Everyone knows that sitting down for prolonged periods of time, for example working at a desk all day before coming home to work at a desk again, is pretty bad for your health. So I’ve come up with a small range of exercises I like to do at my desk, so then I feel better about my sedentary lifestyle and hopefully won’t end up a hunchback at 40. I thought I’d share some of my favourites, so that everyone else can look silly, but do themselves some good, too:

1 Everything rests on your SHOULDERS

Good for: back and posture

Description: Stand up and give those shoulders a roll. Then squeeze your shoulders together as much as you can – it’s okay if it looks like you’re doing the funky chicken. Hold this for 10 seconds, and then release.

2 The paper PUSHer

Good for: arms

Description: Put both hands on your desk and step back until your body is at a 45 degree angle. Then do some push ups. Good for those of us who can’t quite do a proper push up yet!

3 The WEIGHT of this knowledge is too great

Good for: arms

Description: Find the heaviest book you can, this will often be an unused dictionary. Stand with your feet shoulder with apart. Hold the book behind your head, then raise it to a stretch. Lower it back down. Repeat until the weight of the knowledge of this great exercise is too great

4 SEALing the deal

Good for: stress relief, arms and abs

Description: Okay so you have to do this one beside your desk, but I love it so much I had to include it. It’s somewhere between a seal push up and yoga. Bend down to touch your toes, then walk your hands, keeping your legs straight, until your body is at 90 degrees (downward dog). Push your body forward so your chest is over your arms, and let your back bow (cobra). Then push back into the first position. If you want to work out your arms more, bend them as you move forward so that your body scoops upward.

5 I ain’t done SQUAT

Good for: butt and thighs

Description: About a step in front of your chair, stand feet shoulder width apart. Then squat until your butt just touches the chair. Stand back up and repeat until your legs are saying “I don’t think your ready for this jelly”.

6 I’m TRI-ing my best

Good for: arms

Description: Facing away from your desk take a step forward. Then, standing with your feet shoulder width apart, put your hands back on the desk and lower your body to a pseudo-seated position. Raise back up, and repeat, feeling those triceps burn.

7 Up against the WALL

Good for: quads

Description: Stand with your back up against the wall, then slid down til your legs are bent at 90 degrees. Hold this squat for as long as you can before sliding back up the wall. Repeat if you’re brave.

8 I’m TIP TOEing around this client

Good for: calves

Description: Stand with your feet together behind your chair, holding the back if you need it for balance, raise your self up onto you tip toes. Hold for it for 5 seconds, and then lower. For added difficulty don’t lower yourself all the way back down to the ground.

9 I’ve ABSolutely got to have that RAISE

Good for: abs and thighs

Description: Sitting down, straighten and raise one leg just off the chair and hold for 10 seconds. Then lower it back down to the floor. Repeat on the other side. If you’re feeling wild try raising both legs at once!

NB: These exercises should be done responsibly, and do not guarantee to make you look like Beyonce.

I was going to do another top five blogs I’ve been reading this month post, but then I realised there was really only one that I wanted to talk about, Cocorrina . So, that’s what I’m going to do. This is a more in depth review of the one blog I’m loving above all else at the minute (I think I might do more of this kind of long review as well as quick run downs).

WHAT IS IT?

Founded in 2012, by Corina Nika, Cocorrina is a design studio and blog. Corina’s blog includes everything from her design work, to recipes, to tips on freelancing. Her site is quite minimal and really shows off her visual content.

WHY DO I LIKE IT?

Firstly, and most obviously, Cocorrina’s based around something I love (and something you probably love to if you’re on my blog) design. Secondly, you can tell she cares about her content. Her design work is always on point, and you can tell she really puts a lot of time and thought into every pattern and passion piece she puts up. I’ve particularly been loving her The Freelance Life series, which contains loads of great advice about freelancing. Corina’s style is clear but also personal, you know that she’s got experience and she’s not just talking about things without caring about them.

WHERE SHOULD YOU START?

If you’re a designer, budding or otherwise, check out her series The Freelance Life . As mentioned above it has some really great advice on freelancing and design and covers a whole range of topics, some of which I had never really thought about. I’d also check out her courses if you’re looking to hone some specific skills, I’ve not used any of them, but judging by the standard of her work they’re likely to be great. If you’re not a designer and looking for some great visual stimulation, have a look through her design and downloadables sections, and you might just find yourself a new wallpaper in the process. In the mood for some more lifestyle based stuff? She also has some really nice, and beautifully photographed, recipes and some swoon worthy outfit inspiration.

WHERE CAN YOU FIND THEM?

  • Facebook – for updates of what Corina’s up to, mainly blog based
  • Twitter – for updates of what Corina’s up to, a mix of blog and personal stuff
  • Instagram – for some serious location envy, there are a lot of gorgeous shots of island life in Kefalonia
  • Pinterest – for Corina’s curation of everything from design, to fashion to food
  • Dribble – for a look at some of her stunning design work

A quick run down of some of the things that have been getting me through this autumn

autumn-favourites

SNORE AND PEACE TEA FROM CLIPPER

I love camomile tea, especially in the autumn. This relaxing blend from Clipper is all organic and is has perhaps knocked my favourite, pure camomile tea off the top spot on my shelf with its added lavender and lemon balm.

HOTEL DU LAC BY ANITA BROOKNER 

This was the perfect escapism novel for the mood I’ve been in this autumn. It’s a novel I got quietly swept up into featuring some romance and a holiday setting. While it’s not too hard a read (think more Austen than Pynchon) Brookner throws in some really piercing psychological insights, and it reads really beautifully.

AFFINITY DESIGNER UPDATE

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I love affinity designer. So unsurprisingly I’m absolutely love V1.5 and all of its new features.

