The influence of working mothers – A few childhood memories of my working mum.

My mother worked part-time throughout most of my childhood and beyond. For many years she was the manageress of a small local launderette. I have very fond memories of her taking me to work which she did quite often. I loved it!

It was great fun helping with little tasks, and chatting to staff and customers who Mum knew. As a treat she’d send me to the bakers a few doors down the road to get potted beef, bread cakes, and iced finger buns.

• Cups of tea and lots of chat!
• ‘Cashing up’ – it was my job to put coins in little piles of equal value making is easier to tot up the total takings of the day.
• Being shown how to fold sheets – the easy way and more fun with a team of two.

Mum had an amazing head for numbers. I remember her totting up her shopping bill and knowing exactly how much she had spent before arriving at the till. Embarrassing as it was for me, it seemed she was often disputing discrepancies with shopkeepers or assistants, but she was always spot on and accurate!

When I had children, myself, she strongly encouraged me to continue work – preferably part-time even. Being a good mother and also having an independent spirit was important.

In her teens she was expected to go work ‘in t’ mill’ like other women in her family. She was more ambitious and preferred office work – rising to chief cashier at the local Woolworths, and training staff at other branches. Her own mother and some other family members thought her to be a bit too hoity toity. However, her dad saw potential in her and at some point-in-time she told me he had offered her money to get her started in her own business. She always regretted not having done so – she was afraid of losing his hard-earned money. (He was a Yorkshire coal miner, supporting a big family).

As was expected Mum gave up work immediately on getting married. I was her youngest child. As I recall she was working again (part-time) by the time I was about 4 years old.

It seemed fitting that I used some money Mum left to me, to set up my own business, in 2013.

When I had mentioned the idea a few years earlier, I remember her saying, ‘Wouldn’t you really like to run your own café?’

So, how did I become a scientist in cancer research and a specialist in Life Sciences? Well, that’s another story of many…

Nevertheless, I learned so much from my smart working-class mother. Her influence made me grounded but also ambitious in good ways, I think. We were similar and different, as well. She was not perfect, but because of that I think she was indeed perfect. I continued to call her and visit her frequently to the end, and always valued her straight talking and insightful advice. This piece touches on the influence of working mothers. Mum taught me many things, but I think her most precious legacy is her values.

We have the choice to emulate the best bits from our parents – and this is what I tell my own children. Mum was always telling me she was ‘very, very proud’ of me. I tell my children the same and use the same words.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 21/03/23


[This post follows on from my previous ones on International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day 2023 in the UK.]

Fancy a cuppa tea? ☕️

Made in Manchester, but Yorkshire – born and bred 😊.

Mother’s Day and Eileen 100.

Let’s think about mothers and their legacies.

This year it is fitting that I ‘shine a light’ on my mum who would have been 100 years old this year! She lived to a good age – 89 years. Her legacy lives on.

I think we sometimes forget the many facets of our mothers as individuals themselves. In Mum’s case I have many stories and anecdotes to pass on – from her girlhood, wartime years, wife, mother, grandmother, and her twilight years. As a 25-year-old she stood up against the bigotry of religion to marry my dad. She was feisty on occasions and especially when suffering the ravages of dementia in her last few years. Nonetheless, she came back to me towards the end in moments of clarity to squeeze my hand and tell me she loved me.

Eileen was a smart lady of many talents from a big working class Yorkshire family. She was straight-talking, and the wisdom of the advice she gave me for motherhood and work still rings true now. There is so much more to say.

Today, I celebrate the memories of Eileen as my mum, her support and encouragement, her joy, laughter, wit, and warmth. Her legacy lives on.

Cognisant that it will be a time of mixed emotions for many people who have sadly lost their mothers. I’d like to share the poem I wrote more recently. The sentiments of my poem ‘Stay With Me’ bring me comfort and hopefully others will appreciate these words too.

So, remember Mother’s Day and cherish your mother or the fond memories you have.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 16/03/23

[Mother’s Day 19th March 2023 in the UK or other dates elsewhere]

A pro-manchester event, in the UK on International Women’s Day (IWD).

I was delighted to have been invited to join some other Northern women on one of the 2 Women Leading in Business (WLiB) tables at an event with about 300 attendees (mainly women but some men too).

IDW 2023 pro-manchester event
My snapshots capture some moments in the day.

This involved a short train journey into the centre of Manchester.

Having arrived back in Manchester from Dubai just the night before, the weather felt distinctly chilly, but it was more than compensated by the warmest of welcomes from fellow women on International Women’s Day!

