High tech firm uses the old and reclaimed to deck out city offices

Mobile App firm combines brand new high tech with reclaimed and recycled

A MOBILE media company in the heart of London has kitted out its high-tech offices with furniture and fittings made from second-hand reclaimed timber.

Blippar is a new type of mobile platform and medium for smart devices with the power to turn physical imagery, print or products into instantaneous, interactive use on a smart phone or tablet. The company has an office in New York and recently launched in Japan.

Steve Spencer, one of the founders and Chief Creative Office, said they chose St Albans Wood Recycling to make the furniture after searching online for an ‘industrial’ type boardroom table.

“We were after material which had a  worn and solid feel such as scaffold boards or similar and saw something similar for sale by them. We then contracted them directly after looking at their website.

“We are a young, growing and dynamic business and wanted to reflect our company values in the new offices we have just acquired in Holborn. The idea of using recycled materials to create something tactile and beautiful was a great fit for us, plus the price was cost effective,” he said.

The St Albans Wood Recycling team designed, made and installed the 13 ft length boardroom table, a custom-designed fruit box wall for awards and showcasing, plus bespoke shelf cupboard wall units which span the width of the office.

“The work provided has been the cherry on the cake. The wood works really well with the industrial metal and concrete materials we already have. It’s made the office a great place to work and an environment that encourages creativity and teamwork. Also, making something useful and in some cases beautiful out of other peoples’ rubbish appeals to us. Plus, investing in a charity based, social enterprise was another incentive to go with St Albans Wood Recycling,” added Steve.

Jennie McDowell,  assistant manager at the Herts-based, not for profit organisation, said getting the large table delivered and installed safely was a challenge, but one everyone enjoyed, especially on seeing the results.

“The table weighed half a tonne and we carried it up six flights of stairs in the heat! But we stick to tight deadlines and deliver on time.

“It’s great to see that even the most high-tech and modern of businesses can also use our reclaimed wood products and put them to great use, while helping the environment and create sustainable practises. Our work can fit in to the oldest home or garden or the most modern city building, plus it’s a lot more affordable.”

And Steve concluded: “The recyclers offer great craftsmanship and are always willing to put the extra effort in to make the final product look as good as it can be. We’ll be using them again very shortly.”

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Translation jobs far from boring and rated as great career by national press

atlas translations“We’ve worked with people including Victoria Beckham, Ken Livingstone and Stevie Wonder – it’s not all about doing the nerdy, boring jobs”

THE BOSS of a Hertfordshire translation and interpreting company is aiming to dispel the commonly-held belief that working in the language industry is all about sitting in booths listening to dull political or legal debates and dealing with boring documents.

Clare Suttie, 44, who runs Atlas Translations in St Albans, which deals with no less than 339 languages – including the most unheard of dialects such as ‘Fante,’ ‘Baoule,’ Igbo’ and ‘Zande’ among many others – said the work her translators and interpreters do can be in a wide world of areas.

“When people think of working in the translation and interpreting industry, they tend to think of the kind of thing they see on the news, people sitting in a box in a court room or some long-winded conference looking half asleep. But the fact is, some really interesting people and businesses who have to travel a lot need our help – they can’t just go around smiling at people but saying nothing, or shouting in English or speaking very slowly, hoping to communicate,” she said.

“People like the Dalai Lama and the Pope for example all need interpreters and our translators and interpreters can choose to specialise in different areas which they feel are the most interesting to them,” Clare added.

Work Clare’s interpreters have been involved in include interpreting at the International Woolmark Prize – a fashion competition for Woolmark at London Fashion Week, where judges included the likes of Donatella Versace, Diane Von Fürstenberg, Victoria Beckham and Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue; as well as writing a letter in Braille to music legend, Stevie Wonder and interpreting for German heavy metal band, Rammstein.
Clare set up Atlas Translations after studying for a degree in Spanish and Linguistics, prompted by her passion for language and her belief in the power of good communications.
She said: “It’s vital that even the most uncommon languages are represented today as we live in such a multicultural, cosmopolitan world and we have to be able to communicate.

“People underestimate how important communication is, it’s vital to the working of the business world, for people to be able to contribute, live well and to have their voices heard.”
Atlas Translations helped out with projects at last year’s London 2012 Olympics, as well as avoiding problems at the Doha Asian Games by providing 24-hour interpreting services.
“There’s a vast array of areas where translations and interpreters are needed. We work with people appearing in court, those needing medical or financial advice; the translation of children’s books, visitor guides and even poems on the underground,” added Clare.

