As New Year’s Day 2015 is just around the corner, I will take a look back on 2014, which will focus on this year in review, and also on those who we lost this year, and also the happy and sad moments of 2014.
1.1.2014 – I changed the name of what used to be: “Photography | Nature – Capture Every Valuable Moment” to “Mother Nature | Life at the touch of a button.” This would make sure that this website would have “a better focus around nature”, and that Mother Nature would focus more around the photographical life of plants, insects, animals and city landscapes that I would create specifically for this website overall.
4.1.2014 – I created an article which would show you all how you could feature your blog post/article on the Twenty Fourteen theme. This would give you all a chance to find out how you could make sure that your article would get noticed a lot better than before.
5.1.2014 – A Cold, Wet Start to 2014 followed the New Year’s Day 2014 fireworks display that took place on the 1st January 2014. With this article, I would talk about the wet weather that had continued to pour down all the way from the end of November 2013 to the beginning of March this year.
I also took a few photos of the raindrops on the glass, one of which would scale perfectly as a fully functional wallpaper for the iPhone/iPod touch (5+ & up) and the iPad mini, showing two further screenshots of the same wallpaper, and what the wallpaper would look like after they have been set as the main wallpaper. As well as this, I put some of the video clips that I recorded together, and I uploaded a full length 4:06 video to YouTube, titled the same as the name of this specific article.
9.1.2014 – The Dusty Miller of Battersea Park article would take a look back to the day that I went to Battersea Park, which would focus around this main plant on it’s own, given it’s wintry appearance that made it look like it was associated well with the wintry snowflakes. To find out the name of this particular plant, I did some research on the internet via Google Images, and the final result was that this plant was indeed a Dusty Miller.
This photo, in particular, appeared to have a glowing appearance around the edges of the plant. I also talked about the scorching hot weather that we had during the Summer season of 2013, and again, I also provided different sized wallpapers for the iPad & iPad mini, the iPhone & the iPod touch, for Laptop/PC and also for Apple’s iMac/Macbook.
15.1.2014 – While my laptop was off for repair due to a ‘faulty USB Port’, which I found out weeks after that all of the USB ports went wrong, I did a review on the IMOS Bluetooth Keyboard Case which is compatible with all of the current iPad mini models (1st Generation & up), and as I was typing the article on the iPad mini with this keyboard, I mentioned that it was a perfect choice of keyboard, which, for £18.00, would beat the cost of an expensive value-based keyboard case that you could find, for example, if you were to purchase a keyboard (i.e. Logitech) that includes the same functionality in stores such as PC World or Currys, you would be looking at a price range of around £60-£100.
As the keyboard case arrived on this day from amazon.co.uk, this blew the expensive and hefty price tags out of the water, which was a bargain that was certainly worth going for. This keyboard case also came bundled together with a USB charger, which would allow you to charge up the Bluetooth Keyboard case when the battery eventually goes flat. There were a choice of four colours of the same keyboard case, which were: Silver, Black, Pink & Blue.
For this keyboard case to come with an £18.00 price tag, plus Free Delivery, it was a great deal, which was also worth its asking price, beating all of the other top technology companies that are looking to compete in the global technology market. I also provided some photos of how the keyboard case would look from certain viewing points, and I also provided some close-up photos of the case in terms of the cut-outs that are for general use.
18.1.2014 – This day was a special day for me, as I surprised you all with my first book installment: “My Journey Through Photography”. This book is a free digital book that is based on my journey through photography, which meant I would pick out the best and worst parts of photography, with 2 pages focusing on my days out at Kelsey Park & Battersea Park, including a page that would talk about this website, Mother Nature. I thanked all of you blogging friends, including Vijay Shah of the news blog: “Half-Eaten Mind: News & Views from a Partially Digested Brain” and Ajay Mody of the photography blogs: “Ajaytao2010: My Personal Opening to the World” and “Ajaytao Botanical Photography”, who sadly passed away in August this year after a short illness.
