MOTHER NATURE: Nature photo blog marks 5th anniversary


Mother Nature, the nature and photographic diary blog of Croydon-based blogging enthusiast Alex Smithson, has marked five years of being online this past week.

Alex has been a long term friend and supporter of HEM News Agency for the past four years, from when it was called the Half-Eaten Mind Blog. Based in the suburban town of Croydon, just south of London, Alex first started working on Mother Nature (under its former simpler title, ‘Photography – Nature’) on the 6th of June, 2013 when he uploaded a number of photography projects taken with a Samsung ST200F camera he carried around with him.


Alex began to use the new blog to explore his passions of gaming, technology and nature photography and show his imagery to a steadily growing audience.

Five years on, Mother Nature has gone from strength to strength, chronicling Alex’s pictorial journey around his hometown, his commencement of an A-Level photography course at a local college and even him getting to grips with the graphic design software, GIMP.

While the design and look of Alex’s blog has shifted much over the years, he still uses Mother Nature as a creative venue for his photos of colourful flowers and wildlife. For Alex, photography is a stimulating vocation that has motivated him in the hard work of maintaining his website and keeping the interest flowing.

In addition to his photography and writing work, Alex Smithson has also taken on the mantle of mental health advocate, publicising various issues and neurological conditions,  such as autism, mental health stigma and the impact of social media on youngsters’ minds. The blogger had lent his support to various mental health charities like Depression Alliance, the Samaritans, Mind and others. His advocacy for mental health and neuro-diversity has already won him praise from actor Oli Regan, who collaborated with Alex on one of his articles. Alex plans to further his campaigning for mental health issues through the medium of photography as part of his blog’s fifth anniversary celebrations.

Mother Nature


“Celebrating 5 Years of Mother Nature!” – Alex Smithson, Mother Nature (6 June 2018)

“Mental Health Organisations” – Alex Smithson, Mother Nature


Alex Smithson/Mother Nature.


VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD: Nomination by ‘Love Life’

As mentioned in the last article before this one, we are in the middle of an awards deluge that’s been running all through December 2013 up until today. To prove I am a man of my own word, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you news of another award. This time we have been blessed by the anonymous teenage blogger behind “Love Life“. She is a blogger/writer on a voyage to overcome the obstacles that life throws at her and discover the hidden secrets of living in a positive light. On her ‘About’ page she describes herself as…

I am a person of the World who loves discovering creative and delicate aspects of life. I like being “original” and don’t really like the idea of conforming with everyone; yet, I find that some parts of conformity are a part of life.

She enjoys creative activities in addition to writing, especially dancing, music and reading. She has a particular interest in searching for quotes that aid her in understanding the mysteries of humanity and sprinkles her writing with some random quotes as a little added spice.

(c) Love Life
(c) Love Life

Love Life has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award, a distinctive award with a badge carrying an appearance that for me is reminiscent of a ‘Wanted’ poster from the set of a Western (cowboy) movie. Don’t ask. It is a sumptuous award though. There are several different versions of the award graphically, but the intention is the same. The VBA is given out by bloggers in recognition of writing or photos of quality and distinction. This award is aimed at blogs with uniquely covered subjects and infused with the level of love displayed in the words on the virtual page.

We were before nominated for this award in August last year, but as per our unwritten rules on awards acceptance, as this award has a different design from the previous one, we are accepting it again.

(c) Love Life via VBA

I became aware of Love Life’s nomination only today as I was going through the backlog of emails for the blog. The award came in on the 2nd January (incidentally my first younger sister’s birthday) and was posted by her the same day. You can view her original nomination article under this post’s Sources section.


Display the Award on your Blog.
Announce your win with a post and thank the Blogger who nominated you.
Present 15 deserving Bloggers with the Award.
Link your nominees in the post and let them know of their nomination with a comment.

Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

My VBA Nominees are:
















Congratulations to all nominees. You are all truly great and versatile bloggers.

Many thanks to Love Life for nominating me for this award. Your kindness and consideration are truly welcomed and received in gratitude.


