Horrific Bad Bus Travel Experience. Crash! Bang! Wallop! Have you ever suffered a nasty fall on any bus in Croydon, London or anywhere in your life?

Crash! Bang! Wallop! (Final)

As I went off on a bit of a tangent on Thursday, I thought it would be good to let my feelings known in full by recalling the horrific bad bus travel experience I suffered almost a year ago.

As you know, I’ve mentioned on some occasions about the unfortunate accident I suffered when I was on my 367 Bromley North bus, well, since I suffered at the hands of that experience, I still think about it to this day, and even now, I still think about it, because it’s a life experience I will never forget for as long as I shall live.

This is how it all happened. I had my music on like you do when you’re travelling home from somewhere like school or college, and up until that point, I had made sure to put the volume of my music down to a reasonable level where I could hear what was around me, and as you know, when the bus stops at a certain point when someone wants to get off, you immediately get up shortly after they do in order to go and grab one of the handles to keep yourself standing when the bus starts to move.

Well, I did that, and just before the doors of the bus even had a chance to close, the bus driver, without warning, and this is a common problem others have experienced, drove without thinking about those standing, and I fell back, and I gashed my right elbow on one of the hard parts of one of the bus seats and winded my chest as a result, which left me unable to breathe for a couple of seconds.

Now, you might think I didn’t have something to break my fall in this instance, well, luckily, I had a thick red and black winter puffer jacket on, and my durable green rucksack on, which looks like the type of bag a soldier would most probably wear to take items with them, and because I had both of those on, I couldn’t grab any poles or handles to prevent myself from suffering from the pain that I immediately endured when I fell, so when I fell, the rucksack and thick puffer jacket prevented me from coming off far worse than I thought I would.

As a result of the fall, not only had I gashed my right elbow and winded my chest as a result of that horrific fall, but I also had to get off at the second to last stop and walk my way back home because I was in so much pain, though getting off at my last stop would have just made things worse, but I have to give full credit to all of the passengers who were on that bus that night that I suffered that horrific fall, they had all of the common decency in the world to actually help me up when I was hurt, and they even asked me if I was alright, but, to the bus driver, however, that still drove on even when I fell, who had refused to helped me up when he could have had the chance to stop the bus, I hope karma comes back to bite you on the backside big time, that way you’ll see just how much pain you caused me.

But, back to the subject of things, I was absolutely mortified, and horrified to have suffered such a bad fall like that, as this kind of thing has never happened to me before when it comes to travelling on buses, but it upset me to the core, though in all fairness, it’s made me open my eyes and realise more, and it has also made me become more aware of the different and various types of attitudes a bus driver can have.

I was told a few months after the fall I had by someone who was on the Bromley North bus that I was on (not the same bus I suffered the nasty fall on, different one) that a woman who was on that bus or the West Croydon bus had suffered a nasty fall, which resulted in her having a broken leg, but most recently this week, I bumped into one of the passengers who was on the same exact bus that I was on the day I had that nasty fall, and even they defended what I experienced, as the bus driver was entirely at fault and not me.

I wasn’t at fault at all, but at the end of the day, his ignorance could have put me in a far worse position than I was that night. He was an arrogant and ignorant pig who obviously doesn’t want to give a care for those who may be young or elderly.

What did I get out of that fall? A juicy bruise on my right elbow and a winded chest with loss of breath for about 10-15 seconds.

If there is one thing I ask for bus drivers in general to do, is that they give those getting on the bus or getting off the bus they’re on enough time to get themselves seated or stood in a position where they can hold onto something that can prevent them from falling.

That’s all I’m asking for, if it means that the health and safety measures are improved a lot more, then this will help any passenger getting on or off the bus the chance to feel just that little bit safer on their journey, so that they never have to suffer untold pain like that again.

My question to you. Have you ever suffered a nasty fall on any bus in Croydon, London or anywhere in your life? If so, please feel free to sound off in the comments below about the bad experience you’ve had with bus travel.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to October!!! An Autumnal Dawn Breaks & A Cold & Chilly Working Season Begins!!!

Welcome to October

Hello everyone, and welcome to October on Mother Nature. As an autumnal dawn breaks, a cold and chilly working season begins, as this month sees the clocks go back one hour towards the end of this month, while this month will also become a lot more colder, and if not a lot busier than usual.

As we all prepare for the bitter cold snap of Winter which is only a short time away, it’s safe to say that Mother Nature is back to cause destruction for the UK soon. Also, this business to do with Hurricane Joaquin, please make sure to stay as safe as possible as weather reports from some news stations have shown that the hurricane could hit us as early as next week. It’s also bad enough because the hurricane itself, from what I’ve read, has now been raised to Category 4 and all systems are on alert for this hurricane. If you want to find out more about this hurricane, please click here.

Aside that, there are going to be possibly a short number of articles this month, as I am going to be assessed on my work in just two weeks, so my choices of writing articles may be somewhat limited as I may have to cut down the amount of articles I will be publishing for this month.

Also, with regards to Book #4, I will be announcing some new information about the new book soon, so please keep your eyes peeled for new information that will become available possibly towards the end of this month.

It’s really hard to think how fast this past year has gone, as everything has changed, the time has flown by, and so much has happened within all of that time, and I must admit, with the time going as fast as it has, it’s actually quite scary, because it was this time last year that it started to get rather cold, and then the weather got to the point where it would either pour down, or it would be a few degrees towards freezing temperatures, but this time around, it’s not so bad, but that will change very soon.

It was also almost this time last year that I suffered that nasty fall on my 367 Bromley North bus, which is something that I will never forget in the long run. I still think of the day that I had that fall, as well as the genuine distaste of the bus driver that didn’t stop the bus when I fell back. Luckily I was wearing my bag when I fell, because that prevented me from coming off far worse than I thought. Still, I wasn’t at fault, but at the end of the day, it’s the driver’s fault for not giving passengers like myself a chance to grab a hold of something before the bus sets off, as I remember quite well that I went to go and grab one of the handles when he suddenly drove.

The passengers on the bus were absolutely kind and thoughtful as they helped me up, and it’s passengers like that, that the bus drivers should take a leaf out of. Still, I had to take 2 days off from college because of the horrid fall to recover, but it’s made me become more aware of what to expect from some bus drivers. Even though I won’t forget that horrid experience, I can still say that I got up and carried on. As Madonna would say: “Took me to heaven, let me fall down, now that it’s over, I’m gonna carry on, lifted me up and watched me stumble, after the heartache, I’m gonna carry on Living for Love”. Sounds a bit cheesy for me to use song lyrics from a number 1 hit to take a dig at a horrid experience that I’ve had, but it got me back on my feet and made me decide to carry on.

As I stop the tangent I’ve gone on before it goes a bit too far, all I’m saying is that I will try my best to do a bit here and there with publishing articles on Mother Nature, when I can find the free time that may become available. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I can try and get as many articles in as I can if I have plenty of free time on my hands.

Until then, Welcome to October on Mother Nature!!! An Autumnal Dawn Breaks & A Cold & Chilly Working Season Begins!!!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: September 2015

Monthly Roundup - September 2015

To round off what has been an energetic and hard-working month overall, I will now take a look back on the articles that have been published over the course of September.

1.9.2015 – I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for a hard-working & energetic month. I also mentioned that September would become the month where it would start to get a little bit chilly, considering the fact that August had experienced a Summer washout. I also mentioned that I may have to post less frequently considering the fact that I have my course to think about, as well as my GCSEs which I would be re-taking, considering the fact that I expressed my joy of wanting to go back to college. I also mentioned that I would be starting on Book #4 soon, to which I mentioned that I wasn’t exactly sure as to whether I would release it this year or at the start of next year.