I also thanked my two main role models, which are Rhys Brown & Zofia Niemtus (I call her Miss Niemtus as a mark of respect) for being the biggest inspirations overall. These 2 bloggers and my two main role models are and always will be a true inspiration to me and to us all. I hyperlinked the book link in the tagline I put, titled as: “Click here to download your free copy of “My Journey Through Photography”, as I had uploaded this book to Dropbox.
This article would count as my last article for January 2014, before I took a short, one week break to recover from a throat infection.
3.2.2014 – Shortly after I recovered from my throat infection that I came down with at the end of January 2014, I crafted the first article for February, as I felt better than ever, and I also wanted to bring a change to Mother Nature, plus a lot of photos, which was a way of me saying thank you to all of you after you wished me the speedy road to recovery.
By marking a new beginning to February, I added the Spotify playlist: “The Mix of 2014” to the content sidebar on this website (when the Twenty Fourteen theme was in use) for your listening comfort, and while I was recovering from the throat infection, I used my free time to take some photos of the Crystal Palace tower from a view-point.
I also mentioned that if you wanted to be able to play: “The Mix of 2014” Spotify playlist, you would have to sign in or sign up to Spotify, so that the widget would work, as I had thought initially at first that it would play without the need of signing in, but it turns out that you have to be signed in to your Spotify account in order to play music from this particular playlist, or, if you had the Spotify app installed on your iPod touch, iPhone or iPad, a notice would appear showing the “Download Spotify” and “I have Spotify” buttons. I also provided a few screenshots of the Spotify widget, and also the notice of the usability of this widget, along with the photos that I took during the time that I was recovering from my throat infection, given the fact that we were slowly approaching Summer at this particular stage of 2014.
4.2.2014 – The WordPress article: “2013 in Review” would take a look back on the statistics from 2013, how many people that had visited Mother Nature, and how many followers that I gained within the space of the first 6 months that I used WordPress. An excerpt was made by WordPress, which was: “A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.”
8.2.2014 | 23.2.2014 – From the 8th February to the 23rd February, I would do some articles that would focus around the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Despite a faux pas with the fifth Olympic ring not opening on the night of the Opening Ceremony, this instantly went viral worldwide, and was also re-enacted during a dance at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games Closing Ceremony. On the 23rd February, I did an article based on the Closing Ceremony in Review, which would also be my last article for a ‘5-month hiatus’ which, in turn, actually lasted almost 4 months, as I was focusing more on my studies and also for my final exams, which I would be preparing for over the course of the last 3-4 months, up until my final exam on Friday 13th June.
15.6.2014 (actually meant to be 16.6.2014) – After roughly 5 very long months of intense revision, exams and loads of coursework, I made my comeback to Mother Nature. I missed writing articles quite a lot, but it felt so good, knowing I could get back into the swing of things. I also thanked all of you for all of the awards and wonderful messages that you had all sent in.
I was also reeling from finishing school a few days previous to my comeback, as I finished my last ever exam on Friday 13th June. There were a lot of tears, as I cried a bit on my way home from school, as I knew straight away that I was going to miss everyonem even a few of the teachers, which would allow me to round off the last 5 years of going to Oasis Academy: Shirley Park on a wonderful note.
The 16th June also marked my 16th birthday, and I also thanked you all for the love and support over the first year that Mother Nature has been around for, including my two main role models for their support as well, as I wouldn’t have got so far in life, but again, I thank you all so much, I couldn’t have done it without you all.
I also went to places, such as Kelsey Park and Shirley Hills, during the hiatus, which would also mean that I would post another article, focusing on Shirley Hills. I would go on to announce that I had a lot of new things to add to Mother Nature over those next few weeks.
16.6.2014 – I wrote an article based on my visit of Shirley Hills, including the photos from the day that I went, when I went there back in April. The view was panoramic and surreal, and was also an experience that reminded me of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It was like a journey of London in one full view. I absolutely enjoyed Shirley Hills, as it was a photographical opportunity that I didn’t want to miss. This day would also see my first article based on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
18.6.2014 – I revisited Kelsey Park in April, which marked almost a year since my last visit. This day also gave me the chance to get a glance at getting some more photos of the squirrels, geese and some new kinds of ducks that were at the park. One of the new ducks that I saw when I visited Kelsey Park in April was the Male Mandarin duck, and it had feathery wings and the tonal colours of its wings showed the overall vibrancy. They can often be found on land or in water, and I saw at least one or more of them when I was there.
