Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop

Fake News is everywhere, but do you know how to spot it? We visited the Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop to find out more.

Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop is an educational trip for KS2 & KS3 children. As the title suggests, it’s a workshop which goes through stories showing how to spot ‘fake news’.

Suitable for classes of up to 30 children, it is held within a room at Madame Tussauds which can also be used as a lunch space before or after the workshop. There are two workshops a day at 11.00 and 2.30.

Across the Merlin attractions, places like SeaLife or places like Chessington Zoo have obvious educational elements. So what does the Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop involve?

You read a (fake) news article which you analyse and break down. Does the news have an official source quoting it? Is there an expert who has offered advice? What is the source of the story? As an adult I often have trouble knowing which articles are real and which are spoofs beyond the obvious ones. As we said on the night, the real headlines are starting to sound like spoof pages – how is someone H’s age (9) going to work it all out?

This workshop helps give you the tools to work it out. There are so many aspects of news – it isn’t just our newspapers these days. Everyone has a part to play if they’re active and have an opinion in some way that they want to share.

Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop - The Differences

The second part of the workshop had several members of staff holding words which are relevant to places which share news. From blogging, vlogging and more, there was a lot to talk about. It was an eye opener for H, she’s asked a lot of questions about this blog since. I’ve been able to reassure her that I don’t break the news on here!

After that we had to think of our own fake news story in groups, with four or five different stories that we read out and discussed.

Madame Tussauds Fake News Goalkeepers Flossing

See the photo for ours – a scurrilous rumour that Hugo Lloris had taken up flossing in goal recently, and that the craze was spreading amongst Premiership goalkeepers, particularly during penalties. That’ll be the Fortnite flossing, not the dental kind. Hashtag #goalkeepersflossing

We read our article and everyone had to spot how it was fake, and base it on what we learned. Reading it back, it was obviously fake and quite often it’s difficult to tell if the story is real or not – especially as the real world media seems to be turning into the Daily Mash every other day.

Information about Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop can be found here.

Of course, you can’t visit Madame Tussauds without seeing some of the waxworks. As we were the only people there it was quite eerie at times; the waxworks looked so real!

Madame Tussauds various

Here’s a selection of the shots H went for. Being nine she didn’t know everyone, but said “ooooh! I want a selfie – who is this?” when spotting Kim and Kanye. Of course she got a Harry and Meghan shot too. The icing on the cake was when we found Henry VIII – her homework that weekend was to write a fact file. It was accompanied with a photo!

Madame Tussauds various

We attended the Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop and got to wander around Madame Tussauds, all opinions are our own. 

Changing Schools – Well That Happened Quickly

So it became, that yesterday was H’s last day at the school with classmates she has been with since nursery. Things are moving quickly, much quicker than I thought they would and we’re having to deal with changing schools.

Changing schools isn’t a quick process overall. We’re changing boroughs, so once we knew we were going to move, got the paperwork in place. Croydon borough have an in-year transfer which was straightforward to fill out. We got H’s old head teacher to approve our application, emailed it over and that was that.

Nothing could be done in the meantime as schools went on holiday – which meant lots of waiting and wondering what would happen. As it was, Croydon did some general waiting list tidying and we were told where our position on the list would be a few weeks later.

At that point she was third on the list for our preferred school. Once we sent over confirmation of our new address she moved to first in the list.

So we knew a place was imminent, but that would depend on someone leaving the school and that’s impossible to gauge.

 

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I settled into a routine with a 25 minute a day drive home from her old school, hoping for change. Shaun lost two and a half hours of his day driving her into school on days when he worked from home. Not ideal.

On Wednesday the call came. There’s a space. I may have jumped around excitedly, asked a billion questions and made viewing appointments; we couldn’t go during the holidays for obvious reasons – there was nobody there!

That was that. We decided to switch quickly though this gives very little time for goodbyes. A new start, a new school. New school uniform too, though most of her old uniform is fine.

So now we have a weekend buying new school uniform. Our new school uses the Tesco embroidery service so I’ve ordered. We’ll get other bits so we can get through the next couple of weeks until our order arrives.

