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Music, productivity and YUDU’s desert island discs

By Emily Byrne

Does listening to music while working remotely increase productivity? Let’s take a look at the facts and figures. One study shows 90% of workers perform better when listening to music, with 88% of employees producing more accurate work when listening to tunes. Business owners seem to agree with their employees, with 65% suggesting music makes their employees more productive and as many as 40% claiming playing music can increase sales. Source.

Meanwhile, another study found an increase in mood and quality of work whilst listening to music, as well as an increase in productivity whilst listening to background music when performing a repetitive task. Source.

The jury’s out at the BBC as to whether music makes us more productive when working: “While some research has found that music can help us stay calm and focused, a recent study found that it can make it hard to communicate basic instructions.” Source.

YUDU CEO, Richard Stephenson posed an important question to the team at YUDU, in preparation for our Samling Zoom video call: “Which would be your five desert island isolation tracks?”

This question got all our staff thinking. Which song would keep us positive? Which track could be played over and over, without getting tiresome? What would our colleagues make of our taste in music?

Here are a few of YUDU staff’s responses of there can’t-live-without tracks:

Ryan Forsdick: Long Road to Ruin; Foo Fighters  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=308KpFZ4cT8

Be mine Tonight; Dave Dobbyn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjT9NxJcwy8

301210; Antonymes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iApmIYURxY4

Surfing with the Alien; Joe Satriani https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoERl34Ld00

Natural Disaster; Zac Brown Band https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fPPEcAi3Lk

James O’Brien: Stevie Wonder; As https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_sG0weS1d8

Arcade Fire (with David Bowie); Wake up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6c9Ejfu-iU

James Vincent McMorrow; Gold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJsBpng1wY0

Fleetwood Mac; Rhiannon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgmRb3MlpHQ

Blur; Tender https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pB8_8tsmg2Y

Alan Tidmarsh: Crossroads; Cream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnJn8XbPeKc

Voodoo Chile; Jimi Hendrix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZBlqcbpmxY

Hotel California; Eagles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=811QZGDysx0

Eight Days a Week; The Beatles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kle2xHhRHg4

505; The Arctic Monkeys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV5VKdcQOJE

Ann Petty: Forever Autumn; Justin Hayward https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJbp_GjD9VE 

Wade in the Water; Ramsey Lewis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skCYAnFcQu8

Handbags and Gladrags; Rod Stewart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CShlFZr8ORw


Born to Run; Bruce Springsteen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxuThNgl3YA 

Summer of 69; Bryan Adams https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFjjO_lhf9c

Harvey Brindle: Step right up; Tom Waits https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTdScE3Rqh8

Walk on hot coals; Rory Gallagher https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvO5OdZgtyM

Voulez Vous; Abba https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10yrPDf92hYhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwcgMVXuBJc

M.A.A.D. City; Kendrick Lemar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10yrPDf92hY

Bossa Dorado; Joscho Stephan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vusBz4HdnYY

Ruxandra Recoseanu: Kriminal; Robin and the Backstabbers https://youtu.be/3_QFRHMyVYQ
Chop suey!; System of a Down https://youtu.be/CSvFpBOe8eY

Till Kingdom Come; Coldplay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0UN-pVTLf4&feature=youtu.be

The Kill; Thirty Seconds to Mars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yvGCAvOAfM&feature=youtu.be

Closer; Kings of Leon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8agEo6zxeHY&feature=youtu.be

One of the most pressing and controversial questions staff asked was: Who wins? The Beatles or Abba?

Richard’s burning question stemmed a flurry of further Samling discussions. We’ve gone on to discuss our top five Christmas movies, action movies and TV series. Talking about these topics has boosted staff morale and has us all feeling super festive. What’s next? The list is endless.

Featured

Covid confusion as parents worry about sending children back to school

By Emily Byrne

Header Image by Markus Winkler

Fake news on social media is causing Covid confusion among parents many of whom are unsure whether it’s safe to send their children back to school. Parents are inevitably feeling extremely conflicted. They want to keep their children safe but also know how important education and social interaction are to young minds. Add in a storm of fake news about the dangers of schools’ reopening and it’s no wonder parents are stressed.

Guardians have found themselves wading through advice on what can be expected in a Covid-safe school. Creators and publishers of distorted headlines exploit the concerns of the ever-worried parent in order to get their stories out there. Social media and networking apps have become a breeding ground for Covid confusion and the spreading of false information. In an effort to set the record straight we attempt to separate the fact from the fiction.

Claim: Schoolchildren can be taken for Covid tests and detained without their parents’ consent

More than 500 Facebook and WhatsApp posts have circulated in the past month claiming that children can be taken for Covid tests against their parents’ consent. One post has been shared 10,000 times on Facebook. It reads: “Parents: did you know that legislation has been passed under the Covid Act which would allow them to take your child out of school, test them and/or DETAIN them for fourteen days WITHOUT even informing you?” The post is cynically addressed to ‘all caring parents out there’. With a hook to reel in perturbed parents, the false news cycle begins.

Truth: Teachers cannot take children to coronavirus testing centres without their parents’ consent. If children were to test positive for coronavirus, they still cannot be detained without their guardians’ permission.

Claim: Masks could end up helping child abductors

In another scare it has been suggested that child abductors could use face masks to hide their identity. A troubling post declared: “It took under three minutes to throw a shirt over her tank. Put tape over her mouth. Turn her pink mask to the white side. Tuck her hair in a hat. And out shorts over her pink pants with the pant legs scrunched up. You wouldn’t even recognize your own child after three minutes. And you would be searching for the face of your missing child in a sea of MASKS!”

The allegation appeared in over 150 posts on Facebook in the last month, mainly in the US, but also in Canada, the Netherlands and the UK. The post has been shared 26,000 times. It is thought to have been created by QAnon, a conspiracy theory group in the US, who are often published on websites 4chan and 8chan. This group is suspected of being behind claims that President Trump is waging war against an alleged paedophile ring, with members in the government, business and media.

Truth: BBC News has confirmed: “We can’t find any evidence of people trying to use (these) tactics to abduct children. Likewise, there’s no evidence that wearing masks somehow increases the risks.”

KidsSafe in Florida, a child protection charity, warns such posts: “threaten to diminish our identities, tarnish our reputations and harm our good works.” Charities have also said that these posts have led to their helplines being overrun, which has a knock-on impact on their work. Save the Children in the US has tweeted, objecting to the group’s use of the #SavetheChildren hashtag.

Claim: There are no cases of teachers being infected by students

A tweet was responsible for this conjecture. It read: “Masks in schools. Atrocious. No evidence supports this, in fact the opposite can be said. No teacher is recorded as getting Covid by a child, anywhere in the WORLD. Hospitalisation’s tiny, zero death days. What is this nonsense?”

Once again, social media amplifies this type of misinformation. The post was retweeted 255 times and liked 1,100 times.

Truth: You guessed it, it’s untrue to say no teacher has been recorded as catching Covid from a school child. In an investigation carried out by Public Health England, targeting outbreaks in schools in June, most coronavirus cases were due to staff passing on the virus to each other and students. However, six of the thirty outbreaks were said to have been caused by pupil-to-staff transmission, though incidents have been rare.

Take-aways

These theories have no factual basis. Measures are set in place to keep your child safe, such as the wearing of facemasks in communal areas in secondary schools and the teaching of children in ‘bubbles’.

The world we live in today see us constantly battling against fake news, enabled by our infatuation with technology, smartphones and social media. Media manipulators feed off the concerns of apprehensive parents who trawl social media sites or networking apps for answers about their child’s return to school post-lockdown. Parents must remember social media is rife with false claims. All it takes is a like or a share from someone in your network and the spoof news is part of your feed. So, remember to stay savvy as you scroll.

