Taste Archive

Varidesk Pro Review – Standing Desks Improve Productivity


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.


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!

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in America


Remnants from last night…

Ask me yesterday how many St. Paddy’s days I’d celebrated in England over the last 40 years, and I’d have replied precisely “zero”.

We just don’t do it. I don’t know anyone who does.

But in America?

By the time the England v Ireland 6 Nations Rugby game started yesterday (10am PST) the lovely McGilvra’s, in Seattle’s Madison Park area, was starting to fill up with people wearing green tops, socks and even green fingernail polish.

These people were not there for the rugby – we beat the Irish on their special day in case you were wondering Winking smile – they were there for the craic.

By the time the game finished the place was starting to burst for lunch and was doubtless thumping well into the night.

Later in the day, Ashley and I ended up hosting 10-odd people for dinner – corned beef and cabbage cooked fabulously by her sister Colleen – and we got through a good amount of Guinness and (my favourite stout) Murphy’s.

For a Brit whose heritage is most definitely Irish on at least one side of the family, I find the whole “holiday” thing surrounding St. Patrick’s Day astounding and endearing.

For such a proud nation, that leaps to its feet at the opening bars of the Star-Spangled Banner, the fact the whole country seems to turn green on the 17th March every year (even if the person in Gaelic fancy dress has “zero” connection with The Emerald Isle), just shows how relaxed they are about the cultural melting pot they’ve become and how up for a good time they are.

Since I’ve lived in the US, I’ve been to Jewish festivals, Greek festivals, Halloween parties, Oktoberfest shindigs and the obligatory 4th of July party. For most of them, they were firsts for me.

Although I initially balked at the thought of “celebrating” St. Patrick’s Day through my in-built British sense of “ but that’s for them”, I’m glad I did, as we all had a blast.

Now I’m looking forward to St George’s Day on April 23rd which I’m going to be proud to celebrate with my new Seattle family.

Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding anyone?

Mio Sushi Japanese Restaurant in Westlake


My new favourite place in Seattle is just down from our office on Westlake Avenue. It’s just opened and I ate there 3 lunchtimes in a row last week. If you get there early you’ll get a seat, the service is excellent, and the food is fabulous.

What’s more fabulous are the prices! $7.95 for the above – chicken teriyaki, beef yakiniku, tofu, salad, rice and miso soup.


Mio Sushi does a great happy hour which I’d frequent too if I didn’t want to rush back home to tuck Maggie into bed!

Anyone for a Mount Rainier roll??

Maggie’s Bouncing Giggles

Maggie’s loving her new Bouncy Bouncy toy. If she bounces high enough, the lights and sound go crazy. She loves it. So much, she giggle incessantly. 2028 Olympics?

Maggie’s First Laugh…..at her Daddy!

Getting Maggie ready for bed the other day in Cambridge, she just started cracking up.

Not the last time she’ll be laughing “at” her father methinks! Let’s hope there’s a good measure of “with” smattered in with all those priceless giggles over years to come!

Winking smile

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