16.9.2015 – As this day marked the release of iOS 9, I published an article focusing around this release, and in this article, I went through a complete rundown of the new features and changes that iOS 9 had brought with it, and also with iOS 9, this was the first update that became available at just a storage-friendly 1.3 GB, which was a lot lower in download size than iOS 8, as iOS 8 weighed in at 4.58 GB in download size. Also in this release, iOS 9 had finally brought about the ability of expanding the regular 4-digit passcode limit to 6-digits, which is much more beneficial as this will help to up the security of iOS, as well as the security of personal photos, videos and also apps, that’s including the ability to further protect the user’s iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

25.9.2015 – My first few weeks back at Croydon College were absolutely perfect, and after going back to college on the 8th September, college felt like a welcome of open arms, as I couldn’t wait to go back, and I wasn’t nervous at all, but I was actually excited to be back. The 8th September had also marked a milestone of its own, as that day was exactly one year to the day that I had started my first ever day at college. A huge amount has changed in that time, everyone has matured, the respect of the students and the lecturers in the college are much better, and everyone gets on really well.

26.9.2015 – As it was coming up to ten weeks since Windows 10 was released, I published an article on Microsoft’s all-new browser, which was Microsoft Edge. As stated in the tagline, the tagline defined the browser to be: “Your no-fuss online browser for doing.” In the short space of the time that Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge have been out, Windows 10 was installed on almost 100 million devices across the world.

30.9.2015 – Exactly 10 weeks ago today, Microsoft Corporation released the last version of Windows to the entire world, and that last version of Windows was Windows 10. Windows 10, in the 10 weeks since it was released, has been installed on up to almost 100 million Laptops and PCs across the world. Windows 10 has also revolutionised the way we use computers, and with the recent release of Office 2016, both tie in effortlessly and work perfectly with no problems at all. Altogether, I gave Windows 10 an overall rating of 10/10, considering just how perfect it has been on me, given just how speedy it has been since I installed it.

Thanks so much for a fantastic month on Mother Nature, I’m sorry if I haven’t been able to publish as many articles as I had hoped, but I will try my best to publish more articles as and when I can find the free time that becomes available.

Until then, thanks so much for a fantastic month on Mother Nature, and I’ll see you all in October.

Alex Smithson

10 Weeks with Windows 10

10 Weeks with Windows 10

Exactly 10 weeks ago today, Microsoft Corporation released the last version of Windows to the entire world, and that last version of Windows was Windows 10. Windows 10, in the 10 weeks since it was released, has been installed on up to almost 100 million Laptops and PCs across the world.

Also in that 10 weeks, Windows 10 has revolutionised the way we use our computers, and not only that, but also alongside Windows 10 comes the most recently released version of Microsoft Office 2016, which has seen quite a large overhaul in its UI (User Interface) across all editing software programs, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel. Since Microsoft Office 2016 was released on the 22nd September, the UI has been given an overhaul to match the design specifications of the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch versions of its Office apps.

I have had absolutely no problems with Windows 10 at all, I have found that getting around the Windows OS is a whole lot better than before, and not only that, but the idea of automatic Windows Updates (which I must admit I wasn’t too sure about at the time) actually sounds like a good idea. I have noticed that for every cumulative update that has been applied, I have noticed quite a lot that Windows 10 is getting faster and faster than before, but to make things even better, having Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2016 work perfectly together. I can craft documents and alter them to how I want them to look, and not only that, but I have noticed that in the time that I’ve used Microsoft Office, every bit of Windows and Microsoft Office just keeps evolving and becoming something a whole lot better.

The whole user interface of both Windows 10 and Microsoft Office is much better now, and for both the OS and Microsoft Office to be reworked entirely from the ground up, I’d say that Microsoft Corporation have done a fantastic job with the best of both. It has taken a while for Microsoft to get to this point, and I must admit, the very long wait has absolutely been worth it for them.

The Start Menu came back with a bang, after three years of being away from the scene, and was also given a near-complete overhaul, as the metro app design has been taken from Windows 8 and merged with Windows 10, and as well as that, much of the design aspects from Windows 7 have been put together with Windows 10, which combines the best of both Windows 7 & Windows 8.

Also introduced in Windows 10 was the ability to create clean and new desktops while on the same account. This meant that if you wanted to spread out the software applications that you wanted to use, without it cluttering up on just one desktop, you are now given the ability to click: “+ New Desktop”, which adds the ability to declutter your current desktop, while using the specific software applications on other desktops, all on one Microsoft account.

With Windows 10 also came the alternative voice assistant to Apple’s Siri, and that was Cortana. Cortana is mostly known for being the voice assistant on any Windows Phones, and is often a useful voice assistant for those who may be on the go, or if that person is just simply looking up information about a person, whether that person may be a musician or not.

A top feature of Windows 10 that just couldn’t be left out was Microsoft’s all new Edge browser. Microsoft Edge is the newborn alternative of Internet Explorer, with some, if not a lot of familiar features you may have known or used with the classic style Internet Explorer browser.

How as Windows 10 been on me? Windows 10 has been completely reliable on me, I have had no problems with the speed of the OS, and not only that, but I have found that Windows 10 has become much easier to use, as the OS is quite easy to access. In the space of 10 weeks alone, I have found Windows 10 to be really accessible, easy to use, and also powerful to work with, as you can work on something whilst doing other things as well. Microsoft have most definitely redefined multitasking with Windows 10.

Aside all of the new features comes the all-new Action Centre, which is like the notification system that Apple have made for their Notification Centre, but this Action Centre is useful if you are willing to keep an eye on certain things, such as the emails you receive, the notifications you receive from the likes of apps, such as Facebook or Twitter, or if you are someone who is security conscious when it comes to laptop and PC security, then Microsoft’s Windows 10 OS will notify you of any app notifications or problems via the Action Centre. Also included in the Action Centre is the ability to use Tablet Mode, so if, for example, you have a laptop, PC or tablet that has touchscreen support included, then Tablet Mode will be very useful and beneficial for you to use.

Quiet Hours is also a new feature in the Action Centre, which is useful if you don’t want to be bothered by the sounds of notifications, though these notifications won’t be shown, but will instead show up in the Action Centre once you click on the Action Centre icon near the clock’s time.

My final thoughts on Windows 10 after 10 weeks? In contrast, I think that it has absolutely been worth upgrading to Windows 10, because I’ve not come across any of the small problems that I had with Windows 8, and I have found that the jump to Windows 10 from Windows 8 has absolutely been worth it. Windows 10 is every bit amazing, as it hits all the right notes with some of the classical features from Windows 7 and Windows 8.

My question to all of you: How has Windows 10 performed for you over the course of 10 weeks?

My overall rating of Windows 10 altogether: 10/10

Alex Smithson

© Microsoft Corporation 2015

© The Official Windows 10 Home/Pro Wallpaper, the Windows 10 Logo and the Microsoft Logo used in the Featured Image are courtesy of Microsoft Corporation. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Microsoft Edge | Your no-fuss online browser for doing.

Microsoft Edge - Your no-fuss online browser for doing. - Alex's Tech Review (Final)

Ten weeks ago next week, Microsoft Corporation released Windows 10 to the world. In the short space of almost two months, Windows 10 was installed on almost 100 million devices across the world.

