Welcome to January!

Welcome to 2018! Happy New Year Everyone!

Now that 2017 has finally closed its doors, 2018 opens with a bright, busy and fresh year ahead.

Things will be changing now. As I will be working a lot more, please expect to notice I will be publishing now and then over the course of this year, as I will be focusing a lot more now on my full-time job instead of publishing articles as often as I used to. I’ll still be publishing articles now and then and I will be making sure to produce more photography work this year whilst I work in my job, but I shall be prioritising my job a lot more over writing and publishing articles.

Mother Nature continues to be equal and diverse, and to make a change, Mother Nature goes green as of today as this website is going to be more about photography, as photography, to me, is an initiative of creativity, not just naturistic, but is about being able to explore the core aspects of what photography is all about, as well as the beauty of photographs and how each photograph doesn’t just tell a story, but explores the story of that photograph a lot more in-depth, whether it’s about nature, or whether it’s about close-up photography or anything else that involves landscape and portrait photography. To put it quite simply, in other words, photography isn’t just an initiative of creativity, but is about a freedom of expression in what you can see in a photograph that no-one else may be able to see the first time.

2018 sure is going to be an exciting year full of new challenges and projects but I will be making sure to continue working on my photography series, The Concept of Expression, over the course of this year, so today is where the hard work will now really begin!

Happy New Year Everyone and Welcome to 2018!

Alex Smithson

Broaden Your Horizons With All-New Ideas. Here’s How.

We all have ways of being able to come up with a range of new ideas, but it’s the kind of ideas that we come up with that can depend on how we bring something to fruition.

For the most recently published articles that I’ve done within the first few days of this month, you may have noticed that I’ve published more in the last few days than what I would be able to publish in one month alone. This is because I’ve been making sure to come up with all new ideas planned for the following day, as I’ve been using a lot of the free time I’ve got over the two-week holiday to produce more articles, given that I have absolutely no work to do until I go back to college next week.

Coming up with new ideas, whether it would be to do with something that makes the world a better place, or whether it would be to do with something that helps us get around in the world, coming up with fresh, new ideas can help us to develop something good into something far better than what we first imagine.

An idea is like a concept, and that concept can be produced with fresh ideas that bring it together.

Here’s my 5-Step Guide on how you can broaden your horizons with all-new ideas:

  1. Refer to what you’ve already created and build on some new ideas based on what you’ve already created, so that you can create something new.
  2. Come up with a concept that can support your new ideas as to how you want to produce something.
  3. Once you have the concept in mind following the new ideas you have come up with, make sure to bring them to life by developing that concept either on paper, or in a software program, such as Microsoft PowerPoint.
  4. If you want to improve the concept you had in mind initially, make sure to develop it further until you have a final concept that you can work from.
  5. Once that final concept is ready, put all those new ideas, including your final concept into motion.

Once I publish any articles, I like to make sure to use any new ideas, including any unused ideas from the previous articles to put them into something new. It’s a bit like my way of recycling the unused ideas and new ideas and putting them together again, but this time in a new form. Call it like a form of reinvention, you take what you didn’t use before and you reimagine it into something completely new, but something completely different, so that no two things are the same.

Hoping this little 5-step guide helps :-).

If you liked my guide and if it’s helped you to reinvent and reuse any ideas you didn’t use before, then please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

ADELE | 25 | Special Music Feature

With her third album becoming the number one most pre-ordered album, with her album still remaining number one just after it was released, Adele has finally delighted us all with her much awaited album, 25, which is the first album in a while since she last released music. In just the space of the first week alone, Adele has officially broken the sales records in the US with 3.38 million in sales, with her ‘Hello’ video spanning over 500,000,000+ views, also with the sales record in the UK showing that a whopping 800,307 copies of Adele’s 25 album were sold in the first week alone, which also beats the 18-year long record that the former music group, Oasis, once held with their 1997 album: “Be Here Now”.

Before the album was announced, Adele sent the whole of Twitter into meltdown after premiering a 30-second advert of her comeback record: “Hello”, which aired while The X Factor was on an ad break. In theory, she kind of did a Beyoncé moment, because the advert was completely unexpected, but once I heard her voice, I thought: “Oh my god!!! It’s Adele!!! She’s finally back!!! At last!!!! Welcome back Adele, we missed you!!!”, which just goes to prove that none of us knew what type of new music was to come.

On the day of Adele’s 25 album release, I listened to Adele’s new album after it arrived through the post, and I must admit, I thought it was absolutely fantastic, because her voice has matured and she appears more and more relaxed now given that she spent a two-year long hiatus from the music industry altogether to focus on bringing up her son, Angelo, who she gave birth to on the 19th October 2012.