Featured

Face masks: The feelings behind the fabric

By Emily Byrne

Header Image by Tony Hazek

Welcome to the weird world of Covid-19 where the new normal means wearing a mask to cover your face. Nobody looks human and it reminds us of the deadly virus out there. As from 24th July 2020 it became mandatory in the UK to wear a face mask in all shops and on public transport. This article explores how wearing a face mask makes us feel, in the UK, the US and globally. It provides suggestions on how we might tackle the anxiety associated with wearing a face mask and change our thoughts and behaviours as we face this new normal. With thanks to Simon Erksine and Commpro.biz for inspiring this article: https://www.commpro.biz/masks-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-we-need-to-overcome-mask-phobia/

The UK, the US and the anti-mask movement

Although most are compliant, mask-wearing is just one example in the Coronavirus pandemic highlighting the significant gap between what we are being asked to do and what many are doing.

Certainly is the case in the UK, that the government’s own disregard for the rules (I’m sure we all remember Dominic Cummings’ infamous lockdown tour) and the ambiguity surrounding what the ever-changing rules actually are results in some disobedience.

Let’s take a look at the US, where face-masks have sparked a political debate and the anti-mask movement. As the President, Donald Trump should be setting an example for the country… (don’t get me started). Trump’s refusal to wear a mask mirrors the attitude of many in the states. It also provides an excuse for many US citizens not to take this basic step. So begins the anti-mask movement.

Although they’re actually just a piece of cloth to protect us against contracting and spreading coronavirus, many of the US population see face masks as an attack on individual freedom, as outlined by this article from the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/29/face-masks-us-politics-coronavirus

Without generalizing, polls suggest that Democrats are largely more inclined to wear face masks in public, than Republicans. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are political figures symbolizing the for and against mask movement. Ever the controversial, Trump accused Biden of wearing a face mask as a political statement against his presidency. Perhaps Biden wears a mask to protect his own health, Mr President? Just a thought.

Reopen NC are a group based in North Carolina who oppose lockdown orders. They called masks “muzzles” and said face masks and mandatory temperature checks were “ways of [their] freedom being eroded.” The group sparked a social media movement and founded the “Burn Your Mask Challenge”, which encourages people to post videos of them burning their face masks under the hashtag #IgniteFreedom.
Local leaders met in Palm Beach, Florida, to hear people speak in public about why they were so anti-masks. Anger was voiced that masks “throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door” and concerns over a “plan-demic” conspiracy theory were heard. Pretty nuts, huh?

Without leadership from the top, we need leadership from the bottom-up. We all need to set an example and take the basic initiative to wear a mask when required, in order to protect ourselves, our families, friends and communities.

The erosion of social interaction

Let’s talk about the psychology of masks, behavioural change and what we can do to make wearing a mask a little less anxiety-inducing.

Ed Jones, Lead Marketing Strategist at YUDU gave me his opinion on how wearing a face mask makes him feel:

“Personally, I don’t like face masks. Of course, I understand the need to wear one, which I always do when I’m in a shop. But it’s not a pleasant experience, I constantly feel like I’m breathing recycled warm air. I also don’t like the way it interferes with my social interactions. It’s much harder to see people’s reactions, sharing a smile is a thing of the past. Honestly, I hope this is a passing phase and we can soon return to some semblance of normal.”

Ed raised such a valuable point which really got me thinking. When the ability to socially interact with those around us in public is taken away (the smile at a stranger passing in the street or the lady at the corner shop), how does this affect us psychologically?

Face masks definitely restrict our social interaction, particularly the small interactions with those we haven’t met or encounter whilst undertaking our daily journeys and duties. Many who already feel lonely or isolated in society (particularly post-lockdown) may depend on these meaningful everyday interactions to achieve a sense of feeling human and face masks restrict this. Face masks set up social barriers and avenues for misunderstanding.

Barriers are further increased for those with disabilities. In a survey conducted by Disability Rights UK, 40% of disabled people feared challenge when travelling on public transport with face masks. Consider those with impaired hearing, using lip reading to get through conversation. 13% said wearing a mask would prevent them from lip reading. Just under half of those asked said mental health conditions or breathing impairments would prevent them from wearing a mask. It is worth considering exemptions can be made for those with disabilities which make them unable to wear a face mask and for those who this might cause major destress. Still, Sadly, for many, conversation in public may be a thing of the past. See the full results of the survey here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/june/40-fear-challenge-without-face-masks-dr-uk-survey

The mind and the mask

There’s no denying that wearing a mask is a truly unpleasant experience, though we can shift our way of thinking when it comes to mask wearing so our rational brains can win out. As displayed by the uproar in the US, changing our behaviours to benefit others is generally much harder than when we change our behaviours for ourselves. However, it’s ourselves as well as others we’re protecting by wearing a face mask.

Behavioural change is often a slow process, requiring a conscious evaluation that the benefits of change outweigh the consequences of doing nothing at all. In this case, change has been thrust upon us in order to save lives and we must do all we can to embrace it. The consequences of doing nothing could be life-threatening. So, here’s what you can do to make wearing a face mask a little less daunting.

• Diaphragmatic breathing

Try breathing from the diaphragm, which will make your tummy expand in and out, instead of your chest going up and down, indicative of shallow breathing. Spend more time exhaling than inhaling. Perhaps inhale for three seconds and exhale for four.

• Repeat a mantra

Try repeating a word, phrase of even sound which helps you focus. If you’re concerned about getting strange looks, you can repeat this mantra to yourself in your head. Maybe this is something as simple as: ‘This too shall pass’. It’s scientifically proven that repeating a mantra can help regulate breathing and slow down physical responses.

• Practice mindfulness

Focus on what’s happening in the present moment instead of immersing yourself in self-created worries and negative thoughts.

• Aromatherapy

Inhaling essential oils such as lavender and orange oils can relieve anxiousness and encourage a sense of calm relaxation. Perhaps try these natural remedies out before your trip to the supermarket to help uplift your spirits.

I hope the above tips help to alleviate your face mask anxieties. With thanks and credit to Beak Speak: https://blog.beekley.com/why-protective-face-masks-make-you-feel-anxious-and-what-you-can-do-to-cope

Having fun with it: Funk up your face mask

Why not take inspiration from celebsville and treat your face mask as this year’s hottest new fashion accessory?

Many keen sewers are making money and helping the community all at once by selling handmade face masks. Why not chop up one of your favourite fabrics and give it a go yourself?

Personalised face masks are an excellent way to bring some positivity to these bleak times. Order and adorn a mask with your favourite punk band, characters from a beloved TV show, or even an inspirational quote on it. Whatever it is, be sure to have some fun with it!

How about copying the A-listers and coordinating your outfit with you mask? It’s called FASH-HUN and it will look extra as anything. Here’s a few examples:

Any and all of the above tips will make mask-wearing more fun, less daunting and feel less clinical and other-worldly.

Face masks in other cultures

Perhaps our reservations about wearing face masks stem from the difficulty: this is not part of our usual culture. It’s a change we’re all getting used to together in the UK and which faces major opposition in some cases in the US.
Simon Erksine comments on the practice of wearing face masks in Japan, where he lived for many years.

“In Japan, individual behaviours are much more focused on benefiting society as a whole. The wearing of masks is normal. It has a social and individual purpose. Vast numbers of Japanese suffer hay fever from the pollen of non-indigenous pine trees, but the Japanese also wear masks to protect from others’ potential illnesses as well as to protect others from theirs. In fact, if you have a cold it is basic manners to wear a mask.”

Erksine reminds us that in wearing a mask, you are doing something to benefit society. Read his full article here: https://www.commpro.biz/masks-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-we-need-to-overcome-mask-phobia/

Take-aways

Wearing a mask is something we’re not used to, it’s caused a small culture-war in the US, it takes away social interaction, creates barriers for those with disabilities and can have a negative affect on our psychology and mental health. However, whilst hoping normality returns sometime soon, in an attempt to overcome mask-phobia we should consider a new way of thinking and remember the facts behind the fabric.

