January has been a good month with a steady flow of work and spending plenty of time with the family whilst making the most of being in lockdown. Although, it's been far too cold for me to muster the energy to go for runs or even walks.


Started 2021 with an existing contract - this is the third year in a row this has happened.

This month I continue my work on Defra Internal Services applications working with a team of IBM developers. I've been building a few prototypes using the GOV.UK Prototype Kit.

One of the prototypes was a typical Gov web service project for DWI, whilst other work was still using the prototype kit but required me to heavily customise its appearance so that we could use it as a dashboard application for internal applications.


I continue working on the Property with Prospect website and finished working on the results template. Just have a few snags to work on before I hand over the code to the client.

This template was the biggest piece of work as it has two types of property card layouts, has search filters, a modal that slides in and dropdown menus.

For all of the interactivity I opted to use Alpine JS - this is the first time using it. It's known as the Tailwind of JavaScript. I quite enjoyed using it, it's very easy to use and learn on the go.

I did try and create the dropdown menus using vanilla JavaScript but I wasn't able to figure out how to get the dropdown menu to collapse when the user clicks anywhere on the page. So I then looked at the TailwindCSS examples and noticed they were using alpine JS for the modals etc.

New client

Took on the hosting of a new website for an existing client as they launched a podcast and a new website for it - check it the Good Business Talking podcast.

New client web design project

This month I hired a designer to work with me on designing a new website for my client. My client accepted my design proposal at the end of last year and I got the go-ahead in January.

This is the first time I have not designed a website for a freelance project. I decided that since designing is not my strongest skill, and I was already quite busy with a contract and another freelance project, it made sense to hire a designer. So I hired one of my best friends and great designer, Fern Taylor. She was unfortunately made redundant at the end of last year due to covid, she worked for a theatre company working on their website. FYI, she is currently looking for a permanent role, if you know anyone looking for a senior designer.


Not much happening on the personal side, still in lockdown mode and staying home as much as possible with just the occasional walks with the family and the dog. Ventured out for a blood test - trying to get to the bottom of my skin rash. Haven't had the results yet, but I know the doctors are very busy at the moment with covid vaccinations.

I've continued watching loads of Netflix. Finished watching The Office US and the UK version as well. Continued watching Lost in Space and Big Mouth.

Also, spent far too long writing my 2020: Year in review blog post. I've been doing these for a few years now, but since it wasn't a great year, I struggled to get it finished but got it done in the end.

Office staircase

For about two years I've needed a new staircase into my office above our garage. The previous owners didn't look after the wooden staircase and it seems left leaves to rot on the platform which caused the wood to rot - including the supporting posts.

This was going to be something I was going to attempt myself as a side project but it was a bit of a daunting job and I didn't have the time, so I hired a professional and they completed the job in a week - much faster than I would have managed and probably a lot cheaper too if you account for the mistakes I would have likely made.

I don't have any photos of what the staircase used to look like, but let's just say the platform I stepped out onto from the office was only about a square foot, off to the left, after I removed all the rotten wood.

Here is my new office staircase.

External staircase going into office space above double garage


I published a new blog post, How I improved my website because of Content Security Policies.

Articles Read

That's it for my January monthly notes - until next month when I will be able to share some exciting news.

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