22.6.2014 – As I share my love for games, I did a review on the classical first-person shooter, R•TYPE DELTA. This game was the game of my childhood, as I had always loved playing this game for hours one end. It was the type of game that, despite being killed more than once by enemy drones, I could still play it. It is an addictive game that continues to be played today by almost everyone.
25.6.2014 – This day marked 5 years since the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, passed away. I wanted to celebrate Michael Jackson’s life for who he was, and how I came to love the music of someone who was famously known for the famous dance, the moonwalk. By leaving behind a truly magical legacy of his own, Michael Jackson’s latest posthumous album, XSCAPE, was recently released. This album is one of the best posthumous albums I’ve heard, and to make things better, I announced on here that the Spotify playlist of Michael Jackson’s XSCAPE (Deluxe) album would remain as a permanent fixture on Mother Nature.
16.6.2014 – 13.7.2014 – From the 16th June to the 13th July 2014, I would regularly post articles based on the Brazil 2014 World Cup. Every day was filled with mixed emotions, and at the end of the World Cup in Brazil, Germany won the Brazil 2014 World Cup after defeating Argentina in the final game of this year’s World Cup.
23.7.2014 – 3.8.2014 – From the 23rd July to the 3rd August 2014, I would write an article every day, focusing around the Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games. There were a lot of tributes in place following the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 disaster, which is currently the most talked about at the moment, with investigations going on to find out what caused the plane disaster, and who did it.
At the end of the Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games, England won the 20th Commonwealth Games, finishing at the top of the table with 174 overall medals, with Australia finishing with 137 overall medals, and Canada also finishing with 82 overall medals.
4.8.2014 – This day marked 100 years since the beginning of the first World War. Focusing on the World War I celebrations, 888,246 ceramic poppies were planted outside the Tower of London. Before I concluded this article, I included 10 handy links based on the war celebrations should any of you feel that you want to delve deeper for some more research.
16.8.2014 – Following the shocking news headlines that Robin Williams died on the 11th August 2014 at the age of 63, I paid tribute to Robin by taking a look back at a few of the films that I had grown up watching. Films, such as Aladdin, Jumanji, Flubber and Mrs. Doubtfire were the best films that I grew up watching. Robin Williams starred in a large number of Television shows and films over the course of his life. He starred in 79 films, plus one film he did just before he died, titled: “Absolutely Anything”, which is his final, completed film that is set for release sometime during the course of 2015. He starred in an overall 80 films and also 27 Television shows. He will be missed so dearly, but he will also live in our hearts forever for the legacy that he has left behind. We will miss you so much Robin.
18.8.2014 – Following on from my R•TYPE DELTA article that I did, I was granted permission by the gaming developer, Whitaker Trebella, to write a gaming review which is based on his own, famously crafted masterpiece, which is Pivvot. Pivvot is a thrilling game of strategic avoidance, and is also a fast-paced action game that will speed up your reaction times like never before.
Recently, the cleverly crafted masterpiece itself has recently become a multi-platforming game on Laptop/PC, and also on Apple’s iTunes Store, the Humble Store, Amazon App Store, Google Play and Valve Corporation’s gaming engine, Steam.
The tagline: “A Thrilling Game of Strategic Avoidance” lives up to its name very well as you have to avoid any obstacles that come your way.
Pivvot has a similar ring to Terry Cavanagh’s game, Super Hexagon, as the elements from both games always match up well.
Packed with 8 different modes, Pivvot will increase your reaction times as you progress through the whole game. The 8 modes that are included in this game are:
- Expert Voyage
- Expert Endless
- Random Endless
- Random Expert Endless
The Verge commented on what they thought of the game, and they said: “You might not be able to stay alive much longer than a minute, but those minutes quickly add up to hours of bleary eyed gameplay.”
I said in this review article just before I concluded it that: “A flawless masterpiece such as this game should never be underestimated or mistaken for how well it performs. This is truly one of the most fantastic masterpieces that will always be classed as state-of-the-art in my eyes, and will most possibly be the type of game that will carry on for many, many generations to come.”