Wearing a mask will protect you and others. Although cloth masks aren’t a prophylactic or can guarantee you won’t get the virus, just like seat belts, they will reduce the risk of spread and contagion if we use them correctly. For now, let’s focus on the fact face masks allow us to take better care of ourselves and the community around us during Covid-19. They really can save lives.

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Beating the Covid blues: Five ways YUDU staff have kept creative during lockdown

By Emily Byrne

Header Image by Gemma O’Brien

Covid19 and lockdown restrictions meant we’ve all had a lot more time to spend at home and become a little more creative. Whether this meant picking up a paintbrush, reading a book or dusting off the knitting needles, we’ve all benefited from a little extra me-time.

As lockdown measures ease and we’re able to visit pubs, shops and gyms, here at YUDU we’ll definitely be holding on to our creative pursuits. Here’s what we’ve been up to during lockdown.

Reading writing and blogging

This lockdown, I’ve taken the advice of my colleague Jim Preen: ‘Read, read, read. Write, write, write.’ I know that reading and writing will expand my vocabulary and improve my content. I’ve been blogging about all things business, sustainability and mental health on: https://sustainokuk.wordpress.com/ Shameless plug, I know.

Here are a couple of cracking books I’ve read and what they’ve taught me:

How to Fail by Elisabeth Day

I found the chapters ‘How to fail at being Gwyneth Paltrow’ and ‘How to Fail at Work’ particularly useful, not to say hilarious.

‘How to Fail at being Gwyneth Paltrow’ journals Elisabeth’s attempt at following Gwyneth’s health plan, consisting of ridiculous treatment after treatment in boutique LA beauty bars. Day concludes this was more like a full-time job, than anything else and it really does pay to ‘look good’. This chapter taught me to become more accepting of my body and to love all it does for me. After all, when I’m much older, I’ll look back and regret all the time I spent worrying about my figure. Beauty is definitely more than skin deep, after all.

‘How to Fail at Work’ reinforced the fact it’s OK to make mistakes. I remember being told during my interview at YUDU, that if you make a mistake; learn from it. Work is somewhere we should thrive and grow. I used this chapter as a tool to reflect and realise how lucky I am to be both pushed and trusted in a role I love.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Not only was Normal People one of my favourite books EVER… (yes, it really is as good as the AMAZING TV series), it allowed me to question ‘What qualifies a person as normal?’ and ‘Do normal people in fact even exist?’ To this, I found the answer to be no. We are all intrinsically complex beings, just trying to muddle our way through life and at present, trying to muddle through a pandemic. Our differences and quirks are what make us unique and the novel encouraged me to celebrate this.

James O’ Brien – Director of Customer Engagement

Here’s one you didn’t expect: James creates fantastic works of art using potatoes, he really is a Golden Wonder. During lockdown he held a series of potato-printing webinars, where eager members of the public, including myself, were able to try their hand at printing with spuds. It was honestly so much fun. Take a look at the results, by Gemma Smith and I.

Into the bargain James raised money for charity. He agreed to make potato portraits of famous footballers in return for some ready cash to support foodbanks. Take a look at my potato print of Frank Lampard, here.

image1

Jim Preen – Director of Crisis Management

I spoke to Jim and asked what he had been up to and he had a question for me:

‘Emily, did lockdown leave you feeling lowdown? Has the pandemic made you feel less than angelic? I have the answer: play the bass guitar!

I’ve played regular guitar for years, but I was stuck in a musical rut. I wanted something good to come out of lockdown, so I contacted a young whizz-kid bass player and he gives me lesson every Saturday on Skype. He needs the money as all his gigs have dried up and in return, he’s somehow managed to turn me into a tolerable member of the rhythm section.

Of course, being a bass player means you’re the butt of terrible jokes: Q. How do you get a bass player off your doorstep? A. Pay for the pizza. But on the bright side you’d suffer much more abuse being a drummer.’

Thanks for that Jim, perhaps you could get someone to help you write better jokes! Maybe it’s time to put a company band together.

Gemma Smith – Graphic Designer

Our uber-talented graphic designer, Gemma Smith has been hosting events for her and her housemate at their London flat. Even though such events are attended by the duo alone, fancy dress is compulsory. Gemma called it: ‘Creating worlds and events within the small space we’re stuck in.’ Their events have included a reimagining of The MET Gala, Jazzercise classes, a Broadway musical night and a recreation of the catwalk, inspired by the Netflix hit-show, Next in Fashion… which we have both become obsessed with. Does your creativity ever cease Gemma!?

Richard Stephenson – YUDU CEO

Richard, our multi-skilled CEO, talks about writing children’s short stories during lockdown.

I read a quote from our great playwright Tom Stoppard that writing a play was like smashing a glass ashtray: you work backwards by assembling the broken pieces.

That got me wondering if I could construct some short stories using this technique. Lockdown writing was underway! It became a very rewarding experiment; pushing the boundaries of my imagination. I was able to start developing characters almost like a sculptor, shaping them from the clay of people I’ve known and met over the years. I now have five stories that I can chuckle over and when we get back to near normal, I hope I will continue to write. Now, how do I find a publisher?

As you can see, we’ve all been super busy following our creative pursuits here at YUDU. We’ve used our extra me-time to hone new skills and pursue new hobbies.

So, here’s the question: what creative pursuits have you been up to? We’d love to hear from you.

Featured

Skincare self-love review

By Emily Byrne

I’ve come to realise that our skin is something which is always with us and that self-care goes hand in hand with self love and self appreciation. With some challenging life changes as of late, a busy work schedule and a global pandemic chucked into the mix… it’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a few months. My new obsession means that I take twenty minutes out at the end of each day to pamper and preen.

I’ve always had hormonal spots and flare ups and my skin is a little oily, but skincare was something I hadn’t invested in other than the standard cleanse and exfoliate prior to lockdown. My amazing friends shared some of their personal favourites and seriously… I’ll never look back. One thing’s for sure I’ve got my glow-(up) and sparkle back. ✨ here are a few of my favourite treats and my nightly routine for those who need some skin-love assurance.

Cleanse

I couldn’t go without my Liz. Our girl supplies us with cucumber fresh nourishment, a very gentle foam and a little bit goes a long way. My desert island skincare product. You feel so fresh after cleansing. Wait… why haven’t I got the exfoliater yet? I’ve heard rave reviews.

Although I won’t be deviating away from using my girl Liz, there’s a certain something on the cleansing wish list. And that’s Glow Recipe’s

Glow

Ole Hendreksen’s products were recommended to me by my best friend Kate and I won’t be going back on the glow front. Ole’s Clementine C Cream is a tangerine dream 🍊 and I noticed a brightened sunned glow after applying as part of my regular regime and a day in the sun (with sun cream and SPF of course!) The Ole Truth serum smells equally divine and is so refreshing, leaving your skin with a next-day, noticeable glow and healthy shine. Ole hits the hat trick with their Banana Eye Cream. I’ve always had dark circles under my eyes… made worse by me burning the midnight all this lockdown. The eye cream has lifted these dark circles considerably and as a result my face looks lighter and brighter. It has to be said… this cream doesn’t smell as good as it’s predecessors… but I’ll most definitely be re-purchasing once my little wonder pot runs out. A little goes a long way with this product, I found.

Zit-bust

I will 1 million percent be re-purchasing my Clinique Anti-Belmish solution. There’s so much to love about this product. Thank you for helping me say see ya to my spots. They are dried out in a day so it’s essential to only use a little of what claims to be an ‘all over application overnight solution’… as it does leave during. But honestly I can’t sing this products praising enough. Plus, it’s bright blue and so is the packaging. 💦

Tone

On the toning front, I’m lusting after Liz once again. Her cucumber toner is light and refreshing and is super easy to use. Simply polish of your cleanse and polish routine with a few sublime spritzes. You really feel like you’re spraying the day away.

Hold the phone… this toning section wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out about Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Toner and Pore Tightener. This bottle of beauty smells just like Watermelon as it says on the tin and works genuine WONDERS. I used to have really dark, visible pores and blackheads, particularly on my nose, which used to bug me out. But, no word of a lie, this sensational serum eliminated my visible pores in two days max. Results were visible the morning after the night out of the first application.

