Lynda Bellingham (1948 – 2014)

Lynda Bellingham - 1948 - 2014

Following the sudden, and untimely death of “OXO” mum, Lynda Bellingham yesterday, who passed away from colon cancer, which I broke down today about, I wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Lynda for all the wonderful laughs that she has left behind.

Famously known for being on the “OXO” adverts and Loose Women, Lynda brought us all with many joyful laughs along the way, such as her most memorable moment, where the Loose Women panel were talking about the cuckoo birds dwindling (meaning that they are slowly stopping from tweeting in the mornings), when Lynda Bellingham mistook a Bob Bird for “Bollocks”. This moment, to me, was one of her best, given her dirty laugh at the end of the Loose Women episode that was transmitted that day. She made me laugh when she made those mistakes accidentally, because you can instantly remember when she said a rude word, but in a funny way where you can remember.

Recently, Lynda was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire), as she did over 40 years of being in TV and Film. As well as this, she also took part on BBC’s dancing programme, Strictly Come Dancing, before being eliminated in the fourth week.

Also, following just a few weeks prior to Lynda’s sudden death yesterday at the age of 66, she recently released her final book, titled: “There’s Something I’ve Been Dying To Tell You”. This followed with her farewell appearance, and also what would be her final, last ever episode of Loose Women. Her final episode of Loose Women was initially going to be aired today, but after the news of her sudden death from Colon Cancer, ITV Studios and the Loose Women panel paid their respects, and have instead chosen to air Lynda’s final episode of Loose Women on Wednesday.

I must admit, when I heard about the news of Lynda’s passing, I was absolutely shocked and upset, because a couple of weeks ago, when I found out that her form of cancer was terminal, I cried bucket-loads, because Cancer has recently become a touchy subject to me, because I don’t like it when someone makes a mockery of a certain person who hasn’t got it, or has got it, because, that is when I really make a point of telling the person not to say something that I find rude and unacceptable. After all, cancer is a serious disease that can kill, and it is no laughing matter, nor is it a joke. That is why I stood up for those who have or haven’t got cancer, because I recently had a go at one of the students at my college a few weeks ago, telling them that it’s not funny, and I won’t say who that person is, but I have made them come to their senses, and since then, they haven’t said anything, but I will be keeping a close eye on them, to make sure they don’t say anything unacceptable in my earshot again.

I wanted to mention this, as I stood up and defended those who have it, or may have just found out that they’ve been diagnosed with it, as I wanted to make a change, and to make people realise that it is a disease that should not be left to bloom.

I always believe that if you are diagnosed with cancer, use all of your sheer determination to fight it whilst you can, because if you have cancer and you don’t act now, it will be too late. That is why I’m asking those of you who might be going through it to fight cancer, as you have the right to fight for your right to survive.

Below, I have provided some clickable-named links that may help if you want to find out more about certain types of cancer, including colon cancer.

Cancer Research UK

Macmillan Cancer Support

The Robin Cancer Trust

National Cancer Institute


American Cancer Society


Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Before I conclude, my love and thoughts are with you and your family Lynda, and I will miss you dearly. In fact, we will all miss you for the legacy you have left behind. We shall always remember you for all the happy memories you have given us xxxxxxxx.

Alex Smithson

The Big Draw 2014 – A Drawing Event Like Never Before

The Big Draw 2014 - A Drawing Event Like Never Before - Remastered

The Big Draw 2014 fills October with a month of hard work, drawing, and also wide-scale designs. As I’m a part of The Big Draw now I study at Croydon College, this is a fantastic opportunity not just for me, but also for those of you who are taking part in such an important drawing event.

What is The Big Draw?

The Big Draw is where you have to create a drawing that is large and wide, but to also create something that is your own, so that you can make sure your drawing really stands out from the crowd.

Is The Big Draw an easy event?

In honesty, it actually isn’t as easy as you think, because your drawing skills require a lot more focus and attention, for example, if you create something that is big, you need to be sure that your work will really stand out, if you want to be able to create something that is immediately going to grab the person’s attention.

Is this your first time in taking part in this particular event?

To be honest, this is the first time that I have ever taken part in an event like this, as this event will be able to give me a chance to expand my creative ideas and drawing skills further.

Which 2 artists do you believe are or may be connected to The Big Draw event?

