2019: A Year in Review

What a remarkable way to end the year and this decade!

It’s been nearly seven years since I started this website and it doesn’t seem possible, but the time has flown so fast this year and I find it hard to believe that despite the ups and downs over the past ten years, never did I think for a second I would be in a position to say I’m grateful that I’ve worked hard and had fun in the process whilst achieving so much.

When you consider how fast the time has flown, this time ten years ago, I had just started secondary school and didn’t know what to expect, and to then go from secondary school to college, to then working in a full-time apprenticeship and then the job I’m currently in has been absolute madness!

Of course, this decade has not been without its ups and downs along the way, but it’s been a wild decade and a great one too!

For one last time before 2019 finally closes its doors, I shall round together all the monthly roundups for this year, so if you missed out on anything over the course of this year, don’t worry, they’ll all be here ready for you to look back. 🙂

January 2019

1.1.2019 – 2019 kicked off with a bang thanks to the New Year’s Fireworks going off in London, and I even mentioned that 2019 would be action-packed with so much content as I would be publishing more frequently considering I have more quality time on my hands.

5.1.2019 – London was feeling Gloomy under the clouds due to the freezing cold weather, meanwhile, Borough Market was at its Busiest as the daily commuters were grabbing quick bites to eat here and there.

6.1.2019 – Get the finest foods and drinks with different varieties and qualities at Borough Market, whilst not missing Maria’s Market Café, which is the centrepiece of Borough Market.

21.1.2019 – Mother Nature, Meet Nikau! The website got a complete overhaul with an all-new look designed to be more accessible with all social icons being moved right to the top of the website even as you scroll through every article, photo-set or page, with the sidebar being tidied up to accommodate for better usability.

25.1.2019 – The next subject I photographed for the photography series was my close friend, Nathan Andrew Christopher Brady.

28.1.2019 – For the first month of 2019, it was awfully slow, as it felt like all the energy you have ready for the day is thrown out in an instant.

The Croydon Nightlife is visually appealing even in the freezing rain.

29.1.2019 – Delta Point is a remarkable building and used to be an office block before it was redeveloped to become residential.

February 2019

1.2.2019 – Everyone wrapped up warm due to the blisteringly cold weather at the start of February whilst it was Snowmageddon.

2.2.2019 – When social media and smartphones go together, it’s not for the right reasons.

3.2.2019 – It was good to capture Croydon from Different Perspectives knowing that No. 1 Croydon was the place to be after it was recently featured in the Netflix Original Series, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

5.2.2019 – I couldn’t resist seizing the opportunity to photograph Croydon at night!

7.2.2019 – TIMEtoTalk was all about coming together to support mental health, so if you are or know someone who suffers/battles a mental health condition, it’s okay to open up and say how you really feel.

The Saffron Tower in Croydon is a beautiful sight for sore eyes at night!

8.2.2019 – Croydon sure was in the midst of a storm considering there were strong gusts of wind and some bouts of rainfall.

15.2.2019 – Stop & Search is often a useful way to protect the public from potential harm and dangers that occur in everyday life, but in most places in Croydon and London, it’s not often you see some places with security barriers, which is a common worry for the public’s health and safety, but it’s become a common security complex that is now considered controversial amongst some because they feel it is an invasion of privacy.

17.2.2019 – If you’re looking to grab a bite, perhaps a drink, or even want to play a game of table tennis, look no further than BOXPARK Croydon.

The beauty of Mother Nature always lies under the clouds.

If you’re in a hurry to grab a quick bite of food, look no further than Yumn!

18.2.2019 – BOXPARK feels like the Hollywood of Croydon due to the visibly eye-catching BOXPARK signs and is a good place to socialise even on your days off.

20.2.2019 – Need to grab a quick bite of food or some bubble tea? BAO BAO has got you covered!

Are you ready for real food that loves you back?

If you’re ready for some Greek on the Street, head to BOXPARK to whet your tastebuds with their menu that is based on the Mediterranean diet with produce from Greece, Cyprus and the United Kingdom!

22.2.2019 – It’s a shame the best business in town closed its doors in the Croydon Whitgift Centre on Sunday 17th February 2019, but it was good to capture a photo of Starbucks in the Whitgift Centre as it’s a piece of history I want to preserve for the future generations to see and appreciate.

26.2.2019 – When Croydon is quiet and there are not very many people out and about in Croydon during the night hours, Centrale is in the dead of night as everything falls silent.