1. I have recently intensified an ongoing interest in beatboxing. This means YouTube videos getting shared on Twitter and even practising this ancient hip-hop craft myself. It’s still a work in progress.

2. I was once interviewed by a field reporter from LBC 97.3,  a news and talk radio station, after a fire broke at a hotel near my old offices in Victoria, central London.

3. I can be notoriously pedantic when it comes to mealtimes. With chicken burgers and chips or kebab with chips (fries), I always eat the chips first. Without fail. If I eat birthday cake with icing (frosting) on it, same way I eat the cake part first. Again without fail.

4. My dream is learn how to play the tabla (a percussion instrument from northern India).

5. I once got so drunk during a work night out I got inside a telephone booth and started singing.

6. My maternal grandfather was a police officer, and one of my cousins currently is. Ironically one of my brothers hates the police. With some good reason.

7. I am a bit of a budding photographer and graphic artist, but only at the amateur, ‘getting toes wet’ stage.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Currently we are not featuring a section on related articles from Zemanta as the inbuilt plugin used to add to our prepared copy is no longer in service. However we wish to continue our custom with Zemanta as a reliable image source and an opportunity to link to other bloggers, so we are in the process of adding a special browser extension which will give a similar experience, so HEM can continue to give you the same journalistic quality and accessibility you have come to expect. Apologies for any inconveniences this may cause you. Please click here for an official statement from WP about this sudden change – editor.
“About” – Love Life LINK
“About the VBA” – Versatile Blogger Award LINK
“OVERDUE: Yes, I am late on a very important day” – Love Life (2 January 2014) LINK


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BOXING DAY BONANZA: Awards by the Don Charisma

Vijay Shah

Just as Christmas Day 2013 breezes past in a flurry of rain, dodgy jokes from Xmas crackers and homemade onion gravy (no white Christmas that’s for sure), the Half-Eaten Mind is pleased to announce that we have received a very cool gift sort of via the tubby geezer with the sled and red coat. HEM has been nominated for the last two remaining stars of the Blog of the Year award plus a new award “The Inventive Blogger Award” which has been created by the person who nominated it to the blog.

Our latest awards come courtesy of Don Charisma at The Don is based in Thailand and is an accomplished photographer and writer. On his blog, he describes himself as “a bit of a phoenix” always observant and conversing with change, travelling wherever the wind blows. As life changes and makes its customary twists and turns, so he does, continually refining the things he focuses on and creates, which is like a lot of people.

(c) Don Charisma/

Practically, the Don of Charm has worked as a tradesman/engineer, fixing boilers as well as designing central heating systems for clients. In the world of thought, he has repaired computing systems owned by some of Thailand’s major banks. He enjoys tinkering with and being creative using technological applications. In his own words, he likes “to fiddle, play, hack, build, create or what-ever-you-like, with software and hardware, DIY in the world of technology”.

On top of that, he works as a scuba-diving instructor, meditation expert, has invested in property and built from scratch a website which was once of the top-performing sites on Google in its category. A jack-of-all-trades in the truest sense of the phrase, Don Charisma’s most well-known venture is of course his blog. This is where the Don shows to the world things that interest him, from the mundane and commonplace to the very exciting and fun.

As stated before, Don has awarded me the last two stars needed to complete the total set for BOTY 2013. In fact I received six total nominations for this award, but as I have already collected four stars, I have accepted two of the nominations which means I have cleared the board, got all the stars, done everything and got the t-shirt (Blog of the Year T-Shirt, would love to see one of those hehehehe). Don’s awards have been given to a dizzying array of bloggers as part of his “Christmas Awards” festive giveaway. These bloggers have all been chosen for being memorable in one way or another. They have been positive and inspiring people and many are good friends in the WordPress community.

