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St Albans gives new meaning to ‘window shopping’ with new app

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St Albans gives new meaning to ‘window shopping’ with new app

Independent shops, restaurants, bars, hairdressers, and salons in the cathedral city of St Albans have become the first retailers in the UK to trial a revolutionary new technology. The purpose of the new app is to help both shops and shoppers in the current challenging climate. The technology is designed to help nervous customers feel safer when they are shopping and to give retailers with small shop spaces the capacity to accommodate more shoppers. 

Contactless Window Shopping is the brainchild of marketing consultant Jez Dutton from design consultancy That Happy Place. It involves placing tags in shop windows that shoppers can scan using their smartphones, taking them directly to the shop’s website where they can directly browse and buy from the shop’s range of products. 

This means customers can be inspired by the shop window but buy without even going into the shop if the shop is at capacity or they feel nervous. Orders are then delivered to the customer’s house. 

Restaurant and bar owners, along with hairdressers and beauty salons are also trialling this revolutionary technology, giving their customers the opportunity to directly book appointments through the tag in their premise’s window. 

Some 13 shops in St Albans have signed up so far including Gymboree, Headcase Barbers, Hers N Sirs, Eve & Adam, The Rug Maker, Cositas, The Dressing Room, Jago Jewellers, Refill Pantry, St Albans Museum & Gallery, and Kingshill Jewellers. 

The Dressing Room St Albans

The Dressing Room, one of 13 shops trialling the new shopping technology.

Talking about designing the new technology, Dutton said: “Right now, many independent high-street shops have been badly hit: they are either temporarily closed or they have to accommodate queuing outside, and both are terrible for business. However, they did have their shop windows and an online presence. And meanwhile everyone has quickly adopted contactless payment via their phones. 

“Out of this was created Contactless Window Shopping to ensure a fast, frictionless way of connecting the high-street presence to the online one: finding products, booking appointments, seeing opening hours, or even accessing menus. I’m delighted that St Albans is the first high street in the UK to roll this out and hopefully it will help many businesses get back on their feet sooner.” 

The St Albans Business Improvement District (BID), which represents 500 city-centre businesses, is spearheading the introduction of this technology. 

Co-chairs of the St Albans BID, Councillor Mandy McNeill, Portfolio Holder Business, Culture and Tourism, and Sarah Gillow, owner of luxury jewellers Galio, said: “We are delighted to be trialling this new technology to help shoppers shop safely and to support our independent businesses during this difficult time. 

“With some of our smaller shops having limited capacity for customers, this tech means that you can literally window shop with one tap from your smartphone.” 

What are your thoughts on how successful this could be and what other shops in St Albans would you like to see participating? Answers below…

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Win a ‘Freebie Fridays’ meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

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Win a 'Freebie Fridays' meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

By simply tagging your favourite restaurant and who you would like to dine with, you could win a ‘Freebie Fridays‘ free meal for two courtesy of TrendLife Magazine. Launching in January 2022, Freebie Fridays will give foodies across The Three Counties the chance to take a friend or loved one to a restaurant of their choice

Freebie Fridays Entry tasks

  1. Tag your chosen restaurant/eatery.
  2. Tag your chosen guest and follow us.
  3. Sit back and wait for the weekly draw.

You can tag as many friends and resturants in each draw. Duplicates will only be counted once. You and your nominated guest BOTH need to follow us to be entered into the prize draw. You can enter on both Instagram or Facebook.

Win a 'Freebie Fridays' meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

 

Freebie Fridays Terms and Conditions

  1. The promoter of the Freebie Fridays prize draw is TrendLife Magazine. The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  2. The Freebie Fridays prize draw is open to UK residents aged 18 or over.
  3. Winners must select/tag a restaurant within the Three Counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. The winner will be chosen at random and a check will be performed to ensure the winner’s account is. valid. You cannot transfer the prize to a third party.
  4. To enter the prize draw you should follow the instructions on the Facebook post or Instagram post announcing the competition.
  5. Late, invalid or incomplete entries will not be considered, and we accept no responsibility for lost entries.
  6. The Freebie Fridays prize for one winner will be defined within the Facebook and Instagram post.
  7. The Freebie Fridays prize is non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives. Freebie Fridays meal value will be limited to £50 per person. Alcoholic drinks are not included.
  8. The winner will be chosen at random from all qualifying entries. The result is final and no discussion will be entered into concerning the outcome.
  9. The Freebie Fridays prize draw closes on the date defined in the social media post. Entries received after this date will not be considered.
  10. The winner’s contact details may be passed on to a third party for prize fulfilment purposes.
  11. The personal information and contact details you supply will be used only for the purposes of administering the competition, including contacting winners. Winners will be asked to review their meal and chosen restaurant.
  12. We reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions or to cancel, alter or amend the draw or the Freebie Fridays prize due to any circumstances that arise beyond our control.
  13. The Freebie Fridays prize draw is subject to the laws of England and Wales.

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Milton Keynes Theatre reveals it’s Winter/Spring 2022 season

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Milton Keynes Theatre has today announced its Winter/Spring 2022 season with a programme of outstanding shows, shaping next year into one of the biggest in the theatre’s history. 