© 2014 Fixpoint Productions Limited & Whitaker Trebella
21.8.2014 – This day was one of the most nerve-wracking days for me, as this day would mean I would find out the results that I got from the exams that I finished back in June. I was absolutely delighted though, as I had just managed to pass my exams with 6 GCSEs, and also being able to have the chance to do photography in college.
The day before I collected my results, I was absolutely petrified, thinking I would get a bad result at the end of it, and I took to Twitter to show that I was absolutely scared about Results Day. I received a tweet from the X Factor singer, Marcus Collins, who wished me the best of luck, and also, my fellow blogging friend, Vijay Shah, tweeted: “All the best, Alex…don’t worry, this one’s in the bag!”
After I passed my exams with flying colours, I tweeted my excitement, and wrote status updates on Facebook, thanking everyone for supporting me along the way. Again, thanks so, so much to all of you, my friends, my family, my teachers, and also everyone else who wished me luck before I collected my results on Results Day. I couldn’t have done it without you all, and also, I wanted to make a special mention, and also thank the X Factor singer, Marcus Collins, for wishing me the best of luck for Results Day.
25.8.2014 – I updated you all on my 2nd book about the release of “A Year in Photography” being released on the 1st September at 6:00pm, and I also showed you all an early preview of the final design of the book, which was set to be the second biggest installment. Much bigger than the first, this book contained over 50 pages of information, with some page fonts being shrinked to certain sizes, and some also being enlarged for some pages to fill up any gaps left near the bottom of certain pages that had finished information beforehand (69 pages overall on the final release).
31.8.2014 – The last article that I crafted for August, titled: “Wooah!!! The Summer Holiday Ran Like the Wind!!!!!” took a look back on August as it unfolded, as well as the articles that I published over the course of that month.
1.9.2014 – This day marked an exciting month ahead, with the release of my book: “A Year in Photography” being made available as a free, standalone, downloadable PDF via Dropbox. I also made changes to the social buttons on Mother Nature, and I had also created a Facebook page for Mother Nature, which regularly updates everyone on Facebook with every article I publish on this website.
4.9.2014 – I announced some small changes to the Menus on Mother Nature, plus a small, but quick book update, as I was putting some of the website’s pages into drop-down menus, and as for the book, I slightly tweaked the book: “A Year in Photography”, after one of the page’s titled fonts appeared to be somewhat squished. This book will always remain free.
7.9.2014 – I wrote an article especially on this day, as Phil McNamara caught some shocking footage of the moment that Mount Tavurvur erupted. The footage was captured one week before, but instantly went viral worldwide shortly after Phil uploaded it to YouTube. The volcano itself is suspected to have erupted around the 29th, 30th or the 31st of August.
8.9.2014 – This day marked my first day at Croydon College, which I can say I had absolutely enjoyed. The atmosphere was relaxed, as I knew 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 Croydon College feel absolutely peaceful.
9.9.2014 – U2 announced at the Apple Media Event and released their latest album: “Songs of Innocence”, which coincided with the release of Apple’s two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Alongside the event, Apple also completely redesigned the look of their website to blend in with the new iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus and iOS 8.
10.9.2014 – This day marked the beginning of the Invictus Games, which would hold many different events over the next 4 days, 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 would show all of us what it’s like and how they would send a positive message to those with a life beyond disability.
14.9.2014 – After completing my first week at Croydon College, I mentioned in this article that my first week at the college was absolutely perfect, despite the fact I go in for only 3 days every week. I was relieved to have moved on from school life quicker than I first imagined, because Croydon College gives you not just confidence in yourself, but to also give you a way to map out a future you have always longed for. I love photography so much that I took some photos around the outside of Croydon College.
24.9.2014 – Following months of excitement, speculation and software rumours, iOS 8 became available to the public on the 18th September. The article I wrote, titled: “iOS 8: A Groundbreaking Software Update” allowed me to showcase the software, purely because as I also love technology, I found iOS 8 to be a lot more stable than ever, and with the battery life lasting longer on this software update, I was absolutely relieved to have got back the long battery life for my iPod touch (5th Generation). The photo I took to use as the featured image for this article was taken on the new Nikon D3300 DSLR.