It’s absolutely amazing how in just the short space of almost 10 weeks, Windows 10 has been changing people’s lives for the better, as it has been helping to make your way of using Windows much better than you think. Before, the possibilities of being able to smile at your webcam to log on to your account are now a thing of the past, as Intel and Microsoft have since joined forces to create an all-new type of technology called Intel RealSense, which is designed for you in mind, meaning only you can smile at the Laptop or PC’s webcam and it will log you in without you needing to type your password in the minute your computer boots up.

The birth of Microsoft Edge blossomed and Internet Explorer was starting to say goodbye after 20 long years of being on our PCs, as Internet Explorer was what revolutionised Windows and Microsoft in the style that they are both in today. Check below to find out why Microsoft Edge is now your no-fuss browser for doing.

In just a short time since Windows 10 was released, Microsoft Edge has been given much more of a wide-birth, which is much better, as this brings new life into the Windows OS, with Internet Explorer being partly the reason for why the Edge browser was made. Without Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge wouldn’t have even been a browser, but it’s because of the fact that the frameworks, the breadcrumbs and the design aspects of Internet Explorer made up for Edge to be a much better browser.

What do I think of Microsoft Edge? I think Microsoft Edge is actually spot-on, because I can access things quicker than I could before, and if I’m looking at or using websites, such as the Metro, WordPress or YouTube, Microsoft Edge remembers the sites I regularly visit by adding that site to the “Top Sites” section underneath the address bar.

In a typical sense, I have noticed quite frequently with this browser that it can get to pages instantly without the hassle, which is a really good sign as this can save me from worrying about the amount of time website pages take to load. Also, I have noticed that by using this browser, I can get around things a hell of a lot more than I used to. It’s actually a lot quicker now to get around things that I initially thought wasn’t possible before.

Give credit where it’s due, Microsoft do try their absolute hardest to try and make a browser like this better, it doesn’t matter if the browser suffers a few teething problems, that happens to any browser, it’s an entirely normal thing, and is nothing new to Microsoft, but you have to give them credit though, they work their socks off to make sure their Windows 10 OS and Microsoft Edge browser is better.

Things are starting to look up now as Microsoft released Microsoft Office 2016 to the whole world on the 22nd September, and if you’re an Office 365 account holder, and you own Office 2013, which is bundled with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, OneNote and Outlook, then you will be able to upgrade Office 2013 to the all-new Office 2016. This is good if you’re an Office 365 user, and if you want to install Office 2016 now, you have to go to the website listed on the packaging of the Office 365 product card provided. If you already have Office 2013 on your computer in your Office 365 subscription, but can’t find the link if you’ve lost the packaging that includes the product card, then click here to be directed to the Office Setup Page.

(Note: If you already have Office 2013 with the 365 subscription and want to upgrade without needing to put a 25-digit pin in, then go to the link highlighted above, and then click on this link to follow the instructions on how to install it without the hassle.)

Moving back to the subject of Microsoft Edge, indeed, Microsoft Edge is most definitely the no-fuss online browser for doing, as it packs a punch, and is also most certainly the browser that shouldn’t go amiss to the naked eye.

At the end of the day, this browser, although it’s been out with Windows 10 for the upmost part of ten weeks, is still being updated with bug fixes and improvements, and not only that, but the accessibility of the browser is being upgraded also to make things better and a lot easier for everyone to access.

My general overview and final thoughts? I absolutely love Microsoft Edge, I’ve had no problems with using it to get to certain websites that I want to get to, and not only that, but I’ve been able to access websites and watch videos quicker and a lot better than I used to. On all grounds, Microsoft has certainly taken all of the ideas it could gather from it’s predecessor, Internet Explorer, and put them all into one browser that is much faster than the first one.

I love using Microsoft Edge, as it is fully functional, the speed is absolutely amazing, and as I am someone who likes to use the internet a lot, I can also get around certain news websites quicker, such as BBC, Sky & ITV. With the new reader feature that is a part of the browser, this means I will be able to read any articles, whether they are blog or website related, without the pesky ads that often pop up on pretty much every website around with ease.

If you make the jump to Windows 10, I strongly suggest that you use Microsoft Edge, it’s a fantastic browser, and it will benefit you in many more ways than one. Microsoft have decided that it’s now time to open the window for everyone to experience a new way to browse.

Alex Smithson

© Microsoft Corporation 2015

© The Microsoft Edge logo, Edge’s “E” Logo, the Microsoft Logo and the tagline used in the Featured Image are courtesy of Microsoft Corporation. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

My First Few Weeks Back at Croydon College. Absolutely Perfect!!!!!

Croydon College - Own Your Future

My first few weeks back at Croydon College have been absolutely perfect. After going back to college on the 8th September, it felt like a welcome of open arms, and I wasn’t at all nervous, but I was actually excited and I couldn’t wait to go back.

This day also marked a milestone of its own, as the 8th September was exactly one year to the day that I started my first ever day at college. A huge amount has changed in that time, everyone has matured, the respect of the students and the lecturers in the college are much better, and everyone gets on really well.

I have noticed in just the short space of one year alone that I have somehow matured, because I tend to get my work done a lot quicker, and not realise that the work I’ve completed isn’t due in for another couple of days prior to the lesson I’m supposed to submit that work for, and I’ve also noticed that I’m not so laid back as I used to be, which just proves that this past year has given me a kick up the backside, and that’s why I’ve managed to keep on top of my work, and be able to write articles for Mother Nature, including writing my third book, which I released on Independence Day in July this year.

For the UAL Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course, I am currently experimenting with the Pentax Asahi K1000 Pinhole Camera, which the college has handed out to the likes of students like myself, to take photos of certain subjects, and then to put into action shortly after. I must admit, the darkroom work is difficult, but once you find your way around the darkroom and developing process, you’ll find it a fun thing to do.

I quite like the fact that I am now able to expand my horizons a lot more, as I have found that I can do something quite well for the first time that I couldn’t do before. My only drawback was that when I went into one of the darkrooms, especially when the red light was turned off, I couldn’t see anything, which would particularly make me feel a bit worried as per to my surroundings, but at the same time, the worries of how the film could be developed. Still, I feel happier now that I can get to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for such a long time, and the long wait was absolutely worth it.

I do miss school, and I wish I could turn back time, but at this moment in time, I feel absolutely thankful and glad to be in the best position that I’m in. Of course, the time will fly by so quick before I know it, but at the end of the day, at least I can say that I was able to get myself to where I wanted to be, and know that I kept going higher and higher for the best result, despite worrying at times as to whether I would achieve my dream.

I love college, it’s much better now, and not only that, but I find it more relaxing this time around, as I can go in at a later time, without needing to worry about getting up very early in the morning. Gone are the days where I would need to get up very early in the morning just to get myself ready and to rush around in the morning for any last minute items, or having to rush to get to my bus stop so that my 367 arrive. Now, I can sleep in for an extra couple of hours and not need to worry as much as I used to, so that I have more of a chance of being able to leave for college in more of an alert state.

This past year has really opened my eyes and has also made me realise just how precious the time is nowadays, and it’s really opened my eyes in a certain way that I didn’t think I would imagine. My way of prioritising is much better now than it was a year ago, and I’m able to manage my workload better now than before, as I now like to make sure that I can complete work before it’s due in, and if there comes a stage where I get stuck on a certain part of the work that I am doing, I can ask my course lecturers or any of the staff for some help should I feel unsure or worried about something that I may not feel very particular with or even feel comfortable with.

