World Mental Health Day!

Always be in your friends and family’s corners and support everyone who is suffering from mental health.

Let’s get this show on the road, raise awareness and end this stigma once and for all!

Every mental health condition is different, never the same, but it’s time to stand up and be counted!

If you’re raising awareness for mental health, I would love to hear your responses.

Alex Smithson

9.11: Standing in Solidarity, 17 Years On.

The whole of the United Kingdom stands in solidarity on the day that changed the entire world forever.

Please value every precious second and value the time you have with everyone because each day could be your last, so please value the precious time and value and never take life for granted.

Life is precious, so share it with everyone and make a difference.

It is very hard to believe and numbing to accept it was exactly 17 years ago today the world changed forever, but stand in solidarity for everyone and anyone who lost their loved ones on that fateful day.

Also, please remember the people who fought to save lives on this day 17 years ago.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: July 2018

July was quite a busy month! With the conclusion of the World Cup, which saw England being dealt the unexpected blow and despite the fact we didn’t win, it still came home regardless of the result and our heroes came home with their heads held high.

It’s been quite an interesting month to say the most, but the hottest to say the least considering the UK baked in the extreme heatwave, with the heavens well and truly opening on Friday 27th July.

I shall take a look back at the photo moments/articles I’ve published altogether over the course of July.

1.7.2018 – Things were set to get a lot busier considering I would be back at work following two weeks of annual leave, with the weather expecting to be hotter with mild rain and potential thunderstorms.

I also marked the occasion by changing Mother Nature’s theme from Karuna to Lovecraft, whilst also publishing a reworked and improved version of the cube so that the logo and website would stay true to nature’s roots that maintain her beautiful and vibrant personality.

2.7.2018 – Almost one year after we lost the late TV legend, Bruce Forsyth, who passed away on the 18th August 2017, I paid tribute by saying Nice to See You, To See You, Spruce!

3.7.2018 – The UK beamed in a hot, humid and surprising shade of scarlet as a result of the extreme heatwave, meanwhile, it was good to Hydrate Your Hydrangeas whilst basking in the hot and humid sunny Summer weather.

6.7.2018 – The Hypericum plant was most definitely hyperactive, though even nature was mystified by the presence of the Mysterious Mossrose!

7.7.2018 – Imagine a World of Lavender putting your mind at ease.

8.7.2018 – Oklahoma turned orange as the Oklahoma plant proved to be the case whilst the UK baked in the extreme heatwave, meanwhile, there was a Happy Hazelnut that blossomed thanks to the hot weather.

9.7.2018 – The weather was absolutely hot and humid. Talk about a Sultry Summer but the hot weather certainly took the biscuit! However, there was a beautiful silhouette of sunshine which filled the air with peace, but Venus was serious about when she said she would blossom.

13.7.2018 – Nature was feeling rosy!

15.7.2018 – Mother Nature was at her Finest! I even witnessed her True Grit!

16.7.2018 – The breeze of Summer finally beckoned!

18.7.2018 – Mother Nature was at the Longan Short of It!

22.7.2018 – I witnessed a Spirea spiralling in Mother Nature’s roots, though it felt so good to have witnessed Mother Nature’s Summer Roots! She did surprise us with her Magical Marigold, so that was a bonus!

23.7.2018 – The UK witnessed the hottest day of 2018, and it was like it was Mediterranean Monday as I defied the weather warnings to photograph Mother Nature at her most spiritual whilst I was on the way home from work.

24.7.2018 – The extreme heatwave of Summer 2018 was suntastic, despite a lot of greenery being scorched due to the intensely sultry weather.

25.7.2018 – It felt so good to soak in the Rays of Summer Sunshine, despite the weather being intensely humid and sultry.

28.7.2018 – The weather for Friday 24th July was absolutely frantic, not to mention being boiling hot! She finally unleashed her voluptuous violet and made it rain for the UK with an almighty bang!

Thank you so much, everyone, for such a fantastic and productive month. Everything has been up in the air lately with work and finding the time to publish frequently, but I’m glad I’ve been able to produce and publish more content more recently and I hope to continue to publish more content soon.

Again, thanks so much, everyone, and I’ll see you all in August!

Alex Smithson

A World of Lavender!

Imagine a world of lavender putting your mind at ease. This is what the world needs and lavender is the best medicine to relax and make you feel euphoric.

Would you want a world filled with lavender?

