÷ (Deluxe) / Ed Sheeran is Back!

After a three-year break from music, and after his hotly anticipated second studio album became the most streamed album on Spotify and other music services, Ed Sheeran is back with his third studio album, ÷. Shape of You really sets the tone of his latest album, because it has a unique vibe that really sets the mood you want to experience when listening to this album.

As it is the first ever vinyl record I have owned, I feel so honoured to go retro for the first time, because the original vinyl discs initially ceased production many, many years ago, but it’s only been in the last few years that vinyl has made a comeback and I am pleased to say that ÷ is my first ever vinyl record I have purchased.

How many tracks are on ÷?

There are 16 tracks on the Deluxe version of ÷ and here is the official tracklist:

  1. Eraser
  2. Castle on the Hill
  3. Dive
  4. Shape of You
  5. Perfect
  6. Galway Girl
  7. Happier
  8. New Man
  9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
  10. What Do I Know?
  11. How Would You Feel (Paean)
  12. Supermarket Flowers
  13. Barcelona
  14. Bibia Be Ye Ye
  15. Nancy Mulligan
  16. Save Myself

What comes with the Deluxe Boxset?

In the Deluxe Boxset for ÷, these are the items that come with the album:

  • 12” x 12” premium hardcover book with photos, lyrics and artwork
  • 2 x heavyweight blue vinyl, exclusive to this edition of the album
  • Deluxe CD album
  • Silver plated Divide charm and necklace, packaged separately
  • Deluxe digital album sent to you at release
÷ (Deluxe) / Ed Sheeran / Official Album Artwork © Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran
÷ (Deluxe) / Ed Sheeran / Official Album Artwork
© Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran

My Review of ÷ (Deluxe)

This album brings out Ed Sheeran’s unique and interesting side to his music, You can’t quite help but think just how much ÷ gives you life. When he released Shape of You, straightaway, it brought along with it its own vibe where you would remember it, not just for Ed himself singing, but because of the fact it has that eccentric and realistic appeal that you want. With Ed Sheeran’s previous album, X (Multiply), that album brought about love and respect and courage, which is why we love Ed Sheeran, I too love Ed Sheeran, not just because he has tugged at our heart-strings, but because he’s made us realise that there is life and love even in the darkest places, and for me, ÷ carries that message too, but also goes on to add that with love, respect, courage, compassion and support, the world can be a better place.

This album gives me life!

Ed Sheeran is a living legend in my eyes because his music is timeless and will never date, but you begin to appreciate life a whole lot more after you’ve listened to ÷ because you can relate and share the same feelings that he has as a musician. Not only that, but his music is eccentric and brings positivity to the table, which is what this world needs and I take my hat off to Ed Sheeran. ÷ is a masterpiece, in fact, +, X & ÷ are all masterpieces and Ed Sheeran is a legend!

If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend you purchase ÷, you will not be disappointed. ÷ is such a perfectly crafted album and Ed Sheeran has produced another exquisite masterpiece that is worth purchasing.

If you enjoyed my review of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Deluxe) album, please feel free to comment below. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

© Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran, 2017

© The Divide Album Artwork & Complete Tracklist are all copyright of Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

÷ Album Rating: 10/10

Rio 2016: Day #5

Day #5 has been such a positive day for Team GB, as we’ve won Gold in the Kayaking event thanks to Joe Clarke, we’ve won Bronze in the men’s individual time trial thanks to Chris Froome and we’ve just won Gold in the Men’s 3m Synchro Springboard Diving event thanks to Jack Laugher and Chris Mears.

We’ve also beaten New Zealand 21-19 in the Rugby Sevens event thanks to Team GB, and Team GB’s women have beaten Argentina with a 3-2 score to qualify for the quarter-final. All in a day’s work. How fantastic is that? It has most certainly been a Gold rush for Great Britain today!

Aimee Lewis (BBC Sport in Rio de Janeiro): “Max Whitlock has the fifth-best score so far in the parallel bars in the men’s all-around final. He and his coach exchange smiles before returning to their seats to focus on the next apparatus. Whitlock doesn’t watch his rivals perform – he’s only seen defending champion Uchimura’s routines on YouTube – so his head is bowed throughout while others defy gravity and he simply concentrates on the task ahead.”

Max Whitlock’s fifth piece of the apparatus will be the horizontal bar. He is just getting loose now and is rotating around, getting a feel for the equipment, but meanwhile, Team GB’s Rugby Sevens team are preparing for a last-eight tie against Argentina.

Bad weather has caused the Rowing and Murray / Konta tennis matches to be postponed.

Sir Clive Woodward (The World Cup Winning Rugby Union Coach for the BBC): “Wow, wow, wow. Look at the emotion on those player’s faces. What a try for Team GB.

The current score for the Rugby Seven’s match is Team GB 5-0 Argentina.

