
I'd really recommend it if you're looking for an alternative method of foundation application which gives a beautiful dewy effect, and at under a fiver you can afford to give it a shot!

Have you tried it?
Melanie x

Monday, 22 August 2011

NOTD: Barry M 318 Peach Melba

(Please excuse the horrendous state of my cuticles - nail appointment has been made!)

Peach Melba seems to be the 'must-have' Barry M shade of the moment, therefore when I saw one solitary bottle of it in my local Superdrug for the bargainous price of £2.99 I decided to snap it up.

Like the name, this particular shade is a really pretty peach pastel (bit of alliteration for you there), but it does need a couple of coats to avoid streaks and get a uniform colour.

The problem with this (as with most Barry M nail paints), given that the polishes have quite a thick consistency to begin with anyway, is that the more coats you apply, the thicker the finish of your polish, and thus the greater liklihood of it peeling off!

I also find that Barry M polishes usually need a top coat in order to achieve a high-shine finish, but other than these minor points, I really like the range of paints available for a really affordable price.

Melanie x
Thursday, 18 August 2011

Beauty Rules I Break

(This is my best oops/shock/horror face!)

Rule Number 1: Clean your make-up brushes regularly.

I'm not the best at doing this. In fact, i'm terrible. I belive you're meant to santise your brushes on a daily basis after usage, and shampoo them at least once a week, but I just...don't!
I do wash/shampoo them when I think they need doing, and I do "spot clean" them with baby wipes, but to be honest I don't have the time to do them regularly (and quite frankly i'm lazy!).
Touch wood, i've never had any skin/eye infections or serious problems, and I figure as long as it's just me i'm using my brushes on, and I use them in the same areas each day, i'm not being too naughty!

2. Throw away your mascara after 3 months

I think this is a pretty wasteful "rule," and whilst I realise it is as an act of caution to prevent the build up of bacteria in the tube (and thus stop nasty eye infections), I often find that mascara is better once it dries out a bit anyway.
Whilst you might not have a problem replacing your mascara every 3 months if you use a very basic, cheap brand, the vast majority of highend and highstreet mascara brands start at approx. £8.00 upwards, and therefore it's a very uneconomical rule!
Unless a new brand of mascara catches my eye, I plan on carrying on using my mascara until they've dried up or ran out (for as long as it takes!) before buying new ones.

3. Wear high-factor sun protection every day

I would consider this one of the more serious "rules" which I am guilty of not following, as I realise that by not applying suntan lotion (particularly to my face) I have no-one but myself to blame for premature wrinkles, sun spots, not to mention the risk of skin cancer!
However sometimes applying moisturiser, suntan lotion, primer AND foundation/concealer can just be a bit too much for my skin, and therefore i've come to rely on moisturisers/foundation which contains an SPF or some form of sun protection.
I would however like to find a good, lightweight facial suntan lotion which doesn't leave skin greasy or oily, as at the grand old age of 23 I realise I need to start taking care of my skin, so if you have any recommendations please let me know.

4. Get your hair trimmed every 6 weeks

As you might have noticed from some of my photos, this rule definitely does not apply to me!
Again it is partly due to time constraints (and the lazy factor on my part), but also getting your hair cut can be a costly business (last time I was in the hairdressers it was around £36 just for a bit of a trim and finish), and one which I don't think it entirely necessary as long as you take care of your hair.
I condition my hair every time I wash it, use leave-in conditioner and try and let it dry itself as often as possible, and do go for maintenance trims when it just gets out of control. But for the moment I like having long mermaid hair - not to mention spending my money on other things!

5. Never brush your hair when it's wet; always comb

I like to think i'm lucky enough to have pretty resiliant/strong hair which, despite frizzing and being on the dry side sometimes, puts up with most of the things I put it through!
My hair is naturally curly and REALLY thick, which I think automatically makes it stronger than fine/straight hair types. The downside to this however, is that it can get really, really tangled, and so it's not really an option to let it dry without brushing it out first, and whilst I do get some shedding, it's literally a few hairs at a time - and i'm still left with plenty on my head!

