Reviews

Varidesk Pro Review – Standing Desks Improve Productivity

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This not my real desk. Far too tidy!

In my usual New Year resolution mode, I decided early in January to try and improve my workspace at home in an attempt to increase productivity. I’ve heard about treadmill desks from a number of articles (including this one by Danny Sullivan) and decided to delve a little deeper.

Much research later, I decided to stick with just the standing desk.

Why?

I live in Madrona, which is a very pretty part of Seattle, and felt I really should be getting out more. I now make a point of going for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood pretty much every day.

I decided to buy the Varidesk, not just because of price (it’s just $300), but because all the reviews that I had read said that the design was a really solid and easy to operate.

The Pro version, which is really just a bigger version of the regular one, showed up as promised a few days after ordering. It took very little trouble to get it on my home desk, and it worked perfectly within about 10 minutes of arranging my monitor and various peripherals in a nice and tidy fashion.

You can download an app by Varidesk which pops up now and again telling you when to sit down and stand up based on your preferences, but I now find I don’t really use it because I’m pretty much standing most of the day.

Like others who have “seen the light”, I do find that I focus on completing tasks a lot better and I’m convinced standing for five-odd hours a day has contributed, along with a dry January and fitness regime, to me losing 10 pounds this year so far.

The good thing for Varidesk is now anyone who sees my work setup has said they’d want one! I really think they are well-placed to sell a hell of a lot of these things, especially given they are so much cheaper and easier to install than the competition.

So what are you waiting for? Ready to stand up for a living and reap the rewards? Sitting could be lethal!

The Script Helps Rewrite Seattle’s Neptune Theatre

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Went to a fab gig last night with the wife, her sister Colleen and brother-in-law Josh who’s been spearheading the Seattle Theatre Group’s revival of the Neptune Theatre in the U District.

Fun Videos: Alaska Airlines & Seattle Sounders at Seafair Torchlight Parade 2011

We had a fantastic evening at Seattle’s Seafair Torchlight Parade last night.

Thousands lined 4th Avenue from The Seattle Center to Qwest Field and we found a spot on Washington that saw a lot of action from the 100 groups of participants that had come from from all over the Pacific Northwest.

Fabulous Cave B Inn and Winery

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Last month, I took Ashley to the Cave B Inn on the Columbia River Gorge in Eastern Washington. I was determined we’d have one last hurrah (Ashley called it a baby-moon) before our child was born, so what better destination for a pregnant lady but a famous winery!

Pretty Standard New York Pork Chop

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Pretty Chop from The Standard Hotel

Have a few Taste posts backed up now because of all the hectic travelling, but this was one of the best meals I had in NYC this month with the fabulous Kristen and Jamie from MediaVest.

New York’s Standard Hotel, Restaurant and Beer Garden down near Soho House does these enormous chops, with a delightful fruity (mango I think) accompaniment.

Look at the size of it!

Seriously the more I eat out in America, the more I realise how stingy UK eateries can be with their portions, especially when it comes to meat and seafood.

Thoroughly recommend going there. Don’t expect to be able to get the draft beer the beer garden patrons are sipping though,  because they don’t serve it in the restaurant……which was the only shame about the place!

Pho Than Brothers on Broadway, Capitol Hill

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One thing lacking in the UK are decent Vietnamese restaurants….

Mary Poppins at Paramount Theatre Seattle – Just the Medicine

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Saturday night was an all singing, all dancing affair for me and Ashley as we were treated to tickets to Mary Poppins at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle.

I had the LP (remember those?) as a child so was looking forward to reliving some happy memories of precociously performing chimchimminy and supercala (not even going to try and spell it) etc for my family.

The mammoth set – 27 trucks were used in the “get in” – “load in” in America – was simply staggering for a touring production as buildings transformed into streets that transformed into parks – made me a little homesick too.

I’m writing this in a New York hotel room and don’t have the exact cast list with me, but I did have to ask how many of the Mary Poppins cast were English and I think we only counted one! So thumbs up for fooling everyone with the crisp cockney and received pronunciation.

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Did you know the writer – P. L. Travers – actually wrote a series of books about the gifted nanny? That’s apparently where the musical drifts off script from the film and adds in a few more twists and turns.

The 2 1/2 hours simply flies by like an umbrella in the wind and we’ve been humming the tunes ever since.

If you’re thinking of heading downtown for a bit of foot-tapping nostalgia for all the family, then do. Mary Poppins is just the tonic for cheering Seattle up after the coldest April on record.

No spoonful of sugar for me though. I have the Paramount Club to thanks for my latest tipple. They were serving Mary Poppins-themed cocktails and I devoured two “Chim Chim Cheeroos” which are simply Jim Bean and ginger ale deliciousness.

A man has dreams…..

Chomping on Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Ballard

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Yesterday was Julia’s 1st birthday, so we made the trip to Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Ballard to celebrate and listen to the fabulous bluegrass band Dysfunction Junction play, as my sister-in-law has booked them for her wedding this summer.

Cheap Eats – Sapporo Japanese Restaurant New York

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There are some very fancy and lush restaurants in New York. I’m normally here for conferences and what not, so have ended up in a few over the years.

But I’m not so precious that I won’t eat in what might look like a dive to some.

I’m in NYC now for SES New York, and last night found Sapporo at 152 West 49th Street, just down from the Hilton Hotel where I’m staying.

For $20, including tip, I sat at the bar and watched the chefs do their thing while I munched on pork kare age, noodles and veg, while happily quaffing a bottle of Sapporo beer.

From the slurping to my right and behind me, this place was popular with local Japanese too which is always a good sign.

Every time I read about restaurants in New York, locals always say stay clear of Times Square because it’s too touristy.

Well in Sapporo last night, it looked like I was the only tourist in sight enjoying a quick, delicious meal that didn’t shatter my expense account!

Hurrah for cheap eats which turn out to be great experiences too!

Review: Pallagino B&B Flic En Flac Mauritius

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Sunset at the Beach – which is not 50 yards from the Pallagino

Reposting our Tripadvisor review of Rajen and Sandy Daswani’s B&B FeastOfMauritius.com as we believe it’s a bit of a health hazard. Our fellow guests felt the same and more recently someone has posted about the filthy rooms and sick children.

It’s a real shame when businesses try and game the internet with false promises, attracting people from miles away only to deliver far below expectations when they’ve taken all your money.

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