Aimee Lewis: “The BBC commentary team rise to their feet after Max Whitlock’s floor routine to applaud the Briton. Was his effort enough? He is awarded 15.200 points – the third best score on the floor so far. Whitlock and his coach, Scott Hann, exchange words. It looks as if Hann is reassuring a nervous Whitlock.

The face of devastation has impacted the Argentine players, as they were so close to a last-four place. They were so close.

Team GB now have a match for a medal on their hands for whatever is to happen in the semis.

Sir Clive Woodward: “I will never ever forget that and neither will those players.

Christine Still (BBC Sport Gymnastics Expert & Veteran Coach): “The tension in the arena is something you can touch.

Luke Reddy (BBC Sport in Rio de Janeiro): “The ball on its way to the posts to win it for GB, this is it, no…woodwork. To a scrum, this is truly gripping, one score, just one score. Dan Bibby, runs it, dummy, clatter through bodies, yes. Yes a thousand times over. He is soon to be a dad and his loved ones will be over the moon watching this. My word, one of the best sevens games you will see at this Olympics.

Kohei Uchimura has won Gold in the Men’s all-around final.

Christine Still: “I can’t remember such a fantastic Olympic final. They absolutely won their places.

Dan Keatings (British Gymnast on BBC One): “The hours of hard work, every day, these gymnasts eat and sleep gymnastics. For it all to come together in an Olympic final is everything they wish for. They will have dreamt of this moment.

Beth Tweddle (BBC Sport Gymnastics Expert & ex-CWG Champion): “Max held his nerve. The competition was so tough throughout. All of the top gymnasts performed to their maximum. It went down to the last five or six routines and Max went up first, set the bar and had to sit and wait. Most of these lads are on their third competition in row so it is tough and demanding on the body so there is relief at the end, it was so close at the top of that table.

Team GB will face South Africa in the Semi-Finals of the men’s Rugby Sevens tomorrow and if they win, they’ll go for Gold, but if they lose, however, they will have a game for a bronze medal. The Rugby Sevens score for South Africa & Australia is 22-5. 22 to South Africa, 5 to Australia.

Aimee Lewis: “It’s been quite a wait for a British all-around Olympic medal, which made seeing the flags gradually rise a special moment. Max Whitlock had previously said he wants to be a legend of his sport, he’s gone quite a way to achieving that with his performance at the Olympic Arena. A gold medal could be his too in the pommel horse in a few days.

Brazil’s gold medal winning Judoka, Rafaela Silva, opened up about her girlfriend for the first time on live TV. Just two days after her historic performance, Rafaela Silva discussed her relationship with her girlfriend, Thamara Cezar in a Globo interview: “She was there day-to-day and knew what I was going through, when I was tired and when I wasn’t,” she said. “Everything I needed, she was there for me ― so she’s also very important for this victory.


A post shared by Rafaela Silva (@rafaelasilvaa) on

Lyu Xiaojun has just broken the World Record in the snatch of the Men’s 77kg Weightlifting event, as his lift of 177kg just managed to step up the mark from his previous World Record, which was 176kg.

Sir Clive Woodward: “The drama was amazing. I thought the team handled the pressure really well. They really kept their nerve. The scenes at the end were just fantastic and this game will go down in the history of Rugby Sevens. It was that good.

Sir Chris Hoy spoke to the BBC after Fabian Cancellara’s victory in the men’s time trial: “The conditions were extremely difficult. Cancellara was the best man on the day. For Chris Froome to be a minute behind, he has got to be happy with his bronze medal. You could see everyone was happy for Fabian to win in his final Olympic Games. I think he was in a league of his own. He was phenomenal. He has been great in the past and now is the second oldest in the field. Maybe people counted him out a little but he showed them still the boss and what a way to finish.

Nijat Rahimov has broken a world record in the Men’s -77kg weightlifting by lifting 214kg in the clean and jerk, ultimately snatching the title from China’s Lyu Xiaojun with the Gold Medal winning lift.

Simon Mason (Ex-Team GB Olympic Hockey Player on BBC One): “If either team loses this it makes it very difficult,  GB would have to beat Spain who are currently top of the group. It really is a very crucial game. Australia are really struggling to score, which is the last thing you would think of from an Australian team. They get into the circle enough, they just haven’t got the outcomes.

Luke Reddy: “Coming to you from hockey under the lights. This is a big one. A GB player told me last week that Australia are full on. He said you don’t play them in a friendly because they only know one way and that’s intensity, intensity, intensity. As I enter the stadium I hear an Aussie fan say to his buddy: “Should be a good game mate.” The reply in a thick Australian accent: “Ah it’s do or die mate.”