My trusty Stamptastic pad is ready for more labelling too – my review is five years old and we’re still going strong.

Emotionally, H was shocked. I had brought up changing schools several times in conversation to get her used to talking about it. This is the reality now – she has left her old friends behind, but thanks to mobile phones and emails they can stay in touch.

The new school looks amazing too – we finally have a school with a playing field, rather than an inner-London playground. We’ll all miss the old school a lot, while looking forward to new adventures as we move forwards.

 

The Old House, Eight Years

I found these two images of our old house. I didn’t realise how similar they are. The oldest of a young (old) family moving into a space which would become their home.

old house 2010

A baby H not quite crawling, nowhere near walking, but getting the hang of it. Having this huge space to move around in and working it all out. When we moved from our old place, she could reach to grab things. When we moved to the old place she had to work out how to move further.

It started as a happy place. We had ups and downs, but it was our home.

In the old house our floor seemed to be a shelving unit.. with piles of things left everywhere.

Old House 2018

The keys are back with the letting agents. We’re waiting for our deposit to be returned.

The reason we’ve rented for so long was the lack of affordable houses near us. Our only option was Shared Ownership although there was nothing locally.  Local developments which had houses earmarked as affordable seemed to switch to the riskier Help to Buy option. With only 21 years before we (potentially) retire, it isn’t an option for us.

With Shared Ownership there is no holding deposit. This house is ours. Nobody is going to sell it and force us out. Nobody is going to insist we keep everything neutral and to the landlady’s taste. It’s ours.

There’s one major difference in the two photos. The radiator. We had central heating installed after our carbon monoxide leak.

It’s now our responsibility to get our gas boiler checked every year – not someone else’s to forget about. Gas Safety Week 2018 is in a couple of weeks.

That chapter is closed now we’re out of the old house. The old, painful memories aren’t there every day any more.

Buying a Shared Ownership Property – Insurance

moving house, our new living room, insurance

Insurance for insurance, and more insurance for that insurance. Oh, and by the way, would you like to write your will? That’s what this last month has felt like. 

Insurance is one of those things which is making me SO cross right now. There are so many things which need insuring; things we’ve never had to think about before. 

The plus side is by buying a Shared Ownership property the housing association takes care of the buildings insurance. Though as I’ve found out, if a tile falls off your new build roof, you can spend anything up to two days wondering when someone is going to let you know what’s going on. It’s slightly better than renting. 

The down side is the things you have to insure. We changed address on our contents insurance and were charged an additional £20 fee. I’d love to know how they can justify that charge – surely it’s just pressing a button?

Then again when we rented we’d be charged a £50 annual fee for paperwork. The letting agents occasionally remembered to send us a copy once we had signed it too.

We’ve got car insurance covered. Well, apart from the fact that our policy we had went up way too high, so we re-did it via Compare the Market and got a price similar to the one we originally did. There’s no logic there… at all. 

We have life cover dating back to 2003 which was a jolly sensible thing to do. The majority of our cover costs us next to nothing each month, whereas to top it up to our mortgage amount costs us almost double the original amount. Because it’s through the same company we get a small monthly discount too which is handy. 

I’m thinking ahead. While I feel like my job is safe, who knows what is going to happen after Brexit. So I need to make sure our mortgage payments are covered – so there’s another type of insurance that looks after that. 

Our solicitor cheekily mentioned us making a will. I’ve seen that Macmillan are offering free wills for the month of August, so if we can get our act together quickly enough, hopefully we can do it, otherwise I’ll be on the lookout for the next time we can. 

Can I have a month off all this grown up stuff please? 

Your House Move – There’s a Lot to Think About.

A house move is said to be one of the most stressful things you can go through. I think I managed to forget this fact.

It took well over a week thanks to having far too much stuff, though we’re in now! Things are slowly making their way into the place they’ll belong.

It is stressful, exciting, tiring, exhausting and so much more. Insomnia reared its ugly head again, reminding me what it was like to have too much going on in your head.