Everyone at Croydon College is absolutely friendly, as everyone in this college is all hands-on-deck when it comes to completing work, and not only that, but I feel a lot more comfortable with knowing where I stand, and also knowing where my priorities lie. When I first started at Croydon College, I was nervous, but excited, though I wasn’t sure how things would go for me, but after settling in, I felt more comfortable with the course I was on. Now, I feel confident to be able to keep on top of the work I’m given, and know that I can prioritise my time effectively on my work, revision, and also around everything else as well.

My photographical skills have rapidly improved in such a short space of time, and I feel absolutely glad that I am able to do things for myself, which has mainly helped me in the long run, as I have managed to get my priorities in the right place and also my house in order, and this college has given me so much potential in just one year alone.

Overall, I am absolutely glad to have picked and studied at such an aspiring and inspiring college that is full of so much potential. I’m not disappointed at all, and I now know where I want to go in the future, and that is to become a professional photographer, night photographer and videographer.

Alex Smithson

iOS 9: A Redefined User Interface. A Software Update for Doing.

iOS 9 - A Redefined User Interface. A Software Update for Doing

As iOS 9 is finally available now to download via Software Update in Settings, I am delighted to give you all a run-down of all of the features that iOS 9 brings to the table. Gone are the days where you would need to free up countless amounts of space in order to download an all-important software update in order to get the full experience of a new operating system. Well, now those days are over, as iOS 9 weighs in at a small 1.3 GB, while the installation of iOS 8 was 4.58 GB.

For the first time, the ability of having a 4-digit passcode now expands to 6-digits, as it was felt by Apple that four just wasn’t enough to keep your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad secure, and it is much better this time around as you are given more of a chance to give your iDevice just that extra bit of security.

iCloud Drive, which allows you to store files that you may have been working on in applications, such as Keynote, Pages & Numbers, now has officially got its own standalone iCloud Drive app, which can be enabled by going to Settings –> iCloud –> iCloud Drive –> Show on Home Screen. This is beneficial for those of you who may be looking to reorganise or delete files that you feel you may no longer need or may possibly want to move.

For those of you who may be power-hungry users of the iPhone product line, a new feature is included that will allow you to extend your battery life by more than a few hours if your battery is running low on energy. Low Power Mode is a new feature for the iPhone, which, if you have it turned on, will turn the battery indicator yellow, indicating that the battery’s usage will be extended a few hours beyond the usage time, meaning that you will get to use your iPhone for a few hours longer, without the need of having to worry about charging your iPhone for longer.

iOS 9 also sees the introduction of the all-new News app, which was the most-talked about app shortly after it was introduced back in June during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on the 8th June 2015. This news app is very useful for if you want to keep up-to-date on the news whilst on the go and even if you’re at home, all of the news articles you want will be right at your fingertips.

Throughout the whole of iOS 9, the font has been changed after a very long while from the Helvetica font to the newly-used San Francisco font, which is also a pre-installed system font for the Apple Watch.

A major change has been made in iOS 9, as Passbook has officially been renamed as “Wallet“, along with an all-new application icon.

Also, the Notes app has officially been redesigned, and is bundled with some new features as well that will make note-taking a whole lot easier.

The Photos application finally gets what we’ve all been waiting for. If you are familiar with taking selfies with your friends, they will automatically be sorted into a “Selfie” photo album, and if you’re screenshotting any apps, they will also automatically be sorted into a “Screenshots” photo album of their own. This is useful for if you don’t want to have to scroll through your whole photo album just for that one particular photo you want to set as your wallpaper, or if needs be, to share with your friends, your family, and even your relatives. This is a welcoming new feature for iOS 9 and is also a useful photo & video organiser.

For the first time in Apple history, Apple have given those who are not developers the opportunity to test a Public Beta of iOS 9, after announcing the developer and public betas back in June, and since the first public beta of iOS 9 went live in July, this was a massive opportunity, as this would give you all, including myself, the chance to test out a public version of the software while it’s in development, in order to make the future releases of iOS better than ever. iOS 9.1 was recently released to developers, shortly after the Apple Special Media Event that took place on Wednesday 9th September 2015, and was also released to Public Beta testing. If you want to take iOS 9.1 for a test drive, click here and then click on sign in, and enrol your device or devices for public beta deployment, then follow the instructions listed and download the profile they’ll provide you.

Below are some photos of iOS 9 in action, with notable new features, such as the all-new News app.

iOS 9 and iOS 9.1 are both compatible with the following devices:

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

My final thoughts on iOS 9 and iOS 9.1? I must say, Apple have most certainly pulled out all of the stops on this update, the battery life has improved, and not only that, but the all-new News app works effortlessly without a problem, and I absolutely love it. It’s a lot quicker now to get around iOS than how it was before, and iOS 9 is working at full speed even though I own the iPod touch (5th Generation). I am absolutely pleased to say that I am 100% not at all disappointed with this new update, in fact, iOS 9 is perfect.

If you have already downloaded and installed iOS 9 or iOS 9.1, please feel free to comment below your thoughts on the update, and what you think about this update, and how you feel about iOS 9 overall.

Alex Smithson

© iOS Logo Copyright of Apple & Cisco. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

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

© Applications visible in the Image also Copyright of Apple

© The photos above were taken on the Nikon D3300 DSLR.

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

© Apple 2015

Welcome to September!!!!!!!!! A Hard Working & Energetic Month Awaits!!!!!!!!

Welcome to September!!!!!!!!!

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Mother Nature for an Autumnal September!!! As this month is set to start getting a little, if not, a bit more chilly what with the bad weather we’ve had that caused the Summer washout for August, this month is set to be hard working and energetic, as I am feeling more than ready to go back to college next Tuesday, as I’ve officially been accepted onto the UAL Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course, which I can’t wait to start, but as well as that, this will mean that I will, of course, have to try and find the time to write articles as and when I can, as I’m making sure to prioritise my time effectively this time around, as this past year has given me the kick up the backside I definitely needed.

As the long holiday comes to an end, I am delighted to say that I have absolutely enjoyed it, though I must admit, it’s been more relaxing now than it was before, but I just find it very hard to believe that I’ve come this far in such a short time, and I didn’t think I would be in the best position that I’m in now.

But back to the subject of things, I may possibly end up having to publish less frequently as I will be putting my course first, among other subjects that I will also be doing, but I will try my hardest to publish as and when I can find the time. Thankfully, this time around, my studies may be a bit more relaxed as I have now been able to prioritise my time more effectively on my studies, this website, and everything else.

I will be starting on Book 4 soon, but I don’t know exactly whether I will release it this year or at the start of next year, so my mind will be focused around that as soon as I start my course.

Other than that, how has your holiday been everyone? I would be delighted to know what you’ve done over the holidays. Please feel free to leave a comment below this article what you did over the Summer holiday :-).

Until then, Welcome to September on Mother Nature!!! A Hard Working & Energetic Month Awaits!!!!!!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: August 2015

Monthly Roundup - August 2015

To round off what has been a good month on Mother Nature, I will take a look back on the articles that were published over the course of this month.

1.8.2015 – I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for a relaxing, peaceful & joyous August, as this month was set to be the most relaxing month, despite the scorching hot weather that I thought would be impacting the UK. It definitely was safe to say that this month would be full of joy and relaxation, given just how lovely the weather was.

In light of recent events though, I made sure that I would make and publish a tribute article as soon as I could to pay my respects to the Formula 1 Racer, Jules Bianchi, who sadly passed away on the 17th July 2015, coming just 9 months after a racing accident that left him with severe head injuries.

