Melanie sparkles in real life and in our hearts!

Tell us your origin story: where are you from and what made you the person you are today?

I was born in Dubai but sadly moved back to the UK, with my British parents and two older sisters after just two months, but I do know there is at least one cool snap of me on a camel in the desert! I grew up in Swaffham Bulbeck and I feel a bit woozy at the thought of living more than 7 miles away from Cambridge! I did, however, have a brief Uni spell away studying Media & Communications in Birmingham but ran quickly back home to seek my fortune (still seeking) and start off my career in Marketing. So, at 37 I’ve been through my fair share of marketing jobs for both very progressive and very backward companies but have found my way into my current role as Marketing Officer for The ICT Service, which is owned by Cambridgeshire County Council…. safe to say this is hard work, highly frustrating and very much the reason I need the spark of awesomeness that is the WI for me!

So work brings in the pennies and I spend those (and then some!) on my fabric addiction – I LOVE to patchwork and quilt and my obsession with Liberty prints has grown to some serious drooling levels (I would contemplate a move away from Cambridge to LIVE in that store!). I do a bit of photo-bloggery on Instagram (helps with my super-bad memory skills!) and I have a Facebook page to bore everyone with at


My other obsessions include fussing my kitty cats, Merle & Chopper, and running away from the mess that is my house currently (WI buddies totally help me excuse myself from being home). Oh and I do have a very lovely live-in boyf – Matt – he’s pretty much more than happy (most of the time) with me gallivanting off here, there and everywhere!


What does being in the WI mean to you?

Oodles of friendships and opportunities that ensure I don’t fester at home and live for pesky work! Work-life balance has been swinging right on over to the life side since joining the WI in February 2014… I couldn’t even begin to count the number of amazing women I’ve met and come to consider great friends and I can’t wait to meet even more! I’m a committee member over at Cam City WI, web-mistress is me, and I’m loving that I can be useful in building a new online presence (coming soon) and contribute to our social media channels and be supportive of a really proactive team. I’m a dual member of Ladybirds and I have loved the extra meeting a month, to come along and learn and socialise with more lovely people! The people really do make the WI for me.

Someone gives you a million pounds to spend on yourself. You can’t give it to charity or spend it on friends or family; it all has to be for you. What do you do with it?

Man, what I would do for million (that’s another question!) but if I had it I would ditch my day job and find me a venue to run – modern event space, with a cocktail bar (obvs), somewhere I can run craft workshops and sleepovers, sell ooooodles of delicious fabric and probably cake too – my dream is to provide a chilled out destination for my fellow obsessed craftaholics! So that’s what I talk about doing a lot… Will I do it? I like to think this is my future, with the help of £1,000,000 or not.

Melanie with Stuart Hillard, her celebrity best pal from the first BBC sewing bee!

What are your most passionate community or activist goals?

In truth, this is a bit of the WI I struggle with only because I think I have been a bit of a selfish being with my head in the sand… until recently. I’ve never really been politically minded….until recently and I’d never really busted a gut to fund raise for causes and charity… until recently. My time in the WI is helping me learn new things, become more community aware and contribute in the right direction and I am getting more and more motivated and proactive. But I’ve got a little way to go to becoming ‘activist’ I reck. I am on a bit of a mission to make people laugh – WI bants are so much more fun than trying to entertain anyone in my 9-5 life!


Aliens land on earth and ask you what human life is all about. What do you tell them?

Corr, in the nicest possible way I’d tell them we’ve gone a bit bonkers lately and maybe they’d be better off trying another planet with it’s head screwed on! Humans have the ability to make a big mess, be it a beautiful one or a horrific mother of all messes… There’s good and bad in everyone but no-one is the same so best put any alien judgey-wudgey-generalising aside and take a good look before deciding if earth was worth the visit!

Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?

I am a child of the 80s and cannot make this decision!

*sends Matt immediately to the shop to see if they still make Neapolitan! Mmm takes me back.

How sweet, and the cakes too!

Melanie, Jul 2016

Our member of the month for July 2016 is Melanie!