Luke Reddy: “It’s worth remembering that Australia probably started this men’s tournament as favourites. They hold the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Hockey World League and 2016 Champions Trophy. About a half full stadium again. I’m yet to see a full one in Deodoro this week. I’m going to head over to sit where I can see Aussies and Brits in close proximity, see if there’s any Ashes-style sledging going on.

Tim Vickery (BBC Sport’s South American Football Expert): “This was supposed to be the tournament where Brazil got their fans back on side. Instead, they seem to be digging themselves further into the hole. Even Fiji has scored a goal in this tournament. They have not been able to reproduce what they have been working on in training. They move the ball so badly, there is too much space between the lines of the teams. It looks like Zombie football. You can compare it to the Thriller video. This is a young side and they need Neymar to be a calming influence. He hasn’t been and there is a lot of pressure on him tonight.

Inna Deriglazova has won Gold after beating Elisa Di Francesca of Italy with a final score of 12-11 to take the Gold.

Ason Szilagyi has won a Gold Medal in the Men’s individual sabre fencing event.

Luke Reddy: “When the eye in the sky makes its way near fans they get giddy. Everyone wants to be on TV and in the absence of any goals, why not? Maddy on the left and Emma have come from Sydney to support Emma’s brother who is in the Aussie team. Don’t worry, there’s an inflatable kangaroo nearby too, you’re never too far away from one in Deodoro.

Luke Reddy: “These inflatables pop up everywhere with rugby and hockey in close proximity at Deodoro. This one gets his own seat. To be fair, there’s plenty of room in here.

Mark Foster (Former Freestyle World Swimming Champion on BBC One): “Andrew Willis has a great chance. He’s looked light in the water, his stroke length is good and his timing is on. He looks in control and it looks like he has a little bit left. Andrew Willis goes in the men’s 200m breaststroke final at 02:03 BST. GET THE HORLICKS ON

Luke Reddy: “So here’s the set-up, a big group of Australia fans, probably around 150 of them. Then there’s a cluster of Brits either side behaving a little more calmly, as Brits do.* There’s some needle, when one set sings the other thinks it has to have a go, but there’s no riot bubbling. On the pitch, GB have it all to do as Aran Zalewski nets. We are into the final quarter. Defeat leaves Team GB on the brink with a game of the group to go.

Luke Reddy: “Prior to that second goal, one loud Briton was bellowing: “He’s coming for you, he’s coming for you-uuu, Harry Potter, he’s coming for you.

Seems Australians have no fear of the wizard.

That’s 2-0, that’s that. This tournament is not going well for GB’s men at all.

Luke Reddy: “Ugly, just ugly for Great Britain’s men. Fifth in the group where four go through. They’ll have to beat Spain you’d think now, a draw will probably not be enough. This wasn’t a walk off the pitch but a trudge. Not a single player stopping for media.

Team GB’s Andrew Willis: “I think I know what to expect in the Olympic final. You go to the big stages but the Olympics is a step above. There will be nerves and excitement so I need to try to control them. It is my dream to win an Olympic medal and it always will be.

Rebecca Adlington: “It is going to be a close race. Everyone in this race has done 2:07 so it will be whoever gets their hand to the wall first.

Mark Foster: “Andrew Willis has looked good through the rounds. He is confident and looks great, he seems to be floating through the water.

Dmitry Balandin has won Gold in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke Swimming event. Team GB’s Andrew Willis came fourth.

Adrian Moorhouse: “Andrew Willis left himself just too much to do. It was such a close race – it was all over the place. Less than a second separated the whole field. I’m so disappointed for Willis. But he gave himself too much to do after the 100m.

Rebecca Adlington: “Andrew Willis needed another five metres and then he would have got a medal. It is still a very good time for him. It was just off his personal best.

Adrian Moorhouse: “What a brilliant swim by Campbell. She was well ahead at the turn but Oleksiak was catching.

Sharron Davies (The BBC Sport Swimming Expert): “Oleksiak is the latest of a whole bunch of youngsters who excite us at every Olympic Games. When you’re young you have no fear of anyone else, you know if you don’t win a medal then you’re probably going to have another chance in four years. That takes off a tremendous amount of mental pressure. But having said that my money is on Cate Campbell in the final.

Adrian Moorhouse: “Murphy looks good. I’m surprised he didn’t get under one minute 55 seconds though. He was calm and collected. I’ve never seen him break into a smile though…

Adrian Moorhouse: “He’s got beautiful long arms has Rylov.

China’s Ding Ning has beaten her compatriot, Li Xiaoxia, in a thrilling women’s singles final for Table Tennis and she has claimed the Gold Medal.

Adrian Moorhouse: “The question is whether Maddie Groves can hold on after going out this strong.

Mireia Belmonte has won Gold in the Women’s 200m Butterfly swimming event.

Adrian Moorhouse: “The first female winner in the pool for Spain. This was a brilliant swim, she paced it supremely well. Groves and Zhang were coming back but she held them off.