Are you fascinated by the lavender’s presence?

Does it put your mind at ease and relax you?

I would love to know.

Alex Smithson

Mental Health: Make a Difference!

Far too often, mental health is often shunned to one side by many of those who believe it doesn’t exist. Some see it as an excuse to make anyone who suffers from mental health feel like they cannot prove their worth because they’re different to everyone else.

Mental health is often ignored nowadays in the modern world, as some people actually believe it’s something that doesn’t exist.

It does exist.

No two people are the same when it comes to mental health. Everyone is different and why should those who believe mental health doesn’t exist feel like it’s okay for them to make others feel left out because they are different to everyone else?

They shouldn’t!

Mental health should be acknowledged by everyone. This doesn’t mean one person should recognise it, let alone any charities should recognise it, but the whole world has to recognise mental health and take into account that the more mental health is acknowledged, the better chances there are of help, support and treatment being provided to everyone depending on the mental health condition they were diagnosed with.

Why do so many ignore the signs of mental health?

So many people ignore the signs of mental health, not because they don’t just think it doesn’t exist, but because they believe it can be cured.

Well Hello!

It is not curable!

It can be managed, however, through the use of help, support and treatment, including support lines, websites surrounding mental health and charities that specialise in providing help and support to all those suffering from a mental health condition.

I care about mental health a lot as I have a lot of friends who suffer from mental health, or do suffer from mental health but haven’t declared it due to their fear of worrying that they may be shunned, left out or be discriminated against because they are different to everyone else. Mental health is something that is very close to my heart and I always support anyone with a mental health condition but don’t ever listen to those who say it’s curable because it’s not!

We are all different, not the same and you cannot flip two different sides of the coin and pray it can be cured. It’s incurable but manageable.

We should be making a difference by raising awareness, opening up more about mental health, and tell the naysayers that tell us to ‘man up and toughen up’ to get a life!

Let’s end this stigma once and for all!

Want to end the stigma? Let’s do this! Please tell me if you raise awareness for mental health, and if you do or don’t, that’s okay and I respect you fully, but please feel free to tell me if you are or know someone, whether it be a family member or friend who has a mental health condition who has struggled to open up or has recently opened up about how they feel. I am more than happy to hear how you felt about opening up, but I am also happy to hear about how someone you know felt about opening up and showing their real emotions.

Please feel free to refer to the Mental Health Organisations page by clicking on the link provided below this article.

Alex Smithson

https://asterisk15.wordpress.com/mental-health-organisations

The Discomforting Perceptions of Airbrushed Photographs.

On every magazine cover or newspaper you’ve read, you may notice there’s been the odd airbrushing or two on all of the magazine and newspaper covers of someone famous you know.

Every photograph I’ve produced that features any friends of mine have never been airbrushed and have never been photoshopped. Of course, I’ve edited some of my photographs by changing some of them to black and white to bring out the facial features of the subjects I photograph so that you still see an all-natural look, but I would never even dream of airbrushing any photographs I produce as I would rather you all see the subjects I photograph for what they actually look like naturally, not what society wants them to look like when airbrushed as airbrushing is not normal.

Airbrushing was the topic of conversation on today’s edition of Loose Women, as body dysmorphia is becoming worryingly common, as a vast majority of some people feel insecure about how their bodies look and they feel they should fix what makes them insecure when they shouldn’t.

Personally, I find airbrushing to be completely uncomfortable, as I would rather look at a photograph of someone famous, especially if it’s a close friend of mine that shows them completely natural with no airbrushing applied rather than look at a photograph of someone famous, especially if it’s a close friend of mine that shows noticeable airbrushing because airbrushing is a complete turn-off. It also promotes negativity for mental health, as airbrushing is another leading example of the stigma that surrounds mental health, considering mental health is only just being taken notice of after so many years of being ignored.

Airbrushing is the vanity card of the future that will alter anyone’s appearance and personally and honestly, I would rather be realistic by saying I would rather see a famous celebrity or close friend of mine all-natural rather than see constant airbrushing in photographs.

I know I’ve probably repeated myself over and over again but I will say this. Don’t ever expect to see any airbrushed photos on here as I am going all natural with my photographs so you actually see what any of my subjects actually look like rather than see any photos that are unnatural.

Mother Nature intends to stick to the all-natural realism of photography, and as for airbrushing, airbrushing is banned!