And as signing and Braille are also officially recognised UK languages, Atlas Translations can help with services for the deaf, the hard of hearing, and the blind and partially-sighted.

The business provides a 24- hour telephone interpreting service for anyone needing to communicate abroad, including students, gap year travellers, holiday makers and businesses.
Clare also sits on the Board of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting and with the fourth International Translation Day approaching, on September 30th, her office manager, Anna Davies, will be representing the company.

Ros Schwartz, Chair of English PEN’s Writers in Translation Committee, is also on the organising committee of ITD and has been involved in the planning.
She said: “ITD is important because it brings together everyone involved in literary translation, from emerging translators to the old hands, publishers, editors, translator associations, journalists, bloggers, funders, booksellers, librarians – everyone interested in promoting literature in translation. It is an opportunity to address the challenges and develop ideas. And the benefit for those outside the industry – i.e. readers – is more and better translated literature out there. “

Public Relations by The Laura Berrill Agency, St Albans, Hertfordshire

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Why PR agencies should publicise their actual results

Public Relations is all about results

So why then, when I regularly check what other regional and nearby agencies are up to, do I mostly find that their websites never actually show what they have achieved for their clients in media coverage?

I update my coverage on a regular basis, because, funnily enough, that is what the client is after – coverage, exposure, media recognition. Simple really.

Time after time I find so-called ‘PR agencies’ spout loudly about what work they have done for the client, but don’t record the results, outcome or return on investment.

And there is a lot of jargon. My job, as a former nationals’ journo, is to cut through the jargon of whichever industry I am working with, to make it interesting to the press – ie: the readers and the potential buyers.

I also notice a lot of spelling and grammatical mistakes on the websites. I don’t mind that, it means mine looks a hell of a lot more professional and credible – as does all of the above.

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The Planet’s languages come together at a St Albans business

atlas translationsA whole world of languages represented at city business

A LOVE of languages inspired a St Albans entrepreneur to create a whole world’s worth of words at a city centre business.

Clare Suttie, 44, studied for a degree in Spanish and Linguistics before finding work at a translation agency and setting up in Cambridge, then London, before recently moving the business to St Albans.

Atlas Translations in Upper Dagnall Street provides services to both individuals and businesses in no less than 339 languages – including the most unheard of dialects such as ‘Fante,’ ‘Baoule,’ Igbo’ and ‘Zande’ among many, many others.

Clare said: “It’s vital that even the most uncommon languages are represented today as we live in such a multicultural, cosmopolitan world and we have to be able to communicate.

“People underestimate how important communication is, it’s vital to the working of the business world, for people to be able to contribute and live well and to have their voices heard.”

Atlas Translations works with worldwide charities and corporations – they helped out with projects at last year’s London 2012 Olympics, as well as avoiding problems at the Doha Asian Games by providing 24-hour interpreting services – down to providing help with tax credit application forms and utility bills. It also works with Councils such as Tower Hamlets, where there are a staggering 33 different languages spoken and schools in Peterborough where many parents can’t speak English.

“There’s a vast array of areas where translations and interpreters are needed. We also work with people appearing in court, people needing medical advice or financial advice, down to publishing children’s books, visitor guides and even poems on the underground,” added Clare.

And as signing and Braille are also officially recognised languages, Atlas Translations can help with the deaf, the hard of hearing, and the blind and partially-sighted.

For travellers, the business provides a 24- hour telephone interpreting service for people who may be having problems abroad.

The business also reached the finals of this year’s FSB Herts Awards.

“It’s unfair to have the age old attitude that everyone speaks English – or should do. It doesn’t always work like that, as we know or we wouldn’t have a business.” Clare concluded.


To find out more about Atlas Translations and its services, go to:www.atlas-translations.co.uk or telephone: 01727 812725

Publicity by The Laura Berrill PR Agency, St Albans, Hertfordshire

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How to use Media Relations and PR to boost your business – some tips

MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS are increasingly important areas to consider when running a business. It can help you attract new customers, raise your business profile, help attract investment and attract useful business opportunities.

‘PR’ means different things to different people, but generally it can be defined as ways of getting noticed. Traditionally this means approaching media organisations, but social and other digital media are also increasingly important.


The key to getting your business some media attention often lies with knowing how to communicate with them.

They can be abrupt, but this is mainly because they are incredibly busy and can receive hundreds of calls and emails.