As Windows 10 was the most-talked-about Windows Updates, in the 72 hours that Windows 10 was downloaded, it was downloaded by as many as 14 million users around the world that use Windows, due to unprecedented demand. As I was lucky to download my copy of Windows 10 on release day, I had found the Windows 10 Operating System to be a damn sight faster than Windows Vista and Windows 7. Windows 8 and 8.1 were really good though, they were both speedy, but to me, they were finally balanced in speed, and now that Windows 10 is out, I find that speed and connecting to the internet is more important, because as long as you have both of them, then you’re well on your way to finding things quicker.

4.8.2015 – As the hot weather was officially back, it was safe to say that Mother Nature didn’t slow down just yet, as she decided to provide us some hot weather, despite the humidity, and the hot weather had proved to be almost as hot as it was at the beginning of July. As this day was a lovely day, it was the perfect time to take some photos. I had also taken some photos towards the end of July, and Mother Nature didn’t disappoint at all, as she had created a trail of happiness, slight destruction, given the preparation of the hot weather, and not only that, but she had certainly made the path to Summer feel beautiful.

5.8.2015 – As Mother Nature needed a bit of a refresh in readability, I took the chance of changing up both the font choices by switching to a more readable user interface. The original default fonts were okay, but they were beginning to look dated, but, as I wanted to give Mother Nature a fresh new face and lease of life, I changed the heading font to Oswald, and the Base font was also changed to PT Sans, to accommodate for better viewing.

10.8.2015 – Following the longed-for release of Microsoft’s Operating System, Windows 10, which hit all laptops and PCs running Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 with Bing, I was absolutely delighted to write this article as a way of saying thank you to Microsoft for really nailing the best of both operating systems in one OS.

21.8.2015 – Following shock news reports, the world had lost a true icon in the world of racing on the 17th July 2015. Jules Bianchi sadly passed away on the 17th July 2015, and his death came just 9 months after a racing accident which had left him with severe head injuries. Jules Bianchi’s death came just 21 years after the former Formula 1 Racer, Ayrton Senna, lost his life in the 1994 San Morino Grand Prix, following an accident whilst on the track.

The news of his death had come as a shock to the racing world, and his death had also shocked me, as I hadn’t realised just how bad the extent of his head injuries were until they had announced his death.

The tribute article I made to pay my respects to Jules Bianchi would take a look back on his life as it unfolded, and it had also included the highlights of his career up until his death on the 17th July 2015. We will miss you dearly Jules Bianchi, but you are forever in our hearts.

31.8.2015 – On Friday 1st August 2015, the world had lost an international music & TV icon. Cilla Black, who was best known for being on the hit TV shows, such as Surprise Surprise & Blind Date, which had both ran for 18 years, sadly passed away at the age of 72, at her holiday home in Spain. The tribute article would take a look back on Cilla Black’s life as it unfolded, and the timeline of events that had occurred throughout her life up until her sudden death on the 1st August 2015.

Thank you all for a very good month, this month has gone so quick, and it’s been really good, and eventful as well, and I’ll see you all in September.

Alex Smithson

Cilla Black (1943 – 2015)

Cilla Black (1943 - 2015)

On Friday 1st August 2015, the world lost an international music & TV icon. Cilla Black, best known for being on the hit TV shows, such as Surprise Surprise & Blind Date, which had both ran for 18 years, sadly passed away at the age of 72, at her holiday home in Spain.

This tribute article will take a look back on Cilla Black’s life as it unfolded, and the timeline of events that occurred throughout her life up until her sudden death at the very beginning of this month.

Priscilla Maria Veronica White (Cilla Black) OBE [Order of the British Empire] – 27th May 1943 – 1st August 2015

Priscilla Maria Veronica White, best known by her stage name, Cilla Black, was an English singer, television presenter and actress. As she was championed by her friends, which were The Beatles, Cilla had began her career as a singer in 1963, and her singles: “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “You’re My World” had both reached number one in the UK in 1964. Cilla Black had eleven Top Ten hits on the British charts between 1963 & 1971, and in May 2010, the new research that was published by BBC Radio 2 had shown that her version of “Anyone Who Had a Heart” was the UK’s biggest selling single by a female artist in the 1960s. “You’re My World” had also been a modest hit in the United States, as it peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. Cilla Black had gained her first number one album this month following her sudden death on the 1st August.

With a successful recording career in the 1960s and the early 1970s, Cilla Black had hosted her own variety show, Cilla,  for the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) between 1968 and 1976, and after a brief time as a comedy actress in the mid-1970s, Cilla had also become a prominent television presenter in the 1980s and 1990s, hosting the hit entertainment shows, such as Blind Date (1985 – 2003) and Surprise Surprise (1984 – 2001 | Now Revived).

In 2013, Cilla Black had celebrated 50 years of being in show business, and the British television network, ITV, honoured this milestone with a one-off entertainment special, which aired on the 16th October 2013. The show, which was titled: “The One & Only Cilla Black”, featured herself and was also hosted by Paul O’Grady.

Cilla Black died on the 1st August 2015 after suffering a fall in her villa in Estepona, in Spain. The day after her funeral, the compilation album: “The Very Best of Cilla Black” went to number one on the UK Albums Charts, which was marked as her first number one album.

Cilla Black’s Early Life

Priscilla White was born in Liverpool, in England on the 27th May 1943 and had grown up in the Scotland Road area of the city. Her parents were John Patrick White (1904 – 1971) and Priscilla Blythen (1911 – 1996). She had a Welsh grandfather, Joseph Henry Blythen (1883 – 1966), who was born in Wrexham, and Irish great-grandparents on both of her father’s and mother’s sides of the family. Cilla Black was raised in a Roman Catholic household, and had also attended St. Anthony’s School, which is situated behind St. Anthony’s Church in Scotland Road, and Anfield Commercial College, where she had learnt her office skills.

As she was determined to become an entertainer, Cilla White had gained a part-time job as a cloakroom attendant at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, which is best known for its connection with The Beatles. Her impromptu performances had impressed The Beatles and others, and she was also encouraged to begin singing by a Liverpool promoter, Sam Leach, who had booked her first gig at the Casanova Club, located on London Road, where she had appeared as “Swinging Cilla”.

She later became a guest singer with the Merseybeat bands, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes and later on with the Big Three. Meanwhile, she had worked as a waitress at the Zodiac coffee lounge, where she had later met her future husband, Bobby Willis. She was featured in an article in the first edition of the local music newspaper, Mersey Beat, by the paper’s publisher, Bill Harry, who had mistakenly referred to her as Cilla Black, rather than her real surname, White. From there, she would then take the name, Cilla Black, as part of her stage name.

Cilla Black’s Music Career

Before August 1967

Cilla Black had signed her first contract with her long-time friend and neighbour, Terry McCann, but this contract was never honoured as it was made when she was underage (the age of majority at that time was 21), and her father had subsequently signed her with Brian Epstein.