Moisturise

Even if it was £42 a pot… Glow Recipe’s Banana soufflé Moisturising cream smells good enough to eat. (Don’t eat it… it can’t be good for you!) It’s fluffy cloud-like, light texture and gorgeous smell leaves your skin super smooth, plump and refreshed and feels just like sticking your entire face in a banoffee pie… what’s not to love!?

Although I rave about Ole’s serums, I wasn’t too crazy about his moisturiser. There was nothing wrong with the little pot of wonder I received and it certainly left my skin feeling more dewy… but the price tag attached was a bit of a turn-off when combined with no overly-significant transformation.

Take-aways

If you don’t want to spend a bomb on skincare and have a whole tray full of products (like I have this lockdown), then here’s a little take-away for free. I’ve come to realise, although it’s hard and I’m still extremely self-critical, as we all are… beauty isn’t an outsider’s opinion. It in fact comes from within and one of the most beautiful traits anyone can have is confidence. My skincare routine has provided me with exactly that… a sense of nighttime routine for someone who struggles to wind down and a means to relax. So go on guys, soothe your skin and your mind at the same time.

Featured

Sentinel Check-in: You don’t need wifi or an app for the taps

By Emily Byrne and James O’Brien

With reference to: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/pubs-opening-rules-contact-tracing

By Matt Burgess

Header image by Gemma Smith

Super Saturday saw the easing of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of pubs across the UK. With thousands of thirsty punters who’d been locked up for months unleashed, did wifi and app-based Track and Trace solutions see things running as smoothly as they should have?

Guest wifi and apps are well known treasure troves for cyber criminals to access your data. With pub chain owners using wifi connections and apps to Track and Trace their customers – How can visitors be sure that what they’re connecting to is secure?

Rowenna Fielding head of individual rights and ethics at data protection consultancy Protecture, advises:

‘If you’re unsure of how information is being handled, ask the pub. “Ask questions about how is it going to be stored? What are you going to do with it? How are you going to delete it? If those questions aren’t or can’t be answered, then maybe you’re better off having a drink somewhere else.’

Weary about wifi: The questions on our lips

Pub chains using wifi to Track and Trace their punters claim that logging on to a network is the easy option. Really? Register with an email address, forgetting your password, resetting your password. There is a queue behind you. Accessing your registration email, showing the email to the bar staff, all before a pint is pulled. Easy?

There are also issues around the email addressed used to register – you can technically register with any email address – if the track and trace team might want to contact the customer – how can the pub be sure that the email address is being monitored? It could be days or weeks before the customer acknowledges the email.

Going down the wifi route also opens up your customers to cyber criminals – whose sophisticated techniques can take over devices in an instant. The anti-social engineer explains how this is done here: https://theantisocialengineer.com/2020/03/20/how-low-will-they-go/

https://www.yudu.com/resources/webinar/cyber-security-with-antisocial-engineer

Does an app really have your back?

Older people and technophobes will be alienated by the fact they have to download an app, enter their log in details and host the app on their phone to enter many pubs. Many might not have a Smartphone, (20% of the population in the UK don’t), or know how to install an app. We’re not all tech-whizzes and that’s OK.

Say you want to visit a few pubs post-lockdown (we don’t blame you!), are you going to download a different app for every pub you enter? That’s asking a lot from the customer, who just wants to order a pint, or a cocktail – it’s been 12 weeks.

Data Disaster – Why pen and paper won’t work

In other countries whose bars and restaurants have used manual data-sheet registration to Track and Trace their customers, there have been incidents of female customers receiving unsolicited and undesirable messages from bar-staff. This approach means that customers are likely to provide fictional data.

All it takes is a member of staff (or the public, if the sheets are on display) to take a note of or a picture of your personal data and they’ve got you. Your name, address, email, phone number.

As a young female this really doesn’t sit right with me and I certainly wouldn’t give accurate ID as a result. So how is this an effective way of collecting important information?

Vinod Bange, head of data practice at global law firm Taylor Wessing advises: ‘There will be risks for pubs and other businesses whether they adopt a low-tech paper approach […] or use an app to collect data.’

Just because something’s familiar, doesn’t mean it’s the data-secure option.

Sentinel Check-in: Your simple solution

With Sentinel Check-in, there’s no friction for the customer – simply scan the QR code on your chosen pub’s poster at entrance or ring their number. A SMS will automatically come through to you and to the pub, confirming the date and time of your entry. Tap straight to the taps in less than 20 seconds. It’s swift, safe and secure, so you can enjoy your pint in peace.

Our system in agnostic and inclusive, encouraging use for anyone that wants to walk into a pub.

See for yourself and Try a demo: https://www.yudu.com/sentinel-check-in/demo

Register your pub and be setup in under 24 hours: https://www.yudu.com/sentinel-check-in/register

Featured

Literary lockdown: Five books to promote your personal development

By Emily Byrne, Marketing Executive at YUDU Sentinel

Header Image by Gemma Smith, Graphic Designer at YUDU Sentinel

Here at YUDU we’re promoting a proactive and productive lockdown. Reading has definitely benefited my own well-being and given me the opportunity to be mindful and find a little safe space away from the chaos of Covid-19. I’ve been using my extra time to read into personal development, finding out how I can be a better version of myself. Here are five book recommendations from our team – all of which promote personal development in some way.

1) Emily Byrne: Marketing Executive – ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod

‘The Miracle Morning’ follows the journey of Hal Elrod, beginning with a car accident, which leaves him in a life-changing comma. When Hal wakes, his long-term girlfriend leaves him and he must learn to walk again. Elrod goes on to excel in a sales career he was previously resenting and eventually run his own highly successful consultancy.

‘The Miracle Morning’ states in order to become successful you have to dedicate time to personal development each day. Elrod provides a 6-step morning routine to shape that time, with chapter names such as; ‘Affirmations’ and ‘Mediation’.

Elrod asks what stops us chasing our dreams and living ‘level ten’ versions of our lives. Above all, the book reminded me, in light of Covid-19, life is a blessing and every day is a new opportunity to succeed, develop and focus on achieving our goals and dreams.

2) Emily Byrne: Marketing Executive – ‘Things I Know About Love’ by Dolly Alderton

Sorry… because I couldn’t pick just one.

This charming little novel written by Sunday Times columnist and girl-power journalist, Dolly Alderton, is not so much about self-help, but self-realisation. After all, learning to love yourself is essential, before you can love anyone else.

Dolly’s hilarious accounts of drunken taxi journeys across the entire country to visit one-night stands, first-date faux pas and underwhelming meet ups with boys following MSN conversations are suddenly undercut by the tragic death of her best friends’ sister.

This event forces Dolly to face her demons and undertake a course of intensive therapy. During the therapy, Dolly discovers that we live to love ourselves and the love found in friendship can be everlasting and unconditional.

3) Richard Stephenson: CEO – ‘The School of Life: An Emotional Education’ by Alain de Botton

“Everybody should read ‘The School of Life: An Emotional Education’ by Alain de Botton, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis. I truly believe this book will help people deal with the emotional impact of this crisis and focus on personal development.

Based on emotional education and personal resilience, Alain de Botton prompts us to question how we manage ourselves, tackle our problems and how these problems might correspond with the rest of the world.

‘The School of Life’ will provide you with the wisdom and tools needed to deal with Covid-19 emotionally and will enable you to empathise with those affected. A must read.”

4) Jim Preen: Director of Crisis Management – ‘Into the silence’ by Wade Davis

“I’m not sure ‘Into the silence’ is any kind of self-help or personal development manual, but then again it might be both those things. When men returned from the Western Front in 1918 having miraculously survived the machine age butchery of the trenches, they found an England desperate to forget the war. For many the thought of settling back into twee English tea parties, croquet lawns and cricket was unthinkable.