I’ll do a bigger post very soon, but being a practically minded kind of person, it’s important to get things in place before you move, such as insurance.

In 2003 we took out Life Insurance. Because of this existing policy, our new cover didn’t need to be quite as high, plus we got a discount. This is fortunate, as a 2003 premium is way better than a 2018 one.

Because of my age our overall mortgage term has reduced to 21 years, rather than the standard 25. Fortunately there’s plenty of choice out there which cover older people, so it wasn’t difficult to find what we needed.

Now we’re having to look into our contents insurance. Our premiums have jumped, possibly due to this postcode being a new build. The bonus is that we’re in Shared Ownership so don’t have to take out buildings insurance – our housing association covers that.

The next things we’re looking at are policies which protect our mortgage payments should we lose our jobs. We also need to make a will. I believe November is the month to do that. I feel quite grown up about the whole thing, while still in a bubble about it all happening. It happened so quickly…

The main thing is we now own part of a house, nobody is going to put it up for sale and we can stay here as long as we want to without the fear of something going wrong.

If something does go wrong, our insurance has to cover it. I think that’s a fairly simple way of looking at things? After all, if this is the place we spend the rest of our lives, it makes sense to have everything looked after so we can just live here rather than worry about everything.

When it came to the house move itself, we saved quite a lot of money doing it ourselves. We hired a van for three days, which cost us around £90. A few days later we hired a smaller van to take the rest of our belongings to the local civic amenity site at around £30.

I used the Anyvan service to have two men move our largest things which ended up being our two settees and our bed which cost around £130.

I think next time I consider a house move I’ll pay someone else to do the packing, though there was a lot of KonMari-ing and some severe Swedish Death Cleaning going on. But our shelves are looking a lot better now, and we have books that bring us joy.

There are also still shelves in the hallway, but hey, they might be gone in a week…

Then there’s the property we left. Our contract says we have to make sure everything is clean and how we found it. Shaun has done a lot of painting and we’ve borrowed next door’s Vax machine which should do the trick. If not, there’s always the chance to hire a Rug Doctor.

I’ll be glad when this is all over. Moving house is not my idea of fun, and especially not over the summer holidays! I’d much rather have a holiday instead – especially with this weather we’ve had.

Rabbitgoo No-Glue Window Film Stickers

Rabbitgoo no-glue window film stickers are my latest find. They provide privacy to our house where we haven’t got around to buying curtains. 

Rabbitgoo window stickers for privacy

Rabbitgoo is a simple, easy solution to privacy at home. Got windows which look out onto the road, and you’re not quite ready to buy curtains or blinds just yet? How about a simple plastic film which you cut to size and stick to your windows?

It really is that simple. My neighbour at our last house had some on her windows and recommended Rabbitgoo. 

Rabbitgoo is easy to apply as well. Cut the film to size first of all, and I’d also recommend peeling a section as it can be tricky. Simply clean your window surface, add soapy water and stick on the film. A squeegee is handy for getting rid of bubbles too. It can be peeled and re-stuck easily. 

The soapy water holds the film in place nice and securely too. We’re a week in and other than spotting a few bubbles here and there, it has done exactly what we need it to. 

The good news is there are several types of Rabbitgoo designs and Amazon has them all for sale. Each tube is around the £10 mark. We have enough I could do our windows again too.

I like that it gives us a bit of privacy through the day. With us being in a new build area, there are often people driving around looking at the different houses. 

rabbitgoo window stickers rainbow patterns

There are a lot of designs available with varying levels of privacy. I like the design I chose as when the sun comes through the windows it creates several little rainbows on our kitchen tops and floor. 

We’ve already had a lot of comments from friends about how good it looks as well!

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner

I’m well into my later years of life these days, properly perimenopausal and waiting for it all to stop (I give it a couple of years). If you were to look at the symptoms of perimenopause there are many. One which has reared its ugly head in the last year has been an itchy scalp. I was sent some samples of Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner to try, to see if they made a difference.