But they also want to hear your news and often like to hear from an energetic business owner with something of real interest to tell them about.

When getting in touch with reporters, it’s important to bear in mind what their needs are and the way to get them to use your company in a story is to make life as easy for them as possible.

You have to understand what makes a good news story. You might think your business is groundbreaking, but you need to have a good amount of evidence to demonstrate this if you want a journalist to write about it.

Unlike paid-for space, PR is dependent on the media thinking your story is newsworthy enough to run – so don’t offer any special deals as that just won’t work.

Businesses can be newsworthy in different ways. Anything from the launch of a new product line, to an inspiring life story, a new round of investment or a charity bike ride can all be of interest.

The right publication

It’s crucial to understand the publications you are targeting. What works for the local press might not be of interest to a trade publication or niche magazine.

A local newspaper, for instance, would take interest in thing affecting normal everyday people. This could be because your business has created new jobs, or because you are offering a new service not available in that area before.

Trade publications will be interested in how your business really stands out from its industry, and if you have a particularly revolutionary way of doing business.


Press releases are important when approaching the media. They should be a concise – no more than a page and a half of A4 – and a comprehensive summary of the story you are trying to push. Include some lively quotes, stats and figures where possible and a blurb explaining about your business at the bottom.

You or one of your senior staff could also write about a topic which you have strong experience of and establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Opinions matter and journalists are always looking for quotes to bring some life to a story. If a story relevant to your industry has just broken in the news, ring or email round media outlets which are likely to cover it and offer to comment.

When approaching the press, provide good quality images, information about your firm, product details, and career histories of your key people. This can help journalists get a quick understanding of what your firm is about.


Industry awards are an easy way to highlight your successes and get your business featured in the trade media. Just winning the award will give you more credibility and help attract the attention of journalists in the future.


Social media is a growing area of media exposure. Get on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to promote yourself and create a blog.

Getting Help

If doing all this yourself seems like too much of a commitment or is too time consuming, it might be worth hiring an agency or publicist. Shop around, do your research and think about how they can meet your individual needs.

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Mr Osborne told the World at One that he had “huge respect” for mothers who stay at home but said it was for “lifestyle reasons

Oh really Mr Osborne? So, as a millionnaire (and not warranted to be one) you have spoken unilaterally about mothers throughout the UK.

You are ignorant. What about the mums who cannot afford to go back to work due to high costs of child minding? What about the mothers who, having had kids, have no prospects of a further career due to employers?

What about the so-many mothers who have suffered from Post Natal Depression? (A very under-reported issue) who have found it impossible to go back to work immediately?

You are dillusional, probably because your Mrs never had these issues. Live in the real world, Osborne.

And you are a man.

With the economy as it is – and you should know – you should also know that the days of stay at home parents (and I’m not saying mums) are over. Are you not aware of that?

Both parents have to work. Please stop picking on women who are financially unable to stay at home. It is not a ‘lifesyle choice’.

Get with the real world you ignorant and ridiculous man.

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Sex and Love in the Bible: Often taboo subject tackled in photo exhibition

Sex and love in the Bible – exhibition tackles often taboo subject through images and words

THE OFTEN taboo subject of sex and love in the Bible is being addressed in the form of a photographic exhibition to be shown in September.

‘A Clarion Call’ is a story based around the ‘Song of Songs’ – a series of Hebrew poems that celebrate the joy of love. It can be interpreted as telling the tale of two betrothed lovers who are separated when the girl is sold into the King’s harem by her bothers.

The exhibition is being held by Arwyn Bailey, who chose the potentially controversial subject which he describes as ‘an age old tale of fidelity, truth and love’.

He said: “The reason for the exhibition and the thinking behind it is that it is one of the most challenging topics we can address within the faith arena because essentially it’s about the fulfilment of sex, which is often seen as a taboo subject.

“However, in Hebrew, this book is full of allusions to sex in these beautiful poems. I wanted to debunk the prudish view that this sensitive book is about Christ and the Church, or of the relationship between God and Yisrael. This is highly unlikely as God is mentioned just once in the 117 short verses – it’s mostly about a heck of a lot of desire, love and yes, sex!”

He added: “An interesting aside is that Jewish men were not permitted to read this book, unless they were over the age of 30, and even then, only when married.”

The format of the exhibition depicts the story of the girl’s struggle to escape and avoid the attentions of the King. After failed attempts, she flees the palace and is reunited with her lover. The photographs show the stages of the story, with snippets of the book underneath each image.