Today, because of coronavirus, we hear a lot of statistics about mortality rates and the numbers of excess deaths. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, British forces suffered 20,000 excess deaths, all young men who in normal circumstances had no reason to perish.

‘Silence’ is the story of George Mallory and the men who couldn’t stand prim Georgian England and headed to Everest and the thin air of the Himalayas to find some kind of redemption. They climbed in not much more than tweed suits stuffed with feathers and had to walk 400 miles just to reach base camp.

Their notes and letters home are preserved, so often the men seem to speak directly to the reader. It’s a long book, more than 500 pages, but might just be the thing you need during lockdown. From the trenches to the top of the world, it’s quite a read.

I suppose my real personal development book is Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course. I learnt to cook using her recipes, which any fool can follow. If it hadn’t been for the owner of Norwich City football club, I’d probably have starved.”

5) James O’Brien: Director of Customer Engagement – ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell

“Outliers examines the patterns that elevate individuals to become successful in their chosen field. A must read for anyone who continues to beat themselves up about their career or individual pursuit. Gladwell leads the reader to examine your own circumstances against a different yardstick as becoming a success is certainly not linear or straightforward.”

We really hope you can take something from these recommendations and use this troubling time to focus on becoming the best version of you, whatever that might mean… or even to focus on just getting through.

Featured

Five tips to help reduce your child’s lockdown anxieties

By Emily Byrne, Marketing Executive at YUDU

Header Image by Simon Rae

What can parents do to make sure their children aren’t anxious and overwhelmed about the Coronavirus crisis?

YUDU’s Creative Director and father of two, Charlie Stephenson gave gleaming advice on how parents can help their child to deal with Covid-19 woes. Look out for Charlie’s pearls of wisdom throughout the blog.

“Each child and age group will react differently to the news about Coronavirus. Children are like sponges and if their parents are anxious, children will likely be anxious about everything, so it is really important for parents to look after their health the best they can.”

Read these five tips for all age groups to find out how you can help your child… and yourself, cope with Covid-19.

1) Get on the same page

We must talk to children about Coronavirus in a language they understand. Answer any questions and reassure children in an age appropriate manner. Although you might not know all the answers to your child’s question, talking things through will help them feel calmer and get rid of those niggling worries. Tell your child it’s completely okay to feel scared or unsure and encourage them this will pass.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern held a press conference on Coronavirus specifically for children last month. She used a familiar metaphor to communicate the pressure now on essential keyworkers to children.

‘The Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are essential keyworkers.’

Ardern further used the metaphor to explain why children need to support keyworkers and the vulnerable in their community:

‘I say to the children of New Zealand, if the Easter Bunny doesn’t make it to your household… then we have to understand it’s perhaps a bit difficult for the bunny to make it everywhere.’

Remind your child that we are all working together to do as much as we can to fight the virus and that we’re staying inside to stop the virus spreading and to support keyworkers. Perhaps this is where Ardern’s anecdote may come in handy.

2) Soap and glory

Handwashing can be exciting? We hear you cry. At the press conference for children, Ardern was accompanied by Dr Michelle Dickinson, who specialises in science communication for children. Use fun online resources to be sure your children are scrubbing accordingly.

Dr Dickinson shared a video online this week explaining how soap actually works. The video has become a viral hit, prompting Dickinson to produce more clips as the crisis unfolds.

So, how does soap destroy Covid-19?

According to Dr Dickinson’s video, it’s thanks to the molecules of soap and the double fat coat (or lipid bilayer) that surrounds the virus.

The video boasted some interactivity as well, with children asking questions about the virus, how it’s transmitted and how to keep their grandparents safe.

3) Replace bad news with positive thoughts

In the current age the news can’t be avoided. You shouldn’t try and shield your child from the news. However, the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 guidelines suggest only viewing the news once a day. Pass on WHO’s advice to your child and emphasise that not everything they see online should be trusted as concrete news.

Be sure to speak to your child about what they’re viewing without prying on their independence. Or, watch the news with your kids so they don’t view the bad stuff without you. Remind your child to counteract the news by focussing on things which make them feel safe and happy.

Parents of younger children might want to avoid news-watching entirely, as Charlie explains:

“I don’t watch the news with the children, partly because they are too young and will get bored of it, but I don’t see the need to keep them informed of the situation as it develops. I just keep up to date with stuff on my mobile through news apps.”

News apps are a brilliant way of keeping track of events whilst keeping negative news feeds away from the comfort of the home environment.

4) Home-schooling: Reinvigorate your routine

Make the most of interactive resources like Joe Wicks’ PE at 9am every weekday or educational TV programmes such as Horrible Histories and Blue Planet. Watching all of David Attenborough should be essential to the curriculum anyway, surely?

You could design family crests, organise sports days or steal Annie Mac’s idea and surprise your child with history lessons on rave, northern soul or punk. Boost morale by painting rainbows to display on your windows to show thanks for the NHS and other key workers.

Remember, things don’t have to be super strict like school. Exams being postponed and cancelled alleviates pressure and be sure to remind your child of this.

Charlie and his family have been finding the light within the darkness of Covid-19:

“Make the best of the situation. My partner has been creating weekly videos about everything we’ve done that week the kids and it will be a good record of this strange time. We might even look back on it with fondness!”

Positive practical activities will reassure your child and reduce anxiety, as well as providing time to talk without having to call for an ever-ominous ‘big chat’.

It’s likely that schools will soon be re-opened as lockdown restrictions begin to modify after the 7th May. Make sure your child knows, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

5) Put your compassionate hat on

Make sure your compassionate to yourself as a parent as well as to your child. Charlie encourages other parents working from home whilst looking after little ones to be kind to themselves:

“As a parent don’t judge yourself too harshly about what you can realistically achieve whilst everyone is at home. These are not normal times.”

Reassure your child it’s unlikely they’ll get seriously ill and if they did, you would be there to look after them. Explain the NHS and government are doing a remarkable job of keeping everyone as safe as they can.

Let your child know the additional support you have around you as an adult. Don’t forgot to look after yourself too. If you’re feeling worried or anxious about coronavirus, talk to someone you trust.

YUDU’s Director of Crisis Management, Jim Preen recently recorded a webinar with psychotherapist, Dr Liz Royle from KRTS. Access the webinar here: https://vimeo.com/405360962.

Other useful resources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-52189013/jacinda-ardern-tooth-fairy-and-easter-bunny-are-essential-workers

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/19/jacinda-ardern-holds-special-coronavirus-press-conference-for-children

https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/

The fabulous five and horror halls

Short story By Emily Byrne

Header Image by Sandra Ahn-Mode

“Really Archibald, you’re such a pain!” Mama Dotty shouted at her husband. Their only daughter, Jennifer was too lost in her excitement and apprehension to let this bickering annoy her as it usually would. So, she continued to tuck into her cornflakes, toast and marmalade jam. For finally, the first day of Fresher’s week at St Mildew’s University had arrived.

Even though the Cazoobavirus pandemic meant that distancing measures would be in place, symptomatic students would have to isolate and also might not be able to travel home for Christmas, (this had caused Jennifer and her mother… mostly Jennifer’s mother, sleepless nights) the infection rates in Dorset and at St Mildew’s were low. This was probably the only reason Mama Dotty was allowing her daughter to study this year as planned. It had been a difficult summer to process with the virus sweeping the globe and the sadness and sympathies for the families who had lost loved ones plaguing Jennifer’s thoughts. Thank goodness Jennifer’s trusted sidekick, dear old Jimmy the dog had been by her side throughout the summer hols, trotting at her heels and keeping her positive with his tremendously cheeky personality. Now the morning of moving out to University was finally here, Jennifer felt absolutely delighted at the prospect of her new-found independence. She was off to study English Literature and dreamed to one day become a teacher. It all seemed like jolly good fun.

