The warning before the review

Usually, I don’t include warnings in my articles, but I think it’s really important in this one.

We all have off days; we have days when we’re our average selves and there’ll be times when we’re so amazing that we excel!

You may read my reviews below and think that person x is the one for you. They sound great and you want to hire them. Now you may get them on a day when they’re under pressure, going through something with loved ones, unwell and so on, and they may deliver much less than what you expected.

If this happens, I would suggest that you talk to them and explain what you expected, what the shortfall was and see if it can be fixed.

There will be people that I wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole and that may unfair because they have been going through something at the time. Of course, I wouldn’t know that unless I hear from others who have employed that person.

See where I’m going here? Unfortunately, most of us don’t behave in a consistent way all the time. We fluctuate. Our mood, the way others behave with us, the weather and unexplainable vibes that we get, are only some of the things that influence the way we think, how we speak or how we behave.

All of this will have an effect on what we deliver, how it’s experienced by the recipient and the end result. So I guess I’m saying, be open, be prepared but most of all, arrange to meet the people I’ve mentioned below and see what you think of them. If they fill you with genuine confidence and that didn’t come across in my review, maybe it’s worth trying them out. If I had good things to say about them and you don’t feel that they’ll meet your needs; set my thoughts aside and go with your gut.

My experience with the following contractors

Money matters

Taxation and Accountancy services

Navin Rathod has managed my accounts for a number of years now. He and his team make it so easy! One of the things that I love about this company, is that it’s a family business which consists of Navin and his children, Suryakant and Meera. Between them, they have the following covered:

  • Limited companies
  • Personal Tax Advice including but not limited to Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax
  • Accountancy and Corporate Tax Services including VAT and payroll
  • Tax Planning for individuals and general tax advisory services

I submit everything online, they download it, put the accounts together, tell me what I need to pay and it’s smooth, easy and painless!

His contact numbers are 0208 861 1676 or 07900902382

Mortgage advice

I heard about JC Independent Financial Centre in 2020 and I’m so glad that they were recommended to me!

I spoke with Martyn, told him what I needed, why I needed it and how long I had to sort it out. During the phone call, he helped me work out my options, he asked me specific questions to understand my plans, so that he could advise me better and then sent me some options. Within a short space of time, I was clear about what was available, I discussed my preferences with him, checked that I understood them and we went ahead with the remortgage. It was so easy!

Unlike other mortgage advisers who I’ve spoken with, Martyn wasn’t patronising. He didn’t assume that I needed him to tell me what to do and he truly listened. The final thing he did was make suggestions. He also made the information easy to access and he was really approachable.

You can contact Martyn or Shashi on 01727 840 240

Buying, selling and managing properties

I’ve worked with a few different estate agents but none of them have been as good as Bennett Holmes, on a consistent basis!

Bennett Holmes has made my life easier for years now. Jason and his staff are great! They’re efficient, patient, generous, organised, and communicative.

They’ve made a number of situations less stressful for me and I’d recommend them to anyone who needed an estate agent.

More about Bennett Holmes here


Peartree blinds

We got our kitchen redone a little over a year ago and the one thing that remained was replacing the blinds.

We got a quote from Hilary’s and checked out some other companies online and then we heard about Peartree Blinds. A friend of mine got her blinds from them and she was happy with the result, so we booked an appointment with them and haven’t looked back!

Peartree Blinds is a family-run business that’s based in Dunstable. The owner and his daughter came over and this is what happened:

  • they asked us if we had any preferences in terms of design and colour
  • they showed us their catalogues of options, which had removable samples
    • this was great as we could hold it against the window and stand back to get a better idea of how it would look if we opted for it
  • we asked them for their opinion about the blinds we were considering
  • they shared their views on the colours, the style, the pros and cons of having blackout blinds or not and the difference between some of the other options

Both of them were patient, honest and open, which made it feel effortless. They left us to think it over and didn’t apply any pressure about making a decision within a certain amount of time etc.

After a few days, we received a surprise in the post! They were samples of the materials that we were considering. That helped us make our final decision.

We placed our order and Martin came and fitted them soon after the New Year. He worked quietly, showed us how to remove the blinds (to clean them), gave us a few tips, tidied up and left.

It was all very smooth and the blinds are great! They finish off the kitchen nicely!

Here’s a link to their website Blinds in Dunstable: Peartree Blinds

Bushey Blinds

With both of us working from home, one of us ends up in the living room. If that person is me, I struggle because I like facing the door and that means I have the sun behind me, which makes it hard to see the screen on my laptop.

Also, we recently had a projector installed and for the image to be absolutely awesome, we would need to block out the light.