Cilla was introduced to Brian Epstein by John Lennon, who had persuaded him to audition her. John was encouraged by his Aunt Mimi to introduce Cilla Black to Brian Epstein. Brian Epstein had a portfolio of local artists, but had initially shown little interest in her. Cilla’s first audition was a failure, partly because of nerves, and also partly because The Beatles (who supported her) played the songs in their usual vocal key rather than re-pitching them for Cilla Black’s voice. In her autobiography: “What’s It All About?”, Cilla Black wrote:

“I’d chosen to do “Summertime”, but at the very last moment I wished I hadn’t. I adored this song, and had sung it when I came to Birkenhead with the Big Three, but I hadn’t rehearsed it with the Beatles and it had just occurred to me that they would play it in the wrong key. It was too late for second thoughts, though. With one last wicked wink at me, John set the group off playing. I’d been right to worry. The music was not in my key and any adjustments that the boys were now trying to make were too late to save me. My voice sounded awful. Destroyed—and wanting to die—I struggled on to the end.” – Cilla Black

But after he saw her another day, at the Blue Angel Jazz Club, Brian Epstein had contracted with Cilla Black as his only female client on the 6th September 1963. Brian Epstein had introduced Cilla to George Martin who signed her to Parlophone Records and produced her debut single, “Love of the Loved” (written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney), which was released only three weeks after she had joined Brian Epstein. Despite an appearance on ABC Television’s popular TV Show, Thank Your Lucky Stars, the single itself peaked at a modest No. 35 in the UK, a relative failure compared to the debuts of Epstein’s most successful artists (The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas).

Cilla Black’s second single, released at the beginning of 1964, was a cover of the Burt Bacharach-Hal David composition: “Anyone Who Had a Heart”, which was originally written for Dionne Warwick. The single had beaten Warwick’s recording of the song into the UK Charts and had also risen to Number 1 in Britain in February 1964 (spending three weeks there), selling 800,000 UK copies in the process. Her second UK Number 1 came from the successful record: “You’re My World”, which was an English-language rendition of the popular Italian song: “Il Mio Mondo”, which was by the composer, Umberto Bindi. Cilla Black had also enjoyed her chart success with the song in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa and Canada. Both of the songs sold over one million copies worldwide, and were both awarded gold discs.

Cilla Black’s two Number 1 successes were followed by the release of another Lennon-McCartney composition, “It’s for You” as her fourth UK single. Paul McCartney had played the piano at the recording session and the song had proved to be another success for Cilla Black, as it peaked at Number 7 on the UK Charts.

Cilla Black had belonged to a generation of British female singers, which included the likes of Dusty Springfield, Helen Shapiro, Petula Clark, Sandie Shaw and Lulu. These artists (other than Petula Clark), were not singer-songwriters, but were interpreters of the 1960s contemporary popular music category by song writers and producers. Cilla Black had recorded much of her material during this time, which included songs that were written by the likes of Phil Spector, Randy Newman, Tim Hardin & Burt Bacharach. All of these songs were produced by George Martin at the famously renowned Abbey Road Studios in London.

Cilla Black’s cover version of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (1965) had reached Number 2 on the UK Charts in the same week that The Righteous Brothers’ original version of the same song went to Number 1 (the week of the 4th February 1965). This was the first of the only three occasions in the history of the British Top 40 where the same song, which was recorded by two different artists, held the top two positions in the chart in the same week. The single, however, wasn’t critically well received, as The Rolling Stones’ manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, had taken out an advert in the Melody Maker in a bid to deride Cilla Black’s efforts compared with the original.

As she was so closely associated with The Beatles, Cilla Black had become one of the selected group of artists in the 1964-65 period (with the others being Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, and Peter and Gordon) to record more than one Lennon-McCartney composition. Cilla Black had continued to record Lennon-McCartney compositions throughout her time with Parlophone Records (1963 – 1973) and her recordings of “Yesterday”, “For No One” and “Across the Universe” had become radio favourites. Paul McCartney had said that Cilla Black’s 1972 interpretation of “The Long and Winding Road” was the definitive version of the song.

Cilla Black’s career in the United States, although enthusiastically supported by Brian Epstein and his PR (Public Relations) team, were limited to a few television appearances (The Ed Sullivan Show among them) a 1965 cabaret season at the Plaza Hotel in New York, and success with “You’re My World”, which made it to Number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was to be her only American Top 30 Chart success, and Elvis Presley had a copy on his personal jukebox at his Graceland home. Cilla Black herself had recognised that to achieve popular status in the USA, she would need to devote as much of her own time to touring there, but she was plagued by homesickness and a sense of loneliness and had decided to return to the United Kingdom.

During 1966, Cilla Black had recorded the Bacharach-David song: “Alfie”, which was written as the signature song to the 1966 feature film of the same name, and while Cher had sung “Alfie” on the closing credits of the American release of the film and Millicent Martin on the UK version, Cilla Black was the first and only artist to have a hit with the song in the UK (Number 9). “Alfie” had then gone on to become a success for both Cher (in 1966) and Dionne Warwick (in 1967) in the US.

Cilla Black’s own version of “Alfie” was arranged and conducted by Burt Bacharach himself at the recording session at Abbey Road. Bacharach had insisted on 31 separate takes, and Cilla Black had cited the session as being one of the most demanding sessions of her recording career. For Burt Bacharach’s part, he had stated that: “… there weren’t too many white singers around, who could convey the emotion that I felt in many of the songs I wrote but that changed with people like Cilla Black”.

By the end of 1966, Cilla Black had been a guest on Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s show: “Not Only… But Also”, she had also appeared on The Eamonn Andrews Show, and in a Ray Galton-Alan Simpson revue in London’s West End-Way Out in Piccadilly-alongside Frankie Howerd, and had also starred in her own TV Special, Cilla at the Savoy, which had become one of the most watched Music specials of the 1960s.

Brian Epstein’s attempts to make Cilla Black a film actress proved to be less successful, and after a brief appearance in the “beat” film: “Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey” (1965) and a leading role alongside David Warner in the psychedelic comedy: “Work Is a Four-Letter Word” (1968), both were largely ignored by the film critics. In a 1997 interview with the Record Collector Magazine company, Cilla Black had revealed that she was asked to appear in the film: “The Italian Job” (1969), where she would play the part of Michael Caine’s girlfriend, but the negotiations had fallen through between the producers and her management over her fee.

Brian Epstein died after suffering from an accidental drug overdose in August 1967, not long after he had negotiated a contract with the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) for Cilla Black to appear in a television series of her own. The relations between Brian Epstein and Cilla Black had somewhat soured during the year prior to his passing, largely because he was not paying her career enough attention, and the fact that her singles: “A Fool Am I” (UK – No. 13, 1966) and “What Good Am I?” (UK – No. 24, 1967) were not big successes.

It was rumoured though that Cilla Black was also unhappy with Brian Epstein’s public admission that he had taken LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide), and in her autobiography, Cilla Black had claimed that Brian Epstein had tried to pacify her by negotiating a deal that would see her representing the UK in the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest. However, Cilla Black had refused on the basis that Sandie Shaw had won the previous year’s contest, and that the chances of another British female artist winning were improbable.

After Brian Epstein

Cilla Black’s boyfriend and songwriter, Bobby Willis, had assumed the management responsibilities after Brian Epstein died, and after the relatively disappointing performance of: “I Only Live to Love You” (UK No. 26, 1967), Cilla Black had hit a new purple patch in her music career, starting with the record: “Step Inside Love” in 1968 (UK No. 8), which McCartney had written especially for her as the theme for her new weekly BBC television variety series. Other successes had followed soon after in 1969 with the tracks: “Conversations” (UK No. 7), “Surround Yourself With Sorrow” (written by Bill Martin, Phil Coulter, UK No. 3) and “If I Thought You’d Ever Change Your Mind” (No. 20). Cilla Black had a further big hit with the song: “Something Tells Me (Something’s Gonna Happen Tonight)” [UK No. 3] in 1971.