In my eyes, I believe that Pablo Picasso and Julian Opie are connected to The Big Draw event, because they have crafted their own works in their own format, but also in a way where their own works will be remembered by many for generations to come.

Is Art an easy subject or not?

Art is actually a difficult subject at the end of the day, because, depending on the workload you are given, you have to make sure that your work is your own, and that you don’t plagiarise on the many famous works that other artists have created.

To conclude, what one useful tip can you give to those who are also taking part or have taken part in this event?

The tip I have in mind which I want to share with all of you, is to be original. Always make sure that you create something that is your own, and that what you make is your own, and no-one else’s. If you plagiarise, it won’t do you any good, because after all, copying what other people have created could eventually land you in heaps of trouble.

Thank you for viewing this article.

Alex Smithson

October: A Cold & Autumnal Dawn Breaks

Welcome to October!!!

Hello everyone, and welcome to October. A month that is Autumnal in many different aspects. As October is the month where everyone goes around trick-or-treating, knocking on everyone’s doors, I wanted to mark the start of October with a bang.

With Halloween just around the corner, I was feeling rather sad yesterday after finding out that my Maths Re-mark, which I mentioned to all of you in that article: “Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!!” was still a D grade, despite being just 1 mark off, though as I found this out, I will still use my determination to try and re-sit Maths and English to make sure I get at least a C or B grade.

As Autumn slowly kicks in, everyone is preparing themselves for the cold snap that is just around the corner, and with a cold Winter that could indeed be worse than last year’s Winter snap, it is now the right time to start wrapping up a little warmer as it will tend to be not just cold at night, but also somewhat cold during the early hours of the morning, when everyone is getting ready to go to work, or to college or school if you or anyone else is a student.

Just like last month, this month will also be a very busy month for me, as I will be committing more to the work I receive whilst I’m at college, which will mean that I may only be able to post a small amount of articles over the course of this month, apart from when I have my week off at the end of this month.

The weather reports that say that this warm weather could last until next month still leaves me in a pickle because I don’t know whether to trust the weather reports or not, though it does get a little bit warm during the day, but not at night.

Again, welcome to October, and I’ll try my hardest to publish a few articles as best as I can.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: September 2014

September 30th 2014

Hello everyone, as today marks the final day of September, before we all journey into October, I wanted to take a look-back over September as it unfolded.

On the 1st September, I published my 2nd book, A Year in Photography, which is packed with a lot of information, and is also bigger and much better than my first book: “My Journey Through Photography”. Despite recurring problems with Microsoft Office Word 2013’s server claiming that it went down, I was still able to publish the book with no problem whatsoever.

A few short days after the release of the 2nd book, I updated you all, notifying you that an updated copy of the book was available to download via Dropbox, which meant that you would need to delete the old copy that was released on the 1st September in favour for the new copy that was updated.

Aside from this, I also mentioned in the same article that there were some small changes that would be made to this blog, such as a few small additions of some new social buttons, which were Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook and Tumblr.

During the course of the month, I wrote an article based on the Mount Tavurvur volcano that recently erupted a couple of weeks ago. This volcanic eruption that was captured on camera by Phil McNamara also caught a Sonic Boom, which makes a sudden banging noise that is almost loud enough to perforate your ear-drums. This resulted in Phil saying on the recording of the video: “Holy smoking Toledos.”. The shock-wave also changed the cloud formations in the Earth’s atmosphere, as the volcano had erupted bad enough to blow almost everything out of all proportions. The video that Phil McNamara recorded of the volcanic eruption instantly went viral across the whole of the internet after he published it.

To mark the beginning of college life, I began my first day at Croydon College on the 8th September, and I absolutely loved it. After my first week was over, I published a second article which would round off what was a perfect first week. The atmosphere at Croydon College has been absolutely peaceful, and has also been fun as well, as everyone treats each other with respect, which just goes to show how much of a massive impact college life can have, it leaves such a positive impact not just on me, but also on everyone else.

After 5 years since their 12th studio album, No Line On the Horizon, was released, U2 came back with a bang as they announced their 13th studio album: “Songs of Innocence”, which is now available for free until the 13th October. This album was announced at Apple’s Media Event, which took place at the Flint Centre on the 9th September, where they would also go on to unveil the two new iPhone’s, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Also, after a long while, Apple finally redesigned their whole website to make sure their website had the same metro-matching appearance to iOS.