6. Never pick spots in order to prevent spread of infection and scarring

I'm not someone who squeezes spots, but rather waits until they are nearly completely dried out and a bit "scabby" then I pick the scab part off. Lovely. I have no explanation or reasoning for this (compared to other people who have said they squeeze spots to get rid of the pus etc), it's just something I do, and thankfully i've not been scarred as yet!

7. Use heat protectant before drying/heat styling hair

Another hair sin I am guilty of - i'm surprised I have any hair left!
Whenever i've tried to use one of these, i've just found they leave my hair feeling greasy, not to mention a sort of film/residue on my straighteners!
Like I said above, I appear to have naturally strong hair, and don't actually heat-style it more than about twice a week, therefore I think I can get away with not using this.

8. Use cuticle cream/oil

My worst bad habit used to be biting my nails, but I seem to have progressed from this to picking the skin around my nails instead, which quite honestly looks atrocious.
I usually go to get my nails done every 2-3 weeks for some TLC, and it's during this time I rely on Lee-Anne to sort out my cuticles for me! I really need to get into the habit of applying cuticle cream, but sometimes I just can't be bothered!

9. Never pull/drag/wipe round the delicate eye area

I do try my best to be careful round my eyes (particularly as i've noticed "fine lines" under my eyes, gah), but there are times I am guilty of scrubbing at my eyes, either with a wipe or muslin cloth, or rubbing at them when i'm tired. I also tend to "pull" my eyes out slightly when applying eyeliner to my upper lid.
I've just recently ordered myself some of the famous Bioderma Crealine H20 cleansing solution which I hope will help stop me rubbing at my eyes with cleanser, but we shall see!

10. Don't use baby/facial wipes to remove make-up/cleanse

I think everyone is guilty of using face wipes to quickly remove make-up at one point or another.
Sometimes, when you're really tired or, ahem, drunk, facewipes are ideal for a quick clean of the face when you don't want to spend ages faffing about cleansing!
I don't use them on a daily basis however, as I really notice the effect on my skin when I don't cleanse properly.

11. Always take your make-up off before bed

This is probably one of the more common-sense beauty-rules, and I do try my best to always take my make-up off - especially because I HATE waking up with "panda eyes". But, like i've said above, sometimes i'm just too tired, and before you know it i'm in bed and have fallen asleep!
However I don't think the odd occasion is bad for your skin, in fact some make-up types (mineral for example) contain ingredients which can help your skin while you sleep.

So there we are, i've exposed my beauty sins!
What do you think? I'd love to hear what beauty rules you break.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Dare to Bare Challenge

I really had to think long and hard before deciding whether or not to go ahead with this post, as I felt rather nervous -  not because I expected any of you lovely folks to be nasty, but because i'm my worst critic, and all I can see when I look at the picture below is imperfection!
I'm hoping that by doing this (and seeing other blogger's similar posts) I might become less self-critical, and realise there is more to life than make-up (ha!).

I can't remember exactly what blog I saw this particular topic on, but I do believe it was started by Nicoletta at Nicoletta's Beauty Space

Her "rules"/guidelines were to simply:
1. Take a photo of yourself with a bare face and post it on your blog
2. Write a few sentences about how it makes you feel.

The moment of truth...

I am not one of those people, unfortunately, who looks good without make-up.

I actually was a bit of a "late starter" in terms of wearing make-up, as I only really started "properly" wearing it in my later years of secondary school, and even then tinted moisturiser, mascara and lipgloss was about all I wore.  I used to be a bit of a tomboy, and whilst I wanted to be one of the pretty girls, I wasn't so fussed about it that I felt the need to trowel my face with foundation and thick eyeliner that many of the other girls were doing.

I can't remember the exact time, but there was, however, a bit of a turning point when I was fed up of being the boring, frumpy tomboy, and since then I am rarely without make-up. I do have days where I don't wear it in the house, but NEVER do I go out without it, and looking at the above picture I think it's obvious why!