NOW AND ZEN NAIL VARNISH FROM ESSIE 

This lovely sage green colour has been my favourite for the season, replacing Essie’s Bordeaux from its perch. I feel like it’s going to be part of my go to neutrals rotation for seasons to come too.

THIS WATCHFUL EYE RING FROM DATTER 

I’ve been a big fan of Kaye Blevgad’s for a while and I’ve been wearing this protective hand ring for a few years now and I absolutely love it. I decided to take the plunge and get another, and I’m so glad I did. If you’re in the market for some really interesting and well made jewellery definitely check Datter out, Kaye’s just released a whole new line and I’m pining for the snake pin she’s made.

THE EVERYGIRL 

The Everygirl has just had so many top articles recently, and they’ve tackled a lot of difficult and really important topics. Expect a more in depth review to come.

EAT NATURAL BARS 

I am absolutely in love with the Eat Natural apricot, yogurt and almond bars. They are pretty much the only thing I want with my evening cup of tea, quite often beating out chocolate (not always though). They’re super tasty and feel really indulgent if you’re looking to change up your snacks.

THE BUS

By default the bus has become one of my favourites because I absolutely hate the tube. If I can manage to will myself to get up 20 minutes earlier I’ll be taking swapping it out for the hellish rush hour underground commute.

I love food. Eating is genuinely one of my favourite activities in the day, and as such my day revolves around my meal times. But cooking on a weeknight can be time consuming, and isn’t always the top priority when you’ve got a to do list as long as your arm.

This vegetarian thai red curry noodle soup (or very saucy curry depending on your definition) has fast become one of my favourite quick dinners now the weather’s a bit colder. I thought I’d share the recipe here for anyone looking for a super tasty fast fix, between day and night jobs

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 3-4 SERVINGS)

3 tbsp thai red curry paste

2 cloves garlic

Half a thumb of fresh ginger

3-4 servings stick rice noodles

1 can (500ml) coconut milk (this can be low fat)

3 cups (700ml) stock (whatever kind you prefer, I usually use vegetable)

2 sweet potatoes – peeled and diced in to 1cm cubes

3 heads of pak choi (this is also good with spring greens, 2 ½ cups or so, if you can’t get pak choi)

Sliced spring onions and fresh coriander to garnish

THE MAKING BIT

  • Chop up all of your veg. Garlic and Ginger should be finely chopped, or put through a crusher if you have one. The sweet potato should be in rough 1cm cubes, and the pak choi should be divided into leaf and stem, with the stems sliced up.
  • Fry off the garlic and ginger in a little bit of oil, I like ground nut but use whatever you have as long as it doesn’t have a strong flavour.
  • Then add the curry paste into the pan and heat through
  • Add the liquids (coconut milk and stock) to the pan, with the sweet potato. Bring to the boil with the lid on.
  • After 5 minutes or so, once the sweet potato has just begun to soften, add in the pak choi stems*
  • Cook the noodles as per packet instructions in a separate pan, you could do it all in the same pan, but I usually struggle for space.
  • Add the pak choi leaves just before serving so they wilt a little
  • Serve in bowls with some (optional) sliced spring onion and fresh coriander

*If you’re going to batch cook this one to keep for later (as I so often do) I’d suggest taking your extra portions off just before you’d add in the pak choi, then adding it in chopped to the divided tubs. That way you avoid over cooking the pak choi when you reheat, and the noodles don’t go stodgy. When you reheat, just put the contents of the tub into a pan/the microwave, and cook the noodles.

What are your favourite quick warming winter recipes?

Instagram is the one social media outlet I probably spend too much time one. I could scroll pretty much endlessly. I particularly love it for finding new inspiration and new art and artists I like. In the name of sharing, as is the social media way, I thought I’d post my 10 favourite artists on Instagram right now*.

*10 by no means covers all or really even a tiny fraction of the artists I’m loving, but I thought I should show some restraint.

MIKE LOWERY  

I always hope there’s going to be a post from Mike Lowery in my feed when I scroll through. His illustrated facts and stories are the best, you really do learn something new every day if you’re following him. He’s also made some little camping mugs with lumberjacks on which are the absolute cutest.

MARK CONLAN 

I love the vibrancy of Mark Conlan’s work. His little series of Unexpected Discoveries has been so much fun to follow, especially with the little sneak peaks into his sketch book.

BARBARA WURSZT 

The blocked style of Barbara Wurszt’s work is so distinctive and different to anyone else I follow on Instagram, which means that despite their simplicity  her characters have so much individual personality.

THE OFFICIAL SAD GHOST CLUB

It’s a daily dose of the ever lovely Sad Ghost Club, need I say more?

RYAN HUMPHREY 

I started following Ryan quite a while ago, on tumblr, and it’s been so much fun to see him grow and his style evolve. His sketches have such a distinct style, and really make me want to pick up a proper pencil more.

MANJIT THAPP 

Manjit Thapp is a cool lady who draws cool ladies (and other awesome things) and you should check her out, it’s that simple.

GIZEM VURAL

I could spend hours looking at Gizem Vural’s abstract patterns, they  always seem so carefully balanced together and yet so carefree in their construction.

HANNAH WARREN 

Hannah Warren’s work always seems to be on the move, it speeds into my feed and I can’t help but feel energised after seeing it (especially this little pup)

 

KAYE BLEGVAD 

I love Kaye Blegvad’s jewellery, the two rings I wear everyday are both by her. But the fun element of the things, and I really do mean things, she’s been putting up on Instagram recently have rekindled my love of her artwork as well.

ALESSANDRA GENUALDO 

The main reason I love Alessandra Genualdo’s posts is the expressions of the women she draws. They always remind me of that quote “if they’re smiling it’s not art”, or something like that, these are some artistic (and realistic, who’s smiling all the time?) ladies.

Who else should I be following?