This new album brings with it a new kind of sound that is absolutely enjoyable and also happy, but also at the same time, absolutely heartwarming, because you can listen to Adele all day and never get tired of her music, because her music and her voice are timeless, and her music will never date, which just proves that if she has managed to get three albums out in her time, and have all three of them become chart-topping albums as well, including winning 2 Ivor Novello Awards, 10 Grammy Awards, 4 Brit Awards, 1 Academy Award, 1 Oscar Award and 1 Golden Globe Award, including many more other various awards, then that just indicates that a musician doesn’t have to prove themselves in order to have a big success, and Adele has sold 3 albums, 25 involved, with massive successes across the board without needing to prove herself to anyone, and that is why I love her music because she has the bubbly personality and a powerful voice that go well together with absolutely no problem at all.

Since the release of 25 on the 20th November, Adele’s album, at the end of the first week, became the Official Number 1 album on the Official Charts, as well as being Number 1 on iTunes.

Adele most recently said that she was inspired by Madonna’s 1998 album, Ray of Light, which was the main influential album that inspired her to write 25.

Below is the Official Album Artwork for Adele’s third album, 25:

© Official Album Cover - ADELE & XL Recordings 2015
© Official Album Cover – ADELE & XL Recordings 2015

Below are two of the latest music videos released by Adele from her 25 album: “Hello” and “When We Were Young“:

What do I think of the whole album overall? I absolutely love 25, because Adele has taken all of the much needed time to make this album, in order to produce the perfect sound possible. I love this album as well mainly because it is heartwarming, and 25 is completely open, as Adele has explored so many emotions from so many different perspectives and aspects, but the different kind of perspectives and aspects that we are all more familiar with.

The album is like a story, because it shows her mature from her 19 and 21 days into the 25 days, when she was at that age, even though she is now 27. Overall, I absolutely love the album, and I believe that Adele’s 25 album and her “Hello” video, including her live rendition of “When We Were Young” will certainly keep her album in the Top 10, the Top 20, the Top 50 and the Top 100.

Overall Rating for the Official “Hello” Music Video: 10/10

Overall Rating for the Official “When We Were Young” Music Video: 10/10

Overall Album Rating for 25: 10/10

Alex Smithson

© ADELE 2015

© XL Recordings 2015

© The Adele Logo, the 25 Album Logo, the Official 25 Album Artwork and the wide-scale Featured Image have all been used courtesy of the record labels and the artist. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Brazil 2014 World Cup | Netherlands vs. Argentina

Hello everyone, as today’s match is the only match that is on, I wanted to make this blog feed the only blog feed for tonight, as the last 2 matches are on Saturday and Sunday. However, with this blog feed, I will be using BBC Sport to copy over football commentator‘s quotes, plus the pictures, and I’ll also add my own thoughts of the match into this feed, so that all 3 combine together.

Netherlands 2-4 Argentina (ET, THEN FULL TIME)

…and we have kick off!!! Let’s hope that tonight’s match is better than yesterday’s. This match needs to give as much energy back as it can from the match that was on yesterday.

Tom Rostance: “Argentina get us under way…Nigel de Jong is straight into the action as the Dutch line up with a back three, versatile Dirk Kuyt starting at right wing-back. Where will he end up? Who knows…Excellent run from Argentina midfielder Enzo Perez. beating two men on a forceful drive through the middle but he can’t quite pick out Lionel Messi on his shoulder. Decent opening in Sao Paulo. Fifa chief Sepp Blatter is enjoying himself anyway. Argentina settling into the rhythm early on, with Javier Mascherano dropping in as a third centre-half to start them off each time.”

Sepp Blatter
Credit: BBC Sport and AFP ©

Former England International, Chris Waddle (BBC Radio 5 Live): “Both teams very cautious, which you expect in the first five to 10 minutes. Both teams dropping off very quickly when the other gets possession.”

Tom Rostance: “Arjen Robben finds space on the corner of the area, danger here, and Pablo Zabaleta keeps an arm on him until the Dutchman leaves the box – then crunches him with a slide tackle! Great challenge.”

Mark Lawrenson (Match of the Day Analyst): “Zabaleta didn’t dare tackle Robben until he went out of the box – then he went for him. With his form over the best couple of seasons, Zabaleta is up there with the best right-backs in the world.”

Tom Rostance: “The Dutch now having a spell of keep-ball. Unfortunately for goal lovers, neither side look like having a Brazil-style meltdown in these early stages….Well in Dirk! The former Liverpool centre-forward finds himself as last man at right-back and shuts the door well on Lionel Messi. What a bizarre and brilliant career Kuyt has had. Who is the next striker to end up as a full-back? Fernando Torres?”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

El Chaja (Argentina): It’s not a team, it’s a country. It’s not 11, it’s 40 million playing in Brazil.

Leandro Palezzo (Argentina): In the streets of Buenos Aires there is a party mood. A lot of music, a lot of white and light-blue.

Aysen (Turkey): My heart would normally go with Argentina but my love for Dirk Kuyt is something else!