Andy Jameson (BBC Commentator & Former British Olympic Swimmer): “It’s wonderful to have Duncan Scott in this final and wonderful for what it means for our relay chances. There are some really big guys in this race. It’s going to be fascinating. The world record could go.

Kyle Chalmers of Australia has won Gold in the Men’s 100m Freestyle event as he had made sure to power through to take it in a wide-open race and he’s only 18 years old! How amazing can life get? Peter Timmers takes silver, while Nathan Adrian takes bronze. Duncan Scott takes a very creditable fifth place.

Adrian Moorhouse: “That was a big, big swim from Kyle Chalmers, the 18-year-old. It’s a real surprise and Australia have another freestyle sprint sensation.

Chloe Tutton has come fifth in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke semi-finals.

Andy Jameson: “It’s brave from Tutton but it looks comfortable. And she has a great second half.

Team GB’s Duncan Scott on coming fifth: “I am delighted with that. I was happy to make the semi-final and to be in that final was incredible. Hopefully things can move on next year. Everyone in the GB team is swimming with confidence at the moment. We have the best breaststroker ever and the whole team wants to keep swimming.

Team GB’s Molly Renshaw has come third in the second semi-final.

Adrian Moorhouse: “Taylor McKeown belted that out from the beginning but you couldn’t ask any more from Molly Renshaw. It was a wonderful swim from the Briton.

Molly Renshaw after setting a British record to reach the final: “My training has been going so well and it’s nice to get a good time. It’s been a few years since we had British female breaststrokers at the top so to have two is amazing.

Dan Wallace has come 7th & Ieuan Lloyd has come 8th in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley.

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte both have their headphones pulled quite hard over their heads, with absolutely no chat or any forms of engagement whatsoever.

Dan Wallace is officially in the final and is the fifth fastest qualifier.

She may have just finished fourth and only just missing out on the chance of a medal, but there was no lacking of confidence for Cammile Adams, as she said: “I looked into the mirror as I was putting on my make-up and said ‘Cam you’re amazing. My goggles broke just before the race but I’m so frigging stoked at doing that time.

Adrian Moorhouse: “Lochte was working hard. I think he’s going to struggle in the final. Pereira will have the support of the crowd to push him but Phelps goes in as the quickest.

Dan Wallace after he qualified for the final speaks to BBC One: “Two months ago I didn’t think this was possible but I knew I had it in there somewhere and it was nice to step up when it counts. I’ve started to enjoy swimming again and days like last night and this night made it clear to me that I want to keep doing this as long as I can.

Mark Foster: “Dan Wallace is still only 23, he has another Olympic cycle in him, and it’s great to hear that his love for swimming is back again because you need that to put the effort in.

Katie Ledecky & Katinka Hosszu are among the swimmers that are going for another medal here. Missy Franklin, the 200m Freestyle Specialist, however, has been dropped and is out of touch and also, time.

Katie Ledecky has just won her third Gold of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games, and also her fourth medal in total. The United States have won it, with Australia coming second and Canada being delighted with coming third.

Here are the final medal listings for Day #5:


United States
11 11 10 32

10 5 8 23

6 1 11 18

5 2 5 12

5 1 1 7

4 7 4 15

South Korea
4 2 3 9

3 6 2 11

Great Britain
3 3 6 12

2 3 1 6

2 2 3 7

2 1 1 4

1 2 1 4

1 2 0 3

1 1 2 4

1 1 1 3

1 1 0 2

1 1 0 2

1 1 0 2

1 1 0 2

Chinese Taipei
1 0 2 3

1 0 1 2

1 0 1 2

1 0 1 2

1 0 0 1

1 0 0 1

Independent Olympic Athletes
1 0 0 1

1 0 0 1

North Korea
0 2 2 4

0 2 1 3

0 2 0 2

New Zealand
0 2 0 2

South Africa
0 2 0 2

0 1 5 6

0 1 1 2

0 1 0 1

0 1 0 1

0 1 0 1

0 1 0 1

0 1 0 1

0 1 0 1

0 1 0 1

0 0 2 2

0 0 2 2

Czech Republic
0 0 1 1

0 0 1 1

0 0 1 1

0 0 1 1

0 0 1 1

0 0 1 1

United Arab Emirates
0 0 1 1

0 0 0 0

American Samoa
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Burkina Faso
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Refugee Olympic Athletes
0 0 0 0

British Virgin Islands
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Papua New Guinea
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Marshall Islands
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Sierra Leone
0 0 0 0

South Sudan
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

FYR Macedonia
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Cook Islands
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Central African Republic
0 0 0 0

Cape Verde
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Equatorial Guinea
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

DR Congo
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Sao Tome & Principe
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Solomon Islands
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

St Vincent & the Grenadines
0 0 0 0

Cayman Islands
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Hong Kong, China
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

El Salvador
0 0 0 0

Dominican Republic
0 0 0 0

US Virgin Islands
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

San Marino
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Costa Rica
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Sri Lanka
0 0 0 0

Puerto Rico
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Saint Kitts & Nevis
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Trinidad & Tobago
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Côte d’Ivoire
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Antigua & Barbuda
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Saudi Arabia
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Bosnia & Herzegovina
0 0 0 0

Saint Lucia
0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Day #5’s events have officially come to a close. Please make sure to check back soon for Day #6 of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Thanks to all of you for such a fantastic, positive and absolutely perfect fifth day and I hope and wish all of you a very good night.