The weather was wonderful in New Addington on Saturday 23rd February, though Spring barked like dogwoods on Monday 25th February whilst I was on my way to Addington Hills.

27.2.2019 – Mother Nature certainly put a spring in her step on the 23rd February whilst me and a close friend were at Addington Hills, and the weather was beautiful too, which was no wonder as to why the sky was the limit for Addington Hills.

March 2019

1.3.2019 – March came around quicker compared to the start of 2019!

3.3.2019 – Looking to grab a taco and other wraps available in store? Well sound the alarm! It’s Taco Bell Time!

Let’s Cast a Light on Nature!

4.3.2019 – Experiencing Blurred Vision? No? Anyone for Starters? The Breakfast Club is Here!

5.3.2019 – The Next Stop is the House of Fraser, unless you want to imagine Life in the Cronx!

8.3.2019 – Dial 222 for Real Food & Awesome Coffee whilst celebrating International Women’s Day, and notice that BOXPARK Croydon is Booming!

10.3.2019 – Witness Mother Nature unleash The Full Monterey!

11.3.2019 – Croydon’s Industrial Nightlife is beautiful!

12.3.2019 – When there’s hardly anyone around, you can feel a pin drop as Dingwall Road is Quiet at Night!

15.3.2019 – All articles and photos were put on hold until the following week as a mark of respect to the 49 victims killed in the horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.

22.3.2019 – Almost six years of starting Mother Nature, the website flies sky high at 100,000!

If you’re looking for a cosy night in or a place to spend time on holiday, then look no further than The Jurys Inn!

Bromley was calm before the storm, meanwhile, I witnessed the early Spring Blossom, which would allow Mother Nature to embark on her journey to an Endless World.

I published a collection of photographs I took of Addington Hills on the 25th February 2019 as the weather was absolutely beautiful, but the woods were out of this world!

31.3.2019 – Are you ready for some mexican food that you can eat to your heart’s content, including flavours as extras?

Eat your heart out at Chilango!

April 2019

1.4.2019 – It was a beautiful start to the month considering it was sunny, breezy and beautiful outside and it was good to make the most of the warm weather.

5.4.2019 – AMP House was at its most beautiful and I couldn’t resist photographing the landmark in its full glory!

Before the clocks went forward at the end of March, I photographed the Lansdowne Co-Op Branch on one of the days it poured with rain and the reflection of the rain on the ground captured the store-front beautifully.

9.4.2019 – I couldn’t resist seizing the opportunity to photograph the wild rose that I spotted on the way to work.

After almost two months of keeping quiet about it, I got my first tattoos done on the 27th February, which I published a day prior to getting another tattoo.

14.4.2019 – The warm weather that is slowly returning gave me the early feels of Summer!

18.4.2019 – I witnessed the shrubby spurge of Spring as I made my way home from getting a few bits and pieces, and it happened to be my day off as well so why not?

The world did the 1, 2, Cha, Cha, Cha to Medellín as Madonna finally returned with her first single in four years, which comes as she is set to release her highly anticipated 14th Studio Album, Madame X, on the 14th June 2019!

21.4.2019 – The next tattoo I had healed after nearly two weeks and I gave full credit to my close friend, Heather, for designing the tattoo I wanted to have that paid tribute to the late music legend, Amy Winehouse, and Jakki of Harlequin Tattoos, as she took the design from the digital version Heather produced and tattooed it on to my left forearm.

25.4.2019 – The next subject I chose to photograph for the mental health-inspired photography series, The Concept of Expression, was my close friend, Roddy Stewart (a.k.a. SEVERE). It had been a while since my previous photo-set I produced back in January that featured my close friend, Nathan Andrew Christopher Brady, and this photo-set, although small, really captured Roddy’s facial expressions and real emotions in a more personal light.

Amidst the rain, there was light in nature’s corner! It’s amazing when the weather is just right and there’s a breeze in the air. There’s light in nature’s corner everywhere you go.

May 2019

1.5.2019 – May got off to a warm start which was no surprise considering Summer was just around the corner.

2.5.2019 – Nature certainly blushed when I was on the way to work.

8.5.2019 – Summer was ready to come kicking and screaming as I photographed my close friend, Thomas Rodrigues, which followed on from the small photo-set I produced towards the end of 2018 when I photographed him at Liverpool Street Station.

Nature was at her most relaxed a few weeks prior before the rainfall returned.

9.5.2019 – Imagine nature’s around and the plantation around you is like a silhouette. Life is a silhouette whenever nature is around!