Chris Waddle: “Every time Argentina get the ball you can hear a lot of jeers, a lot of whistling, especially when Messi gets it.”

Lionel Messi
Credit: BBC Sport, Chris Waddle and Associated Press ©

Tom Rostance: “A pretty steady opening 10 minutes or so in Sao Paulo. A different sport to the end-to-end, thrill a minute opening last night. Give it time.Lovely! Gonzalo Higuain floats a lovely pass over the top, Enzo Perez runs it in from the right and is eventually tripped by Ron Vlaar. Free-kick for a certain Mr. Messi…Lionel Messi takes it, and drills it too, but Jasper Cillessen dives to his right and holds on! Good hands.”

Chris Waddle: “Messi went around the wall and not through it. Normally he goes over it but he tried catching the keeper out with the eyes. Give the keeper credit, he was in a superb position.”

Mark Lawrenson: “Jasper Cillessen’s positioning of the wall was excellent because he put the centre-backs in the wall and it meant Lionel Messi knew he couldn’t go over men of 6ft 3in, 6ft 4in. So he had to go over the other side.”

Phil McNulty (BBC Sport Chief Football Writer in Sao Paulo): “Early evidence suggests Nigel de Jong will be spending at least the next 90 minutes in close proximity to Lionel Messi.”

Tom Rostance: “Possession deadlocked at 50/50 so far as Gonzalo Higuain wins a corner for the min in blue and white. Argentina looking marginally more dangerous in the opening exchanges.”

Credit: BBC Sport ©

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

David: Argentina have worked out not to allow Netherlands to counter, getting back in numbers. Makes for a dull game though.

Bob: Both sides playing football chess, it’s brilliant. Neither side committing their queen!

Nathan Bright: Obviously we’re expecting this one to be closer than last night. I’d accept 6-1 Netherlands. Spoilt and hopeful?

Tom Rostance: “We were monumentally spoiled by last night’s semi-final. This is more like it, cagey, cautious, who’ll blink first stuff…”

Chris Waddle: “Cagey. I would say Argentina are the slightly better side and have more life and pace about them at the moment. They are running the game with quick breaks down the right but they can’t get bodies in the box. Holland look like they are feeling the effects of their last game against Costa Rica.”

Tom Rostance: “Better, that’s better! Twice Argentina move it out wide with first Ezequiel Lavezzi on the right, and then Enzo Perez finding space on the left. The final ball just isn’t up to scratch though. Corner. And that is a chance! Ezequiel Garay heads the corner over and gets a mouthful of Ron Vlaar’s size 12s into the bargain. Taste some leather. Bergkamp 98 revisited? Right idea as Nigel de Jong floats a long diagonal pass toward Robin van Persie, whose movement is superb, but Ezequiel Garay just about gets his forehead to the ball to nod it clear.The Dutch can go long when they need to. Oooof! Javier Mascherano heads the back of Georginio Wijnaldum’s head and is out on the deck. The ref quickly stops play and ushers on the medics, that is a nasty blow.”

Mark Lawrenson: “That’s what the Dutch front three of Robben, Sneijder and Van Persie can do. Everything looks comfortable, then bang. They’re in.”

Phil McNulty: “Argentina the team in control in these early stages as the Netherlands struggle to get their main attacking weapons Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben into the game. Louis van Gaal has a plan to stifle Lionel Messi of space and time – how that works will be crucial to the outcome.”

Tom Rostance: “After a few minutes on the sidelines Javier Mascherano is back with us. It looked like he was momentarily unconscious after that clash of heads. Let’s keep an eye on him.Twenty-four hours ago Germany had just made it 5-0…A good spell for the Dutch as they force Argentina’s goalkeeper Sergio Romero into two big punches, both good punches too, before Robin van Persie is offside.It’s a slow burner. I don’t think Javier Mascherano would make it the NFL if we’re being honest. He’s about eight stone underweight and two feet too small.”

Argentina v Netherlands
Credit: BBC Sport and Associated Press ©

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Hugh in France: First time I’ve seen Enzo Perez. Looks VERY good. Not Angel Di Maria, but offers lots of movement and neat passes.

Phil Hakim: In the NFL, Javier Mascherano would have a concussion test before being allowed back on the field. Football a joke in comparison.

Former England Captain, Gary Lineker: “Nigel De Jong is always within touching distance of Lionel Messi’s shirt. But looking at the size of the Dutchman, Messi may well be inside his shirt.”

Tom Rostance: “Arjen Robben. He’s been kept quieter than a monk so far, having just four touches of the ball. Fred-esque.”

Arjen Robben's touch map
Credit: BBC Sport ©

Chris Waddle: “Where is Robben? He’s not had the ball or driven at anyone he is playing against, he has just not touched the ball.”

Mark Lawrenson: “If Argentina are going to get any joy then it is down their right flank. The game is at the stage where no-one is really in charge of the game. While it is intriguing, nothing has happened. We’re waiting for this game to take off. Not seen much of Robben, Van Persie or Messi to a certain degree.”