Alex Smithson

Croydon in Broad Daylight

During the course of yesterday, and just before my 367 bus arrived today, I took some photos of Croydon again, but this time in broad daylight, and because I took these photos in broad daylight, this was the perfect opportunity for me to get these photos in before I headed home from college.

I was really pleased with one of the photos I took though, because I was able to get the photo of the area of Croydon that I’ve been wanting to get for quite a while now, and because there were no trams or buses going past, I was able to get the photo exactly how I wanted it to look.

I’ve taken these photos as I wanted to show the beauty of Croydon, as well as to how quiet it can be at times when there is not as much traffic on the road.

Again, I took these photos with the Camera+ app, which I strongly recommend you all get if you’re someone who likes to get a good photo, whether it would be something photography-based or not, and believe me, you won’t be disappointed if you switch to Camera+, it is that good to use, and you can adjust and change certain elements of how you want to take a photo before you take it, which is something that the traditional standard Camera app doesn’t have.

Please feel free to feedback what you thought of the photos I took in and around Croydon yesterday and today in the comments below. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

My First Year at Croydon College: A Perfect Success!!!!!!!!!

After a year of hard work, studying and revision, I am absolutely pleased to tell you all that I have officially, as of today, passed my UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course with a high Merit grade.

This news comes in light of the 8 units that I have completed and passed, with a Distinction on my research, which resulted in me getting that high merit grade for the whole course overall. I am also pleased to tell you that I received two certificates from Croydon College today, one of which celebrates the outstanding achievement I’ve made in terms of my exemplary attendance, while the other celebrates my outstanding achievement I’ve made in terms of excellent achievement.

I had never thought that I would come this far in just one year, literally in the space of one year since I left school for good, I have suddenly exceeded my expectations, even without realising it. I feel more than overjoyed to have come so far in just the short space of one year alone.

Over the past 10 months, I have been making sure to keep on top of the work that I’ve been given by my course lecturers, and as well as that, I have been able to not only manage my time effectively, but I have also been able to balance the work, revision, and also the things I love to do, such as writing and publishing articles on Mother Nature, that’s including writing my own books.

Since Monday 8th September 2014, I have gone from being above average in confidence to being fully confident in my studies, as I have been able to prioritise more of my time on my college studies and everything else, as well as the ability to do other things that I initially didn’t feel comfortable with.

In the space of those 10 months, I have been making sure to keep on top of the work, though I was very lucky to have kept on top of it as quick as I did, because within the first few weeks of the course, I ended up accidentally falling behind in my studies, which has since been resolved as I had gone in on days that I was initially supposed to be off.

I must admit though, although I initially didn’t like the thought of going to college on the days that I wasn’t scheduled in for, I am absolutely glad that I did, as this has not only benefitted me in the long run, but it has also opened a lot of doors to so many opportunities, opportunities of which I didn’t think I would actually get, and I feel absolutely thankful to have studied and completed my first year at Croydon College.

Croydon College alone has to be one of the best colleges around that I have ever been to, and not only that, but Croydon College alone is also completely diverse and equal, as you get treated with the best respect you could possibly think. Everyone I know at this college are so friendly, I instantly click with them, and I have noticed that quite a lot since I started at the college on the 8th September 2014.

If you want me to be politely honest, I absolutely love this college, even though it is just my first year, I have enjoyed every single day, as I have been able to keep my friends company, I’ve been able to share laughs with everyone down the line, and I want that to continue for the last few years of secondary education that I still have left.

On the 15th April 2015, as you may recall, I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum (a.k.a. the V&A), as I went there to take a lot of photos that would not just record my visit to that museum, but it would also mean that I would record a lot of the works that were designed by a huge, huge amount of artists. There was one notable artist whose work I did take a photo of, and that was Cornelia Parker‘s “Breathless” masterpiece.

Cornelia Parker’s “Breathless” work was done in a way where you can immediately see an entirely different form of destruction, as she had taken bits of silver, especially those that may have consisted of musical instruments, and she had flattened them with a steam roller. Much of Cornelia Parker’s works can be found in loads of museums across the United Kingdom.

