We live in Hertfordshire and are both busy adults. We both have our own businesses, that takes up the bulk our time. And our two young children, who take up the rest of our time. We moved into a new house, in Hertfordshire, which needed a lot of work done to it. We had this romantic notion of doing it ourselves. But that would have taken time. Time we don’t have.
The Do It Yourself Approach
It’s very easy to get carried away and initially you’re full of enthusiasm. Then it soon starts to become a drag and progress slows as you loose that initial drive. Milestones never get reached and the slow progress starts to become an anti-climax as you move onto the next phase of the project. We realised we’d be working on it for many years and so we had to get help.
Local Interior Designer
We wanted someone local and we found this Hertfordshire interior design company. Being local was important to us as we could visit their offices and they could come to us. We know from running our businesses that things just go so much smoother when your close by.
Getting a Designer
Let’s Go Shopping
What Makes a Good Design
We had to decide we wanted, what or brief should be, how much or how little would be provided by Kenza design, the interior design company we had chosen. Then they got to work and did the rest. Joining the dots and crossing the T’s.
Our brief was quite extensive, we wanted the whole house refurbished. This included new electrical wiring, new boiler and central heating. We decided to leave the kitchen for another time but we wanted it painted and new blinds fitted.
Let’s Get Started
Each room was to be transformed, including furniture and soft furnishings and those little touches that make everything homely. Kenza were great, once everything was agreed, they took over. They project managed the whole project and the tradesman they used were very good. They worked around our busy schedule and always left the place, child friendly. The whole project was completed thirteen weeks, a little over three months, just in time for Christmas. So a thoroughly good experience. Bravo Kenza.
My Intro to Photography many years ago
I was introduced to the world of photography by my uncle. I’m going back to the days of film cameras, when you had to wait several days for the film to be developed and prints to be made. Or you did it yourself. Which is what my uncle did.
I would wait for him to come to our house with his really old nikon and I remember it didn’t have a built in light meter. You had to either have a light meter, which he did, which was almost as big as a smart phone only heavier. Or you set it by trial and error – there were settings that you could count on, if it was sunny, if it was overcast, if you were indoors. But the light meter would nail it. And remember all this was done blind, as it were because you couldn’t what you had done until you got back home and developed everything. Which could be hours or days later.
If that old photography were alive today?
If he was alive today, he’d be amazed. As I still am. Everything’s so instant and enjoyable now days. No need to lock yourself away in a darkroom and mess around with solutions to develop, wash and finally fix the prints. I know I’ve done it myself and I had a machine, like a pizza machine where you fed the wet photographic paper in at one end and after a short journey it came out nice and dry at the other.
The only other thing I had in those days was a good sturdy tripod. I see that similar, good quality ones are still made like the ones here Tripods for Cameras There’s a tendency to use hand held for everything nowadays. And the ISO settings are so good that you can take good pictures at night just with street lighting.
how to find a good tripod
But if you’re a bit of a perfectionist, like me, really good is not good when the images can be better. And that’s what I strive for pictures where the subject is razor sharp. That’s where a good tripod comes in. And for me it’s been a lifetime investment as I’ve still got mine and it’s still in active use.
tips on using a tripod
soft water system
Our central heating system was getting cooler and cooler, year by year. It was only a very gradual process you understand. So it’s hard to spot at the time. But we did notice it when the weather turned decidedly icy and the whole house felt cold and even with the boiler on full and running flat out, it still wasn’t very warm.
We’ve been living in that house for over twenty three years now and had it not been for my partner I would have said that I’m feeling the cold more as I’m getting older. But the truth is that the central heating system was getting older and at a faster pace than I wa
whole house water softener
We had to wait until the spring and I still hadn’t thought that the central heating system was at fault. I thought that maybe there were drafts that I could fix. Maybe double glazing would help. The house was already double glazed when we moved in but I know the seals had gone and should be replaced. Maybe it was time to replace all the windows.