Tom Rostance: “That should be a booking! The referees have gone very lenient at the World Cup and Martin Demichelis is lucky not to see yellow for a hack at Wesley Sneijder. I’d give this game a yellow so far. Must do better. ITV got the raw end of the deal when it came to broadcasting the semi-finals. On BBC One now is some sort of drama starring Neil from The Office…”

Mark Lawrenson: “Martins Indi has blocked Messi off – it should be a yellow. We want referees to keep players on the pitch but a booking is a booking. Whether it is the second minute or the 92nd minute it is a booking.”

Tom Rostance: “Dutch free-kick, easily defended. This is going to extra time for sure. Where it will change face and become gripping, end-to-end entertainment…”

Chris Waddle: “I expected Argentina to play like they have with a bit of possession and try to get Messi and Lavezzi on the ball. Holland, I expected more from. Van Persie has not been in the game, neither has Robben or Sneijder really.”

Argentina v Netherlands
Credit: BBC Sport, Chris Waddle and AFP ©

Tom Rostance: “That is a booking this time. Bruno Martins Indi is booked for checking the run of Lionel Messi. Can this lead to a chance?”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Luke Gwalchmai: Is this as boring as I think it is or were we just spoiled yesterday?

Anthony Shaw: You watching Brazil? This is how to defend. This is what a World Cup semi-final looks like.

Ken Gorry: Game needs an Argentina goal, if the Dutch score they’ll never go past the halfway line.

Chris Waddle: “Martins Indi likes collecting those cards.”

Tom Rostance: “That is an opening! Lionel Messi picks the Dutch apart with a wonderful pass out to the left, Dirk Kuyt is out of position but Marcos Rojo stuffs up his cross, planting it way too far. Poor half lads…”

Chris Waddle: “Very disappointing. Argentina slightly the better side without making any chances. There has been nothing to talk about. I wonder how Van Gaal will feel about this. He normally changes things but they have to get Robben into the game.”

Tom Rostance: “Arjen Robben has a smile to someone as they come off. He gets nearer to the ball in the tunnel then he did for most of that half. Netherlands fans watch the action in the market square in Groningen. Not quite sure what they are so gripped by in this first half.”

Credit: BBC Sport and AFP ©


Tom Rostance: “The Dutch kick off, and Dirk Kuyt is now on the left wing.”

Golf legend Gary Player tweets: Half time at the World Cup. #ARGvNED. No one has scored yet. Not even Germany.

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Chris Gilbert: You would expect both teams to take more risks in the second half. Neither team will want it to come to a shootout.

Who fights monkeys: Who would want to get to a final against Germany the way they’re playing at the moment?

Arthur Veldhoen: I’m beginning to think a gentle beating by Argentina would be highly preferable to what the Germans would do to us in the final.

Tom Rostance: “Referees are not having bookings in the World Cup are they? Another clattering challenge from Stefan de Vrij goes unchecked. Play on!”

Mark Lawrenson: “That substitution means Daley Blind will play as the third centre-back, with Daryl Janmaat at right-back and Dirk Kuyt switching over the the left. Everyone else will stay the same.”


Tom Rostance: “Have it! Smashed away into the stands by Ezequiel Garay, under no pressure, but he’s not having a David Luiz meltdown, he’s actually smart as his boot had come off. Get rid. The Dutch finally get the ball to Arjen Robben and he goes down, with Martin Demichelis in the book to boot. Javier Mascherano slides in Lionel Messi down the sides – but he’s offside. Almost a glimpse of danger for Argentina. A picture paints a thousand words…”

Netherlands' fans
Credit: BBC Sport and the EPA ©

Tom Rostance: “Apparently Tim Krul was out practicing penalties at half time. Will the Newcastle man be the key protagonist again this evening? Lionel Messi has resorted to taking the ball from his centre-halves now. He then picks it up 30 yards out for the first time, he runs at Ron Vlaar – who stops him in his tracks with a great tackle! Who is the Ron Vlaar lookalike who plays for Aston Villa?”

Chris Waddle: “It’s just so poor for quality. Anybody who puts pressure on the ball seems to win it. The passing is so slack.”

Mark Lawrenson: “This game has reached the point of no return. Someone has got to say, ‘come on, let’s have a go’. There’s a place in the final at stake.”

Credit: BBC Sport, Mark Lawrenson and Associated Press ©

Tom Rostance: “That’s better! Ezequiel Lavezzi spins out wide to the right, stands up Ron Vlaar and then puts over a decent cross for Gonzalo Higuain to attack but he can’t get a free header on it under pressure from Daryl Janmaat. That was more like it though.”

Mark Pougatch (BBC Radio 5 Live): “Is this the same Ron Vlaar who played at Aston Villa last season or has he been taken over by an alien being?”

