Monthly Archives: December 2016

2016 In Review

For the last couple of years, I’ve done a month by month review of the year. After seeing Remy Sharp’s post, I thought that was a better format, so I’m copying the idea. Given that a few months would just be summarised as ‘work’, it feels more appropriate.


My little company, Cross Stroke, turns 2 this year. I will do a more detailed post like this on the Cross Stroke blog (which I need to build) in May. But, some highlights of the year would be:

  • Started using OmniFocus to manage my tasks. After hearing ;a couple episode of Canvas by Federico Viticci and Fraser Speirs (part 1, and part 2), I was compelled to pay for what is – relatively speaking – an expensive todo app. I’m glad I did though, and I’d buy it again if I needed to.
  • Used a calendar to book in blocks of time and, for the most part, kept on schedule.
  • Started saving money for tax bills, so no late nights and rushed work when those bills come around.
  • Drastically improved my work ethic, and now treat it as a separate business, not an extension of me. It is a limited company, and I might run it, but it should be treated and thought of as a separate entity.


2016 was a bit of a blur for me. Most of my attention was on the business, but there were definitely some great highlights.

  • Hayley & I visited Disneyland Paris twice, making it a total of four times in two years. We’re saving the next Disney trip for our honeymoon in 2018.
  • Very recently, we passed a huge milestone in saving for a mortgage deposit. I’m not going to say what we have saved, but suffice to say we’re over the 5% required the sort of house we’re after.
  • I picked up the second Focus ST3 after Ford missed an option on the purchase sheet that I was paying for.
  • I drove around Wales for a couple days in May, and found out sleeping in the back of a Ford Focus isn’t the most comfortable, but doable. I also found out all of us having a CB radio is amazing. I wish I got more photos and some video of it, so there’ll have to be another trip for that!
  • I bought a top-spec 27″ 5K iMac, and it’s amazing. I’ve been a laptop guy since 2008, so it was a paradigm shift for me, but well worth it. Having one place I sit and work has helped me focus.
  • Hayley & I spent a couple days in Nottingham at a fancy hotel, to get away from our Mac’s for a while. It was lovely.
  • I drove over 1000 miles for 2 conferences in the North of England.
  • My sleeve tattoo had a little addition; a stag. I didn’t realise it was in vogue before we did it.
  • My neighbour (of 20 years) got married and we went to the wedding. it was set in a lovely little country house.


I’ve written several times about planning big changes in how I live and approach things. Turns out, those homes and aspirations are just words. If I tackle one thing at a time and don’t give it much thought, I’m far more likely to succeed.
However, I do have a few things I’d like to do in 2017:

  • Try my hand at making a weekly video. I hope the pressure of trying to make it interesting will help me seek out a little more fun and variety in life. I suspect it’ll start out as a weekly vlog, with the occasional fun trip and adventure.
  • Keep making steady progress on my eating patterns.
  • Tying in with eating patterns, try to improve my working hours. When we do buy a house, working from 8pm to 2am isn’t something I want to force Hayley to live with.
  • Learn all I can about the process of buying a house, so when we do, I know all the options and processes, and am well prepared for the whole thing. That means the mortgage stuff, kitting the house out, and what running a limited company from home means.

Disneyland Paris – December 2016

There’s something immensely satisfying about the mechanical click of a proper camera, and the confidence it inspires.

Over the past decade, I’ve owned a couple DSLR’s (a Nikon D40, then Nikon D200), and at one point had 3 lenses. I absolutely loved those times, but I ultimately sold it all and bought a slew of capable, but less satisfying point and shoots. I owned a Canon G12, then a Fuji X100 for a week, and then a Fuji X100s, which I still have, but have essentially given it to my fiancé, Hayley.

I ultimately miss the process of photography, so in an effort to diversify my working life, I purchased a Nikon D500 and Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8. (I figured if I were to at some point earn money from photography in some way, I’d need quality gear).

Last week, we took a little holiday to Disneyland Paris; our fourth time in two years. It seems like an ideal opportunity to take the camera out for a couple of our five day trip and really learn how a DSLR works all over again.

So much has changed since I last owned a DSLR, with the D200 being released 11 years ago, and what they’re now capable of now is not something I was prepared for. I will write a post in the future about the process and thoughts I went through in deciding to get the body I did, but suffice to say the ISO performance of modern sensors has let me keep so many more photos than I’d have imagined possible.

I’m also still learning how Adobe Lightroom works, and I imagine it’ll take me some time to get the editing process nailed. These images are simply edited to better reflect what I saw with my eyes.

One last thing… Before we jump into the photos, remember to pop over to Hayley’s two posts for more photos, with a little story.

Now, onto the photos. Click to enlarge.

Here’s a bonus video from the Studio Tram Tour.

A video posted by Paul Davis (@pauladamdavis) on