I must admit, when I took a few photos of the “Breathless” masterpiece by Cornelia Parker, I was extremely lucky, as I had just stepped away from the balcony where this piece was hanging up, when the left-hand side of the camera strap for my Nikon D3300 DSLR had come off, thankfully, my hands were still tightly clutched on the camera, and with some help from one of the students from my class, they had helped me to reattach the left-hand side of the strap back onto the Nikon D3300 DSLR.

Exactly one week after I started my UAL (University of Arts London) Level 2 Art & Design Course at Croydon College, I took a trip up to London to go to the National Portrait Gallery, where the two most famous pieces of Julian Opie’s works were displayed. Those two famous pieces that Julian Opie had created were of James Dyson, and Blur.

The music group, Blur, used Julian Opie’s artwork for their Greatest Hit’s album: “Blur: The Best Of”. Julian Opie is a visual artist, who is a part of the New British Sculpture movement. The painting that Julian Opie did of James Dyson, which was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in London, was titled: “James, Inventor.”

At a certain stage in the course, I took a trip up to the Tate Britain, which is also in London, and it featured a memorable, yet iconic piece by David Bomberg, titled: “The Mud Bath”, which was created in 1914, as an oil-on-canvas painting.

Back to the gist of the article, I have come a very long way since I started the course, and to finally finish it today, I can officially say that I am absolutely glad to have completed all of the work, my work for this course is finally done, and all of the hard work has officially paid off, thanks to my family, all of my friends, my two main role models and also some of my true friends, and also to every single one of you on WordPress, I couldn’t have done this all without you.

My determination is always going to stay at an all-time high, and I’m not preparing to slow down anytime soon, I will be making sure to keep as active as possible, and I will also make sure to keep myself in the loop, so that my time is prioritised in a much better way than how it originally was before, and that I can fit time in to write and publish articles for Mother Nature.

I have taken photos down the line since I’ve been at Croydon College, as I want to make sure that whatever photo I take, I can take that photo home with me to keep as an everlasting, long and happy memory.

A lot of happy memories have occurred and been created down the line, and I feel absolutely thankful and fortunate to know that I can do a lot of things now that I couldn’t do originally before. I have noticed down the line when it came to my college studies that my workloads were less busy, given that I had kept on top of the work, and what I feel is a massive relief and a massive weight off of my shoulders, is that I can finally keep what I’ve created, so that when it comes to the future, I can take what I’ve created with me and use it for many different uses in more ways than one in the years to come.

It’s hard to think, it was this time last year that I was relaxing, putting my feet up and working on my second book, and to turn the clock forward 365 days from 2014 to 2015, I am absolutely amazed as to what I have achieved. A lot of hard work and dedication has paid off, and I will be making sure to keep to that so that I can make sure I excel further in life.

You may have noticed about me this past year that I have been very fussy with what I’ve been designing and also creating, this is because I have been making sure to improve on my skills in design, and since I started the UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course at Croydon College, my own initial ideas and my own designs have gotten much, much better than how I had first thought.

With the work I’ve been producing, I have been making sure to fine-tune and make sure that what I create is perfect, whether it be work that I’ve been doing at Croydon College, or whether it be that I’ve been working on designing something for Mother Nature.

For those of you who are planning on going to Croydon College in the future years to come, I strongly recommend this college, this college is an all-round diverse and equal college that focuses on you being respected for who you are, and not only that, this college will do anything to make sure you can get to where you want to be in life.

For the last few years of my secondary education, I will be going on to doing the Level 3 Lens-Based Media Course, as I have my strong intentions to become a full-time photographer in the future. I love photography, and I also love writing and publishing articles on Mother Nature, and my further interest is that I love writing my own books.

Be yourself, and make sure that you get the best out of the life you have, and also, make sure your life is worth living, and not only that, make sure that you excel in life, as all of the hard work and dedication you make now will pay off in the end.

Dream big, think big, and also think of the best things that you want to do. Make sure to go for every opportunity that hits you, and if there is a fantastic opportunity that strikes, go for it!!!

Over the course of the Level 3 Lens-Based Media Course, I will be making sure to use my Nikon D3300 DSLR more frequently than before, as I will be making myself absolutely sure that I can get out a lot more than before and use my camera to take more photographs.

If needs be, I will be making sure to get out more over the course of the Level 3 Lens-Based Media Course, and not only that, but I will also be making sure to take dozens more photos over the course of 2016, and for many more years to come.

After such a fantastic year, I am finally glad to say that my first year of college is over. Although I will miss this year, I will still be able to look back on this year in the years to come, and I will make sure to do anything to make sure that my future is secured, and that my future is bright. Also, I will be making sure to keep on top of everything, and even if it means working harder than before, I will, if it means that I succeed and get further and further in life.