Tom Rostance: “Into the final third. Which is where this game falls apart. Does anyone want to win this? The Dutch make a change as Nigel de Jong is replaced by Jordy Clasie. A really heavy tackle in midfield has left Lucas Biglia in a heap on the floor. He went knee to knee with Daryl Janmaat and we have an extended break for treatment. Get a striker on in his place!”

Chris Waddle: “He followed through, did Daryl Janmaat. A clash of knees and Biglia took the brunt of it.”

Tom Rostance: “Nobody likes a follow through. But Lucas Biglia is going to re-appear, as the rain lashes down in Sao Paulo now. Shoot on sight?”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Brian Capaloff: German squad must be laughing into their beers as they watch this. Neither team great and extra-time beckons!

Abdul Karim: Can we just move on to penalties, nothing to see here.

Neal Collins: Next thing you know, you’ll wake up and Tim Krul will be warming up.

Phil McNulty: “Could dress this one up as a chess match or intriguing tactical battle – but for the most part it continues to be a dull stalemate lacking a spark of inspiration. Argentina and the Netherlands have players more than capable but this World Cup semi-final has so far failed to offer them that opportunity.”

Credit: BBC Sport ©

Tom Rostance: “Argentina boss Alex Sabella is out bellowing instructions to his side before Daley Blind sprays a pass out of play, 25 yards behind his team-mates. Somewhere, Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona sit in a darkened room. Johan’s just opened the second bottle of Scotch. Another injury! Daryl Janmaat, who has been heavily involved since coming on, takes a whack to the face and requires treatment.”

Chris Bevan (BBC Sport): “Just one sub left for the Dutch. Tim Krul hoping no injuries in the next hour if this game is going to go the distance, as it appears…”

Tom Rostance: “Seventy minutes into a damp squib. In need of inspiration – this is where Pele, Maradona, Ronaldo or Tony Daley would find that spark and change the game. I’m looking at you Lionel Messi. Or you Arjen Robben. Can you change it?”

Phil McNulty: “Lots of fans have taken shelter under the temporary, uncovered stands here at Arena de Sao Paulo. It means they cannot actually see any of this World Cup semi-final – and at this stage they are not missing much.”

Chris Waddle: “This game has never come to life. No one gets hold of the ball, there’s no movement.”

Tom Rostance: “Robin van Persie hooks an effort over, his first chance of the night, but he was offside. We have had just one shot on target all evening, that early free-kick from Lionel Messi. There it is! The one big chance of the game, but Gonzalo Higuain can’t take it. Enzo Perez gets away on the right and bends in a lovely early cross, Higuain is across his marker but stabs the ball into the side-netting. So near, and yet so far…You’ve got to feel for these fans in Sao Paulo – they’re having to watch this match twice.”

Mark Lawrenson: “People at the far end thought it was in. They saw the net billow.”

Fans in Sao Paulo
Credit: BBC Sport and Associated Press ©

Alan Green (Commentating on the match from BBC Radio 5 Live): “I’m tempted to say please save us from extra time because it has been torture watching.”

Tom Rostance: “Twelve minutes left. But in reality it’s at least 42. This is nailed on for extra time.”

Arjen Robben
Credit: BBC Sport and Associated Press ©

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Aamir Mir: So to nullify a counter-attacking team, you need to play like Argentina. Then you end up with a boring spectacle like this.

Barry Fong: Maybe I missed them but I don’t think the crowd can even muster a Mexican wave.

Dan Hedley: Says a lot when Ron Vlaar is the best player on a pitch with Arjen Robben and Lionel Messi.

Tom Rostance: “Sergio Aguero is coming on. Spark it up son…Two strikers on for Argentina. Enzo Perez and Gonzalo Higuain come off, Rodrigo Palacio and Sergio Aguero on.”

Dan Walker (BBC Sport): “Both managers currently tossing a coin to see who has to bring on David Luiz and who Marcelo. That’ll make it interesting.”

Tom Rostance: “Seven minutes of normal time left. Extra time has been good at this World Cup. Remember that.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Shoaib: What are the odds a certain someone provides us with an ‘Agueroooooooooo’ moment..?

Tom Rostance: “That. Is a shot. A genuine shot on target from Argentina left-back Marcos Rojo. An easy save for Jasper Cillessen but at least he had a dig. Four minutes to go. Germany could score four in that time. Will we get one? Lionel Messi beats a man but Ron Vlaar shuts the door on him, before cutting out another pass. Vlaar for the Golden Ball.”


Credit: BBC Sport ©

Tom Rostance: “Into the last minute. And what a chance! Arjen Robben suddenly is in right through on goal, but he takes a bad touch and Javier Mascherano is able to make a brilliant block. Huge chance! Arjen Robben has missed some big chances in big games down the years. That was right up there with them. Score and the Netherlands are in their second successive final…”


Former England Captain, Rio Ferdinand: “Ron Vlaar has been immense. Best centre-back performance of the tournament so far for me.”