This was Manchester so the energy in the room was high for this celebratory event! The agenda addressed important issues of our time. There was a powerful and moving opening song by Rowetta. This was followed by some inspirational speakers and panel discussions highlighting the journeys of women and their successes in the face of considerable challenges. Discussions about current challenges evoked words of wisdom, resilience, empathy, determination, and unity.

Passion, straight-talking, and humour were in abundance in the networking opportunities. I met some familiar friends and many new faces. The general buzz of the event was in keeping with the Manchester worker bee (one of the best-known symbols of Manchester) representing a hive of activity and the sense of unity in this great city.

This pro-manchester event was sponsored by Menopause the Wright Way. Charity Partners were Smart Works and CARISMA.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Thanks to all the speakers, organisers, and those behind the scenes. A special thanks to Rachel Tetlow (pro-manchester programmes and events) and to Claire-Marie Boggiano (host of WLiB).

What a week!

I need some quiet time now to catch up on all the happenings and posts relating to International Women’s Day.

Here’s to all the amazing women in many different fields who I feel proud to know and to the very visible people and the quieter people all doing their bit in troubling times. I am feeling a sense of humility.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 08/03/23


Click here for more about pro-manchester

Perspectives for International Women’s Day (IWD).

Ahead of IWD I was thinking from an international perspective. It was the week before IWD, and I happened to be in Dubai. I made an impromptu visit to the Women’s Pavilion at the Dubai Expo site. Here are a few of my snapshots taken on this visit:

Womens Pavilion Dubai IWD 2023

Events continue in this dedicated pavilion and there will be a lot happening around IWD this year. However, on this particular visit it was a very quiet day presenting an opportunity to calmly savour the wonderful exhibition.

I paused to think about all the inspirational contributions of women internationally, over the years and towards the future: women heroes, ‘unsung women heroes’ and ordinary women contributing every day and often facing incredible challenges. Despite the progress made, difficult journeys and challenges continue for many women.

There are many perspectives. This is the question posed at the entrance to the exhibition.

What's your perspective? Women's Pavilion Dubai

‘The Women’s Pavilion is a dedicated space for meaningful discussions supporting women’s contributions to shaping a more balanced world.’

Let’s all ‘do our bit’ and appreciate the women and men who support the causes of women.

‘Be the generation to end gender inequality and empower women’.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 03/03/23


In the run up to IWD I have been staying in Dubai. Here is a glorious early morning view – a snapshot I took from my balcony.
View from balcony Dubai 2023

A Tree of Life Sciences®: Consistency and a few surprises to come…

This is a quick and timely synopsis about A Tree of Life Sciences® to inform new connections, and to act as a quick reminder and an update for those already familiar with the company.

When I set up A Tree of Life Sciences Ltd some years ago, I created the name and designed the logo, myself. On reflection, I made the right decision particularly in view of the huge interest in life sciences and the research and endeavours that are being undertaken these days. I am very proud of the name and the logo which are registered trademarks (I protect them whenever necessary). My ideas are ‘often imitated but never equalled’ 😉.

Logo | A Tree of Life Sciences Ltd

Through these themes, I can continue to contribute to my mission to Inform, Improve and Inspire particularly in Life Sciences and health research; but also, in life and sciences more generally.

The website covers the potential scope of the company – the focus evolves and changes from time to time but the purpose remains clear and consistent.

Features include:

• Transcending borders and boundaries in subject and scope.

• Global, national, and local projects or perspectives.

• Project consultancy and communications including Life Sciences, Clinical and Health Research.

What a great time to be involved in research and communications!

Science is important, exciting and sometimes surprising. Scientists are serious about their work and often playful too.

My communications include papers, posts, and poems. The subjects are serious with a creative flair.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 28/02/23

February Focus on Purpose.

I am a scientist and I have a clear purpose. I am an expert in life sciences, clinical and health research. I am on a mission to Inform, Improve, and Inspire particularly in the Life Sciences. But also, in life and sciences more generally.

Remember ‘Not all those who wander are lost’.

I have a clear purpose.

A Tree of Life Sciences® exists to inform, improve, and inspire.

As a project consultant I ‘make it happen’ and I have been doing this for many years for the projects I have worked on or led.

A Tree of Life Sciences® continues to ‘make it happen’ as an independent consultancy and through its communications.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 22/02/23


(‘Not all those who wander are lost’ from a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien.)

Misinformation and Disinformation.


Put simply in just 3 words,
But on many levels.
Whether incorrect or a bad thing
Misinformation is wrong!
Disinformation is worse.
It’s deliberate.
It aims to deceive,
And often with ill-intent.
There’s far too much about.
Misinformation is wrong.
Calling it out
Is right!