Since it’s reopening in July 2021, Milton Keynes Theatre has seen a joyous return of live audiences, safely welcoming over 100,000 people through its doors to enjoy 42 quality shows. Here’s what the leading live entertainment venue has in store for 2022. The new year will see the final few performances of the highly anticipated, GIANT of a pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, which opens on Sat 11 Dec and closes on Sat 8 Jan.

Ashley Banjo and Diversity with Pete Firman and Gina Murray in Jack and the Beanstalk at Milton Keynes Theatre

From 11 January, everyone’s favorite creepy and kooky family are back in town. The Addams Familystars Strictly Come Dancing icon Joanne Clifton as the dark and mysterious Morticia. The spectacular musical comedy comes from the writing team of multi award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys, with music and lyrics by Tony award nominated Andrew Lippa.

Milton Keynes will be the third city in the UK to experience the dazzling show which dominated theatre award ceremonies from its original production in 1982 to its West End debut in 2017. The long-awaited UK tour of Dreamgirls arrives at Milton Keynes Theatre for two weeks from 25 January to 5 March starring The Voice semi-finalist Nicole Raquel Dennis and Milton Keynes actress Natalie Kassanga.

Bringing some rock and roll to your February afternoons and evenings will be the electric School of Rock. Relive the face-melting music from the beloved film and enjoy Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new hits delivered by a band of insanely talented kids. Rock out with the band from 8 to 12 February.

Jersey Boys UK & Ireland Tour. Credit Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

Jersey Boys UK & Ireland Tour. Credit Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

From 23 February to 5 March, the stage sensation Jersey Boys returns to Milton Keynes Theatre’s stage. The smash hit musical goes behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Welsh National Opera will bring a trio of operatic delights on their return to Milton Keynes. Powerhouses Don Giovanni and Madam Butterfly take to the stage between 22 and 26 March while Katie Mitchell’s acclaimed production of Czech opera Jenůfa performs on 25 March.

The scrumptious candy-coated Nutcraker! Credit: Johan Persson

2022 will also welcome two spectacular ballet productions; the scrumptious candy-coated Nutcraker! from choreographer Matthew Bourne in February, and in May Northern Ballet take us back to the roaring 2020’s with The Great Gatsby.

For one night only, audiences can enjoy Strictly Come Dancing stars Kevin Clifton in Burn The Floor(17 January) and Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice in their dance extravaganza Him & Me (17 July). On 13 March, laugh out loud to Friends! The Musical Parody, a hilarious good-hearted romp with everyone’s favourite New Yorkers.

Moving towards the spring season, Milton Keynes will host a handful of phenomenal plays, including psychological thriller Catch Me If You Can (from 5 April) starring Dallas legend Patrick Duffy and brand-new stage play Cluedo (from 30 May) based on the family favourite boardgame.

Following a sell-out run in 2019, Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production of Les Misérablesreturns to Milton Keynes for a stunning four-week residence from 26 April. And the UK premiere tour of Bat Out of Hell rolls into town from 14 June, bringing to life the legendary anthems of Jim Steinman & Meat Loaf.

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An Audience with Anton Du Beke launches at Grove Theatre Dunstable

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An evening with Anton Du Beke starts at Grove Theatre

An Audience with Anton Du Beke presents an intimate theatre tour with the indubitable King of Ballroom. Anton shares tales and anecdotes providing some fascinating insights from across his prolific career as one of the UKs leading dancers, authors and TV stars.

The evening’s entertainment will include music, song, dance and of course humour as Anton is joined on stage by special guest vocalist Lance Ellington, powerhouse band and dancer. It’s an exclusive opportunity to get up close with 2019 Strictly finalist and Mr Showbusiness himself – Anton Du Beke.

Commenting on the tour Anton said:-

An Audience with Anton Du Beke is going to be an intimate evening with myself, my wonderful band and my very good friend Lance Ellington! I’m going to tell you about my career and life (you can ask me any question you like) and we’re going to do it with song and dance… It’s going to be a great night! 

I have so many wonderful Strictly memories, of which I shall talk about on the tour, but a couple of highlights are the moment I had with Brucie when we did Me and My Shadow, and when I opened the show on Musicals week with a great ensemble piece that I sang, it was called Anything Can Happen On The Strictly Stage. I absolutely loved that moment! 

I’ve also had many classic moments with my wonderful partners, whether it’s falling down with Ruth Langsford at the end of the Paso Doble, flying Anne Widdecombe in or throwing her across the floor and skidding, performing the Viennese Waltz with Emma Barton or dancing with Katie Derham and making it to the final. 

I’ve had so many incredible moments on Strictly and I can’t wait to share them with you at An Audience with Anton Du Beke.”

An Audience with Anton Du Beke 2022 Tour Dates

5 May 7.30pm Grove Theatre, Dunstable

8 May 3.00pm Theatre Royal, Brighton

13 May 7.30pm Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe

14 May 7.30pm New Theatre, Peterborough

15 May 3.00pm Richmond Theatre, Richmond

22 May 3.00pm Churchill Theatre, Bromley

About The Grove Theatre Dunstable

The Grove Theatre is a 780 seat regional theatre and entertainment venue situated on the edge of Grove Park in Dunstable and we provide a range of performances, film screenings, workshops, tours, classes, community events, functions and wedding parties

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