Alan Green: “An apology of a football match. Abysmal.”

Tom Rostance: “Will they make it two in a row? They looked the most likely in the final stages. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was warming up too. The Argentina players look fresher, if that means anything. Coach Alex Sabella has them in a huddle and is pointing to Lionel Messi a lot. Give the ball to him!

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Some Body: Arjen Robben! That penultimate touch took it away from him. Lost ticket to the final.

Will Scott: Pretty much every Dutch pass has been backwards. So negative from Netherlands.

Richard Lee: You can see the tension on the pitch. Come on Lionel Messi, show us your magic!

Phil McNulty: “Ninety minutes no-one will ever get back there. At least the prospect of the re-emergence of Netherlands substitute keeper Tim Krul for a possible penalty shootout adds extra intrigue to extra-time. And as far as Dutch coach Louis van Gaal is concerned his plan to subdue Lionel Messi – first with Nigel de Jong then Jordy Clasie – has worked so far. And what a performance in the Dutch defence from Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar.”


Match stats
Credit: BBC Sport ©

Tom Rostance: “No. That’s not the one, as Dirk Kuyt overcooks a cross from the left and out of play. Lionel Messi’s quest to join Pele and Diego Maradona at football’s top table is taking a backward step this evening. Anonymous in the shadow of Ron Vlaar. So no Tim Krul then as Louis van Gaal replaces Robin van Persie with Klaas Jan Huntelaar. That did the job against Mexico, can it work again?”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Emma Cann: If this match was Test cricket, they’d be calling it ‘one for the purists’.

James Gallagher: Brazil v Germany was like a 20-20 cricket classic, this has been a Mike Brearley – Geoff Boycott opening stand.

Tom Rostance: “Argentina have one change left, the Dutch are done. I’m not going to lie to you, this is turgid stuff. SHOT ON TARGET! The Dutch have their first attempt on target in the 98th minute as Arjen Robben warms the palms of Sergio Romero from 30 yards. Comfortable enough but at least it was an attempt. The final change of the game and Liverpool fans from 2009-10 can enjoy the sight of Dirk Kuyt running at Maxi Rodriguez, who is on to replace Ezequiel Lavezzi. I rather unkindly suggested earlier in the tournament that a Dutch side containing Ron Vlaar could not be good enough to win the World Cup. Mr. Vlaar, I apologise. You’re the best player on the pitch. By a country mile. Ole, Ole, Ole Ole! Messi! Messi!” is the chant around the Arena de Sao Paulo as the crowd hope for the number 10 to do something to raise himself from the midfield mire. Penalties are on the horizon. It’s probably the only hope.”

Credit: BBC Sport and Getty Images ©
Credit: BBC Sport and AFP ©

Tom Rostance: “It’s quarter past 11 on a work night. I applaud you for staying up.”


Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Al Mamun Russell: It now has been 227 minutes since the last goal scored by Netherlands. Don’t deserve to be a finalist!

Steven F Galloway: I’d still much rather watch this semi-final. Last night’s was over as a contest after 25 minutes. THAT’S boring.

Tom Rostance: “Pablo Zabaleta is down in a heap after an other head-to-head challenge. And ouch! A shoulder to the jaw, he may have lost a tooth! Steven Galloway, there’s a certain type of football fan who love games like this. You are in company with our colleague Andy Cryer, who is loving this. “You don’t get soft South Americans,” says Lawro, who is proven right as Pablo Zabaleta comes back on. Bit of cotton wool in his mouth, and get on with it.”

Chris Waddle: “He is a tough boy Zabaleta so it will take a lot to get him off this pitch.”

Credit: BBC Sport ©

Richard, Putney (via text): Good to see Ron Vlaar get some plaudits. The guy isn’t a world beater by any means but on his day is a good player. Problem is in our Aston Villa side he looks worse because the rest of our team is terrible. The current squad would even make Lionel Messi look poor in it. But not as much as in this game.

Mark Lawrenson: “Sergio Aguero has been very poor since he came on – he has been completely out of sorts.”

Tom Rostance: “Into the last 10 minutes or so. Stefan de Vrij shoots from 35 yards, with his wrong foot. You’re going nowhere Netherlands! You’re on the ring road. Third time round. You’ve just been into B&Q for a bag of tungsten-tipped screws. Never gonna use ’em. Never gonna use ’em. If both teams could go through with a 0-0 draw you may be tempted to accuse the sides of playing for a draw. Bu they can’t. So I won’t. This is exhaustingly poor.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Christopher Harvey: Louis van Gaal a tactical genius? Has the Premier League changed the rules to allow extra-time? I can’t see Manchester United getting three points otherwise.