Cilla Black’s association with The Beatles had continued, and at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival, she had joined George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and the singer, Marc Bolan to attend a screening of the John Lennon-Yoko Ono experimental film: “Erection”. She had also gone on holiday with George Harrison and Ringo Starr on a trip aboard a yacht which was chartered by Ringo. “Photograph” was written on this trip, which was originally intended for Cilla Black, but Ringo Starr had decided to record it himself. George Harrison had also written two songs for Cilla Black: “The Light That Has Lighted the World” and “I’ll Still Love You (When Every Song is Sung)”. The latter of the music that she had recorded during 1974 with her then-producer, David Mackay, was not heard until 2003, when it was included on a retrospective collection, which was entitled as: “Cilla: The Best of 1963-78”.

In 1969, the rock music journalist, Nik Cohn, had written that:

“…she makes people glow. In her time, she will grow into a pop Gracie Fields, much loved entertainer, and she’ll become institutionalised.” – Nik Cohn

Cilla’s Later Music Career

In 1993, Cilla Black had released Through the Years, an album that contained new material that featured a number of duets with Dusty Springfield, Cliff Richard and Barry Manilow, and ten years later, in 2003, Cilla Black released the album Beginnings … Greatest Hits and New Songs.

During the course of 2006-07, Cilla’s 1971 single: “Something Tells Me (Something’s Gonna Happen Tonight)” was used as the soundtrack to a new British advertising for Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and during the 2008-09 pantomime season, Cilla Black had returned to live musical performances in the pantomime, Cinderella, appearing as the Fairy Godmother. Cilla Black was a part of an all-Scouse cast that was assembled in this three-hour stage spectacular to mark the end of Liverpool’s years as the European Capital of Culture. The show had incorporated a number of Cilla’s successes, which she had performed live, including: “You’re My World”, “Something Tells Me (Something’s Gonna Happen Tonight)”, “Step Inside Love” and “I Can Sing a Rainbow”. Cilla Black had received a rave amount of reviews for her singing and overall performance.

On the 7th September 2009, a total of 13 of Cilla Black’s original Studio Albums (the first seven that were produced by George Martin) recorded by Cilla between 1963 and 2003 were released for digital download, and these albums were featured in an array of musical genres. Also released by the EMI (European Music Industry) label at the same time was a double album and DVD set, titled “The Definitive Collection (A Life in Music)”, which had featured rare video footage; a digital download album of specially commissioned remixes as “Cilla All Mixed Up, and a remixed single on digital download of “Something Tells Me (Something’s Gonna Happen Tonight)”.

For the 2010 Winter Pantomime Season, Cilla Black had appeared in Cinderella at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire, and in October 2013, Parlophone Records (the record label that helped to launch her music career in 1963) released the career-spanning CD: “The Very Best of Cilla Black”, which contained all 19 of her UK Top 40 singles, new club remixes, plus a bonus DVD of her 1966 TV Music Special, Cilla at the Savoy. Cilla Black was the best-selling British female recording artist in the United Kingdom during the 1960s, as she had released a total of 15 Studio Albums & 37 Singles.

Cilla’s Television Career


Cilla Black was offered her own show on the BBC by Bill Cotton, who was then the Assistant Head of Light Entertainment. The first series of Cilla was broadcast on Tuesday 30th January 1968. On her first show, her guest was Tom Jones, and both of the musicians sang a duet together. Paul McCartney (without John Lennon) had written the theme tune entitled: “Step Inside Love”, which had become another chart success for Cilla Black. This song was later on covered by Madeline Bell. The series had featured guest appearances by many of the stars of that era, including Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Charles Aznavour, Matt Monro, Donovan, Georgie Fame, Sacha Distel, Ethel Merman, The Shadows and Phil Everly.

This success had helped to pave the way for a lengthy television career which had continued until 2003. Cilla Black had began the 1970s by appearing on BBC’s highly rated review of the sixties music scene, Pop Go The Sixties, performing “Anyone Who Had a Heart” on the show broadcast across Europe and BBC One, on the 31st December 1969.

Like many of her contemporaries, during the 1970s, Cilla Black’s musical career had declined. She had often toured but had become increasingly thought of as a television personality. Her own BBC series, Cilla, had ran for almost a decade, as it had racked up eight seasons between January 1968 and April 1976. The theme songs from Cilla’s own hit series were also successful. “Step Inside Love” had opened the series for the runs in 1968 and 1969, and it had reached Number 8 in the UK Singles Chart on its release.

Something Tells Me (Something’s Gonna Happen Tonight)” was the theme for the 1971 and 1973 shows, reaching Number 3 and becoming Cilla Black’s last Top Ten Success. “Baby, We Can’t Go Wrong” was used for the 1974 series and was a minor success, reaching Number 36, which was Cilla’s last UK Chart song until 1993.

The UK’s Eurovision Song Contest entry selection process was part of the Cilla show in both 1968 and 1973, when her close friend, Cliff Richard, was the featured artist performing all the songs that were shortlisted in the: “A Song for Europe” segment. Cilla Black was asked to sing for the 1968 contest and was asked again for the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest, but declined as she was pregnant at that time, and also because she had thought it unlikely that another British female vocalist would win, after Sandie Shaw, who had won the previous year. In 2006, Cilla Black took part in the BBC Wales programme: “Coming Home” about her Welsh family history, with roots in Wrexham and Holywell.


On the 15th January 1975, Cilla Black had performed as the main entertainer of the first of six half-an-hour situation comedy plays. The series, which was broadcast by ITV (Independent Television), was entitled: “Cilla’s Comedy Six”, and it was written by Ronnie Taylor. During May 1975, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain had named Cilla Black as Britain’s Top Female Comedy Star, and the following year, ATV was commissioned to film six more plays, as the initial series had accrued healthy viewing figures and remained constantly among the highest-scoring three shows of the week.

During the course of August 1976, Cilla Black had reprised her role as a comedy actress in “Cilla’s World of Comedy”, which had featured her theme song, and also her new single: “Easy in Your Company”. Between the course of 2013 and 2014, Cilla Black was set to co-star in a new BBC sitcom: “Led Astray” alongside Paul O’Grady – the pilot episode itself was recorded on the 31st October 2013, however, the show was shelved as the pair were unable to cope with the long hours of filming.

LWT (London Weekend Television) [Now ITV Studios]

By the beginning of the 1980s, with Cilla Black performing mainly in cabaret performances and concerts, her television appearances were rare. According to Christopher Biggins’ autobiography, she had “stormed back into the public consciousness with a barnstorming performance as a guest on Wogan in 1983, proving that we can all have second chances”, and after her appearance, people were “desperately trying to find her the right comeback vehicle”.

Cilla Black had signed a contract with London Weekend Television, which meant that she would become the host of two of the most popular and long-running evening entertainment shows of the 1980s and 1990s, which were Blind Date (which ran from 1985 to 2003) and Surprise Surprise (which ran from 1984 to 2001, which was most recently revived). She had also presented the game show, The Moment of Truth (which ran from 1998 to 2001). All of the programmes she presented were mainstream ratings winners and this had consolidated her position as the highest-paid female performer on British Television. Her television appearances had made her spoken mannerisms (“Lorra lorra laughs”, for example), and her habit of referring familiarly to her fellow presenters (“Our Graham”) well known.

Later Television Work

Cilla Black’s most notable television performances after her resignation from London Weekend Television included Parkinson, So Graham Norton, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Room 101, and a one-off show that was titled: “Cilla Live!” for Living TV. Cilla Black was a judge on the first series of the reality TV series: “Soapstar Superstar”. She was also featured in an episode of the series: “Eating With…” and had also guest presented editions of The Paul O’Grady Show in 2006 and The Friday Night Project for Channel 4 in 2007.

