Thanks for your help everyone, I'm keen on the idea of standardising my setup, probably with slide film as to be more revealing of the quality of my exposures etc!
I studied photography years ago but I've evidently forgot most of it, I'm running into all sort of problems that I was never even aware of in those days. Perhaps I was lucky enough that my local lab where I grew up (the only place I've ever used till now) was good, for one thing!
Interesting stuff about the flourescent lighting, do you guys recommend getting a few daylight balanced bulbs for practicing indoors? I'm kind of confident I can get it right in 'easy' light but I'd love to learn how to get good shots in some trickier situations as well.
Thanks again, invaluable help!