For 4 days, the Invictus Games took place in London, which would give all of our soldiers, and many other soldiers from around the world the chance to compete, which was such a fantastic opportunity for our soldiers. This gave the soldiers from the UK and all of the other soldiers from around the world the chance to prove to everyone that even if they may have been unable to do the things they used to do, they would still carry on with sheer determination no matter what, to make sure that they could get the chance to be able to do something again that they may have missed for such a long time.

When iOS 8 was released on the 17th September, everyone was absolutely on it to install the new update, which to me was also a relief, as this update fixed the battery woes that I had to put up with for a whole year, considering the fact that the iOS 7 ecosystem in terms of the battery was absolutely poor. iOS 8 fixed all of the problems that I had with iOS 7 completely. The battery life was absolutely fantastic, because, just like iOS 6, the battery would last for more than one day, possibly a week. This, however, made me think that it’s always the even number updates that tend to make all iDevices last for a long time, but it’s the odd number updates that always tend to drain the battery the most.

iOS 4, iOS 6 and iOS 8 are the 3 main updates that have made the battery life on almost all iDevices last for a long while, whereas, for iOS 5 and iOS 7, the battery life for iOS 5 and iOS 7 would continually drain non-stop.

Overall, this month has been perfect, I couldn’t have asked for a perfect start to life as a college student, and for everything else, I will always keeping fighting the good fight to make sure I can get to where I want to be in the future, and that is to become a professional photographer.

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for making my life special in blogging, and also for supporting me along the way when it came to my exams, I shall make sure to keep up the good work…again, thank you :-).

Alex Smithson

iOS 8: A Groundbreaking Software Update

iOS 8 - A Groundbreaking Software Update

Following months of excitement and speculation, iOS 8 is finally available to download now.

Since iOS 8 was announced on the 2nd June, every developer flocked to Apple’s Developer website to download the first beta build of iOS 8, and since then, it has become a lot more stable than ever.

On top of this, the recent Apple Media Event meant Tim Cook would announce two new iPhone’s, just like last year, but this time, focusing solely on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. As the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus releases internationally on Friday, everyone who lives near their local Apple Store have queued up especially for the occasion.

There have been rumours circulating however that another Apple event may be just around the corner, which is often a rumour circulation that has been ongoing since October 2012, when the first iPad mini was unveiled.

Since I started using iOS 8, the battery life has been much better than before, as iOS 7 used to continually drain, but now, with iOS 8, it has been much better, as the battery drain bug has mostly been fixed.

As I have had iOS 8 on both my iPad mini and iPod touch for a week, I wanted to go through a run-down of some of the best features that I like about this new software update:

  • The ability to block a certain caller, which has since become a must-have for everyone. This feature is perfect for you if you want to block someone from calling you, and is also handy for if you get prank called by someone, or even for cold callers.
  • Text size has now been enhanced, meaning the font in apps, such as Twitter and Settings etc. will help to reduce large fonts that take up a certain portion of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch’s screens.
  • The ability to use Siri without touching and holding the home button is a must-have feature, as you can now say: “Hey Siri” without wearing down the home button on your iDevice.
  • Shazam Music Recognition is now integrated into iOS 8 via Siri, which is much better if you want to find out the name of a song that you’re unsure of without needing to install the Shazam app.
  • The new Health app, which has since become a most popular feature of iOS 8 gives those who want to keep an eye on their health a chance to monitor their medical history, body measurements, fitness and much more.
  • The popular iBooks application has now become a pre-installed app in iOS 8, which does away with the problem where iTunes would tell you that the app is not installed on your iDevice. This is a feature that will put your mind at ease.
  • iCloud Drive is now a new change for iCloud, as iCloud has been given this new option where you can edit your documents or upload and download files you may have kept initially on your computer.
  • Time-Lapse Video Recording is the latest new function in iOS 8, as you can now record time-lapse videos, ranging from a few hours to a whole day if you wish to.
  • Editing photos has become a lot easier now, as iPhoto was discontinued in favour for all of the features that were implemented from iPhoto into the Photos app.
  • The Weather App has been given further improvements, which means that any information regarding Sunrise, Sunset, Chance of Rain, Humidity etc. will be located down at the bottom of the Weather app. Plus, the weather times have been changed from at least 4-8 hours to a full 24 hour weather map, which means you will be able to find out what the weather is going to be like over the next 24 hours.
  • The Passbook app has been updated with the ability to add your credit cards, membership cards and many other types of cards you may have in your Passbook app.
  • A new Tips app is also a part of iOS 8 now, which will gradually update you with tips that may be beneficial for you if you want to be able to find your own way around the iOS platform.
  • The Podcasts App which was initially a built-in function in the Music application is now a part of iOS 8 as a pre-installed app, which will be beneficial for many of you looking to catch up on the latest podcasts you may have missed.
  • Most of the iOS application’s icons have been slightly tweaked and have been given a dimmed down look to make sure the icons are easier for everyone to see.
  • iOS 8 has also improved the battery life remarkably, as the problems I had before with the iPod touch battery going flat just after it was finished charging on iOS 7.1.2 has all gone. I found that after installing iOS 8, the battery in the iPod touch lasted for more than a day, given the fact the battery life was the most talked about problem for every user owning an iPhone, an iPad or iPod touch, but now, the problems with the battery have been completely squashed, and I can now listen to my music with ease, without worrying about the battery.
  • The use of third-party keyboards, such as SwiftKey, Fleksy, Ginger Keyboard, Brightkey, TouchPal and many more have now become one of the most popular functions for iOS 8, which means that you can now install third-party keyboards made by developers onto all iDevices running iOS 8 and up.

