The Standing Desk – A Revelation in Health?

Looks comfy, hmm? And that great view...

Looks comfy, hmm? And that great view…

Ladies and gentlemen, a small but significant development in the offices of Highheelsandpinkglitter has taken place in the last week or so – I have been experimenting with the standing desk.

Throughout my working life, which now spans more years than the years I spent not working (why, why, why?) the bulk of my time has been spent stationary in front of a PC/iMac/laptop. Hence, according to experts who know stuff about the human body, my hamstrings have seized up and my glucose levels are in a permanent state of elevation. Boo.

Last week, I decided to embark on a standing desk experiment. Now, one can buy desks that are specially adapted to standing – fancy bits and pieces you can juggle around to hold your keyboard and monitor at precisely the right angle for your upright position, but I decided to go for the more basic, no-cost version.

I fetched two file folders from upstairs, positioned them on the kitchen counter and propped the laptop on top.

So, my wrists are in freefall  – I am not sure if this has long-term health implications for them, but heck standing does feel a lot more comfortable than sitting all day. Particularly as I, ahem, had elected to do so at the dining table sat on a dining chair and not one of those proper back support computer chairs.

I started a discussion on LinkedIn – does anyone else use a standing desk? A lot of people replied; yes, they do, yes they prefer it. A lot of them included useful links to sites which outlined the virtues of standing rather than sitting, or lists of famous authors who have done so (and when they died – now, not all of them reached a grand old age).

Anyway, here are the reasons why you should ensure that you’re not sitting down for the majority of your day:

Sitting for too many hours a day is harmful to health. It increases your risk of cardio vascular disease and cancer, and offsetting this with exercise (two and half hours in the gym a week) doesn’t seem to counter the risk.

Certain studies have shown that it is better for your health to be active all day – stand as much as you can, walk around, take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, do household chores, get off the bus one stop early etc – than sitting all day and then going to the gym for an hour. I know what I’d rather do…

Whole body muscular inactivity – or sitting for long period – can also increase the risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors – high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, Low HDL (or good) cholesterol that increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Sitting all day causes weakness in the gluteus maximus (I’ve always loved the Latin name for one’s bottom), which results in lower back pain. It also causes poor posture because of poor alignment of the neck, shoulder and back, fatigue in the limbs, painful leg cramps and clots.

And finally, standing burns roughly 50 calories an hour more than sitting. Now that figure stacks up and anything that increase my calorie count over the day is good with me.

For further reading, there’s an interesting account of a standing desk experiment here, and for a great infographic, see this one on mashable. And finally, if you do elect to stand for your working day, it feels like the most incredible luxury to finally sit down at the end of the day… (Promise).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon, Erm – Not so Bad After All?!*

No relevance whatsoever, but royalty and copyright free, so y'know...

No relevance whatsoever, but royalty and copyright free, so y’know…

An ambition was realised this week in the Highheelsandpinkglitter household… It was not that I finally managed to do a handstand (since childhood, I’ve always wanted to be able to throw my legs up into the air and perhaps even ‘walk’ a few paces on my hands) as, sigh, that has yet to happen…

…no, instead this week I am a published author finally! Now, I realise this is somewhat disingenuous. Words have been written on this blog about words I have written elsewhere; namely words that have made up my first entirely amateur attempt at fiction.

So perhaps a few of you got a bit of a jolt there – “Blimey lady! You told us that book – and a first attempt at that, mind! – got finished a mere six weeks ago or so. And now you’re saying it’s been published?! Who the heck is your agent/publisher or have you hastily attempted your own edits and rushed it out as a self-published e-book in an act of sheer, hasty folly?”

Sheer, hasty folly was not committed dear reader, I promise. The book in question was not THE BOOK, it was instead a commission I got as a freelancer to write e-books on diets. I bid for the job as I do read a lot about health, dieting and fitness and I thought I might as well write about something I might not need to do much research about. [I was wrong about the latter].

So this week, the book has been published on Amazon. Setting aside any qualms about Amazon and its employment policies in the UK (oh woe, my pitiful lack of principles is exposed once more), I have looked at the particular page quite a few times. [“C’est moi!! C’est moi name! C’est moi book – oh all right, I’ll stop with the awful, pidgin French]. I sent the link to my mum in an email, subject line: You are now the mother of a published author. Cheesy hmm?

[As my husband was not around that day either, he too got an email, subject line: You are now the husband of a published author. My sisters got one – You are now the sister of a published author. My aunt will get one – You are now the… OK, I think no further explanations of this sort are necessary].

With Amazon though, one runs the gauntlet of customer reviews. At this early stage, there are none. I’m debating whether getting no reviews would be just as terrible as awful reviews… Hmm. Double hmm.

Anyway, it was a terribly thrilling and hopefully (oh please) a taste of things to come. I’m now off to look up ‘how to’ videos on YouTube. Handstands specifically.

*Sincere apologies to zero hour contracts folks, and doubly sincere apologies to independent book sellers, video sellers and any other independent sellers whatsoever…

A Writing Reward; Mars Bar Crispy Cake

A tray bake topped with choccie - winner, surely?

A tray bake topped with choccie – winner, surely?

Esteemed audience, as a reward for finishing off writing jobs I often bake or cook. And sometimes as an additional treat, I write about cooking as well.