(c) A. Sheldrake/The Thought Palette
(c) A. Sheldrake/The Thought Palette
(c) A. Sheldrake/The Thought Palette
(c) A. Sheldrake/The Thought Palette

Our ‘Don-tastic’ awards haul also sees HEM getting a very unique award. It has only just been released by Don Charisma this month, and HEM is one of the very first recipients to get its hands on it. Here comes the Inventive Blogger Award.

(c) Don Charisma/

Exclusive to, the IBA features a bridge seemingly made of giant Lego pieces and is found in Wuppertal, Germany. In German it is known as the “Legobrücke Wuppertal”. Running over the Schwesterstraße it is not actually made of plastic at all, but was painted convincingly that way by graffiti artist Martin Heuwold after being inspired by his daughter’s Lego bricks at home. Using an old bridge once occupied by the Wuppertal Northern Railway and decommissioned in 1991, Heuwold’s work won him national and international acclaim. He went on to win the Deutscher Fassadenpreis Advancement Prize in 2012, a year after he created the piece.

The rules for the IBA are as follows (reproduced from

Section 1: Directions for you to accept the The Inventive Blogger Award

1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the The Inventive Blogger Award.

2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen- there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required- and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.

3. Include in your blog post *FIVE* things that you enjoy about blogging.

4. Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them- (please don’t alter the instructions or the badge!)

5. Come over and say hello to the originator of the “The Inventive Blogger Award” via this link:

6. And as a winner of the award- please add a link back to the blog that presented you with this award, and then proudly display the award on your blog.


1. Since an early age I have enjoyed writing. In my school days I was commended by teachers and classmates for my writing skills, such as report writing and short stories. In later years, I opted to choose journalism as a career path and studied the craft, along with media studies, at university. Although I do not yet work as a reporter, I enjoy creating articles, features, and news stories to keep my writing skills fresh and show my talent to the world.

2. I enjoy communicating with and reading other bloggers’ work. It is really fascinating to see things from other bloggers’ viewpoints. What inspires them, what motivates, their talents, their ups and downs, their opinions, their beliefs. Seeing all this makes me appreciate the uniqueness and diversity of all my blogging friends and the world out there.

3. Thanks to the Half-Eaten Mind, I have developed a side talent in graphic design, helped by my sister Anjali who introduced me to a great easy-to-use site called piZap. Since then I have created a number of images and photos for the blog using piZap, and I am now expanding further into trying out other similar websites and have recently stumbled upon a lite version of Adobe Photoshop.

4. I find blogging therapeutic and relaxing, and it keeps me occupied on otherwise boring days.

5. I enjoy the sense of community that being a blogger brings. I have made some great friends here, both from the UK and further afield and they have taught me a lot, not to mention offering tonnes of direct and indirect inspiration for when I make my next visit to the WP HTML new post page.

I would first like to thank Don Charisma for his award nominations and wish him even more success in both his blog and his many external talents. You’re really going places, man!!

I have nominated 10 other bloggers for both these awards. The lucky nominees will get 1 x IBA and 2 x stars (nominations) for BOTY 2013 technically. However as Don Charisma nominated me six times, you can accept as many stars as you need to complete the tally for the Blog of the Year. For those needing a reminder of the rules established for BOTY, please refer to my previous articles for earlier stars. Congratulations to all nominees and wishing everyone a peaceful Boxing Day and Happy Holidays.

1. Alex

2. Sawa

3. Ann

4. Jessie

5. Patty

6. Francisco

7. Greg

8. Maureen

9. ‘KN’

10. Ruben



“About Don Charisma” – Don Charisma, LINK
“About” – Vijay Shah, The Half-Eaten Mind LINK
“Christmas Awards – The Blog Of The Year 2013 Award #1” – Don Charisma, (23 December 2013) LINK
“Christmas Awards – The Inventive Blogger Award” – Don Charisma, (24 December 2013) LINK
“Lego-Brücke” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. LINK
“About Don Charisma” – Don Charisma, LINK
“Blog of the Year 2013 Award” – Alyson Sheldrake, The Thought Palette LINK
“Christmas Awards – The Inventive Blogger Award” – Don Charisma, (24 December 2013) LINK