12.5.2019 – Talk about blowing your trumpet, nature, but that was quite something!

15.5.2019 –  It was as light as a Lilytree one sunny weekend in April and the Lilytree blossomed so beautifully.

16.5.2019 – Mother Nature showed off her Manic Mangroves!

21.5.2019 – Mother Nature was under a blood red mist when the warm weather was out, though she managed to shine a light, even in the darkest places!

Her call was getting louder and louder, which proves you know something is up if she’s making her presence felt.

23.5.2019 – Mother Nature’s full of surprises, as she surprised the world so much that the magic from the Magnolia tree blossomed and unleashed her colourful spirits to the world!

28.5.2019 – It’s a very mystical world…even for a Myrtle!

31.5.2019 – The next subject I picked to photograph for the photography series, The Concept of Expression, was my close friend, Ryan McNish.

June 2019

1.6.2019 – The month started off with some beautiful weather and time sure flew considering we’re already halfway through 2019.

10.6.2019 – The next subject I photographed for the photography series was my close friend, Ben Francis.

12.6.2019 – The Cherry Guava blossomed beautifully!

14.6.2019 – I photographed my close friend, Ben Francis, again for the photography series, The Concept of Expression, but this time it would focus on his personal emotions below the surface that are sometimes not shown as often as he would like. It was a small collection of hidden emotions he doesn’t often show, but this set proved even all of us show the hidden emotions we sometimes have trouble hiding even when we may, at times, feel depressed and anxious.

16.6.2019 – Whilst celebrating my 21st Birthday, I celebrated the hotly anticipated release of the 14th Studio Album, Madame X, released by Madonna on Friday 14th June 2019, her first album in 4 years since Rebel Heart, which marked her comeback in style!

27.6.2019 – The next subject I photographed for the photography series was my close friend, Sinead Purser.

29.6.2019 – I photographed my close friend, Nathan Andrew Christopher Brady, again for the photography series, but this time showing the deeply hidden emotions he may not often show and this was the first ever photo-set produced on the iPhone 7 Plus, which made use of the Portrait Mode feature by Apple, and the free app, Focos.

July 2019

1.7.2019 – July kicked off with the warm weather in full swing as Summer was well and truly here.

4.7.2019 – I wanted to celebrate Independence Day with everyone by marking the occasion.

5.7.2019 – Summer was in full swing and it was nice to see the warm and sunny weather had, at last, arrived.

7.7.2019 – The London Eye was a glorious sight to see during the London Pride Celebrations and I seized the opportunity to photograph the London Eye in its full glory.

12.7.2019 – It was as red as a dahlia during London Pride as mother nature let her bright, beautiful and colourful personality shine through!

17.7.2019 – Were you feeling a little rosy? I sure was!

18.7.2019 – London was as Pink as a Princess Flower!

26.7.2019 – It was an absolute pleasure to watch Tyber Cranstoun from the Ska/Reggae band, The Dualers, perform his set outside Centrale Shopping Centre, and to seize the opportunity to photograph him was an opportunity I didn’t miss! He’s so down to earth and an absolute pleasure to chat to. Buy your copy of Palm Trees & 80 Degrees on iTunes and through all major digital and retail outlets!

31.7.2019 – Croydon Pridefest on the 13th July was an absolute time to be alive! From getting photos with Asifa Lahore to photographing Danny Beard, Soju and Lady Leshurr, it was a perfect day as all communities came together to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ Community knowing that everyone can be true to who they are and love everyone knowing it’s okay to be your true authentic self.

August 2019

1.8.2019 – Kicking off August, I mentioned that I would be publishing a lot of the photography work I produced throughout July for the month ahead.

Nature was feeling a little glum a few days before, which explained the torrential downpour of rain.

25.8.2019 – Coming over a year since I first photographed him, I did a photoshoot with Hamid Haq during London Pride, and it was refreshing to see Hamid exhibit his genuine emotions especially during such an important event that is all about inclusiveness.

26.8.2019 – Mother Nature embraced her Summer glow after a few weeks of moderately warm weather.

28.8.2019 – Imagine you just finished a long day at work, and you’re making your way home, and you see the beautiful, sunny sky approach the golden hour as the sun begins to set.

It was a beautiful sight to see! The Saffron Tower bared its colourful, distinctive heart and full glory during the golden hour.

September 2019

1.9.2019 – September kicked off with a bang as the next few weeks were set to be busy due to purging a lot of stuff I didn’t need any more.