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner is a new brand to me and one I was keen to try. They look at what makes a scalp itchy and try to fix that problem. I have a very itchy head occasionally, I often wonder if H has picked up headlice from school. It’s that kind of an itch, and never looks good in public when you’re scratching your head.

I switched all my shampoos to non-phosphate ones which has helped, though the itching reappears by the end of the day or overnight. So would the Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner make a difference?

I like the smell of the shampoo – the juniper smell reminds me of a nicer T-Gel. I didn’t need a lot for my long hair, and made sure to concentrate on the scalp area. You need to keep it on your hair for a couple of minutes then rinse.

I received a booklet with the products which explains the science behind an itchy scalp. Rather than type it all up word for word, here’s an explanation. Basically, most shampoos don’t deal with the problem the way they should – whereas these do. The ‘Controls Skin Cell Growth’ part explains it best. My mum has terrible psoriasis on her scalp and nothing fixes it (I might treat her to some of this) – probably because it isn’t being treated properly.

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner works some kind of magic, my head wasn’t itchy for an entire day. You use the shampoo fairly frequently to start, decreasing over time until you’re using it once or twice a week.

They don’t test on animals too, the shampoo and conditioner are vegan and cruelty free. 

The conditioner is soothing and easy to apply as well. I found I didn’t need to use it every day, just once or twice a week. 

At almost £17.50 for 250ml the shampoo isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny for itch-free days. If you have a flaky scalp and you’re not sure how to fix it, I highly recommend Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner. The Tony Maleedy site is here, you can also buy it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

I was sent the Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

Primark Foot Peel – Holler and Glow Purrfect Pedi

Sometimes you want to put your feet up and relax, and look at your feet. Dry, scaly and quite frankly, unattractive views often happen when I do this. It’s not great. So I bought the Primark foot peel from the Holler and Glow range. I want lovely feet.

Primark foot peel Holler and Glow purrfect pedi

The Primark foot peel has a bargain price of just £4. My kind of budget. But does it work? This is the important question. Will my heels be as soft as a baby’s.. um… heel?

The Holler and Glow range is low priced and from what I’ve read has good reviews of the face masks (I am yet to try them) – but what about the feet?

Last year I tried a foot peel and what should have taken a couple of weeks took almost two months to peel. It wasn’t fun. I didn’t have perfect holiday feet, I had peeling Birkenstock feet. Not an attractive look.  As we’re not going on holiday this year I figured it would be a good time to try again, after all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Things I learned from last time. Soaking feet helps a lot. Not soaking feet means it takes forever. So I was sensible, followed the instructions and kept these delights on my feet for an hour and a half. Attractive.

Primark foot peel - Holler and Glow

Imagine my surprise when experiencing the heatwave we’ve just had in the UK, on removing my socks from my sweaty feet, my feet had already started peeling quite significantly! If only I had known six weeks earlier… it took a day and the softer skin was coming off. 

Annoyingly, it seemed to be only these sections of my feet which peeled off. The very dry skin is still there and very dry. I’m a couple of weeks in now with minor peeling left and I don’t feel like what I hoped would happen has happened. 

I really wanted the hard skin on my heel to have gone, but it’s still there, as dry as ever. I’m not sure the Primark foot peel works the way it is meant to – possibly not getting deep enough into my dry skin layers?

In summary, if you’re expecting miracle soft feet from the Primark foot peel, it’s unlikely to happen. If you want to go in with a soft level peel, this might be a good place to start.

Me? I’m just waiting for next spring to try again. Maybe with my knowledge across two foot peels I might get it right the next time! 

Moving House – A Big Blank Canvas

moving house, our new living room

Moving house is definitely in my top ten of stressful things that I have to deal with. I’ve had my fair share of it, having lived in several places. We’ve only moved as a family of three the once, over eight years ago. This is a big one.

Very soon we’ll be moving house, moving from the world of renting to Shared Ownership. We’re moving areas too, though only fifteen minutes up the road. Far enough that we have to change schools.