Arwyn added: “An exhibition of this type could be seen as controversial, but I wanted to take this ‘controversial’ subject and treat it as raw as possible without resorting to tack or pornography. I wanted to display sex as a gift from God, the basis of the beginning of life created in a loving act. It is a big challenge for a first exhibition but I wanted a challenge due to what I have been through myself.”

Arwyn’s background in itself has been a challenge on several fronts, which at one point nearly made him take his own life.

He was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the age of 36 and was hospitalised 13 years later due to contracting Diverticulitis.

After this he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and the bladder cancer returned in December 2011 at the age of 49. He received the all clear in the spring of 2012 and currently undergoes three month checks.

Tragedy struck the family last April when Arwyn’s elder brother committed suicide.

By this time, Arwyn’s mother – who was registered blind – was in a care home and Arwyn had to tell her that her son had killed himself with his youngest sister and her partner by his side.

On top of all of this, Arwyn then contracted a bronchial condition and had scar tissue on his left lung. This was diagnosed around July 2012. He continues to suffer from gradual hearing loss and extreme bouts of tinnitus.

Last September, Arwyn’s mother suffered a massive stroke and he was told she would never recover. As his mother’s Attorney, and with the agreement of the family, he made the painful decision to withhold both food and water. He has realised since that this was the controversial ‘Liverpool Care Pathway’ and with the rest of the family, he essentially watched his mother die over the course of ten days.

Due to this overload of tragedy and personal events, Arwyn decided to take the decision to end his successful business of more than 18 years, as an Independent Financial Adviser. He described this as a “difficult, painful and unwise economical decision.”

“This exhibition shows that determination to overcome adversity is possible. The raw expression that love can overcome any barriers which are sometimes thrown at us – and I know all about such brutality of life to the extent that I almost took my own life at one very low point in August 2012.

“I am determined to show that an inherent belief in love from one to another can literally raise anyone from an almost literal death, to life.”

The exhibition will be held at the Rhubarb and Custard Gallery in Eton for the duration of September, opening on Monday September 1st. Opening times are from 9.30am to 5.00pm.

A formal launch of the exhibition is being held on Friday September 6th, from 4.30 pm. Please contact Salli, at the gallery for press passes

A book explaining the story alongside the pictures with more photographs displayed inside will also be available.

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Sexual and violent threats via Twitter

I happen to follow and agree with Caroline Criado-Perez.

But the point is, why is Twitter, as well as the police, doing nothing to sort out this kind of hatred towards women?

Because I am on her twitter stream, I have seen the utmost disgusting and offensive tweets against her and her followers.

These men are not men, they are an excuse for a human being. They are at the amoeba end of the spectrum.

If they are that stupid, why are they allowed to be on any kind of media? They obviously haven’t got the brain cells to warran that.

If the police were doing their job properly they would find these rejects and arrest them.

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Save our town centres – parking on double yellows? Surely not!

If we want to encourage local people to shop locally then please make it easy for them to park near the shops

I live in St Albans, a lovely medieval (and Roman) town. It has some wonderful independent businesses in the form of shops, but over the last 12 months at least I have noticed many of them closing.

Why? There is nowhere to park for a start. And when you find somewhere it is hideously expensive.

I spend currently £3 per day just to take my son to his movie-making workshop run by St Albans Film Festival. That is costing me £15 for five days just to drop him off.

On top of this, the car parks were mostly built in the 1960s when cars were a lot smaller. I don’t want to risk scraping my car in an old-fashioned multi-story if I can avoid it.

The City Council here has clamped down recently on any kind of parking facilities by issuing penalty charges.

No wonder people here are going away from their local shops in town to out of town shopping areas.

It was reported some weeks ago in The Telegraph that St Albans had a lot to offer to shoppers – apart from the parking.

You don’t say.

Yes, parking charges are a cash-cow for council -stripped budgets due to Government clampdowns.
But doesn’t the Government understand that by doing this, they are harming the economy in the form that we actually need it the most?

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Lee Rigby: The guy was a hero

The murder of Lee Rigby

Why do we put up so may times with those who live in this country and then obviously want to destroy all we stand for?

The murder of Lee Rigby was a disgusting act which should never have been seen
in the UK.

So, we let the courts decide – and since the human rights ruling for Bamber & co, ie: no ‘life term’ is that going to happen to the killers of Rigby?

The EU has opened a can of worms which will be re-enacted for these cold-blooded murderers.

Shame on you EU.

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