5.9.2019 – There was a calm breeze in the air towards the end of July, and it was beautiful!

6.9.2019 – It was cloudy at the beginning of September, but with the chance of sunshine, it was refreshing to see September start with some moderate sunny weather.

8.9.2019 – As the workday ended, the sun set slowly on BOXPARK Croydon.

13.9.2019 – It was a busy day for the Ruskin Square Project, but the last remnants of the Summer season made sure that everyone would be in good spirits as the clouds overlooked the landmark!

15.9.2019 – The workday ended smoothly and steadily, but as the workday ended, night slowly fell onto Dingwall Road.

Night slowly fell on Croydon, but the hard work continued!

20.9.2019 – Night fell, but AMP House continued to work hard through the night!

27.9.2019 – Autumn makes me appreciate the time more as it’s come around so fast and it’s already been raining like crazy!

29.9.2019 – After 178 years, the travel agent/airline, Thomas Cook, known formerly as Thomas Cook & Son, sadly closed its doors for the last time on the 23rd September, with 30,000+ jobs lost and an enormous amount of passengers stranded abroad as a result of cancelled flights.

October 2019

1.10.2019 – October got off to a wet start due to the heavy rain following the beginning of Autumn.

8.10.2019 – While everyone sleeps at night, nature’s heart grows fond!

17.10.2019 – The next subject I photographed for the mental health photography series was Matthew Gundry White.

25.10.2019 – Ahead of the next tattoos I was going to get inked, I publicised The Eye of Horus / Date of Birth Tattoos that were inked by Harlequin Tattoos right at the beginning of June.

26.10.2019 – It was a silent night, but nature’s beauty blossomed during the night hours.

It was a surprise to see mother nature quietly blossoming.

November 2019

1.11.2019 – November got off to a slightly chilly start, though the time has flown so quickly because of how fun 2019 has been despite some ups and downs, but it’s not surprising that the time would fly.

3.11.2019 – As night beckoned, nature was vocal!

5.11.2019 – In the face of it all, mental health is something that is often overlooked.

If you look at the reality behind the facade, it’s not hard to understand that mental health is so important and should never ever be ignored.

10.11.2019 – As mental health slowly becomes recognised in modern day society, it’s vital we open up and express how we genuinely feel.

There’s always hope. even in the darkest of places, but opening up and expressing how you genuinely feel matters and it’s a positive sign of true strength knowing that you don’t have to hide your genuine emotions anymore.

30.11.2019 – The next subject I photographed for the photography series, The Concept of Expression, was Panayiotis Dexiades.

December 2019

1.12.2019 – It’s the season to be jolly and I got into the festive spirit as the Christmas tree went up, with the website being redecorated for the festive season!

4.12.2019 – The next subject I photographed for the photography series was Shannon Farrell.

Marking a few months after I last went clubbing at Funhouse in Croydon, we did some catching up as I hadn’t been to Funhouse for about a good couple of months due to being caught up with a lot of stuff at work.

8.12.2019 – The next subject I photographed for this photography series is Harvey Lee.

As we were all in the spirit of Halloween, Harvey donned the skull makeup and hat.

Because he’s modelled for other photographers before, this allowed me to capture his personality from a personal point of view.

15.12.2019 – The last subject I photographed to close 2019 on a high note was Jack Matthew Juster.

As I met up with Jack and the rest of my friends who I go clubbing with, me and Jack had a few drinks whilst doing some catching up as it had been a few weeks before when we went for a few drinks at The Milan Bar before heading to Funhouse.

25.12.2019 – As morning broke on the 23rd December 2019, the festive spirit continued to shine bright!

28.12.2019 – As Christmas Day wasn’t far behind, the beautiful sunrise on Christmas Eve lit up the sky.

29.12.2019 – As 2019 prepares to close its doors in a few days, Mother Nature couldn’t resist making one last rain-storm to end the year.

As night falls, and as we close the doors on 2019 for one final time, 2019 ends on a remarkably quiet and high note too.

What a remarkable year it truly has been!

2019 has been an interesting year to remember, and despite the ups and downs along the way, this year has been so much fun, and so much good has come out of this year, and the same goes for this decade.

This decade has been full of ups and downs, but it’s been fun and full of exciting opportunities and I cannot wait to see the opportunities and exciting times that 2020 and the new decade will bring!

It has been a wonderful year, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for such a wonderful year, a perfect year and a beautiful one!

I love you all and I shall see you all in 2020! Happy New Year!

✨ Alex Smithson ✨

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