Credit: BBC Sport and the EPA ©

Tom Rostance: “Chance! In a game of such precious few, this is a real opening. Substitute Rodrigo Palacio is in, he hesitates and can’t get any power in his header…”

Chris Waddle: “Why didn’t he just lob the keeper with his head? He headed it straight at him. all he had to do was put a little bit of height on it.”

Phil McNulty: “And still no sign of a breakthrough. There could not be a more stark contrast with last night’s World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Germany than this dour, attritional, dull affair. Not much time left for the main creators Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben to spare the Argentine and Dutch fans the tension of penalties for a place in the World Cup final.”

Tom Rostance: “Before we get to penalties, why not brush up on your shootout trivia. Did you know that on average 71% of kicks are scored? Who has saved the most? How many have been taken with the left foot? Read up on our guide here. Another half chance as Lionel Messi beats his man out on the right and stands it up, it’s a difficult chance but a chance for Maxi Rodriguez, but he fluffs his lines and mishits it into the turf. Remember his brilliant goal against Mexico in 2006? So does he. The least these two can do now is give us a shootout. Dirk! Kuyt has a half chance in the final minute but his shot is blocked. It looks like spot-kicks.”

Credit: BBC Sport ©

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Armando Maya Castro (Mexico): Netherlands v Argentina: A homage to boredom.

Chris Waddle: “Looking at how the game went, we should have started with penalty kicks.”

Credit: BBC Sport ©

Tom Rostance: “The Dutch scored all four from the spot against Costa Rica last Saturday night. Argentina won their last semi-final on penalties, in Italy 24 years ago. I’m not sure either side deserve to be in the final…Javier Mascherano is deep in conversation with goalkeeper Sergio Romero. “Save some!””

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Midsibmike: And the match finally comes to life as we move to penalties.

Doug: Here we go then semi-final lotto…

Tom Rostance: “Here we go then. Penalties…”

GOAL SAVED!!! (Ron Vlaar)

Argentina score a 0-1 goal strike against the Netherlands on penalties (Lionel Messi).

The Netherlands score a 1-1 goal strike against Argentina, bringing the score into an equaliser (Arjen Robben).

Argentina score a 1-2 goal strike against the Netherlands (Ezequiel Garay).

Tom Rostance: “What a save! Romero flings himself full-length to his right and beats the ball away. Big trouble for the Dutch now.”





Welcome back to a chilly February, a new change awaits!!!

Hello everyone!!! I apologise if I haven’t blogged over the week as I was trying to get rid of my throat infection, but now I’m back, I feel better than ever and also wanted to bring a new change to this blog, plus…a lot of photos as a way of thanking you all for wishing me the speedy road to recovery.

To mark a new beginning to this month, I have just added a new Spotify Playlist titled “The Mix of 2014” to this blog’s content sidebar for your listening comfort, and whilst 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.

Here’s a preview of the new Spotify Playlist from a screenshot I took yesterday:

The Mix of 2014 - Preview

Note: Before you play this Spotify playlist, you will need to sign in or sign up to Spotify for this widget to play music. I apologise if it doesn’t play because I thought by using this widget, it could play music without the need of signing in to Spotify, but if you already have a Spotify account, you will need to sign in to Spotify on your Laptop or PC in order to listen to this playlist, or, if you have an iPod touch, iPhone or iPad with the Spotify app installed, a notice will appear showing the”Download Spotify” and “I have Spotify” buttons:



Yesterday, I took some photos of a magpie and a pigeon in different trees where the leaves fell over the course of Autumn, and as we slowly approach Summer, I wanted to mark the occasion to include these photos, which can be found here:

Thank you all for viewing this blog post, and thanks again for helping me to surpass my target of over 5,000 views, I’m close to 6,000, and wanted to say thank you to all of you bloggers for kicking this blog off to such a fantastic start, last month saw this blog’s overall view count at 3,326 views, and also more than 100 visitors per day, and in the first couple of days of this month, this blog has seen over 1000+ views and attracted over 400+ visitors (Average Per Day) :-)!!!

-Alex Smithson

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A Cold, Wet Start to 2014

Following the New Year’s Day fireworks on Wednesday, I wanted to get some photos of the rain, but instead, wanted to go for a more difficult, hard-to-focus view-point by using my iPod touch’s 5 megapixel camera to capture these photos. I also recorded some video clips using the iPad mini (1st Generation), but noticed while recording the first clip that the bolt of lightning quickly appeared and disappeared in the space of just a split second.

In honesty, what I thought would be the last of this weather, well we were not prepared for this, because after the first bout of this horrible weather came and went, I hoped the first bout would be the last we see of it, but oh no, we have got this second bout of horrid weather, and now the UK is expected to get more of it over the next couple of weeks.

Below are the photos I took yesterday of the weather, but instead focused the iPod touch camera on the raindrops. It was a hard job to focus the camera on the raindrops, but was worth it. The photo of the raindrops works  perfectly as an iPad wallpaper or iPhone/iPod touch wallpaper. I have also provided 2 screenshots of how well the raindrops wallpaper works on the iPad mini, and 2 other screenshots of the same wallpaper on the iPod touch.