I did a bit of research and an acquaintance told me that blackout blinds are never really blackout because the light gets through between the window frame and where the blind starts. You can see this in the image below.

I was happy to know that it’s not true!

Gemma from Bushey Blinds was awesome! She arranged for someone to come and take the measurements, I looked at their catalogue, put the samples up against the glass and placed an order. The blinds arrived within a couple of weeks and they arranged for the existing blinds to be removed and the new ones to be fitted.

I love the result! The blinds are slick, they’re fully blackout, the style hasn’t changed and when they need adjusting, it’s smooth and easy.

Here’s a link to their website Bushey Blinds and Awnings

Looking after the body & the mind

All things related to the body

Reflexology: Katrina

I was advised to have reflexology to help with Long COVID, so I asked a few people for recommendations and that’s how I found Katrina.

Katrina really wants to help. She’s kind, gentle, and enthusiastic. She has a wonderful way about her!

Most sessions have resulted in me falling asleep and feeling mega-relaxed afterwards. It does me the world of good!

Find out more about Katrina and Divine Health & Wellness

Reflexology: Sarah

As above, I was advised to have reflexology to help with Long COVID, so I asked a few people for recommendations and that’s how I found Sarah.

Sarah is a wise soul. She’ll happily and genuinely engage in conversation if you want/need to chat but if you need some quiet time, she’ll give you the space for just that. She’s very easy to be around.

Most sessions have resulted in me falling asleep and feeling mega-relaxed afterwards. It does me the world of good!

Find out more about Sarah and The Reflexology Clinic

Opticians: InView

I used to get my eyes tested by one of the big franchises but after having a few bad experiences I decided to ask around and a number of people recommended Geetal.

Geetal owns InView and she’s absolutely amazing!

She’s been looking after me since April 2023 and this is what I’ve found:

  • she’s thorough
  • she cares about her customers
  • she has equipment that will help her ensure you get what you need
  • she offers three different subscriptions to help her customers manage payments and be rewarded by being loyal to InView through discounts
  • she takes the time to explain things and ensure that her customers understand what’s what

Shriti works with Geetal and she’s wonderful. I’m not very good at picking out frames by my myself but I don’t need to worry about that with Shriti. She and I picked out a few frames, after which she helped me create a shortlist whilst explaining why they did or didn’t suit me. The best part of all this was she chose frames that I would never have considered and I’m so glad because they actually suited me!

You can find out more about InView Opticians here

Nutrition: Martina Cowen

I met Martina after doing a course with the Optimum Health Clinic. She has been wonderful!

Martina is empathetic, patient, calm, and knowledgeable. She knows how to connect with her clients and serve them in the best possible way.

She isn’t salesy or pushy and she always puts her customers first.

Martina took a deep dive into what I was experiencing so that she could work out what was working well, where I needed support and what needed to change. Seeing her has been hugely beneficial for me.

Here’s where you can find out more about Martina Cowen

Medical Herbalist: Dominica Collis

Dominica was recommended by a friend after I kept failing to do what I had set out to do due to having Long COVID.

Dominica took the time to understand what I was experiencing after which she made various suggestions which helped alleviate certain issues and make changes as and when needed.

Dominica is understanding, generous and knowledgeable. She is all about serving her clients.

More about Dominica Collis here

Absolute vitality

Amit Vekaria is a musculoskeletal, spinal and nutrition specialist. I went to see him because of having issues with Sciatica. He discovered that my hips were out of alignment and treated me for that and more.

I’ve since returned with neck, shoulder and arm pain and he told me I’d need one more session after the initial visit. Thus making a total of 2 sessions.

He won’t tell you to come and see him for x number of sessions if they’re not required. He won’t push you to rebook.

He knows his stuff, he’s quick at diagnosing what’s happening and deciding what treatment is needed and he’s not salesy. My experience of being treated by him hasn’t included explanations of what he’s done, why he’s done it or what to do afterwards. When I’ve asked, he’s made suggestions.

More about Amit and absolute vitality

Osteopath: Body Klinic

I was inspired to look for a different Osteopath after hearing a friend discuss her go-to person. I realised there was something missing in what I had experienced with others.

I called to book an appointment and ‘test Nesli out’ and have since had a handful of appointments.

She’s warm, friendly, thorough, and caring. She makes an effort to explain what she’s noticed, what she can do about it and how I can be involved in the journey to being less stiff, experiencing less pain and feeling better in general.

Nesli isn’t salesy or pushy in any way.