Time seemed to stand still as the lolling countryside and stretches of luscious fields rolled past as Jennifer sat on the train with Papa Archibald & Mama Dotty, facemasks covering their mouths and noses. The closest family were sat at the other end of the carriage and signs reading “Cazoobavirus – Stay safe. Keep a distance. Wear a mask. Stop the virus spreading”adorned the walls of the train as it trundled towards St Mildred’s.

On the near horizon, a collection of magnificent buildings clustered at the very edge of a jagged, blackened cliff. The scene was eerie and dream-like as surly clouds surged in the sky. In stark contrast, the cliff was met at its mouth by the crashing, turbulent and mesmerizing September sea. A vast collection of pointed spires stuck out high into the skyline. Supporting these spires were colossal, red-brick structures, adorned with ornate, tall windows and decorated with sweeping outdoor staircases winding in endless spirals from the tip of the buildings to the ground. Right before Jennifer’s eyes, St Mildew’s loomed ominously ahead. Her draw dropped as she marvelled at her new home. “There she is. Muma, Papa, isn’t she beautiful!” Jennifer yelped.

Papa Archibald and Mama Dotty had hoped to join Jennifer through the gates to help her move into her dormitory, though due to restrictions they had to wave goodbye at the campus entrance. Had Jennifer known what was awaiting her, she would have held her mother and father for longer and that little bit tighter. Chaperones were on hand to help buggy luggage and belongings to students’ halls of residents. Jennifer was in St. Helen’s building, floor four, room two. Students had been informed of details of their accommodation and social distancing restrictions by personal telegram, delivered by a web link from Stella Stern, the University campus coordinator.

The walk up the cliff was rather brisk and blustery, but also awe-inspiringly beautiful. Jennifer felt like she was literally on the top of the world as she looked out over the cliff onto the crashing, frothing sea. She was guided by winding stone paths and a bobbing trail of students.

On tenterhooks and with butterflies in her belly, Jennifer drummed three times on the door of floor four. Little did Jennifer know that this same door would soon become a symbol for isolation and imprisonment. Seconds later, the door was answered by a tall, broad girl with an untidy cropped shock of blond sandy hair, dressed entirely in boy’s clothing. “Good day! You must be Jennifer. I’m George. NEVER GEORGINA. The rest of the bunch are here already. Welcome to floor 4 old pip.” After a nervous giggle and a tentative and rather awkward elbow-touch handshake, Jennifer smiled and replied “Goodness. How spiffing to meet you!” She stepped into the warm, but strikingly basic threshold.

Sat, at a slight distance to one another in a huddle round a rather shabby dining table, were three other chums. George introduced; Daniel, a short and stocky brunette chap with brown cropped hair, Margo, a stunning, slim girl with auburn hair and a twinkling smile and Daisy, a petite blonde with large, sparkling green eyes and bouncing wavy hair. After hours of bonding over the pandemic and lockdown, their upbringings and their hometowns, the five’s friendship was cemented. “We shall call ourselves the fabulous five!” Margo exclaimed. “This University lark really is a hoor-ah, hey?” Jennifer replied in jest. The five chuckled tremendously. So, the fabulous five thought, let the adventures begin.

The five decided to spend the early evening drinking lashings of beer at the Barmy Professor, one of several of the historic pubs decorating St Mildew’s campus. Posters plastered around the otherwise warm, stony pub read:“Stay safe. Keep your distance. Don’t meet in groups larger than six. Isolate if you become infected or symptomatic, or come into contact with someone who is infected or symptomatic”. When combined with the presence of patrolling campus marshals, plastic distancing screens and a need to register entry to the pub through St Mildew’s Cazoobavirus App, the fabulous five felt slightly unnerved. None-the-less, a spiffing time was had by all. Once 9:30pm hit, the five downed their beer lashings, in order to be out of the pub before the 10pm curfew hit, put in place by the government in a bid to stop the virus from spreading.

“What a first-rate time we’ve had.” Daisy smiled. “Indeed. What are we going to have for tea then, five?” asked Daniel, picking up his keys and wallet from the table. “Ham and turkey sandwiches, bags of lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, heaps of tomatoes and lashings of ginger beer!” Squealed Margo. Mummy packed a picnic.” “Oh wizard”, exclaimed Daniel. They were all excited for this exquisite feast and so they walked out into the crisp October air to wander back to the flat.

“I say, what an exciting time of it.” Jennifer smiled as she waved goodbye to Margo and Daisy who perched on the kitchen counter with a small glass of red wine in each of their hands. George and Daniel had retired to bed shortly after cramming themselves full of portion after portion of turkey sandwiches. George had mentioned she felt she was starting to lose her sense of taste and smell, but all Jennifer could focus on was in spite of this, how much her and Daniel could eat!  Little did the fabulous five know of what was in store for them. As Jennifer snuggled up in her quilt like a toasty bug, ignorance was bliss. “Well, St Mildew’s really doesn’t seem all that different in the pandemic” she thought.

The sun rose over the jagged lines of the walls and roofs of St Mildew’s campus, catching the light of the windows of the little matchbox student rooms. In floor four, room two, Jennifer woke with an abrupt start. The first thing she noticed was that her throat was in agony. It felt like she had swallowed razor blades. Readying herself for her first set of virtual lectures, Jennifer couldn’t stop coughing. The cough was persistent and dry. Her temperature felt like it was sky-high and even with the window open, she couldn’t shift the feeling that she was burning up.

At 8:50am, Jennifer nipped into the kitchen to make a quick coffee to get her through a double lecture on Darwin’s Origins of the Species for her English theory class. Daisy was sat, looking sad and overwhelmed at the dining table. “You look like how I feel” muttered Daisy, playing miserably with her untouched bowl of porridge. Jennifer described her symptoms in a panicked flurry. “George and Margo feel the same, their temperatures are through the roof and neither of them can stop coughing. It’s only Daniel who says he feels OK. Lucky blighter,” warbled Daisy in a husky voice.

Jennifer couldn’t get the image of the posters in the Barmy Professor out of her head. “Stay safe. Keep your distance. Don’t meet in groups larger than six. Isolate if you become infected or symptomatic, or come into contact with someone who is infected or symptomatic.” The fabulous five met for an emergency kitchen meeting at 8:55am. They all agreed as four out of their five were suffering with more than one symptom of Cazoobavirus, they should follow the governmental guidelines and isolate for two weeks. So, just like that… isolation began.

Not only were Jennifer and the fabulous five forced to isolate from the outside world entirely, but also from each other. The five were confined to their bedrooms and had to ration food packages sent from St Mildew’s. These packages were delivered by Matron, a particularly frosty and spiky woman, whom Jennifer assumed was in her late fifties, though she was dressed in head-to-toe PPE whenever she knocked on the door. Matron spoke with a condescending tone and always passed on bottles of questionable medicines, ordering the four to take them at intervalsThe food parcels cost seven shillings to be delivered and Matron always turned up days late, without warning. To their disgust, the first food package consisted of mouldy bread, milk, dried goods and an assortment of entirely rotten vegetables, not fit for human consumption. Such was the manor of Matron, that none of the five felt brave enough to complain about the quality of their costly food packages.

The five kept up communication through a WhatsApp group, though missed social interaction with each other terribly. Trips to the kitchen were conducted on a rota basis, in a bid to protect Daniel from catching the virus. This felt other-worldly and strange. The fabulous five’s fortnight of fresher’s fun had been cut short. Had Jennifer known that their night at the pub would be their last for the foreseeable future, she would have made her lashings of beer last that little bit longer.

As the days and weeks in isolation rolled on, Jennifer would have given the world to hear dear Papa Archibald and Muma Dotty’s voices in person. The only way Jennifer had been able to speak to her parents was over panicked phone calls and frantic texts. She would happily listen to them bickering away as she was trying to eat her cornflakes. Jennifer’s mouth felt so dry and tasteless, that she couldn’t imagine stomaching even a single cornflake now. Jennifer longed to cuddle dear Jimmy the dog and breathe in his musky scent.