30.9.2014 – After having an absolutely perfect month, I did a quick monthly roundup of September by taking a look back on the articles I did over the course of this particular month.
1.10.2014 – I welcomed you all to October, a month that is Autumnal in many different aspects. Just the same as it is every year, October is the month where everyone goes around trick-or-treating and knocking on everyone’s doors. This month, in particular, would be my busiest month yet, as I would be given more work, and I found out that my maths re-mark was still a D grade, despite being just 1 mark off from a C grade. This month also would be the month when Autumn would slowly kick in.
17.10.2014 – As part of a special music feature, I featured the Sydney-born musician, Vander, and his record: “Back to the Sun” on Mother Nature. Vander, also known as William Vandermade, is a Sydney-born musician who, over the last few years, has enjoyed worldwide success in both the international and local industries. His music has also been played around the world on many of the various radio stations, that’s including countries such as the UK, Australia and the United States. Not only that, but his music has also been featured in several newspapers, radio shows, magazines, podcasts and blogs.
20.10.2014 – The Big Draw Event filled October with a month of hard work, drawing, and also a lot of wide-scale designs. As I’m a part of The Big Draw now I study at Croydon College, it was a fantastic opportunity not just for me, but also for those of you who want to take part in such an important drawing event. The world also lost someone special, as the OXO mum, Lynda Bellingham, passed away from colon cancer the day before. The news broke on this day while I was at college, and I broke down in tears when I was at home, just 15 minutes into the Loose Women episode that aired on this day. I paid tribute to Lynda Bellingham by writing an article on her, which would pay tribute to her for all of the wonderful laughs that she has left behind.
31.10.2014 – I wrote an article based on the BBC Genome Project, where I would ask you all what programmes were on the day you were born. I put up on this article the TV listings of the programmes that were on Television on the 16th June 1998, which was the day that I was born. I also wrote the final article for October, which would be a Monthly Roundup that would look back on October as it unfolded.
1.11.2014 – This day marked the beginning of a month of remembrance, as November was the month that focused around remembering those who fought in the first World War 100 years ago. I also mentioned on this day that Guy Fawkes night would take place on the Wednesday, as Wednesday would be the night where everyone remembered Guy Fawkes, as he was famously known for attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament on Bonfire Night, though his plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament failed because he had inadvertently placed the highly dangerous explosives (TNT – Trinitrotoluene) in the worst place where the gunpowder wouldn’t ignite. This lead to Guy Fawkes being caught, and eventually being hung, drawn and quartered.
Remembrance Day would also take place on the 11th November (also known as Armistice Day), as this day would mark almost 100 years since the end of the First World War.
5.11.2014 – Because I wanted to mark the occasion, considering this night was Guy Fawkes Night/Bonfire Night. I used this day to cease the opportunity of getting some photos at night, as the neighbours next door to where I live were setting off quite a lot of fireworks. The photos I took on this night were my best photos yet, because, for the first time, I was able to get some decent photos at night, which I had never thought I could do before. I was taken by surprises as to how well these photos came out, because I was aiming for this type of result for my night photos for a very, very long time, and I was over the moon to have achieved it.
7.11.2014 – This particular article came hot on the heels from the book that I recently published, which was: “A Year in Photography”. As DoxDirect are now a special featured printing service which I was absolutely delighted to feature on Mother Nature, this gave me the absolute pleasure to announce to all of you that my second book was printed as a proper A5 Paperback, Matte Laminated book.
Louise Gipps of DoxDirect has been getting a lot of positive feedback all across the board from many of the customers that have used this service. As this was my first time printing my book through DoxDirect, who I must say is an absolute credit to the company. I recommend DoxDirect to all of you, as it is one of the most fantastic services I have ever come across, and I would recommend you to try it out.
I would like to thank DoxDirect for printing my book, and also to Louise. You and this company have been an absolute help, and with the third book: “My Journey Through a Lens”, I will release it digitally for free first, and after that, I shall use this service again to print this new book. Again, thanks so much to Louise and the whole of the DoxDirect company, you have been an absolute help along the way with printing my 2nd book, and I shall continue to use DoxDirect again.