©Julie Charlesworth, 2023

I recently wrote this poem to capture my thoughts on the subject in just a few words.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 15/02/23


Moonlit Nights to a Morning Feast.

Worth watching to the end – just a minute.


The moments I captured in the photos and video I prepared also inspired me to write this short verse:

The Snow Moon the Hunger Moon
Lights up the still night sky.
The vastness the spectacle
To keep in our mind’s eye
Lest we forget
Whilst gazing at the sky,
The weather can be harsh
And food in short supply.
And so, with thoughts
To life on Earth
And Nature
Close to home.
On a frosty February morning
There seems much less to bemoan.
When a little garden feast
For tiny, feathered friends
Brings a flurry of activity.
A happy sight to see.

©Julie Charlesworth, 2023

Let’s cherish our amazing Planet Earth and connect to Nature.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 8/02/23


February Snow Moon: A glorious start.

I have just taken 2 snapshots to capture these moments: from my own back garden last night and from the front of the house early this morning.

I am looking Up from Earth – Up North in the UK.

February Snow Moon  from  home in the  UK

What a glorious uplifting start to February!

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 06/02/23


5 things I learned about in 2022, and a quick recap from ESOF2022.

Do you take the opportunities to listen and learn more about areas beyond your expertise?

Participating in international multidisciplinary conferences piques my curiosity to explore areas outside my own specialisms. Indeed, I have found that this is often how I get the most value out of such events.

The EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) is top notch for this purpose. ESOFs are exemplary in their scope and what they achieve. I have previously reported back on every ESOF since 2016.*

Whilst I am ready to launch myself into 2023, January has also been a good time to recap and to add a few more highlights and take-home points from ESOF2022.

I think you may find some of my choices surprise you:

The Covid pandemic: featuring frequently in several discussions under different themes at ESOF2022

This pandemic is something we have all been through. At ESOF2022 there were success stories, concerns, answers to questions, and suggestions for the future. There were thought-provoking discussions relating to how much was achieved and how much more needs to be done.

We need to continue to ask 2 questions – What else are we learning? How can we best prepare for different pandemics and other global or local crises in the future?

Spectacular Science: High profile advances and things to watch out for

Artificial Intelligence (AI):
There were lots of discussions about recent advances, the enormous potential of use of AI, and some dilemmas for society. A key take home message for me was that we should also be aware of possible hype around the value and capabilities of AI.
As I said in a recent post on AI ‘we should proceed with optimism, but also with caution and with ‘eyes wide open’.

The Quantum Revolution:
It was interesting to hear further developments: some have been fast and some less so (such is science). I found the discussions very interesting and personally they also consolidated the big leap in my understanding of quantum technology which I have already shared in a previous post in 2021. During ESOF2022 we were warned to beware the possible hype around this subject. Nonetheless, it is certainly a potentially exciting area and one to keep an eye on!

Space Science the big uplifting breaking news with images from the JWST:
The excellent coverage at ESOF2022 prompted me to write about this in a previous post where I also share my learning and a few further thoughts from this moment in space science history.

Watch out for further news and developments in these three high-profile areas.
Beware the possible hype.
Enjoy the thrill and joy of science!

Frontier research and an example closer to my specialist area of life sciences

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a major concern facing humankind now and for the future. I have mentioned and written about this topic before (and will again). At ESOF2022 I participated in a fascinating session on AMR in which experts described new research, novel approaches and funding issues. It was a learning experience for me. I was excited about new approaches and the passion of the research leaders and early career researchers. On the other hand, it is frustrating to hear about funding issues and the compelling need still for companies to take these ideas and developments forward on a bigger scale.

The funding and support of basic research is very important! Curiosity driven research per se can ultimately contribute more than research driven by apparent business needs.

The whole ESOF2022 experience

My reporting has covered some selected areas that particularly struck a note with me this time. In addition to important scientific sessions there were topics and discussions relating to business, policies, current global issues (wars, climate). Indeed, it was ‘an exciting programme around seven themes: Sustainable Environment, Cultural Identities and Transformation, Space for Science, Healthy Societies, Freedom and Responsibility of Science, Science and Business and Sustainable Academic Careers.’ Thought-provoking comments made by other people often resonate, inspire or prompt action.

ESOF2022 participation has equipped me with knowledge and understanding that I hope will enhance my contributions in communication, consultancy, and career mentoring.

I have enjoyed reporting back from ESOF 2022 and more widely sharing some of my learning and my own thoughts in posts and even in verse.


Science is exciting – there are so many stories to tell…

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 31/01/23



*For further information on my participation (in person or latterly on-line) at ESOFs:
Participation in ESOF2022 and a quick summary of my ESOF participation over the years.

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