Feel free to download the photo of the raindrops on the glass anytime. I have also just finished uploading the video for this blog post “A Cold, Wet Start to 2014”. It’s available to watch now in Full HD for your viewing comfort :-).

Thank you for viewing this blog post.

-Alex Smithson

A Quick Tip on How to Feature a Blog Post on the new Twenty Fourteen theme


Hello everyone!!! I wanted to share a quick and easy tip on how to feature a blog post on the new Twenty Fourteen theme. Below, I have provided a few easy steps on how you can feature a blog post while using the new Twenty Fourteen layout.

How to feature your blog post on the new Twenty Fourteen theme:

1. Click “Edit Post” on the post you have just published.


2. The “Add New Post” screen will appear with all the functions required for every blog post. You will also notice a Tags box under the Format box shown below in the iPad mini screenshot.


3. This is where the easy part kicks in, you’ll be able to add all the usual tags, such as words that you have used in your blog post, but to feature your blog post, you just add the tag Featured to the tags you have already added.


4. Click ‘Update‘ or ‘Publish‘ whatever button is available before or after publishing the blog post, and your blog’s home-page should come up with this:


5. Your blog post should now feature on your blog’s home-page in a formatted magazine layout, and is also handy as you will be able to click on the arrow for other posts you have featured.


Thank you for reading this blog post, and I hope this step-by-step guide helped :-).

-Alex Smithson

Welcome Back to an All New Look for a Chilly 2014!!!

Hello everyone!!! Happy New Year!!! Now that 2013 has ended, a new journey begins for 2014. A cold and wet start to 2014 was expected and the New Year’s Day fireworks were amazing to watch on TV, but 2013 marks the end of an era, and the beginning of a better one.

As promised over the last few weeks running up to the last day of 2013, I would change the blog layout to the all new Twenty Fourteen theme; this new theme marks the beginning of Mother Nature in an all new light. The new name of this blog: “Mother Nature | Life at the touch of a button.” gives the blog a better focus around nature, and also focuses more on the photography of plants, insects, animals and city landscapes I’ve created for this blog overall.

Below, I have provided a set of screenshots of how the new blog theme renders for a standard computer or laptop, the iPad mini (1st Generation) and the iPod touch (5th Generation). This new look will also render the same on the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C:

New Blog Theme Preview

How this new look renders on a Laptop / PC

These screenshots may prove handy as they show what the new Twenty Fourteen layout does and how it appears in its formal glory. I have also updated the social buttons with a newer, up-to-date look so that this blog fits in perfectly with this year.

Thank you for reading this blog post, and a Happy New Year to all of you bloggers and viewers :-)!!!

-Alex Smithson

2013: A Floral Blast & A Brighter Future


Hello everyone!!! I wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the first 6 months of this blog, and wanted to thank all of you bloggers and viewers for helping me along the way, and I really appreciate the thought and kindness that all of you have given since this blog started, you have all made my life and love for blogging truly special.

Below, I’ve listed the amount of views I have received over the past 6 months, and from the bottom of my heart, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you for viewing my blog over these first 6 months since I started it up, and have a Happy New Year into 2014 where you are :-)!!!!!!!

June (The month I started this nature blog) – 126 Views Overall

July – 72 Views

August – 29 views

September – 42 views

October – 184 views

November – 173 views

…and finally, December – 917 Views!!!

The overall amount of views from June to December has brought my blog to an astounding 1,543 views, which I thank you all for solely, and also a massive thanks to Vijay Shah of the HalfEatenMind blog and Ajay Tao of the Ajaytao2010 blog for viewing and commenting on my latest blog posts, and have a wonderful, and Happy New Year into 2014!!!

-Alex Smithson

Plus, check back at 12:00am for the all new Twenty Fourteen layout, plus the new name for this blog!!!

The Silhouette of Darkness, Light & Wonderwebs – Painting + Video

Hello everyone!! I have been using the Colors! application on the iPad mini I got today as a Christmas present, and created this Silhouette painting of the Rosebud in darkness, it took 15 minutes approximately to create this, as I wanted to go into a bit more detail with the clouds and the sun rays, so I made the clouds look almost completely dark to show the cloud formation, and the sun rays I wanted to blend the sky in a little more to show two different sides to the painting.

The video of yesterday’s storm is currently uploading now, so fingers crossed it doesn’t take as long as it did last night. Feel free to save the painting to your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch to use as a wallpaper.

Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful Happy Christmas!!!

-Alex Smithson

20131225-041035 pm.jpg

[UPDATE]: The video is now available to watch in full HD here. Thank you for a fantastic 6 months, and I’ll post more in 2014 🙂

Check back on January 1st 2014 for the all-new blog experience!!!