Shared Ownership is when you part buy and part rent a house. There are quite a few flats out there, though houses seem to be more difficult to come by. We wanted a garden and we wanted a nice area which we’ve eventually got – it took about two years of looking.

House prices around here are too much for us, and even where we’re moving they’re as high. With Shared Ownership we own 30% of the house, paying rent on the other 70%. It works out exactly the same price as renting so we’re not out of pocket.

A new housing development near where we currently live had Shared Ownership houses planned, though they appear to have dropped off the developers plans. This has happened a lot and gets quite frustrating when all you want to do is settle.

Our house is a new build which is where being a blank canvas comes in. We have a lot of pictures from renting and not being able to decorate, indeed, I’ve been told that you can’t decorate or paint a new build for the first year until everything has settled. We’re in no hurry.

moving house, the stairs with H on them

When we’re settled I’ll write up the mortgage process and what we found we had to look out for. It went through smoothly, helped with us both having taken out Help to Buy ISAs. When you close your ISA, your solicitor claims back 25% of the value from the Government which is a big help.

Things are moving along nicely, other than getting rid of a lot of our things – mainly things we really don’t need any more. Marie Kondo has been with me in spirit helping me tear myself away from most things…

The moving house day is a week or two away, that has given me time to sort out the transfer of internet, tv and phone services. This time we’re going with BT for everything.  I’m booking removal vans and we’re hiring one to do smaller journeys once we get our keys.

moving house - looking outside to the garden

H is getting used to the idea now. Her room has a little cubby hole which is going to be a reading corner over time. She has the books for it – I suspect we’ll need bigger shelves. She’s enjoying planning her space. 

moving house, the cubby hole, to be a great reading corner

End of Term Gifts for Everyone

I have often joined in with other mums in class to do a collection for our teachers. I have often given boxes of chocolates to people to thank them for teaching my daughter in swimming, Brownies or football. End of term gifts are important (we feel).

End of term gifts are that tradition that is getting a bit out of hand. It has just passed and with it came the acknowledgments for everyone who made H’s last term a good one. So that’s one teacher, two teaching assistants, two Brownie leaders, five young leaders, one swimming teacher and one football coach.

It can get expensive…

So this year we invested in two things – a glass cutting tool which is remarkably cheap via ebay – and a wood burning tool.

glass cutting tool

We did a trip to Ikea for a pack of six glasses and some wooden spoons, ready to create.

The glass cutting tool is the easiest of the two once you get the hang of it. H wrote a message on a small piece of paper which was stuck inside the glass to trace. I outlined it on the glass, and H filled in the area a bit more.

doing some glass cutting

Remove the paper from behind and you will have a clear idea which bits need extra cutting.

One thing to bear in mind is there will be glass shavings on your table, so cover it up accordingly and clean up well afterwards. This isn’t recommended for outside crafts, especially if windy.

The wood burning tool was slightly trickier. The heat involved can burn you – fortunately I had blistered fingers though learnt my lesson the hard way. I always have tweezers handy to change the nibs on the tool. Ours has six different nibs you can use, including several which can just be stamped.

For obvious reasons I don’t have any photos – it was extremely hot to hold.

H wasn’t so keen on the writing side, but loved stamping designs so as a compromise she wrote her messages on her spoon in pencil and I wrote over them using the wood burning tool.

Spoons for teachers using a wood burning tool, still needs to be gone over again but you get the idea of how it will look

It isn’t easy, but gets easier with practice. You have to hold the tool quite far back – so not like a pencil. Slowly and patiently are the way forward.

We had some Tiger Stores clear wrap and gingham ribbon which made the end of term gifts easy to decorate. Wash the glasses carefully and fill with sweets. Wrap the clear wrap around them, tape at the bottom and gather at the top with an elastic band. Get a piece of gingham ribbon and tie a label for the person it’s for around it.

end of term gifts - glass cut glasses filled with sweets

I think the end of term gifts look pretty good! The best thing is they’re something practical too, though I have heard horror stories about teachers having cupboards full of mugs…