iOS 8 is compatible for the following devices:

  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 5C
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPod touch (5th Generation)
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3rd Generation
  • iPad 4th Generation
  • iPad Air
  • iPad mini (1st Generation)
  • iPad mini with Retina Display

I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for the next couple of weeks, as I hope for Apple to release a new, and much bigger iPod touch, given the fact that the iPod touch hasn’t been refreshed in two years.

Alex Smithson

© iOS Logo Copyright of Apple

© Font used for iOS Logo in Image: Segoe UI Light

© Applications visible in the Image also Copyright of Apple

© This photo was taken on the Nikon D3300 DSLR (new camera)

This article is dedicated to Tim Cook, and the late Steve Jobs.

© Apple 2014

My First Week of College: A Perfect Success!!!


Following from the first article I did about Croydon College on Monday, I wanted to follow that first article up by saying how much of a perfect week it has been. Despite going in for 3 days this week (Monday, Tuesday & Thursday), I was actually relieved to move on from school life quicker than I first imagined, because Croydon College gives you not just confidence in yourself, but also to give you a way to map out a future you have always longed for. I love photography so much that I actually took some photos around the outside of the College.



My first week, all in all, has been perfect. Not just perfect, absolutely wonderful!!! I bumped into so many of my school friends from Oasis Academy: Shirley Park, as some of my friends also went to Croydon College, and not only that, but I also bumped into some old school friends from primary school, which I was quite shocked about, because when you haven’t seen some of your friends in a long while, the time gap is quite a lot to take in, but I absolutely enjoyed my perfect first week at the college, and I want every week to be just like the first week.

My excitement has gone through the roof like never before, and I cannot wait for Monday to arrive soon enough, as I’m going on my first trip with everyone. The trip that arrives tomorrow consists of two different museums. The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, where both collections consist of some of the best visual works based around the world. Both of these museums are also located in Trafalgar Square in London.

Overall, this week has been the perfect week for me, considering I was in for only 3 days, and I hope for the perfect trail to continue on from this week.

Tomorrow is set to start off what will be not just an interesting week, but also a fantastic set of opportunities for all of us, and I cannot wait to go through an interesting week that will help me to build my ideas further for this Level 2 Art & Design Course.

Alex Smithson



The Invictus Games

The Invictus Games

Hello everyone, after following the news that focuses on the Invictus Games, the day is finally here. For the next 4 days, the Invictus Games will hold many different events, focusing on the soldiers who were wounded while they were out fighting in Afghanistan.

The Invictus Games also shines a light on the soldiers, as the soldiers will show us all what it’s like and how they can send a positive message to those with a life beyond disability.

It is an amazing opportunity for our soldiers, and for everyone else, as everyone comes together as one to make a massive difference. The Invictus Games on its own will not just help those who experience life beyond disability, but it will also help to raise everyone’s spirits, as these games will make sure that there is a positive impact not just on those who have a life beyond disability, but also for those who are lucky to have someone that they love the most.