For the past few weeks, I have been writing about dieting. My scribbles have been for a series of diet books shortly to be published on Amazon (do please forgive my lapse of writing etiquette with such a shameless plug of my own material) so tonight’s writing antidote is to provide you with a recipe for… Drum roll… Mars Bar Crispy Cake.

Ah, the joys! This is possibly the world’s easiest tray bake. Everyone loves it and if you ever want to achieve sell-out status at your local community bake sale or just curry favour with family, friends and your boss, bags full of cut-up Mars Bar Crispy Cake will probably achieve your aim.

The other bonus is this. If you need to babysit children (those aged 6-12, say) this is a great recipe to try out with them. I did this with my nieces (in-law) recently. There’s two of them so I divided the jobs – “ok, you grease the pan and you chop up the Mars bars (I watched!), whilst you mix up the Mars bar and butter and you get to mix up the rice crispies with the melty Mars bars” (this was the task of choice). Oh no it wasn’t. The task of choice was melting the Dairy Milk chocolate topping in the microwave was the task of choice. One square in bowl, one square in mouth etc.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. Enjoy… [I’ve used American measurements for the rice crispies because it’s easier to measure them by volume than by weight.]

Mars Bars Crispy Cake – makes 16-20

  • 3 x Mars Bar (British weight, 48g)
  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 50g mini marshmallows
  • 200g Dairy Milk chocolate
  • 4 cups rice crispies

Grease and line a 20cm square tray. Chop the Mars Bars and put in a thick-bottomed pan with 90g of the butter and melt over a low heat slowly. Keep stirring. Add the marshmallows and mix well until it resembles a smooth sauce.

Add the rice crispies and mix well. Tip into the prepared tray and press down well until it is flat. Leave to cool.

Melt the chocolate and the remaining butter together (30 secs at a time in the microwave is the easiest way, stir well after each 30 secs and remember that food will continue to cook outside the microwave so it’s better to stray on the side of undercooking). Top the crispie cake with the chocolate/butter mix and allow to cool. Cut up into the slices (about 16-20).

Thanks to Milky Mouthwatering Chocolates for the pic.

Five Days’ Worth of Writing

The sun is over the yardarm and a G&T beckons; export strength naturally...

The sun is over the yardarm and a G&T beckons; export strength naturally…

A writer’s work is never… done? The same? Uninteresting? Followed according to agreed grammatical rules and with correct spelling intact?

I ask as this week in the wonderfully wacky world of freelancing, I’ve come to the end of my working time without having made a start on a project planning job I’ve been putting off all week. The chap uttered the fatal words – “oh, no hurry”. Really, we should have clarified the ‘no hurry’ bit. Perchance did that mean, a few days will do? Or in a week’s time will be sufficient? Indeed, he may have meant ‘see you next month’.

Anyway, I have completed several blogs ahead of schedule due to procrastination on the part of this job, so hey ho…

As for writing never being the same, the topics I have written about this week include mushrooms, children’s climbing frames, trampolines, gardening for newbies, bathrooms and the Paleo diet. Perhaps there are connections – climbing frames, gardening and trampolines all take in the great outdoors, whilst mushrooms can be eaten as part of the Paleo diet.

[I’ve just written an e-book on the Paleo diet and am now contemplating setting up a business as a dietary expert where you log onto my website and I use every opportunity to flog you a diet book. It’s called the C-word diet – patent pending – and basically it involves you avoiding any culinary item which begins with a ‘C’. This way you eliminate crisps, cheese, chocolate, crisps and chips. Winner, huh?]

Joking aside, it’s the writer’s task to take any subject and make it interesting. So when you blog on bathrooms, for example, you do a little research and find out that certain regulations apply to toilets. A little more judicious digging and you uncover the tale of the shrinking cistern. And then there is the odd delightful gem, such as the majority of the nation’s men choosing Cheryl Cole as their bath companion of choice. The Queen was second choice – crass, as the article stated, won out over class.

And finally, I wrote a piece where I was taking on a certain persona so grammar and spelling flew out of the window. Regular readers may have noted – adherence to grammatical correctness isn’t entirely usual on this particular blog, so it wasn’t too much of a leap for me.

What writing treats await next week? FIRSTLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, I am going to complete aforementioned plan. I’m hoping it’s one of those jobs that you put off and put off, then start it and hey ho, it’s really, really straightforward and takes you about an hour.

Until next time, dear friends…

58. Send in the pussy whisperers

One clever chap I follow has made it his mission to post a flash fiction story EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’m so impressed. I like all of his stories, but this one in particular appealed…

300 stories

Send in the pussy whisperers, the director yelled.

The shot had been attempted a dozen times and he still hadn’t gotten the right close-up. Which was annoying cause the pussy shot was going to be the prime selling point for the movie. It was to feature prominently in the trailer and be the focal point of the poster. Hell, the movie itself was going to be called ‘Taming Pussy’. So without this shot there would not even be a movie. Time to send in the pros.

In came Linda and Vicky, the pair of lesbians whom the tongue-in-cheek crew had called pussy whisperers from day one of the shoot. They kneeled down and worked their magic.

On the sidelines the first grip and sound recorder chatted.

That’s a lot of pussy, the first grip said.

You’d think someone would have noticed, the sound recorder replied.

On set Linda and…

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