Then we called in a plumber and he pointed out that the boiler had worn out and that the hot water tank need replacing. And that the main culprit was the limescale that’s been deposited over the years inside the hot water system.
home water softener
Expensive but all those items had to be replaced. It is possible to prevent this limescale by fitting a water softener and he pointed us to this site water softener system The water softener was purchased and he (the plumber) fitted it for us.
I’m amazed how small they are and they’re out of sight, just as the water supply enters the house. They turn hard water into soft water.
After the upgrade to the central system everything is now warm to hot again. And taking a bath is really nice the water just feels, well softer, I suppose.
The story of water
Who will run out of water first
New Luggage Set
I just bought a luggage set, from 3-piece luggage set, for my me, my wife and our young daughter. So three cases, the perfect number for our family of three.
Our old suitcases were starting to get a bit tatty, actually they were very tatty. With mine being the worst. My daughter’s suitcase wasn’t a suitcase at all, just a pretend case to make her feel all grown up.
The appeal of the Three Piece Luggage Set Was for a number of reasons. Firstly it’s cheaper to buy cases as a set rather than individually and for the same quality. Second, for storing away. When not in use each case fits inside the other the result being that you’ll only storing the one big case. The other two are neatly inside.
Another benefit, which was a bonus really was the different designs you can find these days. Not long ago every suitcase just came in an assortment of colors. Black, blue and gray being the most dominant.
Well now that’s all changed. As you can imagine I had very little input on the design pattern selected. That was decided between my wife and daughter. I just had to go with the flow and pretend I liked it.
Easy to Identify
What makes the pattern important is that the cases themselves become fairly unique. This has its advantages at the airport carousel. You can spot your cases a long way off and not keep turning them over as they pass,to see if they’re yours.
And so far we’ve not bumped into anyone with the same design as our 3 piece luggage set (yet). We do need to be weary that that might happen one day. We don’t want the embarrassment of taking someone else’s luggage by mistake. But I think that’s very unlikely.
Being new they work really well but I have to make sure we don’t over pack our cases as we’ve done before. This only decreases the life of a case and the zip in particular. I just need to persuade my wife to pack less.
Useful tips for packing
How to pack your suitcase
Weigh you bags before you fly
My Photography Story
Anyone, like me, that’s ever had a passion for photography knows that just pointing a camera and pressing the shutter does not make you a photographer. Although many cell phone owners might beg to disagree.
There’s nothing snobbish here, I’m not saying that you have to have a dSLR to join that high table of photography, because you can take good shots with an iPhone. I know, I’ve done it. So it’s not the equipment, although this certainly helps, it’s more than that. It’s about composition, framing and having a basic understanding of light.
(Old 35mm Cameras)
The Good Old Days of film
(35mm film story)
When I started out it was all film and film was expensive, especially color film. So we, as in I, tended to stick with black and white film. Plus color was just so complicated and developing was complicated and temperatures for the developing chemicals was critical and had to be just right. Then most film was made for daylight use so white balance was always wrong.
Remember Flash Cubes
I used flash cubes back then(flash Cube), which worked once and once only. Designed to blow but in that instant give a brilliant flash. More of a novelty than a serious bit of kit but it meant you could get results at weddings, parties and indoor gatherings. But they were no better than the limited flash from a cell phones of today.
Fast Forward to Digital
Fast forward to today and I bought a Canon 7d mkII, two years ago. If I compare it to my old Minolta camera, which is now 28 years old – it’s incredible.
No more white balance issues and when there are I can fix these easily with software or inside the camera.
Instant feedback, I can see what I’ve taken immediately, no waiting for days.
Good By Flash Cubes
A flash unit that negotiates with the camera on how much flash is needed.
And ISO (used to be called ASA many years ago) which was set for a film and max’d out at 400. Now it goes to quarter of a million and I can change it for each frame.
I’ll be sharing my thoughts here on this site, so come back and visit and join me on this incredible photographic journey.