Jennifer found trying to keep up with her studies relentless. Even getting up to visit the bathroom was followed by half an hour of feeling short of breath and entailed disinfecting every surface she had touched. One night, Jennifer could have sworn she heard someone rattling at the door chain of floor flour, screeching “One of you doesn’t have Coronavirus. We’ve come to give it to you!” The screech was supported by squeals of menacing laughter. “What a frightful mess” and “what a perfectly sinister individual!” Jennifer thought, shuddering and unsure if she was asleep or awake as she drifted into the delirium of fever.

As the days dragged on, Jennifer’s room began to feel sinister and unwelcoming, a vessel to harbour her troubled, worried thoughts. The walls of floor four, St. Helen’s seemed to be closing in on Jennifer and the rest of the fabulous five. The walls which had become those of the halls of horror.

Finally, the fabulous five’s quarantine came to an end. The four were no longer symptomatic of the Cazoobavirus as proved by tests sent by the University. Daniel had remained uninfected, astonishingly. The entire experience had been lonely and emotionally traumatic. Jennifer would happily never experience the dreary presence of Matron ever again, even if it had been at a distance!

At last, free to go on jolly jape adventures after what had felt like a lifetime of being locked in horror halls, the fabulous five finally reassembled and headed out to the University grounds. They were wrapped up in coats, gloves, scarves and hats like little multi-coloured marshmallows.

Never had the crisp Autumn air smelt so fresh, thought Jennifer. The fabulous five chatted and ran through the dewy grass like children, feeling more grateful than ever before for the outside world and nature’s beauty. They relished the crisp autumn leaves and their stunning coastal surroundings. As they peeped over the cliff-edge, the menacing waves lashed against the rocks. All the five could see was the sea for miles and miles. “I say, isn’t the fresh air doing the power of good?” Margo called out, her white smile twinkling in the sunlight. “It’s jolly well a dream!” Daniel exclaimed.

One thing was for sure: the last fortnight had been horrendous. Jennifer couldn’t help but feel terrified for the state of the world and of Coroobavirus, it’s menacing hold and endless fevers and delirium still haunted her in her dreams. She feared terribly for all those infected because she knew of their pain. The fabulous five knew they were lucky in some sense, as their cases were mild. They all felt fearfully worried for those with severe cases.

Jennifer also longed to spend Christmas with Mama Dotty, Papa Archibald and dear Jimmy the dog by the fire, toasting chestnuts, stuffing themselves with turkey and heaps of vegetables, foraging for herbs in the allotment and sitting around the grand, sparkling Christmas tree sipping perfectly wizard bucks-fizz. She could picture it as she gazed idly out at sea. It was a distant wish rather than a reality. The government had ordered yesterday, that all University students without considerable mitigations remain at University throughout the Christmas holidays and even on Christmas day. The prospect of a socially distanced Christmas meal in the Barmy Professor wasn’t all that spiffing.

Snapping herself out of the gloomy mood which had overwhelmed her this month, Jennifer engaged in heaps of jolly good fun with the fabulous five to take her mind off things. The bright side of the situation, (for Mama Dotty always encouraged Jennifer to find the silver lining in every cloud), was the fabulous five had formed an unbreakable friendship and they now had each other to depend on. That and many tremendously jolly adventures to look forward to.

“I say old five, isn’t it truly splendid to be free?” exclaimed George, her masculine face beaming. “Quite right, dear chums of mine” Replied Jennifer, a sudden smile plastering itself over her face. Jennifer saw George, Daniel, Daisy and Margo’s faces light up as they grinned back at her. Little did the fabulous five know that this new-found freedom was only the start of the years of super-fun they would come to encounter together.

20 facts you never knew about the Violin – Freelance article for Ted’s list

The Violin is the upper-voice in the String family in an orchestra. The Violin is known historically to celebrate the human voice, due to its human shape and human-like voice. It’s fitting that Italy is the country of the Violin’s origin, it being the land of the Opera and the celebration of the human voice.

Members of the Violin family include the Violin itself, the Cello, the Double Bass and the Electric Violin. Different types of Violins have presented themselves throughout history, such as the Horn-Violin, which unsurprisingly, creates sound using a horn rather than a soundbox.

Here are twenty interesting facts about this compelling instrument.

1. The first Violin was invented in the 16th Century

Most historians believe the first ever Violin was created in the early 16th Century in Northern Italy. This area is thought to have maintained the violin-making tradition for many centuries. Then and since, maple and spruce are the two types of wood favoured by Violin-makers. Both woods are readily available in the Lombardy region.

2) The world’s most expensive Violin

The Vieuxtemps Guarneri is thought to be the most expensive Violin in the world. The Guarneri del Gesù instrument sold for a cool $16 million dollars, that’s (£10.5 million)! The instrument’s new owner anonymously donated the historic instrument on loan to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, on loan for the rest of her life. What a generous offer!

3) Violins are very complex. Violins are made up of…

A modern Violin is made up of approximately 70 different types of wood. Now, let’s talk about the Violin’s anatomy. There are six main parts to the violin. These are the tuning pegs, the fingerboard, the F-hole, the bridge, the chin rest and the fine tuners.

4) What are the different types of Violin?

Today:

• The Violin
• The Electric Violin, as suggested by its name, uses electricity to generate sound. No F-board is required. The Electric Violin will produce a more acoustic sound when plugged into an amplifier.
• The Semi-Electric Violin is also known as the Electric-Acoustic Violin and its internal acoustics mean that it still produces an acoustic sound even when it’s not plugged into an amplifier. For this reason, it is also known as the Electric Pick-Up Violin.
• The Violin family consists of the Violin, the Viola, the Double bass, the Cello and the Violone, which is even larger than the Cello.

Historically:

• Pre-Baroque stringed instruments existed, like the Baroque violin, which was the forefather of the Violin.
• The Classical Violin was invented in the late 18th, early 19th Century. The classical Violin has a slimmer neck and a higher string tension than the standard Violin.
• The Stroh Violin, which is often referred to as the Horn-Violin was developed by John Stroh in the late 19th Century. This Violin uses a horn rather than a sound box to project sound.

5) How many strings?

The Violin has four strings. These are, from high to low; E, A, D and G.

6) The Violin is a String Instrument

The string family is the largest in a modern-day orchestra. The string family is made up of the Violin, the Viola, the Cello and the Double Bass.

7) The world’s smallest Violin

The world’s smallest Violin measures in at just 3” (76.2mm). Baltaza Monaca is the owner of this tiny treasure and you can hear him play Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in A Minor here: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/latest/biggest-and-smallest-violin/

8) The world’s largest Violin

The world’s largest Violin is the brainchild of Markneukirchen Master Luthier, Ekkard Seidl. This epic instrument measures in at 5 metres tall and weighs 397lbs (180kg). It took Ekkard Seidl 2000 hours to construct. You can marvel at the mammoth-sized Violin here: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/latest/biggest-and-smallest-violin/

9) The origins of the Electric Violin

The Electric Violin was born in the 1920s, in the era of Blues and Jazz. Jazz and Blues musician, Stuff Smith began to play around with modifying Violins. In the 1930s and 1940s manufacturers like The Vega Company and The Electro Stringed Instrument Corporation began to produce Electric Violins. The first solid model was released in 1939 by Vega.

10) The Electric Violin’s impact on Rock music

Originally, the Violin was only considered to work in creating Classical, Blues and Jazz music. However, in the 1960s rock artists began to experiment with Electric Violins and found them to suit and amplify their style. The WHO are known for some of the best Electric Violin solos ever recorded, the unique sound of U2’s “Sunday, bloody Sunday” was created with an Electric Violin (played by Steve Whickham) and Bob Dylan used an Electric Violin to record his protest song, “Hurricane”, to name just a few examples.

11) Manufacturers continue to perfect the Electric Violin

Electric Violins didn’t reach their maturity in the 1970s and many manufacturers continue to research and modify models. The Electric Violin is less established than the Violin or Cello and is often seen as an experimental instrument. Luthier Yuri Landman created an Electric Violin with 12 strings, which are clustered in groups of four with three strings in each cluster.

