First Child-Free Morning!

So a big milestone happened today, I took baby Ellie to the childminders for the first time. After a few tears (from me!) everything went off to a good start, I left Ellie sitting happily watching the other children, oblivious of the guilt felt by her mummy.

Luckily I had a busy day training up a new franchisee for Musica and so my mind was well and truly occupied. I even managed to resist calling the childminder just to see how things were going.

The training went very well, and I had time to spare to grab lunch, and tidy up before collecting my baby girl. When I arrived it took Ellie a couple of seconds to register who I was… and then she beamed at me, the biggest smile I have seen! She had a fab morning and seemed to enjoy herself.

Glad the first hurdle is over, next Wednesday should be much easier for me!

Now Ellie is fast asleep, tired from her busy morning, and I am cracking on with work. Perfect!

Rosie x

How to write 10,000 words a day

This has really opened my eyes! Love the sound of the thesis boot camp.

Wonder if I can do something similar with my online colleagues?

The Thesis Whisperer

One of the most popular posts on the Thesis Whisperer is How to write 1000 words a day and not go bat shit crazy. Last year a Twitter follower brought to my attention a post called How I went from writing 2000 words to 10,000 words a day by the fiction writer Rachel Aaron.

I did a double take.

Can you really write 10,000 words a day? Well, Rachel says she can, with three conditions:

1) Know what you are going to write before you write it
2) Set aside a protected time to write, and
3) Feel enthusiastic about what you are writing

I read the post with interest. Much of what Rachel did conformed with what I suggest in my earlier post, but I couldn’t bring myself to really believe Rachel’s productivity claims. To regularly write 10,000 words: It’s the dream, right? Imagine if you could reliably…

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I am really getting stuck into my PhD, and this has made me realise how lonely it can be as a part-time distance student.

I have so many questions at the moment, and my husband is lovely and supportive (he brings me tubs of Ben and Jerrys!) But he will be the first to admit he can’t help me. My supervisor is fab when I see her but I am conscious she is very busy and so can take weeks to reply to an email. I must admit I have bombarded her with emails lately, possibly the reason why she is ignoring me!

It dawned on me to contact an old friend who studied on the same MA course as me. She is also undertaking a PhD, albeit in Australia, but her second supervisor is at Sheffield Uni. Chatting to Cassie has helped lots, so much so we decided to set up a Facebook group for other people from our course that have gone on to do a PhD.

I have put lots of questions on the group’s wall, hope they don’t mind!

Some days I am so excited about my research, and other days (like today) when I’m say with a demanding 3 month old baby, I feel completely overwhelmed and lonely.

Any tips to get through this phase?

Planning or Literature Review which comes first?


Very lucky that baby Ellie is sleeping for long stretches at the moment, giving me a good chunk of the morning to dedicate to my work.
I am in a predicament at the moment, I have been planning out my study to start in the autumn, I am conscious that the musician I will be using is away for a few weeks and so need to plan the study around this, whilst also bearing in mind the time it will take for ethical approval.

I am wondering how long the study should be, 4 weeks or more? What is the criteria for deciding the length of the study? Should u be reading more before contemplating the length of the study? Once I decide on my main aims, perhaps this will become clearer.

I only have small windows to conduct my study, Winter is usually a bad time to run a study in hospitals because of the winter bug. I am planning on being pregnant towards the end of next year and so would like to write up my analyses before then. I know things don’t always go to plan but this is the rough idea!

Any advice would be much appreciated!


Why I’m Here


One of my goals for this year is to really get this blog up and running. I’ve joined a course called Blogging101 which sets daily tasks to compete. Let’s see how I get on!

The task for today is to introduce ourselves explain and why we set up our blog.

I’m Rosie, I’m a part-time PhD researcher at the University of Exeter, looking at how music affects people living with dementia. I run a small business (, and most importantly I have recently become a first time mum to baby Ellie who is 3 months old.

I decided to write this blog during my pregnancy as I was fed up of people telling me I would no longer be able to study once I had a child. I am determined to prove these people wrong, and I want to document my journey, juggling motherhood and academia. I’m not claiming to be superwoman and I know it won’t be easy, but I want to (hopefully) show others that you can do both.