I don't necessarily consider myself to be vain (although we all are to an extent!), but as I said i'm aware of my flaws and i've come to rely on make-up to disguise them.
In terms of said flaws, I have been lucky in the sense i've never been afflicted with bad acne or other skin conditions (although I do suffer from psoriasis on my arms), but I in no way have good skin: dark/puffy under-eyes, redness, blackheads/congested skin on my nose and a smattering of spots.

Given that my wedding is next year, i'm hoping to get a proper (suitable) skincare regime sorted out ASAP, which I hope will improve the look/condition of my skin and thus make me more confident to wear less (make-up that is!).

What do you think?
Would you be prepared to bare all?

Melanie x

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

July 2011 Favourites

I have returned!

I had a lovely 2 weeks off work: down in Kent staying with my Fiance's family, then 5 days in Mati, Greece for my cousin's wedding.
I really missed blogging/YouTube though!

So back to business, July's favourites were...

Johnson's Baby Lotion
Bit of a cult classic this: beautiful pink light lotion (with the best sweet smell ever!) which can be used as a cleanser and/or a moisturiser.
I am obsessed with smelling fresh, and this lotion when used on the body keeps me smelling lovely all day!
Really good value for money too: this big bottle (400ml I think) was only around £2.50.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter
This is my ultimate go-to body moisturiser: smells delish (like Dairy Milk in a tube), does exactly what it says on the tin, and (if you shop at Savers!) is cheap as chips - this massive 400ml pump bottle was only £2.99. Beyonce is also a fan.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2in1 Wash/Mask
This is a product which hadn't seen the light of day for some months, and which I unearthed whilst searching for something to put on my face one morning!
When I initially purchased this product my skin didn't like it at all, and rather than doing the job of purifying my skin/preventing spots, it seemed to cause them.
This time around however, it really does seem to be working, especially when alternated with gentle face scrubs every other day.

Batiste XXL Volume Dry Shampoo
With this product, Batiste have tapped directly into the "big hair" market by tailoring it especially for voluminous hair.
Designed to simply just spray into the roots, brush, and go, this little (or rather big - the can size has been increased) gem of a product gives BIG effortless hair in seconds without the pain of backcombing, whilst banishing pesky oiliness, and all for £3.99.
It is slightly more "chalky" than the other dry shampoos, and therefore it isn't for everyday use, but it's perfect for those nights out where big hair is definitely required, or the days you don't have time for a hair wash!

Aussie Luscious Long Leave-In Conditioner
Another product which has been languishing in my cupboard, I recently recruited this again after receiving a row from my hairdresser for not taking good enough care of my hair!
Being long and VERY thick, my hair requires all the help it can get, and this luscious-smelling conditioner helps lots.
Rather than spray it on damp hair as advised on the back of the product however, I usually now put it on my dry hair and comb through before bed, and when I wake up I have lovely soft hair - ta-da!

Rimmel Lycra Pro French Manicure Varnish in 433 French Ivory
After the Royal Wedding, I have been obsessed with recreating Kate Middleton's chic, classic nude manicure, and decided to try this polish out in my quest!
Whilst I realise Kate had Bourjois' Rose Lounge gracing her nails, I opted for this as it was slightly cheaper (well I am on a budget!)
Like most nude polishes, it does take a few coats to achieve any sort of colour, but it is long lasting, and I did achieve a really nice "french manicured" look.
I would say, however, that chlorine and sunshine don't agree with this particular polish, as it did discolour slightly on holiday.

Filofax "Domino" Personal-size Organiser
Yes, you have read right, one of my favourites for July is indeed an organiser.
You may have picked up along the way that I am a bit of an organisational/diary/list freak, and whilst my little Moleskin diary and Blackberry were doing the job, I missed my Filofax days of old (from university), and on seeing another blogger with one, I just had to buy this beauty!
I'm planning on doing a post on my lovely filofax at a later date (where you can buy it, how I organise mine etc) so I won't prattle on too much about it, but i'm definitely in love and there's nothing better than a good old pen and paper!

What have you been loving recently?

Melanie x