More about Nesli and body klinic

Podiatrist: Christian Schafer

I’ve had Physiotherapy for years but after experiencing severe knee pain when walking up the stairs, my physiotherapist referred me to Christian Schafer.

Christian assessed me, explained everything that he found, including what was lacking, made recommendations and then gave me the space to decide what to do.

I opted for him to take a mould of my feet and have bespoke Orthotics made for me. I followed his advice, purchased supportive footwear that was right for my feet and the pain disappeared! It was awesome!

You can contact him by visiting

All things bathroom

I have refurbished two bathrooms in the last year. I began with a recommendation from the builder. He took me to the showroom himself and although we chose what was needed, I didn’t feel convinced afterwards. I decided that I needed to check a few more places out. I began with no preferences and I had no perceptions about their reputation either. So I searched on the internet, went to check out a few showrooms, listened to any guidance from the person in the showroom and then made a decision about where to purchase the items from.

My decision was based on customer experience. One of the owners of Olympic Plumbing & Bathrooms was amazing! He spent time discussing the plan with me, showed me a few items, let me roam around at my own pace and then created a list of all the items I liked. I went away, spoke to the builder, returned with the builder so that we could check that I had everything that was needed and then placed the order straight away.

When I got the second bathroom done, the builder recommended a number of places to purchase the tiles from and different places to get the other things from. I went to those places first but ended up going back to Olympic Plumbing & Bathrooms. This time, the other owner looked after me. Both experiences were great! Both of them were patient and helpful. They let me have the space to look and think and made suggestions if they could tell that I was stuck. If I had to get a bathroom refurbished again, I’d return to Olympic Plumbing & Bathrooms without hesitation.

Internet connection issues

Our internet connection had been pretty awful for a few months. This has caused us to be thrown off video calls without warning, the screen has frozen, apps have crashed and so on.

We troubleshot ourselves by doing the following:

  • calling our provider and following their troubleshooting instructions
  • testing the speed of the WiFi in each room
  • we purchased ethernet cables and connectors to bypass the WiFi and connect our laptops to the internet directly
  • a BT Open Reach Engineer came out to help but no joy!

Deepesh of Smartify Tech Solutions came over, assessed our setup, and suggested a solution. It didn’t cost us a penny! he took into account our home (a small flat with no stairs), how many devices we have, how we use the internet and how often

He took into account the size and layout of our home, suggested how we could improve the speed and make it constant and how we could avoid experiencing lots of dropped calls.

Deepesh came over to do the work and four hours later, here’s what happened:

  • we went from 19mb or less to 25mb
  • the speed no longer fluctuates
  • we have no use for ethernet cables or connectors
  • we now have WiFi in the master bedroom
  • my phone rings instead of going straight to voicemail!

If you want a free assessment and quote, his contact details are +447711571285


I came across Tom on Nextdoor and quite frankly, usually, I wouldn’t be open to trying someone out ‘blindly’ but after the advice I’d had so far, I thought it was worth it!

In short this is what happened:

  1. our washing machine stopped working
  2. we had it replaced
  3. the plumber said that the (integrated) door couldn’t be put back as it was i.e. it wouldn’t sit flush with the others
  4. the person who fitted our kitchen had moved and couldn’t come and fix it
  5. the person I was liaising with in Magnet before I placed the order said I’d need a new door, after which they said that the same door could be used if we changed the side that it opened from
  6. I called Magnet in Kenton and was transferred to Greenford as the former have closed down
  7. I spoke to someone who said she’d get back to me with the details of one of their fitters
  8. she called back and said that the plumbers would have pushed it back as much as they could, she didn’t want a fitter to come ‘all the way here’ because the doors are handleless, it would be really noticeable, she didn’t think the fitter could make it flush and suggested that we left the door off!
  9. the kitchen was less than one and a half years old, so I wasn’t up for that
  10. Tom came, had a look, said he could use wood to fill the existing holes in the door, let it dry, drill the new holes, fit the door and adjust the hinges on the other doors to create the illusion that the doors are flush even though they wouldn’t be and nobody would be able to tell because of the worktop

Tom explained that he wasn’t sure if it would work but if not he had some other suggestions, one of them being that if the ‘filled holes’ were not sturdy enough for the new holes to be solid, he could use the other side of the door and so on. This is how it was before he started the job.

He came, carried out the plan, the door is back on and the kitchen looks fab again!

He’s does a bit of everything and has been back since to reattach a shelf, adjust a door to get it to close fully, touch up a wall and more.

His contact number is 07917 517 527

Singing lessons

Dhrumal has helped me improve on my singing. Below you can see a snippet of the review.