I actually feel excited about the Invictus Games, as everyone comes together to make a positive impact on everyone’s lives, knowing that what may happen now may leave a positive and lasting impact on everyone, with these games also creating a happy memory that will always live on forever.

To find out more information about The Invictus Games, click here to be directed to the Invictus Games website.

Thank you for viewing this article.

Alex Smithson

U2 Announces and Releases New Album: “Songs of Innocence”

Songs of Innocence - U2 - Article Image

After a few months of rumours circulating around the rumoured iPhone 6, the time has finally arrived. Apple have unveiled two new iPhone 6’s, one dubbed the iPhone 6, and the other dubbed the iPhone 6 Plus.

Also, to much excitement, and what has most likely caused a spike on the internet, U2, a long-time 4-piece running group, whose careers have spanned almost 40 years, have released an all-new album tonight. Titled “Songs of Innocence”, this is the first album that U2 have released in 5 years since their previous album: “No Line on the Horizon“.

Songs of Innocence

© U2 2014

After downloading my copy of U2’s new album via iTunes, which I was over the moon to hear that it’s free to download the whole album without paying a single penny, I listened to my copy of U2’s new album: “Songs of Innocence”, and it was absolutely perfect. This album defines how music should be made, and because I’ve followed U2’s music since my childhood, I was absolutely delighted that the album was free. For the first time in history, U2 released this new album, following speculation that was drawn in from the Apple Media event that finished at 8:00PM.

This is an exclusive album to iTunes users now, so if you have an iTunes account with Apple, you will be able to turn on Music Purchases in the Cloud via the Settings app, then iTunes & App Store and then, just under: “Show All”, you just toggle the Music switch to on.

Once you’ve done that, you just go into the Music app, and then scroll down to the “S” section where you will be able to download the album from your iTunes account.

This album is exclusive to iTunes as a free download to all Apple iDevice users, and will be released as a physical copy on the 13th October as a Deluxe Version of the new album, which will also be available on Vinyl.

Please make sure to head to iTunes now to download U2’s new album for free, you don’t want to miss it while it is free.

To conclude, Apple have completely redesigned the appearance of their website to blend the website in with the new iPhone 6, the new iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch, including iOS 8, which releases next Wednesday.

Alex Smithson

——————————Credit to U2 for the free copy, cheers guys!!!!!!!!——————————

——————U2 deserve a mention on this blog for the free album download.——————

————–© U2 2014 (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr.)—————–

My First Day at Croydon College

Croydon College

A New Year, a New Journey, a New Beginning.

Hello everyone, I wanted to share my excitement of my first day at Croydon College with you all, as I was eager to begin a new chapter in my life. I actually enjoyed my first day at Croydon College, because it felt relaxing, knowing that I could go into the college to begin my first day, and with the relief of being able to wear my own clothes instead of a suit, it made my first day at college feel absolutely peaceful.

While I was there, we all introduced ourselves and we also gave a background detail based on the kind of things that we like based on our personalities. My personality is that I like nature and technology, as well as photography, as I can express my creativity through the designs I create. As always, I make sure that what I create is my own and is also original. I hate to plagiarise on other people’s works, as I aim to create something that I can call original, and that what I create defines not just what I have crafted by myself, but also the types of interests that I have overall.

Within an instant, I just clicked with everyone, as I got to know everyone so quick, I have already become friends with everyone. It’s amazing how only a few hours make such a positive impact not just on me, but also on everyone, because the atmosphere of the college itself is peaceful, everyone gets on with one another, the maturity is perfect, and it also marks a massive change from school life, which is now better than ever for everyone.

Expressing your own creativity is the best option, because you are expressing something that you know and also something that you want to be original. I have loved my first day, and I want the best of today to carry on over the next few years of being in college. Today was a wonderful day, and was absolutely perfect. College is a lot more different than school life, but you immediately get used to it.

The atmosphere of the college today was quiet, calm and peaceful, and it was a peaceful atmosphere that I instantly got used to, that is why I loved today, because it was peaceful and everyone enjoyed the day just like I did.

Overall, I loved today, and I hope that it continues. I shall aim for the dream career that I want and love the most, and that is to become a proper, full-on professional photographer. I will never give up and I shall intend to try and try again no matter what.

Alex Smithson