12) How does the Violin produce sound?

How is the brilliant tone characteristic of the Violin created? Vibrations from the strings are transmitted to both the top and bottom plate through the bridge. This reverberates within the Violin’s hollow body, to provide its rich sound.
A bowed string vibrates, moving in a circular motion to produce the tone and the vibrations produces overtones like a rippling wave. The complex movement of the string becomes transmitted to the body by the bridge. The bridge then transmits this vibration to the Violin’s top plate through two movements. One in which it pushes down on the top plate alternately one foot at a time and the other in which both feet push down on the top plate at the same time.
The sound post is also very important. This is a post sandwiched between the top and bottom plate underneath the bridge. It transmits vibrations from top to bottom plate and also serves to preserve the shape of the Violin’s body. The piece sitting under the bridge in the Violin, on the right-hand side is the sound post.

13) Violin on the brain

Here’s some food for thought. Research studies show Violinists have faster cognitive processing speeds than the average person. Additionally, Harvard University concluded that early Violin training improves the memory. Researchers studying the brain’s plasticity regularly use the Violin to investigate how much the brain can adapt. What more reason do you need to learn?

14) How many calories per hour does playing the Violin burn?

Playing the Violin burns roughly 170 calories per hour. Ditch your work-out and get practicing!

15) Where does the name come from?

The word ‘Violin’ comes from the Medieval Latin word, ‘vitula’, which means ‘stringed instrument’ and also ‘female cow’!

16) How many hairs are in a Violin bow?

Violin bows are usually made up of 150 to 200 individual hairs. Bows can be made up of a variety of materials, such as nylon and horse-hair.

17) Alternative materials Violins have been made up of

Way back in the day, Violin strings were made from sheep gut, commonly known as Catgut. The gut was stretched, dried and twisted… how pleasant! Other materials Violins have been made up of, other than wood, include; standard and solid steel, synthetic materials, other metals and are even sometimes plated with silver… fancy! Violin strings were originally made from dried animal intestines.

18) The Violin in the orchestra

Before the roll of Conductors, the Violin was seen to be the leader of the orchestra.

19) What’s the world record of cycling backwards playing the Violin? (In case you were wondering!)

The world record of cycling backwards whilst playing the Violin (crazy, we know), stands at 60.45 km, achieved in 5 hours and 8 seconds.

20) Violins across the world

Indian Violinists sit cross-legged when playing the Violin, resting the scroll of the Violin at their feet and the bottom of the Violin underneath their chin – pretty nifty!

URLs used to research:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/magazine/2019/01-02/invention-of-musical-string-instrument-violin/#:~:text=Most%20historians%20agree%20that%20today’s,available%20in%20the%20Lombardy%20region.

https://www.allianzmusicalinsurance.co.uk/latest-news/blogs/expensive-instruments.html#:~:text=1)%20The%20Vieuxtemps%20Guarneri%20Violin,the%20rest%20of%20her%20life.

https://www.ducksters.com/musicforkids/violin_parts.php

The Anatomy of A Violin

http://www.get-tuned.com/types-of-violins.php

Different Types of Violins

https://www.orsymphony.org/learning-community/instruments/strings/

https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/latest/biggest-and-smallest-violin/

https://sound-unsound.com/3-cool-facts-about-the-history-of-the-electric-violin/

10 Interesting Facts About the Violin

https://takelessons.com/blog/interesting-violin-facts-z08

https://cnx.org/contents/56668187-c592-414d-8530-d046cf37ffbe#:~:text=The%20violin%20is%20the%20upper%20voice%20in%20the%20stringed%20instrument%20family.&text=Open%20Strings%20These%20are%20the,celebration%20of%20the%20human%20voice.

https://www.yamaha.com/en/musical_instrument_guide/violin/mechanism/mechanism004.html#:~:text=The%20vibration%20of%20the%20strings%20produces%20a%20spectacular%20sound&text=A%20bowed%20string%20vibrates%20and,the%20body%20by%20the%20bridge

https://www.johnsonstring.com/resources/rock-songs-violins/

https://www.yamaha.com/en/musical_instrument_guide/violin/mechanism/mechanism004.html#:~:text=The%20vibration%20of%20the%20strings%20produces%20a%20spectacular%20sound&text=A%20bowed%20string%20vibrates%20and,the%20body%20by%20the%20bridge

Sentinel Check-in: You don’t need wifi or an app for the taps

By Emily Byrne and James O’Brien

Header Image by Gemma Smith

With reference to: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/pubs-opening-rules-contact-tracing by Matt Burgess

Super Saturday saw the easing of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of pubs across the UK. With thousands of thirsty punters who’d been locked up for months unleashed, did wifi and app-based Track and Trace solutions see things running as smoothly as they should have?

Guest wifi and apps are well known treasure troves for cyber criminals to access your data. With pub chain owners using wifi connections and apps to Track and Trace their customers – How can visitors be sure that what they’re connecting to is secure?

Rowenna Fielding head of individual rights and ethics at data protection consultancy Protecture, advises:

‘If you’re unsure of how information is being handled, ask the pub. “Ask questions about how is it going to be stored? What are you going to do with it? How are you going to delete it? If those questions aren’t or can’t be answered, then maybe you’re better off having a drink somewhere else.’

Weary about wifi: The questions on our lips

Pub chains using wifi to Track and Trace their punters claim that logging on to a network is the easy option. Really? Register with an email address, forgetting your password, resetting your password. There is a queue behind you. Accessing your registration email, showing the email to the bar staff, all before a pint is pulled. Easy?

There are also issues around the email addressed used to register – you can technically register with any email address – if the track and trace team might want to contact the customer – how can the pub be sure that the email address is being monitored? It could be days or weeks before the customer acknowledges the email.

Going down the wifi route also opens up your customers to cyber criminals – whose sophisticated techniques can take over devices in an instant. The anti-social engineer explains how this is done here: https://theantisocialengineer.com/2020/03/20/how-low-will-they-go/

https://www.yudu.com/resources/webinar/cyber-security-with-antisocial-engineer

Does an app really have your back?

Older people and technophobes will be alienated by the fact they have to download an app, enter their log in details and host the app on their phone to enter many pubs. Many might not have a Smartphone, (20% of the population in the UK don’t), or know how to install an app. We’re not all tech-whizzes and that’s OK.

Say you want to visit a few pubs post-lockdown (we don’t blame you!), are you going to download a different app for every pub you enter? That’s asking a lot from the customer, who just wants to order a pint, or a cocktail – it’s been 12 weeks.

Data Disaster – Why pen and paper won’t work

In other countries whose bars and restaurants have used manual data-sheet registration to Track and Trace their customers, there have been incidents of female customers receiving unsolicited and undesirable messages from bar-staff. This approach means that customers are likely to provide fictional data.

All it takes is a member of staff (or the public, if the sheets are on display) to take a note of or a picture of your personal data and they’ve got you. Your name, address, email, phone number.

As a young female this really doesn’t sit right with me and I certainly wouldn’t give accurate ID as a result. So how is this an effective way of collecting important information?

Vinod Bange, head of data practice at global law firm Taylor Wessing advises: ‘There will be risks for pubs and other businesses whether they adopt a low-tech paper approach […] or use an app to collect data.’

Just because something’s familiar, doesn’t mean it’s the data-secure option.

Sentinel Check-in: Your simple solution

With Sentinel Check-in, there’s no friction for the customer – simply scan the QR code on your chosen pub’s poster at entrance or ring their number. A SMS will automatically come through to you and to the pub, confirming the date and time of your entry. Tap straight to the taps in less than 20 seconds. It’s swift, safe and secure, so you can enjoy your pint in peace.

Our system in agnostic and inclusive, encouraging use for anyone that wants to walk into a pub.

See for yourself and Try a demo: https://www.yudu.com/sentinel-check-in/demo

Register your pub and be setup in under 24 hours: https://www.yudu.com/sentinel-check-in/register

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