Thank you all for the quick reply. Firstly spot metering is out because i dont have a spot meter. I think at this point in time i like the quick point straight up method and hopefully that would be about 18% grey and at the same time bracket my shots and see how it goes.

One more question that keeps bugging me is when i use reflective metering, when should i compensate? I know for very dark or bright scenes i compensate but how dark is dark and how bright is bright. Take for example if my kids are playing in a beach and sun is going down, obviously they will all be quite dark looking because of the shadows etc. Now if i point the meter at them do i need to underexpose my shot or else they would be overexpose? Because as i understand the meter will average an 18% grey which means they will look brighter than they should therefore i should compensate. Am i correct? Or is this particular scene example not dark enough?