what i can't live without

What Melanie C Can’t Live Without

Photo: Photo: Conor Clinch

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the stain-remover pen and the tongue-cleaner. We asked Melanie C about the bath salts, the healthy-ish choc ices, and the handheld vacuum she can’t live without.

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With home fitness, people often get bits of kit and end up just hanging the washing on it. I’m guilty of that. But with the lockdown situation, this bike has come into its own. I love going to the gym, and I love the social aspect of going out and exercising with a PT, so this has helped fill that gap. You can add your mates on it, or do stuff with people in your neighbourhood, but I only have one friend on it at the moment. We’re juggling a lot at home right now with the kids, and making sure they’re being taught, so it’s harder to throw myself into a good workout, but I think structure is important, even if it’s just 20 minutes. It’s all about making your routine become a habit. My routine is getting on this in the morning — I’m definitely a morning workout kind of person.

I’ve had one for about 20 years. They’re really expensive, but they are an indestructible bit of kitchen equipment. And they have this incredible motor that can literally just annihilate anything and everything. We do nut butters and nut milks, and we make smoothie bowls, but it’s also so fast and powerful it can make soup for you and heat it up, it’s like a Swiss army knife, it does everything.

If you use it every day, it’s easier to justify the cost; if you’re going to use it once and then shove it in the back of the cupboard don’t get one this expensive. I love making banana ice cream with the kids in mine because the motor’s powerful enough to handle frozen bananas. We just blend bananas and oat milk, you could use normal milk too, but we just blitz it until it’s nice and creamy. It’s really healthy and really quick. The only drawback with the Vitamix is that it’s bloody noisy — I did a lot of research to try and get the quietest one, but the kids still hate me when I turn it on in the morning. It gets them out of bed though.

These are like guilt-free choc ice. They’re dairy free, and coated in a vegan chocolate, but they are so delicious. My other half likes them, but I don’t let the kids have them because, well, they’re too nice. I know they’ll steal them. So I just pretend, I say “Oh no, these are really healthy, you wouldn’t like them.” My trick is, in the freezer, to place them under the frozen mochi, because I know the kids love them so they’ll take them and leave these for me.

When I went on tour with the girls last year, I went on a mission to become the sportiest of my life. I wanted to be like … Uber Sporty Spice. So I got a new personal trainer, and a new training program. I went to see a sports nutritionist who worked with the England football team. He’d been with Arsenal for years. He worked with lots of Team GB athletes. I went into it like I was going into the Olympics, basically. I thought at the time … I was 45 years old, and am I ever going to get the opportunity to run around in stadiums again, being a Spice Girl? This might be my last chance! So I’m going to go for it big time. One of the things I also started doing was having ice baths, which aren’t so nice, but they are incredible. They are the most, I mean, excruciatingly painful thing at the time, but they really do help recovery. So I was doing them through like the Spice shows, but as a much nicer, more pleasurable alternative, I would have a good Epsom salt bath at the end of the day. They’re full of magnesium, which is really good for your muscles. Your body takes it in, and it can really help with a good night’s sleep. I tend to stick some tunes on when I’m in the bath — I’m a big fan of Joe Goddard and Hot Chip, I even got Joe to remix my new single — but I also stick a bit of Netflix on while I’m in the bath. I really need to pick up a book again.

I’m not sure how you pronounce this brand, I’ve been saying by-reeh-doh, but anyway I first heard of them when I was staying in a hotel in Stockholm a couple of years ago. There was one in the room as a little gift, the Bohemia scented one, and it instantly became my absolute most favourite candle. It smells quite musky, almost like incense, it’s sweet and spicy. I try to save it for special occasions, or, I’ll light this if I know I have company coming over. But with the family all stuck in the house, I’ve started putting a candle on in the morning, too, usually a fresher scent for that time of day. I just want to nurture the family a bit more, I want my home to feel as nice as possible.

I consider myself very lucky, because I’ve been getting my make-up done professionally since the age of 21. But it meant that suddenly being at home, and still having interviews to do, brought its own challenges. I was on Canadian TV the other day, and I’m doing Skype interviews with people all over the world. So I’m having to learn to do my own makeup. I asked my lovely makeup artist, Bekki Mitchell, for some recommendations, and this was a primer that she likes to use on me. It just gets your skin ready before you put on the makeup. It really helps kind of even out your skin tone. My daughter, whose 11 years old, she’s obsessed with James Charles and Jeffree Star, she knows all about contouring. I feel like I missed out — I was a little raver in the early ’90s. We didn’t really do our hair or makeup. We were just sweaty.

When “Wannabe” came out, I had a mattress on a floor in a shared house with Mel B. And at that time, we were being launched onto the world, all from varying backgrounds, but predominantly working-class girls. So I’d never stayed in a five-star hotel — none of us had. But when you are kind of thrown into that world, well, I remember one of the first hotels we stayed at was the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, which is just the most fabulous hotel you can imagine, with all kinds of Hollywood superstars sitting at the bar. And of course, all of these hotels have one thing in common, and they all have incredible beds with the most beautiful bed linen. So you quite quickly think “I could get used to this.” So when you get home, you’re like, right, I need to invest in some fantastic bed sheets. I actually bought this set for my brother — he moved into a house just before Christmas. He’d bought himself a nice new bed, and on his Christmas list was to get some nice bed linen. So I treated him. It’s not cheap, but there’s nothing better after a soak in the aforementioned bath, getting into some Egyptian cotton bed sheets.

I’m trying to fashion a holster at the moment, because I’m carrying this vacuum cleaner with me everywhere. I am genuinely starting to wonder, why are kids so fluffy? And how much dust can five humans produce? I mean, it’s ridiculous. And so my Dyson trigger is a bit of a lifesaver. I am ashamed to say I haven’t actually cleaned for 25 years, we have someone in to do it, or we used to! I find it quite rewarding though, I don’t mind cleaning the bath, that’s very satisfying, I just can’t get over all the bloody dust in the house, and when it gets wet, you can’t bloody shift it.

I only started DJing about two and a half years ago. It’s something I’ve always fancied having a little crack at, but I was a bit nervous. And I fell in love with it immediately. My first gig was absolutely petrifying. But I’ve done some clubs and some parties and some festivals and stuff. And I think I’ll just do it now for ever and ever. These are the decks you usually find out in clubs, I love them. They’re my toys. In February I DJ’d at Universal’s Brits after-party at The Ned, which was a bit nerve-racking, it’s a room full of critics, everyone in the industry. But the great thing about being a Spice Girl is when you play Spice Girls, people absolutely lose it. I did a mix that goes from Who Do You Think You Are into Smells Like Teen Spirit. People say it shouldn’t be allowed, but I ignore them.

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What Melanie C Can’t Live Without