May 17, 2017

I had lived with a long-term partner, had my first credit card bill demand and even knew how to poach an egg successfully. Well, most of the time.  But I know now that I was never truly an adult until the day I leaned over my mum’s head at the kitchen sink and shaved it with a disposable Bic razor.

It was November 2014, halfway through, when I got a call from her, 250 miles away, less giddy and herself than I have ever heard her. She explained that she had found a lump that summer and had been to the doctor about it. Unconvinced by the first diagnosis - “it’s nothing” - she pushed with a different GP, and was referred. Screening told her it was stage three breast cancer.

This all came out like word vomit to me. Despite our closeness - emotionally, not geographically - she had kept the doctor’s appointments, the concern and the medical parlance to herself - until now. My sister knew and so did my dad - but I was hearing these details for the first time. Chemotherapy was mentioned followin...

May 2, 2017

If you think the extent of the Women’s Institute’s activities is jam making and crochet, then you’re very much mistaken. Although we do partake in such things here at the Manchester WI, we’re also partial to being slightly more risqué on occasion.

In our latest, and might I add, much anticipated meeting, our group was visited by the fantastically fabulous Lady Wildflower – expert burlesque teacher and founder of the Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival. 

After learning the history of burlesque – from its origins in the Belle Époque era of Paris, to the more recent poster girls of the art, such as Dita Von Teese, Lady Wildflower filled us in on the core elements that make burlesque the much enjoyed artform it is today. Helping bring to life the performance element of burlesque were her stunning stage costumes, sporting more glitz and glam than a Tiffany diamond. Visions of mermaids and unicorns immediately sprung to mind.

When the lights went down, we erupted into cheers and whoops a...

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