I will also blog about being a first time mum and everything that goes with it. I would love to connect with other PhD candidates not just those with children, as well as other parents.

In 6 months time I would love to have a strong following on the blog and to write guest posts for other bloggers.

So there you have it in a nutshell!

Rosie x

How I do my PhD | Michael Saker

I’m in the final year of my PhD, having recently upgraded in the summer. I’ve decided to use this space to briefly offer fellow PhDers some tips on what has helped me along the way.

Be open to your project moving in different directions. As clich as it is to quote Bruce Lee so early on and I’ve no doubt it has been done many times before, I nonetheless feel compelled and justified in stating: be like water. Don’t constrain your project to an a priori path of progression devised in its infancy. Instead allow it the space needed to evolve and transform in interesting and un-thought of ways. This will then provide the opportunity to pursue potentially new avenues of interest, which could enrich your thesis.

Build a good relationship with your supervisors. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. A good relationship with your supervisors will not…

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New Year New Perspective

Happy New Year and all that! We brought in the new year at 22.30 and subsequently went to bed (parenthood is so rock and roll!). I was however, awake to bring in the new year as our dog got spooked by the neighbours fireworks and decided to sit on my head for comfort!

I think that this is the first new year where I haven’t promised to get more work. In fact, my resolution for this year is to say ‘no’ more, cut down on work and focus more on my family and our new arrival.

My main focus is to work harder on my PhD and less working away from home. I am very lucky that I am able to do this as I run my own company which fits perfectly around baby and is easy to manage whilst she is asleep and less demanding of my attention. The aim is to only work away from home 1 day a week. My work in hospitals is freelance and ad hoc which is perfect.

My goal remains the same, to eventually live in a bigger house in the countryside and to become a lecturer after my PhD. Therefore everything I do work wise this year needs to help me move towards this goal.

Do you have any useful tips for securing a job in academia? Also, any tips on selling your house privately or through an online estate agent would be much appreciated!

Here’s to a fab 2015!

Rosie x

Is academia really worth it?

A really interesting and thought provoking article.

The Thesis Whisperer

This post was written Dr Kathy McKay,a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of New England. Her work revolves around listening to stories of suicide, healing and resilience within communities and within literature. It’s a sobering reflection on this academic life – but I thought it articulated views and feelings that need an airing in the current climate of government cuts to higher education and research.

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 9.37.10 amIn January this year, Rachel L. Swarns wrote a piece for The New York Times that scared me so much, it’s taken until now to write about it.

‘Crowded Out of Ivory Tower, Adjuncts See a Life Less Lofty’ follows the employment trajectory of an early-career academic in America, James D. Hoff. Since being awarded his PhD, he’s had no fixed or full-time employment, rather relying on subject-by-subject contracts at more than one institution. There’s no certainty or security as subjects can be…

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My life in a gant chart

Lately I have been worried that time will run away with me so this morning, whilst Ellie partook in her 3 hour morning nap, I sat down and planned out my PhD from now until submission.

I found this to be a scary task. Since beginning my PhD last year, I have had 2018 (my proposed date for submission) in my head, and it has always felt so far away and unreal. Seeing the next 4 years in a colourful (couldn’t help myself, I’m a creative person!) gant chart, made 2018 seem not so far after all. Even scarier was the fact that it dawned on me that we will probably have our second child before I submit my work. This then factored into the gant chart, and I soon found myself planning the date of conception to ensure I wouldn’t be preparing for my viva with a newborn.

This is when I realised that perhaps the planning had gone too far! I suddenly felt like my life was being organised into these thin lines, and I must admit I panicked. Work wise I need clear goals and I need to know where my career is heading. But I have to remind myself to also live my life to its fullest. One thing I have learned from working with people with dementia is to value living in the moment.

With regards to my PhD I have now planned out my work for each month for the next 4 years, this is obviously a working document subject to change, but for me it is a security blanket.

Whereas who knows where my life in general will take me, and maybe I need to see the adventure in this. If I can learn one thing since the arrival of our daughter, it should be to treasure those precious moments spent with friends and family. Years from now I don’t want to look back on these days regretting the times I spent planning our future and missing out on living in the here and now. Maybe there’s a New Years resolution in there.

Rosie x