In 2008, Cilla Black had recorded a pilot for the Sky 1 dating show, Loveland. The show was to be a ten-part “21st Century” dating programme for the following year. Unlike Blind Date, the contestants would not sit in front of a studio audience, but would be ‘hidden’ behind real-time animations as they dated each other. Each episode would conclude with the contestant picking their preferred animated character, before meeting the real-life person. The production costs, however, were too high and as a result, the show was pulled.
In October 2009, Cilla Black had guest anchored Loose Women, and on the 28th November 2009, she had appeared on Sky 1 to present “TV’s Greatest Endings”. Between the course of September 2010 and June 2011, Cilla had made the guest panel list appearances, and in 2011, she had also appeared, as herself, in the first episode of Season 4 of Benidorm.
Cilla Black’s 50 Years in Showbusiness
ITV had honoured Cilla Black’s 50 years in showbusiness with a one-off entertainment special, which aired on the 16th October 2013. The show, which was called: “The One and Only Cilla Black” starred Cilla Black herself, alongside Paul O’Grady, who had also hosted the show. The show would celebrate Cilla Black’s career, and this included a special trip back to Cilla’s home city of Liverpool, a host of celebrity friends and some surprise music guests. Cilla Black had also paid homage to Blind Date with the return of its most popular contestants, and this also saw her star in a special edition of Coronation Street.
TV Credits
Year Programme Role
1968–1976 Cilla Presenter
1975 Cilla’s Comedy Six Actor
1977 Cilla’s World of Comedy Actor
1983 Cilla’s Christmas Show Presenter
1984–2001 Surprise Surprise Presenter
1985–2003 Blind Date Presenter
1998–2001 The Moment of Truth Presenter
2006 Soapstar Superstar Judge
2006-2010 The Paul O’Grady Show Guest Presenter & Guest
2007 Room 101 Guest
2009 TV’s Greatest Endings Presenter
2009–2014 Loose Women Regular/Guest Panellist
2011 Benidorm Herself
2011 Never Mind the Buzzcocks Guest Presenter
2013 Your Face Sounds Familiar Guest Judge
The One & Only Cilla Black Special Guest

Cilla Black ended her television career in 2014, prior to her sudden death on the 1st August 2015.

TV Biopic

In 2014, Cilla Black was the subject of a three-part television drama series, titled “Cilla”, which would focus especially on her rise to fame in 1960s Liverpool, as well as her relationship with Bobby Willis. ITV had aired the first installment of the three-part series on the 15th September 2014, with the last two installments that followed soon after, and the TV Biopic starred the former Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and The C Word BAFTA award-winning actress, Sheridan Smith (who had most recently starred in the hit ITV Drama, Black Work).

Cilla Black’s Personal Life

Cilla Black was married to her manager and husband, Bobby Willis, for 30 years from 1969 until 1999, when he passed away from lung cancer on the 23rd October 1999. They had three sons together:

  • Robert (born 1970, who became her manager)
  • Ben (born 1974)
  • Jack (born 1980).

Their daughter, Ellen (born 1975) was born prematurely and suffered lung complications, which meant that she only lived for two hours.

Cilla Black was a staunch supporter of the Conservative Party, and she had publicly voiced her admiration of Margaret Thatcher (for which she was infamously booed by the audience on her 1989 New Year’s Eve television special: “Cilla’s Goodbye to the 80s”). In April 1992, Cilla appeared on stage at a Conservative Party rally, and had also made prominent calls for the party’s re-election under the leadership of John Major, however, in a 2004 interview with The Guardian, Cilla Black had claimed that she was “apolitical”. The Liverpool Echo had also quoted her as saying: “as for the politics thing, I’m not a Conservative.”

In August 2014, Cilla Black was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian, opposing the Scottish Independence in the run-up to September’s referendum on that issue.


Cilla Black passed away at her holiday home in Estepona, in Spain, on the 1st August 2015, aged just 72. A spokesperson for the High Court of Justice in Andalusia had suggested that an accident may have been the contributory factor in Cilla’s death. Following the results of a post-mortem examination, her sons had confirmed that Cilla Black had died from a stroke following a fall in her Spanish villa. The ten-page pathologist’s report had confirmed that Cilla Black had suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage after falling backwards and hitting her head, it was thought, on a terrace wall. It was also believed that she hadn’t been found for at least four hours.

In 2014, Cilla Black had stated that she wanted to die when she reached the age of 75, as her mother, who had suffered from progressive osteoporosis, had lived to the age of 84 and that her final years were difficult. According to a friend, she had recently said that she was approaching death, after complaining of failing eyesight and loss of hearing as well as arthritis. Cilla Black had been suffering with rheumatoid arthritis for years, and was in “considerable agony” towards the end of her life.

In the days that followed her death, a book of condolence was opened at the Liverpool Town Hall, and the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, stated that: “Cilla Black was a huge talent who made a significant contribution to public life in Britain. My thoughts are with her family.” Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Sheridan Smith, Cliff Richard and Paul O’Grady were among the friends and colleagues in the entertainment industry who had expressed their sorrow of Cilla’s death.

The comedian, Jimmy Tarbuck, who was a friend of Cilla Black’s for decades, said that: “She was the girl next door that everybody loved and would have loved as a daughter, a daughter-in-law.” The songwriter, Burt Bacharch, had said that: “It will always be a most special memory for me of recording her on Alfie in Abbey Road Studios in 1965.” The broadcaster and TV Presenter of Deal or No Deal, Noel Edmonds, said that she had: “captured the hearts of the British people” because: “she was our Cilla – there were no airs and graces”.

Cilla Black’s funeral service was held on the 20th August 2015 at St. Mary’s Church in Woolton. Tom Williams, the Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, led the service, and Cilla’s friend, Cliff Richard, sang at the service, while her close friend, Paul O’Grady, gave an uplifting eulogy. She was buried in a private ceremony at the Allerton Cemetery in Allerton on the same day. On the 21st August 2015, the day after Cilla Black’s funeral, her compilation of hit songs: “The Very Best of Cilla Black”, went to Number 1 on the UK Albums Chart, and this was Cilla Black’s first Number 1 album.

Cilla Black’s Discography

  • Cilla (1965)
  • Cilla Sings a Rainbow (1966)
  • Sher-oo! (1968)
  • Surround Yourself with Cilla (1969)
  • Sweet Inspiration (1970)
  • Images (1971)
  • Day by Day with Cilla (1973)
  • In My Life (1974)
  • It Makes Me Feel Good (1976)
  • Modern Priscilla (1978)
  • Especially for You (1980)
  • Surprisingly Cilla (1985)
  • Cilla’s World (1990)
  • Through the Years (1993)
  • Beginnings: Greatest Hits & New Songs (2003)
  • Cilla All Mixed Up (2009)


Cilla Black was appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to entertainments in the 1997 New Year Honours, and in 2014, Cilla Black was the recipient of the British Academy Television Awards’ Special Award and the first Royal Television Society Legends Award in honour of her 50 years in the entertainment industry.



  • Step Inside (1985) – London
  • What’s It All About? (2003) – London

This tribute article comes to a remarkable close. We will miss you dearly Cilla Black, but you will always be remembered, not just as a musician, but also for the happy and colourful music trail you have left behind. You will always be remembered in our hearts forever. We miss you dearly Cilla Black, but you will never be forgotten.

Alex Smithson