Do you find airbrushed photographs to be discomforting?

Does it make you uncomfortable knowing you’re looking at the discomforting perceptions of an airbrushed photograph as opposed to an unedited, all-natural photograph?

Do you believe airbrushing promotes negativity for Mental Health in the sense people should be made to look at a photograph that isn’t natural, but is airbrushed?

Please tell me in the comments. I would love to hear what you’ve got to say about the whole unrealistic world of airbrushing.

Alex Smithson

Make a Difference for World Mental Health Day!

Today is World Mental Health Day, so if you are someone or know someone who has a mental health condition, today is about coming together and supporting everyone regardless of what mental condition you and everyone else has or may have.

The ‘Mental Health Organisations‘ page is designed to help all those like yourself who may be suffering from Mental Health, and as this page I set up earlier this year aims to provide help, support and treatment for those who may have a mental health condition or may have a condition not connected to mental health, so if you want to reach out to someone or to a support line that will specialise in whatever kind of mental health condition or condition you may have, this page, I hope, will help you.

Let’s come together and end this stigma once and for all.

Alex Smithson

Should We Change at the Expense of Others?

From a personal perspective, changing ourselves at the expense of others means we are putting ourselves in a position where we are made to change ourselves in order to be socially acceptable to everyone else.

I personally refuse to change myself at the expense of others because I am happy with who I am, what I look like, including how I present myself to other people.

So what, I don’t give a damn if some people don’t accept me just for being myself, at the end of the day, I refuse to let anyone change me so that I can appear acceptable to them.

It’s a messed up world, there’s no other way of describing this world, but at the end of the day, if no one can accept you for who you are, what you look like, including how you present yourself to others, and if they expect you to change yourself at their expense, forget them and just be yourself and never change for anyone.

Never change yourself.

If you feel what I have said here is powerful and eye-opening, please let me know. I would love to know if I inspired you as I want to inspire you all and for you to be yourselves and to never change yourselves at all at the expense of others.

Alex Smithson

÷ (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

Artistic Interpretation #6 / Prince Rogers Nelson (1993)

As it has been almost a year since we lost the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, who passed away on the 21st April 2016, I wanted to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the iconic music legend by drawing for this sixth artistic interpretation.

This is the first Artistic Interpretation for 2017 and I wanted to make sure that Prince Rogers Nelson would be the first musician I would draw this year.

This drawing I’ve produced is inspired on the Greatest Hits album: “The Hits / The B-Sides” that Prince Rogers Nelson released back in 1993, as this Greatest Hits collection spans much of the music he released over the course of his career, given that he was the powerhouse and driving force that defined many generations and helped to inspire so many musicians, also because he was known for releasing so many albums that his back catalogue would be filled to maximum capacity.

Prince’s music defined himself as the iconic music legend he is, and even in death, his music will never grow old, will never become dated but will always remain timeless, as his music is eccentric and changes every time but changes so quickly that you cannot help but appreciate the iconic music legend himself for always being different and not making music that sounds the same.

Below is the completed artistic interpretation I have produced of Prince Rogers Nelson.

prince-rogers-nelson-drawing-tribute-alex-smithson
Prince Rogers Nelson

I’m really pleased with the end result of this artistic interpretation, because I wanted to make sure that this drawing would keep true to the iconic music legend himself. Prince left his mark not just on the music world, but on the entire world, as his music is the reason why so many of the musicians we hear of today are still not just releasing music, but are making the best difference and being the positive changes in this world.

His music has also given so many people around the world, including myself so much to be thankful for and his music, from my perspective, is a message of hope, and that hope can mean you can be yourself and be the positive change you want to see in this world and I feel that by drawing him, he has not only been a positive influence on me, but on all of us.

I want to say this as a way of paying tribute to Prince Rogers Nelson:

“Prince. Your music has been the Sign ‘O’ the Times, Purple Rain came down on us and delighted us and When Doves Cry, you were there to give us all hope and to make sure we were the positive changes this world needs. Your Little Red Corvette sits briskly in heaven and heaven gained an angel. Sometimes it Snows in April, then there is Purple Rain, but you gave us all hope and made us all feel okay to be ourselves, so thank you for everything, Prince Rogers Nelson.”

If you want to pay your respects to Prince Rogers Nelson almost a year after the iconic music legend departed from Planet Earth, then please leave a comment below in his memory.

Alex Smithson