My final thoughts on my first year at Croydon College? I absolutely loved every second of it, and I have also loved all of the memories that have been created down the line. In the last few years of my secondary education, I will most definitely be making myself absolutely sure to create a lot more memories down the line, so that when my secondary education does officially come to an end, I will be able to look back on it all, including the memories that I have gathered, not just from Oasis Academy: Shirley Park, but also from Croydon College.

Overall, I am absolutely glad to have successfully completed my first year, and I am also absolutely glad to have passed my UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course. Roll on the Level 3 Lens-Based Media Course, and also, roll on the last few years of my secondary education. I can’t wait to create and keep a lot of happy memories over the next few years.

Alex Smithson

The Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games | Day 9 – Highlights

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first blog post for August!!! Today has been such a perfect start for all of us, as we are still in front, placing first place on the medal table with an overall medal count of 140 medals (48 Gold, 49 Silver and 43 Bronze). Australia also face a lot of stiff competition and pressure as they are now placed second on the medal table, with an overall medal count of 124 medals (40 Gold, 40 Silver and 44 Bronze).

The excitement and pressure has been on for so many Commonwealth countries today, as many more medals have been won by those that have taken part in this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. With just 2 days to go, the pressure is on for the final amount of medals to be won, and the excitement will quickly increase as the time goes by. In honesty, the time has just flown so fast, I actually cannot believe we’re almost at the end of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. It’s actually gone so quick.

Here, I will now quickly summarise today’s highlights, following on from the events that have just finished.

  • In Athletics, Lynsey Sharp wins the 800m Silver for Scotland, while Usain Bolt leads Jamaica into the 4x100m final (400m). Australia’s Sally Pearson wins Gold in the Hurdles event, while England‘s Steven Lewis wins Gold in the Pole Vault event.
  • In Diving, Tom Daley and James Denny win the 10m Silver, while Laugher/Mears win the 3m Gold.
  • In the Bowls event, Scotland won Gold medals in the Men’s singles and fours.
  • In the Hockey event, England’s women beat New Zealand in the shoot-outs to reach the Hockey finals.
  • In Gymnastics, England’s Claudia Fragapane wins her fourth Gold, while Nile Wilson and Daniel Purvis also win.

Below are the updated medal table results, with England in first place, and Australia in second place.


Gold Medal Count Silver Medal Count Bronze Medal Count Total Medal Count
England 48 49 43 140
Australia 40 40 44 124
Canada 30 14 31 75
India 13 23 15 51
Scotland 17 14 18 49
New Zealand 13 11 15 39
Republic of South Africa 12 10 16 38
Wales 4 10 20 34
Nigeria 7 6 14 27
Kenya 7 8 4 19
Jamaica 7 4 7 18
Malaysia 4 6 5 15
Singapore 6 2 4 12
Cyprus 2 4 2 8
Northern Ireland 0 1 7 8
Cameroon 1 3 3 7
Uganda 1 0 4 5
Trinidad & Tobago 0 2 3 5
Pakistan 0 2 1 3
Samoa 0 2 1 3
Papua New Guinea 2 0 0 2
Grenada 1 0 1 2
Bahamas 0 1 1 2
Mozambique 0 1 1 2
Ghana 0 0 2 2
Namibia 0 0 2 2
Zambia 0 0 2 2
Botswana 1 0 0 1
Kiribati 1 0 0 1
Bangladesh 0 1 0 1
Isle of Man 0 1 0 1
Nauru 0 1 0 1
Sri Lanka 0 1 0 1
Barbados 0 0 1 1
Fiji 0 0 1 1
Saint Lucia 0 0 1 1
Mauritius 0 0 1


The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games | Day 2 – Highlights

Hello everyone, my apologies for the delay, the internet was acting up a bit, but not to worry, I will still cover the highlights of yesterday’s events as they unfolded, plus I will also give a quick summary based on the events that took place yesterday.

The success from Thursday’s events carried on for England as we earned ourselves more Golds in a wide variety of the different Commonwealth events. Joanna Rowsell won Gold for England, while Jason Kenny won Silver. In Judo, Danny Williams, Megan Fletcher and Owen Livesey won Golds for England, and also Scotland‘s Clark won Gold.

It’s amazing how we are still at the top of the medal table two days running, and we’re not just at the top, Australia have also earned the same amount of medals as us. Scotland, so far, are 3rd in the medal table, which is actually really good considering they’re the hosts of the Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games.