20.11.2014 – As I wanted to mark the launch of the new Famous Icons page, considering the fact that I managed to get myself on top of my studies, which I had worked effortlessly to complete, I wanted to mark the birth of the new Famous Icons page by doing the first case study based on Henry VIII. This would also mean that after launching the new Famous Icons page, I decided to do some tidying up by condensing the web pages I had created into drop-down menus, so that they would still remain accessible for use, putting all of your worries at ease.
28.11.2014 – Following the sudden death of Phillip Hughes the day before, I paid tribute to Phillip by dedicating an article to him, as his death hadn’t just shocked me, but also the whole world, and even the World of Cricket. This news came just 3 days before he was due to mark what would have been his 26th birthday, and his death shocked everyone. This article would take a look back on his career in Cricket, and the achievements that he has made along the way up until his sudden death on Thursday 27th November 2014. We will miss you Phillip Hughes, but you will never be forgotten for the legacy that you have left behind.
29.11.2014 – Following Case Study #1 came Case Study #2, which would focus on the Queen of the United Kingdom & Ireland, which was Queen Victoria. This case study came hot on the heels of the first case study that I did that made the King of England, Henry VIII, the centre of attention on Mother Nature. Case Study #2 would take a look back on Queen Victoria’s life as it unfolded, and how she reigned for 63 years, 7 months and 2 days as the Queen of the UK & Ireland.
30.11.2014 – After Case Study #2, came Case Study #3, which would focus on Guy Fawkes, who was famously known for attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament in order to attempt to kill King James I. Guy Fawkes was also the man famously known for being behind the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. On this day as well, I created the final monthly roundup for November, with 2014 quickly beginning to draw to a close, by taking a quick look back over November as it unfolded.
1.12.2014 – The first article of this month would welcome you all to the final month of the year, as December would be a month full of festivities, happiness and comfort, given the fact that I had given Mother Nature a Christmas makeover with the logo and backgrounds to match. Christmas is also a time of the year for festivities, and also for the whole family to come together to mark such a special occasion, including the day when everyone would open their Christmas presents on Christmas morning.
15.12.2014 – The 14th December, and this particular week also was one of the best weeks I’ve ever had, as our Croydon lad, Ben Haenow, won the X Factor. 4 months ago, Ben Haenow auditioned for the ITV Studios programme, The X Factor, and with much delight, this would mark the beginning of what would be one of his biggest challenges yet. Over the course of the 4 months since the beginning of The X Factor, Ben has fought his way through every week, making sure to guarantee his spot in the final on Saturday and Sunday night’s shows. Every week, Ben has rapidly got better and better as his journey progressed, and on the 14th December 2014, Ben Haenow, from Croydon, won this year’s X Factor.
15.12.2014 – 16.12.2014 – Since his win on The X Factor 2014, Ben Haenow released his debut single, which shot straight to Number 1 in the Official Charts, and Ben’s record has just become the Official Christmas Number 1. I headed out to HMV just outside the Croydon Town Centre to buy the physical copy of Ben’s new single: “Something I Need”, which came with a few extra tracks, with his debut video being released just over a week later. As always, WE LOVE YOU BEN HAENOW!!!!!!!!
31.12.2014 – As today marks the last day of 2014, I created an article based on the former President of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Madiba Mandela, who sadly passed away on the 5th December last year. The 5th December 2014 marked one year since his passing, and also a year since the world lost a true icon. He fought for everyone’s human rights during the apartheid that occurred during his life, and Nelson Mandela also spent a lot of his life fighting for everyone’s human rights, the right to equality and also for everyone to be equal and to share different things. This article I did would take a look back on the former President himself, not just for the legacy that he has left behind, but also for the timeline of events that unfolded throughout his life.
…and finally, this article mark’s the end of 2014 on an absolutely perfect note. This year has been an absolutely busy, energetic and happy year, so I wanted to take this opportunity to say HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR, AND I’LL SEE YOU ALL IN 2015.