Dhrumal is a wonderful teacher.
She is calm, easy to talk to, funny, super skilled and more.
Dhrumal is great at explaining what I need to improve on whilst being positive and encouraging.
She is also good at sharing when I’ve succeeded in achieving something and explaining that she is moving on and teaching me something new, which perhaps, I wasn’t ready for, or able to, tackle before.

You can see the review here



Aaron has done multiple jobs for me. These include, removed a radiator for us, fitting an upright one in the same room but on a different wall, fitting an InSinkErator and helping us when we had issues with our boiler.

It’s easy to get on with him and he’ll guide you with solutions if you’re not sure about what your options are, or which to choose.

His prices are competitive and based on my experience of him, he won’t let you down.

His number is 07414 770272


Steve owns FirmusHeat. He has a team of plumbers and heating engineers who do everything from Gas Safety Certificates and the installation, service and repairing of boilers. They also have plans to cover boilers, heating and plumbing.

FirmusHeat covers Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and North and Central London.

I’ve contacted Steve to install a boiler, service a boiler that was fitted by someone else, fix a gas fire and more.

You can contact him on the phone using 07734 155654 or do so via the contact page on the website FirmusHeat – Heating & plumbing engineers



Hemal is also an electrician who is happy to do big and small jobs.

He has replaced a fuse box for me and issued a NICEIC certificate for it. When he did this work, the property was empty, but other builders were on site, so I didn’t see how much mess he made, if/how he cleared it up etc.

Hemal did some work in our home recently. He changed some sockets and moved our heating and hot water control panel. The latter required him to chase the wall, which created a fair bit of mess. He swept up the rubble that was on the worktop but I found bits of rubble on the handleless unit doors. When he returned to move the unit a little further, I asked him to bring something to protect the worktop. He brought a slab of wood, which was longer than the worktop. That was great because it meant that all the mess was collected on the wood.

He has his own company but he’s under the VAT threshold so does not charge Vat. This makes his prices competitive.

Hemal’s number is +44 7799 661759


I believe that Amit does a lot more than I’m aware of but my experience of working with him has been awesome!

He’s responsive, he explains what needs to be done really well, he has a knack with the elderly, and he’s perceptive and patient.

His services are a bit expensive when compared with other electricians that I’ve employed but it depends on the comparison.

My Mum was having lots of issues with the bulbs in her living room blowing frequently and he’s sorted that out without any faff! He’s installed a floodlight for her and is due to install a wired doorbell for her soon.

I’d been working with someone to install an alternative to the doorbell for months, but it simply didn’t work out and I gave up. I then contacted Amit and within two days, I knew which doorbell to order and we had a date for the installation booked! He’s awesome!

You can contact him on 07974433571 or visit Amitron – Home Audio/Visual Distribution & Electrics


Jamie is happy to do small jobs, as well as, big ones.

He has done work for us before. He’s good at his job and he’s a nice person too.

His prices are competitive. He isn’t VAT registered but this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t issue receipts or accept bank transfers.

He is busy so you may have to chase him to get a reply but, based on my experience of him, once the job is booked, he won’t let you down.

His name is Jamie and his number is +44 7943 837740


We recently used Herts Waste Ltd to fix a drainage issue and redo some pipework.

Kevin and his colleague Tom were awesome.

  • Kevin explained what needed to be done without putting down the person who had done the existing work
  • He suggested further improvements beyond what we had scheduled
  • He was happy to talk to my builder about what needed to be done if I didn’t get Kevin to do the further improvements

They did the work, tidied up, went over what they’d done again and were a pleasure to have in the home.

You can reach Kevin on +44 7500 525677


We needed to get some trees trimmed a few years ago. I had never been involved in this kind of task before.

After receiving a number of quotes and meeting a few contractors, we booked the job with Tree Solutions and we have no regrets!

Eugene is calm, logical, patient, he knows his stuff, he’s respectful, articulate, punctual and more.

Here’s a link to their site Tree Service Experts


If you need clothes altered on the spot, whether they’re trousers, vest tops, dresses or suits; whether the clothing is for men, women or children; western clothes or non-western ones, Dhanu is someone I’d recommend.

I’ve been taking clothes to her for years.

This is how it works:

  • call her
  • find out when she’s free
  • turn up with your clothes
  • explain what you need to be done
  • wait while she alters the clothing

She may ask you to try them on so that she can suggest different options and check the measurements. Within a short space of time, you’ll walk away with better-fitting clothes.

Dhanu is based in Kenton. If you want her number, please get in touch with me by clicking on this hyperlink

All things glass

Protecting furniture

We first met with Jack because we had a new set of table furniture and we didn’t want to have to keep an eye on where guests put their mugs.