Nations Gold Medal Count Silver Medal Count Bronze Medal Count Total Medal Count
England 12 11 9 32
Australia 11 9 12 32
Scotland 7 3 5 15
India 3 4 3 10
Canada 4 1 4 9
New Zealand 2 2 4 8
Republic of South Africa 0 2 5 7
Wales 0 3 3 6
Cyprus 1 1 1 3
Nigeria 1 0 1 2
Malaysia 0 1 1 2
Singapore 1 0 0 1
Bangladesh 0 1 0 1
Cameroon 0 1 0 1
Jamaica 0 1 0 1
Papua New Guinea 0 1 0 1
Sri Lanka 0 1 0 1
Ghana 0 0 1 1
Northern Ireland 0 0 1 1
Samoa 0 0 1 1
Zambia 0 0 1 1

Overall, with England at the top, that is fantastic, I was shocked to find we earned more and more medals in the space of 24 hours, I know we only got another 15 medals, but an additional 15 medals to total our medal count overall to 32 is perfect.

Before I conclude this blog post for the night, I would like to say that the performance’s so far from all of the Commonwealth countries that have taken part in the Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games have been fantastic, England have been fantastic, and have continued to strive high for the best result, and also, all the other Commonwealth countries that have taken part have been fantastic too. The medal table will glow like shining stars. At the end of the day, it’s the taking part that counts, and every Commonwealth country, including England, have done just that, they’ve all taken part, and are determined to strive for the best result they possibly could get.

Thank you for viewing this blog post :-).

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!!!

Photography | Nature is now Blog of the Year 2013!!!

Hello everyone!!! I wanted to say a massive thank you to all of you bloggers and all of you viewers out there for visiting this blog. Without you all, I wouldn’t have got this far in the first 6 months, and to top it all off, Photography | Nature has passed the 1,000+ view mark and has become the Blog of the Year for 2013. I owe a massive thank you to Vijay Shah of the HalfEatenMind blog who nominated me for the 5* on the Blog of the Year 2013 award, and also a massive thank you to Ajay of the Ajaytao2010 blog for the 1* to make it 6*. Another great announcement is that Vijay of the HalfEatenMind blog has just won the Blog of the Year 2013 award as well!!! To follow his blog, the link is below…and again, thanks for a wonderful first 6 months

Thank you Vijay and Ajay, without you both, I wouldn’t have won the Blog of the Year 2013 award, and a massive congratulations to you Vijay for winning the Blog of the Year 2013 award, you deserved it as well and have a Happy New Year Vijay Shah and also Ajay Tao :-)!!!

Have a Happy New Year, and I’ll see you all in 2014 :-)!!!!!!!!!

Vijay Shah’s HalfEatenMind blog: halfeatenmind.wordpress.com

Ajay Tao’s Ajaytao2010 blog: ajaytao2010.wordpress.com

The Beautiful Sunset of Whitstable Beach, Kent.

My auntie took these photos of the beautiful sunset 3 years back, but just by looking at these photos the sunset is absolutely beautiful, no matter what the angle. The reflection of the sunset shines down on the sea and gives off a sparkle, bouncing the reflection of the sunset off the sea.

The tide in most of the photos have gone out perfectly, forming a near-silhouetted landscape, leaving behind it trails of dirt, seaweed and rocks. The sunset up close hides itself behind the clouds, lighting up the cloudy sky.

The sunset in the centre of the photo makes the whole concept of the photo beautiful, as it is in full focus, perfectly in centre, and also shines down on the ground, directing a ray of sunlight onto the sea. This photo was perfect, as the sunset captured land at its darkest, and also darkened what looked like a building underneath it.

In the background on a few of the photos, you can see the boats are left from where the owners of the boats have left them after a days use. The sunset in these photos are out of this world, as the sunset close-up darkens almost the whole sky around it, as you can see one part of the sunset up close is a bright red-pink colour and that the other part of the sunset is a bold, vivid and bright yellow sun.

Overall, I thought the outcome of these photos that my auntie took were fantastic, the photography is beautiful, and I wanted to share these sunset photos to the world.

Tomorrow, I will upload a video of the sunset photos to YouTube, and I’ll also make the video available to watch from this blog via a new blog post.

Thank you for reading this post. I really appreciated the time you took to read about the beautiful sunset of Whitstable Beach, Kent.

Alex Smithson (asterisk15)

A Fantastic Day Out at Battersea Park!

Hello! Just as promised, I have got photos today of Battersea Park, as the weather was chilling, and I wanted to share a lot of photos like flowers, and also panoramic photos as well.

As the weather was perfect today, I got a few good photos of sunflowers that blossomed, and I also took 3 panoramic photos of the city landscape.

To much of a cute surprise, I managed to get a photo of someone’s dachshund (a.k.a. sausage dog) clutching a stick in its mouth, and it was the same dog that jumped in the fountain twice to fetch his tennis ball.

To round off the last few days of August, I am putting together a video of all these photos, and the video will also contain 2 video clips of the fountain launching the water up high. I will upload the video tomorrow, and will let all of you know via a blog post when it finishes uploading and processing.

If I forgot to mention about some of these photos, I apologise, feel free to save these as wallpapers for your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad anytime you like.

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