We knew that hot drinks created marks on the wood and the protective cover we got with the furniture was coming to an end.

We started with getting made-to-measure glass tops for the nest of coffee tables. We opted for transparent ones because we liked the look of the tables and didn’t want to hide them under coloured glass.

It was so practical and made things so much easier when we had people over.

After that, we decided to get the dining table done and we’ve not looked back.

Jack measured up carefully and diligently, after which he brought the glass, cleaned the surface, cleaned the bottom side of the glass, put the glass on the furniture and then cleaned the other side of the glass.

I would definitely recommend Jack from Sunray Glass.

You can contact them by visiting their website – Double glazing repairs Harrow, window repairs, glaziers, glass merchants based in Harrow


We got a quote from Wickes, Magnet Kitchens and a couple of companies that specialise in splashbacks.

We booked the job with Bespoke Glass Design. I spoke with Simon who was awesome. He helped me work out what to consider, which colours might complement the design, how the splashbacks could be varied and more.

They came to do a rough measurement, so that they could provide a realistic quote and then visited again to measure up more thoroughly and discuss the finer details, like how many sockets there would be, how far the splashback could go and so on.

When the glass was ready, they fitted it quickly, ensuring that they left no mess or waste behind! I would definitely use them again.

Here’s a link to their website Order Quality Bespoke Glass Splashbacks for Kitchens and Bathrooms

A bit of everything

I met Kevin when I needed quotes to get a property refreshed, mould removed, a fire door put in and more.

He visited the site, really thought about the issues that needed fixing, offered alternatives that would save money and also, for example, keep with the style of the internal fixtures and he gave me a quote quickly.

If I recall correctly, I didn’t give him because our timings didn’t align. However, since then, he’s done various jobs for me and he’s been so easy to work with.

He’s down to earth, multi-skilled, good at explaining possible options, takes pride in his work and is happy to liaise with others if needed.

You can contact him using 07974 087555

Waste removal

We had our kitchen refurbished and needed a way to remove the waste without using a skip or a hippo bag.

We stored the waste until the job was done and got quotes to have the rubbish removed.

Harrow Council advised us to get their Waste Carrier License along with an invoice. This is because, the license authorises them to transport, sort and dispose of waste.

Thus they won’t be likely to dump the waste and will also be keen on recycling it or using it if possible.

I got a few quotes and some of them didn’t want to share their license number, seemed offended that I asked for it, some would only do it for cash and wouldn’t provide paperwork, and others offered to come and take some of the waste but not all of it.

In the end, I paid Noel who’s part of Recycle DNC.

He came, explained the procedure, and said they were happy that I asked for the license details as it meant I was keen for it not to be dumped somewhere, he loaded everything and left the grounds clear.

You can contact Noel using this number 07895726593


Billy Sala was recommended by my Mum’s friends.

Billy is lovely. He’s easy to talk to, he’s confident about what he can deliver, he has a large team of colleagues and he’s a fair man.

I needed to get a property ‘refreshed’. By ‘refreshed’, I mean, the walls, ceilings and woodwork needed painting and mould needed to be treated.

Going beyond the refresh; the following items in the kitchen, needed to be removed and replaced:

  • the units
  • worktop
  • sink
  • appliances
  • the floor

I met Billy and discussed the job with him, he gave me a quote and he got the work done within three weeks.

The result was wonderful. The only thing I found difficult was ensuring that certain specifics were understood and delivered. These were things required by the council and the only obstacle was that Billy was busy and therefore didn’t always retain what we discussed. However, when this happened, he accepted his part in it and was fair about how that affected the cost of the project.

You can contact Billy Sala on 07402677078

Moving home

We’ve moved a few times in the last 10 years and we have used a removals company each time.

Moving with Best London Removals was great! The team arrived at 8 a.m. to load up the vans. Then they waited patiently as our new home was vacated.

After we got the keys to our new home, one of the movers was stuck in the lift for 30 minutes but he remained calm, and composed and got back to it afterwards.

Another member of the team cut himself, but again, he remained calm, waited for it to stop bleeding and then continued as before.

While the lift was out of order, they brought our things using the stairs without any complaints. They were great!

They wrapped items, dismantled furniture, assembled it again and more.

You can contact them using 0800 080 7476 or visit Best London Removals – Professional moving service

Should you use websites like those listed below?

Rated People and MyBuilder website profiles cause concern-
Want to avoid cowboy builders? Here’s how to find a reliable one –
My Builder –
Checkatrade –
Rated People –
Bark –
mumsnet –

Related Posts with Thumbnails